The Blessing of Joyful Giving

Do you find joy in giving? Are you a cheerful giver? Giving is sharing something you have with others like time, money, skill, or possessions. It really comes down to this: giving is sharing yourself. Giving originated in the heart of God. He blesses us more than we expect or deserve. The gift of life, the gift of love, the gift of salvation, the gift of eternity in Heaven…are all priceless. What we have in possessions may be a tangible result of how we have invested our time, energy, and talents; but who we are -our character- is a result of how we have invested ourselves with God and others.

In our early years of marriage, Brady worked 3 jobs, I worked during the day and went to college at night to get my bachelor’s degree. Our first house we bought was a tiny 1100sf dream home for us early 20-somethings. I remember a few days after moving in, sitting in the middle of our living room on our mauve- pinkish carpet weeping and thanking God for blessing us with our cozy first home. We always gave our first and best to God. It was non-negotiable with us and still is today. He desires to bless those with a cheerful heart. He doesn’t care how much we give as long as give from our heart. We have never once felt ‘obligated’ to give. We give because that is what God commands and it is a joy for us to give. God wants to give us His best if we give our best to Him.

We have seen the blessings God pours out on those that give with their heart. We have received those blessings countless times. Our thoughts on giving monetarily has always been ‘it’s not ours to begin with, it’s all His’…and yet, He only requires a tenth of what He gives us. That blows my mind! We serve an extraordinary generous God. We should all strive to be that generous, just like Him.

1 Chronicles 29:14 says, “Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!”

We give because God commands it. We give because it demonstrates that He is first in our life. We give because it reminds us that the things we have are gifts from God. We give to others so that God will be glorified.

 

Modesty = Dignity

Some of you may have seen the recent video that I posted on Facebook and Twitter about Jessica Rey’s speech on the bikini and modesty.  I found it quite interesting and agree 100%.  While you may not agree with her like I do, you must admit that it most likely has caused you to think twice about ‘why’ you wear one, if you do.

I believe the way we are raised influences our choices significantly.  I was raised to err on the side of modesty at all times.  I have lived by that for 44 years now. No, I am not a prude or Miss Goody Two-Shoes or even Puritan.  My friends can attest to that. 🙂  I simply choose not to expose certain parts of my body for public viewing.  During my adolescent years, I was just obeying what my parents had taught me.  I never viewed modesty as a bad thing.  I associated it with ‘acting like a lady’, so to speak.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s did I realize that God said my body is a temple of Him and I must respect what He’s given me.  I had heard that scripture before but it never really struck a chord in me until after my teen years which is why we, as parents, as teachers, as mentors, as sisters, as friends must teach the younger girls how important this is before the world captures their attention and gives them a false identity of themselves.  The only identity we should be concerned with is the one our Creator gave us!

1 Cor 6:19-20  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Ms Rey states, “We need to teach girls that modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because they’re bad. Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves; it’s about revealing our dignity. We were made beautiful in God’s image and likeness, so the question I’d like to leave you with is, ‘How will you use your beauty?’ ”

I’m not a big fan of some of the clothing I see available for girls/teens/women today.  In fact, I’m appalled at how short the shorts are and how low the shirts are these days.  You can dress fashionably and still dress modestly, allowing your dignity to shine. Hint: layering is a good thing…and, you can do it in fashion.  I have a daughter who will be a teenage in November and she knows how to shop modestly already.  It’s a trait that is non-negotiable in the Boyd home.  She knows her body is not on display and she chooses to respect what God has given her.

Please understand that I am not judging anyone who does not share my opinion on this topic. I am simply stating how and why I believe the way I do on this topic.  I have some friends that will disagree with me about this, but my friendship with them is way more important to me than our disagreement on this topic.

The last part of Ms Rey’s quote is a question that all of us should take some time to reflect on, “How will you use your beauty?”

*Here is the video*  WJVHRJbgLz8

What’s the Rush?

How many times have we wondered, “God, what’s taking so long. Why haven’t you done that yet. I told you about that months ago?” It’s our human nature to question things, right? I’ve certainly had many questions in my journey with Him and I really don’t think God is put-off by our questions. After all, He desires our conversation, our talks with Him.

God does indeed want to give us the desires of our heart; however, His timetable is so much better than ours. It’s so hard on the flesh while we wait; yet, it’s actually the mercy of God at work. During that time of waiting, the imperfections that would have ruined us are exposed so God can remove them. Those imperfections could be pride, greed, selfishness, arrogance, insecurity, and the list goes on and on.

Don’t be discouraged or lose sleep if it takes time for your dream/desires to become reality! God never gets in a hurry because godly character is more important to Him than gifts, talents, or temporary success in the eyes of others. He does want to use you, but He also wants you to be ready to be used.

Right now you may need some time to prepare, change, and grow. That way when God finally promotes you or gives you your desires, you’ll have what you need both naturally and spiritually to STAY established in that God-ordained position or role as you fulfill your assignment with excellence.

*excerpts taken from Sparkling Gems From the Greek*

Your Perception of YOU

This is a note I just came across that I wrote back in 2009. I thought it would be a great reminder for all of us as we start a new year. 🙂

Do you say horrible things about yourself? Do you speak well of yourself or are you hyper-critical of your appearance, your weight, your intelligence, your talents, your skills, and every other aspect of who you are as a person?

I’m a huge fan of Rick Renner and his book Sparkling Gems from the Greek. He states in one of his enlightening devotions that he used to be so hyper-critical of himself that once the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said, “How dare you continually talk so badly about yourself after the good work I’ve done inside you. Don’t you know how marvelously I created you to be in Jesus Christ? Quit speaking so negatively of yourself, and start acknowledging every good thing that is in you.”

Most people don’t even realize how negatively they talk about themselves. When the Holy Spirit brings it to your attention, you’ll find out just how bad it is and how often you do it. Our own mouth can become our greatest enemy!

That’s what happened to me back in September of 2006. I went on a personal HeartQuest with 15 other ladies and a leadership team from TX. During my 6 day quest, I found out a lot about myself that I didn’t even know was there. The Lord spoke to me so profoundly and directly about this one issue. He brought to my attention the negative things I would think about myself and even sometimes say to close friends. After that revelation, He assured me that I was created in His image and He has never created a ‘mistake’. His creations are intentional and for a purpose. I have purpose and He has deposited good things in me. With His help I have grown by leaps and bounds and will continue to walk in that purpose for the rest of my life.

In Philemon 1:6 Paul said, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” So, even though God has done great things in us, it is up to us to activate His blessings in our life! The word ‘effectual’ is the Greek word energo. It’s where we get the word energy. In this verse, the word energo means to become energized or activated. So Paul’s words could be translated as “That the communication of your faith may become energized and activated…”

So let’s apply this to ourselves. Paul said that “every good thing” has been placed in you by Jesus Christ. Think about it – He saved you, He healed you, He redeemed you, He protected you, He has given you a sound mind, He has given you the mind of Christ, He has imparted gifts and talents to you, and He has planned a future for your life that is simply glorious! You are loaded with phenomenal potential that is just waiting to be activated!

Renner compares this to a car filled with gasoline but won’t go anywhere until we get in and turn the key and push the gas pedal. You may ‘feel’ like you’re worthless, you’re defeated, you have nothing to offer; but remember that you have potential, though you can’t see it until you ‘activate’ it.

So how do we ‘turn the key in the ignition’ so that the great work God has done inside us is activated and released? Paul said, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” The word “acknowledging” is the answer to the question. The Greek word is epignosis which describes a well-instructed, intensive, deep knowledge of the facts. No one becomes this knowledgeable accidentally. It requires study, meditation, digging deep into truth and applying oneself to know the facts inside and out. The result of this hard work is a thorough knowledge of the facts that a person has a strong confidence in what he/she says.

We are to confess the truth about ourselves, but before we can do that, we must know the truth. We must possess:

•A knowledge of exactly who we are in Jesus Christ.
•A knowledge of what Jesus has purchased in our redemption.
•A knowledge of every good thing that God has placed in us by Jesus Christ.
•A knowledge of all these truths that is so concrete and so unshakable that we are immovable in what we think and believe.

The truth in our life is no good unless it is spoken. The moment we open our mouth and start confessing the good things that are in us by Jesus Christ, a supernatural connection is made between our faith and all that Jesus has deposited in us. At that moment, the gifts and treasures God has placed in us become supernaturally activated. The confession by our mouth – our acknowledgement of the truth – is what sparks these spiritual blessings and causes them to become operative, activated, and manifested realities.

Let’s review how to make these truths real in our life:
1.Thoroughly know the truths through diligent study.
2.Put the key in the ignition switch.
The key is the Word of God
The ignition is our mouth
3.Turn the ignition by opening our mouth and speaking the truth.
Good things in us are activated the moment we start confessing the truth.

The recognition of these spiritual treasures that reside within you will pick you up, lift you high, and carry you over into the realm of victory you desire!

Now…take another look in the mirror and speak out/confess all of the good things that are in you by Jesus Christ. Let’s live victoriously!!

(Excerpts taken from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek)

My Motherhood

Another Mother’s Day is here! This is my 13th mother’s day and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I had always dreamed of becoming a mother one day. My dream was not too far off from what God had planned for me.

1. I’d always wanted a boy and a girl. Just two children would be perfect if one was a boy and the other a girl. Guess what? God did just that! I have a handsome son and a beautiful daughter.

2. I wanted my children to be at least 2 years apart in age so that they would grow up close in their siblinghood. Guess what? They are 25 months apart!

3. I didn’t necessarily ‘desire’ to give birth to my children, as I have always wanted to adopt at least one child. Guess what? Both of my children are adopted!

4. I wanted to have children 2 years into my marriage. Guess what? That didn’t happen. I waited 9 years for my son!

I know deep in my heart that I could not have planned my motherhood any better than God’s best for me. I am in constant awe as to how He has blessed me with such two amazing, smart, beautiful children. Yes, the journey was long and hard at times, but I wouldn’t give up any part of that journey because I learned so much about God’s love for me and my love for Him. There is nothing on earth that compares to that!

My prayer for you is that if your desire for motherhood has been put on hold for now, allow yourself to dive deeper than ever into God’s love for you. Enjoy daily conversations with Him about your desires. Grab hold of what He’s called you to do now. Make every moment count for His kingdom. Your season of motherhood will come soon. You are in the palm of His hand…and, there’s no better place to be as you wait on God’s best for you.

Contagious Love

I have come to the realization that as I get older and one year after another sneaks by, I am becoming more sensitive…maybe more sympathetic or empathetic sums up my tearful episodes of late. I can hardly watch a heartfelt commercial, tv show, or feel-good movie anymore without tears. Yes, it’s just a commercial which I’ve seen a thousand times, so… what is wrong with me?!! And this one’s a biggie…IF I see someone else crying, well, just throw me the tissue box cuz I’ll cry right with them. I wonder if all of my tearful episodes is because I’m approaching menopause, mindful I’m 43, so I’ve a got a few years to go, for sure. J Or, could it be that God is trying to show me something about His love.

I know that February is the big LOVE month and I LOVE this month and all things about LOVE. But must we limit it to just ONE month to celebrate our love for one another? I think not. If we never show our love for someone until Feb 14th, then is that really love? I think not. If we never give a thoughtful, loving card or buy chocolates or flowers or whatever until that fateful Valentine’s Day does that count as a celebration of LOVE? I think not.

Love is in everything! It’s in the way we talk to others, the way we listen to others, the way we care for others, and the way we accept others and ourselves for who God created us to be. Those are just a few examples of love, but I think they are some of the most important. Nothing compares to God’s love for us, for sure. I mean, none of us can fathom how far the east is to the west. That’s how much He loves us! It’s never-ending, it’s unconditional, and it’s always and forever.

So through my tears and empathy of silly little commercials and tv shows who truly help people, I believe God is softening my heart to become more aware of those that need our love. Some of those have never understood or even seen love. Some do not know that our God is love and cannot understand how He could love them. I am thankful that I have always felt loved and never had to question whether I was loved or not. I had a very loving childhood, which carried with me to my adult years.

I believe now more than ever that God is showing me how to be a ‘carrier’ of His love. Sure, it’s easy to love those that love me; but to love those who don’t love me or those who are unlovable is hard. It’s frustrating and nauseating, to say the least and for some of us, it can be very painful. It’s a self-less act that Jesus portrayed with dignity. As a Christ-follower and one who desires to become more like Him, it must become a self-less act for me, too.

An Invasion of the God-Kind

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night and not known why? Maybe you’ve been out running errands by yourself and suddenly someone’s name comes to mind. You’re perplexed as to why that certain name popped in your head at that time. When these interruptions happen in my life, I believe it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to me, telling me to pray for that certain someone or something. I was out earlier this evening going to gas up my ride. Ok, confession time, first time in a long time I let it get down to 15 miles left before empty. I’m not sure why I let it get so low but nonetheless, I prayed for grace all of the way to the gas station and thank God, I made it! You see, on the way there my focus was ALL about actually making it there without running out of gas. However, on the way home, the Holy Spirit abruptly caught my attention. I was thinking about the elk hamburgers that my husband Brady was cooking at home for dinner. Then, I was thanking God for blessing me with such a godly man as my husband and a father to Abram and Callie and then, I thought how rare it is these days to find such a man. My heart began to break for my single friends. I was urged to pray for them right then and to remember them every day in my prayers.

The world is becoming more and more dangerous and treacherous. So many times I hear of Christian men and women seeking love in the wrong places. This kind of love is a short cut, a quick fix and will never be everlasting. This is not the kind of love our Father in Heaven desires for us. As Christians, we should desire the things of our God, right? God desires to bless us with His very best. It may take 5, 10, 15, 20 yrs or more waiting for His very best; therefore, we can’t give up. We can’t surrender to a quick fix that is not His best. God cannot bless when He’s not the provider.

My prayer for my single friends and singles everywhere searching for the ‘right one’:

May you stay strong and disciplined. May He give you the patience and courage you need to wait on His best and not give in to a quick fix and may He overwhelm you with peace while you wait. Most importantly, may you understand the undeniable, everlasting love your Father has for you and that your joy comes from Him and no other can fulfill all that He has for you.

It’s Your Heart!

Considering all that I have been through lately with my husband, Turbo Brady, having open-heart surgery, the heart has been on my mind a lot. I now know more heart-related medical terms than ever before. However, what I want to share is a very simple, yet hard to follow discipline…diligence.

It takes diligence to keep our heart in good shape, physically and spiritually. I know I’m speaking to the choir with this simplistic statement, but how many of us are actually doing the diligent part? Diligence means a constant and earnest effort; persistent exertion of body or mind. It takes a constant, every day effort to keep our earthly bodies healthy and energized. The same is true for our spiritual heart.

We are the overseer of our heart, no one else’s, just our own. We are responsible to watch, direct, guide, correct, and give oversight to what goes on inside us. We alone are responsible for what we allow to develop inside our head and heart. We are personally responsible for both the good and the bad that occurs within our thought life. It is that ‘inside part’ – the part we control – that God will hold us responsible for.

Consider this simple analogy: There is only one reason that weeds grow out of control in a garden…because no one took the proper time and care to uproot and remove them. When the garden is choked with weeds, the gardener can’t complain. If he’d been exercising the proper amount of diligence, he would have known that weeds were about to take over. His lack of diligence is the reason his garden got into a huge mess!

The only way we can stay free of the weeds the devil wants to sow into our ‘garden’ is to be attentive, careful, thorough, and meticulous about the condition of our own heart. Don’t expect others to take care of your heart for you either. It’s your heart! Be diligent to keep it in good shape.

(Excerpts taken from Sparkling Gems)

Conquering My Biggest Fear

How many times have you wanted to do something, plan something, or dare to dream something, but you were too afraid? You know you’re missing out on life and opportunities, but you’re too scared to do anything about it.

Those of us who live with anxiety are living below the mark of what we were created to be. Worry was never a part of God’s plan for you, yet clinics are full every day with worrisome people trying to find an answer to conquer this flesh-eating stronghold.

My big fear was always public speaking. Whether small or large groups, I could never imagine myself doing that. I remember in college having to write a speech and read it in front of the class. Yikes!! I was horrified, to say the least. I remember speaking as fast as I could to get it over with so that I could finally sit down and take a deep breath. That was one of the worst feelings in the world. All of the anxiety and fear had taken over my body trying to find some relief.

Fast forward to my life now as a pastor’s wife of a really, big church. Good grief! I started questioning what did I say ‘yes’ to. “Lord, I don’t think I signed up for this.” To which the Lord has confirmed to me over and over and over that “Yes, indeed, I signed you up for this. I called you for such a time as this, remember? Don’t worry for I have equipped you and I am here with you.” It was only after I surrendered all of my fear about public speaking that I was able to stand up for the first time in front of 1000 ladies and share my testimony in our church. That’s not to say that I wasn’t nervous. I went to the bathroom 3 times before walking up on stage! I’m human, so of course, I would be nervous speaking for the first time.

I have since been asked to share my heart at various others events and with every one, I am more comfortable and confident in the One who speaks through me. I simply let go of my insecurities…and let God use me as His vessel.

We can all conquer our fears by exercising our faith. Look up some Bible verses and commit them to memory. When doubt and fear enter your mind, speak those verses out loud and proclaim your faith. Here are a few verses to start with:

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation…whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life…of whom shall I be afraid.”

Psalm 56:11 “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and discipline.”

The Game of Pretend

Most of us have pretended at some point in our lives to be someone or something that we are not. As children we most likely pretended to be someone great like a superhero or an astronaut or a schoolteacher or a doctor. I remember watching the Miss America pageant growing up and afterwards, I would find something that resembled a crown and walk through the house smiling and waving pretending that I was the new Miss America. I also remember getting a notebook that I made into a grade book for my pretend students in my class. I’d pretend to teach math and English (my favorite subjects) and then I’d grade pretend papers from the students. I thought I was the best teacher in the world. As much as I enjoyed pretending during my childhood, I am thankful it was not my reality. I had the opportunity after Brady and I got married to actually substitute teach in the elementary school where I worked in the office. I can honestly say that I am so glad that I did not pursue the career of a teacher. They truly have one of the hardest jobs and I am thankful for those that have that calling.

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, the innocence of pretending is lost. Somehow, it turns into a destructive way to hide the parts of us that we are ashamed of; therefore, we pose as someone greater than ourselves. God warns us against pretending to be something we are not-especially when we pretend to be spiritually great. True authenticity comes from finding your real value in God’s eyes and being honest with yourself and others. It is better to be honest about your failures than to lie about your successes.

Why do we pretend to be something or someone we are not?

1. Pride – we all want to look honorable and important in the eyes of others.

2. Embarrassment – when we are embarrassed to admit what we did, we may be tempted to deceive others into thinking that what we did was right.

3. Flattery – we may use flattery to pretend we like someone in order to get something from them.

4. Selfishness – we may disguise our true motives in order to get what we want.

If we continue to go down this path, we eventually fool ourselves into thinking our motives are sincere, and worse yet, we think that God does, too.

Proverbs 20:23 “The Lord detests double standards; He is not pleased by dishonest scales.” God is opposed to hypocrisy! Hypocrisy shows the heart of dishonesty. “1 Peter 2:1 “Get rid of all…deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.” Much of pretending grows out of deceit, which is incredibly harmful to your spiritual growth.

After awhile, a habit of deceitful pretending becomes common and even acceptable to you, dulling and even killing your conscience. Eventually deceivers deceive themselves, cutting them off from truth.

Take off the mask and stop pretending! Psalm 119:29 “Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.” We must be diligent in studying His word. It illuminates deceit and teaches us how to live honestly and transparently. Psalm 120:2 “Rescue me, O Lord, from liars and from all deceitful people.” Watch the friends you keep. Deceitful friends will lead you deeper into deceit. After having personally walked through a few deceitful relationships, I am very cautious of who I let in to share life. That’s why I am not a person who needs a ton of close friends. Give me two close friends and I’m content. Romans 12:3 “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” A good start to conquer pride is to ask honest friends to give you a realistic account of your life and actions. Be ready to receive criticism without making excuses or becoming defensive. Be ready to make the change to becoming the real you!

(Excerpts taken from Life’s Questions by Beers and Beers.)

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