Church Body, Inspire

One Way

For the 60′s generation that dropped out, turned on, and tuned in Chuck Smith pointed them to Jesus with an contagious smile and a finger pointed heavenward.

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Society marginalized the long-haired, hippie freaks, but Pastor Chuck opened his heart and church doors to their exuberant, alternate music and groovy way of dressing. While experimenting with “free love” they discovered authentic love in the pages of a little black book. For God is love. The combination of unconditional love and Smith’s magnetic presentation of the Bible launched the first wave of the “Jesus Movement.”

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Pastor Chuck Smith moved to heaven today. Because of his ministry, I went from bartender to Bible study leader. I left drug use and promiscuity to become spirit filled and experience incredible intimacy in Christ. May I suggest that we bring back a favorite gesture of those days? In honor of Chuck’s new residence in heaven, let’s point others to Jesus with the “one way” sign! 👆

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Inspire

Be Still

Sitting still requires relinquishing your chaos to a God who cares and is in control. Take time to climb onto His lap. Rest your whirling head on His chest. As your heart beat and breathing begins to mimic His calming rhythm, hear His gentle voice say: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

Family

My Pampered Pooch

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Which kind of pet owner are you? The first type treats their animals, well, like they’re animals. You provide the basics of kibbles and water. They must serve a function like guard dog, egg layer, or milk producer. You don’t abuse or neglect them. However, they stay where pets belong-outside! My stepfather held this austere philosophy. Suffice it to say, as long as I lived in his house, I never owned a pet. As a tweener girl, I envisioned Lassie, Flipper, or Black Beauty. Why, these pets where your BFF’s.

The second kind of pet owner treats their animal like Paris Hilton. They travel in designer handbags; have encrusted collars; and enjoy pet play dates. They bear touchy-feely titles like “sweetie pie,” “snuggles,” and “mama’s little baby.” Table food? Oh, they eat like royalty. Sleeping arrangements? Right on their master’s bed with matching silk jammies. That’s how I treat our Welsh terrier, Mack. He gets a fresh latte every morning; a walk along the bosque at noon; and biscuits in bed as a nightcap. Go ahead, you can judge me. I’m that kind of dog owner.

Honestly, if you were a pet, which kind of owner would you prefer? Me? I’d be Hotel Tycoon, Leona Helmsley’s, Maltese lap dog named “Trouble” who inherited $12 million at her owner’s death. Believe it or not, as a Christian, that’s exactly the kind of care you receive from Jesus, your Shepherd. His flock never lacks a thing. They drink from still waters the likes of Perrier. They take naps in pastures as idyllic as the English countrysides. When predators appear, He stands guard.Best of all, He restores their soul. In other words, He cares about their deepest, emotional needs.

Take a minute to read Psalm 23. Get to know this Good Shepherd. Follow Him wherever He goes. Even in the deepest valley, He’ll make sure that goodness and mercy follow right behind you. One day you will live in His house forever.

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Rejoice in her boundaries

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original digital collage by Khanh Dang and Lenya Heitzig

How do you deny past problems access to your forwarding address? Here’s my advice, don’t dwell in the past; you don’t live there anymore. Past, by definition, is something that no longer exists. You can’t bring it back. You can’t change it. You can’t even revel in its glories. Even the star quarterback eventually gains weight while the prom queen ages. All of our bygone days, the good, the bad, and the ugly, are now merely reflections in a review mirror.

Anyone who’s tried to forget the past by sheer determination discovered it multiplies by epic proportions. For instance, the moment you tell yourself, don’t think about creepy gnomes, the more you fixate on them. And then your dreams are riddled with the vexing little bearded guys wearing green waistcoats and pointy red hats. This phenomenon is known as the “ironic process theory” which simply explains the minds tricky way of creating obsessive thoughts despite trying to oppress them.

So, how can you conquer the past? Step ahead! The best way to conquer an old habit is to replace it with a new one. Want to stop swearing? Start praising. Jesus explained, “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). Need to quit biting your nails? Try painting them pink instead. Follow Paul’s example to “put off the old…and put on the new” (Col. 3:9-10).

The virtuous woman conquered her anxiety, too. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future” (Prov. 31:31:25, NLT). She used her past to prepare for the future. As a result, she was fearless.

When the past comes knocking, you don’t have to answer. Why? You’re not home—you’ve moved on and left no forwarding address.

Inspire

Worship

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What was her work? Worship. Exorbitant, extravagant, extraordinary worship. She broke her box of blessing, that alabaster container full of precious perfume and poured it on the Savior…anointed Him in love. What can you do for Him today? Reckless love!

Inspire

Wait

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God answers every prayer with a “yes” or a “no” or “wait.” Waiting isn’t passive, it’s active. It includes the anticipation of a Christmas morning and the application of knowledge that leads to graduation day. You don’t wait on the fickleness of fate, you wait on the faithfulness of the Lord!

