Soon after I graduated from college I gave my life to the Lord. Even though I grew up in a godly home, I treated salvation like a game of Russian roulette. I played around because I figured I had time on my side. Was I ever deceived!
I know today what made me drop to my knees, repent of my sins and ask Jesus into my life: prayer. My mother spent untold hours in prayer crying out to God, "Lord, save my children." She knew back then what I know now: Prayer changes things. read more
Have you ever read Frank Peritti’s This Present Darkness? I read it maybe 15 years ago and it changed my prayer life forever. The book is about spiritual warfare and what happens when Christians pray—or don’t pray. I held on to every word, comma and semicolon in the book because it taught me the value of seeking God.
After watching Gloria Copeland’s powerful healing prayer in Say It, Sister!, I thought I would invite you to join me in prayer right here on SpiritLed Woman eMagazine. Let’s pray for the lost, our loved ones, broken marriages, our nation, and whatever else in need of God’s intervention.
I believe this world will soon get what it deserves if the church does not repent of its slothfullness and pray more. Second Chronicles 7:14 says: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (NKJV). read more
In my research for Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey, I spent time with a shepherd in Oregon, a farmer in Nebraska, a beekeeper in Colorado and vintner in California. With each person, I opened up the scripture and asked, “How do you read this passage—not as a theologian—but in light of what you do every day?”
The journey was chock-full of spiritual insights, but one of my favorite stops was my time with Lynne, a shepherdess, who took care of a flock of a few dozen sheep in the fields near her home in Oregon. Not only did we feed and water the sheep together, but we just spent time among the flock sitting in the field, watching the sheep and talking.
During our time together, I was struck by just how much a sheep knows its shepherd. One of the most amazing times I had with the shepherdess, Lynne, was the very first time she introduced me to her flock. I followed her up a muddy path to the upper field where the sheep were grazing.
She whispered to me, “When they hear my voice, they’ll come running.”
Then simply by saying the words, “Sheep, sheep, sheep,” she called her flock. Every last sheep in the field bolted toward her.
That moment was powerful for me. John 10 describes the sheep knowing the shepherd’s voice as a metaphor for us knowing God’s voice. Yet it isn’t just a metaphor—it’s the way sheep really behave. Standing in the field with Lynne and watching the sheep run toward her made that verse come alive in a whole new way. I recognized that just as a sheep is created to know its shepherd, we are created to know God and live in relationship with Him.
During my research on sheep, I discovered a remarkable story from Gary Burge, a professor at Wheaton College, that illustrates the close relationship of shepherds and their flocks. He describes how Israeli soldiers visited a poor village outside of Bethlehem after a Palestinian uprising and demanded that the people pay the taxes they owed. They refused.
The officer in charge gathered up all the animals of the village—primarily sheep and goats—and placed them into a huge pen. A poor woman approached the officer in charge and begged him to release her animals. Because the poor woman’s husband had been imprisoned, her sheep were literally all she had.
The officer laughed at her request. How could she possibly find her dozen sheep in a pen of more than 1,000 animals?
The woman challenged the officer. If she could find her animals, could she keep them?
Intrigued, the soldier agreed.
The woman then invited her 10-year-old son to stand before the pen. He pulled out a flute and began to play a simple tune. As he walked through the fenced-in area, a dozen sheep gathered behind him, following him all the way home.
The officer and soldiers were impressed. They broke into applause, shut the gate and then announced that no one else could use the trick to get their sheep back.
Why did the sheep follow the boy? Because they knew he was their shepherd. And they knew he was a good shepherd. They were not only familiar with his voice, they knew the very tunes he played on his flute—songs he had played in the fields many times before.
That portrait of a sheep knowing its shepherd so well gives me hope that I, too, can know God intimately. For me, spending time with a loving shepherd was a powerful portrait of God’s love for each of us—a love that is tangible, practical and unending. From this perspective, some of the seemingly opposite attributes of God, such as discipline and grace, began to make sense.
Over the course of our time together, I watched a shepherd who truly loved her sheep—it was so evident in the way she spoke to and about them. Whether feeding her animals by hand, changing their bandages, administering medicine or keeping a watchful eye, her love was constantly on display. I also watched when Lynne had to reprimand or punish a sheep by placing it in time out. Even those moments were founded in love and caring for her flock.
The entire time, Lynne wanted what was best for the flock and the individual sheep. She was for them. For me, it was a tangible reminder of just how much God is for us, individually and as His flock.
You are successful to the degree that you empower others! Too often, in today's world, success is defined by the size of your organization, the amount of money you accumulate or how influential your name is. Although each of these things may be found in a successful person's portfolio, they are not true indicators of real success. Success as a leader is measured by the degree that you empower others.
Several years ago I regularly struggled with discontentment. I was so disheartened by my problems and life in general that I spent hours seeking God for answers. I would pray in my car, in the office, everywhere. But nothing changed.
The uneasiness I sensed was the last thing on my mind when I went to bed at night and the first thing to flood my thoughts when I awoke the next day. I started to concede defeat and remain unhappy when God spoke to me through His Word.
“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with good things” (Ps. 107:9, NKJV).
At that moment I knew what God meant. I had experienced many highs in my walk with the Lord. I was used to the Father blessing me every time I sought His hand, so I became relaxed in my relationship with Him. But God wanted more, so He started prodding and creating in me dissatisfaction for spiritual mediocrity.
I cannot adequately describe what God did for me during that season of my life, but I can say I learned never to take His goodness, favor and presence for granted. Yes, God blesses us with earthly blessings, but He is the only person who can satisfy that deep yearning we have for Him because He is the one who creates it.
Don’t settle for business as usual. Step out of your comfort zone and let God move you to a new place in Him.
No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, whether on the mountaintop of life or in the valley of hardships, stay close to Him and seek His face. He will respond and invade your mediocre walk with Him. read more
Remember several years ago when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were performing at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show, and he ripped off her costume exposing her chest to nearly 90 million viewers?
The performance caused uproar in the public arena over indecency on TV, and led to bills being passed increasing fines against broadcasters that violate decency standards. But despite federal regulations, the push to saturate our kids' minds with sexually explicit content and products is alive and well in our culture.
The assault on young girls is especially heinous. I was taken aback the other day when I walked into a store and saw racy underwear on sale for girls as young as 5 years old. It's only a matter of time before our sex-crazed society causes kindergarteners to lose their innocence. read more
Recently my good friend and co-worker married a wonderful, God-sent man. As I watched their beautiful Italian ceremony, I was reminded of the many years I spent with her praying and asking the Lord to send her a husband. So needless to say, I was excited to see her stroll down the aisle!
My friend wanted to be married, but she didn't waste time lamenting her singleness. But for many women, being single is a lonely life to live. They exhaust a lot of prayer time cutting deals with God: "Lord, if You allow me to get married, my husband and I will work together in ministry for You." But the reality is not everyone will get a chance to say I do, and God will still expect us to serve Him.
I used to pray similar prayers, but one day I stopped complaining long enough to hear the Holy Spirit speak. His message to me is my encouragement to you: Learn to be content in Christ as He unfolds His plans and purposes for your life—but by all means, have a life!
First Timothy 6:6 tells us "godliness with contentment is great gain," and it is. But contentment doesn't mean single women should mope around waiting for a husband.
Take advantage of the countless opportunities you have to do ministry and become the woman He created you to be. The Bible says the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
My friend met her husband in church where she was busy serving the Lord and fulfilling His purpose for her life. She doesn't regret waiting years for the right guy to come along.
Please don't spend all your time negotiating with the Father asking Him for a tall, dark and handsome man; use your time to advance the kingdom. His message of covenant love isn't directed at just married people. It's for every single one of us. read more
This week I traveled to South Bend, Ind., to attend the funeral-or should I say the home-going service-of my 94-year-old grandfather. Lawrence Lowe Sr. was a spry man and as the patriarch of the Lowe clan, he possessed wisdom far beyond his years.
He stood about 5 feet 11 inches tall, but in my eyes he looked more like 6 foot 6. His ebony complexion hid the scars and hardships of growing up under the burden of racial segregation and Jim Crow laws. But he let nothing stop him from leaving his mark on the earth in his own unique way.
He spent his early years working as a farmer on his dad's farm along with his eight brothers, and as a carpenter in his latter years. His huge fists no doubt held the key to thousands of family stories that I unfortunately never got a chance to hear.
We all regret when we peer into the casket of a loved one and realize we didn't get a chance to say "I love you" one more time. But years before my grandfather slipped into eternity, I got the chance to tell him "thank you." I thanked him for giving me the man in my life-my dad.
Daniel Lowe is an awsome man! His love for me is unconditional, and his guidance is too. When I became a single mom, he stepped into my daughter's life and became a surrogate father to her. He has instilled character and integrity in me, and today I love the Lord because my earthly father made a believer out of me. It's my definition of a living legacy.
I believe love and life are the two greatest gifts we can give to one another. The Bible says for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and the Son gave His life so that we might spend eternity with Him (see John 3:16).
When we accept Jesus into our lives and live for Him, we not only secure our place in heaven, we leave behind a spiritual legacy that will never die. God's love is the gift that keeps on giving, and we must pass it on to our children's children and for generations to come.
This week, moms across the country will be showered with gifts and heart-felt words from their loved ones in recognition of Mother’s Day. I’m glad someone thought to set aside the second Sunday in May to honor the faithful women who love and care for their families.
Decades ago gospel singer Shirley Caesar penned a song that I believe characterizes the depth of a mother’s love—and God’s love for us. No Charge is a song about a young boy who charges his mom a fee every time he completes his chores or helps out around the house.
For mowing the lawn, $5 Taking out the trash, $1 Running errands, 50 cents Making his own bed, $1 “Playing” with his brother, 25 cents
The boy includes a few more chores to the list, adds it up, and hands his mother a bill for $14.75. Had that been my mother and me, she would have told me to sit down and be quiet—or else!
But the woman responds to her son the way I believe Jesus responds to us.
“For the nine months I carried you, growing inside me, no charge / For the nights I sat up with you, doctored you, prayed for you, no charge / For the time and the tears and the cost through the years, there is no charge ... / For the nights filled with dread and the worries ahead, no charge / For advice and the knowledge and the cost of your college, no charge/ … When you add it all up / The full cost of my love is no charge.”
The Bible says for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (see John 3:16). The Son, in turn, gave His life for us and paid the price for sin. So be encouraged as you render selfless service to your family. Jesus is your role model, and He is pleased to know you are following in His footsteps.
What do you do when you're struggling with feelings of fear? Do you face your emotions and come up with ways to combat the problem? Or do you concede defeat and allow the assaults to continually rob you of your joy?
Fear is a powerful emotion and when left unchecked, it metastasizes like a cancer cell. It spreads quickly through your mind destroying your creativity, confidence and the godly authority you once wielded as a servant of the Lord. The result is paralysis of the will.
Several years ago I was ministering to a woman in her 70s who told me she didn't go to college because she had been retained in sixth grade. She was afraid and thought she would never be good enough to be a college student. She managed to graduate high school, but low self-esteem gave way to fear and she stopped living life to the fullest.
Today, with the help of the Holy Spirit, she is facing her fears head on. She enrolled in a community college and is pursuing a degree in business.
What's holding you back from fulfilling your godly purpose? Have you fallen prey to some sin and now you're afraid God doesn't love you? Do you listen to the enemy's lies about who you are? Whatever the cause, fear is keeping you from your destiny.
When you see fear coming or sense its presence, face it. Fear is oftentimes rooted in deception. But when you discover the truth of God's Word, you begin to see yourself as God sees you. How freeing! Let the Holy Spirit transform your thinking today (see Romans 12: 1-2).
We don't have to live our lives characterized by fear. We can live confidently and carry out His will in the earth. God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound, well-disciplined mind (see 2 Tim. 1:7).
Valerie G. Lowe is editor of SpiritLed Woman eMagazine.
Welcome to the new SpiritLed Woman eMagazine! My name is Valerie G. Lowe and I'm the editor.
I'm excited about launching this weekly online magazine because I know there are women who want to connect with other women who love God and want to do His will. It is my prayer that you receive an impartation of the Holy Spirit every time you read the SpiritLed Woman eMagazine. But don't keep the news to yourself-spread the word! Click here to share this premiere issue.
My good friend Mildred often says something good happens when women get together. She's right. When we unite together in prayer and the Word here, something good is going to happen.
Each week you can allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate your heart and speak to you through our devotional section, "Fueling the Fire." Or you can receive divine revelation when you read such features as Timeless Treasures, written by renowned women and men of faith. If you're anything like me, solid biblical teaching inspires you.
And be sure to watch Say It, Sister!, a video blog of women preaching and teaching the Word of the Lord. I know you will be energized and equipped when you hear them minister.
But most of all, I pray you are empowered to fulfill your God-given purpose in life. You can't do this in your own strength. When we are drawn to a deeper, intimate relationship with God, it happens "not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord" (Zech. 4:6, NKJV). May you answer the call to be a Spirit-led woman.
One of the greatest joys a woman will ever experience in life is giving birth. Though having a baby is oftentimes uncomfortable, it's a miracle we women treasure for a lifetime.
When a woman discovers she is expecting, thoughts begin to race through her mind. Is it a girl or boy? Is my child healthy? Should I quit my job after the baby is born or return to work? The answers may be unclear at this point but one thing is for certain, she's expecting!
I believe it happens the same way in our spiritual walk with the Lord. As we develop a relationship with God, He plants His Word deep in our hearts and when the time is right, the Holy Spirit reveals it and causes us to grow. By the time I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter, she had her own blood type and her heart was already beating. The first trimester of pregnancy is accompanied by many changes and transitions.
After the morning sickness disappears and the baby is getting bigger every day, a woman can hardly wait to meet the person growing inside her. So it is in the spiritual realm. We wait sometimes patiently, but most of the time anxiously, for the manifestation of what God has for us. With every passing day of spiritual maturity, our potential becomes possibilities and our hopes become reality.
And just as expectant mothers do in the natural realm, we have a shower in anticipation of the new arrival. We shower God with shouts of praise! We shower Him with adoration! We thank Him for His goodness, and we love Him for His grace. Why? Because He is faithful!
By faith we are able to believe God's promises. Scripture says "For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2 Cor. 1:20, NKJV).
That's right! God will fulfill every Word He has ever spoken in your life. If He said you would preach His Word, get ready because it will come to pass. If He told you you're going to be a missionary, get ready because the mission field is calling your name. If He said He would use the pain of your divorce to minister to others, I suggest you get over your shyness because many hurting people are headed your way.
Whether you feel equipped to do God's bidding, it does not matter. Every blood-washed woman is expected to carry His Word. It doesn't matter if you feel worthy or not. The lover of your soul has placed in you everything you need to fulfill your calling. Ready or not, it's time to come forth. Happy Labor Day! read more
When my daughter was growing up, I would talk to her about prayer all the time. I would tell her that praying to God was like talking to Mommy and she could do it anytime, day and night, at the day care or in church. It didn't matter.
It wasn't long before Faith would slip to her knees, bury her little face in her hands and pray. She would tell the Lord, "Thank you for being so nice to Mommy and me," or "Thank you for helping me tie my shoe laces." And there were times when she would have to tell the Lord, "I'm sorry" and "Forgive me, please." read more
Several years ago I listened to a preacher share a funny story about his adventures at his high school prom. He said he had purchased a beautiful corsage for his date, rented a tuxedo for the special event and got all dressed up.
But no sooner had he and his lovely escort arrived at the prom than one guy after another rushed over to the girl and asked to dance, and she said yes. This went on most of the night until the preacher got fed up with the other fellows cutting in on him and he said to himself, Man up and go get your date!
So he took a deep breath, whispered a quick prayer, and went on the dance floor. He tapped his date on the shoulder and said, ""Excuse me, may I have this dance since I'm the one who brought you to the prom?"
She said yes and the two danced the dust up off the carpet for the rest of the night.
This story reminds me of God.
He is so good to us. He makes ways for us when there seems to be no way out. He beautifies us with the garment of praise when we feel discouraged. He stands by us even when other people forsake us. And when the enemy tries to steal our dreams, kill our hopes and literally destroy us, He steps in and gives us the power to defeat him.
I know the cares of life are vying for your attention, but don't forget to praise the one who brought you out of sin and shame to a place of peace and joy.
Scripture says God will turn our hardships and pain into praise: "'Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!' You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever" (Ps. 30:10-12, NKJV).
In these tough times of economic downturn, war and uncertainty, it's easy to depend on the president, the government or self, but let's not change partners. Let's continue to praise God for His mercy, kindness and provision. Dance with the one who brought you this far. read more
Last night I read the book of Job and was taken aback by the turn of events that left a man devastated by unthinkable tragedy. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
Most of us can't relate to the depth of Job's suffering. He had 11,000 livestock, enough hired help to man a mansion and most of all, a wife and 10 children. And then Satan came in and wrecked his life killing his seven sons and three daughters, the servants and his animals.
Job lost it all, but he never gave up on God.
I don't know about you, but I haven't always responded to hardships and pain in my life with unwavering faith. I sometimes doubted God, took matters into my own hands, and did whatever I could do to make things better. But nothing changed until my heavenly Father said that's enough. He not only rescued me from the enemy, but from myself.
Look at how God blessed Job after his ordeal: "Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys.
"He also had seven sons and three daughters. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations" (Job 42: 12-13, 15-16, NKJV).
God is the same today, yesterday and forever more. He is faithful and will never change. If He delivered Job from the grip of the enemy and blessed his life, He will do the same for you.
So be encouraged and keep your focus, and don't let the enemy make you curse the Father. He tried that trick with Job, but Job refused to "charge God foolishly," and we must respond in the same manner.
Brian Zahnd, founder and senior pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Mo., recently released a book based on David's response to the tragedy at Ziklag. What to Do on the Worst Day of Your Life is a must-read, and if you want to be uplifted and learn how to respond to hardships, I suggest you read it today. To get your copy click here.
Last Sunday I witnessed a powerful move of God. While leading worship, one of the singers got violently ill and could barely stand because sharp pains were piercing her stomach. A deacon whipped out his cell phone to call for an ambulance, but the preacher stopped the service and asked, "Before you call 911, may I call Jesus?" The woman said yes, he prayed, the Lord healed, and spiritual pandemonium broke out in the sanctuary.
Prayer changes things. When we come together in unity worshiping the Father, He comes into our presence and brings with Him all that we need. Our faith was so real in that building, the woman's healing created a traffic jam at the altar. Some people received the baptism in the Holy Spirit while others simply worshiped God and thanked Him for His presence.
Despite what we see in the natural realm-a failing economy, broken marriages, war, cancer and more-God will intervene in the affairs of His people with a holy visitation when we come together and pray.
The Bible says, "And when they had entered [the city], they mounted [the stairs] to the upper room where they were [indefinitely] staying-Peter and John and James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas [son] of James. All of these with their minds in full agreement devoted themselves steadfastly to prayer, [waiting together] with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (Acts 1:13-14, The Amplified Bible).
All types of people were in the upper room. A liar, a thief, a woman who had once been possessed with seven demons, the mother of our Lord and others. But they were all partakers of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as demonstrated in Acts 2:4.
God is no respecter of persons. If He responded to prayer 2,000 years ago, He will show up and move by His Spirit when we come together in one place, with one heart and no agenda, wholeheartedly seeking Him.
But let's not wait. Let's come together, corporately right here on Spiritledwoman.com. As a result of the Internet, we can reach heaven on behalf of millions of unbelievers and Christians alike. Logon to the site every day this week, post your prayer and watch God move by His Spirit.
I don't know about you, but I look forward to Valentine's Day. No, I don't have a husband to lavish me with roses and candy or a doting boyfriend anxious to ask for my hand in marriage. (I do have my eye on a certain guy, but he doesn’t even know I exist!) The day is special to me because my twin sister and I were born on February 14.
Though I've never been married, I don't waste time lamenting my status as a single woman. There's someone in my life and he thinks the world of me.
My father is special to me for a zillion reasons. Down through the years he's been a loving husband and father. He's a protector, provider and an awesome grandfather. My dad would take a bullet for me if he had to. But I'm most grateful to my father because his example led me to the Man in my life.
Christ is the center of my world, and the more I get to know Him, the more real He is to me. And every time I celebrate a birthday, I'm reminded of His faithfulness. The Bible says "For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth" (Isaiah 54:5, NKJV). Jesus can be your Husband and my Husband at the same time and never cheat.
That's why February 14 is so special to me. Not only is it the day I was born; it's the day I renew my vows to the Man in my life.
So don't be upset if you weren't showered with gifts, candy or flowers on Valentine's Day. Just thank God for His message of covenant love. It's not just for couples, it's for every single one of us. read more
Last Saturday morning I did something I haven't done in awhile. I teamed up with the women in my church and went door-to-door witnessing to residents about the love of Jesus.
My pastor is determined that in 2009, our church becomes a hub for evangelism and outreach. He feels the best way to be a beacon of light in the community is to do what Elvis Presley did, "leave the building." The Bible says, '"Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled'" (Luke 14:23, NKJV). Last weekend we knocked on more than 400 doors during our Canvassing for Christ event.
Every resident I encountered that day was friendly and receptive to what my friend, Shirley, and I had to say about Jesus. In fact, we were fired up and ready to save the world with a two-minute spiel and prayer. But when we knocked on the door ready to rattle off the "If you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?" type questions, we were greeted by ordinary people with obvious needs, so we flipped the script and listened to what they had to say. read more
One night last year I was about to climb into bed when I felt an urgent need to slip to my knees and pray fervently for my uncle, Don. I had actually had a gnawing feeling all week that God was speaking to me about him and had tried calling him so we could pray together, but I wasn’t able to reach him.
I knew in my spiritual “knower” that I needed to intercede for my uncle.
Has the Lord ever dropped the name of a person in your mind or flashed someone’s face before you? Sometimes He will tell you directly to pray for a person, and at other times He uses a different method to grab your attention. Either way, I believe it is God beckoning us to pray for others. read more
Have you ever looked at or spoken with a person and then walked away wondering what the person is really like at home--when they are not in the public eye? There are some obvious things you can learn about other people simply by the way they dress or style their hair, but all that is superficial and can easily change.
So what you see in a person is not always what you get. read more