Deborah Choma

Wednesday, December 31

A 2009 Precursor

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21

As I stare out the window at yet another sunset, I realize that time is of the essence and my goals may not necessarily be aligned with God’s plans for me this coming year.

Have I grown in grace over these twelve-months? Am I wiser, more prudent, grateful, and more giving than I have previously been? Does my son know more about Jesus than last year? Does being a Mrs. bring a term of endearment? Am I more of a servant than a taker? How does my life magnify Christ; more importantly, does God delight in my ways? What will I do with my life that will not just influence those around me, but will help build a foundation for our son and for the next generation of women?

I have made mention of the sabotaging effect that chaos in our lives can bring and how we should deal with one area at a time. This is good advice! Our Pastor referred to this principle in our church service on Sunday evening. Hearing such great guidance will never wear thin with me. I need to be reminded of how practically we can approach different areas in our lives and how overcoming is achievable for anyone. It’s never too late to begin something and NOW is a good time to formulate a predilection in our list of priorities for 2009.

Every day I am reminded of how weak my flesh is. I rise in the morning and purpose myself to apply discipline in that which concerns me the most and what I decide on becomes the object of my focused attention; by 3pm I feel defeat and disgust – I fail regularly!

Present duties are trials of character; God gives the talents that He may test and see who is worthy of a trust. According to Matthew 25:21, we’re to be improving all the time! God promises that as we overcome areas in our life and as we apply diligence to our duties, He will move us on to higher ground – that’s translated as quantity and quality!

Observe here, that it is God's talents that encompass the ten talents. The fruitfulness of our work depends on what we do with what God has given us. He rewards faithful service and He delights in a job well done! “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant:”

How often do I experience “the joy of the Lord?” How do we define “the joy of the Lord?” This simply means calmness with the Controller – that being God. “…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” The fruit of our thankful (grateful) and transparent (truthful) lives, is a resignation to God’s control of every area in our lives – good and bad!

Are you ready for this truth? What we accomplish reflects how we feel about Godouch!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

My character is refined by God’s character; if I don’t apply this verse to my daily life I am destined to fail in my daily endeavors. What we place at the top of our list of values; the principle undertaking that drives us will determine the course for our lives. If we set our compass on God’s Word, He will give us structure, clarity, purpose, and direction. Holiness is the only way to happiness!

As I continued reading Matthew 25, contrasting the good and faithful servant with the slothful servant; “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:” (Matthew 25:26) – I was personally convicted!

Before I embrace the good substance for the marathon I will run in 2009, I need a kick in the pants. I acknowledge that I have been a time waster and I now bow my head – “Dear God, I realize I have wasted so much of your time this year with self-gratification – Please forgive me?”

Because I’m aware of my weakness (self-gratification) “…thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:” - I have no further excuses other than disobedience.

Any success in 2009 will be determined by understanding the root cause of our weaknesses and the permanency that comes in a purpose driven life with God at the helm. What lies at the core of my ability to overcome areas that I have had little victory in thus far, will be a key factor in my future accomplishments! Preparing for the race involves a truthful look at self with a purpose to move on from that pivoting point. Reflecting on our past weaknesses will only benefit us if we have our motives in check. In other words, I acknowledge I have a pride problem; because I am truthful about myself to myself, I will now allow God to give me the strength and character to be daily attentive to my weakness, to be prepared for the pitfalls, and to work on overcoming my pride in 2009. It’s all about Him, for I have proven I am unable to master my pride.

It’s not always so defined; for some women overcoming appears in various indescribable forms. You may live with long-term illness, a difficult marriage, various disabilities, long-term financial hardship, or the wounds of a traumatic life; for such women, I throw you the life raft – God is in control, and you will see the fruitfulness of your efforts as God guides, strengthens, brings clarity, and does what He does best – love you unconditionally!

As I reflect on how to encourage myself at the closing of 2008 and how I can be an encourager to other women, I thought of a delightful trio – Grateful, Truthful, Fruitful.

A 2009 Precursor
  • Don’t beat yourself up for the deficiencies in your accomplishment this past year!
  • Feeling overwhelmed at what lays ahead is ineffectual. Take a day at a time, and choose one thing for now!

    1. Start - Gratitude
    2. Run - Truthful
    3. Finish - Fruitful

Start - Gratitude

Most recently, one of my dearest friends made a statement; “I have so many areas that need my attention. I don’t know where to start!” Whilst I wanted to reach out and encourage her heart, I waited on the Lord and how He would respond to this reasonable and familiar statement. Most of us would be able to identify with being overwhelmed at the to-do list for 2009. But for the most part, it may not be as simple as placing a tick next to what you do and moving onto the next thing on your list.

The “overcoming factor” lies at the root of most of our underachievement (or lack of success).
By shifting our focus on the unconstructiveness in our lives we allow God to have a positive influence over our ‘lack of enthusiasm.’ He will plant the solution seeds and will give direction throughout the course of our lives. Ask God to direct your steps into 2009 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalm 27:23

To a large extent, we don’t do all we can with what we have – that’s the path of least resistance that paves our very nature. Being aware of our DNA is half the battle.

It is only God who can open our eyes to what concerns Him the most, and what preference He has for our 2009 goals. He has already made clear what areas I need to work on first, and I have set my sails for the landmark, and am working hard at staying focused and being diligent in my pursuits. After all, my success rate is now based on how I feel about Godouch again!

There is more to my life and the areas I need to overcome, but I’m settled with one for now and doing all I can to facilitate changes in that single area.

It is my experience that if you go into the race prepared you have a better chance of finishing the race. How do I prepare myself? I acknowledge the goodness and greatness of God!

What am I grateful for?

  • My Salvation – I am 100% sure that if God were to end my life here on earth today, I would go to be with Him. My faith has found a resting place and I know where I’m going when I die -there are no if’s or maybe’s. I’m so very grateful for my salvation. If you don’t have that settled, don’t leave it another day. There is a link at the top of this blog “How Can I Be Sure?” Click on this and press ‘Play ‘– you can know today!
  • My Marriage – I am so grateful for my husband; he is my rock, my hero, and my knight in shining armor. Without the stability of my husband I would not be half the woman I am today. He is the closest thing to Christ I know and his daily testimony outshines mine. He is a God reflector!
  • My Children – Indescribable joy in my life! My girls are my angels and my son is the little man around my home that fills my days with sugar, and spice, and all things nice. He is a miracle and he possesses an irresistible charm. I could drink him with my coffee every day! (my girlfriend Sarah gave me that saying)
  • My Preacher – He is so wise and so smart. When I sit in church, I feel the Shepherd surrounding me.
  • My Health – Praise God for my body which fairs well for 50. I can’t imagine running after a 5-year old with anything less – thank you God!
  • His Provision – Just today, the clouds were parted and the heavens poured forth His goodness. I have lost count of how many times He has brought us to the edge, only to reveal His splendor and His awesome ability to provide under pressure – in His timing.

By writing a list of all that I’m grateful for, I free my mind to move onto the next phase of this successful race;

Run - Truthful

The wisest advice I can give you before you place your feet at the mark of any 2009 race, is to get real about yourself and your life. I don’t mean to let it all hang out; don’t throw your pearls out there and don’t get ugly about your circumstances. I speak of a transparency between YOU and GOD! The moment I acknowledged my pride for what it really was, and stopped coating it with an acceptable and palatable description; when I got real and acknowledged that the root cause of so many other unfulfilled goals in 2008 was my pride; I fell on my face and asked God to forgive me. That truth will give you a head-start into your New Year. It may be an undisciplined appetite or perhaps a tendency to gossip – you know what it is and more importantly, God knows!

Get real about your sin! Our sin nature is inherited and sabotages our ability to overcome ANY area in our lives. Carrying chaos around places a greater weight not a lighter load for our goal obtaining. Why should we have any success rate if we maintain a besetting sin? How could we hope for a successful 2009 if we continue doing what we’ve always done? I read this statement once; “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always have!"

So how can I change my pride problem? First I must acknowledge my pride to God. Next, I will research every Bible verse on pride and finally, I lift my yoke of pride and place it on the yoke of God’s grace. The first step in overcoming anything in our lives is to acknowledge we have an issue. I truly believe pride lies at the heart of all our problems! After we acknowledge our weakness, we must allow God to purge us. This is a process, but you will make progress if you proceed in God’s way.

Finish - Fruitful

Get ready for the finish and the reward of comfort; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

1. God has to come first in our day. When our toes hit the floor – it’s all about Him! What do I formulate as the object of my supreme choice and pursuit? Seeking Him first is placing Him before and above anything else! We must make our Bible reading and prayer first in importance. Everything else must give way before its demands. He must be first in our affections; we must love the Lord our God with our whole hearts (Matthew 22:37).

A Christian faith and obedience lead to worldly richness (not necessarily riches). This is proved by countless instances which are multiplied with each succeeding day. I am not merely stating that you’ll be rolling in dough; what I can guarantee is this Scriptural promise; “all these things shall be added unto you.” This may be described as the fruit of our obedience.

2. The fruit of our faithfulness and our diligence in the Christian life is that all manner of needs will be taken care of. “…enter thou into the joy of thy lord” once again – the ‘Controller’ of our lives! In Greek “shall be added” - is our increase.

3. Being fruitful makes you smarter! When we are fruitful we increase in the knowledge of God. “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:10

How do we walk worthy of the Lord and to please him; by endeavoring to become better acquainted with his true character? God is pleased with those who desire to understand what He is; what He does; what He purposes; what He commands. Hence, He not only commands us to study his works, "The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." (Psalm 111:2), but He has made a world entirely beautiful as to invite us to contemplate His perfections as reflected in this world.

All good beings desire that others should understand their character, and God delights in those who are sincerely desirous of knowing what He is, and who inquire with humility and reverence into His counsels and His will. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8

We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes, and from a Christian we look for a Christian temper, disposition, and life. We must honor God, and do well - this is bearing fruit! The unfruitful are taken away. And even fruitful branches need pruning; for the best have notions, passions, and humors that require to be taken away; which Christ has promised to forward the sanctification of believers, and we will be thankful for them.

The Word of Christ is spoken to all believers; and there is a cleansing virtue in that Word as it works grace and works out corruption. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in what is good and the more our Lord is glorified.

To be fruitful in 2009 we must abide in Christ, and must have union with Him by faith. It is the great concern of all Christ's disciples to be constant in our dependence upon Him and our spiritual union with Him. True Christians find by experience, that any interruption in the exercise of their faith causes holy affections to decline, their corruptions to revive, and their comforts to droop.

Let us seek to live more simply on the fullness of Christ and to grow more fruitful in every good word and work in the New Year - so may our joy in Him and in His salvation be full.

Our Formula 1 for 2009 is set;

  1. Start - Grateful
  2. Run - Truthful
  3. Finish - Fruitful

I Love You,
Deborah

Tuesday, December 23

Weight Lifting And Running

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

God has brought me through the most incredible years of my life and through God’s grace, I have had victory over many areas in 2008; Discontentment, Complaining, Instability, Poor eating habits and a Victim mentality.

My failures have become an opportunity for me to rise again - more intelligently and… I have failed many times. It takes courage to admit you’ve been wrong doesn‘t it?

I encourage you as I encourage myself, don’t have regrets. Cut your losses but don’t waste them without learning the lessons. We cannot control when God decides to poke His finger in our lives. What we can control is how we respond during those times and how we maintain our personal relationship with Him.

We are about to turn the corner of another year. What‘s the first thing in most of our minds on New Years Day? My 2009 Goals are on my mind. As we set new goals, we ought to “lay aside every weight;” It’s good to reflect on our last year’s incomplete goals and then “let us run with patience the race that is set before us…” as we move forward with a desire to achieve our best. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but as we set our eyes on target “Looking unto Jesus…” it suddenly becomes achievable doesn’t it?

I’m not afraid to show some of my weaknesses in an effort to show you Christ. Become what you need to become to be able to get done what you need to get done. I want to make a difference in someone’s life but first, I must be willing to let God make a difference in my life. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

And that’s where the few days left in 2008, and where 2009 must begin - with God. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13

One of the incredible lessons I have learned and continue to be reminded of is this: “It’s not about me.” I would like to share what I wrote in my journal on Saturday, September 17, 2005;

“When you come to Jesus with a broken heart, and when you are prepared to say - It’s not about me; when you tell God you will not be bitter but would somehow, someway serve Him in the circumstances you are in. He lifts you up and you realize that the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, peace of mind or even your own happiness. If you want to know why you are here and why you suffer anything, you must begin with God. You were born for His purpose and for His glory."

“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10

What does 2009 bring to your mind? Do you have peace in your heart? Is home a happy place? Do you like your marriage the way it is? Are your children drawn to God through your daily testimony? Are you alone? Are you happy with the way your life is running and the choices you have made thus far?

Most people are not content. There is something that can cheat us of our joy and may poise a daily threat. One of the principle lessons I have learned is that the root cause, in most cases, which robs us of your joy is - ‘self.’

A Joy Robber’s Remedy

We must start our day with God and allow Him to reshape our character and rebuild our courage. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” and just as the clay requires work to create a vessel, your life requires God to carve your character, smooth out the roughness and refill the pot with grace.

Nobody is strong in every area, so be weak in the areas that will affect you the least. We must learn to overcome the wrong weaknesses. Perhaps this involves our reactions. When we react to a person, whether it is our husband, our mother, sister, friend or child - it defines what’s going on inside! What we believe at our core level manifests itself during stressful situations. The heart is filled with thoughts and that pool of feelings spills over into our speech. Are our words a pond of praise or a bucket of bitterness?

God tells us how we are to think; “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45

A personal weakness I have been working on in 2008 is laying my research aside when my reading time is up. I have other weaknesses but for the sake of this illustration, I’ll keep it boringly simple. Whilst that may be a minor to you, it is a major one for me. I want nothing to captivate me to the point that all else is neglected - that's discipline!

What’s important for you to grow as a complete woman for God?

Some months ago, I went for an eye examination and the Doctor asked me, “Are you over the culture shock?” I looked at her and said, “Oh yes! I dealt with that issue very early in the picture.” She looked surprised and as I walked out of the office toward our car, I praised God and thanked Him for giving me the grace to overcome my shock - a shock associated with loosing the sameness of life. The daily sameness that I had taken so much for granted, had gone!

What got me through were the CONSISTENT PRINCIPLES I base my life on - the sameness of God and His Word. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8

God has not removed the storm in my life - He has given me peace in the storm! I was told by a great man of God that a great Christian is a good Christian daily. God promises if you draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to you. Draw close to Him about your goals; draw close to Him with your besetting sins; draw close to Him with your marriage, children, loneliness, overeating, critical spirit, financial hardship, overcoming areas in your life that have gripped you for years; fear, perceived failures, and a victim mentality. We can overcome and have victory – it’s not over! Allow the door of opportunity to finally open.

Some of us carry long-term sadness and I hurt for you. I have worn the shoes of despair many times. Thank God that happiness is a decision; a conscious decision to walk forward in obedience and He does give you an inner peace that people will notice.

I use my hardship as my crown of glory - that’s my testimony! Anyone can be happy when the going is good. It takes courage to make a decision to be happy, but the testimony of that decision is powerful and life changing. Don’t expect people or your circumstances to change. God has those people and those circumstances in our lives to teach us the lessons and to grow our faith.

Joy is the result of a thankful heart and the only true character a woman really needs to possess is a grateful heart! That’s the seed upon which all fruit shall bear. It’s exciting isn’t it? “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

If you want more stability in your life, start with God. He’s the only stable one I know!

You are not alone! Take a step at a time and if you fall, pick yourself up and continue on. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you one area in your life that needs balance, or transforming---when you overcome that, move onto the next locale. Don’t give up because you have a lot of ground to cover. Be patient with yourself. Like a great pianist, you start with the scales and a lot of practice. Then after many errors and much practice, the rhythm is delightful. Your life will be delightful with God!

Keep practicing those keys and remember that a disciplined character also means the mastery of moods. A slight shift in the life of even the steadiest of characters will occur; physical weariness, a poor health report, a misunderstanding or perhaps a touch of nostalgia or loneliness.

What do I do when a cloud settles down over my spirit or when I feel my sorrows? Well, what do you do when you are setting the table and a shadow falls across the room? Take a quick look to see if a serious storm is brewing and then go on with setting the table. When a cloud comes across your soul, take a quick look to see if sin has brought darkness. If you find no sin, just go on setting the table for the Lord! That is mastering our moods and that too, is maturing.

Has it ever occurred to you that most of the world’s work is done by people who don’t feel like it?

Have a plan and set some achievable goals. Be diligent and discipline yourself to persevere in it. If you fail during the day, don’t give up! Start tomorrow with a resolve to overcome your weakness, and submit yourself to the Spirit of God – He is with us all the way! As often as it takes, pray for His strength and power to overcome the area that concerns you the most (and God will reveal that to you).

This is the best advise I can contribute to your life and it will also nourish you as beautiful women for God‘s glory.

My Goals

1. A Continuing Daily Bible Reading Schedule - enjoy the life lessons that God has given me through His word and saturate myself! Continue to set aside a time - preferably first thing, God commands us - “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33

2. Praise - Praise is perhaps the most powerful tool for a Christian to have victory over sin and temptation, and it is one of the best ways to draw closer to God. Every day, I aim to take a few moments to appreciate God’s creation, including YOU.

