{Ministry Mom} Worth More Than Diamonds

MandyWritten by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

….worth far more than diamonds. (Proverbs 31:10 MSG)

The definition of worth is: “the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

Our culture is insistent that we find our ‘worth’ in various ways. Where do you find your worth?

Do you find worth in your education? Perhaps you have a degree or two from a prominent university, framed and boldly centered on your office wall. Do you find your worth in your job? Maybe you’ve climbed the ladder and have worked REALLY hard to earn the position you possess today. Do you find your worth in a growing platform? Maybe you have double the number of fans on Facebook or Twitter as your competitors. Do you find your worth in your family? I’ll bet you are pretty proud of the hard-working husband and beautiful children you call your own. What about a car? A boat? Your hair? Your home? Your passion? Your talent? Your ministry? (Ouch)

Now, what if the very thing in which you found your worth was stripped away. Would you still be worthy?

What if you have none of these things? Does that make you worthless?

1 Peter 1: 3-7 says this: God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear. You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns. (CEV)

Worth has nothing to do with anything you can possess or obtain in the physical sense. Nothing you can buy, earn or create on this earth will increase or decrease your worth. The value you feel in any of the things I mentioned above, or anything else other than God Himself will soon fade away.

It is only when you put your hope and faith in God, without reservation, without holding back, that your worth is far greater than diamonds, my friend.

Don’t settle for anything less.

{"Keeping it Personal" Radio Interview!}

Good afternoon We are His daughters, friends!

About a week ago now Keeping it Personal Radio personality, Teri Johnson, approached our president, Mandy Hill about being a guest on her Thursday afternoon radio show!

With excitement, Mandy agreed to share a bit about her faith journey and touch on some of the unexpected circumstances that she has faced in her life so far.

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We would be so honoured if you would join Mandy and Teri at KIPRadio!

www.kipradio.com

Have a wonderful day, friends!

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{Faith} Be Bold and Courageous: Say Yes!

Written by: Mandy Hill

“Up to the time of Samuel the prophet, God provided judges to lead them. But then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, out of the tribe of Benjamin. After Saul had ruled forty years, God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: ‘I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.’ (Acts 13:21-22)

I am learning lots about being obedient to Gods calling on my life. I love this quote “We need not fear what our obedience will cause to happen in our life. We should only fear what our disobedience will cause us to miss.” –Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Walk In Faith.

Isn’t that so true?! How many times has God called you to do something and you were hesitant to be obedient because of what comfort you would need to sacrifice, or what it might cost you.

If God is calling you to do something, he promises to take care of you. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

I don’t know about you but I certainly want all the good that God has for me and my family! Sometimes God asks something small, sometimes He asks us to do something big; something radical. Whichever the case, we need to be open and willing to be obedient to His call however that looks, regardless of what it will cost us.

We must also seriously consider the fact that we will be missing out on God’s rich goodness and provision if we chose to disobey.

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Is there something God is asking you to do? Does it require making a sacrifice? Whether big or small, say YES to God. Persevere through the ever-so-tempting choice to remain in your ‘comfy place’ and step out in obedience to the darling of heaven! Dare to be a woman who like David, did what God told him and had aligned his heart with The Lord himself.

Father God, we are so thankful for Your provision when You ask us to do something for You. We are thankful for the promise that when You call us to serve You in any way, big or small, You will work things together for our good. I know God that You are calling some of us to take steps of faith in our life journey’s and I pray for my sisters who are in that scary place of ‘deciding’. I pray for confirmation, clarity and a boldness of courage. Thank You God for calling ordinary women to do extraordinary things for You. We love You so much! Amen.

{Faith} Avoiding the Definition of Christianity.

Written by: Rev. Nathan Hill

There is a saying that I heard once, and it goes like this. “Good Christian girls don’t drink, smoke, or chew—and they don’t go with boys that do!” You may have heard this or some variation of it throughout your years in the church—only the lucky or the very new may have been spared from this mindset.

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What is implicit in this statement is that Christians are defined by the practices that they avoid, and Christian young women ought to date only those young men who are defined by the same avoidances as they are. Being defined by a negative, however, is not really a definition at all. Suppose you were asked by someone to describe to them the color red. Would you tell them that it is not black, or gray, or blue, or yellow? Would you tell them that pink is not red, although it is too close to the line for comfort? Or, would you tell them that red is the color of the sun when it sets, the color of a rose in a wedding bouquet, and the color of a ripened cherry hanging from a summer tree. I suspect the latter would provide a much better explanation.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian in the early 1900s, said that “being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.” I have to agree that often times our messages and conversations within Christian circles are more about character reformation than about actively pursuing God’s purposes for our lives and churches. Even when I think of some of my recent teaching series—one on the parables of Jesus comes to mind—there is much more time spent on behaviour modification than there is on discerning God’s plans. We often teach and talk about the perils of our heart, attitude, sin, self-centeredness…and the list goes on…but fail to define our Christian experience in terms of what we are doing, not what we are avoiding.

