Archives for March 2009

March Book Winner!

Not Even a HintThe random drawing winner of Not Even A Hint is Jennifer! You should have an e-mail from Pierce My Heart in your inbox. If not, please contact us to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this contest by giving article topic suggestions. If you didn’t win this month, please try again in April, because we have a fun bathing suit giveaway coming up!

Congratulations, Jennifer! We pray this book will provide you with knowledge and motivation to help you live a godly life, and that you’ll always look foremost to God and His Word for guidance.

– Davonne Parks

Sharing Him Article #3

stw1So far this year we’ve discussed what it means to share the Gospel with others and where to begin.  This month we’re going to talk about explaining His Plan of Salvation.

God’s Plan of Salvation:  How can I explain it?

In this article, we will consider a simple, scriptural, and concise way to explain to another God’s plan of salvation. Salvation is a gift, but it’s a gift we must choose to accept in order to become part of God’s kingdom (Acts 2:38).

Consider the following three points:

1. The Problem: Sin

The greatest problem confronting mankind is not economic, educational, cultural, racial, social, or physical.  The greatest problem confronting humanity is the problem of sin.

Sin causes man to be separated from God (lost!):  Isaiah 59:1–2

Sin causes one to be spiritually dead:  Ephesians 2:1–2; Romans 6:23

Sin is a universal malady because all have sinned:  Romans 3:9-10; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 6:23

Sin causes man to be lost in this life and lost eternally.  It is a terrible malady, a deadly disease, an awful affliction!

2. The Remedy: The Blood of Christ

Sin is the problem:  that’s the bad news.  But there is a remedy for the problem of sin; there is a cure for the disease:  that’s the good news.

The remedy for sin is the blood of Christ!

Jesus said in Matthew 26:28, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

stw2It is the blood of Christ that provides us forgiveness:  Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:18–19; Revelation 1:5.

The word “gospel,” which means “good news,” is that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1–4).

3. The Response: Obeying Christ

Having identified the problem (sin) and the remedy (Christ’s blood), the question remains, “How does one get the remedy?”

The answer is simple:  we must obey Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us that Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:8–9).

Jesus commands we believe in Who He is (John 8:24), repent (Luke 13:3), confess our faith in Him (Matthew 10:32), accepting His invitation of salvation, and be baptized (Mark 16:16).  He further tells us to remain faithful (Revelation 2:10).

An Illustration:

Suppose a man went to a doctor for a check-up.  The doctor found a deadly disease that could take the man’s life.  That’s bad news.  But the doctor tells the man there’s a medicine that can cure his disease.  That’s good news!  Then the doctor instructs the man to take the prescription.  Would the man hesitate taking the remedy if he was thoroughly convinced it would alleviate his affliction?

Likewise man must learn of and acknowledge his problem; he must come to know that sin is the deadly disease confronting us all.  But he needs also to learn that through Christ there is a remedy, and he needs to learn what that remedy is.


Think of these three points (problem, remedy, response), learn the Scriptures that relate to each of these points and demonstrate their truthfulness, and then be about the business of telling people the good news of the gospel and God’s desire for them to be forgiven and have eternal life.

Emphasize to people how much God loves them and what a great gift He has given them (John 3:16).  Share with them God’s great desire for them to receive this great gift.  Everything necessary for our salvation on God’s part had been done; now it is up to us to accept by faith the gift of God.

Scriptures for further study:  Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6; Acts 3:19; Galatians 3:26–27; 1 Peter 3:21.

By John Brown

Last Chance!

jft5Today is the last day to submit photos of things you’ve sewn (pillows, blankets, clothes, 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 enter to win our March Giveaway. The winner, who will be announced on March 31, will receive a new book!

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

– Davonne Parks

Good from the Sad

jft4My mother was five weeks pregnant when she miscarried her child. Just a few weeks later, she became pregnant with me. Miscarriage is such a tragic loss, and full of shattered hopes and dreams. However, if she had carried that baby to term, I wouldn’t be here today; I simply wouldn’t exist. That idea always makes my head spin!

