Monthly Archives: April 2009

Breathing

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Hi!  I had been breathing a sigh of relief that all of my recent challenges were over and that I was “off the hook” for awhile. ha!  Not when we serve the God who created the heavens and breathed the breathe of life into Adam!  I was even feeling a little distant from God this past week. 

God knows I need to be challenged and only He knows what I am capable of, even when I don’t.   It is starting to get funny to me because just when I think I am DONE with one thing, He asks me to do another!    This time I said “YES” without hesitation.  The next day I asked myself if I really said that!  I decided that God said “YES” and I went along with Him!

Well, I was talking to a friend about the scripture I had been studying from Acts 17 and I realized that I had completely overlooked the section pertaining to idols.  I was focusing on Paul’s witness, scripture, perseverence, and God’s hand upon him as he did God’s work. 

An idol can be anything.  It doesn’t have to be carved into stone or sitting like a statue at the end of the driveway. In fact, it can be what’s IN the driveway, what’s on your back, on your feet, in your pockets, in your mind, on your computer and even your creativity.

I asked myself if my creativity was becoming an idol?  I know I never want it to be and I pray that it isn’t.  I have always been very private about my creativity until the past few years when I realized that God had given me this gift to glorify Him.  I pray that I am always focused on glorifying GOD and not myself, or anything else.  It is a struggle.  But thankfully for me, I serve a God who is an overcomer, a fighter, a lover, a friend, a teacher, and a forgiver.  I know that I have to release this creativity to Him everyday.  It is a learning process and everytime I do something new, I learn something else about myself and the Mighty God we serve! 

In doing the sheet drawing, I was freed by the chalk and the short life of the drawing itself.  It turned to dust!  I was also given the slightest bit of confidence that I could do it.  When I talked to the kids at FCA, God showed me how to practice and prepare for speaking to them.  I had a lot to say in a short time.  I want to help people “get God.”  To see God in what they are doing, where they are at, not where I am at.  In Acts 17 Paul goes to the synagogue to teach.  They don’t go to him, he meets them where they are.  Am I meeting people where they are or am I hiding behind the canvas of creativity? 

That’s a good question…

mulling it over,

Donna

Laminin

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Laminin-the "glue that holds us together!"

 

Laminin-the "glue that holds us together!"

Webster’s defines Laminin as: “glycoprotein that is a component of connective tissue basement membrane and that promotes cell adhesion.”  Isn’t it amazing that the stuff that holds us together is in the shape of a cross and that without it we would literally FALL APART?

Watch this video!

May your heart be touched and your life be changed,

Donna

What do YOU believe?

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Hi! 

 God never ceases to amaze me…I was so “filled” at Easter, with spiritual food, that when the next week came around I found myself mentally exhausted from all the “goings on” of Easter.  There was something going on nearly every night or day the week before Easter.  I also had to prepare myself for the drawings I did on Easter morning.  That took a lot out of me, but at the same time, I was filled to the brim with the unceasing love of God. 

I am so blessed to be loved and to be in love with our awesome Creator.

Our Pastor challenged us to share our story with someone this week, our testimony, why we love God, why we serve, why we can never do enough.  I began to think about  it today, especially after Miss California made a stand for her beliefs on marriage earlier in the week.   I began to compose my own “belief statement.”  I was at work while composing this in my brain.   Someone came into the office and asked me to type a document for them.  The document was all about how we are to share Jesus with others.  ( I work at a church…)  Just go do it.  Here is the scripture from Acts…it may help you with your own belief staement, as it has me. 

Then I began to think about what the Pastor said last night at bible study, that God loves us.  He just does.  He gave His Son to save us. We don’t understand it, but we know he did it.  How do we know? Well, the bible tells us so…remember that song?  My heart tells me so too.  It is just something that I KNOW.  I FEEL it with every ounce of my being and it is something that is made evident to us with every breath we take, every bird we hear, every sunset we see, every flower we smell, every dog we pet, every baby we hear laughing, every rain drop we feel and every snowflake we taste.  God reigns down His love on us every day! 

athens

Athens

Listen to what Paul says after leaving Thessalonia , he is speaking to the to the people of Athens in verse 16.  I posted the entire chapter for you to read, but am focusing on Athens in verse 16.  My notes are in blue.

Paul in Athens

Acts 17 (The Message)

Thessalonica
 1-3 They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. He opened up the texts so they understood what they’d been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that “this Jesus I’m introducing you to is that Messiah.”
 
