“Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied Grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10
I didn’t grow up in the Christian faith; in fact, I had really never been to church. I lived my life outside of church, like many other friends I grew up with. To be honest, I had no idea how much I was missing. I’d never taken the time to see that God had so many wonderful and beautiful things waiting just for me until I followed Him and His word.
Everyone is entitled to their own mistakes, but the purpose of a mistake is to learn from it, not keep reliving it. For so many of my teenage years, I kept reliving my mistakes. The thought would occur to me from time to time that I needed help to stop doing these things, but I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know what I needed. (more…)
Social media can ruin a reputation and even a career quicker than you can say, ‘Viral YouTube or 1,000 ReTweets.’ Here’s two recent dilemmas in need of serious damage control.
1) U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin said in a televised interview that women rarely get pregnant following instances of “legitimate rape,” because the female body has ways to “shut that whole thing down.”
2) During the London Olympics a Swiss athlete, Michel Morganell, was thrown out (by his country) for tweeting insulting remarks about South Koreans after the South Korean soccer team beat the Swiss, 2-1.
What were they thinking? Rhetorical question, of course, they weren’t thinking. Even a couple of American athletes blasted questionable comments via Twitter while competing in London. Pointing fingers at someone almost always backfires.
Have you ever made a bad decision or posted something on FB or Twitter you regretted immediately? Even texted? Not everything is fixed with a quick apology. What kind of damage control did you do?
Our Heavenly Father is a God of restoration. He wants to restore the fool Satan has made of us. Ask for Restoration, Expect Restoration, and Claim Restoration. When your soul is grieving over what you’ve done, hold on tight to this promise.
“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.” Psalm 71:20-21
If you’re distraught God must first restore your soul before He can begin to restore your situation. Psalm 23 tells us to trust the Lord as our shepherd. A shepherd leads his sheep by the still waters (because they’re afraid of rustling waters) and makes them lie down so he can restore them. Read the whole chapter because the last verse says ‘goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life.’ So awesome!
Know I’m Praying for You, Sherry
2012 may very well be the most important year of Paige McPherson’s life. The twenty one year old is on her way to London to compete in her first Olympics in Taekwondo. Her next destination to California will trump any medal ceremony. Paige, fondly nicknamed McFierce, will meet her biological family for the first time.
The McPhersons of Sturgis, South Dakota adopted Paige when she was four days old. She was fourth in the pecking order of five adopted siblings. Each child was from a different nationality so the McPhersons were fondly referred to as the ‘Rainbow Family.’ Paige is African American/Filipino and older brother Evan is Korean. He was very involved in Taekwando and little Paige was excelling in ballet classes, but she wanted to be like her big brother and take Taekwando so her parents enrolled her in classes as well.
McFierce’s secret weapon seems to be in her foot work. Ballet lessons have proven a valuable precursor to becoming a champion in Taekwando. However, Paige’s athletic ability also stems from her biological DNA. She began aggressively searching for her family when she turned eighteen (with her adoptive parents’ help). Through Facebook she began the process of learning about her birth parents and her siblings. She’s discovered so many similarities in their personalities and especially in sports successes.
Paige talks humbly about God allowing her to be adopted by the McPhersons. In her own words, “Yes, I too had those thoughts in my head about what life would be like with my biological family, but I know that God’s plan is perfect, and that being adopted was a blessing from the Lord.”
What a different spin Paige could have put on her life. She didn’t preoccupy her mind with doom over not knowing her birth family, she trusted God to know what was best for her. I can’t speak for Paige but my observation is God has given her more than she could’ve ever hoped or imagined.
