Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More of My Favorite Verses

by Aleta Kay

          I love God’s promises, but they are not to be misappropriated. You must have a relationship with God in order to have those promises applied to you. If I’m repeating some I’ve listed before please forgive me.
          Isaiah 30:18 says, “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.”
          Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
          Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
               Exodus 40:13 says, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.”
          2 Chronicles 20:17 says, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
          2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
          Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
          Psalms 34:7 says, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about those that fear him.”
     Jeremiah 24:4-7 says, “Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jer 24:5  Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
Jer 24:6  For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
Jer 24:7  And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
Psalms 91:4 says, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
Mark 11:23-26 says, “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Mar 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Mar 11:25  And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Mar 11:26  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto them.”

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

by Aleta Kay

          I am actually writing this the morning of Christmas Eve because tomorrow is going to be filled with church and family and I may not get to my blog. But I sincerely want to wish each and every one of my readers and followers a blessed and prosperous Christmas and New Year. God is so good, so awesome, and so merciful and loving that He sent His only begotten Son into the world that He might pay the penalty for our sins, making a way for us to have fellowship with God, the Eternal Father and giver of all life. Glory to His name! If you don't know Him as your Savior, may you seek Him today, with all your heart. The prophet Jeremiah said, "And ye shall seek me, and ye shall find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." No one who has ever sought God has been sorry they did, at least no one I've ever heard of. God bless you on this glorious day as we celebrate His birth.

Anger Breeds Anger

by Aleta Kay

          It’s been said children learn what they live, and it is true. If you treat your children with anger, bitterness and rage they will be angry, bitter, resentful. They become bullies. They may get into fights, join gangs, grow up to be criminals. What kind of future do want for your children? Whether they want to or not, they will grow up to be like you. They learn their behavior from you, the parent. You are the closest role model they have.
          Little children will follow their mom or dad everywhere they go. They will repeat the words they hear you say. They will mimic your gestures and actions. They want to be like you when they are little because they love you.
          Many times when they grow up they don’t want to be like their parents. But the mold has been set; the die has been cast. No matter how hard they try, it has been ingrained. They, like every person ever born, were born sinners so the nature to do wrong was there from the beginning. No one has to teach a child to lie. It comes naturally. No one has to teach a child to blame their behavior on someone else. It comes naturally. They were born to sinful parents (as we all were and are) who teach by example and words to do that which is wrong.
          However, there are some things some people are able to change. Many kids who have alcoholic parents determine in their hearts they will never drink. But some things are impossible change apart from seeking help from God, such as anger, rage, bitterness. These are the hardest things to overcome because they come from the heart. They are attitudes of the heart that will control everything else in a person’s life. This is why Ephesians 6:4 says, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they become discouraged.”
Notice that it does not say mothers. The Bible clearly teaches that children need a father. When there is no father figure the mother has to take on both roles, which she was never meant to do. Sometimes there is no choice due to the death of the father or divorce. But children who grow up with just a mother and never have a clear idea of a father figure often lose part of their sense of identity and have a hard time learning what it means to be a man if there is no role model. These children (especially if they are boys) may grow up to be homosexual, seeking the love of a male figure they never had. Or they be angry all of their lives because they missed that relationship of father and son, or father and daughter.
So be careful of the example you set. Children learn what they live.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Difference Between Christianity and Other Religions

by Aleta Kay

If we examine the religions of the world most of them have one thing in common: man must earn God’s favor. Man must work his way into God’s good grace. We have to obey all the rules and follow all of the rituals. Then we have to try to be perfect so God doesn’t get upset with us. Most religions think God is somewhere up there and doesn’t really interact with people. The ones who do believe God takes an interest in our lives paint him as an ogre waiting for a reason to whack us.
Most of the Catholics I have met tell me the only thing they got out of Catholic school was a good dose of guilt.
Many of the Middle Eastern religions believe we must beat ourselves into submission, or chastise ourselves, or offer various types of sacrifices (as the Jews were required to do in the Old Testament), say so many prayers a day, being sure to face the proper direction, or murder anyone who isn’t of the same faith.
Many religions keep women under the dominance of men and treat them with cruelty and disregard. Many of these religions are based on the sayings and writings of long-dead prophets who are still in their graves.
Christianity, however, is based on the writings of prophets long dead AND the teachings of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only one to have risen from the dead, as witnessed by thousands of people.
Christianity is the only “religion” based on God’s love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness. Now these are not automatically given. They are only given to those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the ONLY begotten Son of God, who died on a cruel cross for our sins, took our punishment, spent three days and nights in hell and rose again the third day (you have to understand how the Jews count night and day in order to work that out).
Christianity is the only “religion” that offers a personal relationship with God and the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. It is the only one that says we cannot possibly earn our way to heaven. We can never be good enough. We get to heaven one way only: through the shed blood of Jesus Christ for no other reason that because God chooses to love us.
God loves everyone, but only those who put their faith and trust in the shed blood of Christ on the cross to save them from their sin, and seek God’s forgiveness for their sin nature, will enter into heaven. Everyone who trusts in his own goodness will end up in hell. “For by the works of the law shall no flesh be saved.” Galatians 2:16. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace and Harmony

