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Archive for July, 2011

by Glynnis Whitwer
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

Ecclesiastes 4:8-10

A study of elementary school activity recess revealed that boys and girls play differently on the playground structures. Researchers have found that girls are more likely to swing and climb to the top of the play structures and yell down at their friends who are close by on the ground. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to run around the structure or the playground.

Apparently, these findings concerned the researchers because they worry that girls aren’t using enough of the playground. Isn’t that interesting? Without any suggestion from teachers or parents, the girls place themselves in closer physical proximity to each other, thereby increasing their social contact.

Although little girls tend to disagree more than boys, their need for friendships is obvious, and at a young age, seek each other out. God designed this need in us, and friendships offer more than companionship, they also offer protection.

With Satan as our enemy, and sin as our nature, we are weakened. One of Satan’s most effective tools is isolation. He knows if we stay away from godly friends, he can start planting lies in our minds, and thereby bring us down. But with good friends to surrounds us, and affirm God’s truth in our life, we are less susceptible to attack.

Consider frost damage. In a forest, a tree is more likely to be killed by frost if it is standing alone. The same goes for plants and bushes around our homes. However, when the trees are clumped together there is a natural protection and they survive the cold.

This is a lot like people. None of us expect a difficult time to come – but we live in a fallen world and bad things happen. To a person without godly friends, a time of frost can kill them emotionally. However, when a person is surrounded by friends, they are more likely to survive.

For many of us, friendships are whipped cream on the ice cream sundae of life. They are an added bonus, but not essential. However, God thinks otherwise. In Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 we have the following words of advice: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

In another book of the Bible, we are advised to confess our sins to others. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Since I’m probably not going to confess my sins to someone I don’t know, this verse affirms the importance of godly friends.

Take time to be with friends. Plan a holiday gathering and share the things you are thankful for. Look for opportunities to include friends in your everyday life and share what’s going on in your life. Our time invested in friendships is time well spent. It’s in our God-designed make-up to need each other and it accomplishes God’s desire for our protection when the hard times come.

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Who am I?

by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 2 Samuel 7:4–17

God does not call everybody to build temples. He calls
some people to be soldiers. He calls some people to do the gutsy work in the
trenches. He calls some people to compose and conduct music. God has all kinds
of creative ways to use us—ways we can’t even imagine and certainly can’t see
up there around the next bend in the road. One of the hardest things to hear is
that God is going to use someone else to accomplish something you thought was
your role to fill. That’s what David had to hear. “It won’t be you, David . . .
it will be your son, Solomon.”

“Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me
this far? And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your
servant concerning the distant future. . . . Again what more can David say to
You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD!”
(2 Samuel 7:18–20)

Isn’t that like a little child? When a child refers to himself, he
often calls himself by name. Just like a little boy, David sat down before the
Lord and said, in effect, “Dad, what is David, that You’ve blessed my house and
You’ve blessed my life, and You’ve brought me from leading a little flock of
sheep to giving me this magnificent throne? Who am I?”

It’s important that every once in a while we sit down, take a long
look at our short lives, and count our blessings. Who are we to have been
protected from the rains that fell and the strong winds that destroyed regions,
leaving hundreds homeless? Who are we that He has blessed our house and kept it
safe? Warm in the winter . . . cool in the summer. Who am I, Lord, that You
should give me health and strength to be able to hold a job or pursue this
career or get this degree? Or to have parents who have encouraged me? Or to have
these great kids and to see them grow? Who am I?

“Dream or no dream, I’m a blessed person,” says David. Here is
more evidence that David was a man after God’s own heart.

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On a diet….

from watching the boob tube. Yeah….fancy that!! In April of this year, Jim and I got rid of our Direct TV….good move. But that blasted tv still took up way too much time. Time I could spend on reading, praticing my cello, hanging out with my man. The stuff on regular tv is just a bunch of nothing. And what was also effecting me were all of the news shows. Real news and hollywood news. I was filling my mind with plain ole junk. And my spirit was feeling it…so Jim and I went to the library recently, loaded up on some great books, and have spent some nice, quiet evenings with one another. And the new piece I am working on with my cello is sounding better and better.

They say “You are what you eat!” Well, I say “You are what you think!” And what influences your thought process? What you feed into your mind. Our mind is so attuned with our physical body. God has made us fearfully and wonderfully! He knows what makes us to become our best. Listen to this:

” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is xcellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  ~Philippians 4:8

Maybe I shouldn’t call this a diet….because usually a diet ends after awhile. This is really a life change for me. But…..I’m not throwing our tv out the window. I want to be honest about this. Yes, I still watch the 6 o’clock news…..but my evenings are a lot more peaceful now. And more meaningful. Yeah…..

 

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We are now offering a new complexion soap….our Tomato Soap! We have it at the Hickory and Charlotte Farmers Markets. Stop by to check it out! Besides tomato, we add perilla seed oil and pumpkin see oil. Here are the benefits of each:

BENEFITS of Perilla Seed Oil                                                                                             

The seed, which is expeller pressed, produces an oil rich in vitamins, amino acids, linoleic, oleic and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. The high ALA content helps the skin and hair retain moisture, and can be used in the treatment of skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.

Perilla Seed Oil is known to have antiseptic properties which makes it good for facial products. It helps to retain moisture in skin and hair and also aids in treatment of skin disorders.

BENEFITS of Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin Seed Carrier Oil is much more popular in Europe where it is valued for its skin healing properties (specifically sores, inflammations). Aromatherapists are also beginning to value this oil for its high protein, zinc, and polyunsaturated fats.

BENEFITS of Tomato Puree

Tomatoes are a great source of carotenoids like lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin E, which are effective antioxidants. They naturally cleanse and balance oily and troubled facial skin. Tomatoes are a natural source of AHAs and lycopene to balance your skin’s pH. The tomato can be an effective natural acne remedy as it has many properties that make it kind to the skin. Tomatoes have antioxidant qualities, it can prevent skin damage at the cellular level and it can also tighten the pores of the skin which reduces the likelihood of an acne breakout.

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Little i

“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 (NIV)

Written by Marybeth Whalen

My husband and i were at an event where words to the worship music were placed on a screen for all to see. But this night i noticed something: every time they used the word “I” on the screen, it wasn’t capitalized. My editor’s eye was drawn to this glaring error, and i spent much of the time that i was supposed to be singing trying to discern why they had done this. Oversight? Trying to be cute? It bugged me.

Then i felt God’s whisper to my heart, causing me to go a bit deeper. “Why are you stressing about capitalizing the i?” I sensed Him asking me, “Why does it need to be capitalized? Who decided that? Maybe these folks recognize that ‘i’ am not important — but I AM is.”

While I am not proposing a little i revolution — shaking up tradition and causing a crisis in the grammar world — i am wondering, what does a little i life look like?

Sacrifice?

Surrender?

Slaying self?

Setting apart?

Seeking Him?

Serving others instead of doing what i want?

This little i thing could catch on. It should catch on, because it’s the life Jesus called us to. We don’t need to be capitalized. We need to be small, insignificant — just a jot and a tittle, the littlest marks in the alphabet. Instead of a capital letter that announces our importance.

At least, that’s what i am learning these days — and trying to live out. Sacrifice, surrender and servanthood are hard. But i know that’s what God calls us to do; laying down our wants, needs and desires and straining towards His.

Dear Lord, I want to make Your name famous and mine unimportant. Help me to be mindful of my tendency to make things about me. And help me Lord to keep the focus on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Written by Dan Miller

Albert Einstein once described his three rules of work:

1. Out of clutter find simplicity.

2. From discord find harmony.

3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

As I walked into my office this morning I was confronted with an accumulation of my work projects – book manuscripts, manifestos, blog notes, partially read books, new magazines, speaking notes and emails to be answered.  I quickly made one neat stack of books on my desk and closed out all programs on my computer except where I write my blogs.  I must create simplicity out of clutter to accomplish anything.

None of us are immune to discord, whether it is from family members, co-workers, neighbors or business competitors.  It takes integrity and wisdom to decide not to engage in backbiting, criticism and complaining, choosing instead to focus on what is admirable in others – what produces harmony.  The negative behavior we often see in others is their own unhealthy response to suffering and perhaps their misdirected struggle for happiness.  Seek harmony.

Did you ever wish for more time with your family?  Now that you’ve lost your job are you relishing that opportunity?  Have you ever regretted not developing your artistic talents?  Now that you’re recovering from a heart attack are you focusing on releasing that dream?   In the middle of my darkest days financially I discovered my passion for writing could become a source of income.  Had things continued “successfully” I would have missed that insight.  What opportunity is your difficulty presenting you?

Make these three rules for working your goal this week.

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God is a changer.
He changes
darkness into Light…
Bondage into Liberty…
Ashes into
Beauty…
Conflict into Peace…
He has changed death to Life!

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me… to give
unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise
for the spirit of heaviness…
Isaiah 61:1,3 KJV

May you know His changing power and His love this
Independence Day.

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