Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Let's be the women with the tambourines in 2015!

When I have time I like to catch Beth Moore's teachings on Wednesday mornings during James and Betty Robison's TV show called Life Today. And recently while watching, God's Holy Spirit burst forth with great power once again in Beth Moore's gifted, dynamic teaching and this time it was her three-part Bible series called "A Dance in the Desert." Her study material was on Exodus 14 & 15. It's a popular story of the power of God and His love for His people: The Israelites were miraculously delivered from the wicked hands of Pharaoh and the Egyptians and then God parted the Red Sea so His people could cross it on dry land! "So the people put their trust in God and in Moses His servant"(Exodus 14:31).

Then "The Song of Moses" broke out (Exodus 15) and when it was over "Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing" (Exodus 15:20). In the desert. Yep.

This is a party, People! Festive! Joyful! These are thankful people of God!

Listening to Beth Moore describe this act of God ignited a holy fire in the Spirit of God in me, brought tears of thankfulness to my eyes and compelled me to share this message right here in my blog. I guess you could say I am in strong agreement with her and the message!

So buckle up, Baby, here we go!

The link below is Part 3 of Beth Moore's message and it's what I want to focus on in this post: To praise Him in the dark and believe the light of freedom and celebration is coming! Girls, we must faithfully push back the darkness with our praises of faith! I beg you my Sisters who are reading this you will watch this 18-minute message to the end. 

Her  exhortation is for all of us to "anticipate a mighty move of God" even in our darkest place. This is where the tambourine comes in, Sisters, and we should -- in faith --  be like Miriam and have a tambourine close at hand even when we're facing our own version of the Red Sea...because we are expecting God to work in amazing ways of our deliverance. So we praise Him and sing to Him for He has done great things and will continue to do great and mighty things!

I pray this message will bless your socks off and make you want to find a tambourine to put in your car/home/office! 

"When faith takes a journey it packs a tambourine." -- Beth Moore.

Let's start praising the LORD more in 2015 by picking up our tambourines and choosing to intentionally give Him our loud songs of joy and thanksgiving...even in the hard places -- because we are expecting Him to move mountains.

"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Thursday, December 4, 2014

First Class All the Way! Only God.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..." (Ephesians 3:20).

There are countless gifts God gives to His people! So many! We can't take credit for anything. He does it all! Even when we pray, the Holy Spirit puts prayers in our hearts and if we're listening, we'll pray something that is in accordance with His will and we'll get even more than we asked!  Can I get a witness???? Me! I'll witness!

God gives us gifts and He gives us desires to use those gifts."Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights..." (James 1:17). And then if we're paying attention to His voice He develops and increases the gifts inside us...to bring Him glory and to bless those around us.

Our daughter, Grace, lives in the Los Angeles/Pasadena area of CA. She's a trained classical singer and professional musician who plays piano, flute, recorder and guitar. Recently she's become a worship leader (AM & PM) in two churches -- God is expanding her musical gifts.

At first she was playing piano and leading singing in the worship services along with her talented ensemble. Gradually over the years when she was here on the east coast for Christmas she would take back one of her instruments with her, like her flute. Another time she left with her recorder.

Recently, Grace has been telling us she wants to get her guitar and return to playing that, too. We talked about her getting it at Christmas when she's here.

And then, my unselfish, thoughtful hubby decided he wanted to surprise her and bring it to her on his recent business trip! We checked and double checked with the airlines to be sure there wouldn't be a problem for him to carry it on the plane. He was assured he could do that.

When I heard he was going to do that I started praying God would make it totally convenient for Don to add the large guitar case to his three pieces of luggage. I also prayed and asked God if He would make it so the guitar could easily be stowed and protected during the flight. (Well, you know how the overhead compartments rapidly fill up! Especially in a packed plane! And sometimes passengers get a little feisty about the coveted, tight space! I prayed Don would not have to deal with that! Just sayin'.

