Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give Him Praise

Did you know that another meaning for "Thanks" in the Bible is "Praise?" 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, but in the middle of all of the eating, football, family visits, and laughter I hope you take the time to, not just give thanks for all that God has done in your life and the lives of your family and friends, but that you will actually give Him praise because He is a good God. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all from our family to yours.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Your Source of Joy

As the Holiday season is about to kick off with Thanksgiving I hope we all remember the source of our joy in our life. It's not our circumstances or our status. It's nothing to do with being married or being single or whether or not you have a big pay check or none at all.

Nehemiah 8:10 that says “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” 

Strength in this scripture means “a fortified place” “a defense: a fortress, a rock, a stronghold.” Also similar to the word, “prevail.” 

So we could say, our joy comes from the Lord because He’s our fortified place, our defense, our fortress, our stronghold, we prevail out of His strength and that’s a source of joy.

Joy and Strength have nothing to do with us or our circumstances, but everything to do with God and his strength. Our strength comes through God’s strength. That’s the foundation of our joy. 

This is a Chuck Swindoll quote on “joy.” 

“I have discovered that a joyful countenance has nothing to do with one’s age or one’s occupation or one’s geography or education or marital status or good looks or circumstances. Joy is a choice. It is a matter of attitude that stems from one’s confidence in God-that He is at work, that He is in full control, that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen.” 

Don't rely on your own strength or circumstances for your source of joy this Christmas season, but remember who you are in Christ and that He is your provider, your healer and your strength. He is your source of joy. Renew your mind each day to remind yourself you're not doing this life out of your own power, but out of His incomparable power and love. 

Happy Thanksgiving! Let's remember to say thanks for all that God has given us and for all that He promises in His Word. One day is just not enough time to thank Him, but let's give it our best shot. 

Enjoy the Joy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Ladies Retreat 2009

I had a great time speaking to all the amazing women at the 2009 Ladies Retreat sponsored by Bayside Baptist Church. The retreat took place at the Eastover Retreat Center in Spring Grove, VA and it was in a beautiful setting. We had the privilege of meeting awesome women, some who have overcome great obstacles just to attend the retreat.

It never ceases to amaze me, as we go out to impact the lives of women, Robbie and I end up being even more blessed just by meeting and chatting with the women at the retreats, conferences and groups. Thanks ladies for a wonderful weekend. It was like meeting old friends again, even though we had just met you for the first time. Thanks for making us feel so welcome and relaxed.

I pray our words and prayers refreshed you in some way and encouraged you to be all that God intends for you to be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Benefits of Laughter

I found these interesting facts about laughter on the internet and thought I'd share them here. Who knew laughter could be so healthy? 

1. Laughing 100 times roughly equals 15 minutes on an exercise bike? Vigorous laughter increases the heart rate deepens the breathing rate, and uses muscles in the face, stomach, and diaphragm.
2. Aside from improving our moods, laughter can reduce stress, help fight infection, and reduce pain.
3. The levels of two stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine which suppress the body's immune system, will actually drop after a dose of laughter.
4. Laughter causes positive changes in brain chemistry by releasing endorphins, and it brings more oxygen into the body with the deeper inhalations.
5. Laughter releases anger, fear, guilt, anxiety and tension.
6. Laughter encourages concentration on "right" attitudes rather than "wrong" attitudes.
7. Higher levels of an antibody (salivary immunoglobulin A) that fights infectious organisms entering the respiratory tract were found in the saliva of people who watched humorous videos or experienced good moods.
8. Researchers found after watching an hour-long video of slapstick comedy that the "natural killer cells," which seek out and destroy malignant cells, more actively attacked tumor cells in test tubes. And these effects lasted up to 12 hours.
9. The 1998 movie Patch Adams told the real-life story of a nonconformist doctor convinced that fun, play, and clowns are important in improving patients' quality of life in a grim hospital atmosphere.
10. Planning enjoyable activities for the future will reduce the stressor hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.

Sometimes life is not funny, but laugh whenever possible. A joyful spirit is contagious. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spiritual Makeup

I have a hard time putting on eye makeup. When I’m done I sometimes look like a raccoon or something. I have very light eyelashes and eyebrows so if I don’t put something on them I look like I am half asleep. I have tried a million different things when it comes to eye makeup, but I guess it’s my technique that needs tweaking. I use eyeliner to highlight my eyes, but I don’t have a steady hand. I usually end up drawing lines all over my face. I’ve also tried all diff erent colors, but being a redhead makes finding the right color a bit challenging.

Recently I went to a nail shop to have a pedicure and a manicure. The lady doing my nails suggested I needed to have my eyebrows and my chin waxed. I agreed, but I was a bit wary of the whole procedure because my blonde eye-brows would really be invisible. When it came time to apply the wax I have to admit I was a bit nervous. Somehow, putting hot wax on your face and then ripping out the hair did not seem like a fun experience. Since the hair on my face is blonde I never worried too much about waxing, but I decided it would be a good idea to have it done.

The hot wax wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. It was actually kind of nice, but then came the actual ripping of the hair. The petite Asian
woman tried to reassure me it wasn’t going to hurt, but still I began to tense up and grasp the arms of my chair tightly. She placed the two pads on my eyebrows and pushed down hard. Then, RIP! I yelled out like a dog being kicked with a boot. “Yow!” I screamed. Everyone in the shop looked in my direction. The woman laughed at me and then tried to calm me for the next round. She placed the hot wax on my chin and then, RIP! I yelled out again and squirmed in my chair. I was definitely their entertainment for the day.

After she was done my face felt like it was on fi re. It was red and felt like it was burning, but there was no more hair. My eyebrows were thin, but at least they had a shape now. I guess it was worth the torture. Only a woman would put herself through such agony to look good.

Wouldn’t it be great if we paid as much attention to our inner beauty as we do to our outer beauty? We curl our hair, put on makeup, have

our eyebrows shaped, do our nails, and paint our lips, but we ignore our inner beauty. We are much more concerned about what others see on the outside. We also put quite a bit of emphasis on the appearance of others as well, quickly judging people by their appearance.

I Peter 3:3-4 says, “What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle gracious kind that God delights in.” (The Message) 

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with fussing over our appearance. We should strive for excellence in every area of our lives, including our appearance, but God wants us to focus more on our inner beauty. If we look beautiful on the outside, but we have ugly dispositions, which one will have a greater impact on others? We may spend a great deal of time on our hair, our makeup and our clothes, but very little on the spiritual side of our lives. We neglect to build up our inner beauty until our Christian walk appears to be plain and unattractive to others.

The next time you go in for an eyebrow wax, ask yourself when was the last time you allowed God to strip away some of the layers of dirt and dust from your inner beauty. Maybe it’s time to take inventory of what you have piled on your plate. Let Christ shine through in your life, both inside and outside. Now that’s what I call attractive.