Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
When we downsized a couple of years ago, we came to the realization that we’re not good at downsizing. We only trimmed 300 square feet, still had four bedrooms and a guest room with its own bath. The house actually seemed bigger than our old one. Only the yard appeared smaller.
But I knew this was the house. Something came over me in the family room while making the decision to buy, or to pass it up because of its size. I saw us hosting a small group Bible study in that room, a vision that was later realized.
My husband, Jeff, and I hold onto possessions loosely.
We believe everything is on “loan” from God, including our house. We have always said that when possible, we will open up our home to people in ministry who need a place to stay while in town. It’s our way of helping. It’s also our way of bringing the Acts 2 church to current day, where “all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44–45.).
This week the call for hospitality came. We hosted a traveling evangelist Sunday night, and later this week, six pastores from Ensenada, Mexico who were here for a conference at our church. There were pastors everywhere—in the three extra bedrooms and on the couches upstairs. The men of God spoke mostly Spanish, so I tried to communicate in my broken Spanish—poorly I might add. In the end, the love of Christ was the central language between us. Throughout the three nights they were here, I kept thanking God that we had a home large enough to house them and realized why the Lord wanted us to have this house. He knew we needed the space to open it up in this way. I’m so glad we trusted him during the decision making process.
Last night, each of the six pastors prayed for us and it was a powerful, holy moment. I felt their prayers infiltrate the house, and I sensed their gratitude. But what they might not understand is that we were the ones who were mightily blessed. I thought of the verse in Luke 6:38 where Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The Bible says it’s important to provide for those who are doing the work of God. Romans 12:13 says, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
How do you look at your possessions? Are they yours, or do they belong to God?
Do you practice hospitality? It’s an easy way to honor God and his people who have given their lives to His service.
I was really looking forward to seeing the remake of A Star is Born but couldn’t get there opening weekend because of travel. I heard some women talking about it in the nail salon.
“Wasn’t it great?”
“Yes, I cried at the end.”
I wanted to go even more after “overhearing” the reviews, so I finally reserved tickets for my husband, an evangelist friend staying at our house, and myself, to see A Star is Born Sunday night. Nowadays, my family is spoiled when it comes to movies. It’s hard to go to a theatre unless the seats recline and we can order a meal to eat while enjoying the flick. So that’s what we did. Here we were in our comfy chairs, feet up, munching on a chicken sandwich—anticipating some great entertainment.
But from the beginning, we found the language offensive in A Star is Born. I know it’s difficult to find a movie nowadays that doesn’t use profanity, but in the case of this one, it seemed like a majority of the sentences were laced with “F” bombs. The Family Movie Guide actually counted them—103 profane words were spoken. It seemed like more, and for me, detracted from, rather than enhanced the movie.
In Ephesians 4:29 it says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
In this movie’s defense, it was not billed as a faith-based film.
Did Bradley Cooper do an impressive job playing the role of Jackson Maine, the aging rock star who struggled with addictions? Yes.
Was Lady Gaga, who portrayed the up-and-coming singer, believable, and a better actress than expected? Yes.
However, every time there was a string of profane words, it was like getting punched in the gut—repeatedly.
I watched our thirty-one-year-old evangelist friend on the edge of his seat, ready to walk out. He obviously felt the same way.
Add nudity and addictions and the mixture results in a very dark movie.
So the three of us, disappointed, left in the middle of A Star is Born.
As Christians we need to be careful about what we watch and listen to because we can be influenced. In Matthew 6:22–23, Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
One of my Bible study teachers once said about the world: “Our eyes are adjusting to the darkness.” I think that is why movies like this are popular, even with Christians. However, instead of accepting the darkness and going with the flow of society, let’s do more to shed light in this world by supporting films that will not embarrass family members and friends because of language or nudity. Let’s get behind movies that may tackle a difficult subject, but that reflect light, not darkness. Our world needs hope. Great stories should be told, but can be done in a more tasteful, less offending way.
“The Lord is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all his ways; Your God is faithful and true; he does what is right and fair.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)
During my nineteen years as a sports television and news reporter, one of the most important lessons I learned is that you must always show both sides of a story. Otherwise, your report is considered slanted and unfair.
However, it doesn’t always work that way in life. If you are the subject of criticism, not everyone will ask you for your take on the situation. They just accept what’s said and use the one-sided information to form an opinion. If that’s the case what do you do?
Do you demand a meeting to defend yourself? Then you look defensive.
Do you tell as many people as possible what happened? That often backfires.
We should pray.
I have found that prayer is the best battle strategy when we are the subject of an unjust transfer of blame.
In Psalm 146:5 it says, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”
I believe that these situations can be a test from God.
Are we going to take matters into our own hands, or will we stand still and let God fight our battle?
One of the Hebrew names for God is “El Roi.” Translated, that means “The God who sees me.” He sees what’s going on in our life. He knows the truth, and if we cry out to him, he will defend us.
