Invited to Speak


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I have been invited to speak at the Fun Fearless Female Conference in Overland Park, KS on February 22, 2014.

I will be speaking about how our Lord planted a God-sized dream in my heart, then walked with me and encouraged me every step of the way, until God made that dream a reality. God desires to use every single one of us. We just have to stop and listen to God’s plan, step out in faith – yet let Him lead the way.

If you are in the Kansas City area, or want to make a fun road trip, here is the link for more information: http://www.funfearlessfemale.org/

To Be a Proverbs 31 Woman


 

Oh how I wish I could emulate the Proverbs 31 woman, but so often I fall short.

Don’t we all? However, I have come to believe it’s not so much about being exactly like a Bible character, but rather using their example as a guide to Christian living. The Bible gives us many examples of Christian living. I could list many passages, but I picked just a few:

1 Peter 2:21-22

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

 Ephesians 4:32

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Obviously we will fall short, because we are not Jesus. But what is important is these verses are examples to follow, models of how to live.

So it is with Proverbs 31:10-31.This passage is giving us a lengthy example of how to live the Christian life. These examples are so important in a culture that does not provide godly examples. Without examples of how to live, we would fatter all the more. 

Psalm 143:10

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Can I be the Proverbs 31 woman? Doubtful.

Can I use her as an example to follow? Yes. 

Proverbs 31:10-31

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 

Blessings on your day.

Scripture from Biblegateway.com

 

Getting Back Into A Routine


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Labor Day is more than an end of summer cook-out and a 3-day weekend. It’s about a return to routine. Moms understand this.

School is back in session.  My children are busy with music lessons and sports practices again. In many ways I am busier than I was during the summer. But life is more predictable. There will be scheduled meals and bedtimes. Appointments are planned. I know what is on my schedule.

One of the many things on my fall schedule is my Monday Night Ladies Bible Study. We break for the summer, but sometimes I wish we didn’t. Not only are these ladies my friends and prayer partners, they are also my accountability partners.

Now that school is back in session, we will return to our weekly Bible Study. I’m looking forward to the fellowship with other Christian women, and lifting each other up in prayer. But mostly, I’m looking forward to digging into another exciting Bible Study and spending more structured time in God’s Word.

There’s something exciting about opening the pages of a new Bible Study. You wonder, “What is God going to reveal to me here?” Oh the anticipation. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Oh Christmas! That’s going to mess up my precious routine.

The Real Pearl Necklace


I hope you enjoy this little story.

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The Real Pearl Necklace  – Author Unknown

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. “Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.

“A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls.  They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere – Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet; they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”

“Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess – the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one  you gave me. She’s my favorite.”

“That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.”

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again,  “Do you love me?”

“Daddy, you know I love you.” “Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”

“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you” And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”

Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, “Here, Daddy.  It’s for you.” With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure.  Isn’t God good? Are you holding onto things which God wants you to let go of.  Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities which you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing……………… God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place. 

 

What are you hanging on to?

How to Make Stained Glass Windows – An Analogy


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Habakkuk 3:4

His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.

I love going to the beach. Many of you do too. There are many reasons we love the beach, we get to squish our toes in the sand, the water is refreshing, and the sunshine surrounds us. One feeling I especially love is the warm sunshine kissing my face. It lights me up.

I know we can enjoy the sunshine in other places too, and I do. Sunshine is a gift from God, and we should enjoy it. The sunshine heightens our mood. It seems to make everything happier, and the day more beautiful.

.

Ecclesiastes 11:7

Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.

The sun’s rays even affect the beauty of inanimate objects. Light is the presence of all color, so the sunlight makes everything more vibrant.

Sometimes we can see rays of sunshine. Sun’s rays filtering through tree branches brighten up the forest. The sky is further illuminated when the sun’s rays jump out from behind clouds.  One of the very pleasurable things about a ray of sunshine is how it lights up stained glass windows. The sun shines through these majestic pieces of art and drops color wherever the sunlight falls.

Making stained glass is quite a lengthy process. We start with glass. Glass is made from some rather dull and ordinary ingredients:

  • Sand
  • Soda ash or sodium carbonate – used in detergents and  swimming pools
  • Lime – a specific type of sedimentary rock containing high levels of calcium or magnesium carbonate.

In other words, dirt is used to make glass.

Do you ever feel like nothing special? Or has something happened that makes you feel like dirt?

The sand, soda ash and lime are melted together at high temperatures, until the mixture become a syrupy mass. When this syrup cools, it becomes glass.

That’s how it is with our lives. We feel ordinary, like we are nothing special. We might even feel like dirt. But along comes a major issue, and we’re exposed to enormous heat. When things cool off we find that something gratifying has happened in our lives to change us for the better.

But making glass is just the first step in the process of making stained glass windows. To make stained glass, you need some color. Colored glass is made by adding chemicals into the mix of sand, soda ash, and lime. Particular chemicals create specific colors of glass. Amber or brown glass gets its color from iron sulphide. Iron-chromite creates shades of green; cobalt makes beautiful shades of blue. Nickel will give the glass a violet color and selenium will make red glass.

We’re adding some more dirt to the mix.

Yes, it seems like when we are going through difficult trials we are subjected to even more agitation. We cry out, “how much more” but that agitation just adds to the beauty in our lives.

When that crisis is over we see something even more beautiful than before. For a time the trials seem to be over, we relax. We enjoy what has happened to us. We might even become a little prideful.

But then a new crisis comes our way, bigger than before. We feel broken, like our life has been shattered.

Some stained glass windows are made of broken pieces of glass. An artist arranges those pieces in a pleasing pattern. This process takes time. The artist moves the broken pieces around until the proper pattern emerges. What was once a pile of rubble is now a lovely piece of art for all to enjoy.

So often we feel pushed and shoved, like we are being tossed about, but what’s happening is all the piece of our lives are being moved into the proper place, where they create a beautiful work of art.

But the process isn’t complete.

The broken pieces of glass don’t stand up by themselves. For a stained glass mosaic to be displayed, grout must fill in all the little spaces between each piece of glass. Grout is messy, dirty, and muddy.

More dirt!

There are times when it seems like life is that way. We don’t want to get dirty, but we have no choice. Sometimes we feel covered by dirt and grime, even though we have tried to keep our lives neat and tidy. But after the grout dries, the mosaic can stand on its own. Everyone can see the beauty created by broken pieces of colored glass.

Some other craftsman actually cut the pieces of colored glass into specific shapes. The artist has a design in mind. He sees different colors of glass and takes those pieces, cuts them according to his vision, and arranges them artfully. He uses a blade to cut the edges in a specific shape. He can’t put a square piece of glass where a triangle should be.

It hurts to be cut, trimmed, and shaped. It feels like another trial. But that trial is part of the process to be turned into a work of art.

Eventually, he has each piece cut into the perfect shape. It’s artfully arranged in a design or representation of a person. But pieces of stained glass do not stand up on their own. Each individual piece is placed in a strong framework.

We need the strong framework of Christ in our lives.

Psalm 59:17

You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.

The artist then uses solder to attach the pieces together. The solder is very hot.

Sometimes we are in situations that we feel like we are getting burned. We think we are getting closer to our goal, but we seem to be getting burned in the process.

Eventually that trial is over too. We look back at all the storms of life and notice that we are not the same as before these trials began. We’ve been heated, agitated, shaped, cut and burned. But we’ve become something stunning that lights up even brighter when the light of God shows through us.

Julie Garro

Follow His Light Blog

August 1, 2013

 


1 sand


Our lives are crazy-busy. Sometimes we feel the demands of work or school should take priority. I thought this story was worth repeating:

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Author Unknown.

ROCKS, PEBBLES AND SAND

THE REFINER’S FIRE


Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures, and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” One lady’s opinion was that is was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject.

She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her. “But Sir” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?” “Oh, yes, madam,” replied the silversmith; “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way that he knows when the process of purifying is complete when he sees his own image reflected in the silver….

–Author Unknown

“This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ ” Zechariah 13:9