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Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

great expectationsI have this lovely inspirational stand-up book on my desk, which was a gift from my dear friend, Ann. Each day I can’t wait to turn over the next page to see what wisdom I’ll find among the pages.

The other day the page staring (or maybe “glaring” is more accurate) back at me read:

Follow your heart. It knows the way.

I suppose one could read this many ways. As a love-struck teenager, I may have taken this to mean I should follow my heart more than my head in choosing my beau. As a young mother, I may have read it as following my instincts instead of the advice of others when caring for my newborn son.

Now, however, I view it as following my heart when it comes to my career, my focus on my family and how I want to serve on a daily basis. And I wonder: What happens when your heart is telling you one thing and the circumstances of your life don’t easily allow for you to follow it? How do you reconcile the two?

And I think it comes down to this: Faith.

Ah, there’s that word again. As you may remember, faith is my “one word” for 2011. My focus.

…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20 NIV

How do you reconcile what God is calling you to do with the obstacles life seems to throw in your path? I’d love to hear your advice and what’s worked for you. Drop me a comment below.

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Does your path need straightening? I didn’t think mine did, but lately I’ve been bombarded with similar messages everywhere I turn.

A special guest radio DJ on my normal channel.

An unexpected “prayer Sunday” at a different church we attended this weekend.

Today’s daily devotional.

Hmmm…maybe God’s trying to tell me something. Maybe I should be paying attention.

What suffering and persecution and pain and difficulties do is not so much make us weak, as show us we are weak. Without them, we can deceive ourselves into believing we’re prizefighters. With them, we’re reminded that we’re not constructed to function on our own power.

~Jan Dravecky, Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan

Bills. Health issues. Relationship troubles. A fight with a friend. A savage rumor. A church dispute. Who do you turn to when faced with the troubles and difficulties life throws your way? Your spouse? A friend? Yourself? What about God?

What do you think? Does your path need straightening?

Drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts so we can continue to find our common grounds.

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FaithBarista_FreshJamBadgeG

Bonnie Gray over at Faith Barista (cool name, right?) has started this nifty new feature called Faith Barrista JAM | Keep Faith Fresh. Here’s how it works: She throws out a topic about faith, and we all write a post and link it up on her site. Sounds like fun, yeah?

Today’s topic: How does your faith affect your personality?

It’s interesting that this was her topic for this jam. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And I wonder how people who don’t have faith deal with everything life throws at them.

How do you deal with stress? Pain? Injustice? Loss? Grief? Without someone to turn it over to? Without hope? Without faith that all will work out? Even if it’s not the way we think it will be.

Facing Crisis

For me, faith is an integral part of my life. It’s something I’ve always had. My parents are Christians, and I was raised in a Baptist Church. God has always been there. He’s always been part of my life. When I was paralyzed in fifth grade with a rare condition, it was God I turned to, my parents turned to, and prayer from my church, friends and family that the doctors said healed me. The Easter Seals child for that year, had the same condition and he’ll never be able to walk again. And yet, here I am, nearly 30 years later healed and well.

When I face everyday challenges, it’s my faith that all will work out the way it’s supposed to – even if it’s frustrating, irritating, heartbreaking and painful along the way – that keeps me going.

Core Values

We recently had this organizational exercise we had to narrow down our core values to five. Here are mine: Faith, hope, wisdom, happiness and humor. Notice that faith and hope are right up front, and that springs from my belief in God, as does wisdom. This is key for me. I believe that in all things we must be wise – even if that means being unpopular for our decisions. And through faith, hope and wisdom comes happiness. Happiness in my family, in my friends and in myself. Last, but certainly not least, is humor. Another key value. I can cope with anything through humor. Humor and, yes, I’ll say it again, faith. 😉

So, how does faith affect my personality? It’s the core of my very being. It’s who I am, what I believe in, how I face challenges and how I want to live my life. In faith. That’s not to say I don’t struggle with it sometimes or that I’m always Miss Happy. But, when I dig down deep inside me, it’s there. I just have to call on Him.

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. ~1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NIV)

Discovering Our Common Grounds

How does your faith affect your personality? Drop me a comment and let me know your story. And stop on by Faith Barista to let her know as well.

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Be inspired. Be connected. Be blessed.

