Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Passionate Housewives

"The godly keeper at home wisely governs the household that God places in her care so that prudence and sound judgment rule her decisions rather than covetousness or folly. though she may wear pearls and high heels, she realizes that "charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30 NKJV

I absolutely love this book! It's my second time reading through it and there are soooo many great thoughts inside the pages like:

"Real women need to know that being helpers to their husbands, raising godly children, and properly managing their homes takes real work, but the rich reward a woman receives by diligently tending to the ways of her household is well worth the effort."

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4

"Biblical motherhood means sacrifice, selfless love, and faithful dedication. It means we're there with our families - body, mind, and spirit. To recognize our purpose in motherhood, we must see the godly generations beyond our own children.
This means denying ourselves (Matthew 16:25) and being consumed with God and His love for us. It means starting each morning on our face in repentance and thanksgiving, pleading for His grace and for the strength to glorify Him in our daily endeavors. It means loving God more than we love our children - and consequently, He will equip us to truly love them and prepare us to serve them through Christ our Lord. It means impacting future generations by our faithfulness now."


Monday, April 23, 2012

Excellence...not perfection

Ok, I know I've been on a Darlene Zschech kick the past week (or month) but her book The Art of Mentoring has so many great nuggets of truth.

"Those who really know the goodness of God do not pursue perfectionism, which only produces fear - they pursue excellence, which is the willingness to risk everything for love of the Lord.

Any form of honest leadership required the leader to teach the most excellent way. Not the easy way, or a shortcut way for a quick-fix compromise, but the way of integrity that sets a standard of excellence."

Proverbs 22:29 says, "Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank."

"In your home, excellence will mean serving, forgivign, respecting, and taking responsibikty for your actions so that others can see God's Word domonstrated and practically applied through your example. In your local church and community, excellence will require sensitivity and generosity to the needs of others, time to build relationship, and a willingness to lay down your life so others can get ahead. We do the extra mile becaues we care. Yes, excellence takes more time, more heart, and more devotion than you and I can muster in our own strength, 'but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.'" 2 Cor 4:7 (DZ)

"One of our highest goals in life should be to have an excellent spirit. And Daniel is our champion example in this regard. Daniel 6 reports that he was put in charge of the whole kingdom because of his excellent spirit.

The world has no match for an excellent spirit - it will outrank any gifting, talent, or charisma. And even though the sacrifices will not be without cost, the results will be a timeple that is absolutely stunning, a showcase temple for future generations to model." (DZ)

"If you are going to achieve excellence in BIG things, you develop the habit in little things."
 Colin Powell

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hard Work and Flexiblity

I'm very grateful that I was raised by a family that believed in working hard, doing what you said you would do, and not making excuses when you didn't complete the task. I have watched my grandparents and parents work hard their entire lives.

I just spoke with my "Granny" a few days ago and asked if I could say Hi to my "Pops" and she said that he was out helping an "older" man (my grandpa is turning 80 this year!) build a porch on his house and clean up some things. The "older" man had said that he'd like him to build the deck when he got enough money but Pops knew that he wouldn't have it anytime soon so decided to just go and build it for him. It has turned into a community project. My grandpa has went around asking his neighbors if he can have the old lumber that has been laying behind their homes for years to help this man out. They donated it willingly because they know my grandpa is helping someone that can't help himself. He has others involved with different clean up projects around this man's home and is hiring a lady to go and do a good cleaning of the inside.

It reminded me that he (and the rest of my family) have helped mold me into who I am today! They are not afraid of work. They are not afraid to get their hands dirty and complete a task. They are not afraid to see a need and do their best to help meet it. My grandpa is not a believer unfortently (please pray with me that he turns His heart to the Lord), but he is a good man that believes in hard work and in helping others. It makes me proud to be his granddaughter.

I pray that I can pass along a strong work ethic to my children.

Darlene Zchech says in the Art of Mentoring, "Work is nothing new for God's people. For generations, men and woman of God have worked hard and defied all odds to bring the gospel to all men. And that's my point: all this preparation means a lot of hard work, being generous with time and resources, working together to see the church be everthing she can be - simply stunning.

But to deprive our children and our spiritual children of these building blocks in life means we short-change them in developing tenacity and spiritual muscle. Even though we don't want to create ridiculous hardships for them just to prove a point, eventually they need to feel the weight of responsibility on their shoulders.

Flexible things are rarely broken - they simply spring back when the stretch is over!

