Wednesday, August 06, 2008
With God all things ARE possible. ( Mark 10:27) Two years ago today God led me to this site. At that time I was looking for a quick way to lose weight. My self-esteem had hit an all time low, and I needed help. I had been 150, and somehow made it to 135, but couldn't lose any more. So, I clicked on the ad that I found and it brought me here to Spark. I explored the site, and decided to "try it out". It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.
Spark has made a new woman out of me, with God's help, of course. I needed help in a lot of areas and found it with Spark. The teams are awesome, and the love and support I received was unconditional. That was and is what makes Spark such a wonderful community. There is no judgement, and we are all treated equally.
As time went on, I began to lose weight and I found so much more. God showed me that my mission from him is to be An Encourager. I learned that in order to keep what I have I have to give it away. I have to give back . I want to give back I receive so much joy, love and support from all of my Spark friends that I have to share it with others. I love sharing my experience, strength and hope.
Spark has taught me leadership skills through my experience as co-leader at times of numerous teams. This experience has carried me through to leading Bible Study groups at my church which is First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) here in my city of Zephyrhills, Fl. God continues to work within me, and I wake up every day with wonder at where he will lead me next.
I have found Peace and Serenity, and have learned that I enjoy walking daily and getting involved with the Silver Sneakers class at our local " Y " 3 times a week. I have begun to wear a pedometer to keep track of my steps. I drink 6 to 8 glasses or more of water daily. I don't care for soda anymore. I find it too sweet! I am more aware of what I put into my body and how I treat my body because I believe it is a Temple for Jesus, so it deserves to be honored and cherished. I am a child of God, and I need to take are of this "home" my Spirit is temporarily residing in.
I am overjoyed with all the Spark has given me. Thank you all so much for being here when I needed you, and for being here now so that I may encourage others. God Bless each and everyone one of us!
Monday, August 04, 2008
I haven't been waiting around for my miracle. I have to get it. I have to work on it. I've been going to physical therapy for over a month now for the pain in my neck, and it is getting better! Praise God. I have been learning exercises at PT, and have been doing some here at home to help me back pain as well.
I saw my arthritis doctor last week and he told me I have Osteo-arthritis and Fibromyalagia. I asked him what I could do so I don't lose mobility. He told me to move, move, move! He said walking is very good, and also to go and do the Silver Sneaker's Class at the " Y. " It is a seniors class that is a full 40 minute cardio workout from head to toe! We walk or march in place, around the room, and also use resistance bands and light weights as well as a ball for exercise. There is a chair beside us we can use if we need to. Most of this can be done sitting or standing (with the walking around the room part, of course! LOL)
My Dr. also told me that just 10 minutes of walking a day can sometime relieve the pain by 20 percent. That's a lot to me. My walks are around 20 to 30 minutes. It depends on how I feel that day.
My plan: Alternate between my outside walks and the classes 6 days a week with Sunday's off. It has been greatly approved by my doctor.
With God's help I will have the strength to do this daily so I will NOT end up in a wheelchair.
Dear God, Thank you for the guidance you have given the doctor and the physical therapists. I ask that You guide me in this workout plan so I can stay mobile through the years. You and I will do this together. You are my walking partner. Thank You so much for giving me life so I can become even closer to you through my walks as well as my talking with you time.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
" Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." ---Jeremiah 33: 3 NKJV
Prayer is communication with God who loves us. We can cultivate many forms of prayer: praise, worship, thanksgiving, confession, adoration, petition, supplication, intercession, and meditative prayer. When we pray we come into God's presence and discover that God has been present with us all along.
We can bring our daily cares and needs to God in prayer; any time or any place. He is intimately interested in he details or our life. We can ask for his guidance in our relationships, for help in whatever we need. We can ask for provision for financial and physical needs. Prayer doesn't have to be elaborate or long. A quick prayer as we bandage skinned knees or cook dinner connects with with our heavenly Father in an instant. He loves our heartfelt prayers, whether we kneel to pray in church or sing worship songs, as we go about our daily work.
Volumes have been written about prayer; from humble collections of devotional thoughts to great theologies of prayers. But prayer is not head knowledge that can be assessed in the pages of a book. Prayer is connecting to God who created us, redeemed us, and loves us. Prayer is simply talking to God who is intimately interested in our lives. Martin Luther once said, " Pray and let God worry." The God who holds all things together is holding us together; and prayer allows Him greater access to heal our hurts, comfort our sorrows, and bring our life into alignment with His great good will.
Jesus talks about "prayer experts" who would make great show of their prayers. They would pray in public places, always with an eye to the effect they were having in the crowds who watched them at their self-conscious devotions. "Some men will spin out a long prayer telling God who and what he is, or they pray out a whole system of divinity ," said evangelist Charles Finney. Some people preach, others exhort the people , till everyone wishes they would stop, and God wishes so, too, undoubtedly." Jesus told us that we were not to be like that, but to be as simple as children with our Father in heaven. He told us to go into a private place for an intimate encounter with God. Jesus told us that a real relationship with God does not have to be complicated, but can grow into a loving relationship of childlike faith and trust!
There are many ways to pray. There is always first, and foremost, the simple. heartfelt cry to God. This is the ground out of which a prayer life can flower. We confess our sins and admit our need. We ask for help for ourselves, for loved ones, for our community, for the church, and for the world. We turn to God trusting that He will provide for our daily needs, protect us from danger, and guide us into wholeness and abundance.
Over the centuries the church has prayer psalms, liturgies, and simple prayers; prayers like the Lord's Prayer. Praying the beatitudes, the parables, and the psalms slowly; phrase by phrase,
can call us into some new awareness of God's goodness or show us how some attitude or quality of our life is hindering our relationship with Him. It's better to pray a few well-intentioned, deeply felt, and God directed words.
A daily devotional can help us begin or end our day with simple prayer and reading. Create a simple home alter or light some candles to create a space for prayer. Buy a blank notebook and begin to keep a prayer journal. Set aside a regular time for prayers and meditating on God's Word; join a prayer group. Worship on a regular basis.
Understand that praying is more than bowing our heads and saying prayers. Our whole life can be a prayer. Brother Lawrence was a monk whose entire life was devoted to practicing the presence of God in every moment of every day, even as he washed pots and pans. Bernard of Clairvaux said, " Wherever you are, pray secretly within yourself. If you are far from a house of prayer, give not yourself trouble to seek for one, for you yourself are a sanctuary designed for prayer. If you are in bed or any place else, pray there: your temple is there."
1. Open my heart to God in prayer.
2. Remember that God loves me.
3, Have a child-like attitude of trust in my relationship with God.
4. Be honest with myself and God.
5. Be aware that god is with me all day long.
6. Worship God with my whole heart.
7. Resolve to make prayer a priority in my life.
8. Know that my whole life can be a prayer.
THINGS TO DO:
1. Set aside a regular time and a special place to pray.
2. Worship this week with other believers.
3. Join a prayer group.
4. Start a prayer journal.
5. Buy a daily devotional for morning and evening quiet times and prayer.
6. Memorize a psalm and pray it back to God.
7. Go to a quiet chapel and kneel at the alter for a moment of prayer.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
" In the morning prayer is the key that opens to us the treasures of God's mercies and blessings; in the evening, it is the key that shuts us up under His protection and safeguard."--Henry Ward Beecher
" It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public, or strolling alone, or seated in your shop...while buying or selling...or even while cooking."---John Chrysostom
Dear God, Please help us to have the faith of a child and to want to have that wonderful relationship with you through prayer. Please take away our fear of praying, and let us know it is a conversation with you that we are after. Thank you for making it so easy to talk to you. I wish to begin right away, and make my entire life a prayer.
Your loving daughter, Elayne
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
" A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's snout."--Proverbs 11:22 NLT-- Life Recovery Bible
Remember when we were young teenager; wishing we could be beautiful and stylish? It was a gawky and awkward time as we sought to find our way through he maze of fashion magazines. peer pressure, and fantasies of Cinderella evenings when the ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan. Eventually we realized that reality was not going to be as smooth and perfect as the picture in a fashion magazine. Being beautiful means more than just looking good on the outside.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be drop dead beautiful,--or at least making your outside package prettier. Perfume,, a new dress, high heels, a fresh haircut--let's admit it--they're all fun and part of the femininity that God created for us to enjoy. But when it comes to real style, the heart and the mind. not the outward appearance, are what matter.
The greatest beauty secret has nothing to do with make-up or fashion. It is being a woman who delight in God. We women are, as the psalmist said, like a tree that never withers because we have our roots firmly planted in God. Our vital relationship with God gives us the ability to look beyond the surface to be really beneath. We look for substance--a kind heart, a discerning mind, and a strong faith--instead of being distracted by outward appearance. We know that all good things come from God, but that the some things are better than others. The heart that seeks after God is the most beautiful thing in the world.
A woman of style and substance is gracious and kind to all she meets. She lives her life from her heart, and not from the ego. She notices the people that others miss and never takes a kindness or a service for granted. Instead of whining about her troubles or complaining about others, she looks for the best in people and situations. She's savvy enough to know that people can let here down, but compassionate enough to understand why they do. She has learned compassion and wisdom, and she is able to see God's goodness in others. She takes a balanced view of life--serious without being stuffy, warm hearted without being overly sentimental.
So let's go ahead. Shall we try a new hair-do or splurge on a stylish dress? Have fun and look your best. But never forget that true style is a reflection of your relationship with God. Brains, beauty and spiritual balance have it all over the latest trend and the hottest look!
1. Remember that while I can be distracted by appearances, God sees the heart.
2. Live life from the heart instead of trying to impress or manipulate others.
3. Cultivate my spirit by spending time alone with God.
4. Appreciate beauty and creativity wherever I find them.
5. Remember that kindness and compassion are great beautifiers.
6. Enjoy my femininity without taking myself too seriously.
7. Be aware of others who may be struggling even if they look like they have it all together.
THINGS TO DO:
1. Read the Bible story of Esther to learn about the power of a beautiful woman who was willing to sacrifice her life to save her people.
2. Speak a kind word the next time you are tempted to gossip about someone.
3. Take an exercise class.
4. Cultivate your mind by reading a good book.
5. Become an adult sponsor for youth activities so you can mentor younger women.
6. Go shopping for clothes that are flattering, comfortable, and expressed in your style.
7. Leave an extra tip for the hairdresser the next time you get your haircut.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
" Taking joy in life is a woman's best cosmetic." --Rosalind Russell
" Goodness in the heart works its way up into the face and prints its own beauty there." -Anonymous
Dear Lord, Thank you for your words of wisdom in Proverbs about a stylish woman. Thank you for telling us how we are to act as women, and that beauty is skin deep. Let us not forget that it's what is in our heat and mind that really matters. What's important is what comes out of our mouth as well. Out tongue can really tell the truth about what we are thinking, and we need to have a quiet tongue. We can never take back what we say..and it can be very hurtful if we are not on our guard. We want to be beautiful and stylish Lord, but we want to please you with out heart, our mind and our spirituality. In your precious name we pray, A-men
Sunday, July 20, 2008
" Before each young woman was taken to the king's bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments--six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments. "--Esther 2:12
Talk about a long time preparing for a date! It took 12 months for Esther to get ready to meet the king of Persia--and she was young and beautiful when she started! Wouldn't we like to spend a year in a spa getting gorgeous? Now that would be reveling in feminine beauty preparations; all the department store beauty potions rolled into one fancy package. What a makeover that would be!
Of course, there was more than beauty preparation going on in the palace. Esther was in training-- learning to practice feminine arts to win a king. But Esther was more than just another female trying to win a beauty contest. Esther's character pleased the king's eunuch and her wisdom and willingness to take a risk for God won her people's freedom and the respect of a powerful king.
Beauty is more than skin deep. Real beauty comes from the heart. First Peter 3:12 says that a women's beauty should be that of the inner self. The ageless beauty of a gentle and womanly spirit is highly valued in God's sight. This gentle and quiet spirit is a woman who is at peace with herself and with God. What better antidote to a violent, impersonal and competitive society than the beauty of a woman whose peaceful spirit blesses everyone she meets?
A woman who is at home in her own skin is able to be a comfortable and compassionate companion, helping others become comfortable with themselves. Clad in casual cottons or costly silks, a woman who is confident in her femininity rejoices in the fragrances, textures, sights and sounds of God's world. She surrounds herself and those she loves with beauty and thoughtful comforts. When you walk into the home of such a woman, you can sense a spirit of peace and sacredness immediately.
Strident voices may tell us that we are not good enough and will never measure up to today's artificial and airbrushed standards of female beauty. But we can cultivate gentle strength, love of beauty, and a quiet nurturing spirit instead of trying to fit into the world's mold. Our femininity is a gift from God, and we can enjoy being a woman at any age. By all means, enjoy the feminine arts offered to today's woman. But remember Esther's brave spirit and never forget that lasting beauty comes from a heart heart that is at peace with God, ready to offer a womanly touch to heal a hurting world!
1. Remember that lasting beauty begins in the heart.
2. Stop comparing myself with others. Have a peaceful and quiet spirit.
3.Enjoy my femininity.
4. Be compassionate and empathetic towards others.
5. Be positive and cheerful when I am with others.
6. Allow God's spirit to calm my heart when I am anxious.
Things to Do:
1. Ask God today to reveal to you what special feminine gifts you can develop.
2. Sit quietly for 15 minutes and reflect on what God is doing in your life.
3. Take a fragrant bubble bath.
4. Write in your journal what makes you feel feminine.
5. Place fresh flowers and lighted candles on your dining table while at dinner tonight.
6. Buy something beautiful for your home.
7. Buy or make something beautiful to wear.
Things to Remember:
Characteristics which define beauty are wholeness, harmony and radiance.-- Thomas Aquinas
Beauty is God's handwriting. Welcome it in every fair face, every fair day, every fair flower.--Charles Kingsley
'Who is this', they ask, 'arising like the dawn, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun, as majestic as an army with banners?'---
Song of Solomon 6:10 NLT
Thank you for teaching us that true beauty comes from the heart. It is more important to be fair, kind, comforting, peaceful and loving toward others than to have all the perfumes and oils in the world. It is what's in our hearts that matters more than our outward beauty. After all, you look not at out outward appearance, but at our inward beauty...what we carry in our hearts. Help us to be worthy of your gifts. In your name we pray, A-men
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