Do you ever wish you could change anything in your life? Do you ever think: If only I had this, I’d be happy. If only things were a different way, I’d be truly content.

If only.

I’ve been thinking – and praying – about that a lot lately, and wondering: How to change the things that aren’t working in my life, leave the things that are working alone and find a balance between the two? Sounds like a tall order, right? It probably is, but I’m excited about the path God’s leading me down to get there. 😉

For quite awhile now, I’ve been struggling with better incorporating faith into my daily life. It seems there’s little time during the week to truly devote to it. See if this sounds familiar:

  • Up at 5 a.m. Get ready. Get the munchkin up, dressed, teeth brushed, quick snack (no time for a full breakfast).
  • Rush him out the door to drop off at before-care by 6:15 a.m.
  • Drive the 40 minutes to work, and run from meeting to meeting, write in between, grab a quick bite to eat (usually while still working).
  • Head home fighting rush-hour traffic to arrive at after-care around 5 p.m.
  • Home to help with homework for the next 20 minutes.
  • Fix a quick snack, then start dinner.
  • Hubby arrives home around 6 p.m., we eat and then bath, reading & bed by 9 p.m.

So….where’s faith fit in?

As Christians, we try to focus on the positives at work – even when faced with those struggles God puts in our paths to challenge us. Humor is huge for me, but I still struggle with feeling that I’m not really working to serve God’s will. Is this what he has planned for me? If I really listened to him, is this what he’d have me be doing with my time? My life?

I’m not sure. I just feel I’m being called to do more.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 (NAS)

Enter: Blessings Unlimited®

Several of my favorite blogs feature ads on their sites, and I found myself continually drawn to all the DaySpring® products. Too bad there isn’t something I can do with those, I thought. And then I saw it. Blessings Unlimited.

What’s this? I clicked on the link and was taken to their website, where I read more.

Blessings Unlimited® offers a unique blend of business and ministry with exclusive home décor items and gifts created to encourage hearts, build relationships, and bring beauty to the place where you live. We provide a unique shopping experience and a business opportunity which provides the freedom and flexibility to spend time on what is most important to you.

Okay…now I’m intrigued. I totally need to check out the catalog. Wow! Love. It. Check out these products! They’re faith-based, inspirational and beautiful! I can just picture them sprinkled throughout my home. Can’t you?

That sense of welcome, of warmth, of faith to all who enter. It’s perfect. And, it was founded by DaySpring. No wonder I like the products! So, I emailed for more information.

And I met Julie. I’m convinced she’s a kindred spirit. Our conversation ping-ponged back and forth via email. She answered all my questions, encouraged me and made me smile. After much prayer about moving in this direction, I truly felt God was urging me to take that first step in faith. And I did.

Sign me up!

You are now looking at a new independent consultant for Blessings Unlimited. I’m so excited. I truly believe that God led me to this company, to these people, to these products, to this opportunity to share my faith through these beautiful, inspiring products.

So, my friends and family: Be prepared to be cajoled into attending one of my Announcement Gatherings within the next two weeks. Are ya ready? I am. And I can’t wait to find our Common Grounds, Blessings Unlimited and contentment through this exciting new endeavor.

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To-do list book.

Image by koalazymonkey

Have you ever felt like screaming that from the rooftops? I know I have. Others often comment on my ability to remain calm and patient under challenging circumstances. In reality, I think it’s just that I’m calm as long as I feel in control of a situation.

And sometimes, that’s just not possible. Sometimes, life comes at us hard, and all we can do is hold on tight. 😉

Today’s reading: Exodus 18:1-27

Dirty dishes lining the sink. Toys littering the floor like mini-landmines from kitchen to family room. Bills piling up. House to clean. PTO committee meeting to attend. Children to drop off at before school care. Children to pick up from school. Children to drive to volleyball, basketball, football, soccer, golf, cheerleading, karate, tumbling…you get the idea. Supper to fix. Lunches to make. Baths to give. Homework to supervise. Boo-boos to kiss. Spouses to talk to.

Oh…and work. Did I mention work? Yeah, that other stuff is just what many of us do after we get home from “work.” Like the other stuff doesn’t count as work? Hah!

*Whew.*

Share the Load

It’s no wonder we often feel overwhelmed and are running a bit low on patience, feeling as if throwing up our hands and throwing in the towel are our only options.

