Podcast 017 – “The Art of Mentoring” with Vicky Dillon – Part 2

Gospel-centered living means we admit our inadequacy, know we need support, and learn from others further along or stronger in their faith journey.  But how do we enter into these relationships and what expectations should we have?⁣⁣ In this podcast, host Lisa DaSilva continues her conversation with longtime mentor Vicky Dillon as they discuss some of the fears, goals, and joys associated with mentoring.

Noteworthy Quotes

“I’m able to look back now and see some of the benefits, the results, the fruit of having had mentors in my life.”

“Whatever your spiritual gifting is…. You can always bring somebody alongside and invite them into that world.”

“Mentoring isn’t always really formal.  It can be formal, like a weekly meeting, a study, a plan, and that’s wonderful,  but there are other times when you do it less formally – Maybe quarterly, or monthly…. It can come in so many different shapes and sizes.”

“With any gift we’ve been given, there is one goal: To equip others.”

“As I open up a little about my life, women begin to share.”

“I’m going to teach you something, and then can you go and put it into practice? Go and teach it to someone else.”

“It’s fairly simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.”

“As I’m learning to follow Christ, you come with me.”

“Let’s not be remiss in asking ourselves, to what end does this all matter?  Why do we care about all this? It’s more than just being able to encourage somebody so they can have a better marriage, raise healthier kids, get through the day a little easier…. Those are all important and valuable, but really, as we follow Christ, the end is to glorify God – To walk faithfully this side of heaven.”

“What we share in common is Jesus.”

“When we have Christ at the center – The Holy Spirit – He’s doing something bigger than us.”

“We’re never too young to start, and we’re never too old to stop.”

“We tether to one another so that we can be all that God has purposed us to be.”

“There’s a responsibility for the mentee as well: If we’re going to ask someone to come alongside us…to take their time, their energy, their prayer to mentor us, we sure better be willing.”

“Come with a teachable spirit.”

“It can be humbling for someone to speak truth or maybe point out a blind-spot in our lives, but it can be so rich when we are willing to receive it and wrestle through that – To knead it through our heart and mind – To really be able to let the Lord do a work in us.”

“Our relationship really began as mentoring, and evolved and transitioned into friendship. Now, we both learn from each other.”

“Be aware and prayerful to know when the time is winding down. There really is a season to everything.”

“Regardless of your age, be in deep relationship with the Lord, so you can be in relationship with other women.”

Scripture References

Philippians 4:9

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Ephesians 4:7,11-13

“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”.

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 train 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.”

1 Corinthians 11:1

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

2 Timothy 2:2

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

                                                                                                                                   

About Vicky Dillon: Vicky lives in Camas, Washington and is the wife of a pastor and mom of two adult sons. While she’s trained as an accountant, Vicky has served in vocational and lay ministry for the majority of her career. She is currently the board chair of Journey Theater – A local theater group ministering to youth here in the Portland/Vancouver area. She also serves on the board of SHAPE NW-a summer camp program for kids. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, tennis, snowshoeing, puzzles and game nights with friends and family.

Then Sings My Soul

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Made for More

I was studying Paul’s letter to the Corinthians for an upcoming teaching opportunity and came across a relatable (and absolutely adorable) video online.

A large group of ducks contained by a hoarder since hatching had never seen or experienced water other than for drinking. Rescuers rehabilitated the birds and were excited to finally release them into a pond on their wildlife refuge.

The scene that followed was not what I expected. Rather than run to the water, the ducks avoided it at all costs. Rescuers surrounded the birds and literally forced them into the pond, but the ducks immediately jumped out and began to run away. They even tried picking the birds up and tossing them into the water, but without success – Until one precious duck let go of his fear and began to paddle and float for the very first time.

That duck flapped its wings in sheer joy – Splashing water everywhere and unabashedly celebrating the newfound splendor. I still giggle when I think about his head and body plunging in and out of the water for no other reason than to experience it. One by one, the other ducks followed suit and the pond became a spectacle of joyful birds diving, playing, and peacefully enjoying the water. The rescuers were elated.

The old was gone.

The new had come.

I can’t imagine those ducks ever wanting to return to the confines that kept them from true freedom only weeks before. They were beaming with new life after being caged and contained – Kept from the very essence of their intended creation – To swim, dive, splash, feed, float, and keep cool in the water.

But the process wasn’t easy. They did not immediately embrace the new life for which they were created.

 

Living New

The same can be true for us as followers of Christ, can’t it? I believe this is why Paul writes with such poignancy in his second letter to the church in Corinth.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

To understand the complexity of Paul’s assertion in 2 Corinthians 5:17, we first need to understand the context of his exhortation.

Corinth was a hub of commerce, influence, wealth, and entertainment during Paul’s ministry in Greece. The temple of Aphrodite (the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility) stood at the center of this large city, and more than 1,000 sex slaves given by their owners lived on the temple steps and in brothels nearby.  

Corruption was rampant, and the church small by comparison. It’s no wonder Paul wrote to strengthen followers living in a city riddled with sexual exploitation and financial greed.

The church at the time was compiled of a few Jews, but mostly Gentiles. They would have been recent converts to the faith, and left everything they’d known for a completely different faith and lifestyle – something new and beyond anything they’d ever experienced.  In turning from the ways of their direct influence, surroundings, and maybe even friends and family, they needed encouragement to stay the new creations they were intended to be.  It was a death, of sorts, to completely change from the past and move into the future.

In our story of the ducks, Paul is the rescuer and the ducks like the Corinthians. They needed strong direction and encouragement to fully embrace their new life “in Christ”  – To die to the past and start fresh. If they were truly surrendered to the gospel, they needed old comforts to pass away.

The death and resurrection of Christ changed everything, but change does not always come without effort.

 

The Change

I used to hunt for Monarch butterfly larvae when my kids were little. We wandered through fields of milkweed and carefully turned up the leaves until we found one… A small little yellow worm-like creature less than an inch big.

I cleaned out salad tubs, filled them with milkweed plants and our growing larva. I poked holes in the lid to let in some air, and set the container on the floor in the living room to watch and wait. As the larva grew, she ate more and more of the milkweed – Chomping away until she grew fat and lethargic.  After seven to ten days of gorging, our fully grown larva found a sturdy spot under one of the leaves or on the top of the plastic container. She shed her now striped and colorful skin one last time and became a pupa – The beginning of a miraculous metamorphosis.

 

It was during this stage in our Monarch’s life cycle that we all became anxious. Would she survive the most complex part of her transformation? Would we see her emerge as the beautiful butterfly we knew she should be? It almost always seemed to take longer than it should, and we worried when the pupa turned from a bright and bold green to a dingy and dark brown.  

And then it happened. The pupa started to shake – convulse almost, as the outer shell/skin eased off a black and brown soggy entity.  She wasn’t beautiful right away, but as we patiently waited for her wings to dry and expand, our Monarch became everything she was created to be.

 

 

Just as it seemed death may overtake her, beauty emerged. She was completely new.

Transformed.

I took a video of our daughter releasing her very first Monarch. The butterfly we had watched and nurtured since it was a larva was too comfortable in our home and yard. She waited on Maya’s hand for what seemed like forever before finally leaving to embrace her purpose. I get chills when I think her first flight, just as I giggle when I remember seeing the duck’s first swim.

The old was gone.

The new had come.

 

When the Soul Sings

Our butterfly was no longer what she once was, but may not have realized the need for change in her larva stage. She didn’t know she was made for more until she took flight and left the comfort of our home and yard.

The ducks were much the same – Afraid to leave their dry, captive space for the pond.

We relish in the new only when we realize the decrepity of the old.

As followers of Christ, our soul sings for joy when we fully understand that Christ has atoned for our sins. His death and resurrection behold new life. The wretchedness of our past is exchanged for the glory of our future.

