The Spirit-Powered Woman

January 13, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Hi Friends & Happy New Year!

This month, I’ve chosen a portion from another of my carefully & prayerfully prepared topics. Since it’s resolution time, let’s resolve to put our trust in the Holy Spirit for wisdom and strength in 2020!  Read my article below for reasons why!

I hope you’re blessed and encouraged today!

In Christ always,

      Carole    (1 Cor. 10:31)


10 The SPIRIT-POWERED WOMAN - COTH (3)

I honestly don’t know of anyone who isn’t facing challenges of some kind right now. The prayer lists from the groups I’m part of are long with concerns and requests. I’m sure the same is true for you.

For those faced with disappointments, trials, or tragedies, the enemy works relentlessly to make us feel helpless and hopeless. I’ve had that feeling at times while intently staring at an overwhelming problem.  In those times, Satan makes his move to confuse and stifle our relationship with God.

Who do you depend on for advice in challenging times?  Do you solely rely on family members, pastors, teachers, financial advisors, politicians, government agencies, health care providers, and others to give you unwavering confidence?  All of these fellow human beings can be a great support and God can certainly work through them.  But, has anyone ever let you down?  After all, we are only human.

This is the point where our faith can really come alive!  Yes, alive!!  With the indwelling of God’s Spirit, we can ask for the supernatural wisdom and strength we so desperately need!  Just ask!

     Let’s consider what the dictionary says about the words rely, Holy Spirit, wisdom, and strength.

Definitions 2

Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, the third PERSON of the Christian Trinity, to live in each of us!  Praise God for the confidence we have knowing His comfort and leading are so reliable.  The Holy Spirit helps us and give us hope when tough decisions have to be made.  He convicts the truth of God’s word to our hearts providing the knowledge, insight, and good judgement we need in all situations.

The Spirit-powered woman relies on the Holy Spirit to fill her life with the strength necessary to resist Satan’s attacks and to be an effective witness for Christ.  Open your heart to these Bible passages!

The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over her, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,  The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.   — will be all her joy and delight.   Isaiah 11:2-3a MSG   

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 2:38 NIV

QUESTIONS TO PONDER 

  1. In what current situation do you need to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance?
  2. Have you ever relied on the Holy Spirit for strength in a seemingly impossible situation?
  3. In what ways can you glorify God through your struggles?

 

Remembering Bethlehem

December 17, 2019 at 8:52 am | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Christmas Greetings Friends!

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, let’s consider the significance of his birthplace, Bethlehem!  (Hebrew for House of Bread)

Be blessed and Be encouraged today!

In Christ always,  Carole

2 Cor. 10:31

Remembering Bethlehem-title slide

Keynote Series graphic FINAL

Part 2 ~ Remembering Bethlehem   

It’s been two decades since I visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel.  Even so, I vividly remember an experience of a lifetime!

Among the many circumstances surrounding Jesus’ miracle birth, one detail that isn’t often discussed is name of the town.

Bet (house) and lehem (of bread) are also significant details to God’s perfect plan for our redemption.

So, what about bread?

Bread is the “staff of life” and a fundamental food in all cultures. It’s fills us up and sustains us with carbohydrates for energy and vitamin B for a healthy central nervous system.  Can you think of anything more satisfying than a piece of fresh baked bread right out of the oven?

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”   

During the Last Supper, (Luke 19:22), Jesus held a piece of bread saying, “This is my body, given for you.”   

While teaching around Galilee,  Jesus stated that He is the bread of life and that when we come to Him, we’ll never go hungry.  (John 6:35)

Bread of Life - FB pic

Hungry for what?  Let me ask you,

“Have you…

  • –been losing sleep?”
  • –ever felt lonely?”
  • –lost a loved one?”
  • –dealt with stress over finances?”
  • –experienced overload at your workplace?”
  • –made some poor decisions and are now facing the consequences?”

 

THOUGHTS TO PONDER:

In Matthew 5:6, Jesus encourages us saying, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” 
Remembering Bethlehem - BREAD

 

Jesus relieves the “hunger” pains we all experience.  When we turn our focus to Him, His Holy Spirit fills us and satisfies us with supernatural peace, joy, and love.

