Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Serving?

Church is such a great place...well at least the church I attend is - if you can't say the same thing about yours. I'm always so amused and sadly amazed at how many "servants" we have in the church that don't realize or may realize but don't care that the word "servant" was derived from or is an extension of the word "serve." 

So let's take a step back to find out what the word "serve" means - we may then be in a better position to take large strides forward and do what we should all be doing. A friend of mine said:
"If everyone does what they should be doing, Jesus will come sooner than later" - now that's not just something to think about...it's something to act upon.

It's great to see how eager some people, including children, are to put their hands to the work. In fact sometimes, there's a "tussle" over the broom. If you are a believer, you are saved to serve not to be served. So as we get ready to step into a new year, I encourage you to check whether you're wearing an apron or a bib.* Bibs are easily outgrown - and should be. Wear an apron next year. 

Reference:
* http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2014/01/bibs-or-aprons.html

One for each day...

2 years ago, my husband and I were looking for games for our children and we saw one that said: "Over 365 puzzles! That's more than a puzzle every day for a full year!" When I read it I said to my husband, "Imagine this - they expect children to play games every day of the year?"

The question that comes to mind from this on this last day of the year is - "Did you play at all or any day of this year that is about to disappear?" Put differently, "how much quality and fun time did you spend with your family?" Those who know me know that I'm not one for all those electronic or video games. Our children finally have DSs - several years after their peers.

I believe that some of those electronic games are too introverted so my husband and I have taken time to teach them and play some interactive games we grew up playing such as Ayo (see above) and the WHOT card game. It's also been nice to see how they reach for them or other more "conventional" ones like Ludo or Monopoly when children visit our home. I sometimes see the children look around for wires or cables to a game box/console which are visibly absent in our home...and we like it that way.

One thing that does exist in our home, in between all the home work and things, including chores, that have to be done, is a lot of light-heartedness and laughter. We do our best to have "play time." For your sake and your child(ren)'s, please include "play-time" with you on your "To dos" list.

Wishing you an amazing year ahead - filled with much laughter and joy all around. God bless.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wow!!!

It's 25 years to the day since my mother passed. "Wow!" is the word that best fits how I feel.

As I look back, I'm pleasantly surprised and eternally grateful for how God has carried my siblings and I on eagle's wings. He has taken such good care of us - and even raised many others to be there for us. It's been a World of Wonders for me in so many ways. So yes WoW! indeed.

For a few months after my Mum passed, I was in a daze and even lost my sparkle and laughter. God blessed me with brethren and friends who were there for me - not offering any solutions - just supportive shoulders which was all I needed. I'm sure they prayed for me in secret too.

I never imagined I'd be where I am today or accomplished half of what I've accomplished. And to think that I'm not even half-way through fulfilling my purpose in life - all I can say is "Wow!"
I guess it's a testimony to the wonderful mother I had. She truly believed in me and made me understand that I could be whoever I wanted to be. She reminded me that it's who I am (& have) on the inside that matters and I'm so glad that I found the "Who" that truly matters early in life.

I can't say that I agreed with all her methods and mandates at the time but now it all makes sense. She exemplified what Proverbs 13:24 (one of my favourite verses) says: 
A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. (The Message)

She applied this verse not just to my siblings and I, but to every child in her sphere of influence. Talking about her sphere of influence, she was an influential woman - warrants another Wow! 
She once told me that her colleagues at work used to call her "Shepherd."

I couldn't agree more with them - it was an apt "title" for her. She "carried," cared and catered for so many people. In fact, she has been irreplaceable in my extended family even 25 years later.

I really miss my Mum...I don't cry or grieve as much as I used to and then there are those trigger events including people's behaviors towards their parents that grieve me. If and when I grieve these days,  it's mostly from a point of gratitude. Did you say "Wow!"? Well, I'm so grateful to God that He deemed me worthy of having such a Woman of Wonder (WoW) as my Mother.

I pray that I can be as good and even a better Mum than she was...so help me God. AMEN!



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Change is a choice...

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit
 
When you are through changing, you are through.
~Bruce Barton

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Put your muscle...

...where your mouth is. 

I was laughing when I read, actually listened to, Joshua 17:14-18 a few months ago. It says:
One day the Joseph tribes came to Joshua and asked, “Why didn't you give us more land? The Lord has always been kind to us, and we have too many people for this small region.” Joshua replied, “If there's not enough room for you in the hill country of Ephraim, then go into the forest that belonged to the Perizzites and the Rephaim. Clear out the trees and make more room for yourselves there.” “Even if we do that,” they answered, “there still won't be enough land for us in the hill country. And we can't move down into Jezreel Valley, because the Canaanites who live in Beth-Shan and in other parts of the valley have iron chariots.” “Your tribes do have a lot of people,” Joshua admitted. “I'll give you more land. Your tribes are powerful, so you can have the rest of the hill country, but it's a forest, and you'll have to cut down the trees and clear the land. You can also have Jezreel Valley. Even though the Canaanites there are strong and have iron chariots, you can force them to leave the valley.” (CEV)

The only thing that came to my mind was:
"Serves you right...put your muscle where your mouth is."
Too many people want to be spoon-fed. Remember my piece on "Drop that spoon"?*

I'm not saying that there's no place for people to help you. However if you live your life depending on others or waiting for them to do things for you, sooner than later you'll be a liability - and before you know it, you would have overdrawn on your "account" with them.

Just as it is with money matters, assets are always better than liabilities. When you are an asset, you add value to people's lives and you are invaluable to more people than you know.

Rather than looking or waiting around for someone to help you "get more land" why don't you look inside and see what YOU can do - and do it? If you want something and  know that is God's Will for you, put your muscle where your mouth (or heart is).

Reference:
* http://mrs-pastor-and-pastor-mrs.blogspot.ca/2013/09/drop-that-spoon.html

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Are you "Mom-opic"?

I first heard that coinage a few months ago while listening to a panel discussion comprising women who couldn't and women who didn't want to have children. It was interesting to hear their perspectives so I decided to expand on it based on my personal experiences.

Let's start by breaking down the word. "Mom-opic" is combination of 2 words...I expect you can make them out. Yes "Mom" an alternate word for "Mother" and "opic" from "Myopic" which means narrow-minded and lacking in intellectual insight - in other (my) words "poor-sighted." Melanie (I didn’t catch her last name) who coined this word said she came up with it after observing how myopic a lot of mothers are; too many mothers, intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, believe that women who don't have children (yet) don't know anything (or know nothing) about raising children. It is such a sadly myopic view because some of these women have raised or supported others to raise children - say, their younger siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends' children, foster children and the list could go on.

The other misconception, pun intended, is that Motherhood = Womanhood - nothing could be further than the truth. I'll delve into both "I-sight" issues with my insight, which some may say is too __________ - not sure how you'd describe it hence the blank space, so let's move on.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Grace to stay grateful

As this year's Thanksgiving Day was in the horizon,
I wanted to do something different & thought-provoking. So last Monday, I sent an email to some of my colleagues, including my boss, encouraging each person to write one thing they are thankful for each day so that by Friday, each person would have at least 5 things they are thankful for.
It was nice to read what others are thankful for - even some things we take for granted e.g. choices. There was a funny example of "one (wo)man's meat..."
- someone was thankful for the nice weather i.e. no snow yet and another person was thankful for Winter holidays.

I knew I'd be out of the office on Friday so I made sure I completed my list of 5. At the end of the day, I added the 6th one laid in my heart. Yes, you guessed right, it was:
I am thankful to God for
the grace to remain grateful/thankful... especially beyond Thanksgiving Day.
It was both a point of thanksgiving and a prayer as well. As you may know, it’s very easy to get caught up in life and not take the time to express our gratitude to God...which takes a decision and effort.  As a ladies, we're always encouraged to be graceful - and that takes some effort - at least for me it does. So I guess if there was one grace we all need, it's the grace to be grateful every day and everyway.
Author Edward Sandford Martin put this need to have grace to stay grateful aptly,  
“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year;
to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”
May we receive the grace and remain gracefully grateful...and move to ThanksLIVING.
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Happy ThanksLIVING life!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ripple effect...

 
Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
~ Scott Adams

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Laps for laps

As I was preparing for a trip, I tried on my newest pair of jeans - which I had bought 3 weeks earlier and behold, they were tight on my thighs. Hmm? Where was I when that happened?
 
It then hit me that the fact that you're not actively doing anything to add weight doesn't mean that nothing is happening. So I started thinking that maybe I need to start doing laps (i.e. running) for my laps. The very first "proposal" in my thoughts was that I need to get a buddy who'd encourage & keep me accountable. I quickly discounted it because I need to decide and do - and the buddy may become a bother. The way I see it, fitting into my new pair of jeans comfortably is enough motivation. 
 
Talk about taking responsibility. I really like this cartoon - it's not completely true for me at least not now and hopefully never - if I take active action now. So I started doing some research and found out that brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming can be done in laps and fat is burned. But doing this once a month or just over the summer is not sufficient. The bottom line is that I (we, in case you're in the same boat as I am) need to move from knowing what to do to doing it and being committed & consistent. Doing this for 45-60 minutes, at least 3 times a week will produce a lifestyle.
I've decided to give myself a birthday gift that I want. No, not new outfits, but a better "fit-in" - so help me God.
Please encourage anyone around you who has set a self-improvement target. You & I can do it...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To thrive...

...trust and obey.
Jer 17: 7-8 - [Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.*
 
Psalm1: 1-3 Happy [Blessed]are those who don’t listen to [walk in the counsel of] the wicked, who don’t go where sinners go[stand in the way of sinners]who don’t do what evil people do[sit in the seat of mockers]They love [delight in] the Lord’s teachings [laws; instructions]and they think about [meditate on] those teachings [laws; instructions] day and night. They are like a tree planted by a river[streams of water;full of life, strong, vibrant]The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don’t die [wither]Everything they do will succeed.*
Job 36: 11 - “If they listen and obey God, they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant. (NLT)


Reference:
* Amplified

Friday, September 5, 2014

Take it easy, woman

It's interesting and enlightening to watch people and of course learn from them.

A few weeks ago, I saw a lady travelling with her husband and their 2 sons. It was very obvious that she was "in-charge." She was even in control (more like custody) of the boys' travel pillows.

When their luggage arrived on the carousel, she looked at her husband and said: "The 2nd, 3rd & 4th are ours." (I was lip-reading) BTW, her husband had gotten 2 luggage carts and each son had one. The next thing that happened - without warning - she started lifting their large suitcases off the carousel herself.

Amazed, I looked at her husband who looked equally amazed. As I walked away, I felt like going to her to say: "Take it easy woman."
All that was going through my mind was that there's no way I'd do that with my husband and sons right there beside me. Did I mention that their youngest son looked about 10 years old?

You know, I believe that sometimes women overdo things. You may be able to do everything but you really don't have to do everything. Some of us spend more time complaining that no one helps us whereas we don't give others space or time to help us - like the lady I mentioned.

To really enjoy our family - and family time, engage them in various activities...live a more balanced life. One with more rest and less stress... Join me as we say this to ourselves: "Take it easy, woman." Yes, it's okay to...

P.S. This experience makes me even more grateful for the men in my life. My husband and sons wouldn't even have let me carry the 1st suitcase. They would have repositioned themselves and taken charge there.  God uses them to help me take it easy from time to time. Love you all...lots.
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Uncle?

I wrote about this* over 3 years ago and I was reminded about it again last Christmas... while watching Mammoth Christmas. 
I smiled when Manny's daughter, Peaches refer to Sid - her parents' friend - as "Uncle Sid." These days that more and more people call people older than them by their first name it can be an uphill task to help children refer to their elders respectfully. There are many ways to teach a child how to do that. One way I've found to be effective is when they are still imitating and repeating everything - or almost everything you say, I refer to other adults as "Uncle" or "Auntie" so and so.
 
It has worked rather well with my children such that the only name they know for that person is "Uncle this" or "Auntie that." It's almost funny - but great - to hear them correct themselves when they unthinkingly refer to the person as "Brother" or "Sister" as I would. 
 
When the school year started, it was nice almost startling to see the switch when one of my children's teacher was introducing himself to his students. He was clear on what they should call him - "Mr. so and so." Without missing a heartbeat when he turned to introduce himself to me, he said my name is "So and so" - yes his first name. So the distinction was clear and reinforced my resolve to help children in my sphere of influence understand that.

I know it's not easy for some children to understand why they should call someone that isn't on their family tree "Uncle" or "Auntie" however, it is important for them to understand that it's about the bond not just blood.

