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All about Judy / Encouraging Words

madelynne and talent show 2
(Adapted from Grandkids Say the Cutest Things,
by Karen O’Connor – Harvest House Publishers)

My granddaughter, Madelynne, was excited about her solo in her school’s talent show.
She’d been anticipating this night for weeks. She looked absolutely darling
in her shiny top, black leggings, and sparkling pink flip-flops.

As she fidgeted from one foot to the next, in true stagehand style, I applied her
blush and glittering eye shadow. Then I whispered in her ear, “You look like a rock star!”

Madelynne gave me a big, confident smile, tossed her hair back and said, “Grandma,
when I’m famous I’m going to give you a backstage pass.”

I can hardly wait.

Grandchildren are the crown of old (women)
Proverbs 17:6

Changing You, Little by Little.


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All about Judy / Encouraging Words

You Are Now Leaving Whine Country.

(as seen on 8-13-2011)



I was telling my daughter Jennifer about the beautiful drive through wine country in our city of Temecula.

Seven-year-old Connor was sitting nearby. He looked up and asked, “Is that where people go to complain?”

We laughed and I said, “Isn’t he the cutest thing.”

Later, I thought about Connor’s remark. What if there was a place we could go to complain; not just a customer service desk or an 800-number, but a whole country where people walk around, sour looks on their faces, moaning and groaning to their heart’s content.

How long would they stay? Would they want to leave? How would they get out?

Wait a minute! I think I’ve seen that sour look. I’ve heard that moaning and groaning. It’s been me! Maybe I haven’t been verbal about it, but sometimes that complaining has taken place in my heart:

“I wish I could go to Hawaii.”
“Why can’t I be like her?”
“If I had more money, everything would be better.”
“My life is full of hard work. “
“When do I get a break?”
“He just doesn’t understand me?”
For years I cared for my Grandma Jay. My six children were younger and five were still at home, my husband worked hard to provide for us and, like many families, we went from paycheck to paycheck. Grandma lived with us until she needed more care and we had to move her to a care facility.

I would visit two or three times a week, pick up her laundry, bring her home on Sundays for family dinners and make sure she got her hair done. While I was visiting I would straighten her room. Grandma had a habit of putting food in her bedside table and it was a mess. She had given everything up and this was one way of keeping her independence, making choices, but I didn’t see that. All I saw was “stuff” that needed to be done. Well, Grandma didn’t like me straightening up; she did, “Just fine, thank you very much.”

One day she couldn’t take it anymore. Her little 98-pound frame trembled with all of the anger she could muster, and she said, “Judy, you’re enough to make a preacher swear!”

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to defend myself so bad. I was helping her for goodness sake.

Didn’t she know the sacrifices I was making?

Many people would have agreed with me. I had circumstances I could whine about. But thank God I didn’t do that.

I took her little face in my hands and said, “Grandma I’m going to love you whether you like it or not.” You know, I think I saw the corners of her mouth turn up into a smile. From then on I did the straightening up when she was in the bathroom.

Philippines 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (NAS) *

God’s Word covers every situation. Over and over we’re told to forget about ourselves and become bond-servants, slaves if you will, of Jesus and follow Him. Why? Because everyone wins. Grandma won because she received love and respect; I won because in putting her first I experienced the peace and joy that always follows acts of obedience.

I had left Whine Country and it was good.

* For further reading: John 15:10-17


Changing You, Little by Little.


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Encouraging Words / Word of the Day

Reach Out

Read Philippians 2:1-4

Mamie Adams always went to a specific post office in her town because the employees were friendly. On one busy afternoon she stopped by to purchase a few stamps. While waiting in the long line, a man pointed out that she didn’t have to wait, she could get her stamps at a machine in the lobby. “I know,” Mamie said, “but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.”

People need a tender touch. Did you know that babies who are held grow faster; that the touch of a hand lowers blood pressure; a smile releases some good hormones in your body and generally causes others to smile back? You and I are going to cross paths with people who are hot-tempered, disgruntled, impatient and discouraged. You could turn their bad day into a good one with a kind word and a smile. Dale Carnegie once said, “You may forget tomorrow the kind word you said today, but the recipient of that kind word will cherish it all their life.” I’ll bet someone comes to your mind right now who changed your life with a word of encouragement or praise.

The Bible says, “A good word makes a heart glad.” (Proverbs 12:25) Have you looked into a child’s face after you’ve praised him? Have you seen his smile; watched his face light up? You can’t see it, but his heart is glad.

There are many young people who need someone to show them how to live. There are seniors like Mamie Adams who need someone who will spend time with them. There are angry people who need a gentle word; hurting people who need a tender touch. You and I can reach out and give that to them. And when we do, hearts are happy and everyone wins!

Reach out and touch that neighbor who hates you;
Reach out and touch that stranger who meets you’
Reach out and touch the brother who needs you;
Reach out and let the smile of God touch thro’ you. –Brown

The common tasks are beautiful if we have eyes to see their shining ministry.
(Grace Noll Crowell)

Changing You, Little by Little


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Bible Study / Encouraging Words

Summer Bible Reading Challenge

Tired of deciding what Bible study to do? There are so many good ones available and if you’re like me, you want to do them all. Why not take this Summer Bible Reading Challenge? Choose a book in the Bible and read it through, verse by verse. Some days you may read two verses, some days ten, you decide. After you read, use a notebook or journal and record your answers from these basic study questions. Let me know what happens. 🙂


1. What is the passage speaking about? (2 Timothy 2:15)

2. Is there a promise of God’s? (2 Peter 1:4)

3. Is there a commandment to obey? (John 15:14)

4. Is there a sin brought to mind to confess? (1 John 1:9)

5. Is there a prayer brought to mind? ( 1 Thess. 5:17)

Changing You, Little by Little


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Bible Study / Encouraging Words

Straight Arrows

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver[1] is full of them; they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Think about arrows. Even if you don’t know a whole bunch about them, you would have to agree that a warrior wouldn’t want a weak arrow that would bend or break. When he crafted his arrow he would spend time cutting, slicing, shaping and smoothing until it was the best he could possible make. He would use the finest materials and he would make sure it was strong and straight. When he pulled that arrow from his quiver he would want to be sure his aim was true and know that this arrow would hit its mark.
God compares our children to arrows in the hand of a warrior. And He gives clear direction in their craftsmanship. Consider Deuteronomy 6:5 -7 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons (and daughters) and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
So what does that mean? Simply this. Start shaping that arrow as soon as he is born. Get down on the floor, your little one in your lap, open your Bible and teach him about his heavenly Father. Oh, he may not understand your words just yet, but he’ll see your smile and hear your voice. Take my word for it, he’ll respond as you cherish that Bible before his eyes. You can be sure he’ll have every advantage to grow up knowing how much you love the Lord Jesus and His word. You’ll be paving the way for him to love God with all of his heart and all of his soul. You want your little arrow to hit its mark.

Changing You, Little by Little.


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All about Judy / Encouraging Words

Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek him with all their heart.
Psalm 119:2family at dinner

Teresa and Mark are typical of many families today. Both have demanding jobs, their kids are active in Karate, Awana and music lessons, not to mention school each day and the homework that goes along with it. Sundays are just as busy with church and other activities most of the day. It’s not surprising that Teresa finds it hard to find any extra time. What bothers her most is that what should be top priority, time with her family members, there’s hardly any time for. Most days they spend eating dinner at the counter or grab fast food on the way to still another commitment.

Someone told Teresa, “If you see a family who has it all together, ask them what they do and copy it.” Teresa admired Hal and Claudia Baker. Something happened last week that had made her sit up and take notice. Her son Grant had spent the night with their son Randy. Grant came home raving how Mr. Baker had prayed for each one of them at dinner and then they had played something called The Alphabet Game. “Yeah Mom, it was really fun. We began with ‘A’ and went around the table thinking up names from the Bible. Did you know there’s a man named Festus in the Bible? He was a Roman governor,” he finished proudly.

Teresa called Claudia and shared her struggle. Claudia agreed, “Teresa, there’s so much in our lives that diverts us from our priorities, more now than ever before. Our kids are stressed and it will take its toll. It’s become epidemic. I heard on the news last night that there is a new movement called slow parenting. Hard to believe, but yes, there are classes on how to slow family life down.

