31 October 2011

Are you wearing a MASK?

"Clowns wear a face that’s painted intentionally on them
so they appear to be happy or sad.  What kind of mask are
you wearing today?"  - Author Unknown
Today is Halloween and when evening comes, children will be trick or treating in all sorts of crazy costumes and masks. Grown-ups wear masks too, but many times they are not part of any Halloween costume.
Do you ever hide behind a mask? Afraid to have others find out the “messy-ness” in your life? Trying not to let others know that you are falling apart, or hurting on the inside... all the while smiling on the outside?
Do you wear a mask of perfection? Pretending to be someone you are not? Trying to keep up an identity that you feel others are imposing on you or expecting from you?
Do you see yourself through a mask of fear? Do you worry that if others knew the “real you,” they wouldn’t like you or accept you?
The truth is that our safety can only be found when we remove our mask and allow others to see our authentic self.  God knows the person behind our masks. He understands who we are and what we are hiding from, and He loves us anyway ... just the way we are. So let’s talk about 4 steps that we can take to remove our masks:
Awareness: When we hide behind our masks and never let others see who we really are – flaws and all, we deny them the opportunity to get to know us, accept us just the way we are, ecourage us, love us, pray for us, offer us advice, teach us how God’s word can help us, and share their stories with us.
Acceptance:  Before we can take off our mask and become transparent, we need to recognize and admit that the person behind the mask is who we really are. We have to accept ourselves, just like Christ accepts us.
Scripture tells us ... In Genesis 1:27 we are told, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."  Psalm 139:1-4 says, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
Part of understanding “who we are” is finding out why we have put on our masks in the first place. Are we hiding our feelings, are we hiding the fact that we are not comfortable with ourselves, or we lack self-confidence? Are we hiding because of fear?
I’ve been reading a book entitled What Women Fear. In chapter 3, the author Angie Smith talks about the fear of being found out. I’d like to share two of the fears she talked about that may offer some understanding as we try to accept ourselves. Smith wrote, 1) People have said that others saw themselves as much more spiritual than they felt they actually were, and 2) We often live our lives trying to avoid letting people down. Many of us feel like the real “us” will be exposed when we don’t rise up to what someone else thinks we should be. It is important to understand that we should never let what others think of us, determine how we think of ourselves.
Acknowledgment: We need to admit the price we pay when we hide our true identity from others. How is hiding behind a mask affecting your view of yourself, your relationship with others, and your relationship with Christ?
Learning to be transparent is never easy, but necessary. What does it mean to be transparent? According to scripture transparency means:
• Living a life of integrity and godly sincerity - “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

• Being honest about our spirituality - “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).

• Willing to accept criticism from those we love - “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6).

You are probably thinking to yourself ... Why do I need to be transparent? God has called us to live in community with one another, and as part of the body of Christ, we need to be authentic with one another ... loving, encouraging, and praying for one another through good times and bad.

Action: Many of us have been hiding behind a mask for a long time, so revealing ourselves may not happen quickly. Ask God to help you understand why you have been hiding and how you can become transparent. Why waste another moment? If we are willing to be vulnerable, we may just be surprised by the response we receive as we remove our masks.

My “unmasking” ... I grew up as the oldest of 7 children and have to admit that there were many times I wore a mask. Feeling the need to set an example, I would hide my true feelings (afraid of letting others down). As a single parent, I would again put on a mask - to hide my fears from my children (afraid of failing). As I’ve gotten older, I love being an “encourager” to others. Occasionally I find myself once again hiding behind a mask. It is not easy for me to let others see that I might need encouragement (afraid of showing my weakness). Step by step in my spiritual journey, God is constantly placing other believers in my life who gently remind me that there are times when we all need people we can count on. Living a life of peace, a true and authentic life, begins when we stop pretending to be someone we are not, and when we take off our masks and say, “What you see is what you get... this is who I really am!”

If you are hiding behind a mask, I want to encourage you to begin the process of showing that beautiful smile and those glimmering eyes that have been hiding for way too long. I will be praying for each of you. Please feel free to email me at donna_a_weaver@hotmail.com if you have specific prayers requests.

Have a safe Halloween!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

28 October 2011

The Concept of Three

Orange, Yellow and White
Father, Son, Holy Spirit
The Doctrine of Three
Haiku – by Donna Weaver

Did you know that the word "trinity" is not found in the Bible, but the concept can be found over and over again woven through God’s Word. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinity ... is the belief that there is only one God, and that this one God exists as three persons. There are many scriptural references to the Trinity, such as Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," and Second Corinthians 13:14, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."

Here are some other examples:

• “... and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22)

• “... the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

• “God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts ...” (Galatians 4:6)

• “... one Spirit ... one Lord ... one God and Father of all ...” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

How many of us, when talking about the power of God, use words such as “our God is so big...” Can we really even begin to understand how encompassing our God is?  Human minds try to use logic - do the math 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, not 1.  Despite our best efforts, we can only begin to understand who He is.  But, if we think of it this way it begins to make more sense ... infinity + infinity + infinity = infinity ... God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit = One Almighty God. In other words, we worship an infinite God!

We’ve been talking about evangelism this week, and as I thought about sharing the Good News with others, I began to wonder how I would explain the doctrine of the Trinity to a non-believer, or a new believer? Where would I begin?

