Abundant life, Encouragement, faith, forgiveness, God Speaks, Leadership, Love and Life of a Testimony, marriage enrichment, Parenthood, Patience, prayer, Salvation

Be Dead

How easily people are swayed determines the wisdom and spirit that is within them.  I often question God about wisdom. I know I can read about it all through proverbs and gain in just asking God for it.  I pray for it.  I want it.  James 1:5 New Living Translation (©2007)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

http://betterlifecoachingblog.com I love what Darren says in a post:

You don’t get wisdom by reading great books or blogs.  You don’t get wisdom by spending time with an amazing mentor. You don’t get wisdom by attending conferences with the best motivational speakers. You don’t get wisdom by going to university or night school. You don’t get wisdom by observing those who are the leaders in your field.  You get it as you apply all that you’ve learned from the above.  You get it by taking risks, making mistakes and learning from your experiences.  You get it by making decisions and assessing your progress so that you can change your direction along the way.  You get it by scraping your knees and getting dirt under your fingernails.  You get it by finding out what works in your own context and circumstances.  Jeff Foxworthy who said that, “Wisdom equals knowledge plus scars.”

Another  short story I received in an email is worth sharing too.  I am unsure where or who published it but holds true to all of us.

Once, there was a community of wise monks who lived in the desert. One day, a man arrived at the monastery, asking if he could stay and learn wisdom from the monks. The old abbot came out and greeted the traveler, then asked why he had come.

The man answered, “I want to be wise, but I only have the weekend.”

The abbot smiled, because many men hoped for the wisdom which had taken him a lifetime to accumulate. He replied, “To begin, go to the graveyard and spend the day cursing the dead. Tell them they lived useless lives, and the world is better off without them.”

The man thought this was strange, but he did as he was asked. The next day, the abbot asked the traveler, “So, what did the dead say?” The man replied, “Nothing, they’re all dead!”

The abbot told him, “Today, go to the graveyard and spend all day praising the dead! Shower them with blessings, exhort them, and speak of the many ways society has benefited from their life’s work.”

Now the man was thoroughly bewildered, but he did as he was asked. The next day, the abbot asked the traveler, “So, what did the dead say?”

The man replied, “Nothing! They’re all dead! And I have to leave today!” The wise old abbot looked at him and said,

“What wise men they must be, to not be swayed by either the empty blessings or angry curses of other people. They must know true happiness.”

New Living Translation (©2007) Ephesians 4:14 -15
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

English Standard Version (©2001) 1 Corinthians 14:20
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking, infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

New Living Translation (©2007) 1 Peter 2:1
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

New Living Translation (©2007)  Romans 6:4
For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

So with that all said, wisdom comes when we make up our mind to be dead in the flesh and live in Christ Jesus.  Sometimes I need reminding of that when the joys of trial and persecution comes my way. 🙂

Abundant life, Emotional, Encouragement, faith, Leadership, Love and Life of a Testimony, Made you smile, Parenthood, Salvation, Soul Winning, Supernatural

You Make Me Come Alive

This morning I wrote in my prayer journal, “Jesus you make me come alive!  This is what you do!”  This is the lyrics from a song Jordan sang Thursday night at church.  You know how a song gets in your head and you sing it all day?  It seems I was singing it all night, upon every waking moment.

In this chaotic world we live in, we need something to keep us alive and that is the kinda faith that only Jesus can give.  When we are weak, then we lean upon Jesus, He gives us strength to live and push forward.  When we are stressed or worried, He whispers, “It’s going to be OK”. This is what He does.  He makes us aware of what is going on around us when we get caught up in daily life, showing us the hearts that need mending, the hungry, the sad, the lonely, the fatherless, the widow, the children and how this life can get really messy.  We all fall but falling makes us stronger, falling lets us know how to help others when they fall.  It is Jesus that rescues, He makes us come alive!

Be encouraged today.  You may not “feel” good or like anything is happening in your life.  Maybe it is the same old thing and every morning you hit the repeat button, but try to remember Jesus wants you to live, be alive!  Notice things around you and be thankful.

One of the homework assignments I give to my couples in therapy, is to write down at least 5 things that you are thankful at the end of the day and share with each other.  It focuses on what God has given you and how He is a BIG part of your life in the midst of life’s chaotic world.

Watch this video below…. it will make you smile and realize God is in control.  You will live today!

Abundant life, Emotional, Encouragement, Love and Life of a Testimony, Parenthood

I Hurt When My Kids Hurt

So many times as I look back when my boys were small, every time they got hurt, I also hurt.  I remember watching the Passion of Christ Movie when Mary ran to Jesus as he fell with the cross and she reflected back when he was small and fell.  That part of the movie broke me because as a mother we can relate.  Our children, even when grown, the hurts and pains they go through still plays an important part in our life.  We hurt for our children when they hurt.  Although we may not be in position to tell them what to do and they obey, we can be an example and wait till advice is asked for then impart wisdom because we may have been through it.  Sometimes when my children are going through a rough time in their life, I want to hold them and rock them to help ease their pain just like I did when I kissed their boo boos.  I wish that I could go back in time and change my entire outlook on life, parenting and marriage.  I would be more patient with my children, love them more, spend time with one on one with them more without being “too busy”.  I would have protected them more of the ugly stuff that others pushed or forced on them.  I would have done many different things and although I can’t beat myself up with wishing I was the perfect parent, I can be thankful of the things I did do right.  Now,  I try to look in a loving way and act in a loving way instead of getting mad and spouting off with “I told you so” remarks or telling them how they should live life.  It may be easy for us to say give it all to God, forgive others and get over the pain people caused you but for them it is a process of time.

