Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting my day off to a good start...

Good morning!  I pray that everyone is doing well on this beautiful day that the Lord has made for us.

I just want to take a minute to share with you how daily time with God has impacted my life.  Prayer and Bible reading have pretty much always been part of my life (to some degree), but there was a time several years ago that I realized a need to really make dedicated time for God in my life each day.  I realized that I make and keep appointments with all kinds of people on a regular basis - why wasn’t I doing that with God?

I began getting up earlier (I’m a morning person) and spending the first part of each day with Him.  I started out simply committing to read my Upper Room and its suggested scriptures each day.  As time has gone by, I’ve added a variety of devotional materials and additional Bible reading to my routine.  It has really helped me get my days off to a better start, and has kept me much more grounded to face the variety of challenges life seems to throw at me.  J

There’s one other thing that has made God seem so much more “present” in my daily life -- prayer.  I generally start off my day by talking to God before I get out of bed, thanking Him for another day, asking Him to walk with me throughout whatever the day may bring, and asking Him to help me to remember He is with me when things get challenging.

I also try to pray before I begin my daily devotional time - asking God to speak to me through His word and through my other readings.  I ask Him to help me to slow down and listen for His voice, and to give me the insight I need to hear what He is trying to tell me each day.  (I’ve often been known to ask Him to hit me upside the head with whatever He needs me to hear because I’m not always good at the listening part!)

Several years ago, when I noticed that I was starting to get into a “poor me” rut, I was led to begin a “gratitude journal”.  No matter what each day brings, I have challenged myself to write down at least five things that I am grateful to God for each day.  Some days the things are obvious and easy (like a family member being released from the hospital, a new baby or a new job) - other days, I really have to work at it.

Then, I just try to stay “in touch” with God throughout my day as things come up.  I thank Him for unexpected blessings (like not getting bit by that rattlesnake I stepped over when I was mowing the yard with the push mower) and I ask Him to be with those who need Him (when I see an ambulance go by, when I pass car accident on the highway or when I hear about a friend or loved one that is going through a difficult time or illness).  I try to remember to take time to ask Him to guide me before challenging meetings with people at work, when I’m trying to make a tough decision, or when my family members (that I dearly love) are driving me NUTS!  I frequently ask Him to “zip my lips” and keep me from saying things I shouldn’t.  J  Then, I thank Him again at the end of the day for getting me that far.

I’m definitely NOT perfect, and I often kick myself for rushing into a busy day without slowing down to meditate and pray first (aren’t those the days we tend to need it most?), or when I find myself stressing out about something instead of just turning it over to God and trusting Him to work it out.  I always get around to that eventually, so why don’t I just start there and avoid the stress?!

I’ve learned that prayer does not have to be anything “fancy” with just the right words.  It’s just plain ‘ole talking to God and being still long enough to hear what He has to tell me.  What a relief it is to know that even when I don’t know what to say, the Holy Spirit does, and He will interpret it all to God FOR me.  J  The Bible says…

For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.  -- Romans 8:26

As a music lover, I also tend to pray the words of my favorite hymns or other Christian music - or to pray various Psalms when I don’t really know what to say on my own.  For example, Psalm 139 is one of my favorite prayers, and I return to it often.

I believe that developing a relationship with Christ is key.  If I want to do that, it takes time and commitment - just like any other relationship does.  I have to get to know Him, and allow Him into my daily life.  He’s right there knocking at my door…I just have to let Him in!  (See Revelation 3:20)

Anyway…the bottom line is that God isn’t picky!  He just wants us to spend time in fellowship with Him.  The words we say, the time of day, the place, even what we’re wearing don’t matter.  What’s important is our willingness to humble ourselves and just spend time in His presence.  All we have to do is:

…reach up as far as we can, and God will reach down all the rest of the way.  --Anonymous--”

Monday, September 26, 2011

10 Things God Won't Ask...

1...God won't ask what kind of car you drove. He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation 
2...God won't ask the square footage of your house, He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home. 
3...God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He'll ask how many you helped to clothe. 
4...God won't ask what your highest salary was. He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it. 
5...God won't ask what your job title was. He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of our ability. 
6...God won't ask how many friends you had. He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend. 
7...God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, He'll ask how you treated your neighbors. 
8…God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll ask about the content of your character. 
9...God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation. He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell. 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Amazing Kiwifruit!!

Did you know??

According to the California Kiwifruit Commission:
-- Kiwifruit is the most nutrient dense of the 27 most commonly consumed fruits?
    Dr. Paul Lachance (of Rutgers University) conducted a study which evaluated the nutritional value of fruits to determine which provide the most ounce for ounce nutrition.  Of the 27 most commonly consumed fruits used in the study, he found that found that kiwifruit is the most nutrient dense.  This means you’ll get “more bang for your buck” in this deceptively small package.

    Check out their website to get all the nutritional details.  I personally love to add kiwifruit to smoothies or just eat one for an afternoon snack, for an extra boost of fiber and potassium, but they provide all kinds of other benefits as well.

--Kiwifruit promotes heart health? 
    Enjoying just two kiwifruit each day can reduce the amount of fats in your blood (by reducing triglycerides by 15%) AND significantly lower your risk for blood clots (18% platelet aggregation reduction).

--You can eat the skin of a kiwifruit?
    Who knew??  Apparently, the kiwifruit skin is completely edible and makes this yummy fruit even more nutritious!  A recent study showed that if you eat the skin, you can triples your fiber intake compared what you would get if you only ate the flesh!  Leaving the skin on also preserves more of the vitamin C content as well.

--Kiwifruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber?
    Kiwifruit provides both soluble and insoluble forms of fiber (16% USRDA) -- four times that of a cup of chopped celery and even more than a serving of bran flakes!  Soluble fiber appears to play a protective role in diabetes & heart disease, while insoluble fiber helps to prevent hemorrhoids, constipation, diverticulosis AND some forms of cancer.

--It’s actually Kiwifruit…NOT Kiwi Fruit?  J

Click here to learn even more of the health benefits of this amazing, power-packed little fruit!

Now YOU know what I know!