Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tomorrow...

One prayer we should pray each day of our lives should be:
"Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Ps 90:12 - The Message)

May your life and 2014 book, be a blessing to others - that's better than a bestseller.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A-Z challenge - all together...

Let's see if we can complete this A-Z challenge - and more importantly, if it makes sense:
Amazing
Blessings
Come
Down
Everyday
From
God



He
Is
Just
Kind
Loving
Merciful



No-one else
Offers
Precious
Qualitative
Rewards
Sacrificially
To
Us


Voices
Willingly
Xalt
Yahweh's
Zeal for us!


This last part was really difficult, so I had to look up a Bible verse that will help tie it all together:
Joel 2:18-19 - Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, And pity His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. (NASB)
Phew! What a challenge!! Looks like we succeeded and went full circle...so how did we do? 

Let's take a moment to do the last part and exalt the Lord for His promises and provisions...
Yes, today is Boxing Day, so package and present your thanks to God for His daily blessings.

Baggage costs...

Today is Boxing Day...a perfect day to talk about baggage if you ask me since this is the day some of us may "box"/package things for others - things we feel they need or just want.

Travelling a few months ago, I was a not-so-happy passenger when I was charged for my luggage. I mean I took my time to pack the things I felt I needed - not wanted - for my trip and yet they were going to charge me for "my needs"? This made me think about my life... and about how much I carry or even pass around.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A-Z challenge (3)

This is the 3rd post in this A-Z challenge series*:

No-one else
Offers
Precious
Qualitative
Rewards
Sacrificially
To
Us

How far have you gone with your sentence of string of sentences?

References:
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2013/12/my-z-challenge.html
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2013/12/a-z-challenge-continued.html





Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Imagine...

...if we had a Christmas day every month?

With exactly one week to Christmas, there is so much activity going on:

  • Writing and sending out Christmas cards - sometimes to people (including family members and friends) you haven't spoken to in a long time. 
  • Some of us are (painstakingly) taking time to choose, buy and perfectly wrap gifts - we hope the recipient(s) will need or at least appreciate. 
  • Quite a lot of time spent for 1 day - especially when you add the time spent shopping, cooking and hosting/visiting family and/or  friends. 

As an aside, the other part of this is the very sad fact that many people - including Christians - are forgetting the Reason for the Season. If you are not sure (or don't agree with me) just look around and see the number of people who now say: "Merry Xmas" instead of "Merry Christmas" or those who have totally changed their vocabulary and say: "Happy Holidays." The way I see it, since Jesus Christ took the time and  "trouble" to be born as a baby to save us from our sins, we can and should also take the time and trouble to spell His name in full when wishing family and friends a Merry (& memorable) Christmas. The reason is simple:
Without Christ there'd be no Christmas much less anything memorable about Christmas.

Back to the topic:

Friday, December 13, 2013

A-Z Challenge continued...

In the first piece* in this series, I explained how this challenge came up... I already said I this will not be E-Z but it's still worth a try:

He
Is
Just
Kind
Loving
Merciful


Please feel free to take this challenge too and post your sentence of string of sentences...


Reference:
http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2013/12/my-z-challenge.html

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tip of tongue

Have you ever had these "it's on the tip of my tongue" moments?
Well, I have and know that there are times when it is better to bite your tongue that let what's on it's tip slip out and bite others. I can't say I've been quick to bite my tongue always but I'm learning day by day. A TIP that just dropped in my heart while typing this is:
Whenever you talk, because you will, plan that you'll:
"Talk Inspirationally Persistently."

I know it will not be easy because some of us would rather talk persistently. So let these 3 (short and sweet) verses guide you when you speak:
Colossians 4:6 - When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. (Easy-to-Read Version)
Ephesians 4:29 - When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. (Easy-to-Read Version)
Proverbs 31:26 - When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says. (Living Bible)
I agree with John Dewey that: "There is all the difference in the world between having something to say and having to say something." Saying something or nothing can make a world of difference or even erect a wall of difference so we need to be wise with our words.

As we inch towards Christmas, a time when there are a lot of celebrations and conversations, I encourage you to watch your "tip of the tongue" moments...and take Mark Twain's advice (purple font mine): "If you have nothing (edifying) to say, say nothing."

Wishing you and yours a memorable Christmas as you remember and celebrate that it's all because Jesus came that many more good things have come (& will continue to come) to you and yours.

May God bless and keep you and yours - to His glory and may you all remain a blessing to others. AMEN!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My A-Z challenge

I don't know if you're like me but I am quite (almost too) mentally active - even when I'm supposed to be quiet or even sleeping. More than once my husband has said: "You don't know how to rest..." - can't say I disagree because even when I'm sitting quietly, my mind is not that quiet. Exactly a week ago (Saturday night/Sunday morning), as I was trying to sleep, my husband and I had a very quick chat about a website and I started visualizing it.
I started imagining page headers in an alphabetical order and from nowhere I asked myself: 
"Can you create a sentence or string of sentences about God with the all the alphabets?"
 ...then my mind started ticking with what I've called the A-Z challenge - this will not be E-Z.

So I'll start with a few letters and over the next couple of day/weeks, try to complete it...

Amazing
Blessings
Come
Down
Everyday
From
God


This resonates with me because I have a lot to be grateful to God for - I'm sure you do too.
A wise person said: Gratitude is the best attitude and our attitude determines our altitude. Today and everyday, take time to give thanks to God for all He's blessed you and yours with.

Back to our topic: We still have a long way to go...but I won't give up my sleep for it though.

H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
Please feel free to take this challenge too and post your sentence of string of sentences.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Got issues?

Same here - everyone's got at least one.

Bishop TD Jakes put it this way: 
Every victor is a victim in one area of life and 
every victim is a victor in one area of life.

I agree - it's a fact of life that no one should deny - even if you want to, you can't - no one can.

If you let people, they'll whine, wail and wear you out with all that's weighing them down. 

In fact there are some people who seem to always be wearing their "I have issues" t-shirt. Has this ever happened to you? You're having a conversation and sharing an experience (challenge and/or issues) with another person, the person then takes over the conversation with their own list of issues as if to say:
 "I hear you - but you can't beat my list of issues."

This reminds me of a book I read several years ago - the title drew me to it. It's not difficult to understand why the author will come up with such a title. With all the things - challenges - some of us face, it's not difficult to think and even say that. Funny, how we never think or say "God is not fair" when all is going well with us.

The fact of life is that God promised all of us a very, very rosy life... yes, one filled with sweet scents and troublesome thorns.

That was why Paul had "a thorn in his flesh"* that bothered him and he just couldn't shake it off/out. Same thing with Jesus just before He went to the cross.** Interesting that both of them asked God to take away the issue/challenge three times - so they were persistent - but God insisted that they needed those thorns (including the crown of thorns) because His grace is sufficient.*

We all have issues - challenges,  hurdles,  whatever you call them and will continue to - that's life. It's evident that those who are most successful in life are those who accept that issues/challenges are part of life and depend on God to help them through them. 


Life may not be fair but I know, from personal experience - through all my issues -that God is faithful - He'll never bring to us things He won't take us through.*** 
One thing remains true, as a testament of God's faithfulness: God's grace IS sufficient.


References:
*2 Cor 12: 7-10 - And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength). (Amplified Bible)

** Matt 26: 36-46 - 
36 Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. When they got there, he told them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”37 Jesus took along Peter and the two brothers, James and John. He was very sad and troubled, 38 and he said to them, “I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying. Stay here and keep awake with me.”39 Jesus walked on a little way. Then he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.”40 He came back and found his disciples sleeping. So he said to Peter, “Can’t any of you stay awake with me for just one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you won’t be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak.”42 Again Jesus went to pray and said, “My Father, if there is no other way, and I must suffer, I will still do what you want.”43 Jesus came back and found them sleeping again. They simply could not keep their eyes open. 44 He left them and prayed the same prayer once more.45 Finally, Jesus returned to his disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. 46 Get up! Let’s go. The one who will betray me is already here.” (Contemporary English Version)

*** 1 Cor 10:13 -
The only temptation [or trials]that has come to you is ·that which everyone has [(common to) human life]. But you can trust God [God is faithful], who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand[endure] it. (Expanded Bible)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Working the Working Week in the LORD


Sunday: The Lord's Day
O God, I have prepared my house for you. Please come into my heart so I may spend the day and the rest of my life in Your presence.


Monday: Wash Day
Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity, so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.







Tuesday: Ironing Day
Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected through the years so that I may see the beauty in others.





Wednesday: Mending Day
O God, help me mend my ways so I will not set a bad example for others.



Thursday: Shopping Day
O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.




Friday: Cleaning Day
Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.








Saturday: Cooking Day
Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly love and serve it with clean, sweet bread of human kindness.





 





Source of pictures:
http://www.susansaltzgiverdesigns.com/Days_-_Chores.html

Thursday, November 28, 2013

May I guess...

...why you're not 'fruitful'?

One morning,  during my QT, I was pondering on fruitfulness or the lack thereof and the Holy Spirit dropped 2 reasons in my heart:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Here to matter...

This morning, the Lord woke me up with a real start...I guess He needed me to start my day. 
He woke me up with this thought: "You're born to matter, you're here to matter..." 
Those words and more just kept going in my head so I had to get up and start typing...

For all I know, there may be a sequel to this piece - but let's start with this one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Avoid that trap...

A lot of people have one or more favorite Bible verses. Well so do I. In fact it's almost if I have seasonal favorites. One of those verses came to mind after listening to Les Brown (who I'd never heard of) and John Maxwell (whose books I've read) recently.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11, 12, 13...

I couldn't resist sharing this today - see how well the title lines up with the date which for some is
11-12-13.

Let's start with a question to all of us parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, guardians...:
"How many times do you threaten to count to "10" for a child to behave appropriately and find yourself going beyond number 10?"
Well, I can't count how many times I've done that wondered if it's just me.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Switch it on...

A few weeks ago, I was looking for something in my tote bag. Now anyone who has seen or owned one knows that the next best invention to creating that "carry-everything-else" bag is to come up with an organizing mechanism.

I don't know about you but I'm rarely ever successful in finding things in exactly the same spot as I put them in my tote bag. By the way, whoever comes up with that mechanism or "app" as they are referred to these days will need to pay me royalty for the idea. :) Back to our topic...

So after rumbling through my tote bag I asked myself: "Why didn't you just switch on the light?" Did I mention that I went into a slightly dark room and felt I'd be faster looking through my tote without the light on. Well, of course it wasn't - remember I was looking through a tote bag and that was a real teachable moment for me...
Life without light is hard - harder than it needs to be and definitely not God's wish for anyone.

The Bible tells us about the Light God has provided for us:
John 1: 4 tells us
"In him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world." (EtRV)
John 8:12 -  Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” (Message)

If you're born-again, make sure you are living with the "Light" (Jesus) switched on - everyday and everywhere you are - so you don't stumble and fumble around in life. If you're not yet born-again, I bring you good news: you can switch on the Light of life and switch from a futile to a fulfilled life - just accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You can say this prayer after me:
 
Lord Jesus, I believe that You came to die for me so I accept Your gift on the cross. Please forgive me and accept me as Your own forever. Today I accept You as my Lord and Saviour - now and forever. In Your precious name I pray. AMEN.
 
Congratulations!!! I rejoice with you. Start reading the Bible - I recommend you start from the Gospel of John. Look for a Bible-believing and teaching church to attend. Welcome to the Light.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Living the iconic "lionic" life

Recently a Guest minister in our church shared 2 things about a lion that I need to share with us. I'll start by laying a foundation...from the Word:

A lion's offspring is a cub=little lion. It may be little, nevertheless,  it's still a lion. It may not be able to do all a Papa or Mama lion can do (yet) but it is capable of doing all that and even more...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unplug...

...to recharge.

I'm sure that sounds like a paradox - indeed it is and it is also a fact of and for life.

During a training I attended, the instructor said: "Our bodies whisper before they shout."

My husband keeps saying the body is only so elastic - before it snaps... This is such a true statement.

These days we're so wired that it's amazing that we're not tangled in all the wire - laptops, smartphones, ipads, mp3 players, TV, video games etc. I believe some of us are.

Besides being tangled in gadgets, women take on so much and don't "take off" as much time to relax, rest and be recharged - well I know that I don't. We can only give what we have and if we're exhausted - spirit, soul and body - diminishing returns will set in and so will the cycle of futility rather than fruitfulness and fulfillment.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending a weekend away with some other ladies - yes all mothers. It was such a great time away - we were truly away. For starters, the wireless coverage was practically non-existent so we were unplugged by force. And then there were no children with us - oh the joys of being blessed with others to take care of our children while we retreated to refresh and be reenergized. Being away from the gadgets including TV and "people," provided us with opportunities to have quality conversations and develop deeper richer relationships...

It was quite the experience unplugging from the "world" and plugging into the Word and prayer. With the way God opened His heavens over us, it was evident that we had properly focused and sought after God.  Weeks later, I'm still reeling from that experience and looking forward to the next time I'll unplug from the busyness of life...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Here I am...

...don't send me.

Were you expecting me to quote Isaiah 6:8*? Well that's what it used to be - and still is occasionally. In fact, some people go one step "backward" to say:
 "Here I am, send him/her."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Seeing better than Monk...

A few years ago, I got "introduced" to an outstanding detective: Adrian Monk.
Watching him at work is both exciting and enlightening. The saying "there is more than beholds the eye" is so true for this man. A few months ago, I watched an episode (Monk and the Candidate) where Captain Stottlemeyer said:
"I see all he sees but I don't see what he sees."

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Mummy, when can I get my phone?"

A friend and "parenting-partner" sent this piece to me a few weeks ago and I've been meaning to share this with other parents for a while. Before you read this wonderful piece, let me talk a bit about "parenting-partners." Whether or not you agree, none of us was born a parent - not to mention a good one at that...which is why we need all the (Divine) help we can get. So it saddens me when I see adults (parents) ignore a child's misbehavior because of the "she/he is not my child" attitude. The bible is clear that:
"If you know what is right to do but you do not do it, you sin."(James 4:17)
So the "she/he is not my child" attitude is sin - if you ask me...especially since God expects us to live a "brother's keeper" life. I wrote about the need to be a parenting-partner - 9 months ago... see: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2012/12/whats-good-for-donkey.html. This is why I decided to take time to appreciate this my parenting-partner - she is there for many of us too. May God bless her and also assign equally passionate parenting-partners to her. Amen.

Besides how challenged I was by this piece, in the past 2 weeks or so, one of my children has been asking: "when can I get a phone?" and is not letting off. That question further motivated me to share this; interestingly that's where this article starts off. Be empowered as you read on...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's all about "R"

A few months ago, I was typing "Hello dear friend" - at least that was what was in my mind but my fingers were working too fast and I typed "Hello dear fiend." Good thing I caught it before sending it out - what a classic example of where and how spell check can fail you. As that happened, it struck me that "R" makes quite a difference in that word and in the world.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Me, myself and I


In everyday life, it can be difficult to focus on yourself without seeming self-centered and selfish. I know that more than once I've said that "self-first is not selfishness"* - I know it isn't. Think about it, for you to be any good or of any use to anyone else, you need to be good and useful - which entails wholeness in your spirit, soul and body. You have to be equipped to "help" others.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lesson from Legos


I got this piece from "All Worship"* and had to share (2nd picture and emphasis, mine):
 
Lesson from Legos
Life might be less complicated if we each received our own Lego kit at birth. Yes, I realize there is a choking hazard for children under three. But when you are old enough, you can learn a lot from Legos. I have learned that:

There is strength in numbers. When the bricks stick together, great things can be achieved.

Disaster happens. But the pieces can be put back together again.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hold your ground...

Last week, we talked about living a CPR life* and then this week I saw this quote:
 

“The giant oak is an acorn that held its ground.
~Anonymous
 
My take away from it is that no matter how big and great the things you want to accomplish are, you need to (or maybe even, must) start small. Think about it, no successful/great man or woman started life as an adult – not even Jesus - or did you?
 
The roots of this fact of life are even in the Bible:
 
So:
“Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”**
 
When you believe and obey that verse, be rest assured that:
 
Where you began will seem unimportant [Though your start was small],
because your future will be so successful [your end will be exalted].***
 
AMEN!
 
As you purpose, pursue and progress in life, hold your ground - rooted in God.
 
References:
*http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2013/09/live-cpr-life.html
** Zech 4:10a - NLT
***(Job 8:7 -Expanded Bible)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Live a CPR life

When this topic struck me, as a recommended way of life, I couldn't help but research into the most commonly known meaning of CPR
"Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation."

One thing to note about CPR is that you need to be trained in order to perform it on another person and hopefully save a life -when you do. When performing CPR you also need to be focussed and even in the right frame of mind.

With all the challenges of life, we have to live a CPR life.
In this instance, CPR stands for Consistently Persistent & Resilient.

There are very few things in life that are easy. One fact of life is that: The fact that something is difficult does not mean it is impossible. In fact, if it is deemed impossible, turn it over to the "Impossibility Specialist." 
 
Matt 19:26 - Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (NLT)
Luke 1:37 - For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. (Amplified)
What has God said concerning you? What are your dreams and ambitions? Whatever they are, give life to them now:
Live a CPR life!
 
Have a great month of "time of life"* ahead.
 
Reference:
* Nine symbolizes the time of life because 9 months of pregnancy = full term baby.
 
P.S. Praying for a safe delivery for all pregnant women.




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pressures of life

I found a few tips on how to deal with life's pressures that I couldn't keep to myself:

"When we think of life's complexities, it's pressures and it's disarray, we find that the best investment is to take the time to pray!"
~ Gillis Triplett

“Unless we rely on God's power within us, we will yield to the pressures around us.” ~ Unknown

My fave is: "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore."* (Ps 16:11)

When you put all three together, you'll realize that praying for and receiving God's power can only happen in His presence where there are pleasures - not pressures - forevermore.

The best tip for dealing with the pressures of life is: “Live in His presence!”

Reference:
* Amplified

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Word confirmed...

Psalm 118: 5-6 Out of my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free and in a large place.The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Amplified)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tame tantrums

A few weeks, or maybe months, ago I was thinking about how various parents deal with their child(ren)'s tantrums. It's interesting how different our perspectives are on these things.

I know it may sound harsh but the truth is: We should not tolerate tantrums...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Faith facts

A few days ago, I shared a piece on Faith*. I'm sure you know that Hebrews 11:6 is unequivocal about the relationship between Faith, God and us; it says:

"Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who sincerely try to find him." (Easy-to-Read Version)

I just heard and then found a couple other definitions that resonate with me:

Faith is not putting God to work, it is putting God's word to work. ~ Bishop David Oyedepo

Faith is not a dormant force...it's a dominant force.
~ Bishop David Oyedepo
 
The only way you can successfully walk on water is to have faith in Him Who has asked you to
"Come..."
...It's my prayer that we all grow and go in faith. AMEN
 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Act according to your faith...

It's interesting how we sometimes take the scriptures out of context. A number of people believe that (and behave as if) having faith means we should be passive i.e. have faith and do nothing.
Pastor EA Adeboye said: "Anyone faith that leaves everything to God is and irresponsible faith."
I also like how Joel Osteen points out the importance (& impact) of our faith in this piece:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Timeless Turtle tips...

Besides the tale of the hare and the tortoise that taught us: Slow and steady wins the race.(Aesop (620 BC - 560 BC)), I've been looking for other lessons we can learn from tortoises/turtles. It was nice to find these and to break them out of their "shell":  

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.  
~    Oscar Wilde

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
~Steve Jobs


Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  ~Judy Garland

When you are living the best version of yourself, 
you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves.
~ Steve Maraboli


Watch the turtle. He only moves forward by sticking his neck out.
~ Lou Gerstner
Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise. 
~ Unknown

Life is inherently risky.
There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing. ~Denis Waitley

Don't be afraid to reach toward your dreams. Fear stops you only if you let it. 
Plan carefully for that first essential move- and then make it. ~ Unknown

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
~ Muhammad Ali

I have 2 take-aways from this set of turtle tips:
Be yourself - you're the only person who can be your best self.

Be willing to take risks and make every attempt to make progress in life.

The most important lesson for us:
You may be deemed "slow," but don't let that stop you from moving forward.
Remember the oldes Tortoise tip: "Slow and steady wins the race."

What are yours? Please share them with us. Happy end of July. God bless

Friday, July 26, 2013

"Congratulations!"?

It's amazing how often we really need to watch out words - even the good ones can be the wrong ones depending on who we're talking to and why. Keep reading, you'll understand...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Having toiled all night...

Luke 5:1-11 presents a very familiar story of failure and the mercy of God.

Peter experienced failure...Significant, impactful Failure. A lot depended on it and he had invested significant effort in order to achieve success. Fishing for Peter represented:
1) His Identity - Ego, Reputation, Self-worth,
Accomplishment - he was known as a fisherman
2) His Career and source of livelihood - his trade was fishing, provision for his family, school fees, house rent, clothing. His family depended on him fishing (successfully)
3) His Calling: ministry, spiritual gift, a talent, passion

Peter toiled all night and caught nothing… ZERO!
This must have been a big blow considering the 3 points above.

Having toiled all night, Peter had to deal with disgrace and public ridicule associated with fruitless effort.
Having toiled all night, Peter must have been emotionally weak, frail and vulnerable.
Having toiled all night, Peter must have been tired and eager to rest.

However, when Jesus came, He did not focus on Peter's effort, failure, the need to succeed, or next steps. He focused on Peter's potential to serve or Peter's relevance in God's purpose.
Jesus asked him to do more work. Giving up would have been a more natural response than giving in to Jesus' request. But Peter agreed to serve, without regard for how his immediate need would be catered for.

Jesus could have approached any other person, but he was drawn to Peter's emptiness, pain, lack…etc. Jesus is still drawn to our emptiness, but today, Christians want to define the conditions, manner of service, time of service, justify our inability to serve and as such we lose the impact of Jesus being drawn to our emptiness.

For Jesus, the focus is service, the by-product of service is a solution to our specific need.

Peter was not asked to preach.
  • He was asked to give his boat...which at that moment was a symbol of failure and shame.
  • He was asked to serve with the very thing that manifested his failure. He was asked to share his time...the very thing he most desperately would want to use to rest and refresh and be ready for the next fishing exercise.
  • He was asked to focus on others and not himself.
  • He was asked to respond to the Master's needs without consideration of how his needs will be met.

Jesus doesn't focus on the pain, because He provides the gain
Jesus doesn't discuss the problem, because He has the solution
Jesus doesn't discuss the emptiness because He can fill to overflowing.
Jesus doesn't discuss the failure, because success is more interesting to talk about.

Peter's turn around was instantaneous and the effect was stupendous

May we constantly give Jesus the opportunity to turn our failures into successes, our shame into glory and our lack into boat-sinking abundance.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Be like instant coffee...

These days everyone is always in a hurry – to or from somewhere. I recently completed a survey about a fibre bar and they kept bringing up the question of convenience i.e. easy to eat on-the-go. It’s also this need for “speed” that brought about the instant coffee, microwave and so many other time-saving and “labour-avoiding” devices. Now this is not to say that I have anything against them...it’s just an opportunity for us to look and learn.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

#500!

Wow! This is the 500th post on WoW... Indeed, in many ways, God has been faithful.

I've been looking forward to this post for a while as you can imagine - and wondered what I'd write on. So I decided to give myself an uphill task of choosing my favourite 5 posts.

It's difficult because each of the posts mean something special to me. Let's take the "Courage" series for instance...they were not only a series within a series (Secrets of Success), they were a personal test on how courageous I was to blog. It was tough to keep writing, but just imagine giving up when writing on "Courage" - what a paradox that would have been.

Courage: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2009/11/secret-3-courage-1.html

Courage to Live: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2009/11/secret-3-courage-2-courage-to-live.html

Courage to Give: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2009/11/courage-to-give.html

Courage to Love: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2009/11/secret-3-courage-3-courage-to-love.html

Courage to Lead: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2009/12/secret-3-courage-4-courage-to-lead.html

Courage to Learn: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2009/12/secret-3-courage-5-courage-to-learn.html

Courage to Lean: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2009/12/secret-3-courage-6-courage-to-lean.html


Now that's 8 posts already...I wanted to pick only 5 out of the 499 posts published to date.

Indeed God has helped me gain and maintain courage so I intend to continue trusting God for the courage to go beyond the next 500 posts. This is also a great time to thank all of you - who not only read our posts but also reach out and share how much you look forward to the pieces and are blessed by them. I covet your prayers as I continue to pursue my purpose with passion. I also want to encourage you to pursue your passion - watch out on what you think is holding you up: http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2010/07/whats-holding-you-up.html

I'll stop here and leave you to decide (& maybe share) which posts are your favourite...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

You can do it...

...we can help.

When I saw this slogan it sounded rather scriptural to me...the difference being that our Lord doesn't take any money from us in exchange for His help. Now, I'm not saying that what Home Depot is doing is wrong. In fact it is the right thing - after all they are a profit-making enterprise not a not-for-profit or charitable organization.
Ok so where am I going with this?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Be a light...

I was thinking about this Father's Day - the second one without my birth-father and the 12th watching my husband develop as a father - and couldn't help but wonder about other people's impressions of fathers. I know what mine are and agree with these quotes:

It is much easier to become a father than to be one.
~ Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994


Creating a child takes no love or skill; being a parent requires lots of both.
~ Michael Josephson

This "father-lighthouse" quote is so true. I do remember that my father always encouraged me to aim high and go for it. My husband does the same for our children.

While not the sail, good fathers pray for the fair wind to take their children to their God-given destiny. I know so - from watching my husband who knows how important the "wind of the Holy Spirit" is for successful sailing...

The quality of fathers as a guiding light is dependent on their power source. Stay connected to God - David said this about God:
"You have the fountain of life. 
We are filled with light because you give us light." (Ps 36:9 - NIRV)

Please join me as I celebrate all the great fathers out there who know that being a father is much more than having children...Happy Father's Day! May you never regret being a father.
Amen




Friday, June 7, 2013

1, 2, 3...fly

Life is always in flux. Sometimes I wish I could make time stop & I know I can't. So I turn my attention to how I can keep pace with all that's happening around me. Stopping or stepping away from the process of progression is not a solution. As someone once said: "Change is the new norm." (author unknown)

There is so much we can learn from the butterfly.

The 1st thing is to realize that until you are ready to change - especially in your mind (& actions), nothing around you may change. We must always realize that we have the choice. It's been said that (note this is my paraphrase):
"You may not be able to change things that happen but you can change your attitude and response to them."

The 2nd thing is: the end of something is not the END. Even when it involves death, though really painful, it is always also the beginning of a new phase of life.

Life is a progressive cycle. When something comes to an "end" be positive, embrace the beginning of a new experience rather expend valuable energy, emotions and time moaning about the end.

Be like the butterfly, who goes: 1, 2, 3...fly.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beware...

of the "Old Prophet."

Let's be clear. I'm not saying disregard or, worse still, disrespect those older or more mature than you, I just saying that you should beware...

Let's read this passage* which I'll use as the backdrop for this piece together...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Watch your weight...


I know this can be a touchy subject because so many people are working (or is it "wishing") so hard to reduce their weight and keep it off. There may be some people, like me, who have also been more like wishing hard to add weight...just a little. Recently, I surprised a medicare professional when I said "At last!" after I stepped on the scale and saw I had added about 6 kgs in the past 6 years. Indeed, I'd been working on it not just wishing. Of course, now I need to watch it.* The bottom line is, it's a challenge for people for different reasons.

Well besides our diet and low/no exercise level, there are many other reasons why people gain weight. In fact I was not surprised to discover that these 2 reasons which can be the root cause (symptom) and result of each other - almost like a cycle: 
  1. Lack of sleep**
  2. Lots of stress**
There are some of us that don't sleep enough at all or at times - including me. I know that personally there are times when despite my best intentions, because I let all I need to do get to me and stress me, I don't sleep long or well enough to be refreshed enough to properly deal with the work-load (& stress) facing me. Then when I don't perform as well as I expect myself to, I worry about it, get stressed and don't sleep well and the cycle continues. Guess what, as this cycle continues, one's body only gets better at retaining fat and some people add on to that by eating to hopefully ease the stress and both cause weight increase.

This whole thing is so aptly put in Prov 12:25 says:
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. (NLT)

So let me help you "up" here. Watch your weight - as you monitor your BMI,* remember to:
 
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Pet 5:7 - NLT)
Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). (Ps 55:22 - Amplified)
When you do, your physical weight will improve as you're less stressed and sleep more.

Sources: