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Wings as Eagles

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

I drove my husband’s car yesterday. He will sometimes listen to Laugh USA – a comedy station that broadcasts only clean material. Many times, when I use his car, I’ll change the station to Christian music, but I didn’t do that yesterday. I effectively blocked out the comedian on the air until I heard him say something to the effect that in closing, he wanted to get serious. So I listened as he shared the following story. I didn’t get his name, so I will call him John.

John had visited Stone Mountain recently and had climbed up the mountain. He was enjoying the view when an eagle flew past him and perched on a ledge. He carefully got his camera out to snap some pictures, but just as he was ready to take a picture, the wind shifted and came from the opposite direction. John was positive the eagle would take flight so he didn’t bother trying to capture the Kodak moment. However, the eagle stayed perfectly still, even with the wind coming directly towards him. As soon as the moment was right, the eagle allowed the wind to lift him up and help him to fly off of the ledge. John realized that the eagle used that which was coming against him to make him successful in his endeavor – taking flight. And that was John’s advice to his audience: “take that which is coming against you and use it to lift you higher.”

The Bible says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you know this verse to be true. The thief – the enemy – will do whatever it takes to bring us down. He will come against us and our family through illness, loss of job, marital problems, financial problems, wayward children, etc., to destroy us and our families. The rest of this verse is our answer to the enemy’s attack: God has come to give us life and life more abundantly. One of the ways He has provided for us to have that abundant life is through the verse at the opening of this devotion: Isaiah 40:31. As we wait on Him and lean on Him for help against the attack, He lifts us up as if we had wings like the eagle. And He will use that thing which is coming against us to lift us up higher. Selah.

Maranatha!

© Edwina E. Cowgill 2010

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How Did We Ever Survive Before Electronics?

It is amazing how we have come to depend on everything “fast.” We want our dinner and we want it now. So we pop something in the microwave and “presto” in five minutes dinner is ready. And we wondered how we ever survived without the microwave.

Then came the computer and we were really in trouble. We could type faster, save more documents, work faster, produce faster, think faster. But wait. There’s more. The Internet arrived on the scene. And we wondered how we ever survived without the Internet, much less the computer.

Our lives totally evolve around our electronics. Computers, laptops, notebooks, iPads, iPods, Blackberrys, Droids, – you name it, and we have to have “it” – and the latest version of “it” whatever “it” might be. Don’t get me wrong. Electronics definitely have a place in our lives. I have a laptop and a Blackberry. I have information on both which, if I lost said information, I would probably need to be shipped off to the nearest funny farm. In my kitchen, you will find a microwave, a coffee bean grinder, and a fabulous coffee maker, as well as the standard appliances, with all the fancy gadgets you can add. I enjoy using these and they do make my life easier. My point is when we get to the place in our lives where everything we do is controlled by one or more of those electronics, maybe we need to step back and re-evaluate what we are trying to do here. For those of you who have not yet had a coronary – keep reading.

I have two reasons for writing this:

1) About two weeks ago, my computer at work begins to give me strange messages—all of which were gibberish to me. I have a desktop computer made a well-known company (no names mentioned but it starts with D, ends in L and has 4 letters). My desktop is just over six years old. In dog years, that would be one trillion, four million, eight hundred thousand…you get the point. I mentioned these strange messages to my sweet hubby who knows a lot about computers. He graciously agreed to come to my office and investigate. He spent three hours doing all sorts of things to my computer, running all sorts of programs, muttering computer-eze, and finally declared “There is not enough memory on your computer.” He did something magical, thinking that would work. It did not. He tried something else and we left it on for the night and headed home. The computer was sicker the next day. Understand – everything I do at work is on the computer. All of my email, all of my correspondence, all of the financial work – everything I do is on my computer. So if the computer doesn’t work, I don’t work. As I write this (on my personal laptop that I brought to work with me) my hubby is on his way now to do some more investigating and hopefully repairing.

2) The other, and far more significant reason I am writing about this today is that for a large majority of the population, we no longer have face-to-face contact, or at least the more personal aspects of a telephone call or note sent in the mail. Husbands and wives talk more via email than they do face to face. Parents keep up with what their kids are doing via FaceBook or My Space. Friends send each other special little ditties about how great of a friend they are. We exchange birthday cards and holiday greetings via email and Twitter.

Hello??? Is there not something wrong with this picture?

So, before you send someone a birthday card or worse, a sympathy card, via the Internet, stop and think about what you’re doing. Don’t be that impersonal. Send them a real card. And oh yeah, you can find their mailing address (and pretty much anything else you want to know about them) on the Internet.

MARANATHA!

© Edwina E. Cowgill

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BOOK REVIEW: "THE MAILBOX"

When attending the She Speaks 2010 Conference a couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to receive an autographed copy of Marybeth Whalen’s debut fiction novel The Mailbox. Marybeth has served as the general editor of For the Write Reason and The Reason We Speak. In my opinion, The Mailbox is the first of many highly successful fiction books for Marybeth.

Here is part of the back cover summary:

“When Lindsey Adams first visits the Kindred Spirit mailbox at Sunset Beach, North Carolina, as a teenager, she has no idea that twenty years later she will still be visiting the mailbox—still pouring out her heart in letters that summarize the best and worst parts of life.”

Marybeth draws the reader into the book and the characters’ lives almost immediately. All women will be able to identify with Lindsey Adams, but especially those who have gone through a divorce. However, this is not a book that focuses solely on divorce. It is a book about second chances. About healing and redemption. About hope and love. It’s message will stay with the reader long after the book is closed. And it is a book that one will want to read over and over again.

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Spiritual Lessons From She Speaks 2010 Conference

This is my final blog in a series of three regarding the She Speaks 2010 Conference. And of the three, this one is the most important one to me.

I went to the conference with great expectations of hearing from God on certain issues that I wanted an answer or on which I needed clarification. God had other ideas. Isn’t that always the case? We want/expect specific answers to our prayers, believing that we know best what we need. We don’t have a clue. But God does and He knew exactly what I needed last weekend.

Throughout the afternoon and evening on Friday, I felt completely disjointed, as if I really didn’t belong there with all these spiritual women. But I couldn’t leave. There were two women who rode to Concord, North Carolina with me. And God had other ideas, too.

One of the first things that Lysa TerKeurst said Friday night was “If you are here, it is because God ordained for you to be here.”

“Okay, God. I get it. I’m supposed to be here so I guess that means You will answer my prayers sometime this weekend.”

After my first workshop on Saturday morning, I knew I needed to go to the Prayer Room. (See my previous blog to understand the spiritual significance of the Prayer Room.) I looked at the names of God, strategically placed on the tables at the front of the room until I found my name by this name of God:

ADONAI

THE LORD

MY GREAT LORD

(God is the Master and Majestic Lord)
God is our Total Authority

Psalm 8, Isaiah 40:3-5; Ezekiel 16:8, Habakkuk 3:19

I scribbled that down on a piece of paper and headed for my room. I knew that God and I needed to meet. I just didn’t realize it was going to be a “come-to-Jesus” meeting. You know what I mean – Daddy’s got some lessons for His child.

I looked up the scripture references and thought “Okay. This is good.” But I knew that something was amiss and so I asked God “What have I done? I want to know so I can repent.”

He said to me, “Remember last night at the speaker evaluation group when you spoke and you didn’t tell the group what the “dark time” you went through was? And you still didn’t tell them even after it was mentioned to the entire group?”

“Yes, Lord. I remember.”

“You still think that you should be seen as the perfect Christian woman and wife. That’s a matter of pride on your part, and pride is a sin.”

Ouch. Here I was, thinking I had dealt with every aspect of that divorce, the reasons for it, the resulting feelings because of it, and now God is telling me that I still have a HUGE problem. Needless to say, I was on my knees in repentance immediately. Now that the issue of pride is out of the way, I believe God has started showing me things about my divorce that He will use to help other women and for His ultimate glory!

The second thing God showed me came from Angela Thomas’ message on Saturday night. She had made several excellent points for writers, speakers and women in leadership. Actually for anyone who desires to walk in God’s calling for them. But the point that really hit home was “Sometimes, it’s not your turn yet.” I had been comparing myself to other writers and speakers. Not in the quality of their writing or speaking, but in the fact that most of them started much earlier than I did, so they R further along in their ministry than I am. Another cause for repentance. But also for reassurance. Sometimes, it’s not my turn yet.

And the final spiritual lesson, and the most important of all, came on Sunday morning through P31 team member, Karen Ehman’s message on “True Love.” Her message was based on Rev. 2:1-7 and she focused on “You have forsaken your first love.” You can see where I’m headed with this. Deep, sorrowful repentance. So much so, after going to the altar and being prayed for by one of the P31 team members, I went back to my seat, and immediately wrote the following:

I don’t want to be an ordinary woman. I want to be an extraordinary woman for and of God.


I didn’t even realize until this morning’s message that I had left my first love – Jesus Christ. It was not an abrupt departure than happened quickly. It was a sneaky, slow meandering that happened over a long period of time – years, even.


This is how the enemy works. Sneaky attacks, slowing drawing us away from our first love. Even using our church work, our calling to God’s work, to cause us to be busy. I have been so busy, I was blinded to the fact I was no longer in love with my first love. Even when I read and knew His Word said to me: “with one glance from me, He fell hopelessly in love”, I still didn’t recognize that I had left my first love. How could I have been so blind? So deaf? So dumb?


Abba Father, I am sorry and I humbly repent. I have not loved you with my whole heart – my whole life – my whole being. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to never be drawn away from You again. I want to put You first above everyone and everything.


Father, if I never write another word, if I never publish a book or another blog, if I never teach another Bible study or speak to a women’s meeting, it’s okay. I simply want to be so totally in love with you that it can be seen in my face, in my posture and heard in my voice. One look at You, Abba Father, and I have fallen hopelessly and totally in love.

For more information on Proberbs 31 Ministries, here’s their website: http://www.proverbs31.com/

MARANTHA!

© 2010 Edwina E. Cowgill

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Spiritual Aspects of She Speaks 2010 Conference

If you follow my blog, you will know my last posting was about the “technical,” if you will, aspects of the She Speaks 2010 Conference. “Technical” meaning the location, the workshops, keynote addresses, etc, all of which were of a superior, top-notch quality.

The spiritual aspects of this conference far exceeded the technical. There was so much prayer surrounding this conference, the attendees and the location that I believe it was impossible for any woman to leave the conference and not have received a touch from God.

On Friday night, we were told that as soon as each registration was received, the Proverbs 31 (P31) team began praying over that woman and continued to pray over her – by name – until the day of the conference. Considering I registered in April, this group of prayer warriors prayed over me every day for about three months.

The P31 team arrived at the hotel early in the week of the conference. One of the many, many things they did before the attendees arrived was to walk the entire hotel, praying over the sleeping rooms booked by the attendees, praying over each conference room and the ballroom, and they prayed over the hotel staff.

One of the conference rooms was set up as a Prayer Room. It was furnished with overstuffed, comfy chairs, pillows on the floor should anyone wish to kneel on the floor and two kneeling benches. It was open to all attendees to go in for prayer and quiet time any time she desired.

But there’s more. There were three or four tables set up at the head of the room and there were sheets of paper on each table. Each sheet had one of the names of God printed on it, with the meaning of the name and Scripture references about that name. Each attendee’s name – all 608 women, as well as guest speakers – had been printed on individual slips of paper. On Thursday, before the conference began on Friday, those slips of paper were divided among the P31 team. They took those names into the prayer room and prayed over each one until God said to them “Put their name by this name of mine.” That was so amazing to me – that these women – who don’t know me and may never know me loved me enough to pray that much for me. That is a beautiful picture of God’s love for me.

Every workshop opened and closed with prayer. Every evaluation session opened and closed with prayer. People were in the prayer room all hours of the day and night. I could not walk down the hall without seeing two or more gathered in His name, praying for one another.

Because I’ve been in church work in various capacities for most of my life, I’ve attended many Christian conferences and seminars over the years. I’ve even planned and coordinated a few conferences. All of these conferences were good, some even excellent. But the She Speaks 2010 Conference raised the bar of excellence in both the technical and spiritual aspects. It is my prayer that every woman who reads this blog will be able to attend She Speaks 2011!

If you’re interested in the ministry of Proverbs 31, here is the website address: 
http://www.proverbs31.org/

My final blog about She Speaks will be published in a couple of days and will discuss the spiritual lessons God taught me at the conference. I hope that you will read it and pray that God will use it to speak to you as He did to me.

MARANTHA!

© 2010 Edwina E. Cowgill

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She Speaks 2010 Conference

Last weekend I had the privilege and honor of attending the She Speaks 2010 Conference. This conference is for writers/aspiring writers, speakers/aspiring speakers and women in leadership and those who desire to be in leadership.

The conference is sponsored and hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries and this was the tenth anniversary. Ten years ago, with no money spent on advertising there were 99 women in attendance. This year, with no money spent on advertising there were 608 women, from 43 of the 48 continental United States and Canada. This alone is a testimony to the excellence of every aspect of the conference.

Three women from Newnan attended: me, my dear friend Connie and a new dear friend, Clare. Each of us took a different track: I took the speakers’ track, Connie took the writers’ track and Clare took the women in leadership track.

I was very impressed with all of the speaker workshops I took, as well as the speakers’ evaluations I participated in. This was a small group of no more than ten ladies who were assigned to present a three minute talk on Friday night and a five minute talk on Saturday afternoon. As many classes I’ve taught over the years, I was very nervous and really didn’t do a good job. Never in my life have a taught a class or gave a presentation when I’ve leaned on the podium, allowing it to hold me up. Granted, in classes I teach at my church, I tend to be more relaxed because I know my audience and they know me. But still, lean on the podium??? And I carried my reading glasses to the podium thinking I would need them to read. Instead, I used them to point, or tap into my other hand. Most irritating to those in the listening audience.

Saturday night’s presentation was much improved and I felt like I did a better job. The evaluation sheets agreed with me—well, for the most part.

I participated in several breakout sessions – all of which were excellent. Pursuing Excellence as a Speaker, by Lysa TerKeurst, Preparing for the Battlefield Through Prayer, by Luann Prater, and What Every Speaker Needs to Know, by Marybeth Whalen, were three top-notch breakouts. These women knew what they were talking about!!

The keynote addresses were phenomenal! On Friday evening we heard Lysa TerKeurst speak on Becoming More, Saturday morning we had a surprise visit from Beth Moore via DVD, Saturday night the delightful Angela Thomas, author of Do You Think I’m Beautiful?, spoke on what it takes to be the best you can be at whatever God has called you to be. And on Sunday morning, Karen Ehman, one of the Proverbs 31 team members, knocked it out of the ballpark with her message on True Love based on Rev. 2:1-17.

The facility where the conference was held and where we stayed was fantastic. The staff members of the Embassy Suites saw that our every need was met. The chef outdid himself with our meals.

Can you tell I enjoyed it??

Next blog: The Really Important Stuff: The Spiritual Aspects of the Conference. You truly don’t want to miss this!!

MARANATHA!

© 2010 Edwina E. Cowgill

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Always the Baker, Never the Bride

Always the Baker, Never the Bride
Sandra Bricker

I finished reading “Always the Baker, Never the Bride” today. What a delightful and fun book to read. Emma Travis, baker extraordinaire, excels in creating perfect, exquisite-tasting wedding cake masterpieces. After winning the prestigious Passionate Palette Award for her crème brülèe wedding cake, she is lured away from her current position at Backstreet Bakery to become the baker at the newly redesigned Tanglewood Inn, located in Roswell, Georgia. (I love reading books that are set in my home state.) Jackson Drake has purchased the Inn and renovated it, with much help from his sisters, into a complete bridal and party events center, according to the wishes of his late wife. Many near-catastrophic situations arise involving his sisters, instigated by Emma’s parents, or stumbled into by Emma’s sweet Aunt Sophie, who almost “stole the show.”

In addition, readers will find helpful hints and tips at the beginning of each chapter, such as “Themed Weddings,” “Tips for Cake Decorations,” recipes for white cake and espresso fondant, and dozens more!

I read the author’s copy so I don’t have a copy to give away. I highly recommend this book for a fun and enjoyable read. Wedding coordinators take note: even though it’s a great read, there are great tips and hints for weddings, and I ought to know – I’m a wedding coordinator!