February News – Groundhog Day Lessons

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, one of my favorite holidays of the year. Find out why and the lessons this holiday can teach us in my February newsletter! Simply click here to download or view the pdf.

 

“OK, Bible.”

Nowadays, it’s common for us to say “OK, Google” when we need an answer to a question. How many times should we be saying “OK, Bible” instead? Does the Bible really have the answers we seek? Absolutely.

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that I’ve been reading my Bible regularly for several months now. Most of the time, I read first thing in the morning as that’s when I’m the freshest. I set my alarm and get up early before the rest of my family, or I end up missing out on my quiet time with God. I sit for a minute, rub my eyes, and pray that God will speak to me through His word. Then, I start where I left off. I just finished up Luke 22 this morning….Jesus has been delivered into the hands of the enemy. I learned something this morning…I never knew the chief priests and the “bad guys” had blindfolded Jesus and hit him in the face, telling him to prophesy which of them was hitting him. We humans can be some sick, twisted folks.

I read out loud (even if a whisper as to not wake the husband and kids) on average about 20-40 versus without stopping to analyze. Then, I take my journal and go back and break it down, paraphrasing what I’ve read. It’s amazing what you see and learn, even though you’ve heard and done Bible studies all your life. The whole process typically takes 20-30 minutes.

After that, I pray…sometimes just a few minutes and sometimes a bit longer depending on the day. I feel like I’ve started my day right, close to God.

I don’t tell you this to toot my own horn or make myself sound holier than thou. I tell you this because it’s truly helped me in my everyday life! I’ve never in all my 33 years been this consistent for this long with reading and studying the Bible and I’ve gained by leaps and bounds knowledge and wisdom over these past months. When I’m faced with a struggle or I don’t know what to do, scripture starts coming to mind and it helps me know what God wants me to do. If I do what He wants me to do, then the results are much more suitable.

For example, my husband and I were discussing a particular situation where we really would just like to be angry and bitter. We talked for close to an hour about how we should react. After laying down in bed, I finally came to realize that Jesus wants us to show love, humility, and service. I know if we show these qualities instead of being the way the world typically is, God will be glorified and people will take notice of the reaction.

Google (or any other search engine) has its place in the world for common questions, but for the deep “What do I do?” questions, let’s turn to the Bible. Inspired by God, it has the answers. We just have to seek them.

On another note, let me tell you that this week has been MUCH better than last week. The kids are healed from their colds and I’m starting to get a grip on my routine. I must confess, however, Satan is still trying to battle against what I’m trying to do for God. I’ve been surprised by how much opposition and negativity I’ve experienced by my decision to not work a traditional job, focus on my ministry, and spend more time with my family. But, I plan to show these naysayers that I’m serious. God has called me to do His work and I don’t answer to any  man – I answer to my heavenly Father. So, you best not try to stand in my way – I have Him on my side! For you folks that have been encouraging me, thank you and blessings!

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he than is in you, then he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Thrive – The First Week

This has been the first week of my life as a “hometown missionary” in Thrive without another job. I would love to say it’s been super productive, but that would not be true. In reality, it’s been one of the most challenging weeks I can remember in a long time. I somewhat expected it to be this way, as the enemy is going to try to stop me from doing the work God has for me. However, I didn’t expect to be as discouraged as I have been. There have been exciting moments, then moments when I’m praying in tears. I’m human and have learned the lesson that God will give you the strength to overcome things as you need it, not beforehand.

My “Decision America” prayer journal arrived this week (I had forgotten I requested one), so I started praying for our nation. Specifically this week, I’ve prayed for Iowa and Florida, as requested in the journal. I got an update email from the Franklin Graham tour that said 2,500 folks turned out for the first prayer rally in Iowa. As a lady in my church says, “Yay, God!” If you want your own prayer journal or to learn more about this endeavor, click this link.

As far as things I’ve accomplished this week, the list isn’t as long as I had hoped. I’ve had two sick kids (bad respiratory virus) and my husband and I are trying to figure out our new routine. Not having a job away from home is a bit more challenging than I imagined. BUT, some strides were made and I remind myself, it’s daily progress. As time passes, I plan to be more productive. In case you’re wondering what’s happened, here ya go:

  • Started speaking to people about starting a small group Bible study from our home.
  • Delivered a large, complimentary load of wood to a family in our neighborhood (I have to give all the credit to my father in law and my husband on this one).
  • Called Heritage Hall at Laurel Meadows about volunteering in the nursing home.
  • Started setting goals and making plans for the year.

I considered this week somewhat a “reset” week for myself and I’m glad I didn’t expect much, but next week I will do more.

Another thing I wanted to mention was the goal I had set in October to raise $15,000 for this coming year. I’m excited to say that generous folks donated almost $6,700 through the end of 2015! Looking back, I know I would have met that goal with a little more effort on my part. However, I’ll continue to fund raise throughout the year as needed.

I’m still excited about what God is going to do in Thrive Wellness Ministries! It will be interesting to look back next January and see what He’s done through this organization. Stay tuned!

…Enjoy the Good of All His Labor…

I’ve wanted to blog so many times this week, but time has not allowed. This morning, I read Ecclesiastes 3 and verse 13 stood out to me this Thanksgiving Eve.

Ecclesiastes3-13

Photo compliments of amendesigns.com

I pray God blesses you and your family this Thanksgiving and in the year to come. And, for all of those of you who have supported Thrive Wellness Ministries in prayer, action, and finances, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

 

Family

Normally, I don’t post personal photos and stories on my website, but I had to share about the loss of my husband’s grandpa Moir Nester. He passed away early yesterday morning unexpectedly and it’s been hard on the Nester family. My own family is close, but you’ve not seen a closer bunch than the Nester’s. Moir will be missed.

Last Monday, we had a very talented photographer (Kristen H) come out and get some family shots. Little did we know this would be the last photo of Moir and his wife of 60 years, Connie. I’m so glad she was able to catch that smile. Moir really enjoyed the short photo session.

You would not believe the amount of visitors we’ve seen these past two days. And the food is crazy! I think there’s enough food to feed an army for three months in that house. You can really feel the love of family and friends.

As I was reading my bible yesterday, these verses jumped out at me and made me think of Moir.

Proverbs 10:7, 27 (abbreviated) – The memory of the righteous will be a blessing…The fear of the Lord adds length to life.

I’m not sure if he was 91 or 92, but he had a long life. He ate apples every day and didn’t really speak much. Sometimes, he’d open up to me and tell me stories about the good ol’ days. He sure loved his little dog Spot. He’d take him for rides in the pickup and stuff. I think Spot misses him, too.

He’ll be buried tomorrow, but that young soul is long gone from that old body. I have no doubt that he’s enjoying his mansion in Gloryland right now.

Selflessness in Marriage

A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I am quitting my day job in order to serve others with my life. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, I’m already learning that serving others isn’t that easy, because Self gets in the way. Also, I’m learning that serving others starts in your own home first. I’ve read several Biblically based things lately that point out it’s not about me, it’s about others. Read the articles by Rick Warren and Greg Laurie for more info.

I’ve been married 12 years and with my husband for nearly 13 (yep, I’m getting old). I know a lot about being married, but I still have a lot to learn. In all these years, though, I can’t claim that I’ve been selfless. So, I’m working on that right now. Have you ever tried being selfless? It’s honestly one of the most difficult things you could ever do.

Several years ago, Mike and I were having a hard time in our marriage. Now, don’t cover your mouth and act surprised or think of who you can go tell. Every marriage has down days (or weeks, or months, or sometimes years). I went with my mom to watch that movie Fireproof about the couple who were on the verge of separating. It wasn’t my idea – mom wanted to go. Anyway, that movie spoke to me (well, God spoke to me through that movie) about being selfless in your marriage. That was years ago, this is today, but I still remember the selfless acts the husband did trying to get his marriage right.

I feel like now that I’m trying to live more for God, that satan is out to trouble my marriage. When we do what God wants, it angers the devil and he tries to make us stop. But, I’m not going to give up. Not this easily, not ever.

I’ve always had a hard time with the scripture that tells wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33). Our culture tells us that submitting to anyone is bad. And women, we have equal rights. Let’s not submit to anyone! BUT, that’s not what God says, is it? On the other end of wives submitting to their husbands is the part of scripture that tells husbands to love their wives as themselves. Ahhhh, there it is. When you love others as you love yourself, that’s when you become selfless. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

On another note, I started daily Bible reading over a week ago and have only missed Sunday. I found this devotional by Rick Warren very helpful on successful Bible study. It’s working for me. If you’re struggling with daily Bible time, maybe it will work for you, too. I set my alarm for 6 am each morning and it gives me those 10-15 minutes I need with Him. I encourage you to try it. It’s worth it.

One final thought – I know I mention Rick Warren a lot and I don’t want you to think I’m his follower. I think he speaks what God lays on his heart and he backs it up with scripture. Read today’s devotional about your job. It just affirms (yet again), that I’m doing the right thing with my life.

 

Expecting a Miracle

I am expecting a miracle.

God told me to quit my day job to concentrate Thrive Wellness Ministries and I told him “yes”! He has been working on my heart for months and finally I agreed to let go and let God. I made the decision on Tuesday, September 29 and God told me he’s going to provide $15,000 between now and the end of the year. That’s right – fifteen THOUSAND dollars. I know God is going to provide, but I also know he doesn’t expect me to sit on my fanny and do nothing about it. So, I’m asking you to help. Here’s how you can be part of this exciting venture:

Pray – Specifically that the Lord will use me for His will and that I will discern what He’s asking me to do. Ask Him to show me opportunities where He wants me to work.

Share – Share Thrive Wellness Ministries with your family, friends, and everyone you know. Share on Facebook, via email, and word of mouth. Let people know there’s something new & good going on.

Attend – Come to one of my exercise classes or events and see for yourself what I’m doing. Hopefully more seminars coming soon!

Give – If you feel led to donate to the cause, please give! “God loveth a cheerful giver” says 2 Corinthians 9:7. I know times are tight, but aren’t they always? Have you ever noticed that if you give what God asks, he will always bless you for it? You can donate online using PayPal or a credit/debit card or you can mail me a check. Check out my Donations page on thrivewellnessministries.com for all the info.

I taught Thrive Strength & Cardio last night at Galax PH Church. There, I made the first $80 toward my $15,000 goal. Soon, I will have a chart to measure progress on my website & Facebook page. Won’t you be part?

As I planned to share this news, I decided you may have questions about this endeavor, so here are some FAQ’s about what I’m doing.

Question: Do you really think God is asking you to do this?

Answer: I don’t think so – I KNOW so from the bottom of my heart. I have been reading the Bible and devotionals as well as praying about it and all have pointed me to make this step.

Question: How do you know it’s God that is talking to you?

Answer: I have consulted His word and asked Him and I haven’t asked humans what I should do. It doesn’t matter what people think. I answer to God and am focusing on eternity, not the present. Read this wonderful devotional Rick Warren put out yesterday. That put a period on my decision to do this.

Question: What are you going to do in your ministry?

Answer: God is calling me to SERVE first and foremost and I’m feeling led to start in nursing homes. Honestly, I’ve never enjoyed nursing home visits, but whenever I’ve gone, I leave sorrowful for all the people there who don’t receive visitors. I feel like our elderly are being forgotten. So, that’s where I plan to start. I’m not sure what specifically I will be doing, but I know God is going to provide opportunities. It may be visiting, Bible studies, light exercise with the residents – I’m not sure. I’m going to find the need and go. I may also be going into jails and prisons and working with women. I’m going to serve wherever and however He asks me. I’m going to continue my group exercise classes as well. Hopefully, people will be inspired by God’s messages through me and I can do some motivational/inspirational speaking. The Extraordinary Women conference is this weekend in Roanoke…is it too far fetched for me to dream of speaking there next year?

Question: How are you going to be using the money you raise?

Answer: Funds raised for Thrive will used to support my work as a local missionary. I plan to buy needed items for folks in the nursing homes and other places I visit if there is something they need. Some funds will be used for everyday living expenses such as gas and groceries while I serve. At any time, I will share my income and expenses of my non-profit organization. I consider myself frugal and a good steward of what God gives me and I will be transparent with my operating budget. I drive a car that’s 9 years old and has 160,000 miles on it (I’m praying it makes it to at least 300,000 miles!). Most of my clothes come from thrift stores. I’m past all the material things this life has to offer. Sure, I have wants, but I’ve learned that very few of them really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Question: Why are you really doing this?

Answer: I’m doing this because God requested me to. He’s given me a mission and vision that I must fulfill. I’m now 33 years old and I do wish I would have listened more intently to His calling sooner in my life. I also want to spend time with my family (husband and boys ages 3 and 1) while teaching my children to be of service to their neighbors. If we want to see a difference in this country, it has to start in our homes. It has to start with us.

I’m thankful God has put me in this position to share His love with others. I’m not perfect and it’s only by the grace of God that I’ll be going to heaven one day. I know this ministry won’t always be easy or pleasant, but I know God will bless me and provide for my needs as long as I do what He says.

Thank you in advance for your support. I pray that He’ll pour out his blessings on you and that you’ll be part of Thrive Wellness Ministries. We can (and will) make a difference in our community.

We are Witnesses

On my drive home yesterday, I caught a sermon on the radio where the preacher was talking about how we are witnesses once we become children of God. He said we don’t mail to heaven asking for our witness card, it just comes automatically once we accept Christ. Now, here’s the tricky part – you can be a witness for good (Christ) or for bad (the world). I truly believe what he’s saying is right.

I’ve been a Christian for many years and I can’t say that my witness has always been pleasing to the Lord. However, I feel within the past 6 months or so, my witness is more true and strong than ever before, and I have a desire to live for Him rather than the world. It’s still hard for me to “witness” to people, but that’s a skill that takes a lot of practice.

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend in which I hoped to have an opportunity to share the good news about how God is working in my life and how happy I am. After a 2 hour back and forth, I still didn’t get to share this information with her. I left a little disappointed, but I knew God had a plan and I just prayed for my friend. She ended up calling me and trying to leave a voicemail, but it cut her off and she called back. I got to answer the phone the second time she called and she apologized to me for having a potty mouth and said she felt guilty after she listened to my voicemail greeting (about Thrive and having a blessed day). BINGO! God knew what he was doing all the time! It was a small seed, but a seed nonetheless.

I’m reading First Place 4 health “Motivated to Wellness” book and some of today’s scripture was from John 15 (versus 1-8) which I find interesting, because this was just mentioned at Bible study at church 2 weeks ago. Anyway, the commentary says “Being blameless does not mean that you are perfect. It means that you are mature and balanced. When you’re “set apart,” you are balanced between spirit, soul and body and have a consistent sense of integrity. You have a spirit set after God’s spirit, and you demonstrate self-control and respect for your body, the temple of God.” That text really spoke to me and these words jump off the page: MATURE, BALANCED, INTEGRITY, SELF-CONTROL

Let’s all strive to be “set apart” for God in our everyday lives.