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!