Being Prepared

Okay… confession time! One of my families guilty pleasures is to watch “Doomsday Preppers” on the NatGeo channel. One reason we love to watch the show so much is because I have a cub scout. Now, if you know anything about the scouting program, they talk a lot, and I mean a lot, about being prepared. My little cub scout is always reminding us to be prepared, so we watch the “Preppers” and we learn a few things here and there about being prepared for various kinds of catastrophes. These people take every precaution. They educated themselves and learn new skills. They gather all of the needed supplies that they feel will be pertinent in their particular catastrophe. They prepare themselves a house that will allow them to feel safe in their time of need.

After one of the last episodes that we watched, my little cub scout asked “What do the scriptures tell us about being prepared, Mom?” I stared at him like I was a deer stuck in the headlights. I asked myself, “What do they say?”  I scrambled in my mind for an answer that would hopefully satisfy his curiosity, “Little Cub, of course the Scriptures tell us to be prepared. There are all kinds of stories about being prepared and instruction about educating yourself and being faithful and being prepared for anytime that you are needed.” It seemed to satisfy his curiosity, but it didn’t satisfy mine. I really had never paid any attention to what the Scriptures say about being prepared. I had never done a study on it. And now I was the one not prepared. In an effort to be more prepared in case my little cub scout came back with more questions I began my preparations for that moment. I wanted to be able to give him a heartfelt answer to his questions, not just a blanket, “of course the Bible tells you so” type of thing.

So, I started with the dictionary. Webster’s dictionary says that Prepared means: To be made at an earlier time for later use, or Ready for something: in a suitable condition for some purpose or activity; willing to do something.

Now that I was armed with a definition of being prepared it was time to explore what that really meant. I was preparing myself. One of the first steps of preparedness is to educate. You start everything by taking steps. Proverbs 23:12 tells us “Apply thine heart unto instruction and thine ears to the words of knowledge”. We are encouraged to seek knowledge, to open our hearts and minds. This is how we are made ready for anything, how we are converted. Through heart filled, prayerful seeking of truth, we find knowledge and learn of the next steps that we must take to be prepared. There are several other instances where we are told to learn and to share our knowledge with others. So, just like in the “Preppers” show, the Scriptures teach us to educate ourselves and share our knowledge in our quest. We can learn from others.

Next we need to listen. We cannot learn from others unless we open our hearts, minds and ears. We need to listen to answers that are being delivered to our questions as we venture towards being prepared.  As we pray the LORD answers our prayers. He reveals his plans for us. He lays guidance through the Holy Ghost upon our hearts.  He plants seeds upon our minds.  He calls to us and we must be ready to answer his call. Matthew 22:14 tells us that God calls us, but few are chosen. In Isaiah 65:12 the Lord tells us that we should bow down to be punished for not hearing his call, for not answering when he spoke and for not following what he commanded . So it appears that part of being prepared is being obedient.

Now, we know that the Bible is filled with verses about obedience, but one story and section of a verse stood out to me as I studied preparedness. It comes from the book of Haggai. The prophet was told by God to get the people to build a temple. And they didn’t listen. They built their homes and planted their crops and did their thing. Yet they weren’t happy. They were still thirsty. They were hungry. They needed more. They were poor. They did not do as they were told, and they did not receive the blessings of our Heavenly Father. Then they were instructed again by the LORD. “Go up to the Mountain, and bring wood, and build the house and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified in it.” Haggai 1:8

It appears to me that the greatest way to be prepared for anything and everything is through obedience to Heavenly Father. He wants us to keep the covenants we made when we were baptized. In other articles published we have explored verses where we learned that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and successful and he has plans for us. We learned that he wants to provide for us. But he also wants us to be prepared. He wants us to worship him and keep our promise to him that we will love him and keep his commandments and then he can rain down blessings upon us.

Matthew 20:23 “And he saith unto them, ye Shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism with; but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is nor mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father” .

That is what I want to be prepared for. I want to be prepared to be in the sight of my heavenly father, because no unclean thing can enter into heaven. I want to be prepared to make that journey when I am called. And now I can tell my little cub scout what it means to be prepared and what the Scriptures tell us about preparedness, and maybe those people on that show aren’t quite as crazy as the show makes them out to be, after all, the world thought Noah was a few crayons short of a full box.

