The Lord Will Equip You for Your Calling

The Lord Will Equip You for Your Calling

1st Samuel 17:28, 1st Corinthians 15:58, and Philippians 1:3-6

In 1st Samuel 17, prior to fighting Goliath, David has an encounter with his older brother Eliab. Eliab accuses David of being in sin and being prideful. In 1st Samuel 17:28 we read, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

Many around David, even his own family, tried to discourage him from fighting the giant because of their fears and their lack of trust and confidence in the Lord. The enemy was also at work in this situation, trying to prevent David from obeying the calling God had placed on his life.

Opposition to your calling will sometimes come from your own family and closest friends. It happened to me when I started on my abortion healing journey, back in January 2006. It was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and I was sitting in my Sunday School class. The Holy Spirit said to me, “I want you to help other women feel forgiven for their past abortions.” People closest to me said, “You shouldn’t do it because you are not suited for it; you should be working with children instead,” or “It’s too hard for you, and you will not be able to handle all the sorrow and pain associated with abortion.”

So, I did nothing for a few weeks. Shortly thereafter, my Pastor preached on obedience. When I heard this sermon, there was no denying the pull God had on my heart. I had to do this. I went back to that person who had doubted my calling and abilities and said, “You don’t understand, God is calling me to do this and I must obey Him.”

How can we apply this to our lives? First, we must be prepared for many around us, even our own family members, to disagree with our calling. They may cause you to doubt whether you have truly heard from God or not. Many will try to prevent you from fulfilling your God-given calling on your life. They will say, “Are you sure that’s what God is leading you to do?” The enemy will throw everything at you to trip you up, so you do not fulfill your God-given destiny. Your destiny or calling is not something you choose. God is the one who calls you, and He is the one who will equip you for it. In 1st Corinthians 15:58, it says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not vain in the Lord.”

You are courageous women of God and I want you to be encouraged. God will equip you for the battle you will face in your ministry. God will prepare you for every good work. Keep your eyes on Jesus and He will lead you, protect you, provide for you, and guide you, all the days of your life.

I would like to pray this prayer over you:

Philippians 1:3-6

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

Follow the Lord’s leading, dear one; He can be trusted. He will always lead you to walk on the path of truth, life, and peace.

Reach out today if you need prayer or a word of encouragement. —Toni

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The Tool of Detachment

The Tool of Detachment

John 10:10a, 1st Corinthians 14:33b, Proverbs 6:19b, James 1:19

The tool of detachment gives me the ability to love someone without getting caught up in their dysfunction. Satan is the author of confusion, chaos, and discord among the brethren and our families. He has made this his primary mission: to steal, kill, and destroy our testimonies, our relationships, our peace, our joy, and to make our lives miserable. We must guard our hearts from responding to others in ways that are hurtful and mean spirited, instead speaking the truth in love. Use your voice in a way that is pleasing to God and to the hearer. Recognize that everyone has wounds from their past and the way in which people respond to certain situations has a lot to do with where they are in their healing process. It’s important to remember, “Hurting people hurt people.” They are blinded by their wounds and cannot see how they are hurting others.

It is extremely important to have healthy boundaries. I grew up with no boundaries at all. I had to educate myself about boundaries and learn how to communicate them with others. Eventually, I started speaking up for myself and sharing how I was feeling. Over time, it became second nature for me to use my voice and to protect myself from unhealthy people or situations. Starting something new is always the hardest part, but it becomes easier with time.

If you have not read the book, “Boundaries,” by Cloud and Townsend, I suggest you do. This book is a very helpful resource. In my journey with the tool of detachment, I also had to recognize that I cannot fix, rescue, or save anyone. I had to realize that I cannot control another person, nor can I change them, but rather, God can. I had to surrender to God and relinquish all control to Him. As soon as I did, I began to feel more peaceful, calmer and less anxious about things.

When I trust God and humble myself before Him, I am released from being tormented by the evil one. A humble, teachable spirit is a very powerful weapon against the enemy, and God draws near to the humble. There are times I need to leave a room and walk away from a conversation because I feel I may say something I will regret. Once I say something that is hurtful, I can never take it back. Removing myself from a volatile situation is sometimes my only option. By doing this, I have a chance to cool down, think, and pray before I respond to this person or situation. I can now respond, instead of just reacting without thinking. God wants me to think and pray before I speak, knowing that my words can be used to lift others up or they can cause others to stumble.

