Sunday, October 30, 2011

WEEK ONE: Day 7..... Day of Worship and Praise!



Hi Ladies!    Sunday's are the Day of Worship and Praise!   I'm a shut in (meaning I can't get out of the house to go to my regular church right now) so what I do on this day is listen to some online messages from pastors that I know from college who are online and give sermons in the written word or an online message.   So I'm going to share some with you and then give you a general link where you can find so many messages that might suit what you are looking for on this day.   I hope this is helpful to you!

Messages Online that I would recommend:

1.  Weekly Sermons by Pastor Rudy... many selections for you!  Please click HERE. This is audio.
2.  Text sermons by Dr. Lehman Strauss...  please click HERE.
3.  Wide selection of messages by Dr. Lehman Strauss....  please click HERE.  This is audio.
4.  Wide selection of  audio messages by various speakers (I do not know all of these speakers so this is a general selection of many.)  Please click HERE 

Free Christian Sermons...  please click here (I do not know the content of these messages) But I do recommend this listening to Elizabeth George on here.  This is her FaceBook link. She's the author of the book we are studying right now in our Women's Bible Study:  A Woman After God's Own Heart!   This is the direct link to her ministry on the radio.









Saturday, October 29, 2011

WEEK ONE: Day 6..... Variety Day!

Hi Ladies,
Saturday is going to be a Variety Day.   I'm going to share various items I have read on my own time during the week that have inspired me in some way and share them with you.   I hope that you'll use the COMMENT area to share your inspirations, prayer requests, question, ideas, praise, poems, anything that's on your heart.

I start today with a RECIPE!  If you read my blog, you'll notice a number of recipes.   I love to cook, I love to get recipes and share recipes.  Maybe you want to share a recipe!


RECIPE FOR A MIRACLE

1 cup Tension

2 cups Stress

1 teaspoon of Guilt

2 heaping cups of Limited Time

3/4 tablespoon of Urgency

A dash of "No Other Choice"

3 heaping cups of Faith

Fold ingredients gently into a bowl. Mix vigorously and add a few tears. You'll sweat a little as you knead the dough.

Pack it firmly between your hopes and dreams and form into a perfect little ball.

Sprinkle it with a little faith (I recommend Hebrews 11), rolling the ball in the flour until fully covered.

Place it under a veil of belief and allow it to rise.

Put it in an oven that has been pre-set at the perfect temperature for the heat of trials and tribulations.

Allow it to brown under the warmth of God's love. Remove after due season and allow to cool in the confidence of His promise.

Garnish with your praises. Arrange neatly on a platter of thankfulness and serve to friends, families and, oh yes, strangers . . . invite them too!

Pass on the recipe to all who request it and let them know that with this recipe, they have the makings of a miracle!
 
 This was shared with me through a group on Facebook called Positive Inspirational Quotes (PIQ) and you can click on the next picture to get to their page.  
 
 

Avon Products by Carolyn: FB Page Owner's Christmas Explosion! USA only, Dec. 1st

Hi!  I'm giving you the opportunity to help me and yourself by joining this Avon Products by Carolyn:  FaceBook Page Owner's Christmas Explosion!   There will be Avon Gifts to be won by your fan winners with 2 Grand Prize gifts to be won by the page owner who wins my Random.org drawing!

Each entry fee is anything you wish, from $5.00 and up (you choose your gift or gifts from my brochures) and that pays for an Avon or Mark product to be won by a one of your fans!  For each entry you will secure a Random.org drawing spot.

This will be a Rafflecopter giveaway and the first entry fee pays for your FB fan page.  Each paid entry after that will earn you an additional Avon product by Carolyn and a spot for a link to any of the following:  your Blog, Twitter and/or GFC.  The products to be won are what you choose from my brochures to give away to the fans!   There will be 2 Grand Prize gifts to be won by the page owner  from my own Rafflecopter giveaway and that is worth $80.00!  Here are the two prizes that you can win:


 TYLER THE SNOWMAN GREETER (value: $40.00)
Avon exclusive. Motion activated greeter. Welcome guests with 4 different sayings:
- "Family and friends make the holiday special"
- "Hey, come out of the cold, it’s warm in here"
- "Now that you’re here, we can all be together"
- "Season’s greetings, so happy you could join us"

Uses 3 AAA batteries (not included). 27 1/2" H. Fabric, plastic. Imported.

