Happy Birthday Mentoring for All Seasons!

Happy Birthday is celebrating the release of a new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God's Faithfulness

Last week was a super exciting week here at About His Work Ministries! We had a Big Birthday and Release Day celebration for the birth of my “baby” Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. In honor of this long awaited day, my hubby grilled salmon: my favorite food!!

Many have followed me on this year-long journey from writing the book last year in a very short four months, then the physical setbacks I had earlier this year with a concussion and then kidney surgery during the final edits. Praise God, nothing could stop His plans for Mentoring for All Season’s release day September 12!

Happy Book Borthday to Mentoring for All Seasons that released Sept. 12!

It’s been an amazing week of sharing this release on social media and guest posting every day, sometimes twice a day, on friends’ blog posts. This book is the culmination of what God has taught me over the past twenty years, when He took a woman who had no experience in women’s ministry or had never written a book or done any public speaking to start a ministry that has now blessed innumerable women and churches!

I was just an ordinary woman who said “Yes” to the Lord, and as they say, the rest has been HIStory. Some have heard or read my testimony, others may wonder how did Woman to Woman Mentoring come about? Who am I to write a book to help women mentoring each other in all seasons of life? Honestly, I’m surprised too: that God would choose me for such an honor to serve Him in this way.

So I thought today, I would share with you a little of the origins of my story.

I never planned to become a writer, speaker, or for sure not go into ministry! But isn’t that just like the Lord to direct us onto the paths He wants us to go, and we have a choice whether to follow Him or go our own direction. In my thirties, I chose my own path, but the Lord guided me back. I rededicated my life and His prodigal daughter returned with all my heart. Little did I know the plans He had for me.

Soon I was attending Fuller Theological Seminary getting a Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership, while managing an insurance agency and being a new bride with a blended family. I prayerfully attended a Women in Ministry Leadership Conference, hoping the Lord would reveal where He wanted to use me when I completed seminary, as long as it wasn’t in women’s ministry. Since I also had an MBA, surely it would be in business. Trying to create my own path again.

The Lord did speak to me, but not how I expected. I was enjoying a cup of coffee, waiting for the evening’s worship and teaching to begin with Jill Briscoe, when I heard a voice . . . “Go, and feed My sheep.” I looked around, but no one was speaking to me. I thought, “What sheep? Where? And what would I feed them if I found them?” Again, “Feed My sheep.” I muttered, “OK,” and spent the rest of the evening wondering what I had just agreed to do. Feed my sheep is my testimony in my new book Mntoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God's Faithfulness

I couldn’t wait to call my husband and excitedly share what I heard from the Lord. My godly husband suggested we pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of “Feed My sheep.”

The next morning, the workshop instructor taught from John 21:15-17 where Jesus tells Peter, feed My sheep. Her topic was “Shepherding Women in Your Church.” The Holy Spirit was answering our prayer. But women Lord?!

Returning home, I asked everyone to pray for me to find my sheep and for direction as to what to feed them when I found them. The first sheep bleat came from a business associate asking me to mentor her. I didn’t have a clue what “mentoring” meant, so I read the late Lucibel Van Atta’s Women Encouraging Women [out of print] and learned it was simply sharing my life experiences—the good and the bad—and God’s faithfulness through it all. I wondered if perhaps feed My sheep might mean mentoring women?

Soon I was also mentoring a young woman from my stepdaughter’s small group, where I had become a mentor to the group. Seemed like enough “sheep.” But then a life-altering encounter. The Lord divinely placed the Pastor to Young Adults at our church, Saddleback, and me simultaneously at the gym. I worked out daily, but this was the only time I ever saw Pastor Brad there. As we chatted, he mentioned that many women in his young adults group were asking where they could find a mentor.

As if God was sitting on my shoulder, I suddenly poured out my “feed My sheep” story. Pastor Brad said he thought I should start a mentoring ministry at Saddleback Church, not just mentor two mentees. What!? I wasn’t equipped to start a mentoring ministry. I had to read a book to figure out how to mentor. I did meet with the Pastor to New Ministries, who agreed with Pastor Brad and he handed me a “12-Step Planning Guide to Developing a Ministry at Saddleback.” With both pastors’ encouragement, I began going through the process of starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

The Lord blessed our mentoring ministry and other churches started calling asking how they could start one. I couldn’t tell them everything over the phone, so I resigned from my insurance career, and wrote a Kit for churches to start a mentoring ministry. Today, God has taken the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry into churches around the world through the DVD Leader’s Kit, Woman to Woman Mentoring How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry. I continue to have the opportunity to share Woman to Woman Mentoring through my speaking and writing ministry, About His Work Ministries. I had no idea “feeding sheep” would go beyond Saddleback Church—even to international sheep.

Woman to Woman Mentoring is the Lord’s ministry following His mandate in Titus 2:1-8: one generation of Christian men and women must teach and train the next generations. When I let God guide, He allowed me to participate in something much bigger than I ever imagined. He changed my heart. He gave me a passion for the issues women deal with and wisdom in helping them turn to the Lord and to each other to navigate life’s seasons. Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, is a book for both mentors and mentees in every season of life from tweens to twilight years.

It’s been twenty-two years since I heard “Feed My sheep,” and I’m still feeding and mentoring them as the Lord leads.

Thank you for all your support and prayer, and for those who shared your stories, both as mentors and mentees, in this book. For those who have participated in church mentoring ministries or enjoyed mentoring in your personal lives, bless you for living out God’s direction for women in Titus 2:3-5.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Since the book released, there are so many stories already of women knowing other women who share their story in the book, and I encountered many while writing it. For example, I mentioned Lucibell Van Atta’s book was influential in helping me learn about mentoring only to discover that she was my friend Poppy Smith’s mentor! Poppy shares their story in the book along with 65 other mentors and mentees.

So it’s time to ask . . .

Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you through a new life season?

PS: If you lead a women’s ministry, mentoring ministry, and/or would like to share with your church, a special discount offer for Mentoring for All Seasons from the publisher, please contact me.

*Some parts of Feed My Sheep are excerpts from Mentoring for All Seasons, shared with permission of Leafwood Publishers. Pages 22-29 has more of that story and the birthing of the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is now available at all online bookstores, Amazon, Christian bookstores, and signed by me at my website store.