I guess it’s always best to start with what you know for sure.   I know that ... 1) God is three persons, 2) each person is fully God, and 3) there is only one God.  I also know ... 1) who God is to me, 2) who Jesus is to me, and 3) who the Holy Spirit is to me. To dig deeper, I consider how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are active in my life. When we can explain to others how the Trinity relates to our own personal lives, they can begin to understand the foundation of our beliefs.

When I was growing up, I was taught the doctrine of the Trinity through the words of the Apostle’s Creed. Years ago I would recite these words because it was part of my churchs’ liturgy. I didn’t really understand the meaning, but I now confess the Creed with a confidence and deep understanding of the words. As I speak them today, it is without a doubt the foundation of my faith.

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

As evangelists “shining, sparkling, and glowing” in the world today, we will encounter people in all different walks of life and in all different stages of their spiritual journey. We need to pray for discernment in how we should approach others, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our words as we spread the Good News of God - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It’s Friday, Let’s “sparkle” ... action required ... If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know by now that when I use the word “sparkle,” it usually means “to share the light of Jesus that resides within us.” Check this out!

The National Confectioners Association estimates that 20 million pounds (over 9000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. Bet you didn't know that these fall treats have their own special day? Sunday, October 30 is National Candy Corn Day ... and what perfect timing, just a day before Halloween.

Candy corn was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger.

Primarily made of corn syrup, honey, and sugar, candy corn may have lots of carbs, but it is a “fat free” treat.

The thing that attracts me to these sweet little treats is their colors. THREE colors to be exact – orange, yellow and white.

The poem below compares the colors of candy corn to the Trinity ... what a perfect fit for the topic of today’s blog.

White is for purity and holiness
Lord help me to be
pure and holy just like You

Orange is for courage
Jesus help me to have courage like You
when You died on the cross for me

Yellow is for sunshine
Holy Spirit help the “Son’s” light
shine through me
-Author Unknown

SPARKLE IDEA: Why not make copies of the poem, tie to small bags of candy corn, and share the message of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ... what a great way to S H I N E ! ! !

Have a happy National Candy Corn Day, and I’ll meet you here again on Monday.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch
that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's
got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere
than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of
hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”
- from Linus (Charlie Brown’s friend)

26 October 2011

Kidz Topic ... EVANGELISM (Halloween)

This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and “sparkle” ideas just for kids. Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life.

KIDZ PEACE...  Over the next three weeks our Kidz Peace topics will be about E V A N G E L I S M.   Evangelism means talking about our beliefs with others who do not share those same beliefs. In other words, spreading Christianity.

A few more days and it will be Halloween. When I think of Halloween, I think of carving pumpkins with crazy faces, then putting a candle inside to watch them glow.

In Exodus 34:29-35, we can read the story of how Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mt. Sinai with the Lord. During that time, Moses wrote down the 10 commandments. When he came down the mountain after meeting with God, his face was glowing. Like Moses, we have no light of our own. But , because we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have been filled with His light, and the more time we spend with God, the brighter our light becomes.

John 8:12 tells us that when Jesus spoke to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” What an important message – one that needs to be shared with others. We have been called to reflect God’s light to the world – to share the incredible message that God sent His Son to die for our sins (Romans 5:8).

1. Did you know that being a CHRISTIAN is like being a PUMPKIN?

God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes off the dirt you may have gotten from the other pumpkins. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see. (- passed on from one of God's pumpkins to another!)

Evangelism Idea: Why not put a copy of this poem with each treat you pass out this Halloween. Spread the Good News of Christ!

2. How to carve a Christian Pumpkin:

I am a Jack O' Lantern my light will shine so bright,
for I am a Christian pumpkin my symbols tell what's right.

My nose is like the cross on which our Savior died,
to set us free from sin we need no longer hide.

My mouth is like a fish the whole wide world to show,
that Christians live in this house and love their Savior so!

The story starts at Christmas my eyes are like the star,
that shone on Baby Jesus and wise men saw from far.

My color it is orange just like the big bright sun,
that rose on Easter Day along with Gods' own Son.

And so on Halloween let's set our pumpkins out,
and tell the trick-or-treaters what Gods’ love is all about!

Evangelism Idea: Why not carve some Christian pumpkins, then make a card telling the story of a Christian Pumpkin, and give them to some of your neighbors. Your neighborhood may reflect the only sign of Christ someone see’s this Halloween.

3. What does God’s Word tell us? When we go to God in prayer and read our Bible we can find words that instruct us on shining our light as a witness to others. Check out these verses: Matthew 5:14, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 5:8, Matthew 5:16, 2 Corinthians 3:18.

4. Do you know what an acronym is? It is when you take letters and use them to represent a saying. If I asked you what the letters W W J D meant, you would probably know that it meant – What Would Jesus Do. Here’s another one, what do the letters G L O W mean? They stand for God’s Love Overpowers the World. Or, what about S H I N E  - Share His Incredible News Everywhere.

Kidz Thought for the Week:   Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title. - from Scooby-Doo

Keeping you in my prayers. 'til next week ... whether you G L O W or S H I N E, have a safe and fun-filled Halloween ... it’s a great time for Evangelism.

God's Peace, Donna

24 October 2011

A Great Time to SHINE

"The light of the righteous shines brightly,
but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out."
- Proverbs 13:9

We’ve been talking about October and all the activities it has to offer, and this week is no exception. With autumn in full swing – cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors and falling to the ground, and pumpkins everywhere you look, I am reminded of carving jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for apples, watching the Peanuts gang as they prepared for Halloween, attending costume parties, visiting haunted houses, and going trick-or treating.  Innocent fun – or is it?

Many Christians treat Halloween as a time devoted to handing out goodies, and dressing up in costumes with no threat to their spiritual well-being. The celebration of Halloween itself has no Christian spiritual or religious significance (and should not be confused with celebrating the lives of faithful Christian saints on All Saints Day, November 1). Other Christians have concerns that Halloween celebrates paganism and other activities that compromise their beliefs.

I recently read an article entitled What does the Bible say about Halloween? The article stated, “The dilemma over Halloween may fall under the category of a Romans 14 issue.” What the writer was referring to is that there are matters that lack clear and specific direction from the Bible. Sometimes our decisions must be based on our own convictions. Romans 14:5 says, “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” We should never judge others, because someday each of us will have to give an account of our own actions to God.

According to the article, when we answer the question ... Should we be involved in the celebration of Halloween, there are 3 things we need to consider first:

1) Let your heart and your conscience before God alone tell you what is right and wrong on matters that are not clear in the Bible. Do you have freedom in Christ and a clear conscience before the Lord to do whatever is in question? Or, does the area weaken your Christian walk?

2) Don't pass judgment on your brother or sister if they have freedom that you don't have in an area (Romans 14:10-12).

3) If you are strong in an area and have freedom in Christ in that area, never let your freedom cause someone else to stumble (Romans 14:13, 1 Corinthians 10:32).

When my children were young, they looked forward to dressing up in their costumes. We would enjoy an evening walking around the neighborhood, gathering yummy treats, visiting with neighbors, and having a fun time creating family memories. It really was a time of innocent fun!

It’s not Friday, but we’re gonna “sparkle” anyway ... Many Christians see Halloween as an opportunity to witness for Christ. It’s a great time to S H I N E (Share His Incredible News Everywhere). Local churches have gotten involved in providing safe alternatives to the usual trick or treat activities. Some of those alternatives include: fall harvest festivals, youth group pumpkin patch fundraiser, neighborhood block party, family hayride and pumpkin carving, or an evangelism outreach such as Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot – it’s just like a neighborhood tailgating party. Check out churches in your community to see what activities might be planned.

Another activity (started by a Pennsylvania minister and his wife) has become a common sight during Halloween - it is Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Started as a local event in a Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood in 1950, the program involves trick-or-treaters taking small boxes door to door so they can collect small-change donations from the houses they visit. It is estimated that children have collected more than $118 million for UNICEF since the program started. Kids and adults alike are making a different in the lives of other kids around the world.

You can order your collections boxes by phone at 1-800-FOR-KIDS, or pick up UNICEF collection boxes at Crocs stores nationwide from September 22 through October 31, while supplies last. To find a participating Crocs store location near you check out:  http://youth.unicefusa.org/trickortreat/participate/

No matter what choice we make in regards to celebrating or not celebrating Halloween, it is important that we not hide in the face of evil. We will have peace with our decision if we remember that God wants us to boldly celebrate good over evil and His ultimate triumph over Satan, each and every day as we continue our spiritual journey.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday when our discussion on Halloween Evangelism will continue with some great outreach ideas for kidz!

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

Pumpkin Prayer ... Dear Jesus, as I carve my pumpkin help me pray this prayer: Open my mind so I can learn about you (cut the top off pumpkin). Take all of my sin and forgive my wrongs (clean out the insides). Open my eyes to your love (cut out eyes). I'm sorry for turning my nose up at times (cut out nose). Open my mouth to tell others about you (cut out mouth). And let your light shine in my heart always (light candle inside pumpkin). In Jesus' name ... Amen.

REFERENCE: Fairchild, Mary (n.d.). What Does the Bible Say About Halloween? Retrieved October 19, 2011 from http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/i/biblehalloween.htm

21 October 2011

God uses our Broken-ness

Every 9 seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten.

I’m not done sharing the month of October with you yet. There is something else you need to know about October - it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to a domestic violence website...

“Domestic violence should not happen to anybody. Ever. Period.”

... but the reality is that one in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. And nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. The most shocking fact is that Domestic Violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes. (Statistics according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).

Facts about Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence is known by many different names, such as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence (including child abuse and elder abuse), and intimate partner violence. It can be physical abuse (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or verbal abuse, but it can also take on the form of controlling, domineering, intimidating, stalking, neglect, threats, and economic deprivation.

The U. S. Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a "pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.” The definition adds that domestic violence "can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender."

Someone you need to meet ... Mae Weller is someone I met when I moved to Colorado and became involved with the Columbine Emmaus community. As we have gotten to know each other, our friendship has become such a blessing. Mae might be soft spoken and small in stature, but her love for the Lord is as big as you can get and her message is a powerful testimony of her journey through Domestic Violence. I asked Mae some tough questions, and here is her story...

Mae said, One night when things first started going bad, my daughter and I left and went to my parent’s house. We were in the basement hiding, and I picked up my Bible with a need to find comfort and strength. I opened the Bible and the verse I found in my darkest moments was the Lamentations 3:22-24, “The Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great. I say to myself, “The Lord is mine, so I hope in Him.”

How long did you live in silence? I lived with Domestic Violence for 2 years (but as I look back now, I see that there were signs before).

What made you stay? I thought it was my duty to try to change him. Because of my marriage vows, I thought it was God wanting me to stay. I was very misguided in my thinking.

Before you left, what affects did it have on you? I felt isolated, and was in constant fear. I thought I was crazy.

What were some of your thoughts? I was constantly asking myself questions such as ... When is he going to go off the deep end again? How can I keep my daughter safe? When will I have to call the police again? How could I have put my daughter in this situation?

What changed? The turning point was when I had to seek a Women’s Shelter. While I was there, I turned to God. One of the first days that I felt safe enough to venture out, I went to the library. I checked out a copy of the “Doubleday Book of Prayer” and that is what got me through the first weekend. (Today I have my own copy of the book at home.) Another big step was seeking help from my minister.

What would you tell someone that is living the same story? Get out, just get out!  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of ways and people to help you.

How are you doing today? My spiritual life has blossomed.... strength has abounded. Emotionally I am getting stronger, and I am finally ready to make a difference by reaching out to others.

What are your plans? I have been helping behind the scenes by donating my used cells phones, and praying for other women that might be in a domestic violence situation today. I am also beginning to speak out about my experience. I am also looking forward to becoming an advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness. No one seems to want to talk about it – whenever it’s brought up in a conversation, people become uncomfortable, or act like it doesn’t exist. But remember the statistics that were spoken at the beginning of this article... it is reality... it is a fact!

Finding Safety and Help ...

If you are in immediate danger - call 911, your local hotline, or
The U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline 1-866-331-9474

If you need help, but are not in immediate danger -
• Call the police
• Get medical help, if needed
• Get support from friends and family
• Find a safe place (ie. battered women’s shelter)
• Get a personal protection order
• Make a safety plan

It’s Friday, Let’s “Sparkle” ... action required ... So you have read the facts and statistics, and heard a story of transformation from abuse, to hope, and beyond. Is God tugging at your heart? You may be asking, “How can I make a difference?”

You can be an angel to someone without even knowing. Mae said, that God told her he was giving her “angels” because she needed help. People were there for her just when she needed a shoulder to lean on, a word of encouragement, legal assistance, or total protection. One such person even accompanied her to protection order hearings. Did you know that people (like you and I) can make a difference in someone’s life? Here are some suggestions:

Go to your states coalition against Domestic Violence website and check out ways to volunteer, or go to the NCADD (National Coalition) website ... http://www.ncadv.org/

Call your local Safe House or Women’s Shelter to find out how and where you can take donations.

Just like Mae mentioned, one huge way to help is by donating used cell phones – and you don’t even have to pay the shipping, check out ... http://www.ncadv.org/takeaction/DonateaPhone.php

Does your church have an outreach ministry? If not, consider starting a simple collection drive to donate items for your local women’s shelter or ask the shelter for literature that you could make available at your church.

I’d like to thank Mae for sharing her story. Our prayer is that someone reading her story might be touched and find encouragement to make a change. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all God’s glorious power, so you will have all the endurance and patience you need (Colossians 1:11). When I look at Mae, I see a beautiful survivor, not a fearful victim. Did you know that when God looks at you, He sees a survivor too ... don’t be a victim any longer.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you, “Do not be afraid. I am here to help you.”
- Isaiah 41:13

19 October 2011


This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and "sparkle" ideas just for kids. Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life.

KIDZ PEACE...  The last two weeks we’ve been talking about “friends” and “respect.” Without one, it’s hard to have the other. It’s also hard to have friends and respect without “trust and forgiveness.”

In today’s world, kids have to deal with so many pressures and concerns such as self-image, safety and violence, peer pressure, family financial struggles, emotions, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, social networking, home life, eating disorders, dating, pressure to be the best, blended families, and so much more. These issues make it important to have people in your life that you can trust.

Trust means having confidence and believing in the good qualities or abilities of another person or thing. Who are some of the people you trust?  What is it about them that makes you feel that way?  What does trustworthy mean to you?

1. Qualities of a trustworthy person:
• Honest
• Dependable
• Responsible
• Trusty
• Truthful

• Follows rules
• Reliable, dependable
• Always keeps a promise
• Never mean
• Faithful

2. Trusting the Lord: Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” If we trust in the Lord, we will find peace, joy, and hope.

We need to trust that no matter what is going on in our life, God has a plan for each one of us. He is always with us and wants what is best for us. Does this mean that we will never have problems? The answer is NO - but during those tough times, we can remember that God hears our prayers, and always keeps His promises. God CAN be trusted.

So, how do we find our trust in the Lord? First, we need to believe that what the Lord teaches us is the truth. Next, we must respect His commandments. And finally, we must understand that certain things are non-negotiable – which means, God has set certain things in place for our good and the good of others – no matter what we think. His Word teaches us ways to handle things that happen in our everyday lives. We can also learn how to develop healthy habits, make smart decisions, and learn from our mistakes.

3. Forgiving others: Sometimes people we trust disappoint us, hurt us, and betray our trust. Talking about it with that person or a responsible adult will help us figure out if the person’s actions were on purpose or accidental. We need to remember that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. When we feel that we can no longer trust a person, we may be angry and want to look for ways to get revenge. That should never be the answer. We need to deal with our feelings and find a way to offer forgiveness. It is important to understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to trust that person again. It may take time to build that trust again, or it may be that we just can’t trust that person anymore and choose not to be around them.

4. We’ve been Forgiven ... The Bible gives us one of the best examples of forgiveness – it is the Parable of the Prodigal Son. You can read it in Luke 15:11-32. Forgiving others can be one of the hardest things we will ever have to do, but the result is feeling free and at peace.

Christians are supposed to forgive others as we’ve been forgiven, because we understand that it is God’s role to judge others, not ours. We are all sinners, but through our faith and Christ’s death, our sins have been forgiven.

5. What does God’s Word tell us? When we go to God in prayer and read our Bible we can find words that instruct us on trust and forgiveness. Check out these verses: TRUST - Psalm 37:3-6, Psalm 119:66, 138, Proverbs 11:13, Romans 15:13, 1 Timothy 1:15, and FORGIVENESS - Ephesians 4:32, Mark 11:25-26, Colossians 3:13, Luke 6:36-38, Acts 13:38.

Kidz Thought for the Week: “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” from Bryant H. McGill

Keeping you in my prayers. 'til next week ... ask God to help you open your heart to trust and forgive others.

God's Peace, Donna

17 October 2011

Peace, Love,and Ice Cream

"Gray hair is a small price to pay
for all this wisdom."
- author unkown

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday Dear MEEEEE, Happy Birthday to me! 

This week I am hitting another mile marker in my life ... the big __ 0.  And with each birthday celebration, I thank God for another year as a Cancer Survivor (over 25 years).  Life is full of challenges, obstacles, and fears, but it is also full of dreams, surprises, and blessings.  And to that I say, not only do we need to “survive” but we need to Celebrate Life Everyday!

When I was little my parents would say “Wait until you are older.”  Well, guess what?  I am now "older," so today I proclaim the following ...

• I am never too old to enjoy an ice cream cone (Did you notice the words on the awning of the ice cream shop?)

• I am never too old to add a little “sparkle” to my life .... my wardrobe, my home, or my outreach.

• I am never too old to wear a ponytail (in fact, bad hair days demand it).

• I am never too old to do CrAzY, funny things with my best friend.

• I am never too old to watch a Shirley Temple movie.

• I am never too old to dream, create, or learn.

• I am never too old to call my mom and say, “I love you.”

• I am never too old to enjoy the simple things in life (playing board games with family).

• I am never too old to seek PEACE (without the “bell-bottoms”).

• I am never too old to sing "Jesus Loves ME."

• I am never too old to say “when I grow up...”

It’s not Friday, but let’s “Sparkle” anyway ...
Here are a few ways you can join in the battle against cancer:

American Cancer Society, Relay for Life

Pantene Beautiful Lengths (partnership between Pantene and American Cancer Society)

Warriors in Pink wear and gear (Susan B. Komen for the Cure)

Yoplait Pink Llid Campaign - Yoplait will donate $.10 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® for each pink lid redeemed by December 31, 2011, up to $2 million.


Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

By the way, if you didn’t get a chance to see the Lifetime movie “Five,” you can watch the full movie online at http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/five/video/five

The groundbreaking original movie is an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives. Directed by Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Independent Spirit Award winner Patty Jenkins (“Monster”) and Penelope Spheeris (“Wayne’s World”).

Life is short ... The reality is that we have never been promised “tomorrow,” so every day becomes a gift. So, the question we need to ask ourselves is “What are we doing with the moments we’ve been given?”

Have a blessed week and celebrate life.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Youth is a gift of nature; age is a work of art.”
- Bob Phillips

14 October 2011

Shepherds of our Souls

“He said to him, ‘Tend My Lambs’ ...”
- John 21:15

October is a month packed full of awareness, special causes, and celebrations ... many of which are very dear to my heart! Did you know that this is Ministry Appreciation Month?

As a Christian constantly on a spiritual journey, I find it not only important, but necessary to have the support of mentors and leaders, and the guidance of teachers and pastors in my life. I cannot do it alone, nor does God want me to. He has chosen leaders to be “shepherds of our souls” (1 Peter 2:25). We are the flock and they are the “sheep-watchers.”

Isaiah 53:6 says that we are all like sheep... some of us have gone astray (Matthew 9:36), others of us have turned to our own ways, and still more are just waiting to play follow the leader. As we explore the pasture, these sheep-herders round us up – gathering us for Bible study, small groups, and other ministry opportunities. Did you know that sheep cannot be left alone for very long... they need continual care, and attention. As a sheep, our watchers come along side of us and offer guidance, interaction, and encouragement (Jeremiah 3:15). The shepherds also lead us – helping us to dig in to God’s word and understand the meaning, so that we can stay on the right path.

The role of a shepherd carries with it many responsibilities. There are many trials and struggles that go along with the joy and fulfillment of being a ministry leader. They face many challenges of balancing their roles as pastor, church leaders, and teachers with their roles such as son/ daughter, husband/ wife, father/ mother, and friend. God has reminded us that we need to appreciate our shepherds. Hebrews 13:7 tells us “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” We need to not only say “thank you” but lift them up in prayer, including both their personal and spiritual needs.

 Personal Needs: strong relationships, physical and mental well-being, effective use of time, wisdom for making personal decisions, opportunity to have fun and relax – including quality time with family and friends, protection from worldly evils.

Spiritual Needs: faithfulness, an intimate relationship with the Lord, daily time to read and study His Word, strength to stand firm in biblical truth, ability to hear and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction, protection over spiritual battles, contentment in their present calling.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... Let’s think outside of the box and let our pastors and ministry leaders know that they are a blessing to us. Why not write a note of appreciation (include a poem, quote, favorite scripture verse, bookmarker, gift card), or do a service project (such as washing the Sunday school teachers cars, delivering a meal to the pastor, make a poster thanking all of the youth leaders in your church)? What other ideas can you come up with ... please feel free to share.