Winter Wonderland Centerpiece (Value: $40.00)
Avon exclusive. A classic holiday scene with cascading colored lights and moving parts. Santa's tree rotates, skaters skate and train goes through the tunnel! LED and fiber-optic lights change from red, to yellow, to blue. Plays "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". 3-way switch controls lights, music and moving parts. Uses 3 AA batteries (not included). Includes built-in DC power jack, plug-in adapter sold separately. 11" L x 8" W x 7" H. Plastic, polyresin. 


AND...  
I will be giving away an envelope of 60 fragrance samples to the FaceBook Fan Page owner who wins the Random.org drawing by me.  Value $12.00 You will be able to give these away as prizes for the games that you play or just to give to one of your fans for any reason! 

 The way to order your prizes is to go through my Avon Website and order from the brochures.  You need to either order in the Campaign 23 (by Wed. Nov. 2nd) or Campaign 24 (comes out on Sat. Nov. 5 and runs til Thurs. Nov. 17th.)  Nov. 17th is the final day to order your products.


 You may begin shopping now at my store.  Just click on the words SHOP MY eBROCHURE and that will take you to the Avon and Mark and value brochures.
The FIRST $40.00 ORDER (you get free shipping) entry will win a SPA KIT from me! This includes the following:
SPARKLING FOOT TUB
Soak away holiday stress with a pedicure pick-me-up. Comes with detachable nylon loofah to scrub feet. PVC. Inflated, 11" L x 11" W x 8" H.   (value $8.00)


PLUSH PINK BATH PILLOW WITH COVER
(picture not available)  (value $5.00)




LAVENDAR FOOT WORKS GIFT SET (value $22.00)
Soothe weary soles. 4-piece gift set includes:

Comfort Foot Soak
3.4 fl. oz.

Clay Mask
3.4 fl. oz.

Overnight Treatment Cream
3.4 fl. oz

Cozy Socks
Lavender striped with slide-free grips. One size fits most. Polyester/spandex. Imported.

Comes in a decorative gift box.


Foot Works All-in-1 Pedicure Tool  (Value $10.00)
Easy to use, sleek, compact design. Cleanse, exfoliate, file & soften. Removes dry skin. Metal file exfoliates rough calluses. Fine grain smooths dry, flaky skin. Nail brush cleans & softens. Plastic. 3 1/8" L x 1 3/4" W x 1 1/2" H. 

and a man's gift
Patrick Dempsey UNSCRIPTED After Shave Conditioner (value $9.50)
Only at AVON. A fresh infusion of spices, surrounded by warm, sensual hints of vetiver and musk.

Aloe-enriched formula soothes skin and protects against dryness. 3.4 fl. oz.

"At the heart of Unscripted is the idea of living your life on your own terms, and not by a written script. It's about loving what you do, and doing it in your own unique way, rather than being defined by rules." —PATRICK DEMPSEY Award-winning actor

Total Value: $49.50


There is a FaceBook Group for any FB page owner who is interested in this giveaway.  Here is the link to the FB group for this event to be added.  Thank you for your interest!  AVON PRODUCTS BY CAROLYN. Just click on the words there.  


Friday, October 28, 2011

WEEK ONE: Day 5..... Praying Continually

Welcome Ladies!  Thank you for coming back another day.  It's great to have you here. 

Hearing From God

1.  Today we begin our study in I Thessalonians 5:17, "pray continually,"  That is one of the shortest verses in the Bible.  Please now read the I Thessalonians 5 in it's entirety and then please write down how it is possible that a person is able to pray continually.  What do you think the message is?  

2.  The following verses will teach us how we can make prayer most important in our lives.  You'll notice that some of the verses are from the previous lessons.  Please read them again and then write out a reminder of the truth you see in each scripture.

 

Psalm 5:3

New International Version (NIV)
 3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
   in the morning I lay my requests before you
   and wait expectantly.

Psalm 55:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 Evening, morning and noon
   I cry out in distress,
   and he hears my voice.

Psalm 119:164

New International Version (NIV)

164 Seven times a day I praise you
   for your righteous laws.

Mark 1:35

New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place
 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 


3.  You may think it's very difficult to pray daily in the morning.  Maybe you're not a morning person like me!  What are the benefits of praying without ceasing in the morning  hours in relationship to the rest of your day?