God bless you as you ask Jesus, the Bread of Life, to satisfy your “hunger” this Christmas season.  Then, through your renewed faith, find ways to help fill the needs of others.

 MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Blessings for a Spirit-filled Christmas!

December 17, 2019 at 8:06 am | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Creating a Legacy of Gratitude

November 19, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Many Blessings to My Praise Notes Friends!

As we begin this holiday season, I’m blessed to share with you a new monthly series highlighting some key notes and graphics from my women’s events.    In the months ahead, my prayer for you is that you’ll be greatly uplifted in spirit and strengthened in your faith.  Be blessed and Be encouraged today!   

In Christ always,

Carole   (2 Cor. 10:31)

 

 


Keynote Series graphic FINAL

 

Part 1 ~ Creating a Legacy of Gratitude

Leaving a legacy is a choice and a great opportunity for all of us!  The dictionary describes  legacy as “something that is or may be inherited”.    Are you thinking money?   That could be a first thought for many of us.  But, do you remember what Peter said to the beggar in Acts 3:6?  “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”   Peter showed us how to leave an eternal legacy that brings honor to God.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, a time when we reflect on all of our blessings, consider with gratitude the “giving” we can offer back to God.

Here are some practical ways for creating a legacy that will make a lasting difference in our world: needed

  • Be extravagant with love and kindness.  Look for ways each day to share with others Christ’s love that has been lavished upon you.
  • Take time to listen to a sales clerk when she wants to share something on her heart. Your listening ear and empathy will help her get through the day.
  • On garbage day, take an older neighbor’s garbage bin out to the curb or bring it back.
  • Let a hurting person talk your ear off on the phone, just to let them know you’re there for them.
  • If you’re alone, reach out to another person who’s alone.You won’t be alone anymore.  Besides, with Jesus, you’re never alone.

My Declaration

Do the best that you can with your talents and resources. Others will be inspired to follow your example of showing gratitude to God for all He has done for us.   

 

 

THOUGHTS TO PONDER:

  • What things or attitudes are you going to leave behind you to be a follower of Jesus?
  • What will be your best defense to stand against current cultural influences?
  • Serving the Lord is a choice. Does everyone in your household honor and serve the Lord? If not, what changes need to happen?

LEGACY PROMPT:

Joshua raised a large stone as a witness of the covenant made by Israel to God. Consider putting up something that reminds you of a promise you made to God.

May God richly bless you as you create your legacy of gratitude!

 

God’s Presence in a Busy Airport

October 17, 2019 at 10:26 am | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment
Hi Again Friends!

Have you experienced an “Ah-ha” moment lately?  

During a recent trip through the Seattle airport, my husband and I waited in line for over an hour to finally get through security.  The usual words “TSA Pre-check” didn’t show up on our tickets this time and the wait was, at best, really tedious. But for more reasons than one, also really worth it!

While retrieving my items at the pickup side of the metal detector, I noticed the security officer lifting my carry-on bag off the conveyor belt. Proceeding directly to the inspection table, she motioned for me to follow but warned me not to reach for or touch anything.

I watched with surprise as the officer carefully unzipped my bag, pulled out my sweater, and then the styrofoam padded box.  “Oh yes!”, I thought as she slowly opened it and pulled out the nine-inch sculpture of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. Made of resin and bronze powder, it was a special gift from my husband.

Last Supper sculpture - Oct. 2019

The officer’s demeanor changed.  She voiced an “Oh” under her breath as she examined the figures for a several moments, considering the time when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.” (Matt.26:21, Mark 14:18)  The officer then said to me, “We did that.”   Now, looking directly at her, I saw a sweet sister-in the-Lord.  My heartfelt reply was, “Yes, we did!”

Earlier in the long line, another staff person told me that 63,000 people would pass through security that day.  For the officer and me, it was an “Ah-ha” moment of God’s grace in the midst of a stream of humanity. God is so good and always faithful to show up!

I wonder how many others were touched by His presence in the airport that day!

Here are some treasures from God’s word to consider: 

Psalm 119:35   Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.

Proverbs 8:35  For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.

Luke 22:20  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying,  “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

May God richly bless you as you embrace these truths as your own.

In Christ always, 

   Carole     

   2 Cor. 10:31 

 

 

Victory Over Adversity

September 18, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Hi Again Friends and Happy Fall! 

I’m grateful to be sending you my 70th Issue of Praise Notes!  Yes, my gift of gab is also expressed through my typing fingers so here are my thoughts as we get ready for a new season to praise Him!

My husband and I made a special trip last week to visit one of my very favorite places; a campground at 8,000 feet in the Sierra where I spent many happy summer days with my family decades ago.

It’s been five years since I last climbed up the high rocks but everything looked the same as when I was about 10 years old.  The man-made campground at the base had changed somewhat but the rock formations and trees remained the familiar friends I’ve always known.  They welcomed me back!

Caples Lone Cedar Tree

Pictured above is one of my lifelong friends! I loved this beautiful old cedar tree when I was a little girl and I love it even more today!

Interesting shape, don’t you think?  After maybe 300+ years of battering, this precious little tree that God established in the cleft of a rock, has roots that go very very deep.  The trunk’s been shaped by extreme wind, blizzards, deep snow, and drought but the graceful and lush green branches moving in the breeze spoke volumes to me about victory over adversity.  Like this tree, we too can also thrive when well-rooted; rooted in God’s word!

Here are some promises we can to take to heart in this new season:

…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:4

Let’s pray! — Thank you Lord that nature gives us a feast for the eyes and so beautifully encourages us to put all our trust in You.

Watch as God gives you a new season with many blessings!  

In Christ always, 

      Carole    

   * 2 Cor. 10:31 

Being Liked

August 15, 2019 at 10:55 am | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

My Praise Notes for August are from my devotional titled Revitalize.  Since school is starting again for most, I remember the low self-esteem I felt during my school years and into early adulthood.  My thoughts today are from the section of my book under Re-Discovering Me — Week 4, Day 4.   

Being Liked

Have you ever been desperate for people to like you? Thinking back to my pre-Christian days, I remember feeling if I could only be a member of that club or have that car or live on that street, then people would like me. I did get applause for my performance in a musical, boosting my self-esteem from a minus 10 to a minus 5. It was an improvement but not a lasting one. After learning grooming tips through a modeling course, my lack of confidence still hurt my attempts to audition, do well on job interviews, and relax when meeting new people. It was a painful, confusing time in my early adult life but it was my pain, and I was going to exercise my prideful right to hang on to it.

When striving to be “liked” by others, people with low self-esteem often give into peer and family pressure. Criticism, even if constructive, can be taken as a slap. The great fear of rejection especially interferes with the giving and receiving of love.

Jesus understands.

“…He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,” (Isaiah 53: 2-4).

Even women who know the Lord struggle with trading self-esteem for Christ-esteem. It’s a spiritual battle that requires full surrender to the Holy Spirit living within us. (Ephesians, Chapter 6)

In the Book of Romans, Paul confirms,

“…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us,” (Romans 5:3-5).

Through Christ’s sacrifice for us, we are far beyond being liked. (John 15:13) We are totally and unconditionally approved of, loved, and accepted by God. Jesus desires to be our closest and most intimate friend.

 

A Devotion to “Revitalize” Your Day

July 19, 2019 at 10:01 am | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment
Dear Friends,

My thoughts for July are from Week 2, Day 3 of “Revitalize”, my six-week devotional.  I hope you’re blessed as I share a message from my heart to yours!

In Christ always,

Carole


Growth on Hold

Have you ever been to The Butchart Gardens? It’s over 100 years old, is located on Vancouver Island in British Colombia, and is one of Canada’s historical treasures.

Butchart Sunken Garden through an open windowWhen my husband and I visited there, our eyes beheld one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. It was especially breathtaking to behold the centerpiece of the estate; the gorgeous Sunken Garden. “This is what heaven must look like,” my husband remarked. And when I thought even more about the garden’s heavenly appearance, I thought it could also be a picture of our lives.

You may be thinking, “That’s a very nice thought Carole, but let’s get REAL! That garden sounds like a unique, tranquil, well-groomed repose. My life is anything but that; more like a weed patch! I’m just hanging on, trying to survive every day, and it’s hard to see any flowers blooming in my life right now.” Okay, I hear you so let me further explain.

Before the Sunken Garden  was a beautiful oasis of color with thriving plants, flowers, and trees, it was a parched, barren rock quarry. Perhaps that’s how you picture your life now; being exhausted and parched from long-suffering.

Mrs. Butchart’s solution for change over a century ago, was to order a huge shipment of rich topsoil for that barren place. Then, the soil was cultivated; broken down into fine soft pieces so it could receive and nourish new plant roots. With plenty of sunshine and water, the environment was perfect for growth. (Mark 4:3-9)

Life is hard, but the trials we face are like cultivators for the heart; a way God can break down our pride and hurts into fine soft pieces of humility and surrender. On our journey, many faith entanglers will continue to intersect our path putting our spiritual growth on hold. With God’s help, our cultivated hearts will overcome, grow stronger, and be pliable to let the truth of His Word take even better root than before. All the victory will be His, and our life will be more beautiful to behold.

Cultivate - Grow pic

God’s Love Reaching Straight To Us

June 20, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Hi Again and Happy Summer!

For many, it’s vacation time!  Will you be traveling?

One of my great vacation memories happened on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera when my husband and I had the most surprising and astounding experience!

While at sea, I awakened around 3 am and walked onto the balcony to view the stars.  I saw a gorgeous glittery sky and the great expanse of a misty Milky Way. Then, my eyes beheld a once-in-a lifetime exhibition of God’s glory through His creation!

Appearing low in the sky and just above the horizon, I saw a tiny red-hot, brilliant glowing dot.  Mars, the red planet!  How beautiful!   While star-gazing, my eye suddenly caught a faint streak of light across the dark waters below. I blinked and blinked again wondering if my sleepy eyes were imagining the tiny luminous rust-colored ribbon.

I rushed back into our cabin, grabbed my binoculars, and made my husband get up to go outside with me! You can imagine how thrilled he was about that!

Within a few minutes, we both stepped onto the deck and I raised my binoculars to view a beautiful amber stream of light rippling on the black water. My husband confirmed what we were both seeing.  A Marsbeam was reaching straight to us.

Too dark for my camera to capture, here is my drawing of what we saw.  

Marsbeam-web postThat awesome experience has reminded me that God reveals His presence in life’s darkest places. The Book of Genesis gives us a picture earth’s beginning with God’s Spirit right there, hovering, breathing over the dark waters.  His same Spirit is with us today to illuminate our path, protect us, and empower us.

God’s comfort and peace is available to everyone. Simple reasoning tells us that because of Jesus Christ’s incredible love and sacrifice for each one of us, His heart’s desire is to be our closest and most intimate friend.  Picture our best friend, Jesus, treasuring every one of our tears and unconditionally loving us beyond measure.

The Bible verse 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all of your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”. Each of us can benefit greatly by embracing this truth and speaking it aloud. It is a resource to be treasured in times of trouble.

No place is too dark for God’s piercing light.  When faced with an exhausting and numbing situation, picture Him; Jehovah Shalom, our peace.   God reveals His presence to us through His holy word, the warm touch of His Holy Spirit, and even through a Marsbeam gently dancing on the calm night sea.

Pray With Me:   Father God, we thank You and praise You for divine moments in our lives that remind us of Your magnificence, Your power, and Your never-changing love for us. Keep our hearts open and ready for the next transforming moments in our lives that draw us closer to You.   Amen.

Whether vacation or stay-cation, may God richly bless your Summer days ahead!

In Christ always, 

Carole    

2 Cor. 10:31 

 

My “Ah Ha” Moments!

June 6, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Christian Women | Leave a comment

Dear Friends,

I’m so blessed to share a new interview with you!  You’ll have a chance to get to know my heart for ministry and learn more about my writing and speaking!

Thanks for taking time to watch!

My “Ah Ha” Moments with Marnie Swedberg are my reflections of some of the key passages from my new devotional Revitalize  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sxpztdaw5w&list=PLDzbzZXxUyTcT6mbssZL0tqDlhox-LZMH&index=20&t=0s

Many blessings to you as we begin summer!

In Christ always,

Carole

 

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