#NewKindOfResolution by: Julie Wicker #nottoolateforresolutions by: Deborah Ard

#NewKindOfResolution by: Julie Wicker  #nottoolateforresolutions by: Deborah Ard

#NewKindOfResolution  by: Julie Wicker

New Year’s Resolutions tend to be long forgotten by Spring. January comes, and we are ready to try the latest diet to help us loose the extra pounds we gained at Christmas. As our calendar begins to fill up again and we get lost in our busy routines we quickly loose site of the goals we have set.

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#equippedforHisglory by: Deborah Ard #LivingWater by: Julie Wicker

#equippedforHisglory by: Deborah Ard #LivingWater by: Julie Wicker

#equippedforHisglory by: Deborah Ard

WOW! What a weekend I have had. And it’s all God’s fault!
Our women’s group at our church sponsored a women’s retreat called Refresh and Renew. This retreat was begun many years ago and we had not had it for several years after one of the ladies that led it passed away. Around this time last year Julie and I felt God calling us to step out of our comfort zone and co-chair the retreat for January 2018. As the name of our blog suggests, Julie and I desire to be “water walkers”…women who step out of their “boats” and walk on water in the name of Jesus Christ. Our desire is to trust Him and allow Him to use us for His glory. So speaking up and volunteering to lead R2, short for Refresh and Renew, was a huge step of faith for us. Both of us had attended R2 in the past but neither of us had been a part of the planning or carrying out of the event before. So how in the world would we be able to pull this off? Well not to spoil the ending, but we didn’t pull it off?

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#Life’sInterruptions by: Deborah Ard & Julie Wicker

#Life’sInterruptions by: Deborah Ard & Julie Wicker

#interruptionscanbeblessings  by: Deborah Ard
Interrupt: stop the continuous progress of (an activity or process)
Interruption: an act, utterance, or period that interrupts someone or something
Let’s face it, we humans do not like to be interrupted. Whether we are working, reading, relaxing, on the go, etc., we do not like for our current path to be changed or interrupted.

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#LetsRejoice By: Julie Wicker

#LetsRejoice By: Julie Wicker

#LetsRejoice by: Julie Wicker

My word for 2018 is “Rejoice”
My Mantra is “Be Brave”

REJOICE, a reminder to carry the Christmas spirit with me 365 days this year. What better way to do this but to meditate on “Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thess 5:16-18‬ ‭CEB‬‬

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#2018wordoftheyear By: Deborah Ard

#2018wordoftheyear By: Deborah Ard

#2018wordoftheyear  by: Deborah Ard
And here it is…the end of 2017. It is so hard to believe it is here. As 2017 draws to an end and look toward 2018 I have reflected, prayed about, and settled on my word for 2018: HOSPITALITY. Hospitality is defined as friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers. The Bible instructs in Romans 12:9-13 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. “
There is an entire industry devoted to hospitality. Colleges offer hospitality degrees. My favorite vacation spot, Disney World, has perfected the business of hospitality. So how do I individually obey this command to practice hospitality?
When I first think of hospitality I think of inviting others into my home. Therefore in 2018 I will make it a goal to open our home up to others to share a meal, play family games, or to roast marshmallows around our fire pit.
My second goal will be to show hospitality in my actions toward others each day. Hospitality calls us to love everyone, including strangers. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” What a phenomenal passage of scripture! When we show genuine hospitality to a stranger we may be helping an angel! Hospitality is the Velcro that joins us together. Hospitality comes from deep within your soul. It is a symptom of the joy that is in your heart. When you hold the door open for someone, help an elderly person with their groceries, offer to babysit for free, buy the person’s food behind you in the drive-through lane, or any act of kindness, the reaction is almost always the same. The person that you have helped will usually say, “thank you,” and they will feel good deep inside their soul because of your kindness. Doing good for others many times makes them want to do good for someone else too. It feels good to serve others. Serving others makes them want to be around you more and it makes them better people too.
My last goal will be to model and instill the virtue of hospitality in my children. Here is a list I found that I will use to guide my children in hospitality in our home.
Always offer to take coats and belongings.
Always offer guest a drink or snack.
Always let guest go first.
Always direct guest to the seating or play area.
Always let guest choose the activities.
Always be attentive to guest needs.
Always share, share, and share more.
Always clear table for guest after a meal.
Always assist guest with gathering their belongings.
Always thank the guest for coming and ask them to come again.
Always walk guest to the door when leaving.
Showing hospitality doesn’t have to be anything grand or elaborate. It can be as simple as smiling at people you pass in a hall or speaking to people you meet along your way.
A pineapple has been deemed a symbol of hospitality. In early America the Native Americans would place a pineapple outside their hut if they were receiving visitors. Even today, in many hotels and inns, a pineapple is carved on a sign outside establishments. A carved pineapple or a facsimile of one can be found carved in head-boards, on bed posters, or armoires. In dining rooms, pineapples can be found on the backs of chairs, on wallpaper, cupboard doors, and woven dining linen. Casts in the shape of pineapples are used as hot plates or on the end of silverware, all to impress upon guests that they are welcome.
My word for 2018, HOSPITALITY, will inspire me to be a pineapple…May I stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside!
And what about you? What will be your word for 2018? What will inspire you to set goals to aspire to for the year? What will be your mantra for the year? Take some time today to pray about, ponder and discern your direction for 2018. I would love to hear from you about your word for 2018! deborahpard@gmail.com

Here are some scriptures on HOSPITALITY:
Luke 19:1-10 Hebrews13:1-8, 15-16 Genesis 18:1-15 Isaiah 25:1-9
John 13:1-17 Acts 2:42-47 Mark 14:22-25 1 Peter 4:1-11
Romans 12:9-18 John 6:1-21 Luke 14:15-24 Mark 10:13-16

#Prayer #Intentional by: Julie Wicker
Thank you for another year of blessings. As we close out 2017 and enter into 2018 open our heart and minds for what you have in store for each of us. Lay on our hearts a word or mantra that reminds us to act with intention and not repetition. Interrupt our plans with divine appointments. Prompt us to show hospitality to others & extend the love of Christ Jesus.
In the name of Jesus

Upcoming Events!! 

We would love to invite all of you to experience the upcoming Women’s Retreat at Herbert Memorial UMC. A time for Refreshment and Renewal, Water for the Soul.

Save the date, Friday January 19th & Saturday January 20th. Registration Form Below:

2018 Refresh & Renew Registration Form

#Wordoftheyearpart2  By: Deborah Ard #Flexibility #Sacrificeofpraise By: Julie Wicker

#Wordoftheyearpart2  By: Deborah Ard #Flexibility #Sacrificeofpraise By: Julie Wicker

#Wordoftheyearpart2  By: Deborah Ard
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” John 17:13
Last December we challenged you to choose a word of the year for 2017. Many of you texted or emailed me the word you chose. I encourage you to use this last couple weeks of 2017 for self-examination.

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#brokenandbeautiful By: Julie Wicker #brokenthings By: Deborah Ard

#brokenandbeautiful By: Julie Wicker #brokenthings By: Deborah Ard

#brokenandbeautiful  By: Julie Wicker

Walking on the beach one Saturday with my kids, I realized as I looked down and found seashells, some broken and some beautiful that we are all like these broken and beautiful seashells. In Joel 2:25 it reads, “God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. All you need is faith”.

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#HisTable By: Julie Wicker #foodforHim By: Deborah Ard


#HisTable  By: Julie Wicker
Do you feel broken today?
When Jesus sat down at the dinner table with his disciples in Matt 26:26-28 Jesus took bread, and when he gave thanks he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body, then he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many of the forgiveness of sins”.

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#FlawsStitchedWithGrace By: Julie Wicker #FragrantOffering By: Deborah Ard

#FlawsStitchedWithGrace By: Julie Wicker #FragrantOffering By: Deborah Ard

#FlawsStitchedWithGrace   By: Julie Wicker

When I was asked to give the sermon message in church recently, my initial reaction was no. I am not a public speaker. I had doubts and questions like, what if I cry and no one can understand me? What if I don’t have enough to say and church is out before 12:00? My devotion following these questions included the scripture from Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. Guess what, the Holy Spirit got me through it without crying and we got out of church right on Methodist time. Go God.

I want us to take a closer look at my questions and discuss my inadequacies. Our calling is wrapped up in our obedience to God. In Ex 9:16 “I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that you will proclaim it.” We need to trust in God to raise us up. However, the devil likes to tell me otherwise. My past is full of wrong choices, disappointment, deception, addiction, heartache, and rejection. As Lysa Terkheurst tells us in her book uninvited, “A line in our past can turn into a lie, which then turns into a label we place on ourselves and at that point becomes a liability.” She goes on to say, “rejection steels the best of who we are by reinforcing the worst that has been said to us.”

As it’s said in John 10:10 “The thief (devil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they have life, and have it to the full”. Steven Furtick tells us in his “Graduation in Gratitude” sermon series that we need to “Set the Table”. We need to learn to have a heart of praise in the presence of our enemies. He is referring to Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil: my cup overflows”. He goes on to say God makes the things that were to take us out, serve us for what God is calling us to do. In other words, God is going to use my past of wrong choices, disappointment, deception, addiction, heartache, and rejection to catapult me into a life full of grace.

Some of us are so wrapped up in our rejection and guilts. Pastor Ken Phelps preached a sermon on Dr. Jekyll meets Jesus. He said there are flaws in the fabric of humanity, Jesus is here to sew up those flaws for every one of us. We need to open ourselves to God’s grace and His glory. We need to let His forgiveness take place. In Eph 5:2 “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. Just as the disciples were average men handpicked by Jesus himself, Lysa Terkheurst says “we may be overlooked by others, but we are handpicked by God”.

One of my favorite stories in the bible is of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth had stayed by her Mother-in-Law Naomi’s side even after the death of their husbands, Ruth 1:16 “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”.  Do you feel like as a daughter, mother, wife, sister, that you make sacrifices for the ones you love? I would say most of my sacrifices are made from unconditional love, no strings attached just as Jesus loved. However sometimes my sinful nature kicks in and my sacrifices come with regret and what if’s? Resentment can leave a wedge in our hearts for Satan. I’m sure we all want a heart like Ruth’s. She even gleaned in the fields for her and Naomi to have food, Ruth 2:3 “So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters”. To glean, means to pick up the leftover grains after a harvest. Do you sometimes feel like you are getting the leftovers? Maybe leftovers of other people’s blessings? Comparison with others can lead to an ungrateful heart. What matters more to God is what we do with our blessings. I need to remind myself daily to run my own race, Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.

Ruth followed Naomi with blind obedience and bold faith. If we are obedient, serving and loving others like Jesus, we will be richly rewarded, Ruth 2:12 “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge”. As Ruth obediently gleaned in the fields, God was working behind the scenes, positioning her for great favor, Deut 28:2 “All these blessing will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God”. Boaz was considered one of Ruth’s Guardian redeemers. In the same way, Jesus is our Guardian Redeemer, Ruth 2:20 “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian redeemers”.

I desire to be a woman like Ruth who is known for her noble character, Ruth 3:11 “All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character”. I picture Ruth to be plain yet beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Boaz had his eyes on Ruth at first glance. Proverbs 31:10 “Say a wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies”. Lord, sink this truth into my marrow. Christ is in me, I AM enough!

As I moved forward through the 2017 lent season, my prayer had been to follow God closer, to know His purpose for my life, and to have bold faith and obedience. Meanwhile I had an opportunity present itself that I did not feel qualified for so I covered this opportunity in prayer. Over a weeks’ time God turned my feelings of inadequacy to knowing I am the heir to God’s throne through His son Jesus Christ, therefore I am a favored daughter of the one true king. That same week as I got in my car, listening to The Message on my satellite Radio, the host said, “God loves you”, “He’s got a plan”, “He can be trusted”. I needed to hear this message. This Lent season has been very trying for me. The Devil has been attacking my thoughts daily. I need to remember God’s plan for my life isn’t always going to be easy. I can choose my thoughts in the process. Satan can tell me lies, but I don’t have to believe them. Through this opportunity, God has winked at me, that the path I want is the shortest route. Sometimes God wants to take a detour with me, grow my faith and confidence along the way. Just as Moses and the Israelite’s didn’t get a shortcut into the promise land, God is asking me to take the long route. This makes me wonder, what is God wanting me to experience? My prayer is for God to grow me where God wants me to be.

As I’ve journeyed to the cross during this season of lent I created a mantra for myself; “I can’t let the labels of my past taint who I am in Christ and my perspective of the cross”. My sister has written a devotion in the NIV bible for woman titled, “Make time for Spring Cleaning”. She compares her wardrobe to a collection of memoires becoming the woman God intended her to be. She says, “With each little memory stitched together like fabric sewed together with thread”. She goes on to pray that God will help us to make sense of our own beauty, of becoming the woman God made us to be. My heart’s desire is to keep growing my faith, becoming the woman God wants me to be. In the process, I choose not to let my perceptions of what others think cloud the truth of how God sees me. I am woman after Gods own heart! I am a Proverbs 31 Woman!

Are you feeling inadequate today? Are you needing God to sew up your flaws with His grace? Have you equipped yourself with God’s word so you can stand up against the schemes of the Devil?

Make a declaration with me today.

I can choose my thoughts! I don’t have to accept Satan’s lies!

I have victory in Jesus! Fear is a liar! Christ is in me! I am enough!

I praise my God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14

The one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world! 1 John 4:4

Gods not finished with me yet!

#Prayer #FragrantOffering   By: Deborah Ard

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your unending love and grace. Thank you for your goodness and mercy.
And Lord I praise you for my flaws for I know You can use my shortcomings to bring you glory.
Lord may my ears, eyes and heart be open to your call on my  life.
May I listen for your guidance and when I hear your directions for my life, may I trust and obey.
Although I am undeserving, I know that whatever you call me to do, You will equip me with the abilities needed to tackle the task.
Lord I come to You with a humble heart to lay my flaws before You. Sew them together Lord so that I may be Your fragrant offering.
May I always run with perseverance in the direction of Your will. And may all that I say and do be a witness to Your love and mercy.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
#Worship with us