Category Archives: Faith

Dream Chasers

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soccer game pixOkay, I am going to be honest. I miss blogging. Traveling through life with fellow readers and writers is something I enjoy. You inspire me and when you read what I write it, it gives me an outlet for expression, not to mention, it’s good for my mental health.

A few weeks ago on Facebook and via the Pensees blog, I asked if I should continue to blog.  I  noticed fewer people are blogging these days and those who still do, are doing it less. I had to figure out if blogging was worth my time.

I asked and you answered. Some said, “Stop the blog and go for the larger projects you are pursuing.

Others said, “Keep at it, it refines your skills and craft.”

My writer friends had great insights. Like me, they often ask, “What is the best use of my time? How can I meet my goals, carry out my dreams, and connect with others? Can I really get paid for this pursuit?”

Thanks for speaking up and speaking out…Bob, Heather, Jennifer, Angela, Jon A., Barbara, too many other writers/bloggers to name….

I think the final decision came when I was talking with my ten-year old twin grandsons.  We were talking about dreams. They both want to be professional soccer players when they grow up.  But they turned the tables on me and asked, “What did you want to be when you were our age?”

I choked on that one, nothing like a ten-year old to call you out? I knew the answer. My life long dream is to be a writer.  Writing has never been something I do, it has always been part of who I am.

Then they said, “You’re already writing, right Mimi?”

I explained to them about time constraints, my new job, all the writing projects I have in mind, and my dilemma of trying to do it all while chasing my dream. They smiled and gave  simple yet profound answers.

The contemplative one said, “Mimi, just do your best.”

The outgoing twin chimed in, “Yeah Mimi, you always tell us to do our best and have fun!”

So that’s my answer, I am going to do my best and have fun. I will blog when I have something to say. I will work on projects as time and creativity allow.

Enough talk, I am back at the keyboard.  It’s time for me to write. I am a writer after all.

So I ask you, what’s your dream and when will you start chasing it again?

Stiff Neck

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stiff-neck-womanHave you ever hurt your neck and you aren’t sure how it happened? I experienced that firsthand a couple of weeks ago. I was minding my business, backing out of an ordinary parking space, and a searing pain shot through my neck.  It penetrated deep into the tissue and bone. Immediately, my neck was so stiff, I couldn’t turn to the right or left. As I drove home, I had to reposition my entire body in order to make safe right and left turns. For several days, I could only look straight ahead. Driving, sleeping, and working was difficult. Thank goodness it only lasted a few days.

While my stiff neck was healing, I thought about God’s description of His own people. In Exodus 32, Israel  had sinned big time when they built a golden calf to worship. Their idolatry caused God’s anger to burn against them and He said to Moses, (v. 9) “I have seen this people and behold they are a stiff-necked people.”

God describing His people as stiff-necked was not a compliment.  This word is defined: obstinate, stubborn, willful, rebellious, unruly, and ornery. It means a person has a major attitude problem and an unwillingness to be led. Over and over in scripturestubborn goat God describes His disobedient nation in this unbecoming, uncomplimentary way. In my imagination, I think of a stubborn old goat that refuses his masters leading when I hear this term.

I never want another stiff neck physically but more than that, I don’t want the Lord to describe me in this way. A stiff neck happens when we become hardened to the master’s leading and so certain of self, that we are not easily guided back on the path of spiritual wholeness and wellness.

A spiritual stiff neck is a result of pride.  So what’s the remedy for this? It’s simple,  give your situation over to the Lord. Ask Him to work the kinks out of your life.  It might be painful for a time but, He is a gentle healer.

I’ll Take My Coffee With Cream

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coffee barI enjoy a good cup of coffee first thing in the morning.  I like mine with a splash of real half and half. I am definitely not a coffee snob who requires specialty blends, weird milk, or a certain expensive machine to brew it. My sweet husband spoils me by bringing my coffee to me each morning.  He quietly places it on the bedside table. Then he runs, because he knows I am grumpy until I have that first cup!

Occasionally, I meet a friend for coffee at one of the local coffee places in town. Each time I go, I am amazed by all the different orders. There is usually a long line to the counter and I have fun listening as each person orders their own concoction. They step up to the barista and spout their order quickly and with expertise. For example, one might say, “I’ll have a caramel mocha with almond milk and raw sugar, make it a tall.” When they receive their order the customer seems delighted.

 I am amazed at how they know exactly what to order. I am the lady in line who says, “What do you have?” The frustration is evident and the person behind the counter says something impatiently like, “Read the board lady.” I become fearful of making an order mistake so I simply say, “I’ll have a small cup of your regular coffee, please, if it’s not too much trouble.” Then the coffee experts standing nearby are shocked. They suck all the oxygen out the room because of the words I just uttered. I am amazed as they hand me an empty cup as they shoo me away and point out the lonely carafe of house blend in the corner. latte

The last time I left one of these places, I thought to myself. Wow, those people really know how to order their drinks. But later in the day, I thought about it more. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew how to order our lives like we know how to order our coffee? As Christ-followers we never need to fear making a mistake in the way we order our lives. Scripture tells us in Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in his way.” The word “ordered” in this verse is complex but clearly defined in the Hebrew language. It means “established, to be steadfast, firm, to be ready and prepared.” Because the Lord orders our lives, we can be confident that He directs each step we take. Don’t be troubled as you try to order your life. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “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 your paths straight.” 

Wave the White Flag

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In America, we have numerous rights. We have the Bill of Rights that contain the first ten amendments to the Constitution. These amendments protect the natural rights to property and liberty, and the amendments guarantee numerous personal rights. If you enjoy television dramas,  you know about Miranda Rights, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law…”

But what about Christ-followers, do we have any rights apart from our constitutional rights? While you ponder that a minute, I will answer with an emphatic “No!” Galatians 2:20 says,  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

 If we believe God’s Word, then, why do we, as believers, demand our rights? How many times a day do we forget our  “right”eousness and exercise our “rights” to snap at our husbands, to gossip with our friends, to tell a little white lie, or to back out on our commitments? Since Christ gave Himself up for us, we no longer live but He lives in us. We gave up our rights when we decided to follow Him.

Maybe, it’s time to give up our perceived rights and wave the white flag of surrender.  At Passion 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia, Chris Tomlin sang the song, “White Flag.” To read the words and view the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G5k7GUTRZ8

What rights have you been demanding in your life? When will you wave the white flag of surrender?

Heavenly Father,  Through your Son, Jesus, we take hold of the righteousness that is ours and we relinquish all rights to self. We wave the white flag of surrender. We choose to align ourselves wholeheartedly to our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen

archived devotionals available at circleofsavings.com

 

Can Christmas Be Found in a Box of Chocolate Covered Cherries?

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I pray this story from my life will touch and change your life. Hallmark could say it better but please accept my words as your Christmas card this year. Merry Christmas!

                                                                                                                                                                                

While I have received wonderful Christmas presents in the past, there have been several gifts I will never forget. This week I walked through the local drugstore and I saw a box of chocolate covered cherries. That box took me back to a time when I first learned the meaning of Christmas.

When I was in 7th grade, there was a tall, African-American girl who sat behind me in home room class. She was the star basketball player on the Jr. High team. Her name was Sybil and she lived with her grandmother in one of the smallest houses in the poorest section of town. Other girls whispered about her and I overheard that she had already had a baby.  Sybil smelled of grease and wood smoke. Her clothes were threadbare and her shoes had holes. Each day when she arrived we said hello and smiled at one another. I was a small, quiet, studious girl and definitely not one in the popular crowd. She was shy like me so we didn’t really talk.

The last day of school before Christmas break,  I noticed other kids were exchanging gifts with their friends but I wasn’t one of them. Sybil came to home room class with a small gift in her hand. It was simply wrapped and topped with a stick on bow. I thought to myself, “I am so glad poor Sybil has a friend to exchange a gift with.” But she walked past everyone else and stopped at my desk. She put the box on my desktop and said, “I got you a Christmas present.”

Of course I was caught so off-guard I asked, “why?” She said, “Because you’re my friend.” She made me open the gift and it was a box of chocolate covered cherries! Sybil and I sat right there in home room, right in front of everyone and shared that delicious box of candy. We ate every piece. She smiled and smiled as she bit off the tops, sucked out the juice, picked out the cream and then chewed up the cherry. We had our own private Christmas celebration!

I can’t imagine how much she and her family sacrificed to buy the candy. I can’t figure out how or why the Lord put Sybil and me on a collision course that led us to an unexpected friendship.  But this much I did figure out, Christmas can be found in a box of chocolate covered cherries.

In what unexpected places will you find Christmas this year? 

Heavenly Father,  give us unexpected joy in unexpected places this Christmas. Slow us down and enlighten us so we might find and experience the true meaning of Christmas. In Jesus Name, Amen   John 1:9, John 1:14 and Matthew 1:21

The Spittin’ Image of Her Daddy

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In the South, when we see a child who looks like her father, we say, “She’s the spittin’ image of her daddy” which really means,  “She looks just like her daddy.” I think as parents, if we are honest, we all secretly hope our children will come into this world and look like us. Before our own babies are born, the thought of “little spittin’ images” of ourselves makes us smile. Neither of my children look very much like me and I’m sorry to say my twin grandsons don’t look like me either.

