Christian

Fan Into Flames the Gift God Gave You

Paul was languishing in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal, and he knew his death was near. “This ancient prison could have been called the “House of Darkness.” Few prisons were as dim, dank, and dirty as the lower chamber Paul occupied. Its “neglect, darkness, and stench” gave it “a hideous and terrifying appearance.”¹

This is where Paul wrote these words, Fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” 2 Timothy 1:6 NLT

I can’t keep reading. I have to stop and read his last letter with the realization that the Apostle Paul used his waning strength to pen these words. I want to understand it fully.

Have you ever been on a camp out and couldn’t get a fire going? Maybe you get a little spark, but it goes out. If you blow on it just right it starts to catch. You carefully add more kindling and fan it some more. If you keep fanning it, eventually you will have a bon fire!

This is the metaphor Paul used to encourage Timothy to develop his ministry.

Do you know what gift God has given you? Is it to proclaim His glory through the written word? Has He put a desire in you to write about what He has done?

I don’t mean: Are you a gifted writer? I mean: Has God put a deep desire in your heart to write and share what He has done for you? Has He asked you to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God?” 2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV

If you aren’t a professional writer, your efforts may start like that little spark, but eventually you will see the bonfire you desire. How? Practice, learn, do, never give up. You’ll keep getting better!

I still have a lot to learn. I spend a lot of time studying the craft of writing. I certainly haven’t “arrived”, but these are the things that have helped me most:

  • “The aim of writing is to move the reader to tears or to laughter, and to a new point of understanding.”
  • “People want inspiration and application.”
  • Study the writing of an author you admire.
  • After I write the first draft, I rewrite, rewrite, and edit ruthlessly.
  • Stay focused on the message. Don’t ramble.
  • Look at each sentence. Can I say it in fewer words?
  • When you think it’s perfect, wait and read it again the next day. If you’re happy with it, then hit publish.

Now go fan into flames the gift God has given you!

INSPIRE! ENCOURAGE! TEACH!

SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST WITH THE WORLD!

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

¹Historical Background of Paul’s Final Imprisonment, by Derrick G. Jeter, Insight for Living Ministries, August 14, 2017

Photo by Arnau Soler on Unsplash

Christian

Be Still and Know That I Am God

I’m a To-Do List,  planner, scheduled-day kind of person. I didn’t realize how much until recently.

It was early in the morning, about 6:00, when I let my dog, Bella, out the back door. Sunny skies, a gentle breeze, and the sweet sound of birds singing greeted me. I sat down on my little black bench to enjoy it for a minute.

I already had coffee in hand, so I drank it outside instead of hurrying into my office. Suddenly, a hummingbird darted past and paused to drink from the bright pink Hibiscus bloom peaking out from my neighbor’s balcony.

A baby bunny hopped out of the cornfield and looked around. A striking red cardinal flew to my bird feeder and looked me right in the eye. “Are you going to put any seed in this feeder or what?” he seemed to say.

A bright yellow Monarch fluttered by. It was like God had orchestrated his creation to entertain me. I couldn’t leave my seat.

After a while, this Scripture came to me, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

I sat peacefully, obediently, enjoying the beauty right outside my door. My brain stopped buzzing around like it was on fire.

Then, God reminded me that His plan is never what a person thinks it will be. Abraham didn’t know that Sarah would give him a son in her old age. Jacob didn’t know he would have to work twenty years for Laban before he could leave with Rachel. And Joseph could never imagined that God’s plan would land him in prison. But all these things were part of God’s plan!

If these men of God were like me, they would have been thinking that it was all their fault that things were working out so badly. But God’s will was being accomplished through ordinary, imperfect men – in spite of their flaws.

I learned something important that day. Sometimes I just need to slow down, quiet my brain, and observe God’s creation. It reminds me that He is God. And I might hear that still, small voice.

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

(Re-posted from July, 2018)

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

A Verse For Today, Christian

Sunday’s Verse, 12/22/19

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

A Verse For Today, Christian

A Verse For Today, 12/19/19

Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22: 24-27 NLT

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

A Verse For Today, Christian

A Verse For Today, 12/17/19

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

The Holiday Challenge You’ll Never Forget!

Do you think you could go a whole month without complaining even once?

I visited my Dad’s church Sunday and Pastor Mike challenged the whole congregation to go for a whole month without complaining.

Our family took on the challenge (all 8 of us). Christina had the idea that if you complained about something, you had to sing your words! Here are a couple of the “songs” that were sung at dinner that night:

“Is that kale in my salad?”

“I thought we were eating at 6:45!”

Christina and Patricia making dinner

Get the idea? Needless to say, it was a lot of fun! Not only that, it cut down on complaining because everyone was being careful not to. And if anyone came even close to complaining, the others immediately made the guilty party sing it!

After I was caught complaining, I said, “But I’m just stating a fact!” Guess what? If the fact is negative, that’s complaining!

Our family kept this up for about 3 hours and I learned something. We complain and don’t even realize we’re doing it! (That is, until you get caught!)

So why take this family holiday challenge? God says,

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16 NIV

Shine among them like stars in the sky

And don’t forget how the Israelites complained in the wilderness after being set free from bondage and witnessing one miracle after another. (That’s a whole post in itself!)

“All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!” Numbers 14:2 NIV

Have you ever been around anyone who never complained? Pretty nice isn’t it? Have you ever been around anyone who complained constantly? Not so nice! It’s pretty straight forward. Complainers don’t make bright stars in the darkness.

Complaining has negative health effects.

God knows that complaining isn’t good for us. If only we would just obey Him! Science has proven that complaining is unhealthy. Consider this.

  1. Complaining changes the way people see you. “According to Travis Bradberry, PhD, “Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.”
  2. Complaining causes brain damage. Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus—an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Damage to the hippocampus is scary, especially when you consider that it’s one of the primary brain areas destroyed by Alzheimer’s.
  3. Complaining has negative health effects. When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar…  All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.

So I challenge you to accept the “Don’t Complain Challenge”. For one month you can’t complain about anything. See what happens. Pastor Mike guarantees that it will make you a happier, healthier, and more positive person. You will not only feel better, you will become a person others like to be around.

You will be “seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life…” Philippians 2:15b-16a AMPC

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

You can listen to Pastor Mike’s energizing sermon at https://www.wesleymethodist.org/sermons

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

Cover Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Stars Photo by Farid Askerov on Unsplash

Hospital Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Christian

Lord, Teach Me to Pray

[Friends, Because I have been out of state for the last month, helping my dad with medical issues, I have had to repost several times. Today, as I searched for the right post, I was reminded how we often put pressure on ourselves to “pray right” as if answers depended on how good we pray. But, God reminds me that He knows our heart and what we need, regardless of how we might stumble along. I pray that you will be encouraged and know that God is working whether you see it or not.]

Two and a half  years ago, I had no idea I was going to write a blog. I had no idea my daughter would lead worship in my church. I had no idea God was getting ready to change my life and hers.

But God’s plan was working all along, even though I was completely unaware of what He was doing! He already knew these things would happen. 

That’s what faith is: being sure of things unseen. (I’m sure He is working, I just can’t see it now. )

I have frequently prayed and asked God to do many things, but I haven’t always seen the answers I hoped for when I hoped for. In frustration, I asked Jesus to teach me to pray.

I learned I was right to ask Jesus to teach me how to pray. He has already taught me something new! Jesus said,

“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Matthew 6:9-10 NIV

What does that have to do with effectual prayer? Everything! Because, I don’t need to go to God with a list of things for Him to do. What do the words mean “hallowed be your name”? Hallowed means: honored as holy, blessed, greatly revered, respected, honored and worshiped.

Let’s think about that for a minute. When we go to the Father in prayer, let us worship Him. Let us adore Him and recognize the character of our God. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise.

Then Jesus said,

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

God has shown me that the key to effectual prayer is not about me. It’s not about my ability to pray. It’s about Him! I’ve been too focused on myself instead of on Him!  

Let Jesus teach us to pray. Let us worship the Father. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. Then, let us pray for His will to be done in our life, in our church, in our city, and all over the world. He has a plan that is better than all we can ask or imagine! 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20 NIV

The words of the hymn are true, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” But, let us have a new and deeper revelation of His greatness and love. Let us revere and love Him as we should. We can find words to praise Him throughout the Psalms! Here are just a few key verses:

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him… that you care for him?” Psalm 8:1-4 NIV

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord who is worthy of praise….” Psalm 18:1-3a NIV

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” Psalm 25:1-2a NIV

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep…. How priceless is your unfailing love!” Psalm 36:5-7 NIV

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

Dear Christian Writer

When I do all the talking, I can’t hear God! That’s right. You heard me right. Do you ever have that problem? Prayer isn’t just talking. It’s listening, too.

Sometimes, in my eagerness to write, I rush ahead of God. When I don’t wait on Him, I make mistakes – not horrible mistakes, but my writing lacks something.

In other words, I can’t wait. So I write in my own strength, depending on my own abilities. That is not what God wants from me.

How do I know that I rushed ahead of God? Because I realize later that I ignored the still small voice. That’s easy to do. We hear the whisper of God’s Spirit, but do not stop long enough to consider it. We cannot wait. We have to plow on.

This quote by John Piper made an impact on me, “To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord.”

I pray that God will teach me to wait and to listen; and to know the difference between working in my own strength or wholly depending on His.

Scriptures to Ponder

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin….” Zechariah 4:10

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”   Isaiah 40:31

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

With Love, 

Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog

This is a reblog from 2018.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Christian

We Are The Temple of God

We don’t have to visit a temple made by man to be in the presence of God, as the Israelites did. As a Christ Follower, we are the temple of God and He dwells within us. Isn’t that an amazing thought? As I read about the building of the Temple, I was struck by the great wealth and incredible planning that went into it. It took Solomon seven years to build the temple. (See 1 Kings 5-8)

Solomon used 8,100,187.5 pounds of gold and 76,275,000 pounds of silver. The gold and silver alone was worth $216,603,576,000. This does not include all the precious metals, bronze, iron, ivory, or cedar wood used in the temple. Extrapolating from the number, the total cost of Solomon’s temple including the labor costs (153,000 forced laborers) would have been well over half a billion dollars! Pure gold was everywhere! Even the wick trimmers were made of pure gold! No detail was overlooked.

The Living God doesn’t live in a building. If you are a Christ Follower, He is literally living in your body! Take a moment to let that soak in.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

You may think the temple that Solomon built came at an incredible price, and it did. But God purchased you at an even greater cost, the precious, priceless blood of Jesus Christ. So what does that mean to us today?

We must recognize that we are the temple of God and that we belong to God. He has a plan for us. We have been commissioned to go out and make disciples. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves. This is obedience to the One who owns us, to love one another. We must examine ourselves to see if we are honoring the price He paid.

Just as the Lord paid careful attention to how His people treated His temple, so He takes note of the choices we make, our priorities, and the directions we pursue. Our bodies are no longer “our own” because we no longer belong to ourselves but wholly and completely to God. This is the single most important truth about our lives.”

dr. David Jeremiah

“. . . the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 NIV

“Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” 2 Timothy 1:14 NLT

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3: 14-17 NIV

We may look around at our world and blame our problems on the culture, drugs, TV, violent video games, and any number of evils in the world. But we must remember that revival doesn’t start in the world, it starts in the hearts of God’s people, the Church.

What would happen in our world today if all Christ followers in this generation chose to be Christ-centered instead of self-centered?

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Jeremiah Study Bible

Photos by Center for Online Judaic Studies

Rdchamberlain.com (cost of temple)

Christian

My Bible, My Life

Thy Word

Thy Word I love, O Lord. 
Tis my greatest delight.  
Early I rise to seek you 
And wait for the morning light. 

Thy Word I receive, O Lord.
Tis my daily bread.  
It feeds my broken heart  
And prepares for the day ahead.  

Thy Word I will keep, O Lord.
Tis my strength for each day,   
You are the solid rock.
I will follow all your ways.  
  
Thy Word I need, O Lord.
Tis the joy of my heart. 
You draw me closer to You, 
To teach and Thy Truth to impart .  

I give thanks for this wonderful gift.
More precious than silver and gold
A treasure of promise and love, 
My Bible, whose worth is untold.

How shall I know my own heart, if I do not read God’s Word?

“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. . . . exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 AMP

How shall I learn, if I do not read God’s Word?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 ESV

How shall I have faith, if I do not read God’s Word?

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 ESV

How shall I be obedient, if I do not read God’s Word?

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” Joshua 1:8 ESV

How shall I find my way, if I do not read God’s Word?

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV

How shall I fight the devil, if I do not read God’s Word?

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But he answered, “It is written . . . Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:1-4 ESV

How shall I keep myself from sin, if I do not read God’s Word?

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

How shall I have peace, if I do not read God’s Word?

“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165

My Prayer

Lord, Give us a love for your Word. May we hunger for it more every day, that we may serve our family and answer our calling in truth and love.

“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

realchristianwomen.blog  

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash