Women of Faith

WomenofFaithWhen I think of women of faith, a few come to mind.  Almost immediately, my mind goes to this little gray haired lady that sat with her hands folded in her lap holding a lace handkerchief on the far left side of the congregation.  Her bible was marked in the margins with words from the pastor that resonated with her, with occasional notes and prayers she’d written concerning her family members as well.  Some times, she would even highlight special passages of scripture in yellow, as she did not like bright colors.  She’d nod her head in agreement with what the preacher was saying, and every now and then she’d say with authority, “Amen,” when she strongly agreed and felt the moving of the Holy Spirit.

There’s also another lady that comes to mind, much younger, that wears her white mime makeup with fine garments covering her along with the anointing of God.  She stands before the congregation as the music begins, and she slowly moves allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and direct her hand motions as she ministers to the church.  Feeling every emotion as the music sweeps over her and into those before her that she’s ministering to, the spirit of the Lord begins to usher the congregation to their feet.

Another woman of faith praises God with her voice lifted high in worship.  No matter the troubles or trials she has faced, she never misses an opportunity to praise Him.  A sweet Soprano voice is heard among the others as she sings like a songbird on a Spring day.

Yet another woman nearby begins with interpretive movement as she forms beautiful sign language to the powerful words of the worship hymns.  They’re so strong, she has to move her body in some fashion.  Arms extended out in front, palms and face lifted up toward Heaven, she closes her eyes and feels God touching her heart and soul right where she stands.

Women of Faith come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and denominations.  We don’t have to fit into a perfect mold.  We all come just as we are.  Young, old … it doesn’t matter.  We’re all Women of Faith.

Did you know that there are resources available to help with your walk of faith?  From the traditional Women of Faith site offering tons of information found here to a supportive Facebook group found here, you will not be disappointed in the encouragement brought forth within the pages of those sites.

Maybe you’re already familiar with Women of Faith, having gone to their conferences or weekend events.  After all, this official group has been reaching out to help others since 1996.

This year there is more excitement within the Women of Faith community as they prepare for the Belong Tour.  Click here for information on that, as everyone wants to feel as if they belong, and we all DO in Christ!

Something that I am particularly excited about is their movie coming to theaters on February 18, 2016!  While I was very interested in the Belong Tour, it isn’t going to be in our area until November.  I didn’t want to wait that long … and now I don’t have to because Women of Faith will hit the theaters in just a few weeks!  If that has really gotten your attention like it has mine, more information on the movie and theaters near you can be found here.

If all of this is new to you, or if you’re new to your faith, I encourage you to look into the information referenced above.  It helps to surround yourself with fellow believers.  Even if you do not go out and worship in a building every Sunday, you can still gather online with other Women of Faith for that encouragement, support, and community that we crave.

For me, I am taking advantage of the online support, and I am looking so forward to the movie while seriously considering the Belong Tour as well!  Make your plans now to see this movie in theaters.  I imagine you’ll laugh, cry, and feel touched throughout the entire movie, and you won’t leave the theater the same way you entered.

Here’s to all of the Women of Faith out there.

May we BE them …  may we RAISE them …

Women of Faith!

 

On A Quiet Morning

On a quiet morning, you will find me sitting in my overstuffed burgundy recliner peering out the window at birds that visit my feeder daily.  From regal Cardinals that come to remind us that our loved ones are near to the tiniest little finches that drop by to say, “Hello …” I could get lost for hours right here admiring their beauty and the Creator who formed them with His own hands.

On A Quiet Morning One A Quiet Morning1

After whipping up a blueberry smoothie to start my day, with just the rhythmic ticking of the clock in the quiet and stillness of the morning, I prepare to open my heart to God’s Word.  With my journaling bible in hand, I flip to a section in the bible to begin reading.  Filling my cup with God’s promises, I can think of no better way to start the day!

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, 

for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; 

great is your faithfulness.

Don’t Stay There

Having tried to eat clean while depriving myself of dairy, wheat, and sweets, adding in exercise and drinking lots of water, I’ll admit to being discouraged when the number on the scale did not move!

Ugh!

If that isn’t discouraging, I don’t know what is!

But, here’s the thing.  You can be discouraged and allow those feelings for a minute or two.  Just don’t stay there!  Don’t wallow in self pity or “Why me?” and don’t you dare do the “What is wrong with me?” questioning that we are prone to in situations like these.

I told a friend just the other day about the non moving numbers on the scale, and the reply was, “How could that happen?”  Yea … I’d like to know that also, BUT what I do know is that I am not the only one this has happened to recently.

One of my previous (In)courage friends posted a picture of herself in December and another picture at the end of January.  Normally there is massive amounts of change in a before and after picture, but there wasn’t a drastic change in her pictures.  She was honest and shared that the numbers on HER scale didn’t move either.  I thanked her for sharing because it helped to encourage me when I was feeling a bit defeated.

The thing is, no number on the scale can tell you how healthy you are getting your body.  No numbers on the scale can tell you that you’ve replaced fat with muscles that you’ve built by doing those squats and lifting those weights.

No number on a scale can tell you how beautiful you are or how hard you’ve worked.  Yes, it would be nice if the number decreased … even just a little bit.  BUT, what is more important is how you FEEL … how you LOOK … and how your clothes are FITTING!

So this is me telling you – and myself – to get back out there and DO this!  You CAN, with God’s help.  Remember – God will strengthen you!  Just ask, pray over this, and hit that treadmill like I’m going to do RIGHT after I hit “post” for this article.

Feeling defeated, too?  Don’t stay there!!

Let’s do this … together!

What Was I Thinking?

Oh, dear Lord.

What was I thinking?

Having just started an exercise and clean eating lifestyle change, I got extremely sick within the first week!  Now if that isn’t discouraging, I don’t know what is!

Here I was trying to better myself, stick with my new year’s resolutions and make a life change … which resulted in my body rebelling.  It was as if it hissed, snarled, and growled … leaving in its aftermath a severe sore throat and eventually a low grade fever.  After nearly losing my voice to where I squeaked like a field mouse when trying to speak, I felt the sickest I’ve been in years!  Ah, but my body wasn’t finished rebelling yet.  Along came the whole coughing up a lung thing.  I could have sworn I saw the other lung come hurling up last night!

And then … after five days of feeling unnecessary and useless … I decided it had been long enough now, and it was time to get back to exercising.

What in the world was I thinking by putting in Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred?

Yes, I had completely forgotten the butt kicking she gave me once before when I tried this, and even on Level One, I was gasping and panting within the first five minutes.

Winded, you say?

Ha!

I tried to keep up, and I did pretty good until I realized she jumps around … and my joints just couldn’t take a whole lot of that this morning.  I did the best I could, though, and when I just couldn’t do that particular move any more, I modified it, walked into the kitchen to get more water, and came back for more torture … I mean, exercise!

Weight training, squats, and ab work, I can do!  I can even do jumping jacks.  You want to know what got me?  When she started with the jump rope thing, followed by butt kicks where you’re running in place and kicking yourself in the butt.  Literally.

THAT is when I had to modify the move.

Insert Leslie Sansome’s Walk Away The Pounds skater move.  Instead of running and kicking, I did a move as if I was up on roller skates.  I still managed to kick my own butt, just in a different low intensity way.

So, a word to the wise … if you’ve been sick … don’t get discouraged.  You can get back into your exercise routine slowly.  Notice the word … S L O W L Y.

Don’t do like I did and pick the hardest exercise trainer after five days of being ill.

BUT … don’t give up either.

Get back in there and gradually begin your work outs.  Once you’re back to feeling like yourself again, by all means, increase the intensity.

Just learn from my mistake … as I sit here sipping on my second glass of water trying to recover.  Hey, I’m no longer panting so that’s a good sign.  lol

NOW … Bible Study time!

Maybe I should have started my day with that instead!  Another lesson learned!

What was I thinking

Captive

CaptiveDVDAs a long time fan of movies based on a true story, I can honestly say that I was on the edge of my seat while watching Captive.

Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Romans 5:20 is a bible verse that appears on the screen as the movie begins to play.

Imagine just recently losing your husband and attempting to recover from a Meth drug addiction in an effort to improve your life and regain custody of your daughter.

After attending a recovery group meeting, a lady gives Ashley the book entitled The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Being only two days clean this time, Ashley does not have a lot of hope, so she promptly chunks the book in the trash as she exits the building.

Meanwhile, a convicted rapist, Brian, overpowers the authorities in the jail, takes the gun and radio, and is able to escape after killing several people and severely injuring one on his way out of the building.

Ashley makes her way into work where she finds that the same lady that gave her the book earlier in the day has now dropped off a package with a note saying, “You forgot something …” with the same book inside of the package.

As the story progresses, the escaped convict takes Ashley hostage in her own apartment! Things were completely intense as she was not sure what his next move would be. Then, he asks for drugs, which she gives to him but refuses to do herself. There she is, trapped in her apartment with Brian, who has now just used drugs and would be capable of anything at this point!

