Are you Waiting? Living Life Together: Inspiration # 5

hand-1819357_1920 - CopyThe storm passed, taking with it sheets of rain and fierce winds, resulting in a cloudless, perfect sky. It was during this storm that I waited for my daughter to meet up with us. After a three hour drive she safely arrived to join us at the beach. But the three hours I waited felt like THREE-HUNDRED.

Are you waiting? Are you waiting for God to show up and do a miracle? Are you waiting for the answers to the questions you have been asking? Are you waiting for specific direction before you make a move?  How would you complete this:

I am waiting for_________________________________.

Waiting for God’s answer can feel like an eternity

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

If you’re weary, tell God about it. If you feel like giving up, tell God about it. He will renew your strength. SHINE ON!

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

 

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What’s that Smell?

african-bush-squirrel-1580058_1920The sense of smell can be a beautiful thing. With it we experience the pleasure of tasty food.

The smell of lavender envelopes me with peace, and honeysuckle floods my heart with joy. What are your favorite smells? How does a “favorite aroma” make you feel? What are some of the ways you make your living environment pleasant to the senses?

Can you imagine our lives without the sense of smell? Or maybe you don’t imagine; perhaps it is your reality.

Some smells create a memory. My husband said that honeysuckle “transports him back to his youth when school was out and summer was just beginning.”

But some smells can be a bad thing. Perfume, for example, is a pleasing scent for many, but for my friend, Jan, she becomes “massively sick” to the fragrance of perfume, soap, candles, and other synthetic smells, including household cleaners.

The stench of something rotten in a garbage can also be nauseating.

What smells make you want to run the other way?

Whether we use our sense of smell or not, we all emit an odor.

2 Cor. 2:14 tells us, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

We are a fragrance—a pleasing aroma to God. The more we become like Christ, we become the fragrance of new life.

The gospel message is like incense diffused everywhere. Those who live for Christ share the gospel and radiate His love. This lovely fragrance rises up to God. Those who reject Christ, reject the fragrance and the result is death. But these who receive the gospel become the fragrance of life.

What needs to “die” in our life so that we will “live” a life-giving aroma to those around us?

When people get a whiff, is the “scent” we exude nauseating or uplifting?

Today, let’s ask God to help us be a sweet smelling aroma to others.

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

**Photo:pixabay

 

 

 

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The Hope of Good Friday

drought with flowerCircumstances are difficult. Questions and confusion fog your mind.  Indecisiveness, fear, and worry keep you awake at night. If this describes you… Good Friday is your promise of hope. We call it Good Friday because we know the outcome. God’s plan and purpose was true.

But there was nothing good about “that Friday” for the mother watching her son tortured, or for loved ones watching their friend beaten and mocked. But God had a plan and beautiful Sunday would come!

May today be a reminder that God still has a plan—a personal plan for you. Romans 8:28 tells us, “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

Not EVERY-SINGLE-THING that we go through in this life is good… but collectively they become good and are used to fulfill God’s purpose.

Your Sunday is coming! Keep the faith. God is never without a plan.

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

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Polished~ Biblical Womanhood

Polished womenIn April 2015, skincare and beauty line Dove posed a world-wide question to women in which they were asked to walk through one of two doors. One door was labeled “beautiful” and the other door was “average.” A shocking 96 per cent walked through the average door, leaving just four per cent to admit they consider themselves beautiful.

One participant said, “Beautiful, to me, is too far out of reach.” Another woman confessed, “It was confronting to see these signs, and to have to choose, and be self-conscious of how you perceive yourself and if it lines up with how the rest of the world perceives you.”

An American participant added, “Am I choosing because of what is constantly bombarded at me and what I’m being told that I should accept? Or am I choosing because that’s what I really believe?”

How would you describe a beautiful woman? Would it encompass more than just the external appearance? Is beauty more than a physical attribute?

I, too, have wrestled with what it means to be a truly beautiful woman.

I ask myself, Am I enough?

I like what one participant said in the Dove survey. She said, “Knowing that it’s your decision to feel beautiful is so powerful. Once you realize that, no one can make you feel otherwise.”

 With so many diverse ideas, many of which contradict each other, I am compelled to turn to God’s Word for His view of women. After all, the Creator of women can best define His intention, a women’s role, and her purpose. When God describes a woman He deliberately chooses every word. He doesn’t waste His words, mix them up, or use them incorrectly.

In Psalm 144:12b God uses these words to describe a woman: Our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace” (KJV).

Webster’s dictionary defines polished as: “shiny,” as a result of being rubbed; accomplished, skillful, and refined. In the Hebrew, polished means: “To cut with a chisel; to make smooth.”

A sculptor uses a chisel to sculpt an ornament. In the context of our verse, a Polished Woman is likened or compared to the ornamental columns of a palace.

The implication is that woman are:

  • Strong
  • Beautiful
  • Wise
  • Refined
  • Cornerstones
  1. As polished women, we are shrouded in strength.

