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I Am a Princess

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I am a princess.  That’s right.  And if you are a woman and a child of God, you are too.  We are daughters of a King.  The mightiest King of the mightiest Kingdom.  And as such, how should we be living, behaving and serving?

Let’s think about it in the sense of royalty.  A royal princess who takes her position and power seriously must do certain things.  She first of all does everything in her power to serve her King – after all, it’s her father!  She obeys him, honors him and serves to bring him praise and honor.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9

She serves her people – her family and the people of her kingdom.  She knows that she is a goodwill ambassador for her king and kingdom.  She is to be a good role model for everyone to see.  She serves; oh, she serves in so many ways.  But her reach goes so much further. She has the ability to impact more than her kingdom.  She can do things to serve the world.  And the whole world is watching her.  Some people of the world will focus on her good.  Others will be holding her under a microscope just waiting for a moment to catch her when she fails.  The paparazzi want to find that juicy story and tear her down.  There will be people who will mock her, try to hurt her, try to ultimately tear her and her family apart.  Yet she holds her head high for her people and the entire world to see.  She will not give in.  She will fight until the end to protect her kingdom.  Why?  Because she loves her father and she loves her people, especially her family.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

Now apply this to your life.  What are you doing to honor your King?  How are you serving your people?  Are you a goodwill ambassador for the world to see?  When the naysayers and Satan attack you, do you hold your ground and keep your head held high?  Yes, we will make mistakes.  Although we are royalty, we are still human.  When we fall, when we fail, it’s how we respond that matters.  Let the world see a humble servant’s heart that isn’t afraid to say “I was wrong,” and, “I’m sorry.”  As princesses, we need to treat each other like the special women we truly are.  Let’s not be doing things that will tear each other down or bring disgrace upon us. Let’s hold our heads high and encourage each other to be who we were meant to be.

Blessings,

The WM Team

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Tenth Round

textgram_1567990028Is your well empty?  Is it just a sprinkle and not free flowing? Are you tired, not physically but spiritually? Not tired or weary of doing good but tired of stuff? You’ve been in the boxing ring so long with just short breaks you feel you are in the tenth round barely standing – and the enemy is poised with a right hook ready to land it on your jaw and down you go for the count. Ever been there?  We all have!  As a parched garden perks up and produces its fruit once it receives life giving water, so it is with our soul. If a farmer neglects his garden, it will dry up and the fruit withers. If we neglect the garden of our soul, then we become parched and there is nothing to offer our LORD and give to others.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? ~ Psalm 42:2         

 We can be doing good things – sitting with someone at the hospital, visiting someone who is ill or have lost a loved one, helping with a mission project. The list could go on but the answer to the tenth round no matter how we arrived there is to stop, call on Jesus, and drink! Maybe you have just been sipping from THE WELL and now you need an IV inserted to let it run into you.

When I was little I use to crawl up on my mama’s lap and lean back into her arms. Can you picture yourself crawling up into your heavenly Fathers lap, leaning back into his arms, and allowing Him to refresh you by breathing Him in? Sitting quietly with Him, confessing, and then life giving water being poured into you. You STAND firmly now in that tenth round and the enemy is sent on his way.

Father, how we thank you and are grateful that you are just a whisper away when we find ourselves in the tenth round. Thank you that you LORD are in that boxing ring with us. Just as the boxer must sometimes be reminded to pay attention to his everyday thoughts and ways, so it is with us. LORD we know no matter how we got to the tenth round YOU can take it and grow us so we can continue to produce fruit for You and Your kingdom. In the precious name of Jesus this is lifted to you. Amen!

Blessings,

The WM Team

 

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Until All Are Free

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Over the last 3 years, I’ve been involved in anti-human trafficking efforts throughout Lexington and Richland Counties.  Human trafficking, simply stated, is the exploitation of a person’s vulnerabilities for commercial gain.  This includes commercial sex acts and forced labor, especially from anyone under the age of 18.  On the forefront of global efforts is the A21 Campaign.   With over 14 offices across the globe, A21 seeks to abolish human trafficking by reaching out to the vulnerable through education and awareness, working with law enforcement to rescue victims and prosecute traffickers, and restoring the survivors to a state of independence.  A21 is an incredible organization that was founded by Christine Caine in 2008.  I can’t recall exactly when the first time I heard of it was, but most likely in high school in association with the Passion Conference and the END IT Movement.  However, it wasn’t until I was nearing the completion of my associate degree in criminal justice, the fall semester of 2016, that the passion for fighting the injustice of modern slavery surfaced in me.  It was during this time that my own heart was soften toward victims of crime, and while my honor society started raising money for Lighthouse for Life, I was given the opportunity to learn more about trafficking in the midlands and to connect with the Richland County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT).  I’ve been a member of the task force ever since, serving on the Education and Awareness committee for almost 2 years, and within the last year have started joining the SC State Task Force meetings.  I have also had the privilege to have participated in special operations with Richland County Sheriff’s Department where we would search for victims and arrest the people who think it is okay to buy a human being.  These operations were of special interest to me because I wanted to be a law enforcement officer.  I wanted to be a K9 officer, SRO, victim’s advocate, and then be an investigator that specializes in human trafficking.  And I had my first steps already planned out to get me there, and I asked God to bless the paths that I wanted to walk down.  But that wasn’t God’s plan.

