Stand Firm

stand-firmHave you ever been reading along during your daily devotional time and all of a sudden a verse just jumps out at you? Well this morning, a cool, fall morning, I was doing just that. Reading in Isaiah.  Oh how I love the book of Isaiah. He was truly a prophet before his time. But as I read along I came to Isaiah 7:9 “The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’”

Ok, so part “A” of this verse I breezed right past. I know that the Jewish people looked down on Samaritan’s so I just read along. Then I read part “B”, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” I was stopped in my tracks. I went back and read it again and again, this morning. Then when I got to work I read it once again.

Do you realize how much truth is there? We often take that little five letter word for granted – FAITH. Scripture tells, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Ok, so how do I do this? How do I stand firm in faith when I feel extremely weak, overwhelmed, scared or concerned?  At those times my faith seems to be very weak. Ladies, remember the old song “I Am Woman”? While I didn’t totally agree with all the lyrics of that song, we are women.  And a woman of faith can stand firm.

I believe wholeheartedly in praying scripture. God doesn’t need to be reminded of His promises, but He does like to know that we have read those promises and can quote them and stand firm in our faith on them.

So often I have been at a crossroad in my life; it may be illness,  relocating to a new community, children being hurt, or a fight with the hubby (yep it happens). At those moments when I don’t know what to do I look to scripture and hit my knees.

I recently did a Bible study with the young adults on Psalm 91, oh the many promises that are in that one chapter alone? There is one verse in that chapter that I have prayed when I have felt weak and unable to be firm in my faith. “No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” Psalm 91:10 Get this, ladies, and stand on it, “nothing will come near your tent.” What is your tent?  Your family! You can stand firm for nothing is going to overtake you. I have prayed this prayer time and again. You know what? He (God) has never let me down.

I am not sure why I felt the urge to write this but I believe it is for someone that really needs these words right now so pray with me…

Abba, I come to you right now for my sister(s) that are going through a time where they do not feel they have the faith to stand firm and I ask that you will keep all disaster from them and their family. That you will reveal yourself to them as that wonderful promise keeping Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love to you all from my deepest heart!

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)

3 Steps to Less Gossip

We all do it or have done it. Sometimes it comes out and we don’t even realize it. Words form and before we can stop them they spill from our mouth. Without intention, we are the very thing we were told not be in Titus 2 verse 3, slanderer.

What really is a slanderer? According to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary it is someone who will accuse someone else falsely or misrepresent them in order to defame or damage their reputation.  And isn’t this exactly what we do when we gossip?

I hate to admit that I have been the person who used gossip and hurt people that have been close to me and also those who are just acquaintances. It is a hard pill to swallow to walk knowingly with the fact that my words have been used to wound hearts deeply. I walk with regret of having done this every day and wish that I could take back words that I said, but I cannot and it pains me.

As women who want to serve Christ we have to guard our tongues at all times. 1 Timothy 3:11 says, “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” Can you honestly say this is you right now? I want to be the kind of woman in Proverbs 11:13, “a gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret”, whom other women want to go to talk to and trust with their life secrets; the ins and outs that make life turn.  I do not want to be a woman who spreads half truths about another woman and hurts with words.

James 3 says that a tongue out of control indicates a life out of control which can cause a lot of destruction. What, or should I say who, is the source of an uncontrolled tongue? Yep, Satan. He is the root of all gossip and harmful talk and slander. You (WE) need to know who you are working for when you are engaged in gossip.

The Greek word for slander is diabolos which happens to be used 34 times in the New Testament. Diabolos also means Satan and he is and will forever be a false accuser. He is the source of all evil. Do not allow him to have control over your tongue. Instead let yourself be prompted by the Holy Spirit to say what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.

Here are three steps to help you not be the woman who speaks hurtful words:

3-steps-to-less-gossip

 

 

 

 

1.      Think first. Pause long enough to ask yourself if what you are about to say is true or false, exaggerated or accurate, healing or hurtful, grateful or complaining.

2.      Talk less. The Bible says that it is the wise who talk less. Speak only with words of God.

3.      Start now. Ask God to reveal to you when you are about to gossip or be harmful to another woman through your words and pray that he will guide you in saying what is necessary and not hurtful.

I found it helpful to look up more verses in the Bible that speak about gossip, slander, and harmful talk. I had no idea that there were so many verses that spoke against this. No, seriously. Try it. Find a concordance and go for it. I would list them all, but it would take another page to share them, but here are a few that you can look at to further your study time: Proverbs 16:28, 18:8, 20:19, 26:20, 26:22; Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Leviticus 19:16…

Oh Lord, my tongue seems to have a mind of its own except we both know that is not true and I need to not make excuses for myself when I have done wrong. Help me to realize my words before they spill from my mouth and hurt someone I care about. Use my words for good and not evil and help me to be trustworthy in everything. Amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara is the founder and president of Titus II Woman Ministries as well as the wife to David and the mother to their four children. Together, they make their home in Southeast Idaho. She is a graduate of Crown College and most passionate about reaching the hearts of women of all ages and customs. She loves to write and teach God's Word. Favorite Quote - "Make history with God and He will make history through you."

Tara is the founder and president of Titus II Woman Ministries as well as the wife to David and the mother to their four children. Together, they make their home in Southeast Idaho. She is a graduate of Crown College and most passionate about reaching the hearts of women of all ages and customs. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. Favorite Quote – “Make history with God and He will make history through you.”

The Name’s Useful

The assignment was to write a little something about who we are and why we are taking this online course and include a random fun fact about our self. Honestly, as soon as I am asked to say something fun, all witty answers exit stage right. I ended up walking the line of ho-hum by telling them that I grew up a Navy brat and I had to move thirteen times by the time I was eighteen. I shared that this probably helped me to break through my introverted tendencies though I require a lot of down time after spending time with others. Real friendly and fun, right? Well, probably not, but I did enjoy reading about the coaches and my fellow classmates a great deal, and the following woman’s answer had me thinking, probably a little too much.

“One random fun fact about me is that outside of being a teacher I always wanted to work in a hospital to help people. In fifth grade I fainted at the sight of a video about scoliosis. I also have a hard time with blood and body parts. Ha! I learned quickly that God was calling me in another direction! There is no way I could make it being a nurse or tech of any sort.”

I imagine she was disappointed that she probably couldn’t handle the work of a nurse or a tech in a hospital, but I don’t know that she was heartbroken. It sounded as if she wanted to be a teacher just as much. This early knowledge most likely helped her focus her goals on teaching right away. That is something I didn’t do.

When I was supposed to be focusing on my future, I was holding down three jobs, going to school, and drinking away my off-hours. I was completely unfocused and on the fast track to graduating with a masters in failure. Through it all I had constant reminders that people had high expectations for me, but I was ruining everything by labeling myself “ugly”, “unworthy”, “messed-up”, and “useless”. I think of myself as being like Onesimus in the Bible, however.

Go ahead and puzzle over my dizzying intellect. I’m just trying to be real with you. This is how my mind works: new acquaintance learns early that she cannot handle work in a hospital helping people…her other interest was teaching, and I assume it was easy for her to focus on a teaching profession…I wasn’t focused on anything positive, in fact I was trying to deaden my feelings of depression by drinking when I should have been deciding on a profession in college…read about Onesimus.

Do you remember who Onesimus is in the Bible? He’s the useless slave, thief, and runaway who met Paul, who was in prison at the time, and was converted to following and serving Christ alongside Paul. Did you know the name Onesimus actually means useful? I so appreciate the play on words Paul uses in his appeal to good friend and Christian brother, Philemon, who happened to be Onesimus’ owner and the person Onesimus stole from before running away.

I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. Philemon:10-11

Onesimus was once a useless slave, thief, and runaway, but when the letter arrived with Onesimus to set things right between the slave and his owner, Onesimus was living up to his name, and Paul had this to say about the man.

I am sending him – who is my very heart – back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good – no longer as a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. Philemon:12-16

I was at the brink of complete self-destruction when I finally gave myself to God. That’s when He rewrote my beginning; I was born again. Just as Paul was ready to pay Philemon for any wrong or debt Onesimus may have had outstanding with him, Jesus paid for all that I owed and conquered all the wrong I did, and I hope you believe and accept that He has done this for you also. There is no need to compare my old self to anyone else, I am new…period. I can only compare who I once was with who I am today. He changed my name. He calls me “beautiful”, “forgiven”, “redeemed”, even “useful”. What does our Father call you?

Dearest Father, Thank You that I can face each day with my head held high. I look to You as the definition for who I am. You are my king, You are my redeemer, You are the conqueror and keeper of my heart. I pray every woman who reads this will know the joy of becoming Yours. Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him for He is your lord. (Psalm 45:10-11) You are my LORD, and I love You. Amen.

Lorinda Freeman

Lorinda has a passion and desire to teach children about the love of God.  She is a homeschooling mom of four and together as a family they work within their church with the children’s programs making sure the hearts of all the children are being taught God’s love for them.  Lorinda and her husband, Chris, make their home in Hibbing, Minnesota after Lorinda had endured extensive travel growing up as a Navy “brat”. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13, “We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.  As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.  Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Lorinda has a passion and desire to teach children about the love of God. She is a homeschooling mom of four and together as a family they work within their church with the children’s programs making sure the hearts of all the children are being taught God’s love for them. Lorinda and her husband, Chris, make their home in Hibbing, Minnesota after Lorinda had endured extensive travel growing up as a Navy “brat”. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13, “We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Lessons from the Students

As a teacher I spend a lot of time preparing lessons that teach the objective at hand and keep the students attention. I am blessed that I get to do this at a Christian School. I love bringing God’s word into math, reading, and science and teach Bible lessons.  Much of the time as I am teaching God has a lesson for me.

Last year was tough.  My husband, Scott’s, peripheral neuropathy got exponentially worse.  He cannot feel anything in his feet.  His hands are not much better.  Our lives changed dramatically, as he went from the major bread winner to stay at home dad.  With all the changes our family went through, God was there.  When I thought that I couldn’t go on, or make it through the day, God would show me He was there. He was strong during this weak time in my life.  He was my strength that got me through. I believe I learned more from God through my students than I taught them.

As I tried to decide if I would stay teaching or try and find another job that paid more money, I sought God’s guidance.  I would go to school every day and put on that show for my students; teaching them the word of God, but with each lesson I was learning more from Him.

I shared with my students my husband’s illness and how God was providing for my family. Everything from friends giving us food to our dog bringing us money (not only once but twice.)  All the while praying that God would show me the path I was to take. Just when I thought I should find a job with more money and medical insurance, He would guide my path back to staying where I was at.

Some examples of this are: one of my students came and told me she was fasting from candy for a week while praying for Scott’s healing. Another student came and said he would bring me all of his money if I needed it. Parents came and started to ask what disease my husband had because their child would pray for Scott at night during their prayer time.

I realized that my family was much bigger than I thought. God used my students to show His love for me and my family.

The moment that I knew the path to take came during a chapel lesson.  I was teaching about the Armor of God; the Sword of the Spirit to be exact. I was teaching the students that God’s Word was alive and powerful. God’s Word is different than what the world tells us and it cuts through falsehoods.  In this particular lesson we talked about how the world tells us that having possessions and MONEY are the most important things; that they will make us happy.  God’s Word says “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matt 6:33, NLT). I had prepared this lesson, but it wasn’t until I said these words out loud to the students that they cut through me like the very sword I was speaking of. It was at that moment that I knew taking the path that may lead to having more money and more things wouldn’t solve our problems.  I had to stay on the path that I was on and keep teaching.

God is providing everything that we need.  We are still adjusting and, yes, we still have problems, but we have laughter in our house; laughter and joy.  We are seeking God and his kingdom. It’s not always easy, but when I start to feel lost or hopeless, it never fails, I learn a lesson from the lesson I thought was for my students.

The Bible verse God showed me for my class this year is, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”, found in Colossians 3:23 (NIV).  I am not working for money or for anyone but the Lord.  God has placed me here at Victory Christian Academy for another year.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that we can continue to seek your guidance in all that we do.  I pray for anyone reading this that is sitting at the crossroads, wondering which way to turn that you show them where you want them to go.  Bless those that are seeking to find you.  I thank you that you provide all that we need.  Help us weed out what we don’t need and get rid of things that keep us from You.  Amen.

Shannon Smith

Shannon is the mother to three wonderful children and wife to Scott for almost sixteen years.  Together their family makes their home in northern Minnesota on a 40 acre farm.  They love all things outdoors including hunting and fishing and taking care of their chickens and cow.  Shannon’s passion lies in teaching her students, writing and reading.  One day, it is her dream to write a children’s book.  Shannon’s heart is to love the Lord and be used of Him.  Shannon has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University.

Shannon is the mother to three wonderful children and wife to Scott for almost sixteen years. Together their family makes their home in northern Minnesota on a 40 acre farm. They love all things outdoors including hunting and fishing and taking care of their chickens and cow. Shannon’s passion lies in teaching her students, writing and reading. One day, it is her dream to write a children’s book. Shannon’s heart is to love the Lord and be used of Him. Shannon has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University.

Monday Mayhem

I want to take you back to August. Yes, I realize that it wasn’t that long ago and most of you are very happy to moving into fall, but our dear Tiffany had some wisdom to share that day and I wanted to share it with you again. Please follow the link to the article. If you have read it, well, read it again because we all have something we can learn and learn again, right! I’m with ya there.

Ladies, I pray that you have the most amazingly blessed day as you live out what Christ has set before you. Remember that you are never alone in this journey. You have a friend, well, more than just one if you count all of us at Titus II Woman. We are here for you as your friend and sister. God has a plan in all this…

https://beingthetitusiiwoman.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/stamp-of-approval/

As always….Read, Like, Share, Comment and ENJOY!

Tara

 

Laughter Is Good Medicine – Double My Dose!

laughter-is-good

“Well now, that was a different kind of experience. I didn’t know I had it in me!”
Those were my thoughts directly following our daughters first cross country meet two years ago. Here is the humorous retelling from my mental archive:
My husband and I just ‘participated’ in our daughter’s first cross country meet. Having never done this before, we needed to be brought up to speed. Little did I know ‘speed’ was the operative word!
There were no bag chairs, no bleachers and definitely no popcorn. There wasn’t a map of the course available so we decided to just ‘follow the crowd’ of seasoned veteran spectators. How hard could it be right?
Hold on, here we go!
The GUN FIRED! The crowd’s cheering sounded thunderous. Within seconds more than five hundred of us watching were now RUNNING to cross the golf course to keep the cheering momentum going. Three hundred yards later this mamacita was suckin’ wind, but ohhhh, sweet sister in Christ, I was cheering my little lungs out (what was left of them anyway)!
Before I could adequately recover the crowd swung back around and off we were running to the next point and the next and the next. This was exhilarating! Asthma could have been a contributing factor to all this exhilaration I suspect, but I was all in, asthma or not.
Quickly I learned that spectator is a rather misleading word in this particular sport, but we enjoyed every minute of watching our daughter compete with her team. I think at some odd moment of broken concentration my daughter saw me as a competitor in this unusual display of ‘my mother is running!?’
The thrill of running is in the fiber of my family on varying levels thanks to my husband’s genes. He has always been a lover of running. Now in his forties he doesn’t have as much time in the day to leisurely run, but just over a month ago I witnessed the man wake up, lace up his running shoes and go medal in a 5K. I, on the other hand, am the woman who never uses the word ‘leisure’ and ‘run’ in the same sentence, unless I’m blogging I guess!
We all have the things we are good at and just come easy for us. Isn’t it wonderful how unique God made each of us? We are a package deal of giftedness for His glory.
“Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” James 1:17
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14
I may not be strong in the area of athletic prowess, but I’ve been known to break a sweat and get pretty winded with outbursts of laughter. I think that can count for being physically exerting right?!
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22
As you get to know me here at Titus II Woman, you will see that I have a natural bent towards humor and encouragement. I really want those gifts to be used everywhere I interact in the Body of Christ to point people to the goodness of God through the Gospel and His incredible, unchanging Word.
When you discover Christ as Lord your outlook on life can’t help but be transformed! Your purpose for living is taken to a whole new level and life really begins to be abundant and full because of Christ and what He has done for us in His life, death, and resurrection.
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
How has God designed you to fulfill His purpose? Think on that a while today. Are you an encourager? Do you have a passion for hospitality? Maybe you have this amazing gift of administrative skill that really gets put to good use within your sphere of influence. However you were designed by God, rededicate those gifts to be used for His glory and namesake. Persevere in this life to make Christ known in your home, your church, your community. Where ever you are, run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1) making the good news of Christ known and seize every opportunity, using your gifts, to magnify our great Savior!
“Father, thank You for Jesus! Thank You for offering us a new identity in Him as we place our trust in Him for salvation. You have made us each with a special set of gifts and a personality that is uniquely designed by You and for You. Help us to celebrate Your creativity as Your image bearers and to use every aspect for the work Your Kingdom. May we have the joy of the Lord as our strength as we run the race towards the prize of eternity with You forever! Oh what a wonderful hope we have when hidden in Christ. ~ Amen.

Cindy Nyberg

Cindy comes into Titus II Woman Ministry with a gift of writing and speaking. Her passion to share the goodness of Jesus Christ spills from the page and into your heart. Cindy is known to light up the room with the joy of Jesus and contagious laughter! Admittedly she says her one and only hobby is enjoying great conversation with friends over a good cup of coffee. She volunteers her time with multiple ministries within her local church. She is the wife to Tracy and mom to four amazing kids. Together, Cindy and her family make their home in Nebraska. “Only one life ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last”-Charles Studd.

Cindy comes into Titus II Woman Ministry with a gift of writing and speaking. Her passion to share the goodness of Jesus Christ spills from the page and into your heart. Cindy is known to light up the room with the joy of Jesus and contagious laughter! Admittedly she says her one and only hobby is enjoying great conversation with friends over a good cup of coffee. She volunteers her time with multiple ministries within her local church. She is the wife to Tracy and mom to four amazing kids. Together, Cindy and her family make their home in Nebraska. “Only one life ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last”-Charles Studd.