fire, gifts, good news, salvation, spiritual gifts, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Fire: Igniting Our Gifts To Spread The Message of God

When God uses our gifts to fulfill His will, it becomes a consuming fire that feeds our souls the nourishment we so desperately need in this life.



And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.

Zechariah 2:5, ESV

God Prepared

I love to write prayers, poems, letters and more. I have countless journals that record all my prayers. Going back and reading them has been so enlightening over the years because it shows me how God has been working in my life. It truly helps me have a better understanding of God’s sovereignty and provision.

Writing has always been something I’ve done and enjoyed doing, but I never knew it would lead to becoming an actual writer. I see now how God was using this gift within, to prepare me for the journey ahead.

each one’s work will become obvious. For the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.

1 Corinthians 3:13, CSB

When God uses our gifts to fulfill His will, it becomes a consuming fire that feeds our souls the nourishment we so desperately need in this life. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #fire #gifts #spiritualgifts #salvation

What’s The Spirit Up Too?

When the Lord started to give me certain topics and perspectives to write about, I honestly had no idea what He wanted me to do with them at first. Were the tools to help grow my own faith? Was I writing a book? What am I supposed to do with all this God? It wasn’t until a chain of events occurred that really seemed to get my attention and show me where all this was going…

I was sharing one of my writings with my sister one afternoon, hoping she would provide me with some insight I needed to unravel this mystery. When I was done reading it to her she quickly responded by saying ‘I don’t think you’re writing a book, Kris. I think you are meant to blog.’ 

I chuckled and told her ‘NO WAY!!!!’ I’m not at all tech savvy and wouldn’t even know where to begin. The thought completely overwhelmed me. With that said, blogging on a computer was the furthest thing on my radar. God knew what He was doing and was about to show me in a very unforeseen way…

A Stranger Reveals “My Fire”

On this particular day, I was taking myself and my kids to get our routine cleanings done at the dentist. I was catching up with the receptionist when she begins telling me that I would be great at blogging. I looked at her in shock and told her my sister had recently said the same thing. As we were speaking, a young girl, who happened to be sitting in the waiting room, got up and poked her head around the corner to talk to me.

She excused herself for jumping into the conversation and continued to tell me that as she was listening to me, she noticed something special and attractive in my voice. She agreed with the receptionist that blogging would be a great path for me to pursue. I completely blushed and thought ‘What is going on here!?’ Then that sweet girl, whom I had never met until that day, shares with me that she believed blogging would become My Fire to spread God’s word in the world.

I had never heard it described that way. ‘My Fire’. Though, it made perfect sense to me. Whenever I open my mouth about God, a fire of passion ignites inside that can not be quenched. Naturally, this unforeseen witness, caught wind of the fire that day and was moved by the Spirit to share her opinion with me. Oh, Dear Reader, how glad I am she did!

God Opens A Door

I went home from the dentist office unsure how to get started on my new blogging journey. I had confidence knowing that if this was the path God wanted me to pursue, then He would make His way known. I trusted He would pull everything together. One day, the Holy Spirit reminded me of someone I knew that blogs and might be helpful in moving forward. I called my blogging friend, Katie, and told her EVERYTHING!

She was so encouraging and willing to help me as best as she could. She informed me that the site she blogs for was looking to recruit a new writer. She wondered if I would be interested. After I sought prayer and counsel, I came to the conclusion that this was the door God had opened for me to pursue writing. God wanted me to deliver these messages to the world, and now I had a way to do that. I phoned Katie and joyfully said ‘I’m IN!’.

God Supplies My Needs

God knew I was in need of a laptop, printer, and space to do His work. My husband, Mike, has stood by me throughout this entire process and has supported me the whole way. For Christmas, he gifted me with a laptop, carrying bag, printer and a computer desk that he designed and built himself! I was so thankful and eager to get started.

God had used my Sister, the Receptionist, the young girl in the waiting room, Katie and my Husband to fully supply all my needs to get this journey started. They ignited the spark God gave me. His messages would now be heard through the Oh Lord Help Us ministry. Please understand, when God is working something new in your life, Beloved, it always falls into place.

You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the proof provided by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone.

2 Corinthians 9:11-13, CSB

Wildfire

I love being an instrument used by God to spread His good news. I am humbled and honored to be given this ability to write and share these important messages with you, My Friend.

I am just an ordinary woman living life with an extraordinary God. When God uses our gifts to fulfill His will, it becomes a consuming fire that feeds our souls the nourishment we so desperately need in this life. We, as God’s children, are called to help reach those who don’t notice the spark inside themselves. This simple act of obedience is what leads to a massive wildfire of salvation forming all over the world.

