Be All You Can Be
You know how sometimes the preacher says something in his sermon that just strikes you? That’s what happened last Sunday. Of course, you probably know exactly what played out in my head when he said that God wants you to “be all you can be.” Yes, my mind immediately reverted to that army recruiting commercial, popular for the last couple of decades of the 20th century, and the tune played out in my mind, over and over, the remainder of the day.
As I thought on why God let that stick with me, I thought about the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18–20. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’”
My first year as State WMA 2nd Vice-President, my theme was “The Perfect Woman,” taken from Matthew 5:48: “ Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This statement by Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, is actually one of the commands of Christ that we, according to the Great Commission, are to observe and teach others to observe.
This perfection that Jesus is talking about, which we could also interpret as maturity, or wholeness, or loving without limit, is what we are to strive for. Luke’s version of this same sermon says, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) So from Luke’s gospel, this perfection is being like God in His mercy.
Actually, Christ gave us forty-something commands recorded in the gospels, given in order to move us closer to the Father. His very first command, found in Matthew 4:17, was “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” His first command (Repent) is the first requirement in a relationship with a merciful Father who is providing a way of salvation.
The idea of perfection (maturity) is not limited to this verse. Here are a few more:
Deuteronomy 18:13 “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.”
2 Corinthians 13:11 “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
Ephesians 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”
2 Timothy 3:16–17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Philippians 3:15–16 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
James 1:3–4 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
So we realize that here in the flesh, sinless perfection is impossible, but GODLINESS is attainable. Godliness originates in the heart, moves to the mind and heart, then to the hands and feet. But, many of us have become complacent. We do not “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Contentment in my relationship with God allows me as an individual to be the lord of my own life. If I become content in my relationship with God, then I am not following Biblical principles. I am not allowing Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Contentment says I only want eternal life insurance, not a relationship with the Lord of all Creation.
Let’s repent, and strive to be like Him. Let’s hide His Word in our hearts. Let’s not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Let’s love one another. Let’s read and find out what Jesus commanded us to do, so that we can teach others to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:”
A story is told about Captain Read McDaniel and how staying strong together would make a difference whether you lived or died.
"Tap-Tap . .. . .tap-tap-tap . . .. .tap-tap-tap-tap .. . . . .tap-tap-tap . . .”
Captain Red McDaniel rapped carefully on the walls of his cell in the Hanoi Hilton, practicing the special camp code prisoners used to communicate with each other. He knew he had to be very careful. His communist captors wanted to keep all of their American guests isolated and vulnerable. Prisoners caught trying to communicate would be tortured, and McDaniel had already been through that.
As the interminable days went by, McDaniel came to fear isolation far more than the threats of torture by his Vietcong captors. The highlight of each day was being taken to the washroom, where he managed to whisper briefly with two other Americans brought in at the same time. They told him about the camp code, an acrostic system that involved using a certain number of taps (or other signals) to spell out letters of the alphabet. McDaniel recognized the code as his lifeline, his only link with sanity. If a new prisoner couldn’t learn the code and communicate with fellow Americans within thirty days of his arrival, he would gradually start to draw inward and deteriorate. The prisoner would slowly lose the will to live. He would stop eating and as his stomach became bloated, he would actually start to feel “fat.” Little by little, the prisoner would die alone as the strange predator, isolation, sucked his very life out of him.
Just like the prisoner in the camps, we must stand strong. In Ecclesiastes 4:12 it says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” To stand strong, we need a community to help us in our daily lives. Community is one of God’s great gifts to us and I think we have realized this over the last few weeks. While we have been guaranteed at our home, I have missed my family, friends, and church family. We can video each other, but it is not the same as a great big hug from these people. We are people that need hugs and that connection for sure.
During these trying times and uncertainties, we must remember the importance of service to Christ beyond ourselves. Look around our communities and find ways to reach out to those in need. We are created for community.
Our ladies have been using Zoom to have Bible study together on Wednesday nights. It has been different, but we can see and hear other. After the first time, I felt so good to see their faces and hear what is going on with each of them. Don’t be afraid to use technology. God may have created it “for such a time as this”. We don’t know why we are struggling through these times, but God has a plan. It maybe to draw our land back to Him. One thing we can use to stay strong is Prayer. We have access to the Father at all times and anywhere. Just call out to our daddy Jesus, so that whatever comes our ways we can be strong.
Asst. Recording Secretary
The Greatest is Love
WOW, just WOW. What a time we are living through. I know many of you are “blessed to be at home” like I am. Who would have thought, when I hugged my 8 year olds on March 9 that I would not have hugged them again in 9 days? So now what? I have been home for four weeks now, looking four more weeks in the eye.
