Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Opposite of a Calloused Heart

NEW @ ISI:  Opportunity for FREE LUNCH!

1.  Pay and Register yourself - 
2.  Invite 5 friends -
     They must pay and pre-register by the deadline: August 7th
3.  Notify us that your table is registered and who they are. 
We'll refund your $ and YOUR LUNCH IS FREE!
We're finding that women (who may be leery of organized religion) will come to the luncheon.  Impact your corner of the world for Christ by inviting women in your corner to hear practical, life-changing messages.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ISI is Back!

Proverbs 27:17, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Next Friday, August 9th:  Iron Sharpens Iron is BACK!

Stay tuned to the blog this week - for how your lunch can be FREE!

Speaker:  Gwen Brodd


  General Session  Unwrapping the Gift of Sexual Intimacy

Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is a gift from God. So what is your attitude toward sex? Drudgery? Obligation? Enjoyment? Fulfilling? The physical union of a husband and wife is designed by God to meet a God-given desire for companionship, to protect the husband and wife from temptation and for the mutual giving and receiving of great pleasure and joy between husband and wife.In this session the “gift of sexual intimacy will be unwrapped” and you will learn how to enjoy the gift God has given you and your husband.


How can I have Peace… My Closet’s a Mess!

Americans are drowning in a $550 billion dollar credit card debt.

$550 billion can buy a lot of stuff.   Stuff becomes clutter and clutter steals our peace!

Is your home a haven of harmony and peace or one of chaos and clutter?   This workshop will teach your how to get the clutter out of your home and keep it out. You can have an organized home that will being glory to God.

Don't miss it!  REGISTER NOW!

Stay tuned to the blog this week - for how your lunch can be FREE!
General Session - 11:30am – 1:00pm
Pre-registration thru August 7th – $20
After August 7th – $25
Workshop – 1:20-2:10pm
$5 with Lunch
$15 Workshop Only
MacGregor Downs Country Club
430 Saint Andrews Lane
Cary, NC
Open to ALL Women
Iron Sharpens Iron is for Moms and Daughters

For Sisters -

For Friends!





For belly laughs!!!

For tears...



 It's good to be back.

See you August 9th!

In the meantime, if you're new to the blog and you're wondering what Iron Sharpen Iron is,
Click HERE

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

5 Behaviors of a Calloused Heart

Ecclesiastes 8:1
Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance.

It's summertime!   During the summertime, our routines and schedules change.  Sometimes, we're out of town more.  We enjoy more outdoor activity; possibly more social activity than normal.

Before we know it, our time with the Lord (or even going to church) becomes a thing of the past.  We sleep in.  We go to bed late.  Days become weeks.  Weeks become months.  

When this happens, we must be careful. 


Unbeknownst to us, the Bible says our hearts become increasingly calloused.  Calloused meaning, "slow, sluggish, dull of hearing." (Strong's Dictionary)

Listen to Jesus' words in Matthew 13: 14-15
"You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For the people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.

Behaviors of a spiritually dull heart:

1.  We begin leading God - 
Soon, we're following our ideas, thoughts and plans...  Then we ask God to bless them. Never mind that it wasn't God's idea to begin with. Oooh, this is dangerous thing.

Have you ever done this? I have. The consequences have taught me to ask first - then follow.

God will allow us to walk like this for a while. But your God is a jealous God. He adores you and loves you. Often He'll allow things to come into your life to get your attention...

Wake up as I had to! Repent if this you.

2.  Worry begins to penetrate -
What's on your mind?  Worries of life?  Irritations of other people? Perplexing ideas that lead to no answer?  If not we're not careful, worry can monopolize our thinking and behavior.  When things continually do not work out- depression can result.  (Matthew 13:22)

Wake up as I had to! Repent if this you.

3.  Difficulty understanding the message or lesson
When you do go to church or Bible study or have your morning devotions - it'll feel like you're going through the motions.  Nothing is really penetrating.  They just sound like empty words.  

In Jesus' words,  You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  Matthew 13:14

Wake up as I had to! Repent if this you.

4.  Compromise becomes easier and easier.
Bottom line - with each passing sin, our hearts become harder and harder.  Sin becomes easier and easier. 

Red flags to watch for: 
- Lying to your husband when you really don't want him to know what you bought - instead of honoring his wishes.  (After all, we want them to honor us!)
- Patience level becomes shorter and shorter instead of being empowered by self-control.
- Our mouths are filled with complaints instead of gratitude. 
- We have "self" on our minds instead of "others."
- Constant Worry
- Holding grudges against others - 
- We begin justifying how our 'sin' really isn't sin. We'll tell ourselves it's not that big a deal - after all everyone does this...

Wake up as I had to! Repent if this you.

5.  Mediocrity becomes Standard  -
Instead of living lives of excellence - (not perfection) - we become mediocre.  Our standards shift downward.  Often our standards reflect who we are spending time with.

With each passing day, apart from God's Word, we become hardened toward God and the things of God.   Spiritually our hearts become calloused.

Make time with God.  "Wisdom (God is the Source of all wisdom) will brighten your face."   He heals from all the harshness the world throws at us.  And He'll empowers us to resist sin and to live lives of excellence!

Monday, July 22, 2013

When we Refuse to Forgive Ourselves

Romans 8:1
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

I recently met a woman who was in the midst of adopting a baby from Puerto Rico.

When I asked why she chose Puerto Rico... She replied,  "There are too few babies available for adoption in the United States.  They are being aborted."

If you wear the invisible Scarlet letter of abortion, (or any other sin for that matter),  have you genuinely repented and allowed God to restore and redeem your failures?  

Genuine repentance is the first step to bringing complete and total forgiveness.  It all starts with repentance:

1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

Psalm 32:5, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity... and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

Don't hide anything from the Lord. Acknowledge it.  God promises the guilt is removed.  The sin is gone. God is ready to give us a fresh start! 
For many years, I muddled through life wearing my own scarlet letter from my shameful past.  Although God had forgive me, I had not been willing to forgive myself.
The problem with this mentality is pride (source: the enemy).  If Christ is willing to forgive us, who are we to say His sacrifice is not enough?  That our standard is higher? 
This is in essence what we are saying when we refuse to forgive ourselves.
Are you refusing to forgive yourself?  Girlfriend, listen to this truth: when we repent of our scarlet letter but still continue to wear it - it’s the enemy who’s keeping it there, not God.  
God wants to set you free[1]! He promises deliverance from the mess WE GET OURSELVES INTO!  However, we must fully cooperate with Him – on His terms – not ours. 
And when He says, "You are forgiven." You are forgiven. YOU ARE FREE!
Let me say it again,.  Allow it to seep into the deepest part of your being: 
I don’t wear an invisible scarlet letter anymore.  And every time the enemy tries to make me wear it by reminding me of my sin,  I’ve learned to take authority over that lying voice in Jesus’ name.  I tell him that I’m a daughter of the King – healed and restored with a God-ordained purpose.
There’s hope, girlfriend… Take off your scarlet letter and let’s start living afresh!
Exerts taken from Created for Purpose
See the Introduction,
Table of Contents and First Two days HERE

[1] Isaiah 61:1

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Abortion: 5 Tips for the Believer

Ephesians 6:10
Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

As it relates to the issue of abortion, what are we to do? 
Join the protesters? 
Call our government representatives? 

I can't answer those questions.  Only the Holy Spirit of God can direct and guide each of us according to our gifts and the passions He places within us.

However, based on the Bible and Jesus' lifestyle, I firmly believe each of us are to:

1. Resolve to stand firm.

Ground yourself on what God's Word says about this issue.   Refuse to allow yourself to be swayed by public opinion; what your family or friends think - but only on what God's Word says. 
"Put on the full armor of God, so you may be able to stand your ground."  Ephesians 6:13

2.  Resolve to walk in love.

Our mini-sermonettes are not very likely to sway those who believe differently.  (Only the Spirit of God.)  However, our love walk can cause a person to want to know the "reason for our hope." 

I cannot think of a single time that Jesus got irritated with people who thought differently.  (He did, however, get very irritated with the religious people.)    He was full of grace and truth.  He knew when to speak and when not to speak.  And when He did speak, His words were filled with power, causing the listener to want more.

We too can have the same impact.  Spending time with Jesus on a regular basis will give us the discernment of knowing when and when not to speak. 

3.  Remember the bigger picture.

This past weekend, the subject of politics came up at a party I was attending.  Ok, I brought up the subject as sometimes I just can't help myself as I have VERY strong views.  Somehow, the conversation began to "stir."  (You know what I mean?)  With all of my being I wanted to respond.  I wanted to zap.

But I could hear the Holy Spirit in my heart stirring.  I knew I was to keep my mouth shut - but to remember the bigger picture.  "There is a time to be silent and a time to speak." Ecc. 3:7

The bigger picture is not about being "right" on a political issue - even as it relates to abortion.  The bigger picture is someone coming to Christ as Savior.  Or a believer hungering to get into God's Word on a regular basis. 

THEN, the Holy Spirit can speak to that person.  And when HE speaks, a heart and a mind is changed.  Then a family is changed.  Then a generation is changed.

Walk in love.  Be listening for that still small voice.  ALWAYS remember the bigger picture. 

4. Regularly pray - 
  • For the eyes of believers to be opened. 
  • For our government officials who are standing firm.  (Especially men.)
Why do I say men?  Because let's be honest, a group of angry women are like swarming hornets.

Who are your state and national representatives?  Where do they stand on the issue?  Pray for them regularly - especially if they are standing firm.  If they are not, pray God will open their eyes to see TRUTH. 

If you live in North Carolina, these folks are standing firm. Pray for them to continue to strong, bold and courageous. : 

Governor:  Pat McCrory (I also pray for Texas Gov., Rick Perry.  He's been very bold with LOTS of pressure.
Lt. Gov.  Dan Forest
Representative:  Paul Stam, Apex
Representative:  Ruth Samuelson, Charlotte
(Just to name a few. I'm missing many)

5.  Receive Forgiveness

Many of you are living with the Scarlet Letter "A."  (Thank you, by the way for your letters.)  I can't help but notice the theme of some of your letters is an inability to forgive yourself.

We'll pick up here in my next post.

Great resource for receiving help learning "when to speak and when to be silent."
Click HERE

Monday, July 15, 2013

Abortion: What Changes a Mind?

Zechariah 4:6
"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty.'

If you are new to our discussion, I've been writing about one of the most highly charged issues in our nation today:

These posts became discussion Friday night amongst a group of friends.  One gal in particular said something very profound.  It's worth sharing...

"No amount of legislation; No amount of protesting -  Can change a person's mind on this issue. ONLY the Word of God can change a heart and than a mind."

That is certainly my testimony concerning abortion - I saw for myself what God had to say about the issue - only then was my mind changed.  (And I had been a believer for many years.)

I'd like to share something a reader sent last Friday.  Her rising 12th grader served as a Page in the Governor's office.  Her daughter attends a private Christian school.  Although a Christian school is not a shelter from all that is worldly - its curriculum is a moral shelter.  So in essence, she was thrown into the reality of the culture in which we live.

I'll let her describe all her daughter heard and saw...

For the last two days, my daughter has sat in on sessions where the bill updating abortion safety was read and discussed.  She was thrown into the "deep end" of politics and culture as she described the scene:
  • There were women from Planned Parenthood protesting.  
  • Opposite were a group of men and women who supported the bill but were respectful and soft-spoken. 
  • And then there were those who boldly stated they were so against abortion that they felt physically ill just hearing the bill read aloud.  
My 17 year old daughter cried last night as she described to me the language of "guidelines to properly dispose the unborn child" after "the pregnant mother" had an abortion.

The issue isn't only big in North Carolina, but in Texas as well.  Last week, legislation has been passed outlawing abortion after 20 weeks.  By the way the paper reads, you would think Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, and the legislature are the devil incarnate.

Below is a 20 week fetus.  How do you properly dispose?  Do you just put it out in the dumpster?

May the Word of God impact your thinking regarding this issue - as it has impacted mine.

Leviticus 17:11, For the life of a creature is in the blood...
Proverbs 6:16, There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood...
Psalm 107:38, They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters...
2 Kings 21:16, Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end - besides the sin that he caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is Abortion Wrong? Part 2

Leviticus 17:11
For the life of a creature is in the blood...

So is abortion wrong? Is it a political issue? Or is it a moral issue?

The God of the Universe; the Whom we must one day give an account says, "Life is found in the blood."  And facts reveal, the heart begins pumping at Week 3. 
Second Month of Pregnancy
 Years ago, God used grabbed my attention on this issue with Proverbs 6:16. (For brevity, I'll abbreviate.)

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood...

Innocent blood can have many definitions.  However, how can abortion not be defined as the shedding of innocent blood?

If you've been following my blog for any length of time - you know I love the Chronological Bible.  I've been using it as my devotional for 2 years now. 

Recently, the term "innocent blood" kept coming up again and again and again in my reading.  And suddenly, the state in which I live, North Carolina, the issue is BIG in the news.

"They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters..."
Psalm 107:38
"Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end - besides the sin that he caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord."
2 Kings 21:16
There are many verses that reference God's anger because of idol worship and the shedding of innocent blood in the Old Testament.  Due to these reasons, He eventually allowed His people to be carried into captivity by another nation. 

Captivity for God's people was not sudden.  It happened gradually over a period of years. (609-586 BC)

I wonder if this is the path we, the United States are on?  I wonder about China... as we are in much debt to them?  (Especially with the news this week that China is buying one of our largest pork producing business', Smithfields.)

Today, this post is for YOU - the believer, those who belong to Jesus.  I plead with you, do not be deceived by public opinion or how you feel or how you want things to be...

There is a God in heaven.  Abortion is the shedding of innocent blood.  Even though it's a political issue in our country (in fact, a sacred cow).  In actuality, it's a God issue. 

And the God of the Universe says "it's wrong."  

How do you stand on this issue?  How do you stand now that you've read these posts?

Next Posts: 
"What do I Now?"
"What do I do if I'm the one who shed the innocent blood?"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is Abortion Wrong? Part 1

2 Corinthians 11:3
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Is abortion wrong?  After all, it's just a chunk of cells and if you have the procedure early on - it's not actually an abortion - but a medical procedure.  Problem solved!

For many years, these were lies I believed.

Now keep in mind - I was a believer.   In church each week.   Served in the church and in Bible Study.   Abortion was a political issue.  It was about a woman's right to choose for herself.  In my mind there was NO connection to God or the Bible

Today and tomorrow, I'll share how God shattered those lies.  After tomorrow, I pray you'll see - it's not a political issue in eyes of God.

Lie #1:  A woman should be able to choose for herself. 

After all, a woman should be able to dictate what happens with her body. 

God's Word says: "You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body."  1 Corinthians 6:20

Lie #2:  It's just a cluster of cells in the early stages.  
Second Month of Pregnancy

Well, the "it," as commonly referred, is a baby from early on.  I've had 2 children. I learned about my pregnancies during week 7 and 8.   Look at what's happening in the womb from Week 7-10 of Gestation:

  • Your baby becomes more baby-ish, losing her embryonic “tail”
  • Your baby's eyes are facing forward
  • Your baby has little arms, legs, hands and feet
  • Your baby is developing neurons she'll use her entire life
  • Your baby makes her first movements
  • Your baby will grow to about 2 inches long*

  • *Information found from a secular source

    God says:  "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."  Jeremiah 1:5

    It's a BABY - not an "it."

    Lie #3: Abortion is not really a big deal if performed early.

    I used to think, 'If it's done early in pregnancy, then it really doesn't count as a technical abortion.  It's just a medical procedure at that point.   After all, it's just a big cluster of cells...   Right?'

    God says:  "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."
    My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."  Psalm 139:13

    God knew us, saw us, and began knitting us together from the moment of conception.  From the time the sperm penetrates the egg cell, a new human organism comes into existence.  This is a scientific fact - not just a religious claim.  The heart begins to beat at 21 or 22 days.

    We should be careful before forming opinions based on what we think or how we feel or the opinion of others.    If we call ourselves believers in Jesus Christ, our beliefs and convictions should be based upon what God's Word says.  

    After all, everyone of us will stand before Him one day.  "So the, each of us will give an account of Himself to God."  Romans 14:12

    Part 2 tomorrow.

    Monday, July 8, 2013

    5 Tips in Dealing with Men

    Matthew 5:37
    "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No.'
    If you are visiting from Proverbs 31 Speaker, Lynn Cowell's blog -
    WELCOME!   I'm so glad you're here! 
    What an honor to join hands with Proverbs 31. 

    Lynn is giving away a copy of Intimacy with God, Establishing a Vibrant Quiet Time and Prayer Time.  Check her BLOG before Tuesday night in order to enter and win.
    Today, I'm discussing the differences between men and women - and there are lots of differences.

    For the last few weeks I've been working primarily with men in the planning and execution of our Annual Golf tournament.  (And thank you Jesus, it was a successful tournament.)

    In dealing with men, I've learned something very important:  Men are vastly different from women.  (As if you didn't already know!) 

    Please know that today's post does not mean ALL men. However, from my experience in dealing with women and then transitioning to men - you'll find these tips worth reading.  Hopefully this will help in whatever corner of the world you may live.

    1.  Men do not communicate with emotion.
    Ephesians 5:33, "Each one of you also must love his wife... and the wife must respect her husband."

    Men rarely use exclamation marks, smiley faces, or half smiley faces.  Some of the emails I received came across brash and to the point.

    On the flip, when dealing with women, smiley faces are how we communicate... along with lots of other emotion in our emails.  But men desire respect.  My husband once told me, "It's not manly to put a smiley face at the end of my emails." 

    I agree. 

    So know in advance, if you desire to have a man's respect, I would encourage you NOT to communicate with alot of emotion.  (If any)  But get straight to the point.

    2.  Men are bottom-liners. 
    Ecclesiastes 5:3, "... so let your words be few."

    My mentor once told me, "Tara, your husband is not your girlfriend.  Tell him what you want and get to the point.  Share the fun details with your girlfriends."

    Same is true in business with men.

    Drop the pleasantries and get to the point when dealing with men.  Men get overwhelmed when you give them T.M.I. (too much information) and may only scan or possibly delete the email all together.

    3.  Men honor their commitment.
    Matthew 5:37, "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No.'

    This is not to say that women do not honor their commitments, many women do.  But let me use our Iron Sharpens Iron luncheon as a comparison. 

    Most every month, we have no less than 10 who commit to coming... and then they never show.  (Hence, why we reward paying in advance.  Otherwise we have to pay once we RSVP for them.)  However,  I understand.  Life happens.

    So to my surprise, every man who committed to being a Team Captain - kept his commitment.  AND every man who committed to playing - on a Monday (not a very good day for a business person) - to support a women's ministry - came!  Every one of them.

    At the last minute, 3 men could not come - but found someone to come in their place.  I WAS VERY IMPRESSED.

    This is not a slam against women, I'm simply encouraging you: When working with men, let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'no', 'no.'  It helps drive respect.  They do not do wishy-washyness at all.

    4.  Men are not last minute.

    As a whole, I found that men respond quicker than women. 

    From my first email blast, 6 weeks prior to the event, 90% responded

    With our luncheon, we send out an invitation 10 days in advance.  Generally, 10% respond to this first email.  The Tuesday and Wednesday emails that we send prior to the Friday luncheon, is when we receive 90% response.  (As a planner, this does tend to freak me out.  But for the last 2 years, God has been faithful.  And our luncheon is growing.  But the trend I've experienced is this: women (as a whole) are more last minute.  Men are planners. 

    Keep this in mind.  They will get very frustrated with you if you expect them to operate last minute.  Give them advance notice.

    5.  Men do not want multiple email reminders. 
    Judges 16:16, "With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death."

    I asked my husband to send another email to a specific group of men. There were several men I thought would play, but had not responded.   "Perhaps they just need a little nudge, I told him.   "This is what works for our luncheons."

    He quickly responded, "No. If a man can do it, he'll respond to the first email.   I'm not going to nag them."


    Unless it's new information, men DO NOT  want or need multiple reminders.  It comes across as nagging.  Be careful!

    Clearly - there are many other differences in dealing with men.  These are the 5 biggies that I encountered.  God made both sexes unique -

    Share differences you've experienced...

    Have a great day:)