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Who am I?

on Tuesday, 30 May 2017. Posted in Devotionals

30 day discovery

30 day

 

For the month of June, I’m trying a new idea. Listed below are 30 identity Scriptures, one for each day. Prayerfully read the statement for the day. Write it in your journal and then reflect on what it means to you. A dragonfly woman is confident in her identity in Jesus. Thank God for your identity! 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!

  1. John 1:12 (NLT) But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
  2. John 15:15 (NLT) I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
  3. Romans 5:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
  4. 1 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT) But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
  5. Ephesians 2:18 (NLT) Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
  6. Colossians 1:13-14 (NLT) For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
  7. Colossians 2:9-10 (NLT) For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

I am ACCCEPTED!

  1. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT) Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:27(NLT) All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
  3. Romans 8:33 (NLT) Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.
  4. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
  5. Colossians 3:3 (NLT) For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
  6. Philippians 1:6 (NLT) And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
  7. Philippians 3:20 (NLT) But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
  8. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
  9. Romans 8:1 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
  10. Romans 8:38 (NLT) And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
  11. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NLT) It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
  12. John 15:5 (NLT) “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
  13. John 15:16 (NLT) You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
  14. Acts 1:8 (NLT) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
  15. 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NLT) Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
  16. Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
  17. 1 John 5:18 (NLT) We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.

I am SECURE

  1. Matthew 5:13-14 (NLT) “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
  2. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NLT) And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
  3. Ephesians 2:6 (NLT) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
  4. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
  5. Ephesians 3:12 (NLT) Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
  6. 2 Corinthians 6:1 (NLT) As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.

I am SIGNIFICANT

 

Why do we do CRAZY things for God?

on Friday, 30 December 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Compelled in 2017

2017 word

Why do we do things for God? Why do we do CRAZY things for God? We move way out of our comfort zone, past our personal limits, into what we feel is brave. WHY???

Sometimes we are dangling out there and wonder: did I hear right? What if he said left but I heard right? What if it was that way but I think it was this way? What if I’m wrong? What if I look like a fool? What if I step out and nothing happens? No one is helped. No one sees Jesus. No one new comes to call Him friend? What if?

I’ve been there. I don’t want that to happen. I pull back. I protect myself. I put me first.

True, those who know Jesus know His voice. Jesus himself told us that in the book of John. But I’m imperfect, flawed. My ears are clogged by the din of societal pressures. How do I know?

Who do I think I am? Too full of myself, too judgmental of others. Oh how I need grace and in turn how I need to overflow with graciousness! Jesus what should I do?

Mark 1:12 tells us that “The Spirit compelled Jesus to go to the wilderness.” He went. Jesus moved to the wilderness even though He knew it meant traveling across a pathless, empty wasteland. He traversed the uncultivated and inhospitable landscape for one reason. He was compelled by the Spirit.

We are to follow Jesus’ example. Compelled means a force or pressure. His Holy Spirit lives in us.  He creates an internal pressure that urges us to move. Do we fight it or live it?

compelled continuum

Each of us are within a continuum between compulsion and complacency. If we don’t yield to the Spirit, we stagnate. We miss the quiet urges of the Sprit and we sink into a complacent quagmire.  

The more room He gets, the more compelled we become. I’d rather step out in faith and fall flat on my face then to sit paralyzed by indecision. You too? Then pray this prayer with me and MOVE.

compelled HOly Spirit

Take my hand, Jesus. Lead on. I don’t trust myself to make the right move but I trust you. Correct me when I misstep. Give me courage to overcome my fear. Help me to say no to busyness that distracts me from your desires for me. Encourage me when discouragement overwhelms. Empower me when fatigue creeps in around the edges. I will answer when compelled. Lead on Lord, lead on. AMEN

Yes, YOU Can Mentor

on Thursday, 31 March 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Legacy 9

"Are you offering to mentor me?" she asked.

"Yes," I replied.

"I've looked for 18 months for someone to offer that!"


This bold young woman represents the heart of the younger generation. The need is there and it is clear. They may not seek you out because they don't want to be an inconvenience or they may just not know how to ask. But they want mentoring. They need mentoring, and they know it.
But they may not know all that mentoring entails. The truth is mentoring is more than just mentoring. It's not a programmed process. It is living life together. We laugh together, cry together, and share the mundane with each other. Keyword: Together. A mentor is a stable influence whose sole purpose is to communicate that they matter—to the mentor and to God. Mentoring is important because they are not just the future of the church, they are the current church.

The mentoring journey looks different for everyone. Consider this Mybook, Legacy is a guideline–it's just my story with some tips and tricks of the trade. But you do what works for you. Build relationships that fit you. But the first you think you must do is seek out the younger generation. Initiate a friendship because they are important. Like Paul, we are to look for and raise true children in the faith. (See 1 Timothy 1:2.) Your young friends should not have to look outside your church walls for spiritual parents. Prepare, search, and invite with Jesus as your motivation, and building the kingdom of God as your goal.

Yes, it's a huge responsibility, but it is anchored in Jesus, and with Him all things are possible. He is your power and motivation. Love because He loves. He invests in and builds the lives of others through you. You must be both a good teacher AND a good student. As a disciple, you are a follower, or a student of Jesus, and good students follow the example of good teachers. Are you a good student of Jesus? Because you have good students who are following you, whether you know it or not. You are a teacher and a student.

Reach back and remember what it was like to be a student in school. Maybe you were one of the students who easily sought out the teacher for help or affirmation. But chances are, you weren't. The majority of students are not inclined to seek the teacher for anything, but would rather fly under the radar, to keep from embarrassment or rejection. It's no different in today's generation, and it's no different in mentoring.

I know this can be intimidating. Daunting thoughts run through your brain: "I don't know anyone that age. Why would they listen to me? I'm not equipped!" I've felt that way many times. One particular moment comes to mind when I took my daughter to experience her first horseback riding lesson.

My daughter loves horses, and she begged for horseback riding lessons. We found a course through our local community education program, but I did not realize my participation was required. The first step in the class was grooming the horse, starting with cleaning the horse's hooves. She was given instruction and then expected to just step in and do it. She stood there, lost.

"Do you understand what to do?" I asked.

With big eyes she looked at me and shook her head no.

"Okay, this is how you do it." I stepped up to the horse and began to pick her hooves.

Truth be told, I was as unexperienced as my daughter. Never in my life had I been this close to such a large animal. My mind scrambled prayers and grooming steps together. It was a good thing I was listening during the instructions. My daughter watched me and mimicked my actions, and soon, she mastered all she needed to know.

I wanted my daughter to be confident and enjoy this class, though, admittedly, I was scared of the new situation. But I had to take the risk despite my fear because my desire to see her succeed was greater than my fear.

The same is true with mentoring. Your desire to impact a life must exceed the intimidation you feel. And don't worry—the more you do it, the more you practice, the more experienced you become, and though you may still feel intimidated at times, your fear diminishes.

Excerpt from Legacy by Leslie Schonfeld purchase a copy here.

Building A Legacy

on Friday, 05 February 2016. Posted in Devotionals

building a legacy

As a young mom, I was mentored by Elizabeth. A wonderful teacher, she saw in me a glimpse of who I could become. Her original intention was to encourage me to lead and teach within the womens ministry at my church. As our relationship developed, she became my friend, and she even nurtured my desire to write.

I joined the Womens Ministry at my church, in my early thirties. My responsibility was hospitality, specifically overseeing food preparation. Elizabeth invited me to share my cooking talents with a group of ladies. This time however, I was asked to teach how to cook the dessert before it was served. What I didnt realize was Elizabeth had been observing me. She recognized a teaching talent in me that was not yet utilized, and cooking dessert was only the beginning.

I always knew I wanted to teach Gods word, but I didnt know how to initiate that process. I prayed for opportunity. I was determined to allow the Holy Spirit to lead, but I was afraid any movement I made would be outside of Gods will. I will never forget the phone call that came on a bright June morning. Elizabeth was looking for women to mentor into Bible Study leadership. She was wondering if I would be interesting in joining two other women in a year long process. After that year, the three of us would share the Bible Study leadership at our church. I didnt hesitate to say yesthis is what I had waited for! As the year progressed, so did our friendship. Soon we were discussing more than Bible Studywe were sharing our lives.

Elizabeth possesses a plethora of knowledge about Christian and Hebrew ancestry. (See Romans 11:11-31.) She shared this knowledge in Bible studies and in her home. She even invited my family to partake in Passover meals. She poured into me a wealth of information that helped me understand my identity in Christ.
But it wasnt just knowledge she poured into me. Elizabeth knew me, and saw what I was good and what I was not-so-good at. She saw things I didn't see; she exposed flaws and encouraged gifts. Not only did she teach, but she listened. Introverted, she chose her words thoughtfully. I was the extrovert to her introvert, and often had ten times as many words as she did! But she listened closely to every one of them. She was a wonderful sounding board and I have learned much not only from her knowledge but also her technique.
You realize I didnt give you any advice,Elizabeth would say with a chuckle. I just had to wait until you heard what was in your head. You came to the conclusion without me.

That may be true, but I needed help untangling that mess. Im a verbal processor; I needed someone who loved me enough to patiently listen to all the details, all the bunny trails, and finally determine the conclusion. This is one of the tools I bring to the young women I know. I love them because I was loved. I pass on the legacy I was given.

Be An Elizabeth

Excerpt from Legacy by Leslie Schonfeld

Love Fiercly

on Friday, 02 December 2016. Posted in Devotionals

Love fiercly

My Dad loved Christmas. With Santa’s hat perched on his head, he absorbed the celebration around him.  Each year he shared a different story that featured the love of God. He usually cried which made all of us cry, he was a tenderhearted soul. Without him it will be very different. Death forces life adjustments. We don’t like it but we can’t control it. Most painful for me is I simply miss him. It is not that something went unsaid, it is that nothing more will be said.

 My Dad loved fiercely. Fierce may seem as an odd choice but it means heartfelt or powerful intensity. This is his legacy to me and I am sharing it with you. Unconditional love is priceless.  To do this we must build ourselves up “in (our) most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep (ourselves) in God’s love” Jude 21.

Dad’s life was impactful. I want that kind of legacy. Quietly living life in a way that tells others they count. 

To love fiercely means to:

  1. Love all even when they don’t deserve it.
  2. Compel respect of others. It doesn’t demand it or require it, it drives it.
  3. Deliver what is needed not necessarily what is wanted.
  4. Accept everyone as they are.
  5. Give grace even when it is not deserved.
  6. Protect others.
  7. Lovingly correct when needed.
  8. Fight for what is right

Our heavenly Father loves us fiercely. He has given us the most precious gift; Jesus His Son. This Christmas as we look at the babe in the manger may we receive and learn to give His fierce love “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Feel that intensity and love fiercely.

The Lord fights fiercely for us.

He loves us unconditionally.

So be fierce for Him.

1000 thankless jobs

on Thursday, 01 May 2014. Posted in Devotionals

motherhood

She makes his lunch every day. Like her mother before her, it is her job to care for her family. Each day she feeds, clothes, and bathes them, she cleans up after them. The monotony of the tasks dulls her senses but never her love. Her love for her husband and children is fierce. It is a vibrant entity that spurs her on to complete all that motherhood requires.

It was a simple lunch, the same he had every day. He didn’t complain, he was a growing boy, hunger was his constant companion. He liked the fact that his lunch was there each morning. He expected it. He knew it would be there because it always was. After all, his Momma loved him.

The young Rabbi said “be faithful in the little things.” That is what his lunch was to him; a trustworthy thing. His Mom daily made it, he counted on it. The Rabbi taught on many subjects that he didn’t quite understand but this one did. He knew one day he would grow in his wisdom, his Momma told him he would.

Heading toward the sea shore, he saw a crowd. Curiosity compelled him to sit and watch. The Rabbi was teaching again. Two men approached him, they asked for his lunch. They said the master needed it. Dutifully he handed it over, hoping his mom wouldn’t get angry.

He marveled as his lunch multiplied before his eyes. How did He do that? Everyone received enough and there was more left over than was in his original lunch.

Thank you Momma, for packing my lunch. Thank you for being obedient in this little thing, so that it could be used for something great.

(Based on John 6:1-15)

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.

Remember Moms, your little acts of obedience and faithfulness can produce great fruit when given over to God.

Happy Mother’s Day

 

Beauty of Scars

on Monday, 01 September 2014. Posted in Devotionals

beauty of scars

I had a simple dream the other night. Humor me as I share the details with you.

I was invited to the beach.  I decided to wear a two piece bathing suit. On arrival, I became alarmed because everyone would see the abdominal scars from last year’s surgery.  My choice seemed to be to leave or risk the exposure. I didn’t want to miss the fun, so I took the risk. I was willing to be vulnerable and let others see my scars.

For the record, this would never happen in real life! For multiple reasons I would not be seen in public with so little clothes but that is not the lesson of this dream. All of us want to hide the ugly side of ourselves from others. Our spiritual scars result from bad choices. Our wounds can come from our bad choices, or the mistakes of others. Our imperfect world wounds us. Beauty can come only when we allow God to transform them into wisdom. We can grow in forgiveness, righteousness, and even love. God knows how to transform. When fully yielded to Him, these places of pain and hurt in our lives can become our areas of strength instead of vulnerability. Look at this promise in the book of Isaiah:

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. (Isaiah 61:3)

This phenomenon is represented in our physical bodies. When a bone is broken, the body sends specialized cells in to mend and remake the bone. During the process of healing, the bone becomes thicker in that area to assure its protection from further damage. As the new bone forms, other cells come in and shape the bone back to its proper structure. Thus, the bone will not break again in that area because it is stronger than it was before. The same is true of our spirits if we allow full healing.

We have a natural tendency to protect that part that is wounded, to wall in our places of pain so no one can hurt us in the same way again. We hide our area of weakness because we are afraid to be vulnerable. These walls drive us deeper into ourselves. We concentrate on hiding and protecting, instead of reaching out and helping others. We can even hurt others by acting/reacting from our area of pain.

How do we conquer the pain from past hurts? How can our scars glorify God?

  1. Recognize the wound. Ignoring the pain won’t make it go away.  Let God know you are still hurting.  (2 Samuel 22:7)
  2. Recognize the potential for weakness in the area. If you have not healed, you may be vulnerable. This vulnerability makes us sensitive to potential further damage. Do you find yourself to be overly sensitive in a certain part of your life?  Give it God. (Psalm 37:5)
  3. Recognize the need for help from others. Talk it out with God, and maybe a friend or counselor also. The deeper the wound, the more in-depth help is needed. (Isaiah 53:5)
  4. Recognize the need to yield the scar to the Lord. Let Him heal and use your experience. (2 Peter 2:24)

God can turn our scars into something that benefits others. They can become our areas of ministry. Our healing can help bring healing to others who are experiencing similar pain. We can be like the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Let God continue to heal you as you learn to live on the promise of the verses below:

Hebrews 11:33-34 (NLT) 33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.

Dream

on Monday, 02 June 2014. Posted in Devotionals

dream1

 

Lord, I know what you want me to do. I don’t know how to accomplish it. Do I go this way or do I head over there? Maybe you just want me to stay put and be patient. What if I’m confusing procrastination for patience? 

