My Christmas Gift to You

Friday, December 22, 2006

Here we are at Christmas 2006 - time really does fly!

I'm currently working on my Christmas gift to our family and friends - the Interactive Bible Reading Program. I'm so excited at the interest that has been expressed by those I've spoken with about this program. I'm also excited about the prospect of us reading along together! (Most of you know how I love to read and study.) Many of our friends live far away, so we aren't able to worship with them physically. But, with this reading plan, we are participating in a form of worship together.

The internet has brought many sinful things right into the homes of people I love, but I have found a way to use the power of the internet for God's glory! Please consider joining us as we read through God's Word. May God richly bless us as we read it and do what it says.

Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy my gift.

Posted by Tammie at 9:09 AM

A Guilty Conscience

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We live in a hostile world that is at war with God and with those who represent Him. It is therefore a great consolation to the soldier of Christ to know that he has a faithful ally right in the heart of the enemy. That ally is the sinner’s conscience.

Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. - Romans 2:14-15 (NLT)

Charles Spurgeon said, “The conscience of a man, when he is really quickened and awakened by the Holy Spirit, speaks the truth. It rings the great alarm bell. And if he turns over in his bed, that great alarm bell rings out again and again, ‘The wrath to come! The wrath to come! The wrath to come!’”

The spiritual nature of the Law [the Ten Commandments] gives the details to what the conscience already knows. When the Law is preached, the conscience affirms its truth.

When once God the Holy Spirit applies the Law to the conscience, secret sins are dragged to light, little sins are magnified to their true size, and things apparently harmless become exceedingly sinful. Before that dread searcher of the hearts and trier of the reins makes His entrance into the soul, it appears righteous, just, lovely, and holy; but when He reveals the hidden evils, the scene is changed. Offenses which were once styled peccadilloes [a slight offense], trifles, freaks of youth, follies, indulgences, little slips, etc., then appear in their true color, as breaches of the Law of God, deserving condign [appropriate] punishment. – Charles Spurgeon

[As you share the Gospel] never forget that the sinner’s conscience is your ally. Rather than fight against you, it will work with you. It is independent of his sin-loving will. Sin, however, has the conscience tied hand and foot and its voice gagged. You must cut the ropes with the sharp edge of the sword of God’s Law and untie the gag. Don’t be afraid to appeal directly to the sinner’s conscience: “God gave you a conscience; you know right from wrong. Listen to the voice of your conscience. It will remind you of sins that you have committed.” You will be encouraged in battle when you hear the voice of conscience coming through. It is the work of the Law written on the sinner’s heart, and it will bear witness with the Law of God (Romans 2:15).

These excerpts and quotes were taken from the book The School of Biblical Evangelism by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. They have encouraged me to be a bolder witness. I hope they will do the same for you.

Posted by Tammie at 6:54 AM

Communicating With God

Monday, October 30, 2006

I strongly believe in prayer because it is a ladder on which we can climb to communicate with our God.

- Pastor Brasswell Nkhonjera -
Malawi, Africa

Posted by Tammie at 3:09 PM

Wrongly Accused

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Being wrongly accused can be a tiresome and lonely situation. Paul had been wrongly accused and imprisoned when he wrote following account found in 2 Timothy 4:16-18. He said, "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me." Surely there were those who still loved him and should have come to his defense. However, no one showed up, no one stood beside him during his time of trouble. He could have become angry and bitter toward them, but what did he do? He chose to pray for them; "May it not be held against them."

Paul said no one stood at his side during this season of trouble, but did he feel that he was alone during this time? No. He said, "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." Why did the Lord give him strength? "So that through me the message might be fully proclaimed." You see, God knew that when times are good we have little trouble proclaiming the Gospel through our words and actions. But, when trouble comes, it gets difficult! We lose our joy, our words and actions tend to degenerate, and we begin to look and act more like the world than a child of God. We need the Lord’s strength in order to continue proclaiming the Gospel at times like these. If we continue living by Biblical principles even during troublesome times, it proves to the world that our hope is genuine, and this is how we "fully proclaim" the message.

Paul "fully proclaimed" the message. These verses from 2 Timothy are the last words written by this great man of faith. He went from this prison cell to his death, a death of beheading. He did not use his last few moments pointing fingers at his accusers or running them down with his words. He used his last few moments to continue proclaiming the Gospel. He just continued doing what he had been doing before this time of trouble – praying for others, edifying them, fanning the flame in them, and proclaiming God’s power and authority. In fact, his last words were, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." God did rescue Paul from this final evil attack by bringing him to His heavenly kingdom where he will never face prison cells or death threats again. And, because Paul continued to proclaim the Gospel during this troublesome season, he brought Glory to His heavenly Father for ever and ever. May the same be true of us today.

Copyright © 2006 Tammie Rigney

Posted by Tammie at 7:08 PM

Right Gift, Wrong Season

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Not only did God create us with a specific set of tasks in mind (see Ephesians 2:10), He gave us a specific set of gifts and abilities to enable us to accomplish those very same tasks (see 1 Peter 4:10). Along with those gifts and abilities, He had in mind a specific time table, a schedule of events, so to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven." God never intended for us to immediately do everything we will ever be capable of doing. He grows us, matures us, and completes us on His time table – just in time for us to be used in each task He expects us to accomplish.

I often see young mothers wrestle with this concept. They realize God has given them certain abilities, and they are eager to serve Him with those abilities. However, they have very young children who need them. They become confused about where they should focus their attention, and they either over-commit themselves and become completely stressed out when they realize they can’t do it all, or they wind up feeling guilty because they aren’t participating in more areas of service.

In the midst of caring for little ones, we often feel we have lost our identity – our place in this world - and we begin to feel that it will be this way forever! But God has a schedule. He has planned every detail of our lives. Did you know God’s Word says He even chose the time and the place where we would live (see Acts 17:26)? He knows a young mother has many responsibilities, and His Word says she is to be busy at home (see Titus 2:4-5). He knows small children need more of her attention (see Isaiah 49:15a), and He knows that, as her children become more independent, she will become more available for service in other areas.

If God has blessed your family with young children, He will also bless you with the time you need to raise those children to a certain level of independence before He gives you another big, time-and-attention consuming task to accomplish. God’s plan will never have time conflicts. In other words, He will always bless you with the appropriate amount of time to accomplish whatever task He has given you. This is not to say that, if you have young children, you will have to be content with being a bench-warmer just sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is being used by God. He will most certainly be giving you opportunities to serve Him and fellowship with others who are serving. But those tasks will never conflict with, or take away the time necessary to complete, your primary task, or ministry, for this season.

While the ministry of raising our children and keeping our homes in order is not the most glamorous ministry we'll ever be called to do, it is THE most important ministry we will ever be involved in. I love what I heard Beth Moore say about this. She said, "No amount of success at work or in ministry can make up for failure at home."

If you find that you often leave a task, or ministry, incomplete in order to start a new one, you should ask God if you are using your abilities out of season. Ask Him to show you your primary ministry for "this" season, and focus on that until it is complete. Sometimes, our failures are a result of us trying to use our God-given abilities in the wrong season.

Copyright © 2005 Tammie Rigney

Posted by Tammie at 8:53 PM

Seven Days Make a Week

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Most of us know that day and night are caused by the earth’s rotation on its axis. We also understand that a year is based on the earth’s orbit around the sun, and that the month is determined by factors related to the moon. But, what factor determines the length of a week? The week does not seem to be related to the heavenly bodies or anything else in nature.

Those who believe God’s written Word know the answer – the week was established when God completed the first work/rest cycle at the very dawn of time. He set the example for us while doing the work of creation, then commanded us, in Exodus 20:8-11, to follow His example. In issuing this command, God set into motion a practice that has existed for the entire time since creation.

The fact that a seven-day week has existed in practically every culture, yet has never been connected to anything in nature is very perplexing to those who refute the Bible’s account of creation. In fact, some have even tried to abolish the seven-day week. In the Soviet Union, Stalin instituted a ten-day week in an attempt to erase all religious memory in His citizens. However, his efforts failed because his people were unable to work nine days with one day of rest.

From the dawn of time until today, we have been reminded every seven days of God’s marvelous work of creation and His command to keep His Sabbath Holy. Long live the seven-day week and the God who created it!

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 12:57 AM

Struggling With Confusion and Lack of Confidence - 3

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Part 3 of 3

In her book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, Beth Moore shows us how to seduce-proof our life, and this is the same technique we must use to keep ourselves from crossing the line. It is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, "Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil."

Satan is real, he’s determined, and he’s ferocious. He wants to devour you and your Christian brothers and sisters, and he will stop at nothing short of the power of Almighty God. How very blessed we Christians are! We actually have that power, the power of Almighty God, available to us through the presence of His Holy Spirit which dwells in every believer (Ephesians 1:19-21). We must be careful though, this power can be diminished; it can be stifled. Notice the warning Paul gave the Thessalonians in the seduce-proofing Scripture quoted earlier, "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit." Battling against Satan when the Holy Spirit has been stifled would be like battling an army with toy weapons.

Proverbs 15:13 tells us "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." Sweet sister, if you’re living with the heartache of a crushed spirit or suffering from feelings of despair, you’ve crossed the line. Satan has already begun to accomplish a work of foolishness in your life; you’ve been nudged out of the center of God’s will.

If you’ve battled with the Devil and been knocked to your knees, cry out to God. Ask Him to wash over you with a godly sorrow for any wrongdoing on your part; ask Him to show you how to repent in a way that will put you right with Him again. God’s Word says this kind of sorrow and repentance leaves no regret (2 Corinthians 7:10). It leaves no regret because, when Satan stands before God accusing you concerning this particular issue, you can defeat him with the word of your testimony which will be, "God has already covered over this offense with the precious blood of Jesus." This is how the Bible says Satan, the "accuser of the brethren," will be overcome (Revelation 12:11).

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Paul, in 1 Timothy 6:11, wrote, "…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." Then followed it immediately with, "Fight the good fight of the faith." He knew, perhaps better than any of us, that when we begin to pursue this type of relationship with God, it is certain to catch the eye of Satan who will be furious about the changes he sees in us. When we choose to live a life that publicly displays our pursuit of an intimate relationship with God, you can be sure we will be added to Satan’s "Most Wanted" list.
I remember when, after many years of being saved, I began to desire an intimate relationship with God. I was just beginning to really pursue Him when Satan set up an ambush for me. I had never fought any serious battles before because I had never been a serious threat, and my inexperience on the battlefield showed in those early days. I fought and I stumbled. In fact, I’m still fighting and stumbling. But I'm learning and growing stronger every day, and I intend to continue to "fight the good fight of the faith." I'm not going to give up because of a couple of scraped knees. There's just too much at stake.

Sister, are your knees scraped and bloody? Please let me encourage you - don’t quit now! Don’t allow Satan the victory. Don’t live your life in despair, crushed by the schemes of Satan. Let the testimony of your life be, "She fought the good fight of the faith." There are so many others out there who have never seen an example of one who is willing to fight so diligently because she loves the Savior with all her heart, soul, strength, and mind (Mark 12:29-31). Won’t you be the one who models this type of life for those in your circle of influence?

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 1:49 PM

Struggling With Confusion and Lack of Confidence - 2

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Part 2 of 3

My friend, you know your own heart and what you’ve been through. Are there things you’re scared to even speak out loud? Proverbs 14:10 tells us, "Each heart knows its own bitterness..." These are areas the enemy would like to use for foolishness in your life. How he would love to see us make a fool of ourselves and a mockery of our salvation. He will tempt us over and over again using this same old tried-and-true tactic! Left alone in the secret places of our hearts, these areas of weakness offer ample opportunity for doubt and fear to flourish. Satan would have us feel alone and isolated – as though we were the only person ever to have these kinds of questions, doubts, failures, weaknesses, or hurts. He would love for us think that, if we were really a Christian, we wouldn't be having these kinds of struggles.

Look at what 2 Cor. 4:7-9 says to the Christian:

"…we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair..."

Did you know that we can be walking faithfully with Christ, with hearts that are wholeheartedly and sincerely devoted to Him, yet still be hard-pressed and even perplexed?

It won't always be this way. First Peter 1:6 says, "though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." Every crisis has an end. However, there will be seasons of oppression like this. These seasons will come and go, but we don't have to be "crushed" by them. We don't have to live in "despair." Satan will try to oppress us in an area where we are weak, during these seasons. He will try to make us lose confidence in our relationship with the Lord. He is the one who causes us to cross the line from being "hard-pressed" to being "crushed" - from being "perplexed" (not seeing things clearly) to being in "despair" (losing our confidence). Satan loves that! He is the one who causes us to cross the line. But we don't have to take it! We can tattle on him. We can go to God and tell Him what's going on. And while we're at it, Proverbs 2:1-5 says we can "call out for insight" and "cry aloud for understanding."

Satan will try any scheme to get us across that line, but we don't have to take his junk. We possess the strength that will keep us from crossing the line. Our strength is in the Lord! Second Thessalonians 3:3 tells us that the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen us and protect us from the evil one. Go to God and cry out! And keep on praying and crying out because, during seasons like this, you are in eminent danger.

I've heard people say you shouldn't have to pray over and over about the same thing. But I have found, in my own life, that I often have to wrestle with something, like Jacob did, before I get the blessing from it - before I get a peace about it. And believe me, peace is a BLESSING when you've been wrestling!

To be continued...

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 10:17 PM

Struggling With Confusion and Lack of Confidence - 1

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Part 1 of 3

Are you like me? I have good days and I have bad days. Some of my good days have been really outstanding! Unfortunately, so have some of my bad days. I’m using the word "days," but the truth is that some of those "days" were really "seasons." Why I can’t be more consistent in my faithfulness, I have no idea. It truly is frustrating! Just when I feel I have it all going in the right direction – WHAM! I get side-swiped. Really, I guess it’s more like side-tracked. I think Satan’s number one tactic is distraction. He certainly has used it on me a few times, and what’s worse is that I have cooperated with him! Off I go, totally absorbed in something that should have fallen by the wayside. The trouble with Satan’s detours is that they take you further than you intended to go, keep you longer than you intended to stay, and cause you to do things you never intended to do. That’s not original with me, I heard it preached somewhere, but it sure fits my situation. How about you? Have you ever taken a road trip with Satan?

The problem with these road trips is that often they have consequences that are long-lasting and leave deep hurts, not only in our own life, but also in the lives of those we love. And even when the effects are not so dramatic, the fact that we failed to uphold our promise of faithfulness to the Lord leaves us questioning the sincerity of our relationship with Him. Sure, we know He’s faithful, but we wonder how real our commitment is if we have been so easily persuaded away from our sincere and wholehearted devotion to Him. Suddenly, we have an area of weakness that Satan will not hesitate to use against us.

First Peter 5:8 tells us our "enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." And John 10:10 tells us his singular focus is to "steal, kill, and destroy." Because of his destructive nature, he is always looking for a way to crush us and push us to the point of despair. You see, if we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, Satan cannot come inside us (Ephesians 1:13-14). He cannot posses us or "make" us do anything. But boy, oh boy, can he ever oppress us!

One area where Satan particularly likes to go, when he’s oppressing us, is the area where we have proven to be weak in the past. He loves to remind us of past failures, weaknesses, or hurts. Using these tools he can easily give rise to fear and paralyze us, causing us to fall head-long into a season of strained relationship with God, with our fellow believers, and even with ourselves. Does this sound familiar? Even if you haven’t experienced a season like this yourself, you’ve probably observed the effects of it in the life of a fellow believer. God’s Word tells us that these battles are not uncommon at all. Immediately following his warning about Satan being like a roaring lion, Peter says, "Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering…," 1 Peter 5:9.

To be continued...

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 9:45 PM

Can God Use Me?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The story of Gideon is found in Judges 6-8 and is one of my favorites, partly because we see that God can use ordinary, even fearful, people to accomplish great things when they are obedient to Him, and partly because we see that God is not offended when we have open and honest conversation with Him. Gideon did not hesitate to question God, or to ask Him for reassurance before setting out to accomplish his next assignment. Gideon was real with God, and God was okay with that.

Just as He had done with Moses, God gave Gideon a task which was far beyond his ability and experience. When Gideon questioned God’s decision to use him, God replied, "I will be with you…" In other words, he could act as if he had experience because God would provide the knowledge, he would have strength because God would provide the power, he would have victory because God would provide the victory! And the same is true for us today.

All through this story Gideon’s feelings of inadequacy are exposed, but to his great honor, he continued to pursue every task God placed before him. He maintained constant communication with God and stopped to worship Him all along the way. Once he built an alter and called it "The Lord is Peace." On another occasion, he tore down an alter of Baal, built an alter to the True and Living God, and sacrificed a bull on it. Another time, just before a great battle, God went out of His way to encourage Gideon, and we are told that Gideon worshipped God there. So encouraged was he, because of the time he had spent with God, that he went and immediately gathered his troops, attacked the enemy, and won the battle.

Gideon did not feel he had much to offer God, yet we see that this unlikely hero became a mighty warrior because he trusted the Lord, and God was faithful. Everything God promised Gideon, He fulfilled. And as Gideon and God fellowshipped together, Gideon was transformed from a weakling who questioned God’s wisdom and needed constant reassurance, to a man who followed God’s command enthusiastically, with full assurance, and without questions.

So it is with us. We may think we have nothing to offer. No experience, no confidence, no enthusiasm. But God is loving and faithful (Psalm 25:10, Psalm 37:28). Because He already knows our thoughts and even the motives behind them (1 Chronicles 28:9), we can be open and honest with Him, telling Him our fears and concerns, and asking for reassurance when we need it. Then we, like Gideon, will see our faith strengthened. And when our faith has been strengthened, we will be able to respond immediately and enthusiastically to His command.

Can you be used? Yes, indeed. No experience necessary!

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 10:37 PM

The Triumph of Evil

Friday, February 24, 2006

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

~ Edmund Burk ~

Posted by Tammie at 5:17 PM

Too Many Stones

Monday, February 20, 2006

Fellowship, or friendship, with God will always include service. It doesn’t have to be back-braking, joint-aching work. In fact, it may not feel like work at all. Recently, a friend said to me, "You smell great! What are you wearing?" I told her the name of the scent and said, "It’s funny, I thought it smelled great when I put it on, but I don’t smell it at all now." She explained that, if I don’t notice the scent of the perfume I’m wearing, that means it is the "right" scent for me. Likewise, when we are working at a task that is "right" for us, we don’t feel so "worked-up" about it. It just comes natural to us. It might even be a stress reliever because it fits us so comfortably. Whatever the task, we are to be passionate about our service by serving the Lord enthusiastically (see Romans 12:11 and 1 Corinthians 15:58).

In her book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver tells the story of a man who has been given the task of taking a stone to the top of a mountain. The man was whistling happily as he traveled along, pushing his cart with the stone inside. Another man noticed him as he traveled up the mountain and asked if he might add his stone to the cart - since he was already going that way. The first man agreed and off he went whistling happily along as he traveled up the mountain. A third man noticed him as he traveled along and asked if he might also add his stone to the cart - since he was already going that way. The first man agreed and off he went whistling happily along as he traveled up the mountain. This happened to the man several more times as he made his journey. Each time the cart became heavier and more difficult to push. The man was no longer whistling as he traveled; he was toiling to get the heavy load to the top. Eventually, the man ran out of energy and stopped to pray. He said, "Lord, I can’t do this! Why did you give me such a hard task?" God replied, "I only gave you the first stone, you took it upon yourself to carry the stones of the others." God’s Word tells us that He created us with specific tasks in mind (see Romans 2:10). He did not intend for us to try to accomplish anyone else’s task. In 1 Thessalonians 4:11 we are told to make it our ambition to "mind our own business."

If you find that you are having trouble completing the task God gives you, you’d better check your cart to see if you’ve taken it upon yourself to carry stones that belong to someone else. Often, our very best efforts result in failure because we have tried to accomplish something God never intended for us to do.

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 7:30 PM


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Momentum - strength or force gained by motion or through the development of events.

Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of motion revealed to us the profound effect momentum has in the physical realm. But are you aware that momentum has a profound effect on our spiritual lives as well? This fact is revealed to us in God’s Holy Word.

"Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," Romans 6:19-23 (NIV).

"Ever-increasing wickedness" is the true nature of all sin. What satisfies us today isn't enough to satisfy us tomorrow. This is the root of every addiction, and it is a danger for both the Christian and non-Christian alike. Dabbling with disobedience can have far-reaching, life-altering consequences.

I learned a very personal lesson about ever-increasing wickedness several years ago when I wandered out to the very fringes of obedience. Partly because I was so captivated by things on the other side of the hedge-of-protection which God had placed around me, and partly because I was sure I was in control (foolish pride, see Proverbs 11:2-3), I drew ever-closer until, eventually, I had crossed over the line. Little-by-little, I left the safety zone that is provided by obedience, and I wandered into Satan's own yard. It was there I learned that he really is like a roaring lion (see 1 Peter 5:8).

The wonderful thing about ever-increasing momentum is that it works just as powerfully for us as it does against us. The Bible tells us that, when we turn to the Lord in obedience, we benefit from the ever-increasing nature of the Spirit!

"But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. .. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more," 2 Corinthians 3:16-19 (NLT).

These days, I strive to stay away from the fringes and play in my own yard. Here, I have all the freedom I need to enjoy life at it's best - without the roaring lion.

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 11:34 AM

Who Am I? Part 3 of 3

Monday, January 30, 2006

What about you? Has God ever given you a job to do and you said to Him, "Who am I? Don’t you remember how I failed last time? I’m not mature enough yet. I don’t have the strength, or ability, or knowledge, or experience, or whatever."

