A Confidence Builder for Speakers and Writers – and a Giveaway!

Today, I am linking up with Cindy Bultema of Red Hot Faith to tell you about the great things that come from attending the Speak Up Conference.  Cindy and I are graduates of this fabulous conference and are both offering workshops there this July.

 “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” II Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

Reflections on my experience at the Speak Up with Confidence Conference 2010

Wow!  What a weekend.  I knew it would be good, but I wasn’t prepared to be floating home, full of excitement and the energy transferred from the conference leaders.  And it was a large team of diverse and qualified leaders, from many areas of discipline.  I should note that prior to attending Speak Up, I had been blessed with a plethora of high quality training as an employee of an international corporation and professional trainer, myself. I worked in Leadership and Professional Development for several years. Yet, I found my investment of time and money into the Speak Up Conference, very worth while.

This team of worship leaders, teachers, and some former participants poured out their hearts and talents upon this room filled with eager (and some trembling) students.  And the expectations were high for those attending: to receive and apply what was being given.

I am a kinesthetic learner, so for me, the most valuable part of this conference was the ability to give several presentations and receive specific, immediate feedback.  I still have my Speak Up Evaluation forms!  And for my last and most memorable presentation, Carol Kent stepped in to listen and give me direct guidance.  She was encouraging and provided me specific feedback.

The conference is fast-paced and kept my attention well.  There is an option to take a break; or for those of us who like to take in as much as possible, to choose extra sessions.  I chose one that gave tips on professional appearance.  It was fun and fabulously fashionable (I know, cheesy).

Oh… and I met the most beautiful people.  I fell instantly in love with one woman, we became fast friends.  Although several states apart, we are still in touch today.

In 2010 the conference only focused on developing speakers, now the Speak Up Conference includes a writers track with options to meet publishers to pitch a book idea.

When the time comes to an end, you purpose to come back every year because it is so life-giving.  However, we all know God is the keeper of our time and our plans are not always His!  I was unable to attend in 2011-13, however, in 2014 I was invited to join the speaker team.  It was an equally rewarding experience to be a part of the conference team. I look forward to sharing Mind Mapping: A Whole Brain Tool for Writers and Speakers, once again this year.  I hope you will join us!

GIVEAWAY:  Carol Kent is making a generous offer of $100 off Speak Up Conference registration to one winner from among all the comments. To be entered for the chance to win simply add your comment below stating whether you prefer speaking or writing and if you are being called to one or both.  A winner will be randomly selected.

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DETAILS: Starts today, Monday, May 4th and ends Monday, May 11th at 9 PM. Winner will be announced the week of May 12th.

Join our Blog Hop:

Cindy Bultema - She Sparkles

Cindy Bultema – She Sparkles

Brenda L Yoder, MA

Brenda L Yoder, MA

Radiant Learning

Radiant Learning

Amelia Rhodes

Amelia Rhodes

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Brain Debates and Delusions – Food for Thought

Man considering himself is the great prodigy of nature. For he cannot conceive what his body is, even less what hisspirit is, and least of all how body can be united with spirit. That is the peak of his difficulty and yet is his very being. – Blaise Pascal

colorful brain clipart

The brain has been deliberated for hundreds of years. The physician Alkmeon of Kroton proposed that sensory information such as sight and sound were more earthly and occupied distinct brain areas.  Thoughts, however were spiritual in his book, so he decided they were part of the soul, and therefore, unable to locate in the physical body.

Plato said that the brain was supreme among the organs of the body, but thought that the lower, rounded part of the brain (medulla) was where God planted and enclosed the soul.

Aristotle thought the heart was the place to find the human soul and the brain was merely a type of radiator or “kettle” that either warmed or cooled the blood.

Today brain research is unravelling the mysteries of the brain.  Just thirty years ago we were able to first ‘see’ the way nerve cells communicated with each other. This is very fascinating to brain geeks, like me! In fact, I have a video tape of one of the very first brain cells captured electronically – yes on VHS. And thank you, Tony Buzan, for sharing it with me!].

