Friday, February 27, 2009

Fun Friday: Enhance Your Sense of Humor

It's Friday and Thrive Christians makes a committed effort to get you laughing or encourage you to find the funny things going on all around you. Today we are bringing the wisdom of Stealth Health

19 Ways to Enhance Your Sense of Humor

Bring out the laughter from within.

One supreme pleasure that spans all people is laughter. Little can compare to the feeling of a deep, complete, heartfelt laughing spell. No matter your age, wealth, race, or living situation, life is good when laughter is frequent. Life is also healthier.

Research finds that humor can help you cope better with pain, enhance your immune system, reduce stress, even help you live longer. Laughter, doctors and psychologists agree, is an essential component of a healthy, happy life.

As Mark Twain once said, "Studying humor is like dissecting a frog -- you may know a lot but you end up with a dead frog." Nonetheless, we're giving it a try.

Here are 19 tips for getting -- or growing -- your sense of humor, based partly on the idea that you can't be funny if you don't understand what funny is.

1. First, regain your smile. A smile and a laugh aren't the same thing, but they do live in the same neighborhood. Be sure to smile at simple pleasures -- the sight of kids playing, a loved one or friend approaching, the successful completion of a task, the witnessing of something amazing or humorous. Smiles indicate that stress and the weight of the world haven't overcome you. If your day isn't marked by at least a few dozen, then you need to explore whether you are depressed or overly stressed.

2. Treat yourself to a comedy festival. Rent movies like Meet the Parents; Trading Places; Finding Nemo. Reward yourself frequently with the gift of laughter, Hollywood style.

3. Recall several of the most embarrassing moments in your life. Then find the humor in them. Now practice telling stories describing them in a humorous way. It might take a little exaggeration or dramatization, but that's what good storytelling is all about. By revealing your vulnerable moments and being self-deprecating, you open yourself up much more to the humorous aspects of life.

4. Anytime something annoying and frustrating occurs, turn it on its head and find the humor. Sure, you can be angry at getting splashed with mud, stepping in dog poop, or inadvertently throwing a red towel in with the white laundry. In fact, that is probably the most normal response. But it doesn't accomplish anything other than to put you in a sour mood. Better to find a way to laugh at life's little annoyances. One way to do that: Think about it as if it happened to someone else, someone you like -- or maybe someone you don't. In fact, keep running through the Rolodex in your head until you find the best person you can think of to put in your current predicament. Laugh at him, then laugh at yourself!

5. Read the comics every day and cut out the ones that remind you of your life. Post them on a bulletin board or the refrigerator or anywhere else you can see them frequently.

6. Sort through family photographs and write funny captions or one-liners to go with your favorites. When you need a pick-me-up, pull out the album.

7. Every night at dinner, make family members share one funny or even embarrassing moment of their day.

8. When a person offends you or makes you angry, respond with humor rather than hostility. For instance, if someone is always late, say, "Well, I'm glad you're not running an airline." Life is too short to turn every personal affront into a battle. However, if you are constantly offended by someone in particular, yes, take it seriously and take appropriate action. But for occasional troubles, or if nothing you do can change the person or situation, take the humor response.

A Daily Ritual

9. Sign up to receive the Top 10 list from David Letterman every day via e-mail. You can find it at

10. Spend 15 minutes a day having a giggling session. Here's how you do it: You and another person (partner, kid, friend, etc.) lie on the floor with your head on her stomach, and her head on another person's stomach and so on (the more people the better). The first person says, "Ha." The next person says, "Ha-ha." The third person says, "Ha-ha-ha." And so on. We guarantee you'll be laughing in no time.

11. Read the activity listings page in the newspaper and choose some laugh-inducing events to attend. It could be the circus, a movie, a stand-up comic, or a funny play. Sometimes it takes a professional to get you to regain your sense of humor.

12. Add an item to your daily to-do list: Find something humorous. Don't mark it off until you do it, suggests Jeanne Robertson, a humor expert and author of several books on the topic.

13. When you run into friends or coworkers, ask them to tell you one funny thing that has happened to them in the past couple of weeks. Become known as a person who wants to hear humorous true stories as opposed to an individual who prefers to hear gossip, suggests Robertson.

14. Find a humor buddy. This is someone you can call just to tell him something funny; someone who will also call you with funny stories of things he's seen or experienced, says Robertson.

15. Exaggerate and overstate problems. Making the situation bigger than life can help us to regain a humorous perspective, says Patty Wooten, R.N., an award-winning humorist and author of Compassionate Laughter: Jest for the Health of It. Cartoon caricatures, slapstick comedy, and clowning articles are all based on exaggeration, she notes.

16. Develop a silly routine to break a dark mood. It could be something as silly as speaking with a Swedish accent (unless you are Swedish, of course).

17. Create a humor environment. Have a ha-ha bulletin board where you only post funny sayings or signs, suggests Allen Klein, an award-winning professional speaker and author of The Healing Power of Humor. His favorite funny sign: "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

18. Experiment with jokes. Learn one simple joke each week and spread it around. One of Klein's favorites relates to his baldness: "What do you call a line of rabbits walking backward? A receding hare line."

19. Focus humor on yourself. "Because of my lack of hair," Klein says, "I tell people that I'm a former expert on how to cure baldness."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Self Control

Self Control is so easy to talk about in others, but talk about my own areas of need for controlling myself and my collar gets tight. We're continuing the series of F.I.R.M Flexible, Innovative, Robust, Mature Christians. I was blessed by readers' comments in this series and I decided to feature those great words of wisdom.

Today I delight in giving honor to my speech peer from last year's She Speaks workshops. After two evenings of hearing and evaluating each others' messages we came to know each other very well. Dorothy and I both began our blogs after that conference. She opens up Bible stories on her blog: .She brings a fresh word on the Word daily. I welcome the wisdom of this godly woman in my life and here at Thrive Christians.

