Category: Growing Up in God


Abortion or LIFE!!!

Some years ago, right around my birthday, I posted a photo obtained from Facebook that showed a replica of a very tiny baby, held in someone’s hand.  It turned out to be a beautiful sculpture, one of several, with features that were spot on to a new born.  My point in the blog was to celebrate how God had saved me from abortion, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God, not something to be tossed aside on a garbage heap of medical waste to be burned or, worse, sold for parts to the highest bidder. We are fearfully and wonderfully made

There was one lady who angrily spoke up and wrote that I should have posted a real live 12 week old baby instead of a replica.  Not wanting to turn my blog into something quite controversial, I didn’t do or say anything negative to her but left a comment about the photo and what it was meant to portray.   Because of that photo, my blog continues to get a few hits every so often, but I don’t believe anyone is really looking at the site itself…just the photo.   So, I have taken that photo down, to replace with something more appropriate but not overtly graphic.  (If you wish to see the real life photos of aborted children, they are out there on Google and they are heart-breaking.)

My blog visitor was right though.  We in the Christian community have long allowed the world to dictate much of how we respond to things like this, subjects that are uncomfortable, not politically correct, and we hide from them as I have, not wanting to offend.  Abortion, though, is one subject I do feel strongly about because I was saved from the butcher’s hand by a birth mother who cared enough about her own life and mine to give me a chance.

Please consider this:  in order to have confidence in God for every area of our lives, we must be confident that the life He has given us is worth living, and fighting for — from the “womb to the tomb”.  Life is from God, not to be extinguished by anyone other than Him, before it has an opportunity to take a breath.  He offers believers, His kids, abundant life!  Why would we not want that for our children, born or in utero?  Obviously, I’m probably preaching to the choir here.

The self-centeredness, selfishness, greed, and hypocrisy that surrounds us these days, particularly regarding this subject is beyond reprehensible and demeaning to our humanity.  But, instead of wallowing in depression and despair over what is or what seems to be unchanging and only getting worse, I still remain confident in a loving God who will bring His Will, His Light, Love and Mercy to our sinful world and bring revival to those lost in their own depravity and blinded by evil.

For those who do not yet know Jesus as Lord and Savior, I urge you to humble yourselves before Him and repent, turn around, go the other way.  You will never regret it.  He is waiting for you with open arms to come to Him.  (If you should need assistance or have questions, please check out my page “Confidence in God 101” – formerly known as “Where Does Confidence in God Come From?” – for more info.)

For those of you who do know Jesus as Lord and Savior, Lamb of God and Soon-Coming King, do not despair!  Do not give up!   Have confidence in God!  Continue to do good in this world and fight for what is right!

31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. [Heb. 12:1-3.]  Isaiah 40:31 Amplified BibleCourage

Remember, we aren’t wrestling with evil human souls here who, in reality,  are virtually bound in chains by demonic influences. This is a FULL ON spiritual battle against the powers of darkness planning on destroying the human race God so lovingly created and sacrificed His Son for.  So if you wish to remain faint of heart, you’ve already lost.  Gear up, Soldiers!  Be Courageous! Put on your armor!

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvationand the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Ephesians 6:10-18 New International Version

Pray like you’ve never prayed before.  Believe like you’ve never believed before.  Obey like you’ve never obeyed before.  And most importantly, speak and act like what you’re praying and believing for is reality.  Then you’ll see things you’ve never seen before.  Get ready Troops.  A Miracle awaits us if we don’t give up our confidence!

 

 

Once again I have run across an encouraging post that I think is worth sharing.  As we see our world crumbling before us, and the results of people’s mindsets running amok, it’s good to remember that we can change things in our little part of the world by focusing on the Word of God which never changes and is always there as an anchor when we start to sink.

When our thoughts are right, our speech will be right, and consequently our actions will follow suit.  It all starts in our little noggins!

 

Breaking Strongholds

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”

(2 Corinthians 10:4, NKJV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

Scripture tells us that there is a battle going on in our minds. Our thoughts dictate our actions. That’s why the enemy will do everything he can to get you thinking in the wrong direction. Sometimes, it’s not our own thoughts that are holding us back; sometimes it’s that we’ve believed the negative things that other people have spoken. Those words are like seeds. If you dwell on them long enough, they’ll take root and become reality.

