Category Archives: Meditation Mondays

Meditation Monday: My Ministry

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”    2 Corinthians 4:1

One simple memory verse has really gotten me to thinking so much about how I view ministry versus how God does. I didn’t have a clue how powerful this solitary sentence in scripture would become to me as I began committing it to my memory and meditating on its truth.

As weak human beings, we have this tendency to get stuck picturing one thing in our head when God has something entirely more rich planned for us. Being His disciples, it’s only natural that at some point we begin to dream of the great ways God will use us in His ministry only to feel defeated when it doesn’t turn out how we envisioned it would. I don’t think I’m alone in this tendency.

When I look at my life sometimes, I feel like there is just no way God can use me in big ways during that particular season of my life. What do I have to offer?

Then there have been other seasons where I’m zeroed in on one certain ministry. I determine that I’m just too busy to take on any others because I have this big, flourishing ministry going and I couldn’t possibly sacrifice any of my focus for other opportunities to minister to those who don’t fit in that realm.

Over time and numerous humbling realizations, I’ve come to understand that neither perspective is from God. He is the One who equips and sustains me as I do His work. I have His power to offer, nothing less. When I can take my focus off of myself and place it on Him, then I start to observe opportunities to serve others. Sometimes it involves me volunteering at church, while other times it requires me to get down on the floor and pretend play with my son. I’m called to do these ministries, so God will strengthen me to fulfill His calling on my life.

Then there’s the other perspective. The one that involves me pouring all of my efforts into one thing. As a flawed individual, I can miss out on so many opportunities to reach out to others if I allow myself to become so narrow-minded that I can’t let go of one task. Being a wife and mom is my highest calling, and it should rank at the very top of my list of priorities, but if I’m not careful, I can make it an excuse to stay in my comfortable bubble. On the other hand, if I find myself pouring more energy into a ministry, even a legitimately noble one, than I am affording my family, then I cannot be pleasing God to my fullest potential.

So I’ve been making a list of my current ministry opportunities. It’s overwhelming a bit, but when I look at all of these things people that God has called me to focus on in this time of life, I can feel Him empower me to not lose heart, but to persevere.

(If you’re interested in joining the awesome group of women who have joined me in memorizing one verse per month, leave me a comment or send me an email {kwesterf@gmail.com}, and I’ll add you to our Facebook group. I will say it a million times if I need to: memorizing God’s Word is such an effective way to grow your faith and enrich your life. You will never regret doing it, only never trying.)

***Congrats to the winner of last week’s giveaway, Get Out of That Pit, Erin M! Please reply to the email I sent you in the next 24 hours to claim your prize!***

 
 

 

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

Meditation Monday: Encourage One Another

I’m blown away at how God divinely places women in my life just when I need each unique friendship. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’m humbled as I examine how each of the ladies I gratefully consider my friends have touched me in her own special way at just the right time.

One of those sweet women is Jana, author of Grace for my Mess. From day one of launching my blog,she has chosen to encourage me. No, I don’t know her personally, but because of our shared passion of encouraging others through writing, we can be kindred spirits. There’s something amazing about that.

Today, I am honored to guest post at Grace for my Mess. I’d love it if you would head on over there and check out her blog. She’s genuine, passionate, and a born encourager.  She gets what life is all about – to bring glory to God.Here’s the link to my guest post.

This brings me to the focus verse for today’s Meditation Monday. Encouragement is sorely lacking all around us. The news is negative, our lives are busy, and we are just plain exhausted. None of these things should be excuses. Instead, we should be all the more vigilant as followers of Christ to be encouragers. Here’s what God has to say about it.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. ~Hebrews 3:13

I hope you have an encourager in your life. They are the ones who make all the difference when times are tough and you just don’t trust yourself. My challenge to you is this, be that encourager to someone else this week. It will make a difference.

P.S. Be sure to head back over here tomorrow to find out about my giveaway!

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

Meditation Mondays: God is Near

Loneliness rested upon my heart. Yet again, it threatened to take over all of me. “Is there no one, God?”

“Yes, my child, I AM the One.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lies whispered into my ear. “Believe us. Dwell on what we have to say.”

I cry out again, and I hear Him answer, “Believe the Truth. I am always present.”

                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sin creeps in with a promise to stay hidden inside of me.

I shamefully whisper to God this time.

His answer?

“My answer will always be the same, no matter your circumstances. I am near and I know all.

“Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord,
“And not a God afar off?
Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

      ~Jeremiah 23:23-24

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar. Have a blessed day!

Meditation Mondays – Truth

 

Source

What is truth?

It’s such a confounding a question in 2012.

Truth. A solitary word that brings about heated debates, leaves people searching and confused, and is often defined with a vague answer.

But what is it? Aren’t people tired of being lied to? Don’t we just want honesty? While it’s easy to hear the answer, “Truth is whatever you want it to be,” there is still a yearning that won’t stop nagging at the soul who tries to find peace in this answer.

Truth is one thing.

