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Summer has finally arrived! For those of us who live in Minnesota we thought it was never going to come… But the seasons eventually do arrive, and we need to be prepared to embrace the new seasons and enjoy them to the max. Summer is typically the season when most families take vacation, mainly because it’s the time when the kids are out of school.

This summer I encourage you to spend time with your family. It doesn’t have to be a big expense. Sometimes the best memories are made very inexpensively, such as a picnic at the lake, going biking, visiting pools around the city, taking long walks, or simply visiting with someone at any place. The point is to spend quality time with the people you love. Celebrate your family!

This week we celebrate our country’s independence. I recently spoke at a leadership conference where I shared the story of when I became a US citizen back in 1997. My husband’s grandma had always wanted to witness an immigrant becoming a US citizen, so she was excited to attend my Oath Ceremony. When she arrived all dressed up, I noticed she was wearing a beautiful rhinestones pin of the flag of the United States. I said, “Wow grandma! What a beautiful pin.” She replied, “Thank you!” And preceded to sit down behind me. After the Oath Ceremony ended, I turned back to give her a hug and thanked her for being there for such a special moment in my life. She then took off the pin and pinned it on my dress and said, “Now, you can have it!” I cried. What an emotional moment of significance that was. It left a positive mark in my heart forever.

As you celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day, with your family, remember this story and how significant it is for all of us to live in a FREE country. My heart overflows with gratitude toward all the service men and women who continually fight for us and for those who gave their lives for us to enjoy freedom.

Let’s celebrate Family and Freedom every day! Happy Independence Day!

Dear Friends,

King Solomon was the wisest person on earth and guess what? He wrote the book of Proverbs and left us ALL his wisdom for us to use it too. All the business concepts we need to run a successful business are right there. Are you married and a parent too? No problem. All the advice on how to parent your children is found in these proverbs as well as advice on marriage for both men and women.

The first chapter tells us why King Solomon wrote this book: “The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings. Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will make the simple-minded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people” (Proverbs 1: 2-4).

Let’s start by learning what the Bible says about how valuable wisdom is:

  • Come here and listen to me! I’ll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you and make you wise (1:23).
  • Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure (2:2-4).
  • Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying (3: 15-17).
  • Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly (3:18).
  • Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! (4:7).
  • If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run (4:12).
  • I (wisdom) love all who love me. Those who search for me will surely find me (8:17).

Now let’s explore what the book of Proverbs says about business and leadership advice:

  • 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 (3:21-22).
  • Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them (3:27).
  • Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do (4:23).
  • Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them (18:15).
  • People who accept correction are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore it will lead others astray (10:17).
  • Lazy people are a pain to their employers (10:26).
  • Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (11:2).
  • People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall (10:9).
  • Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time (12:11).
  • Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success (15:22).
  • Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed (16:3).
  • We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps (16:9).
  • The Lord demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard (16:11).
  • From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive (16:23).

Lastly, let’s learn from proverbs that relate to marriage and children:

  • To men: Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth (5:18).
  • To women: A worthy wife is her husband’s joy and crown; a shameful wife saps his strength (12:4).
  • If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them (13:24).
  • It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom (17:6).
  • Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t you will ruin their lives (19:18).

I would like to end today’s blog by sharing two proverbs that are starting to apply to my own life as I get older: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life” (16:31) and my favorite: “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged: parents are the pride of their children” (17:6). I for sure am experiencing being a grandma as a “crowning glory” and I only hope my children will see me as their “pride.”

Because there are so many proverbs we can learn from, I might write a sequel to this blog. Thank you for reading. I hope these proverbs help you in your life and encourage you to seek wisdom above all other things that you could want from God!

Until next time,

Marci

Jesus Did it All!

Dear Friends,

This weekend is a special weekend because something incredible happened in the history of mankind… God’s redemptive plan came to pass… I want to share one of the devotionals from my book Devotions for Working Women that explains God’s plan in more detail. May God bless you greatly on this amazing Easter celebration!

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!

 

Dear Friends,

I was recently pondering on the concept of what we all know to be “the golden rule:” treating others as you want to be treated. This concept started in the Bible when Jesus was asked the question, which is the most important commandment? and He replied: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).

The golden rule refers to what we should do because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s based on the commandment of loving others as we love ourselves. However, it doesn’t talk about the expectations of others’ behavior toward us. Therefore, I asked myself, “What if we practice the golden rule but the other person doesn’t reciprocate? How do I respond to that behavior so I don’t get hurt? How do I not get tired of doing the right thing when others don’t practice the golden rule on me?” As I reflected on these questions, the answer came to me: “lower your expectations of others not your standards.”

We cannot control others’ behaviors or actions. The only person we can control is our own self. Therefore, even though it may be common sense to us that others would also practice the golden rule, we should not expect them to. The higher our expectations of others, the bigger our disappointment may be at some point in our lives. Notice I said lower your expectations of others not your standards.

I have very high standards for myself in every area of my life. I believe leading by example is how you communicate your standards to those around you. Expectations are different. In the workplace, for example, as a leader, you need to communicate to your employees your expectations clearly so they understand their jobs well. But even then, they may disappoint you, yet you still should practice the golden rule on them and treat them the way you would want to be treated.

But my biggest challenge with having expectations of others is outside the workplace—with friends and family. Because I believe the golden rule of treating others as you want to be treated is common sense, I have high expectations of others. And that’s where I’ve gone wrong. I need to treat others as I want to be treated and expect nothing in return! That’s the key to not being disappointed. Simply treat others well, consistently, and don’t expect others to reciprocate or even acknowledge what you did for them. This is how you free yourself from resentment or holding grudges on a person when sometimes that person didn’t even think or intent to hurt you.

I don’t know if this reflection will help you or not, but it helped me to free myself from expecting anything from others—whether that’s in the workplace, with family, or friends. Pondering on these concepts help me stay focused on my personal walk with God. I hope it will help you too.

Here is my new golden rule: “Treat others as I want to be treated and expect nothing in return.”

 

Dear Friends,

This weekend my parents came to visit from Nicaragua and met my little grandson, Henry James. They LOVED this little bundle of joy… so young, so new to this world. My dad is 91 years older than Henry James! Wow! Wouldn’t it be nice to transfer all the wisdom my dad has acquired in his years of life to little Henry? But that is not possible. We each must live our own lives and acquire wisdom as we experience our journey on earth. But event though wisdom is acquired through the years, there is a way for the young to be also wise. How? By asking God for the gift of wisdom. Today I’m sharing a devotional from my book “Devotions for Working Women” that talks about how you can enjoy being young yet being wise too. Enjoy!

You Can Be Young and Wise

Ecclesiastes 11:9 (NLT) Young man, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.

Being young is wonderful. I haven’t met one person yet who wants to be old—and I doubt I ever will. But many old people want to and yearn to be young again.

Youth represents strength, life, health, beauty, smarts, and many other positive things. Notice, however, we don’t usually associate wisdom to youth. On the contrary, the words old and wise go together in our society. When we are young we think we know it all. Why is that? I believe it’s a lack of maturity and experience. Only as we get older, we realize how little we know and how much more we have to learn.

We must teach our young people to seek the wisdom of God. Imagine what youth can accomplish with the weapon of wisdom against the enemy of the world! Very few young people are wise. I believe that’s for two main reasons: one, because they don’t ask God for wisdom, and second, and most importantly, because wisdom comes with experience and maturity with the things of the Lord. Wisdom is a gift from God, and we must be trustworthy to be able to handle it. Otherwise, we misuse it or waste it.

If you are a young working woman, ask God for wisdom and use it for Him. Remember also, the more gifts you have, the higher the responsibility. Seek to be called young and wise in your life. Enjoy your youth, but know that one day you will give account to God for everything you did in your life. Know also, that when you repent of your sins from your heart, God forgives you and wipes your slate clean.

