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!

 

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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.

 

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.

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.

 

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!

 

Walking a Thin Line

My rededication to Jesus Christ was a very dramatic event encircled by even more family drama. Recently I’ve been struggling with truth. The more I study and learn the truth, the more I see false teachers in our midst. My question is…since Scripture commands we spread the Gospel in truth, not adding to it nor taking away from it; How do we handle hearing first hand, someone who is preaching false teaching?

Since I moved back home a few years ago, I have been attending the church my parents were invited to many many years ago. They never found a reason to leave. Which on the surface is great since satan is constantly looking for ways to divide us. But deeper down I wonder if that is enough. I won’t reveal the denomination only because I don’t want to offend anyone.

Last night during the Christmas Eve service, Preacher mentioned a little baby who was only 8 days old the same night last year, when his family brought him forward to be Baptized. I cringed and hung my head. This isn’t biblical. This isn’t what Jesus wants. This isn’t how He intended it to be yet throughout the world this false teaching is spreading like wildfire.

My first instinct was to jump up and say “That isn’t how any of this works.” But I sat there praying for the child hoping sometime in his future that Jesus will grab him and set him on the right path. I then felt guilty for not being able to say anything. Not being able to jump in and set things straight. Not being able to let everyone know that if this is what you did when you were a child, you need to fix it because it wasn’t the way Jesus wants it to be.

I have already resolved myself to looking for a new church. I have researched almost every one in town to see which one proclaims the true Gospel of Christ. This was also prompted by my previous four part blog on Finding the Authentic Church. Here, I sent out 25 questionaires to local churches asking general practices from forms of worship to theological beliefs. Unfortunately I only received two back. Neither of which meet the New Testament church definition. I am happy to report that I have found one church that proclaims the true Gospel of Christ and operates as described in Acts 2. I plan on attending for the first time on New Years morning. My prayer is that I focus more on the journey than the destination. Only because I know God is up to something and he will use this journey to teach me. My hope is that I learn tolerance for people who make bad choices. Walking that thin line is exhausting because I feel responsible to say something. I pray for them everyday.

God Bless, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

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

The Original Church expected it’s members to live holy lifestyles. That is that the Spirit will come into your heart and life and nuture your walk so that you will possess and exhibit these qualities. The problem is though, we have to listen and be obedient. The first key verse to this point is Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” This refers to our renewed nature or post salvation expectations and goals. Note that “fruit” here is a singular noun. Meaning these qualities go hand in hand with each other as one quality and develop slowly over time.

The next verse is 1 John 2:15, “ Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” By human nature the more the love of the world succeeds in our hearts, the more the love of God receeds. God knows how narrow the human heart is so He wanted John to include this warning against loving the world more than loving God. You cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13), here the two masters being referred to are God and Money.

Also we are to live soberly, righteously and godly. Titus 2:11-12 reads “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. The display of these virtues are evidence of the acceptance of God’s gift of grace. To live soberly does not mean you can’t drink a beer from time to time. God wants us to be in control of our faculties and not fall into sin which often happens when we are not sober. We are to stand out to the point where people around us ask us what we did to make such a change that they become interested in the change too. We were not created to be perfect, but we are expected to try.

James tells us in 4:4 “ Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James is telling us to remain separated from the world so that we don’t become stained by the behavior of the world. When we love the flesh more than we love God, we are taking God off of the throne and placing the world there instead. Clearly, the world does not offer salvation in any form.

Revelation 2:10 explains what we must do in order to receive a crown of life in eternity. “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” What a glorious promise from the Father of mankind. Again, being faithful does not mean we have to be perfect. Jesus Christ is our perfection. Our spiritual riches are the ones that last further than a lifetime; they last an eternity. This all begins with choices. We are the only ones in control of the choices we make.

Well, there you have it. Only one more part left to write. I hope you are being challenged to reread sections you thought you understood. As always, I welcome your comments and I would be happy to engage in conversation about anything you disagree with. I never claim to have the answers, I usually come up with more questions in the process. As always, please reference scripture, our authority for God’s Word.

 

 

Vacation Bible School or Battle Mom Royale

This week has been amazing so far. I have been looking for the Holy Spirit to show up and He certainly has done so. I am praying for a particular woman though and I’ll tell you why.

The first day she and I had a small confrontation. It wasn’t just between her and I though, she made sure the entire church knew about it. I guess that sounds a little bitter. I am praying it up but I haven’t turned it loose yet. Hopefully this post will help make that happen.

She was standing on the opposite end of the same pew I was standing in. She was motioning to her daughter for her to go to her. She neglected to speak to me or my two co-leaders personally. She didn’t care that we have a checkout process. She was ready to go and wanted what she wanted. I was in the process of dismissing another child while this was going on, so I put my hand in front of her child to stop her and instructed her to wait. I specifically said “No, you need to wait”. That was all I did and said. The woman loudly proclaimed at me “That was rude.” I know I looked at her in amazement because I was dumbfounded. I didn’t think it was rude to protect her child. I didn’t know this woman from Eve and because I was already talking to one child, I had not heard her child tell me the woman was her mom.

Admittedly, I had hoped she would be polite enough to walk over and ask me for her child but apparently I was expecting too much. So as I stood there like a deer in the headlights, she had placed her hands on her hips by now and was glaring at me. I had to stop my gaze from becoming a glare and quickly turned to the next child hoping I could shake this and it be done with. I went home, vented a little and was ready for the next day.

Sure enough, the next day we were both back and ready to tackle anything. My joke, sorry. This time she was polite and waited for her child’s name to be called. Rather smooth but without any eye contact. No problem. Let’s move past yesterday’s whatever it was.

Thursday, today, rolls around. Her daughter responded to the invitation. Hallelujah! What an awesome time. I was excited, the workers were excited, so we were anticipating equal excitement from her mother.

Again she stood a pews’ distance from any of us three workers and said “Where’s Roni?” I remained where I was and projected politely to her, “She responded to the invitation.” Instead of smiles and other exciting exclamations she started rambling. As she rambled, she walked past me to where my two co-workers were standing without looking in my direction or acknowledging I existed. Her rambling went like this “She got saved two weeks ago. She knows all about Jesus. She doesn’t need to talk to a counselor.” By this time I stopped listening and started praying for her. I wanted to say a lot but I knew it would fall on deaf ears. My two co-workers tried to calm her down and explain that she still had questions but the mothers response was a rude and abrasive, “Yea, I get it. Roni is an attention hound.” And she walked away.

OK, putting this on paper, of sorts, did help me release the anger and animosity I think I had been feeling along with still being dumbfounded by her behavior. But now it has changed to sadness. I’m still dumbfounded how a mother could act that way let alone have those feelings about their child.

Today, Friday, I was talking with another leader who is a little more familiar with this woman and learned a few things. She has made being a foster parent a career. She has adopted five children and is working on number six. She is traveling at the speed of sound and missing everything God has placed in her path.

We have no idea what these children deal with on a daily basis, or the parents for that matter. I will be praying for Roni and her mom for some time to come.

Stay safe and God bless…