Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Expand Your Vision

We recently attended a baseball game where the sun was blazing at us for about 45 minutes into it. I was so thankful I had my sunglasses on! My poor boys didn't have theirs so I had to continually shade them until the sun went down. Sunglasses really do help me see when the sun is shining bright!

What about you? Do you have your SONglasses on? I believe God's Son is shining bright and we need to see what He is doing in our lives. I recently attended a foster youth conference where I was a break out session speaker. There was a wrapping contest where some of these students shared their story through a "Spoken Word." Hearing of their struggles and heartaches broke my heart and reminded me why it was so important for me to be there. In sharing my story in my session, I was amazed by how God worked, not only in the teen girls, but the adult ladies who were present. I felt Him tell me, "Expand your vision. You don't only need to speak in Christian circles. I need you out here." It was like my eyes were opened to a whole new world of possibilities.

Since then God has opened more doors for me to speak to more teen girls. Amazing! Do I feel overwhelmed? Without a doubt! Am I nervous? Absolutely! Do I feel like I deserve this? Certainly not! However, my strength, confidence and ability do not rest in myself, but in Him who calls me. He is faithful to do it through me!

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT) reminds us, "So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."

Keep your SONglasses on for you never know what God will show you and how He will use you. He is always at work and shining bright in our world. More than that, He asks us to participate with Him in making known. What a privilege! So, don't close your eyes but put your spiritual shades on by seeking God in His word and in prayer. Discern what He is asking of you and know that whatever He asks, He is faithful to do it through you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Calling All Women in Ministry!

Living the Life Ministries invites all ladies who serve in any capacity of ministry, whether in your church, community or personal ministry to join us at our Leading Ladies Banquet.

Come meet other gals just like you as we network, fellowship, eat, shop and are refreshed through anointed music by Anna Madland and inspiring messages by Daphne Fine and Marva Leavell.

You don't want to miss out on this great opportunity to meet women in community serving in the Kingdom! RSVP ~ (361) 443-4422 or livingthelifecc@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Before I was a Mom

Remember the "before kids" days? It's amazing how life changes after a little one comes along. We are never the same! Life was great when it was just James and I. Now, life is GRAND with our two boys. I dedicate this poem I wrote sometime back to all you momma's. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!


Before I was a mom I used to look forward to sleeping in
I stayed out late with my hubby and to bed come creeping in
Before I was a mom I used to have so much free time to myself
Go walking, watch TV, take a nap or read a book from the shelf

Before I was a mom I used to think "What can I do for fun?"
Hang out with friends, go shopping, or lay under the sun?
Before I was a mom my husband and I were the dynamic duo
My best friend, the love of my life and my hero

THEN……came our two boys.

Before I was a mom I thought I knew how to love
Then self sacrifice taught me to love like God above
Before I was a mom discipline was a only a one way street
Now I realize it is where truth, love and security meet

Before I was a mom I’d been told and heard the words “I love you”
But not quite the same way I hear them now from my special two
Before I was a mom I never knew the immense joy of seeing a smile
That could melt my heart and lift me through the daily trials

Before I was a mom I thought I knew how to love
But that was..…..before I was a mom

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Can't Help Myself!

Have you ever done something extravagant for someone you loved? Or maybe, someone did something extravagant for you? What a wonderful way to express your love and gratitude. I was recently studying Mary of Bethany and came to the part of her story where she anointed Jesus' feet with expensive perfume. Mark 14:3-6 says it like this:

"While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly. "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me."

I have always loved this story but what struck me this time around was that I realized this was soon AFTER Jesus had raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. Knowing that helped me understand just how thankful she was and why her gift of worship was so precious to her. She couldn't help herself! After all, her brother's death had brought her to the pit of despair, but along came Jesus who raised Lazarus from the dead and gave them all a second chance. So when I read the part of how they criticzed her worship, it made me even more mad! How could they?! Didn't they see Lazarus sitting there, healthy, smiling, talking and laughing? How can you repay someone for bringing your brother back to life?

Friend, I don't know what Jesus has done for you, but I could NEVER repay Him for what He has done for me. Despite the critical people around me who may not like the fragrance of my worship, I tell you what, I can't help myself! Jesus has spoken life to my deepest pains and made them my greatest gains. He has revived dreams in me that I thought were long gone. I could go on and on (but I won't).

My challenge is simply this. Resolve that you're not going to hold back your worship of Him who is worthy to be given your best. Let people criticize and say what they will because those who belittle the extravagance of your gift underestimate the value of your recipient. Just tell them, "I can't help myself!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thou Shalt Laugh

This is one of my all time favorite pictures of my boys. It displays their fun and playful attitudes. I can honestly say that there is NEVER a dull moment in the Roots household with these two kiddos. I love to hear them laugh and giggle. I am reminded if my kids' laughter brings me joy, how much more would my laughter bring God joy? Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) which says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength."

Seeing my kids play and laugh takes me back to when I was growing up. My cousins and I used to play all kinds of silly games and run around my grandfather's house till we wore each other out. Now, we're all grown up and have families of our own. It seems that as we get older and have to become responsible adults that life takes on a serious tone, which it should, but I believe only to an extent. I say that because as a parent, I want my two boys to become capable adults one day who will take care of themselves (and hopefully pay their own bills!). However, I also know that life is sweetest when it's NOT all work and no play.

Remember, joy is the second fruit of the Spirit named only after love. (Galatians 5:22) God wants you to enjoy your relationship with Him and live above the worry, fear, doubt and anxiety that often sap your strength and your joy. Ask the Lord to restore to you the joy of your salvation and the joy of loving your life. Choose to laugh and laugh often.

Tip: Do something FUN this week with your family. Go play in the park, take a walk on the beach, watch a funny movie or simply blow bubbles! I've never seen anyone blow bubbles with a frown on their face. Don't be surprised if you find yourself giggling.:)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No More Excuses

I recently bought me another pair of jeans. Why? Because I only had ONE pair that I was wearing (all the time!). All my other jeans, well, didn't quite fit. (Yes, even after laying down on the bed in an attempt to zip them up!) Sad, I know. Despite the fact that one of my new year's goals was to "exercise 3 x a week", as you can tell, I was falling way short. I felt as if God asked me, "Do you want to get healthy?. Then do what you gotta do." I had to tell myself, "Okay, Rochelle, no more excuses." For me, the ideal time to exercise is in the morning before my munchkins get up and my 120 mile per hour day starts. I was used to getting up to pray but now I'm adding that former dust collector, the treadmill. After a few weeks, can I just say that it feels great?! Oh, I guess I just did.

I'm reminded of a story in John 5 when Jesus came across an invalid who had been in that condition for 38 years. (That's a very long time.) He asked him, "Do you want to get well?" Surprisingly, instead of a rip roaring affirmative reply, the man gave Jesus an excuse. Seems like this man was comfortable on his bedroll. I wonder how many times we have done that to God. Not only with our "physical" being but our emotional being. You know, when we're angry, bitter or hurt over something that happened yesterday (or 20 years ago). Jesus asks us, "Do you want to get over this?" Unfortunately, we rather give Him an excuse and stay on our bedroll of false security. I say that because these emotions can become a crutch that keep us from receiving God's best.

Amazingly, Jesus simply ignored this man's excuse and told him, "Get up, take your bedroll and start walking." Upon his obedience, the invalid was "healed on the spot." Wow! No more excuses my friend. It's time to get up. It's time to get over it and be healed! May we say like this former invalid, "Jesus made me well!"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Put Your Sword Away!

Life is full of surprising joys and unexpected disapointments. It is in those disappointments and painful moments that our faith and trust in God are tested. My greatest disappointment was the loss of my firstborn son. Everything I had planned and prepared for was gone when I had a stillborn delivery at 20 weeks. The rubbing of my tummy, the painting of the nursery, the baby clothes I had collected and the expectation of being called "mommy" by my son, were now daggers to my soul.

When I left the hospital that July of 2000, I felt like an glass vase that had been dropped on a concrete floor. I was broken and shattered. Can I be honest and say that my flesh cried out, "Why God?! Why?" Yet, I knew in my spirit that He was my only hope and verbally spoke to myself out loud, "Who else can I turn to?" The Lord healed my wounded heart, restored my questioning faith and gently reminded me that He was crying with me. I chose not to lash out at God despite the most gut wrenching disappointment of my life.

I was reminded of my experience when I was pondering Peter's response when Jesus was arrested by Judas and the religious leaders. Jesus was not only Peter's Messiah, the Son of God who performed mighty miracles (including allowing Peter to walk on water), but He was probably his best friend. Even though God was bringing an eternal redemption to Jews and Gentiles alike, Peter thought that Jesus would bring an earthly revolution that would restore Israel's kingdom from the Roman empire.

In John 18:9-11(NIV) we see Peter's reaction, "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear...Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" Jesus had even warned Peter a few hours before to "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 NKJV) Peter chose to sleep rather than to pray. So, when the disappointment came, Peter's use of his sword was a result of a fleshly reaction instead of a faith-filled response.

What disappointment are you facing today? Are you reacting or responding? Have you been sleeping or praying? Acting in your natural logic or carnal ways will always lead to a spiritual whooping by the enemy. So, if you have been striking your sword at the circumstance (or a person), I remind you as Jesus reminded me when my flesh wanted to lash out, "I trust you enough to trust me in this circumstance." So, put away your sword and trust Him and His will.

Remember, just like with Jesus. It may look like Friday, but Sunday's coming! God's plans always have an eternal purpose beyond our earthly expectations.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Celebrate Love

Valentine's Day is coming up this week and to be honest, I haven't stopped long enough to think of what I'm going to get my honey. It's not one of those HUGE holidays for us but we do like to celebrate it. We've been married for 13 years and were together for two years prior to that so this will be our 16th Valentine's Day together!

I'm reminded of one particular year (early in our marriage) when I thought my hubby forgot as I didn't receive anything at work all day. I even spoke to him on the phone once or twice and didn't hear a "Happy Valentine's Day" from him either. So, what can I say. I pouted when he picked me up from work. In my mind I was thinking, "He didn't even get me a card!" Of course he noticed my delightful attitude and simply said, "The day's not over yet." Well, we got home and to my surprise there sitting on our dining room table was a smorgasborg of Valetine gifts. He had given me the BIGGEST Valentine's card I think I've ever seen along with a bouquet of flowers, chocolates and a little bear!

So, you can probably guess how I felt. Yep, I was shrinking in yards by the second (and I'm not very tall!). I cried. I apologized. I smiled. My heart went from disapointment to delight in seconds. I wonder, have you ever been disappointed on a Valentine's Day? This truth is sure to bring you delight. Romans 5:5 (NLT) says,

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Whether we have a significant other or not, or receive a bouquet of flowers or not, we are all blessed to share God's love with the people in our lives that we love and love us. So instead of focusing on what we DON'T have, let us focus on what we DO have. Whether it is something extravagant or something simple, CELEBRATE LOVE! We have much be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Best Card Ever!

I want to encourage all of you parents who wonder if your faith in God and your efforts to pour Christ into your children make a difference. Perhaps you feel like you're dragging your children to church or at times see them roll their eyes when you bring up God. Stand and believe God's promise in Acts 16:31 which says, "They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." (NIV)

Continue to be faithful because God's word does not return back to Him void. How do I know? Well, it was my hubby's birthday a few weeks and my oldest son Jalen who is 8 years old made him a birthday card. There was nothing fancy about the card. Just a black marker on white paper. I don't know if that's because he's a boy and not into the frilly fun stuff or more than likely, these items were just easily accessible to him. I saw him hand my hubby his homemade card and then a BIG smile came to my honey's face as he told him, "Thanks buddy. That was awesome." When I read it, I almost cried....and here's why:

This card so blessed me. I thanked God for the growing understanding my son has of who Christ is and who we are in Him. The words that we speak to him, the prayers we pray together, the support of our church's children ministry and our example are making a difference.

Maybe your kids are older or even out of the house, but God's promise is still the same. Continue to believe - be and live - your relationship with God in front of them and sow God's word in love. Your efforts will be rewarded!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Be Intentional in 2010

We are a few days into January and a new year and decade has begun. I'm not a big believer in resolutions, but I do believe in setting goals because they motivate us to work and achieve what God has placed in our hearts. Remember, dreaming without planning is simply wishing.

If you haven't set goals yet, here are some tips I share in my book "Living It Up!" to help you:

1. PRAY about what you feel God wants you to do or where He wants you to be. A simple check would be to ask yourself, “What is in my heart to do? What dream do I have for myself and my family?”
2. DECIDE what your long-term goal is first. Ask yourself, “Where do I want to be in five years? How about in two years?”
3. STRAGETIZE on how your short-term goals can help you to achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you want to do something completely different, as in a career change or go into ministry, begin to prepare yourself by going to school or volunteering in that type of ministry. Do your research and prepare.
4. WRITE DOWN your goals and place them where you can see them. Keep yourself driven toward your long-term goals and make checklists for your short-term goals. Each week I have a list of things to do that I need to get done, and the list helps keep me on track.
5. BE SPECIFIC. As you’re prayerfully writing down your short-term goals, be really specific. Don’t just hope for it, but specify something that you can measure with activity and time. For example, don’t simply write “Spend more quality time with my family.” Write “Spend one hour a day coloring, reading, or playing games with my children.”
6. SHARE these goals with one or two people who will encourage you and hold you accountable. Telling someone that you’re going to do something makes you feel more obligated to do it. Having someone ask you, “Were you able to spend the desired quality time with your children this week?” helps in keeping you focused.
7. ACT and follow through. Complacency and procrastination are the biggest enemies of you achieving your dreams. Notice that they have to do with you. Yes, there are other bullies out there that fight to keep you from your goals, but it’s mainly up to you to act and make the necessary choices to bring you closer to your goals.
8. PERSEVERE and don’t give up. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls that can distract or discourage us from our goals, but don’t stop planning and strategizing. Sometimes, they just need to be revised. Be diligent to do what God has called you to do and to be the person God has called you to be. You can. Don’t stop praying, deciding, strategizing, writing, sharing,and acting on the goals you have in mind. Proverbs 13:12 (NLT) says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Faithful determined pursuit breeds a sweet reward!

Be intentional to aim and accomplish. Remember, each short-term goal you accomplish is a stepping-stone bringing you closer to your long-term goals. This is your life, your dream. Dare to bring it to pass!

Happy 2010!!