Archive | July, 2013

Soul Mates | Soulful Connections

30 Jul

couplepray“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” –Ephesians 5:25-33

Soul Mates

How to become more intimate with God and your spouse.

As newlyweds, one of the first times my husband, Tim, led me in prayer aloud, I made the awful mistake of laughing at him when he stumbled over his words! Many years into our marriage, Tim still remembers how uncomfortable I made him feel.

Most couples have difficulty developing an intimate spiritual life not just in the early stages of marriage, but throughout their lives. Yet there’s nothing more significant than consistently and intentionally coming together before God to know him better and to serve him more fully. Unfortunately, according to author Neil Clark Warren, only 10 to 15 percent of couples really enjoys true intimate spirituality.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here: Soul Mates | Today’s Christian Woman.

This link offers further exploration of spiritual intimacy among married couples: Soulful Connections | Today’s Christian Woman.

LifeWay Women All Access — 5 Ways to Cut the Noise Out of Your Life

26 Jul

rest“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD –Psalm 104:34

Connect with God on the inside by disconnecting from noisy distractions on the outside. Spending quiet time with the Lord in intimate fellowship enables His voice to be heard more clearly; focusing our undivided attention and growing our relationship with Him.

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.” –Corrie Ten Boom

5 Ways to Cut the Noise Out of Your Life

By Mary Margaret Collingsworth

Does your life ever feel noisy? Mine sure does. My phone is constantly making crazy noises, I listen to music in my car and at my desk, I turn the TV on when I get home, and I can often be found talking to myself when I’m alone (true confessions are good for the soul, right?). Maybe you don’t have that much actual noise in your life, but the fact of the matter is, there’s a lot of noise in our lives. Maybe it’s your kids, your calendar, your husband, or the little voice inside your head that continues to tell you that you don’t quite measure up. It looks a little bit different for each of us, but most of us have nearly constant noise in our daily lives.

Over the 4th of July, I spent the weekend in a cabin in North Carolina with some of my family. There was no cell phone reception, no Internet, and no TV. For the first few hours, it’s like I had no clue what to do. I went on several walks, fished (and caught 3 trout!), finished a puzzle with my cousin, and read a whole book.

It was SO refreshing.

I can’t help but look back on those few days and see how the Lord spoke so clearly to my heart in the solitude. As I was praying through a few things, the Lord brought to mind so many scriptures that were relevant, and I could hear them because I stopped talking, and I wasn’t distracted by all of the noise. I could hear God’s voice so much more clearly because there was nothing to compete with.

“One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying on words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust him. Silence is intimately related to trust.” -Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline.

Silence and solitude are two things that we just don’t get a lot of in our day and age. Our lives are constantly busy, and even when we sit down and read the Bible, we’re easily interrupted or distracted. We lack the margin in our lives that we so desperately need. Scripture tells us that silence and solitude are a critical part of spiritual disciplines that we should be engaging in on a regular basis. Jesus even modeled it for us on many occasions when he went away by himself to pray (Luke 5:15-16; Matthew 14:23; Mark 14:32-42).

Here are five ways to cut the noise out of your life…

The remaining article can be viewed here: LifeWay Women All Access — 5 Ways to Cut the Noise Out of Your Life.

 

Modesty Wars | CBMW

24 Jul

hanger“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” –1 Corinthians 6:19-20

mod·es·ty

/ˈmädəstē/
Noun
  1. freedom from conceit or vanity
  2. propriety in dress, speech, or conduct
Synonyms
humility – moderation – decency – demureness

“The clothes we wear are what people see. Only God can look on the heart. The outward signs are important. They reveal something of what is inside” –Elisabeth Elliot

Modesty Wars By Nikki Daniel (Excerpt)

Just when you think you’re getting along great with your Christian friends, an intense disagreement erupts. Yes, you know this war well. You’ve seen it on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. You’ve heard gossip concerning the topic. You’ve gossiped yourself about it.  It’s (dun, dun, DUUUN!), the Modesty War.We all have different standards for modesty.  One believer feels that she’s immodest if she shows her shoulders or any part of her legs. Another believer is convinced that she is modest while showing off her figure in tight jeans and a cleavage-revealing shirt.  These sisters in Christ rub each other the wrong way and may find themselves arguing over the issue of modesty.

