My life has been dramatically and profoundly impacted by Anne Graham Lotz. Our paths crossed nearly two decades ago and I still remember our first meeting as if it were yesterday. Her passion for God's people and intense devotion to faith and family lit a fire in my soul for the same. She didn't have to take the time to talk to me that day. . .but she did and it changed the trajectory of what would be my future ministry.
Her ministry spans far and wide - in and out of various denominations and across continents. Her books and studies, teachings and messages are deeply stirring and life changing. Every single word she speaks drips with an authority that can only be given by God's Spirit. Her feminine yet powerful voice stirs stadiums and crowded arenas and galvanizes people - men and women alike - to an active faith.
Just like her father's did.
I almost weep to write this short introduction today.
Because in my young twenties, this woman gathered me under her ministerial wing and gently nudged me forward. She cared more about the stability and strength of my soul than the growth of my ministry. She answered my questions, prayed for my requests, responded to my emails and then invited me along to her conferences for several years so that I could have an up close view of what ministry onstage (and off) was supposed to look like. When I wondered what it meant to be a wife and mom who was also in full-time ministry, her example was in plain view. When I wasn't sure how to speak with an authority that was gentle but would still carry the weight of God's own power, her example was - and still is - in plain view.
I'll never forget (and tears sting the corners of my eyes now) the day I was speaking at a conference in the vicinity of her home town. There were a couple thousand women in the room that day. I looked out into the crowd, somewhere between my message introduction and the first point, and there was that unmistakably, beautiful silver-ish hair glimmering in the audience. I almost lost my words at the thought that she - she - had taken time out of her schedule to come.
I was twenty-seven.
Afterward, Miss Anne came backstage to give me a tight hug, speak words of blessing over me and pray for God's hand to cover me. Then she got back in her car and drove home...leaving a spiritual inheritance and blessing behind her that I carry in my heart til this day.
Anne Graham Lotz is a student of God's Word and cares deeply for the bride of Christ. She hears from God and we hear Him more clearly through her. In this post, you'll see her passion peeking through every line. She's not apologetic or apprehensive. She never has been.
And why should she be. There has and will always only ever be. . .One Way To Safety.
Miss Anne, thank you for always pointing us - pointing me - to Jesus.
Jesus answered, “I am the way…” John 14:6
On August 8, tens of thousands of people were trapped on Mt. Sinjar by Islamic State forces who surrounded the base. The men, women, and children were cut off from food and water, with many dying and all being threatened by ISIS who issued the ultimatum that they convert to Islam, or die. Pictures have been circulated on YouTube of babies being butchered, Christians being crucified, and men being beheaded by this demonically controlled group of vicious fighters.
While the world seemed to look on helplessly, the Syrian Kurds and the Peshmerga fighters combined to open up an escape route from the mountain to northern Syria. If you are like me, you breathed a sigh of relief and uttered a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving to God for the rescue.
As far as I know, not one of those trapped complained that the Kurds and Peshmerga had not opened up more ways off the mountain. They were simply grateful and took the one way provided. Thus they were saved.
What a dramatic picture of the equally desperate state of the human race. We are trapped on the “mountain” by our own sin, selfishness, and Satan. We are dying from lack of Living Water and the Bread of Life. The enemy is circling, seeking those he can devour and destroy. Threatening us with eternal extermination. Hell.
But praise God! There is a Rescuer! A Savior! He left Heaven’s throne and came down to open up a way out for you and me. A way of salvation! A way to safety. One way. His name is Jesus!
Stop complaining that there is only one way to salvation. One way to eternal life. One way to Heaven. Just thank God that there is a way. Then take it.
Anne Graham Lotz
Sometimes we have the tendency to forget - forget why we are here, forget that God loves, forget that He protects, and forget that our purpose is to know God and make Him known. Instead, we often decide to focus on the fleeting things of this world and allow the downfalls of those around to steer us in the wrong direction. We take much offense when the people in our lives offend or hurt us. As a result, self-protection becomes our focal points. Instead of giving all of ourselves to others, we close ourselves off from their investment in us...and our investment in them.
