Excellence - Not Perfection
I recently read an article from an online women’s magazine that was based on the premise that excellence in life is impossible all the time. The article explained that a woman can accomplish much more if she gives up the goal of excellence.
The article promoted mediocrity, even if that was not the intention of the writer.
I believe the author was confusing excellence with perfection.
Webster defines perfection as “the quality or state of being perfect or complete” and excellence as “the state of possessing good qualities in an eminent degree; exalted merit; superiority in virtue.”
Only God is perfect and complete. We are not going to get there during our life on earth. But we can possess good qualities and be women of integrity and virtue.
Living as a woman of excellence is impossible without God. We need His guidance through His Word.
Remember, doing your best is excellence, not perfection. Excellence honors the Lord.
Read and meditate on the following scriptures and focus on living as a woman of excellence and virtue.
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.
WRITTEN BY: SHERRY POUNDSTONE
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The Waiting Room
It was the first time in weeks that I was not able to be in the room with my son. So there I was sitting in the waiting room. WAITING…
There were more seats than there were people and that was a good thing. There I sat, unaccustomed to just sitting and waiting to go in to see him. I had been with him since the first day he entered the first hospital. Just how many days before? I couldn't even remember.
This was the 4th hospital in a series of transfers.
How did we get here?
I had ridden to this latest hospital with my son…in an ambulance. Not knowing what was happening…sitting across from him in the back of the ambulance, next to a man I had never seen before…a man whom I depended on to keep my son alive until we reached the hospital.
At any other time, I would have considered a ride such as this an adventure. What a ride! Racing through traffic, with lights and siren blaring. Flying through every intersection, running every red light in our way! A clear path opened before us as if we owned the streets and highways. But this was no thrill ride. This was a race to save a life and I had a front-row seat watching, praying, waiting as we nearly flew to the hospital. This was deeply personal. My only son's life was in the balance.
We had been many days in this 4th hospital. Brad was experiencing non-stop seizures that had begun with a migraine. Just 8 years earlier a migraine had led to a stroke and we were praying against all odds that we were not heading down that same road.
These non-stop seizures were a new development, and the doctors at the best hospital in the nation were having a difficult time getting them under control. Brad was in danger of brain damage, or even death if they could not be stopped.
And so he was admitted to the Neurocritical Care Unit (NCCU) of Johns Hopkins University Hospital and we were only allowed to see him during limited hours each day. My husband and daughter had gotten a hotel room in town so that we could stay close to the hospital each night.
My first and only emotional breakdown occurred in the restroom of that waiting room as we were leaving the hospital that first night.
I had been by my son's side 24/7 since he had entered that first hospital. I had been his advocate. Speaking for him when he was unable to speak...anticipating his needs when the nurses could not understand him. And at times, correcting the mistakes of the very tired and overworked nursing staff. Like a lioness protecting her cub, I had been fierce in overseeing my son's care. Now they were asking me to leave him overnight in the hospital, in his unconscious state, intubated and with tubes coming and going from every cavity of my man-child's body...and they wanted me to leave?
I could not wrap my mind around the whole scenario. So, as we were leaving, I stepped into the bathroom to have a moment. I needed to get myself together as I did not want my daughter to be distraught from seeing my reaction to this unsettling dilemma. As the tears began to flow, the dam burst and I wept as I had never wept before. Hard, gut-wrenching sobs tore through my body. Ugly, guttural cries came from somewhere deep inside me as my knees buckled beneath me and I sank to the floor. I felt as though my heart was literally being ripped from my body. I could not control the flow of tears, they would not stop. The trickle of tears had become a rushing torrent.
It seems that I could handle anything that my son was going through as long as I could be with him. Watch over him. Pray over him. Protect him. But now all control was out of my hands and I was a broken woman.
I had no other choice but to surrender control and give my son into the loving hands of my Heavenly Father...all over again as I had done before when he suffered his stroke at the age of thirteen. I knew from experience that God loved my son even more than I did and that whatever was to come was in His good and loving hands. (I wrote about that experience here: Sacrificial Faith).
After trying increased and varying antiseizure medications, all to no avail, the doctors' decision was to induce a pharmacological coma. And in the days ahead I found myself once again...in the NCCU Waiting Room.
Back in the waiting room...
There I sat feeling helpless. Dependent on the medical staff looking after my son. Trusting God with my son's very life. Waiting desperately for the times they would allow us back into the NCCU. Just...waiting...
And as I sat waiting and praying, I noticed a young woman. She seemed so very young. She was fidgeting as if she was unsure what she was supposed to be doing. And so I began to talk to her. Her name was Jessica.
Her husband was there in the NCCU because he was experiencing swelling of the brain. It was bad, and they had to induce a coma to give his brain a chance and stop the swelling. They had just told her that her husband had experienced a pretty rough night and she was feeling distraught.
I asked her if I could pray with her. Right there in the waiting room we bowed our heads and prayed...for healing, for the doctors treating her husband, for her own peace...for the peace that passes all understanding to guard her heart and mind.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guards your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I was so thankful that God opened my eyes to see this young woman in her distress and gave me the courage to reach out to her, to pray with her. I saw her later that day again in the waiting room and she seemed to be doing better, in spite of hearing the news that they were taking her husband down for a CT scan to make sure he still had brain activity. I whispered a prayer again as she walked away.
Here's the thing. I don't know the outcome for Jessica and her husband. Sadly, I never saw her in the waiting room after that day. But I do know that God wanted me to pray for and with her. He had a purpose when He prompted me to talk to her...to pray with her. I trust that He has worked through it for her good and His glory.
Sometimes in the midst of our own crisis, God is calling us to reach out and minister to others. I have experienced this enough to know it is true...enough to even look for it in the midst of my own pain and trials.
And enough to wonder when and where...I missed it. It breaks my heart to think that perhaps there have been more opportunities missed than I care to admit. But I cannot let that bog me down in the mire of self-pity. I pray that God will continue giving me eyes to see when to step up and into His works in progress.
God has brought us through this crisis with our son. So many years later, I can see so clearly how He held us in the palm of His hand, how He carried us when we could barely put one foot in front of the other. He continues to be our strength and our shield.
And so I will continue to look to be a comfort, as He, the God of all comfort, has comforted me.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Who do you turn to in times of crisis?
Has God used you to bring comfort to others who are going through situations similar to those you have been through?
WRITTEN BY: GAY IDLE
For more from Gay, head to her website: www.gayidle.com
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In the Bible there is this thing called the Law of interpretation or expositional constancy, it states that when you use a figure as something that figure is always that specific something. For Example; If a seed represents the word of God in one parable it always represents the word of God.
You still there? Hang with me…
When Jesus explains the Parable of the Weeds He give us the interpretation of “the field” being the “world.”
The field is the world and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.
That is Jesus Himself speaking. So it’s probably safe, even necessary to take Him at His word of the field=the world.
Ok, let’s move on… or back… way back…
In the very beginning GOD created the world, so it would stand to reason that the world was in fact God’s. He owned it so to speak… hold on were going somewhere I promise. After God created the world He then gave dominion or rule of the world to man.
Most of us know the story so I’m just going to breeze by. (If you want to read more reference Genesis 1-3) God gave man rule, man screwed up and ran, and in running (disobedience) man gave their right to rule the world over to Satan. Man was no longer ruler, but slave. Satan at that point became the ruler of the world.
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to Him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If You worship me, it will all be yours.”
We are not going to go into an Adam & Eve bash party, because honestly, it could have been any of us. Not one of us is exempt from stupid decisions and that is not the point of this post. Lets move on.
Ok, so quick recap;
The world (the field) no longer belonged to God. God gave the world to us humans. Us humans gave away the world to Satan.
All caught up. Here we go!
Here’s the fun part.
Back in our main verse Matthew 13:44 there was a mysterious “man.” This man found something, was SOOOO excited about what he found. Re-hid said something and sold everything…. EVERYTHING all to purchase ONE thing.
Who was this mystery man? I’m so glad you asked!
It was GOD!
Now say it with me…
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
How sweet the name of Jesus. Jesus came back to redeem the world back to God. His plan was to restore the rule of the world back to it’s rightful owner and creator. Jesus was the price.
Wait… It gets better.
So now we know our mystery Man, we know the price He paid, but what did excite Him so much???
What was the Treasure that He found so valuable and precious that He just had to have it?
It was YOU! It was ME!
