Coffee Break Bible Study: Romans 8-12 #bgbg2

Coffee Break Bible Studies are provided to help busy people pause for time in God’s Word. I provide links to the Scriptures available on Bible Gateway. I hope this makes it even more convenient for you.

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 8″].

Write out verse 1. What does this mean to you?

Verse 15 confirms our status with God. What is it?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 9″].

According to verse 16, on what does salvation depend?

Who is verse 33 referring to?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 10″].

In verses 14-15 we see someone praised. Who is it?

How can you share good news with someone today?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 11″].

What does this chapter teach you about being part of God’s family?

At the end of the chapter, how is God glorified and praised?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 12″].

What does it mean to offer yourself as a “living sacrifice?”
What principles from this chapter can you apply to your workplace today?

 

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Results of the Reader Survey

Several weeks ago, I provided a reader survey and I thought it might be interesting for you to know the results. The video goes into more detail and is less than eight minutes long, but if you are like me, you sometimes just want a summary. So I’m providing both a video and a post for you.

First of all, thank you to those who took the time to complete the survey and for the uplifting comments several of you shared. I’m glad this blog and my resources are an encouragement to you!

There were ten questions on the survey so I’ll break it down question by question (percentages are rounded).

1. An overwhelming 95% receive my posts through email.

2. Everyone who responded felt that my products and services offered were clear.

3. About half of the respondents confirmed that they receive both the weekly blog posts and the monthly “5 on the 15th” newsletter. About one-third wouldn’t mind receiving additional items, and about 30% would like further choice in deciding which blog posts to receive.

4. For about 85% of the respondents, it doesn’t really matter whether they would have to “click more” to read the rest of the article.

5. Respondents seem fairly united in the perception that my main readership is female, over 40, and works at least part-time outside the home, with faith being an important part of their lives.

6. Question six dealt with details that would show me the actual demographic of my readers. There were several definitions respondents could choose, so I’ll share the top three. Readers are 40+, female, and their values are very important to them.  Additionally, over 70% like to share good content with others.

7. This question revealed the importance of the Coffee Break Bible Studies. About 77% feel these are either the main reason for subscribing or would miss them if they were not included.

8. I love the responses to readers summing up my blog. Here are three, among several others, that were encouraging:

  •  A Jesus break for the busy
  • A blog designed to empower others to excel in their faith, ministry, family and career
  • Helping people (mostly women, I think) to develop both professionally and spiritually according to Christian values.

9. The primary reasons readers want to stay in touch are that they have read one or more of my books (around half), they used to be part of my former membership site, or they have used a product or service in the past. Additionally, about one-quarter  were introduced to me by a friend.

10. The last question gave opportunity to share a personal message and I thank you for the encouragement.

What I learned from the survey:

  •  I share in more detail in the video, but here are some main conclusions and assumptions based on the data and my experience blogging. Some of these may surprise you.
  •  I rarely hear directly from readers, and my web visits and email list numbers remain pretty static.
  • My readers appreciate the faith-flavored but practical posts
  • My audience is primarily women over 40 who are working outside the home and whose faith/values are important to them.
  • Readers enjoy also reading my book(s). I continue to publish books, and greatly appreciate your support and loyalty.

 

What you should know:

I make part of my living through blogging, speaking, book sales and virtual assistance/consulting. Since I have several interests, you may assume my calendar is extremely full, however I will admit to you that I could use more business.

Here are seven ways you can benefit from my services and also say thank you if you enjoy the ongoing support and encouragement:

  1. Purchase my books and encourage others to do so.
  2. Book me for a speaking engagement.
  3. Recommend me as a virtual assistant or consultant for organizations that may need extra help. Much can be done online now.
  4. Visit my new store at this link.
  5. Share my posts with others.
  6. When shopping at Amazon, always go through my site first (use the Amazon search box.) I receive a portion of anything you buy while the price doesn’t change for you!
  7. Give me a tip. At the bottom of this and future blog posts there will be a button that makes it easy for you to do so. For example (this one works):

One last point…I remain active on social media and would be happy to connect with you. Here’s the current strategy I generally follow:

 

Instagram: general life photos, and an occasional visual productivity tip/thought

Facebook: posting about life, thought provoking questions, observations, fun stuff, etc.

Twitter: near daily tips (these also go to my Facebook business page)

Pinterest: items from blog posts, and thoughts and quotes from my books

Linked In: business related tip/information/thought, usually once per weekday

Google+: inspiration, thoughts and questions about the intersection of  life, work and faith, posted at least once a week and randomly more often as I feel like it.

so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:17 NIV
 [biblegateway passage=”2 Timothy 3:17″] #bgbg2

Thanks again for your participation and I invite you to watch the video if you are interested in more details!

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Romans 3-7 #bgbg2

Coffee Break Bible studies are provided to give people with a full schedule an opportunity to pause with God’s word. Being in God’s word regularly helps you solidify your principles and values and apply them to your life and work. I hope these are a blessing to you!

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 3″ display=”Romans 3″].

What does verse 10 reveal about human nature?

What hope is revealed in verses 23-24?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 4″].

How was Abraham justified?

What does verse 16 mean to you?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 5″].

Write out and savor verses 1-2.

What does it mean to rejoice in our sufferings?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 6″].

Should we go on sinning, knowing God will forgive us?

Who or what are we slaves to now?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 7″].

What is the role of law?

What struggles does Paul reveal toward the end of the chapter?

 

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Questions a Visit to Cabela’s Brought to Mind

Cabela’s recently opened in our neck of the woods (pun intended) so one Saturday morning I went with my outdoorsy husband and father-in-law to check it out and purchase a needed item.

I’ll have to say I was very impressed.

Cabela’s is a cool store to visit and provides a certain kind of feel that could be described a bit like Americana. We arrived just a few minutes before opening, and there was a line wrapping around the fence. But this wasn’t a line of impatient people. They were happy, kind, in good moods, not invading personal space, and didn’t run each other over when the doors opened.

Even within the store where certain things were popular, people weren’t rude getting what they came for. Lots of employees were there to help and they had clearly marked areas in place to handle the possibility of lines getting long. People were waiting patiently to see the guest actor who was there, I assume, to generate buzz. They were not pushing and shoving–just waiting with seemingly no stress.

I observed a kid with a face of joy as he stood by a fake campfire. Other children were having a ball with the “pop” sound of a toy gun. A lady relaxed in the comfy chairs by the fireplace, using her computer. I assumed she was waiting on others shopping. She appeared to be in no rush for them to get done.

Visiting the store was more than an errand. It is an experience, created by the beautifully decorated environment, the special treats like fudge (which I was there too early to enjoy–next time!) and the availability of clothing and equipment that calls out to the organic and long-time, passed down pastimes of many Americans such as hunting, fishing, and camping.

My guess is that people who enjoy stores like Cabelas are the kinds of people who can spend hours in a tree stand, on a boat with a fishing pole, or by a fire with a cup of coffee or some s’mores. They’ve learned that rushing is not all it’s cracked up to be, and there’s not need to do so when you are shopping, either.

Quite refreshing, actually.

So now to ask myself…

1) How am I creating a refreshing environment for the people I interact with?

2) Do people feel hurried or rushed when they are around me?

3) Do people feel they are the center of my attention during the moments I am spending with them?

4) What can I learn if I slow down and enjoy God’s creation more often?

5) Am I serving others with the same type of attention I want to receive as a customer?

He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3
[biblegateway passage=”Psalm 23″]

How about you?

[Tweet “How am I creating a refreshing environment for the people I interact with?”]

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Acts 26-28; Romans 1-2 #bgbg2

Coffee Break Bible studies are provided to help you pause with God’s Word in the midst of your busy days. Starting with this CBBS, I’ll be linking the chapter with Bible Gateway so you can read the passage directly from the screen if you like. (If you receive these by email, you’ll need to return to the site itself.)

Read [biblegateway passage=”Acts 26″].

How did Paul handle his conversation with King Agrippa?

Do you think Paul went too far in appealing to Caesar?

 

Read  [biblegateway passage=”Acts 27″].

What scary event happens in this chapter?

What was the outcome of the storm? (v. 44) How can you trust God through the scary things in life?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Acts 28″].

How did the inhabitants of the island welcome the shipwrecked crew?

How can you create a welcome environment at your workplace?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 1″].

Who is the author of Romans and what do you know about him so far?

Write out verse 16. Is there anyone you hesitate to share the Gospel with?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Romans 2″].

What is an important lesson to each of us from verse 1?

What do we learn about heart attitudes in verses 17-29?

 

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Make-Ahead Seven Layer Smoothies

One of the key lifestyle changes I have made that is helping me stick with a “less processed” eating plan is the regular use of smoothies as an “initial breakfast” in the morning. A smoothie is now a go-to breakfast for me about six days a week (Sundays through Fridays. On Saturday I tend to have a “regular” breakfast.) It’s especially easy to stick with this habit when the smoothie is already made and good-to-go in the refrigerator, and I thought it might help you to learn a way to build a super healthy breakfast that you can grab and down pretty quickly!

There are so many smoothie recipes out there, that it can be overwhelming to select and keep track of recipes to use, and make sure I have all the needed ingredients.  So I’ve found that rather than try a bunch of different recipes, it’s easier for me to make three smoothies at a time, using the “Seven Layer” method.

I fill my blender with seven layers of healthy ingredients, blend, and save in pint size jars in the fridge. (I have a special cap that I can put on when I take the jar out in the morning. It has an opening for a straw.) This means I must make smoothies about two times a week. I may do this in the morning, drinking one right away and saving the other two, or in an evening, getting them ready for the next three mornings.

Here are the seven layers that guide me in the process, and at least three suggested ingredients for each. I use what I have on hand, so the smoothies can taste different each time. I haven’t found that to be a problem.

Layer 1: Fruit

I include fresh and frozen fruit, and often use berries because they are so full of goodness. I grab a handful or two of frozen fruit (a full cup for those who like measurements) and throw that in first. This allows the hardest items to be closest to the blade, and begin to defrost as you gather the other items. I top this off with a piece of fresh fruit like a banana, an apple, or an orange…whatever may be on hand.

Suggestions: berries, banana, apple, dates or figs (for sweetness—use sparingly), pineapple, mangos

Layer 2:  Vegetables

I’m trying to incorporate two vegetables, one of which is always some sort of greens. I grab a handful of whatever greens I have available, which can include spinach, mixed greens, and/or kale. Then I may add another vegetable such as cut herbs from my herb garden, or even tomatoes or leftover vegetables such as squash. (You can add just about any vegetable you want, just be aware that some have stronger tastes like kale, broccoli, or onion.)

Suggestions: mixed greens, spinach, shredded carrot, sliced or chopped tomatoes, herbs, avocado, leftover cooked squash or sweet potato or exotic veggies like kombu or seaweed, if you are brave!

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

[biblegateway passage=”Genesis 1:29″]

 

Layer 3: Supplement Powders

I add a scoop of a protein powder and three-day’s worth of scoops of my chosen vitamin powder as well as a fiber powder. Sometimes I’ll add some sort of powdered greens.

Suggestions: protein powder, vitamin powder, spirulina, nutritional yeast, powdered greens

Layer 4: seeds, grains, nuts

I throw in a combination of items like these to pack in some more nutrition.

Suggestions: hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, pre-cooked grains like quinoa (small amount), mixed nuts.

Layer 5-Seasoning/Sweeteners

These add a bit of flavor and sometimes, an extra nutritional punch.

Suggestions: dash of cinnamon or ginger, a dollop of local honey, a squirt of agave or some cacao nibs or cacao powder, shaved coconut

Layer 6- Thickener

To give the smoothie some substance, I add ingredients that would thicken it.

Suggestions: almond, sun or natural peanut butter, tahini, Greek yogurt, a spoonful of coconut oil

Layer 7 – Liquid

This is critical and I tend to add it as the last ingredient because it will help all the other items blend. I add enough so that when my ingredients are blended, the blender will be full to within one inch of the top.  This fills three approximately pint-sized jars. There are several liquids you can use. I almost always use some sort of milk along with either plain or coconut water. I like to add some kefir also, for extra probiotic benefit.

Suggestions: almond, coconut, soy, or from-the-farm cow’s milk; coconut or plain water, unsweetened juice (watch sugar contents of juices), kefir, crushed ice. (Crushed ice is nice if you are going to be drinking one of the smoothies right away.)

There’s nearly an endless variety of healthy ingredients you can add to a smoothie. By following guidelines such as “Seven Layers” instead of specific recipes, I still get a tasty treat packed with lots of healthy ingredients to start my day, plus I use up leftovers.

 

Note: some tastes are acquired, particularly if you are trying to eat more “whole” foods. If you are just starting out with smoothies, start with basic ingredients that don’t have as strong of a taste, then slowly try some of other fruits/vegetables that you may not be sure you’d like at first. For example, try the following substitutions when first starting out. Don’t get discouraged by trying to force yourself to drink something you don’t enjoy!

 

Instead of kale, use spinach.

Instead of avocado, use sweet potato.

Instead of sugar, add some local honey.

Use chocolate flavored protein powders or cacao nibs to help cover the flavor of stronger veggies.

Instead of tart berries, use strawberries, banana or apple as your main fruit.

As always, you are responsible for your food intake. Check with your doctor or a trained nutritionist if you are going to try something you aren’t sure about. Pay attention to any reactions and stay away from anything you might even think could cause a reaction should you have sensitivities (i.e. nuts.) Better to be safe!

[Tweet “Forget the recipes. Try a 7-Layer Smoothie with Ingredients You Have on Hand”]

Question: What types of ingredients do you like to add to smoothies?

 

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Acts 21-25 #bgbg2

Coffee Break Bible studies are provided to give people with a full schedule an opportunity to pause with God’s word. Being in God’s word regularly helps you solidify your principles and values and apply them to your life and work. I hope these are a blessing to you!

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Acts 21″].

Why do you think the Spirit may have kept Paul from going to Jerusalem?

Think of a time where you felt led to stay away from something. Thank God for His leadership and guidance.

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Acts 22″].

What blesses you from Paul’s testimony?

How can your testimony bless others?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Acts 23″].

What commandment does Paul remember in verse 5?

How did the Lord encourage Paul in verse 11?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Acts 24″].

How did Paul answer his accusers?

How did Felix respond to Paul?

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”Acts 25″].

Why do you think Paul appealed to Ceasar? Do you think that was wise?

What does verse 27 indicate about fairness in enforcing the law?

 

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21 Comments Nice Folks Would Like to Make on Social Media…But Don’t (Well, Not Often)

Just a reminder…if you haven’t taken the reader survey yet, it will be removed soon. Please visit this link to participate.

 

One of my favorite Instagram accounts is Satiregram. Whoever is behind it does a great job simply describing cliche photos that often appear. For example, around Thanksgiving, he/she will write on a plain piece of brown paper: “Photo of a turkey.” It brings a chuckle because whoever it is points out (albeit anonymously) the types of things that many of us get peeved at when it comes to social media.

I’ve been tempted to start an anonymous account where I could put comments I feel like saying sometimes, but don’t because I try to be a nice, relatively agreeable person. However for fun (because “laugh” is one of HOPE’s core values) here are some comments I think some folks would like to make on social media sometimes, but tend to refrain from writing. This reveals the very human side of us, but I figured it’s not a bad idea to be honest with ourselves.

Disclaimer: I have lots of connections on social media and thus have seen it used in many ways over the years. The following comments in no way imply that the people on social media aren’t wonderful, worthwhile to know people. As a matter of fact, I’m guilty of posting things that would prompt some of these comments myself! So let’s all enjoy this in the SPIRIT OF FUN, and if you feel pricked that maybe you should adjust some of what you share, then fine. I’m also not implying that if you actually do respond like this occasionally, that you aren’t a nice person overall.  I have no intention of starting a debate or have bad feelings with any of you! And you can feel free to disagree in the comments.

Most of these could use the invisible “sarcasm font”:

Yes, you have (delightful, gorgeous, smart, etc) children. So do 1 million other parents.

Wow…your child did (a typical thing many children do)…I’ve never seen that before!

You’re going on another cruise/trip to Disney World/visit to the beach house. How nice.

Are you sure that story is true? (for the news items that aren’t really accurate news items)

Did you realize this came from a satire site?

You spent 30 seconds with a famous person. Aren’t you special?!  (Guilty!)

You eat dinner with your friends…how unique!

That saying sounds good, but is it really? (for all the “meaningful” quotes that go around, some of which aren’t actually very wise or biblical.)

Yes. You look good. You’re gorgeous. Always. Every day. Okay?

Shall I call the waaah-bu-lance for you?

Get over it/yourself, (whichever applies.)

Oh, you have something to sell? No kidding. I wouldn’t have known.

No, not everybody “knows/believes/would do/wouldn’t do” that.

Not everyone thinks pets are worthy of worship.

Oh, you’re out of the country and your home is empty? Or you are on your trip and your wife and kids are home alone? Good idea to share that.

Do the parents of those children know you are sharing photos of their kids?

That picture of (feet/heart hands/insert other cliche shot here) is the most unique shot I’ve ever seen. Very creative.

Your kid disappointed you? I’m sure knowing you shared this on social media will strengthen your relationship with him/her.

That food looks delicious, but does that cooperate with your stated fitness goals?

So do you really mean that in all of your life, this was the best. day. ever?

I bet the owner of that car appreciates that you’ve shared their license plate number publicly.

Sometimes, it’s not the status updates or photos themselves you want to comment on, it’s the comments from others that cause you to roll your eyes. Here are a few more examples, all based on comments I have seen people make.

No, you don’t really wish to “have their life.” They have problems too.

No, she is not perfect (or, no, that _______ is not “perfection.”)

Yes, her kids are cute/precious/smart but this not an uncommon thing with kids. Stop making it sound like it’s so unusual.

No, they are not the best family/parents you have ever seen. They are good. But they are human.

If you “wish you could be her/him/them” go make some changes to your own life!

Anything tagged:  “That _____ though!”

Are you laughing yet? Are you saying (like me, for some of these) GUILTY!?

On a serious note, many of these posts and comments, including the original ones and the responses, display a spirit of discontentment (yes, even the satirical responses.) Social media is a great environment for many things, but can also be a dangerous one for developing attitudes of anger and dissatisfaction. If you’ve shared posts like the above (I have) or wished to make comments like the above (I have) use it as an opportunity to examine your own heart and ask yourself some questions.

But godliness with contentment is great gain… 1 Timothy 6:6 ESV

Question: are there social media comments and statuses that drive you crazy? Share in the comments/via reply email/on social media (just be reasonably nice!)

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Acts 16-20

I provide Coffee Break Bible studies to help you take a pause with God’s Word in your busy day. Let me know if these are a blessing to you!

 

Read Acts 16.

Who are we introduced to in this chapter?

What was the vision Paul had, and what action was taken in response?

 

Read Acts 17.

What was Paul’s customary approach to sharing the Gospel?

What city’s people were responsive to the message?

 

Read Acts 18.

Paul makes a connection with another couple here. How does he do so? Who is a couple in your life that plays an important role in your walk with Christ?

 

How does God reassure Paul in verese 9-10? How can He reassure you today?

 

Read Acts 19.

Why is the gift of the Holy Spirit important?

What were some tangible responses people made when turning to Christ?

 

Read Acts 20.

What does verse 21 indicate about how Paul made decisions?

Why were the town folk concerned about Paul? Do you face persecution because of your stand for the Lord?

 

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