by Aleta Kay

          In my last post I started a study of the book of Philippians. Chapter two tells us we need to be in agreement with each other. Harmony is important in music but also in relationships. There is so much dissension and disharmony in the world today. When finances get tight, harmony seems to rush out the family door like the battering winds of a hurricane.
           It seems we are most cruel to those we claim to love when times are bad, while we treat neighbors and strangers as rare gifts. There is something dreadfully wrong with this picture. It has always baffled me that people can behave this way.
          Philippians tells us we are to have the mind of Christ. This is not easy to do because it is hard for us to keep our minds on our Lord. Life has so many distractions and things that scream for our attention. Our little ones cry; the bill collectors call; the car breaks down; the flu is going around; and on and on. So how do you keep your focus on Christ, allowing your mind to soak up His thoughts and attitudes with all this chaos? How do you keep harmony alive when you feel like giving up?
          First, you need to realize that all the worry in the world won’t change any of the above situations. Worry is a complete, total waste of time and energy. Secondly, you need to realize that all of that worry can cause you serious health problems which will only add to all of the above. Thirdly, you need to place a much higher value on your family relationships. Someone has to set the atmosphere of peace. The greater the strain, the greater the need for peace.
          Play peaceful, soothing music, preferably hymns that will help increase your faith: “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” “Amazing Grace,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” etc. Some contemporary worship songs are helpful: “As the Deer;” “Shout to the Lord;” “Breathe,” to name a few.
          Create an atmosphere of caring and cooperation. Make a duty roster and explain to children that everyone is needed, and everyone must have some responsibility for keeping things calm and upbeat. Plan family fun times. Play games together. Do jigsaw puzzles; make posters; reach out to someone worse off than you and give them a bag of canned goods. Make a card for them. Watch a movie together (on a DVD you already have). Listen to each other’s feelings with compassion, not criticism or judgmentalism. Be supportive of each other. Now more than ever, you need each other.
          All of these things are having the mind of Christ because these are the things He would do. These are things that will bring peace and contentment in times of trouble. You can do it. Just don’t leave Jesus out of your life. Things really do go better with Jesus, even in the midst of trials.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How Will People Remember You?

by Aleta Kay

          I love the book of Philippians. Let me just quote a few verses from the first chapter.
          1:3—I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
          1:4—Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
          1:5—For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
          1:6—Being confident in this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
          1:7—Even as it is meet (helpful) for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
          1:9—And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
          1:10—That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Jesus Christ;
          1:11—Being filled with the fruit of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

          Here is the apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul, who persecuted Christians and thought he was doing God’s will) writing to the church, the Christians at Philippi, telling them how much he admires their faith. He appreciates their fellowship when he is with them. He remembers how they helped him when he was in prison (for preaching the gospel). Yet God showed His grace on Paul and delivered him out of his afflictions and imprisonments.
          Paul told them it was helpful and good for him to remember how they came to his defense. He is pleased with the unconditional love that they have for each other and prays that will grow in the knowledge of the Lord and learn more how to discern good from evil. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but if we ask God to lead us, we will learn to discern in those grey areas.
          He prays that they will be filled with righteousness yet not be condescending, critical or judgmental. These are the things that please God and bring honor and glory to His name.
          The apostle Paul left quite a legacy and reputation behind when he died. So did many of the people in Philippi and other places where people found a relationship with Christ through his ministry. They, too, left good reputations and examples for others to follow.
          What are you leaving behind? How will people remember you? It's never too late to change your image; but don't just change it on the outside. It must be from the inside out or people will know you're a fake. Just ask God to help you. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Miracle of Christmas

by Aleta Kay

There seems to be a lot of confusion about this holiday. So let met attempt to clarify a few things. It is called CHRISTmas because it is the day set aside to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is not an X (yes, I’ve heard the story that early Christians used an X to symbolize their faith during times of persecution. Actually, they used the symbol of the fish because the first disciples called were fishermen and because Jesus said he would makes us fishers of men.
          Also, holiday is a combined word to mean holy day.
          I realize there are other celebrations for other cultures going on around this same time of year: Kwanza, Hanukkah, etc. However, around the world, for centuries, the 25th day of December has been celebrated as the birth of Christ. I agree everyone has a right to celebrate their own traditions and holidays and festivals. But does that mean we have to cover up Christmas with other days? Why can’t Christians wish someone a merry Christmas? It doesn’t take away anyone else’s right to wish someone Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanza. Why are people so easily offended?
          There seems to be some confusion about whether or not Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin. I know it sounds impossible. But if God could create the whole universe with a multitude of galaxies from nothing, if He could create man from the dust of the earth, woman from a rib, why would He not be able to plant His seed in a virtuous young woman who had never been with a man? How big, how mighty is your God? My God has no limits. There are things He will not do, such as override man’s will. He will not go against His own nature. He is consistent. He doesn’t change.
          There was another miracle even before Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost and conceived Jesus. Her cousin, Elisabeth, well past child-bearing years, conceived in her old age. Her husband, Zachariah was a priest performing his duties in the temple when the angel came to him and announced that his barren wife would conceive. Zachariah could not imagine such a thing. He doubted and was struck dumb for nine months. The next words he uttered were at the birth of his son, John, when he pronounced his name.
          When Mary went to see Elisabeth, her cousin was in her sixth month of pregnancy. As soon as Elisabeth saw her, the baby in her womb leaped for joy and Elisabeth broke out in song and asked what the mother of her Lord was doing coming to her? She did not feel worthy to have the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ in her home. They rejoiced together.
         So you see, there were many miracles, some of which have been discussed in previous posts. The bottom line is: “The just shall live by faith: and if any draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are You Being Chased?

by Aleta Kay

          Remember when you had your first crush on the opposite sex? If you’re a female who grew up in an old-fashioned household, you were taught that girls don’t chase boys. You let them come to you. But you wanted him to notice you.  You wanted his attention. You’d do almost anything to cause him to look your way.
          If the boy did chase you, you may have pretended not to care. You played the coy, shy card. You wanted to see how serious he was. He’d pull your pony tail, accidentally bump into you in the hallway or on the way to the pencil sharpener. He’d put an eraser on your chair, tell you that you were ugly. But the whole time you knew he liked you and was just afraid to say so.
          Imagine Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God has spent days just talking with them. Then one day the serpent comes along and convinces Eve that God is holding out on her. He’s not allowing her into His inner circle. God had told her that if she ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil she would become like a god and her eyes would be opened. (Do you ever try to protect your children from the evil in the world?)
          The serpent didn’t go to Adam. Adam would have been wise enough not to listen to the devil. That’s why the serpent went to Eve. The serpent knew how much Adam loved his wife. He knew that Adam would never want to live without her. So if the serpent could convince Eve that God was not as good of a friend as they thought he was, Adam would share the same fate as Eve. It was all a plot for the serpent to get revenge on his arch enemy, God.
          Later that day, after Adam and Eve hid themselves in the garden, God came in the cool of the evening and called them. “Adam, Eve, where are you? Why are you hiding from me? You’ve never hidden from me before. What’s going on? You ate the forbidden fruit, didn’t you?”
          God was, in essence, chasing them as a boy or girl would chase the object of their affection. God’s feelings were hurt. The relationship was broken. They had had such close fellowship; now there was a chasm between them. Innocence was gone; new knowledge had been introduced. God needed to find a way to bridge the gap. But things would never quite be the same because now the relationship was tainted by sin, whereas before it had been pure.
          God is still chasing people today. He wants to have fellowship with you. Most people, if asked if they are a Christian, will answer in the affirmative. “I believe in God.” “Of course I am; I go to church,” or “I’m Catholic” or some other denomination. Guess what? The devil, Satan, believes in God and trembles but he is definitely not a Christian.
          Going to church, belonging to a particular denomination, saying so many prayers a day, doing good to others, abstaining from drugs, alcohol and illicit sex will not get you into heaven. The only good thing inside any of us was put there by God. We can’t take any credit for it. Jesus said, “He that believeth on the Son hath life; and he that believeth not is condemned already.”
          It’s great that you believe in God, but do you also believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son; that he died for your sins and mine on a cruel cross, that he was buried for three days and nights and rose again? If you don’t believe that, you are not a Christian. You are a religious person and/or a churchgoer. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.”
          Isaiah chapter 9 says Jesus will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. He is all of those things. Those are His names. May you come to know and love the Prince of Peace in this blessed season of peace. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why Did Jesus Come?

by Aleta Kay

         I love this time of year. I love the decorations, the joyful songs, the glee of little children. People seem to smile more this time of year. There’s a feeling of festivity.
          But what really makes the holiday for me is knowing that Jesus chose to come to earth to be born as a baby, in a lowly stable. He didn’t choose to be born to rich people. He didn’t choose to have the announcement of his birth proclaimed to the dignitaries and celebrities. He chose to have the event announced to lowly shepherds. Jesus chose to identify himself with poor, uneducated people, the downtrodden of the earth. Why?
          Because he knew the hearts of people. He knew the social elite would reject him (and they did as he grew up).
          Luke 2:9-15 describes the atmosphere of his birth and the reason he came. The angels proclaimed: “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
          Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….” This indicates that peace is a choice. We choose to live at peace with others, or we choose to wallow in anger, bitterness, hatred, strife, etc. Jesus is the author, the source of peace—true peace.
          John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you…”
          Sometimes we can drum up our own peace but it usually doesn’t last long. If we want real peace we must go to the source of peace—Jesus. Have you ever noticed: when a REAL Christian faces tragedy, illness, disaster, death of a loved one, the initial reaction may be fear or anger, but it is quickly replaced by a peace the rest of the world can’t understand? God the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and gives us comfort and a peace that tells us he will see us through whatever happens. God never promised he would keep us from heartache or trouble. He promised he would help us through everything. But he only does that for his children, and then only if we let him.
          So this holy season, take time to invite Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to be your savior, your peace. Ask him to forgive you of your sins and cleanse your heart from evil. Invite him to be your lord and savior. He’s waiting with open arms.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are You Alive or Dead?

by Aleta Kay

         Our society has a fascination (and not a healthy one, in my opinion) with evil. We like to watch vampire movies, Halloween movies, ghost stories, macabre stories. Why we would rather see evil than good is beyond my understanding.
          Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened (made alive) who were dead in trespasses and sins…” We are spiritually dead without God working in and through our lives. When we repent (turn away from our sins, and turn toward God, asking for his righteousness to work in us) then we are made alive in Christ. As we then go to church, get involved in Bible study and prayer, we grow in the knowledge of God, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit (also called the Holy Ghost). We then learn to love him more and we learn to live by his standards and his rules.
          God promised his children an abundant life. This does not mean that we accumulate wealth and possessions. It means an abundance of joy.
          I know someone who is a Christian but it seems every time they start to get ahead a little something comes along and destroys what he has. “Satan roameth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” You may feel that the harder you try the worse things get. I’ll be honest. Sometimes I feel that way, too, but then I remember that all I deserve is hell and I certainly have better than that.
          The other thing I do is keep my Bible by my desk at work. I keep it open at Philippians 4:4-8 to remind myself to give my troubles to God. I can’t handle them but He can. My God is awesome and He loves me. He wants to fight my battles. My favorite verse in the Bible is Romans 8:28—“And we know that all things work together for good, to those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose.”
          Job (pronounced with a long o) lost everything he had in one day: his house, his children, his crops, and his cattle. Then he got sick and was covered head to toe with boils. Then his three friends came and accused him of having some secret sin in his life and telling him he needed to confess and get right with God. The fact is, according to scripture, Job had done nothing wrong. God wasn’t mad at him. God was showing off Job’s character to Satan. And Job passed with flying colors. Did he question God? Yes, he did. But in the end, he realized God had the right to do whatever he chose. We are merely God’s creation. He is the creator and can do anything he wants to. But when we learn to praise him even in the midst of trials and tribulations, that’s when he smiles down on us and pours out a blessing.
          Think about it: the world (unsaved people) are watching you, hoping you will despair and give up when things go wrong. That’s what they would do. If your faith is no stronger than theirs they have no reason to trust God. But if they see you praising and thanking God, trusting him, in spite of the struggles, that’s when the world begins to think maybe God could help them too. The Bible calls that bringing or giving glory to God. Sometimes I have to ask God to help me trust him when things seem to be falling apart, or when Satan seems to be ganging up on me. Every time I ask God for help I get it. He’ll do the same for you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Are We Too Critical?

by Aleta Kay

          I hear it a lot: “Why should I go to church? The people are like piranhas: when someone makes a mistake they run them out of the church or make them feel so miserable they want to just disappear. They’re all a bunch of hypocrites anyway.”
          It is sad that so many people have had this experience. Not only to the “righteous” ones reject those who have fallen; they go tell others what sin or sins have been committed and warn others not to have fellowship with the one who has strayed from the path.
          The Bible does tell us not to have fellowship with those who claim to be Christians and live in open, unrepented sin. In the church at Corinth a young man was having an adulterous relationship with his stepmother. The church was very proud of their broad-mindedness and acceptance of the situation. The apostle Paul wrote the church a letter and said the elders (leaders) of the church should go to the man and confront him about his sin and plead with him to repent. If he refused he was to be banned from the church until he did repent. This was to be done in a spirit of love and compassion.
          We are to be the light and salt of this world. We are to, IN LOVE, confront sin. This does not mean with go with an attitude that has our fingers pointing at the fallen one’s nose and shouting “Get right with God or else!” No, we are to go to that person, show them the scripture that talks about that particular sin and plead with them for their own sake and the sake of their testimony before a lost and dying world to get back on the right track and forsake that sin. The Bible tells us we are to go in twos. Two people at a time. If the person refuses to repent the first time, we are to get the pastor and the head deacon to visit. All of this is to be done with compassion. If he still refuses to repent, he is then to be brought before the entire congregation and be told he can no longer be a part of their fellowship until he gets back on the right track. The Amish people call this shunning. The purpose is to make that person so miss the fellowship he once had with his church family that he will repent and come back to the fold.
          Nowhere in scripture have I found any verse or passage that tells us to treat each other with condemnation and criticism. Proverbs tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. It does not call all the other church members and start a gossip session. Love does not give all the sordid details as a prayer request. It simply says, “Please pray for……………….he’s going through a rough time.” That’s all that needs to be said. How would you like it if you made a mistake or fell into sin, or got into some kind of trouble, and the next thing you know the whole church is talking about it? You wouldn’t like it and neither would I.
          Galatians 6:1 tells us, “Bretheren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.” I think that pretty well says it all. Don’t be a critic or a hypocrite. Go to that person in the spirit of love and plead with them to turn from their sin. If they refuse you are not to have fellowship with them.
          For example: I have friends who are not Christians. I will visit them but I will not hang out with them. I know their reputations and I must protect mine. But they know I care about them. They know they can talk to me about anything and I will listen. If they want my advice I give it. If not, I just listen. I don’t repeat anthing anyone tells me. If I have to give reference to a situation, such as in this column, I don’t mention any names, only the situation. “There but for the grace of God go I.” If you can’t talk to someone about their sin with compassion then let someone else do it. Don’t ruin their chances of ever being accepted back in church by gossiping about them. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are You Mad at God?

by Aleta Kay

           Many people get mad at God when they lose a child or other loved one. This is normal. Anger is one of the five stages of grief that people usually go through. People get angry at the person who died because there are so many things left undone or unsaid, or because now is there is a great financial burden or the burden of caring for property or another person without the help of the deceased. They get angry at God for not allowing the deceased to live longer.
          The other four stages are blame, depression, withdrawal or holding back emotions from others that we love, and finally acceptance. These are all normal but not everyone goes through all of these stages. When my brothers and I lost our dad, and then our mom, we grieved because we missed them. Our dad had suffered with emphysema for many years and finally died in his sleep. We were thankful he wasn’t suffering any more. I was able to lead him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ before he died so I know he is in heaven with the Lord.
          Our mom had a massive heart attack and three subsequent strokes. After the third stroke the only thing she could move was her eyes. The doctors told us there was no physical therapy they could do that would improve her situation. So with many tears and hugs we told our mom if it was better for her to let go, then let go. We would miss her but we would be okay. I wish I knew for sure that Mom is in heaven. She assured me she knew Jesus but I had never seen any evidence of it in her life. She was a “good” person by society standards, but as discussed in previous articles, we can never be good enough on our own for a just and holy God. The only way to get to heaven through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.
          The point of all of this is that it is normal to be angry at God for a while. It is normal to be mad at the one who died for a while. But staying angry is a waste of emotion and energy. What does it change? It may cause you severe health problems. Proverbs tells us that bitterness is as rottenness in the bones. Unresolved bitterness and anger will cause major health problems and won’t affect the one you are angry with at all.
God wants to help you through your grief. If you’ve lost a child your spouse NEEDS you to help him or her through that grief. It needs to be shared. If you don’t know what to say just cry together. If you blame each other stop criticizing and ask yourselves what could have been done differently.
We all want to blame someone when tragedy occurs. In the end, though, God has all of our days numbered. We won’t always know why a person dies, especially a young person. Often people die because of bad choices they make: the people they hang out with, the activities they participate in. Sometimes they’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes they’re in the right place at the wrong time. God sees time as one long continuum. He doesn’t see it split up into seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years like we do. He knows the beginning from the end. He sees what’s coming down the road. Sometimes He decides our number is up in order to keep us from something worse later. But every baby, every child who has not yet developed a conscience to know right from wrong, when they die, go to heaven to be with Jesus. They are safe. And since they were God’s children before they were yours, doesn’t He have the right to decide what’s best for them? He always does what is best for us, even if we can’t see it.
Trusting God is not always easy, but it is necessary. We can’t change God. We can’t change what happened. What we can change is our attitude, the way we think about things. It may take time to get to the place of acceptance and getting past the anger. But for your health’s sake, for the sake of your remaining loved ones, and for the sake of a possible future home in heaven, please ask God to help you get over your anger. He can’t help you if you don’t let Him. He isn’t mad at you. The death of that loved one was not a punishment for you. God wants to open new doors down the road. He’s knocking at your heart’s door now. Won’t you invite Him in? He loves you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I’ve Got My Ticket to Heaven

by Aleta Kay

There was a segment on the news last night showing a little boy, probably between ages seven and ten, who was asked if someone would go to heaven or hell. With a serious, stern look on his young face, the child answered that the person spoken of would go to hell. I only saw the preview for the segment, not the actual report.
          Based on the trailer for the report, it appeared the news media was highlighting people who train their children to hate. The trailer made it appear that Christians are people who hate anyone who is not a Christian. I wish I could have stayed up to see the whole report.
          This is the question: Is it an act of hatred to speak the truth? When a person sits before a judge in a courtroom he promises to tell the truth. He will be held in contempt and spend a few days in jail if he is found to be lying. When he speaks the truth does that mean he hates the person he is testifying against? No. He is simply doing what is right.
          When a doctor tells a patient he has cancer, is that doctor hating the patient? No. He is doing what is right.
          When a Christian tells a person they will go to hell if they don’t repent of their sins, they are not saying they hate that person. If the Christian is saying it properly, the person receiving the message will feel the love of God, knowing that this is a warning, a plea to please turn your life, your will, over to God so you don’t end up in a hell that was created for Satan and his angels (demons).
          I am just as upset with “Christians” who preach hate and damnation as anyone else. These people may or may not be Christians. That is not for me to decide. However, the Bible, God’s word, clearly teaches us to speak the truth in love. “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” People who end up in hell go to hell because they reject God and His love. God takes no pleasure in passing the sentence.
          Please don’t lump all Christians together as religious fanatics who hate everyone else. Most of us are not like that, but those are the ones that get media attention. They are not doing God any favors.
          God loves you and wants to give you His very best. In fact He did, when He sent His only begotten Son (Jesus the Christ) to die on a cruel cross for your sins and mine. Christians aren’t perfect; just forgiven. Think about it; and please don’t reject Christ and His gift because of some misguided Christians.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do the Holidays Make You Depressed?

by Aleta Kay

          The holidays are hard for a lot of people. They’ve recently lost a loved one or they are alone with little, if any, human contact. Some are in the hospital or have debilitating illnesses and they just want to give up.
          There is a widow in our church who really amazes me. Her husband died in March after over fifty years of marriage. She is still grieving and I know the nights alone are probably the worst times for her. Yet she continues to come to church. She volunteers at a food bank. She opens her home to those who have no place to go. She continually reaches out to others.
          This dear lady doesn’t brag about what she does. She doesn’t even mention it unless it comes up in conversation. She smiles a lot, even though the smile doesn’t always reach her eyes. She makes me want to reach out more, do more. She is an inspiration and doesn’t even know it.
          We all have times in our lives when circumstances beyond our control come in and attempt to overwhelm us. We are not immune to sadness, discouragement, and depression. God knew that. That’s why Jesus said, “Come unto me all you that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 29.
          The book of Isaiah (chapter 9) tells us that Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knows how you feel. He feels your pain. He wants to take your pain and give you His comfort and peace. He doesn’t promise you’ll never feel lonely, depressed or sad again. He does promise He will be with you and help you through. He promises that, if you let Him, He will ease it over time and make it easier to bear. He will teach you to smile in spite of your circumstances. He loves you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How Long Has It Been?

by Aleta Kay

How long has it been since you prayed for your man,
To change those things that only God can?
How long has it been since you went on a date,
Instead of arguing and fretting with your mate?
How long has it been since you shared a meal,
Talking, teasing, and flirting with zeal?
How long has it been since you two held hands,
Or walked on boardwalk or beach’s sands?
How long has it been you said, “I love you—“
Was it the day you spoke the words “I do?”

If the time is so long you can’t remember,
Today is the day you need to surrender;
To take that first step to bridge the gap;
Hold fast to today; tomorrow may not come;
Seize the moment; don’t waste it as some.
Relationships are hard—take time and work;
Don’t put it off; please don’t shirk.
Take time to try to understand your mate;
See his point of view; tomorrow could be too late.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blended Family Discipline

by Aleta Kay

          You’ve just gotten re-married. Or maybe you’ve been re-married for quite a while. You have his and hers children and one parent dare not discipline the other’s children. This is a recipe for family implosion. Every child needs two parents. (I know sometimes that’s impossible; for instance if you have been widowed.) If you marry someone it should be someone your children respect and like. If they don’t like the new “parent” or don’t respect him or her your home will be a constant battle ground.
          Here are a couple (or perhaps few) suggestions.
          1) The kids need to get to know the other parent long before the marriage takes place. They will need time to adjust. Accepting someone new in the absent parent’s place is difficult. Your children still love the absent parent.
          2) Let your children express their feelings (respectfully). Consider their feelings. Talk things out. If they have problems with the person you are going to marry, better to get those things out in the open before the marriage takes place.
          3) Treat your children as if their feelings and opinions matter. If you want them to respect you then they also need a level of respect from you. They will learn their attitudes from watching you. Contrary to media opinion, Children learn more from the people they live with than from their peers. They may be more influenced by their peers during their teen years, but you start shaping them from the time they are born.
          It is true that you cannot live your life to please your children. But if you want peace in your home, wait on the marriage until they have had time to adjust. And although living together first is the popular method of getting to know each other, think about this: how can you teach your 12 and 13 year-olds not to engage in sex if they see you doing it outside of marriage.  They do not see why it should be okay for you and not them. It is the hypocrite that says, “Don’t do as I do; do as I say.” Kids know this is wrong. Like it or not, they will model your behavior. If you want to prevent them from STD’s teach them abstinence until marriage. Model the behavior. If you have already set the wrong example, apologize to your kids and try to correct the situation.
          I know there are shots and pills and condoms to prevent disease but the Bible still holds true: “They that sow to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” Multiple sex partners pollutes the body. Today we are more concerned about the environment than we are about our own health and well-being.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Does God Hate?

by Aleta Kay

          We see so-called Christians carrying signs on the news every day: “God hates homosexuals.” “God hates abortionists.” “God hates….” No wonder so many people shy away from God. Why would anyone want to worship or serve a God that hates them? To those of you who have been the brunt of such messages I want to apologize. God does not hate you; He hates the sin. Just as we hate having our feelings hurt; just as we hate injustice; just as we hate cruelty—God hates sin. You are not sin; you (and every person in the world) are a sinner. You can’t help it. You are born with sin and you can’t eradicate it. It is your nature. It’s why Jesus took your, and my, penalty on the cross. He was the only sinless person ever to live—because He is also God. Don’t ask me to explain it. It defies human comprehension.
          What does God hate? God hates the actions of hatred, bigotry, self-righteousness. God hates pride because pride exalts itself above others. Jesus humbled himself. He left the splendor of heaven, the riches of eternity, the joy and peace of a perfect place, to come to earth to be born to poor parents in a lowly stable (yes, He chose them) so that He might show us that He identifies with us and loves us.
          The Bible says there are six things God hates; seven are an abomination to him (seven is the number perfection or completeness): a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among the brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19. Nowhere in this passage does it say God hates the people. He hates the actions.
          So don’t be afraid to approach God. You can’t be so bad He won’t forgive you. The only sins He won’t forgive are blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (attributing God’s works to Satan) and rejection of His Son, Jesus the Christ. He’s waiting for you. He has the answers to all of your problems, hurts and fears. He’s knocking on your heart’s door waiting for you to let Him in.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Eternal Question: Why Am I Here?

by Aleta Kay

          Throughout the ages people have asked: “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” The answer is: to have fellowship with God and to tell others about Him.
          God is an eternal spirit. He created the angels but they don’t have a choice whether or not to love God. They merely exist to do His will. But He didn’t just want a bunch of robots. So He created man (and woman). [By the way, the reason we turn to dust after a few years in the ground is because that’s what we’re made of. We really are just piles of dirt—but we are made by God and He loves us.]
          God used to walk in the garden with Adam and Eve. He talked to them. He had fellowship with them. He wanted them to remain pure and innocent, but He knew He had to give them a choice to follow Him or not. So God put the serpent (Satan) in the garden. You know the rest of the story. Eve was beguiled by someone more worldly wise than she. She in turn tempted her husband to sin. That was the fall of man.
          But it was necessary for man (and woman) to fall into sin in order for God to show the depth of His love toward us. In due time, He sent His only begotten son to die on a cruel cross for our sins. He has been trying to draw us back into that same fellowship He had with Adam in the garden.
          Every single person in the world was created by God with the express purpose of enjoying a Father/child relationship. I believe that everyone who rejects God is rejecting the most awesome kind of love anyone can imagine. I can tell you from experience that no love on earth even comes close to the love of God. Why would anyone reject it?

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Kind Of Example Are You?

by Aleta Kay

You’re a parent, a big brother or sister, a classmate at school, a co-worker. Whatever your station in life, you affect other people. Other people are watching you. You may not care what others think of you but you should be concerned about whether you are a model for good behavior or bad. Are you encouraging others to be kind, thoughtful, gentle, and humble; or are you an example of restlessness, brooding, moodiness, gossip, fighting and starting trouble?
          In this world some people are leaders and some are followers. There will always be someone following in your footsteps, following your lead, your example. All of us are leaders to someone. Someone wants to be like you.
          If you are Christian (which means follower of Christ) you are either leading people to Jesus by your example, or you are sending them to hell by your example. God will hold you accountable. People who watch you may never tell you what they think of your example but the effect is there nonetheless. The world (unbelievers in Christ) knows without being told that Christians shouldn’t curse, wear revealing clothing, behave in a boastful or showy manner. They know Christians shouldn’t listen to secular music or watch dirty movies. They know that Christians shouldn’t get drunk or do drugs or sleep around. If people who don’t know Christ are aware of how a Christian should behave, why are so many Christians seemingly unaware?
          I know we aren’t perfect. We are all sinners and will be for as long as we are in this mortal body, but our sins should be different from those who are not Christians. The closer we walk with God the more we should want to be like Him. If you’re not close to God, guess who moved?
          Please, for the sake of those around you and your own sake, please read and study your Bible so you can be the example God wants you to be. Please don’t be the kind of example that will cause someone to say, “If that’s a Christian, why do I need to get saved? I can do all that without being a Christian.” Please work at having a good account with God so that when you meet Him face to face He can say, “Well done, my child. Welcome home.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is Your Mind a Battleground?

by Aleta Kay

          Holidays are approaching fast. Life becomes more harried, more frustrating, more demanding. There doesn’t seem to be enough of you to go around. On top of that, you’ve lost a loved one or there’s a serious accident or illness that demands more of your time and energy. Your mind is racing constantly over all the things that need to be done and the bills from these added events are coming in. Where is the money going to come from? How are you ever going to able to get everything done? Even the simple daily chores seem to grow into mountains as things pile up because you can’t keep up.
          I can’t tell you why things happen. They just do. It’s life. No one is exempt from heartache or problems (not even rich people). We all have problems because of sin. It isn’t specific sin that causes us problems. It is our sin nature. The Bible tells us that because Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden the sin nature was passed on to all people. It is a curse and Jesus is the only cure.
          Now I’m not saying that when you put your trust in Jesus you will never have another problem. On the contrary, they may increase because now the devil is mad because he has lost his grip on you.
          But as a child of God, as a Christian, you now have a constant advocate, helper and friend who goes with you everywhere and stays by you 24/7 to help you get through everything.  I Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”  Proverbs 18:24 says we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. That friend is Jesus. Go to him in prayer. Ask him to take your burdens, your worries, your fears and let him give you his peace and comfort.  He’s waiting with open arms. God bless and have a joyful holiday season.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Anger Management

by Aleta Kay

I don’t mean to meddle. The purpose for this column is to offer help and advice. This week I’m getting off the marriage track to talk about child abuse. Please understand, this column is not about criticizing. We are who and what we are as adults because of those things we learned from primary people in our lives as we were growing up. My mother was abusive. She didn’t mean to be, and it wasn’t all the time. We had some fun times together but when she lost her temper everyone ran for cover.
From the time I was nine until I was eighteen I was convinced she hated me. Convincing myself of that was my armor against emotional pain. I did not want to be like my mother in that respect. Unfortunately, we are what we learn. When my son was little, up to when he was about five years old, I was an abusive parent. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t want to be abusive, and I didn’t like that about myself.
One day I did something so horrible, I was afraid I had really hurt my son. I hugged him, cried, and apologized. At that moment I hated myself more than I ever had before. I had just asked God to save me from my sins and make me a new person a few months before (maybe even a year) but I had held onto my temper as my defense against being mistreated. Now I had to really face myself. I asked God to take my temper and replace it with his peace. I never wanted to hurt my child again. I never did hurt my children but, even after all these years, I still struggle with my temper. I don’t hurt people any more; I just yell at things that don’t work like they’re supposed to: like computers. So if you have problems with your temper, and you tend to take things out on your children, please ask God to save your soul, make you a new person, take away your anger and replace it with his peace. He will. And you will become someone you can like and you will be a better parent. The cost is free. Let me know how it works out for you. I care.
By the way, it is important to ask God to replace your temper with His peace. The Bible says if we sweep the house clean of evil and don't replace it with good, the evil will return with multiplied severity.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holiday Celebrations on a Budget

by Aleta Kay

         With the economy in the shape it’s in and so many people out of work, family tensions run high. We still want to give gifts, decorate and bake. But we don’t want to have to argue with our husbands about the finances of these endeavors. How can we keep our traditions, make home look great, do all of the baking we want without causing frustration, anger and world war three in our homes?
          I do not have the gift of decorating but I have a few ideas. First, hit the yard sales. People who are not struggling may be getting rid of a lot of nice but used things, ready for a new look this year. Check them out. You may also find some plain wooden ornaments you can paint yourself or let the kids paint them. It doesn’t matter if they’re beautiful. What matters is that they have fun doing it. Let them use their creative spirit to build yours and build fun memories.
          Pick up some pine cones, buy a bottle of glue at the thrift store, and a bag of confetti or shiny sparkly sprinkles. Put glue on the tips of the cones and sprinkle the shiny stuff on. Let them dry and glue two or three together at the ends for a decorative centerpiece. Or you can glue some of the petals together at the sides to form a circle and put a candle in the center.
          Go to the thrift store or dollar store and buy some pieces of red and green felt. Cut out Christmas tree shapes, candy canes (red and green stripes sewed together and stuffed with cotton balls) and paint them with fabric paints. Hang them on the tree or lay them out in a pretty design on coffee table or dinner table.
Again at the thrift store, pick up a box of cider mix. Pour two or three packets into a small crock pot or potpourri pot and let simmer for about an hour before guests arrive. The aroma will make your home an inviting place to be. Add a cinnamon stick for added aroma pleasure.
For your baking, choose recipes with the least amount of ingredients with the highest yield. If you’re having guest over invite them t bring their favorite goodies so you don’t have to do it all.
Holiday meals on a shoestring? Go to SouthernSavers.com and look at the specials for your local grocery stores. Find out if they accept competitor coupons and/or have buy one/get one free deals. Plan your list around the store specials and buy one get one free deals. Make sure you have at least two of every coupon. Our Publix store allows you to use a coupon for the free item as well as the sale priced item. Both Sweet Bay and Publix accept competitor coupons. Check with your local store to get their rules for couponing. You can save a lot of money. If there isn’t a package size specification get the smallest package you can. You may end up getting money back. Buy in bulk and stock up whenever possible when you find the specials. Sunday circular coupons tend to run in 12 week cycles for types of products featured: over-the-counter medicines, beauty products and personal hygiene one week, household cleaning supplies and laundry another, canned soups and vegetables another, then baby products, etc.
If you can’t afford to do everything you want to, just do what you can. Teach your children that Christmas is not about how much you get; it’s about appreciating what you get. After all, the reason we celebrate Christmas is to rejoice in the fact that God sent His only begotten son to be born as a human so He could identify with our suffering, knowing it would end on a cruel cross for our sins. Jesus is the reason for the season. God bless.