March 3, 2014
This weekend I had the privilege of speaking at Thelma Wells Conference (www.ThelmaWells.com). Oddly, I was asked to speak on the life of Bathsheba. To tell you honestly, when they first asked me to speak on Bathsheba I was frustrated. I didn’t like Bathsheba. I always pictured her as an evil, adulterous woman who seduced king David.
God had a few lessons He wanted to teach me as I studied Bathsheba’s life. First I learned that I had made quite a few assumptions about this woman. There are some facts we know about her, but there are also numerous unknowns. The Bible tells us that she was beautiful and that she was married to a noble warrior named Uriah (one of David’s top 30 men). We know that David was on his roof, but we don’t know if Bathsheba was on hers. She was also most likely sponge bathing as water was scarce in Israel. I always assumed that she purposely allured David, but the scripture says that he sent messengers (more than one) to get her. It is highly likely that she was a victim, not a seductress.
The point is, we don’t know. Yet if you are like me, you’ve made assumptions about Bathsheba and her character. We tend to do that as women, don’t we? We get a little picture and then fill in the gaps with our own assumptions. The assumptions we make about others tend to build up walls and create barriers to relationships. But when we do away with assumptions, we are free to love without judgment. Isn’t that what God calls us to do?
Studying Bathsheba also taught me about the redemption God brings. Bathsheba’s situation was messy. Both her husband and her son died within one year. She was a grieving woman who had very few choices in life. But God gave her another son, Solomon, and the Bible tells us that God loved Solomon. Bathsheba was in the lineage of Jesus. How wonderful to know that God restores messy lives. Our life may not be as messy on the outside, but all of us are messy on the inside. Only God can clean our inside mess. After David’s sin was exposed he wrote, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Jesus came to make messy hearts clean. I’m thankful for the cleansing work He did on the cross for you and me.
February 17, 2014
Tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Although the word “amazing” may be slightly over-used, we should never become tired of the amazing things God has done. As the Israelites got ready to enter the Promised Land, Joshua attempted to prepare them for God’s amazing plan. The excitement began at the crossing of the Jordan. As the priests carrying the ark of the Lord set foot in the Jordan, the water upstream stopped flowing and the Israelites were able to walk on dry ground. God brought down the walls of Jericho and gloriously led His people into the Promised Land.
Let us never lose our sense of awe as we observe God’s amazing deeds. We can look with wonder at the beauty of the night sky and the magnificent display of stars and see His amazing handiwork. We can relish the precious birth of a new born child and be awed by the intricate way God forms each one of us. May we always rejoice as we watch God work in amazing and simple ways in our daily lives.
This is an excerpt from my devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places
February 10, 2014
Who knows but that you have come to your
royal position for such a time as this?
If ever there comes a time when the women of the world
come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind,
it will be a force such as the world has never known.
A recent survey of over 7,000 leaders from high performance companies revealed fascinating results concerning the effectiveness of women in leadership. The survey showed that women outperformed men in twelve out of sixteen leadership competencies! Women ranked higher than men in areas such as taking initiative, problem solving, building relationships, driving for results and practicing self-development to name a few. Why do you think women seem to have these innate leadership qualities? What is it that stirs in the heart of a woman motivating her to reach out to inspire others? I believe God has uniquely equipped us as women to feel things deeply and to care passionately about the world around us.
As women we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in our families, communities and even our culture. All too often we are tempted to sit back and allow someone else to set the pace for the rest of society, but there has never been a more important time for Christians to lead with love and integrity. Whether you have the opportunity to be a leader within your neighborhood community, your family, your business or in your church, you have the potential to influence others through your words, ideas and examples. Don’t wait for someone else to carry out the job God has equipped you to do.
Perhaps you never thought of yourself as the “leader type.” Or maybe you are a reluctant leader who has been pushed into the position because no one else would take on the responsibility. Maybe you’re a natural born leader who seems to gravitate toward the top in every organization you join. In a way, as Christian women we all serve as leaders, because we are set apart, called to stand up for Biblical principles and lead our culture by being an example of righteousness, love and compassion.
Whether you are a reluctant leader or a natural born one or somewhere in between, every one of us can grow and develop fresh leadership skills in our lives. Always remember, you have the potential to inspire and impact the next generation of leaders to engage with the culture and relate to others in an effective way. Ultimately that’s what leadership is all about – relationships. Certainly courage, character, vision and wisdom all play a vital role in the make-up of a great leader, but if a leader does not have the power to relate well with others, their influence is diminished and their effectiveness weakened.
The apostle Paul warned that if we set out to do great things without love, we are only resounding gongs or clanging cymbals. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to waste. I want my work to count, to be effective, to make a difference. Love is the difference. May His love shine through everything you say and do.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests
but each of you to the interests of the others.
This is an excerpt from the introduction to my new book, Positive Leadership Principles for Women (Harvest House Publishers)
January 27, 2014
This week I attended two funerals, both were for godly women who lived their lives to honor The Lord. Their lives offered a picture of faithful service, but more than that, they demonstrated what it means to live with your heart “set on things above” (Colossians 3:1). When I attend funerals like these, I am inspired to keep my eyes upward, seeking His will and direction and allowing His love to flow through me. I’m reminded of the value in investing in the lives of others and living a life of service.
At one of the funerals we sang an old favorite hymn of mine, “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” by Louisa M. R. Stead, c. 1850-1917.
Here are some of the words:
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!
2. O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to trust his cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me
neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Let us live in such a way that others are inspired to “live like Jesus.” I’m thankful these women did.
January 13, 2014
Each year I re-examine my focus and seek God’s direction as to how I should be investing my time and talents. This year I sense His leading in three important areas:
1. Encouraging women to grow deeper in their knowledge of God’s Word.
2. Strengthening leadership skills in women, helping them to inspire and impact others.
3. Reaching out to parents (in poverty as well as all of society) emphasizing the importance of re-engaging with their kids.
Bottom line my passions this year are: God’s Word, leadership and parenting.
In light of those three passions, I have had fun preparing several new speaking topics for church groups as well as corporate settings. They are:
1. Positive Leadership Principles for Women – 8 Secrets Every Leader should Know
2. Becoming a Woman of the Word – Simple Steps to Knowing & Delighting in the Bible
3. Re-engaging with Your Kids in a Disengaged Culture
4. How to Stay Up on a Down Day – Five Essential Sources of Encouragement
5. And of course as always I will speak on the topic of The Power of a Positive Mom (Woman, Friend, Wife or Teacher)
Every summer I host a writers’ conference with Roaring Lambs Ministry. I love to encourage writers, so keep these topics in mind for your group as well:
How to Write a Winning Proposal
Does the World Really Need Another Book?
How to Write a Bible Study
Building your Speaker Platform
How to Speak without Notes
How to Prepare a Winning Presentation
May God continue to use you and bless you as you seek His guidance this year.