Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How Do You Feel?

How do you feel? Do you feel like a Christian? I woke up this morning and I don't really "feel" like a Christian. What is a Christian supposed to feel like? I guess that is a pretty good question. Shouldn't a Christian "feel" happy and joyful? Maybe a Christian should "feel" successful, animated, ready to tackle the world? Is it ok for a Christian to "feel" tired and lifeless? Can a Christian "feel" depressed? What's wrong with me if I am having those feelings? What's wrong with you if you are having those "feelings"? Does it really even mean something IS wrong?

I can honestly tell you that I don't know the answer to most of those questions. GASP!!! I know someone in ministry that doesn't know the answer to the questions we have. (Feel my sarcasm there.) As I was praying over that question, I decided to do a search on the word "feel" in the Bible. I checked my trusty BibleGateway and searched for the word "feel" or derivatives of it in the NIV. Do you know I only found the word "feel" 26 times? And the amazing thing about it is, I checked the word "know" as well... it was listed 1161 times!!

So what does that have to do with anything? I think it is something for us to think about. We get so hung up on "feeling" like a Christian.. or NOT feeling like a Christian, that we forget it isn't about how we feel, but what we know. 2 Timothy 1:12 puts it all in perspective for us. It says:

"...I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."

Are you feeling BLAH today? Are you questioning your salvation because Satan is sitting there lying to you? Are you hearing a whisper in your ear that says, "A Christian shouldn't be THAT tired!" or "A Christian wouldn't be depressed."? WHAT DOES A CHRISTIAN FEEL LIKE? Quit worrying about how you should feel and bank on what you KNOW! If you have asked God to forgive you for your sins; if you believe in Him and that Jesus died on the cross for you; if you want to hand your life over to the control of the Holy Spirit... then just rest in KNOWING that you are a Christian. KNOW in whom you BELIEVE and be CONVINCED that HE is able to GUARD what you have entrusted to HIM. You may feel bad, but you can KNOW He is in control of your life today! Don't rest in what you FEEL, rest in what you KNOW!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Intricacies of God

Can I just start out by saying how wonderful God is?!?!? I have been so blessed over the past few weekends to allow God use me at the SHINE event and then speaking at my home church in WV's mother/daughter banquet. Now I am having my cup filled up at the Women of Joy Conference in Charleston, SC. WHAT A BLESSING!!!

We so easily forget the way God works when we have stopped letting Him have full control and try to take things into our own hands. But... my, oh my how wonderful it is to watch Him remind us of the power He has to work in the most unexpected ways! I still can't figure out why I am so amazed when God does something miraculous. Isn't that the mere essence of who He is?

This morning was a beautiful, wonderful service. Travis Cottrill (forgive me if I spelled it wrong) has been leading the worship services and he will just blow you away with his voice. But the coolest thing about this man hasn't been his musical abilities, it has been his openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit and his obedience as the Spirit moves.

Today we had an altar call mid-service and it was beautiful!!! He challenged us to be REAL before God and just bring the burdens to the feet of Jesus. I have been so lucky to sit in the second row. (I will post pictures when I get home.) I was honored and privileged to have a lady and her mother stand right beside me in the aisle and kneel in prayer. I just was moved to kneel and pray with her as well.

Guys, when God tells you to do something DO IT! God spoke and directed for me to just lay my hands on this complete stranger and pray. I share this with you only as a testimony to the intricacies of God, because that is all it is about, not me. (I just wanted to emphasize that!) Anyway, God's Spirit was so thick at that place it was just amazing! Hundreds of women kneeling at the feet of Jesus... and I saw God directly answer this young ladies request! As we were praying her phone went off, she raised it in tears and showed her mother what it said. They cried, let me rephrase that, they wept together. I of course had NO idea what was going on, but felt it had something to do with her husband as God had been directing me how to pray.

As we went to stand up, the girl hugged me and told me that her husband was in Afghanistan and had texted her mid prayer, "I love you!" Yes ladies! I am bawling as I write this. I knew her pain.. I could relate to her, out of the thousands of women in that coliseum, God had me pray with her. I quickly gave her a few details of how I could relate and hugged her deeply with a few words from a "been there, done that" stand point and just encouraged her to let God love her in her husband's absence.

Isn't that how God works? He plans where we are supposed to be so that HE can use us how HE wants... all we have to do is listen and be obedient!

Another little example of God working this weekend is that our scheduled speaker got stuck with no plane service in Texas. The speaker that was able to fill in for her was actually the original speaker they wanted for this weekend, but she was supposed to be in South Africa today. To say the least plans left her in the states today and she was able to drive all night to get here and fill in for the speaker on the schedule. And let me tell you, GOD WANTED HER HERE. So, HE worked out all the intricacies that had stood in the way before.

You have heard, "Don't sweat the small stuff!" Well, that is it, don't sweat it. God is in control! Just be obedient to Him today. You might miss a great blessing if you don't!

Love you sisters!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Fervent Prayer

I woke up with God speaking these words to me..."A fervent prayer availeth much." I have heard those words for years. But have I really listened to and discovered what they mean?

As always I went to the dictionary. "Fervent" means having or displaying a passionate intensity. "Passionate" means showing or caused by strong belief. "Intensity" means highly concentrated. "Concentrated" means wholly directed to one thing. "Avail" means to take advantage of an opportunity or available resource. So let's paraphrase this verse...

"A wholly directed prayer of highly strong belief takes advantage of many opportunities and resources."

Boy.. now that makes you think...right? First thing this tells me is that there are many opportunities and resources available to me. Isn't that true with God? He has so many resources available to us, yet so many times we just don't even open our eyes wide enough to see them... or maybe we are just too busy or even lazy to take advantage of them.

The second thing that shows me is that our prayers need to be wholly (entirely, fully) directed. So many times our prayers are whispered as we run out the door, drive to work, sit in the waiting room, finish a phone call. But are our prayers "wholly" directed? Do we put full attention to the prayers we are offering up? Or, are we thinking about what to fix for supper and where we are going to find the money to pay the next bill? I am so guilty of not having "wholly directed" prayers.

The third thing God showed me is the part about it being a prayer of "strong belief." One definition of strong is "of, relating to, or denoting the strongest of the known kinds of force." And "belief" means "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists." So in other words, a prayer we believe strongly in is a prayer that we know is true, that we know exists and it isn't just knowing a little.. it isn't just having hope it will happen or might is knowing with the strongest kind of force that it is true and the resources ARE there and they ARE available to us.

How many of us are really praying with that kind of power? Girls, a fervent prayer availeth much!!!! Maybe we need to start taking advantage of our prayer lives more and calling out the power and believing more so that we can take full advantage of what is already provided for us.

You know the coolest thing about this verse other than it's full meaning?.... It is the second part of James 5:16, the foundational verse of SHINE. "Confess your sins one to another so that you may be healed." And right after that is where the fervent prayer comes in. We need to start being passionate about what we are doing, how we are praying and what we are believing. If we can take up this challenge, I think we will see HUGE changes in our life.

I think the thing that is resonating with me is BELIEVING. My prayers don't carry much belief sometimes. Why waste time saying a prayer and finishing it up by making a statement to a friend that the issues "will never change"? You know what I am talking about..."It will always be this way." "He will never change." "That's just the way it is."

Girls... let's start believing! Let's start praying! Let's start taking advantage of the resources already given to us! A fervent prayer availeth much!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beautiful Christian Woman

I got an email this morning and it so encompassed what I believe we want to portray at SHINE, that I thought I would share it with you.

We are all at different places in our walk, but one thing women need to realize is that we are ALL beautiful to God. This is really great! I hope you not only consider what it says about your own life; but think about it as you are examining the lives of those around you. Sometimes we get so caught up in what people AREN'T doing that they are supposed to, that we forget to realize we have the exact same tendencies.

A Beautiful Christian Woman

When I say that I am a Christian,
I am not shouting that I am clean living.
I'm whispering,
"I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say that I am a Christian,
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and I need Christ to be my guide.

When I say that I am a Christian,
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and need His strength to carry on.

When I say that I am a Christian,
I'm not claiming to be perfect.
I have my share of headaches,
so I call upon His name.

When I say that I am a Christian,
I am not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
who received God's good grace, somehow!

Pretty is as Pretty does,
but Beautiful is just plain Beautiful.

What a wonderful way to look at our testimony. Unfortunately so many times these days when someone says they are a Christian, we look for perfection in the person, rather than the reflection of Christ and what He has truly accomplished in their lives.

Have a wonderful day today.. and be beautiful!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Step of Faith

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
lean not unto your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will direct your paths."

You know those verses seem so simple when we say them, but putting them into action seems to be the hard part. I have to say this weekend has truly been a reflection of how true God is to His word and His promises. Our first SHINE luncheon was held at The Wrenn House on Saturday. It was a wonderful day and a true testimony that when we trust God with ALL our heart, He is true to His word and will direct our paths!

God had spoke to me about asking a few of friends to join me and be guest speakers for the event. I was so honored to be joined by Sherry Hicks and Dori Facemyer, two of my closest friends. We spent the weeks proceeding the event praying not only over what we would be speaking about, but also who God wanted us to invite. As we sent out the invitations, we prayed over each and every woman that was invited. God promised 30 women would be there and with the waitress, we had 30 ladies join us for a wonderful afternoon.

What a perfect place to have the event! The Wrenn House was so wonderful to us. The room was beautiful and the view was even more gorgeous, a lovely view of the Bell Tower in downtown Salisbury. Part of the goal of THIS event was to treat some special ladies to a relxing afternoon with food, fun, and spiritual encouragement. We hope that each one who attended left feeling refreshed both physically and spiritually.

SHINE was introduced as well as the inspiration for the ministry. It was such a blessing to have so many wonderful ladies interested in what God has called us to do. Specifically speaking about myself, this ministry has been a long time coming, but definitely a path that God has directed me on. Again, I am just so blessed Sherry and Dori not only supported me, but decided to join me in the efforts of the day. SHINE may be my vision, but it was OUR day to minister.

Once we shared about SHINE, it was time to get down to business. NOPE... not eating yet. It was time for door prizes. The mothers with the most children were honored with a little gift of notepads adorned in the SHINE colors. We all know that mothers need lists, especially if they have 5 or, even worse, 9 kids. (Not to say that 9 kids are bad or anything! LOL) There were handmade earrings and also SHINE canvas bags with treats inside.

We had lots of fellowship... and of course... GREAT food! Now you know that a bunch of women can't get together for that long and not enjoy a wonderful meal! I can only hope the ladies thought that there was more meat at this event than just the physical food. Our hearts' desire was to not just feed the body, but feed the soul. I know I so enjoyed listening to my friends as they opened themselves up and shared what God had put on their heart as we spoke on Faith, Failures, and Flaws. Only by God directing our path were we able to tie in each message so perfectly, since we hadn't shared at all what we were going to speak about in detail.

Dori Facemyer shared with us about FAITH. For those of you who don't know Dori, she was diagnosed with MS and has had to learn lessons on faith in more ways than one surrounding her health alone. The room teared up as she shared how God taught her harder lessons in faith when she lost her brother on the same date as our luncheon several years ago. Dori talked to us about child-like faith and challenged us all to truly depend on God for our faith.

Sherry Hicks followed with her message on failures. She shared about her many failures through life from failing her driver's test the first time to losing her job in the corporate world. She told us that God showed her an important lesson about the failures in her life.. the failures in her life all had one common theme... the word "I." Each time SHE tried to do something on her own, she was bound to fail. Sherry really made us think when she raised her hand and introduced herself as they do at AA meeetings, "Hi, I'm Sherry Hicks and I am a failure." But... she didn't stop there, Sherry challenged us to keep moving and press forward. She inspired us to write God's word on our hearts so we could depend more on Him when we felt we were failing.

I (Christina Helm) finished up the afternooon of speakers. God used this event to humble me in so many ways. My topic was flaws and OH could I give you a list! Mid-speaking I felt God prompt me to forget about the notes from the studying I had done prior to the event and share a bit more detail of my personal testimony. As God, once again directed my paths, I saw how the events of my past had brought me to that very moment. Isn't it amazing how God works? God had me sum everything up with an visual aid that honestly made me very vulnerable. I won't give the details in case you missed out.. you have to hear it for yourself the next time, but as you can tell from the picture, it was messy. But God brought everything... Dori's message, Sherry's message, and mine, together.

Our prayer for the women at this event as well as for you is for you to write your areas where you lack faith, your failures, and your flaws... on the Rock of Jesus! We don't want to live in the rubble of our lives any more. We want to SHINE as we reflect the Light, Life, and Rock of our lives.

I know this has probably been the longest SHINE post so far. I just want you to catch the vision and see the fun we all had. It is our desire to make the SHINE fellowship meetings be times of rest, relaxation, and spiritual rejuvination. When you come you will have the opportunity to meet wonderful women like we were honored to have in our presence! If you weren't able to be with us, we do have CD's of the speaking portion of the event. See the side bar for more information.

SHINE is ready to trust in the Lord with all our heart. We no longer want to lean unto our own understanding. We want to acknowledge our Heavenly Father with ALL our hearts. And one thing is sure... we know HE WILL direct our paths. So keep coming back to the site. Leave some comments, share a little, help each other out, inspire someone, nurture a friend's spiritual growth, and join us as we educate the world about the love of God... of course, one little light at a time!