Chocolate

Let’s all pause for a moment and reflect………….

Aaaahhhhhhh……………………………………….

Anybody who knows me more than a few minutes knows that I am a Gen.u.ine. Choco-haulic. Yes, I admit it. I need therapy.

The honest truth is that once when I was little girl I kept begging and begging to eat the Reese’s cups, and mom decided to “cure” me by letting me eat all I wanted until I got sick. Yep, I ate all I wanted. And Yep, I got sick as a dog. It’s been a down hill addiction ever since.

This chocolate love-affair has also brought with it the whoas of battling the scale, but that is another story for another day. Let us, for now, just think about the chocolate…..

Used to, I’d eat anything that was called ‘chocolate’. Sure- some was better than others, but I didn’t care. I HAD to have it. Literally, it would call my  name. But then as I grew older and wiser and my tastes matured, I experienced a whole new level of bliss. My taste buds and my heart discovered the likes of Lindt, Godiva, and…..Ghirardelli<3<3<3

No longer did that cheap stuff from the Dollar Store satisfy. And even that common, household  chocolate pales in comparison to the richness of those mentioned above only pure enough to be called…..Chocolate.

Even so, it dawns on me this is exactly how it is with my relationship with God. I have spent so much time and energy feeding myself with sub-par substitutes…..tv, magazines, facebook, food. I’m looking to nourish myself, relax and unwind. Sure, it feels good at the moment but vegging out on junk for the mind and the spirit leave me sluggish and tired and not really rested and nourished.

But, during those times I put down the remote, close the laptop, and clear out artificial flavors, colors and additives, I find God waiting for me. When I feast on His Word and soak in His Presence, there is nothing on this earth more satisfying. Nothing.

His Word is bread. His Spirit is water. His Presence is……..Chocolate!

What is it that you feed yourself? Is it the fake, mind-numbing diet of the world? Or, is it the richness and creaminess of God?

 Taste and see that the Lord is Good Psalm 34:8

How have you discovered to be satisfied by God?

Happy Valentine’s Day

~Amy

Ps…I might need to consider what to give up for Lent, but that is another story for another day:)

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All of You…Together

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,“He traps the wise    in the snare of their own cleverness.”[b20 And again,“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;    he knows they are worthless.”[c]

21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter,[d] or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Why does Women of the Way gather to study and fellowship together?

All of you together are the Body of Christ.

All of you together are the Church of God.

All of you together are the Bride of Christ.

 We are stronger when we are unified. We are more effective when we work together.  We are One when we love each other.

Our theological and doctrinal differences are minor in light of the children going hungry, the women enslaved for their bodies, the missionaries enduring persecution, or the nations without the Scriptures in their native language…all of whom need a Savior.

So let us step out of our neat little boxes that we retreat to on Sundays. Let us break out of the comfort zones of our hymns, bulletins, and worship songs. Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world outside beyond the particular sign over the door.

“We are One in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love”bodyofChrist

~Amy

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Christian Women’s Club

Women of the Way is nothing new. The gathering of women from different congregations to seek God and encourage each other is not a novel idea. There may be fresh faces and energy, but the movement is not new.

Many of you (in the Lincoln County area) may remember the After Five Club that started in the late 1970’s, where for several years, Christian women would meet at the Country Club or a restaurant to invite and share their faith with unchurched women. These ladies hoped that meeting at a public place would draw women who might not feel comfortable in a church setting. They also held prayer coffees on a regular basis. “Many lives were changed in Fayetteville, lives rededicated and some ladies were saved.”

What you may not realize is that this ministry has its roots with one Irish immigrant woman from California in the early 1930’s. Mrs. Helen D. Baugh was a preacher’s daughter who passionately shared God’s Word, sang, and evangelized in rural towns all over California with her two sisters. When she became a wife and homemaker, she began prayer groups of women in their homes and also started a gathering called The Christian Business Women’s Council of America which was a dinner program to present the Gospel to career women. This ministry eventaully became known as Stonecroft Ministries which spread nation-wide as well as into several countries. In 1967, the After Five Christian Women’s Club, evening outreach groups for women, were introduced and finally reached our area in the late 70s.

