Worth It

Guest Post by Mrs. Lisa Lamey

I think most of us at some point have compared one brand of a product to another brand name.  Maybe it was cosmetics or clothing. Perhaps you were looking to purchase a new handbag, a watch, or some perfume. It doesn’t take a person long to realize name brand products come with a higher price tag. A higher level of commitment from our wallets if we are to go with the brand named product.  

We often find that other companies offer imitations of the products we the consumers are looking to purchase.  According to Collins Dictionary of Business this is called a market positioning strategy- companies and manufacturers introduce a product which emulates or copies a product already on the market.  In other words, there is a level of competiveness among companies.

I once purchased a bottle of perfume that was a company’s imitation of a designer perfume. The label included the words “our version.”  While it had a different name, to me the smell was the same. It only cost less.

One day while shopping, a lady standing nearby turned and made a comment about my perfume. She even was able to name the fragrance. I thanked her but didn’t feel it was necessary to point out that what she smelled was an imitation of the brand name she thought her nose had detected. Would that detail have made a difference in the long run?

We can buy cheaper versions of products, use generic medications, and wear clothes missing fashion names without anyone really needing to know the particular name or brand we choose. Do those kind of details make a difference in the long run?

But there is a name that matters. Whose name is the detail that makes a difference in the long run.  It’s not a name on any earthly product but it’s a name written on hearts. Jesus tells us in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to The Father except through me.”

God, The Father is looking for the name.

He is looking for the original.

No other version will do.

No imitations accepted.

“Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 

There is a cost in pursuing the name of Jesus.  A higher level of commintment is required.  In the world there are many voices calling. So many things distracting us and competing for our attention and devotion. 

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34.  I don’t know about you, but some days it’s just out right hard “to come after” when my get up and come has left.  And those days when my flesh screams “Me! Me!” are not my proudest moments.  

But then thankfully, Jesus sends me a reminder that choosing His name makes a difference in the long run. It will be worth it in the end. 

And they shall see his face and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no light there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God shall giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 22:4-5

Just a reminder my friends,       

Jesus, the name that makes a diffence in the long run.                                                                                                      

It will be worth it in the end.

Get your mind right

Y’all the other day I found myself straight up rattled.

I have no idea why I was so flustered, and I didn’t even realize it until I caught myself being salty and sassy to my kids and my husband.

I had to stop and ask myself what in the world was going on. Why would the devil want me in such a foul mood?

VBS.

That’s where I was headed. And wouldn’t the devil love for me to be all kinds of cranky up in the church. And wouldn’t he love for me to get my entire family all out of sorts before they headed there as well.

In the words of every teenager across America – Sheeeeesh.

I knew what I had to do.

I had to redirect my mind in order to redirect my heart. And I had to redirect my heart in order to redirect my mind.

How?

1. Prayer

2. Praise & Worship

Right then.

Right there.

Why? Cause it works.

We have the power through Jesus Christ to put our emotions and feelings to the side. We have the power through Jesus Christ to control our space and our face. We have the power.

Don’t let the devil sabotage your spirit.

Don’t let the devil meddle with your mood.

And don’t you dare let him use you to hinder someone else’s heart.

“But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!” Psalm 22:19

Be a good friend


“ You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

Guest Post by Miss Harley Perkins

Sometimes it’s hard sitting on the sideline. Sometimes it’s hard when you realize it isn’t your time to be in the spotlight.

When it’s not your time in the spotlight or time for a promotion at work, we can become discouraged and only focus on what we “don’t have” at that moment in our life.

But when it’s not our time to shine, maybe it’s time for our friend to shine and time for you to be their best supporter. Maybe it’s time for you to learn how to give the best hugs, speak encouraging words, and cheer them on to their greatest achievements.

Learning to be a friend can be the greatest gift in a time of waiting for our own opportunities to arise. We can learn how Jesus deeply loved his disciples and was the best friend to all people.

We can decide to focus on our bench warming season or be the biggest fan to our friend who is running towards the goals God has for them.

Cheering on your friends and being their greatest supporter takes nothing away from the victories and triumphs God has planned for you. Being a friend can give you a joy you’ve never known before.

So today, if you’re sitting on the sideline, don’t focus on your nonexistent playing time. Make a choice to love your friends who are climbing mountains and reaching goals that God has given them. Your time is coming, but trust me, when it’s your friend’s turn, your unconditional love and support is a sturdy foundation for their victories.

Be a great friend today. 🤍

Thriving while Waiting

Guest Post by Abby DuBois

Picture this: It’s a beautiful Saturday morning, you’re out for a stroll in the town to the nearest coffee shop. (Or for my small-town folks with no sidewalks; you’re on vacation enjoying the city.)

Regardless of what you are doing, nothing can bring you down. You walk down the sidewalk with an extra pep in your step sharing your joy with everyone in passing.

You see the coffee shop across the street.

Walking to the crosswalk you press the button of the arrow that you desire to go. “Wait” the machine calls out, warning you that it is not your turn to cross. You wait for what seems like an eternity while the people to the side of you have already crossed twice!!

You walk once more to the crosswalk button and begin to press the arrow several times in hopes to speed the process up. “Wait, wait, wait,” the machine calls out. Frustrated, you wait a few more minutes until finally, the white walk sign gleams and you safely cross to your destination.

I don’t know about you, but I have been this person many times in my walk with Christ. I find myself being frustrated in my season of wait and comparing my walk with Christ to others around me. Looking at the opportunities that they have had and questioning God on why it’s not my turn to cross.

Thankfully, I can look to the Word for encouragement and find all of the examples of people that didn’t waste their season of wait, but instead, received what God was showing to them and grew from those moments.

Abraham waited for a son, and waited and waited some more. However, instead of losing faith and hope, the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:2-6)

Jesus even had a season of wait! He did not begin His ministry until He was an adult. He was around 30 years old when He began His ministry here on earth. Even now, He is in a season of wait to return back to earth.

I hope this serves as a reminder to you. Don’t waste your season of wait, grow in it, and allow your faith to be strengthened.

Rejoice for the purpose that God has placed on your life and don’t allow comparison to creep into your mind.

Just like you wouldn’t step out on a busy crosswalk when it’s not your turn to go, don’t miss the lessons that the Lord is trying to equip you for in your season of wait.

Identity

Guest Post by Kylie Lyday

As a youth director, I hear a lot and see a lot. I perhaps see more than the parents do at times. They don’t know I’m watching or listening when I am. Many of our series and lessons are laid on my heart based off of what I know they’re facing. I know there are teachers and other ministers who can relate to this.

Many times when the Lord shares a lesson with me to teach them, it’s teaching myself as well. I say this because finding our identity in Christ has been a hot topic in our lessons here recently but also in our world. If I’m being honest, we care too much about what others think about us and not enough about what God says about us.

1 Peter 2:9 shares with us,

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a royal priest, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God. For he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

We do not have to feel or be chosen by this world. The Lord has already called upon us and chosen us. He wants us to take part in his Holy Nation. He looks at you as a great possession. You do not need acceptance from this world.

I say this all to remind you, do not allow this world or where you are to define your identity. Find your identity in Christ. Listen to what He says about you. With this, allow it to pass along to your children. Train them up knowing they matter, they are enough, and are already chosen. Then they will be a light in such a dark world.

“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

1 Peter 2:10

Never Alone

Guest Post by Miss Brooklynn Manzer

You aren’t alone and never will be.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalms 9:9-10

Man this verse hit deep. Reading it I started tearing up. I always knew that God heard my prayers and that I’m never alone, but sometimes you just need the reminders. He hears your prayers and He always answers them. It might not be a yes or a no, but He gives you an answer. It might not be one you were hoping for either.

When we seek Him, He doesn’t forsake us. He doesn’t put us into situations we can’t handle. If you pray to God and ask Him to open doors that need to be opened and close doors that need to be closed, don’t be surprised when He does things you weren’t wanting or expecting.

But remember that we can handle anything with God by our side. Whether it’s mourning over the loss of a loved one, moving away from your family, or watching your family move away. He’s with us and He will never leave us.

Dear Lord, I pray that you will give us those reminders. The things you put us in and the things we have to go through are for a reason and I pray that we would remember that. I pray that you would use the feelings that we have to make us stronger Lord. And bless the people in those situations you have us go through, that they know that you will never forsake them. In your Heavenly name I pray, amen.

Habits

Guest Post by Colton Deters

As some of you all know, I am a raider athlete. I play sports for the Lumberton Middle School and soon, Lumberton High School. But one problem I have always struggled with are my bad habits. Dribbling too high, side stepping when I run – guys, it’s a mess!

Plus, some bad habits outside of school I have are picking my fingers, messing with my brothers, and not doing chores. I can go on forever. I know there are so many worse things than what I just listed, but little things turn into big things, and those things become who you are. Even people you hang out with…in scripture, if you’ll turn to 1st Corinthians 15:33, it reads—

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Bad company corrupts good morals! You can’t let the people of this world, the flaws of society, or satan himself allow you to embrace bad habits. Habits turn into choices, and our choices make us who we are. Just as influential as bad habits are good habits… praying, studying, focusing on the Lord, and surrounding ourselves with people we hope to be like. Focusing on these things can become your habits, choices, and who you are.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “PRAY WITHOUT CEASING”.

Praying to God about our habits and friends is the first step in the right direction. Because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

It doesn’t matter

We have all been like Peter at some point in our lives with dreams and ambitions to walk on the water. We wanted to conquer the world, but here we sit some days barely able to conquer the laundry. And just like the snake he was in the garden, Satan whispers in our ear, “Did Jesus really call you out on the water?” We begin to reason within ourselves that humans were never meant to do that which science deems impossible, tuck away any hope of greatness ever being connected to our lives and resign ourselves to life on the boat.

It’s not that we don’t like the boat…It has kept us safe as we’ve weathered the storms of life, but we’re left wondering what might have been. And just like that, we relegate ourselves to the “curse” of normalcy.

What if I told you it was never about Peter wanting to walk on water? What if I told you it was about Peter’s desire to be where Jesus was and that he was overwhelmed only when his eyes and thoughts shifted to his surroundings, to where he was rather than The One he was with? Peter didn’t say, “If that’s really you, let me walk on water, too.” He said, “If that’s really you, tell me to come to you…on the water.” Peter was really saying, “Jesus! If that’s really you, I want to be where you are! I don’t care if it’s not where everyone else is, just let me be with you!” Peter was so passionate! His faith failed him only when he looked away from Jesus and thought, “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be…”

Here’s the crazy thing: The miracle didn’t stop, because Peter got back in the boat with the others. Jesus got in the boat, too, and THEN the wind died down. Jesus could have stopped the wind and calmed the waves the moment Peter began to sink, but he didn’t. The miracles didn’t happen because of where Peter was. His location didn’t matter. The miracles happened because of WHO he was with, who he followed, pursued, and loved.

Lay down the lie that your identity is found in anything other than being a lover. Your position in the Heavenlies is not determined by whether you are on the waves or in the boat. Your position is found in your proximity to the heartbeat of Heaven.

Today, may you find the mighty in the mundane, the miracle in the moment, and majesty with the Master. You are the beloved.

Distractions

Short, sweet, and to the point this morning.

This past Sunday my pastor preached out of Romans. Two things he said have set heavy on my heart since then and have caused me to reflect heavily on how and what I need to do to remedy this in my own life.

1. We need less distractions.

2. Eliminate wasted time.

So there it is for the day. I hope you too will reflect on these two things and become more Kingdom focused through the process.

“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Romans 16:19

Best Case Scenario

The thing about a worst-case scenario is that it’s just that – the worst-case scenario.

Here’s the deal – my God is not a worst-case scenario God.

My God is about redemption.

My God Is about victory.

My God is about splitting seas wide open

My God is all about rolling immovable stones out of the way.

My God lived out the worst-case scenario so that we would never have to.

So when fear creeps in, and there doesn’t seem to be a way through whatever it is that you’re going through, open up your Bible and begin reading.

Read about Esther.

Read about Lazarus.

Read about Isaiah.

Read about Jesus.

There’s your hope.

There’s your victory.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33