Dorothy's comments about maturity:

Will we ever get it? Look at Dorothy's great wisdom in calling us to seek understanding and wisdom in the Bible. When I consistently discipline myself to daily dig in God's Word, life runs as He has always intended it to for me. Recently my son told me he's listening to the Bible on His Ipod as he runs daily on an average of 30 minutes to an hour. In this information age we have so many ways to stay in God's Word. I believe Dorothy has hit a major component of maturity: self control...soaking in the Bible.

What do you think about maturity/self-control and Scripture?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maturity: Ability to stop or start

Scott (of has been most generous on Thrive Christian blog. He added a great evaluation. He said,

"Maturity could be labeled as self-control. The ability to stop and assess a situation before acting on it. The knowledge that God will always have the correct answer, so before heading into anything, ask Him what to do before you take action. The fact of life is sometimes things happen to us so quickly that we don't have time to stop and dwell and seek God - this is where, if you have spent the time in His word and daily seeking Him, He guides you through it."

Bob Mumford, author of Agape Road, wrote that Spiritual Maturity can be determined by the ability to stop or start any activity. On so many levels God has blessed me with this gift and He continues to show me more ways I need to lean into Him for self control. Much of the struggles in our economy can be summed up in this one principle: stop or start in God's timing and calling.

Scott goes on to share:
Speaking on maturity, I'm not sure I can discern spiritual maturity in others. Or maybe it's that I don't try.

I have to agree with Scott on working with other Christians, I need to be mindful of their maturity. Many times expectations of leaders are probably not in line with the maturity of their team members. Even Paul realized a "baby" accustomed to "milk" cannot suddenly begin to chew a steak.

As we work together may we operate in mercy with "babies" in Christ as we hope others over us will not overwhelm us beyond our spiritual maturity.

May God show us all what He wants us to know about maturity in our Christian walk.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Need For Fanfare Saints

Beth of expressed her heart on identifying the true mature Christians. She wrote:

Hmmmm....maturity. Do we ever reach the full state of maturity? I'm thinking that I'll never be fully mature--that I'm always learning and growing. But,you are so right. Sometimes things and people are not as they portray themselves to be.

Maturity (just my own thinking) can be seen in the person's face and demeanor. Are they calm during a storm, relying on Jesus to take the rudder of the boat during this storm? Is true joy reflected in their lives,their attitude, their daily work (yes, even the laundry can be joyful--I used to totally dislike this until I realized--be thankful that you have clothing to wash and a washer and dryer to use--some don't!).

Always a learning and growing process, but I can imagine that dealing with the prison population, they can sort out a "phony" quite easily.

Yes, Beth, you can tell the true Christian by his or her willingness to work in the shadows with no recognition doing the work God calls them to do. Pouting and sulking because "nobody gives me enough honor and notice" will never come on the lips of disciples of Jesus Christ. Imagine Him tying a humble apron/towel around His waist; then bending over to wash the dirty, dusty feet of the disciples after they had travelled the rocky dirt roads.

Oh, Beth, I agree the joy-filled, peaceful, working saint will always show beautiful maturity wherever they show up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Your Fruit is Showing

Last week great comments came in response to discerning maturity in Christians. Today I give you Chatty Kelly of , her daily Christian devotional blog. I start my day with some "Kelly" wisdom.

Kelly's thoughts on Christian maturity: Jesus said we'll know them by their fruit. Look at what their life is producing. The problem is we are all sinners, saved by grace. So we'll all have some rotten fruit from time to time. The question is are we characterized by fresh fruit with an occasional rotten piece; or by rotten fruit with only the occasional fresh piece?

I think just as we are all unique and have different gifts (and sins) we all would have a different "first sign" of maturity. For me, I think it was seeing others through Jesus eyes in a non-judgmental way.

I agree with Kelly but if you've tripped by here before you know I have some other ideas to toss into the discussion. Kelly got me thinking about our fruit. In Galatians Apostle Paul tells us our fruit will exhibit these qualities that mark maturity as a Christian. May we all do a fruit check on ourselves: These are the traits of mature saints:
love * joy * peace * patience *kindness * goodness * faithfulness * gentleness * self-control

Immature fruit in nature is utterly unusable; so a Christian is limited in use until these maturity traits are operational. As I look over this list it seems I am developing these attributes in the order that St. Paul has listed them in Galatians. As Kelly mentioned, unconditional love filled my heart as soon as I was saved from my sins. In fact, on eating and a few other things I'm still pursuing "self-control."

One caution: our human nature draws us to become "fruit inspectors" of others. I find it's a fulltime job to inspect and maintain my own "fruit."

What do you say on "fruit" of saints?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why Do I Blog?

Yesterday I shared nothing came to me that I sensed would interest even me. Today I do have several ideas, but I am taking today to reflect on "Why Do I Blog?"

I began this venture because the longing to write burst up in my grief when my husband suddenly died last April. I prayed for relief. Years back I wrote for publication and found it to be tortuous to deal with publishers and the competition demanded much energy and time. My husband and I are only children and our mothers needed much from us in their care until their deaths. Add on everything else a family needs from mom and wife and I never could find the means to keep my "main things" in place and add on a writing ministry.

Honestly, blogging came as an affordable way for me to write as I believed was God's call on my life. Now, He has opened up wonderful doors of writing ministry for me. So...I must ask myself "Why Do I Blog?"
Old competitive Kay looks at the web statistics and sees when few drop by. Oh, I understand that... I have favorite blogs that I don't get by for a week or two sometimes. So why write if no one is reading? I am blessed by pressing myself to write. When you do read I am so pleased. But when you comment on my writing and stretch my mind beyond my original thought: I'm Delighted and I love blogging.

I blog because.... I love to write. When I see someone reads the blog, I smile. When any of you comment on my writing I'm the happiest camper in the lot. So, I'm doing my thing: writing. I'm making friends among those of you who blog and all of you who write comments here. I love the immediate response that comments offer. When I write I have a end conclusion in my mind. I love it when you see something greater or you actually take it in a different direction.

Thanks for coming by. As a reader: What do you get out of blogs?

If you have a blog: Why Do You Blog?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm Alive!

Blog writing daily is a good thing, but.........some days I have nothing notable to write. Today is one of those days!!!

I committed in May of 2008 to write here at Thrive Christians daily to fulfill God's call on my life to write. Oh, how thankful I am that I have done this one thing.

But today I pray for any of you that dropped by to know God loves you and I appreciate you coming by. Embrace the day and Thrive!!! It does not matter what is going on you are alive...I know you are; you're reading this. That, my friend is enough reason to decide to seize the day and run with it praising God for LIFE!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fun Friday Laugh It Can't Hurt

Today we're minimizing the words and maximizing the pictures. The plan is you'll laugh spontaneously and feel good from head to toe. Relax and really is o.k. to take a laugh break.....even in an economic turndown.

I'm sure there are many things the Bush family misses from the White House but don't you know it's a relief not to have shots like this being snapped every day?

Hug your loved ones and laugh and smile and confuse the devil today!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Amazing Blogger Day

Bloggers, your comments reign this week. You've spoken well on Christian maturity and I will post your comments with my comment to expand our discussion on how to be, as well as recognize, spiritual maturity as Christians. Today is a continuation of standing F.I.R.M. in spite of F.U.D. in the world. F: Flexible, I: Innovative R: Robust M: Maturity in saints trumps F:Fear U: Uncertainty D: Doubt of the world.
Here are the links for the former posts connected with this series:
Flexible Saints Make it Through The Storms
Innovative Saints Thrive
F.I.R.M. in God - Robust Christians

Today I am featuring Laura of in her comments on how to recognize the spiritually mature Christian. Laura and I are dear friends here in SC. I mentored her for several years and now we have a wonderful peer friendship relationship.

Laura: I remember your words to me a few years ago, "Strive to be unoffendable". That quality is just one of a mature Christian. Those words dance through my thoughts often in my work. People that are hurting often offend others with their actions, their words and their attitudes and they also seem to get offended by the silliest things.

However, I too have been offended easily at times...times when I have felt unusually vulnerable, not in control, etc. Jesus is the ultimate picture of "unoffendability" here. He reminds of what He went through and endured when I get offended.

Laura hit a favorite of mine: standing strong in Christ we are not easily offended. Jesus spoke of this often and He lived this out perfectly. Hear Him: "Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another . . . and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).

Years ago I ran across a wonderful article by Francis Frangipane ( "Being Unoffendable." Suddenly many of my relationship issue challenges were clear as I looked to Jesus Christ as my model. Looking to these verses in Matthew I see Jesus calling me to walk out what many people will refuse to embrace. “Many” will be offended; the love of “many” will grow cold.

Once I began to live out "being unoffendable," His love filled me for others without ceasing. Laura and I had challenging childhoods and God used that to connect us for our strong relationship. Out of childhood pain can arise "touchiness" or trigger points when becoming offended reminds adults of old wounds. If we let an offense fester in our hearts, it causes serious spiritual consequences.

In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous results:

  • betrayal

  • hatred

  • cold love

When we are offended with someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them and get things clear and clean. Otherwise, we begin to betray that relationship, talking maliciously behind their back to others, exposing their weaknesses and sins.

It is usually the little things that get us into big trouble. In my old "baby Christian" days I was bothered often by the personality of someone in authority and in short time I would get offended. Other times a friend or family member failed to live up to my expectations, and I would feel offended.

Frangipane writes, " Indeed, we are daily given the opportunity to either be offended by something or to possess an unoffendable heart. The Lord’s promise is that He’s given us a new heart: a soft, entreatable heart that can be filled with His Spirit and abound with His love."

Lord, forgive me for being so easily offended and for carrying offenses. Father, my heart is foolish and weak. Grant me the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ. Amen."

I could write on being unoffendable like Jesus for days. Let me close this out with pointing to the book of James. Within that one little book is a study guide to being a strong content mature saint. Only unoffendable people are mature enough to truly sing "It's Not About Me, But Jesus and may His Kingdom Reign Forever."
The one image I hold in my mind when I am "hurt" and feel justified to be offended is that of a normal 2 year old. Talk about easily offended...from tears to tantrums. As my children matured I was amazed at how they grew to be willing to accept their own blame in problems, and they would look at issues from a wider perspective than their own viewpoint, and they didn't need to self-protect at all costs.

For this first sign of maturity: Not Being Easily Offendable, what do you say?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Part 2 Will The Real Matue Christian Please Stand Up

Christian Maturity is beautiful in the Kingdom of God. Today is a continuation of standing F.I.R.M. in spite of F.U.D. in the world.

F: Flexible, I: Innovative R: Robust M: Maturity in saints trumps F:Fear U: Uncertainty D: Doubt of the world.

Here are the links for the former posts connected with this series:

  1. Flexible Saints Make it Through The Storms

  2. Innovative Saints Thrive

  3. F.I.R.M. in God - Robust Christians

Yesterday I fell off the "maturity" wagon for a moment. I am selling the last of my late husband John's "toys." He had a boat that he loved relaxing on. I've dropped the price to bare bottom and I have several buyers. I had one man who decided he wanted it at my price. Then he started "dickering" on specifics.

Suddenly I got dogmatic and insistent on my situation and the absurdity of his wrangling. This occurred on the phone but I could hear his dismay of my change in attitude. I think I felt victimized and in a moment I was every woman alone at disadvantage wheeling and dealing with a savvy man.

Absurd!!! Afterward I prayed for help in what was happening in me. Sadly I realized I gave in to all my feelings of grief, pain, fear and frustration. I was not interacting as a strong confident mature Christian.

I shared this with a friend who helped me think of a better way to handle something like this in the future. She recalled a parenting seminar she attended years ago. The instructor told them to think of a highway patrolman when he pulls you over for a traffic violation. He is calm, unemotional and sticks to the facts. She said that helped her when her children had broken the rules. With this visual she could stay calm and stick to the facts as she "issued" their punishment. She quit reverting to yelling matches. This held true no matter what antics her children tried.

I believe this visual of a calm patrolman , backed by the authority of the highway department, can help me walk more calmly in life. I have the Kingdom of God backing me up. As long as I seek God's guidance no one (slick wheeler dealer or worse) can pull one over me. I need to emulate the good cop's demeanor.

Today I am setting up the "stage" to "spotlight" each of your great comments of spiritual maturity that you generously posted yesterday. You've impressed me in agreeing with the Bible that: Our progress in maturity can be measured by the degree to which we accept the truth about ourselves and others in love.

Healing and growth come by understanding that we no longer need to make ourselves perfect by our own efforts in order to be accepted and loved by God.

We are now free to be our true selves, without pretense, without having to hide or defend ourselves. Just like my stiffening with attitude with my boat negotiation I do not need to feel condemned or shamed in my imperfection. I'm still committed to growth and change. I'm wanting to be all growed up as my little girl said it decades ago. God is call us to giving up ego-saving techniques which the world commonly employs.

Our goal, and the goal of the church, must be the same as that of God, as expressed by Paul in Ephesians 4: The goal is see all the daily circumstances of our lives as God sees them, in God's perspective.

Comment on the comments: Check back on yesterday's comments and be blessed by the profound insights of those who left their wisdom on spiritual maturity.

There is still time to leave another great thought on what it means to truly be spiritually mature: add your comment.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Will The Real Mature Christian Please Stand Up?

"Am I growed up, Mommy?" asked my five year old daughter years ago. She stood before me all dolled up in makeup, gloves, hat, purse, strands of beads and one of my shawls. She had the attitude of Queen Elizabeth; nose to the sky, upturned chin, shoulders stiffened in utter sophistication. "Well, you surely have dressed the part, but maybe you have a little more to learn before I'll say you're a full fledged grown up," I answered her. "Umph! I am too growed up! Look at me!" she stomped her foot, put her hands on her hips and glared at me. That funny day and dozens of others are flooding my mind as I reflect back through 40 years of life with my only daughter. Yep, she celebrated the big 40 yesterday!!!

All growed up: maturity is my goal in life; especially Christian maturity. This is the 4th part of a series: F.I.R.M (flexible, innovative, robust, and mature) to overcome the world's F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

As a child we huddled around the old black and white TV to watch "To Tell The Truth." The basic premise was simple: 3 contestants, each of whom claimed to be the same person, were interrogated by a panel of 4 celebrities in an attempt to identify who was the real one and who was bluffing. "Will the real ________ please stand up?" The real person stood up and the other two then revealed who they really were.

I yearn for a show like this to help me know who the "real" mature saints really are. Church leadership responsibilities have me praying for discernment as I enlist workers in our writing ministries. Recently one person volunteered and I had deja vue of my little girl all dressed up "acting" like a grown up, but lacking any of the substance of maturity. This person's insistence on the greatness they had to offer us was shocking. I thank God for this display of arrogance and pomp. This "in your face" demonstration of immaturity in Christianity has helped me know the marks of maturity we need for work with the ex offenders and inmate newsletter.

One thing I'm learning quickly is that inmates see through "phony" saints in 30 seconds or less. So I am pressed to seek mature men and women to work with me.

If I had a "To Tell The Truth" Christian maturity show how would I discern the real growed up saint?

I wait on your comments. Tomorrow I'll answer with what God is showing me and I'm learning the hard way: trial and error.

How do you discern spiritual maturity in others and yourself?

Here's a clue to help you: "Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages of our glorification" (1 Cor. 2:6,7).

F.I.R.M. in God - Robust Christians

Robust Christian living: Don't miss it. Jesus Christ paid the full cost; wouldn't it be a shame to miss it by misappropriation?

Today is a continuation of messages on being F.I.R.M (flexible, innovative, robust, and mature) to overcome the world's F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). In post: Flexible Saints Make it Through The Storms you can read the rest of the story; followed by Innovative Saints Thrive.

Today's post hits my passion to live robustly in Christ. I imagine anything less cheapens all God has provided for me. The world woos me to be cool and nonchalant. Pain (a million versions of pain) pokes holes in my life balloon. These leaks sap me of my strength to live robustly.

But God says....The Bible shows me that when Jesus was here on this earth, He said that He came to give me “abundant life”, John 10:10. He tells me that when I trust Him, I will be like an artesian well. My life will literally gush with the overflow of His work within me, John 4:14.

I read a story of two mountain villages. Water came to one village from a mountain spring. During the hot, dry summer months that spring would dwindle down until there was barely a trickle of water coming into that little village. Life was threatened every year as the water dried up.

The other village had a fountain in its center. A never ending flow of gushing, clean clear water gurgled up in to quench the villagers thirst. Their life was continually robust no matter how hot or dry the weather became. This village's water source was this artesian well that was not dependent on rainfall. This village met the needs of its people and had enough supply to help out neighboring villages.

I remember life before I was in close committed relationship with Jesus Christ. Before God was my everything, I lived a life that was like a dwindling, trickling little stream that barely gave evidence of its existence. All adverse weather or happenings could dry up my source of robust abundant life. But now, living in Christ, God gives me an overflowing source of spiritual blessings of the redeemed: peace, joy and power.

The great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis wrote that we live with heaven in our minds always, "living as commandos operating behind the enemy lines, preparing the way for the coming of the Commander-in-Chief."

Robust Christian Living in 2009:

"What is Your Attitude?Are you focused on this world?

Are you attached to it, or do you have a sense of the fact that you are only passing through, heading for an eternal home?

I love saints sharing how they live robust lives. Please join in.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Innovative Saints Thrive

"In the beginning God created..." God is the Creator of all. He inspires extraordinary innovation in us, His children, to live life at its best. Today is a continuation from yesterday's post: FIRM in God overcomes FUD in the world. FIRM: F-Flexibiity; I-InnovationR-Robustness; M-Maturity......FUD: F-fear; U-uncertainty; D-doubt.

FIRM in God overtakes FUD in the world!!!

In my daily devotion by Oswald Chambers this past week he reminded me of Isaiah 26:3 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose imagination is stayed on Thee." Chambers calls us to celebrate our imaginations and to be certain they are not starving. "The starvation of the imagination is one of the most fruitful sources of exhaustion and sapping in a worker's life."*

I've heard many Christian messages warning me to watch out for dangers of my imagination. Yes, I need to be mindful where I place my mind, but innovation to survive and thrive lie in my God-given imagination. Chambers continues, "If you have never used your imagination to put yourself before God, begin to do it now. It is no use waiting for God to come; you must put your imagination away from the face of idols and look unto Him and be saved. Imagination is the greatest gift God has given us and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him."*

All this peanut butter scare grieves me in many ways. What disappointment of the misuse of great Godly innovation. I cannot imagine the level of laziness and greed that drove the peanut processing factory CEO to demand products be sold knowing there were tests showing active deadly bacteria in the products. Deaths keep mounting and this entire industry is being impacted as the world avoids eating peanut products. The heavenly innovation that developed those products triggers part of my grief. From childhood I have been fascinated with George Washington Carver. In a severe depression and food shortages Carver would worship God with his scientific educated mind. Most scientists head into their laboratories with data to prove. Carter began each day with a blank sheet of paper, waiting for God to give him Heaven's innovations. Those heaven sent ideas set the agenda for the day's experiments. He prayed not for himself, but for the struggling farmers and the hungry people.

Supernaturally God gave Carver innovations with the simple peanut that possibly saved this nation's agricultural industry as well as helping other countries with land use and food development throughout the world.

We're back in a place of extreme need in this nation. May we all give our minds and imaginations totally to our loving Heavenly Father. May we come to Him with a clean slate and pray to receive Heaven's innovation!!!

I'd love to hear what innovations are helping you thrive.

*Devotions for Morning and Evening with Oswald Chambers, Inspirational Press, NY, NY; February 11 morning reading.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Flexible Saints Make it Through The Storms

Flexibility is necessary to live the vibrant thriving life God has promised us.

Today I researched "flexible" in a search engine and this popped up from Canada's Open University: Athabasca's Online Library laying out an article on software:

"How a FIRM (Flexibility, Innovation, Robustness, and Maturity)Argument for FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) Can Displace FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)."

I love it!!! To be firm in God we need:

F: flexibility
I: innovation
R: robustness
M: maturity

When we stand firm in God we can know what this verse of John Rippon's “How Firm a Foundation” promises:

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Then this little software article promises that FIRM will displace FUD:

F: Fear
U: Uncertainty
D: Doubt

So what looked like a word search turned into a week long exploration of FIRM in God overtakes FUD in the world!!!

My favorite story on flexibility comes from my god-daughter, Holly. One night at supper she was telling us about her fellow first grader who had had 8 "uncles" living with her and her mom during the school year. I asked how she handled all of that change. "Oh, she's just fine with it." I sighed and thought out loud, "Bless her, she must be flexible." Holly whipped around and asked, "Do you know her? She's amazing...She can do a split like this and she bends over like this." Before long Holly looked like a human pretzel. We all broke out laughing thinking of my meaning of flexible and Holly's wonderful demonstration of athletic flexibility.

Holly nailed it. In life we need to be flexible to move in any direction God may direct us. As life is moving fast for many of us in these economic times we need to be centered on God and listening to Him intently. But if we plant our feet in our job, our house, our town or any other natural thing we could have an overly difficult time moving in the ways of God as He alerts us to what's next.

As Holly would tell us: Stay able to move in any direction at any moment. Thrive in God!!!

What's your best flexibility tip or story?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fun Friday Fun on the Farm

One day a man passed by a farm and saw a beautiful horse.

Hoping to buy the animal, he said to the farmer: "I think your horse looks pretty good, so I'll give you $500 for him."

"He doesn't look good, and he's not for sale," the farmer said.

The man insisted, "I think he looks good and I'll up the price to $1000!"

"He doesn't look so good," the farmer said, "but if you want him that much, he's yours."

The next day the man came back raging mad. He went up to the farmer and screamed, "You sold me a blind horse! You cheated me!"

The farmer calmly replied, "I told you he didn't look so good, didn't I?"

This next little picture will try your eyesight, but I think it's worth it.
Look at what the pet house cat ran up a tree!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hidden Treasure

What's tucked or locked inside you? What have you written in journals or notebooks? ls it tucked away? What's hidden in your heart itching to be released?

I'm convinced many people have songs, poems, books, words of truth birthed by Holy Spirit within them that they don't know how to release and reveal. In other eras letter writing and church programs gave ordinary saints a way to speak what the Lord was doing in their lives.

Many a weary pastor has sighed when I would remind them of Acts 5:42 "And DAILY, in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." Jack Hayford comments on this verse, " Both public services in the temple and small group meetings in private homes were employed for the nurturing of believers."

We simple believers are to be shining Jesus daily.

In this last post showcasing Theresa Johnson, head of The Voice of Christ, I pray I give honor for the rare gifting I witness in this mighty woman of God. As I am digging into her book, The Scribal Anointing, I see the recurring message in her book lines up with her workshop emphasis: What is God saying to you?

As I mentioned earlier I have pursued writing training and direction for many years. I've joined critique groups. Many times I've left feeling inferior and frustrated. I have one huge bookshelf filled with writing help books. In Theresa's workshop I felt empowered. In her book, The Scribal Anointing, she writes, "So many conferences, workshops and seminars focus on getting published, editing, copy writing, printing, promoting an image and/or marketing your book. Earnestly, there is a place for this knowledge and understanding in the body, but there is a greater need to cultivate the spirit man of the scribe.He did not come to entertain you, but to set the captives free!"

I returned from her worshop with an even greater commitment to write what I "hear" God saying to me.
I don't want to just write a great book. I would hate to bore you, but I am destined for more than to entertain you. As writers have opened up Heaven for me to see the Lord and be freed: I'm here to shine Jesus into the dark holes in your soul.

Maybe my form is lacking. Maybe you think my grammar is primitive. Maybe I'm missing the marketing trends with my title. Somehow that pales when I re-read Pilgrims' Progress by Paul Bunyan, or words of Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth century simple monk, in Practice the Presence of God. Heaven opens up to me through these simple men's ordinary words blessed by Holy Spirit.

But I must admit that my experience in publishing in the secular market pressed me to seek ways to "hear" God as a Christian writer more than wanting to learn marketing and writing techniques. Every conference has given me a needed truth, but "Scribal Anointing's" teaching matched my needs in perfect sync. God has graced Theresa with teaching influence to empower the struggling writer to dare to seek God and risk rejection and failure as they answer God's call to write, speak and proclaim their heart cry.

Listening to people's testimonies for years I personally believe every Christian has at least one book, one song, one picture, or one poem in their hearts. God has called some of us to write some books and songs. I recall hearing Florence Littauer in a CLASS workshop say that God doesn't want us to die with His songs in our hearts that no one has ever heard.

I don't want to die with God's treasure locked inside me. I want to hear your song, read your book, and delight in the message of your poems. In 2009 we have fallen into a troubling pattern: only Superstar Christians are published or holding the mike. That does not line up with anything I read in the Bible or I sense in my private worship.

I believe Theresa Johnson is one of God's leaders in this time to open up His words in His saints all over the world. God's simple saints will shine from hill to valley with hope and life in Jesus Christ.

Let it out..don't die with your song locked in your heart!

"He hath put a new song in my mouth." Psalm 40:3.

Earlier posts showcasing Prophetess Theresa Harvard Johnson:

Fame & Recognition Trap
Get Over Yourself
Legacy of Faith In My Family
Scars Show Warriors' Worth
Surprise at Writing Conference

Visit Theresa's websites to learn more and get your own copy of her books:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fame & Recognition Trap

I know I am successful because ___________________.

How will you answer this question? As a Christian the honest answer to this question can shake you up. In America we live in a culture of compare and measure how I am doing in reference to others in my world. But Theresa Johnson points out in her writings that this mindset is the enemy's setup for us to miss God. She uses Paul's writings in Second Corinthians to point us to God's best.

"2 Corinthians 10:11-13
11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present. Who we are is measured by the person God sees when the limelight is gone and the bank account is empty. It's who we are at home with our families when the camera's are NOT on and no one else is around to see us but God. Who we are is in our hearts.

12We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

It is a terrible thing to compare ourselves with others. It IS A SIN and I hate this stronghold. So many BORN AGAIN believers/scribes sit around comparing how they write with how others write. They use someone else's thing as a benchmark on how well they are doing it. We've go to stop this. Comparison breeds division, jealousy, envy, strife, competition, and CONDEMNATION....We are unique in God.

What God has for LALA down the street is for LALA. It's not for me. I should not covet what God has given her. This is dangerous. It causes distractions and can cause our EGO to set a course on a path that DOES NOT BELONG to us. This is serious ...and we see it every day.

13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you. Look at this. The scripture says that we will not step outside the boundaries God has set for us. It says that we will "confine or restrain" our boasting to the "boundaries" God has assigned to us. You see, if we can just follow the path that the LORD HAS SET for our individual lives ... the "FIELD WILL REACH US" ... we do not have to try to REACH THE FIELD!

Too many people are STRIVING and trying GET SOMETHING FROM GOD! I pray that you are not one of them. Don't miss this. You ALREADY HAVE what God desires to give you. Just stay on course. Stay focused and let the FIELD REACH YOU.Notice that the scripture says the field will "reach you."

I pray today that you FREE yourself from the boundaries and burdens and weights that YOU have afflicted yourself with -- and that you embrace the type of success that "our Father" set before us from the foundations.
Success is NOT based on completing or accomplishing tasks that WE have set for ourselves or on obtaining a level of fame, prosperity or recognition. Success is based on completing and accomplishing those tasks given to us by GOD, and by obtaining the kind of prosperity spoken of in

3 John 1:2.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

True success is knowing that you have PLEASED GOD.

It is knowing that you have done all that HE HAS commanded of you and now, you can obtain that PEACE that only the Lord can give. This peace says, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."The purpose for material wealth is to fulfill our ministry functions and to be a blessing to others. Yet, God also wants us to have the kind of success that heals our emotions, promotes healing in our physical bodies and brings us into a place of confidence and security in him.

Without the complete picture of "success" that God paints – which is inward – we are not successful."

I know Theresa hit some of your buttons today. Please add your comments and help me understand when I am truly successful, doing my best as God leads and knowing God is pleased. No one to the right or left has my call. I need to be free to celebrate each victory with others with no regrets for me. I'm so happy God calls me to process (still under construction) and He is patient! 'Cause I'm not done yet!

Check out the earlier post on this wonderful Christian Writer/Publisher/Instructor/Pastor/Evangelist Get Over Yourself .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Get Over Yourself

Recently I overheard two teens talking. One disgustedly said to the other, "Oh, just get over yourself!" How many times have I wanted to say this to pompous Christian speakers or leaders! Today is another tribute to some great qualities I see in Theresa Harvard Johnson, head of Voices in Christ creative ministries. The first post of this series: Legacy of Faith In My Family

Theresa is so in Christ, she is totally over herself. After her workshop a few weeks ago, I shared with a friend from Ohio that Theresa was very much like an evangelist we both loved, Evangelist Althea Marion. Unfortunately, Evangelist Marion died a decade ago. In moments he said "I can arrange to be down there with a few days notice. When I can I meet her?" All I told him was that Theresa ministered the most like Althea of anyone I've met. Wow! What a testimony of Althea!

So what did this woman show me that was so distinctive in this information age with thousands of Christian leaders and voices on TV, the internet, on CD, in DVD's ? I must say she was utterly unmasked, real and yet kind, strong, relevant and informative while pointing to Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Father God and the Bible.

I'm calling out to God to know how I can be sure I'm over myself. May we explore being real, unmasked, in Christ and confident in all God promises to be in and through us by His Word: the Bible.

Mirror Check Before Meeting The Day
Mask Check: ever-varying, ever-concealing mask,
Must cover my real thoughts of fear and hurt,
Can't let others see "Me," or they'll drop me.

Everyone else seems so together,
No matter what, I gotta' look
Cool, calm, cheery and comfortable.
Can't let them see"Me," or they'll fire me.

Pretending is now second nature for me,
Won't someone hear what I'm not saying?
I know I look like Cool Confident Class;
Can't let them hear "Me," or they'll never call again.

Don't be fooled by this mask,
I have hundreds of masks,
None of them are "Me,"
For God's sake see this is a mask,
Surprise me with daring to see "Me,"
And show me you'll love the scarred "Me."

copyright 2009 Kay Martin

In Theresa I see St. Paul's epistle come to life:

"Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech...unlike Moses, who put veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away." 2 Corinthians 3:12-13. (Another translation reads, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.").

Heavenly Father,

Help me know who I am in Christ. Lord, I want to get over myself. I want to look to You, above all. When my eyes are on You; I dare to be me, warts and all, and in that reality is Your freedom. I have searched Your Word and after Pentecost everything You write is written to us together with one another in You. Teach me how to call out for help. Teach me how to partner with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Tune my heart to others and may I see them...the real man or woman, even if they still don their masks. Show us how to thrive in You.

In Jesus name,

Monday, February 9, 2009

Legacy of Faith In My Family

Theresa Johnson ignited a passion to write in my spirit in her recent workshop. I have had to admit I don't have as much trouble with writing as I struggle with the publishing process. I'm not a newbie with publishing. In the early eighties I co-authored a craft, organizing cookbook that was modestly successful. Marketing the book was a mammoth task and the competitiveness of the publishing industry was fierce.

When I first felt God's call to speak and write I was disappointed in things I discovered when I explored the Christian publishing industry. In business you have to make a profit or you're not in business. I had so many responsibilities with my own family and caring for two widowed mothers that I could not see how I could jump into the publishing world and maintain my main responsibilities.

I retreated into teaching and speaking with God's gifting in me. But, now, the writing itch will not let up on me. Publishing will be God's empowerment. I am writing with all that is in me; and this blog and my church's newsletter offer me wonderful outlets. But Theresa showed me the power of my written faith legacy to generations beyond me.

For two weeks I have been recalling my conversations with mine and my husband's grandparents. I shall never forget when my maternal grandmother told me once, "Well, I just don't get it when folks have trouble believing in God's power and the words of the Bible. I'd believe Job swallowed the giant fish if the Bible said so; and folks struggle with the big fish swallowing Job."

Theresa fired me up to write "my story" when she challenged me to think of how much I wish I had the life stories and the Christian testimonies of my ancestors. I especially desire to have the writings of my ancestor who was a scribe/translator of the King James version of the Bible in England.

I'm not sure what God will do with His writing gifts in me; but I know I will write my life journey and who Jesus is to me for my family (especially the ones not even alive when I go home to Heaven) and my friends.
Whenever I am tempted to feel pompous in writing all about me; I will recall how I wish I had the written story of my deceased family members. It's not narcissistic bravado: no, it's all about Christ in me and how I came to know "my way" would never work; and I gave all to Him.

May Theresa and I stir up the gift of writing in you. How about leaving a written "heart print" as Beth wrote in yesterday's comments? Write to your family yet unborn...leave a heartprint for them.

Whatever our hands touch...
We leave fingerprints.
On walls,
On furniture,
On door knobs, dishes and books.
Smudges, showing we were there!

Oh Lord, please, wherever I go today...
Help me leave Heartprints.
Heartprints of compassion,
Understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
And genuine concern.

I shall go out today... to leave Heartprints...
And if someone should say, "I felt your touch!"
May that one feeling be
Your loving touch,
Lord, through me!

May my heart touch...
My lonely neighbor, with a smile,
A worried mother, with peace,
A runaway child, with safety,
A homeless person, with warmth,
And my dear friends, with love.
~Author unknown~
Kay adds...
Lord, I pray that my heart will touch...
My family with the love You've given me;
The joy I know through You...
The comfort that I will never be alone;
Oh, God, pour Your story through me.
I pray for a written heartprint,
that shows You in me for my family!!!
Theresa Harvard Johnsons' websites:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Scars Show Warriors' Worth

Theresa Harvard Johnson is God's warrior in the Kingdom of God. Today I will dare to continue to express my heart in all I see in this leader, teacher, writer, poet and prophet. The first post on Theresa was yesterday: Surprise at Writing Conference . This poem is written as a tribute to poet Theresa:

Bare Your Scars

An ancient warrior's scars showed his value,
God’s mighty scribes and preachers:
Bare your scars.
You talk a good game,
but where’s victory's proof?
Bare your scars

Shame calls you to cover up;
Prop up an image to hide your battle scars.
You feel safe, but I can't hear or see the real you.
Your cover up muffles God's revelations in you.
Bare your scars

Dare to show your battle scars with honor.
Your raw reality, scars and war tales show me
God wins.
As warriors of old,
Bare your scars.

Show God’s creative genius,
You wear His one-of-a-kind scar design,
Evidence of His healing your wound.
Bare your scars.

Thomas demanded to see Jesus’ scar,
Or he would not believe He was alive.
You throw me deep truths that I doubt;
How can you expect me to believe
If you do less than Jesus?
Bare your scars.

copyright Kay Martin 2009

"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). A week later, the Risen Christ again surprises the disciples. Thomas is there and Jesus obliges,

"Put your finger here," do not doubt but believe."

Within moments of our writing workshop Theresa showed her scars from church wounding in her youth. Through her scars I realized why I resent the "image" cover ups of spokesmen and women in Christianity. Finally I had clarity in why I have pursued to be authentic and transparent in my writing and speaking. As I enlist writers I now have good Biblical evidence to support my insistence on honesty, transparency, humility and a teachable attitude in every writer for the Razor Wire inmate newsletter.

Theresa took us through a Bible study on the importance of names in the Jewish culture. She shared that her first name is Theresa, and its Greek origin is defined as meaning: "To Harvest." Indeed, I see her as a strong leader to train up a generation for the Great Harvest of our day.

Theresa Harvard Johnson is a passionate, present day prophetic scribe, licensed and ordained minister, and bible teacher whose ministry is rooted in restoring the literary arts to its rightful place in the body of Christ. She is dedicated to training and equipping a generation of scribal warriors who are committed to spreading the testimony of Jesus Christ. She has written The Scribal Anointing, The Scribal Companion, Spiritually Critiquing, Scribal Purpose, Thank God For Salvation, and the soon to be released books, Scribal Warfare and Literary Evangelism.Theresa is the founder of Voices of Christ Literary Ministries International, a growing School of the Scribe.

She "bares her battle scars"on this website:

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for being victorious in our lives. All of Your children know You are our source of all that is good in us. May we see the battles of our lives: sins, hurts, betrayals, neglect, and pain as setups for You to move in our behalf. Today we have these unique designed scars. The wounds are healed. We bare our scars to show the wounded souls You are the healer!!!

In Jesus' name, AMEN

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Surprise at Writing Conference

Beautiful Life Giving Writing Teacher/Encourager:Theresa Harvard Johnson.

I've shared on this blog for nearly a year how I struggle and delight in God's call on my life as His writer. Writing was something I've just had to do; not that anyone would ever read my prose; I had to write. Most of my writing has been stowed away in journals. I've paid much money and traveled hundreds of miles to study writing in workshops, online courses, and college courses. Sadly, only some techniques were applicable to the call of God in my life to write. I know when I read a writer who has connected with God because their very words life me. I don't want to release my writing unless my words are alive in Christ.

Actually I used most of these teachings from those conferences and classes to improve my speaking skills. Talking, anywhere, is easy for me. Writing is my challenge. Last Saturday I drove a couple of hours to a workshop led by Theresa Harvard Johnson. I was underwhelmed because of my past writing workshop experiences, and I had a packed schedule. But I sensed God was calling me to this program on the coldest Saturday of the winter. I got lost finding the site and I was not a happy camper.

Oh, how I have thanked God for disturbing my comfort that chilly morning. Within minutes of the beginning of the workshop Theresa opened up the Bible to show us God's ways of moving into the creative gifts of His called ones. Each one of us attendees had most distinctive calls and target audiences, but she showed us in the Bible how to be in alignment with God and receive His anointing to empower us.

For the rest of this week I will share her profound teaching on getting the main thing in alignment: Knowing what God is calling us to write and receiving His anointing and Spiritual empowerment to do His work as Holy Spirit leads us. If you're here and never want to write; hold on, there is great life truth for everyone from this great anointed teacher.

I hope you will visit her website and read for yourself her great teachings. I feel I must encourage you to be open to her. For many years God has called me into Quaker groups, mainline Protestant churches, Catholic groups, Non-denominational churches and Pentecostal churches. I have been blessed to participate in many Aftrican American church groups from mainline denominations to Pentecostal Holiness groups. I am comfortable in all these groups and the language each uses is not a hindrance to me seeing Jesus in them. But I see many folks who have stayed in one place among people just like themselves to be judgmental on terms and titles that are unfamiliar to their own religious group. This is my caution to you: dare to open up beyond your little world. If terms are not familiar to you; hold on, and see what is going on in a different group when Jesus Christ is lifted up. To me, Jesus is the main thing and I listen and look to what He is to everyone and every group.

Theresa began our class telling us how God opened up Matthew 13:52 to her a few years ago. She said, " I was so intrigued by my writing ministry that the Lord led me to print out, and study through hundreds of scriptures that involved the ministry of the biblical scribe. I was so blown away by what I found. In Matthew 13:52 Jesus brought the scriptures concerning Ezra to life for me. He said: 'Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.' "

Theresa told us that we all are called to write. I realized how I need to write my life story and how God has woven His love and power in my life. My descendants need to have this available to them. I began to process how much I wish I had the written testimony and life story of my ancestors. Oh, to read of God's influence in the lives of my great-great-great grandmothers and grandfathers. Along with my other writing assignments I am planning on writing who Jesus is to me for those that will come after me.

Tomorrow we will explore further how Theresa has been a powerful change-agent in my life.

Perhaps you can visit her at:

Thank You, Lord, for encouraging me to sit under the teaching of Your faithful "Real" teacher, Theresa Johnson.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.