Monday, October 31, 2011

The Battle in the Mind

by Aleta Kay
          Do you have panic attacks? Suffer from depression? Are you worried and fearful? Where do these feelings come from? They come from your thoughts. You think about things that may happen that would cause problems. You worry about your finances, your kids, your vehicle, your husband, your marriage. Those thoughts take control and you can’t help but worry and be anxious. You may take it out on your kids or your husband. You may become suspicious in your nature. You hate it but can’t stop.
          You have planned escape routes: sleep, a good book, a night out with the girls, a good stiff drink or two, a sweet snack, comfort food, a movie, etc. But when those things are done you’re back to square one. You may have put a lid on the feelings that have been controlling you but you can’t keep them at bay indefinitely.
          Your husband and your kids begin to treat you like a monster or a weird houseguest. You can see the disdain and frustration in their eyes and it scares you even more. What can you do?
          I have good news for you. You can control your thoughts. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
          Ephesians 6:10 through the end of the chapter tells us to put on our spiritual armor. One of those pieces of armor is the helmet of salvation. A helmet protects the head. If you are saved (see previous posts on how to know you belong to God)  you need to put that helmet on every day because Satan will attack your mind as he did Eve’s in the garden of Eden. He will fill your head with negative thoughts and worries. He will cause you to think critically of other people, especially those closest to you. But with your helmet firmly in place you can deflect those thoughts. They may gain entry but you can send them right back out.
          James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It is your choice to allow yourself to dwell on those fearful, worrisome, negative thoughts. Philippians 4:6, 7 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
          God bless.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Thought He Would Change!

by Aleta Kay

         You thought he was such a sweet guy when you married him. He just needed a little fine tuning, right? A few little adjustments and he’d be perfect. You knew he needed you to implement those changes.
          Here’s the wake-up call: If you don’t love him as he is, you don’t really love him. Sure he has some quirks. Everyone has quirks and eccentricities. We’re all human. If you can’t learn to grow with someone and make some concessions you will end up alone after many failed relationships.
          If you really want to see change learn to love him as he is. Genuine love is unconditional. It’s the way God loves us. We don’t have to change to earn God’s love. He loves us as we are. After we put our complete faith and trust in Him, He sends His Holy Spirit to live within our hearts and He helps us change. But the unconditional love came first.
          We respond to each other. Kindness is contagious. Nagging and criticism drive people away and cause a lot of emotional damage. I Corinthians 7:14 says, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean, but now are they holy. Of course this is talking about someone who gets saved (gives his or her life to Christ and asks God to take away their sin and cleanse their hearts) after marriage and the other person is still unsaved. If you belong to God and your husband does not, you need to set the example of what it means to be a Christian. If your spouse sees hypocrisy in you, or manipulation, the message he will get is you think you are now too good for him and he will shut you out. He may even try to make you hate him, telling himself you would be better off with a Christian man. He will feel that he can’t measure up.
          I Peter 3:1 says, “Likewise ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won the conversation of the wives.” In other words, treat him as if he is your best friend, pray for him continuously, live a godly life, be faithful in church. Be the best wife and mother you can be. Let God do the work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Making of a Strong Marriage

by Aleta Kay

          He’s driving you crazy. He ALWAYS forgets your anniversary, is ALWAYS late for your daughter’s recital, and is ALWAYS late for your son’s ball games.  When he’s home you have to nag him to pick up after himself and he seems to prefer being at work to being home anyway. You’re just about at the end of your rope and you’re beginning to wonder if you wouldn’t be better off by yourself, just you and the kids.
          First of all, you must have loved him once. What happened? Did you change? Did he change? Did you get married without knowing what you were getting into? Many women have done exactly that same thing. And we all change over time. We grow. True love learns to adapt. Two lives have been joined together and produced children. Children deserve to have parents who love each other and know how to live in peace and harmony.
          Secondly, we are all sinners so it isn’t that there is one good person and one bad person in the marriage. There are two sinners who are focusing on the negative instead of the positive. Stop playing the negative messages in your head. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on whatever things are true, honest, clean, lovely, and of good report. If there be any virtue or anything positive, think on these things. You can control your thoughts—2 Corinthians 10:5. You can allow God to establish your thought habits—Prov. 16:3.
          Finally, if you want a strong marriage, you’ll have to work at it. Take the word divorce out of your vocabulary. Purpose, determine, commit in your heart to treat your husband with respect and dignity. Treat him as if he is the best thing in the world. In so doing you will teach your children to respect both of you and you will be prepared to be a part of the bride of Christ when He returns (just a note here: the Bible says NO ONE, NOT EVEN JESUS HIMSELF, knows when that will be!). If you can’t treat your husband with respect you won’t be able to respect Christ either, because Ephesians 5:33 says the wife is to reverence her husband. Be in awe of his good qualities. Make a fuss over him. Praise him. Brag on him. He doesn’t have to deserve it; just do it. Over time you will see a change, but you will be honoring both him and God.  More on this subject tomorrow evening (I work late tomorrow.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Signs of the End Times

by Luke Knickerbocker

     With the recent tsunami in Japan causing destruction and loss of life in the thousands, I am reminded of Biblical prophecy regarding the end times.
The disciples of Jesus had asked Christ what the sign of his coming would be, and of the end of the world. (Matthew 24:3) Jesus told them that leading up to the end, there would be wars amongst nations, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:7,8).
     This means that there would not only be an increase of wars, sicknesses, and natural disasters, but they would happen in a variety of places. In recent months, we have seen devastation by tsunamis and earthquakes around the world including New Zealand, Indonesia, Haiti and now Japan. These are only a handful of the catastrophic events of which we have received reports.
When considering the recent destruction to each of these islands, it makes it easy to believe the prophecy in Revelation when "every mountain and island" will be moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:16) John the Revelator also wrote, "...there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." (Revelation 16:18,20).
Yet it seems people still ignore the warning signs that the end is in view. Many live as though they will be here forever and that nothing will change. Thus, their lifestyle is never examined, God is not feared, and eternity is ignored.
     As I write this, it is estimated that 10,000 were killed along the coast of Japan. Many towns have been changed or lost forever. Many who lost their family members will never be the same. But until it is our family, or even us, this awful earthquake will remain another piece of disturbing news added to the other chaotic events we've grown accustomed to hearing about. There is a danger of becoming so desensitized to the crises around us that we become calloused to the reality that these are the signs that the end is near. It is high time that we wake up, and prepare to meet God.
As Jesus told his disciples, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
My friend, there is no need to fear. Christ offers peace to the heart that trusts in Him. If you will give your heart to Jesus, ask Him to cleanse you of your sin, He will give you the assurance of eternal life. Then you will be prepared for the end times.

Luke Knickerbocker is the former pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Lake Placid, FL. He submitted this article to our local newspaper back in March. Following are some of the comments he received. He and his wife are now studying to be missionaries in Texas.

  (by: Julieanne Crumley  -   3/19/2011)
How true!! Thank you so much for sharing the truth : ) I wish more people would pay attention and listen to God who is trying to get their attention. But, as upsetting as this is, Christians should be using this tragedy to be a spring board and get out there and share the truth about God's promises instead of hiding their heads in the sand.
Earthquakes  (by: Dr. Bob Hollis, Missionary  -   3/18/2011)
Thank you Pastor Luke for your message on the subject of the last days. Jesus did say that they are a sign of the times. I am so glad you are speaking out to let people know it is time to trust Christ and Him alone for salvation.
Earthquakes  (by: Susan  -   3/18/2011)
Thank you as we speak I am printing out the article and am going to go to the scriptures. The Lord knows I have been craving this as I have no others addressing these known comings. While it is scary it is also comforting to know He has everything in His hand. Just read the back of THE BOOK. God Bless
Scary  (by: Jamie  -   3/18/2011)
Wow--the end is near.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Avoid the Christmas Blues

by Aleta Kay

This time of year can be very stressful with cards to mail, presents to buy, and finances tight. How in the world can you come up with the money to meet everyone’s expectations? Here are some suggestions:
1) Take some of the children’s toys that they haven’t played with in months. Put them away where they won’t be seen. Wrap them and put them under the tree for Christmas. They will have forgotten about them (depending on their ages) and will think they have new toys. Little children mostly just enjoy opening presents anyway.
2) Make a book of coupons for adult family members: one for a back rub, one for a favorite dinner or dessert, one for babysitting, etc. Use your imagination.
3) Make a book of your favorite poetry or love songs for that special someone in your life.
4) Make a card with an encouraging message.
5) Make a plate of cookies or a pie. I used to make mini loaves of pumpkin bread to give to my neighbors.
6) Make a paper chain for the Christmas tree or string popcorn. Let the kids help.
7) Remember this is a time for rejoicing. Make it a family project to go caroling at a nursing home where a relative resides or a hospital. Be sure to call the facility and make arrangements ahead of time with the staff.
8) Do something for someone who has less than you.
9) Bury all grudges. Jesus did.
10) Play or sing happy music. It will lift your spirits.
11) Only do what you have time to do. Don’t stress over what doesn’t get done. Fretting over things makes those around you uncomfortable and unhappy. It is futile.
12) Have a very merry Christmas, and remember to keep Christ in it. He really is the reason for the season.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Inexpensive Christmas

by Aleta Kay

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the decorations, the baking, the celebration atmosphere. What I don’t like is all the commercialism. I’ve heard many others say the same thing. And yet...some people feel guilty if they don’t go into debt to make sure their kids get everything they want. They feel compelled to wear themselves out with shopping, decorating and baking. Breathe.
Christmas is about giving of yourself, not about things. Christmas is about being truly thankful to God for sending His only begotten Son to be born as a human baby so He could identify with our sufferings. He wanted to really understand how we feel and what we go through on this earth. The Bible says Jesus was tempted in all points just as we are, but He never gave in to temptation. He never sinned. That’s why He was able to take our punishment.
To have a truly meaningful Christmas, take your children to the Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, a yard sale or a thrift store. Have them pick out a nice toy or article of clothing to give to someone less fortunate for Christmas. Even if you are one of those who is less fortunate, make some cookies or mini loaves of pumpkin bread or banana bread and give them as gifts to friends and neighbors.
The above mentioned dollar stores have inexpensive gift wrap, bags and cards. If you are creative, buy some colored pencils, markers or stamps and ink pad and decorate regular paper to wrap gifts in. You can let your children decorate plain paper to wrap gifts in. And although most adults want the paper to look perfect and be neat, the fact is it’s all going to get torn and thrown away anyway, so what difference does it make? Don’t be a perfectionist. Relax and enjoy the holiday. Don’t worry about what other people think. If they are that picky, that’s their problem. It doesn’t have to be yours.
Blessings to all.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Can Your Husband Trust You?

by Aleta Kay

Proverbs 31:10-11 says, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil (lack of gain).” What does that mean?
The world, our society has its own idea of what a woman should be like. In the world’s eyes we are to dress for success, be in style. Ever since the 60's the attitude has been, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” But ask those worldly women if they think Christian women should “let it all hang out.” A few will say yes; the majority will say no.
The message we give the world with our dress should match what we say with our lives and our words. Our manner of dress should leave our husbands with the certainty we want attention from no other man but them. Our dress outside of home should be modest, neat and clean.
If we walk out of the house to go to work or to spend time with our friends, or wherever we may be going, people should be able to see a godly example. One of my Christian friends recently has begun dressing like a single woman. She said she wants to be sexy. She is married. Sexy should be reserved for the privacy of her own home. I mentioned as gently as I could that she should be more modest. She said Jesus wants her to look good.
Let’s examine that with scripture. Proverbs 31:17 says she girds her loins with strength. Verse 22 says she makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Verse 25 says strength and honor are her clothing. Verse 30 says favor (popularity) is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that fears the Lord shall be praised. I Peter 3:3 (talking to Christian women) says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold or putting on of apparel...”
If you want to be pleasing to God and your husband, be modest and careful not to draw attention from other men. Give your husband a reason to trust you. You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Speak the Truth in Love

by Aleta Kay

She was the neighborhood busybody. What she didn’t know she made up, but she told everybody everything she knew, or thought she knew. Talk about stirring up trouble! One day she came to our house and started telling things. I interrupted her. “I don’t need or want to hear this. It is gossip and it hurts people.” The young girl responded, “I’m only telling the truth.”
Everything is not everybody’s business. The fact that something is true doesn’t mean everyone has a right to know it. When it is necessary to speak a painful truth to someone, it is important to say it in love in private. We all know people who are tactless. I’m one of those people who suffer from hoof and mouth disease. If I put it on paper first I can think about the right way to say something. If I’m in a position where I have to speak off the cuff, it may come out sounding critical or judgmental, which is not the impression I want to give.
How do you respond to someone who is tactless? Do you get your feelings hurt, get angry and walk away in a huff? Do you vent to a good friend? Do you retaliate with hurtful things of your own? Or do you give them the benefit of the doubt and think maybe they didn’t mean it the way it sounded? Which do you think is the better way to respond? Which brings you peace of mind and keeps friendships intact?
Psalm 89:14 says, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” It could be paraphrased, “Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth are in all you do.” (Max Lucado: “The Inspirational Study Bible) It is important to pursue love and truth together–at the same time. One should never be sought or expressed without the other. When you have to say something difficult to someone, be sure they know you are saying it because you care about them. If you don’t care about them, maybe you don’t have the right say that difficult thing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Blew It!

by Aleta Kay

You’ve committed adultery. Or you’ve fallen “off the wagon.” You’ve done something that you just can’t forgive yourself for. So you work harder, contribute to more charities, never turn down anyone who asks a favor or needs help. You sign up for every committee possible; work out at the gym, involve yourself in any physical activity you can in order to atone for what you did.
Suddenly someone finds out what you did and the backlash is severe. The accusations tear at your soul and you get defensive because you don’t want to admit to anyone else what you did. Besides, haven’t you done enough to make up for it? You asked God to forgive you, and you’re certain He did. (If you were sincere, then you are forgiven.)
Still, the guilt plagues you and when you finally, years later, come face to face with it again, and it threatens everything you hold dear, you suddenly feel like giving up on God, church, family, everything. What’s the use? No matter what you do, it doesn’t wash it away.
Friend, every action we take has consequences, and some are far reaching. The Bible tells us that the sins of the fathers are passed down all the way to the third and fourth generations. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba; she got pregnant with his child, and David had her husband put on the front lines in battle to practically ensure his death. God forgave David of his sin, but part of the consequences was that the child died. Repentance doesn’t mean no consequences. No amount of good deeds you do will erase those consequences. But God is merciful and will restore us to completeness in Him if we let Him. You can’t work it out yourself; you can’t do enough penance to erase the guilt you feel. You can’t earn God’s forgiveness. It’s free for the asking if you are sincerely sorry for what you have done. True repentance means you turn away from your sin and turn toward God. People are not always so forgiving. God never says no to true repentance. Jesus told those he healed, “Go and sin no more.”

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What if I’m not Happy in My Marriage?

by Aleta Kay

This is not going to be an easy column to write. We live in a self-centered society. The commercials tell us that we “are worth it,” that we deserve to be happy, deserve the best of everything. We are told to “grab all the gusto you can get.” Nonsense. The Bible says all we deserve is hell. Anything more than that is a bonus. We are all sinners, every last one of us. It’s just that some of us have accepted God’s mercy shown in the death of Jesus on the cross. We are still sinners, doing our best to live a life pleasing to God. Romans 3:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The death talked about here is eternity away from God, spent in eternal torment in hell.
Does God want us to be happy? Perhaps, but not necessarily. Mostly God wants you to sacrifice your own selfish desires to be an example of His love and grace, even in the face of anger, bitterness, disappointment and heartache. Marriage is intended for a lifetime (Matthew 19:6) Marriage is a solemn commitment, not to be entered into out of obligation or even unbridled passion. Passion will fade with the years and day to day struggles, but commitment is for life.
Children learn what they live. They will follow your example and will mimic your attitudes. If you handle disappointment, heartache, anger, bitterness, etc. in your marriage with an attitude of love, grace, and faith, your children will see you as a strong person. This is especially true if they see this as you pray and ask God for the strength you need to deal with each situation. They will learn to depend on God too. If you weep over your marriage and beg God to strengthen it and to help you be the help meet you were intended to be (no matter how rotten your husband may be), your children will see your compassion and love. You may have to pray for years, but God is faithful. He will help you and carry you through. You will be precious in the site of God and your eternal reward will be great. This life is temporary, after all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don’t Pick Up Hitchhikers

by Aleta Kay

         I was driving home from the grocery store after work when I passed by a woman who was standing on the side of the road with her thumb out. I thought about stopping but there was a truck behind me and I didn’t want to cause an accident. I went home, about 2 miles away, put my groceries away, and went back to see if she was still there. I had been praying and really felt the Lord wanted me to give her a ride. But I don’t pick up hitchhikers. You never know these days if it’s safe or not. I definitely never pick up men.
          When I got back she was still there. I pulled off to the side of the road knowing that once she was in the truck I could drive to the gas station and turn around to head in the opposite direction, which I did.
          Lena was wearing a knee brace, the kind that is made of something similar to neoprene and has an opening for the knee cap, and her forearm was bandaged. She had a big backpack and another bag. She looked as if she needed a friend.
          Once inside the truck I asked where she was going. She said about ten miles down the road. We talked about the Lord the whole time. We shared a mutual love for our Lord Jesus. I soon discovered that she was homeless. After two marriages to men who liked to use her as a punching bag, she decided she was better off alone, on her own, and it didn’t matter if there was no shelter. Jesus didn’t have shelter either many times and if He could share His life with the world by being homeless, so could she.
          Lena makes counted cross stitch mini tapestries portraying Jesus standing outside a door and knocking, as described in the third chapter of Revelation.  She doesn’t sell them; she gives them away as testimony of God’s great love. She doesn’t beg for money or food. She prays and asks God to lay it on someone’s heart to provide her needs. She often sleeps outside under the trees. God is her constant companion and she shares His love with everyone she meets.
          It occurs to me that I am too comfortable in my stable life. I want to share Jesus with others, but from the comfort of my home. I tell myself I am too tired to go out “into the highways and byways and compel them to come in.” I am older now and not as energetic as in my youth. I’m not allowed to talk about Him (too loudly) at work. I would like to be more like Lena and feel compelled to talk about Jesus everywhere I go. After all, don’t you talk about the people you love?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mistakes Can be Good

by Aleta Kay

You probably think I’m crazy for making such a statement: mistakes can be good. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been called crazy. That’s okay. They called Eli Whitney, Ben Franklin and Socrates crazy, too, until their theories and inventions worked. But I’m not quite the genius they were.
Anyway, I just wanted to share with you how this principle works. It’s found in Romans 8:28 (one of my favorite verses in the Bible). It says, “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
God already knows what we are going to do before we even think about it. He created time for man, but there is no time in the realm of heaven. God sees everything as if it has already happened because it has already been recorded in His books. Since He already knows everything, there is a plan in place to help us overcome our mistakes, and even the inconvenient things that happen to us.
For example, Tom and I were traveling one day. We were on our way home probably from family reunion in West Virginia. We really wanted to be home before dark and it was rapidly approaching. We were getting tired, though, and decided to stop at a gas station to get something cold to drink to help us wake up. When we got back on the road about ten minutes later there was an accident blocking traffic at the next traffic light. It had just happened and sirens were on the way but were still a good ways off. We knew that if we had not stopped we very well may have been part of that mess.
You may think that is just coincidence, and there really is no way to tell if we would have been involved or not. But Matthew 10:30 says even the hairs of our heads are all numbered (counted by God.) Maybe it was just coincidence, but I have a heavenly Father who is concerned about my welfare. I believe He protects those who love Him. Not that everything is always perfect, that nothing bad ever happens. When bad things happen, God turns them around for our good and His glory (reputation). God is so awesome

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Power To Change

by Aleta Kay

“I can’t help it; it’s just the way I am.”  “I’m a good person but I’m not perfect.” “At least I’ve never stolen anything or killed anybody.”  These are all statements we use to justify ourselves. We compare ourselves to the worst of society and tell ourselves we’re better than those people. From a social standpoint that may be true. But if we were really happy with ourselves we wouldn’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else.
          We all have things in our lives, within ourselves , that we would like to change. I would like to be a stronger prayer warrior. I would like to be an organized housewife. I would like to have more determination and less proneness to give up when things get tough. I would like to be a better friend when it comes to keeping in touch with people. I could go on. You could probably make your own list.
          But how do we circumvent those “I can’t help its?” How do we become what we want to be? I’m still working on it, still learning. Here’s what I’m working on today: PRAYER. Prayer is the key to everything.
          Most of us, if we do pray, do it on the fly—while we’re driving, doing dishes, exercising or going for a walk or to the doctor. That’s not real prayer. That’s like your teenage son walking out the door and saying, “By the way, I need you to wash my best jeans and that special shirt I like to wear. I’m going to need it later this evening.” Then he comes home and asks if you got his wash done and what’s for supper. Later he again asks for something while he’s doing something else. He’s talking at you, not to you. We do the same thing to God. No wonder we think He isn’t listening. No wonder we don’t see the results we desire to our prayers. What do we think God owes us?
          I’m reading a book by Benny Hinn called “The Anointing.” It has my attention and I am stuck on just a few pages because I need to practice what it is saying. I need to make the instructions found there a part of who I am. I have to begin with the prayer, “Lord, change me—PLEASE!!!”
          In a nutshell it says we need to earnestly spend time on our knees longing for, thirsting for and seeking God. In Psalm 63David alludes to all three of these aspects of prayer. If we get on our knees (if you’re disabled and can’t get on your knees you can close your eyes and visualize yourself on your knees) and just tell God how much we long to be in His presence, in His fellowship, we will begin to see our sin so we can confess it to God. This usually brings tears of remorse that cleanse our souls. When that aspect is through, we then thank Him for the cleansing and realize that “as the deer pants for the water, so our soul longs for God, the Holy Spirit, the Living Water. We invite God to spend time with us. We cry out to Him for the requests for the problems our friends and loved ones are facing and know that we have His ear. After we have prayed for others we can then pray for our community, town, state, country, missionaries, homeless people, the economy, lost people around the world and finally for ourselves. When we have the peace in our hearts that He has heard we can bask in His presence for a little while. This brings an exuberance, a sense of rejoicing in His presence followed by a deep sense of peace. Don’t you long for peace?
          When we get back to earnest, heartfelt, soul searching, God seeking prayer, we will find ourselves obeying the scriptures:  Romans 6:11—we will count ourselves as dead to sin (on a daily basis—this process must take place every day) so that sin no longer controls us and we will find ourselves praying all day as we go through our routine. We will be “praying without ceasing” as instructed in I Thessalonians 5:17.  If you want your prayers answered, if you want to change your life for the better, get on your knees. Make the sacrifice of time and allow yourself to long for, thirst for and seek after God. You’ll be glad you did!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Are You A Peacemaker Or A Troublemaker?

by Aleta Kay

You and your husband have been married long enough to have a few children of your own. The problem is he has children from a previous marriage and the mother of his other children has demands of her own. It’s causing friction in your family. Your kids wonder where they fit into their dad’s life compared to his other children. They hear the two of you arguing and wonder if their family is going to remain intact. They won’t tell you they are worrying about the stability of their own family situation, but they do worry. On top of that, you can’t stand that other woman and you resent the intrusion of her children. Sure you understand that your husband is their father, but sharing him isn’t easy.
These are some of the things that implode a family. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Do you have to put up with that woman? It wouldn’t be so hard to share your husband with her kids if she wasn’t part of the package.
Your husband is so stressed, he feels like running away from all of you. He’s being pulled in so many directions he doesn’t know where to turn. He wonders if anyone cares about his feelings, which he isn’t sharing because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, and he doesn’t want to argue, yet it always seems to end up that way anyway.
What’s a family to do?
Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth.”
Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth within you, live peaceably with all men.”
It is so important to keep the lines of communication open among your family, without fear of repercussion. The more you encourage your husband and stand by him, the stronger the bond between the two of you. You must choose to trust him and let him be a part of his other children’s lives. Be willing to participate in his outings with his other children but don’t push it. Be the example of grace and patience to the other woman and her children and you come out a winner.  Rom 12:20 says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Blessing of Forgiveness

by Aleta Kay

Your kids have stolen from you, run away, told lies about you, accused you heinous things. Your husband has committed adultery, maybe more than once. Your mom drives you crazy and your dad is completely disinterested. Or your parents died and left everything to that no good brother or sister and you are seething over it.
          With all of that anger and bitterness inside of you, how is your health doing? Do you have high blood pressure? A Hiatal hernia? A bleeding ulcer? Acid reflux? Gall bladder problems? Irritable bowel syndrome? Hpertension? Depression? Let me ask you: are the health problems worth holding on to that bitterness and anger? Are your feelings, your possessions, or those of your parents, more important to you than your family?
          Have you ever done anything to hurt anyone else? Of course you have. We have all been hurt, and we have all hurt others, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. We all want to justify ourselves and say, “Well what I said or did isn’t as bad as what they did. Anyway, they deserved it.” When we give ourselves an out like this, we are keeping ourselves in bondage (slavery) to that bitterness. We are not willing to move forward. We get stuck in the past and we make ourselves more miserable than the people we are resenting.
          Don’t you think you deserve good health? Don’t you think you deserve to be happy? You won’t get either of them by holding on to those negative, angry, bitter feelings. Do yourself a big favor: ask God to help you forgive. You’ll be healthier and happier, and you’ll have better relationships with everyone around you.
          Jesus said, “If you don’t forgive others neither will your Father in heaven forgive you.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why Should I Listen to God?

by Aleta Kay

          We are created by God to have fellowship with Him and to help our fellow man. The best way I know to answer this question is with God’s word. It will speak for itself.
          The Israelites had been delivered out of slavery in Egypt and had finally, after many battles, taken possession of the land God promised them: Canaan (now called Israel, which included Jordan at the time the promise was fulfilled). They had fought many battles and now needed rest. Joshua 22:4, 5 says, “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” God had given them victory over their enemies. Some of those victories had been nothing less than miraculous. God deserved their complete obedience and adoration, just as He does ours.
          Joshua 23:4-9 says, “Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain (the ones not defeated in battle), to be and inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised you. Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.”
          Joshua 23:16 says, “When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.”
          Joshua 24:13-15 says, “And I have given you a land for which ye did not labor, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
          The command in Joshua 22:4,5 is repeated in Matthew 22:37. Do you see how these might also apply to the U.S.?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This is Your Invitation

by Aleta Kay

Do you like weddings? Sure, they make women cry—happy tears, tears of joy. They are festive, beautiful, and so often temporary. People spend an enormous amount of money on a celebration that they aren’t even committed to for a lifetime. Maybe the parents are really crying because the money may have been spent in vain and they know it.
          But there is another wedding feast that won’t cost us anything. The festivities will last for an undetermined amount of time and there will never be a divorce. The feast will be incredible and there is no dress code, no income level you have to meet to be accepted. Sound too good to be true? On earth it is—but all things are possible with God.
          Luke 14 gives us the invitation. “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many; And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, ‘Come; for all things are now ready.’ And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.’ And the lord said unto the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.’
          You see that invitations were sent out to the first two men, and most likely many more who also made excuses. This is a picture of God inviting people to join His family, to repent of their sins, accept the blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross, ask Him to be their Lord and Saviour, and ask Him to help them be more like Him. The first people to whom the invitation was given were the Jews, God’s chosen people (they are still His chosen people, but like the rest of us, must accept Christ as the Messiah to be accepted by God).
          When anyone rejects the invitation God offers it to someone else. If you are reading this then He is offering it to you. If you have not already accepted the invitation to be born again, today is the day; now is the time, as stated in 2 Corinthians 6:2—“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Once you have accepted this invitation you have an automatic invitation to the marriage supper of the lamb, which will come later. Come on, join God’s family! It’s great.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Should I Pray?

By Aleta Kay

           Exodus 17 gives us the account of a battle between Amalek and Joshua. Joshua was a soldier in God’s army. He was on the winning side as long as Moses held up his hands. When his hands got tired and dropped, the battle turned and Amalek and his army began to defeat Joshua and his army. Moses’s brother Aaron and his friend Hur went to the top of the hill to hold up Moses’s arms so Joshua and his army could defeat the Amalekites.
          God already knew who was going to win the battle. If Aaron and Hur had not helped Moses God would have laid it on someone else’s heart to do it. But Aaron and Hur got the recognition for helping Moses, thus having a hand in the outcome of the battle. They received the blessing of cooperating with God.
          Another example of how God hears prayer: When God was getting ready to destroy Sodom and Gommorah He first talked to Abraham. Abraham’s nephew, Lot and his family, lived in that area. Abraham was concerned about them so he pleaded with God to spare the city if God could find fifty righteous people in the city. God could not find fifty. Abraham asked again if God would destroy the city if there were forty-five righteous people. He kept bargaining with God down to ten people. God couldn’t even find ten righteous people in that whole area.
          If Abraham had not pleaded with God on behalf of those people he would have missed the blessing of that fellowship with God, and he would not have had the privilege of pleading on behalf of his family.
          A modern day account: I have a friend who has a nephew who was diagnosed with leukemia, brought on by a liver infection. The young man was not wild. He was not living a life of revelry and disobedience. He and his family attended church regularly. His parents and other family had a great deal of faith. The doctors had tried chemotherapy which did not work. They tried a variety of different drugs, all to no avail. I won’t go into all the details but it really opened my eyes as to all the energy that the family expends in just taking care of a cancer patient even when he or she is in the hospital. His mother posted repeated e-mails asking for prayer, stating that she was just too exhausted to do all the praying herself. She needed help. There were subsequent e-mails thanking people for their prayer support.
          Will God’s will be accomplished without prayer?  There is much debate about that. I do not believe we can change God’s mind because He sees all of time at once. It is already done. He knows ahead of time whether or not we will do what He asks, or whether He will do what we ask. The purpose of prayer is 1)for us to have fellowship with our heavenly Father, which He wants more than anything. It’s why He created us. 2)He wants to give us the opportunity to work with Him wherever He is working. If we say no He will raise up someone else to do the job. That person will get the blessing and the one who refuses the offer will miss the blessing.
God does not promise He will always do our will. Sometimes, no matter how right we think we are, no matter how much we pray and ask God to do a particular thing, He says no and we don’t get what we asked for. The usual response is to get mad at God, turn your back on Him, and take matters into your own hands. It means we think God doesn’t do what is best for the situation. We don’t trust His judgment. We react out of hurt and anger, forgetting that God sees the end from the beginning. We are instructed in the Lord’s model prayer to pray for God’s will to be done. Trust Him. He’s NEVER wrong.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Claiming God’s Promises

by Aleta Kay

Here are a few things I have learned about getting your prayers answered (although all prayers do get answered: sometimes the answer is no; sometimes yes, and sometimes later).
Hebrews 11:6 says, “For without faith it is impossible to please him; but he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” We must believe that God exists and that He is all-powerful. We must believe that He wants to give us good things. Then we must diligently seek Him as if looking for a lost heirloom.
The way to get that faith is also through prayer. The book of James tells us we don’t get what we want either because we haven’t asked, or because we have asked for the wrong reason, or the wrong thing. John 15:5 says we can’t do anything on our own. We can’t even get the desire to pray without asking the Holy Spirit to give it to us. Then we have to put some effort into it. We have to open our Bibles, ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand what He is trying to tell us, then meditate on it. Let it sink into your heart so it becomes part of you.
Matthew 6:9-13 gives us the order of things we should pray for, starting with acknowledging God’s sovereignty.
Deliberately set aside a time for prayer and Bible reading, just as you would keep a doctor appointment. It might only be ten minutes, or it could be an hour. Then try to keep an open line of prayer throughout the day, because you never know what is coming. If we mess up, we should ask God to forgive us immediately and try not to do that again. That keeps the prayer line open.
Look for passages or verses where God is promising something. Write it down. Try to memorize it. The more you read it, and see results to your prayers, the more your faith will grow.
Now watch your prayers start getting answered. If not, contact me. I’d love to hear from you.