4.  Paul prayed continually for his friends in Thessalonica.  Please read 2 Thessalonians 1.  What did Paul believe would result from praying continually for his friends? 

5.  Did you know that God wants to bring out every good purpose in your life?  By praying continually you will begin to realize and achieve God's purpose in your life.  At this point in your life with Christ, what do you believe God's purpose is for you?

RESPONDING TO GOD:  "Yes, but how?"

6.  When we speak about continual prayer, we're not saying that you'll be praying meaningless repetitions, and you won't be praying without a break.  Praying continually means praying in any circumstance.  Anytime during the day, you can pray to the Lord...  just talk aloud to Him (or silently) as you are driving, or through showing your thanks to God in a hymn or a song of praise.  You can even make up the tune!   I come up with all kinds of tunes as I'm walking with my husband and dog on the beach every morning for 2 miles.   Most of the time I sing to myself!  Please list issues that are of deep concern to you and then list some blessings you have received from God.

  a.  My deepest concerns

  b.  My blessings and praises



7.  You probably don't need the list to pray to God.  Please try to go throughout your day and we do let's pray to God about the concerns.  Give them over to Him.  Don't hold onto them any longer!  And then please thank Him and praise Him for the blessings in your life.

8.   Whatever the result may be, please don't be discouraged.  I often receive the answer as a no from God.  And often I receive the answer as a yes from God.  It takes time to establish a new habit.  You'll go through the ups and downs, the breakthroughs and setbacks.  See a goal, and we will give ourselves totally to the Lord, and He will help us find and keep our daily prayer time with Him.

Psalm 59:16-17

New International Version (NIV)

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


WORSHIP SONG (with lyrics!)  What the Lord has done in me




We learn that God's Word challenges us to pray without ceasing, pray continually..  We are able to pray in any circumstance of our lives throughout the day.   A day of prayer means that you have a heart for God and believe that He hears us when we pray.

CHALLENGE:    Let's spend tomorrow in prayer throughout our day!  You and me!  Tomorrow is not Bible Study, but rather prayers that we may pray and songs of worship to God.   Sounds exciting!   Thank you for being here today and let's meet together again tomorrow, Lord willing. 

Last Minute Plans for Halloween! Treats

Free Orkut and My Space Cute Halloween Graphics Glitters




Are you in the last stages of planning your Halloween and need some quick tips for just about "everything Halloween?"  This is a great place to get some ideas and share some ideas!

HALLOWEEN TREATS


Trick or Treat, Smell my feet, Give me something Good to Eat!   Most of us have said that once in our lifetime or our children or neighbor's children will be saying that very soon.  So what do you have to give your own family, the children and the neighbor's children this year?  I have some ideas for you that I've gathered from my own recipe files, the files of others, the internet, email, you name it!




PUMPKIN GINGER CUPCAKES
Prep Time: 20 mins.  Cook Time: 20 mins  Ready In: 1 hr. 30 mins.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  •  
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 211 | Total Fat: 8.7g | Cholesterol: 56mg

[This is not my typical HEALTHY RECIPE and neither will be the rest of them!]

SPIDERWEB PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

 

Servings:  12

Prep Time:  35 mins.  Cook Time: 1 hour  Ready In: 1 hr. 35 mins. 


 

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • FILLING:
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • TOPPING:
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • SPIDERWEB GARNISH:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions

  1. Combine wafer crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a greased 10-in. springform pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Whisk in pumpkin, cornstarch, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice just until blended. Pour into crust. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine topping ingredients; spread over filling. Bake at 350 degrees F for 6 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minute. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan; set aside.
  3. For spiderwebs, draw six 3-in. x 2-in. half circles on two sheets of parchment paper on top; tape both securely to work surface. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, cream of tartar and water to a boil over medium heat. Boil, without stirring, until mixture turns a light amber color and candy thermometer reads 350 degrees F. Immediately remove from the heat and stir. Cool, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until hot sugar mixture falls off a metal spoon in a fine thread.
  4. Using a spoon or meat fork, carefully drizzle syrup over half-circle outlines and inside the outlines to form spiderwebs; reheat syrup if needed. Cool completely. Place melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe 1-in. spiders onto parchment or foil; cool completely. With remaining melted chocolate, pipe two or three dots on each web; attach spiders.
  5. Remove sides of springform pan. Cut cheesecake; place a web on top of each slice and remaining spiders on the side. Refrigerate leftovers.