While trying to protect our spiritual and natural kids from everything, we strengthen them for nothing, raise them to be idle and to hide, train them to run from conflict. The meeting in the middle is that in order to train them to lead, they have to partake in all that life has to offer, the highs and the lows, yet be given the tools to overcome their trials and share in the seasons of blessing."

Let's not shy away from training our children to work hard and be flexible!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lemons to Lemonade

"It's pressure that turns a lemon into lemonade, and it's pressure that turns your mess into a message for His glory." 
Darlene Zschech in The Art of Mentoring

Have you even been given some lemons in life? 
We all have! 
Some more than others.
It's simply how life works. 
God uses situations to test us, stretch us, strengthen us, encourage us, and ultimately help us grow to be more like Him. 

Let's take the LEMON of a situation that your faced with today and turn it into LEMONADE for His glory!

Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 59:16
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

Best Lemonade Ever Recipe 



  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  2. Remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups water.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm a Work in Progress!

I am a promise
I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital "P"
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I am learnin' to hear God's voice
And I am tryin' to make the right choice
I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go
I can be anything He wants me to be
I can climb the high mountains
I can cross the wide sea
I'm a great big promise you see!

Did anyone else grow up singing this song? 
I did! 
It came to mind as I was about to write out my "Work in Progress" statements
that I've been working on. I can't even begin to count the times that I've been "tryin'" to 
hear God's voice or "tryin" to make the right choice...

As I child it's so simple to sing these words with uninhibited FAITH. 
Yet, as life begins to happen, we often wonder if there really is all that much "promise or possibility" inside of us. Can I really go anywhere He wants me to go? Can I really be anything He wants me to be? 
Can I really climb the high mountains of life? Can I really cross the stormy seas that come my way? 
Am I really a "great big bundle of potentiality"? 

Those are some of the questions that cross my mind as an adult that never did when I sang it so confidently as a child.

Can I really do this wife thing well? Can I really be a good mom to my kids? Can I really see others walking close to Jesus because I inspired, motivated, or challenged them to walk a better path than the worlds? And when it really comes down to it....
Who does He really want me to be? 

I often know what I want to be. Or what other people want me to be. But do I really know or care what He wants me to be? 

The only way that I can know the answer to this question is if I stay connected to Him through His Word and communicating with Him! We have to learn to filter the other voices of society, our friends, our family, even our church sometimes and rely soley on asking the Lord to help us become the person that He created us to be. 

In the Ladies' Bible Study that I've been hosting we are walking through our PRIORITIES.
Jesus, Husband, Children, Home, Ministry, Me.
 (I also believe that we could put in extend family and friends on that list because many of us are very involved with both those sets of people and they also take time, effort, and energy, but for now we'll leave the list as is.)

We were supposed to write out a list of how we actually have them prioritized in our lives. Probably not all of us can put them in the order listed above which I believe is Biblical. 

Mine were not all in line properly. As I'm guessing most of ours aren't, but it's something to work towards. In order to help get us to the place of realligning our priorities we were to each write out a "Work-in-Progress" statement for each one that showed some of the what and whys and hows. 

Here's mine: 
Jesus - "I desire to know Jesus and know Him more intimately. I can only ackomplish this through DAILY spending time with Him through reading His Word and talking with Him. I'm going to try to get up EVERY day at 6:30 AM to spend time alone with Him, have a cup of tea to quiet my spirit and commune with Jesus." 

Husband - "I desire to make our marriage my #2 priority. Right under my relationship with Jesus. I want to be more conscience of his needs. Be a helper, not a nagger. And to understand that my God-given role brings joy to my life." 

Children - "I desire to teach, train, encourage, and exhort my children in righteousness and what it means love Jesus with their ENTIRE heart for their ENTIRE life! I want to fully understand and live out the awareness that it is my responsibility to help them discover their God-given gifts and then to help foster those as well as developing real-life skills in them." 

Home - "I desire to provide a warm, loving, and nurturing environment for my family to dwell in. If I cannot manage my space well, then I cannot expect my children to manage theirs well. I want to give them an example to follow as they begin a family of their own. I see in Scripture that hospitality is something that I am to be doing as a Christian. So in order to do that, I must maintain a level of cleanliness and order so that others may enjoy my home as well. I also want to FILL my home with Scripture and worship music." 

Ministry/Serving Others - "My soul is filled when I give out. It is my desire to share Jesus with those who are walking a similar journey as I am. I also desire to see a generation of children, youth, young adults, and younger wives and mothers realizing that God has called them, set them apart, and has a plan for them! I need to grow in the area of personal evangelism." 

