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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yield to be Filled

In the Old Testament, before the Spirit of God could fall down in the Holy of Holies, the deepest room in the Temple, the priests of the Temple had to get out. They couldn't even be in the room where His glory fell! That was a death wish!


It was God's place to rule, and His place alone. When His glory fell, the priests were at His disposal, doing what He wanted and waiting on His guidance.


It's the same with us. When the Holy Spirit takes up residency, we too must leave the Holy of Holies. We must make a cognitive decision in prayer to believe that the Spirit of God has seated Himself in the deepest place in us. We decide to humble ourselves to that power and believe that He will do what He says He will do.


The great teach, Andrew Murray, says this in regard to our humility to the Spirit:



The Holy Spirit is not given to us as a possession of which we have control and can use at our discretion. The Holy Spirit is given to us as our Master, who has control of us. We do not use Him, He uses us.



I know I have had that backwards before. I have lived, and believed, (even if I didn't say it out loud) that I had control. I have believed that I can just summon Him to do something powerful and God-like in my life without even considering that, um, I'm the one who is alive because of Him, not the other way around.


Such thinking kept His power from really breaking forth.


I was not yielding.
Not humbling myself.

I thought I was, but it was really just me trying to force the Spirit to do His job. I figured out that humility and yielding to the Spirit takes great patience and most certainly I found that it rubbed my flesh nature, my natural self, the wrong way! One of the hardest things for me to do a few years ago was go from my seat to my knees. Some of you may not have that problem, and I'm glad! It wasn't that I was all so into myself, it was just something I hadn't practiced, hadn't understood.


But the Lord says to us things like this:



I will give you treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel who summons you by name.
Isaiah 45:3

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

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




There is great reward and holiness in waiting before the Lord. It shows a soul determined to believe that the Spirit of Christ is the fullness of God in her. That He has the right to do as He wills and that He hold the deepest place in us and in that, we are changed.


We who are followers of Christ have His Spirit. Now, are we letting Him have full authority? Do we get out of the Holy of Holies and believe that regardless of what we feel, He is at work?

I encourage you: Be humbled. Be yielded. Be filled.




Blessings! Natalie


Natalie has two blogs for your enjoyment and for study. Join her anytime!
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cafe Chat


We will also discuss the same topic from a different perspective next week)

Life is hard, sometimes tragic. If we are not personally in one of life's circumstances that is hard, then we probably know someone who is.

As Christians we have a wonderful opportunity to comfort those around us that are living through some of life's worst experiences. However, if you are like me I have said or done things that were not comforting to my family and friends that were going through intense times. Although my intentions were good, my words or actions were not so good. Why? One answer is that I did not let Jesus lead me as to what I should say or do for those who were hurting. It is not my words that can truly comfort or help those around me, but His.

So today, I would like for us to share some of the words that were said to us, or words we said to others that were not comforting, or maybe even made the situation worse. Today's sharing is not at all an exercise to condemn those around us who may have said things that were not good, but to help our community see what words can do if they are not filtered through Jesus.

(If you feel led, please share the experience and then what was said in response...remember you can always post anonymously)

In Christ, Kim

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Hard Hearts, Bad; Soft Hearts, Good

Lately, I have been asked this question by many women: What do you do when you have a hard-hearted husband and God told you to stay in your marriage?



That’s quite a loaded question and a very tough one to answer. And while the answer is simple, it is awfully difficult to stomach.



Pray.



We’ve trained ourselves to look for answers that we can touch. We would like a 3-point message that will tell us how to change a person. Unfortunately, even the greatest speakers and orators can’t give such a speech.



I don’t remember the day or the person who shared this passage with me or even where I was, for that matter. But I do remember it well.



I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26



So, for years now, I’ve been praying for people whose hearts seem to be a little on the hard side. For those people who seem to think they’ve got it all together and actually do no wrong, I pray for brokenness. For those people who still love their sin, I pray they develop a hatred for it. For those who have turned from their faith in God, I pray for a return. I pray that God will give them a new heart and a new spirit and remove their hard heart and give them one that is pliable to the Master’s touch.



I’ve seen remarkable results in doing this. And quite frankly, am still waiting to see many hearts softened…even after praying for over a decade. Truth is, I may never see a transformation in some, but I still pray. I still believe.



My God is the creator of the possible.



In Him,

Cindy

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Follow Me


Several years ago, a little girl friend of our oldest daughter was driving home from work...with her mind in the clouds, or rather, on something else.

As she drove along, she had to stop frequently for the road construction going on in our area.

"Finally! We're moving again," she thought as she moved slowly behind the pilot truck leading the way. She followed him. With her mind elsewhere, little girlfriend, traveling at a safe distance and speed, followed the pilot car--- all---the---way---home. His home not hers. It was after all, quitting time.

Imagine his surprise when the cute young girl pulled into his driveway. Imagine her surprise when she realized what she had done.

Have you ever been caught off guard like that?

Followed someone straight into a place you had no desire whatsoever to be?