Just as we have a shepherd that watches over us, we too have a responsible as a follower of Christ ... ask yourself who are the “lambs” in your life, for whom you are responsible?  There are times that we are the sheep, other times when we are called to be a shepherd, but our Ultimate Shepherd is God ... Psalm 100:3 reminds us that “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

May you find blessings and peace in the pasture ...
In Christ, Donna Weaver

“The Lord is my Shepherd. He leads me beside quiet waters”
- Psalm 23:1-2

12 October 2011

Kidz Topic: RESPECT

This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and “sparkle” ideas just for kids.  Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life. 

KIDZ PEACE...  Have you ever heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around?” It’s similar to the Golden Rule, which says “Do to others as you want them to do to you.” If we disrespect, bully or make-fun of others, we can expect that it may just happen to us someday. Many times, even if we don’t get caught doing something wrong to others, we still end up getting what we deserve. We should also remember that God sees our every action and hears every word we speak.

In a past article, I talked about how encouraging words can make a person feel good about their self but did you know that disrespect does just the opposite?

1. Why we need to show RESPECT to others?
• Makes the world a nicer place
• Lets others know that we value their privacy, belongings, opinions
• Shows others that we are sensitive to their feelings
• Tells someone that we are not prejudice... that we appreciate our religious, racial, and cultural differences

2. A friend of mine posted this on FaceBook:
• The Girl you just called fat ... She is overdosing on diet pills.
• The Boy you just tripped ... He is abused enough at home.
• See that man with the ugly scars ... He fought for our country.
• The Girl you just called ugly ... She spends hours putting makeup on hoping people will like her.
• That guy you just made fun of for crying ... His mother is dying.

It sure makes you think about how your words or actions can make a problem worse. You never know what someone else might be going through.

3. What does God’s Word tell us? When we go to God in prayer and read our Bible we can find words that instruct us on how to respect others. Check out these verses: 1 Peter 2:17, Colossians 3:12, Psalm 34:13, Proverbs 19:5, Romans 13:7

4. Things you can do if someone is disrespecting, bullying, or making fun of you:

The first thing to understand is that people who are acting this way are the problem, not you.

Show others that you are confident. If you speak up, have good eye contact, and don’t act shy around that person, you will let them know that you are not going to be a target.

Do not listen to someone that is acting inappropriately. They may just be looking for attention, or an audience.

Surround yourself with friends that have the same values (morals) as you do, then you will have a good group of friends that you can always count on.

5. What should you do if you see someone disrespecting, bullying or making fun of someone else?

Trying to understand “why” someone is acting this way can help. They may just be looking for attention, or think these actions will make them popular. Some kids may have been treated this way themselves. Maybe they come from families where everyone is angry and shouting at each other all the time. Other kids just do these things to have power over others.

You and your friends should try to help the person in trouble. If you stand by and watch, but do nothing, you are saying the actions are okay. If it is too dangerous, go get an adult to help out.

Treat others as you want to be treated. Be a friend. Offer the person words of encouragement and go with them to tell an adult that can be trusted. Everyone has a right to be safe, and even if you think the problem has been solved, an adult should be told just in case it happens again.

Kidz Thought for the Week: “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” from Jackie Robinson

Keeping you in my prayers. 'til next week ... show respect to everyone, even if you don’t really want to. Remember what goes around, comes around!

God's Peace, Donna

10 October 2011

Do you really HEAR?

“Every day we do things, we are things, that have to do
with peace. If we are aware of our lifestyle, our way of
consuming, our way of looking at things, we will know how to
make peace right in the moment we are alive.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I don’t know about you, but sometimes my spiritual journey seems so hard. It’s like God is trying to teach me the same lessons over and over again. Why can’t I keep walking forward instead of two steps forward and one step back, or worse yet ... walking in circles?

A verse that comes to mind is Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

My Bible study time is important to me, but I’m not sure I always “hear” what God is trying to tell me. This week I was reading my Sunday school lesson from the book of Matthew, chapter 13. It began with the Parable of the Sower, a story that I have heard many times. But this week verse 9 caught my attention... “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9). These words must have been something Jesus felt were very important, because those exact words are mentioned 14 times in the New Testament. It’s as if he was saying, “This is important, make sure that you really understand the true meaning of the word hearing.”

Hearing is a lot more than just listening to words. It means paying attention, taking notice, becoming informed and most of all, it means understanding. But hearing doesn’t end until an action has been taken in response to what we have heard.

The demands and busyness on our everyday life, affect our “hearing” when it comes to our interactions with others. Ask yourself:

• Do I offer others my undivided attention, or do I only pay attention to someone who is saying something I really want to hear?
• Do I listen to half of the conversation and just assume I know what the ending will be?
• Do I listen with one ear and have the other tuned to the TV or my cell phone?
• Do I spend time with those who could offer me encouragement, counsel, or teaching?
• Do I find quiet time to clear my mind?

When we read God’s word, we have the same choices that we do in our everyday conversations.

• We can choose to read only the part of God’s word we want to hear, and skip over the parts that we don’t want to hear.
• We can read a verse and apply it out of context, assuming we know what the ending is supposed to be.
• We can read (and hear with one ear), by letting ourselves get preoccupied with worldly things.
• We can skip church, Bible study classes, or small group meetings – fellowship that can offer us encouragement, guidance, and a better understanding of God’s Word.
• We can forget about setting time aside to “be still.”

I can tell the difference in my own life when I “really hear” God’s message. I feel a special connection, a closeness to God ... I feel at peace. On the flip-side, when I fail to really “hear” God, that is when fear, doubt, confusion, and negative thoughts quickly replace biblical truths - leaving me feeling disconnected.

Read with me the words of Mark 4:23 -25, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. Consider carefully what you hear, he continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Notice how this scripture starts out? Reading this verse in relation to what we have been talking about has given me a greater insight. I think we are being told that there is a definitely connection between the time and effort we put forth in reading God’s word and the depth of our understanding.

By golly, I think I’ve got it! I just love it when the light bulb comes on. Maybe God won’t have to repeat this message for a while – but that can only happen if I act on my understanding. If I just hear the message, nothing will change.

I guess I’m not the only one that needs to hear things over and over again. Otherwise, God wouldn’t have had to repeat his message 14 times. Is there a message that God is trying to tell you, but you have not “heard” yet?  I’d love to hear your story.

This week as you HEAR God’s message, gain understanding, and put his words in to action, I pray for you the words of Philippians 4:7 (NLT) ... “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Therefore love truth and peace.”
- Zechariah 8:19

07 October 2011

My favorite things about FALL

"Crunching, crinkling autumn leaves,
spiraling, swirling in the breeze."
Julie Perkins Cantrell

When you think of October what comes to mind? Is it the fall colors, the cooler temperatures, dressing up for Halloween, the local farmers' corn maze, or an Oktoberfest celebration? Maybe it’s all about a visit to a haunted house or carving pumpkins with your family.

When I think of October, I am reminded of our high school homecoming football games, hayrides with my youth group, and a scavenger hunt in our small town cemetery. I also have great memories of spending time at the orchard with my kids when they were young. We had so much fun picking our favorite McIntosh apples and of course, the kids loved bobbing for them with friends. And what about those great picture opportunities at the pumpkin patch.

Of course the food of the harvest season is also yummy ... caramel apples, pumpkin pie, hot cider ... and candy corn? Mmmmm-mmmm!

Since it’s my favorite time of year, I decided to share
10 Things I like about October

1  ... trees changing colors ... and piles of leaves


2 ... beautiful fall flowers

   3 ... warm apple donuts with cider ... or a caramel apple
... an old fashioned jar filled with candy corn

... pumpkin pie and the smell of cinnamon candles

 6  ... carving pumpkins

... decorating with black cats


8  ... seeing youngsters all dressed up in costumes
... especially my grandsons, Aydin and Kaleb

 9  ... seeing grown-ups (like my mom and dad) dress up too ...

10  ... my birthday  (now that's a cupcake!)

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... This year as you celebrate the fall harvest, there is fun way you can “make a difference.” In the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I came across an article on “carving pumpkins for a cause.” You can download custom designed stencils for charities such as The Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Susan B Komen for the Cure, Rebuilding Together and March of Dimes.

The stencils are free and for every download, the magazine will donate $2, up to $5,000 per charity. Go to: http://bhg.com/charitystencils

Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to snap some photos of God’s fall masterpiece!  Peace and Love, Donna Weaver

“God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone,
but on trees, and flowers, and clouds, and stars."
-Martin Luther

05 October 2011

Kidz Topic ... FRIENDS

This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and “sparkle” ideas just for kids. Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life.

KIDZ ☮ PEACE ...  I know a person that has over 1,200 friends (on FaceBook). She is a super friendly person, and loves to chat & text on her phone How many people do you consider to be your “friend?” In this world of technology, we have so many connections to others, but it is important to remember that it should not be about the number of people you have on your “friend list” (in your email contact list, or in your circle of friends at school), but the quality of your friendships. Ask yourself these two questions...

What good is it if you have a person on your friend list that is always gossiping about you?

Is someone really your friend if they chat with you on the computer, but ignore you when they see you at school?

To have good friends, you must be a good friend - but friendship isn’t always easy. There are “real friends” and then there are people who only claim to be your friend. So you might be wondering how we can tell the difference. Here are some tips about good and bad friends.

1. Characteristics of a good friend:
• has similar values, interests and activities
• honest and trustworthy
• listens (and shares)
• offers you encouragement
• shares your good times and bad times
• accepts you for who you are
• makes you laugh, you enjoy being together
• respects your opinion and doesn’t criticize

2. Signs of a bad friend:
• lies to you (and others)
• always wants things done their way (bossy)
• acts like they are better than you
• makes fun of you, swears or yells at you
• talks about you behind your back (and gossips about others)
• judges you and is always trying to change you
• gets jealous when you hang out with other people
• tempts you to make bad choices

3. What does God’s Word tell us?
When we go to God in prayer and read our Bible we can find words that instruct us on why we should be a friend and how to be a good friend. Check out these verses: 1 John 4:11, Ecclesiastes 4:9, John 15:13, Proverbs 18:24, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Luke 6:31

The Bible also gives us many examples of “friendships.” You can read the story of David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3). Ruth and Naomi were friends who stuck together in good times and bad (Ruth 1:16-17). You can also read about Job’s friends - Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (Job 2:11).

Friendships are a gift from God and should not be taken for granted. It is important to thank God for our friends and also let your friends know how important they are to you!

The next two weeks our Kidz Peace topics will also be tied to friendship ... they are “respect” and “trust/forgiveness.” So be sure to check back next Wednesday when we talk about RESPECT.

Kidz Thought for the Week: "The only way to have a friend is to be one." – from Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keeping you in my prayers. 'til next week ... make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend to Christ! God's Peace, Donna

03 October 2011

Definitely “Over the Top”

“Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment
from him, so you will grow in faith” - Colossians 2:7

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon trying to focus on putting together the words that I wanted to share about my two days at the Women of Faith  Conference (held here in Denver, 9/29 & 9/30/11).

I M P O S S I B L E ! * ?    After lots of prayers and scrunched up papers ... here it goes ...

The conference was everything I expected it to be, and so much MORE... it was definitely “Over the Top.” The entire event was centered around the scripture verse found in Romans 11:33 (MSG), “ Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God...?”   How fitting for such an event!  Through an outrageous, passionate, and power team of speakers and singers, thousands of women got to experience God’s amazing, extravagant, and generous love.

The only way I can express what the Women of Faith event was like, is by saying that we encountered the words of Eccelsiastes 3 all in the span of 48 hours. There was a time to pray (Lori Robertson), a time for worship (WOF worship team), and a time to laugh (Patsy Clairmont). There were stories that told about a time to weep (Andy Andrews), and a time to mourn (Brenda Warner). There was a time for outreach (World Vision), and a time for praise (Mandisa) - and that was just the first day.

Saturday gave us a time for friendship (Lisa Whelchel), a time of humor and hope for healing (Patsy Clairmont), a time to embrace (Karen Kingsbury), a time to sing and reminisce (Amy Grant), a time for sharing life changing stories (Sandi Patty), and a time for biblical teaching (Marilyn Meberg). Woven throughout the event were several dramatic performances which reflected moments in our lives when we might face a time to search, a time to keep, and a time to throw-away (Katharine Everett). There was also a time for fellowship, a time for eating, a time for dancing and hula-hopping (not sure where they all fit in to God’s word), but they certainly fit in to His plan for time filled with “extravagant generosity.” There is a time for everything ... and our God most definitely showed-off in all His glory, through the Women of Faith team.

Here are just a few of the many words that touched my heart. Bear in mind that these came from my notes that were written in the dark arena (hope they’re an accurate representation of what the speaker was saying):

Patsy Clairmont
• Be selective in your purpose for the hours of your day.
• When you embrace the truth about yourself, change can happen.
• My faith has to be more than words that I speak.
• Sometimes we get so good at making excuses, we begin to believe them ourselves.
• Those I’ve known with the deepest well have suffered the deepest hurts.
• Sarcasm is anger gone underground and came up in a clown suit.

Andy Andrews
• We need to have perspective, more than answers.
• Learn God’s principles, it’s easier than going to Google when a question comes up.
• Fear is the misuse of the creative imagination that God has given to us.
• Every great thing that happens comes from how you act when “life isn’t fair.”
• Shouldn’t we be as concerned about the people we hang out with, as we are for our children’s friends.
• The proof of hope is that you are still breathing.

Brenda Warner
• Our circumstances don’t determine who we are, He does.

Lisa Whelchel
• A real friend doesn’t pull away when you’re imperfect, she draws closer.
• Pay attention to how someone is talking to you about others. That is probably how she is talking to others about you.

Karen Kingsbury
• Life is not a dress rehearsal. We have one chance to write (live) the story of our life.
• Without Jesus being the hero in our story, we have much to fear.

Sandi Patty
• God said “yes” to a dream I couldn’t see yet.
• Don’t say you want to “lose” weight. Lose means you want to find it again. Use the term “release.”

Marilyn Meberg
• We have a constant craving. We always want more than we don’t have.

Suggested Reading:
Stained Glass Hearts, by Patsy Clairmont
The Travelers Gift, by Andy Andrews
The Final Summit, by Andy Andrews
Tell Me Everything, by Marilyn Meberg
The Edge of the Diving, by Sandi Patty
Friendship for Grown-Ups, by Lisa Whelchel
One Call Away, by Brenda Warner
Let Me Hold You Longer, by Karen Kingsbury

Suggested Music:
Rejoice CD, Women of Faith Worship
What If We Were Real CD, Mandisa
The Edge of the Divine CD, Sandi Patty
Somewhere Down the Road CD, Amy Grant

The Bible tells us “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20, NIV), and God was definitely present at the Pepsi Center on Friday and Saturday night. It’s very easy to get swept up in the excitement of an event like Women of Faith. The challenge began once we left the arena. We walked back through our front doors, only to find the same busy schedules, jobs, and daily trials waiting for us. But we now have new tools; a renewed spirit, helpful teachings and encouraging words, to help us face each day. We also know that our God is an “over the top” God and He wants a relationship with us like no other. What more could we ask for?

Many of you participated in the event, and I pray that you will continue to experience God’s “over the top” love for you! Those of you who didn’t share the experience - I pray that someday you might have the opportunity, but in the meantime, I hope that my words have generated interest in the books and CD’s which will offer you a “taste” of the same extravagant generosity of God.

There is a peace that is found in resting in His presence. May you find time this week to “Taste and see that the Lord is good...” (Psalm 34:8, NIV).

Blessings and God’s Peace, Donna Weaver