One of the most important principles to keep in mind as a kingdom woman is that your life uniquely flows through different seasons. Each of these seasons carries with it different time-restraints, blessings and also demands. To try and do all things without being cognizant of the season you are in is the surest way to lead to burnout, and even bitterness.
The primary foundation of being a kingdom woman doesn’t include a million different things done a million different ways. The primary foundation is actually very simple and straightforward. It is located in the summary statement at the end of Proverbs 31. After listing everything that this particular woman did, we read,
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:30,31)
What sets a kingdom woman apart from any other woman boils down to her fear of God. Her reverence of God determines her actions, thoughts, words and priorities. Without that, the demands and pull of life that come as a natural course of being a woman would be too many to juggle well.
For His Kingdom,
Sometimes I get the impression that when we ask God to bless us, we forget the full definition of a blessing. We forget that God doesn’t want us to be culd-e-sac Christians where all of our blessings end with us. God wants us to be conduit Christians where all of our blessings extend through us to others.
For example, when God blessed Abraham in the Old Testament, we read that He said, “Indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
God said that He was not only going to bring His favor on Abraham but that His favor on Abraham would extend out to be a blessing on others as well. God never designs our blessings to stop with us, but our blessings should always extend to others.
For His Kingdom,
Guest blog by Chrystal Evans Hurst
Today I took my three boys, ages 10, 8, and 4 to Target. The oldest two had money from birthdays and grandma that was burning a hole in their pockets and I had promised them on a previous day when I was extremely tired that I would take them soon. Today was that day.
I opened the door to my mini-van so the three boys could undo their seatbelts and exit the vehicle. Gone are the days of unbuckling them from complicated car seats or placing infant carriers in the front section of the grocery cart.
We proceeded to walk into the store. I pushed no strollers, I had no babies on my hip, and I carried no diaper bag. My boys went up and down the aisles of the toy section. I stayed in the main aisle so I could keep up with all three of them at a glance. I didn’t have to worry about keeping a hand on a toddler at all times.
When it came time to check out, my older boys went up to the counter, goods in hand, and proceeded to count out their money and pay the cashier. After taking the four year old to get some water at the fountain, I turned and stood to wait for his brothers to finish their purchases. Apparently, I’m also passed the time of having hollering babies in the cart while I struggle to pay at the register.
The time is gone.
But while I can still reminisce over their baby smells and their tiny toes, I’m not super sad about watching my boys grow up. A wise “Kingdom woman” told me long ago to savor every season. And I did. Not perfectly of course, but I did make some memories cuddling, reading stories, and letting them soak in the tub until their fingers and toes were all wrinkled. And I look forward to savoring the season of watching these three boys turn into young men.
I’ve had other seasons too. Seasons of being single. Seasons of working crazy hours in the corporate world. Seasons of marriage with a traveling husband. Seasons of homeschooling. Seasons of sickness. Seasons of baking bread and seasons of eating out way too much.
And all of the seasons are good.
Each season in its own right can be enjoyed, can be valued, and can share a lesson to be learned and carried forward into the season that comes after. But it’s up to me to savor the season I’m in – while I’m walking through it.
One day I will look back on my three boys just like I look back on days gone by with my two daughters, now ages 21 and 17. I’ve learned that every season is worth my presence and that every season doesn’t last forever. The days are long but the years are short. Make the most of today. Make the most of your season.
Can I encourage you today to savor your season? While you may adore your season, it will end. You may abhor your season. It will end too. However, the joys and pains will each make you a better person if you will allow them. The good and the bad can work together to make you a woman well-fitted for the King. Our God lets nothing go to waste. He uses everything for our good and for His glory.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. He has made everything beautiful in its time…. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 11(ESV)
Guest Blog by Chrystal Evans Hurst
Tonight I went with my sister Priscilla Shirer to the movies to see Superman. I’d heard that it was a good movie to go to and my movie-critic friends were right. I really enjoyed it. For the better part of two hours, I watched superman grow from an infant to a fully-grown, pretty-decent-looking guy and then defeat the bad guys in some pretty heavy-duty action packed scenes.
The movie was amazing. The cinematography was excellent and there were some camera techniques that caught me by surprise. The battles were spectacular and I can’t imagine how much money it must have cost to blow that much stuff up. Superman was amazing. He was strong, courageous, and committed to fighting for the good in mankind. He got the bad guy, got the girl, and got an extra dose of confidence in who he was and what he was supposed to do with his life. The plot ran deep. I could be wrong but seems to me that there were some spiritual undertones. I must have tweeted quotes from the movie at least four or five times.
And then I walked out of the theater. The whole experience was entertainment. It wasn’t real. It was a story built up to sensationally keep my eyes glued to the screen and my attention on whatever impressions the directors and producers wanted to leave me with.
The ideal woman – Superwoman – is on display in movies too. But not just in movies… she also shows up in magazines, on T.V., on Pinterest, and definitely on Facebook. The screenshots are immaculate, capturing the best of the day in the life of every woman everywhere. I can’t imagine how much money is spent on the advertisements that completely blow the mind of women everywhere trying to figure out how to achieve an unrealistic standard of perfection. Superwoman has the guy, and never has a bad hair day or a bad attitude, and climbs the corporate ladder, while baking cookies on a weekly basis for the teacher’s lounge at her children’s school. Oh…and she never struggles with balance. Just like Superman, Superwoman takes a lickin’ and just keeps on tickin’. And I’m almost certain that a clear picture of Superwoman shows up when I examine the sumtotal of the women I follow on Twitter.
But just like Superman, Superwoman doesn’t exist in the real world. They are both figments of awesome imaginations and they don’t approximate anything that we in our human frames can achieve. Superwoman is an idea that while entertaining, is unrealistic.
The Kingdom Woman on the other hand embodies a model of womanhood that is very attainable because the idea of this woman comes from a God who knew just what He was doing when He created her. This same God gives her guidance and direction so that she is not put on this earth without a map to follow or a clear pathway on which to walk. While God definitely provides a standard for Biblical womanhood and asks her to aim high, He also provides grace along the way when she messes up or drops the ball. She does not have to be perfect. She doesn’t have to wonder about the cost of this life she’s been given because God paid the ultimate price Himself – not only to purchase her salvation but also to offer her the gift of abundant life if she chooses to abide in Him. If a woman is willing to seek God and listen to His voice, He will tell her which guy is the guy for her, which battles are important enough to fight, and which corporate careers are worth the climb. While God does not promise an easy life, He has not created her and then left her to fend for herself. She is not expected to do all, be all, or have all – all at the same time.
A Kingdom Woman lives with purpose because she knows that God has created her perfectly for the destiny He has for her. She lives with power, but this power is given to her by her God to do what He has designed her to do when He planned for her to do it. She does not have to worry about saving the world, she just has to concern herself with walking with confident faith in the places that God has given her to rule or that He has has asked her to possess.
A Kingdom Woman doesn’t have to be a Super Woman. She doesn’t have to live up to a shifting standard dictated by culture or live a life aimed at pleasing people. She just has to be a woman who is committed to God and aligned with His purposes and the God she serves will take care of the rest.
Question: Why did you write Kingdom Woman?
Chrystal Evans Hurst: I wrote Kingdom Woman because my Daddy asked me to. Seriously. With five kids in tow, writing a book was not on my radar.
I could barely write down my meal plans much less think about writing a book for other women to read! So when my Dad called to discuss the idea of us writing the book together, my prepared answer was a “No”.
Yet, after listening to his heart and praying about it, I slowly changed my mind. Daddy realized that as much as he wanted to empower women to be all they can be through the power of God at work in their lives, he is not a woman! So he asked me to join him in this endeavor and add a woman’s practical expression and experience to the heart of his uplifting message of biblical female empowerment. I said yes.
Question: What is Kingdom Woman about?
Chrystal Evans Hurst: Every woman – in every season – and in any situation, has power. Through the transforming power of God available to her, she is capable of unleashing her full potential and purpose as she embraces God’s design for her and her role as a woman. While many women are enjoying this day and age where we have so many opportunities never available before to our gender, other women are crumbling under the pressure to do all or be all in the light of the options available to us.
This book is about the wonderful possibilities that emerge for a woman when she aligns with the dreams that God has in mind for her. Not only will you be encouraged to seek God and the purposes that He has in store for you, but you will be inspired to do so in the power that He offers when we do things His way.
In our culture there is an abundance of opinions and suggestions from professionals, personalities in pop culture, and our friends as to what a woman should be, what she should have, and what she should be able to achieve. But there is another definition of woman. And the One who designed her wants us to know about the wonderful thoughts He has in mind for her.
This book will guide every woman to the understanding of who God created her to be, what He created her to do, and how He empowers her to do it.
Each reader will sense from this work that God is on her side and that He tenderly cares about every female on this often male-dominated planet. My dad's inspired teaching in this book gives new and transforming insights into biblical principles that can transform.
Question: How is Kingdom Woman different from all of the other women’s self-help or spiritual books out there?
Chrystal Evans Hurst: Well, there are lots of great books out there for women. I know. I’ve read a bunch of ‘em. This book largely references the Bible, but it is not a Bible study. The book is extraordinarily motivational, but it is not designed solely to be a motivational book. The book has stories but it is not a tale from beginning to end.
This book takes all of these aspects, God’s Word, encouragement and motivation, and practical stories and life examples to set the stage for God to speak to YOU about your wonderful design and destiny. It’s a book that will either remind you or show you for the first time that God loves you, believes in you, and has built you for a measure of greatness that you can achieve when you do things His way.
Nothing can compare to the electricity, fully saturated with the smell of sweat, that permeates the air as men who tower over most of us battle head to head and hand to hand in search for nothing but net. As the longest-acting chaplain for any NBA team, having served the 2011 NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks now for over three decades, I’ve become acutely familiar with the feel, smell, and taste of this atmosphere as if it were an extension of my own. It is both rousing and disarming at the same time. I love it. In fact when I am there, I grab it and hate to let it go.
One can’t help but recognize it as soon as you enter an arena. The air hangs thick with anticipation and hunger, consuming anyone who walks into the presence of the players and coaching staff. To say that passion dominates the mood would be an understatement. It is more like urge, a pure ache for greatness.
When two teams make it to the NBA Finals, five men on the court from each side unapologetically seek to prove who is the best. They are men on a quest – men with one goal, and that goal is nothing short of declaring to the entire world their greatness. We witnessed this together with the Heat and the Spurs battling it out, even taking the sixth game into overtime.
Yet, at the end of the day, one locker room erupts, while the other locker room echoes with the eeriness of an exhausted and depleted quiet. One city cheers, while the other city mourns, licking its wounds. One banner will be raised while the hopes for that same banner will taunt the thoughts of those who fought so hard to claim it, yet fell short.
In sports, as is often the case in life, when one person celebrates – another person cries. One person’s victory means another person’s defeat. One person’s promotion is another person’s stagnation. One person’s hope fulfilled is another person’s hope deferred.
So what do we do with disappointment? What do we do with defeat? The same thing every successful person has ever done: We wipe off our sweat, toss our worn and tattered jerseys in the wash, and we move on.
The difference between a person of victory living out his or her destiny and a person who gets stuck in the rut of defeat can be found in how that person views life’s experiences. A victorious person will view his or her life experiences – even the defeats and failures– through the lens of purpose. They will recognize the connecting thread taking them to the destiny God has for them (Jeremiah 29:11). I talk more about this in my book Destiny: Let God Use You Like He Made You (2013).
How you manage, or mismanage, the experiences in your past will have everything to do with your future. Learn from your past; don’t live in it.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan.
The 2013 NBA Championship team has been decided.
But 2014 is a story still yet to be written.
The story is told of a Soviet submarine sunk in the depths of the Barents Sea. Sixteen sailors had made their way to the only remaining location that held enough air for all of them. When rescue crews reached the submarine, they heard a tapping sound coming from inside. It was an SOS signal asking again and again, Is there any hope?
You may not be in a sunken submarine today, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t tapping your own question on the walls confining you, Is there any hope?
This year is a tough year for many of us. The economy has led to a loss of jobs, decreases in pay, and forced relocations on top of the normal struggles we all face. Many of you may be wondering if there is any hope.
Knowing this, I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. No matter how distant things may appear, how empty you may feel, or how much loss you have suffered, I have a word for you today: There is always hope.
Turn your attention with me from one boat to another. Let’s move from the submarine to a fishing vessel on the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus had just finished preaching a sermon from the wooden pulpit of a borrowed boat. Because the crowd was so large, he had taught them from a distance. “He got into one of the boats,” we read, “which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching ….”[i]
Jesus led a group Bible study with those who had gathered along the shore, and after finishing, He gave the benediction. Following the benediction, He narrowed His attention to the owner of the boat, Simon (who would later be called Peter.) What started as a generic sermon to the multitude now became an instruction to somebody. What began as a message to the masses moved to a message to an individual. You’ve experienced that before - when the lesson, verse or truth has your name written all over it.
It’s one thing to go to church, read a book, or listen to a sermon on a radio program and hear a general principle that can be applied to a general audience. It is an entirely different thing when God grabs His Heavenly highlighter and speaks directly to you. Which is what He did to Peter when Jesus told him, “’Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’”[ii]
In one short statement, Jesus told him where to go – into the deep. He told him what to do – let down your nets. And He told him what to expect – a great catch.
In an even shorter reply, Peter complained, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing ….”[iii] In other words, Sir, we have tried. There is no hope.
What Peter didn’t know is a clue that I am going to tell you now. Two clues, actually. These are two clues that will let you know when you are in the vicinity of receiving something very special from God.
Clue number one: God is not allowing anything that you do to work.
You feel that you have done everything you can - run the numbers, gone job hunting, read the books, gone to counseling, but it still isn’t working. When this happens, I would like to suggest to you, like Peter who struggled all night only to end up with an empty net, that you are exactly where God wants you to be.
Clue number two: What God asks you to do doesn’t make sense.
Talk to any fisherman who has worked on the Sea of Galilee and they will tell you that putting a net into the deep waters in the day is not the way to catch fish. What Jesus asked Peter to do not only contradicted his experience, knowledge, history, background and training, but it also contradicted his instincts.
Thankfully for Peter, even though he complained, he eventually did the thing that Jesus asked him to do. And because he did, we read that, “they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break ….”[i]
Do you know how many fish it takes to break a fisherman’s net? If we were to ask Paul, he would probably tell us, “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think….”[ii]
Oftentimes God allows our scenarios in life to get hopeless – He allows our efforts to become fruitless – He allows our knowledge and instincts to prove useless, in order that we will see that it is He who works within, through and for us with His power.
He does this because He wants you, like Peter, to witness Him come through for you in your hopeless situation so that you will come to know Him and trust Him in the way that He wants to be known by you.
When God shows up for you, will you do me a favor? Comment and let us know what He did to turn your situation around. We want to praise Him with you as you pull in the catch He has prepared just for you.
For His Kingdom,
[ii] Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)
There’s a very beautiful story about a very beautiful lady. Her name is Cinderella. But Cinderella was made to feel ugly. She lived with a wicked stepmother and two equally wicked sisters. Cinderella was made to live as a slave. Now, she was beautiful, but she didn’t feel beautiful. She didn’t think about herself as beautiful, because she was influenced by a wicked environment that put her down, messed over her, and reduced her to nothing. The problem with Cinderella was that she was stuck there. She was locked in the situation, and for a long time, she could not get out of it.
You’ve heard the story. You know about the ball, and that through a series of miraculous interventions, she was transported to the ball in a chariot. There she met a prince. The prince saw Cinderella, and loved her. But the problem in the story, as you know, is that the clock struck midnight. When the clock hit midnight, she reverted back to her old self. She became a slave again to an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters.
The good part of Cinderella’s story, though, is that the prince never forgot her. Even though there had been a lot of people at the ball, there was something about her that made her stand out from the crowd. She was special. She was unique. She was rare. Everyone wanted the prince, but the prince wanted Cinderella.
All he had to work with in order to find her again, though, was a shoe that she had left behind. If he could find the foot that fit the shoe, he would have found Cinderella. So he set out going house to house in search of his treasure. After a long and hard search, the prince finally found Cinderella. And, as the story goes, they lived happily ever after.
A lot of people today are living like Cinderella. They are influenced by a wicked stepmother, the Devil, who’s got two wicked daughters: the world and the flesh. Living as slaves in a hostage situation, many individuals feel trapped in a hopeless scenario. Perhaps this describes you in some way. Maybe you thought you would be further along than you are right now. Maybe you had a brighter dream for how your family would be, or your career, relationships – all of it. Maybe you even met the Prince of Peace, and He saved you, some time ago – but you have found yourself living again in bondage. That could mean emotional bondage, spiritual bondage or even physical bondage.
It is easy to lose heart when you see no end in sight to what appears to be a hopeless situation. But what I want to remind you is that there is hope. Jesus knows right where you are, and He knows how long you’ve been there. He has a way out of any hopelessness you may feel or even legitimately experience.
He doesn’t just want to bring His money to you, His castle to you, or His chariot to you. He wants to take you out of the bondage that you feel, and let you live in the freedom of His presence and provision. He wants to show you your new position, your new glory, and your new hope. He wants to get you out of a spirit of slavery. He just doesn’t want to buy you new clothes, buy you new shoes, or buy you a new car; He wants to give you a new hope.
Suppose Cinderella had given up. Suppose she had resolved to stay locked away in a cold, darkened room. She would have never experienced being found by the Prince and trying on her own shoe. She would have missed out on living out her destiny.
A lot of us have not had our blessings come through to us because we have given up on God. We have counted the years where it seems that our prayers have not been answered and we have determined that there is no more hope. Too many times we miss out on the destiny God has for us because we have stopped looking. We have stopped hoping.
Yet what I want to remind you today is that there is always hope.
Sometimes God allows situations in our lives that are beyond our power to fix so that we will experience Him in the midst of the scenario. At times, God will let you hit rock bottom so that you can discover that He is the rock at the bottom. If you put your hope in Him, I promise you that you will not be disappointed. In fact, better than that, God promises you in Isaiah 40:31. Go ahead, you can take Him at His Word.
For His Kingdom,
The story is told of a young boy who discovered a cocoon in a back yard tree. He studied the cocoon carefully, seeking some sign of life. At last, several days later, the boy saw what he had been waiting for. Inside the filmy shell, a newly-formed butterfly was struggling to get out.
Filled with compassion for the tiny creature, the boy used his pocket knife to enlarge the hole. Exhausted, the butterfly tumbled out and lay there. What the boy didn't know was that the struggle to escape was designed to strengthen the butterfly's muscle system and prepare it for flight. His act of ``compassion'' had inadvertently crippled and ultimately doomed the butterfly.
The night before he was crucified, Jesus prayed to His Father, asking him not to take us out of the world, but to keep us safe in the world. The goal, Jesus realized, was not to steer around difficulty, but to navigate safely through it.
That concept seems troublesome to some of us. Somehow, we have gotten the idea that Christianity is designed to be a lifetime of smooth sailing. Not true. Imagine a basketball player stumbling to the sidelines saying, ``Well, coach, I would have scored. But every time I go up to make a shot, there's some guy from the other team with his hand in front of my face.'' It doesn't take a veteran coach to arrive at an answer. ``The guy from the other team is supposed to have his hand in your face. That's the way the game is played. It is his job to do all he can to prevent your success.'' In basketball, like in life, obstacles are inevitable.
Letting patience have its perfect effect means that we must not lay down our pencils halfway through the exam. Even if you have answered each question correctly, quitting at the halfway point limits your score to 50% an F at most schools.
Working through our tests from beginning to end is much easier when we understand that God has a purpose for our problems. Like the butterfly in the cocoon, getting from point A to point B is not the entire agenda. The process of getting there is equally important.
God understands that the process is as important as the result. That's why He sometimes elects not to deliver us from certain situations.
For His Kingdom,
Have you ever gotten mail in your mailbox that isn’t addressed to you? You take it out of your mailbox and read that the address doesn’t have your name on it. It just says, “Occupant.” You get that piece of mail by virtue of you being the “occupant” of that home. Trials are a lot like that. Just by virtue of being an “occupant” on this planet in a fallen world, we will face trials.
Of course, no one likes a trial. No one wakes up in the morning, stretches and says, “Ah, what a beautiful day for a trial! I think I’d like to have a trial today!” That would be an unusual person who would do something like that. Yet no matter how much we want to avoid trials in our lives, trials are inevitable.
Trials are adverse circumstances that God allows in our lives to both identify where we are spiritually as well as to prepare us for where He wants us to go. There is no escaping them. You are either in a trial now, you’ve just come out of a trial, or you are getting ready to go into a trial.
But even though we all have to experience them, I want to remind you to take comfort in knowing that trials must first pass through God’s hands before reaching us. Nothing comes our way without first having received His Divine approval. And in order to get His Divine approval, there must be a Divine reason for Him to approve it. We need to trust that God has our best interest in mind when He allows us to experience a trial.
For His Kingdom,