Needless to say, my life is not at all going where I thought it would be by now.  Though I have thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer opportunities, taking an internship was not on my agenda of things to do, and it was going against my logical mind.   I wanted to get my career started, and I needed a full-time job, not move to an unfamiliar location and volunteer my time and talents.  But when I came across the application in February, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I recognized that God was leading me here–which left me with a choice to make.  I could ignore his promptings, or I could follow in obedience.

I looked over the long, multi-step application process, and thought that it was comparative to that of a police officer, and it didn’t make sense to me to apply for this when the department that I wanted (and still want) to be at was hiring.  But I had no peace at just the thought of sending out other applications. When I submitted the application for A21 on March 6th, I did it with full conviction that this was my next step in life, and that first interview was one of the best–if not the best–interviews I ever had.  After patiently waiting for an answer and going through the steps of the application process for over 3 months, I now will be joining A21 in the fight against human trafficking.  Now that it is here, I understand why God closed the doors I was asking Him to let me through, and why He allowed all of disappointments that I have been experiencing for the last year.  All of it was to prepare me to take this step, to remind me that my life is under His control and not mine–which is hard for a control freak like me.  I know that I am going exactly where God wants me to be at this time in my life, and I know that He will provide for me as I follow His lead.  As Christians, we know that we are called to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Is 1:17 ESV), and to “open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Prov 31:8, ESV).  God is using A21 to do that, and now He is sending me to join them.

If you are interested in supporting me, please follow this link, send me an email at kristennmatthews@gmail.com, or find me at church!

Kristen

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Disappointments

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Disappointments come at us in all kinds of ways. It can be being skipped over for a promotion, not getting those pair of shoes because they did not have them in your size, a friend lets you down, parent skips out, someone at work makes fun or even bullies, a forgotten birthday or anniversary. The blanks could be filled in with any number of things. Disappointments hurt, bruise, even leave scars.

Scripture tells us that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.  Notice the word ALL. That means everything! He can take it and use it in our lives to grow us. That may not be our first reaction. Ever thought about Joseph and what might have been going through his mind? His brothers threw him in a pit, sold him into slavery, and told their father he was dead. Scripture doesn’t tell us what might have crossed his mind and how he felt. Did he immediately remember the dreams God had given him? Did he trust in what God had shown him?  He went on to be lied about, betrayed, and thrown in prison. But in each case God was with Him and brought Joseph to exactly where He had designed.

We as His children are held in His hands, and He longs for us to lean on Him and allow Him to work. Sometimes we get knocked off center for just a little while, but then we come back to our refuge, healer, strength, Redeemer and LORD. God is always with us…always!

Blessings,

WM Team

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When Night Lingers

when night lingers imageAll that night the LORD drove the sea back.  Exodus 14:21

The following comes from a devotion in the book, “Streams in the Desert.”

In this verse, there is a comforting message showing how God works during darkness. The real work of God for the children of Israel did not happen when they awoke that morning to find they could cross the Red Sea, but it occurred “all that night.”

There may be a great work occurring in your life when things seem their darkest. You may see no evidence yet but God is at work. God was just as much at work “all that night” as He was the next day, when the Israelites finally saw the evidence. The next day simply revealed what God had done during the night.

Are you reading this from a place in your life where everything seems dark? Do you have faith to see but are still not seeing? Are you lacking continual victory in your spiritual growth? Is your daily, quiet communion gone, and there is nothing but darkness all around?

“All that night the LORD drove the sea back.”   “Don’t forget it was “all that night.” God works through the night until the morning light dawns. You may not see it yet, but through the night of your life, as you trust Him, He works. 

God worked through the darkness of the CROSS to bring each one of us life, hope into every corner of our lives, and light into the night of our souls giving us abundant life through Jesus.

We all need reminding at times that God is in the night before the day dawns.

Blessings,

The WM Team

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Reflections

reflections imageSometimes it is good just to stop and reflect on some of God’s truths. We hope the following will lift your spirits and encourage you this day or any time the clouds close in on you.

Remember these truths:

You are loved                                        John 3:16

God is the lifter of our heads              Psalm 3:3

He is the lover of your soul                 Romans 10:9

He delights in you                                Psalm 149:4

He sings over you                                 Zephaniah 3:17

He is your strength                              Psalm 28:7

He is your rock                                     Psalm 18:2

You are His and He is yours               Jeramiah 32:38 and 2 Corinthians 6:16

 

We encourage you to look up the scriptures and let God’s Word minister to you.

Blessings,

The WM Team

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Relationships

relationships imageNavigating relationships can be one of the most challenging things we do. But in building authentic relationships we lay aside brave faces and allow someone to see the real us. The following is from a devotion I kept and I go back and look at periodically. It really does speak volumes and thought you would enjoy the treasures within.

