June 1, 2010 I published the last issue (at least for a while) of Girl Talk my teen girl magazine. Since this blog was originally designed for the purpose of publishing weekly devotions for the magazine and later the magazine itself I decided to create another blog that isn’t connected to Girl Talk.

I’ll probably still publish book reviews or other items here now and again but you’ll more often find me at Trusting Him with Today. I hope you’ll stop by



Dec 31, 2007

A New Day Dawning

Yesterday is past and gone
Tomorrow is but a dream
Today is all that I have
To fulfill God's holy call

Yesterday is but a memory
Tomorrow I may not see
So what I have to do for God
I must do today!

God cares not about yesterday
And tomorrow he's never promised
He judges me by my today
so I must live it to the fullest

I must do all I can today!
I will not dwell on yesterday!
I cannot count on tomorrow,
I must do God's will today!

So at the dawn of this new day
I make a promise in my heart
To not wait until tomorrow
But do God’s will today!

by Bernadine McIntosh
December 31, 2001 7:16pm

Letting go, holding on and moving forward

I'm over here today



Do drop by and join me in reflecting on 2007.

Dec 19, 2007

Anticipating another celebration...

I'm over here today



I'm talking about one of my Mom's favorite scriptures

1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14: 1-3


Do drop by.

Dec 16, 2007

What's for Breakfast

“A mother and father were frustrated with their two boys that had developed a foul mouth from being around kids at school. The Father told his wife, "I know what my father would do if I used words our sons are using. He would grab us up and whip us with a belt. I believe that is the only thing that will work with thees boys."

Being desperate, the mother said, "O.K., we will try that first thing Monday morning."

On Monday morning the first boy came down the stairs for breakfast. He sat down and the mother asked him what he wanted for breakfast.

The boy said, "I guess I want those "blinkety blank" cornflakes. Without saying a word the Father grabbed him and whipped him good with a belt.

The second boy had witnessed the event from the top of the stairs. The Father look up at him and said, "What do you want from breakfast."

The second boy said, "I don't know, but I sure don't want any of those "blinkety blank" cornflakes."

For more smiles visit Lynn

Dec 13, 2007

Pages of Life

Something to think about as another year comes to an end.



As you look back on the pages of your life you'll be filled with awe that your heavenly father has brought you so far. you'll see pages that are tear stained where you'd cried, from some pain or broken heart that seemed too hard to bear... but you did.

You'll see pages that bring a smile to your lips because it reminds you of some long forgotten joy... you'll be glad you remembered.

You'll see pages of dreams and expectations you'd long given up on... maybe you'll need reminding.

As you turn the pages of your life you'll fine many different themes; sorrow, joy, hope, love, expectation, hurt, anger... they will all be there. But as you turn each page you'll sense Jesus' presence there.

He was with you when you laughed with joy...

He was with you when you sighed and cried...

He was with you when you were angry...

He was with you when you were glad...

He was with you when you didn't even know he was there.

So as you turn the final few pages on this year in your life, thank him and remember that by his grace there are hopefully many more pages to go and if you'll let Him he'll be with you as you turn them all.


GT June/Aug 2004 *edited*

Dec 8, 2007

Thru a child's eyes

It was late at night and Heidi, who was expecting her second child, was home alone with her 3 year old daughter, Katelyn. Heidi started to go into labor and called 911.

Due to a power outage at the time, only one paramedic was able to respond to the call.

The house was very, very dark, so the paramedic asked Katelyn to hold a flashlight high over her mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby.

Very diligently, Katelyn did as she was asked. Heidi pushed and pushed, and after a little while Connor was born. The paramedic lifted him by his feet, and spanked him on his bottom. Connor began to cry.

The paramedic then thanked Katelyn for her help, and asked the wide-eyed 3 year old Katelyn what she thought about what she had just witnessed.

Katelyn quickly responded, "He shouldn't have crawled in there in the first place. Spank him again."


For more smiles visit Lynn

Dec 6, 2007

Countdown to Christmas

I'm over here tomorrow (Friday)



I'm taking a break from grading Final Exams and keying in grades to Countdown to Christmas. Come on over.

Nov 29, 2007

From Failure to Success

(Confessions of a former Mathematical failure)

Math has never been my best subject. From primary school straight up to college I struggled with Math. In fact during my college years I struggled with math so much that I honestly thought it would be the one subject that would keep me from getting my college degree. Yes it was that bad. Every other subject I could pass with pretty decent grades but oh boy, that Math!

After I passed my college prep Math *big sigh of relief* it was time to face the dreaded Math 140. I struggled through getting a few good grades, a few bad grades but I thought it would balance out in the end. Unfortunately, midterm changed all that.

When I got my Midterm Exam back there it was, the big red letter that no student ever wants to see. That day just happened to be the last day to drop a subject without academic penalty. I knew that I could not recover from that failing grade since that test was worth about 25% of my entire course grade. Also, I couldn’t afford to mess up my grade point average so I did what I had to do. I went directly to the business office and dropped the subject.

I decided to do Math 140 during a summer semester. It was a shorter period of time but by doing it alone I thought I’d find it a little easier and a little less threatening. I was wrong! I found it just as difficult this time around. But I was determined to pass the course. I went to peer tutoring, I went to my lecturer’s office hours and I spent hours and hours struggling to work out problems on my own. However, I still had the fear that I would fail the subject.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. Daniel 1:17

A friend who knew about my battle with Math sent me the above Bible verse. I committed the verse to memory and every time I felt uncertain I’d repeat it to myself. I reminded myself that if God could give Daniel and his friends, knowledge and understanding in all subjects then surely giving me the ability to understand Math wasn’t an impossible task. Fortunately it wasn’t. I won’t say that Math suddenly began easy to me but I was able to pass it with a B (I’d only been praying for a C).

There it is, one of my most embarrassing stories. But I hope it encourages you to just keep at it even when it doesn’t seem like you’re doing as well as you would like to in school or in life. You’ll succeed it you keep trying, trust God and never give up. Remember though, faith without works is dead. It is unrealistic to say that you’re trusting God to help you if you’re unwilling to put in the extra time to accomplish your goals.


I thought I'd post this article from the Sept/Nov issue of Girl Talk to encourage those of you who are studying for end of term exams. Happy studying :)

Nov 25, 2007

When Hope Springs Anew

I'm over here today



Stop by and read my article, When Hope Springs Anew

The Gift

Thanks for the electric guitar you gave me for Christmas," little Chris Cody said to his uncle the first time he saw him after the holidays. "It's the best present I ever got."

"That's great," said his uncle. "Do you know how to play it?"

"Oh, I don't play it," the little fellow said. "My mom gives me a dollar a day not to play it during the day and my dad gives me five dollars a week not to play it at night.


(I'm so thinking about buying one of my godsons drums this Christmas...)

Nov 19, 2007

Reading because it's my duty

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua 1:8

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15


As much as I love my Lord there are times when I just don’t feel like reading his word. I don’t feel like reading for the love of reading and I don’t feel like reading for inspiration. His word just sometimes for whatever reason doesn’t captivate me like it should. However it’s those times that I have to remind myself that it is my duty, to do so. So just like those days when I don’t feel like going to work but I force myself because of duty so do I with the word of God. I’ve learned over the years that as I go against what I’m feeling in my mind and do what God expects from me anyway that I often come away feeling refreshed, renewed and inspired by something that he allowed me to see in his word.


