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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Power of Encouragement
Renee Swope

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

I hate open heights. I can't stand balconies, and when driving across a bridge, you'll find me hugging the rail along the inside lane.

Some friends tried to help me conquer my fear of heights by inviting our family to an indoor rock-climbing center. My heart stopped as we entered the doors and I scanned the highest peak at 25 feet! The instructors assured me that a web of ropes and harnesses would hold me tight. Before I could say "no thank you," I was strapped in and signing an injury waiver.

Towards the end of the day, our friends John and Laura encouraged their eight-year-old son Steven to climb to the highest peak - promising tokens and ice cream if he did it. Steven was afraid of heights, too, but he loved a dare. The promise of reward, mixed with the challenge and faith of his father evoked courage in him.

I watched with admiration as Steven started the climb with confidence. He made it to 10 feet, then 15, then 20. But as he inched past the next face of the wall, he saw how far he still had to go. In fear, he looked down with tears and claimed he couldn't do it. Then he cried out for his daddy's help.

By this time, Steven's dad was holding their very tired 3-year-old and his mom was feeding their hungry baby girl. I don't know where my brave husband was, but I quickly realized I was the only one standing there who could do something.

Suddenly courage and strength surged through my body and I called out, "Don't give up buddy. You can do it. I'll help you!"

In record time, I reached the 20-foot marker, crossed over the peak and came up beside Steven to encourage him, reminding him of how far he'd come. I told him he could do it with God's strength and that it would be worth it if he'd persevere. With my words and my confidence in him, I helped Steven turn his thoughts towards a higher goal, an inner peak, a reward much greater than ice cream and game tokens - the reward of getting to a place he had stopped believing he could reach.

Funny how I stopped thinking about my fears when I was focused on encouraging someone else to overcome theirs. I realized that the same promises I had claimed for Steven were true for me, too. I could do it with God's strength, and I did!

Each day we have the same opportunity. Like God did with Joshua in today's key verse and like He does with us, we can come alongside each other in some of life's hardest challenges and highest peaks and say, "Don't give up, you can do it. I'll be with you and help you."

When we take our eyes off our fears, our doubts, our struggles and focus on someone else's needs, we somehow forget our own, for a little while. In believing the power of God's promises for others, our confidence in His promises for us seems to grow as well.

Lord, Thank you for the power of Your Words that give me courage to become who You've created me to be - to go to places You're calling me to go and climb spiritual heights that are out of my reach without Your help. Give me Your encouragement today, and help me encourage someone, too. In Jesus Name, Amen.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIFE-FAITH 11/14/2009 8:41AM

    Thank you so much for this blog today. It truly is encouraging.
God Bless you!

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LINDA25427 11/14/2009 8:36AM

    Thank you I needed to read your blog .It really helped . Thank you for stopping by my blog , and for you encouragement . Hope you have a great day God bless. emoticon

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FIDDLER4JESUS 11/12/2009 10:44AM

    Fears come in many faces and phases. God helps us to overcome with His strength and power. Rejoice, He says,speak His Word with authority and you will have peace. I thank God for His ability to rise above my fears...amen!Through the power of HIS emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/12/2009 10:45:27 AM

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EBLOOMING 11/11/2009 5:00PM

    AMEN to that ENERGIZED4LIFE...and thanks for your post.

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NELLIEC 11/11/2009 4:56PM

    Amen! I have had a fear of heights also due to almost falling off of a cliff. However, God has helped me with that fear, so I could paint on a ladder 30 feet off the ground. emoticon

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ENERGIZED4LIFE 11/11/2009 4:37PM

    emoticon God is so Faithful!!!
I pray that I will stop going through the same test over and over so I can move on to new heights, in Jesus Name, Amen

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Monday, November 09, 2009

WORD of the week: CHALLENGE
(Push yourself beyond your limits, even if by only a few inches. Accepting and conquering challenges is such an important part of being human. It's in our DNA to surge ahead, leap beyond and break through our limitations. There are very few things more satisfying than knowing you've accomplished something you set your mind to-- you did it and no one can ever take the accomplishment away from you. It's a sweet feeling, indeed!)

“Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.”

I am so thankful for our Spark Team of Champions and give the credit to our capable and faithful Sgts Nancy & Sgt JanetE emoticon emoticon

Famous last words: "Here we go again" ... another week of staying in line with 5-7 fruits & veggies, 6-8 glasses water, eating fish & chicken vs beef & pork, excercise 'DO SOMETHING', sleep 7-8 hours before midnight. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETELIZABETH1 11/10/2009 3:42AM

    Good for you Elayne putting the SWAT team to the fore in your life!!
We're all in this together and the Lord is at our Helm!!
And we thank you too...you're such a faithful CHAMPION!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LINDA25427 11/10/2009 12:34AM

    I love this team and am thankful for Nancy and Janet and all the members . God Bless. emoticon

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Friday, October 30, 2009

"Fill me with joy in your presence, O Lord." Psalm 16:11

Simple Steps
Conquer Emotional Eating Now and Forever!
Are you an emotional eater? Almost all of us are, at least sometimes (including me!). Emotional eating means turning to food to resolve emotional issues. It means we eat when we feel a certain way — happy, sad, anxious, excited — rather than just when we're hungry. And the foods we turn to are usually comfort foods, foods typically high in calories and fat that don't provide too many nutrients, like ice cream, cookies, and chips.
Emotional eating is nothing to be embarrassed about, but if you allow yourself to eat emotionally on a regular basis, it can be harder to follow a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. And I know that's not what you want. So I'm here to help!

The solution to your emotional eating troubles is also your challenge for the coming week! You can control emotional eating. You just need another outlet for your emotions so you don't continue to use food to calm down or help yourself feel better. And one of the best ways to do this is by keeping a journal! Writing down what's going on in your life and the challenges you are struggling with provides that emotional release you're seeking, so you don't need food for comfort. Take some time to think about exactly you're feeling, and choose the right words, so they truly represent your emotions. You can put them down on paper or on your computer — your choice. Members can also log onto the site and use their online journals for this.

Write at least one journal entry in the next seven days, and then every week from now on — but more is always better! You'll come to love writing in your journal and see it as a secret friend. I know I do! -Denise Austin

At least I am going to give it a try. I have the journal and who knows what good this will do unless one tries. Elaine

Turn idle time into exercise time! You can tone your muscles whether you're in the kitchen or in front of the TV — no sweat required!
— Denise



Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Cheerfulness is the atmosphere in which all things thrive."
-Johann Paul Richter

Since November two years ago...it has been like this...point four pounds gone. Point five gone. Point six gone. Every point is a victory!!! The score is giving the result that I want.
I will keep on this journey called "HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHANGE" and I will take every point loss that shows up on the scale. I will continue to cheer myself on and to encourage myself with psalms and singing...and the cheers of my Spark Friends.

In the process I will enjoy the journey. I will cheerfully accept every dress size that I go down, every point that my blood pressure registers lower, every time the Dr. looks in amazement and asks me 'what are you doing?' (as he did when my LDL cholesterol went down to normal), every time someone says 'those pants are baggy, what are you doing?', I will cheerfully accept every bit of encouragement from my Spark Friends. No matter how long the journey takes I will ask for patience, hope, guidance in my choices of what enters my mouth and where my feet take me on the path of excercise.

Yes, in the process I will be cheerful...I will praise God for His grace and goodness.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOLLY_ROSE3 10/23/2009 11:05AM

    AWESOME!! emoticon

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NEECYANNE56 10/19/2009 6:23PM

    Hi Elaine:

I'm enjoying the journey too! And I am becoming healthier...I was just at the doctor and my blood pressure is normal (dropped since last visit) and my cholesterol is under 200. So, as the doctor so aptly put it, this stuff works and keep at it!

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JANETELIZABETH1 10/19/2009 11:38AM

    Good for you Elaine...this is a journey and we travel along the same route with it's ups & downs.
The Lord is there to assist you and your Spark friends to support & encourage you too.

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LINDA25427 10/18/2009 9:56AM

    Congratulations you are doing great and putting God first is already a victory with him on your side you've got to win . Slowly losing it is what I have been doing too. Thank you for your blog . God Bless. emoticon

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GRANDMANANCY 10/18/2009 7:20AM

    Yahoo!! That is the way I feel too!!! Just traveling along....praising god for everything...and enjoying the journey! You are such a blessing Elaine!

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 10/18/2009 12:59AM

    AMEN on praising God!!! You are doing a great job...a loss is still a loss no matter how big or small. They all add up!! Every day is a new beginning and another day we get to spend with our Lord.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Blessings and hugs,
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/18/2009 12:59:32 AM

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This blog is a small senopsis about our women's event this past weekend.
Notice the one picture of the girl with the buck teeth and the dentist with the wrench? This was a skit to show the extreme makeover. The girl with the teeth came in with purple hair, a pillow stuffed in her dress for a weight problem, and an attitude of not wanting to look like a 'hussy' like her neighbor. After the beautician created a hair style becoming with her own hair, the fitness person showed her excercises and walla she lost all that weight, the finished product was a beautiful women with an extreme makeover. It was hilarious.

We were at Silver Creek Falls in what is called Christian Renewal Center. We did walking, not strenuous though. Some went on a couple mile hike. I did not. Sleep won out after talking half the night with my roomie!! My choice was right for me. I can't wait to go back and make a day of hiking the falls!!

Our meetings were fantastic with 62 attending!! Our agenda was titled "Extreme Heart & Soul Makeover".

Phillippians 1:6 "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until The Day of Christ Jesus."
(Praise God!! It is He that does the inner workings of our hearts.)

First, Becoming An Image Bearer speaks about being formed to the image of Christ, choosing a positive attitude, affirms others to build each other up, practices self control & discipline.

Second, Forgiveness, Putting the Past to Rest.
1)Tears have to flow (we each had a packet of kleenexes in our bag),
2)Talking about it to someone, Jesus with skin on.
3)Time, it is a process.
4)Forgiving self.
It is important to understand that restoration is an on-going process. To help others in this restoration process, it requires:
1)no need to sit in judgment (that is God's work)
2)but to be gentle, and
3)have the "eyes of Jesus".

Our third session was about Meaningful Communication & Building Relationships.

We need friends who have "earned the right"
1) To initiate meaningful conversation.
2) To call us on obvious sin or compromise.
3) To support us when we need them.
4) To know how to have excitement, adventure.
5) To accept us for whom we are now!
6)To improve our health..close pals boost brain power, stave off dementia.

Ways to foster relationships:
1)Accept and value others. Eph 5:1-2
2)Fully listen before speaking.Prov 21:23 & James 1:9
3)Be an encourager. I Thess. 5:11
4)Learn to defuse an argument. Ehp 4:29, Prov 17:14, Prov 20:3
5)Be honest & open with people. Prov 3:3 Guard the tongue. James 3:5-6
6)Avoid gossip like the plague. Prov 13:3
7)Promise to keep everything confidential.Prov 19:22
8)Learn to share your inner self. James 5:16
9)Never be a pest or possessive. Prov 25:17
10)Pray with and for your friends. Eph 6:18

The last day we were encouraged that God Uses Ordinary People!
Who Am I Lord??
1)Discover your gifts & walk in your calling.
2)Accept yourself without any limitations.
3)Forgive your past and LET IT GO!Jn 15:5,Acts 3-4, Acts 4:8

Here we closed with this prayer:
"Lord I ask you to reprogram me, with the truth that I am worthwhile and valuable, until it is deep within my innermost feelings."

Eph 1:3-13, Eph 2:10, Psalm 139:13-17

We did not study gifts but were encouraged to pray this year about what God would have us to either use or develop.

We had a five person worship team plus violin, keyboard, bongo drums and tamborine. The music was pleasing to the Lord I hope...with mostly worship songs.

One of the favorite scriptures was Psalm 139.
"For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully
And wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the
Depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in your book
Before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are
Your Thoughts of God!!
How vast is the sum of them!"
(The Bible NIV)

Opps! Forgot the BODY so will continue with NUTRITION...
our meals were quite healthy.

We had delicious soup with homemade bread one day for our dinner (noon) and the usual larger meal was the evening meal (supper) with spinach lasagna one evening and baked pork & apples with rice, salad & veggie Saturday. Of course we had oatmeal with their homestyle granola, raisins, brown sugar, yogurt or milk for breakfast. The last day we had only breakfast of french toast with bacon and slightly sweetened maple butter. I actually, to my surprise did not go over my allowed calories.delicious soup with homemade bread one day for our dinner (noon) and the usual larger meal was the evening meal (supper) with spinach lasagna one evening and baked pork & apples with rice, salad & veggie Saturday. Of course we had oatmeal with their homestyle granola, raisins, brown sugar, yogurt or milk for breakfast. The last day we had only breakfast of french toast with bacon and slightly sweetened maple butter. I actually, to my surprise did not go over my allowed calories.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DJSNELLING 9/30/2009 5:39AM

    Isn't it wonderful to get together w/like minded females to laugh and cry and encourage one another!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

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LINDA25427 9/29/2009 11:55PM

    How wonderful for you .God bless. emoticon

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LIGHTHEART09 9/29/2009 10:19PM

    Oh what a time with the LORD and to be with your sisters in Christ...how wonderful

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