|Women in Ministry Upcoming Events|
|Connecting with the Sistah's |
|Make Thankfulness Your Sacrifice to God|
By Sandy Anderson
| Sandy is a Licensed Minister with the Assemblies of God and is active in leadership, service, small groups and currently serves as her Cornerstone Assembly of God in Richmond as Women's Ministry Director. Married for twenty eight years, Lee and Sandy Anderson have two grown daughters, Lachelle and Janelle. In her spare time she loves to read and spend time with family and friends.|
Visions of perfectly browned turkeys, steaming bowls of
creamy mashed potatoes and homemade pumpkin pies! Yum!
Families gathered around the table, hands joined, lowered
heads and bowed hearts, giving thanks to their gracious Father.
Dramatically painted trees that seem to go on like a sea of
brilliant hues as far as the eye can see across the mountains.
Their dazzling display declares a voice of thanksgiving for all the
bounty of sunlight and water they have received from the heavenly
I went online to "prove" what I thought I already knew about this spectacular display. However, I learned the brilliant shades of autumn actually represent a withdrawal of needed sunlight. (Papa has such a sense of humor.) As the temperatures begin to dip and the days become shorter, the chlorophyll reserves begin to falter, allowing the vivid yellows, oranges and reds to come into view. This gorgeous metamorphosis is a result of loss. I was ready to dismiss this line of thinking, but then Papa began to speak to me...
The brilliant leaves do indeed bring Him glory, but it is through loss their song of thanksgiving sings the sweetest. He also questioned me about my willingness to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving. He whispered in my heart "Sandy, those places where peace is missing and contentment is lacking, can you, will you, offer to Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving there?" I wish I could tell you I instantly broke into a chorus of "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow," but I didn't. It was more like a knock-down, drag-out battle. Human nature tends to focus on what we are missing, instead of giving thanks for the blessings we have. We must remember our view is limited. We choose what to focus on - whether to meditate on our lack or to entrust our needs to the Father and give thanks for all He has already done. Our vantage point is indeed limited, but our all-seeing Papa says,Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God..., Psalms 50:14. Our heavenly Father considers thanksgiving a worthy sacrifice.
I don't know where you are today on your life's journey. Maybe life is joy-filled or perhaps you are struggling with disappointments and discouragement. Much of the quality of our lives is based upon choices. What we choose to meditate on becomes the focus of our lives. We don't always choose the circumstances that come our way, however, giving thanks is always an option if we focus on the immeasurable love of Christ and all the many ways He has lavished that love upon us.
Is life perfect? Of course not! There will always be relationships that end, promotions that evade us, and opportunities missed. In seasons of frustration, disappointment and lack, will we choose to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving? Let us be bold like the vibrant trees and raise our voices in a song of thanksgiving even in our lack. With rejoicing we declare the works of our amazing Creator. As the leaves continue their vibrant metamorphosis and flutter to the frost-covered ground, may we consider the privilege of offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
May the fruit of our lips bring thanksgiving and praise to His glorious name.
|Thanksgiving - Attitude of Gratitude|
River of Life Worship Center
By Angela Donadio
Years ago, I heard a message entitled "Cultivate and Activate an Attitude of Gratitude". To this day, I can't remember who shared it, but the title stuck.
We have so much to be thankful for, and yet we spend much of our time in worry, anxiety or discontent. Why? Why is it so difficult to be thankful? Perhaps somewhere at our core, we expect something out of life, something out of other people, even something of ourselves that we don't get. Unmet expectations are a breeding ground for resentment and discontent. We begin to focus on what we don't have, or what we believe we "deserve", and before we know it, we are sinking in quicksand.
Cultivate and activate are strong action verbs that require us to be intentional and purposeful in our quest to live a life of gratitude. To cultivate means "to foster the growth of", "to adapt" and synonyms include "till the soil, grow, sow, plant, reap, harvest". To activate something is to "put in motion or move to act". It's closest synonym is "power". Let's rephrase our title with the definitions of the words - "Foster the growth of, sow, plant and reap, harvest and put in motion to act with power an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE".
What does the Bible teach us about our attitude? Philippians 2:5 tells us that "our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus". 1 Peter 4:1 encourages us to "arm yourselves also with the same attitude (as Christ)". Christ lived his life intentionally to serve the needs of others and bring glory to His Father. When we choose to surrender our thought life and expectations to the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to clothe ourselves in the attitude that Jesus wore.
The next time you find yourself pulled into the mire of discontent, remember to cultivate and activate an attitude of gratitude! This Thanksgiving, purpose to serve the needs of others and bring glory to your heavenly Father. It will give you a renewed perspective and you'll find yourself walking in joy and the favor of the Lord. Happy Thanksgiving!
|I'm Certainly Not in Virginia Anymore|
| Linda and Rob - married twenty four years - pastor Christ Chapel Mountaintop in Haymarket, VA. She has a degree in music and is a nationally certified fitness instructor, area director and teacher for Body & Soul Fitness, an international ministry. She enjoys seeing her four children use their gifts in music and sports. She especially enjoys singing with her husband and her ministry to women in worship and teaching. |
By Linda Seagears
I am so thankful for the presence of God. His presence evokes worship whatever our circumstances, wherever we are.
"Well, Lord, I'm certainly not in Virginia anymore". Although I had been in Africa for more than a week, I was still getting used to my somewhat unusual surroundings.
Our ministry team entered the building in Tamale Ghana which resembled a small gym. About 700 or more African women were engaged in spirited worship. Our entrance stirred curious glances, but also expressions of love. A diverse group - differing in economic status, age, and spiritual maturity - they had gathered for this special conference/retreat expectant for what they would hear from the Lord through us.
Ceiling fans stirred up hot air since there was no air conditioning and what might have been the parking lot outside was just a dirt road with a few motor bikes, goats and vendors selling bananas and other small fruits. The worship leaders used microphones, but I knew we could lose electricity at any minute.
One team is also diverse: one is Ghanian by birth, and the other three are Caucasian American along with myself. My skin is a dark chocolate brown but my voice is definitely American. I must admit, I wondered how they would receive me.
On this particular day, I was one of the speakers. I was thrilled as an American woman of color to be invited to speak and share my life and love for Jesus with these women. Yet, I was still a little nervous. I began my message with that which I was comfortable
"Tell them to do what I do." I explained to the interpreters - there were three of them.
Mandisa's "Freedom Song" came on through the loud speakers and we lifted our hands in unison. Imagine 700 hundred women, all dressed in pink, moving together in worship. We continued with some stretches and a gentle workout accompanied with many smiles and laughter. I was overwhelmed, in awe. Some might call it exercise, others - temple training. I just call it worship. Our hearts connected through the very presence of God.
I am so thankful for the presence of God. Our Lord is gracious to come into our midst as we gather together as two or more in church services, retreats, bible studies, and yes Thanksgiving dinners. I am also thankful His presence is with me in the simple and quiet times when I need Him most. I am thankful He sees beyond my fears and inadequacies and blesses me with serendipitous moments that could only come from Him.
Oh yes, I am thankful for the presence of God.
|A Peruvian Thanksgiving|
|Raised in Southern California, Rowena sensed God's call to ministry at the age of 13. She is a graduate of Jacksonville Theological Seminary and licensed with the Assemblies of God. She is a wife of 34 years, a mother and a grandmother. She has served in music ministry, as spiritual director of Richmond Emmaus Community, and has directed and trained missions' teams to England, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, India and West Africa.. |
Last year at Thanksgiving, I led a missions construction team from our church to Chincha, Peru. Two years after the 2007 earthquake, this Peruvian congregation still met in an empty lot. Our team helped rebuild the church building the quake destroyed.
One of our team members observed we were missing the American holiday of Thanksgiving. The Peruvian church members began to ask us questions about Thanksgiving. What is it? Why do you celebrate and what do you do? We explained the holiday and how this it is used to thank God for all the blessings He has given us and how we usually share a Thanksgiving meal with our families. Then of course, the women wanted to know what kind of food was served. We described the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. No one could figure out how to translate the word cranberry into Spanish, because cranberries don't exist in that part of Peru.
On Thanksgiving Day the church surprised us with a Thanksgiving dinner. They cooked a skinny wild turkey and made runny mashed potatoes, rice and bread. We sat around a large table and each person shared the blessings God had given them. It was great to hear the Peruvians thanking God for sparing their lives during the earthquake. They were so thankful to have a piece of property to meet together to worship. It was wonderful time of sharing about God's goodness.
I will never forget our Peruvian Thanksgiving.
|He Will Never Leave Us|
|by Ruth Pino|
Ruth's husband, Nick Pino, went to be with the Lord. God blessed the Pino's with 43 years of marriage, and 34 years as appointed AGWM missionaries. They served in Chile 14 years, in Bible School, Co-Directors of the Chilean Task force, starting & building over 30 churches. Ruth worked as leader in the Task Force in Child Evangelism.
Later they transferred to Mexico and served there as Church Planters, in Evangelistic Crusades, Men's & Women's Conferences and as interpreters for US ministers in our crusades. God also helped us to build over 30 churhes in Mexico.
Ruth is presently attending Harvest Church in Alexandria, VA. As she is still working through the grieving process, she shares: 'The Lord has faithfully been ministering to me and "binding up" my broken heart. He is so wonderful and I marvel at His loving care.'
Nick, my dear husband of forty three years, went to be with the Lord on November 13, 2008. When you lose a dear one, you feel like your life is over and ask yourself, where do I go from here?
I have been on a very different and interesting kind of journey since then, with many changes of sceneries and events. However, it was not until the beginning of September, 2010, that things began to change dramatically for me. For almost 1½ years, I had sensed such a tremendous feeling of loss, especially in the mornings accompanied by a deep pain in my stomach. This was more than a physical pain.
I finally decided I had had enough of this and brought it before the Lord. "Lord I know you are my Savior and I have the wonderful Comforter, the Holy Spirit, so what is wrong with this picture?" As I was quiet before Him, He lovingly told me, "My Child, you have simply not surrendered everything to me, meaning, your husband, your grown children, your finances, your health and your future. All of these things are in my capable hands. Give them ALL to ME!" At that very moment when I surrendered to the wooing of the Holy Spirit and said, "Yes, Lord, I do surrender EVERYTHING to you," the pain in my stomach completely disappeared. He truly is the God of His Word, "I will NEVER leave you, I will never forsake you."
|Laura and Karen|
by Laura Qualls
I had a daughter in my life for forty-five years. Karen Qualls Lovett (1964-2010) Forty-five years! Think of it! That's a long time to enjoy someone.
At the end of her life, Karen's "bucket list" was simple, to "live, laugh, and love." I realized after she was gone this was the pattern of her whole life.
Karen LIVED every day to the fullest. As long as I can remember, she embraced life. In her dramatic style she entertained her siblings and performed in church and school. She developed deep and lasting friendships even in her teenage years. She was in all the dramatic productions at school and she loved to sing. She also developed a close relationship with the Lord and wanted others to do so as well. She would bring many friends to church and show them how much "fun" church can be.
As she grew older, she became the prodigal, searching for meaning outside her instilled life boundaries. But after about eight years of seeking other things to fill the void, she recommitted her life to the Lord. To her, that was when her real life began. She always said that Jesus gave her so much to live for. Karen became a minister to people, ready to share her life lessons.
When she married Thomas Lovett, she embraced his three young children as her own and together they raised two sons and a daughter. To these children and many other "spiritual children" - Karen was called "Mama KK". Mama KK's persistence in prayer and speaking truth impacted children in a profound way. One of them said, "It was like sunshine coming into their life."
Karen knew how to LAUGH and was an expert on FUN! Karen told every child she met about her number one rule: HAVE FUN! One of the children remembers KK: The long summer days with KK will never be forgotten. We three beautiful mermaids were always looking for treasure and avoiding the pirates and the story goes on long into the day as the sun sets on the beach. Karen also had a competitive spirit and loved to play any kind of game with her friends and family. Even suffering at the end of her life, she would stay up late at family functions if games were involved.
Karen knew how to LOVE. The way Karen loved was unique. She made every person she met feel special not only about her, but about themselves. She knew the right thing to say to make a person feel like they were the only person in the world worth knowing. She loved people and she loved Jesus. He was her best friend. She loved people by sharing with them her love for God. She knew from her own experience, that people would love themselves in a healthy way, if they knew the Lord intimately.
Over the course of her life, The Lord brought people into Karen's life that needed to see Him and His love more clearly. He orchestrated for her to meet many people, strangers that fell in love with her the minute they met her. Even during times of receiving cancer treatment she would share the love of the Lord to the people around her. Through her witness, many people came to know the Lord and began their life of love.
I am a thankful mother. I had a daughter for forty-five years who enjoyed living, laughing and loving. Thank you, Jesus, for this great privilege.
My heart is full of Thanksgiving.
|It Is a Good Thing to Give Thanks|
|by Rosemary Dinges
|Rosemary serves as Children's Pastor, W.M. President, and Young Adult Sunday School teacher at Mannings Assembly of God. Her objective is to be faithful to the Lord's ministry and be a worker on the front lines. She says her calling is reaching the lost children of all ages for the Lord and her talent is administration. |
This is the time of the year that people prepare for the upcoming holidays - Thanksgiving and Christmas - sometimes without much thought to real thanksgiving. This year I can truly give thanks for the peace He has given me during a difficult family problem.
"Mom, I've reached the end of my rope. Michael is failing in school and I don't know what to do. I'm going to send him to his mother."
He was going to send my grandson to live with his mother - the woman who has not really been a part of his life since birth.
This grandchild is so special to me because it is God's mercy I have been a part of his life. While pregnant, my son and the mother decided to give the child up for adoption. I was never to see or know this child. BUT God had other plans. He knew my heartbreak - family means everything to me. When the child was 3 days old, the mother changed her mind. They brought him home and placed him in my arms and said "This is your grandson, Michael." I have helped my son raise his child for the last 12 years.
I was so upset at the thought of sending him away; I emailed special friends to pray for me and the situation. How could I bear not being a part of this boy's life?
I am so thankful that God knows how to handle every situation. First, God gave me a peace I cannot explain. Then He changed the situation. Michael, in honors classes, is now passing all his classes.
Psalms 92:1 "...It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord..." no matter what is happening in our lives. I can say from the bottom of my heart I am so thankful for God's love and mercy. No matter what comes our way, He already has the answer - all we have to do is turn to Him!
|Remember to Give Thanks|
|by Angela Trementozzi
|Angela and Paul, married for twenty nine years have been Potomac District Missionaries for the past nineteen years. They now serve as Area Director of Southern Europe. They have three sons, Paul, 27, David 25, and Nathan, 20 who grew up in Spain and currently live in the United States. They minister and work with the missionary family as well as nationals in the countries of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta, The Canary & Azores Islands. |
You who answer prayer, to you all people will come. When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.
As I read this passage, the realization struck me, the older we are in Christ the more we tend to forget to give thanks for what He saved us from - we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.
I tend to need a wakeup call to the fact that God has chosen to win the lost - all of them, the poor, marginalized, handicapped, the 'less valuable' of society. He has chosen to give each of these the same opportunity to live in His courts as He has given me. Quite frankly, I do not always choose to love or serve other people as God would have me do. I can get so caught up in Christian living within the church's four walls, I forget to serve the ones outside whom God longs to have live in His courts. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!
Recently a close friend asked me to go with her to visit a family who just lost their forty two old mother. The house was very run down, most family members were jobless; two of the children were young unwed mothers. A sixty-six year old grandmother was now left to care for all of these and she has nothing but a monthly government check, no formal education, but she trusts in Christ to help her through this challenge.
In my flesh I wanted to look at the older children and tell them they needed to be more responsible. Instead I followed the lead of my friend who wrapped her arms around those family members many would not choose to embrace. We let them grieve as we allowed ourselves to be 'Jesus with skin on'.
You who answer prayer, to you all people will come. God the Father longs for all to come to Him regardless of our opinion of them. Do we honor that fact in our words and deeds? May we remember and be thankful for what He has saved us from and share with others the 'good things' He has blessed us with.
1. How much of your time spent in ministry to others is outside of the church building?
2. Do you daily ask God to place someone in your life that you can share Christ with whether in word or deed?
3. Do you need to ask the Father to help you to love those who are deemed less valuable because of the way they choose to live?
4. Is there something in your life God has blessed you with, whether material or not, that you can use to bless others in order to shower the love of Christ on them?
|With Thanksgiving for Today|
by Stephanie Grant
| Stephanie Grant is the Associate Pastor at First Assembly of God in Harrisonburg, VA and a staff leader at Chi Alpha on James Madison University. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, and listening to good music. |
Fall reminds me of a lot of things: football, cooler weather, apple cider, our church's fall festival, turkey, family. Most of all it reminds me of the changing of seasons. Amazed, I watch the seasons of life change. Life seasons can come and go so fast, it is easy to pass up the moments of time with friends and family. In our business, we do whatever seems important at the moment. This fall I learned a valuable lesson I hope I will carry with me through all the seasons to come.
I am a forward-thinker. Like seeing Christmas decorations out in the stores at the beginning of October, my tendency is to live just a little too much in the future and not really be present in today. Every phase of life has the possibility of living in the future or the past. The fifteen year old says, "I can't wait to get my driver's license" Then, license in hand, they can't wait to move out. Then they can't wait to get married. They get married and can't wait to have kids. They have kids and can't wait until the kids are grown so they can retire. And on and on it goes.
Then there is the past. The "if onlys" or "I wish I had done..." or "I wish I hadn't done ..." or "If I had known then what I know now".
The truth is we are not really promised tomorrow. The Bible says God redeems our times and restores what was stolen. I don't know the pain of your yesterday, but I know we all have it. I don't know the expectancy you have for your future, but I pray we all have that as well. But today, I am thankful for the present. The present is a gift from God. It is your inheritance. You get to decide what you do with it and if you will enjoy it or not.
The death of my uncle died this year from cancer did not come as a shock, but the thing it did was teach me to treasure each moment I have. Whether I am with family, friends, or spending time with the God who I will spend all of eternity with, every moment matters. Every life matters and everyday should be lived to the fullest.
Look at your calendar. You may see another thousand days that look to be a repeat of this day. Then again, you will never have this day back. Think of the people you spoke to, at your job, at the bank, at the grocery, wherever you day took you. Each person represents opportunity to live in the now. Each day holds opportunities all its own. Let's embrace today. Carpe Diem.
Thank you God for this season, for this day in my life. I give it back to You as an offering.
"This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24 NASB
|Words of Advice - "The Preacher's Wife"|
by Jody Fountain
I am thankful for some wonderful words of advice that were given to me years ago. Gladys Hall, the pastor's wife who mentored me passed on what was given to her as a young pastor's wife in the 1920s . Great wisdom for any minister's wife.
A PREACHER'S WIFE
You may think it's quite an easy task
and just a pleasant life.
But really it takes a lot of grace
to be a preachers wife.
She's supposed to be a paragon
without a fault in view.
A saint when in the parsonage
as well as in the pew.
Her home must be a small hotel,
for folks that chance to roam,
And yet have peace and harmony,
the perfect preachers home.
Whenever groups are called to meet,
her presence must be there.
And yet the members all agree,
she should live a life of prayer.
Though hearing people's burdens,
their griefs both night and day,
She's supposed to spread sunshine
to those along the way.
She must lend a sympathetic ear
to every tale of woe.
And then forget about it,
lest it to others go.
Her children must be models rare
of quietness and poise,
But still stay on the level
with other girls and boys.
You may think it's quite an easy task
and just a pleasant life.
But really it takes a lot of grace
to be a preacher's wife.
Author UnknownWhen she shared The Perfect Minister's Wife with me, Gladys laughingly said she tried to adhere to all the items listed. Then with great wisdom, she told me to read it then to TOSS IT and follow what God has gifted me with. She also said using the word NO, NOT NOW, or I'M NOT GIFTED IN THAT AREA, should be used otherwise you will get burned out!
THE PERFECT MINISTER'S WIFE
A minister's wife must be perfect in many ways: wife, mother, housekeeper, seamstress, hostess, teacher, musician, nursery attendant, home caller, counselor, speaker, leader, secretary, cook, landscaper, nurse, singer, energizer, encourager, sympathizer, transporter, launderer, visitor, perfect dresser, motivator, decorator, volunteer in all things, financial aid advisor. Yes! A perfectionist in all things. All done with a never-ending SMILE!
St. Paul tells us not to be squeezed into the world's mold. We all have different gifts. Thankfully, we don't have to adhere to other's wants, but need only to accept what God's desire for us. We cannot be put into a 'man-made' mold. Our ministries will be enhanced and we will become more productive, confident and happy women when we are working where our calling and strengths are.
Think About It
"Gratitude is the heart's memory."
"Gratitude is not only the memory but the homage of the heart rendered to God for his goodness."
Nathaniel P. Willis
A prayer from Zimbabwe (slightly adapted)
You are a God not of the dead but of the living.
We give thanks that you send your only Son to give us life.
In the midst of wealth we are crushed by poverty,
and while we are offered Christ-life in all its fullness,
we are surrounded by disease, death and destruction.
We are tempted to despair, and yet keep hoping,
knowing that you care.
At times we weep silent tears, and cry out with deep emotion.
We come to you, our only hope and refuge.
Thank you for the gift of laughter,
even when the going is tough.
With you, O Lord, we may be troubled but not destroyed.
November 8 (Luke 20:38)
|Connecting with Your Family|
How to divide the holidays so that both extended families are happy
Our bags were packed and strategically wedged in the trunk of the car. The tank was full. Snacks and beverages at the ready. All that was missing was one elusive necessity-my positive attitude.
I just didn't want to go. read more...
|Can We Be Friends?|
|How to draw closer to your mother-in-law|
AS OUR PLANE touched down in the sweltering airport of San Pedro Sulas, Honduras, my mother-in-law glanced at me with a grin. "Are you ready for this?"
... I was taken aback when his (Rob's) mom and dad didn't hug me during the introductions, or even act particularly enthusiastic to meet me. ... read more...