Cec and Me Show

Coming Dec. 7 to online radio: The Cec and Me Show.

Billed as a delightful, thoughtful, serious, and not so serious call-in show with Cecil (Cec) Murphey and Twila Belk, the show promises a blend of fun and a variety of topics, including tough issues such as sexual abuse, cancer, and caregiving, as well as lighter topics such as writing and Christmas miracles.

The far-reaching, refreshing, faith-based, shared conversation and call-in show offers:
· An inside look at the “Man Behind the Words.” This patriarch in the publishing industry shares from his life of words—over 100 books and going strong.
· Special guests who've been impacted by Cec in some way—people who in turn impact others—authors, speakers, pastors, ministry leaders and more.
· A wide range of topics—tough issues, practical helps, encouragement, inspiration, hope, and some fun thrown in for good measure.
· The opportunity to call in with your questions and comments.

I encourage you to tune in to the show. Cecil Murphey is a man of great faith and integrity. His book When a Man You Love Has Been Abused is featured in the Glory and Strength webzine library of recommended reading. Twila Belk’s humor will have you ROTFL. You will be blessed and encouraged. Don’t miss it!

Show Details:
Tune in to Cec And Me every Tuesday evening, 7-8 CT/8-9 ET at
The call-in number is 877-864-4869.
All shows archived for your listening pleasure.
Check out this clip for more details of Cec And Me: YOU TUBE

Book Tour A Woman and Her Workplace

Workplace Gossip
by Rosemary Flaaten

Gossip is a nemesis that runs rampant in workplaces. A tantalizing snippet of information or a morsel of exaggerated juicy news goes a long way to spice up a humdrum work environment. But, left unchecked, it creates a
toxic environment that will suck the health out of workplace relationships.

The effects of gossip can only be felt when they are passed from one coworker to another. When your gossiping coworker starts to share with you the latest bit office gossip, it is best to simply stop it. Interrupt her monologue and say “I really don’t want to hear this about this person. I don’t want to get drawn into gossip”. You’re not slamming her behavior; you are simply setting boundaries on your involvement. Chances are she will be surprised and may even mutter something like “Well, you’re no fun.” or sarcastically exclaim, “Aren’t you all high and mighty. We’ll give you the Miss Perfect award.”

Unfortunately, you may find that your unwillingness to participate in her gossip circle may make you the brunt of her gossip. But, know that doing the right thing is always the best rule. Perhaps your courage to stand up and stop being engaged in the gossip will make a positive impact on the workplace environment.

Jesus had a great deal to say about how to get along with the people in our lives who are our enemies – people who gossip about us and even slander our character. Jesus evidenced for us the value of speaking the truth in love but He went even further to give us relational pointers that will reverse the toxic nature of gossip. C.S. Lewis referred to the topsy‐turvy nature of God’s kingdom and these four points from Luke 6:27‐28 are indeed counter‐cultural:

1. Love your enemies ‐ If loving your coworkers is too high of a hurdle to stride, use the work care instead. Caring for this coworker means that you will not force your convictions on her; you will forgive her for the offensives she has made against you and you will take pleasure in only the truth about her. If this seems impossible – you’re right, it is, on our own. We must open our heart to God and allow His love to flow into us so that we can become the conduit of Love to those people who desire evil against us.

2. Do good to those who hate you – Kindness disarms hostility. Find ways to show kindness to her, even while she continues to gossip or slander you. Raise the bar. You have the opportunity to bring kindness and benevolence into the workplace.

3. Bless those who curse you – blessings involves desiring good things to happen to and for others. Blessing is the antithesis of retaliation. When given a chance to say something unkind about someone who has been spreading gossip, choose to Dind something good to say about them. Follow the adage “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

4. Pray for those who mistreat you – As Christ hung on the cross, he prayed for those who had orchestrated his cruciDixion. Praying allows God to transplant our bruised heart with a supple heart that turns our focus to God rather than the mistreatment we have received by the words of others. True heart change will occur when we start praying.

It is never our responsibility to try to change the gossiping habit of our coworkers. We are simply responsible for our behavior. Deciding that we will not even be a receiver of gossip will break the cycle. Being on the receiving end will necessitate a decision between retaliation and love. Treating our enemies the way we would want to be treated is living out the Golden Rule.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosemary Flaaten’s successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships helps women process their outside-of work relationships, so now she’s delving into these 9-5 relationships in A Woman and Her Workplace. Her Relationships book won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada's top Christian literary honor. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.

BOOK SUMMARY:
For most people, the workplace is their home-away-from-home. We spend most of our waking hours with coworkers and employers. No blood relation, but yet we must build healthy relationships with them if we hope to excel at our work and enjoy our careers. Just like families, our work families are disturbed by dysfunctional issues. Interactions at work are often anything but ideal, let alone godly.

We find someone to vent about the grumpy boss, that arrogant team member, the lazy coworker who gets by doing nothing, and the undermining woman who makes our lives miserable. Yes, it’s easy to blame them for our workplace woes—but it’s better to look inward at what we have control to change.

A Woman and Her Workplace shows how God can perform a deep heart transformation within us so His love flows through us to the people in our workplaces. By delving into the issues that wreak havoc on our workplace relationships, author Rosemary Flaaten provides readers the help they need to develop and apply strong biblical principles of humility, integrity, forgiveness, grace, and celebration in the workplace.

Through discussing relationships such as boss to staff, woman to man, woman to woman, and teamwork, Rosemary guides women to develop healthy interactions in their workplaces. It makes sense to invest some effort into the relationships where we spend the lion’s share of our waking hours. This book isn’t just for women, though. Men find the book gives them insight into how to make the best of their working relationships with the opposite sex in their offices.

Publisher: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City
ISBN-10: 0834125234
ISBN-13: 978-0834125230
Released: September 2010
Paperback: 192 pages
Retail: $14.99

Giveaway Grand Prize:
An autographed copy of A Woman and Her Workplace
Hard Cover Journal
40 piece stationary set
Handbag styled refillable note dispenser
Photo frame
Stainless steel travel mug
Mini stapler, pen, pencil and highlighter

For your chance to enter the giveaway, leave a comment about today's blog.

Book tour brought to you by Kathy Carlton Willis Communications.

God's Infinite Love

All too often in our relationship with God we place on him the same limits that bind us. We are finite beings, but he is infinite. And when we think of ourselves as finite beings it is often only in terms of our mortality—our body will not live forever. But finite extends to all areas of our being—physical, mental and emotional. There is a limit to our strength, our intelligence, and our emotions. Because God is infinite, there are no limits for him. There is no limit to his existence (no beginning, no end). There is no limit to his power (nothing is more powerful than God), his intelligence (he knows all) and no limit to love for us.

Expounding on God’s love, A.W. Tozer, in his book The Knowledge of the Holy, stated it this way: “…because God is self-existent, His love had no beginning; because He is eternal, His love can have no end; because He is infinite, it has no limit; because He is holy, it is the quintessence of all spotless purity; because He is immense, His love is an incomprehensibly vast, bottomless, shoreless sea.”

The Bible is filled with verses that describe his love toward us. Read them, trust them, live assured in them. Say “God loves me” out loud a hundred times a day if necessary to grasp deep down in your soul that God dearly loves you. He loves us because we are his creation. He us loves because he chooses to love us. His love cannot be earned, it simply is.

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39, NLT).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Spiritual Bench Press

Huff ‘n puff ‘n huff ‘n puff . No, it isn’t the big bad wolf at Piglet’s door. It’s me out on a walk making my way up the hill. My workouts these days are a cinch compared to the grueling physical exercise I had in Marine Corps boot camp, but without a drill instructor yelling in my face, it’s hard to motivate myself to get out there and do it. I just don’t like to exercise; however, I know if I don’t, my muscles will lose their strength and ability to do what God designed them to do. To build and keep muscle I must continually work my muscles.

Spiritual growth works the same way. If I expect faith to grow, then I must exercise my faith. But how? Thirty minutes on the elliptical machine will exercise my body, but not my spirit. What does a spiritual workout look like? For Jesus, it meant wielding the Word of God. Matthew 4:1-11 shows us. Jesus has fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and the devil came to tempt Him. Three times the devil tempted Jesus, and three times Jesus said “It is written” and quoted a verse from God’s Word.

When trouble comes, we need spiritual muscle for the battle. If we haven’t spent time exercising, our muscle may fail us. Take every opportunity to give your spiritual muscles a workout. Speak God’s Word every day. Memorize and mediate on the Scripture. When think you can’t bear another day at a job you hate, proclaim “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). If your child is sick, pray “Lord, heal my child for you heal all our diseases” (See Psalm 103:3). Do you wonder whether you can pay the bills this month, say with confidence “God shall provide all my needs” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV).

No matter what we face, we can confidently declare what God’s Word has to say and “experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:7, NLT). Our weapons “are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. … and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV).

The opportunity to exercise our spiritual muscles comes every time a negative thought or circumstance knocks at the door. We have two choices: to trust God and use the Word to grow our faith; or to let the negative thoughts and feelings take control. I’m going to trust God; I hope you will too. In the meantime, I’m going to exercise.

“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” (Psalm 57:7, NLT).

For a topical book of verses you can use to exercise your faith, read Joyce Meyer's The Secret Power of Speaking God's Word available on Amazon.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Are You Out of Focus?

The disciples worked feverishly to steady their boat as the fierce wind and heavy waves of the Sea of Galilee pitched them about. But their fear of the storm was nothing compared to the fear of the ghost they now saw. “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” Jesus called out to them walking on the water.

Peter, brash as always, yelled out, "Lord, if that’s really you, tell me to come to You."

"Yes, come," Christ answered.

Peter thrust his legs over the side of the boat and lowered his body to the water. His eyes fixed on Christ, he strode forward with confidence. This is amazing, Peter thought. But when he looked at the storm whipping around him, he became terrified and began to sink.

You may say "Peter, why did you take your eyes off Christ? It was your faith in Him that kept you afloat." But how often do we take our eyes off Christ when the storm is raging around us? Our troubles are easy to see—layoffs, terrorism, stress at work, the daily responsibilities of marriage and kids. Fear fills us if we focus on the wind and the waves. But if we focus on Christ and his promises we find peace in the midst of the storm.

Where are your thoughts focused? Be conscious of what you are thinking! That’s where the battle begins. Spend time each day to bring your thoughts back into focus. 
  • Start or end your day with a devotional reading
  • Meditate on a Bible verse
  • Read your affirmations
  • If you need immediate help, take 30 seconds, take a deep cleansing breath, and tell yourself “God is with me. I can do all things because Christ is here to help me.”
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

 

Justice or Forgiveness?

“What do you want from me?” my estranged husband yelled. It was yet another of our many arguments. My daughter was in a psychiatric hospital for treatment due to his sexual abuse. He had broken my heart beyond repair. I marveled that he could even ask such a question.

I told him, “I want you to hurt as much as I do.”

Understandably, when someone hurts us, we hold that person accountable for his or her actions. He/she wounded us and now he/she must pay the price and suffer the consequences. We want justice served. In reality, we want him/her to hurt too! There was a time when I wanted my now-ex husband to hurt as much, if not more, as I was hurting, but rather than demand justice, I chose to forgive him instead.

All too often, forgiveness is mistakenly understood to be approval of the wrong, or denying that the wrong even occurred. The cliché “forgive and forget” trips us up too. God forgives and forgets, but he only commands us to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15). Simply stated, forgiveness is giving up our right to exact justice and trusting God to make things right.

Be encouraged, our forgiveness and healing is accomplished through God’s power, rather than from our willpower. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV). Go to God in prayer and ask for his help to forgive those who have wounded you, and to bring healing, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Forgiveness is a choice. We can forgive and find healing, or demand justice and grow bitter. Which choice will you make?

