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Monday
Jan252016

Grace-Filled Relationships

I opened the lid of the bread machine and was shocked to find cooked bread dough filling the entire cavity! Every inch of space was covered; it was in the bucket, along the lid, and all down the sides, nearly to the heating coils beneath. It was a mess.

It was one of those days when the pantry had yet to be restocked. When I finally got home and started making plans for dinner, I realized we had no bread. Bread machine to the rescue!

Flour…sugar…yeast…milk…oil…salt. Oops, out of salt. Oh, well, I thought as I finished prepping the dough, it shouldn’t make too big of a difference. Much to my surprise, it did. Not only was my salt-less bread deformed on the outside, but also most of the middle was missing. At the table, my children couldn’t understand why someone would eat all our bread, and they spent most of the meal trying to figure out how the culprit could get the bread out of the crust without breaking it.

It took me almost the entire dinner to explain to my kids how yeast makes things rise by creating air pockets and how the yeast in our bread had basically turned it into one giant pillow of air because there was no salt to temper its reaction. If you’ve ever made homemade bread, you may have realized (like I did) that there are a few key ingredients you just can’t dismiss—like salt. Salt is one of the most important ingredients in bread. Not only is it a flavor enhancer, but it also regulates the yeast’s reaction to sugar. Without salt, yeast can quickly get out of control—as I discovered.

Later, I got to thinking of that bread and remembered this passage of Scripture:

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. [6] Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Colossians 4:5-6, New American Standard Bible

I also remembered Andrew saying once, “I think people struggle with grace because there’s just no role model for it outside of God. Our entire world system is based on performance…. But our relationship with God is based on grace—it’s based on what Jesus did, not what we do.”

And I got to thinking, Am I being a role model for grace? Am I allowing the grace of God to season and temper my own thoughts, my own actions, and my own relationships? Just like salt cannot be overlooked in making bread, so also grace cannot be relegated to a “little” piece of the Christian walk—it is one of the most necessary and powerful ingredients of all.

To learn more about the power of grace and its importance in your Christian walk, check out Andrew’s Paul’s Letter to the Galatians teaching.

If this has inspired you, please post a comment below.

Monday
Jan182016

A Narrow Road

“For most everybody in the world, their first response is, ‘You don’t have to have this baby.’ My principal had a meeting with me, and he said that I was going to lose all of my dreams and that I needed to give the baby up for abortion.”

This was the road Rebecca was staring down. And she might have taken it had she not heard of the Choices Pregnancy Center. Since its inception, this center has been a safe haven for young women in Teller County, Colorado. Through offering free services such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and parenting training, Choices has encouraged countless mothers to make the right decision. Such was the case in 1996, when sixteen-year-old Rebecca stepped through their doors.

Exam table where a baby's life is discovered“I had been in a relationship with Rebecca for about a year and a half,” explains Alan. “We were church kids, really involved in our youth group, and we both loved the Lord. We just fell in love really young and didn’t have very good boundaries in our relationship.”

“I had suspected that I was pregnant,” recalls Rebecca. “I went to my friend’s house and took a home pregnancy test. Sure enough, the test came out positive. Then I decided to go to the Choices Pregnancy Center. I started talking to one of the counselors, Julie, and told her that there’s no way I could be a mom and that I didn’t know what I was doing. Julie really provided a safe place for me to just fall apart but also to be comforted as well.”

Kathryn Perry, Executive DirectorCertain that Alan was going to break up with her, Rebecca picked up the phone to tell him the news. Shocked by how calm and collected he was, Rebecca was assured that their relationship was not over, and they agreed to tell their parents together. Julie would host the meeting, acting as a third party to bring hope and possibilities. With Julie’s encouragement and their parents’ support, Rebecca and Alan decided to get married.

The future held more for them than they realized. Alan’s finish carpentry business took off when he was only nineteen years old. Today he is known as one of the best in Colorado Springs. As for Rebecca, she’s a full-time mom to Jaylen and her three siblings. Jaylen is a young woman now, ready to go off to college. She’s passionate about leading worship and writing. She’s best friends with her parents, and they enjoy going on missions trips as a family.

Alan and Rebecca with their familyWhen you support Andrew Wommack Ministries, you are also supporting over forty other ministries and organizations, including Choices Pregnancy Center. You are a part of bringing hope and life to people just like Alan and Rebecca, who took the narrow road and courageously stood for what was right in the midst of opposition.

AWM has provided a way you can stand for what is right—the Declaration of Dependence upon God and His Holy Bible. By signing it, you are stating your beliefs in the Christian faith and standing for what the Bible says over what man says. You would be uniting with people just like Alan and Rebecca.

Now is the time to stand together, not in hate, but in love and conviction, for God and His holy Word. Will you join us?

Monday
Jan112016

Here am I, Lord. Send…Me?

I never thought I’d go to Africa. It’s not that I don’t care about that part of the world, and the idea of roughing it in another country never bothered me either. I simply never saw myself as a foreign missionary. To be blunt, whenever a missionary came to my church to speak, it was my cue to zone out, thinking to myself, I’ll buy your handmade bracelets and purses. Wake me up when it’s over.

Recently a missionary was a guest speaker at my church for a three-day event. He mainly talked about his ministry in Rwanda, and on the first day, I did what I typically do—zone out.

Psalm 37:4 (English Standard Version) says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” For years I thought this meant that if I delighted in God, He would give me everything I wanted. But I learned later what this verse actually means. In his How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will book, Andrew says,

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He puts His desires in our heart. Some people misinterpret this scripture [Ps. 37:4] to mean that God will give them whatever they want…. As we seek the Lord with our whole heart, He will change our hearts to desire godly things. (p. 96, brackets mine)

Many Christians cringe when they’re told to follow their hearts, believing, because of Jeremiah 17:9, that their hearts are “desperately wicked.” They look at their imperfect behavior and think that it’s a reflection of their so-called wicked hearts, rather than simply being an issue of renewing their minds with the Word of God.

Thankfully, however, God is not looking for perfect behavior; He is looking for someone “whose heart is completely His” (2 Chron. 16:9, Amplified Bible). With that kind of heart, it is easy to want what He wants and to become who He wants you to become as a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17, ESV). Everything else becomes peripheral. In that place, you do end up getting everything you ever wanted—because you want Him.

But while I understood this truth in theory, identifying with it was a process.

In the midst of my disconnect, I read something in Andrew’s book that changed my life’s path and forever shifted how I saw my role in relationship to God’s will. He continues,

The Hebrew word that was translated delight in this verse [Ps. 37:4] literally means “to be soft or pliable.” It’s speaking about having a sensitive heart toward the Lord. So, to delight in the Lord means to commit our lives to Him, to the degree that we are seeking His will and ways. It’s putting Him first. If we do these things, God will order the desires of our heart. (p. 96, brackets mine)

So, during the last day of this event at church, the missionary invited everyone in the congregation to come with him on his trip. Normally my response would be “No, thanks.” But for the first time ever, those words didn’t roll off my tongue so easily.

I felt like I had slipped into another reality. I could feel the heat of the sun burning my skin as I stepped onto Rwandan soil. My mind was racing: What kind of food do they eat? What are their customs? What do Rwandans need the most from God right now?

Wait a minute! You’re not a missionary! Why are you asking these questions?

The changing desire of my heart and what I thought I never wanted were in conflict.

God, are You trying to say something?

Church let out, and as everyone was leaving, my pastor walked right up to me and pointed emphatically, saying, “You need to go to Africa with us!” I stared at him as his words bore witness in my heart. Out of all the people in my church, God used my pastor to provide my answer: I am going to Rwanda.

And I couldn’t be more excited!

Maybe you’re like I was. There are things that you’ve simply never seen yourself doing, but you don’t know God’s will for your life either. Andrew’s How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will teaching might be your first step in getting answers. It is available as a three CD and DVD series, a book, and a set of study guides.

Please share a comment below if this has ministered to you.