Detachment gives me wisdom and discernment when dealing with a situation or an individual who is in a volatile state. I don’t have to fear or be anxious, and I don’t have to take the situation on as my own. Instead, I can recognize that the occurrence has nothing to do with me. I can respond in a calm and godly manner, and I can speak the truth in love. I can walk away and return when I am calmer and more composed. Seeking God during this process helps me to remain in peace and in control of my emotions; that’s all I am responsible for, and I leave the rest in God’s hands.

In His love and service,

—Toni

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Why Didn’t I Trust You, Lord?

Why Didn’t I Trust You, Lord?

This week, it will be 39 years since I had my abortion back in 1980 as a 21-year-old college student. I was far from home and far from God. Why didn’t I trust You Lord and have my baby? Why couldn’t I go to my parents and say I made a mistake? I was paralyzed with fear, anxiety, and torment.

Why didn’t Eve trust God? He was not trying to control them or hold back anything good from them. He was protecting them. Why does God not want us to have sex before marriage? Is He trying to control us or rather, protect us? Sin is destructive, it hurts our relationships with God and others, and it cost our children their lives.

I didn’t trust you Lord because I was not following Your laws and I was not seeking Your wisdom in my life. I was in the clutches of the enemy who was directing my steps and tormenting me to do evil and ungodly things. I was blinded by my own woundedness and my unhealthy coping mechanisms due to my depression, loneliness, isolation, and torment. My spirit was grieved, and suicide became a real consideration, especially after that horrific day: the day I took my baby’s life. But You Lord are gracious and kind, and You pursued me until I came to the end of myself and relinquished control of my life to You. That glorious day was February 6, 1994. I finally realized my life was a mess. I was so lonely and hungered for true healing and fulfillment in my life. I no longer wanted to just get by; I wanted to truly live. In John 10:10 we read Jesus’ Words, The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Going forward from here, how do I trust God and give Him access to all of me? First, I must believe in my heart that He truly loves me and has my best interests at heart. I must recognize that His love does not compare with any other love in this world. It is pure, holy, unselfish, gentle, and eternal. I must repent and turn from my sins and recognize that Jesus died on the cross for MY SINS!!! In Romans 10:9-10, 13, That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I am so grateful for all the pain and brokenness I have experienced in my life, because it is the very thing that brought me to God.

In His love and service,

—Toni

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What Is Sin?

What Is Sin?

Sin is living in rebellion against God’s laws.  Sin was passed down to us from our first parents, Adam and Eve.  Since the fall, the whole earth and every inhabitant has been affected by sin.  In essence, sin is a choice to go our own way apart from God’s perfect plans. Sin is self-seeking, prideful, and destructive:

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. –”  R Zaccharias 

Genesis 3: 1-5 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”  Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die.

We see from the garden that Satan has been deceiving us into believing that sin is acceptable, that everybody does it, and that there are no consequences for it.  As a result of Adam and Eve’s sin the whole world was plunged into sin, death, and destruction. Before that time there was no sin or death. Everything and everyone lived in perfect harmony.  Sin destroyed the garden, the relationship between Adam and Eve, their relationship with God, and even the relationship between animals (after the fall, animals no longer just ate grass and herbs).  In short, the whole world suffered the consequences of their sin. Once they sinned, Adam and Eve experienced separation from God for the first time. They felt shame, guilt, fear and loss.

When I found out I was pregnant at 21, I ran and hid, just like Adam and Eve did.  I didn’t want my parents to find out. I thought I could take care of it quickly, on my own, no big deal.  That was a lie from the pit of hell. It was a huge deal, and this supposed quick fix plunged me head long into a deeper depression than before. Suicidal thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, self-loathing and despair overshadowed me.  I felt I was all alone in a dark place, where no one knew how badly I was struggling with my decision.  

Why are we so affected by abortion?  Because we are going against our very nature, God created women to nurture, love, and take care of their children.  Instead, we did the opposite and murdered our children. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth. The enemy is lying to young woman today, saying that abortion is healthcare and that it is a form of contraception, that is a lie, it is terminating a life.  For a woman, nothing good comes out of abortion, nothing.

I am so grateful to God for having mercy upon me. This broken woman who once was barely surviving, is now a woman thriving and filled with the Holy Spirit of God (my constant companion, guide, and friend).  I am hopeful, joyful, and loved completely by God. I am His precious daughter. I pray that you too can experience peace with God and a relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son. God bless you, dear one.

 

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Idolatry

Idolatry

What is idolatry and how do we define it?

I believe idolatry is the act of putting something or someone before God in our thoughts or hearts by obsessing over or being consumed by it.  This idol can be your job, money, a sport or hobby, a relationship, or a physical problem; anything that we put before God.  

Exodus 20:3-6 “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve (worship) them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting (punishing) the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 

What are some of the things I have put before God?  In the past, I have put my children, my husband, tennis, and what others think of me before God.  In fact, I became consumed with them. But, why? I had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility; I was a people pleaser due to my fear of rejection and abandonment.  I was plagued with unhealthy relationships that caused me to put others needs above even my own self-care. I obsessed over trying to control things because I did not trust God.  I was fearful to put Him first; not being in control was a scary thought for me.

It was only after I learned to relinquish control to God (Step 1) and admit my life had become unmanageable, that I started learning what it looked like to trust God.  I learned to release individuals and situations into His capable hands, which freed me from carrying these burdens and feeling personally responsible for way too many things.  I learned that God wanted to be first in my life. Reading His word and meditating on scripture first thing in the morning became a daily habit for me. I look forward to that special time each morning with Him and Him alone.

I learned what co-dependency was and how I was so intertwined with others’ lives that I could not detach myself from them.  Their lives affected mine too much. I had to step back and allow them to make their own decisions, learn from their mistakes, and to experience consequences for their own actions.  I no longer had to jump in to fix, rescue, or save others. I learned I am not God; I cannot control another person. I grew up believing I had the power to make people happy or sad by my words and actions, that was a lie from the devil.  I never had that much control. Once I realized this, I surrendered to God and gave Him all the people and situations in my life that I had tried to control. Finally, for the first time in my life, I was responsible only for myself. 

Let me ask you what are some idols in your life?  

Why have you not released them into God’s capable hands?  

What are you afraid of?

I pray that this topic has given you awareness about some areas in your life that God wants you to change.

God bless you as you seek His wisdom and guidance.

IDOL’ATRY, n. L. idololatria. Gr. idol, and to worship or serve.

  1. The worship of idols, images, or anything made by hands, or which is not God.

Idolatry is of two kinds; the worship of images, statues, pictures, etc. made by hands; and the worship of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon and stars, or of demons, angels, men and animals.

  1. Excessive attachment or veneration (great respect or reverence) for anything, or that which borders on adoration.

Definitions from Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.

In His love and service,

—Toni

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Self-Pity

Self-Pity

Self-Pity

Philippians 2:2-4, Galatians 5:22-23

God wants me to spend less time thinking of myself, and more time thinking of Him and others.

Self-pity is being consumed with thoughts about oneself, usually regarding some unfair situation or treatment by others.  Self-pity is feeling sorry for yourself and asking yourself questions like, “Why Me? Why is God not doing something about this situation that I am in?” 

I feel self-pity when I perceive an injustice, when I am feeling rejected or left out, when I compare myself to other women, or when I am hurt and disappointed by another’s actions.  Self-pity is a dark, slippery, deep hole. In this pit I feel alone, abandoned by others, and tormented.

When I focus on self and not God, I have a distorted view of truth.  I feel hopelessness because I am doing things in my own strength. I cannot see how my circumstances can change because I am powerless to change them. When I focus on self and not God, the enemy sees that I am vulnerable and attacks me with his fiery darts.  My head and eyes are cast down, I am heavy with no energy, and I feel all alone. When I am looking down, I cannot see God and be thankful for all the things He does for me on a daily basis. This is the enemy’s plan. He wants me to isolate myself from God and others. He wants me to focus on that one thing I don’t have, and he continues to lie to me until I start believing him.  Then, he has me exactly where he wants me. His purpose in this world is to steal, kill, and destroy me, my testimony, my joy, and my trust in God.  

I also know I am in self-pity mode when I compare myself to other women, being critical and judgmental towards them.  This happens when I am feeling insecure about myself and I am not walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When I catch myself thinking like this and speaking harsh things, I immediately recognize I am in sin, confess this to God, and ask for forgiveness.  Instead of judging others, I need to look for the similarities between us and seek out the good in them. Who am I to judge another person? Only Jesus is Judge. I am commanded by God to love others.

How can we get out of the pit of despair and negative thoughts?

  • The Word of God replaces those negative thoughts and lies with His truth.  It is His truth that makes us free. (John 8:32)

     

  • By focusing on others.  We read in Philippians 2:2-4: “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let His mind be in you (The mind that was in Christ).”

In His love & service,

Toni

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