Leaving the old requires repenting of sin – Seeing it for what it is and humbly confessing with our heart. It means seeking wisdom of those more astute in faith and understanding of the Word. It means engaging our heart and mind in active pursuit of the Father.

It means looking back on the first created being – God-breathed into humanity and bearing His very image (Genesis 2) – And knowing that one day we will be that way again – Without sin or shame in the very presence of our Father (Revelation 21).

New life means we pursue sanctification and the suffering equated with being made holy.

It means we embrace the change rather than run from it.

It means we learn from it.

Find joy in it.

Dive in.

Splash around.

Soar freely.  

And let our souls sing with gratitude for the present and great expectation of what’s to come in the future.

So live.

Live as the new creation you were intended to be HERE and NOW, and look forward to the promise that one glorious day ALL THINGS will be made completely NEW (Revelation 21:5).

 

Digging Deeper

We’ve barely scratched the surface of this incredible portion of scripture. To understand it more fully in a way that helps you love and know God more deeply, consider working through the following questions and activities.  

  • Read Genesis 1. Observe verses 26-28 carefully.
    • How were man and woman created (Genesis 2:7)?
    • What were they created to do?
    • In whose image were male and female created, and what do you think this means?
    • What did God do to his newly created beings?
    • Apply what you’ve learned and consider what life for Adam and Eve would have been like – Walking and talking with God?
    • How does this apply to 2 Corinthians 5:17? Read all of 2 Corinthians 5 (and even more if you have time) to gain a better understanding.

 

  • Try using the one of the Bible Study Methods on our resource page to observe and apply 2 Corinthians 5:17 (link here).  Be sure to read it within the context of the larger passage and book. It’s a small verse, but life-changing!

 

  • Read and observe John 3:3-7.  What does it mean to be “born again,” and how does this relate to 2 Corinthians 5:17?

 

  • What of your old self needs to die in order for you embrace new life? After reflecting on this question, offer a prayer of humble confession.

 

  • Are you truly living new? What would this look like in your everyday life? What would the evidence of becoming a “new creature” be? How would you be able to tell?

 

  • After reading all of 2 Corinthians 5, what do you think it means to be in Christ?  

 

  • Learn more about what the Bible says about living as a new creation in the following scriptures.  After memorizing 2 Corinthians 5:17, see if you memorize some of these others!
    • John 3:3-7
    • John 10:10
    • Romans 8:11-12
    • Romans 6:4
    • John 1:13
    • Colossians 3:9
    • Ephesians 4:24

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

Waiting

The Wait

Gifts are wrapped, and stockings are stuffed. Lights twinkle on the tree and candles flicker at candlelight services across the country. It’s Christmas Eve – one of my favorite days of the year. I love seeing little ones giddy with excitement for the coming morning. They’ve been waiting since before Thanksgiving when store shelves abruptly traded turkeys and leaves for Santa and snowflakes, and hope the wait will be worth it.

As children of God, we’re waiting too. Every one of us.

It’s why we celebrate Advent through the Christmas season.

Since the fall of man, the faithful in the Old Testament waited for the promised Messiah. They were waiting for a King. Their savior. Because many had their own ideas and assumptions of who He would be and what He would do, they missed the blessing. They failed to see Jesus as the Savior of the world and are still waiting for His first appearance. Now, as Christ-believers, we wait for our Savior to return and make all things new – forever bridging the gap between our sin and the glory of the Father.  Oh, what a day that will be!

Because we live in a broken world until Christ’s second coming, we wait for earthly dreams or needs to be fulfilled as well.

As you read this, you’re likely waiting for something.

Waiting to feel known, waiting for a wayward child, waiting to experience love, waiting to be forgiven, waiting for healing, waiting for the fulfillment of a promise, waiting to be understood. The list is endless. And exhausting.

Waiting tries my patience and throws me into dependence. I can’t control the outcome in a waiting season and, to be completely honest, that’s the part I like the least. My fleshly desire is to meddle – to open closed doors and close the open ones – Rush through the wait to find answers and create quick solutions.  

