Connection

Connection

Hey Girls!

 

“And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:17

 

Connection! What a great statement of truth here in Colossians! God is before all things, meaning He is not limited to time. And God is the One who is holding all things together. Super glue connection! Without His holding power our world would be a mess!

 

Connection! Everyone likes to be connected and stay connected in some way. There’s so many different ways to connect with people. We have email connection, voicemail connection, cell phone connection, IG and Facebook connection. And there is the good old fashioned, “Hey you!” face-to-face connection which is one of my favorite ways to connect with people. But the best way to remain connected, after centuries of trying to improve communication, continues to be prayer. In prayer, we sustain our connection with our Lord. When we pray for one another we are connected through prayer. As we pray for one another this month, may the Lord sustain and strengthen our connections with each other.

 

Connection! Looking for ways to better connect with the women at NSCF? We are hosting, “All the Kings Daughters” Tea & Luncheon on May 11th. It’s at Camp Homelani Pavilion and we would love for you to join us J Our luncheon begins at 11am and our program ends by 1pm. We also have a Spring Marketplace one hour before (10am-11am) and one hour after (1pm-2pm) our Tea event. We would be Tea-lighted to see you there! Please contact Karen at 808.780.9191  sup.karen@yahoo.com

 

Blessing to you, Karen

Our Home is With Jesus

Our Home is With Jesus


Dear Treasured Sisters-In-The-Lord:

 

“So we are always of good courage.

We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,

for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage,

 and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him”.  2Co.5: 6-9

 

While cooped up in the hospital for major surgery and desperately wanting to get home, my study took me to the above scripture where Paul uses the word HOME to remind the Corinthians that to be with Jesus and out of our earthly bodies is our ultimate goal.  What thoughts do the words home bring to your mind?  I think of cozy, warmth, family, love, and meals together, traditions, also some sorrow.  After listening to Paul I had to rethink home and how much does Jesus factor into my concept of my home.

 

How much does the presence of Jesus factor into Him being my home?  Is He my ultimate sense of security?  Is He my hope in trials?  Is He the One I can’t wait to thank?  Do I run to Him first in time of anxiety?  Does my earthly home take precedence over my Lord’s home for me?

 

John 14:1-4 tells me that He already has a home for me.  “In my Fathers house are many rooms”.  “Don’t let your hearts be troubled”.  Along with the room comes comfort from the Holy Spirit.  “Trust in God” & “I will come back and take you to be with me” - Jesus is still all about wanting a relationship with us!

 

After focusing on Jesus as my home, I can now rest in peace.  There is no better place to be.  Our HOME is with HIM.

 

 

May Jesus remind you where you dwell,

sharon

 

Prayer Changes Hearts

Prayer Changes Hearts

Hey Girls!

I’m so happy and blessed that you’re involved in this prayer ministry. Your prayers do make a difference in another’s life. I have recently seen how the power of prayer has changed my own personal life. And if I hadn’t been open to pray for the Lord to change my heart about going to India, and then surrender to what He had shown me - to go… THEN I would have missed one of the BESTest days of my life (is that even a word? I want you to know that day was better than the best J). It was the day that our India team got to giveaway 35-foot pedal sewing machines to 35 women. And on that same day, we saw the dedication of 2 water wells that had been drilled in 2 very poor villages in Bihar, India. We also had the privilege of meeting some of the people affected by these blessings, praying for them, and sending them off in the name of the Lord!

 

What a most excellent day that was for me! It was a wonderful day for these Indian people, too! It began with 35 women (who had graduated from tailoring school) receiving their very own sewing machine. This was a very special day. The day that their dreams came true! The day that their prayers were answered and Jehovah Jireh provided for their needs. Provision to make their own clothing and earn an income… plus spiritual needs were met, too! Many of these women raised their hand in response to the Gospel. PTL for that! Many of these women traveled more than 150 miles to get their machine. One woman even came with her newborn girl who was only 9 days old! There were 11 women who missed the afternoon giveaway because of so much traffic on the roads. Oh No! But TIM (transformation India Movement) was gracious and kind to put these women up over night, and care for their needs. These very excited women were given their sewing machine the next morning. What a joy to behold! They were full of faith, expectation and perseverance! You knew without a doubt that those sewing machines were going to make a huge difference in their lives. Thank you NSCF family for your donations!

 

Then we traveled to some nearby villages - 2 of them - where clean water wells had been drilled. To see the contrast between the murky, dirty, trash-filled water around the village and the clean pure water now available from the well was mind-boggling. By using the simple up and down motion with the hand pump, clean water was freely assessable! I could see on the faces of the people around me what relief it was to have clean water nearby! Many came out to use the well that day. Me + Patti got to hoist that jug of water on our heads along side these women. That was a Kodak moment of pure joy! I’m so thankful I got to experience this & ever more grateful I can turn on the faucet in my home to get the water I need. J

 

These water wells are another way to share the love of Jesus with an entire village of people. It was very moving to be here. It was humbling to be asked to pray at both wells for the people. God definitely enlarged my border by allowing me the privilege of going to India again. He is so faithful! He took me out of my personal space to show me He is working; He is moving to bring about His will in His world. His desire is that all men and women come to Him. And those of you who were moved to give in this area will reap the spiritual benefits from your selfless giving. Although you didn’t go, God used your giving. BTW, we will have many more opportunities to give for water wells + sewing machines this coming year in women’s ministry. Please be praying that God will continue to do above what we ask or can even think about asking Him…

 

And to think that I would have missed this huge opportunity in India, to be used by God had I not even asked Him and prayed about it. How many other opportunities have I missed simply because I failed to bring it before the Lord and pray about a matter? I have to admit, one of the main reasons I didn’t want to pray about going to India is I knew in my heart, if He wanted me to go, He could change my heart from saying ‘no’ to saying ‘yes’ to India. I didn’t want that to happen. I had my ‘own agenda’ and expectations about going to India because I have been there 3 other times before. It reminds me of the Mason jar visual I heard from Priscilla Shirer about her little boy trying to get something from the bottom of the Mason jar. He couldn’t get his hand out of the jar. His hand was balled up in a tight fist making it impossible to free his hand. All he needed to do was ‘let go’ of what was in his hand, and he could free his hand! So simple, yet he refused because of the treasure he was holding. In the same way, when I don’t ‘let go’ of my expectations, my agenda, my opinions, my ideas I’m not really free to receive anything from God. My hands are full! We can completely miss opportunities around us by simply refusing to lay down our own agendas. I’m glad that I did finally ‘let go’ of my wants with going to India. Hope my story encourages you to pray. ”The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

 

Blessings, Karen

God Walks With Me

God Walks With Me

Dear Sisters In The Lord,

 

Please take the time to read Isaiah 43.  

As we enter into the 2nd month of our New Year, I begin to re-evaluate where I’m heading, where have I put my emphasis and am I meeting my goals?  Oh we humans, we forget so quickly the promises and goals God has for us, and we focus on “it’s all about me”. That’s why reading Isaiah 43 reminds me of what God has for me. Where my focus should be, am I remembering His goals for me, where He wants me to grow, help, and step out in faith?

 “Do not fear, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name,

You are mine.” vs. 1

WOW!  God knows me so intimately.  He doesn’t have to look me up or read a blog or bio on me.  No Facebook or Instagram for Him.  I am His.  He saved me!  Hope by now you’re holding your Bible in your hands and reading along with me in Isaiah 43.  Look at verse 2.  He is assuring me He is always there.  Everything that happens to me goes through His hands.  He will be holding on to me through the times that overwhelm me and through the trials that may crush me.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” vs. 2

He holds me close because “He is the Lord my God, the Holy one of Israel, my Savior.” vs. 3

When I need a boost or reminder, I read vs. 4; I am precious in His sight, I am honored and He loves me.

Vs. 5 reminds me again not to fear for He is with me.  He tells me He will gather my offspring - what a promise for those with family members who wander away from Him.

 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.”

 Did you know, as you go down your list of goals, that God says He already has a big job for us?  

 “You are my witnesses, my servant” vs. 10

He wants to continually use us so we may know who He is, believe in Him, understand Him and bring glory to our God who was there before all things. So re-evaluate yourself.  Don’t get upset that your list of resolutions isn’t being fulfilled.  Read all of Isaiah 43 and bask in the knowledge that He already has a list for you to follow and hold close.  You just have to let go and let God.  Don’t look back to 2018. He has much more for us in 2019. Look around, listen and obey.  vs. 18-19.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” 

He has redeemed us,

sharon

 

 

Run To Win

Run To Win

Hey Girls! Happy New Year!

Here we are with another year behind us and a brand new year ahead. I’m still in the midst of trying to catch my breath from all the Christmas festivities! I feel like I’ve been running in the annual Christmas marathonJ and ready for a short-lived break. I remember when I was in high school, waaay back in 1968, and I signed up to be on the varsity track team. I was never one to run long distances but I actually loved running short sprints and… I could run really fast back then. There were hours and hours of practicing and more practicing. My friends (not on the track team) were all out playing and having fun while I was huffing and puffing running hard. I knew to be a winner and win my race, it would take a lot of effort to run, but it would take much more effort - and a lot of discipline and training - to run to finish and win the race. Even though it was a short sprint, I wanted to cross the finish line. What a thrill and adrenaline rush it was and I even won some ribbons, too!

The Christian life is likened to running a race. As believers in Christ you and I have been chosen by God to run and press toward the goal of the upward call in God. This race is NOT a sprint - - it’s a marathon. It’s the race of a lifetime. And like a marathon run, there are no time outs or intermissions. We are instructed to run our race with endurance, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. We can get so tripped up and distracted when we start looking around at each other and comparing ourselves to other runners in the race. Can I remind you that we’re not racing against each other? Let that truth sink in. We are racing against ourselves! The competition is the inward conflict between the flesh and the spirit at war within you + within me. My natural bent is toward sinfulness and laziness. And I know that yours is, too! 

Paul instructs us here in 1 Cor. 9:24 and exhorts us to run in such a way that we win! Winning is not beating other runners. Remember - no competition here. The Christian race is daily progress towards Christ-likeness. Our goal is to look more like Jesus day by day. Are you running in such a way as to win? Is your character more like Jesus today than you were yesterday? OUCH! If you asked my husband that question about me, I’m sure he’d say I need much improvement here J

Just because you’re in the race and running, doesn’t mean you’ll win. Winning your spiritual race doesn’t depend on how fast you run. Speed isn’t our friend; Endurance is! Our race is determined by the WAY we run. There is a way to run in order to lose and there is a way to run in order to win! I really like this translation from the Message Bible from 1 Cor. 9:24-27:

“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”

Let’s not be found napping in 2019. Remember the story of the Tortious and the Hare? The Hare, who was fast and so sure of himself, assumed he had plenty of time to win so he laid down to rest and take a nap. The turtle, on the other hand, was very slow but steady, and he won the race. If you’re anything like me after reading a devotion of this type I’m tempted to think to myself… ‘I’ve got to try harder this next year to be a better Christian. I can do this!’ Bottom-line you can’t! Not in your own strength and not without the power of the Holy Spirit within.

So how do I apply this to my life in 2019? How do I run in such a way that I finish & win this race I’m in? Like the athlete, it’s going to take discipline; I’m going to have to say NO to certain things (distractions, energy consumers), in order to provide time to say YES to the things that will help me grow (discipline, prayer, reading my Bible, worship, fellowship & sharing my faith). Let’s run to win empowered by the Holy Spirit.

BTW - Feb. 12th we will begin a new 10-week evening Bible study at my house called ‘God of Creation’ by Jen Wilkins. This is an excellent verse-by-verse study, diving into Genesis chapters 1-11. Revisit familiar stories and historical figures and challenge your basic knowledge by using the method: comprehension, interpretation and application. Hope you will join us.

Sign-ups coming soon…workbook needed is 15$.

God bless you, Karen

Live For Christ

Live For Christ

But Daniel made up his mind that he would NOT defile himself with the kings choice food or with the wine which he drank. Daniel 1:8

 

Dear Women Who Are Praying,

Perhaps you’re in a situation you’re not happy or content with.  If you’re a military wife, your spouse may be deployed during the holidays and now all your plans for a joyous occasion has changed.  Maybe it’s your marriage, it’s full of arguments and discord and you can’t see any resolution in sight.  Some of us may have major health issues, we’re weary and we want our old lifestyle back, but it’s not to be.  Perhaps you’re conflicted with what the world is enticing you with and what you know in your heart that God wants and requires of you.  I could go on with many scenarios but you get the picture.  How can I live according to God’s World?

Looking at Daniel 1, he too was thrown and confronted with a way of life that conflicted with what he knew God expected of him.  He was put in an environment that required him to make a choice.  He probably felt fear and discontent facing all sorts of uncertainties.  But he PURPOSED to follow all he knew of God.

We have to remember the world we live in is not our home.  But while we are here, we have to make a difference and show the world our devotion to God.  Show the world how HE wants us to respond to every situation.  It takes resolve, purposing in our hearts and minds not to choose the way of the world.  In Daniels time, he was surrounded with the same temptations we are faced with today.  Yet by his example, he shows us how to respond when we are faced and put in situations where we want to follow our flesh to take over.

God says in Matthew 7:14, the gate to His kingdom is narrow, but not impossible.  He tells us in Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is EASY and my burden is light”.  As you reflect on the gift of His birth, remember His way is not impossible and His yoke is easy and light. Will you choose joy, contentment, resolve and lean into Him for the strength.  I know I need to be reminded of this daily. Pray this for the gifts of the women at the bottom of this page.

What we are going through is nothing new than those experienced in the Bible. Maybe our clothes and hairstyles have changed; we have more conveniences.  We don’t have to bake our bread daily or skin the goat!  But the temptations, the trials, the disappointments are still the same. If you want to read about others who purposed in their heart when facing difficult situations check out: Joseph (Gen.39: 41); David (1Sam: 17); Esther (Esther 4); Peter & John (Acts 4:13-31) just a few.

My Christmas gift to you is to Live For Christ!  He never disappoints. 

Merry Christmas, Sharon

Soul Rest

Soul Rest

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~SOUL REST~

This is what the LORD says:

“Stop at the crossroads and look around.

Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.

Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls..."

Jeremiah 6:16

Hey Girls,

Crossroads! Decisions! Which way to go?

What's the first thing you do when faced with a driving challenge? Even though the gal in the above clip art is walking, it’s a great visual to see she’s faced with different pathways right in front of her. Wondering which pathway to take. What road is the best route? And if you’re anything like me, which one is the quickest way, too! Back in the olden days, I remember my Dad taking out his trusted map to seek out the best route. We were traveling from California to West Virginia. There were many different roadways to choose from. So he would take his big black highlighter, and mark out directly on the map, the road we were to follow. This way there was no confusion while we were driving. It always brought clarity and vision to his mind regarding our direction.

 I was never one to learn how to read a map, but I absolutely love my GPS! His British voice is calming to me and he’s usually easy to follow. When I type in the address of my destination, He generally tells me the best pathway to travel. Although sometimes I do miss a turn here or there and end up re-routing over and over again! But all in all, when I choose to follow the directions given by my GPS leading me, instead of freaking out and being in a panic… I can relax! Let my GPS take the lead. 

Life has its own daily challenges, decisions and crossroads. At times, we wonder which pathway is the one we’re suppose to travel down. The panic mode is in full gear when we fret and worry needlessly about making the right course of action. I’ve been down that roadway many times. Being anxious and tossing back and forth over decisions you need to make can leave you emotionally tired and rundown. Don’t be tempted to look for a new way to gain insight and wisdom. The olden way is still and will always be the best way. The Word of God is a light to your path and the Holy Spirit within is your personal, Divine GPS. And He never makes a mistake!

He has all the knowledge and wisdom you’ll ever need and also the power to bring about your circumstances together for good. God, our ultimate GPS, is always on target showing you and leading you externally with the lamp of His Word and internally with the Holy Spirit. Are you seeking direction and clarity in your life? Open-up God’s Word and pray. You can ask for wisdom from above. Maybe you don’t know what to pray for. I have been reminded in Hebrews 7:25, that Jesus lives to make intercession for you and me daily! How incredible is that? He knows exactly what to pray. Find SOUL REST today by listening and following God's voice. Let Him take the lead. When anxious thoughts try to overwhelm you, ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and find REST for your soul.

God bless you, Karen

The Lord Goes Before You

The Lord Goes Before You

My Dear Sisters in the Lord:

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you, He will be with you. He will not forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. “  Deut. 31:8

I believe if we read the above scripture every morning and obeyed it, we would see wonderful fruit in our lives.  We would start our days looking forward with great expectation to where God will use us; who He will place before us to encourage, minister to or share the gospel.  We would have no more dreadful Mondays or trials and circumstances thrown at us where we first fret and worry. But the key here is to believe His Word and take action!

I was just sent to the ER again.  I was dreading it - yes dreading the IV’s.  They poked me several times before they finally got one in.  Then they came back and said they needed a second IV to put some special medication in for a scan. This time they sent in their “best” IV nurse.  I prayed silently, no luck.  Then one more try but this time I prayed out loud for her.  Fear left me and the IV went in!  Pain medication was administered in the other IV but still the pain persisted except when Daniel my male nurse came in and out of my mouth comes “Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”  He responded “yes”.  Then I said, “Well I’m in good hands”.  When I brought in Jesus the pain went away.  As soon as he walked out the pain came back.  Is this my ministry field?  I hear, “be strong and courageous”.

There is so much more, but not enough space, to share with all of you about this visit to the ER, and how God, Almighty God, showed up.  I will leave you with this about Daniel.  I told him I could tell he was a believer, he said “how”.  I told him I could see Jesus’ attributes in him.  Jesus’ kindness, gentleness, compassion, goodness.  He stopped and thanked me.  He said he needed to hear that.  See he was feeling very discouraged.  I told him God was well pleased with him because he was lovingly taking care of the most vulnerable of his people.

So this month, as we get caught up with costumes, candy and Halloween, let’s remember who goes before you and fills you with courage and will not forsake you.  Step out in boldness.

I love you all,

sharon

 

The Great Exchange

The Great Exchange

Hey Girls!

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“Now I will take the load from your shoulders, I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.” Psalm 81:6

Asaph, who was David’s chief musician, wrote Psalm 81. In context this Psalm is referring to the time in history when the children of Israel were facing a ‘no water’ situation. This was the second time of encountering no water in the middle of the desert. Both times, the people complained and murmured to Moses about the problem of being thirsty. In fact, the problem was so bad this second time of having no water that the people were about to stone Moses to death! They blamed Moses for taking them out of Egypt and thought it was his fault they were facing these problems. They had absolutely no idea that these ‘no water’ situations were tests from God. They found themselves complaining and rehearsing along the wilderness journey how much better it was when they were in bondage. At least they had water to drink…

Granted, the children of Israel had very HIGH EXPECTATIONS because of their recent miraculous delivery from Pharaoh. They saw the mighty hand of God as they crossed the Red Sea on dry land. You would think that would be all the proof they’d need to believe God for the journey ahead and any other difficulty they might encounter along the way. After all…Moses was taking them to the Promised Land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”. The expectation seems logical to me. You would expect milk and honey along the way, NOT a  ‘no water’ kind of situation - 2 times! 

This verse spoke to me for many reasons. The principle God was trying to impress upon His children after delivering them from bondage was simple: #cometoJesus. A simple basic lesson to learn! Come to Jesus and He will be there to help you.  

I recall years ago when my grandson, Steel, was only one year old. It wasn’t that long ago that He was completely dependent upon me when I was watching him for the day. He cried and I would change him. When he was hungry I would feed him food. And when he would get restless and bored, I would take him outside to change his setting. All the while, Steel was learning that while he was at Nana’s house, she would take care of all his needs!  

In the same way, Jesus was trying to teach His children to depend on His help for everything. The ‘no water’ situations of life are tests of faith for us to encounter the presence of God in our lives #hurricanelane. How many times do I encounter a ‘no water’ situation and find myself fretting and complaining, rather than crying out to God to supply whatever it is I need? Lord, forgive me…When I cry out to God in prayer, that’s when I experience first hand “The Great Exchange!” He exchanges my being anxious for His wonderful peace. He takes away the burden of guilt and cleanses my mind from regrets of the past. He can take my sad times and use them for His good and His glory, when I let go of my plans and surrender it all to Him. 

You and I can SOAR like eagles above the difficult situations of life. When I give Jesus my burdens He always lightens my load. Its not that the burden or concern magically goes away. The difference is that when I take the concern, that ‘no water’ situation to God in prayer – I’m yoked with Him.  “ Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:28-29 What HIGH EXPECTATIONS do you have in your walk with the Lord today? What “no water” situations are you facing? Give it to Jesus and experience “The Great Exchange”!

God bless your day, Karen

Love For The Brethren

Love For The Brethren

“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven”  Nehemiah 1:4

Dear Women Who Serve:

I love the book of Nehemiah because I admire the main character, Nehemiah himself.  When I look at him I see loyalty, love for the brethren, compassion, determination and some one who is very organized (a trait I love!).  He also has a reverence for God, and he takes everything to Him in prayer. Nehemiah hears of a problem with the brethren in Jerusalem and he gets right on it.  He asks God for guidance and then formulates a plan.  He is devoted to the brethren and so he fasts, weeps, and prays for them.

He takes his responsibility for meeting the needs of the brethren very seriously.  Part of our responsibility as a believer is to do the same as Nehemiah.  We are to grieve and mourn when a believer is in trouble or in sin.  We should try to meet the needs of the brethren, taking every need to God to see what He requires of us.  We should adopt the same response Nehemiah had; petition God and fast for them.  Sincerely caring for each one.

Recently my mom passed away, she was 91 years old.  We thought that there would hardly be anyone at her funeral, but we were pleasantly surprised.  There was probably 150 people attending.  They came for us, to tell us a story of our mom or those who didn’t know her were there to comfort her children.  Helping the brethren.  Their gestures of comfort brought so much joy to us; one hug after another, one caring remark, a smile.  It was so uplifting. These people were doing what Jesus said, “take care of the brethren”.

Do you take extra time to look around for needs within the body of Christ? When you hear of a need, do you petition the Lord like Nehemiah and allow God to guide you?  Or do you say, like I have, “I’ll pray for you” and then it slips from your mind and you fail to do the one thing you said you would for them?

With my recent illness I have had many sisters & brothers in Christ praying for me, caring like Nehemiah.  But I have also experienced many people making statements like “I will come to visit you” and then they never come.  Some have even put a date and time and then not show up. It happens more times than you think.  We need to be reminded of Matthew 7:12 “In everything treat people the same way you want them to treat you for this is the law and the prophets”.  Or Matthew 5:37; “But let your statement be, yes, yes or no, no; anything beyond these is of evil “. Two scriptures Nehemiah lived by.  He saw the need, the distress.  He put his own needs aside and helped the brethren. He had a plan, he took it to God. He went forth a man with a plan - making his yes a yes and a no a no.

Let us do good.  Let us, like Nehemiah focus on others needs, and as Pastor Mike reminded us “put away the idols that stop us from lifting up the brethren." Let your yes be a yes!  Let us be women of our word.  Let us have eyes and hearts like Jesus.  I know my illness and my mothers death has made me want to look deeper into others lives, not just my family, but the family of God.

Let us be….
sharon

Live Your Life In Full Bloom

Live Your Life In Full Bloom

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Hey Praying Gals!

“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  ~1 Cor.15:58

BE STEADFAST, IMMOVABLE! I don’t know about you, but the trials I’m experiencing now seem to be harder and longer and tougher than ever before. I think it’s because the enemy knows it will take a whole lot more to shake me than it used to! BUT GOD, on the other hand, knows that same trial is for my good and for my growth in Him. He allows the shaking and the sifting in our lives to purify our faith and gives us the opportunity to live it out! Well…there has been a whole lot of shaking going on! Are you being sifted? 

I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to Peter when He predicted that Peter would deny Him. And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren,” Luke 22:31-32.

Ever wonder if God really cares about you when the pressures on, or when you have blown it for the umpteenth time and ready to give up and quit? Think of how Peter must have felt after denying Jesus three times… Isn’t it ‘good news’ to know that Jesus is praying for you? Your heavenly Father is not looking the other way when you’re in the midst of a sifting storm. He’s cheering you onward to be steadfast and immovable in your faith. He wants to see us make it! And remember that Satan must seek permission to launch his sifting process on the children of God. Nothing is allowed without God’s consent. Our God knows what He’s doing when He allows the sifting to occur and His eternal purposes are for our good and His glory! Let’s be encouraged to press on in faith and strengthen our spiritual muscles.

ALWAYS ABOUNDING: means to increase, to excel, to overflow. Abounding is used for a flower going from bud to full bloom. I love the picture of the pink rose; so beautiful you can almost smell the perfume! In May, I was given a dozen white roses for my birthday. They were so beautiful! I especially loved to watch the tiny buds open up and yield their full beauty. But, sometimes a few of the roses never open up to their full bloom. Have you ever gotten roses like that? It can seem like a waste of a rose - - so much more to behold and experience in FULL bloom… plus they give much more fragrance, too! 

FULL BLOOM – is a life lived out for the purpose God had intended for the rose. In the same way, God has a plan and a purpose intended for each of our lives.  Not a closed bud but in full bloom. Reminds me of my husband’s license plate, Psalm 20:4, “May He grant you according to your hearts desire, and fulfill ALL your purpose.” Not some of your purpose, like the closed up rose bud that didn’t fully open, but to be totally sold out for God and His purposes! Are you being sifted? “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  

Aloha, Karen ☺

Descending Into Darkness

Descending Into Darkness

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Dear Sisters who are praying,

"We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the providence of Asia.

We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.

In fact we expected to die. But as a result we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God."

2 Corinthians 1:8-9.

After having been in the hospital 3 times within 3 weeks I can honestly say I don’t want that any more. But since leaving the hospital I am weak, nauseous, & unable to do some of the simple things I used to do.  I feel extremely vulnerable.

During this trial there have been moments where I can feel my mind descending into darkness.  Questions arise: Will I always be this way? Is this my new normal? What kind of life is this for my family?

I know where my mind should be - focused on God, His promises, His love and mercy - but at various times the darkness descends.  I think of Paul.  One trial after another, a dark cold prison cell, pain.

He is just a man, full of faith, but I bet he had moments where he felt alone, afraid, wondering “why?”  Yes we read of the praises he sings, and I do that too, but darkness can come quickly. 

God tells us to be prepared, but sometimes our flesh over takes our faith. That’s when I just have to lay back, surrender, and ask the Holy Spirit for strength.  Nothing else can do…I just need Holy Spirit Power.  I also ask God how can He use me? And He always shows me.

We are all a bit like Paul.  The trials come; we don’t understand or like them.  There are moments of descending into darkness, but then God extends His hand & shines the light upon the situation. It is the HOPE He and only He can bring. Paul wrote some of his best works while in a dungeon!

I don’t want to look too far ahead - I am looking one moment at a time. I am grateful for a moment of rest, strength, of feeling hugs, of having people visit. 

One moment at a time.

Like He did with Paul, it’s in these dark moments that God teaches us.  He speaks to us about what others need, be it exhortations or encouragements or something in between.  Paul never stopped being used by God to touch the lives of others, even though he might have been going through a dark time.

Don’t stay in the darkness. Pray yourselves out of it. Use the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Arise!!

I love you all, sharon

Treasure in Fragile Clay Jars

Treasure in Fragile Clay Jars

Hey Girls!

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Have you ever wondered why God would choose to put His greatest treasure in a fragile jar of clay rather than in a safe deposit box? Sounds crazy doesn’t it? A clay jar is weak and frail. A clay jar is easily broken. Usually our natural inclinations are to guard and to protect our treasures. We want to make sure they’re put in something strong and sturdy that won’t break! Something that will keep those precious treasures safe and secureJ

But that’s not what God did. He had something very different in mind with His treasure.

“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts, so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.

This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

It’s a wonder why God would choose to put His great treasure in me. Lately, pretty much daily, I am reminded of the fact of how frail and weak

 I really am. When my heart rises up in anger, when my mouth speaks with the wrong tone, when I choose to dwell on the wrong things, or have a selfish attitude again and again… L it’s a reminder of the weakness of my flesh.

It’s a reminder of my need for the Spirit of God to fill me with His treasure!

On my own, I’m a weak jar of clay, easily broken; but filled with God’s Spirit I am strong! I am strong because of the treasure inside of me. PTL for the riches of His amazing grace!

The reason God put His treasure in fragile vessels like you and me is to remind us daily that we have no power or strength without Him! Thank the Lord for the power of the Holy Spirit! Don’t let the enemy of your soul beat you up with your past failures and sin. Confess them to God… “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.” We are almost halfway thru the year 2018!  Praying that each of us will ‘press forward’ into the remaining months of 2018 filled with treasure from above, and be full of faith, hope, and love.

God bless your day, Karen

Praying Scripture

Praying Scripture

Dear Women who are Praying,

There are so many wonderful scriptures God has made available to us to pray over people or ourselves.  One of my favorite is Ephesians 6:19-20:

“And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am in chains, that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak”.

I take all the pronouns pertaining to me and place someone’s name in its place.  I ask God that His Word promises boldness and that my friend needs it!  The Spirit always leads when you use scripture in prayer.  Remember there are 6 parts to the armor of God we are to put on daily, but then Paul reminds us of the 7th part of our armor is PRAYER!!!

Use the sword of the spirit, the Word of God in your prayer times. Open the precious Word, start reading, seeking and see where and how the Holy Spirit will direct you to specific scriptures He wants you to pray for yourself, the brethren, your family, friends, country.  Your list will be limitless and your prayer time will be so impactful.  You will come away saying, “I have just experienced a moment with God”.

I leave you with this prayer that I pray over all of you, my sisters in the Lord:  “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the unsurprising greatness of His power toward us who believe” Eph. 1:18-19

Try it! I challenge you to be bold in your prayer time.  You will be amazed how your life will be forever changed.

Loving each of you for your devotion,

Sharon

Silence Is Golden

Silence Is Golden

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Dear Women Who Are Praying,

He answered her not a word. Matthew 15:23
He will be silent in His love. Zephaniah 3:17

I printed this devotion below from the book “Streams in the Desert” two years ago BUT I think it bears repeating!  I came across it again while reading the devotional book and its such an encouraging word. We are often tempted to think that God’s silence means something is wrong when it’s not! I pray that you will be blessed by the insight of this devotion below: 

It may be a child of God is reading these words who has had some great crushing sorrow, some bitter disappointment, some heart-breaking blow from a totally unexpected quarter. You are longing for your Master's voice bidding you "Be of good cheer," but only silence and a sense of mystery and misery meet you -- "He answered her not a word."

God's tender heart must often ache listening to all the sad, complaining cries which arise from our weak, impatient hearts, because we do not see that for our own sakes He answers not at all or otherwise than seems best to our tear-blinded, short-sighted eyes. The silences of Jesus are as eloquent as His speech and may be a sign, not of His disapproval, but of His approval and of a deep purpose of blessing for you.

"Why art thou cast down, O… soul?" Thou shalt yet praise Him, yes, even for His silence. Listen to an old and beautiful story of how one Christian dreamed that she saw 3 others at prayer. As they knelt the Master drew near to them.

As He approached the first of the three, He bent over her in tenderness and grace, with smiles of radiant love and spoke to her in accents of purest, sweetest music. Leaving her, He came to the next, but only placed His hand upon her bowed head, and gave her a look of loving approval. The third woman He passed almost abruptly without stopping for a word or glance.

The woman in her dream said to herself, "How greatly He must love the first one, to the second He gave His approval, but none of the special demonstrations of love He gave the first; and the third must have grieved Him deeply, for He gave her no word at all and not even a passing look. “I wonder what she has done, and why He made so much difference between them?" As she tried to account for the action of her Lord, He Himself stood by her and said: "O woman! How wrongly hast thou interpreted Me. The first kneeling woman needs all the weight of My tenderness and care to keep her feet in My narrow way. She needs My love, thought and help every moment of the day. Without it she would fail and fall.

"The second has stronger faith and deeper love, and I can trust her to trust Me however things may go and whatever people do. The third, whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has faith and love of the finest quality, and her I am training by quick and drastic processes for the highest and holiest service. "She knows Me so intimately, and trusts Me so utterly, that she is independent of words or looks or any outward intimation of My approval. She is not dismayed nor discouraged by any circumstances through which I arrange that she shall pass; she trusts Me when sense and reason and every finer instinct of the natural heart would rebel--because she knows that I am working in her for eternity, and that what I do, though she knows not the explanation now, she will understand hereafter.

"I am silent in My love because I love beyond the power of words to express, or of human hearts to understand, and also for your sakes that you may learn to love and trust Me in Spirit-taught, spontaneous response to My love, without the spur of anything outward to call it forth." He "will do marvels" if you will learn the mystery of His silence, and praise Him, for every time He withdraws His gifts that you may better know and love the Giver.

God bless you, Karen

Worrier vs Warrior

Worrier vs Warrior

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Dear Women of Prayer:

Did you know that God can use a Hallmark movie to speak to you?  He did just that to me.

While recently watching a Hallmark move, the leading lady kept repeating the above phrase, “am I a worrier or a warrior”? How would you refer to yourself?

I’ve been listening to many of you since we rang in a New Year.  Many of you are off and running - meetings, play-dates, classes, sport sign ups, bible studies, mission work, conferences etc.  Your agendas are filling your new calendars.  You’re here there and everywhere.  But take a moment and ask yourself, is this what or where God wants me?  Do all the commitments you’ve signed up for made you a worrier or a warrior?  Have your commitments made you biting your nails and asking yourself, “How will I have time to do all this?” Has one of your main phrases been “I’m so busy”?

Did you know that as He calls us to be Warriors, He also equips and prepares us?  Look at Psalm 40:2 “He lifted me out of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along”.  Look at how He prepares and equips you.  First, He lifts you up and then sets your feet on solid ground.  He steadies you as you walk along - He walks with you.  O what joy to know that as He calls us to be a warrior, He is there every step of the way.

2Sam 22:35 says" He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze”.  He does the training, but we have to be ready, prepared, available and willing to be the Warrior!  HE is my trainer; not my friend, not my husband, not myself - HIM.

There are so many more scriptures that show us how to be Warriors instead of worriers, but we must go to His Word and dwell there to be able to stand firm, and be ready to do battle.  Oh Oh, I don’t like battles.  I’d rather have a quiet uneventful life. But that is not what God has asked of me.  I can protest, not listen or ignore Him but when I’ve chosen that path I am miserable.  I’m not at peace and guess what?  My life is still not uneventful!!  It is better to be in God’s will than apart from Him.

So Lady Warriors, it is time to raise the bar, to put on the full armor of God, to be prepared to march steadily forward even when we don’t feel like it.  We are in His army, He has chosen us.  We can do it because of what

He did or us!

I am a Warrior, sharon

The After-Christmas Blues

The After-Christmas Blues

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It’s a Happy New Year ahead of us… 2018! Behind us: the Christmas rush is definitely over!

Yet the Christmas lights are still twinkling off and on at my house and the decorated tree is still standing in its place. The excitement has gone down. And I felt a bit sadden as I recognized that the cozy days of Christmas were over :-(

I love all the preparation, the planning, and the anticipation of the celebration of ALL the Christmas festivities! Bethlehem Village is tops on my list of favorites during the holiday season. So is gathering with family and friends, singing Christmas carols, and walking in the Haleiwa parade. I look forward to receiving Christmas cards in the mail from friends near and far proclaiming the birth of a King; all the yummy food, all the sweet treats, and all the special gift-giving that takes place. So much going on! It’s an emotional high! It’s a happy birthday celebration for Jesus. And now it’s come to an abrupt halt. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can experience “the-after-Christmas-blues”. You know - those in-between days after Christmas and before the New Year rolls in…

I was reminded recently in my readings that the Christmas story doesn’t end with the chorus of angels and a visit from the wise men. As the Shepherds left Jesus and went back to their flocks, they returned to their ‘normal’ lives... but now they had a new normal! Thanks to their personal encounter with the Messiah, they were now praising the Lord and telling everyone what had happened: they had met the precious babe called Jesus. Don’t you just love that reality: a changed life because of Jesus! As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" I can testify that my life has changed drastically because of the presence of Jesus. And we can unwrap the gift of God’s Christmas presence with us… Every. Single. Day! AND everyday is a gift from God… that’s why it’s called the present! J Let’s pray that we can keep the true spirit of Christmas ever present in our daily lives. And that we will share with boldness this good news with people everywhere. People need the gift of Jesus! Looking ahead to the New Year, with joy in my heart!

God bless you, Karen

Revive Us Again

Revive Us Again

Merry Christmas, Prayer Warriors!

Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Psalm 85:6

Do you ever ask God a question? You’ve probably asked a few whys, how come, how long? I know I have. As I read the verse above, I love how the psalmist petitions God “revive us”! Many a day as I sojourn on this earth, going through the valleys of Baca (tears), going through days of unfulfilled expectations, perhaps seeing dark clouds surrounding me and feeling depleted of strength, I have cried out “Revive Me”. Don’t get me wrong, I have had many cup runneth over days of pure joy

too! But as a regular gal, we can many times hover over those dark times. But reading the whole verse, I love how the psalmist says “that Your people may rejoice in You”. See how he brings us back to the purpose of asking to be revived? So we can rejoice in our God! So we can bring glory to Him, remember all He has done for us and praise Him. The reviving isn’t just to make ME feel better, no, it’s about Him. Revive me so I have strength and joy to worship You. Don’t revive me just to change my circumstance, but revive me so my focus can switch from woe is me, to You are my King.

Our pilgrimage, our time on this earth, is to be about God. That is what the scriptures remind us over and over again. It’s not about me-what can I accomplish, how perfect my life can be, how much can I accumulate, how much fun I can experience. No, it’s to be about honoring, revering, praising, worshipping and living according to His will for my life. As we step into Christmas, let’s remember this season is about Him. Let’s unwrap His presence, His glory, His majesty, His love, His forgiveness.

Come and join us on December 16th at 8:30 a.m. for a time of Christmas Joy at our Women’s Christmas Brunch. We guarantee you will leave that morning filled with a new perspective of His Presence!

Holiday Blessings, sharon 

Name Above All Names

Name Above All Names

Dear Sisters In The Lord:

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Don’t you agree that we have become such a casual society?  All we have to do is watch TV to see the extent of our

casualness.  We lack respect and reverence for others.  Our children call adults by their first names as if we are all their

peers.  There’s no more Mr. or Mrs. used and mainly because my generation doesn’t want to be called that as it makes us feel old.  I once heard a mother say “don’t call me Mrs. as it makes me feel like my mother!”.  How silly!  We call our 

President by his last name.  Rarely do we hear Mr. President or President Trump.  Even children are saying it too.  We call police cops and adultery “affairs”.  Just to mention a few.  So casual, so flippant.  But the worst is how we refer to God.  We call Him “the man upstairs”, “he’s my homeboy”,  “the big G”, or “the guy in the sky”.  Just to type those words bring chills to me! We have raised and allowed a generation to treat our Holy Holy God so casually.

But God doesn’t accept our casualness when it comes to His name.  In the 3rd Commandment He adamantly tells us not to take His name in vain.  The word vain has much more meaning than using it in a profane way.  It means honoring God’s name according to His true value.  How do you praise Him, thank Him, pray to Him?

The Hebrew word for vain used in Exodus 20:7 means evil, empty or false.  Therefore to take the Lord’s name in vain means totreat His name in an empty, thoughtless manner. It means to consider His name as nothing, no value.  To use God’s name in vain is not only to use it in profanity or to mock but to treat Him as nothing, worthless.  Using casual remarks like “oh Lord, dear Lord, or Jesus Christ, when we’re excited or frustrated is using His name in vain.  We hear these a great deal in our world today and according to God we have broken the 3rd Commandment and God says He will not leave us unpunished.  Yikes!!

It is time to take seriously our devotion and obedience to our God.  God takes seriously His relationship with us and we need to step it up and remember who He is and what He requires of the people He loves.

We are entering a new season, Fall.  Let us take this new season to develop new habits.  Let’s get rid of the casual way we think and speak of our God.  Remember who He says He is.  Remember all the names He is called in the Bible.  Speak of Him with holiness, honor, reverence and praise.  Remind others of His holiness.  He is our God and there is none like Him.

HE is our God!
Sharon

The Joy Of Serving And Using Your Spiritual Gifts

The Joy Of Serving And Using Your Spiritual Gifts

Dear Women who are praying,

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“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

I have been reflecting back upon all the Lord has done in my life and I’m so grateful that He called me to live here in Hawaii back in 1975. It seems like such along time ago, (and it really is)! I realize that if I knew back then that He was going to call me into a leadership role, with being a pastor’s wife… I think I may have pulled a Jonah move and ran! But I’m so glad that I stayed and I didn’t run! He has used NSCF and the body of Christ to cause me to grow and get out of my comfort zone like never before. 

I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you in this hearts to pray devotion, how much I love serving and being involved in ministry with you at our church. Our church isn’t a building where we meet on Sunday mornings. Our church is made up with people and that includes you, the body of Christ. As I consider the women at NSCF…. I can see that we are women of many different ages, strengths, spiritual gifting, interests, backgrounds, relational styles, vocational skills, and life experiences. We have many differences and that’s a good thing; yet we share in common the love of Jesus J Amen!

I want to shout out a big Mahalo… thanks for being in this prayer ministry. Your prayers are making a difference. And BTW, don’t fret when you forget to pray on some days. The HS nudges me occasionally and reminds me to pick it up! So I just follow thru then and just do it. I appreciate you and am very thankful that you’re involved here in this prayer ministry.
I’d also like to invite you to come and participate further in our women’s community by attending our upcoming new fall study we are calling ‘God’s Divine Design.’ Come grow with us! Get EQUIPPED and connected better with God and other women. Be ENCOURAGED in your faith and experience the joy and support of fellowship. Get ENGAGED at NSCF by discovering your spiritual gifts and plugging into ministry where you can grow and flourish. Get ENGAGED in our community and abroad by reaching out with the love of Jesus through evangelism and community outreach.

That’s the Heart of NSCF’s Women’s Ministry: Equip + Encourage + Engage. And I’m SO excited about the engaging aspect of women’s ministry. We want to help women engage in fruitful and fulfilling service to our Lord, believing that every Woman is gifted by God and should have the opportunity to discover and develop her special gift. That’s exactly the goal of our new fall Bible study. It begins Tuesday evening, September 19th at 6:30pm (time change). Location is my house in Haleiwa. The class is only 6-weeks and finishes on October 24th.

**Please let me know if you would like to join us so that I can make the proper plans to order you a book; cost 14$.

Hey – whether you can make it to the class or not, have a great month praying!

God Bless you! Karen