"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Butterfly Story

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it had and it could go no further.
Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Keep Looking Up

It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow
does not negate the ravages of any storm.

When a rainbow appears,
it does not mean that the storm never happened
or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath.

It means that something beautiful
and full of light has appeared in the midst
of the darkness and clouds.

Storm clouds may still hover,
but the rainbow provides a counterbalance
of color, energy and hope.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Picture Day with Erin

I had a great Thanksgiving with Steve's family in Michigan.  He has a huge family, so it's always a blast.  Of course, the guys and a few of the ladies went out and shot clay pigeons while I kept an eye on our nieces inside.  I'm not big on shooting guns, but Steve enjoys it.  We had to rush home in the afternoon, so we could get home in time to go to bed early. 

On Black Friday, I had to be at work at 4am until 2pm and Steve had to work at 6am.  He is supposed to get off at 7, so he should be home soon.  We shall see if he gets off on time.  After work, I drove up Sears to see Steve and bought some presents for my Elfster exchange buddy.  I think she is really going to like them.  Now, Steve needs to decide what he wants to get her husband, so we can go shopping.  Then I went upstairs to the Photo Studio to see my sister.  She was bored and didn't have any appointments, so she took my picture.  I really like how they turned out.  I got a free 8 X 10 collage, no purchase necessary!  It was a win-win for both of us.  I got great fun pictures and my sister got a photo sit.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bible Study - Thanksgiving Edition

Hi ladies!
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is about family and being thankful for what you have.  It's so easy when things aren't going our way to focus what we don't have.  It's nice to have a time set aside every year to focus on what blessings we do have.
I would love to switch up for the format for this weeks' check-in. 

What if we just listed are favorite bible verses or song lyrics that have a thanksgiving theme or that have spoke to you this year.  You can add as many as you want.  There is no limit. Smile  If verses are repeated, I think that's probably ok.
This has been a really tough year for many of us.  I know, for us, 2012 will go down as the hardest year of our life so far.

Psalm 145:7: "They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness." 

Psalm 31:19: "How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bible Study - Grieving God's Way: Friday Check-in

Study: Grieving God's Way

Day 12: "Almost every dieter hits wall.  Days, even weeks, go by without any noticeable loss of wieght.  It's enough to make you want to sink your teeth into the nearest candy bar.  Those of us in grief hit the same kind of wall.  We reach a point where we seem to be stuck in depression and it looks like things are never going to improve.  Whether we call this a wall or plateau, it's God's way.

The grief plateau or dieter's wall serves a useful purpose - this slowing down allows the body to adjust to the many physical and emotional changes taking place.  Whether a person shoots up a foot, loses ten pounds, or is traumatized by loss, the brain must make adjustments to accommodate the changes.

Emotions are as taxing to the body as physical exertion. Grief changes how a person breathes, behaves, and even thinks - and this is reflected in speech, movement, and outlook.  The brain can't possibly process this all at once, so we shut down.  We become more reclusive to prevent outside stimili from interfering with the work of the brain. It feels like we are buried in a hole, but in reality we are in God's protective care."

Faith comes to us in the quiet moments and healing takes time.  You may think you are making no progress and are stuck in grief, but God is preparing our body and soul for the next stage of healing.

VOTD: Job 37:14 - "Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God."

Feel free to respond.

Question of the Day:

1) When was the last time you stopped and saw something or somewhere that can only be described as "wondrous work of God?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bible Study - Grieving God's Way: Wednesday Check-in

Ever since I wrote a message on Facebook looking for study ideas for the Bible study that I help lead, I have had a few friends ask if they could be involved.  We start a new study every week on Wednesday, with a check-in on Wednesday, Friday, then Monday. I'll post the check-ins here, so people outside of our forum can participate if they want to.

Hi ladies,
I got this free book in the mail yesterday called, "Grieving God's Way - The Path to lasting Hope and Healing."  I thought this week, I would share some of it and we could "read" it together.  I pulled out some things to share from what I have read so far.

Study: Grieving God's Way

VOTD: Romans 8:26 - "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness."
Feel free to respond

When a loved one dies, the body reacts with shock.  The circulation slows; we feel cold and disoriented.  Breathing is shallow. After the numbness wears, bones ache and muscles are sore.  Food holds no interest, and though we may fall exhausted into bed each night, we often can't sleep, or we sleep too much.  This is how the body grieves. Grieving God's way requires us to trust that God will lead us through the darkness, heal our pain, take away our weariness, and fill our hearts with hope, peace, and new purpose.

Day 2: "Take a deep breath. If you are grieving a loved one, chances are you haven't taken a breath for quite some time.  The physical and emotional stress of grief can do an enormous amount of harm to the mind and body. We become so caught up in our pain we literally forget to breathe." In both Greek and Hebrew, the word for breath also means spirit.

Studies have shown that deep, slow breathing can strengthen the heart, tone muscles, increase energy, etc.  Shallow breathing, the kind that is prevalent during grief , fills only the upper parts of the body with air.  The headaches, back pain, indigestion, and depression that plague us during the darkest days of grief might simply be our bodies crying out for oxygen.

Question of the Day:

1) How does grief affect you physically and emotionally?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Divine Appointments

My former pastor called Divine Appointments those times when God brings people together in surprising ways to meet a need.  Have you ever met someone and they said or did the exact right thing that you needed at that moment?  You knew that God had to be in it.  Time and time again God leads Christians and sometimes non-Christians together to cross another person's path and great things happen.  My last year has been filled with Divine Appointments.

I have always loved the month of November because it's a month to give thanks.  This year I find myself thanking God for my loving husband, my amazing friends, and an online group of ladies that I have never met in person.  This Spring I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined an online group.  I'm usually a pretty private person, so getting my story out there was hard.  I have found nothing but love and support from this group and I hope that I have given love and support back.

Today, I logged in to the group and what I found did not surprise me.  This year has been hard. 2012 will be a year that we will always remember.  We have not been very open about why today is significant in our lives, but of the few people that do know no one remembered, but this group did.

Here are just a few of the messages that I got today.

  • "This am as I was driving the little girl I nanny for to school I saw a sign that said Wycliffe (I think it was the subdivision) and it made me think of you. On the way back to their house after dropping her off I had the sense that I was supposed to pray for you. So while driving I started to pray for you!"
  • Extra ((((HUGS)))) for you today.
  •  I have been thinking and praying for you extra this week, especially today. I hope that the day is kind to you. I am sending you so many (((hugs)).
  • More here, honey! Big, huge, squishy HUGS!
  • Extra hugs to you today dear! I hope the day is kind to you.
  • Even more bigger hugs your way!  *hugs Bethelgal extra tight*
I believe in Divine Appointments.  I believe these wonderful ladies were brought into my life at the exact time that I needed them.  This is not a group that you volunteer to join, but it's a group that is a god-send and we were all brought together at the perfect time. 

Our Date Night

I can't believe this year is almost over.  It's been quite a year of ups and downs.  Today, we are remembering what could have been if things turned out differently earlier this year.  Last night, we needed a date night, since Steve works tonight.  He said that we could go anywhere that I wanted to.  I wanted to try Cheddars.  We hadn't been there yet and I had heard pretty good reviews of it.

The biscuits that came with the salad were absolutely delicious.  Steve got the Braised Beef with mashed potatoes.  The mashed potatoes were heavenly.  The beef was good too.  I wanted to get the Chicken Pot Pie, but they were all out so I got a sandwich...very tasty.

Our food came out really fast, but our server was a little slow with our drinks.  They were pretty busy though.  She was really friendly.

After dinner, we went to the dollar theater to see Hope Springs.  It's a movie about a couple that has been married for 32 years and they go on a week long marriage enrichment trip.  It was actually pretty funny.  It's not a movie to bring kids too.  It's rated PG 13 for a reason, but it's tastefully done.  Marriage was portrayed in a positive light as something worth fighting for and not something you just throw away.  I liked that since so many movies nowadays try and portray marriage as something negative that should be avoided.  It was an honest movie with some humor thrown in.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Review: Going Deep By Gordon MacDonald

Going Deep: Becoming A Person of Influence
By Gordon MacDonald

I ordered Going Deep: Becoming A Person of Influence back in January and admittedly it has taken me this long to read it, not because it was a bad book but because it's been a very stressful year.  It was very much a book written for pastors and church leaders.  Too many churches are content with reaching people where they and then letting them stay there.  My pastor has says, "God loves you where you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there."  This book is the story of a pastor that wanted to take his church deeper.  He had a passion for seeing lives changed and had a vision to train up leaders to do that.  What do you think churches in America would look like if they are started living like they really believe what they are teaching?

* Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Heat Things Up

84 percent of Americans owned on average more than one Bible and we have access to many different English translations.  When we open up our Bibles, we can read the words on the pages in a language we understand.

For a few million people around the world, when they open their Bible (if they even have access to on) they have to read it in someone else's language. Wycliffe believe that every person deserves to have the opportunity to open up the Bible and understand fully what God is saying them in their heart language.  That's why we are going.

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