I posted this poem before however, I thought it fit with this post although it's not actually about Bible reading.

Sometimes

Sometimes I enter your house Lord
And it’s not where I want to be
I don’t feel like lifting my hands
Or singing praises to your name

I don’t want to hear the preacher
Preach a message about God’s grace
I want the service to be over
So I can be on my way

But as I sit in the sanctuary
And I begin to meditate
I think about all you’ve done
And how you saved me by your grace

And as I think about you Lord
The tears begin to slowly fall
As the iciness within my heart
Begin to melt from your son’s warmth

So I slip my hand to heaven
And begin to praise your holy name
Because Lord I do realize
This you do require of me

You want me to praise you
When I feel like and when I don’t
To deny the natural man
And tune in to only you

As I tune into your frequency
You begin to speak to me
You let me know that you are pleased
With my sacrificial praise

By the time I leave the service
My attitude is totally changed
And I wonder within myself
“why didn’t I want to praise God’s name?

Nov 18, 2007

The Lost Cell Phone

“I think you have my cell phone” I told the gentleman at the end of the phone line.

It was about 10 at night, an hour earlier I had noticed that my cell phone was missing after I returned home from a PTA meeting. I dialed my cell number from my home phone three times hoping someone would pick up. No one did but, an hour later a gentleman called because he had seen the missed calls on the phone.

"You lost your phone where?” he replied after I had already told him I had lost it at a PTA meeting. “I wasn’t even there and I’ve had this phone for a while.”

“Well maybe I transposed my phone number when I dialed” I replied, not wanting to call him a less than honest person (although I was thinking it). “Thanks for calling back.”

After I hung up from the gentleman, I checked the caller ID. It looked as if the call had come from my cell phone. However, just to be safe I called my sister.

“Steph, what’s my cell phone number?” She gave it to me, laughing the whole time. It sounded like the number I had dialed, but anyway I dialed it again expecting to hear the same, less than honest, guy answer.

What I heard was a ringing sound coming from somewhere in my house…

Yes dear reader, it truly happened. I don’t know my own cell phone number. And wasn’t I happy that I hadn’t told that nice, polite, honest gentleman to kindly stop being dishonest and return my lost cell phone.“

BTW, that's my nephew's hand holding the cell phone. My phone isn't quite as nice. I don't know why I thought anyone would want to keep it lol.

For more smiles visit Lynn

Nov 15, 2007

Reading for Meaning and Inspiration

I mentioned in an earlier post that as a Christian teen I had no idea where to begin my Bible reading or how to go about studying the Bible. So, I began by reading just for the love of reading and pretty soon I was lovin’ reading and spending time in the word of God.

As time passed I started digging deeper into the word. I wanted more than the satisfaction that came with finishing a captivating novel and knowing that the heroine ended up with the handsome hero (like Ruth ended up with Boaz) or knowing that the underdog won, (Esther winning the ultimate beauty contest and the king’s heart). Hence I started reading for inspiration and meaning. I started digging into the word of God and formulating my own value and belief system based on what I was reading in His word. I started seeking to understand exactly what it is that my heavenly father expected of me as a child of God.

One of the study aids that really helped me with my Bible Study time as a teenager was Tim Lahay’s book, How to Study the Bible for Yourself. It’s a very reader friendly book that gives you good strategies on how to study the Bible. One of the strategies I adopted back then for my daily bible study is the outline below. This simple outline was able to keep me focused during my daily studies and ensure that I came away with something tangible after studying.

Daily Spiritual diary

Passage:
God’s message to me today:
A promise from God:
A command to keep:
A timeless principal:
How does this apply to my life?

Along with my daily readings, I also did chapter studies and character studies (the outlines for these were also in the book). I enjoyed digging deep into the lives of men and women of the Bible and finding out what made them succeed, fail or get up and try again. I got to know some of them so well that they became like friends to me much like my beloved Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and other books I enjoyed during my early teen years.

As I really began to study the Bible I found so many nuggets hidden within the chapters that I had just casually read over during my daily readings. I began to learn my Father’s heart and his plans for my life. It was during these times that I realize that as Solomon said, there is a time and place for everything… reading for the love of reading has its time and place but so does reading for meaning and inspiration. However, I’ve also found that there are times when I have to read just because…

To be concluded on Monday

Nov 12, 2007

You are Wanted

Ever feel forsaken as if God has forgotten you?

Stop by Laced With Grace and read my post tomorrow. (Tuesday)

Nov 10, 2007

The Children of Israel


Mr. Goldblatt," announced little Joey, "there's somethin' I can't figger out."

"What's that Joey?" asked Goldblatt.

"Well accordin' to the Bible, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?"

"Right."

"An' the Children of Israel beat up the Phillistines, right?"

"Er--right."

"An' the Children of Israel built the Temple, right?"

"Again you're right."

"An' the Children of Israel fought the 'gyptians, an' the Children of Israel fought the Romans, an' the Children of Israel wuz always doin' somethin' important, right?"

"All that is right, too," agreed Goldblatt. "So what's your question?"

"What I wanna know is this," demanded Joey. "What wuz all the grown-ups doin?"

For more Sunday Smiles visit Lynn

Nov 8, 2007

For the Love of Reading



Growing up in a small, rural community there was no television in my home until I became a teenager. Consequently, for entertainment I read books, lots and lots of books and there began my love of reading. However, the Bible wasn’t high on my list of must reads except for Sunday school and church.

Hence when I became a Christian at the age of 16 I had no idea where to begin with the Bible. Although I grew up in church, personal Bible study time was not a priority to me until I became a Christian. So I decided as a new Christian teen that the same love I had for my romance novels, mysteries and suspense books I was going to carry that over to my personal Bible reading. Therefore, I began to read the stories in the Bible simply for the love of reading (Of course Esther and Ruth were two of the first books I read. The fact that they were somewhat like romance stories had absolutely nothing to do with it, lol).

I fell in love with the men and women of the Bible and I spent many hours during my teens just reading their life stories. Back then I spent more time reading the Old Testament stories and it was during those times that without even realizing I began to pray to God for qualities I wanted in my life.

I asked him to give me the strength and courage of Esther, to be willing to place myself in harms way if necessary to help someone else.

I prayed for the optimism of Joshua and Caleb, to see the obstacles in my life as small when compared to my God.

I prayed to be like Ruth, loyal and devoted to the people he placed in my life.

I prayed for the determination of Nehemiah, who no matter what happened he was determined to stay his course.

I longed for the heart of David who when he made mistakes was swift to cry out,

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the
multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Psalms 51:1,10-11

It was those sweet times of simply falling in love with God’s word that began to develop and form my relationship with him. And as I read the stories of the Bible, more and more I began to long for something deeper, something more intimate, and it was then that I began to read for more than enjoyment, I started reading the Bible for meaning and inspiration.

To be continued

Nov 5, 2007

Are You Ready?

Are you ready to meet Jesus?
I asked a friend one day
Do you know that he is coming,
To take his bride away?

My friend if you’re not ready
You will be left behind
To face the perils on this earth
Without him by your side

Will you accept him now
While there’s still time?
He’s knocking at your heart,
Please won’t you let him in?

I know that I’m a sinner,
Was her reply to me,
But I am not yet ready
To yield my life to him

Right now I’m in to having fun
Not playing by the book
But maybe in a year or two
I’ll give my life to him

I looked at her sadly, with
Tears in my eyes
And said I hope its not too late
When at last you do decide.

Nov 4, 2007

Thank you for giving to the Lord

No matter how young or old we are in Christ, we all experience times when we feel as if what we're doing isn't of significance or isn't affecting any one's life in a meaningful way. However you may never know this side of heaven how much something you did or said changed some one's whole life. To those of you who have been there or are at that place right now I dedicate this post to you.



It was a beautiful day outside. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the flowers were in full bloom. It was the kind of day that would make anyone happy to be alive, anyone except Mama Gina, the neighborhood's favorite grandmother. She was usually one of the most cheerful person around, but not today. She didn’t even notice the beauty of the day as she walked humming a song she was making up as she walked.

I feel so weak and tired
Feel like all my strength has gone.
Nobody told me that the load would be so heavy
I feel like God has brought me this far and dumped me

As Mama Gina was walking humming, one of her young neighbours caught up with her.

Neighbor: Mama Gina, isn’t it a beautiful day? What’s that song I heard you singing?

Mama Gina: Child I’m just making the words up as I go. I feel so discourage. I feel like all my work in vain

Neighbor: You do? Maybe that's why I dreamt about you last night

Mama Gina:About me? What did you dream?

Neighbour: I dreamt I went to heaven, you were there with me.

Mama Gina: Sound good so far, go on.

Neighbour: We walked upon the streets of gold, near the crystal sea. Heard these angels singing and someone called your name.
Mama Gina: My name?

Neighbour: Yes, your name

Mama Gina: Who was it?

Neighbour: It was a young man. He was smiling as he came.

Mama Gina: Was it my grandson? He just went on home last year.

Neighbor: I don’t think so but he walked up to you and said,

Friend you may not know me now, then he said, but wait, you use to teach my Sunday school I was only eight. And every week you would say a prayer, before the class would start. One day when you said that prayer I asked Jesus in my heart.

Neighbor: Then he gave you a rose and started singing,
Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving too the lord. I am so glad you gave.
Mama Gina: You really dreamt that about me?

Neighbor: Yes but I’m not finished.

Mama Gina: You mean there’s more?

Neighbor: Yes, then another man came gave you a rose and said,

Remember the time a missionary came to your church his pictures made you cry. You didn’t have much money but you gave it anyway. Jesus took that gift you gave and that’s why I’m in heaven today.
Mama Gina: There were so many missionaries. I don’t even know which one it was.

Neighbor:
Well one by one they came as far as the eyes could see. Each one someone touched by your generosity. Little things that you had done sacrifices that you’d made, unnoticed on this earth but in heaven now proclaimed. And I know up in heaven you’re not supposed to cry but I’m almost sure there were tears in your eyes. As Jesus took your hand and you stood before the Lord he said “my child, look around you great is your reward.”
Neighbor: Then everyone started singing to you.
Thank you for giving to the Lord I am a life that was changed, thank you for giving to the Lord I am so glad you gave.
As the young neighbor finished repeating the dream tears began to fall from Mama Gina's eyes.

Neighbor: Mama Gina what you crying for? I thought the dream would cheer you up. Are you still feeling discouraged?

Mama Gina: How can I still be discouraged after that? I think I have a new song to sing now.

Neighbor: Really what is it?

Mama Gina: I don’t feel no way tired.

Neighbor: I can join you in singing that.

The two continued walking together singing softly: I don’t feel no way tired. Come to far from where I started from. Nobody told me that the road would be easy but I don’t believe he brought me this far to leave me.

(Words in italics are from the song Thank You For Giving to the Lord by Ray Boltz) I've always loved the song and this is a shortened version of a skit I wrote several years ago using the lyrics of the song)

Nov 3, 2007

Please Change This

Peter walked up to his teacher's desk, holding a report card with a big red F. "If I were you," said Peter, "I would change this while you still can."

"Why is that?" asked the teacher.

"Because my daddy told me that if I brought home one more failing report card, someone was going to get a beating."

For more Sunday Smiles visit Lynn

Pray For Ian

"... pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16


In February of this year I came across the blog Pray For Ian, maintained by the family and friends of a young man name Ian who was seriously injured in a car accident on September 30, 2006. Since then I have been an almost daily visitor to the blog as I join in praying and believing God for this young man’s healing.

I don’t know what the outcome will be but I have been touched by this family’s dedication and faith in God. I’ve never met them and probably won’t this side of heaven but I do understand a little of what they’re going through and I know that there is no distance in prayer. So I ask you, if you will, to join in with this family, visit the blog and please, Pray For Ian.

Oct 28, 2007

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence - Conclusion

There are so many areas that I covered during my Becoming a Women of Excellence bible study. However if I try to cover them all I’ll be here another three weeks lol. Some of them included discipline, discretion & wisdom, all areas I’m still growing in. I gained much strength and encouragement in my Christian walk as I worked through the study. I would highly recommend the study to anyone who is interested in the topic of excellence.(My somewhat battered copy is pictured)

These are some of the things that stood out most for me as I worked through the Bible study and studied the life of Daniel. As you can see there’s a lot that God requires of us as we walk in the spirit of excellence. However he also blesses us with a lot. When we walk in excellence:

1. We attract attention.
a. We attract God’s attention. He studies us, he walks with us and he brags on us.

b. We attract man’s attention. Daniel attracted the king’s attention and was promoted because of the spirit of excellence that was upon him.

2. Excellence inspires change. When you walk in excellence you will inspire others to do likewise. Daniel inspired the king with his spirit of excellence and his faith in his God.

As Christian women we are in a unique position to change our homes, our workplaces and our society simply by the way we conduct ourselves. The eyes of our families, peers, our coworkers and our communities are upon us. Our walk with God should inspire them to change their own path in life if they're not following God's path. Hence we should always strive for excellence because we want the best for others and ourselves. God has given us the mandate, to walk in the spirit of excellence. Are you willing? What are you willing to sacrifice? How are you willing to change your life to fit into his definition of excellence? Are you ready to forget the world’s standard and live up to his standards?


Note: Daniel was not one a part of the actual Bible Study, however since I was actually studying his life when I started the study I found myself referring to him often.

Oct 27, 2007

The Christian Barber

There was a barber that thought that he should share his faith with his customers more than he had been doing lately. So the next morning when the sun came up and the barber got up out of bed he said, "Today I am going to witness to the first man that walks through my door."

Soon after he opened his shop the first man came in and said, "I want a shave!" The barber said, "Sure, just sit in the seat and I'll be with you in a moment."

The barber went in the back and prayed a quick desperate prayer saying, "God, the first customer came in and I'm going to witness to him. So give me the wisdom to know just the right thing to say to him. Amen."

Then quickly the barber came out with his razor knife in one hand and a Bible in the other while saying "Good morning sir. I have a question for you... Are you ready to die?"

Author is Unknown

For more Sunday Smiles visit Lynn

Oct 23, 2007

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence Part 4

Trust and Obey

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

John H. Sammis

I went to a wedding recently where the bride had major issues repeating the part of the marriage vows that dealt with obeying. In fact the minister had to prompt her several times before she could get the words out of her mouth. Where does that fit into this study? Well it just illustrates the point that obedience isn’t exactly easy. Promising to obey in essence says I trust you with my life. I believe you know what’s best for me. I’m going to defer to your judgment.

There are times when we may have followed the directions of someone in the past and it didn’t turn out well. However this isn’t the case with God. God’s purpose in giving us commands is always for our benefit or the benefit of others. He wants us to practice the act of obedience until we do it without thinking or without questioning him. Our obedience shows him how we feel about him and how much we trust him. Daniel showed God that he trusted him when he refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzer’s golden image. Lot’s wife on the other hand had been given a specific command to not look back but disobeyed. She unfortunately didn’t trust God’s plans for her future.

Like Lot’s wife and the bride who had issues promising to obey, I too have my struggles in the area of obedience. In fact as I got deeper into my study on becoming a woman of excellence I wrote the following in my journal when I began the topic of obedience.

I am still doing my Becoming a Woman of Excellence bible study. This is really not quite what I expected it to be. In fact it is much more. I know I said it before but excellence encompasses so much! I am now on the chapter entitled “Excellence, Exemplified by Obedience. This is truly my area of weakness. I really need to learn to obey God in spite of what is going on around me and in spite of what my critics may say. If I want to become a woman of excellence obedience has to become a habit. I want to be in God’s perfect will. I want to walk in the spirit of excellence. Obedience then is my goal. To listen and obey and allow God to have his way in my life.” My Journal, May 19, 2003.
Obedience, four years later is still sometimes a struggle. But I remind myself that excellence doesn’t mean I get it perfectly every time. It means I keep trying.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

Sometimes the struggle with obedience comes when we question whether or not we’re really hearing God’s voice. However as you can see in the above verse, his Holy Spirit is there to guide us and always prompts us to make the right choice. Also, when we’re not sure we simply need to seek his counsel, spend time in prayer, study his word and ask him what is his will for our lives.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:8

God's ultimate desire for us is that we would become more like his son. As Christians, Jesus is our role model. Just as he was tested and tried so will we be. However, the question is will we obey even in the difficult times?

Read part one, two and three.

There are so many new nuggets I'm finding as I go through this study again. However although there is so much that I can say I will bring it to a close next week.

A lady ain’t what she wears…?

This is a re post of an article that I wrote for Girl Talk magazine a few years ago and I had posted it on my blog before. However since it corresponds with today's quote I thought I'd post it again.


Am I less of a lady if I don't wear pantyhose
My mama said a lady ain't what she wears but what she knows …

India Arie


According to India Arie’s song, which I actually quite like, “ a lady ain’t what she wears but what she knows…” Usually I would agree with the song but sometimes a lady is judged by what she wears and not what she knows. This was brought home to me quite forcefully when I was about 15 or 16 years old.

I was going to meet a friend and I was dressed quite nicely, or so I thought, in a new outfit, a short jeans skirt and leotard type top. However, before I was halfway to my destination I began getting whistles and very personal comments from men I passed. I had never received so much attention and I was NOT flattered. In fact I felt quite intimidated and self-conscious. I couldn’t figure out why I was attracting so much attention.

Before I reached my friend I met someone I knew who was a few years older than me. She looked at me and said, “Bernie, I’ve never seen you dressed like this before.” She didn’t say anything else concerning my clothes but that tipped me off to the fact that something was wrong big time.

By the time I reached my friend’s house all of the joy I had felt when I put on my new outfit was gone. Instead I felt self-conscious, and dare I say it… I felt less than a lady. Needless to say, I didn’t walk home from my friend’s house. In fact, I pretended to be cold and borrowed a big sweater. When I was ready to go home I got a ride. I couldn’t take the comments and attention a second time around.

After I got home I looked at myself in a full-length mirror. I wanted to see myself through the eyes of those who saw me in the outfit. You know what? In retrospect the skirt was shorter and tighter than I normally wore and the top was just a tad skimpy. Well that was the last time I wore that outfit and to this day I try to be careful of what I wear out in public because everyone who sees me will not get an opportunity to find out what I ‘know” so what they see is what they will judge me by. I’m sure I sometimes miss the fashion mark but then again who doesn’t…? However, I try not to wear clothes that would make me seem less than the lady I know I am.

Girl Talk Magazine
March/May 04


"We women must realize how visual men are, and because of that we should wear modest clothes. Not because we don't have the right to wear what we want, but for the benefit of the spiritual life of
our brothers in Christ."

~ Heather Arnel Paulsen ~
Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart



For more on this weeks IOW quote and an opportunity to win the book Emotional Purity visit Loni @ Joy in the Morning

Oct 21, 2007

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence part 3

The Pursuit

As we continue the pursuit of excellence we have to first seek to become more like Christ, to develop a deeper more intimate walk with him.

Our desire to be strong delights Him but we must allow him to teach us that excellence is a life long process and that He is our only source of strength. Growth occurs when we maintain our walk with God remembering that the Christian life is a process rather than giving up in frustration because we cannot live up to the perfect standards.
Cynthia Heald

When we focus on developing a deeper relationship with God, he begins to reveal to us what it is he requires of us in our pursuit of excellence. And one of the main things is total, undeniable, complete surrender. For excellence is rooted in surrender. He wants us to relinquish control of our lives and totally surrender to him.


I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
The above verse shows a portrait of total surrender, the verse below shows the price…

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIV (emphasis mine)

According to Luke 9:23 I have to

1. deny myself: put the things of God first even if it means not doing the things I want to do.
2. Take up the cross – seek to do the things that pleases him even if it means self-sacrifice.
2. Follow him:- follow Christ, he has left his word for us to follow.

It is only possible to do those three things when we have died to self and given control of our lives over to the one who died for us. When Daniel was confronted with the reality of being thrown in the lions’ den he totally surrendered the situation to God. He was willing to give up his life for God… What are you willing to give up? Walking in excellence requires you to make the tough choices, to stand out when everyone else is blending in, to take on God's character when others have compromised. Excellence sometimes requires you to give up your family, friends, life as you know it. But when we surrender our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our everything to God he has a way of working it out for our good. However he wants us to take the leap of faith and simply surrender all to him.

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live-

Read part one and two

Check back on Wednesday for part 4 Excellence - Exemplified by Obedience

If Students Wrote the Bible

Instead of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh, He would have put it off until the night before it was due and then pulled an all-nighter.

The Last Supper would have been eaten the next morning--cold.

The Ten Commandments would actually be only five--double-spaced and written in a large font.

New edition would be published every two years in order to limit reselling.

Forbidden fruit would have been eaten because it wasn't cafeteria food.

Paul's letter to the Romans would become Paul's email to abuse@romans.gov.

Reason Cain killed Abel: they were roommates.

Reason why Moses and followers walked in the desert for 40 years: they didn't want to ask directions and look like freshmen.



Compliments of christiansunite.com

For more Sunday Smiles visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Oct 20, 2007

Say The Name

Ever been in a position and you simply couldn't find the words to say?

I'm over here today.


Do join me and find out what I do when I can't find the words...

Oct 17, 2007

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence Part 2

What is Excellence?

The word excellent is one that has become much overused and under valued in our society. In fact it has become almost common. We hear the word excellent being used to describe the latest movie, a nice car or home, a good friendship and the list goes on… Many people use the word without even thinking about what they are attaching this word to. Because of this the the pride and esteem, that the word should evoke is no longer there.

I myself have been guilty of misusing the word, not deliberately but from a genuine misunderstanding. I had been looking at and defining excellence according to a secular viewpoint. The world’s view on the subject is totally different from God’s viewpoint.

Excellence is defined by Webster’s dictionary as the possession chiefly of good qualities in an unusual degree. Hence, according to this definition if you’re perceived as dressed fashionably much more than unfashionably, then you have excellent fashion sense, If your house is clean and spotless more than it’s untidy, then you have excellent housekeeping skills, If you’re almost always present at work , do a job that impresses your employer then you are an excellent employee. While you may be all of these things are your really walking in the spirit of excellence?

The world I realize, seem to view excellence as having the best or highest paying jobs, the best clothes, cars, houses, being in the elite group in society, or being the best at whatever you do. However, I’ve realized that following society’s definition of excellence I will never measure up. If society’s paradigm were followed there wouldn’t be enough room at the top for everyone to walk in the spirit of excellence. Yes, I may be the best for a while but sooner or later someone better will come along.

There will always be someone with more education, a better job, a bigger paycheck, more beautiful clothes a nicer home etc. With all of this in my mind I had to redefine my view of excellence.

Excellence Redefined...
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10

Part one of the Bible Study, I mentioned in my previous post was titled, Excellence –A Goal Worth Pursuing. As I went through the study I came up with my own simple “definition” of what it means to have the spirit of excellence and walk in it based on a few scriptures I read:


Walking in the spirit of excellence, God's way, begins first of all with having God’s love in your heart. It also includes walking in God’s way and doing the things that he expects of you, in a way that pleases him, even if it is different from what the world says. Walking in excellence as a believer means striving to gain God's approval in everything you do not matter how big or how small. It doesn't mean doing things perfectly but it does mean doing your best.

As I continued my quest for excellence I came to realize that while it seemed hard to measure up before, the world's standard requires me to give a whole lot less of myself than God’s standards because He expects us to give our all. There is a price to pay for excellence but, there is so much to gain...

January 22, 2004
Women’s Ministry Meeting



Come back Monday to read part 3:


Part one

Oct 15, 2007

Walking in the Spirit of Excellence - Introduction

My Quest



Then Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes because an excellent spirit was in him and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Daniel6:3


Several years ago I was doing a study of one of my favorite Old Testament characters Daniel when I came across the above verse. The phrase " because an excellent sprit was in him" for some reason just resonated in my spirit. It brought about a new yearning in me. It made me yearn for, crave, desire excellence. In fact I wrote a note in my journal to that effect.

It is important that everything we do be done with excellence. When we do things with excellence we attract attention. We stand out from mediocrity. Daniel moved from prisoner to prime minister in a strange land only because everything he did was done in excellence. If I want to attract God’s eye, if I want to attract positive attention excellence has to be in me. I want to be excellent in all that I do as a woman, a teacher and most of all a child of God.
Excerpt from My Journal September 10, 2002

Although, I had a desire for excellence at that time I still had no clue what excellence was all about. However, I desired it and I longed for it. A little over a month after I made that entry in my journal I was invited to a woman’s conference by a coworker. When I received my package on registering I opened it and pulled out a book. It was a bible study called, Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald. I could only stare in disbelief. God had seen the desire of my heart and had given me a tool that would aid me in my quest. This confirmed what I already knew, that if God sees a genuine unselfish desire in our heart he helps us to realize it. Consequently, armed with my Bible and my new Bible Study I began my quest to find out how I could become a woman of excellence, who walked in the spirit of excellence.
January 22, 2004
Women’s Ministry Meeting

Several years ago I was asked speak to the women of my church on the topic, Empowering Women to Walk in the Spirit of Excellence. Over the next few Mondays & Wednesdays I'll be sharing my notes (edited version) from that talk.

Stop by on Wednesday to read part 2, What is Excellence?

Oct 13, 2007

Prayer for Rattlesnakes

Once upon a time there was a family of wayward church members who had once been active, but had lost all interest and had fallen away. There were the father and three sons, Jim, John and Sam. The elders had talked to them about their lost condition, the preacher had visited them, and many of the brethren had tried to get them to come back to church, but all this did not seem to do the least bit of good.
One day when the boys were out in the pasture, a large rattlesnake bit John and he became very ill. The physician was called and after an examination, he pronounced John to be in a very critical condition. Said he, “about all you can do now is, is pray.” The father called the preacher, and told him of John’s condition. He asked the preacher to pray for John’s recovery and this was his prayer:
“O wise and righteous Father, we thank Thee, for Thou has in Thy wisdom sent this rattlesnake to bite John, in order to bring him to his senses. He has not been inside the church house for years and it is doubtful that he has in all that time felt the need for prayer. Now we trust that this will prove a valuable lesson to him, and that it will lead to genuine repentance.
“And now, O Father, wilt Thou send another snake to bit Sam, and another to bite Jim, and another BIG ONE to bite the old man. We have all been doing everything we know for years to restore them, but to no avail. It seems, therefore, that all our combined efforts could not do what this snake has done. We thus conclude that the only thing left that will do this family any good is rattlesnakes; so Lord, send us bigger and better rattlesnakes. In the name of Jesus we pray.
Amen

(Taken from the Sword Scrapbook)

For more Sunday Smiles visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Oct 12, 2007

Prayer of Thanksgiving

When the day is dawning
And night has passed away
I take the time to whisper
A heartfelt prayer of praise

I thank the lord for being
A friend when I’m in need
A help in time of trouble
A bridge over stormy seas

I thank him for family
And friends I love so dear
But most of all for answering
My deepest needs and prayers

Oct 10, 2007

You Lift Me Up Award



I was pleasantly surprised to meet this lovely little gift from Denise on my blog. Thank you Denise for making my day. Your blog is a daily source of inspiration to me, I actually feel as if I should be the one giving this to you. Your blog offers a ray of sunshine many times as you share your faith, struggles and successes with us.

I would like to pass this award to three other bloggers whose blogs blesses me greatly and lifts me up.

Iris @ Sting My Heart
Laurel @ Laurel Wreath
Lynn @ Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Ladies, thank you for sharing your lives and being an inspiration to me in more ways than you'll ever know.

God bless, and thank you again Denise for this lovely award.

Oct 9, 2007

The Rescue Team



On Sunday night I was at home with stacks of single sheets of Girl Talk that I had copied on Saturday but had not gotten around to sorting out and stapling together yet. The task looked quite overwhelming and I wasn't sure I'd be able to complete it that night. In fact, I had already given up and decided to leave it until Monday evening when there was a knock on my door.

My cousin Cleora, one of GT's writers, and her two daughters one who happen to be my goddaughter and the other one of GT's teen models were at the door. They knew I had already copied the magazine and stopped by to help me put it together. Thanks to their help I was able to finish them Sunday night and send copies to some of the girls who had been enquiring about why this issue of GT was so late in getting out.

Oct 8, 2007

Waking Up To Perfection



I would love to wake up every morning to perfection. I would love to make the perfect cup of coffee every time, have the perfect hairstyle, not notice a stain on my clothes just as I was about to walk out of the door, encounter absolutely no traffic on my five-minute drive to work, meet twenty six eager learners who have absolutely no time to talk to their friends during work time. Oh, and while I’m dreaming, Please Lord, I would love to meet the perfect guy, have all of my bills paid forever, a new wardrobe, a new car….

"We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle." ~ Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers puts it perfectly in the above quote. We would all love to have our lives run smoothly, exactly the way we want it to at all times. If we had our way we would never choose valleys we would always choose the mountain top. However we cannot stay on the mountains always. We will experience valleys in our lives.

There are days in my classroom when I’m on a mountain top. The students seem to grasp everything I teach right away. They are eager to learn, we’re moving faster than I expect and I feel like I’m the greatest teacher ever. (Can you sense the valley coming?) Unfortunately there are also days when I feel as if I’m speaking a foreign language. Hand after hand go up and I hear, “Miss McIntosh, I don’t get (understand) that.” On those days it appears that my students don’t understand the simplest concept and I’m wondering, “Is something wrong with me?” More than half of my students cannot have a problem so I must be the problem…

"We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration…

I’ve learned on the days when I’m feeling like the worst teacher ever to reflect back to the days when it seems like everything went right for inspiration. Sometimes I take my students books and look back at work that they did well in to remind me that they can do well. It also forces me to come up with new strategies for teaching some of the concepts. So in actuality my valleys brings something out of me that I may not have tapped into had I stayed on the mountain top.

Instead of a scripture I’ll share this song that I love to remind you dear reader and myself the the God of the mountain is still God in the valley. I was reminded of it the moment I saw the quote that Laurel choose.

God On The Mountain

Life is easy when you're up on the mountain
And you've got peace of mind like you've never known.
But then things change and you're down in the valley.
Don't lose faith for you're never alone.
For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He'll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

You talk of faith when you're up on the mountain.
Oh but the talk comes easy when life's at its best.
But it's down in the valley of trials and temptation
That's when faith is really put to the test.
For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He'll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He'll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.
The God of the day is still God in the night.
Song by Lynda Randle



For more on this week's quote visit Laurel @ Laurel Wreath.

Oct 7, 2007

Coffee with God

I'm over here tomorrow, talking about coffee time with God.




Do join me...

On Being Behind With One's Reading




Junior bit the meter man
Junior kicked the cook
Junior’s antisocial now
(According to the book)

Junior smashed the clock and lamp.
Junior hacked the tree.
(Destructive trends are treated
In chapters two and three)

Junior threw his milk at mom.
Junior screamed for more.
(Notes on self-assertiveness
Are found in chapter 4.)

Junior got in Grandpops room
Tore up his fishing line.
That’s to gain attention
(see page 89)

Grand pop seized a slipper and
Yanked Junior ‘cross his knee
(Grandpa hasn’t read a book since 1893)

(taken from The sword Scrapbook)

For more Sunday Smiles visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Oct 2, 2007

Change your world

Recently, as I was surfing through the television channels my attention was caught by a John Mayer song. Since the beat was a catchy one and the words seemed to be so poignant I stopped to listen.
Part of it says

it's hard to beat the system
when we're standing at a distance
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change

I listened to the song but couldn't really agree with the message it seemed to send. This song seems to strengthen that feeling of apathy and indifference, the thought that everyone else has the answers but us.

However,no one can change your world but you. God expects each of us to make a difference right where we are. Changing your world doesn’t have to start with something major like trying to bring about world peace. If you set your goals that high then you’re bound to be disappointed. Bringing about changes to your world can start with you simply helping out in your home, cleaning up your neighborhood, assisting at church, extending your circle of friends to include someone who’s often overlooked… the list is endless. Those things may seem insignificant but sometimes small changes over a period of time can actually have more of an effect than one grand gesture.

What if Jesus' disciples hadn't taken up the challenge to
...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

To some it may not have seem like they could have made a big difference. However, the world is still being changed today because of their obedience.

Remember, everything that we see or is a part of today is because someone decided he/she had the power to make a difference. Someone decided not to wait for the world to change but to change his/her world.

Oct 1, 2007

Today I'll Smile...


I made it one full year without you Mommy,
As you always said I could
Because you taught me to be strong, trust Jesus, never give up
So I’m sending you this letter by angelic messenger,
To let you know I'm still safe in his care
The tears still flow sometimes, but I know you’d say, "that’s okay"
Because you trust Jesus to enfold me in his arms
And remind me that you’re in a better place
So my darling mommy I’ll say again, goodbye
And I promise that today will not be spent in tears
Today I’ll smile as I think of you, and just how special you were
And how blessed I am to have been touched by your love

Always,
Your baby girl

Sep 29, 2007

An Atheist Answered


Once an atheist asked a Christian lady if she believed the Bible was true. "Yes," said the lady. "Then," said the atheist, "tell me how a whale swallowed Jonah as a whale's stomach is no bigger than a man's head."

"I don't know," said the lady; "but when I get to Heaven I will ask him." "What if Jonah is not there," said the atheist. "Then you ask him," said the lady.

Sep 27, 2007

To Thine Own Self Be True

To thine own self be true! William Shakespeare penned these words many years ago. However, to me, they are still relevant, fresh and true. Many times in our lives as ladies we try so much to live up to the expectations of others-our parents, siblings, friends, boyfriends, etc.- that who we are, our uniqueness, individuality, what makes us special, is sometimes lost in the shuffle.

Sometimes in life we may find it’s easier to conform to what people want us to become because, it may minimize the risk of being rejected or hurt. Nevertheless, in the times when you want so desperately to conform ask yourself, “Am I being true to myself?” Is this really who I am?” Is this who God has predestined me to be? If it’s not, you need to rethink, is it really worth it?

Why should you be the one to conform? Your thoughts, your dreams, your ideas are important. You have something unique and special to contribute to society. However, how will you do so if every time someone comes up with an idea that is different from yours you give up your idea and conform to theirs’? People will not respect your ideas or values if you act as if they are unimportant.

India Arie sings a song “Strength, Courage & Wisdom, part of it says

Inside my head there lives a dream that I want to see in the sun
Behind my eyes there lives a me that I've been hiding for much too long
˜Cause I've been, too afraid to let it show
˜Cause I'm scared of the judgment that may follow
Always putting off my living for tomorrow
It's time to step out on faith, I've gotta show my faith
It's been illusive for so long, but freedom is mine today
I've gotta step out on faith, It's time to show my faith
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found

Chorus
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it's been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

I remember a preacher saying once, "you're not here to blend in. You're here to stand out. No one will ever notice you if you blend in." God made each of us unique and wants us to be different, He doesn't want us to be like everyone else. He wants us to become the person he's called us to be. Proverbs 3:5-6 says;
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

So I encourage you to Trust God! Talk to him about your future and he he will direct your path. Also, remember Shakespeare’s words, to thine own self be true. At the end of the day you have to look at yourself in the mirror. Are you being true to the one that is staring back at you?

Sep 26, 2007

How Hungry Are You?

I'm over here today, talking about spiritual hunger.




Do join me and if you will, answer the question, How hungry are you?

Sep 17, 2007

Divine Interruption


"They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?"
~ Martin Luther ~


Sandra mechanically raised her hands and sang along with the words of the praise and worship song. However, the words didn’t register in her mind. It was Sunday morning she was in church because as a Christian, that’s exactly where she was expected to be. However, she was just going through the motions. The service was having no real impact on her because although she was there in body her mind was far, far, away.

Sandra was thinking about everything that had gone wrong during the week. She carried on a silent conversation with God, as mechanically responded to everything that was going on in the service.

“Why God?” she silently asked. Why so much turmoil? Why is life so difficult right now? Why are so many things going wrong?”

While Sandra was having her one sided conversation with God, the pastor came on. She didn’t even realize at first until he read a quote he said had touched him that week. Sandra gave a surprised burst of laughter when she heard the quote not even noticing that the people around her stared in amazement. She gave her full attention to what was going on as the pastor began reading from James chapter one

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2-4

“We must go through trials,” he continued as he finished reading. “If you’ve never experienced trials in your life then you’re not growing as a Christian. It is the way you handle your trials that brings about spiritual growth and maturity."

Sandra’s eyes grew misty as her pastor made reference to Dr. Martin Luther’s quote again.

“If Jesus himself experienced hardships, why do you expect your life to be trial free?” He asked. “Remember Dr. Martin Luther’s quote as you go about your daily work this week”, he said as he quoted it again,

“They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?”


“There you go again God,” Sandra whispered. “There you go again, stepping all over my toes, when I was just about ready to have myself a great big pity party right up in your house.”

Sandra smiled at the pastor as he greeted her on the way out. “You spoke directly to my heart today Pastor,” she said and with a quiet “thank you,” she went smiling through the door thanking God for interrupting her pity party.

Visit Iris for more on this thought provoking post.

Sep 15, 2007

The Courtroom

Reluctantly, fearfully, trembling,
I stood within the courtroom
With head bowed and shoulders slumped
With shame I stood.

My crimes were read one by one
I knew I was guilty of everyone
As I waited for the verdict
A single tear rolled down my cheek

I knew within myself
There was no hope for me.
I did not deserve forgiveness
For the things that I had done.
If I could not forgive myself
How could anyone?

Another tear rolled down my cheek
As I saw a juror stand
We find the defendant guilty he said,
On every count

I waited fearfully for my sentence
I dared no raise my head
Though I thought the situation hopeless
Still I offered up a prayer

As I stood there with shoulders slumped
And cheeks stained with tears
I heard my attorney say
Guilty but forgiven, Your Honor,
You’ve got to set her free

On that note I raised my head
And stood in shock and disbelief
As the shackles that bound me
Were instantly released

I screamed and shouted and praised the Lord
As tears streamed down my cheeks
Jesus delivered just as he promised
Against all odds He set me free.

Sep 14, 2007

Out of the comfort zone

I'm over here today, talking about one of my favorite biblical characters, Nehemiah. Do come and join me.

Sep 6, 2007

Study to show thyself approved...


As you are now back in school for a new school year I would like to encourage you to do your very best! There are a few people who may be able to get good grades without ever studying but unfortunately, most of us don’t fall into that group. Hence, if you want to get the good grades you have to be willing to work for it.

I have always admired students who are disciplined and self-motivated. Those types of students enjoy praise just like anyone else but are motivated to work even without it. My nephew Jamere is one such student. He is high on my list of people I admire. He’s now 19 years old and in college however, from the time he was a little boy he was disciplined with his studies. No matter what was going on Jamere always found a quiet place away from the noise to study.

I took the above photo of Jamere one Sunday afternoon at my parents’ house. Everyone else was laughing and talking but Jamere in the midst of it all took out his book to study. As a result of his hard work, he graduated as valedictorian of his high school class two years ago and is now making top grades in college. I often tell him that I wish I were more like him when I was in high school but, my story reads quite differently.

There are so many times in life when we desire to have certain things or but we are unwilling to work for it. One of those things is good grades. However, the Bible says,
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

This scripture does not only apply to the word of God but can apply to your schoolwork as well. So whether you're a high school student, college student or student of the word, I encourage you to work hard and do your very best.

God bless an have an excellent school year!

Sep 2, 2007

Laced With Grace New Address




FYI, Laced With Grace (the devotional blog that I write for) has a new address. www.lacedwithgrace.com Be sure to change your link to include the new address.

Also, be sure to join me there on Tuesday for my post, But for the grace of God...

Aug 25, 2007

Football anyone...???

I am not a football fan. I don’t know the difference between a field goal and a touchdown, except the fact that when there’s a touch down I usually see the running back (or is that the quarterback???), doing a victory dance in the end zone. It is the end zone, right? However, I’ve watched with interest the Michael Vick (whom I’d never heard of before seeing him in the news) saga. Funding illegal dog fights on his property? Assisting in killing under performing dogs?

When seeing these types of stories it always make me wonder, “Why would anyone who has so much to lose do something so _______?” (You fill in the blanks, there are so many adjectives I can use that I can’t pick just one.)

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 3-4


The only thing I can think of is the fact that until there is a realization that happiness, peace and contentment is found only in Jesus we will all continue to search for the next best thing, the next big thrill…

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2:5-8 NIV

Aug 18, 2007

Count down... again

Seems like just yesterday when I was counting down to the beginning of my summer vacation. However, as the old saying goes all good things must come to an end... The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer for me are just about gone. Just one more week and it will be time to go back to the reality of the classroom,*big sigh*. But until then I plan to enjoy the remainder of my holiday and finish that book I just started "Secrets to powerful Prayer."

Aug 10, 2007

Learning to Listen

Too many of us speak twice before we think.
Anonymous




Does this sound like you? Visit me at Laced With Grace tomorrow (Saturday) to read my thoughts.

Aug 7, 2007

Terrible , Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Have you ever read the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Day?
It’s about a little boy Alexander who wakes up in the morning with gum in his hair and the day just goes downhill from there. Alexander’s sees the solution to all his problems in moving to Australia and leaving them all behind…

I’ve love the book from the moment I read it and read it to my class every year. Some days it really seem as if it doesn’t pay to get out of bed. On those days I am reminded of Alexander and his terrible, horrible no good, very bad day. Today feels like one of those days.

Whenever I’m having a bad day, like Alexander I always have the perfect solution. “If this would happen everything would be better.” “ If only I could…” “Why can’t…” and so forth. However, like the possibility of Alexander moving to Australia, sometimes my solutions are far fetched. But, I’m learning that even on those really, really, really bad days to find something no matter how small to give God thanks for. After all, he never promised that life would always be perfect but he did promise in Romans 8:28 that

“… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

So today I thank Him that although life may not be going as I want it to today, He is with me and every situation He’s going to work it out for my good.



The very cute little girl in the photo is my goddaughter LaShaunna :)

Aug 2, 2007

Drawing me back to you

So many times I’ve wandered
So many times I’ve strayed
But you kept drawing me back to you
In your subtle loving way

Sometimes I strayed so far
I thought I’d lost my way
But you kept drawing me back to you
You would not let me get away

So lord today I thank you
That you never gave up
But you kept drawing me back to you
As any loving father would

Aug 1, 2007

Becoming the you, that you were meant to be

Conclusion

Part one and two

What do you think God sees when he looks at you? Do you think he sees the sulky young person your parents sometimes see or do you think he sees something greater? Do you think you can become what God wants you to be? Get a picture in your mind of how you think God sees you. Think about how much he loves you. Think about how much your parents love you. Don’t you think someone who loves you wants the best for you? Start to see a different you than you are right now. Begin to work on becoming the person God wants you to be. Ask him to help you to see yourself as he sees you.

When God looks at us he’s not seeing us as we are. He is seeing the much more we can become if we stay close to him.

Gideon allowed God’s vision of him to wipe out the vision he had of himself. At the end of the seventh chapter in Judges we no longer see the defeated Gideon we met in chapter six. By the end of chapter seven he was the mighty warrior that God had named him in chapter six. However although God saw Gideon as a mighty warrior Gideon had to step out in faith and began working towards becoming what God had already seen him as. So God spoke it, Gideon believed it and Gideon worked towards it and then he became it.

A note to parents

Parents, before your children can see themselves as God sees them they have to know how you see them. It’s hard for them to imagine this beautiful, positive image the creator has of them if their earthly parents don’t have the same image. Are you saying things to them that will cause them to see themselves in a positive light? When you say hurtful things to them that goes beyond discipline do you ever apologize?

If you want your children to have a relationship with God then they have to have a relationship with you in their home first because they will see God through the same eyes that they see you through so I ask, what image of God do they have?.



Youth's Sunday
May 15, 2005

Jul 30, 2007

Friend of God...?

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I've been honored with the opportunity to join the Laced With Grace devotional blog team. Today is my first post, I hope you'll stop by.

Jul 27, 2007

Becoming the you, that you were meant to be Part 2

Read part one here

Young people, who are you? I see the handsome faces, the beautiful smiles, the stylish hairdos but really, who are you? Do you even know? Do you know you were created for a purpose? Are you the you God meant you to be?

When the angel of God met Gideon he said to him in verse 12 The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. At that moment Gideon felt nothing like a warrior, in fact he felt defeated, like a nobody. He felt forsaken by God and he said so. He wanted to know, if God was with them then why was all of these things happening to them.

Isn’t it amazing how we question God doing the bad times? Why is it that we think he’s like our fair weather friends who are only with us doing the highs in our lives and leaves us during the lows? Why is it that when everything is going well we have no doubt whatsoever that God is with us but the moment something bad happens we think he’s forsaken us?

God didn’t promise us sunshine always. He didn’t say that nothing would ever go wrong in our lives. However, we know that through the storms of our lives he is only a prayer away.

At Gideon’s point of greatest weakness, of darkest despair God called him to save his people. Isn’t it just like God to wait until we feel like we’re at a moment of weakness to call us to do something that takes a whole lot of strength?

And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. Judges 6:15

At this point Gideon couldn’t see in himself what God saw in him. God saw a mighty warrior but Gideon saw himself as the runt of the litter. How do you see yourself? What is it that is hindering you from becoming the person that you were meant to be? Do you believe in yourself? Do you know that God has called you to be more than you are at this very moment?

You may be broken, you may be wounded, you may be scarred. Your self esteem may be in pieces. It may seem to your parents, your family, your friends that all is well with you but inside you know that you are hurting. You are still hurting from some hurtful comment that your parents made. You may be still smarting from some careless remark that your teacher made. You may be one that is picked on at school, you may be under some intense pressure or dealing with something that we know nothing about. Even your best friend may have left some scars on your heart. All of these things have come together to form the concept that you now have of yourself. The concept that has stunted your growth as a young man, a young lady, a mature man a mature woman.

But God is saying today, in spite of all of this I still see the you that you were meant to be. I still have a future planned for you and I still want you to become the person that you are meant to be. All you have to do is believe in me. Accept as your reality the picture I have of you.


Youth's Sunday
May 15, 2005

Jul 25, 2007

Becoming the you, that you were meant to be

Part 1

Judges: 6:1-16

12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
13 "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."



Do you ever take a moment out of your day to try and figure out why you are here, or are you just drifting through life? Have you ever sat and thought about the future? If you have where do you fit in to the future? Do you play a leading or a supporting role? How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as less than God sees you? Do you see yourself as less than you are? Do you see yourself through the eyes of God?

The way we view ourselves is very important. It can make or break our future. You are really only as strong, as smart, as powerful, as beautiful, as handsome as you think you are. People can tell you how smart you are, how beautiful you are… they can compliment you from sunup until sundown however, if you don’t believe it then it’s still of no consequence. Hence you can hinder your own dreams your own future because of your self concept.

When we meet Gideon for the first time he is living a defeated life. He has a low self-concept. He has been beat down by the Midianites, the Amalekites and others. It had gotten so bad that he had to hide to thresh wheat. Here he was one of God’s chosen people and he had come to this. He wondered where was God while he was going through all of his situations. Where was God when they had to hide out in caves because of their oppressors? Where was God when they planted their fields and before they could even reap the harvest the Amalakites and Midianites came and stole it away from them. Where was God as he watched some of his people starve to death because their oppressors didn’t even leave them with enough to feed their families.

Anyone ever been there? Ever been in a situation where you wondered where God was? Is He here? Is he listening? Can he hear you when you cry? As children of God it is difficult to understand why God seem furthest away when we’re going through troubles, why the times we feel the most hurt, the most pain we feel most separated from him.

In response to the angel's greetings in verse 12, Gideon responded like many of us today...

13 "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."

We have the concept that as Christians we are not supposed to experience hardships everything is supposed to be smooth sailing. It’s in these dark seasons in our lives that we began to doubt God. We begin to doubt his plans for our lives we begin to question our very existence. But if at our moment of hardship, of pain of disappointment we would begin to see ourselves as God sees us then we would know that everything is going to be alright. If at that moment we would see our future selves thorough the eyes of God then we would do whatever it takes to get us to that place.


Youth's Sunday
May 15, 2005

Jul 23, 2007

Letting go…

Today I spent most of the day going through some old papers getting rid of the ones that there was absolutely no likelihood I was ever going to need again and organizing the ones that I wanted to keep. The job turned out to be a bigger one than I thought it would be and I’m still not quite finished yet. The reason why it’s so difficult is that I find it so hard to let go.

Do I really need my visa receipts from four years ago? Do I need to keep every birthday card I’ve ever received? Do I need to keep all the cute little notes my students gave me some dating back to my first year of teaching? Probably not but letting go was still very difficult…

Isn’t it just like life in a way? There are some things in our lives that serves no useful purpose except to clutter up our lives but yet it’s difficult to give it up. These things can take the form of friendships, sports, hobbies even doing good works. Many times we hold these things dear to our heart but they sometimes cause us to spend less time developing our relationship and walk with God.

What do you need to let go off today?

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