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,, 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)

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!

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,

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
Merry Christmas Everyone!