Footnotes

We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212 degrees F. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.

S'mores Apples

 "Caramel apples are studded with graham crackers and marshmallows and drizzled with chocolate for a treat you can't get enough of."

Prep Time: 25 mins.  Cook Time: 10 mins   Ready In:  35 mins.  Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 Granny Smith apples
  • 6 wooden sticks
  • 1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Insert wooden sticks 3/4 of the way into the stem end of each apple. Place apples on a cookie sheet covered with lightly greased aluminum foil.
  2. Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until caramel melts and is smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Dip each apple into the caramel and gently run apples around insides of saucepan to scrape off some of the caramel. Scrape excess caramel from the apple bottoms using the side of the saucepan.
  3. Combine the miniature marshmallows and graham crackers on a dinner plate. Roll the apples in the mixture to coat. Place on the aluminum foil and chill.
  4. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Drizzle over the apples and return them to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 579 | Total Fat: 15.8g | Cholesterol: 5mg

 Next: Halloween Meals

 

 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WEEK ONE: Day 4..... The Blessing of Greater Purity


Today's Bible Study is about The Blessing of Greater Purity.   Our main scripture passages are Psalm 51
and I John 1: 8-9.   You may click on those passages to read them, thank you! 

HEARING FROM GOD
In the Bible we are taught to confess our sins and seek God's forgiveness.   These verses focus on confession.

Psalm 32:5

New International Version (NIV)
 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
   and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
   my transgressions to the LORD.”
And you forgave
   the guilt of my sin.


Proverbs 28:13

New International Version (NIV)
 13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
   but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. 


James 5:16

New International Version (NIV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 

1 John 1:8-9

New International Version (NIV)
 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


[When you click on the highlighted scripture links, you are able to select your own version of the Bible.  You may decide to write one or all of the above verses on your index cards we talked about from yesterday's lesson.  As a reminder, I personally use the 4x6 cards as I have an index card box that holds that size and for me it gives me the room I need to write out the verse(s).]


1.  God asks and desires us to live pure and holy lives.  We learn in the following verses that prayer is needed in order to confess our sins and restore purity in our life.  The following verses are biblical teachings about how to nurture purity in your own life.  As you read the passages, please ask God in prayer to help you to understand the following verses and how to apply them to your own lifeI am asking God to help me to do this as well.  

Psalm 24:3-4
For me, this verse tells me that whoever has a clean heart does not worship idols.  What are idols?  In the Wikipedia we learn about idolatry and idol worship. If you click on the following link you will find what the Bible says about idol worship.  http://www.openbible.info/topics/idol_worship

Psalm 119:9-11
For me, this verse says to live according to God's Word.


Philippians 1:9-11
For me, this passage says to be able to know the difference between what is best and be pure and blameless.

Philippians 2:14-16
For me, this passage says to do everything without complaining or arguing.  Wow!  Everything?  Yes, that's really difficult to imagine.  So try asking God to help you begin to stop complaining or arguing at home, work, at church and in public.  You'll have to start with baby steps on this.  You could write on the back of
this index card one goal for home, work, church and in public.  That includes your blog or places you socialize online!  :o)  I'm asking God to help me with this as well.

Philippians 4:8
New International Version (NIV)
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

2.  God's Word says that David was confronted with his sin by the prophet Nathan.  David then repented and wrote a psalm of his confession.  Please read Psalm 51 and then ask God to help you to understand the requests that David made of God in confessing his sin and what can we confess to God?  


3.  As I was reading this Psalm I found three things that David said he would do in response to God's
forgiveness and cleansing.

a.  I will teach transgressors Your way.
b.  My tongue will sing of your righteousness.
c.  My mouth will declare your praise.

4.  As you read Matthew 7:3-5, please write out the reason(s) that it is easy to see the sin in someone else's life but to be blind to the sin we are doing.  Here is that passage from the NIV version of God's Word,

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 Responding to God:  "Yes, but how?"


Please read the following scripture and then ask God to bring to mind any sin that he can find in your own life.  I'm doing the same thing.  Then let's pray and name each sin that He brings to your mind and ask Him to forgive us and cleanse us


Psalm 139:23-24

New International Version (NIV)

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting. 



After we have prayed and confessed our sin we are going to try another step.  We're going to read
Ephesians 4:1-3, and ask God to remind us of people we need to confess and ask for their forgiveness.
Let's ask God to help us write down the names that come to mind and find the way to be in touch with these people so that we may ask for their forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:1-3

New International Version (NIV)
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Elizabeth George, the author of the book that we are studying, A Woman After God's Own Heart shares
"As women who are called to righteousness, godliness, faith, love... and prayer, we must not deny our sin, not blame others for it, not hide it, not rationalize it.  No, we must confess it, for it is the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous woman that avails much!"




 Life Scene.    "Denise knows that she overreacted and said hurtful things to her husband, Ken.  In the heat of the moment, Ken responded in the same manner.  He brought us issues in Denise's life that embarrassed her and made her feel her feel small.  Ken frequently belittles Denise's church involvement and seems to relish opportunities to expose what he calls her hypocrisy.  Denise and Ken have hardly spoken to each other since their argument.  Denise finds it impossible to pray or study her Bible, making her feel even worse about herself."  [excerpt from Elizabeth George's workbook, p. 18 of Woman After God's Own Heart.]


What would you suggest Denise do in this situation?  And are you able to relate to this as I am?


I have a wonderful, small book by M. Scott Peck, M.D.(author of the best selling book, The Road Less Traveled,) called  "Abounding Happiness" and in this book are various quotes about different topics concerning our everyday life.  Today I have selected a couple about forgiveness.


"Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast." ~Marlene Dietrich


"A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain."  ~ Samuel Johnson 


Thank you for taking the time to be here today and read this blog entry inspired by God's Word and Elizabeth George.  I hope God blesses you with His Word today as He has done to me and I hope to write another blog entry tomorrow if it is God's Will.  

Conversations with Carolyn: Stop School Bullying!

Conversations with Carolyn: Stop School Bullying!

October has been dubbed as Anti Bullying Month but this is in effect for EVERY month!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

$200 Christmas Shopping Spree Extravaganza



Welcome to the $200 Christmas Shopping Spree Extravaganza! I have teamed up with a group of bloggers to offer you an amazing giveaway prize -- the winner will receive TWO gift cards (1) $100 Amazon Gift Card for all your online Christmas shopping and (1) $100 Gift Card of your choice to use at your favorite store! Winner will be chosen by random.org.

WEEK ONE: Day 3..... The Blessing of Greater Peace

 The dove represents the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost in Christianity. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove when he was baptized in the Jordan River:
Luke 3:22
... and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (NIV)
The dove is also a symbol of peace. In Genesis 8 after the flood, a dove returned to Noah with an olive branch in its beak, revealing the end of God's judgment and the beginning of a new covenant with man.

Welcome everyone!  Let's start in prayer today asking God to teach us about the Blessing of Greater Peace
through His Word today and through the questions given that they will reach deep into our hearts and minds and help us to think critically and respond naturally.   Please pray for me to only lead as the Lord leads and only depend on His Word and Elizabeth George's books, Woman After God's Own Heart and the workbook to express her questions in my own words being guided by The Lord to do all this through His Name!  Amen!

 The main scripture passages for this study today are:

JOHN 14:26-27   New International Version (NIV)   26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

GALATIANS 5:22-26 
New International Version (NIV)
 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

PHILIPPIANS  4:6-9
New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


  • HEARING FROM GOD
1.  Praying faithfully brings greater peace to women.  Please read Philippians 4:6-9 (a passage that was given above this) and then please write what you have learned about prayer and peace.   
[You may want to write out the passage and even try to memorize it.   Memorizing scripture keeps His Word in our heart and whenever we feel troubled, we can just recall this passage to memory.  Start by writing it on an index card.  Then each day when you are feeling at your best, pull out the card and start memorizing it taking a verse at a time, and then when you have memorized the first verse and can call it to memory, then go on to the next verse and do the same.   One thing I like to do is use a highlighter to concentrate on words that stand out to me and I find when I say the verse out loud.  Another good way to memorize scripture I read the card and say the words that are highlighted with greater emphasis than the words that are not highlighted.  One more way to memorize is to read the verse on the card and then shut your eyes and concentrate and try to remember what was on the card... especially the words you had highlighted!   Then ask a friend or loved one or even your children to hold the card and let you repeat the verse (one at a time) to them.  They can give you a highlighted word to help you get back on track if you lose your spot in recalling the verse! ]


2.  John 14:26-27 is about Jesus's words about the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit goes to God on our behalf and presents our prayers to Him.   In this passage Jesus is also talking about the peace He came to bring to you.  Please read these verses and then try to think about the times that Jesus has brought peace into your life.
Then please write down an answer to this question, "How is the peace of Jesus Christ different from any other?"


