-->

26.2.13

Being a Friend - Who is Wise

Walking with wise people will make you wise.  This is what Proverbs 13:12 says and it goes on to say that the companion of fools will be destroyed.  This is a very powerful concept that is so simple and is often overlooked.  Another way to put it is: show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.  The first step towards wisdom is to take a look at who you are walking with.  Are you a part of a companion of fools or are you in a circle of wise people?  Before we attempt to offer wisdom to our friends we need to make sure that we have wisdom to offer, you cannot give what you don’t have.  The last thing our friends need is for us to be one of the many fools that lead to their destruction. 

Determine to work on being a wise woman not only for yourself but so that you have something to offer your friends.  Take full responsibility for who you are becoming, don’t leave it to chance and wait to see if you turn out to be wise or a fool. Being a good friend means being a wise friend. Let’s take a look at what wisdom is and how we can gain wisdom:

Wisdom is the Fear of the Lord
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  
- Psalm 111:10

True wisdom is inseparable from the fear of the Lord. Many people think of wisdom as something intellectual, like cleverness. But wisdom is not cleverness—because cleverness can be compatible with evil. The fear of the Lord is incompatible with evil.
- Derek Prince

Over the years the fear of the Lord has been misunderstood.  Many Christian leaders have tried to water it down, making it out to be less scary so that we don’t see God as a scary God but as a loving and kind God.  Yes, there is no scriptural basis for this.  God is love .  The Bible clearly states this. Not that God has love or God gives love, but God is love.  So, our foundation for the fear of the Lord is one of love.  But, what is love?  Is love a warm, fuzzy, squishy emotion?  No, love is many things but it is not the human definition of love.  God’s definition of love involves, patience, kindness , etc as well as discipline , punishment and wrath.  He is a good father and like any good father, He will discipline us when we need it and ultimately He will judge us on judgement day.  Thankfully God sent Jesus to take our punishment for us so we will not receive what we deserve on judgement day; however, God is still to be feared because He is great and mighty in so many ways, both in love and compassion as well as in power and judgement.  The fear of the Lord is not natural to human beings, we are too proud to think of God in that way.  It is when we humble ourselves to know Him that true fear of the Lord grows within us.  To learn about the fear of God and how to grow in this healthy fear read the following Proverb:        

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.    
- Proverbs 2:1–5


Wisdom is Teachable
Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.   
- Psalm 25:12

God doesn’t teach everyone.  He teaches only those that fear Him.   The fear of the Lord leads to wisdom because it is these people that God is willing to teach.  Why would anyone teach someone who doesn’t respect them and what they have to say?   It’s the same with God.  He knows if we don’t fear Him that we won’t listen to and do what He has to say.  So cultivate a teachable spirit so that fears God and then God will teach you.

Wisdom is Essential
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. 
- Proverbs 4:7

If you put wisdom first many other things will fall into place automatically.  Seek to get wisdom, invest time and money in getting wisdom, value wisdom above all else.  Wisdom will protect you and guard you.  Wisdom will bring you honour and will promote you .  Wisdom is essential to a great life and to great friendships.  Most importantly, you need to get wisdom as this Proverb says.  If the Bible is telling you to get something then you must know that it can be gotten!  Decide to do whatever you need to do to get wisdom.

Wisdom is Happiness
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; 
- Proverbs 3:13

There is not much explanation to offer on this verse as it says what it means and means what it says.  It is very clear that wisdom will bring happiness into your life.  If you want to be a happy person and a happy friend to someone, make sure you are wise.     

Wisdom is Humble
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.  
- Proverbs 3:7

By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.  
- Proverbs 13:10

There is a strong connection between wisdom and humility.  It takes wisdom to be humble and it takes humility to be wise.  Check yourself and see what sort of person you are.  Do you tend to be proud or arrogant?  If so then you need to deal with this in order to gain wisdom.  Pride often stems from insecurity and the best way to get secure is to stop comparing yourself with anyone else and to simply know that God loves you just as you are, even with your faults and imperfections.  

The other great tip in the Proverbs is not to be wise in your own eyes. As soon as you think you are wise you have fallen into the pride trap.  A truly wise person will be too humble to even know that they are wise.  A truly wise person will give God the glory for any wisdom that they are credited for as they know where the wisdom came from in the first place.    

Ask for Wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
  - James 1:5

The great thing about wisdom is that it is available for all who ask.  It is not reserved for clever people or for intellectuals.  Wisdom is not only for those who have been to university or for those who were raised in a good home.  True wisdom comes from God and is available to absolutely anyone who asks for it.  So why wait, ask God for wisdom right away and see what He will do in your life.

Being a good friend means that you are a wise friend.  Once you have gained wisdom for yourself you will be better equipped to hang out with ‘fools’ so that they too can grow in wisdom as a result of your friendships with them.  To think that you can grow wise and influence your friends by not having wise people in your life is foolishness.  We need to have good and wise friends in order to be a good and wise friend to those that are not there yet. 

Knowledge vs. Wisdom
Having a lot of knowledge does not automatically assume that you have wisdom.  Knowledge is the accumulation of facts.  Facts without application are worthless. It is the ability to evaluate the knowledge.  Understanding and interpreting knowledge is the first part in turning knowledge into wisdom.  The next step is to correctly apply that knowledge.

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.
 - Charles Spurgeon

Grow in knowledge and the fear of the Lord by reading your bible daily.  Grow in wisdom by applying the knowledge you gain with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Then and only then can you become a wise friend.

Find out more about Being a Friend here or about using our material to host your own Girl's Night here.
Read more ...