I have. I was so surprised when I felt the hand of the enemy trying to lure me even further. Thankfully, I could put myself into reverse, and get out of that situation.

While we cannot go back and erase our past mistakes, there is a place where we can go and erase the sin itself. The Cross. I capitalized it for a reason. The Cross is important to me. And if you've been there...then you can relate to the clean---pure---fresh---washed feeling.

Going to the cross demands that we leave the way we lived prior to the prostration of our soul.

..."Follow Me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed Him. (Luke 5:27(b) NIV)


My husband, Jeff, recently shared his testimony with our Sunday School class. He described his feeling of forgiveness, the transformation from the old life to the new, as a "washing of soul" that penetrated his body---from his head out through his toes with a "cleansing."

Those old paths trampled would no longer be his chosen path. No longer would he simply "follow" the crowd. Instead, he would be following the Leader---Christ Jesus Himself!

Today, make a choice. Follow Him, not the others beckoning you here and there...look only to Him. He will be with you---all the way!

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© The Knightly News 2009.

I'd love your visit at my place! The Knightly News~ Have a blessed day!



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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spirits Can Be Restored








You also, like living stones, are being built into
a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood,
offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to
God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:5




An empty old Georgian style house with magnificent columns in front sits on my street. Passing by this old house, I think how beautiful it must have been when it was first built and in times past. Neglected for many years, the white paint is fading and peeling. The house has even been vandalized inside and out. Having been empty for so long, it’s hard to know how much damage has actually been done. How much would it cost to restore this old house? I wondered. Can it even be saved?



How I wish someone would move in and fix up that old place! I know it has the potential to be so beautiful. That dilapidated old structure is a lot like many of us. We come into this world so beautifully created by our Maker. Then someone we trust hurts us; emotionally, physically or both. We may shut down emotionally because it hurts too much to feel. We may not care about our appearance. Beautiful spirits are broken and sometimes even destroyed. After our "spiritual house" sits empty for so long, others may start to wonder if we can ever be restored. What will it take to restore us? How much will it cost? Can we even be saved?



The answer to this question is simply yes. If we allow Jesus into our hearts, He can heal the scars caused by abuse and repair the broken spirit. And unlike that old house on my street that would probably cost so much to restore, the cost of Jesus’ restoration is free. And Jesus’ work is always beautiful; after all, He is the Master Carpenter.



Do you have broken windows and peeling paint in your life?



Have you perhaps given up on experiencing healing and peace for yourself?



Is there someone in your life whom you've given up on?



Remember, we're never too broken for God.



Prayer:

Father, thank you for being the Lord who heals us. Help us to feel your healing touch today. In Jesus name, Amen.







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



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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Amazing Grace Life

I'm a huge fan of The Amazing Race. I love the adventure, the thrills and new experiences, everything …. except the eating weird stuff part. I don’t like that.

As I've watched this past season it struck me how much this show makes me think of life in Christ - -a fully lived life in Christ is an Amazing Adventure. It's not a race so much as a marathon. It's not about competition but about facing adversity and adventure together. It's about stepping out of your comfort zone; it's about reaching out to new people and cultures; it's about having a spirit that wants to learn and grow, and it’s about partnering with my brothers and sisters in Christ and working together.

I want that kind of Amazing Race life – more an Amazing Grace life. I don’t want to settle for the quiet, peaceful, comfortable existence. I want to live on the edge; I want to reach out to those who others shun; I want to step out in faith – no, I want to LEAP out in faith.

I want to live BIG because I serve God Almighty who spoke this world into existence. I serve the God who raised His son from the dead on the third day and He’s now seated at the right hand of God. I serve a God who is , and was, and is to be! That’s why I want the Amazing Grace life because that’s what He’s done for me! He’s poured out His Amazing Grace over my life.

“And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16

And when the day is done I want to speak the words of the Apostle Paul

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. “ 2 Timothy 4:7

It’s easy for me to sit in my comfortable chair and type these words. It’s easy for me to say “I want to live on the edge,” but it’s not easy to see the need that’s right in front of me. Like the lady in my church who suffers from depression; the man down the street who lost his job; the teenager who lost her Mom to drugs. Reaching out will take me out of my comfort zone. Reaching out will put my heart on the line. Reaching out may require a leap of faith. It’s easy to say I want to live BIG for God; it’s much harder to do.

My heart cry is to see, truly see, the world around me and to open my eyes and my heart to where God is leading me. I want to see the needs He places before me and meet them. I want to reach out to the people He places in my life and connect with them. I want to go wherever He leads me no matter if it’s down the street or across the world. I want to live the life that God has called me to live and if I do that I will have finished the race and kept the faith.

Where is God leading you?


In Him,





Come by and visit my blog, Joy Filled Living

Join us June 8th - 11th where Mary Snyder will be a featured speaker at A Woman Inspired Ministry Online Conference!! We'd LOVE to see you there!


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

His Goodness

100_0277 "I long to obey your commandments!
Renew my life with your goodness."
Psalm 119:40

A few weeks ago my husband and I visited a historical church, The Santa Barbara Mission. We've been there a few times before and each time are captivated by the beauty of it.

On this particular visit, I was a little desperate for a touch of God's holiness. As a matter of fact, on the way to the Mission I was telling the Lord how I just wanted a taste of His goodness.

"Just give me something, Lord..."

At certain points during the tour of the church, there are prayer books displayed for visitors to write in. Each night those who work at the church look through the books and pray for those who are in need.

I read prayer after prayer after prayer.

There were many who asked for prayer for healing from cancer and sickness. Penning the struggle of chemotherapy and the weight of their exhaustion.

100_0278
Still others wrote of the pain of losing a loved one and the need for comfort. Death had marked them and they were asking our Father for a taste of His goodness in the face of such pain.

I read further of marriages that were crumbling. Those who had written this, were asking for restoration. Again, a taste of our God's goodness. Believing in the One who is able to make all things new.

I cried as I ran my hands over these prayers. I prayed to a Holy God who I know is capable of anything. I'm still praying He showers those families with the power of His presence.

After reading through the prayer books, I wandered outside to walk under the trees and listen to the wind. I needed to filter my thoughts, pray for the broken and get a taste...

I found myself in an old cemetery.100_0317

No noise. No movement. What was meeting what is....

As we turned to explore a little further, Eric and I walked over to a final prayer book displayed outside.

It was written by a child. A girl named Hailey.

She wrote:

Dear God,
I had a wonderful time at your church. It is very beautiful.
I hope you have a good day.
Love, Hailey

And there among the pain and suffering, the old and new, the Lord gave me a taste. A taste of His never-ending goodness in the form of a child's prayer.

100_0316
Hailey. She got it. The church? His. His presence upon it? Beautiful. Her offering to Him? The hope of a good day.

I pray with Hailey today.

Father, We are yours. The Church, Yours. How beautiful Your Presence upon us! May today -- and all that we do with it -- be pleasing in Your eyes.






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




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Monday, May 25, 2009

Freedom Reigns - Letting Go

I am a first born. I had an approval addiction.

In an attempt to always earn gratitude, attention, and worth, I became an overachiever. I made A’s. I cleaned my room. I took care of my siblings. I took on my mother’s problems. I helped my sister pay for her wedding. I took in my brother at age 14. I worked 40+ hour weeks on top of being a mother. I tried to do everything. By the time I was an adult I was burnt out and bitter. I had so much resentment towards those who didn’t give me their approval. It became so bad that I was angry at myself for not achieving certain things. But God revealed something to me one day.

I was in bondage.

Approval had become a false god in my life.

He revealed to me that my expectations of myself were causing others to expect the same of me. When I couldn’t deliver I began to have the same expectations of others to soothe my pain. After all, if they couldn’t do it then they shouldn’t expect me to. This was a vicious cycle.

Besides, if my mother wasn’t capable of raising her son then how could she expect me to be a perfect mother to him? I was only 24. What did I know about raising a teenager? That is what I thought. However, I still felt it was my responsibility to be the mother he never had. I felt like I had to save him.

I began to fervently seek God and pray for the bondage to be broken. At a woman’s conference I prayed as loud as I could for the generational curses to be stopped at my generation. I got on my face and begged God to take this away from me.

Then, one night, He said, “I already did.”

When? I still feel the same! Why do I still feel like I am shackled? I could not lift my arms in praise since they were bound to my ankles. I could not sing songs of worship because the posture I had to take constricted my voice. I was not free. Why?

I began to feel the words that were coming forth in worship:
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom

If you're tired and you are thirsty
There is freedom
If you're tired and you are thirsty
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom
Tears began to stream down my face. I felt God holding me. He was speaking to me through this song…
We lift our eyes to Jesus
There is freedom
We lift our eyes to Jesus
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

Jesus reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

I heard Him say “let go.”

“Let go of what?” I asked.

“Control” He said.
Whatever you're burdened with tonight
Whatever you struggle with tonight
There is Freedom
There is freedom


Nobody is looking at you tonight
Nobody is looking at you tonight
The eyes of the Lord is moving to and fro throughout the Earth
Seeking an heart that's completely His

“But how do I let go?” I asked Him.

God said to me, “Look down”
When I looked down at the chains that bound me…





…they were already broken.

All I had to do was take them off. They had been broken the whole time. I had prevented my own freedom.

With my eyes closed and tears pouring from my eyes, I went through the motions of removing the chains from my wrists. I didn’t care who saw or what they thought. I just did it.

I raised my hands higher than I ever had before. I began to jump up and down, smile, and sing louder than I ever had before.
Jesus you reign in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom


Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

I had to give up control of my emotions and mindset to God. I accepted my freedom from this bondage.

I sometimes still fall back into this old mindset. It is during these times that God reminds me to remove the shackles and to stop holding on to things that I think I have control over.

"I will walk at liberty and at ease, for I have sought and inquired for [and desperately required] Your Truth and Your Wisdom." - Psalm 119:45


"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed." - Luke 4:18


What are you holding on to?



I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog: Amy Bayliss.com

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Commitment

100_0100 Mother's Day luncheon at my home I sat in amazement watching all of my 13 kids serving me and honoring me as their mom! Whether my kids came to me through natural birth or adoption their love and commitment was still the same!


The story of Ruth reminded me of my home that weekend! Ruth's statement of commitment in Ruth 1:16 & 17 says, "But Ruth said: Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."


The commitment was really towards the God of Naomi but He used Naomi to be the mother, mentor, and the earthly vessel in Ruth's life! Ruth willingly gave up her earthly family, her heritage, and her name to become Naomi's daughter! Ruth left her pagan homeland on her own initiative, despite the protest of her mother in law, in order to come under the wings of God. Ruth offered herself first to Naomi and ultimately to God.


Ruth had no attachments or loyalties to Naomi, per say, but she did so love the God she loved! This is what bonded these two women together! God's word says that Ruth clung to Naomi! That means that nothing could come between them!


A foundation of purposeful love and the outworking of devoted deeds set Ruth's commitment apart from verbal cliches and the whim of momentary emotions.


Ruth's story remains even today! My family is living proof of such a heart warming story! As I was watching my sons and daughters on that beautiful day two weeks ago I realized that the circumstances, events and situations were not that much different than those of Ruth's! They left the gods of their biological parents, wealth, comfort, cars, religion and all for a missionary calling that could only come from Jesus Christ!


My kids willingly accepted an unsettled future and bound themselves to the God we serve! They made a commitment to Jesus Christ and that is what was very obvious on Mother's day! Thinking on that day brings such a joy on my face knowing that my kids who so much served me and sacrificed of themselves to honor me on that special day had an uncompromising commitment to my Savior Jesus Christ! That makes me the wealthiest mom in the world!


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Matthew 16:24-27 "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man will come in the glory of His Father with His angles, and then He will reward each according to his works.


Close and Personal:

1. Who are you committed to?

2. Do you let others, situations, or circumstances dictate your commitment to your Savior?

3. What have you left behind to serve your Savior wholeheartedly?

Dear Father,

Thank you so much for letting us read the story of Ruth! Knowing that we would need to read it over and over again to realize that to live fully for you is not always the most comfortable or accepted by others! May we remember that you gave your home in Glory to come down to live in this wretched world! Thank you Father for your sacrifice and your love and kindness to us!


In Him,

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cafe Chat May 23, 2009


This week's Chat will be a little different, but I hope you will leave today feeling challenged in your spirit. A couple of days ago I watched a video that was posted on my friend's Facebook page. After viewing the video I started thinking about how I live out my walk with Jesus. I hope today you will do the same thing.

Before you answer the question, please click here to view a 3-4 minute video of pastor, Francis Chan (Make sure you are viewing the "Balance Beam" video).

In light of the Francis Chan video, how do you live out your Christian walk with Jesus? Do you always play it safe? Or do you take risks?

In one or two sentences, what do you want to be said of you, and how you lived out your life for Jesus when your time on earth is finished.

In Him,
Kim

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The Fulfilled Woman

Yeshua HaMashiach said that He came that we might have ABUNDANT LIFE (John 10:10).   HIS Execution Stake (The Cross) made a way for us to receive inner joy, peace, and contentment in our life’s journey.  


In the glorious blessing of our salvation, Yeshua has given us THREE KINGDOM KEYS that we may unlock the doors of Favor and Blessing in our lives:


1.) KEY OF WISDOM (TO GUIDE US) - THE WORD OF GOD


2.) KEY OF POWER (TO INVIGORATE US) - THE SPIRIT OF GOD


3.) KEY OF LOVE (TO CHANGE US) - THE PURPOSE OF GOD


The journey to being The Fulfilled Woman is not far.  It’s much closer than you may think! 

The following excerpt is from Session II: The Key of Power! from "The Fulfilled Woman Bible Study"

The Silver Watch 

"One morning as I was rushing to church with the children, I looked down and saw that I had forgotten my new silver/gold watch.  I had my silver/gold earrings, my silver/gold bracelet, my silver/gold necklace...but I had no watch!  That’s when I remembered my older silver/gold watch that had stopped working and I had left it in the cupholder.


‘Should I wear it?’, I thought to myself. 


But, something about that didn’t seem right.  Afterall, if someone asked me for the time, I wouldn’t be able to help them.  


Oh, but it looked so good!  And it matched perfectly with all of my other accessories!

 

But, no, I just couldn’t!  


That’s when I heard the LORD whisper to me that His children were a lot like my non-functioning watch.  “Many of my children are a lot like that watch. They LOOK GOOD in appearance.  They seem to have it all together, but they are NOT USEFUL.  They are not fulfilling their KINGDOM PURPOSE because they lack MY POWER to do so!” 


I was stunned. 


Then He reminded me that it doesn’t have to REMAIN that way. It’s ok to find yourself in a pit...it’s just not ok to stay there!’" 



Carmen would love for you to drop by Women Of the Word, and leave a word of wisdom yourself!  Also, if your small group of women is interested in 'The Fulfilled Woman' Beit Midrash (House of Study), there are two introductory sessions not included in the download that she would be blessed to share via email with your group leader.  Simply click on the icon above to download...and don't forget to ask her about the two week Intro Sessions!



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Friday, May 22, 2009

How To Begin In Ministry

Ministry: Online Conference

Do you want to know how to begin and succeed in online ministry?

Join us - online - June 8th - 11th!

Modern technology has opened up new doors of opportunity for ministry. Women who were once confined to space and time due to duties at home can now finish their tasks and sit down to a whole new mission field; one that knows no limits. It is the Internet.

How do you begin? What should your boundaries be? Must you Twitter and Facebook? If so then what are the advantages. Are these friendships that you are forming real or imagined? Do you need a blog? How can you branch out?

We have a team of ladies who are very educated in the ways of the Internet and online ministry. They can show you how to begin, maintain, branch out, and even how to deal with adversity. This conference is for anyone who is ready to make a difference via the Internet.

This conference will teach you everything you need to know about ministering online. We will cover all aspects of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, other social media, how to write captivating devotionals, building online relationships and readership, biblical principles to apply and more! Here is our line up:

  • Alyssa Avant: Finding Your Passion
  • Amy Bayliss: Split Decisionz: How To Give Your Blog A Facelift
  • Darcy: Okay So I Have A Blog, Now What?
  • Dawn Camp: Facebook - Inside and Out
  • Genikwa Williams: Touching Lives Online: The Power of Social Media to Minister
  • Karla Porter: Social Media and your ministry
  • Kristen Schiffman: Embedding Excellence
  • Leah Adams: 'I Did It My Way' Is Never the Best Way!!
  • Leigh Gray: Spilling the Beans and the Motives Attached
  • Maria Reyes- McDavis: Biblical Principles for Social Media Success: A Complete Starter's Guide to Marketing Your Business, Ministry, or Personal Brand
  • Mary Snyder: Facebook Friends, Twitter Tweets, and Blogging Buddies: The Blessings of Online Friendships
  • Sarah Martin: He Knows Your Words!
  • Tracy Jackson: Mommytography- Blogging Version
  • The Amies: Starting From Scratch With Your Ministry - Leads to Full Q&A Session


We are offering a free starter guide to beginning your own ministry online. Everyone who purchases a ticket between now and May 29th will receive the free e-book. Get your ticket for only $12.95! Don’t let time slip away… register now!


An online audio conference uses the Internet as a conference venue. What this means to you is that you will be able to access the conference from anywhere in the world using standard browser software which we provide. This software is compatible with all computers including Macs and it is provided by us, to you, with the cost of admission. All you need is a computer, Internet connection, and speakers!

The conference will happen in real time but it will be recorded so if you can’t be there then you can still download the sessions to listen to at your convenience.

Guest Submission, Paula Carpenter

The Internet Cafe Welcomes Paula Carpenter!


“Be still and know that I am God”.



I’ll admit that I have adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I am not good at sitting still which makes me really good at teaching little ones, because they aren’t usually good at sitting still either. When I worked in a medical office, it was quite common to see me standing up to type in a patient’s registration information.



I am infamous for starting projects and never finishing them; my craft basket at this moment, has three cross-stitch patterns that are half sewn, a shawl that I began to crochet for my grandma for Christmas two years ago, a Tupperware bowl full of beads that I bought, planning to make matching necklaces and earrings to match several pantsuits.



Several weeks ago, as I sat in front of the computer, trying to write a devotional, God whispered…”Wait”. And in my usual Paula-ness, I began to argue. “But God, you told me to write. Remember the conversations we had two years ago? I didn’t WANT to do this, and you told me to write. Now you’re telling me NOT to do it anymore? I don’t think so!”



And so, I tried to do it anyway. Anyone with me here? The end results were disastrous. They sounded stilted and thrown together, and very uninspiring. And that was the ones I could manage to finish. And then God would whisper to my heart. “Wait”.



I would read my bible, and think Wow! Those are awesome verses to write a devotion with. But when I tried, I got nothing. “Wait”, came that voice in my head again. And so, I waited. I kept reading, kept studying and kept praying. Days turned into weeks and people began to ask if there was something wrong. All I could say was “I’m waiting on God.”



Several years ago, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a praise chorus to the above mentioned verse. Today, I have hummed the chorus all day long. My friend Jessie heard me humming, and before long, there were half a dozen of us singing it. And suddenly, I realized this was what God had been trying to tell me.



Almost as soon as the thought passed through me, God whispered. “Now you can write.” This entire time, God has been molding me, changing me, preparing me for the next phase of my writing. I just had to be still long enough to hear what He had to say.



In Him,



Paula



Paula is a 42 year old pastor's wife from Bryant, Arkansas. She and her husband have been married for 22 years and have been blessed with three grown children. Paula is currently a full time college student and is involved with the Children's Science Museum and choir at her church.

She spends her free time reading, writing and enjoying quiet evenings at home with her husband and spoiled pups!

God opened doors for Paula 2 years ago when she began to write email devotionals that have grown from 5 to 100!




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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jesus, Fill My Cup/Speaking Thru Me Spotlight

Over the past few months, the Internet Cafe Devotionals has had the pleasure of featuring a few guest devotionals from the ladies at Speaking Thru Me ministries. This unique ministry seeks to provide churches and groups with a professional speaker who feels called into ministry and are willing to be "sent" to share the good news of Christ. The ministry reaches out to churches of any size and offers a FEE FREE speaker service. For information on Speaking Thru Me, visit their site here. Several of our own Internet Cafe Team Writers are involved with Speaking Thru Me.
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Today we are thrilled to introduce one of the women involved with Speaking Thru Me,
Sarah Martin

Today I have been meditating on the concept of being satisfied. This is a quest of just about everyone, myself included. We have this need of our "cup" to be filled and often go to our spouse, friends or children to have that cup filled.

Here is the problem: no human can totally meet every need of ours. Our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental needs are so vast and so very complicated. Can anyone in our life really figure out how to fill that cup of ours in the very way we need them too? This is why we get frustrated with our husband or search for other ways to be fulfilled. Think about it, if that other person is trying to have their cup filled, there is no way on earth that they have enough "resources" to fill your cup too! I hope this makes since.

Here's the solution: Let JESUS fill your cup. Let Him meet your needs. Let Him give you the love, peace, joy, happiness and fulfillment that you crave. He is the only one who knows the very depths of your being. So, it makes since that He is the only one who can give you what you need, at the very moment you need it, in the amount that you need.

John 10:10 says, "...I have come that they may have life and have it ABUNDANTLY."

When we let Christ give us life abundantly, He fills our cup to overflowing. We have abundant love, joy, happiness, satisfaction and peace. Then, when our loved ones add to our cup, it is like icing on the cake. It is a joyous extra. It is like that extra whipped cream on your coffee. Because we don't depend on them to meet every need, when they do, it is such a blessing.

Whether you are married or single, take the burden off yourself and your loved ones to fill the cup. Let Christ give it to you in Abundance.


In Him,
Sarah

Sarah Martin is Christian speaker and Bible study teacher. She and her husband, Greg, live in Pinehurst, North Carolina with their baby boy Grayson. Passionate about studying the Word of God, Sarah enjoys writing Bible studies and teaching Christians about how they can lift up Jesus Christ as King over all. It is her greatest desire for Christians to see that they can LIVE OUT the Kingship of Christ daily and make their Biblical Worldview a reality. Sarah is the Marketing Director for Speaking Thru Me Ministries, a fee-free event resource for churches. You can find out more information about Sarah at:

www.speakingthrume.com

www.sarahfrancismartin.blogspot.com

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Free to Be ME?


Let me be honest.

A confession if you will.

I'm a simple girl, but there are a few things that I really like. Besides chocolate, I love my comfy jeans. You know the ones. The ones with rips and tears that would send Clinton and Stacy into a tailspin if they saw me walking down the street. But I LOVE those jeans.

AND



I've always wanted an old truck. I envision a dirt road. Me in my ripped jeans, winding up the country road with a truck bed filled with flowers and fresh vegetables.




IMAGINE my surprise when I heard the lyrics for the first time.

"I've got a couple dents in my fender, got a couple rips in my jeans. Try to fit the pieces together, but perfection is my enemy."

I
It's been that way most of my life.

Perfection ~ trying to achieve the unachievable and trying to fit into the idea of what the world tells me just how perfect I should be.

Perfect wife,

Perfect mother,

Perfect size,

Perfect weight,

Perfectly beautiful,

Perfectly intelligent,

Perfect daughter and daughter in law,

Perfect friend,

Perfect employee,

Perfect teacher.

Speaking from experience, it's exhausting trying to live up to expectations of perfection. Especially your own.

Apparently, after listening to Francesca Battistelli's Free to Be Me, I'm not the only one out there.

It wasn't until God got a hold of my heart, beat down the door of perfection that it became clear. Perfection was my enemy. It was the door in which the enemy slid himself in and whispered lie after lie.

The lies led to nothing that was worthy or glorifying. It simply couldn't be. I was too worried about those other things, I had no idea what I was really missing. Listening to those lies led to an eating disorder and an emptiness that I couldn't put my finger on.

It was in finally in deadbolting and locking the back door that the enemy so discreetly snuck in and flinging wide OPEN the front door to my heart that God came.

God came beautifully ready to renew, restore and remake.

The lies surround us. They surround women I know who are well into their grandmothering years. We tend to think that these things leave us.

They don't.

They continue to attack us, those lies continue to discourage us, deceive us and defeat us. Leaving us left with doubt.

The WONDERFUL NEWS is that the lies are simply LIES. Hear me, please hear me, God loves YOU, EXACTLY where you are right now. Not "WHEN" or "IF" or "Sometime down the road", He LOVES YOU, EXACTLY where YOU find yourself at this moment.
The more time we spend believing the lies or trying to achieve perfection the less we are focused on Christ, and that is exactly where the enemy would love for you to stay.

I believe God loves the rips in my jeans.

They tell a story, the story of my life. My mistakes, my joys, my beginnings and my lessons learned. The story of my imperfect life and my need for Him to constantly "mend" me.

As for the "dents in my fender," well, they show that I've delivered three children, all miracles. They show 41 years under my belt. Those "dents" were earned, and are a symbol of the wisdom I've picked up along the way. Lessons learned. The good, the bad and the ugly. Those "dents" are my character, the character that only I possess.

Only I possess.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

Embrace those "dents in your fender and those rips in your jeans." God wants to see those dents and embrace the rips and together you'll be "sitting on HIS shoulder, free to be YOU!"

Francesca Battistelli's video is below. If you struggle with perfection, I encourage you to listen to it. It just may speak to your heart.

May you find Peace in knowing you are Free to be You!











Join Lori daily at her personal blogspot, where at the very least, she is embracing the "dents in her fender and the rips in her jeans," each day thankful that she is Free to Be in Him.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Sting of Rejection

The Internet Cafe Welcomes Cynthia Eddie in for a cup!

I didn't come to reject the world; I came to save the world.

John 12:47 (The Message)


Rejection can have such a damaging impact on a person, especially if that person is not secure in their status or character. Rejection can stir up long forgotten memories of a time that should be left in the past.



To be rejected by someone is hurtful to say the least. It may have been a person you admired or a person you FULLY TRUSTED and they let you down!


This experience happened to me. I had a long-standing friendship with someone and one day they just shut me out for no apparent reason. It was hurtful and confusing. I sought an answer by email and by telephone but to no avail. I finally wrote a letter to the individual and still got no response.


OUCH, ANOTHER REJECTION. But GOD is good because the person came face to face with me (quite by accident!!) and I had the opportunity to ask questions and say what I had basically stated in the letter.


The person was quite uncomfortable and truly did not come clean with an appropriate answer that left me feeling DEJECTED. I went to God and prayed and cried and asked “what did I do?”

With time God gently showed me that we are connected with some people for life and others are just passing through. It took me a long time to accept this and realize that not everyone is is able to be a friend; some people are not able to be a friend because they may have luggage from their own past that inhibits this. True friendship is deep and many shy away from opening their hearts, past pain and hurts may be responsible for this.


Jesus was rejected many, many times.



He was rejected by the spiritual leaders in the temples.



He was rejected by the Romans.



He was rejected by one of His own disciples!



And He continues to be rejected today.




But He will never reject His own. We are the His flock; the sheep of his pasture.


IN THIS WORLD, WE WILL EXPERIENCE REJECTION BUT KNOWING THAT GOD LOVES ME UNCONDITIONALLY IS LIKE A SOOTHING BALM TO THE STING OF PAIN.


He’s the one who will never leave me or forsake me and because of His promise, I can follow the Master and continue to love despite the occasional stings.


Prayer for the Woman Who Has Been Rejected


Father, I ask you to bless every woman reading this prayer who has been rejected. I ask that the Holy Spirit minister to their heart and show them a new revelation of your love and power. Where there is pain, give her your peace and mercy.


Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Where there is anger, give her the strength to forgive. Lord, reveal yourself to each woman according to her need, show each woman that they are worthy in Your eyes, no matter what the situation may look like to them. Lord, lift her spirit and mend her heart. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus.



In Him,



Cynthia



Cynthia Eddie is a woman who loves God and loves people. She has three beautiful children and enjoys using her gift of writing and life experiences to encourage women.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

HE--Or me?

My kids were walking ‘round in circles through a revolving door entrance to the dentist’s office awhile back. While it was great fun for them, the Lord used it as a much-needed teachable moment for me.

Just that morning, I was begging my Savior for a way out of my burned out and empty state. I’m so tired, God. I just don’t feel like I have anything left to give. Everybody wants a piece of me, and I just want them all to go away. I’m all used up.

As I stood there watching my kids—in, around and out—in, around and out—I realized that my thoughts had been like that revolving door lately, and the starting and finishing spot was myself.

Ministry—at home, online and at church---had become about ME. Not on purpose. Not in a self-serving way. But me, just the same: About how I could get everything finished, about how I should respond to all the needs, about how I was going to get around to replying to each person who needed a personal touch.

It snuck up on me, one complaining and whining thought at a time. The very things that God had called me to do in order to serve Him and bring glory to Him had become about me being able to do them all perfectly.

ME! Not He...

I thanked Him that very moment for answering my prayer, and He said “You’re Welcome” by reminding me of His Word in 1st Thessalonians 5:24: “The One who calls you is faithful, and HE will do it” (NIV, emphasis mine).

What does this mean for us, friends? Freedom!  It’s not up to us to fill every void that we see around us: HE will do that as we serve the way He asks us to, saying “no” or “yes” in obedience to His voice. It’s not up to us to solve everyone else’s problems: HE will be their Need Supplier and Fixer-Upper as we point them in His direction, being a part of the solution ONLY when He leads us to do so.

HE... Not Me!

Oh, how good He is—to use something as simple as a revolving door to remind me that HE is the One my thoughts should circle around. My Lord is to be my starting point, my ending goal, and the reason for serving every step in-between. HE is the One who will love my family and others through me. HE is the One who will be faithful to lead my ministries. HE is the One who will give me the energy I need to do every single thing He’s called me to do. Thank goodness it’s not up to me.

HE-- Not me.
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
John 3:30, NIV




Selah~ Pause. Ponder. Praise.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Amazing Race

I'm usually not a Reality TV kind of girl. The hype and drama are just too much for me and the reality is less than real. There is one exception, a show which features an amazing race.



In case you haven't seen the show, the contestants work in teams and go through a series of challenges while traveling all over the world. The goal of each leg of the race is to be the first team to arrive at the pit stop. The ultimate goal is to be the first team at the final destination. The prize? A million dollars!


The race features challenges called road blocks. Most of the tasks involve physical and mental endurance. Many of them involve less than appetizing food.



I don't know about you, but I've faced some challenges in my life. Some have felt like road blocks. I've never had to eat an ostrich egg or a plate of squid, but life has thrown challenges at me which were difficult to endure. Perseverance and endurance are not my strengths. (I'll be honest here. P.E. brought down my GPA.)



As a believer in Christ, I know the One who gives me strength.



"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 3: 14




The spiritual walk is a race, but not one where there is just one winner. At the end of this race, every person who has accepted Jesus will win the ultimate prize- eternal life with Him.



Our endurance does not come from will power or sports drinks. It comes from Christ alone. As the author and finisher of my faith, He picks me up off the pavement when I want to give up.



"...And let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12: 1-2




There is a challenger out there- Satan. He creeps around like a contestant with the worst sportsmanship, trying to trip us up. His prize is our discouragement, our pain, our unbelief. Satan loves it when we want to quit but he can never win.




Keep racing toward the finish line, believer. Keep your eyes on the cross. Keep your focus on the miracle of His resurrection.




Keep the faith in this race and don't quit! Christ has already won the victory!




"I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to let me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4: 7-8



Reflection:


1. Consider your time in God's Word as your pit stop. Refuel and Recharge.



2. Do you feel like you're running this marathon alone? Partner with another believer. Encourage one another.


Running the race with you,



Join Melanie at her personal blogspot, "This Ain't New York."






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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Café Chat May 16, 2009


There are a lot of things happening in my personal household this week (Good things), so today I will get right to my question. Remember when answering the question; try to think in spiritual terms, as we are always trying to search out ways that help us grow closer to Christ.

If Fear or Finances (or any other stumbling block) were not a problem, is there something you have always wanted to do or try that you have not done?

Do you think eventually you will do the thing you mentioned above? Explain your answer.
Blessings to you all!!! Kim



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Plenty To Go Around


photo from Flickr
Plenty To Go Around
“Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed are those that trust in Him.”
Psalm 34:8


As I sit and watch the hummingbirds out my window feasting on the sugar water we’ve put out for them, I am amazed at their lack of concern for each other. Let me explain. They come and taste the sweet concoction, but when one of their fellow feathered friends come to share in the joy, they immediately run him off. Even though there is plenty of room for all of them on the feeder and there is an unlimited supply, they still do not want to share. They almost spend more time fighting over what we’ve given them than actually enjoying it. They seem to be so afraid that it will run out or that they won’t get all they want, that they waste a lot of energy keeping the other birds away.

This reminded me of us, as believers. You know the Bible says we are to “taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed are those that trust in Him”. Many of us have tasted the goodness of God and experienced the blessings that come from trusting Him, but sometimes, even without us realizing it, we are so busy protecting what we have, our own dreams, plans, and ambitions, and enjoying all that God has given to us, that we ignore the needs of others around us. It’s almost like these little hummingbirds that are clueless to the reality that this sugar water really cannot run out. You see, sugar and water are two things that you can always find here at our home, so these little birds can have as much as they want and we will continue to supply all that they need. In other words, the hummingbirds can’t out-drink our supply. It’s the same way with God. His Word says that He supplies all of our needs “according to His riches in glory”. His supply of grace, strength, peace, and joy never runs out.

Let take the time today to not only “taste and see that the Lord is good” ourselves, but let’s invite those around us to join us in the blessing, as well. Let’s bring them to His endless supply of grace. Let’s not hoard the sweet Savior we know all to ourselves while we are busy bumping into so many thirsty people around us, but rather, let’s use all of our resources, time, talents, and energy in sharing Him with others, knowing that there’s plenty to go around!

Lord, thank you that you are all sufficient. Thank you for the sweet grace, mercy, and peace that you offer to us. Help me today to savor the sweetness of my relationship with you, but also share it with others by inviting them to taste and see how sweet and good You are! May I remember that to not share, is to hoard it. Remind me as I come in contact with others today to be mindful of their need for spiritual nourishment and may I be quick to direct them to the You.

In Him~


You can read more from Tammy at Steps In Our Journey

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