Since we sat down to watch this movie as a family I will admit that there was a certain part in the movie where I had to turn it off until everyone else cleared the room so I could make sure it was suitable for us to continue watching it with our 11 year old present. The part I’m referring to was strongly suggestive based on the character, Brian, having been in jail for rape, among other things. Leading up to this scene, it appeared that while he was holding Ashley captive in her apartment that he may rape her at this moment. However, he did not. When I realized this, I allowed my family to come back into the room to finish the movie together.

What ends up happening is something I never would have imagined. Ashley begins to use The Purpose Driven Life to offer hope and light in the mist of despair. Brian seemed to receive the message in this book well, and it provides hope for them both in this situation and what they are facing in their individual lives.

This movie takes you deep with the characters as the plot thickens and things begin to play out.

I have watched this movie twice now. It is amazing to see how God provided hope in this situation to both Brian and Ashley. At the end of the movie, it has a snippet of the real Ashley as she appeared on Oprah and got a chance to meet the author of the book, Rick Warren. It also provided updates on the individuals involved throughout the movie.

If you would like a copy of Captive, please enter our giveaway below.

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Productions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Which Source?

“I need to get back into reading Joel Osteen,” my husband said one evening as we were talking together after work.

I paused for a moment to consider what he said and then offered these words, “We need to get back into reading the Bible instead of going to another source to tell us what Jesus said.”

His eyes shifted up from the mail he was thumbing through as he said, with raised eyebrows, “You’re right.”

It was as if the thought hadn’t really occurred to either of us until that moment in time when we had an “ah ha” moment.

What better source to go to than the Bible itself, though. Really. Honestly. Truthfully. No one is going to express it better than God’s Holy Word.

I know that there are many that do not like Joel, and I am not here to hold a debate on that at all. I will say that Joel speaks with encouragement and inspiration, as well as from a Biblical standpoint, and it helps my husband. That’s enough right there to convince me that Joel can’t be all bad if he got a man that used to never dive into books of this sort to have a stack of them now on the night stand or coffee table in our home. And what’s more is that they aren’t just dust collectors sitting there. He actually reads them!

For me, my excuse, at times, has been that the King James Version is so hard to understand. With the NIV bible. the English Standard Version, and The Message Bibles, that excuse goes right out the window now because they help to make it easier to absorb and apply to your life.

Which source is better for you to gain a clearer understanding of what God wants for us and has in store for all who believe in Him? For me, I’m going back to the Bible!

I have a fancy journaling Bible now with a beautiful print on the front that looks like branches, leaves, and even grapes. The crisp, clean pages invite me to carefully turn them to reveal God’s promises.

I even joined a Bible Journaling Facebook Group!

Feeling determined, I am choosing the source which will feed my soul and light my path in life. I am choosing the one that offers hope, Salvation, and eternal life through Jesus.

Picking up my weapon, I am arming myself with the Word of God!

Which source will you choose?
ESV-Mens-Bible

Life Change

We are 19 days into January 2016. Can you honestly say that you’ve been successful with keeping your New Year’s Resolutions? Most cannot.

Have you realized, like I have, that it is about making a life change instead?

What did you set out to do on January 1st of this brand spanking new year? Was it a weight loss challenge that you issued for yourself? Maybe you wished to save more money? Or, perhaps, you wanted to appreciate each new day that God has given you and be present; in the moment with those that you love. Here is a really good one, too: Getting right with God by praying more, focusing on His Word, feeding your soul with His goodness and filling your mind with all of the wonderful things God says about you?

All of these things are still possible. You CAN still achieve greatness in this new year. Please do not throw your hands in the air and give up at this point. If you haven’t stayed on track, today is a new day! Get right back up, dust yourself off, and vow to try again tomorrow. You CAN do this, and God will provide strength for you each and every day to ensure that you achieve the goals you set for yourself on implementing these life changes!

I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t stayed on track. But, I am determined to try again. This time, I will succeed because I am focusing on God and drawing from His strength. I know that I cannot do this alone. God wants me to turn to Him in ALL things, so why not turn this area of my life over to Him, too?

And I am … right here, right now. Today!

Are you with me? You, too, can make a life change!

The Plans I Have For You

PlansIHaveForYou

On Christmas morning, along with all of her other presents, my daughter unwrapped The Plans I Have For You Devotional and Journal set.  Her little face lit up as she realized she had a “big girl” set similar to the one that she sees me with.

I wondered if she would be thrilled with this devotional and journal for the first few days after Christmas, but then toss it aside as she lost interest.  Much to my surprise, though, she has continued reading this devotional and writing daily in her journal.  She was so excited by it and what all the devotional had to say that she read a few days ahead as well.