Mentoring in a Season of Tragedy and Uncertainty

Mentoring during a time of tragedy and chaos is exactly what will help women incurring loss and fear in today's undertain times.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, riots, death tolls, North Korea, ISIS, our country divided . . . . Not to mention illness, dreaded diagnosis, family unrest, divorce, prodigals . . . . Protests against our President, Christian values, and God. Tragedy and uncertainty assails us when we turn on the news or browse through social media or listen to talk shows. No wonder many are living in fear and dread of the next crisis because there seems to be a new one every day. If there isn’t a crisis, the media creates one.

You may be wondering why I would write on this topic the day before Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness officially releases tomorrow, September 12! Because mentoring is invaluable in all seasons of life; so yes, I include a Tragedy Season. It’s not if tragedy happens, it’s when! At sometime in our life, we’re all going to need mentoring or we can mentor from our experiences.

What a blessing to see so many using social media to mentor from their experience with a crisis. As hurricane IRMA headed toward Florida, many who had just experienced hurricane Harvey in Houston were helping Floridians prepare by posting lists of what to stock up on and how to prepare their homes, cars, families. Those who lived in safe areas were offering shelter to strangers. The news couldn’t help but report on how everyone was pitching in to help each other through the many tragedies and losses that occurred from these hurricanes.

Many focused on thanking God that they were still alive even though they lost all their earthly possessions and would have to start all over again. In at least nine states, including Idaho where I live, fires are raging out of control and air quality is unhealthy from the smoke. Christians experience tragedy and loss just like everyone else; it’s painful and hurts. In the Season of Tragedy in Mentoring for All Seasons, I point out that “We desperately need assurance from someone who survived a crisis with her faith not only still intact, but stronger than before.”

There are also Mentor Tips on what not to say or do with a mentee. The main one: don’t minimize her feelings or make her seem like a bad Christian because her faith is tested and she questions what God is doing. The Mentee Tips point out that the mentor can’t make everything right in the mentee’s life; but she can offer encouragement, a source of Christian love, hope, support, prayer, and understanding.

Several Scriptures I suggest to study together during a tragedy or crisis are:

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Math. 28:20b

“Remember your promise to me;
it is my only hope. Your promise revives me;
it comforts me in all my troubles.” Psalm 119:49-50 NLT

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11-12

There are so many others, especially in the Psalms. Journaling or writing down feelings helps to get them out too. A reminder that what feels overwhelming and horrendous will reflect God’s love for us and be our testimony somehow, someway, someday.

Like many of you, I have family in Florida and it’s hard not to obsess over every report of hurricane IRMA. But I’m in Idaho so instead of feeling hopeless and helpless, my husband and I pray continuously (1 Thess. 5:17). Just like the Scriptures tell us to do. We didn’t just pray for our family; we prayed for everyone suffering—maybe that meant we were praying for some of you and your loved ones.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to turn hearts back to God. Whatever you think of our President, or whether or not you voted for him, he declared Sunday September 3 a National Day of Prayer. He couldn’t stop the hurricanes, the flooding, the winds, the next hurricane, the loss of homes, the heartache, but he could try to turn hearts back to God through prayer.

That gesture got very little coverage by the media or his critics, but it’s exactly what will start the healing process in everyone’s lives. We need revival in our country, and God’s people need to lead the way back to a country founded on “In God We Trust.”

In Mentoring for All Seasons, you can read more helps and tips on being a mentor and a mentee during tragedy, uncertainty, and crisis on pages 216-217. In the Mentor and Mentee Shares section, author Heather Gillis tells her tragic story of losing her young son. A mentor helped her take the healing step of writing, which led to Heather mentoring many suffering women. Exactly what mentoring is all about! Chapter Thirteen: A Difficult Season, covers numerous difficult seasons women encounter, including Illness and Health Issues—Yours or a Loved Ones, and many more.

Here’s how you can help me spread the word about Mentoring for All Seasons!

If you’ve followed my blog and the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, you know my heart is not about book sales. My passion is to bring the generations together and help them live out God’s direction for all Christian women in Titus 2:3-5. I give all the glory to God for allowing me to be About His Work, by blessing me with the incredible privilege of starting this ministry, and then, blessing me again with the unexpected ability to write!

If you feel lead to help share the mentoring message of this new book, here are some ways:

You can also tweet from all the tweets in this blog.

Thank you! It’s a privilege and honor to connect with you each week. Please let us know by leaving a comment how we can pray if you or a loved one has been in the path of Harvey or Irma.

Mentoring Helps in Seasons of Tragedy and Uncertainty. A mentor can share from her experience and comfort and pray with a troubled mentee.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is available now on Amazon, Kindle, and Signed by the Author at her website.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. She is also the author of Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning Blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

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Rest On Labor Day and Pray for Those Who Can’t Take the Day Off

With Mentoring for All Seasons releasing in a week, I’ve been writing guest blogs that will run daily in September and into October. An author’s work is never done. But our son is arriving today for the weekend, and I’m taking the weekend off for a much needed break so I thought it was a good time to rerun this blog post. I hope you’re taking a break this weekend too. We all need it and it’s biblical.

I’ve always looked at Memorial Day and Labor Day as the bookends of summer. Both are now three day weekend holidays that also commemorate the end of one school year and the beginning of the next—although today’s schools don’t stick as closely to that schedule anymore.

You probably have memories of Labor Day picnics, family reunions, and barbecues commemorating the official end of summer; but beyond that, few stop to think about why we even have the day off. What is Labor Day anyway?

History of Labor Day

In 1894, Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday after a failed attempt to break up a railroad strike. Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.

Traditionally, all stores closed on Labor Day so workers could celebrate the holiday. Today, most stores are having Labor Day sales and their workforce is hard at work on a day dedicated to resting from work. Many people work on Labor Day without realizing: Hey, I’m a worker that has contributed to my company and I should have a day of rest!

It's Labor Day take the day offPray for Those Who Can’t Take the Day Off

Not every worker can take the day off and rest today. Those employed in the service industries often find holidays their busiest time: firemen, hospital employees, policemen, restaurant workers, gas stations, and now we can’t seem to go a day without a grocery store open. Seems like we could stock up on Saturday.

My father was a California Highway Patrolman and he took his turn at working every holiday. Labor Day is notoriously a heavy traffic day as travelers return from the three-day weekend. If you’re on the road today, drive carefully, courteously, and obey the speed limits. Pray for every policeman you see on the road. They have a family keeping a plate of ribs or a hamburger warm for the end of their shift.

Work or Rest?

The Crosswalk.com article, Labor Day: Your Need for Both Work and Rest by Nick Batzig, caught my attention. It started out …

“As we come to celebrate another Labor Day, it may be beneficial for us to step back for a moment and consider what Scripture has to say about the rhythm of work and rest—i.e. the cyclical configuration by which all the events of our lives occur.”

The article discussed God’s original plan for work and how that all changed when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and why God wants us to have times of rest and refreshment. Batzig listed several changes over the years that have resulted in work being motivated by prestige, self-esteem, peer pressure, fear, anxiety, and lack of purpose outside of work, rather than providing for our family. The following point resonated with what I see happening in families today:

“Whereas traditional societies said that you got your meaning in life through your family, and through basically fulfilling a fairly prescribed social role—either as a mother or father, or a brother or sister, or husband or wife, or a son or a daughter…You just needed to find a way to make a living because family was what everything was about. But we’re the first culture in history that says, ‘You define yourself by defining what you want to be and by attaining it—and then you have significance.’ There’s never been more psychological and social and emotional pressure on work to be either fulfilling or at least lucrative. There’s never been a culture like that.”

How Can We Change Culture?

I’ll admit that I’m a recovering workaholic. The only way I’m able to balance work and rest is to prioritize the things that are the most important to me—serving God and my family. My ministry is About His Work Ministries, so I’m fortunate to serve God through my work of writing and speaking. I also make sure to schedule times of rest with my hubby, and we often plan those times into speaking event travels and trips to see our grandkids. We also serve in ministry together as Dave assists me with About His Work Ministries, travels with me when I speak, and we co-lead a couples Bible study. But when I’m spending time with my family—my husband, children, and grandchildren—I set aside “work,” even ministry work, and focus on family.

That doesn’t leave much time in my schedule for “extra” activities, and so I’ve had to learn to say no to some good things. Before I say “yes,” and find myself with no time to rest and refresh, I’m trying to remember to do two things:

1. Pray and ask God if it’s something He wants me to do. Does it have Kingdom value?

2. Assess if I have the time and energy to add this activity to my calendar, and if so, what should it replace?

If I sense God telling me to go for it, I know I must remove something from my calendar or I’ll become unbalanced trying to get all the work done and rest will suffer. If you want to study more about what the Bible has to say about living a balanced life, you might enjoy my Bible study, Face to Face With Priscilla and Aquila: Balancing Life and Ministry.

What do you do to find times of rest and refreshment in a world that values work over rest?

 “Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 (NLV)

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Love Your Body—For Longer Than Thirty Days

Love Your Body Longer Than 30 Days talks about the challenges of keeping weight off beyond the 30 days. Is it a way of eating you could do for life? If not it will be a disappointment.

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

I know I’m going to take some heat for this blog post, so let me start off by reminding everyone that the only reason I write this series on the last Monday of the month is because I care about your health. My first degree in college was a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, and I spent a year internship to become a Registered Dietitian, R.D. While I don’t currently practice that profession, I always say, “Once a dietitian, always a dietitian.” When you’ve learned the principles of how to eat the way God made our bodies, why would you ever want to do anything differently?!

But I didn’t stay in that profession for one reason; most people want a quick fix and not a lifetime of eating healthy. It was a thankless career. I began as a clinical R.D. in hospitals and thought I could be the Florence Nightingale of dietetics and help everyone on the path to wellness. I quickly learned that an R.D. was the meanie. You would think we were taking away their whole reason for living, instead of helping them to live longer! Even though in so many illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and weight-related, diet plays such a key role, people are often in denial. They want to take a pill or find an easy solution so they can keep eating the way they love, often more than they love their own bodies and loved ones.

Today the world of nutrition has garnered more respect, but many still ignore advice and wise counsel. Every few months, there’s a new diet touted as easy, fast weight loss, which by the way is not possible. Just look at the most well-known yo-yo celebrity dieter, Oprah. She’s probably tried them all, but the weight always returns.

Or Kirstie Alley and Valerie Bertinelli, who lost weight as spokeswomen for Jenny Craig, but both started gaining it back when the contract ended. Why? No one is going to eat Jenny Craig food for the rest of her life.

Nothing changed about why these women overeat. They didn’t modify their eating habits for life, just the duration of the program. Or the diet got boring and gradually the old eating habits returned. Maybe you’ve been there too.

I have many friends lose weight with Weight Watchers, but when they stopped going to meetings and measuring food, the weight started creeping back on, because again they aren’t going to attend Weight Watchers for life.

Everyone wants to find a way to eat more calories than God made their bodies to need or use, and in some cases will do harm, and still lose weight. It isn’t going to happen unless you adopt eating habits good for your body for life.

My Thoughts on the 30-Day Diet

When I started seeing people on Facebook talking about the latest diet rage, the 30-day diet, my heart sank. I went online and saw that people like Dr. Oz were approving it; but seriously how many other diets has he already approved? I can answer that: whatever is the latest quick fix. For once, it isn’t a bad diet with drinks or shakes you have to purchase or major foods groups to eliminate (except maybe sources of calcium). But almost everyone who is overweight is going to lose weight and detox with only eating 1200 calories, no processed foods, not eating for 12 hours after dinner—everyone should do that—and drinking lots of water—again we all should—and eating kale chips and roasted chickpeas for snacks. Hmm could you live with that as your only snack for longer than 30 days? And exercise is good, but jumping rope I’m not sure many could do as one website suggested.

And of course, there’s always a book for sale.

Again, I ask: Is this a way of eating someone would do for life? It wouldn’t be a bad way to eat, but I appreciated this disclaimer at the end of one the descriptions of the diet: Also, like any weight-loss plan, you might regain any weight you lost once you go back to your usual eating habits. To minimize regain, incorporate some of things you learned over the 30-day diet, such as mindful eating and focusing your meals on whole, fresh food.

If you want to do the 30-day diet, I don’t see anything that would hurt you. But as the disclaimer said, don’t start it unless you’re ready to change your eating patterns for life, or it will just be another failed disappointing diet.

