"The Kingdom of God does not come with observation…for indeed the Kingdom of God is within you."Luke 17:20-21

Hello again, Friends!

There are a lot of voices telling us what to think and do. An example is the cacophony of voices shrilly hawking their opinions  as “fact,” and nearly drowning the voices of reason during this political season.  It takes strength not to be overwhelmed by the “sound and fury” of it all.

Do any of you remember civility?  Has politeness gone the way of the dinosaur?  Certainly not!  The following commentary, from the New Vision Church women’s ministry (Bowie, MD),  discusses guiding children through the process of finding their voice.   Please engage in this discussion by leaving a comment.  Thank you and enjoy!

Back in “old school” days, children were expected to be seen and not heard.  Grown folks’ conversation was off limits. Today these traditions may seem out–dated and unrealistic.  While very strict parenting of yesteryear may be too rigid in the 21st century, parenting today can go to the other extreme of being too liberal or too lax.   Today children are encouraged to express themselves; but unchecked self-expression easily becomes contemptible and disrespectful.

We want our children to be polite, poised and assertive.  How do we, as Christian women, help our charges to find their voices, their appropriate self-expression?  What tools can we use to teach our children to properly respond to authority as we mold them into confident, productive citizens?

Children’s language skills form early.  We smile and coo when infants babble.  When toddlers form their first words, we cheer and applaud.  What we find exciting and praise-worthy early on, can become irritating as children’s expressions change from cute and funny to rude and demanding.

What happened, why the change from joyful excitement to short-tempered annoyance? The stresses of life– life-draining fatigue, not enough resources, and a host of other demands that frame our world happened.  We want to engage our little ones, but sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we just want a little solitude and quiet…just a few minutes of blessed silence.  So in our fatigued, stressed humanity we shut out our children’s voices. Being the smart children we raised them to be, they eventually get the message and stop talking…they lose their voice.  The incessant talking finally has stopped and we have the quiet we wanted; but what have we lost?  What price have we paid for this blessed silence?  Can we ever recover the joy of engaging our children in happy conversation?  Will they ever want to talk to us again?

There is hope!  With love, prayer, a little imagination and patience, we can once again enjoy talking with our children, and hopefully, they will reciprocate.  We can help them regain their voice. Let’s start with common ground.  What hobbies, interests, or talents does your child have that you are or might become involved in?  While “techie” kids enjoy laughing at our struggles with technology, they also may enjoy teaching mom a new tech skill or help her upgrade an old one.  Become the student and be sure to praise your “teacher.”

Enter into your child’s world of play. Have fun! Be silly.  Let the child in you connect with your child (even eye-rolling teenagers like to laugh now and then).  Finally, pray with your child. Better yet, let your child pray for you. Stumbling though their words may be, children will gradually become skilled in prayer, and as their skill level rises, so will their confidence.  Praying and playing with our children, nurturing their gifts and talents, modeling Christ-like behavior—all of these are needed to help the next generation find their voices and boldly raise them to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.” Psalm 145:4 (NTL)

“Let this be recorded for future generations,
so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord. “ Psalm 102:18 (NTL)

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Greetings!  Thanks for visiting again to explore the power of dreams.  Dreams sometimes carry messages that speak to our hearts.  We don’t always understand these messages right away.  Some dreams are prophetic.  They foretell the future.   They can inspire you to push past every limiting obstacle that life drops in your path. A boy named Joseph had such a dream.

Perhaps you know the story.  Joseph was his father’s favorite son.  Joseph also was a dreamer of big dreams.  In fact, Joseph’s dreams were so big that they fanned the fierce flames of resentment that burned inside of his jealous brothers. “One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.” Genesis 37: 5 (New Living Translation)  Needless to say, all this hatred did not bode well for Joseph.  You can read the entire account of what happened in the Bible Genesis chapter 37.

The point I’m making is that not everyone will be as excited about your dream as you are, especially if it is big!  So, to avoid being thrown into a pit like Joseph (a figurative or literal pit), a few suggestions might be in order.  Feel free to come up with your own.

  • Record your dream and then ask God for its interpretation.
  • Ask God for wisdom about others with whom to share your dream.
  • Pray about the timing of the dream’s fulfillment.
  • Maintain humility as the dream unfolds.
  • When possible, help others fulfill their dreams.

I also am a dreamer.  I want to start a conversation to encourage others to dream big! Allow your dreams carry you to great places to do great things.

Keep in touch.

A Watch Night Worth Remembering.

"Watch Meeting Dec.31st 1862,Waiting for ...

