Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Favorite Things About the Season

I love the old decorations on the tree because they remind me of years gone by. Old memories of when I was younger and Christmas was a super big deal as a child, but today when I go looking at the old ornaments with their old memories it is more joyful now the older I get because of what Christmas really means with Jesus as the center. To me it is all about making new memories for my children so that when they get older they will remember those times. I love having family and loved one close at hand and being able to show my affection a little extra during Christmas time.
Danyelle 38,
Pearl, MS.

Jesus Christ
Connie, 54

I LOVE the Christmas music- singing alllllll the Christmas songs as loud as I want in my car!!! And also hanging out with all the family- laughing and eating all the yummy goodies, of course!!!
Adria, 27
Pearl, Mississippi

I love spending time with my family
Brandon MS

The thing I love most about THIS Christmas, is that God spoke with me. He spoke to me and through me in a very humbling yet awe-inspiring and powerful way. He showed me a miracle and brought me to my knees. God is good! : )
Amy, 36
Newbern, TN

Listening to 100+ children in my daycare center sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!
Christie, 37
Pearl Ms

Being with my family
Elaine, 59

I love the Christmas season because this is the one time of year (aside from Easter) that most everyone is open to the suggestion of Christ. They aren’t too busy to hear about Jesus and the promise of Salvation. I think that it is easier to “witness” at Christmas because people are enamored by the BABY Jesus.
Kris, 37
Pearl Ms

My Favorite thing about Christmas is the Christmas Cantatas.
JoBeth, 29
Brandon, MS

My favorite thing about Christmas is that it's everywhere! You can't get away from it! I love that almost everyone I know is celebrating the same thing and enjoying the same songs, decorations, movies, food and hustle and bustle, but that everyone still has their own way of celebrating and own traditions. Even people who are too cool or cynical or jaded to get into other festive occasions still seem to enjoy the BIG ONE. I love that it's all-encompassing this time of year, and I guess that's the way it should be.
Lindsay Anne
Columbia SC

I love the food, the lights the food, the music, the food, getting together with family and friends…and the food!
Jessica, 14
Weston, Canada

The best thing about Christmas is to witness God is alive and we celebrate his birth to save us all.

Wes, 39
Nashville, TN

I love the HOPE that is encompassed in Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Savior…and the celebration of all sorts of things God has blessed us with…family, friends, etc. Were it not for the promise of Salvation, there would be no hope. God delivered that promise in the baby Jesus.
Jen, 28
Piedmont, Ca

The best thing about Christmas is seeing family that we have not seen since last year!
Merry Christmas!
William, Elizabeth, Douglas and Baby (due April 18)
Memphis Tn

Christie, 19

People are more giving, more patient, more considerate, more compassionate, more generous at Christmas!
Tashia, 40
Lake, Mississippi

Christmas is the beginning of the story that ends Easter Sunday.
Traci, 34
Murfreesboro, TN

Friday, December 18, 2009


As I sat at my desk in the daycare center that I run, a teacher brought a child into my office, and she was crying her head off. This little girl is 10 years old and new to the center. As she and I talked, she began telling me all about how the kids were picking on her. They were being ugly, rude and plain out mean. Knowing that I had to reprimand the kid or kids that were doing this, I asked her who it was – Wow! It was one of my very own children.

There are no words to tell you how broken hearted I was. It was like the life was sucked out of me. This is my own child. The one who knows Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. The one I have instilled all my morals and values into. How? Why? What was she thinking? What have I done wrong? Oh my gosh, I am soooo disappointed! I truly cannot breathe.

Wow! Is this how God feels when I tell “a little white lie?” What about when I gossip? What about when I yell at my kids? What about when I doubt God? What about when I put myself above Him? What about when I don’t have a daily talk with Him?

God has given me so much in my life, and I know that I DO NOT always stop and take the time to thank Him. How could I ever allow myself to let Him feel one ounce of the disappointment I have felt this week?

My prayer for everyone is that we remember that God loves us more than we can fathom. He has given us a life more abundant than we deserve. We all need to remember that as God forgives all of our shortcomings, He yearns for us to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Love in Christ,


Friday, December 11, 2009

Chocolate Cookie Bark

What You Need:

2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate, melted
10 OREO Cookies, crumbled, divided
1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Make It:

ADD peanut butter to white chocolate; stir until well blended. Stir 1/2 the cookies into each bowl of chocolate.
DROP spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto waxed paper-covered baking sheet, alternating colors of chocolates. Swirl with knife.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces.

FLO Ministry Team

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

The Best of Gifts by Cindy Hess Kasper

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" - II Corinthians 9:15

Having trouble selecting that perfect gift for someone? A friend shared with me a few suggestions:

  • The gift of affection. Being generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, and pats on the back.
  • The gift of laughter. Sharing funny stories and jokes. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."
  • The gift of a written note. Expressing in a brief, handwritten note your appreciation or affection.
  • The gift of a compliment. Sincerely saying, "You look great today" or "You are Special" can bring a smile.

But as we begin this special month of celebration, why not pass on the best gift you've ever received? Share the fact that "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:23). Or share this verse from John 1:12, "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name." Remind others that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

The best gift of all is Jesus Christ. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Cor. 9:15).

The greatest gift that has ever been given
Is Jesus Christ who was sent down from heaven.
This gift can be yours if you will believe;
Trust Him as Savior, and new life receive.

The best gift was found in a manger.

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Be Patient...God's not finished with me yet

Do the people closest to you truly see God transforming your life?

Softening your heart? Changing your speech? Changing your countenance?

If your answer is no, there is a little phrase you need to remember...."Please be patient, God isn't finished with me yet" Let God keep working on you. If those closest to you express doubts, ask them to be patient...and watch God work.

Some of you said no because you know good and well that you have been building your house on the sand rather than on the Solid Rock of God's word. You have been playing Church....going on Sunday, looking nice, singing songs...but nothing in your heart has changed. You know it, and those closest to you know it. It is my honest prayer that if you discover that you have become a "church lady", that you will rush into the arms of Jesus and let Him radically change your life.

Some of you said “no” because, despite your honest desire to seek God with all your heart, those closest to you are the ones making you question God’s ability to “change” you. Can we talk? I know how much it hurts to have someone you love throw your past in your face. It hurts so bad to have someone you love doubt God's hand in your life. It's not fair. But the people you love are just people. Be patient with them. Let God reveal himself to them through YOU. Pray for them. Pray that God will show them what He is doing in your life. Don't put a time limit on God. He took all the time He needed in getting your attention...allow Him to do the same with your loved ones.

Sadly, the ones closest to you are often the ones who cannot see through who you WERE in sin to see who you ARE in Christ. They know you too well. They know your history. Quite honestly, sometimes it is hard for them to believe that God redeems and restores lives in miraculous ways.

Maybe it took you a while to figure out that the road you were on was the wrong road. Maybe you made really bad choices and maybe those choices hurt other people...people that loved you, people that counted on you. Maybe you let them down. Unfortunately, the longer a person is on the wrong road, the more deeply the people in your life are hurt. And, if you have been on the wrong road for a long time, then those around you are afraid to get their hopes up…because they are afraid of being disappointed or hurt again. So, if you are absolutely sure that God has changed your heart, then be patient with the people in your life. Don't be angry if they don't seem to want to believe that you have changed. Be patient with them...just like Jesus was patient with you.

When Jesus enters your life and changes your heart, you need not be FOCUSED on proving your changed heart to the people in your life. You and God have a secret. The Creator of Heaven and Earth has drawn you to himself, pulled you up in his lap, wrapped His arms around you, and whispered into your hair, “You are my precious child and You are free to live in victory”.

Claim that promise.

Live all out for Him.

Pray for the ones who are afraid to believe that you have changed.

Allow Him to continue to change your heart and when you least expect it, they will see.

Be patient....God is not finished with them yet either.


Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Offering

It's the most WONDERFUL time of FAVORITE time of year! It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season....making sure your gift list is all checked off and each person accounted for, involvement in the church Christmas program, dates scheduled for family know, taking care of all those last minute details before the big day! The world would very much like for us all to become sidetracked with material things and buying and getting the best deals, and it would be very easy to do that.

But, as we all have heard most all of our lives, let's not forget the real meaning of Christmas. It's not about a gift, but about THE GIFT of God's precious baby boy that was delivered to a sin-cursed world to save us from our own selves.

What can WE bring HIM this Christmas season? What gift does He want most? Sure, He likes it when we celebrate Him during this season, but what about the one thing we each hold on to tighter than any piece of worldliness...ourselves. He just wants me...and you. That's it. He wants our worship, our praise, our gratitude, our willingness to give up self and put Him at His most deserving place...FIRST in our hearts and lives. That's easy enough, don't you think?

Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three Wiseman seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble Prince of Peace

We bring an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord I bring an offering to you

The sun cannot compare to the glory of your love
There is no shadow in your presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It's only by Your blood
It's only through Your mercy
Lord, I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord, I bring an offering to you

We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you, Jesus

We are an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you're due
O Lord, we bring an offering to you

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When, God? When?

We all want good things to happen in our lives, but too often we want it now...not later. When it doesn't happen that way, we are tempted to ask, "When, God, when?" Most of us need to grow in the area of trusting God instead of focusing on the “when” question. If you're missing joy and peace, you're not trusting God. If your mind feels worn out all the time, you're not trusting God.

The tendency to want to know about everything that's going on can be detrimental to your Christian walk. Sometimes knowing everything can be uncomfortable and can even hurt you. I spent a large part of my life being impatient, frustrated and disappointed because there were things I didn't know. God had to teach me to leave things alone and quit feeling that I needed to know everything. I finally learned to trust the One who knows all things and accept that some questions may never be answered. We prove that we trust God when we refuse to worry.

God wants us to live by discernment—revelation knowledge, not head knowledge. It's difficult to exercise discernment if you're always trying to figure out everything. But when you're willing to say, "God, I can't figure this out, so I'm going to trust You to give me revelation that will set me free," then you can be comfortable in spite of not knowing. Trusting God often requires not knowing how God is going to accomplish what needs to be done and not knowing when He will do it. We often say God is never late, but generally He isn't early either. Why? Because He uses times of waiting to stretch our faith in Him and to bring about change and growth in our lives.

~ Courtesy of Kristy Freels

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:4-5

Happy Thanksgiving!
FLO Ministry Team

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beautiful Offering....Final Thoughts

Beautiful Offering has been one of the best Bible Studies we have done in a long time. I am sad to see it come to an end. Perhaps it was well received because it is not age specific, dependant on Spiritual Maturity, or relevant to only selected groups of women. The truths apply to all of us no matter where we are in our journey. New Christians were inspired and encouraged. Mature Christians were challenged and refreshed. We all internalized the promise that when we go to Jesus, HE is faithful to meet with us.

It is my hope and prayer that each lady that participated in the Bible Study now understands how her life can be a Beautiful Offering to God.

I hope that each lady remembers that when she crawls into Jesus' lap and spends time with Him, she leaves looking less like herself and more like Him; that there are things we can only get from spending time with Him (peace, mercy...); and that we can't give others what we do not possess.

If there is one thing I hope we all remember, it is this...

Jesus promises to meet us when we come to Him. He takes our broken, battered, messed up life and turns it into something amazing!

As we end FLO Bible Study for 2009 and begin to look toward 2010, please remember...
You are a Beautiful Offering to God when you go to Him and offer Him all of your life. When you offer all of your life to Him....He promises to make it Beautiful....but

It is your OFFERING that is so Beautiful to Him. It is our prayer that He will draw you close- close enough to hear the beating of His heart.


Angela Thomas has another study, When Wall Flowers Dance, that we plan to do in 2010.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Test of Faith

“They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses.” Judges 3:4

It is easier to be a Christian when everything is going well. But what happens when things do not go your way? God sends a test or allows a test, and suddenly your faith has an opportunity to come alive and go to a deeper level of dependency. Perhaps you are experiencing disappointment from a friend, an unfaithful spouse, a rebellious child, death of a loved one, a loss of your job, or your health is giving you fits.

You can rest assured a test is coming. You have either been through a test, you are in a test or you are in between tests, but they are coming, so be ready. It may be a relational test, a financial test, a physical test, a family test, a career test, or a character test, but in God’s school of faith He gives regular exams with eternal consequences.

It may be a quick and unexpected pop quiz or an anticipated and grueling final exam. The answer key is abandonment to Almighty God. Your eternal instructor is trustworthy. Humbly learn what He is teaching you, so that you can teach others and become a better follower of Christ. But what, you ask, is the purpose of these tests of faith?

Two possible reasons for God’s test of faith are to teach you how to battle the enemy and to validate your obedience to God during difficult times. Your battle is not against a person or persons. It is spiritual warfare with an unseen enemy who lurks behind any and every opportunity he can to deceive, discourage and destroy you.

Your protection against this spiritual enemy, Satan, is the “belt of truth strapped around your waist”, an “armor of righteousness”, “your feet covered in peace”, a “shield of faith”, a “helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit”, and “God’s word” (Ephesians 6:13-18). Furthermore, engage with a community of believers to cover your back with prayer. It is the believer’s preparation and posture that causes Satan to squirm and to flee.

Another reason for your test of faith could be to validate your obedience to God. Will you remain faithful to Him, even when He seems very distant and uninterested? When life is hard, will you stay mad and blame others and God for your misfortune, or will you obey Him? Do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it and God will honor your efforts.

He has a much bigger plan that doesn’t waste pain. He is looking for trophies of grace to present to those in need of Christ and for those who may be stumbling and struggling in their faith. He is looking for men and women dead to themselves and their selfish desires, but alive unto Christ. Pain positions you to be a product of the grace of God.

Yes, it may be very difficult right now, but stay true to God. He is bigger than anything or anyone who may have you down right now. Tests are temporary but trust is forever. “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews” (Acts 20:19). Am I trusting God with this test? Will I obey well?

- Wisdom Hunters Devotionals

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holy, Holy, Holy

Today, the ladies of our ministry group met together to sift through our thoughts and ideas about the coming year. We looked at where we've come and tried to look to where we want to be this time next year. As I left the meeting, I kept thinking, you know, you can have great plans, great opportunities to serve, great activities to encourage fellowship, BUT, if one little thing is left out, then all of our plans and desires are futile. They're fruitless and not worth much. That simple thing is losing sight of the holiness of God and who He is...who He's always been and who He'll always be. I'd like to challenge you to always look for His glory and look for opportunities to give Him the glory, whether that be through physical healing, a job provided, or just a simple clear blue sky on a beautiful fall day. Above everything else that God is, He IS Holy! Take opportunities to give Him the glory!

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Finding Eternal Good Humor

by Thelma Wells

Like many women, I have bags of costume jewelry. The faux jewelry is counterfeit. It looks pretty for a while, but then it begins to fade, peel, and break. If you wear it in water long enough, it will turn your skin green.

Genuine versus counterfeit. Real versus fake. Joy versus happiness. Joy gives me calm assurance even though I go through the valley of the shadow of death. Joy enables me to hold my peace when people say and do ugly things to me. When we go through troubles, afflictions, persecution, danger, illness, and distress, when the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, we can have genuine joy in our hearts.

Joy is permanent. Once you have it, you never lose it. It may be overshadowed by human frailties, but real joy lasts for eternity.

Promises About Finding Eternal Good Humor

John 16:22 - Jesus said, "Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."

Psalm 126:5-6 - Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

Psalm 118:1 - Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Going Through The Motions

Tomorrow is the one day out of the week that we set aside for corporate worship. It's our earnest prayer that as you approach your day of worship you'll decide not to just go through the motions, but ask God to reveal Himself to you in a way you've never experienced. Our prayer is that your heart will be refreshed, your relationship with Him rekindled, and your walk renewed through your worship experience.

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?"

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way (I'm finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?"

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way (I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)
Take me all the way (through the motions)
Take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossoms

• 1/2 cup Crisco® Butter Shortening
• 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 3/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Sugar
• 48 foil-wrapped milk chocolate pieces, unwrapped

1. HEAT oven to 375°F.
2. CREAM together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.
3. STIR together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.
4. SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
5. BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
6. TOP each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.
Yield: 4 Dozen Cookies

FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 7

Saturday, I sat in front of my laptop thinking “okay self, we need something amazing to send to Christa for the Bible Study Blog post.” Nothing. I sat and stared at the screen for ever. Nothing. I made several attempts over a few days at a post and deleted them all. Today Christa sent me a sweet e-mail along the lines of “Hi friend….we gonna have a post this week?”

I am not entirely comfortable with this…but here goes...

This week’s lesson started off with a sucker punch.

“In order to be salt and Light, you have to cultivate your ‘secret’ life with God. Your secret prayers, your secret giving, your secret fasting…these are the things that that ONLY God sees and they are the things that allow you to be salt and light.”

No GOING? No DOING? No TEACHING? No ENCOURAGING?......That’s not too exciting. See, Last time we met, we talked about being Salt and Light. Good stuff… “go and light your world”…”make a difference for the Kingdom”… “Tell people about Christ”. That sort of lesson is right up my alley. I love getting people excited about “Going” and “doing”. “Okay, girls! Let’s go shine like a City on a Hill!!!!!” So, I set the Bible study aside for a few days. I guess I thought that God would stop talking to me if I stopped studying.

I was mistaken. God did not stop talking. As a matter of fact, He has dealt with me constantly these past 2 weeks. I, in turn, have thrown a fit or two. I have argued with Him. I have been a whiney baby. It really has NOT been fun couple of weeks for me.


God has shown me where I need to grow. He has shown me where I am weak.

He told me that I have gotten everything all turned upside down. I put serving Him above Loving Him (I cannot believe I am actually putting this in print). I put Leading others to Him above my personal Spiritual Growth. My “Quiet Time” has been reduced to the time I spend studying to teach others. My prayer life has been reduced to emergency prayers for friends and family. My “spiritual life” has turned into something for others to see.

As I type, seeing this all in print makes it a bit clearer.

There is a burning passion in my very soul to share Christ with women. I cannot imagine how in the WORLD Satan could ever quench that desire. Instead of going after FLO (where I am well guarded), Satan slipped into my personal life unnoticed and, as a result, I gave up my secret life with God. Satan didn’t steal my peace, my joy, my mercy, my grace, my compassion…..I gave it up freely when I stopped spending time with Jesus for MYSELF. As we discussed earlier in the Bible Study…these things only come from Jesus.

God in His infinite love and mercy has drawn me to Himself, not because I am “FLO Ministry Coordinator”, “Sunday School Teacher”, “FLO Bible Study Leader”, or “the Pastor’s wife” --- but just because I am his daughter and he loves me….just plain old ordinary me.

I thought I wanted to do something with FLO in December. Some amazing mission project or fellowship event, but it feels really good to be back in HIS arms. I think I’ll just spend Christmas there.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 6

For the past several weeks, we have been studying Angela Thomas’ Beautiful Offering.
This week our study revolved around being Salt and Light and about being Reconciled. Jesus says in Matthew Chapter 5:

"You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Sunday in Bible study we talked about how hard it is to shine like a city on a hill when we aren’t reconciled. It’s hard to shine when we are holding a grudge. It’s hard to be salty enough to make someone thirsty for Christ when we are bitter and judgmental. We may give off a little light and we may be a little salty without being reconciled, but we can’t SHINE with the Glory of God or be the SALT of the earth unless we obey Jesus’ instruction and reconcile to the people in our lives.

Maybe you just let out a sigh of relief because that doesn’t apply to you. Perhaps you aren’t bitter, judgmental, unforgiving, or holding a grudge, but your light is still more like a night light than a spot light. Maybe YOUR light is just supposed to be enough to read your Bible by. Maybe YOUR light isn’t SUPPOSED to shine like a beacon in the night. Or… Perhaps your light is not shining like a city on a hill because you are hesitant to let go and just shine. Perhaps the thought of falling head over heels in love with the Creator of the universe kinda freaks you out. Maybe you aren’t absolutely 100% sure that He is all He claims to be. Perhaps the thought of surrendering your entire life to Christ and losing your control of it scares you to death. Maybe you have trusted Jesus to get you to heaven, but aren’t sure you want to completely trust Him with all the details between here and there. Maybe? Maybe you’re stuck between where you were when God saved you and where He wants to take you. Maybe you’re stuck in the middle.

Dear reader,

We don’t want you to be stuck in the middle. We want you to SHINE. Please don’t settle for giving off 10 or 15 watts of light…just enough light to keep the people around you from running into a wall. Shine like the sun! Chase the darkness out of your life and the lives of everyone who meets you! When you walk in a room, bring the Glory of God with you!

We are praying for you!
FLO Ministry Team

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 5

For the past several weeks, we've been taking a fresh look at the Beatitudes through Angela Thomas's "Beautiful Offering". I’d like to share Angela’s explanation of how we are a beautiful offering to God “when we are.....”

...Poor in Spirit
"Your life is a beautiful offering to God, even when your spirit is poor, because THEN you are very close to the kingdom of Heaven."
"Even when you are mourning, your life can be a beautiful offering to God because in HIS presence and by HIS healing, your empty soul will find all the comfort it's aching for"
"When you are sure that you are not enough and in desperate need of the Savior's strength, then your life is a Beautiful offering because God comes to the rescue with all the resources of HIS Kingdom here on earth."
...Hungry and Thirsty for HIM
"Your life is a beautiful offering to Me when you are crying out for God to come and make you hungry for HIS righteousness, because HE is the only One who will satisfy your spiritual appetite with the food that will fill your very soul."
"It is a beautiful offering to me when you lay down your judgement and choose compassion. When you love others the way I love you, when you hold back the consequences they could have deserved, and when you treat them the way you want to be treated, then you shall receive mercy as well"
...Pure in Heart
"It is a beautiful offering to Me when you are pure in heart. That kind of heart gives you spiritual eyes to see God"
...A Peacemaker
"Your life is a beautiful offering when you are a peacemaker, because then you look like you belong to the family of God"
...Persecuted for Him
"It is a beautiful offering when you are persecuted because you look more and more like Me, stand for the things I would stand for, love the ones I would love, and hate the injustice I would hate. I am proud of you when they lie about you and accuse you falsely because you are acting like Me. And when that happens, then I want you to know that I will draw you deeper into My Kingdom Blessings."

Join us this week as we begin the Part 2 of Beautiful offering as we learn how our lives are a Beautiful Offering to God “As we Go”.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lessons Learned from a Bridal Shower - Part III


I sat next to Mary and Willie and had the BEST time with them as the gifts were being opened and passed around. We talked about how you can give a new bride all the advice in the world, but nothing will really prepare her for marriage, and how you can tell a mom-to-be all you know about parenting, but nothing can prepare her for motherhood. Along with this serious conversation, we joked about slipping some of the gifts under our chairs because our (toaster, coffee maker, sheet set, etc.) needed replacing. The Bride-to-be got a WONDERFUL set of cookie sheets. (amazing what I covet these days) As I admired them, I told Mary, “I need these. Mine look just like my mom’s”. I was startled when Mary whispered in a wistful voice, “yeah, mine look like my mom’s too.” Now, I am not ABOUT to speculate on this wonderful lady’s age, but I am thinking she is closer to my Grandmother’s age than she is to mine, and at that moment, we bonded…over missing “mom” and ……of all things…cookie sheets…
And that’s when it hit me:
Cookie sheets, the new shiny ones, the ones that dark and spotted, or ones that are stained and even dented, are a lot like the women at that shower.

The new cookie sheets look so pretty, all shiny, smooth and new and so full of potential… so much like the Bride-to-be…unblemished, radiant, glowing, excited about the adventure before her. As I admired (and perhaps envied) the Bride-to-be’s youthful beauty (and her new cookie sheets), I was reminded that the old-worn out cookie sheets are the ones that make the BEST cookies and pizzas! While they appear spotted, stained, blemished, and maybe even dented here and there, they are seasoned, tried and true, reliable, durable and able to do the job well….

The same can be said of women. We may be a little rusty around the edge, a bit spotted, a little blemished, stained, and maybe even dented…not by cookies and pizzas, but by marriage, jobs, friends, pregnancies, kids, joy, laughter, heartache, and tears….. but nothing can take the place of the life experiences that influenced and made us into the women we’ve become (and are becoming) ...seasoned, tried and true, reliable, durable, and able to do the job well.
Proverbs 31:30-31 says, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Baked Potato Soup

1 baking potato
2 (10-ounce) cans Cheddar cheese soup
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup real bacon pieces
Sour cream, for garnish
Green onion, finely chopped, optional for garnish

Microwave the baking potato for 7 to 8 minutes on high. Carefully remove from microwave using oven mitts. It will be HOT! Set aside until cool enough to touch.
When potato is cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Add Cheese soup, chicken stock, and bacon pieces to a medium pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally over medium high heat. Add potato and continue to heat soup for 5 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a few chopped green onions.

FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 4

For the past several weeks, we've been taking a fresh look at the Beatitudes through Angela Thomas's "Beautiful Offering". Rather than looking at them as a list of "you gotta be's" (as in "You gotta be merciful to receive mercy" or "you gotta be poor in spirit to get the Kingdom of Heaven"), she presents them as promises for “when you are".

This week it finally came together for me....the Sermon on the Mount is not about what I need to BE in order to gain God's favor. The Sermon on the Mount is about what I need to DO when I am....well, whatever it is that I am.

I just need to
GO to every situation
LOOK for every circumstance
DESIRE HIM....more than anything else

The promise of the Beatitudes is that, if I will just seek Him, Jesus will meet me where ever I am…and I will walk away from that meeting looking less like me and more like Him.

I don't need to try harder, I don't need to explain all the reasons why I am where I am, I don't need to retrace every detail of every step that brought me here, I don't need to give Jesus a detailed plan of action for not landing here again, I don't need more will power or more resolve or more self control. I don’t have to get it all together…….

And neither do you….

Just go to Him……He promises to do the rest.

This week, we'll look at the last 2 Beatitudes...
You cannot manufacture is a byproduct of being with God.

In the midst of persecution, we get a double blessing....being drawn deeper into the embrace of God Almighty and knowledge of what awaits us in Heaven.

Join us for FLO Bible study Sundays at 5 at Pearson Baptist Church.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lessons Learned from a Bridal Shower - Part II

Walk on

Not too long ago, I shared some thoughts about things I learned at a recent Bridal Shower. I want to share a few more.

The Bride-to-be grew up in our church, but has since moved on. Her Grandmother however, is still a faithful member. Grandma’s Sunday School class, “The Homemakers” were the hostesses for the shower.

The “Homemakers” had a picture made together at the shower. I was struck by their beauty as they laughed and joked about who would stand in the front, and who wanted to stand behind someone else so she’d be hidden. I got tickled because these ladies were acting JUST like my friends and I do when we take a group picture. Then I remembered something my mom said when I was a teenager...”I still FEEL like I’m 18. I’m the same person, I just look different.” Watching these ladies throw their shoulders back and suck in their tummies for their picture, I wondered “Do they still feel 36?” I think they must.

They have been friends for AGES…some since they were my age. They have celebrated together at weddings, and at births of grandchildren….and they have cried together and prayed for wayward children and grandchildren….and they have mourned the loss of husbands, children, siblings, and parents. I was thinking how cool it must be to have been friends for so long, and how great it would be to know what they know.

I admire them for not giving up. I admire them for holding on to each other. I admire them, plain and simple. It is hard to think of any of these “Grand Dames” bursting into tears because her newborn won’t sleep or won’t eat or won’t stop crying. It is hard to imagine any of these ladies as new brides with a life of uncertainty stretched out before her. I found myself wishing I could stand in their shoes…see life from their perspective.

I realized….the only way to get to where they are is to keep going. That may not make sense. I guess the thought was born out of something in the Bible study we are doing, “Beautiful Offering”. In this Bible study, Angela Thomas said that sometimes the only way to get through something is to…well…go through it (“walk through” is the terminology she uses). So as I am sitting at the shower with these women…most of them the Matriarchs of their families, a new appreciation for them was born in my heart and I began to wonder “what have they ‘walked through’?” What RICH memories they must have! It occurs to me that, in order for me to have what they have, I must keep walking …. through marriage, through parenting, through church, through friendships…..I admire them, not so much for their age, but for the things they have “walked through” to get where they are.

I have adopted a new motto. When I find myself falling to pieces because the laundry is piling up, my best friend’s kid got in trouble at school, another friend’s brother had to give his baby daughter back to Jesus because of a heart defect, I miss my mom and she lives 6 hours away, my husband STILL won’t unload the dishwasher, my 4 year old won’t sleep through the night, and I have to stop at least one morning each week and double check to make sure I have all my clothes on and that my shoes match (my outfit and each other)…I take a deep breath and tell myself to “walk on”. Just take the next step. One foot in front of the other. I think of those beautiful women posing for a picture at a bridal shower, still radiant after years of putting one foot in front of the other. I want to be them one day. In order to get to where they are, I just have to…

Walk on.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 3

The last time the FLO girls got together for Bible study, we looked at week 2 of Angela Thomas’s “Beautiful Offering”. We talked about Biblical meekness and how that compared to our secular ideas about someone who is "meek", but we spent most of our time together talking about being hungry for God and what happens to us when we dine on "Spiritual junk food".

Week 3 of the study covers the next 4 Beatitudes. We'll cover 2 this week and 2 next week. This week are going to look at mercy and purity of heart and at the promises Jesus makes to us when we are...

When our God who IS Mercy comes like a shout into your darkness; when the Father stoops down and tenderly picks up the pieces of your broken life; when Jesus steps in front of what you really deserve; and when the Lord of heaven says, "I still want you," after you thought no one would; mercy is the most amazing truth of all.

Mercy provides a life-giving breath for the one who has been holding her breath. A moment of unexpected pardon. A lifetime of clemency. An eternal sigh of relief. Mercy, even in its smallest application, lets you breathe.

God returns the mercy you give away. One who gives away mercy never runs out of simply can't out give God.

Remember the Promise?
"The merciful will be shown mercy"

Pure in Heart
Being "pure in Heart" is more about God living in you than God ruling over you. It is life transforming mainly because it is so much bigger than you are. . A pure heart is huge. Holy. All-inclusive. It encompases every piece of who you are. You can't make your heart pure and neither can I. So what's a woman desiring a pure heart to do?

Keep going to the only One who can make your heart pure and keep asking Him to make you clean. Don't lose heart in staying the course, in growing up, in being human, just keep going back to God and keep laying your impure heart on the altar of God so it can be made pure one more time.

Remember the promise?
"The pure in heart will see God"

I can’t wait to talk with you Sunday night in Bible Study!
Until then, Hugs all around!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lessons Learned from a Bridal Shower - Part I

Not So Different After All

Not long ago, I attended a bridal shower at our church. I hate to admit this, but I was a bit apprehensive about going. I have a close group of girlfriends that I do most everything with…okay, we do everything together…and none of them knew the bride to be (she grew up in our church but has not attended in several years)… and they weren’t going to the shower….and that meant I had to go “alone”.

Actually, apprehensive isn’t quite the right emotion…I was really quite distressed. I ALMOST called my friends and chastised them for sending me to this event alone. See, I don’t have a lot in common with the ladies that gave the shower. I mean, I know them, and they know me, but they are grandmothers and great grandmothers. I am mom of 2, ages 10 and 4. They have all the details of life ironed out while I am checking the calendar to see what day of the week it is. Their lives run smoothly and their homes are in order. My life is a whirlwind and there are days that I PRAY no one drops by my house unannounced! On the way to the shower, I racked my brain for things to talk about. Every topic that came to mind was quickly dismissed. What interest could these ladies possibly have in anything I have to talk about? By the time I got there, I was a nervous wreck.

Turns out, I had a grand time. I mean, I REALLY had a good time! With the security of my best friends taken away, I was able to REALLY enjoy the company of the ladies who hosted the shower. I had a blast! We had LOTS to talk about. I learned a lot at that Bridal Shower, specifically that we aren’t really all that different…every one of them remembers what it was like to be the mom of little kids…what it feels like for life to be a whirlwind…one even admitted to having to check the calendar every now and then to see what day it is.

We have a lot in common simply because we are women. We are all on this adventure called life. These ladies are just farther along in the journey than I am. They have experienced things that I have not. They have learned things that I have not. I learned a lot at that bridal shower. Things like:
· You’ll miss picking toys up in the living room (again) when the kids are gone.
· God really is in control.
· Everybody needs extra serving spoons.
· Sometimes all you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, and that’s okay.
· Nothing beats stainless measuring cups.
· Family and friends are more important than spotless furniture.
· Things rarely go as planned.
· Inner beauty is revealed as youth fades away.
· We all need an extra set of sheets.
· You never stop missing your mom.
· Good friends stand the test of time.
· You never stop worrying about your kids.
· We’re only here for a little while, but we live forever in the memories of the ones whose
lives we touch.
· It is not easy to make perfectly pink punch
· We spend a lot of time worrying about things that don’t really matter.
· When it’s all said and done, life is a lot like a cookie sheet.

James 4: 13-15 says, Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Press On

This song reminds me of one of my favorite passages of scripture, Psalm 121:1-2, "I will lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."

No matter what your week holds, no matter what you may face tomorrow, know that through Him, you can Press On!

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

What You Need!

3 cans (7.5 oz. each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk

Make It!

Heat oven to 350. Cut each biscuit into quarters. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add dough quarters, in bathes; toss to coat. Place 1/2 the biscuit pieces in greased 12-cup fluted tube pan; drizzle with 1/2 the butter. Repeat. Sprinkle with any remaining cinnamon-sugar. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes; invert onto serving plate. Remove pan. Beat cream cheese and powedered sugar in small bowl with mixer until well blended. Add 1 TBSP milk; beat until well blended. Blend in enough of the remaining milk until glaze is of desired consistency. Drizzle over warm bread.

FLO Ministry Team

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Making a Difference Through Your Work

by Chris Adams

"And whatsoever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17)

Whether you work outside the home or on the “home front”, how do you view your workplace?

What is your work status: full-time outside the home, part-time outside the home, full-time homemaker, home-based business?

Do you feel that you are where God wants you to be? If so, how did God lead you to the work you are doing? If you need assurance or direction, prayerfully seek to align with God’s will and His plan for your life and work.

Do you see your work as a drudgery or as a mission field? Do you see it as an act of obedience?

How do you usually greet the morning when you think of the day and the tasks that lie ahead?

What issues do you face on a daily basis? (Are you dealing with unrealistic expectations, temptations, conflict, deadlines, etc.?)

What would help you look forward to your work with expectation and opportunity?
According to Colossians 3:17, how should we “do” whatever God leads us to do?

Think about coworkers or neighbors who are in need right now. Ask God to show you ways to reach out to them. Each day, prayerfully look for opportunities to be a light in a dark world.

As God leads, pray Psalm 143:8: “Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go, because I long for You.”

Thank the Lord for the work He has called you to do. Pray for your coworkers and for other people God places in your path. Ask Him to use you to bless their lives today.

Throughout your day, watch for open doors to share His love with those who need His touch.

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Thursday, September 17, 2009

HELP! My Life is out of Control!

From time to time, we get an e-mail that hits home with all of us on the ministry team. Since it rings true with all of us, we can only assume that it will ring true to most of you as well. With the permission of the sweet gal who sent the e-mail, and with all specific details removed, we would like to share her e-mail and Christa’s response…just in case you are having one of “those” days.

Ok ladies! I need you guys!

I am assuming I am under attack in the worst way. I feel totally absolutely positively out of control in my life. My house is in disarray, my kids are off the hinges, I am neglecting my body and can’t stop ----- I really feel out of control. Everytime I get one thing in order, something else goes crazy! I feel lost - I feel helpless - I feel beaten down - you name it. Nothing is going the way I want it to go.

So you ask me if I have prayed about it - well guess not my prayer life really isn’t all that right now. I don’t know what is going on - YUCKY that is all it is.

The devil knows how to get to me and he is pouncing on my head.
FLO Follower

Dearest FLO Follower,

I’m sitting here racking my brain trying to think of some something to tell you that will help it…like some novel idea or some great and amazing something to tell you. I can’t think of anything, so I’m just going to resort to what I know.

If you are like me, when you are under attack, the very last thing you have the strength to do is to pray on your own behalf. I know one thing, the Bible says in Romans 8:26-27 in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. SO, even when we can’t pray, the Holy Spirit is praying for us. He is groaning on our behalf…I like to think of it as he’s literally feeling our pain and our struggle WITH us. He knows even better what it is that we need. We can trust in that fact.

One thing I’d tell you to do right now….BE STILL and KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.

Just be still. ...

Breathe. ...

Count your breaths. ...

Sit back and just think about that fact that God loves you....

You are his delight….

you are His pride and joy…

He’s preparing a home for YOU. ...

He’s in control.

No matter how out of sorts you feel, HE’S IN CONTROL OF THINGS and you can trust in that fact. His will is being accomplished. It hurts, it doesn’t feel good, it’s messy, it’s hard, it seems unfair, but it’s working together for a greater purpose. Sit back and give Him all the crazy out of control stuff that is driving you nuts. He wants you to need Him and you very desperately do today. Let Him meet with you today. Let Him be close to you and all that takes is willingness on your part. You tell the devil to get back…make him say, oh No! she’s back and I’m not going to get control of her! Even if you have to utter Jesus’ name…the Bible says that Satan trembles at the VERY MENTION of HIS name (I have cold chills typing this). You take hold to the friend that’s closer to you than any of your family, than any of your friends, than even your husband, the one who loves you immeasurably!

I Corinthians 14:33 says For God is not the author of confusion but of PEACE!

II Corinthians 10:5 says we demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT to make it obedient to Christ.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 55:22 – Cast you cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall

Dear Lord, thank you so much for my dear friend. Now God, you know she is defeated. You knew this before her feet ever hit the floor this morning. You knew what kind of day she would have. BUT GOD, THANK YOU for the wonderful reminder that You are in control!!! Please allow her to have peace. Make it easy for her to give all this stuff over to you. Help her to keep the main thing the main thing in her life, and we know that that’s you, dear Lord. Right now I specifically pray for strength for her. I pray that you’d help her to mentally place one foot in front of the other. Help her not to allow Satan to get any attention or to distract her any longer. He thinks he has a chance, but as long as she keeps her eyes on You, he doesn’t. We’re coming to her defense and we’re pointing her to YOU, almighty Father! Please give her the strength to take a deep breath, dust herself off and pick herself up out of the dust and dirt of this world. Give her wisdom. Help her see her body through YOUR eyes, because you were the one who created her. Draw her ever so close! Help her to feel your very breath on her shoulder. Love her big, Lord. She needs you today! We ask these things in your precious son’s name, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, AMEN!

Now, you get mad at the devil and you go to battle! LOVE YOU!!!

Praying for you,


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 2

Last week we talked about Jesus' promises to us when we are broken and wounded. Jesus promises that when we lay our poor spirit (completely broken, blown into a million pieces) on the altar of God, He will meet us with the Kingdom of Heaven. When our spirit is completely broken, there is more room for God to dwell in us. Jesus promises that when we seek Him in our Mourning (when we are wounded), He will give us the comfort our soul is longing for.

This week we will talk about what Jesus promises those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and what He promises the meek. Angela refers to being meek as coming to God just as you are. "God here I am, you know me and you know what you're getting. It's just me, but you can have all of me and use me as you see fit."

Rather than post a video after the Bible Study on Sunday night, I want to invite you to use the following one to help you prepare for Sunday's lesson. If you want to be filled, you must hunger and thirst for the things of God. If you want to inherit the blessings God has waiting for you, you must offer Him yourself....just you. If you are like me and need a bit of encouragement and a little guidance, allow these words to wash over you. Personalize them. Offer yourself, just as you are, to your Heavenly Father. Let this be your prayer.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Cheesy Potatoes


2 Tablespoon Butter melted
20 RITZ Crackers crushed (about 1 cup)
1 Can condensed cream of chicken soup (10-3/4 oz.)
1 Package frozen Southern-style hash browns thawed (32 oz)
1 Package KRAFT Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (8 oz)


PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine soup and sour cream in large bowl. Add potatoes and cheese; mix well. SPOON mixture into 13x9-inch baking dish. Combine cracker crumbs and butter; sprinkle over potato mixture. BAKE 50 min. or until heated through.

FLO Ministry Team

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

When I am poor in spirit, He provides the Kingdom of Heaven.

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hurtful Words, Healing Words - Part 2

These are hurtful words:

"Why didn't you pick up something for dinner?"
"Can't you help with the kids?"
"You don't have to play on the computer again, do you?"
"You never accept anything I say?"
"Why are you always so critical of me?"

One stinging, critical phrase leads to a defensive, stinging retort. The fight is on. The fight actually never stopped. There was simply a break in the action. Going to work can sometimes feel like a reprieve from the verbal violence that occurs regularly in the home. If this sounds familiar, don't feel alone. Millions of other couples slip into this kind of derogatory, disrespectful language. Christian couples, praying couples, Bible-reading couples fall into this terrible pattern of interacting.

Ephesians 4:29: "Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth…."

First, take responsibility for your words. Understand that every word you say to your mate either builds them up, or tears them down. Every attitude you bring in the door of your home either is uplifting, or degrading. Watch how you communicate and be open to feedback about what kind of language you use in your marriage.

Second, every couple has communication challenges. You're not alone. Even the most well-adjusted couple on the planet must work at healthy communication. We often portray our best front to friends and family, but behind the scenes we become lax and relate in destructive ways.

Third, marriage has unique challenges. It never comes naturally. We can never completely relax, especially in our marriage. Marriage is where the real challenge of healthy relating takes place. Marriage contains challenges not found with friends or the workplace.

Fourth, it takes significant effort, and practice, to learn healthy communication skills. They usually cannot be fully mastered by reading a book or attending a few counseling sessions. Many need marriage counseling, where you sit with a coach/ counselor who watches your interactions closely and helps you understand where you are making mistakes.

Fifth, even after learning communication and conflict resolution skills, you need to practice, practice and practice them some more. Don't get discouraged as you struggle to discover a new way of relating. Like learning a foreign language, or any new skill, it won't necessarily come easy. Don't give up.

Sixth, one person, changing their response, can alter the pattern of communication. You can decide not to engage in a verbal battle. You can refuse to offer a defensive retort. You can choose to offer encouraging words that build your mate up. You can insist on ongoing couples counseling.

Finally, pray for God's guidance. The Holy Spirit is our greatest counselor, and will guide us into truth. Be prepared for conviction as the Counselor reveals areas needing change. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16: 13) Pray that the Holy Spirit reveals words that must be changed.

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 1

Sunday night we introduced our Fall Bible Study, "Beautiful Offering" by Angela Thomas.

Over the next several weeks, we are going to take a close look at the Sermon on the Mount. We will spend a good bit of time with the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5
The Beatitudes

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

In this study, Angela asks us to look at the Beatitudes with fresh eyes. If you are like me (and evidently like Angela), you were taught the Beatitudes as things you should try to be. "Gotta be's"...You "gotta be" poor in spirit to inherit the Kingdom of God. You "gotta be" merciful to be shown mercy. You get the idea. Well, in the first week of the study, Angela asks us to revisit the Beatitudes, not as a list of "gotta be's", but as a list of promises from our loving Father for "when we are"....

Each of the Beatitudes lists a spiritual condition and follows with a promise. You can fill in the blanks below to get a fresh understanding of the promises Jesus is making in these verses.

For example, When you are poor in spirit, Jesus comes with the Kingdom of God.

Now you fill in the blakns with the rest of the Beatitudes:
When I am __________, Jesus comes with __________________.

Bury these promises in your heart. They are yours if you are a follower of Christ. Claim them BEFORE you need them. Bury them deep in your heart so that when you find yourself empty, broken, mourning, and all the rest, you will be able to rest in the promise spoken by Jesus Himself. He is near, the Kingdom is yours, and when you lay down your life, with all its imperfections, and give everything completely and totally to your Lord, it is a beautiful offering to Him.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Hurtful Words, Healing Words - Part I

Have you ever considered the fact that every word you say—every word—has the power to either hurt or heal?

That may sound a little exaggerated, but it's true. A misspoken word here, a sarcastic quip there can hardly hurt a marriage, you think. When your mate makes a snide comment about the burnt toast at breakfast, it can't be held against you if you snipe back that he never seems to notice when his toast is made to perfection. Tit for tat can't do harm. Right? Think again.

Imagine gathering at your favorite coffee shop for a latte. It is filled with your favorite people, your best friends. The room is filled with laughter and chatting. You join in, telling a joke or two. While you don't take yourself or them too seriously, you also understand a very important truth: every word spoken has the power to hurt or heal, and can never be taken back. Knowing this, you're prepared with your best behavior.

Walking, biking or jogging with your friends, and later sitting over your hot drink, you never think of chiding your friends for their behavior. You never think of ridiculing them. You think twice, or even three times, before offering unsolicited advice. You're never sarcastic. You don't shoot passive-aggressive barbs. You know this thoughtless action destroys prized friendships.

You leave your friends feeling energized, excited and ready to face the day. Somewhere between this enlivening encounter and home to your mate, something changes. The rules change. Whereas with your friends you know you must follow certain protocol—practicing manners and gentle respect-- or be forever banned from The Circle, something changes on your way into your driveway. Somewhere between the car and the door to your home, you become lax. You let down your guard. You slip into a lazy, disrespectful attitude, and a close inspection of the words you speak shows up.

If you're like millions of others, you hardly greet your mate when you enter the house. You throw your coat on the couch and grab something to soothe your jagged nerves. Maybe it's a drink, the evening paper, the controls to a computer game—anything. But, because of the great divide between you and your mate, you don't look to him to offer soothing, understanding words.

Fairly quickly your mate says something that is slightly offensive, and the war of words begins. Not nice words. Not encouraging words. Not words that build up or build a bridge between the two of you. No, these are hurtful words.

Psalm 19:14 says this, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."

We can't control what others let sneak out of their mouths, but we can control what comes out of our own! Stay tuned for Part II of this devotional thought, courtesy of Kristy Freels.

Serving Him,
FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chocolate Eclair Squares

What You Need!

2 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
64 NILLA Wafers
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Make It!

BEAT milk and pudding mixes with whisk 2 min. Stir in COOL WHIP.
ARRANGE 16 wafers on bottom of 8-inch square dish; cover with 1/3 of pudding mixture. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining wafers. Refrigerate 4 hours.
MICROWAVE chocolate in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. or until melted when stirred. Drizzle over dessert.

FLO Ministry Team

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Beautiful Offering

Hi Ladies!

FLO Fall Bible Study starts September 6 and I just cannot wait! I wanted to answer a few questions and give you a feel of what the set up will be for the Fall Session.

* We will not be using a video this session.

* Angela Thomas has a book and a Bible Study titled “A Beautiful Offering”. I am using both to prepare for our group each week.

*You may buy the books at Lifeway or online, but YOU DO NOT NEED THE BOOKS TO ATTEND THE CLASS. The actual Bible study is set up like many we have done in the past. There are 5 days of lessons for you to do on your own before we get together and discuss. Over the years, the most common reason for missing “class” has been “I did not get my lessons completed, so I stayed home”. I have also been told time and time again “I did the entire week’s lessons today at lunch!” After MUCH prayer and consideration, I have decided to structure the session in such a way that you will not need to have had completed the week’s lessons in order to participate. In hopes of removing the stress of getting the lessons completed, I am structuring the “Class” so that you need not have done any prep work. All you will need to do is show up.

* HOWEVER, as will all things spiritual, you will get as much out of it as you put into it and I do suggest that you get the Bible study and or the book for YOURSELF and your personal spiritual growth even though you will be able to participate in the class without them.

* I will send out mid-week e-mails. These e-mails will reiterate the previous week’s discussion and will let you know what we’ll be talking about the next week.

* I’ll be posting a blurb about the study on the FLO blog each week.

* The Study is 6 weeks long, but there will be a week or two when we will not meet because of church-wide functions, so I am planning for the Fall Study to last 8 weeks.

Pleas join us!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Memo from God

MEMO FROM GOD ~ Author Unknown

Effective immediately, please be aware that there are changes you need to make in your life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill my promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life.

1. QUIT WORRYING Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

2. PUT IT ON THE LIST Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to me. And although my to-do list is long, I am after all, God. I can take care of anything you put into my hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things that you never even realize.

3. TRUST ME Once you've given your burdens to me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on my list. Problem with finances? Put it on my list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For my sake, put it on my list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4. LEAVE IT ALONE Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with me and forget about them. Just let me do my job.

5.TALK TO ME I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please don't forget to talk to me OFTEN! I love you. I want to hear your voice. I want you to include me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6. HAVE FAITH I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in me that I know what I'm doing. Trust me, you wouldn't want the view from my eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

7.SHARE You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8. BE PATIENT I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes me a little longer than you expect to handle something on my to-do-list? Trust in my timing, for my timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for my sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please know I love each of your differences.

10. LOVE YOURSELF As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only - to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes my heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget that!

With all my heart I love you,