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Bible Study and Teaching

Live Brilliantly

Do you look around and see the world in darkness and despair? Do you long to see a world filled with love and light? First John is a short yet powerful book full of assurances that while we might not find light and love in this world, we can find it in the One who created it.

Join me and she Ministries in our upcoming citywide Bible study, Live Brilliantly: A Study in the Book of 1 John, Part 1, beginning Tuesday, September 10, as we study powerful verses like “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5) and “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Bible Study and Teaching

Peace At Any Price

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Last week, I got to do something I enjoy very much: visit another women’s ministry and teach. The ladies of Flourish, the women’s ministry at Calvary Kendall in Miami, welcomed me with love and spunk. My friend Lourdes and her husband, Pedro, lead this dynamic church full of Jesus fanatics. I spoke four years ago at their retreat, and this group of ladies is always energetic, interactive, and fun.

Their auditorium was packed to overflowing–and then their overflow quickly filled up. I got to meet and talk with many of the ladies after giving my message, “Peace at Any Price?” from the book of Judges. This is where Gideon, the “mighty man of valor,” meets Jehovah Shalom, The Lord Is My Peace.

As I walked the ladies through this story where we find Gideon in a place of having no peace, I could feel their spirits crying out with the same feeling. When you turn on the TV or check the latest headlines, there seems to be no peace in this world. There is war, famine, crime, and natural disasters at every corner.

As I wrapped up my message, I gave the ladies in turmoil the opportunity to pray to receive God’s peace. As I prayed over the women, I felt a sense of the freedom only God can give come upon the room. He was breaking the chains of bondage as the ladies stood to their feet seeking freedom.

Thanks to the ladies of Calvary Kendall for being so welcoming, vulnerable, and loving. It was a joy to walk through this Scripture with you.

If you need a dose of freedom, you can listen to “Peace at Any Price?” here. Peace is just a step away. If you’re fighting for it personally, spiritually, relationally, or nationally, spend some time getting to know Jehovah Shalom. Gideon did. And because he met Jehovah Shalom, he confronted the enemy, while trusting God for the victory, and through God’s peace, he overcame.

Names of God

Jehovah Jireh

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One of the teachings I had from the fall semester is this month’s devotion; we meet the Provider, Jehovah Jireh.

Founding Father Thomas Paine wrote The American Crisis to bolster soldiers tempted to retreat during the American Revolution. While suffering deprivation, hostile living conditions, and savage attacks, their businesses at home failed and their families languished in poverty.

One South Carolinian farmer’s wife, Eliza Pinckney, described her situation: “My property pulled to pieces, burnt and destroyed, my money of no value, my children sick and prisoners.” Most children did not survive infancy. Parents refrained from naming a baby until they reached two years old. Until that age, parents called babies “our little visitor” or “my little angel.”

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

Modern Americans view a long line a Starbucks, no access to cable TV, or riding public transportation as a trial. The biblical view holds much higher stakes:

Job: “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

Jeremiah: “You have tested my heart toward you” (Jer. 12:3).

 Israel: “God led you…these 40 years in the wilderness,
to humble you and test you,
to know what was in your heart,
whether you would keep His commandments ” (Deut. 8:2).

When Abraham was 75, God called him to a life of faith in leaving his father. When Abraham met Jehovah Jireh, he was 100 years old and facing his greatest “trial of the soul.” God tested him with the object most valued by the patriarch, his only son. Twenty years had passed between Genesis 21 when Ishmael was banished and when Isaac was born. His “only son” was mature. With a name that means “laughter,” Isaac brought delight to his parent and embodied the very promises of God. In meeting Jehovah Jireh, Abraham’s faith was stretched to the limits.

Do you know the Lord who will provide for all of your needs, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual? Meet the God who you can trust in all circumstances.

Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Provides)

This name of God is a compound of two names. Jehovah imparts the fundamentals about God: He is the self-existent God of righteousness and holiness, a God of revelation who makes and keeps His promises. The second name, Jireh, means the Lord will provide, with the additional meaning of “pre-vision.” In other words, God knows how events unfold before they occur.

As with other compound names of God, the second name Jireh points to a historical incident; in this case, God’s command that Abraham sacrifice his son.

“Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen. 22:2).

This was the moment of truth in Abraham’s life, the zenith of his faith in God. After decades of childlessness, God blessed him with a son, and now, unimaginably, God told him to take that son and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah.

This was the test to end all tests. Without objection, Abraham obeyed God’s command. His life of challenges and faith culminated in glorious commitment and absolute trust in God, even though he didn’t understand His methods or His motives.

When Abraham’s knife was raised over the bound body of his precious, only son, God intervened: “Abraham, Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen. 22:11-12).

And then, Jehovah Jireh provided a sacrifice of His own. In a beautiful picture of the future provision of God’s only Son for our sins, He provided a ram caught in a thicket, his head ringed with a crown of thorns.