My Man Nehemiah: 1

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My small group is studying our way through Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A heart that can break. Nehemiah is one of my favorite guys in the bible. I can relate to some parts of his story. I have learned and am continuing to learn from him. You know how every time you study some passages, you find something new? Nehemiah is like that for me. And Kelly’s study has tons of life application.

In lesson 1, one of the things that really struck me was the importance of intercessory prayer. When Nehemiah found out that his people were in great distress and the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, he prayed. He seriously prayed with weeping and mourning and fasting for four months. He prayed God’s character to Him, he prayed God’s own words and promises back to Him, he confessed the sins of the Israelites, and he really believed that God would move in response. Day and night! Four months of this! And God did move in response to Nehemiah’s heart for his people….in amazing ways.

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(Card #1, print, size, and put inside your envelope)

It made me think about the way I pray. Wow, I am really lazy compared to Nehemiah. But, it made me realize that God does appreciate when we are really moved by something. Maybe I can’t tell Him or ask Him too many times. After all, what God wants most from us I think, is our attention, our time, our desire to be in relationship with Him. God called Nehemiah to pray and he did not stop praying until God gave His answer.

My small group loves to make their own visual reminders with me as we study, but this time, because I missed them all summer, I have made each of them these cards….one for each lesson (print them out for yourself if you want!), tucked in a velum envelope. You can make an envelope very easily. Print out the pattern. Size it as desired. Cut it out and trace it on a piece of vellum scrapbook paper. Cut it out. Fold where the lines are.

Use any paper adhesive you like. I used double stick tape to hold it together.

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Print out these words, or design your own. Slip it inside the envelope, trace on the front of the envelope with a Sharpie. Slip your cards inside.

Take time today to pray for your country.  (1 Timothy 2:2 NIV),

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Postcard from God: Clothing

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Today’s postcard, and this one.

Make this postcard that you can keep in your purse, or bible, or wherever you will see it often. Print the front and the back on card stock, or photo paper, or 90 lb. watercolor paper. Print them front and back on one piece of paper, or to make it sturdier, print two pieces and glue them back to back.

Then keep an eye on the mailbox, you never know when we might get another postcard.

 

 

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Rejoice always (I Thessalonians 5:16),

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5 Minute Friday: Ready!

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It’s 5 Minute Friday and I am really going to try to keep to 5 minutes this week. Last week (my first try at this), I used 8 minutes….cheating! Check out 5 Minute Friday here. Scroll to the end of the post for the goodies.

Breathing

Breathing

Go!

My Mom is a person who is always ready on time and she passed that on to me. I would rather be an hour early than a minute late. Many times, I am standing by the door or window waiting for my ride, or pulling my car over so I don’t get to someone’s house too early. Can’t help it, it is a part of who I am. Good grief, Aunt Stella has been known to arrive 2 hours early. It’s in the blood.

Finding out this week’s word gave me a little shocker. Well, it was probably the Holy Spirit using this week’s word…. I realized that while I am always ready on time, and even before time, for mostly everything, I am not always ready for the things to which I am invited by God. God’s divine appointments. God’s plans for my life. God’s calling and sending.

What is up with that? It took me more than two weeks to get ready for the last thing to which God called. Talk about dragging your feet. Queen of procrastination. Ignoring. Don’t want to! And then I was ready. And He blessed me almost immediately. Not being ready makes absolutely no sense.

I am learning to be ready early for God’s invitations. My ready time is getting better, but He asks for us to be ready when He calls, not after He calls. Not to think about it for two weeks. Not to keep asking if He is sure that is what I should do. But be standing by the door waiting and ready.

How about you? Are you better at being ready for God’s invitations than I? Do you have any words of wisdom to share about being ready?

Above all else, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23), 

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5 Minute Friday: Whisper

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I found this phenomenon on Kate Motaung’s blog and I am giving it a try! This is my first 5 Minute Friday. The rules are to write for 5 minutes on the given topic. This week, it is Whisper. From Kate’s instructions, “This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” So, here goes nuthin’.

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Two weeks ago I went with a couple people from church to deliver filled backpacks to kids at a local trailer park. The kids were excited and polite and it was a joy. While there, I chatted with a young single Mom who was preparing her daughter, who seemed to be about 6 or 7, to have surgery in a couple days. The daughter was clingy and did not speak. Mom said this would be her 23rd surgery.

What Mom and I talked about was how hard it was for her to be present during all this hospital time. Each time, she had to skip work, throwing her farther and farther behind in being able to afford necessities.

