Women’s Devotion | May 2019

Straight Talk

 

In Proverbs 11:14 (The Message) says, “Without good direction people lose their way. The more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” This Scripture tells us guidance is important and something we all need. It also points us to wise counsel from Paul in the book of Titus. As Christian women, we have an awesome responsibility according to Titus 2:3. This Scripture tells us to teach women with a godly example. You’ll notice Paul did not direct Titus (the pastor) to train the women in his congregation. Instead, Paul gave Titus instructions to seek out the women who had certain qualifications and let them train other women. Paul was seeking women who exhibited reverent behavior, a guarded tongue and integrity. You may ask why his first qualification was reverent behavior? The definition of reverent means, “feeling or showing deep and solemn respect.” Paul wanted such a woman who had the greatest respect for God in her relationship with Him. A reverent woman had already begun to trust God and let Him lead her in every area of her life. She was willing to do whatever God told her. She was already desiring God’s will above her own. Paul knew that without this reverent behavior, the other qualifications would be very difficult.

 

Paul went on to tell Titus that these women must have a guarded tongue. This feature is the hardest part of the body to control (and many would probably say it is hardest especially for women!), but nevertheless, godly women must take this qualification seriously. James 3:2-6 tells us that a tongue out of control is a life out of control and both can cause much destruction. Paul was wanting women who told the truth when they spoke. He wanted someone who would build up and encourage others. He wanted women who would walk away from malicious talk such as gossip. Paul wanted a woman who would think before she spoke. There is power of life and death in the tongue. He was also searching for a woman of integrity. Integrity is the quality of having strong moral principles, being trustworthy, noble, etc. It is perhaps the most important principle of leadership because it demands truthfulness and honesty—something we should endeavor to have in our lives. Women with integrity choose to make right choices and to put others’ needs above their own. They show respect to everyone, manifest humility and convey true kindness.

 

After reading Titus, Paul has challenged every godly woman with a huge responsibility. As we look around in our society and even in our own churches, we have a golden opportunity to bridge the gap between generations. We, as women of God and mothers, have the greatest opportunity to be the woman Titus was seeking. We are none perfect, but we should strive to have these important qualities in our lives and follow the Word of God as spoken in Titus 2. Allow God to use you as a tool to mentor those in your church, work place and family. Our society wants to see your walk with the Lord sometimes more than the words you say. Since we have received wise counsel and good direction through these Scriptures, we have a better chance to do the things that God has called us to do. The challenge is yours to put the Word into action! If you are not possessing these qualities, ask for God to help develop you in this area. Our society as well as our church folks need to be taught about godly principles such as being reverent, guarding our tongues and having integrity. You, my friends, are the vessel God is wanting to use. May God bless you as you accept this challenge to train and mentor others!


 

 

Faye Womack serves alongside her husband, Bud Womack, Lead Pastors at Life Point Church in Americus, Georgia for 20 years. The Womack’s have been married for 30 years and have two beautiful daughters, Kayla Dupree and Kelsey Womack and an awesome son-in-law, Earl Dupree.   Faye works in the Accounts Payable and Human Resource Department at the Schley County School System. She enjoys spending time with her family as well as her church family. 

Women’s Devotion | April 2019

You Matter

 

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is my purpose? Where do I fit in? Do I really matter?” Have you ever wondered what the reason is for your existence? The truth is, most of us have grappled with these thoughts at some point in our lives. Whether it is questioning our sufficiency as wives, mothers or friends, we (as women) often times wonder how well we are measuring up to society’s standards. How well are we measuring up to those around us? Do I even matter?

As a pastor’s wife, these thoughts can become frequent and compounded. My husband and I have been in ministry together for about 16 years. We have been serving as Senior Pastors of the Lighthouse Church of God in Douglas Georgia for over eight years now. Throughout the years, I have often observed others around us and in my opinion; I didn’t seem to be measuring up to what was expected of a pastor’s wife.

I’m not a very outspoken person in our local church. In other words, I am not a preacher. I try to avoid the mic at all costs and by no stretch of the imagination am I a singer. On occasions I would ask my husband if I was really a help to him in ministry because I sure didn’t feel like it. He would do his best to lovingly encourage me and tell me I am exactly what he needs in life and for ministry. It was always reassuring to hear him say these words to me, but I still couldn’t help but wonder if I was truly an asset to the work of the ministry. After all, I couldn’t do it like all the others and they were doing it well.

