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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Waiting or Moving Ahead - How To Know the Best Plan

WAITING OR MOVING?  ACTION OR INACTION?

I recall a conversation with another woman leader who said a lot of Christian women just sit around waiting for God to do something.  She believed women needed to be more proactive in their lives.

Is that true?  If so, to what extent?

Careful wisdom is needed when trying to "make things happen."  Here's what Sarah of the Bible said to her husband when it appeared God's promise of a child was not to be:

The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her" (Gen 16:2). 

She didn't want to "sit around and wait for God" any longer.

But the plan turned sour.  There was jealousy, and today there is still conflict in the Middle East as a result. 

YOUR PLANS OR GODS?

Another important scripture to look at is this one:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways" (Isaiah 55:8-9). 

Women can think they know best, map out a plan and take bold steps.  But God might have a different plan.  And even if God has a different plan, things may not work out as expected.  God's work isn't always successful in the ways we imagine. The Apostle Paul is an example.  Who'd want to end up in jail like he did? 

Listening for God to speak before acting is important.  Perhaps this is why some wise Christian women appear to be "sitting around waiting for God."  If God says sit, sit.  

LISTEN FOR GOD

The goal of every woman should be to have a well-developed ability to hear from God so movement is at his mention is obvious.

Of course, you're not going to sit in bed doing nothing.  You're going to continue the assigned activities you know God has given you.  He has called each of us to be a steward of our family, our possessions, and our finances.  He has called us to love our neighbour and to minister to the poor and widowed.  There are many day-to-day functions we will just carry out as normal ongoing activities until or unless we're interrupted or inspired with another order.

WHAT ABOUT REASONING?

Reasoning is something else we often do before acting.  Reasoning makes sense.  I hit my head on a branch I was mowing beneath with the lawn tractor today.  I knew the branch was there and dangerous, but we'd put off chopping it down and, in the shadows, I missed paying attention to it.

As a result, my neck was wrenched backwards on impact.  Today, I bore the brunt of neglect.  My neck feels as though my head almost came off.  

Reasoning tells me to get out there and cut the branch down tomorrow!  I don't think God wants me to sit around and ponder this one.  But I could just as easily injure myself or come up with a new problem if I don't ask God to guide me in how to complete the mission.  

Including God in all details of life is important.

BE WARY OF ADVICE

There are many well-sounding experts around.  Many of our closest Christian friends appear to be experts.  Our social media contacts all tell us the latest thing we should be doing.  But we can still make poor decisions by listening to the wrong advice. We need to avoid being deceived by being alert.  Don't fall for every bit of advice you're offered (whether it's from a certified life coach or other person).

That doesn't mean you can't count on the educated advice of professionals. God speaks in many varied ways, and he brings professionals and counselors into our lives for our good.

WAITING

When waiting for God to move it may seem like forever.  Often we don't see how much we have moved until we look back.  Being surrendered to God and asking for his daily advice gives us the confidence that we are right where we need to be.  We can move forward in confidence when we've checked in with God first.

 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:13). 

Os Hillman* says, "God has equipped us with everything we need to make good decisions. Hearing His voice is the first step toward making right choices in life.  Do you have a decision to make? Submit that decision to the Lord, ask God for clarity. Ask Him to make the desires of your heart the same desires that He has for you in this matter. Await His perfect timing on the matter. Then you can be assured of making the right decisions."

*Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It is NOT Wrong to Move, if Moving out of Obedience to God

I love having a public blog where I can express my ideas and frustrations.  Here's one I'm expressing today.

A popular pastor who has a radio television show I listened to one day made a comment in his program that went something like this:  "people move--almost every day I have someone come to me to say they're moving...Uprooting their relationships so they can make an extra $0.35 somewhere else.  It's just wrong."

Let me tell you his statement made me angry.  It shows how out-of-touch with the work-world this pastor must be! 

Personally Speaking

I've moved several times across the country as my husband took job transfers.  Each time the decision was made out of deep thought and prayer.  Each time there was a feeling of the move being a call from God--and each time it was in response to suggestions of my husband's management. 

I resent that this pastor assumes people move only because of money (greed) or without thought or prayer.

What Does Scripture Say?

I wonder if this pastor forgot this Biblical story:

One day, God told Abraham to leave his family and friends [yes uproot relationships!] to travel to a new place. 

God told Abraham that He would make his people a great nation. God told Abraham that He would bless him and he would have many children.
Abraham listened to God and obeyed Him. Abraham was 75 years old when God told him to move.


