Any Moment…

Now while you are having supper with your family. Later while you are peacefully asleep. Tomorrow after lunch while you are watering your plants. Sometime in the future, anytime, any moment…without any notice one of two things can happen. You won’t see it coming.

You will either die

OR

Christ will return.

Are you Ready?

 

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Escaping Negativity

We hear from all sources that getting away from negative people and situations will help us improve our stress levels. But what if you live with negative people?

How do you escape people who seem to make it their goal to produce as much negative energy as possible? They are relatives. They are making me crazy. Every day is a nutty adventure and I don’t mean peanuts. They argue about the news on TV, about what time to eat supper and who filled the truck gas tank the last time. They act worse than my kids ever did. Yes, I love them but they are causing me a lot of stress.

So it is obvious I can’t change them. I have to change myself and how I feel about their blah, blah, blah. So here goes. My list of things to do to avoid and escape the negative junk around me.

  1. Pray it up! Yep, this one is obvious. We should be praying about everything under the sun. Especially this kind of junk. It’s one of those things outside of our control so it makes since to give it to the One who can deal with it much better than me.
  2. Take a nice long shower.
  3. Buy some good ear buds. Music soothes the savage beast and the negative things around me. If I can’t hear it, it can’t affect me. (We’ll see how this one goes.)
  4. Talk to them individually to provide some insight on handling the other persons behavior. I know this is futile but maybe them knowing I know and hear and see and disagree with their trivial arguments; maybe they will see what I see and adjust their behavior.
  5. Just walk away. There is a great big thing called “outdoors” that I have access to and can escape to when they start up. Of course this won’t work when the mosquitoes are out.
  6. Pray some more!!!

I’ll let you know how it goes in a few months. I don’t expect any huge improvements though. I’m not being negative, just realistic.

If you are going through similar trials with negative people, please share your experience, things that work and things that don’t. I’m sure it will help others going through the same or similar struggles.

God bless and stay safe!

 

Diet Plan #4731

Not really but it feels like it. A few years ago I discovered the perfect way to loose weight and eat healthy. Since I am a diabetic I have to be careful. Even the doctors liked the change and it was a healthy approach…until I started working again.

I have been researching for months about protein and fiber. I found several good plant-based protein products that should do the trick. Unfortunately they used sugar or aspertame as their sweetener. Although I did find one that used stevia, it was nasty and face it, if it’s that bad, you won’t stick to it any more than I did; no matter how motivated you are.

Enter the obvious…Glucerna. It’s made specifically for diabetics and now they have a hunger smart meal replacement variety. Win…win for me.

I looked over each and every one of their products and found that the powders just don’t taste the same to me so I opted for the ready made, just chill and go, varieties.

I am thrilled to report, even though it has only been a week, that I have lost four (4) pounds. I drink one for breakfast, snack, lunch, and snack again. Then eat a sensible supper. For a TV snack I either drink a snack shake or eat something from the Weigh Watchers Freestyle 200 item no points list. (I figure they did the research so I’ll go with that.) I try to “shake” (lol, sorry I couldn’t resist) around every 3 hours. This is the diabetic approach to healthy eating plus it tricks your body into not storing future needed fat since you are eating so often it doesn’t have time to hoard what you eat.

I just placed a re-order with Abbott for more shakes so I’ll continue to report as the weeks go by.

Now for a challenge. Yes getting down to a healthy weight will be the challenge but remember I got down to 175 before I started work again and gained half of it back and it was still slowing creeping up, no matter how hard I tried to make it stop. Hence this new approach. Had I not started working again, I can assure you I would be down to my goal weight but life happens and sometimes you have to punt. So I am punting. But this also means finding a healthy way to live and eat in a way that I don’t gain weight back once I reach that goal.

Please share your successes and failures in hopes of helping encourage others. A lot of people think being fat is a choice or they have no self control or they are literally just gluttons who don’t care. I know that not to be true. It is a struggle and not just about choices. I often find myself reaching for comfort foods as though they could somehow dull the pain I am feeling. But I am also one of those people who could eat three (3) healthy meals a day and still gain weight. It is how God made us, we just have to learn how to manage it. And it isn’t the same formula for everyone.

Father, as I enter into this season of learning, I pray for your wisdom to help me make Your choices for my life, not just what I eat. In Christ name I pray, Amen.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing Glucerna or Weight Watchers or their products, merely reporting on the benefits I receive from their use.

 

Grandparent Interview

I recently received an email from my granddaughter Makayla which included a list of interview questions for one of her class assignments. I have to say I was quite honored she reached out to me. So much so that I wanted to post it here. My hope is that it blesses someone else too.

1. Oral traditions-as far back as you can recall.
  • “No one person is any better of a person than you are.”
  • “Pretty is as pretty does”. 
  • “Stop and smell the roses.”
  • “Do for others as you would like others to do for you.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to be yourself.” If someone doesn’t like you, they were not meant to be your friend.
  • Grimm Fairy Tales
  • Twas the night before Christmas story book
  • The little green man sightings (I’ll post on this later)
2. Education/Trade/Employment.
  • Finished Masters degree at age 55! Don’t let anything stop you from your goals. You can make it happen.
  • Software Analyst
  • Emergency Services Specialist
3. Greatest Struggle.
 
Letting go of my 26+ year marriage.
 
4. Advice for me.
 
This might take a while…just kidding. Don’t believe the lie that you aren’t good enough or pretty enough. You are perfectly made by a creator who loves you beyond anything you will ever understand. Don’t be in a hurry to experience life. Enjoy every minute of every day.
 
5. Foundational beliefs/Core Values.
 
I am a Christian, a Christ follower who believes in the King James version of who God is and what He expects from us. I treat everyone with the love that Jesus has shown me.
 
6. Greatest love story.
 
Makayla and her brother Christopher. I first met them when they were toddlers. I am still excited to have them in our family. The world sees them as my step-grandchildren. But I never saw the steps. I love them with all of my heart and soul.
 
7. Greatest accomplishment.
 
Stepping out of my comfort zone to do things I was once afraid to do.
 
8. Biggest regret.
 
Not getting to know God sooner.
 
9. Given the chance-how would you change your life.
 
I wouldn’t change a thing. God orchestrated every second of my life and He did it for a reason. I may not understand on this side of Heaven but I know He is in control.
 
10. Identify a world problem and one solution to fix it.
 
The Collapse of Society.
When God is taken out of our lives, the world starts to take over. The world creates lazy people who are “entitled” to everything without working for anything. The world does not take care of our children or widows to make sure they are fed and clothed. The world does not take care of people who are not physically able to take care of themselves. The world doesn’t care about anything but what it can get from people. The world tricks people into thinking they can live without God.
We will always have people who are more for the world/themselves than for our fellow man but as this world progresses toward societies growing farther away from God, the struggles and hardships will spread and grow. If government leaders will return to what God considers right, people will follow. We have the capacity to work together to feed and clothe and educate and take care of everyone regardless of the situation. But as long as people remain focused on the world and themselves, this problem will never be solved.

The Power of Forgiveness

My grandson Christopher is one of the biggest joys of my life. He is sweet and still has an innocent spirit. We find out Monday if he will be entering the Army in January. This concerns me but I know it is the best option for him.

One thing I don’t like is one of his friends. I try so hard to like everyone but this kid just breathes “bad”. His parents never disciplined him so he doesn’t know the concept of consequences. He thinks he is above everything and everyone.

While I was visiting my daughters family a few months ago, the “friend” shows his ignorance and lack of respect on several occasions. Christopher had several other friends over along with the “friend”. They got bored hanging out in his room so they walked outside. The night was nice and cool so they decided to explore the woods across the street from the house. The “friend” had been run off from that property several times and didn’t bother to tell the others. Needless to say the owner showed up at the door. I was so mad I wanted to pinch his head off. Every day I saw him my anger welled up and got worse and worse.

Then one day Scripture popped into my head…

Matthew 6:14-15  “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

It isn’t easy. You have to reach a point where you forgive them then turn them and your concerns/anger over to God. We can’t do anything about it, but God can.

Update: Christopher isn’t going into the military. He has a girlfriend and a job. Now when I see the “friend”, I instantly pray him up to God, smile and move on. He is still a little jerk but I know I can’t change that.

Father, please provide a way for that young man to find his way to You! Amen.

My New Adventure

I have been working hard to earn my Christian degrees. I just finished and received my Doctorate in Theology. I have taught Sunday School to many ages, lead small groups, VBS, and gone on mission trips to name a few.

I continually load my brain with all the knowledge possible to complete these cool tasks and be an effective witness for the Gospel. And I love each and every one. But now I need to put this knowledge to different use.

I have been praying for a long time on what to do next. I volunteered for hospice for many years and while that was fulfilling, I needed to move on, so to speak. While I was checking local listings, I noticed one that caught my eye. So I seized on an opportunity to volunteer with the hospital chaplain and visit patients in our local hospital.

While I was visiting on my second day something hit me.

The first man we visited was in because he is loosing his toes to diabetes. He seemed kind and friendly and welcomed our presence. We asked him about his family which brought him to tears. He was genuinely concerned about his health and his family. He spoke of them fondly and welcomed our offer to pray with him.

We got out to the nurses station and commented that he had signed up for the Partners in Healing program which is a community based effort to improve recovery and healing. The nurse lifted her eyebrows in surprise. She went on to explain how he is bashing the hospital and giving the nurses a hard time, with actions and with words. I was blown away. I was stunned. I felt betrayed, vulnerable and dumb all at the same time.

This concerns me a little. I want to be a good steward of mercy but I don’t want to be a naive type of victim either.

We continued on our visits and came across a young man who had had a stroke and could no longer speak. I looked at him wondering what kind of productive life he may have had before. Another patient had pneumonia and could barely speak because of his previous stroke. He was uncomfortable, weak and didn’t want to be there. The final patient was an elderly lady who had hip issues following surgery. She seemed angry but pleasant.

I know they don’t want to be in the hospital which can explain their demeanor’s. I come from the computer analyst world of business so it is my nature to make folders or piles to organize things into groupings of similarity which helps solve software issues. I have learned today that life isn’t that way.

I can’t look at the chart and see a heart patient that didn’t exercise and take care of himself. I cant look at the diabetic and see someone who couldn’t control their cravings. I can’t look at the former smoker with COPD and think “well you knew it could happen”.

They all have one thing in common…

…they are all the same.

They all need healing, compassion, respect, comfort and most of all Jesus.

LOOSING MYSELF

Every day people go missing. I don’t know which is sadder, the young, the old or the in- between. But they all have one thing in common…they are lost. Some come home and some don’t. Some recover but many never do. The scars and pain will never completely heal.

I find myself feeling lost sometimes, not as horrible as the mentioned above instances but bad enough to cause me to doubt everything. My job, my ministry, my faith and even my life. But like the above, there is a hope that is always found in Christ Jesus.

I am comforted knowing that Jesus never leaves me.

Hebrews 13:5  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I am comforted knowing that Jesus Cares for me.

1 Peter 3:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

I am comforted knowing that in Jesus, I am redeemed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 

Being content and comfortable with our life is a gift of Christian maturity. It isn’t something we are born with and it takes many years of seeking God first to attain.

When you reach a point in your life where you can stop in the midst of chaos, look up,  and give it all to God…then you know you are getting closer and closer to being able to honestly relax and give up the control you don’t really have anyway.

Finally, I am comforted knowing that Jesus is painting beauty with the ashes of my life. (Reference from Casting Crowns, Just be Held lyrics)

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

So many times I forget all of this. It is so easy to get lost in the chaos and wallow like the pigs being content with misery and not being able to see through the fog that evil creates. But we cannot loose sight of the One who controls the universe and everything in it.

Thank you Jesus!

 

 

A Voice in my Ear

I was lying in bed, had just turned over, when I hear a voice in my ear. I say it was in my ear because it didn’t sound as if it were coming from somewhere in the room. If I were anywhere else I would have though someone had just literally whispered in my ear. I could almost feel his breath on my skin. It was so real I was startled. I had been facing the wall and rolled over to see what was going on.  No one was there, of course, but it seemed so incredibly real.

I had never heard that voice before, which is part of why I was startled, not to mention no one in my house has that voice. But more than that was what he said. It was two small words I detest whenever I hear them together. I turn off TV when I hear it, even if it is the last 10 minutes.

He simply said “G…D…”!

I cried and prayed and begged for God to take whatever this is away from me and to never allow me to experience that ever again. It took me a while to fall asleep after that but I felt God’s peace and  I did sleep well.

I guess the devil has been trying to push my buttons lately because I feel myself inching ever closer to God. It won’t work and he will loose in the end but he is compelled to keep trying. He doesn’t realize my armor is promised in Ephesians 6 and comes from God Himself.

Thank you Father for loving me enough to protect me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Everyone hears their name from time to time. Not sure why but I have spoken to people many times who thought they were crazy. It could be a thought in their head or even a God thing. Please share if you have ever heard anything that startled you or delighted you?

Stay safe and God bless!

 

Seasons of Life

As I read my devotion today, I began to reminisce on the seasons of my life. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 , King Solomon used opposites to help us understand the changes that we will experience in our lives. While we don’t fully understand these changes and what they mean, we can be assured that God has a purpose for everything we experience. The good makes us worship Him more and the bad grows us and molds us to be more like Jesus.

I used to regret that I was the one working outside our home while the children were little. I missed a lot of firsts that I can never get back. This caused me to grow animosity towards my husband because he didn’t want to work and I was determined to make our marriage work and keep our little family together.

Over the years the animosity changed me. I became dumb to feelings. Death had no effect on me. Life was just fleeting and meaningless. I was going through the motions as a hallow emotionless unhappy person who had no direction, no goals, no anything. I woke up, went to work, went home, ate supper, went to bed and repeated every day. I was a robotic humanoid money making machine. That is what my husband wanted and that is what he created. He drained me of all feelings related to enjoying life. All this so he could spend the money and do what he wanted to do. And worst of all, I was oblivious.

I could relate to Joseph in that I had no control over what was happening to me. Despite this as in Genesis 39:5 shows, the Lord blessed him and the household. I didn’t always feel blessed. Sometimes I felt trapped and stuck thinking God was leaving me there since I was the one that dug my pit. But He was faithful to keep His promises and slowly pulled me out teaching me about Him and myself along the way.

When my ex asked me for a divorce I gladly granted it. I was not expecting a new season though. I thought now the abuse would end and I can be free to worship God in peace and not have him belittling me for everything I do. I could go about my day as I wish and not have to answer to his every whim. Little did I know the next season would be just as challenging if not more.

You know how everyone says that God moves in mysterious way? Well, I’m living proof he does. When we separated, I moved into a small apartment. I continued working and going to church and doing everything I wanted to do. After a few years my sister tricked me into moving back home to help her take care of our elderly parents. She tricked me by convincing me that their health is worse than it really is. I don’t fault her for that because I have been blessed to be able to spend this time with them. My ex kept me away from everyone, especially family so we have had a lot of time to reconnect and enjoy each other.

The reason I know God uses everything in our lives is because if I had not learned how to endure my ex’s narcissistic behavior, I would have killed my sister within the first week. I don’t think she is a full blown narcissist but she is obsessive compulsive, just ask her. That doesn’t mean I don’t love her, it means it is a challenge. God has blessed me with this season and I look forward for the next one.

 

Time…

We hear all kinds of sayings about time like “time flies” or “just give it some time” and countless others. But have you ever just sat and watched a clock tick away time? I recently wanted to see what it was like to do just that. I had a little bit of time, pun intended, and sat in my quiet room and just stared at the clock. I could only do it for 3 minutes and 21 seconds. It reminded me of the days of my youth when I was practicing holding my breath for a swimming lesson.

While I sat there watching the hands of the old clock, a lot of memories ran through my mind. From childhood thru college thru the milestones and strides my children have made with their families. I started to realize that this time, we take for granted, is more precious than any rare diamond.

Time does fly by whether we are starring at a clock or going on with our daily lives. Although it does seem to fly faster when we are not paying attention to it. We cannot get time back once it has gone by. There is no rewind or do-over button for time. So how do we make the most of it?

Don’t leave anyone behind. If you have a loved one you haven’t connected with in a while, give them a call. They are probably wondering what you are up to too.

Make the most of the time you have. Whether you are living with an illness or not, don’t take time for granted. Accidents happen everyday. And even if you escape an accident, the next one is just waiting to happen.

Put the keeper of time at the front of your life. Jesus will return, this is a fact. We don’t know when so we have to be ready. Take that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Make that 15,000 foot sky dive jump. Volunteer at a hospital or assisted living facility. Tell people about Jesus while there is still time.

Once we get to Heaven, this time that is so precious now, will be replaced by the Son of the living God. Where time with Him will be glorious and forever.

God bless and stay safe!

Finding the Authentic Church and Why it is Important – Part Four

This is the final post in my series on the original church of the New Testament. I never imagined a simple essay for my theology class would spark such ferver and passion. While I hope these posts help bring on new understanding, I would be nieve to think it wouldn’t bring on new questions and even conflicts. My hope is that you are walking alongside the Holy Spirit on your daily journey.

To wrap up…The original church did not require anyone to “join” or be “voted” into it’s membership. Obeying the Gospel of the New Testament automatically made them members of the church. Several passages of Scripture reflect this truth as follows:

John 3:5, “Jesus answered, “’Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'” 

Romans 6:3, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Acts 2:47, “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

Acts 8:35-40, “‘Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.  Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.'”

Next, the original church was organized with men leading as elders, deacons and evangelists. This rightly starts with Jesus being the only head of the church as stated in  Ephesians 4:15; 5:23 and Colassians 1:18. Jesus delegated authority to others as stated in Matthew 28;19-20, Ephesians 2:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:8. They then exercised government through their written documents collected in the New Testament as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:3.

Each local church was autonomous – no higher body of men legislating over it as found in Titus 1:5. This means no board of directors, no conference, no  synod, no pope etc., can govern His church.  These leaders/elders cannot make laws for God or His church, they can only implement them.

To qualify as an elder of His church, one must be the husband of one wife as stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. They can be divorced or Scripture would have said so since divorce was discussed in Scripture. This also means only men can be leaders and pastors. Scripture does not say “the wife of one husband”! Scripture was very specific. We cannot add to it or take away from it or it falls into the false teaching category.

The original church wore the name of Christ and it’s members were called Christians. The following Scriptures reflect this fact: Romans 16:16, Ephesians 3:15, Colassians 1:18, Ephesians 1:23, Romans 7:4, Revelation 21:9, Acts 20:28, Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16, John 15:8, Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians1:2, Philippians 1:1, Luke 8:21, Galatians 3:26; 6:1, 1 John 2:1 and Acts 4:12.

One final note about leadership in the church. There is no place in the leadership of a church for anyone who has chosen to alter the biblical definition of birth gender. Choosing to live and behave contrary to Scripture is a sin. 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 states, “No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” One side note, this doesn’t mean you can’t drink beer or liquer. Remember, even Jesus celebrated with wine. It just means you should not get drunk.

Well, that’s it. My quest for finding the qualifications for the original church of the New Testament is complete. Now for the search of the church that closest follows these qualifications. I have eliminated more than I have left to explore. Unfortunately the list is short so I should be able to finish by the end of February. I would love the opportunity to discuss my findings with them. If I should have the opportunity to do so, I will surely include those discussions when I report back in February.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone. That is not my intention. Being right is not my goal in life. I felt moved to find the truth in scripture then act on it. These are the findings I have come to believe based on my research. As always, if you disagree, please by all means let me know why. I research because I want to do things God’s way and not mine or anyone elses.

Stay safe and God bless!