Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Conversations with God and Robbieisms

Conversations with God (and the Robbieisms He used to snap me out of my offense) So, a funny thing happened on the way to spiritual maturity… We can think we are on our way to becoming the person we want to be, the person we think we should be, the person we believe that God wants us to be. And then a curve ball comes in and we get knocked off kilter. It could be a financial difficulty. It could be an issue with work. It could be problems within the home. It could be anything. For me, almost nothing throws me off track faster than that of a bump in a relationship. A relationship within family, with friends, with a significant other. Any kind of relationship with someone close to me. I value relationship over just about anything else. To me it is important that I make others feel like they are important and loved and treasured and that I absolutely mean it. Unfortunately, there is that part of me that still gets hurt if others don’t treat me the same way. Starting almost a month ago a relationship with someone I hold very close to me hit a snag, or two. And while now I realize it was unintentional, it started to drive a noticeable wedge between our friendship. At least to me anyway. I talked to 3 very close other friends about this ad nauseum. Questioning, griping, feeling sorry for myself, etc. All in all not a pretty picture. Pretty substantially sad, as a matter of fact. My trusted inner circle gave me so much grace, even though they probably wanted to just say, “Can we talk about something else now?” I cannot thank them enough for just letting me go through the cycle of emotions that I went through. It’s very, very rare that I dwell on something like this, so I think that also allowed them to give me such grace. The thing is, this is someone for whom God has told me to stand in the gap and war for them. Pray for them. Thank Him for all the changes God has not yet made in their life as if He had already made them. This is someone for whom God has a definitely purpose and because that purpose is SO big, the flip side of the coin is that the enemy has a purpose for them too. To derail them from ever coming to know Christ and fulfilling their destiny in Him. So the enemy went and attacked at the very core of my friendship. For weeks I have carried around this hurt, this sense of almost betrayal, this beginning of a grudge, these hardening feelings. And it was really sad and pathetic. Especially because they had absolutely no clue they had hurt me. So I did what I have done so well in the past. Passive aggressively used words to my advantage. Never once letting them know how I had been hurt by them. Tsk-tsk-tsk… Yesterday morning was when God did the equivalent of hitting me upside the head with a two by four. I have this dear friend, wonderful woman, incredible mentor who is SO full of wisdom. I should have known better. I should have known that God would have used her wisdom to speak to me. Many of you on here know her as Robbie Page. I know her as a life changer. A changer of my life and the life of my family. She has these sayings that stick with you and don't let go. We call them Robbieisms. So…here is what God used to snap me out of the wild and crazy and really unattractive pity party I had been brewing and let simmer until it would have utterly destroyed one of the most important friendships I’ve ever had. Robbieisms (Robbie’s sayings - or the gist of them - that God used to knock me off my pity pedestal and back on solid ground): 1. Remember Oneand2: ONE it’s not about me and 2 I don’t have to be right. Because it’s really NOT about me. It is always about the other person in the equation. When we stop focusing on ourselves and we put the focus on where it belongs, which is on God and other people, we see things a whole lot more clearly. And I really do not have to be right. In the scheme of things, what matters more? Preserving a necessary relationship or having to be proven right? In the end, that friendship or relationship is far more important than my “being right” and in this case, I really was NOT right at all. 2. Hurt people hurt people: It’s true. Have you ever seen someone whose feelings have been hurt? Or have you been one of those people? What do you do when you’ve been hurt? You tend to take it out on others, don’t you? Most likely you ignore the person who hurt you. Might even lash out at them. Really, who are you hurting other than yourself? As is the case, most people don’t even know they hurt you. I know with me they almost never do because I am one of the least confrontational people you will ever meet. This one, as with the one below, goes with the entire definition of unforgiveness…unforgiveness is like drinking poison, hoping the other person will die. The only person you are hurting is yourself. 