3.  Galatians 5:22-26 is another great passage to write down on an index card.
[I have an index box (like a recipe box) or just anything that you can find... a zipping baggie large enough to hold your cards so that you can even carry them in your handbag and use to memorize when you are somewhere where you have some idle time to pull one out and work on memorizing it.    I use the 4x6 cards for all my passages to keep them the same size.  Maybe you want to write them in a little notebook that can fit into your handbag.  Whatever works for you is great.   One word about the index cards.  If you can fit the whole passage on the front of the card, then something you may want to do is write on the back of the card what the passage means to you!  You can use the answers that you are writing down to put on the back of the card!  These are ideas and you will find something that meets your needs.]

This passage lists the "fruit of the Holy Spirit."  The fruit of the Holy Spirit comes to those who live by or keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  The primary way of staying in step with the Holy Spirit is through prayer.  Would you please list the fruits of the Holy Spirit that come to women who keep in step with the Holy Spirit through prayer and submission to God.    Then using that highlighter, please highlight the fruit.


A wonderful Christian Dutch woman, Corrie ten Boom (see her biography here on Wikipedia) has these words to share with us, "As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden at the end of the day, so kneel each night and let the Master take your burden."  Corrie ten Boom knew much about suffering.  When you read the Wikipedia article about her you will learn about her suffering.  And another truth she wrote about is forgiveness. Wikipedia lists the books she has written.  From the Wikipedia article about her has been written:

Her teaching focused on the Christian Gospel, with emphasis on forgiveness. In her book Tramp for the Lord(1974), she tells the story of an encounter while she was teaching in Germany in 1947. She was approached by a former Ravensbrück camp guard, who had been known as one of the most cruel. She was reluctant to forgive him, but prayed that she would be able to. She wrote,
"For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then."
She also wrote (in the same passage) that in her post-war experience with other victims of Nazi brutality, it was those who were able to forgive who were best able to rebuild their lives. She rejected the doctrine that some asserted, of Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and wrote that it was without Biblical foundation.
She believes that such a doctrine left the Christian Church ill-prepared in times of great persecution, such as in China under Mao Zedong. She appeared on many Christian television programs discussing her ordeal during the Holocaust, and the concepts of forgiveness and God's love.

The Wikipedia article about Corrie ten Boom lists the many books she wrote in her lifetime.  Here is that list:

  • A Prisoner And Yet (1945)
  • Amazing Love (1953)
  • Not Good If Detached (1957)
  • Common Sense Not Needed (1957)
  • Plenty For Everyone (1967)
  • Marching Orders For The End Battle (1969)
  • Defeated Enemies (1970)
  • The Hiding Place, with John & Elizabeth Sherrill (1971)
  • Tramp For The Lord, with Jamie Buckingham (1974
  • Prison Letters (1975)
  • In My Father's House, with C.C. Carlson (1976), reprint 2011
  • Corrie's Christmas Memories (1976)
  • Each New Day 1977
  • Prayers And Promises For Every Day 1977
  • He Cares He Comforts 1977
  • He Sets The Captives Free 1977
  • Father Ten Boom: God's Man 1978
  • A Tramp Finds A Home 1978
  • Don't Wrestle Just Nestle 1978
  • This Day Is The Lords 1979
  • Clippings From My Notebook 1982
  • Not I But Christ 1983
  • Reflections Of God's Glory 1999
  • Messages Of God's Abundance 2002
  • I Stand At The Door And Knock 2008
 You can find these books at the library, at your favorite bookstore such as an online bookstore, Christianbook.com or Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com.  Or do a search for her books to see where you may purchase them at the best price for youNew or used.   

If any of you decide to read one or more of her books, I would love to have a book review from any of you to post on this blog!  Please think about this as there are many of you who may have already read one of her books and are able to do this, or someone who might want to read one of the books and write a review.  Maybe you are a blogger who would like to write a review on your own blog and you can submit to me a link of your review and I will post it on this entry for all to read!  Thank you!

[Something we talked about in yesterday's blog was STRETCHING!  Maybe now is a good time to go and get something to eat or drink and walk around a bit or take some good stretches and return to this when you feel energized and ready to do more!]



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WEEK ONE: Day 2..... The Blessing of Greater Faith

We're reading today from three passages...  I read them before starting the devotional today and suggest that you may want to as well.    They are: 


Matthew 7:7-8

New International Version (NIV)

Ask, Seek, Knock
    7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.


John 15:7-8

New International Version (NIV)
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


1 John 5:14-15

New International Version (NIV)
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

(It might be a good time right now to pray to God and ask Him to give you complete understanding of the scripture passages and ask God to show you something today through His Word for your life.  Please pray for me that I teach His Word and not my own.  Thank you! )

Hearing from God
  1. An essential aspect of prayer is faith.   We must have faith when we pray that God does hear us and will answer our prayers.  These next two passages are about the images of David described by God.  Would you please write down what you see as the description?  Thank you!
   2.  An American car company advertises its trucks with the phrase "like a rock."  How has God been a   rock in your life?

  3.  We read now about Hannah who was a desperate woman who cried out to God.  Please read about her now in 1 Samuel 1.  Then would you please respond to the questions below?  Thank you!

    A.  What indications do you see that Hannah sought God with all her heart?

    B.  How did God respond to Hannah's prayer?

    C.  How did Hannah respond to God's gracious YES?


(At this point you might need to take a break now... stretch and breath in deep and let it out....  and come back when you are ready to do more!  Thanks!)

Here's some info. about how to stretch correctly... I really like this and want to share it with you.  You can skip by this if it doesn't interest you.   Thanks!

  • Warm up your muscles slightly before you stretch them. Walk or do some other light aerobic exercise for a few minutes, and then start stretching.
  • Ease yourself into the stretch, relax, and don't push or bounce. You should feel a stretch, but not pain, in the muscle.
  • Exhale as you do the stretch. While you hold the stretch, inhale deeply.
  • Try closing your eyes while you stretch. It helps you relax.
  • Take a moment to enjoy the good, warm feeling that comes after a good stretch. 
Welcome back!  I hope that felt good to you ...  I love it!    As a matter of fact... we should stretch more often in the day...  whenever you are stressed, take this kind of stretch...  maybe teach it to your friends or family members.  
I want to share some facts about some important people (well, they are important to me!)
"John Wesley spent at least 2 hours each day in prayer!"  (Wow, that's amazing...  I would really need to take a lot of stretches during 2 hours...  I'm not able to do this at this time.  How about you?)
"Samuel Rutherford rose at 3am daily to wait upon God."  (Well this I actually do, it's more like 2 am but then I go to bed super early too to get my 7-8 hours of sleep.  I really don't expect that you would do this, but maybe set your alarm clock to get you up 15 mins. earlier to spend time with God.  And when that is good, try another 15 mins. earlier...  and see how you can adjust to that.   Thanks!)

"Alexander MacLaren owed his success 'to the habit, never broken of spending one hour a day' alone with God."   (Now this would be a great goal for you!)


Monday, October 24, 2011

WEEK ONE: Day One..... A HEART FOR BLESSING IN PRAYER

" God desires for us to have a heart for prayer."

Our Scripture passages for today are:   PSALM 5: 3MATTHEW 6:5-15 , and HEBREWS 11:6    You may click on each passage and go directly to the passages via an online Bible and I'm using the NIV but you can use any translation you prefer.    There's a tool there on the page of each passage to select the version of the Bible that you wish to read OR you can click on the icon for speaker below the passage and have it read to you! 

KEY TRUTHS:
  • Jesus devoted the early morning to prayer.
  • God regards those who earnestly and wholeheartedly seek Him.
  • Our relationship with God and with others influences the effectiveness of our prayers.
DAY ONE:  The Journey Begins!

Hearing from God

1.  Think about your typical day.. your usual routine of waking up, preparing for the day, and fulfilling your responsibilities.  What things make it difficult for you to spend time in prayer?

2.  God's Word challenges and inspires us to make prayer a part of everyday life.   Read the following scriptures, and write down what you learn about prayer.


(At this point, you may want to take a break and come back for more!)

3.  God provides great encouragement and instruction for us whenever we desire to seek Him.  His Word sets a clear path for us to follow.  Ready the following scriptures, and identify the hope and instruction that God provides us when we seek to know Him.

  

Responding to God:  "Yes, but how?"

4.  Getting started is often the hardest part of any challenge.  God's Word provides inspiration to help us move beyond the starting line.  Read the following scriptures, and jot down phrases that can help you start on your quest to develop a heart for prayer.

5. Here are three simple steps you can take to begin your journey toward a daily devotional time with God.  Commit to do these three simple things this week.  When you have completed a task, put a check next to the task below.

  • Obtain a notebook or booklet that will become your daily prayer journal.   Use this journal to list your prayer concerns and the many ways the Lord answers your prayers.   (or if you want to do this online then here are some suggestions for where to keep your online journal) 1.  Penzu (online journal, may have costs)   2.Yahoo Calendar (free!)
  •  Dedicate a specific time of day for your time with the Lord.  Consider it an appointment that you must keep.
  •  Dedicate a specific place for your devotional time.  Choose a place that minimizes interruptions and distractions.
"May I be careful to maintain a constant, habitual sense of Thee in my mind; to live and act as in Thy presence; to think often of Thee.  May I ever remember that I am in the presence of the great and Holy God."  ~ Susanna Wesley

 

"Linda has been a Christian for twenty years.  She actively serves the Lord in her church and works hard to be a good parent to her three children, ages three, five and nine.  Her husband,  Dave, seldom goes to church and resents the time she is away with the kids at church.  Linda has tried several times to establish a daily devotional habit but with limited success.  Her part-time job and her roles as mother, wife, and Sunday School teacher demand more time than she has to give.  She often wakes up more tired than when she went to bed.  Linda lives with a nagging sense of guilt about not spending time in prayer."  (Written by Elizabeth George, that author of this book!)    

If Linda came to you and expressed her frustration about finding a daily time for prayer, how would you respond?  Jot down your thoughts in your journal (online or written).

SUMMARY
For many believers, early morning is ideal for spending time with God in prayer and Bible study.  God's Word tells us that anyone who earnestly seeks God will find Him and hear from Him.  May the Lord bless you as you begin this journey.

Today, Lord, the prayer of my heart is:

The entire blog entry here was written by Elizabeth George, the author of our book...  WOMAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART (I'm using the old workbook that came with my book and you can click on those words, workbook and book to have what I'm using).  There's also a KINDLE edition of the book that came with my workbook.  Click on the word KINDLE for that option. 

Click on the following links if you would like to get a copy of her devotional book or read about her ministry, play her daily inspirations, or just browse the pages for other topics and her ministries.
 

If you have any prayer requests or comments...  please feel free to comment.   Thank you for your time here today and I hope to see you again tomorrow!

If you'd like to listen to a worship song about prayer, here is one for today:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Introduction: A Heart for God's Word

Elizabeth George starts out the Bible Study Workbook (which they seem to have combined now in the Devotional book) with this Introduction (I've abbreviated it to make it shorter and just bring the key ideas!)

"Dear beloved sister, what an honor and privilege to walk hand in hand with you down the path of our dreams-- that of becoming women after God's own heart!  This is truly a noble and righteous goal, isn't it?  And God wants to come alongside us to strengthen and empower us as we take this walk--a walk toward becoming His kind of woman."

"I know how tight your schedule is.  I know you are a busy woman.  The daily lessons are written so you can get the most benefit from a short, concentrated period of study.  If you will devote about 30 minutes every day, five days a week, you can gain the biblical insight and truth you need for your busy week.  Set aside this brief period of time and protect it as your personal appointment with the Lord.  I promise that you will receive a great blessing from your time in God's Word."

Luke 10:38-42 
New International Version (NIV)
At the Home of Martha and Mary
 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”    41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

New International Version (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


KEY TRUTHS:
  • Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
  • Those who abide in Christ will bear much fruit.
  • We can do everything through Christ, who gives us strength
 
From Carolyn:   Thanks ladies for reading this today and my prayer for US is that we will be able together to find those 30 mins. or so a day for five days a week (and the 6th day I will be writing out OUR  prayer requests for us to spend that time praying for one another!) to study His Word together.  I thank the Lord for His servant, Elizabeth George, who wrote this Bible Study so that we women could grow in His Word and in the fellowship with our husbands, children, family members and friends!  But especially with the Lord!   Have a wonderful day and see you tomorrow!   You can always add your comments to this note and your prayer requests.  This way we can be praying each day for one another!
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