What happens is I see people who build walls all around them, closing off the very people they love.  If we try to control our children too much, (even though we know what is best for them) they lay bricks day after day until a wall is built.  This usually happens as teens.  The walls shut us out and prevents us from speaking into their lives.  Balance, time and effective communication is really hard during those years.  As my youngest, Spencer is turning 21 this upcoming year, I reflect back when I was 21 having my first baby.  Wow, I thought I knew everything then but my how time plays an important factor of wisdom as experiences come.   Spencer just had his first wreck last night.  He now faces pulling out some of his money out of savings to pay for the damages.  Yes, its life and life bring blessings as well as frustrations.

This week starts yet another chapter in my life.  My sons struggle with who they want to become, jobs and wanting relationships that matter. They struggle with pleasing their dad and wanting their life to be a reflection of what we stand for.   It is life we endure, a process that sometimes brings hurts and pains that don’t easily go through, however as parents, we can love our children through it all.  It is time I show and do what I wish I had done when they were toddlers.  Continue to show unconditional love, lead and guide them, hug them and help them through the pain as they allow me to as their mother.

Abundant life, Educational and Informative, Fear, Leadership, Love and Life of a Testimony, Parenthood, Supernatural, Weird Stuff

I Stand For What I Believe

Smith Wigglesworth – “I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe, and I believe the Word of God!” He also said, “If it is in the Bible, it is so. It’s not even to be prayed about. It’s to be received and acted upon. Inactivity is a robber which steals blessings. Increase comes by action, by using what we have and know. Your life must be one of going on from faith to faith.”

I have to admit, I don’t like today: the day of Halloween, and here is why: Halloween IS NOT a Kid’s Holiday…. here is the reason:

The following study was one that I did when I first became a Christian, and I shortened it because of time and reading sake.  We raised our children in NOT celebrating Halloween.  Some people gasp at the thought but as just talking with a Wiccan last year about this time, she verified that what you are about to read mostly is true, however she questioned some of the ideas that it is not all “bad”.  My answer is do we believe the Word of God?  Do we allow the world to dictate to us what or Who we believe in.  I usually teach this every two years, so this year I decided to post.  It is not to condemn those who celebrate but to inform and then you get to choose what is best for your family.  Just ask my boys, they never felt isolated to mistreated because they didn’t celebrate Halloween.  Ask them today….

Melissa Phillips

If you would like more info. Please contact me or call me!

Should we Celebrate   Halloween?

The Truth Exposed

The following was taken from Isaac Bonewit, who has written a book about Witchcraft and Wicca’s.

“Don’t bother complaining to us Pagans — we’ve already heard every lame excuse in your Book. Witches, Druids, and other Neo-pagans are not responsible for some Christian Fundamentalists’ bizarre fantasies of who and what they think we are. We will no longer let them get away with committing or advocating hate crimes against us — and then whining that they’re the ones being persecuted because we’re allowed to exist and to celebrate our own holy days according to our own beliefs.”

Where did Halloween come from?

Halloween traces back to the ancient religion of the Celtics.  The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and how to gain access to it.  They worshiped over 300 gods.  Their two main feasts were at the beginning of summer, Beltane on May 1st and Samhain at the end of the summer on November 1st.  During Samhain they believed it was a time when the two worlds became thin and supernatural forces were active with ghost and spirits free to wander.

The Celtic priest who carried out the rituals called Druids, were members of pagan orders in Britain, Ireland.  During these rituals, sacrifices, mostly animals were preformed to please the gods ensuring the sun would return after the winter frightening away evil spirits.

Bonfires?  Why the colors orange and black used for Halloween?

To the Celtics, the bonfire represented the sun and was used to aid the Druids in his fight with dark powers.  The term actually means bone fires.  This literally means the black ashes, the bones of sacrificed animals, sometimes human were the only thing left the next day.

    Trick or Treat?

Samhain was the supreme night of demonic jubilation.  Spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside.  Frightened villagers tried to appease these spirits by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts set out on their porch.  They feared that the spirits would kill their flocks or destroy their property.

Dressing up in costumes?

People would dress up to masquerade as one of the demonic and hopefully blend in unnoticed.  Wearing mask and other disguises ad blackening the face with soot were originally ways of hiding oneself from the spirits of the dead who might be roaming around.  This is the origin of Halloween masquerading as devils, imps, and other demonic creatures.

Jack-o-Lantern?

The carved out pumpkin is the festival light for Halloween and is the ancient symbol of a damned soul.  It was used as a lantern representing the souls of the dead or goblins freed from the dead.  When the Irish migrated to America, pumpkins were used instead of beets or turnips.  Pumpkins were carved out with faces representing demons.  It was believed to be your very own demon guide.

How did Christianity try to change Halloween from evil to good?

When Christianity spread to parts of Europe, instead of trying to abolish these pagan customs, people tried to introduce ideas with a Christian view.  Halloween has since become a confusing mixture in which people are unaware why it is so highly celebrated.  Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead on November 1st.  Therefore the night before became All Hallows Eve.  This is where the term Halloween derived.

October 31st however has nothing to do with Christianity and never has. 

Who celebrates Halloween?