So often I have prayed that prayer. Frustration is part of ministry. Six years ago, just starting out I saw myself in a completely different place than I am now. I have had false starts and wrong turns. Procrastination is easier than risking failure. I know moving forward requires me to dare to make a mistake. I have held onto Proverbs 13:12 (NLT) “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” This verse has carried me through some dark times reminding me hope brings life.

God tells us to go. He sets us on a direction but the destination is a mystery. We may think we know where we are going but there are no guarantees we are seeing clearly. We get an occasional peek but most of a time it is unclear.  1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

It is important to avoid an obsession with our destination. We can get so caught up in our future we ignore the beauty of now. God does little miracles around us every day. Sometimes they are so subtle we don’t notice it until someone points out their culmination. Recently, I was jolted by this realty. A friend congratulated me on what had been accomplished through Dragonfly Ministry. Startled by her statement, I believed I wasn’t nearly as far along as I anticipated. Sadly, I was using the wrong measuring stick. This ministry is not about the check marks on my goal sheet but the lives that Jesus is touching.  

Perseverance is the Dragonfly Ministry word of the year. Pushing through in the quiet, uneventful time produces fruit that will ripen in the months and years to come. Do not give up on your dreams. Deliver your expectations to the Lord and let Him mold the destination. You may be surprised where He leads and the lives He touches as He fulfills your dreams. Galatians 5:16 (NLT) “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” 

 

Glimpse YOUR Destiny

on Thursday, 31 July 2014. Posted in Devotionals

Destiny

Our summer started with my daughter’s graduation from High School. She is on the brink of adulthood. At her baccalaureate ceremony the speaker, Tim Throne, stated “Instead of concentrating on what am I going to be; ask who am I going to be.” A though provoking question.

Often we confuse our purpose is with our destiny. For every Christian our destiny is the Kingdom of God. Jesus prayed in the Lord’s Prayer “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew  6:10) We need to live out the kingdom here on earth.

HOW DO WE LIVE THIS WAY?

1. Remember we are adopted by God.  Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” 

Paul was refereeing to a legal adoption in Rome. Such adoptions are irrevocable, permanent, and for us eternal. This is the source of our CONFIDENCE. Jesus expressed this in John 1:12 (NLT) “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God”.

I love the message version of this verse. “But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.” Live out the description their child-of-God selves. When God adopts us through our faith in Jesus Christ, we become our true selves.

2.  Choose to glorify God.  Matthew 5:16 (NIV) says “ In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” This act of love towards others points them to God. To glorify means to magnify or highlight. When we care for others in Jesus name we make the aware of God. Our actions point to Him. We all have different levels of acceptance of this truth, as acceptance develops our confidence grows.

3. Build community through connections with others. Certainly life cannot be perfect as it will be in heaven. However we can live by Kingdom guidance here on earth.  We do this because we want to and we have the freedom to choose this life. This is the promise of Galatians 5:13 (NLT) “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”

4. Stand united by the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Our interaction with the Holy Spirit nurtures and grows the fruit. At last year’s retreat, we learned that others can bruise our fruit. These bruises can only be healed by the Lord’s presence in our life. We need to remember some people NEVER take responsibility for their hurtful actions. WE forgive anyway. Only through Jesus can His Spirit wash over those wounds and heal.

5. Care for others in our community through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. As we interact with Him, He distributes His gifts as He wills.  (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) The purpose of these gifts is to care for each other. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”

The gift is the tool; the fruit is the oil that allows the gift to work without friction. The Holy Spirit indwells in us.  WE need to make room for Him daily. We grow in this relationship so we can live out our destiny to be confident, connected, and caring.   

 

Saying Yes!

on Wednesday, 02 July 2014. Posted in Devotionals

When Logic Says NO!

Yes

 

We have a graduate! My daughter, Elizabeth, belongs to the class of 2014. During the last month, we have attended baccalaureate, commencement, academic awards, a final violin recital, numerous graduation parties, and a week-long family reunion.  The month was to end with a grad party for Elizabeth. In the midst of all this, Hannah, 15, decided to join a mission team. She leaves July 11 for Guatemala. 
 
 “Mom, I know Elizabeth’s party is Saturday but is it ok to have a garage sale for my mission’s trip?”
 
We expected over 100 people for the party. Shopping, food prepping, and decorating were in full swing. Elizabeth and I had spent hours on Pinterest planning her perfect day. This is the kind of thing we both love to do. Hannah’s plans didn’t line up with my plans.
 
The logical person would say “NO.”
 
The smart person would say “NO”.
 
The woman who has a tendency to over commit SHOULD say “NO”.
 
But I said “YES!”
 
God calls us to walk by faith. Often this does not appear to be logical. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT) “For we live by believing and not by seeing.”  Faith can make us appear foolish. Countless people questioned my sanity when the saw my schedule last week. I saw God in it. It was not easy. I had moments when I was overwhelmed but I also saw our Lord answer my daughter’s prayers. 
 
In our busy world there are too many activities. It is important learn the word “no” and use it with zero guilt. Simplifying our schedule leaves room for God ordained opportunities.  When do we say yes?
 
1.  Peace accompanies the decision. Among the chaos of last week, I had peace. Granted anxiety crept in occasionally but the Holy Spirit answered it with Philippians 4:6-7 “6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 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.  Investment in another’s growth. Our yes, told Hannah we believed she was following Jesus direction in her life. That is POWERFUL.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT) “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”

3.  God’s says “Go”. Sometimes you know it is time to take a leap of faith. Following God is risky. He takes us places without a glimpse of the outcome. We have to trust and follow His lead. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

We cannot always see God’s plan especially when it involves other people. With prayer and the study of Scripture we begin to understand God’s character. With this relationship comes discernment. We can recognize that our Lord does work within chaos and He keeps us calm in the craziness. With Him saying yes doesn’t have to appear wise.

 

Hope in a foreign home.

on Thursday, 03 April 2014. Posted in Devotionals

Hope in a foreign land

A romantic at heart, I have secretly desired a story book life.  One completed when I am crowned princess of the kingdom and then live happily ever after.   I can’t say that this was a complete conscious thought but it’s in there.  A desire to be considered significant and making a significant impact on the world around me.  In actuality, I believe this is innately in each one of us but life experience can cause it to go dormant.  Planted deep inside us when we were created was a knowledge that we are not of this world but of a greater one.  We are each a child of the king.
 
I AM A CHILD OF THE KING
CLOTHED IN A ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
CROWNED WITH THE CROWN OF SALVATION
I CARRY THE SCEPTER OF THE CROSS
I AM A CHILD OF THE KING
 
Can you read the above with confidence?  Do you recognize yourself in each line?  Truth flows through it not because I say so but because the Lord declared it in His word.
Jesus instructed His followers to pray identifying God as “our Father”.  He could have said “His Father” or even “the Father” but He chose the word “our”.  Such a little pronoun, but its use declares our spiritual parentage.  Throughout Scripture, Believers are referred to as children of God.  Accepting Jesus grants each of us this privilege.  Romans 8:15   says “ you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’”  (New Living Translation)  He is our Daddy in heaven.
As His children, we are clothed by Him.  When the Father in heaven sees us, He sees only righteousness.    How can that be?  I know I’m not perfect.  Romans 3:22,23 addresses this very issue.  “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” We are gifted with righteousness when we receive Him.  Not because of our own actions but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  We, as His children, must continually accept that gift and pursue right living on a daily basis.  
A royal scepter represents authority.  Like righteousness this is not something we attain on our own abilities.  It is granted to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The cross is the source of any authority or power each of us possess.   “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority...having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead… And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”   Colossians 2: 10,12,15
 
In ourselves we have no authority.  The power and authority is completely Christ’s.  His sacrifice gives us complete access to Him, so nothing evil has authority over us.  We stand against it in the name of Jesus.  In His name is all power and authority.  1 Corinthians 15:20 “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.”
 
God has accepted us into His kingdom and family.  He has granted us access to Him on a daily basis.  Our response is important to the fulfillment of His kingdom here on earth.  With this in mind, pray the Lord’s Prayer.  
 
Our Father in heaven, 
   hallowed be your name, 
 your kingdom come, 
   your will be done 
      on earth as it is in heaven. 
 Give us today our daily bread. 
 Forgive us our trespasses, 
      as we also have forgiven who trespass against us. 
 And lead us not into temptation, 
   but deliver us from the evil one. For yours in the kingdom, and power, and glory forever. Amen.
 
When life gets difficult remember who you are. He has paid an exceptional price for you. Love him with your whole life. Take His hand and live this exhortation from the apostle Paul. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
 

Little Foxes and Abundant Life?

on Sunday, 02 March 2014. Posted in Devotionals

trust God

It was a no good thoroughly rotten week. Yep, there is no other way to describe it. Who wants to deal with these little annoyances? Have you ever had one of THOSE weeks? Any one thing is easy to handle but when the irritations pile up, one on top of the other, it can overwhelm us. We trip over one, almost catch our balance and then trip again. Slogging through each day these trivial circumstances can pry us away from Jesus. Sorry if this seems a bit whiny but here is a recap of my week:

  1. I got a cold.
  2. I had cramps…nothing that 800 mg of ibuprofen every 4 hours can’t handle.
  3. I had a headache…that lasted 5 days.
  4. I threw up from the drainage combined with the headache.
  5. The weather was awful…I had to drive across the state in said awful weather.
  6. I accidently ate a little dairy…I’m intolerant…I had a severe reaction.
  7. I had commitments that I was compelled to keep.

What I wanted was a God–changed situation. I wanted it all to go away. I wanted it to be easy. However, He had a different plan. He walked through it with me.

We’ve all had weeks like this. Jesus told us we would. (Matthew 5:45) Yet, He also promised an abundant life. (John 10:10) How does one thrive when we are just trying to survive? These circumstances were not life threatening but part of me wanted to give up. Song of Solomon 2:15 says “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” Those foxes, life’s inconveniences, are sent to destroy our love relationship with Jesus. At that moment, when life is crushing down we need to make a choice. We cannot let the little foxes rule our life. Our focus centered on Jesus will keep our vines intact and connected to the true vine. (John 15)

Oh, that is so easy to write but complicated to live. If your head is pounding, your kids are crying, the road is slippery, the bills are piling up…it is all too much to ignore. How do we transition to a heart that embraces the abundant life? Ask Him. Talk to Him, worship Him. Work to recognize He is with each of us. Of course, He doesn’t leave but we lose track of his presence. This abundance speaks of a Spiritual richness that each of us can attain. It takes practice but it is possible. Stress, fear, and anger are replaced with peace. Peace that truly does go beyond our understanding.  Philippians 4:7 (NLT) is one of my favorite prayers. We need this kind of peace. “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.” Oh God, let me live in this peace. This peace guards against circumstances stealing His love away. I love this!

Peace is one of the fruit of the Spirit. According to Strong’s, peace means by implication prosperity: - one, peace, quietness, rest, + set at one again. Look at that! Tied into the meaning we see abundance and we see our union or oneness with Christ. That peace is a result of His love with His beloved; you and me. Psalm 43:5 (NLT) declares “Why am I discouraged?    Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!”

Today the trauma drama continued. Added to the list was an overflowing toilet that soaked through the dry wall below. Oh yes and there was the car that almost overheated because there was no antifreeze in it. My husband is out of town and it started to feel like too much. Then I stopped, texted my praying friends and All is WELL. My peace returned, no more nibbling at my vineyard. My heart and mind are protected.

How about you have you had one of those weeks. Share your story. I’d love to pray with you and hear how you are dealing with it!

©Leslie Schonfeld

Fruit Full

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Devotionals

kind

Fruit – Full

On a mission trip, I was asked to dress up as a clown.  Clowning? Don’t you have to be trained to be a clown? The organization wanted something fun for the children involved. They had no money. It was our group or nothing.  Do it for the kids and do it for the Jesus.

Balloon animal instructions were distributed as we applied our make- up. Not my forte, I earned the name “Poppy”. Our rag-tag group marched through the streets with the inner city little league team celebrating the end of their season.  After their picnic we headed back to the subway.

It was an interesting walk. I decided to see how many New Yorkers I could make smile. With every passing bus, train, and car I waved. Each person responded with a quizzical look that erupted into a smile. I delighted in the response of others as I skipped through the streets, hidden behind my make-up my inhibitions disappeared.

Kindness breeds kindness. Even in a hardened heart city, child-like joy can be found. The Holy Spirit is saying “Stop hiding child. Share my fruit with others”. Fear of rejection, we hesitate to follow His lead. Why would I risk it? We risk it because it is the right thing to do.

Often we get caught up in our own agenda. Self- focused and determined to check off our to-do lists, we miss opportunities to share Jesus by sharing His fruit. The world needs more kindness. Now when I’m out I try to make eye contact with others.  I smile, than often they smile. It is contagious.

This is a simple truth but so often we don’t live it. It is time to be difference makers. It is time to stand out as unique. Share your smile. Give a pleasant greeting. It may be the only kindness that individual receives. It is a harsh world we live in. I want others to look at me and ask “Why is she so nice?”  The answer is Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)  states“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” The word kind, in Greek is chrestos, also means useful for others. Isn’t that beautiful? Who knew such a small action could be used for serving others. When you are kind you become a safe place for others in a hostile world.

This month we will be examining the fruit of the Spirit on the Dragonfly Ministry Facebook page. We hope you join the discussion!

© Leslie Schonfeld

She Loves

on Saturday, 04 January 2014. Posted in Devotionals

She Loves

She Loves

Bumper stickers are funny. They often reflect our personality.  I am particularly sensitive to Christian themed decals.  The abrasive ones really annoy me. I saw one the other day that started “You are not a Christian if…”  You fill in the doctrine from there. Often the person feels so passionately about the subject they don’t recognize the antagonistic message they are sending.  I found myself grumbling lf the rest of the way home.

Then it dawned on me I was judging a woman I don’t know. How could I know the intent of her heart? Maybe she meant to be judgmental, maybe not.  I don’t always love others. People can be annoying. Do you know what I mean? They don’t drive right, they don’t talk right, they don’t believe right. …Have you caught yourself thinking that way?

 This event provoked a journey that is now the theme for 2014; pursue the Holy Spirit.  Left to myself, I cannot reflect Jesus to others. I need to know and follow Him. I can only do this through a daily interaction with the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said in John 14:26 (NLT) “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

 None of this is new revelatory information. Yet, we need to be reminded. Living life as a Christian, balanced between grace and truth, is difficult. We often fall too far to one side or the other. We daily negotiate mine fields of cultural rhetoric. Often I want to throw up my hands and walk away. Not from Jesus mind you but from people.

But Jesus said the second most important commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:39) This is our challenge, not only to learn the truth but to live the truth.   I can only accomplish this with a close association with the Holy Spirit. I need to daily allow myself to be filled with His power because ministry requires us to be other focused instead of self-focused.  

Mother Teresa understood this. In my mind she is a true hero of our faith. I love that she instructed us to be “kind anyway” when others were hurtful.  She loved. That is how I want to be thought of. She loves. How about you? Will you join me on this journey?

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