Justified=Just As If I Never Sinned

Starletjustified Ware Encouragement and Prayer

 At church a few Sundays ago, a man was ready to pray and he asked the question “do you know you are justified?”  He went on to define it: ‘just as if you never sinned?  He kept repeating the question and definition.  I was able to hear it over and over and ask myself: do you know this?

I have heard it before.  I accept it as truth (head) but do I believe it in my heart?  I am mulling it over and pondering.  While I was sitting at church, I prayed: “Father, I know it is true, help my unbelief.”

My transparent moment is I am working on living as if I believe completely that I am justified.  I thank God for his word especially in Romans because these verses made sense as to why I can believe.

Romans 3:24

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 4:2

If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to brag about—but not before God.

Romans 5:1

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 8:30

And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

I pray you are encouraged like I am and use the verses to remind you of God’s marvelous love and grace.

There Is Something Valuable In The Dirt

Starlet Ware Encouragement and Prayerdirt dont hurt

In Genesis 2:7, it is written: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  Everything else in creation was spoken into existence.  We were formed, touched by God’s own hands and brought into existence and he ‘breathed’ life into us.

From the beginning of time, God had a plan for dirt.  How amazing.  He saw the value in the dirt for me and you.  Isn’t that an ego boost?  It is for me.  Wow!  Never take that lightly.  You are worthy, special, somebody!  You were thought of, brought about, valued and wanted.  Hallelujah and thank you God!

The situation that brought the value in dirt to mind went this way: A friend was looking for a deep freezer. I had one in my basement. I offered it to him. His dad, a friend and he came to pick it up. Once it was removed, I was sweeping the area and my eye caught a wonderful sight, my long ago lost earring my husband had given me one year for my birthday. I picked up the earring. It was broken. I kept sweeping as I looked for the other piece. It was there shining up at me. I picked it up and placed it in my pocket. I was so excited. I put the two pieces back together and will drop it at the jewelers to look them over as my husband purchased insurance on them. The lesson that came to mind was: “there is something valuable in the dirt.”

“Just because we were formed from dirt, doesn’t mean we were created to be walked on. ‘Shine’ on loved one so your value is seen and felt.”

 

My Son

Starlet Ware Encouragement and PrayerNovember 2014 Downloads 041

I believe God gave me the absolutely best Son ever!  He has always been very independent, sensitive, stubborn, flexible, quiet, smart and good humored.  There were times when he was younger that I felt like I was getting it all wrong due to words that were spoken to me.  I let those words crush me until a school teacher spoke encouraging words to me that canceled out the previous negative words.  I thank God I love to learn and apply what I learn.  I also tell everyone what I learn.  I believe my Brandon listens and applies what he learns as well.

My Brandon isn’t perfect, but he is perfect for our family.  I love him so much.  Sometimes I don’t believe I was so blessed to be his mom.  He is a college student studying Culinary Science.  He is such a studious young man.  He rooms with 3 other guys and he is the ‘mature’ one.  I have to giggle when he tells me about some of the things that bother him because they are the things that drove me up the wall when he was home.  I am so proud to say this 21 year old MAN has been doing his own laundry, cooking for himself and cleaning up after himself for many years.  Hallelujah!

For a few years, my Brandon didn’t like his mother or at least that is how it felt.  I chalk that up to him searching for his way in the world.  I kept talking to him and most of the time, he listened respectfully.  He was in charge of checking our mail while we were on our cruise.  When he came over after we returned, he stayed and chatted with me about school, his graduation date, finances and his current classes.  I enjoyed our conversation very much.

My sweet, little boy is now a handsome, grown man!

God gave me his very best!  What else would he give since He “gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.

He Is Just That Into You

Katrina Hunter Set Free (Hannah’s Corner)rachel and leah

I truly had a Leah mentality.

Leah, in the Bible, was the sister of Rachel. According to Genesis 29:17, “Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful.” There are a few interpretations as to what weak eyes were supposed to mean with regards to Leah, but nevertheless – it doesn’t appear to be a compliment when compared to Rachel’s description.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been compared to someone, and perhaps the comparison was not in your favor?

If so, you could probably relate to Leah.

Jacob was so in love with Rachel that he told her father, Laban, that he would work seven years for him in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage. When they passed, he consummated his relationship with Laban’s daughter – but to Jacob’s surprise, it was not Rachel! He had been deceived and had in fact, married Leah-the one with weak eyes.

Eventually, Jacob would marry Rachel but can you imagine how hard that must have been for Leah? Knowing that she was not the one Jacob really wanted, but yet she is married to this man? Could Leah ever do anything to gain his love? Well, she certainly tried.

“When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now” (Genesis 29:31).

Leah kept conceiving children and interestingly enough, she had similar responses after the birth of her children:

  • “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.”
  • “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have born him three sons.”
  • “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor because I have borne him six sons.”

How many times have you ever felt like that? Trying to justify someone’s love for you by what you give them? There you are, counting all of what you did for them, yet still not gaining their love?

Maybe you felt like Leah and you have said:

“This time they’ll love me…This time they’ll become attached to me…

This time they’ll honor me…”

In previous relationships (most of them not God-honoring), I thought that what I brought to the table would be enough to keep them loving/liking me or showing interest in me and it never was. I tried so hard to overcompensate for what I didn’t bring to the table that I offered everything (and I do mean everything) to make up for what I thought I lacked. I felt that I wasn’t valuable or interesting. People came into my life and went and I thought it was because I wasn’t good enough.

But even when others are not that into you – GOD IS. He also knows how to send those Godly, special surprises when we aren’t trying to force them.

When I was going through another this “What’s wrong with me?” phase, people that I admired soooo much and that I thought were so special in their own right, began to come to me just wanting to hang out and be around me.  In fact, I at one point, I actually nicknamed one of them my “Beautiful Surprise.” On the outside when people would approach me about hanging out or needing help, I was like, “Oh, sure! Anytime!” But on the inside, I was a nervous wreck going, “Oh, God. Why me? These people are so special and wonderful. Of all people, they ask ME?! Why does this person want to be around me and what do they see?” On and on I went. Finally, the Lord, in His own special way to me said:

“They see plenty in you and I don’t make no junk.”

At the right time when we aren’t trying to be Leah’s and force our beauty/worth on someone, we can be found.

We can be found so special by the people we least expect when we least expect it.

Beloved, never doubt how much GOD IS INTO YOU. He works through people and He will send the right people at the right time.

God IS JUST THAT INTO YOU.  No more being a Leah. No more, “This time he’ll love me.”

Because guess what?

HE ALREADY DOES AND ALWAYS HAS!

Dream Trip

Starlet WareDSC_0077 Encouragement and Prayer

My husband and I will celebrate eight years of marriage next month.  I have talked about some of the struggles we’ve had but today will all be about how he cares for me.  Feel free to use this example to tell about your loved one or better yet, tell your loved one how you appreciate him/her.

“A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

As I mentioned last week, my George and I went on our very first flight and Dream Trip cruise together.  George and I arrived in Long Beach and got through all the security to board the ship.  Once on the ship, we had a great lunch and headed to our room.

The much needed time away and together with my George (five days and four nights) was truly a blessing.  We talked, laughed, relaxed, ate plenty, met new people and experienced a few firsts while on both Catalina Island and Ensenada.  I highly recommend getting away from home, phones, and internet.

While at Catalina Island Port of call, my George and I strolled while talking and holding hands.  We joined another couple in renting a golf cart so we could cover more ground faster. George drove the cart and we saw the scenes of Catalina. He is such a stud.  My chest expanded with pride of my dearest.

Oh, what a wonderful and fun day full of activities. We had the opportunity to experience zip lining, horseback riding, and visiting their famous “blow-hole” marine geyser – we had a blast!

We made a promise to each other not to wait eight years to go on our next trip together.

“Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth.”  Proverbs 5:18

This ‘youthful’ wife felt the love from her husband.

Heavenly Father, I come before you praying for the reader.  I pray you allow them to create an experience for their loved one and/or for themselves to show love and to release stress in a way that fits their lifestyle.  I thank you for their creativity you give them and as they are thinking of ways to have fun, let them smile with anticipation of the event(s).  Give them resources to bring their hearts’ desire to come to fruition.  You are awesome God!  I thank you for loving each reader, columnist and their families better than we can.  Thank yo for sending Jesus to give life and that more abundantly.  Let us allow you to love through us.  In Jesus name.  Amen

See You at the Pole 2014

lilbynumsseeyouatthepole2014“See You at the Pole” is an annual day of global student prayer. It’s where children in schools worldwide come together at the flagpole and pray usually about an hour before school starts. Hands down it is one of the most powerful teen movements I’ve encountered that’s student lead.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this worldwide event but as Christians and especially as parents, guardians, or loved ones of a student, you MUST get involved and support. If you can’t be at the poles at the designated time/date of the event, at least be in prayer at that time. We are quick to talk about this generation of children when they do something bad, instead let’s talk about it even more so, (not only) when they do something good but when they do something godly.

Today was the first time my husband, our youngest son, and I were able to participate in SYATP, however, our older two have been doing it for a few years now. God used our children to teach us, the parents, a valuable lesson and we’ve vowed to be involved with *See You at the Pole* from this day forward.seeyouatthepole2014lilbynums

Our youngest son shared with our entire family, his desire to participate in See You at the Pole. However, as he continued to talk about it, his body language and facial expressions conveyed something contrary to what he was saying. Initially, my husband and I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on with him. Finally, we began to ask him questions:

Husband and I: Son, are you okay?

Youngest Son: Yes, I’m okay.

Husband and I: Are you sure you want to be involved?

Youngest Son: Yes, I really want to do it…(his head dropped down).

Husband and I: What’s wrong? Is anything stopping you from wanting to do it?

Youngest Son: Well, it’s just that, I mean, I want to do See You at the Pole and pray at my school, but I’m afraid to do it.

Husband and I: Why are you afraid? You are great at praying! The best eleven year old prayer warrior we’ve seen!

Youngest Son: I’m afraid because may get into trouble. We are not allowed to pray at school. Plus, I’ll be the only one at the flagpole.

Next, before my husband and I could answer, our two other children chimed in on the conversation.

Older Son and Daughter: You won’t be alone baby brother. We’re coming with you. If you get in trouble, we’ll all get in trouble.

There were several lessons learned from this incident:

  • we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us
  • where two or three are gathered together in my name I will be in the midst of them
  • stand strong in the Lord and in the power of His might
  • without faith it is impossible to please God
  • love the Lord your God with all your heart
  • lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path

I could go on and on. God is constantly watching over His word to perform it. He is definitely a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I am truly grateful for orchestrated opportunities created by the Lord to instill godly wisdom from unorthodox methods – all for my/our benefit.

May we all unapologetically have faith in Him, until the day we see His face.

In The Wait of God

terryonepilepsy“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Bynum but your son has epilepsy.”

I knew something strange was going on with my son. He would have these moments of “spacing out” and unresponsiveness and when he came out of it he wouldn’t remember anything. Initially no one noticed but me because I spent the most time with him. I asked my husband about it and at first he hadn’t noticed and then one day he observed this strange behavior himself. We shared our concerns with a few family members and some of the responses were unbelievable, “he’s just being a boy,” “he’s ignoring you,” “boys just don’t listen,” “you’re overreacting,” etc. No matter what they said there was a nagging in my soul that wouldn’t rest, I knew something was wrong and I began to pray. My husband and I both began to watch and pray…and wait.

Can I be honest with you? I am not a patient person. I hate waiting. Unfortunately, the world we live in today completely caters to my inability to wait. Inevitably, there are times in life that waiting is the only option available. Like it or not.

The situation (my family and) I encountered with my sons’ epileptic diagnosis forced me to learn firsthand what it means to be “in the wait of God” and it has given me a different perspective on the subject.

First, let me point out the fact that God is a timeless God. He does not operate within the restraints of time. He is not restricted by time. He is the creator of time and therefore He is not subject to it. Unlike His creation, we are bound by its laws and obligated to function within its realms.

Now, let’s define the word wait. Wait has a several definitions. We will discuss three.

WAIT:  1. to remain inactive or in a state of repose, until something expected happens

2. to be available or in readiness

3. to remain neglected for a time

Definition number three jumped out to me because when we are waiting on God to respond to our urgent need, we feel neglected until He moves. As long as He is silent we feel forgotten about which is amazing because He is omniscient or all knowing. How is it possible for an all knowing Father to abandon His child? It isn’t possible. We know this but yet we struggle with it each time we’re met with a situation that we deem worthy of God’s immediate attention. However, while we’re in the wait of God we fail to realize what is taking place  spiritually. Hope, trust, and faith are simultaneously being strengthened or weakened. Often times the outcome of the situation is the determining factor.

Definition number two gave me pause. When we are unexpectedly thrown into a chaotic situation would we describes ourselves as available or ready while we’re in the wait of God? I don’t know about you, but for me the answer to that question is absolutely not! I’ve not made myself available to God for crying out loud I need God to be available for me. Is that how you feel? I’m neither available nor ready for anything but a quick miraculous solution to my problem.

Finally definition number three is probably the most out of character for me sad to say. I don’t remain still until something expected happens. I beg, I plead, and sometimes even bargain with God in a desperate attempt to spare me from whatever awful situation is looming over me.

I realized that I needed to reevaluate this “in the wait of God” concept.

While we were praying, watching, and waiting our son’s “episodes” were getting worse. Lasting longer and growing more violent. He would have these occurrences without any warning. We called his pediatrician and she got him in immediately and sent him to a pediatric neurologist. Well if you know anything about specialist, it usually takes a while to get an appointment, however our pediatrician voiced the urgency of the situation and God opened a door that allowed us to get in within a week.

We checked in to Children’s Hospital on the day of his testing. (The pediatric neurologist wanted to run tests before she would see him.) It was an all-day process. The nurse initially told us that it would take about a week or two for the results to come and they would call us with more information and set up an appointment at that time if it was necessary. When the tests were complete, the nurse pulled me to the side and said, we’ll be calling you tomorrow morning because the doctor will want to see him tomorrow afternoon.

My heart skipped a few beats and I took a deep breath.

One of the longest 24 hour periods (my family and) I have had to endure. Praying. Watching. Waiting. Needless to say, sleep escaped me (and my family) that night. The following afternoon we entered the patient’s room at the pediatric neurologist’s office and waited for the news from the doctor.

“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Bynum but your son tested positive for epilepsy.” “However,” she continued, “if I had to have epilepsy, this would be the one I’d choose.” You see, he’ll grow out of this around the time he’s a teenager. He shouldn’t have issues with obtaining a license either. This type of epilepsy is easily controlled by medication. We already know most of his triggers so you’ll know what to avoid. I want to see him every few months unless something changes or he has a seizure. We’ll teach you how to respond if he has a Grand seizure and write out an action plan for the school, babysitters, etc.

It’s been a while since that day at the hospital. It’s been a learning process. It’s been hard at times (especially when he had a Grand seizure because of a high fever), however, even in sickness, God gave us favor…but we had to wait.

More Than Conquerors

morethanconquerorsShe was excited to bring in the New Year with her cousins. It was the first time she had spent a holiday without her mom and although she was a little nervous about it she knew she would have a great time.

They planned their own little New Year’s party with plenty of snacks, sparkling grape juice, streamers, and noise makers to celebrate. They all counted down and cheered loudly at midnight. Loud music, sweets galore, and dancing the night away. She had a blast!

Around 2:00am she fell asleep along with everyone else. But someone was watching her, silently waiting in the background.

Sticky hot breath hovered over her ear and she woke instantly. She felt slimy drops of sweat sink into her cheek, fear paralyzed her.

I was in third grade and he had just graduated high school. My life would never be the same again.

It took years for me to overcome this hurdle in this Christian marathon I call my life. My heart had to be conditioned, just as a runner has to condition her body to physically prepare for the race.

That terrible incident continued to torture me throughout my childhood and followed me into my adult years. Flashes of that night constantly harassed me. Sounds and smells sometimes triggered the unspeakable images of that awful night. Those disgusting memories even pursued me in my sleep and tormented my dreams.

I became tired of being a prisoner of rape. It wasn’t enough that my innocence was brutally stolen from me but now I was being held captive by it and reliving it over and over again. I sought help from the only one who has the power to free me forever – my GOD.

Have you ever read about Tamar? Tamar was King David’s daughter, (David as in David and Goliath). She was raped by her stepbrother (King David’s son) – read 2 Samuel 13. She had a story similar to my story, someone in her family, someone she loved and trusted betrayed her with such disgrace.

In 2 Samuel 13:20 the verse ends by saying that Tamar lived in her brother’s house, a desolate woman. A desolate woman! She was a princess for crying out loud and she lived the rest of her days hiding out in her brother’s house a desolate woman?!

I determined in my heart that I would conquer rape and rape would NOT conquer me. The Bible agrees in Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Because of Christ’s love and because He already conquered the world, He made us MORE than conquerors! You are MORE than a conqueror!

Let’s pray…

Lord, King of kings, I thank you for everything you are doing in my life. I am forever grateful for the life of your son Jesus Christ. You are all powerful o mighty God! I ask that you strengthen me today. Free me from this prison. I know that situation was not my fault. Guilt is a trick from the enemy. It is not Your will for me to be a desolate woman. You are my Father, my King, which makes me your daughter, the princess, more than a conqueror. Thank you for revealing to me that I am more than a conqueror. From this day forward I will no long live like a prisoner but like a princess, who has been freed and because of the love of my Lord I am able to be more than a conqueror. I love you forever and always. Amen.

New School Prayer

It has been stated that this poem was written by a fifteen year old and I read someplace else that the student was twelve years old. I also read the writer of this poem has always been anonymous. Therefore I can’t give proper credit and thanks to the person who penned the words of this powerful poem. Without further ado…

NEW SCHOOL PRAYER

Now I lay me down in school

Where praying is against the rule

For this great nation under God

Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,

It violates the Bill of Rights.

And anytime my head I bow

Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange, or green,

That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene…

The law is specific, the law is precise.

Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall

Might offend someone with no faith at all…

In silence alone we must meditate,

God’s name is prohibited by the state.

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,

and pierce our noses, tongues, and cheeks…

They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.

To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,

And the ‘unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.

It’s ‘inappropriate’ to teach right from wrong,

We’re taught that such ‘judgements’ do not belong…

We can get our condoms and birth controls,

Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.

But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,

No word of God must reach this crowd.

It’s scary here I must confess,

When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.

So, Lord, this silent plea I make:

Should I be shot; My soul please take!

Amen

White Flag – I Surrender

Heavenly Father, I’m holding up my flag, I surrender. I’m truly convinced that your ways are better, I’m not on the fence. You set captive souls free, you forgive my sins, you died for me. I’ve been captured by your love, I’ve been captured by your grace, I’ve been covered by your blood. I was wrong but now I’m right. You hold me down, Jesus here’s my white flag I surrender right now.

I’m set free, you’re such a sweet Savior. I found real love, and you’re my real love, I’m not going to escape but I’m going to stay, I’m captured now, but so set free, I finally know where I’m supposed to be. I raise my hands, I get on my knees, there is nothing like the day you captured me, Lord. There is no one greater, I don’t need another savior. I open up my heart to you . I believe that you, raised your son from the dead, with all power in his hands. I know that if I should run away, then you’ll pursue me with love and grace. You have a plan to love me forever and though I mess up over and over, all I want to do is please you.

Jesus please forgive me and every sin I’ve committed and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior, personal best friend, my 1st love. Here’s my white flag because I surrender. Take control from this moment on and be the anchor to my ship. Jesus, here’s my white flag, I surrender. Amen.

White Flag-I Surrender/Sinner’s Prayer (remix) ~by T (age 16)

Power In Purity

The pornography epidemic is spreading like cancer on steroids. This plague is not confined by boundaries because it has touched many nations. It is not restricted by resources because there are outbreaks in every economic level from the ghettos of the cities, the condos of the suburbs, to the mansions along the shores. It is not limited by race because people of every shade can become its victims.

Each second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. The pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix, and EarthLink.

90% of children ages 8-16 years old admit to having viewed pornography online.

47% of Christians said that pornography is a major problem at home.

Like a drug, this addiction renders its victims helpless, destroying lives everywhere.

There is nothing sugar-coated or sweet about the damaging results of pornography and yielding to sexual temptation. Enticing images are constantly displayed on television, magazines, and on the Internet. Seductive visions are implanted in the minds of many by almost every form of technology known to mankind. In times past, “sex sells” was a term used figuratively, but now it has taken on a literal sense, and unfortunately, business is booming.

So how can we defend ourselves against the power of porn? With the power of purity of course.

Fight power with power. The power of porn is great but the power of God is the greatest. The only defense we have against the addiction of pornography and all sexual impurity is through God. We must arm ourselves with the word of God. Put on the entire armor of God. Making sure you have your loins girt about with truth, with breastplate of righteousness guarding your heart. Protect your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Next, take the shield of faith, that you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Finally, take with you, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray without ceasing. To pray without ceasing doesn’t mean praying non-stop 24 hours per day. It means to pray in addition to the morning and bedtime prayers you pray. It means that quick silent prayer you pray when you don’t have time for eloquent words and the prayer poise. Prayers like, “Lord, help me,” “Jesus, I need you now,” or “God, I can’t do this alone.” These are what I like to call “rescue me” prayers, like the one Peter prayed when he began to sink on the water after Jesus called for Peter to join him.

Guard your spirit. Your eyes, ears, and nose are all portals to your soul. It’s easier to prevent junk from entering the portals to your soul than it is to get the junk out after it has entered. You’ve heard of preventative maintenance right? It’s the same concept. Prevent yourself from allowing sexually impure images, conversations, thoughts, etc. to enter your spirit. This means movies, books, songs, etc. will have some type of affect on you, if it provokes sexual arousal on any level, no matter how small, it’s probably not good for you spiritually. Be sensitive to your spirit and the Spirit of God too. It may not scream warnings to you, it may whisper them, be on alert.

Can I pray for you, your loved one or friend who maybe struggling in this area? Father in heaven, we glorify you and praise you! You are so awesome! I am interceding on my friend’s behalf because I know what it’s like to struggle. Please strengthen them, shower them with your love and mercy. Assure them that with you, anything is possible. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Resources:

The Bible, New Living Translation Ephesians 6: 13-17

Something Else:

Dream BIG. Pray Hard. Expect God.