It is estimated that 250,000 Americans considered themselves of the pagan faith and include Halloween as an important festival.  Modern day witches claim Halloween is one of the four Sabbaths and regard it as the most powerful day to cast a spell and is the New Year for them.  Satan worshipers call Halloween “all demon night”.  Numerous folk customs connected with the pagan observances for the dead have survived to the present.  The various activities are associated with obtaining good fortune and knowing the future.

Halloween is the second largest holiday for the retail market sales and also is the second biggest holiday for parties and celebrations.  Schools are statistically the biggest promoter of Halloween with parties, costume contest, trick or treat walks, poster contest and haunted houses.  Halloween along with the Horror films and haunted houses during this time of the year promotes fear in children and adults all in the name of fun.  The children are rewarded with candy to make up for the terror they may have encountered in the store or on the streets?

It is a shame we cannot pray and express Christianity or mention Jesus Christ in the schools, however this pagan, non-Christian holiday can be glorified.  Only those who refuse to participate get ridiculed and labeled as a fanatic.

Should Christians do something?

Who can deny that virtually that almost all of the symbols of Halloween are evil and originate from pagan religion?  Darkness, Witches, monsters, vampires, ghosts, devils and demons all portray evil, death and promote fear.  The emphasis of spells, brews, fortune telling, talking with dead are done all in the name of fun.  When America and the world celebrates the Festival of Samhain or Festival of Death, (Halloween) and the power of darkness by masquerading as evil creatures or decorating homes, schools, businesses and churches with occult symbols, Satanic power and occultism is glorified. Should Christians even participate in this holiday, calling it all fun, dressing up in “good” costumes?

                   What Does the Bible Say?

 

I Thessalonians 5:21-22

Test everything, hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil or the appearance of evil.

(Should Christians compromise the Word, dressing up evil, participate, decorate and calling it good fun?)

II Timothy 2:7

God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.  (Should Christians expose themselves or their children to fear?)

2 Corinthians 6:14, 15,17

 “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?”  Leave them, separate yourselves from them and don’t touch their things and I will receive you.

(Should Christians participate with those to celebrate a pagan holiday to honor false gods, darkness, witchcraft, fortune telling and communication with the dead which all these things God hates?)

John 3:19-20, John 12: 35-36

Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light.  Believe in the light and walk as children of the light.

(Should Christians be the children of light, be the example to this world or let the world dictate who and what we can or should celebrate or participate in?)

Ephesians 5:1-12

Be followers of God.  Don’t participate in the things these people do (disobedient). For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it. For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.  (NLT)

(Should we as Christians expose what Halloween is really about?)

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

(Should Christians prove what is good and acceptable to God?)

Deuteronomy 18:10-14

Let no man be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or casts spells or who is a medium or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord…and He has not permitted you to do so.

(God strictly forbids witchcraft, spells, magic or trying to talk with the dead.  This includes, OUJIA Boards and séances. )

Don’t follow customs of unbelievers or participate with their pagan worship…

Exodus 34:12

Be very, very careful never to compromise with the people there in the land where you are going, for if you do, you will soon be following their evil ways.

Leviticus 20:23

You must not follow the customs of the nations I cast out before you, for they do all these things I have warned you against; that is the reason I abhor (dislike, hate, detest or reject) them.

Deuteronomy 18:9

When you arrive in the Promised Land you must be very careful lest you be corrupted by the horrible customs of the nations now living there.

Proverbs 24:1

Don’t envy (jealous of or desire) godless men; don’t even enjoy their company.

II Corinthians 6:14, 17

Don’t be teamed with those who do not love the Lord, for what do the people of God have in common with the people of sin?  How can light live with darkness?  And what harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? That is why the Lord has said, Leave them, separate yourselves from them, don’t touch their filthy things and I will welcome you and be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters.

Ephesians 5:11

Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead rebuke and expose them.

Exodus 20:  5-6

You must never bow to an image or worship it in any way; for I, the Lord your God, am very possessive.  I will not share your affection with any other god!  And when I punish people for their sins, the punishment continues upon the children, grandchildren, and great-grand children of those who hate me; but I lavish my love upon thousands of those who love me and obey my commandments.

No Fortune Telling, Witchcraft, Witches, Wizards, Mediums, Horoscopes

Leviticus 19:26

I am Jehovah your God!  You must not eat meat with undrained blood; nor use fortune telling or witchcraft.

Leviticus 19:31

Do not defile yourselves by consulting mediums and wizards, for I am Jehovah your God.

Leviticus 20:6-8

I will set my face against anyone who consults mediums and wizards instead of me and I will cut that person off from his people.  So sanctify yourselves and be holy for I am the Lord your God.  You must obey all of my commandments for I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

Deuteronomy 18:10

No Israeli may practice black magic, or call on the evil spirits for aid or be a fortune teller, or be a serpent charmer, medium or wizard or call for spirits of the dead.  Anyone doing these things is an object of horror and disgust to the Lord and it is because the nations do these things that the Lord your God will displace them.  You must walk blamelessly before the Lord your God.  The nations you replace all do these evil things, but the Lord your god will not permit you to do such things.

Jeremiah 10: 2-3

Don’t act like the people who make horoscopes and try to read their fate and future in the starts.  Don’t be frightened by predictions such as theirs, for it is all a pack of lies.

IN Conclusion:

Central to Satan’s goals is the widespread acceptance of the supernatural, including the occult accompanied by a great revival of spiritism all over the world. 