Personal - "I desire to be the best ME that God planned me to be. In order to do that, I must feed myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physcially. I must set aside time each day with Jesus. Allow myself time each day to read something encouraging like a Christian book or blog even if it's only 10 minutes. Remind myself daily to not allow my emotions to dictate my actions. Live a healthy lifestyle through good eating habits and exercise. I also need to schedule in times each month to do things I enjoy or that challenge me like family outings, quilting, blogging, etc or they simply don't happen. I desire above all to smile, be humble and gentle, be fun and loving, to be encouraging, to be patient and forgiving, to serve others, to forgive myself, to be the best follower of Christ, wife, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, teacher, leader, servant, etc. that I can be!" 

Praying that we all are striving to BE more like Jesus and allign our priorities up to His will.  

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Doing for others...

"You can become for others what you did not have so that the generation following you will have your 'faith stories' to lean on and your blessing to pass along." Darlene Zschech

So often we don't do for others because we get caught in the "poor me" trap of thinking that nobody ever did it for us so either: Why should I do something for someone else what no one ever did for me? or I'm not properly equipped because no one ever spoke into my life.

Both of these are valid.... excuses.

If we are drawing closer to the Lord, then we are able to minister to those around us. But we must know WHY we do what we do. None of us have all the answers to life's questions, but we can help point someone else toward Jesus and godly living if we are passionate to seek His direction and share it.  "It's your vision and understanding that someone else needs for a starting point." DZ

Hebrews 10:24-25 says "Let us consider how we may spur one another on...not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Spurring one another on is simply encouragement. It is our responsibility to encourage those around us. EVEN if we ourselves don't feel fully encouraged that day. That's not to say that we don't deserve encouragement as well, but so often we wait around thinking that someone has to pour into us before we can encourage someone else. Well, we should be asking the Holy Spirit to pour into our lives wisdom and strength every day. The reality is that we can't wait around for others to do the right thing before we begin.

"As people mature, they learn to encourage themselves in the Lord, just as King David did. We can find ourselves being genuinely encouraged from something we've read, heard, seen, or experienced that becomes a kiss from heaven to warm our hearts and remind us that God is with us." DZ

"Encouraging words, fueled by the Word of God, carry life. Even the smallest act of kindness can bring hope to the hurting heart." DZ

Pastor Tommy Barnett often says, "Find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it."

Do you see a need in someone around you?

Can you help to ease their burden with a kind word or act of kindness?

Are you willing to?

Even if your load is also heavy?

Jesus' love flowing through you will bring health to both you and the one receiving the encouragement!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What is your God-given gift?

 Years ago, I had the priviledge of sitting in on a seminar given by Don and Katie Fortune. I do not say this changed the way that I look at my children and myself. At that time, my son and daughter where both very young and I could already see their "gifts" coming through via their personalities! I was also able to pin-point mine. It has been VERY helpful especially in raising my children.

 I've always been a big fan of the personality trait chart of Sanguine, Choleric, Melencholic, Phlegmatic in helping to better understand myself and others' personalities.

This takes it all even a step further and is based on Romans 12:6-8. The Fortunes show in Scripture where there are 3 different gifts that God gives.

1) Motivational Gifts that we all posses - Romans 12:6-8 (see below)

  • Perceiver (listed as prophet in this passage, but as to not be confused with "prophet" as a ministry gift they have labled it as "perceiver"), one who clearly perceives the will of God. 
  • Server, one who loves to serve others. Another appropriate word is "doer." 
  • Teacher, one who loves to reserach and communicate truth. 
  • Exhorter, one who loves to encourage other to live victorious lives. 
  • Giver, one who loves to give time, talent, energy, and means to benefit others and advance the Gospel. Another word could be "contributor". 
  • Administrator, one who loves to organizer, lead, or direct. Other words could be "facilitator" or "leader". 
  • Compassion person, one who shows compassion, love, and care to those in need. They say "compassion" instead of "mercy" since this word is more comprehensive in today's usage. 
"Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He who's gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; [He who] exhorts, encourages to his exhortation; [He who] contributes let him do it in simplicity and liverality; [He who] gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; [He who] does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness." 

I also love that they say that "we are all endowed with enough of each gift to be able to operate in that area to some degree, when called on." At first glance, it may seem that you or your child fall into more than one catagory. But each of us has a primary gifting. Focus in on that one and you'll be amazed at how learning more about your strengths and weeknesses can help you live a more balanced life. I'm all about trying to be more BALANCED! :-) "Joy is the byproduct of operating in your motivational gift. Frustration is the byproduct of trying to operate outside of it." 

The other 2 sets of giftings listed in the Bible are:
  • The Manifestation Gifts listed in I Corinthians 12
  • The Ministry Gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11

I cannot stress enough the value of both of these books! They cover the same topic but in different ways for aldults vs. children. has them both available if you're interested. I recommend getting them both.

The Fortunes say, "The original Hebrew included the insight that each child has a gift - a motivational gift and a bent - direction to be fulfilled by uing his motionaltial gift. We as parents then, have a responsiblity to discover our child's giftedness and to "train them up" in it, to encourage the development of that gift, so that when he/she comes of age he will be using that giftedness to the glory of God and for his own true fulfillment."

They are speaking on the familiar child-rearing verse in Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it." Thus the above reference to the Hebrew meaning behind the verse saying that it is our responsbility as parents to discover their "God-given gift" or bent and then train them with that in mind.

There is so much more within the covers of these two books that are helpful!

When I heard this really neat couple speak 6(ish) years ago, I became very excited about learning all I could about my motivational gift as well as my husbands and childrens. Now 6 years later, I had the opportunity to share this topic with our youth girls at church. It was really neat seeing them try to figure out what their gift was and then be excited to understand that God had specifically made them the way He did for a reason! With a specific "gift" in mind for each of them! Really fun stuff to better understand the Word of God and all the treasures that he has inside it for each of us.

Be willing to DIG out spriritual truthes. 

The older I get the more I devore books! They are not infaluable though. It is important that we have a spirit of discernment whenever we read something whether a book, artivle, blog, ebook, etc. Take the good, research the questionable, throw out the unwise or unbiblical. But never stop LEARNING and GROWING in the things of the Lord!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The ABC's of Christian Parenting

A - Affirm who your children are in the Lord.
B - Build a foundation of love and trust. 
C - Communicate openly and often. 
D - Discipline consistently and fairly.
E - Expect teh best of them. 
F - Forgive frequently. 
G - Give unconditinal love. 
H - Help them to grow spiritually. 
I - Invest time in them. 
J - Join in family night fun. 
K - Keep Christ central in your home. 
L - Live what you teach. 
M - Make your home atmosphere positive. 
N - Notice and commend achievements. 
O - Organize family vacations. 
P - Pray for them faithfully. 
Q - Quote Scripture when appropriate. 
R - Release them as they're ready. 
S - Set a good example. 
T - Train them well in the ways of the Lord. 
U - Understand their God-given gifts. 
V - Value each child individually. 
W - Welcome creativity. 
X - Explain why when you say no. 
Y - Yearn to see them become all they can be. 
Z - Zero in on Christian values. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Passing the baton - Part 2

The book of Joshua ends saying in 24:31 that "Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experience everything the Lord has done for Israel."

That is awesome and encouraging and exciting that the Joshua took over leadership from Moses and lead the people of Israel well throughout his lifetime.

The next book of the Bible, Judges, recounted the above verse almost exactly as in Judges 2:7. "The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

Then in verses 10 & 11 it tells of the tragety that followed Joshua's death. 

"After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals."

How sad! 

The generation that Joshua led failed to pass the baton to the next generation! 

Was it all Joshua's fault?

Of course not. But he obviously lacked in generational vision and the understanding of how to pass on a godly heritage. The parents failed to pass down to their children the laws of the Lord and did not intentionally instill in their children the desire to love and serve YAWHEE. Verse 11 says that they grew up and "knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." I can't even image!

Yet, look around. Has that not happened time and time again throughout the generations?

I am reading a wonderful book by Darlene Zschech titled The Art of Mentoring.

Let me begin by saying that it is first and formost our God-given responsiblility as parents to teach and train our own children in the ways of the Lord. However, I also believe that we have been given opportunities to mentor/walk along side/train other people throughout our lifetimes.

Many of us, myself included, miss these opportunities. 

Darlene says, "Tell your that the rich history of the miraculous is continually brought front and center. In so doing, you will give the next generation strength to hang on!"

"As spiritual moms and dads, we must be fully convinced of God's ability to work in our lives. Then we can lay hold of the wonderful privilege we have of passing down our knowledge, experience, example, and rich legacy of faith to the next generation, who will also need to remember that if God could do it then, He can do it now."

I would highly recommend this book to you, especially if you are in any form of church ministry or leadership. There are so many great words and lessons that Darlene shares from her experiences in ministry.

Are you passing the baton on to your children?

Are you passing the baton on to others around you that God has placed in your life?