Monday, October 27, 2014

What Were You Thinking??














Our thoughts, words, and deeds are like seeds we sow. And although we may be able to outwardly control many of our words and deeds, it can be our thoughts and imagination that need work. An unleashed thought life will, sooner or later, play out in our words and deeds.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take our thoughts captive because this part of our lives can lead us into trouble or triumph!
What are you thinking about? It may seem a strange thing to do, but become super conscious and vigilant about your thought life. It can reveal your strengths and weaknesses, how you view your world and the people in it, and the kind of harvest you may be expecting.
Whenever you need to, take those unproductive, negative, angry, dark, fear-filled, thoughts captive, replacing them with that which is positive, beautiful, and in line with Philippians 4:8!
Luke 6:35, Eph. 4:32, Prov 11:17, Col 3:12, 1 Cor 13:4-7, 2 Cor 10:5

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pharisees vs. Jesus


This Morning's Musing:
To the Family of Faith:

The Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus's day knew the letter of the Law but had little ability to implement the unconditional love of God to the lost, hurt, and broken.
vs.
Jesus WAS the letter of the Law and came specifically to pour out unconditional love to the lost, hurt, and broken. This Jesus sat and ate with those the religious avoided, disparaged, and despised. By doing so, many were changed, healed, and set free.
We are either modeling one or the other, and our lives, our words and actions, and our Facebook statuses reveal which one it is.

Selah.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Anger Management 101

from this Morning’s Musings

Anger. It’s just one letter away from DANGER. This is no coincidence! We leave people wounded in the wake of our resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness because we are angry. And most of us have been wounded by the actions or words of someone else’s anger toward us. Let’s face it. We can be mean. We can say and do some pretty mean things. One day we call someone our best friend, and the next, we want nothing to do with them. We get married and vow a lifelong partnership through thick and thin, and when things get rough, instead of working through those times, we want out. How many siblings do you know who haven’t spoken to one another in years or decades? And don’t get me started about churches and church people!

When we perceive someone has crossed lines that offend and wound us, our human nature sets up what we unconsciously believe are self-protective behaviors. 
But the Bible tells us to be angry and sin not. (Eph 4:26) What in the world does that really mean and how do we really live that way? We must learn to control ourselves even in the face of anger. It’s really okay to be angry. But there’s a way to be angry that protects others and ourselves from the ugly aftermath of unrestrained anger and from the kind of wounding anger that destroys relationships. Remember, there is one that comes to kill, steal, and destroy. (John 10:10) We need to learn some things so he is rendered incapable of putting his foot in the door of those relationships that should be so precious to us.

To simplify, here are some anger management do’s and don’t.

Do confront the person you’re angry with. In person is best, but if that’s not possible, Skype or call on the phone. 
Don’t text! Texts are a major player in misunderstandings as it is. This isn’t the time to chance a further issue.

Do confront the person soon after the incident. "Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath” (Eph 4:26) is solid biblical advice that’s meant to help us deal with situations before our flaky minds make them worse than they really are.
Don’t wait and let your anger turn into bitterness and resentment. (Eph 4:31)

Do get the counsel of a good accountable, mature friend who will help you work through your anger without taking sides.
Don’t call everyone who you think will side with you against the person you’re angry with and tell them your version of the truth.

Do wait until you’re calm. Wait until you can control your outward reactions and your inner responses.
Don’t confront them while you’re seething and your head is reeling. Take a walk. Walking reduces stress and gives you a chance to think more clearly. 

Do use “I” statements. “I was hurt when…” “I felt angry when…” or even, “I’m angry that…” 
Do not use statements like “You always…” or “You never…”

Do be assertive, yet respecting the feelings of the other person. Confront in love, and be open to understanding how the other person sees the situation.
Don’t be defensive, aggressive, cynical, critical, or hostile, demanding the other person see things your way. Even if they don’t, your responsibility is to keep your head about you. 

Do keep your voice as calm as possible. 
Don’t yell or talk over the other person when they are talking. If you don’t like what they’re saying or how they’re saying it, allow them to speak and then give your rebuttal as calmly as you can.

Being honest and confronting the situation may not resolve the rift between you and the other person, especially if they are not able to implement some of these ideas. Remember, you are only responsible for you and your reactions and responses. If you’ve done all you know to do and there’s no resolution, you may need a mediator to help. Sometimes the date on a relationship has expired, and it’s time to move on. Do all you can to do so without bitterness and resentment. Those things will not effect the other person half as much as they’ll effect you. Forgiveness is a must. But that’s another blog and this one’s long enough.

If you know that you have a continual issue with anger, you may need to seek the guidance of a godly, professional counselor who will help you deal with this issue in your life. That being said, there are things all of us can do to help manage our own anger.

First, know your triggers. What things do you find that specifically bring your anger temperature from normal to boiling in a flash of a second? For me, if someone lies about me or someone I care about, that could set me off very quickly. What is it for you?

Second, what are three things that can help you to immediately take control of your anger? For me, a long walk in a park, listening to good worship music, or vigorous cleaning helps. Some other ideas may be exercising, calling someone who you can speak about your emotions but will remain impartial, deep breathing, reading a book, window shopping, or taking a drive. Insert your own ideas here…

Learning to deal with anger is a part of life. Unresolved, anger can cause an open, festering wound that never heals, or it can actually become beneficial, helping us to mature as we learn to deal with it in more healthy ways.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Contest Winner! Yeah Me!