3. The spirit of offense has done more damage to relationships than almost anything else: This goes hand in hand with the above.We can get so offended by other people that we start holding grudges and thinking ugly thoughts about them and it absolutely sours your relationship with them. You get so offended by someone that you go out and offend others by your words and/or actions. It’s the same premise as hurt people hurt people.Offended people offend people. 4. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do: In this case the right thing is to give them a whole lot of Grace. They do not have the knowledge that I do or the wisdom I have learned from others and the Bible in how to treat others, how a Christian is supposed to act and treat others. To them they are doing what comes second nature to them because they are not, in fact, a Christian. I have to remember that when it comes down to it, the best thing to do is to treat others the way you want to be treated,regardless of how they have treated you. That’s kind of what we call “The Golden Rule” and it comes from the Bible. Matthew 7:12 AND Luke 6:31 say the same thing…in EVERYTHING do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Even if they don’t, you still do it anyway…because it’s the right thing to do. 5. God speaks to you in your personality: IDK about you, but I have different ways that I respond to different things. I have a soft spoken side to me. I have an outgoing side to me. I have an outspoken side to me – at times. I have a silly side and a very serious side. God speaks to me in whatever manner will get my attention depending on what I’m going through. Yesterday morning was a very clear, “SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP”. This is basically the gist of the message: God: Ok, listen up, babygirl, did I or did I not tell you to pray without ceasing for this person? Did I or did I not tell you to war for this person through prayer? Did I or did I not tell you that even when it hurts and even when you don’t understand the WHY’S of what I am doing that you are to trust Me anyway and obey? Yes or no? Me:………yes……. God: So WHY are you doing the opposite right now? Me: Because it hurts and I don’t understand. God: SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! EVEN. WHEN. IT. HURTS. EVEN. WHEN. YOU. DON’T. UNDERSTAND. Now what part of that do you not understand? I’ve been telling you that for weeks. I told you to pray and war for them for a reason and here you are, letting the enemy drive this wedge in between you and the person only you know exactly how to pray for because you are the only true praying person in their life. You know better! What is wrong with you?! You have the spiritual understanding to know exactly what is going on here. So why are you letting the enemy win? Me:………………SIGH……You’re right……….. God: Of course, I am! Because I have a specific purpose for this person, you can bet your petunia that the enemy does too. Just like I have a specific purpose for you and the enemy tried to derail that, he is trying to derail this person as well. It’s up to YOU to fight for them. Me: But it’s hard when I can’t see the end or how it is going to end. God: Because it’s not for you to know until it happens. Only I know. Do you presume that you get to be Me? It’s not for you to understand. All I have asked you to do is trust and obey, no matter what. This is why we need to work on your patience. Me: I haven’t asked for patience! The saying always goes “don’t ask for patience because He will put you in situations where you will be forced to learn it”. God: But you need it so that is precisely why you are getting a lesson in it. Me: Really?!???? God: Suck it up, buttercup, and get a move on, babygirl. Time’s a wasting and you don’t have all day. Give them grace and understand that they don’t realize what it is they have done because they are not in Me yet. And really, does it matter in the long run why or the reasons behind it? Does it really matter? They are like an infant in that they don’t know better yet. And really, you don’t need the answers ahead of time. This person is YOUR responsibility because only you know how to pray for them as they need to be prayed for so just stop it already! TRUST. OBEY. That’s it. Me: Yes, Sir. Yeah, my conversations with God really do go like that. Not kidding! LOL! Sometimes He is Abba, Father, Comforter, Healer, my Hiding Place,the Bringer of Peace, my Strength when I have none left. Sometimes He is my sledgehammer without mercy. Sometimes He is my ego crushing, butt kicking drill sergeant. Sometimes He is silent. Sometimes He is a whisper. Sometimes He is a mighty ROAR! But always He is on time. And He is always right. And as always, it is a reminder of another Robbieism...your response is your responsibility. You cannot control how others treat you or what they say to you, but you sure can control what your response will be. Thank you, Robbie for your wisdom, guidance, understanding,knowledge and friendship that has completely transformed me from the person I was even 21 months ago. Love you, friend!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: My life in review