3. Hymns and Spiritual Songs - A hymn is a song that brags on God. A spiritual song is a song that lifts our spirits and encourages us or reminds us of good things in our lives. As I will choose a hymn and a spiritual song each day, I will read the words, and think about the good things the song says about our glorious God.

4. Prayer - It is impossible to be a good Christian without a consistent prayer life. My prayers consist of choosing a Prayer Promise each day to claim as I pray to God.

5. Set Joy – Some of us live very tough lives. Sometimes, the circumstances that fill our days are not always going to move on or change. I think of those with acute illnesses, disabilities, and long-term suffering. We can bear our sorrow when we set joy before us. Allow this hope to influence you during some of the most difficult trials. Jesus endured the cross as He set joy before Himself---knowing He would be at the right hand of His Father.

6. Acknowledge – Our goal setting must begin with God and end with Him. As we begin our day, this pattern needs to continue. Christ is our beginning and our end!

“Looking unto Jesus [literally looking from afar] the author [going before us as the Originator of our faith, and the Leader whose matchless example we are to follow always] and finisher [perfector] of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

It is the presence of Christ with us all day long that will be the key to a life of obedience and lasting change; that is the mystery behind our achieving set goals, overcoming weaknesses and becoming everything God wants us to be in 2009.

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu's blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu's name."


Get ready for a new beginning for 2009. I don’t know what a sinner you are, but I know what a Saviour He is!

I Love You
Deborah

Monday, December 22

Christmas Is Others!

The Great Lakes Naval Base - Chicago, IL

"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

This is the first Christmas whereby I’ve experienced awkwardness with business owners and staff members that I have come into contact with. What the world received this year as a means of eliminating Christ out of Christmas, has affected me in a most profound way.

Momentarily, I had allowed this hiccup in my usual Christ-filled Christmas, to infiltrate and ultimately affect my response toward others. More than once, I caught myself NOT saying “Merry Christmas” and instead, I chose the path of least resistance and remained silent. This response is precisely what Satan wants. After this phenomenon happened twice, I asked God to forgive my ignorance and I resolved myself to be actively keeping Christ in Christmas regardless of the "Happy Holiday" retort.

As individuals, Christians can keep Christ in Christmas in a number of simple, yet influential ways.

1. Support businesses which acknowledge the religious heritage of Christmas. Let the owner know you appreciate his willingness to recognize a Christian perspective. Also, be sure to respectfully voice your opinion to store owners who shun religious Christmas material. I compiled a list of all the businesses that chose to eliminate Christmas from their advertising and store fronts. I then researched who the CEO of each company were and personally wrote them a letter. Every company has written me a reply thus far. Were you aware, that before Costco received a noticeable amount of negative responses to their lack of representing Christmas in their stores, they had chosen to follow the majority and placed an emphasis on “Happy Holidays?” After shoppers complained enough to gain the attention of Costco’s decision makers, Christmas returned to their stores – Praise God!

2. Display a nativity scene in front of your home or church. Return to the tradition of uplifting the Saviour this season, instead of following popular social trends.

3. Read the Christmas story to your children and sing carols with your family. Do not let the season pass without your children being fully aware of God's greatest gift to mankind.

4. Daily wish people you meet a “Merry Christmas”. Show respect for those whose beliefs differ, but do not be afraid to share your own faith – especially during the season in which we so markedly remember the Saviour.

5. Send Christmas cards with a religious message and consider including a Salvation message.

6. Use this Christmas as an opportunity to reach out and evangelize your community. Volunteer with your church or other group to help those in need by providing food, clothing, or other necessities. This season of giving and receiving is the perfect time to demonstrate to your children that it is truly “more blessed to give than to receive.”

These words, quoted by Paul, are not found in any one of the four Gospels, but are none the less genuine. Giving secures more real happiness than receiving, and besides, it is Godlike and blesses forever.

This year, we have made a conscious choice to serve 500-sailors Christmas dinner. These sailors are far away from home and any pleasantries that are taken so much for granted. After four-years, I still feel the sting of not being with my daughters during this blessed season. Rather than focusing on this, I asked my husband if we could bring joy into the lives of others who would otherwise feel a greater hurt from a Christmas alone.

We will leave our home at 5am on Christmas morning, and my husband will drive a bus to the Great Lakes Naval base in Chicago. From there, we will join the other buses that will shuttle these sailors back to our food-filled, festively adorned gymnasium that awaits them on one of our Church properties.

They will eat to their hearts content, play games, and listen to some good old-fashioned gospel preaching. Then, we will load 500-sailors back onto the buses, and head back to Chicago. It will be close to midnight before we arrive to our car and point it toward home; no time to focus on me, and definitely no excess energy for my own sorrow.

My girls will be very much in my heart, but there’s a pause on the pity-party this year.

When God makes a note of the souls that will trust Him this Christmas, I will have had a part in someone else receiving the gospel, my husband will have had a part, and our son will be in the most privileged and blessed position - learning to imitate the example of Christ. I could not think of a greater gift this Christmas – could you?

Merry Christmas Caleb!

I Love You,
Deborah

Christmas Centerpiece

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

If you are struggling with the thought of Christmas arriving in just a handful of days; if you despair at the thought of how you will bring joy to your jingle-less world; if you don’t know how to lift your head amidst your trials, I would like to guarantee this; the only way to have our thoughts established or to see any light at the end of a gloomy Christmas tunnel, is to commit our works to the Lord.

Translated in Hebrew, our Christmas activities are works; from sunrise to sunset, anything we put our hands to and apply diligence in; baking, card writing, shopping, phoning, gift wrapping, finances, and friends – all that we labor in are “thy works.” In this verse God promises, that as we prayerfully entrust all that we do to Him, our thought process and our purpose will be time-honored.

Without encouragement, hard times become hopeless times!

As a Christian woman one of my job roles, as characterized in Scripture, is to represent the specific training I have received, and to pass on encouragement to other women. “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:5

If we profess to be influenced by the Word of God, then our own lives must give an account of consistency - not inconsistency! As we grow in these virtues, outlined for us as women by the very breath of God, then we add value to Christianity for the younger women and for the unsaved women who are watching us. If we lead an inconsistent life through our conduct, we attach reproach and less value to the gospel - “…that the word of God be not blasphemed.” As women, we are held accountable for this!

When we moved here, it was nine-months before we experienced our first Christmas together in America. Presents were not a priority – survival was! Being prepared and planning ahead seems such an achievable option for most however, when your world is in disarray and life has been squeezed out of your haven of hope, your mindset is on 1-day. At the time, 1-day represented every day in my life.

I remember thinking as I lay my head on my moistened pillow as the tears trickled from my eyes - “It’s over! ---perhaps tomorrow will be different?” A new dawn arrived and I would muster up the courage to get out of bed and make my way through the course of another day. It really was that tough at times, and it really IS perhaps that tough for YOU this time!

During this period of my life I could not lift my head high enough to see beyond my circumstances and the how’s of what felt like, at the time, a hopeless world. Job uses words to describe his own trial as “My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.” Job 17:11

You begin to really grasp Scripture and the meaning of why certain words are used to describe ones spirit and/or circumstances, when you study Hebrew. “My day…“ From sunrise to sunset, you experience perpetually troubled days – with no end in sight! “…are past…” described in Hebrew as intensive, beyond, and alienating. Have you ever felt like that? Do you know of a lady who may not be able to define her sorrow; she is going through a most intensive period of her life, which in many respects alienates her as it did for me?

Early days in America were exhaustive for us. It was literally one-day-at-a-time. Feelings of “I don’t belong” and “I can’t identify with that” were very isolating for me. “…my purposes are [were] broken off…” Yes, I felt plucked up from the roots and torn away from any normality, which is so aptly penned in Job as “…even the thoughts of my heart.” All courage and understanding were superfluous. Before God’s grace opens your eyes to the jewel of any storm, you are numbed by a weakened spirit.

Thoughts literally mean “possessions.” That is, all the feelings of hope which a person’s heart was once encouraged and nourished by - are nonexistent! Possessions belong to the heart as “purposes” for our understanding. In this verse, possessions and purposes describe the inner man.

Four years on; I now thank God for every feeling of hopelessness during that stretch of time and for every lesson He taught me through the various trials. Our lives can be defined as a spiritual classroom. God desires that we grow in grace and mirror His image. If we seek to do His will then we must face our trials with a humbled spirit and a desire to learn. We can’t change the circumstances however, our testimony and how we respond to what He lays out for us - can be life changing! Our worst is most often our best and our worst is always God’s best!

I have lost count of the numerous times I was consumed with what I had lost by surrendering to God’s will and moving to America. BUT, to loose something in the will of God is to find something better! Defining what I have found will take time, and as I meditate on that thought, my mind is already compiling a list.

It’s a most desirable goal to have our thoughts established and not tossed and put into a hurry by disquieting cares and fears. I love to go on in an even steady course of honesty and faithfulness - not disturbed or put out of frame by any event or change. Yes it’s wonderful to be satisfied that we can work for good and subject ourselves to His leadership, and be always easy and sedate. But not always is my day spirit filled, and quite effortlessly it can be the opposite. “My day” is the key to my thoughts being established. When my day is given over to God, it becomes His day, and I experience victory!

The only way to have our thoughts established is to commit our works to the Lord. The great concerns of our souls must be committed to the grace of God, with a dependence upon and submission to the conduct of that grace - "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." 2Timothy 1:12

All our outward concerns must be committed to the providence of God, and to the sovereign, wise, and gracious disposal of that providence. Roll thy works upon the Lord (so the word is); roll the burden of our cares from ourselves and onto God. We need to lay the matter before Him by prayer. Make known our works unto the Lord, not only our outward duties and responsibilities, but the workings of our heart - and then leave it with Him; by faith, dependence upon Him, submission and resignation to Him.

I resolve myself through being diligent in my walk with God each day, that the will of the Lord be done! In this respect, our lives are uncomplicated. When we resolve ourselves to grasp, that whatever pleases God shall please us - the fuss settles down!

One of the key factors in overcoming my fear and sorrow, and my going on with living the Christian life is this; I build my life on principles NOT hope!

Good Thoughts Produce Good Outcomes

I have compiled what I call a “reality check-list” for hurting women. This wisdom was gleaned from my own seeds of sorrow during some of the saddest Christmas seasons I have experienced. During these times, I learned to use my heartache as a bridge for someone else’s depression. So often I cross a bridge provided by God, built through another, and never realized I needed to cross it until I reached the other side.

Hurting people need;

1. Time
2. Truth
3. Touch
4. Tears

Time

This season we can all make time for someone hurting. When we take time to be kind and make time to demonstrate kindness, we build a bridge of encouragement and lighten the load for another considerably. Encouragement lifts the yoke for others as Christ lifts our yoke and places us in His yoke. Encouraging a woman that is going through a particularly difficult Christmas this year, magnifies Christ and demonstrates the love of God through you and onto them.

The Christian life is so simple that we often pass it by; we pass by opportunities to be a blessing to others for various reasons and none of them will stand before the judgment seat of God.

Truth

Someone somewhere is hurting this Christmas. We all have a circle of influence. I observe those around me where I sit in church and places I frequent. There may be a widow who will experience her first Christmas without her husband. I have already thought of a lady who I will write to and tell her I am thinking of her during this time of year. It’s OK to acknowledge someone’s pain. It encourages me when I receive a card from a lady who has specifically mentioned that she is thinking of me during a particular time. Don’t be afraid to reach out and be specific about your words of kindness. It will encourage the heart of a hurting lady.

When I write to a woman or when I speak to her personally, I use Scripture verses that are specific and that I know will speak the truth of God’s love and the righteousness of His ways. “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” Psalm 85:11

Like an abundant harvest, our encouragement speaks - “friend and helper.” There are many promises which lie unfulfilled like buried seeds, and the truth of God’s love expressed through us shall spring up and yield harvests of joy! Like a window thrown open in heaven and God’s big arms leaning over---gazing down upon us---surrounded by the stars, so we too mirror His beauty when we do good unto others. I don’t mean just handing the gift bag over, I mean going out of our way!

"Earth carpeted with truth and canopied with righteousness."

Touch

In Christ, truth is found in our humanity and His deity brings divine righteousness among us.
If you think of something, don’t withhold it. So often we think of kind deeds and then they go on the back burner of our mind and are never brought into fruition. The reality is YOU didn’t think it! God is full of ideas for an obedient lady to use. His still quiet voice whispers and gives us all sorts of thoughts. They’re not our creative imaginations – they’re His! And if He gives birth to an idea, wouldn’t you think He has the means to fulfill His own desires? It’s not about us, it’s about the Love of God illuminating through us and touching the spirit of another during the Christmas Season.

It’s the simple things in life that are often the most enjoyable. It does not have to cost or equate to anything elaborate. I ask God for specifics. He trumps me every time with His ideas. So often when I have given a lady something that I thought was---well---not exactly what I wanted, it has proven to be the perfect gift every time. God’s ways are always perfect and He had the perfect gift from the beginning. Nothing has changed!

Often good is measured by the tangible objects around us. This being the case, then there are many who will not experience the goodness of Christmas this year. The love of Christ is the greatest gift you could share with anyone! This love is non-tangible yet unforgettable. By demonstrating the Love of Christ to others this Christmas, you may give the greatest gift to a woman with little hope of any joy this season.

Our giftless Christmas taught us to do all we could to demonstrate the Love of Christ to someone in need at Christmas. Yes, after almost four years, I was finally able to prepare during the harvest months this past year, and I purposed myself to do little things for less that would mean the most to someone else.

Tears

There is a season for all things. Not everyone has the strength or the ability to rise above their circumstances. I work very hard on my attitude towards other women who struggle with their roller coaster of emotions, and who find it nearly impossible to see any joy through their trials. Be patient with everyone – God is! “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.” Psalm 6:6

The good responders are the easy ones in our life - they feed our flesh! The poor responders are our classroom. We can embrace the lesson on how to respond to non-responders. Everything is a spiritual lesson, including the women God will place on your heart this Christmas. Don’t ignore the whisper and make sure you take time to hear it and act in obedience. You didn’t think of it – God did!

He wants to use US to demonstrate the Love of HIM this Christmas. "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul," Deuteronomy 10:12

Merry Christmas!

I Love You,
Deborah

Thursday, December 18

The Gift of Words

This Christmas, I have dedicated a poem to my daughters.

As I impart my most tender thoughts, I pray they impress upon your own heart, and reveal the need for forgiveness – if need be!

“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” Psalm 86:5


When I first saw my baby daughter,
I stared at her in awe.
She looked so sweet and so petite,
She was like a precious doll.

Then I said, "It's okay Belinda,
You can touch her ... Take her hand,"
So she took Alison’s tiny hand in hers
And that's how it all began.

The day you took your first few steps,
You fell so many times,
I had to grab that little hand,
And hold it tight in mine.

When big enough to go to school,
Belinda sat with you on the bus,
She soothed your fears and dried your tears,
And told you it was fun for us.

Frequently I would speak to B,
And said, "Take your sister's hand,"
But there were times I must admit,
When it did not suit Belinda’s plans.

Though usually she came around,
And behaved as she was told,
The light within Alison’s eyes,
Would shine brighter then than gold.

When she learned to read and write,
And to divide and multiply,
Belinda helped her with all her tables,
And helped her memorize.

She showed her how to roller-skate,
And picked her up when she fell down,
When she told her only babies cried,
She bit her lip and skated on.

Through bad times and through good times,
Belinda was always there to take her hand,
Just as her Mother asked of her,
Though she did not always understand.

Every heartbreak - every joy,
Each occasion - plain or grand,
Belinda would reach out with tears or cheers,
And always ... always ... take your hand.

And for one last time she could take your hand,
Though not so much for Mama's sake,
But now ... 'cause she could understand...

... that when you hold your sister's hand,
Through all those years and all those times,
The truth will finally dawn on you,
She, too, was holding mine.

“Merry Christmas” my beautiful daughters. God bless you this season and fill your hearts with the Love of Christ – for Him, for each other---and for your mother. Don’t be angry with each other---for in the scale of life – it doesn’t really matter!

I Love you eternally my precious angels. No distance or disturbance will ever separate me from the love I hold in my heart for you both.

Missing You Horribly – Your Mother

Words are important to God and they can bring life into a saddened heart, encouragement to a hurting soul, or joy to a lonely lady.

When a name comes to mind, it is never I who thought of it. God prompts us through the Holy Ghost to do well unto others. I work on the attentiveness of God’s prompting in my own life. When a woman’s name comes to mind, I take time to write them a note of encouragement. That piece of the puzzle for another woman’s life is a divine appointment by God in our own life.

Our purpose in the mosaic of another’s life is important to God!

If you feel sorrow this Christmas, why don’t you write an encouraging note to a woman who will have her first Christmas devoid of her husband. Just as we hurt for various reasons, they’re hurting – and perhaps more so!

I Love You,
Deborah

Wednesday, December 10

The Hiatus in "Happy Holidays"

The Queen Victoria Building (QVB), was a favorite place to dine and shop for us, and one we definitely frequented at Christmas time. Annually, they decorate this iconic Christmas Tree with Swarovsi Crystals. Located in the centre of this historic building and standing at 79 feet (approx. 24m), the QVB Christmas tree glitters with 15,000 Swarovski crystals of varying shapes and sizes. The tree's 1,700 branches are further festooned with 40,000 lights, 8,000 baubles and 400 bows.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

The Real Majority

It is generally recognized that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas. For one wondrous season, the overwhelming majority of people in the most powerful nation on earth pause to recognize God’s most precious gift to the world—His only Son, a baby sent to earth and born to die for our sins. Granted, not all Americans celebrate Christmas for the same reason. As families gather and gifts are opened, some are unaware that this holiday celebrates the First Gift of the One who would ultimately bring salvation to the world.