Moses felt the same way, and his father-in-law had the perfect solution: “…you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (Exodus 18:18)

So he didn’t. Instead, he shared the work. And you know what? That not only gave him much-needed time to focus on his top priorities, but also enabled others to grow in their responsibilities and God-given talent.

What “duties” are you holding onto that you could share with a family member, a friend, a coworker? Would it free up your time to focus on your top priorities? Would it enable someone else to grow in their life?

Maybe it’s time to say, “I just can’t handle it!” and turn it over to God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

~Matthew 11:28

Discovering Our Common Grounds

Drop me a comment to share how you deal with all your to-do’s. Do you share the load? Rotate the chores? I’d love to hear your ideas and solutions. 🙂

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Image by: S Baker

The other morning as I drove to work, I was marveling at the beauty of the world around me. The sun was rising, and it cast amazing hues of bright pink, rich purple, burnt orange and soft yellow on the clouds in the pale blue-gray sky.

As I continued on my way, I drove by several ponds, streams and winding creeks, all with thick layers of steam rising from the crisp, clean water. The birds seemed to be out in droves, all chirping and flitting around as if they hadn’t a care in the world.

And it occurred to me. Our Maker has sprinkled magic all around us. It’s in the cry of a newborn babe, the laugh of a child, the promise of first love, the wonder of marriage and the wisdom of old age. It’s in the air, the sky, the ground and the sea. It’s all around us, if we’d just open our eyes to the wonder of it…and pay attention.

Half the time I find myself driving to work on autopilot, taking for granted a shared smile with my spouse, a laugh with my son, a knowing look from my parents. And, yet, when we actually take the time to realize the true beauty of the world around us it’s nothing short of awesome.

So…as you’re out and about this weekend, remember to take a look at how God remembers to sprinkle in a touch of magic for us in this world before we join Him in His.

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Why Didn't You Call Me?

Image: bitzcelt

Work. Kids. School. Car pools. Dentist appointments. Doctor appointments. After-school activities. Church. Sports. Bills. Play dates. Laundry. Dishes. Supper. Homework. Exercise. The list goes on.

Sound familiar?

This doesn’t take into account any leisure activities. TV. Reading. Blogging. Tweeting. Facebooking(?). Golf. Walking. Running. Fishing. Coffee with friends. Time with family. Sleep.

One-year track reading: Exodus 1-4

Focused reading: Exodus 3:1-22

Anyone out there?

With all the back-to-back activities, to-do lists and non-stop running we do in our day-to-day lives, where do we fit in time with God? Can we even hear him calling?

In the midst of our ordinary days – tending to our families, our jobs, our friends – how do we respond to the persistent pull of God? Regardless of how God makes his wishes known – a burning bush, a burning desire or a burning need – are we willing to have our tidy plans and schedules interrupted to listen to his voice? Or are we too busy or too distracted to answer? Bottom line: Are we willing to be recruited at God’s bidding?

~Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan

Here I Am

God called Moses via a burning bush, and Moses answered, “Here I am.” God then asked him to do something that seemed impossible to Moses. How would he do it? How could he answer God’s bidding when he clearly wasn’t equipped to do the job?

By putting his trust, his faith and his success or failure completely in God’s hands.

Do you ever feel like Moses? Like you’ve been tasked with something you have no idea how to do? I think we’ve all experienced that at one time or another. So, how do we respond? Do we listen? Or do we push the thing we’re scared or unsure of to the bottom of the to-do list?

Getting Priorities Straight

I don’t know about you, but every-day to-dos often have a tendency to take over my life. I get caught up in making sure the homework gets done, the dishes get washed, the lunches get packed, etc. Am I so busy focusing on the mundane that I’m missing the miraculous? Are you?

What if we were to take more time to listen for God’s call? To pray? To be silent? And then, to answer? To act fearlessly knowing God will lead us, provide for us and equip us with the tools we need to accomplish the task? What would happen then?

Hello? Hello? Anyone out there? God is calling. Will you answer?

Today’s Reflection

  1. In what ways has God indicated he has something for you to do, and how have you responded?
  2. Recount a time when you felt inadequate to do something you knew God wanted you to do. How did God equip you to accomplish it?
  3. What interferes with your ability to answer God’s call?

Related readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-10; Isaiah 6:8-; 50:2; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Next one-year reading: Exodus 5-7

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