Lost souls are found. Those who have been trapped become rescued and saved. Blind eyes begin to see. Brokenness is restored and made whole. The messy life suddenly reveals a life message. This, My Friend, is what it looks like to follow Jesus. Someone’s spark out there in the world is relying on you to fan the flame.

So tell me, Dear Sister, what is “your fire” to help spread God’s good news to the world?

save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude 1:23, CSB

We are called to help reach those who don't notice a spark inside themselves. This simple act of obedience is what leads to a massive wildfire of salvation, formed all over the world. Click To Tweet

When God uses our gifts to fulfill His will, it becomes a consuming fire that feeds our souls the nourishment we so desperately need in this life. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #fire #gifts #spiritualgifts #salvation

Joshua Newton

anger, love, gifts, spiritual gifts, messy, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Fools: Do Not Be Lost Among Anger, Be Found in Christ

The way we fill ourselves reflects in how we live. Filling ourselves with Christ will produce great things. But filling ourselves with flesh will ruin us. Will we be like the fools and fill ourselves with things we know cannot sustain? 



Messy Room, Messy life

I’d like to take you through my most recent run-in with teen trouble and disobedience. I am still currently working through it. Please pardon my spotty storytelling and unrighteous anger that may seep into my words.

My room is always a mess. And when I say mess, I mean you’d think everything I’ve ever owned was on the floor. It gets pretty bad. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember and the battle between my parents and I has raged on just as long. As a defiant human being, as we all can be, I’ve never fully come to drop the belief that it’s my room so why should I have to keep it clean? It isn’t negatively affecting them, is it?

Well, let’s just say we all hit our breaking points this past weekend. My sister Natalie and I share the basement as our room and hear the phrase “Clean your room” just as often as we hear our own names. However, and saying it aloud is revealing to me how selfish it all really is, we’ve become entirely numb to the constant reminder…

The way we fill ourselves reflects in how we live. Christ sustains but filling up with the things of this world proves we are fools. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #anger #love #gifts #messy #scripture #devotional

Storytime

Early this weekend my dad told Natalie and I that for the next two weeks before we all part ways for spring break, we will not be allowed to go to any Young Life events aside from Club…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Young Life, Club is where we have fun, sing songs, and try to introduce our uninterested friends to life with Christ. Campaigners are where the inner circle of believers grow in faith together and brainstorm how to get our friends to come to Club. I also have a small group Wednesday mornings that I’ve been prohibited to attend.

Keep in mind that I have a very uneventful social life, so losing these privileges was, well, no fun.

Last night, there was massive miscommunication. Natalie and I understood that if we cleaned our room and bathroom then we could go to Club. What we completely missed was that we weren’t allowed to go at all.

Both of our parents were out of the house, but we were unaware of their absence. So while walking out we announced our departure and took the lack of a response as a green light. Long story short we were picked up before the event even began and the uncomfortable conversations began. This devotional will be brief and I’d like to include last night’s journal entry…

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:9, ESV

Angry Entry

Our world is full of fools. Unfortunately, we cannot exclude ourselves from them. We are the fools. We act foolishly when our foolish plans are foiled. I wanted to go somewhere but my foolish self is resorting to tears and anger. Some not so unfamiliar “friends” of mine. I don’t handle emotions well.

God has blessed me with a heart three sizes too big, but with that increased love also comes increased sorrow. I overflow no matter the emotion and much of my inner turmoil over the years is because I go to isolation, anger, and sadness instead of God when I boil over. Clearly, I did not go to God first tonight.

That was me referencing the first half of my entry which included a lot of my anger towards the situation as I began to simmer down…

Humbled Entry

But God, forgive me for being angry with my parents even if I completely disagree with their choices. And Lord PLEASE help me with everything I feel. Take it. Ease it. Calm it. Calm this storm in me before I drown. Hm. I say that, but I know you will not let me drown. You will give me the strength to swim.

My heart is so anxious, so angry, so sad. I long for something I think I can find among flesh-wearing beings. I will not find it. In all honesty, I can’t name what it is I think I need. What is it I’ve convinced myself I can’t live without? Love? Friendship? Attention? God give me what it is I search for and help me not be angry or discontent when I don’t get it when I want. And open my mind to the possibility that I have no clue what I truly desire. Do not let me lose sight of you and remind me of who I am when I am among the fools. 

