His Promise Still Stands

There is a pattern to the life of faith that often follows a sequence of promise –> excitement –> waiting –> doubting –> testing –> refining –> reinforcement and –> eventual fulfillment.  This is essential to grasp if we ever hope to serve God as mature  women in the faith.

Instant gratification and impatience have become hallmarks of our society. We only have to “tolerate” 5-15 seconds of advertising before getting to a Youtube video. We are promised “instant weight loss,” “instant success,” and “3 Easy Steps…” to achieve just about anything.

Waiting, enduring, and learning patience, exercises of the will and character that have been integral to Biblical faith for thousands of years are not exactly hot topics in an age where we can scroll through our boredom at the rate of 13 Instagram pictures a second.

For now, I just want to highlight 3 appropriate responses to God during a season of waiting, waiting….and maybe even waiting some more:

1)     Gratitude for God’s Abundant Mercy

When God asks you to wait for His perfect timing you have to recognize that this is actually a form of His mercy to you.  By forcing us to wait, God protects us from becoming spoiled children and develops our character.  We will never be effective servants of the King if we are too much like the spoiled rich girl who has Daddy wrapped around her finger and always gets what she wants, right when she wants it.

He wants us to be people of character who recognize that the world does not revolve around us.  So He often asks us to wait and learn patience.  You should thank Him for this, because when God asks you to wait, He is actually doing you a favor.

As Paul says, when we are waiting on God,

“we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.”  (Romans 5:3)

2)     Hope in God’s Anticipated Action  

Although this is one of the more counter-intuitive aspects of our walk with God, it is actually the case that the longer God makes you wait for something He has promised the more your faith and expectation in the fulfillment of His Word should grow.

The longer you wait, the closer He is getting to fulfilling His word and the more that reality should propel you to even more faith and hope in what is about to come to pass.

Even as you are waiting on God don’t miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He is about to do.

For “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Rom 13:11).

Even though seasons of waiting can tend to wear us down, forcing us to face our own doubts, fears, and insecurities, always remember to praise the Lord in the midst of your waiting.

3)     Surrender to God’s Perfect Purposes

We all start out in our relationship with God wanting to be more or less in control of the operation. This is called idolatry.

Yes we want God, but we kind of want Him on our own terms.  We want a God we can fashion and shape, a God who will serve our needs and our agenda.  It is especially in the moments of waiting on God to do things His own way, in His own time, that reveal to us just how deeply entrenched the idolatry truly is within our hearts.

Part of why God is making us wait, is for us to fully let go of our own will.

And in that surrender you will find a comfort in knowing that God is God, that He does not need your advice, that His ways are higher and better than your ways, and that He is good to the deepest core of His being.

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). 

And the Joy of Fulfillment is coming…

Whether you are currently waiting on a personal promise God has given to you specifically, or are simply longing for the promise of eternal salvation and deliverance that we all share as followers of Jesus, always remember that no waiting on God is in vain.

He never forgets, He never goes back on His Word, and the joy you will experience on the day of your vindication will be that much greater simply because you waited well.

“And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.  This is the LORD for whom we have waited.  Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.  As surely as the sun rises He will appear.  And He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hosea 6:3).

Francesca Vitug Bio

10 Truths To Tell Yourself

1. Your worth is not determined by what just anyone tells you.
“Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging
others for scraps of love.” -Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited

2. You are loved unconditionally.
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that
he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in
the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1.
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that
loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to
him.” -John 14:21.

3. You are never, ever alone.
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy
God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
“And the LORD, He [is] the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not
leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

4. You are forgiven.
“When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” -Luke 5:20

5. You are beautiful.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And [that] my soul knows very well.” -Psalms 139:14

6. You were given a promise that is un-breakable.
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as
the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:39
“For all the promises of God in Him [are] Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God
through us.” -2 Corinthians 1:20

7. You are protected.
“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.” -2 Samuel 22:3

8. You are blessed.
“Behold, I have received [a command] to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse
it.” -Numbers 23:20
“Blessings [are] on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the
wicked.” -Proverbs 10:6

9. You are going to be okay, even if you don’t feel okay right now. (And if you do, it’s gonna stay that way!)
“Cast all your care on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

10. You have a purpose.
“Upon your inception you, yes you, were given a very specific purpose that only you
can accomplish. You were placed into a certain region of the world, into a certain family, into a certain culture that only you are capable of reaching.” -Nicole Soto, Worth It

Sabrina Hope

Humility

I don’t want you all to think I am up here on a high horse, preaching at you. I myself struggle with being humble, I have to check myself often. I hope you all do too, it is so important that we are thinking about our actions and our words throughout our days.

Let’s look at some scriptures that tell us the importance of humility, because the Bible does mention being humble or humility often.

