Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Posture Invites God’s Presence

A posture of humility brings God's presence to my problem.

A posture of humility brings God’s presence to my problem. 

If you are joining me here today from Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, When I Feel Attacked, welcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

Humility. You know, even though I have known the passage that lists of the fruit of the Spirit for years (even wrote a book on it!) I had to look it up again. My mind wanted to tell me it was listed as one of the fruit of the Spirit.

And I believe it is just that; it just is not included in Galatians 5:22 – 23:

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (NLT)

These beautiful traits all work together with humility.

Humility empowers us to:

  • love the hardest to love

  • be joyful in the worst circumstances

  • experience peace, recognizing God is the one in control

  • pick patience toward those who need a little “extra”

  • give kindness even when not given to

  • choose goodness despite others intentions

  • be faithful when our emotions say they deserve less

  • adopt a gentle heart when I feel edgy

  • select self-control no matter how tired I feel

When we choose humility, we pay the price of self-control up front, but it opens the way for God to defend us and brings His peace to our situation. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit working through us can we bypass the natural to choose His supernatural response. This is when we reap the beautiful results of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23.)

I’d like to say this choice is simple, even easy. But that’s simply not true. Through the Holy Spirit,though,  it is possible.

 “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”Proverbs 22:4 (ESV)

Do you have a young woman in your life who needs a nudge to choose humility? The Holy Spirit wants to transform us into people who reflect God Himself in everything we do. Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants empowers young women to partner with the Holy Spirit to develop the fruit of the Spirit in her life.

Magnetic Give Away

Today, I’m giving away a copy of Magnetic, as well as Magnetic note cards and magnetics. To be entered for an opportunity to win, simply share which fruit of the Spirit you want to walk out specifically today. If you’re in a hurry, just share “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner October 5th.

 

 

Lynn

Thursday, September 22, 2016

He is Not the Enemy

Ephesians 6:12

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)

I had no idea, as I read this passage in the dark hours of this Wednesday morning, that my own city would be experiencing racial warfare that very day. That when the sky would turn dark once again, lives would be gone, fires would burn and hatred would fill the streets of Charlotte.

If I  had only known what would happen in my city that day, these words would have been all the more powerful to me. I would not have only read them; I would have prayed them as well.

Friends, when our anger flares and our hearts pound to make all things right, we must remember.

He is not our enemy.

The one who riots in the streets, in confusion, frustrated, desperate for change.

He is not our enemy.

The one who stands, representing our government, bearing arms for our cities.

He is not our enemy.

The one who is not like us: different race, different religion, different reasoning.

 He is not our enemy.

We must remember who is the enemy:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,

against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,

against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

Our enemy is the one who whispers in our ears who is right and who is wrong. The one who encourages us to pick a side and stand no matter who is hurt, no matter what is divided.

When we do, the real enemy wins.

The real enemy, Satan.

We don’t win.

When we kill – with guns or our words – there is only one winner. Satan. We can never win when we use the devices of our tongues against one another.

Only love wins.

Your brother, your neighbor or your city member on the other side of town – he is not your real enemy. He never has been; never will be. Not until we get that right will there be real peace in our country.

When we decided to talk together, to bring changes through laws made in love; bring equality to all people, that is when the real enemy can be put down. That is when the enemy will be silenced.

Lynn

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I’ll Take It From Here

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind. Psalm 26:2

 

“Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.” 1 Samuel 23:7 (NIV)

Stuck somewhere between numb and exhaustion, I stared out the window. Lord, how did I end up here? Please forgive me.

I had grown up hearing, “Pray for God to open a door.” So when it came to my job, I had done just that. I prayed, I believed and before I knew it, there wasn’t just one, but an entire hall of open doors. That is when I quit praying. Somewhere in my mind, I figured I would just do what I had been trained to do and walk through them.

All of them.

In the middle of the success coming my way, I didn’t stop to ask with each new opportunity, “Is this You, Lord?” I already knew it was Him; right? My actions said, “I’ll take it from here.”

Shortly after being crowned king, Saul took over his life as well. In this place of no longer humbling himself to ask for God’s wisdom, Saul’s heart became hard. Though he had once experienced a change of heart and the Spirit of God moving in power in his life (1 Samuel 10:9-10), the sin of jealousy over David’s success had taken over. Blinding him from recognizing the difference between the voice of God and the voice of his jealous-driven heart, Saul began to confuse the two. So in today’s key verse of 1 Samuel 23:7, when Saul discovers the whereabouts of the hidden man David, in a delusional state, he believes God has provided this opportunity. He actually thinks God is giving him the opportunity to kill David, the one anointed by God to be the next king of Israel!

How did Saul slip, from the place where 1 Samuel 11:6 says, “…the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him…” (NIV) to the point where he is seeking to kill God’s appointed one?

 

One step at a time.

 

Saul failed to obey God fully in 1 Samuel 15:9, yet he told the prophet Samuel that he had. In 1 Samuel 15:30, he chose to value how he looked in people’s eyes over how he looked in God’s. His final step was allowing jealousy to overtake his heart toward David in 1 Samuel 18:9. He deceived himself.

 

One step at a time, he stopped conversing with God. He stopped asking God for wisdom and to forgive him when he failed. In that place of lost intimacy, his heart grew cold and his feet walked away from God.

 

That day of my despair was the beginning of new lessons for me. I need to consult God, no matter how sure I feel about my decisions. I need to hear from the Holy Spirit, on every aspect of my life. For the moment I stop humbly asking my Creator for daily direction and to examine my heart, is the day I start a journey I don’t want to go on ever again.

Holy Spirit, empower me to humble myself, seek Your wisdom and submit to Your ways, not what appears to be right to me. Open my eyes to see when I am too dependent on my own strength and myself. I want to hear You, see You and walk with You every day, Lord.

 

Lynn

Monday, September 12, 2016

Won’t You Join Us?

Are you looking for a time of refreshing just for you and maybe your girl too?

I’d love to have you join us this fall!

Lynn_Cowell_HeadshotLoRes

Free for women of all ages…

Friday, September 16th, 2016 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Benton Heights Presbyterian Church

2701 Concord Highway
Monroe, NC 28110

Contact Melanie Sanders for more info @ 704.651.7357

 

 

For tween girls and their moms …

Join us for the Team Grace Retreat

Austin, Texas

October 22, 2016

St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church

Moms and daughters will spend an entire day unpacking this year’s scripture and theme through impactful breakout sessions, high-energy worship and the Team Grace Carnival!

Here’s a special discount code to save $25!

Just head to catherinebird.net and enter the code: LynnsFriendstg16

Moms & Tween Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you will join us!

I’d love to meet you!

Lynn

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Welcome In!

Where lives are forever changed.

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited Book Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, visit www.uninvitedbook.com/for-bloggers.

 

The pile of shoes just before the threshold invited me in.

Entering the ocean-blue church- turned-classroom, my eyes swam in color while the sound of the call to prayer blasted through the make-shift windows. Women swaddled in rainbows of color filed through the door just as they had been doing every night for the past year for their 2 hour lesson.

I found a corner in the back of the room. Sitting cross-legged, I was eager to take in what God is doing in India, 8,552 miles from the comforts of my home.

Mission India's Adult Literacy Classes

The teacher stood, instructing the women to take out their slates to begin tonight’s lesson. The temperatures that day, hovering around 115 degrees, had not held these Indian women back from coming. They were eager to learn; to learn to read, to calculate and to understand this One who did not declare words about them as their culture does. From the day of their birth, they have been told that they are worthless. 160 million in this Untouchables class in India believe they’re less than human. They are considered a burden; to their families and to their culture. Yet, here, in this simple cinder-block room, they were learning they were priceless … and it was changing everything.

After the night’s lesson, the teacher asked the students to share how their lives were changing as a result of these Mission India adult literacy classes. They stand to share:

“Since I can pass the standard test, I can now get a job. I can provide for my family.”

“Seeing that I am learning to read and am able to bring in an income, my husband is gaining respect for me and is no longer beating me.”

“I have the confidence to look others in the eye. I don’t have to look at the ground when spoken to.”

My eyes leak once more, just as they had been doing all week long. The power of Jesus is not only changing their eternal destiny, He is changing their daily lives now. He has welcomed them in where they have been uninvited.

When class ends, they line up, asking my Proverbs 31 Ministries friend, Suzie Eller, and I, to pray for them. Their requests, backed with faith, seem insurmountable. The first, a woman on dialysis, asks for healing. The next, prayer for her husband who beats her for attending church to worship Jesus. They stand tall, believing that the One, True God they are learning about, will come and meet their needs.

Uninvited: Mission India from Proverbs 31 Ministries on Vimeo.

This mission, through Mission India, is being supported by Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa TerKeurst through the sales of Lysa’s new book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. This book instills the truth that even when you’re overlooked by others, you are handpicked by God. In this new book, Uninvited, New York Times best selling author Lysa TerKeurst will help you live like you really believe that truth! You can get your copy by going to www.uninvitedbook.com.

 

 

Lynn

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

You’ve Got to Be There Next Time!

You've got to join us next year!

 

Oh friend! You’ve have got to join us next year at She Speaks!

Every year I say to myself, “It can’t get any better”.  Then the Holy Spirit does what He does best and it is!

Watching Him pour through my friends as they share encouragement from God’s word, the kind that goes into your soul and refills every dry part, is beyond words for me.

Glynnis Whitwer, the Executive Director of Communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries, started our pre-conference by reminding me that while some parts of ministry are my sweet spot, others will not be. God is there for that too!

Shauna Niequist, reset our minds to know that the life we build, the one no one else sees, is what really matters. Our relationship with God, His presence in our life, is found in the silence. This is where my soul is filled.

Lysa TerKeurst - Uninvited

Lysa TerKeurst, reminded us we all have a story and then we have a story we tell ourselves. We must not let the rejecting the words said by others become part of this story we tell ourselves. I cannot wait to get my hands on my copy of “Uninvited” after hearing her message!

Nicki Koziarz, reminded me that this journey we are all on will not be an easy one, but the Lord will empower us to stick with our commitments if we will lean into Him.

 

Suzie Eller, my friend (and roommate in India) shared Jesus’ call to all of us to “Come with me” and shared the miracle we experienced while in India.

On the day She Speaks started this year, we had over 1,000 women on the waiting list for next year, so if you want to join us for She Speaks 2017, register early! All the details will be available in early 2017 at www.SheSpeaksConference.com.

Come With Me

Lynn

Monday, July 18, 2016

Make a Record

God commanded Moses to make a record all the Israelites journey. Maybe we should record all He has done for us as well.

 

I sure wish I remember who gifted me with that gold, little book. Filled with all the thoughts and feelings of a tween girl, that “5 Year Diary” given to a 3rd-grade girl birthed a love for writing.

 

Over the years, that writing has changed and shifted. I have kept notebooks filled with prayer requests and answers as well as scripture that has moved me. Writing is how I process my relationship with the Lord; all He is doing and all I have yet to understand. The very personal writings of a little girl documenting all that was happening in her life has been replaced.

Recently, while discussing a new book proposal I’m working on, my friend Renee said, “Lynn, just pull out all of your old journals. That is where you’ll find the stories you lean.”

What journals?

She got me thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t have let processing on paper go.” And that’s as far as it went.

I think the Lord is nudging me again this morning.

In Numbers 33:2 it says, “At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages:” (NIV 84)

While I am not saying God is commanding you and I to record our journey with Him, I do think there is great value in being able to look back. Documenting our journey gives us a place of reference, where we can see with our own eyes, all that God has done for us; where we have been and just how far we have come. This journal of our journey can be a source of joy on those days when life seems just too hard.

Some day, even our children and grandchildren can see that testimony.

Give it some thought. Maybe the Lord will have you begin recording your journey. This week, I’ll be teaching at She Speaks, Proverbs 31 Ministries conference for women who feel called to speak, write and lead; a conference for those who want to take a next step in sharing that journey with others. You can learn more at www.SheSpeaksConference.com. Maybe you’ll join us next year!

 

Lynn

Monday, July 4, 2016

5 Ways to Support Someone Struggling with Mental Health

Healing comes from the Holy Spirit

If you are joining me here today from Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, welcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

In today’s devotion, I share the story of the cripple in Acts 3 who is healed when Peter and John reach out in the power of the name of Jesus. When I recently read this story with a fresh set of eyes, I was surprised to see that shortly after experiencing this miraculous healing, this man needed someone to lean on.

We all need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to set us free, and we will often need someone to hold on to as we walk out that healing day by day.

It may seem strange to you that I would choose to focus on healing, especially in cases of mental health when it is the 4th of July. 4th of July … the day in America when we celebrate freedom.

For many, freedom, especially mental and emotional freedom, is something they long for, but struggle to find. This can be especially true for those in our armed forces. What is true for our military members is also true for many people in general:

“Others never seek help out of fear over how others will view seeking treatment,” says Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the Army’s vice chief of staff.

This is so true, especially in the body of Christ. Seeking medical help and counseling is often viewed as a lack of faith, being weak or that one is not “believing” in Jesus for all of their needs.

Yet, if we have a love one who is diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, we would not say, “You should trust God. Don’t take insulin. Do not get chemo-therapy treatment.” Mental health is an issue we need to learn more about and make progress in breaking stigmas.

In Acts 3, nothing in this passage indicates that the beggar’s healing was incomplete because he needed to lean on someone. In fact, later in Acts 4:10, Peter reiterates that the man who was crippled after 40 years was healed. Yet in his healing, he still needed a little help.
Ecclesiates 4:9-12 shines this truth, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (ESV)
Here are 5 ways you can support someone struggling with mental illness:
1. Learn about mental illness.
    Taking the time to learn about a loved one’s particular mental illness says, “I care about you.” The class I     I mentioned in my devotion today is called “Family-to-Family” and is offered through NAMI,  National Alliance on Mental Illness. This class, taught by a person who also has a family member with a mental illness or experiences it themselves really helped me to understand all types of mental illness.
   There are also books written for those who love people with a variety of brain disorders.
2. Go to counseling with them.
     For my daughter, regular counseling helps her to keep moving forward in overcoming Obsessive-        Compulsive Disorder and managing bi-polar disorder. When Madi first went to counseling, I went first;        once by myself and then with her. Again, taking the time and making the effort to come alongside our
     loved one can help provide the support they need.
3. Ask questions.
    Society has so many stereo-types and stigmas when it comes to mental health. Movies or shows have formed incorrect ideas. When we ask questions directly to our loved one in a caring way, we open the door for them to share their struggles with us. This can help them to not feel so alone when mental illness is still so taboo in our culture.
4. Be a good listener.
     Every person needs to talk and to be heard; those who struggle with mental health are no different.
     Listen without trying to fix them. I really wrestled with this before I began to understand my daughter’s    struggle. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say about how she felt. It sounded to me like she was putting herself down. What she was doing was crying out for help.
5. Be a safe zone.
Again, our loved ones need a place to share and not have what they are sharing held against them. They need us to be a safe place to speak truthfully.
One thing our loved ones need to be reassured of is that they are loved just the way they are. This is why I am giving away a copy of my book, His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You, to one commenter today.
To enter to win, please share which of the 5 steps spoke to you today or simply say, “I’m in”. I will announce the winner later this week.
UPDATE: The winner of His Revolutionary Love is Leigh Anne Akey. Thank you to all who have commented!

 

Lynn

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Way Will We Be Pushed

When we choose a posture of humility, we invite God's presence into our situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m one of the fortunate ones.

I didn’t grow up in a home where I heard, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Maybe my parents learned from Moses and Aaron. This morning I am certainly challenged by the example these two guys set.

Returning from scoping out the Promised Land, the 40 spies come back defeated before the take over could even begin. Allowing fear and ungratefulness to overflow to everyone they come in contact with, the spies spill out every thought in their mind: “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:32b-33 (NIV 84)

Burning lava spilling from an explosive volcano, the spies’ flippant words vibrate deep in the quivering hearts of the Israelites. All their fears, frustration and fussing begin flowing, burning up their community. Soon, the entire camp is in a rebellious uproar directed straight at their leaders: Moses and Aaron.

As I read this passage today, I didn’t feel contempt for the Israelites. I’ve been the complaining consumer of God’s goodness before. What I felt was awe, seeing the response of Moses and Aaron:

“Then Moses and Aaron fell face down

in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.” Numbers 14:5 (NIV 84)

Friends, can I just tell you this is not my normal response when someone comes at me! Oh no! I may not be explosive with my words and actions, but my mind immediately begins to build a defense strong enough to head into a court room. I want the person who I feel is attacking me (key word – feel) to know just how wrong they are! All my energy goes to self-preservation.

That is not what I see in Moses and Aaron. I see humility. God responds to these men who do not take up defending themselves and their actions, but instead turn to their God. “…Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, …” (Numbers 14:10b-11a)

The result of Moses and Aaron’s posture of humility was the presence of the King.

They could have chosen the natural human route: build a case – put the camp in it’s place.

They chose humility and God chose to defend their leadership.

Today, tomorrow or in the very near future, you and I will be in the pathway of a spill whether through madness, misunderstanding or a mistake of another person. As those words come close to burning us, like Moses and Aaron, we’ll have a choice. We can rise up in anger and self-defense. Let them have what they deserve! We can also choose to humble ourselves and allow God to come to our defense.

One has the immediate benefit of an emotional release; short term we feel better getting our feelings off our chest. Long term, like the Israelites, there will be consequences to pay.

Should we choose humility, we pay the price of self-control up front, but open the way for our God to come to our defense and reap His benefits instead.

Lord, we’re not leading a million people through a desert, but we are leading. In our home, our workplace, our neighborhood and in our churches, we are leading. Holy Spirit, empower us to lead from a place of humility, where You are in control and not our emotions. Open our eyes to see when we, like Moses and Aaron, need to fall face down and get Your heart before we spill out our’s on others. Amen

Lynn

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

{Pre-teen and Mom’s Give Away}

Dannah Gresh's Book Give Away

 

Child or teen?

These years we’ ve named the pre-teens year (between 8 – 12 years old) can be fun and carefree … and a bit confusing too!

This fall I’ll be speaking at a conference for pre-teens and their moms and I need your help preparing!

Could you ask your pre-teen girl a few questions?

In exchange for helping me, I’ll be giving one mother and daughter these wonderful books by Dannah Gresh: Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl and It’s Great to Be a Girl: A Guide to Your Changing Body.

Here’s some questions to get the conversation rolling. I hope these will lead you to learning some new things about your girl too! You can share your answers right here in the comments below or feel free to email me at Lynn@LynnCowell.com.

All responses will be entered for an opportunity to win this book set.

Thank you in advance for your help! I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

  1. What is your favorite part about being ________ years old?
  2. What is the hardest part about being _________years old?
  3. What makes your best friend your best friend?
  4. What advice would you give a girl about making friends?
  5. What are your favorite things to do?
  6. How do you feel about becoming a teenager one day?
  7. Do you think growing up looks fun, scary or something other feeling?
  8. How do you feel about trying new things? Sports, music, clubs, meeting new friends?
  9. How would you describe your relationship with your mom?
  10. What are you most looking forward to in the next school year? Not looking forward to?

 

UPDATE:

The winner from this post is Alivia Scarbrough. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me, Alivia!

Lynn