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 Advent Series Introduction

We may not associate fear with Christmas but it’s there nonetheless. We are so afraid we won’t get everything done, we might forget something, we might mess something up, and on and on and on. We want everything to be perfect while knowing that we can only do so much. No wonder our stress level goes through the roof as we prepare for Christmas!

This year, I want to help you enjoy Christmas more. I know God didn’t send His Son to cause any of us stress. He wants us to celebrate the birth of His Son with great joy in our hearts. To help you accomplish this, I have created a new Advent series. Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas is designed to help you eliminate the fear that spoils your Christmas and help you fill your life with faith and joy.

Each Sunday, I offer a detailed lesson for my daily Advent lesson that accompanies the lighting of the Advent candle of the week. Each of these Sunday lessons is taken from the birth story, the four times an angel brought a message of hope to an individual and the world.

To help you strengthen your joy during the week, I am offering a brief daily podcast, on this channel, sharing a verse to help eliminate your fear and offering my thoughts on the daily verse.

I LOVE Christmas. I also know, however, how incredibly stressful it can be for women. This season, let’s celebrate together, strengthening one another in faith and joy!

Mentoring Leaders Part 2: Teach

The disciples first had the opportunity to watch Jesus talk to large crowds & smaller groups, seeing Him share His message. These moments gave the disciples the chance to see Jesus model the behavior He wanted them to imitate & to hear the lessons He was sharing as He spoke to the public. This, however, was not enough. Jesus needed to be sure the disciples understood the lessons so they would be able to teach them later.

For this reason, Jesus always sat down with the disciples after these events & asked them if they understood the lesson He had taught. He would go over His message in detail, answering their questions until He was sure they not only understood but would also be able to share the message later.

It’s important for the new leaders you mentor to watch you perform the work they will need to continue when you turn it over to them. It is also very important that they understand the work they are supposed to do. For example, they may think an aspect of the work is minor without realizing how vital that small step is to the whole process.

A woman once spoke to me after I finished teaching a Bible study to a large group of women. She lamented her inability to do what I did, minimizing the gift of hospitality she had been given. Every week, she & her sister stood at the door, greeting every woman that came in & giving them a hug to make them feel welcome & at home. They performed this same task every year during our huge women’s conference. I told her I would probably be speaking to an empty room if not for the warm welcome she & her sister offered women every week.

If a new women’s ministry director had taken over without know the importance of this seemingly small task, she might overlook inviting the sisters to greet during Bible study & the conference. This task might seem small but it set the tone for every event the women hosted during my time working with the ministry.

New leaders must not only see the process in action, they must have it explained to them so nothing, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is overlooked!

To Find Peace, Look

Goals, Not Resolutions

I really don’t like resolutions. Well, it’s not that I don’t LIKE them. I just don’t think they work. They remind me of my college days. As soon as I told myself that I needed to pull an all-nighter, I became incredibly tired & needed to go to bed. I found those words worked wonders those few times I couldn’t sleep! Anyway, there’s something about resolutions that make them almost impossible to keep. Perhaps it has to do with they open timeframe. A resolution implies an ongoing process with absolutely NO END! It just stretches on forever & ever! Sigh!

Rather than making a resolution, I like to set goals. Goals usually have a specific destination built in. So, rather than creating a resolution to eat healthier, I would rather set a goal to give up soda for a week. Or set a goal to include more fruits & vegetables in my diet, naming a specific number for each day. Goals seem more user friendly.

Throughout January, I plan to take about setting goal for the new year. However, this week, I want to talk to you about making a few resolutions. I know, I just went on & on about my dislike resolutions & now I want you to make a few. Hmmm. Ok, let me explain.

Sometime there are goals we set that are ongoing & somewhat vague. The 3 resolutions I am suggesting this week are not necessarily vague but they are questions you need to consider over time. These questions are:

  1. Am I called by God;
  2. How can I serve God;
  3. Am I called to by God to lead.

Let’s set these resolutions & then we c

Give Teach Train: 3 Steps to Help Women Grow

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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

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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!

Today’s Featured Book: Caregivers Devotions to Go

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Caregivers’ Devotions to Go is for young moms, grandmothers, adult children and many others given the charge of caring for another person. It offers encouragement for a difficult task and gives both professional and family caregivers a breath of fresh air to continue the assignment God has given them.

The Scriptures and stories in this book encourage the caregiver as they receive a blessing from the Lord for having a servant’s heart. It helps caregivers know they are not alone in the task set before them. It uses Scripture to help the caregiver see those in their care through the eyes of God – as fearfully and wonderfully made individuals.

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Today’s Featured Book: Busy Moms’ Devotions to Go

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Busy Moms’ DTG offers insights into God’s wisdom and faithfulness gleaned during practical experience in the trenches.

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