2 days left in 2013. WOW! Where has the time gone? More importantly, what did you learn in this year? For me, from the very start - the first weekend of 2013, in fact - it has been an incredible year of changes and growth. Both for the better. I am not the same person leaving this year as I was coming into it, and for that I am very thankful.

I have made incredible friends for life, some of whom I've only met once or a handful of times, but the blessing of the internet is that we can keep up daily across the miles. Some whom I reconnected with, whether online or in person. Friends who are of a like mind, friends who encourage, support and speak life over others. Friends who have prayed for and over me. Friends who have listened and encouraged the growth in my life, and have been part of the catalyst of that growth.

One of the biggest changes - and best - is becoming a work from home mom. Being able to be there for my kids has made all the difference in the home atmosphere regarding attitude. It has been a tremendous blessing! The biggest one. It has helped me to become closer to them in ways I couldn't have imagined prior to working at stressful 45+ hour work week elsewhere. It has deepened my relationship with them as I am able to be there for celebrations and parties, milestones and games. To pick Em up "early" - now meaning as soon as school ends - and stay late with Nate when I drop him off.

I am thankful for the incredible spiritual truths that have been brought to me this past year. Truths that have opened my eyes and changed my life. Thankful for an amazing group of women who have seen the transformation in my life and have believed in and encouraged me and spoken life and truth over me. Not a day goes by where I and my family aren't thankful for their existence in my life and the truths that have been so much of the catalyst for the change in me.

I still have much to work on, but then again, we are all works in progress, are we not?

I am excited for what 2014 has to offer, because as good as 2013 has been, it can and will be better. 2014 will be a year of many dreams and accomplishments realized, goals reached and milestones crossed off my list. It will be a year of even deeper spiritual growth and understanding and I know it will be a year of blessings and wonderful surprises because God has never failed me or let me down and He won't start now. I have promises from Him that will come in His timing. Not mine.

That's been probably one of the biggest lessons for me is to be patient and wait. Psalms 27:14 says it very well. "Wait on the Lord, be strong and He will strengthen your heart. Wait on the Lord." Jeremiah 29:11 says it even better. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." If God has great plans for me and if I follow the path He has laid out for me, if I put my WHOLE trust in Him and let Him lead, instead of trying to make Him follow, how can I go wrong?

So, leaving 2013 behind soon and coming into 2014 with great expectations and beliefs about what will happen has me looking forward to this coming year with GREAT anticipation, joy and excitement! I look forward to being a better and stronger mother, daughter, friend, person, leader and Christian. 2014 is a new year, a new beginning, a new page on which I will write victories, goals, joys and dreams realized! Happy New Year to you all and may your 2014 far exceed and outshine your 2013!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Championship Mindset

I feel very strongly that this message is for someone, or maybe many someones out there today. This comes from a YouTube video from the phenomenal Trent Shelton, but I have transferred from video to text because many people pay better attention when it comes to the written word, whereas video can kind of go in one ear and out the other. If this is for you, know that I am praying for you, even though I don't know who you are. Keep moving forward! Be a Champion. Have a Championship Mindset.

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KMFLY - Keep Moving Forward and let nothing hold you back! Today is special. Today is that day that you become that new you. Today is the day that you become that Champion! It's time for you to stop feeling so sorry for yourselves and doing nothing about it. It's time to stop doing the same old things that have gotten you NOWHERE! It's time to stop using excuses to keep you at a place where you know you shouldn't be. Each and every one of you [watching this] is great. Each and every one of you [watching this] is a Champion. But YOU gotta make that decision.

There are 5 truths to every Champion, whether it be Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey...people who are Champions in their field, in their profession. There are 5 truths that each and every one of these people have. And today we're going to talk about it. You are going to develop that Championship Mindset. It's time for you to be great.

1. Commitment. The first TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has something called commitment. Staying loyal to what you said you were going to do...LONG after the mood you said it in has left. So that means that, for a whole month, if you said you were going to wake up at 5 AM to run 3 miles - that sound great the first week. Excited. What happens when that 3rd week comes around? When it's no longer fun. When it's no longer exciting. When that mood you said it in has left. Are you still going to be committed to it? Is it still going to mean that much to you? So many people live a life of incomplete dreams because they give up, they throw in the towel when that mood has left.

2. Discipline. The second TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has a little something called discipline. Tattoo it. That mean's permanent. Tattoo your purpose on your heart. So that your actions are trainable before you. Every Champion gets good at saying "NO" to the things that don't get them the "YES". Right? If it's not helping them, it's hurting them. But a lot of us lack that discipline. We say that our dreams are so important. Our goals are so important. We're so focused. But that first opportunity comes whether it's to to go to the club or do something that doesn't move you closer to your dreams, you go jump on it and do it. Your circle is filled with people who don't share your vision. That's holding you back and not moving you forward. You got to be disciplined! Success is a lonely road. There's not going to be too many people around you. You're not going to have a whole clique of friends because they're not going to be disciplined like you. They're not going to understand the commitment that it takes to make these dreams, to make these things happen. You gotta be disciplined.

3. Consistency. The third TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion is consistent. We anchor our actions in greatness. So daily, not every now and then, not when we feel like it, so daily we produce nothing less than our very best. You know, when you're consistent, you're reliable. When you're reliable, you become trustworthy. There's nothing better in this world than a trustworthy person because when you're trustworthy, you're dependable.

4. Faith. The fourth TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has faith. Belief in the odds are beautiful, even when the odds say it's impossible. You know, there's a guy called David and he fought that impossible Goliath. Well, with us, we have a lot of Goliaths in our lives. Whether it be people doubting us. Whether it be statistics. Whether it be our generational curses. Whether it be genetics. Whether it be where we're from, our environment. But we have to "David" ALL of those things because God tells us that faith will make us well. Faith is what makes dreams come true. Believe it. You gotta throw that blanket over that scoreboard of life. You gotta to keep playing until your final seconds are up. You gotta give it your all. You gotta KNOW where you're going. Not what you're going to do. Not believe in the circumstances. Not believe in the stress. Not believe in the challenges. Not believe in the obstacles. You gotta believe in your finish line, that you're going to get there NO MATTER WHAT. That's what Champions believe in. Faith.

5. Heart. The fifth final TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has heart. Finding the strength to keep going, even when your mind, people, whatever, says you have nothing left. You keep pushing through those tears. You keep pushing through that pain. You keep pushing through that struggle. You keep pushing through that hurt. Because your heart won't let you quit. Your heart won't let you find excuses. Your heart makes you go until you reach that finish line in life. That's what you gotta have pumping in your heart. It's not about talent. It's not about money. It's about the person who just wants it the most. You gotta want it. You gotta want it so bad that it's hard for you to sleep at night. You gotta want it so bad that it wakes you up in the morning. You gotta want it so bad that conditions outside won't stop you, that people around you won't stop you. Even if it's just you by yourself. That's how bad you gotta want it. It's gotta be planted in your heart. When you talk about it, it should be hard for you to talk about your vision and your goals and your dreams because it means that much to you. Every Champion has heart.

I want you to look in your mirror tonight and create this new you. I want you to develop this Championship Mindset because God has great things for you. God has planned a future of greatness for you. Only thing you have to do is BELIEVE IT and follow His ordered steps. It's time to be Champions. Remember, it all starts with you. Championship Mindset...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Food For Thought: What Do You Listen To?


So, I am the biggest music fan and have enjoyed everything from classical to country to (really)hard rock over the years, but God completely convicted me over this past year about what I/we were listening to in the truck and at home so I started listening to what is called "prophetic worship" music. Such great music like Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, Hillsong United, Bethel Music, Gateway Worship, Jesus Culture and others.

The most interesting thing has happened since starting this in my house just a short few months ago - playing those artists/music in the house even at night while we sleep.

*Nightmares with the kids...gone.
*Bad tempers...reduced greatly.
*Attitudes...improved.
*Responding instead of reacting...has changed the entire atmosphere of my home.

In listening to a friend who encouraged me to take that challenge in my house I realized why that is. Lucifer was the worship leader in heaven, along with his other lofty positions. Worship music is like daggers to his and his demon's ears. I have noticed when we DON'T play it in our house, is when tempers seem to erupt, attitudes grow sour, etc.

What are you playing at home? What are you listening to? What are your kids listening to? I challenge you to take a month - 30 days - to listen to nothing but Christian worship music wherever you are, including at night and have your kids do the same (an experiment of sorts) and see if the atmosphere in your house changes.

I know I used to hate to listen to worship music and the old time hymns that play on such great stations as KHCB out of Houston. It would make me angry and I would get up to turn it off. I had no reason why. But when I started changing the music in my life, and stuck with it, those attacks on my attitude really changed, the way I responded instead of reacted to my children changed my relationship with them for the better, etc. It has completely changed our house and that is a GOOD thing!

Full disclosure, I still listen to country, Celtic (Irish/Scottish) and classic rock/80's every now and then, but now it's about 1% instead of 99%.

You become what you listen to, read, watch, who you hang around, say, think, etc. Your life goes in the direction of your mindset. Make sure what you put into your life is positive, Godly and life affirming.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thoughts on 9-11

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

Lord love Alan Jackson for that unforgettable song. Where was I? I was about 38 weeks pregnant with Emily, stopped at the light at Stassney and 35 on my way to work when the news came on the radio. I remember the horror. I remember calling home in a panic and telling my then husband to turn on the news, pop a tape in the VCR and start recording and don't stop. It was 2001 after all and VHS was "the thing". I remember being asked at work to print up and keep a running timeline on the wall during the day. I remember. I remember.