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV).

For two articles of forgiveness read “The Gift” and “Splinters” at GloryandStrength.com

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010


Victim or Victor?

Like the drop of a guillotine blade, my husband’s crime of sexual abuse severed my daughter’s innocence, my dreams of a happy family and our marriage. It took me several years before I finally admitted to myself what my husband’s crime had cost us all. I also felt no one else realized the toll either. My own selfishness demanded I receive sympathy. After all, I was the one left to clean up the mess; I was a victim too. That was wrong thinking, but it was how I felt. I was hanging on to a victim mentality.

The victim mentality is pervasive in today’s society. We want to find someone or something to blame for every little thing that goes wrong in our lives. The victim mentality robs you of complete healing because it releases you from your responsibilities to make things better again. As long as you remain a victim, there will always be someone else to blame for your failure to heal. As long as you remain a victim, there will always be a part of you living in the past, feeling wounded and depressed.

Take Action:
  • Choose to be a victor
  • Make a written list of your losses and allow yourself to grieve them. When you’re ready, rip up the list and throw it away. As you do, say out loud “This is past, I am free of it and I am healed.”
  • Put an end to pity parties
  • Forgive the person who hurt you
  • Create affirmations and read them out loud daily. For example: I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me (Romans 8:37). I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I am getting better and better every day.
  • Seek professional help if needed
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

 

Belly Breathing

Do you breathe from your chest or your belly? How we breathe can affect our well-being. Ninety-three percent of our energy is produced in the presence of oxygen. To determine how you breathe, place your hand over your belly button (sitting, standing or lying down). Now breathe like you normally do. Does your hand go up and down with your breath? If not, you are breathing from your chest.

Shallow breathing robs the body of vital oxygen and can actually trigger stress and anxiety reactions. Your body cannot enter a stress mode if you are breathing with your diaphragm. Shallow breathing takes place in your upper chest. Deep breathing takes place from your belly, fully using the diaphragm muscle and filling the lungs more fully. Breathing from the belly is the natural way to breathe. Chest breathing is learned.

I was a chest breather. I began to retrain my breathing simply by taking a few focused moments to concentrate on proper diaphragmatic breathing. The first time I practiced lying down in bed. I placed my hand over my belly so I could feel it move up and down with each breathe. I inhaled deeply and exhaled at the same rate. You must relax your stomach muscles to do this. After that, I practiced anywhere, anytime. Because I struggle with panic attacks, I saw immediate improvement in my state of mind, which was nearly always on stress mode.

There are numerous free resources on the Web, as well as resources you can purchase that will help you learn breathing exercises to improve your well-being. You can retrain yourself to breathe from the belly so it becomes the way you breathe all the time, even while you sleep. Go ahead, give it a try right now.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Finch or Serpent?

This morning was a first—a sharp-shinned hawk perched on a large, low branch of the locust bean tree that grows barely 15 feet from my patio. It was a cool cloudy morning, and the usual birds were conspicuously absent. Maybe they knew enough to stay away from this ruffian, but one tiny finch fluttered nearby. The hawk showed no apparent interest. Soon the finch came within a few inches of the hawk and in a strike as quick as lightening the hawk captured the poor bird in its claws.

I thought, How often am I like that innocent little finch, ignorant of the danger that lurks nearby, waiting and watching for me to draw close?

Sin is like that hawk. It looks beautiful and harmless, disinterested in us. We mistakenly think we can get close without becoming its prey. But before we realize it, sin has clutched us and we are captive.

Matthew 10:16 tells us “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We live in a world filled with sin. An attitude of “how close can I get without falling prey?” compromises a holy life. We must be wise enough to recognize sin and flee when temptation flies in and perches next to us.

So how do we gain that wisdom?

  • Ask for it. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (James 1:5, NLT). 
  • Read the Bible. 
  • Study the Bible. 
  • Attend church and learn from the pastor. 
  • Read other books about God by Christian authors.

The choice is ours to make. Will we flutter around the hawk or be wise as serpents?

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13, NLT).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Finding Assistance

Do you find yourself in a financial struggle for the first time in your life? Maybe someone you know has asked where they can go for help. Do you have an answer? If you have never had a need for this type of assistance, you may find yourself wondering how to find it.A Google search on the keywords “assistance agencies” or “assistance programs” along with your state will offer a cornucopia of results (e.g. assistance programs Missouri).

Here are several sites I recommend utilizing in your search:
GovBenefits.gov (http://www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits_en.portal). GovBenefits is the official benefits Website of the U.S. government and offers information on more than 1000 benefit and assistance programs. You can search by state, or start with their confidential questionnaire for the most comprehensive search of assistance programs.
Community Action Partnership. Find a community action agency in your state via this link: http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/index.php?option=com_spreadsheets&view=search&spreadsheet=cap&Itemid=188
Catholic Charities. Find a local agency here: http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=292
Here is another Website that offers a state-specific search for assistance programs: http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/index.html

Many local churches also offer help. If you attend church, ask the church secretary if assistance is available. If not, ask if they have a list of local community agencies that can help. If you do not attend church, I encourage you to call one of the bigger churches in town and ask those same questions. Reaching out to those in need is what churches do! 

Don’t lose hope. Help is out there. Just ask.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Battling Temptation

How long did Peter weep that fateful night in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago? He had denied Christ three times just hours after he had vowed to die with him if necessary. His pride blinded him to his weakness. Peter was self-confident, and when the crucial moment arrived, he didn’t have the strength within him to follow through on his promise. Do you have the strength needed to follow through on your promises?

I like to think that there are certain things I would never do—murder, steal, have an affair. But I realize under certain circumstances I might do any of those things. Like Peter, within myself I am weak.

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:12, 13, NLT). This is good news indeed! When a temptation challenges me, I can call out to God and access his strength to help me resist. Let our strength be in God-confidence rather than self-confidence.