He treasures YOU so much He was willing to sell the best that He had so that He could have YOU. There were no negotiations. He didn’t look around for the best deal or wait for a sale. He named the price. The HIGHEST price.
Because my dear YOU are His Treasure. I am His Treasure.
My friends what would this world look like if we started to live like we were bought with a price. How would our everyday lives change? How would that effect our families? Our Marriages? Our co-workers?
Can we do one last thing before you leave?
Can we read this aloud over ourselves?
I am the treasure that God discovered hidden in this world. In God’s excitement He hid me again and His Son gave everything to get enough money to buy the world back just so that He could have me, His Treasure.
God, You are good. I pray that You give each woman a new revelation of the “Treasure” You call her. In this time of remembering Your sacrifice Jesus, let us live in such a way that brings honor and glory to Your Name. The Name above all names. Amen.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
For more from Alexandria, visit her website at www.alexandriabrown.org.
I'm stressed. I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm tired. I'm way over my head and out of my depth. I'm a little scared, quite frankly. I have questions, so so so many questions. Why is this happening? When will this end? When will everything go back to normal? Will there ever be a "normal" again? I'm unqualified. I'm exhausted. I'm not smart enough. I don't have enough energy. I'm quick to anger. I'm impatient. I'm needy. I'm so so needy.
This is where I've been finding myself off and on for the entire year. Even before the "apocalypse" (I should stop calling it that...), I was overwhelmed and scared and exhausted and confused... and and and. My husband and I were facing some challenges in planning for our kids futures; what we wanted for them didn't line up with our financial situation. We were staring dreams in the face; what we were chasing after didn't line up with our availabilites. We were trying to build our life together; what we needed didn't fit inside our schedules.
Then... the apocalypse. The shutdown. The virus. The pandemic. The together time. The cancelled busyness. The free schedules. The family dinners. The phone calls. The homeschooling. The praying together. The Bible reading together. The movies together. The late nights and giggles. The extra snuggles. The memories. The yardwork (we had TIME, y'all). The new friendships. The rekindled old friendships. The donut deliveries. The happy meal runs. The grocery shopping ALONE (can I get an amen?!). The weight lifted.
The weight... lifted.
How in the world did I get the point that in order for me to chill out, calm down, slow down, and wind down, the entire world had to collapse in on itself? The country had to shut down for me to slow down.
If this was not the world's largest wake-up call... It's even a little embarrassing to admit to this, but I know so many other people who needed the world to end for living to really begin.
It's not that everything has become peachy. We are still on a global scale house-arrest. Schools are shut down. People are without work. Businesses are closing. Families are in crisis. People are sick. People are scared. BUT GOD...
"So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God's perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose." Romans 8:28 (TPT)
God is using it all, babe. That baby on your hip that won't stop crying... he's using that for your good. That burnt dinner... for your good. That lost income... for your good. That annoying 9 year old boy... for your good. That broken down car when you really need it... for your good. And... this may hurt, but... that child or spouse or parent that is ill... for your good.
If you give it to Him, He will turn it for good. And if it isn't good, He isn't finished.
This terrible virus that has shut down our world economy, over-taxed our healthcare systems around the world, provoked fear and panic in millions of people, and caused everything to come to a screeching halt... He is using this as a tool to lift our eyes to Him, to bring our families back together around the table, to cherish our friendships, to love our neighbors, to minister to the hurting and broken, to trust God for the increase when there just isn't enough, to partner with our church family for the Kingdom, to spend just a little more time snuggling or reading or singing together, to bring our finances under control, to read the Bible more, to learn something new, to focus on our children, to connect with our spouse, to grow in intimacy with Him.
There is so much beauty to find in the world right now. In the middle of chaos and sickness, there is order and health being restored to families who have had their priorities upside-down for too long. Our eyes are being opened to what really matters, what we should make time for, what we should not worry about or fear, who we should love more deeply, and to be filled with gratitude for what we have and whom we are with.
Lord, give us eyes to see the beauty you are bringing into our lives right now, in this very moment. Show us how you have provided, how you have protected, how you have blessed us, how you have loved us so well this week. Give us eyes to see all the good you are producing in the bad, all the order from the chaos, all the beauty from the ashes, and all the peace from the frenzy. We embrace every good gift you bring and we give you everything we hold dear. We adore you, Father. Amen.
Written By: Lyndsay terry
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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