One Sunday, I was not able to attend due to job obligations. By vocation I work for our local blood donation facility and this requires me to be on the road a lot, even on weekends. This certainly didn’t help things by having to miss some Sundays. Many times I would wonder if the congregation even missed me when I wasn’t there. I really hate not being able to be there, but hey, who would miss me anyway? When I returned the following Sunday, I was showered with hugs and affection from our church family expressing how they miss me when I’m not able to attend service. Immediately, The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. He reminded me it wasn’t about my ability to preach, teach or even sing the perfect song. It’s about being who He created and equipped me to be in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). The good work that God created us for extends much farther than the pulpit. Whether it’s a simple hug, smile, visit, gentle word of encouragement or to lovingly care for our families as a wife, these are good works! The truth of the matter is God has lovingly, intentionally and purposefully designed us in Christ Jesus for good works.

Don’t sell yourself short! You are needed in the body of Christ! It is indescribable how that made me feel–to know that my presence mattered to them. Not only did I matter to our church family, but in that moment God was showing me how much I mattered to Him as well. There are many voices in this world that are contending for our ears trying to tell us we aren’t good enough or we just don’t matter. We must know the voice of The Shepherd that reminds us we are loved and our lives are filled with purpose. WE MATTER!!

It is the intention of our adversary, the devil, to get us to question our value and worth. God tells us in His word that every hair on our head has a number. Wow, now that’s detailed! Whether we have a head full or just a little covering the top, God has it numbered. He then reminds us we are worth more than two sparrows sold for one cent. If birds of the least value matter to Him, then certainly we are of more importance to God (Matthew 10:29-30). So, no matter what your role is in life or your local church, just know you are important to God and Your Presence Matters.


 

Alisa Johnson is the wife of Pastor Craig Johnson. They have been married for 23 years and have one daughter, Asjah Johnson.  Called to serve at The Light House Church of God, Bishop Craig and Alisa have held this role for almost 8 years.  Alisa is a phlebotomist and works for the local blood bank in Douglas, Georgia.  In her spare time, she enjoys decorating, relaxing and shopping with friends.  Alisa’s favorite scripture is, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Women’s Devotion | March 2019

Fields of Grace

What an awesome gift our Father has given us in music. It plays such a vital role in all our lives. Music can cheer us up, slow us down, cause us to pause and catch a glimpse of rest, impart tranquility, hope, peace, and yes, some music can even cause despair. It all depends on your listening choice.

 

When I was a child, everyone went to funerals. Listening to the songs that were sung, I began to form the opinion that the songs had to be extremely sad to fit that situation. I would even begin to imagine which ones would be best for my funeral because they would really make people cry!

 

You see even Saul, as king of Israel, knew the effect music had on people. When he was in a bad mood, down in the dumps, or in the valley of despair (so to speak), he would call on the young shepherd boy to play his lyre. Perhaps David sang some of his great psalms. When Saul heard the beautiful melody of hope, his attitude would change; he would feel refreshed, renewed and strengthened for another day. (1 Samuel 16)

 

One morning in the spring of a certain year, I awakened singing the chorus of a song that I could not remember ever hearing before. It was fixed in my mind and I had no idea as to when or where I had heard it. The spirit of the living God promises to bring to our remembrance the things we need when we need them most. I supposed it wasn’t important where it came from, just that my heavenly Father wanted me to get the message it contained and was deeply implanted in my spirit. He brought that little chorus with huge meaning back to my mind over and over. Every morning for weeks, the weeks turned into months, I would awaken singing it.

 

No doubt you know the chorus: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Not realizing this was the chorus of a “funeral song,” I began to embrace it and draw strength from it. It became a wonderful reminder and encouragement in the months to come to stay focused on my precious Savior and LORD.

 

Through Scripture we learn that the blessings come when the face of the Father is upon us. In turn, we must be willing to look full in His wonderful face to receive what we need. (Numbers 6:24-26 NIV, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”)

 

My Father knew a difficult battle was coming that would shake my world to the very core. He also knew the only way to make it through this dark valley would be to “keep my eyes firmly upon Him,” stay in focus of His wonderful face and only then would the dreadful days of loss begin to grow dim and His glory begin to shine through them.