“Watch Meeting Dec.31st 1862,Waiting for the Hour,” William Tolman Carlton (White House Art Collection) (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

An unforgettable experience sometimes seemingly comes out of nowhere.  I happened upon such an experience while searching for a Watch Night Service to attend New Year’s Eve. My search yielded a fascinating article that briefly described the origins of the Watch Night tradition here in the United States.

Having attended many Watch Night services over the past three decades, I assumed–probably as many people do–that Watch Night began as a time to recall and  celebrate God’s blessings granted in the old year as well as to entreat His continued favor in the new.  Little did I know that the Watch Night tradition goes deeper.

A stirring dramatization in poetry and song awakened me to Watch Night’s deeper meaning. My thoughts turned like turbulent, converging waters, churning up powerful emotions, as I pondered Watch Night’s significance in this country.

I was stunned to learn that Watch Night memorialized December 31, 1862, when millions of our enslaved ancestors waited for the life-changing word from President Abraham Lincoln that Emancipation Proclamation would set them free! For millions of our ancestors, December 31st would become Freedom’s Eve, something far more significant than our current celebration of New Year’s Eve.

It is impossible for me  to imagine the fear and jubilation of that night.   Raw emotions heightened as daylight descended into a tension-filled night. The cold air brought little relief to slaves’ tormented, bleeding bodies broken by the fury of their master’s whip.

With taut nerves and minds consumed by a relentless jumble of unanswered questions, slave and master waited  for what seemed like eternity. I imagine the slaves’ minds reeled with thoughts such as “Can this really be true? Is God truly going to set us free?”  I imagine  the slave owners’ agitation laced with a dangerous poison of hatred and fear,  as they plotted retribution. They would do anything to hold onto their privileged life.

Fast-forward to the 21st Century, a century and a half later.  The drama of Freedom’s Eve has long faded into the swirling mists of history.  Watch Night  celebrations have taken on a more benevolent meaning, and for that I am grateful.

However, I do pray that as we reflect on the old year and transition into the new, we will take time to remember the Watch Night  of December 31, 1862, 150 years ago, when countless millions of our ancestors watched and waited in blood-soaked fields.  When they huddled and trembled in ramshackle barns; when they stole away to secret places daring to meet, to pray and to hope against hope for the sweet tolling of bells proclaiming  at that last, they were free!

A Christ-Centered Christmas

A Christ-Centered Christmas.

This Christmas, let us celebrate Christ, the anointed one, God’s gift to the world!  Let us rejoice in exalting Jesus, the Light of the world–our hope of salvation.

Let us remember that the all-powerful God chose to clothe Himself in helpless flesh and to live in a fallen world destined for hopeless despair and shrouded in impenetrable darkness.

God the Son became the “Word made flesh,” and dwelt among us.  He is the only acceptable sacrifice to redeem us from our self-destruction and to reconcile us to our Heavenly Father.  The birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, was and still is the Birth of the Hope of salvation for the world.

In worshipful appreciation for God’s redeeming love, I offer the following prayer:

Father, I wish to celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas with my loved ones. How can I effectively show  that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas…that it’s not Christmas trees laden with sparkling lights and glittering tinsel? Nor is the Christ-centered Christmas about beautifully wrapped presents topped with colorful bows.   Father, I thank You for these things. I don’t speak against them. They are fun and good in their proper place, but the Christ-centered Christmas–which celebrates Jesus–is so much more.

Father, for me, the Christ-centered Christmas is thanking You for loving and embracing me, for restoring me and receiving me unto Yourself through Jesus’ life-giving sacrifice.  It is granting me full access to Your Throne of Grace through prayer, enabling me to receive mercy and help in my times of need. It is thanking You for Your Holy Spirit…He who lives inside of me, teaching and guiding me into the ways of Your truth.

I celebrate my place in Your Kingdom as Your daughter.  You have graciously prepared and reserved an inheritance me for that great day when I will rule and reign with Christ.  But in the meantime, I am learning to use the gifts and callings that You have placed inside of me to glorify You. I am learning to serve others and to testify of Your amazing love.

Thank You for revealing to me that Christ, who by Your Spirit lives inside me, is the Hope of Glory.  In Him I live and move and have my being.  I have all that I need to live a complete life.

Thank You, Father, for reminding me of what a Christ-centered Christmas looks like and for helping me to celebrate Christ in a way that pleases and glorifies You.  Please receive my thankful heart as worship, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Merry Christ-centered Christmas and Happy New Year!

Prophetic Words About Leaven

Following is a Prophetic Word that the Holy Spirit inspired me to write 11/16/05.  I have not published this word until now. I am duplicating it word for word without any edits. Some will receive it; some won’t. Whether it is well received or not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit  feel,l  compelled to send it.  Many blessings…

Seminars and the teachings of men have ruined My people. They have become soft and lazy.  The want the word pre-digested for them.  That is why they must go through trials–to have a real and personal encounter with Me leading to a relationship and intimacy.

It is important for men to cast down imaginations.  They start to see images, pictures of the carnal things they desire.  As they meditate on these things, their minds become corrupt.  No longer can they receive images from the mind of Christ.

It is like the woman whose leaven was placed in the three measures of flour.  The initial affect of the leaven was not seen immediately, but over time the corruption or influence of the leaven spread throughout the dough.  Once it was spread, it could not be un-spread.  So it is with My people whose imaginations have been corrupted by the false leaders, those who draw them in with so-called plans for prosperity and holy living.  These teachings are from the souls of men, not from My Spirit.  They corrupt–not necessarily because the content is evil–but because it is mixed with the leaven of men’s motives, ambitions, and opinions.  It has nothing to do with Me.  Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.  This is a warning of critical importance to tell My People.  They must seek Me–My word, My face, My counsel.

I have placed true leaders and prophets among them.  They have rejected My prophets and seek counsel from those whose words tickle their ears.  It is weariness to Me.  There has to be a place for repentance from the mixture of men’s soulish teachings that has crept into churches.

I wish for My people to be set free and to live lives of true prosperity ; not that which is orchestrated by men, but that which I give them directly through the word and counsel that is given to My prophets and apostles.

If men do not cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, they will be cast down by those same imaginations.  The images they allow to grow in their hearts will corrupt and destroy them because they will feel obligated to fulfill their very thoughts, that is, they will be compelled to bring the picture in their mind into reality.  Like Me, men are destined to create what is in their minds.  That is why it is so important that they receive and retain the mind of Christ.  This is the mind that produces the things that are good, perfect, pure, holy, praiseworthy and of good report.  The things that men produce in their minds from the soul produce corruption, devastation, and death.

Just look around you and see how the evil and corrupt imaginings of men have produced the trilogy of corruption, devastation, and death in your world.

I will have My prophets to restore the foundations that have been destroyed by evil imaginations and corrupt desires. The apostle and prophets are My foundation builders. They are to seed the imaginations of My people with the true words that I give them.  The truth, as proclaimed by My apostles and prophets–the true doctrine–will counteract the leaven of corrupt leaders and set My people free in this region.

Chosen

Chosen! Such a strong,  definitive word. Settle it in your heart, and let there be no doubt, that when God chooses you for a purpose, He intends to accomplish that purpose through you.  Being chosen should fill us with confidence in knowing that He who began the work in us will complete that work in us until the day that Jesus Christ comes for us.

God chose me! I don’t know how you feel about this, but on more than one occasion, I have shaken my head–sometimes with perplexity and other times with vexation –over God’s decision to choose me to bring Him glory.  The fact that God chose me does not make sense to me.   I know that God hand-picked me for His purpose and His glory; but because of the dim, limited lens of my frail humanity  I can only see a tiny speck of God’s magnificent painting on the canvas of my life.

I used to struggle with not knowing why God has chosen me.  I don’t anymore.  I just receive, by faith, that God’s will is more important than my need to understand.  I trust that as my Heavenly Father, God only makes decisions about and allows things in my life that will bring Him glory and ultimately work for my benefit–including the things I don’t like, perhaps especially the things I don’t like.

Having sought God’s counsel and walked by faith for nearly thirty years, I have learned that I can trust God, even when I cannot trust myself. I have learned that obedience to God’s will has nothing to do with my understanding or lack of it. I have learned to put His will first and everything else afterward in proper order.

I know God marked me to do great things and to make impact on my world and even on nations.  As wonderful as this may sound, let me assure you, it does not always feel wonderful. God has extremely high standards for those whom He has chosen. God’s standards for me are higher than my own.  If my standards were the measuring stick for acceptable behavior, there are some things that I would allow myself to get away with.  I would use the excuse of my humanity to let myself off the hook.  But God holds me accountable.  Even those things that I count as insignificant, my Heavenly Father requires me to give an account for.  He loves me too much to allow me to “get by,” especially when I know better. To whom much is given, much is required.  As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 139, God’s hand upon me is knowledge that is “too wonderful for me.” To paraphrase, it is too high and too lofty for me to understand.

Nothing in our human experience can compare to being chosen by God.  According to Ephesians 1: 4 “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ…”  God chose me (and you) in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. The New International Version (NIV) of this scripture leaves me breathless.  I cannot comprehend that God chose me  in Christ before He created the world.  Though I lack understanding about the mysteries of God’s choices, I am yet grateful that He chose me even though I did not choose Him.  His gracious loving-kindness and tender mercies pursued me and He chose me. That’s more than enough for my grateful heart to sing, hallelujah!

A Sisters’ Reunion

A Sisters’ Reunion.

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