What did people learn over the 30 days? Did they learn “mindful eating”?

Why they overeat and food has such a stronghold?

When they overeat?

How to avoid overeating?

What they’re overeating?

Why isn’t reaching their goal and looking amazing in their clothes enough incentive for not gaining back the weight?

Let God Help

The only way to stop overeating for life is not a quick-fix diet; it’s to find the answers to the above questions and I believe God can help you answer them. I had the privilege of writing a Bible study God’s Best for Your Life for First Place 4 Health, a ministry program I highly endorse. It’s not just a diet program focused on a quick weight loss, but a plan for a healthy lifestyle and eating habits for life. Helping those who are in a struggle with weight and food look at the whole body physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally from God’s perspective, often in a group setting, but you can also do it on your own with one of their Bible studies.

A Mentor Offers Accountability

The benefit of being in a group setting is accountability, but a mentoring relationship can provide the same accountability. In Mentoring for All Seasons, I discuss how to have a quality accountability relationship. Interestingly the Stages of Mentoring chapter shares a story of a mentor and mentee who met in a First Place 4 Health group at their church. The mentee Tara was leading the group, but she was seeking spiritual wisdom from an older woman, which she found in Jerre. Remember Mentoring for All Seasons releases in only two weeks on September 12 and is available NOW for pre-order. Or you can download the Kindle version NOW!

Many have told me they’ve lost and kept off weight just from the mentoring tips I’ve given in this Love Your Body series. That blesses me beyond words! I’ve seen so much pain and illness from something God made to nourish and sustain us be abused and misused by the evil one causing obsession, and yes, addiction to unhealthy eating patterns.

Love Your Body for More Than 30 Days discusses how an accountabiilty partner helping you stay on a healthy diet is more successful than going on a quick fix diet like the 30 Day diet where even they admit the weight will return if you go back to old eating habits.

Here are some previous Love Your Body articles you might enjoy on the topic of developing healthy eating habits to lose and maintain weight loss:

Written by my daughter Love Your Body—Use Technology to Lose Weight

Love Your Body—Break the Food Strongholds, Debbie Dittrich shared her story

Love Your Body—Weight Loss is Not the Goal, Debbie Dittrich shares more of her story

If you received this blog by email, please leave a comment here. Tell us how you’re keeping your weight under control or if you’ve tried the 30-Day Diet.

PS I told you I would update you on our experience with the total eclipse in our town. Turns out the sun was high enough in the sky above the trees that we watched the entire eclipse from the swing on our front deck. We didn’t go downtown, but did hear the crowds were much lighter than expected but the main roads were quite busy. It was spectacular, especially the two minutes of total darkness and just as the moon covered the sun and then moved off. I didn’t take any pictures though afraid of hurting my camera. Then we went inside and back to work for a normal Monday. How about you, did you see it?

Seeking A Season of Spiritual Maturity

I recently learned that pilot whales are very social and their offspring stay in their mother’s pod for life. The young swim alongside old, knowledgeable whales and learn from them how to feed, mate, and migrate in open waters.

The species is so good at following that occasionally they follow a bad decision by one of the lead whales, and they’re all in for trouble. This is rare. Overall, the younger whales learn from the wisdom and experience of the older whales.

While it might be hard to relate to whales, how about Jesus leading His disciples. In The Team That Jesus Built, I describe how Jesus took fishermen, a tax collector, and eventually arrived at twelve ragtag men and told them to “Follow me.” They followed Jesus around, watched, asked questions, listened, and gleaned from Him, and slowly they matured in their faith and understanding of what it means to be a true follower of Christ.

When Paul was growing the New Testament churches, he challenged believers in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow me as I follow the example of Christ.” Like the disciples, Paul hadn’t lived an exemplary life, but he had turned his life around and had one incredible testimony! Still he never felt he had arrived. He was always fighting the good fight, running the race, and willing to share with others everything he learned in his seasons of spiritual growth. He begged people to follow his example, not because he was so great, but because he humbly was following and learning from Christ.

What Can We Learn From Whales, Paul, and the Disciples?

As Christians, we’re continually growing and maturing in our faith, or at least we should be . . . right? No one ever “achieves” or arrives at total spiritual maturity. We never know enough or all there is to learn about the Christian life. But do we sometimes live as if we do? Do we spend more time focusing on the world’s teachings than Jesus’s teaching? Like the 650 whales beached on New Zealand’s shoreline when they followed the wrong leader whale, our spiritual life can be beached too when we follow the wrong leader.

But we can get off the “spiritual beach” by seeking spiritual guidance. Maybe at a Bible study or retreat or deciding to have a consistent daily quiet time, we experience a newfound hunger to grow deeper in our walk with the Lord, but we’re not sure how. There are so many unanswered questions and portions of the Bible still confusing. We live in fear with the circumstances of the world, and yet we know our faith should sustain us, but it doesn’t seem enough right now.

Paul had the answer when he said in Titus 2:3-5 to have the women in a spiritually mature season teach and train the less spiritually mature. Some try to interpret those verses as strictly chronological age, but in mentoring we want to learn from someone spiritually older, not necessarily older in years. A great truth the Lord revealed when I was starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

Many mentoring ministries fail because they simply match older women with younger women without looking at their seasons of spiritual maturity. A woman might become a Christian at sixty-five and have worldly wisdom but not spiritual wisdom. Her mentor might be fifty but has walked with the Lord for many years.

We don’t know the ages of the disciples, but since Jesus was only thirty when He started His ministry, there’s a good chance they were older than Him. But they had so much to learn and only three years to spiritually mature. You and I are Christians today because Jesus mentored them to go into the world and teach what He had taught them.

Your Personal Spiritual Maturity Season

Sometimes I hear Christians say they feel spiritually dry. That saddens me because Jesus is ready and willing to give us living water from a well that never runs dry. If we drink from His well, we’ll keep growing in spiritual maturity (John 4:10-15). Many of you know this already and someone in your life needs to hear how you continue maturing in your relationship with the Lord.

I’m afraid there’s a growing epidemic among Christian women today to worry more about their own spiritual maturity than sharing what they know about Christ with a newer believer. I’m not referring to Bible study leaders, but the women sitting under their teaching in every church or Bible study group. Are they sharing what they’re learning with the many women around them who need help with their spiritual maturity?

It goes beyond just inviting them to the Bible study for the leader or facilitator to teach them; it means helping them live a godly mature life outside the groups in daily life. It means more than inviting them to church on Sunday; it means praying and studying with them during the week.

It means every believer a mentor!

In Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, I share stories of mentors who have met spiritually younger women at Bible studies and church and offered to mentor them. I encourage spiritually mature women to think about the role models in their life who helped them come to faith and spiritual maturity. We all have them. Women we admire who took the time to disciple us and share some of their life with us. Hebrews 13:7 tell us to: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”

“Imitate their faith.” Exactly what Paul told the church and Jesus told His disciples.

Mentoring is that simple. How someone reached you with her faith is probably the way you will be the most effective in pouring into someone else who is younger in her faith.

In Mentoring for All Seasons, there are points to consider of how God could use you as a mentor and how to select a mentor. Here are just a couple.

If you’ve been a believer for a while:

  • Who challenged you and helped you grow in your faith?
  • How did she model Jesus to you?
  • Who needs you to do that for them? Consider also someone who might be a long-time believer but is going through a season of doubt.
  • Who do you need to invite to follow you and help her mature in her faith?
  • How could God enhance your spiritual maturity by mentoring and pouring into someone else?

If you’re a newer believer and eager to learn and grow in your faith, or going through a spiritually dry time, God tells us two are better than one (Ecc. 4:9-10).

  • Who do you admire for her faith and the way she lives it out in daily life?
  • What about her faith would you like to emulate in your own life?
  • What’s stopping you from asking her to mentor you?

Often, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2

Paul the great mentor of the New Testament reminds us that mentoring is always a two-way relationship and reward.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” [a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Philippians 2:14-17

Mentoring for All Seasons is available for order now on Amazon or Kindle version or Signed by the Author

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Use The Solar Path of Totality to Share the Path of Eternity

Use the Path to Totality to Share the Path to Etenrity helps put into perspective that God made both the sun and the moon and only He makes the total solar eclipse which lasts only a couple minutes but eternity is forever!

We live in a tiny mountain town in the “Path of Totality” for what many are calling “the great American eclipse” August 21. I even saw T-shirts with the moon eclipsing the sun and Charlie Brown and Linus sitting on the roof of the doghouse with large letters “Idaho Path of Totality.” Actually, the whole state of Idaho isn’t going to experience the total eclipse, not even partially, but hey, that’s marketing.

But we are going to experience it, and we’re so small that our city doesn’t appear on the map showing the coast-to-coast path of totality, but somehow people have learned it falls directly over us. And they’re coming! By the thousands to a town that’s barely 2000 residents, with one stop sign (not stop light) two lane and dirt roads, one gas station, a couple of small restaurants, the two small motels and B&B sold out for a year . . . you get the picture. There will be far more of them than there are of us.

People coming are willing to pay crazy prices to arrive, rent a room or cabin here or in surrounding cities, or at a nearby ski resort, even reserving seats on the ski lift during the eclipse. That’s the last place I would want to be! This is going on all along the “Path of Totality,” for an event that is only going to last two minutes!

I was reading an article by Zoe Schlanger, Witnessing an eclipse is so overwhelming it has created a global community of “addicts”. Schlanger interviewed “eclipse chasers” who admit it is addictive and a lifestyle of a “close-knit community of like-minded souls” who spend thousands of dollars and plan eclipse-watching trips. They describe the awe of what they call a life-changing experience.

Looking at the Eclipse Through God-Focused Eyes

I recently heard jokes that liberals were complaining the total eclipse was mainly passing over conservative states that voted for President Trump. As I looked closer at the map, with a few exceptions, like Oregon, that’s true. However, locals say the spot in Oregon used to be quite conservative.

That means many descending on our Midwest conservative cities will have the opportunity to see how the majority of Americans actually live. They’ll come and spend money, which will boost the economy of every city in the eclipse path, but we’ll also have a chance to shower them with hospitality, kindness, friendliness, and share Jesus with any who might not know Him as their life-changing Savior.

Regardless of what state you’re in, and whether or not you’ll see the eclipse, everyone should admit only God creates a total eclipse of the sun! He created the moon, the sun, the stars . . . the entire universe . . . and as hard as some will try to explain Him away, we can’t let that happen. Instead of participating in the hype of this great phenomena, we need to remind everyone that this is God’s doing.

Since the beginning of time, God ordained when and where all eclipses would happen. Scientists can study it, but they can’t change its course or change the effects. Only God.

Atheists can try to deny God and claim evolution, but they can’t explain who created their own body and breathed life into it. Only God.

God, the Creator of earth and all that’s in it decides when and where a total eclipse of the sun by the moon will happen. Only God.

What Can Christians Do to Put the Eclipse in Proper Perspective?

Where are the t-shirts, hats, and banners saying “Only God Can Make a Path of Total Eclipse”? Or maybe with Peanuts telling Linus, “God made the sun and the moon.”

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to view the eclipse, but I’m suggesting we use it as an opportunity to share the Creator of the universe and watch it with awe for our Great God.

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

The Bible records a time in the Old Testament when King Hezekiah was dying and he begged God to give him more years of life. God said he would give him fifteen years and as proof God turned back the sun: “‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’ So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.” Isaiah 38:7-8

Then Hezekiah praised God in a testimony. Here is a portion of it—

In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.
19 The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
parents tell their children
about your faithfulness. Is. 38:17,19

Job gives testimony of the total control God has over the sun, moon, stars, day, and night . . .

If someone wanted to take God to court,[a]
would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?
For God is so wise and so mighty.
Who has ever challenged him successfully?

If he commands it, the sun won’t rise
and the stars won’t shine.
He alone has spread out the heavens
and marches on the waves of the sea.
He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.
10 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles. Job 9:3-4, 7-10 NLT

Use the Eclipse to Share Jesus

Sometimes the first verses in the first chapter of the Bible are so familiar they lose their awe-inspiring, magnificent, amazing, indescribable impact that King Hezekiah and Job understood so well: our Holy God is totally responsible for everything in our universe. Now that’s a phenomena we all should be sharing and what better time than now?!

