Thursday, April 29, 2010


Don't laugh -- it's true!

We are called to be HOT woman!


Owned and operated by God

Tailor-made and designed with a purpose

Being holy: When we recognize that God has called us, through Christ, to holiness – to be set apart for Himself – then we understand that we are going to think differently than the world around us thinks. In fact, that’s the way it’s supposed to be! (After all, Jesus called us to go into the world but not to be part of it.) God’s ways are not like man’s ways, so the closer we get to being like our Father, the more our ways are not going to be like the world’s ways, and we have to expect that that’s going to feel a little uncomfortable sometimes. (Duh! But somehow, knowing that ahead of time helps.)

Being owned and operated by God: There’s a song I love that says, “In his hands, there’s only safety . . . nothing there can touch me except Him.” When we recognize that we are held securely by the Lord of the Universe and that we operate under His leadership and protection, we are freed from the fears that might otherwise keep us from being the women we’ve been designed to be.

Being tailor-made and designed with a purpose: Learning to embrace the woman God designed us to be – flaws and all – is one of the hardest things for us to do. Our human nature wants to be thinner or shapelier, taller or shorter, blonder (or at least less gray), younger, more talented, more gifted . . . the list could go on and on. The bottom line is that we will never run our own race as long as we allow our pace to be slowed by focusing on the other runners. Hebrews 12:1 says, “. . . let us throw off everything that hinders . . . and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us [italics mine].” (Note: We are not called to run someone else’s race!) Paul also writes, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12b) and, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10) Each of us was created for a purpose, but we will never fulfill that purpose until we embrace the manner in which we were individually, uniquely designed to fulfill that purpose.

Knowing we are a HOT players – HOT women –affects how we respond to the cards in our hand – our relationships, our circumstances, and our dark places – because a HOT woman develops a God-perspective on how she views the people in her life, as well as what’s happening in her life. And it is, therefore, the HOT “ME” who is able to play her hand out through the rest of the game: The good, the bad, and even the downright ugly. (And girlfriend, I know we’ve all lived long enough to have had some ugly in our hands!)

Here's to HOT women!

Grinning in the heat!


PS To you fine women who've left comments on my last couple of posts: For some reason my blog is acting really weird, and I can't get to your comments to comment on your comments! (Did anybody get that?) But thanks so much for dropping in and leaving me some words! (Love me some words!) Thanks especially, Nola and Leslie! Lets hope THIS post acts right!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Laying Our Cards on the Table

I know! I know! I've been a really baaaaaaad blogger! It's been almost three weeks since my last post, and all I can say is that . . . well, I've been swamped over here in the Great Lone Star State. And I can't even really say with what -- all I know is I've been running from mornin' 'til night time it seems, and I feel like I'm in the same place! (Might as well slow up, and see if the scenery changes, huh!) Okay, here's the post I promised three weeks ago . . .

So far, in our other two “sessions,” we’ve learned to about “anteing up” – giving our all in commitment to the mission (Matthew 28:19-20a, Acts 1:8, 2 Corinthians 5:20) – and we’ve learned how and when to “hold’em” and “fold’em” – whether we partner up with Papa God in a way that requires us to take an obviously, intentionally pro-active) approach to dealing with a situation, season, or relationship OR whether He calls us to take an intentionally quiet, discreet approach that most often will involve the act of prayer alone.

This post we’re going to “lay our cards on the table,” a really important aspect of our game because it’s where we take time to examine what we actually have in our “hand.”

A deck of cards is made up of four suits. For our purposes, we’re going to look at them this way:

· Diamonds – Our “ME” suit (And, Sistas, we are all diamonds!)

Who we are as individuals – spiritually,

physically, mentally, emotionally

· Hearts – Our relationships

The people with whom we share our lives – our family, our friends, our co-workers

· Clubs – Our circumstances

What’s going on in our lives – short-term day-to-day happenings and long-term events that will shape our lives for years to come

· Spades – Our dark places

Those areas where we struggle; our weaknesses, our strongholds

NOTE: And the wise woman knows not only what’s in her hand but Who holds her while she plays out her hand. (See Colossians 1:16-17.)

We’re going to focus primarily the “ME” suit in this post because 1) I told you I’d finish up this series of posts last week, and I’m obviously WAAAAY behind already; and because 2) the “ME” suit so dramatically impacts all of the other suits. (In a very real sense, the “ME” suit trumps all others.)