This 96% statistic is surprising to many. During the past decade, Americans have been led to believe that the public celebration of Christmas somehow undermines American values of diversity and pluralism. The politically correct crowd sees no particular merit in lifting up Christmas over other holidays that are celebrated by only a handful of Americans.

Congressional Recognition of Christmas

Last year the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith by a vote of 372 to 9. In addition to those nine members (all Democrats) who actually voted against the resolution, 10 others (9 Democrats and 1 Republican) refused their support by voting “present” and 40 others did cast any vote at all. Yet all but two of those Representatives who voted against the resolution or who voted “present” had supported a previous resolution to honor the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a resolution that passed by a vote of 376-0, with 56 members (49 Democrats and 7 Republicans) voting either “present” or not voting at all. The language of the two resolutions was very similar. They honored Christmas and Ramadan as two of the great world religions, expressed support and friendship for people of both faiths, and rejected bigotry and hatred against people of both faiths in the United States and around the world.

The resolution honoring Christmas also recognized the historical importance of the Christian faith and acknowledged its role in the founding of the United States and in the formation of western civilization. That politically incorrect reality may be the reason a small minority of Congress members, as well as 4% of Americans, are so set against any public recognition of Christmas or Jesus. This small but determined army resents the fact that America has historically been a God-fearing and Jesus-honoring nation. They would prefer to wipe that fact from the minds and hearts of the American people. In order to accomplish that goal, this small group is determined to convince their fellow citizens that any public celebration of Christmas is unconstitutional and anyone who recognizes Jesus in public is violating the Constitution—deliberately ignoring the fact that the entire American experiment in rule by the people was originally founded on Biblical principles.

Don’t Be Misled

Many Americans now wrongly believe that Christmas must be hidden inside homes and behind church walls. Some businesses still substitute “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas.” Public schools are perhaps the worst offenders, seeking to misuse their power over the minds of children to turn them against the religion of their parents. Some public schools now have “Winter Break” instead of “Christmas Vacation.” Town Christmas displays often contain nothing more than reindeer and elves. Even devoted Christians inexplicably avoid religious displays on their own property. With every season that the true meaning of Christmas is ignored in our communities and in our schools, momentum builds away from the traditional recognition of Christmas in America. Is this necessary? Is it truly mandated by the Constitution? Or is it simply a colossal case of misinformation intended to send America down the wrong road?

Don’t Give Away Freedom

In this season of gift-giving and receiving as Christians remember God’s most precious Gift to the world, we do well to also remember the priceless gift of freedom bestowed upon Americans over 200 years ago in the Constitution. Based on the Declaration of Independence, this document gives every American certain fundamental rights which cannot be taken away.

But for most Americans, unfamiliarity with the law leads to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. It can also lead to manipulation and to Americans giving up rights that others fought and died to establish. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, concluded that “Information is the currency of democracy.” The simple knowledge of the law—opening the gift of understanding, if you will—can dispel fear and uncertainty and allow Americans to stand up boldly for their freedom.

What Can Christians Do?

All Americans are free to decorate their houses and property however they choose. This includes religious displays. Christmas decorations on privately owned property are strictly the discretion of property owners—although those who live in deed-restricted communities need to pay attention to their own community rules as well. Furthermore, individuals are absolutely free to express their celebration of the season by wishing others a “Merry Christmas.”

Privately owned businesses such as restaurants, malls, apartments, private clubs, and stores are not subject to any governmental principles of “separation of church and state.” Any individual or privately owned business has an absolute right to choose to display religious items that is strictly protected by the First Amendment. If a business owner wants to display ONLY religious
Christmas decorations, he is constitutionally at liberty to do so.

Christians should bear this in mind when choosing which stores to patronize for Christmas shopping. Store owners who choose to ban employees from wishing customers a “Merry Christmas” or who refuse to display religious decorations are in many cases merely responding to a handful of “hum-buggers” who go out of their way to complain about a Christ-centered Christmas. If a particular store is opposing the traditional religious nature of Christmas, it is completely appropriate for a Christian to inform the store owner of that disagreement and then choose to shop at a different store. If enough people take this sort of strong stand in support of a traditional Christmas, they can influence our culture for good. Every individual’s voice is important. Just remember to reflect the grace of Christ and to keep a good Christian testimony while expressing your opinion.

What about Government Property?

It is correct that certain restrictions, whether legitimate or not, have been imposed by our courts on government-sponsored Christmas celebrations. Schools, courthouses, and other government buildings fall into this category. But it is important to remember that even these regulations do not completely ban religious displays in public places. In these situations, court-imposed rules require a balance of secular and religious displays.

Christians should not fall prey to the myth that religion must, of necessity, be removed entirely from the public square when Christmas decorations are government-sponsored. Remember that the original intent of “separation of church and state” was to keep the government out of the church’s business, not to keep the church from positively influencing the government! While this fact has been grossly misrepresented in schools, in the media, and even in recent court rulings, governments are still permitted to recognize and honor the religious holidays of their citizens, as
Congress did last year.

Cities are absolutely allowed to include a nativity scene in a public Christmas display. Government buildings may hang “Merry Christmas” signs and decorate Christmas trees. The law does not require Jesus to hide on His birthday. Court rulings simply require the presence of secular items as well. The generally accepted court rule is that religious expression may not be more than one quarter of any government Christmas display and the display must not have a purely religious intent. This “one-quarter” rule applies to all public displays on government-owned property. A holiday display may not be entirely religious, but it may contain religious items. In essence, if there is a nativity scene, there must also be Santa Claus, reindeer or other similar secular component. Many government displays also include a Menorah or other item to recognize and honor Jewish citizens during their holiday of Hanukkah, which occurs at the same time as Christmas.

Cities and towns are not in any way prohibited from sponsoring Christmas events, parades, and displays that contain religious themes. The only court-imposed requirements again are that the intent of the production may not be the promotion of any specific religion to the exclusion of others and that secular items are also included. Churches are free to participate in parades and other activities on government property; and Christmas carols can be sung at community events just as long as they do not occupy more than one-quarter of the time or space.

Many governments choose to forego any “official” Christmas display and, instead, to provide public space for citizens to display their own items to celebrate the season. In that case, all citizens are free to choose to display whatever items they like—even if the entire display is religious.

What About Public Schools?


Easily, the area that generates the most frustration and confusion concerning the celebration of Christmas is the public school system. At one time, all school children looked forward to celebrating Christmas in class. Today’s school children are falsely led to believe that even mentioning the “C” word might get them suspended or expelled. Separating the school system into its three parts—students, teachers, and the school as a whole—can help to clarify exactly what the courts allow our public schools to do at Christmas time.

Students

First, just like every other American, public school students have free speech rights that extend all the way into the classroom. Students have the right to share their faith with their peers and their teachers at Christmas or any other time. Students can wear Christmas T-shirts or other items of clothing or jewelry to celebrate the season.

Teachers


Court-imposed regulations for public school teachers are not as lenient because judges consider teachers to be government employees, capable of violating the Establishment Clause (“separation of church and state”). Teachers are not permitted to share their faith or to promote religion in any form with their students, but they may do so with other teachers and staff members. Christian public school employees may still have a tremendous impact on their school during the Christmas season. They should not be drawn into the lie that they must remove Christ entirely from their classroom. Teachers can objectively teach about the meaning of various holidays in their curricular material, including the meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Ramadan. Teachers should encourage respect and sharing about the meaning of all holidays among their students.

Official School Speech

Lastly, because courts consider the public school as a whole to be a government entity, schools must follow the same court-imposed guidelines for cities and other government buildings. Using the “one-quarter” rule, public schools are allowed to perform a percentage of Christmas carols in a seasonal program. The carols simply must not take up more than one-quarter of the performance, and they must have a secular purpose—such as honoring the holiday or presenting diverse musical genres. By no means does the law require that traditional Christmas themes be removed entirely from public school programs.

The common misconception that schools must refer to the December hiatus as a “Winter Break” or “Winter Holiday” rather than a “Christmas Vacation” is simply this—a misconception.

Christmas is recognized on December 25 as a federal public holiday which is both secular and religious (5 U.S.C. § 6103). Because Christmas is a federal holiday, the word may be used freely and without inclusion requirements. Just as Congress officially recognized the Christmas holiday, schools may continue to refer to Christmas breaks, seasonal programs may be called Christmas programs, and Christmas decorations and parties are permitted. It is a myth that such activities are completely banned. Those 4% of “hum-buggers” are hoping that by encouraging the banning of all Christmas activities in school through misinformation that the Christmas tradition will die out on its own.

The Gift of Information

James Madison, the primary author of our Constitution, correctly observed that “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” Our founding fathers left the citizens of this wonderful country a great gift, but it is of little worth if it is not received and opened.

In much the same way, the gift of Jesus Christ, the One whose birth we celebrate during this joyous season, cannot be realized until it is personally received. Perhaps this Christmas, it would be wise to gain a fresh appreciation for both the gift of freedom and the gift of life in Christ. A knowledge of your rights as an American and your responsibilities as a Christian might just transform your life and the lives of others—both this Christmas and into next year–and the life of an Australian girl embracing the shores of America.

N.B This information was given courtesy of CLA – Christian Law Association

I pray you receive the gift of Salvation this Christmas! You can and the truth of this message is under "How Can I Be Sure?" in the My Favorites column on the left side of this Bible Buddies site.

"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." 1 John 4:14

Jesus is the reason for this season - Merry Christmas!

I Love You,
Deborah

Monday, December 8

The Support Report

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29

Research demonstrates that a predominant characteristic of exciting, satisfying marriages, is encouragement from the husband and wife -toward another. This should come as no surprise; the necessity of encouragement is a repetitive theme in God's Word.

Our words are to build our husbands up. We should never use bad language, either verbally or through our body language. A message is delivered, good or bad, without the mouth ever opening. Don’t be fooled by the silence factor if your body language stinks.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” Comfort translated in Hebrew means to invite or invoke. Do I invite or invoke my husband through my words? Do I encourage him and raise him up to be everything he desires to be? Our husbands will believe of themselves what we manifest in ourselves and direct towards him in the form of encouragement. This support should come via means of words and kind deeds.

Our son Caleb encourages me daily. He is illuminating all that his father transfers to me each day and what we live by example in our own home, is the greatest training ground for our future encourager. We must walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Hebrews 3:13 instructs, "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Day, after day, after day, after day – just keep encouraging! It doesn’t cost money, and we can all afford to encourage our husbands. It’s the only wealth exercise where there is no loss of income, and we do grow richer.

As a wife, I look for ways to encourage my husband every day. This world can be a very discouraging place. By ensuring that I place daily deposits into my husband’s emotional bank account, affords him the leverage to face some difficult days. Because I make these daily deposits, it allows him to draw from his bank account of accumulated encouragement. On really tough days, he can dig deep and still have a reserve – because the deposits never cease---I keep them coming!

Encouragement in marriage is simply expressing to one's spouse, "I believe in you." This is accomplished both verbally and non-verbally. While this sounds easy, for the most part, it does not come naturally.

Often, people find difficulty in describing what it means to encourage one's spouse. The following are some characteristics of encouragement that are helpful to consider.

Accepting One Another

A woman will either progress or regress as a result of her positive input and behavior towards her husband. If our husbands feel pressure from us to change in some way, they are far less likely to feel the security and motivation required to undertake positive changes. On the contrary, if our husbands feel that they are unconditionally loved and accepted by us (just as they are), the tendency to move forward in ways that will make the marriage better is significantly greater.

Communicating Confidence

In a successful marriage, each one trusts the other. They make the conscious choice to believe in each another even in the midst of challenging circumstances. When suspicion or doubt is vocalized or demonstrated, the recipient is less likely to respond in a positive way. This is partly a self-fulfilling expectation and to a degree, a reaction that is generated out of resentment and fatalism. However, when faith and trust are perceived to be extended, one generally responds by attempting to live up to that ideal.

When a husband feels the confidence and faith of his wife, he will tend to work towards reciprocating the same sentiment. On the other hand, pointing out the faults and limitations of our husband works to undermine confidence and trust.

Recognizing and Acknowledging Effort

When efforts to maintain or improve the happiness and satisfaction of a marriage go unnoticed it is unlikely that those efforts will continue. Even the smallest of gestures should be met with appreciation, gratitude, and a desire to return the effort. A major accomplishment in this area is not required for growth to occur. Small efforts, when consistently performed by us, will build each another and result in significant overall growth and happiness in our marriage.

Focusing on Strengths

Those who have successful, fulfilling marriages tend to focus on each other's strengths. This does not mean that a couple should ignore everything that is unhealthy in a marriage. However, when positive assets are identified, recognized, communicated, and valued, it is amazing how any undesirable qualities seem to fade away. No relationship is perfect all of the time. But when problems and weaknesses become the focus of a relationship, discouragement becomes the norm. As wives, when we find positive assets to build upon, the negative experiences become less and less significant.

I love encouragement in every form. As a woman of strength, I am often misunderstood as a strong woman. As a result, there can be periods of time where I do not feel the encouragement that I long for. Whilst I run to God for my encouragement, I do love the extra chocolate He drizzles on my heart, through the encouragement of my husband and the encouragement of other women.

Most recently, I received a card in the mail from a woman I have grown to love deeply. She has a powerful testimony and her life is a storybook of encouragement. She loves and cares for her disabled brother 24/7. I have never seen a man with a disability that was so well groomed, so well dressed, and so noticeable cared for, as my friend’s brother. He is a picture of encouragement! This single act of love encourages me at my core level. As my friend illuminates the love of Christ through her servant’s heart, I am greatly encouraged.

When I feel discouraged I become the encourager. Resolving to encourage and edify others encourages and edifies me. I don’t set out to encourage for self-gratification, but being encouraged by other’s responses – automatically encourages me!

Make no mistake, encouragement takes effort. It is an investment of our time and energy that we must willingly make. We are all self-centered and self-serving by nature. Surely this fact is among the most significant reasons for the high rate of marital failure in our society. But, if we are led of the Spirit and committed to our marriages per God's plan, we can and will pursue encouragement and edification. This pursuit will create an environment in which marriages will grow, thrive, and be blessed of the Lord.

Be an encourager today! If you feel discourged, I have a great antidote which is guaranteed. Encourage someone else - we all need it!

Our husband's need all the encouragement that you can graciously give, and our children need their mama to be an example of the greatest encourager of all - our Lord Jesus Christ! By our example, we are to magnify Christ's teachings and instructions for Christian Womanhood to rise to a knew level in this generation.

I Love You,
Deborah

Friday, December 5

Get Real Mrs. Surreal

A Surreal Sculpture - so far from God's perfect creation

“And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee.” Deuteronomy 27:3

Have you ever been smacked in the face with a dead fish and wondered why you didn’t smell it coming? How long does it take you to smell rotten, dead fish? The bouquet is very distinctive – and very disgusting! Dead fish is dead fish. There is nothing attractive about a decomposing sea critter, and there is certainly nothing to admire in a woman who lives in her past.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

"…if any man be in Christ;" that is, all who trust Christ as their own personal Saviour---undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them, that they are a new creature. Our lives as Christian women are to manifest the characteristics of the new creation. The Hebrew translation for creature in the New Testament is creation or to fabricate Christ by example.

When we are saved, God gives us a make-over - so to speak. There is a change in us; when we absorb ourselves in Scripture, prayer, and Bible based teaching, we begin to change. We become a new woman. The old man never goes away (thanks to Adam) however, as we mature in the Christian life, the old man slowly fades. Old things pass away; former prejudices, opinions, habits, and attachments – must all pass away. Our supreme love of self diminishes. Our love of sin lessens over time, and our desire not to sin is increased over time. Our love of the world changes to our love for the things of God. Our supreme attachment to our earthly friends rather than God lessens. Our love of sin---our sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, and ambition---fades. There is a deep and radical change in all these areas---a change which commences at the new birth and which is carried on by progressive sanctification. In turn, this is consummated at death and in Heaven.

What would happen if God unzipped your heart and you were convicted of how you were living in the past? How would you feel if your old head were glued onto your new creation?

Living in the past may be a generational sin that has become YOUR besetting sin. You won’t reach dry ground if you keep swimming back from shore. Moses never reached Canaan land and we won’t while we continue to live in the past. Get real about yourself!

Road Blocks to Canaan Land

Fear and Fantasy

Fear

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

Don’t confuse the “Fear of God” (which is the beginning of all wisdom) with the “Fear Factor.”

When we moved to America four-years ago, we brought two-suitcases and a cabin bag which was filled with diapers. Suffice to say, my luggage had most of Caleb’s clothes and a few of mine. Our baggage was the sum-total of our possessions. Apart from a twenty-pound FedEx box that we shipped, that was it! There was no inheritance and our savings were gone. We exchanged our AUSD (Australian Dollars) into USD (American Dollars) when our plane landed at Chicago Airport. That totaled almost $400.

Shift your mind for a moment; four years ago, we were in our mid-forties. Add three pieces of luggage and $400 to the equation (and each other). Take a walk with me now; imagine your kitchen stripped of its entire contents; no pans, silverware, dinnerware, blender, mixing bowls, grater, dish-towels, baking trays, casserole dishes---and whatever else ads up to a woman’s standard kitchen. Not forgetting, I did not have a standard kitchen in Sydney; everything was the best, and I had the remnants of an over-indulgent life.

We are now moving into Caleb’s bedroom. Someone kindly donated a crib; there was no bedding, chest of drawers, blanket, quilt, or any other items that pertain to a child’s room. There was no dryer, no washer, and no iron.

Moving along; we left Australia with nothing and came to nothing. I rested in the knowledge that we were in God’s will, but at my weakest I did suffer from fear; fear of never seeing my Father again, fear of never having anything again, fear of where and how we would live, fear of our future, fear of feeling normal again, and a fear for my girls.

I embraced my fear and became “fear-wise.” During my darkest days I read every Scripture verse on fear. Apart from my husband, I had no friend to talk to, to cry with, or to confide in – but I had Jesus, and He has sweetly brought me through a Valley of Baca. I have never experienced such difficult trials as those we venerated in our last four-years.

Fear keeps you from getting real about your life.

My performance was functional and sometimes frozen by fear. At times, fear kept me from seeing any hope. Praise God I did not allow it to defeat me and through the course of being diligent in my Christian walk, I found grace BY God’s grace, to get through each day. Potentially, fear will keep us from where God wants to take us – our Canaan. "Now let the feeble all be strong, and make Jehovah's arm their song."

Fantasy

Do you remember my devotion called “Fairer than Sarah?” I wrote about my obsession as a little girl with Charlie’s Angels. This portion of the devotion (you can read it under “Archived”) is symbolic of fantasy however, fantasy can come in other forms.

When I owned my business, I would attend various social functions where I networked; formal balls, silver-spoon dinners, auctions, over-seas trips, trade-shows, and all the paraphernalia that goes with a perceived glamorous life. For the most part I acted-out a fantasy. There were times where my world was so far from reality that reality became more and more difficult. Living up to an image and a perceived expectation from others, is unnatural for anyone.

But there is another fantasy; you can live a life of daydreams by maintaining a fantasy world within your mind. If the desire to go back to where you came from (figuratively or physically), outweighs the desire for you to move on in God’s will, you are not being real about what God is doing in your life and where He is taking you. The old man is hanging on! Often this is a besetting sin that we maintain, and the refusal to accept our circumstances and changes undermines our ability to get real about our lives. Sometimes, as in my own situation, you may be unaware that you are living in the past and the message you give through too much focus on your past contradicts what you value the most - God's will.

Women who watch too much television can fall victim to fantasy; numerous marriages have been torn apart by women who live in a non-reality world through their perceived lives that are nothing more than a castle in the sky. And adultery is often the end product of a by-product called fantasy.

God has brought me through another victory in the Christian life; unaware of fantasy being the besetting sin I maintained, my life had stagnated through my living in the past. Until most recently, I have been like a tree growing parallel to a power line. Next time you drive and you are idle at the stop-lights, observe the growth of a tree next to power-lines. Radiation from the line destroys the tree's ability to grow on the side closest to the electrical cable. On the other side however, the tree flourishes. As a result, it looks unbalanced and there is obviously something wrong with its growth and formation.

This tree is a metaphor for my besetting sin; so much of who I was is in the past. My position and my possessions were where I sought strength and stability – and God knew it had to go! Resolved to become an extraordinary Christian woman, I verbally stated that I was in the center of God’s will and unknowingly lived the opposite through my verbatim.

Living in the past was at the root of my besetting sin and I was unaware of the snare Satan had set in place. I am not the same woman I was when I owned my business. That life is over now; I am a new creation. The old ways are passed and I am becoming a new vessel for God’s glory. I have no desire to go back in time, so why would I place any importance on those things that belong in my past?

I’m working through this spiritual exercise but I do know for sure; regardless of coming with nothing, this does not equate to me being a nothing woman, with nothing to give, and no identity.

I’m a child of the King; I am somebody, and I belong somewhere and have something to give. My strength and security must come from God and rest in Him. Being stripped of everything materially has stripped me of all the props I held up in life as essential and significant.

Where do I go from here? I keep being a good Christian woman daily; reading my Bible, talking to God, going to church every time the doors are open, and allowing Him to work on the broken pieces and place them perfectly and precisely His way.

Praise God I’m not the same woman I use to be and to get real about my life has allowed me to bury hurt from the past and to move forward victoriously.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5

God may use my past as a testimony, but I live the present as a very real woman who struggles with the same struggles you do, and who desires more than anything to get closer to God and become an extraordinary Christian woman who encourages and points other women to Christ.

I live by this principle: K-I-S-S! Keep it simple sweetie! Others might be impressed with what I have to say, but God isn’t. That’s a humbling tune to keep in my mind every time I am tempted to drag the past up again.

God loves you and---

I Love You,
Deborah

Wednesday, December 3

The Queen of Pringles

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Ecclesisastes 3:1

With the Christmas season fast approaching, we could all use more hours in our day; more time to complete our projects, more time to bring closure to the many variables in our life, more time to prepare for Christmas, more time to reflect on our year, and important time to set new achievable goals for 2009.

I would like to address some of the ways our time is abridged, and which lay at the root of an unproductive life. Perhaps you can identify with one area or there may be multiple areas; don’t sabotage the ability to achieve your goals by focusing on “all the areas” at once. Choose one thing, master it, and then move onto the next project.

I love Pringles Potato Chips. I like the way they taste, I love the “pop” when you lift the top, I love the hand-sized container, and I love the uniformity as they line up in a neat little vertical row like soldiers. Up and down with no variations and if you don’t shake the cylinder, you can eat them in order – consistently!

My life is a lot like a can of Pringle Potato Chips however, it can be like a brown bag filled with chips that have been sat on in a car. I am not perfect, but I am perfecting areas in my life that need particular attention. If your life is like a brown paper bag filled with remnants of chips, don’t look in the bag. Start afresh by choosing an area that concerns you the most, and line your ducks (pringles) up! “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

Over the years, I have researched “time-wasters” both in my business and personal life. Often, the two overlap each other. What you are in the home will eventually be transferred to the workplace environment. I have never studied what God considers to be the time-wasters in my life, and as a Christian woman, that’s really all I am interested in! God is the time-management expert and through Jesus, He demonstrated order in His life as an example for our lives. In turn, we can teach and train others to regulate their lives.

Time-Wasters in the Bible

I have taken two specific areas to use as an illustration today. They are not necessarily in any order of importance;

1. Socializing - Too much socializing with our friends can be distracting. We would do better to understand the difference between productive socializing and wasting time. There's a fine line and balance between the two.

As women, we bring reproach upon ourselves when our husbands are the subject of criticism in our conversations when we are socializing on the phone or out in public. A wise woman builds her home through her dialogue within the home and the words she uses outside in public. It can be as subtle as; “Oh, my husband hates me when I ---,” or “He always says; Why did you ---.” This conversation would immediately attach a reputation to your husband - good or bad. The listener instantly has an opinion of your husband – good or bad! Brag on your husband - he loves it and he needs it!

Sadly, some women act as Athaliah did in II Kings 8:16-11:16, destroying their family so that they can hold a lofty “position” (Genesis 3:5), counteracting their husbands in defiance to God (Genesis 3:16-17)!

Time-wasting tip - “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18

Time-management tip - “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19
  • God speaks about our lips 122-times in Scripture. I’d say “Lips” are an issue.
  • God speaks about our mouth 423-times in Scripture. I’d say our “Mouth” is an issue.
  • God speaks about our tongue 136-times in Scripture. I’d say our “Tongue” is an issue.
  • God speaks about our words 552-times in Scripture. Unless you sign, your lips, mouth, and tongue - form words. I’d say our “Words” are an issue.

There is a correlation with our body parts in these verses. God gives warning and instruction about how we are to use our orally-challenged mouths - 1,233-times in Scripture. It’s good Christianity to know your potential and exercise discipline.

2. ConflictsConflicts; quarrelling, brawling, disagreements, arguing, and differences - all take up energy and drain us of our ability to be enthusiastic, focused and productive. We need to address whatever conflicts we may have in our lives so we can minimize the "drains" on our lives. The result is that we will have more energy and focus. “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.” Job 9:33

When you study Hebrew a “daysman” is a man that argues, disputes everything, is judgmental, and has to be right. He is described as a mediator between two people, but not necessarily for the good of either.

Time-wasting tip“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:14

Time-management tip“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Proverbs 19:14

The word prudent literally means “smooth, clever, and artful.”

  • A prudent woman is slow to anger
  • A prudent woman is knowledgeable
  • A prudent woman is wise with her words and in her conversation
  • A prudent woman has understanding
  • A prudent woman fears the Lord

All our knowledge and the “how to” for our lives begin with the Lord, and “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.” Proverbs 21:30

A prudent woman is very careful to ensure that all the knowledge she obtains is first filtered through her fear of God. Prudence is the mother of a productive life!

