Fear is a Four Letter Word
2 Timothy 1:7,"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (NIV)

We've all experienced fear at some point in our lives.
I did a little homework on this word and discovered something interesting about the fear mentioned in this verse.

This type of fear gets in the way of what God has already given His children.
This fear floods us with doubt and insecurity, it confuses our thoughts, feelings and actions.

This fear is one of the greatest weapons used by our enemy, Satan.
He whispers lies of fear like this:
"Be afraid, You are no good."
"Be afraid, You are not loved."
"Be afraid, You are worthless."

How can we fight these lies?
We need to focus on the Truth found in the second part of that verse.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit (not our own), God has given us His power, His love, and His sound mind.

If you're fearful today, check the source. Could it be Satan whispering his lies to your heart?

What will you do with what you've already been given?

Recipe for Friendship
Hey friends,

I've been digging through my files in an effort to clean out some things and I ran across this tasty item and wanted to share it with you.

Sisters In Christ Friendship Recipe

Shortening - Provides texture. Our fellowship and friendship with our sisters in the Lord can add much depth and texture to our lives. We blend together in unity as part of the body of Christ.
Sugar - Adds sweetness. Our fellowship with our sisters adds such a sweet taste to our lives. If we didn't have sugar in our cookies, we'd sure miss it. The same is with our fellowship with our sisters. We can't leave it out of our lives.
Eggs - Holds ingredients together. Sisters in the Lord are someone to lean on. We are held together by fellowship with them. We are stronger because of them, their prayers, and their love in the Lord. We have a special bond in Christ.
Vanilla - Adds flavor. Sisters add that flavor we need. They give us that extra sensation. Without friends and fellowship we become kind of bland.
Flour - Adds substance. We need the substance a sister in the Lord can add. They give us many things by way of mentoring us when we don't even know it. Their shared testimonies and way they live their lives has an impact on us.
Baking Soda - Leavens. Leavening agents in baking helps to lighten the dough. Friendship with our sisters in Christ lightens our burdens through their prayer and encouragement.
Salt - Enhances flavor. We know that friendships add flavor and just when we need it, they help improve the tastefulness and quality of our lives. Friends are the type of people that know just what we are going through and are there when we need them.
Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips - - The kind of chocolate chips we normally add to our cookies is semi sweet. Our sister friends tell us what they feel and think and that's okay. They can be honest and truthful to us. "Iron sharpeneth iron" (Proverbs 27:17).
Nuts...Optional - Just a little craziness in a sister friend is great! Sometimes a little zaniness in our friends can be just the ingredient we need.

Friendships take a lot of time and effort to bake up but they are worth it when we sense that sweet aroma and special bond that they bring. Friends that have Jesus in common will have lasting relationships, not just here on earth, but will dwell with Christ together throughout eternity.

"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there
is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24.

I wonder if I'm the type of friend that I should be to others, especially to my sisters in Christ. Am I doing all those things that I should be doing, like lifting burdens, adding flavor, helping hold things together with my prayers, and all those other things? I hope I can improve in this area.

So, is your life a good recipe for friendship?

She was grumbling as she entered the office and snapped at me for not checking her in fast enough.

How rude"I thought to myself. "Boy, that really burns me up!"
Then I took a deep breath, remembered that I'm a believer who happens works in a counseling office where people are stressed and need a little TLC.

If I wasn't careful, her grumbling would become my grumbling and her bad attitude would soon be mine, and that would certainly affect everyone in my office in a negative way.

I ran across this quote some time back and the Lord brought it to mind today.
An attitude is like electricity, except it travels faster and touches more

A good attitude is one that helps build others up, while a bad attitude spreads quickly, destroying the attitudes of others.
Both are quite contagious.

Try this simple experiment:
Simply smile and say hello to the next person you meet. I bet they will respond to you with a smile.
The opposite is also true, talk to someone with a crabby attitude and you will more than likely get you a crabby response.

Today's incident was a wake up call to check my attitude.

How will you handle the things that annoy you today, and what attitude will you show the world?

More importantly, will your attitude be one that expresses the love of Christ?

Ah...The Beach
Hey friends,

Tom and I are off to the beach later today for a few days for some rest and to visit some dear friends who have just moved to Wilmington, NC (Go Seahawks! Yep, that's my university).
You know the beach is my favorite place to be and I can't wait to arrive physically (mentally, I've been there for 3 days).

I have a lot of writing to do for an upcoming project and my mind seems to work best when my toes are in the sand.
I know we're supposed to have a few days of rain while we are there, but I don't care one bit. It's the beach!!!!!!
Walking on the beach rain or shine is fine, fine, fine!

Where is your favorite place to be and how often do you get to visit?
What subject should we discuss next?

Hey friends,

Thanks a million for all of your stories and words of wisdom on forgiveness. Yesterday I asked for the next topic you'd like to discuss and I received this request.
Here's it is:

I personally would love to hear some conversation about "acceptance and acting on change."When you know with every fiber of your soul that you must accept something and move on. But there are things that prevent you from accepting, let alone acting on the change. Does anyone else get stuck?How do you get unstuck?I stand still and wait on the Lord's timing. I need scripture to lean on.

Have you found yourself is this situation and what scripture did you find helpful?
What did you do differently to "move on"?
Who can offer us some words of wisdom?

Forgiveness Continues
Hey sweetest friends,

I read your precious comments and stories while we were in New England this weekend working the Adam Bishop Classic Golf Tournament with our son and daughter-in-law. Adam was Kelsey's brother and he died in a car wreck 3 years ago while driving to New England from Liberty University for Mother's Day.

All of your comments on forgiveness have touched my heart deeply and I'm grateful for the words of wisdom you have shared.

Here are but a few of your comments from the last few days.
It is my prayer that each of us will remember the depth of forgiveness we have received from our heavenly Father and will graciously extend that to others.

I finally came to understand that God puts people in your life for a season and we learn from each friendship how to be more like HIM.

The situation has caused me to grow stronger and closer to my God. And has shown me the kind of "friend" I never want to be. ;)

I met you in 2007 at the first dinner of the She Speaks conference that year, and what you said that night has stayed with me: We are all sisters in Christ and are going to spend an eternity together, so we might as well start getting to know each other now!Forgiving our friends who hurt us can be so difficult, but knowing that we'll be spending an eternity together should help remind us why it's so important to do that hard work here on earth.

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." Lewis Smedes
"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." Mark Twain

I was so impressed by the Holy Spirit to write a letter of repentance and asking for forgiveness... since then I have been walking in the Freedom of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's amazing the weight that is lifted when we allow the Lord hand to work and allow for forgiveness to take root in our lives instead of the anger and bitterness. I never had a response to the letter that I wrote... and I Still see this family member... it's hard every time because that anger wants to rear it's ugly head... but I take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and walk in forgiveness and freedom.

For those who have asked, yes, I have seen this lady a number of times since having coffee and she remains "cold and prickly".
I've learned two more important lessons through this.
I no longer ask "What did I do?" I ask "What can I learn from this?"
When the hurt returns, I've learned to replace the hurt by praying God's biggest and best blessings for her and her family.
It's been a growing exercise and it has yielded a depth of peace I've rarely experienced.

What subject would you like to discuss next?

Proverbs 31 Devotional
Hey friends,
If you're stopping by after reading today's Proverbs 31 devotional,
http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/  welcome. 
I hope you will join our discussion on the subject of forgiveness.
I have learned to love the quote I used in today's devotional,
"Forgiveness is like spinach. You might not like the taste but it is good for you."

Forgiveness can be a sensitive subject for sure, but I hope you will share your stories and insights with us.

Have you experienced a hurtful situation in your past that continues to occupy a place of "un-forgiveness" in your heart? In today's devotional I wrote about learning to forgive a dear friend who hurt me deeply, just to have her ignore my attempts to resolve the situation.
Hurt feelings? Oh Yeah!
Painful to be treated so rudely? You bet!
Eye opening? Huh? What?

Honestly, when this situation arose I never expected to be faced with the hurtful things I had said and done to others, but after studying God's word, I had to acknowledge that indeed I had said or done hurtful things to others in the past and at those times the forgiveness of God was extended to me.
Knowing this truth I could no longer allow myself to withhold forgiveness toward my friend.

Through further study God has shown me biblical steps to take as I forgive someone who has hurt me:
Recognize and confess my sins.
Psalm 41:4, "I said, ’O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.’" (NIV)
Rejoice in God’s forgiveness for my sins.
Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV)
Remember that forgiveness is a continual process.
Matthew 18:21-22a, "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." (NIV)

If you are tired of the bitter taste left in your mouth from "un" forgiveness I pray you will try God’s steps for a forgiving spirit.
I believe you’ll experience Psalm 34:8 for yourself:
"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (NIV)

Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude. Martin Luther King

Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive. C. S. Lewis

Forgiveness unleashes joy. It brings peace. It washes the slate clean. It sets all the highest values of love in motion. In a sense, forgiveness is Christianity at its highest level. John MacArthur

What words of wisdom can you share with us from your experiences with forgiveness?

Fund Raising
Hey Friends,
We are off to work a fund raiser with our son and daughter-in-law in New Hampshire.

Kelsey's half brother Adam Bishop was killed in a car wreck while driving from Liberty University to his home in New Hampshire three years ago.

A scholarship fund was started in his name and the golf tournament is this weekend.

Since Tom and I don't even know how to hold a golf club (not kidding), we are going to be driving golf carts. YAY!!!!

Here's the link if you want to check it out. http://www.adambishopclassic.com/

The weekend is going to be full of fun, fellowship and lots of celebration with lots of family and friends.

We're not only celebrating Adam's wonderful but very short life, we will be celebrating Debbie Bishop's 50th Birthday

and Debbie and Gary's 25th wedding anniversary.

Debbie is Kelsey's birth mom and Gary is her husband.

Kelsey's parents Charlie and Kathy will be there too along with Kelsey's sister Kim and her fiancee Tommy.
We're all staying the log cabin Gary built and I can't wait!
I promise to take pictures and post them when we return.
Joyful Days,

Sun Rise in the Sun Room
Gorgeous Monday morning friends,

My friend and fellow Proverbs 31 speaker Luann Prater sent this to me. I just love this picture and wanted to share it with you.
I enjoyed the beauty of this picture as I sat quietly before the Lord this morning and waited with a heart of anticipation for His presence to arrive.

The Lord never disappoints, and HE whispered HIS truths to my heart.

What truths is HE whispering to your heart on this gorgeous Monday morning?

Don't Miss this
Hey sweetest friends,

I couldn't wait to share this with you.

Our very own Lysa Terkeurst will be making another appearance on the Oprah show tomorrow

Here's the link to get a preview

Simply click on the "Friday's Show".

This piece is a follow-up on Lysa's adoption story and one more opportunity to show the world what the hands and feet of Christ look like.

Even if you're like me and you don't watch the Oprah Show, I'm asking you to make an exception.
I'm also encouraging you to pray for all those who will be watching.
Pray that every heart will be fertile ground to receive the "Good News" this segment brings.
Pray that the love of our sweet Jesus would find it's way into the lives of every one who watches.
Pray that MANY would taste and see that the Lord is good.
Pray that MANY lives would be changed and that MANY would come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

I'm excited to see what the Lord will do as HE opens one more door.

Now, I want you to check out my new friend Julie Staley's web-site.
She is one amazing photographer!!!!!!
I HATE having my picture taken, but had to have some new things done for an upcoming magazine cover.
Can I just say that this little tiny "fun sized" friend is amazing. She was able to make me look better than I do in real life and that was even before any retouching with photo shop.
I'm serious!
Julie is more than amazing.
Check out her web-site you will enjoy her work.

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