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Devotionals

Hope and Future

on Thursday, 02 July 2015. Posted in Devotionals

hope and future

The word hope is used throughout our culture. We casually hope for all sorts of things, some benign: “I hope I have room for dessert after this great meal;” and some, life changing: “I hope I get the job!” Hope is the precursor for faith (Hebrews 11:1) Hope is the expectation for a certain result. This is why we mentor. We have a hope embedded in the next generation for the future of the church. Do you feel your passion rise for the next generation? My prayer is the Holy Spirit is inspiring you even now, as you read.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 is a frequently quoted verse at my church. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) It is used when new beginnings are examined. Sermons at New Years and graduation are peppered with this thought.
 
This verse took on a whole new meaning for me recently. My Pastor used it in a message. I think I thought something along these lines: “oh here we go again, same old verse used for a new endeavor.” The Holy Spirit got a chuckle out of that.
 
“Here you go little one, look at it from this angle,” He breathed into my heart.
There it was, a new twist on this very old promise. The words jumped out at me. I knew the Lord was telling me, “These young people are YOUR HOPE and YOUR FUTURE. Through them I will build my Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.”
 
Oh, how this delights me! The idea that God would allow me to influence others for the continuation of His Kingdom is breathtaking. Don’t you think? A call to this mission is beautiful!
 
As we read further in Jeremiah, we see God comes back to the heart. The Lord calls us to give our whole heart. Unguarded, we hand it over to Him. That is a rather vulnerable position to be in. However, let me assure you there is no safer place for your heart than in the hands of the Lord. He is our security, our stronghold! (Psalm 18:2) If we seek after Jesus with our whole self, this will fulfill the promise of our hope and future.
 
This all rests on our trust in Jesus. Trust that He will lead us to the right people, and trust that He will provide the wisdom we need to move forward in our relationships with them. The best prayer I have learned to whisper is simply, “I trust you Jesus.” I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know how it will happen, but I know He is in the middle of it. He will direct my path, if I let Him.
 
These young people are treasures crafted by God Almighty. We forget that sometimes. Especially when they don’t live up to our expectations. Stereotypically, it is harder for this generation to keep commitments, to trust, and to launch into adulthood. They can be self-centered. Where do we look for our inspiration? We look at the beauty grafted into their DNA. We are privileged to reflect back to them the promise we see within them. Do you see how wonderful that is?
 
God has made each of these wonderful young people with gifts. They are risk takers that want to change the world. They have the drive, and we have the power of encouragement and experience. It truly is a lovely partnership. The more we examine the dynamics, the more we see we need each other. They need us to lift them toward their future, and we need them to fulfill our hope and future. Oh, Jesus is so good at interweaving our lives with one another.
 
Lord, I ask that you inspire us to build your church. Help us to see others as your hope and your future church. Give us eyes to see and the courage to risk and invest in these individuals. In Jesus' Name Amen.
 
Do you want to continue this conversation? Leave a comment and let’s talk!
 

I've got to be me!

on Sunday, 02 October 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Authentic living in a character-crippling world.

Be ME

So the question is: how does a person become and stay authentic in this character-crippling world? I don’t think the answer is to list all our cares to everyone we greet. The grocery clerk doesn’t need (or want!) to hear about your cat puking on the carpet. But it’s okay to say you’ve had a rough day. You can be honest and real without complaining about everything. It’s not so much what you say, but how you say it. Don’t fake it ’til you make it. Be your real self. Take some notes from John the Baptist.

 John the Baptist was the epitome of authenticity. Unique and individualistic, he marched to the beat of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 3, I am struck by the remarkable life of this man. He was not influenced by other’s opinions, yet his uniqueness drew others to him. His confidence did not waver.

John was related to Jesus as his cousin. Elizabeth, John’s mother, had a close relationship with Mary, Jesus’ mother. God told Zechariah, John’s father, of John’s coming, though Elizabeth was unable to have children. Yet John’s life path was described to Zechariah before his birth. God paved the way for John’s unique impact on the world. (Read Elizabeth and Zechariah’s story in Luke 1.)

John grew up with the knowledge of his prophesied birth and life. So he prepared for his mission by living in the wilderness. He was gifted with the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17) but he did not try to mimic Elijah. Unabashed by local custom, he survived on honey and locusts. He was viewed as a fanatic by many around him.

 But John lived a life that reflected his faith. Don’t take this for granted—his faith had to be big. He knew what was said of him—that he would prepare the way for the Messiah—but he had yet to see it happen. We now know how his life played out, but as he was living it, he couldn’t see the future. John had promises, predictions, and prophesies, but no outline or step-by-step life plan. This blows my mind. How do you live up to such expectation? Surely only with God can this be possible.

John lived his life to the fullest. Each day his purpose was to prepare his followers’ hearts to accept Jesus. Passionately, he preached repentance, uncertain when his mission would be complete. Many found their Messiah in Jesus because John pointed the way. We was even privileged to baptize Jesus. This was culmination of John’s ministry.

 As Jesus’ influence increased, John faded to the background. Was there an inner struggle here as John’s fame diminished? Perhaps, but we don’t know. His ego had to die; he had to accept this was not about him. Charismatic by nature, he had to give that gift over to God, in a breathtaking act of faith. But he did not escape the human propensity to doubt; we know his faith wavered as he sat in jail, and sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He really was the one John had been preaching about. Jesus pointed to the evidence to assure them He was. (See Matthew 11.) Soon after that John was beheaded.

John’s example screams across the millennia to all Christians. It can never be about what you get. It is not to be about your fame. It is not about feeling good about yourself; it’s always about following

Jesus.

Now think about this. What if John had waited? What if he thought his life’s calling wasn't worth the locusts and honey or social rejection? What if he had said “I’m not sure. Let’s just see how things work out?” If he had been tentative he may have lived longer, to be sure. Risk involves a price and John paid a high one—the ultimate one. I imagine, however, he lived joyfully to the end with no regrets.

Following Jesus is not safe. But it is not about your comfort. It’s about building the Kingdom. (Matthew 28:19) You've probably heard the popular platitude, “The safest place is in the center of God’s will.” This is true for the spiritual self, but not necessarily the earthly self. John ended up in prison, on the wrong side of political favor, and eventually on the sharp end of the guillotine. None of that sounds even close to safety to me.

 But was it worth it? I think John would say it was.

So what does that have to do with you and me? As far as I know, no angel showed up at my conception to announce my grand impact on humanity. It is pretty clear I am not called to wear camel hair. I could handle eating the honey but locusts are out of the question. But I know God has a plan for me, the real me. And one for you, too. The real you. 

Find out more about authentic living and mentoring in Leslie's book Legacy. Click here to purchase. 

It's All Good

on Monday, 01 June 2015. Posted in Devotionals

Righting the Wrong Path

path 1

 

 

 
“It’s all good” is an expression used to lighten it up when life gets awkward. We’ve all said it, at one time or another. Your friend makes a mistake, they quickly blurt “I’m sorry,” and we know to give this quick response. It is a reboot of sorts.
 
Current Christian culture stresses God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We are individually created to fulfill God’s will in His Kingdom. This can inspire us to pursue our passions. It can also freeze us in our tracks, and shine a light on our insecurities, raising question such as: What if I make a mistake? Or, What if I miss God’s plan?
 
When I was in college, I intended to go into genetic research. It was cutting-edge science; new discoveries were made daily. They were mapping the human genome and it fascinated me. Then I started my research. I worked for a Professor whose work explored pleiotropic inheritance, which is where one gene influences multiple traits in an individual. Here’s the problem: I was always alone in the lab. This extroverted girl needed people! Through a series of circumstances I added the major Biology Education because I didn’t know what else to do. When I made that decision, I had no idea the impact it would have on the rest of my life. I thought it was a temporary solution until I figured out what I wanted to do. It turned into my life’s passion. Where would I be if I had not taken that first step?
 
DO NOT LET FEAR KEEP YOU FROM MOVING FORWARD.
 
We need to remember the following:
  1. God designed us. Our passions are birthed in His creation. If we seek after Him, He will nurture our passion.
Psalm 139:16 (NLT) You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
  1. The Holy Spirit directs us.
Romans 8:9 (NLT) But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.
  1. God gives wisdom. We are directed to ask for it. Wisdom is sound judgement. Trust you are moving in the right direction until your judgement, through the Spirit's instruction, tells you otherwise.
Colossians 1:9 (NLT) So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.
  1. God works it all for His good. God is the author of the phrase, “it’s all good.” Romans 8:28 assures us of that. If we act according to His purpose, He will make it good.
Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
 
Our job is to first nurture our relationship with Jesus and then take a step forward in our calling. If you are not sure, take a step anyway. This is a step of faith. God promises to turn even our mistakes for good if we seek after Him. True, you might end up on a wrong path, but God will direct you back to the right one if you ask Him to. Have faith, move forward, and remember it is all good!
 
What do you think? Leave your comments and we can continue the conversation.

JOY

on Friday, 03 March 2017. Posted in Devotionals

Even when I'm not feelin' it.

joy

It’s a struggle to stay positive these days. I know I still care way too much about what other’s think of me. I’m frustrated with critical people and find myself critical of them. Don’t you think that is a little dumb? Maybe even hypocritical? I’ve got caught up in examining the minutia of life. I’ve shifted my center of thinking to me and my circumstance. I know better but my emotions have ruled over logic and truth.

So what do we do when we are overwhelmed by the world?

 WE COUNT IT ALL JOY!

James 1:2 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James reminds us that this is the opportunity to put Jesus back into the center of my focus. Not so He blocks the problems, but so I can see the problem through Him. He is my Lens for the world. He is the Source of my worth. He is the Director of my steps.

Joy means to have a feeling of well-being. Circumstances do not dictate my comfort. Well, it does but my response to any discomfort is confronted with the reality of Jesus.

Jesus is my Re-creator. Daily He is making me new and more and more into His image.

Jesus is my Source for living water. He sustains me. He purifies me.

Jesus is my Bread. He is my Provider.

Jesus is my Light. He illuminates the truth.

Jesus is my Shepherd. He protects me.

Jesus is my Vine. He is the source of what is good and through Him I produce fruit.

Jesus is my King. I belong to His Kingdom. I am just a visitor here. However, while I’m here I will do all that I can to help bring His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.

I am reminded again of the two verses that would not leave me alone last year:

Micah 6:8 (NLT) No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

James 1:27 (NLT) Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

I pray that we each live this out. We need to trust Him. He is working all for the good of His Kingdom. I don’t see Him, but I trust Him. I see the results of His presence. I lean into it and I know He is working.  In the process, with Jesus in the center, we will be filled with joy.

1 Peter 1:8 (NLT) You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

Legacy

on Tuesday, 01 September 2015. Posted in Devotionals

legacy and impact

One of my favorite Shakespeare quotes is from Midsummer Night’s Dream. “And though she be but little she be fierce.” As I am only 5’1”, I relate to this quote. Not that I am an aggressive fighter; more like determined and intense in the pursuit of God’s call. I know that I belong to God “You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Do not give up.” (1 John 4:4 NLT) You too are fierce!

At 52, this is the beginning of my legacy. Lives that are encouraged. Lives that are influenced to pursue something bigger than themselves. This is my purpose as middle age woman. An honor that I treasure.

Legacy is something handed down from one generation to the next. Legally it refers to money or property but we extend a greater gift. A spiritual legacy does not just impact the here and now. It imparts your fingerprint on the eternal. Jesus gave us immortality, we influence its impact the way we spend our finite time on earth.

Those are powerful words; impact and influence. Impact implies a force. When our lives intertwine with others it is a force to be reckoned with! Our presence in their life isn’t ignored. It may be quiet and gentle but it is steady. As a conduit of the Holy Spirit, we impact others. He shapes and changes them through this impact.

Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. (Google definition) What a beautiful way to describe mentoring. God uses us to bring out His design in another person. We are one of the tools used to expose their true beauty.

A young man I know is a sculptor. He produces art from wood and stone. He examines the natural grain and sees an image. Through Holy Spirit inspiration, time, and skill he produces a finished piece. Alec possesses a true gift.

Like Alec, we work similarly. Through God, we impact and influence to reveal God’s image in another’s life. Our tools range from encouragement to accountability. We inspire, occasionally correct and always love. We recognize God is the artist and we assist in His work. We pray and we pray and we pray.

As I write this my daughter, Elizabeth, is attending an audition for a movie. Is it unlikely that she will be cast? Statistically yes but there is always a possibility. Her dream is to act. She won’t get parts if she doesn’t show up.

At the same time her younger sister is at a swim clinic. The instructors are Olympic swimmers. Will this make her a better swimmer? Yes. Will she now break records and get college scholarships? No one knows the answer to that but she is in pursuit of a dream.

I’d like to think that their inspiration comes from their Dad and me. As parents, our children get first dibs on the legacy we are leaving behind. They are the epicenter of our impact within God’s Kingdom. Later today, I see some of the ripple effect of that seismic wave as I attend a wedding shower for Jessica. The two of us meet on a regular basis. Today, I share the joy of this life event with her.

