When you feel stuck spiritually

When was the last time you felt like you were stuck in a rut spiritually? It happens to most of us and in light of that, I had the opportunity to share a lesson on what we can do to avoid the dangers these spiritual ruts. It is a short video that was shared as the Tip of the Week over at womensministry.net–here is the link Tip of the Week: Video – How to Get Out of a Spiritual Rut http://conta.cc/x3J5fy

Feel free to check it out and let me know if you have any other better ideas to share:) I’ve noticed that there is a great temptation to let the fact that we, as ministry wives, live in such public ministry become a substitute for strong private devotion–and that isn’t what I want for my life or yours.

Let’s don’t be those women who are satisfied with our spiritual walk as long as it looks good to the outsiders watching–may we never be more in public than we are in private (some time ask me to tell the story of the spanx at the wedding to remind us that although we might look good on the outside–it’s whats underneath that reveals the truth)

Many blessings on you and your ministry…
JOYfully,
Rachel

What am I entitled to as a Pastor’s wife?

I am teaching James by Beth Moore right now and I have come across a thought that I keep pondering. In week 5, on day 4 of our homework, it says, “Nothing muffles conviction as effectively as entitlement.” How does this apply to me in ministry? Do I go about thinking that anyone owes me anything? I didn’t think so until God reminded me of a few instances:
1. When I raise my voice with my kids I am thinking if they had obeyed I wouldn’t have to do that. I was entitled to do that since they didn’t obey.
2. When my husband is late for supper then I don’t have to give him a warm supper. I am entitled to do that since he was late.
3. When I am running late then it is ok to take a front row spot at that church event. I am entitled to do that since I will be later if I don’t.
4. I don’t have to go out of my way to talk with someone that I know was out gossiping about our church this week. Since they are wrong in what they said I can be wrong in how I act toward them.  I am entitled to not be friendly since I have a reason.
Ok enough examples but I think you get the point. I really do see how conviction evades me when I rationalize and feel entitled to what I do and say. Wow! I don’t want to be guilty of not allowing conviction to break my heart or those around me on what breaks God’s heart. I want to be someone that is sensitive and not entitled to anything. If I am entitled to anything then it is only because of what Jesus has done for me …
1. I am entitled to love others because Jesus loved me and gave Himself up on a cross for me and gives me His Spirit living within me to empower me to love others.
2. I am entitled to live a life having a relationship with the creator of the universe and I can talk to Him whenever because of Jesus having a plan for my life.
3.  I am entitled to be called a child of God because of Jesus making a way for me to have a heavenly Father.                                                                                                                 4.  I am entitled to be light in the darkness because Jesus showed me the light.

Yes, I am an entitled pastor’s wife but not because of anything that I have done or deserve!  Don’t let entitlement keep you from being convicted where God wants you to be, but do let entitlement in Him keep you living as a daughter of the King.

MORE in 2012—just not the RedZone

Just like many of you I have spent portions of today reflecting on 2011 (many other portions I have been watching football!) At one point this afternoon while watching football with Jeff and Riley, I noticed that I kept being confused. I would be watching for Tebow to make a play or for a certain team to score–only to realize that it was a completely different game on. Apparently we weren’t watching 1 game, we were watching the RedZone which takes you back and forth to all different games as things heat up in each game. This seemed to be fine with the guys, but I was in a constant state of confusion (which they found hilarious)…it did make me laugh and draw some parallels to this past year though.

How often was my life happening so quickly that as I reacted to one thing the circumstances changed and just as I figured out 1 plan of action the opponents switched on me???? now this may just be a sign of my stage of life (or my age) but it is also sort of indicative of our culture. It is a hurry up and keep your eyes opened world we live in. If we blink we just might miss something. I finally decided today to just wait and get the final scores on the games of interest before I got too caught up in every game. Maybe I don’t have to keep up with everything. Maybe it’s ok to pick and choose what I spend my time and energy on so that i don’t get distracted by the inconsequential.

In 2011 I read through the Bible chronologically and over and over as I asked God to teach me from His Word I continually heard Him say “Just know me” and so that was my goal. As I stand at the threshold of 2012 and I hear from others what their goals are for the year or what their ‘word’ of the year is (these are all good things) I keep coming back to the word MORE. As God called me to know him better last year and as he revealed himself to me like never before, I find myself just wanting more and more of that. If I have to pick a word for the year I’m going with MORE and my goal for the year is to get More of Jesus.

Isn’t it cool that the more we know Him the more we want to know Him???? (who else can you say that about??)

That’s it for me. To know Him MORE and MORE until I develop the mind of Christ. (and I probably won’t watch the RedZone anymore!)

My prayer for you and me both is that we crave the Word and desire to know Him better and better in 2012. Nothing satisfies like Jesus. Taste and see that the Lord is good:) may we lead women around us to do the same…

JOYfully,
Rachel
what’s your word or goal for the new year???

Huge Impact

I read through a familiar passage Sunday (it was the basis for the sermon) in Phil 2 and read verses 14-15–here is what it says: Do everything without complaining or arguing,so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…how good is that??? I have always loved those verses and they are especially significant with the lighten up challenge. But do you sometimes wonder “how am I supposed to be a light that shines like a star?”. I mean, think about it–go outside and look at the night sky–stars are millions of miles away and they impact us down here on earth–that’s pretty powerful, I definitely don’t feel like I make that much of an impact most of the time (or ever)

Here’s the thing, there are so many verses in the Word that we are familiar with and maybe even have memorized but when we take them in their context we can find such better meaning and understanding. Check out the very next verse (the one I don’t have memorized but should) its verse 16 and it tells us how we can be like stars: as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. –alright stay with me on this—to ‘hold out the Word of life’ literally means: to have or hold upon, apply, to observe, attend to—to give attention to

Wow! that’s what I’m talking about. In our quest to be lights and to shine like stars–we must maintain a focus and be intentional about ‘holding forth’ the Word in our lives–we have to APPLY the Word to our lives daily.

I hear many many people talking about going deeper and so on in regard to Bible Study and teaching-the Truth is that it doesn’t get much deeper than “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength-and your neighbor as yourself” that’s pretty deep stuff and I wonder (if we want to make a Christmas application) how many of us have gotten caught up in our plans, our wants and our desires instead of asking what we can do for others or how we can put others first??

Let’s commit to being doers of the Word not just hearers especially in this season of ‘gimme gimme’ and ‘me first’…Jesus modeled the attitude we need to have and it’s described in the rest of Phil 2, read it there or watch my pastor’s sermon on the subject online but remember that we can shine like stars and have a HUGE impact if we keep holding forth the Word!!!!

Keep the faith:)
Rachel
#lightenupchallenge

When Conflict Comes…

How are your holidays going? Are you being a light? Are you staying focused on Jesus and actively resisting the culture? How you answer probably depends on the day–right? some days we are doing a great job at reclaiming the holidays and ‘lightening up’ while other days are more of a struggle.

Can I share with you something that I just read in Ephesians that really spoke to me? It was in chapters 4-6 where we are told not to give the devil a foothold then we see instructions for anger management (because we will have times that we get angry so how do we handle that in a godly way) and then the armor of God passage.

When you put all those together, it really boils down to some hard truth–when people get on our nerves or make us mad (can anyone relate?) how we respond will either allow the Enemy a place in our lives or not.

It seems to me that sometimes because of the amount of things that we have to get done in a day (have I mentioned that my shopping is not even close to done), that we have a short fuse with people about now. Sometimes it isn’t even about our busy day but how ridiculous some people we are in contact with act (that’s why we need to spread the lighten up challenge around:)

I love what the armor of God passage in Eph 6 has to say “Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and when you have done everything—to stand”…wow!

How appropriate is that? I have a friend who always reminds me when situations come up that frustrate me-”remember who the Enemy is”–that’s such good advice and lines up exactly with Ephesians. Who is our battle against? not the person in the next car, not the obnoxious shopper near you, not the stressed out store employee,not your boss—especially not fellow believers—we have one Enemy and when we put on the full armor of God then we will be able to stand against His schemes and be the lights that we are called to be.

Take a few minutes to check out Eph 5-6 today. Pray that armor onto your life and “be strong in the Lord and His mighty power”

JOYfully,
Rachel

ps–a friend told me in a meeting yesterday that her kids have been loving the lighten up challenge book and that they look forward to reading the verses together on the way to school as they talk about being a light! -that is such a good idea to do with your kids and what a blessing to hear how God is using His Word:)

being & doing & CHRISTmas

I love how there are no coincidences with the Lord. Sunday my pastor preached a great message out of Luke 10. I kept making instant connections with what God has been doing in the Lighten Up Challenge so I thought I would share some of the insights that I gleaned both from David’s words and the voice of the Holy Spirit. (if you want more info on the challenge check out my personal blog over at rachellovingood.wordpress.com)

We are probably all familiar with the story of Martha and Mary, if not don’t feel bad but go read it in Luke 10. Usually a sermon on them will boil down to bad Martha and good Mary and which are you?

That wasn’t my take away on Sunday at all. In a busy season full of Martha-ish moments that tries to drown out the Mary like opportunities–that is exactly what we can NOT let happen. There are so many good things about both sisters and instead of laying out a competition between the two, isn’t the greater message one that says “Before you can be an effective Martha, you must be a Mary”. Truly–‘being’ comes before ‘doing’, in the dictionary and spiritually.

As we go about leading and serving those in our lives this Christmas season, we will be the best lights for Christ if we have taken enough time like Mary did–to sit at His feet and learn, worship or just be still in His presence.

Notice that Martha was busy and distracted doing good things, she wasn’t out at a bar or surfing the internet illicitly.(She could have been a women’s ministry leader or minister’s wife) Good things can be the enemy of God’s things if we let them. Beware and be intentional to ‘be’ what Christ has called you to ‘be’ before you get busy ‘doing’ all the things that need to be done.

JOYfully,
Rachel
ps-chime in and share your best tip on ‘Mary’ moments in the midst of a ‘Martha’ season!

#lightenupchallenge—for cute t-shirts and a flip book available to order go over to rachellovingood blog:) and Merry Christmas!!!

Taking Back Christmas!!! are you with me??

see what these shirts have to do with making this holiday season different than the rest…check out this link

http://rachellovingood.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/taking-back-christmas/#comment-248