CHALLENGE him: help him be great

A man is blessed when he has a friend who challenges him. To challenge a friend is to urge him on with confidence to reach his potential. Without the challenge of a trusted friend, we risk complacency. Apart from such inspiration, opportunities may be missed or potential may be left untapped. The challenge of a friend may be the wind to breath life into an otherwise mediocre existence. Sometimes, the inspirational friend is a woman.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) A woman often makes a great piece of iron!

How your challenge is unique

Maybe there’s a man in your life who needs a feminine friend to challenge him to see his potential, believe in the possibilities, and envision his impact. I remember such “little men” in my first grade classrooms. Do you know such a man? Maybe he’s a boy, an older father, or a co-worker who needs the tender, optimistic challenge you can offer, the kind of urging he can trust. Maybe he’s the man who shares his name and shares your bed and calls you his own, and maybe his spirit is parched and longing for an infusion of sincere challenge. Is there a guy in your life who needs a challenge he can trust to inspire him to greatness?

“The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good, and not harm,all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:11-12)

The question your challenge may help answer

Do you ever wonder how great the guy in your life could possibly be? He may secretly be wondering the same thing. He might just need you to challenge him to find out.

 Challenge him

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By Julie Sanders

Selfie Identity Reveal

Have you seen this 8 minute video about girls and their moms and the impact of the “selfie?” It looks at the way we share and see ourselves and makes us take a closer look (and listen) to how we really feel about ourselves and our beauty. It also reveals a lot about what grown women are saying and who’s listening.Selfie Identity

Who’s listening & learning?

Truth is … kids don’t miss much. And when it comes to our true feelings about ourselves, we might be revealing unhealthy habits about how we view our place in the world and how we measure our identity. Simply taking a selfie might reveal how we really feel about ourselves.  We add to the identity of our girls by the way we talk about ourselves. 

And you don’t have to be a mom to be an influencer. Youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, teachers, neighbors, aunts, room moms, best-friend’s moms, cousins …. you name it, and the older women around us impact our view of what identity is a worthy one. What are you saying about yourself? Who’s listening? We all influence those who come after us.

What God has to say about Selfie Thoughts

Honestly, writing about IDENTITY this month has been rough on my identity! I’ve ended up over-analyzing myself … without even taking a selfie! The best solution has been to think more about God than about me.  What a relief that God gives us direction for how to think! When it comes to our identity, we need God’s thoughts instead of our own.

 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Nevermind that this verse says, “brothers.” This speaks to anyone who is a follower of Christ, male or female. Anyone who has looked at their past identity and found a new identity in Jesus. When it comes to talking about our identity, let’s put it through this test:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it honorable?
  3. Is it just?
  4. Is it pure?
  5. Is it lovely?
  6. Is it commendable?
  7. Is it excellent?
  8. Is it worthy of praise?

I am so imperfect, but God’s grace is so perfect. Let’s remember that when we see our selfies! For those who are “in Christ,” He has declared us more than acceptable; He calls us the beloved children of God! That’s what our girls need to hear us talk about. Not about our nose, our hips, our gray hair, our flat feet, our ______.  You name it.  We all have an “it,” because we are not cookie-cutter creations. We are beautifully unique, glorifying our Maker by our very variety.

And in the spirit of rejoicing in our creative Lord who calls us beautiful … let the selfies begin!

This week #compassionbloggers are finding & sharing beauty in Uganda! 
Compassion Bloggers ganda Trip 2014

By Julie Sanders

Knowing my place in the world

Every year dictionaries eliminate obsolete words like “pocket-handkerchief.” Unofficially, our culture devalues certain roles too. Exorbitant salaries of professional athletes and entertainers add to the confusion, when teachers, counselors, and care-givers take home checks amounting to less than a celebrity’s weekend away. Bad economic conditions make it a common occurrence to read articles about what careers are a waste and what pursuits are dead ends. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a philosophy major, a lot of people scratch their heads and wonder, “Is my place in the world valued?”

Do you feel obsolete? Have you fallen into self-talk about how your choices in life are worthwhile, meaningful, and noble? Or am I the only one? If we just look at the dollar signs, the world doesn’t do much to encourage us to pick up the servant’s towel, but God does.

The contrast of faith in the world creates confusion, even in “good church-going folk.” Do you wonder if you’re valued in this world?

Knowing my place in the worldFinding my place in the world

A couple weeks ago, I came to a normally busy intersection and saw a blinking stop light as I approached. The typical order and efficiency of crossing traffic was replaced with hesitation, insecurity, and confusion. I muttered prayers for safety as I inched across, unsure of the other drivers and equally unsure of myself. I didn’t know my place in the world. None of us knew our place; it was a perfect set up for damage.

If you’re reading today, there’s a good chance you could use words like “sister, wife, church member, friend, co-worker, mom, leader, teacher, mentor, or neighbor” to describe yourself. By the world’s standards, all of those are humble. Fortunately, God isn’t interested in what’s outwardly impressive; He’s a heart watcher.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

With my new identity, I may still be a “sister, wife, church member, friend, co-worker, mom, leader, teacher, mentor, or neighbor,” but now my place in the world is as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.  It’s all from God, who changed us and wants us to show and share His message of forgiveness and peace to the world. We have become God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Today we’ll venture into the mixed up intersection we call life. People around us will need to see the Jesus in us. Now that we have a new identity as ambassadors of Christ, we can ask God to guide us and steer us as His own.

What words would you use to describe your identity in this world?

By Julie Sanders