1 Peter 5:5-7 (NKJV) 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to [your] elders. Yes, all of [you] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”] 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

This scripture states that we are to submit ourselves, what does that mean? Some
synonyms of submission are complaint, obedient, meek, and yielding.
So this scripture is telling us to be obedient and compliant to our elders and to be humble, because why?

Because it says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
I want God’s grace, and more importantly I NEED God’s grace. So I am going to do
what He says, I am going to submit to my authority and my peers, I am going to clothe myself in humility, I am going to cast all of my cares on Him because He can care for me better than anyone else.

Micah 6:7-8 (NKJV) 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn [for] my transgression, The fruit of my body [for] the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

In this passage, someone is asking what the Lord will be pleased with- will God be pleased with thousands of rams, what about ten thousand rivers of oil, what about if I sacrifice my child for my sins.. but the answer is much more simple than that. It says that the Lord requires you to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. The Lord requires this of us.

Luke 14:11 (NKJV) “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”.

This verse is pretty cut and dry, not a lot of room for interpretation. It says that if you
exalt yourself, meaning you think about yourself in a position of greatness, you will be humbled. It says that if you humble yourself, you will be exalted, meaning raised to a position of greatness in God.
I don’t know about you, but I do not want God to have to humble me. Being humbled
hurts. I want to check myself, and humble myself, so that God doesn’t have to.
But you know what, if He has to do it, I would rather be humbled by Jesus, then not be pleasing to Him, and not be with Him for eternity.

Philippians 2:5-8 (NKJV) 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, [and] coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to [the point of] death, even the death of the cross.

When I read this verse, it hit me hard.

I want you guys to really grasp what this verse is explaining to us- it is telling us that Jesus, who is the form of God and equal with Him, came in the likeness of us; He did not come as a millionaire like He could have, He did not come as a King like He could have, He came as an ordinary baby, an ordinary man. He humbled himself, and wrapped Himself in flesh. He humbled himself and was obedient- even to the point of death. Think about that. Jesus humbled Himself, and was obedient enough to say okay to dying on the cross for us. And all He is asking us to do, is to follow His Word, to humble ourselves. He isn’t asking us to be tortured and nailed to a cross, He already did that for us.

We have established the importance of humility- but what is it really?

Most of us understand that pride is the opposite of humility. What is pride? Pride is when you focus on who is right and your own glory, it reveals your character. Humility is when you focus on what is right and God’s glory, it reveals God’s character.

Maybe you are not prideful on purpose, and you don’t understand how pridefulness comes into your daily life. Let me give you some examples of how it happens- pride comes in when you compare, when we think we are owed something. Pride comes in when you pity yourself, and only focus on your weaknesses. Pride comes in when you are self reliant, when we think that we have our acts together. Pride comes in when we want recognition or when we expect others to acknowledge us.

Humility is, like a quote which I recently read, not necessarily when we think less of ourselves, but it is when think about ourselves less. True humility can be understood like this:

H-honoring God above yourself

U-understanding your need for grace

M-mourning over your sin

I-illuminating God’s glory

L-looking for ways to serve others

I-ignoring your pride

T-trusting God’s plan over your own

Y-yearning to worship

The Bible says that Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). So I want to challenge us to strive to be humble, be more aware of our actions and attitudes, and check ourselves and make sure we are pleasing to God.

Sabrina Hope

Voices of This World

Dear fellow Apostolic Girl,

We live in a world that tells you, as a woman, that to be feminine means to not submit to authority, that to dress like a woman makes you look weak, that when you become a wife and mother, and take care of your household, that you give up your independence, future, and opportunities.

This is my second entry as an Apostolic Girl blogger, and I want to tell you that you are powerful, that in your submission you are crowned with glory and anointing, and that you are beautiful. And in this world that tries to tell you otherwise, I admonish you to guard your mind and your heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says “the heart is deceitful above all else, who can know it?”

When you do not guard your heart, you make yourself susceptible to the influence of this carnal and sinful world. As some of you may have experienced in your past, this is a dangerous and vulnerable place to be. The principalities of this world will try and make you believe that you are treated unfairly, that you shouldn’t have to submit or be humble, that you deserve recognition for all of your accomplishments and acts of service. Thoughts and attitudes like these will begin to poison and darken your heart.

In contrast, submission and humility are exactly what we should strive for. God sees your private devotion and servant-hood.  He walks with you in every journey or path you take. When you submit, HE sees. When you are humble, HE sees. When you serve the kingdom of God without recognition, HE sees.

There are so many voices in this world. And sometimes it can be hard to discern God’s. The most dangerous of these voices are the false ones that come from within the church. Those in whom you trust, that are giving you misguided direction. You will only be able to discern the voice of God if you build a relationship with Him. When you get to know Him, His voice, His thoughts.

You must be careful about what you open your mind to. Whether it be movies, books, or even educations that can lead you astray. Pray for your mind. Pray for your heart. Pray for the armor of God to be utilized every morning before you walk out your door. For without it, you are walking into the world without spiritual protection. Know that you are crowned with glory. That you are anointed and powerful. Do not let the voices of the world take that away.

Disney may say to “Follow Your Heart.”  But, please don’t. The heart will deceive you. The heart will make you feel emotions that are not of the Lord. Follow the Holy spirit that lives inside of you. The one that will guide you in the right direction. The voice that will speak clarity to you in the midst of the fog. Who are you allowing to speak into your life?

 

Bethany Marsh

What Ministry Is Not

I grew up in a pastor’s home. I lived with parents that eat, sleep, breath ministry and working for God’s kingdom. From scrubbing baseboards and painting the church, to studying, praying, and fasting for each sermon and lesson, to dealing with all kinds of people as counselors and psychiatrists, advising with Biblical and Godly wisdom. And you know what, my parents LOVE it. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. I was raised in an environment where the mentality was: it is a joy, an honor, and a privilege to serve God’s kingdom as ministers. Not one time did I hear my parents grumble or complain about the burdens of ministry. When my parents faced a challenging situation, they never vented or involved me and my sisters. There are things that happened to my parents that I didn’t find out about until I became an adult, because they wanted to protect us and never give us a hazy outlook on ministry. I am eternally grateful for that. I know of others that are pastor/minister’s kids who grew up to resent ministry. They knew about the drama and attacks upon their parents, their parents would be gone all day working at the church, and would pour so much of themselves into their ministry that there was hardly any time or energy for them.

The definition of ministry is literally: servanthood. But, unlike the maids and butlers of royalty- being a servant to God is so rewarding, a blessing, and a powerful experience. Being a servant to God feels like being royalty. Ministry is anything that somehow benefits the kingdom. Yes, some ministries put you on a stage for people to see. But, at the end of the day, God sees ministry as a thing of the heart. If you scrub that church toilet until your fingers bleed, God values that more than the guy who jumps behind a pulpit and didn’t prepare his message (real talk).

Ministry was made to be a practice taken on by a follower of Christ. First you follow, then you serve. When God went looking for disciples, He didn’t stop at asking them to follow. He told them he’d make them fishers of men and that they would have to take up their cross. Ministry is supposed to be something we do because we love God, we want to benefit His kingdom, and want to devote our time and energy as His devoted servants.

Ministry, as satisfying and honorable as it is, is not a relationship in itself. It is supposed to be a product of a relationship.

In church culture, we tend to glorify ministry. We tend to treat it as a status symbol or a fancy title. I remember being a teenage girl and that being the pick-up line guys would use to attract the women, “Yeah, I’m going to be a minister”. When in reality, that probably wasn’t the most pure-hearted statement.

But, for those that are genuinely in ministry (and not trying to pick-up a date), sometimes we feel a pressure to always produce. Like, give a progress update at the end of every day of things we’ve done, people who have been filled with the Holy Ghost, or how many followers we got on our ministry’s Instagram. Without meaning to, we can start behaving like ministry is a job and we are being rated on our performance. Subconsciously we will compare our ministry to others and our work to other churches. Sometimes we wake up stressed and go to bed stressed thinking about our ministerial responsibilities. And that, is simply exhausting and not the way God ever intended ministry to be.

Burn out is a real thing. I have seen it firsthand. Marriages fall apart, churches crumble, and minister’s spirituality suffer. All because a servant of the Lord gave and gave and stopped being refreshed from the fountain. People get spread so thin, trying to pour themselves into ministry with juggling work, school, family and friends, that they eventually breakdown.

It is okay to take a break or even to pull-out of ministries. Yes, you heard me right. I believe whole heartedly ministry is something EVERYONE should be involved in. It’s so rewarding and a blessing to the congregation. But, I have to remind myself that God rather have His relationship with you be priority, strong and thriving, than have you hanging on by a thread doing His work. Your walk with God is so much more important than what you do for Him. Although your local church and pastor appreciates your help (especially in a small church), make sure you are thinking of your spirituality and mental well-being first.

Are you getting burned out?

Do you feel like you have nothing else to give?

Do you find yourself more often stressed than uplifted when helping in the kingdom?

Does it feel like an obligation instead of a privilege?

These are hard questions each of us who are heavily involved in church need to ask ourselves.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

What God truly desires from us is communion, intimacy, meditation on His word, and to be priority in your life. Yes, that even means priority over your ministry.

Don’t find your satisfaction in what you do for Christ or the roles He has given you in His kingdom. But, in Him alone. Be thankful for the honor and opportunity of leadership that has been bestowed upon you. But, never let that fog your vision of what is most important…your one true love.

charity

Stuck in a Fairytale

Sometimes, when life get to us, we can feel lost. We feel lost until the next church service. Then it all comes back to us – just to lose ourselves again. Have you ever heard the metaphor of “getting lost in a book”? Where you read a book that so good you just can’t put it down? Living the life of an Apostolic Girl can be like that.

You see your friends out going to parties and it looks like they’re having so much fun. You see other teenage girls with boyfriends. You look at someone’s swim suit post and at how many likes they get. You start to get lost in this lie social media tells of how great their lives are. Until… you learn that teenage girl got pregnant. That boy from your High School overdosed. Their mom committed suicide. These things are real. Instagram is not.

It’s easy to get lost in a fantasy world. People can take one look at your life on instagram and call it perfect, but you have to see what’s behind the filter. It’s hard to not get lost in a perfect world. People get jealous and they want what they’ve been told that they can’t have. Being an Apostolic might mean you have to sacrifice some things. But it is all in God’s plan. Just imagine all the horrible things God has saved you from! You do not have to feel lost, because all you have to do is pray and give your baggage to Him. And, He can do it over and over again.

The Bible says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

This is something that we need to think about. God wants us to have faith in his works. He needs us to have faith in Him and understand why He leads us away from the temptations of this world. You are never too lost to be found.

chelsea blogger

Don’t Take a Holiday

Matthew 28:19- Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

Mark 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Matthew 10:32 – Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

James 5:20 – Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Luke 14:23 – And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled.

Being a soul winner is the most honorable and important purpose our lives can serve, above any other achievement. A precious soul, created by God, a soul that He died for, is headed to hell by our sinful nature. To pull them out of the flames gives the Lord’s heart so much joy. For He is: “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” -II Peter 3:9.

We have a major responsibility as soul winners. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives, dreams, goals, problems, and situations. But, if we are to have the true nature of Christ- our love for the lost and care for their souls will always take priority. You think you’ve got it bad?

In this life, it is impossible to avoid hardships. But, imagine going through the same trials:

  • Without the Holy Ghost
  • Body of Christ to support you
  • A relationship with Jesus to comfort you
  • His Word to give you peace

Can we really say we’re surprised when people cut themselves, drown their sorrows in alcohol, numb the pain with drugs, and the even worse- kill themselves? They are defenseless against the enemy because they do not have access to the power that we do. People in the world have no immunity to spiritual attacks.

I am only speaking on this topic because it is something that I am so guilty of. Let’s get personal for a moment… I struggle with getting up in the mornings and sometimes walk into the office 15 minutes late. I’m so happy to be free on my lunch breaks, I have a hard time coming back to work. I know my coworkers see me come in late and my boss noticing my ever growing breaks. I’m not sinning or being immoral. But, am I still doing something just as damaging?

If we have ever claimed or will ever claim to be Christian/Apostolic/Pentecostal there is a responsibility we are taking on. What you say or claim means nothing to those around you if your actions do not to follow suite.

Maybe you think the little stuff like me running late and sneaking into the work place isn’t a big deal.

  • An occasional bad attitude
  • A little white lie to employers/professors
  • Moments of unkindness
  • Immodesty
  • Tolerating ungodliness (not speaking up or fleeing the situation)
  • Ignoring your surroundings (being compassionless and unconcerned)

Your witness doesn’t take a holiday.

You do not need to know someone very well to already form opinions about their character. It’s human nature! Especially in the world, where there is no grace, it is very natural for them to judge and form opinions of you.

People you may think have no idea that you exist, do notice you. Although they may not know your name or know your background- they do make judgments based off of your behavior, each and every day. From you professor, to your classmates, to your landlord, to your boss, to the lady that waits your table… The world is watching.

Being a Christian doesn’t end when you leave the sanctuary. There is no break, pause, or time-out. We must ALWAYS be conscience of our actions.

So, you have a bad day. Boss has been a jerk, you failed an exam, and you’re in a fight with your best-friend. You go to McDonald’s in a bad mood. The girl at the register gets your order wrong and you have to wait 20 minutes for your meal. In your anger and high emotion, you catch an attitude with the girl at the register. You snatch your food and give her a snarky comment and storm off with your eyes rolling.

There’s nothing wrong with having bad days and not being in pleasant moods. BUT, where the error happened was taking out the frustration on someone in the world. Thus ruining your witness. That cashier and everyone in that McDonalds has been affected. (This particular example deals with anger. But this also applies to acting depressed, sad, anxious, etc.)

People in the world are naïve and vulnerable. They have no wisdom from the Holy Ghost or spiritual strength to defend their emotions and perspective.

Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

In conclusion, our witness doesn’t take a vacation or leave. Everything you do is being watched every day. Although we have our hiding place and refuge within the church and the circle of church friends, we’ve been called to a higher place of responsibility when in the world. If you are struggling with something that may be affecting your witness- pray that God reveals what it is and gives you the determination to conquer it! I will be trying harder, personally. And I hope you do too.

charity