In September 2014, the Wildlife Conservation Society held a photography contest called "Color in Nature." Winning depended on votes cast for five photos the Society chose to be the finalists.

My baby robin photo was among those finalists, and I'm honored to tell you, it won the contest!

Please check out the blog at the link below.  It was edited (deeply!) from my longer one. You know I'm much wordier than this!

If you voted, thank you!!!

(If anyone can help me put up a direct link, that would be so kind of you!!! Until then, cut and paste the link below.)

http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2014/10/09/a-young-robin-waits/

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Victoria Osteen? What About Her? What About Us?


*This post has already become one of my most popular since it was written.  If the post has been a blessing or of interest to you, would you kindly bless me with a comment and a blog following? Thanks in advance!

Imagine you were human. Imagine you make a mistake and publicly say something that is incorrect or highly controversial. Imagine your brothers and sisters all over the world begin to mock you, disparage you, and even call you demonic. Imagine that you and your family are barraged by social media with every kind of foul and vicious attack. Imagine how you would feel, being persecuted by the very people who should love you and pray for you. 

Jesus himself told a group of religious men who were ready to stone a woman caught in adultery that the one who was sinless should cast the first stone. Even these pompous men dropped their rocks. Yet this is a lesson we apparently have not learned. 

We love to throw our rocks from the comfort of our computers, never considering the repercussions of our actions to those we stone with our words. We even love when others pick up stones and throw with us- sharing our disparaging words, meme, or video. We call it "going viral." 

Yeah, it's viral. Like a contagious disease spreading it's poison. We do exactly opposite of what Jesus taught us by His words and actions. And then we condone our behavior saying we must judge one another lest others be deceived by the one we disparage. 

I can hear someone saying, "But that one has a higher accountability.." That if we care about the body of Christ, we must be watchmen...My Bible tells me to examine MYSELF. To take the log out of my eye before trying to remove the splinter from someone else's. As imperfect as I am, I have enough work to do right here in this heart before passing judgment on others. 

And the spirit of our stones thrown is not one of love. There is little or no love anywhere recognizable- at least in most of the posts I've seen.

I'm writing to myself first and then sharing with you! IMHO- it's time for those who call themselves believers in Jesus Christ to repent of this sin. We need to stop falling prey to what I call the Internet Cesspool. Stop making excuses for gossip and slander. God is not pleased and the world looks on and laughs at us. 

Now imagine again you are a human who makes a mistake. Imagine swimming in a sea of prayer, love, and forgiveness, encouragement and godly exhortation. Imagine thousands of hands lifting you to your feet after you've fallen. Imagine having your biological family being covered and protected by your spiritual family. Imagine what that would look like to a watching world!

If you are called by His name, then seek His face, turn from your wicked ways, humble yourself and pray. And let's start looking a little more like the One who loves us by being a little more like Him. 

Update: Here's a link to a great video by Clayton Jennings regarding the same issue. It's worth the time to watch.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=729360307101778&fref=nf

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why I Won't Do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Believe me when I tell you that my heart is tender toward those who battle ALS. As a nurse, I had patients who suffered tremendously and their end was more than difficult. I’m glad the challenge has brought light to Lou Gehrig’s Disease and has raised so many millions to combat it. I’m really happy to see so many Hollywood and sports celebrities taking part. I hope and pray the money raised will go directly to helping those who are struggling daily with ALS, and I pray even more that better treatment and a cure is found.

But now I need to explain why I won’t participate. For the past three years, I’ve been working on growing an organization to help young ladies who have been the victims of domestic sex trafficking. (That means American girls trafficked in our backyards by American perpetrators.) In brief, part one of our vision is to build a short-term transition house to assist young adult survivors with independent living and leadership skills so that they can become healthy, productive leaders in their spheres. 

Part two of the vision is a long-term safe house for minor victims that will help them become victorious overcomers. We will be the first not for profit organization to accomplish these goals in a faith-based setting in the state of NY where thousands of girls and young women are trafficked annually. Currently, there are very few places that have direct services for this overwhelming number of trafficking survivors. Many end up in jail, detention centers, or large residential treatment centers simply because authorities have few options for them.

The great news is that we just received our tax exempt status! Now we can finally write grants and raise funds so that we can do what we must to help these girls. Until recently, anything we needed to do with and for the girls we currently work with came out of my pocket. Legal fees for incorporation and the non profit status included. To fulfill the vision, we will need several million dollars just to get started. 

So while ALS is a wonderful cause and this challenge has brought so much good to the fight against it, my passion and fight must stay focused. With that, I will take the $100 for not pouring ice cold water on my head (Those who know me know that I HATE being cold!!!) and put it into Sparrow’s Hope for Girls’ bank account. And for the very first time, it will be tax deductible! 

Thanks for understanding. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

André Rieu - And The Waltz Goes On (composed by: Anthony Hopkins)





If you've not heard this stunning work by Sir Anthony Hopkins, please do yourself a favor and take the time. It really is just ... okay. I'm speechless at the beauty of this piece and had to share it with you!

May it bring a smile to your day!