Search
Follow UPGRADE

   Member of AWSA

  Info about AWSA

 

[See their Bios on the Partners Page by clicking on the Blogger box, above]

     PARTNERS:

Lina AbuJamra

Sue Badeau

Dianne Barker

Twila Belk

Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

Jeanne Cesena

Pamela Christian

Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

Diane Dean

Deb DeArmond

Kelly DeChant

Danna Demetre

Melissa Edgington

Debbi Eggleston

Pat Ennis

Morgan Farr

Pam Farrel

Sally Ferguson

Liz Cowen Furman

Gail Goolsby

Sheila Gregoire

Kate Hagen

Doreen Hanna

Holly Hanson

Becky Harling

Debbie Harris

Nali Hilderman

Cathy Horning

Kathy Howard

Mary James

Priscilla Jenson

Lane P. Jordan

Rebecca Jordan

Ellie Kay

Maria Keckler

Sylvia Lange

Debby Lennick

Peggy Leslie

Kathi Lipp

Kolleen Lucariello

Kathi Macias

Paula Marsteller

Melissa Mashburn

Dianne Matthews

Cindi McMenamin

Elaine W. Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Lynn Mosher

Karen O'Connor

Yvonne Ortega

Arlene Pellicane

Ava Pennington

Laura Petherbridge

Gail Purath

Marcia Ramsland

Kaley Rhea

Rhonda Rhea

Vonda Rhodes

Cynthia Ruchti

Julie Sanders

Judy Scharfenberg

Deedra Scherm

Laurel Shaler

Joanie Shawhan

Stephanie Shott

Poppy Smith

Susan K. Stewart

Stacie Stoelting

Letitia "Tish" Suk

Jill Swanson

Janet Thompson

Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

Brittany Van Ryn

Elizabeth Van Tassel

Leslie Vernick

Laurie Wallin

Julie Watson

Joan C. Webb

Shonda Savage Whitworth

Cherri Williamson

Kathy C. Willis

Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson

 

Entries in Debbie W. Wilson (10)

Thursday
Sep262019

The Security of a Good Father

Debbie W. Wilson teaches women about practical, uplifting faith. In this Relationship with God UPGRADE, Debbie asks us to consider growing a more robust faith by trusting in our Father God.

“I woke up at 4 a.m. questioning a decision I’d made," Debbie says.

I (Dawn) have done that so often, and always wished I had more confident faith concerning my choices!

Debbie continues . . .

I’d told the designer who’d drawn out a closet plan we wanted to work with her. In my sleep I had second thoughts.

“Lord, I’m too tired to figure this out. I don’t know if we made the right decision.” 

With that prayer an Old Testament passage came to mind.

If a young woman makes a vow…and her father hears of the vow or pledge and does not object to it, then all her vows and pledges will stand. But if her father refuses to let her fulfill the vow or pledge on the day he hears of it, then all her vows and pledges will become invalid. …because her father would not let her fulfill them” (Numbers 30:3-5 NLT).

Relief filled me. I didn’t have to figure it out. Like a good father, my Abba would protect me.

“Father, you heard our words. If we jumped too soon, please rescue us. I’m giving this to You.”

I asked the designer to wait while we did more research. She understood. In the end, we chose a different option that saved us money.

Once I let go of bearing the burden of making the perfect decision and trusted my Father to lead me, I enjoyed the adventure.

I know I’m saved “by grace through faith,” but sometimes I forget I’m to live by faith (Romans 1:17). God wants me to include Him in every aspect of life.

Jesus modeled this. He relied completely on His Father (John 14:10). Jesus wants us to walk with Him the same way (John 15:4-5).

Living by faith protects us from regret, pleases God, and satisfies us (Hebrews 11:6John. 15:11).

Our heavenly Father longs to show up in the mundane tasks of life. When we lean on Him in every area, life becomes an awesome journey.

I find robust faith requires a knowledge of the Word and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

1. The Word

The Bible says our minds are either shaped by the world or transformed by the Word. Without renewing our minds, we can’t recognize our Father's good will for our lives.

  • “Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:2 GW).
  • "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17 NIV).

2. The Spirit

God sent the Holy Spirit to help us and guide us (John 14:17). 

  • “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16 NLT).
  • "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).

Maybe your earthly father is no longer here or wasn't reliable. If you know Jesus, you have a heavenly Father who loves you deeply and covers your back. 

  • “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NIV).

What wakes you up in the middle of the night? Are you learning to rest in the security a good father provides?

Debbie W. Wilson helps people live in God’s grace so they can enjoy fruitful and full lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She is a life coach and an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Share her journey to refreshing faith at debbieWwilson.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Lorraine Cormier and Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jul302019

You Can Be as Close to God as You Want to Be

Life coach Debbie W. Wilson helps people live in God's grace. In this Relationship with God UPGRADE, she offers three tips to help us grow closer to our Heavenly Father.

Debbie shares a friend's words: “I believe, but I don’t feel close to God like some of you. Not sure why. I’d like to.”

I (Dawn) believe every Christian, at some point in their spiritual journey, is nudged by the Holy Spirit to draw closer to God. But perhaps we don't know how.

Debbie continues . . .

My friend’s words caused me to remember my own faith journey.

In Sunday School, my young heart warmed toward God when I heard the stories of David and Goliath and Zacchaeus, the wee little man. My grandmother made sure I treated God with respect. No food in my mouth when we blessed our meal.

But I didn’t understand the part about being a sinner who needed saving. I wasn’t sure what people were saved from. That changed when a youth leader explained John 3:16 at a weekend youth camp and the Holy Spirit cut through my blameless veneer.

I’d wronged God. Jesus had gone to the cross for my sin.

The realization broke—and healed—my heart. The gospel became personal. Jesus didn’t just love this conglomerate called “world.” He loved me!

I returned from camp on top of the world—a citizen of heaven—a child of God. Could anything be better?

But the glow faded. Instead of sprouting wings, I bristled when Mama said, “Clean your room.” I fussed when my little sister got into my stuff.

Knowing Jesus assured me of heaven when I died, but it didn’t seem to make much difference now.

Even reading the Bible raised more questions than it answered.

My Journey

In college, I spent a weekend with some vibrant Christians. Their lives created a thirst to know God better. At a friend’s Bible study, we listened to Bible teaching audio tapes. This group treated the Bible as if it meant what it said.

I’d filtered the Bible through my own understanding. What agreed with my world view I kept, and I dismissed the parts that didn’t. No wonder it didn’t make sense.

A Turning Point

I wanted the peace my college friends who simply trusted the Scriptures shared. But could I let go of relying on my own understanding and fully trust the Scriptures?

God tenderly wooed me to trust Him.

I exchanged my know-it-all approach for childlike faith. The Scriptures came to life. Questions I thought would never be answered in this life became clear. Scales fell off of my eyes.

“I feel I’ve been living blindfolded all my life, and now I see,” I told my friend. “Even how I view the evening news has changed.”

Life brimmed with the presence of God, and I couldn’t get enough of Him.

Perhaps like me and my friend, you want to feel closer to God. You can! Here are some tips to help you get started.

3 Tips to Help You Grow Closer to God

1. Ask Your Heavenly Father for a Closer Relationship.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7: 7-8 NIV).

2. Read the Bible with Childlike Wonder.

“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do’” (Luke 10:21 NIV).

3. Invite Jesus to Be Your Life, Not Just a Part of Life.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 NIV).

The apostle John called himself the one Jesus loved.

That was true of all of the disciples, but John believed it and pursued closeness with Jesus.

Which of these tips might help you draw closer to Jesus?

Debbie W. Wilson helps people live in God’s grace so they can enjoy fruitful and full lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She is a life coach and an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Share her journey to refreshing faith at debbieWwilson.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Jantanee at Lightstock.

Thursday
Mar142019

What My Sick Dog Taught Me about Trust

Debbie W. Wilson is one of my heart sisters. We met on Facebook and we both desire to align our thoughts and behavior with the Word of God. But her Spiritual Life UPGRADE is especially dear to me, helping me to better receive God’s will at a difficult time in my own life.

“I felt like a traitor luring my standard poodle into my vet’s lab room,” Debbie said.

I (Dawn) so understand that. We’ve done that with our maltipoo, Roscoe. But it was for his good! I love how Debbie expresses this simple-but-profound truth.

Debbie continues . . .

I did it to save his life. But Max didn’t know that.

Did he think I was heartless to let the vet draw blood from his thin leg—again?

For months after we learned Max has Addison’s disease, the vet had to draw his blood to check his electrolyte and hormone levels.

One week, Max refused to go with the technician. So instead of handing her the leash, I followed her—and he followed me.

Max’s trust in me made me consider the conditions I’ve put on fully trusting God in painful situations. I’ve thought if only I knew the purpose of my pain then I’d be able to trust God better.

But was that true?

Imagine me explaining Max’s condition to him.

