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Get Ready to Rumble with “Prayer Warrior” Stormie Omartian

Reblogged from Words in High Def

Words like “supernatural” and “spirit realm” can be frightening or off-putting, but for believers that should not be the case. If you believe what God’s word says, there is no doubt that there is an unseen enemy at work in our lives. The magnificent news? We have the power to win the battle….with one condition: We have to engage in warfare.

Get Ready to Rumble
Stormie Omartian

I loved doing a recent interview with Diane Markins. We were talking about my book PRAYER WARRIOR and during the conversation I clearly recognized that she is a powerful prayer warrior herself. She understands the power of prayer to resist the enemy’s attempts to work his evil plans in our life. We both know that the enemy comes to destroy our marriages, health, children, finances, mind, and to get us off the path God has for us. And we know how to resist him in prayer so that the plans of God will succeed in our lives.

It has been my goal in writing this book to take the scary out of spiritual warfare. We are all in this spiritual war whether we recognize it or not. And many of us are getting wounded by enemy fire without realizing it because we don’t understand how to protect ourselves with the spiritual armor God has given us, nor do we understand what our spiritual weapons are and how to do battle in prayer. Too many of us think that because we win one battle the war is over. But the truth is that the war is never over. Yes Jesus defeated the enemy, but the enemy is still here. And God wants us to learn how to oppose his evil plans in prayer. Prayer is how God works on earth. Our spiritual warfare is waged in prayer.

There are too many good things that won’t happen if we are not praying. And there are also terrible things that will happen if we don’t pray. I wrote this book because I saw too many people being destroyed for lack of knowledge about this subject. And that is why I am so grateful to Diane for asking me to be on her radio program and share this with her listeners. Thank you, Diane. It is a pleasure to be with someone who understands the importance of spiritual warfare, especially considering the times we are now in.

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Supernatural or Super Normal?

Reblogged from Words in High Def

There is a deluge of information and entertainment surrounding the paranormal. Ghost hunters on reality TV, vampire books and demon movies are tremendously popular. That’s one of the reasons I devoted a chapter to this topic in my first book, Women in High Def. 

As a believer of the God of the Universe, this is simply a part of life. There is nothing new about the spirit realm. It’s been a part of the Bible since the words were written. We know that there are unseen activities going on around us.

The devil and his minion demons exist. They are up to no-good all the time. The mission: “to kill, steal and destroy like a roaring lion.” That sounds about as scary as any horror movie, especially when applied to your own life and loved ones, right?

The up-side is that it isn’t just “us against them” like in the movies. The good guys (Jehovah God and His army of angels) are standing in front of and behind us so that the enemy doesn’t go too far. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but He does want us to be aware of the battle and on alert. Fear and contentment can’t co-exist.

We don’t have to carry a big silver cross or walk around sprinkling holy water to be protected but we do need to engage in the brawl simply by putting on our armor every day (Ephesians 6:10-20).

  • Mostly this involves reading God’s word so we know His character, will, power and authority…read, memorize and believe it.
  • Secondly we need to be in communication with God so He can direct us away from bad choices the enemy would love us to make.
  • Third, we need to acknowledge the Lord in all parts of our life. He is in control and bigger than the worst circumstances or even the enemy of our soul. He is able and that’s the end of the sentence.

Another brilliant aspect of the supernatural for Christ-followers is expecting miracles and experiencing undeniable answered prayer. Prayers for provision, peace, wisdom, healing, courage and strength are fulfilled by God’s hand routinely.

I’ve had some close calls with unseen evil but I’d rather focus on the constant presence of the Spirit of God in my life and the protective attention of His legion of warrior angels. Both are real. Both are supernatural. But I’d prefer to call it super-normal.

Have you had any undeniable dealings with the devil or absolute answers to prayer? What super-normal experiences could you share in a comment below? Everyone loves a good angel story!

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Give Me a Break!

*Reblogged from Words in High Def

Some Thoughts on West and Wewaxation (as Elmer Fudd would say)

As a child my models for being a wife and mom (my mother and grandmother) were servants first. They met every need the family had, served in church and took care of extended family as well as neighbors in need. They prepared meals others enjoyed (no thought to their own preferences), took the drumstick instead of the breast, and often insisted their family rest and leave chores to them.

In the early days of caring for my own home and family I applied these same methods. I remember one day, when I was pregnant with my second child, waking up face-down on my bed in a pile of clean laundry—one sock still in my hand. I had simply collapsed from exhaustion. Give me a break!

Fortunately, my husband had a different kind of role model and (with on-going battles) he helped me learn that caring for everyone-all-the-time wasn’t in my job description; that my loved ones were capable and needed to take more responsibility.

I was admittedly a slow learner, and a bit stubborn, but as time went on I learned there was much freedom and peace for all of us when I let people do their own jobs. Letting go of guilt as I rested and watched others labor was tough initially, but each time I saw their satisfied faces when they had accomplished something on their own, it became a little easier.

True contentment doesn’t come from working yourself into an early grave. It comes from loving God, loving others and loving yourself.

Following is an excerpt from Joan C. Webb’s book It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life: Devotional Readings for Women Who Strive Too Hard to Make it Just Right (Regal, 2009).

Diane Markins

 

Rest Regardless

He restores my soul. Psalm 23:3

“Whenever I say I need to rest or take a nap, I get dirty looks from my family,” said a coaching client. “This pushes my button and keeps me moving. Lately I’ve realized I let their reactions control me. Should I stop to rest even if they don’t like it?”

This reminded me of a conversation I had with an executive friend who said, “God has specifically told me to take care of myself this year and stop doing for everybody else what they can do for themselves or what someone other than me can do to help. He assured me he doesn’t want me to work so hard that my health is negatively affected. I will obey him and include space and rest into my life. But here’s the rub: Others don’t appreciate that I’ve changed my modus operandi. I’m getting flack.”

I understand. Some of us have taught others that we’re super-women—willing, skilled and available to make life easier for them. When this is the case, it is unlikely they’ll suggest we relax, or be pleased if we choose to take time off. But here’s what my client and the executive—and I—have learned: We don’t have to wait until someone else notices our exhaustion and suggests we take a break. God grants us permission to take responsibility for ourselves. He loves to replenish our souls, and we can cooperate with Him regardless of what others say or do.

Lord, I want a balanced life of doing, trusting and resting.

 

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Stasi Eldredge: You Are God’s Dream

Reblogged from Words in High Def

We are all works in progress and process. Shaping us along the way are our parents, friends, challenges we’ve faced and how we respond to Jesus. Best selling author Stasi Eldredge (Captivating) has some great things to teach us about becoming fully content in who the Lord wants us to be.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Becoming Yourself
by Stasi Eldredge

The most important journey any person will take is the journey into becoming their true selves. But I know that stepping more fully and intentionally into the woman God created you to be can be difficult. Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Yet, by the grace of God, I am becoming myself and you are becoming you. Because of Christ, change is not only possible, it’s promised.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever – increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:18

The journey of becoming the true you is one that will require courage, faith and above all a willingness to grow and to let go. We come into this world brand spanking new and begin the journey of becoming with our first breath! The journey of becoming is one of increased self-awareness coupled with a surrender of self. It’s a beautiful paradox that the more ourself we become, the less important our self becomes! The path is a dance between choosing and yielding, desiring and relinquishing, trying and giving up.

You are becoming you. So who is that?

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Eph 4: 11-12 (The Message)

That’s such good news. Because who you are is loved. You are chosen. Wanted. Delighted in and Seen. God wants you to know how much he loves you that he has moved Heaven and Earth do to it! This journey we are on into becoming our true selves is one worth taking because it is a journey into God’s heart of love for us! The deeper we dive into his heart, the more deeply we are transformed into our true selves!

*Comment about any challenges you’ve faced in “becoming your self.” You might win one of Stasi’s books!

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Working with a Giving Attitude

Reblogged from Words in High Def

Working with a Giving Attitude

We’ve all heard that, “it’s better to give than to receive.” The bible says that we’re to give our best (first fruits) to God. But is there a limit to giving? Are we required to serve without compensation in order to please God? I don’t think so.

I do believe we’re all called to give freely, of our “time, treasures and talents.” When we have a choice about how to spend some down time, invest our money or use our skills, there’s no doubt that we should look for ways to pour into the needs around us… without monetary compensation. Serving freely almost always adds to your contentment.

However, I don’t see that the Bible makes a distinction between “voluntary” service and “paid” service. Everything we do should glorify God. Whether we are the elephant pooper-scoopers at the circus for minimum wage, volunteering Saturday nights at a homeless shelter or a surgeon removing a brain tumor…it’s all for Him.

There is never room for giving less than our best if we’re doing what God tells us. That includes complaining about the job or boss, showing up late, goofing off or giving minimal effort. This applies equally to paid and unpaid commitments.

