Tag Archive | God

I Finally “God” It. You Can, Too

I  accepted Jesus when I was twelve years old, but I didn’t understand what He did for me. In my forties I finally understood the words “grace” and “mercy.” I wonder how many people who have been in church all their lives without seeing the whole picture.Let’s start with creation. Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, Satan, and sinned by disobeying God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:16-17, NKJ). They sewed together fig leaves to cover their shameful nakedness. People today still keep trying to solve their problems without God. God killed an animal to make the skins to cover them(Genesis 3:6-7, NKJ), so He had to shed the blood of the animals. God told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed, He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  This was a prophesy. The seed of woman is Jesus, the Son of God. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, he set up the sacrificial system using the blood of unblemished animals instead of  people to satisfy God’s requirement for justice. This points us to Jesus.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his death, I believe He felt the shame of the sins of the  entire world. Can you imagine how emotionally painful that must have been? The next day the soldiers pierced Him with a sword, whipped Him, and nailed Him to a cross until He died.  His blood, the blood of the only perfect One, was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.”   (Hebrews 9:22b NKJ) But Jesus did not stay dead. He rose and many people saw Him alive. For those who accept the gift of His forgiveness, He gives us grace, a gift we sinners do not deserve,  and He gives us mercy instead of the eternal punishment we do deserve. He died for us because He loves us enough to pay for our sins. (John 3:16 NJV)Have you told God you believe this? Have you asked Him to forgive you of your sin sand make you His child? If not, now could be the time. Talk to God and tell Him you are sorry for your sins and believe Jesus died for you and will forgive you and make you His child.

You can pray right now to become a member of God’s family.

 

Finding Hope in the Heat

On July 30, blessings came to the City of Memphis, TennesseeConvoy of  Hope rolled their trucks into town and residents of this city known for crime, poverty, and racial strife joined together to feed and pray for the hurting. While the thermostat read 102 degrees, fourteen hundred volunteers representing eighty different churches swooped down on the practically abandoned fairgrounds to hand out food and hope to more than five thousand people. No one saw color or class. No one judged others by their clothes. Everyone just shared the love.

                                                                       

Volunteers arrived early in the morning to set up tents for the different activities. Children enjoyed games, puppet shows, and jumping toys; such as such as blow-up slides and moon walks. Families received bags of groceries while volunteers gave free haircuts and created family portraits. Prayer warriors sent prayer requests to heaven. A job fair and health fair gave hope of a better day to participants.

The workers in the community services tent told families about places in town where they can receive help in their areas of need. I worked in that tent but with  a different slant. We showed church members ways their churches can help children and adults through small issue-focused Bible study groups and we invited familes to participate in these groups at our church.

Let me tell you about Living Free’s children’s ministry and how it can help families. Many of those attending were single-parents or grandmothers raising children. They wanted to learn about Growing Seasons, small group Bible studies that help single-parent children; whether due to divorce, death, imprisonment, or abandonment by a parent. They also teach parents how to listen and respond to their children’s feelings.

Others wanted to know how to prepare their preteen children for the peer pressure of adolescence. We told them about Empowering Kids for Life, a program that helps kids turn to God instead of addictions. I encourage you to go to LivingFree.org yourself and see how their small group Bible study ministry is helping adults and children. Maybe your church would like to include some Living Free groups along with your other programs.

I want to thank Convoy of Hope for visiting Memphis. I hope the love and understanding shared in this city yesterday will last and grow. I also hope God will answer the sincere prayers lifted up for families. Thanks you Convoy of Hope.

Regrets: Re-think, Release, Relax

 I was part of the sandwich generation, hash to be exact. I took care of my sick mother for sixteen years while my children grew from toddlers to college students. We stopped counting how many times I left my family to take her to the emergency room. She lived with us most of that time, but finally moved to a senior housing facility,which she enjoyed.The Saturday night before she died was just like any other, except it was raining rhinos and elephants.  I knew she didn’t feel well. In fact, I had taken her to the doctor the day before. That still small voice kept telling me to go see her. Instead, I cleaned out a chest of drawers in my guest room. After church the next day, I called to check on her. She was worse. I promised I would take her to the emergency room, but I waited until after dinner. The doctor admitted her. At least fifty times before, I stayed with her until she went to her room, but not this time.  I went home and went to sleep. At five o’clock the next morning the ringing phone jarred me out of bed. The calm female voice said, “Your mother is not breathing. She is in Code Blue. Do you want us to try to resuscitate her?”

Even though she had an advanced directive I said, “Yes, please,” and jumped into my clothes. She died before I arrived. I’ll never forget the way they left her body in that hospital room. With her head thrown back from the attempts to revive her, she looked like an old rag doll tossed aside by a pre-teen girl in search of a boyfriend. I regretted that I couldn’t tell her good-bye.

Five days later we went to Florida on a college visit with my daughter. I  ignored my grief during the day, but at night my mind kept rehearsing the two days before my mother died – the “what if’s”  kept me awake.  I thought, “What if I listened to the still, small voice that told me to go see her on Saturday. If I had gone, she might have lived.” NO!” I was believing a lie. I had to rethink my regrets. I finally concluded that it was my mother’s time to die. God called her home the moment she took her last breath. When her spirit left her body the pain left, too, and God replaced it with joy.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV) speaks about that:                                                          “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I had no power over death or the shame and regret I  felt for ignoring the still, small voice. God took my mother to heaven at the time He appointed for her to die and Jesus took my shame on the cross. When I rethought my regrets, I released the shame, and relaxed. I miss my mother, but I know Jesus has her safely in His arms. I also learned to listen and respond to that still, small voice. Regrets can be a weight that ensnares us. Give them to Jesus and set yourself free to run the race of faith.

Helping Children Heal from Divorce and Other Losses

Growing Seasons: Helping Children Heal from Divorce and Ohter Losses

Helping Children Heal from Divorce and Other Losses

Children struggle when there is a change in the family. Whether there is a divorce, a parent dies, or the child suddenly realizes other children have a daddy in the home, there is a sense of loss and grief. Parents would help if they could, but often they are still trying to get their own lives together and they don’t have the emotional energy the children need. Growing Seasons support groups for children ages 4-12 can help children heal while they have fun doing activities that allow them to share their feelings. They learn that God is their Heavenly Father and He will never leave them. These groups can be done in churches and other Christian organizations. http://store.livingfree.org/Growing-Seasons-Coordinators-Guide_p_162.html

Help for Grieving Children

When there is a loss in the family, whether due to divorce or death of a family member, children tend to feel like it is their fault. Professionsals call this belief system magical thinking. In the movie, Home Alone, Kevin wished his parents would disappear. Then he woke up the next morning and found them gone. He believed his impulsive wish had come true. He thought his momentary desire caused the permanent loss of his entire family. Although he found resourceful ways to fight the bungling thieves, Kevin believed he was alone in the world and tried to make the best of it. When his family returned, he leaped into their arms with joy. That example shows how children process loss. They need to know it is not their fault that there was a change in their family. The adults in their lives must help them know the loss is not their fault, but in a way they can understand. On this blog we will spend some time examining ways to help grieving children. We will also discuss things parents and churches can do to help raise emotionally and spiritually healthy families. I invite you to share ideas of your own and to ask questions about family issues. We can work together with God to build a better family, whcih helps to build a better world.

Christmas All Year Long

Every year we take time out from our busy schedules to celebrate Christmas. We decorate our homes, eat, wrap presents, eat, party, eat, open presents, and eat. At least that is true for those of us who are blessed enough to have a home and food. What if we kept that Christmas attitude all year? The first thing you might say is, “We would be a fatter nation than we already are!” That may be true, but if our hearts are in the right place food will no longer be the driving force in our lives. Why do we place so much value on Christmas? It use to be because God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sins, but that gets little press these days. Children are taught to believe in Santa Claus while ignoring the real meaning of the holiday, the birth of the Son of God. God said there has to be payment for sin, but there was no one sinless who could pay for our sins. The Bible says there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, so God, His Spirit in human form, had to pay for our sins on the cross. Do you want to accept the most precious gift ever given? Ask God to forgive you for your sinful life. Believe that Jesus died for your sins, and pray and ask God to be your Father. You will be His beloved child and He will be your loving Father. Then you can celebrate the joy of Christmas all year.

Wounded Souls

The news is full of stories about childhood sexual abuse, but most of the articles leave out one important fact. Even one incident of sexual abuse can change a child’s life forever, leaving anger that can be turned outward to the abuser, but is usually turned inward. Even if the abuse is just touching or inappropriate exposure, it can have a life long effect on the child. The story doesn’t stop there. Child abuse leaves a wounded spirit that opens the door for Satan to implant lies into the child’s soul. People can tell the child the truth, but that may have little impact on the core beliefs of the child: “I’m alone, I’m dirty, I’m worthless, I’m powerless,” and on and on. These beliefs can become so entrenched in the child’s mind that only the truth of Jesus can abolish them. 1 Corinthians 6:16 NIV says, “Or do you not know that he who is joined with harlot is one body with her? ‘For the two,'” He says, ‘shall become one flesh.'” That doesn’t mean the abused child is possessed by the other person or by the devil. I believe it does mean there is a soul wound that must be healed by God. The Lord in His love and mercy followed that statement with comforting words. “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” If you were abused as child, there is hope. Please hear this. Jesus can heal your pain. Find a Christain counselor and get help. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.