Tuesday, October 12, 2010
So I'm looking at my list of things to do today. And after listening to one of Keith Moore's messages, two things occur to me: 1) Nothing on my agenda today benefits anyone except me; 2) Relatively few things on my prayer list benefit anyone except me and my immediate family.
Maybe I've justified this selfishness by telling myself that the better my life is, the better my testimony. The more people see Christ in me, the more they will want to know Him. Sounds good in theory, but if I'm totally honest with myself, this isn't true at the deepest level. I mean, yes, it's good when believers exhibit God's manifest glory in our lives. But there's more to this Christian walk, more to prayer, more to life in Christ than to help me have a "good life."
So I'm asking the questions (and expecting God's answer): What can I do today to forward the Kingdom Agenda in the land? How can I magnify the name of Jesus?
The same way I sit and ponder the master plan for my life, I'll sit and ponder God's master plan, anticipating His direction with great excitement and happiness. Awaiting the opportunity to speak to someone about Him, to point someone to Him today.
What's on your agenda today?
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
While I continued to search the Word for His stance on the fruit He expected from my life, He set a series of challenges before me to prepare me for the change. To paraphrase Dr. Creflo Dollar: When you ask God to take you higher, you sign up for a training course. Crying out to God in my journals, then searching the Word and standing on His promises opened the door for Him to move
Here are three lessons in the course God gracefully developed (and continues to develop) in me, lining me up for His best in every area of my life – work included. I pray that these lessons will be helpful to you as well, and that God will continue to position you exactly where you need to be every single day of your life.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Anyway, a while back, my son (who loves action-packed science-fiction) convinced me to go see the movie “Push.” It’s a movie about people who have special super-powers. There are, of course, good guys and bad guys who use their powers for good and evil respectively. No big revelation there.
Let me say, for the record, that I DON'T necessarily recommend the movie. However, it demonstrated something extremely profound to me.
The characters in the movie have some really cool special powers (healing, telekenesis, future-telling, sonic boom screaming), but the one power that seemed to be the most important was the power to “Push” – thus the title. The characters who had the power to push could literally push thoughts into other people’s heads. Pushers didn’t actually do anything, they got other people do to things by taking control of their thoughts – mostly through the power of false suggestions.
For example, there's one female Pusher who is being held captive by two bad guys - let's call them Bill and Tom. When she gets Bill all by himself, she tells Bill that Tom is actually the one who murdered Bill's brother. She even played the whole scene in Bill's head of Tom strangling Bill's brother. Next thing you know, Bill runs out of the room and shoots Tom for killing the brother.
Here’s the thing: Bill didn’t even have a brother, but this girl pushed the idea into Bill’s head that Tom had murdered this non-existent brother.
Sound familiar? It should. This is exactly how the enemy operates. He’s a pusher. He comes to us and falsely accuses people (“She never really liked you” or “Why is she looking at you like you’re crazy – she’s the one who’s crazy”). He lies to us (“You’re so far gone, why bother praying?” or “That’s a stupid idea – no one is going to get behind it”). Perhaps most discouraging is the way the enemy lords guilt and condemnation for sins we don’t even have any more because God has forgiven them and forever forgotten them. Some of us are beating ourselves up over sins that don't even exist anymore anywhere except in our heads!
Truth be told, the enemy doesn’t actually do anything. He just plots, suggests, lies, and thus manipulates people to go against the will of God.
Without giving away the whole movie, let me just say that in the end, the only thing that could free a person’s mind from the overpowering lies was love. Love helped people recall the truth; broke them from the pusher’s spell.
So the next time the enemy whispers some hot mess into your ears, suggests you’re not good enough or you’re too busy to fulfill the call of God on your life, don’t accept His lies or suggestions. Fight back with the Word – get some scriptures to stand on, throw some of that good old holy love at him!
I know I went to that movie to satisfy my son’s sci-fi itch, but I walked out of there with a new perspective on the pusher I deal with every day. The enemy comes to us with contrary news, but the love Jesus had for us has forever broken the enemy’s control in our lives. In the words of my grandmother, “Satan ain’t runnin’ nothing but his mouth!” And I know that’s the truth, Ruth!
Tonight, I sat with four friends eating ice cream at a McDonalds (sundae’s are on the dollar menu, by the way). After we properly congratulated one on her recent accomplishment, another of my friends opened up and shared a painful crisis she was facing within her family. Instantly, the rest of us went into action – asking questions, getting clarification, trying to get an understanding of the problem.
After we’d gotten over our initial shock, we began to make plans for intercession. One of my friends who had gone through a similar bout suggested anointing the house, and one by one, we began to hand my sister in Christ weapons of spiritual warfare – weapons she desperately needs in order to defeat the enemy in her own home.
We had begun to spurt out scriptures in accordance with God’s promises in the Word regarding this situation.Then we grabbed hands, prayed, bound the enemy, and declared the victory in Jesus name (yes, at McDonalds).
So after we’d decided this was a done deal, my newly-strengthened friend began to talk about the aftermath; what things might be like once God’s Word was fulfilled. Actually, according to the world’s calculations, the after-effects might have lifelong consequences. At which point, the quiet one in our group said, “God can fix that.”
Those four words, spoken in such a soft, yet confident tone, touched my heart. “God can fix that.” I thought – wow! She’s right! God can fix that!
Sometimes what we think of as the best-case scenario following a crisis isn’t really God’s best-case scenario. We think that after a bad decision or period of rebellion, the best we can hope for is a meagar outcome. After all, it was our sin that got us into the mess in the first place, right? But I implore you, my sister, to make up your mind that at the end whatever mess you may be going through, God will have fixed everything! Restored everything! He will give beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3)! God doesn’t have to put patches on things and try to make ‘em hold up ‘til Jesus comes back – He has the power to completely renew ANYTHING to His will. Why? Because He’s God. He can fix that!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
I don’t know about you, but I get hundreds of new ideas for books, businesses, websites, and ministries every month. Each one seems more interesting than the one before it, and I’m immediately tempted to pursue this fresh, new, big idea that will suddenly take off and make all my dreams come true.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
So many of us have dreams and gifts that we aren’t fulfilling. Well, I have had the pleasure of serving alongside one lady who has a faith-filled story to tell! The owner of From Gwen’s Heart scripture-inspired gifts answers my questions about how God led her through the transition from dreaming do doing.
1. How did you overcome the fear of stepping out on faith?
I am not sure I had to overcome any fears about stepping out! Actually I had to curb my enthusiasm because I was ready to leave my "9-5" a year before the Lord released me! It occurred to me that I had been writing scripture stones professing what faith is and was not activating my own. As my job became one with no defined role, I knew that the Lord was transitioning out of that environment into the one He had chosen for me. (My desk even got moved closer to the front door! :) Once confident that I was acting within God's will, I asked to be "let go" from the job. I do not want to say that I "quit" because that is not what happened. With cooperation from the owner, I was freed to walk in my purpose.
2. How long did you have the vision for your business before you acted on it?
The pre-vision was given to me in 2005. I facilitate a small group in the Singles Ministry and would always give the members an inexpensive gift when we met each month - never more than $1! I found some little baskets and decided to write a prayer request on 7 moonstones (the white ones) and put them in the baskets. About two weeks later EVERY woman came back and told me that they were rubbing their stones and praying and the words rubbed off! For a year and a half I did not attempt to do anything with the stones, although they were always foremost in my mind. One night at the end of 2006, the Lord told me to put His Word on rocks! My reaction was a ScoobyDoo "hunh?"! But I was obedient and acted on FAITH. Without knowing how I was going to market the stones, I came up with my own idea but the Holy Spirit told me to continue as if it were already done! In 2007, my church (Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship) held a showcase for anyone with a biblically-based business. And the rest is history. Talk about answered prayer!
3. What advice would you give to someone who's toying with a vision God has given them?
If you are absolutely sure that the vision is FROM God and that you are acting within His will, having been released from where you are BY Him, do not hesitate. If you THINK about it too long, every reason "in the world" why you CAN'T leave where you are to go where you have been called will deter you.
4. What did your friends/family say about you taking the entrepreneurial plunge? Was it scary?
All of my family and friends were very happy for me! I was looking for the naysayers but none came forward. My parents were extremely happy, knowing that this was what God had purposed for me. My greatest cheerleader is my brother who has owned his own business of the last 20 years. He is excited for me and has been a constant source of encouragement. There is also a small group of female entrepreneurs at the church who have come together to support one another.
5. How has God shown Himself faithful to you? Are there any particular verses you rest on with regard to your business?
God has shown Himself faithful in the fact that I am more able to manage my finances better as an "owner" than I could while working. He has paved the way, bringing business my way - without solicitation on my part - and opening doors that I know He alone opened. The verses that have sustained me before the "step" and during this time are: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." (Ps 23:1) and "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her would be accomplished. For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:45,37) God said it ...I believe it ...that settles it!
6. Anything else you would like to say to encourage believers to follow the vision God has placed in their hearts is greatly appreciated.
There is freedom in working for and with Christ. If you are having any doubt about what you think you have been called to do, pray. God will answer in a way that you KNOW it is from Him. Once He confirms what you believe, ACT. Don't be the one who looks around 5 or 10 years from now and wonders what might have been. I pray that you will be blessed beyond your desires!
Friday, January 29, 2010
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12
In late 2000, my journals took on a different purpose. They began to chronicle my relationship with the Lord. From 2000 to today, the journals almost read like love letters.
On New Year’s Day of this year, while in prayer, I heard very clearly in my Spirit that I needed to destroy the pre-God journals. For the record, I already had a feeling those journals were an issue, but I couldn’t bring myself to destroy them.
So I stayed on my knees that Friday and tried to bargain with God. Can I just put them in storage? Can I give them away to somebody? What if my grandchild wants to read them? [Never mind the fact that I probably can’t even pay my own kids to read them.] What if I get famous – then can I just sell them on Ebay? Other people get to keep their journals – why I gotta throw mine away?
(Even as I write this, I’m thinking about when God told Saul to destroy the Amelakites, but Saul was not fully obedient and suffered for it.)
The Holy Spirit (Who always speaks the truth) began to remind me of how and when I return to the journals, and I had to admit: I only visited the journals when I wanted to re-live my teenage years. And that only happened when I was feeling bad about my life, mad at my husband, regretting things, remembering old boyfriends, laughing about [mostly sinful] things my friends and I did as teens and young adults, wishing I could do things over again. Basically regressing, spiritually. That’s why Michelle Stimpson needed to do throw them out.
The Holy Spirit assured me that those old journals had served their purposes and it was time for me to let go of the past now. All of my regrets were useless, and I needed to trust God with the total of my past as much as I trust Him with my present and my future. To top it all off, I heard with crystal clear clarity in my Spirit, “Those journals are nothing but a record of your sin and foolishness. I don’t even have a record of those things, why should you?”
Instantly, my mindset changed. The Word tells us that the Lord does not remember our sin any more (Hebrews 8:12). So if He doesn’t want to remember it, I don’t want to remember it, either.
I knew that it was okay to keep some of the pictures and certificates, so I started going through the journals to retrieve the things that were not counterproductive. As I went through the journals, it occurred to me that this journal was indeed exactly what God said it was – a bunch of sin and foolishness!
It occurred to me then that so many of us are trying to get rid of baggage we LOVE, and until we see it as God sees it, there’s no way we’re going to be able to tear ourselves away from it. If that’s where you are right now, tell God the truth. Let Him know that, right now, you don’t see things the way He sees things. We must all ask Him to give us a vision that lines up with His completely!
1. How to pray – for real – every day.
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
The Lord arrested me at the beginning of another one of my going-through-the-motions prayers one morning. I had just said my usual opening, “Lord, I thank You for another day,” when everything seemed to stop. It was as though the Lord said, “Talk to the hand. I’m not listening because you don’t really mean it.” And He was right. Whenever I didn’t really have any pressing issues on my heart, I pretty much babbled in His presence, and the babbling always started with the same phrase while (simultaneously) I was probably wondering whether or not I’d given my daughter lunch money.
Preparing myself to be in His presence by designating a time and place as well as quieting the world around me has significantly changed my prayer life – thus my entire life. Because He has taught me how to come before Him with expectation of His mighty, overwhelming, Holy presence, I don’t even do go my prayer closet now without Kleenex! (I’m a crier, by the way.)
(My prayer closet film is below.)
2. How to stop grieving the Holy Spirit.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
Ignoring the Holy Spirit’s leading has consequences which often mask themselves as drama, health problems, and maxed-out credit cards. I’m learning to listen and obey Him on the little things (“Don’t repeat what she said, Michelle” and “Don’t call them back. I’ll handle it” or “Just wait until next month”) so I can hear Him on the big things I’m praying about as well. Really, if I don't listen on the little stuff, why should He trust me life-changing revelation?
3. The Holy Spirit speaks the truth and helps me pray more accurately.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13
For example, a friend asks me to stand with her in prayer about something, but we're not seeing results (I do expect things to change when I pray). When I ask the Holy Spirit about it, He might tell me that we’re both praying amiss (James 4:3). Then I can go to her person in love and we can get to the bottom of the problem and pray as the Lord would have us pray. Whenever this happens, my friend usually says, “Yeah, the Lord has been dealing with me about that already – I’m glad you confirmed it.” Of course, the Holy Spirit speaks the truth to me about me, too. Ouch!
4. If I operate in love, I won’t have to worry about my motives.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
This year, I had to come before the Lord and say, “Okay, God, I’m going to be totally honest with you. Yes, I write Christian fiction, and yes, I like to working with kids and teachers, but really, I want to be rich. Like, King Solomon's next-door-neighbor rich. And I’m hoping all this good stuff I’m doing will bring in a lot of money, so I can buy that dream house I’ve been thinking about since 1999. I’m tired of watching MTV cribs and seeing all these people who blatantly dishonor you with all the riches stored up in their homes!” In response to my honesty, God has done two things: 1) Showed me that I am already rich because I have everything I need every day (Luke 11:3) and 2) Given me a true heart for ministry to His people. Do I still want the dream house? Yes, but only as part of the “other things.”
5. I’m supposed to know God’s will.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
In past years, used to just pray “God’s will be done” and leave it at that when I really didn’t know what to do. But God checked me on this in His Word. Since the Holy Spirit lives in me, it’s my responsibility to seek out His will and do what he tells me to do. This year, God (ever-so patiently) walked me through searching the Word first (imagine that – seeing what the Bible has to say about issues?), praying in the Spirit and asking for revelation, and having faith to believe that He will actually respond to me. He may not tell me everything all at once, but He will let me know what my next step is - even if that step is simply to stand and be in awe of His work!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
After several months of praying and re-dedicating myself to the cause of Women Growing In Christ.com, I've made the decision to change the format of our communication. I hope that you will find this blog more interactive (thanks to comments) and even more useful. Also, I find that God continues to give me little "snippets" here and there, and I hope to share them more often through a blog so that I won't feel the need to create several articles at once.
Thank you so much for joining me here!
In His Service,