“When we allow our busy schedules, weary spirits, or the fear of being hurt to prevent us from pursuing authentic relationships, we create a tremendous void in our lives. Not only do we neglect our own God given need to be in community, but we forfeit opportunities to extend God’s love to others. Letting people see the real you can be terrifying! But the relationships worth building will value a genuine heart over a fake smile any day. This doesn’t mean you should bear your soul to everyone you meet.

The best relationships are those in which we love, encourage, and challenge each other without the need to impress one another.

The following are reminders to us about ourselves and we should be willing to extend to others.

*Patient-we don’t always get it right the first time. Be Patient

*Kind-no one wants to be treated poorly. We treat others as we want to be treated. Be kind.

*Humble-we are all flawed and we know it. We admit it, own our mistakes. Be humble.

*Forgiveness-restoration is about second chances. We’ve all be given one. Be forgiving.

*Selfless-fulfillment comes from putting the needs of others before our own. Be selfless.

*Respectful-we don’t always have to agree, but we are not disagreeable. Be respectful.

*Honest-we speak many languages but lying is not one of them. Be honest.

*Committed-we never, never, never give up. Be committed

We all need and desire to have individuals in our lives who are authentic. They see the good, the bad and the ugly and stand by us. Hold us accountable and challenge us!  May we all be blessed of God to have such people in our lives and may we be that individual to someone else.

Open my eyes, LORD, so that I can see how You want to use me this day. Give me the ability to see the world through the lens of Your heart, to see others as you see them, to recognize Your divine appointments and to have the courage to say, “Yes.”  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.”

(Taken from devotion by Chuck Swindoll, insight.org)

Blessings,

The WM Team

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Strongholds

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We all face them. One of the biggest is our thoughts! Once we have accepted lies into our thoughts, then we start to believe and actually bow down to those thoughts resulting in us being prisoners.

It’s like a child that was told over and over “you will never amount to anything” or “you were a mistake we didn’t plan you” or “why can’t you be more like your sister”. Those words not only cut like a knife, but the rejection becomes a part of that child and affects them in all of their relationships. Even their relationship with Jesus if she has accepted Him. They start to believe they don’t matter and will never be anything!  Now God’s Word tells us we are precious in His sight.

Fast forward to adulthood. That child has experienced one disappointment after another and in their mind believes they don’t deserve any better. They won’t get that promotion, be chosen for that special project, find someone who truly loves her. So how does the cycle stop? There is only one way; truth must take the place of the lies. That process begins when she starts to hear truth from God’s Word, and maybe for the first time realizes she counts. By God’s grace she comes into a personal relationship with her heavenly Father and starts a journey to wholeness.  But she must do her part by taking the truth of God’s Word and putting that into her mind to tear down the lies.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

This applies to any kind of thoughts that are not in line with the Word of God. Jesus died to set us free and gives us a full, abundant life.  Scripture tells us “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) And now that you are free, do not put on another yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Our minds are a battleground. But we have “the mind of Christ,” and we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. It is a daily surrender but we can be victorious, because Jesus is in our corner. We must agree with and apply Truth. Jesus is our strength, our confidence, and our identity – not what someone may have spoken about us or to us.

Blessings,

The WM Team

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Compromise = Rebellion

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This week in studying about Samson, it really brings to the forefront how we can easily be doing our own thing, going after what we want, instead of seeking God and obeying Him.  Samson’s strength came from God, but he forgot that and got prideful in his own strength. He went after whatever he wanted without any regard to God and His commands and ways and totally left God out of his choices.

Samson didn’t realize that God had left him until he went to use his powers after Delilah, a woman he wanted for pleasure, betrayed him. Now Samson ended up being captured and both of his eyes gouged out, and the Philistines used him as a grinder of grain and to entertain them. When they had him brought out to entertain them, the temple was full of men and women. All the leaders were there plus about 3000 men and women watching from the rooftop. Samson asked the young man who was leading him by the hand to put him between the pillars that held the temple so he could lean against them.

Samson cried out to God to remember him. Samson took hold of the two pillars supporting the temple and leaned against them and said, “Let me die with the Philistines.”  He was broken and God heard his heart cry. The temple fell.  Samson had come to the end of himself and that’s when he found God’s strength again.

This serves as a warning for us that compromise creeps into our hearts. His story reflects the rebellion of Israel’s heart at the time. Bit by bit compromise comes in and takes over, and we find ourselves in the muck and mire of the world and far from God’s ways. The beautiful grace and mercy that was extended to Samson also awaits us when we return to God and turn from sin. We can be rebelling in ways we aren’t even aware of and that’s why we must call on God to search us.

Maybe like me, you need a spiritual checkup on a regular basis. We can ask God to search us and reveal any wicked ways in us. His word promises if we confess our sin He is faithful and will forgive us.

Had a checkup lately?

 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1John 1:9 NAS

 

Blessings,

The WM Team