The Lord has led me to a lot of scripture over the last few days. One common theme is LOVE. I read II Corinthians 13 and listed all the attributes of love. Then I had to do some deep soul searching and have a time of confession. If I am honest, I don’t love the way God wants us to; not all the time, not towards everybody, and sometimes not towards the ones I love the most.
Then I read James 4:2b-3, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motive, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” So I asked, what it the right motive, and I came back to LOVE. Again there was a time of soul searching and confession.
When I look back on Jesus’ life, love was ALWAYS the motive. From the prostitutes and tax collectors, to the woman at the well and the blind, Jesus acted out of love. As we look at the goals of our WMA we see love all over the place.
Bible Study- because we love God and want to discover his plan for our lives and strive to please him
Evangelism- because “God so loved the world” and we do too
Benevolence- because people need to feel our love and God’s love through us
Youth Auxiliary-because those kids need to know God’s love and our love
Christian Education- teaching those we love about the wonderful God we serve
See love is all over WMA!
So now to the problem. In this time of “social distancing” how do we show love? I haven’t seen a real person today (well my husband as he left for work, he is essential!). Yesterday I briefly saw 3 people at church, my friend I walked with, and my husband and son. So we have to get creative.
Do you have a Facebook account? How about adding a scripture that speaks to you.
The post office is still open, send some old fashioned cards (especially to shut ins).
My cousin had us download this app called Marco Polo. Four of us record short videos during the day, mostly about insignificant stuff, but it is kind of like talking. And if you want to try, it is very easy, believe me, I have no technology skills.
I stole this idea from Rosewood, Gilmer! Make some bags for the kids at church. You could include devotionals, family activities, color sheets, chalk, bubble… Leave them in a box outside the church and let families know they are there for them.
How about old fashioned phone calls? Not only to your usual group, but think outside of the box.
And of course one we are all doing, pray. Pray with a motive of love to the God who loves us more than we can comprehend.
We have a new WMA song now, and I really like it, but let’s not forget to be “Reaching Out in Service, the ladies of the WMA”. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor 13:13
Love and prayers,
CHRIST IS ALL I NEED
The words of the beautiful song, “Christ Is All I Need”, express the wonderful promise that our all-sufficient Savior and Lord is able to carry us through any life challenge. This is the hope we are blessed to offer those around us in these days of uncertainty. Of this we can be certain: He is our Living Hope, and our ultimate victory is His.
We have the opportunity of our lifetime to offer Jesus to people all around us who are filled with fear, languishing in despair, suffering, grieving, depressed, hopeless and helpless. The Lord will go before us as we spread His love.
Several months ago I began to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in developing the spiritual emphasis we had hoped to enjoy in our WMA West Texas Spring Retreat. A study of the miracles Jesus performed had been suggested as a theme to consider. After prayer, I felt this was the direction we should go. The Lord led me to divide the breakout sessions of study into four groupings of the miracles of Jesus. Of course, we could not cover all His miracles in one day of study, but I was led to select two for each session: Miracles of Provision, Miracles of Protection, Miracles of Healing, and Miracles of Life. In retrospect, I am amazed to recognize what the Lord had in store for us. When I shared the outline for our study at our officer meeting in January, every lady was so “on board” with the plan and many began to volunteer to teach the sessions.
WE COULD NOT HAVE KNOWN! The Lord knew that a vastly different experience with this study we had planned was about to challenge us as never before! Rather than having us teach about these miracles of Jesus in Lubbock on the first Saturday in May, He knew that we were about to be required to embark on a journey of living out the precepts of these miracles in the daily scenarios of our own lives, as a testimony of our faith to our communities and families!
Think about the miracles we were preparing to teach:
Miracles of Provision: Food and Daily Needs – We are seeking the Lord for ways to safely access food and supplies!
Miracles of Protection: Surviving Storms – We are in the midst of a global Storm!
Miracles of Healing: We are praying over the lives of all those who have contracted Co-Vid 19!
Miracles of Mercy and Life: Our lives are truly in the hands of the Lord. We must rest in His mercy!
We had planned to end our meeting in Lubbock with a beautiful artistic presentation by Shirley Hoffpauir of the Resurrection, the ultimate victory!
Let’s draw strength from those accounts in the Gospels, surrender to His calling, and rise to the challenge to share this Living Hope in these days of overwhelming need!
1st Vice President
Be An Encourager
Everyone loves throwing confetti into the air at weddings or celebrations. It’s a way of lavishing our love on people, whether its paper, rice or birdseed, it’s a way of cheering others on. Confetti is a tangible expression of our intangible emotions. Like happiness you can see and throw someone’s way.
Encouragement is to a relationship what confetti is to a celebration. It’s cheer you can throw to uplift and encourage. But even deeper it is the assurance you are there, that you are standing with them and supporting them. The time it takes to gather little pieces of love, grace, strength and hope is well worth it whenyou see what happens as you shower those gifts on someone. It’s like spiritual confetti and it’s the ultimate encouragement.
Have you ever been to the Redwood Forest? Those redwood trees are the largest and the tallest trees in the world. Some of them grow over 350 feet high. Some are more than 2,500 years old. You would think that trees that large would have a huge root system growing down into the earth hundreds of feet. But, actually, the redwood trees have a very shallow root system for their size.
So how do those enormous trees stand upright for thousands of years? Well, there is a secret. The secret is in their roots. These trees grow close together and all their roots intertwine. Their roots are connected to each other. So when the storms come and the winds blow, the redwoods stand strong. But they aren’t standing alone, they all support and protect each other.
As believers of Jesus Christ, we don’t stand alone. Praise the Lord. We need each other, we need our roots to be connected to one another to withstand the battles we face on a daily basis. Hebrews 10 mentions the need for us to “Draw near to God” and also “Now draw near to each other.” We need to stand strong with our fellow believers. Help one another so that together we can draw nearer to God. As we encourage each other, our Heavenly Father encourages us. The two are interwoven. When we help a friend burdened with a broken heart, our own heart feels lighter. We can encourage others from the overflow of God’s encouragement to us.
While we are “sheltering in place” it may be harder to find ways to encourage others. Pray for the Lord to open your eyes to those around you and for the Spirit to inspire you with ideas for reaching out. You are uniquely gifted to serve as an encouragement to those around you.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a handful of spiritual encouragement and let it fly. But be careful, you’re liable to find a little bit stuck on you, as you in turn are encouraged and blessed.
Kennedy, three years old, was caught on video singing a precious song this week, “Tell Jesus” I listened to this song several times as her words spoke to my heart.
A sweet innocent child, making up a song about Trusting in Jesus. “Jesus is with you, when you are scared, tell Jesus , when you cry just talk to Jesus, everyday, every night. Every time, Jesus is with you. You don’t have to be afraid, Jesus loves everybody in the world. In your house, in the day, in the night, you see Jesus, and when you catch your toy, tell Jesus!”
Think about it. What profound words that come from this little girls mouth (its the cutest thing ever too!) She has been taught, by her parents and grandparents and by those who work with the kids at church, to take it all to Jesus! WHY, do we not practice this same truth? Why do we try to figure it out on our own? We know the answer, its simple as child like faith! Trust Him, go to Him about it all! “Tell it to Jesus” “Only Trust Him” What a friend we have in Jesus” and the list goes on. I challenge you today to “Just tell Jesus” Whatever it may be. Hurt, pain, disappointment, fear, joy, sin, thankfulness, unsettlement, needs, worries, praise. Take it to Jesus!
Corrie Ten Boom said “Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden”
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.”
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
2nd Vice President
How Unforgiveness Hurts You
"Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32)
If you’re someone who holds grudges, if you keep score and can’t let things go, then you need to know something: You will suffer in life. You also will see your prayer life come to a screeching halt.
Forgiveness is the key to all healthy, strong, and lasting relationships. That’s why we must realize how important it is to forgive. Jesus said, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23–24).
Maybe you’ve decided that you won’t forgive someone who has wronged you. Guess who will be the one to get hurt? You will. Harboring resentment and unforgiveness will hurt you more than the person you’re refusing to forgive. If you want to be healthy and vibrant spiritually, then you must learn to forgive.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12).
You may think they don’t deserve forgiveness. But do you? Do I? No, we don’t. Our forgiveness doesn’t hinge on forgiving others, but forgiving others should hinge on God’s gracious and generous forgiveness toward us. The forgiveness that comes to us from Christ is based on His merit and on His death and His love for us. If we know anything about what Christ has done for us, then we should forgive others.
The Bible says, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Forgiven people should be forgiving people. And if you want to be healthy and vibrant spiritually, then you must learn to forgive.
2nd Vice President
Simple Truths to Repeat during Spiritual Battle (or Anytime)
His grace is sufficient II Corinthians 12:9
I am not alone Joshua 1:5
I am a new creature in Christ II Corinthians 5:17
Be still and know Psalm 46:10
Jesus conquered the grave Mark 16:6
The Lord fights for me Exodus 14:14
God is able Ephesians 3:20-21
Jesus overcame John 16:33
I can overcome I John 5:5
I don’t have to fear Genesis 50:20
I am a child of God I John 3:1
Joy comes in the morning Psalm 30:5
Sin does not define me Isaiah 43:25
God loves me John 3:16
I am fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14
“but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is
already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome
them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
I John 4:3-4
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