Internet Cafe

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Resolve to Lose Weight, (NOT!)

Please Welcome Genikwa Williams back to the Cafe!!


It’s been years since I’ve “resolved” to do anything in the New Year. But when I did it in the past, getting in shape and losing weight always topped the list (even in those years when I was looking and feeling great).

So I ended the self-defeating practice of making resolutions—many of which often get tossed aside only a couple months into the year anyway. As for my health and fitness journey, I came to realize that I needed more than wishy-washy promises. I needed (need) God’s help.

Let’s face it. Getting healthy and fit is easier said than done. After spending years building a habit—especially a “bad” one—it’s unrealistic to think that you can undo its effects overnight or even in a couple of months. It often takes serious discipline—physical, emotional, and mental—a complete reeducation, and lots of prayer.

My love-hate relationship with food (and anything resembling a StairMaster) has been an on-again/off-again battle for years. I’ve fought and won…fought and lost. In the last few years, I’ve won more than I’ve lost, mainly because I’ve been learning and practicing how to discipline myself through prayer, fasting, and the study of God’s Word, which has a lot to say about the matter.

In 1 Corinthians 9:27 (AMP), the apostle Paul writes “But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].”

Paul is talking about the importance of learning to discipline or train our bodies, so that we are in control of them and not the other way around.

A servant or slave does not rule over his master (See Matt. 10:24; Titus 2:9). When this happens, the results are sure to be chaos and revolution. Such disorder leads to an ever-increasing desire by the servant to supplant the master and rule in his stead. A general tendency toward Godlessness.

Self-control (temperance)—whether it pertains to our eating habits, dealings with money, time, relationships, or any other aspect of life—is one of the indications that we are becoming spiritually mature (See Gal. 5:22).

As believers, we have to be in control of our flesh—what we think, say, and do—as the Holy Spirit leads us. God wants us to be masters over our bodies, as if they were servants in our employ, so that we can be fit for service in His Kingdom (See Rom. 6; 12:1-2).

As I dedicate this month to fasting, praying, and seeking God’s direction for the rest of the year, I won’t make any empty vows, but I will ask God to help me really get in shape—body, soul, and spirit—so that I can be fit for many more years of service in His Kingdom.

How about you?

Firmly In His Grip (and getting fit),

Genikwa

A South Jersey resident, Genikwa R. Williams is a born-again believer, worshiper, and a servant to God and His people. Professionally, Genikwa is a Christian freelance writer and a ministry communications professional. Her devotional and inspirational blog, Everyday Repartee, can be found at www.GenikwaWilliams.com.

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Café Chat January 31st

Can I just say again how proud I am of the “Internet Café” community; you ladies rock!!! (I couldn’t resist using that popular phrase that is said a lot in today’s world).  Please keep participating because I know when you answer the questions you are also encouraging so many people that read the “Café Chat”.  Again, I encourage all of you that have not yet participated in the meme to join this week.  

This week I am going to have to borrow a question from a lesson in my ABF class (kind of like Adult Sunday School).  I have had a busy week this week, and my youngest has strep throat, so I have not been able to really ponder a good question for this week, but I don’t think you will be disappointed with today’s question. 

 We are currently doing a study by Andy Stanley (Charles Stanley’s son) titled “I Marriage”.  It has been more challenging that I thought it would be, but I have been pleasantly surprised.  Andy Stanley has been teaching from the scriptures in Ephesians 5.  If you get a chance please take a moment and read Ephesians 5.  Before I go on with the question, please don’t feel like you cannot answer the question if you are not married.  If you are single and wanting to get married one day, answer the question as if you were married.  Also, even if marriage is not in the picture for you now, think of the question in terms of those that are dearest to you.

(FYI:  I don’t know for sure that this question was taken exactly from Andy Stanley’s study as the couple leading this study may have come up with this question on their own based on the study).

How does is make you feel to know that God has designated you as the primary instrument to reflect His love for your spouse?

Let’s see what kind of answers we get this week, and remember please try to read Ephesians 5 as it will help to support your answer with Scriptures. 

Blessings and I will be back on track next week with another question that will hopefully encourage and challenge you.

Kim



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Marking Time

The Internet Cafe is thrilled to welcome back Beth Misner!

In high school, I played the flute in the marching band. We had to learn something called "mark time" in order to be able to keep from running into the backends of the stopped horses that might be in the parade in front of us, or to allow one side of the band to move into a cool formation while we waited, marching in place.

I was reminded of this "marking time" this morning when I was taking stock of my spiritual marching from the past week. If you're like me, there can be times where you realize you are marching in place in terms of your relationship with the Lord. Marching in place has the feel of activity; your senses tell you that you are moving, but in reality, there is no forward motion at all.

How does this marching in place manifest itself?

Well, the daily pace is usually quite fast, there might be more on your plate than in other weeks, and your quiet time with God is eroded or washed away completely. You go through each day with your heart and mind in communion with Him, singing praise songs, giving silent thanks for the beauty around you, but you never quite make that space in the day to just sit and converse with your Father and meditate on His word with no other distractions around you.

There are truly moments in life where marking time is all it seems we can do. We are still bound up in this fleshly existence and there is only so much we can do sometimes…the danger comes in letting week after week go by in mark time. I think that without the change of scenery that comes from growth in the Lord, our marching in place becomes weaker and weaker, until we can be simply standing there, an open target for doubt, despair and bitterness, an open target for sin and shame.

The Bible uses another analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:24: “Run in such a way as to get the prize”! (NIV) In Galatians 5:7, Paul says, “You were running a good race; who cut in on you…?” (NIV)

Oh Lord! Give us energy through the power of the Holy Spirit, who strengthens our mortal bodies, to continue pressing forward for the prize. We need Your help to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I pray that we will not be so caught up in our daily to do list that we aren’t moving forward in our relationship with You, which is truly the most important thing in our lives.

I encourage you to take stock in your spiritual relationship with your heavenly Father. Are you moving forward or simply marking time? Learning to become aware of when marking time is all you are doing is important so that you can begin to create space in your life, giving you the room to move forward.

Stop right now and take a look back at the past few weeks… Have you have been marching in God's parade, marking time, or standing completely still? What are those things that tend to cause you to stop the forward march and simply mark time? Is there space in your day that you can open up for deeper communion with the Holy Spirit?


Hebrews 12:1-2 is our encouragement:

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (NIV)

The horses ahead of you are once again on the march; it's time to move out!


In Him,
Beth Misner

My life's purpose is to bring glory and honor and praise to the name of Jesus Christ, the God of Heaven. It is through Him and by Him and for Him that I live and breathe and have my very being. I am student of the Bible and a disciple of Christ, and hold a bachelor of arts degree in theology. I am a prayer leader for Moms in Touch International and have the honor of serving in the body of Christ as the prayer ministry coordinator of my church, Baseline Community Church (www.baselinecc.com). I pray that my life and work will touch your heart and mind and that the Light of Life, Jesus Christ the Lord, will shine upon you.

Visit Beth at her personal sites~

www.bethmisner.com
www.lightoflifeministries.wordpress.com

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Friday, January 30, 2009

How To Control Your Man


It's something we don't necessarily talk about much, but the truth of the matter is God has given women the ability to have some control over men.

Before smoke comes out your ears, or you’re already warming up your clapping hands, hear me out. Just look at what happened to Adam and Eve. According to Genesis 3, Adam was right there with Eve when she took the bite of the forbidden fruit.

What was it about Eve that caused Adam to blunder through the smoke screen and go with it? Did she say something to him? Did she flash that perfect smile? Why didn't he stop her? How did she manipulate the fresh, incarnate heartbeat of God to disobey his maker?

I'm not saying she was being vindictive or hateful. No, I'm just saying she was powerful over her man. She could influence him. And, I'm not saying that Adam was a push-over either. She just had a way with her man and it caused him to sin.


Ladies, God has put in us the power of influence. What we do with it can either build a man up in Christ or tear him down. I thank my husband all the time for taking care of us financially, spiritually, emotionally and many other ways. I began doing this even before he really stepped up to the plate in some of those areas. I spoke over him a vision for what I knew he could be, and he rose to it.

  • I would thank him for working so hard at work.


  • I would thank him for being attentive to the girls.


  • I would thank him for hearing me out when I had a bad day.


  • I tell him often that I think he is such a man.


Warrior talk, if you will. I asked him what are the ways I make him feel like I man. Here's his responses:

  • "When you build me up in front of other people and I can hear you."


  • "When you tell me you feel safe with me."


  • "When you compliment the way I look, you know, like a stud!"


  • "When you have my back with the girls even if you disagree with me."


All of these have the ring of respect. Men crave respect just as we crave love. Respect your man.

If you have a struggle with this, find something that you do respect him for and tell him so. He might be a hard worker. Maybe he can balance a budget like no man's business. Maybe he can make a small cottage out of a 2x4 and nails.

Whatever you can find to show respect, find it and say it. They live off of respect. Don't steal it from them. Speak it into their lives. If you can't, start praying for ways that you can. Start being deliberate about finding something you can thank him for, rather than nag him for.

Now, we all know that nagging never works. You might get what you want, but it won't be how you want it. He'll do it because he's sick of hearing you nag.

Take a note from the Bible.



Proverbs 27:15-16 A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.


Are you someone prone to being quarrelsome? I know that this can come from not getting your needs met either. He doesn't meet your needs, you don't meet his, so he doesn't meet yours. Around and around it goes. But, we can be the one to decide to make a change. Stop the cycle. Be the one who speaks life into your husband.

Speak honor.

Speak respect.

You might just notice that your world is a lot more wonderful. Your words hold the power to drive your man into a cave or to raise your man into a Warrior. Speak wisely.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Prov. 16:24


In Him,
Natalie

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

People Get Ready

I don’t claim to be a financial genius, although I do make a pretty mean Excel spreadsheet. Knowing about stocks, mutual funds and portfolios isn’t my forte. While I can help you get out of debt with clever budgeting and sacrificing, I cannot guide you in your 401K decisions.

My talent has to stop somewhere, people.

But I can tell you this: Times are tough in the financial world. If CNN, CNBC or FOX News has been plastered across your TV during the last few months, that is old news to you. These difficulties we are facing, not only as a nation but throughout the entire world, will cause many to live in fear. Unemployment rates, foreclosures and claims for bankruptcy will more than likely skyrocket.

Despite those mind-boggling and disheartening thoughts, I have some good news for you.

God is still the same.

Yesterday, today and forever.

