Monday, March 2, 2015

The “Sting” Pt. 1 By Debra Courtney






“…if you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say to this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” – Luke 17:6 KJV

Well… Spring time is coming upon us here in the Carolinas and all the trees are really beginning to come into full bloom. That means the fruit is not far behind.  The bees are all a buzzing around the fruit trees, pollinating them and soon we’ll have fruit of every kind that grows conducive to this climate.  

However, have you ever heard of a wasp sting pollinating a fruit tree? Yep! You heard right. It’s true! There is a certain tree that bears fruit that only the pollination process is initiated when a wasp will stick its stinger right into the heart of the fruit. The fruit of this tree has to be “stung” in order to reproduce. Wasp doesn’t have the barb as bees do, so they sting repeatedly and aggressively. This tree is not akin to our native North American Sycamore tree. The fruit of this tree is a fig. Its fig is black, the fruit is very bitter to eat unlike the Mulberry tree fig, whose fruit is very sweet.  It’s the Sycamine tree. To eat the fruit of the sycamine tree you would have to nibble on it a little bit at a time because of its bitter taste. This tree grows very fast and tall and has one of the deepest root structures of all the trees in the Middle East. It’s very hard to kill, even if it’s cut at the very base; due to the deep root system it keeps sprouting again and again. Harsh climates with little rain have little effect. Oh, one last thing: the wood from this tree is used to make caskets.

Let me ask you a question…  Why did Jesus use this type of tree as an example for us?

Have you ever been “wasp stung” by a person? Did you know some people when “wasp stung” can go into shock in response to the wasp venom? Have you ever been “wasp stung” to the extent that you went into shock by a person? It’s very hard to kill the “sting” of a person, who “stung” you, isn’t it? Usually after the initial sting and shock, thoughts enter your mind about how you would like to “sting” back for what they said or did to you and/or your reputation?”  How many times have you said to yourself, “I’ll never get “stung” by that person again?” or “That person will never get close enough to me again to “sting” me like that again, I’m done with them!” Yep, me too!  I never forgot it and I also never let them forget it either, if I ever had the opportunity.

So what are you trying to say Debra you might be asking yourself.  The verses preceding Luke 17:6 is talking about how much and many times are we to forgive a person who offends us. 


Debra’s life goal is to inspire and motivate women globally to become all they have been created and designed to be by using the guiding principles of their Creator’s word in gaining wisdom, understanding their designed-given personality identities & create their purpose!  You can contact Debra at dwcscc@yahoo.com.

“…, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice…”
                                                      Song of Songs 2:14 






Friday, February 27, 2015

Nothing to Fear - by @ShelleyHendrix

image used with permission from pixabay.com
There are so many alarming headlines. Too many to count. I don’t know about you, but I know that as I read my newsfeed or hear the latest atrocity committed, accident experienced, storm warning or yet another Christian leader’s moral failure, I am gripped with a sense of my own humanity and inadequacy.

Fear is a powerful force and nearly indomitable motivator. 

The only force stronger than fear is love. 

And the only Source of pure love is God. 

And, Oh, How He Loves Us!! 

As children of God, deeply and fully loved and well-cared for, we can shine His light into the darkness as we put our hope in God. We can share this love that overcomes fear with others as we follow the Apostle Paul’s instruction to “express our faith in love.” (See Galatians 5:6) 

How can you share the love of Christ with those in your life today? How can you shine His light into the darkness today? 

Here are some practical ways Paul the Apostle encouraged a young Timothy to live out his faith: 


  • Do Good 
  • Be Rich in Good Deeds 
  • Be Generous 
  • Be Willing to Share 
And, as always, God's principles are closely attached to His promises: “In this way (you) will lay up treasures for (yourself) as a firm foundation...." 
May we all lean into our Heavenly Father in faith and hope borne out of our trust in His good and gracious character. 

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 

In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

~ I Timothy 6:17-19 

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

God in Darkness by Lori Kennedy



“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Genesis 1:2 (NIV)

It’s so funny how once a concept has been introduced, it seems that all roads point to me “getting it”.  I think most Christians have been told that God is with you at all times – including the bad times and yes we know that.  However, sometimes we just need a reminder.  The truth is that God is always with us – even in our darkness.  God was in the darkness before He ever created light. 
 
Sometimes when I struggle, I begin to believe the lie that God has forsaken me.  I’m not alone in this.  Many Psalms portray this very concept.  We must be reminded of the truth.  The truth is that God meets you in your darkness and pain.  God is indeed there with you. It’s only as you take the focus off of yourself and look toward the light, that you are able to see the purpose in whatever has been allowed in your life.  God's goal is for something beautiful to emerge from any loss in your life.  God doesn’t ordain sin in your life or upon you, but He does promise to use it for good.  God wastes nothing.  Your pain is not in vain.  (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 5:3-5)

As long as you are alive on this earth, the story of your life is still being written.  The tapestry it weaves is being intertwined with others; many of whom you may never even realize or know.  Laurie Short says in her book, Finding Faith in the Dark, "When we give up on our story before God has finished writing it, we miss out on what our story has to give us. Sadder still, we miss out on what our story can become."

It’s so hard to understand darkness and pain and fully realize the purpose of it.  However, it was Job's inability to see the vastness in which his responses mattered in the larger picture that makes his story so powerful.  You may never know (on this side of heaven) how your responses in the midst of darkness may matter to the greater picture which is God's story woven through your life.  But be sure that when you respond with grace, mercy, and hope, you are weaving into someone else’s life.

On the other side of darkness comes healing.  Although healing can be difficult, we must remember that healing is for us.  Healing doesn’t discount what has happened or give someone a get out of jail free card; healing allows us to live in freedom!  Healing permits us to move through what has happened and use it for a greater purpose; a purpose beyond ourselves.  Healing helps write the story of our life that becomes yet one thread in a beautiful tapestry woven by God. 

Christian vocalist and speaker Lori Kennedy believes in sharing the gifts and talents in which Christ has blessed her.  Authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability are imperative to touching hearts for the Lord.  As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from those in authority over her outside of her family of origin, Lori has had to overcome much to fulfill the destiny that God created just for her!