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Proverbs 28:26, ESV

Fools Full of God’s Love

It’s hard for me sometimes, despite my struggle with self-esteem, to remain humble in the way I do things with this blog and life in general…

Wow; people love my posts. Wow; I’m singing the national anthem in a parade this weekend. Holy guacamole I won the talent show at my school of 5,000.

But who am I to claim these gifts as my own? Who am I to not constantly be thanking God for these talents and ways I can reach other people’s hearts? It’s times like these when I experience embarrassment, hurt, and a lesson learned… I remember how small and needy I am. But what an incredible thing to have a God who fulfills my needs, quenches my thirst, and fills the gap between me with His infinite love.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16, ESV

When we remember how small and needy we are, we must also remember we have a God who fulfills all our needs! He quenches our thirsts and fills our gaps with His infinite love. Click To Tweet

The way we fill ourselves reflects in how we live. Christ sustains but filling up with the things of this world proves we are fools. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #anger #love #gifts #messy #scripture #devotional

Patrick Tomasso

prayer, giver, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, Women, ministry

Giver: Surprising Answers to Our Secret Heart Prayers

God is the giver Who gives what we don’t even know we need. He knows the depths of our hearts and answers the secret prayers within us, surprising us with His blessings.



I want to share with you my first prayer I wrote a little over a year ago when I started writing my prayers down with some regularity.

Dear God,

Thank you for Your messages in my life. You are moving mountains and have held my hand, comforted, and carried me. Thank you seems less… insincere. Your mighty works are awesome and great to be praised. Continue to help me accept the next challenge You are asking me to accept. I love to write and I keep feeling a pull from You to tell a story. Please guide my pen, words, and desires so that the story I tell is pleasing to You. Let me keep You as my truth and light. Bless my beautiful children. Guide them to find Your will in this season of their lives.

Love,
me

God is the giver Who gives what we don't even know we need. He knows the depths of our hearts and answers the secret prayers within us, surprising us with His blessings. #giver #prayer #spiritualgrowth #ChristianWomen

Answered prayer…

About six months later I mentioned in our church small group that I was feeling God pulling me to share my love and experiences. Rachael implored me to share what that meant exactly. I really didn’t want to say more, so I hemmed and hawed. Used some big words that meant nothing. She took my hands in hers and she said, “I need to hear the words. What is in you heart?”

“I want to write.”

“I’m going to share an opportunity. You can join in, or go a different way and I will be your biggest cheerleader…”

Can you imagine? I am tearing up thinking of it now. God answered a prayer, guided me on a path, and brought me an awesome new friend.

In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9, NIV

Unknown prayer…

I have felt so free and my spirit has been opened in ways I didn’t know could happen. Writing and sharing it with others has brought so, so much to my life. I have connected to my friends and family, my co-workers and small group members in deeper ways. People ask me to pray WITH them now. I think that has been the biggest privilege God has created for me. I still feel a little self conscious when I do, but that is more of wanting to find the right words.

A verse that has been helping me be more comfortable praying out loud with people is, If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7, ESV)

When this verse showed up on my Facebook timeline back in January, I wrote this prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your answers to prayers, Thank you for guidance and direction, Thank you for opening my heart and ears. Miracles surround us. Thank you!

Love,
me

Surprise prayer…

All this has lead to several talks with you, lovely readers, who have brought so much hope and inspiration to my life. You have shared words that have buoyed me. Comments that boosted me when the dark side of depression has tried to wheel its way into my life. I have felt love and connection when parts of my story have resonated with you. And I have reconnected with friends and family that I had resigned myself to losing.

Right before I wrote my story about my grandmother and grandfather, I saw the verse, Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV). As I reflected on this, I prayed:

Dear God,

Surprise me with ways I can influence others in Your light. I feel you talking to me, but there is so much, I’m not sure what is me and what is You. Help me to discern the difference. Let the Holy Spirit speak to me and let my heart hear.

Love,
me

Heart prayer…

A few days after that post, I had the most amazing conversation with my brother. We connected in a way that we haven’t since we both became grown ups. Life becomes busy, families grow, distance, both literal and figurative, pushed us apart. No, we never fought. We see each other a few times a year. Have been on vacation together a few times, but never spent time sharing what was on our hearts. God is so good; He gives us what we didn’t even know we need.

God is so good; He gives us what we don't even know we need. Click To Tweet

God is amazing. If you let Him speak to you, your life will become fuller. Mine is far from perfect, but the ugly parts are so much more bearable and the good parts are so much more glorious. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Allow Him in. You will be so glad you did.

God is the giver Who gives what we don't even know we need. He knows the depths of our hearts and answers the secret prayers within us, surprising us with His blessings. #giver #prayer #spiritualgrowth #ChristianWomen

 

Sammie Vasquez

want, seek, find, gifts

Want: Seeking A Good God Rather Than His Good Gifts

God is a good God who gives good gifts. But let us not fall for the temptation to want those gifts more than we want the Giver.



Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Matthew 5:6, ESV

Have you ever wanted something so desperately you were willing to pay any price?

God is a good God who gives good gifts. But let us not fall for the temptaion to want those gifts more than we want the giver.

Want

In 10th century BC, the Queen of Sheba caught wind of a very wise king. She had heard rumors about Solomon, and the God he received his wisdom from. Seeking truth, she traveled approximately 1,600 miles to Solomon’s kingdom in Jerusalem, though she had no invitation. Her entrance to the city was flashy, maybe like Aladdin’s when he went to Agrabah as Prince Ali.

Solomon received her and answered all of her questions. Once she realized Solomon’s God had indeed blessed him with profound wisdom, she picked his brain on how to better govern her own country. She brought a staggering amount of wealth to trade for the wisdom she hoped to discover. Upon her departure, she gave Solomon a ton of spices, precious stones, and approximately 192 million dollars in gold.

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.

Proverbs 8:11, NLT

The queen did not appear to need anything. She had great wealth and a kingdom of her own. Leaving the safety of her home to travel so far posed incredible risk. She could have sent envoys, but she wanted to see and hear for herself. Authentic truth was out there and she wanted it.

Seek

I can see myself in her. My kingdom is much smaller, my wealth pales in comparison; but I have everything I need and a lot of what I want. Still, I long for more. Some days I dream about packing up and heading to some place quiet and secluded. Not for the sake of escape; though I’ve been there before. No, simply for the purpose of seeking wisdom without the daily distractions.

The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.

John Piper, A Hunger for God

Matthew 12:42 tells us the Queen of Sheba traveled from the far ends of the earth to acquire the wisdom of Solomon, but we have something greater than Solomon. We have Jesus. A wise person can’t give you their wisdom. But by seeking Jesus, we can attain it.

In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:3, ESV

Find

I’m compiling a list of all the good things that act as stunt men for God in my life. They aren’t inherently evil. Seeing them written out, they’re pretty vanilla. Achieving genuine transformation is not just acknowledging where the infraction is. Asking forgiveness is another important step; but the key to lasting change is to replace the love for the thing with a greater love for God. James 1:7 says every good gift is from God. How quickly we exchange our love for the Creator to love for His gifts!

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:7, NLT

What good gifts in your life are stealing your affections for God?


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

The key to lasting change is to replace the love for the thing with a greater love for God. Click To Tweet

God is a good God who gives good gifts. But let us not fall for the temptaion to want those gifts more than we want the giver.

Aware: Knowing Our Strengths and Weaknesses

Often, the attribute we consider a strength can also be our weakness. Likewise, the things we see as weakness in ourselves may just in fact be our strength.


Watching my children grow and develop into their own selves is an incredibly rewarding experience. Of course, it’s also maddening and terrifying. Even though I see so much strength in them, I know they will also struggle with their weaknesses as they experience in life.

My specific prayer for my oldest son, and the meaning behind his name, is that he would not only be strong but also bring strength to others. I see this being developed in him, and it’s beautiful. He is incredibly compassionate and has a tender heart with a desire to care for others who are hurting. Unfortunately, he also gets his feelings hurt easily. I don’t want him to hide from others, seeking protection. But it’s his compassion that makes him sensitive. It’s his strength and his weakness. He also has a desire for fairness and justice. Unfortunately, he can be lazy and selfish, only concerning himself with his own justice. Life is rarely fair, and I don’t want him to only do the minimum required just so he is not taken advantage of, but it’s recognizing the desire for justice in himself that will spur him on to speak up for others. It’s his strength and his weakness.

For my younger son, I pray that he will be loyal and a trustworthy man whose word is true and dependable. He is a hard worker and already a huge help when working on projects around the house. Unfortunately, he finds it difficult to communicate which results in vast amounts of frustration. I don’t want him to feel inadequate because he is unable to use words. His ability to express himself with his actions and creativity is amazing. It’s his strength and his weakness.