 

Losing my daughter and her newborn baby in an automobile accident seemed more than anyone could bear. But today, thanks to my loving Father, I have learned a new song. It didn’t come to me in the same way, but it is just as “real” and just as necessary as the first song.

 

It says, “Dancing with my Father God in fields of grace; Dancing with my Father God in fields of grace. There’s a place where I lose myself in Him…I love my Father my Father loves me; I dance for my Father my Father sings over me…And nothing, nothing, nothing can take that away from me.”

 

Upon hearing the words of this song a scene opened up in my mind’s eye: there it was a beautiful field of flowers, a burst of every color, all about knee high. In the middle of the field I dance with my heavenly Father. His glory is so amazing—every fear, every tear, every sorrow, every pain, every hurt—is gone in that place. You see each flower in that beautiful field represents another facet of His grace that has been revealed to me through this incredible journey of life through HIS field of grace.

 

Whatever situation you find yourself in today just know that the Father has grace enough to see you through. We are told in Zephaniah 3:17 NASV, “The Lord your God is in your midst a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in his love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

 

The Hebrew word, “rejoice” means to “spin around under violent emotion.” The phrase “rejoice over you” literally means to “dance, skip, leap, and spin in joy.” The latter part of this verse is more accurately translated, “He will dance over you with singing.”

 

The picture is a warrior who has come from battle victorious, rejoicing in the win! Your heavenly Father loves you so much that He has already fought the battle and won the victory for you. He is now dancing and singing the song of victory over you! Rejoice with HIM! Dance with HIM! The battle is won! Look back and see all those “Fields of Grace” He has brought you through!


 

Rita Harper has served as co-pastor with her husband, Bill, for the past 43 years. They currently pastor the Parkway Church of God in Jesup. She is the mother of two beautiful daughters and four wonderful grandchildren. Their oldest daughter, Kasey and her newborn, Brittany, tragically died in an automobile accident in 1991. Their youngest daughter, Kimmi, is married to Ashley Way, Pastor of the Adel Church of God. The Ways have given them three amazing grandchildren: Kodi, Kwinci, and Kayli. Rita has served as a teacher, speaker, and evangelist in various local, state/regional and national meetings. Their family has served as South Georgia Kids Camp Meeting speakers for eleven years and were the first ones to provide video of camp meeting services in South Georgia. Rita’s greatest desire is to please her Father and serve Him with her whole being.

 

Women’s Devotion | February 2019

Just Ask!

Have you ever asked your family, “What do you want for your birthday?” Or, “What do you want for Christmas?” If you are like me, you can imagine them opening the gift…hearing your heart race with anticipation…then feeling emotions of love, hope, and goodness overwhelming your soul in an instant. That’s good stuff, right? Maybe that’s just how I imagine it.

 

Whether or not we serve Christ has no bearing on the innate desire to make others feel happy and loved. It’s in our DNA. Genesis tells us that we are created in the image of God so it’s who we’re created to be. It’s how we reflect the image of a loving, generous, and giving Father. Luke 11:13 NIV states, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” If we just ASK HIM!

 

Jesus teaches us that if we just ask, the Father will do big things: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

 

Just as we love to give gifts to those closest to us, our Father loves to give us the desires of our heart. He longs to fulfill our dreams (those things he has planted in our heart). He wants us to live our life to the fullest bringing all glory back to Him. As Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP says, “He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]–yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.”

 

So, I ask you:

What are your dreams?

What are you living for?

What makes you happiest and gives you a feeling of fulfillment?

Is it too late to pursue the greatness God has designed for you?

 

Before you answer, give me a moment to share with you a part of my journey. A year ago, a friend asked me these same questions. I found myself miserable, hating the monotony of getting up every morning doing the same routines, going to the same job, and seeing the same people and feeling like my life’s efforts were unproductive. My life was not bad. As a matter of fact, anyone looking would have seen three beautiful kids, a loving husband, and a good job, but something was missing. Something I had lost along the way. I had become complacent and numb. Somehow, along this thing called “life,” I had forgotten what it meant to live…I mean really, LIVE.

 

Who am I?

Where was I going?

What would my life look like in 5 years?

