Archive for January, 2013

Plan and Trust God

Dear Friends,
One of the things I’m working on this year is to identify the areas where God wants me to focus my energy, time, talent, and treasure. I want to help and fulfill the calling of God in my life but sometimes there is so much to do, so much need wherever we go, that it is difficult to focus on one or two key areas. I have spent a lot of time in prayer seeking God to help me choose. There will be doors of opportunity that open up but it’s not the right time to go through them. They are not wrong, but the timing is simply not right yet. There will be other doors that will open that are not right for us to go through. Yet there are other doors that will open up that are both right for us and it is the right time for us to pursue. Having the discernment to choose is crucial to doing the will of God in our lives. Having peace in our hearts is one of the key indicators to choose the right path.

In the meantime, however, we should continue to plan and go with our hearts then we let God take control of our plans. I always plan and ask God to change things according to what He wants for me and for the work of His Kingdom. Today I want to share this devotional with you about planning your future from my book, Devotions for Working Women. We should not be afraid of planning but we should always be willing to make changes and go with God’s flow. We need to be at His disposal and do His work even when we feel we may be out of our element or feel inadequate. Enjoy!

Don’t Be Afraid to Plan
# 343
Proverbs 3:21-22 (NLT)

My child, don’t lose sight of good planning and insight. Hang on to them, for they fill you with life and bring you honor and respect.

Many Christians nowadays don’t plan for the future, thinking Jesus is coming soon. They view planning and preparing as lack of faith. But that mind-set is not wise. We are to live our lives as if Jesus is coming today, spiritually speaking. Until He comes, we are to occupy, multiply, have dominium of, and steward God’s creation. The Bible says to not lose sight of good planning and insight, for they will fill us with life. When we don’t plan, we are choosing to let things happen in our lives and lose control. We are to plan good plans with God’s wisdom and guidance. Lack of planning brings uncertainty and fear. Planning brings peace, certainty, security, honor, and respect.
If you are a planner, those who watch you will see you as a wise person. Then you’ll have an opportunity to share your wisdom and where it comes from. Proverbs 2:11 (NLT) says, “Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.” “You can lie down without fear and enjoy pleasant dreams” (Proverbs 3:24 NLT).

By planning all aspects of your life, you take control of your life and responsibility for your actions. But it also means you choose to give that control to God and let Him guide you. With God as part of your planning, you can’t go wrong because you have God’s will for you as your plan. And even though the enemy may try to change and confuse those plans, the Lord will give you wisdom “and you will know how to find the right course of action every time” (Proverbs 2:9 NLT).
Don’t be afraid to plan. Ask God for the wisdom to help you. Plan your life with the main purpose of bringing glory to Him.

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Dear Friends,
This week I would like to encourage you to pray—and continue to pray—consistently for your unsaved friends and family members. I truly believe God does hear our prayers—especially about those we want to add to His Kingdom. Jesus already did all the work that needs to be done. Now the person has to make the decision and choose Christ in order to be saved. Our prayers simply help that person make that decision. Our prayers allow their hearts to be softened. Our prayers also soften our own hearts toward those people we love so we don’t get inpatient with them while we wait for them to make their eternal decision. We know the answer. We have the answer… but each person has to see it for themselves and then choose it. The devotional I chose for today from my book Devotions for Working Women explains it well.

Jesus Did It All
Isaiah 53:3 (NLT)

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care.

Do you know the man the prophet Isaiah is talking about? His name is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Since we humans messed up and gave Satan control over this earth, God came up with a plan to bring us back to Him. It is the plan of salvation God gave to Jesus to fulfill when He was on this earth. It is a simple plan that humans complicated. God sent His only begotten Son to save us and for all who believe to have everlasting life. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we accept salvation. We restore our fellowship with God the Father.

The following verses complete the story. “Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we may have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they lead him away to his death…But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief… He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins” (vv. 4-11). If you haven’t given your life to Jesus yet, it is never too late. Today is your day!

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Give Freely

Dear Friends,
It is easy each year as we get raises at work through our jobs to continue to increase our lifestyles to accommodate the new income. However, there should be a point in our lives where the income is enough and we can choose to not spend more but to give more. There is joy in the act of giving and we should all practice doing it more. Sometimes giving of ourselves such as our talent, our time, and our love, has more value than simply giving money. We should practice that kind of giving as well at home, at work, and in the community we live in. Today I want to encourage you to give freely of the gifts that God has given you. Even though when we give to others they are blessed by the gift, there is a special blessing God gives the giver that you can only experience it by doing it. Enjoy today’s devotional from my book Devotions for Working Women.

Give Freely and God Will Bless You
Deuteronomy 15:10 (NLT)

Give freely without begrudging it, and the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

As Christian women in the workplace, we must set an example of a giving people. In this verse, God is instructing the Israelites to give to their own people in need and to people from other nations as well. If someone needed something, they were to give gladly and not with a bad attitude. Verse 8 tells us to “Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.”

The Bible says there will always be people in need around us. When God blesses us with resources, we are to share them with others. In the workplace, we have the opportunity to share our resources of time, knowledge, and experience with other people. We must not become so busy with our own work that we miss those opportunities. If we help others, God will bless us in everything we do. That is a great promise and incentive for all of us to help each other.

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Dear Friends,
Today I want to follow up with my previous blog where I shared about my trip with Opportunity International (OI) to Nicaragua in December, 2012. I went with two co-workers from the bank and five other people. The purpose of the trip was to learn about the micro lending and economic development program that OI has in Nicaragua. Today I want to share with you the pictures that captured our journey through the inner cities and rural areas of Managua, Granada, and Masaya in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country (after Haiti) in the American Continent. About 85% of the clients that OI works with are women and, a great majority, are single mothers. Below are two links. The first one is a link to the journal that tells the story of our trip in detail – every visit we made and the personal story of each farmer, business entrepreneur, and communities. We visited 17 places in three days so we had the opportunity to see how the program works and how it is impacting the poor in Nicaragua to bring them to self-sustainability and now improving their communities. The second link is to a slide presentation with captions so you know what pictures go with the visits we made.

Please join me in this journey to help the poor in Nicaragua. Opportunity International is a Christian organization that not only helps the poor be self-sustainable but also brings the Gospel to the people plus teaches them agricultural and business techniques to their clients. It is the whole package and we are seeing results. You can visit Opportunity International’s website also at http://www.opportunity.org

Until next time. Enjoy!

To view slide show click here: http://www.marciamalzahn.com/images/TCB_Opportunity_International_Nicaragua_Trip_Dec_2012.pdf

To view journal click here: http://www.marciamalzahn.com/images/Opportunity_International_Trip_to_Nicaragua_12-12_Journal.pdf

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