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
Victoria's latest  book "Destination Destiny" Click Here to purchase your copy today!

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
Victoria's latest book "Sabbath Songs" Click Here to purchase your copy today!