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Devotionals

Crafting Your Coffee Klatch

on Wednesday, 04 May 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Or how I insulted a famous guy's wife.

coffee klatch

You need a group of friends you can rely on. Some call it a posse or squad but that doesn’t really work for me. I’m not a horse-riding, law-enforcing kind of woman. I prefer the term “coffee klatch.” “Klatch” is a German word meaning to gather for light conversation or gossip. Throughout history, women have gathered together to ex-change tidbits of their lives with one another. But often we have preferred to exchange tidbits of other peoples’ lives with one another. That’ a problem.

We've got to redeem the definition and perception of such a group, especially with a definition like that. But let’s talk about that for a moment. Women seem to have a natural propensity for gossip. Friend, we must be aware of it and avoid it at all costs. Scripture instructs to steer clear of it (see Ephesians 4:25-32). If you’re not sure you have permission to say something, don’t.

Years ago, I was at a public event. My friend and I saw a sports celebrity she had worked with in an advertising campaign. She then began to share the difficulties she experienced working with him. I then shared something I had observed at another event. We exchanged a few more comments, both of us made others around us aware that we were in the know. We didn’t actually know the man personally, but we had experienced him firsthand. Then it happened. We were interrupted by another woman. It turned out to be his wife. Talk about an awkward moment! Embarrassed, we continued on in silence, down what felt like a never ending staircase.

Friend, please learn from my mistake. We spoke about situations that were true but not ours to share and it was hurtful to others around us. Scripture is clear: gossip in any form is wrong.

Your coffee klatch should be a place to share your heart, not a place to share rumors and idle talk. Build relationships within your home church for support and strength. We are such relational beings. People that “get” us are precious. They are safe. Be that precious person for someone.

So, how do you build a safe, godly coffee klatch? Well, first let me clear something up: this is not about the coffee. I make this suggestion to women and their first response is “I don’t drink coffee.” That is not the point. Socializing with like-minded women is the focus. You decide your common interest. Your “coffee klatch” could be a book club, Bible Study, or a running group. But make sure you do more than the activity: purpose to support one another.

My coffee klatch is the Dragonfly Ministry. These are the women who believe in God’s call in this ministry. They offer their gifts and prayer support to see God move. It encourages me and humbles me. It relieves what can be a lonely burden of leadership. It is a gift to know I am not alone.

The women who support me don’t necessarily meet together. They are the individual women I trust with my inner thoughts. One of these women is my walking buddy, and she is my true safe place. With her I share ideas, vent frustrations, and rejoice over blessings. She is interested in my well-being and I am invested in hers. There is beauty in a trusted friendship. A place, where confidences are shared and kept, is treasured. This is the type of friendship community fosters. Do you long for this kind of friendship? Be this kind of friend. Excerpt from Legacy by Leslie Schonfeld

Do we really trust?

on Thursday, 05 March 2015. Posted in Devotionals

trust jesus

“Thank you for trusting me.” He said this as we sped around another corner. We had driven this road a great deal while on vacation. He imagined he was in a video game. Enjoying every turn, my husband was having the time of his life.

I hadn’t really a thought about it as I sat in the passenger seat. He was right, though, I did trust him. We have been together for over 25 years. He has proven himself trustworthy.

Later that week, my confidence was shaken. We decided to go up a mountain road - it was a chance of a lifetime. We, again, were driving along a road full of twists and turns, but I unexpectedly became intimidated by the extreme drop-off as we went along. I experienced vertigo, and completely lost depth perception as we climbed above the clouds. My trust melted into fear: I had to fight to keep myself from slipping into a panic attack.

Dave was driving. I still trusted him, but my fear became greater than my trust. Logically, I knew my feelings were irrational. Even so, I couldn’t get this anxiety in check. I asked Dave to slow down and he responded immediately. He instinctively knew I needed him to respect my request - yet another reason to trust him.

The same is true with our life with Jesus. We think we know where we are going. We have a plan for the next big event. Then, BAM: plans change. We experience loss or disappointment, and then find ourselves heading in an entirely different direction. The unknown outcome can disorient us, and even be quite frightening. We want answers; we want assurance of heading in the right direction, and promises of safety from flying off into an abyss.

I am reminded again of my simple prayer. “I trust you, Jesus.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) reminds us: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Life can be out of our control, but our path is ALWAYS in His hands if we trust in Him. We don’t have to know why we are in our current situation, nor do we have to know where we are going to end up. The important thing is to simply seek Him and His direction. We need to let go of fear, and take hold of FAITH.

Give your future to Him today, and see where He leads.

Empty Nest Full Life

on Friday, 01 September 2017. Posted in Devotionals

Jesus promised an abundant life!

empty nest2

September is a time of transition. My baby is in college. In another state! She is adjusting well and that brings me peace. We are empty-nesters. It is weird but not bad. I’ve gotten so much done this morning; it almost makes me giddy. It is quiet but it is kind of nice.

So what now? I’ve been parenting for twenty-four years. Yes, I know I’m still a parent but it is different now. I asked friends on Facebook and received wonderful suggestions:

Laura said “In my experience, although you want to provide your adult children a place to sleep when home on break etc, don't make their room into a shrine for them. Re-claim your house...it helps prepare you emotionally for when they leave the nest permanently.”

Barb said “Enjoy it! They are never totally gone. They come back and they often bring others with them that fill your nest even fuller! Concentrate on making your marriage even stronger and your home a place they want to come back to.”

Linda said “Build your social circle. Spend time at friend's homes and welcome them in yours.”

Kim said “As long as they are happy and thriving so will you  😊 enjoy your new chapter of life  ❤ texting, FaceTime, visits both ways are always welcome and comforting, especially for the mama  😉 I immediately redid all 3 girls rooms, they still have a place to sleep here but it's my space now ‼”

Robin and Val both said “Take lots of vacations...lol!”

Debbie said “Get "10 Great Dates for Empty Nesters"”

Great ideas! Thanks everyone.

My empty nest also gives me time to continue in my passion: mentoring. Sunday, at church, I was still reeling from taking both girls to their perspective Universities. Caitlin, one of my mentees, surprised me at church. She is now a nurse and works nights. Getting to church is a challenge with that schedule. It was so nice to see her and catch up. We chatted over lunch and I was once again reminded that I will never be far from a daughter. As I continue to build relationships with Spiritual daughters. (See Spiritual Kids  for more on this.)

Jesus promised that He came to give an abundant life. (John 10:10) That promise is for life. To me, this means a life full of relationships. Jesus loves people so I love people. Isaiah prophesized about this in Isaiah 54. He encourages the “childless” woman to enlarge her home. And look at this is verse 5.

“For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”

“Your Creator is your husband”. Now go with me here. God will determine our spiritual children.  He doesn’t desire us to be lonely or without purpose. He desires us to build His Kingdom. We will always have an impact as we follow His lead. Pay attention. He may be trying to fill your “home” or your heart with whom He picked for you.

Later this week, I will meet another young woman. She is a young Mom growing in her leadership skills. She needs me and now I see I need her. Isn’t it lovely how God works these things out? My home may be emptier but my life is full. 

How about you are you looking for a way to live a full life? Contact me and we will talk!

Everyone Influences Someone

on Monday, 03 August 2015. Posted in Devotionals

Who are YOU Influencing?

Good or bad

Relationships are a part of life. People come in and out of our life. They leave a little of themselves with us and we impart a little of us in them. It is important for us to remember we influence everyone we meet. Is our impact positive or negative?

Trust me when I say not all the people encountered by me are benefitted. Like you, I am imperfect. However, we each must choose our intent with others. We belong to an overly critical society. Angry over offenses, our tendency is to correct instead of understand. Yes, there is time for correction but do I know the offender or do they know me? I hope I am always teachable. Criticism is rarely received without a respectful relationship.

Who do we influence? Actually everyone we come in contact. Think about one rude interaction in your past. How did that affect your day? You’ve never encountered that person again. Yet, just the thought of that incident can invoke negative emotions. Now think of the reverse. A joyful interaction brightens our day.

Our job is to build the Kingdom of God. He grows and nurtures the Holy Spirit fruits in us in order to impact our world. Philippians 2:14-15 reminds us to “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Who around you could use the refreshment of God’s fruits? Think of it this way. Have you ever bitten into a fresh peach and relished its juicy deliciousness? Isn’t it disappointing when the peach is tasteless? Which peach are you?

People without God are self-preservers. Without the hope of Christ, they rely on themselves for everything. It must be difficult to live this way. They are capable of caring; it is instinctual in all of us. They do not recognize God’s love as their motivator. I had a friend tell me that all people are motivated by selfishness. In his view, all acts of kindness stem from selfish gain. That seems like a fruitless way to live. They do not understand a life devoted to God.

The dynamics of our country has changed. We are angrier. The next generation trusts less. God is ignored more. We need to understand them. Hospitable reactions to their cynicism invites discourse. Not everyone is interested in spiritual discussions but this prepares us for the potential conversation. My kindness has been labeled as naivety, I’m kind anyway. I encourage you to camp out in Romans 12. Digest the beauty of the words. Incorporate them into your life. Remember Romans 12:21 “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”

Fearless in 2016

on Friday, 01 January 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Dragonfly Ministry word of the year.