I know about this from personal experience. I have an Auntie who has been and continues to be a superb blessing to me and my family. In fact my children, know her as "Grandma." Auntie T, I love and appreciate you more than words can ever say. May God continually bless you and yours.

Reference:
* http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2011/04/uncle-auntie.html

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

More turtle tips

Last year, I shared some "turtle/tortoise tips* and felt there must be more we can learn from this creature and I found a blog post on the same topic. I'll share some excerpts from it (comments in brown, mine) - you may notice that some are a twist on tips I shared before.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mind your mind...

The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
You must weed your mind as you would weed your garden.
~Terri Guillemets

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#MOMories - You can...

...but you may not.

I remember very vividly my various "Can I?" conversations with my Mum - over 25 years ago. Just like I learnt the difference between "lend" and "give" - that's a story-lesson for another day.
My Mum had a superb command of English. If I may say, she understood and spoke English in English - can't stress what I mean any further. I didn't quite get the difference so when I'd go to her and ask: "Mummy, can I _______ - this or that?", her response was predictably the same: "Yes you can, but you may not."
 
Read the last 2 sentences again and let it all sink in.
 
Now, I use the same phrase on my children for 2 reasons - it is:
1) important that they understand how to ask for permission properly; and
2) even more important that I don't downplay their capacity and capabilities.
 
Let me break it down:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How busy are you?

I know that a lot of people are quick to tell you how busy they are. With the amount of time some people spend sharing how busy they are with others, I can’t help but wonder:
“If you’re really that busy,
 how come you have this much time to spare sharing how busy you are?”
 
I mean if you’re too busy to call or visit people – and spend quality time with them, why would you “waste” your precious time explaining how busy you are to the same people…or others?

Now, I don’t have anything against being busy – the question to ask is: “Busy doing what?” As we know, Socrates was a very wise man and he gave this warning which is very apt these days:

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. ~ Socrates

Let me tell you how I see it, I notice that some people use their “busyness” as an excuse not avoid what they should – i.e. they’d rather be spinning in circles of activity rather than “walking the straight line” of progression. Some others use it as a way to avoid others – and that is unfortunate, if you ask me.



Now one thing you’ll notice from Jesus’ choice of disciples is that He only chose people who were already engaged – i.e. busy. So being busy is not bad as such – it’s just bad when we use it as an excuse not to do what we should. In the “busyness” of my life, I usually assess myself – so that I’m not negatively BUSY i.e. Burdened Under Satan’s Yoke.* Ask yourself: "If I'm too busy to spend time doing the Lord's work - who's work am I doing?"

One t
hing I try to do is avoid busy for busy sake – when I can.

It’s great to find and have “down-time” rather than be busy doing nothing. So how busy are you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Solid sand...

...is still sand.

The parable of the wise and foolish man is applicable in every situation in life. Let's read it first:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Are you

ENLIGHTENDED …to walk on water?
 
It is always amazing how the word of God comes alive in an instant. Suddenly a passage that you have read over and over again, takes on new meaning. This has happened to me in a number of cases recently. I will share one of those AHA! cases.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Impossible?

Nelson Mandela said: It seems impossible until it's done.

What a very factual and fundamental statement. In fact, Christians should not be overwhelmed with how things seem. God never ever promised that things will be easy - He promised that we will overcome because He has overcome* and with Him all things are possible:

But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.**


Jesus glanced around at them and said, 
With men [it is] impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.***


For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.****

But He said, What is impossible with men is possible with God.*****

Our lives are fraught with challenges and more than once, I've wanted to give up. Remember, nothing is impossible because God can do any and everything. Jesus also told us that we cannot do anything without Him.******

Add your faith to these facts. As you stay joined to our God Who specializes in impossibilities, you'll see and agree with Robert H. Schuller that: 
"Today's accomplishments were yesterday's impossibilities." 

As we get ready to start the 2nd ½ of the year, welcome you to the Life of Possibilities.

My advice - just keep your faith in God fervent because: 
Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible. (Mary McLeod Bethune)

References:
* John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (Amplified)
** Matthew 19:26 - Amplified
*** Mark 10:27 - Amplified
**** Luke 1:37 - Amplified
***** Luke 18:27 - Amplified
******John 15:5 - I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. (CEV)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

For Fathers...

I wanted to give fathers a gift today...a gift of how to be even better fathers. The way I see it if Fathers apply at least 2-3 of these tips, they'll be gifts that your children will never forget and you'll never regret giving... 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Marriage Matters

So you know where this is coming from, late last year I decided to share some marriage tips - from experience - this year (on our next wedding anniversary). As I was pulling the tips in this piece together, the Holy Spirit humorously reminded me that it's so true that teenagers think that they know all they need to know about life...
It must been that teen-thinking that gave me the courage, more like guts, to write this based on my marriage that's in its early teen years. I mean what do I really know about marriage? Well, I'm happy to share what I know so far...knowing that we'll learn (& experience) more in our many years of marriage to come...wishing you many more yours in your marriage too...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

People-problems?

Last year, this question and then thought (see below) hit me when I heard Joyce Meyer say:
"You better like yourself because wherever you go, there you are."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

License to walk on water

Sometime ago Sapphire was concerned about being able to achieve certain thing (akin to Walking on Water) and was not sure how others will perceive or receive her work and/or achievements. During this conversation, we got inspired (by the story in Matthew 14:25-32) about how God can give us “license to walk on water” and what we do or should do with it.
Here are some of the points we noted:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Deflated tire?

Life can be likened to a car... things happen, we need to refuel, maintain the car in order to have "wheels" with which to progress.
One thing that happens to cars too - usually unexpected is a deflated tire - I'm not aware of anyone who would drive over spikes on purpose.
If, more like when, your tire is deflated, you have one of four choices:
  1. Keep driving with the deflated tire and get nowhere "fast" since you'll destroy the other good tires,
  2. Park the car and stop going anywhere,
  3. Put on the spare tire and continue to your destination or
  4. (Especially if you don't have a spare tire), look for someone to help you fix (inflate) the bad tire and continue on your journey.
No matter what the devil does to deflate your will (& wheel) to progress towards your God-assigned destiny, deflect it and keep going. Don't let a deflated tire "tire" you (pun intended).
 
Eph 6:13 tells us what to do: Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. (NLT)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Been to..."

Have you come across people who are quick to tell you all the places they've "been to"?

Personally, when I meet some people who tell me, especially unsolicited, where they've been, sometimes I can't help but say "Really?" - in my inside voice of course.

I remember when I was in university and we'd be chatting with people who said they went through a particular school - the question was usually, "Did that school go through you?"

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are you Mothering...

...or smothering?

Did you notice, like I did when typing this post, that the difference between both words is an "s"? Yes, that letter usually used to indicate more (an increased quantity) of something - now that's something to think about. Of a truth, when you "over-mother," you start to smother* your children and/or those you are a mother figure to.

Before I continue, let me pause here to say "Happy Mother's Day!" to all of us wonderful Mothers/Mother figures.

Friday, May 9, 2014

"It doesn't fit"


The Bible is serious when it says:
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].*
The truth is that irrespective of your situation, there is always something to give thanks for.
A number of people have used various "P" words to describe me including: "Portable" & "Petite" – and I wouldn’t disagree. In fact, with each passing day, God gives me one more reason to give Him thanks about that...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Let's go and "SPAVE"?

I'm sure you've heard or know, possibly from experience, that not everything that's seems good is "good for you."

"SPAVing" is one of those things.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Like parent, like offspring...

A dear sister shared a lesson from an Aesop fable: the Crab and its mother (one I've never heard of) with me and I couldn't keep it to myself...

Friday, April 4, 2014

So you think you can spell...

I don't know about you but it feels like ants crawling all over me when I see the words: "strength," "length" & "truly" spelt as "strenght," "lenght" and "truely." Beyond those common "mispellings" (or is it "misspellings"?) I wonder about people who mix up the use of "been" with "being" or even those who now write things like "Am fine" when they mean "I'm fine" - can you feel the ants?

God is so good at keeping us in check so we don't get puffed up & put down by pride. With that backdrop, here's my spelling story...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Safe delivery...

... is God's desire for you. 

I was talking to sister in the Lord early this year and we touched on this subject hence the title. We talked about the fact that we must be careful not to be so (too, for some) engaged (or even entangled) in the work of the ministry and not have time for our children. God's desire for every set of parents is that we safely deliver each child twice.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Letter to my Number 1...

My dear son,

At about this time 13 years ago, the Lord blessed your father (my dearest husband) and I with you. Oh what joy filled our hearts! From that day, you have continued to (and we know, will continue to) fill our hearts with joy and pride...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Relationships




Ecc 4: 9-12 - Two are better than one, in that their cooperative efforts yield this advantage: 10 if one of them falls, the other will help his partner up — woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two people sleep together, they keep each other warm; but how can one person be warm by himself? 12 Moreover, an attacker may defeat someone who is alone, but two can resist him; and a three-stranded cord is not easily broken. (Complete Jewish Bible)

The only (and best) "3rd party" you should have in your marriage is God...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Build your section...

A lot of us want to achieve great things...and it's very good to have great ambitions however, as they say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a step*...in the right direction and you can only progress when you start then continue to put one foot in front of the other.

That single step is what I'd liken to the Nehemiah 3 principle. Nehemiah had a rather great ambition, he wanted to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem but he couldn't do it all at once/alone.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Which 'V' channel do you watch?

This quote is so true - so the question to be answered when you're reviewing your life backwards is: "Which 'V' channel do you watch?" In life, there are only 2 channels. Every experience we go through - whether positive or not - can be recorded, remembered and replayed on the either the Victory or Victim channel of life .

We rarely go through not-so-positive experiences without scars - at least I never have. I'm sure you know that the scar is not always physical. Irrespective of the type of scar, when you look deeply at a scar, you'll see your scars are star-studded. The fact that you're alive to see the scar confirms you're a victor therefore,  it's a star in my books. Personally, I believe that scars are not just evidence of what you've been through but of things you have overcome - it's all a matter of perspective.

David Rossi put it differently and I agree:
"Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going."

So when you look over your past, you need to retain control over the channel you replay it on. I'm sure a lot of homes are like mine where the person who has the remote control at a particular time determines what everybody else watches. I don't get into the remote control tussle, all I do is ask whichever child has the remote control to kindly change the channel to a channel that they know I like to watch. If that doesn't happen, I take the remote control.

Likewise, if we want to review our past experiences, as we should from time to time, we need to "replay" our past on the Victory channel.  It is easy to want to stay and seethe in the victim mentality and keep licking the wounds or the scars but that doesn't take you forward.


Learning from the past and leaving the past in the past is a sign of victory. In Christ, we are Victors not victims, Conquerors not the conquered, Overcomers not the overcome...
With all that will happen to you this year, stay tuned to the Victory channel...Have a Victorious life ahead.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beliefs vs. Limits

Someone* wisely said: "A picture is worth a thousand words." So this year, in addition to my thousands of words, I'll post at least one picture - in a "word-less" post each month. Be blessed
 
 
References:
* Arthur Brisbane (said it in 1911)/Frederick R. Barnard (printed it in 1921)


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Act quickly

2 Samuel 5:22-25
Again the Philistines came up and camped in Rephaim Valley. David prayed to the Lord again and got this answer: “Don’t go up the valley. Go around them to the other side of their army. Attack them from the other side of the balsam trees. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, you must act quickly because that is the sign that the Lord has gone out in front of you to defeat the Philistines.” David did what the Lord commanded him to do, and he defeated the Philistines. He chased them from Geba to Gezer, killing them all along the way. (Easy-to-Read Version, emphasis mine)
When I read this passage recently, my eyes and heart stuck with 2 words: "act quickly." God in His infinite wisdom knew that David may have wanted to reconsult and possibly reconfirm what the Lord had said with others - like some of us like to do with the excuse that the Bible says: "At the mouth of 2 or 3..."

David succeeded against the Philistines because he "acted quickly;" he had a window of opportunity within which to take action. I then started asking myself, and now you by extension, "How may times have I not succeeded in something because I dilly-dallied and dwaddled after hearing God's clear directions?" My family and I have both suffered loss by delaying action - unfortunately, I was the bottleneck in some of those instances. We've also enjoyed tremendous gains when I (we) acted quickly based on divine instructions.

One thing I learned from enduring losses and enjoying gains is you must know how God speaks to you and more, importantly, trust and obey Him (act) quickly - for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus.

Have you asked for and received divine directions? Congratulations - now ACT QUICKLY so you don't miss your window of opportunity. God prosper you as you proceed. AMEN!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Exhale...

Today, at an event organized by Alberta CAs Community Ambassadors, Mr Sam Kolias* ended a rather inspiring speech with the analogy of inhaling and exhaling.

He said that accumulating things is like breathing in...and breathing in...and breathing in. When you continue breathing in, sooner than later, you'll suffocate and die. Conversely,  when you breathe out - and give of all you have, you get the breath of life. He ended by saying: "Giving is Living."

God never ceases to amaze me. Earlier today, I published the "Paying it foward" post** only for the same message to be reinforced in other words. Indeed, once has God spoken and twice have we heard... Whatever you do this year, if you want to enjoy the life of abundance God promises, you must EXHALE...and be a blessing to others.

Living in the Overflow requires a flow-through after God's blessings have flowed to you. In Gen 12:2-3,*** God was clear that His expectation from Abraham was that he'd be a blessing after he's blessed.  That expectation has not changed. It's not about waiting to get more before you give. Start with what's in your hand today...start today.

If you need ideas or suggestions on how to be a blessing in your community,  Beryl and I wilĺ be more than happy to share some suggestions - email us: sapphireandberyl@gmail.com.

God bless you as you become and remain a blessing.  1, 2, 3...EXHALE...

References:
*http://albertaventure.com/2010/05/sam-kolias-chairman-and-ceo-boardwalk-real-estate-investment-trust/
** http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2014/01/paying-it-forward.html
*** Gen 12: 2-3 -I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you. (CEV)

Paying it forward...

Have you heard that phrase? In recent times, it has become a more commonly used phrase especially in the corporate world. Well, did you know that it's a very old phrase? Although Wikipedia cited older uses of the phrase, these ones stuck a cord with me:

"Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his 1841 essay Compensation wrote: "In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody."
In 1916, Lily Hardy Hammond wrote, "You don't pay love back; you pay it forward.""*

According to the Urban Dictionary: the phrase means "when someone does a good deed for you, instead of paying them back, pay it forward by doing a good deed for someone else."**

When you look at the definition of the phrase, you'll see it has some root in the Golden rule: 
So always; [So in everything] 
Do to others what [Treat others as] you want them to do to [treat] you.***

This scripture and then the "paying it forward" phrase dropped in my heart late last year - when I was blessed with a time of retreat and rest. In addition to rest, it was a great time for refreshment and reflection. The more I meditated on the verse, it was obvious that God expects us to always be proactively good and kind to others - not because of what we expect from them (in return). Note that the verse doesn't say: "Do to others as they or others have done to you" - that will be a "garbage rule."

There are at least 2 lessons to note from this verse and phrase:
  • We really don't have any control over how others will (want to or) actually treat us - but we have absolute control over how we treat others. 
  • We must never treat people the way they (or others) treated us - we should treat them how we want to be treated...hopefully even better than they (or others) treated us.
The wisest man who ever lived put it this way:
The merciful, kind, and generous man benefits himself [for his deeds return to bless him], but he who is cruel and callous [to the wants of others] brings on himself retribution.****
It may seem that you're doing others a favour when you are kind to them or paying it forward, the truth is you are really being kind to yourself and your generations to come...

“I hope the fruits of my labor are ripe for many generations to come.” ~ Donovan Nichols

The Bible is replete with examples of people who benefited from their parents' kindness***** or vice versa. Indeed, kindness is a seed which we must never stop planting, trusting God that our children, grandchildren and further will eat the fruits of those seeds. Stay kind...


References:

*** Matthew 7:12a - Expanded Bible
**** Proverbs 11:17 - Amplified
***** 2 Samuel 9: 1 - David asked, “Is there anyone left in Saul’s family to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (Amplified)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Short but not sweet

Last year when sending someone an email with my contact details I reminded myself to use 'mobile number' not the usual 'cell number.' Yes I know that 'cell' is short for 'cellular' however I've decided to stick with 'mobile' so I don't speak things I never want into my life.

I wonder how much thought we put to the words we use - short form or long form. Many verses in the Bible especially in the book of Proverbs advise us on the use of our words. 
I believe that the advice covers shortened words - well, I extend the advice for myself. 
I particularly like this set:

Prov  18:20-21 - People will be rewarded for what they say [From the fruit of the mouth of a person is their stomach satisfied]; they will be rewarded by how they speak [the yield/gain of their lips satisfies]. What you say can mean [In the power of the tongue are] life or death. Those who speak with care [love it] will be rewarded [eat its fruit]. (Expanded Bible)

Whether you go with shortened or elongated words, like Joel Osteen says: 
"You can change your world by changing your words...
Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue."

So consciously and continuously speak words of the world you want for yourself.

Welcome to my Year of Overflow...what is it for you?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Loaded and labelled...

Phil 4:13 says: 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)

In other words,
Irrespective of what the devil may want you to believe, that verse means: 
We're not lacking or lagging, rather,
we're loaded and labeled for success in all and anything that faces us this year.

Believe and declare that the remaining 360 days of the year...
 Have a great and victorious year ahead - challenge after challenge.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What's your WAY?

Happy New Year! Last year, I shared one of my prized gifts from God with us (http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.ca/2013/01/sharing-my-gift.html). As the year wrapped up, I was asking myself if I needed to close the loop and share how God brought His Word to pass and my WAY* for 2014. I didn't feel a release to do that - after all, it's not about me; it's about the King and His Word! Well, this morning, after my QT, I checked my emails and found this...sharing an excerpt.

Do you remember yesterday's post**? Again, I'm amazed at how God strings things together...

Only 3 things needed

As we step into a new year, you need only 3 things to succeed. This song my mother taught me as a child is still accurate today.

Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see Thee more clearly
Love Thee more dearly
Follow Thee more nearly
Day by day
 
May the Lord answer our prayer...each and everyday of this year and our lives. Happy New Year!


Bibs or Aprons?

I was challenged when I read the article below (courtesy AllWorship.com), to look at my life and my service to God and wonder…. … am I wearing a bib or an apron?
As you read I pray that the Lord will also take you through a path of Self & Service assessment.

I recently visited a fast-growing church in Minnesota to learn from their staff. It was a privilege to witness their passion for doing high quality ministry in Jesus' name. I left with some new insights and renewed passion for the Gospel. One of the phrases that I heard while I was there was, "We want our members to wear aprons, not bibs."

Here's what they meant:
  • Bibs are for people who only want to be fed.
  • Bibs are for those who are not yet ready or willing to feed themselves.
  • Bibs are for those who are more interested in being served than in serving.
  • Bibs are for those who insist that the church exists for them and their needs.
  • Bibs are for babes in the faith, those who haven't caught God's vision for the church, or those who are not yet of the faith.

  • Aprons are for those who have a heart to serve others in Jesus' name.
  • Aprons are for those who know that they are the church.
  • Aprons are for those who don't mind getting their hands dirty.
  • Aprons are for those who take the time daily to feed their spiritual hunger.
  • Aprons are for those who are growing in faith, and hunger to help others grow.

Church growth consultant, Win Arn, interviewed thousands of Christians in America several years ago and asked them, what they though the church existed for. Eighty-eight percent said, "The church exists to serve my needs and the needs of my family." In other words, 88% of Christians in America are still wearing bibs.

On the night when He was betrayed, just hours before He was crucified, the very Son of God took off His outer garments, wrapped a towel around His waist, and washed His disciples' feet. When He was done He said, "I have just given you an example to follow." In other words, Jesus called His disciples to wear aprons, not bibs. In Matthew, Jesus is recorded as saying, "For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many." He also said, "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it." Jesus calls us to wear aprons, not bibs.

Which are you wearing?
Bringing It Home.... [life application]
  1. How would you answer the question, "Why does the church exist?" Does your answer reflect your bib or your apron?
  2. How can you help others in your Christian community to trade their bib for an apron?
  3. If you're not already serving in a ministry in your church, make a commitment to begin this month. What a wonderful New Year resolution that would be...for others.
In Matthew 20:28, Jesus tells us: "For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."

"Lord Jesus, thank You for feeding me daily with Your word. Fill me with Your redeeming love. Open my eyes to clearly see the needs of those around me, and then open my hands to serve them. Each day, strengthen me with Your Spirit, so that I might choose to wear an apron, not a bib. This I pray in Your name. Amen."
~Author Unknown~