Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Tuesday Week 1

Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Monday Week 1

Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Sunday Week 1

 

“When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. Luke 1:12-13

Lesson Verse Luke 1:5-25

Introduction

Key Points

Zechariah & Elizabeth just like Abraham & Sarah

Like Abraham’s son, Zechariah’s son ushered in a new age

Time is not a factor with God

 

Time & our lack of it causes a tremendous amount of fear for women during Christmas. We worry we will not have enough time to accomplish all the things we believe we must get done. How can we calm our fear over a lack of time? How can we keep faith that we can accomplish our tasks?

Give Teach Train: 3 Steps to Help Women Grow

give-teach-train-graphic

Step 2: Teach

Give a woman a fish, you feed her for a day. Teach her to fish & you feed her for a lifetime. In the first post of this series, I explained why we must sometimes give women fish, sometimes for many days, before we are able to teach them to fish for themselves. Some women are so unsure of themselves, so beaten up emotionally, mentally, spiritually that they lack the strength & confidence to “fish” for themselves. If we try to force them to do it themselves before they are ready, we may do more damage, weakening their already fragile self esteem in the process. Sometimes, it only takes a bit of time to help a woman see her worth, her abilities before you are able to teach her ways to grow even more. Unfortunately with some women, it may take time to help her grow strong enough to move on to the next step. Patience is always the key.

Given time, though, a woman will become strong enough for you to teach her how to fish. Let me give you an example: over the years, I have taught many Bible studies for women that were either new to the Church or had simply never read the Bible. In the beginning, I know I must go slowly, explaining everything to them so they don’t become lost or confused. I never want anyone in a class struggling to understand what was being said in verse 5 while we are now discussing verse 8! When we begin, I often need to explain how the Bible is laid out, Old Testament/New Testament & what the difference is between the two. I talk about the Gospels & their message. We spend time on basics with them asking questions. If you are an experienced student of Scripture, you might be stunned that a person wouldn’t know these things. However, I would never expect a first year math student to open a calculus book the first day & begin discussing equations! I would never hand a person a book in a different language & expect them to understand what it says! I have found I must give them the fish each time, strengthening them until they are able to study on their own.

My goal is to help them develop a hunger for Scripture so they begin studying it on their own. They may still have basic questions, may still need help but we all need to continue our learning in any area if we are to continue to grow.

We can’t simply teach a woman to fish & then walk away, regardless the area of study. We must continue to help her with the learning process, ready to answer questions when necessary. And helping her to stretch herself so she continues to grow.

As women, we need to support & challenge one another. We need to see who needs to be fed & who needs to be taught. And we need to be ready to step in to help when help is needed. When we work to do this, we are ready to move on to Step #3 & that is when things get very exciting!

 

Give Teach Train: 3 Steps to Help Women Grow

give-teach-train-graphic

Step 1: Give

They say if you give a woman a fish, you feed her for a day. If you teach her to fish, you feed her for a lifetime. At Simple Joy, we go a step farther. If you train to teach others how to fish, you feed the world. However, you must often give her a fish before you proceed.

I agree. Feeding a woman day after day does nothing to help her grow in the long run. Unfortunately, some women (myself included at times in my life) are in such a weakened condition that we must be fed first. We must regain our strength before we are in any shape to be taught anything.

Scripture tells us that we must feed new believers mother’s milk before they can move on to solid food. Like babies, they must begin with simple food, then move on to something more substantial. Babies need to grow, they need to become stronger & what they are fed helps move this process along.

The Scripture verse is telling us that we need to begin slowly with someone who is just beginning the process. We need to feed them simple information, rather than overwhelming them right off. We also must see to their immediate needs before we begin teaching them anything.

Soup kitchens & other organizations that feed the homeless & hungry often share a faith-based message with those that come to eat. I think it’s interesting that they wait to begin preaching until people have eaten. They know people can’t focus on your message when they are hungry. So many women are starving today. Many feel overwhelmed. They feel hopeless. They think they have no value. Too many are literally starving. Before we can teach them to fish, we must understand what emotional, physical or spiritual hunger is starving them & see to those needs first. Once we have moved them from “mother’s milk” to “solid food” once we have strengthened them enough, THEN we can begin teaching them to fish. However, as long as they are hungry, we are simply wasting everyone’s time & possibly doing even more damage.

Our first step must be helping women regain their strength emotionally & spiritually. We must help them recognize their worth, build their confidence, boost their self esteem. We must strengthen them deep within their core so there is a solid foundation on which to build. Only then can we move on to teaching them ways to sustain themselves for life!

Offer women the food they need & watch them grow in ways you never thought possible!

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Pineapple Orange Salad

My grandmother made this salad for dinner guests. It is light & tasty. I LOVE it!

Meatless Chili

Yummy family (or potluck) dish!
Yummy family (or potluck) dish!

It is a cool & cloudy day here in SoCal. Glancing over the posts of friends on FB, it appears to be a cold & snowy day in other parts of the country. Today is the perfect day for my vegetarian chili recipe!

I began making this dish for my friends who are vegetarians.However, many of my meat loving guests also enjoy my special chili.It is made with 4 kinds of beans and plenty of spices to make it thick and flavorful.

  • 1 large can chili beans
  • 1 large can pinto beans
  • 1 large can kidney beans
  • 1 large can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onions
  • 1 cup frozen chopped green pepper
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 1 box vegetable broth
  • garlic salt
  • chili powder
  • hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

Pour chili beans into large crock pot. Drain and rinse other beans. Add to crock pot.

Mix.Add onions and green peppers. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce.Season to taste. Top pot with broth, making chili stirrable but not “soupy.”Simmer on low 4-6 hours adding broth as needed.

Goal Setting is Paramount to Your Success

It’s Monday & that mean a fresh start to a new week. Throw that negative attitude toward Monday right out the window! Monday gives each of us a fresh start, an opportunity to examine the days ahead & create a plan of action. I really believe each of us should take time to plan out our week on Sunday so we are ready for action when Monday morning dawns. However, if you haven’t determined where you want your life to end up when Friday comes, you still have time. And I brought you some help!

This wonderful article on goal setting is from Addicted 2 Success. It offers practical ways for you to set & achieve goals today, this week & on into the year. Take a moment to read & then GET WITH IT! Time is moving by & you are simply sitting there! Now, shake off those Monday blues & smile! You have a fabulous week waiting for you!

Goal Setting is Paramount to Your Success

I Want What I Want

my-bike

 

Boy, that sounds rather selfish & I don’t mean it that way at all. I like to keep my life simple. When things get complicated, usually because I have complicated them, the stress becomes tremendous. The more stress, the less productive, less creative I become. Not good! I like being productive & creative so I try to keep my life as low stress as I can & this means keeping it SO simple!

Simple does not mean I have to settle for things, settle for something that doesn’t quite meet my needs. This often means holding out & searching long & hard until I find just what I want. How many times have I given up my search & settled for something less than what I want, only to be disappointed down the road when the item doesn’t live up to my expectations.

Now, I honestly don’t set my expectations way up high, so high that nothing could possibly live up to those expectations. I just want what I want. Let me give you an example:

That’s my bike at the top of the post. My hubby gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. I LOVE my bike. The style, the color, the retro look, the flames. I love everything about is. When I first go my bike, I didn’t want to wear a helmet. My bike is cool & I thought a helmet was soooo uncool. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, hubby is a lifetime member of the League of American Bicyclists.  He know the statistics. The majority of fatalities among bike riders are caused by head injuries. It’s a long way down to the curb when you fall. Helmets help protect riders.

So, I had to wear my helmet & I did. Then, my helmet fell apart. The padding went to pieces. So, my hubby & daughter gave me a new helmet for Christmas this past year. Well, they  gave me a photo of a helmet & told me I should find a helmet I liked. The search was on. I have a cool retro looking bike. I didn’t want a modern streamlined helmet. The two just didn’t go together. So I searched. Hubby searched. We went to the bike shop & nothing. I was ready to settle for second best but I knew I would not be happy. I just wouldn’t like it. So I kept searching & hubby remained patient because he wanted me to be happy.

helmet

I finally found the helmet. No, correction. I found THE helmet. It is just what I wanted. We ordered it from the bike shop & before I knew it, I had the helmet I wanted.

You don’t have to be demanding or rude. You also shouldn’t have to settle for second best. Keep looking until you find THE one! Whether it’s a helmet or a job or a spouse, there is the perfect one for you if you just keep patiently looking. Believe me, it’s well worth it!