It has been two weeks and I cannot get that young Mom out of my mind. I thought maybe I could help her and asked the office at the trailer park to give me her name and address, which of course turned out to be against the rules. They said they would deliver a note to her if I wanted. I really wanted to be anonymous in this. ……..

In my house, growing up, there was no yelling. In fact, the quieter our Mother was, the more trouble we knew we were in. It made us have to get right up to her, where she could look into our eyes. And we had to listen carefully.

God is doing this to me in regard to the young Mother. “Is this about you, or about her?” “Maybe she needs someone to talk to, not just an anonymous gift card now and then.” “How about putting a face and hands and feet to My work on this one?”

ACK! I sometimes ask God to be undeniably clear so I know exactly what He is saying or asking. But, clearer does not necessarily mean louder, right?

Being a little introverted, I never like this message from God. But, there is no doubt, it is how He grows me, and also no doubt that the blessings might be amazing. So, I am giving up my plan to be anonymous to go with God’s quietly whispered, looking into my heart, words of direction. I am writing that note.

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I confess. 8 minutes.

Be kind and compassionate (Ephesians 4:32),

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Abiding in His Shadow

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Because sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what scripture is telling me to do, I try to pay attention to the verbs. Action words. If there is an action I can follow, it feels like a good starting place to finding a way to make the scripture practical in my life. In this verse, Psalm 91:1, there are two good action words: dwell and abide.

  • What does it mean to dwell in the shelter of the Most High? Dwell = to sit down, in quiet. You live there, and feel comfortable there.

To run in and out when you need something? No.

To stand there with your arms crossed, expecting? Nope.

To take a knee, telling God your list of needs and wants? Probably not.

To sit down, take a load off, rest, plan to stay a long while…in quiet, waiting to see where He leads, conversing with God, turning your face to His? Yes.

  • What does it mean to abide in God’s shadow? Abide = stay overnight, remain, lodge, move right in.

Stop in for a minute? No.

Wave as you run by? Don’t think so.

Phone in a quick prayer once in awhile? Hmmm, no.

To make it your permanent residence, enjoy it as your safe place, want to spend as much time there as you can? Yes.

God’s shelter is a secret place, a hiding place, a place of protection. When you are close enough to God to be in His shadow, to feel His shade, you are tucked right in there next to Him. You feel His presence as He protects you and allows you fear-free rest. It’s a great place to live life.

And yet, sometimes I wander off. As always, a visual reminder of dwelling in God’s shadow is good. At the top of the page is a doodle of Psalm 91:1. Please feel free to make it any size you want, and print it out on a piece of white card stock or 90 lb. watercolor paper. Cut the shape out. Add more color, or use it as it is. Pin it to your bulletin board, add a ribbon and hang it, glue it to the front of your journal, use it as a bookmark.

Show us how you are using it!

In all your ways, acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:6),

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The Journey, not the Destination

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If you read this post, you know that I attended the She Speaks Conference in July in Charlotte. I met many talented writers and speakers, and each person had her own fascinating reason for attending.

From the first day I heard about the conference, I saw God making a way for me to go. To attend this for 4 days cost more money than I had to spend. It is no coincidence that I had just enough airline miles left for a ticket to Charlotte, and just enough hotel points for 3 nights. I imagined God, who had this planned many years ago when I was traveling a lot for work….”Yes, girlie, you are sick of airports and hotels and silly fellow travelers who read your book along with you over your shoulder, and sing drunken country songs in the seat next to you, but be patient because 6 years from now, you will use these points when I call you to a special opportunity.”

Isn’t it awesome to know God had it planned out all along?

The best part of the conference for me was having appointments with two publishers. It is not easy to make this happen on your own, so I took full advantage because I think I have a book or two in me.  Both publishers were encouraging and positive in their comments. Both of them gave me next steps to follow if I wish. Both of them told me to start building a following of people who will enjoy and benefit from what I have to offer.

No doubt, I went to the publisher appointments secretly hoping for one of them to declare I am the next hot writer and offer me a contract right there. And later, when I talked to God about it, He gave me total peace about my lack of contract.

You see, I am type A and task oriented all the way. God knows I could sit down and write a book pretty easily, but that is not His plan for me. He wants me to take a journey out of my introverted, happy to be at home alone for days, personality. He wants me to enjoy the journey to the destination. So, I will teach. I will share. I will meet lots of women on my blog, and theirs. I will learn things. I will build relationship, both with Him and you. Even though I was ready for that contract, He was not.