God says, "I will be with you." Our worthiness comes from Him. We may fail while trying to serve Him, but His love for us will never fail. God’s Word says that "in His unfailing love" He will lead the people He has redeemed, and that "in His strength" He will guide us to His holy dwelling (see Exodus 15:13). In fact, this verse is part of a song sung by Moses himself after leading God’s people out of Egypt.

God proved Himself faithful to Moses, and Moses sang praises to Him. He was enjoying his fellowship with God, and his relationship with God was deepened because of the time he spent serving Him.

Perhaps you’re like the women I mentioned earlier – you’d like to be involved in a ministry, but you really don’t know how or where you fit in. Maybe you don’t know what, if any, gift God has given you use in ministry work. Or, maybe you’ve failed in the past and you don’t feel worthy to be used.

If you’re struggling with feelings of insufficiency or inadequacy, you need to know that you are capable and worthy of whatever task God gives you because of His presence in you. The Bible tells us that He is Emmanuel – the "with us" God (See Matt. 1:23). I love the way Beth Moore explains it in her Bible study, Living Beyond Yourself. She says that, because of the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power He provides us, we can do things we couldn’t have done and know things we shouldn’t have known. When we respond to the leadership of the Holy Spirit we will accomplish things just as if we had experience - because He has experience and He is "with us."

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 7:00 PM

Who am I? Part 2 of 3

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Long seasons of a lagging relationship with God can cause us to question our value to Him. Perhaps this is what happened to Moses when he saw God’s presence in the form of a burning bush and heard God’s own voice speak to him.

Exodus 3:7-12a says, The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" And God said, "I will be with you…"

After seeing God’s presence and hearing God’s voice, one would think that Moses would be "pumped up" for the job – "on fire" for the Lord and ready to serve. Instead, we see Moses have an identity crises. He asks, "Who am I?"

Moses probably remembered his past failure. He had murdered an Egyptian and covered him over with the sand of the desert. He probably thought about how his sin had been found out and how Pharaoh tried to kill him. Even now he was living as an "alien in a foreign land" because he had run for his life after his failure (see Exodus 2:11-25).

Moses questioned his worth. He was not thinking with the mind of Christ. He was listening to the voices in his own mind, and they were speaking with words of human wisdom, not words taught by the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 2:12-16). He knew the Israelites were God’s chosen people, and he didn’t see himself as the kind of man God would choose to lead His people. But God knew Moses’ heart. He knew Moses had a desire to do what was right. God knew he had the right man, even if Moses did not.

When Moses questioned his worth, God didn’t try to build him up by telling him he possessed skills and abilities that would help make him successful. Nor did He say, "I see what you’re saying, Moses, you really don’t have much experience in this area. Let’s just start by saving a small village first and work our way up from there." No! God said, "I will be with you." In other words, God told Moses that his worthiness would come from Him! That his strength and ability would come from Him! That his knowledge and experience would come from Him!

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 6:16 AM

Who am I? Part 1 of 3

Friday, January 27, 2006

Recently the Lord has been impressing on my heart the feelings of insufficiency and inadequacy which are felt by so many women who want to be involved in the Lord’s work, but really don’t know where or how they fit in. Often, they feel they aren’t spiritually mature, they don’t have enough experience, or they just don’t know what, if any, gifts God has given them to use in ministry work. I often hear women give these very reasons for not participating. What’s more, some women do know where they could be used, but because of a failure in their past, they feel unworthy, unusable, or just unsure of themselves.

You can be sure Satan works hard to keep us focused on ourselves and our inadequacies, not on God’s long-suffering, compassionate, gracious, and merciful love (see Psalm 86:15). Like Martha in Luke 10, these women are distracted by all the things they have in their mind that need to take place before they can enjoy close fellowship and service with the Lord. Satan sees to it that their minds are busy with the things of the world, and that they use the wisdom of the world in their thinking. However, we who are Christians, can think with the "mind of Christ" because we have the Spirit of God in us (see 1 Corinthians 2:12-16). We can think with the mind of Christ because it is a gift which is given to us when we receive Jesus as our Savior. But like any gift, whether we choose to use it, or not, is entirely up to us.

The more I serve the Lord, the closer our fellowship and the deeper my relationship with Him grows. I have found that I get more practice using the mind of Christ when I am serving Him. When I’m not serving, my relationship with Him begins to dry up, and I begin to think with the mindset of the world. This makes perfect sense; we hear most clearly the voices of those who are nearer to us. Whose voice are you listening to today? Are you hearing words taught by human wisdom or words taught by the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 2:13)?

© Tammie 2005

Posted by Tammie at 8:46 PM