I’m fairly certain you won’t hear Jim Cramer discussing God’s supremacy on CNN’s Mad Money. I highly doubt that Anderson Cooper will encourage you have faith that God will continue to be your Provider. I’m going out on a limb here but I’m going to guess that Suze Orman won’t give you the when God closes a door, He opens a window speech. While these individuals are very intelligent, helpful and oftentimes entertaining, their information is not going to be what you need to rely on.

God’s Word is.

You see, I read somewhere that God makes sure that the birds have everything they need. That being said, there is no need to fear for we will have what we need. All He asks of us is to place Him at the forefront of our lives. To say yes to Him.

Get ready, my friends, to see God move mountains. I’m convinced that through the challenges that are ahead of us He’ll redeem souls…He’ll heal hearts…He’ll bless the poor…He’ll restore relationships…and He’ll show Himself to you in more ways than you ever dreamed possible.

It’s what He does.

And He’s so good at it.

Anyone have a story they'd like to share where God has provided, redeemed, healed, blessed or restored?

Trusting...

Cindy

Don't forget...


Submit your nominations today! Deadline is Friday, January 30th.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Highlighted Words

Do words in yellow highlight grab your attention? These did mine BEFORE I hit them with the highlighter. "The only way we can be of use to God is to let Him take us through the crooks and crannies of our own characters." Oswald Chambers really hit the nail on the head with that.

How often I try and ignore the things that are going on in my heart---just because the timing may not be quite right for dealing with the emotions of the moment. I do that so often!

My sister, Aimee and I discussed recently a particular difficult situation in which she had to go beyond her active duty. I questioned her as to "how" are you going to do that? She said, "I compartmentalize." I do as well. Put it in a pretty box. Deal with it later.

I have to tell you though, God wants to help us deal with it here and now. This minute. If you wait, all to often the enemy of our souls has a chance to insert his opinion. Has that happened to you? Oh girls, it has me.

There was a situation years ago that I was trying to "work through" on my own. In my own time---in my own heart. Well---by the time the enemy had finished inserting his opinion---I had all sorts of imaginings going through my head. None of which were true. The truth was---he--the devil---is a liar. All manner of false spewings come forth when he opens his mouth. And its nasty filth gets in the recesses of our minds and is hard to clean out!

What I needed--and what I eventually received ---was time with my Father. Alone. Just the two of us. Oh the sweet relief. Oh the peace that flooded my soul (as the song says).

I find great comfort in the Word. I find out more about me---and about His desire and love for me daily. That is one area where He can work on the crooks and crannies of our minds. Opening up your Bible, is like inviting Him to sit a spell.

Lessons learned the hard way often stick the longest...but take this one down. Don't box it up. If you do, carry the box immediately to Him to open, examine and repair. When necessary---even replace. There are times in our lives when we need to re-evaluate the order of things. A change of priority is often necessary. Sometimes---there are things, not necessarily bad things, maybe obligatory things that needs cutting from our lives. He can help you decide. He can highlight those areas and shine His Holy Light into the area that needs work. Have you thought to ask Him? I have recently. When He pulls the cover off the attitude I get from time to time, He highlights it and directs my heart into action.

Go ahead. Hand Him the highlighter. Don't be afraid...just be obedient.

In Him,

Angie

I would love to have you visit me when you have time...at the Knightly News!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A New Year's Resolution

A New Year’s Resolution

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8


The young woman’s body shook and her tears flowed. Kathy* had just moved into the homeless shelter and she was in the early stages of drug and alcohol withdrawal. When Kathy learned we were having Bible study, she ran from the room, came right back, Bible in hand and tears still flowing.

Having just celebrated the New Year, we talked about resolutions and how a resolution is a change we want to make in our lives. We talked about the Potter and the clay, and how our Father is in the continual process of molding and changing our lives to shape us into the beautiful vessels that He wants us to become.

We talked about how we, as the clay, must be pliable and willing and trust the Potter. How we must make sure our clay stays soft and doesn’t dry out. How we must be willing to place our clay in the Potter’s hand. How we must get to know our Father and let Him prove Himself trustworthy and how we do this by reading His Word - and learning how much He truly loves each one of us.
We then made a list of our resolutions for the New Year and Kathy shared that she had already made hers. She had been saved through faith in Christ just a month earlier. Ever since that time, she had planned for the next day to be her last day to drink and get high. Kathy had some serious pain in her life and she was afraid of being sober. But she had truly encountered Christ and during the past month, through studying God’s word and praying to Him, He had given her the power to finally say “no more.”

So on this night, as Kathy suffered through the early stages of withdrawal, her determination was evident. Even as her body shook and her tears flowed, she held tightly to her Bible. As we talked about the Potter and the clay, and God molding us and changing us, this young woman seemed to cling to every word that was spoken.

As we were finishing up, something truly divine began to happen. Another resident began to encourage Kathy as she shared how God had helped her survive a similar experience. She was so very kind and loving and supportive. An older resident then spoke up and said she had been there too. She assured Kathy that she would make it through this time - and they would all be there to help her. Then the older resident closed her eyes and lifted her face toward heaven and sang “What a Day That Will Be.” As she sang to her Lord, all of her worries and concerns seemed to just melt from her face.
*name changed

These women laid aside their own problems to minister to Kathy.

Are we able to put aside our problems and minister to others in need?

Do we truly encounter our Father when we close our eyes
and lift our faces toward heaven?
We will if only we have faith as great as this precious homeless woman.

Father, we ask that you give us the power to trust you and leave our burdens at the cross. We ask that you give us a heart that always allows us to minister to others. And we pray that in the midst of our problems we would be able to close our eyes and lift our faces toward heaven and sing praises to you. In the precious name of Jesus.




I'd love to have you visit at http://www.inspirationfrommayberry.com/.



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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Pretty Red Jeep


A pretty red Jeep. It’s not brand new, but it’s exactly what she wanted. To her it’s freedom and maturity. To me, it’s letting go and moving on.

She checked online auto sites almost daily and was constantly on the lookout for just the right vehicle. She considered several different models. I almost talked her into a hot pink completely restored vintage Volkswagen Beetle but she balked when she learned that air conditioning wasn’t an option. She considered lost of makes and models, but she fell head over heels for the Jeep Cherokee and not the Grand, just the plain, basic Jeep. We checked it out and decided this is one vehicle that we could live with.

We looked all over, traveling hundreds of miles over the weeks as we tracked down an elusive used Jeep that met our requirements -- low miles, good maintenance records and within our price range. No luck. We just couldn’t find one that met our needs. Finally, we were ready to give up – and even our sweet – almost- 16 daughter was willing to settle for her second favorite when the pretty red Jeep showed up. We found it on a car lot that I pass every day and is only two miles from the high school. After traveling miles and miles, the very thing we were searching for was right in our backyard – or pretty close by.

That pretty red Jeep may say freedom to my darling almost 16 year old daughter, but not to me. As I talked to the Lord about this new place in my life, I asked Him for wisdom to walk this new path. A path that doesn’t require me to take and pick up children from school, something I’ve been since my oldest started Kindergarten in 1992. That’s 17 years of traveling for those who are counting.

As I considered this new beginning in my life, I realized that this is all a part of God’s plan for my life. He knows what happens next even if I don’t. He’s planned out the days that follow today and tomorrow.

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your
book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. (Ps
139:16 NLT)


What a blessing to know that I serve a God who is able to handle everything. Nothing throws Him. He continues to be the Great I AM even when I struggle to figure out what’s going on. He is the Rock on which I stand.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He
only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly
shaken. (Ps 62:1-2 ESV)

God alone is my Rock, my Redeemer, my Fortress and my Salvation.
In a few weeks, when my baby girl drives off alone for the very first time in that pretty red Jeep, I know that God will be the Rock on which I stand. I know that He has a will for my life and for hers. I know that He is in control and I will trust in Him.

So, as I step out of the role of driver of children, I’ll look back at these years with great joy – well, most of it was joyful. There were those days when nothing seemed to go right and no one could get out of the door on time, least of all me. I’m looking forward to where the Lord is leading me. I’ll remember far away and close by; because God may just have the very thing my heart desires right down the road – just like that pretty red Jeep.

Where is the Lord leading you? Are you in a season of change for your life?
Maybe children are heading off to school next year or off to college. Are you’re considering a job move or another career related decision is on the horizon?
Where ever the Lord has you today, look to Him for wisdom and discernment for where you are heading tomorrow.

May God give you great joy and peace in the journey you are traveling.


In Him,





Come by and visit my blog, Joy Filled Living

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blessed Aroma Nominations



Internet Cafe Devotions introduces Blessed Aroma ~ 2008!


As a Christian Women Devotional site, we passionately want to encourage and inspire women all over the world. We know that an ounce of encouragement goes a long way and that is why we are introducing Blessed Aroma ~ 2008. It's a way to showcase some of your favorite blogs who have encouraged you with their written words and examples of faith in 2008. This is a chance to showcase some of the most encouraging and inspiring blogs, and an opportunity to introduce our readers to some new and exciting ladies.

This is not a contest. There are no prizes. We firmly believe that there is no competition in ministry and we are to support and encourage each other as the body of Christ.

Our vision for this is to simply add a page to the Cafe with a fresh list of wonderful blogs that others can enjoy. We will obtain this list through nominations by you, the readers, and not simply based on our own opinion. No one will know who was nominated or how many people nominated each blog but the top ten of those who receive the most nominations in a category will be included on our website. In random order, of course.

We will accept nominees through Jan. 30th, 2009 and shortly after the top 10 blogs in each category will be announced when our new web design is revealed.

You can vote once in each of the following categories:

Cup Overfloweth Blog
This is a woman who is following hard after Him. Her words, her heart and her passion for her Savior is evident with every click of the mouse. She inspires you to have a closer relationship with Him.

Cup of the Day Blog
This blogger is the "cup" you couldn't do without. You find yourself daily drawn in to sit a spell. You leave inspired and encouraged.

Most Joyful Among Us Blog
This gal always sees her coffee cup "half full" and the joy just pours out of her site. Her joyful attitude is what keeps you coming back for more.

Beautiful Cup Blog
This blog is unique and artistic. It's the blog that you are drawn to because of it's beauty and design. Maybe she is into interiors or photography. Maybe she creates one of a kind art. Maybe she is a blog designer with an eye for detail.

Gathered Together Blog
This is a group blog category. This blog is a team of writers who inspire you with their words of encouragement.

Pouring Proverbs 31 Blog
This blog exemplifies the principles of a Proverbs 31 woman and it comes through on her blog.

Caffeinated Blog
This is a high energy blog! Perhaps she is a mom to a dozen or a woman who is wearing many hats. Her energy and enthusiasm shine through on her blog.

Learn A-Latte Blog
This is a lady who loves to see others learn. She might teach her kids at home or maybe she teaches you about: scrapbooking, sewing, knitting, crafts, photography, or anything of the like. The truth is you learn something almost everytime you visit her blog.

My Cup of Tea Blog

This is a lady who loves her family and friends and is always pouring out thoughts and ways that you can love your family more. She is a woman after God's own heart.

All New Flavor Blog
This blog is less than a year old but already shows such a tremendous capacity to bless. You just can't wait to see where she'll go from here!

The rules are:
  • Each household may only nominate once.
  • The nominator must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You cannot nominate your own blog.
  • You must provide all information requested for your nomination to count.
  • You must provide the URL of the blogs you nominate in order for them to count.
  • You must submit all of your nominations at one time.
  • Blogs must be written by a Christian author. We reserve the right to refuse to include any blog we feel is not supportive of our biblical, Christian beliefs.
Don't forget to grab the button for your blog below!





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Moments

Yesterday was a terrible day.

For starters, the company we utilize for Internet connection greeted me with a connection suspension in the morning.

Why is that?

Apparently they took note of illegal activity through our router and didn’t want to take any chances. Of course, it wasn’t my husband or I who had done anything illegal. Someone had tapped into our Internet source and was on a downloading frenzy.

The company understood someone else probably was using the connection illegally but still didn’t want to turn ours back on.


Nice.

Especially when you work from home and have clients who are expecting projects in their inboxes ASAP.

Then I turned the kitchen sink on. Water sprayed every which way because the filter that was recently installed decided today it wasn’t in the mood to comply. No matter how hard I tried to get it off, the thing wouldn’t budge. My husband was at work so I had to do without a kitchen sink and clean up the flood that I had made from my few attempts to fix it.

This was followed by a gift I ordered turning out to be a piece of junk - a $62 dollar piece of junk. NFL Shop, I’m coming for you and thanks for letting me waste a nice chunk of change. How admirable of you.

Worked into quite an irritated thither, I began to feel the Lord telling me to sit down and read His Word.

I begrudgingly did what I was told.

I don’t admit that lightly. Truth is, I really didn’t want to. I was so worked up and annoyed I wasn’t sure I would be able to focus.

For the first ten minutes or so I couldn’t focus!

I just kept turning pages and whimpering about my bad day.

Finally I found myself reading Revelation 5 (that should give you an idea of just how many pages I absentmindedly turned!) and found my heart (and mouth) moved to silence.

No annoyances voiced.

No wants asked for.

No needs monopolizing my thoughts.

I just sat soaking in the Word written.

“And they sang a new song, saying:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
members of every tribe and language
and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on earth.”

I found myself singing a new song. Singing with the ten thousand times ten thousand angels who with voices loud encircle the throne and say:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”

There is a dose of perspective for you. Revelation 5 paired against a failed Internet connection and mangled sink filter.

The Lamb slain up against my bad day.

Jesus Christ, the Worthy One, bidding me to come and rest with His Word.

After reading this awesome scripture set I thumbed through old prayers and notes on certain verses.
Still awed at the power of God’s Word and the majesty of His Name, still reeling from the realization of what the Lamb slain, Jesus, has made accessible and possible for us, I read a prayer of mine from October of 2006.

I remember feeling so broken as I wrote it, as I penned my heart to the Lord and yet as it goes on hope begins to appear.

About three quarters of the way into it, I asked the Lord,

“How could I, for even a moment, have not come to You?”

I ask that still today. I ask that as I allow the events of my inconvenient day to cloud my purpose in this place.

To bring Him glory.

To seek Him out.

To still myself and be quiet now.

This is my pursuit.

This is my plea, “Lord, take all of my moments.”

Even if you have to clear my schedule, through failed connections and broken appliances, to do it!

***


Kristen writes daily at {dancing} in the margins and also at Exemplify Online. She welcomes you to stop by!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Café Chat January 24th

Once again, I want to thank all of you that are participating in the “Café Chat”. I would be so distressed if my questions and answers were the only ones on the post. I have so loved reading your responses the last couple of weeks, and you all are just blowing me away (in a good way for sure).

This week I am changing up the tone just a bit, but you will still be blessed in a big way. I want to talk about miracles that have happened in your personal life. Remember miracles come in all shapes and sizes; don’t get caught into thinking of one way only.

In as much detail as you would like to share, please tell me a “miracle” that has happened in your own life.

Let us share the wonderful works of our Lord together this week!

Again, if you have not yet shared at the “Café”, let this be your week. As for those of you that have shared in the past, thank you from the bottom of my heart

Kim



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I Messed Up the Bible - Really!

Recently (January 4th), Ryan and I had the awesome privilege of being a part of something was very important to us. The Bible Across America Tour came to our church and spent two days collecting hand written scriptures for a bible that is sure to be a keepsake. Zondervan will be releasing the first ever hand-written NIV bible later this year and we wrote two of the scriptures inside of that bible: Luke 6:40 & 41. This was my scripture:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Luke 6:41

Can I tell you that I messed up?

It is a good thing they take two samples because on the first try I realized that I had left out the words: "of sawdust."

You see, I just knew that I knew that I knew that scripture. I hardly even glanced at the lovely cue card that they give you and that you are supposed to copy. The whole crew on the bus tour are awesome and make it really easy for you to get it right. I mean, they had five-year-old children who were getting theirs correct and I didn't. I was so upset with myself.

Then I realized how much of life is like that experience. We think that we know that we know that we know something and so we set it in stone for our lives. Then, all of a sudden, we realize we have messed up. I'm so glad that God is a God of second chances and even better than the crew on the bus tour, He gives us more than two chances to get it right.

The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. Lamentations 3:22-23

  • Maybe you volunteered or committed yourself to teach children's church and you realize what God was trying to tell you is that He wants you to teach your own child more about Him.
  • Maybe you committed to fast from TV to get that breakthrough but what God really was trying to tell you is to give up those gossip magazines.
  • Maybe you bought new outfits for a friend to bless her and later realized that God really wanted you to give her some of your old outfits.

Has this ever happened to you? Well, even if I am the only one with my hand up I know that I know that I know that we all make mistakes and that we have an amazing and loving God who is ready and willing to forgive us when we repent.

That is what it takes. A truly repentant heart. Asking your Father for forgiveness. Then, as only a good father will do, He takes your mistakes and makes something worthwhile out of them. That is exactly what He did with this blog post and if God can forgive me for messing up the bible and then make something worthwhile out of the experience then He will do the same for you!

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28



I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog: In Pursuit of Proverbs 31

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Faith Conquers All...

faith I have been studying the Book of Romans for a while now. Each time time I read from this awesome book, I learn something new and incredible! This book is full of gold nuggets… that is, if we take time to take in what God is trying to teach us! I have been going over chapter five of Romans for two weeks now.

I believe the Lord is telling me through His word to encourage you:

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith in this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

The peace mentioned in verse one is much more than the absence of conflict but rather, the unspeakable peace for those who have experienced that new relationship with Jesus Christ.

For those who have not this saving knowledge and a new relationship with Jesus – they remain awaiting the day of His impending wrath.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." Romans 1:18

Paul goes on to say:

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:7-8

Our relationship lost by our all being born into sin, is restored through faith in Christ, which banishes all enmity between we and He. The result is the unexplainable peace we now have - especially during times of hardship and tribulations.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we don't have to go to a mediator to have total access to our Heavenly Father. In verse two it makes it clear that we stand in His presence and He is available and immediate to hear us when we speak to Him.

I don't know about you sisters but these truths brings even more joy and peace to me. He is indeed, a harbor and place of shelter against the storms of life and coming judgment. What about you?

As we respond to tribulations by rejoicing in them we gain eternal rewards too! It is the proper response to our tribulations that really matter to our daily Christian walk. Tribulations don't always mean tragedies but it can mean additional stresses or pressures as we journey the Christian walk day to day.

In verse 3, we are reminded to glory our trials. Why? Because these tribulations produce perseverance - meaning we don't give up but rather, pressing on to something greater with God’s power to help us to do! Paul is encouraging us to endure the hardships and life's difficulties because it produces character too. Character learning to walk with grace under pressure and is another part of our Christian experience. Through all these things, we are being purified through and through.

I remember when my kids were younger, I would read a character building book to them that helped their realizing just how God builds character in their lives. Thinking back of some of the different characters gleaned from the bible, individuals such as David, Samson, Zacheeaus, Deborah and more, became real-life examples. These wonderful saints still are there for our examples too!

When we finally grasp some of these basic truths found in the scriptures; coupled with the testing and trials each of us face day to day, we emerge victorious! We possess "hope" which is based on the eternal love and power of God. This same Hope is our one day, making to our eternal heavenly home with our sweet Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

I was so excited to grasp this as I have really been digging in these few verses. What an encouragement it is, to know that what we go through and how we handle each hardship is building in us character, perseverance, peace and hope!

He is working in us what we don't know we even need! The Holy Spirit gives us the strength to endure and persevere though… so as we are building our character we look forward to the day we see our Savior face to face too. We wait to hear these words from our Jesus Christ:

"Well done thy good and faithful servant."

Romans chapter five and in fact, all of God’s Word is really helping me to understand and to handle the day to day crisis we might face as wives, mothers, and daughters.

If we decide to question our Savior, it should not be.”Why?”, but rather, “ What?”

This nugget you might want to carry with you as you walk this journey in life!

Close and Personal;

  • How do you handle the day to day crisis?
  • Do you make a point to remember through out the day where and what is our hope?
  • Have you been thankful for "character building" techniques that our Savior has used in your life?

Dear Lord,

Thank you Father for your many blessings and love you have for us your children! Thank you Father for choosing us. Lord, I want to take this time to specifically thank you for using the tribulations we face in this world to build into us perseverance and endurance in our Christian walk. As we have experienced this in our lives we have a peace that reminds us of our eternal hope Father. I am here to tell you Thank you and I love you!

Join Elaine daily at her personal site.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Bug's Life




Four things on the earth are small; nevertheless, they are very wise -the ants, a species not strong, yet they store up their food in the summer;the coneys, a species with little power, yet they make their home in the rocks;the locusts, who have no king, yet they all march out in ranks;and the spiders, which you can catch in your hand, yet they are in the king's palace. 
~ Proverbs 30:24-28


What immeasurably rich insight there is in the Word of God.  Contained within these few verses lies a deep and a practical wisdom as recorded by Agur.  

How can our daily lives benefit from the practices of these four small creatures? 

Let’s see... 

the ants, a species not strong, yet they store up their food in the summer:

1. Diligent Preparation - God’s order of diligently preparing for today and tomorrow! 


...the coneys, a species with little power, yet they make their home in the rocks:

2. Solid Foundation - God’s order of building and abiding on the Solid Foundation He has already laid!  


...the locusts, who have no king, yet they all march out in ranks

3. Joyful Cooperation - God’s order of working together effectively for the (common) Kingdom good! 


 ...and the spiders, which you can catch in your hand, yet they are in the king's palace:

4. Future Exaltation - God’s order of setting the lowly in high places!


The plans of all the above creatures achieved great success!  

They each are in the habit of beautifully fulfilling the purposeful works that their Creator designed for them (Ephesians 2:10). 

They do not quarrel with God that their plans are superior to His.  

They do not hold private assemblies to come up with alternative ways to achieve their goals. 

No.  They simply walk and be, trusting in the plans He has given them.  

Think about this: 

The Ant doesn’t complain about the work to be done...The Coney doesn’t bother with unstable foundations...The Locust doesn’t covet J-Locust’s position ahead of her (sorry, couldn’t resist!)...and the Spider doesn’t scheme to gain an honorable position by exalting himself.  God places him there.

Each of these creatures have a beautiful dependency upon the LORD, their Creator.  They also possess an even more beautiful submission.

Now, if we, His Chosen, could learn the ways of these small creatures (which undeniably, we are), our plans would achieve great success, too!  

Proverbs 16:3 says 

“If you entrust all you do to ADONAI, your plans will achieve success.”
  
Are you operating in God’s ORDER for you?  

Are you attune to the will of God in order to ensure your plans achieve the great success He has prepared for you?  


Father God, may You give us wisdom, conviction, clarity and courage to entrust to You what is already Yours, all of me and all of Your blessings.  We willingly commit these works to You today.  In Jesus Christ’s Name, my Solid Foundation, Amen!


Because He Lives!
Please visit Carmen's blog...

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So you had a bad day?



We've all had one of those days... you wake up just not yourself exactly. You drop the milk while making the cereal, can't find your shirt, and so on. I had one of those days recently. I wasn't sure why I woke up feeling out of sorts, but knew there was something not right. It's these days that someone can say something that on any other day would not mean anything but on certain days it means more. On this particular day I tried to keep a positive attitude. That was until making dinner... opening cans of veggies to make a big pot of vegetable stew. One wrong move and my pinkie almost met an imminent death with a freshly opened lid. I am happy to report that I saved the finger, barely, but that was the last straw on a downhill spiral of mishaps.

Sometimes life can just seem like too much. There are just too many obiligations, too many pulls from too many directions. You want to stand up and scream, "ENOUGH, I'VE HAD ENOUGH."

It's these days in particular that seem to erupt with bad thoughts and memories of the past. Flashbacks of bad times in your life roll through like a fast forwarding movie. Driving down the road I remember walking through a snack bar in a hospital in Dallas during the months following our daughter Isabelle's near drowning accident. I hadn't been back to that place in so long (in my mind). It's funny how your brain turns on you so quickly.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 2:5
Even when the days seems gray (and lonely) it's necessary to hold your thoughts captive. I know from experience that jumping on that negative train of thought can become a run away train filled with more negativity and sadness.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
I love that God gives us direction in every area of life. I also love that His advice is not only perfect, it is also very practical. Taking time to realize how much there is to be thankful for and thanking God for those things can instantly bring you out of a negative frame of mind. Prayer, lifting your thoughts and needs straight up to God is also a very practical way of relieving a burden that is on your heavy heart.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye
do. I Thessalonians 5:11

Having faithful Christian friends or family to talk to can also help to lighten your load.


What do you do when you have those kinds of days?

I know that my first desire is to crawl back in bed, pull the covers over my head, and wait for the day to work itself out. Unfortunately that is not a practical solution with the responsibilities of a family. I'm so thankful that God has given me paths to follow to get through both good and bad days.

Thank you heavenly Father for loving and proctecting us, thank you for
being our rock and strength and shield through the good days and through the
bad. Thank you for giving us practical ways to deal with life when the
days seem to be hard and thank you for never giving us more than we can deal
with. You are an awesome God and I thank you for loving us everyday.
In Jesus name, Amen.











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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Best of Intentions


It begins with the very best of intentions.


"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Prayer area, snuggled in my bed, low light on ~ check

Bible ~ check

Devotional Study ~ check

Something to sip on ~ check

Pen, journal and anything else I've scooped up along the way ~ check

I have worked hard in "quieting my soul." I come prepared and if I'm being honest (and I am), I have to admit that sometimes it sounds like this:

"Father God, I want to put myself in a place of peace with you....
drats, I forgot to take meat out for dinner, and the girls owe money today for class; have to remember to write that check, trash goes out tomorrow and recycling too."

"Oops, I lost focus for a moment, but I'm back God. I want more than anything to be in your perfect will and oh man, that lesson plan for Friday, haven't done it yet and tomorrow if I get up early I can exercise, and I need to get the kids to get those thank you notes done, and I told them I'd bring cookies to class, what kind should I bake? I really have to get that hair color for my hair."

Again...I've lost my prayer focus.

I'm distracted not by the things that surround me physically, but the distractions in my mind. I've quieted myself and now I have to quiet my soul, and truly 'be still.'

“God never ceases to speak to us, but the noise of the world without and the tumult of our passions within bewilder us and prevent us from listening to him." Francois Fenelon

It frustrates me and I'm working on it. I imagine many women with to-do lists a mile long are plagued with the same distractions. We physically slow down, but we don't slow our minds down long enough to center ourselves on God, and yet we expect to 'hear' Him amidst the noises within our heads that disrupt our time of 'stillness.'

I have come up with a few things that work for a gal in perpetual motion like myself. Before I come to my "quiet time" I make my lists. All of the things that tend to distract me from my time with the Lord. The lists are a mile long some days, but if I make the list, then when I come to my time with the Lord I can focus on what He is saying and not on the tasks of the day. I can mention those things on the list that are troubling my heart and instead of it being a distraction, it becomes part of the prayer.

I've also learned how to not WAIT for quiet time to engage in a heart to heart with my God. This Martha spirit has learned to slow down a bit, and I've learned to pray my way through the day. I have a journal that I'm keeping with me so that when I'm sitting waiting to pick up a child, I can be seizing the quiet moment in the car.

I have tried for the past few years to "set aside" time, and in that I've neglected the opportunities of quiet that appear throughout the day. These "quiet moments" come in unlikely places, usually when I'm doing something that causes others to "scatter." Folding laundry, showering and coming home from dropping a child off at classes are ALL "be still and know that I am God" opportunities in the midst of a hurried life. I am learning that there are opportunities within the chaos to be "momentarily still" and utter a prayer of thanks for the warm water or the coffee that flows. There are times when I can still my soul within the daily demands. I don't have to completely shut down to let God in.

God knows my heart, He KNOWS that I long to have a conversation with Him that is intimate and constant. He understands where I am. He knows what I struggle with and it's in talking constantly to Him that I feel connected, really connected. He hears the interruptions that fill my day, and HE longs to be a part of it all. Talking to Him throughout the day has made it such that when I do 'stop' for the day, I can truly stop and 'be still' with Him, knowing that all along I've been sharing the details He longs to hear. It's in that peace that I can quiet myself and truly, in my quiet time, "BE STILL and KNOW that HE is GOD" (psalm 46:10).

I ponder a quote that I read some time back that has helped me in praying continually to God,

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Brother Lawrence

Father,
Guide me as I journey into a more intimate relationship with you. Help me to treat you as my best friend, chatting with you continually throughout the day. Help me to "sieze" the quiet moments that you carefully place in my day so that I may quiet my spirit and "be still," even for a few moments to hear your voice and feel your presence. I want to throw off all that hinders me, and I want to run the race with endurance. I want to feel your presence at my side, not just in the quiet moments but in the chaos that is daily life as well. It's involving YOU in every part of my day Lord that I will draw closer to you, and that is truly my heart's desire.
Amen








Join Lori daily at her personal blogspot, where she can be found finding Jesus in the daily details of her life. She is continually learning how to "be still."







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Monday, January 19, 2009

Soul Food



Each New Year our church begins with prayer and fasting. Our fast is based on this passage in the Book of Daniel:

“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Daniel 10:2, 3)

When I first heard about the Daniel Fast, I must say I wasn't too excited. Now I have fasted at different times most of my Christian walk, but usually it was one food group, or from doing something I really enjoyed. I know God honors anything we give up for him, and I've witnessed many breakthroughs during these times.

But 21 days of denying myself? Hmmm, I knew I would need God's grace for this one!

To “hunger and thirst” is the best illustration in the Word for what it means to draw closer to God. These basic physical needs are impossible to ignore. Now, here in American, we've been so abundantly blessed. If we should feel hungry or thirsty we have the means to take care of it right away. Instant gratification!

As I began my fast this year, I asked God to give me a new passion for his Word and for his Presence.


I want to be hungry for the things of God.

One of the most beautiful illustrations of a heart that was seeking hard after God is found in Psalms 63. David wrote this passage while he was in the desert, exiled from Jerusalem. Instead of feeling sorry for himself as he fled from his own son who wanted to kill him, David prayed:

“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water”. (Psalm 63:1)

David cried out from the depths of his heart for God’s presence. Is it just me or does this sound extremely foreign to you? Do you long for God as David did? Do you long for God so much you can feel it in your soul and even in your flesh? Oh, that we may have a heart like David that is hungry and thirsty for Jesus!

We have plenty bibles sitting on our shelves and churches on every corner, but do we have a relationship with Jesus that fills our deepest longings? How much our lives would be changed if only we would press towards the presence of God to feed our spirit-man in the same way we seek after food and drink for our flesh.

I love the what Beth Moore said in her book Living Free:

“The more we have been satisfied by God’s love, His Word, and His presence, the more we will yearn for it.”

I’m so grateful we serve a God that can truly satisfy our deepest needs.

My invitation today is this:

“O taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8).



Some things to ponder:

Is your hunger for God growing stronger, or weaker?

Do you set time aside for God and his word each day?



Thank you Father for the invitation you offer us each day to come and to drink and to dine with you. Your word satisfies completely.. Give me heart that follows hard after you. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.


Join Susan daily at her personal blog,





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