It’s really challenging to keep paid employees satisfied (I’m speaking as a co-owner of a business). No matter what benefits, perks and pay are provided; it seems that a lot of employees feel like it’s not enough. Managing volunteers is even more challenging. They sometimes have an attitude that, “I’m doing you a big favor for just showing up,” so anything more than that is a bonus. This attitude doesn’t reflect anything God talks about when work is discussed in the Bible.

On the flip side, it’s easy to be taken advantage of because misguided (and sometimes desperate) people will take and take and take if we keep giving. I believe that pastors are almost always under-paid for the jobs they do. I also believe that it should be the goal/plan of every church to work toward making women’s, children’s and youth ministry directors paid positions. Even if they are part-time, they need to be treated with respect and given fair compensation for the long hours, creativity and dedication these jobs demand.

I happen to believe this is true of writing and speaking as well. I spend hours each week doing both…and much more of it is done for free than for any payment. I love serving God and it thrills me to bring hope, encouragement or even a smile to people, but there is a stewardship issue to consider. I owe it to God and my husband to find a good balance of how much I give away for free and how much I expect to be compensated for to meet physical needs. Each of us must find this equilibrium in our work.

Have you ever felt taken advantage of as an employee or volunteer? Have you seen employees that give a minimal effort? Share below.

Diane Markins

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“As You Wish…”

Reblogged from Words in High Def

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Princess Bride. “As you wish” is something our hero, Wesley, says to his beloved Buttercup throughout the story. He wants to do everything in his power to make her wishes come true.

That’s a lovely story, but in reality, wishes don’t come true just because we wish them.

How often do you say, “I wish…”? I wish I had whiter teeth… I wish I could lose weight… I wish my marriage was better… I wish I had a better job… I wish I was making a difference for Christ…

“I wish” may be simply an expression, but at the core, it reveals a longing of your heart.

I want to challenge you (as I’ve recently challenged myself) to delete “I wish” from your spoken and thought vocabulary.

Wishing doesn’t change anything. Change requires intention and action. So first identify what you find yourself wishing (longing, dreaming) for, then begin to devise a plan to make some progress that will lead to contentment.

Here’s a suggestion of how to transform wishing (fantasy) into reality:
• Think of three little changes or steps you could take in a purposeful direction toward your goal.
Commit to doing these things in writing. Maybe even make it a prayer request to partner with God. It’s hard to make changes or progress without a little divine intervention!
• Recruit an accountability/prayer partner to keep you honest, encourage you and pray for you.
• After you’ve been successful and consistent with these little steps for a month or so, come up with three more and repeat the process. Pretty soon you’ll be a little (or a lot) closer to realizing your wish.

Wishing is a waste of time and energy. It also focuses on what we lack rather than what we already possess. Unfulfilled longing breeds discontentment, which robs us of our peace, contentment and joy. Not a very Christ-honoring way to live, is it?

If you aren’t willing to make changes, consider targeting your energy on contentment with your current status. Sometimes what we have is enough.

When our first desire is to love God and love others all our wishes will likely come true. Love never fails.

“May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!” Psalm 20:4

Share what you’ve been wishing for.

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SCUBA Lessons for Life

Reblogged from Words in High Def

After a 20 year break, I went scuba diving again. All those years ago I wasn’t a very capable or confident diver. I was also younger and stronger. But while we lose much through aging (muscle mass, hearing, vision, brain cells…) we can gain some things too. Wisdom. Patience. Peace. I drew heavily on those while under the deep blue sea.

SCUBA stands for self contained underwater breathing apparatus. When using this gear you are able to enter a world which would otherwise be impossible to access. Snorkeling is fun but you simply don’t have the same experience as remaining far below the surface for a sustained period of time. However, when you snorkel, you don’t risk having your lungs or brain explode.

After fighting back the nausea I always get when on a small boat in the ocean, getting that heavy tank on my back and flipping backwards over the side, I felt better physically. But immediately remembered why I quit this activity in the first place…it scares the crap out of me.

Determined to not only make the dives we planned but to enjoy them, I began to pray and recount my training.

SCUBA Lessons
There is much to learn and apply to life from scuba diving.

• The first rule is to keep breathing. NO MATTER WHAT. If your tank runs out of air and you have to go to the surface, you simply breathe OUT slowly, without stopping. Lungs expand on the way up so there is a big supply. If you don’t let it out, well, refer to my second paragraph.

So often when we are worried, fearful, exhausted, angry or sad we don’t breathe well. Our breath is shallow and infrequent. This limits circulation of oxygen and we don’t function well. There is such relief when we take a deep breath and release some of those emotions on the exhale.

• Another important rule is “don’t panic.” If you panic you may forget rule one and all the other rules…this can cause you to die in your wetsuit.

We all face unexpected difficulties; cheating spouses, cancer diagnoses, pregnant teens or job loss…they happen to people every day. People who panic, reacting by reflex, often cause more harm than good. When you get smacked with an unexpected challenge, first take some deep breaths, then pray. You may only be able to utter the name of God, but He hears you and will respond.

• Check your equipment. If your tank is low on air, your weights are incorrect or your regulator is leaking you will not have a safe dive.

Have you checked your equipment lately? Do you read your Bible or is it dust-covered? Have you “put on your armor” lately or is it rusty? Do you need GPS to find your way to church? These things will equip you when a crisis comes, or sustain you to enjoy the good times.

• Always dive with a buddy. Make sure you can see your buddy at all times. Review communication signals and what to do together in case of emergency. My husband dove with an assigned buddy once who left him caught and tangled in fishing line. He had to cut his way free.

It is hazardous and much less efficient to try going through life and difficult circumstances alone. Invest in friendships, learn to talk transparently and stand by your friends when they need you.

• Relax and enjoy the experience. As I was propelling along at 75 feet below the surface I had to continually fight the urge to launch to toward the sky. Irrational fears kept creeping in until I made a decision to trust and be fully present in my circumstance. I trusted my equipment, my training, my buddy and mostly my Lord.

It was spectacular. When I stopped “swimming” and began to calmly glide along, my body relaxed. When I quit focusing on the surface and looked around, I saw funny looking fish in my face, gorgeous coral and rock formations and colors that rival any artwork on earth. My husband and I made hand-signal jokes. It was effortless, fun and entirely peaceful. Absolute contentment.

But I almost missed it. If not for the decision to accept the gift of peace God offers us, we will miss the humor, the beauty and the lessons found in challenging times.

Keep breathing and don’t be afraid to go deep.

Have you missed any beautiful moments or valuable lessons because you were preoccupied or fearful? Share your experiences or comments below.

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Serving with All You’ve Got- Real Sacrifice

Reblogged from Words in High Def

Are you serving God with all you’ve got? Most of us have stress, worries and demands on our lives, but at the end of the day we go home to a decent meal and a soft pillow where we can forget the burdens for a while. But creature comforts don’t always equate to contentment. Janet and Mark Drez knew God was telling them this wasn’t enough.

 

“Life to the Full”

by Janet Drez

Many of us love to sing or pray the words, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours.” If that’s you, I have two questions in light of that prayer. First, do you really want your heart broken? And second, if God breaks your heart, do you realize you can never go back?

For 12 years, my husband has been a junior high teacher in a diverse, low-economic school. He started a WyldLife club (a Christian outreach) at his school four years ago, and I joined his leader team two years later. Additionally, as women’s ministry director for a local church, I had opportunities to outreach and serve in this neighborhood with the women of my church.

Increasingly Mark and I found ourselves in this neighborhood. We were getting to know the teens and their families, spending time, sharing meals, hanging out, celebrating birthdays, praying. And God broke my heart – for the cycle of poverty, for the grip of drugs, for the fear of violence, for the sweet, amazing, precious families in the neighborhood who desperately need to know the abundant life of Jesus. And I couldn’t go back.

We put our 5 bedroom suburban house on the market. Bought a falling-down 1950’s 2 bedroom house in the ‘hood – that we promptly named Casa de Vida – House of Life as God imprinted His desire to give ‘life to the full’ indelibly on our hearts. I stepped down from my full-time ministry position and stepped up to obedience to the ministry of presence in my neighborhood. It has been an adventure! Scary, unknown, stretching, difficult…joyful, powerful, deepening and amazing. We have teens in our home at least three days a week. We have women of the neighborhood coming for Bible study. I volunteer in a kindergarten class at the nearby school to lavish these little ones with God’s love. We hosted a party in our backyard recently and had over 100 neighbors show up! This is life to the full!

 If you’d like to be a prayer partner, support or follow the work God is doing join “The Ministry of Casa de Vida/Mark and Janet Drez” on Facebook. Share your encouragement or story of being gloriously broken for Jesus in a comment below.

Content

A Mother’s Pursuit of Contentment

Reblogged from Words in High Def

Contentment can be an elusive state, but even more so for moms. For as long as I can remember I have preached to loved ones that contentment can’t be dependent upon circumstances, possessions or relationships. It is something we establish in our minds and spirits.

This sounds a little trite and maybe even kind of pious, but I believed it then and I believe it now. The problem is I recently came to realize that while I fully apply that principle to my life, I still struggle with contentment as a mom. And my kids are fully grown adults!

I don’t long for a fancier car, a bigger house, a different job or a better husband. I have every earthy thing I could ever want, and I think I show that. So, by Merriam-Webster’s definition, I am content. It says, “Feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status or situation.” My lack of contentment is found in the definition in Easton’s Online Bible Dictionary:

A state of mind in which one’s desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be (1 Timothy 6:6; 2 Corinthians 9:8). It is opposed to envy (James 3:16), avarice (Hebrews 13:5), ambition (Proverbs 13:10), anxiety (Matthew 6:25, 34), and repining (1 Corinthians 10:10). It arises from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and benignity of divine providence (Psalm 96:1, 2; 145), the greatness of the divine promises (2 Peter 1:4), and our own unworthiness (Genesis 32:10); as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us of rest and peace hereafter (Romans 5:2).

I’m fine except for that one part about contentment being “opposed to anxiety.” In most areas of my life I’m at peace, but I allow anxiety to penetrate my peaceful existence as it concerns my children. I trust God with their futures, prosperity, relationships, health and especially their eternal life. The problem is I still feel what they are feeling. Mothers will always be connected to their children emotionally.

If you didn’t think I was nutty before, now you must really think I’m a wacko. When one of my kids is having a bad day, I’m right there with them experiencing the fear, pain, rejection, grief, anger or longing as though it belongs to me. Their emotions are my emotions. It’s as if my participation in their struggle will spread the pain or challenge around, making it easier for them to bear. Since I’ve realized this about myself, and even as I put it on paper, I see how ridiculous it is.

If parents are going to please God by our contentedness, we need to let our kids go through their “stuff” without us tagging along for the emotional ride. We can offer compassion and guidance, when asked, without feeling the weight of the problem on our shoulders.

I think our kids want us to listen and care deeply but I don’t think it helps them to know our peace is stripped away when they share a problem with us. I also believe that if we walk through life in peace and contentment, we model that behavior for our kids and others. Even in the midst of their worst circumstances we are a calm port in the storm, not participating in the frenzy of their emotional turmoil.

There is an old expression that goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I think it could also be said that “if Mama ain’t content, ain’t nobody content.” I’m going to increase my efforts toward contentment, even when one of my kids isn’t. How about you? Does your peace and joy depend on the emotional state of your kid?

Diane Markins

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Cultivating Patriotism

Cultivating Patriotism

Reblogged from Words in High Def

“My God!  How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”  ~Thomas Jefferson

While visiting Boston last fall and touring the Freedom Trail, I saw some physical evidence—lasting remnants—of the history of our country. Reading history books and learning about the sacrifices it took to bring about a revolution doesn’t compare to standing near the graves of people who lived and died there.

The Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4th, 1776. It was, in fact, intended to be a long list of gripes and grievances against Britain. It made clear the demands of those who had lost property and lives to obtain liberation and rights. It was mostly about liberty and fairness. Issues like “taxation without representation” were prominent on the list.

All this can become terminally boring and irrelevant if we let it. It seems like a work of fiction from a far-off land. The fact is, it wasn’t really that long ago or far away. And it certainly isn’t fiction. Many brave people lost their considerable wealth, lost loved ones and even their own lives as they endeavored to set the standard of freedom for future generations.

As we grill burgers, watch elaborate fireworks shows and take a dip in the pool, perhaps it isn’t too much to sacrifice a moment to remember those who went before us. Share a little American Revolution trivia over the home-made ice cream. Say thank you to the God whom those brave men and women served, and who answered their prayers. This is clearly evidenced by the many freedoms each of us enjoys every day in the United States. God Bless America! I’m humbly and deeply grateful to be one of her truly free citizens.

Are you patriotic? Do you ever stop to think about the sacrifices others have made so that you can live life as you please? What can we do to help future generations of children understand, respect and appreciate their American history? How can being a patriot enhance your contentment? Comment below.

Diane Markins