Serving Others | I AM Love

I AM Love In the transitions from day to day, even moment to moment, season to season, & study to study, this glorious picture of budding trees bursting with life against the azure backdrop above, my gaze extends even beyond, to the heavens. It’s where my help comes from. How pridefully we can assume that after 20+ years of intensive expositional & experiential bible study, the lessons are for others, not ourselves, like this old terrestrial ball, saturated with spring rains. Ha! As a teacher, I have the most yet to learn! “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

My Dominant Gifts: Teaching & Pastor/Shepherd
My Dominant Gifts: Teaching & Pastor/Shepherd

So, as the teacher, I delegated homework to my students for this month’s lesson, not realizing that The Great I AM had an additional list of life lessons for me. [The next few blog posts will try to extrapolate the vast depth & height of love.] For now, here’s your homework for I AM Love: 1. Memory Verse “Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8 Easy to memorize, a challenge to live! 2. Daily Read & Meditate on the page scriptures. [Get your copy of I AM Powered at Amazon.com] 3. KNOWLEDGE | Read Romans & 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 on Spiritual Gifts. Learn what the gifts are, why we receive them, & how we are to use them (hint, the classic “love” passage from 1Corinthians 13-in its proper context-shows us a better way to serve others. 4. UNDERSTANDING | Take this FREE online Spiritual Gifts Assessment discover your gifts http://gifts.churchgrowth.org/analysis/index.php 5. DISCERNMENT | Research your gifts in the Scriptures, use a Bible Concordance if needed. 6. WISDOM | Pray for opportunities to serve others with your spiritual gifts. We study to BUILD UP ourselves | We serve to BUILD UP the local church/the body of Christ “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Romans 12:4-5 As I As

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50 Shades of Light

Christ & The Church
Christ & The Church

I AM Cherished, our theme for this month, encourages women to know that their true beauty, worth, & value is defined by a personal relationship with Christ. In Song of Songs/Solomon, we learn the thrill of true love and intimacy in this book of erotic Persian-style love poetry between King Solomon &  Queen Sheba. This often overlooked book of the Bible is a metaphor of the dynamic, worshipful relationship between Christ, the Bridegroom & the Church, His Bride.
Do you have a personal relationship with Christ? Has your spiritual life been pacified like a perpetual babe by pampered teaching? Are you ready to be transformed into a WOMAN of excellence in spiritual maturity? One of the homework assignments for our I AM Powered 2nd Tuesday Study is to read & meditate on the book of Song of Songs/Solomon throughout this month and practice a pure marital relationship by scheduling private time to delight in Christ. How would you prepare for a date with your Bridegroom? Spa treatments & fine jewelry? Where would you invite Him to go with you? Chinese takeout & your favourite movie (when the kids are tucked in for the night) or morning coffee with a spectacular view? When we practice intimacy with Christ, it not only deepens our relationship & develops our spiritual maturity, but it also empowers us to lavish our earthly husbands with the same level of preparation and 121 presence!!

Husband & Wife
Husband & Wife

For me, it took a mission trip halfway around the globe to learn this lesson! But then again, as Christ knows each of us intimately already- the very hairs on our head is
counted (He knows about this new silvery streak I just  discovered gracing my
left temple)-and He knows that I have always been a romantic who is dazzled by the exotic. So there I was, surrounded by glittering, colorful Indian saris with the scent of night blooming jasmine in the air, in a country where I was isolated from others by the language divide, and Christ wooed me. As I traveled with a driver and translator to remote rural villages in southeast India, listening to women’s stories, blessing & encouraging them, it was as if by day my bridegroom and I were doing our Father’s family business. But at night, while palm trees swayed under swinging monkeys and mosquitoes ruled their humid domain, I was on a honeymoon with Christ. His Word, by candlelight in this faraway land, was a life
transforming getaway! I would return home to start my walk of ministry-through spiritual maturity-and the birth of our union there, Lydia’s Purse International, conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Maryann & women at worship in southeast India
Maryann & women at worship in southeast India

Yes, true intimacy can be pure & even holy, for holy means “set apart”. We are living in this world, but we are not to be of this world. As women of The Word, are you still being fattened by the milk of nursemaids or are you standing strong on the meat of spiritual maturity, confident in your position as a Queen of The Kingdom & empowered to do the work of a helpmeet to the King of Kings?