Monday, December 31, 2012

Sista Gatherings in 2013

Sista Gathering? It's a group of women of all ages from all denominations who gather together with hearts hungry for truth. The women who attend want to grow closer to GOD and go deeper in their relationship with Him. These 'sistas' want to know that they are not alone in their struggles. They want to know there is hope in their circumstances. And they find it because together we look to Christ and His word and find more than we need to carry on and to shine the light!
There is no homework in these "Totally Devoted" gatherings -- only weekly devotions filled with the hope of God's word.  You are invited to come and consider bringing a friend who needs encouragement. There will be AM & PM devotional studies offered beginning January 2013, in the Hickory Flat area of Canton, GA.
Here's the info:
Date & Time: January 8, (Tuesdays) 9:30 am - 11 am
Location: The Frosty Frog Creamery & Cafe
Study Material: "Totally Devoted 2" by Polly Balint (available for purchase @ study. ($10 incl. tx)
RSVP or More Info: Polly Balint, polly@thatgirlmarketing.biz, 678.773.1973
 
 
Date & Time: January 9, (Wednesdays) 6 pm - 7:30pm
Location: Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 4096 East Cherokee Dr., Canton/ Hickory Flat
Study Material: "Totally Devoted 2" by Polly Balint (available for purchase @ study ($10 incl.tx)
 

 
For more information: 
 
 
We are the body of Christ.
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS name together!"
(Psalm 34:3)
Polly

I Don't Know. But God Knows. So It's All Good!

Over the years of leading studies for women: in my neighborhood, in churches and now in the marketplace, I am asked similiar questions. Here are a few examples: In every study at least one woman who regularly, faithfully attends a complete session will say, "Polly, I don't understand why this room isn't overflowing with women every week." I say, "I don't know. But I'm having a blast."
I've had women say, "Are you selling all of your books?" I say, "Hahaha! No, only a few at a time. I don't know why I'm not selling out." And I keep pressing on anyway because I know who is in charge -- my Father in heaven.
Recently I received a Google email from someone I've never met. She wrote that she saw a few of my study videos and promotional videos on YouTube. The title of her email message was, "I'm Astonished." When I read the title I thought, "Whaaat?" She said, "I stumbled onto your videos on YouTube and I am astonished that you have so few views on them. I've never heard anyone like you before and I am astonished that you are not slammed -- overflowing with viewers! You are amazing in your messages!" I sent an email back and I said, "Thank you so much for your kind words. I don't know why I'm not getting much response from what I am doing. That is just how it is. But thank you so much."
 
                           
 
Hahahahaha! It's funny because I am having the time of my life right now. I am joyfully overwhelmed with the privilege to meet more and more sistas in my marketplace studies in the public schools  and storefronts; as well as in churches! He fills me with love for them, too! I am thrilled to be able to write books and blog posts and columns in newsletters! I seem to have the right words when a sista needs encouragement -- I know that God always gives me the words. Often after our "Totally Devoted" gatherings a sista will come up to me and say, "Wow, Polly, that message was for me! How can you read my mind?" Hahaha, but they know God gives me the words.
In 2000, I began a Bible study in my neighborhood -- in my home, in fact. New sessions moved to the neighborhood clubhouse and then some new sessions were in other women's homes. I quickly learned that God was teaching me to focus on preparing myself spiritually and physically for each weekly study. I needed to prepare a place to meet, prepare the lesson, prepare my heart and then just show up and wait to see who would show up. I learned that God would take charge of each gathering. And He always did and He always does. And I praise Him.
So I don't know why my work for Jesus isn't drawing huge crowds. That's not my job, nor my goal. My job is to sow seeds. Jesus does the rest. He is the One who brings the people. And I couldn't be more grateful. I wouldn't change a thing. Being in HIS will is more important to me than anything else.
So I keep marching --no, I'm kind of skipping through life with God guiding my every skip. In fact, in my next blog post I mention that two more "Totally Devoted" gatherings are lined up to begin this January. I can't wait to start and see who God will bring and what He will do in our midst. Gotta love it. I do. I really do.
There is no god like our GOD! All glory to HIM!
Polly
 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This SALT Offers Salvation

 
Mt. Zion Community Outreach
Hickory Flat/Canton Area, GA
 
Last Saturday my precious hubby, Don, and I volunteered to serve in our church's SALT Ministry and as we were getting ready to go, I sensed God was going to reveal more of WHO HE IS. I was right.
I knew the newly-established SALT Ministry at Mt. Zion Baptist Church was already meeting needs of the poor in many ways and had already become the salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) for which it was established. And I was fully aware of the teachings of Jesus regarding His commands in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to care for the poor and needy. The SALT Ministry seeks to pour out the love and truth of Jesus in a similiar way; preserve lives with the salt in the words of Jesus. His gracious and powerful provisions of food, healing, compassion, grace and salvation are all there in black and white!
For example: Jesus's disciples came to Him after He had been teaching and healing many people all day long, and it was evening and His disciples told Him to send the people home to eat. Jesus told the disciples to feed them. Yes, He fed 5,000 hungry people on a hillside with only "five loaves of bread and two fish" (Matthew 14:16). Then when crowds followed Him and came to Him, He "had compassion on them and healed their sick." (John 14:14)
Again, when people were following Jesus, and they came to Him, He fed 4,000."Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute andmany others, and laid them at His feet and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel." (Matthew 15:31).
Another time when Jesus was teaching, "a man named Jairus came to Him and fell at His feet, pleading with Him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve was dying." (Luke 8:40)  He healed her!  And while he was on His way to Jairus' home, "the crowds almost crushed Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped." (Luke 8:42-44).
In Luke 12:22, Jesus told His disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens; They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet GOD feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" This is the message SALT Ministry shares with its guests; that JESUS is the One and Only Provider and Protector. HE is the ONE who will meet every need! He is using the ministry as His spoons and spatulas in His hands to feed the needy. I knew this to be true and I knew the SALT Ministry -- their free monthly dinner called Living Bread, their food pantry; all were part their of their mission to show the community WHO JESUS IS.
 Once a month, the SALT Ministry provides their Living Bread ministry of a free, freshly prepared dinner for the community. The meal is completely free for families in need. Families who are not needy are encouraged to bring others who are hungry. In addition, the ministry hosts a community-wide food pantry once a month on a Saturday morning for guests to walk into the Family Life Center, sign in, meet with counselors in order to find out the best way to meet their needs, both physical and spiritual. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared and the counselors pray with them. Then the guests can try on coats and other clothing, often choose a toy, baked goods, and recieve bags of groceries.
So, only a week ago, when Don and I had been in the Mt. Zion Family Life Center about 15 minutes that morning, I watched Deborah Rey, the co-director of the SALT Ministry, lead a young woman across the huge, open  room to the table of coats and toys. Tears began to well up in me and it was very difficult to stop them, in fact I couldn't. I was so deeply moved by that young woman walking past us, keeping her eyes riveted on the long table of free items from across the room. God seemed to opened my spiritual eyes so I could see that young woman had to humble herself so she could walk into the building to confess to a group of strangers, "I am needy and you are offering to help me. Please help me." 
I was richly blessed to be called upon to counsel a few women, too. My life was eternally enriched.
When we left the building, I was not the same. All day long I was very weepy. I was so deeply moved and I kept praying and asking GOD what was going on with me? Then He answered my prayer: all those people who came to the church had to humble themselves to walk in the door and admit they were poor and needy. But when they did come, they were given words of life and hope, provisions of food, clothing, prayers, guidance and even acknowledgements that we would be there for them. That's it! That's the Gospel of Jesus Christ! When we are brought low -- and GOD will do that until we bow the knee -- He changes our hearts and we become willing to humble ourselves and come to HIM to be our LORD. Then the "abundant life" begins. (John 10:10).
 
"Hear O Lord and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to You.
(Psalm 86:1-2)
 
For HIS Glory,
Polly
 
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Deck the Halls with Bows from Polly

We have lived in our wonderful home for 12 years. Our God sustains us and provides for us every moment and we give HIM glory for always blessing our family! I want to share a life application of Psalm 37:4  -- "Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart."--that I have experienced in our home this week.
My precious Don and I have learned over the years  -- as most homeowners realize -- that when you hit the 10-year mark in a home, household appliances begin to wear out, rooms need to be repainted, houses need new roofs, basements need to be finished and decks need to be replaced.
Well, in this 2012 Christmas season of "Deck the Halls" we are having to re-deck our deck. (Is that a word, re-deck?) Too late, I already used it! We partly blame ourselves for probably not properly protecting the treated wood but over 12 years it's been dried out by scorching summer heat; it's been snow-covered and often rain-soaked.The deck faces west.
Below is a picture of the beginning of the renovation that started yesterday. Obviously the workers have begun because the railings have just been removed.
 
Ground view
 
Deck view
The work to simply replace the deck began when Don was out of town on a business trip. He made the simple arrangements before he left with Mike and David Joiner of Joiners Home Services, who have previously done a lot of repairs and restorations in our home. They were hired to replace our deck. They're faithful Christians who work diligently, charge fairly, and do excellent work!
On the first day, after Mike and David returned from hauling off the first load of rotted railings and returned with fresh lumber, Mike said to me, "David asked me if I thought you might want to make any changes to the your deck since we're about to tear it apart and rebuilt a new one. And that's a good thought. We're already here to  work on it anyway. Would you like to make any changes?"
Mike did not realize that God was using him to give me a desire of my heart. I didn't tell anyone what my little desire was, either. I have always enjoyed spending time on our deck whether it wsa eating with my family, entertaining, having my morning coffee, writing, or having quiet time. Yep. I am an outdoor girl.
So when Mike asked me that question, my heart leaped because for about 10 years I have thought about extending our deck for more outdoor living space! I never brought up the idea over the years -- for financial reasons -- and then as years sped by and the wood faded, I knew for us to have an extension it would not match the existing material.  Yesterday, when Mike asked me if I wanted to make changes to the deck, I didn't hesitate. I said, "Yes!" He and David smiled at me and we discussed options. I shared my vision for the expansion; to extend to the end of the kitchen windows. We talked some more and they said they could do it. I said that I needed to call Don and ask if he's okay with the idea. I truly was willing to go with whatever Don wanted to do. He is a wise and godly leader in our home.
 
 Deck extension underway
(Lexie, my personal assistant on the deck.)

 
When Don was able to call me back I described the situation and he hesitated....I held my breath...and he said, "Ok, that's fine."  I said, "It's okay?" He again said, "Tell them to go ahead." We hung up and I danced and bounced around the house like Tigger.  I had wanted this for years but I never told anyone because it was not a need, and it was not urgent. I knew then that God had given me a desire of my heart. I didn't deserve it. I didn't earn it. My LORD,  in His love for me, in His grace toward me, wanted to do this for me.To me, it's a big deal adding more square footage to our deck. Everything God does is a big deal. That's who He is toward His children. He really, really loves us!

Joiners Home Services framing the extension
 
I pray my sharing of God's lovingkindness toward me will give Him praise and honor and glory! I bow before Him. Hey, that reminds me of a song: "Deck the halls with bows from Polly..." or something like that, right?  Sorry, but when you have a marketing mindset, you often come up with puns!
 
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS name together!" Psalm 34:3
Polly 
 
Merry Christmas Everyone!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

American Churches Seem to be Steering Toward Drive-thru Services

So far, Americans can still speak the name of Jesus in public. It would be difficult, I think, to find an American who has never heard of the LORD Jesus Christ. Why? We have churches on many streetcorners, several Bibles in countless homes, bookstores across the country have innumerable versions of the Word of God on their bookshelves, and America has its own missionaries giving out free Bibles in parking lots and at ball games. 
The message of the Bible is still the same: Jesus saves sinners. Jesus fills your empty soul. But it seems like Americans (as a whole) are still so hungry for something else to fill their empty souls and are now finding drive-thru worship services to hopefully and finally satisfy their famine. It's a cure that ends as fast as we can gulp down the meal and rush off to our next activity.
I recently read an newspaper story about the trend of churches in America already shortening their worship services because we (busy, materialistic, self-centered Americans) are way too busy to spend a lot of time on God worship. You see "we" have an agenda and we want to fulfill our agendas! We need bigger houses, newer cars, more designer wear, better this, better that! We need, need, need things and we have to hurry, hurry, hurry to get all that stuff! So what if it's Sunday, we have to get it NOW! Right?
The funny thing about this is: God already knows all our needs. In fact, He says: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). He is referring to the previous passage of Scripture that insightfully describes our constant fretting about what will we wear, what about our bodies and about our next meal. Jesus is saying to put Him first BEFORE EVERYTHING and He will generously meet every need of each of His children! Obviously, in America, we don't seem to believe Him much.
I've read that some churches in the U.S. are cutting back on the length of time of the worship services because they say our attention spans are down-sizing. (Ok. Sure. And when we all face Jesus Christ face-to-face one day and we tell Him we have great minds that cannot stay focused on one thing too long and we had a lot of other stuff to do on Sundays. How will that work for us on Judgment Day?)
What I think is actually happening is that just like so many things in our society, some churches are offering what I call "drive-thru" worship services. Just like fast food; it's quick, often has artificial ingredients to produce it faster, it's less expensive [spiritual] food, and what about the nourishment???? Hmm. 
Before I go any further. Please note I am saying "we" in this blog post because I too, am an American. I am a Christian -- which means I am a sinner who has been saved by grace.  I love God. I love my country. I love God's word because it's the only truth that exists and I need The Truth close by me to get through each day. And America is in dire need of truth. THE TRUTH. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
When did Sundays stop being the Sabbath day of rest for God's people? When did it stop being a relaxing, delicious banquet for friends and families to joyfully gather to share home-cooked meals? When did it turn into a fast [spiritual] food drive-thru on Sundays?When did it stop being a calming, refreshing, reviving day of worship, joy and rest? Our bodies were designed to work six days and have complete and total rest on the seventh. A weekly sabbath rest is a gift from God to His children! Keeping the "Sabbath" (Exodus 20:8)is not a curse. It's a blessing!Taking Sundays off from the unending stress and demands of our work is a blessing from God to help us rest and reflect on His goodness and to refresh us for the coming week! We have chosen to give into the world's voice to work, work, work and get ahead of everyone else! What do you do then? It's like when a dog is chasing a passing car....what does the dog do when he catches it? What is our hurry? God made time. He's in charge of time. If you study Jesus' journey on earth; He was never in a hurry because He kept His heart and mind riveted to the voice of His Father in heaven and He victoriously accomplished everything He was sent on earth to do. Jesus prayed to His Father,  "I have brought you glory in earth by completing the work you gave me to do" (John 17:4). That's how it should be for us.
The Bible does not teach us to hurry, to rush or to be impatient.  Instead:  "'If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.' The mouth of the Lord has spoken"(Isaiah 58:13).
God is very interested in our minds, bodies and souls! A major reason for the Sabbath rest is that He "delights in the well-being of His servants" (Psalm 35:27)  and He knows we need rest as part of our health and welfare! It's not really fast [spiritual] food that our bodies are craving but we really don't want to go to Him -- and He is the Only One who offers us highly nutritional, life-saving food for our souls. Jesus serves living bread and living water and promises that those who come to Him will never [spiritually] hunger or thirst again! "Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty"' (John 6:35). But it seems it seems like God is no longer Number 1, it's the church-goer!  God has  been removed from the public square and now He's getting less airtime in our  worship services.  How sad. We are trying to make God so small and our ourselves so great. How foolish of U.S. "He must increase; we must decrease." (John 3:30) If anything, we need God to be Super-sized in our hearts and minds.
May God have mercy on U.S.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
Polly

P.S. I thank the LORD God Almighty that He has abundantly blessed my beloved hubby and me to be  members of a church that only serves the Living Bread and the Living Water. Our souls are satisfied! All glory to God!

