Sis. Lisa Rice is Married To Pastor Doug Rice. She is currently IL Section 2 Ladies President and is responsible to help plan District and Sectional events as well as being the Section 2 Rally Leader for our annual Mother's Day Memorial Offering.
From the recent UPC Ladies Ministries Newsletters
Celebrate Your Wins
"New year, new me," is a saying that you hear or see often, especially at this time of year. Although the thought sounds like a positive approach to self-improvement, it is not the healthiest of mindsets. Each January first, a great many anticipate becoming the best version of themselves in the coming year. Hopes are set high to cease all bad habits and embrace a more perfect version of who they were meant to be.
I heard a conversation recently between my daughters. One who is involved in the leadership of a music ministry was stating that members of the team watch videos of how quality their leadership was in a service and how they can improve. In other words, they critique themselves for the purpose of becoming better. Her sister asked, "But do you celebrate your wins?" This conversation stayed in my mind for several days and impacted me significantly.
How often are we quick to list all the areas in our life that need improvement, without ever stopping to note the things that we are doing right? We get caught in the trap of incorrect perceptions as we observe the accomplishments of others, making our own insufficiencies seem so substantial.
In reality, our lives are a beautiful picture of woven parts - the old and the new; who we are as well as who we are becoming. If we choose to look at ourselves in that light - who we are and what we can be, rather than focusing on all the things that we are not, then we will have a healthy foundation wherewith we can reach our fullest potential.
As we approach yet another year, let's take note of what went well last year. Let's be thankful for the ability to carry out certain areas of ministry that were blessed to be involved in. Perhaps we can make a list of what we did get right and what worked well.
There will be areas that demand improvement, no doubt. We do well to strive for our best. But don't forget to celebrate our wins and recognize our value.
For the young ladies in our TCG clubs, let's help them to recognize their worth. Help them to discover their God given gifts and talents. In our Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook world, they need to be able to make note of things in their own lives that are Pinterest worthy, whether they're ever posted or not.
"Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways." Pro. 28:6 ESV
"If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." Is. 58:10-11
You Are Special
by: Max Lucado
Although this book is geared toward children, the message is a powerful one.
Punchinello lives in a world where good behavior and talents are rewarded by gold star stickers and those with bad behavior or lack of talent is given gray dot stickers. Punchinello feels poorly about himself as he finds himself covered in gray dots.
A visit to Eli, the woodcarver, helps him to discover that when the opinions of others no longer take precedence, the stickers - stars or dots - simply do not stick.
Likewise when we find fulfillment in what God thinks, rather than others, then we learn to be comfortable with who He says we are and our self esteem is established.
I have used this book in several Girls Conferences and sessions as we address our issues of acceptance and self esteem. You will enjoy!
My Purpose Renewed
By Randa Chance
There's something about an impending thunderstorm that heightens the senses. The atmosphere stills as the metallic scent of ozone charges the air. Grass and overhanging branches weighed down with leaves suddenly turn a more vibrant green against the dark grey sky. Lightning forks across the clouds, then the wind churns and dust clouds kick up as fat drops of water begin to pound against the earth. Torrential sheets of rain blow past while thunder vibrates the windows. Then bit by bit, the clouds empty and the downpour slows to a steady stream, then a trickle, and there is quiet. Everything is washed clean and covered with the reflection of fresh rain.
Sometimes my own spirit grows dusty and dry. Without consistent, everyday time with the Lover of my soul, my perspective becomes limited and skewed. My gaze turns inward and focuses on negative things. I allow anxiety and worry to cloud my view. Sometimes bitterness and anger even seep in and add a thick layer of darkness around the edges of my spirit, and eventually I lose sight of my purpose. If I fail to consistently step into God's presence and be "cleansed with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:6), I can quickly become hopeless, dejected, and deeply troubled.
There is a secret place, though, where I plant my face in the floor and His spirit washes over me. I "hear [His] voice; in the morning I lay my requests before [Him] and wait in expectation" (Psalm 5:3). And during my daily conversation with Him and while reading His Word, comes a thunderstorm of His love. In those moments of intimacy, my own tears pour down while He washes my spirit, and the dirt and grime of my everydays trickle away. Careworn shoulders straighten again. Eyes so easily blurred by the dust of distraction and cares of life suddenly clear and gain sharpened focus when I lean into Him as a little child and He holds me up to see from His vantage point.
Almost one hundred years ago, Helen Lemmel wrote the timeless lyrics: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." Although my eyes may be physically closed during prayer, my vision returns with startling clarity when I am in His presence and my purpose is renewed. Cares lose their grip as He holds me. He is mine, and I am His.
Note: Randa Chance has a Master's degree in clinical mental health counseling and is licensed as an LPC Intern and LMFT Associate. She is a speaker and author and lives in Texas with her husband, Shane, and their three children..
A Daily Prayer for Renewed Vision
By Wanda Chavis
"And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly" (Mark 8: 22-25).
Physical sight is a precious gift we often take for granted. Every physical attribute has a counter spiritual message for us. Just as we care for our physical eyes through examination, corrective lenses, and even surgery, we must intentionally assess our spiritual vision regularly.
This is my prayer for restored vision in my life and in the lives of my loved ones.I pray for Jesus to touch us . . . restore our sight, help us to see clearly.
Dear Lord, I fear that my family and I can suffer from myopia - nearsightedness.Faraway objects look blurry because the present situation is so chaotic. There is no clear direction, purpose, or goals. Life is so full of distraction, drama,, and disappointment; there seems to be nothing to look forward to. God, help us to see and believe; You have plans for our future, and our life is in Your good hands.
Heal my family and me of hyperopia - farsightedness. The present, close-up objects in our lives look blurry. This causes frustration - wishing, hoping and waiting for better days. Help us to understand our vision is distorted. This hyperopia causes us to think negatively about "now." Don't let the enemy blind us. Help us to be grateful and present in each moment of our lives and to focus on the goodness all around us.
Lord, some of our farsightedness is caused by the presbyopia common with growing older. Aging can cause us to lose the elasticity of our vision. Help us to incorporate intentional planning for transition in our lives and our ministry as we age. We don't want to lose vision and momentum, but we want to be productive and effective all the days of our lives!
Lord, heal the astigmatism that is causing blurred vision in my family. The shape of current circumstances is not allowing Your direct light into our eyes, so everything is distorted. Busy schedules and overloaded calendars have caused our lives to get out of alignment with the "Light" of your Word and Spirit.
Lord, restore and renew our vision, in Jesus name.
Note: Wanda Chavis is the North Carolina District Ladies Ministries president. She and her husband, Jeff, have pastored in Spring Lake since 1981. She is a business owner, author, speaker and mom - with her grandchildren count reaching nine.
By Bethany Sledge
I bought my husband a sweatshirt that says, "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you." If I cannot see from someone else's viewpoint, I may never understand that person. When we understand "why," "what" makes sense. In an uncertain world, too often I pray with my eyes clouded by the conditions around me. However, as a child of God, I should pray with godly vision and view my children's lives through Jesus' eyes. This will change my prayers from fearful pleas into expectant communication. What view did Jesus manifest in His prayers?
Faith: "Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (John 11:41). Effective prayer for my children begins with the confidence that my prayers are heard. This assurance will bring expectation to my prayer life.
Revelation: "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Luke 10:21). Trials and triumphs in my children's lives are both reasons for joy and trust, for they provide an avenue for spiritual revelation. Young people have an aptitude to learn, and we should pray the Lord will open their hearts to His truth.
Love: "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Love and forgiveness motivated Jesus even through terrible pain. May I never lose my willingness to intercede for my children, relying on the limitless love of the Lord. Their lack of experience will result in stumbles, but through the Cross, their failures need never be the end of their story.
Truth: "These words spake Jesus, and said, . . . This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:1, 3). Whatever else I may ask for my children, the real goal remains that they will have a true relationship with Jesus and recognize Him as God. I do not want to ask for anything on their behalf that would steal their hearts from Him. Instead, I place them gladly in His hands and will, the safest place for them.
"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened" (Ephesians 1:18). May His motivation, the "why," illuminate my mind and heart so my prayers, the "what," will be in alignment with Jesus' purpose for my children.
Note: Bethany Sledge and her husband Carl serve as missionaries to Germany, and she is the prayer coordinator for the German-speaking nations (GSN). She loves children and cheerfully fills the role of secretary for the GSN Sunday School Department.