When the conversation turns to the eclipse, how about inserting discussion starters like:

  • Isn’t it amazing that God made this total eclipse happen right over us!
  • Since God created the sun and the moon, He decided August 21, 2017 was the exact time in history for another total eclipse across America. That’s incredible don’t you think?!
  • The eclipse is exciting, but it’s only going to last two minutes. As believers, we’ll spend eternity in heaven with God, the Creator of this eclipse. Now that’s something to get excited about!

“And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” Deut. 4:9

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Remember Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is available for pre-order and release date is getting very close, September 12!

What to Do When You Don’t Like Your Life Season

What Do You Do When You Don't Like Your Life Season? Cry yell scream get depressed? None of those things are going to change things. God tells us in Ecc. 3:1-8 that there's a time for every good and difficult season under heaven but read and discover how God and mentoriing can help you survive this season!

We’ve all heard it said, “There’s a time for everything.” Or “You’re just in a season, it will pass.” In fact, it’s Scriptural—

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The good and pleasant seasons sound wonderful and just what God wants for us, right? It’s so easy to think that God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. And yet this Scripture passage tells us that God made both, and while we’re alive, we’re going to experience every season—the good and the bad—under heaven.

Pastor Rick Warren often says that life is like a roller coaster: if you’re going up and experiencing a good season, brace yourself because in about three weeks you’ll probably find yourself going down into an unpleasant season, screaming all the way!

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace. But when the not so good times roll, we need to remember that God has not left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons, and that’s when a mentor is so helpful to remind us that she made it through her tough seasons and we will too.

The focus of my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture has Forgotten is for us to remember how good God has been in all the seasons of our life. God never abandons His children. This is a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during these challenging times we live in today.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually we don’t like our life season because:

It’s painful or uncomfortable.

We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.

We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.

We’re discontent or discouraged.

We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season that we never want to end. Many life seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers and the culture would try to make you believe differently. They set us up to fail either way by thinking if we just drink the right cola, take the right pill, own the right car, use the right cosmetics and anti-aging products, eat the right food, reach success . . . every season of our life will be heavenly. The aging clock is going to stop and somehow God made our life to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season that everyone will experience.

What to Do When We Don’t Like Our  Life Season

We probably feel like crying, screaming, maybe yelling, getting depressed, ignoring, or trying to get out of it. If we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

But soon we realize that the only thing that works when we don’t like our life season is to ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often He’s talking, but we’re not listening.

Someone on a friend’s Facebook post asked how my Christian friend knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does! Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

While writing this post, I met a woman whose husband has cancer. As she shared her story, I heard in my mind hug her and pray for her. Mind you, we had just met, and I had already told her I would be praying for her husband and their family since I understood having had breast cancer three times. But as she kept talking, I knew I was to pray for her now. So I said, “Let me pray for you,” and stepped forward to hug her; but she didn’t realize that I meant right then. I knew God meant right then! She needed it and she was so grateful.

I had tried to talk myself out of it, and how many times is God trying to tell us what to do “right then,” but we’re dismissing His words of wisdom to see us through this season and on into the next one. That’s when a mentor can step in and do just what I was able to do for this woman, even though we barely knew each other. Can you imagine how much comfort can come from two women who have a personal mentoring relationship?!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone, but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom. That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture to study together that applies to the various issues women might experience in that season.

Being a mentor, or a mentee reaching out to another woman for guidance, doesn’t mean the mentor has all the answers or the Bible memorized. It just means she’s willing to search God’s Word and pray together for Him to tell you both what to do in the life seasons you might not like right now; and then, you both reach out and help someone else going through something similar.

And that’s exactly what Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us we need to do when we’re going through a life season we don’t like!

What to Do When You Don't Like Your Life Season? Find a mentor who has experienced it already and let her support and encourage you. Read some helpful tips on how to survive those unpleasant life seasons.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is available now for order or Kindle or signed by the author.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Love Your Body—In All Life Seasons

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

It’s Love Your Body Monday again. How do the months roll by so quickly? In my online About His Work Ministries newsletter this month, I actually wrote about how living in a state with four distinct seasons makes the year seem to fly by. And as the months go . . . so go the years and the body changes that occur in each of those life seasons.

Eating with Purpose in Every Season

A woman my age told me she felt her usefulness was over and she was just waiting for the Lord to take her home. That was shocking because I wake up every morning with a new sense of purpose and direction to accomplish what God has planned for me that day. I assured God could use her wisdom and experience to help mentor others if she would let Him.

I recently read an article that said those who live with purpose, live longer. I think that’s true for any age. When you’re younger, if you have a sense of purpose for your life, you’re not going to abuse your body with drugs, alcohol, permissive sex, poor eating habits etc. You have your eyes set on the future whether it’s college, a career, a marriage, parenting, contributing to making the world a better place. . . and you want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.

Living with purpose and a goal applies to the aging process too. How we treat our bodies when we’re younger plays a big role in how we age. But it’s never too early, or too late, to eat healthy and establish healthy lifestyle habits.

There’s an eighty-eight year old couple in our church, and the husband was excited that he got his driver’s license renewed for four more years! He’s funny, energetic, trim, and sharp. When we ran into them at a Mexican restaurant celebrating his license renewal, they invited us to eat with them. I asked how he stayed in such good shape and his answer was, “I’ve always been active. When I was younger, I was in sports, then career military. After I retired, I always had an active job that kept me physically fit. Now I stay busy doing things around the yard and house.” I wouldn’t be surprised if he still chops his own wood for their cabin stove.

For dinner, they each ordered two tacos—that’s it. He ate both of his and she took one home. Except for her eyesight going, she’s just as spunky, funny, energetic, and enjoying life as much as he is! That’s how I want to age, but it doesn’t just happen without effort.

Do We Treat Our Cars Better than Our Bodies?

After much prayer, my husband and I decided we needed to buy a new car. In twenty-five years of marriage, it’s only the third car we’ve owned. We take extremely good care of our cars so they’ll serve us well. We put in the right gas, take them in for regular checkups, replace tires when needed, watch the fluid levels, don’t put off getting assistance when the engine light keeps flashing . . . . We make an investment in keeping our cars running well so they will serve us well and keep us safe when we’re driving. The extra care could prevent us from having inconvenient breakdowns, protect us from injury, or even death in an accident so we want to keep it as dependable and smooth running as we can.

Dave, being the manual reader, is devouring the “books” that came with our new car so we understand how it works and what we need to do to maintain it and keep it running well.

Maybe you do the same thing with your cars for the same reasons. Yet, I often point out that many people take better care of their cars, which they don’t expect to last their lifetime, than they do their bodies. They would never think of putting in the wrong kind of gas or pouring alcohol or lard in the gas tank, but what about the “fuel” we put in our precious bodies.

If you’re a parent, you followed careful instructions what to feed your baby. You didn’t feed them anything that would harm their precious bodies. You listened to the doctor when to introduce new foods at what age and you took them in for their scheduled checkups. But as they grow older and start exerting their own will, it’s easier to give in to unhealthy snacks and foods because they like them better than healthy food and it’s less trouble. But what will this do to their still precious bodies as they grow into adulthood? We seldom see studies on this.

When people lived on rural farms, far from town, they ate what they brought home from an occasional trip to town and what they grew. That meant if the kids were hungry, they ate what was on the table or went to bed hungry. There was no running down to the market or driving by fast food. Unfortunately, with the wide array of food choices we have today, our families could easily eat less healthy than previous generations. Kids often tell parents what they will eat and not eat, and because the refrigerator and pantry are full, it’s easier to give into their demands than take a stand for their health.

Know What You’re Putting Into Your Body’s “Fuel Tank”!

As we move into the adulthood season and can make our own food choices, we often throw away the “healthy fuel tank manual” and stop watching what we put in our own precious bodies. In a previous post, Love Your Body—Read Labels, I talked about the importance of being an avid label reader and checking dates. Last week, I was at the market checking dates on packages of lettuce, and the woman next to me asked where she would find a date? I showed her, but thought, I wonder how many packages of lettuce she’s thrown away because it was ready to spoil?! Hint: they usually put the older dates in front.

Even something “healthy,” like sheep’s milk cheese, I read the labels between two different brands. One label, which was cheaper, had other things added than the simple ingredients to make cheese. Read the labels on corn tortillas. You’d be surprised how some brands have much more than corn, lime, and maybe a little salt. All those ingredients you don’t recognize on labels are preservatives.

Here’s my Point!

No matter what season of life you’re in, God wants you to take care of the body He gave you. We may not like some of our features, but they’re ours and God thought they were perfect for us. And how magnificent to think that He made us in His own image! So let’s show Him honor by honoring His creation. You. And. Me!

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

If you received this post by email, please leave a comment here.

I’m getting so excited to share Mentoring for All Seasons with you. Remember it’s available right NOW for pre-order and preorders usually arrive before the September 12 release date!

Also, if you have a blog where I could be a guest, or would like to be on the Launch Team to help spread the word from coast to coast, woman to woman, please contact me.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Mentoring Can Change the World: Starting with Our Children

Last week, my eleven-year-old granddaughter and her friend were here to participate in a kids’ Drama Camp at our local outdoor theater. Both girls are baptized Christian tweens, at a perfect age for mentoring as they enter into middle school this year. We’ve been doing my Bible study Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ together via SKYPE, or in person, for quite a while. We’ve had lots of discussions where I help them use Scripture from their Bibles to apply to their young lives. They have so many questions and are at a crossroads between not little girls, but not grown ups either. As tweens, they’re soon going to have more freedoms to make decisions—but not the wisdom that comes with maturity.

Every parent has heard the excuse, “But everyone else is doing it.” I remember my parents saying something like, “If everyone jumped off a cliff would you too?” Sadly, today many kids and adults are jumping off the moral and spiritual cliff to fit in with the culture, or they’re afraid to express beliefs that differ from the worldview.

Even children are bullied for supporting America’s president when their accosters usually don’t even understand why they’re reacting so violently. Where do these young bullies learn this reaction? Television, the internet . . . perhaps parents, grandparents, or even teachers?

I watched an interview of high school kids encouraged by their teachers to ditch school and participate in a protest march. Those kids had no clue why they were marching or what they were protesting?! They weren’t trying to change the world; they were being changed by a worldview they didn’t really understand.

We may want to pull the covers over our head and ignore the unrest in the world. But the parting words Jesus gave to His disciples regarding Christians’ place in the world, the Great Commission, reminds us there’s work to do, starting with our children.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

However, the last page in the Bible also foretells that the world will always have good and evil.

Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” Revelations 22:11

We all want our children and grandchildren knowing and doing what is right and holy, even when their peers encourage them to do wrong and vile acts! Parents and grandparents are the ones responsible for teaching and instilling these virtues. We cannot rely on the schools, and sometimes not even our churches.

The important thing is to help them not grow weary or discouraged doing good. Some things have helped me be a world change agent, while not letting the world change me. Maybe these will help you too in guiding and mentoring your children or young mentees.

Use the Word of God and Help Your Children Learn Scripture from Their Own Bible

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Teach them to paraphrase if they need to, but God’s Word applies to every area of life in every century (Heb. 13:8). Jesus used Scripture when tempted by Satan in the desert and taught the disciples to pray “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). Help them memorize Scriptures to resist temptation. My granddaughter’s friend said her Dad is teaching her Psalm 23 for when she’s afraid.

Stay Civil and Polite But Stay Firm in Your Convictions

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Satan is the ruler of this world, so those caught up in the world’s cults, atheism, alternate belief systems or lifestyles, feel compelled to challenge us for our faith in Christ, and they have devised a myriad of unkind words to call us. The hurt runs deep when it’s aimed at our Lord and Savior. So our first impulse is to engage in a debate. If you’ve ever tried arguing or reasoning with someone blinded by the world’s belief system, you know it’s usually futile. I mentor my granddaughter that her best answer is “This is what I believe because the Bible (or God or Jesus) tells me so.”

Other times, believers fall into the same trap the serpent used with Eve when someone asks them, “Did God really say…?” Simply say, “Yes He did, and I’ll find the Scripture for you.” Jesus didn’t come to sanctify the world’s ways, He came to save the world from its ways.

