Thursday, March 31, 2016

Do you have what it takes?

Top 10 Traits of Highly Successful People

1.       They work hard

a.       Success never goes on sale – there are no short cuts

2.       Eager to learn and apply something new – work hard – attend everything

3.       Network & value people

a.       Make people feel special

4.       Work on themselves

5.       Creative

6.       Self-reliant & take action (initiative)

7.       Keep their balance & perspective

8.       Live in the present moment

9.       Look over the horizon & seldom get caught unprepared or surprised

10.   Respond quickly

Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23b)
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 36:7)

The abundance of God’s love is poured out on all those who love and know Him – a personal intimate relationship.
Be blessed and be a blessing!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What is an Anhinga?

A is for ... Anhinga

The anhinga sometimes called snakebird, darter, American darter, or water turkey. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird.

A long-necked, long-tailed swimmer of southeastern swamps. Often seen perched on a snag above the water, with its wings half-spread to dry. Can vary its buoyancy in water, sometimes swimming with only head and neck above water (earning it the nickname of "Snakebird"). Often solitary when feeding, it roosts in groups and nests in colonies. Looks rather like a cormorant when perched, but not in flight, when the long tail may be spread wide as the Anhinga soars high on outstretched wings. Anhingas are silent at most times, but around nesting colonies they make various croaking and clicking sounds.

This is the beginning of a nature series I'd going to photograph things that begin with letters of the alphabet.

Anhinga chicks


Photo taken at the Viera Wetlands, Florida

Monday, March 28, 2016

Act Like a Success!

Act Like a Success


How would you act today if you were the most successful person in your industry?

How would you dress? How would you walk?

How would you prioritize your time? Who would you speak to? What would you say?

What is preventing you from doing these things today?
Nothing except your own expectations. You can stand confidently, walk confidently, speak and act confidently at any point in time. Confidence comes not only from where you’ve been. It also comes from where you expect to go. Expect the best and you’ll be your best.

Sincerely act like a winner and you become a winner. Winners understand that their actions create their reality.

How would you act if you were successful? Do it today. Understand that the actions come first and the success comes as a result. Act like a success, and before long you will be!
Be blessed and be a blessing!

...from Ralph Marston


Saturday, March 19, 2016


The Power of Persistence


Any God-given dream will be too big for us to accomplish on our own. 

Therefore, it stands to reason, there will be periodic challenges, times of discouragement, even bouts of depression and wanting to give up and thrown in the towel.

We have an entire book full of encouragement,, the Book of Philippians. Here are just a few of some of the frequently quoted verses:

  • Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus - Philippians 1:6.
  • Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me - Philippians 3:13-14.
  • I can do all this through Him who give me strength - Philippians 4:13. This is one of my all time favorites and I quote it a lot!
  • Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say again: Rejoice! ...Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God - Philippians 4:4,6.
In Philippians, Paul provided a prescription for persisting when the going gets tough. It is true that tough times never last, but tough people do. Because...
  1. Tough people get through tough times because they believe God has a plan for their lives, and that He will complete the plan. They believe the story is not over yet, and it will have a happy ending.
  2. Tough people get through tough times because they are able to forget the mistakes of the past by learning from them and then focusing on the future.
  3. Tough people get through tough times because they tap prayerfully into the strength that Christ is giving them.
  4. Tough people get through tough times because they give thanks even in the tough times. They ask God with thanksgiving for what they need to get through the tough times.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. No matter what we're going through in this life, it is important to God that we not give up.

We just have to trust God and leave all the consequences to Him. The story is not over and it will have a happy ending!

Be blessed and be a blessing! Trust God to provide all you need!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Woman of Great Faith

The Syrophoenician Woman: A Woman of Great Faith

“And from thence he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon” (Mark 7:24a). Matthew wrote that Jesus “withdrew” (15:21). This was the third time in which Jesus withdrew from Galilee in the gospel of Mark.

The Lord sought solitude with his disciples, but the text says,
“And he entered into a house, and would have no man know it; and he could not be hid” (7:24b).

He had not gone into Gentile territory to embark on a healing ministry, but his fame had reached beyond the borders of Galilee.
During this retreat into a largely Gentile region, a woman approached Jesus for help. Mark introduced the account with a strong adversative conjunction, “but,” (Grk. alla), recording the fact that in contrast to the need for seclusion, a notable scene developed.
Mark 7:25 reveals that when this woman heard that Jesus was in the area, she came immediately and fell down at his feet. The aorist participles indicate that she fell down at his feet when she heard and when she came. Thus, the writer expressed the urgency in this mother’s heart as she unabashedly pursued Jesus — immediately.
Mark explained that she was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race (7:26). She was a Greek speaking lady who was a Gentile. She kept on asking (Grk. imperfect tense) him to cast forth the demon out of her daughter. Matthew related that her request was formed in this way: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon. But he answered her not a word” (Matthew 15:22-23). So intrusive was this woman that the disciples encouraged Jesus to send her away.
Jesus replied by saying, “I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). “But she came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me” (v. 25).
“And he said to her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs” (Mark 7:27). Jesus used the diminutive form of the term “dogs” (i.e., the little dogs). D. Edmond Hiebert observed, “Jesus softened the force of the expression with His use of the diminutive, ‘little dogs’. . . Clearly His reference is to the little household pets, which, while not children in the house, yet had a place in the affairs of the household.”
The woman followed the Lord’s parable, acknowledging the distinction implied by his words. Perhaps she saw a glimmer of hope in the word “first,” for Jesus implicitly revealed that while there was a redemptive priority for the Jews, the blessings of heaven did not exclusively belong to them.
With remarkable insight and persistence, she replied, “Yea, Lord; even the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs” (Mark. 7:28). Jesus responded, “For this saying go thy way; the demon is gone out of thy daughter” (v. 29).
“This saying,” (i.e., her reply to Jesus) evidenced great faith on her part. Matthew records the assessment of our Lord: “O woman, great is thy faith” (15:28). Because of her faith, expressed in her thoughtful exchange with Jesus, the Lord granted her request for a miracle. The verb “is gone out,” is in the perfect tense, reflecting the Lord’s control and power. The demon left while they spoke and would remain out.
Consider the following observations about this woman of great faith.
This lady had great spiritual insight. She was not asking the Lord to alter the way he was implementing the plan of God, which would later be carried out by the apostles to the Jew first and also to the Greek. She was simply asking for a “crumb.” Faith is based upon understanding the will of God. It is founded upon knowledge — not mere emotion.
This mother illustrated the connection between faith and unfavorable circumstances. Great faith will rely upon the Son of God. Faith becomes stronger in times of distress for those who tenaciously depend on God (James 1:2-4).
This woman demonstrated that great faith seeks the welfare of others. Those who trust in God will intercede for others. How much more ought we to be concerned about the spiritual welfare of those we love?
The Gentile lady showed the relationship of faith and humility. Her humble disposition complimented her genuine faith. Great faith is seeing one’s complete dependence upon God.
The Syrophoenician woman taught us that great faith endures. She was steadfast and resilient in her request of the Lord. Reminiscent of the woman who pursued the unjust judge, she reminds us to always pray and never give up (Luke 18:1).
The distressed mother exemplified that great faith in the Son of God will result in a great deliverance. Although miraculous healings were confined to the first century during the infancy of Christianity (John 20:30-31; see What Does the Bible Say About Miracles?), today everyone who will follow the Lord with obedient faith can be delivered from that which plagues all morally accountable people — sin.
What a relevant message. We need to cultivate great faith so that we may obtain the greater deliverance through the Great Physician — the salvation of our souls.

Be Blessed and be a Blessing!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

12 Women of the Bible - Week 6

Week 6 – The Syrophoenician Woman

Happy Week 6, OBSers! Can you believe we are almost done with our study? This is the last of the women we will be studying for this part of our study.

One of the ladies in our God's Girls group suggested it and it sounds like it would be fun to try! To have Bible Study Live - Live on Thursday! It sounds like fun, right?! We can meet at Starbucks or McDonald's, somewhere there's FREE Wi-Fi with our laptops and tablets so those who can't make it or don't live local can still participate in the discussion. Let me know if you’re interested and we can decide on a location.

Okay, here is the last of our Weekly Lowdown’s. Print this, post it to your fridge or tuck it in your study book. This is your SUGGESTED guide for the week to help you keep up in the Bible study!

What We’re Reading This Week... The Syrophoenician Woman in the guide - pages 145 - 153.

This week’s memory verse: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed…great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22a-23b (NIV)
Here’s what’s happening in our study this week…

Observe  What are your thoughts when you read this statement by Naomi Zacharias, "It is one thing to believe someone can do something. It is an entirely different thing to believe with confidence that they will!?"

Bible — Take a moment and read Lamentations 3:22-23

In your notebook or journal write out your answers to these questions:
1.   What are some ways God has shown His mercy, compassion and faithfulness in your life?
2.   1 Corinthians 13:8 states that love will last forever. What are your thoughts toward God and His love for you?
3.   No matter what we’re going through, God is always there. Write pray of praise and thanksgiving, for how good God has been to you.
4.   What can we do as Christ-Followers to spread the Love of Jesus?

Stretch   Fill in the blank: This week, I’m going to spread the love of Jesus by doing or saying the following _______. #12Women-CCMV, #12Women, #OBS

Everyone who leaves a comment on the blog today will be entered to win a copy of the book “Sacred Roots: Why the Church Still Matters” by Jon Tyson!

#12Women-CCMV, #12Women, #OBS – When you post on social media about the study, use these hashtags! If you want to see what other OBSers are saying, search these tags to connect!

Daily Blog Posts, Bible Study & Discussion
● Monday, Wednesday and Friday – New study email/blog posts, so check your email or head to the Facebook page to join in the conversation!

● Wednesday – Video teaching from StudyGateway, I hope you and your family have been enjoying this special feature of our Online Bible Study.

Thursday, 2/25
● Bible Study LIVE! 8 p.m. ET ~ One hour of live fun and great conversation! -

Syrophoenician Woman: Approaching God with Persistence and Boldness. We will learn how to keep our faith over long periods of unanswered prayer and gain confidence in Jesus.

Her Character:  Though a Gentile, she addressed Jesus as “Lord, Son of David.” Her great faith resulted in her daughter’s deliverance.

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 15”21-28; Mark 7:24-30

The Syrophoenician Woman’s Life and Times
The New Testament teems with stories of people possess by demons. Demons are fallen angels, emissaries of Satan, sent to earth to oppress human beings and lead them astray. Under Satan’s control, their only goal is to further his purposes. They have supernatural powers here on earth; supernatural intelligence – they know and try to hide the truth (1 John 4:1-3) and they recognize Jesus as God’s Son (Mart 5:7); and supernatural strength – a man possessed by demons could break away even when chained. (Luke 8:29)

Though supernatural in their strength, demons are not more powerful than God or His Son. Whenever demons came face to face with Christ or his disciples in the New Testament, they trembles and did his bidding.

What the New Testament describes as demon-possessed people we would today depict as having an illness of some sort, physical or mental. How much distinction can be made between the two is uncertain. After Jesus cast a demon out of one man, he was described as “sitting there, dressed and in his right mind” (Mark 5:15). The man’s demon-possession could easily have been extreme mental illness. At times, demon-possession caused muteness or blindness or convulsions (Matthew 9:32; 12:22; Mark 9:20). We can only speculate whether today we would view these illnesses as purely physical.

It is interesting to note that demons are mentioned only twice in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalm 106:37), yet over seventy times in the New Testament – all but a few of those in the Gospels. Perhaps Jesus ministry to the sick exposed demonic activity as never before. Or perhaps Satan focused an extraordinary amount of his strength and power over the land of Israel while Jesus walked and healed there.

Our Life and Times
When Jesus left this earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His people. The life of Christ within us, as believers, is our defense against the forces of evil. We may suffer from physical, emotional, or mental illnesses that seem like demons within us, and God often uses the power of medical treatment to heal us of those illnesses – but let’s not discount the power we possess within ourselves as children of God. That power forms a hedge of protection around and within us as we maintain a close relationship with God the Father, Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit, our strength and comfort.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thirsty for Truth

The Woman at the Well: Thirsty for Truth

We don't know her name or age. But her conversation with the Lord is his longest one-on-one chat recorded in Scripture. Reason enough to give our sister from Samaria a fresh look.
It was high noon on a hot day. Jesus, tired from traveling, chose a sensible rest stop—Jacob's well outside the town of Sychar—while waiting for his disciples to go into town for food. When our unnamed woman appeared with clay jar in hand, Jesus made a simple request: "Will you give me a drink?" (John 4:7).
Uh-oh. (1) Jews weren't supposed to speak to Samaritans. (2) Men weren't permitted to address women without their husbands present. And (3) rabbis had no business speaking to shady ladies such as this one. Jesus was willing to toss out the rules, but our woman at the well wasn't. "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman," she reminded him. "How can you ask me for a drink?" (John 4:9).
She focused on the law; Jesus focused on grace.
An Offer She Couldn't Refuse
He began, "If you knew the gift of God … " (John 4:10). If. A tantalizing invitation. And gift. A truly irresistible offering. Especially "the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:15).

Instead of insisting she pour him a drink, the Lord offered her "living water" (John 4:10). Water from the ground was common, but living water? Now he had her attention.
This polite but gutsy woman pointed out the obvious: "You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?" (John 4:11). Her natural curiosity prompted her to ask questions, as seekers do today. Such queries are no cause for nervousness. Jesus knows how to handle doubt and disbelief.
To quench her spiritual thirst, the Lord first confessed the truth about plain H2O: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again" (John 4:13). Then Jesus made a bold promise: "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst" (John 4:14). In one sentence he shifted from everyday life to everlasting life.
Was our girl ready for that leap of faith? Not quite. She wanted whatever he was offering, but only so she could avoid returning to the well for water. If we're honest, we get this motivation. Eager to satisfy our physical desires, we overlook our spiritual needs.
Time for an intervention.
Speaking the Truth in Love
Jesus told her, "Go, call your husband and come back" (John 4:16). Not an odd request, since women couldn't converse alone with a man in a public place. But Jesus' request was more about uncovering truth than about following society's rules.
When she confessed, "I have no husband" (John 4:17), Jesus affirmed her answer, then gently exposed her sin: "The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband" (John 4:18).
Five marriages didn't make her a sinner. Due to warfare, famine, disease, and injury, men in those days dropped like flies. A widow became either a beggar, a prostitute, or another man's wife. Each time, this Samaritan woman had chosen the best option.
But sharing her bed with a sixth man who wasn't her husband? That was a sin.
Did she fess up? Nope. She changed the subject.
She talked about worship, Jerusalem, the differences between Jews and Samaritans. Again, we get her evasion. Before I knew Jesus as my Savior, if someone steered conversation down a spiritual path, I veered toward religion and away from relationship. Too scary, too personal.
Finally, the woman at the well did her best to shut Jesus down. "When [the Messiah] comes, he will explain everything to us" (John 4:25).
How stunned she must have been at Jesus' revelation: "I who speak to you am he" (John 4:26). The next moment, the arrival of his followers confirmed his identity and gave the woman time to process the truth: The Anointed One had come!
Overjoyed, she left her water jar and went back into town to urge her neighbors, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29).
In any century, our response to the Lord is the same. We confront our true selves, experience God's grace, and share the good news.
Be bless and be a blessing!

A study of John 4:5-42 by Liz Curtis Higgs

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