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ZMI Family Ministries International > Articles by: Starr Ayers

Wake Up!

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36, NIV

In 1917, New York artist, James Montgomery Flagg painted the World War I poster Wake Up, America. A young lady is shown sleeping while the storm of war brews behind her. Dressed in red, white, and blue apparel, she wears a Phrygian cap, the symbol of liberty. Flagg painted the poster with hopes that it would inspire Americans to wake up and do their part for the war effort. In response to calls like his, thousands of men, women, and children stepped into their respective roles. The dedication and unity of those who answered the call to serve changed the tide of war and secured America’s victory and the freedoms we now enjoy.

Today, another storm brews across our land. America is undergoing a tremendous shift in its social, political, economic, and religious atmosphere. As we move farther and farther away from the godly principles upon which our nation was founded, there is a steady rise in division, discord and strife. The Scripture text exhorts believers to be ready to serve and be lights in the dark days prior to Christ’s return. Are you prepared for what lies ahead—am I? Are we ready to respond to God’s call to serve? Will we open the door to His daily presence in our lives and move forward in the power of His Spirit?

In Genesis 14, when Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been taken captive by the enemy, he rallied his troops and stepped out to rescue him. Yes, Lot chose to live in the wicked city of Sodom, but Abram never gave up on him. Because of his unconditional love and valiant effort, Lot’s freedom was restored.

Two of my favorite verses in Scripture are Romans 8:35 and 37: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Wake up, children of God! United in prayer and service, we can change the tide of the spiritual war raging around us. Fight for the souls of those you love. Christ gave His all for their freedom. The enemy is a defeated foe. Believe it. Suit up. Step out. Step into the role God has for you. His presence is with you. We are more than conquerors!

Starr Ayers

Go and Tell

“After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. ”
Luke 2:17, NIV

It was only one line, but I executed it well.

Standing as tall as a preschooler could stand, I looked across the crowd of adoring parents packed into the small chapel. It was my moment—my opportunity to shine—to proclaim the birth of the baby Jesus.

“While shepherds washed their sheets by night….”

Oops! Not exactly the message I was expected to convey, but one I spoke with delight and with words that certainly brought joy to the faces of everyone who heard them.

The Christmas story reminds me that God first entrusted the news of his Son’s birth to men on the lowest rung of society—outcasts, who slept on the ground and smelled like sheep. Shepherds considered so untrustworthy their testimony wasn’t allowed in court. If I’d written the script, I’m sure I would’ve chosen a much more flamboyant conclave of men to be the first evangelists.

But God got it right. And so did the shepherds. Over two-thousand years later, we’re still talking about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Though we can only speculate as to why God chose the shepherds, we can learn from the things this band of unschooled men got right. Take a moment to read the Christmas story in Luke 2, and let’s make the shepherd’s response our own this Christmas season.

The NIV translation relays that the shepherds were nearby (v.8). They were positioned to hear a revelation that would awaken a nation. May we position ourselves to hear the words of our Heavenly Father—words that will awaken our hearts and impact the lives of others.

They kept watch (v.8). The shepherds were alert and prepared to care for the sheep and handle whatever took place on their watch. May we live in expectation as we prepare for and carry out the tasks that God has assigned us.

They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby (v.16). The shepherds sought to confirm the angel’s message for themselves. May we not settle for second-hand information but move without hesitation to confirm the things we read and hear.

They spread the word (v.17). The shepherds boldly proclaimed Christ’s birth and all who heard their words were amazed. May we understand that we’re all valuable to God and have a story to tell. It’s our responsibility to share the Gospel; God is responsible for the response.

They returned glorifying and praising God (v.20). Elated, the shepherds returned to the fields with a new sense of purpose and worth, knowing that God was who he said he was. May we realize that it’s not our position in life, but the position of our hearts before God that will make a lasting impact in a world that needs a Savior.

This is your moment—your opportunity to shine. Go and tell!

Merry Christmas!

Starr

Color My World

“Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”
John 12:35-36, NIV 

Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color premiered on television in 1961. Founder and creative genius, Walt Disney opened the color broadcast each week saying, “The world we live in would look pretty dull if Mother Nature used a black and white palette and painted only in shades of gray.” Some viewers watched the show in Technicolor, but our home along with the majority of the nation continued to watch in black and white. Color was available, yet many of us remained locked in worlds of gray.

I’ve read that some blind individuals wouldn’t trade their worlds of darkness for ones of sight. One man stated, “I’ve been blind since birth, and I can honestly say that the thought of suddenly getting the vision I’ve never had would scare me to death. I don’t know if I could adjust. I’m secure in my blindness.” Another relayed, “If I could have surgery that would give me sight, I wouldn’t do it. I’m happy with me and who I am. As a blind person, I function well. I just wouldn’t want to start over.” For these individuals, their fear of change is greater than their fear of the darkness.

It’s hard for me to comprehend how people can acclimate themselves to a world of darkness, but in reality in the spiritual realm—we have. We’ve conditioned our minds, hardened our hearts, and closed our eyes to the moral decay of our society. Many people embrace a cultural relativism that denies the existence of absolute truth, and they live behind a smokescreen of tolerance and inclusion.

Two days before his death on the cross, Jesus warned of the peril that would befall those who choose to walk in darkness. Rejecting him and the truth of his Word would result in spiritual blindness and death. It was a harsh reality then and remains a harsh reality today.

However, Christ in his loving mercy followed his solemn warning with liberating words of hope. By believing in him, we can all become children of light. The Light of the World is still with us and is available for all of humanity. No one is destined to remain locked in a world of gray.

Do not allow your fear of change to become greater than your fear of darkness. Ask God to color your world with the light of Christ and experience his wonderful world of color.

Happy fall!

Starr Ayers