But according to Genesis 1:27, we are all “little spittin’ images” of someone. As Image Bearers, we are the spittin’ image of our Heavenly Father. The verse says, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” How would the world be different, if we fully grasped this foundational biblical concept? Let’s think about two ways.

First, we would see ourselves based on God’s creative best. Genesis 1:31, says, “God saw all that He had made and behold, it was very good….” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see ourselves that way?  

Second, we would see other believers as God’s creative best but not only His creative best, His redemptive best. If we see Christ-followers as righteous based on the righteousness of Christ, we would no longer judge one another. We would no longer be shocked by a friend’s past when they, with great trust, reveal it to us. We would no longer be surprised by the daily struggles of others. We could look across that chasm that separates people and realize we aren’t who we appear to be…God sees us differently. 

I think it would be great to see others the way God does; as image bearers of the Father, redeemed and righteous because of Jesus (Romans 5:19) and fully indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-10).

When God looks at us He sees us through His perfect lens of grace. He sees His children, who are His spittin’ image. He sees us righteous because of His Son Jesus. He sees us from the inside out by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  For all of this, I am deeply grateful but I find an exhortation to change the way I view others and myself.

I want to put on grace lenses and see others through God’s eyes. Loving them in spite of themselves. Seeing them as redeemed saints in this messy middle part of life. If necessary, I will put on biblical bi-focals and see them from the far away eternal perspective, as well as, up close and personal right here, right now.

How do you view others?  When will you go for a spiritual eye exam? How will God’s Word correct and bring into focus a proper view of yourself and others?

Heavenly Father, forgive us for losing sight of who we really are? Forgive us for our judgmental view of others. Give us eyes that remain wide open to Your Truth. Where our vision is skewed, clarify and sharpen what we see with your lenses of grace.

In Jesus Name, Amen

archived writings at circleofsavings.com

Sometimes Choose Amnesia

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Last week on several of the daytime television shows, the guests were Scott Bolzan and his wife, Joan. Scott has amnesia due to a brain injury. His amnesia is not the temporary kind but the permanent (so far) retrograde type.

Amnesia is medically defined as a defect in memory, especially one resulting from pathological cause, such as brain damage or hysteria [via New Latin from Greek: forgetfulness, probably from amnēstia oblivion] simply defined it is forgetfulness.

After his injury, Scott didn’t remember his wife or children. He also didn’t remember how to do many ordinary things. He and his wife wrote a book that chronicles his recovery and efforts to rebuild his life. It is titled My Life Deleted. While the couple told hysterical stories about their new reality, they also openly communicated their daily trials.

http://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Deleted-Scott-Bolzan/dp/0062025473/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318281241&sr=1-1

I listened to the interview and thought to myself, boy there are somethings in my life I wish I could forget. Things like harsh words I can’t take back, stupid mistakes I can’t change, forgiven sins that pop back into my mind, bad memories, hard times, etc…

In Scripture we are told not to forget the Lord, His Word, His work in our lives.  But did you know that forgetting is actually a Biblical concept, a sort of spiritual amnesia? Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) says, “Forget the former things do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!” While in this context, God is speaking to Israel. He is reminding them to forget their years in exile due to their sins. The lesson for us is forget your old sins, you live under God’s mercy and grace. This is a new day.

Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 chooses spiritual amnesia for himself and encourages us to do the same. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But, one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

As I age, I find it both encouraging and freeing to learn that sometimes we can have selective memories. God’s Word tells us to remember and forget. The Bible is full of that kind of paradox.

I want to cheer you on today! Forget the former, what’s behind you and press on toward the new thing. Practice spiritual amnesia and win!

What from your past do you need to forget? What sin do you remember that the Lord has already forgotten? What is holding you back as you move toward winning the promised prize?

Heavenly Father,  Show us what we need to forget and reveal at the same time what we need to remember. In Jesus Name, Amen

Archived devotionals available at: http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx

Pippa’s Behind

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Okay friends and new blog followers, every now and then I can’t help myself; I have to speak to the absurd. So hang in there with me as you read today’s post.

Last week I was watching Good Morning America while I was getting ready for work. GMA used to be a serious news show but not so much anymore. They actually spent several minutes discussing this new surgery fixation. Women all over the world are getting plastic surgery so they can have a “behind” like Pippa Middleton (sister of Kate, new wife of Prince William).  Pippa’s backside received worldwide acclaim because her God-given derriere looked so nice in a bridesmaid dress.

They interviewed a beautiful seemingly confident young woman who had the surgery. It was disclosed the procedure costs several thousands of dollars and is extremely painful. They actually take fat from another part of the body and insert it into the backside in order to mold and shape a patient’s bottom. The young woman stood during the interview. Imagine that?

What’s wrong with us? We look at others and we want to imitate them. I had to ask myself first, who do I desire to be like?

Then, the Lord whispered, “Child, remember Ephesians 5:1”, “Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children.”

Is it possible we can draw a little application from Romans 9:20, also? “Who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this” will it?

Now, before my friends who have had plastic surgery get offended let me say this, I DO NOT have any problem with plastic surgery of any kind. It is not the surgery that is the problem, it is the motive. The wrong motive here is the desire to be like another. There is only one Pippa. Anytime we start imitating others we are settling for less than God’s creative best.

Who do we long to imitate? Our Heavenly Father or an earthly idol? Where should we look to find the perfect example to imitate?  

Heavenly Father, help us to be sensible in our pursuit of good looks. Give us hearts that look to you for each motive and decision for our lives. When we desire a new look, mold us into Your image from the inside out. In Jesus Name, Amen

abcnews.go.com/GMA/pippamiddletons-derriere-plastic-surgery-fixation/story?id=14617782.

Cindy Molder’s archived blogs are available at http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx

Mirrors, Swords, and Tiaras

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Last week I was invited to speak to the ladies basketball team at Oklahoma Wesleyan University okwu.edu. Not because I am special but because I am the head coach’s mom. I thought to myself, “what an incredible opportunity and honor.” I couldn’t  figure out what I was supposed to say to  thirty young student athletes. So, I decided to tell them what I wish someone had told me. I knew I had their attention when I handed out mirrors, swords, and tiaras.

The main points are below. As you ponder the verses, you can fill in the white space.  There are four distinct lessons to learn. Genesis 1:27, You are created in God’s image. You are an image bearer. Genesis 2:18, You are created for a specific purpose. You are an ezer (helper). Genesis 2:22, You are special because you are a woman. You are hand-crafted by God.  John 3:3 and Revelation 19:7-8, You are royalty. IF you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then you are born again into the royal kingdom, and someday you will marry into the royal kingdom.

I bet you are asking yourself, what about those mirrors, swords, and tiaras?

I told the young women to look in the mirror and remember who they are: Image Bearers, Ezers (helpers, strong and mighty defenders), and Royalty. I challenged them to pick up the sword of an Ezer and to defend and help one another. Finally, if they are believers, I encouraged them to put on that tiara that marks them as royalty and to hold their heads high because of their royal position.

After I finished with a short prayer, I looked at those image bearing, royal ezers and  I saw pure potential. It’s going to be a fun basketball season but it’s also going to be a great year! Join me in praying for these young women, Heavenly Father, help them to  remember who they really are, so they can live with fearless passion. In Jesus Name, Amen 

 archived devotionals are available at http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx

And the Lord Heard It!

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Have you ever read one short sentence in the Bible and the Lord lifts it straight off the pages and aims His Word directly at your heart? That happened to me on Sunday. Five little words got my attention. “…And the Lord heard it.” (Numbers 12:2)

When Miriam and Aaron spoke against their brother (Moses) for marrying a Cushite woman, “the Lord heard it.” What did the Lord do when He heard their criticism? Well, what would any loving father do?  The Lord called  an immediate  family meeting and He met with all three siblings at the doorway of the tent. He gave Miriam and Aaron a huge piece of His holy mind (Numbers 12:6-8). His anger burned against them as He defended His servant Moses. He left Miriam with a visual aid to help her remember. When the Lord withdrew His presence, Miriam was as white as snow with leprosy. She was kept away from others, isolated outside the camp for seven days. Then, the Lord  healed her as a result of Moses’ prayer.

How did Miriam get to this place of sin? This is the same Miriam who led worship after the Lord dried up the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:20-21). The same Miriam that once had lips filled with praise used the same mouth as a weapon against her brother.

Isn’t that just like us as women? We use so many words. One minute our mouths are praising and building up and the next minute they are criticizing and  tearing down? I’ve fallen prey to women using hurtful critical words. Being a non-confrontational person, I embrace the situation by not saying a word and stuffing it deep down within my heart knowing that ultimately the Lord will deal with it. BUT NOW! NOW, I know that when someone criticizes, gossips, or murmurs against me, I can know for sure the Lord will hear it.

Somehow that gives me great comfort. Maybe the next time I am confronted with undeserved criticism, I will whisper to the Lord (as I turn and walk away) Hey Jesus, did you hear that?

Have you ever been the victim of unwarranted verbal criticism? How did you respond? How will you respond now? How carefully do you weigh your words? What will you remember when you are tempted to murmur and criticize another?

Heavenly Father, Guard our lips and let no unwholesome words proceed from our mouths, help us to use our words in a manner that honors others and glorifies you. (Ephesians 4:29) In Jesus Name, Amen

archived devotionals:  http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx