ARE YOU GOING AFTER HIM?

By Mona Shriver-

We were at the fair. My husband and oldest son had gone to buy ice cream, leaving me with our two youngest children. I was sitting, feeding the baby and watching my two year old explore the deserted benches, which just minutes before had been full of people. My son was wandering among the seats and found a half−full soda cup. As he picked it up and raised it to his lips, I called out to stop and not drink. I told him to take the cup to the garbage can just a few yards away. He obediently walked over and dropped the cup in the can. He stopped, looked at me and then turned his head in the direction his father and brother had just taken. I called him to come back and then watched in slow motion as he ran away from me towards the midway. Within seconds I could no longer see him. I sat, baby in arms, unable to believe or process what I had just witnessed. Certain he would reappear any moment. I was immobilized. Then I heard “Aren’t you going to go after him?” Those words propelled me into action.

Fear and doubt can immobilize us.

Exodus 14 records the story of Israel leaving Egypt. They had experienced the power of God in miraculous and tangible ways. Yet, as they neared the Red Sea they looked back and saw the armies of Pharaoh pursuing them. They cried out in fear to Moses. God had told Moses they would be delivered from this threat and he shared this message with the Israelites in verses 13 and 14. However, in the very next verse we see God speaking to Moses. “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” (Exodus 14:15 NLT)

What happened between these two verses?

We can surmise Moses left the people to pray. God tells us he was crying out to Him. We’re not told what Moses was feeling or thinking but one can wonder if the confidence in God’s deliverance expressed to the Israelites perhaps hadn’t traveled those eight inches from head to heart.

There comes a time when moving forward is a must. God couldn’t do His work, eliminate the threat and fulfill His promise until Israel moved to cross the sea in front of them. Just as I needed to follow that runaway child. When I reached the midway, a concert had just let out. People were shoulder to shoulder. There was no way I could see a small toddler in the sea of adults. Still I had to move. Otherwise the woman who asked me if I was looking for a little boy wouldn’t have seen me, wouldn’t have been able to report she’d seen a policeman pick one up in his arms and walk towards the Sheriff’s station. And we wouldn’t have found our son in that man’s arms less than twenty minutes later.

Sometimes we need to take a step of faith into the unknown simply because we know our God. To stay immobilized in fear and doubt would rob us of the blessings God has in store. Blessing consistent with the Word He has given us, consistent with His promises, and in line with His character.

Are you in a place immobilized by fear or doubt? Wondering what’s next for you at this stage in your life? Not sure which turn to take? Let God’s words propel you. Get up and go after Him.

 

 

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Mona Shriver: Mona Shriver worked as an emergency room nurse until the Lord called her out of that profession and into ministry. She is a Precept trained Bible teacher, has been active in women’s ministries, and speaks at special events and retreats. She serves her local church body in central California.

Mona has been married to Gary since 1974 and they have 3 grown sons. She and Gary co-founded Hope & Healing Ministries Inc. http://www.hopeandhealing.us which provides support and resources for couples in adultery recovery. They co-authored the book: Unfaithful, Hope and Healing after Infidelity. Learn more at Website:http://www.hopeandhealing.us

 

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Posted in Feature Article

PASSING THE BATON

By Jayme Hull−

Has the Christian Church forgotten to run the race? Are we passing the baton of our Christian Faith on to the next generation of believers?

Have you ever watched a relay race and found your heart pounding as you hold your breath? Will the team be able to win the relay? It will all depend on the passing of the baton.

It is time for the followers of Jesus Christ to run the race with edurance, and strive to pass the baton of the Christian Faith on to the next generations.

As the Olympics begin this summer in London we can cheer on our favorite athletes and admire their incredible hard work and sacrifice. There is nothing more thrilling than watching your country successfully compete at this level, Especially with the possibility of standing on the platform with a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Watching the Track and Field competitions are always exciting to see.  The men and women run, jump and throw throughout the many different types of contests. One of the exhilarating parts of the Track and Field competition to observe is the four-member relay race.

Every coach will tell you that the exchange of the baton is the most crucial part to the relay. The number one runner must be fast, but only needs to be good at handing off the baton. The number four runner must be a very strong runner, but only needs to be good at receiving the baton. But the number two and number three runners must be able to hand off and receive the baton as well as be excellent runners. Each member of the team is important and knows their job. Hours and hours of practice time are used to work on the passing and receiving of the baton.

What happens if the baton is dropped during the competition? Is the team finished? Do they just quit? The answer is No! The person who dropped the baton is permitted to pick it up and continue the race. Everyone should keep running and never give up.

Right now is the time to step up and volunteer for God’s team. Will you join me in the calling from God in Titus Two, and begin to mentor the next generation of believers? Let’s not drop the baton and disengage! Now is not the time to say, “I’m just too busy!” or “I’m not qualified or equipped!” God equips those He calls.

Begin today. Ask God to open your heart and mind as He reveals to you the young believer He has divinely selected for you to mentor. Every new or young believer in Christ has potential. God has a plan and a purpose for them and He is calling you to guide and encourage them along life’s journey one heart at a time.

As the mature believer you have the experience with Jesus Christ to share and inspire the young believer. Be encouraged and have the boldness to say “Yes” to God and He will help you as you Pass the Baton of Christian Faith.

“….and pass it on to their descendents…” (Esther 9:27 NLT)

 

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Jayme Hull: Jayme is a graduate of New York University with a B.A. in Speech Communication Education and Musical Theater. She married her high school sweetheart John and together they live in Nashville TN. Jayme and John have three incredible godly adult children, two beautiful daughter-in-laws that love the Lord and one granddaughter . She went to NYC to meet the Broadway Entertainment world but instead she met the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. From that moment on her life was changed forever. Her new ministry, Woman Face toFace, is a Christ centered, Bible based, non-denomination ministry to equip women of all ages and stages of life to learn how to help each other as a mentor or being mentored. Check out the website atwww.jaymeh.com

Posted in Feature Article

WHAT’S WRONG WITH MOM?

By Deb DeArmond

“Mom. Get up. This is crazy. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and you’ve been in bed all day.” I was impatient with Mom’s unwillingness to get up. She wouldn’t even respond to me other than to repeat, “I’m tired. Please. Just let me sleep.”

I was getting desperate. She wasn’t eating or taking her meds. She had simply withdrawn from her daily routine. I admit, it was a bit boring, but, still. She needed to get up. She wasn’t sick.

Or was she?

It finally dawned on me that my mother, my always upbeat and “look on the bright side” mother, was struggling with depression. You could have said few things that would surprise me as much as that realization.

When her doctor confirmed my suspicion, I was ashamed. I had been so impatient with what I thought was just her being difficult. I had badgered her, bullied her and tried to guilt her into resuming a normal schedule. I wanted to crawl into a hole and pull it closed behind me.

Thankfully, my mom’s doctor assured me that many adult children miss the signs of depression in their parents and told me not to beat myself up over it.

Being a caregiver for an elderly parent is not something they teach you to do in school. There are now some decent support tools for those in that role, but at the time, I was not aware of them if they did exist.

Recognizing depression in the elderly starts with knowing the signs and symptoms. Depression red flags include:

• Sadness

• Fatigue

• Abandoning or losing interest in hobbies/pastimes

• Social withdrawal and isolation

• Weight loss or loss of appetite

• Loss of self-worth (worries about being a burden, feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing)

• Increased use of alcohol or other drugs

• Fixation on death; suicidal thoughts or attempts

• Sleep disturbances; not sleeping, oversleeping, daytime sleepiness

As I review the list, Mom was evidencing four of them. But if you are providing care for someone elderly, even one of these should raise a red flag. And that means you need to take action. Don’t know where to start? Here are some great resources:

Mayo Clinic article on depression in the elderly

Health Magazine – 7 Ways to Help Depression in the Elderly

Helping Elderly Loved Ones With Depression

The most important thing is to get help. It’s hard to admit that Mom or Dad is struggling with an emotional/mental difficulty. We want them to be who we have always known them to be – but they’re not. It’s important to help them in being the best they can be now. So help them as much as possible, by championing not only their physical health, but their mental health, too.

Posted in Feature Article

HE SEES ME

By Karen DeArmond Gardner−

She tried not to complain, yet she was tired. Tired of only looking down, of the pain, longing for the day when she could stand up straight and look into someone’s eyes. For 18 years she lived staring at the ground, not able to look ahead, dependent on others to help her get through day, ignored by her husband until one day when he had enough and left her for a much younger, healthier woman.

Is this it? Is this all there is to life? Why her anyway? What did she do to deserve being bent over so her only view was the dirt? No one really saw her anymore, much less talked to her.  Whispers followed as she passed, wondering what great sin she had committed to be treated so harshly by God. Yet, each Sabbath she made to her way to synagogue praying today would be the day when her prayers would be answered.

Dear God, do you see me? Can you hear me? Though she could not see him his words pierced her heart. Not once in the 18 years she had been coming to Synagogue pleading her case with God to heal her had she heard anyone teach Torah as this man. Could he be The Teacher she had heard so much about? There were rumors he was the long awaited Messiah.

The Teacher stopped speaking and though she could not see him, he saw her. He looked at her with such tenderness, and called her by name to come to him. Startled, she could feel all eyes watching as she shuffled through the crowd. As she approached him, he said, “Dear woman, you are healed.” The most extraordinary thing happened…he touched her. She felt a warm flow through her body, as her body straightened. She looked into his beautiful brown eyes. His compassion overwhelmed her.

It’s true, He is the Messiah! Words of praise poured out of her. “He forgives my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.” (Psalm 103:3–4 NLT)

I imagine her regally walking out of the temple that day, until she was out of everyone’s sight. Then she would run as fast as she could, laughing, praising and maybe even skipping.

Does life have you bent over? Is the dirt of life all you see? Feel the warmth of His healing touch. Remember you are a beloved daughter of the King. Look into His beautiful brown eyes; see His love and compassion for you. “Dear woman, you are healed.”

Oh how He loves you.

 

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Karen DeArmond-Gardner: I found myself in my early 50′s shattered, divorced and without a job – moving to a new state to begin over again. There were times I thought the “start would stop me.” I had no clue what my purpose was and quite frankly thought I had messed up so bad that even God couldn’t put my life back together again. Within the last 6 years I started a new career, enjoyed being single, became a grandmother, reconnected with my family and at 57 I married the most amazing man ever. Because God never does anything small, He asks me to step out of my box and begin writing. Only God….if He did this for me, He will do it for you. Join us on the journey to discover Your Purpose Now.

 

Posted in Feature Article

SAY GOODBYE TO THE BAD GUY

By Jesi Steiber—

He had only been a licensed driver for a few weeks. Tossing him my keys, I watched him full of excitement to make his first major purchase with money he earned at his new job. He wasn’t gone long, and followed the rules there and back. As he walked in the door, the first words out of his mouth pierced my heart. He scraped the side of my van when pulling it in to the garage. My heart sank as I stood to walk outside and survey the damage. He was honest with me, and certainly didn’t mean to do it. My mind raced over what I was going to say and how would I handle this new to us situation.

As I surveyed the damage, I couldn’t bring myself to speak the words racing through my mind. What was he thinking? How could he have done this to my van? Why didn’t he stop when he first heard the scrape of the wall against the door? The questions built as I stood in silence not knowing how to handle this. My husband was not home to help me navigate through this uncharted territory. Why did I always have to be the bad guy?

Over the years there have been many times I wanted to force my husband to discipline this child a specific way. My way. I didn’t believe he knew how to discipline his son, and my fear of the long term impact on this child grew. Pushing and pulling my husband one way or another, I couldn’t do enough to make him be the father I thought his son deserved. Convinced of his weaknesses, I felt the need to step in and take over in ways he couldn’t or wouldn’t. The need to control and force an end result was truly out of my love for his child. However, during challenging times it became more about the fear of what would happen if I didn’t take control.

“You can’t make your ex be a good parent. You can only be the best parent you know how to be” was the advice I received early in our marriage. I took it to heart and carried it with me for years. There was just one missing piece in this statement. I would add we can’t control our current spouse and others who have an influence on our children. It is this reality that will cause fear to rise up in our hearts. The anger, fear and frustration will only feed the chaos and stress in our family’s lives. It’s when we recognize we do not have control over these influences, we must lay down the need to control and put our trust in God. While not always easy, when we trust God with our children, step children included, we can truly walk in His peace as a parent. We can encourage and suggest our thoughts and opinions to our spouse or family members, but we must remember, as those feelings of frustration and control creep in, to ask ourselves who we are trusting in that moment.

At the end of the day, my husband stepped up and settled the issue of the damage to the van. It didn’t require I say a word. I didn’t have to be the bad guy. My initial reaction was that to an old wound in my heart. In fact, I stepped out of the way to let my husband be the father he was called to be. It’s amazing how God works through my obedience.

 

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Jesi Steiber lives in Fort Worth, Texas and is our newest addition to the MPN authors. She is married to a man she describes as “awesome,” who makes her smile every day. They have four children and four grandchildren. A favorite scripture is Ruth 3:11: “Now my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask. For all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.”

Posted in Feature Article

I NEED A DRINK!

By Deb DeArmond –

“They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:3 NKJV)

Recently on a business trip, I drove past the home where I lived for the first 19 years of my life. I was looking forward to seeing how the area had grown, and to reminisce about the days I spent playing with the neighborhood kids, roller skating up and down that familiar tree lined street.

They say you can’t go home again−and perhaps they were right. Nothing was as I remembered it. The house seemed smaller. The street, narrower. The neighborhood, somewhat dingy. There were cars parked on the front lawn. And my mother’s beautiful silver maple trees were dry and withered, neglected, and on death’s door.

What a critical reminder. Just as the trees are planted near the water to thrive and live as God envisioned them, I need living water daily−the Word of God−to live according to the image of Christ.

“They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:3 NKJV)

I’m not a person who could ever forget to eat lunch or dinner, because I got too busy to think about it. My stomach reminds me, loud and clear. It growls, I take action. What about my spirit−man? Are there pangs? Stirrings? Yes, always. But truthfully, I find it more difficult to sense them than should be the case.

God envisioned my life while I was still in the womb. He created me with a clear picture and purpose in mind. His Word is the nutrient packed source that will allow me to become that person and fulfill His purpose. There is no substitute, no Miracle-Gro in a jar, no aerosol version to shorten the process. It’s not meant to be brief! We were instructed to work out our salvation and that’s a journey. Life in Him is not an “add water and stir” kind of deal. Microwavable Christianity produces the same results as a microwaved grilled cheese sandwich−limp, pale and not particularly healthy. Or appealing.

Just as my mom’s beautiful trees reacted to neglect, so does my heart. I get sickly and thin, frail in my spirit. I’m subject to any little bug (fear, anger, resentment, loneliness) that might come my way, and unfortunately, that’s all pretty contagious. Strong winds bend me in two and take me to my breaking point. I snap suddenly as I am bumped by others and sense that I am fully exposed to the elements around me. I feel as naked and bare in a harsh world as a maple tree in late December.

His Word, even a little “before I run off to start my work day” verse, has a replenishing impact on my heart. Like streams in the desert, I can sense refreshing in my spirit. I feel renewed and quickened, ready to face the world and share my cup with others who are thirsty.

Oh Lord – please don’t let my heart become withered and dry. Thank you Father for your Word. I pray today for a physical manifestation of my thirst for you and the reminder to drink liberally from the truth of your Word!

 

Posted in Feature Article

ONE TO ONE

By Jayme Hull −

Community is good.
Classes are helpful.
But one to one is great!

Have you heard about the Apple Store’s One to One program for their customers? I was amazed at the proficiency of this organized program. The entire time I was having my first teaching session with the instructor I couldn’t stop thinking,This is a perfect example of mentoring others in the body of Christ.”

Their promo on the website says:
One to One will help you do more than you ever thought possible with your new Mac.

Let’s just change the last two words in their statement for a Christian perspective. One to One will help you do more than you ever thought possible with your Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apple Company’s Personal Training Program is right on target as well. The slogan for this program has the following statement:
Personal Training at the Apple Store: Get up to a full hour of uninterrupted time to work one-on-one with a Trainer on the topic of your choice.

This is exactly what chapter two of Titus in the New Testament teaches to all believers. Mature, older Christian women are instructed to be encouragers and spend time mentoring younger woman.

Without realizing, we have allowed the Titus Mentoring concept to fall off the radar screen. As the days are becoming more and more evil, now is the time to make it a priority and be intentional with mentoring the next generation.

I am convinced mentoring changes lives, and when you begin to participate you will never be the same.

Do you have one hour every week or every other week to reach out and give another Christian woman your uninterrupted time? Would you be willing to share, and guide her into a closer and deeper walk with Christ? The more we give to others the more blessed we become.

We may not have the same amount of possessions or finances, but God gives us all the same amount of time in each day. How we spend our time is very important to God. Praise the Lord, for He gives us the freedom to choose how we will spend each minute of the day.

This week, will you consider giving one hour a week or biweekly to a younger Christian? Encourage and inspire her to live out and apply the Word of God to her life.

Pray for God’s guidance on how you manage your time.
Seek the Lord while He may be found.

“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you. Indeed, the right time is now” (2 Cor. 6:1-2 NLT).

Be encouraged, you are incredible women of God and He has a plan and purpose for each one of you. When you allow God to have His way and use you to minister to others you will be blessed in your own relationship with God as you shine for Him.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT).

 

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Jayme Hull: Jayme is a graduate of New York University with a B.A. in Speech Communication Education and Musical Theater. She married her high school sweetheart John and together they live in Nashville TN. Jayme and John have three incredible godly adult children, two beautiful daughter-in-laws that love the Lord and one granddaughter . She went to NYC to meet the Broadway Entertainment world but instead she met the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. From that moment on her life was changed forever. Her new ministry, Woman Face toFace, is a Christ centered, Bible based, non-denomination ministry to equip women of all ages and stages of life to learn how to help each other as a mentor or being mentored. Check out the website atwww.jaymeh.com

Posted in Feature Article