I leave my testimony with you, that as we prepare ourselves to be perfected in Christ, we will know the journey we are on. We will understand better the guidance of our father in heaven and his plans for us. I love you all and I pray that these words speak to you and help you in being prepared for anything. I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Alethea Gaukel

Alethea, Ally for short, has three wonderful children, whom she homeschools, and a fine husband, Chuck.  Ally grew up in northern California before making here home in rural northwest Missouri.  She loves helping others by being a friend, inspiring them to take action in their own lives financially, spiritually and in health.  She loves the Lord and wants to share His message.  Her family supports Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri as well as ReStart, an interfaith shelter system to help families  and grown foster children find places to live.  James 1:8, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)

Alethea, Ally for short, has three wonderful children, whom she homeschools, and a fine husband, Chuck. Ally grew up in northern California before making here home in rural northwest Missouri. She loves helping others by being a friend, inspiring them to take action in their own lives financially, spiritually and in health. She loves the Lord and wants to share His message. Her family supports Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri as well as ReStart, an interfaith shelter system to help families and grown foster children find places to live. James 1:8, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)

I CHOOSE TO SPEAK WITH 4-LETTER WORDS

I recently read an article from Today’s Christian Woman about speaking with truth. A quote from the article says this:  “The qualification that we are being honest or authentic doesn’t give us license to say whatever comes to mind.  After all, Jesus didn’t run around blurting out everything that was true.  While He was never deceitful, Jesus sometimes intentionally withheld truth because he knew that the audience wasn’t ready to hear it. He knew when to speak a harsh rebuke and when to be silent.”  Too often we get caught up in being “honest” that we forget to speak with a filter and end up hurting the people that we love the most.  We can be truthful without the need for brutal honesty. How do we do this? We speak with my favorite 4-letter word:  LOVE. We all know 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and how it describes love. “Love is patient, kind, etc.” But I would like to present it to you as it is written in The Message.

“Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.”

How does this translate into our everyday conversations with the ones we love? Or even people we may only meet once? Do they hear LOVE when we speak? When we ask Jesus into our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to reside in us, we become living examples of God’s love. We give Him “skin” so to speak. The idea of an unfailing God who loves unconditionally can be hard to believe for some. That is why it is so important for us to allow His love to flow from every fiber of our being. We need to remember that God speaks to us with love. GOD IS LOVE.  He doesn’t keep a record of our wrongs. He casts them as far as the east is from the west.  God doesn’t force himself or His will on us. He gives us room to choose, because that is what true love is. And I absolutely revel in the fact that He ALWAYS wants the best for me and He NEVER gives up on me. Just as we make a choice to live for Jesus, we need to make a purposeful choice to speak with love; to be a place of nurture and comfort; to be one that uplifts and not tears down even when speaking with honesty.

Another one of my favorite 4-letter words is HOPE.  What exactly is “hope?” It is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; grounds for believing that something good may happen.” Hoping is very different from wishing in that when a person hopes, she is actively believing for a positive outcome. She is expecting. A wish is a “want for something that cannot or probably will not happen.” God often speaks of hope. In Jeremiah 29:11 He says that He has “plans to give you hope and a future.”  In Psalms, David reminds us to put our hope in God for He is where our hope comes from. Even in Titus 2:11-13, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” We can hope for many things in life, but the thing I hope for the most is to spend eternity in heaven with my God and Savior and to see my loved ones filled with this same hope. This cannot be accomplished through harsh words and constant criticism, but I can choose to speak love and hope into the lives of those around me by being positive and looking towards the future; always encouraging even in the midst of disagreement, discipline, and even honesty.

Dear Lord, give me the strength to choose love and hope. Help me to live my life on purpose and to bring you glory with my words and actions. Give me the wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent; to uplift those around me and not tear them down. Thank you for your unfailing love and the hope of an eternity with you. In Your name. Amen.

Becky Reid

Becky Reid Becky has a passion for teaching children.  She has five beautiful blessings of her own and has been active in children’s ministry for over ten years.  It brings her great joy to watch children grow and learn.  Becky has hope that she will be able to finish her degree in Early Childhood Education in her near future, but in the mean time she will revel in the talent that God has given her for baking.  Not only does baking create memories for those she bakes for, but it brings happiness to her heart. Becky and her family moved to Wyoming about three years ago to help her parents establish a church and they call it home today.  While Isaiah 54 has been her go to Scripture she has found strength and comfort in Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Becky Reid
Becky has a passion for teaching children. She has five beautiful blessings of her own and has been active in children’s ministry for over ten years. It brings her great joy to watch children grow and learn. Becky has hope that she will be able to finish her degree in Early Childhood Education in her near future, but in the mean time she will revel in the talent that God has given her for baking. Not only does baking create memories for those she bakes for, but it brings happiness to her heart. Becky and her family moved to Wyoming about three years ago to help her parents establish a church and they call it home today. While Isaiah 54 has been her go to Scripture she has found strength and comfort in Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

Lessons From “Me Time”

I’ve been studying the book of Colossians.  I love this book and today before I began my reading and studying I prayed, “Lord, open my heart and head to what you want me to learn today from this.”  Simple, I know, but He totally delivered for me today! Don’t you just love when you say a very simple and seemingly nonchalant prayer and God just overwhelms you with an amazing answer? I totally do!!

Oh friends, today, he spoke loud and clear to me! I wanted to share.
I read through Colossians again (yes, the whole book). In Chapter three verse two it says to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Okay, so lately my mind has not been heaven bound, but on the here and now of what I am walking through. Nothing major really, just a lot of distractions and lack of focus. It’s really just the selfish heart I have pounding in my chest, but I can control those thoughts. My mind is not regulated by any other person, but me.  God gave me an individual personality and thoughts so that I could make decisions for myself. He is pretty awesome like that!  So, lesson one; controlling my thoughts – check! (This will be continual work on my part. Lots of prayer.)
Then further down it says, “But you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.” So, I don’t struggle with all of these, but I get angry and I usually internalize it and then it builds and I totally explode all over everywhere. I hate this less attractive part of me, but this is a reminder that I need to work on this area more and pray more in depth about it. Last thanksgiving I remember such an episode.  I had taken every frustration for the past several months, all the heartache, all the confusion, all the hurt and swallowed it.  I didn’t talk to anybody about any of it (well, maybe I whined to a couple girlfriends), but I didn’t pray about any of those emotions.  I cracked wide open and spewed all over my husband that day.  Of course it would be on thanksgiving; a day that my family could just be happy together and eat a good meal. I ruined that one! So, lesson two; dealing with my emotions and frustrations in a healthy and prayerful way – check!
But Paul said that instead of focusing on these not so great qualities we NEED to, “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
There are these answers of how to live a beautiful life in the image of God right here for us. It’s not a struggle to choose the good over the less charming. It should be our nature as Christians to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. With Titus II Woman it is our mission to love others and encourage them. So, why have I been less than what I was meant to be? Plain ol’ sin coming in with a sneaky little culprit. Man, I hate that Satan!
Lord, I can’t do any of this without you holding my hand.  I need you every step of the way reassuring that I am the woman you called me to be.  Forgive anything that may come to mind or heart that is not bearing the perfect fruit to further your kingdom. Thank you for loving me even in the state of less than perfect virtues. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

When Words Fail

This is the hardest part of leading a ministry and writing so regularly for a blog that is the major part of that ministry.

No words. I literally sit and try to write something that will touch the hearts of women (some men too) and nothing flows out of me. I really hate not having any words to share. Seriously! Words are my life. I usually have no trouble with them just falling from my head, but they just aren’t there.

It could be because life has had some challenges lately.  My grandfather had a major stroke not a week ago and it has left us all feeling like loss is right there. (He is doing better and in an acute care program, but he will never be the same. Please pray for him. His name is Michael.) We also are trying to be there for my grandmother as her life love is facing so many life altering changes and these affect her as well.

Then to top the cake we were informed that my estranged grandmother (the same side of the family) was in congestive heart failure and admitted to the hospital where she lives. (She has since been moved to CU and has mini strokes.) Ya’all, I’m not entirely sure that this long lost grandmother is a Christian.  She had decided to cease all contact with our family a very long time ago. To my knowledge she doesn’t even know that I have four beautiful children and live in this great state of Alaska.

So, you see, I have had this flurry of emotion and thoughts happening, but the words still fail to originate.  How I hate this feeling.   I suppose there are times where God just wants us to be quiet and just really rely on him in these times.  We don’t have to have words all the time.  I am a firm believer, and actually prayed this for a friend today, that even the mention of his name, JESUS, is enough for him to know exactly what is on your heart. But He also longs to hear our cries to him.  They are personal. Raw. Real.

Friends, today I just encourage you to sit in the stillness of His goodness because He has complete control and is the ultimate healer of all things; emotions, physical needs, heart break, soul savings, etc.  He is still there listening to your soul search for him in more ways that we will ever know.

Lord, I just want to say your name, JESUS.  My heart is full and my words can’t form to say what is in my heart and on my mind.  There are numb days that I just have nothing.  Fill in those nothing days with your presence and make me whole. In Your precious name, amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Still

Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 NASB

Has God ever told you to just be still and let Him do it, to cease striving? I love the thought, but when it actually comes down to it, I find the urge to “do something” hard to resist. I think am I programed, much like all Americans, that work or doing is the substance of life and that our value comes from what we do. We measure our success by how much we got done in a day or how many hours we work per week or what the bank balance says. Heaven’s economy doesn’t work like that. I do not think we’ll get to the end of life and be asked, “why didn’t you work more” or “why don’t you have a bigger bank account”.

I read a book recently called a Beautiful Life by Kerry Clarensau. One thing she said really resonated with me.  She said, “At the end of our lives, the only thing that will matter is our relationship with God and our relationship with others.” That’s it. Nothing else can be taken with us.

It’s just a hard shift to make, to find our value in God and what he can do for us, not our works and our bank account. I think that’s why the Sabbath day rest commandment is so hard to keep, at least for me. It’s been engrained that rest equals laziness and that waiting is wasting time. Taking time to be still is an art form that our society lacks today.

I remember one sermon my husband preached a while back about being still. He told the congregation that we were going to be still and sit in silence for five minutes.  You could have cut the tension with a knife. Silence makes people uncomfortable.  Sitting makes us fidgety. Not two minutes went by and my husband couldn’t take it any longer, everyone was going crazy. It was a point well made. It’s against our human nature to be still, to be silent. And yet I think we miss the biggest blessings because we overlook this form of worship.

I am a worship leader at heart. Love, love, love worship!!! That being said, sometimes we forget that the most powerful, life changing, moments have come not in the middle of an awesome worship service, but in the still small voice that meets us in our prayer closet, in a quiet field as Moses heard, or the speaking to our hearts He often does when we do take time to be still.

I think it’s time to pray that God would renew the discipline of quietness in us. That he would help us to cease striving. He told us that his yoke was easy and his burden light in the book of Matthew. Striving makes us tired, but being still and letting God fight our battles, while against human nature, is where we will find true rest.

Lord, help us to quit striving and working so hard to accomplish things that you want to do for us. Help us when we are feeling stressed and frazzled to take inventory of our time and see if we have taken the time to rest and be still. Help us to know that it’s not laziness, but it’s commanded for our good. Oh, God, we love you and trust that you have our best interests at heart. Amen

Amanda Keller

Amanda is a homeschooling mother of two great children and wife to Nathan.  While Amanda grew up in Jordan, Montana, their family makes their home in Bismarck, North Dakota.  Amanda's passion for leading others in worship shines through along with her love for Jesus, her family and laughter.  Their family loves to support Compassion International in whatever way possible. Amanda holds associates degrees in both music performance and office administration from Trinity Bible College.  "your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but something you raise." ~Andy Stanley

Amanda is a homeschooling mother of two great children and wife to Nathan. While Amanda grew up in Jordan, Montana, their family makes their home in Bismarck, North Dakota. Amanda’s passion for leading others in worship shines through along with her love for Jesus, her family and laughter. Their family loves to support Compassion International in whatever way possible. Amanda holds associates degrees in both music performance and office administration from Trinity Bible College. “your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but something you raise.” ~Andy Stanley

Dream Big Dreams

You get an address for a certain place you looking for in a city.  You turn on your GPS. It says you will reach your destination in like 15 minutes and you think “Yay, this won’t be so bad after all.”  Then you hit traffic, construction, detours, and before you know it you are sent on a wild goose chase around the city.  You don’t know where you are going, but with unwavering trust you depend on your GPS to get you there.  This is how we should trust the guidance that God gives us by his Holy Spirit.

My husband and I just finished reading the book called the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  It has inspired me to do more of what Batterson calls “prayer circles”.  In his book, Mark says, “When you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, you never know who you’ll meet, where you’ll go, or what you’ll do.  But one thing is for certain:  it’ll be anything but boring!”

This past Memorial Day weekend my husband, Joey, and I flew to his hometown of Canton, Ohio where we looked for a place for our family to live and jobs.   We were able to see family members we hadn’t seen in a while and were even able to begin to reconcile with others.  God has a way of opening doors that we cannot!  While there we were contemplating between three churches that we had narrowed down to possibly visit the Sunday we were in town.  We chose one not really knowing why we needed to go to that specific church.  We were in the middle of worship when my husband looked over and saw someone he knew.  We had no idea that this man was even attending that church, we hadn’t even tried to set time up to meet him while visiting.  It was a complete God moment; a moment where we were able to pour into this man’s life as he is going through difficult family moments. See, God knew that he would be there. God knew that they would be singing certain songs during worship that would encourage us to know that we are on the right path in moving.   Even my husband’s uncle took us in his vehicle circling every side of specific neighborhoods that we were praying for.  He didn’t know we were praying for those places he just wanted to make sure we saw them from every angle.

What are you believing God to do in your life?  What is holding you back from running after God with everything within you?  Maybe you’re like my husband and I, moving by faith to a place that God has called our family to go; moving there by faith not knowing all the details but knowing that God has put it on our hearts to go.

Don’t let what people might think hold you back from pursuing the things that God has called you to do!  Dream big dreams!  Pray over those dreams!  Run after opportunities that God puts out there for you to pursue! Let’s quiet our hearts, pray when we worry, and hang on tight as we go on an adventure with God every day.  He leads and guides us into what He wants for us and our families!

Jesus, I pray for those who read this article to be blessed and encouraged!  I pray that they will follow the dreams that you have placed in their lives!  Jesus, help us all to follow the calling that you have placed in each of our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

Mikayla Winafeld

Mikayla has a heart for student ministries and seeing lives transformed as well as a passion for worship ministry.  Mikayla and her family make their home in northwest Missouri where she grew up.  As a couple, Mikayla and Joey, volunteer at their church in student ministries and Mikayla is also a member of the worship team.  Her heart shows through in all she does and that is how she is seen; with a huge heart for people.  Mikayla is a graduate of Central Bible College with a bachelor’s in Children’s Ministry and a minor in Music.  Her favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 and says, “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

Mikayla has a heart for student ministries and seeing lives transformed as well as a passion for worship ministry. Mikayla and her family make their home in northwest Missouri where she grew up. As a couple, Mikayla and Joey, volunteer at their church in student ministries and Mikayla is also a member of the worship team. Her heart shows through in all she does and that is how she is seen; with a huge heart for people. Mikayla is a graduate of Central Bible College with a bachelor’s in Children’s Ministry and a minor in Music. Her favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 and says, “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

No More Fear

I laid in my bed with tears rolling down my face.  I didn’t understand why at this moment I was being stabbed, like a knife, with a paralyzing fear of loss.  It gripped me unlike any other moment I had ever experienced.

I just had my alone time, winding down time really, and had quietly got into bed, sure not to wake my already sleeping husband.  I got under the covers and laid my head on my tempurpedic pillow, it’s totally awesome, and it was immediate; what if something terrible happens to my son when he is on his kids hike this Saturday?  Every scenario ran through my head.  We live in Alaska.  A hike in the wilderness is not just like any other hike.  Bears. Moose, even worse.  Falling down whatever mountain or steep trail they intend to climb. Getting separated from the group because he needed to tie his shoe or just got a little tired and wanted to rest.  Every single scenario.

I am not usually a woman that is gripped by fear, but my biggest is that I lose one of my children in death in some tragic way; I guess there is nothing but tragedy in the loss of a child.  As the tears loped down my cheeks I cried out in silent prayer, “Lord, please keep my children safe.  Keep them healthy and thank you for loaning them to me while on this earth.”  I had no good words.  Just simple, plain words that I knew anyone who would hear them would understand my mother’s heart. (As you can see in the picture my little man had a GREAT time and made it home safe.)

God never intended for us to be fearful of this world.  In Isaiah 41:10 is says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).  God promises in this very verse to never leave us and to always be with us.  He is our strength when we are weak (Isaiah 12:2).  I was weak in that moment last night.  As soon as I prayed and handed over my fear of losing my son to God, my body and mind calmed and I drifted off to sleep.  I slept well and woke earlier than normal feeling rejuvenated and ready for a new day.  Not always does it happen that way, but God knew that I just needed a little more of him last night in my failing humanity.

Lord, I hand my fears to you and trust your perfect plan and path for my life.  My children and husband are not mine.  They belong to you.  You have graciously loaned them to me while I live on this earth.  I trust the plan you have for their lives with my whole heart.  Remind me of Isaiah 12:2 when I start to feel afraid, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

HELP GOD!

In my young adult Sunday school class we have been studying about the life of David. What an extraordinary young man; a man truly after God’s own heart. But, as we study we are finding that David was a man not much more different than you and me.  He had many faults, he made many bad decisions and many times he cried out to God for help.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

The one thing we can learn from David is that there is help! There is a refuge that we can find and when we find it we gain strength for whatever battle we are facing.  By definition a refuge is:  a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. This is truly what God offers to each and every one of us.

Recently my heart has been troubled, as a pastor’s wife, at how satisfied we have become with the lives we live. I’m concerned that if Jesus were to come back that he would find many of us sleeping, rather than watching and waiting. This troubled me so much and I was feeling despondent. I needed answers and I needed direction.  Now this may seem simple or even silly to many but our time is so very short. We don’t have long to make a difference and we really do desperately need help! There is a storm that is raging; this storm is not in nature but in the spiritual realm. We need to take refuge in God for strength and answers.

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3

I don’t want to be counted in those that are “falling away”. I want to gain the strength I need for all the days to come. No matter what those days may bring into my life; joy or sadness, I know that I can find the sweet place of refuge that will bring peace and strength to my soul.

I want to encourage the women of God to not fall into the snare of sleep, but be motivated to do more, give more, encourage more, praise more and witness more. There are so many people that are looking for the answer and we have to be ready and willing to share that answer with them. Jesus Christ!

If your heart is troubled, if you are scared, lonely, facing financial ruin, God cares and He is the ever present help in time of trouble. Reach up and take His hand and let Him encourage you. But never, and I say it again, never give up!

 Lord, today we come to you with hearts that have been crying out to you for more of what you want in our lives.  Help us to follow your lead each and every day as we set out to do your will in our everyday moments.  We place our trust, our lives, our hearts in your hands, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Glennette Christian

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life.  He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people.  While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives.  She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them.  Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life. He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people. While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives. She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

 

Not Just About Me

It was my birthday today, May 28.  I am one of those women who really don’t care to make much of my birthday, at least that is how I am now.  I would love to wake up and just keep it like any other day, but my family loves to celebrate me, on this day especially.  I learned a few years ago to let them bless me in this way because it was blessing them and also celebrating their lives.  Let’s face it, it’s no fun when the person you are trying so hard to celebrate is a grump and wishes the day were over. I was just that, a grump. The older I got the more I disliked the day.  Some women are excited at growing older and seeing what comes next, but, well, that is not how I feel.

One year my husband had to have a conversation with me; it was not pleasant.  I was not seeing how my attitude was affecting my family on this day.  I was unpleasant, to say the least, from waking up to going to sleep.  My children were so excited to make me gifts and cards. They would repeat the words, “Happy Birthday, Mom!” to me throughout the day.  They plan a special lunch meal and help their dad pick a gift that they all think I will love.  I should know that they would do the same for me as I do for them when it’s their birthday, but my attitude, well, it just plain sucked.  David said to me one year, “You are killing their spirit by not letting them bless you. They have been trying so hard to make this a special day for you, but you are grumpy and mad. If not for you then make it a good day for them.” Geesh, not a convo you want to have on your birthday.  Mom fail.

While I don’t always want to make a whole day about me, my family loves it.  They want to return blessing that they are given daily by me.  I never have this problem on Mother’s Day. Ain’t that funny? Just something about growing another year older.

I determined myself to make my birthday, from that moment on, about my family.  I want them to be able to celebrate me with their love because through their heart actions they will be showered with blessings from above and that is the greatest blessing, as their wife and mother, to ever see. How we choose to act out our day matters, not just to yourself, but those you are living life with here on this earth.  I know that as a mother to my four gems I am not only their role model, but I am their spiritual mentor as well.  What I do, they see.  What I say, they hear.  How I act, well, that affects them and I want that all to be godly.  I fail at this too, but thank God for grace and mercy, forgiveness and second chances.

Lord, my choices as a mother, friend, sister, and wife make a difference in not just my life.  Help me to always think of others before myself. Guide my steps to lead and my heart to love. When I don’t want to celebrate, give me a heart of thanksgiving and emotions that match. Thank you for loving me even in my human resistance. In Your name, amen.

 Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in North Pole, Alaska. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.