Encourage and Empower Yourself in the Lord

Have you ever been in a situation when the person you crossed paths with seemed to suck the life and joy right out of you? My daughter and I quietly refer to them as emotional vampires. It’s very possible they have been spiritually, emotionally, and mentally neglected for a long time, but nonetheless be on guard.

I firmly believe that people carry energy. It’s scientifically proven by the positive energy our bodies create through the life source we have in the flowing blood under our skin. When we rub our hands together quickly, creating friction, we create warmth between our hands. This is positive energy. It’s also been proven psychologically when Dr. Henry H. Goddard conducted an experiment with how children behaved based on giving them words of praise versus condemnation. Giving authentic praise feeds people with energy which can inspire them to rise to a higher level of happiness and joy. In turn they may end up giving positive energy to others too. It’s like a domino effect.

There’s really only so much we can do to build people up and when they continue in that ‘vampire’ mode they are dependent on stimuli to make them stay happy or they simply just love misery. This isn’t a healthy relationship for us. We have the freedom to walk away from relationships that are draining. We can send a postcard or email from time to time to let them know we’re thinking of them, but they need to find that inward place of joy that will carry them through even if no one is around to lift them up.

1 Samuel 30:6 “And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” ESV

Every person ends up having a day that doesn’t seem to get any better. We need to learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord.

Cup o' Tea by bevland, on Pix-O-Sphere

Our identity is in Christ. We are hid in God, like a cleft in the rock. He is a strong tower and we run into it and are safe. No matter what, our souls are in his safe and tender care. As nice as it is to hear what a good housekeeper or parent we are, on those days when no one gives us any appreciation or affirmation, we can always rest in God’s truth about us. We are loved and valued in his sight.

There’s alsways those ‘times of the month’ that make us feel especially down. These are the days we need to spoil ourselves rotten. Don’t be afraid to take care of YOU. Get up and make your coffee in your favorite coffee cup. Be prepared to do the following for yourself;

  • Take a long hot shower with your favorite body wash.
  • Get dressed up, including shoes.
  • Fix your hair and put makeup on.
  • Put on some sparkly jewelry.
  • Get your coffee and read a book, your bible, or even Facebook. Whatever makes you happy.
  • Have a few Identity Verse Cards readily available. Create memory verse cards about your identity in Christ. Pick the verses that affirm God’s love for you. Write them down on 3×5 cards and keep them in a pretty envelope or box near your bible. Read them to yourself, out loud!
  • Write yourself a love letter and include quotes or bible verses to reinforce your faith in yourself. It’s okay to believe in yourself, God does. Light your favorite candle and read the letter outloud to yourself. Lay claim on the abundant life you will live that day. Read the letter boldly. You are a Victor.

“I am deeply loved and have great value in the Kingdom. Today I’m going to live like the princess I am and proclaim love to the world around me. In turn I will feel good about myself, because I have a giving spirit.”

The candle is for a focal point and lighting the flame is a symbol of God’s all encompassing love and purification.

These are simple and affordable ways to lift ourselves up so we can be an encouragement to those around us.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you. Live life empowered!

Sisterlisa

 

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Business of Ministry is Overwhelming

We just completed our fourth class at the Faith leaders Institute at CSU and have a few more classes to go. The first few classes were very inspirational, but I have got to say this one was quite overwhelming. A gentlemen from the government was there to teach us about getting federal funding for ministries that serve the community as a whole (which is a very good thing), but we are no where near being able to apply for that kind of funding, although we sure could use it for Coast Recovery Services. I’m glad my husband is in the class, because he can handle that level of education. I had to leave the room to catch my breath. I was so overwhelmed.

heather by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

Does the business of ministry overwhelm you too?

I sat in silence, breathing deep, and asked the Lord to reveal something to me about how I was feeling. I wanted to be sure it wasn’t fear, because I don’t like getting involved with things that are motivated by fear. The words of Carolee Dalton whispered in my ear,

“Is this serving YOU? Is this making you happy?”

sigh*** No. It’s not serving me, it’s not making me happy, and it was zapping my joy for ministry.

