Thank Offerings

While I was still in prison in the courtyard, the Lord’s message came to me again.  The Lord, who made the earth, who formed it and set it in place, spoke to me. He whose name is the Lord said, “Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you wonderful and marvelous things that you know nothing about. …. I will heal this city and its people and restore them to health. I will show them abundant peace and security……… There will be shouts of gladness and joy and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. You will hear people sing as they bring thank offerings to my Temple; they will say give thanks to the Lord Almighty, because he is good and his love is eternal. I will make this land as prosperous as it was before. I, the Lord, have spoken.” (Jeremiah 33)

I find it strikingly amazing that God would speak to His servant in prison!  Jeremiah’s ears were open and his heart prepared to receive a message from the God who made the earth and formed it, and set it in place.

Call to Him!  Reach out to God, and He will show you things which you know nothing about!  Perhaps things that keep you from a life of joy, peace, and thanksgiving. Today, on Thanksgiving, bring a thank offering to Him–bring yourself.

Offer your life, your heart, and your soul to the One who will deeply satisfy, is eternally good, and offers perfect love –eternal love.

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.”  C. S. Lewis

For today, forget troubled relationships, financial stress, health issues, unresolved circumstances.  We are not our emotions or our circumstances.  Let them be without fixing or judging, or guilt.  God’s Word shares that the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord is eternal.  Today, rejoice in the knowledge of the only thing that will remain is Jesus and His love for you.

Husbands, Dads, single men-this one is for you!

Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Genesis 3:16

God created man and woman.  Before sin came into the world these two beings, who were created in the image of God, had separate duties bestowed on them by their Creator, but were on equal standing in the eyes of God–a unified front. When sin entered the world, that perfect relationship was destroyed, and the enemy perverted the purity of what God desired most for His children.

Since Adam and Eve, men have struggled to lead and love, and women have struggled with self-worth.

I remember attending the magnificent drama at the Sight and Sound Theater on the book of Genesis.  Prior to sin, Adam and Eve were content, and their joy for each other was paradise–perfect.  When sin came into the world, a darkness settled over their relationship, and Eve yearned for healing words and protection from her mate; however, he could not give to her what she needed most.  Instead, he withdrew from her into a troubled solitude. I sat there crying at that familiar scene.  Eve’s facial expressions and body language turned from a confident woman to a woman filled with regret, shame, and insecurity as she cried out for Adam’s affections.  She desired him; and he ruled over her.

We study history and realize the tug of war of a woman’s struggle to be seen and heard through historical victories such as obtaining the right to vote.  My heart and mind goes to a deeper place–a place of bondage in which we can embrace the curse and live in denial or put our armor on and fight against it.

As a social worker, an overwhelming theme that I address are little girls without their daddies in the home, or if dad is in the home, he is absent in “being present”, more concerned about his next drink or fix, a workaholic, or filled with sarcasm or depression.  Even in the most seemingly put together homes in which very little dysfunction is present, the father’s role was fuzzy, or he was not available.  I see these girls grasping and searching for something they can’t seem to articulate, but have found a false sense of security in dating, intimacy before marriage, and in some cases becoming pregnant. They starve for love so much that they create a human being to love them.  We can argue over the selfishness and immaturity of this, or we can spend time on the root of the problem– A fatherless nation.

A common theme with women I share my heart with are husband’s who struggle to lead their home spiritually, if at all.  It appears that women are yearning, leading, begging, and their desire is to be affirmed and protected, not a distant “lording over”.

If you’ve made it this far in my post, I want you to hear me clearly–I’m not belittling men or women.  This post is not a man bash session, or a plea for folks to feel sorry for women.  I believe strongly that we’ve spent a lot of time arguing these points and missing THE point–

Men–love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. (Ephesians chapter 5)

Men, do you see the power of your leadership and love?  You can help us be more holy through your leadership in the Word.  We are radiant when we are covered under your mantel of protection and leadership.

This same leadership extends to your daughters.  I wish I could record the words of daughters who feel invisible, ashamed that maybe they’ve disappointed you, and in some cases a bitterness that can’t be cut through because of years of hurt and shame.

Will we allow satan to have his way and extend the hurt since Adam and Eve, generation upon generation?  Or, will we desire different and take action?

How?

  • If you find yourself in a place in which taking action seems impossible then run to counseling. Real men are okay in seeking help.  Your wife and closest Christian friends are not skilled, trained counselors who can hold you accountable on a therapeutic level.
  • Get into a body of believers with other men and worship, pray, and study God’s Word.  His Word is your very lifeline. Take a break from hobbies, television, and things that pull you away from family and dig into His Word and apply and share it with your family–wash them with the Word.
  • Accept Jesus as Your creator and Savior by confessing your sin, acknowledging His death and resurrection, and asking Him to be Lord of your life–submit to His authority.  Surrendering is a sign of powerful strength!
  • Accept the love of Jesus and believe God has a dream for your family!  Did you know that God will reveal visions and dreams to you to speak over your family?  Seek Him!  Ask Him to reveal His will for your family.
  • Commit to words of affirmation over your wife and children.  Each of them receives, three times a day at least, an encouraging word from you filled with affirmation.  Even if the relationship is strained, commit to this promise with no conditions or strings attached.  Be generous without conditions.
  • Engage and be present in the daily mundane of life and offer support.
  • Take action!  The world is vying for your family’s affection.  Fight for them and protect your home.  Don’t let anything vile or offensive cross your threshold.
  • Teach your sons how to lead, respect, and honor women. Refuse to watch television shows that over-sexualize and put down women,  refuse to engage in pornography, be careful of coarse jokes and language that treats women with disrespect, talk to them about sexual purity and his leadership in dating, share Christ with him.
  • Pray without ceasing for your family.
  • If you are single, prepare now and be ready to lead your wife and family.  Keep yourself pure and lead the way in purity in your dating relationship.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  Ephesians 5:31

If you struggle to find yourself as one flesh today put your marriage and family as a priority. If you are single and need to understand leadership God’s way, seek Jesus and His Word.  He is your perfect father.  Start, perhaps, with yesterday’s post and repent and renew.  Read the verses and prayers and ask each other for forgiveness and a new start.  Don’t keep secrets so the enemy can thwart, shame, and destroy.  Share your struggles and take action–seek help.

Resources:

An audio sermon from John Piper: (Amazing sermon!  So Powerful!  Please listen when you have time!)

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/husbands-who-love-like-christ-and-the-wives-who-submit-to-them

An easy to read to get started on leadership and God’s love for you:

A Husband Like Him: Becoming a Christ-Like Leader in the Home

Link to order the book:

http://www.christianbook.com/husband-like-becoming-christ-leader-home/jason-whetstone/9781598867381/pd/867381?dv=c&en=google-pla&kw=family-0-20&p=1167941&gclid=CNyYs-CChbsCFcQDOgodrRQAtg#ask_and_answer

A song of worship:  Courageous–Casting Crowns

Repentance and Renewal

This post was written for me personally and for those who have come to me asking for prayer to be renewed. Take 5 minutes to offer a time of repentance and renewal by reading aloud or silently praying in your heart and mind.

Another suggestion is to have communion as a family and take turns reading portions of this and sharing your heart as a family.  I hope to do that tonight with my family to start Thanksgiving off with a renewed spirit.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

Jesus,

We acknowledge that your Word is Your very presence in our lives.  You created us and know what will keep us safe and joyful.  Your Word is good for me.  It teaches me and corrects my wrong thinking and doing.  Your Word trains me for the things to come—the hard things of life that will come at me.  If I’m in Your Word, worldly things will be no surprise, but I will face them as a trained up soldier living in righteousness.

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.

Jesus,

Remember when I told you, “Yes?”  You came to live inside of me, and Your Holy Spirit became my comfort and guide.  I am a new creation.  The old has passed away and I can be restored, renewed, and redeemed.  May I never forget the joy of my salvation.  Lord, just as I am, right now, I come to You again asking you to renew my soul and forgive me.

John 14:15

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Those are the very words of Jesus!  Jesus is telling us how to love Him!

Jesus, how can I show you how much I love You?  Your Word tells me that I can show You love by keeping your commandments and honoring Your Word.  May I be in Your Word daily and loving you through my choices to follow You.

Psalm 84: 11-12

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
what joy for those who trust in you.

Jesus, thank you for being my sun (my light in the darkness) and my shield of protection when temptation is hard.  You promise to not withhold anything good in my life when I try my very best to be obedient to Your Word.  Oh what a joy it is, Lord, to trust in You—You alone!

Jesus, Your Word says that the wages of sin is death, but through You, I can have a renewed and redeemed life.  Renew me Lord.  Lord, change my heart and give me the strength to be obedient to You.  Help me to wait for the good things you have in store for me.  Help me to not go in my own strength and will, grasping and demanding, but to wait and be content with where I am right now.

Lord, You promise that Your love covers a multitude of sin, and I know You have forgiven me and have covered me warmly with Your grace and triumphantly with Your passionate love for me.  Jesus, as I receive Your mercy in my life, help me to be merciful to those who have sinned against me.

I’m claiming that THIS DAY I am renewed, redeemed, and a new thing has begun in me!

Thank you Jesus for already providing for me and healing me.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

A great worship song to close out your time with Jesus.

Hillsong: Oceans

The moon and the stars, which You set in their places–

Psalm 8: 3-4

When I look at the sky, which you have made,
at the moon and the stars, which you set in their places—
what are human beings, that you think of them;
mere mortals, that you care for them?

After a difficult meeting in my family, we were driving home and the moon was shinning bright over us. “Oh, Lord, You are here.”  His love shinning through His handiwork led us home.  Did you know the moon is always in a stage of waxing or waning?

If you want to determine if the moon is Waxing (getting bigger) or Waning (getting smaller) all you have to do is look when you can see it. If it is visible in the evening sky the Moon is Waxing (getting bigger). If the moon is visible at dawn or in the early morning, it is Waning. (http://www.survivalschool.com/articles/Waxing_Waning_Moon.htm)

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Jesus sometimes we can only think of the majesty of You.  Our earthly pursuits and struggles seem undignified and barbaric.  We race around and pursue, while you are boldly announcing Your power and love.  We miss it because we are entangled.  You set the moon and stars in their place, and You hold them there.  How powerful!  The very same hands set me here on earth at this time.  You hold me and guide me.

Simplicity, Lord, in the midst of the mundane, impossible, and hurt.

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Lord, I do not worship the things You created–I worship You because You made those things for us to enjoy and showered upon us Your beauty.

My heart cries out to You Lord–“Help us see You in the midst of it all!”

My soul aches for complete healing and understanding.

My body is begging to “just be”–no analyzing, no judging, and no wondering.

My mind desires to only hear the beauty of You and the kindness of words.

Professionalism: In God’s Eyes

 

Victoria, 

3 John 1:4 “Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children live in the truth.” Love, Mom and Dad

Written by:

Victoria L. Hebb, RN, BSN

Within a clinic or unit, leadership sets the tone and example for nursing staff and other members of the staff.  If an establishment does not have professional leadership, morale can drop, dysfunction and frustration may exist within the team, and teamwork and staff satisfaction can decline.  This article looks at how those in nursing leadership positions can incorporate how God calls us to lead and how to take that understanding and practice professionalism.  Professionalism includes, but is not limited to, actions, speech, and communication of an individual.011

I have not been a nurse for very long, but I have been in nursing long enough to realize there is a great impact on a team, unit, or clinic created by the type of leadership that is in place.  I am currently in a Leadership and Administration Master’s Program, and I have been exposed to many different types of leadership styles over the past few years.  I have been able to come beside incredible mentors in the nursing profession who have shown me how true leaders are to act, to speak, and how to lead professionally.  I have also, unfortunately, seen how a leader should not behave, how a leader should not speak, and how negative leadership within a facility can decrease morale, create frustration among staff, and lead to a negative experience within the nursing profession.  I feel that my life experiences within the past few years have created a passion within me to be a leader who stands out, a leader who wants to positively impact the profession of nursing, and a leader who desires to create an environment where a team can succeed and thrive!  I feel I have been called by God to be a leader within the nursing profession and God says in 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

With my past experiences, sometimes negative and sometimes positive, it inspired me to really dive in and research how a leader and professional is supposed to conduct themselves.  With this being said, the one leader in my life who never fails me is God.  He is the ultimate leader, and is the ultimate example of a leader.  Proverb 11:14 (MSG) states, “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” So, how does God call us to act and behave as a leader?

Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) is a perfect example of how God expects us to act as a leader.  “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”   God literally tells us to give our lives, the ordinary, and our jobs to Him!  He says to not become so immersed within the culture of those around us that we just “fit in”, He wants us to stand out, to recognize what He wants for our lives, and He will develop maturity within us, that I believe, will create an outstanding leader.

Proverbs 16:18 simply explains how when you are prideful it leads to destruction, “First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”  Being humble within leadership, but also confident, will lead to success within leadership.  Remembering where you came from, where you started from, will often help to remain humble.  Everyone has once been a position where feeling vulnerable or insecure, having empathy for those feeling that way and showing compassion for those individuals is a wonderful leadership quality.

I have been in situations where negative speech, or inappropriate speech, has created negativity and low morale.  Ephesians 4:29 reminds us, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  God is telling us that we are to only speak if it is going to build others up, or help others.  This can be hard within leadership because sometimes a leader has to settle conflict, or talk about difficult situations with staff, but it is at that time where professional conversations and constructive criticism can come into play.

The ultimate example in the Bible where professionalism and appropriate behavior was displayed, is Jesus’ life.  Jesus was born to a humble family, but He knew that He had a purpose in His life, to change the world.  He grew up learning all He could about the culture He lived in.  He always showed kindness to each person He came in contact with.  Jesus always spoke truth when addressing those He was speaking with, but did it in a kind and compassionate manner.  Jesus helped all of those He could, even those He called the least of these.  Jesus’ ultimate example was His journey to the cross.  Jesus knew He was going to be crucified, when He knew the time was upon Him, He decided to pray on the Mount of Olives the night before.  He prayed for God to give Him strength to do the right thing, He also had his friends, the disciples, praying for Him. The time came on the Mount of Olives that the Roman soldiers arrested Jesus. The disciples defended Jesus and acted with violence, but Jesus stood his ground and commanded the violence to cease. He even healed a man who was coming to arrest Him, showing compassion to His enemies.  After this event, Jesus stood trial before Pilot, the Roman governor.  During his arrest and questioning, He maintained a calm and professional attitude, and stood for what He knew was truth, but not becoming angry or defensive.  Even Pilot stated that Jesus was not a criminal, but the council demanded Jesus to be crucified, and the people of the city shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”.  Even after they led Jesus to the place called The Skull, nailed Him to a cross, and mocked and spat at Him, Jesus cried out, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.  Jesus knew that even though this ultimate act of sacrifice, giving His life for the world, was excruciating; He knew it was worth it to make a difference in the world.  He knew that glory and hope was on the other side!

What an amazing example of how we are to live! In  1 John 2:6 (NLT) it says,  “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”  So much can be learned from the way Jesus composed Himself and handled difficult situations.

Lastly, it is important to always remember that even if you are not in a position where you have a leadership title, such as nurse manager or clinical coordinator, every nurse is a leader.  Every nurse has someone who is looking to them as a mentor, or a patient who is looking to them to be a leader in their care and advocate for them, which means they need a professional nurse who is going to conduct himself or herself in a manner that reflects Christ.  Always remember Matthew 25: 35-40, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these. brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Thank you Shannon!

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Shannon holding my daughter’s hair 11/16/2013

What made her decision to participate in Locks of Love so easy was Shannon at Gabe’s Barber Shop in Chester.  If you are looking for a great hairstylist filled with the love of Jesus, passionate about her job, and personal attention, consider visiting Gabe’s and ask for Shannon.  It’s a treat to see her.  For more information about locks of love and how you can participate call Gabe’s!

Gabe’s Barber Shop

804.748.3992

Locks of Love

For years my teenage daughter grew her hair out, and she loved having long, curly hair.  Her grandmother, one day, on the way to get a hair cut, suggested she consider Locks of Love.

WHAT IS LOCKS OF LOVE?

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

I thought deeply about how hard it was for her to give up a part of her identity to return a sense of self and confidence to those in need.  It’s easy to give away the things we have extra of or don’t want anymore.  She mentored me.  Could I give away something that was tied to my self-worth or self-identity so freely?

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