Guess what happened? When Don got settled in his seat he sent me a text while everyone was still boarding. He said the flight attendant took the guitar off his hands as soon as he stepped on the plane and told him, "I've got a place for it right here, in first class!" And she took it and stored it and he walked back to the end of the crowded plane and took his seat in coach. Yep. Coach. While Grace's guitar rode in first class.

When they landed in Los Angeles a flight attendant was standing next to the exit with the guitar and she gently handed it to him and smiled.


Wow. Lord, thank you. Wow. Perfect. And the guitar rode in first class. Hilarious isn't it? Only God. More than I asked, too. :) 

What do you need in your life? Are you listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit? What is He telling you? I am fully aware I have no power to make anything happen. But I know Who does and His name is Jesus.

Grace took the photo (above) of her cool, blue guitar in her apartment yesterday and sent it to me. Glory to God. :)

Merry Christmas, Everybody!
psalm 34:3

copyright 2014 Totally Devoted 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What Designer Clothing Are You Wearing, Sister?

My Lord has been stoking the refining fire in me again. For the past couple of weeks, I've been wrestling with spiritual warfare. 

Praying and confessing has been my consolation but it has been a raging fire. I kept thinking and praying and reading my Bible and I finally realized what I am experiencing is a peeling away of layers of angst-lined clothing that God does not want me wearing.

But it seems that as a foolish, deceived child I am covering up the glory of the Lord by putting on the wrong DesignerWear over my robe of righteousness: Being Deceived Dress, Shame Shoes, Guilt Handbag, Unbelief Belt, and the most popular article of WorldlyWear, Pride Coat!

I don't recall dressing myself this way but, hey, I also have a deceitful enemy who may have whispered that I should put it on because he convinced me that is who I am. Yep. Lies. Darkness. Spiritual warfare. It's been going on long enough that this clothing was beginning to smell like smoke! I knew God wouldn't send relief until I "got it." And I wanted this torment to be lifted. Burning holes we're beginning to show up on these spiritual prison clothes, Girls!

I am a child of God and He has told me, as He tells all of His children, "Follow Me."  And through Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit He gives us all kinds of warnings, instructions and beautiful promises as we walk in His steps. Promises of pain and heartache as well as abundance of love and joy! Teachings to do right and live right in accordance to His word. Instructions to believe Him and take Him at His word.

And He tells us to carry on His work of being the light of the world so we can glorify His name. (Matthew 5:14-16)

He also tells us, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life with lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24). That's exactly what He did as He walked on this earth!

When Jesus called my name so many years ago and saved me He clothed me in His robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and wearing His royal attire made me right in the eyes of the Father. I became Beloved. Cherished. Valuable. Treasured. Blessed. Empowered. Holy Spirit filled. Christ filled. BOOM! HALLELUJAH! 

As God was pulling me along in this journey -- remember He never leaves us -- I began to think of His Son who was called by God to save His people from their/our sins by dying on a cross and then three days later rise from the grave and go back to heaven and be enthroned at the right hand of God. That was his life purpose on earth.

So Jesus denied Himself every day out of obedience to His Father. He knew He was deeply loved. Before He fulfilled His purpose on earth, His clothes were stripped away from Him as He was beaten and in preparation for what God was calling Him to do: Hang on a cross.

Now Jesus didn't need spiritual pruning, of course, but I obviously do! God is telling me to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles...and run with perseverance the race set before us/me." (Hebrews 12:1).

My analogy is we're to follow Him and His walk and do what He did on earth. And if God is sending me through the refiner's fire in preparation for the new work He's calling me to, then I'm excited. New invitations have already come but this must be more preparation!

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45) (Matthew 20:28)

And I will be more diligent to wear another very powerful DesignerWear ensemble every day, too! It's called the Armor of God  (Ephesians 6:10-18) which would have probably kept me from going so deep into the darkness.