I picked up my phone to check my email and I got a message from a blogger… she is struggling with issues in her faith. She wants to talk to me. I also got messages in my Facebook inbox from people all over the world asking my thoughts on spiritual abuse and healing. This is where I thrive. It makes me happy to help others organically. Sure it’s good to have a set schedule, organization is important. However, I don’t need federal funding to be there for brothers and sisters who need encouragement for the faith and support in their church communities.

It’s most often the politics of ministry business that puts a damper on authentic ministry. Organizations suffer on a DAILY basis with chaos and corruption behind the scenes in ministry. Most average church members are unaware of the drama and backstabbing that goes on, but for those who do know it’s heartbreaking and discouraging  to them.

So what do you do? I’ll be composing some articles and videos to share some thoughts and inspiration with you in the coming future. in the meantime, what parts of ministry politics hinders your spiritual growth?

Sisterlisa

The Freedom We Have in Christmas

I am a bit delayed in getting my holiday theme up. I had hoped to be able to do all the designing over the Thanksgiving weekend, but I wasn’t able to get it done. So please bear with me as you continue to see my Autumn decor. It’s that time of year again when people battle over the whole Christmas vs. Holiday issue again. Can I just say it’s getting quite exhausting? Lets just be practical about it shall we?

Christmas music by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

The world has various winter holidays and all kinds of religions celebrate their holidays in the same month, December. In a country like America, we are going to see a huge melting pot of these holidays around our towns and in advertisements as companies aim to get our money and compete with each other over the almighty dollar. Forget that the value of the dollar is decreasing, they still want it. So anyway, they don’t want to offend anyone and disrupt their paychecks. And who can blame them in this economy? We all would like to have the finances to have a nice holiday with our families. So they are trying to be polite to everyone of all beliefs by simply saying, Happy Holidays. It’s no big deal!

There are plenty of companies that sell nativity scenes, window clings with crosses on them, tree ornaments with baby Jesus on them, and so much more. They are not going to abolish Christ in Christmas. No matter how much some people do not choose Jesus as the reason for their season, the Christian tradition will go on so long as the families continue to hold fast to their heritage.

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty about the history of Christmas, there are plenty of sites out there that you can read.

But lets just stop and think about the Spirit of Christmas for a moment. If there is any time at all for Christians to be peaceful and joyous, it should be Christmas. No one is going to tell you that you can’t celebrate Christ in Christmas. Your faith is YOURS and how you celebrate is your freedom. But lets also not forget that the U.S. Constitution protects all people to have freedom in whatever religion they choose…and Jesus never commanded that you harm people or their businesses for not celebrating this holiday the same way you do. In fact, Jesus never commanded that we celebrate his birth. The historical tradition of Jesus is to celebrate his resurrection.

I think it’s incredibly courteous for companies to offer a generic holiday greeting and decor for their stores in light of how many religions are having celebrations during this time. I would much rather see that, than for them to be judgmental in excluding others while only including one.

Even the apostle Paul said not to judge people for the way they observe their holy days and also not to judge people who don’t.

I happen to have relatives and loved ones of all sorts of religious backgrounds. I have this extreme honor of being able to commune with these loved ones even though we celebrate differently. I love that we are all unique this way. I have Christian friends who don’t celebrate Christmas at all, who believe the tree in the living room is an abomination and I’m ok with that. That is their own personal conviction. I will not force them to give up their free will just to make me more confortable. I also have Christians friends who might as well have Santa’s workshop in their homes, their homes look like National Lampoon’s Christmas, and wear bells on their tennies all month long. Who am I to rip their freedom out from under them and tell them to stop celebrating Christmas the way they choose to?

Then I have some lovely Pagan friends who don’t celebrate the traditional Christmas, but rather their winter solictice in much different ways. Their ancestors were forced by threat to give up their religion and heritage. They were forced to convert against their wishes, against their freedom, and against their free will. This should never have happened!

Jesus never said to threaten people with their lives if they don’t choose him. In fact, Jesus said to depart in peace and wipe the dust from your shoes if they don’t recieve you. So anyone who tries to force Pagans, Jews, or Africans to celebrate Christ in their December celebrations are in direct violation of what Jesus tells them to do.

In addition to this, Jesus was not so tolerant of religious people using manipulation to get people to do things for their own pesonal gain and I am pretty sure Jesus would not want people to be manipulated into celebrating his birth in December if they don’t want to. So when Christians further their propaganda to manipulate stores into adding Christ Christmas music to the speakers during shopping hours, or “Merry Christmas” in their slogans, then they are, again, in violation of what Jesus teaches us to do. Manipulation is sorcery and part of the dark arts. Christians are NOT to have anything to do with the dark arts. All things in Christ are to be done with the utmost integrity, honor, and love.

It’s fabulous that people want to celebrate their faith in their winter holidays and I think it’s high time that we just live peacefully among each other and stop trying to insist on our own way. Love does not insist on its own way. If you celebrate Christmas with Christ, then do so…but please do not launch a war against others who don’t. That  is not the spirit of Christ. And when Christians insist on doing so, we create such a monstrous mess that is not going to attract people to us or the Jesus we claim to follow.

If you’re a Christian and you see our brethren and sisters launching such wars, remind them of grace. Stand up for the freedom we all have and put your feet down with abusive religious zealots who continue to make it all that much harder for us to be a light of grace and mercy in the world. If you wish to correct anyone, correct them..those who are hurting folks at Christmas time. Please ask them to stop. It’s just not the way of Christ to be so mean to people.

If you work in an environment where the managment asks you not to say “Merry Christmas” to their customers, then respect them. Please do not go against Jesus when he spoke through the writer of Hebrews and said to obey them that have the rule over you. He never said that we are to go against our ‘masters’ just to say “Merry Christmas”. Do not attempt to say that using the term, “Merry Christmas” is evangelism and push your “right” to free speech and freedom of religion over the wishes of your employer. That is not the way of Christ.

If your child goes to a public school, please do not coerce your children into pressing the school officials by ‘exercising’ the use of “Merry Christmas” in the school. Don’t you remember that Peter said that people can be won without the word, by the manner in which we live? It’s ok if the schools don’t use the term, Christmas, in their decor or holiday celebrations.

Isn’t the whole point of celebrating Christmas, as Christians, to spread joy and glad tidings? Are we not to be peaceful among one another during this time of year (and all year long)? So let your light shine among mankind in the way you love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. If you want freedom to have a nativity in your front yard, then be peaceful about a pagan having a wreath on their front door. If you want freedom in your business to say Merry Christmas, then allow the other businesses to have freedom to say Happy Holidays. We will reap what we sow and if we sow threats of not shopping at some stores over something as trivial as this, then don’t be surprised when people boycott your business too. It’s sad that so many innocent children would suffer with no holiday ham or turkey because their parents businesses suffered financial loss due to some overzealous Christians who launched an outright war against them for saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas!

Have we, as Christians, become so petty and selfish? Are we reverting back to the old ways of manipluating people into a false conversion under cyber bullying to hurt their financial stability? Come on my dear brothers and sisters…that is not the way of Christ.

 And before I go for today, may I remind you that there are plenty of Christmas photos at Pix-O-Sphere  that you can use in your blogging this month? And if you have other holiday images to share from various December celebrations, please feel free to upload and share. It’s free to join.

Are you afraid you’ll have trouble with communicating about your faith or holiday celebrations with friends and family on facebook? Sadly this time of year continues to have hostile words over this controversial issue. But you can customize your Facebook settings to give yourself some more privacy without having to unfriend people.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Happy Hannakuh, Have a Great Kwanzaa, and a Blessed Yule!

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

signature by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere