Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries

Called to a Life of Order

Yesterday, I left SoCal to fly and visit a friend and her family, for a long overdue visit.  What a blessing it is to remain close in life even if we don’t get to see each other in person very often.  Heart strings are some of the strongest materials out there.  🙂

I have flown more times this year than I have in a long time and I’m thankful that plane travel doesn’t bother me.  But as I sat next to the window on flight #2…a Propeller Plane…my perspective shifted just a little.  Okay, a lot!

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Those little blades connected to the engine were going to keep this heavy metal plane up in the air for the 70 minute trip I was about to take?  Oh Lord Jesus, help me now!  Then right before take off, two people were asked to move up to the front of the plane in order to help balance out the weight distribution of people, luggage, and plane.  Um…yeah!  Eek!!!

I always pray as the plane begins to taxi down the runway and during take off…yesterday, I kept praying until we leveled off!

So I got to thinking of all the people who are involved with taking care of this particular plane and all of the tasks that they have to do ~ I had to put my trust in their hands and pray they were capable ones.  The high level of maintenance performed daily on this little plane had to be done in very specific order, so that the plane would be ready to fly and carry its passengers. There cannot be any “easy way” outs or cheats when it comes to making promises of safety and security.  And really, you cannot have safety or security in the midst of chaos ~ the presence of order has to reign supreme.

I believe with my whole heart that God is not a god of chaos.  

He is absolutely the God of pure order.

He created life out of nothing.  We see this proof in Genesis 1:2a, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.”

When it came to Creation, God went in order:

He created light and separated it from the darkness (Genesis 1:4)

He separated the waters and created Heaven and earth (Genesis 1:6-10)

He created the trees, plants and vegetation (Genesis 1:11-12)

He created the seasons with specific purposes (Genesis 1:14)

He created birds of the air and the fish of the sea (Genesis 1:20-21)

He created the living creatures, beasts, and livestock on the earth (Genesis 1:24-25)

Then….

He created “man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

This was God’s plan from the beginning!  I’m so excited about what God is flooding my brain and my heart with right now that I’m about to burst, or cry, or both!  Again people ~ God’s Word is ALIVE and He is so good to reveal new aspects of His goodness to me when I truly take the time to soak it all in.

Looking at this very basic time line of creation, God was very specific and orderly in ALL of it!

Why didn’t the Trinity create man first?  Wouldn’t it have been just the coolest thing to watch creation happen in front of your eyes?  I mean really….beyond cool!

What I feel God is showing me in these passages is not just about an orderly creation, its about what God wanted to prepare for all of us ~ like a “Welcome Home” party.  He wanted to prepare the earth and the heavens just for us to enjoy.  God wanted everything here on earth to be perfect for us.  He wanted all the decorations to be “just so.”  He wanted the weather to be just right and the music of creation to be in sync at just the right time.  Everything He created, He called good and was satisfied with all of it.  He commanded all things ~ birds, trees, sea creatures, livestock, vegetation, light, dark, oceans ~ to be “fruitful and multiply.”  That phrase is only used about 11 times in the Old Testament and NINE of those mentions are in the book of Genesis. (ESV) I had never really taken the time before to let that sink in…God told all of these aspects to creation to be fruitful and multiply ~ and they listened!  Whoa!!

When the earthly Home He created was ready, that was when we were invited to move in, and not one minute early.

For the first time I’m seeing how God was setting the stage for us and showing us that all we need is what He has ALREADY provided.  Anything we can possibly imagine that we need or want, He as created it.  We have been given the immense gift, honor, and responsibility to take care and manage what God has put in order.  We have been given the authority over everything that lives on the earth and in the sea.  We are given daytime, nighttime, oceans, sky, and stars to enjoy ~ we don’t have to do anything to dominate those ~ if you will let me go so far as to say, those aspects of creation are our party favors.  The beauty of a sunrise, the magnificence of a sunset, the refreshing rain, the powerful waves of the ocean, the yearly seasons of winter, spring, summer, & fall, and the innumerable stars in the sky…these are all gifts that we are given every day simply because God wanted our Home to be beautiful!

Genesis 1:31-2:2 is the glorified culmination of the six days of Creation,

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.  Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.  So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

“…And…behold…”

To behold means: to observe; look at; see; regard; gaze upon; view; watch; or discern.

The Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit ~ exhibited all of these qualities as they beheld the world they created and they declared it ALL good!

It was in perfectly good order!

“…So God blessed…” ~ These words pack a punch my friends!

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If you will please indulge me a bit and let me use my own words, according the dictionary definitions of these words written above, the following is what I believe God has to say about all that He had created and how He felt about it:

“With great certainty, God has divinely favored, sanctified, and brought a sense of reverent worship to the day of rest upon the accomplishment of all He had done to create the heavens, the earth, and the creation of the first man and the first woman.” (Rene’ Bancroft, 2015)

I wish we were sitting across from each other, pouring over these scriptures in Genesis together and finding other related verses showing us how much God is an orderly God.  How He intended for us to behave, live, act, and care for each other.  I want to encourage you that living an orderly life does not mean you live a perfect one.  That is never (and never will here on earth) going to be an option.  Perfection will come when we are standing before our Lord, in Heaven.  What I can tell you is that because you are made in the image of God, and if you have given your life over to Him and received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have already been given the gifts and power to live a life of order.

I would like to invite you to pray right now, wherever you are reading this, and ask the Lord to show you what is out of order in your life?  I’m right here with you ~ time management, relationships, tv or computer usage, health care, the piles of bills…and the list goes on.  Whatever it is in this season of your life that is not under the orderly ownership of the Lord Jesus Christ will never become what He intended it to be for you.  He alone is the God of order.  He alone can give you the strength and the abilities needed to have a life of balance.  And we all want that.  One of the greatest blessings of being a child of God…you don’t have to do it on your own.  Life will not be perfect, but it will be a life worth living for the Lord.  You have a King for your daddy and He wants good things for you!

In the Holy and Precious Name of Jesus ~ you are free to live an orderly life according to the goodness of our God.  So go out and do what God is calling you to do.  Go out and live an orderly life and enjoy the blessings He wants to pour out on you.

Blessings,

Rene’

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Beautiful Feet

I’m as ready as the next gal to go get a pedicure ~ I love getting pedicures!  I really need to go get one, and soon!  I love the whole experience…soaking my feet in warm soapy water, having someone carefully take each foot out of the water, dry it off, slough off the dead skin (sorry…but you know that’s part of it!), remove the callouses (you know you have them too!) and then…the best part…sweet smelling heated lotion and the foot and leg massage.  Ahhhh….. I would seriously pay money just to have someone rub my feet and calves for an hour.  I think my husband would let me know since rubbing my feet is not one of his favorite jobs.  Oh, and then the nail polish, carefully chosen to match the season or the weekend event.  When the foot transformation is complete, I look down at my lovely little toes and smile.  “There!  My feet are beautiful again!” I exclaim to the pedicurist.  “Thank you!”  And off I go.

Did you know the Bible talks about beautiful feet?  It does indeed ~ but in a bit of a different way.  In the Old Testament, Isaiah 52:7 prophecies of how beautiful it will be when the Savior comes to bring the good news of the gospel of peace, to a world that has no idea how desperately they need to hear it.  The promise of what is to come seems too good to be true. Take a jump into the New Testament and the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:15“and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” ~ this was truly a radical statement to the people of Ephesus.  Not only was Paul teaching the new Believer’s how to be prepared to fight the battles of Satan and his demons (read more in *Ephesians 6 regarding the whole armor of God) he was making them aware to KEEP the ‘sandals, or shoes, of peace’ on your feet in a state of readiness for whatever comes our way, at ALL times.

It hit me in a fresh new way just this week reading in Ephesians and I love the way the NASB (New American Standard Bible) puts the phrase, “…having shod…”  He’s saying, “Listen, you have already put these shoes of peace on because you have been preparing yourself by studying God’s word and by being in a restored & reconciled relationship with Him.  So go out and spread the good news of God’s great love.”  You know, the word ‘gospel’ was not used in the Old Testament at all.  Not once.  Thanks to the amazing dvd (session 4) led by Priscilla Shirer in “The Armor of God” bible study curriculum, I learned this fact today.  I also checked my handy online bible verse web site and it’s true!  Since I used the NASB version in the verse above, we’ll stick with this one and see that the word ‘gospel’ is used 97 times BUT only in the New Testament.   As the saying goes, that word was just too good to be true to the early believer’s.

In the Matthew Henry Commentaries**, he writes this with regard to Ephesians 6:15, “It is styled the gospel of peace because it brings all sorts of peace, peace with God, with ourselves, and with one another. It may also be meant of that which prepares for the entertainment of the gospel, namely, repentance. With this our feet must be shod: for by living a life of repentance we are armed against temptations to sin, and the designs of our great enemy.”  This kind of revelation to Jews and Gentiles of that time, seemed too good to be true.  That we could truly be reconciled to relationship with Abba, our Heavenly Father.

So take a moment, soak your feet in the comforting pages of scripture, allow the Lord to slough off the rough parts of your soul, and massage His grace and peace that He freely gives to you, into your hearts and minds.  Prepare to put on the majestic colors of the gospel of peace and walk confidently, declaring the beauty of God’s love and the truth of His Word.

Blessings,

René

Isaiah 52 verse 7 - the feet of him

* https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6&version=NASB

** https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Eph.6.10-Eph.6.18

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Choosing Peace

Okay, I know…the title alone kinda makes you want to skim right past this one…I’m right there with ya!

I’m a great journey between bible studies1 this Fall.  I love it when God weaves together parts of your spiritual journey in ways that you didn’t expect.  I love the groups of women that I’m with and privileged to share life with them.  And you know what, we really are all in this together.  Different ages, backgrounds, upbringings, etc., but we are ALL on a journey to bring peace to all areas of our life.

The main thread through these studies has been ~ Peace!  And the pursuit of it!  Each study has gone about it in different ways, but the verses that have really had sirens blaring at me this week have been from Ephesians 4.

Ephesians 4:2-3, 25, 32 ~ “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Let those sink in…..and enjoy the soak!

Pursuing peace will contaminate your life in all ways and it’s all in good ways!  I want for you to be so full of God’s peace that you will become a magnet to those around you ~ let them see the joy in you that can only come from being in close relationship with Christ. But this can only happen if you allow God to show you the areas of your life that you need to surrender full access to the Lord, so that He can shape you into the Daughter that He has intended for you to be all along.

And here’s the great thing…you aren’t in this alone.  You have the Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit, right there with you guiding you toward the right path. Borrowing a quote from one of the studies, “God will never convict unless He fully intends to empower.”2   I said to my ladies at bible study this morning, “Instead of being fearful or feeling defeated when God brings conviction to your heart, be excited!  Yes ~ be excited that God is getting ready to bring some wonderful changes into your life that is only going to be for the better!”  So I’m thrilled for you too as you read this.  Take the plunge into the ocean of God’s grace as He restores you from the inside out to be in relationship with Him!

Blessings,

René

 

  1. The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer and Conversation Peace: The Power of Transformed Speech by Mary Kassian.
  2. Shirer, Priscilla. “The Breastplate of Righteousness.” The Armor of God. 2015 ed. Nashville: LifeWay Church Resources, 2015. 90. Print.

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Filled to Fullness

Hello there friends!  It’s Tuesday and I’m posting my first “blog bite” of the week!  It has been so great to connect with many of you over the past month.  But I don’t want to keep waiting until Monday to write and post….so I’m going to send out “mini posts” throughout the week as a daily encouragement to stay in God’s Word and to keep trusting in Him!

With this weeks’ blog in mind, “What’s in a Name?”, I chose this verse to encourage you with today ~

Ephesians 3:14-20 (NIV)

A Prayer for the Ephesians

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

When we are filled with the goodness of God, goodness will flow out of us.  When we have the strength of the Lord, we are capable of handling all that comes our way.  When our feet are firmly planted on His path, we are free to become exactly who He created us to be! What a true blessing it is to know that God can do amazing things through us, because we have Him in our heart!  Keep your heart, mind, soul, and body on track with the Lord today and He will see you through!

Blessings,
Rene’

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries

Full of Hands

I’m starting to write again today for my blog ~ the one I began two years ago….so this is my second posting! There is no good reason or excuse…only fear that disabled my brain from putting to page what God was putting on my heart to share.  I will not let fear of the unknown rule over my life any longer. I will not allow the possibility that not everything I write and post will resonate with every reader.  I will not allow the fact that there will come a day that readers will vehemently disagree with something I post.  And that’s okay ~ because I know that I have prayed over each posting and pray continually that I will follow the call to Women’s Ministries that God has placed on my life since I was in my teens.

So, with that said…..Hello blog world ~ here I come….again…..and many more Monday’s after today! ~ “Blog2.0”

Oh, one more thing ~ Thank you to my prayer team who checks in with me via text/email/phone, to make sure that I’m sticking to my writing schedule!  You are so loved and appreciated!

The title of today’s posting is very nostalgic to me ~ “Full of Hands” ~ so, let me start with a little story!

One day, long ago when my girls were little, we were in the midst of cleaning up from a day full of playing.  Now, I wish I could remember which of my girls said this to give them credit, but I think they’ll be okay with the story nonetheless.  We were cleaning up and I asked one of the girls to pick up something they’d dropped.  Her sweet face turned up to meet mine, showing me the bevy of things she was already carrying and said, “But Mommy, I’m already full of hands.”  Of course I knew what she meant, but it was a precious explanation from a little toddler as to why she couldn’t pick up what she had dropped.

This is why I wanted to start here….choosing to not be “full of hands” and to pick up the ministry once again in my hands, being fully confident that what God has called me to, He will provide for.  He will take care of my schedule as long as I seek to not fill my hands with things that don’t line up with His plan for my life.

Do you ever feel “full of hands?” Especially in this back to school season many of us find ourselves in, we can feel it in a big way….getting everyone back on schedule, kids seeing their friends again, you seeing the mom’s in carline or back to school night, meeting new teachers, back and forth to the store 100x in a week because your child (or their teacher) remembers something else that they just have to have in class by tomorrow!  I am personally thankful that: 1) Target is open until midnight during the week, and 2) that my one darling girl (yes…that’s you Sierra!) still at home has become extremely organized with her schooling needs!  I’m sure you can add much more to this list!

Let me back up a little bit and confess where I’ve been since posting that first (and only) blog over 2 years ago, and how I allowed my life to be “full of hands.”

For those who read that first post and were so very encouraging about it, thank you!  I did not require in myself the commitment needed, I allowed fear of the unknown to set in along with fear of the calling God placed on my life, to overrule God’s tender voice.  My daughters, my husband, and friends alike were all trying to encourage me to keep it going ~ and I let it go.  So if I dropped this part of my calling, what did I hold on to instead?  * Insert regular list of excuses here! * ~ 🙂  “I don’t have the time. What if I’m not really hearing God about this? What if I write/teach something in the wrong way that causes someone confusion? What if I offend someone? What will people think who’ve known me a long time think about what I write? And on and on and on…..

Oh, but there is such a temptation to be “full of hands” with things that should not have the priority we have given them.  The word “hands” is written over 1000 times in the Bible.  Our hands are so important ~ they can be instruments of love, support, and peace, or they can become instruments of destruction and anger.  The best example of how to use our hands, and what to keep them filled with, is of course to look to Jesus and his Word.

Psalm 95:5 says, “The sea is His; He made it.  His hands formed the dry land.”  Psalm 102:25 states, “Long ago You established the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.”

In Mark 10:16, it is written about the healing of a man who had a severe skin disease.  He was healed by just the touch of the hands of Jesus.  Matthew chapter 8 shares testimony of a young girl being healed from a high fever.  In the later chapters of each of the Gospels in the New Testament, we read how Jesus was handed over to the rulers of the land to be crucified; how Pilate “washed his hands” of their actions (Matthew 27:24); and how in John 40:27, Thomas was moved to serve Christ with a renewed passion after seeing and touching the scars of the nail holes in His hands.  It is almost too much to take in that the hands that created the universe, the hands that healed and held little children, the hands that hung on that sacrificial cross, are the very hands that hold me when I’m crumbling, that clap with joy when I succeed, that hold hands with me as He walks beside me on this journey of my life.  Even as I’m sitting in a small cafe near my home, those hands are touching my heart in a way that rings true and clear that this passion I have to reach women with the promises of God is DEFINITELY from Him!

While I’ve been reading through these beautiful scriptures about hands, one has struck me like never before ~ which by the way, don’t you LOVE that about God’s Word? You can read a passage a dozen times, and then suddenly one day it comes alive and smacks you in the face with its beautiful truth because God took that moment to speak to you and personally show you something new in that moment!  I love this about my Lord!!

Mark 1:41 says, “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.”  The man mentioned in this verse was said to be suffering from “a serious skin disease” (vs. 40) which most likely means he suffered from the disease of leprosy. He came to Jesus, falling to his knees begging Jesus to heal him, “if You are willing, You are able to make me clean.” (vs. 40).  Notice that the man had no doubt that Jesus could heal him, it was a matter of would He.

Besides the fact that I love word studies and finding scriptures that apply to those words, searching various translations of God’s Word provides such a robust insight to what I’m learning.  In verse 41, the Holman Christian Study Bible states that Jesus was “moved with compassion…” while in the Amplified version it says, “And being moved with pity and sympathy…” Reflecting on this phrasing, it seems to me that Jesus did not feel compassion because the man had a skin disease, but He reacted with sympathetic compassion because of the purity of the man’s heart as he acknowledged Jesus’ power and had accepted in his heart that Jesus may or may not heal him.  I love that, in this case, Jesus’ response was immediate!

He reached out His hand, touched the man, and this man was healed immediately!

Two years ago, I had the privilege and opportunity to go on a mission’s trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with my middle daughter Savannah.  This trip was comprised of mostly high school students, one teacher & his family and two other parents.  An interesting combination for sure!  We worked with Mission Emanuel* in the small village of Cielo.  So many stories and experiences wrapped up in that 10 day trip ~ but that’s a posting for another time!  I bring up this trip because we visited one of the last remaining leper care centers set up by Mother Theresa, called The Sisters of Mercy Leprosarium.  We exited the bus there one day, not knowing what to expect and were greeted by some of the happiest people I’ve seen.  These folks were wheel-chair rolling, walking, talking testimonies of being content in the Lord regardless of the extreme circumstances of their life.  One man, who we later found out had been a Pastor, rolled up to us with a huge smile on his face and asked, “Do you know Jesus as Your Savior?  If you don’t, let me tell you about Him.”  Amazing!! Well, our team was there to officially do some minor repair work on the buildings and paint the walls.  However as you can probably imagine, the real ministry happened when we sat with the residents, listened to their stories, and held their hands.

One of the residents told us that we were the first team (that they could recall anyway) who came in without gloves on.  We reached out and touched their shoulders, laid hands on their hands as we prayed over them, stretched out our hands to take a hold of theirs.  I cannot help but be brought back to tears as I remember watching my daughter and her friends on the team, lift up the frail body of one of the bed-ridden residents to help her eat a Pringles potato chip and then patiently give her water to drink.  The woman’s toothless grin of joy was almost too much to bear.  In another room later that afternoon, I watched the hands of my daughter play her guitar while she and about eight other students gathered around a young woman in her 30’s (who had been abandoned at the leprosarium by her family), holding her finger-less hands, arms around her shoulders, singing praise songs in English and Spanish.  How completely overflowing was my heart that day with God’s grace.  How full my heart remains to this day.

What is it in our lives that are causing us to be “full of hands?”  What is it that we need to come to the feet of Jesus and say to Him, like the leper in Mark 1:421, “if you are willing, You are able to make me clean.”

Jesus sees us through the eyes of compassion when we come to Him with a heart desiring to be purified from the “disease” of our life ~ whether it be busyness, procrastination, fear, anger, unforgiveness, passivity, etc. ~ Jesus is ready and willing to immediately reach out His hand and heal us.  When we empty our hands of the unnecessary and open them available (and empty!), we can have the joy of having our hands full of His plans! Please resist the temptation to keep a few things of your own choosing, dangling off your fingertips while attempting to grasp the gift of what God wants to bless you with.  Something will drop, and that will derail the purposes and plans God intended.  Open, available hands that are ready to receive and carry out God’s plan are ones that are willing to be uncomfortable while firmly ensconced in trusting the One who makes the plans.  They are not immune from pain or suffering.  You may encounter persecution of varying degrees by friends or family, but you will be resting in the Hands that created the universe!  The book of Acts is filled with testimony of the disciples, apostles, and followers of Christ, who dealt with a variety of persecutions.  But they trusted their Savior to watch over them and lead them on His path.  I’m so thankful for these early Believers who paved the way for the world to know God and make Him known.

Acts 11:21 proclaims “The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.”

My prayer for you dear sister, is that you examine what you are “full of hands” with, and trust that when you give it all over to the Lord, He will absolutely direct your path and He will not let you fall.  This is an exciting time in your life to see what the next step God has in store for you!  And I’m thrilled that you are joining me on this ride of my life as well!!  Take that step and He will guide you, with the ever-loving touch of His powerful and tender hand.

Blessings,                                                                                                                                                                   René

*for more information on this amazing place, please log into http://www.missionemanuel.org