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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Calling All Spiritual and Natural Mom Prayer Warriors!


Dear Ladies,
I am writing and asking you to pray for our country (students, teachers, parents, principals etc)! Here is why.

Yesterday I found myself praying with other teachers after work about the current crisis we are experiencing in education. I had been feeling so defeated because the public has been deceived. They think these current education bills are in the best interest of our children, but in reality it is mostly ALL about money. Honestly, all teachers cannot be bad. Please think about this before you read on because I am not saying that no one has ever had a problem with a teacher. I am saying that ALL teachers cannot be bad and to bundle all teachers into one or more bills is wrong. The system is broken!

So, like I said, I have been feeling so frustrated because of all of this. I am sick for our country’s children. I feel like I am carrying the burdens of the many teachers at my school who work soooooo hard everyday and after hours for their students. This includes the parents who support their children and their teachers. It's bigger than that! My heart is breaking for our country. I have to give it to the Lord! I know..., but I can also share my burden with you and ask you to pray too.

I realized I was angry at almost everyone about these bills. I had a hard time forgiving Governor Scott. I had a hard time forgiving the Florida Commissioner of Education for resigning and leaving us ALL in this mess after June 10th, 2011, though I understand why he is getting out! It’s also hard for me to swallow a bitter pill: My students have to pass a test or show a certain amount of points to show they have made yearly progress. However, they don’t have to come to school, do their homework, and do their classwork; I am speaking about students that are 16 or older. You know what else? If a 9th grader comes in 300 points below grade level, it is almost impossible for them to make enough gains to pass the test, let alone graduate. Yet, the state wants teachers to focus on making 78 points gain to show progress. Really? Do they not get it? Apparently, they don't. In short, whether or not they do well depends on the work ethic of the students by high school and the parents support or belief in the importance of education.

I also was frustrated because students are choosing their classes for next year. Even with AP and DE classes, students are asking for the blow off teachers. “There aren’t any AP or DE blow of teachers”, I replied to several 10th graders yesterday! You know what else? I can’t sit on them and make them work. I can’t entertain them and make everything fun. The FCAT will not be fun. It will be rigorous. Parents call and complain when we assign too much work, but then they call and complain that their child did not pass the FCAT. They complain about these teachers.... Do you remember the teachers you disliked the most? The ones that made you work and learn. Yet, many parents and students shop for teachers to fit their schedule needs (sports, dance, ... etc). Education is education. Let's not confuse it.

Another thing that makes me mad is that there is no prevision for students who had a parent die or suffered a divorce. Nope, take the test and show what you know. What about the kid who is being abused at home but no one is aware. Oh well, take the test and show your best. This is wrong! And, how does one test show what you know? It does not. It measures that moment in time. There is no provision for test anxiety either.

I am also concerned because Pearson Educaution is making a lot of money off of standardized tests in Florida, and tax payer dollars are funding charter schools that might as well be private because they don't play by the same rules. They can reject the kids with behavior and drug problems. If we are are not careful and as more charter schools are funded via tax payer dollars, what is going to happen to our public schools? Folks, we are throwing our children and the schools to the wolves and the rich are getting richer over it too. It's not us. Some Americans are too ignorant to see the bigger picture here.

Why doesn’t anyone stand up? Well, teachers cannot strike in the state of Fl. We feel like we have no voice and that we just have to take everything. Our hands are tied. We can picket, and it began this past weekend. But there was no response from the governor. Waiting until July to march in protest in Washington DC is too late. Prayer changes things! Right?

Well, I realized our hands are not tied! We can pray and ask God to show us what to do. Please do the same. Ask God to show you what you should do.

Thanks and God Bless You!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Peace Be Still: See Your Victory!

Dear Women of God,
When the war is raging and the storm surge of life feels like it is overtaking you, retreat to the mountain of God. There is a strength that comes when we rest under the shadow of His wings. There is a peace that endures the entire day long when we learn to abide in Him: The vine. My final thought for today is to be still and know that He is God. No matter what the day holds, He has everything you need to make it through. Try looking at things from the mountain of God. You remember a time when you climbed the mountain and saw victory! Go up to the mountain! Look for Christ and look out from the mountain; see your battles won! Find rest for your weary souls! Be still and receive strength!


References for your reading pleasure:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+46:9-11&version=NLT


http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2091&version=NLT

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+15&version=NLT

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who Is in Your Corner?

Ladies,
Who is in your corner? God is in your corner, and there are a whole bunch of sisters in the Lord in your corner too!

I became a sister today. I know this video will encourage you. Click on the link below and check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS0IesiGUD4
Love,
Illy

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Attacked at Church

Dear Friends,
Psalm 13:2 (NIV) says, "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" What if I told you I was attacked several times at church today? Would you believe me? What if I told you it was an invisible enemy? Would you think I was crazy? Please read on, and let me explain the particulars. Perhaps, you will understand and be able to recognize when this is happening to you; then you too can rise above, take every thought or worry into captivity, and be released. Well, it is not as easy as I make it sound, and since I have been writing about worry a lot, I thought it important to expose the pesky devil for his schemes and breathe more revelation into your life about the “Battle of Worry”. This can happen to anyone, anywhere, and or at any time; so we need to be on the look out!

This morning began on a positive note, which is not how my day usually begins. Typically, I start my day with a significant thought of worry. That’s was a good trick I used to fall for, but not anymore! I got up, plugged in the coffee pot, prayed, checked my Facebook, read on Biblegateway.com, showered, got ready (putting on my natural garments), and then I began to sing, praise, and warm-up (God forgive me; I have a multi-tasking addiction). I got into my car, drove to church, and began practice. No arguments before church or ANY thoughts of worry. I honestly thought to myself (I am making progress). I’m telling you; it was such a peaceful start! Then the devil took me by surprise today at church and some of it was trivial, but it got my attention real fast!

The first “what if” or “arrow of worry” came during practice. Lord, phlegm is running down the back of my throat (sorry to be so gross), what if I am not able to hit all of the notes, what if my voice cracks, what if we don’t have a sound man? I was reminded that I could take every thought into captivity and demand it to be obedient to Christ’s will for the service. I forgot about the worry that easily; I won.

Between services, a friend approached me and asked me how I was doing. I told her I had been writing and praying a lot about worry. She was honest and said, “I know what you mean; it’s just like your half-way through the battle before you realize that you are in it.” I know, I said. I give the worry to God, and before you know it, I am right back in the thick of it. He comes from so many angles and uses so many things; he keeps me distracted from what I am supposed to be doing. There is a solution. For every “worry” and “what If”, there is a rebuttal. God, you are in control God. This reminded me of something my friend confirmed to me today. She said that “no matter what is thrown at us, we have to remember that God is in control, and nothing else really matters!” That is when I asked her if she was ready to step out in faith and stop the worry. She replied, “Yes, but I am almost afraid to say it. Sometimes those new steps are hard and the last one almost killed me!” I was thinking of a song from Hill Songs: “I Walk by Faith” as I was running up to the platform and just hugged her goodbye. That’s what it is all about (I thought)! I was over the worry from earlier, so I thought.

Church begins, and it starts again. Will my son make it here today? Do I have enough water? Will I sing the right words? I am then reminded that I am wrestling with something that is not of this world. I rebuked it in my mind: I said so what if he does not come, I run out of water, and I mess up the words? SO WHAT! In Jesus name, I am going to trust you! I turned my thoughts towards the living God and began to press in and praise. This moment is and was crucial in learning to leave “the Battle of Worry” behind and stop the attack. When we become aware of what is going on, and again, like I said, take every thought into captivity; the enemy is exposed! If not, I would be giving the enemy a place to put a stronghold in my mind, and I would not be doing what God has called me to be doing, which I know is to be a praise and worship leader. I cannot do this effectively if my mind is elsewhere. I would lose my focus, peace, and trust. This is just what the enemy wants for us in whatever circumstance, vocation, and situation. I hope you see the application.

Some people are easier targets than others. You know the ones, who don’t even try to get out of bed (I’m not talking about people with depression), start that new business, or apply for a job they think they will never get. If you never even move to action or even think about the possibility of doing it, it’s a victory for the enemy with the use of no arrow- a cheap kill- if you will!

For the ones who are skeptical and are asking why would the enemy want to stop you from praising this morning? Why did he try to put me in or sneak me in a stronghold of worry? Good question! Let’s see, one, the devil knows that I am called to worship and to use my gifts for God. If I am worrying, I am not giving myself over to the Holy Spirit to be used during worship, and I am not totally surrendered. Two, worry keeps me tuned into myself and not to what God wants to do. Three, worry makes me frozen and retreat. In short, I am learning to take every thought into captivity and walk by faith each step of the way. Does this mean that I stay in my house and never move? No, it means that I will be stuck in a prison house in my mind and missing out on all God has for me if I do NOT move. I will be going through the motions and watching life pass me by, and this is not what God wants for you or me.

I would like to close with this important thought! Expose the pesky devil for his schemes and retreat from the “Battle of Worry”. I have another dear friend who has coined the phrase: “A new level, a new devil”. The Bride of Christ is pressing forward and taking ground every day. 2nd Corinthians tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. Each step is a step of faith. Each step means more resistance and attacks from the devil; I hate to tell you this, but it’s the truth. The real nugget is that if you know the secret to take every thought into captivity, you will rise above each and every attack every time! I did not say it would be easy; I did say you need to be aware of your thoughts and take them into captivity. No matter how big the step is that you need to take, He is with you every step of the way!

For your enjoyment, I included the song I mentioned above. By clicking on this song below.
"I Walk by Faith"- by the Praise Band.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thorns, Thistles, Prostitution, & Assignments: It's Supper Time!

Dear Ladies of the Most High God,
After writing the poem below, I am still reminded of God message through Hosea, which was one of repentance, encouragement, and love. Also, despite the thistle and thorn bushes amongst us, we need to be concerned about the soil of our heart. What is it receiving, and how is it reacting to the trials and things that surround us and or attack us?

Remember to "Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12 NLT). I don't want bitterness rooted in me, and yet, some wounds from people reoccur. It seems almost to test the decisions I make. Will I let the cares of this life corrupt my heart, or will I be a tool for Christ? Will I let Him use me? Will I walk the unexpected road: Thorns, Thistle, and Assignments? I will, and I will pray for rain until it comes! Jesus, make it rain! In Jesus name! He is with you in your journey!

Enjoy the song: "Rain Down" by Rita Springer. This is my prayer today! Rain in my heart Lord and shine through the thorns and thistles that nag at my soul as if to capture it and separate me from Your love. Let Your rain shower on me, Lord! It's supper time; I can taste it! Can you? Press in!


Thorns, Thistles, Prostitution, & Assignments: A Poem
Sometimes things are difficult traveling an unexpected highway.
Hosea married Gomer, a prostitute, and named their children:
God-plants, not-loved, and not-my-people.
God used his life to show Israel the pain their actions caused.
Hosea did not deserve this request and charge;
Yet, he accepted the thistle and thorn bushes making him a tool in God’s hands.

Sometimes life is thorny, and we walk an inconceivable and tedious road.
Jesus puts in the heart of every little girl grand hopes and dreams.
To marry, be loved, have children, grow old, just name a few!
If one focuses on life’s stings, they could miss the significance of their journey.
He planted us in peoples’ lives to be Christ to His people.
Our fragrance is His love that we bring to everyone’s lives around us.
Like Hosea, we can be God's tool amidst the barbwire and pickers!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Life in the Fast Lane: Pulling the Wool Over God's Eyes is Not Possible!


Life in the fast line is getting old; I keep asking the Lord what I am supposed to be doing right now. I also need to heed the word of two women of God who recently told me that the Lord wants me to listen to Him.

Yes, I need to come into His presence and praise Him and petitioning is important, but I need to remember to be still in His presence! While I am there, I can listen. A woman can speak 12,000 words or more a day. I wonder if the Lord ever shouts, “SHHH!” Well, it is not possible to shout a shhhh, but the point that I am making is that God wants us to come into His presence and receive His life. He wants me to get my “Sh” on. He does!

Another important point is that I cannot get this “Sh” on if I am multitasking. Picture this: Just last week I was reading His word while blowing drying my hair- I am all about getting “it done”- this does not mean that I am really getting much or giving much for that matter. I am just working Him in; this is awful!

So, today I am saying that we need to spend time with Him and listen to Him more. Otherwise, we may be off doing on our own things. God adds to our plate from time-to-time, but He also takes from it. If we are not tuned in, our plate will eventually break when it falls on the floor from exhaustion, wear-and-tare, and neglect. Also, anything on this plate that is not placed by God is bound to cause a problem. Who wants that?

We also need to make our time with Him quality time. I don’t think God wants me to share my blow dryer time with Him every day. It’s absurd! And praying in my car is a workable solution for some days, but how can one really tune in and listen to God when they are actively doing something else?

Please don’t get upset; I am trying to keep it real. I am really good at spinning things to fit any situation, but I can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes; I also want to stop hurting Him and myself. When I decide to go my own way and mix Him into my life where He conveniently fits, I am not making Him first. In fact, I need to ask for forgiveness and see if I have made an idol unto myself, someone, or something else.

If anything I wrote speaks to your spirit, be encouraged and take on no condemnation. He uses all things. What now? Decide to make five minutes for God in the morning or night. I prefer the morning, as I want to start the day out right making Him first. I am finding that I am actually coveting it. Furthermore, I realize that as I get older, I want to be transparent and also teach the younger women these life changing principles to save them some time and to help them take this generation for Christ. In short, make time for God and listen! It’s never too late to try; it’s never too late to say yes, Lord!

Click on this the link below and listen to the song: O God of Mine. It transends what I am trying to say! Enjoy, and thanks Rita for composing this song and bringing it to the world!