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11
Follow Paige on Twitter: @mcfierce2012 and learn more about why she inspires us: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news-blogs/taekwondo/ten-questions-with-paige-mcpherson.html
Encouragement: From Paige’s interview with ‘The Real Winning Edge’
“My advice to young people and old is that you need to trust in the Lord. With God, and only with God, can you do the impossible. With Him there is no longer that great burden of being alone in carrying the pressures of the world. Without the confidence of the Lord, you will never be satisfied with your defeat or victory, because there is no purpose or meaning behind them that is long lasting. However, if you trust in the Lord, whether you are defeated or victorious, you know that it was from the Lord’s hand and so your purpose in life has been fulfilled and will be for eternity.”
Know I’m Praying for You, Sherry
This is Holy Week and Spring Break sometimes doesn’t allow us the time to focus on the depth and gravity of the cross. Please download a crucifixion movie and watch it on your mobile device. Zero in on the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest and the brutality of His crucifixion. I’m the first to admit how painful these events are to watch and you may feel the same, but it should be painful for us to watch because Jesus wore our skin at the cross.
One of my favorite old hymns, At the Cross, was written by Issac Watts in 1707. The refrain below still humbles me to tears. Substitute your name for I when reading it.
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
When we think about the scene at the cross and all the anger, hatred, and abuse hurled at Jesus that day, the first assumption is that evil was the victor. Think about your own situation. Do you feel defeated even though you’re trying to do what Jesus wants you to do? The bad guys win again? This is what the disciples thought, too. They felt betrayed. Jesus, their master, was gone.
Thank goodness the story doesn’t end here, but let’s stay at the cross for a couple of days and try to fully understand how privileged we really are. Forgiveness came with a heavy price and we need to never take this lightly. Is there someone you need to forgive? Come to the cross and learn from the Master.
My purpose for recommending you watch the movie or even see a play about the crucifixion is because we can’t even begin to fathom the gory details of that day. Visual presentations help me grasp the pain and the purpose of Jesus’ death. Any problems I have pale in comparison when I watch what Jesus did for me.
Know I’m Praying for You,
How do you react when life throws you a major setback? Do you take time to think through your reaction? You may be struggling with a decision because your family landscape has changed. The decision might be how to change your perspective so you can find a place of peace. Each of us faces decisions which can change the direction of our lives, even if you’re a Queen.
Queen Esther’s story reads pretty much like a fairy tale until a man named Haman made a decision, out of revenge, to destroy all Jews. Men, women and children. Esther was a Jew but had never mentioned her heritage to her husband, King Ahasuerus. She and Mordecai, her adoptive father, were Christ-followers and from a long lineage of God’s chosen people.
Mordecai refused to bow down and worship any other gods which captured the attention of Haman, King Ahasuerus’ right hand man. Haman became enraged with Mordecai and declared death to all Jews immediately. Haman convinced the king to agree and the declaration became law.
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place, what could Esther do? She had two choices but either choice could result in her death. Choice number one was to keep quiet about her heritage and stand by while all of her people were murdered. If her secret were discovered she would surely be put to death. Choice number two was to ask permission to approach the king and reveal this nasty scheme to him. However, according to law, the only way Esther was allowed to approach the king was if he requested to see her. If King Ahasuerus declined to see her she would be put to death.
Esther was a young lady like you and she trusted Mordecai’s advice. He advised her to speak up for her people. Esther 4:15-16, “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
She took Mordecai’s counsel and then retreated to a time of fasting and planning. Three days of fasting and listening to God must have been excruciating but she came up with an idea and was prepared to go before the king on the fourth day. The king allowed Esther into his chambers and Esther calmly invited him to a large banquet she was planning which would also include the king’s court. He accepted and this is where Esther revealed Haman’s murderous plans. Haman’s plan backfired on him and he lost his life instead. God showed favor on Esther and spared her life and the lives of all Jews.
Encouragement: If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place allow yourself time to retreat, mourn and be angry but give yourself a timeline to process this and plan to move forward. Follow Esther’s example. God will give you clarity through an adult or through prayer and He will give you the confidence to do what you need to do.
1) Seek counsel from an adult you can trust
2) Spend alone time with God for at least 3 days
3) Plan how and when you will approach the problem/person
Know I’m praying for you,