I’ve also always felt that God has a real purpose for me or He wouldn’t have placed me on His earth, under the circumstance that another baby had to die in order for me to be born. God created all of us under His circumstances and with amazing potential; in fact, the average human uses only a small percentage of their brain. So many people die without using their minds, and their lives, to the full potential God created them for. I don’t want to be one of those people! I want to live up to my full potential and, when I am on my deathbed, to reflect on my life and know with complete certainty that I did everything I could do for the sake of Christ.

As Christians, we should all have that same feeling because Jesus had to die so that we could live eternally. Do we realize that He is just as real as that precious baby? We owe such a debt of gratitude to God for the chance of eternal life, that we do indeed need to show Him how much we appreciate Him by living the life He wants us to live, and by sharing His love with as many souls as we can.

God created each one of us for a purpose – it’s up to us to live it.

– Anonymous

Top Ten Ways to Live up to Your Potential

tt210) Spend time alone. Figure out who you are in Christ, and what you want out of life.

9) Push your limits in a godly way. Try new things, challenge yourself, and prayerfully aim for high goals!

8 ) Take care of your body. We have more energy when we’re eating right and exercising, which will help us feel energized enough to make the most out of each day.

7) Treat others kindly. Treating others kindly can often help us to feel better about ourselves, which will encourage us to keep doing our best.

6) Refuse to get caught up in gossip. Gossip will not only hurt others, but it will bring us down as well, pulling us away from God’s purposes, and causing us to fall short of living up to His true potential for us.

5) Look for ways to help. The virtuous woman (a great example to all of us!) helped the needy in Proverbs 31:20, and using our own talents, we can help too. This will help us to discover our true potential, as well as bless others in the process.

4) Research what you’re interested in. Thinking about going to college for English or music? Look it up! Visit the library or search on google for more information. You can also ask questions, job shadow, or attend a college class that’s in your desired field. This may help you to either get more excited about your interests, or make you realize that you’re not quite as interested as you thought you were. If you discover that it’s not for you, research something else! Learning what we want to do is half the fun.

tt13) Write down your goals. Not only will this be fun to look back on later, but studies have shown that when we write down our goals in detail, we’re much more likely to accomplish them.

2) Surround yourself with positive, energetic people. The phrase, “You are who you associate with” has a lot of truth to it. If we’re around negative people, we tend to allow them to pull us down. If we’re around godly people who generally have a positive outlook on life, it will encourage us to do the same.

1) Seek His will. God wants us to be happy in Him. Above all, we need to prayerfully seek to make sure we’re living out His will for our lives, because He knows what’s best for us better than we know ourselves (1 Corinthians 1:25).

By Davonne Parks

March 2009 Desktop Image

If you’d like to have our theme image on your desktop this month, simply click on “standard” or “wide-screen” underneath the photo, then right click on the image and select “set as background.”  Note: laptops are generally wide-screen, and desktops are usually standard images.

Pierce my heart to live up to Your potential for me, Psalm 139:14: “…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”

March 2009, Edited by Davonne Parks – Standard or Wide-screen

Potential Living

dating1God has blessed everyone with great potential. He has designed us all with the abilities and desires necessary to accomplish the works He wants us to do (Psalm 139:14). A huge part of reaching our potential is surrounding ourselves with people who encourage and lift us up; godly people who inspire and challenge us (2 Cor.6:14). One of the most important people in our lives is the one we choose to marry.

I, personally, am not a believer in soul mates. I think that there is more than one man in this world who I could be compatible with and could choose to love. But I will not love just any guy whom I like; there must be certain qualities about him that cause me to want to be more Christ-like. I want you to think about the things in your life that encourage you to be great!

The ideal man for me would be someone who complements me; someone who has strength in areas where I may have trouble. One example would be patience; I would want the man I married to be very patient so that he could help me to not be rash. I would also want this person to appreciate my talents and encourage me to pursue them. If you are talented in sports, singing, playing instruments, hunting, or any number of things, the man you choose to love should encourage your abilities, as long as they are godly.

I know that sometimes we let ourselves fall for someone who is not good for us, someone who may pull us down rather than lift us up. But I would like to share with you one belief that I have always stood firm in. I do not believe that we fall in love, because falling is an accident–love is not. Loving someone is a choice and we don’t stop or start loving someone unless we make that decision. The love God demands of us is an active love—one that we must think about and participate in. I believe that this must be true because of God’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; it is always described as something that takes work and effort.

dating2For example, in those verses, it is written, “Love is never jealous.” Being envious is often a temptation for many people. Sometimes girls feel like they don’t want their boyfriends to even talk to other girls, or vice versa. If that is something you struggle with then you have to decide not to allow yourself to fall into Satan’s trap. You must let your love overshadow sinful feelings and trust the one you are with. In those verses you will find that everything love is being described as is an action. You choose not to be easily angered, not to be prideful, not to rejoice in sin, and to be kind. They all require thought and decisions. Therefore, when you decide to put yourself out there and love someone, you are making a choice.

So when you are getting to know a potential husband, ask yourself if this boy complements you, encourages you, and challenges you to be more Christ-like. Ask yourself if this boy will encourage you to reach the potential that God has given you.

By Shelby Garrett

Family Potential

family2Many of us want to live up to the potential God has for us, but sometimes it’s difficult to accept the different plans that God has for others, especially within our families. God has created each of us specifically and has given us all unique talents. Although we should be loving and encouraging within our families, displaying Christ-likeness, there is unfortunately too often resentment and competition. Our sinful human nature makes us competitive people, but that is not God’s ideal for us. Romans 12:15 reminds us to share in each others’ successes, stating, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.”

Remember that God has a different plan for everyone. If you have siblings, chances are you have experienced some sibling rivalry at some point in your life. This is often even truer when you have a sibling of the same gender, or one who is very close in age. It’s unlikely that you can grow up with a sibling without someone comparing you to one another at some point. But God does not compare you with others: “But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that” (1 Corinthians 7:7). If we’re competing with our siblings, instead of encouraging them, we are allowing ourselves to miss out on a blessing from God.

God doesn’t plan for everyone to go to the same college, marry at the same age, or excel at the same activities. It’s okay if you play the piano and your sister is the star of her soccer team. It’s also okay if an older sibling marries at twenty, but you feel that you should wait until you’re older than that. Or, maybe a sibling is attending a private university somewhere, but you want to go to a community college and live at home. That’s okay! Rejoice with your siblings for their successes and happiness, and you’ll be more likely to have a better relationship with them because of it.

family1Pray that God will reveal to you His plan for you––and listen! Unfortunately, we are often so focused on others’ talents and lives that we ignore God’s voice speaking to us about our own. And not only is this the case in our physical families but also in our spiritual families. How often have we been consumed with jealousy that a sister in Christ seems to have everything going for her? Or bitter that a brother in Christ got the scholarship we wanted? We need to pray that God will work on our hearts to help us refocus.

When we are focused on others, or on ourselves, we are not focused on Him. There are so many ways our Father desires to bless His children, but we must be focused on Him or else we will miss the opportunities he has in store for us. We should be rejoicing with others, knowing that God has His own very special and unique plan for their lives as well as ours!

By Lisa Grimenstein

A Healthy Resolve: Part Three

We’ve previously discussed how to sparingly use a scale, proper dieting, and eating sweets sensibly.  For the third and final part of this mini series, read on.

haf1As winter melts into spring, there are many different ways to change up your exercise routine. After months of keeping fit indoors, why not head outside and enjoy the beauty of spring? Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, and rejuvenation. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NKJV). Take this time to add new things to your current exercise routine. If you have been putting off your New Year’s resolution to begin exercising, allow the freshness of spring and the beauty of God’s creation to motivate you (after speaking with your doctor, of course).

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of exercise per day to reduce the risk of chronic disease, maintain a healthy weight, and to decrease the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Before exercising, talk to your doctor; during exercise, always make sure to listen to your body. Start off with just 10 minutes if that is all you can do. Gradually work your way up by increasing the length of time and intensity of your workout. Keep in mind that the faster we move, the more calories we burn. Increased effort means increased calorie usage. A heavier person will burn more calories because it takes more effort to move more weight.

Outdoor workouts

Your body needs a variety of exercise to get the most benefits. For example, after lifting 3-pound weights for six weeks, 3 pounds may not feel heavy anymore and your body is generally not as challenged. You may need to move on to 5-pound weights if you want to build muscle and continue to burn calories. Consider doing some of your weight routine outdoors. Getting outside gives your body many different opportunities for a change. Just the change in scenery can help your mind and lift your spirits. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1 NKJV). Take your exercise mat outside under that big oak tree or walk the distance of the shopping plaza to the next store instead of driving down. If you are a beginner and have no idea what moves to do, visit your local library or search on Amazon for an instructional video or an illustrated movement book to take with you wherever you go.

haf2Runners, and walkers, instead of using a treadmill, go outside and run or walk around your neighborhood. Running 5 mph (a 12-minute mile) burns around 472 calories per hour, while walking at a moderate pace (3 mph) will burn 207 calories per hour. If you do not live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, try mapping out a few paths through town. You can take many routes to keep the scenery different. There are also nature trails and city and national parks. You know your area; just do a little research to pick out the best and safest spot for you. Make sure someone knows your route, do not go into bad areas, stay alert, keep your cell phone with you, and stay in areas that have plenty of other people nearby. Being outside can offer your body something different. Hills add an element of difficulty if you are used to running or walking on a flat surface. As your endurance improves, pick routes with more hills and increase the length of time or distance that you go.

If you are not much of a running/walking sort of person, there are many other things to do outside that can offer adequate exercise. Most city parks have one or more of the following: basketball courts (472 calories burned), tennis courts (413), volleyball courts, and softball/baseball fields (295). A non-competitive volleyball game with 6–9 members burns 177 calories per hour, while a competitive game in a gymnasium burns 236 calories per hour. Take your game to a beach court, and burn 472 calories per hour. Swimming laps with light-to-moderate effort will burn around 472 calories, while swimming those laps fast and vigorously will burn 590.] Grab a few friends and head on down to the nearest court or field for a few hours of fun that will hardly seem like the same old workout. Some places even have leagues in the spring and summer months that you could join. Many national parks have hiking trails, canoeing (177-413), bike trails(472 for 12-14 mph), and rock climbing(649 to ascend and 472 rappelling) to give your body a different challenge. Make sure to pick up a map, follow the designated trails and take all safety precautions. (For more information about calorie burning activities, visit Nutrition Strategy.)

As you consider the endless possibilities of renewing your exercise routine, allow springtime to revive your relationship with God. Keep your exercise routines in the proper perspective, and do not allow yourself to neglect your responsibility for your spiritual growth. “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV). Include time with God as you are enjoying His wonderful gift of spring.
*All calories references in parentheses are calories burned per hour of activity for a 130-pound person. Calories burned will be higher for a heavier person and lower for a lighter person.

Food of the Month: Apples

haf3Apples taste great, are easily portable, and are ready to eat. They also have many health benefits. Apples are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, which can improve bowel health, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes, and diabetes.

Apples come in numerous varieties, such as Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Royal Gala, Braeburn, Jonathan, McIntosh, Cripps Pink, and many more. Check with suppliers in your local area to find out which varieties are locally popular. Each variety of apple has its own taste. They Red Delicious, Fuji, and Royal Gala taste sweet; Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are tangy; and Braeburn and Cripps Pink have a tart taste. Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith apples are good for cooking or baking. All varieties are good for eating out of hand or in salads.

Choose apples that are firm and smooth with no bruises. Always store apples in a plastic bag in a crisper or refrigerator drawer away from vegetables. (Apples can alter the taste of some vegetables if stored too closely.) Wash apples thoroughly before cutting or eating. One apple, with the skin, depending on the variety and size, can range from around 55 calories for a small (3.7oz) to 110 calories for a very large (7.5 oz.) Check nutrition information on the specific varieties available in your area. (For more information about apples, visit Dole’s website.) As you head outside to renew your workout, grab an apple and enjoy the delicious benefits.

By Sherri Houmard