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Archive for the ‘Becoming Kindling’ Category

On January 7th, I moved to my new website, JudyDouglass.com, a new home for Kindling.

I hope you will feel at home on my new site for my online ministry.

Let me tell you what you will find there…and about a special offer!

The main event will be my Kindling blog—an effort to start fires in hearts and minds, to get us thinking and talking together.  To be kindling, to ignite, stir up, excite. To make some changes in our walks with God and in our world.

I’ve been posting two or three times a week, mostly writing myself, but also inviting some awesome guest bloggers to join us.  To make sure you receive each blog post in your inbox—to see if you want to read it—be sure to subscribe here.  (If you subscribe you might win a great prize.)

What will we be writing about?  The categories give you a clue: Becoming Kindling, His Name Is a Promise, Learned from Children, Loving a Prodigal, On My Knees, Personal Reflections, True Followers.  We will listen to God, consider how He wants to grow us into Kingdom people and use us in His great Kingdom work, and discover how we can bring others along to start some fires. (I hope you’ll take the time to read some of the posts from the last two weeks).

But there’s more.  I’ve written a few books, and I have some more coming soon, I hope.  So click on that Books I’ve Written tab on JudyDouglass.com to see if you would like my current book, Letters to My Children: Secrets of Success.  Or help yourself to my free E-Book, Loving a Prodigal: Learning to Rest.

The other tabs are pretty self-explanatory:

About—you can learn a little about me and watch my brief welcome video.

Books I’ve Read—I’ve put together a long list of what I call Transforming Reads.

En Espanol—a number of my blog posts are translated into Spanish.

Speaking—this is under construction, but will include some of my message topics and occasional video from a talk.

Contact me—Please do.

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All the time I challenge people—and especially God’s daughters—to discover who God made them to be and to live out what He created them to do.

All of us—occasionally or as a way of life–settle for less than God’s best for us.  Sadly, we women are often encouraged to settle for less, or readily choose to, robbing ourselves and the Body of Christ of the best contribution we have to make.

The mission Christ gave us requires what we have to offer.

man_in_wheelchair

So click on over to Jenny Rae Armstrong’s blog to read Limping Along: Why We Can’t Let Half Christ’s Body Atrophy.  I’m so grateful to be guesting with Jenny.

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On the first Monday of each month when my children were in high school, I wrote a letter to them describing a secret of success in life.  Recently I compiled a year’s worth of secrets into a small book. Letters to My Children: Secrets of Success is a great gift for graduates and a practical study for youth groups.  To give you a glimpse, I posted Secret #6 here.

Humility is one of the most important and most attractive qualities a person can have. Humility can be defined as having a right view of God, yourself, and others.

1. Have a right view God.

Like most of us, you may have much too small of an understanding of who God is. He is the most high God (Daniel 4:24, 34); the Almighty One (Genesis 17:1); the Creator of everything (Genesis 14:19, 22 and Colossians 1:16). He is your loving Father, but He is also the all-powerful Ruler of the universe.

2. Have a right view of yourself.

Each of us is actually a paradox. Compared to God you are nothing. Yet you are also of incredible value because you are made in God’s image and worth the price of Jesus’ life. Despite your high value, God clearly wants you to walk in humility, not pride. The Bible warns about pride (Matthew 23:2; Proverbs 8:13; 11:2; 16:18; I Peter 5:5) and commands you to humble yourself (I Peter 5:6;

Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 4:2). Scripture promises many benefits when you walk in humility: grace (Proverbs 3:34), guidance (Psalm 25:9), wisdom (Proverbs 11:2), honor (Proverbs 15:33), and many more.

3. Have a right view of others.

Success in life depends on success in relationships. Nothing will contribute more to successful relationships than being humble, respectful and loving toward others. God desires you to consider others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3-4), to honor others above yourself (Romans 12:10), and to treat others as you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).

My prayer is that you will increasingly find joy, friendship, and success as you walk humbly before God and others.

What about you? Do you need work on your views?

c2011 Judy Douglass

Letters to My Children: Secrets of Success is available from New Life Resources.

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To rend: to separate into parts with force or violence; to tear apart, split, or divide; to pull or tear violently; to tear (one’s garments or hair) in grief, rage (rent—past tense)

Calvin, my daughter’s red bone coon hound, loves to find treasures—socks, underwear, dollar bills—and tear them to pieces.  He rends them.

My friend Edwina asked me to tear apart—to rend–old clothes for meaningful additions to make a beautiful quilt.  It was fun to tear and cut those old things up.

Sometimes, though, relationships are rent.  War, disasters, misunderstandings can be the cause of separation, of rending.  But sadly, too often people do it to themselves.  Friends, neighbors, churches, families are torn apart, divided—rent.

Sad. Very sad.  Pain.  Brokenness.  Sorrow.

An appropriate Old Testament response to such destruction would be to rend garments and mourn in sackcloth and ashes.

But God gives us another response:

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:12-13)

He hates division and strife, destruction and tearing apart.  The story revealed page by biblical page is of His unrelenting efforts at restoration and reconciliation.

Just listen to the heart of God for healing and mending:

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 11:19

So, as I watch people hurt each other, as hearts are broken, as relationships are rent, I will hope in the goodness of God and His intention to restore.

What about you?  How have you seen relationships rent?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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From time to time I get asked to talk about some of what I have learned in years of ministry leadership.  What are some essentials for being a person who can lead spiritually?

First of all, I know I am inadequate and unworthy for such a calling.  As I have thought about it, it seems that spiritual leadership has a lot to do with whom and what you know.  These ideas, though surely not exhaustive, will help explain what I mean:

Know God

I mean really know Him.  One of the most helpful activities for me has been to study the names of God. It certainly has not been an academic exercise—God reveals what He is like through every name He calls Himself.

As I discover that He is El Elyon the most high God, and He is Abba, my daddy, that He both sees and hears everything about my life—and so much more—I find myself on my face before Him, worshiping Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, thanking Him.

I can know the God who made me!!

Know Yourself

A significant paradox of Christian faith is that you and I are nothing and everything.  Scripture tells us we are nothing—we are made from dust and return to dust, we are like grass, even our substance is just a vapor.  At the same time we are of unimaginable value—made in the image of God, treasured by Him, bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, a partner in the Kingdom-building team!  Both of these truths should remind us of who we are.

Another amazing reality: God was there forming us inside our mothers, and when we were born He declared each a work of art, a masterpiece.  He made us who we are because He loves us and because He designed us just right for the “good works He has prepared for us to walk in.”

Understanding our gifts, our like and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses will  help us to make wise choices as we consider what opportunities we pursue.

Know Your Culture

Leading spiritually requires understanding of the times in which you live.  A few consistent activities will equip you to engage—and lead—across cultures and generations:

Read—Reading is still essential.  In a visual world, fewer people read.  But we need to know history as well as today’s news and events.   The past always interacts with the present as we move toward the future.  I read blogs, magazines, occasional newspapers—and books.  Reading expands and enriches our thinking.

Listen—Oh how we need to learn to listen!  What are people saying?  What are their concerns, hopes, dreams, fears, struggles…? To touch their lives, we need to know the ways into their lives.

Observe—Go through life with your eyes open, not shut.  Pay attention.  The same truths you learn by listening you will also grasp as you observe the people you interact with, watch online, in movies, on TV.  Ask questions. Make connections.

Technology—In our world, we must engage through technology to some degree at least.  I am so not technological—I have no idea how it works.  And yet it has given me access to people around the world—people I can love and encourage to believe God for the more He wants to do in and through their lives.

Know How To:

Take wise risks—Assess realities, don’t be foolish, but step out into the unknown, the uncertain, the scary with courage and confidence.

Learn from your mistakes—We probably grow more when we fail than when we succeed, if we take time to discern what happened and why.

Value relationships—Life is about people.  Leading is about people.  Meaning comes through relationships.  Give priority to the people in your life.

Grow in the difficult times—I’ve found that God is more committed to my character than to my comfort.  But I’m grateful that He comforts me while He works on my character.

Walk in the Spirit—This is the key, the bottom line.  Scripture reminds us that in ourselves we can do nothing.  But with Him, nothing is impossible.  Jesus sent His Spirit to comfort, to encourage, to teach, to remind, to convict, to change us, to equip, to empower.  Walking consistently in the power of the Spirit is the means to true spiritual leadership.

What about you?  What have you found helps you to grow as a spiritual leader?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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Carolyn Custis James

I have had the great privilege of knowing and working with Carolyn Custis James for more

Chai Ling

than eight years.  We share a passion for seeing women become all God created them to be.  We founded Synergy Women’s Network together (though the vision is hers from God).  And we are close friends.

When I first read Carolyn’s book When Life and Beliefs Collide, I rejoiced.  Someone was saying, articulately and theologically, what I knew was true.  I resonated even more when Lost Women of the Bible came out, followed by The Gospel of Ruth.

Then she wrote what I consider a masterful response to Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn and Nick Kristoff.  Half the Church summarizes much of the message of Carolyn’s earlier books and sounds a call to the church to step up and enter the fray on behalf of the women of the world.  She urges the daughter’s of God to not turn a blind eye to the needs, but to engage on behalf their global sisters.

Not long ago, Synergy sponsored an interview with Carolyn and Chai Ling, Chinese activist, author of A Heart for Freedom and founder of All Girls Allowed.  Chai Ling tells of her work as commander-in-chief of student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989, of being on the Most Wanted list, of her harrowing escape and eventual trek to the U.S.

In recent years she has founded an organization to fight the Chinese one-child policy.  All Girls Allowed has actually seen some recent changes softening the policy.  (News from China)

You can watch this conversation here: http://www.synergytoday.org/ezerwatch_2011_vimeo_chailing.html

What about you?  Where can you make a difference?

c2012 Judy Douglass

Related posts:

Sheryl Wudunn: Our Century’s Greatest Injustice

At Risk:  Girls and Women

Is the Door Locked?

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Sheryl Wudunn

A major focus of my life and ministry is to challenge women to believe God for the more He wants to do in and through their lives.  I write and speak about this a lot.

But for many women in our world, they can’t think about potential and becoming all they can be.  All they can think about is survival.

I have had the privilege, on several occasions, to meet and listen to Sheryl WuDunn of Half the Sky tell stories about the realities for women in many parts of the world.  The research she and her co-author husband, Nick Kristoff, did on the atrocities and oppression of women around the globe was devastating and hopeful.

The subtitle of their book is Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

When I spoke in Ethiopia recently I recounted the story of a woman who was left to die by her family because a fistula disabled her and the stench was unbearable to others.  She crawled to another village with a missionary hospital, had the fistula repaired, met Jesus, finished school, went on to become a doctor and returned to start a fistula hospital.

You can hear Sheryl on Ted here:

18 min

On Wednesday I will post a fascinating video interview of Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church, and Chai Ling, Chinese activist and founder of All Girls Allowed.

What about you?  How can you help turn oppression into opportunity?

c2012Judy Douglass

Related post:

Only a Worthless Daughter?

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