But what if we entered our time of waiting with a sense of eagerness instead of animosity?  What if we leaned in with anticipation rather than anxiety? What if we waited with hope instead of despair?

What if we changed our perspective entirely, and began to see the wait as part of the promise instead of a means to the end?

What if we believed that God was up to something and that it was as good as He is?

If we trust that God is sovereign, we need to trust that the wait fulfills a purpose. The result may not look the way we wanted or prayed for, but the process itself can draw us into a deeper relationship with Christ, grow our faith, and refine us into something more beautiful than we imagined.

5 Things To Do While We Wait

Honest truth? I often don’t feel like reading the Bible, praying, or worshipping God in my waiting season, but these are imperative disciplines to growing our faith and, ultimately, glorifying God. If we want the wait to be productive, we need to be proactive. Setting healthy patterns and habits in our lives will ensure we are ready for the wait when it comes.

Here are things we can do in both preparation for a waiting season AND when we’re smack dab in the middle of it.

Meditate on the Word – 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  It’s ALL USEFUL. Read it, memorize it, meditate on it, sing it, study it.  It will teach you, rebuke you, correct you, and train you in righteousness. It will focus your attention on the truths of heaven rather than the things of earth.

Commit to a Bible Study in your church or with friends and keep “Study my Bible” at the top of your “To Do” list. If you need a place to start in your waiting season, try the book of James (be sure to look into what it means to have true joy when reading the first chapter) or an Old Testament book like Exodus or Daniel that speak of God’s sovereignty. Use one of our favorite Bible Study methods such as the Inductive Study or the Swedish Method to understand the incredible depth and truth of Scripture.

Pray – Seek God with your requests and be honest about your struggle through the wait (He really can handle it), but also ask Him for an open mind and heart as you wrestle through the uncertainty.  Be open to seeing things a different way and tell Him you trust Him with the process and the outcome.

Remember that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness – He hears our groans and intercedes for us when can’t find the words to speak (Romans 8:26). My favorite prayer of all time is known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and can be found in Matthew 6:9-13. It gives all glory and rightful dominion to God while asking for His Kingdom to come and will to be done. It gives me peace and security during a time of waiting.

Worship – It’s easy for me to worship and praise when things are going well – A whole lot harder when they’re not. Go ahead and blast that music in the car and let the tears fall. Praise Him anyway.

I have absolutely been that lady at the red light with hands raised high and snot pouring out of my nose in worship.  On one occasion I even rolled down my window to assure a concerned woman in a neighboring vehicle that I was indeed OK – Just praising God.

Here are some songs to sing during a time of waiting:

Talk to a Trusted Friend – Emphasis on the word trusted here. Choose people who are valiant prayer warriors and gifted secret keepers. Be candid about your wait and ask them to wage war with you. One word of caution, though – Be sure to meditate on the Word of God, spend time in prayer, and worship the Almighty God yourself instead of just asking others to do it for you. Preaching to myself here, friends. I’ve been guilty of calling or texting a friend to pray and then not even doing it myself.  I’ve welcomed encouraging scriptures from sisters before seeking truth in my own study of His Word. Let’s just be sure to be women of discipline in the waiting season instead of idle women of chatter… Just sayin’.

Reflect – Use a journal or quiet time to remember what God has done in the past. These can be personal stories of His faithfulness through other waiting seasons, or ones that resonate from Bible study and meditation. If you’re a regular journal-keeper, spend time looking over past prayers/entries and look for the ways God blessed you in times of waiting or difficulty. Keeping a journal can be a beautiful way of accounting for the things you’re learning and giving Glory to God for His ongoing faithfulness.

The End

Maybe you’ll wake up Christmas morning and find that everything you’ve been waiting for is right in front of you. But probably not.

And it’s OK. Transformative, even, if we allow the wait to mold us and make us into new creations for His great glory.

As followers of Christ, we can be assured that the wait WILL END.  

In great glory.

Revelation 21 testifies to the abundance we’ll receive after Jesus returns to make all things new:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Until then, my friends, wait well. It will all be worth it in the end.

With great expectation,

Lisa

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

Podcast 009 – “Comfort in the Desert”

“For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.”  Isaiah 51:3

Dry seasons can be overwhelming. Life brings experiences and situations that are bigger than our human flesh can endure and we may feel lost and alone in the journey.

Val Hooks and Lisa DaSilva bring our Desert Experience series to a close as they discuss God’s comfort in the driest of places and look to Ruth as an example of faithfulness.

Consider meditating on some these scriptures as you reflect on your own deserts and the comfort God can (and will) bring as you walk through them.

Isaiah 58:11
Isaiah 51:3
Isaiah 35
Psalm 107:35
Psalm 119:76
Psalm 9
Psalm 46

 

 

 

Sovereign

The last breath was the hardest.

We stood by his hospital bed singing hymns, crying, holding his hand, stroking his bandaged forehead.

Watching my inlaws and husband say goodbye to one who was so strong, vibrant, full of life, and gut-wrenchingly funny only a few short hours before still haunts me.

He was only 18.

They moved us into a small room down the hall so we could make phone calls and plans. His other siblings hadn’t made it on time and we were agonizing over having to call and tell them.  

It was there in this stark, cold room with fluorescent lights that my mother-in-law dropped to her knees with hands raised to the air. Tears streamed down her face as she began to praise God for the time she’d had with her son, for the gift Nate was to them, and for His continued faithfulness.

The social worker pulled me out into the hall.

She described the stages of grief and told me my sweet and spunky mother-in-law was delusional, but not to be alarmed. This was normal, to be expected, and would pass.

But she wasn’t, and it didn’t.

Though she wailed in desperation and wept in sadness for the days, weeks, and months that followed, Bernadette never stopped trusting and praising.

Ever.

Not in the 19 years since Nate’s passing. Not after the death of her father that same winter. Not after her own debilitating and life-changing battle with cancer, and not after the tragic deaths of many of her closest friends.

Why?

Because she believes with every ounce of her slender five foot frame that God is sovereign. Always. Even when we don’t particularly like what’s happening.

 

The One Who Gets to Decide

I find great comfort studying scripture that points to God’s sovereign character, and the book of Daniel is one of my favorites. I often stop to declare the first two verses in moments of adversity or calamity. They sound somber at first glance, but tell of God’s great power and ultimate dominion.  

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god.”

The city was in ruins. The temple destroyed. Sacred items were brought into Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. People were slaughtered and survivors led into captivity.

It was utter devastation.

Why would a good God allow this? For His beloved Judah to be ravaged and captured by Babylon? And why does this particular passage mean so much to me?

My deep appreciation of this scripture goes back to Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

The Lord saved the Israelites from captivity and gave them His commandments before they entered the Promised Land. The laws were accompanied by a stringent warning. If Israel obeyed, they would find blessing. If they disobeyed, calamity:

“The LORD will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known.” Deuteronomy 28:36

But Israel did not heed God’s warning. Instead of seeking the will of God and following His commandments, ‘everyone did what was right in his own eyes’ (Judges 21:25). Their sin had natural and corruptive consequences, but they blamed their distress on the lack of a king and pleaded that God give them one like the other nations had. It didn’t help. They put their faith in other gods and worshipped idols. God sent prophets to warn Israel of His impending wrath, but most did not repent and return to Him.

So God did what He had said He would do years before in Deuteronomy.  As warned, He willingly gave them over to a king and nation they had never known and made it clear that the captivity would last 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10).

Daniel remained in Babylon for the entire captivity. There were moments of intense fear, longing for home, and heartfelt prayers for the redemption of his fellow Hebrews. His life was in turmoil, but he never stopped believing, trusting, and living faithfully.

Though their circumstances were vastly different, Daniel and my mother-in-law have this in common: Resolve that God is always in control.  They understand that sometimes God purposes things to happen (Daniel 9:14), and sometimes He allows them for reasons we can’t comprehend or reconcile. We don’t always get to know which is which, but if we believe God is God and claim Him as LORD, we must also acknowledge Him as ruler – The One who gets to decide.

 

The Sovereignty of God

God as sovereign means He alone is the source of all power and existence. The Bible tells us that the entire universe is under God’s influence and authority. Consider just a few of these assertions about Him:

God is Infinite

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

“Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2

“Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” Revelation 21:6

God Knows All Things

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.” Romans 11:33

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:5

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

God Can Do All Things and Accomplish All Things – Nothing is Impossible for Him

“Ah Lord God! Behold,You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.” Jeremiah 32:17

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:1

God’s Purpose Prevails

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2

“The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and in their depths.” Psalm 135:6

“The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Psalm 33:10-11.

“The Lord works out everything to its proper end – even the wicked for a day of disaster.” Proverbs 16:4

God Rules Over All

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19

“The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.” Psalm 29:10

“The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.” Daniel 4:17

 

What We Get to Decide

I’ve cried out to God many times pleading with Him to change seeming injustices, take pain away and protect the ones I love. I’ve wondered at His intention and will when walking through tragedy and adversity while not understanding (or liking) it. I read the news and shake my head at the corruption and sadness because I simply can’t comprehend the sin and oppression.  

But we’re invited to bring our requests and supplication (Philippians 4:6) before our sovereign God, and are assured that He is faithful to listen and hear our heart (1 John 5:14, 1 Peter 3:12, Romans  8:26).  Scripture also tells us that God is relentless in His love for us:

“The lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” Psalm 103:17

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” Lamentations 3:23

So while He gets to decide what’s best for His Kingdom and His children, I get to decide how I’ll respond – In submission to His authority, asking the tough stuff, and clinging to His love. I’m going to believe that He’s good and really will work everything out for those who love Him and care called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) – Even if I don’t understand, and even if I don’t like it.   

Honestly, my deepest human desire and plea is that I’ll never have to experience the loss and tragedy my precious mother-in-law or the prophet Daniel did, and that those I love won’t either.  I can’t begin to imagine the earthly pain and have tears streaming down my cheeks just thinking about it.  I don’t know how I would respond, but my prayer is that the truth of the Word and my love for our Savior would compel me to praise Him for His sovereignty just like Bernadette and Daniel did – Knees to the earth, hands lifted high.

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protein Bites

These no-bake protein bites are perfect for school/work lunches, a healthy snack on hectic evenings, three-day weekend volleyball tournaments where food isn’t allowed in the gym and you need to stuff your face in the car between games (true story), or for my husband to feed a house full of pre-teen/teen boys and their dads on a Whistler ski trip (another true story).  (Really, the things we do to ourselves). They’re the most requested menu item at the DaSilva house these days, so I double the recipe and use my upright mixer.  Be sure to store them in the refrigerator, but I don’t think they’ll last long anyway.  Tweak the recipe to make it your own (I may or may not do this every single time) and enjoy!

  • 1 cup (dry) oats (I use quick-oats because I prefer the texture)
  • ½  cup natural peanut butter (Adam’s No-Stir is my fave)
  • ⅔ cup ground flax seeds
  • ½  cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓  cup honey
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (or less – or none – You can substitute with coconut or another small seed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix everything until well-combined and crumbly.  If you can form a bite-sized ball by pressing a small handful of the mixture together, keep making those little pieces of yum and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.  If they’re falling apart, add more peanut butter or honey.  I like mine less sweet, so usually opt for the peanut butter instead. Feel free to share how you changed it to make it your own!

When You Feel Alone

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

 

Alone.  

I crave moments of it but dread it as imposition.

My gut tells me you can relate.

We see pictures of friends together on social media and feel alone.  Even if we weren’t interested in attending or participating.  Worse if we were.

Choosing the extent of our aloneness brings freedom, but having it willed upon us consorts chains. Strong ones.  The kind that tell us we’re unworthy, unloved, destined to be this way forever.  The kind that isolate.

And that’s exactly where the enemy wants us. Bound in isolation where he can fill our head with lies.

But God.  His Living Word combats the ugly lies so we never have to believe them again.

His Truth sets us free.

The evil one tells you you’re unworthy, but Jesus loved you enough to suffer and redeem you. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)  

He convinces you that you’re unknown, but God Himself formed you, knew you before you were born, ordained your life, and has numbered the hairs of your head.  He knows you better than you know yourself. (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:1-18, Luke 12:7)

You believe no one cares, but He does.  More than any earthly person ever could. (1 Peter 5:7)

You may feel alone.  Maybe you are.  Physically.  Right now.  Rejected by flesh.  

But you aren’t really alone, daughter of the King.  

He promised to never leave you (Deut. 31:6).

He is with you.   

Even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

 

a Note from Lisa

“Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1

God’s words were well warranted.  He’d just commanded Abram to leave his home and move to an unknown land.  It would have been an overwhelming mission. “Do not be afraid,” God said, assuring Abram that He would be a “shield about him.”  

Scripture doesn’t tell us Abram’s fear subsided, but we do see the faithful patriarch pack up his belongings, servants, hoards of animals, and head out.  To nowhere.  Because God told him to. Because he trusted the Shield and believed in the reward.

Have you ever sensed the Lord asking you to do something that sends shivers down your spine?  It makes your soul leap for joy and cripples you all in one swift motion. You fear giving it a name or saying the words out loud because then you may actually have to move into action. You’re unsure. Afraid.

That’s been me for the last few years – Hearing the whispers and asking God for guidance in the secret, hidden places of my prayer life.  Now, Lord? Here, Lord? Through this door, Lord?

I’ve always had a deep and unrelenting passion for teaching and education – Believing that knowledge and understanding can save the lost, free the oppressed, give hope to the marginalized, and equip the saints.  When my love for the Word and longing to understand it began to grow, I started hearing the whisper – The most beautiful and terrifying tug at my heartstrings to make the Gospel known in my community and among the nations.

I have all kinds of insecurities and doubts about walking into this ministry. I fear I won’t manage my time well, that my family will suffer, that I’m inadequate and unworthy, that you’ll think what I’m writing and saying is terrible – That it really will be terrible. That I’ll fail.  

So why move through the fear?

Because sometimes God asks us to do things that exceed our human ability and forsake our comfort (think Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Nehemiah, the martyred Apostles…).

Because I’d rather walk in obedience than end up in the belly of a fish.  Jonah 1:1-17

Because His “very great reward” will be worth every bit of angst. Genesis 15:1, Revelation (all of it, but especially 22:12)

Because walking in His purpose will always, always, (ALWAYS) be better than walking in my own. Jeremiah 17:5-8, Ephesians 1, Romans 8:1-39

Because I trust that He knows and understands everything I don’t. Proverbs 3:5

Because His strength is made perfect in my weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Because dependence breeds faith. Matthew 6:25-34, Hebrews 11:8-16.

Our Genesis 15 story of Abram (whose name was later changed to Abraham) continues 2146 years later in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews:

“8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”  (Hebrews 11:8-10, NASB)

“13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”  (Hebrews 11:13-16, NASB)

The inheritance. The promise. Abraham’s reward. They were not earthly structures or freedoms. The great reward promised in Genesis 15:1 was a heavenly one.  

Abraham’s obedience in leaving his comfort and heading to an unknown land teach us that faith trusts God in spite of the result.  Still, the earthly result was beautiful:  Descendants as many as the sand in the sea and stars in the skies.  He believed even though didn’t get to see the promise fulfilled.

So we, you and I, like Abraham, step out.  Into the unknown. Unsure of the final result but trusting anyway.

I do hope that you’ll join us in this journey to bring God fame.  Together we can move through fear into His great reward – The shield about us.

 

 

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