Over the last 30 or so years, the occult has moved into the mainstream of America – in television, movies, magazines, business, and various aspects of daily life. Movies, books, magazines and encyclopedias of the supernatural have abounded. Turn on your TV and hear from the ever-present “Psychic Friends” hotline, or see lead characters in TV shows meet their “spirit guide.” (Charmed) Entire bookstores devoted to the occult have become common. (Harry Potter) Universities regularly offer courses on witchcraft and magic – usually the so-called “white” variety. Myriads of mystical Eastern religions, bizarre and often demonic, have invaded North America.  Increasingly the curriculum in many public schools is becoming a primer in occultism.

 Throughout this study we have learned that Halloween has many false religious origins and is not a Christian holiday.  We have learned that occultism and Fear, and Satan is glorified more than Jesus Christ on Halloween.  We have learned what the Word of God says.  As Christians let us gather together and provide an alternative to this pagan holiday!

You have received a DVD on Halloween and the Occult.  Please take time to watch this, especially if you are a Christian. I do not recommend children watching this video due to the interview with a former Satanist.

Some of you may still celebrate Halloween, thinking it is all in the name of fun parties and a time to dress up, however upon knowing the reason of why and how this holiday is celebrated by some, you may change your mind.

You may be thinking only the Christian fanatics don’t celebrate Halloween and what is next, Christmas or Easter.  I am sure there are pagan (unbelievers or heathens believing in more than one God.) beliefs in all holidays we Americans celebrate.  However, Christmas is a time to honor and celebrate Jesus Christ and His birth.  Easter is a time, we Christians come together to celebrate the risen Savior.  Halloween is the one time for non-believers, pagans, the occult, to celebrate and honor the dead.  Halloween promotes fear, gore, blood, death and occultism.  It is a time when more spells from witches are cast, wiccans enter the spirit world, and sacrifices are made.  Halloween is one day in which it gives people the choice to be “bad” or to enter into Satan’s realm all in the name of fun.  It has nothing to do with Jesus Christ or being a Christian Holiday.

Halloween can be fun with its parties and good taste and right motives.  Sin can be fun too even if we know it is wrong, but it has it’s consequences. BUT the question you must answer with God, is after knowing the true meaning of Halloween, are there consequences?  Can we as Christians justify celebrating and participating in something in which God has forbid in His Word?

Stats: Amanda Akridge of Macon, Georgia
I believe our country was founded on Christianity and now we live in an anti-Christian country. Morals, faith, and family values have been pushed aside for materialism and “what feels good” antics. We can give freedom to other religions to worship; but prayer and any talks of Christ have been taken out of our schools. I say this because I am a teacher and it is heartbreaking to see what our children go through due to the lack of faith that America was founded upon.

The poll was conducted between June 22-24, 2007,

(CNN) — Most Christians are more likely to describe themselves as Christian first and American second, according to a new CNN poll examining religious views in the United States.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that of the 750 Christians in the survey, 59 percent identify themselves first by their faith, then as Americans, while 36 percent described themselves in the reverse.

CNN’s findings are not that different from those in a recent Pew Research Center poll on Muslim-American attitudes. In that poll, 47 percent of Muslims in America say they are Muslim first, American second. Younger Muslims were especially likely to feel that way: 60 percent of them responded they were Muslim first.

The CNN poll also found that 62 percent say that American society has strayed too far from its religious foundation in the past 50 years, while answers were split almost evenly on religion as a factor in government policy. Forty-five percent said religion should have no influence on government decisions, while 36 percent say it should have some influence, but not the major factor.

When asked about religion-related violence in the United States, about nine in 10 said they personally would not be willing to kill another person to uphold a religious belief or advance a religious cause. But asked how many other Americans would do so, more than a third responded “many” and “some;” a third said “few” and a quarter said “almost no Americans.”

But of the 750 Christians in the poll, nearly eight in 10 said that people of other beliefs could get into heaven, while only 17 percent believe that only Christians can.

———————– DO YOU THINK THAT WITCHES DON’T EXIST?  YOUR WRONG….

Nell

Evansville, IN · October 20, 2007

Owensboro, KY · October 1, 2007

“merry meet! I am a 28 year old mother of one and my husband is currently deployed. I have been a Wiccan for about 10 years now. I am interested in meeting other serious Wiccans and making new friends!”

Stormy

Evansville, IN · July 19, 2007

“I’m 16 and somewhat new to Wicca. i would like a guide to help me, because I only have books to go by since I don’t know any serious practioners of Wicca. Email me at stormwings8@yahoo.com”

booboonelly

Madisonville, KY · September 5, 2006

“I want these local Meetups because I would like to meet people who can tell me more about wicca/ witchcraft.”

Audrey

Evansville, IN · February 13, 2006

“I want local Pagan Meetups because sometimes it gets lonely being solitary. Also, I’m about to have a baby, and I’d like a wider net of pagans to pool from for advice and such about raising my child as a pagan.”

Kevin

Princeton, KY · November 8, 2006

“I’m Looking for people in my area to get together to perform group rituals and ceremonies that require more people. Also I would just like meeting other people like myself. I practice mostly High Magick and incorperate other forms of magick to that.”

Ryan

Central City, KY · August 8, 2006

“I want local Pagan Meetups because its our turn to change the world after the people raped Mother Nature.”

donna

Clarksville, TN · January 4, 2006

“I want local Witches Meetups because i’d like to come out of my closet once in awhile and feel like im not alone, to speak and share with like minded.Without the fear of being burned at the stake.We of like mind,and in our closets need to unite !”

Amber

Chapmansboro, TN · November 29, 2005

“Hello, I am a proud pagan american. I love my religion. I want a chance at meeting people of the same train of thought as me. I want a group to meet with.”

Stephanie

Clarksville, TN · November 27, 2005

“I wish to make friends who will accept me and my 15 month old daughter for who and what we are, and will not judge us harshly because we don’t run to church everytime the doors are open, or believe in “God”.”

————————————-

The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year (Paperback)

If so, my only remaining question is, why does a secular, non-Christian dictionary define “pagan” as simply “one who is not a Christian”?

We have established, beyond doubt, that the celebration of Hallow’een is absolutely forbidden in Islam. Muslims should not participate in it.

The three women will light candles and pray before an altar that honors the dead. They are witches, after all, and Oct. 31 is their most important holiday.

It is when followers of Wicca, a neo-pagan religion, gather to observe Samhain (pronounced sow-an). Marking the beginning of a new year, it is a time of reflection and celebration.

“It’s the one time of year when it is okay to be a witch.

Witch’s Shop Gears Up for Halloween

Halloween IS NOT a Kid’s Holiday!

It is the most solemn day for witches, warlocks and demon worshipers all over the world in which they attempt to disrupt the Christian’s prayerful Vigil for All Saints (according to the Latin calendar). With all these evil powers manifesting themselves on this evening, what are we thinking when we send our children out into the night, much less disguise them as little demons, goblins, witches and aliens?


Abundant life, Emotional, Parenthood

My Sons Make Me Cry

I don’t know about you but as a mother my children can really bring tears to my eyes.  Sometimes it is just the little things in what they may say or do. As I reflect this morning on when I first became a mother it makes me smile.  As the nurses placed Lyle in my arms, he cried and so did I. It wasn’t the first time he and I cried together nor I believe it won’t be the last.   I remember the times of trophies or awards the boys earned and how proud I was of all of them to go above the average and how secretly I wiped the tears away as they marched up front to receive it.  Heck, I have even cried on seeing other children perform and thought how their momma feels and held back the tears.  Call me a cry baby, please. I remember having several melt downs when all four of them were under the age of 7 and how crazy I felt at times when they fought, they were sick, they fell and yet I kept pushing forward waiting for a better day.  At times how I felt guilty or not feeling adequate in being a good mom, how selfish at times or how I let anger get the best of me and took it out on them.

As they grew, we cried together over the death of friends and family members.  Lord knows how many times I have cried over them, prayed over them when they began their teen age life and started driving.  I have cried over their decisions yet stepped back to make sure they could get up again, their hurts, their wounds, their scars all make this mother cry.

A couple of days ago, Bryson was with Jeff and I in Nashville.  We were at a gas station and all of a sudden Bryson jumps out of the truck and starts walking over to a crippled man.  He had a prosthetic leg.  The man had gestured for Bryson to come over and had asked him if he could sell him some of his tools.  Bryson told him that he didn’t want his tools but instead opened up his billfold and gave him some money.  This entire scene unfolded before I even knew what was taking place because I was unaware the man had motioned Bryson to come to him.  All I seen was Bryson giving the guy money.  My first reaction was “Don’t give that guy money, he probably wants to use it to buy alcohol or drugs with it”.  But as I reflected on this action of kindness, I smiled and then I felt a tear flow down my cheek.  He was reflecting the actions of being raised as a child who gives, reflecting Jesus inside all of us.

This past weekend I attended my Lyle’s first conference in Nashville.  It was hard for this administrative mother to not get involved in the planning and want to try to help out in making sure everything was in place.  Even Jeff was on edge with excitement as we went as guest.  Standing there on stage, they had asked us to come and pray for Lyle.  Wow, what a moment as time stood still as we were honored.  You see, it seemed like only a few short years ago he had just gave his heart back to God and accept his calling of being a Pappa to thousands of children. That made me cry too, when we purchased the freedom of three slave children and the list goes on.  Now here we are standing in front of a crowd of young people, fired up to follow the commission of justice, love with a mission not only because of God calling them to such a time as this but because of my sons laying their life down for another.  I am crying……

 

Abundant life, Emotional, forgiveness, Parenthood, Patience

Parenting in My Twenties

I remember the times when I thought I was losing my mind in trying to deal with four boys all within 7 years apart.  I tell the truth when I say my twenties were a blur.  I walked around sleep deprived, felt like a slave being used and whipped into subjection of being a submissive wife. I was pulled from every direction with the boys, church, spouse and demands of the chores.  We lived in a small home with a sagging floor in the kitchen, with the washing machine on one side and the dryer on the other side but however I was thankful to have those doing at least four loads a day. The two bedroom house only had 6 rooms with three closets and a floor grate heater that the boys would fall on time to time and leave burnt waffle marks on their little hands or feet.  I remember begging my husband to move or praying God to give us a bigger house.  It was there in that home we started in ministry.  From being part in teaching during Sunday School, home prayer meetings and bible studies, to youth directors and ladies auxiliary my involvement was crucial to my survival.  My tears that flowed sitting in the ladies bathroom wrestling with the boys seemed endless and at times I thought I should have just stayed at home and watched preaching on TV.  My purse, along with large bag containing snacks, water, cars and trucks to pacify the boys during preaching didn’t always suffice.  I felt as though I was so mean in making them sit still and popping them on the leg or taking them to the bathroom as they screamed “No mommy don’t whip me” while  people chuckled and the older generation smiled and said, that’s right whip your kid.  During that time there was no such thing as a nursery or someone else watching your child for you.  However, the long haul of sticking it out and come hell or high water they were going to church.  What little I heard was enough to keep me hungry for more at times and at other times I made myself pack up and relive the nightmare.  What little worship I got to participate in saved me from more emotional breakdowns that I had time to time.  What little knowledge I gained from the studies and what little time I got with the girlfriends was enough to keep me “stable”.  Most of my high school friends were already getting divorced and getting remarried or had moved away so I turned toward the church.  There I found solitude, peace and joy.  I could get my fix of somewhat a jolt of the Holy Ghost by letting out a war hoop or jumping up and down on the devil to keep me from wandering from my calling of wife, mother and Christian.

You see I was raised to be very independent so for me to know the role of a wife, a Christian one at that took even a big demand on my part and that was change.  I did much soul-searching and changing in my twenties.  I really didn’t feel loved because love was only superficial at the time, I only felt used.  I know now what I was experiencing is trying to find myself, my own identity wrapped up in things.  I was a stay home mom, feeling used and trapped into mommy mode with no light at the end of the tunnel.  I didn’t appreciate motherhood as much as I wished I would had.  I loved the children, don’t get me wrong and in fact it seems as though I cannot escape the calling back into children ministry.  In High School I believed I would be a Pediatrician but I didn’t want to put the school hours in because I would be “old” in my late twenties.  I laugh at that statement now.  I tell young mothers now, their ministry is their children, pour your life into them because they will grow up one day and need a good strong foundation.

With our oldest I demanded so much from him after I had my second child.  I look back now feeling guilty at times and think how mean I must have been demanding him to grow up when all he needed was just to be loved and held cause his younger brothers got all the attention. That is why he was so partial to Granny because she let him sit in her lap and feed him even when he was six.  If I could go back, would I have changed some things?  You bet but we cannot go back or even think about the regrets or that would put me in such a depressed funk I would just sit around and cry all day thinking how bad of a parent I was.  Life in my twenties can I be honest, it sucked and I know that may seem like a harsh word but it is the truth.  My body was no longer a 5’4″ 104 pound hottie but a mommy making baby producing machine, robot full of at times, resentment toward my husband for making me fit into his schedule.  I loved being pregnant however I didn’t like my body changing.  Never would I want to live that over again.  I focused on at times what my needs were and how they wasn’t getting met instead of meeting the emotional needs of my children.  My husband needs were always taken care of so I think that’s were the resentment came from.  I felt as though he never helped with the children, much less dress, bathe or feed them but he did however come home to vacuum under one of my meltdowns.  He proceeded to help with this chore from that time on.  We struggled financially, struggled to love each other and trust each other.  We tried to leave our past behind us, tried to look forward to a future of hope and promises.

I think back and what I did treasure was the closeness of my babies.  I think about the good times.  I think about them rolling the cars up and down my legs and feet while I read or studied.  I think about the many times we played in the back yard with the sprinkler or jumped on the trampoline together.  I think about curling up next to them and taking a nap together, making sandwiches for lunch or the usual mac-n-cheese, the oatmeal or cereal for breakfast or the home-made popsicle. I let them jump on the bed, play hide and seek in the closets and play with play dough.  I liked being a fun mommy.

Those were innocent times where we were all changing.  Changing into what God wanted us to become.  Giving us memories that one day would shape our lives.  Getting us prepared for a life of ministry, but with the calling comes many hurts.  Hurts that only a mommy can feel when their child is hurting as they grow into adults and trying to find their own way.  Hurts that lie dormant and are only revealed for a time of healing.  Wounds that were once secrets which seem to explode now that makes me question my parenting skills.  I tell my boys now, we parented the best we knew how.  We wasn’t always great but we did our best for what we knew at the time.  Life is life, life is not fair and life has its good times and its worst times.  There are times of struggle and times of pain but it is through all the crap that makes us persevere into the man or woman God wants us to be.  I hate feeling like I failed as a parent and wish I could have protected them even the more so from the ugliness of this world.  I cannot think or either fathom the reason why but only the hope that lies within this world of pain to reach others.  Writing this blog helps in the healing process as tears flow down my cheeks hoping someone will read and feel loved during this time in their “mommy mode”.

So, if you are a parent in your twenties, maybe you can relate to my pain and my treasures, the mixed emotional basket full of craziness.  It is only a season.  Do your best, take time for your spouse and time for yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go right or you don’t feel appreciated or you don’t get any help from any body.  Times like those change us.  God has a way for us to depend upon Him and not ourselves or others.  He was the one who helped me survive all the seasons and I am confident that He will continue to help and guide me as I am in my other seasons.  Through it all I quoted, Train up a child in the way they should go and they will never depart from it, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me and Jesus said, I will not leave you or forsake you.  These three Scriptures kept me going, were my strength and my hope during my twenties.

Abundant life, Encouragement, faith, Fear, Leadership, Love and Life of a Testimony, marriage enrichment, Parenthood, Salvation

Only 16 Verses

My husband felt very strongly about reading Psalms 91 for not only the remainder of the year but also for the new year.  He felt as though God wanted us and others to read it everyday.  So many times we may read a Scripture but rarely know the thought or meaning behind it.  We can use these 16 Scriptures to speak into our daily life.  When we choose do to do so, God protects us and provides for us all our needs and wants.  He gives us comfort and safety and we are shielded from the enemy and his tactics to lure us into temptations or danger.  We know we are protected and we know that God gives us wisdom and faith from being afraid of our future.  Angels He gives us to watch us and protect our home, there will be peace in our home.  We are to bring His will, kingdom come here on earth, and we will see those things in which we have been praying come to pass.  We are to encourage others to believe the same and lead others to Jesus.  Here are the 16 verses.  I hope you join us daily on this road to abundant living and divine protection.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

91:1-8 He that by faith chooses God for his protector, shall find all in him that he needs or can desire. And those who have found the comfort of making the Lord their refuge, cannot but desire that others may do so. The spiritual life is protected by Divine grace from the temptations of Satan, which are as the snares of the fowler, and from the contagion of sin, which is a noisome pestilence. Great security is promised to believers in the midst of danger. Wisdom shall keep them from being afraid without cause, and faith shall keep them from being unduly afraid. Whatever is done, our heavenly Father’s will is done; and we have no reason to fear. God’s people shall see, not only God’s promises fulfilled, but his threatenings. Then let sinners come unto the Lord upon his mercy-seat, through the Redeemer’s name; and encourage others to trust in him also.


New Living Translation (©2007) Psalms 91:1-16

1Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2This I declare about the Lord:He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

3For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.

4He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

5Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,nor the arrow that flies in the day.

6Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

7Though a thousand fall at your side,though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.

8Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.

9If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,

10no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.

11For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

12They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.

13You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.

15When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.

16I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.

Abundant life, forgiveness, Leadership, marriage enrichment, Parenthood, Salvation

Thou Shall Have

We often think about the ten commandants has being a set of golden rules that we should always follow since we are actually Christians.  These ten commandments are very well spoken of course since they come right from God and can cover just about any particular subject.  Most all of our issues that we deal with in some form or fashion has something to do with us breaking one of these simple but profound statements that God wants us to obey.

The first commandment, we push aside and say that this one doesn’t even pertain to us most of the time.  I mean it is not like we live in India where there is a god on every block or even dressing up and calling yourself a god.  We don’t do that here in America we think, but let us take a closer look.  A god is something you worship.  To worship means something that you adore and put before everything or everyone else. It means to adore and respect.  My husband said something in his message yesterday that stirred my heart, he said, “When you think you have everything figured out, then you are your own god.”  This got me to thinking about self worship.  I even posted on my facebook page and even considered revising not wanting to sound like a judge or to condemning:

Life is never good to you when you are only good to yourself…..when you think you can control others by your actions or attitude, you become your own god. It’s all about others, giving, forgiving and encouraging. Let us leave this year behind and look forward to a great 2011!

I came across an article on this matter and here are a few viewpoints to consider.

Self-Worship

When we believe that we should be satisfied rather than God glorified in our worship, then we put God below ourselves as though He had been made for us rather than that we had been made for Him. -Stephen Charnock

Many times I wonder which god is being worshipped in our churches, and where this god developed his characteristics.

Some people think the purpose of a church service is to entertain, exhilarate, and energize.

Some of us go to church, not so much to worship God, to stand in awe of His grace to us in Christ, to stir up our affections for Him but rather to consume, sit back, fancy the musical experience and apply the self-help advice we gleaned during the sermon. The pastor is expected to be to be clean-cut, non-offensive and smooth, the musicians to be talented and contemporary, the congregation to be good-looking, middle-class, look and act like you.

God should be central to worship, not you … that is, He should be the central focus in our song and proclamation of the word. Self-focused, self-absorbed psychological sessions whose main purpose is to generate good feelings about ourselves is idolatry, a breach of the first/second commandments.  Instead of finding the service meaningful and God-glorifying, centering around the work of Christ, many spend their time asking themselves what they got out of it. Rather, we need to be asking ourselves, “Was God glorified in our time of corporate worship today?

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This put me into an entire different mode in honoring God for who he is, not what can God do for me today.  It is sad today to think Christians (although saved)  may continue to live their life honoring their wishes instead of what God truly wants.  Good saved people continue to seek what God can do for them and fulfilling their needs instead of fulfilling the great commission in loving others or reaching out.    I myself find this a training ground to not always insist on what I want or demand things to change but try to see if I am breaking this holy commandment or the others to follow.  I want a God in my life who knows what is best for me, not a god like me because I am selfish in nature and want my way.  This blog is totally not to offend but to purposely make us think about our current situations or past issues in which we demanded justice or our own self-gratification.  We keep secrets, tell white lies, become jealous, justify our actions & attitudes, kill with our tongue or poison others and think no one is listening or watching us, even demanding God to do something about it.  We set ourselves up for failure when we claim to be our own god.  Let us look at the first commandment once again:

New International Version (©1984)
“You shall have no other gods before me.

Prayer:  As I end this blog today and plan for the new year, I repent for my selfish actions, my attitudes and rebellious actions.  I will change Lord to be more like you and put myself under your feet in true worship and holiness.  It is all about you, not me.  It is all about serving others, not me.  It is all about growing your kingdom, not mine.  It is all about being holy, not right in my eyes.  It is all about showing your character, not mine.  In Jesus Name I pray!  Amen

Abundant life, Encouragement, marriage enrichment, Parenthood

Bitterness – Delete Button

Bitterness can play a very important part in your emotional, mental and physical health if you let things get to you.  Once you identify a stronghold in your life that is keeping you from moving forward in your relationships with other people and with God, it is important to push the delete button of bitterness.  Here are action steps that I have learned to take when I catch myself falling into a downhill spiral of hurt, rejection or unforgiving attitude.  It is important that we put the past behind us.  Our past doesn’t determine our future no more than our environment does, however it is how we respond to our past or how we respond to our environment that does.  We must take responsiblilty for who we are today, for our actions, attitude and behavior.  Only we can change ourselves, not others, nor can we change others only ourselves.  If you find you are stuck with the root of bitterness, learn to take control so tomorrow will be a better day and your future brighter!

The Results of Bitterness

  • Bitterness is antisocial. A bitter person is selfish, inconsiderate of others, withdrawn from society, indifferent or adverse to conformity with conventional standards of social behavior. Even strangers avoid bitter people, Prov. 14:10. No one is happy around bitter people.
  • Bitterness is a sign of the fragmented life, Jer. 2:19.
  • A bitter person rejects Bible teaching. James 3:14, “But if you have bitter jealousy and strife, stop being arrogant and lying against the truth.”
  • Bitterness shows total lack of grace orientation. A bitter person does not understand the Plan of God, let alone how it affects individuals. In Job. 9:17-18, Job’s complaint against God. “Why does God let this happen to me”, is a statement of bitterness.
  • Bitterness accompanies the sin unto death, Job. 21:25.
  • Bitterness motivates complaining, Job 7:11, 10:1. People who habitually complain are bitter people; they have no self esteem.
  • Bitterness motivates gossip, Psalm 64:3
  • Bitterness fragments other peoples lives. Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it many be defiled.
  • Bitterness is self induced misery, and it produces chain sinning. Bitterness is misery to others in the periphery. But two wrongs never make a right. You cannot build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness.

Action Steps

  1. Acceptance
    • Make a list of the persons who have hurt you.
    • Next to each name, write what you needed from that person.
    • Next to that, write how it made you feel when that person did not meet your need.
    • In the last column write whether you think that person will ever be able to meet your need. Be honest.
    • Accept your loss and grieve it.
  2. Forgive
    • Ask God to help you forgive. Forgiveness is letting go of anger and your quest for revenge. Realize that you are powerless to forgive through your own strength, but God does not ask you to do something without giving you His strength and power to do it.
    • Ask God to help you feel compassion for your offender. Psalm 78:38 says that God is full of compassion.
  3. Break the Chain
    • Bitterness often runs through families: When a parent does not meet a child’s needs, that child can become bitter and is then unable to meet his or her own child’s needs. The chain can continue through several generations.
    • Ask God to help break the chain with generational issues.
    • Ask God to help you have pity for that person in your family who still suffers with bitterness.
  4. Look Elsewhere
    • God will provide people to meet your needs.
    • Be proactive and look for those God has provided to meet your needs.
    • Join a women’s or men’s group, or look for a prayer partner.
    • If your mother did not meet your need for love and acceptance, find an older woman in the church who would be willing to mentor you. She can give you the love and acceptance your mother never could. The same action is helpful in a father-son situation.
    • If your husband or wife will not meet your need for friendship and intimacy, remember God is the only one that can truly fulfill what you are needing.  As you give as Jesus did to your spouse as overflow, they will change to love you more.
    • Love is free from bitterness.

      o Joy pushes bitterness out.

      o Bitterness can not coexist with peace in the soul of the believer filled with the Holy spirit.

      o Longsuffering gives the ability to deal with bitterness and other troubles.

      o Gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are fruits of righteousness, which is divine good. Divine good takes the place of bitterness.

God wants you to forgive so you can be free from the destructive power of bitterness, learn to hit the delete button.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for helping me when things seem to go wrong in my life and when I am feeling hurt or rejected.  Let me learn to forgive, have pity on the person who still holds bitterness in their life.  Open up our eyes when we tend to hold on and have grudges but let us find closure with your love.  In Jesus name.  Amen

Luke 6:37 New International Version (©1984)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.


Abundant life, Love and Life of a Testimony, Parenthood

Momma’s Cinnamon Toast

When growing up there is nothing like your momma’s cooking.  My mother always had a home cooked breakfast just about every morning, making her own biscuits most of the time and she still holds the same tradition every Sunday morning.  In fact, I could go over there right now and she could whip me up what we called “a runny egg” or “fried hard egg”, gravy, sausage or bacon.

Meal time was family time and I treasure the memories she created in our little minds while growing up.  One of my favorite was her cinnamon toast, smothered with butter until it leaks  through on the other side, covered with sugar and just the right amount of cinnamon, toasted in the oven just right.  It can’t be too toasted or too soggy but just right and it was far from healthy.  I sometimes wondered if mom was in a hurry to fix us something, or if the cupboard was bare since she fixed us just toast.  I tend to think she made the best out of what she had for us kids and made it special and different from the traditional cooked meal or box of cereal.

In life we can look at what we have and think it is small when we compare it to others.  God doesn’t want us to compare but make the most out of what we do have.  Just like mom’s cinnamon toast, we can always add special touches to our simple things, be thankful and make it sweet for others.  You might not like the thought of changing or getting out of routine, but once you taste it you will never forget it.  Take what you do have today and make it something special for others.  Let your legacy live through your next generation, even if it is as simple as momma’s cinnamon toast.

Prayer:Lord thank you for the little things!

Colossians 4:2 New International Version (©1984)
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.