Monday, December 23, 2013

When Your Marriage is Falling Apart

I heard a statistic (I think it was on the news) a few months ago that most marriages end after twenty years of marriage. I was surprised and saddened. Why invest so much of your life into a relationship and then give up? I discussed it with my husband, who I believe to very wise. He said, "Think about it. Women invest most of their time and energy into the kids while their husbands invest most of their energy into their jobs." Now don't get me wrong. I know most moms are also hard-working employees, but this means they are pulled two ways: they invest almost as much time and energy into their jobs as they do their children. It's draining and frustrating. So when the kids grow up and leave the nest, a big part of that energy that was invested in the kids is left in limbo.

We women are emotional creatures, designed that way by God. If we neglect our husbands while focusing on our kids, we've created a gap in the marriage. Suddenly we have "empty nest" syndrome and don't know where to focus our energy. We try to get husband's attention but he's still focused on his job. We often find that what were once mutual interests have changed. We're no longer running to athletic practices and events, pediatricians, musical try-outs, kids' birthday parties, etc. What did we used to enjoy doing with our husbands before kids? We don't have the energy for those things any more, and anyway the job is too demanding. Husband wants to start doing things together again but our schedules don't co-inside. What to do? Is the marriage doomed to fail?

It would be nice to be able to save every marriage. I am not able to save any marriage. I don't have all the answers. What I have are suggestions that I hope will help.
1) Make your marriage your priority. If your spouse doesn't seem to be interested, open a dialogue. What would your spouse like to see happen with the marriage?
2) Talk about things you'd like to do.
3) Plan a surprise weekend getaway.
4) Be willing to change your traditions to accommodate your spouse. Compromise is good and healthy.
5) Snuggle on the couch and hold hands while watching a movie or a football game.
6) Talk about things you can do together to build this new chapter of your lives. Decide where the kids will fit in now that they are out of the nest. Will you keep a house for them to come home to, or will you downsize your living arrangements and go visit them?

Add your own suggestions to this site if you'd like. If the site won't let you, leave me a message with your name, initials, or anonymously, and I will post it for you. God bless.
'Tis the season to be joyful. While holidays can be stressful, and even painful, for some people, there are a few things I'd like to suggest to help you make it through. If you're grieving over the loss of a loved one and it's hard to even have the energy to get through the day, take time for yourself. When you're feeling down you need to do something to bolster your spirits. Call a friend you haven't been in contact with for a while. Treat yourself and/or a friend to a dessert you really like that you haven't indulged in for months or more. Watch a funny movie or cartoon. Make something or do something you've put off, something that you can take pleasure in. Visit someone who is shut in and cheer them up. Go caroling with a group to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Maybe treat yourself to a day at a spa. Most of all, don't push yourself so hard that you wear yourself out. Give yourself time to grieve. Grieving is natural and necessary. There is no time limit. I know a sweet older gentleman (92 years old) who lost his wife six years ago. He keeps himself busy but he still misses her every day. God bless you. Let God help you through this difficult time. He understands grief.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When Despair Strikes

I sit here weeping this morning over those precious people in Moore, OK who have got to be suffering beyond what most of us can comprehend. I cannot begin to imagine the grief and despair that they must be feeling as they look around and see nothing but rubble, their lives in shambles, multiplied by countless numbers over the loss of a child or children in those schools. Many people get mad at God when tragedy strikes, and this is certainly a normal human reaction.

I don't claim to have any of the answers, but here's what I do know about my God, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He continually tries to work in our hearts and draw us to Him in good times. But many people don't want to hear about God these days. Still others claim to know Him but ignore Him. Christians, in general, have become complacent. We take God's goodness for granted. Just as He did with the Jews throughout history, He sometimes has to allow (not cause) tragedy to happen in ...order for us to realize that we can't make it on our own. We need Him to help us get through these situations.

He is waiting with open arms to comfort and heal. He promises blessings to those who obey Him and destruction to those who don't. Christians are not immune to tragedy, but we know who will help us through when it does strike. But all of this tragedy is nothing compared to an eternity in hell. And if those precious children are in heaven, and their surviving parents don't turn to God, in sincerity seeking a relationship with Him, they will never see that child again for they will spend eternity separated from them in a devil's hell.

That is NEVER God's choice (2Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.).
God leaves the choice up to us. Please seek Him today. Seek His comfort and peace. Job lost everything except his wife in one day. He was the richest man on earth at that time, and he lost everything including his health in one day. He wept and mourned, and questioned God, but he never turned his back on God. In the end, God gave him back double everything he lost (except his children--he lost ten and had ten more). God bless. I'm praying for everyone in that city. I hope all of my friends will join me in that prayer.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

God Lite Or God Light?

            Several years ago I heard my brother preach a sermon to a group of children. He called them to the front of the church and they all sat on the carpet, gathered around him. He asked how many of them were afraid of the dark. A few hands were raised and he pulled a night light out of a paper bag. He held it up for the entire congregation to see.
            "This is a night light," he said. "It helps us see where we are going in the dark so we don't stub our toes or trip over something. It helps us, doesn't it? This is one kind of light. Our grocery stores and advertisements are filled with lite products: lite ice cream, lite milk, lite cream cheese, etcetera. The lite products are called lite because something has been removed. It doesn't have the same ingredients as the whole product. Something is missing. That may be good for people who are trying to be healthy, but…
            "When you lose a loved one, or your marriage is in trouble, or your bills are more than your income, or your child is rebelling, or there's a monster under your bed, or someone is being mean to you, what kind of God do you want? Do you want a God who will light your path, show you how to solve the problem, or help you through it? Or do you want a weak, wishy-washy God lite?
            "Our God is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present. He created the universe. His two hands can hold all the oceans and rivers of the world and not spill a drop. He created you, knows everything about you, and loves you no matter what. He calmed storms, healed the sick, made the lame to walk again. He caused the children of Israel to cross a raging sea on dry ground, then drowned Pharaoh's army in that same sea. God was with them even when they rebelled against Him. That's the God who wants to be your best friend. That's the God who wants to help you and heal you. That's the God who wants to deliver you from your fears and help you get through your troubles. He can teach you how to manage your finances, mend your broken heart, teach you how to handle your rebellious children. The choice is up to you. What kind of God do you want?"


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Does Your Baby Make You Frustrated?

Many young mothers experience great frustration when their babies cry for no apparent reason. When I was a young mother, I too, got frustrated because I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to hurt my baby so I would close the door to his room, go downstairs and turn up the stereo so I couldn't hear him. That may sound cruel to some people, but it protected my child from harm.
            As a newborn, I thought you feed them, bathe them, change them, and put them to bed. I eventually learned that even newborns need to held some because they are in a whole new environment and they feel insecure. They need mommy's arm to hold them and make them feel secure. Holding your baby will not spoil him as long as you don't pick him up every time he cries.
            However, it is vital that you spend time playing with your child, no matter what age. It helps them feel loved. Think about it. If no one ever paid attention to you, how would you feel? Children magnify their feelings. To a child, no emotion is trivial. It is up to us as parents to help them understand their feelings, and to teach them not to take themselves too seriously.
            Children are only spoiled when their every whim is given in to. Love with boundaries will never spoil a child. One of the best experts I know regarding children is Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family). He has written many books on the subject of child-rearing.
            If you feel depressed after you've had your baby, don't be too hard on yourself. Your hormones change drastically when you get pregnant, and again when the baby is born. This is normal and natural, but you need to seek medical attention if you are depressed. It is not a shame to be depressed. It is only a shame if you don't seek help. God bless.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

What a precious thing it is to be a mother, to hold a newborn baby, to nurture that child, watch it grow, to be the teacher. What an awesome responsibility to raise a child to adulthood, to be able to instill in that child a character that will help him (or her) grow into wisdom and integrity.
There are some women mentioned in the Bible who were very wise in raising their children, or at least in making sure that their children would grow into Godly people. Moses's mother, Jochebed, knew that the only way to save her son was to give him up. Pharaoh had declared that all baby boys born to the Hebrews should  be put to death. So Jochebed made a basket of bulrushes, complete with a covering, and her daughter, Miriam, put the basket with her baby brother inside, and put it in the river just as the Pharaoh's daughter and her maids were going to bathe. Pharaoh's daughter heard an unusual sound, found the basket and opened it. She immediately fell in love with the child and wanted to raise it as her own, but she was not able to nurse it. So Miriam stepped forward from her hiding place and asked if the young woman would like her to find a nursemaid for the baby. Naturally, she took the baby home to her own mother who cared for him until he was old enough to live in the palace. Moses grew up as an Egyptian prince and was well cared for and educated, but he never forgot that he was a Hebrew. At the age of forty something, God used him to deliver the Hebrew people from the bondage of Egypt.
Hannah and her husband had prayed for a child for years and she remained barren and desolate. After many years of praying, God finally answered her prayer and gave her a son. She had promised God that if He would give her a child, she would give the child back to Him. So when her little boy Samuel was weaned, she took him to the priest (Levi) to be raised in the temple as an apprentice. She would go visit him but he would be raised to serve God.
Most of us would rather die than give up our children, but these women loved and served God and knew that He is the supreme parent. They were unselfish in their love for their children, and they grew up to be great. Their names have survived through thousands of years as renowned men of God because of the selflessness of their mothers. What do you want your children to be known for? How will you raise them? What kind of mother do you want to be? The Bible is filled with instruction and wisdom. Have a wonderful, love filled Mother's Day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Who Is Responsible?

I have a dear friend I'll call Jennifer (I have no friends by that name) who has struggled most of her life with alcohol and drug addiction. She's been married several times and has raised four children. The youngest, her son, I'll call Darren.

Jennifer's life has been tumultuous from birth. She was the only daughter with four older brothers, who used to beat her and molest her. Her father also beat her while her mother stood by and did nothing. At some point Jennifer learned to fight back. She learned to use whatever was at hand and she learned she couldn't trust men. They lived in the country and at that time the law would not have interfered.

I don't know at what age she began smoking, drinking, and doing drugs, but it continued through her marriages. At least one daughter, now grown, will have nothing to do with her. She has been through rehab, had kicked it, given her heart and life to the Lord Jesus, and fallen back time and again. She has been in and out of prison, as has her son, Darren.

Darren has been on his own since about age 15, also, drinking and taking drugs. He hates himself and blames his mother for all of his problems. He loves and hates her at the same time. Both of them have so much anger and hurt inside. They play it off of each other. When Jennifer gets out of prison and tries to get her life straight, Darren calls her, screaming at her, accusing her of not caring, because as long as he is still doing drugs she can't be around him. It's too much temptation for her, and it could land her back in prison. So he curses at her, tells her he will commit suicide if she doesn't help him. He rips her heart to shreds, throws it at her feet, and tells her it's all her fault. What is a mother to do? She gives in. He's her flesh and blood, and she thinks he's at least partly right: it is her fault for not being a better role model and parent when he was small.

But Darren is an adult now, making his own decisions. As an adult he needs to take responsibility for his own decisions. He has not allowed her to be his parent for about 12 years. It's time to face reality, face his own consequences, man up and stop blaming mom for the decisions he's making now. He needs to set his mother free from the guilt he is piling on her.

If your situation is similar to this, remember that no matter how many mistakes you've made, redemption is still possible and available through Jesus Christ. He wants to take your burdens. He wants to take your pain and sorrow and replace them with His love, joy, and peace. He wants to make you whole. Why don't you invite Him into your heart and life? He loves you and has great plans for you. What have you got to lose? Just tell Him you're sorry for your sins, ask Him to forgive you, and ask Him to take control of your life. It won't be easy, but it will be better than what you have now. If you fall back into your sin, just keep going to Him, apologize, ask His forgiveness, and ask Him to help you overcome. Seek professional help if you feel you need it. There are a few good, Godly counselors out there. There is no shame in trying to make your life better. God bless.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Are We Better Off Without God?

Look at our society. Are we better off without God? Murder, rape, incest, pornography, suicide, mass shootings are on the rise. And we think we're better off? Yes, some of these things happened decades ago, before prayer and God were kicked out of school and government, but not on this scale. People believed in decency, honor, and respect. Children were taught to respect their elders even if they disagreed with them. Most of the people of my generation were taught to love and fear their parents. I certainly did and I am a well-balanced, happy adult. Did my parents make mistakes? Of course they did. There is no such thing as a perfect parent and very few people have had idyllic childhoods, but we learned manners, respect, and dignity. We were taught to do everything with all of our might. We were taught to always do and give our best. We were taught to admit when we were wrong, apologize, and keep our moral standards high—at least until the "hippie" generation came along. Those are the parents now who listened to Dr. Spock say that spanking a child, or any form of corporal punishment, would inhibit our children's personalities and make them evil.

Nonsense! Now, I believe in spanking WITH LOVE, and discipline. Discipline teaches. When my children were small and spanking was in order, I made sure they first understood why they were getting a spanking. They needed to acknowledge that what they had done was wrong and why it was wrong. If they didn't understand, we had a conversation to help them understand. This was done patiently. Secondly, they were assured that we loved them. When the tears and crying stopped, we would call the child to us, give them a hug, ask them again if they knew why they received a spanking. If the answer was because they were bad, we had another conversation. It was not that the child was bad; it was the action or behavior that was bad.

Our children are well-adjusted adults (well, our daughter went through some things outside the home that have caused her problems in her adult life, but she is getting a handle on them.) Both of our children tell us we have been great parents and we have a great relationship with them. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 31:28 says, "Her children arise up and call her blessed, and her husband also, and he praises her." This passage, from verses 10 through the end of the chapter, are describing a virtuous woman. Thanks to God and His Word, I am living proof that this is so.

A loving parent will discipline and encourage the children. A wise parent will seek to train the child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We were created to have fellowship with Him, and there is no better, happier life than one lived in love and service to God. He is love. But He can also be grieved. He can get angry. He is to be revered, loved, and feared. We should be just as afraid, if not more so, to incur God's anger as that of our parents, especially since today parents seem to let their offspring get by with anything

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Are You Deceiving Yourself?

Sunday I posted an article about lying to ourselves about what is right and what is wrong. This article follows that one.

Malachi chapter 3 deals with our worship, our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I fear that the majority of us have lost our zeal for, and fear of God. Many preachers today just want us to feel good. They don't talk about God's character. They don't mention sin. If your little child continually reaches his hand toward the hot stove, even though you keep telling him it will hurt, do you at last, slap his hand or are you afraid of hurting him? Which will hurt worse, the slap on the hand or the burn he would get from touching the stove? Love teaches and disciplines. Our government, and thus our society, no longer believes in discipline.

The Bible tells us that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The problem is, we have for so long, heard that God is a God of love, with no mention of the other facets of His character, that we treat Him as a celestial teddy bear.

God is also a God of wrath. He destroyed the entire earth by flood because of its wickedness, saving only Noah and his family because they were the only people on the entire planet that loved God. Teddy bears don't get angry.

God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because they were filled with homosexuals. Gen 18:17  And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
Gen 18:18  Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Gen 18:19  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Gen 18:20  And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
Gen 18:21  I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
Gen 18:22  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
Gen 18:23  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

Abraham was worried about his nephew, Lot and his family, who lived in Sodom. Abraham pleaded with God several times, respectfully and humbly, if God would destroy the cities if there were certain numbers of righteous people in the cities. God, after each number mentioned, told Abraham He would not destroy the cities if that number of righteous people resided there.  The last number Abraham mentioned was ten. There were not even ten righteous people living in those two cities. Only Lot and his daughters were spared. His wife looked back as they fled, and was turned to a pillar of salt.

So the question is: Are we allowing ourselves to be deceived by our own wishes to have our feelings pumped up during church, and be told we are good and God is good, and the world is wonderful and there is no sin? Wake up, people! Why are children being molested, kidnapped, bullied, and killed? For some it is God protecting them against worse things to come. For others it is to deliver them from evil before they have a chance to be turned the wrong way.

Romans 3:10 says, "There is none good, no not one."
Isa 53:1  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
Isa 53:2  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
Isa 53:3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isa 53:4  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Isa 53:9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Isa 53:10  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Isa 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Isa 53:12  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

This passage, of course, is talking about Jesus. This is one of the many prophecies of what would happen to Him.  If we are good then Jesus went through all of that torment and death for nothing. He died for our sins. WE ARE NOT GOOD!!! We are evil and need a savior. Jesus has taken the penalty for our cruelty, evilness, everything bad that we have ever done, and it was poured on him at the cross. He shed His precious blood for OUR sins. We need to stop kidding ourselves, stop lying to ourselves that we are good. We need to acknowledge our sin on a daily basis, because whether we want to see it or not, we sin every day. There isn't a day that goes by that we haven't had an evil thought, or told a lie, or said something about someone, or done something we regret.  We all are guilty before God. We can kill our conscience and tell ourselves we are good, but in the end, we will stand before God to be judged. God hates our worship and praise if our hearts are not right with Him, or if we are just going through the motions. Joh_4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Monday, May 6, 2013

It Isn't Sin

I saw a post on Facebook the other day that proclaimed homosexuality isn't sin. Now I don't hate anyone. Life is often difficult and bad things happen to people that may influence and impact us for the rest of our lives. But joy and peace don't come from lying to ourselves. No matter how many times you tell yourself the moon is made of green cheese, you may convince yourself but that doesn't change the reality that it is actually a massive orb that reflects the light of the sun. We can tell ourselves a million+ times that the only facet of God's nature is love (like Joel Osteen), but that doesn't change God's character.

Jesus Christ died on a cruel cross, after being tormented beyond any normal human being's ability to withstand. He did it for our sins. He did it to set us free from the bondage of sin. You can kill your conscience and lie to yourself all you want, but it does not erase the fact that God destroyed two huge cities specifically because of homosexuality. See Genesis chapters 18 and 19. God is just and holy. He wants His people to be holy.

Friend, please admit your sin, ask God for forgiveness, and turn from it. I know it isn't easy when you care about someone, but hell is a terrible place of torment, and I don't want you to go there. God promises to give you the strength you need to change. Only His Holy Spirit can change you. It will be a daily battle, but the end result, living in God's grace and mercy is beyond anything comparable here on this earth. And there is no escape from hell. I'm praying for you.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Heart of Worship

One of the songs I enjoy listening to says, "I'm coming back to the heart of worship; and it's all about you, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord, for the times I've hurt You; and it's all about You, Jesus."

Does it seem odd to anyone besides me that all of the gadgets we've created to simplify our lives have actually made life more complicated, more busy? Instead of mailing letters or calling, we text. Instead of going to the library, we get on the internet. Instead of cooking, we open a container or a can. Much of our food now is microwaveable. I wonder if the electronic, computer-age generation even knows what an oven is or what it is for. (Okay, I'm giving my age group away). We rush around doing who-knows-what. What is the purpose? Where are you going? Why are you going?

Have we, as Christians, sacrificed true worship, heart-wrenching, soul-searching worship, for a good feeling and a prayer on the fly as we race through the day? When the day is over, do you feel a sense of accomplishment? How much time do we really give God? How much of ourselves do we really give Him?

Malachi 1:7-14 gives a description of what the priests in his day were using as worship: diseased animals, spoiled bread. They gave God the worst they had and expected Him to be pleased with it. God was not happy. He was not pleased. He was, in fact, angry. Would you give your best friend the worst you could find? Would you dump garbage on the doorstep of your parents? Yet, we give God our garbage as a worship offering. We give Him the remnant of our day. We turn to Him only when we have a problem. We want His blessings while we treat Him as if He means nothing to us. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us organize our time (time God has given us) so that we may devote more time to our Heavenly Father, the One who provides our every need, who blesses us with every spiritual blessing (inspite of ourselves), and protects, guides, and comforts us. Let us return to our LORD GOD, with a true heart of worship, not just warm, fuzzy feelings that go away as soon as we leave the church.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Don't Hold the Child!

I don't know how many parents are out there who feel this way, but I have recently come in contact with someone who has 5-month-old baby. The father says the baby should never be picked up just to be held. The baby holds its own bottle. I don't know if burping is allowed, but it is necessary in order for the baby to get rid of the gas that builds up so it doesn't have a tummy ache. When babies don't feel good they are fussy. After all, they can't tell you how they feel.

This father gets upset if he finds a babysitter holding his baby. He thinks the baby will be spoiled and he doesn't want that.

What he doesn't seem to know or understand, is that if a baby never gets picked up and cuddled, that baby will grow up to be cold-hearted and angry. He or she will feel unloved and unwanted all their lives. If the parents decide to play with the child or hug and cuddle it once it becomes a toddler or older, it may repair some of the damage, or the child will feel that it is being manipulated and will be either sullen, or appear to acquiesce on the outside while seething on the inside. Be careful. If this is how you treat your child, you may be raising a murderer or other violent criminal.

Babies should not be picked up every time they cry. A mother learns to tell when her baby is crying because it has a need, or just because it wants attention. It does not harm a baby to be allowed to cry itself to sleep when it is just being stubborn, or is using crying as a way of getting attention. However, the parent needs to think about how much time he or she spends interacting with the child. Even infants need to be played with (gently).

Remember, babies are little people, with the same needs and wants as adults (emotionally), but they are unable to express those things in words. It is up to the adults in the baby's life to learn to listen to the differences in the child's cries to discern what the need is. If you don't play with the child, he or she will be fussy, whiny, and temperamental (which he/she may be anyway, but at least it won't be the fault of the caretaker or parent).

When you aren't sure what to do, consult a pediatrician or an older person who has raised children. Children don't get spoiled because they are loved; they are spoiled when they are coddled and catered to.

Friday, April 26, 2013

When Your World Is Falling Apart

      All of us, at some point in our lives suffer loss, grief, disappointment, agony, ill health. Most of us bewail our sad experience and wonder why God has done this to us, or, as Christians wonder why He allows such miserable things to happen.
      When our children go astray and ruin their lives, our hearts are broken. Some parents refuse to accept that their offspring could do whatever it is that they have done. Some parents break all ties with their children. Others try to keep the communication lines open and pray for them earnestly and continually, trusting that at some point, God will restore them to a right relationship with Himself.
When our health fails and we just want to die, our soul often despairs because our bodies remain in agony. We wonder why the Lord has left us to live in such a state. Sometimes we feel as if no one cares. We become lonely and depressed.
      Sometimes a storm, such as a hurricane, tornado, or sink hole, destroys everything we have. Some people have suffered these calamities more than once. Anger and bitterness are normal reactions when calamity steals everything from us, or a loved one is brutally taken from us.
      Friend, God has not left you alone. If you don't know Him, it is possible He has allowed this into your life so that you would come to the realization that you cannot handle everything on your own. You would realize that you do NEED GOD. He cares for you as no one else ever could. He wants to comfort and strengthen you. He wants to give you His peace but He cannot, out of His good nature, override your determination to shut Him out.
      Sometimes God allows things (sometimes horrible, unspeakably painful things) into our lives so that the rest of the world, who don't know Him, can see how He helps you through those most difficult circumstances, so that they, too, may want to know their Creator.
      Satan goes to God every day, according to scripture, to tattle on we, God's children. (As if God didn't know and see everything.) Read the book of Job. In one day he loses everything, as he was the wealthiest man in the world at the time. All ten of his children die; all of his cattle and crops are gone; his wealth is plundered; and his wife wants him to curse God and die. After all that he is stricken will a very painful illness. Three of his "friends" come to him and for many days, accuse him of offending God and suffering the consequences for his unconfessed actions.
      Job gets depressed and grows weary of his "friends" trying to get him to confess to something he hasn't done.
      Yet, in the end, God heals him and gives him twice as much wealth as he had before and gives him ten more children. God also heals his body. Why did God allow all of this calamity? To deepen Job's love and resolve for his Creator, to show Satan that Job's love was deeper and greater than Satan's desire to destroy, and to show Job's friends that they were not as righteous as they thought they were. All of it worked to strengthen Job's character and solidify his faith in God.
      Two of my favorite verses in the Bible are: Romans 8:28—"For we know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, and are the called according to His purpose;" and Psalm 34:7—"The angel of the Lord encamps round about those that fear Him."
      No matter what you are going through, though it may be the hardest thing you have ever done, trust God no matter how dark the day, no matter how bleak the circumstances or the horizon ahead. He loves you and only wants your best. God bless.

Friday, April 19, 2013


"His sisters sent unto Him saying, Lord, behold he whom Thou lovest is sick."-- John_11:3
THE LAPSE of years made it possible for the Apostle to draw aside the veil which curtained the happy friendship and fellowship of Christ in the home at Bethany. It was the one green oasis in the rugged wilderness through which He passed to the Cross!
There were diversities in that home, Martha, practical, energetic, and thoughtful for all that could affect the comfort of those she loved and served; Mary, gifted with spiritual insight and tender sympathy; Lazarus, probably a man of few words, quiet and unobtrusive, but Jesus loved each one (Joh_11:5).
The sisters never doubted that Christ would speed at all hazards to save Lazarus after the breathless messenger had brought the tidings of his sickness. Anything less than infinite Love would have rushed instantly to the relief of those troubled hearts; Divine Love alone could hold back the impetuosity of the Saviour's tender heart until the Angel of Pain had finished her work. He wanted to teach His disciples never-to-be-forgotten lessons, and also He was eager for the spiritual growth of the faith of the sisters.
This chapter might be more truly known as "The Raising of Martha," for our Lord enabled her, matter-of-fact and practical as she was, to realize that He was the Resurrection and the Life. He insisted that her faith was an essential condition in the raising of her brother to life. The emphasis is on the word "thou" (Joh_11:40). Our Lord always needs the co-operating faith of some true heart to be with Him when He works a miracle, and He chose the least likely of the two sisters to supply the pivot on which He could rest the lever of His Divine help. As she withdrew her objection to the removal of the stone, her faith suddenly became capable of claiming the greatest of Christ's miracles.
He calls to us also to help our brethren. In many cases those who have received life from Christ are still bound about with grave-clothes, old habits and evil associations cling to them and impede their progress, and He bids us "Loose him and let him go." He asks for our co-operation in the emancipation of those who have been held fast in the power of the Evil One.
This was copied from my daily devotions on my e-sword program (free download), devotions by Charles Spurgeon. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Love Hurts

            There are three children I pick up for Sunday school and church every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. I've been doing this for about six years. I love them as if they were my own, but they are not mine and I cannot treat them as such.
            The way they talk to each other breaks my heart. Their older sister treats the middle one as if his very existence annoys her. She laughs at him when he tries to answer a question. She constantly tells him to shut up. She treats him as if he is the worst possible thing in her life.
            The youngest child so wants to be like his big brother that everything his brother experiences is his experience also.
            I see other families who constantly bicker, belittle, and put each other down. They may laugh on the outside but that doesn't mean those words don't hurt. Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22 say the same thing: "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." A talebearer is not just a gossip monger (someone who spreads rumors); it is also someone who constantly tattles on someone else or blames someone else for their own misdeeds. A child whose parent allows this behavior is teaching that child that he or she bears no responsibility for his or her own actions, that nothing is ever their fault. This leads to anger, guilt, and self-centeredness. It must be dealt with or that child will be a bully, if not physically then emotionally.
            There are no wounds worse than those meted out by those who are supposed to love you. I would rather take a beating than have a member of my family belittle me. I know those wounds all too well. They don't heal without God's healing touch, but even after that the scars remain on the soul. The person who delivered those wounds may apologize, may even ask forgiveness, but the feelings of inadequacy and inferiority remain for a lifetime. Satan torments me with them on almost a daily basis, often in subtle ways I don't see until the end of the day. It keeps me from persevering. It keeps me bound to giving up instead of pressing on. It keeps me ineffective. I have prayed about it for years. I am progressing toward perseverance but at the age of 61, I wonder if I will accomplish God's will for me before this life is over.
            Do you have the right to demolish someone else's soul, especially a family member? Do you have the right to hold a grudge? Do you have the right to be bitter and angry? Well—what if Jesus had stayed bitter and angry at his tormentors? (We are all tormentors of Christ: He was wounded for OUR transgressions; He was bruised for OUR iniquities. The chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him. All WE, like sheep, have gone astray, and have turned every one to his own way. We could not have a relationship with Jesus if He had been angry and bitter. He forgave us (including you) our sins. He forgave us for putting Him to an open shame. He forgave us every curse word said, every vile thing we have ever done, every lie we ever told, every mean or hateful thing we ever did, He forgave every evil thought. Every one of the things we have ever thought, said or done, was LOADED, PILED, HEAPED, upon His back. The weight of the sins of this world caused Him to sweat great drops of blood as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane just before He was arrested. He who was perfect, who had NEVER done, thought, or said one evil, vile thing, who only did good to everyone He met, took our punishment and forgave us.
         Do you think you've suffered more than He? Look at Him, hanging on that cruel cross meant for the dirge of the earth. Do you really think you deserve less anguish, less pain than He? Jesus endured the shame of the cross for us. Why do we think we deserve better treatment than what He received? Who do we think we are? Thank God we are not getting what we deserve, because all we deserve is hell. Anything more than that is a blessing and mercy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

You Can't Legislate Morality

             If I've heard this once, I've heard it a thousand times. People who believe we should be allowed to do as we please often say this when Christians take a stand against abortion or gay rights. And they are right. Morality cannot be forced. God gave us the Ten Commandments to show us that no one can keep the law. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…" Isaiah 53:6.
            But if we don't at least attempt to legislate morality, how do we have laws to protect us from rape, murder, incest, stealing, malpractice, unsafe drivers, etc.? Without laws we would have chaos. What you think is right would not seem right to someone else. Who then would be responsible for determining right from wrong?
            Some laws are necessary. God put all them in the Bible to help us understand right living. Does He expect us to keep all of them? No. He gave them to us so we would know we can never get to heaven on our own. Our best efforts to be good will always fall short. We are imperfect beings in an imperfect world. But there is hope.
            You see, heaven is not awarded to the good. Hell is not punishment for the bad. Romans 3:10 says none of us are good. Jeremiah tells us that our thoughts are only evil continually. You don't believe that? Think about it. Even when you're thinking good, positive things, are you wondering what's in it for you? Are you trying not to think "so and so ought to have heard this sermon," or "I sure hope so and so gets his/hers?" Even when we're trying to be good our hearts are sitting in judgment of others.
            Homosexuals often sit in judgment of heterosexuals. Murders excuse their behavior because of something someone else did to them or because they are trying to make a political or religious statement. Some people who call themselves Christians sit in judgment of homosexuals, people who live together in intimacy without benefit of marriage, or have had an abortion. I must admit there are issues, and some political icons, that I take great exception to. I, too, am guilty of judging and being critical, and I must daily confess those sins (among others; I'm very far from perfect) and ask God for forgiveness.
            But does that mean I should, as a Christian, a born-again believer, accept the governments decisions without dispute? Absolutely not. I accept every person's right to choose right from wrong. However, I do not have to agree with every decision. I hate abortion. It is murder. Does the woman have a right to choose? Yes. Every person (even without government legalization) has the freedom to choose to kill or not to kill. The only difference is, women don't want to have to feel guilty about their choice, so they want government approval. The government should have stayed out of the whole issue. Abortion doctors are guilty of murder. The woman who chooses to have an abortion is guilty of murder. But both can be forgiven if they but ask God. Spare me the rhetoric of rape, incest, or danger to the mother's life. Abortion has always been a choice for the doctor if the mother's life is in danger. That's a no-brainer. In the cases of rape and incest, it is still murder, but again, we have a forgiving God. God has a purpose for every life. I believe in adoption. I believe in Biblical counseling. God understands these issues. He opens His arms in love, waiting to heal the hurt and heartache that comes with those decisions.
            God does not hate homosexuals. He hates the lifestyle and destroyed two cities because of it. It is not the nature God gave us. I've heard the argument that people are born that way. We are all born sinners, and, even as little children, it easy for us to be influenced to do those things that are not natural for us. God can heal. There are agencies out there that are able to help a homosexual change. It isn't easy. For some, the whole concept of what love is supposed to be has been skewed at some point. For some it has been there all their lives. For others it started in puberty. Regardless, God is waiting with open arms to heal you and show you His unconditional love. I do not have the skills to counsel these types of situations, but I can pray. I have, and have had homosexual friends. I will not abandon them. I care about them. I believe most homosexuals are nice people. They have many talents; they are polite, courteous, and friendly. I don't hate them. I just don't want them to be deprived of a relationship with my heavenly Father, who is the embodiment of love. No one, not even a Christian, can live in sin and have fellowship with God. God is holy and cannot look at sin. The only sin that sends us to hell is rejection of Jesus Christ as God the Son. If we receive Him into our hearts, we will allow Him to heal us of all of our sin and work toward making us more like Him.
            As Christians, we need to take a stand for what's right, not belligerently, but in compassion. Remember, it is not our goodness that will get us into heaven. The only difference between us and the rest of the world is our relationship with Jesus. If we aren't willing to show God's love and point the way to Him, we will be held responsible for our friends and loved ones who aren't saved, being cast into hell on judgment day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What Messages Do You Give Yourself?

Do you ever call yourself names? Do you tell yourself you're dumb, stupid, or call yourself an idiot? If so, what prompts you to do so? Are these things that other people have said to you throughout your life? Do you get upset and mad at yourself every time you make a mistake, or lose something, or make a mess?

Are you technologically challenged (like me)? Don't think that just because I can post something on a blog that I am smart. I'm more like a robot. I can do what I have been taught to do, and some things take a lot of teaching.

The reason I'm writing this particular message is because I suspect there are a lot of people like me out there who are in the habit of putting themselves down. Maybe your parents, siblings, or classmates have put you down and you have accepted their opinion of you. Please don't do that anymore.

I discovered something about myself a few days ago that has helped me a lot. You see, I was one of those awkward kids who never quite fit in. There were a few kids that picked on me and I accepted their evaluation of me instead of accepting the evaluation of the kids who did like me. Our nature is to accept the negative first. Our minds are like digital recorders and the more negative messages we tell ourselves, the more we become convinced that that is who and what we are. This is negative pride. Whenever our attention is more focused on ourselves than others, we are being self-centered.

We recently went on a trip with other family members. Our truck was carrying the luggage of four people. I knew I had to pack light or everything wouldn't fit. I suffer from dry eyes a lot. I have packets of TheraTears that contain small plastic tubes of eye drops which are connected together. I packed 1 set of four tubes. On the way home my eyes became very irritated and I looked frantically for those eye drops. I took everything out of the side pocket of the suitcase. They weren't there. I took everything out of my make-up case. They weren't there. I took everything out of my purse. I could not find them anywhere.

I was so mad at myself for not being able to keep track of even the smallest thing. I must have left them in the motel room or something. I spent the next two hours fuming because I could not find the necessary drops to soothe my eyes. The day after we got home I found them—in my purse. The first thing that happened upon finding them was the Lord speaking to me: "You didn't ask me to help you, did you?" No, Lord, I didn't. "You didn't ask me to soothe your eyes, did you?" No, Lord, I didn't. "My child, there is nothing wrong with your mental status. Sometimes your eyes and your brain don't make a good connection—like your cell phone and a cell tower. You are not alone. Many people experience this. Stop beating yourself up. I don't make junk. You're okay." My father-in-law, recently deceased, once said pretty much the same thing to me. He told me to read a book called, "I'm Okay; You're Okay." I had forgotten about that book until now. God doesn't make junk. We are all okay, regardless of what anyone else thinks. God didn't make a mistake when He made you, and He didn't make a mistake when He made me. The Bible says God uses the foolish things of this world (like we all are sometimes) to confound the wise.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Passing of Time

We buried my father-in-law on Thursday, March 28, 2013. The body was flown from Florida to West Virginia via Sky med. My mother-in-law flew to a nearby city where she was met by her eldest daughter, Lynn. Lynn had already secured a motel room for them for the night and the next day they went to the funeral home (which had been contacted in advance) to pick out the casket and make the final arrangements.
The graveside service was held with a 21-gun salute, the playing of Taps, the folding of the flag and the presentation of it to my mother-in-law. Two of the sons were then asked to conduct the service. Scripture was read and a hymn was sung, but what caught my attention was the question asked of each of the five kids (now grown): What one thing do feel you learned from Dad? The answers were varied, but all were positive.
This is a family of five grown children with families of their own. There are 11 grandchildren and fourteen living great grandchildren. Another is on the way and some are already in heaven. The core family is Christian in their beliefs and lifestyles; yet there are many in the family who have not embraced this faith. Yet, there is NO ANIMOSITY, no jealousy, no bickering over who does the most to help care for parents or who does the least. Everyone does what they can, even from a distance.
The legacy my father-in-law left, the most important thing this quiet, humble man left his children, was the determination to do the best you can, as often as you can, think of others first and yourself last. It has left a lasting impression on this expanded family of 40 people. What legacy will you leave?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ode To My Father-in-Law

I saw you look toward heaven today,
At least it seemed that way to me.
I bowed my head and began to pray
That just one more smile from you I'd see.

Then you lowered your head and closed your eyes;
You looked so angry and sad—
To be left in this body, denied the prize
Of going to your heavenly home, your Dad.

Though it hurts to see you suffer so,
Knowing all you have to gain,
It's still so hard to let you go,
Even though we know we'll meet again.

But when the time comes, we'll say goodbye,
We'll thank the Lord for His strength and grace;
We'll kiss your brow and sing you a lullaby;
And god will dry our tears as you finish your race.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Oh How God Loves You

Oh, how He loves you and me; oh, how He loves you and me:
He gave His life; what more could He give?
Oh, how He loves you; oh, how He loves me;
Oh, how He loves you and me.

Jesus to Calvary did go; His love for mankind to show
He gave His life; what more could He give?
Oh, how He loves you; oh, how He loves me;
Oh, how He loves you and me.

I can't remember all the words to this hymn, but you get the idea. Not only does God love you; He also loves your children—even more than you do. When our children are murdered, gunned down at school or on the street, Jesus is there watching and weeping. Could He have prevented the tragedy? Yes. If God wanted to force people to love Him, He would have made us all robots who have no choice, no freedom. Even the angels have choices. That's why one third of them followed Satan in revolt and were cast out of heaven to become demons. But because loves us enough to give us a free will, it is against His nature to impose His will on those who would do evil.

I've done this before on this web page, but the tragedy of those precious little school children in Delaware has been on my heart and mind for days. My heart aches for those parents. Remember the song, "Jesus Loves The Little Children." No one loves them more than God. It is my sincere belief that every one of those precious little ones are now safe in the arms of Jesus.

It is natural for a grieving parent to think of all the things they will never get to experience with that child. It is natural to think of all of things you'll never get to hear them say or see them do. God understands your heartache and grief. It's why Jesus promised He would never leave you or forsake you. He knew this was coming. He was grieving with you before it happened.

So instead of dwelling on what you won't have with that precious little one, think of what God saved him or her from. That child will never be molested by a teacher, scout leader, or anyone else. That child will never suffer bullying, never take drugs, never be an extortioner, or corrupt business executive. They may not have been anyway, but you don't know the outside influences that would have brought great harm to your child in later years. God knew. God knows our beginning from our end. I am NOT happy that you lost your children. Please don't read this in that context. But perhaps God was protecting your child from a worse fate. Perhaps He was sparing you from greater heartache.

Let God comfort you through His word, through the caring love of others. Even though Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, still He wept for the grief of Lazarus's sisters and friends, maybe even for His own grief. After all, Lazarus was like a brother to Jesus.

Scripture admonishes us to "let the peace of God dwell in your hearts richly." God wants to heal your broken heart. Allowing the healing to take place doesn't mean you love your children any less. It doesn't mean you forget about them. Of course, you never will. You will love that child until your dying breath. But if you want to see your child again, you must accept the peace and comfort that God offers. You must accept His free gift of salvation or your eternity will not be spent with that precious little one. Teach your other children to love and trust God so all of you can meet again in eternity. God bless.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Peace That Passes Understanding

So many people say they believe in God. Big deal. The Bible says the devil believes and trembles. Trust me: he isn't going to heaven to spend eternity with God. People say, "I can worship God at home or out on the boat. I don't have to go to church." Jesus told us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together and He also said if we love Him we'll obey Him. He tells us to take our tithes and offerings to the local church. If you aren't going to church, you aren't tithing, thus supporting the cause of Christ. You are not participating in sending missionaries to other countries to tell people about God's love. You are being disobedient to your Lord.

If you truly believe in God, and have asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, you will not be afraid to die.

My father-in-law died at 4:05 this morning. He was a quiet man and never talked much about God or his faith. But he went to church faithfully until it became too difficult to go. When my husband sat with him in the nursing home yesterday, he (my husband) asked God for a sign that his dad was ready to go. It was a beautiful, cloudless day and the curtains beside the bed were open. Dad had not been opening his eyes much these last two weeks, and most times the last few days, when he did, his eyes were just slits. But yesterday, as Tom sat with him, he opened his eyes wide, looked out the window, looked directly at his son, and the peace that comes with knowing you're on your way to a better place spread across his face, and tears trickled down his cheek. He was saying goodbye to his son. We'll see him again when it's our turn to go.

John 14:27-29 says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, you might believe."

Phil. 4:7 says, "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Do you have the peace that passes understanding? None of knows when God will call us home.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When Death Knocks On The Door

My father-in-law is in a nursing home. He has been there for two weeks (this coming Saturday). We thought he was getting stronger and would be able to get through a few weeks of physical therapy and come home but he developed pneumonia. He gurgles when he breathes, like bubbles being blown through a straw into a glass of water. He doesn't want to eat and can't chew. He told his nurse this morning he was going to die. She asked him why he said that and he replied he just knew. She told us when a patient says that, they usually don't last longer than 72 hours. He has a living will and a DNR order has been signed but we aren't giving up yet. Still, God knows how many days He has allotted each one of us. We will continue to hold vigil, pray, spend time with Dad while we can, and know that we will see him again one day. He told the pastor he gave his heart to Jesus when he was ten years old. So when his time is done, we won't say good-bye. We'll say, "Until we meet again on the other side."
Joh_14:2--In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Heb_4:15--For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Rom_8:37--Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom_8:39--Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why Do I Write This Blog?

Because I see all the hurt in the world and I want to do something about it.
Because I know that God is the only source of comfort and peace.
Because I know God has all the answers, and by His grace, He allows me to share what He has taught me to others.

Because bullying is so much worse today than it was when I was growing up. I was bullied, too.
Because life is too short, and precious, to spend it being miserable.
Because life, and its problems, are common human experiences. I have been through some of the same things as you.

Because I know what it's like to be a military wife with small children, and not be able to be with your husband.

Because I know what it's like to lose your parents and siblings in death.
Because I know what it feels like to be alone, and to feel as if no one cares.
I know what it's like to despise yourself and feel like crawling into a hole and never come out again.

I have felt as if I was the biggest, ugliest, dumbest person in the world.
I have felt that the world would be a better place without me.
I have felt despair, rejection, self-loathing, suicidal.
I have been so angry I wanted to hurt someone.
I have felt that my only purpose in life was to be the brunt of a joke.
I have felt that my only purpose in life was to fight with a stupid computer, and too dumb to do anything about it.

I have been disappointed in my children.
I have felt invisible to the rest of my family.
I have felt as if I am just an appendage to my in-laws.

I understand so many of the things you go through (of course not all of them). But the good news is—God never left me there. When the rest of the world (and, on rare occasions, my husband) seems to be against me, I read Romans chapter 8 in the Bible and I know God is for me. He became my heavenly Father the day I repented of my sin and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. I asked Him to make me a new person and He did. Oh, I'm not perfect, and never will be in this life, but THANK YOU, JESUS! I'm not what I used to be. He saved my marriage and made it better than either of us ever thought possible. He taught me to like myself. He took away my rage and gave me His peace. He sent His Holy Spirit to live in my heart to help me change and be more like Him. He'll do the same for you if you ask Him. Please let me know how you are doing. You can just use your initials or a screen name. You don't have to give me any personal information you don't want to. I'm not here to steal any information. I don't want any personal information that would cause you problems. I just want to know you've been helped. Or tell me you think I'm crazy. It is still a free country. I will never share anything you say with anyone else. I have a facebook page but it is strictly for public information from me. I chat privately with close friends and relatives. God bless.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'll Never Forgive

Have you been so hurt that you said you would never forgive someone? Maybe a loved one was murdered, raped, or molested. Maybe it was you. Maybe someone stole your identity and cost you a lot of time, trouble, and money to get it all straightened out. Maybe someone promised you something and didn't deliver. Maybe you paid a lot of money for a job or investment and they took your money and never delivered what was promised. Maybe a family member said something that cut very deep. Maybe, like many others, you had a parent who never made you feel loved, wanted, or appreciated.

Jesus knows how you feel. He chose twelve men to follow Him. These were men He bonded with, spent every day with, shared meals with, and to whom he bore His heart. He taught them. He fished with them. He raised Peter's mother-in-law from what could have been her deathbed. John was the disciple that loved Jesus so much, He thought of Him as a brother. Peter vowed to follow Christ to the very end and never leave Him. These twelve men traveled with Jesus everywhere He went, except for those times when He went alone to pray or when He sent them to buy food. They were together every day for three and a half years.

The night before He was to be crucified, Jesus took all twelve of those men to a room, prepared a basin of water and a towel, stooped before them, one by one, removed the sandals from their dirt caked feet, and washed them. He already knew that Peter would deny he even knew Jesus as He stood before Pilate. Jesus already knew that, later, when they would eat their last meal together, that Judas would leave with the money pouch and go tell the chief of the Sanhedrin where to find Him. Jesus knew that Caiaphas would notify the Roman soldiers and have Him arrested. He knew Judas would lead the soldiers to Him in the garden, and betray Him with a kiss (on each cheek, as is the custom in Europe and Middle Eastern countries). Jesus knew that as He stood trial for crimes, which He had never committed, every one of those disciples would leave Him. Only John returned as He hung on the cross. There Jesus gave John the charge to care for His widowed mother.

Jesus had already forgiven these men, as shown by His actions as He washed their feet. He was giving them two examples: first, that they should not be too proud to serve in any capacity; secondly, that they should always be quick to forgive. The disciples would understand these two principles what Jesus was gone from them.

If Jesus could forgive His tormenters, having never done anything wrong—if He could forgive you for everything you have ever done, how can you deny forgiveness to someone who has wronged you? Jesus never did anything wrong in His entire 33 1/2 years of life; yet all of us have done things wrong and we've never been treated as badly as Jesus was. Yes, the person who wronged you deserves your scorn, but you also deserve Jesus's scorn; and you have been given mercy. Let us then be merciful to others, even as we have been shown mercy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Every Good Relationship Begins With God

If this sounds pious, I don't mean for it to. It is simply a statement of fact. Even if you have good relationships with others, yet do not have a good relationship with God, it is still He who has put His goodness into those relationships. James 1:17-- Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Good relationships require love, compassion, patience, understanding, honesty, trust, and forgiveness. All of these traits are part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The part I want to focus on is honesty. Many people today go to church, listen to a lot of hyped up, feel-good music, hear a little bit of preaching about a one-dimensional god whose only character trait is goodness, and go home to a battle ground.

There are many church-going people whose lives are filled with strife. It is possible that some of that strife comes from demonic or satanic interference, but mostly it's because they have a good dose of churchianity, not Christianity. The Robert Schullers of this world who only preach on God's love are hurting their listeners. They are doing a grave disservice because they are not preaching the truth. Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." It is the entire counsel of God that teaches us how to respond to unkindness, bullying, hurt feelings, and more. It is the full counsel of God's word that teaches us how to have peace.

If your God is only a god of love, it's the wrong god. That's god's name is eros (I refuse to capitalize an imposter's name) and his ways lead to depravity, grief, sorrow, disease, and hell. The following scripture passage tells us we need to hear truth: the truth in God's word.
Joh 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Joh 16:8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Joh 16:9  Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Joh 16:10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Joh 16:11  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Joh 16:12  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Joh 16:13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Joh 16:14  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

If you had cancer, lupus, thyroid disease, heart disease, etc., wouldn't you want the doctor to tell you the truth? How would you make your final arrangements, set the hearts of your loved ones at peace, seek proper medical attention, if you had not been told the truth? If we want peace, love, joy, goodness, comfort, strength, etc., wouldn't it be wise to seek God's truth? Please contact me, e-mail, leave a message or comment to let me know what you think. I'm not interested in bragging rights; I just want to know you're being helped—or that you think I've totally lost my mind. All comments are welcome as long as they don't contain cursing for vulgarity. God bless.

P.S. Please pray for my father-in-law. He is 90 years old and is very weak right now. We are hoping physical therapy will help him. His name is Wilbur.