Abraham took his wife, Sarah, his nephew, Lot, and all his possessions and traveled as God led them.  Abraham was not even sure where God was leading him, but he followed and obeyed. Abraham knew that God would protect them and bless them. He knew that God would keep His promises.


A Few Questions I'd Ask this Pastor

  • I wonder if this pastor feels God doesn't call modern-day man to make moves?
  • I wonder if this pastor feels God never sends lay people (who have other day jobs) to a location he wants to use them in lay ministry in some way?
  • I wonder if this pastor understands sometimes businesses have layoffs, threats of cutbacks, and wise people find new income in any way they can to stay afloat?
  • I wonder if this pastor understands that there is a hierarchy in a business where an employee is to respect his "master" even when that master would like an employee to move?
I Wonder

Does this pastor perhaps it personally when a person leaves?  Does he feel they're leaving him?  Does he feel he should be the only pastor in their life?

Does this pastor not realize the magnitude of such a move and the deep thought and prayer a person usually puts into such a decision?

Can this pastor put his ego aside long enough to realize God speaks to and calls normal congregants too?  i.e. He isn't the only one that hears from God?

Would this pastor rather people say "no" to God so that relationships are not uprooted?
 
I wonder what this pastor thinks of this scripture:

 Luke 59 And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go you and preach the kingdom of God. 61And another also said, Lord, I will follow you; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said to him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Or how about this one:

"Truly I tell you," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown.

John 4:44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)

In Summary
 
As the wife of a husband who took job transfers, I am deplored anyone would suggested I've wasted my time.  Moving is hard. A woman takes a beating in the process.  But much of the work God asks us to do is difficult.  Please don't look in from the peanut gallery and tell me what we did was wrong!

Whew, glad to get all this off my chest.  Hope this speaks to those who need to hear it!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Plan for Productivity

Are you a planner?


Did you know you will be more efficient and effective with a plan?


I'm both spontaneous and a planner.  Usually, I have a general plan in place as to how to spend a day, but I also ask God what his plan is.  Then I remain open to changes.  

Some days I goof off and forget the plan, which usually means procrastinating on something in order to do something more fun, or to rest instead.  That's okay as I'm not letting someone down or reneging on a commitment.

Usually I get things done best with a plan, though. Here's a sample:


1.      Start with planning the day before. At least having a rough idea how the day should unfold. 

 
2.      If you want to get at least three workouts in a week done at the gym, look through your schedule on Sunday and decide which days to fit them in. Have your gym bag packed, water ready, and stay on schedule to make it happen.


3.      If you want to watch your waistline have the right ingredients in the house for healthy meals.

4.      Schedule a time to organize a closet, vaccuum the seldom visited basement, stain the deck, and so on.

5.      Group errands together.  If you have to buy stamps, for instance, think of what's in the same geographical area that you can add to the trip. 

Whenever taking on something new, something old will suffer so plan for changes.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

A Few Tips for Living

Why is this blog called "Ministry to Women"?

Well, it's not because I'm a formal minister or because it is an attempt to give tips for how to hold church women's ministries programs.

I gave it this name because right from the start I'd hoped my topics would be of help to women in some way.

Ministry to me is helping, serving, caring for, and encouraging.

I read today, we can never learn everything by trial and error, so it is important to learn from others.  That is what I hope happens here--mutual learning and sharing.

a corner of my office

Here are a few tidbits I've learned over the last year that I thought might be helpful to share with you:


  1. Care less.  Yes, care about loving God and others, but care less about so many other things in life that are related to worry, possessions, what others think, have said, etc.  Don't care so much for someone that their pain puts you into pain.  How do you care less?  Give it to God to handle.
  2. Use the word "opportunity" instead of  "problem".  Every situation that comes up is an opportunity to make a choice, learn something, try something, take a risk, or even fail.  Even in failing there is growth.  My car had a broken heater, it became an opportunity to explore new car options. It was an opportunity to ask God what to do about it and watch him work things out.  Seeing problems as opportunities changes thinking.
  3. Trust God is working.  He speaks to others as much as he speaks to you.  You aren't so special that you're the only one he speaks to.  He can lead and speak to your husband, son, daughter.  Stand back, stop controlling  and watch God at work.
  4. Look for beauty.  I do transcription, freelance writing and life coaching from a home office.  I have windows all around me.  I often take time to snap pictures, especially of the views I see from the windows as nature changes.  I stop to smell the roses.  I put pretty things in my office to enjoy.  I play with colour by changing afghans, silk flowers and even the place-mat on my desk as the mood hits.  Beauty makes live enjoyable.