Monday, June 01, 2009
Don't Give In...God Wants You to Win! by Thelma Wells
Popular author and conference speaker Thelma Wells inspires readers to fight the good fight of faith and win the raging wars that they battle each day as the enemy tries to steal their joy, kill their hopes and dreams, and destroy their lives. In her personable and enthusiastic style, Wells helps readers understand:
what spiritual warfare is
why they fight
who they are fighting
how to dress for the war
how to win the war
who ultimately is in control of the fight
Don’t Give In—God Wants You to Win! will cause readers to understand that the battles they fight are really not theirs. Those battles belong to the God of “Peace, be still,” who will give them the strategies and courage they need to resist Satan’s tricks.
Wells writes for anyone fighting battles over family, relationships, finances, health, broken dreams, disappointments, and just the dailyness of life that can cause so much distress and hurt. Through instruction from God’s Word and stories of modern–day as well as biblical people, Wells shows how to relinquish those troubles to the only Person who can guarantee winning strategies for life.
About the Author
From times of singing in a dark closet to the founding of a national women’s mentoring ministry, Thelma Wells' life has been a courageous journey of faith. The name on her birth certificate read simply: Baby Girl Morris. Thelma’s mother was a severely deformed teenager with no husband and no place to go, since her own abusive mother insisted that she take the baby and leave the house. So when the baby was born, her unwed teenage mother found work as a maid cleaning “the big house” while living with her baby daughter in servants’ quarters. Eventually, the baby went to live with her great-grandparents, who called her Thelma Louise Smith and loved her dearly. They took little Thelma to church, where she learned to love the hymns and praise songs.
On those occasions when Thelma was taken to her grandparents’ home, her grandmother abused her, just as she had tormented Thelma’s mother. She was locked in a dark, smelly, insect-infested closet until just before her grandfather came home when her grandmother would bring her out of the closet, clean her up, and act as if all was well. In spite of her deep fear, little Thelma spent her time in the closet singing every hymn and praise song she could remember. She would sing herself to sleep in that closet, and the Lord received this little girl’s innocent praise and rewarded it with an abundant life of joy, protecting her from feelings of anger or bitterness.
Thelma grew up to become a trailblazer for black women, a prominent international speaker and author, and a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. As a student at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas (now the University of North Texas), she was a member of the first group of girls to integrate the school’s dormitories. She earned her Bachelor’s degree there and eventually received a Master’s of Ministry from Master’s International School of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. In 2002 she became the school’s first black female professor.
In 1980 Thelma became the first black woman in the South to organize her own international speaking and consulting corporation. Her natural talent for public speaking and storytelling attracted the attention of the Women of Faith Tour, and in 1996 she became the first black core speaker for the organization. She has authored several books, including God Is Not Through With Me Yet, an inspiring examination of her own life experiences in which she encourages readers to “sing in the closets of their lives.” She serves as the president of The Daughters of Zion Leadership Mentoring Program, an organization she founded in 2000 (another first for a black woman). Through this ministry, “Mama T,” as she is affectionately called, has mentored over 100 spiritual daughters, received an honorary doctorate degree and was ordained into the Christian Ministry on December 16, 2008, from St. Thomas Christian College and Theological Seminary and the Association of Christian Churches in Jacksonville, Florida. She was also was named Extraordinary Woman of the Year 2008 by Mrs. Julie Clinton, Host of the Extraordinary Women Conferences an affiliate of the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Thelma has been married to George Wells, her best friend, supporter, and encourager, for over 45 years. The couple lives in Dallas, Texas, and has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Interview with Thelma Wells
Thelma: I’m delighted to be here today to visit with you and your readers, and share about a topic that is dear to my heart.
Q: Thelma, you have had a successful banking and corporate career. You’ve spoken all over the country and around the world, done a lot of radio interviews, had your own television show, and written a lot of books. Many of our readers will be familiar with you from the Women of Faith conferences. It seems you’ve “done it all.” So when you left Women of Faith in February 2008, what was it that you were leaving them to do?
A: Actually, I really did not fully understand what I was going to do. I was simply following the very clear instructions of God that it was time to go. I had a few speaking engagements on my calendar but certainly not enough to make ends meet. My total dependence was on God and waiting to see what He had in store for me.
Q: Your new book, Don’t Give In…God Wants YOU to Win!, is based on a real life experience. Will you tell us a little of that story?
A: I was in elementary school when one of my friends told people she was going to beat me up. I could not understand why but it was real. After school for two days I faced a crowd hungry to see a fight and a girl who I thought was my friend hit me and frighten me to tears. One the second day of my fighting ordeal my great grandmother who raised me gave me some strong advice, “Thelma, the only way to deal with a bully is to fight them. You better fight her tomorrow and beat her up. If not, you’re going to get a whipping when you get home. That was the determining factor. My Granny who had taught me that ladies don’t fight had just reversed the instruction to “fight the bully.”
I did fight her the third day and hit her hard, so she ran home, not me. I learned that when we are faced with the bully, the adversary, the enemy of our souls, the devil himself, the only way to win is to fight him with all the ammunition we have, the Whole Armor of God.
Q: This book is about spiritual warfare, demons, the Holy Spirit, and some pretty heavy-duty areas. Why write on this topic?
A: In this day and age when all around us seems to failing like our economic system, the government, relationships, health, self-worth, business and workplace situations, the church, wayward children, divorce and so much more, it is imperative that people have something sturdy and reliable to hold on to. Everyday we are fighting some kind of battle small, great or tremendous. When we don’t know how to fight against the disappoint, heartache, confusion, depression, and all the emotional and spiritual fall out from these issues, we become desperate, violent, vicious and vile. John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy us. But, Jesus has come to give us life and that life more abundantly than the feelings of no hope. This book teaches about the only hope we have and how to use that hope physically, emotionally and spiritually with a guarantee that we are winners when we do.
Q: You’ve been known as the BEE lady, but it seems you’re evolving into more than that? Where do you see your ministry heading in the future?
A: God has so many surprises for me that my heart is overflowing. I have a teaching and preaching anointing that has made my ministry one of integrity and worth. God is doing great things in my life and reinventing some vital things that will be seen by everybody in a few weeks. He has guaranteed me that the international travel I’ve done over the past thirty years, the seeds I’ve sown over my lifetime, the barriers and tough times I’ve overcome are about to pay off in many different ways. He has put Christian people in my life that have and are changing the course of my life in great and wonderful ways. I will be taking a group to Israel next November, on other Ready to Win tours throughout the world, working with World Vision in their child sponsorship program, presenting mini Ready To Win Conferences throughout the world, and whatever else the Lord assigns me to do.
Q: Congratulations on your first Ready to Win Conference. We heard you had an awesome weekend in Garland, TX with a great group of speakers, musical artists, and attendees. Having done so many conferences in the past, why do another conference?
A: This is not just another conference. This Ready To Win Conference does not just excite people or create positive thinking, it gives everyone, saved and unsaved, the winning weapons to fight off all the wicked in this world. People are not only encouraged to win the war against the evil one, they are given easy to understand tools that they have reported are so vivid in their minds that they can apply every day in every situation. Coming together in a group and learning these tried and true skills is so much easier to understand than writing it in a book or seeing it on DVD. The reports have been that this works because they were able to see it, hear it, feel it, and use it instantly and forever. In today’s world, another conference is not what we are about. We are about people joining together from different denominations, ethnicities, geographic locations, languages, and thought systems and getting insight and instruction that can bring people of all walks of life together to become a mighty army against the forces of evil.
Q: As a follow up, how can people get the Ready to Win Conference to their area?
A: People all over the world can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back with them with the details of how the Ready To Win Conference can come to their area.
Q: In your book, Don’t Give In…God Wants YOU to Win!, you talk about doing rituals as it relates to fighting the good fight of faith. Will you explain that word to us and give us an example?
A: The word ritual is used on to denote the routines we have in our daily lives like fixing our hair, dressing ourselves, and being prepared for the day. It means nothing more than that and nothing mysterious that would attract any evil forces.
Q: Spiritual warfare and putting on the armor of God is a daily activity for you. Is this because you’re a nationally known Christian speaker and author, or is this something that everyone should be aware of?
A: Spiritual warfare is the state of our lives whatever and whoever you are. We fight against anger, gluttony, smoking, frustration, and everything else that can make us less than our best. The warfare that we are in daily is because we live in a fallen world where Satan thinks he has power. Each and everyday he tries to confuse us into thinking that things are unfixable, out of control, etc. He is the greatest liar of all times and he lays tricks in our minds, if we let him. From the moment we were born until the day we die we will be fighting spiritual warfare. However, the good news is…people who have accepted Jesus as their Savior never have to fight alone. The end of the story is that Jesus and His people win and the devil is a number one loser!
Q: Thelma, this book was released at a perfect time. So many people are struggling just to survive. They’ve lost jobs, money, health, marriages, and more. Many just want to give up! What can we do if we are in those situations to prepare for victory in the battle of life?
When you’re in a battle these are the things that must be done in order to win:
• Put on the helmet of salvation to cover your thought life.
• Put on the breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart against devil and sin.
• Put on the girdle of Truth so that you will be able to understand what real truth is and be able to use the Sword of the Spirit (The Word of God – the Bible) in every situation as Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil in the mountain.
• Put on the shoes that have prepared you with the preparation of peace so you can march and stay fit as you tell other people about the goodness and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• Hold up the shield of faith believing that God will keep every Promise He made for our good.
• Pray for each other and for ourselves by asking God for what we need, seeking His perfect will in all we do and knocking continually until we know God has answered our prayers. We must realize that God does not answer all our prayers the way we want Him to but whatever way He answers them, they are for our good and for His glory.
• Praise God with thanksgiving for all He has done and will do for us. The worship of God brings us into an atmosphere of being able to fight the good fight of faith and WIN.
Q: Where/how does “submitting to God and the devil will flee from you” fit into spiritual warfare?
A: God asks us to do a simple thing, trust Him enough to give Him all of us. That’s hard to do when you try to control your life yourself. It really amounts to us (you and me) worshipping ourselves instead of worshipping God. When we live in humble submission to God, Satan will try to attack but God is our Protector. This is not a one-time submission to God. Everyday and sometimes during the day we must ask Him to lead us not into temptation and to protect us from evil because evil is always near. We are told to pray without ceasing. This means that we must stay in the attitude of prayer 24/7. It’s simple but it presents a challenge for us because we are so distracted by our day, our desires, our dreams, our relationships, etc. that we often forget that none of this would be possible were it not for the Lord who grants it. Submission means to let God be the driving force and the guiding force in our lives and trust Him that He will do exceedingly abundantly over and above what we can ask or think according to His power that works in us. The most peaceful, contented condition of my life is when I actually and earnestly turned my entire life over to the direction of God. I can now recognize when Satan tries to tempt me, confuse me, and drive me into doing or saying things I should not. It has come about with trust in God and practice of His word. Satan will attack but God will counter-act.
Q: Most of us are familiar with the list of spiritual weapons available for us to use as listed in Ephesians 6. You have a way to remember these that might be more relevant to today’s woman – as a mom, wife, business woman, etc. Will you share these five things with us that you do daily when you’re getting “dressed” in the morning?
Book DescriptionThelma, it seems you are all over the Internet these days. Anyone can find you on your web site, Facebook, Twitter, web casts, a blog tour, the You Go Girl Network, and other cutting edge things with technology. Why is it important for you to use all these various methods to spread your message?
Technology is the way God planned for us to get His message to the world according to Matthew 28:19.
How did you get the name, Mama T?
A young lady in my church named me that because she thought that was a fitting name for me and it has become a loving name for the ladies in my mentoring groups.
So what’s next for the Mama T and Ready to Win?
My website (ThelmaWells.com) is being reinvented to a teaching tool for people to learn more and more about how to win the battles of life. There will be powerful tools available, I will be personally speaking with people and many other changes that will enlighten, encourage, inform, influence and empower people to fight the good fight and win.
Where can our readers buy your new book and register for the webcast?
On my web site, which is ThelmaWells.com. They can click on the July RTW On-line Web cast button to learn more or register for the next series of web casts that start on July 7. You can also watch this video to learn more…click here.
My new book, Don’t Give In – God Wants YOU To Win! is also available online and at local bookstores such as, Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Christian Stores, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble Book Stores, Mardel’s, Anchor Distributors, Christianbook.com, and many other stores and vendors throughout American and the United Kingdom.
Is there anything that we didn’t ask that you’d like to share with us?
In all we’ve said, we need to remember that Jesus loves YOU and has a plan for your life. This plan includes you living a life free from worry and anxiety. God is in control of everything. When we trust in Him, give Him our lives to guide, seek the will of the Father, ask Jesus to be the Lord and Master of our lives, and accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are winners and nobody or nothing can take that away from us!
Thank you, darling, for having me today on your blog. I hope you and your readers will visit my web site at ThelmaWells.com. And remember always be READY TO WIN!