Fearless

Fear can be good. Proverbs 9:10 (NLT) reminds us that “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.   Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” This reverence births common sense. It keeps us from harmful choices. Healthy fear prevents us from driving too fast and swimming with sharks. Well at least most of us 😉. Yet, I want the thrill found in steps of faith. I want to pursue the passion God sparks in me.

Inappropriate fear hinders us. It cripples our pursuit of His assignment. What do I fear?

Failure

Rejection

Unexpected expenses

Illness

Loss

Terrorism

Mistreatment

Disrespect

Violations of trust

Inadequacy

You too? How do we fight the unknowns? 2016 brings promise of blessings and threats of any of the above. We can’t see into the future so we must trust the one who holds it. As His beloved, we know he walks through all things with us. Therefore, I choose not to fear.  I will hold on tight to His hand and march into 2016 fearless. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

 How about you? 

Goodbye Insecurity

on Friday, 02 September 2016. Posted in Devotionals

You are enough.

 

How can I impact the world? I'm just me. Pretty ordinary. The world is big and intimidating, even scary.extraordinary

And when it gets scary, I remember Stephen.

Acts 6-7 tells Stephen’s story, and it also describes him as “a man full of God’s grace and power.” What a lovely combination! But Stephen isn’t the only one described as being full of grace and power. In Acts 4:33 it says, “with great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” (NIV). The words for grace used here (both pistes and charis) mean faith as well as joy. And all the apostles were filled with grace, faith, and power through Jesus Christ!

All of us have this grace. All of us. Even you! Jesus’ completeness has influenced your heart. You have the grace, faith, and power you need for the work ahead.

In Review: You + Jesus = Enough

 I spoke to a young friend at a Wednesday night service recently. It was a simple how-are-you exchange and then she asked a question I thought her actions had already answered. “Weren’t we going to get together on a regular basis?” I hadn’t heard or seen her in a year. I assumed she wasn’t interested. But instead of concentrating on who misunderstood, we moved forward. I didn’t allow doubt to step in and cause division; we met at the end of that week and will continue to meet monthly.

Discipleship—mentoring—is not about what you have or have not done. Accomplishments may play into it at times but what you share comes from your struggles as well as your victories. Sharing life is more important than sharing advice. Availability is a stronger role than teaching knowledge. Sure, it’s always nice to have some wisdom to share but your confidence shouldn’t—doesn’t—come from your wisdom or achievements or what you do. It comes from your relationship with Jesus.

You may you think you have nothing to offer, but in reality, you already have everything necessary. When you share your time, it shows others they are important. Jesus did this with the disciples—He shared life with them. He told them they were important because of the time He gave them. He was available.

Are you willing to make yourself available?

Excerpt from Legacy by Leslie Schonfeld click here to purchase your copy.

Grab God's Hand

on Monday, 01 August 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Fearless in 2016 series

Fearless 16

Raise your hand if you love your yearly mammogram.

Anyone?

No? Me either.  Yes, this blog post is about breast exams. TMI? I don’t think so because it addresses another fear. CANCER. Well, not really cancer but the death and suffering that it has potential to cause.

As in the past, I get the call. “You need to come in for a second mammogram.”

Ya, ya, happens every time.

Then the voice said “You will also need an ultrasound, only on the left side.”

Ultrasound? That hasn’t happened before. Just on one side? Usually it is both. Stupid dense breast tissue. Fear whispered “This is bad.”

A week later, a letter arrives in the mail. “You have dense breast tissue. Dense tissue is more likely to develop cancer.” My heart skipped a beat. Fear whispered louder.

The exam consisted of a 3-D mammogram and then the ultrasound. As I lie on the table, my view of the screen is unhindered. My thoughts were jumbled.

“That doesn’t look good. What is that black blob? What does cancer look like? Does it look like that? I’ve seen normal tissue and that is not normal.” Fear was louder now.

Left in the room alone, I waited for the radiologist. I prayed “What is this Jesus?”

“You’re fine.” He answered

“Fine, fine or you’ll walk through this with me as I battle cancer – fine?”

“I’m here you are fine.” He said.

I wasn’t clear what that meant but the Isaiah 41:13 repeated through my thoughts:

13 For I hold you by your right hand—

I, the Lord your God.

And I say to you,

‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.

Time crawled by. But I wasn’t alone. Fear and peace battled one another. But I was not alone.

Finally, he Radiologist appeared. Those black blobs are benign cysts. Nothing to worry about. I am fine.

Relief swept over me but also a deep gratitude. Gratitude for a renewed knowledge that no matter what, I am not alone. Neither are you my friend, neither are you.

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

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