A Woman of Standard by Trish

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Standard by definition (and with me paraphrasing) means to display a level of quality or excellence. To me, having a standard equates to having a “line in the sand” that says “this is my boundary and I will faithfully hold fast to what I personally believe is best for me.”

What does a lady with a standard look like in today’s society? I believe she has a standard to be just that, a lady. I personally believe that a lady with a standard has a conviction so deep within her heart to maintain excellence that she is not persuaded by her peers or outside influences to succumb to what others desire or expect. She knows who is, what she believes in and she is secure in her identity and belief system.

Before you can set a standard for your life, you must identify what your personal belief system is or in other words, what you STAND for. As Christian women, our belief system is rooted in the ultimate truth and that is the Word of God.

Being a woman with a standard and ESPECIALLY a Christian woman with a standard is not the most popular thing but, it will provide a fence of protection around your life to maintain that which is precious, YOU. You must recognize the value of who you are and set your standards to match your worth.

Keep in mind your set of standards may vary from the majority and that is okay. This does not make you more or less than the lady next to you. It is possible to maintain your standards without imposing them onto others or treating others differently who view and do life opposite of you.

In our home, we have a framed poster hanging on our wall and it is our family values, the standard by which we have chosen to govern our home. Are we perfect, not even close, but this standard is serving its purpose in reminding us how we’ve chosen to live life.

I challenge you ladies to look at your life. Do you need to identify your values so your standards are in place? Perhaps you need to rebuild the walls of your standards because you’ve compromised areas you know aren’t true to what you know is right for your life.

What do you stand for? What are you passionate about upholding as your personal truth? Live life boldly and be a woman of standard!

 

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Like Being a Pumpkin by Sonya

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 Fall is here and I thought about all the things that fall stands for.  One of them is pumpkins and our favorite tradition during this time is carving pumpkins as a family. Pumpkins are a great illustration of God’s love for us.

First it takes picking out a pumpkin and my kids love to pick that perfect one from the patch. It reminds me of how God chose us to be in His family and we are His precious one.  Then we have to wash that pumpkin off from all the dirt and grim they get from rubbing up against the ground and other pumpkins. The same with God, He brings us in and washes all that dirt off and wipes us clean on the outside from the pressures of this world and the people we surround ourselves with that are the wrong influences. God has to gently remind us to clean up but that is just what the outside is and what people see. Because the next step is working on the inside and for a pumpkin you have to carve out the top and get all the yucky stuff out. Our lives are so similar because we need to work to get out the filthy stuff inside and what is in our hearts. God is in the business to change our hearts and He cares more than this world what is going on inside. “Man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

How can we get rid of that yucky stuff inside our hearts?  The answer is simple, it is God and a belief in Jesus who died for us to wipe us clean and make us new in Him. But we have to be willing to let Him in so He can scoop that stuff out of our hearts like clearing out a pumpkin and removing all the seeds of hate, bitterness, anger, doubt, greed, pride and all those impurities. Revelation 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” This verse shows us how much God cares for us and wants to remove all those impurities and idols in our lives. That sin holds us down in life and experiencing all that God wants for us. He desires to give us a new heart and put a new spirit in us. Ezekiel 36:25-27 sums it up best of what He wants to do in our lives, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you and (you) will be clean, your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart with right desires and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.”

This is a life changing process as our hearts get clean and sometimes it doesn’t happen over night. It takes dedication and hard work to transform our hearts to be more like Jesus. As we become more like the image of Christ our light can then shine for Him. Just like a pumpkin, we put that light in after we have carved it out, and we can see a glow that lights up the darkness. Our light for Him is even brighter and as we move closer to Him we allow light inside of us to shine for the entire world to see. Shine your lights this season and watch how God will use you in mighty ways to be the light in the darkness.

 

World History by Bombi

This fall my high schooler is taking A.P. World History. After school, she’ll tell me a bit about what she’s learning and give a little breakdown of the lessons on world religion. I remember learning in school about world religion. It was at this time that God was revealing Himself in some of the deepest ways I’d ever experienced. I’m so thankful that I was able to have these experiences, for it would shape my life and future decisions.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my history with God. It’s been over 30 years since I asked Him into my heart. I’m so glad I was that young, because I really needed Him in my life. I look back at the bumps in the road that people placed there, and the gnarly detours I took myself, and I stand in amazement that I’m still standing. It’s all because of His faithfulness.

During the times I want to do the wrong thing or feel I have no way out of temptation, all I have to do is remember Jesus. If He were alive today and was sent to die during our times, He’d be subject to the same temptations as us. I imagine He’d be flipped off in traffic or cussed out by the neighbor. He’d see one of His best friends’ ear cut off by the police. The same stuff He dealt with then like lying tax collectors and accusing haters, He’d find them here today. Instead of lashing out in hatred, He’d choose the high road. Would it affect him? I’m sure He felt that weight of temptation beyond belief. But look what He did, He chose not to sin.

This is the God I serve. The God that’s existed before any world history. This is the God that knows what’s up. He knows what it’s like to feel the same things you and I feel. To be betrayed, or have His reputation put in the dirt. To have one of His best friends sell Him out or deny Him. I love Him so much for this. You see, He didn’t have to take it like that. It didn’t have to go down like that. But it did. He chose it. I praise Him for it. He deserves all honor, respect, praise, and glory. If you don’t know Him, you really need to. He’s the God that knows and understands. He is Jesus. id-40962516-piotr-marcinski-dreamstime-com

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. ~Hebrews 4:15(NIV)

 

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Why Do You Do What You Do by Kenika

 

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I don’t believe there has ever been a time in the entire history of the world that has held more distractions than the time we live in now.  The internet, laptops, tablets, and cell phones are just the starting point of social media videos, comments, pictures, memes and images.  Perhaps you are one of the rare breed that isn’t on social media or doing extensive web searches. But for you your distraction can be the television, movie theaters, or Red Box.  Those are common distractions that hinder most of us day to day but it doesn’t stop there, it continues with malls, gyms, shopping centers, coffee shops, restaurants, cafes, entertainment complexes, and so on and so forth. Not that distractions haven’t always played a role in human existence.  I mean just look at the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fell because of broken focus, but I digress.  With so many “options” the door to excuses and reasons is wide open.

If someone asks why an appointment or meeting was missed, nine times out of ten we rattle off an excuse that involves something else we were doing at the time. There are so many choices of other things we can be doing or other places we can be spending our time.  I was born up north and moved to the south, Florida to be exact, as an adult and I’ve lived here for 14 years.  The transition from northern living to a southern mentality was quite difficult at first. Up north if you have a meeting, date, or appointment people not only keep those commitments, they show up on time, if not early.  That couldn’t be further from the truth of what I experienced here in the southern part of the country.  So since people R.S.V.P. and don’t show up, or make and break appointments frequently, it causes them to have to make up or come up with excuses.  The problem with excuses is that they leave room for the other party to analyze them and decide if they are sufficient enough.  For example, if someone asks you to go to the movies and you say, “I really need to clean my house” (excuse), they could (not realistically but potentially) say, “No problem! I’ll come over and help you and we can go after.” Now you’re trapped.  You gave an excuse, and they gave a solution to your excuse.  The reality is you didn’t really want to go and you should have just said that.

This excuse-driven mindset got me thinking about life as a whole.  If we all have excuses for why we do what we do, those excuses can be dismantled by others.  But if we walk in the truth, at all times, then we don’t have to explain ourselves constantly.  If we have true convictions about who we are and what we do I’m not saying that we won’t ever have to explain, but we certainly won’t ever have to back pedal.  Don’t make excuses for what you do, make a decision about who you are.  Once you decide who you are, it will fuel how you think, and it will give you a reason for what you do. We are entering the fourth quarter of the year, which to me still represents a new start. We’re in the home stretch, and now is the time to put down all the excuses and determine to live and function for all of the right reasons.

 

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