Monday, December 5, 2011

Can you Believe it?

Mark 9:24

And immediately the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Over the weekend, I had the honor of sharing Saturday morning with a group of AMAZING Christian Women, diverse in color, age, nationality, career, and ministry giftings.  There were at least two moments in which I found myself whispering to myself.  "Wow, I can't believe it.  I can't believe God is allowing me to be right here, right now, in the midst of so many mighty Women of God."  As many of us said our farewells, and shared how glad we were to connect, several women spoke those same words to me.  I laughed, sharing that I had been thinking the same thing.

My question though is, "WHY"  Why am I surprised?  Why is it so hard to Believe?  We might answer this in many ways, but during this Christmas Season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God's challenge to me, and thus my challenge to each of you is this:

As Christians, the foundation of our faith is the belief in God as our Creator, the belief that Jesus is His only son and born of a woman named Mary who was a VIRGIN, and that "while we were yet in our sinful ways" God saw fit to allow His only son to come to this earth, to die for us, and then be resurrected... so we would once again have the opportunity to fellowship and reign with Him.  This is what we say we believe, when we receive salvation.  Well, how amazing is that?  A virgin to give birth?  to be killed, and then come back to life.?  This is what we say we believe.  Well, if we truly believe this, then why would it be so challenging to believe the daily doses of Love God pours out on us, and why is it so hard to believe that God favors us?  Lets face it, no matter how good He is to us now, it could never compare to the goodness and mercy He displayed through the gift of His only son; Jesus.  There is no Greater Love.

Today, let us all stop practicing the "ministry of amazement"  as my pastor referrs to this phenomina, Agape Love is for real, and it God's love toward us.  And... let us not get it twisted, we are Blessed and Favored daily so that we can Bless and Favor others always letting them know who we are in God, and through God, and who we are because of God.  Let us not become FAT on God's Favor, but let us be as a vessel constantly pouring out that which He pours upon us.

A Consuming Fire

Oh, that I would be overtaken,

even consumed,

by the Love and Compassion of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ

that when ignited in me

would be the burning desire to extend to others

the same goodness

the same grace

the same mercies

that are available to me each and every day


Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse, Queens of the Kingdom

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The anxiety, the uneasy feeling, the stress, the weariness, What is it?

1 Chronicles 28 (the Message Bible)

9 -10 "And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father's God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he'll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he'll leave you for good. Look sharp now! God has chosen you to build his holy house. Be brave, determined! And do it!"

20 David continued to address Solomon: "Take charge! Take heart! Don't be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; he won't walk off and leave you in the lurch. He's at your side until every last detail is completed..."

We are in a season of Transition, and this is a critical point. It is a point at which many give in or give up. It is a point at which many change directions, trying to find a more comfortable path or route. It is a point at which many become overwhelmed in the responsibility and the challenges. Emotions and fear dull our thinking, and if we are not careful, we can forget. We can forget God's Assignment. We forget what God spoke over our lives. We forget what we asked of Him, we forget the promises we made to Him, and we begin to faint.

Let this word today serve as a reminder, and may you be refreshed and restored as you rest in God's presence and remember God's mission on this earth, and your mission in this season.

Look closely; you will notice Transition all around. On your jobs, in your home, in so many of our world systems... out with the old, then the "in between time", then in with the new. Transition. What you are feeling and experiencing now is not strange, for it is a fact, that during a time of transition, people lose focus and energy, and may feel isolated and displaced. However, our challenge as well as our responsibility as leaders in the Kingdom of God is to maintain stable performance during this time of instability.

God has given us weapons of warfare to deal with every spiritual attack and has truly opened the windows of heaven over our lives and flooded us with creativity and ideas - those that we need to walk out the assignment. It is time, actually past time, that we become diligent and consistent when it comes to implementing the ideas so that we are obedient to His instructions. This all seems extremely difficult now, because you may feel that you are by yourself; but that is a trick of the enemy.

Don't fall for satan's plan of making you feel that you are all know who your spiritual partners are, reach out to them. They likely feel unsettled and weary as you do. But if this word lines up with your spirit, I challenge you to share it with them. Pray about it together, and allow God to reveal its specific meaning and challenge to you both. This will help, for it is always uplifting and energizing when we discover we are not alone, and we have someone at our side. Pull your brother or sister close now, and hold each other accountable to stay on task. Pray with and for one another, help one another in practical ways. Provide wise council for one another, reminding each other daily of how close our God is to us.

