Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let Me Hear You ROAR

Photo Source

So this weekend, I had the privilege of attending the ROAR women's conference in Fayetteville.  Don't be fooled by the logo or the title- this was not a self-help conference to the theme of "I am woman, hear me roar."  Instead, this conference was a worship event, and if when the women left the conference feeling empowered, it was through the Holy Spirit's power inside of them that they did so.  And yes, there may have been some roaring going on, and hopefully still is some roaring going on, because we want to make sure the devil knows we are God's girls!

And let me tell you, despite how much the devil tried to stop us by causing problems with our bus (alternator not working the entire hour drive, plus stop in Benson for supper) we still made it to the conference.  Yes, barely as the bus died at the door, literally, at the door.  But God had a purpose for us 20 or so women to be there and though the "devil may be in the details" of engines and doors not closing, God is ultimately in control! (We did make it home with the help of two wonderful men, who drove two smaller buses down to get us-Thanks guys!)
Thank you to the nice men of Epicenter Church for pushing our bus to a towing site!
So, Friday night (after safely arriving- Praise God) Kerrie Roberts was in concert.  Let me tell y'all, she is phenomenal! Such a great woman of faith with a true heart for God.  I love attending concerts of Christian artists- because we aren't worshiping at the alter of the performer, we are worshiping at the alter of God! I would say the goal of a Christian singer would be to point others to Christ more than to themselves- giving him the sole glory! And Kerrie Roberts did just that!




After our concert worship through song, Kim Knight (Pastor's wife and woman responsible for this event) spoke.  She shared the definition of ROAR with us:


R- Radically Changed
Christ changes us completely, we are a new creation, set apart to be the light of Christ in the darkness. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here." 2 Corinthians 5:17
O- Original
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14a
"We are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
A- Authentic Love
God loves us with an authentic love.  He comes to love us lavishly. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 
R-Renew
God knows we get weary and worn out "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31


We have no power in which to save ourselves- we are dead with out Christ. But as Kerrie Roberts said so tweetably (as in I shared her quote on Twitter)- "The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, is here with us and can raise us from the dead."  And should we need a reminder from time to time of just how awesome God is then we can ROAR- because we are a new creation in Christ, originally made with works designed for us by God, who loves us with an authentic love demonstrated by the fact that He sent his son to die for us, and He will renew our strength when we hope in him!  Hallelujah- that right there was enough to end the conference!


BUT that wasn't all God had in store for us.  So even though I thought more sleep would have been better, I was back at our church after 5 hours of sleep to go to breakfast with my sisters-- and I was completely wrong about sleep being better than that.  It was such a joy to spend time getting to know three of my fellow sisters in Christ.  Seeing each other here and there and sharing in surface hi's and hello there's at church once (twice or even 3 times a week) is no comparison to sharing a meal with someone for an hour or so and having actual get to know you conversation. So as a plug- I highly recommend that you plug into a women's group or small group and/or make a plan to spend an afternoon just having coffee or chatting with women you may not know as well. God did create us to be relational... Okay end of that tangent. ;-)

When we arrived Saturday morning we were led in worship by Epicenter's praise band (who were so great) and Angela Thomas. If you haven't had the opportunity to hear her speak you have been missing out!  She is a homegrown NC girl, which of course makes her sweeter and easier to understand- haha ;-) and she has such a powerful testimony.  Plus she is hilarious and loves the Lord completely. She has many Bible studies, and though I personally haven't done one, they have been highly recommended by those that have.  She had many wonderful things to say, but I will share just one with you that stuck out to me, from Hebrews 12:1-2:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

We need to throw off the sins that can so quickly become traps and entanglers that keep us from living the Christian life fully and completely as God has called us to do.  That probably definitely will be an every day occurrence. We can't allow distractions to keep us from focusing our full attention on Christ.  In every part of our lives, we should be looking to glorify Christ.  EVERY part.  Not just at church. Another tangent- I find it interesting when people place an "extra good behavior" clause on church. "I can't wear that to church." or "Don't you be lying, you're at church"- Well if you can't wear it to church, you probably shouldn't be wearing it and how about don't lie anywhere?? Most of those comments I hear are said in jest... most... okay tangent over.  Seriously though, God has specific works that he has created for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) he even gave us gifts that aid in accomplishing the missions he calls us to (1 Corinthians 12). But if we let sin, however, small it may seem at first, grow and grow in our hearts, minds, bodies, it will become a hindrance that keeps us from fully accomplishing what God has set before us to accomplish, thereby withholding the glory God so richly deserves. 