Paul defines the kingdom of God in a positive sense in his letter to the Romans, saying “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking” (as the discussion of his day was whether to eat meat sacrificed to idols) “but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17). We are defined by righteousness (which is imputed at salvation, not something we strive to earn and cling to), peace, and joy. Jesus also defines the nature of the kingdom of God at his first preaching gig, saying “the Spirit of the Lord…has anointed me to preach good news to the poor…proclaim freedom for the prisoners…recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed… (Luke 4:18). Moreover, James defines our faith as “looking after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Notwithstanding the call to personal holiness that resounds throughout the New Testament, would people define you as someone who caries peace and joy? Do you care for widows and orphans in their distress—those who are the most avoided in our society? Are you walking in a path towards freedom that compels others to walk behind you? Have you defined your faith by what you do instead of what you do not do?

Take a personal assessment and begin to define yourself by who you are in Christ, not by what you no longer are associated with. You will find that the Scriptures provide great insight into what our faith is about, from a positive sense. Dig in and explore!

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{Faith} Eyes be open.

Written By: Mandy Hill

God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Imagine you are backing out of your garage, down your driveway, and you hit a rock. You slowly pull away from the rock, driving back into your garage. When back into the garage you are distracted by a text from a friend; you reply. Then, you back out of the garage, down the driveway and hit the same rock. Frustrated, you slowly pull away from the rock, and pull back into your garage. When back in the garage you notice that you forgot to put the garbage by the roadside, and it is indeed garbage day. You complete the chore, hop back into your vehicle, pull out of the garage, down the driveway and ……..hit the rock, again.

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Reading this don’t you just want to scream the obvious solution: “MOVE THE ROCK!!!!!!!!”

Isn’t life sometimes like that, sisters? We keep hitting the same pesky rock over and over and over again. We become stuck in a struggle and can’t for the life of us, see the obvious solution.

Then one day the Holy Spirit pokes at our heart and brings conviction upon us. It becomes obvious that the rock is blocking our pathway; and it needs to be moved. “The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change.” (Acts 17:30b)

Moving the rock now does not mean there will be no more rocks in the days to come. The enemy is always scheming….. However “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; and He’ll always be there to help you come through it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

I don’t know about you, but I wish life had no rocks at all. The reality, however, is that we all have them. I take comfort in these words that Paul shared to the Corinthians: “All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; and He’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13b)

Let’s start moving those rocks, friends!!! With the removal of the rock comes a clear path; and with a clear path we can experience the fullness that God has for us. Let’s ask God for open eyes!

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Father God, thank You for Your amazing grace! We are so undeserving of this blessing and yet You so lavish us with Your grace. We bless You and we thank You. God, we realize that a very real enemy wants to throw some pretty big rocks into our path; we plead for Your help in navigating around them and ask You to be with us for the removal of the ones that we crash into. Be with my sisters this week, I pray. In Jesus name, amen.

{Girl Edition} Decisions.

Written by: Megan Kincheloe

Every decision you make matters. These were words I heard spoken to a young man by his mother during a conversation about life. They are words I wish were spoken to me in my youth. Every single day you are faced with decision after decision and have to make choice after choice. You have to choose what to wear, how to respond, who you spend time with, what to eat, whether to exercise, and how you want to spend your time. These are just a few instances that demand a selection. And how you choose to respond…counts.

These selections are not always about making a decision that is right or wrong and a bad choice does not define who you are. Your choice does, though, showcase your current heart position. It also determines whether you face each day being filled with peace from doing the right thing, or you face each day consumed with shame. I promise you ladies, SHAME. IS. DEBILITATING. Shame will steal your joy in 2 seconds flat.

Please hear me sweet gals, we are all going to mess up. Making the right decision is not something we are going to get right every time. This is why choosing what you are going to let guide you is so important. Or more importantly, Who you let guide you…

*Are you making a choice that lines up with the truth you know from Scripture? If you aren’t sure, take the time to look and ask God for wisdom and discernment. James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

*Does the choice you are making represent Jesus well? 1 John 2:6, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” Whew…that can seem overwhelming, huh? Ladies, God does not expect perfection. Jesus is the only one who wears those shoes. We can, however; strive to live holy lives. When choosing what to wear, what to eat, and how to care for your body, remember that our bodies are a temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Honoring God with your words is also important. Take time to respond in conversation instead of reacting. Be honest. Choose words that will lift others up and not tear them down. Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

*Determine your motive. Your motive is the reason that you do something. Are your intentions pure? Give yourself time to prayerfully consider each decision you are faced with if time allows. And remember, you cannot control what others think of you, however; you can control the character you put out there for the world to see.

Lastly, you are going to mess up. We all do. Be willing to extend yourself grace as often as you need. Making a decision to follow Christ does not mean you are going to be perfect. We are still sinners. The difference when you follow Jesus with your whole heart is that you become a sinner who is saved by grace. Repent and receive that grace precious souls. And remember, His mercies are new every morning.

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About Megan:
Megan loves Jesus and is passionate about sharing His love with others. She loves to write and encourage other women to be bold in their faith. God has recently given her a burning desire to minister to teens to ensure they know their value in who He has created them to be.
She has been a Christian for as long as she can remember but strayed away from living a lifestyle that represented Him well. She is forever grateful for His grace and mercy and endless pursuit of her heart, and hopes that her writing will encourage others to press forward in His grace. Megan has been married to Chris for 10 years and has 2 awesome children, Graycie and Colt.

{Faith} Love and other stuff.

Written by: Rev. Nathan Hill

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Each year in the month of February I speak about love and dating in the youth ministry that I lead. While the younger students focus more on loving one another as Christ would have us love, we dive head first into relationships with the older students.

Last year, inspired by a book written by Kris Vallotton entitled “Purity”, the main challenge of the night was this: anyone can get something expensive, but it takes sacrifice to get something valuable. To put it more poignantly, anyone can have sex, but it takes sacrifice (and many other things) to experience love and a healthy relationship.

Think of it this way: if I REALLY REALLY wanted an iPad, I could just save up and buy one. Now, I do really want an iPad…but just not bad enough to bump my other priorities. So, in essence, I am sacrificing my iPad to attain other things more valuable (like paying down debts.)

When a sports team fights their way to the finale and eventually earn the title of champion it is not really the trophy that they are after, is it? I was informed this week by a student that the Vince Lombardi Trophy is actually made of platinum whereas the Stanley Cup is only made of silver; even still I doubt the excitement over the Super Bowl is all about platinum versus sterling silver. Instead, a sports team is fighting for the right to say that they had worked hard, achieved their best, beat their opponents and emerged on the top. That is valuable to them; and it took sacrifice to earn it.

Anyone can get something expensive, but it takes sacrifice to get something valuable.

I gave the students several challenges. The first was that they would beat the odds of our culture and achieve relationships that last. I challenged them not to give into immediate satisfaction of their emotional desires but instead to sacrifice that in pursuit of ultimate love. I challenged them to define love less as a feeling in their stomach and more as a decision to make with their heads.

I reminded the students that everyone drops their trophy sometimes; everyone makes mistakes. It takes bravery to pick the trophy back up, dust it off, and carry on in the direction that God has intended for us. If it was easy everyone would do it…but because it takes sacrifice only the brave step up. In the end, however, it is worth it because….anyone can get something expensive, but it takes sacrifice to get something valuable.

Song of Songs 2:7 “…Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

{Faith} Have you forgiven yourself??

By: Mandy Hill

Isaiah 65:16– “So that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes.”

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The movie “Saving Mr. Banks” was absolutely fantastic. Without a doubt it is one of my favorites. Beyond the acting and the entertainment was the amazing message that was spoken throughout.

Emma Thompson, who plays P.L. Travers has flashbacks to her childhood, her growing up years, through the entirety of the movie. What she remembers of her childhood was fear, anxiety and …..guilt. As an observer of Mrs. Travers’ story, you know that she had misconstrued the truth of her past, and had taken blame for many burdens that were never hers to bear.

After so many years of carrying around these heavy and wearisome burdens, Mrs Travers slowly began to break. She was flooded with the realization that she had never ever forgiven herself. She needed to forgive herself, free herself from the guilty chains that she had bound herself in for so many years. When she finally allowed that to happen, she was set free.

Our incredible God has already paid an unimaginable price for our mistakes. He became victorious the day that he hung on that cross, so that we could be free from the bondage of sin. Sisters, whatever it is that you are holding on to- let. it. go. Forgive yourself, and truly allow yourself to experience the freedom that we have in Jesus!

Jesus has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Galatians 5:1)

‘Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you……” I believe that includes yourself, friends. Don’t waste any more time being bound in chains; taste and see that The Lord is good today. (Psalm 34:8) Let Him set you free!

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the freedom we have in You. Thank You that we do not have to walk around with the guilt of our past mistakes; but the truth that we are free and victorious because of Your precious son’s sacrifice for us can set us free. God, I pray for my sisters who are holding on to guilt of something that they have done in the past….please remind them that You have forgiven them and let them know that they too can forgive themselves. I pray that that rich freedom that comes only from You will flood their hearts and souls on this very day. Thank You Jesus, in advance, for the chains that You will break! In Your name I pray, amen!

{Faith} Answering the Call.

Written by: Mandy Hill

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2014 has taught me a few valuable lessons when it comes to the callings that God has on my life. It’s truly been a wonderful year, even with it’s tough times; but through it all my God was very present, faithful and full of grace.

Here are my top three lessons learned.

1) It’s never about my little dreams; it’s ALL about His BIG dreams.
Boy, have I been stretched in the area of my dreams. Whenever I chase after my Mandy-sized dreams, I’ve discovered I am missing out on so very much. God’s dreams for me and my life are SO much better than the ones I could ever come up with. In 2014 a few circumstances arose that totally left me heartbroken, but God was right there to heal, restore and show me His plans. It was during those circumstances that my God gently drew me closer to His side, once again grooming my character.

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2) Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. Stephen Covey
Sometimes God asks us to do hard things; things that require an abundance of obedience and trust. When you’re certain you’ve heard from God, let no one stand in your way of seeing His plans accomplished. “[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.” (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17‬:‭7‬ AMP) Do you have a word to share with someone? Speak it in love. Are you being asked to bless someone in a certain way?Bless them and then some. Is God calling you to a new ministry? Accept His calling and give it your all without reserve or disdain. Keep your eyes on Jesus and step out in faith and trust to do that which He asks of you. Trusting and following God’s will will strengthen and grow your relationship with Him in incredible ways.

3) Grace. We all need it. We also need to give it.
I admit, God has grown me the most in the area of grace this year. People mess up. People make mistakes. People hurt you; sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. However, I am not exempt from mistake-making or feeling-hurting. When I find myself in a situation that sucks, it helps to have this verse tucked into my heart: “And as you would like and desire that [people] would do to you, do exactly so to them.” (Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭31‬ AMP) The ugly reality is, the majority of people don’t think or act this way. People will be people. Don’t let that stop you from living a life full of grace.

Father God, thank You so much for the lessons You teach us along life’s journey. Thank You for Your dreams, for the incredible way Your dreams fit my life so much better than my own. Thank You for circumstances that deepen my trust in You. Yes, thank You even for the yucky circumstances, because it is in those that I can see You the clearest. Finally, thank You for Your example of grace; the ultimate example. I pray that You will help me to extend grace in all situations, especially the situations that are the hardest. Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

{Faith} I Celebrate the Day!

By: Sarah Oates-Walker

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Ever since Reliant K’s Christmas album “Let It Snow Baby… Let it Reindeer” was released back in 2007, the track “I Celebrate the Day” has been my favourite Christmas song.

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You’ve touched my life
Because here is where You’re finding me, in the exact same place As New Year’s eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

Every time I hear these lyrics, it is like they were plucked right from within my heart. Every year I passionately plunge forward into prayer and study, only to find myself on a rollercoaster of ups and downs in the consistency with which I pursue God. As I sit back and reflect upon another year gone by, and what I had hoped to accomplish in my relationship with Jesus, I am always a little disappointed, as it sometimes feels like I am right where I started.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

I am an avid runner. It is one of my most favourite activities. I don’t usually sign up for races, but when I do I make a point of training harder than when I am running just for fun. Some days it is easy to run, and other days it is a chore. Some days my muscles seem tired and sluggish and I struggle from start to finish. I find I am quickly out of breath or I might get a stitch in my side. Despite a challenging run, it never stops me from digging deep and pushing through to finish the path I have set before myself. When the race day comes all the hard work will have paid off. Regardless of what race day may hold my muscles are ready to endure even if I feel sluggish. My mind is strong and ready to drive me forward one step at a time, and with the passion I have put into training I am determined to finish well, even if that means finishing dead last. The important thing is that I have finished what I have set out to do.

Our spiritual life is so much like training for race. Some days it is so easy to pursue God and to hear his voice, and other days it is a struggle. With each push forward, we come a little closer to finishing our race and reaching our prize.

And so this Christmas I’ll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear:
That You have come to meet me here

Even when it feels like I am right where I started in my relationship with God, I take great joy in knowing that when I come near to God, his Word promises he will come near to me (James 4:8). Whether I have made a lot of progress or just a little it doesn’t matter in this moment; what matters is that God is ready to meet me right where I am today.

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

Praying that you will all have a very Merry Christmas!