 

These questions tucked me into bed at night and woke me up each morning. Sure, there were moments of reprieve, but these questions always found their way back to haunt me. Don’t get me wrong. These are not bad questions. As a matter of fact, I now love these questions. God uses them to bring hope and inspire dreams, but in the enemy’s hands and without an answer, they became a tool used to abuse. I knew this wasn’t what my Father wanted. He is loving, kind, and generous, so how could I get from this place to where He intends? It seemed like an impossible task and I didn’t have the answers. “Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

 

I began to refocus my attention back to the Father. Trust me when I say that this is harder than it sounds. It required a determination and a resolve that I did not know lived in me and ultimately depended on His Spirit carrying through.

 

I found myself praying:

“Father, I’m a mess. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what my dreams are. I don’t even know what I should be praying for. Help me to rediscover the dreams that you placed in me some 16 years ago. Let me not forget the deep and hidden things inside of me that no one else knows but You. I want to make a difference and to be a world changer.” I would love to tell you that immediately the answers came rushing in like a flash flood, but then I would be lying. God did, however, meet me at that very place and we began walking a very uncomfortable journey over the next year.

 

As I pursued Him intently, His Holy Spirit began to stir up the giftings and passions I lost. He reminded me of the gifts that He placed in my life to make an impact in His Kingdom. Slowly, but surely, He began to reveal my purpose again as I aligned my desires with His design. You see, Father loves you and longs to give you good things.

 

1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” The Father wants us to live ‘life on purpose.” He wants to make those dreams that he has planted within our hearts come true and for us to live our best life now. He wants us to find fulfillment in our work, our hobbies, and in people. It brings Him honor.

 

John 10:10 NLT says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” The enemy says, “You’ll never be happy. You will work this dead-end job until you are dead in the ground.” He kills and destroys our hopes and dreams. Father wants us to dream again. Dreaming gives us hope and hope fuels us to live in fullness.

 

So, I ask you again:

What are your dreams?

What are you living for?

What makes you happiest and gives you a feeling of fulfillment?

Is it too late to pursue the greatness that God has designed for you?

 

I say, it’s not too late! If you are struggling with the process or journey, begin writing daily in a journal the things that you want God to do in you, your spouse, your kids, your job, and your finances. You are not selfish in asking Father these things. Remember you are His daughter and He loves for His baby girl to crawl up into His lap and tell Him what you dream for (I know you will use the blessings of our Father for good and to benefit His kingdom. You are His, you share His heart and if you are in His lap, you can hear His heartbeat).

 

But first, you must know exactly what you want.

Spend time away from social media, away from the TV, away from life sucking people.

Get alone with Father and ask him to reveal the deep and hidden things you know are there but scared to voice for fear of what it might take to achieve them.

Don’t hold back. Remember your Father hung the moon and stars!

 

Several times and on several occasions, I have been in prayer and heard Father ask me, “What do you want?” I was like, “Lord, you know what I want. I want what you want.”

He asked me again. “What do you want?” I said, “Lord, why are you asking me what I want?” He said, “Because I want to make your dreams come true.” I believe this is the conversation that He wants to have with you. This is where I began writing down the goals for my future every day. Not just for today, but 5 and 10 years from now.

 

There were days that I felt down, depressed, in the dumps and wondered “what’s the use?” I had to press through those feelings and put them aside, and you will too.

As you do, you will find your faith will increase and you will began believing in yourself again. You will begin making decisions that point to those dreams. Little by little miracles will begin to happen. All because you believe.

 

Depression’s influence will be destroyed.

Health will be healed.

Fear will flee.

Anxiety will be abolished.

 

I was at the point in my life where, what I was doing was not working. I was depressed, my blood pressure was elevating. I was battling fear and depression. I had convinced myself to go back on medication for anxiety just so I could cope with life. It seemed like that was the only option. As I wrote my dreams, I also searched the Scripture and searched my heart and began praying, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord my strength and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14). Lord, Renew my mind. Let me think on things that are just, and noble, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). Change the way I think about myself, and others, and you. I need a change Lord. Help Me, Help Me!”

 

Slowly I began to see changes in myself and the Holy Spirit began a new journey that is still leading me in my destiny. I may not have seen everything from my journal achieved, but I have become much more fulfilled and happier. I walk in freedom from anxiety and depression, and my blood pressure is back down. I have put my hopes, dreams, and desires back onto my Father and He is leading me on an unforgettable journey.

 

I leave you with this. Revelation 3:7 NLT, “This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open.”

 

Trust the Father and believe in yourself.

