Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Seeking Wisdom & Desiring an Honest Heart

Throughout the book of Proverbs, we are encouraged to seek wisdom above wealth or selfish gain. Perhaps the greatest story in the scriptures regarding wisdom is when Solomon makes a difficult choice. There is a wealth of lessons of virtue embodied in this passage. 

1 Kings 3:16-28

Now two women came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him.20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”
22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”
But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.
23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”
24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”
27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”
28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
Lessons of Virtue:
1) Stealing or being dishonest to recover a loss you experience is never a good idea. The Lord will supply our needs if we will trust him. His supply does not steal from another. His resources are endless. Your need or desperation doesn't justify immoral behavior. In the story found in 1 Kings, while the woman replaced her dead child with the infant that was not hers, she also had to replace life with death into the other's mothers arms. Anytime we take something or pursue it wrongfully, we leave damage/death/loss for another.  For example, cheating in school might increase your grade average, but it simultaneously devalues the student's who rightfully made their high score. It wrongfully directs the instructor, sending an inaccurate message, which can lead to even harder work or tests! Cheating and dishonest gain is never 'okay' or confined to just affecting yourself. 

2) When you love someone or something, you are willing to sacrifice your own needs and desires in order to save the one you love. Our Heavenly Father sending Jesus into the world to die for our sins was the perfect example of this sacrificial love. In a world where we encourage young people to "be themselves" and be independently minded, we must also couple this with the Godly attribute of loving others as we want to be loved - treating people the way we want to be treated. 

3) Wisdom gives us the ability to see through the deception of a situation and reveal the truth and heart of those involved. We are to ask in prayer for wisdom from above and continue to pray for the Lord to reveal truth in situations - and in our own hearts, foremost. Reading the Bible and feeding your spirit daily is key in growing in Godly wisdom. 

4)  "If I can't have it, then nobody can!" is an attitude that is birthed out of our own selfish sin and greed. We should guard our hearts from desiring to harm/destroy something we cannot have. It is the temptation for revenge, the lust of money and material items, the pride of life (wanting to make a name for ourselves), or the desire for power out from under authority. If we intentionally hurt another person or situation because we did not get what we wanted, we must repent of our selfish greed and pride. These temptations often come out of our own insecurities where we have not found value the love of Jesus Christ. 
5)  Lying is a highly toxic sin we should guard our hearts from daily. When we lie, it is most likely a second layer of sin, covering up another wrongdoing we desire to hide. Satan is named "The Father of Lies" in John 8:44. We do not want an attribute in our lives that is one of the names of Satan himself. We must become honest with ourselves before we can be honest with others. Not just in our words, but in our decisions and the motives behind what we choose to do. Truth brings life, and is our spiritual sword to fight darkness in the spiritual realm. John 8:22 reminds us that "the truth will set you free". 


Lord, grant me the wisdom from your Spirit and stir within me the hunger for your Word. Search my heart and remove all deception or desire for wrong gain. Help me to be honest and pure in my motives and words. Thank you, Jesus, for being my example of truth and sacrificial love. I thank you for forgiving me for my sins and shortcomings. Your grace is sufficient in my weaknesses. I trust you will complete this work you have begun in me. Bless my day, and let me be a light and blessing to all those I come into contact with. Guide my steps and thoughts today. 

In Jesus Name,

Monday, September 26, 2016

Combining spiritual and natural benefits of praise along with the benefits of dance gives us a beautiful language artform to the Lord.
If it gave no other benefit, the praise of God would still be a most worthy worship endeavor. Nevertheless, aside from the spiritual advantage of enabling us to relate to the Lord in a proper way, praise provides certain psychological "side benefits" in the midst of life. Praise is a key component of spiritual health. 
Praise is a key component
of spiritual health.
1. Praise helps us avoid distress & depression. Letting our minds dwell on our problems can lead to distress. Distress, in turn, can lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. When we fix our minds on God, who loves and cares for us, we magnify our sense of his presence. Then, though we might still feel weak, our hope is renewed as we consider the One who has been our help.
2. Praise helps us feel secure. Our troubles often involve relationships.  People have let us down, or we have disappointed others. When we praise God, we can remember that he never fails, and even if we have failed him, we can be forgiven. A good beginning for a praise session is to extol our heavenly Father for his faithfulness. By celebrating his faithfulness and resting in it, we become inwardly secure.
 3. Praise helps us gain perspective. Usually when we are thinking about our problems we are not really seeking to solve them, but are involved in self-centered pity. When we let the praise of God fill our minds, we think of his worthiness, not ours. Dwelling on the thought that we don't deserve a particular evil that has befallen us, or that we  deserve a particular good that has not come our way, only makes us more self-centered and unworthy. Contemplating God's worthiness as we praise him humbles us and makes us see things in proper perspective and degree of importance.

