Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Footprints



15 Ways to Start Your Day Well

We recently found this article by author and speaker Crystal Paine to be really good, encouraging and practical.  In it Crystal shares 15 ways she's found that help her start her day well.  We don't wanna spoil It for you, so check it out here!

27 Books Christian Teens Should Read (And Grownups Should Too)

Brett Harris, co-founder of The Rebelution, shares 27 books that he thinks every Christian teen and adult should read.  Head over here to see what they are and then hurry on over to the library to start some good, worthwhile reads!

May God give you His joy to share with others this weekend!

Joanna, Megan, Krista, Emily & Victoria

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tales from Taiwan #15

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Dear sisters,

Some days life here in Taiwan can be kinda normal, kinda mundane.  At least it feels like it to me!  I teach, I eat, I sleep - then I do it all again the next day.  God is teaching me to be faithful in the every day kind of things.  Recently I've been going through a book called Experiencing God.  I've done it before but felt like it would be really beneficial and encouraging to do it again.  I've been reading about how God speaks to us and delights to work through us to be His hands and feet, whether in big ways or small ways.  It also shares how it's important to pray for God to give us opportunities to serve - and then actually be alert for when those opportunities appear.

Like last Saturday when my friend and I were biking home.  We came to a stoplight and noticed a lady on her moped across the street who seemed to be doubling over in pain.  Her shoe was in the middle of the road.  We felt like we should go see if we could help so we crossed the street and found out she had been hit by a car.  Her ankle was swollen hugely and part of a bone was protruding out, so she was unable to dismount the moped.  Thankfully the car driver was still there and together along with the help of another stranger, we were able to move her moped to the side of the street.  We stayed with the injured lady for awhile until help came, praying as we made sure she was still conscious (a few times I was sure she would collapse or faint from the pain, but God kept her upright!).

Looking back now, I can see how God arranged everything just right so we would be at that traffic light at that time to help the lady.  He gave us the opportunity to be His hands and feet that day and I'm so glad we were alert and open to His promptings.  That's my prayer as I finish out this school year here, that I will continue to look around me and see ways that He is calling me to share His love and truth with these people I love.  It's incredible seeing Him work and this quote by Mother Teresa seems to sum up my prayer for the rest of this semester:

"I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world."

For Him in Taiwan,
Joanna

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review: Simplify

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I'm an avid reader and even worked in my local library for awhile but I haven't picked up a book since May 2015.  Almost a year later I'm finally getting back into the bookworld.  I really missed reading but every time I tried, I would get lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous, my vision would blur and I'd get intense migraines that could last for a long time.  Yeah, I wrote When Pain Doesn't Fly Away four years ago and I'm still struggling with some of the same things.  It's still a journey and one that I'm so grateful God is carrying me through.

So when a friend recommended Simplify by Bill Hybels, I hesitantly started reading (I say hesisitantly because I was scared that my migraines and all that would commence as I started reading - but thankfully, they didn't!).  I found Bill's writing engaging and his ideas clear and practical.  I really appreciated his authenticity and Biblical viewpoint.  This is a treasure of a book, in my opinion!

This book really helped me see how I need to consistently do things that "fill my bucket", as Bill calls it.  This is going to be different for every person but the concept is the same.  He describes it best but basically I found out what things God uses to refresh and revive me and then made sure to schedule them into my life on a weekly basis.  That way I can continue to serve and love others as He has called me to do - and continually be refreshed and revived.

Maybe you've been feeling overwhelmed or drained in daily life or ministry or wherever God has you right now.  If so, pick up a copy of Simplify and start praying that God will use it in your life!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Summer Opportunities

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Does summer always seem to fly by for you?  It's hard to believe that it's already May and school will be letting out soon.  For me, summertime always seems to speed by and the next thing I know, autumn is around the corner.   So this summer, I want to encourage you to take advantage of the extra free time that often comes along with the season.  While it's wonderful to be able to do things you enjoy like swimming, painting, or reading, don't let your activities rule your summer.  Take some time to share God's love in a powerful way by serving others.  You have the time, so get involved!  The following is a list of opportunities to consider:  

~ get involved in Vacation Bible School
~ help out in your local church
~ go on a mission trip
~ visit the elderly in a nursing home
~ help family and friends - clean the house, babysit, prepare a picnic
~ do random acts of kindness

Why not pick one or two (or come up with your own ideas) and use the time and gifts the Lord has given you to encourage and help others in His name?  It's definitely worth it because when we serve others, that means we're serving the Lord.  Scripture says in Colossians 3:23-24, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

Here at Bloom! we talk about how we're on a journey towards Biblical womanhood.  One of the ways to grow in this is to get out of your comfort zone and serve others.  Maybe you're a bit scared of doing Vacation Bible School or visiting a nursing home.  That's okay.  It's not just you that's serving anyway - it's Christ working through you!  So take courage, dear girls, and step out of your comfort zone.  Not only will others be blessed by your actions, but you'll be blessing the King of kings.  And that is something wonderful indeed!

So what are you waiting for?  Go share His love!

-- from the archives

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Footprints


Hey ladies,

It’s F-R-I-D-A-Y! As we enter into the weekend, here are some cool and noteworthy links to check out:

Taking God at His Word is this month’s FREE audiobook. Click here to download it. 

Cbd.com has Fab Fridays where you can get deals on Bibles, Christian books and Mother's Day gifts. They are also having a promotion where you can tell why you love your local church, place #iheartMYCHURCH and have a chance to win a $1000 gift card. 

Set Apart Girl has the annual conference coming up on June 3-4, 2016. You can join them in Colorado or through simulcast. Learn more here.

An encouraging quote for you:

“To me, a Lady is not frilly, flowery, flippant, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle. She is gracious. She is godly and she is giving. You and I have the gift of femininity…the more womanly we are, the more manly men will be and the more God is glorified…. Be women. Be only women. Be real women in obedience to God.” – Elisabeth Elliot

May you have a great weekend!
In Christ,
Joanna, Megan, Krista, Emily & Victoria