Category : Blog
Category : Blog
I have written about where I am at this current time in my life—a kind of in- between stage—an empty nester whose daughters continue to come and go for weekends, between semesters, and during college breaks. With my career as a college professor on hold and my work as a speaker, writer, and ministry volunteer growing, yet stalled due to the virus, I am still trying to learn what the Lord has for me next.
My latest obsession has been watching videos from the late Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias and the amazingly articulate, clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson. As I listen to these two uniquely qualified men talk about life, happiness, faith, and wisdom my head begins to spin. I am inspired to dig deeper, to watch more interviews and read more books. Just yesterday, I heard one of them say that the answers were not hard to find, but that the answers are sometimes hard to embrace. He was talking about the answers of the Bible, but I took it as the all the questions of life we have.
There are so many times when I have asked/prayed to God but I didn’t like the answer. The answers I did not want were either “not yet,” “wait more,
“be patient,” “learn more,” “do it any way,” or just plain “no.” Sometimes the answers were even worse because it was a combination of all of these! In Mark 10: 17-31, Jesus talks with a man about how to get eternal life. The man kept all the laws, yet Jesus wanted him to give up what he prided himself on—his wealth. For me, it is security. Can I give up security and follow Jesus without knowing where I’m going or what’s in store? Jesus didn’t pressure the man, He let him go.
It was the awesome gift of free will, but there are consequences of believing. There can be discomfort, stress, hard work, or even pain, but what I’ve learned from Jordan is that there cannot be any good without work. Marriage, child raising, building a career, families, friendships, and a life worth living all require work and the work is HARD. Jordan talks about compromise and sacrifice as integral parts of any relationship. My compromise and sacrifice with my relationship with the Lord is losing my security. I have to let myself be open to new ideas, opinions, methods, and opportunities that are not coming to me in my timeframe, but in His perfectly planned timeframe.
Trust, is another consequence of believing. I have to give up my control and trust God. I am learning to be secure in God’s promises for me and trust that His plan is the best plan possible for me.
Finally, for me, losing control is another consequence of believing. I am powerless without His love. God’s love gives me hope, strength, and peace in all the things in my life I cannot control. After much reflection, these consequences are easily turned into blessings. I get to give up my narrow idea of security for the security of God’s perfect timing. I get to trust in His impeccable, divine plan for my life versus my shortsighted, insecure plan. And most of all, I get to lean on His unconditional, blissful, peaceful love for me.
Consequences or blessings. It just takes changing your perspective.
It’s not too late to sign up for tomorrow night’s POP Chat on Zoom. Pearls of Promise founder has a great and unique message on “TMI: Why God Doesn’t Give Us Too Much Information.” Joining Lisa will be gifted Worship Leader, Renee Rollins, and the entire Pearls of Promise Team: Rosemary Legrand, Aurora Ortega Geis and Dr. Lynnette Simm. Join us for one hour of Worship, Teaching and Discussion. Here’s the link to register:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22–23).
My wedding ring had one tiny diamond missing from the setting for about a year. I hadn’t taken it in to be repaired, mainly because I was probably the only one who noticed it, and I didn’t want to part with it for any length of time. But I ended up in a jewelry store to take some links out of a new watch, and asked how much it would be to fix my ring. The number was reasonable so I decided to go for it.
It took about 48 hours to repair, so yesterday I ran over to pick up my ring but had a small window to do so because I was meeting my spiritual daughter, Lara and her two boys at a pumpkin patch for a fun outing. I figured it would be a quick transaction. Pay the bill and leave. But that’s not what happened. The store couldn’t find my ring! You could see the tension rising in the young man who was helping me as he repeatedly looked through the rings in the locked drawer and could not find mine. He asked the repair technicians if they had seen it. Yes, they remembered the name and the work had been completed. This went on for at least thirty minutes, and I began to really worry and thought the worst. Did a dishonest employee steal it? How many people had keys to the locked drawer?
In all of this, I kept telling myself, Don’t lose your cool. No matter what situation you are in, you are still an ambassador for Christ.
An Assistant Manager got involved and checked another spot where rings were waiting to be appraised, and miraculously, he found my ring. Someone had accidentally put it in a bag with someone else’s ring so it was in the wrong place. When he found it, I breathed a sigh of relief and said out loud, “Thank you Jesus!” I looked at the employee and also said, “I was praying the entire time.” He responded, “I am really sorry about this.” I tried to comfort him. “Don’t worry. This was not your fault. I’m just glad it was found.”
After I left the store, I thought, What if I’d flown off the handle and acted ugly? This was obviously a bad mistake that put me through a lot of angst. However, being a witness for Christ, even during a trying moment like this, was more important than expressing the emotions steaming up inside of me.
Are you a beacon of light for Jesus, even when there are tense times in your life? Do you avoid anger, profanity, and the need to be right? I believe it is how we act in the difficult situations that can be the greatest witness. Grace and mercy are brilliant diamonds themselves, but in order to offer them, we have to press into the self-control that only God provides.
Have you ever been in a situation with family or friends, where you are the only one not participating in an activity, based on conviction?
I have found myself in scenarios where I didn’t like the activity going on so I sat all alone in another room and watched television. I prayed the entire time asking God, Am I wrong? Am I being judgmental? What’s the harm in participating?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to “belong,” but sometimes you have to choose not to belong. The Bible says that those who have surrendered their lives to the Lord are not of this world. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).
I want to know the correct way to handle scenarios that make me feel uncomfortable. Please show me your truth about all this. Am I over the top in this stand? Right after I prayed, I came across this passage in my Chronological Bible Study reading. I did not randomly choose it. It was the Scripture assigned to the morning after one of these situations:
“If you want to be my disciple you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).
I do not think the word “hate” here means that you hate your family members. The Bible says we are to love others. I believe it may mean that you do not like something they are doing, so you do not support them in whatever that is.
This passage went on to say, “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, “there’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!” (Luke 14:28-30).
With the LORD in the lead, I have spent years building a ministry, and have tried to be “above reproach” through the strength God provides. I do not want to be the one that causes a sister or brother, family or friend, to stumble. If I had a moment of weakness, all of what had been established would be torn down in a second, and remain “unfinished.” The ministry would lose value, because it would be no different from any secular organization.
After reading that passage, I felt that God confirmed that what I did may not have been popular, but it was right for me.
This is not a message of judgment. Each of us have a specific cross to carry. Because I am called to ministry, my call may be different from yours. But the next time you are in a setting where you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit to take a stand, be strong, and know that while you may not feel like you belong, you will always belong to God.
“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name” (Psalms 23:3).
My friends and I decided to take a girl getaway weekend trip to Houston/Galveston. One of my girlfriends, the coordinator extraordinaire, sent us photos of the hotel and our activity itinerary. We were on the phone for hours laughing and giggling as we prepared for this getaway. She said, “Don’t forget your swimsuit. We are going to have fun, fun, fun!” We had snacks to munch, the perfect music to listen to, and places to stop along the way.
The day before we left, we checked the weather forecast. There was a storm coming but we thought, Maybe it won’t affect us. The morning of our departure we all met at our girlfriend’s house and were ready and eager to leave but we decided to pay close attention to the weather before we departed. To our dismay, we saw that Hurricane Delta was getting ready to touch the area where we had planned to have fun, fun, fun.
What do you do when you mind is ready to do something that seem to be so right? We discussed the alternative, since we were already packed and had left our individual homes. I was 45 minutes from home, which was already a getaway for me. We pondered on what we should do and decided to cancel the trip. What now? We decided to stay in Dallas and spend the weekend at our girlfriend’s house. What an awesome weekend it was. We went out to dinner, watched movies, played games, had a manicure session, prayed, laughed, bonded and enjoyed each other.
When circumstances change it is good to know you are not alone.
After sitting and meditating on what happened, how much fun we had and how we got to know more about each other, we realized that God was in the midst of all the planning. Sometimes we are so focused on having our own plans, we fail to see the hand of God in everything we do. We left the weekend with great admiration and love for each other.
Proverbs 1:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” The Lord determines our steps. This shows us that God is in control and He directs our path. Everything we go through has a purpose and it is to benefit the kingdom of God. Had we gone on that trip, we would have been having so much fun, we would not have gotten to know each other and understand what each other was going through. When we listened to each other’s stories we were able to saturate each other in prayer even after we left to go our separate ways. God is awesome.
One of my favorite scriptures on God ordering our steps is: “The Lord directs our steps so why try to understand everything along the way” (Proverbs 20:24 NLT) Will you let Him into your plans and let Him guide your steps? He knows the way. Trust Him.
May God richly bless you.
You won’t want to miss our next POP Chat on ZOOM Wednesday, October 28th at 6:30 p.m. CDT when Pearls of Promise Ministries Founder, Lisa Burkhardt Worley, provides a powerful message called “TMI: Why God Doesn’t Give us Too Much Information.” Joining Lisa will be popular Worship Leader, Renee Rollins and the entire Pearls of Promise Team, Dr. Lynnette Simm, Rosemary Legrand and Aurora Ortega Geis. Just click on the link to register.
When I was in junior school, I attended charm school. Some of you may be thinking, What happened? 🙂 There was only one thing I remember from what the instructor taught that week. She said, “Always leave the house dressed as if you will meet the President of the United States.” I never forgot that, and to this day, I have trouble walking out the door without makeup on.
This week, I was cleaning the floors in my house. My dog, Jewel, sheds a lot and there were hair balls everywhere, so I ran the dust mop over the floor then mopped it. No one was coming over, but what if someone I did not expect dropped by?
Today, I heard that an acquaintance of mine passed away after a short battle with an aggressive brain cancer. She was a beautiful godly woman, in her forties, who led a ministry. We crossed paths many times, and now I won’t see her smiling face on this side of Heaven.
So as I bring all this together, it’s a reminder that we should always be ready. In this case, ready to meet the greatest dignitary of all, Jesus. We may never come face-to-face with a U.S. President, but we will at some point encounter Jesus. We are not guaranteed tomorrow so let’s ask ourselves a few questions.
Have we taken care of this body we’ve been given?
Have we tried to live a righteous life, one that we will not be embarrassed about?
For those of us who believe Jesus may return in our generation, are we doing everything we can to tell others about Him?
Jesus shared a parable in Matthew 25 about ten virgins and their lamps of oil. Five of them were wise. Five were not. When the bridegroom (Jesus) arrived, the wise virgins met Him with their oil-filled lamps, but because the bridegroom had delayed in returning, the foolish virgins “became drowsy and fell asleep” (Matthew 25:6) so when they heard the bridegroom was on his way, they ran out at the last minute to fill their lamps with oil. But it was too late. While they were scrambling, Jesus returned. The ones who were ready joined him—the others found a closed door when they got back. There were consequences for not being ready.
So it is my encouragement to you today to do an assessment of your life. Is your house clean? If Jesus returned tomorrow, would there be oil in your lamp?
Are you ready?
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me (Psalm 51:10) NIV.
We’d love for you to join us at our next POP Chat on October 28th at 6:30 p.m. as Pearls of Promise Founder, Lisa Burkhardt Worley, will teach on “TMI: Why God Doesn’t Give Us Too Much Information.” Singer/Songwriter Renee Rollins will lead worship. This will be one hour of worship, teaching and discussion. The link to sign up is: ttps://share.hsforms.com/15bHBupdrTBugXxD9Y8Q_MQ3jo4z