A small group of women from that ministry in our town still exists, and they still meet once a month in each other’s homes for Bible study and coffee. I was honored to meet some of the ladies (and some I already knew but didn’t know they were apart of this group) a few months ago. It was such a blessing to hear about how these women from different churches, different denominations have been gathering for so many years to pray, study, and encourage each other. What a beautiful example of the Body of Christ!

Photos courtesy of Helen Lowe

Photos courtesy of Helen Lowe

IMG_8920 IMG_8927  IMG_8930

So, Women of the Way may not be new idea. Ok, it may even be a reinventing of an old idea if you will. But how cool is that?!? I am in awe of such a legacy. A legacy that began with one woman who simply loved to share the love of God and to pray with other women and spread into a ministry of thousands of women who advanced the Kingdom of Heaven!!

If you have ever been a member of the local Christian Women’s Club, thank you for your dedication and ministry to our community. Thank you for your dedication to God.

As we prepare for Women of the Way 2015, I pray we are as passionate about advancing His Kingdom as Helen D. Baugh was almost 100 years ago. I pray we are united in one heart and one mind, despite our doctrinal differences just like these wonderful women in our community, to focus more on Who unites rather that What divides us to becoming passionate, devoted followers of Christ!

Join me?

~Amy

PS…if you are interested in the Christian Women’s Club, contact me and I’ll get you the info!

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Holy Space

It could be on the couch with a cup of tea……………

It could be sharing a plate of chips and salsa………….

Or, it could be hanging out around the Christmas tree……………

Holy Space.

Sometimes, the most holy of times don’t happen during the sermon or the hymn or the offering. Sometimes, the closest moments to God are in the most ordinary of situations. Those moments may seem ordinary to the casual onlooker but actually are deep, powerful heart connections, and God is right there in the midst.

When a couple of women get together to share their deepest longings, heart-felt dreams, biggest failures, and the most private of thoughts, it is holy and sacred because having that safe person to share with can be the most encouraging and healing thing we can do for each other.

Women need to speak, share, vent to help process their thoughts and emotions. It helps to sort it out in our minds when we say it out loud to another understanding soul. And for someone who’s been there to say, “No, honey, you’re not crazy!”

Through sharing the laughter, tears, and yes….chocolate…..God is right there in the middle of it bringing encouragement, peace, joy. Hearts walk away having lightened their heavy loads.

If your heart is heavy, reach out to that trusted girlfriend or mentor. Get into some Holy Space.

If you think of a friend and it’s been way to long, find the time to call her up. She may need some Holy Space.

~Amy

 

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Declutter

I’m sure you’ve heard of the idea of choosing a single word in which to focus and motivate your self for the coming year. Instead of New Year’s resolutions that jump off to a roaring start and then fade when motivation wanes, a special word is a simple, easy concept which guides the choices and direction of the coming year.

I didn’t know if I would come up with a word this year. I didn’t want to force it and end up not really meaning anything. However, one day after Christmas I actually had the house to myself, and I was determined to get some heavy cleaning accomplished. I discovered my word scouring the kitchen.

Declutter.

Those of you know me well and know that my house is full of very active children are also aware of my lacking tidiness skills. You experienced ladies remember those days, right? I mean when the kids were toddlers we were doing good to keep on top of the dishes and laundry and keep a clear path to the door. I\\’m not joking.

Slowly, as the kids get older, we are getting better. But I am so tired of the clutter. Stuff that hasn’t been put away or stuff that doesn’t have a home, so it just piles up. During the Christmas break, I asked myself, “what is keeping me from cleaning the house better?” The answer was clutter. If I didn’t have clutter in the way, I would feel more motivated to keep things cleaner.  Voila! There’s my word for 2015!

I have determined in my heart to go through every part of the house and find a home or get rid of clutter that we no longer need or have a use. I didn’t even care that it wasn’t a very spiritual word for the year.

Or is it?

That makes me wonder….do I have any spiritual clutter? Are there things in my heart or mind clogging my spirit keeping me from connecting to or hearing from God? Have I clouded my mind with thinking that hinders me from finding the right place for truth? Are there emotions piled up around me and getting in the way? Is there plain, old sin cluttering my life?

The thing about clutter is that we get used to it being around so that we stop seeing it. It just becomes part of the decor or the background. It takes fresh eyes and a new perspective to see how clutter actually is taking up so much space and robbing us of energy that could be used for more productive areas.

So, while I am cleaning out closets and toy boxes, shelves and stuffed corners, I also will be asking God to show me the clutter I need to clean out and bring to Him. This might be the more difficult task. We’ll see.

What about you? Is there clutter in your heart or home? Do you have a word for 2015? Share it with us!

~Amy

 

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Happy New Year 2015!!!

I have the best of intentions….I have so many ideas to write about. But there’s so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week. And, time just runs out. Don’t you ever feel like that?

I had this really great idea for how Thanksgiving gives way to a season of Advent which concludes in a wonderful celebration of Christmas (Happy Epiphany, by the way)! I started off great with how thankfulness is an absolute great way to begin a season of self reflection.  I got to week 1 of Advent on how repentance leads to Hope.

Then, life happens like it does in December….decorations, dinner, dishes….parties, preparations, present-wrapping…..celebrating, sickness, and sleeping……and time simply runs out!

If I could have continued my Advent series, I would have tried to convey how seeking God leads to Peace, longing for God leads to Joy, and contentment in God leads to Love. And finally I would have concluded on how this penitential season culminates in a joyous celebration of Christmas!!

The decorations are gone, the house is clean (for the moment), and we are back in swing of the regular routine.

Even though I didn’t get to share my ideas or deep thoughts like I intended, the holiday season was everything I needed it to be. I baked, shopped and gifted. We visited family, ate goodies, and watched a lot of movies. I enjoyed building traditions wrapped in wonder and surprise. I loved spending precious time with some women in holy space. Most of all, I got rested and recharged.

Now, I am ready to go! I have lots of things to say, lots of ideas to share, and some awesome events in the making (Lord willing). I can’t wait to share them with you! Still don’t know if I’ll have enough time to get it all done.

I hope you also had a fulfilling, restful, and recharging holiday season. Here’s to a Happy New Year!!

Thank you for taking your time to read and ponder at this site. I pray you receive encouragement and inspiration from having done so and keep coming back!

One more thing…..to start the new year off right…..I’ve had the opportunity to share how Women of the Way got started as an article at Shattered Magazine. I would so be pleased if you jumped over there to check it out!

https://shatteredmagazine.net/can-christians-from-different-denominations-study-the-bible-together/

More to come. It’s going to be a great year!!

~Amy

 

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Advent: Repentence

Thanksgiving and gratitude give way to Advent, a time to reflect on the first coming of Christ and to prepare for the second coming of Christ. Since this purple, penitential season is a time to examine one’s self, repentance is the place to start.

I sometimes get caught up in what I need, what I don’t have, or what I want. Being thankful helps me to remember how blessed I am. It refocuses my attention on all that I do have and how I lack for nothing. When I think about all the overwhelming blessings in my life, it puts my sins in their right perspective, and I am convicted of the need for repentance. Before I can prepare my heart for the joys of Christmas celebrations, examining my attitudes, thoughts and actions helps to prepare the way for His Coming into my life.

What do I find when I examine myself? I haven’t stolen anything lately that I can think of. I haven’t coveted my neighbors goat or broken any of the ‘big ones’. But this examination brings to light attitudes, negatives thoughts, selfishness, an ego always yearning for the spotlight, and pride. These seemingly subtle sins (but actually are the real sins) affect how I treat others and how I think others need to treat me. They blind me to seeing Christ in others, and deafen me to hearing His Voice.

Today, though, we light the first candle and read the Scriptures. We take in the verses of His Glory on our faces….preparing for His Coming….and being given every spiritual blessing until His return…and we say the words of the first week of Advent.

In my examining, I pray “Lord, Will I ever get it right?”

The answer is burning brightly before me……Jesus is Hope.Jesus is Hope

The questions I ask in my repentance are always answered in Hope.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope …2 Thes 2:16

How does repentance bring you to Hope….the first week of Advent?

~Amy

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