Today, I asked her what she thought of the set.  She smiled and said she really liked it a lot and uses it daily, even if I do not see her with it.  She said she will go into her room to have her quiet time with God’s word.  That touched my heart when she said that.

How reassuring for them to know that as little as they are, God has a plan for their lives! He has given them all unique qualities, gifts, talents, and characteristics that no one else on this earth possesses.  God molded and crafted them with His own hands and has set forth a distinct purpose and plan for their lives.

Do you have a special little one in your life that you think would be blessed by the devotional and journal set?  If so, please enter our giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Productions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Pure Flix

Last year, our family went on a mission to rid ourselves of satellite TV.  Every time we sat down to watch, my husband would flip channels constantly yet was still unable to find something for us to watch together as a family.  Often times, I wouldn’t turn on the television as I did not want to have to sort through what was “good” for our family vs what would have scenes or language that I’d prefer my family not to be subjected to.  I did not like having to constantly keep my hand on the remote to change the channel or fast forward if something inappropriate came on while my family was gathered around watching.

The problem wasn’t just isolated to satellite TV either.  Regular channels you can get with an indoor/outdoor antenna often had unsuitable content as well.  I felt limited on what I actually could watch, so I just turned it off and turned my attention elsewhere or grabbed a nice book to curl up with.

Whatever happened to good, wholesome television shows like Touched By An Angel, Highway To Heaven, etc.  I even miss The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie.

I thought those shows were long gone and good television was a thing of the past …

That is until I found Pure Flix!

Now, my family and I can gather around to watch good, wholesome shows as well as movies!  I was very excited about the movie aspect.  Healed By Grace is a movie we just watched that really left us with a good feeling.  It has to do with the healing power of horses and using horses as a part of therapy.

AND … I almost got giddy when I saw Highway To Heaven pop up immediately in the choices for television shows!  We clicked and started watching from the very first pilot episode!  I always loved watching Michael Landon, and now my daughter gets to watch this show as well!

If you’re tired of channel surfing, why not give Pure Flix a try?  They are offering a one month free trial, so try it out for a month.  What do you have to lose?  If you don’t like it, just cancel.  However, if you enjoy the shows as we have, just continue with it for a small monthly fee.  It is well worth it for good, quality television shows and movies!

 

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  The opinions expressed here are mine and were not influenced by the trial offer.

 

 

Here And Now

I faced a demon today. She did not get the best of me either.

Sometimes you have to stand your ground when someone is trying to bully you, intimidate you, and push you around. Whether it’s work, friends, family, or someone on the street. Don’t let ANYONE treat you like you’re unimportant, not valued, or worthless.

Go to God’s Word and read what wonderful things He has to say about you instead. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are His child, and He loves you. That’s where your self worth needs to come from … God.

Stand firm and God will strengthen you for whatever battle you’re facing. God will help you slay the demon in your life as well. My strength comes from THE LORD!

Yes, you can still be a Christian while refusing to be someone’s door mat and beating post.

What a lot of people refuse to see is that people will go above and beyond when they are shown that they are valued and appreciated. BUT when you’ve taken abuse long enough, God will help you fight your battle just like He did with David and Goliath! You don’t have to sit there and continue to take it when someone is mistreating you! You have EVERY RIGHT to stand up for yourself!!

It’s a New Year, and I’m going forward with my head held high walking with God.

Here and now, I proclaim that GOD is for me, so who could possibly be against me? Sure, as Christians we will face trials and troubles. We will be tried, pushed to what seems beyond our limits at times, but God has not forsaken us. Instead, He is equipping us with the weapons we need to fight this war.

You see, I thought I could give someone the benefit of the doubt. I thought I could push aside all of my past experience with this individual and see the GOOD in her. However, some will say that I placed myself in this position. I knew what she was like in years past, but due to her cancer diagnosis and going through treatment, I thought she was different. It appeared she had a change of heart and was nicer, sweeter, kinder. AND YET, now that she’s in remission, here I am two years after returning to work with her when she called me asking for help … and now she has turned against me, said awful lies about me and has twisted the story around to suit her to where SHE is the victim and I’m the one supposedly doing all of this to her. Ah, but people that know her truly know what she is like. Her own cousin called me years ago to WARN me against involving myself with this person. I found it odd at first when her own family member called me out of the blue. I had only met her cousin twice, and yet she’s on the phone warning me not to get close to this individual. Then she tells me that there is a reason the individual is all alone; due to how she treats people! It has taken me two times now — with 10 years in between the first time she did this to me and my current situation — but I have finally come to understand what her cousin was saying all of those years ago. She is alone because she uses people and then turns on them. She used me for two years this time. I felt sorry for her! I would go to her house to spend time with her because I felt sorry for her living alone with just her dog and not having any friends or family that would come see her. So, I went to see her and spent time with her – at work and outside of work. And the thanks I get is what unfolded in December and again earlier today as well.

This is me proclaiming that I am DONE with this person. I stood up to her today, and she did not like it. She thought I would be a push over like in years past, but she was wrong. I gave her a taste of her own medicine, and it was awfully hard for her to swallow it. Ten years ago, she chased me around the office harassing me. I cowered under the pressure and her abuse, and I left. I only went back when she asked me two years ago for help. I considered it, remembered the abuse from the past, prayed about it, and then went forward due to my kind, tender heart wanting to give her the benefit of the doubt and see good in her. Where did it get me? In December, I was the one shaking mad and in tears in when she launched her attack on me. This time, SHE was the one reduced to tears when she saw that no matter what tactic she tried to use, I was NOT backing down or cowering in the corner at her attempts to bully me. Because she had an audience today, she was bolder, braver, and thought for sure she was going to win. I may have left the company but not before they saw her true side come out in front of them as well. Will they do anything about it? Probably not. That is why bullies are so bad! They are allowed to get away with it. But, she won’t get away with it any more with ME being her beating post or ME being the one she tries to intimidate and push around. The thing is that GOD has blessed me with an incredible financial position where I do not HAVE to work. I WANT to. That is the big difference. My husband has a wonderful job with people that values him and SHOWS it. They compensate him nicely, and I am THANKFUL for God’s blessing in that area of our lives. I’m thankful for ALL of God’s blessings! But my point is that I did not HAVE to work. I WANTED to just so I could occupy my time while my children were in school. Well, I am sure I can find other things to occupy my time instead of going into an office daily to endure harassment, bullying, and where punishment is served to the ones trying so hard to work and do a good job.

Here and now, I remove myself from this situation. I had already removed myself December 17th, if you want to know the truth. I only went back today to face the demon. She requested a meeting. I knew what the meeting was going to consist of; her raking me over the coals with an audience. I was not wrong either for that was the exact thing that unfolded this morning. However, had I not gone in to face the demon, she would have thought that she won. So, I showed up, and God was right there by my side the entire time providing strength.

Why do I refer to her as a demon? I am not being ugly about it. I had someone tell me in December that the person I described, with everything she was attempting to do to me, say about me, and put me through, was a demon. The one I was speaking to was not involved in the situation at all, so he could give a fair observation and unbiased opinion. Believe me, if I had been wrong, this person would have no problem telling me, and I respect their opinion so I would take a second look at myself if they did say it was me. But, within a few seconds of telling a small portion of what I had endured, this person said that I was dealing with a demon; she sounded and acted possessed. It was then that I realized I could possibly be dealing with a demonic force.

I know that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He comes at you with his sly, sneaky ways befriending you, trying to get in good with you, finding out your weaknesses so he can come back and use them against you. Just when you think you’re safe, he ambushes you. He throws all of these accusations in your face; HE IS THE ACCUSER OF THE BROTHERN. He will use his forked tongue to spew lies and untruths. He will try to get you where it hurts and take you DOWN. BUT … MY GOD IS GREATER!!!!!

MY GOD!

HE is for me!

MY GOD has defeated the devil before, and HE defeated the demon in this person TODAY!

The devil tries so hard, but he needs to go back to HELL where he came from as he is NOT welcome here.

IN THE NAME OF JESUS, I REBUKE THE DEVIL, HIS TACTICS, AND THE HOLD HE HAS TRIED TO TAKE WITH ME AND MY FAMILY. I CAST HIM OUT AND BACK INTO THE PITS OF HELL! MY GOD IS IN CHARGE, AND MY GOD HAS HIS ARMS TIGHTLY AROUND MY ENTIRE FAMILY KEEPING US SAFE SO NO HARM CAN COME TO US!

IF you are struggling in your life with your own demon possessed person, take God’s hand and your bible. Equip yourself with the WORD OF GOD, and start fighting in PRAYER! Then RISE UP … and walk with authority as GOD has already defeated the devil, and you are a child of GOD! Rise UP and go forth. God will help you fight your battle and slay the demons trying to take you down.

Trust in HIM!

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After this post was written, I realized it would go with the prompt word “Here” on Tuesday At Ten, so I am linking up! You should, too!