Where I Have Lived Growing Up

My Many Travels as a Child

I remember living in South Carolina, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania in my early elementary years. Sadly, some of the memories that I have from these moves were not pleasant. I was an easy target for bullying and teasing. We moved back to Texas after my 2nd grade year. I remember  having to attend speech therapy because I was sounding like someone from the northeast and not like a true Texan (LOL).

My next move came in my 6th grade year when we moved to Terrell, Texas. Again, there are some not so pleasant memories. I often got off the school bus in tears more often than not. I had the unfortunate experience of having had the chicken pox that year. It was here that my youngest brother was killed.


My 7th grade year, we moved to Gresham, Oregon. This was a good year. The school was a year around school which I happened to like and I made a good friend with whom I am now connected to on Facebook. Living in Oregon was great. It was beautiful with lots of waterfalls to see. Sadly, we would move again and just before Mount St. Helen erupted.
We moved across country to Spartanburg, South Carolina. We would live there til the middle of my junior year. I have many found memories. We often went camping in the mountains and my favorite place was and still is Table Rock State Park. I was a member of the marching band in high school. We had sharp uniforms and good supervision. When returning to campus from an away game we would sing the Alma mater song. My brother and I had many friends in our neighborhood. 
Our last move would be to Georgetown, Texas, in the middle of my junior. I regretted the move. I was not fair to my parents because I held on to that regret through the remainder of my high school years. The marching band was one of the best in the state but was so vastly different from the one I left. It was lenient in the discipline and unsupervised on the buses when we went to away games. The band director was a great leader and had high expectations of the members. Georgetown High School had clicks, groups with special members, and if you were not in one then you were considered an outcast. I had a few friends but I was not a part of a click.
So why do I share this with you, you might ask? Well so you know where I am coming from and what my life experiences are. Though it was tough God saw me through it all and He used these experiences to shape me into the person that I have become and that I might share the comfort that He has given me with others.   
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.
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Mining Psalm 81

Psalm 81:5b-12
What Can We Mine from This for Us Today?
 I heard an unknown voice say:
“I removed the burden from their shoulders;
    their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
    I answered you out of a thundercloud;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
    if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 “But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.
 A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what if God had a cell phone. Verse 7 mentions that in Israel’s distress they called out to God and He rescued and answered them. As followers of Christ, God hears and answers our prayers. He gives us strength to weather the storms in our lives. It is by His grace that we come through them only made stronger for it. Yet in this Psalm, God warns His people to listen to Him. God is a jealous God and wants know other god to be in His place in our lives. He is our Lord and there is no other. When Israel would not listen to Him, He gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. He does this today for He wants us to love Him and be devoted to Him because we choose to and not a forced following. 
This is what I find to be so amazing about God. He is so astoundingly patient with us and He so willing lets people choose whom they will follow even though following God is the better choice. He never changes and is always faithful waiting for people to accept His gracious gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid a price that was meant for all man to pay. I am forever thankful for what Jesus did for me. There is  nothing that I could do to earn my way into heaven for Jesus has done it all for me. This is so simple and beautiful yet people can’t seem to accept it for what it is, a gift freely given. May you contemplate on this as Easter is approaching and remember that Jesus died for you so that believing in Him you would be saved and have eternal life. I heard it said that eternal life is a changed life now and living forever with Him in the next.

Rejoice in the Lord today and always for He is good! What do you have to be thankful for this day?
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.
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Conflict Resolution Acronym

Conflict

Think of H.A.R.D. When It Comes to Conflict Resolution

This is one of my favorites from Bible Study Fellowship days. Personal conflict was something that I often dreaded. I actually had an opportunity to put this into practice.
Honest – Be honest with the person(s) that you are wanting to talk to.
Appropriate – There is no need to make a scene. Find the right time and place.
Respectful – Keep in mind that each person has the right to be treated with respect.
Direct – Do not beat around the bush. Get to the point promptly.

What Does the Bible Say?

Matthew 18:15-17 is a passage that, in my experience, is often abused and not explained nor modeled. There was a sermon on this very passage at my church by Pastor Ted Doering sometime ago that I found to be quite helpful. The passage reads as follows from the ESV, If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
Therefore, we are to make every attempt to reconcile our differences. Yet, if someone refuses to be reconciled we ought to treat the individual as we would an unbeliever thus not giving up on that person but continuing to extend grace and mercy in order to win the person back. This is what the sermon taught me. As a result, one can learn to resolve a conflict.

Personally, I want to learn to resolve a conflict.

For me, it is a challenge to be direct because I want to please people. I want them to like me. Yet, I have come to learn that it is better to be direct and leave the rest to God. I am to do my best, to be honest, appropriate, respectful, and direct with others. Either I keep a friend or part agreeably.
Yet, I should not neglect prayer because it gets my heart in the right frame of being in order to do this with someone who matters to me. I have had the opportunity to put this acronym into practice and I am thankful for having learned this. Hence, some of my relationships have improved.
With whom could you use to put this into practice? Does this person matter to you? Would you prayerfully consider acting on this?
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His Word.
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New Self: A Change in Our Hearts

Change in our hearts

Our Hearts are Keys to the New Self.

This is the final part in a series on the New Self of which this makes 5. In part 4 of this series, Characteristics of the New Self, I discussed Colossians 3:11-13. We learned what we were to put on. This part we will discuss the change in our hearts as a result of Jesus in our lives.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:14-17 ESV.
Here we are instructed to put on love which binds things together, to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and be thankful. In verse 16 we find the how to, through letting word of Christ dwell in us going on to teach and admonish one another.
The key here is that it is a matter of the heart. First, we are to let the peace of Christ and His word rule in our hearts and second being thankful in our hearts to God.

My Personal ExperienceHearts changed

Ephesians 4:21-32 is another passage on putting on the new self. I particularly like verse 29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV) This means that one should be mindful of what comes out of one’s mouth as not to hurt or harm others. One ought to think of something to say that would build the other person up instead.
God has often afforded me the grace to hold my tongue at times. He helped me to remember that once words are spoken I cannot take them back. I also think of how I would want to be treated and try my best to be kind. Again, I may not always get it right but I do my best to promptly admit when I do wrong and ask for forgiveness.
In conclusion, as a follower of Christ, I am called to live differently.  By the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and study of God’s word I can be the light in this dark world. I am changed from the inside out and I like who I have become in Christ.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow I will have another acronym for your consideration.
 

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Counting My Blessings and Giving Thanks to God.

Give Thanks Unto the Lord!
Psalm 86:12,“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”
Last week, I had a procedure done which required prep and anesthesia. I am thankful for the friends that prayed for me and those who called or texted me to see how I was doing. It is a joy to know how many people cared about me.
I am thankful for the women in my core group at Community Bible Study. They are a wonderfully diverse group and each one is a beautiful woman of God. I am blessed to have young babies in our group and each one is a unique gift from God to their families. I am thankful for my core leader who perseveres in her own struggles to be with us each week. 

I am thankful for the scars I have acquired along my way for they shaped me into who God wants me to be. I am forever grateful for the difficult people in my life because I have learned that God uses them to help me grow stronger in certain areas of my life. I am thankful for all of my life experiences, good and bad.
An attitude of gratitude goes a long way to uplift one’s spirit and put things in the right perspective. What can you give thanks to God for in your life?

Psalm 106:1,Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.
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Characteristics of the New Self

Characteristics of a Christian

Characteristics of the New Self.

We are continuing a theme on the Putting of the Old Self and Putting on the New Self. In part three, Put Away Old Habits, I discussed more of what we are to put way. Today, we will look at the Characteristics that we are to put on with the new self.

Colossians 3:11-13, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

In Verse 11, Paul is telling us that as believers we are all the same in Christ. There is no distinction between one another for Christ is all and in all.

In verse 12 to the end of the chapter, Paul is telling us what the characteristics of a new life of a believer are. We are going to look at 12 & 13 today.

Let us take a closer look at the word meekness. It is defined in Wikipedia as follows, ‘Meekness is a possible attribute of human nature and behavior. It has been defined in several ways: righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering willing to follow gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple.’ There is a lot in just these two verses. We are instructed to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, and patience. We are to bear with one another meaning carrying and supporting each other and most important to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.

For Further Thought

I like to think of this as thinking outside of ourselves and being other-minded. Again we find the word must in verse 13 which implies that we are to take action and not hold back. Luke 6:31 comes to my mind, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (NIV).’ Of ourselves, it is not possible but through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, it is possible. God gives us the grace to put these on especially when one stops to consider how much He has forgiven you. I have seen this in my own life and it has surprised me what He has given me the strength to do. 

For instance, I have been able to be gracious when someone made an attempt to push my buttons in order to get a certain response out of me. I saw it for what it was and did not overreact. God helps me to see what is really going on and respond rather than react to the situation. I may not always get it right but God gives me grace when I fall short.

In the final part of this series, we will look at verse 14-17. Until then rejoice in the Lord; again I say rejoice.

What can you ask God to help you put on as you draw closer to Him?

 

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God’s Many Blessing in My Life

Part Two of My Story

 Life itself is the first of my many many blessings. You see, I was born prematurely and when my mom took me home the doctor did not expect me to live. My mom would sleep with her hand on me and when I stopped breathing she would wake and help me to breathe again, for this, I am forever grateful. I was the first born and later I was blessed to have two brothers from my mom’s first marriage and a sister after my mom remarried. Sister was born during my senior year of high school. I remember Dad picking my brother and I up from school to meet our baby sister and who is now a beautiful young woman.
I am blessed to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I have had a love of God’s word since I can remember. Another thing that I am thankful for is to have grown up going to church.

Blessings of Marriages and Children

My next blessing came when I married my first love in February of 1989. John Mark loved to be around others. He would have given the shirt off his back if someone was in need. He loved music and football. I am forever blessed to have known him because I gave birth to his son in July of 1991. This is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I am thankful to have become a mom and my son is a wonderful young man. Sadly, my son did not get know his father for he was killed in a car accident before he was born.

I was a single parent for 15 years before God would bring into my life, my heart’s desire. We met in 2004 while taking our sons to a group to help them with their challenges in life. Brian married me in 2006. There are not enough words to express my happiness. I now have a family of six between the two of us. Our children are beautiful people with many gifts and talents.
 
These are just a few of my many many blessings. There are many others on a more personal scale from life lessons along the way. God is good all the time!
What are some of your blessings in life?
Psalm 103:22, Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

 

 
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Anger: The Match versus The Gunny Sack

There are Two Types of Anger

I thought that I would take a moment here to talk about the two types of  anger from the Greek that the Bible talks about. There is a big difference in the two and it is the one translated from the Greek word orge that one is to forsake. I am going to quote it from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words pg. 26 Notes (1), copyright 1984, 1996.

Thumos Versus Orge

“Thumos, “wrath” (not translated “anger”), is to be distinguished from orge, in this respect, that thumos indicates a more agitated condition of the feelings, an outburst of wrath from inward indignation, while orge suggests a more settled or abiding condition of mind frequently with a view to taking revenge. Orge is less sudden in its rise than thumos, but more lasting in its nature. Thumos expresses more the inward feeling, orge the more active emotion. Thumos may issue in revenge, though it does not necessarily include it. It is characteristic that it quickly blazes up and subsides, though that is not necessarily implied in each case.”

I like to look at it this way, thumos is like a match which quickly lights but does not last.

Orge, on the other hand, I refer to as a gunny sack where one stores up grudges only to use them against someone when the time is right. It is also this type of anger that one is not to let the sun go down on (Ephesians 4:26).

Personally

For me, I have learned that thumos is a signal that something is not right. This gives me the energy to make a change for the better. Nor am I to provoke others to anger nor be quick to become angry (Ephesians 6:4; Ecclesiastes 7:9; James 1:19). One more thought, orge is the one that someone chooses to stay mad about a hurt or wrong done to them.

Which anger do you identify with and how do you handle it? Ask God to show you ways to better cope with your anger as well as that of others.

My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me. I wish to impart to you what I have learned from His word.

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God’s Cell Phone?

God's Cell Phone

What if God Had a Cell Phone?

Many years ago, a dear friend of mine introduced me to her father who gave me this verse to think on Jeremiah 33:3, Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’ (NIV). This would later lead me to contemplate on what God’s cell phone number could be using two words, Cry & Call. There are a number of scriptures that refer to crying out to God or calling on his name.

Psalm 145:18-19,
“The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
  he also hears their cry and saves them.” (ESV)

Psalm 57:2
“I cry out to God Most High,  to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” (ESV)

Psalm 3:4,
“I call out to the Lord,and he answers me from his holy mountain.” (NIV)

Psalm 18:3,6,
“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.”

“In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.” (ESV)

God's Cell Phone Number

What might that number look like?

When you use numbers from the phone to replace the letters you get 279-2255.  Mind you, this is not a for real number but just something to consider to help you to remember that when you cry or call out to Him in truth He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him and will answer their cries.
Proverbs 1:20 -30 gives good reason why God does not answer when people cry out to Him.
What great and unsearchable things has God revealed to you when you call to Him?

My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His word.

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New Self: Put Away Old Habits

Old Habits

Put Away the Old Habits.

 In my post titled A Paradigm Shift, I discussed what we were called to put to death. Apostle Paul continues to tells us to put away old habits of the sinful nature. Therefore, we continue on a theme.
Colossians 3:8-10, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
In verse 8, look at the contraction here. It is a turning point. You were once living in sin BUT now you must put them all away. Your action is required. There is no and, if, or but about it. The rest of the verse lists those things that one is to put away. These are the old habits of our sinful nature.
In verse 9, we are told that we are not to lie to one another because we have put off the old self with its practices. Lying is to be a thing of the past, in with the new and out with the old. After all, Christ has made you a new creation.
In verse 10, we are to put on the new self which is being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its creator.  How is this done? We are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds through God’s Word.  Renewal in the Greek means to replace thought process in error. God’s word replaces that error in us. This is what makes us different from the world and what should draw others to Christ as they see that difference in us.

Look for the Next Post on this Theme.

In part 4, we will look at the characteristics of the new self in verses 11-17. In my next post, I will share with you God’s cell number.
 
What efforts are you making to replace the thought process in error in order to put off the old self and embrace the new self?
 
 
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