The World is In Darkness So Let Your Light Shine

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. John 3:18-20

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

The world loves darkness. Yet into this dark world came Jesus, the Light of the world, and He has hidden His light in each believer’s heart. Our light must shine brightly, no flickering. When we enter a room, a social media conversation, a family or friendly gathering, work, play, school, as parents, grandparents, employers, employees, kids . . . wherever life takes us . . . our light shines, even if we’re the only light for Jesus. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

We are living in a lost world that is loudly anti-God and anti-Christian and influencing the next generation. We can’t be quiet. Our job as Christians is to be world-changers for Christ. We must worry more about what God thinks about us than what the world thinks. Our job is to put God back in the public square and reach the world with the love of Christ. It may be hard for kids to get this point, but they do need to know that there will be people who won’t like you for not agreeing to do the wrong thing. They may try to bully, dare, entice, make you feel bad, but that’s just because you doing the right thing convicts them for doing the wrong thing.

Don’t Give Up!

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. John 17:15-21

We’ll never have a perfect world until Jesus returns, but as long as we have breath, we’re saved to make a difference in the world. Start your children young believing this means them too! Maybe it’s their friends, sports coaches, unsaved relatives…teach them to pray. Here’s a prayer to start with:

Dear Lord, though the world does not know you, I___________ know you, and I pray that you will let the world know that you have sent me as your servant. Help me make you known to a lost world and I will continue to make you known where you put me so that the love you have for me may be in them also. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to live in my heart. Amen. John 17:25-26 personalized and paraphrased as a prayer.

Just a reminder that my new release Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness has helps, tips, encouragement from Scripture for mentors and mentees from tweens to twilight seasons. It’s available for sale now. If you would like to participate in the Prayer and Launch Team to help spread the message of this book from coast to coast, woman to woman, contact Janet ASAP.

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Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

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Why Do We Care What Everyone Thinks?

Everyone thinks this about you.”

They’re all talking about you.”

“You make everyone feel” __________________.

“Everyone thinks you should”_____________.

These types of phrases can be negative or positive.

We love it when the context is everyone thinks you’re wonderful! They’re all talking about how you make everyone feel so good and everyone thinks you should do more to let people know about the great things you’re doing!

But what about a negative context when everyone thinks you’re not wonderful. They’re all talking about you because you make everyone so uncomfortable and everyone thinks you should change your ways and keep to yourself!

When I was starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, and then when other churches wanted to know how to start one and God chained me to the computer to write the Woman to Woman Mentoring resources, I heard both negative and positive comments. That was twenty years ago. If I had listened to the negative, there would be no Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry today; but likewise if I had let the positive puff me up instead of just encourage and motivate me, I don’t believe God would have blessed this ministry. Yet even as I sit here writing to you, I see a confirming email come in from a church telling me they started the ministry last year and they’re so thankful for the resources. To God be the glory. Only God starts an international life-changing ministry and keeps it going! We can’t do anything without Him, but with Him all things are possible.

Positive or negative comments; let’s look objectively.

Receiving Negative Comments

 

No one can speak for everyone. More than likely there’s a group with a perception about you, which could actually only be two or three people.

We hear sweeping comments in the news today, and it’s easy to transfer similar all-inclusive conversation to our private lives. Especially, when someone wants to convey something negative. Everyone sounds more impressive, meaningful, and authoritative.

Words are easy to release, but impossible to retrieve!

Hurtful words and connotations are like an arrow to the heart. They penetrate our identity, our purpose, our character. As our curiosity fuels thoughts of who is “everyone,”  our anger and defenses go into high gear. We want to know why people are thinking or saying these things about us. We’re hurt. People are gossiping about us, which never comes to any good!

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Prov. 16:28

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. Prov. 20:19

Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. Prov. 26:22

Remember Paul is talking to the church at Corinth here:

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 2 Cor. 12:20

It takes two to gossip—the gossiper and the listener—so beware of becoming an accomplice to sin by listening to gossip. Our role as Titus 2 women is “to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good train the younger women.” (Titus 2:3)

So consider the following when you hear an “everybody” negative comment about you. Believe me when I say, I haven’t always done this on the spot, and sometimes need to give myself time to pray and put everything into perspective.

  1. Rather than trying to defend yourself or lashing outSay a quick mind prayer, stay calm, and ask God for wisdom. Ask yourself before responding: Why do I care what these people think?
  2. Question: “Really, everyone thinks this?”
  3. Ask: Why are they telling you this? Steer the conversation away from everyone to one-on-one.

My point:

We worry too much about what other people think about us and not enough about what God thinks about us. He’s the only One we’re concerned about. Consider if there’s something you should search your heart about and act on and if not, let this go. If there is something, then take it to the Lord. And be watchful of not doing an “everyone” comment yourself.

Don’t replay the encounter or comments over in your head, so Satan gets a foothold in your mind. It’s best to forgive, pray, and carry on. Easier said than done? I offer many helps and tips in my Bible study Face-to-Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community.

Receiving Positive Comments

But what if all those “everyone” statements are positive building us up and making us feel good about ourselves? Well there’s certainly nothing wrong with encouragement, but again, we have to remember a couple of truths:

No one knows what everyone is speaking and they can’t speak for them. Hopefully, there are many who agree with them, but “everyone” is still an encompassing sweeping generalization.

If we think that we’re just fine because everyone likes us, then we might miss some areas we do need to change and improve, because after all . . . everyone thinks we’re great.

And we know what that leads to—pride—taking credit ourselves, instead of praising God giving Him the glory and honor He deserves. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18)

There will always be areas in our life we need to improve, change, sanctify, ask God for wisdom. We can be grateful for approval of how we’re living and serving the Lord, but I guarantee that if you’re living out loud for God, everyone is not going to like you. If everyone does, do an internal check and see if there are areas in your life you’ve compromised to be liked by everyone.

When Paul was accused by the Jewish high priest Ananias, some of the elders, and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against him before the governor, Felix for doing nothing more than sharing the Gospel, Paul told them in his defense: “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16). That should be the goal of every Christian, don’t you agree?

Sadie Robertson of the Duck Dynasty Family, who I’ve written about before, recently gave an amazing “sermon” to a college group and challenged those millennials who might be leaving their values and faith behind because they want to fit in: “Worry more about your relationship with Jesus than your reputation with people you don’t even know.” Here’s the link and I recommend you listen to it with your kids or college age youth groups. It’s excellent!

So I close with a modification of Sadie’s advice:
Worry more about your relationship with Jesus than your reputation with everyone!

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. 2 Peter 2:12

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If you would like to know more about the Prayer and Launch Team for Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness releasing September 12, please contact me soon.