Don't quit. Look back at the instructions He gave you - maybe even years ago, you wrote them down. Be reminded of your mission, for now is not the time to give up on it.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (The Bible in Basic English)
For this cause, my dear brothers, be strong in purpose and unmoved, ever giving yourselves to the work of the Lord, because you are certain that your work is not without effect in the Lord


Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse, Queens of the Kingdom

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's the Password?

Psalm 100 (The Message Bible)

A Thanksgiving Psalm
1-2  On your feet now-applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. 3 Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn't make him. 
We're his people, his well-tended sheep. 4 Enter (His Gates) with the password: "Thank you!"  Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him. 5 For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. 
Often, just to say the words Thank You, does not seem enough. Recognizing how good God has been to us, how merciful, and how forgiving, we can't fathom that the words Thank You, would move Him in any way.

However, as we read these familiar passages of scripture, we are reminded that the words "Thank You" or the act of Thanksgiving is the key that moves Him to open His gates and allow us to enter into His presence.

A gate is defined as "an opening permitting passage through an enclosure." or "any means of access or entrance." Through His gates, we find the courtway that leads to His holy temple. That place where He resides. As we seek to come into the presence of God, to praise and worship Him, we must enter at the gate, and our attitude, the state of our heart - has everything to do with whether or not we are allowed to enter.

It is interesting that in these passages, the word of God does not list other attributes such as holiness, or righteousness, or any type of title or role that we must hold in order to enter the gate. It is as if God has put all of those other things to the side, and is simply saying, "I am looking for those with a Grateful Heart," and they are welcomed into my presence to commune with me. Grateful for salvation and forgiveness, grateful because we understand how undeserving we are. Grateful for Gods benevolence toward us. Grateful for family, friends and provision. I could go on and on. Then, as we commune with Him, we find that it is in His transforming presence that we through repentance exchange our filthy rags, for the garments of Holiness and Righteousness.

While it would be easy to assume that everyone reading these words today has received the love and the salvation of Jesus Christ, that may not be the case. Or, there may be a true believer that is presently separated from God, because of sin, and wants to come back to Him but is unsure how. Whatever situation you may find yourself in this day, I share with you the password found in the word of God. A heartfelt, sincere, "Thank You." While things may not be the best, things could be very different. If you are reading these words, you are amongst the land of the living, and therefore, you have another opportunity to say Thank You, to let the Lord know how much you love and appreciate Him, and then to Praise Him not for anything He has done, but just because of who He is! Our Creator, Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King, Our Brother, Our Friend.

No matter what you may have said or done, let me remind you how much God loves you, how much He has always loved you, and that He could never love you any more than He does at this very moment. In fact, He is waiting for you, waiting for you at the Gate, go ahead an enter, for know the password! 

Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse, Queens of the Kingdom

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do you have a Maintenance Plan?

2 Thessalonians 3:4 (The Message Bible)
Because of the Master, we have great confidence in you. We know you're doing
everything we told you and will continue doing it. May the Master take you by the hand
and lead you along the path of God's love and Christ's endurance.

There are very few, if any, people or things that we deal with on a daily basis that do not require maintenance.  Our physical bodies, our relationships, our automobiles all require some form of maintenance. Many things require what we term as “preventive maintenance.”  Let me take a moment to define these terms.

 Maintenance:  to keep in existence or continuance; to preserve; to retain: to maintain good relations with (relationships).

Preventive Maintenance: The care and servicing for the purpose of maintaining in satisfactory operating condition by providing for systematic inspection, detection, and correction of incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major defects.

While we often plan how to begin something, or how to obtain something, we neglect to consider the need or the means by which it is maintained.  After all, the Blessing is not just in getting it, but it is in keep or sustaining it – with the help of the Lord.  I remember well my son’s excitement at the thought of owning his first automobile.  I’m sure many of you can relate. He thought about all the places he could go, and the things he could do (without mom or dad tagging along), he thought about the dates he could go on, and the parties he would no longer have to miss.  Eventually, we were able to get him to come to some understanding about his responsibility as it related to down payments, and monthly payments,  – but the hardest lesson of all, had to do with the ongoing maintenance of the vehicle. You know, the insurance, the oil changes, the belt changes, the balancing of the tires, etc… those things that had to be done on an ongoing basis for the life-span of the vehicle.

You see, maintenance is important as it relates to the quality of existence as well as the life-span of most things.  Yes, death can and does occur, when things are not maintained.  It is the consistent performance of a good maintenance plan that allows something to reach its life expectancy, and in the same light; that allows us to endure and to bring something to completion.  In short, the same thing it took, to get it started, it will take to keep it.  

Consider the following: most people see a rapid growth in their relationship with Christ when they first accept Him into their lives.  However, as time goes on, years go by – some find their growth rate slows down drastically, that is often because they are not doing the same things, spending the same time with Him, that they did in the beginning.  I could make the same comparisons with our marriage relationships or in our careers.  Due to lack of maintenance, some things have just broken down.  However, as I often say, failure does not have to mean the end.   I’d like to ask each of you this week, to reflect on your relationships, your goals, and most importantly your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Ask yourselves, where have I lacked in the area of maintenance?  As I do the same, let’s stand in agreement that He will restore and bring new life and a plan for maintenance where we have lacked one. 

Write those areas down that you need to focus on.  Next, consider a few practical things you can do immediately, to get back, or perhaps develop a maintenance plan where there was none.  Here are a few places to start:

To maintain a healthy relationship with God
1.       Communicate Daily with Him in Prayer.
2.       Practice Worship – The Book of Psalms is a great place in the word of God to learn of Worship, and reading many of these scriptures out loud can usher you in to a place of worship.
3.       Read the Word of God.
4.       Practice Thankfulness.
5.       Trust God, and learn to depend on Him.  He is faithful 

To maintain a healthy relationship with others:
1.      Practice Forgiveness.
2.      Be Honest.
3.      Communicate Openly.
4.      Provide Support.
5.      Show appreciation.

To maintain your focus on a goal:
1.      Write your goal(s) down.
2.       Keep your written goals in sight, use sticky notes or posters.  These serve as reminders.
3.      Engage an accountability partner to help keep you on track.
4.      Don’t spread yourself to thin.  Concentrate on 1-3 goals.
5.      Set milestones and track your results.

Copyright 2011 Victoria L. Burse
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are we talking to much!!!

14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
  Exodus 14:14 (The King James Version)
The Lord ministered so much to me this week through this word. I pray that the Lord work in your life this week, as He did mine.
Men and Women of God, I am finding more and more each day the greater value of “staying quiet.”
Being quick to speak, we often do so before God has revealed the entirety of a situation to us, and His will and purpose for it.  As the whole story is uncovered, it can change what we once thought to be a great situation or a God opportunity, into something that was from the very start a trick of the enemy – one that we could not see.  I'm reminded of a test taking skill I was taught back in high school as it relates to multiple-choice questions.  Once asked a question, the next step was to evaluate 3 or 4 different answers; those answers are often multi-part statements and you must choose the one that is correct.  I was taught, when reading the answer statement if even one part of the statement was incorrect, then the entire statement was incorrect.  Now, how often did we choose the wrong answer, because we read only the first part of the statement…usually up to the comma?
I believe this is a great practice to apply to our lives, as situations we encounter on a daily basis can challenge us to prematurely act/re-act on what may turn out to be only part – of the story.  In our impatience, frustration, confusion, and arrogance, we take things in into our own hands feeling that we know enough and have strength enough even of ourselves to handle it when the truth of the matter is, God knows we cannot, and it is not even His design that we “handle it.”    Here is a good question, can we be patient and wait on God, even when we know we are right?  “What am I waiting for then,” you might ask?  You are waiting for the right time.  You see the right thing, at the wrong time, is still the wrong thing!  There goes that multipart answer again!
Is there such a situation going on in your life today?  There is a greater plan, a greater work at hand.  Greater, than we can fathom.  It may not seem possible, but God can and will use this experience of walking through this season with our mouths Shut…to OPEN up the windows of Heaven over our Destiny.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Growing Pains!

There was a time when I thought that the phrase “Growing Pains” was more of a figurative statement – than a literal one.  I did not realize that as children grow, especially between the ages of 3 and 7, there are definite points at which they began to experience pain in their lower extremities.  Growing pains are triggered when bones grow; stretching the bone's thick covering.  Growing Pains generally concentrate in the muscles, rather than the joints and most chldren report these pains in the front of their thighs, in the calves, or behind the knees. 

Where am I going with this?  Well in the Spirit, I hear God speaking the words “Growing Pains,” and I believe this relates to a sort of re-aligning and stabilizing process that we must all go through on our destiny journey.  As God launches us and we step out on the things He has ordained for us, those things within us that we still need to work on are exposed, and our acknowledgement of them often causes some pain.  But fear not, these are only Growing Pains.  You see He loves us so much that He takes the time to carefully identify those things that may be small issues at this point, but could escalate into greater problems and “open doors” for the enemy, as we continue on our journey.

Pain in and of itself in the body is a signal that something is not quite as it should be.  Often, we will overlook a pain.  For example, we may have a pain in our left foot.  In our haste to keep moving, rather than address the pain, we ignore it by placing additional weight on our right foot. The pain in the left foot does not go away, and we soon find we have additional pain in the right foot and leg muscles because of the excessive pressure we have placed upon them.  Sound familiar? 

In our excitement about the journey and where it is taking us at this point, we must be careful not to overlook what God is showing us, in us, that we need to attend to.  We must take the time even as we are on our way, to address these areas and ensure they are strengthened.  We need to be fortified for the journey, because we understand that we have an enemy that has arrows intended to injure and if possible, take us out – along the way.

God is here as an ever present help to us.  Whether you are experiencing the pains of being out of balance, of health related issues, financial management… (wow, those are three really big ones) never fear.  We serve a God who is more than able, one who is not a stranger to pain or testing.  One who welcomes us to come boldly to the throne of grace to get exactly what we need so that we might be strengthened for our journey and perform great exploits for the Kingdom of God.

Remember, do not fear, just take heed and oh, one more thing about “Growing Pains” in children; they typically feel the pains at night, and then they disappear in the morning.  Now that’s familiar…

Psalm 30:5
   5For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

© Copyright 2011 Victoria L. Burse

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Am Who God Says I Am!

Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message Bible)
I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you,
not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Situations, circumstances, and especially people can all cause us to operate beneath our pre-destined calling. As a Woman of God shared with me this weekend, not only trauma, but even the residue of a trauma can leave us fearful and hesitant to step into the fullness of God's promises for our lives. Let me encourage you on today people of God. You are who God says you are. No matter what circumstances have changed, no matter how people have changed, what God has spoke for you Destiny has not changed. It is what He said it was from the very start even if you can't see it at the moment.

But if only we could, if only we would; if we would consistently see ourselves as God sees us. There is such a need for the people of God to be able to "see" ourselves clearly; through the Blood of Jesus that is! We must be able to see beyond past hurts and offenses, past our failures and mistakes, past the opinions of naysayers and pessimists in our lives. We must be able to see ourselves as the Survivors that we are now, and as the Victorious ones we are becoming as God heals us completely and then restores everything that the enemy has taken from us along our journey.

If only we would look forward instead of always looking back. We will have a most difficult journey trying to walk forward with our head turned to the back. You see, we tend to gravitate toward what we are looking at. My God; What have you set your eyes on in this season?

My Challenge to you this week is to set your sights upon what God says about you, and what He says is for you. If you are unsure about this, use the following scriptures to begin to search His word and pray for the clarity you need.

I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:1, 5

I am a friend of Jesus.
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God.
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. Ephesians 1:4

I was formerly darkness, but now I am light in the Lord.
you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8

God loves me and has chosen me.
knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you. 1 Thessalonians 1:4

If you already know who you are in Him, and He has given you even a glimpse of your destiny, stop denying the Power within. Lay aside every weight that so easily besets you, and run the race God has give you to run; with confidence. Know that you are who God says you are, know that He has already worked out the details you have been worrying about. Know how much He loves you and that He is so "for you" that He has set an entire army of angels at your beck and call, to fight on your behalf. No more living beneath our privilege. Now Go, my brothers and sisters. Go in God's Peace, Go in God's Power, and Go in God Confidence!

Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Want Balance? Apply Discipline!

Ephesians 4: 1-3 (The Message Bible)
In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk-better yet, run!-on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline-not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

As many of us are, I am often challenged trying to balance the responsibilities of my life; Home/Family, Church, Work, Fun, Personal Health and well being. We are all grateful to God for His many Blessings, but also know that Blessings come with responsibility. We all desire to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to us, and we want to hear Him say Well Done.

However, the struggle we have balancing the components of our lives and the choices we have to make on a daily basis can leave us feeling stressed, confused, and even guilty when we have not met all the needs or requirements; in other words, when we can't seem to fit it all in or get it all done.

Over the years as I have read Proverbs 31, the biblical description of a Virtuous Woman, I've longed to really understand how she accomplished what she accomplished. Does this word describe various seasons of her life? Or did she do all those tasks listed at one time. Did she have help? If so, how much help? While I don't know all the answers, I am convinced that she really does exist, and there really is a way. In fact, during my most recent study of this word over the past month, I again asked God "how?" and He replied to me with one word. Discipline.

Now, my pastor would say, I just used a "curse word." Why? Discipline is one of those words that just causes us to squirm when we say it. It immediately conjures up thoughts of us having to do some things, repeatedly, that we just don't want to do. Nevertheless, I know that it was God that gave this answer, and as I meditated on this word and its meaning and application, I was absolutely convinced that the way to balance, progress, and completion - is by way of Discipline.

Here are some definitions of the word Discipline:
activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill;
behavior and order maintained by training and control;
to train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.

Yes, there are a few other curse words within the definition, but we are all grown folks, I believe we can handle it and God says, it is something that we all need. From the definitions above, another word stuck out to me, the word Habitual, and the root being the word Habit. So often when we think of a habit, we immediately think of a "bad habit." Yet, all habits are not bad. In fact, the word habit in and of itself is neither good nor bad, it is the adjective that we attach to this word, that provides the context.

We all need to be disciplined and form good habits, across every area of our lives; and consistency is key. This is where prayer and accountability come in. We tend to take off running on a new goal, such as an exercise program, full steam ahead. Even though we cannot see all the benefits instantly, our body does immediately begin to notice and react to our new routine. Then, after just a few short weeks, our steam is gone, and we stop. We operate in fits and starts, rather than with consistency - thereby establishing a good habit and thus, completing our goal.

We can't get around Discipline - people of God. If we try, in the midst of all that we are doing we will find ourselves coming up short each time. We will continually be tired, stressed out, and with a grade of "Incomplete" before the Lord. Take time this week to find a starting point for working on those areas of your life where you know you lack discipline. You might even set a goal to form one new good habit, each month. Be careful not to overwhelm yourself or set yourself up for failure by trying to work on everything at one time, but pray and ask God where it is that you need to begin, ask Him for His help, and then receive and obey His instructions. Find an accountability partner; someone with whom you can share that area of your life that you are going to work on. Ask them to check in on you weekly, and then give them the permission they need to be able to speak truth and correction to you when needed. If you happen to agree to be someone else's accountability partner, don't forget to be an encouragement to them as well. They will need it. If this was not an area of difficulty in their life, they would not be asking you for help.

Today is a new day, God has given us another chance, let's show Him how grateful we are by working with Him to enact change in our life.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Get Some Credit Out Of My Life God!

1 Corinthians 4:7 (The Message Bible)
”For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn't everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God...”

Get some credit out of my life God. Hmmm, we’ve heard and likely said these words before, but probably more like this. “God, I give you all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise”. Either way, uttered from a sincere heart, the meaning is quite similar. However, it was just something about the way I heard the praise and worship leader speak these words in a song on the radio this past week, that has them still ringing in my ears. “Get some credit out of my life God,” credit, meaning “a source of honor or distinction for someone.” These words caused me to immediately pause, and consider my daily living, my daily testimony.

I’m certain that as we were all reminded of the events of 911 on yesterday, every Pastor in the United States took time to remind his congregation of how fleeting life can be; of how true it is, that we don’t know the day nor the hour of His coming, nor of the end of our own existence should that come first. With that said, I am in agreement. We must all consider what we are doing with the precious time we have been allowed.

If I were talking with just anyone this morning, I could say, “live your life to the fullest, live each day like it is your last” and be done with it. We could then all go off and do anything we felt we were big enough and bad enough to do, anything that brought US pleasure; giving, only with the expectation of receiving. However, I'm not talking to just anyone. I am speaking to those who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior, and are in covenant with Him, and commanded to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ while living a life that is pleasing to Him.

What do the days of your life consist of? Who are you spending your time with and why? Do those you spend time with know for sure the convictions of your heart and your allegiance to Jesus Christ, or are you an under-cover Christian, taking God’s glory for the many blessings of your life? Have you realized yet that all that you are and will ever be is because of Him, or are you still caught up in the vainglory that man distributes freely? Have you, as our brother Abraham did, left all – and entered into what God was doing for him, instead of trying to do it all on his own?

As we remember those who did not come home from work on that September 11th – perhaps it is also a very good day to openly give God the credit for waking us up this morning, and allowing us another chance to check our motives for doing all that we do, and making the changes where necessary. Perhaps we will begin to look for more God opportunities; those occasions where we can openly proclaim how good and how faithful He has been to us, and more of those times where we can reach out and share the love of Christ in whatever way that He allows, not expecting one single thing in return. We understand that it not us doing the work, and nothing is owed back to us, but it is Him working through us and He is the one to whom credit is due!

Romans 8:9-10 (The Message Bible)
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of Him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms…

To each of you that has reached out to me and shared your personal testimony of how "Wisdom from the Throne" and my weekly Lady-N-Waiting Blog posts have blessed you. I appreciate you and thank God for your words of encouragement.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Leap of Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7:
7For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.

I remember well, it was 12 years ago. I worked for an institute of higher learning here in Georgia. I had what most would consider a good job, and good pay. In fact, I had begun working only 4 days per week - 32 hours. I loved having the three day weekends, and some money to spend during them. However, it was also about this time I began feeling a bit restless on the inside. I could not quite put my finger on it, but I did know it was job related. I could not determine whether or not I was tired of what I was doing, or tired of where I was doing it. I'd been employed at this university for about 9 years, and really had no complaints. Either way, I was unsettled enough that I began to ask myself some serious questions, and as a Christian, I began to pray about making a change. I did so for several months, but - to no avail. It seems like I could not come up with an answer that made that unsettled feeling go away. I did not feel that I had a clear stay, go, change - from the Lord. I desired His will for my life, and so was determined to wait for a definitive answer from Him. Well, I can't say that I ever felt like I heard from Him. The truth; was that I was looking for the entire picture to be drawn out in front of me, instead of being able to focus on just the "next step". Is this familiar to anyone else that might be reading this????

I decided to do the following, to choose one of the options I had on my heart, which was to leave my employment, and start my own business - but...I prayed and allowed the Lord full permission to turn me around at any moment. Guess what, He never did. And now, 12 years later, I can say it was the best move I ever made. Why - well there are several reasons, but first let me go on with the story a bit.

While I am still an entrepreneur, I do not still operate the very first business I started. It failed. In fact I am now on my 3rd and 4th businesses simultaneously. My second business, a Professional Development Training Company, fared well for about 4 years, however, the economy went into a dive after the September 11th event in New York, and the need for corporate trainers went along with it. In 2004, I actually returned to the same university I had left, and am currently employed there now. Some would say, this sounds like I made a bad move, and then ended up right back where I started. And you know, this is what the Devil wanted me to believe as well. However, he is a liar, and in fact, here is the Blessing in it all.

God was preparing me for leadership. For me, that preparation began with leading my own company and basically myself, because it was only me - I was self-employed. I had to learn how to manage my own time and tasks well - and especially, my finances. At the height of my time with my second business, I employed 12 other contract trainers. What an experience that was. I think my greatest hurdle here was learning to trust myself to choose someone to go out somewhere and represent me well. You see, I had also learned that self-employment was not what I desired, but business ownership. Now that comes along with the capacity to reproduce myself and my services; with confidence. I also had my first experience of having an employee not do such a great job for a customer, and having to deal with that aftermath. While it was one of the things that I feared the most, in the was not half as bad as I had imagined it might be.