Oh, yes! That helmet of salvation would have helped me to guard my thoughts...and the belt of truth strapped on my waist would have protected me from believing lies... and the shield of faith would have "extinquished all the fiery darts of the enemy" ....but hey, He rescued me once again!

There is no god like our God. No one greater. No one stronger. No one more loving. No one wiser. No one with glory! 

And let's all stop listening to the devil's marketing of lies and let's not wear any more of those WorldlyWear outfits...peel them off, Sister, and "Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Polly :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Friend is Shining HIS Light on Halloween Night with a Graveyard of Resurrection Life!

My dear friend Chris and her family --we live on the same street -- are radiantly, joyfully, shining the light of Christ this Halloween Night! Their front yard been transformed into a graveyard of resurrection life! I've never seen anything like it! It's awesome! Check it out!

No, look closer! We'll start with the little group on the left....

Look closely at the words on the tombstones:
"Reah Deemed
1901 - 1982
Her Works Were Great, But It Was God's Grace That Saved Her"

Yep. And the next one:
"Bjorna Gain
Born: 1956
Reborn: 1975

And the next:
Ima Newman
Transformed by the love of God 
Now With Him For Eternity"

You get the picture...pardon the pun! All this boldness to shine the light of Christ on a day/night that is celebrated with death, horror, terror, evil deeds and darkness...is actually very clever and hilarious. And, it makes me think about Scripture passages that go along with what Chris and her family are doing. Like, Matthew 10:33-34: "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."

Neda Lott-Moore
She always got what she 
wanted until now!"

Nacho Stuff
Beloved thief and father"

Fibber White
He told a few little lies
but the truth is 
we miss him"

And of course, with Resurrection Life,  there is the empty tomb!

"Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6"  

Jesus is not in any tomb because He has risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven. Jesus said, "the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I HAVE COME THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT IN ABUNDANCE" (John 10:10).

So the big question for every one of us is:

God is all about light and life. "For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light." 
Psalm 36:9

"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His Name together! " Psalm 34:3

Polly :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Casting a vision for the sisterhood and the glory of God

I was asked by Mt. Zion Pastor of Discipleship Jason Roberts, to pray about being this year's women ministry leader. I prayed. I really prayed. I knew it was a huge responsibility and a blessing at the same time. I love encouraging women and pointing them to Christ!

I knew God was providentially preparing me for years with a growing, burning fire in my heart to encourage women to live for Jesus. I knew how much I needed Him-- 24/7-- and His amazing grace was continuing to fuel me. So I told Jason, "Yes."

The passion to rally the women into a united, deeper walk with Jesus was like fireworks in my soul. After I said, "yes" I was compelled to write down a vision and then I asked our faithful leadership if I could share it with the ladies in a congregational gathering. 

I told my sweet hubs Don, "I have to literally write this down because if I don't stay on track with what I want to say my heart will begin to gush and I'll take everyone on rabbit trails. I don't need to take up too much time."

So last month I stood before my church family at both worship services. A microphone was put in my hand and I poured my heart out. The following is what I shared.  

A Vision for Mt Zion Women
September 21, 2014

I was asked by our leadership if I would pray about being this year’s women’s ministry leader. Apparently they knew I've served women by hosting Bible studies in our neighborhood for nine years, which led me to host devotional gatherings in the marketplace: at Southeast Restoration Group Corporate office in Holly Springs, Yawn's Bookstore and The Soul Food Market in Downtown Canton and at the IHOP in Canton Marketplace.  I have been a guest speaker and emcee at women’s events. They knew me as an empty nester, wife to my wonderful soul mate Don and Mom to two grown daughters (Grace and Mary) who are on-fire for the glory of God.

I prayed and asked God to let me know how to respond. As you can see me in front of you, you know "yes" was my answer. So here I am in front of you ladies (and gentlemen) desiring to cast a vision for the women of Mt. Zion.


So here I go:
Who of you have seen the movie, "Son of God?" In the first 30 seconds of the movie trailer [the actor playing] Jesus says to Peter, "Come with me [Follow Me]" and Peter says, "What are we going to do?"Jesus said, "We are going to change the world." The film producers have take this from Matthew 4:19-20 and it's not the literal language -- Jesus' actual words were: "I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed Him."

Then in Luke 9:22 Jesus says, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and follow Me."

Over and over we read Scripture is clearly and boldly teaching us Jesus wants us to follow Him.I believe that means to imitate Jesus. Walk behind Him in His footsteps. Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45 says, "...just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many."

So what does this have to do with the women of our church? I don't know! Just kidding.

Our church bulletin is full of opportunities to serve. And we can serve with our hearts, hands and feet -- as well as on our knees in prayer for those listed in the prayer requests.

I believe it's Scriptural that when we are denying ourselves and serving others we are most like Jesus. Serving others eventually and sometimes instantly brings healing from :
  • self-centered attitude
  • negative thinking
  • loneliness
  • despair
  • despondency
  • unbelief
  • and it brings glory to God.
Serving others in need is like becoming a fountain of living water--for the servant and the ones being served! We become refreshed when we are refreshing others.(See Proverbs 11:25.)

And serving together, ladies, creates new relationships and makes us stronger. God designed it that way! And serving together usually includes sharing a meal together, too, which also builds community.

So what do WE do? 

  • The SALT Ministry here at Mt. Zion meets the needs of the lost, broken, poor and needy people in our community. There are loads of opportunities to serve in the SALT/Living Bread Ministry: organize the food pantry, help prepare the monthly meal in our commercial kitchen as we feed the community, help serve the meal, invite your own neighbors to come and eat, donate groceries, give financial donations.
  • I saw in the bulletin The Mission Minded Crafters are starting up their ministry.
  • The Mt Zion Church Fall Festival is October 31 and Director Marion Tims is praying and even personally asking for volunteers! This is an evangelical tool to bring lost souls into the Kingdom of God. If you can't attend will you bring huge bags of candy and put them in the basket in the foyer?
  • The HOPE Center in Woodstock is a pro-life crisis pregancy/counseling center reaching lost women and saving unborn babies, too. Deborah Rey is the on staff there. The needs there are huge. If you can't volunteer in the Baby Store will you donate diapers and baby wipes? Will you PRAY for the needs of the growing ministry?
If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior then I know He is telling you to follow Him. If you don't know Him He may be calling your name right now as I am speaking...calling you to deny yourself, ask Him to forgive you of your sins, take up your cross and start following Him...become His light and His life to a lost and dying community.

The vision for the Mt. Zion Women's ministry I am casting is to SERVE our community with the love of Christ that is in us.

Do you realize the most powerful way we can start is by praying to our mountain moving God?
  • The prayer list in our weekly bulletin has a growing list of our church family members who  need our prayers.
  • For months I've been meeting a couple of ladies in Historic Downtown Canton on Fridays at lunchtime to PRAY for our city and our world.We are praying for a revival of hearts in our city!
  • Are you willing to commit to praying for a revival in our city and our county on Fridays at lunch hour -- wherever you are will you stop and pray?
  • Our leadership has opened the church doors every Wednesday at 6:30 for the entire Mt. Zion family to come and pray together. What a wonderful opportunity to gather and develop new relationships while we se God do amazing things through our prayers! Will you be there? The highest attendance so far is 20 people.
  • Scripture says our God "owns the cattle on a thousand hills" and "every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above!" HE HAS WHAT WE NEED HE HAS MORE THAN WE NEED. He is an abundant God! I can testify! I'm a mess and He blesses my socks off because He knows I'm broken and He knows I deeply love Him. He watches me struggle every day!
My passion is to:
The big vision is to unite women from all the churches in our community--to gather and serve side-by-side. We -- at Mt. Zion -- could be the trailblazers but we have to commit to rolling up our sleeves and focus on serving and praying here and now, inside the church walls first.