 

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered what’s next in your life? Do you feel something is missing in your life? Are you curious about your personal mission in life? Are you a leader who has achieved some success in life and now you’re looking for significance? Do you want to know God’s dreams for your life?

The Master’s Program for Women (TMPW) is a three-year spiritual leadership development journey that may help you discover the answers to these life-changing questions and help you find your place in God’s master plan—your Kingdom calling. This Bible based program helps you find your “why” and have better balance, margin, and focus in your life.

It is my honor and privilege to teach TMPW in Minneapolis, MN. I graduated with the first group that I taught in 2016. I am now teaching a second group which will graduate in October of 2019 and I am starting the next class in February 2019. As a graduate of the program myself, I can tell you that it was an amazing experience and journey of discovery. I now know my purpose and my Kingdom calling. The program is three years and we meet quarterly for the sessions and once in between quarters to share about what we’re learning and get to know each other. Each year we focus on the following aspects of our lives:

  • Year 1 Personal Realm: Body (physical), mind (intellectual), soul (relational), and spirit (spiritual)
  • Year 2 Family and Professional Realm: Your family, finances, and career
  • Year 3 Kingdom Realm: Your Kingdom calling and your involvement in church and community

If you’re interested in attending the FREE Audit Session 1, please connect with me by email at marcia@marciamalzahn.com or register by clicking on this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-masters-program-for-women-minneapolis-audit-session-tickets-54858787109. If you would like to learn more about TMPW, you can also visit the website: www.themastersprogramforwomen.org.

I hope you will consider attending the free Audit session on Wed. 2/20/19 from 2 to 5 p.m. CST at Cornerstone Studios 2220 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 and joining the next group. TMPW may be just what you’ve been waiting for to step into the next chapter in your life!

Dear Friends,

Each morning my husband and I have a routine where I call him while he’s on his way to work and I’m getting ready for the day. We share what we have going on for the day and what we want to accomplish that day. My husband usually shares about his “daily huddle” meetings with his staff and team members to ensure they are on track and to accomplish their daily goals.

Saturday is my special day with the Lord. I spend extra time praying, reading my Bible, and writing. In fact, I consider it my “writing day.” I’ve been doing this now for fifteen years. But what’s most special about my writing days is my time with God. As you can imagine, however, meeting with God just once a week is simply not enough to get through life. So, I’ve been wanting to have these special meetings more often. Last year I started to make the effort to meet with the Lord every morning for at least one minute before I start my day. That’s how I started… The weeks went by and now I have finally established a routine where I meet with the Lord daily anywhere from one minute to 15 or 20 minutes depending on what I have going that day. And it has changed my life!

This past week, I told my husband, “I have to hurry up getting ready so I have time to meet with God… Wait a minute, I do have daily huddles too… They are ‘my daily huddles with God’”! I just realized that there is nothing better than meeting with God each day as you start your day and literally ask God, “What do you want me to focus on today? Who do you want me to help today? How should I show love to others today?” Then I pray, “Please cancel meetings that are not important or that will have zero impact on my long-term, eternal goals. Please show me the way in my business, send me the right people to partner with, send me the right speaking engagements and the right consulting clients.” And He does…

I’m sure some of you may be reading this and thinking, “I pray every day in the mornings. Why didn’t she figure that out before?” Well, I always knew how important it is to meet with God, but I’ve never been serious enough and dedicated enough to do it. I’ve always been too busy and I’m always running to the first meeting of the day. I pray through the day as most of us do but now I make the time to be with the Lord intentionally and make Him my priority for the morning. It takes time to have the discipline to establish a new routine until it becomes a habit. And God doesn’t mind if we give him ONE minute or more time. He just wants us to be with Him and make Him a priority in our lives—one day at a time.

Today, I want to encourage you to create the new habit if you already don’t have it. Make the time to be with your Father. He yearns for your time and for your friendship. He wants to be close to you. He’s always there waiting for you. You just have to do it and make the commitment. Try it!

I’ll leave you today with the scriptures I was reading this morning from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT):

“Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”