Friday Faves

 

I’ve been reading a lot in the last few days.  Here are a few of my finds. You can enjoy them by clicking on the picture or the title.

like-a-tongue-sticks-to-an-icicle-i-stuck-my-god-given-gifts-and-talents-inside-my-pocket-where-they-lay-frozen-and-uselessPRIDE DIGNITY AND POCKET LINT                                           Are you kept from sharing your talents because of perfectionism or self-comparison issues.  As Daughters of the King we are given many talents to use in glorifying Him.  We must use them!

 

Building-friendships-with-faith-sisters-helps-women-grow-spiritually.-3-Ways-to-build-friendships-that-inspire-and-motivate.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH THE FAITH SISTERS YOU NEED         Being intentional in our friendships, spending time with one another, and keeping God in the relationship are a few of the ways to stay connected.

 

The-Eternally-Valuable-Practice-of-Becoming-a-Minimalist-womenabidingTHE ETERNALLY VALUABLE PRACTICE OF BECOMING A MINIMALIST                                                                   Who are you serving?  Your stuff or your Lord.  I’ve been wanting to downsize for quite awhile and this article was very motivational toward that goal.

check-your-neck_-thyroid-cancer-awarenessCHECK YOUR NECK; THYROID CANCER AWARENESS            It is really important that we, women, take responsibility for our health issues.  Being a cancer survivor has made me very aware that unless we insist there is something wrong our doctor may choose not to pursue the issues we are bringing them.  It happened to me,                                                                                           which is why I’m so passionate about                                                                                      who my doctors are and if they will                                                                                          honor my reasonable requests.

gossip-is-a-problem-in-the-church-it-is-often-the-excused-sin-cloaked-as-a-prayer-need-motivated-by-pride-and-judgmentBE HAPPY AND AVOID GOSSIP          Gossip is a big problem everywhere.  In the church where it is disguised as acceptable sin, at the coffee shop where it’s the norm for our culture, yes, even on the phone in private conversations.  God doesn’t like it and we must stop doing it.  Great ideas here for doing just that.

I hope you’ll take the time to read these awesome posts.

Keep on keeping on.

Marie

I connect with several link-ups throughout the week.  You can check them out by going to my Blog Hops page.

The Christmas Angel Project – Book Review

The Christmas Angel ProjectA dear friend and mentor passes into eternity unexpectedly and leaves a handcrafted angel for her book club friends.  As a way to celebrate the life of this special woman and mentor, they determine to choose a personal project for their community based on their personal skills and gifts. Thus, The Christmas Angel Project is born.

All of their projects are worthy but something is missing.  The ‘God Factor’, i.e., a relationship with Jesus.  They each find a tiny scroll with a Bible reference specifically for each individual.  How these short verses affect change in their lives is very revealing in their relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

2 Things I liked about this book:

It was very motivating and encouraging.

There was no violence or sexual connotations.

2 Things I didn’t like about this book:

The characters seemed somewhat hollow and could have used more development.

Although a delightful story, it really could have been longer.  Obviously, it left me wanting more.

With all of that in mind, I would give this book a 4 out of 5 and would recommend it for those who want something lighter to read.

I was provided a copy of this book by Revel Publishers for the sole purpose of review.  All of the thoughts and comments are my own.  

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

No Options To Love

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How often do we pray, “Father, let (help) me love everyone today,” then walk out of our ‘prayer spot’ and totally forget we’ve asked?

Then, someone irritates us with their words…

Then, something happens that wasn’t planned…

Then, another person tells us what someone else has said about us…

Then we feel slighted by someone, in some way…

When we are commanded in John 13:34 to love one another like HE loves us there are no ifs, there are no buts.  One almost might say there are no options.  But there are actually two,  right choices and wrong choices.  The above ‘thens’ have options.  We can choose to respond as HE would with kindness, love, patience, gentleness and self-control.  We can choose to be hateful, gossipy, malicious, or controlling.  What choice we make shows others Whose we are.

