Archives for January 2009

Beauty Winner

beautybuzz… Or should I say “Beauty Buzz winner,” because that’s the new name for our beauty column! Thanks, Ashley K. for your suggestion! We will be in touch with you so you can claim your bag of Beauty Buzz products.

And, to everyone else, thank you for your title suggestions. Some of them were very good and we appreciate everyone who participated in our first-ever magazine contest.

We have a very exciting giveaway planned for next month, too, so stay tuned!

Davonne Parks

A Healthy Resolve: Part One

haf3Many of us may have made the resolution to be healthier this year. Several of us might have even decided on a certain number of pounds we want to lose. We may have decided to never eat desserts again, or to only eat one sweet per week (or month). Others of us may have promised ourselves that we’ll exercise for 45 minutes every single day. If those are your resolutions, I suggest changing them!

We’re told in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “…God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” While it’s important to stay healthy in order to avoid health issues, we do need to make sure to put our physical health in proper perspective. We need to make sure that we’re not focusing so much on our outward appearance that we neglect our spiritual selves.

In this three part series, we’ll discuss weighing ourselves (or not!), eating right without dieting, and the healthy way to exercise. This month, the topic of choice is the bathroom scale. While reading this article, keep in mind that since God’s not looking at our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), then I’m certain that he doesn’t care about a number on the bathroom scale, so we shouldn’t obsess about it either.

Scaling back

If we want to lose ten pounds in January, we have made an unhealthy and unrealistic resolution (averaging one pound per week is generally healthy and more easily maintained), and we will only feel discouraged if we don’t meet that extremely difficult goal. Some may disagree with me, but I really feel that a number on a scale should never be our goal! In fact, I often encourage people to throw their scale away. I gained 63 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter, and I lost 72 pounds within ten months of her birth (post-pregnancy is about the only time rapid weight loss can be healthy).  I got down to nine pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I did all of this without a magic number in my head, and without a scale on my bathroom floor, or anywhere else in my home.

haf1Scales do work for some, but a scale can often be our worst enemy when trying to become healthier, mainly because it can discourage us. If we exercise every day for a week, don’t eat any junk food or red meat, and snack only on carrot sticks without dip, we’d all expect the scale to say we weigh less, right? But if the number on the scale is the same, or (gasp!) more than it was at our last weigh-in, what happens most of the time? We become discouraged, and often comfort ourselves with sweets! This, of course, makes us gain weight, often causing us to eat more sweets to try to comfort ourselves even more.

The problem with our logic of eating less, exercising, and the scale numbers always going down is that weight fluctuates. If I weigh myself five times in a weekend, I’ll have a slightly different number on the scale each time. This is perfectly normal, but if I were on a diet and counting every ounce, I could easily become discouraged. The other flaw in this logic is that muscle weighs more than fat. In one month, you might lose two pounds of fat and gain three pounds of muscle, so even though you are healthier, look better, and feel better, the scale will tell you you’ve gained a pound!

When to weigh in

As much as I am against owning a scale, and using it often, I am, however, all for the occasional weigh-in. I get weighed at the doctor’s office, and I will also weigh myself when I’m visiting my mom (who does have a scale). These occasional weigh-ins keep me on track, and were a wonderful encouragement when I was losing my baby weight. I’d weigh myself, on average, about every six weeks, so I had no idea if I gained two pounds one week; but I did know that, overall, I was losing weight. The day-to-day weight fluctuations didn’t discourage me, because I was blissfully oblivious to them! This also works well in keeping us on track – if we weigh ourselves once every month or two, and we’ve gained five pounds, that’s a clue we need to watch our eating and exercise habits more closely until our next weigh-in.

Food of the month: Tilapia

haf2Tilapia is a mild white fish that’s native to Israel, but also raised in the United States. Low in mercury, fat, and sodium, and high in protein, tilapia is safe for pregnant women and young children, making it a healthy alternative to red meat at any family meal. This fish can be purchased fresh or frozen at most grocery stores. If you don’t usually enjoy seafood, I suggest giving this fish a try—it has only a very mild fish flavor, which can also be lessened by seasoning.

For a complete, well-balanced meal, try adding a little lemon pepper and seasoning salt to each side of the cleaned fish, and grill according to the instructions on the package (on those colder nights, try using the George Foreman, or baking the fish). The tilapia is ready once you insert a fork into the center, and the meat easily flakes off.

Once the fish is on the grill, boil some water on the stove, throw in broccoli, salt, pepper, and a small amount of butter. Boil for three to five minutes, then drain the water (you can pour the water on most plants to give them added nutrients), and place the cooked broccoli in a pretty serving dish. Add a few cheese slices on top of the broccoli, and cover to allow the cheese to melt.

Serve with whole grain rolls, a small fruit salad or whole fruit (pears are in season this month!), and a tall glass of milk, and you have a delicious, well balanced meal in minutes!

Coming up

Next month, we’ll discuss the non-diet, and healthy ways to lose weight. For now, try to forget about your magic number, consider throwing out (or at least having your mom hide) your scale, and practice gaging your health by healthy eating habits and exercise, because when we’re truly living a healthy lifestyle, a good number on the (occasional) scale will naturally follow.

By Davonne Parks

Last Chance!

bloglastdayToday is the last day to submit photos of your snow creations (angels, people, forts, etc.) to us for use in our Gifted Girls article next month.  You can send pictures to Info @ PierceMyHeart . com (remove spaces).

This is also the last day to suggest a new name for our beauty column.  The winner, who will be announced on January 31, will receive a gift bag of beauty products!

If you have any questions, let us know, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible!

– Davonne Parks

Sharing Him Article # 1

stw1After Jesus rose from the dead, He commanded His followers: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20).

We rightly call this “the Great Commission.”  Jesus doesn’t give His disciples permission to tell the good news of His gospel to others; He gives them a commission – a charge – to do so! The Bible says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).

Over the next few articles, we’re going to talk about this great commission.  Maybe you call it “personal evangelism” or “personal work” or “putting the Great Commission into action,” but regardless of what you call it, personal evangelism is something in which every Christian should be – and can be! – involved.

Sometimes because of fear and timidity, or simply not knowing where to begin, we fail to tell others the message of Christ.  But always remember:  God’s word is taught, not caught!  Jesus said it is necessary that people be taught about God (John 6:45).  And we know that faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17).  Remember, the message we have to share is “good news” people need to hear.  Our motivation is not to try to “talk someone into” something that is contrary to their best interest; rather, we are telling people a message they desperately need, a message that has power to save the soul (Romans 1:16).

We’re going to talk about some principles involved in sharing the gospel, and some practical applications.  We’re going to discuss how to share the good news of the gospel with others, and how to explain God’s plan of salvation in a very simple, understandable, and compelling way.

But first, consider: What is “sharing the gospel” anyway?

– It is discussing Christianity or studying the Bible with a friend;
– it is telling, and showing, a neighbor the joy of serving God;
– it is asking a friend at work to attend services with you;
– it is gathering neighborhood children to attend Vacation Bible School;
– it is slipping a gospel tract into a letter or bill, or leaving tracts in a public place;
stw2– it is writing a letter to a loved one, expressing interest in that person’s spiritual welfare;
– it is having a non-Christian in your home, sharing hospitality and love;
– it is encouraging a new Christian, or strengthening someone who is burdened;
– it is bringing a friend to Bible class and worship;
– it is setting up a home Bible study with a friend and your preacher, or other mature and godly person;
– it is talking about the gospel with friends, family, associates, and acquaintances;
– it is showing a video presentation of the gospel;
– it is sharing the gospel over a cup of coffee or soft drink;

Christian friend, why not resolve that this year you are going to share God’s word with at least one unbeliever.  You can begin by praying that God will help to open someone’s heart to His message. Your faith will be strengthened, your Christian walk will be enhanced, your joy will be increased, and Heaven will rejoice in the presence of God’s angels if you’ll do that!

More to come…

By John M. Brown

Helping to De-clutter

hh1Proverbs 31:20 “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”

It’s the New Year. A time of simplifying. However, this can mean a very stressful time for many people. Although I love to organize, I know that there are many who do not have that “talent.” This time of year offers a great opportunity to help someone else by helping them to de-clutter their stuff. It may be a room in their house, or just a closet or box. Whatever it is, it may be something that has been hanging over their heads, something they’ve been dreading to do, or are unable to do themselves. If you also want to take this time to de-clutter your own space, check out our June 2008 issue, Closet Clean-up. This article offers great ideas for simplifying your own life this time of year, while at the same time giving to others.

Begin by considering who you can help. Pray about it. Is there a widow at church who could use help cleaning her basement? Is there a mom of four who needs a help getting started on that closet or box of pictures she’s been dreading? Sometimes all it takes is someone else’s presence to motivate us to do things we’ve been putting off. Approach the person you’ve chosen and offer to help them simplify and organize as a way for you to serve them. You may actually get turned down by several people before you find someone willing to accept your help. We are often too prideful to admit that we could use the help of others. It is important, however, to be careful in how you approach someone. Even if you are aware that they are not organized or are untidy, try not to mention that in your approach. Remember, your primary reason for doing this is to serve, and glorify God. I suggest asking the person you’ve considered that you want to serve them by helping them with a project that they’ve been putting off. If she is a busy mom, tell her that you know she may not have time for her own projects and organizing, and you’d like to help her.

After finding someone you can serve, set a date and time that’s convenient for them. You may even set several dates and times in order to get through a larger job. Come prepared with some organizing and de-cluttering tips, which you can find online if you are not an organizational person. Then let them take the lead. Encourage them to make decisions of what to do with their clutter, but allow them to make the decisions on what goes and what stays. Some things have value to a person that we would never understand, so let them have control of that. As I mentioned before, your job may simply be to motivate them to begin their project and get through it. You can gently encourage them to consider why they have been holding onto something. They may not even know anymore, and only have it out of familiarity.

hh2For other people, they may not need help deciding at all! You may choose to serve someone who simply needs assistance moving stuff or taking it to a donation center. Depending on the size of the job, you may need to enlist the help of someone with a truck. Try not to leave the person with the bigger job of cleaning up after the organizational overhaul. Allow yourselves enough time to complete the task, even if it means returning a little later to finish.

Helping people simplify their space and lives can be such a blessing to them. It can often help them to feel more peaceful about other aspects of their lives. But far more important in helping someone is showing them God’s love through our service to them.

Lisa Grimenstein

Top Ten Ways to Renew Yourself

cookingcornermainThis month, as well as doing things to help others, we can also take the time to renew our own spirits (Psalm 51:10). Choose your favorite items from this list to do when you have the opportunity, or do one new activity every few days until you’ve completed the list (then start over if you want to!).

10) Cook something fun.

9) Watch a clean movie.

8 ) Organize a space in your bedroom.

7) Focus on, and enjoy, your own uniqueness.

6) Allow your creativity to flow by making something like jewelry or a poster.

5) Have fun with your family.

4) Renew your skin by giving yourself a facial.

toptenjan3) Enjoy a hot drink while reading at a leisurely pace.

2) Write down your thoughts, dreams, goals, and prayers in a pretty journal.

1) Take your time meditating on a portion of His Word.

By Davonne Parks

Reputation Matters!

blogreputationaUsually, when asked why I won’t do something, my reply is, “I have a reputation to keep!” This doesn’t please most people who hear this; instead, their response to that is, “You shouldn’t care what other people think!” To a certain extent, I can understand that thinking. For instance, I should not care what someone would think if I were to stand up for what is right among a crowd of wrong-doers. However, when it comes to reputation, I believe it does matter what people think. I will explain why.

We are to be an example to those around us (I Tim. 4:12). If we are off doing and saying things that Jesus would not do and say, then we are not being a very good example! Of course, none of us is perfect–and we will never be–but we are to try our best to have a mind like Christ (Philippians 2:5). People know what kind of person we are by our actions (Matthew 7:15-20). Even if we say we are a Christian, if we do not try our best to be one, they will not be apt to look to us as an example!

Others also take notice of who we hang out with. Often, teens don’t want to believe that they will begin to act like the people they hang around. The Bible tells us it will happen, though. “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (I Corinthians 15:33). If the people we are “friends” with will not accept our ways as a Christian, we have no need to be affiliated with them. After we have tried our best to teach them, if they do not want to better themselves, then we must sever those ties, or else they will bring us down. Sometimes, there are people who seem to be our friends, who in the end, spread our defects, make us look bad, and hurt the reputation we are attempting to build for Christ. We have got to watch out who we are running around with, or others will begin to see that we are beginning to imitate their ways…which, if unrighteous, will be greatly damaging to our building reputation!

The Bible tells us what we are to be, simply! By becoming what God has commanded, we don’t have to wonder “who we are,” or “how we should live.” We will know how to be the right example! Here are some things God wants us to be:

Moral, having integrity (Titus 2:7)
Reverent, respectful (Titus 2:7)
Incorruptible, not willing to give way to the devil’s ways (Titus 2:7)
A sound speaker, using good language and words, and being uplifting with our words; they are powerful (Titus 2:8; Ephesians 4:29; Psalm 34:13-14; Col. 3:8-9; James 3:5)
Humble, meek, seeing everyone as above yourself, not being conceited or proud (Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 18:4; James 4:10; Colossians 3:12)
Blameless and harmless in a world of perversion; (Philippians 2:14-15)
Joyful (Philippians 4:4; Psalm 35:9; 2 Cor. 12:9-10)
Caring, hospitable, kind & tenderhearted (Eph. 4:32; 1 Peter 4:9; Phil. 2:4)
Forgiving and loving (Eph. 4:32; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Col. 3:13-14; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:7-11)

blogreputationbI know that it may seem like, at times, the Bible is just a “rule book” of “don’t do this” and “you can’t do that.” But when we honestly grasp all God and Jesus have done for us, why would we not want to mold ourselves to fit His standards? I mean, we don’t need money or power to become the things He commands us to be. It’s all inside us, and He’s willing to help us become all that we can be for Him!

I’d like to end this entry on this note: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). We can be the best example to those around us, as long as we seek God’s guidance in building a righteous reputation. Even when we mess up, keep trying. He knows if we truly desire to live for Him; He knows our hearts!

– Hannah Smith

January 2009 Desktop Image

Pierce my heart anew. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

January 2009, Created by Davonne Parks –  Standard or Wide-screen

Resolution of the Heart

h2h1Psalm 51:10–12: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.”

It’s the beginning of a new year and people everywhere are making New Year’s resolutions. Most people make goals of losing weight and eating right, exercising more, and being on time for school or work. While those things are important, we can’t neglect the most important thing of all. That is to renew our hearts to be godly women.

Beware of hypocrisy

We need to live our lives so that we are not hypocritical. What is a hypocrite? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary says it’s “a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” The Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, 3rd Edition, says a hypocrite is a person “who pretends or is deceitful; actor, cheat, crook, fake, imposter, phony, pretender, two-faced, liar, pharisaical, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

It’s interesting to note some of the antonyms, or opposites, for hypocrite. They are: honest, just, real, reliable, righteous, sincere, truthful, and upright. The opposites of hypocrite are exactly how God tells us to be as a Christian. If these are the opposites of a hypocrite, then we definitely know that being hypocritical goes against God’s commandments. First Timothy 1:5: “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.”

I have heard Christians say, “We are all hypocrites.” Is that really true? If we are truly living our lives as God expects us to, then there is no room to be hypocritical. If we fill our hearts with goodness and love and live each day the way God tells us to live then that is not hypocritical. We all sin, sometimes unknowingly and sometimes purposefully, and perhaps we don’t mean to. Romans 7:19-20: “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

h2h2We become a hypocrite whenever we know how we are suppose to live or we have secret sins and yet we display ourselves as a righteous woman of God. If people would be shocked by our actions, words, or thoughts done in secret, then we know we are being a hypocrite. We can’t act godly and then go behind closed doors and commit our secret sins. God warns us what will happen to us if we do those evil things.

Obtain a pure heart

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:1-2). Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

We cannot teach people about God and how to live a righteous life and then read filthy novels that depict all sorts of wickedness. We cannot watch television shows or movies that show nudity, sinfulness, and evil. We cannot gossip or tell lies about others.

There’s a song we all learned as children: “Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear, be careful little mouth what you say, be careful little hands what you do, and be careful little feet where you go.” As a Christian, we have to continually be careful what we see, hear, say, and do because we show verbally and by our actions exactly what our heart is made of. “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speak” (Luke 6:45).

If we continue living against God’s commands, He will grow weary of us and our unrepentant heart. Remember, God and sin cannot dwell in the same place at the same time. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

h2h3We also cannot continue in the same sin and expect God to forgive us repeatedly. We must be sincerely sorry and repentant in our prayers when we ask for forgiveness. Repent means to change. If we are sinning, and ask God to forgive us, we need to make sure that we are truly repentant, because God knows our hearts. Romans 6:1–2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Stand firm

We need to stand firm in God’s Word, to be immovable and steadfast. What does it mean to be steadfast? It means to be “firmly fixed in place; not subject to change; firm in belief; determination or adherence,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 1Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

A clean heart is unblemished, pure, not dirty. Like mopping a dirty floor, once it was grimy with flecks of dirt and dust balls all over it. Then we swept and mopped it all clean until it sparkled. “Create in me a clean heart.” Psalm 51:10–12: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.”

While we’re making our New Year’s resolutions, let’s remember to always live our lives according to God’s Word and to always strive to be the women God desires us to be. We need to study His Word to know His instructions for us to live by and for it to be a natural part of our being; of who we are. It’s never too late to change our hypocritical heart and be the young women we should be and to make God proud of us.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please help me to be the woman You want me to be. Help me to know my weaknesses and to not be hypocritical. I want to live so that You are proud of me. Help me to be careful what I say, hear, and do so that I may glorify You in my life.

In Jesus’ Name,

By Carol Gartman