PAUL GOES TO THEM…he met them where they were at.

 4-5Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.

Some were won, not all. 

FEAR, CHAOS, JEALOUSY, ANGER  arrive in full force.

 5-7They broke into Jason’s house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn’t find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, “These people are out to destroy the world, and now they’ve shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!”

 8-9The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.

Paul is kept safe.

Berea
 10-12That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul’s message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence.
 
Paul persevered and won many over.
FEAR, CHAOS, JEALOUSY, ANGER  arrive in full force again.

 13-15But it wasn’t long before reports got back to the Thessalonian hardline Jews that Paul was at it again, preaching the Word of God, this time in Berea. They lost no time responding, and created a mob scene there, too. With the help of his friends, Paul gave them the slip—caught a boat and put out to sea. Silas and Timothy stayed behind. The men who helped Paul escape got him as far as Athens and left him there. Paul sent word back with them to Silas and Timothy: “Come as quickly as you can!”

Paul is kept safe.

 

Athens
Athens
 16The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols.
 
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 17-18He discussed it with the Jews and other like-minded people at their meeting place. And every day he went out on the streets and talked with anyone who happened along. He got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations. Some of them dismissed him with sarcasm: “What an airhead!” But others, listening to him go on about Jesus and the resurrection, were intrigued: “That’s a new slant on the gods. Tell us more.”

Again, Paul meets them where they are at.  He persists in telling God’s story, some don’t believe and others crave MORE!

 19-21These people got together and asked him to make a public presentation over at the Areopagus, where things were a little quieter. They said, “This is a new one on us. We’ve never heard anything quite like it. Where did you come up with this anyway? Explain it so we can understand.” Downtown Athens was a great place for gossip. There were always people hanging around, natives and tourists alike, waiting for the latest tidbit on most anything.

They were telling him they didn’t understand it and they asked him to explain it so they could. So he did. 

 22-23So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with.

This is Paul’s belief statement!!!

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 24-29″The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?

 30-31″God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Wow! I love the way Paul lays it on the line!  A radical life change…People still wanted to hear more…they couldn’t get enough!

 32-34At the phrase “raising him from the dead,” the listeners split: Some laughed at him and walked off making jokes; others said, “Let’s do this again. We want to hear more.” But that was it for the day, and Paul left. There were still others, it turned out, who were convinced then and there, and stuck with Paul—among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris.

May I ask you a question?

What is YOUR belief statement?

Have you heard God ask YOU to be radical and change your life to be in tune with His?

That is my prayer for each reader….

God loves you, each and everyone, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, he loves you!  We don’t understand that unconditional love very well and we don’t have to.  All we have to do is RUN TO HIM with open arms and JUMP…He’s waiting to catch you! 

Many blessings,

Donna

 

praise

 

 

 

Financial Peace University

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Hi!  This is a drawing I did of Dinwiddie Church, here in Carroll County, Virginia.  It was here that I fell in love with Jesus!  We had moved to Carroll County and didn’t know a soul.  We had several visits the first week.  One of them was from a church member at Dinwiddie.  She invited us to church there and we went that next Sunday.  At the time, they were between pastors and had an interim pastor.  Her name was Linda Blessing.  God spoke to my heart through Linda’s compassion and kindness for ALL people.  She showed me the true and unconditional love of Christ.  I felt like a door had opened that I didn’t even know was there.  God not only worked through Linda, but also through the people of Dinwiddie Church.  They were the most accepting, friendly and loving people I had ever met.  They welcomed us with arms open wide.  Dinwiddie is a beautifully built church made of stone.  To me, each stone represents a believer of Christ, all the same, yet each is different and unique.  Each stone holds up a different portion of the wall, or building, yet each one has the same purpose in being a building to worship God in.  Just like us, we each have a different purpose built into us by God, yet we are all the same in Christ.  It’s a beautiful thing!  I love this church and these people!  It is always open for visiting and there are only 4 others in Virginia like it.  It is an active church with many SS classes, bible studies, worship, missions, and outreach programs.  These folks love the Lord with all thier heart, mind, body and soul! 

We were called to First United Methodist Church  Hillsville 3 years ago and since then our lives have grown immensely.  I believe that God calls us to different places, at different times, for different reasons.  My husband was urged by God to step out and start teaching Financial Peace University at First United Methodist Church in Hillsville.  God has placed it upon his heart to help people get out of debt. 

We were one of those couples.  Up to our eyeballs in it.  Ugh.  Just thinking about it makes me queasy.  I was thinking this morning, as I was looking at the county stickers that we have to place on the windshield of our vehicles, at how just a few years ago, it was a strain to buy those stickers.  We have to have them ( or do we really?) and if we don’t, we get a ticket.  So, we are forced to buy these stickers that say, ” we paid our taxes.”  They don’t “say” that, but that’s what they are for.  They are just another tax for the county to collect.  Anyway, when you have 2 motorcycles and 2 vehicles to buy stickers for, that is $80 a pop!  Well, that used to be a strain when we had 2 car payments, credit card bills, and all sorts of other things going on.  Well, my husband started listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio.  He is a Christian guy who was in debt, went bankrupt, lost everything he had, and then developed a program to help people get out of debt.  He is now a speaker, teacher, trainer and living in freedom.  The more my husband listened to the show, the more we applied it to our own life. 

It worked!  It wasn’t easy and I was stubborn a lot.  BUT, in our perserverence, we became debt free (pay off everything but your mortgage)  in a few years time.  Today, we only owe on our mortgage and we are working on paying that off.  It has been an amazing adventure and we have found that without the debt, we really are FREE. 

So, when God placed us at FUMC Hillsville, we didn’t know what was going to happen.  We just followed Him.  In doing so, we found out that there had a been a guy there ( and he is still there) that had wanted someone to come to teach this program.  The guy lives down the road from us, and we don’t visit hardly at all due to strange schedules and such, so we had no idea that he was wanting someone to teach this class, but GOD DID!  We didn’t find that out for a whole year after we had been going there.  So, Cort, my husband, got the class rolling and the neighbor was in the first class.

Tonight, Dave Ramsey is hosting the very first TOWN HALL FOR HOPE live on streaming video.  Dave will be in Oklahoma and he will be speaking to us via the internet LIVE.  He will speak, then take questions from people at different locations via YOUTUBE, Facebook, Email, Twitter, etc..  It is a new concept!  I love it!  Anyway, he will be speaking to us about today’s economy, the recession, and your money.  Please plan to attend and be blessed by what he has to say.  It’s not about Dave, it’s about the TRUTH.  Come and find out.

April 23, 8 pm, Out of the Box, at 522 Main Street, Hillsville, Virginia,  FREE. Coffee and snacks provided.  There have been over 6000 churches ,across the USA, to sign up as HOST sites for this event.  You can watch on FoxBusiness  channel if you have cable.

We sincerely hope to see you there!  Your debt may feel like the end of the world, but it isn’t!  When you are IN it, you can’t see the way out, but there IS a way out!  James 1:5 says that if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God…to ask in faith, without doubting.   So ask God today to show you the way out of financial debt so you can be a better steward and glorify Him!

See you tonight!

Blessings, Donna

Shoeboxes in April!!!

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Hi!

This is for everyone at FUMC Hillsville…

I received this wonderful note from Fred today.  Fred lives in the city in Madagascar, where he goes to school and works to help his family.  His family lives in a very remote village about 100 miles away.  They are rice farmers.  We have had the privelege to be connected with them through the Shoebox ministry.  God has granted his favor on our families to be able to stay in contact through the internet and the shoeboxes.  The story continues to amaze me and it increases my desire to go to Madagascar on a mission trip.  Here is the note from Fred and the picture that he sent of the children with this year’s Shoeboxes.  Only God knows why he has us in this relationship with this family.  I stand in awe.  I love you so much, Lord and I love you my Madagascar kids!  Mama Donna

Hello!!!
How are you? I hope you and your family are well. Please say hi! to everyone for in your church for me. We are good and so is everyone, thanks God.

I’ had just back from my holiday in Ankarafantsika now. All of our children are well, also my family. They say that they have reseved a new show box last 2 months ago.  So they want to thanking everyone, they so glad for your humor
and the good hearted nature, they all say that God will you guys about all of the good things you have done for use.
So thank you very much.
Veloma Corryan and Emily specialy from Adricia Tity We love all of you much
Bay Best Wish Fred…

I can’t read all of the notes they are holding up, but one says that they miss Emily and that they rec’d her letter!  That is thier home behind them. 

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Bears are awake and well!

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bears

This morning I was in the bathroom and I thought I heard a slight knocking sound from outside.  When I went to the kitchen I noticed some garbage in the yard.  My first thought was ” Oh the bears are awake!”   I tiptoed to the garage and turned the lights on, it was around 6:15 am.  There was garbage all over the driveway and yard and one of the plastic garbage containers had been flattened.  I never did see a bear, but I know a bear’s mess when I see one!  We had many dealings with them last spring!  We did wake up one morning, last spring, to the sound of three bears tossing the cans around like toys, in our front yard.  It was kinda fun to watch, but scary too because they were 50 feet away from the house!   

( These are pictures of black bears from the internet)

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Check out this video from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/video/living-with-black-bears/   This is a very informative video with LIVE cubs and bears!

Black Bear Facts

 Of the three bear species (black, brown, and polar bears) in North America, only the black bear lives in Virginia. Shy and secretive, the sighting of a bear is a rare treat for most Virginians. However, bears are found throughout most of the Commonwealth, and encounters between bears and people are increasing. A basic understanding of bear biology and implementing a few preventative measures will go a long way to helping make all your encounters with bears positive.

  • In Virginia, most black bears live in the mountains and the Dismal Swamp, but they are frequently found in all counties except a few in the east.
  • Black bears are typically crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn), but can be active any time of day.
  • Female black bears have smaller home ranges (1 to 50 square miles) than males (10 to 300 square miles).
  • Black bears are generally solitary, except sows caring for cubs. Adult bears may be seen together during the summer breeding period and occasionally yearlings will remain together for a period of time.
  • Bears are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders, eating mostly plants in the spring, berries and insects in the summer, and nuts and berries in the fall. Bears have been observed capturing live animals, both wild and domestic. Carrion (dead animals) is often a part of a bear’s diet. Predation of livestock is not common, but is reported each year.
  • Bears may feed up to 20 hours per day, accumulating fat (energy) prior to winter denning. An adult male can gain over 100 pounds in a few weeks when acorn production is heavy.
  • Depending on the time of year, adult female black bears commonly weigh between 90 to 250 pounds. Males commonly weigh between 130 to 500 pounds. The largest known wild black bear was from North Carolina and weighed 880 pounds.
  • Depending on weather and food conditions, black bears enter their winter dens between October and January. Bears will not eat, drink, urinate or defecate while denning. Bears are easily aroused and may be active during warm winter days. They emerge from their dens from mid-March to early May.
  • In Virginia, most bears den in large, hollow trees. Other den types include fallen trees, rock cavities, brush piles in timber cut areas, open ground nests, and man-made structures (culvert pipe).
  • Female black bears mature as early as three years old. Breeding occurs from mid-June to mid-August, and cubs are born from early January to mid-February.
  • Female black bears usually breed every other year as cubs are raised by their mother for about 1� years. When the mother is ready to breed again, she will send her cubs to fend for themselves during the summer months when food is usually abundant. Always hungry, these yearling bears, particularly the males, will seek easy sources of food. The ability to access human related food sources can spell trouble for these bears.
  • First-year cub mortality rates are about 20%, primarily due to predation (foxes, coyotes, dogs, bobcats, other bears) or abandonment by their mother. Adult bears do not have natural predators except humans.
  • Bear habitat must include food, water, cover, denning sites and diverse habitat types. Although bears are thought to be a mature forest species, they often use a variety of habitat types, including old fields and clear cuts or other timber harvest areas.
  • Bears may live up to 30 years in the wild. The oldest documented wild bear in Virginia was 26 years of age when it was killed.

I hope this helps you with your own black bear experience!  As the video states, if you see a black bear, DON’T RUN!  Back away, slowly, don’t make eye contact, but still watch the bear as you slowly back away.  It is very rare for a black bear to attack a human.  Take down your bird feeders until spring passes!  They LOVE birdseed and hummingbird nectar!  Last year they ripped my birdfeeders to shreds!  So, I don’t have any out right now.  Sharon…the video said that a bear’s home range can be 50-300 miles!  So, I am SURE he is headed your way!  Be alert!

Happy bear watching! 

Donna

Biggest Loser

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I love to watch the Biggest Loser with my kids.  Last night Kristin got voted off.  We were sad to see her go.  She is such an inspiration to me and many others.  She has gone on to lose over 115  pounds and is now teaching and speaking to others about her journey.  You go girl!