Many disagreements over modesty occur because we don’t take time to understand one another…

Use this link to view the full article: Modesty Wars | CBMW | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Joy in His Presence – Worship in Spirit and Truth

22 Jul

worshipjoy“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules”–Matthew 15:8-9

“The purpose of God in sending His Son to die and rise and live and be at the right hand of God the Father was that He might restore to us the missing jewel, the jewel of worship; that we might come back and learn to do again that which we were created to do in the first place – worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, to spend our time in awesome wonder and adoration of God, feeling and expressing it, and letting it get into our labors and doing nothing except as an act of worship to Almighty God through His Son, Jesus Christ” (A.W. Tozer, Worship The Missing Jewel).

Prepare our hearts Lord that we may honor and praise you with awe and astonishment; magnifying your worthiness.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”–Psalm 16:11

“God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—-namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. Enjoying and displaying are both crucial. If we try to display the excellence of God without joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism. But if we claim to enjoy his excellence and do not display it for others to see and admire, we deceive ourselves, because the mark of God-enthralled joy is to overflow and expand by extending itself into the hearts of others. The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples” (John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life).

Prepare our hearts Lord; fill them with the indescribable glorious joy found in the promise and hope of the cross.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth”–John 4:24

“Having the Holy Spirit residing within does not guarantee that we will always worship in spirit and truth, but it does mean we can. To worship God in spirit is to worship from the inside out. It means to be sincere in our acts of worship. No matter how spiritual the song you are singing, no matter how poetic the prayer you are praying, if it isn’t sincere then it isn’t worship, it’s hypocrisy. The balance to worshiping in spirit is to worship in truth. We are to worship according to the truth of Scripture. We worship God as He is revealed in the Bible, not as we might want Him to be. We worship Him as a God of both mercy and justice, of love and wrath, a God who both welcomes into Heaven and condemns into hell. We are to worship in response to truth. If we don’t, we worship in vain” (Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life).

Prepare our hearts Lord for worship; that we may genuinely come before you.

 

Joy in His Presence

Joy is referred to not once, but 422 times in the Bible. A simple word, it packs a powerful fruit of the Spirit punch.

Joy begins with fellowship in Christ — loving Him and His presence.

The seeds of joy are Holy Spirit planted, rooted, and find life when we spend time in intimate prayer and worship of God. When His Word is rooted in our lives and our hearts find completion in Him alone, joy flourishes.  Simply, when God is bigger than the largest mountain in our lives, joy blossoms.

Need some joy today? Take your Bible, ponder His scriptures on joy and spend time in His presence praying. Fall in love with Christ anew today and allow the joy of the Lord to become your strength.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here: Joy in His Presence – Mentoring Moments.

 

 

 

 

Living for Christ Alone – Stand in His Power

17 Jul

christ“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” –Galatians 2:20

Living for Christ Alone

Living, moving, and being–three realities of being in relationship and abiding in Christ.

Are you aware of these realities? What does it look like to live in Christ alone?

It means you don’t go any place without His presence. You can’t get lost and you don’t make a wrong turn without God being in your face. Like Balaam and his mule, God will put an angel in front to keep you on the right track. If you don’t follow Him, God will use whatever is necessary to stop you. Your eyes will be opened.

“…and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell face-down” [Numbers 22:31]

So what do you do?

1. Do your best not to make a move without knowing God is in it. [Psalm 139:2-3]

2. Discipline your thoughts to line up with the Word of God and turn them into action by His Holy Spirit. [Psalm 139:2b]

3. Learn to hold your tongue knowing it governs life and He is aware of every word you speak. [Psalm 139:4]

4. Check boundaries and evaluate your schedule for unnecessary activity [Psalm 139:5]

5. Trust Him as He removes every obstacle that shadows His love, even when it hurts [Psalm 139:23-24]

via Living for Christ Alone – Mentoring Moments.

Caroline Swithinbank’s Surprising Twist | Changing Seasons…Unchanging God

12 Jul

ice creamAre you single, single again, or spiritually single? Come and join other “somehow single” women for fellowship, encouragement, and ice cream Saturday, July 20, @ 2:35 PM–Click for more information or visit the Women’s Ministry cart for more information.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” –1 Peter 5:7

If, “…thoughts of becoming the reclusive “cat lady” plague your mind, or anxieties about the future economic demands of caring for yourself on one income begin to clutch at your throat…stir up your mind and heart to recognize the ways in which you, as a redeemed woman (who happens to be unmarried),…respond, speaks volumes on behalf of the church” (CBMW.org)

The following article shows God’s plans and glory are revealed in His time…

Caroline Swithinbank’s Surprising Twist3-21-13Wedding

In my mid-sixties, the Lord increasingly impressed Jeremiah 29:11 on my heart. As a lifelong single woman, my joy was in my professions—laboring in the Mustard Seed Christian bookstores and helping families raise their children. I felt God’s blessing in both occupations. I had the benefit of sitting under great preaching, Sunday school classes, mission conferences, and small-group Bible studies. I was happy . . . but still, in the recesses of my mind, I wondered: Didn’t God have someone—just one man—for me?

But life goes on. In 1999, I returned to England to care for my mother who had cancer. In spite of a one-year prognosis, she lived many more wonderful years during which we enjoyed a tranquil life together. While in England I participated in a local struggling Baptist church teaching Sunday School, ferrying “the oldies” to services and doctor’s appointments, etc. Very fulfilling, but still . . .

Then things became more challenging. After thirteen years, my mother quickly declined and in 2011 went to be with her Savior. My one surviving brother was hours away in Wales dealing with his wife’s diagnosis of breast cancer, so I had to tie up everything myself: executing the will, preparing the house to sell, and actually selling it. I had decided years ago that after my mother’s passing I would return to Pennsylvania, so I had to determine what treasures to jettison and which to pack.

While packing one day, Bruce—with whom I had been frequently corresponding—called from America. This was a man I’d known for thirty-eight years. We’d shared many experiences in the past, and I felt a unique spiritual and interpersonal kinship with him. He loved the Lord—and apparently me, too—because during this call he proposed marriage! I did what any sixty-seven-year-old-never-been-married-woman would do. I said, “Yes, yes. I accept, but I’m much too busy right now to think about it. We’ll talk later.” Little did I know how much busier I would get.

My mother died in August. I moved from England to Pennsylvania the following March. I broke my back in April. And in May, I got only a seven-hour reprieve from the rehab unit to get married, processing down the aisle of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in a wheelchair. (Don’t even ask about the honeymoon!)

Yes, the Lord knew His plans for me, and He does indeed want us to prosper—but in His timing and for His glory, with or without a spouse. My fundamental joy, contentment, and satisfaction in life reside in doing God’s will. I thank God for my husband, but he cannot bring me the ultimate sense of transcendent wellbeing that submitting to God does. I want to say with Paul that I am content in all circumstances and trust that He always has plans to prosper us—and not to harm us—to give us a hope and a future.

No matter your particular circumstances, be prepared for God to surprise you, too!

via True Woman | Caroline Swithinbank’s Surprising Twist.

How Can an Ordinary Woman Glorify God?|With Focus and Intention!

9 Jul

glory2The glory of God is found in the Gospel (Christ’s death on the cross for us). According to John Piper, “Jesus, in all his person and work, is the incarnation and ultimate revelation of the glory of God.”

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” –Hebrews 1:3a

Focus on the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and explore the depths of God’s character revealed through Jesus. Intentionally share the Good News with others in your personal mission field.

How Can an Ordinary Woman Glorify God? (Excerpt)

Before I Open My Eyes In the Morning

For me, filling the earth with His glory starts before I even open my eyes in the morning. It begins by acknowledging my need for Him to fuel and flood me with His Spirit. I surrender my day to Him, asking Him to direct my every moment. I pour truth into my heart and mind as I prepare to enter the day’s activities. I have to. I need His truth to direct me and hold me accountable through the day.

I want to speak His truth and demonstrate His grace. I seek to share the joy of abiding in His presence through my smiles, laughter, hugs, and service. I ask that my life will be yielded to His plan for my day, and that others will see He is worthy of all devotion.

That’s my mission: glorifying Him. Will you join me? How will you glorify Him today?

The remainder of the article can be viewed via this link: True Woman | How Can an Ordinary Woman Glorify God?.

True Woman |Somehow Single –But Not Alone

6 Jul

think1All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. Psalm 38:9

Are you “somehow single?” In a new season of life? Wondering where you fit in?

Come join other “somehow single” women for fellowship, ice cream and encouragement. Saturday, July 20 @ 2:35pm.

Single-Focused

Singles make up a huge part of American society. We all have been—and may again be—single. According to the 2012 census, over forty-four percent of all US residents ages eighteen and older are unmarried. With that in mind, here are nine tips for single Christians from nine different authors:

Click here for the remaining article: True Woman | Single-Focused: Nine Tips for Singles.

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