Would you like to know more about building a legacy? This year’s retreat will be February 20th. Save the date and look for registration information in October. In addition the book, Legacy, is soon to go to my editor. I can’t wait to share that with you as well.

legacy

If you’d like to discuss this more, leave a comment and we can keep the conversation going.

Legacy - 5th Annual Dragonfly Retreat

on Friday, 16 October 2015. Posted in Devotionals

Live a life of impact

legacy

Learn to live a life of impact that influences beyond your lifetime.

Refresh your faith as we fortify our confidence that is anchored in Christ.

Connect with other women.

Learn to care for others in a deeper fashion. Be empowered to positively influence others.  

 Saturday February 20, 2016

Christ the King Church

Early bird registration starts Nov.1 and runs through January 17.

Reach into the Future: Mentor

on Tuesday, 01 August 2017. Posted in Devotionals

Spirtual Mandate: Mentoring

reach the next generation

Mentoring is an ancient practice prevalent in Scripture. Although the word is never used the practice was common. Mandated by God, we are all called to reach the next generation in one form or another. Sadly, it is a dying art that needs resurrection.

I know you are thinking: “I am inadequate. I can’t. I won’t.” Who is the center of this thought pattern?

God says “I can do the impossible. I can. I will. Join me.”

Pray with me “I surrender to you, God. I trust you, God. Here I am send me.” In Jesus Name, AMEN

We have to go beyond what we want to do. We need to stretch and trust. He will catch us if we fall. Join me this month as we examine 31 Scripture verses that encourage mentoring.

  1. Titus 2:4 (NLT) These older women must train the younger women
  2. Titus 2:7 (NLT) And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
  3. Exodus 17:14 (NLT) After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua
  4. Exodus 24:12-13 (NLT)12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone on which I have inscribed the instructions and commands so you can teach the people.” 13 So Moses and his assistant Joshua set out, and Moses climbed up the mountain of God.
  5. Exodus 33:11 (NLT) Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.
  6. Deuteronomy 34:9 (NLT) Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him, doing just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
  7. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT) You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
  8. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
  9. Psalm 71:18 (NLT) Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.
  10. 1 Thessalonians 2:8(NLT) We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.
  11. Titus 2:3(NLT) Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.  Instead, they should teach others what is good.
  12. Proverbs 9:9(NLT) Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
  13. Proverbs 1:5 (NLT) Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance
  14. Philippians 4:9 (NLT) Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
  15. Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
  16. Isaiah 54:2-3 (NLT)2 “Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! 3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams.  Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities.
  17. Hebrews 13:7(NLT) Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.
  18. 2 Kings 22:2 (NLT) He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
  19. Psalm 71:7 (NLT) My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.
  20. Ephesians 5:2 (NLT) Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
  21. Exodus 18:20 (NLT) Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.
  22. Psalm 37:30 (NLT) The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.
  23. Psalm 78:7 (NLT) So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
  24. Colossians 2:2 (NLT) I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
  25. Acts 2:42 (NLT) All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
  26. Galatians 6:2(NLT) Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
  27. Psalm 145:4 (NLT) Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.
  28. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
  29. John 13:12-15 (NLT)12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
  30. Acts 9:26-27 (NLT) 26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
  31. Luke 1:56 (NLT) Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

Spiritual Kids

on Sunday, 30 April 2017. Posted in Devotionals

Spiritual Kids

Spirtual Motherhood

Your descendants aren’t just your biological children. Spiritual children can also be part of our homes. Are you prepared to accept new “daughters” into your life?

Whether or not you have biological kids, when you mentor, you have spiritual kids. You don’t even have to be married! The relationship with your younger friend becomes much like mothering—your nurturing instincts kick in and she becomes your spiritual child.

These relationships develop slowly. They need to be nourished. Not all people in your life will become family. As a mentor, be open to the idea that they might bust open your heart and even house.  “Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities” (Isaiah 54:2-3 NLT).

This is exactly how Paul describes his relationship with Timothy—“my true child in the faith,” he writes (I Timothy 1:2 NLT). This is a unique situation, because from what we know of Timothy, his father did not share the same faith. Paul wasn’t a replacement, but an enrichment.

 More than likely, your young friend will already have her own mother, and you will not be a replacement—nor should you be. But your spiritual motherhood is an enrichment in her life, and in yours as well.

Spiritual parenting is not literally raising a child. However, it reflects important aspects of it, particularly when it comes to love. Love your spiritual children unconditionally. While you may choose to dislike some of their behaviors, never reject the individual. Paul set this example for us in his letter to the Thessalonians. Examine the familial language Paul uses; “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (I Thessalonians 2:11-12 NIV).

“As a father deals with his own children.” The apostle Paul made it clear these relationships are strong and long-lasting, much like a parent’s relationship should be. Work to form a bond that lasts. This is not a short-term commitment. Put simply, it means you will be there for them. Demonstrate to them that they matter. They matter to you like your biological kids matter to you.

What does it mean to encourage, comfort, and urge? To encourage someone it means to give them courage to take the next step. When they falter, motivate them to move forward.

For example, one of my young friends was thrown into a leadership position while on a mission trip. She was given no warning and was only a little older than the team she was leading. She did have experience, and she is a trained leader in our church. When she called in a panic, her initial response was to give up and come home. So I asked her questions:

“Did God call you on this trip?”

“I think so?”

“Do you have experience and training you can share?”

“I guess, but I’m scared.”

“That’s good. It will keep you dependent on God. You can do this.”

“Thanks. Pray for me.”

I did not give her much advice. I simply asked those questions and told her I believed in her. I assured her I would pray and I did. In fact the intercession that week was heavy and constant. I did not know what was ahead of her, and neither did she! Once she was overseas, I could not communicate with her, so I too, had to trust Jesus to walk her through this adventure. It turned out to be a challenging trip. But God showed up and God led her. She was strengthened by the experience and now has greater courage!

Encourage but also comfort. Although this generation is more globally aware, they are still somewhat naïve. They can be blindsided by life when it doesn’t go as they plan or expect. Transitioning into adulthood has not gotten easier since I did it (however many years ago that was!). Understanding relationships, making decisions on careers, and establishing independence can be overwhelming. Disappointments occur and your young friends need comfort. They need a safe place to share their fears. Affirm their feelings and point them toward the truth of their situation. This is not a time for advice—it’s a time to reassure them God has a plan. It is a time to demonstrate faithfulness. They can walk away from you but you will not abandon them. And neither will God.

Sometimes it is through their discomfort you can urge them to make the right choices. Lead by example, just as Jesus did (see John 13:15). When your young friends get caught up in a tough circumstance, remind them of the big picture. We all live for God’s Kingdom and His glory. Remind them you too, are imperfect—honesty about your flaws demonstrates your authenticity—but you’re determined to seek after God’s own heart as best you can. They are to do the same.

When life is hard, console and comfort them. Bad things happen to all of us: death, illness, and accidents steal from us. They absorb joy and drive us to despair. Comfort is imperative. Your quiet presence can make the difference in ways you may not understand. Be there for your friend when they experience loss. This gentle act of kindness touches the soul.

As a spiritual mom, urge your children to live a life reflective of Jesus. Urge is a strong word. The Greek word used in I Thessalonians 2:12 is, martureo,1 literally meaning to live as witnesses. Aspire to live as a witness, as well as inspire a life that daily gives testimony to the Holy Spirit in you. This is a tall order and cannot be done without His empowerment. Don’t let this scare you into disqualifying yourself. No—let it inspire you to take the next step of faith. You can do this because He is in you; Jesus is all you need. Let His perfect love drive out the fear that wants to creep in (see I John 4:18). - Excerpt from Legacy by Leslie Schonfeld

Sunrise and the Son risen!

on Thursday, 02 April 2015. Posted in Devotionals

April devo

Raise your hand if you are a morning person. No? Me neither. Music whispers from my alarm and I hit the snooze button before I’m fully awake. Instead of greeting the morning with sunshine and roses, I tuck my head under the covers and pray for more sleep. This is the natural me. Can you relate?

Recently my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Maui. The time change was crazy. While we were there, we became morning people. Up between 5 and 6 each morning we eagerly greeted the dawn. Coffee in hand we witnessed the light as it climbed above the trees, painting its colors across the sky. It was beautiful and breathtaking! It was so nice to have the time to appreciate the glory of the new morning.

We take it for granted that the sun will rise each morning. Our clocks are set to the earth’s rotation around the source of our heat and light. Do we ever question or worry about its return? We can get this way with Jesus. We move through our day with Him as an afterthought, instead of the inspiration for all we do.

This Easter morning, we will greet the promise of our risen Savior with renewed awe. Yes, we celebrate with a joyful service of pageantry. New life is ours through His sacrifice: He conquered death so that we may live! On Monday the glory from the day before ebbs from our memory.

Maybe we have the sunrise each morning to refresh the risen Christ in our hearts in the same way. The light breaks through the darkness, just the way the Holy Spirit shines within each of us. It is a beautiful reminder to actively engage in His presence. Peter captured this in Acts 2:33 (NLT) when he declared, “Now he (Jesus) is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.”

As the new morning breaks each day is when I need to talk to Jesus the most. Prayer opens my whole being to Him, and re-turns me into the person He created me to be. I still need a cup a coffee and about 30 minutes to truly wake up, but I do it with an improved attitude. Our sun is a symbol of THE SON - let it remind us each day of the beauty of creation and the One who created it all. Live each new day as a testimony of the new you birthed through your relationship with Jesus.

The Gift

on Wednesday, 02 December 2015. Posted in Devotionals

OPEN IT TODAY!

Gift

Empowered by the Pentecost experience, Peter delivered this impactful speech. Acts 2:38 (NIV) Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Thousands came to Christ. His passion persuaded them to accept Jesus and all were empowered by the Spirit dwelling in Peter.

Repent and receive. We often concentrate on the difficultly of repentance. Focused on changing ourselves, we miss the fulfilled promise delivered to us by Jesus death and resurrection. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we turn our lives over to Jesus.

A gift! A present. FREE. No payment needed. Can you imagine if we had rules and requirements receiving gifts? Imagine Christmas morning. The presents entice us from under the tree. We have counted the days, early in the morning we run to them. The anticipation is over. It’s here! We gather with our families but we don’t feel adequate enough for the love shared there. We don’t touch the presents. We are not good enough. Maybe someday, but not today. Each gift remains under the tree untouched as we work to be worthy.

Sounds a little silly doesn’t it? At my house, as soon as everyone is in the room, the paper flies! Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love to give and get gifts. There is joy in unconditional giving and receiving. Yet, for many of us we have a living gift residing in us that we push aside. Wrapped in a tidy package, we tuck it away in the faith corner of our soul. We point it out when others ask about it but we don’t utilize it.

We need to embrace God’s gift. As we unwrap the Holy Spirit, His presence covers us with comfort and peace. The Spirit’s indwelling is the source of our strength. When we yield our control to Him; His fruits grow.   Make room for them. His fruits (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) then become gifts we give to others. As we give the Spirit grows.

Yes, repentance is a necessary part of the Spirit indwelling but it is a process that takes time. The more we utilize the gift the more we reflect God. Paul reminds us of this in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV) “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Spirit through the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Help us to open this gift daily. Grow the fruits in us so we may give to others what we have received from you. Help us to be mindful of this in all we do. In Jesus name, AMEN.

They will all be one,

on Wednesday, 02 March 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Excerpt from Legacy by Leslie Schonfeld

unity

A House Unified for Glory

We, as a collective people, are God’s very temple. The book of Revelation describes a wonderful scene: “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them’” (Revelation 21:3, NLT). Though John is describing an event to happen in the future, it’s encouraging to know God is looking forward to the time when we can be together forever. What a privilege we are given! God is Holy and He chose to set us apart so He can dwell in us (I Corinthians 6). We need to face this with reverence. It humbles me and reminds me of my inadequacies. BUT Jesus is our gateway.

Think about it. Jesus came to the earth—He gave up heaven to live on earth like us. He was fully God and fully human. As a baby, He entered the world, humble, tiny, and vulnerable. He grew. He ministered. He died a brutal death, took on my sin and your sin, and rose again. All for you and I to have eternal life. Are you in awe? I’m having a mini church service as I type! Thank you Jesus! Words escape me. You, Lord, are beautiful!

God’s glory dwells in you. Make room for it to shine on others daily. Community is designed to nurture and encourage this in each other. It’s truly beautiful!

 I recently returned from a trip to North Carolina, where we visited a church rocked by racial hate crimes. The church had been partially destroyed by arson. At dinner, I realized the significance of our time there, and the power of community in that church. The pastors received our love as well as service and gifts; prayer and physical presence brought encouragement. Such simple acts will reverberate throughout their community as they are renewed to do what God called them to do. It was the easiest mission trip I’ve ever participated in, yet, it was full of impact.

Sometimes, my friend, it is the little acts.

Jesus declared and even prayed for us to live as one, a unified whole.

“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:21, NLT). Community produces unity. It’s even part of the word itself! Unity drives growth and effectiveness of God’s Kingdom. Your union with God and each other draws others to us. It is a beautiful thing to see the Body of Christ work together. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1 NLT)!

Unity is the goal. We need to stop our criticism of one another and nurture the common ground. If the church is fighting with itself, how are we going to attract others to Jesus? God’s love brings unity, not quarreling. How we live together as the church declares a message to the world. It should be one of Jesus and His love. 

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving

on Tuesday, 01 November 2016. Posted in Devotionals

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Frustrated that we jump from Halloween to Christmas. I decided it was time to bring back thanksgiving. Not just one day of gorging ourselves but truly embracing gratitude. Honestly, we need to do this all year long. However, it is fun to grab a month and focus on giving thanks.

I wanted to find a personal way to bring this into our home. I announced to my family that we would write one item of gratitude each day of November. I cut out leaves from construction paper, grabbed a fistful of sharpies and we were set.

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True five leaves a day for thirty days is a lot of leaves. 150 to be exact. Yes your hand cramps as your snip away at the colorful paper but trust me it is worth it. This has become a tradition, one my daughter now shares with her college roommates. My kids have enjoyed it so much, those not living at home anymore text in a daily "leaf". I write it on a leaf and add it to our wall.

Some leaves are silly and some sentimental. All bring joy to our home. It brings perspective and an understanding that even in our darkest days, we are blessed.

leaves

 

Colossians 1:11-12(NLT)11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.

If you would like to make your own thankful banner follow the link here.

I would love to see your walls. Post a picture here in the comments or on the Dragonfly Ministry Facebook page. 

 

 

Thrive in your Community

on Friday, 30 June 2017. Posted in Devotionals

31 days of connection.

Community

Human beings are designed for relationship. We flourish in healthy community. In this day of social media it is easy for us to connect. Yet, we are still lonely. This month we will examine 31 Scripture verses that encourage connection. A vibrant woman of God thrives in community.

Prayerfully read the statement for the day. Write it in your journal and then reflect on what it means to you. Thank God for your connections!  If you would like this is a document email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy!

Are you looking to increase your connections? Join me for Thirsty Thursdays. See details here.

  1. John 7:38-39 says “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”  (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”
  2. "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  Ephesians 5:1-2 
  3. Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
  4. Romans 12:4-5 “For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
  5. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
  6. Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
  7. Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
  8. First Thessalonians 4:18 “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
  9. First Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
  10. Acts 2:42 “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”
  11. Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT) Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.
  12. Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT) If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
  13. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
  14. Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT) 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
  15. 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (NLT)25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
  16. Philippians 2:3-4(NLT)3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
  17. Proverbs 17:17 (NLT) A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
  18. John 15:12-13 (NLT)12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
  19. Romans 15:7 (NLT) Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
  20. Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
  21. Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
  22. 1 Peter 4:8-9 (NLT)8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
  23. Ephesians 4:2-6 (NLT)2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
  24. James 5:16 (NLT)16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
  25. Proverbs 15:22 (NLT) Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.
  26. Romans 1:12 NLT 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.
  27. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)  I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
  28. Zechariah 7:9-10 (NLT) “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
  29. Ephesians 5:18-21 (NLT) 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  30. Galatians 6:10 (NLT)10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
  31. Romans 12:16 (NLT) Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

When You have the blahs.

on Sunday, 02 November 2014. Posted in Devotionals

Four steps to help embrace the beauty of the mundane.

tea

 

 

tea dishes

 

tea work

“I don’t want to go.” This thought whined through my mind as I drove to work yesterday.

No, I’m not going to think that way. I am embracing today. This is a new day, I am trusting God with it.”

Then I realized I left my purse at home.  

“Ugh, I want to go back to bed.”

“ NO, I’m not going to let it get me down!”

Then someone honked at me, and it started to rain. Another political ad came on the radio…sigh.

Do you have days like this? Nothing is really wrong, but everything feels off. A dreary day; an I’d-rather-be-curled-up-under-a-comfy-blanket-instead-of-facing-the-day’s-agenda kind of day? How do we battle the blahs? How do we combat the “I don’t want to do this anymore” emotions?

  1. Call out the guard! No matter what we are facing, God promises to provide His peace. Philippians 4:7 tells us our minds are guarded by God’s peace. Philippians 4:7 (NLT) “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
  2. Stay in peace! Pray about everything. When we pray, we exchange our worry and discouragement with trust and courage. We are reminded in those troublesome times that God’s got this. In good times or bad, and especially in our daily routine, God is in control. It may not feel extraordinary, but our omnipotent God walks with us through everything. Matthew 28:20 (NLT) “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
  3. Remember! We need reminders of God’s promises. When the mundane erodes our demeanor, we need to return to the truth we know. Often we want dramatic, exciting, miraculous days. In reality, your day-to-day obedience impacts eternity, as well. These small actions of faithfulness glorify God. Luke 16:10 (NLT) “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”
  4. Worship! Our obedience in those small things are acts of worship. I have to remind myself of this. The non-exciting, every day activities are also worship. It is the attitude that matters, as well as the action itself. This is what it means to be a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

This is a daily battle for me.  I do not like routine. I prefer to fill my life with people and action and innovation. However, I have found that days without all those bells and whistles produce as much fruit, and sometimes more, than the crazy, exciting days. Be encouraged, my friend. God sees your steady work. He knows the hours you have put in. May His peace envelope you with a great assurance as you fight through the mundane!

Whither on the Vine

on Saturday, 31 January 2015. Posted in Devotionals

broken branch

Photo credit: Esra Su , Franfort Germany

Once there were two farmers. One tended his vines in the traditional way, and the other leaned toward a more natural plan. In late winter, the first farmer pruned his vines. He cut them back to just two shoots. It seemed severe, but pruning now meant beautiful grapes at harvest. The second farmer visited his vines as well. He was delighted to see the growth from the previous year. Instead of pruning and tending his branches, he decided to let them go wild. He imagined beautiful fruit at harvest, as well.

When spring arrived, both farmers saw buds on their vines. The second farmer’s buds were more abundant than the first. Excitement swelled in him as he anticipated the harvest. He expected a huge return on his little effort. The first farmer was patient. He wasn’t sure what the other farmer would produce, but he knew how to coax his branches to produce beautiful fruit.

During the summer, the first farmer tended his vine and its branches. The fruit developing was succulent. Although his potential harvest appeared to be less than the other farmer's, his was yielding a quality product. The second farmer noticed his grapes were not developing well. As he examined them, a few even fell off the branches. By the end of the summer, his fruit had withered on the vine.

Why did this happen? If grape vines aren’t tended, they will wither away. Picture, if you will, the grape vine in a vineyard. The vine allowed to grow wild will increase in size, but it won't produce much fruit. The long vines cannot support the weight of the branches, and the grapes will not develop. They “wither on the vine.” This idiom is used throughout literature and means “to be ignored or neglected, and thereby be wasted.” The fruit is destroyed slowly, because it does not have help or support. This how the millennium generation feels.

Our younger generation needs the guidance and support we can give. They need to know they matter. They need to know someone recognizes their presence. Without this recognition, they will drift away. They will stop attending church. They will leave our community, and maybe no one will notice. We must not let them wither and fall away.

Jesus tells us He is the vine, and we are the branches. (John 15) There is no illness in His vine, for Jesus is the perfect Source for growth. He is not weak: He can support as many branches as want to be part of His vine. Any time there is withering fruit, the problem is with us, His branches. The branches need to support each other. When we don’t have the support we need, we can start to wander - even grow wild - and lose our way. Our fruit never fully develops. If the young and tender branch isn't supported with love and care, it can be easily broken off.

The first farmer of the parable prunes the branches. John 15 reminds us this is necessary. It must, however, be done only by the gardener. Jesus teaches us that our gardener is God, the Father. We are not to try to prune one another! We can guide, but our guidance needs to draw others back to God. Cutting remarks that scar the listener should never be used. It is important that any and all help we have to give be offered with love and grace.

Further on in John 15, Jesus exhorts us to give our all for others. Look at verses 12-13. “12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus didn’t suggest we love, He commanded it. However, He does not tell us to do anything He hasn’t done himself. We are to love grandly, as we are empowered by His great sacrificial love.

Father: I lift up to You those who are reading this. May each one hear and understand You and Your encouragement to be the person You created them to be. Oh, Jesus, thank you that You equip us for this great calling: to love Your people. I pray that we reach out to support one another, that we love Your people unabashedly. In Jesus' Name, AMEN.

 

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