Let’s choose loving one another!!!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Originally published on October 8, 2011

3 Who Parted The Waters

Interesting!  Amazing! Provoking!  Every one of these adjectives describes my Bible reading.  How about yours?  Do you read the Word for study only or, like me, do you take the time to just read it for the pure joy of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I do study the Word!  But every morning, with coffee in hand, I simply read it, asking God to let me see something new and amazing each time.  He honors that request almost every day and today was no exception.

2 Kings 2

We all know that Moses parted the waters at the Red Sea, and stopped the rivers on the journey to the Promised Land.  Did you know there are others?  I found two in 2 Kings Chapter 2.

Elijah was trying to get away from Elisha because he knew he was about to be taken to the LORD.  First, he told Elisha to stay where he was because God had an errand for him in Bethel.   Elisha wasn’t having any of that.  He knew what was about to happen and he wasn’t leaving.  Then Elijah said God had an errand for him in Jericho.  Same thing happened, so they traveled together.  Finally, Elijah said God has an errand for me at the Jordan.  Elisha is not about to let him out of his sight.  When they get to the Jordan, Elijah hits the water with his cloak and it parts allowing them to cross on dry ground.  When they reach the other side Elijah is taken to Heaven in a whirlwind, his cloak falls to the ground.  Elisha, having already asked to be like Elijah, uses the cloak to part the waters again and return to the other side.  As I said, interesting, amazing, and thought provoking.

Transfiguration by Alexandr Ivanov, 1824

Transfiguration by Alexandr Ivanov, 1824

Here’s another interesting connection.  (I love it when the Old and New Testaments connect!)  At the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13) Jesus met both Elijah and Moses.  Isn’t it interesting that the One who walked on water and the ones who parted the waters were great friends  and needed to talk to one another while Jesus was this side of heaven?

Keep on keeping on!

Heavenly Father, put a great desire in all of us to know more and more of  You!  As David said, Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  Make it so for all of us Lord!

Monday Music Mash-Up

I have always wanted to see/hear a flash mob.  Whether it be music or dance I would love every moment.  Unfortunately, I’ve never been at a mall, in a restaurant or on a plane when one happened.  I guess my timing just hasn’t been right. So I listen and watch everyone that comes out on Facebook.  Perhaps one day…

Honestly, you can find videos of them in every musical and dance genre.  Check out the ones I’ve included here.

download (1)Riverdance in Australia https://youtu.be/7auErQnU6fU I was transported to a world of Celtic imagery in both Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.  Can’t wait to see Heartbeat of Home.

 

05_m40_maastricht-modiCarmina Burana https://youtu.be/PJNp5UKRtbQ One of my favorite classical pieces of all time.

 

 

 

 

download (2)Straight No Chaser sings Stand By Me to a Hardees restaurant worker. https://youtu.be/46e85PzCnAo  Just one of my favorite acapella groups.

 

 

imagesDo Re Mi https://youtu.be/bQLCZOG202k.  Bet you’ll be singing along to this one.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these videos.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Sugar Coated Lives

donuts-431863__180On the road, into town, I pass a small donut shoppe that has donut-related quips and quotes on its marquee.  The current one is – “The only thing I need sugar-coated are my donuts.”  I’ve rolled this over and over in my mind and have realized that there is so much sugar-coating in life that we may be missing out on the deep richness within.

 

Haven’t we sugar-coated sin with making it legal?  Abortion?  Homosexuality? Euthanasia?

How about sugar-coated parenting? Giving our children so much ‘stuff’ that they relate getting it to how much we love them.  Or, using the excuse – ‘They’re only children’ when they get into trouble.  No consequences, just excuses.

We sugar-coat conflict by refusing to get involved. Doesn’t that give the message that because we’re not standing against an injustice, we agree with it?

Oh, how we’ve sugar coated the Cross.  We’ve gotten so far from the incident that it has become a Christian Cliche.  We put bunting and flowers and gold plating and… The icon of our Savior’s love for us has become jewelry, t-shirt material, wall-art… The cross is mocked by our use of it.  We no longer see the pain and suffering of an innocent man to prove His incredible, undeserved love for us.