Jesus said,I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

While so much of the world is offended by this answer that I know to be absolute truth, I can find comfort in the fact that while I’m not worthy, I am forgiven and given direct access to God because I have chosen to follow the Way, Truth, and Life.

But do I live each day as if I truly believe the truth?

How do I apply the importance of absolute truth to my everyday challenges and responsibilities?

By focusing on the truth.

There are a lot of appealing lies that vie for my attention. Lies that claim I need to compromise my standards to fit in. Lies that I need to be more tolerant of other views.

There are even more lies that fight to take over my mind. They sound something like, “I cannot be used by God. I am missing out on something. I am not playing a vital role for God’s kingdom.

Indeed I must believe, even embrace, truth on every level.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
~Philippians 4:8

My sister in Christ, will you join me as we enter into this week to purposefully focus on the truth that has set us free? Let’s crush the lies that try to define and confuse us with the name of Jesus, who is without a doubt, Truth.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar. Have a blessed day!

 

Meditation Mondays: Finding Joy + A Giveaway

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning.
~Psalm 30: 4-5

Have you ever been in that place where you know God is there, but you just can’t feel Him? You know what the Bible says about your current difficult circumstance, yet the power of His truths just seems to fall flat in your head when you’d rather they nourish your parched soul? I know I have!

Making sense of God, life, and difficult circumstances can be a lonely, painful journey. Finding joy can seem impossible when we’re in the midst of what seems like a never-ending night. Thank God for promises such as the ones through Psalm 30 that remind us we are not alone. The night will end.

I recently read a book that touched and encouraged my heart in more ways than I can begin to explain in one blog post. Dancing on my Ashes is the story of two sisters, Heather Gilion and Holly Snell, who grew up watching God perform miracles and reveal His blessings only to lose their dreams for their lives overnight with the sudden, tragic death of their husbands.

They share their story of how they both struggled and found peace with God in such a way that anyone who reads it will undoubtedly find a connection. Even if you haven’t been through tragedies similar to theirs, you will find yourself relating with them as they candidly share their hearts.

God really used this book to speak to me in unexpected ways. I had been specifically praying about what to do in a certain area of my life, and by the scriptures and experiences shared throughout this book, I heard Him answer me loud and clear. I decided as I read the book that I am probably not the only one out there searching for encouragement, so that’s why I decided to share it with someone else.

I am excited to announce that I’m giving a copy of it away! Here is how you can enter to win!

1. Leave a comment. It doesn’t have to be anything profound or specific. Just a comment. Perhaps about some way that God has spoken to you when you’ve been in the “night” waiting for the morning. Also be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if win. (If you’re uncomfortable sharing your email address in public comments, go ahead and comment as normal only without the email address then email me at {1exceptionallyavgeragegirl@gmail.com} to tell me which entries you left comments for.)

2. Subscribe to my blog via RSS feed or email subscription (Go to the homepage and add your email address in the right sidebar.) This is a change from my original post. Google Friend Connect is not working anymore, so if you subscribe in some way, that will count instead of the original public follow option. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address to tell me if you do!

3. Like my Facebook page by either clicking the “like” button in the box to the right when you’re on the home page or by going to this link and clicking “like.” Be sure to leave a comment with your email address to tell me if you do!

4. Share the link to this post on Facebook. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address to tell me if you do!

5. Tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address to tell me if you do!

You have as many as 5 chances to win, but if you can’t take the suspense and would like to purchase your own copy of Dancing on my Ashes, you can find it at Amazon.com. The link below is my referral link. Click here to see my disclosure policy.

This giveaway is open until midnight Thursday, January 19th and is only open to residents of the US. Winners will be selected by taking the list of comments and entering them into Random.org. Please be sure to include a valid email address for me to contact you in the event that you win. If I am unable to reach you within 24 hours, I will select a new winner via Random.org.

 

Meditation Mondays – The Faithful One Will Do It

Nine days into the new year, the reality of challenges that come with new goals or resolutions begins to become obvious. Goals can sound incredibly glamorous on the planning side, but the execution requires hard work and dedication. (You Biggest Loser fans no doubt caught my reference to Dolvett’s mantra.)

I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage those of you who are memorizing scripture along with me. I know it’s not easy, but thankfully, we don’t have to do it on our own. One of the freeing promises God gives us in the Bible is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is He who calleth you, who also will do it.” He’ll do the work. The pressure’s off us. We must simply submit ourselves to Him, and He will consume our lives, thus empowering us to get His job done.

Each Monday on this blog, I choose a focus verse for the week. I love that God really does have an answer for everything in His Word, and I would never have started the work of this online ministry without Him, so I find it only fitting to consciously keep things around here centered and focused on the wisdom and promises He lays out for us in the Bible.

Having said all of that, I would also like to share some tips that I’ve learned in the last year as I started consistently memorizing scripture as an adult. It’s a much different experience for me than it was as a child. I don’t know about you, but that sponge that soaked up everything as a kid is pretty saturated after a few decade’s worth of information.

  1. Write your verse out. Hand writing the verse at least once does something for me. I always write it on an index card and put it somewhere I’ll see it frequently throughout the day.
  2. Choose your verses wisely. There are times when God clearly says, “Memorize this verse next!” Obviously, don’t mess with that prodding. However, there have been times when I chose a passage because I believed it would be good for me. I mean, when is the Word of God not going to be good for me? I began to realize that I kept trying to memorize verses that contained lots of lists. While doing this once or twice not back-to-back is fine for me, I’ve found that these verses don’t stay in my memory long-term.
  3. One great resource that I’ve not really tried before but plan to begin implementing is scripturetyper.com. This website allows you to set up a free account where you can type out your verses. It’s a great way to use multiple modes of learning to help it stay in your mind for a long time. When you start to get the hang of your verse, it removes some of the words from the verse to see if you can type part of it from memory. When you think you’ve mastered it, you can move on to typing it all out without any word prompts. It seems like a really effective way to memorize the Word, and if you choose to set up an account, you’ll have a personal record of all the verses you’ve memorized.
  4. Remember quality is more important than quantity. I realize that some people memorize easily and can remember it forever. I’ve also learned some stats about the human brain and memory through my time in education, and the vast majority of us will memorize for the long-term if we don’t cram a ton of information in our heads all of the time. You aren’t going to receive a gold star for memorizing an entire chapter in a month. You also aren’t going to remember the entire chapter for the rest of your life, more than likely. Let this girl who’s learned things the hard way tell you something very important. Slow down! Enjoy God’s Word. Learn to meditate on the Words you’re committing to memory and live them out. It’s not about the length of the verses or the number of verses you’ve memorized by December 31st. I’m still being challenged and encouraged by other verses besides my monthly memory verse, but I’ve learned from several wise believers that it’s important to be purposeful about this scripture memory thing.
  5. If you choose a verse that turns out to be simple to memorize in a couple of weeks, go ahead and pick another one! You do want to challenge your brain, and if you find that you’re ready to move on, do it!

I’m so excited for those of you who have already joined in this scripture memory journey with me! If you’re interested in joining, it’s not too late! I set up a Facebook group for all of us to post our verses in so that we can stay accountable and encouraged. If you’re not already a member of the group, please click on the link and request to join. If that doesn’t work for some reason, please let me know so I can add you.

Most importantly, remember, He who has called you will be faithful to do the work through you!

Meditation Modays – My Purpose

Have you ever looked at the Bible, the endless shelves of theological books at the bookstore, listened to your pastor cite a slew of verses you didn’t even know existed and thought, “I’m missing something.”?

How can I ever be a woman who changes the world for Jesus if I don’t have a plethora of knowledge about His Word and all of the “isms” that people of faith seem to debate all of the time. I’m just too simple.

I’d say you’re in the perfect position to be used of God in an incredible way. But don’t take (or leave) my opinion and exit out of this post quite yet. See, I’m not one of those theologians either. I’m a simple girl myself who has all kinds of confusing thoughts and self-doubt bouncing around in this head of mine on a daily basis.

That’s why I’m thankful to my dad for his simple, compelling way of helping me see the truth about life, its purpose, and God’s Word when I start down the path of complication or self-doubt. Inevitably, I’ll hear his gentle, authoritative voice quote a scripture that seems to be overlooked far too often. When I’m sure life’s just too complex for me to handle, I’ll hear him say, “Kelly, what’s the whole duty of man?”

I answer in a quiet voice, “Fear God and keep His commandments.”

Remember. Those words came from the wisest man who ever lived. After he wrestled with life’s purpose for an entire book of the Bible, Solomon finally stopped fretting and listened to God’s expectations.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

It doesn’t say, “Successfully attain a degree in theology.” or “Become a missionary to the North Pole.” or “Teach a Sunday school class.” or even “Homeschool your children.”

Please don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not downplaying the importance of any of these callings. In fact, in your quest to truly comprehend what it means for you to fear God and keep His commandments, you may very well come to the realization that He wants you to do one or all of those things.

But if God hasn’t called you to any of them, stop wasting your energy feeling like you’re missing your purpose. Your purpose is to fear God in everything you do each day. It is to live by His commands. Quite frankly, it’s a tall order, but that’s kind of the point.

You can’t do it without God, for you’ll need to have His strength to accomplish His purpose for you. Also, you must accept that your purpose will look different in various seasons of your life. As long as you’re focused on your two duties, it shouldn’t matter if your full-time ministry is to teach troubled teens, counsel alcoholics or inmates, or instill the truths of God’s Word in the lives of your own precious children.

The Bible isn’t full of superheros who did amazing things none of us could do. It’s full of scared, insecure, arrogant, or rebellious men and women whom God empowered to accomplish unexplainable things to bring glory to His name.

So stop the excuses. Don’t exhaust yourself with piles of books that do nothing more than confuse you and make you feel inadequate. Check out the ultimate authority of all literature – the Bible. Your calling is really not complicated no matter how hard you’re trying to convince yourself it is.

Fear God.

Keep His commandments.

It’s the whole duty of man.