Bold as a Lion

I went shopping in downtown New York City when my first-born son was pretty tiny. My husband was on a business trip so we went along. I decided to do some shopping to kill time while he was tied up in meetings.

I roamed around some fancy smancy store, I don’t recall the name, I was traveling up the escalator to the third floor when a woman behind me cried, “Aw! Do you have a boy or girl in there? I can’t quite see.”

I turned slightly so she could take a better look. I answered, “A little boy!”

“He’s so precious!” She commented. “Well, good for you to be out and about with him so young. It’s a beautiful day.”

As the escalator reached the top we parted and I immediately took a sharp right. Fortunately, my feet were the one thing that didn’t’ change during my pregnancy so I thought… Hmm? Shoes, I can look and shoes and try some on pretty easily with a baby. Sounds fun!

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I no more than hit the carpet area of the shoe department, when a woman asked, “How old is your baby?”  I answered her query.

She then gasped, “I cannot believe you have that baby out here amongst all of these people and all the germs! WHAT were you thinking?”

I’ll never forget this day. I received such different views and unsolicited advice was thrown at me in a matter of seconds.

I recently was asked to address an audience of young mammas on the topic of “Boldness in Parenting.” I began with that story.  Here is just a taste of what I talked about. I want to share it with you too.

I heard this term “Mom-shaming” recently.  The top definitions is: Criticizing or degrading a mother for her parenting choices because they differ from the choices the shamer would make.

It’s a bit like what I encountered in New York City while out shopping.  The scrutiny moms feel I’m sure is exacerbated by social media. The comments people leave on “friends” Facebook pages and opinions fly around from all angles all the time.  The incessant barrage of thoughts and messages may leave some debilitated.

Here are a few things I suggest:

  • Filter what you hear. (Maybe even FAST from social media for a time or season)
  • Fix your eyes on Jesus.
  • Fulfill what he’s calling you to do.
  • Finish the race!

These things you can do because you have the Spirit of God in you.

Parenting requires wisdom and discernment.  Trust God for strength while raising children:

  • God has given you your children. You are their mother. They are your children. He did not place them in another family for a reason. We may throw a dice, but the LORD determines how they fall. Proverbs 16:33. Nothing with God is random. Your kids are your kids.

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  • Ask for wisdom from on high. Then dispense what you believe to be the best decision, with the information you have at the time, with a surrendered heart, for the child you shepherd and simply do what you do. Then…leave the results to God.

Joshua 1:8,9 “Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous do not be terrified do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Do not be discouraged do not be terrified? I believe fear is paralyzing people on every side.

BUT Perfect love cast out fear. You are perfectly loved by the Father. Right now, in Jesus name. I want to pause for a moment and ask God the Father to lavish His love on you. Will you receive it?

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Father God, thank you for loving these readers. Thank you that you love them with an everlasting unending love. You don’t just love them collectively you love them individually. Allow each one to feel the love of the Father right now. Thank you for each one. Thank you for who they are. Let your perfect love cast out any fear. In Jesus name, amen.

You can be bold.  It comes from knowing who you are and whose you are. It’s an identity thing, really.

Your God knows what the future looks like because He is outside of time and He is all-knowing  and omnipresent. He is Alpha and Omega the great I Am. He sees you He sees me. He knows the purposes of some plans He has for you and they are good, and only good. He has purposes and plans for your children, those plans are good and only good.

If we believe anything else about His character or about His ways we have partnered with a lie. The lie, in and of itself, has no power but to believe the lie and agree with it empowers the liar.

What does God think about you?

  • He thinks you are lovely.
  • He knows you’re His masterpiece, He formed you.
  • He believes that you are worth dying for and He sent his son Jesus to save you.
  • He sees in you what you are becoming, not just who you are now.
  • He sees you as righteous because of Jesus Christ if you have accepted Him. 

When David saw himself as a shepherd boy, God saw him as a king! When Moses saw himself as a mumbler God saw him as a deliverer. When Rachel Inouye sees herself as a wobbly mama. God sees her as one who has come, in His Spirit, to deliver captives, bring hope, release peace and encourage people all over the world. 

You have a circumstance but you must have a stance in that circumstance.  Your stance is in Christ.  So you can be bold as a Lion!

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People all over are watching you. Your children are watching you. I hope that brings you encouragement to be bold. They pay more attention to what you do than what you say. They are watching you. If you cower, if you are not as bold as you can be in who you are, they will not be as bold as they can be and who they are. 

But when you break down and pull down any strongholds in your life and move forward in boldness it actually releases your children and others to live in greater freedom. It’s a beautiful thing! You get to partner with God to be a way-maker in your children and other people’s lives.

When it comes to Mom-shaming, no one can make you feel small. You only feel small if you believe a lie about you. The one who is offended and embraces the offense will quickly have a strong hold of being the victim, that thinking will play out in their life.

The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25 

We need to filter what comes at us, even criticism. When criticized do you focus on the criticism or your creator? 

The criticism may have an element of truth maybe that’s why it hurts. Bring comments and criticisms to God:

  • ask God what to do about it
  • change what needs to be changed
  • make modifications
  • but don’t stay stuck or believe a lie
  • continue to move forward and use whatever was spoken or said to make you a better person
  • let it sharpen you rather than paralyze you

 

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 The righteous are as bold as a lion because God loves them, they have a savior, their sins are forgiven, their conscience is clear and there is no condemnation.

Say aloud:

  • I can do this!
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
  • I make good decisions-in all my ways I acknowledge God and he will make my path straight. 
  • If I need wisdom I’ll ask God.

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. James 1:5 

Can you receive the love of the father and allow him to speak and sing over you? 

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst he is a mighty warrior he saves. He takes great delight in you he will quiet you with his love he will rejoice over you with singing. This is who God is for you. This Gods makes you brave and bold in Him.

He rejoices over you with singing. He is proud of you. He is with you every moment of the day. He does not expect you to handle things on your own. You can be bold in HIM.

He is with you.. If he commands something than he plans to give you what you need to fulfill the command.  Have a not commanded you be strong and courageous do not be terrified do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.! Joshua 1:9. God IS with you wherever you go. I don’t know about you but that makes me bolder.

God gives us this promise.  I will never leave you nor forsake you. So when you are:

  • in the garden God is with you.
  • doing laundry God is with you
  • waiting in the carpool line God is with you
  • shopping and your kids are hungry and they’re acting like wild monkeys in the store and you wish they would all calm down, God is with you.

“If you are in Christ so are all your circumstances.” This quote is from Graham Cooke. This emboldened me that gave me hope and courage in a time when the enemy wanted me crushed and defeated and discouraged. Reader, God sees you, He knows your circumstances and he loves you. 

So, don’t let anything cause you to shrink back. Step forward into the plan that God has for you.

Ephesians 2:8, maybe very familiar to you, For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not of yourselves it is the gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

Verse nine goes on to say, for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. So relax, do not fear the future but step into it with boldness because God has planned things in advance for you.

I pray that as you step forward in whatever you do, you will be bold.

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With my God I can advance against a troop. With my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:29

I’d love to pray for you:

Father, I release boldness and courage from you! I release the boldness of the Father over these readers. I release the love of the Father over them in order to step into their true calling. In order to take up the mantle of being the people you’ve called them to be. I speak rest over them at night. I speak health over their bodies, I bless their marriages, if they are married and I bless their spheres of influence in Jesus name! 

I bless their children to know who they are as they go through life. I pray that the discovery process would be exhilarating and not exhausting. I pray, in the name of Jesus, that you would be the shield around each person and the lifter of their heads.

I pray when they look up they would feel your hand under their chin as you are looking on them with eyes of love. Would you right now, lift up your countenance upon each one and give them your peace. In Jesus name. Amen.

Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Reader with God…You got this! God does not command us to do something that he does not equip us to carry out. 

I pray that you will be encouraged with these words and you will be as bold as a lion. 

 

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Rev up! Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

“Gentlemen, start your engines!” this traditional phrase is spoken at the start of the Indianapolis 500. I feel a bit like I’m at the start of a race as my fall schedule begins. How about you?

Just two days ago, I had the kick off of my weekly Bible study. My calendar reflects the impending speaking schedule is about to begin in less than a week.  Dom, Dom DOM!

Do you feel it?  It’s in the air.  All around me I feel excitement and curiosity mixed with a pinch of the fear-of–the-unknown with a side of panic. Many of you have sent children off to school or have started back to college yourself or your back to ministries at church.

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I feel a sense of excitement of what is ahead but I know new things and busier times of the year can bring with it apprehension and anxiety.  I get it, I do! But I say, “No!”

“No,” to anxiety.  “No,” to worry or fatigue or restlessness!

I am choosing to believe that what God says in his word as he promises me certain things regarding life in him and about my future:

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I was thinking about all I have on the horizon:

  • finishing a manuscript for a new book
  • future travels and messages to be delivered at events
  • completing the demo and remodel of our master bathroom
  • filming and recording an on-line course
  • painting part of my basement
  • moving forward to begin a podcast
  • even writing this current blog post

I am needing revelation regarding so many things. I was on a FaceTime call with my precious parents today.  We were speaking about upcoming things when I paused and shouted, “I’m looking for revelation!”

My father chuckled leaned forward slightly toward the screen and said, “Get ‘reved’ up! VROOM VROOM”

Get it? REVELATION!  As we hung up the call his parting sign off was, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

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I knew he was talking about future plans, the things I am in the process of doing and the things that are about to begin. He was referencing all of it. Yes, I desire to commit ALL OF IT to the LORD. He made me. He has good plans for me.  AND good news… He is preparing in advance the things I do.

Let me turn a slight corner here and reference PLANS. I’d like to share a few versions of the same verse:  Proverbs 16:3 

  • Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. NIV
  • Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. NLT
  • Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out. GNT.  

There are some really great promises. Here are a few cross references:

  • Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. I Peter 5:7
  • Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5
  • Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

Isn’t it easy, even in prayer, to speak to God about our plans or about our circumstances? But I believe it’s better to speak to our plans and circumstances about our God.  Just flip that whole prayer over and see it through our really BIG God.

Even this morning while I was praying, a situation came to mind which needed to be better aligned to who God is. I flipped the pages of my Bible to Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” I took a deep breath and exhaled with such peace.

Let me give you one more truth from scripture. I hope it helps both of us as we go about doing whatever we’ve got planned because it will require our strength.

Seriously I am a wimp on my own but with God I’m so amazing and I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. So if you need strength today let me encourage you with this.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

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I’d like to pray for us:

Father, thank you for who you are, righteous, good, our sustainer, way-maker, restorer, provider and deliverer. Your eyes search throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to you.  I call to you because we need your strength.

We can cast our cares on you because you care for us. Thank you that nothing is too hard for you. NOTHING! You made the heavens and the earth with your great power and outstretched arm. You’re absolutely amazing! You are so good and so kind. You love first. Thanks for loving us.

I thank you that we can break off anxiety that attempts to creep in, in the name of Jesus. So right now I do that, I break off any anxious thought and replace it with your peace and your rest!  You promised to keep us in perfect peace as we trust in you. We recieve your perfect peace.

You said let not your hearts be troubled or afraid because you are with us and you have overcome the world. Thank you. You promise to be with us every moment of every day. We are grateful. You don’t take off on us and you don’t lie. What you say you will do, you will do. All your promises are yes and amen. Thank you Jesus! We stand firmly on your promises.

With all we’ve got going in the upcoming days I commit it all to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

So “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your engines!”

 

 

 

 

Should I Answer a Call From an Unknown Number?

My cell phone rang. I pulled it out of my purse but I didn’t recognize the number.
My mind had, within a split second, all these random thoughts:
  • Hmm? Who is this I wonder?  
  • What? 407 area code?
  • Should I take it?
  • It’s a Florida number.
  • It could be from Uth Stuph? YOUTH STUFF- the Company that my Celebrate T- Shirts.
  • The latest order was shipped and has already arrived.
  • Could there be a question about the order?
  • I’m driving, ahhhhh and have no laptop or order information with me.
  • Should I answer?
  • Yeah, I should take it.
I’m sure glad I did.
“Hello, this is Rachel” I said.
“Hi, Rachel, This is ____________,  we’d like to do a client spotlight on you and your ministry along with the Celebrate T-Shirts…It’s for our blog.” She informed.
I don’t know about you but I giggle at how God works sometimes. I love getting the word out about the message behind the “Celebrate Movement” and my Mantra: “Don’t Compare, Don’t Compete, Celebrate!” He’s been cracking me up lately.
Is God working in your life in odd and fun ways? He is in mine. I often ask Him to surprise me. It’s funny how I am still surprised by his surprises.
I’m tickled about the traction the “CELEBRATE MOVEMENT” is getting. It’s a God thing. I am truly amazed by people. I help people celebrate their significance and the genius of God in them. By the way: I celebrate (Honor, Commend, Applaud) You.
I’m delighted to report that the call was quick and a great way to spread the message. HERE is the interview from their blog.

Uth Stuph Blog

Client Spotlight: Rachel Inouye

Uth Stuph Client Spotlight: Rachel Inouye

Our client Spotlight this week is on Rachel Inouye and her ministry of celebrating God’s love for us! Read our blog to find out more about her inspirational career of changing lives through storytelling.

Uth Stuph: Rachel, thank you so much for being our client spotlight this week! Tell us a bit about your ministry.

Rachel: I help people celebrate their significance in the genius of God in them. God is given me the ability to take tangible things in this life and see a connection to a spiritual truth. I have a fresh perspective for everyday life. This perspective comes out when I’m speaking and in my book, Lily Pads: Stories of God on Displayand in my weekly blog posts.
God is a God of all hope, not just some hope. So no matter what the circumstance or situation, there is hope in the midst of it. God is for us not against us and that no weapon formed against us will prosper. God is good even in the midst of hard times or difficult circumstances.
I thoroughly enjoy story telling, with a love for Scripture, and believe in the power of prayer. God answers the cries of His kids and loves us so much. Those things sum up my ministry.

Uth Stuph: What made you want to become a speaker?

Rachel: I have been speaking since the moment I learned how to talk, NO JOKE!

“Rachel is always talking in class!” is something my parents heard during elementary school parent-teacher conferences. Funny turn of events; I was the class speaker at my high school Commencement Ceremony and some class reunions.

Not only am I a verbal processor, but I’m on the planet to encourage others.
I’m called to exhort the congregations. I began speaking as part of a worship team and traveling on cross-cultural mission trips to Colombia, Peru, Spain, Kenya, India, Guatemala Israel and soon Oman, Lord willing!
I primarily speak and encourage women at small group gatherings, women’s weekend retreats, mother-daughter teas, and Christmas programs. I’ve met so many fabulous people and I’m honored to minister to and with them. God has grown this ministry. It’s amazing to watch and exciting to be on this ride.

Uth Stuph: Tell us about your “Celebrate” T-shirt.

Rachel: This T-shirt is my life’s mantra: “Don’t Compare, Don’t Complete, Celebrate!”
Now it’s become the “CELEBRATE MOVEMENT” as many people have joined. The message of the mantra is for people (not just in the church or corporations), but for people’s lives in general.
Comparison is “killing” people- it’s exacerbated by social media’s view in to people lives. Whether staged or real, it can be a breeding ground for discontentment. Comparison can be absolutely debilitating and even competition can turn ugly.
The antidote I’ve found is simple: Celebrate! Yes, Celebrate who you are as an individual and celebrate other people too.
There is no one alike on this planet. We are each uniquely made and God’s masterpiece, so don’t compare. There is no reason to compete for God’s love or attention. He willingly gives it to each of his kids. Don’t Compete. God never makes junk and you are God’s MASTERPIECE!
I heard a pastor say regarding other people: “Call out their gold rather than tripping over their dirt.”
The CELEBRATE is gold and the T-shirt is black.
Call out the GOLD rather that tripping over the dirt (black)

Uth Stuph: Rachel, Thank you so much for sharing with us about your ministry and the custom shirts that help you celebrate! How can people find you?

Rachel:
Instagram: @RachelInouye
Twitter: 4thgirlrach
JOIN the movement order your own t-shirt! http://rachelinouye.org/Store.cfm
Watch for other ways Rachel spreads encouragement through her online classes and podcasts.

Is Disruption a Good or Bad Thing?

I woke with one word in my mind…Disruption. Disruption? I wondered, Is this a positive or negative thought? I heard God ask. “Is disruption always bad, Rachel?” My response, “Am I supposed write about disruption, Lord? ” 

A few stories from the Bible flooded my mind: Jesus first disruption- simply being born split time, for goodness sake! How about when He overturned the tables of the money-changers in the temple? That was certainly a disruption. Jesus stopped along the road and called down, out of a tree, the short, wealthy tax collector, Zacchaeus.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed Jesus gladly.

(People despised tax-collectors because they cheated and stole from them often. BUT Jesus decided that’s where I’m having dinner tonight! )

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

(From Luke 19.)

I realized I had only thought of disruption with a negative connotation. Perhaps it is because I was trained as a teacher and a disruption in the classroom or a disruptive student isn’t typically a good thing .

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Suddenly, I was struck by how Mary’s disruptive act of love and worship caused the Pharisees to have a “disruption in their hearts” because they had to consider Jesus’ willingness to forgive the sinful woman.

A story of disruption:

“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

(This would have been a HUGE disruption… A women, kissing and wiping Jesus feet with ointment and tears)

Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.”

And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.

You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”” Luke 7:36-50 ESV

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Disruption: NOUN- disturbance or problems that interrupt and event, activity or process. 

This morning my activity of walking in beautiful Nashotah Park with a friend was  interrupted by the mushrooms we continually saw along the way. We’ve  had so much rain lately so the mushrooms have had perfect growing conditions.

At first I looked ahead and thought, did someone leave white large kitchen trash bag lying in the middle of the mulched trail?  I was listening to my friend, but I thought, “Gross, that must be a big trash bag up ahead.” 

Then I cried out, “Oh, my gosh! Jill look! It’s a huge mushroom! Let me take a picture of it.”

“Hang on, lemme put my foot in the frame for size reference. It is so big! Oh, brother,” she continued, “Someone must have stepped on it or it just split into pieces.”

“Great. Set your foot right there. I want a photo.” I suggested. “Got it!”

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As our walk continued, I wanted to slow down in order to capture some photos along the way. It was amazing!

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Is disruption a good or bad thing? Let me turn a corner here for a moment. I’d like us all to consider this. As believers, we are in this world to represent Jesus Christ. RE-PRESENT Him. Some people need another look at Jesus or another introduction to His character and nature. We have an opportunity to be that.  I want to re-present him in such a way that causes people to stop and take notice. I’d like to be a disruption or sorts.

I pray my life will cause a disruption of:

  • thoughts that need shifting
  • preconceived notions
  • the course of their day
  • process of dealing with an issue or person
  • their own thoughts or lies about who they are

I’d like to be similar to the mushrooms I saw on my walk. Why? Because I’d like to have so much WATER- and grow HUGE.

Water is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit, may my life be a HUGE MUSHROOM in their path and cause them to take notice. I pray what is seen is a life that interrupts the norm enough to cause them to see the Jesus I represent.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Is there a disruption in your life right now? What is your response to it? Is Jesus trying to disrupt something for your own good? Perhaps you could make a list of the positives you have seen come from it. Ask yourself, ” Is this really a bad thing? Could I see the good in it?”