Embrace Women's Ministry

encouraging women to embrace who they are and to become all that God created them to be

Be Still

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I can’t help but laugh at this Monday Moment.  I had knee surgery on Thursday and have had to “be still” since then.  I have a friend in Florida who hurt her back last week and has been unable to get out of the bed.  She is going out of her mind with boredom.  Over here at the Parsonage, I feel like I’m on vacation!  I have books, snacks, my computer, my Bible, and journal.  I am having the time of my life.

I have been able to spend a lot of time reading the Word and in prayer.  What a luxury!  I know that all of us don’t have hours to spend sitting at the feet of Jesus.  Years ago, as a mom of 3 children 3 years old an under, I didn’t have that luxury.  Even now that the kids are older, there is still so much going on in our lives.

There is no “quiet time” law given by God that dictates when, where, and how long we are to do “devotions”.  That would be ridiculous!  Can you imagine me telling my husband, “OK – we’re going to talk at the kitchen table every morning first thing for 30 minutes.  Then the rest of the day I’ll probably just be busy doing other stuff and I’ll see you when I see you.”

That’s crazy, right?  So why do we think God has the same type of expectation?  Like my husband, He wants to spend as much time with me as possible.  (PD, if you’re reading this, you know you do!)  God loves the focused one on one time we have together and He loves to just be with me as I go about my day.  No rules.  Just relationship.

This verse isn’t even a command, if you ask me.  It’s a promise.  A promise that in the midst of the chaos that is my life, if I stop for just a moment and be still, His presence will overwhelm me and I will rest in the knowledge that He is God.  The God of ever-lasting love, unending faithfulness, and overflowing with mercy.

Here’s a prescription for today.  Be still.  Receive His love.  Do life WITH Him.  Repeat.

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Monday Moment: Got Courage?

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As a pastor’s wife, I get to hear stories.  Stories of joy.  Stories of pain.  Stories of happy endings.  Stories of devastation.  It seems like there have been a LOT of sad stories lately.  This is not really a surprise to me because I believe that New Vision is on the edge of a tremendous move of God and the enemy doesn’t like it!  He’s going to take all the pot shots he can to bring distraction and discouragement.

The plan of the enemy is for us to be so focused on our circumstances and chaos around us, that we fail to see what God is doing.

Today’s Moment in Scripture gives hope to the hurting and courage to those who are afraid.  God has given us a solution to the anxiety that so easily overwhelms us.  He has given us a top priority for our to-do list.

WAIT for the Lord!

He says it so simply.  And He says it TWICE.  I think He means it!  This word “wait” means to expect.  When a mom is expecting a baby, she is excited.  She is hopeful.  She knows there is about to be a bundle of joy in her arms.  When we wait for the Lord, we can be excited and hopeful that He has a plan and is going to come through for us!  The enemy CANNOT conquer us; we are victorious through the cross.  We can be strong and courageous in our hearts because God’s got this!

Stop for a moment.  Stop the worrying.  Stop trying to do it on your own.  Stop manipulating the situation.  Stop speaking negatively.  And just wait.  Allow God’s strength and peace to overwhelm you.  Wait for the Lord!

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3 Tips to Make Back to School Better

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Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago the kids were singing “no more pencils, no more books . . .”?  But, the new school year is just around the corner.  Here are 3 tips to help you ease back into the new year.

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photo credit: Alan Cleaver

1.  Set bedtime 5 minutes earlier each night.  One of the joys of summer is staying up late.  If your kids are like most, they are firmly entrenched in a late to bed, late to rise schedule.  Take the shock out of early school mornings by moving bedtime earlier each night until they are on their school-year schedule.

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photo credit: Rubbermaid

2.  If your kids  take their own lunch, plan 5 or 10 days worth of lunches to rotate during the school year.  Then make a list (and copies of it!) of everything needed to make their lunches and use it as you grocery shop.  Make lunch the night before to save time and sanity in the mornings.

Here are a few links to get you started with lunch planning:

21 Back-to-School Lunches Kids Will Love

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas from Mommy’s Kitchen

The Art of Back-to-School Lunches

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photo credit: Steve Depolo

3.  School supplies are at the lowest prices of the year, stock up now to save time and money later.  Buy extra supplies to use later and don’t forget the holidays!  Fun pencils, cool erasers, and tiny notebooks make great fillers for stockings.  Another way to make the most of school supply sales is to save some for sharing.  Every summer, New Vision and other churches hold back-to-school giveaways.  Spend a little extra and help out kids who need it the most.

What are your tried and true back-to-school tips?  Share your answer in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Back to the Basics: You Are A NEW Creation!

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One of the greatest blessings Duane and I receive is seeing people surrender their hearts to the Lord.  For some, they are accepting God for the first time.  For others, they are recommitting their lives and looking forward to a fresh start.  Whether you are a brand new Christian, a returning prodigal, a seasoned saint or anywhere in between, we can all gain something from going back to the basics.

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It’s a bit hard to wrap your brain around, isn’t it?  When we surrender our hearts to Him, accepting Christ as our Savior, the Bible says the old life is gone and a new life has begun.

But wait!  I don’t FEEL any different!

One of the biggest lies of the enemy is that nothing has changed because you don’t FEEL different.  Some people do, but most people don’t.  The great thing is:

Salvation is not based on feeling.

Salvation is based on faith.  Every part of your Christian life MUST be based on faith.  Faith has been defined as “seeing with God’s eyes”.  He sees you as a new creation.  He sees an entire new life beginning for you.  A life that is full of hope and promise.  Choose to see yourself the way God sees you.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You died for me.  Thank You for putting my past behind me and giving me a brand new life.  Thank You for sending Your Spirit to empower me to walk in this new path as I continually surrender my heart to you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Monday Moment: What happens if you seek the Lord?

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When we moved to Tennessee (almost 2 years ago!), we set up our furniture in the family room and it was clear that something more was needed in that room.  We had a cute sofa and two of the ugliest (but comfortable) chairs you’ve ever seen.  I didn’t trust myself to re-upholster them and they weren’t in the style I wanted, so Madison and I went shopping for chairs.

We had an idea of what we wanted for the room, we just had to find it.  Living in Westmoreland makes shopping a bit more . . . interesting . . . than Orlando.  In Orlando, I could be at 6 Home Good’s in a short amount of time.  Plus, there were dozens and dozens of other stores to check out all within a few miles radius.

We were determined to come home with chairs.  We drove to Hendersonville, to Rivergate, to Nashville, and finally to Brentwood before we found what we were looking for.  A few times I told Madison, “Let’s just go home.  We’ll try another day.”  She made me keep going because she knew it was worth the search.

I believe that’s how God wants us to seek Him.  Determined.  Intentional.  Desperate.

Sometimes He seems hard to find.  Not because He moves, but because something in our lives is blocking the view.  Maybe it is the lie of the enemy.  Maybe it is the sin we have been harboring.  Maybe it an attitude of apathy.

SEEK = To inquire for; to ask for; to solicit; to endeavor to find or gain by any means

But oh when we find Him!  The Word promises that we will lack no good thing.  Does that mean we get a new car, a bigger house, and a vacation to Fiji?  Not exactly.  When we truly seek the Lord, placing ourselves at His feet, He graciously gives us much more than material things.  When we seek Him, we find peace, joy, and mercy.  And more.  Everything we ever need to live a life that is satisfying.

Take some time this week to seek the Lord.  Don’t let fear, doubt, busyness, or other things distract you from finding Him.  Set aside the things that are blocking your view and let Him lavish you with good things!

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Jael – Confronting the Enemy Head On / Day 2

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The second thing we must realize when confronting the enemy in our life is that God has a plan!

It will not always look like it from our perspective.  It will not always feel like it.  But the Word reminds us over and over again, that God sees the big picture and He is already worked out every detail.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God ALL things work together for good . . . 

At the end of the story, God wins.  And as His children, so do we!  He loves us and wants the very best for us!

Jael’s story is not about her alone.  At the beginning of Judges 4, Deborah, the judge of Israel, was fully aware that God had a plan in place.  God himself revealed the strategy to be used in confronting the enemy.  Although Jael was unaware, Deborah had full confidence in God that victory was assured.  She declared this word to the commander of the army.  Deborah knew her God and because of that, she had peace and confidence in the battle.

Continue to meditate on the names of God and ask Him to reveal Himself PERSONALLY to you!

Jael – Confronting the Enemy Head On / Day 1

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When it comes to confronting the enemy, the most important thing we can know is where to go for help.  David knew exactly where his help came from.

Psalm 121:2 – My help comes from the Lord.

Too often we look for answers in the world around us.  It is not hard to find advice.  From Dr. Phil to the latest magazines to our friends, everyone seems to have an answer to our problems.

Psalm 20:7 – Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of our God.

It is easy to seek help from the wrong sources.  God’s intention has always been for us to place our hope and trust in Him.

When it comes to confronting the enemy head-on, we must go the right Advisor.  He has a full understanding of the enemy we face and is on our side.

This week, meditate on Scriptures that relate to God’s names as a reminder to seek your help from Him!

The Mary Model – How, Part 3

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When it comes to your life, how quick are YOU to react like Mary?  How easy is it for you to accept God’s plan?

The Word is our guide for living an abundant life.  God has given us a plan laid out in His Word.  It is not uncommon for us to read the Word and stumble across something we don’t like.  But how do you react when you read it?  Do you accept it?  Do you rebel?  Do you ignore it?

One of the reason it is so important to know who God and understand His character is because it helps us to accept His plan for us.  By trusting that God’s love for us causes Him to work ALL things together for our good and by knowing that He wants the best for us, we are able to receive the Word in our hearts.

Mary accepted God’s plan with no excuses, no complaining, and no hesitation.

If you have a hard time trusting God, I encourage you to do a study of His names.  In the Bible, names reveal character.  Learn God’s names and you will be able to say with Mary, “Let it be to me according to Your Word.”

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The Mary Model – How, Part 2

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The angel of God has just given Mary a never-before-heard-of task to do – to bear the Son of the Most High.  To anyone’s ears, this would sound crazy!  I am not sure how I would react, but I am not sure I would have handled it as well as Mary did.

As she grasps to understand what this angel is saying, she asks the simple question:  How will this be?

Many times God calls us to do things that seem impossible.  Even in our quiet times we may read something in His Word which causes us to ask, “How will this be?”

I believe that in Mary’s story, God has given us permission to ask for clarity.  He understands how we think.  He understands that some of us like to have a plan.  It is okay to ask, “How, God?”

But be prepared!  He may not give you an answer beyond the next small step.  God is always calling us to deeper things and sometimes He challenges us to simply trust Him and His Word.  He asks us to step out in faith and believe that He is who He says He is.  For me, that is when I have grown the most in my relationship with Him.  By trusting, believing, and walking in faith.

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Is there an area in which you need clarity?  Don’t be afraid to ask God for more information – but don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from stepping into His plans!