4. Praise helps us appreciate God's greatness. Many think of praise to God as some kind of obsequious flattery whereby God is so pleased that he will do as we ask and grant us our petitions. That would be no more than manipulation. God cannot be flattered into doing what we want. God is not mocked. He wants us to contemplate what is real about him and confess those verities in prayer as we consider them. In the course of prayer anything that can be said without much thought has little value. Part of the purpose of praise is to enable us to discover what is praiseworthy in God.
5. Praise raises our awareness of God's presence. Jesus said that we should not use vain repetitions, as the heathen do. "For they think they shall be heard for their much speaking." But we are assured that our  heavenly Father does hear, and that he knows our needs before we speak them. The prayer pattern given by our Savior is fairly simple, with comparatively few words. When it comes to praise we must be careful to strive for quality rather than quantity. Thoughtful praise is a celebration that raises the level of our awareness of God's own being. True praise comes from events, even if those events are only inward realizations and recollections. True praise brings our hearts (emotions) and our minds (intellect and understanding) to the place where we can view God from a more intimate vantage point.
When we devote ourselves to responding to the  situations of life with some word of praise to God for everything that happens, we begin to realize his place, his power, his presence and his purpose, and we acquire a proportionate sense of  values as to what is truly important.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

On Our Behalf

As teens and young adults, our lives quickly become filled with more responsibilities with each passing year. Our independence grows equally with our responsibilities. As believers, we strive to do what we need to do to reach our goals and take care of what is entrusted to us. But there is one need in our lives we will never be able to take care of alone without the help of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our need to be loved unconditionally and be capable of giving that love is only through the grace of Jesus Christ. He went to the cross on our behalf. He took our place. He made a way where there was no way - to bring us back into relationship with our Heavenly Father. His blood that flows from the cross blots out our sins and past and says "no more". So in all the striving to be excellent, to obtain goals, and work towards making a difference on earth, never forget the key ingredient: Jesus Christ. His grace is made perfect in your weaknesses. His love is enough when you fall short. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. He is on your side and cheering you on.

To those who do not understand your faith, this will seem religious. Believe anyway. To those who are still holding on to their will more than heaven's will for their lives, you will seem ridiculous. Trust in Jesus Christ anyway. To those who think there are many ways to heaven, you will seem narrow minded or overzealous. Stay strong in your faith anyway. Spend time in God's presence and love all those with whom you have contact. They need your love and God's love through you. That's the only way you will ever see supernatural change in your life and your surroundings.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Being a dancer involves always being aware of what is going on in the body and how the dancer can tweak something in order to become better. It’s a constant growing process which involves changing and adapting so the dancer can have her body do some pretty incredible movements, stretches, and other dance steps that seem nearly impossible to the non-dancer. A dancer learns very quickly that they cannot do the same thing over and over again if they are trying to become better and change the outcome. If the dancer doesn’t apply the correction the teacher is giving her, she will never see a change in that particular step in order to get better. Just think, if a dancer can’t get around in a double turn because she is consistently using a bent supporting leg, what’s the obvious solution to her double turn woes? Make some sort of change, because what she’s doing now is not working! If she were to get upset and frustrated because she kept practicing her turn multiple times without getting any better, anyone could tell me her she needs to make a change in order to get better. No matter how much she believes in her mind that she can do her turns, she won’t succeed without making a change.

In the same way, as Christians, the Bible tells us there needs to be action that goes along with our faith. Essentially, it is telling us that our faith is dead without showing it through different works (James 2:26). What is so great about the God we serve is He tells us we need faith only the size of a mustard seed , and nothing will be impossible for us (Matthew 17:20). If we want to get closer to God, some sort of change or adjustment to our daily routine will need to be made. It may not be anything drastic, but making small adjustments here and there end up making quite the difference! Add some quiet time 15 minutes earlier than you usually get up every day and spend time with Jesus! Make it a point to replace a song you listen to on the radio with a praise and worship song on your iPod. Start talking about a favorite church service with the youth group on Wednesday night and start inviting some people that don’t go to church. If you see a girl upset or struggling with something at school, go up to her and ask her if you can pray for her. If you want to be bold about your faith to friends at school and share Jesus with them, make some changes! These small changes may feel uncomfortable at first, but that’s where faith comes in! Have faith and ACT on what Jesus tells us and see the difference happen!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Waiting in the "Green Room"

On occasion our dancers will be invited to dance at an event that utilizes a “green room”. Recently our high school teens ministered at a large women’s conference. We were escorted to the green room. Decorated beautifully, we found many hospitable amenities: waters, sodas, coffee, gourmet brownies, candies and gums in dishes, a large bathroom and changing room, and a huge table and comfy chairs in which to dine. The Lord began to speak to me after the event concerning the “green room”. What a blessed place to be, yet not intended for a long stay. The “green room” is a place of holding until it is our time to take stage and do what we were called to do.

Just as our guest provided us a wonderful atmosphere and our needs were met, the “green room” for our dancers was also used for other purposes. After we ate and relaxed, we studied the detailed schedule of the service so we would know when to move to the wings. We prayed with the musicians and speakers and maintained a spiritual focus. Too, we stretched and warmed up our bodies, making certain we were going to do our best when the time came for us to “go on”. As the service began, we had to keep our ears and eyes open as to be alert to when our time was drawing nearer.

And such is life……

There are times in our lives where we might feel like we are in the Green Room. We have spent years training and preparing, and now the holding place before we take stage. It is a place of pulling everything together and becoming focused on what is set before you. It is a place of being set apart from the crowd and not distracted – a place of spiritual focus, of stretching and review.

Perhaps you feel like your training and hard work in various areas of your life is ready and you are in a holding place. You are not there to sleep or to walk out aimlessly and enter the audience. You are there in final preparation for what God has planned for you. Use this time and be filled with anticipation. Be level headed and look to heaven for His presence for your future and His timing. Soon you will hear the stage director peep his head in the door and beckon you forward with these whispered words – “You’re on!”

“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.” Psalm 62: 5 & 6

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


As dancers, one of the first elements we learn is how to balance. As a young student, it begins with a game - balancing on one leg. In elementary ballet, we learn to balance on our tip-toes in releve while our arms are in first or second position. Learning to balance in dance has similarities with being spiritually balanced as well. In order to balance for any length of time, one must be focused on a specific direction - and most usually straight ahead or where you want to end up. Even moving one's focus another direction for a moment and losing alignment can cause an imbalance. The scriptures tell us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ and His plans for us. We fix our eyes on what lies ahead, in front of us - not behind or around us. “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

Another quality in balance is finding your "center" and having the strength in the surrounding muscles to dance from your "core". Although audiences enjoy the movements of the arms and legs of a dancer, students learn quickly that it is the core of dancer that makes all other movements a possibility. The "core" muscles not only give strength to hold on to center, but balance and stay there. Scriptures encourage us to find strength is God's Word (Psalm 119:68), His grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) , His love (Psalm 32:10), and His joy (Nehemiah 8:10).

My final thought on balance is a picture of a pas de duex - a duet. When one desires to go further than where his/her body can take them - to balance longer for a specific movement of task – a partner is needed. Having a partner gives a ballerina the ability to turn multiple times, extend the leg, or sustain a leap in the air and defy gravity. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 The scriptures tell us that Jesus is with us as well as His Spirit. We are never alone on the stage of life. God is always with us, giving us the ability to do far more than we can ever do on our own. Many times movements in contemporary dance involving two dancers is referred to as "weight sharing". Likewise, He gives us relationships that bring us "weight sharing" capabilities when needed. As we join the dance of life with other believers, we can move and travel on life's stage in ways we never could alone. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gracious Words

"Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."
Luke 6:45

Just a dance is a language for others to watch and capture a glimpse of our hearts, so are our words. Luke 6:45 reminds us, "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." We live in a country that encourages us to speak freely. For this right, I am grateful. However, God's Word, the Bible, instructs us otherwise. We are to be thoughtful with our words, honoring the Lord with our conversations, comments, and even small talk or chats with friends. Here are some pointers that helped me in my teen years:

1)Girls, don't engage in discussions about another girl in a negative fashion while she is not present. If you have a friend who is stirring up this type of conversation, graciously change the subject. If she has a genuine concern or hurt,encourage your friend to go to the girl directly and discuss the problem. When it comes to gossip, what you say about someone will almost always get back to them eventually.

2)Be an encourager! Your words have the ability to strengthen, heal, and comfort those around you. You don't need to spend money to give some of the greatest gifts to a person you love. Words of encouragement are priceless. Seek out relationships that encourage you as well. Everyone needs encouragement.

3)Times to be silent. There are times when we are to be silent and still. This gives our spiritual ears moments to hear God's voice more clearly. Our opinions don't always need to be heard about everything that comes our way. It is okay to answer at times, "I have not formed an opinion on this." There are times when our best answer or verbal response is the actual word of God. Passing along a scripture to a friend can be as valuable as a thought out opinion or answer. As we direct others to listen to God's voice and trust His word, we can be confident in our advice.

4)Times to express. There are times our words are desperately needed to express how we are truly feeling. As Christians, we are raised to be led by God's Spirit in all we do. However, we are human. The Lord has given us emotions, desires, laughter, dreams - which give the passion and love for life He wants us to enjoy. If you need to express your heart to a person about a matter, it is okay to go to them. "Talking it out" in privacy and love can save friendships, keep yourself or a friend on track towards a dream or goal, and so much more.