I’ll agree, it does take a plan. We all want to teach our kids to fear God and love and revere His word. In our fast-paced world, that could end up at the bottom of our list. Our alphabet game is just the beginning. It has led to some interesting discussions about Bible characters. Some nights Hal will read an exciting story, another night one of our kids will say the prayer. We all participate and there is no negotiating. Everyone knows we will have dinner at the table as often as possible.”

Competition for our time is fierce. Whether it is
a Bible game at dinner, reading Scripture and a prayer at
breakfast or a story and praise song at bedtime, make
devotion and worship a way of life. Resources for creativity
line our bookstore shelves and are just a click away online.
Make it fun and interesting. Your kids will find themselves
in an optimum learning environment.

Practicing Faith
Father, may I be creative, personal and consistent. I
want my children to know how much they are loved by me
and by You. May our family generate an atmosphere
that will encourage them to seek You in all things.

Digging Deeper
Galatians 6:9-10

Changing You, Little by Little.


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All about Judy / Encouraging Words / Interviews


I speak for Stonecroft ministries; the outreach groups you might know as Christian Women’s Clubs. The emphasis has always been to provide a non-threatening atmosphere, a place where you can invite a friend and be sure they will hear the gospel in its entirety. Along with a delicious meal and a special feature; the event concludes promptly in an hour and a half. Even working women have found time to attend these luncheons. Spec
ial features can be anything from a fashion show to a first aid demo to a flower arranging demo. Last week I saw a gift wrapping feature and came away with tons of new and inexpensive ideas. The name for our groups has changed to Women’s Connection, but the premise remains the same. We’ve added topical and interactive talks which are very appealing to younger women and slowly the word is getting out. Most clubs offer free child care as well. Often when I look out at the faces in my audiences I see many senior citizens. I understand that; they are the ones with the time. I never let that bother me. Because if I know one thing, it’s this. It doesn’t matter if you’ve gone to church all of your life, if you’re involved in a Bible study, if you’ve lived a good and decent life and everything seems to be going very well. There is always one woman, maybe more, who has never understood that she must individually receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Judy Orange Villa Park

At these events I talk about a woman who thinks she has it all together, but deep inside she’s missing something. She’s searched for peace, for happiness,fulfillment, for meaning in life and she’s come up empty because she’s looked in all of the wrong places. Church attendance won’t do it, reading the Bible won’t do it, making a meal for your neighbor won’t do it, nor will giving to charity. Then I tell them what will do it. After each event I stand at the door and greet ladies as they leave. Here is what happened at four of the events:

Chino Hills: A woman, who was a hostess at our table, has been attending these luncheons for years and she regularly attends church. She told me emphatically, “I am that woman you talked about!”

Visalia: A woman told me, “You had me all the way. I loved your talk and it’s helped me see where I need to change.”

Temecula: There were about 120 women gathered for a Ladies Tea. A young woman had invited her mother. Her mother used to go to church, but something happened and she hasn’t stepped inside of a church for over twenty years. For some reason she came to this tea with her daughter. I was told later, “Something significant happened at our table. She was really moved like never before.”

Oakhurst: A woman came to me with tears in her eyes. She said, “I wish my son could have heard your message. He’s nineteen, into drugs and alcohol and he says he’s too far gone. It’s too late!” I gave her a CD of my story and I’m praying for this young man.

There’s something else that I know. God promises that His word will not return void. When it is proclaimed I know hearts and minds and lives change. You can count on it.

If you’re reading this and you feel like you could be that woman, please contact me. I would love to hear from you. I promise a quick reply.

Changing You, Little by Little.


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Bible Study / Encouraging Words


It’s not a bad idea to think about the day Jesus came into your life. Everyone has a story and they are all important. You should be ready to share your story. If you don’t have the facts down, this is a good worksheet to begin with. Let me know what you think. I welcome your comments and questions. Email me at


1. What was your life like before Jesus became your Lord and Savior?
(Psalm 40: 1-2)

2. What were your attitudes and feelings that made you realize you had a need?
(Psalm 63:1)


3. How did you hear about Jesus? What were the circumstances?

4. What did you do? How and when did you trust Christ?


5. How did God meet your previously stated needs? (Matthew 6:8)

6. How is He currently meeting your needs? (Philippians 4:19)

7. What changes has God made in you? (2 Cor. 5:17)

—in your home? (1 Peter 3:4)

—at work? (Col. 3:17)

—in your family? (Prov. 31:26)

—with friends? (Phil. 2:3-4)

8. What goals do you have for your life now? (Philippians 3:10)

9. What do you think are the responsibilities of every believer? (Matthew
28: 19-20, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Psalm 86:12)

Copyright 2005, Judith Scharfenberg

Changing You, Little by Little.


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Encouraging Words


Young Richard and Carol

Each morning I spend an hour with my daughter Melissa jumpstarting our day with a brisk walk. Our path is a beautiful walking trail full of singing birds, scattering rabbits, wildflowers in full bloom; once we even came upon a honeycomb buried deep in an obscure water main, and then there’s the occasional dog walker.

Today we came upon a tall boy and a short boy on their way to the school bus stop. We’d never seen them before. They must have been taking a short cut. Now, I talk to everyone, teenage boys are no exception. How ya’ doin’?” I asked.

“Fine,” one of them said. Teen-age boys are not known for their huge vocabulary.

Melissa asked, “Are you on your way to the bus stop?”

Another one word reply. “Yeah.”

We asked them what school they attend and sympathized about how early they have to get up to catch the bus. The boys did come out of their one word comfort zone and added that the kids on the bus didn’t make the ride to school very pleasant.

“Well, at least you’ve got each other,” Melissa said.

The tall boy nodded his head solemnly. “It’s called the buddy system.”

Yes, indeed. I thought about how rough school can be for anyone who is a little bit different; you know what I mean, kind of geeky, too short, too tall or maybe real quiet. I’m glad they have each other. That’s what probably has made this school year tolerable for them.

How about you? Do you have someone who walks the road with you; someone who is a great friend; someone who sticks with you through thick and thin? It’s called the buddy system.

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24b NAS

Changing You, Little by Little.


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Bible Study / Encouraging Words

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you
another Counselor to be with you forever—
John 14:16

It was early, the first gray light of dawn jut peeking over the hill outside my window. I love it when the world is still and I seem to be the only one awake. I sing, pray out loud and wait as the Word of God settles in and speaks to me. I find tears welling up in my eyes and an overwhelming sense of joy floods over me. I lift my eyes towards heaven. Oh God, how good You are. Thank you for saving me – for making me brand new – for giving me a life rich with meaning and purpose.

I remember when I didn’t care about singing and praying or reading the Word of God. I didn’t even own a Bible. From what I’d heard, those stories were fables and sounded like impossible dreams. The little I had read was confusing and hard to understand.

Then I heard about Jesus. I asked Him into my heart and I asked Him to forgive me for excluding Him from my life. I asked Him to help me and change me. As I began to read, the Bible didn’t seem so foreign anymore. It actually made some sense. Not surprising. Jesus said when He left this world for Heaven that He would send a Counselor to be with believers forever. This Counselor – the Holy Spirit – teaches me truth, comforts me when I’m sad, guides me when I’m lost, intercedes for me when I don’t know how to pray, helps me when I’m weak, convicts me when I sin, restrains me when I’m reckless, exhorts me when I need encouragement, reproves me when I’m wrong. This wonderful companion transforms me and is vital to my life. With help like this, how can I fail?

Perhaps it’s been awhile since you thought
about the Holy Spirit in your life. Somehow in
our fast-paced society, we lose our connectedness.
God’s will for believers is to be filled with His
Holy Spirit. He will prompt us, put a little pressure
on, but He will never force us. It requires a
daily surrender to die to our selfish desires.

Practicing Faith
Why not make this your prayer each day?
“Lord Jesus, thank you for thinking of
everything. Come and fill me anew. Help
me to live today filled with and by the
power of your precious Holy Spirit.”

Digging Deeper
I Corinthians 2:6-16

Changing You, Little by Little.

For a free Bible study in the Book of James, please share your email address in the comment section below, or email me directly at Your copy will be sent within two days.

Changing You, Little by Little.