Lastly, I will say, that even upon returning to the university - while many things there were exactly the same as when I left, one thing was certainly different. ME. I had changed and grown so much. I had learned to live when finances were flowing, and when they were very slow coming in. I had learned not only to take full responsibility for myself and my actions, but to do so for other persons who I was accountable for because they were a part of my staff or of my team. I had learned to lead with Authority and Responsibility. I now experienced things at the university differently, and began to seek out leadership opportunities in that environment, when I had not in the past, and in the mean time, my husband and I started a photography business which is now in its 10th year of existence and steady growing. Another invaluable lesson, Stop treating your failures, as if they mean the end of EVERYTHING!

I'm saying all of this not to brag or promote my accomplishments in any way, but to bring out the fact that there are truly times in our life where we have to take a Leap of Faith. We have a decision to make, something weighing very heavy on our hearts or minds, and for the life of us, we cannot seem to come up with the answer. Yes, at times, it is meant for us to stand still. However, there are just as many times when God is asking if we Trust Him, even when we can't Trace Him even when we can't see the entire picture. Have we matured enough to trust the God in us...where we can make a difficult decision, knowing that if it was not the best decision, because we sought God, and searched His word...that He can and will fix for us what might need fixing on the back side. He does catch us when we fall, and when we fail! His word is really true; He can turn what may have been meant for our bad, into something that works out for our good.

This is also important because there are times when we have to make a decision on a "moment's notice" when we may not have 3 or 4 weeks, or even 3 or 4 hours to stop, pray, or seek counsel. We need to have a relationship with God, like the prophets of old, one where over time we have sought God for Wisdom, He has granted it, and we can seek Him on a moment's notice if need be - and then have the Faith to know that He will walk with us, that He never leaves us, nor will ever forsake us.

Fear, anxiety, insecurity, and a whole host of other things can cause us to exist in a place of indecisiveness, and therefore procrastinate on decisions we need to make and tasks that we need to take care of. Let's bring that to an end today. Lets practice Wisdom; here is my recipe "Got a decision to make? 1st - PRAY and ask God to guide you to His will. 2nd - Write down your Goal, and Do your RESEARCH. The type of research required, depends on the type of decision you have to make. 3rd - take what you have found back before the Lord in Prayer." And lets walk by Faith and not just by sight. He may not give us the whole picture, but He will give us Peace with making the very next step.

Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse
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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Needful Thing

The Needful Thing!

Luke 10:40-42:

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Have you ever been in a season of your life where you constantly feel like you are behind schedule? You know the goals you have before you, those things on your heart and mind that are really important for you to start to work on, and those things you really feel should be complete by now? I to have these times, and it was a dear friend of mine that helped me to see and understand some of the dynamics of a season like this. Let me say right up front. Yes, there are times when we are not focused, that we are distracted, and that we are putting our time and attention to a myriad of other things, granted; important things, but not "those things" that deep down we know we need to give ourselves to.

There is another perspective though. My friend describes it this way. "There are times in our lives when we are the Master of the Child (The Teacher) and there are other times when we are Child of the Master (The Student)." We must be able to discern what role we are in based on our surroundings as well as the specific situations of our lives. Of course, as the Master of the Child, you are the teacher, the nurturer, the mentor, in other words you are the one pouring out, you are leading. When you are Child of the Master, this is a time to be observing things that are happening around you, taking things and information in, not pouring out. Not so anxious to teach someone else at the moment, that you forge ahead before you really finish getting the lesson yourself.

Just as it is with me, so it will be with you. Time and time again, in the midst of your life's work, you will not feel productive, in fact, you may use words like procrastination, lazy, or fearful, to describe your behavior. But this is not always the case. We must learn to recognize when the Father has said to us "Come, sit down my child, listen to me. I have something new to teach you." When He calls, we should answer. In fact, we must answer. We all know that our loving Father will go to great lengths to get our attention.

Even as matured saints and leaders, we have a leader ourselves, and it is He that is creating the way ahead, and He that knows the obstacles that lay there. He, that knows us better than we know ourselves and most importantly, He that perfects and completes who we are.

Take the time this morning and consider where you are now. Master of the Child, or Child of the Master? Is the Lord seeking to teach you something right now? When is the last time you asked Him “Lord, what lesson would you have me to learn from my life’s experiences at this particular moment? Or do you feel you’ve learned your most recent lesson well? If so, record that lesson, consider how you might share it to encourage someone today, and go forth and Tell Your Story.

Peace, Joy, and Blessings!

Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse, Queens of the Kingdom
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