I have tossed about food for your brain to ponder.  I challenge you to consider what you think and what you know about your brain and your soul.  Now, I challenge you to dig deeper.  Always seek the Word of God, in conjunction, with trusted research.  Anything that outright contradicts the Bible is false.  Trust me, the more you search scripture the more you will see the great depths of wisdom revealed about the science of our brains.  A few starting points for you: the work of Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf and the book used for this post: Blame It on the Brain? by Edward T. Welch.

The Best Christmas Cheer is Love

While there are loads of parties and cheering; Christmas Tree 2014there are many who are hurting during this “most wonderful time of the year.”  I do not believe there is any one special formula to make sure that you take all the sadness out of the celebrations for those who are mourning loved ones; have loss of income; fear; loneliness; depression; or heavily dread the overextension of their time/money/effort. Grinch

However, I also believe there is HOPE.  Hope that each one is able to receive cheer from another compassionate, loving soul.

May Proverbs 15 spark a few ways for us to interact with those who need some Christmas Cheer this year.

A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

2The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,

but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

3The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,

keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

4The soothing tongue is a tree of life,

but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

5A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,

but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

6The house of the righteous contains great treasure,

but the income of the wicked brings ruin.

7The lips of the wise spread knowledge,

but the hearts of fools are not upright.

8The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,

but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

9The Lord detests the way of the wicked,

but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

10Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;

the one who hates correction will die.

11Death and Destructiona lie open before the Lord

how much more do human hearts!

12Mockers resent correction,

so they avoid the wise.

13A happy heart makes the face cheerful,

but heartache crushes the spirit.

14The discerning heart seeks knowledge,

but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

15All the days of the oppressed are wretched,

but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

16Better a little with the fear of the Lord

than great wealth with turmoil.

17Better a small serving of vegetables with love

than a fattened calf with hatred.

18A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,

but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

19The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,

but the path of the upright is a highway.

20A wise son brings joy to his father,

but a foolish man despises his mother.

21Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,

but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.

22Plans fail for lack of counsel,

but with many advisers they succeed.

23A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—

and how good is a timely word!

24The path of life leads upward for the prudent

to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.

25The Lord tears down the house of the proud,

but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.

26The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,

but gracious words are pure in his sight.

27The greedy bring ruin to their households,

but the one who hates bribes will live.

28The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,

but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

29The Lord is far from the wicked,

but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

30Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,

and good news gives health to the bones.

31Whoever heeds life-giving correction

will be at home among the wise.

32Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,

but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

33Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,

and humility comes before honor.

Holiday Relations: Strategize for Sweet Memories with Salty People

A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19 ESV

Memories…..we all have some fond memories of Christmas past, but sometimes there are those ouchie-not-so-fun, memories of the extended family gatherings or the spouse’s work party that went awry. These memories usually include a relational struggle, including two personalities that just didn’t have the right chemistry mix at the time or perhaps never seem to mix well. The nosey aunt always trying to figure things out and fix everyone else, in spite of needing “fixed” herself. You know the one-divorced more times than you can count on one hand, but always has strong opinions on what you should do in your marriage because she has had so much experience ;-). How do you handle her? Do you go: inSane, Stuff, or reply Sweetly?

The Benjamin Franklin quote, used much in the world of organization, “If you have no plan, you are planning to fail” also works with tense relationships. Yet it requires some introspection, and yes, some inner work on you and me.  Not the humanistic approach, ‘Just tell yourself how wonderful you are and don’t let anyone else’s opinions bother you!’…….Bunk! who can do that?? I mean, come on!  A mean spirited comment hurts. Now, some will allow it to fester much more and longer than necessary. But it does not have to be this way.

Steps for Success with {Genuine} Sweet Responses

Don’t go Judging!  Although it is HARD to believe, not everyone thinks just like you. In your heart and mind you have worked out levels of integrity and standards to live by that you deem acceptable to the world.  These standards are generally unwritten, but seem to make logical sense to us based on what we know to date. The key here, is based on what we know.  Your friend or relative may justify their standards by a very different set of lenses. Each person has different experiences in life: different upbringings, cultural influences, levels of guidance by others (some have many wise counselors in their life and some have/had very little mentoring growing up). Trust me, your holiday celebrations will be much sweeter if you do not make assumptions on what Johnny should think is “appropriate” or not.  Now, this is not to say that you must allow all forms of offensive language or watch programs that do not meet your moral code – it simply means you do not have the right to make a universal judgment condemning someone else’s choice. If you do, your response will look much different than one sweetened with grace.  Both ways get the results, one just leaves behind more damage than the other. You always have the option to leave the room and take your kids with you, if the environment is unhealthy. But consider carefully “how” you will exit with grace not disgrace.

Don’t Fester, Forgive.  I know: forgiving is hard business.  And it is serious business. It requires our full attention and our full surrender, humbleness and meekness. I wish it were easier to forgive AND forget, but usually we do not forget.  This is normal, but becomes problematic if we fester over our past wounds. It is like the Proverb says, A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city.  Don’t be like that wall: impenetrable, unyielding to others, stone-cold. These characteristics do not make for warm fuzzy memories – they make the type of memories we repress. Are you harboring an offense? Will you take this before the Lord now and ask Him to help you to let go and forgive – even if it does not seem fair? Afterall, you have been forgiven and it was not a fair trade.

My teenage son has a saying when he see someone over reacting, “Ah, it tastes a little salty around here.” May those who interact with you during the Christmas season, taste the sweetness of your grace and love, no matter the circumstances.

May you make many wonderful new memories to call up in the years to come. And it is my prayer that those needing reconciliation will see a degree of success in this season.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 NIV 

 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 NIV

Wood, Stone, and Fire: Beauty, Brawn, and Blazes – Reflections of Worship

“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Exodus 25:8-9

As we study Exodus chapter 25 through 30, we see that God is the Master Planner. In this case, God gives Israel the exact specifications to build the Temple where He will “dwell” among his people  The incredible part of this documentation is that it took place 2000 years prior to the birth of Jesus and each element and requirement laid forth by God, points perfectly to His ultimate sacrifice.  Whether you believe, or not, that Jesus truly lived and died for you – will you read Exodus 25-30 along with 1 Chronicles 21:24; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 8:2; Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; Ephesians 2:19-22.  This reading could change your life. Forever.

The Tabernacle prepared for God’s presence. He provided the stone, the fire, the wood, and the precious gems to make this Tabernacle beautiful and worthy of His presence among his people.

Fireplace 2014

I am so thankful today for the joy I have gazing at the beauty of God’s creation.

I have an unusual love for stones [BEAUTY]. I delight in the colors, shapes, and original designs of nearly every stone I spy. It is a common sight to see me stopping on a walk to bend down and collect yet another rock from the dirt path.

God is the Master Planner and the Master Provider of all the materials and the skilled craftsman of the original Temple.  As I consider this,  I am especially grateful at the place I find myself worshipping God in my home. Here at the foot of my beautifully crafted split stone wall; the work [BRAWN] of my skilled and artistic brother-in-law; and near the warm wood fire, installed by the hardworking hands of my husband, who also laid the slate hearth and chops the wood for us. This place combines many things that are precious to me.  It is a reminder of God’s Master Design in Creation (stone, wood, fire) and God’s provision of family, love, and the warmth of fire [BLAZES].  As we seek Him and worship Him we know that He will show us the perfect plan for our day and give us wisdom (Daniel 2:21, James 1:5) for decisions that affect our future.

And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD. Ezekiel 16:14 NIV [BEAUTY]

The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Psalm 28:8 KJV [BRAWN]

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 NLT [BLAZES]

Jot and Tittle, Journal and Jar

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” Exodus 17:14 NIV

“This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’ ” Exodus 16:32 NIV

Recently I was recommissioned to begin writing my book again. As I sat down to begin, my mind was blank.  I have many ideas, in fact, I have two books started. The trouble is I want to be certain that I am writing on the right topic.  So I went to my knees and asked the Lord for insight and began typing. I wrote out my first sense (or calling) that I was to write a book. I wrote down all of my feelings of opposition and how God walked me through those with various promises, His presence, and major provisions. It was such an encouragement to me.  Of course, I knew these things had happened, but to see them all together in order as a reminder was a huge encouragement to my faith and a bolt to my initiative to keep writing!

I have a radiant friend who has been faithful to record every jot and tittle of her call to adopt two precious preemies over two years ago.  This journey has been filled with significant challenges and rewards.  She confesses that the ups and the downs are all worth it and God has given her a supernatural love for these two new family members.  They are now legally a part of her family, but they have been a forever part of her heart from the moment she laid eyes on them. Because she was faithful to detail this incredible journey – this Sunday she will stand before her church community and confidently recall God’s faithfulness.  This will prove to be an amazing encouragement to people whose faith is waning or to those who wonder if God still speaks today.  It will be a charge to others who may be sensing the calling to adopt or foster children.  My friend’s journal will be a faith builder and a call to action.  Had she neglected to record all of the little things, the big things may not have had such a powerful impact as they do with the full record.

Journals

Benefits of journaling the journey:

Clarifying direction

Testimony to God’s faithfulness

Ability to look back and see lessons learned and successes

Record for future generations

When the Lord told Moses to “Write on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it” It was to encourage this faithful Army Commander for future battles.  It was a testimony to God’s faithfulness.  It strengthened Joshua’s faith in God and helped him to trust that these enemies were in God’s capable hands.  It was a reminder that God was with Him and his army and rendered not only this victory, but the victories to come.

The Lord also knew that the Israelites seemed to have trouble with memory, so he had it ordered that an omer of manna would be preserved for the generations to come as proof that God was able to sustain about 2 million people in the desert by the miraculous provision of food for forty years!  I mean, come on, how else would they have been able to survive?  Apart from this miracle, it makes no logical sense.  This visual reminder would prove valuable to future generations to remind them of God’s provision and faithfulness to His promises.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18 KJV

Just as we can trust the Word of God, let us show our faithfulness by jotting down all of God’s mercies, leading, and provision so we can strengthen the faith of generations to come.

Marriage: A Work in Progress

image

 Two Imperfect People – Perfect for one another

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

As I write this I am keenly aware that some of you have heartbreaking stories of a marriage that has not gone the way you planned and perhaps has ended way before you dreamed.  I do understand that marriage can be a battlefront.   Arguably, marriage is the most intimate and vulnerable relationship we can have with a person.  Marriage requires humility to trust that the covenant made at the Altar will be equally valued to our spouse – no matter the circumstances: “for better or for worse”.  Perhaps we need to start spelling out the possible “worse” case scenarios so that we are more equipped to work toward reconciliation when those days arrive.

If you have had a failed relationship, this article is not intended to shame you, but rather to encourage you.  If you are struggling – it is intended to refocus and strengthen you; if you are in a good place in marriage – to commend you.  It takes work to be married!  Paul even says, “So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows–it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am.” 1 Corinthians 7:8  But for those who must marry, it is important to know that the marriage will be a journey of “for better and for worse”.  There will be glorious, blissful days and there will be heart-crushing difficult days.

When our spouse strikes a chord in us, if we let our minds – our creative, active, image-making brains – take over:  we will be taken far away from the Truth in the Philippians 4:8-9 admonition to meditate on truth.  We will let doubt and lies creep in and our husband (wife) will be hung without a jury.  And even if we don’t say anything to him about it, we will have an edge to our voice, we will have resentment in our heart, because in some odd, twisted way we believe what our mind has made up.

Advice for staying married:

Be Forthright – our brains have a need to fill in the gaps.  Do not leave information out or your spouse will fill in the blanks with all matter of possible negatives.  Because in his/her mind, if it were positive – you would have shared it!

Extend Grace – do your very best to think positive thoughts of your spouse, until given concrete evidence, even if you have a history. If there has been progress-extend grace, as much as possible.  Study Exodus 11-17, take note of the forgetful, grumbling, ungrateful Israelites and their persistent, merciful, grace-filled God who continued to lead and provide and did not strike them down.

Empathize. How would my spouse respond to me if the circumstances were reversed?  Does he/she have a different love language or personality style?  Is this conflict a misunderstanding due to our differences versus a conscious breach of trust?

Do something you don’t like to do JUST because your spouse likes it.  This goes a long way to show that you care about her and you are willing to sacrifice on her behalf.

Talk it out.  When there is a cloud of doubt, talk it out.  Ladies, this does not mean ‘whenever’ you feel like it.  Your husband may process things differently than you and may need some time to go to his man-cave to let off steam or to process.  But as you pray you will sense a leading to know when to bring up the soreness and humbly approach your husband.  Men, don’t just stuff it and move on!  Your wife needs to know that you care!  How will she know if you seem like it is ‘no big deal’ – that translates to her that SHE is no big deal.  Talk it out.  Seek first to understand the other person’s perspective and then seek to have your side understood.  Be sure to engage in genuine empathic listening and to reflect what you are hearing.

Pray – there is no greater marital strength than prayer.  I know there is evidence of marriages that make it without prayer, but I know from first hand experience that prayer has been the most powerful ingredient to bring joy and cohesion than any other element in our marriage.

My prayer for you:  Lord, thank you for your provision and leading to pair imperfect people in the perfect way.  Thank you that you use the good and the bad for your glory, and help us to rely more on your strength than our own weakness.  Lord, I ask that you bless each marriage represented by each reader and their extended families.  I ask that you impart humility and grace upon the hearts and minds of each spouse and that your Holy Spirit will unite these loved ones and that you will provide a protective Shield over each marriage keeping the enemy at bay and your powerful grace-filled, love at the center of their hearts and mind’s for each other. Lord, I also believe with those who are estranged from their spouse, that you are able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine – fill each one with faith and hope in You. Amen.

Sometimes Little Things are Frustrating!

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2 NLT


Can you relate?  I sat down to do an activity that I, well, did not REALLY want to do.  My husband asked me to do it, and since he does so many wonderful things for me, I obliged (this time ;-).

I began typing a document with the attitude that I would complete it, but not to the level of agonizing perfection I have in the past, belaboring, changing every little tittle, too many times to count.  However,  I was nearly giggling as I texted a friend that I was almost done and had never had so much fun doing this particular task……and then IT happened.

Somehow I messed up the margins and could not figure out how to correct them in my relatively new word processing package.  So I copied and pasted and recreated the masterpiece, which took another 20 minutes, at least!  Ugh.  Then, I discover that another document is necessary.  I begin happily banging away at the keyboard: “creating” as I love to do.  Job two is now done.  Uh, Oh….another step is required to complete this dutiful task for my sweet man – I must complete a series of online questions.  I am on a roll, that is until I accidentally press enter – prematurely – and have to begin ALL over again.  And again. And finally with the third notice of a ‘system error’….This is really testing my patience.  It is really beginning to RUB me the WRONG way.  I am feeling my insides well up.  I am beginning to start the wrong mental program of ‘blame’, ‘anger’, ‘frustration’, ‘if only’, ‘why me?’, ‘how come?’ NO! Don’t go there, Kim. You have come so far from your “old ways” of reacting to the little stressors of life! Tell yourself that this is just an exercise in faithfulness, there is no serious life altering consequence.  Yes, you are losing some sleep and tomorrow will be rough, but remember how far God has brought you from the way you USED to react to this type of circumstance.  YIKES….those memories are ugly.

But now you are so much calmer.  The dog would have been seeking a place far away….now you are quiet and no one really knows what you are feeling.  You are calm and the effects of the failure will not have a lasting effect on you.  You can see things with a logical lens.  You are at peace.  You are confident in your efforts.  You are entrusting the results now to God because you put forth your best effort.  You do not have to continue to work harder and harder, but only smarter. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

In fact, what seemed like a catastrophe in the technology and timeframe realm, just  inspired this post.  🙂  I hope that in some way, that you can relate and are encouraged and will look to the ways in which God has freed you from old and negative thought patterns in your life rather than continuing down the same old blame game or dangerous anger angle.  God does not want you dependent on your circumstances or your emotions:  God wants you to depend on Him!  He is the only one who is good.  The only one who has the power to change both you and your circumstance(s).  So look up now and give him the credit He is due and ask Him for your next thought, emotion, action and even for success in everything that you do.

As for me, I put forth great effort; I completed every task within my power; the ones that were blocked by technology glitches I will either feel compelled to try again tomorrow or I will have a peace that I am done.  So I go to bed now, well after midnight with a deep, deep sense of peace and knowing that God is in control of all things and that He has changed me in so many good ways from my reactive, emotional past.  I am thankful and go to bed praying for each of you, my readers, that God will do a special work in your life on this day and that you will be ever mindful and thankful.

WHEN YOU PUT FORTH YOUR BEST, PERFECTION IS NOT ALWAYS THE GOAL.  PERHAPS IT IS MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU LEARN IN THE PROCESS OR…. HOW YOU REACT,,,,,,,, THAN WHAT YOU RECEIVE.

Is it Really Possible to be Too Heavenly Minded?

LoveLeigh Smile

You have heard it said, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.”

I challenge:  Is this even possible?  Those who are sincerely heavenly minded: choose to live like Christ.  Study Christ’s life and you will see that He spent His life serving the people of the earth with the Kingdom of Heaven at the forefront of His mind and heart.

The Bible says, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” Colossians 3:2 NLT

I watched my sweet friend, Leigh, live the last months of her life boldly living with a heavenly mindset while doing this earth such good.  She learned in the late fall that the cancer had returned.  It had been 27 years since the first occurrence and then about three more bouts of various “C” reports over her short 64 year life span.  But this last bout was to be her last.  We all rallied together after the first indications cancer had returned.  We encouraged her.  We prayed with her, for her, and over her.  We were ready to do spiritual battle.  We pleaded with the Lord to cure her and to sustain her.  Ultimately, He did both of these things but the curing was not to be done on earth.

As the months progressed it seemed that this may be the last time she would ever have to battle cancer or any sickness.  She began to ‘know’ that this was her time to let go and let God take her to be home with Him, in His perfect timing.  You see my friend, Leigh, she loved the Word of God and she came to have full confidence in it.  She knew that when she died it meant that she would be restored to her Savior.  That she would also be fully healed and whole in every possible way.  There would be no more sorrow or sickness or emotional trials or even any effort to take place to overcome the past or the present trials.  She had full confidence that Jesus is the Risen Christ who Redeems those who believe that His blood was shed for all.

The day before Leigh slipped into unconsciousness I said to her, “Do you feel Him (God)?” And she said confidently, “No. No, I don’t feel Him.  But I just KNOW He is here. I just know.”  And she said it with her infamous bright and beautiful smile.  It literally warmed my heart to watch my friend who, at times, had been plagued by the enemy with doubts.  Doubts that she was ‘good enough’ to be restored to Christ.  And on this the very last day of her conscious life on earth God gave her the FAITH and the full confidence to stand on all that the Word of God said to be True.  It gave her a joyful expectancy to pass.  This makes no sense to a person without faith.  But to those who believe in the Resurrection power of Christ; we rejoice with our friend.  Because now she is whole and she is WITH Jesus.  She did not die afraid, alone, and weak.  She passed from this world into the next; into the eternal presence of Christ and we know from His Word that there is no better place to live. It is a place with no more tears.

Leigh taught me so many valuable lessons by living these last few months with a full-blown heavenly mindset.  I will just share the last lesson and that is to live every day in confident faith that He is with us, no matter what we ‘feel’, ‘think’, or ‘see’ – He is here. We just need to execute the faith He has given us to believe in Him.

So what does a Heavenly minded life look like?  Well, you will have to open your Bible to be abundantly supplied with examples.  Study Abraham’s life (Genesis, Romans 4, Hebrews 11), and the life of Moses, and the Faith chapter = Hebrews Eleven.  Most importantly take a look at Jesus’ life example.

A Heavenly Minded Life Looks a Lot Like This:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34 NIV

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:26-27

Emphasis added in bold and italics to these scriptures by this author.

I am so grateful for Leigh’s life example.  Her smile and beautifully bright eyes linger on in our memories as an encouragement to keep smiling through it all and to live in the hope of Heaven while doing earthly good.

Until we meet again, LoveLeigh, we miss you and cling to the hope you had, and have strengthened in us.  Thank you for showing me that there is no such thing as being too heavenly minded.

Free Fridays

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is that time of the year again!  Time to break out the summer attire, take off your shoes and jackets and enjoy the sweet smell of fresh air!

I begin every morning with some quiet time to set my day on due course.  If you are not in the habit of doing this, will you give it a try today?  We will call it Free Friday because the more we open the Word of God – the more free of old habits we become.

Let the chains fall off.

Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Romans 6:18 NLT

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