23.2.13

Heart 2 Heart Breakfast

Today I had to wonderful privilege of speaking at the Heart 2 Heart Ladies Breakfast in Lechlade.  It was a beautiful morning with everything perfectly set out in the stunning St Lawrence Church.  Butterflies decorated the building along with pretty flowers and the aroma of fresh coffee.  What was most beautiful about this event was the warmth of all the lovely ladies.  Below are some photos and right at the bottom is a video of the message I shared.  If you live anywhere near Lechlade I highly recommend that you connect with the lovely Heart 2 Heart Ladies. Their next ladies breakfast is on 15th June at 9am at St Lawrence Church in Lechlade. Contact Katy for more info.











Read more ...

20.2.13

Being a Woman in Ministry - With Children

Cathy Clarke, of Hillsong London, took time out of her busy schedule to allow me an interview with her on being a woman in ministry with children.  It was wonderful to hear from such an experienced woman in ministry who has also been a mother for seventeen years.  She has a son and a daughter aged fifteen and seventeen and together as a family they have pastored Hillsong London for thirteen years.  Read what she has to say about the incredible life of mothering and ministry.  This interview is rich with pearls of wisdom and nuggets of truth.

Cathy, what is your role at Hillsong Church and what does it entail?

I am married to Gary, so it’s simply by sheer marriage that I am involved.  We always look at ministry very much as the husband and wife in ministry together even though she may not necessarily be working full time for a church.  Gosh, I guess I am a pastor.   It took me a while to get my head around being comfortable with calling myself a pastor.  I do a lot of stuff with the women and so we try and gather the women on a regular basis right across the whole church, teenage girls to mums that bring their babies to the young adults to people that in their twenties, or married, single, single parents and older people.  We try and do several events throughout the year to cater for all the girls in church. We also help to gather women not just from our church but from right across the country and from Europe as well for our annual conference which is Colour.  Bobby Houston hosts that conference and we are on the ground here in the UK making that all happen.  That actually takes up quite a lot of time; there is quite a lot of work involved in the conference. Be the Change is a big part of what we do.  We encourage women not only to care for their personal life through reading the word and being involved in small groups but as well to be really hands on in their communities.  To get out there and do something to be the change, to change whether it be their street or their next door neighbour or the elderly centre that might be in their community or buying Christmas presents for children whose parents are in prison.

So honestly, what does it entail?  You just can’t sum it up in five seconds can you?  It’s also a matter of just talking to new Christians, people that are new to church, getting involved with them and understanding where they are at and how we can best help them to get involved in church.  Then there’s a lot of work involved with staff, connecting with staff. Being the mother of the church was something that I sometimes struggled with but if you take the context of mum at home, you’ve got to be prepared to do anything. Whether it’s baking a birthday cake or planning a party or changing the light bulbs.  You really have to be prepared to step in with whatever and if you are not quite sure how to do it then you ask around or find someone to help or you just figure it out to get it done.  So in that sense, yes it’s very much being the mother of the house. God gives you the grace to do what you need to do because you don’t need to be a professional entertainer or a professional speaker or a professional theologian or anything like that but you just need to get in there and do whatever needs to be done.

How old are your children and how do they feel about your role in Church?

Gary and I moved over to the UK thirteen years ago and at that stage the children were two and four.  We were in ministry in Sydney just a few years prior to that so really our kids have not known anything different.  They have never known anything else.  So in that regard I don’t think they have ever thought, “Oh my gosh, what’s going on, what’s happening?”  They have simply grown up in that environment. We have done our best not to create drama or say things like, “Oh my gosh this is so hard!” for our kids.  I heard Bobby say once that if it’s going to be difficult for you then it’s going to be difficult for your children.  So I really took that on board when I heard that years ago and my kids were just little.  And I though OK, I’ve really got to work at making sure that I am not going to make and create drama because if I was going to take that on board then that was the environment that I was going to raise my children in.  I didn’t want to raise my children out of any kind of fear or drama.  So I really took that to heart and said, “God I am not going to do that with your help.” They really seem fine.  They are seventeen and fifteen now so maybe come back and ask in ten years time.  But honestly, from what I can see, they seem like they are really fine with ministry.  I think ministry offers incredible opportunities for them.  We have done some trips to places like Uganda, we have a great relationship with a particular church there, so we have done trips there.  We have been to places that I honestly think that if we weren’t in ministry the door may not have been open to be able to see that and have the privilege of experiencing that.  So we have always tried to encourage the kids and teach the kids that some of the trips that we have done are simply because of the blessing of God.   

Describe an average day in the life of Cathy Clarke.

Well I think most people would be able to say this, but what is average?  Most days don’t look the same.  My alarm goes off at 6:30 in the morning and I do my absolute best as a regular thing to be up at that time.  I spend some time reading the word and praying.  From there every day looks a little bit different but because we have got children it’s usually getting the children up and getting them out the door.  Walking the dog, which is part of my little bit of exercise as well. So that’s my start to the day.  From there it goes in all random directions.  I can never say that there is a normal, average day.  Often I am at the church office, sometimes I am out and about meeting people and I try and get some additional exercise during the week as well but once again I can’t say that there’s a regular time for it, I have to fit it in wherever I can.  I have to say, I love online shopping because that makes life a little bit easier.  If I have ten minutes I can sit down and order the groceries rather than having to race down the street and make a time to fit it in.  In some ways my average day has certain things that there’s a different rhythm to but in other ways the rhythm is random and all over the place.  Even dinner at night is unpredictable.  I try taking a little roll call in the morning to see who is going to be home so I know if I have to cook dinner for the whole family or just me or just Gary and I.  Life is always interesting; you can never say it’s boring.

What do you find most difficult in juggling ministry and parenting?

To be honest, I try and keep as positive as possible about things so I can’t say that I can think of anything I would say is the most difficult.  I really try and look at it in a positive way, so even to think what is difficult about juggling parenting and ministry, almost in my head it’s a negative approach to it. I try not to go there.  I know things have to be done, things have to be juggled but I try look at that in a very positive way.  Yup, you’ve got to juggle but that’s just life.  Rather than looking at it like, “Oh my gosh it’s so hard, I don’t know what’s happening” and “How am I going to fit everything in?” I really try not to look at that like it’s a struggle.  It’s a blessing and it’s an amazing way to live life and that’s just simply the way it is.  The only thing obviously that I don’t want to compromise in that juggle of life is simply my time with God.

Do you get stressed out and what do you do about it?

I can do but if I notice I am getting stressed about things I just bring myself back very quickly.  I say, “Ok God, I am here. I am doing what you want me to do.  You’ve got answers.  I have the capacity.  I have the ability to be able to do this because of Christ in me.”  In my head I have to mentally pull myself back, going, “Don’t go down that track.”  I guess over years you practice that and get better at it.

Was there a time when you made a bad parenting or ministry decision, and God used it as a teachable moment in your life?

You know, none of us are perfect so we are all going to make mistakes.  I will be the first one to put up my hand and say yes I have done things that I maybe regret or when looking at it in hindsight seeing that really it wasn’t the best decision but in God’s grace He just allows us.  The best thing you can do is to learn from those experiences, to become wiser.  The biggest travesty would be that if you did make a mistake and failed to learn from it.  So if you can sit there and go, “Right, I did make a mistake but what can I do better and how can I do it better next time,” then I think honestly that the valleys can be just as powerful as the mountain tops.  Sometimes in those valleys and during those times when you have made mistakes they are the strongest and most powerful lessons.  You do learn because God teaches us through His amazing grace.

I heard about the time you had to keep your children up until late at night so that they could spend time with their dad, tell us about that season and how you juggled to make ministry and family life work.

First of all, I didn’t have to keep them up; I chose to keep them up.  And, this was before school, so they were only quite young, so it wasn’t a problem.  To me it wasn’t a problem at all as they could sleep a little longer during the day.  It wasn’t like they had to be up at a certain time and get to school, they weren’t turning up at school blurry eyed and tired.  Gary at that time was getting up really early in the morning was home late at night.  It was more of a difficult time for us financially, etcetera, so we had to do that so we could keep living so we made that choice.  I was sure he didn’t want to go for a whole week with hardly seeing the children and especially as they were little.  I was never one of those mums that said, “It’s six o’ clock, you’ve had to have your dinner by now so at seven o’ clock you’ve got to be in bed and that’s it.”  I’m talking about when they were little, when school started it was little different, because there’s a regular structured day that they had to be a part of.   When they were pre-school I wasn’t like that at all.  We always looked at it as they were on a journey with us and so if that’s what Gary’s hours were, it was only for a period of time, well then I wanted to make sure that they were still alive and awake at ten o’ clock at night so they could hang around and spend some time together.  I think dad time is far better than a rigid routine of six o’ clock you have had your dinner and bath and seven o’ clock you’re in bed.  

What do your children say they love the most about you?

Anyone that has teenage children will realise that they will say nothing.  They won’t run around saying, “I really love this about you mummy,” or “daddy you are amazing”.  They just don’t seem to say that.  They are cute when they are little, they will come up to you and say, “I love you mummy,” or they will stroke your hair or something or they will say the simplest things which just mean the world to you.  I know Tori did say once, she said, “Mum, I want to be what you are when I grow up.”  I was so proud of that so I stopped and asked her, “Why would you do that?”  She said, “Because you just go out and have coffee and lunch with people.”  So they say things and do things when they are little and are quite cute and adorable.  When they hit teenage years you are lucky to get anything out of them or even understand what they are saying at times.  So I cannot say anything recently that they say that they love about me. 

Explain your understanding of Luke 14:26 to us and how it is worked out in your life as a mother.   “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”

I am going to read it out in a different version; it’s good to read scripture in different versions and also to read it in context.  I am going to read it out from here because it then expands peoples understanding of what the scripture says because if you took that verse on its own it sounds quite harsh and quite horrible.  It sounds like, “who would want to follow someone like that?”  But here in this version it says in Jesus words, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison —your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters...” (New Living Translation)

I think honestly what Jesus is saying there is that you must have me as number one.  So he’s not literally saying that you have to hate everyone because we know that God says over and over again to love and to love one another and to love people and that love is one of the greatest things.  So we know that it’s not God or Jesus’ nature.  What he is simply saying is that we have to have Jesus as number one in our lives.  Then if we have Jesus as number one in our lives then all these other things, our relationships – our children, our husbands our mother and father, will be blessed.  They will benefit, they will flourish.  Jesus has a large crowd following him and what he is saying to them is that they have got to put Him as absolutely number one.  He is saying that you can’t be following me just because the signs and wonders are enticing and look interesting thinking I’m curious and that looks all fun, but then go back to your families and forget about me.  You have got to put me as number one, if you want to be my disciple, if you want to follow me, I have to be number one in your life.  God will not share His throne with any man.  So Jesus has to be absolutely number one and then if you have that in the right perspective then all the relationships, all the people that we have in our life, will all do well.

Looking back and knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently in the area of parenting? 

I don’t know whether I would.  Yes, there were mistakes, but as I said before, they are valuable and I would never have learned otherwise.  You can’t go through life perfectly.  You need to have those ups and downs, those tight moments and those moments with wide open spaces – you need all of that.  So, I honestly can’t think of anything that I regret.   There is nothing in my life that I would have done very differently.  One of the things that I look back on is when we packed up and left our country, where we had family, uncles, aunts, grandparents and extended family, we left them and moved over here.  Family to us are very important and some people struggle with that whole thing but for us, I could have looked at it as a big disappointment because honestly, my parents really don’t know my children that well now.  We do communicate on Skype and phone calls and when we go back to Australia the children see them but that’s not regularly.  I could have looked at that as a bit of a disappointing way to live life because the children would know their family and extended family, cousins and so on.  But once again, I just had to look at it in a positive way.  We are here and we really believe that this is where God wants us.  When you are planted somewhere, one way or another God will fill the gaps.  He makes up for those things and it’s up to Him as to how He makes it happen.

How has being a woman in ministry helped you grow as a mother and how has being a mother helped you grow as a woman in ministry?

It is very much hand in glove. You can’t separate the two. I believe being a woman in ministry has helped me to be a better person.  Being in ministry and reading the word of God, being in an environment where there’s worship and in a great community of believers has helped me and kept me on a road that is far healthier than where I could have potentially have gone off anywhere.  So therefore, that has helped me to be a better person and if it’s helped me be a better person then obviously it had to help me to be a better mother to my children.

Sometimes it’s the things that you learn from being a mother, the emotion that you feel as a mother, raising children and seeing your children grow up and seeing them go through ups and downs, difficult times and so on.  That whole emotion and that understanding of seeing your children grow helps you.  I think it just opens up a whole new maternal thing within you that then helps you to reach out to other people.  It helps you to come along side people and to encourage them.  Whether it’s simply an arm around their shoulder at a moment when someone might be a bit downcast and is going through a hard time, or just a word of encouragement or an invitation to come over for a meal.  Being a mother helps you to realise how important that sort of thing is.  Perhaps things have happened a bit different at our church in London where there are a lot of young people that have family all over the place, all over the world, so they don’t have those close connections and you realise that a mother figure is very important to them, just as much as a father figure is, but we are talking about being a mother today.  A mother figure is very important, not only when they are little but also when they are older.  It’s a great opportunity to be able to understand that and just do what a mother would simply do.  You can’t come up with all the answers but what you can do is just be there for them.

Do you feel you sacrificed your family on the altar of ministry? If not, how did you prevent that?  If so, what do you regret?

Absolutely not.  No.  Never, never, never.  I see ministry as an incredible opportunity for raising children.  As I said, our blood relatives are a long way away but the community, the family and close friends that we have developed here in our church is just incredible.  I would not do life without them.  I would not live and I would not raise my children anywhere else.  I think it’s the absolute best place to raise a family.  I guess because we are in ministry we are more closely tied in and connected with the heart beat of the church but never once has it crossed my mind that that would be a handicap to our children or a difficulty ever.

How have you learned to bring balance to your life so you can enjoy the ride?

Balance is not a static thing, is it?  It is constantly trying to find that place that you need to come back to for balance.  So we know all these things, you’ve got to eat well and look after yourself and you have to exercise.  Two years ago I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.  I remember the time leading up to that, wondering how I was going to do it because it was something else I had added to my life.  Exercise was something I had to do so my balance had to be re-juggled because I added something else to my life.  I remember lying in my bed telling God, “I just don’t have time to exercise.”  I tried to grab moments and fit it in but inevitably something would come up, whether it was a last minute text from the kids needing to be collected from the sports field or something else that cropped up.  I clearly remember laying in bed, it was early one morning and I was saying, “God it’s just not happening.”  You have got to laugh, I love it when God speaks to you like this, He said, “What are you doing now?”  and I said, “Well I’m lying in bed.”  I’m awake because I am thinking about all this.  So just like he asked Peter, “Do you love me?  Do you love me?” I heard God say again, “So what are you doing now?” to which I responded, “OK, I ‘m getting it now.  Alright God, I could be up now doing some exercise.”  So there on in, I would say it was about eight weeks or so out from actually climbing the mountain, I was getting up at five every morning to exercise.  I filled my bottle with water and my backpack with weights to prepare for climbing the mountain.

So it’s a constant thing, that balance thing is constant.  I am not a mad mountain climber but I did to make a difference, it to raise awareness for anti-traffiking, for the A21 Campaign.  The whole team got to the peak, we all have that photo of us standing at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. But of course once we finished the climb and we all came home I didn’t set foot in a gym.  The most exercise I got was walking to work or walking down the street or walking to the bus. That was my exercise for the next eighteen months, I did not do a stitch of exercise so suddenly I found the balance had gone completely.  More recently I have got back into exercise and brought the balance back. It’s not always going to be perfect.  Even eating and things like that, they are important I will go on my little chocolate binge and eat too much chocolate or sugar or whatever but it’s good to come back to balance there and be mindful of that.

What advice would you like to give women in ministry who have children?

Definitely I would say, don’t put pressure on yourself or feel like you have to do everything.  Ministry is not just a job, it’s a heart thing and you’re involved with your heart and as a job as well but it’s more than just a job.  So I think sometimes we can get caught up in feeling like you’ve got to be the best mother, you’ve got to be the best wife, you have got to be the best in whatever area of ministry you are involved in, you’ve got to be the best leader and you can really put a lot of pressure on yourself to be the best of everything.  Because everyone in your church is looking to you and your husband you can feel that everyone is watching you so you have to make sure that your children are perfect, that they look like they are loving church and loving life and praising God.  Sometimes my son is at church pouting but I had to take that pressure off myself, of making it look like I have everything together and that I have got to be great at doing everything.

We have a lot of meetings, leaders meetings, connect group meetings and all sorts of different things like that going on all the time in church.   I have to do my best to get to what I can but if there is a time when I can’t get to something then I don’t beat myself up.  I don’t think, I should have been there and what is everyone going to think.  At times I can’t, maybe it’s that the children have exams and I been running them around to an extra tutorial or something.  Obviously I would just leave the meeting hanging, I would make sure that it’s all looked after and if I was running it I would make sure that there is someone in place to look after it.  But there are some times when I just say that I am simply going to stay home with the children, I am just going to hang out with them and make sure that we have a nice quiet peaceful night, make sure they have got a yummy good meal that they are going to dive into and enjoy, sit down and relax together and then they might go back to their rooms for a bit more and do some revision or something.  There are many different scenarios but I think that would be probably one of the main things that people would struggle with, is that they have to be amazing at everything.

There can be a lot of pressure on our lives, the weddings, the baby showers, we get invited to everything and I have had to learn that it’s ok to say, “No, sorry I can’t make it.”  It’s alright to do that but then on the other hand I definitely do try and get out there and do stuff.  It all comes back to the balance thing.  It’s very important to connect with people and be with people and be involved in people’s lives.

Find out more about the book - Being a Woman in Ministry or if you are a women in a senior leadership position and would like to meet up, find out more about our monthly meetings here.

Enjoy a video of the full interview below:

Read more ...

18.2.13

Being a Lover - The Five Stages of Sex

Thoughts
Sex starts in the mind.  You have to be able to think about sex in order to be aroused.  Thinking about sex releases hormones which will kick start the process.  Both men and women’s sexual experience starts in their mind.  For men they are stimulated visually which leads them down a path towards sex and women are stimulated emotionally and that can be anything including a visual stimulation – whatever stirs her emotions and gets her thinking in a sexual way.
   

Many times a woman struggles to get into sex mode in her mind and if she doesn’t she will not experience as much pleasure as she should.  A great way to get involved and force your mind onto sex is to watch his hands on your body and get visually involved.  You will very quickly start to put the shopping list at the back of your mind and begin to have sexual thoughts.
   
Arousal
You have been thinking sexually so now you are aroused and ready to proceed.  Your clitoris is enlarging and your vagina is becoming moist.  You will start giving off pheromones at this point, so if your husband isn’t aroused he soon will be.  Too many people jump into sex at this point but if you really want to get the most out of your time with your husband make this stage last by enjoying a time of foreplay.   Take time to touch each other, cuddle, speak to each other and really get fully aroused before moving onto sexual touch.

Foreplay
Foreplay allows both your vagina and his penis time to become fully enlarged.  Enjoying non sexual touch is a great way of teasing each other into extreme arousal to ensure maximum pleasure.  It is here that you will start to release all sort of hormones that could even make you fantasise about sexual activity with your husband.  A man would do well to be patient and enjoy foreplay with his wife as she will be more willing to experiment and do exciting things if she is fully aroused.

Orgasm
Usually women reach orgasm by manual stimulation before her husband enters her with his penis.  Occasionally a man is able to bring his wife to orgasm with his penis but this is unlikely to happen for newlyweds as you really need to get to know each other’s bodies well.  Having an orgasm is a wonderful experience for both the husband and wife which release endorphins amongst many other hormones.   It has been proven scientifically that there are several health benefits to an orgasm including longevity.    

Relaxation
Great sex will leave you in a euphoric state for some time afterwards.  This does not mean that you should get up and get on with something else.  A time of relaxation together is an essential stage of love making.  Especially for a woman, as sex is a giving activity for her and a receiving activity for him.  Men are totally satisfied after sex but woman might not be, they might need some attention or a cuddle afterwards.  Some might even need a conversation but this isn’t always possible for a man after sex.  Get to know each other’s relaxation needs so that you sexual experience is complete and entirely satisfying.  

Find out more about Being a Lover here or get in touch to host your own Girl's Night.
Read more ...

15.2.13

Nature's Way - Talc

Researchers have warned that “women should stop using talcum powder because of the risk of ovarian cancer”, reported The Daily Telegraph. “Scientists fear particles applied to the private parts may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish. Although previous studies have raised concerns over talc, the latest findings from the United States suggest woman who use it are 40 per cent more likely to get ovarian cancer – a much greater risk than first thought.

Talc is made from a soft mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate, which is found throughout the world. It is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products by millions. Some experts say it has chemical similarities to asbestos, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer.”

In other research talcs have been found to lead to cognitive problems, lymphoma, breast cancer, cancer and many other issues. All in all, it’s best to stay away from talc, especially with babies although talc is also found in face powders 

Nature’s Way Alternatives
Corn flour is my favourite talc.  I love the texture and it is super absorbent too.   Corn flour mixed with bicarbonate of soda is a wonderful deodorant or underarm powder too.  Other non-toxic powders that absorb moisture and keep the skin dry include bicarbonate of soda, chickpea powder, oat flour, powdered lavender buds and powdered rose petals, which can easily be found at a grocery or health shop.

Results: 
  • No health risks
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Save lots of money
  • Absorbs odours
  • Absorbs sweat
  • Prevents nappy rash
  • Prevents chafing

Cautions: 
  • Bicarbonate of soda can dry skin out so if you find this a problem for you mix half corn flower and half bicarbonate of soda.
  • The powdered lavender and rose petals are a bit more expensive that the flours.
  • Do not to inhale the powder, as this may cause breathing problems.
  • Keep powders in a sealed container as they will absorb moisture and go hard.

NATURE’S WAY TALCUM POWDER

Ingredients:  Corn Flour

Method:  Use corn flour as you would usually use talcum powder.

More talcum powder recipes:
There are many other simple ways to make talcum powder using natural ingredients, here are some examples:

Essential Oil Powder
Mix equal portions of corn flour and bicarbonate of soda together.  Add a few drops of your favourite fragrant essential oil.

Kaolin Powder
Use as a powder on its own or with other powders and essential oils.  Kaolin Clay is high in mineral content and lightly draws out impurities and toxins from the skin. This is particularly good for sensitive, dry or mature skin as well as for children. Kaolin powder as a face mask ingredient assists in improving vascular and lymphatic flow. Excellent for removing impurities.  Recommended for congested skin types.
 
Now it's your turn.
If you have any deodorant tips that work well, please share them with us.  Find out more about Nature's Way here.
Read more ...

12.2.13

Being a Woman in Business - Who has Integrity

Integrity is one of those qualities which is not easily visible in those who possess it because it is often practiced in secret.  A person with integrity has a certain humility about them along with other qualities which draw people to themselves.  This is because integrity is more than honesty; it is the combination of honesty with strong moral principles.  The word "integrity" stems from the Latin adjective integer which means whole and complete.  In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" derived from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, you may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

In business we need to be the sort of people that attract other people to ourselves.  It’s obvious that this makes for good business.  Integrity is attractive.  Integrity is the essential foundation of any business.  Without integrity you will fail at some point.  Perhaps you will get away without integrity at first but you cannot sustain a business without integrity.  When you encounter a business woman with integrity you will sense that they are authentic and can be trusted.

On the flip side, if you encounter a business woman who lacks integrity, you will sense that something is not quite right and they should not be trusted.  Most women, however, don’t trust their instincts and ignore the warning alarms that go off when they encounter a person who lacks integrity and end up getting burned.  Integrity matters, it is essential that you have integrity and that you do business with people who have integrity.

One concern of course is your own integrity.  Usually people who lack integrity are unaware of it or unashamed of it.  I remember the first time God showed me that I lied at work when I feared making a mistake.  It was a horrifying revelation that I could lie.  Of course, most people do lie.  It is considered normal and white lies are deemed necessary and acceptable in this day and age.  However, a woman with integrity will understand that there is no such thing as a white lie.  Over time, with God’s help, I uncovered my lack of integrity, realised what caused me to lie and learned new behaviour.   In time I came to realise that integrity is more valuable than staying out of trouble for making mistakes.  In fact, I started to notice other people’s ability to lie and I realised how ugly it is.  This made me more determined than ever to work on my character. 

How about you?  Take time to observe yourself and when you are under pressure see how easy it is for you to lie.  If you discover that you lack integrity, don’t panic.  Awareness is step one.  Without awareness you cannot gain integrity.  So, once you become aware of your character flaws, go to God and ask Him to help you become a woman of integrity. 

If you recognise that you lack integrity stop right away.  Stop doing anything dishonest.  Stop doing anything that involves lying.  Stop doing anything that deceives.  Stop any and all activity that is not based on integrity, even if it means you will lose money or people.  If you have not been found out then you still have a chance to put things right but if you continue without integrity you constantly run the risk of being caught.  The Bible says in the New Living Translation Bible in Proverbs 13:11 that, “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.”  Even if you are gaining financially from dishonest work, you cannot keep the money, it will disappear.  Working slowly and surely, with integrity as a foundation, is the best way to make and keep you money and prevent your business from failing. 

Integrity is Your Safety Net
 He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.  - Proverbs 10:9

If you lack integrity you will be found out one way or another and once your lack of integrity is discovered it will be very difficult to win your clients back.  The worse scenario is that you are blind to your lack of integrity but others see it and steer clear of you.  Don’t be fooled into believing that you can cover up or mask a lack of integrity convincingly.  You efforts to hide it will only make it worse.  Have you ever seen a child try to wipe off a spot of paint from a wall or hide a milk spill on the floor?  Inevitably they only makes things worse by trying to hide it and would have done better to come clean in the first place. 

Start well and walk securely in integrity.  It is not worth doing business with people who lack integrity because when they slip and fall, when they get discovered, they will take you down with them.  You might have saved a few pennies doing business with them but in the end you could lose much more than you gained.  Steer clear of business people who lack integrity.  Remember, people with integrity are secure.  Your integrity is your safety net.  

Integrity is Your Guide
The integrity of the upright will guide them: but the perverseness of the unfaithful will destroy them. - Proverbs 11:3

At times we will not know which direction to turn.  It is in these times that our integrity will be our guide.  Firstly, it guides us but showing us which way not to go.  If we know which way not to go it is far easier to figure out the remainder of our options.  Knowing not to lie, cheat, steal, etc eliminates a whole range of options, especially in business.  Many business women would consider these as options if it means they will get ahead, however a business woman with integrity counts the cost.  Integrity shows us that there are always consequences to lack of integrity so we won’t waste our time considering any path that requires a lack of integrity from us.  The unfaithful however will consider anything to advance in a career or make money which will ultimately destroy them.

When in doubt, know that your integrity will guide you and will please God.  Deep down inside you know what is truly important and you know how to please God.  Choose life.  Choose integrity.  Choose to please God.  If these things are number one in your life then you will prosper. 

Integrity Will Preserve You
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on you.  - Psalm 25:21

When you are under pressure your integrity is all that will keep you from falling.  It will preserve you.  Preserve means to protect, conserve, safeguard and defend.  In the Psalm above preserve comes from the Hebrew word nâtsar which is a primitive root word which means to guard and protect.  It’s a wonderful thought, that you have a permanent security guard within you if you have integrity.  Not only will your integrity guard you but it will also defend you.

This Psalm offers another little key for us and that is the last part of the verse - for I wait on you.   As we wait on Him we will grow in integrity.  As we wait on Him we will grow upright.  Integrity cannot be rushed.  It is integrated into the fabric of our being over time.  If you recognise that you do not have integrity in your business or as an individual, go to God and wait on Him.  Allow Him to begin a work of restoration and redemption so that you can have the integrity that you need to preserve you and your business.  If you recognise that certain people that you are dealing with lack integrity as God what He would have you do and proceed with caution.  If in doubt stop doing business with them.  

Integrity Will Sustain You
And as for me, You sustain me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever.
- Psalm 41:12

Integrity will also sustain you.  Psalm 41 is a song that King David wrote about how his friends had come against him and how his enemies tried to come against him.  He concludes his song with the fact that even though these people tried to come against him, God sustained him in his integrity.

Nothing has changed since David’s time.  We still have friends that say bad things behind our back and we still have enemies that try to come against us and take us out.  Especially in business.  Competition is fierce and you can’t always tell who your friends are.  But, if we have integrity we need not fear is God will sustain us in our integrity.  You need not give up or let go of your integrity.  As long as you keep your integrity you will be sustained.

If you are doing business with people that lack integrity and fear the loss of income if you stop doing business with them, don’t.  Your integrity will sustain you but if you hold onto them their lack of integrity could stain you. Don’t allow people without integrity to damage your good reputation by association.  

Integrity is Your Children’s Blessing
The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
- Proverbs 20.7

John Maxwell in his book, The Leader Within You, tells the story of the building of the Great Wall of China. “They built it so high that no one could get over it. And they built it so thick that no one could tunnel through it. They built this gigantic wall that still exists today. And then the people of China sat down behind the wall, feeling that their future was secure. But in the first 100 years of the existence of the Wall of China, China was invaded 3 different times. The enemy didn’t come over because it was too high. They didn’t tunnel through because it was too thick. But each time China was invaded, the enemy came through a gate left open for them. Those who guarded the gate had been bribed. And while the people of China sat comfortably behind the security and the safety of the wall, they failed to teach their children integrity. So they sold out to the enemy. And the enemy invaded their land.”

Your children will follow in your footsteps and if you have integrity then they will be blessed.  However, if you lack integrity, who knows what they will inherit?

Find out more about Being a Woman in Business here or host your own Girl's Night.  We also have a monthly business networking event called Women in Business, find our more here
Read more ...

9.2.13

Angry Birds Live - Daniel's 7th Birthday Party

We had such a fun day today celebrating Daniel's 7th birthday. The theme was Angry Birds and I honestly don't know who had more fun - the children or the adults.

The Angry Birds Cake

Speedy - the Yellow Bird
A pig guarding the 7

Daniel had to smash his candle out


Another attempt at smashing the 7


And another smashing attempt
He gave up and blew his candle out

Now it is everyone's turn to smash the cake

Now for a bigger version - Angry Birds LIVE

Throwing the birds at the pigs on the stage

A smashing attempt

Some more smashing

How much fun can running with a pole be?  Loads it seems

A bit more cake smashing and stage birds

All in all we had a funtastic day.  Great news though, if you weren't at Daniel's party don't worry, you can still join us for Angry Birds LIVE on the first Saturday of every month at the Gloucester Guildhall.  Find out more here.


Read more ...

5.2.13

Being a Mother - Who Disciplines

Punishment and discipline are two different things.  Most parents these days are guilty of reactive punishment and few parents understand the concept of Godly discipline.  Reactive punishment breaks children and leaves them feeling bad and at times useless.  Godly discipline builds children leaving them feeling loved and cared for.  Reactive punishment requires no maturity from the parent and anyone can do it but Godly discipline is hard work and requires maturity on the parent’s part.  We might need to use punishment in the discipline process but reactive punishment will only generate unhealthy fear and bitterness.

Punishment is the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offence.  Punishment is what you get when you are guilty and your offence requires punishment.  Punishment can also be used to manipulate and control, especially when punishment is given as an ultimatum.  

Discipline is the practice of training someone to obey rules or a code of behaviour.  Discipline is what you get when somebody wants to invest in you and often happens when you are loved.  Discipline given requires patience and self discipline on the giver’s part.

God is our example in this area.  He disciplines and encourages us to follow His example.  Hebrews 12:5-11 says, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Chasten is a bit of an old fashioned word for discipline.  In the Bible, when it speaks of chastening it is referring to the Greek word ‘paideia’ and means tutorage and disciplinary correction as well as to instruct and nurture.  These verses in Hebrews are rich with pearls of wisdom that we can incorporate into our mothering.  Let’s take a look at some keys:

1.    Do Not Despise the Chastening

If we want our children to take this on board then we need to first learn it ourselves.  Too often we ignore or despise God chastening us.  If we share our experiences with our children then they can watch and learn from our journey.  Allowing your children to see God at work in your life will only help them learn, grow and value discipline.  When God chastens you, share it with your children and show them how much you value that God is taking the time to help you become a better person.  When they see that you do not despise it then perhaps they too will grow up valuing the discipline that you will need to give them from time to time. 

2.    Whom the Lord Loves He Chastens

Love should always the motivation of discipline.  God’s motivation is love and when we discipline our children our motivation should be love too.  It is too easy to lash out in anger but that is never the right way to do things.  Some children do tend to really push your limits but it is essential that we do not discipline from a place of anger.  As parents, we reflect God in many ways to our children, if they see us disciplining in anger they will grow up thinking that God is angry with them too.  Take time to be intentional in loving discipline rather than angry in punishment.

3.    If You Endure Chastening

Taking the time to discipline could mean that you need to give it time.  Each time a child steps out of line you will need to gently nudge them back to where they need to be.  Some children require more forceful discipline while others only need a kind word to get the back on track.  The Bible tells us to endure chastening which suggest that the one giving the discipline needs to be consistent.  Disciplining your children inconsistently will not only frustrate you but it will also frustrate your child.  Make a firm decision about discipline and then enforce it even when it becomes an inconvenience to you.  How can your child learn to endure chastening if there is nothing to endure?   Once again, we are reflecting our father in heaven; our children need to learn from us so that they respond well when they need to receive discipline from God.  There will come a day when you can no longer discipline your child.  This is when they will need to have a healthy response to God’s chastising and we are responsible for preparing them for this.  Disciplining your children not only moulds them while they are young but the way we discipline will set them up for the rest of their life. 

4.    No Chastening Seems To Be Joyful

You cannot make discipline fun!  If you are trying to train your children by making everything fun then you are missing the point of discipline.  It is mean to be painful – no pain, no gain!   It’s not that you are meant to inflict pain because you are angry – that is not very nice.  It is more about the fact that discipline is painful and will require some form of pain.  Either physical pain as the Bible clearly says in Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”  A smack on the bottom with a wooden spoon is a very acceptable form of punishment, in fact it is strong recommended in the Bible as you can see.  At times the pain is more emotional, our children are humbled and ashamed when they are wrong and being exposed is painful to their pride.  My four year old daughter will burst into tears if I just tell her that her action was naughty.  Smacks are seldom necessary for her as she desperately wants to please her parents and not doing so is very painful for her.

5.    Yields The Peaceable Fruit Of Righteousness

Discipline is an investment which yields a return.  Proverbs 19:18 says, “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.”  What this means as that a time will come when it is too late.  You will not have the opportunity to discipline your child forever and so you need to do while you can.  Discipline should start from a very young age and not be left to later when it is too late.  There is a another little gem in that verse too where it says do not set your heart on his destruction.  Don’t be against your child when you discipline but be for them.  Discipline from the positive perspective and not from a negative point of view.  If you keep believing in them and point out who they can become then there will be a harvest of righteousness produced from their lives.

Proverbs 29:15-17 says, “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall. Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.”  If you want a harvest of righteousness for your child and peace yourself, take time to discipline your child.  Teach them the fear of the Lord.  Draw the line consistently, in love but with firmness.
 
Find out more about Being a Mother here or use this material to host your own Girl's Night.
Read more ...

3.2.13

Church Unleashed. Out of the Box. Acts in 2013.

Something extraordinary has happened!  It's too exciting to pin down to one title.  Our church has gone radical.  We have either gone nuts or we really and truly have heard God during our January fast. Things are about to get out of control and it all started today.  Today we stepped out of the box!  Today we are moving into a new, unknown and exciting season.  D7 Church will never be the same again!  Neither will your church if you get involved too. 

Sunday at Home
OK, let me explain.  Today was our last day in our church venue.  From next Sunday D7 Church will be meeting in homes for a meal, time of worship, communion at times and to pray.  It will be casual and there will be no formal structure to each Sunday.  Each person in our church will take a turn to host a Sunday and it is entirely up to them what format the day will take.  If it's an afternoon get together we might even visit another church in the morning, just to say hi to the rest of our family.  

Church Gigs
Then, D7 Reloaded is what are going to do once a month. It will be church as you have never experienced before.  It is church for the unchurched.  We are building an event that will appeal to those that have never been to church, those that have been but never want to come back and those that don't feel that they belong in a church.  We hope to build an event that Jesus would be comfortable attending.  A place where broken people can be whole again, a place where people perceived as rejects of society can feel accepted and place where all can find love - true love - God's love.

We will start off with a band playing secular music to create a gig atmosphere.  It will be fun.  Yes, you may dance, lift your hands in the air and party.  No, God won't mind, He will be smiling over us.  Street dancers will burst onto the stage and who knows what else we will come up with.  Smoke machines are a definite.  Boredom is unlikely.  After our super cool gig we will soften the lights and move into a time of worship.  Don't worry, we will explain to people what we are doing and why we are doing it and yes you can worship freely, we are not going to pretend that we don't love Jesus.

The gospel will be preached.  It will be in a language that the 'lost' understand - English.  We will avoid all Christianese and will keep it relevant.  The Bible will be used and so will Jesus' name - no water will be added, nothing will be diluted.

We will end with a song and sip on quality coffee in the foyer while we chat to our new friends and encourage them to join us next time.  If your church joined us and brought friends, you can invite your friends back to your church the next Sunday.  If our church brought friends we can invite them to join us for lunch on Sunday.  Perhaps we will send one of our visitors to your church if they live up the road from you and perhaps you will send one of your visitors to the church in the next city.  It doesn't actually matter who ends up where but what does matter is that we see their precious faces with us in heaven one day. 

You are Invited
Join us as we unleash our church, take it out of the box and follow in the footsteps of the first church in Acts who had no unmet need and thousands added daily.  It's time.  All churches welcome to join us - get in touch for more info and spread the word about D7 Reloaded with the banner below.


Read more ...

2.2.13

Abundant Life Release & Giveaway

Happy Saturday to all you beautiful King's Daughters.  Today is a very exciting day - it is the day that my new book, Abundant Life, is released!

To celebrate this exciting day, I am giving away a set of study notes.  All you need to do to qualify is share this post on any social network then leave a comment below about where you shared the post and how you plan to use the notes.


Find out more about the book, workbook and study notes hereIt will change your life forever - enjoy :) xxx 
Read more ...

1.2.13

Being a Woman in Ministry - Invitation

Being a woman leader is quite a controversial issue these days. Do women lead? Should women lead? How ‘high up’ are women allowed to go in church leadership? Although the church agreed to ordain women priests in 1994, in November of 2013, the Church of England voted against allowing women becoming bishops. In 2011 the Church’s General Assembly voted in favour of allowing men and lesbians to serve as church ministers in the Church of Scotland. In January 2013, Steve Chalk, a well respected Christian leader, stated openly in an article in Christianity magazine that he now supports monogamous same-sex relationships in churches. Leadership in the 21st century is challenging but no more challenging than in was in any other era.
     Times may have changed and culture may be different in many countries but leadership lessons for all ages, genders and countries can be found in the Bible. Join us as we explore what the Bible has to say about Women in Ministry. Read some pearls of wisdom from women who have been ministering for many years. Join me in discovering how we can be Godly women in ministry as God intended right from the beginning of time. Our aim is not to update the Bible or to adjust our beliefs to suit our times. This study is designed to dig into the Word of God says and to remain true to all He intended when he designed us to be the highly capable, beautiful women that we are.
     Leading is exciting. Being a woman is fun. Join us as we dig for the truth, juggle our roles and find the balance to all we are and all we do.

Find out more about the book - Being a Woman in Ministry or if you are a women in a senior leadership position and would like to meet up, find out more about our monthly meetings here.
Read more ...