Reach for the Stars and never count yourself out.

Believe in the assignment He has for you.

Discover it by discovering Him all over again.

 

You will get there if you strive to be better today than you were yesterday.

You will grow leaps and bounds by the end of 2019.

 

I believe it!

I believe in our Father, and I believe in you!

 


 

Kimberly Kea has been in ministry with her husband, Zac, for 16 years. They pastor Living Waters Church in Metter, Georgia where she leads worship. They have ministered there for 7 years.

Kim has a B.S degree in Early Childhood Education and teaches in Candler County at the Metter Elementary School. They have 3 amazing children: Logan 13, Keslie 10, and Chance 7. She is a loving wife, mother, and daughter of the King. Kim says, “I’m a small-town girl with God sized dreams. With Him, I can and will achieve everything He has assigned me to do.” John 17:4 (The Message) “I glorified you on earth, by completing down to the last detail, what you assigned me to do.”

Women’s Devotion | January 2019

We Are More Than Conquerors 

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
– Romans 8:37 NIV

Joshua stood facing the wall of Jericho–the only thing keeping him from entering the Promised Land. What is standing in the way of the promise that God has given you? It can be anything from finances, to your marriage, children, or your circumstances. God has given each of us a promise and as Scripture declares, we are made conquerors through Him.

 

We all have obstacles or challenges that may delay or keep us from the promise or the purpose God has given us. Instead of focusing on those things, we must stay focused on the promise. Whatever gets your attention gets you. It consumes you. The more you focus on the obstacle, the more significant it seems. If Joshua had not refocused, Jericho would never have fallen. What do you need to overcome the battle? If you are focused on your Jericho, refocus and look up!

 

Have you been asking God to help you? Have you been making demands or bargains for God to take your Jericho down? The Lord wants to step in and deliver you, but first, God needs you to stop and surrender. Joshua was called to worship before God planned to step in and lead him to victory. To be a conqueror means that we are VICTORIOUS over the adversary.

 

God told Joshua to, “be still and know that I am God.” It’s time to ask God to show you the areas He may want you to change. After Joshua surrendered, his prayer changed from, “Help me” to a prayer of surrendering to God’s will. Joshua had to be persistent in his faith. When he marched around the wall the seventh time, he was commanded to ‘shout out’ in worship. Joshua got to a place where he fell on his face and worshipped God.

 

The reason we attend church service, read the Bible, pray, and/or attend a small group is because these actions help us to refocus and look up. We must remember the battles we face are spiritual battles. When facing a spiritual battle, the key is to worship first. Worship before the war. When we worship God, we see Him for who He really is. It is in worship that we experience God in all His love, goodness, and power. After worship, we must then act on our faith.

 

As you are facing your Jericho step back, refocus, surrender to Christ, and exercise your faith. Remember, you are a conqueror through Christ. We are entering a new year. Please take this time to refocus on a ‘new’ you. I challenge you to return your focus to a true heart of worship– to an authentic, intimate communion with Christ. Christ desires you!

>>>


 

Dawn Stone is married to Bishop Brandon Stone. Together they have served in ministry for 12 years. She serves alongside her husband at Christian Union Church of God in Ashburn. They have two children- Landon and Annaleigh. As a family, they love to be able to actively share Jesus’ message of hope and love to those that are hurting. Dawn serves as the Women’s Ministry President and it is her desire to see her women walk in the FREEDOM of Christ. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, cooking, shopping, and relaxing at the beach.

Women’s Devotion | December 2018

Keep Us in Perfect Peace 

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.
– Isaiah 26: 3-4 (KJV)

 

How can we define peace in a world where people in high places are dividing the nation with substandard news? It is difficult to peruse the news because of spiritual warfare in the world where mass shootings and murdering are on the rampage. Webster defines peace as a state of tranquility or quietness. It also states that peace is freedom from any civil disturbance. This devotion is written to encourage believers and saints of God that during this time of year, we should be praying for peace for our community, state, federal and national government leaders. It has become a monumental year of hate crime, global destruction and division with governmental officials.


Many Christians feel when they trust God, trials and tribulations will not come knocking at their doors. Nevertheless, Christians faces some of the same problems that unbelievers encounter. Therefore, if we as women trust in the true and living God, our tests will become our testimony. Our obstacles will transform into victory. As a result, our living will not be in vain. Although we are disheartened by all the events which have occurred in the world this year, we must hold fast to God’s unchanging hands and walk by faith and not by sight. Isaiah encourages us to simply trust in God for our strength.


Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” There have been unbelievable situations in my personal life concerning some family members where I must trust God to work it out for me. He has afforded me peace to withstand spiritual warfare and overcome adversities that have been overwhelming to bear. My peace and strength come from Psalm 28:7 (NIV), “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”


In essence, do not stress out over the holidays about gifts that you can’t afford to purchase. We should not concern ourselves with the outcome of this nomination for our next leaders in government. We need to continue to pray for our neighbors in the world who have experienced losing all their personal belongings in just one storm or fire.


Consequently, we simply must stop allowing ourselves to be burdened down with problems that God has already promised that He would solve if we keep our mind stayed on Him. I am so glad we serve a God who is capable of keeping His promises to us. 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV), “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” God knew over 2,000 years ago that this world would be in such disarray. Nevertheless, I thank God for His peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray you’ll have a peaceful holiday celebration and a prosperous and blessed New Year. Please always remember to hold on to the peace of God and He will direct your path and help you along your journey to withstand what this world or life may present to you.

 


 

 

Evangelist Dianne Rawls-Griffin is an Ordained Minister in the Church of God. She serves faithfully in ministry with her husband, Bishop Verdell R. Griffin, Jr., at Wheeler Street Church of God, St. Marys, Georgia. They have been married for 18 years. She is a fervent teacher of the Word of God, and operates in the gifts of prophecy, teaching, and evangelism. She is an educator with the Glynn County Public School System and enjoys traveling, teaching, reading, studying and preaching the marvelous gospel of Jesus Christ. Her favorite scripture is 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.” She believes in holiness, and that holiness is still a standard by which we must live. She enjoys preaching to the people of God and delivering life-changing applicable messages with intensity, passion, and severity.  

Women’s Devotion | November 2018

 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands
– Psalm 19:1

 

I have always been mesmerized by the sky. Even when I was a little girl I loved the sky! I remember my sister and I resting in the grass and staring up at the clouds as they drifted by. Many times, we’d imagine seeing shapes of animals or people and laugh about the things we “saw” way up high. One of my fondest memories is of peering through a telescope to view the stars and the moon with my father. It doesn’t matter if it’s white puffy clouds that slowly float by, dark rumbling storm clouds, or the velvety darkness of the nighttime sky enhanced by soft twinkling stars-I love it all! But I believe my most favorite things to see in the sky are sunsets. The warm orange and red colors that merge together so perfectly simply amaze me. Sunsets make me want to slow down and savor those last moments of the day.


I can often be found sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch watching the sun sink unhurriedly behind our rusted corn bins and pecan trees. There have been so many times I have stared in utter amazement at the handiwork of God in a sunset, a starry night, or a dark thunderstorm. Psalm 19:1 is brought to my memory many times, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” When I meditate upon this scripture while viewing a remarkable sky, I am filled with such joy! God created these things not only for our enjoyment but also to show us His glory, power, grace, and love. Isn’t it reassuring to know the God of the universe, who created the sky, is in complete control of the world and all the circumstances in our lives? And above everything He loves you and me!


The Bible states in Psalm 97:6, “The heavens proclaim His righteousness; all the peoples see His glory.” The words “all the peoples” tells us the people in the busy cities, the rural farming communities, and even the most remote places in the world- EVERYONE- can see the glory of God by simply looking up to the heavens. I challenge you to put down your phone, walk away from your computer, work, or household chores. Get away from all the distractions and noise of the day and look up at the sky. Take a few minutes and study it. If you continue to gaze at the sky, the hand of the Lord will become evident. The glory of the Lord is declared through the heavens.

 

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the puffy white clouds, the dark storm clouds, the sunsets, and the nighttime sky. And thank you for the reminder they provide us- that You are great and greatly to be praised. Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see you. Help me slow down and put away distractions and help me hear Your voice. If the heavens declare Your glory, then help me declare Your glory as well. Lord, help me be a witness to testify of Your work in my life. Help me declare Your love and share the Good News. Amen.


 

 

Jennifer Carver is married to Mark Carver. She is the Women’s Evangelism Coordinator and Women’s Ministries assistant; her husband is the Ministries Director at the South Georgia State Office. Previously they served as pastor/pastor’s wife for 19 years at Alma Southside Church of God. She and Mark have been married for twenty years and have two children, Makayla (16) and Grant (14). Jennifer is also a certified teacher and holds a master’s degree in education. She has worked in the field of education for almost two decades. Her hobbies include baking, reading, and spending time with her family.

Women’s Devotion | October 2018

Fear is a Liar

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
– Psalm 34:4

While recently traveling with my husband and my two youngest sons I decided that it would be a great idea to play a song that I heard several people mention. Surely, it was something that I needed to listen to right that minute.


As a mom of all boys, I am always at the center of attention when it comes to sad, sappy movies or in this case, a song. During times such as these, all eyes are on me to see my reaction. Not only did I listen to the song surrounded by all of this testosterone, I decided it would be an even greater idea for the whole family to enjoy it too.


As the song began to play, I could feel my face flushing and I felt emotion welling up. There was no going back, if I turned it off they would know something going on because it was my idea but I was trying hard not to cry. As I sat there trying to compose myself and not bring attention to the emotional explosion that was about to take place, a tiny tear fell from my eye.


At this point, the car that had been full of chatter and excitement had become eerily silent. I thought to myself, surely the boys have gotten preoccupied so I will escape their ensuing ridicule and laughter at mom’s silliness. Oh, how wrong I was! As soon as I opened the glove compartment to pull from the overflowing stash of drive-thru napkins to wipe my eyes, I was busted.


My dear husband, the protector that he is, caught a glimpse of what was happening out of the corner of his eye. He stared straight ahead at the road with both hands placed firmly on the wheel trying his best not to draw attention to the waterfall about to take place.  In that instant, over the music, I heard “Mom, are you crying?” and then another, “Really Mom, why are you crying, it’s just a song”. I raised my hand for them to give me a moment and quickly stopped the song. My family had a laugh but what they didn’t realize was the teachable moment that had just happened. This situation led to an entire conversation about marriage and how God places extra water in women sometimes so it just pours out faster. Oh how they love those conversations. This was sweet payback for them laughing at me. A conversation was sparked about fear and how crippling it can become to so many people.


We all have fears. We can have fears over things that may seem silly to others, such as spiders (not silly to me, by the way), lizards, crossing bridges, fear of the dark, etc. There are very serious, emotional fears such as worrying about sickness, loneliness, not measuring up and being enough, financial stability, on and on. So, how do we overcome those fears as believers in Christ?


We have been given an arsenal of weapons to fight against fear. Two of these weapons being the ability to speak life into our situation and take our thoughts captive. Proverbs 18:21 NKJV says, “death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit”. One way to overcome fear is by the very words that we speak. Whatever the fear is, we have to see ourselves as God sees us and not as the fear that is disabling us at that very moment. Scripture teaches us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made! We can pray scriptures out loud over ourselves, such as Matthew 6:26 NIV which states, ”Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us that we aren’t fighting a physical battle but a spiritual one. We have to take those thoughts captive and replace them with thoughts of what God thinks of us.


We also have a weapon of praise. When we are struggling with fear, we have to think on the good and begin to praise Him for that. The enemy expects us to succumb to fear but when we lift our hands and our voices to God, it confuses the enemy. Deuteronomy 10:21 NIV says, “ He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”


Another weapon is our faith. Hebrews 11:1 NKJV says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We have evidence that God is for us exemplified by our faith in Him as a loving, caring father. Paul states in 2 Timothy 1:7, that God did not give us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. We have to have faith that God wants us to be victorious over every obstacle in our life.


We also have to set up stones of remembrance. In Joshua 4 we find the story of Joshua leading the Israelites over the Jordan River on their quest to the Promised Land. Their next stop would be Jericho but they had to make it across a raging river first. The Levites had to pick up the Ark of the Covenant and step into the water, when they did the waters parted and everyone walked across on dry land. God told Joshua to have a leader from each of the twelve tribes of Israel pick up a stone from the river bed to build a memorial of what God had done for them. We have to setup memorials to draw from when fear attacks.


In 2011, I had a skull based tumor removed. It was a very scary and a trying time for me and my family. My only symptom for several years were very scary, heavy nose bleeds. Now years later, when I have a regular nosebleed fear tries to return. I have to stop my thoughts and pull from the stones of remembrance that God had me lay down in 2011. I have to quote 2 Timothy 1:7 and then surround myself with worship music. I cannot allow thoughts such as those to plant themselves in my mind.