Why don’t you pray, as I have, and ask God to reveal the “time-wasters” that exist in your own life. I focus on what drains me the most and purpose myself to formulate a schedule which utilizes and maximizes the 24-hour day God has assigned for me.

We will continue with exposing the time-wasters in Scripture, but for now, I must close before “blogging” becomes part of my “time-wasters” list.

I Love You,
Deborah

Tuesday, December 2

Fairer than Sarah

Genesis 23

“Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” 1 Peter 3:6

This is the first devotion in a series I have named “Fairer than Sarah.”

As women, we have somehow lost our purpose and vision for bigger things for God. I remember how compelled I was in business; the resolve to excel in everything I did and make a difference in society was extraordinary. What concerns me is that God’s business is the best business in the entire world, and for the most part, we give our least - not our best!

What am I passing on? Who am I influencing? Does my husband have the right to direct the affairs of his own household? Am I in subjection to him as head of our family? Do I live a pure and upright life? Am I imbued (saturated) with the same principles of unbending virtue which characterized the wife of the “father of the faithful?”

True heroes are those who serve God. What God defines as heroism will be honored in Heaven? Poor examples are not heroes or good role-models. These examples come to mind as I write this devotion and what I consider as a poor role-model is the antithesis of what the world embraces and puts forth as a classic role-model for our next generation.

I was nine-years old when my mother died from a long-term illness that had kept her in and out of hospital for five-years prior to her death. It's hard for me to comprehend a four-year old void of a mother around the home. Our son Caleb is the same age as I was when my mother was diagnosed with a chronic heart condition. The reality of Caleb's physical and emotional needs reminds me of something I desired so deeply for myself, and did not have. God has been so good to surround me with women who have a special bond for reasons that are often unexplainable. I still miss the presence of a mama.

She died at the young age of thirty-three. Without a doubt, my mother was a good role-model but unfortunately, I only have glimpses of her in her apron preparing food in the kitchen, and me running into her arms. Apart from that, there is little memory of any mother-daughter moments. If my mother had been a healthy woman, I’m quite sure I would have been able to share her unique qualities.

At the age of twelve, God brought Mrs. Calodine, my Sunday school teacher, across my young path. She was proper and appropriate in her conduct and I loved her feminine appearance and her elegant posture. As we met for our class each Sunday morning, she would open the Scriptures and then ask each of us what we thought God was teaching us personally through His Word. She would then ask how we could apply it to our own lives. She wrote everything down and by the end of the year, there were several books compiled with a repertoire of our thoughts and dreams. She was a good role-model for me.

There was another influence on my life; I was consumed with a television program called “Charlie’s Angels.” There was something supremely satisfying about watching dazzlingly gorgeous crime fighters dangle from helicopters, kung-fu-chopping stocky bad guys and running across rocky shorelines, all in high-heeled boots. My imagination ran wild, and being a “simple one,” I did not foresee the dangers or the possible demise on my part. At sixteen-years of age, I resolved myself to look like Jaclyn Smith (one of Charlie’s angels). That television program was the Trojan horse that attacked my mind and entered my body through Anorexia – a physical and emotional condition that gripped my life for five-years. As I wasted away to a corpse-like figure, I continued to watch “Charlie’s Angels.”

Everyone scratched their heads while my condition worsened. I continued to be fed each week by the original source of my illness – television! There were no angels in our home, but there were the devil’s devices luring my simple mind and filling it with the same trash that is polluting our children’s minds today. “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.” Psalm 119:113

The more we love the law of God, the more we will obtain the mastery of our vain thoughts. God hates indulgences and self-gratification! Most of what we see on television grieves the Holy Spirit. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit lives within us. Because God dwells in our life through the Holy Spirit, we grieve Him when we turn our television on and the air is filled with coarse language, alternate godless lifestyles, over-indulgences, naked bodies, seductive images, sex talk, cigarette ads, alcoholic beverage advertising, loud music, luring philosophies, POOR ROLE-MODELS---and on and on.

An intelligent exercise for a woman of God would be as follows;

Turn your television on;

  • Write down every godless word used for the next half an hour
  • Count how many women were insufficiently dressed
  • Make a note of the cigarette and drinking commercials
  • How many homosexuals, lesbians, or men-haters were portrayed?
  • List how many seductive images you saw
  • Number the times loud “in-your-face” music was played
  • Be aware of the negative comments spoken about men

Due to incredible trauma as a little girl, I had a greater propensity to be impacted in either a great or a decomposing way through the negative input of television. Rubbish in – rubbish out! For another girl, Charlie’s Angels may not have had the same affect; but nonetheless, role-models always have their impact and they do affect us in varying degrees.

Praise God, that through my own personal experiences, I have an increased awareness of what influences I allow our son Caleb to be subjected to and those I choose to flee from – like television!

Our country is starved for role-models. Everybody is looking for somebody they can be like. Each person desires a role-model. I am consciously aware of our Pastor’s wife and the influence she has on the women in our church. She is a great paradigm; her modesty, her disposition, her godly character traits, her wisdom, her walk with God, and her love and respect for her husband, are just a few of the attributes I admire in Mrs. Schaap. Watching and learning from a godly woman will have a good impact on your life. Mrs. Schaap continues to be a great example in my own life. She is a wonderful role-model!

In Genesis 23, we read of the death of another great role-model for women. At 127-years of age, Sarah dies at Hebron in the land of Canaan where she had been a 'sojourner' for more than sixty years. She is the only woman in Scripture whose age, death, and burial are mentioned “And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.” Genesis 23:2

I have studied some of Sarah’s qualities, her weaknesses unveiled through Scripture, and her growth in the Christian life. This week, I will list these for us all to glean from, and build some practical applications we can use in our own lives.

Jesus Christ is the perfect role-model for our lives. He is the Crème-de-la-crème of mentors. As Christian women, we are to follow in His steps; “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” 1 Peter 2:21 The Greek translation “should follow” means to “follow after” and when we do, the purpose is to reach somewhere.

The Bible is full of good thoughts; we were not created to live our life the way we want to live it. We were created to live our life the way God wants us to walk. We’re to live our life the way God wants us to live our life. Others are watching us and following us. Our followers will follow our example. My steps are to follow Jesus, and this is passed on down---not half-way, part-of-the-way, some-of-the-way but, ALL THE WAY!

We are all a role-model for someone. As mothers, we are put up as a role model for someone else who will follow in our foot-steps. “Watch me Caleb, as I follow in the footsteps of the Saviour.”

I am always taken back when a younger woman makes a statement to me ABOUT ME. This is a confirmation that she has been observing my ways and responses in relation to living the Christian life.

A role-model is someone who holds nothing back from God; we must be in complete surrender to His word -not a “know-it-all” but a “living-what-you-know.”

Why is my conduct so important?

  1. Every woman is another woman’s role-model. We have somebody watching us all the time! We wear Christ’s name “CHRISTian.” We are a role-model whether we like it or not. Every Christian woman will be accountable for the influence she has on another woman's life. We must do all we can to live by example. Somebody is watching you, and somebody is going to pattern their life after you.
  2. Parents are to be role-models. We are to show our children how to live by example. Mama can’t rear her boy to be a good dad, but she can teach him by her own virtues, how to be a great Christian. Children do what we do more than they do what we say. Hollywood is not where our children learn good standards or where they would find a good role model.
  3. The Bible teaches very clearly about what we should and what we shouldn’t be. If we go astray, those whom we have influence on will go astray. Walking in His steps is defined as US being a role-model and teaching somebody else to be a role-model. They in turn will be a role-model for the next generation.

God is real! When we are not living what we’re to live, those whom we have influence on are confused. We don’t want religion created on the outside and confusion on the inside.

We will perpetuate whatever we live!

Christian womanhood needs to be taken to a new level from what it is in this generation. I don’t necessarily focus on being better, but I do focus on being the best Christian woman I can be. There is always more we can do – always! We fall victim to the world’s philosophies at different stages in our lives, and by staying in God’s Word, He will open our eyes to the subtlety of our besetting sins. We stray from our posts all the time!

Most recently, I prayed that God would reveal to me the besetting sins that I was not aware of. There are always the obvious things I can do that will please Him; like refraining myself from any unnecessary negative comments in my home, applying discipline in specific areas, and having an understanding of the daily time wasters that can have a profound impact on the way I perform or neglect my responsibilities. But, if we are to grow to the next level as a Christian woman, and if we are to have a profound impact on the next generation, God needs to reveal matters of the heart that have been tucked away for quite some time. This is a whole different level and one that is completely out of our comfort zone.

Everyone has a besetting sin. Why don't you bow your head (as I did), and ask God to reveal your besetting sin. Your life will transform!

Over the next few days I will continue with our “Fairer than Sarah” series, and will list the qualities by which Sarah is known. We can learn to apply these virtues to our own lives and be women who bring Christian Womanhood to the next level for God.

I Love You,
Deborah