So, even though you may have missed the ROAR conference, you don't have to miss out on the opportunity to be a sold out, child of God, who fixes your eyes on Christ and runs full throttle towards him with every fiber of your being- removing any obstacle that tries to keep you from Him- your Savior.  Your Redeemer.  The Lover of your soul.  Your Lord.  Your Bridegroom.  Your Friend.


Love in Christ,

Alyson

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Common Phrase

There is a phrase within a Christian's vocabulary that is probably one of the most used phrases I've ever heard or seen typed on a screen.  The intention for using the phrase is very important.  It can be genuine full of honesty and promise.  When said in this way it provides hope and comfort. But the phrase can also be said, I fear, as an empty platitude that rolls off the tongue (or typed by fingers) without a second thought. Or it is also the go-to phrase when there is nothing else to say.  And no, it's not supercalifragilisticexpealidocious, though that is also a word you say when you don't know what to say; the phrase is simply:

"I'll pray for you."

How many times have you heard those words in your life? We hear them typically when we are going through a difficult time, whether it's sickness or a death in the family maybe.  And just hearing that phrase can provide comfort, because though you already know that God knows your every care and need, and even though you may have also been praying that yourself, there is just something comforting in knowing that people care enough about you to pray those things for you as well.  Because prayer is a very powerful thing.  And it absolutely works.  The Bible is full of instances over and over of God's people praying powerful prayers and God faithfully answering them.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to "Pray without ceasing" because prayer is important.  I have to say my favorite instance of people praying is when I haven't even asked for it.  Just to have someone tell me that they have been praying for me, feels me with such love and gratitude.

But what about those times when we don't pray?  Let's be honest, how many times have you told someone you would pray for them and then you didn't...  I know, I've been there too.  You have every intention of actually praying for them, but you forget. The best cure for that is to pray even before you say that you will or right after you say it.  And even better, would be to actually say a prayer over the person right then! Pray over the phone, pray in an email, actually including them in your prayer can be such a comforting moment. 

But what about the times, when you just don't know what to say to someone who is just in a long stretch of blah.  Perhaps a few weeks ago when they first posted on Facebook about an issue they were having, you were one of the first people to comment and say, I am praying for you.  And maybe you really did.  But now it's 3 weeks later, a month later, 8 weeks later and they are still struggling with this issue plus another issue, plus another.  It's very easy at this point to say, I'm still praying for you and let that be it.  I want to say that I am not knocking prayer at all- as I've already said it is so powerful and so necessary.  BUT as Christians, we need to break away from our comfortable, easy noncommittal, surface relationships and dig deeper.  We need to be Jesus to others meaning we need to be meeting their needs.  Maybe they would benefit from a nice warm meal that they don't have to cook.  Or maybe they need some groceries, or money for bills, or the grass cut, or a babysitter.  Or maybe they just need someone to take them for coffee or lunch and listen.  Yes, they do need our prayers, but they also need our time.

Next time you are about to throw out the quick, I'll pray for you, pause for a second and ask yourself if there is anything else they may be needing and then do that, too.  It's not always easy to "inconvenience" ourselves for others, but people were never an inconvenience to Jesus.  He stopped many times in the middle of what he was already doing to speak to someone and/or heal them.  I'll admit to you that mercy and hospitality are not my spiritual gifts, but that doesn't excuse me from being the hands and feet of Jesus and giving mercy and hospitality to others.


Love in Christ, 

Alyson


**If you are here because you are looking for the Jamberry High School wraps, thanks for stopping by- you can find that information here: http://www.thecoveredlife.com/2014/09/jamberry.html 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hey, Aren't You...?


I grew up in a small town.  My parents grew up in the same small town.  And their parents, except one, grew up in the same small town.  I remember any time our family went anywhere, it seemed that my parents knew everyone.  And they do still know quite a lot of people in our small town. 

Any time I wasn't with my parents, it wasn't uncommon to see someone and hear the question, "Hey, aren't you Mrs. Worley's daughter?" My mom was a teacher at the local school for over 32 years, after all, so she definitely has many people who know her.  Or the question would be, "Hey, aren't you Billy's daughter?"  My daddy worked as a part-time policeman in the town for over 20 years and is a full time farmer, so he comes into contact with many people... though, I was always worried about the ones who knew him because of police work. ;-)  When I was a senior in high school my sister had a really bad accident that should have killed her, honestly, but through God's grace she is alive.  And as small towns go, everyone knew one of Billy and Grace's girls was in an accident.  So from then on, the question became, "Hey, are you the daughter that was in the car accident?"

It's all quite laughable really, but I smile and answer(ed) their questions, "Yes, I am" or "no, that was my sister."  And after talking to the person, I swell with pride at my family.  I love the roots that are so firmly planted in this town, that even though I moved away for a couple of years, I was still able to come right back, welcomed, as if I never left.  And though my sister was out of the country for four years and now lives out of state, she is still connected, because everyone knows that's where she is, and everyone asks when we're going to visit, or when she's coming home. 

When I started dating TJ, who is a Pastor, I prayed a lot before I really knew he was the one I wanted to marry.  He jokes that he knew before I did, and that may be true.  I wanted to know that if I married this man and God called us out of this town into another part of the state (or out of state), that I wouldn't resent TJ when we got there.  That I wholeheartedly felt not only that God was leading me to marry TJ, but also that God was calling me to be a Pastor's wife.

Obviously, God's answer was affirmative.  And since that time, a funny thing has happened.  Now the question I get asked most often is, "Hey aren't you TJ's wife?  I even went to a high school football game last night between my Alma mater and our big rival, and twice, someone came up to me and asked if I was TJ's wife!  And now thanks to my adorable son, I also get asked if I'm Bug's mom. 

But you know, I have no problem being known as my parents' daughter, or a sister to my sister, or the wife of my husband or the mother of my son.  Actually, I love it.  But what I love more than that is knowing that I am a child of God.  I am a joint-heir with Christ.  I am a daughter of the King.
 "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." Romans 8:14-17

As easily as people can identify me based on my family connections, I hope they can identify my connection with Jesus even easier.

What about you?

Do people know you are an adopted son or daughter of God?  Are they having to ask, "Hey, aren't you a Christian?" Ouch! 

"By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:10
 "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." John 15:8

Are you producing good fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?  Can people identify you as a Christian because they see these fruits in your life?

I truly hope that people can see me and say that's Billy and Grace's daughter/Holly's sister/TJ's wife/ Bug's mom AND she really loves Jesus.

Love in Christ,

Alyson

**If you are here because you are looking for the Jamberry High School wraps, thanks for stopping by- you can find that information here: http://www.thecoveredlife.com/2014/09/jamberry.html

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Do We Always Have To Choose Sides?


A few weeks ago, I was startled by a Facebook post I saw by one of my favorite bloggers.  I am not mentioning names or entire details, but just suffice it to say that there was apparently some hurt feelings within a ministry that resulted in a split.  I was bothered by the post on Facebook, because it was in reaction to this taking place.  The person didn't bash the group or cuss them, but instead spoke of the injustice and the hurt she felt.  Now you may think that this is fine, since she wasn't actually being mean, but I disagree.  By posting any "reaction" or "response" at all that wasn't supportive or positive she drew a dividing line between the two ministries.  And because of that, people started choosing sides and started posting negative comments on one ministry page or the other- before they even knew the entirety of the story.


Ever since that day, I have just had this nagging feeling in my soul. This situation, the one in Ferguson, and many others that I have seen or heard of have just left me sad.  Sad that people are so quick to jump on board one side or another, many times without even knowing all of the facts.  And I started asking the question, do we always have to choose sides?  Is there always a right side and a wrong side?
"13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” 
14 
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so." Joshua 5:13-15 (NIV)
We see in these verses that the commander of the army of the Lord was standing in front of Joshua.  Whether you believe that it was an early appearance of Christ or God himself, the fact of the matter was that Joshua was standing in the presence of God. And we see that Joshua asks the commander, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" And the reply was, "Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come."  Can you picture this?  I am sure Joshua expected the presence of God to say, "Your side, of course!"


One of the "lessons" I have learned in life is that, even though Jesus loves me, he also loves other people.  That's right, he loves that person you feel is out to get you. I believe we are too focused on ourselves; our lives revolve around us and our schedules (which is completely wrong).  We want to think that God is protecting only us and that He will smite our foes... but when we have these thoughts, we will never be able to actually see that God loves this other person, God forgives this other person, AND that we are to forgive this other person and we are to love them, too.

When we bring focus to ourselves we lose sight of Jesus, we stop acting like Jesus, and others stop seeing him in us.  So really there are sides to choose from, you can choose to act like Jesus or you can act like the world.  Joshua was asking the wrong question.  Our question shouldn't be whose side is God on, our question should be are we for God or against God?  Those are the "sides" in any issue.  Are we going to be Christians- "little Christs", acting like him, or are we going to act like the world.


Whatever situation arises, whether you are directly involved or not that is the choice you have to make.   When people disagree with you or maybe they just don't like you, that is not the time to "rally the troops" so people will choose you.  Ultimately, as Christians, we should realize that it's not about us.  Our focus should be on Jesus and pointing others to him.  Our allegiance should be to Jesus, not to people.  And should there be a need to voice an opinion in favor or against something, it should align with scripture and be saturated with prayer.

Ultimately our choice is to be for Jesus; to choose grace; to choose forgiveness; and to choose love.

Love in Christ,

Alyson

**If you are here because you are looking for the Jamberry High School wraps, thanks for stopping by- you can find that information here: http://www.thecoveredlife.com/2014/09/jamberry.html

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jamberry

*UPDATE(2/10/2015)

Hey everyone, I want to use this page to share all of the custom wraps I have designed using Jamberry's Nail Art Studio.

Each sheet is $25.00 unless you order more than one, in which case they are $20 a sheet. (These are more expensive than the regular wraps because they are custom designed and there is a set-up fee associated with each order.) Each sheet does at least 2-4 Manis/Pedis.

If you are interested in any of these wraps, please email me at coveredlifeblog@gmail.com or if you know me personally you can shoot me a text, call, or personal Facebook message.





Neuse Charter

North Johnston

Princeton

Johnston County Homeschoolers

Christmas 

Easter 

These are the same sheet of wraps, I just flipped it so you could clearly see both the cross design and the "He is Risen."

If you are interested in any of these wraps, please email me at coveredlifeblog@gmail.com or if you know me personally you can shoot me a text, call, or personal Facebook message. Please be sure to share them with all of your friends and you can direct them back to this website: http://www.thecoveredlife.com/2014/09/jamberry.html
Or to my Facebook page: http://facebook.com/alysontamerjams



You can find the wraps that Jamberry currently offers, the Nail Art Studio (if you would like to design your own wraps) and a whole lot more on the Jamberry website:alysontamer.jamberrynails.net

If you are interested in joining Jamberry, please feel free to contact me, I would love to share my experiences with you.  Especially, since Jamberry helped pay for the majority of our Christmas in 2014!

And if you are interested in hosting a party, I am available to do Facebook parties (all online), in home parties, and virtual parties in a box, for those who may live a bit farther than I can travel! :-) 



Thanks for stopping by!

Alyson