Let’s begin with scripture:

When Jesus was asked the question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36), he responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5:

“Love the Lord your God

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your strength,

And with all your mind.”

The soul, as derived from the Hebrew word, nephesh, or the Greek, psuche, is essentially the essence of who we are as created beings – our innermost self – that basic “ME” that’s in each of our hands. (On unknown writer said that the soul is “what one is to oneself, as opposed to what one appears to be to one’s observers.”) If we are to truly love God with all of our soul – with every fiber of our being – then we need to know who we are, don’t you think? Not who the world says we are, but who we truly are.

Knowing who we are is not always as easy as it sounds. As we discussed yesterday, we live in a society that is continually trying to convince us that we are defined based on any number of superficial values: our appearance, our income, our age, etc.

Some of the other things we’re judged by:

· How we dress

· Where we live

· Where we go to church

· Our education level

· Where we work

· If we work

· Our marital status

· Our children

· Our lack of children

· Our titles

· Who we know

Sometimes the voices of our culture are so loud we can hardly hear ourselves think – even within the church. If we’re not careful, we buy into the standards of the world’s system. We begin to look at ourselves in ways that God never intended – we begin to measure our inner selves – who we are – based on outer criteria. (And if that’s the case, heck, I’m overweight, over fifty, overworked, and underpaid. In our culture, that makes me pretty near worthless!)

If we fall into the trap of thinking we are what we look like, what we have, or don’t have, etc., then our view of ourselves becomes skewed. And when our view of who we are – our “ME” – becomes skewed, everything else is off-balance, as well.

Thankfully, as believing women, we do not have to stay trapped in that kind of thinking. In fact, our brother, Paul, in his letter to the Romans (12:2) tells us outright that we are not to buy into the world’s pattern of thinking. As followers of Christ, we have access to a truth that sets us free from that kind of thinking if we choose to walk in that truth.

And how do we do that? How do we walk in God’s truth? First, find out what God’s truth is! Paul tells us that we are transformed by the “renewing of our mind[s],” and one of the steps we can take to renew our minds is to focus on the truth of God, as found in his Word. Just look at some of the truths we can find in God’s Word regarding how we should view ourselves (and others):

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks at the heart.”


1 SAMUEL 16:7b

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view [not even ourselves, ladies!] . . . if anyone is in Christ, [she] is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!


2 CORINTHIANS 5:16a, 17

“For we are God’s workmanship . . . “



When all else fails, rest in this: As a believing, truth-walking woman, you are one HOT player!

And what is a HOT player, exactly? Check the next post for what it really means to be a HOT woman . . . (And I'll try not to let it be THREE weeks from now!)

Until then,
Grins and blessings!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Holdin' and Foldin'

Some of you asked me about the rest of the "Texas Hold'em" 'Treat, so I thought I'd take a couple more posts to give you the Reader's Digest version . . . Here are some highlights from the "Knowing When to Hold'em and Fold'em" session (and my apologies up front for the fonts and spacing being all goofy!):

Remember how I told you that in my misspent youth with the Fighting Blue Hens, playing poker, for me, had nothing to do with winning? Obviously, I never really did catch on to the whole knowing when to “hold’em” aand “fold’em” thing back then.

Let’s look for a minute at the traditional poker player's definition of holdin' and foldin':

holdin’ ‘em v. what you do with your cards when you have a winning hand -- or when you think you can convince the other players you have a winning hand -- while you continue to invest into the pot in order to see the game through to the end and to claim your winnings.

foldin’ ‘em v. what you do with your cards when you’re holding a hand with which you believe you cannot win; when you fold, you stop investing in the pot, and you “walk away” – you quit playing in order to limit your losses.

Before we redefine what it means to "hold" or "fold" our cards, let's agree on what our cards are, exactly.

Our "cards" are actually a variety of things, some of which are not things at all. Our cards represent those situations and circumstances that Papa brings into our lives (or sometimes allows into our lives). They represent our gifts and talents, our faults and foibles, our strengths, our weaknesses, the seasons of our lives, the relationships we’ve inherited or sought out and cultivated with family and friends (as well as the other relationships that we seem to fall into or “get stuck with”).

Now before you start your list of what you want to "hold" and what you're eager to "fold," let's look at what those terms mean to us in this humble little study:

to hold’em v. to partner up with Papa God in a way that requires us to take an obviously, intentionally pro-active (hands-on, no pun intended) approach to dealing with (again, no pun intended) a situation, season, or relationship. This can be an exhilarating experience . . . or it can be exhausting or terrifying or joyful or heartbreaking or even a combination of all of those things. But the bottom line is that no hand we’re dealt is a surprise to Papa, and there is no hand that He cannot or will not use for His honor and glory – and our good – when we play out the hand as His Spirit leads. (Our problem is that we don’t always define “good” or see “good” the way Papa does.)

I can hear some of us groaning right now: Gosh, I guess that means I'll never get to fold! Even when I’m holding the losing-est hand anyone could possibly have!

Not necessarily! Read on:

to fold’em v. to partner up with Papa God in a way that requires us to take an intentionally quiet, discreet approach that most often will involve the act of prayer alone. To every other action on your part, God will say, No. Sometimes, Not now. But usually, No. This is rarely an exhilarating experience or a joyful one. It is most often a combination of the other adjectives – exhausting, terrifying, heartbreaking, and all combinations thereof. (Oh, and let’s not forget, at best, frustrating.) Still, the bottom line is that no hand we’re dealt is a surprise to Papa, and there is no hand that He cannot or will not use for His honor and glory – and our good – when we play out the hand as His Spirit leads. (Our problem is that we don’t always define "good” or see “good” the way Papa does.)

How in the world do we know

when to hold’em and when to fold’em?

If I had the perfect answer for that question, then I'd be preaching at First Baptist Houston on Tuesday evenings instead of Beth Moore.

The truth is that sometimes we don’t know. And other times, we are so sure that not even a 9.5 earthquake could shake us from what we’re positive is the right move.

As I’ve heard Beth Moore, herself, say about such matters (and as I’m sure you can attest from your own personal experiences) it takes practice. Practice at listening to the Spirit, at virtually resonating with the Spirit. And even then, there are times when you won’t know for sure how to play your hand until you take a step, in faith, toward holdin’ or, perhaps foldin’, and you then sense the Spirit’s undeniable approval or a nudging in a different direction. And sometimes it’s not even having a “peace” about your choice as much as it is about feeling a distinct “unrest” about the opposite choice.

Oddly enough, this is often when you can rely on the some of same strategy that you chose when you didn’t want to even ante up in the first place:

1. Read and Pray – Choose to communicate with Papa by reading His words and by pouring out your heart to Him and listening for His response.

2. Obey and PlayChoose to stay invested in the mission, playing out your hand as Papa leads, even when you’re tempted to “hold” because you want to “DO SOMETHIN’ EVEN IF IT’S WRONG!” or when you’re tempted to “fold” just because it feels “safer” and easier.

3. Let Papa Purvey – And then, again, rely on Papa to provide what you need to finish the game, whether it’s emotional resources, spiritual or physical resources. (And NOTE: Sometimes Papa’s resources are those godly brothas and sistas with whom you already rub hearts. Ask my brothas and sistas, and they'll tell you that my own motto is “What good is your family if ya can’t use ‘em!”)

Closing Thoughts

On Holdin’ and Foldin

1. Neither holdin’ nor foldin’ is a “better” option. I’ve learned the hard way that holdin’ when you should fold is just as disastrous as the reverse. After all, praying is NOT “sittin’ back and doin’ nothin’.” It’s hard work. (And I’ve learned up-close and personal that when all you can do is pray, that’s enough!)

2. Be ready to “shift” your game plan, if the Holy Spirit leads you to. Just because Papa starts you off in “fold” mode doesn’t mean He will keep you there. Prayer may change things to the point where you are later called into action. And the opposite is true, as well. You may be going gang-busters, and suddenly hear Papa say, That’s enough for now. Step back. Fold. Pray.

3. And don’t let the fear of making a mistake or “losing” keep you from getting in the game. In the words of Sandi Patty,

In heaven’s eyes, there are no losers.

In Heaven’s eyes, no hopeless cause.

Only people like you, with feelings like me,

Amazed by the grace we can find in Heaven’s eyes.”

Grinnin' and playing,


PS Tomorrow I'll finish this up and then get back to my "usual" preachin’ bloggin’ . . .