But what if we sat and really thought about how our heavenly father has set all of this up. We would find that fullness of life is found when we lose our lives. When we give it away to the poor, to the oppressed, to the sick, to the sinner, to the believer, to the offenders. Our greatest fulfillment is found not when we think highly of ourselves, seeking to exalt oneself or self protect, but when we willingly and openly seek to serve and give to others. (Matt 10:39)
I sometimes get so lost in deceitful thoughts wondering, “Who will watch out for me while I’m pouring myself out for others?” Well, our Father promises to do that. He also promises restoration.
So today, in the strength of our Savior, let us resolve to throw out resentment and give all of ourselves - our joy, our hope, our excitement, our gifting, our energy, and our lives to others, knowing that we serve the great restorer. We can choose to tear down the walls that keep us from loving and serving one another. We cannot do this in our own power because it is an impossible task, but we can spread God's love and gospel in the energy and power that He gives us through the Holy Spirit. (Col. 1:28)
Lord, give us the ability to trust in your unfailing love, living in a way that is pleasing to you today. (Ps. 107:43) I pray that we understand all that you give to us is simply for us to be stewards over. I pray that we will seek instruction on how to use it to serve and to give to someone else. Our time, our energy, our lives, our love, our talents, they all belong to you, entrusted to us for your good work. So, we stand today resolving to give it ALL to you, allowing you to do your good work in this world through us your children.
“…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)
We just love Christine Caine here at the Going Beyond office. Like...LOVE! Christine was one of our guest bloggers in January and we've wanted to hear more ever since. So, we have more! She is our guest blogger today and we couldn't be more grateful!
Have you ever found yourself looking at your resources or your talents and feeling completely ill-equipped for the position you've been placed in? Aren't you thankful that God sees otherwise and knows our potential when we don't? Christine's message will hit a home run for many of us. I pray this post will encourage you right where you are today. Hold on tight to these truths the next time you are feeling wrong for the part.
Read, enjoy, and pass on the good news!
1 Samuel 16:16
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
When the Prophet Samuel saw Eliab the eldest son of Jesse he assumed that He was the one chosen to be the next king of Israel based on his external appearance. The only problem was that although he looked to be the best choice he was not God's first choice. So often we can make the same mistake. We think if someone is talented or gifted or smart or eloquent they must be the one whom God has chosen. More often than not we think everyone is a better choice than we would be.
God has always chosen those that no one else would choose so that His glory can shine through him or her. God sees possibility when no one else does. God sees potential where no one else does. God sees faithfulness when no one else does. God sees loyalty when no one else does.
God always sees more in us than we see in ourselves. He sees a king when everyone else sees a shepherd boy. If you feel overlooked or forgotten by man, know that God sees you. God has chosen and called you. Will you respond to that call today?
Have you ever felt that God could not use you because of your own limitations? Make a list of all of the strengths that God has given you and tell him you are ready to be used by Him.
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Proverbs 14:13 NLT
This face has brought the world an overflowing dose of laughter for over 30 years. Regretfully, Robin Williams’ life ended Monday.
Depression is nothing to take lightly and I am, by no means, an expert on the topic. This post is not about a specific celebrity’s death. I’ve struggled with depression during a season in my life, you may have battled with it yourself, currently going through it, or know someone that has. There are even examples in the Bible that show us depression can strike anyone. King Solomon suffered a season, as did King David and Job, just to name a few. Rich, poor, young, old, man, woman, just and unjust. It can happen to anyone.
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
Psalm 34:17 MSG
My heart behind this post is for us to make others aware of the impact that they have on our lives; to take some time to love on one another; to help someone see the beauty we see in them, and what God sees in them. I want to encourage you (and myself) to be intentional with letting your friends, family, and even co-workers know exactly how their life impacts the world around them. Especially you as an individual.
You can verbalize your thoughts over a lunch conversation or, better yet, a written, tangible note for them to keep in their wallet and read from time to time. And instead of the letter starting with, “You were an incredible woman because…”, it will start with, “You are an incredible woman because…”.
We don’t have to wait until a eulogy is required. May we see ourselves the way our Heavenly Father sees us – created in His image, a beautiful and priceless masterpiece, marked with a purpose that will bring Him glory.
If you are struggling with depression, please do not suffer in silence. God is our hope when we are in trouble. Light will always outshine darkness. It may not happen overnight but continue to fix your eyes on God’s love for you and the power He has to rescue. Reach out to your family, friends or someone in your home church that can point you in the right direction for help. Make it known to someone you trust. You are never alone in this.
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? (I will) fix my eyes on God. Soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He is my God.
Psalm 42:11 MSG
You are loved, thought of, and prayed for.
If there has ever been a power-couple for the Kingdom, it is John and Lisa Bevere. These two have a firey passion for God that can been seen from a million miles away. They travel the globe as pastors, preachers and teachers, leading God's people into a more personal, intimate and victorious relationship with Him.
More than once, their books and resources have sent me straight to my knees in conviction and re-dedication. I have been so grateful for their commitment to minister to others.
You see, far beyond all of their travels and ministry accomplishments, their committment to each other and their four adult sons is a beautiful sight to behold. As a woman in her teenage years of marriage who has a brood of young boys still holding onto my apron strings, I look at their thriving children and am encouraged. I'm grateful for their faithfulness to their family. It is a huge blessing to those of us looking on.
Today, John and Lisa share on marriage - the topic of their new book The Story of Marriage. Read every juicy insight and then run to the bookstore (or the internet for that matter) and get it right away. You'll be so glad you did.
You are fiercely loved,
But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”
Matthew 19:11-12 The Message, emphasis added
Too many people today see marriage as a trap! Some have entered into it with joy only to find that the commitment seems to have placed limitations on their lives. Others are hesitant to enter marriage at all, afraid it will lessen their dreams or diminish their strengths. Yet Jesus’ statement in Matthew 19 has the potential to increase the limits of our existence. Jesus doesn’t see marriage as a trap! He sees it as something that can enlarge our lives.
It may seem that marriage diminishes the number and value of its participants; after all, isn’t it two becoming one? Rather than diminishing or dividing, however, marriage causes increase. When two become one, there is multiplication in every area of life. Not until the creation of Eve could God give Adam the command to be fruitful and multiply—a decree that wasn’t limited to making babies. The true potential of multiplication in marriage is impossible to quantify and too expansive to measure.
When God charged Adam and Eve to multiply, He wasn’t just talking about making babies. God realized that the joining of the man and woman (what appears to be the simple addition of one plus one) would create the opportunity for great multiplication. This principle holds true in every area of life: your career, your family life, your spiritual life, and more. In marriage, God has given us something that can push back our boundaries.
This has been true in our marriage. We have both had the opportunity to author books and travel and minister worldwide. We can assure you that none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for our marriage. We would have lived small lives. Has our marriage always been easy? Absolutely not! But it has been full of encouragement. We have called out the gifts of God we see in one another. God has used our marriage to enlarge our lives in every way.
We’ve written our new book, The Story of Marriage, to help you establish a marriage that enlarges your life. Whether you are single, engaged, or already married, your love story has a big part to play in displaying God’s love to the world around you! We want to help you do that well.
We pray you are having a great week thus far! There are a couple of happenings in the Going Beyond world that we wanted to share with you. It’s the beginning of a new month and with that comes a new Jewelry Box article as well as a new episode of The Chat with Priscilla!
Do you struggle with having to be right? Does winning an argument and having the last word sometimes give a sense of satisfaction? In this month’s Jewelry Box, Priscilla talks about one little word that can quickly calm a raging storm – OK. When you prefer peace over madness, restoration over discord, love instead of animosity, this word can make a world of difference.
This month’s article is out now and you may view it here or by clicking on the Jewelry Box banner above. You also have the opportunity to have it sent directly to your inbox each month! When you head on over to the Jewelry Box page, you’ll find all the information needed at the bottom of the page to do so.
This month’s The Chat with Priscilla is on a rather controversial topic. Many of you may have heard of the book (and soon-to-be-released movie), 50 Shades of Grey, that has been sweeping the nation. Priscilla sits down with Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh to discuss this social phenomenon and the Christian perspective. This episode has aired in the past but due to the book's upcoming movie release, we are airing it again for the purpose of insight and understanding. (Please note, this month’s content is considered mature and you may not find it suitable for younger ears.) Part one will air every Tuesday and part two will air every Thursday during the month of August at 12pm, 6pm, and 10pm central time.
That is all for now, friends! Enjoy the rest of your week!
- Going Beyond Team
It is guest blogger time here at Going Beyond and today we have a great post by Michelle Stimpson. That name may ring a bell for many of you because Michelle was one of our guest bloggers during the month of April! (If you've missed her post, Shredding the Past, or it's just been a while, definitely check it out.) We've brought her back and this one is just. as. good! If you've ever dealt with fear, or know someone who has, this post will really feed your soul.
Enjoy, sisters, and have a wonderful, wonderful Friday!
When I had babies, I feared they would contract a disease that would be misdiagnosed and mistreated until it was too late. When they were toddlers, I feared I’d lose them in the mall and they’d get kidnapped. When they entered school, I feared they would be bullied because they were so much taller than all the other kids. Every year, I breathed a little easier because the other kids were catching up.
Are you seeing a pattern here? Wait. There’s more…
In middle school, I feared they would start hanging with the wrong crowd. And when they started driving in high school…let’s just say it’s a good thing I can only get nitrous oxide at the dentist’s office. I looked forward to the day they left my house because THEN I wouldn’t be so fearful anymore.
When our oldest, a son, finally prepared to leave the nest, the old fears sprouted up again cleverly disguised as new fears. What if he gets sick away from home? What if he gets kidnapped and I don’t realize it for days (this kid never called home unless he wanted money)? What if someone mistook him for a thug or overreacted to a silly prank?
Suddenly, it hit me: People have lied to me. There’s no feeling of “Whew! I’m done with that!” when your kids turn 18 or leave the house. I’m sure this sounds very unmotherly-like, but I’m telling you, I really thought I’d be home free when my kids finished school.
This same 18-year-old boy (6’2”, 140 lbs.—think J.J. from Good Times) decided to take the night shift at a county jail filled with hardened criminals. I knew my mind had to be renewed by something or I would have no peace.
That something was Psalm 91. The Lord led me to study it, stand on it, pray it over my son, and share this word with him, too. The truth of the matter is: There is no real protection outside of Him. Whatever He allows has purpose. Whatever He doesn’t allow flat ain’t gonna happen.
Furthermore, the only real, true, everlasting disaster that could ever occur is for someone to die outside of Christ. All other so-called disasters (even death) end with the deceased person closing their eyes to this world and waking up in the presence of Jesus. That’s not a disaster—that’s what we hope for!
As it turns out, the jail job was preparation for the next step in my son’s life, the next level of faith as his mother. He’s leaving for the Army next week. I’m not sure exactly what his assignment entails, but when he rattles off his job-code-number-thingy, other military people are like, “Dude, that’s pretty intense.”
And I take a deep breath.
God is the same God in kindergarten, in junior high, in a jail, and in the military. Moms, dads, grandparents and even adventurous children can rest in His shadow.
I won’t be long today at all. Promise. I just wanted to share a quick prayer with you that I recently read while going through one of Priscilla’s Bible studies. If you’ve done the Discerning the Voice of God Bible study, you’ll be nodding your head in a minute. I’ve recently posted it on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, too, so many of you will recognize it!
Lord, heighten my spiritual senses
to see that which is not visible,
hear that which is not audible,
sense that which is not tangible,
believe that which is unbelievable.
Teach me to sort through
the noises of this world,
to hear and discern Your powerful,
wonderful, pure, precious voice.
Oh man, I love that. "...Your powerful, wonderful, pure, precious voice."
That has been my prayer these past few days. I break my own heart just thinking that I have gone through many, many days unaware of God’s handy-work (the fine details, pristine craftsmanship) or that I can become so busy that I unintentionally block out His voice as He pursues me daily.
Before you go about your busy day today, whisper this prayer a few times. If I’ve caught you in the middle of your day, give yourself permission to stop what you’re doing and pray this prayer out loud. Close your eyes and just take it all in for a minute before you continue with your day.
He hears you and will answer you. He will speak to you. If you’ve already seen Him at work, if He’s answered your prayer, if your spiritual senses have been heightened, will you share it with us? Your words will definitely encourage another!
Hey, see? I told you I wasn’t going to be long. :)
So glad you are here!
Today we have a continuation from last Friday's post by our guest blogger, Mary Hunt. We are excited to share Part 2 of her story with you. If you haven't had a chance to read the first half, no worries! You may view it right here. Go ahead and read Part 1 if you haven't, then come right on back to read the rest of her story!
Take it all in...and enjoy!
...But that was a problem. It was still all about me. And can we talk about pressure? Sure, I’m entrepreneurial and all, but it’s not easy to keep that income stream flowing.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it has been a humbling experience to come to terms with this matter of money.
Whose money is it, anyway?
“The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24: 1)
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the LORD Almighty.” (Haggai 2: 8)
“Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deut. 8: 18)
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19– 20)
God is teaching me a lot these days. And I am certain of one thing: God owns everything. I am his money manager.
I have come to the point of unbelievable peace rest now that I know for certain that God owns everything. He even owns me. Should he find me trustworthy, I am his money manager. I am his steward, not for just 10 percent, but for everything. He’s training me to see the needs, to get excited about spreading his wealth to the needy. A steward manages assets for the owner’s benefit. He trusts me to make distribution decisions. As his money manager, God even trusts me to set my own salary. I draw needed funds from his wealth to pay our living expenses.
I don’t believe God wants me to live opulently in a mega-mansion. I don’t believe God wants me driving a flashy car or living with some kind of a superior attitude of wealth. But I’m a child of the king so living as a pauper doesn’t seem right either.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Wow. What a difference this has made. The pressure is off. It’s not up to me. Whether God asks me to manage hundreds or millions, that’s up to him. It’s not my money. I’m a worker bee for Kingdom. I long to be found trustworthy, reliable and available. I desire good judgment, wisdom and an excellent relationship with my “employer.”
I want to be like him, to understand his criteria so that I can distribute his riches as he desires. The more I know of Christ, the more of a giver I be-come. And the more I distribute, the more I become like Christ.
Since I was 11-years old, I’ve longed for riches so I could be completely free--free from parental control, free from longing, free from fear and worry. In all of my striving and conniving that kind of freedom eluded me. My efforts landed me in bondage.
Discovering my role as God’s money manager has changed everything. I don’t long for riches, I no longer want a million dollars. And for the first time in my life, I’m experiencing peace, joy and freedom like I could have never imagined.
God does not want me to be rich. I am certain of that. He wants me to distribute his riches as his faithful and trustworthy steward.
Hi there, friends! It’s hump day and I pray you’re having a great week thus far!
Hey, have you ever had a song that you just can’t get out of your head? You know, the one that’s playing in your head when you wake up, when you turn on the radio and there it is, or when you walk by someone in the grocery store and they are humming its melody. Or how about a verse or a word that has been following you everywhere you go? I mean everywhere. You’re driving along minding your own and there it is on a highway billboard. It happens to me often and I can’t help but smile from ear to ear because you know there’s something more to it than a song or a sign that just won’t go away. We need to lean in and listen.
There’s this song that has been following me around for a few weeks called “Freedom Reigns” by Jesus Culture. Everytime I hear that song, whether on Pandora, during a worship service, or while driving in a friend’s car, I can’t help but think it’s because the Lord is trying to get my attention.
I wanted to share some of the lyrics with you…
Where the spirit of the Lord is
THERE IS FREEDOM
If you’re tired and thirsty | if your burden’s heavy | if you’re hurt and broken
THERE IS FREEDOM
Freedom reigns in this place | showers of mercy and grace | falling on every face
THERE IS FREEDOM
I’ve chopped it up a bit, but do you see where this is going? Freedom is ours!
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And take a listen to Galatians 5:1 which says, Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
If He said it, we can sit easy knowing that it is true. All of it. There's no “what if” or “maybe” or “perhaps” or “I’m having a good day so it must be” type of truth. Read the scriptures, dissect each word and breathe it in so that it may live in you.
We don’t have to live with anxiety; we don’t have to fear the unknown; we don't have to feel small or doubt our worth; there is no reason for us to be jealous of what others have; and there’s no reason for us to feel inadequate or ill-equipped.
Our redeemer has broken the chains and has set us free. Shake them off and step right out of them. Pry them off if you have to. We are free from the things that have held us and tied us and left us bound and paralyzed.
If the enemy can stop you from walking out your front door, have you cower in fear or make you step back from an opportunity because you feel ill-equipped, he slows you down (or completely stops you) from doing the things the Lord has set out for you to do.
He’s fighting hard because he knows your worth. But...(and there's a big 'but' there)...he will not win!! Look him square in the eye and let him know he is not going to win this one. Or that one.
I want to leave you with this scripture today. This one is going to get written up on a note card and placed on my office computer as a daily reminder.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Let’s live free, my friend.
Until we meet again,