How would you describe a palace column? Would these words fit? Weight-bearing,                         supportive, pristine, unshakable, dependable, strong, powerful

Columns hold structures up or serve as the foundation on which something else is held.

This same level of strength enables women to resist the temptation to believe they are anything less than worthy. Satan lies about our worth. He uses:

  • Social Media
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Magazines
  • Bad friends/relationships

Each of these can be a vehicle to directly or indirectly tell women that:

  • You don’t fit in.
  • You’re too young or too old.
  • You’re not good enough.
  • You’re not smart enough.
  • You’re not pretty enough.
  • You’re too fat or too thin.
  • You’re boring or untalented.
  • You’re not worthy of respect.
  • You’re less than.

Satan is on mission to destroy your self-worth, your purpose, and your identity.

Anyone can believe lies. But to disregard the lies of the enemy and choose to believe what God says about her, takes a courageous, strong woman.

  1. As polished women, we are beautiful.

A plain, wooden column can do its intended job to support. But a sculptor chisels away the rough wood to create something beautiful. The sculptor does this so his columns will stand out. Their beauty reflects the pride and skills of the column maker. Likewise, our beauty reflects the skill of our Creator.

Zechariah 2:8b tells us that those who belong to Christ are the apple of God’s eye. The apple is the pupil of the eye. When we look into another person’s eye, we see our reflection. Similarly, when God looks into our eyes, He sees His reflection. We are made in the image of Christ. And that is the highest compliment.

How beautiful do you feel?

More important than our external appearance is our inner beauty. Our physical appearance will change with age. But inner beauty will last forever.

God designed our brains. We may not be good or smart in everything but we are all accomplished and skillful at something.

What are your strengths? Don’t be embarrassed—your strengths reveal the skill of the Creator!

Hebrews 13:21 tells us that God equips us with the thing you need to accomplish your purpose.

  1. As polished women, we are wise. 

This woman recognizes that her help comes from God and turns to Him to receive it. Life is just tough sometimes.

  • People can be mean.
  • Gossip and slander hurt.
  • People fail us.
  • Not getting the job we wanted can disappoint.
  • Marriage requires work.
  • Children need guidance.

Dependence on God is called humility. God calls a lack of humility a sin (Proverbs 8:13). It actually creates the domino effect and leads to other sins: arrogance, self-sufficiency, self-reliance (Proverbs 16:18). God never intended us to live separate from Him and on our own.

God does not tire of hearing from us. What do you need His help for today?

  1. As polished women, we are refined.

Women go through the refining process in much of the same way that a gold and silversmith refine their stones.

After years of being squeezed under the heat and pressure of the earth, the rock is broken and impurities, called dross, come to the surface. The refiner removes the dross, leaving behind gold and silver. The silversmith knows his work with the silver is completed when he can look into his work and see his image.

When life brings the heat and pressure, our impurities surface. And like the dross, God scraps it off. Diamonds have inclusions (a clarity characteristic) and these do not go away. They make the diamond unique. We, too, will emerge as sparkling diamonds, gold, and silver—precious and beautifully unique. And just like the silversmith, God will see His reflection in us. Imagine! God is the original goldsmith.

  1. As polished women, we are cornerstones.

Jesus is called the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). Are you surprised that women are also called cornerstones?

The cornerstone holds the structure together. As the foundation on which something else is constructed, it is both essential and valuable. What an honor to have this most important position in the eyes of God. Women are the moral glue that bonds families, communities, and nations together.

As cornerstones, women are:

  • Influential
  • Worthy
  • Respectable
  • Strong
  • Capable
  • Accomplished
  • Skilled
  • Competent
  • Qualified
  • Dignified

Women are made on purpose and with a purpose. Just look in the Bible for women that God used to change history: Rahab, Esther, Ruth. If you believe anything else about women then you have accepted the lie from Satan. Choose to believe what God says about you and own the beauty that comes with this position.

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Living Life Together. Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

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The Right Door- Living Life Together: Inspiration # 4

the-door-at-muktiWe all desire the right door be opened to us.

God will not open a door that would require us to be disobedient to His word. Neither
does He open a door just to let us wander on our own.

If you feel God is leading you down a particular path or has opened a unique opportunity, but you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this on my own,” it’s likely this is something God is calling you to do. He wants a relationship and He takes us places where we must be totally dependent on Him. Matthew 6:33 says to seek God first and then these things will be done. He wants to be first in our lives.

Whatever you are seeking today, pray for wisdom, clarity, and direction. And have faith that God is at work. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Living Life Together. Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

 

 

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Warm Up Someone’s Day with this Thoughtful Treat

Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians  5:11 (NIV)

 

snowman-bag-pic-1-watermarkedThe holidays are over and life returns to status quo as we get back into habits and routines. The weather is cold and the sky might be dreary. Some of us may just want to wrap up in a blanket and stay home in front of a sizzling fire. For others, dark, rainy, or freezing winter days can make us feel sad.

Here’s an easy craft for you to make and give a friend or loved one that’s sure to warm up the coldest of days and put a smile on their face.

First, gather your materials:

  • snowman-bag-pic-3various round-shaped sponges—purchased or cut out your own from a regular sponge
  • glue stick or hot glue gun
  • paint-acrylic, tempera, or water color
  • thin brush-for painting a hat, nose, and mittens

 

  • snowman-bag-pic-4buttons
  • ribbons or rickrack
  • brown bags
  • colorful tissue

snowman-bag-pic-5

Next, dip your sponge into white paint. Blot it a little on a newspaper or paper towel so it doesn’t clump. Proceed to make your snowman on the bag.

snowman-bag-pic-6Using half of a sponge, blot “snow” around the bottom of the bag

 snowman-bag-pic-8Also using the white paint, press a snowflake stamp to make snowflakes. After the front is dry (about 30 minutes) flip the bag over and add snowflakes to the back. I usually make a dozen bags at a time. When I complete the snowman on my last bag, the first bag I started with is usually dry.

snowman-bag-9Then, paint a hat, gloves, and nose. I find it is easier to make the dots for the eyes and mouth with a fine point black marker.

snowman-bag-10Next, cut a cute scarf from rickrack or ribbon. You can attach the scarf and buttons with Tacky Glue but I prefer to use a glue gun to ensure the scarf or buttons won’t come off. Using a fine point marker, sign and date the bag.

Finally, fill your bag with a treat for your friend.

Fill the bag with a bag of coffee, hot chocolate and marshmallows, or cider, and a mug. For a warm lunch, insert a can of soup and crackers. For the tired school-aged child, put in popcorn and a movie, and an invitation to snuggle. For the high school student facing exams? Chocolate. Yep…all kinds. White, dark, with or without nuts.

Be creative and have fun. And remember this truth from Scripture: “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 (NLT)

Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with the Polished Conference L.L.C. She has taught in higher education for more than 30 years. Debbie has an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Living Life Together. Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series and is a quarterly contributor to Refined Magazine.  All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/shineministriesnc/

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A Christmas Gift for God

The simplicity of children’s books can carry such powerful messages. One of my favorites is “Who is Coming to Our House?” by Joseph Slate. 

The story is told from the animal’s perspective as they busily prepare for Baby Jesus, who would soon come to their space. Each animal describes his/her contribution in preparing the house.

  • Ram dusts
  • Chick sweeps
  • Goose stacks the hay and uses her feathers to make a soft bed
  • Horse nudges the door ajar
  • Hen lays an egg
  • Spider uses her talent to spin a new web
  • Peacock displayed his feathers
  • Owl wisely uses his time watching for the Savior
  • Cat and rat, however, are doubters who complain.

Mary and Joseph wearily appear, and all the animals say, “Welcome, welcome, to our house!”

I just love that the animals were so excited to welcome Baby Jesus. To show their enthusiasm, they gave all that they could give.

 God gave us a pure and complete gift of love when He gave us His Son, Jesus. We celebrate this free gift at Christmas. God doesn’t require a gift back. But because we love Him, we might wish we could give something.

What can we give Him this Christmas?

 The animals are a good example of what we can give to Jesus:

  • Our Work. Whether our work is in the home or outside of it, what we do becomes an act of worship when we praise God while doing it, thank God for our ability to work, and conduct ourselves with integrity. We can praise Him for the house we have to sweep, the tools we have to perform our duties and the health to see it gets done.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Colossians 3:23 (NIV).

  • Our Talents. God gave the spider the ability to create a delicate web. God has equipped us with gifts and talents too. We can use our gifts to glorify God and point others to Him.

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I Corinthians 4:2 

  • Our Time. The wise owl used his time looking for the Savior. Our wisdom also comes from seeking to know the Savior’s character. Spending time in the Word of God will teach us about God’s character which will lead is to obey Him.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV)

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

  • Our Heart. Like the horse who nudged the door open, let’s open our hearts and surrender our attitudes, passions, and desires to Him. This is the ultimate gift. God wants our heart.

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

  • Our Trust. Don’t be a doubter like the cat and rat. Let’s be intentional and decide to give God our trust in the coming year. Cast out doubt and believe that God is coming to your house to care for you. Choose to believe that God is good, works everything for our good, and is faithful to keep His word.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

  • Our Best. Resist mediocrity. The Hen gave her best. Let’s follow her lead and gave our very best…even if an “egg” is all we have to give. Let’s refuse the temptation to compare ourselves with others, believing their gifts are better.

May God give you the desire of your heart and fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4 (NKJV)

  • The Glory. The peacock presented his beautiful colors in anticipation of King Jesus. He spread his beauty to glorify Him. Let’s glorify Him by shining brightly the love of Jesus Christ, in all that we do and say.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NASB)

Yes! We can give these gifts to God this Christmas—and beyond.

Welcome, welcome, to our house!

(Book: 1988, by Joseph Slate. Pictures by Ashley Wolff. Published by Scholastic)

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with the Polished Conference L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Living Life Together. Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shineministriesnc/

 

 

 

 

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