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Beauty Marks

Beauty Marks

I was running down the street, fell and skidded across the sidewalk. Man, how did I fall off this bike? I guess I should wear oven mitts next time. What you said to me hurt me to my core! All of these wounds will leave a physical or emotional scar of some kind. Have you ever thought to yourself, I have a lot of scars? Has your mind ever reverted back to how you obtained the scars? Some of your thoughts might have brought laughter and embarrassment, while others brought pain, discomfort and anguish.

Scars are evidence of some type of wound. We often think our scars {seen and unseen} are ugly. That’s why we vehemently go to different lengths to minimize, alter or hide the scars. But the reality is they never completely fade away.

I have several scars. Sometimes when I look at them the thought of the initial pain as well as the lengthy healing process comes to mind. But, overtime the touch of the visible scars and the hole from the unseen scars no longer produce pain. I can no longer feel the torment of the trauma or discomfort of the healing process. As I thought about that fact, I began to realize God transformed my ugly scars into beauty marks.

How can an ugly painful scar of any kind become a beauty mark? Scars caused by wounds of any kind initially inhabits pain and discomfort. But as the healing process progresses the latter begin to look better than the former. You see, the pain and ugliness you initially endured does not compare to the after effects of healing.

Are you still perplexed as to how ugly scars become beauty marks? God created us to be fearfully and wonderfully made so do you not think HE can transform your ugly scars {physically or emotionally} into beauty marks? Look at it this way, beauty marks are scars left by wounds that have been transformed into purpose {your purpose}.

God longs to transform our wounds into beauty marks. Scars transformed into beauty marks are reminders that God is redeeming what you’ve suffered and can heal you from the inside and out.

Guess what!!! We are in good company when it comes to scars being transformed into beauty marks. Jesus has scars too!! His hands, feet, sides and head. Jesus’ scars are evidence that He was wounded for us and proof that we can be healed. Now that’s what I call scars transformed into beauty marks. Jesus’ suffering was transformed into purpose when He brought salvation to the world.

God has no respect of persons (Romans 2:11). If He transformed Jesus’ scars into beauty marks and purpose, believe God can and will do the same for you!
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Your scars are reminders of God’s transforming grace and mercy.
 
Psalm 147:3--He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Isaiah 53:5--But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
 

Change

Change
 
The phrase, “I need to make a change” often entails emotional, mental or physical changes. Regardless of what area of change is wanted or needed, change in our lives REQUIRE new thinking.

The battle to change any {known or perceived} defects in our life is always a mental struggle. The battle starts in the mind, and it’s won or lost in the mind. Whatever area of change you need or want to make will not occur until your thoughts and attitude change.

It is vitally important to incorporate daily quiet time, and to intentionally study God’s Word to learn how to renew your mind so that you will be equipped to have the power to change. The theological term for “changed mind” is repentance. To repent literally means to change your mind.

When you decide to make a change, you’re also deciding to learn to think in new ways about any defects you have. I learned over time through prayer and the guidance of The Holy Spirt that my {God given} defects are my strengths being misused. My defects were being misused because my thoughts about my defects were negative and not viewed the way Christ views them. Do you have defects that are being misused? If so, are you willing to change your view of them?

Any “defect” we feel we have can be used to God’s glory, if we change our mindset about the defect. Oftentimes we {I} get upset about something in my life and say to myself, “I need to do something different” But what usually happens? Defect sometimes equals defeat thus no action towards change. Why??? Your mind has yet to embrace the new thinking about change.

Choosing to think differently about change will become easier the more you fill your mind with the Word of God. When you’re looking at your defects, ask yourself how would Jesus think about this? How can God get the glory?

A simple function used by most computer users is CTRL + ALT+ DEL. These are a combination of keys on the computer keyboard pressed at the same time to terminate an application task or to reboot the system. Ahhhh!!!! What if we used CTRL + ALT + DEL to terminate the negative application of how we view our defects and reboot our thinking!

CTRL + ALT + DEL
Control yourself= James 1:19-20--Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
 
Alter your thinking=Romans 12:2-- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
 
Delete negativity=Psalms 94:19--When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Are your defects being misused? If so, CTRL + ALT + DEL.

Philippians 2:5--Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Proverbs 3:5--Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

1 Corinthians 2:16-- For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
 

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

We often hear the words “thank you or thanks.” But have you ever taken the time to really dissect the heart of the meaning of these words?

Sometimes these words are said with a sincere and honest heart other times these words are said out of habit then there are times when these words are not said at all.
Scriptures tell us “in everything give thanks.” Is this phrase something we can honesty say we do daily with intentionality?

We have hectic schedules with daily lives that are sometimes exhausting, overwhelming and don’t forget about the ever-present need to problem solve every moment of the day. With all this going on often a forgetfulness of the “good” things in our lives get overlooked. We can become so focused on the hard, urgent and not so good stuff that we miss the opportunity to give/say thanks. If we become intentional in taking the time daily to stop and give thanks. I’m not just talking about giving thanks to those around us, but give God thanks. When we do this, we will be able to put life into a perspective that will minimize the not so good stuff and pleasantly magnify the good things.

Saying thanks is good for us!  As we profess our gratefulness in ALL circumstances (without complaining), we’re not only like Christ, but we’re also exercising power over darkness. The enemy longs to get and keep us frustrated and discouraged thus often giving in to our flesh. Saying thanks opens a door for God’s presence and blessings.

Giving thanks is a reminder to us. Our minds are opened to recall all the times we’ve trusted God and He seeing us through all the difficult times. Thus, further making us aware of how every good and perfect thing we’re blessed with is from Him.

I’ve always tried to be intentional in saying thank you to anyone who does anything for me. It’s my way of acknowledging their thoughtfulness. But lately I have really been thinking abut if I’m just as intentional in giving thanks to God for ALL that He has done for me, but more importantly for who He is.

T--thoughtfulness
H--helps
A--acknowledgement
N--nurture
K--kindness
S—sincerity
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Is your thanks sincere and glorifies God?

Psalm 107:1— Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

1 Thessalonians 5:18--give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 
 

Busy Being Busy

Busy Being Busy
 
Today’s society is known for its busyness and its increasing ability to deliver instantaneously. We find ourselves hurried more that our ancestors could ever imagine. Some days, and especially as we approach the holiday season time will appear to be moving at an unprecedent rate of speed. It will feel as if there are not enough minutes in an hour or hours in a day to complete all we have to do, and the clock keeps ticking oftentimes making us lose touch with what is really important.

We are overworked, overstressed, and spiritually undernourished. Our culture promotes “bigger, better and faster” and subtly entices us to keep up. “Bigger, better and faster” is not necessarily wrong. However, I encourage you to weigh out the consequences of the “bigger, better and faster.”

The challenge of “bigger, better and faster” can blind us to busyness. Albeit, there is great joy in scurrying around to find food items for that perfect holiday meal. Going from store to store to get the greatest gifts at the best price. The blissful wait in long lines at the airport or maneuvering through traffic as we rush to get to the homes of family and friends to enjoy relaxation and festivities.

But, in the midst of all this running around and enjoying family and friends, there’s this little small voice, “have you spent time with me today?” You look at your phone with the intention of reading the daily scripture. But the flash of 50%-60% catches your eye. The daily scripture quickly gets overridden by the online sale. As you hit the checkout button you yell out “wow, thank you God I just saved $75.”

Once again you hear that small voice, “have you spent time with me today?” You sit down to pray, but immediately your to do list pops in your head. You mumble a few words(prayer), you get up saying “I have sooo much to do.” Then you start rattling off all of what you feel needs to be accomplished. The voice is still lingering, “have you spent time with me today?”

 I often hear “I’m so busy.” Yes, that may be 100% true and I am in on way minimizing what people have going on in their lives. But are we so enthralled with the “busyness” of our lives that we drown out the voice of The Lord to the point where our to do list is more important than spending quality time with The Father?

A great example of the consequence of busyness is the story of Martha and Mary. Martha opened her home to Jesus. While Martha was enthralled with preparations to make things “perfect” for Jesus her sister Mary sat at Jesus feet listening to and absorbing all He had to say. Martha’s distraction of busyness kept her from listening to and spending time with Jesus.

If we are honest, more than not we resemble Martha more than Mary. We rush around doing what we feel needs to be done, while missing the glimpses of Jesus all around us. As difficult as it is, and contrary to our culture, we must be intentional in our efforts to decrease “busyness” and model Mary. As Jesus said in scripture, Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

PEARLStoPONDER: If we become so focused on trying to beat the clock or should I say catch the clock, the distractions of instantaneously delivery of “bigger, better and faster” will steal our quality time with The Father and can minimize our usefulness to the Kingdom of God.

Luke: 10:38-42-- 38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

 

Inspiration

Inspiration
 
Sometimes in life you have to a step back and take the focus off self. As we enter into the season of Thanksgiving it has been on my heart for months to speak about some women I know personally who are truly an inspiration to me.

As women we endure may issues with our bodies. Some self-inflicted and others happen without warning and with the question “why” is this happening?

I have been guilty of complaining or asking “why” certain things are happening to my body. But one day as I was sitting in my office the faces of six women flashed before me. Remorse came over me and I immediately repented for my complaining and began giving thanks for these women whose daily battle include but not limited to: Chrons Disease, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Multiple Sclerosis (MA), Diverticulitis, Lupus, Breast & Ovarian Cancer, Asthma and Endometriosis.

I personally know that each of these women have/had moments when they suffer in silence with pillows filled with tears due to physical and emotional pain. Yet, they find the strength to push through every day. For some of these women not only are they pushing through to take care of themselves but other family members as well. They are wives, mothers, business women, students, church members and many other hats not mentioned. To see their drive and motivation is unmatched.

For me I have to be careful not to allow the enemy {or my own thoughts} make me feel as if my life is so bad when I am not feeling my best. But the truth of the matter is, our bodies are decaying daily thus we will experience different ailments with varying pain extremes. I laughed to myself because The Lord gave me a good rebuke….”do you not remember being delivered from endometriosis” {and other ailments}? Once again, I began to praise God for rebuke and correction.

To my Sisters who deal with chronic pain and illness you are an inspiration to me! I pray that God will continue to strengthen you daily so that you are a testimony to His goodness, His power, His grace and His unconditional love.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Move out of self and give another woman genuine encouragement, you never know what they may be going through.
 
Isaiah 40:29--He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Psalms 34:8--O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psalms 46:1--God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
 

The Blessing of UNGLUEDNESS

The Blessing of UNGLUEDNESS
 
As women there are situations or challenges in life that can make us feel or cause us to become UNGLUED. During a season of UNGLUEDNESS the enemy dominates the mind with the things you need to do, how to execute getting it all done as well as demeaning and intimidating words like that’s too hard you won’t be able to do it.
 
When I go into prayer in this UNGLUED state I oftentimes go before God incognito (or so I think) hoping God doesn’t recognize me (my heart), meaning I went before God being deceptive about my feelings, having doubt in my heart and pretending everything is ok. When in a state of UNGLUEDNESS I also pray fashionably before God, fancy empty words just to say I prayed but not being freely and genuinely transparent before God, (as if God didn’t know my heart and what was really going on). Unrecognized UNGLUEDNESS will lead to shadiness because you don’t want anyone to see how UNGLUED you are. When you become shady your life becomes dark (spiritually), chaotic, discombobulated and your home will be unbalanced.
 
But I realized the recognition of being UNGLUED is a blessing, because at that moment I understood and remembered I am not in control. Regardless of the depth of the UNGLUEDNESS, when I acknowledge (that small still voice) I’m UNGLUED I make an intentional and conscious choice to stop and refocus on God’s Word (this sometimes takes several tries..lbvs). Acknowledgement leads to adhering to and trusting the guidance of The Holy Spirit who gives instruction on how to thrive and have peace in a season of UNGLUEDNESS, with the understanding this may be God’s way of getting my attention to work out of me what He needs to get out of me for His purpose and glory.

Although I have been knocked down in the state of UNGLUEDNESS, I’m so grateful that God didn’t allow the enemy to take complete control. I praise Him for the ability to refocus on His Word for guidance and peace. You too through Jesus Christ have the power to thrive in a season of UNGLUEDNESS!
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Don’t be afraid of becoming UNGLUED. It’s just God’s way of tapping you to refocus on His unconditional love, glory and power.
 
John 14:27 (KJV)---Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
 
1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)---For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Philippians 2:5 (KJV)--- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Proverbs 4:24 (KJV)--- Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
 
 

Temptations

Temptations

MMMMM….ooh this is sooo good!!! I wonder if anyone is looking. I just can’t stop. I know this isn’t good for me and I shouldn’t be indulging, but it keeps calling me. When I think about it euphoria just engulfs me.

I can see all the eyebrows raised trying to figure out what temptation has overtaken me. Don’t be like that….LOL! We ALL have some temptation that we struggle with.

The question is, are you willing to continue indulging in behavior, activities, or vices that you know are not good for you naturally and more important spiritually?

My dirty little temptation is…….{I’ll get back to you with that}.

Is your dirty little temptation something that convicts you every time you indulge? Or are you internally convincing yourself that you only live once, so I’m gonna die doing what I want?

Is that temptation so important, or should I say soooo good that you are willing to continue to put yourself in harms way (physically or spiritually) by continual indulgence?

OK, I must confess. My dirty little temptation is…. crushed ice. I know it’s not good for my teeth. But it’s soooo good. Just me typing about it is tempting me to get some. But I will refrain…lol.

Some of you are probably thinking that’s your dirty little temptation. Really!!!! I know it might seem small and trivial to some. But it made me really evaluate how something so small (or what seems so small) can have an adverse effect on me physically and spiritually. You’re probably thinking I know chewing on crushed ice can damage your teeth, but what does ice have to do with anything spiritual? It’s not the ice in and of itself, it’s my desire and dependency to some degree for the crushed ice that gives me an artificial euphoria that keeps me chasing it.

For me as a Believer I don’t want to be dependent on anything that gives me (or could potentially) replace the euphoria I get from being a servant of Jesus Christ. So, I have made the commitment to begin decreasing to the point of eliminating crushed ice from my diet because it has begun to negatively affect my body. I know eating crushed ice is not a sin, however I am not willing to continue to enjoy this small pleasure that has now become a detriment to my body. If I do that then I will be willfully and intentionally not taking care of my temple, thus putting me in violation of the scripture that tells me to take care of my temple.

It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15). It might be ice for me. What vice do you have that will cause you to make sporadic decisions resulting in physical and spiritual detriment?
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Are you willing to acknowledge your vice then make a commitment to decrease and or eliminate your dirty little temptations?
 
1 Corinthians 10:13--No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Romans 6:12-1412 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

1 Corinthians 6:19-- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
 

I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y.

I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y
 
As I sit in my office, I thought about the word identity. My identity use to always be tied to how others viewed me. It took me a looong time to become comfortable with me. The more I studied Christ the more I became less enamored with others perspective of me and became enthralled with what it means for me to have my identity in Christ.

It is a great feeling to know where your identity is rooted thus giving confidence to embrace and walk proudly in your identity. Once I realized my identity was not rooted in self, the perception of people, or accolades I began to breathe. I was no longer suffocated by the thoughts, looks and comments of other people.

Have you ever felt like your identity was tied to how others viewed you thus hindering your God giving purpose? You are not alone. The good news is, you don’t have to remain in that state of mind.
The following acronym is a tool I implemented in my life years ago and continue to use in order to remain secure in my identity.
 
I—Instructions {my daily guidance comes from God’s Word}
D—Dedication {committed to daily application of God’s Word}
E—Eternal {my blessed hope through Christ Jesus}
N—Need {understanding my dependence on God}
T—Trust {believing what His Word says about who I am}
I—Intimacy {having the freedom and comfort to go before my Lord}
T—Thanksgiving {understanding God’s gratefulness}
Y—Yield {ability to put my flesh down and surrender to God’s will through the leading of The Holy Spirit}
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Do you know the root of your identity?

Romans 15:7- Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

1 Peter 2:9---But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Galatians 2:20--I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

2 Corinthians 5:17--Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
 

I'm Sooo Hot!!

I’m Sooo Hot!!!!

“I’m sooo hot! God if you don’t help me, I’m going to lose my mind!” I know at first glance it appears I’m talking about what all women will experience, perimenopause or menopause. I know the phrase fits, but what I’m actually talking about is the emotion of frustration that builds up when working in ministry, at home, work or dealing with our spouse, children and people in general. The unexpected, unwanted frustrated feeling that rises to a hot boiling point of they just don’t understand, when asked to do one more thing before any other task has been completed. Or when that person just gets on your very lasssssst nerve! Whew….Ok breathe, be calm.

As a woman have you ever been at a boiling point?  If not hold on to your lid, you too will have the unexpected, unwanted experience of saying, “I’m sooo hot!” When I feel myself “getting hot” I immediately stop what I’m doing and pray. {Ok…to be honest, not always. Sometimes I want to waddle in the anger}. I had to learn once I’m at the point of “getting hot,” to acknowledge that I have over extended myself, mismanaged my time, or someone has really gotten on my nerves {which takes a lot for me to get to this point} causing me to become anxious, thus the boiling point of “I’m sooo hot!”

I am a verrry calm person by nature and I don’t like how I feel when I get to a boiling point. For most people if they see me, they would never know I’m at my boiling point. But internally I’m on fire, and unfortunately my body lets me know by the way it adversely behaves.

Recently I was tested and I became sooooo hot. This blog (which is slightly edited...lol) I wrote years ago came to my mind. When I read it, not only did a calm come over me but a reassurance of God’s Word and a reminder God will oftentimes test you in an area you think you have overcome.

Philippians 4:6 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Prayer refocuses me, thus putting Jesus at the forefront of my mind so I am able to renew my mind, (Philippians 2:5) and die to my flesh (2 Corinthians 4:16). Praying allows me to intentionally think and meditate on his word to calm the “hotness.” My favorite scripture and the one I meditate on often is, Philippians 4:8-9. It reads, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Dealing with the issue of “I’m sooo hot” is a matter of discipline and self-control. I know you’re probably thinking the “I’m sooo hot” is warranted. That may be true, but we must remember we don’t want to be a stumbling block to another sister in Christ or a hindrance to a sister who has yet to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12).

I’m not saying I will never experience being “sooo hot. However, the following tools will effectively equip me to handle any situation that gets me to the boiling point of being sooo hot.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: When I get the unexpected, unwanted feeling of “I’m sooo hot,” the following three steps are essential to my cooling down process. I pray they will help you as well.
1. Pray: Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 5:16
2. Meditate: Psalm 1:2; Psalm 19:14; Joshua 1:8
3. Self-control: Proverbs 25:28; Proverbs 29:11; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 4:7
 
 
 
 

PEACE

Peace
 
Peace!  We all want it. Few have it and fewer know how to find it.

As women, we are made to believe it is our responsibility to take care of things. Thus, when things are not taken care of, we seem to not be at peace within ourselves.

Peace has nothing to do with our circumstances or the long list of things we believe we must do. Peace to me and for me is when you can have the assurance to carry on the day and sleep well at night when there is a long list of things to do or when there is a storm raging all around you.

Peace is knowing God never goes to sleep. Believing He has it all under control and trusting He knows what is best.

We often think peace is the absence of problems. That is not the case, peace is the PRESCENCE of God. At some point in life we will all experience problems, however we must learn to not allow the problems to rob us of peace.

Because of the world we live in, peace is not something that comes automatically. Peace is a learned practiced decision that can only be achieved when understanding God knows you and everything about your life.

Peace is relying on the knowledge of God’s love for you and accepting that nothing is coming your way without first passing through God’s allowing hands.

As women when peace is prevalent in our lives it often shows in our physical appearance. Everything about us seems to shine, our walk, our talk, our perspective on life and our confidence in who we are in Christ.

When peace is eluding you, instead of everything about you shinning, the glow will be dimmed or diminished.  Ask God to reveal to you anything in your life causing disorder that results in lack of peace and begin to eliminate those things. Ask God to change your feelings and reactions to anything you have no control over. Ask God to guide your heart to allow Him to be in control of what is happening around you, and for guidance through His Word to determine what His definition of peace is for you.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Does your heart really know and understand who is in control?
 
Isaiah 26:3-4--  You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

1 Corinthians 14:33--For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
 
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