Back to the song and the setting that caused my demise. The song mentioned is titled “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams.   There is truth in the title of the song because fear comes from Satan who is the father of all lies according to John 8:44. There is no truth in Satan. How wonderful is it that we have a Father that cares about our fears, our worries and anxieties! Our heavenly father will always be truthful to tell us how precious we are to Him. When fear comes against you turn up the praise music, take your thoughts captive and think about your stones of remembrance.


 

 

Amy Bryant serves alongside her husband, Scott Bryant at Blakely Church of God. Together they are reaching rural Georgia in Early County. Amy grew up in a pastor’s home where both her dad and mom were ministers. She is thankful to carry on the legacy left behind to follow. Her passion is to see women live victorious, fruitful Christian lives free from their past. Through her own past struggles, she can share how to overcome what the enemy tried to use to destroy her. Amy is the mother of three boys, a grandmother to a beautiful one-year old granddaughter and a daughter in love. Her delight is to spend as much time as possible with them.

Women’s Devotion | September 2018

My Name is Alice

 

We live in a world where we are identified by our name. When we meet people, we greet each other by shaking hands, introducing ourselves and giving our name. It’s a connection when you see someone you’ve previously met and mention him or her by name. It makes them smile and feel good when you remember their name and can be very embarrassing when you don’t. By now you may be thinking, “What’s the point with the name thing?”


I love being married to my husband, who is a pastor, and doing what God has called us to do. We have been in ministry for 28 years; for the most part it has been good. I’m sure there are some things that we as pastor’s wives can all relate to—we share some common ground in this role.


I have seen pastor’s wives lose who they are when they become the PASTOR’S WIFE. Not lose themselves in every way, but in some ways. You may have put aside what you once loved to do or even put your career on hold to fulfill your new role as the pastor’s wife.


When my husband and I were ready to accept our first pastorate, my First Lady (who had been in ministry for years) came and gave me some mentoring advice and encouragement. I remember this puzzled me when she said, “Your husband will be in the spotlight and you will be the shadow.” At that time I didn’t understand what she meant, but years later I did.


When we would go out or visit people, I would be identified as “the pastor’s wife.” I have no problem with that because I am the pastor’s wife, but please identify me by my name some of the time. I wouldn’t have a problem with Sister Mack or Lady Mack. But it’s like, “That’s Pastor Mack, and oh, by the way that’s his wife.” You may be thinking, “Sister Mack really?” Yes really! It bothered me at times, because my name has meaning and it identifies who I am.


When God called me into the ministry, He called me by my name. I was reading Isaiah 43:1 and I heard His voice call my name. He said, “Alice, I have called you by name, you are mine.” I read the entire chapter and began to weep because I didn’t feel worthy to preach His word.


Tasha Cobbs sings a song entitled, “You Know My Name.” It’s a beautiful song about how God knows all of our names, how He walks with us, comforts us and tells us that we are His own.


Revelation 3:5 ESV says, “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life, I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels.”


Psalm 147:4 tells us God determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.


We all know what he told Mary, “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son and shalt call his name Jesus…” Luke 1:31 KJV “… for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 KJV. No other name is GREATER or more POWERFUL than the name Jesus!


Names identify, have value and meaning. Many times when I go to a store or an establishment, I look for the employee’s nametag. I will begin a conversation with that individual and during the course of conversation I will mention their name. Their whole demeanor changes and they begin to smile because I called them by their name. I have identified who they are and it is meaningful to them.


I pray and trust that this has blessed someone who feels like you are not special because you are not recognized or accepted more than someone else. God loves you and he knows where you are and who you are and HE KNOWS YOUR NAME even if no one else does!


Yes, I am the pastor’s wife, but MY NAME IS ALICE.

 


 

 

 

First Lady Alice Mack is a licensed, ordained minister in the Church of God. She is married to Bishop Terry Mack, Sr. They have been in ministry for 28 years and are proud parents of two sons and grandparents of five. She has ministered in several women’s conferences and churches in South Georgia. She is known for her exuberant praise and worship as well as a keen sense of humor. She enjoys letting her hair down, especially with women of low self esteem, telling them that she had once been in that same place, but God turned her life around and filled her with JOY!