Although Mark 8 is most often used to prove Jesus is who He says He is.  It is also a beautiful picture of Jesus transparency.  When He asked Peter who do you think I am Peter answer with a list of what others were saying about him (the sugar coating).  Jesus wanted Peter to dig deeper so He says, ‘But who do you think I am?’ .  This is the point where Jesus opens His mind and soul to them and tells them His deepest thoughts. Jesus talks about what is about to happen on the way to the cross and at the cross.  He breaks through the sugar-coating and shows His followers Himself.

Underneath the sugar, frosting, and filling is the sweet, succulent, simplicity of a plain donut.  It provides the foundation for what is on it.  It is not hidden under layers of sprinkles, icing, or powder.

As I continue rolling this concept around in my mind I can’t help but relate it to life.  Am I recognized by the sugar coating or is the plain donut me there for everyone to see? How about you?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Friday Faves

It’s Friday again.  Yep, that happens every seven days🙂 .   Check out what I’ve been reading this week besides books.  Enjoy!

Hospitality_700x500

Have you given much thought to how you welcome others into your home or life?  This great article from Lifeway Women shares some basic hospitality etiquette.  I’ve practiced not answering the phone and turning off the television when we have company for many years.  My grandparents did this when we visited and it has always stuck with me.  We always felt welcome and loved in their                                                          home.

SurpriseIn We’re All Worth A Second Look, Holley Gerth (one of my favorite writer/bloggers) tells us second best is not a bad thing.

 

 

 

10-New-Christian-Blogs.-MarriedbyHisGrace.com_I really enjoy visiting Blog Hops/Linky Parties around the Internet.  Check out the page I have on this site of some of the parties I visit.  I learn so much and love finding new bloggers to read and follow.  Carmen, at Married By His Grace, has been following several new blogs and has made a list for us.  For me, it was a great way to see what’s new in the Christian blogging world.

 

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

To Follow Her Heart – Book Review

To-Follow-Her-Heart-Rebecca-DeMarinoRebecca DeMarino has once again lived up to my expectations in the third book of The Southold Chronicles.  To Follow Her Heart is a delightful story of two people who have been in love for a long time and the many obstacles that have come between them.

In this story, based on true family history, you’ll read of a shipwreck with no known survivors – War – Love lost and found – How European illnesses wiped out most of a Native American tribe – A dreadful fire and much loss – An ‘on-again’ ‘off-again’ wedding – A long sea journey

Even some excellent advice that holds true in both the 15th and the 21st centuries from one of the main characters to another… Life is uncertain and we can’t let fear control our decisions.

If you like Christian Romance I highly recommend this book and its prequels.  Book 1 – A Place In His Heart and Book 2 – To Capture Her Heart are excellent stories that stand on their own and are definitely worth your reading time.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Publishers for the sole purpose of review. The words and thoughts are entirely my own.  I receive no remuneration in any form except for the print copy.

Why I’ve Given Up On Forgiving Myself

 

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Whenever I read or hear someone saying, but you have to forgive yourself, I ask, why. There is absolutely nowhere in the Bible that says forgive yourself.

We are told to forgive others but never ourselves. (Matthew 6:12b) Why? Because we are not God. We cannot judge ourselves. Only God knows the reasons or motives behind our actions.

God chooses not to remember our sins. He doesn’t forget them He just doesn’t want to remember them. Perhaps that’s what God wants us to do. Move on, get over it, quit rolling it around in our minds…just forget it. If we are dredging up the past in our thoughts, we are recommitting the sin. Yes, that is Biblical. Take a look at what God says about lusting in Matthew 5:28. Basically, even if you’re thinking it, you’re doing it. Look at Proverbs 4:23. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.

Another way to look at this concept is through the eyes of one who is forgiven. Do you believe that you are forgiven? Do you understand that when Jesus went to the cross He took every one of our sins on Himself? Aren’t you basically saying His death doesn’t matter?

