A New Year: Thrive 1/30

a-new-year-thriveI love listening to K-LOVE and hearing stories of how God speaks to people through song. Whether it be words of encouragement, an answer to prayer, direction in times of need, or affirmation, I find these stories an encouraging reminder of God’s love for us.
It also reminds me of times when I felt God speaking to me in unique ways.
Having been diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I knew conceiving a child might prove difficult, if not impossible. Even so, I had not given it much thought.
For several years, including the first three years of marriage, I was working as a substitute teacher at an elementary school. I had dropped my class off for lunch and was walking back to my classroom, when I noticed a little girl walking beside me. She looked up at me and asked if I was Caitlin’s mom.  I said no, but she kept staring at me and walking right alongside me.  So I asked her if I looked like Caitlin’s mom, and she said yeah. We both went to our respective classrooms.
I finished the day, sent my students home, cleaned my classroom, wrote notes for the returning teacher, and signed out to go home myself. As I was walking to my car, I saw this same little girl playing at the flagpole. It is noteworthy to mention she probably should not have been there. All buses had left, car riders had been picked up, and those that walked home were likely home by now. But this little girl was playing unsupervised outside the school. As I walked by her, she once again engaged me in conversation. She said to me, “If you want a baby, you should ask God for a baby. That’s what my mom did. She asked God for a baby and He gave her one.” Taken aback I responded, “Well, maybe I will do that.” With an excited matter-of-fact tone, she said, “When you get home. Yes, that is it! When you get home ask God to give you a baby. And He will!”
That day I did not ask God for a baby, I thanked Him for giving me a baby. I thanked Him for the child I had not yet conceived. I knew that He had sent this little girl to tell me a prayer I had not even prayed had already been answered. How amazing is our God that He takes the time to meet our needs, sometimes even before we ask? He meets us where we are and comforts us, encourages us, and reminds us He is in control. His timing is perfect.
Fast forward about six months and I found myself at a fertility doctor, trying to have a baby. I was praying for that child!  I was also wearing a prayer bracelet with one charm attached. The charm was a small silver box that opened to hold a hand-written prayer. I had typed my prayer on the computer using a teeny tiny font. I printed it, cut it out, and carefully rolled it up into a tiny scroll before placing it in my bracelet. I wore this piece of jewelry everyday, taking it off at night and putting it back on in the morning. I prayed through that prayer throughout the days for about six months.
One evening I was getting ready for bed and I pulled back the blankets to find this little rolled up piece of paper. “That looks like my prayer,” I thought. I unrolled it to find it was in fact the prayer that was suppose to be in my charm. I must have slept in my bracelet that night and somehow, my prayer fell out of my bracelet. This might not have seemed strange except that the box on this bracelet was not easy to open. I often had to use my thumb nail to forcibly flick the latch open. So while I was sleeping, this hard to open bracelet “accidentally” opened, my prayer fell out, and the box re-latched itself.
Once again, God had spoken to me in a unique and personal way, not through a child, but through a piece of jewelry. I knew at that moment God was telling me, “This prayer has been answered.” I put that little piece of paper in my jewelry box and said another prayer, asking for a healthy, happy baby. I was in fact pregnant!
Before, it was ever confirmed by a doctor, my Heavenly Father comforted and reassured me that my prayers had been heard.
How amazing is our God that when we pray He always hears us!
How amazing that the creator of the universe takes the time to speak to us!
Be encouraged. He hears your prayers, He listens, and He always answers them…in His perfect timing and in His perfect way.
Lynda Martinson
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A New Year: Thrive 1/9

a-new-year-thrivePrayer Breaks Chains

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 

2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Imagine a powerful singer belting these lyrics: “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain” (Break Every Chain by Tasha Cobbs). Your heart leaps for joy because you know it is true. You want to jump up and down, scream and shout, because it has happened in your life so many times.

This past year God has broken some chains in my life. I have been able to approach another and offer true forgiveness for a hurt that has been there a long time. It is freeing!

I have seen God break the chains of depression and physical illness in my own life and family. He is able!

He carried me through the overwhelming task of serving on the pastor search committee. Just as the tears would begin to flow, God sent unexpected help in the form of messages from His word and help from precious friends.

He has begun to deal with areas of apathy in my own life, places that need to be awakened by a fresh movement of His presence.

The second part of the song mentioned above says, “There’s an army rising up to break every chain.” I am seeing this happen in the life of the church. Walls are being removed, relationships are being restored, and God’s presence is working and moving in the lives of His people. I believe prayer is the driving force. When we pray according to God’s will, He is faithful!

For what will you pray in 2017?

Ask God to remove whatever chains are keeping you from experiencing His presence fully and completely, then join in with our family at TVBC. Let’s be that army making a difference in the lives of others.

Penny Spinn

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A New Year: Thrive 1/2

a-new-year-thriveFear and Hope

As we begin another New Year, many uncertainties tend to cross our minds. Some can even cause great concern and fear of what is to come. Let us go to God’s Word for some encouraging words. First, what does Job have to say? He certainly faced many hard times.

“But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause, who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.”

“He sets on high those who are lovely, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.”

“But He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty, so the poor have hope, and injustice shut her mouth.”

(Job 5:8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16 ESV)

Isaiah also had encouraging words appropriate for the New Year.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31 ESV).

May the New Year fill you with God’s hope and blessings and may you “mount up like an eagle.”

Kathleen Holland

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Call to Prayer and Worship – “Divine Makeover…It’s In the Bag” Retreat

12734245_10156508986055481_2998941931112910458_nAs the “Divine Makeover…It’s In the Bag” Women’s Retreat approaches, our guest speaker, Dr. Johnnie K. Seago, has provided verses to pray through in spiritual preparation. Feel free to choose several a day for meditation. Below the scriptures is a Spotify playlist the worship team created. We are praying over the next few days you will as Colossians 3:16 says,

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your heart to God” (ESV).

Call to Prayer:

“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:35-36).

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesusfrom the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:5-11).

“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:3-10).

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:16-18).

“[B]ut these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

“[R]emember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Ephesians 2:12-16).

“[H]aving been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:12-17).

Call to Worship: Spotify “It’s In the Bag” Call to Worship

Registration Form: “It’s In the Bag” Registration Form

The Women’s Ministry Team at Dorcas Wills Memorial Baptist Church has been praying for each and every one of you. We are excited about what God has in store for each of us as we fellowship together March 4-5th. It is not too late to sign up! The above link will take you to the registration form and more are available in the church office.

 

 

The Mother’s Day Problem

The Mother’s Day Problem. Where do I want to be this Mother’s Day? Celebrating with my momma, of course! Where do my children want to be? Celebrating with me (I hope)! And therein lies the dilemma.

On this side of adolescence, I find myself blessed immeasurably to have grown up in a minister’s family. I am able to answer God’s call for full-time ministry with experiential, first-hand ministry knowledge. I am familiar with a handful of the dilemmas unique to full-time ministry. Sunday holidays can be difficult. I remember as a kid listening to my parents wisely determining the best use of my Dad’s Sundays off. Maybe your church provides you with more Sundays off than you know what to do with, but most of us ration our free Sundays for family and for our own spiritual edification, a time when we can be fed and replenished. Naturally, requesting a Sunday off for Mother’s Day isn’t usually a priority. So what are my options? The kids and I could travel to my parents’ home and celebrate, but leaving my husband behind on this holiday just doesn’t sit right. My Mom could come to me, but then she would be coming solo…because as previously mentioned my Dad is a minister. Again, leaving the guy behind who has seen you through the ups and downs of motherhood seems anti-climactic. What about you? Maybe your Mom and Dad can travel to you, or maybe due to extenuating circumstances or location, that isn’t a possibility either. I could sit in a puddle of tears and self-pity. I could resent my husband’s job or the calling. And truth be told, I have unfortunately chosen the path of self-abasement on occasion because I was stricken with homesickness. However, without fail God gently speaks to me, the Spirit awakens His calling, and I am forced to decide whom I will serve. God or myself. Will I think about and set my mind on things eternal (Colossians 3:2) or will I worship my own desires (Philippians 3:19). Perspective is everything. Will I celebrate with my mother during our next visit? You bet. I have a heightened thankfulness for the culture God has allowed me to live in. I do not have to wait for the snow to melt before I can hitch up the horses to a cart and travel hundreds of miles to see my mother. Hello FaceTime! I cannot allow my sadness to catapult me into tunnel vision, lead me to self-pity, and loose the kingdom perspective.

So as we approach another Sunday holiday, if you are a minister’s wife and find yourself wishing things were different, just know I am praying for both of us. I pray we will live and work out of the Spirit inside of us and not our flesh (Romans 8:5). I pray God will use these sometimes lonely holidays to grow our love for His people and open our eyes to those around us hurting. I pray Satan is not given the opportunity  to sow resentment and bitterness in our hearts. You can be certain there are many other women wearing the same ministerial shoes and walking the same path. May we all tune our hearts and minds to Christ…and love our mommas.

My Mom and I

My Mom and I