  • “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13, NLT)
  • “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, NIV)
  • “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NKJV)
Oh, the wonders of God’s power and his promises.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010.

 

Love Unfathomable

Peter wept bitterly as he thought back through the events of the night.

“Peter, this very night before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times,” Jesus said as he and the other disciples trekked to the Mount of Olives.

“Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” Peter declared. Yet a few hours later he had done exactly that as he stood in the high priest’s courtyard. “Woman, I don’t even know the man!” He heard the rooster crow and his gaze met Christ’s. Shocked, he staggered back from the fire and ran. Now, Peter was left to ponder how Jesus could still look at him with such love even though he had denied him three times.

Christ knew Peter was going to fail him, yet he kept on loving him. He doesn’t tell Peter “Get out of here. You’re no longer my disciple.” Instead he said, “Watch and pray with me.”

Christ knew us all before the beginning of time. He knew our strengths and weaknesses, our successes and our failures. He knew the sinful creatures we would be, and still he chose to die for us. Why? Because he loves us that much. For some that’s hard to grasp. We have had such terrible things done to us that no one could possibly love us. But Christ does! Believe it, and embrace his love for you today.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010. For the full scoop on Peter’s denial read Luke 22:31-62.

Share With Us

Are you learning to recognize God’s blessings in your life? Please share with us throughout this week, how God blesses you in little and big ways.

Humor in the Hard Times

It was his sense of humor that drew me to my husband. Today, it is his sense of humor that keeps him alive. He suffered a debilitating stroke over eleven years ago.

Before the end of the first week a couple of doctors stood at the foot of his bed, studying his chart. My husband looked my direction and said, "Hey, look, a pair o' docs!"

Shortly after the stroke, he had a scan of his brain. Technologists who evaluated the scan said, "By all rights this man should not be alive. The right side of his brain is basically non-existent."

My husband heard me tell that story over the years and he often thanked God that he had at least half a brain. "That was better than no brain at all."

But, recently, he started worrying. "Do I still have a brain?" he asked, relieved that I could answer in the affirmative.

The real paradox is that we can find humor in the troubling situations we face. Remember, the only difference between a smile and a frown is the way it is turned.

Marilyn Scholz © 2010. Marilyn and her husband have been married thirty-five years. They have four grown children and a growing number of grandchildren. Finding joy through trials seems to be a way of life for them.

Dollar Sense

Escaping the hamster wheel can be difficult, especially if you are working two jobs simply to pay the bills. As a single parent, I understand the frustration and stress of trying to survive—working day in, day out to pay the rent, buy food, and pay the utility bill and often falling short. Who can dream about a better future, when today is such a daily struggle?

I want to encourage you. You can have a better life. Take the first step: review these Websites and read the articles that are pertinent to your situation. These Websites offer many free tools and information to get you on the right track.

Crown Financial Ministries http://www.crown.org/default.aspx
Community Action Partnership http://www.managingmymoney.com/

Next week we’ll discuss local community organizations that can help.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Am I Salty?

 “Salt is good. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other” (Mark 9:49, NLT).

What are the qualities of salt? I asked myself when I read this verse this morning. Two that immediately came to mind were that it enhances flavor and it preserves. If I apply those qualities to my life, then my words and actions should enhance the lives of others—make their lives better no matter how small. Maybe my salt is to:

·         Bring cookies to a new neighbor
·         Visit a sick friend
·         Write a letter of encouragement to a struggling friend
·         Let someone go ahead in line at the grocery store
·         Donate clothes to the homeless
·         Give time or money to the local food bank

What do others see when they examine my life, listen to my words, watch my actions toward others? Have the demands of life clogged my shaker? Has my salt lost its flavor? Or does my salt flow freely enough that others think “What does she have that makes her so different? I want that too.”

Unlike table salt, if I’ve lost my flavor, I can regain it by turning to God and asking for his help. He’s in the full-time business of restoring flavor to life. (If you’ve never met God, post a comment and let me know. I’d be glad to introduce you!)

Are you flavorless or flavorful? Spend some time with God today, and then go shake some salt.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Summer Delight

When the sun is blasting away like a welding torch and the humidity makes every inch of your body wet, I say it’s time to tingle your taste buds and refresh yourself with this easy-to-make family pleaser. This dessert is simple and quick to make and will be a sure winner on a sweltering summer day. It’s pretty tasty even in the middle of winter!

Ice Cream Jell-O® Pie
One pre-made pie crust (graham cracker and cookie crumb crusts also work)
1 3 oz. box of Jell-O, any flavor (DO NOT USE sugar-free)
2-4 cups softened vanilla ice cream (depending on size of pie crust)

Bake pie crust per directions and allow to cool. Dissolve gelatin in large bowl with one cup boiling water. Place briefly in refrigerator to cool. Do not allow gelatin to harden. Soften 2-4 cups ice cream while gelatin cools (5-10 minutes only). Remove gelatin from fridge (it may still be steaming). Add ice cream, blend well and pour into baked pie crust. Place in refrigerator to set. Will have the consistency of a cream pie.

I was first introduced to this recipe back in 1982 and it’s been a family favorite ever since. Our two favorite flavors are black cherry and lime. It’s easy to fix and isn’t filling or heavy like fruit pies can be. If you don’t want to deal with a pie crust, you can make the filling and allow it to set in dessert cups or the bowl you mix it in. No matter what you decide, it’s a relaxing summer treat.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Possible Impossibilities

“[M]essengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, ‘Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.’ But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just have faith’” (Mark 5:35-36, NLT).

I love what Jesus does in this situation. Jairus has asked Jesus to come heal his daughter who is very sick. Before they arrive at Jairus’ house, messengers come to tell him his daughter is dead. In the face of this impossibility, Jesus calmly says “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” The Message translation puts it this way: "Don't listen to them; just trust me."

Terrorism, the Gulf oil spill, a teetering economy, unemployment, sickness. Myriad concerns assault us daily. Everywhere we look there is danger and doubt about our well-being. For an all-powerful God, all things are possible. When you’re facing an impossibility, act on Jesus’ advice. Take your focus off the trouble and clamor of the world, and trust Jesus to bring you through.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Great Now or Great Later

Which would you prefer, to famous on earth or in heaven? That’s a question I faced this morning while I was reading Matthew 19:30. “But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then” (Jesus speaking in reference to heaven, NLT).

People can be so fickle in their opinions. Tiger Woods is a perfect example. His fans turned on him as quickly as lightening strikes. Dreams of fame and fortune appear radiant to the naked eye, but when I focus the light of eternity on them, they become lackluster. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He valued me just as much yesterday; as he does today, and will tomorrow. I’d rather be great in God’s kingdom where I know his love and value for me is always the same and lasts for eternity.

How about you? Are you focused on now or eternity? 

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Perseverance

“She’s a tough old bird.” That’s how my dad often described my mom. He was right. At the age of 81, she had a complete mastectomy of her right breast. Six months later, competing against women as young as 35, she won the Ladies Nine-Hole Championship of Eaton Country Club, in Colorado. I would do well to take a lesson from her—in life, not golf—for she is a woman of quiet perseverance and indomitable spirit. This year has seen the loss of Dad. She draws on her faith in God one day at a time as she walks through her grief.

All too often I let difficult circumstances trip me up. I want things to be easy and expect them to be because I’m in God’s will. But that’s flawed thinking. Was God’s mission for Moses easy? Or for any of the prophets? Was it easy for Jesus? Being in the middle of God’s will doesn’t guarantee Easy Street. What blessings have I missed because I gave up rather than persisted?

“…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV). Perseverance is an important part of our growth. And while troubles aren’t fun, God uses them to help us grow (1 Peter 1:6-7). The blessing is that God is with us through our troubles, and his strength to keep battling is readily available to us. Ask and it shall be given. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT). Focus on God, not the battle and you will persevere.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010  Oil Painting by Dorothy Butterfield

Grounded in Truth

An amazing thing happens when you keep God in the right perspective—you begin to see everything else in the light of God’s sovereignty and power. This morning as I read Matthew 3-4, Satan’s impotence jumped out at me.

Matthew chapter 4 tells us that Jesus has been in the desert fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. What might be the state of his physical, mental, and emotional well-being? Enter Satan, stage left, to tempt Jesus.

Satan knows who Christ is; he once worshipped him. “What?” you say. “When did Satan ever worship Christ?” Satan is a created being, an angel of God who became filled with pride because of his beauty and subsequently was cast out of heaven to earth (see Ezekiel 28:11-19, Revelation 12:7-10). Satan is also the father of lies (see John 8:44). He uses this tactic against Christ by attempting to make Christ doubt who he is (dearly loved son of God). “If you are the son of God…” Satan says and continues the attack at what he believes is Christ’s weakest point, his hunger. “Command these stones to become bread.” Jesus rebukes Satan with Scripture, “It is written…”

Three times Satan tempts Christ, and three times Christ rebukes him with the truth of God’s word.

Satan is neither omniscient (all knowing) nor omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time). Only God is. That means Satan does not know our every thought and action every moment of the day. He can attempt to deceive us and make us question our position in Christ. He can be successful if we are not grounded in the truth of God’s word. Study and know the Bible, then use the same strategy as Christ, “It is written.”

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Build a Foundation

For as long as I can remember, I have believed in God and that Jesus died to save me. But it wasn’t until I was 24 that I was born again (see John 3) and made God the Lord of my life. In the years that have followed, trusting God has been a consistent issue.  From crisis to crisis, I have waffled from trust to mistrust like a tennis ball during the Wimbledon Championship. But I want to stand firm!

Trust is foundational to any relationship. Many of my posts since I began this blog have spoken about God’s trustworthiness. Until last week, I didn’t understand the basis of that trust—God does not change.  If God was a God who changes, how could we trust him or believe he would keep any of his promises?

God gives us a foundation for our faith in him by making his character known throughout the Bible. One of the foundational stones is God’s immutability. “For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6, New King James Version). Oh, to fully grasp the fact that God cannot change is to end the waffling, no more to be batted to and fro, no more to doubt. To be changeable would be to make him less than the almighty God that he is.

Why did it take me so long to come to this realization? For many reasons, but primarily because I have never attempted to know God as deeply as I have sought to know him this year. I read his Word, but didn’t think about what it was saying beyond the surface. I could have asked “What does this passage say about God?”, but never did.

Seek God with all your heart and you will find him. 

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010
Recommended reading: The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

Paradigm Shift

I made the most startling discovery yesterday during my quiet time with God. My relationship with him had become like that of tugging a bulldog on a leash that refused to follow. Worse yet, I was doing everything to coax him along including offering the ultimate treat “God, your Word says…” What happened? How had I come to this? After all, I was focused on doing his will. How could that be wrong? But his will wasn’t the issue—my focus was.

I was focused on following a plan, rather than following God. Essentially I was saying, “God, here’s the plan I think you have for my life. Now I want you to come along and make it happen.” Ouch! I had pushed God off the throne and ascended it myself. This prideful attitude didn’t happen overnight, but I’m so grateful that I laid it aside in an instant once God opened my eyes.

What a pleasure to let go of that tenacious bulldog. The average bulldog weighs around 55 lbs., but for me it was like removing a 1000 lb. stone from around my neck. Paul told the Philippians “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” This is a paradigm shift in my thinking that makes me want to shout “Hallelujah!” With my focus on following (and getting to know better) an almighty and loving God, I can follow with joy and be confident in his plan for my life.

How about you? Where is your focus? Are you trying to drag God along on your journey, or have you left him out altogether? An intimate relationship with God is the journey.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Believe His Promises

I had a conversation recently with a friend who endured 18 years of an abusive marriage. It breaks my heart to hear such stories and it hurts even more when I hear the words “My husband was a preacher.”

