Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Guard well your spare moments.
They are like uncut diamonds.
Discard them and their value will never be known.
Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.
"Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior."
Edward Zwick said:
I have nothing against diamonds, or rubies or emeralds or sapphires. I do object when their acquisition is complicit in the debasement of children or the destruction of a country.
Sapphire says: These are all so true...invest your time (including your spare time) and resources polishing your children...and all those in your sphere of influence...bring out the best in them and in yourself. Like James Keller said: a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness." (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A married lady was expecting a birthday gift from her husband. For many months she had admired a beautiful diamond ring in a showroom, and knowing her husband could afford it, she told him that was all she wanted. As her birthday approaches, this lady awaited signs that her husband had purchased the diamond ring...
Finally, on the morning of her birthday, her husband called her into his study room. Her husband told her how proud he was to have such a good wife, and told her how much he loves her. He handed her a beautifully- wrapped gift box. Curious, the wife opened the box and found a LOVELY, LEATHER-BOUND BIBLE, with the wife's name embossed in gold.
Angrily, she raised her voice to her husband and said, 'With all your money you gave me a Bible as my birthday present? And stormed out of the house, leaving her husband for good. (There is no reason for walking out of your marriage - please if you're thinking about it, send us an email let's talk. God's plan is for marriages to exemplify Jesus' relationship with the church - link up with Him for coping strategies.)
Many years passed and the married lady was very successful in business. She managed to settle for a more beautiful house and a wonderful family, but realized her ex-husband was very old, and thought perhaps she should go to visit him. She had not seen him for many years. But before she could make arrangements, she received a telegram telling her that her ex-husband had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to her. She needed to come back immediately and take care of things. When she arrived at her ex-husband's house, sudden sadness and regret filled her heart. She began to search through her ex-husband’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as she had left it years ago.
With tears, she opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As she browse through, a tiny package dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a diamond ring with her name engraved on it, the same diamond ring which she saw at the showroom. On the tag was her birth date as at the year she had left him with the words...'LUV U ALWAYS' on it...
How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? We should learn to appreciate and be grateful for what we receive (& even for what we don't).
Monday, October 26, 2009
Diamond is the hardest natural mineral and has many other exceptional properties that collectively make it an important industrial and scientific material. Unique geologically, diamonds form at great depths within Earth and are typically billions of years old. *
Sapphire speaking: Likewise, women are wired to be durable - did you know that the root word for diamond is “Adamas” – a Greek word that means unconquerable and indestructible? Seems like a good reason to wear diamonds so we have a constant reminder? Well, not really because it’s what you believe in your heart that counts not the rings/jewellery you wear.
Diamond cutting encompasses a number of processes that bring out the beauty of gem diamonds. These processes include cleaving, sawing or laser cutting, and polishing. A diamond cutter seeks to enhance the brilliance and fire of each stone and to eliminate imperfections, such as cracks and cloudiness. The cutter develops a plan that will accomplish these goals while still producing a gem of the greatest size and hence maximum value. About half of a natural diamond’s size is lost in diamond cutting. *
Examining the stone is the first step in diamond cutting. The cutter determines where cleavage planes lie and decides how the stone can best be divided by cleaving and sawing. *
The most important aspect of a polished diamond is the quality of the diamond "cut". The cut of a diamond is the one thing which is entirely manipulated by the diamond cutter and will determine the visual beauty of the diamond. A well cut diamond will have tremendous brilliance regardless of its color and clarity grades. Conversely, a poorly cut stone will appear dull and lifeless even if it has a top diamond color and diamond clarity grade.**
Only high-quality diamonds are suitable for use as gems. In judging the quality (and therefore the value) of a cut diamond, a buyer must take into account four criteria, known as the “four C’s”: color, clarity, carat weight, and cut. *
Sapphire speaking: Likewise, our quality in and of life is determined by specific criteria (i.e. principles) we live by. For value-enhancing principles, live by every word in the Bible.
Due to its hardness, diamond, as either single crystals or finely ground powder, can be used in cutting, abrading, or polishing tools. It is used extensively in drill bits, in cutting devices, and as a surface that can withstand shock and pressure. Industrial diamond has applications in the mining, oil and gas, electronic, optical, thermal, machining, dentistry, and medical industries.*
In being the best “diamond” we can be, let’s take some advice from Mary McLeod Bethune who was an adviser to US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Invest in the human soul, who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”
Investing our time, love and prayers (TLP) in those around us is not just Digging for Diamonds...it's also Going for Gold. It also results in several WoW moments in your life - Fear not! you're wired to last and will overcome the challenges that are sure to come.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Our initial touch on self-control will not be complete (at least in my mind) if we don’t consider what part “self-control” played in her eligibility for the throne and mention in the Bible (1 whole booked named after her).
She had lots of qualities which we’ll be focusing on throughout our discussion of the “Seven Secrets of the Esther Effect” however, 2 come to mind at this point:
In Genesis 34, we read about Dinah:
Now Dinah daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out [unattended] to see the girls of the place. And when Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he seized her, lay with her, and humbled, defiled, and disgraced her.
But his soul longed for and clung to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke comfortingly
to her young heart's wishes. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, Get me this girl to be my wife. Jacob heard that [Shechem] had defiled Dinah his daughter.
Now his sons were with his livestock in the field. So Jacob held his peace until they came. But Hamor father of Shechem went out to Jacob to have a talk with him. When Jacob's sons heard it, they came from the field; and
they were distressed and grieved and very angry, for [Shechem] had done a vile thing to Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter, which ought not to be done. (Amplified Bible; emphasis mine)
Talk about wrong place? Yes but it’s more about the wrong crowd too.