I really hope you will join me on the journey. I don’t know where it will go or how long it will take. But, I do know I need company and He has things for us to learn.

Knock on the door (Matthew 7:7),

Kim

Salt and Light

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the Salt of the Earth

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and the Light of the World!

Last Sunday, the message at church was on Salt and Light. This is not a new lesson for me, as it is probably not for you either. But, it really made me think.

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I learned some things from Pastor Dave.

We know that to be salt is to be an example of Jesus…to be a blessing to others…to add flavor to your world.

And we know that to be light is to let others see God in you…that it is not always easy to show people who Jesus is…and that it is a choice to hide it or to let it shine.

And here is where I began to think. And I started writing a list of things I could do that would make me salt and light. What things have I done in the past that would qualify as salt and light? And what things am I doing now; ministries, serving, random acts of kindness, that make me salt or light?

Then it hit me. Probably because God told me. Being salt and light is not a list of activities. Being salt and light is a lifestyle. Shouldn’t it become such a part of my life that I no longer have to think about it because it is who I am? And when I don’t have to write a list of list of how to make myself salt and light, and when being a blessing to others and letting other people see God in me, are ingrained in my life, then I will be where God wants me to be. Salt and Light.

Are you there yet? How did you arrive? How will you get yourself there? Be aware of ways to be a blessing to people, of ways to share Jesus, to create relationships with people not in your sphere, to think about what your neighbor needs that she can’t do for herself, take groceries to the guy at church who is on crutches. You know what to do. God sets up Divine appointments for you all the time. When you find it hard to make it a part of who you are, remember that “fake it till you make it” is not a bad thing, and that a habit is built in 21 days. Start now with me?

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To make the oh so very easy, salt and light project in the photos, you need a salt shaker, a wick, and some white granulated wax. This takes 30 seconds to make. Really.

Hold the wick in the center of the salt shaker. Pour the wax in to fill up the shaker. Trim the wick if it is too long.

If you want to make it an even better reminder, print out one of the verses above, punch a hole in the paper, and tie it around the salt shaker. These are an inexpensive give-away to go with a lesson on salt and light.

Set it on a shelf in the bathroom so when you see it every morning, you are reminded what it means to be salt and light, and how great it is going to be when you are there.

Listen to our teaching pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Canton MI, Dave Riddle, on salt and light.

Share each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2),

Kim

The One Who Goes Ahead

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I am in Charlotte for the She Speaks Conference. I arrived today and was assigned the smallest car I have ever driven. It feels like driving my Dad’s lawnmower. Zippy and fun!

On the plane, I had a reassuring chat with God about where this is going…what I will take away from this conference…if I am ready for meetings and classes…what did I forget to prepare. In the end, I knew that it was not anything to worry about. So, I will go and enjoy the experience. God has been here before me and that’s all I need.

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Serve wholeheartedly (Ephesians 6:7),

Kim

Inspiration on Pinterest

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Please take a look at my Pinterest board titled Helping Stones. Use it to find inspiration. I will be pinning art pieces/projects including painting, papercrafting, doodling, and whatever else I find. I will add to it frequently, so click the “follow” button!

And if you have a similar board, comment below so I can follow yours too!

Look to the interest of others (Philippians 2:4),

Kim

Ebenezer: Not a Guy

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Ebenezer. In the original Hebrew, eben haezer means stone of help or commemorative stone. For us, Ebenezer is not necessarily a literal stone, but an object that helps us remember and acknowledge God’s help in our lives.

Samuel’s rock and other rocks used for the same purpose by Old Testament characters, were a reminder that could be seen.

When Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan into the promised land, God stopped the water flow so they could walk across the river bed.  From that river bed, they collected 12 stones. They carried them out and placed them where they stopped for the day.

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Later, when God’s people walked by the stones, they remembered. When their children asked what the big deal was about some rocks, they could use it as a teaching opportunity, a remembrance, maybe a time of praise and worship.  Sometimes my own small handmade Ebenezers make me say ‘Hallelujah!”, I can just imagine the emotions that the 12 stones at Gilgal might have brought out in the people that lived the experience.

Maybe you have sung this song. Growing up in a small Baptist church, it was a staple. I always thought Ebenezer (mentioned in the second verse) was a guy. It never made much sense to me.

Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Here by Thy great help, I’ve come.
Now it does.
Love holds it all together (Colossians 3: 14),
Kim