Graphics in this post: Copyright 2012 Shutterstock
 
 

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Sista is Truth Hungry

“..the truth will set you free”
John 8:32
 
Hey Sistas, does any of this sound familiar?
She has a major case of battle fatigue from believing lies from her dark enemy. She’s been absorbing these lifelong lies about herself: that she’s worthless, good-for-nothing, and unforgiveable. She is truth hungry! Sometimes it’s so hard for her to feed herself the truth of God’s word because she’s exhausted from trying to resist the deceitful voices screaming in her head. Sometimes she gives into the lies and then clothes herself in guilt, shame, fear and anxiety. Her weariness wakes up her old belief system and it creates sleepless nights. Even her daylight hours seem to drag on and on.
However, since she’s a Christ-follower, this doesn’t happen to her every day, it’s just when she doesn’t put on the spiritual armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).  “If you hold onto my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
The blood of her Savior Jesus Christ has washed her clean and He delivered her from a deep dark abyss. Her relentless enemy –the enemy of all of God’s people – lies to her so she’ll fall back into her dark pit of despair. He thinks he can rob Jesus of this adorable trophy of His grace. But that’s not going to happen.  She is a follower of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ and He says of His sheep, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). She is no longer a pit dweller; she lives in “green pastures” and Jesus “restores her soul” (Psalm 23:2-3). 
She has the Holy Spirit living inside of her and He reminds her to put her eyes back on Jesus, the source of all truth. “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
She cries out to God in prayer and He always hears her. She begins to feed herself on the truth of Scripture. “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17). He reminds her of His love and faithfulness. “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). He is her sovereign protector. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). He is compassionate. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). He removes her fears. “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) He is good to her. “Taste and see that the LORD is good and blessed is the [sista] man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8). He promises to “surround [her] me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7). And He does. He turns her “mourning into gladness” (Jeremiah 31:13).
 
She sings. “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and game me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:1-3). The sista has been fed  the truth of God’s word. Yes, it is the LORD who  “fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9) and once more….HE IS GLORIFIED!
And all the sistas shout: Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS name together!” (Psalm 34:3)
 
--Polly Balint Copyright 2012 Totally Devoted 3
 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Time To Take Off Our Grave Clothes, Sistas!

Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha (John 11:19) is the man who was dead for four days in a dark tomb before Jesus brought him back to life. He was buried in a cave with a huge stone rolled in front of the entrance. Think about this, Lazarus wasn't dead for just one minute -- where today people in hospitals have been revived with machines after being pronounced dead for a minute or two. No, Lazarus wasn't dead for one hour, or even one day. He was dead for four days! Jesus went to his gravesite and told Lazarus' grieving family and friends to "Take away the stone." (John 11:39). 
Then "Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go."' (John 11:43-44). Wow. Immediately Jesus had him take off his grave clothes. Hmmm. When He changes us, it is a radical change inside which affects the outside!
Jesus called Lazarus by his name. "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...His sheep follow Him because they know His voice." (John 10:3-4). When He wants to overrule things on earth, such as the fact that dead people cannot hear; His Spirit enables us to hear Him! Lazarus was dead and yet he heard the voice of the Lord call him to life!
Jesus calls spiritually dead people every day to become spiritually alive in Him. Has He called your name? God is the one who opens our ears and our hearts to hear Him as He sovereignly chooses. "But you are a chosen people...belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)
As we can see with Lazarus, when He calls we are changed! "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are alive! What are we doing with this amazing gift of life in Christ? Especially in America -- "for such a time as this" -- what are we doing with all the privileges of our new life in Christ?
Those of us who have a new life in Christ need to take off our 'grave clothes' -- which is actually the will to "throw off  everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1). We're talking here about walking away from depression, fear, anxiety, worry, negative thinking, darkness, and self-centerness. There is work to be done in this dark world and we have to be spiritually radiant to serve our Lord! He tells us "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That is abundance of life. Abundance of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,  goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22)! This is the fruit of the Spirit of God living in each one of His children! We are not the living dead!
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)
So have you changed yet? Let's take off those old grave clothes and put on our God-given, God-designed wardrobe called the Armor of God! (Ephesians 6:10-18). When we're His we receive the privilege of dressing in His Designer Wear!
Since we are speaking spiritually here, this outfit is custom-tailored, it will never wear out and most if all,  it will never go out of style!  Besides that, we read, "...put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13) God gives us everything we need. What more could a faithful sista in Christ ask for?
No one else can do what the Lord can do.
 
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!"
Polly


Copyright 2012 Totally Devoted 3 by Polly Balint
Book Cover Photo Copyright 2012 Polly Balint
"Love That Restores" art by Christine J. Cruz

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Maybe God's People Should be Asking Ourselves

Today, along with many Americans, I've been prayerfully remembering the horrific, massive attack of 9/11/01 on the United States of America. Our country has tremendously suffered and continues to grieve over the excruciating loss of so many loved ones.
I've watched special programming tonight on TV, of videos and interviews. Air traffic controllers shared emotional testimonies -- from that nightmare of a day -- of their sense of helplessness as they listened to flight attendants on the radio calling for help because one of the pilots had his throat sliced open. Other audio recordings were of the voices of flight attendants giving physical descriptions of the terrorists on their plane. The graphic films on the devastation were hightlighted on several TV stations tonight. It brought me back to the day it happened and so many films exposed the graphic aftermath of death, destruction, and countless survivors on street corners in New York City who were anxiously showing pictures of their lost loved ones. It went on and on with sad testimonies of firemen, policemen and NYC officials. Watching these various progams to honor the heroes and remember the event was heartbreaking... all over again. We should remember!
If this widespread, crushing event of 9/11-- an all-out brutal attack on our country -- did not birth a Spiritual Awakening in U.S., what will it take to turn our hearts back to GOD, as a nation? LORD, have mercy on U.S.
As a child of God, have you thought about this question?  What is it going to take for us to turn our hearts back to God? What is the United States of America going to have to endure to experience a Spiritual Revival? I'm just asking a question here. I am a child of God and I am American citizen. I love God and I love my country. What should we do, my brothers and sistas? What do we need to do, NOW?   (2 Chronicles 7:14)
May GOD have mercy on U.S.
Polly

Friday, July 13, 2012

Intro to Week #6 Polly's Summer Book Club

Hello My Sistas!
Here we are at Week #6 of our six-week summer cyber sistas study! Whew! Read that again really fast. On second thought, I'm just kidding.


I hope you have been enlightened and encouraged in your study of God's word with Beth Moore's book, Living Free.  The LORD promises that when His word "goes out of my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). Sistas, I have to ask you this: Do you have your confidence in God and in His word? Is He your firm foundation or are you easily shaken and frightened? Is your relationship with God growing and enriching your life? Are you seeing more and more of His greatness and goodness as you spend time with Him? There is no god like our God! I pray we all will nurture and protect our relationship with our Lord and glorify Him with our joy and satisfaction of being HIS! Yes!
I love my sistas!
Polly

You are invited to a community-wide devotional study and encouraged to bring a friend! A devotional study of my first book, Totally Devoted, is scheduled to begin  August 7, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Canton, GA. Childcare is available.  For more information please visit: www.mtzionwomen.com .
I hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Intro to Week #5 Polly's Summer Book Club

Hello, Sweet Sistas! Here is the introduction to Week #5 of our 6-Week online community of sistas summer book club! I hope I am being a good cheerleader and encouraging you to find life, love, hope and peace by seeking the face of God through the faithful study His word and a ever-growing prayer life! 



Week #5 is entitled Experiencing God' Peace.

Day 1 -- The Key to Peace --Please remember we are on a spiritual journey and seeking to know God better is a process! Please also remember that peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and the only way to have any spiritual fruit is to spend a lot of time with the LORD -- through the study of His Word and having a faithful prayer life!

Day 2 -- Why So Reluctant -- Maybe we don't have peace because we don't really trust God to meet our needs and we try to take control. That is can be very stressful! "Peace is submission to a trustworth Authority, not resignation from activity." -- Beth Moore  What are your thoughts, Sistas?

Day 3 --  Overcoming Feeling Unloved -- "We eachhave our unmet needs and we carry them around all day long like an empty cup to the people in our lives and say, 'Can somebody please fill this? Even a tablespoon would help!'"  Yikes. Only God can fill up our neediness of  approval, control, success, immediate gratification.

Day 4 -- The Obstacle of Prayerlessness -- "It's time to roll away the stone of prayerlessness. It is the most prhibitive obstacle in the road to a believer's victory, no matter what our specific pursuit may be." -- Beth Moore

Day 5 -- One Way to Peace -- "Christ came to set the captive free. Satan coms to make the free captive." -- Beth Moore.

What are your thoughts, Sistas? Please feel free to comment (below) on this blog post.
Love & blessings,
Polly

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Are You Driving With Your Lights On?

"Are You Driving with Your Lights On?" is an excerpt from the upcoming devotional book, Totally Devoted 3 by Polly Balint. Publication date is is targeted for late September 2012.

Our country is recklessly driving down the road to Babylon, in my opinion. We used to be joyfully carpooling and faithfully driving the speed limit--so to speak--obeying all the laws on the King's Highway that leads to LIFE.
However! We have turned off the road that takes us there. We have made a wrong turn because we have been driving in the dark without our lights on. Jesus is the Light and we, as a nation, don't think we need Him anymore. So, here we are, in the dark, America, where we seem to be doing what's right in our own eyes! We, with law-breaking speed, are accelerating toward the town of Captivity; also known as Babylon. Babylon is the place where God judges blatant, rebellious, ongoing sin. So after much patience and compassion, He rises up in His righteousness and judges rebellion and sin. For God's people there is always Hope--and our hope is in His Son Jesus. Please read (2 Chronicles 7:14).
May God have mercy on US.
For His Glory,
Polly
Copyright 2012 Totally Devoted 3 by Polly Balint.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Intro to Week #4 Polly's Summer Study Book Club

Hello Sweet Sistas!
Here's the introduction video to Week #4 entitled, "To Find Satisfaction in God." 


Wow! How about this quote from Beth Moore -- right off the bat on Day 1-- "I believe lack of satisfaction is the hidden scandal of modern Christianity. Though we we would not think of admitting it, many Christians are not satisfied with Jesus."  

Day 2 -- "God intends for  us to find satisfaction in Him--complete, lasting, soul-quenching, emptiness-filling satisfaction."

Day 3 --"You can easily recognize the signals the body give, but great wisdom lies in learning to discern the signals your spiritual nature gives."

Day 4 --"Christians can be miserably dissatisfied if they accept Christ's salvation yet reject the fullness of a daily relationship that satisfies."

Or what are your thoughts on Beth's comment on Day 5: "We need to find true satisfaction to fill our unmet needs. If we try to dislodge idols in our own strength, we will become defeated and deluded. If we find satisfaction in Jesus, the idols lose their power." What are your thoughts on that statement alone?

I hope you are enlightened and encouraged with the material as God guides and leads you through each lesson! Please feel free to comment and ask questions below on this blog post.

With love and thankfulness for you!
Polly

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Intro for Week #3 Polly's Summer Online Book Club Study


Hello Sistas! Here's the introduction to Week #3 of Beth Moore's book, Living Free! I pray you are being nourished by studying the word of God this summer.
The theme of this week's material is "To Glorify God" and that is certainly our desire. May God be glorified by our willingness to stop our busyness of activities this summer to draw near to Him. May He strengthen, encourage, and bring us more and more joy in Him because we want to know Him better. For His glory...and our good. I pray even our own families will be richly blessed because we are seeking Him in this season!
Please don't hesitate to make comments and/or ask questions on this blog. Just look below this video and see the 'Post A Comment' section. Go for it, Sistas!
Love & blessings,
Polly

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Info for Week #2 Summer Online Book Club Study

Hey Sistas! Here is the intro and (hopefully) encouragement to help all of us to 'keep on keepin on' in the Word of God this summer! We need Him in every season! I pray God will use this six weeks of seeking God's face as an online community of sistas --- for His glory and for our good! Yes, may it be so, LORD!


Please feel free to make comments and ask questions -- no matter what week you are "in" as we march our way through Beth Moore's book, Living Free.  You may have a question that other sistas want an answer to, too! Or your comment may be words another sista needs to hear at that moment.
We are the body of Christ! Let's build each other up so the light will get brighter and brighter! "Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!" (Psalm 34:3).
With all His love in me that I can muster up,
Polly

Friday, June 8, 2012

Polly's Summer Study Book Club Week #1 Comments

Hello Dear Sistas!
Here we are in Week #1 of  study book club! Yay!
I wanted to let you know I'm praying that God will be glorified by our efforts to seek Him in this six-week study! Please remember, the beauty of doing a book study online with a community of sistas is that it is a healthy and refreshing way to stay accountable and spiritually grounded during our very busy summer activities! Please feel free to make comments here and ask questions!
We must stay close to our LIFEguard-- His name is JESUS! HE is our Loving Stronghold, Refuge & Deliverer!
There is NO GREATER REFRESHMENT for us this summer than to dive into a book study that exposes deep, dark, tormenting strongholds such as fear and unbelief! When the darkness is brought to light -- we can expect restoration, redemption, renewal and revival...so let's look to God for that immeasurable grace and mercy to restore our souls with freedom and abundant life!

(Day 1) On page 10, Beth Moore says, "Satanic strongholds invade our lives whenever we allow something to appear bigger than God...burn into your heart the fact that strongholds come from false ideas. Though we must deal with demonic strongholds, we can be encouraged when we remember that they are only lies and deception." Amen to that, Sistas.
Hey, the next time you get a negative thought, tell yourself, "This is a lie.God wouldn't say such things to me! I am His daughter!" And move on. In fact, if you are struggling and you don't know what the root of your troubled spirit is, please prayerfully ask God if you have a deceiving stronghold --you know -- something that is hindering your joy? Ask Him to reveal it to you so you can BE FREE! It may or may not be a long process but being a follower of Jesus is a life-long journey. And we know He is faithful and loves His girls unconditionally. I did that very thing a few years ago and He revealed strongholds that were hindering me from living free and living abundantly. He is faithful and HE will do it. Just ask Him.

What did you all think about (Day 2) -The Primary Battlefield?  Beth Moore wrote (page 11) : "When the enemy wages war against us, the primary battlefield is the mind....The enemy knows far better than we do that nothing is bigger or more powerful than God, but if satan can get you to believe his lies, he wins."  You know, since Jesus disarmed the forces of evil - whenever we crumble in fear over negative thoughts - we're choosing to bow to lies. HELLO! We have to stop doing that and believe that our God is Greatness! Comments, Sistas?

(Day 3) -- What's Wrong With Human Effort? Beth wrote: "Human intuition points us to what just seems right but the things of God are seldom intuitive. In fact, often you would be better to figure out what comes naturally and then do the opposite." (Isaiah 55:8).   Comments?
What are your thoughts on praying through Psalm 86? WOW. Have you tried reading it aloud? WOW. It's beautiful. When I do that I am preaching words of power to myself. Try it!

(Day 4) --The Weapons of our Warfare. It seems to me there are two key weapons we to include in our arsenal: 1-believe that our spiritual warfare really IS spiritual! Our enemies are not people, places or things -- our enemy is a spiritual being named the devil! So we should not be attacking people; verbally or otherwise, we should be praying and looking to God for deliverance; 2-We should be constantly meditating on the word of God. Beth Moore calls them"two sticks of dynamite with which to demolish our strongholds!" And while we're holding onto the dynamite by faith we should, of course, be wearing our spiritual armor of Gos (Ephesians 6:10-18). Cool stuff, huh?

(Day 5) -- Keep Your Focus. Whew! Here's a challenging command! To faithfully, constantly fix our eyes on Jesus, I think we have to prayerfully renew our minds! There are so many distractions in our lives that want to drag us away from thoughts of God found in Philippians 4:8!!  We definitely need the power of God at work in us to keep our focus. I've heard a pastor say, "Stinkin' thinkin' leads to lousy livin'!"

 I would LOVE to hear your comments! Meanwhile, stay close to Him and connected to this amazing sistahood. We are the body of Christ!
You all are so precious and I love you.
Polly


Monday, June 4, 2012

Info for Week #1 Summer Online Book Study

Hello Sistas!
Here's the introduction for you to get started on Week #1 DEMOLISHING STRONGHOLDS, in our online community summer book study: "Living Free" by Beth Moore. Each week includes five lessons. Please feel free at any time to comment and/or ask questions on my blog. I also invite you to "Join My Blog" on the right panel of this blog page. (Click down.) You'll receive updates on your own email.


"It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
be burdened by a yolk of slavery."
(Galatians 5:1)

Love & blessings to you all!
Polly

Friday, June 1, 2012

Getting Ready! Sistas' Summer 6-week Book Club/Study

Hello Sistas!
Tuesday, June 5, is the date targeted to launch our 6-week summer book club/study online! Our study material is a small workbook, "Living Free" by Beth Moore. Even if you are not going to join our community study, I encourage you to study it on your own or even create your own group. It is an excellent study! Of course it is, it's Beth Moore! :)
Each Tuesday for 6 weeks, I plan to post a very brief  video welcoming you to the study and making a few comments.I'll briefly go over the outline of the first week and then you all will have a week -- on your own timetable -- to complete 5-day lessons. Then please come back here to my blog and hopefully you'll get some encouragement to press on and dig deeper. As I mentioned, this is an excellent study.
I encourage you to visit my blog anytime you want to make a comment, statement or ask questions. Any time! When you visit this blog and scroll down there is a place to sign in an make comments.You can see what the other sistas are thinking and learning and we'll work as a community of sistas seeking the LORD together!
For more information please scroll down -- there are two more blog posts about our study.
Let's pray God will be glorified by our desires and efforts to seek HIS face together and that we'll grow in grace and knowledge! Please feel free to invite others to join us!
I am excited! Well, as you can see, I need to get back to preparing. I have a little video to make, too!
I love you all!
Polly
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS Name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sista Gatherings

I have been honored, privileged and abundantly blessed to lead Bible study gatherings for women for a few years now. We gather to meet with the LORD, to study His word, and of course, with to meet with each other. That's when His presence, love, joy and favor show up, too. It just happens. Since there's always so much of His love in our gatherings, the times are so sweet and the women connect.
Personally, my deal is that God gives me such a love for you sistas that I connect with who you are and, Dear One, if I call you my sista then you have blessed my life by being part of it. If you have ever attended any event: marketplace study, prayer group, neighborhood study, worship at church, women's conferences, commented on my books, or written on this blog or FB page, then you are my sista.
I explain in this brief video that when I call you my sista there is no requirement, no fee, no membership, no private club, no roll call, just a open invitation to join me in this journey along with a growing group of sistas who are hungry for God. Our gatherings are often hilarious in lighter moments, tearful during discussions of our joys and our pains, and sighs of relief when we talk about the grace and mercy of God.  When we are seeking God's face there's a whole lotta stretching goin' on as He reveals things about ourselves that makes us squirm. Ouch. "Me, Lord?" Oh yes, sistas have passion to pray. Yep. Sistas gotta pray. It is the LORD God who is our Security and our Source of Life and we call in His Name.
Yes, sistas sometimes stumble and struggle as we seek to live the lifestyle of following Jesus Christ described in 1 Corinthians 10:31: "So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
And so, LORD willing, we continue to gather...for His glory...and our good!
Love & blessings,
Polly


Schedule of Gatherings
June 5 -- Polly's Summer Book Study begins ONLINE at this site. Visit here for my brief video introduction each week. (Please see blog post below for more information or go to: http://sites.google.com/site/mtzionwomensministry/summer-online-bible-study

June 7 -- The HOPE Center, Woodstock, GA (Devotional study with staff.)

June 16 -- Sunnyside Church of God Women's Ministry Meeting & Brunch,  10 a.m.-noon

August 7 -- Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Totally Devoted study begins, childcare available. http://sites.google.com/site/mtzionwomensministry/totally-devoted



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Polly's Summer 2012 Book Club Study

Hello, Sistas!
Since most of us are on a summer break from our regular Bible studies, I'd like to invite you to join me in a six-week book club kind of study -- on your own and online! The study material is "Living Free" by Beth Moore. It's a passionate study -- of course -- that dives deeply into the word of God and deeply into our hearts -- if we're willing to go there!
I personally went through this study several years ago on my own and used it as a personal prayer and devotional time to purge dross and spend very precious time with my Lord every day! I absolutely loved the experience. In fact, I was so blessed by this study that I am thrilled that I'm going to study this book again this summer! This time I am inviting you to join me.
The small, paperback book is power-packed with truths and insights. It can be purchased online @ amazon.com (among other sites) and @ Lifeway Christian Stores. The cost is about $10.

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If you don't want to participate in this community, I still encourage you to get the book and either study on your own, or create your own study group this summer. You'll be glad you did! However, if you decide to join  this community to study together, I will be sharing six "conversations" with you on this blog --since it's a six week study and each weekday has lessons.
I would LOVE to meet you back at this blogspot once a week to hear how Beth Moore's gifted teaching --and the Spirit of God have blessed you and awakened you to new and wonderful insights about yourself and our Lord!
I am planning to post my first "facilitator" post the first Tuesday in of June and then for the next five Tuesdays after that. Every time I post comments or questions I am hoping you will respond so we can get an edifying dialogue going about the contents of this book and how God is using it in our lives! So please, I would love to hear your comments!
So for all you busy moms, you sistas on vacations, and those who have to crunch very tight schedules -- you are not limited by what time of day to study and prepare to participate! It's your schedule! Yay!
Oh, Sistas, let's keep on seeking God in every season! I pray you and your families will have a restful, joyful summer!
Love & blessings,
Polly


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Whose Agenda Has Filled Up Our Personal Calendar?

Women want to be free. Free of heavy burdens of bondage like:  struggling to measure up to the world's ever-changing standards instead of God's expectations, smothering guilt, lonliness, debilitating anxiety  and stress. Women want to be free to live fully, love passionately and laugh hilariously. But I believe most women are worn out because we  accept lies about ourselves and so we overcommit to keep from being judged. We want to please. Most women are flat worn out trying to keep up with hectic daily schedules. It seems to be the American Way.
On the other hand, let's face it, Sistas, sometimes the reason we're worn out is because we'll always find time to do what WE WANT to do but when it comes time to do something we SHOULD we say we don't have time. No? Hmmmmmm. Well, whose agenda has filled up our personal calendar: God's or our own? Do we ever say to ourselves, "Sorry, I'm just too busy!" or "Where did the time go?" or "How am I ever going to get everything done?"

(Please note: I am not talking about emergencies that sovereignly and abruptly change our daily schedules. I'm talking about the woman who has taken ownership of  the lie that she has to live and perform as  Super Mom and never allows herself to rest.  She's the Woman of Fear, who is a reluctant but faithful people pleaser and will not say, "No" even when she is fully aware God has already filled up her calendar with HIS will for her.)Why do we stockpile commitments like loads of dirty laundry? A bad Habit. Outside influences. Our own thoughts. I don't know.
Who really is the one fills in our personal calendars with lunch dates, coffee dates, trips to the mall, long phone conversations, extended music lessons, ball team commitments and practices, neighborhood committee meetings, club membership meetings, addictive hours of  those insulting reality shows on Cable TV, and even obessive hours spent on  social networking?
Who of us, Sistas, will  tune out all of the worldly TV comedy/dramas and tune into God and His word? Do we say, "Yes" to invitations and commitments when we really don't sense God putting it on our heart to do these things? Do you have people in your life who pull on you and strongly urge you to come and meet their needs? Are they impatient with their requests? Are they considering your situation at all or do they just demand that you come and do something for them?
Jesus often dealt with anxious people who needed healing, they begged Him to follow them somewhere, to heal them instantly and they actually pressed into Him in crowds. However the teachings in the Bible clearly show the world that:
1- Jesus was never in a hurry.
2-Jesus was never ruled or controlled by His circumstances.
3-Jesus was riveted to obeying the voice and instruction of His Heavenly Father, God. His obedience to God gave Him joy, peace, strength, love, power, supernatural knowledge and wisdom.
4-Jesus' agenda was God's agenda for Him. His social calendar and His personal calendar were filled up by God's will for Him. And because of that Jesus always had peace because He put His life, His time, His talents, His treasures in God's hands and followed Him.
Whoa. And Jesus, my precious Sistas, is our role model, our example of how to live an abundant life in Christ! We can read in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about the multitudes who followed the Savior and sort of pulled at Him to do something for them.
Do we only 'pencil in' a daily personal devotional time with our LORD so that if something else -- like a personal desire -- comes up we'll postpone our study and prayer time? Ooops. "Seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33). He does meet our needs when we are spiritually drawing from our heavenly Source of Supply.
To be quiet and be still (Psalm 46:10) is the secret that will clean out our cluttered calendars. We can pray and ask Him what are we supposed to do with our time? Then prayerfully wait for the answer. That's the only way we can hear Him -- to be still and listen with our hearts for His voice. That is how we can be free to live the abundant life God has for each one of us. Then the blessings of peace, joy and love begin to flow.
A beautiful portrayal of this is found in Luke 10:38-42. It's a familiar, brief  passage, and in my opinion it's piercing truth  about women's tendencies. Martha invited Jesus to come to her home. As most hostesses tend to do, she was scurrying about  and was "distracted by all the preparations that had to be made" (Luke 10:40). Distracted? Yes. Hmmm. She also seemed to be angry that her sister Mary who "sat at Jesus' feet listening to what he said" was not frantically helping her in the preparations. Instead, because Mary was resting herself at the feet of Jesus, she was very relaxed. Hmmm. Mary stopped what she was doing,  tuned into the words and presence of Jesus and she was peaceful. Time with her LORD was a priority on her calendar.
And Martha? Dear  Martha hastily asked Jesus, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10 :40).
Jesus, in total submission to His Father in heaven, said, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42). Wow. That's true riches of joy, love, peace....freedom!



God has put a love in my heart for my Sistas. All of my Sistas everywhere! My heart is filled with gratitude to God for continuing to teach me how to make my personal calendar clutter free. It's a long journey but I'm slowly learning! That is to say, I have prayed and asked God to show me how to serve him wholeheartedly.
I pray and tell Him I want to be free and live that "abundant life" He promises His children (John 10:10).  Yes, I want to bring glory to God by living freely, loving passionately and laughing hilariously in this life and I want that for you, too. I really do. Which is why I share what's on my heart -- with you.
May GOD be glorified!
Love,
Polly