Monday, March 29, 2010
Point to Ponder: Community requires commitment.
Verse: "We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers."
1 John 3:16 (GWT)
Question to Consider: How can I help cultivate today the characteristics of real community in my small group and my church?
Cultivating community takes:
1. honesty - speak the truth in love
2. humility - not by thinking less of yourself, but by thinking of yourself less
3. courtesy - respect each member of God's family
4. confidentiality - God hates gossip
5. frequency - invest time to build genuine fellowship
Community and deep fellowship requires commitment, the basis of which is our relationship to God and our membership in his family.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Point to Ponder: I need other sin my life.
Verse: "Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
Question to Consider: What one step can I take today to connect with another believer at a more genuine, heart-to-heart level?
Life is meant to be shared , experienced together through fellowship.
True fellowship allows for:
1. authenticity - getting honest about our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly parts.
2. mutuality - the art of giving and receiving.
3. sympathy - understanding and validation.
4. mercy - through forgiveness.
Of all the great points in this chapter, one stood out more to me, as if written in bold text in the book. "God will never ask me to forgive someone else more than He has already forgiven me." Showing mercy is a two-part process of forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is letting go of the past and trust is about future behavior, rebuilt over time.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Point to Ponder: I am called to belong, not just believe.
Verse: "In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Romans 12:5 (NIV)
Question to Consider: Does my level of involvement in my local church demonstrate that I love and am committed to God's family?
I am called to belong, not just believe. I am connected to every other believer ... for eternity.
Connect and commit to a church family to:
1. identify yourself as a genuine believer
2. counteract self-centered isolation
3. mature spiritually
4. use your unique spiritual gift
5. share in Christ's mission
6. maintain accountability to God
"The church is a body, not a building; an organism, not an organization."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Point to Ponder: Life is all about love.
Verse: "The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Galatians 5: 14 (NIV)
Question to Consider: Honestly, are relationships my first priority? How can I ensure that they are?
Three important truths learned through fellowship:
The best use of life is love.
Life without love is really worthless ~ Relationships are what matter most in life. The point of life is learning to love - God first, then people. Love will last forever ~ Love is eternal and leaves a legacy. We will be evaluated on our love ~ Spiritual maturity is measured by the quality of relationships.
The best expression of love is time.
Time is a precious gift. Relationships take time and effort. Focused attention is the most desired gift of love. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
The best time to love is now.
Love takes top priority. Don't procrastinate, for there is no guarantee of tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Day 15 - Formed For God's Family
Point to Ponder: I was formed for God's family.
Verse: "His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 1:5a (NLT)
Question to Consider: How can I start treating other believers like members of my own family?
God created me to be part of his family. Through my faith in Jesus, I am a member for God's family. Once received, my spiritual family inheritance can not be taken away; it is priceless, pure, permanent and protected.
I will be with God forever.
I will be like Christ.
Pain, death and suffering will disappear.
I will be rewarded with a position of service.
I will share in God's glory.
Truly as the commercial says ... "priceless." What a privilege I have been given!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Point to Ponder: God is real, no matter how I feel.
Verse: "For God has said, 'I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.'"
Hebrews 13:5 (TEV)
Question to Consider: How can I stay focused on God's presence, especially when he feels distant?
Although God has promised he will never leave or forsake me, he does not promise I will always feel his presence. I have never looked at feeling disconnected from God as his way of developing my faith. Estrangement is not punishment, but a means to deepen my faith and worship my Lord. I need to please God through faith, not feelings.
Jesus gave up everything so I could have everything. And he died so I could live forever. What greater gift is there to be eternally thankful for.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
This is now the number one item on my wish list. Which really isn't a list, since I have three children and all the financial requirements that go along with providing for them. A Kindle is not a necessity, just a frivolous indulgence. Someone please indulge me!
Point to Ponder: God wants all of me.
Verse: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Mark 12:30 (NIV)
Question to Consider: Which is more pleasing to God right now - my public worship or my private worship? What will I do about this?
Worship accurately, based on scripture truth, not opinion or idolatry.
Worship God with your true heart and authentic self.
Praise God through specific and thoughtful worship.
Be a willing sacrifice, focusing on God, not yourself.
God wants all of me, not just the bits and pieces that I am willing to share. He wants full commitment, total obedience and all-out devotion. I need to jump in, not just dip my toes.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Point to Ponder: I'm as close to God as I choose to be.
Verse: "Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you."
James 4:8a (NLT)
Question to Consider: What practical choices will I make today in order to grow closer to God?
God expects total honesty and full disclosure, not perfection. I need to work through my "hidden rift" with God, letting go of my resentment over past pains. Bouts with doubt are normal and I do not need to hide them from God.
Close friendship with God does not make me his equal. Obedience out of love and trust is necessary for a deeper relationship with God. Simple acts done out of loving obedience are treasured by God.
I no longer need an agenda, but need to follow God's agenda. "Friends of God tell their friends about God" - simple and direct.
I choose to develop a deep friendship with God. Going through the motions is not enough anymore and I've heard God's wake up call. It's time to step it up.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Point to Ponder: God wants to be my best friend.
Verse: "Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him."
Psalm 25: 14a (LB)
Question to Consider: What can I do to remind myself to think about God and talk to him more often throughout the day?
God desires an intimate relationship with him. "Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God's greatest pleasure."
Developing a friendship with God must include constant conversation and an attitude adjustment on my part. Everything I do can be done for God, maintaining an awareness of his constant presence. This will be a new habit for me.
Meditation means focused thinking. I am a worrier by nature, so meditation should be easy. I just need to switch gears and focus on God's words.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Point to Ponder: The heart of worship is surrender.
Verse: "Surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes."
Romans 6:13b (TEV)
Question to Consider: What area of my life am I holding back from God?
Barriers blocking my surrender to God:
1. FEAR - My desire to control circumstances and outcomes tells me I still have not surrendered to God. I need to fully trust that he knows best for me. And I can't fully trust him until I know him better.
2. PRIDE - I've never looked at my desire to control all aspects of my life as a "struggle with God". Taking charge is just my way of doing things. And now that I've typed-out "my way of doing things", it makes sense. It's not about my way, but God's way. Seems so simple, yet so hard for me.
3. CONFUSION - I need to "let go and let God" and trust more.
I am choosing to surrender to God, not chaos or other idols such as money. My plans (controlled situations) must be put aside in order to fully surrender to him. I am asking for Jesus to take the wheel.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Point to Ponder: God smiles when I trust him.
Verse: "The Lord is pleased with those who worship him and trust his love."
Psalm 147:11 (CEV)
Question to Consider: Since God knows what is best, in what areas of my life do I need to trust him most?
5 acts of worship that please God:
1. Love him supremely - through an intimate relationship with him.
2. Trust him completely - by having faith that he knows what is best for me.
3. Obey him wholeheartedly - without hesitation, questions, objections or reservations.
4. Praise and thank him continually - through expressions of adoration and gratitude.
5. Use our abilities - by accepting our individual God-given talents.
Monday, March 15, 2010
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Day 8 - Planned for God's Pleasure
Point to Ponder: I was planned for God's pleasure.
Verse: "The Lord takes pleasure in his people."
Psalm 149:4a (TEV)
Question to Consider: What common task could I start doing as if I were doing it directly for Jesus?
God chose to create me. I am a child of God.
To worship God wholeheartedly is to bring him great pleasure and glorify him. Worship is not a part of your life; it is your life, a lifestyle. We were all created with an innate desire to connect with God and have a relationship with him.
Praising God should be the first and last thing I do every day. Everything and anything I do should glorify God, performed as if I were doing it for Jesus himself.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Point to Ponder: It's all for him.
Verse: "For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory."
Romans 11:36 (LB)
Question to Consider: Where in my daily routine can I become more aware of God's glory?
How to bring glory to God through his 5 purposes for my life:
1. worship him
2. love other believers
3. become like Christ
4. serve others with my gifts
5. tell others about him
I don't believe I have the strength to choose the difficult path, but I know God will provide everything I need to live for him. I want to live, not just exist. I am ready to start fully living God's purpose for my life.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Point to Ponder: This world is not my home.
Verse: "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
Question to Consider: How should the fact that life on earth is just a temporary assignment change the way I am living right now?
My perspective is skewed and out of balance. How is it possible to not get too attached to your current life (and family or children)? I get that my time here on earth is temporary and short, like the introduction of a story. I understand the greatest chapters are to come in heaven, not here on earth. But it is difficult to fully deny all the values and priorities of this world. I struggle with this constantly.
Living an abundant life is not about material abundance. Faithfulness to God does not guarantee worldly success. Faithful service allows for my promised reward in heaven, my true homeland.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Point to Ponder: Life is a test and a trust.
Verse: "Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones."
Luke 16:10a (NLT)
Question to Consider: What has happened to me recently that I now realize was a test from God? What are the greatest matters God has entrusted to me?
I must change my definition of life and replace it with biblical metaphors. I hope to stand before God at my final evaluation and receive his three promises: affirmation, promotion and celebration.
Life is a test. I do not want to fail any of the tests God places before me. Although sometimes I feel tested beyond my strength or ability, God is shaping my character.
Life is a trust. I need to be a better steward of all God has entrusted to me here on earth. None of it is mine; it is all a gift from God, entrusted to my care.
Life is a temporary assignment (Day 6).
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Point to Ponder: There is more to life than just here and now.
Verse: "This world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever."
1 John 2:17 (NLT)
Question to Consider: Since I was made to last forever, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?
My life on earth is just preparation for my life in eternity, as designed by God. My relationship with God, while here on earth, will determined my relationship with him in eternity. I need to focus less on the worldly concerns of here-and-now, think more about eternity and begin living in light of eternity. I look forward to the change!
"Every act of our lives strikes some chord that will vibrate in eternity."
"For us this is the end of all the stories ... But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world ... had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before."
C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Point to Ponder: Living on purpose is the path to peace.
Verse: "You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you."
Isaiah 26: 3 (TEV)
Question to Consider: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to be?
5 benefits of knowing and living a purpose-driven life:
1. gives meaning to your life
2. simplifies your life
3. focuses your life
4. motivates your life
5. prepares you for eternity
"Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope. And hope comes from having a purpose. Purpose produces passion."
FOCUS is the word that stood out to me in this chapter. More than stood out ... it was like a flashing neon sign, blinking at high speed to get my attention. I need to simplify my life based on the question, "Does this (activity, commitment, involvement) help to fulfill God's purpose for my life?". Effective by selective is my new motto.
I want to pass God's final exam. I need to FOCUS God's blessings on me and use them to fulfill his purpose for me."
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Love my Clip-It-Up shown below! I held off on this purchase for over 3 years thinking it wasn't necessary. I purchased just the base unit about 3 months ago and could smack myself for waiting as long as I did. It's a fabulous product, built sturdy and it rotates as smooth as butter. It holds a ton of stuff and currently houses rub-ons, stickers, chip board and some smaller embellishments. The top unit add-on would be perfect for the smaller items and might be a purchase later down the road.
Point to Ponder: I am not an accident.
Verse: "I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born."
Isaiah 44:2 (CEV)
Question: I know that God uniquely created me. What areas of my personality, background and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?"
Nothing in my life is arbitrary. It's all for a purpose. WOW! That sets your mind wandering back through events and experiences from years past. "Chance encounters" are not by chance. He's like a Puzzle Master, fitting all the right pieces together.
God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. There is a reason for everything he creates. I struggle with this daily ... sometimes hourly. I know I'm not meant to understand everything, but that doesn't take away the desire to know.
I am an expression of God's love and my life has profound meaning in God's plan.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Day 1 - It All Starts With God
Point to Ponder: It's not about me.
Verse: "Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him."
Colossians 1:16 (Msg)
Question to Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?
I exist only because God willed my existence. I was made by God and for God. I need to let go and let God use me for his purposes. His purpose for me was planned before I even existed and I need to focus on becoming what God created me to be. Without God life makes no sense.
God's 5 purposes for me:
1. Worship helps me focus on God
2. Fellowship helps me face life's problems
3. Discipleship helps fortify my faith
4. Ministry helps to identify my talents
5. Power helps fulfill my Mission
"Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless."
Bertrand Russell, atheist
Sunday, March 7, 2010
If you'd like to join me in the discovery of life's most important question: "What on earth am I here for?", leave a comment and look for posts titled "TPDL-Day #". This time around my approach to reading the book is not hyper-focused on completing it in 40 days, although that may be the case. I'm forcing myself to believe that it is better to complete the journey on my timeline, than forgo the transformation possible when not completed exactly as intended.
From the book's acknowledgement -
"Before you were born, God planned this moment in your life. It is no accident that you are holding this book. God longs for you to discover the life he created you to live - here on earth, and forever in eternity."
It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ ... he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
Ephesians I:II (Msg)
Wikipedia article on the book:
The Purpose Driven Life (2002) is a devotional book written by Christian author Rick Warren and published by Zondervan. The book has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for advice books for one of the longest periods in history, while also topping the Wall Street Journal best seller charts as well as Publishers Weekly charts with over 30 million copies sold by 2007.
The book offers readers a 40-day personal spiritual journey, and presents what Warren says are God's five purposes for human life on Earth and describes itself as "a blueprint for Christian living in the 21st Century ... using over 1200 Biblical verses and quotes to challenge the conventional definitions of Christian Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Christian Ministry and Evangelism."
The book is intended to be read as a daily inspiration, with each of the 40 short chapters read on consecutive days. Each chapter contains a personal application section at the end with a "point to ponder," a verse to remember, and a question to consider over the course of that day. Rick Warren described his book as an "anti-self-help book." The first sentence of the book reads, "It's not about you," and the remainder of the chapter goes on to explain how the quest for personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and meaning can only be found in understanding and doing what God placed you on Earth to do. The book's 40 chapters are divided into six major sections, with the following titles:
What on Earth Am I Here For?
Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God's Pleasure (Worship)
Purpose #2: You Were Formed for God's Family (Fellowship)
Purpose #3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship)
Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God (Ministry)
Purpose #5: You Were Made for a Mission (Mission)
Will you join me? The first seven chapters are posted online here to help get you started.
Friday, March 5, 2010
The Crop-A-Dile II Big Bite™ punches holes and sets small (1/8"), large (3/16") and extra large eyelets and snaps. It also easily sets all sizes of WRMK Gromlets™ with a 1/3" center. It has a six inch punching and setting depth so you can place eyelets, snaps, gromlets or other metal embellishments anywhere on your scrapbook page or craft project. The Big Bite can punch through paper, leather, fabric, plastic (such as CD's), thin tin and chipboard.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
My team member Carol Labuski is joining me, and although Convention is not until July, we've both started packing. From business classes to team meetings, plus hours of Create & Take events, the agenda is packed with invaluable experiences. CTMH is truly a company who stands behind their mission statement ~"We show you how to celebrate relationships through the art of scrapbooking and stamping. Faster. Simpler. Easier." Can you tell I'm like a kid at Christmas time!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Be your own boss with flexible hours and unlimited earning potential when you join CTMH as a new Consultant this March. When you join, you will receive 4 new stamp sets FREE! The retail value of the free stamp sets total $91.80, which nearly covers the price of your New Consultant Kit. When all is said and done, you will receive more than $400 in fabulous new products to get your dream business started. Now is the time to make your stamping dreams come true! Ask your me about joining my incredible team today.