Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Discipline of Witnessing

A sweet friend of mine sent me a prayer she was praying about her fear of sharing Christ. I was touched by her prayer and asked her if I could share it with you.

I pray it will encourage and push you to speak up for our Lord, as it did me.

“Dear Lord,

I pray for boldness, opportunities and words of wisdom as a witness for Christ.

Christ had a job to do while He was here on earth and He left a job for me to do. As more people accept Christ, His Kingdom expands, one soul at a time.

Jesus Christ suffered far too much for me to cowardly or selfishly walk away from witnessing. I can never say that God is asking too much of me.

My personality traits would like to be a convenient excuse for not telling others about Jesus.

I find always, Christ’s strength in my weaknesses.”

This is a simple, yet sincere prayer for discipline to witness. Ask God to allow you to boldly proclaim Him to someone today.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Discipline Determines Destiny

I heard Dr. Charles Stanley speak on discipline this week. I am always interested in that topic as it is something I continually ask God to develop in my life.

As your children go back to school they are going to be called to a much stricter schedule than most of us experience in the summer months. I often hear mother’s exclaim that they are looking forward to getting back to a routine. They are actually saying it will be good to have some discipline in our family’s life again.

Sometimes we think of discipline in a negative way, yet it is absolutely essential for us to have a productive life.

Dr. Stanley’s message was focused on spiritual disciplines. They were simple, yet not negotiable if we want to grow in our faith and be used by God.

Let me give you a quick review with a small adjustment for minister’s wives.

1. Read God’s Word everyday. (Ask God to speak to you, listen and obey)

2. Pray everyday. (This is not missionaries and food prayer time; this is time to give your all to God. Asking for Him to control, lead and protect. This is your time to get right with God. Complete honesty.)

3. Tithe. (Are you thinking, “I’m a minister’s wife, I have to tithe or my husband will loose his job!” How about bringing your tithes into the storehouse with joy and worship. How about tithing your body, energy, family. Acknowledge that everything you have is on loan from a generous, loving Father.)

4. Attend Worship every Sunday. (Really? Do you have a choice? What about getting your heart ready to truly worship before you walk into that church? Do you allow God to shine His light into your heart so you can be ready to focus completely on Him?)

We all have weaknesses and strengths. This is a good time to allow God to shore up some disciplines in our lives.

If discipline determines our destiny, then we must desire discipline. As minister’s wives we want to grow, serve, form deeper relationships, have impact on those around us. Ask God to help you be more disciplined for His glory!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I teach 6th graders in a small rural school and it seems that we have several students that are in need of URGENT prayer.


One of our 6th grade girls is fighting cancer that started in her kidneys. She is home bound and not able to attend school right now. (She is not doing well at all.)

One of our 6th grade boys is severe diabetic. He is on a pump and also receives 3-4 shots per day. He has to go to the nurse between each class to be checked. He also has all three types of seizures. (He is attending school, so he is doing okay, but needs our prayers.)

One of our 6th grade boys is living in a foster home and this is one of many that he has lived in in the past few years. My heart just goes out to him and I would like for you to say some special prayers for him.

One of the 7th grade girls; our student from last year, is still battling melanoma and taking treatment two days a week. (She is attending school three days a week and doing pretty good, but still needs our prayers. She will be taking treatments until March 2012.)

Another of our girls from last year has recently been diagnosed with SMA.... spinal muscular atrophy. (Her future does not look very good. It is a crippling disease.)

Thanks you in advance for your prayers!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Wake Up America!!!

Okay, is it just me, or do all of you feel like God is trying to speak to the folks in Washington, DC? I mean...HELLO....!!! We need to continue to pray for America. There have been lots of laws made and taken away that directly conflict the Bible.

God is capable of anything, so an earthquake is not an unheard of "wake-up" call.
I got an e-mail that said that it had been confirmed that the supposedly 5+ earthquake in Washington, DC was nothing but our Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves!!! Can you imagine their reaction if they could come back to earth and witness our government today?

Let's continue to pray for America!!! Regardless of what is going on, God is still in control. ....I think He proved that point Tuesday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Man's Best Friend

We have two Grand-dogs; Fanny and Lady Bird. They love us unconditionally. They both get very excited to go to Dayton to visit us. When they see us they get so excited that they fall all over the place, jump and just go wild.

We can fuss at them, punish them and even ignore them and they will both still sit and patiently wait for us to show them some attention.

We go to the kitchen. They follow. We go to the bedroom. They follow. We go to the bathroom. They follow. No matter where we go or what we do they are right there beside us if we allow it. If we are having a bad day, are short with them, etc., they forgive us and love us anyway. They both just love to play and be nearby.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had that type of forgiveness and love for each other? Shouldn't be strive to love our neighbors like that?

God does!!! He loves us unconditionally. If we are angry, upset, or just in a bad mood, God is still right there with us. It does not make any difference where we go, God is with us.

God is always right there, patiently waiting for us to slow down long enough to spend time with Him whether it is by spending time in the Word or by talking to him in Prayer.

I do not mean to make light of God’s love for us by comparing it to the devotion that pets have for their owners, however true dog lovers will understand what I am trying to say. The devotion and commitment that a dog has to his owner is hard for humans to comprehend because we allow STUFF to get in the way of our care for each other. However, God's love and devotion to us is MUCH GREATER than anything we can imagine; even greater than the devotion that a dog his to his owner.

The old phrase is : "A dog is man's best friend." However, GOD is truly MAN's BEST FRIEND!!!

May we be just as committed to God as our pets are to us and may we strive to love each other unconditionally as God loves us!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!!

Thirty-two years ago this month I married my best friend. We dated for seven years and were each other’s first date, so we have been together for thirty-nine years….which is interesting since I am only 39 years old. Smile. Please notice the preacher on the left, which is my dad and the preacher on the right is my father-in-law. Both of them have since gone on to be with our Lord and are greatly missed. However, they told us with both of them tying the knot, there was NO WAY we would ever be able to un-do it. Smile.

The older I get the more I realize that we are in the minority and what a precious gift we have been awarded. Even in our church, very few marriages have lasted this long. Someone asked me last year at my school how I had kept a man faithful that long…….I jokingly told them that I had this marriage thing figured out…. Some men marry a pretty, skinny blonde that stays that way and by mid-life they are bored so they stray. My husband, Roger married me and he has had skinny, medium, large, extra large obese and he has had a blonde, brunette, red-head, striped head, etc. With me he has experienced it all without having to stray. Smile.

All jokes aside, what has happened to the sanction of marriage? Many times divorce is unavoidable for one reason or another, but it seems as if most couples just see it as the easy way out. A successful marriage is not easy and does not come without hard work. Years ago, my dad told me that marriage is something that does not just happen; it is something that you have to work at for the rest of your life. I have since, realized the truth of that bit of wisdom. First, God has to be the head of the home and marriage. Then, the husband and wife have to work together and make compromises for things work. It is a two way street!

Our son will be getting married in just a little over four months. The oldest member of our church, Mrs. Mahalia who is 97 years old, told him that once you are married….there will be TWO and not ONE. You must always remember that and always consider each others feelings and opinions. My, what simple, but wise advice! You can bet he won’t forget that either because while telling him she had that little crooked finger, bent and pointing at him with an ORDER and not a request. Smile.

Mark 10:9 says….What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

I thank God every day for my best friend, my husband. My prayers are that not only will our children live and experience this type of love, but they will pass that tradition on down to their children.

My challenge to you is to set the example for the younger generations and encourage them. Be there for them. Be honest and let them know that it is not easy and is not always going to be a bed of roses, but with God’s help, they can have a long and successful marriage and beat the statistics.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Obviously, from last two posts, I am seeking wisdom.

The tasks before me are great and I am humbled that God has given me these responsibilities. Not only am I a steward of my children (They are ultimately His), I am also responsible to reflect Christ in every aspect of my life. After all, He is the One who placed me in each situation and circumstance. The people in my life are not there by coincidence. It is all a part of His bigger plan. I am just honored to be included in it.

So, how do I handle these situations? Do I shelter my kids? How can I be transparent? I came to the conclusion a long time ago that it would be so much easier if God had just added a book to the Bible with my name as its title. I know, I know, then I would again take too much on myself, not trust God and my faith would not ever grow.

I HAVE to seek God. I HAVE to find my wisdom in Him. He HAS to be the source of my discernment. Only then will I find myself in His will. Only then will I make the right decisions. Only then will my family -and my church- be blessed for it.

So today, I want to leave you some verses that God has encouraged me with over the last week or so.

"No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.
The horse is made ready for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord."
Proverbs 21:30-31

"Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future."
Proverbs 19:20

"The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things."
Proverbs 15:28

"The wisest of women builds her house but folly with her own hands tears it down."
Proverbs 14:1

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."
Proverbs 11:2

I could go on and on. Can you tell my daily Bible reading has been in the book of Proverbs! =)

Have a blessed weekend and remember we are all sisters on similar journeys.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Parenting as a minister's family definitely has some interesting challenges. We are in a unique position as many in our congregations look to us for the "right" way to raise their own children. However, in the some situations preachers and preachers' kids have not set a good example.

Ministers' children get a bad rap and the stereotypes are far from favorable. Unfortunately, many these kids deserved that bad press. BUT, I don't believe that they are entirely to blame. After all, where are their parents? Oh yeah, committee meetings and programmed events!

My husband and I have been in student ministry for many years, and in my experience loving on this truly unique type of young person, I have found that like all teens, they long for transparency and sincerity. Yes, many times the preacher's son or daughter "shares" their dad and their mom with the entire church. They grow up in a fish bowl with the whole congregation criticizing even their smallest, inconsequential decisions.

I believe these kids can live with all that pressure and even thrive in the midst of church politics if the faith they see their parents live out is sincere. The hardest place to walk the closest to Christ is home. Our kids know when we are being real or just putting on a show. Sometimes we have to put on the "show" at church - but what about at home?

Let me encourage you to pray with your kids, cry with your kids, worship with your kids. Let them see you walk in faith. If it is hard, let them see it. Their lives won't always be easy. Show them what to do. Lead by example. Go to your Jesus for your strength so that one day they will do the same.

They don't have to know every detail, but be real. It is okay for them to see you angry. They can relate to that emotion. They need to hear you say you were wrong and that you are sorry. Remember that once your child accepts Christ, he or she is no longer just your child, he or she is also your brother or sister in Christ. Our kids need to be discipled - by us!

Now as my oldest starts the third grade she is more than ever aware of the good, the bad and the ugly in the world and, unfortunately, in the church. I have to pray for guidance and I let her hear me say that I need the Lord's help. I try to point her back to Jesus every chance I get. Someday, she may think I sound silly or corny, but I pray my testimony will show that I am sincere. I pray my transparency will help her authenticity in her own walk with our mutual Savior. I pray that in her own way, her own genuine faith, she will break the mold of what it means to be a preacher's daughter.

What are some things you are intentional to do in order to be transparent with your kids?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

To Shelter or Not to Shelter?

Recently, I was apart of prayer group consisting of mainly minister and deacon wives. The group meets monthly and despite what may be happening at their church, everyone will remain relatively mum on a certain topic. They have prayed each other through births, adoptions, deaths, illnesses, marital stresses and many other topics. The one topic they will always mention, but never elaborate on is the health of their church.

Their church IS going through a really rough season and it was on every one's mind that night. Yet, no one wanted to cross that invisible line and broach the subject of the giant elephant in the room. Then, one minister's wife did.

She is hurt. She is angry. She is bitter. At first, her comments were more subtle and veiled. Then they weren't. She openly blamed her church, the one her husband serves, as the reason her middle child refuses to darken the doors of any church.

The room grew really silent really fast. It was like all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room. No one made eye contact with anyone else. No made any excuses or apologies. She wouldn't have accepted them if they had. No one really acknowledged her comment. They let her keep explaining her prayer request with more slights on the church.

Honestly, I don't know all the details of her and her husband's situation. I do know enough that her feelings are justifiable. Obviously, over the years she had her husband have spoken openly with their teen children about what has happened at the church. Maybe more of their conversations needed to have taken place behind a closed bedroom door instead of at the kitchen table over dinner. I don't know. I wasn't there.

However, since that evening, I have wondered and asked myself how much of the "drama" that happens at the church should my children know? Should I treat certain issues with them in the same way I would another church attender or member? Then again, they aren't just any church member are they?

So ladies what do you think? Should I or shouldn't I shelter my kiddos from the politics of the church? If I do, how, and at what age do I stop?

By the way, please pray for this sweet family, this church and the futures of all involved!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Heartbreaking Headlines

The August 3rd edition of the Baptist & Reflector, Tennessee Baptist’s statewide newspaper, arrived at our home two days ago and my heart has been heavy and broken ever since. The headline on the first page reads, “Fifty-five Tennessee ministers forced to resign in 2010.” 55!! AND…across the Southern Baptist Convention, there were 609!!! 609!!

Immediately I had to read the article in its entirety….and became more and more distressed and heartbroken and at a loss as to what I can do to help these wives. These families. You might be one of those 55 or perhaps you are one of the 609 who were forced to resign your ministry position in 2010.

The number one reason for termination was stated as “Control issues—who is going to run the church”. I KNOW that no one is perfect. I am totally aware that there are issues on both sides….but I cannot help being frustrated right now with people in the church. Control issues? Seriously? Who is in control? The people who “belong” or “go” to the church? The pastor? The pastor’s wife? NO! God is in control!!!

Last night in our Bible study one lady shared that her greatest fear is losing control….and we all related to her. We are control freaks! We want to be in charge. We want things our way. We think we can do it better than anyone and everyone—and ridiculous as it sounds—we think we can do it even better than God can!

If you are a wife of a minister who has been forced to resign, please know that I am praying for you. I cannot imagine how you must feel. You have been put in a very difficult place with a huge opportunity to allow God to love on you. To allow Him to forgive through you. To enable you to persevere through. You will know God in a way you never knew Him before. He is Provider. Comforter. Lover.

I am praying for you as you stand firm in your faith. As you encourage your discouraged husband. As you teach your children how to handle adversity like Jesus did. As you run the race with endurance with your eyes fixed on Jesus. Do NOT give up the race!! Do NOT quit!! Run my friend run....not away...but into the arms of God.

You are not alone. He knows how you feel. Please let me know how I can serve you. encourage you. Help you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


For the last several weeks I have been praying, pondering and preparing to speak to Tennessee minister’s wives about Friendship at the East TN Ministers Wives' Retreat at Carson Springs Conference Center on September 9-10. I am super excited to get to meet many of you face to face and get to know you!! Here’s the deal….I would LOVE to have your input and your help!

Would you be willing to spend some time thinking about the following questions and then email me your responses to jgang@aeneas.net? You can be sure that your answers will be kept confidential and will be ever so helpful to me as I pursue this topic.

Loneliness and lack of friends are two of the top issues that minister’s wives struggle with and I want to hear your stories. Your victories. Your struggles. What has worked for you? What has not worked for you? So….feel free to make any comments, share anything you want with me….even if it is not directly related to a question.

Thank you so much!!

  1. Do you feel like you have friends where you currently live? (i.e. not from high school or college or previous churches)

  2. What percentage of your friends are in your church and what percentage do not attend your church?

  3. What do you want/need in a friend?

  4. How do you go about making friends? About how long does it take you to make friends when you move to a new ministry?

  5. Why do you think it is sometimes difficult for minister’s wives to have friends?

Again....feel free to make any comments, share anything you want with me….even if it is not directly related to a question!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lightning Bugs and Lemonade

The summer is just flying by too fast. I can honestly say I have not accomplished the needed housework (cleaning out closets and drawers, yard work, etc) that I had on my summer to-do list. My outdoor walks have been slow and few due to the heat wave that Tennessee is experiencing. I just do not like to sweat unless there is a pool nearby. Another thing I wanted to do this summer is fix up my deck area, sip lemonade at dusk and watch the lightning bugs come out to play.

Okay, maybe I am being a little nostalgic. I remember as a little girl chasing lightning bugs through our neighborhood and capturing them in jars. Parents would sit in the yard or on the porch sipping lemonade or iced tea while children squealed with laughter capturing lightning bugs.

At a certain point all the parents would decide that it was time to go inside for the night. I would place my jar of magical creatures on a table in my room, wash my sweaty, little body, and pull on the pajamas. My parents would tuck me in bed, say prayers, and turn out the lights. I admit I was afraid of the dark; however, my magical little lightning bugs would put off a soft, comforting glow that chased away the evil in the dark corners of my room.

As I remember this point in my childhood, I smile. Life back then was difficult for our parents. They worked hard and had to stretch their dollars just like we have to now. However, sitting on the porch or in the yard with neighbors sipping lemonade or iced tea did not cost them anything but a little time. Playing chase with friends or capturing lightning bugs were just part of a child's life growing up in the south.

I may be stretching things a little today but stick with me. I can just imagine our heavenly Father watching his children take a break from the daily toil of life. God does not want us to go at a fast face like the world wants us to. The Father desires his children to slow down and enjoy the little things like lemonade and lightning bugs. I think He wants us to sit in the yard and chat with neighbors. Personally, I think it would be fun to chase and capture lightning bugs again. I could use a soft, comforting glow to chase away the stresses of this world.