We have to start inside the church walls as a Spirit-filled force of women. Look, we were created to nuture...to be caretakers of the broken, lost women of our community. But to be effective we have to act as one. The goal and purpose is the same--all for the glory of God. 

How we fulfill that goal and purpose will be for every woman ---from college age to empty nester -- to plug into a ministry service that fits your gifts, talents and abilities.

In Luke 5 Jesus was at the Sea of Galilee preaching the Word. Jesus knew Peter had been fishing for several hours and did not catch any fish. He told him to go back out onto the lake and put the nets into the water. Peter said to Jesus, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything But because you said so, I will do it." 

What is God telling you to do, my precious sisters?

And this passage continues, "When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full they began to sink." That's Luke 5:5-6. That's awesome! Wow!

Jesus knows where the fish are, Ladies. He can and will do the same thing for us today if we say to Him, "Because you say so I will do it."

Ladies,we have a new logo to encourage us to gather "in the trenches" for the glory of God by serving the poor, needy, orphan, widow, lost and broken in our community!

      Mt. Zion has purchased a license to use this American Iconic illustration of "Rosie the Riveter" 

This blog post is also an invitation for women's ministry leaders and their women throughout our community of churches to join us as we seek to create community for the glory of God.

"Glorify the Lord with [us] me; let us exalt His name together!" 
Psalm 34:3

Your Sister,
Polly Balint
Mt. Zion Women's Ministry   

Saturday, September 6, 2014

HE Really is the Answer!

When we hear the phrase,"Jesus is the Answer" some people roll their eyes because it seems to have become an old-school catch-phrase. But what does it mean? From what I understand from my Bible Jesus is the only Rock Solid answer to every question.

For example, we might ask these kind of questions:
"How am I going to do this?" Pray and ask Jesus to help you. "How am I going to have energy to finish this job by the deadline?" Pray to God and hear His words: "..those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

Or we cry out:
"How will I get through this financial crisis?" Pray and ask Jesus to provide for you and your family. He fed thousands with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish (John 9:10-17).  I can't explain how He did it but the Psalmist even says, "I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).

And we need wisdom in our decision making:
"Do I take this job or the other one that's offered?" "Do I marry this person?" "Which physician should I go to for my illness?" "How can I get out of debt?" "How do I raise godly children?" Go to the book of Proverbs which teaches the wise and godly way to raise children, run a business, be a good neighbor and exhorts us all to keep on seeking God. Here's just one rich example: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Or go to the book of James 5:15: "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective." 

Again, I can't explain how He does what He miraculously does for His children, I just believe. He promises to be our protector and says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1). Don't you just love this comforting promise?

He puts people in our path in a providential manner in answer to prayer and accomplishes His purposes as He leads us "down His path of righteousness for His name's sake" (Psalm 23:3). 

Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and told the crowds, "...your heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). 

There is no where else to go. It's got to be Jesus FIRST. 
Peter endured very hard lessons until he learned this truth. The story is captured in the sixth chapter of the book of John. Jesus is speaking to a large crowd. "On hearing it, many of His disciples said, 'This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?' (John 6:60). And then "many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him." (John 6:66).

Then Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they were going to abandon Him, too. "Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."' (John 6:68-69).

Sisters and Brothers. Jesus really is our answer. He's the answer for this broken, violent world. There really is no other solution...Jesus is the Answer.

"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS Name together."
Psalm 34:3

The totally consumed study on the book of John gathers Mondays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am @ Studio 121 in Historic Downtown Canton. All ladies are invited. 
Studio 121
121 Brown Street
Historic Downtown Canton, GA

All materials copyrighted 2014
that girl marketing, LLC
Polly Balint

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

By the Grace of God Lauren Survived

Lauren Farmer and her friend Rebecca Hood were traveling northbound on I-575  -- Lauren was driving -- when a drunk driver going the wrong direction on the interstate slammed into them in a head-on collision.

Lauren Farmer and the car she was driving when a drunk driver slammed head-on into her car (July 2014).

Rebecca was released from the hospital with a broken foot, a black eye and stitches on her eyelid.  Lauren's left side was crushed and she had to be cut out of the car. She stayed in an induced coma due to serious, life-threatening injuries: two crushed feet, two broken femurs and numerous, extensive internal problems.

When word about this horrific crash was reported by all the local TV stations, alarmed friends and family began to pray to God for Lauren's life to be spared and for miracles of her healing. And of course, community-wide prayers are continuing and so is God's faithfulness!

After enduring many surgeries, Lauren is out of the CCU at Kennestone Hospital and now is continuing to recover at her parents' home in Canton. Kind friends helped to renovate their home to make it wheelchair accessible.

Doctors predicted at least a full year for her recovery.

They have been engulfed with the love and support of friends and family and the community has stepped up with local fundraisers. And still, Lauren and her parents, Al and Melissa, have ongoing needs to help in Lauren's continued rehab and recovery. 

There is another delicious fundraiser --yes, I said delicious -- on the calendar, folks! Will you come between 5 pm - 8 pm and bring a carload of friends to either/both Chick-fil-A locations in Canton on Tuesday, September 23, and tell the cashier you are there to support the Lauren Farmer family?

Chick-fil-A Canton locations: 
Canton Marketplace on 1-575, exit 19 
Riverstone on I-575, exit 20 
5 PM - 8PM

The Farmer family will only benefit from your generosity if Lauren's name is mentioned when you pay for your delicious food!  And that includes eat-in, to-go, drive-thru and even catering orders! And, WOW, who doesn't love everything about Chick-fil-A? 

A little background on Lauren:

Lauren Farmer was born and raised in Cherokee County where her parents, Al and Melissa Farmer, still live. She graduated from Cherokee Christian School in 2006 and attended Kennesaw State University where she was a member of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. She graduated in 2010 and currently works as a project manager at Phase 3 Marketing and Communications in Atlanta.

A special thanks goes to Kevin Williams, owner/operator of both Chick-fil-A locations, for his continued kindness and generosity in the way he serves our community. And thanks to Canton Marketing Director Christy Jones who has made this very easy to set up! 

Praying for an outpouring of neighborly love on 9/23,
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His Name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Monday, August 4, 2014

PJs are Okay at THE VINE

This is a GIRLS ONLY (college age to empty nesters) breakfast gathering from 8:30 am - 10:30 am on Saturday, August 16, so if you want to come in your PJs that's just fine! 

Coffee will be ready and music will be turned up for a little praise & worship. We eat together and then be encouraged as our guest speaker shares her heart! 

Here is your invitation with all the details.
 I hope to hear from you! 

We have indoor seating....

And outdoor seating....

Come and be filled. 
Make your RSVP...it's required: pollybalint@gmail.com
And I was serious about you coming in your PJs if you'd like.


"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS name together!"
psalm 34:3

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

she's a principal with principles

I'm not convinced the United States of America is truly a Christian nation anymore. The USA was founded on Holy Scripture inspired by God and established as one nation under God. People used to have the freedom to speak His Name and pray aloud to Him, anywhere at anytime. That's not where we are today. 

But God's people can't respond to how things appear to be... we are told by God to "walk by faith, not by sight" ( 2 Corinthians 5:7). You see, God is always going to have His way and I know He will never give up His sovereign rule and total control of the entire universe! Nope. The Father has His faithful people positioned in every facet of the American Marketplace: corporate offices, restaurant employees, bank tellers, supermarket checkouts, public school staff members, physicians, nurses, landscapers, post office workers, personal trainers in gyms, school bus drivers, musicians in Hollywood and housekeepers of country clubs! 

But I'm just going to focus my experience in three public schools for now. For the past few years I was privileged -- honored and excited, too --  to host little devotional gatherings with staff and faculty at three local public schools: Creekview High School, Hickory Flat Elementary and Macedonia Elementary.  In keeping with the law, I was only allowed to host them either before or after school hours.

These women who showed up at our gatherings were not just teachers, principals and staff members but wives and moms, too, and think of it... also a sort of "second mom" to the little ones during the day. These women of God really love Jesus. They pray privately asking God to help them do their job with excellence. And they pray for each other and for their students and students' families! Yep.

Two days a week I would arrive at two of the schools before the sun came up to share a devotion out of my Totally Devoted series. The faithful ladies of each group made huge sacrifices to gather to study God's word! They already had a long day ahead of them but they were willing to come in earlier than required to get filled with the power of God's word. We were usually finished around 7:30 am and  I would walk back to my car so I could leave before the buses arrived to unload precious cargo.

Macedonia Elementary was the only school where I met with the ladies after school. I purposely arrived early so I wouldn't get caught up in the school bus traffic. Which meant I was able to park my car and walk through the two lines of towering school buses. I never thought of describing a school bus as towering, but standing next them -- and so many of them at one time -- was intimidating, and I'm rather tall myself! They looked like gigantic caterpillars all lined up in two neat rows.When I entered the school building I had to sign in and the cameras in all of the schools recorded me coming and going, too. 
Bus drivers waiting for the school bell to ring and release the
 Macedonia students...last school year.

I had heard about Macedonia's Principal Tammy Castleberry many times from friends, colleagues, and even from teachers from other schools. There were always very complimentary words spoken about her. "Oh Tammy is wonderful!" "She's very kind and very professional." "She's very giving and is really such a great leader."  "She works long hours and gives so much!"

The fact that Tammy was happy to have me come and lead the devotional gatherings was so encouraging and I had hoped I'd get to meet her sometime. I never expected her to come to the group, knowing she was a very busy principal with a heavy responsibility to lead and encourage her staff and faculty, speak with parents, students and have time for her own duties in her office.

Arrangements were made for us to meet in the faculty break room. We had a great group who made sacrifices to come after a long day at school. But they came. And then Tammy walked in without fanfare, her book and phone in hand. I thought to myself, "But she's the principal! I never thought she'd come! Wow, she's serious about her faith and commitment to God!"  

With her phone on the table it was obvious to me she was 'on call' in case anyone else needed her. And still, she sat down ready to drink in God's truth with the rest of them. We talked about the love and goodness of God. It wasn't too long before someone from the office came to get Tammy. I wasn't surprised, she's the principal. She's the leader there and she makes herself available. 

Macedonia Elementary Principal Tammy Castleberry with a few students 
preparing to load the buses.

Tammy couldn't attend very often and I could see why--she was in such demand. She really was very kind, humble and professional. One of the days she was in the break room with us I shared with the group about my impression of the huge buses lined up in the parking lot. I said, "I couldn't believe how huge those buses are and how little the children are! I saw teachers and staff out there when the children came out, but still...how do you keep little children from darting around those huge buses? And then when I stepped into the passageway between the buses, I glanced both ways on my way into the school building, I saw Tammy standing between the rows overseeing all the activity." And I pointed at her sitting at the break room table and I said to the group, "Now I know. You [Tammy] had this look of saying, 'Not on my watch!'"  We all laughed. And I could see she is committed to excellence in every area.

Macedonia Elementary Principal Tammy Castleberry with a student
 who's preparing to board her bus for home.

The US may not be a Christian nation any more, but God continues to raise up His faithful servants who humbly desire to do what's right and gives them positions the marketplace for such a time as this. Tammy Castleberry is one of those faithful ones. And this kind of heart for God is what can change the world. One person at a time. 

"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!"
Psalm 34:3