Even if unconsciously, believers and unbelievers expect Christians to behave differently. Here’s what Jesus had to say about such people, “Hypocrites! … Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27, 28, NLT). They appear Christian, but their heart is hardened against God.

A relationship with God doesn’t make us perfect. But we have the light of Christ within us and this light “produces only what is good and right and true” (Ephesians 4:9, NLT). God offers us free and ready access to his strength and power to avoid and resist the pull of sin. Second Peter 1:3 says “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness…” How? “…through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

The Word is rich in promises and God is a promise keeper (Hebrews 10:23b, NLT). Believe and ask for his help.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

What’s Holding You Back?

We all have our difficulties. For me, it has been a constant battle to trust God. I’ve spent considerable time in self-examination to learn why.

For me, to fail is to be rejected. I don’t know why I believe that, and right now knowing why isn’t important. Recognizing that fact about myself will help me overcome it. Here’s how it has affected my relationship with God. I’m afraid to fully trust God because I expect tests and trials (that’s a posting for another day) and I’m afraid to fail the test. To fail the test is to be rejected. I cannot bear the thought of being rejected by God.

God in his wisdom knows this about me and provided his answer.

“What peace it brings to the Christian’s heart to realize that our Heavenly Father never differs from Himself. In coming to Him at any time we need not wonder whether we shall find Him in a receptive mood. He is always receptive to misery and need, as well as to love and faith. He does not keep office hours nor set aside periods when He will see no one. Neither does He change His mind about anything. Today, this moment, He feels toward His creatures, toward babies, toward the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as he did when He sent His only begotten So into the world to die for mankind” (from The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer).

He loves me now and he will love me still when I fail. Even if I were to reject him, he will never stop loving me. He feels the same way about you. What’s holding you back from reaching out to God?

“For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6, NKJV).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Get to Know God

As a parent, you want your child to know you, right? Do you make it complicated for her to do that? Of course not. She comes to know you by spending time with you. We get to know our friends by spending time with them. To know who God is, we must spend time with him.

God is a God of mystery, but he is not mysterious. He wants us to know him. He wants to have a relationship with us. So how do we make that happen?

  • Read the Bible—there are a number of translations to choose from that are much more understandable than the King James. Study Christ and you will learn who God is. Start with the New Testament.
  • Spend time quietly listening for his voice
  • Read other books about God—one I’ve been reading is The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8, NKJV).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Let Go and Grab

Have you been wounded by someone or some thing? Do you identify yourself as a victim? For example, do you tell yourself “I am a victim of ______”? Oh, you probably don’t say that out loud to anyone, but you might be constantly thinking it. We can all fill in the blank with something because we live in a fallen world and bad things happen. My question to you is this: Does thinking of yourself as a victim empower you to improve your life or leave you feeling discouraged and defeated? How do you want to feel?

To be empowered we must focus our thoughts on positives rather than negatives. So let go of the “I am a victim” thinking and grab God’s truth “I am more than a conqueror through Him (Jesus) who loved me” (Romans 8:37, NIV). The New Living Translation states it this way, “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”

My Feb. 3 post titled “I Think I Can, I Think I Can” spoke about growing our faith through affirmations. Affirmations can also be used to pull us out of negative thought patterns. To learn more about read “Improve Your Life through Effective Affirmations,” by Laurie A. Gray. http://debralbutterfield.com/ezine/archive/Mar-Apr09/index_files/Affirmations.htm

A final word, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:6-8, NLT).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

A New Normal

It’s been nearly a month since I last posted. I’ve missed those little slices of conversations with you. Life has a way of steamrolling over us and flattening any plans we’ve made for ourselves. Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us “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.” I’m so glad that He has shown me the way each and every moment of the day since that heartrending day of my dad’s fatal stroke.


Life is returning to normal—a new normal, yes, but normal. When life is caving in, grasp God’s promise that he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6) and keep a tight grip. He loves you; he’s watching over you, and he’ll work it all out (Romans 8:28).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010 Photo by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010
Protect yourself from rapists. Read the May-June 2010 issue of Glory and Strength today at http://ping.fm/qVG3L
Spring in northwest Missouri is amazing. It’s as though God grabbed a rainbow and splashed it across the ground. Hues of green, pink, cream, purple, red and yellow bring me such delight. After the dreary brown and gray of winter, the newness of spring is thrilling.

God promises us that same newness when we accept Christ as our savior. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Would you like to have new life? Turn away from your sin and to God, and ask Jesus to be your savior (Romans 10:9). “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires,” (2 Peter 1:3-4, NLT).

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010 Photo by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010

Instant Grief

Do you remember hand writing letters and waiting and wondering when your friend might write you back? I do. I had a pen pal overseas and his letters were months apart. Today, we communicate with friends around the world instantly. Microwave ovens prepare a meal in mere minutes when the same dish would have taken over an hour in a traditional oven. Credit cards allow us to buy what we want now, rather than waiting until we have saved enough cash.

The instantaneousness of today’s culture has invaded American lifestyle in such a way that we want instant everything. When I’m in pain, I want it to be over now! Pain, be it emotional or physical, is miserable. But grieving the loss of a loved one, or a failed marriage, or even simply an empty nest, is a process that takes time. While you might want to rush it, allow grief to takes it time so you can fully heal.

The giant redwood trees of California are the result of over a thousand years of growth. While many may disagree whether it took millions of years or thousands, the Grand Canyon is ancient. Much of the life around us takes many years to grow to maturity. So why should we expect to experience life so instantly?
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010 Photo by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010

Why, God?

When tragedy strikes, our first reaction is often to ask why. Sometimes we get an answer, sometimes we don’t. I think God is okay with us asking the question, but he doesn’t want us to get stuck there. Getting stuck opens the door to bitterness. Bitterness is like a pernicious weed that invades our lives surreptitiously, wraps its tentacles around our spirit and chokes our faith. Beware!

Difficult times are opportunities to grow—personally, relationally, spiritually. Perhaps the best question to ask God is not why, but “What do you want me to learn?”
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Posts will continue Mar 22

My sincere apologies to my readers. Due to a family crisis I have not posted for several days. I'll begin posting again on Mar. 22.

Thank you for your patience.
Debra L. Butterfield
Do you know the many names of God? Read today's blog at http://ping.fm/Taqyl

Names of God

To our finite mind, God works in mysterious ways. However, God is not mysterious. He reveals himself in many ways in the Bible. These names of God communicate aspects of God’s character and his work in our lives.

Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah will provide. Abraham gave this name to the place where God provided a ram for sacrifice instead of Abraham’s son Isaac. Genesis 22:14
Jehovah-Nissi, Jehovah is my banner. Moses named an altar this as a memorial after Israel’s victory over the Amalekites. Exodus 17:15
Jehovah-Shalom, Jehovah is peace. Gideon dubbed an altar this name to commemorate what God had spoken to him, “Peace be unto thee” (Judges 6:24).
Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah is there. The name of the heavenly Jerusalem. Ezekiel 48:35
Jehovah-Tsidkenu, Jehovah is our righteousness. Symbolic name given to the king who is to rule over the restored Israel. Jeremiah 23:6, 33:16
Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, Jehovah who sanctifies. Exodus 31:13
Jehovah-Rophe, Jehovah heals. Exodus 15:26, Psalm 103:2-3, Psalm 147:3
Jehovah-Rohi, Jehovah my shepherd. Psalm 23:1, Ezekiel 34:11, John 10:11

All we need, God is, and God is all we need.
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010
When you suffer abuse at the hands of your spouse, is divorce the first action? Read "Should I Divorce?" at www.gloryandstrength.blogspot.com

Should I Divorce?

When your spouse has wounded you through abuse of any form, divorce seems the obvious answer. You may feel your home has been destroyed by this abuse, but God can restore all things. I wrestled with the option of divorce for two years. I prayed and sought God’s guidance before I came to a final decision.

Do your best to avoid making a decision about divorce while you are still in the heat of your anger or depths of your hurt. Wait until you can think it through rationally, unaffected by emotion. A separation is sensible for your and your children’s protection. During your time of separation allow God to be your husband. “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name” (Isaiah 54:5, NKJV). Give yourself time to heal before adding the difficulties of divorce into the mix.

Think it through:
• Has your spouse truly repented of the abuse?
• Is your spouse getting therapy?
• If your spouse has sexually abused your child, is he or she willing to do whatever is necessary to help your child heal?
• Is your spouse willing to do everything needed to restore the marriage and the family?

When you are past your anger:
• Make a list of the positive and negative aspects of your marital relationship. Be honest with yourself. Seeing the positive and negative side by side, along with the answers to the above questions, will help you make a more informed, calm decision about divorce.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010 Drawing by Dot Charest © 2009

Relax!

In my opinion, American culture is in constant stress mode. We pack too much into our day, everyday, and according to the latest research, don’t get enough sleep each night. Sleep is designed to help the body and brain rejuvenate. The proper amount of sleep each night is your #1 weapon against stress. Secondly, utilizing relaxation techniques on a regular basis can help you de-stress. Here are a few of the benefits of relaxation that MayoClinic.com reports:

 Improves concentration
 Reduces anger and frustration
 Boosts confidence to handle problems

You may feel finding time for one more thing is too much, but it needn’t be. I’m not suggesting a 30-minute period of time. Even five minutes of relaxing will help and you can do it when you lie down to sleep for the night. You can even learn to relax on your drive home from work each day. To find out just how simple it all is, read this article on relaxation techniques from MayoClinic.com.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010. Photo by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010

Seek Prayer Warriors

“And Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.’ So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” (Exodus 17:9-13, NKJV).

When you are dealing with circumstances such as abuse, death of a loved one, addictions, etc., you need prayer warriors who can encourage you, provide an objective point of view, and support you in prayer. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19, NKJV). I am so glad I had two such women when I faced my husband’s sexual abuse of my daughter. They were a fountain of godly advice and I drew strength from their confidence in God.

• Seek out at least two friends (of your gender) who are strong Christians knowledgeable in the Bible and ask if they would be willing to pray for you on a daily basis. If you don’t know anyone like this, ask your pastor for some help. If you are not attending a church, I urge to find one. Your church provides more than Sunday sermons. You’ll find new friends who can encourage you, prayer with you and share their experiences as you grow in your walk with Christ.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010 Photo by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010

Apply Scripture to You

I was listening to the radio as I drove to church yesterday and had what I like to call chocolate-covered cherry moments—little moments of delight sent from God (see my post dtd 11/25/09). The DJ was announcing David Crowder’s song “Everything Glorious.” The chorus states, “You [God] make everything glorious.” To paraphrase the DJ, “God makes everything glorious, and he made you.” Wow, I’m glorious, and so are you!

How often do we stop to analyze what God says and truly apply it to our lives? Genesis 1:31 says, “God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!” (The Message). God made you, and you are so good, so very good. Embrace that, dwell on it, and plant it in the fertile soil of your heart that you may grow strong and confident in all that God says about you.
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010. Photo by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010

Bible Study Techniques

Bible study is essential to grow your faith. When you read the Bible, you are utilizing one method, and there are a number of reading plans to use. I have often found studying the Bible intimidating. I expect many people do. Learning something new always seems difficult at first, but it will get easier. Today there are many books available that teach how to study the Bible and additional tools like Bible dictionaries, commentaries and concordances to aid you. There are also many websites that offer study methods.

Here a few:
• Word study: researching one word and how it is used throughout the Bible
• Topical study: researching a specific subject such as obedience
• Inductive study: a thorough examination of biblical text by using logic induction and reasoning
• Biography study: studying a particular person from the Bible such as Elijah
• Chapter study: examining one chapter at a time
• Book study: studying one full book of the Bible at a time.

Be adventurous and try several methods!

For reading plans, visit http://70030.netministry.com/pages.asp?pageid=53493
For more information on inductive study, visit http://70030.netministry.com/pages.asp?pageid=53488
For study methods: http://www.eachnewday.com/HowToStudyTheBible/the_Bible_study_methods.htm
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Spontaneity

Daily routines are nice. They keep us steady and feeling secure. But sometimes spontaneity opens the door to the best part of our day. If a friend calls as says, “Let’s go for coffee” be open to the idea. If your child says, “Let’s play” stop and take the time to play. People are important to God. And you are important to your friends and family. The people in our lives are precious gifts from God.

I had a wonderful weekend with my daughter and grandson. I said, “Let’s play Wii bowling.” We bowled two games. Then we played over 10 games of tennis, then several games of baseball. We laughed and shouted and huffed and puffed. I’m sore today. My grandson probably isn’t, but he has a wonderful memory of playing with Grandma that he might not otherwise have had.

Be spontaneous!

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

The Dreaded To-Do List

I believe in to-do lists, but I do not use them everyday. I create lists to remember what I need to get done in a day/week/month. I am especially busy toward the end of the month. A daily list is necessary to ensure I meet my deadlines. Like being organized, list making is a tool designed to help you.

If you’ve never tried to-do lists, give it a shot. Experiment to find what works best for you. Be realistic about what you put on your list and remember to build in time for those unexpected interruptions that invariably happen. Whether you work outside the home or at home, a list can help you stay on track and on top of the busyness of your day. For more information, visit this site: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_05.htm

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

Confess Your Anger

“God, why did you let all this happen? You could have prevented it.”

Perhaps you’ve found yourself saying these very words. Maybe you’ve even wanted to add, “I’m so angry at you, God.” Guess what? Even if you want to say it and don’t, God knows how you feel. So you might as well say it. It took me several months before I was able to admit to myself that I was angry with God. Then I told him during my prayer time one day. In fact, I screamed it. But God is patient and loving; he listened to my ranting without condemning me. Once I released my anger, I instantly felt better. I spent more time in prayer and before I was done I was praising and thanking God for the refining work he was doing in my life. I resolved my anger and moved forward with healing.

Are you angry at God for past or present circumstances? Confess it to him. Don’t be afraid to express it the way you feel it. If you need to shout, then shout. But don’t stay angry. If at all possible, continue to prayer until you have resolved your anger toward God and can end your prayer with praise for God’s infinite wisdom and work in your life.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

God's Faithfulness

To be faithful is to be “true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc.” and “reliable, trusted or believed” (Webster’s Unabridged). Therefore, because God is faithful you can trust him to keep his promises and do what he says he will do. Do you doubt his faithfulness? Here is a verse you can memorize and on which you can meditate.

Lamentations 3:22-23
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” New Living Translation
“Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” New International Version
“God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!” The Message
“It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is your stability and faithfulness.” The Amplified Bible
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” New King James Version
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010 Photograph by M. Reed Butterfield © 2010. Used with permission.

Too Organized?

Is there such a thing as being too organized? Some may say yes. I am organized in ways others might say is obsessive-compulsive, but I am not a slave to my organization. I let my filing and laundry pile up and procrastinate as much as any other woman. There are areas of my life that I like to keep organized simply because it saves me time and keeps me from getting frustrated when I can’t find what I want.

To make finding your clothes easier each day, hang:
• Short sleeve shirts in one area by color
• Long sleeve shirts in one area by color
• Pants
• Skirts
• Dresses and suits together

In the kitchen:
• Keep all your baking items in one or two cupboards next to each other near the area you use to mix and fix
• Alphabetize your spices. Lack of space forces me to keep mine in a cupboard rather than a rack. I can only see the front row. Alphabetizing them allows me to know approximately where each item is, rather than searching through them all to find the allspice.

For movie and music lovers:
• Alphabetize your movies and CDs (I confess, I actually categorize my CDs then alphabetize)

For book lovers: (get creative!)
• Alphabetize by title or author
• Categorize by subject/type, such as DIY repair books, fiction, work related, etc. and shelve accordingly (dare you alphabetize too?)

Monk would love these rules (and no, I didn’t learn them from him). It’s not about being a slave to the method. It’s about staying off the hamster wheel.
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010

"I Think I Can. I Think I Can."

There is power in what we speak. Proverbs 18:21 tells us “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” In other words, what we speak brings life or death. I want my words to bring life to my spirit and life to those around me.

In the book The Little Engine That Could, the little engine has a mountain to climb in order to get his cargo to the city on the other side. He tells himself all the way up mountain, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” What is the little engine doing? He is speaking life to his goal. He is making an affirmation. According to my Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, to affirm is “to state or assert positively; maintain as true.” The engine accomplished his task because he affirmed he could. We can, in much the same manner, grow our faith through affirmations. Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

Since we are talking about growing our faith, we’ll want to base our affirmations on specific Bible verses. Sometimes the verse is already stated in an affirming way. For example, Philippians 4:8, NLT says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Sometimes we have to rework the verse to state it in an “I” manner. In John 15:15, Jesus says, “Now you are my friends.” To make an affirmation of that verse is to state, “I am Jesus’ friend;” or “I am a friend of God.”

The key to growing through affirmations is speaking them out loud on a regular basis. To learn more, read “Improve Your Life through Effective Affirmations,” by Laurie A. Gray.

Here is an affirmation prayer I created based on Ephesians 2:10, 3:16, 20, NLT. You might want to adopt as your own. “Father, I am your masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus so I can do the good things you planned for me long ago. From your glorious unlimited resources, I am empowered with inner strength through your Spirit to accomplish what you have planned for me. I give you glory, O God, for you are able through your mighty power at work within me, to accomplish infinitely more than I might ask or think.”
Debra L. Butterfield © 2010