I pray for my daughter to be a bright light to others, to bring joy to those who need to be uplifted. She’s bright alright, bright like a fireball! I have lots of praying to do…

The attribute we consider a strength can also be our weakness. Click To Tweet



 Strengths and Weaknesses…

We were each created in a specific way, designed for a purpose. As my friend Cheryl said in her guest post, “I can never be you, and you can never be me.” Each of us are given our unique gifts, and quirks. We each have valuable gifts and strengths to share with each other. This is how we function best in relationships, the church, and society.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6, ESV

This does not, however, mean that we are not to weed out certain areas in our lives. With each of those strengths, comes a weakness which we are prone to. There are parts of us that need to be challenged, weaknesses that need to be strengthened. I believe this is the ploy of our soul’s enemy. He is a deceiver, and perverter of the good our Creator has made. The enemy cannot create things of his own, so he twists what the Lord has made.

To begin the process of strengthening our weaknesses, we must acknowledge them.

Our weaknesses can be related to our strengths. Perhaps your strength is…

organizing… but get irritated when things don’t go as planned.

flexibility… but struggle to complete a task.

being driven… but become obsessive.

serving others… but get taken advantage of.

dreaming… but don’t complete a project.

having endurance… but collapse under the strain.

responsibility… but don’t give out of abundance.

trustworthiness… but don’t trust others.

determination… but don’t know when to ask for help.

diligence… but don’t take risks.

compassion… but get your feelings hurt.

communicating… but say too much and hurt others.

Once we have identified our strengths, or talents, that the Lord has given us, we can be aware of how the enemy will try to twist it in order to make us less effective. Then, we repent of it, and tell Satan to “be gone“!



Your turn…

Just like we each have different strengths, we each have our own weaknesses. I challenge you to recognize and be aware of that weakness, and allow our Creator to use it. The Lord will use it for His glory. He will use you in mighty ways if you will allow Him.

What are your strengths, and what are your weaknesses?

xoxo

Meiying Ng

Dashing Through the Holidays (and laughing all the way)!

I was running around like a crazy lady. I had about 2 hours to get all my errands done while my hubby was home with the kiddos. And I said it. I admitted I was ready for the holidays to be over. So sad. I already have a humbug reputation because I don’t like Christmas music. Now I was wishing the whole season away.

There are parties to go to, eggnog to drink, cards to write, children to dress up, and friends to hug. So much fun stuff. The problem is, this is in addition to: a job to work, a house to clean, children to feed, laundry to wash, and groceries to buy.

Lots of people do not have the luxury of slowing down during this time. Think about it:

  • The retail worker
  • The delivery person
  • The mom of school age children
  • The mom of a child with special needs
  • The mom of a child with compromised health
  • The mom whose husband travels
  • The single mom
  • The mom (what mom isn’t busy??)

 


 

I hear people talk about slowing down and focusing on what Christmas is all about. That sounds nice and all, but is that realistic? Can we have both? Can we be crazy busy, but still enjoy ourselves? And most importantly keep focus on the point of Christmas?

I have been thinking about the birth of Christ, and what it was really like. Most likely…

It was not peaceful: Mary was 9 months pregnant. Traveling. On a donkey. I was 7 months pregnant traveling in a SUV and was miserable. I guarantee there was some stress involved. The urgency to get there. Feeling uncomfortable. Needing to pee.

It was not quiet: There was no planned induction with an epidural scheduled. My last two babies came super quick and I did not have an epidural. I’m naturally a loud talker when I get excited (my family will attest to that), but in the delivery room my husband was actually uncomfortable with how loud I was. Non-medicated childbirth involves some yelling. Or at least strained moaning. And then there’s the baby. Now I know he was the son of God and perfect and all, but I’m willing to bet he cried. A lot. (I was just informed this week that some people do believe that Jesus never cried and that the birth wasn’t painful. I respectfully disagree. But that’s a whole different conversation for another time.)

But I’m sure that…

It was joyous: Pushing out a baby is no easy task (with or without medication), but holding your child for the first time is absolutely one of the most joyous moments that can be experienced (including adoptive parents).

It was awesome, humbling, emotional, and a relief: Can you imagine? Her whole life she was taught that a Savior would come and rescue them. And then to be chosen to be the one to give birth to said Savior. And she loved Him, not just with a devout love, but with a mother’s love. In her arms was the baby who would grow to be a man that would provide a way for all people to be reunited with God. Not for people to be saved from a worldly ruler, but to be saved from an eternity apart from God.

 


 

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not able to slow down, then just embrace the hustle and bustle. And as you are rushing around buying/wrapping/giving gifts, remember the gift that was given for us. Rejoice! Turn up the Christmas music! Keep on dashing and laughing all the way!

 

xoxo

dashing