When the apostles were unjustly imprisoned for preaching about Jesus, an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and released them saying, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20). When the religious leaders found the apostles doing exactly what they told them not to do, they were furious and wanted to kill them. Teacher of the Law, Gamaliel, talked some sense into them and said, “Keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing, but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:38–39).
The point is, God knows our hearts and if we are in the center of His will, he’s got our back. He understands our pain and he can work behind the scenes to correct a situation. We just have to trust and let go.
In the meantime, stay positive and joyful knowing El Roi sees you. He wants to help.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).
“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:6 MSG)
We wrapped up our 2018 Level-Up Women’s Conference a couple of weeks ago and I’m already thinking about our focus for 2019.
What will we level up this time?
What will we level down?
I received the first divine download while checking out a possible venue last week. The church had a closet-full of décor items and on one shelf there were a stockpile of lanterns. The woman showing us around said, “If you stage your event here, you have access to any of our décor.” I focused on the lanterns. There were enough for each table. At that moment I felt like I heard:
Level-up the light in you.
Wow! Considering one of our speakers is Christian actress Jenn Gotzon Chandler, who is always in the bright movie lights, I thought a “light” theme was perfect. “Level-up the light in you” it is. Thanks God!
But there were still additional parts to the equation and those weren’t coming as easily. What about the other two?
I heard nothing.
Sometimes the Lord doesn’t give us everything in one sitting. The question is will we wait on Him for the “rest of the story?”
I’ve also learned God can speak to us any time and anywhere. Often times His messages come to us out of the blue. That’s when we really know it’s from Him.
So on Sunday, I was a long way from my home in Texas and was worshiping with friends at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Redeemer was founded by well-known pastor and author, Tim Keller. However, his son is now the preacher and as I listened to Rev. Michael Keller’s message about the role of the church body, I heard:
Level up your inner beauty. Level down the lies you are told.
“What was that?” Did the Holy Spirit just give me the rest of the Level-Up themes right in the middle of the service? Apparently—so I wrote them down. You see, I had been praying for the Lord to speak to me at the service. I just didn’t know it would be about the conference.
Here’s a basic truth we need to remember.
God still communicates.
We just have to be alert and listening. Whether we’re inside or outside, in town or out of town, our heavenly Father is omnipresent and He wants to speak—to us individually. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m constantly asking for a word from God and disappointed when He’s silent.
So what about you? Are you expectantly listening? Divine downloads are available to every believer.
There’s something about this city…
I was twenty-three years old when I first visited the Big Apple. I had landed an interview with the President of CBS Sports for what I hoped would be an on-air position. As it turned out, the only thing he could offer me was a behind-the-scenes job (for very little pay) so I opted to go the long, circuitous route to national television. It was a road that led through Chattanooga, and San Antonio, but a decade later I finally arrived again in the city that never sleeps.
Back then, I viewed New York as the pinnacle of a successful broadcasting career. The best of the best worked here. The old saying, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” rang true, so I was determined to “make it here.” And I did— for a while. However after a few years, the bottom fell out and in one week’s time, I was not renewed on my national job with HBO Sports or my regional sportscasting position with the Madison Square Garden Network. Six figures to zero overnight. At that time I didn’t know if I would ever work again in my field and I was scared. But God used the career crash to draw me back to Him.
As my feet searched for a secure place to stand, I returned to the most secure foundation I knew, Jesus Christ. It was then that New York City represented something much different than a television mecca. It became the place where God reached down and rerouted me into His purpose for my life, to become a spokesperson for Him through books, blogs, radio and speaking.
I used to write about sports, but now I write about God.
So on this trip to Manhattan, I am enjoying time with a close friend and dear sister in Christ, Deb, who relocated here from Texas a year ago. But I am also alert and ready to share the good news and love of Christ anytime there’s an opening to do so. Just like the famous line in The Blues Brothers, “I’m on a mission from God.”
Yesterday, my friend and I spent at least an hour at the Bergdorf Goodman makeup counter.
Sounds frivolous—it was.
I’ll admit It was a lot of fun being pampered at a high-end store, something I rarely do, but I also saw it as a mission field. Each time someone dabbed concealer under my aging eyes, I prayed, Lord, give me an opportunity to share about You. I wasn’t shy about telling store employees that I used to work in television in their city, but I had a new calling now. I handed out ministry cards to several people. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Today when I go to New York City, I see scores of people who need hope, just like the hope I found here twenty-five years ago. “Faith comes by hearing.” They’re not going to get it through osmosis. New Yorkers, as well as people around the world, need to hear about Jesus. If we don’t tell them about Him, who will?
Lisa’s new book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love, is now available on Amazon. The book contains twenty-four attributes of God that are fatherlike. It not only features Lisa’s fatherless story, but sixteen other testimonies of other fatherless people who discovered the love of God as Father. https://www.amazon.com/Only-Father-Ever-Knew-Fatherless/dp/1724779273/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539431076&sr=8-1&keywords=the+only+father+I+ever+Knew