In life, there will always be people telling you what cannot be done, speaking negative things. Too often we latch on to those negative words and develop what the scripture calls a “stronghold.” That’s a wrong thought or action that keeps us from God’s best. The way you break those negative strongholds is by rejecting the lie, forgiving the person, and embracing the truth of God’s Word. In other words, you have to choose to delete that negative file in your mind.

Today, why don’t you take inventory of your thought life? Ask yourself, “Where did these thoughts come from? Do they line up with what God says about me?” Break the negative strongholds and embrace God’s truth so you can be all that God has called you to be!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, today I choose to reject negative thoughts. I choose to reject lies from the past. I break every stronghold through the power of Your Word and embrace Your truth which sets me free in Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Let’s Speak Life!

What kind of fruit is your tongue producing?

What kind of fruit is your tongue producing?

I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but does it seem that an awful lot of people are talking problems, theirs or others, and there’s not a whole lot of folks talkin’ positive, let alone about real, solid solutions?  It’s so easy to talk smack, denigrate others, let out frustrations vividly, but that never helps to make the situation better, does it?  If anything, it makes things a whole lot worse!

Recently, I had yet another occasion to witness the damage words can cause by folks not paying attention to, or not caring, what they’re saying out loud, this time in a work environment.  The situations are still a bit in flux, feelings were hurt, people got into trouble, work flow was interrupted, and although I think everything will be ironed out with a minimal amount of real damage, it brought home the fact that our words are powerful.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21 that death and life are in the power of the tongue and they who love it will eat the fruit of it.  That’s not terribly reassuring, depending on which side of the proverb you’re on.  If I’m speaking death (negative words), I’m in BIG trouble!  What I find interesting is that an honest-to-goodness king is aware of the power his tongue has over any given situation and is willing to write about it and warn others.  Of course, he was the wisest of kings, so I guess God knew that was one thing we needed to be advised of.

James warns us again in the New Testament (James 3:6) that our tongue is a fire!  Well, THAT can’t be good!!  It may be a small member, as he says, but it can act like a rudder on a ship or a bit in a horse’s mouth, and head you in an area you may not want to go.  And he goes on to say that we speak blessing to God, yet curse our fellow men and women that He created.  Not good at all!

fireObviously, there is a bit of a disconnect when we communicate with each other everyday.  We must somehow become more aware of the things we talk about, share with others, comments, jokes, frustrations, etc.  Paul is pretty clear in Ephesians 4:29  “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Even though we’d like to do whatever we want, and in the last 20 or so years we’ve become more self-centered in that regard than ever before, that isn’t what we were created for.  God had a better plan and it entails, drum roll please………..loving one another — enough to where we care about how we communicate with others and really speak the truth in love.

Now, I have to say, it’s not easy to do — especially in the society we live in today where God is mocked, Christians are made fun of, every song on the radio has a cuss word, or five or ten or twenty … or worse.  People are so afraid to interact with each other that they have turned to talking in texts on their “smart phones” or on social media.  But, for those infrequent times that we actually do talk to a live person, try to pay attention to what goes on in your conversation.  Do you hear them demeaning themselves or others, are they acting prideful, do they curse or speak in sensual or sexual overtones, or with obvious disregard for others as if their life is more important than their friends or co-workers, family members.  Are they basically negative?  Do you find yourself agreeing with them or speaking in the same way?  If so, maybe it’s time to read up on the tongue and find out just how God thinks your “talk time” could be better spent.  It might be a time to survey the intents of your heart as well.

And this applies to conversations in social media too.  I’ve seen the most horrific stuff on Facebook and Twitter.  Would you REALLY say that if you were in front of that person?  If so, you need an attitude adjustment, for reals, seriously!!

You know, this world may not last a whole lot longer, you might meet your Maker today, or tomorrow, or in a week or a month.  We have no guarantees as to the length of our days.  Only God knows that little detail and He usually doesn’t share it because He knows we couldn’t handle that responsibility. That said, do you really want to meet him having just blasted someone for taking your toothbrush?  Or not doing the dishes because it was their turn, darn it!? Or would you want your loved one to have to bear, for the rest of their lives, the memory of an argument, a stupid disagreement, as the last conversation you had?power of the tongue

Let’s try to pay attention to our words this week, this month, for the rest of the year, and see if we can’t shine a little light into our world.  Our words are powerful and also creative, just like God’s are.  Perhaps we can create some good things to happen just by ordering our words to be laced with encouragement, positivity, and life.  We have that power..in our tongues.  Let’s speak life for a change, huh?  What d’ya say?

 

 

 

Be a lighthouse, a beacon -- lighting the way for others.

Be a lighthouse, a beacon — lighting the way for others.

Thought I’d share a scripture with you today that really ministered to me on my way to work the other day.  I hope it encourages you to walk boldly for Jesus in this world with a new attitude.

“….work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).  [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.  Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, …..”  Philippians 2:12b – 2:16a  The Amplified Version

For those of us who have met and fallen in love with Jesus on a personal level and dedicated our lives to Him and received Him into our hearts as Lord, Savior and Soon Coming King, these words should spur us on to repentence from acting like the world does, and thinking we can get away with it.

Yes, Jesus was and is loving, kind, caring, merciful and all that stuff, but He also prayed for guidance and boldness to do what was right when it was time to “throw the bums out” for desecrating the House of God!  (Flashback to the scourging of the Temple where He threw out all the money changers, merchants, consumers, those buying and selling their wares inside the temple for gain.  Mark 11:15-16.)  We often think nowadays about those types of folks in our society that we would like to “throw out”, but maybe there is really more to it than that, something more personal and intimate in fact.

Whether we realize it or not, we have allowed the “bums” to desecrate His temple yet again!  WE are His temple in human flesh and on a daily basis we let such things as greed, intolerance, unholy speech (that’s a big one for a lot of folks and they don’t even realize they’re doing it!), arrogance, grumbling, complaining, unforgiveness, and other sins (bums) too numerous to mention, to saturate our lives. And that’s not even close to talking about the so-called “BIG” sins like, murder, rape, sex outside of marriage, stealing, etc.!

We have been seduced by media (social and otherwise), the printed page, our families and friends, and those ever-present evil whispers into our very ears from the enemy of our soul, and they all play a part in clouding our judgment.  Our behavior sometimes is anything but Christ-like and it is high time to THROW THE BUMS OUT!!

How?

The most obvious way to start, I suppose, is to read the Bible, New Testament especially, to find out what God expects a believer to act like.  Then, while reading, search your own heart–deeply– for areas where you may not match up.  (Don’t worry. He’s a forgiving God and He loves you tenderly, more than you could possibly imagine.  He’s also waiting to forgive you, if you will ever just show up.)

Repent.  You may think, after reading how God wants us to behave, that you’ve gone too far.  You haven’t.  But, if you will take this step of repentance, He can help you to do better.

Resolve to consciously work on the areas that God points out to you.  When you feel tempted by the “bums” to swear at someone, or get into a heated political argument (so common nowadays at least), turn away, tell them “Jesus loves you and He has everything under control.  I’m trusting Him to bring His will to pass in my life and to take care of all of us.”  When you are offended, vow to take that forgiveness road instead of harboring the “grudge and hate bums”.  They are dangerous, deadly and out to ruin your life.  As Joyce Meyers talked about in a conference years ago, once they have been thrown out, don’t let them try to talk you into inviting them back into your life “just for a cup of coffee and a nice chat”, because they will try, trust me!

We’ve allowed the spirit of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and money changers (“bums”) to take root in our lives for so many years that it is hard sometimes to see that they are even there, but I assure you they are.  You see in the news, both on TV and the internet, stories involving “Christians” who are really behaving badly and sullying the name of Jesus.  Although the Bible tells us this is going to happen in the end times, it still saddens me to the core.  WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HIS REPRESENTATIVES FOR GOOD ON THIS EARTH!  We should be different from the world, but many times, we are just like everyone else.

It is time to be the beacon of light, the light on a hill, the salt of the earth!  I encourage you to throw out the bums in your life and live for Jesus with renewed vigor!  He is worth whatever energy you will expend in telling those bums they can’t stay in your temple any longer.  If you will trust and lean on Jesus, you will be successful! God bless you!

rain dropsAs with all things in this world, disappointments happen.  I refer, in part, to my aforementioned VACATION!  It was somewhat restful in that I got to stay home, but for 3 days I spent stressing over the phone and computer, trying to rectify with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs that my mother does in fact deserve her benefits, which have been temporarily suspended.  It’s a long story, and I will spare you all the gory details, but it was nonetheless a bit stressful.  I have copied blank and completed forms to my computer for future reference, made hard copies to send to the care home for their consideration, filled out forms I’d never filled out before, and had a hard time keeping track of all the papers on top of my desk.  A nightmare to be sure, but I suppose it could have been worse.  Fortunately, I discovered during my hours on the phone, waiting for a human to answer, that I have a few contacts in the city where my mom lives that have experience with this and can assist, should the need arise.

The Holy Spirit brings peace.

The Holy Spirit brings peace.

Prompted to reread the previous post, perhaps to remember why I was on vacation, I was struck by how applicable the last part was, the Scripture.  It has amazed me throughout my years as a Christian that the whole world can be a jumble, full of chaos and fear, and yet when God’s Word enters the picture, all the turmoil fades away and my peace returns.  It really is true that when Jesus enters the room, the devil, fear, anxiety, confusion, and everything else negative has to flee.  He is Peace personified.  He brings with Him comfort, solace and a sense of well-being to any environment that is fraught with negative or contentious emotion.

Speaking of contention, recently, in fact at the beginning of my vacation, I managed to get myself into the middle of a conversation on a social media site with a friend, someone who shares in loving Jesus as I do, but politically has diametrically opposing viewpoints.  Now, I usually know better than to get into these conversations, but what I shared was at the beginning of the thread and not such a big deal, until…..all of her friends with her same view point jumped in to give their two cents worth of advice and negative input.  Needless to say, my blood began to boil and it was all I could do to keep my fingers from writing what my tongue wanted to say.  My friend jumped in at the last and saved the day by calling truce and the friends all went away thinking “Boy, we sure told her!!!!  Boy, oh boy!!

It was a few days later that I read a conservative site’s conversation thread where I saw that my friend had made a comment, seemingly simple and straightforward, and she was “attacked” by those folks whose view points are similar to mine.  It was an interesting comment as to the division we have been seeing in our nation and how our very peace is coming under attack.  And WE LET IT HAPPEN by giving the enemy a foothold when we get into discussions/arguments that will never go anywhere but to divide us further.  We play right into the enemy’s hands.  In an effort to “educate” the readers, we just end up confirming to them they are right because we’re so stupid, calling names, and no one is benefitting except the enemy of our souls who walks off laughing at our stupidity for getting involved in the conversation to begin with!

I know, I know.  It is very frustrating to let things go when you know you are right and they need to know they are wrong so they can start thinking right again after you tell them what you know.  But, trust me.  If we don’t proceed with love and a lot of prayer, nobody is going to change their mind to your way of thinking!  Oftentimes we speak before we pray but we must approach the Throne first, in my opinion, before entering into these social media forums, if we should even do it at all.

Keep your peace

Keep your peace

I have gotten into enough of those conversations, with friends and with strangers, to know that it is not worth the peace I lose to take that risk.  It’s not Christ like.  Arguing my point of view is not what Jesus has called me to do, even though it makes my “flesh” feel good to knock somebody out on social media sometimes.  And I have to say, I’m usually the first one to back out of the conversation because I feel convicted and know I shouldn’t have been in it to begin with.  That really is frustrating!!!!  But is it truly pleasing to the Lord?  Am I sowing seeds of love, hope, joy?  Am I furthering the cause of Christ?  Will souls be won into the Kingdom of Heaven because of my part in the conversation? I don’t think so.  And maybe those are questions we should ask BEFORE we enter these threads of conversation.  How can I uplift the Name of Jesus and His Love to those I may speak to on this site?

Based on my experiences with these things over the years, I can’t say I won’t ever get involved in them again, but maybe I’ll have a little more insight, and hopefully go into them more prayerfully next time.  They can be treacherous depending on the subject matter, but if we keep Jesus at the forefront, waiting on Him to give us the words to say, or be obedient if He tells us to not get involved at all, we will go a long way towards keeping our peace.  And that, keeping my peace in this crazy world, is worth just about everything!

 

 

 

 

So true!

So true!

The last few years have solidified my appreciation for personal responsibility and the willingness to do the right thing even if it means that you might in some way suffer emotionally, financially, or even physically — on rare occasions.  Not that I’m a pillar of responsibility myself at all times, but I like to think that I am responsible for the most part.  But, the reason this subject keeps springing up in my spirit might be an indication that it’s something God wants to work on, so I thought I’d bring you along for the ride!

He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much.  Luke 16:10

This scripture is full of meaning because it covers so many of us today.  We think we can be faithful to the Lord if we could only get our hands on the latest Power Ball winnings, or a doctorate in our chosen field, or a face lift, or successfully complete a weight loss program, or any number of other endeavors.  We’d give and give to charity after charity.  Why, we’ll do all the things we’ve wished and hoped we could do someday, but never did because we weren’t rich enough, pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough, talented enough…..  But, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of it, if we really did have all that stuff, we still wouldn’t give any of that money, time, talent, or giftings away like we thought we wanted to do.   Why?  Because, underneath all of our grandiose ideas, we are selfish, self-centered, irresponsible.  And, you could probably throw in having a little greed, pride, and fear of lack for good measure.

On the other hand, those of us who really “get it”, are already out there giving what we have, even though it isn’t much (at least not in our eyes), and are making a difference, if only in one person’s life at a time.

Years ago, I met two men.  One I’ll call “A” and one I’ll call “B”.  “A” fancied himself to be a music minister, Christian musician.  He had written a number of pretty good songs about the Lord, had a band, played a few gigs.  Very nice voice and talented enough to warrant going further in the music industry, in my opinion.  He enjoyed the “fame” that came with the life style, I guess you could say.  He managed to record a few songs but never could get off the ground with his career.  He only wanted to play his own songs and never enjoyed singing “church songs”.  He did very few, if any, private outreach types of things like sing to people in nursing homes, etc. on his own time.  When I think back on him stating he had a music ministry, I thought that odd, in light of what real ministry is all about.  I’m surmising here, but I often wondered if he thought that sharing his talent with old folks wouldn’t do much to advance his career and therefore, wasn’t worth doing.

“B” on the other hand, also a talented musician, wrote lots of songs, had some recorded, was a worship leader in his church and shared his talent with others quite willingly and fairly often, in nursing homes and other venues as he could find to sing.  He loved to sing and play the old songs and the new from any artist, not just his own. Although his musical career has not advanced as he had originally hoped, he has definitely advanced the Gospel of  Christ in the lives of many and by serving, even though his personal dreams might not have come to fruition yet, he has made a clear statement that only sharing Jesus matters.  Not knowing his personal motivations of course, I suspect that responding in such a way was much more of a music ministry.

As a result of their chosen attitudes towards the life and talents that God had given them,  “A” currently lives a very bitter existence, blaming everyone else for his lot in life.  “B” continues to serve in his church and the Lord and is pursuing other areas of interest as he trusts God to lead him.

Faithfulness, Being Responsible leads to Power

Faithfulness, Being Responsible leads to Power

In watching these two men and their differing examples of living life through the years, the idea of personal responsibility has really become much more of a focus for me.  It is very true, as the previous scripture verse tells us, that if we are not faithful, responsible, honest, with the very little things, like paying our bills on time, not running red lights, obeying the laws of the land, telling the truth about why we are calling in sick to work, taking care of our homes, being kind to others in whatever way they need kindness displayed, especially to our wives, husbands and children, going the extra mile when it means sacrificing something we think we can’t live without, then we will never be responsible to take care of the bigger things in life that we long so desperately for, no matter how much we might think we would be able to.  And, for many, those bigger things in life aren’t given to us, because God knows we wouldn’t be able to handle them in our current condition.  Our walk with Him would suffer, our families would suffer, and it might destroy us in the long run.

So, perhaps it’s time to take our personal responsibility “temperature”.  Is our behavior pleasing to the Lord?  Are there things we should be doing to become more responsible and mature?  Are there people in our lives that we’ve hurt by our lack of responsibility that we need to “man up” and admit our failures and ask for their forgiveness?  Our spouse, our children, our ex-spouses (ooooh…that one hurts!), our friends, co-workers, the guy at Starbuck’s, or the gas station attendant?  How about the Lord Himself?  How have we failed Him?  Have you asked for His forgiveness and cleansing to make you clean in this area of your life?

There is so much blame out there and truly the blame stops with you and me.  We are given a free will by the Lord and He watches to see what we do with it.  Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming others for our mistakes, our failures, the breaks we didn’t get.  Let’s stop trying to run our lives alone and trust the One who is able to bring His promises to pass, in His perfect time. We can have confidence in Him!  It’s time to take responsibility for our behavior, thoughts, and words.  We’ll be abundantly blessed when we do.  I’m willing to try…how about you?

I Declare

 

I’ve had on my heart the last few days to take a stand, to declare what I believe, to proclaim what is important and right and good, for me, and something to leave for posterity, if you will, that will show that I stood for something and wasn’t just a hunk of human flesh taking up space on this spinning blue ball of rock.

 

Perhaps no one cares but me, but that’s ok.  If no one reads this but God alone, it is sufficient to have done it at all for His eyes, if for no one else’s.  But, if someone does happen to read this someday, perhaps it will spur them on to make a declaration of their own, to draw a line in the sand so to speak, for that is really what this is about I suppose.

 

I see so much conservative and liberal lines in the sand being drawn via social networking and in the news, and it reminds me of the Scriptures that teach us that this divisiveness will happen in the end times.  Parents against children, children against parents, siblings against siblings.  I always wondered how this would come to pass as it didn’t seem possible on a grand scale all those many years ago when I thought about it.  But now, that prophetic word becomes much clearer.  God is separating the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad, the just from the unjust, and He’s making it crystal clear that we have a choice and the time has come to choose whom we will serve.

 

Drawing a line in the SandThere is so much more to it than choosing a political party, or philosophy, or clinging to a particular belief system you’ve known all your life.  It’s really more about choosing a destiny for yourself, and potentially all of those lives with whom yours has been entwined.  For you are not alone on this planet.  Your choices, your lifestyle, your belief systems affect everyone around you, everyone you care about and even those you do not.  The thoughts you think, the words you speak, the actions you take all play a part in defining who you are, at least to the outside world.  If you feel you are someone else, perhaps a change needs to take place in your thoughts, words and actions?

 

Long years ago I made a decision to follow Jesus, to ask Him into my heart to change me from the inside out, to be my Lord and Savior for all eternity.  I can truthfully say it was the best decision of my life, although walking out that decision over the last 45 years or more has not always been a piece of cake.  But, as He has worked on me, changed my heart, reigned in my desire to rebel and walk contrary to His Word at times, it still is my contention that serving the Lord is the ONLY way to know fulfillment, peace,  and satisfaction in life.  Therefore, I declare:

 

That I am, first and foremost, a child of the Most High God and Heavenly Father, and that Jesus is my Savior and Lord forever and ever.   He is above all gods, both religious and material and deserves my utmost attention and love.  He is worthy of my praise, confidence, and trust.

 

That I choose to follow His Word, to obey it as He gives me strength, grace, understanding and knowledge, and with His help and that of the Holy Spirit, I choose to walk in His abundance and life.

 

That I know I am one of billions of God’s human creations and that He loves each of us individually with an everlasting love.  I am no better than they, nor are they better than me.  I can love them, because He first loved me.   There is no room in God’s heart for hatred or racism or anything of the sort because God loves us each and every one equally.

 

That I recognize that with so many differing opinions—religious, political and otherwise–, insights, ideas, and philosophies in the world there are bound to be disagreements, but because I carry Jesus in my heart, there is no room for dissension, rivalries, strife, anger, malice and the like.  I choose to be a purveyor of peace whenever the opportunity arises.  I also recognize that I don’t know everything and am not right about everything and should not judge anyone.  That right belongs to God and God alone.

 

That because I believe God’s Word is true and right for all human life and experience, I will not shirk my responsibility to share His Truth as He gives me understanding and directs me to, but will endeavor to lean on Him for the words and right attitude in which to do so.  Just because I speak Truth, the hearer can only receive it when I speak it in love with a right attitude.  I choose to share Jesus’ love and compassion as often as I can as He works in my heart and gives me opportunities.

 

That I will stand for life, human life.  Although God has created much life in our world which should be enjoyed, cared for and protected, the most important, above all else, is the life of the humans he has formed and knit together in the womb.  We are made in His image and it is not my place to determine who lives and who dies.  That too is up to God alone.  Having been a recipient of life through adoption, I feel I have a contribution to make, a stand to take in this arena of our society.

 

Although I believe and try to walk in a whole lot more than has been stated here, I will stop at this point, because I know God knows the rest and is working on all of it to bring out at a later time perhaps.  But, I do encourage all of you, or one of you, or however many might read my little treatise, to make a stand.   Determine what you believe, what you really do stand for.  It’s important.  And it is indeed time to make a choice.

 

With Christmas over and most of the hustle and bustle of this busy holiday season almost over, it’s time to think about the coming New Year and what it might bring.  For some of my family, 2013 has been a very tough year, wrought with financial hardships, illness, emotional distress, and several other calamities too numerous to mention.  But, that being said, God has continued to be awesome, magnificent, and fully capable of meeting every need as we allow Him the right to take our messes and work His “magic” in our lives.

Assuming my family is not the only one who has felt some of the unsettling offerings that the world has available for us, I know there are plenty of you out there who have also gone through hard times, but have positive things to share about how the Lord has circumvented the enemy’s plans for your demise and blessed your socks off!

Although it might take a little digging into your memories of this past year, I know you’ll come across some blessings you may wish to share.  Please feel free to do so as we’d all really enjoy hearing the wonderful things God has done in your lives during 2013.  The more we share His story and miracles, the more confidence rises in our souls and spirits.  I don’t know about you, but I, for one, need more confidence, trust and faith in God, and encouragement to continue when the battles of life get hot and heavy.  We’re in this life together and need each other.

So, with that said, What’s in store for us, for you, for me during the coming year?  Well, that is a good question.  But, as Christians, we know Who holds our future, as well as our nasty, ugly pasts and our presents, and He, the Lord Jesus Christ, is able to keep us in His incredibly strong and mighty hands, to protect our eternity with Him, no matter what comes our way.

You can indeed have confidence in Jesus to continue what He’s doing, complete what He started so many, many years ago, and carry you through to a victorious end.  Don’t give up, keep on truckin’, we’re not “done” yet.  The way may seem dark, but it really isn’t when Jesus is your Light at the end of the tunnel.

Granted we have a ways to go yet before we get There so, as some might say, “pull up your big boy and girl panties”, set your sights toward Heaven, but don’t forget to bring as many with you as you possibly can.  When we reach our reward someday, we’re gonna have a HUGE party with all the angels of Heaven and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords sharing dinner with us.  Wow!  So don’t lose heart and grow weary.  The best is yet to come!

Bring it on 2014!!!

Cold Milk and Tar

Doesn't this sound good on a hot summer day?

Doesn’t this sound good on a hot summer day?

When I was a kid, about seven or eight years old, I remember living in Pocatello, Idaho near a fraternity house that was on the other side of the alley.  As it happened, we lived very close to the college so to have a frat house close by was not unusual.  One particularly warm summer day, I smelled the most awful smell and when I went to investigate I can remember seeing a big machine with this steaming hot, black gooey substance overflowing and dripping down its side and some men standing nearby, their clothes stained in black as well.  I couldn’t imagine what was going on at first, but those guys sure looked thirsty!  In my little girlish mind I thought I knew just the thing that would cheer them up — a cold glass of milk!  So, I proceeded to pour two or three glasses of ice cold milk and took them out to the unsuspecting recipients of what I thought was a real treat from my generous child’s heart.

I don’t know how grateful they really were, but they acted like it was the best thing in the world and made me feel spectacular for having thought to bring them something to drink on such a hot, Pocatello day.   Beer probably would have been more to their liking, or at the very least soda pop, but we didn’t have those things in my house, never did.  So, milk it was!  They received it with a smile and a big thank you, as I’d hoped, and they continued on doing…whatever it was they were doing before I came Uncle Remusout of the house with my big surprise.

As it turned out, that nasty, awful smell, as you’ve probably already guessed, was hot tar.  They were tarring the alley way to make it more like a road than a dirt trail, which is pretty much what it seemed like before they fixed it.  I’d never seen tar before but I had heard and read the story about Bre’r Rabbit and the Tar Baby, one of the many stories from the old South told by one of my favorite story tellers from Walt Disney’s Song of the South, Uncle Remus.  I figured it must be similar stuff.

You may be unfamiliar with the story but I’ll summarize it for you as it does have some applications for today.  You may see different relevancies than I do, but I hope you’ll enjoy this tale as much as I did as a kid.

Basically, the story revolved around Bre’r Fox who wanted revenge on a happy-go-lucky Bre’r Rabbit because he felt that Bre’r Rabbit had been making a fool out of him for a very long time and he was determined to get even.  He devised a plot whereby he made a “baby” out of tar that he thought looked real enough to fool Bre’r Rabbit.  Bre’r Fox set the “baby”, now fully clothed, on a log and laid in wait for Bre’r Rabbit to come by.Bre'r Rabbit and the Tar Baby

He didn’t have long to wait because soon Bre’r Rabbit hopped along down the trail and spotted the unusual figure sitting on the log and began to try to engage the “Tar Baby” in conversation.  He obviously couldn’t speak, so after several tries at pleasantries with no response, Bre’r Rabbit became frustrated and hit him — the response Bre’r Fox had desperately hoped for and, frankly, expected from Bre’r Rabbit.  Because Tar Baby was made of sticky tar, Bre’r Rabbit’s fist got stuck.  If that wasn’t bad enough, it didn’t take long for Bre’r Rabbit’s anger to get the best of him and not just one foot, but eventually all four got stuck to the Tar Baby!  By this time the fox was laughing hysterically at the rabbit who finally realized he’d been duped and if he didn’t come up with some sort of plan, quickly, he’d likely be dinner for Bre’r Fox that evening!Bre'r Rabbit and the gooey tar

Being a pretty smart Rabbit, he used reverse psychology on Bre’r Fox by telling him he could do anything he wanted to with him but please, please don’t throw him into the briar patch nearby.   That would be the worst thing in the world…to be thrown into the briar patch!  Well, don’t ya know, that’s exactly what the fox decided to do!  Throw the rabbit into the briar patch..all nettles and thorns, scratchy and foreboding.  Bre’r Fox expected to hear screams and yelling, but all he heard was laughing.  You see, it seems that Bre’r Rabbit was born and raised in the briar patch and was all too familiar with the surroundings.  It was a safe place for him.   Once again, Bre’r Rabbit got away and Bre’r Fox lost his attempt to get even.

I don’t know exactly what the moral of the story was intended to be, but it sure seems like we could learn to be a lot wiser as we’re walking down the “trail of life”.  Perhaps we’d be less likely to be duped by the enemy and get all of our body parts, and our souls, stuck in his “tar”.  It’s a lot easier to keep from getting stuck in the first place by being cautious and aware of the enemies tricks than it is to have to do some fast thinking to keep from getting eaten!

What if we stay in God’s Word, apply what He has to tell us to our hearts and lives and live above the plots and deception of this world?  Sounds like a good idea to me!  What do you think?

Let’s Dance!

Recently, I read an inspirational item from the internet.  You may have read it before on Facebook, in emails from friends or co-workers, Twitter, or others media resources, or maybe not at all, but I thought it made a really good point.

We have no control over a lot of things in life, but we can choose to be happy in spite of whatever life throws at us.  True joy comes from Jesus, of course, but happiness comes when we make a decision not to let outside influences determine whether we are happy or not.  This article pretty much says it all!

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~Dance Like No One’s Watching~

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another.  Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough and we’ll be more content when they are.

After that we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with, we will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire. The truth is there’s no better time to be happy than right now.  If not now, when?

Your life will always be filled with challenges.  It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.  One of my favorite quotes comes from Alfred D Souza.

He said, “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin -real life.  But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.  At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness.  Happiness is the way, so, treasure every moment that you have.  And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time…and remember that time waits for no one.

So stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter, until you are off welfare, until the first or fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink, until you’ve sobered up, until you die, until you are born again to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy…Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So, Work like you don’t need money.  Love like you’ve never been hurt and Dance Like no one’s watching.

~Author Unknown~

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This author, although unknown to us, was very wise.  If you’ve been waiting till this thing or that happens for you, stop waiting!  Let’s get busy and dance!

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