Heart Choices: 2010-10-03 -->

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TSMSS ~ Isaiah 6

It's Then Sings My Soul Saturday when I link up with Amy of Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

Bible Study Fellowhip (BSF) added a new study this year so I signed up. It's a verse by verse study of Isaiah and let me tell you ...I'm loving it!

I'm amazed at how relevant God's words spoken through Isaiah are for us today. 

In the sixth chapter, Isaiah was given a vision of God seated on the throne.  In contrast to God's holiness, He became so aware of his own sinfulness.

His response in Isaiah 6:5 is:

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

God is holy.  Sin cannot come into the presence of His holiness.  How grateful I am for Jesus, who made a way for us to enter into a personal relationship with God.  His righteousness covers my sin.  He paid the penalty for my sin.  My response is to bow down and worship Him.

Btw, let me know if you're doing BSF this year.  I'd love to know if others are studying Isaiah.

Blessings and love,


Friday Photo Flashback ~ 1962

Friday Photo Flashback
It's another Friday Photo Flashback when I link up with Alicia of More Than Words.

This pre-digital photo probably dates back to 1961 or 1962.  I think it was taken on Easter Sunday given the hat on my head.  My mom used to like to dress us up. :)

I love my little sister Christine's pocket book.  In case you didn't know, that's what we call purses in New York.  My brother Steve is going to kill me for posting this photo as it will also go to Facebook.  This is payback Steve.  Btw, I do not have smelly feet! 

Blessings and love,


Faith Barista Jam ~ Personality and Faith


I'm jamming again with Bonnie Gray of The Faith Barista.  Our topic for this week is:

How Does Your Faith Affect Your Personality?

I love family!  This photo probably dates back to the early 1990's.  My mom was quite the joker and the Sumstad's know how to laugh and have fun together.  

This photo shows another side to my personality.  My niece Katie and my sister Christine and I were hamming it up at Kristin's wedding over Labor Day weekend.

This is a collage created by my blogging friend Philip from Cyprus.  I think it shows you a bit of my personality too.  I love children, friends and family.  And that middle photo tells you another aspect of Debbie.  Greg gets that look which means "don't mess with me".  :)

We may be born with a basic personality type but I believe life circumstances can impact our personality. 

Florence Littauer authored a book entitled "Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself".  You can access the Personality Test to find out your personality type.

My results reveal that my primary personality is a Popular Sanguine.  I love people and connecting with others.  However, my second highest score is the Phlegmatic Peaceful personality.  Although I love people, I also need time alone and quiet.  Give me  balance or I get cranky.

**Note: As Christians, and especially as Christian leaders, we should use personality tests
to better understand ourselves and others. They are not intended to lock us in to one particular personality. i.e. We are not allowed to blame our sin on our personality type. We are not slaves to our personality, we are slaves to Christ. If Christ is changing us day by day, He will sand away our rough edges so that we will become more like Him.* Florence Littauer

So back to our jamming question:  Does faith affect your personality?

I believe it does.  As I grow in my faith and draw closer in my walk with the Lord, He begins to transform me.  No amount of self-help can compare in any way to what God can do. 

When I truly understand who I am in Christ:
  • I become more God confident; not self-confident.
  • I become more loving as His love overflows to others.
  • I become less anxious as I learn to trust Him in all circumstances.
  • I become less controlling as I realize that He holds my life in His hands. 
  • I become more joyful despite challenges and trials because of the hope that He provides.
However, on this side of eternity I still struggle with my flesh.  I wish I could say that I'm always loving, calm, joyful, kind, compassionate, etc.  But even yesterday the fleshly Debbie came out when I was talking to one of my closest friends. 

I was in the midst of some very real trials when my good friend Helen called to see how I was doing.  Believe me, she got an earful.  I very quickly and emotionally ran down a list of what was happening.  By the time we hung up, I felt bad about unloading but she reassured me that was OK.  I realized that sometimes my closest friends see the fleshly Debbie more often that I care to admit.  (Sorry Helen).

But when I abide in Christ, the fruit of the Spirit is more evident.  In Romans 6, Paul writes about the struggle he had with sin and self.  And Paul had even experienced a foretaste of heaven.  I have the hope of heaven and life eternal with Christ but ...I struggle at times.  

My heart's desire is to allow the Lord to transform me.  Only He can soften the edges of my natural personality.  As I learn to trust and obey Him, He provides me with opportunities to use the gifts He has given to me.  Those gifts will be used for His Kingdom purposes. 

As a result, it will be obvious to others that it's not Debbie but Christ in me.  And then ...He gets all the glory.

Blessings and love,


A Committed Heart

I continue the Bible study "Makeover of the Heart" with Tracy Berta over At the Well.  This is our fourth week.  The focus for this week is on a  Committed Heart. 

This study has been so timely for me.  Check out the subheading for this series:

Unlocking the potential of a heart transformed

That's definitely a desire of my heart; to be transformed by the Spirit of the Living God.  I want my heart to be fully devoted to Christ.

Tracy shared her testimony with us.  I don't know about you but sometimes when I see a woman who is beautiful and talented and godly, I assume they have it all together.  But the truth is we're all a work in progress.  And Tracy has been transformed by the love of God and the work of the Holy Spirit.  I appreciate her honesty.

God doesn't expect perfection. But what He desires is a heart committed and sold out to Him. 

It can be very easy to get caught up in commitments. 

Commitments to:
  • Family
  • Church
  • Friends
  • School
  • Home
  • Volunteer
Those commitments can be good things.  But it's easy to become busy with commitments and no time to spend time alone with the Lord. 

In order to fully commit, I need to trust God.  Hmm ...why does it always seem to keep coming back to trust and obey?  My theme for 2010 ...

I'm sure you've heard the saying that you become like the people you spend time with.  Maybe you've warned your children about this.

My heart's desire is to grow to become more like Jesus; to reflect His love to those around me.  What I have to do though is to spend time with Him.

So, I make the heart choice to begin my day in quiet time with the Lord.  I read my Bible, pray, journal and listen to Him.  The more time I spend with Him, the more evident is the fruit of the Spirit in my life.  My husband can always tell when I've missed my quiet time now.  He can see the difference as I'm less patient and kind and loving. 

I don't have to make a huge effort to do things for God.  When I spend time with Him, offering my life to Him  ...He begins to work in me and through me.  He does the work but I need to cooperate.

Photo Credit: Mr and Mrs Smith travel
My friend Jill of Forever N Ever N Always posted several videos the other day that totally blessed me.  You can click here to view them.  It's well worth your time, especially if you are always feeling overworked and over committed.  Entering the rest of God is a labor of love.  

Whenever I get serious about being totally sold out to God, I find that the enemy hates that.  Distractions, doubts and even people seem to get in the way.  But it's one step at a time.  Today I choose to commit my heart to Him.  It becomes a daily heart choice.

Blessings and love,


WFW ~ Anchor in the Storm

It's Word Filled Wednesday when we get to share Scripture.  I'm linking up with Amydeanne at the Internet Cafe.

I took this photo yesterday afternoon in Phoenix.  We rarely get rain so when it happens, people don't seem to know how to drive.  Many drivers braked quickly when the downpour hit causing a few near misses.  Others slowed down to a crawl.  I decided to take a few photos.  However, I was very careful and simply did a point and shoot technique. :)

The Hebrews Scripture reminds me that despite any storms in my life, I am safe and secure.  Jesus is the anchor for my soul. 

So no matter what He allows in my life, I can rest secure knowing that He is in control.  And more and more I'm learning that ...He is trustworthy.

Blessings and love,


Love One Another

MySpace Photography at CharmRoyal.com
Photo Credit: CharmRoyal.com
Does the world see love when they come into your church?

Do they see:
  • Bickering among members
  • Mumbling about the type of music: contemporary versus traditional hymns
  • Unforgiveness between people
  • All talk but not walking the walk
  • All prettied up and proper for Sunday church but arguing all the way in the car
  • People so busy they've no time to sit and talk or counsel and pray
  • A church performance with inspirational messages and awesome singers to entertain
Or do they see:
  • People who greet newcomers and ask their name and try to remember
  • A genuine concern for one another
  • Kindness towards one another
  • A belief in the power of prayer as the members pray for one another
  • Christ lifted up and all glory given to Him
  • Reading from the Bible and people actually opening up their Bibles
These are just a few examples that came to my mind.  I'm sure you could add many more.

Listen to what the Bible says in John 13:35 (New International Version):

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

When people in the church truly love one another, there will be a difference.  What does love look like?

Here's an example of one I recently experienced.  A kind note in a card along with a package of new socks.  My friend noticed my socks were well worn when I took my sneakers off to weigh myself on her scale. I guess I could get out my sewing box but I think it's packed in a box in the garage somewhere.  :)

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."  Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

I believe the world would take notice if they truly saw something different in us.  Love one another in action ...causes people to notice. 

All too often the world hears dramatized stories of  Christians who have fallen and sinned.  Another reason to not join that group of hypocrites.

But I've personally experienced the love of God through other believers recently.  I wonder how people get through their trials and challenges without a personal relationship with the Lord?  Or without the love of friends and family who live out their faith?

Do you have any stories or examples you care to share? 

Have you seen love in action?
Blessings and love,

Phoenix in October

Photo Credit: Country Home
All across the blog world, I read posts about the fall season.  Typically October brings cooler temperatures,  a time to unpack sweaters, changing colors on the leaves of the trees and crisp cool evenings.

But what happens if you live in Phoenix, Arizona?

The average temperatures for October in Phoenix are 86 for the high and 63 for the low.  According to the Arizona Republic, today's temperature should hit a HOT 96 degrees!  Can you believe that?

This is the time of year when I miss the fall season.  So, I tend to linger over photos of pumpkins and imagine taking long walks in the crisp cool air.
Photo Credit: Away Network
Jamie's kids in the pumpkin patch
And then I remember that winter is coming and for Phoenix ...that's our fall season.

When the rest of the country braces for the cold, I love to go for long walks in the crisp air and hike in the mountains. 

I pull out  my copy of Backroads & Byways of Arizona by Jackie Dishner and plan a day trip.

Flagstaff is only a two hour drive from Phoenix.  With the higher altitude, the temperatures are much cooler.  And I get to see ...the fall colors.

Jackie Dishner loves Arizona!  As the author of Backroads & Byways of Arizona, she shares ways to enjoy the outdoors through adventures and day trips.   

I had the pleasure of meeting Jackie in person when she signed my copy of this book.  And let me tell you, I really like her.  We hope to get together again in the near future to go for a hike or to simply sit and chat over a cup of coffee.  She's that kind of gal!
Me and Jackie Dishner
Although Jackie never asked me to review or promote her book, I want to recommend it.  Who should buy this book?
  • If you are planning a trip to Arizona 
  • If you live in the Phoenix area and enjoy finding new places to discover 
  • If you love the outdoors and are adventuresome
  • If you live in the southwest and enjoy taking day trips or weekend excursions
You won't be disappointed!

So, what's it like in October where you live?  What kinds of activities do you enjoy this time of year? 

Blessings and love,
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