Posts

brunette praying - Featured

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.

read bible - Featured Image

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!

feet-932346_1920

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.

 

woman contemplating - Featured Image

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!

hand-683909_1280

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

mom hug flower - Featured - Copy

Who’s Loving the Leader?

Reblogged from Words in High Def

Who’s Loving the Leader?

You are a leader. You may be the CEO of a big corporation, the director of a ministry or the mom of a six-year-old, but you are surely leading someone. Leadership requires a specific skill set. When you are on duty in your leadership role, you are tapping into those skills full-throttle.

  • We know you must be positive and optimistic. Eeyore (the gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh) does not possess this quality…he also has no one following him.
  • You have to be able to go with the flow; yoga may help with flexibility in your body, but leadership requires a flexible mind-set.
  • Communicating what you expect and listening to what the concerns of others are is critical.
  • Control junkies are not good leaders. As Elsa says, “Let it go.” Learn to delegate.
  • Take the long view. Good leaders are committed and don’t give up easily.

That’s a heavy load unless you are channeling Mother Teresa. An often over-looked quality in leaders that last is self-nurturing. Only then will you finish the race and have full contentment. It is impossible to stay ahead of the team (physically, mentally and spiritually) if you are only focused on their needs and the shared objective.

True, it equips you to take webinars to enhance your skills or work with a coach to make you a more effective director. But that can also add to the depletion many leaders experience internally.

Leaders need love too.

Here’s the question to ask yourself: Who’s loving the leader? Who’s loving on you? If you aren’t first loving yourself, you are likely to completely omit this from your battle plan.

Here’s a little checklist quiz for leaders:

  • Are you able to stop talking and thinking about your leadership goals and be fully focused when you’re with the people who love you?
  • Do you seek out opportunities to be silly and laugh, maybe even look a little foolish?
  • Is it easy for you to switch gears to sit on the porch and watch the wind blow through the trees?
  • Does your back, neck or other parts of your anatomy feel loose and pain-free or like they are strung by piano wire?
  • When/if you take time to connect with God does your mind find its way back to the job at hand?
  • Can you fall asleep and stay asleep, feeling rested and filled with contentment in the morning?

There are no answers posted upside-down at the bottom of the page. The healthy answers are obvious; especially to a smart leader like you. If you are a little (or a lot) out of balance, apply the old adage, “physician heal thy self.” Leader, lead yourself!

Up the value and intention of loving yourself and embracing love and time with others. Learn to be still. Discipline your mind and spirit to take a break. Invite God to join you. He’s the ultimate leader and He knows how to love you best.

Those who rely on and follow you will benefit as thoroughly as you do and maybe they’ll follow this practice as they lead others.

make wish - Featured

“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.

trophy FEATURED

Live Like a Winner

Are you acting like a loser? Does a lot of your life include fear, doubt, worry and discouragement? All that loser-living adds up to discontentment. And it’s not the way God intends us to go through our days on earth.

Very few (if any?) people have such great and perfect lives that they walk around in a joy bubble all the time. Stuff happens and can really bring you down. Little things that just really aggravate and upset your routine … huge things that catch you by surprise and knock you off your feet … this life is full of crap like that, right?

I released my book, Contentment Connection, on Amazon’s Kindle and had irrational fears that only three people would buy it. Come on, Diane, where’s your faith? It was such a relief that it reached the #4 spot on the best-seller list the first day. A clear example of loser-thinking. Have you ever had a party and felt that awful dread that no one would show up? #loserthinking They always come! Free food and good company is a big draw.

How about something truly awful … discovering a lump in your breast, learning that your spouse is cheating, losing your job … any one of those (and many other things) can cause all your faith and winner-thinking to evaporate. But the truth is: God is behind you with all His love, power and ability, regardless of the circumstances.

I know people that frequently fear the worst … what if this and what if that happens. They’re living like it already has happened, not enjoying the reality that the Bad Thing hasn’t happened yet and might NEVER come to pass.

I’m not just spewing a pep talk about positive thinking. This is a message for people who claim they believe what God says in the Bible. He says we’re not losers, we are WINNERS.

Here are a few nuggets to remind you of the truth:

  • When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3-4
  • Blessed is he who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to him. Luke 1:45
  • This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
  • For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  • Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Those aren’t just uplifting social media memes. They’re promises from Almighty God and words to live by.

If you’ve been feeling defeated, down or hopeless- read His word and embrace the victorious attitude that is ready and waiting for you. Live like a winner!

SCUBA 2 - Featured Image

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.

janet_v4

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.