The evil one loves this thought pattern. When we minimize what Jesus did by saying I must forgive myself, satan has a door to enter our thoughts. The second we try to make forgiving about our own ability we have made ourselves God, or at least tried to.

Paul says in Romans 8:1, there is no more condemning for those who believe in Jesus. If you believe that is true, then there is no reason to be concerned with forgiving yourself. Jesus already did the hard work. We are cleansed, washed clean and totally forgiven because of His never-ending grace. We’ve got to get over this need to do it ourselves. He did it! Let that be it!

I must add, however, that we cannot assume that we can go on sinning. It should be our greatest desire never to sin again. Even though we have been ‘made new’ we are probably going to fall into the sin pit again. The Bible is quite clear on the process at that point… Ask for forgiveness from the One and Only… Accept His loving response (Go and sin no more-John 4:1-42)…Do not return to that sin in thought, word or deed… Move on, walk away, give it up…

Heavenly Father, it is my greatest desire not to sin against You in thought, word, or deed. Yet I do. Forgive my bent to thoughts, words, and actions that do not reflect You to the world around me. Help me to listen for the ‘voice’ of the Spirt in everything I think, do, and say. Teach me Your word so that I will know what You want. Make it so in Jesus name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I have been greatly honored to write this article for Blogs for Christian Women.  Click on the highlighted words and see what others are writing about it.

 

Survivor

 

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The most difficult words I have ever heard from a doctor are, YOU HAVE CANCER.       At first, I’m not sure I really heard what he said.  I had been ill for several years and was told by my doctor he could find nothing wrong, it was just a woman ‘thing’.  The problem was he wasn’t looking in the right place for the answer.  A dear, dear friend watched me go through days of terrible pain each month, saw my abdomen swell like I was pregnant, knew that it was very difficult for me to stand from a sitting position, and said this has to stop.  Please make an appointment with my doctor for a second opinion.  So I did.  The doctor’s first words were are you pregnant?  I knew I wasn’t but she determined to do an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound, where I could see the screen, the specialist asked if I could see the surface of a very large tumor.  Yes, I could but I didn’t really know what I was seeing.  He explained that what looked like chicken fat was actually cancer growing. Still numb from that experience, I got dressed and sat down in his office with my husband and waited for more information and a plan of action.

Life changed rapidly for me in the next few minutes.  His first question was, is your life in order?  Do you have a living will?  Will your job allow 3 months off?  On a Tuesday I went for a simple ultrasound so see what was going on.  The next Friday I would have major surgery.  I had 3 days to prepare.

After Ray and I digested, discussed, and yes, denied, we contacted our pastor, family, and close friends to let them know what was happening and to start lifting us up in prayer.  At 5:30 AM, that Friday, I was at the hospital, ready to go. (Well kind of…) The surgery lasted around 5 hours and when all was said and done he came out to speak with Ray. His sense of humor was evident when he said he had successfully delivered an 8 and 1/2 pound tumor and the patient was doing well.

I’m not even going to talk about the pain from that type of invasive surgery.  Let’s just say it was intense.

The next morning I was ready to start recovering.  That my friends was a long, slow, road. Lifting anything heavier than a glass of orange juice was forbidden for several weeks. Since the pressure had finally been released from my spine I would have to begin the process of walking.  Since we live a small community, the neighbors would wait and congratulate me as I was able to walk to another driveway each week.  I was not allowed to be alone for long periods of time and driving was out of the question.

God allowed me to go through this so that I could help others who would face the same diagnosis.  Here are some things I learned in the process of healing.  A listening, non-judgemental ear is an awesome, healing gift.  Don’t tell someone you understand unless you’ve experienced the same struggle.  Sometimes, your presence is all that’s needed. Silence can be the greatest gift of all.

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Bad things do happen to good people, but God really doesn’t give us more than we can handle together. More than 20 years ago I discovered His strength is there when I have none of my own.  Our God is an awesome God!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie