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

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.

(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

Your baby girl

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