What about Princess Tamar in 2 Samuel 13: 1-15? To cut a long story short, in those days half brothers and sisters were allowed to marry each other. Amnon lusted after his half-sister and with his best friend/cousin advice, was able to rape her. Tamar knew how her half-brother felt about her - ladies usually know or at least suspect when it's not wishful thinking of course - but was still “available” to him. The other thing to take notice of is what happened after he’d forcefully slept with her - see verse 15: “Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that his hatred for her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, Get up and get out!” (Amplified Bible)Again wrong place and wrong crowd.
Ladies, whether married or unmarried, we must live chaste lives. If you are not yet married, there is no reason to “cheapen” yourself by flirting or sleeping around – it definitely doesn’t’ score any points for you…it erodes your value. See how his professed “love to death” turned to “disgust and disdain” – now we know why some men have no respect or regard for those he’s slept with – don’t be one of those ladies!
Let me use an analogy I’ve used for several years:
Raise your hand (at least off your keyboard, mouse or blackberry) if you like receiving gifts (& surprises) my hand was raised too.
How would you feel if you received a gift that is not properly packaged or the wrapper is all torn and stained? Did I hear you say “no thanks”? Exactly! That’s how it is when if you claim to be a Christian (young woman or man) and you’re not chaste before your marriage. For those of us who may have lost our virginity prior to becoming Christians, the last person you slept with before you got married should remain the last person you have sex with before you get married.
Young women & men, please preserve your chastity (virginity) for your husband/wife (of the opposite sex). See Rom 4:24 – we don’t hope or look forward to things we have already seen.
There no reason why 2 people of the opposite sex who not related to each other should be sharing a room, apartment or house…even hospitals don’t allow that!!
Ladies, why should you go and cook, clean and do laundry for a man just because you are hoping that he will propose to you? You’ll have the rest of your life to do those tasks – ask the married women –so why have a head start? Now, you’ve started me on something I’m very passionate about and I can go on and on about…we need to teach our daughters these things from day 1 not at 15 years of age or later!!!
Let’s pull in the reins and refocus: Esther obviously “hung out with the right crowd” which is one of the reasons she remained a virgin – who are our daughters’ friends? This is also where submission comes in.
After Esther was “short-listed” to join the “Beauty programme”, she obeyed Mordecai and didn’t disclose her nationality – that worked in her favor as we see later in the story.
Now let’s get something clear: Submission is NOT the same thing as Servitude; their definitions are so clear:
Submission: “a willingness to yield or surrender to somebody, or the act of doing so.”**
Servitude: “state of slavery: the state of being a slave or subjection: the state of being ruled or dominated by somebody or something.”***
Submission is a result of YOUR decision; Servitude/Subjection is a result of external imposition.
As Christians, we’re expected to submit “one to another” i.e. prefer on another in love(Ephesians 5: 21); as Christian women, we’re further expected to submit to our own husbands – not to other people’s husbands (Ephesians 5: 21 & Colossians 3:18). And all of us - men and women, young and old, know that we need to submit to God for our own good (James 4:6-7).
Linking this to back to chastity, I won’t even bother reminding married women that we are not supposed to flirt or sleep around – I expect that we all know that!
Back to submission – "that topic!": Married women, we need to learn to submit to our husbands – whether or not we agree with them. Now, it’s not because they are “stronger” or “smarter” than us (which may or not be true) but because we have intuition and initiative and are intelligent enough to decide to submit in obedience to God as Esther "lived within the walls of obedience as submission" to Mordecai and highly favored and honored as a result.
Just curious: how many of us have regretted not submitting to (and/or supporting) our husbands and their decisions/advice? I can still taste the “gravel” of that non-submission in my mouth.
Let’s give it a rest…let’s walk on water here too…and be trail blazers like Peter was.
Make this a great weekend for yourself. God help and bless us all!
*page 21 of The Esther Effect by Dianna Booher
With everyone now being caught up in the H1N1 matter, adults and children are now being encouraged to give the “Obama bump” (as I call it) rather than shake hands as a way of preventing/minimizing the spread of the virus. This obviously made an impression on the world and is now being recommended and a greeting expression.
This got me thinking…imagine how a show of affection, admiration and acknowledgement within a marriage can impact the world. I'm now wondering and pondering on how my husband and I show affection, admiration and acknowledgement to each other...what impact does it have on those in our sphere of influence starting with our children?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
K is for Key to success
Virginia Woolf, (1882-1941), a woman who is long gone said: “To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.”
(Wo)Man cannot live without self-control – Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902 - 1991)
Just as we can’t live without self-control, we cannot succeed without self-control – it’s as simple as that or maybe not that simple... To be successful in life, you need to know when to say “no” not only to others but to yourself.
Abraham Joshua Heschel said: “Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.”
Learning to say “no” to others, or even to yourself, without feeling guilty is a whole different story and it cannot be overemphasized that it is an “ability” you need to acquire to succeed in life. Let’s see what the Bible says in 2 Tim 2:17: “ For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (Amplified Bible)Obviously, it’s God’s intention that we live self-controlled lives including knowing how and when to say "no".
The Bible also tells us about several people who missed the mark (& some their rights or lives) because they couldn’t say “no” – to themselves or others. Examples include: Adam and Eve, Esau, Judah, Samson, David, Judas and the list goes on…do I need to convince us any further on the need to have and live self-controlled lives? As much as people around you may have great ideas and plans for you, you should have a say and control the way your life goes…
Once again, self-control is internally generated…'Those who stand for nothing fall for anything' - Alexander Hamilton.
Ladies, let’s take a stand and draw on the strength within us…with the right Words, Attitudes, Actions, Lifestyle (WAAL), we’ll have a Key to success and we’ll be sure to walk on water.
I pondered on this phrase for a while, wondering what it will be like to be without walls, how do I know when I am wall-less, what could cause wall-less-ness, how can one redeem a wall-less-ness situation
Prov 25: 28 says that …(s)he that hath no rule over (her)his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls
In the days of old, a city without walls is a great concern to the inhabitants and a sign that the city is weak, insecure, and so is in extreme danger. Little wonder Nehemiah was troubled about the walls of Jerusalem being broken down.
I went with my intellectual-shovel to dig deeper and explore further…
My first discovery was in the Family Bible Note
“As a city without walls is exposed to every assault of the enemy, so a spirit without self-government is the prey of every corrupt passion”.
Next I stumbled on Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary
“Such are exposed to the incursions of evil thoughts and successful temptations”
Here is, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
“1. The good character of a wise and virtuous woman implied. she is one that has rule over her own spirit; she maintains the government of herself, and of her own appetites and passions, and does not suffer them to rebel against reason and conscience. She has the rule of her own thoughts, her desires, her inclinations, her resentments, and keeps them all in good order.
2. The bad case of a vicious woman, who has not this rule over her own spirit, who, when temptations to excess in eating or drinking are before her, has no government of herself, when she is provoked breaks out into exorbitant passions, such a one is like a city that is broken down and without walls. All that is good goes out, and forsakes her; all that is evil breaks in upon her. She lies exposed to all the temptations of Satan and becomes an easy prey to that enemy; she is also liable to many troubles and vexations; it is likewise as much a reproach to her as it is to a city to have its walls ruined”.
Every new discovery gave new meaning (and startling revelation).
This makes me look back to the times when my words, attitudes and actions have gone pear-shaped because I was not able to properly rein in my annoyance. Sometimes my body language gives me away (rolling my eyes, walking away, not smiling/plastic smiling, slamming doors etc). This is new reality to me that I need to consciously have my walls up so that I will not be easy prey for the enemy, so that I can retain the security of God (who promised to build a wall round about me). Join me to reflect on my new decision to control myself in my heart, my mind, and my body.
Seeing that I so desperately want to (and continue to) walk on water, I have realised (from all that I have dug out) that a woman without walls can not walk on water.
God bless you!
Well, this leads in nicely to the next letter: “L” – which is for “Lifestyle”.
Hear what some men said (notice that eras they lived in):
Man cannot live without self-control – Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902 - 1991)
The greatest victory a man can win is victory over himself - Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746 - 1827)
Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power – Seneca (Roman philosopher - c. 4 BC – AD 65)
I wonder if they realized how true and relevant these words were and still are to women? Do you ever feel like you’re in the “battlefield” with yourself – trying to consider your options and making the right (& hopefully, wise) choices and decisions?
So what is “Lifestyle”?
It is “the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.”* So really it comprises “all” that fits into our mode of living. Now that summarized definition already tells us that we can’t cover everything in this segment...we’ll just touch lightly on some areas.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Ok…so I control my words – I don’t “say it as it is”– and I have a good “attitude” about it…indeed! – I just “show it as it is”. Ever heard the adage: “actions speak louder than words”? In being a self-controlled woman, your words, attitudes and actions must be in sync. You can’t say “nothing” when asked, “Is anything the matter?” and yet your actions just display how wrong something or even everything is – does that sound familiar?
It is for me – let me explain. Sometimes when I’m upset and my husband asks “what’s wrong?” especially when he contributed (directly or indirectly) to my being upset rather than lie by saying “nothing” I say “it doesn’t matter”. Now, does it matter? It could but I need space to determine that for sure - I use that as my “catch-yourself” self-control mechanism as I have found on occasion that my reason for being upset is unfounded or just due to a personal preference. The challenge is what I do and how I act during my “catch-yourself” moment. Sometimes I just “leave the scene” – to cry or just cool off - before I do or say something I’ll forever regret, at other times I stay there and focus on positives and continue living joyfully – it’s tough though!
Whoever said, “The control center of your life is your attitude” was so right. Your attitude definitely determines your altitude in life – sounds like something John Mason, Mike Murdock, Dr Myles Munroe or Dr David Oyedepo would say…don't know who did.
A fellow woman - Barbara De Angelis said “No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.”
Too many of us go around throwing “pity parties” – who has time to attend those? Ladies, get a hold of yourself. One way to “obtain and retain” control (I can hear one of my children say “it rhymes Mummy”)…of your life is to control what you think about yourself and even about others. We touched on this briefly when we talked about self-confidence (look through the Blog archive).
Thursday, October 15, 2009
To a large extent when I hear the term “self-control” I think about how quick I am with responses. I’ve been accused of talking before thinking – can’t say I disagree. Sometimes, I have been “spot on” with my comments, at times very witty, and at other times even I wonder, “Did that just come out of a Christian woman’s mouth?” Talking about “talking”, there are several variations - you could either be a person who:
· Thinks before talking
· Talks before thinking
· Thinks while talking
· Talks while thinking
· Talks then thinks
· Talks and never thinks
Whichever type of person you are we all need to realize the weight of words and learn to wait – which is part of what self-control is about. It’s just as much about what you say when you’re happy as what you say when you’re upset.
I’ll start with some of the things the Bible* says about words, their weight and the reason to wait, think then speak.
Proverbs 18: 21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.
Now just think back to how many times you have “lost control” and gotten into trouble even in friendly atmospheres not to mention charged situations like Esther was in and we sometimes find ourselves (e.g. disagreement with your husband, fiancé, parent, friend, colleague, boss, child, neighbour - the list goes on). Sometimes, the “unfavourable” things we have said have actually come to be.
One of Esther’s secrets was that despite the fact that she had heard of Haman’s horrendous plan she controlled herself until the time was right…and then she spoke up. Oh! I can’t imagine being that controlled…I may have blurted it out too early and gotten into trouble.
Saying the right things is as important as knowing when to speak, if at all. Benjamin Franklin said: “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place,., but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
There are times when you could be so provoked that you just spit out words in an attempt to express how you feel or possibly to “get back at that person”. An African proverb says: “words are like eggs, once spoken cannot be gathered back.” Ambrose Bierce said "speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." An antidote to “spilling your words” is in James 1:19: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
Ultimately, we must all strive to be like the Proverbs 31 woman - in verse 26 it says: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.” Wow! Imagine being kind in every word you speak – even when you are upset. Is that not akin to “walking on water”?
For me it is…yes, challenging but definitely possible as I follow Jesus’ leading.
What have your challenges been or what are they currently? Are you one who believes in "saying it as it is" not caring the impact on others or even on you? Let's talk and before you know it we'll be "walking on water" in this area of life.
*All quotations from the New King James Version of the Bible
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Just reading Beryl's piece reminded me of this interesting story in the Bible.
Let's read the New International Version of Mark 8: 22 - 25 together:
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
24 He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
In verse 24, Jesus asked him what he could see and he replied saying he saw men looking like "walking trees". With that, Jesus perfected what the healing. Likewise, it is important that you are able to articulate what you see; if you can't it's difficult for man and even God to help you "see clearer".
I can almost imagine Peter asking his fellow fishermen: "Do you see what I see?" or even "Are my eyes deceiving me?" After he was sure what he was seeing, he processed it and acted on it. Likewise when you read what God has said about you in the Bible, you may need to ask a trusted person - friend or family member: "do you see what I see?"
Henry David Thoreau said "The question is not what you look at, but what you see." When you're not sure, confirm what you "see" then step out and walk on water. If you don't step out you cannot change your story or situation. Peter stepped out and is now the only man who (apart from Jesus) walked on water.
My advice: if you read or hear the word of God and it seems "like trees walking around", talk to a Christian who can help you better understand what you've read. Although we're not experts, we're also available to help you clarify what you "see" so you can step out - send us a note/comment.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
HE SAW – his mind analysed it – then his system of belief/thinking pattern changed in response to what he saw. There was a period of processing the image of Jesus walking on water, the initial response was fear, which progressed to a desire to walk on water (which he eventually did). There are various levels of ‘seeing’. Some see physically, some see mentally, some see spiritually, some see psychologically. However you see (or want to see), that which you see affects your system of belief/thinking pattern.
What are you seeing? Are you seeing victory through God’s word or defeat through the societal decay around us? Are you seeing healing as pronounced in the word of God or sickness & death as reported by the doctors? Are you seeing success through the grace and strength of Jesus or failure through your feeble effort? WHAT ARE YOU SEEING? Switch your lenses if you have to, but you must see right as a first step to walking on water. God bless You!
Per Encarta, self-control essentially relates to “the ability to control your own behavior, especially in terms of reactions and impulses.”** So like self-confidence, self-control is definitely internally generated.
We’re going to group our discussion of Self-control around the acronym: “WAALK”. From personal experience, I’ve had to exercise self-control in my Words, Attitudes & Actions, Lifestyle and I've also realised that it is a Key to success.
A sneak peak into some of the things we’ll be discussing are:
Words: the potential and power of spoken and written words
Attitudes & Actions: we’ll delve into attitudes, actions and emotions
Lifestyle: this will cover our love, life, loving life, shopping/spending and eating habits and all other things that come to our mind or to our attention - your comments
Key to success: we’ll wrap it up with some answers to this set of questions: Is self-control one of the keys to success? If yes, how? If no, why?
It will be great to hear your Thoughts, Experiences & Advice on this too…become a member of our blogspot: http://www.sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/ and please share your TEA with us.
*page 21 of The Esther Effect by Dianna Booher
Monday, October 12, 2009
I’ll just borrow other people’s words of wisdom (and add my thoughts too) as I believe that they will lead us to our own WoW moments as we walk on the water(s) of life.
On page 27 of The Esther Effect, Dianna Boocher quoted Dr Joyce Brothers, who summed self-confidence so aptly:
“An individual’s self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behaviour: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change, the choice of friends, mates and careers. It is no exaggeration to say that a strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”
Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right.”
Martin Luther King Jr said: "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run the walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."
I don’t know who said this but I totally agree: “Self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or that you are a worthless person.”
This is quote is one that sums up what you'll take away from a very good book by John Maxwell. This is one book I’ll recommend any day, any time to any and everyone. Who knows, we may have the opportunity to share some of the highlights in this book someday.
Let’s switch gears a bit…
In part 3 of these series we said: "a healthy body is key in pursuing our purpose with passion..."*
Eating well, good hygiene, regular exercise and rest (& recreation) are some of the other key elements in having self-confidence.
Let’s start with eating well
“The Food Guide Pyramid is one way for people to understand how to eat healthy. A rainbow of colored, vertical stripes represents the five food groups plus fats and oils. Here's what the colors stand for:
- Orange — grains
- Green — vegetables
- Red — fruits
- Yellow — fats and oils
- Blue — milk and dairy products
- Purple — meat, beans, fish, and nuts”**
Eating well is a combination of what you eat and when you eat. It’s great to have the right portions of fruit, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates but that could be counterproductive if you eat the right things at the wrong time. There are so many websites that provide useful information such as http://www.everydayhealth.com./ so I’ll let you go and seek out your own information as we’re not Nutrition experts.
Now on to hygiene…
Personal hygiene**** directly impacts the “healthiness” of our bodies. With all sorts of viruses all over the place, cleanliness starts from something as simple as regular and proper washing of our hands. Remember Eleanor Reid in her book “The Proverbs 31 woman” said “she keeps her home clean, comfortable and presentable.”*** You need to cultivate and communicate a personal hygiene culture in your home – for yourself, your husband and children, People who come to your home should be able to sense and leave with that culture. Think about it: if your body is clean and your home isn’t guess what will happen?
Now to my personal favourite (& challenge) – Exercise.
Just as what you eat shows on you…what you do or don’t do also shows on you. Another way to support or just enhance your self-confidence is to be fit – now this is not about being fat or slim it's about being fit!
The Google Health tip for October 10, 2009 (from this blogspot*****) said: “When older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life.”
The Bible is unequivocal in telling us that physical exercise is useful (1 Timothy 4:8a)
So let’s pitch our tent here for a while…
When last did you take a walk longer than walking to/from your car? Should I go on to ask about jogging? Ok, I’ll hold it there...please don’t reverse that question to me. Wait a minute, thinking about that, I jogged in July this year – that must count for something. :) I also race my children to the store from the car park – that also counts as exercise for me.
I’m not sure if I should go on to talk about exercising indoors. On that matter, does walking up and down the house doing house work and making our homes “clean, comfortable and presentable” (as Eleanor Reid said), count?
Personally, I’m still working on waking up in good time to pray – do I have someone who also has this challenge?
Sometimes I sit up to watch TV – maybe I should consider doing some “sit-ups” while watching TV. Hmmm…not sure how that will play out though.
I like this quote by Edward Stanley: “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Need I say anymore?
The key is in keeping fit – whether you are fat or slim.
And finally, REST (& Recreation) notice I didn’t say “procreation” :)
A lot of us, especially women, don’t know how to rest. Do you realize that you don’t have to be on vacation to rest and be refreshed? You can start by creating “me” times. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown retreat – 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there all add up. You could decide to go to bed early or stay awake and just do nothing. Rest is more psychological than physical – at least that’s what I believe (& you don’t have to agree with me).
I’m sure you know that you don’t have to sleep to rest and not everyone that sleeps rests – have you ever woken up feeling tired? Maybe because you went to bed with a lot on your mind and though your body “slept”, your mind was active and all over the place – just waiting for your body to wake up so you could get going.
Ernest Hemingway so aptly said: “I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.”
It’s all up to you…however, one piece of advice I’ll keep for myself as well as gladly share with you is the Health Tip for October 11, 2009*****: “Surround yourself with people and things that remind you to live a healthy lifestyle” - that's one sure step towards obtaining and maintaining self-confidence.
* see last paragraph in Secret #1: Self-confidence – (2)
*** Page 72 of The Proverbs 31 Woman by E.R. Reid
****According to dictionary reference: "Personal hygiene is about keeping your body clean and healthy. Good personal hygiene can make you less likely to become sick. It also helps you look and feel your best". (emphasis mine; see -http://ask.reference.com/related/Personal+Hygiene?qsrc=2892&l=dir&o=10601)
***** If you’d like to see other Health tips (which are new each day), check lower part of the left column on http://www.sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com; if you view this post through Facebook, click on the “original post” hyperlink at the bottom of the posting)
A slave-girl becoming queen –is that a "WoW" moment or what? I wonder if any of the other ladies in the harem mocked her for her “accent”, “background” or “complexion”. What do you think would have happened when Esther turned out to be the chosen one? Imagine the moment...
Something we must all take away from Esther's story is: it is not what you are called but what you answer to that matters (originally: “It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.” ~W.C. Fields). The Bible views this from a different perspective and rightly so: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23: 7a – New King James Version). So what are you answering to? What do you think of yourself in your heart of hearts? I choose to answer to what God has called me. What has God called you or said about you? I can give you an idea of what He has said about me:
Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” (Amplified Bible)
Philippians 1:6 goes on to say: “And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” (Amplified Bible)
In King James Version it reads: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Let me take it one step further to tell you what I think (& know) of myself: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14a – New King James Version)
Put together, what do God & I say about me? Simply put, I’m a “wonder-ful work-in-progress”. It doesn’t matter what people see or think about me now…God is not done with me yet! I like to say, “watch this space” cos I’m headed in only one direction à UP.
Did you notice the word “confident”? My self-confidence is boosted because I’m confident that God has started a good work in me and will keep working on me. . I am, will become and even remain full of Wonder – which is why I can “walk on water”.
So where were we? Oh yes we were talking about how the way we’re dressed determines how we’re addressed. I sincerely believe as I have experienced, time and again, that when I’m dressed with this internal confidence, it shows in my external countenance and guess what? It inspires others to be confident of us…
Dress up ladies…and this is not a costume…it’s a way of life. It is YOUR responsibility to define yourself in God - everyone else will "dance to the music of your drums".
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I’ve had several opportunities of being on both sides of the interview table - as interviewee and interviewer. One thing that has come through over and over again - first impressions last and you have only one opportunity to make a first impression. For a lot of prospective candidates, the first impression comes from their resume/CV or Business plan. For others, the first impression is made when you walk into the face-to-face meeting. Whichever one applies to you, you need to always have your best foot forward - this also applies to those of us who are still trusting God for a husband.
Taking a cue from Esther - she scaled through the initial screening process because she was a virgin and when Hegai saw her “she found favour in his sight” (see Esther 2:2, 8 & 9) - now was that a first impression or what? Esther found such amazing favour that she was given preferential treatment in the harem - now this is not to in any way infer that you will be given preferential treatment; however, one of my favourite verses of scripture is Psalms 5:12 which says “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.” (New King James Version). The Amplified Bible amplifies it so nicely: “For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with You]; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor). In addition to your self-confidence, you must have confidence that for as long as you are aligned with God, He will surround you with favour wherever you go or are.
Back to Esther…
So when it was time to be presented to the king, she wisely wore only what Hegai gave her to wear. In putting her best foot forward (backed by wise counsel), she not only found favour before all those who saw her (Esther 2:15) she ultimately found favour in the sight of the king (Esther 2:17). God surrounded her with His favour (& He will surround you with His favour for as long you remain righteous - AMEN!)
The story is the same for all women, in fact for all people, we need wise counsel (BTW**: we’ll be talking about “connections” later). Due to the fact that Esther could rely on the “soundness” of Hegai’s counsel, her self-confidence was boosted - imagine a slave girl becoming queen!
*Look up www.rccgna.org <http://www.rccgna.org/> for daily inspiration;
** BTW - by the way
Friday, October 9, 2009
Recently, I’ve received several calls about how one can put their best foot forward in their job search and even business start-up. Some of the resumes and/or curriculum vitae (depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on) I’ve been opportuned to review are an amazingly poor reflection of the people they are expected to be announcing.
I’ve come across people who either don’t know what they have/know or who don’t know how to tell others what they have or are capable of doing. I’ve also come across people who, shall I say, exaggerate what they can do by using words that magnify their skills. I don’t know what you think about this kind of magnification, to me it is counterproductive and is plain dishonest. There is no reason or justification for anyone to lie and why would one want to lie and then be kicked out for non-performance – just because you said you can do more than you know or can? I know a lot of people seem to put their resumes /or curriculum vitae (CV) together under the "blow your trumpet, 'cos no one else will" illusion. I agree to an extent...blow your own trumpet not your neighbour's i.e. put down things you know/can do not what you saw in your colleague's resume.
To succeed in your bid for a job or funds for a business, you need to have sufficient self-confidence, you should be able to say what you know and what you don’t know even in front of an interview panel. In stating what you don’t know, you should indicate that you are willing and able to learn – that’s definitely a better strategy than lying in your resume/CV or Business plan in an erroneous attempt of being a more attractive candidate.
In my career, I’ve also noticed that women seem to have to work harder to get (good) jobs; there is definitely a part for prayer and a part for preparation - the Bible says "faith without works is dead. Show me a woman of faith & I'll show you by her works ( James 2: 17-18 paraphrased). Let’s consider Esther...
Prior to going to see the king in Esther 5, she prayed and prepared in Esther 4. Chapter 5 starts by telling us that she put on her royal robes even at the risk of her life...I guess she wanted to “die gallantly” if that’s what it got to. Now that's a tip for we dress for our interviews...our resumes/CVs are part of our dress.
If you want to discuss this further with, feel free to post a comment or send us a note on http://www.sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/ for one-on-one contact. (P.S. there is no charge to "talk").
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Eleanor Reid-White in her book “The Proverbs 31 Woman” discusses self-confidence from a very different and yet interesting perspective - one that too many of us overlook once we get married.
On this subject, she based her discussion on Proverbs 31:22 which says:
“She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].” (Amplified Bible)
In Eleanor’s words: “this woman keeps herself at her best. She never looks unseemly but always puts her best foot forward.”
She goes on to talk about how the Proverbs 31 woman takes the time to make her home clean and comfortable especially for her husband. Ok – let’s hold up here. This can be a challenge you know, especially when it seems like everyone else is messing up what you’re tidying up. Much as I don’t like a mess, I’ve come to a point where I “appreciate” it as evidence of a home versus a house. This is also where what I learned from Emilie Barnes’ book “More hours in my day” kicks in. I’ve taught my children to clean up as they go on, in fact as they grow older, they seem to enjoy being involved in doing household chores except when I hear the “not again” moan. And on top of that, I’m so blessed to have a husband who insists and makes sure that our home is clean and organised even when I don’t feel up to it.
Eleanor also delves into what we wear and how we look. As women, we need to be clean and neat. Some of us are no longer as fit or attractive as we were when we were still hoping to be married…ever asked your husband how he feels about it? Warning: You may not like the answer.
The Proverbs 31 woman’s choice of clothing indicates both self-respect and royalty. She knows that as a child of the most High God, she needs to demonstrate her self-confidence in her clothing and her carriage.
A healthy body is a happy body, in addition to being nicely dressed, we need have good personal hygiene.
According to Eleanor, “our bodies are the vehicles we use to do those things which God has purposed for us. If we destroy our bodies or fail to take good care of them, we inhibit the Spirit from working through us to the fullest extent.”
It cannot be overemphasized - a healthy body is key in pursuing our purpose with passion and I daresay it also makes walking on water a bit easier.
"Self-confidence generates passion about your purpose and expands your influence on others."* ~ Dianna Boocher
So what is self-confidence? Is it internally-generated or externally-generated?
Simply put, self-confidence is confidence in yourself.
It is knowing and valuing your abilities, attributes and aspirations. Malcolm Forbes said that "too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are." And that is sadly so true especially for women. Too often we seek validation of who we are and what we can do or be from our parents, husbands, children, friends and even from people we meet from time to time. We seem to always be looking for someone to recognise and celebrate us for who we are and what we can or actually do. I believe and have experienced that like Lieb Lazarow said, "who has confidence in himself will gain the confidence of others."