  • I could read him the symptoms off the Internet.
  • I could show him his lab reports.
  • I could remind him how he almost died.

But would that help Max have his blood drawn?

I understand the treatment of Max’s illness better than he does. I know the pain of the needle is brief and the benefits are lasting. How much more does God understand my trials?

Sometimes God allows me to see the benefit of my pain. But some 'whys' remain unanswered.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says,

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (NIV).

The difference between my thoughts and my dog’s is so much less than the distance between God’s thoughts and mine.

If Max can’t understand why I have his blood drawn, do I think I can understand why God takes me through pain and loss?

But God has not left me without assurance.

He has promised:

  • “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17 NIV).
  • “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18 NIV).
  • “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3-5 NIV).

Life on this planet is a vapor. But how we live here affects our eternity.

Pain, loss, and confusion are opportunities to trust our Master.

The hurt is real, but if He allows it then we know it is to benefit us.

As God’s child I can’t shed a hair without God noticing.

When I see Max romp across the yard without a symptom of Addison’s, I thank God for blood tests and shots. I remember how sick he was without them.

He doesn’t understand the connection. He doesn’t need to. Max only needs to know that I take care of him.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31 NASB)

What pain or disappointment has God allowed to touch you? What would trusting Him look like for you?

Debbie W. Wilson aspires to connect people’s hearts to God and help them discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband Larry founded Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible teaching ministry. She enjoys exploring new places, reading a good mystery, and laughing with her two standard poodles. Share her journey to refreshing faith at debbieWwilson.com.

The photos with those two gorgeous poodles are from the author, Debbie.

Thursday
Oct182018

12 Traits of Unsafe People

Counselor and Bible teacher Debbie W. Wilson helps people develop relevant faith. She also teaches people practical wisdom from scripture. In this Relationship UPGRADE, Debbie clearly defines a group of people that might harm us.

She asks, "Do you have an unsafe person in your life?"

I (Dawn) do have some people that seem to flash warning signs when I'm with them. Most people have some "unsafe" people in their lives, and sometimes it's hard to know how to respond to them. I'm glad Debbie is tackling this issue.

Debbie continues . . .

Jacob’s father-in-law and employer for twenty years was an unsafe person. Laban’s name means white. But he was a dark cloud for Jacob.

Unsafe people live, work, and worship among us.

They may appear friendly and good. But beneath their scrubbed exterior lies a dark streak.

Laban betrayed his daughter Rachel and Jacob by switching the bride the night of the wedding. He cheated Jacob by changing his wages ten times.

His story helps us identify the unsafe people in our lives.

               12 Traits of Unsafe People

1. Unsafe people use you as long as it benefits them.

Laban wanted Jacob to stay while Jacob made him prosperous (Genesis 30:25-28).

2. Unsafe people are reasonable to your face but undermine you behind your back. 

Laban agreed to give Jacob the spotted and streaked animals as his wages, but he gave them to his sons instead. He thought leaving the solid colored herds would decrease Jacob’s chances to raise spotted animals (Genesis 30:34-36).

3. Unsafe people are threatened by your success and disregard your faithfulness.

Jacob’s growing herds threatened Laban’s sons. Laban’s attitude changed toward Jacob. They forgot Jacob’s work had made them rich (Genesis 31:1-3).

4. Unsafe people can’t thwart God’s blessings or will for you.

Every time Laban changed Jacob’s wages, God intervened.

If Laban said, “The speckled ones will be your wages,” then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young (Genesis 31:4-9).

5. Unsafe people don't determine your well-being.

Rachel and Leah acknowledged the bounty their heavenly Father had provided in spite of their father wronging them (Genesis 31:14-16).

6. Unsafe people are on God’s leash.

Jacob was no match for Laban’s men. He didn’t have to be.

God appeared in a dream and stopped Laban from attacking Jacob (Genesis 31:24).

7. Unsafe people manipulate with guilt and shame.

They make you the villain and themselves the victim.

Jacob had the cooperation of his wives (Genesis 31:4-16), but Laban accused him of carrying them off like captives in war.

“You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing.” (See Genesis 31:26-28.)

8. Unsafe people's true intentions come out through their unguarded words.

“I have the power to harm you; but God stopped me” (Genesis 31:29).

What? I thought you said Jacob had no cause to run off in secret.

9. Unsafe people are mercenary.

Decisions are based on personal profit—not kindness, relationship, or right and wrong (Genesis 31:38-41).

10. Unsafe people believe they are entitled—me, my, mine! 

Jacob worked twenty years for his wives and flocks.

Laban said, “They’re mine!” (Genesis 31:43).

11. Unsafe people hypocritically accuse you of their ill motives.

Laban said, “If you mistreat my daughters….”

Laban had already wronged Rachel and Leah (Genesis 31:15, 50).

12. Unsafe people are distrustful because they assume you share their ill will.

Laban wanted a watchtower to keep Jacob from harming him and promised he wouldn't pursue Jacob.

Yet, Laban's the one who chased Jacob to harm him and had repeatedly cheated him (Genesis  31:51-52).

Laban debunks the myth we should trust people just because they are family members, authority figures, or claim to be believers.

Don't feel guilty if your caution light flashes when you are around someone.

Ask God for discernment and then boldly heed it.

Eventually, Jacob and his family had to separate from Laban and his sons.

The Bible says:

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NIV).

Sadly, sometimes it is not possible to live at peace with some people and be true to our walk with God.

What traits concerning the people with whom you live and work alert you to proceed with caution?

Debbie W. Wilson—drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher—speaks, writes, and coaches to help others discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God: It's Not the Size of Your Problems, but the Size of Your God and Give Yourself a Break: Discover the Secrets to God's Rest. Find her at her blog, Refreshing Faith.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of MGDboston at Morguefile.

Tuesday
Apr032018

Why We Need Billy Graham's Perspective on Time

When I think about Debbie W. Wilson, I think of the word "refreshing." She encourages us to get a fresh perspective on things we take for grated. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she encourages a more biblical perspective on how we view and use our time.

"When a university student asked Billy Graham what had been the biggest surprise in his life," Debbie says, "he answered, 'My biggest surprise in life is its brevity.'”

I (Dawn) think that realization becomes more apparent the older we get. In day-to-day circumstances, we may forget to live in light of eternity. But life is short; what are we waiting for?

Debbie continues . . .

James agreed. He wrote to those bragging about their big plans for the future,  

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14 NIV).

Job put it this way,

“My days come and go swifter than the click of knitting needles, and then the yarn runs out—an unfinished life! (Job 7:6 The Message).

An adult mayfly has a lifespan of less than a day. In comparison with eternity, our lifespan is shorter than a mayfly’s.

Remembering this helps us live without regret.

Our family traveled I-40 from California to North Carolina. If you look at I-40 as representing eternity—which it feels like when you’re glued to the seat of a car with two small children wanting to escape the back seat—our lifespan covers less than 2 miles of I-40’s 2,555 miles.

Cultivating an Eternal Perspective

Remembering life’s brevity should shake us from our slumber. Are we living for the 20-mile stretch or for eternity?

Remembering the brevity of life changes us. It changes—

1. Our PURPOSE

Instead of bragging about my plans, I seek His plan for my life. He knows the future; I don’t.

I want to live for eternity.

2. Our DEFINITION of a Deal.

James rebuked the wealthy who got rich by not paying their workers on time.

“You thought you were piling up wealth. What you’ve piled up is judgment” (from James 5:1-3 The Message).

If saving some cash cheats a sales person out of the fair compensation he needs to feed and shelter his family, it is not a good deal.

The wealth of those James rebuked became a source of shame when they faced death.

3. What we COLLECT

I love to decorate, but when our family moved to the Midwest for a two-year stint, we didn’t invest much time or money into our rental house. However, I willingly spent more on furnishings at a nearby antique auction for pieces I knew we’d move to our permanent home.

It would have been a waste to paint walls and plant shrubs in a place we were soon leaving.

When we set up our permanent home, we were thankful for the pieces we’d bought with our future in mind. 

It’s not wrong to store up treasure. We just need an eternal mindset to identify real treasure and to store it in the right place where it will not be corroded or have the power to corrupt us (Matthew 6:19-34).

4. The LEGACY We Leave

A cartoon showed a man standing before a storage unit with his son. The raised door revealed a space packed from floor to ceiling with stuff.

“This will all be yours one day,” the father beamed as his son grimaced.

What am I leaving behind? For what will I be remembered?

Billy Graham’s “brief” life on earth ended this year. His faithfulness to Christ during his 99 years blessed millions. I can only imagine the throngs of people who greeted him in heaven.

Our lives may not be as public as his, but our choice to live with an eternal perspective is just as valuable.

How does considering the brevity of life change how you live today?

Debbie W. Wilson—drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher—speaks and writes to help others discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog and website.

Graphic Adapted, courtesy of JaStra at Pixabay.