Life & Faith Beyond the Storybook Image with Speaker & Writer Brenda L. Yoder
I’m excited to share a new Bible Study with you by friend Cindy Bultema, a writer, speaker, bible teacher and mom. Cindy grew up in a non-Christian home with an atheist father and spent her time in unsatisfying relationships and doing drugs. It wasn’t until she overdosed and almost died from a cocaine overdose in 1996 that she realized she needed God in her life.
From that moment, she dedicated her life to Christ and became active in her church and realized a passion of teaching and talking with women about faith.
Cindy loves the Lord, loves her family, and loves life! She lives in Michigan with her husband and their four children. With over 15 years of experience in ministry, Cindy has trained leaders and created programs within a variety of settings. Cindy is also a sought-after speaker, Bible teacher, blogger, and encourager. Her story of faith after the tragic death of her fiancé is told in the Day of Discovery DVD “He Loves Me.”
She’s the author of a new bible study, Red Hot Faith that you can start with women in your church or community. Here’s more about the study:
In Cindy’s new 8-week study, Red Hot Faith: Lessons from a Lukewarm Church, Bultema discusses the “what ifs” of pursuing a life of Red Hot Faith.
“After reflecting on these ‘what ifs,’ I now have a passionate, burning desire to share these truths with others, even if it means leaving my comfort zone far behind” says Bultema.
In Red Hot Faith, you unpack Revelation 3:14-22, Jesus’ letter to the lukewarm church in Laodicea. How was the church in Laodicea “lukewarm”? How do you see this tepid attitude in today’s culture?
Laodicea was an extremely wealthy city known for three major industries: a banking center, a textile industry, and a respected medical school. Imagine the Kingdom impact the Laodicean church could have made with visitors traveling to this thriving city from all across the land. Yet, the church members of Laodicea were self-sufficient, self-absorbed, and arrogant. Their faith was useless, and they lived just like everyone else, making no difference at all. Like the Laodiceans, our current culture also affirms self-sufficiency and self-absorption. If we are not intentional, we too may experience a lackluster, lukewarm faith.
In preparation for Red Hot Faith, you traveled to the ruins of Ancient Laodicea. What did you discover about the city of Laodicea when you visited there that illuminated the passage?
The more we understand the city of Laodicea, the more Christ’s message in Revelation 3:14-22 comes alive! One thing clarified in the ancient ruins was the city’s prime location on a Roman trade route. Due to the mountains and valleys of the land, travelers had to trek straight through the city of Laodicea. I believe the church of Laodicea was strategically placed on this Roman road for maximum Kingdom influence. So no wonder Jesus was disgusted with this church. Rather than looking for ways to extend hospitality or share an encouraging word, the church’s self-sufficient, self-absorbed attitude led to minimal effectiveness and missed opportunities.
In Session 1, you share very openly your personal testimony. How did a “girl next door” like you end up abusing drugs and almost dying from a drug overdose?Read More
Her brothers carried her boxes out to the car. She asked an honest question, “Is there anything else I need to know?’
Her dad joked and said, “Nope, you’ll do fine.”
I looked into her eyes and I saw fear behind the questions.
Though she went to a university eleven hours away and has traveled internationally, there’s something different today. She’s moving to a new city ten hours away, taking her first “big girl” job as a college graduate.
God’s provided an apartment for her with a family she knows. What’s the fuss?
Kenny Chesney says it best, “There goes my life.”
It’s that feeling I got the first time I dropped her off at her grandma’s house when she was four weeks old so I could get groceries.Read More
The summer’s gone, another school year begins. As an educator and counselor, my life revolves around summer vacations and the school calendar.
And this summer was the weirdest ever.
I’ll be honest. I’ve been extra irritable. I even “lost it”a few times.
“Losing it”means verbal vomiting on whoever triggered the upsurge of emotions. Usually it’s a child or spouse. Or both.
I haven’t done it for a really long time. It’s especially frustrating because I write, speak and counsel on making healthy choices.
But I’m human, and even humans lose it.
I finally figured out why. Summer at our house has been weird. It’s the only word to describe it.
“Weird”means I have a university graduate, a returning college student, a high schooler and a middle schooler. It means I go through emotions of releasing my kids and having them return as adults who make their own decisions and who don’t like to be told what to do.
It means the whole family’s home but never at the same time.
They come and go but I don’t know who’s where.
There’s less food and more clutter and I can’t keep up.
I’m stretched but trying to hold it together.
I feel like I’m losing it, and on some days I do.
Then, I feel horrible.
Read the rest of this post hereRead More
It’s my privilege to share this story my daughter wrote from one of her recent trips to Hope Of Life International, Zacapa, Guatemala. Kaylee’s spent seven months in the last two years in the mountains of Zacapa.
I want to share the story of an everyday unsung hero of mine. My friend’s story has been on my heart for awhile but has taken me time to find the words to do his extraordinary testimony justice.
Our unlikely friendship formed over a bachata song. I recently discovered my love for the Latin-American singer Prince Royce a few months before moving to Guatemala. He sings bachata music and I thought his popular song Quiero Darte un Beso could be the national anthem of Guatemala because I heard it several times a day in Guatemala whether booming loudly from a bus, drifting out a window while walking through Llano Verde, or while being serenaded by Lolo, a 7 year old from the children’s home.
In January 2014, I was spending one of my first days in Kelly’s House, the home for special needs children at Hope of Life Ministries in Zacapa, Guatemala. I found myself in a room with three boys – Juan Diego, Mesiel, and Chalito. I asked Chalito, the oldest of the three, if he liked music because I noticed a CD player on the table beside his bed. He responded enthusiastically. Not knowing what else to do as I stared at the three disabled boys, I picked a Spanish song on my iPod and pressed play. I talked to the other boys but quickly turned around as I heard Chalito singing quietly along to the music . “Do you like bachata?” I asked. “Si,” he replied, “It’s my favorite.” He proceeded to sing every word to all the songs I had in my library of Latino music.
This was the start of an unlikely friendship that has impacted me in more ways then one.
Chalito has severe cerebral palsy. Both legs are permanently twisted to one side entirely inhibiting his ability to walk. His back is so rigid it limits his capacity to bend properly. His arms are permanently bent inward toward his shoulders which allows only for slight movement with his arms. He cannot walk, sit up, or feed himself on his own. Despite his physical shortcomings, he has an infectious, wide smile that only momentarily leaves his face as he is painfully lifted into his wheelchair, and a joy that brightens everyone’s day.
What impacted me the most about my extraordinary friend is that he is 22 years old.
22 years old.
That’s my age. Our lives are vastly different. I just graduated from college and am transitioning into adult life. I have the greater freedoms to go and do what I want. I have the freedom to walk, run, bike, dance, eat when I’m hungry, and sit down when I am tired.Read More
I’m posting today at Whatever Girls on 5 Truths For Raising Confident Girls in Today’s Culture. Don’t miss this important post. Read it here.
I’m having a bible study at my home this school year once a month on Mondays from 9-11. Details still being made. If child care is essential for you to come, let me know. I will look into hiring a babysitter based on the essential needs and numbers, so there would be shared cost for a sitter. If you’re interested, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking forward to studying God’s word and encouraging moms!
And where is my house? Shipshewana, IN – I’ll share location privately in a message or email. I’d love to see you!
It’s only Tuesday.
My kids started school. Robin Williams took his life. A friend buried a baby.
All night I’ve been listening to Sandy Patti’s “We Shall Behold Him” because I was ushered into the presence of Jesus today during the funeral service of a little baby. My friend shared her intimate journey with Jesus from the moment she learned of the unexpected pregnancy that soon was diagnosed with complications. The baby was ushered into the presence of the King before she ever took a breath.
I heard the complete meaning of the words sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) as my friend honored her Savior and Lord, her Hope, her King, her Glory.
I rejoice in the knowledge and complete beauty of Jesus, my Savior, who’s the victor and crown in death. I grieve the sadness of their loss, but even more the countless thousands who suffer from mental illness and don’t know the freedom of life in Christ, of His complete love, grace and fullness.
I’m reminded that life isn’t about death, it’s about Jesus.
Tonight, I really just long to see Him face to face.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV
It’s been a long time since I’ve really written. From the heart.
Heart writing requires time – time to reflect, time to write down what whispers in your soul.
I don’t know where to start – whether to write about standing in the Charleston slave market or on the battlefield at Manassas. Both are hallowed ground with stories to be told. Lives and lessons never to forget.
Or whether to write about the second time in a month a baby’s life has ended before it began.
Or whether to write about the woman set free from bondage and burdens and filled with the Holy Spirit before my eyes.
They’re all moments when you see a glimpse of God in both joy and sorrow.
When God’s grace gives peace in the midst of heartache.
As a student of history, people, and God, I’m learning how big God is and how little we make Him.
I’m learning throughout His story (history), life’s been complicated. I’m learning how much we limit GodRead More
It’s not something bound by four walls or family origin.
“Home is where the heart is.”
“I feel at home there.”
“This is my second home.”
“I’m going home.”
“Home, sweet, home.”
“They went home to be with the Lord.”
We all need a place we can call home, a place where our spirit is peaceful, where we feel comfortable and at rest. Where all seems right with the world.
Where striving ceases and calm remains.Read More
I often share my testimony with women about my almost-near disastrous relationship with my only daughter. Five years ago I made hard decisions to change my lifestyle and behavior so I could salvage our relationship when she was a teen. She’s a recent college graduate whose heart and desire is for the Lord. God has worked His grace and power in our home and family.
I’ve shared a lot of things with moms of girls over the years – young moms exasperated with small kids, moms raising preteens fearful of the path their daughter might take, and moms in the trenches with teen girls. Here are twenty things I often share that I’m glad I did in raising a girl, and twenty things I would do over.
20 Things I’d Do Again
Read the rest of the post here at Whatever Girls.Read More
As you’re reading this, I’m somewhere in Virginia on a road trip with my youngest child. It’s hard to believe it’s the last one – last child, last road trip, last summer to make these memories.
The road trips began as a dream. When my firstborn was a little girl, we read the Little House on the Prairie chapter books together. I dreamed of taking her on a road trip to the locations in the stories, a mother-child excursion while she was young enough to like me. A trip of innocence before the unknowns of adolescence stole my child away.
So ten years ago, she and I set off to her destination of choice – Williamsburg and Jamestown, VA.
Though we fought the first three days, by the time we’d toured plantations and seen Monticello, we sang Weird Al Yankovic songs all the way home. It wasn’t the perfect trip, but we made memories.
Being a fair-minded first-born, Baby Girl thought it was only right her three brothers took a rights-of-passage trip with mom.Read More