"If only I had...."

Several years ago I had the opportunity to work with a food ministry for immigrants. Each Friday before everyone would come to get their groceries, all of the volunteers would gather together for a time of preparing the bags. Each grocery bag contained a fruit, vegetable, grain, and other item. Though there were not enough supplies to make all of the bags exactly equal, we tried our best to make each bag similar to the others. For example, if there were not enough bags of rice, we added another box of pasta. If we ran out of cereal, we added another similar item. Once we finished preparing all of the grocery bags, we gathered together to pray. Hundreds of patient immigrants then entered the church, fifteen at a time, to receive their bag.
My role in the ministry was to be the greeter. When people entered, I then gave them information about the church, asked if there were any questions, and then asked if they wanted prayer or a Bible. They then received their bags and exited out of the church. One particular Friday, I noticed that people kept looking in the grocery bags of others. They looked in their bags, skimmed its contents, and then looked in the bags of their neighbors. The replies became, “She got rice. I didn’t get rice. Can I have rice?” or “I don’t want apples. Can I have oranges?” After working all afternoon and hearing the same questions, I became very frustrated. I thought, “Why can’t you be thankful for what you have?” As soon as that thought entered my mind, it was like the Holy Spirit said, “Kathy, why can’t you be thankful for what you have?”
So often, instead of being thankful for the blessings that the Lord has given me, I look to the “bags” of others. I wonder, “Lord why can’t I have ____________ like she does?” Why does _______________ happen to him or her and not me?” The Lord responds ever patiently, “Why can’t you be thankful for what you have?” Lack of contentment often comes in the form of “if only…” If only I had _________________, then I would be happy. Paul notes in Philippians that contentment is not something that is instantaneous— it is a process. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13, ESV, emphasis mine). Paul learned that the source of contentment was Christ—not his circumstances. Christ is also our Source. The next time that we are tempted to look at others or say Lord, if only I had _______________, we should realize that the source of our ultimate contentment is also found in Christ.

Kathy King grew up in Oxford, Mississippi. After college, she served as a Journeyman in Madrid, Spain. Currently, Kathy is a student at Southeastern pursing her M. DIV in Christian Ministries and M.A. in Biblical Counseling. She is a counseling intern for the Women’s Life Office and a member of the Summit Church. Eventually, Kathy would like to do Member Care for missionaries on the field. Her hobbies include running, photography, writing, and being outside.

Stephanie Mills Shares on Contentment

Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup.  You have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.  Surely I have a delightful inheritance.  Psalm 16.5-6

God has changed and molded my heart into one that’s content.  And no one is more surprised than me – because I know me.  Not the type to naturally lean toward contentment and, yet, through His grace, contentment has become my default. When we were asked to write about contentment during March, I contemplated what He’s patiently taught me.              

Early on, He put women in my path who taught me the value of meditating on scripture and using its truths as the basis for my prayers.  As I meditate on scripture, its truths shape how I choose to view my world.  And, in a way I can’t completely explain, God supernaturally works to increase my faith when I go through the day affirming His Word aloud.              
As I meditated on Psalm 16, I began to grasp that HE had assigned ALL that’s in my life.  That rocked my world.  Completely.  Forever.  I believed my God was all-powerful and all-knowing; I also believed He was all-good and all-loving.  With Psalm 16, I began to believe all the ‘pleasant’ I need, all the ‘delightful’ I need, all the ‘secure’ I need – HE is providing.  My omnipotent, omniscient, good, loving God has given me the exact ‘portion and cup’ He knows is best for me.  Therefore, I can be content with what He ‘assigns’ in my life…possessions, people, health, ministry…everything.  It’s really not an exaggeration to say I affirm these verses aloud at some point most every day.  They are a powerful reminder of God’s truth in my life.     

And, then, there’s the practical.  God has called me to be content with the finances He’s assigned me.  So, I avoid recreational shopping.  Like the plague.  I don’t show up at the mall without a specific, carefully considered purpose.  Or go just to browse at Target or Wal-Mart…or even Dollar Store.  I’ve learned not to peruse websites looking at bargains I don’t really need.  And I have to limit looking at those granite counters and hardwoods on HGTV!  It’s the same reason I don’t keep chocolate in the house…out of sight, out of mind J

Another practical aspect is cultivating an attitude of thankfulness.  In every circumstance of life, I can choose to find the blessing – notice the word ‘choose’. Thankfulness is a choice. I learned much from my elderly neighbor; despite what most of us would consider a challenging life, Cecil was consistently happy.  In conversation, she often mentioned specific blessings in her life, always ending her sentence with ‘it’s a lot to be thankful for’.  And she meant it.  Cecil radiated Jesus.                

Godliness with contentment is great gain.  1 Timothy 6.6   

Stephanie Mills loves being married to Richard. And mornings that start with a mug of coffee & an open Bible.  And, now that the kids are grown, exploring the world…often in hiking boots with a tent. Richard planted Faith Baptist in Youngsville, and it was amazing to raise PKs in a place where the whole family got to join God at work and see lives changed. She thinks it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Family Life, taught by Dr. Akin

Dr. Akin will be teaching a Biblical Women's Institute course that is not only for you, but also for your husbands! Family Life is a course will help students understand Biblical standards for marriage and how to apply these standards in their own marriage and family life.  Family Life is April 1-2, 2011.  It is only $10 per couple!  

This class is open to students as well as non students at the seminary and BWI.  Ladies, you MUST register for the class through the Biblical Women's Institute.   

If you have not registered for this class there is still room.  Please contact the Women's Life Office at 761-2340 or womenslife@sebts.edu.  

Don't miss out on this great opportunity to hear one on one from Dr. Akin on how to build a Gospel centered marriage and family! 
Eleven years ago, my husband Scott and I took our children Rachel (then 5 yrs. old) and Jacob (3yrs. old) overseas to minister to the refugees and immigrants in Berlin, Germany. We spent the year before this move doing paperwork, praying about specific jobs, resigning a rural pastorate in South Alabama, selling most of our possessions, and saying goodbye to family and friends. Usually when we talked about our upcoming move everyone brought up our “leaving so many good things behind.” Most people were proud of our decision and commitment but were also troubled to think about our leaving family and friends and all of the luxuries of living in America
            Once overseas, we were rudely introduced to the reality of living in another country and culture.  Everything was new and unfamiliar. Learning how to speak another language and function in another society was a challenge like no other I had ever experienced. On more than one occasion, I was reminded of a saying my mother in law repeated often: “Bloom where you are planted.” That saying got me thinking about who had brought me to that place and why I was there. God had called, and I had committed myself to him and his care. God also reminded me of Paul’s expression of contentment in Phil. 4:11: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”
            I am not comparing myself to Paul or my experiences to his, but this verse is a good reminder of  the providence of God in  the lives of  His children. As a child of God, I had to realize that God loves me and wants only the best for me. For this reason, I could rest and have confidence in him, no matter what circumstances of life He chose for me. I was free to live for Christ regardless of what or who I had left behind and could truly learn to be content in this new lifestyle.
            After six years of life and service in Berlin, we uprooted our family again to follow Christ to another country. We went very willingly and enthusiastically but still had to deal with the inevitable: meeting new friends, learning yet another language, and adapting to another culture. This transition was much smoother than the first, but there were still plenty frustration, difficulty, and loneliness. The Lord was gracious; he blessed us with many new friends and gave us such a love for our new place and people that we learned once again to be content in our circumstances. Yes, we still missed our family and friends back in America and there would always be things, or food, that we would miss from our home country, but we were able to learn contentment as we rested in God’s plan. After a year and a half, we felt led into a new adventure. This calling brought us back to the US and led us to Southeastern Seminary.
            Believe it or not, our move back to the United States was every bit as challenging as any of our other moves. Yes, we knew the language and understood the culture, but we were not the same family. Our experiences and the lessons we the Lord had taught us had changed the way we looked at the world. Also, we had fallen in love with the countries and people we had ministered among. I felt that I had very little in common with my American friends, often I found myself longing to be back overseas and I missed my friends terribly. It was difficult to find a job and I struggled to help my children adjust to American schools, they changed schools three times in the first year and a half.  With all of the changes, I found myself back in that familiar place, striving to find contentment in my current circumstances of life. As with each move before, I was reminded that God had led us to this place and He would continue to provide, guide, and direct us daily. I continue to be amazed at His many blessings. I can be confident that He loves me and wants only the best for me and my family; allowing me to trust and obey in every phase and circumstance of life. With Paul I continue to say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

Lesley is married to Scott, and they have two children, Rachel and Jacob.  Scott Hildreth is is currently serving as the Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies at Southeastern and working on his PhD in Theology.  Lesley teaches Preparing for Missions each Fall for the Biblical Women's Institute. In her spare time she loves spend time with people, read and be outdoors.  Lesley has a strong heart for the nations  and desires to see people come to Christ.

Do you have a heart for serving and planning events for women?  

Become a Team Member of the Connecting Point Ministry Team and you will have the chance to plan events throughout the school year for the women of SEBTS.  Connecting Point Ministry Team Applications for the 2011-2012 year are now available in the Women's Life Office. Applications are due April 8th and interviews will be held the week of April 11th - 14th. 

 Open to college and seminary female students and wives of students.

Pick up your Application at the Women's Life Office!  
You can also pick up your application at Get Cooking, next Monday, March 21st at 7 pm in Ledford. 

For more information please email womenslife@sebts.edu.  
Are you registered yet for Get Cooking???  Get Cooking is March 21st at 7 pm in Ledford.  You can enter your favorite dish in the appetizer, entree or dessert category, and possibly win a gift certificate!  Even if you don't register to participate by cooking we need you to come and EAT and taste test all of the dishes and vote for the best in each category. 

To enter a dish contact the Women's Life Office and let us know what you will cooking.  womenslife@sebts.edu or 761-2340

There's a catch though....each category has to have a specific ingredient in the dish.  
Appetizer must in cheese.
Entree must include chicken.
Dessert must include chocolate.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office.  

FREE Childcare is available but MUST RSVP by March 18th at 4:00 pm. 

Give Life for Lent

Hey Ladies!  Hope you are all having a wonderful week so far.  I wanted to share with you something that is really, really cool.  On the site Girls Gone Wise they are launching a new project with She is Safe (SIS).  This project is in conjunction with observing Lent.

Traditionally, throughout the history of Christianity, Lent has been a time to prepare our hearts to observe Christ’s death, burial and resurrection at Easter. But, what if this year, Lent did more than ever before?

What if this year, Lent remains a season of personal reflection, and also connects you to God’s heart for the hurting?

What if this year, Lent was about both individual spiritual growth and global outreach?

What if this year, for the next 6 weeks (March 9 -April 24), you committed to give life to the world’s most vulnerable human beings?

Around the world, women and girls make up 80% of those trafficked, 70% of illiterates and 70% of the impoverished. We know that religion God sees as pure and faultless involves reaching out to orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27). This year, I am inviting you to join me in giving life to the oppressed for Lent. A gift of $180 to She Is Safe provides exactly what she needs for a whole new life!

I know that $180 seems like A LOT of money, especially for seminary students and families, but maybe you could team up with your small group or some friends to reach the goal of $180.  This is definitely feasible.   

A Real Story
Her sewing machine was sinking, the rain-soaked mud floor lapping at the legs of the heavy iron sewing machine. Undaunted by her muddy surroundings, the seamstress beamed while showing off her beautiful embroidery.
The seamstress, Ayuru, is just one of over 4.9 million Sudanese people run out of their homes by war. Escaping with her life, this illiterate widow and her 8 children ended up in a camp living in a home constructed of mud and sticks, where raw sewage flows freely from hut to hut during rainy season.
Yet in this desolate situation, Ayuru has hope. She was given the priceless opportunity to learn sewing at the Women’s Center run by Sudanese believers, funded by She Is Safe. Now Ayuru earns $200 a month with her sewing machine, paying for her oldest son to attend the university and the younger children to go to school.  ”Because of Jesus, I have hope,” she smiles. “And because of his people, I have the skills to provide a future for my family.

How It Works
Step 1: Choose to give up something – for the next 6 weeks – worth about $30 a week.

Step 2: Donate the saved $$ to transform the life of an exploited and abused girl through She Is Safe.

Step 3: Pray for safety and survival supplies of the women and children living in the camps and settlements in war-ravaged areas of Sudan.

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5
For the month of March we are going to be discussing contentment here on Walking Worthy.  This is an issue that all women face - whether you are in college, seminary, out of school, single, married... we could go on and on.  Why is being content so hard?  How do we live a life that reveals an attitude of contentment?  When we are in a content phase of life how do we stay content?  These are all questions that we are going to be discussing this month.  So buckle your seat belts because we are all about to learn a lot together about contentment.  It is our prayer that you will be challenged and encouraged by learning more about this issue. 

Below is a great article from Focus on the Family about Contentment. 

One of the great mysteries of Christianity is contentment. At least one must presume it is a mystery, because so few people live it. Yet contentment is not something that's found; it is an attitude.


There are many people who seemingly have little or no regard for material possessions. They accept poverty as a normal living condition, and their major concern is where they will sleep that night or eat that day. In contrast are the affluent, who have the best our society has to offer at their disposal. Their houses, summer cottages, winter chalets, and automobiles are the envy of the community. Does either scenario bring contentment? No!

If money can't buy contentment and poverty doesn't provide it, what is contentment and how is it attained? Contentment, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean being satisfied where you are. Rather, it is knowing God's plan for your life, having a conviction to live it, and believing that God's peace is greater than the world's problems.

So often Christians get so involved in the day-to-day activities of earning a living and raising a family that they forget their real purpose in life: to serve God. They discover that their lives are out of balance and don't know how to bring them back into balance. So, they buy more things or get rid of things in order to bring back the balance. However, nothing seems to work.

Christians get trapped into a discontented life by adopting worldly goals: more, bigger, and best. The Bible identifies these as indulgence, greed, and pride. For a while after accepting Christ as Savior, there is a peace and a real willingness and desire to commit everything to God. After a while there is a tendency to fall back into the same old routine of desiring and getting more, rationalizing that somehow it is "serving the Lord." The evidence to the contrary is a lack of peace, a lack of spiritual growth, and a growing doubt about God's ability to provide.

In today's society it's not normal to step down. Once a certain level of income, spending, and lifestyle is attained, most will go into debt in order to maintain that level. Stepping down to an affordable level is considered failure. Yet, contentment can't be achieved without personal discipline and staying within the lifestyle parameters God has established, based on His provision (Luke 12:15; 16:13-14).

In poverty, the issue is usually black and white—you either have it or you don't. In affluence, the deception is much more subtle, because anxieties and worries are not usually related to the lack of things but rather the loss of things. In essence, most affluent Christians fear they might lose the material things they have acquired. Unless they are so detached from the goods that they must be willing to lose them they won't find real contentment. That does not necessarily mean that they have to surrender all of their material possessions. It means being willing to do so.

God's plan for contentment

Although many Scriptures teach about the dangers of material riches, God's Word does not teach that poverty is God's alternative. God wants us to understand that money is a tool to use in accomplishing His plan through us. If we are to find true contentment we must establish some basic guidelines.
  1. Establish a reasonable standard of living. It is important to develop a lifestyle based on conviction, not circumstances. God will assign Christians at every economic level. On whatever level He has placed you, live within the economic parameters established and supplied by Him. Just having abundance is not a sign of God's blessings. Satan can easily duplicate any worldly riches. God's abundance is without sorrow and is for the purpose of bringing others to Christ.
  2. Establish a habit of giving. Along with the tithe, God desires that every Christian provide for the needs of others through the giving of offerings, gifts, and personal involvement.
  3. Establish priorities. Many Christians are discontented—not because they aren't doing well but because others are doing better. Too often Christians look at what they don't have and become dissatisfied and discontented, rather than thanking God for what they do have and being content with what He has supplied.
  4. Develop a thankful attitude. It is remarkable that in America we could ever think that God has failed us materially. That attitude is possible only when we allow Satan to convince us to compare ourselves to others. The primary defense against this attitude is praise to God. Satan uses lavishness and waste to create discontent and selfish ambition. Thankfulness is a state of mind, not an accumulation of assets. Until Christians can truly thank God for what they have and be willing to accept God's provision, contentment will never be possible.
  5. Reject a fearful spirit. One of the most effective tools used by Satan against Christians is the question, "What if?" Dedicated Christians get trapped into hoarding because they fear the "What if?" of retirement, disability, unemployment, economic collapse, and so on. Although God wants us to be concerned about these things, when fears dictate to the point that giving to God is hindered, foolish risks are assumed, and worry seems to control every decision, contentment is impossible.
  6. Seek God's will. "More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
  7. Stand up to fear. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
  8. Trust God's promise. "The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
Contentment is so far removed from many Christians that it seems that they will never be able to find it or be at peace. However, contentment is not something that must be searched for and found. It is an attitude of the heart. Once the attitude has been modified and all has been transferred to God, contentment will be evident.

Get Cooking!

Are you the next Paula Dean or Rachel Ray?  Maybe even the next Giada or woman version of Bobby Flay?   Well, you have a chance to showcase your cooking skills at Connecting Point's next event Get Cooking on March 21st!

This fun event will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your cooking abilities in a fun an unique way.  You can bring an appetizer, entrée or dessert to share while participating in a friendly competition. 

A gift certificate will be given to the person with the “best dish” from each category AND an additional prize will be given to the woman with the “best decorated table”.  

The run down:

Who: any student, spouse of a student, faculty, staff and spouses of faculty and staff can participate

What: You will need to supply decorations for your table that match the theme of your food, serving utensils, enough food for at least 8 people, and your recipe (including the ingredients and instructions).  **Your recipe will need to be emailed to womenslife@sebts.edu by Friday, March 18th to be printed and copied.

We will supply one table and chair, white table cloth, small serving cups and spoons, plain white napkins, water and an electrical outlet (if needed).

When: The event will take place Monday, March 21st at 7 pm.  You will be able to set up in the Ledford Center Monday between 6:00 – 6:45 pm.

Rules: Each participant will choose to make a dish from one of the following options.
-         Appetizer -  must include CHEESE
-         Entrée – must include CHICKEN
-         Dessert – must include CHOCOLATE
**make sure you specify your ingredient

If you have any questions as always feel free to contact me!  I look forward to eating your yummy food! 

To participate RSVP to Women's Life Office by March 14th! 
womenslife@sebts.edu or (919) 761-2340