I remember being so filled with anger and hatred for those who attacked us. And that lingered for several years. I still do not have friendly feelings toward those who planned and perpetrated an attack on my country. On the liberties and freedoms that I hold so dear. On the innocence of children. On families.

I remember the stories of incredible miracles of those who, for whatever reason, were delayed in getting to work that day. One, because they developed a blister and had to stop and buy bandaids. Tens of thousands should have died that day. Tens of thousands escaped the fate that beset the 2,977 who were part of these attacks on American soil. But not just Americans. More than 90 countries lost citizens in those attacks.

I remember having many friends who lost loved ones and family in those attacks. Many in New York. A couple in Pennsylvania when the heroes saved further untold counts of death by putting the plane down in a field. And I grieved with them and for them.

I remember hearing the voicemails of those caught in the towers, of those on the plane over Pennsylvania, to loved ones. Knowing that would be the last time they ever got to say something to them. I wonder if the fights and the cross words haunted those left behind? If they still do?

I have friends who fought in the war on terror. Who enlisted right after 9/11. Who still fight. Some, very dear to me, who are over there right now. I pray for them daily. Pray for their safety. Pray that they come home in mentally and physically safe. Pray for their families and loved ones.

Peace, peace, everyone cries. But in reality, there is no peace to be found. Not when the religious ideology fuels hatred of those who refuse to submit to the sword hanging over their head. Who refuse to submit to tyranny. Who refuse to give in to those who would subjugate us with their last breath. Not when we still draw breath as a free country. Not when we still have people who believe in the sovereignty given to us as a nation. Not when we still have something to believe in. Not today. Not ever. Not until the Lord returns.

I no longer have that burning hatred of those who attacked us. They did not defeat us. Liberty still stands. We still stand. To hold onto that negativity is to create a hole in my soul. To change me, and not for the better.

I prefer to honor those who perished by remembering the past, but not let it affect my future. I prefer to honor those lives lost by trying to make my corner of the world a better place to be. I prefer to be a light in the darkness, when all other lights seem to go out. I prefer to honor the sacrifice of the soldiers out there on the front lines and at home still fighting by supporting them any way I can.

I choose to live. I choose to love. I choose to leave this world a better place than when I came into it. I choose to be the best I can be. I choose to not let bitterness and hatred consume me. I choose a life of meaning and purpose. I choose to not let my last words with someone be those of anger because I never know when my last moment will be with them and that is not a memory I wish to carry around with me.

I choose to make the most of what life and God have given me. But I still remember...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Little Eyes Are Watching You

Parents, what are you teaching your children? 
I mean seriously.
  • "Too lazy to work" is NOT acceptable for the description under "worked at". They will look for the easy way and expect to get the success without the effort. That is so far from reality it's laughable.
  • Skimpy clothing/bathing suits on children is the playground for pedophile's minds - and it's almost always someone that the child knows, adult or their peer, who molests them - trust me on this, I know this from personal experience. 
  • Dropping the "F" bomb every other word will get more doors shut in their faces for GOOD opportunities than almost anything else. It's so unattractive and, regardless of their intelligence level, shows that they are anything but. 
  • Disrespecting those in authority, your elders, those who are different than you, yourself...your spouse...will teach them to put themselves first instead of looking out for others, could land them in hot water with law enforcement, have them in and out of relationships and marriages because they expect to always be right and heaven help anyone who disagrees with them so POOF...divorce makes it "easy", and they will have the same issues with each relationship. So many parents talk to their children with disrespect. You are not dealing with an inconvenience, you are raising a human being who needs your love, your protection and your respect.
There are so many more but those are the ones I see online on Facebook and witness in person day in and day out. We teach our children what we are by our actions. Not by what we say; though what we say can break spirits and hearts. Your words have power, especially with your children, so use them wisely. Respond to your children. Don't react to them. That can shut them off to you faster than snapping your finger. Proverbs 15:1 says a gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. This is true for all ages. I don't know about you, but I like my house peaceful and not full of stress and strife.

It is always, always, always better to HAVE character than to BE a character. Proverbs 22:1 states that it is better to have a good name than to be rich and to have respect is better than having gold and silver. There are people that you know that when you think of them, of their behavior, even of their name you don't think very favorably of them, if the truth were to be told - even though you might consider them a "friend".

What happened to the good old days of teaching your children the values of respecting yourself and others - because if they truly respected themselves they wouldn't wear a lot of what they do (just sayin'), hard work, integrity, modesty, kindness to others, everything in moderation, honor and so on? When did those fall by the wayside and become "old fashioned" values? Those values NEVER go out of style!

You are their PARENT FIRST and their friend second. If they don't like that you discipline them now, they'll get over it later because they'll remember the lessons learned from it. I did. I hated it at the time, but I learned from it. Children NEED rules and boundaries. Why? Because it shows them that you care! If you let them get away with anything and everything, they will get into bigger troubles to try and get your attention to show them that you actually care for them. Go figure! Sounds crazy but studies have shown it to be true! Correct and appropriate discipline is a GOOD thing! But never discipline in anger. Again, that is the reactionary side of things. Respond. Don't react.

Another thing, don't talk down to them! The world is treating and talking to our children like they have PhD's and we still talk to them like they're in pre-school. Would you rather they find out about things like sex and STDs and drugs and drinking from their friends first or from you first? Young children don't need the details, just the basics satisfy them. As they get older you can answer with more. But if you are too embarrassed to talk to them about those things and the consequences, you can bet that their friends won't be and they won't be talking about the consequences. Be wise. Be a parent. Give them a reason to be able to trust coming to you with these questions. DON'T REACT! Respond.

Yes, I know I have been saying that a lot here, but it is TRUE! Responding gives them a safe atmosphere where they are comfortable talking to you. Reacting shuts them down and makes them think, "I can never come to her/him with anything because, WHOA!" And they check out.

Be the parent you want your children to be. They do what you DO, not what you say, no matter how many times we wish it were otherwise. But, if you are the person you need to be, then you won't have to wish it were the other way around.

Be ATTENTIVE to your children! Don't check out. The phone, the computer, your work, your friends...NONE of them are more important than your child. Spend time with them. Let them know that they matter to you. Children spell L-O-V-E as T-I-M-E. Don't be afraid to get silly with them. They love it and they'll love you all the more for it. It's hot, you're sweaty, it's raining, you're hair is frizzing? Suck. It. Up. They're only young once and time flies so don't blink or you'll soon had a tween or teen who doesn't want to spend time with you and you'll have lost out. Again, spend TIME with them, or you will find as they grow they don't have time for you.

It makes my heart hurt to hear and see what kids are doing and behaving like these days and I thank God every day that Emily and Nate are far different from most of what I see out there today. It's times like this that I really do miss Mayberry. I miss the values so clearly portrayed in that show. I wish that they were still the focal values in society today. I think we would be a whole lot better off if they were.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013



There is something immeasurably profound about a military man and woman in uniform, choosing to make the sacrifice - to leave their newborn, to leave their family, to leave their spouse or loved ones behind in order to protect our freedoms and try to ensure freedom for others around the world. It is not perfect. War is ugly. It is raw. But, sadly, in the face of dictators and malevolent rulers who crush their countrymen under foot for the thrill of power and of the extremists who hate our way of life and wish to crush us under the weight of their malignant hatred, it is necessary. Not only to protect others, but to protect this land we call home. 

Our country asks great things from our service men and women. Sometimes what is asked for is the ultimate sacrifice. On this Memorial Day, and every other, I am proud to honor those who answered that call. I have friends and loved ones serving in the military. I have friends and loved ones who have lost those serving. When a soldier loses their life for the ideals which they hold dear, thinking of the ones back home which they are leaving behind and trying to protect, there should be no protest at their funerals. No slurs hurled at their memory of at their loved ones. No words of ignorance posted. In death there should be no partisanship. There should be a coming together and honoring of their sacrifice...regardless of how you feel about war. It is the honorable thing to do. It is the right thing to do.

It is sad that for many in America today that Memorial Day is just another day to be off of work and BBQ and drink beer instead of being a day to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so that they can have the right to have BBQ and beer.

IT IS THE SOLDIER

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

~ Charles M. Province

For all of my friends and loved ones who have served, are serving, who have lost those to the ugly affair of war...I salute and honor you and them, today and always.

God bless and keep you, and comfort those who mourn.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:13

 THANK YOU!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's In A Testimony?

Testimonies.


Every Christian has one. Even if you don’t think you do. Whether God has brought you out of addiction, or a sexually explicit past, or have been part of the occult at one time, etc.; or whether you have followed Jesus all of your life and never had anything major happen to you. You have a testimony!

For those who have fought the fight and danced with the devil – literally or figuratively, those of you who have found salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and know the redeeming power of the Blood and Name of Jesus, you KNOW your testimony from darkness into light.

For those of you who have followed Jesus and stayed steady on the path God has laid out before you all of your life, you too have a testimony. In the face of everything the world is throwing your way, in onslaught of the arrows and slings of the enemy raining down on you, you have kept your eyes upon Jesus and clung to the Word instead of the world and that is INCREDIBLE! That is not easy to do, but you have done it and for that, you are a warrior, living the life that God has purposed for you.

Here's the thing, friend...whether from darkness to light or having always been in the light, you have a powerful testimony and the enemy is trying to shut that up. We are OVERCOMERS, through the blood of Jesus - which has covered you from head to toe, inside and out. Jeremy Camp has a great song that comes to mind right now:

We will overcome
By the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony
Everyone overcome

It is one of my favorites right now and I love to sing that song. It goes hand and hand with Revelations 12:11: And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Whether or not you can sense it, there is a daily battle in your life and the enemy is trying to steal your victory in Christ and he is employing the battle tactics of using your weaknesses against you. Your past. The addictions you conquered but still struggle with. Past memories. Past sins. He is trying to make you weak. But you CAN do ALL things through Christ Jesus who gives you STRENGTH. As the child's song goes, "...we are weak but HE is STRONG...YES, Jesus loves me...".

What is love? "This is love, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Don't let our enemy steal that victory in Jesus that you have. As I said at the start...you have a powerful testimony - do not let Satan succeed in shutting you up permanently!

In the name of Jesus you are free!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Pure Is Not Just For Ivory Soap

TRUTHBOMB

This is what I'm teaching my 11 year old daughter. For most of my adult life I have willfully disobeyed God when it came to sex and I admit it. In the movie, "The Devil's Advocate", the devil, played by a couple of actors - Al Pachino most notably, at the very end of the movie looks right into the camera and says, "Vanity, definitely my favorite sin." Well, for me it's always been lust that I've struggled with almost all my life.

In the movie "Oklahoma" there's the song, "I Can't Say No" with the line in it that goes, "...kissin's my favorite food...with or without the mistletoe, I'm in the holiday mood". Yup. Kissing and everything else that follows. But here's the thing. Yes, lust has historically been my favorite sin, so to speak. Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that in order to get a man's attention or keep it, that I had to offer up my body. Cheapen the act of intimacy and turn it into something crude and rude and vulgar. Sometimes it was so that I wouldn't feel lonely. Sometimes it was to prove to myself that I was desirable to others because I had extremely low self-esteem, regardless of my looks. Sometimes it was just because I wanted to feel close to someone. Sometimes it was just because I wanted to.

Maybe it had to do with the childhood trauma of being molested, not raped, thank God, but by more than one person as a child. One, a single adult in the neighborhood who'd been friendly to all the kids. I suspect I wasn't the only one, but I could never prove it. Two others, one girl when I was very young who was much older than me, one boy my age when I was older... All of these years apart from each other, but all under the age of 10 for me. My mom only knew of the one at the time, and only because my best friend back then forced me to tell her. Back in the late 70's through mid-80's, you just didn't discuss stuff like this and I didn't know what to say or do about it. The one was dealt with quietly and she protected me as best as she knew how and I love her even more for it. But you don't experience stuff like that and not have it leave some sort of damage to your soul.

Regardless of the reason, I KNEW it was wrong. As I got into my late teens, I finally caved to the pressures of the world that said, "if it feels good...DO IT" and continued to do so for many years. Growing up in a strong Christian household and having accepted Christ at an early age, I was definitely not ignorant of God's Word and what it said about intimacy and sex outside of marriage. I was just willfully disobedient about it. Like so many Christians I know today. People who claim to know and love and follow Jesus, but think that living with someone or having sex before marriage is perfectly fine because purity is old fashioned and...everybody's doing it.

I'm woefully guilty of this myself. I KNEW it was wrong but did it anyway. I desensitized myself to God and what His guidance is.

There are reasons why God says that we are to save ourselves for the person we marry. GOOD reasons. There's so much heartache to be brought into a marriage if you've contracted an STD or have "tried somebody else on for size". Too many people to compare your spouse with and what if they fall short of your prior experiences? What disappointments are you bringing to them? To yourself?

There's a REASON God says we are to remain pure and chaste for the one He has chosen for us.

Casual sex is rampant in many societies. There is, in truth, no such thing as “casual” sex, because of the depth of intimacy involved in the sexual relationship. The following analogy helps you to understand just what casual sex and multiple partners does to us. If we take a sticky note and attach it to a piece of paper, it will adhere. If we remove it, it will leave behind a small amount of residue; the longer it remains, the more residue is left. If we take that note and stick it to several places repeatedly, it will leave residue everywhere we stick it, and it will eventually lose its ability to adhere to anything. This is much like what happens to us when we engage in “casual” sex. Each time we leave a sexual relationship, we leave a part of ourselves behind. The longer the relationship has gone on, the more we leave behind, and the more we lose of ourselves. As we go from partner to partner, we continue to lose a tiny bit of ourselves each time, and eventually we may lose our ability to form a lasting sexual relationship at all.

Yes, I have a rather colorful past. God, in His grace and mercy, has forgiven me for the sins of my past. It has been 2 years since my divorce and I have not been intimate with anyone since then. Not even when I was seriously dating someone a year ago. I know now WHY God says these things. I am so thankful that God did not allow me to reap the punishments I deserved for my sins. I don't have to explain to someone that I contracted something that can't be gotten rid of because I gave myself away to someone who was just as reckless with their bodies as I had been with mine. But I have friends...family in Christ, who have had to deal with the fallout from their sin of lust and sex before marriage and it's hard. It is difficult for them. It's a whole different world to have to deal with. A permanent reminder. Even if it is an STD that has gone away through surgery or medication, the fact is that they still had one. It is just one result of not honoring our bodies and the gift that God has given us to give ONLY to our spouse that He has chosen for us. Of not respecting ourselves...or God.

Do you not think that God doesn't love you and that He wouldn't have chosen the best person for you? Perfect for you? Why ruin something wonderful by being unwilling to wait for God's best?

If this the lifestyles in this world are what's considered "normal", I'm glad to no longer be "normal". I'd much rather be considered "different" as I finally follow what God says about sex. Yeah, it might be "old fashioned", but so what? At least I know that the one who is worthy of the person I've become loves me for me, and not because I'm an "easy" catch. Someone who's an "easy" catch is just as easily thrown back while they search for someone who is worth keeping...someone who isn't so easy to catch.

So, here are some other truths for you if you're single, whether you've never been married or are married and divorced - once or more than once, like myself.

1. God desires us to be pure, maybe the reason you are single is that He is removing that temptation from your life until you are ready for the one He has chosen for you.

2. God is still writing your love story so don't mess up the ending by trying to write your own.

3. God wants your focus to be Him first. Keep your eyes on HIM and delight yourself in Him and He has promised to give you the desires of your heart.

4. You should be so hidden in God that someone needs to seek Him in order to find you, and when they do find you both of you should keep seeking Him together because, as the Bible says "a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken".

5. Trust in God means trust in HIS timing. We can't force God to move and if we try to do it on our own, how can He bless us with His best?

6. The RIGHT one will respect you and your decision to remain pure and will want to honor what it is that God has given to the two of you by not pressuring you to have premarital sex.

7. Ladies...yes, it is a man's job to respect you...but it is your job, as a woman, to give him something to respect.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Why I Don't Fear Death

This is a song that really gets to me for some reason right now. Jesus has defeated death thru His death on the Cross. Those of us who are in Christ don't have to fear death or what happens to us in eternity. We have HOPE that those without having Jesus as their Savior don't have. We have no reason to fear death!

Can I get an AMEN!?!

I don't fear it because I know WHERE I'm going.

Do you?

As 1 Corinthians 15:55 and this song ask..."O, death, where is your sting? O, hell, where is your victory?"


There is none any more. Not for one who has been washed clean, pure, whiter than snow by the Blood of Jesus and whose eternal security is in heaven. The grave cannot hold us. We are ONE with Him...Christ has risen and lives for eternity and we will too!

ALL of us will live for eternity...the only question is where YOU will spend yours.

Do you know?

"Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us

Freely You bled, for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bow to none but heaven's will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, He's alive! He's alive!

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Rise up from the grave..."