To excel in life, you must be able to truly (and honestly) assess what you are capable of doing, determine what you need to learn or gain to move to the next level and be prepared to take that next step. It's one thing to know what you know but a different ball game to know what you don't know and to know what you need to do to bridge the gap between what you know and what you need to/should know.
Now before we go further, let's make this clear: self-confidence is NOT pride or arrogance. I found an interesting quotation that helps put this in perspective: “self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or that you are a worthless person.”
Self-confidence is definitely internally-generated, no matter how much confidence others have in you, if you don't have confidence in yourself and/or your abilities you cannot go very far. One of my ILP colleagues has a very interesting signature in her email -
"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt"
Take note that a fellow woman said this.
Conversely, I'd like to say, with all care and caution, that "you don't need anyone's consent to feel superior (i.e. self-confident)". This feeling of "superiority" (self-confidence) comes, not from pride, but from a knowledge that you are in a relationship with God Who holds your future and has only good plans in store for you (see Jeremiah 29:11).
With self-confidence, you have one key element to ignite your passion to pursue your purpose in God. As women, especially Christian women, believe in God and believe in ourselves as we strive to be the best we can be and then do the best we can.
Follow Samuel Johnson's advice: "knock the "t" off the "can't"." Step out in self-confidence and pursue your purpose with passion!
We must not forget what the Word says in Philippians 4:13:
"I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency.]" (Amplified Bible)Bottom line: Self-confidence is vital in order to "walk on water".
*page 46 of The Esther Effect by Dianna Booher
As women, especially Christian women, we have a very key role in the future… By His special grace, God has let us “hold the future” in our arms. A role we must never take lightly. However, to perform this role effectively and efficiently, we have to be appropriately equipped. I once read a book that has helped me in this role. Below are some highlights that I pray will help you too.
The Esther Effect by Dianna Boocher
This book focuses on the 7 secrets of self-confidence and influence every Christian woman should know, possess and use.
Dianna defines “The Esther Effect” as "the impact you have when God places you in a situation which you can encourage or influence others or change the course of events."
This sounds like the job description of wives and mothers won’t you say?
Secret #1: Self-confidence: Self-confidence generates passion about your purpose and expands your influence on others.
Secret #2: Self-control: Exercise self-control to plan your Esther Effect, then patiently wait on God’s perfect timing. No day or year of your life is trivial; it’s simply preparation for your next opportunity.
Secret #3: Courage: Courage means acting decisively, even while taking risk, in whatever way God directs you. Make decisions by design rather than by default.
Secret #4: Communication: When you listen first then speak your heart with clarity and courtesy, you can lead others to change attitudes, behaviours, and situations.
Secret #5: Character: Character dictates our attitudes and action under pressure. And strong character influences others more than clever words, wealth, or wisdom ever could.
Secret #6: Connection: Emotional connection – to those in need, our support group, non-believers, all those around us – helps us take courageous action for Christ.
Secret #7: Calm assurance: Calm assurance in the face of injustice comes from knowing that God is in control of the future.
Over the next couple of months, together we’ll dissect these secrets to get to the "meat" of them…to help with our digestion of these secrets. You know only food that is well-digested is of any use to our bodies – same principle applies here with words we hear and the impact on our spirits and lives.
As always, your comments are welcome - please sign in to http://www.sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/ to add your comments to this.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Consider the fishermen who became fishers of men.
In Matthew 4: 18 - 22, Simon (Peter) & Andrew were at their daily job...catching fish, James and John were mending their nets getting ready for work when Jesus called them "out of their boat" to follow Him. They obeyed instantly - at least that's how it seemed. However, Dr Luke gave us a different angle of the story in Luke 5: 1-11. These four men decided to forsake their comfort zones and follow Jesus after He performed an amazing miracle in their lives.
It couldn't have been easy because much later in the Gospels, we see that they went back to their fishing careers. In John 21, after Jesus had risen, Peter and the other fishermen-turned-disciples went fishing, they didn’t catch a thing until the Lord appeared and directed them on what to do. This time Peter didn’t ask or wait to be invited out of the boat – he jumped out and went to Jesus. I believe it was at this time that he truly got out of his comfort zone - “the boat” and got a clear leading on what God wanted him to do.
Leaving your comfort zone is tough. As women we consider (and rightly so) many things - what will my friends say?, what will my parents say?, how will I cope?, what will my boss/colleagues say?"; wives wonder "what will my husband say?", "what will my husband's friends say"; mothers ask: "what will my children think?"; as Christians we may ask: "what will other members of my church think/say?" There seem to be more questions than answers...
Stepping out of the boat could mean very many different things to each person. For instance, it could mean:
- being a more prayerful woman e.g. rather than go for your coffee/tea or lunch breaks to spend the time in the word of God and/or in prayer.
- mean making new friends who you can share your faith with from the way you live and conduct yourself – that can be tough. A lot of us are good at keeping our “old friends”.
- changing your job - now, this is not to say that you should quit your job...not at all - except that is what God has specifically asked you to do.
It is possible that your “time” at a particular place is “up” and God wants you to move on to the next mission field like He did with Phillip in Act 8:5 & 26. Philip may have wanted to become the Pastor in charge of the church of Samaria – after all, he was instrumental in their salvation but God had a better plan...to make Philip the person through whom the gospel will go to other continents including Africa. Conversely, getting out of the boat could mean remaining at your current place of employment where there may still be work to be done or as an avenue of supporting the ministry - for instance, Paul in Act 18: 1-6 stayed with his professional colleagues and preached the word too until it was time to again "get out of the boat" and move on.
We were all created to fulfill a particular purpose in life as we walk with God and work for Him. Walking in and fulfilling God's purpose as a woman can be a challenge. However, when we realise that without God we’re nothing and without Him we can do nothing, trusting and focusing on Him will make it easier to get out of the boat and walk on water to His glory.
It is on record (in the Bible) that apart from Jesus, Peter is the only other man who walked on water - only because he got out of the boat.
What challenges are you facing in getting out of the boat to walk on water?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
No woman is immune from loneliness, but every woman has the capacity to “walk” on it. If we let God’s word reach us and if we respond appropriately, we will be able to “walk” on the water of loneliness. Loneliness in a sense is an emotional disconnection, an internal hunger for a connection. Through God’s word our hearts can re-connect and our emotions transformed and revived.
We often feel lonely when we experience loss, grief, emptiness, a sense of lack or when God appears silent. We need to acknowledge the situation first so that we can allow God’s word to lift us above the situation and get us walking on water. Loneliness persists when we live in denial.
Situations do not necessarily have to change before we can “walk” on the water of loneliness. We need to focus on the One who promised never to leave nor forsake us. When we allow God, He often takes our period of loneliness and turns it into opportunities for closer relationship with Him. A sure cure for loneliness, therefore, is to focus on God.
A challenging book that shows how God is calling us to step out of our comfort zones and step into the extraordinary life of faith. It reveals that deep within us lies the same faith and longing that sent Peter walking across the stormy Sea of Galilee toward Jesus.
This definitely a good reason to embrace change. So what do you do when you feel like you've accepted change and you're going round in circles?
Ellen Glasgow said "All change is not growth; as all movement is not forward."
How can we decipher between which "change" to accept and which one to ignore? Is there "test kit" that works in all circumstances?
"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all."
"I want to live my life, not record it."
OK - that's it! I'm really doing my best to enlarge my children's world with books but I now need to screen the books so I'm sure that they are taking away the right stuff...more reading for me I guess.
Do you have any tips and/or similar quotes you'd like to share? Please share them by visiting http://www.sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/
"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." ~James Bryce
"The man who does not read (good books) has no advantage over the man who can't read them." ~Mark Twain, attributed
"Leaders are readers." ~ Charles Jones
I agree with these quotes but believe that like an anonymous wise person said "readers are leaders".
I try my best read...I really do (do I sound like I'm trying to convince someone?).
Well, there's this book I've had for over 3 years (guess the title)...
Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George
- I wonder why I haven't gotten around to reading this one. :)
If you're an avid reader, please share tips on how ladies like me can fit in a good book into my already busy life.
You're also welcome to share the titles (& highlights) of some of your favourite books.
Different people are going through various experiences and challenges - either real or imagined.
So, how can we live confidently in these uncertain times?
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I then went a step further to dig up Biblical references to be sure my choice was "scriptural"...logical since people like me know that our world revolves around the Word.
So where was I?
- Yes...well, I started my research and came up with the following:
The first time Moses and other elders went into the presence of God the Bible says "and they saw the God of Israel [that is, a convincing manifestation of His presence], and under His feet it was like pavement of bright sapphire stone, like the very heavens in clearness." (Exodus 24: 9 - 12; Amplified Bible)
- In Exodus 28: 15 - 21: God gave Moses instructions of the design of the breastplate the high priest was to wear every time he stood to minister to God...sapphire was the 2nd gemstone on the 2nd row i.e. the 5th gemstone (by the way, 5 is the number of grace). So sapphire and other gemstones brought the people of Israel to God's remembrance each time the high priest ministered to Him.
- In Revelation 21:19, the second foundation of the walls for our heavenly city is made of sapphire.
As if that's not enough, just last month I looked into Wikipedia and realized that sapphire has "remarkable hardness, sapphire is used in many applications, including infrared optical components, watch crystals, high-durability windows, and wafers for the deposition of semiconductors." (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapphire). That definitely rang a bell for me...I like to believe that I have "remarkable hardness" - in a good way of course. :)
Now you've heard my story - so what is your favourite gemstone?
I wonder if Peter, an experienced fisherman, even considered swimming when he started sinking.
When thrust in water of life, rather than sink, do your best to wade or swim towards the Lord if you can't walk on the water. Make progress towards the only One who can lift you out of those turbulent waters.
We have a promise in Isaiah 43:2a
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. (New Living Translation (NLT))
This one promise we should all hold on to as we "walk on water".
Believe me, I know it's difficult to remember this promise sometimes.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Our vision is that this blog will provide women an opportunity to share their "Wow" moments.
It's our prayer that this blog will be instrumental in making us women of wonder as we continue "walking on water". Let's share with and learn from each other - iron sharpens iron.
The phrase "Walk on water" is based on the following Bible passage.
Matthew 14:25-32 (Contemporary English Version)
25 A little while before morning, Jesus came walking on the water toward his disciples.
26 When they saw him, they thought he was a ghost. They were terrified and started screaming.
27 At once, Jesus said to them, "Don't worry! I am Jesus. Don't be afraid."
28 Peter replied, "Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water."
29 "Come on!" Jesus said. Peter then got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward him.
30 But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.
31 Right away, Jesus reached out his hand. He helped Peter up and said, "You surely don't have much faith. Why do you doubt?"
32 When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down.
I don't know about you but for me, I face all sorts of challenges and I've found out that for as long as I obey Jesus, focus on Him and walk towards Him, I'm guaranteed victory. However, I get distracted by the sound of the wind and waves around me...does this also happen to you?