September 26th, 2017

Tuesday’s Trench Truth

Thanks for stopping by for Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Tuesday’s Trench Truth with Trench Classes United. Today is the first day of sharing what we are actually learning in the trenches at this time, so grab your coffee or your favorite beverage and come on in for a trench truth.

Have you ever hung out with someone for an hour or two and gotten sucked into their opinions and observations which just so happened to be about everyone else? And then when you said good-bye you felt this surge of relief and realized your ears were tired and your heart heavy?

When much of our conversation is about others, this is a sign of one of two things: either it’s a bad habit to get in the lane of others’ lives, or it’s a sign of an internal struggle to stay in our own lane, our own life! It’s called a preoccupation with others.  Let’s look at that word for a minute:

pre·oc·cu·pa·tion

“Lost in thought, extreme or excessive thought about something or someone”

In other words, Coffee Hour Friend, a preoccupation with others’ lanes of travel, aka, their lives is a distraction from our own!

We must ask ourselves, why…am I so preoccupied with them and what concerns them? Is there something in my own life I’m not willing to look at? Is there something within me that I need to have my thoughts occupy?

Learning and unlearning

Evinda

September 25th, 2017

Monday’s Mantra

 

 

Watching her enjoy the new found freedom her wheelchair offers makes my heart happy.

Watching the forecast of her future makes my heart break.

 

Welcome to Coffee Hour at Chicklit Power and Megan’s Monday Mantra with Trench Classes United.

 

My precious Kirby Girl started to show signs of canine Degenerative Myelopathy 18 months ago. It started with the dreaded sound of the intermittent dragging of her back left foot. Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive, genetic disease of the spinal cord, similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease in humans. Its progression, over time, results in complete paralysis. The ultimate outcome of DM is death. There is no cure. The majority of dogs with DM require euthanasia long before reaching the final stages of this insidious disease. The one hidden blessing is that it is painless for the dog.

 

When I first detected the onset of the disease, I prayed and pleaded Kirby would be spared from it. But as I painfully watched the slight drag of a foot slowly and deliberately progress into complete rear end immobility, I knew escaping the consequences of this debilitating disease was not His will.

 

It is gut-wrenching to stand by and watch someone you love go through something that you cannot fix. No matter what you do, no matter how much love and quality of life you provide, you know, in the deep recesses of your heart, it will not change the eventual outcome. This feeling of helplessness can be so vastly overwhelming!

I am no stranger to this feeling and my prayers for Kirby have changed considerably as her disease forges onward. I have had to relinquish my control and remember who is really in charge!

 

I could write countless blogs on the lessons I’ve learned caring for my Kirby Girl, but I couldn’t begin to count all of the times the Lord has intervened … a fleeting moment, when a back foot is able to scratch an itchy ear … a squat, held just long enough to go potty, without falling over … or a donated wheelchair to resume walks in the park. The Lord continues to hold me up as I hold up Kirby. More significantly, He continues to fulfill my deepest heartfelt prayer, “please keep my Kirby Girl happy and comfortable and show me how to best care for her.” He has blessed Kirby and me with the resilience to face this season of our lives, resulting in an even deeper and more intense connection.

 

As I write this, I can hardly see through the swelling of my tears. I have no idea how or when her journey will come to an end, but I can see in her eyes, she has turned yet another corner in the progression of this disease. In spite of her condition, she continues to accept her circumstances unconditionally, with a bit of spunk and a few cherished licks to my cheek … most notably, she is happy and comfortable.

 

God is always with us.

He is with us when we feel Him and He’s with us when we don’t.

Focus on God’s presence.

He is near to all who call on Him.

God does answer prayer.

Your comments are always most welcome.

Lovingly in Christ,

Megan

September 22nd, 2017

Faith Filled Friday

Thanks for joining us for Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and for our Faith Filled Friday with Trench Classes United. I can’t wait to share this blog with you, one written by a former Transformer. It really inspires us to be on the lookout for those “divine appointments” in places we get so comfortable, we may miss them: Work! When you’re not feeling well, where do you go? Hopefully we go to a doctor or a hospital, right? Come on in for an appointment at the doctor’s office with Sharon Drachenberg.

 

I was so ministered to through a patient I evaluated today whose walk with Jesus shone, exposing light on my own recent Laodicean – which means lukewarm or halfhearted — drifting. Let me share what I mean:
This sweet lady had severe – and I do mean severe — burns and painful, itchy scarring from her chin to her waist as well as on both arms.  Instead of groaning and complaining, she caught the attention of my heart because she was genuinely positive, thanking God for saving her life. When I questioned her about constant pain and the discouragement that it must trigger, her face lit up and she exclaimed she wasn’t discouraged because she was a Christian.

I countered that even though we are Christians, we can feel discouraged.

She looked at me in shock, then ever so gently touched my arm and said, “Oh, how can we be when we have Jesus Christ?”!

The respect, honor, love, and gratitude of her heart said His name in a way I have never, ever heard before. It was as if angelic choirs lit up her voice and shone light on her face.

At the end of the visit, I thanked her for coming in and blessing me with so much more than I was able to return to her. She was/is one of those patients I’ll never, ever forget. In fact, when I got home later that evening, I was reminded of her in an ever-so-powerful way as I settled down to prepare for bed, which included some Bible reading time. Her sweet voice echoed in my heart as I read a recent note I wrote after a portion of scripture that I had read. I had noted to God how unresponsive my heart was to His name, to hearing His name

I realized that though I hadn’t asked, but had just made a physical and mental note of it, He heard me and sent me that patient today! Right then and there, as I re-read my note, I asked Him to change that in me, to rekindle the fire in me and bring me out of my drifting that I would be responsive to the whispering of His name.

Thanks for letting me share a piece of my work day this Faith-Filled Friday

Sharon

 

September 21st, 2017

Tam’s Trench Truth

Hello and welcome back to Thursday’s Trench Truth.

 

Forgive me if I keep this one a little shorter than I usually do. I attended a class reunion and have been sick ever since. I can’t wait to share about that when I feel better, but for now, I’d like to share with you about something I am most thankful for in this life, something that has worked like glue and has held me through the hardships and heartbreaks of life, Music!

 

Music: A Gift from Above

 

It’s not that music always has an innate ability to heal me… but it surely has had the ability to invade me. Its power within me jumps on the swing-sets of my soul, and rocks the teeter-totter of dreams within my mind. Each and every step of the ladder is a gift where it brings me back to the place I stood as a child so long ago… Atop the slide where I can see all the rhythmical beats of my heart… still sliding… still beating the drum of life, still thanking my Higher Power for an ever-widening range and breaths of life.

I leave you with this truth and question: Music has a significant power; what does it do for you?

 

Much Love to all of you as always!

 

~John Tam

 

 

September 20th, 2017

Wednesday’s Word

 

Spiritual Math!

And He said to them, with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you, and to those who hear, more will be given!

Luke 6:38

Thanks for joining us for Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Wednesday’s Word @ Trench Classes United. I just love this time of transparent sharing and using His Word in real life situations which I pray encourages you in your journey. Grab your coffee and don’t forget your Strand of Faith, for the more knots we tie in it, the less likely it is that it (our faith) will become unraveled.

I’ll be honest with you; I really struggled with what to share with you this week. It’s the week before class and my to-do list is getting longer instead of shorter!  Well, I contemplated just re-using a blog from last year, so I began to flip through them and came upon this paragraph which awakened my writing soul:

“Have you ever heard the saying, ‘What you put into it is what you will get out of it’? That’s what I think of when I read this verse and really hear what it is saying. Another way to say it or ask it is, “Do you get what you give?”

This principle applies in so many areas of our lives. I’ve seen it over and over again. If you dream of owning a home, you have to take care of what you rent. If you want/need a nicer car, take care of the one you have. If you want to make more money, you need to use what you have wisely. If you want a better job, you’ve got to give %100 to the one you have when you’re there.

And then this thought hit me in my busy head: If you keep running out of time, give Him the first minutes of your day!

Coffee Hour Friend, if you’re like me, busy with whatever it may be, we can’t afford not to give a bigger measure of time to the Author of our time each day! It’s called Spiritual Math!

Counting my blessings

Evinda

September 19th, 2017

Tuesday’s Trench Truth

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Tuesday’s Trench Truth @ Trench Classes United. I’m delighted you could join us for a moment of truth!
Did you know that conflict can be a character developer? Yup, but it takes a lot of practice. If I were to ask you what your first reaction is at the first hint of conflict, what would your transparent answer be? Would it be to run, hid and pretend it doesn’t exist? Do you find that when you do that, run, that is, the conflict occupies space in your head without paying rent?

Oh, Coffee Hour Friend, would you consider joining us for our four-week class Living Fearlessly and turn your conflict into character-development?

 

Hope to see you there

Evinda

September 18th, 2017

Monday’s Mantra

God –“The one Supreme Being, the omnipotent, omniscient creator and ruler of the universe.”

Wink – “To open and close one eye deliberately, as to convey a message, signal, or suggestion.”

God Wink – “A uniquely personal experience or event, often mistakenly identified as a coincidence” L

 

Welcome to Coffee Hour at Chicklit Power and Megan’s Monday Mantra with Trench Classes United.

 

I am not a believer in coincidences. Oftentimes, when I am in need of direction, reassurance, or a solution, it unexpectedly comes through a radio broadcast, a stranger’s comment, or a turn of events. I get so excited when I “catch” one of these moments, because for me it means God really cares and He is hearing me! I was blessed with one such moment last week …

 

I’ve learned asking the Lord for help is the best way to tackle any dog-training challenge. Since He is the one who created the dog, I’m sure no one knows better than He how to train one. I am currently training my young, enthusiastic Boxer for competition obedience. Competition obedience demands an exorbitant amount of focus from the dog. Requiring my highly distractible Boxer to keep his undivided attention, solely upon me, is proving to be an arduous task.

 

After a particularly frustrating day of training, I came home and opened up Sarah Young’s daily devotional, “Jesus Calling”. It read: “I am intimately involved in all of your moments, and I am training you to be aware of me at all times. Your assignment is to collaborate with me in this training process.” I stared at the devotion in disbelief. “WOW”, I blurted out loud, “The Lord is teaching me the exact same thing I am teaching my dog!”

 

A mere coincidence – what are the odds of that?

 

I shared this experience with my friend and workout instructor, Cheryl. She told me her family calls these special moments “God-Winks.” I am not familiar with the expression, but the visual it represents is powerful. Through a mindful observation or a moment of recognition, we have access to God’s guidance. All He asks of us is to be aware of Him at all times.

 

Imagine the countless blessings – the gift of peace, once fear is dispelled, the clarity of mind, once doubt is negated, the certainty of love, once faith is restored … all in the wink of an eye – God’s eye!

 

Are you aware of God’s winks in your life?  Has God winked at you today?

 

Dear God, let us have the eyes to see…

 

Your comments are always most welcome.

 

Lovingly in Christ,

Megan

 

 

September 15th, 2017

Faith-Filled Friday

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. Today’s Coffee Hour is written by a long-time friend of ours, Jennifer Wyatt on a very perplexing subject: Nourishment. Hmmm, come on in for some spiritual nourishment! J

Nourish means to provide (someone or something) things that are needed to live, be healthy, to develop or grow stronger.  Often we equate this with food and drink, but I believe that we are to nourish one another.  In a relationship it means to be supportive, encouraging and affirming.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 3:13 tell us that we are to build each other up every day.

There are many people in the Bible that nourished and encouraged others.  Moses (Duet. 3:28), Titus (1 Cor. 7:4),Tychicus (Eph. 6:21-22), Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32), Timothy (1 Thess. 3:2) to name a few.

What does it do for us?  Why is it important?

  • It builds up (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • Makes us feel loved and appreciated (2 Cor. 7:13)
  • Strengthens us (2 Thess. 2:16-17;2 Cor. 7:4,7)
  • Helps us remain on our appointed path (Acts 11:23)
  • Gives us courage (2 Chron. 32:6-7; Phil. 1:14)
  • Creates unity and helps fight the temptation to isolate (Rom. 15:5; 1 Thess. 3:6-10)
  • Keeps us true to our calling (Deut. 1:38)
  • Develops perspective and trust in God (2 Chron. 32:6-7)

With all of these amazing reasons, why is it so easy to criticize and tear down?  There are many reasons that come from “woundedness” and bad definitions in our life.  When we don’t love and value ourselves, it is hard to love and value others.  Oftentimes the root of this is because we were never taught how to be encouragers.

Coffee Hour was designed to encourage you and uplift you on your journey.  We appreciate your time and prayers for this ministry as we encourage others through our blogging.  My freedom challenge for this week is to think of three people you would like to encourage.  Choose one of them to encourage weekly over the next three months.  Then sit back and watch them grow.

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love” (Col. 2:2)

Encouraging you in your journey…

Jennifer

 

September 14th, 2017

Thursday’s Trench Truth

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Thursday’s Trench Truth with Trench Classes United. Today we have another thought-provoking question for you and invitation, too. We invite to leave your answers in the comment section! We’d love to hear from you

Have you ever noticed that the more we talk about our problems, the bigger they get? It’s the same thing with fears; the more we feed them, the smaller our faith becomes.

I know I used to do this in the name of “venting,” and perhaps you have, too. Coffee Hour Friend, can I just keep it real right now? There is a fine line between venting and vomiting! The more we talk about something, the more we are hanging on to it. How many times do we need to regurgitate the same thing in order to feel validated? In order to feel heard? Or, in order to make a point?

Perhaps we need to think about who we vent to, and our motive behind the venting! Today, can I challenge you to feed your faith and quiet your fears? And if that seems a bit of a stretch, mark your calendars and plan on joining us for a four-week class to learn how to Live fearlessly! Classes are on Thursdays and begin September 21st.

 

 

 

 

September 13th, 2017

Wednesday’s Word

Just Ask!

John 16:24: “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”

 

It’s already midweek…again! Thanks so much for stopping by for our Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and for our Wednesday’s Word with Trench Classes United. I truly enjoy seeking Him in His Word and applying it to whatever is happening in my life at the time, and I pray it helps you as well. Grab your coffee and come on in.

Have you ever wondered if you were on the right track, going in the right direction, doing the right thing? If I had a dollar for every time I wondered that…well, let’s just say I’d have a nice savings account – if I didn’t spend it, that is! J

What is it we do when we are felling less than content in the journey, or better yet, feeling like all that we’ve done to get where we are, where we felt He was/is leading was either for nothing or just not right? Again, I must admit my own overwhelming confessions of been there, done that; I got the hat, mug, T-shirt and bathrobe, too!

Little by little, the enemy can chip away at us, and because he slithers into our thoughts, which become actions if left in our hearts and minds for too long, before we know it, we lose confidence and before we know it, we are backing up from our Guide in the journey. Confusion sets in, and now we are left wondering and whining, not sure what to do. It’s such a crazy cycle easier seen once we break it. I wonder how He sees it. I imagine He scratches His head, maybe even smiles a bit as He watches me go around and around and around again the same mountain…just like His children the Israelites!  I wonder if He’s ever tempted to take away our free will for just a second or two, however long it would take to reach down and literally put me and you in the right direction.

But that’s never going to happen; we have been gifted with free will – the choice is ours. So back to the original question, which basically summed up is: how do we know we are in His will?

Are you ready?

It’s really simple: Just ask Him!

I can just hear you say, “Seriously?!” “But what if I don’t hear Him?”

Again, it’s really simple, Coffee Hour Friend, and how I know is it has worked EVERY single time for me:  Oftentimes the right perspective is waiting…in His presence.

In other words, we may not get a “Go this way,” or “Do this,” but we will get the right perspective if we just meet with Him, consistently seeking His presence, quieting out the rest of the world, spending time with Him in His Word.  Let me give you a quick example:

Just a week ago, I was having one of my fits, threatening to quit, and so I said to Him, “You are going to have to give me a hit-me-over-the-head, with a cast-iron skillet, type of sign to keep me in this craziness.” I continued with my pity party: “I just can’t do this anymore!”

You know what? He’s okay with pity parties, as long as He’s invited! You know why? Because if you throw that party in His presence, He replaces that self-pity with a perspective aimed in the right direction. Within minutes, my soul echoed “You can’t or you won’t?”

I confessed…”I don’t want to be out of your will.”

That day, guess what happened? I got a hit-me-over-the-head with a cast-iron skillet kind of sign! And the next day I got another one! And the next day I got another one! As I write this, I can’t help but laugh because our Abba has such a sense of humor. It wasn’t necessarily a cast-iron skillet that hit me over the head, but He made sure to hit me over the head and get right to my heart THREE times so I’d get it!

So the next time you wonder in the waiting, remember, just ask Him. Go be with Him. Your persistence will usher in His presence…and perspective will come, and you will know what to do, where to go as peace follows you.

Your fellow sojourner

Evinda