June 30, 2009

Last Stop on Generations Tour

Serenbe Inn, Palmetto, Georgia
"How to Bless the Next Generation"

On Saturday, June 27, I had the honor of spending the day with a group of precious believers from Newnan, Georgia. They were so open and responsive to the Word that I shared. Our meeting room was secluded at a beautiful inn, on a farm that instantly relaxes you as you drive its narrow roads, passing lovely homes, a farmer's market, shops and restaurants. It is a community designed to be tucked away.

This Encouragement Event was timely for me as I conclude this series and begin to prepare and pray about the next season for this ministry. I know that this place and others like it will be great venues for future Devoted Living Retreats. Our hope is to offer at least two reatreats in 2010, one back in the Atlanta area and one in Orlando as well. An event in Huntsville, Alabama is also on the calendar for late 2009. We hope that you can join us for worship, encouragement from God's Word, and a time to retreat from the world.

I have no ambition for this ministry, but I do have a desire to press on to God's next assignment. I will obey. Although, this series has been so fruitful in my life and in others, I know that blessing the next generation is a wise investment for us all to make. As I was sharing last weekend, the Holy Spirit showed me an area where I was not practicing what I preach. As I was talking to the group, I knew that I had an appointment for Him to show me some things about the way I have been teasing and talking about my children. I am so grateful to be aware of this now; it would grieve me to not be walking this teaching with my own family. I choose to bless. (Deuteronomy 30)

Thank you to all of the friends that I have met and visited in the following cities over the past year in Alabama, Florida and Georgia: Daphne, Mobile, Foley, and Prattville, Alabama; Atlanta area, Georgia, Winter Springs and Orlando area, Florida. I hope to see you all again at future events. Let me know what God is doing in your life in any of the areas discussed on the website or at your Encouragement Event.


Leigh Ann Crawford

June 17, 2009


Take this quiz:
1. Do you have Spirit power running your engines? yes or no
2. Do you speak curses? sometimes/never/always
3. What would your closest friends say is your plan for the future? blessing or disaster

It's time to make a plan. Our future is coming. We can plan for it or just react to it.
For about 10 years, I have been in the Lord's classroom (as my mom would say) in the area of my words. I have been praying for God's Words to speak over my family's future. My words get me into more trouble than anything else. Now the Holy Spirit, in love, reminds me when I am getting lazy or careless with my chatter. These verses provide some perspective.

"Our family will always struggle with this sin or that addiction."
"He is so rebellious."
"She is going to have such a hard life."
This should not be.

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" James 3: 9-12

Deuteronomy 11:26: "I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse." Curses? Isn't that a bit dramatic? Well, like so many other spiritual concepts, we can have it one way or the other.

"Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. Who will proclaim it to us so we may obey it? I have set before you- life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life!" -Deuteronomy 30:11,19

Even after growing up in church, I did not understand until I was in my twenties that self control was a fruit of the Spirit. I believed that responding to the Spirit looked like an emotional reaction at best. Yes, I knew that God would not lead me to contradict His word, but I had a lot of gray area within that perimeter.

I almost dropped my Bible when I realized that Spirit fruit included self control. And that self control applied to my mouth. When I stopped a sin before it was in full bloom, I was a Spirit tree. Love and joy were great, but I often stopped at the beginning of that list in Galatians 5.

As my walk with the Lord became more of a daily relationship, rather than a weekly or monthly check in, I saw that He was rescuing me from hurts by preventing some unproductive conversations before they could start. He gave me a choice.

This is not too difficult! Choose life! Choose words that bless your future.

June 4, 2009

I'm Sorry!

I have a little quirk where I say, "I'm sorry" to everyone all day long. Now I hear our daughter saying it, and I want to be more careful. I want to say what I mean. Do you remember "My bad?" That was such a useful little phrase. It's not appropriate for me to use that in my little world, but I miss it. In the meantime, I have diluted the words we have for genuine apologies.

"I'm sorry" while my children were trailing into Target and the hurried guy was trying to enter at the same time and had to wait for us.
"I'm sorry, sweet girl, but those clothes do not match."
"I'm sorry those clothes are not appropriate."
"I'm sorry that you cannot wear that."
I have a lot of fashion related conversations with one of our kids.
"I'm sorry about the pain that your family is feeling these days."
"I'm sorry that we can't make it to that."
"I'm sorry that you lost your job."
"I'm sorry that I said that."

2 Corinthians 7:10-13
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret but worldy sorrow brings death.

Last week, I had some sweet friends over for an Encouragement Night at my house. They prayed for me, and I prayed with them. We talked about worldly sorrow and Godly sorrow. We talked about regret and how none of us like it. We looked at the passage above in light of God's plan for us: sorrow that leads to salvation that then leads to satisfaction.

Satisfaction means that we are not weighed down with regret. We are settled and peaceful and in a good place. We have an open line between to the Lord. We have confessed our sins; we have been praising Him and thanking Him regularly. Most importantly, we see that although we may have received salvation for our sin's punishment, we have accepted God's grace through Jesus. But there are situations every day where we need salvation. There are relationships that need to be healed, rescued, and saved.

We have heard so much about leaders of companies trying to save jobs. There are jobs that need to be saved. We need a Savior. We need that salvation with no regrets. Godly sorrow also involves pulling down any walls between us and God. I would include sin or hurt feelings or confusion or fear or addictions that have crept into our relationship with God. If we feel worldly sorrow, we are stuck. If we stay stuck, our relationship erodes. That brings death.

Worldly sorrow is really an experience where we feel sad or even regret something, but do not change. Have you ever felt powerless about something that you continued to do or say even though it made you miserable? Have you ever been stuck in a cycle of sin and regret and sin and more regret?

With Godly sorrow, however, we take a different road. We repent. I always think of that voice in the wilderness calling, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matthew 3:2) John the Baptist introduced his listeners to changing their mind. In Mark 1:4, it is described as a baptism of repentance. He offered people a Savior to change their minds about their religious ruts and a way to step into a new life.

Unless we step out of that circle and do something radical to start a new path, we will dread the sound of our own words: "I'm sorry."