Tag Archive | Christian

Are You a Godly Role Model for Your Children?

Over the years, hundreds of books were written meant to uncover why adults acted as they did.

Each touched on:

  • what motivates us;, how to be successful.
  • how we should view ourselves,
  • what’s our “sign”
  • discovering what type of personality we have: Type A, B, and so on.

Notice the common denominator? It was all about “self.” These books were written with the distinct purpose of reflecting how people should view themselves. Everyone got placed in a box, tied up with a brightly colored ribbon. Formula!

What self-centered thinking! Quite the opposite of “God First, Others Second and I Am Third.”

We are a combination of many personalities, because God created each of us uniquely. Our uniqueness makes us special. For example, my husband and I respond differently to different stimuli. I’m more impulsive, my husband’s more methodical. I need to talk it out, he needs time to think it through . . .

Therefore, it’s extremely important for each parent to discover their child’s “Love Language” also. Authors studied and targeted older generations and forgot about children.

Have you ever thought, the way we treat our children shouldn’t be the same as we treat an adult? Our children are as individual as we are. Each child has a distinctive personality and a separate need for recognition, discipline, space, acceptance and approval.

An emotional or affectionate child responds better to physical rewards such as a hug rather than a toy as a reward. He wants to know he is worth more than “things.” No amount of materialism can purchase this child’s love. He needs to be assured that he is more than simply another possession you own or he’ll turn to food or drugs for unfulfilled, comforting emotions.

One child is more analytical, another is a studious bookworm. These children desire stimulating conversation even more than hugs. Praise and respect them for their curiosity and dedication to studies (and of course hug them anyway!)

Sometimes a child only wants time with their parents, but rarely finds it. Sometimes the parents are so busy keeping up with the ‘Joneses’, working sixty-hour weeks in order to reward their child with “things” rather than what their child’s soul longs for; attention.

This creates a chasm between a child-parent relationships, perhaps one which will never fully heal. This child could even grow up to be introverted, placing a protective shell around his heart to avoid perceived abandonment issues.

Or perhaps he becomes another workaholic for his parent’s sought-after blessing. As he matures, he might want to sit and enjoy a movie, snuggling with his child, but years of training taught him that’s considered “unproductive” time. So he continues to strive for approval through hard work.

We are God’s child but do we spend time with the Lord? Think he doesn’t love us; accepts us as we are, faults and all?  Our Lord understands our Love Language! If we simply want to spend time with Him, wrapped in prayer, He’s always available to listen. If we encounter trials, we can rest in our Father’s Arms, finding comfort rather than criticism.

If we are analytical, He’ll provide knowledge and wisdom through His Word so we can understand. God’s always attuned to our needs even before we know them ourselves.

We can learn so much from our Heavenly Father. Remember that most children first identify our Heavenly Father with their earthly father. Appreciate each child as the blessing from God they truly are!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Is the SBC’s Tent Big Enough for ALL Marginalized Christian Women?

What a powerful post linking the correlation between sound Christian doctrine and sound nutritional teaching. Michelle Lesley is a powerful Christian writer. I respect her for she stands courageously for Truth and so do I. I praise God for her strong testimony for the Lord.

As a Christian nutritional counselor I profess physiological truth when it comes to health. Sadly there are many more in this world who will follow what their “itching ears want to hear” than will follow Spiritual and physiological Truth.

Case in point: I’m not sure if you noticed the headline advertising “hot dog water” recently on the news lately? This hot dog water was being sold for $38 a tube – hopefully as a joke, but touted for weight loss. I’m not sure how many people actually bought it but in the mid 1990s, 41 signed up for Oprah’s fake hot dog and ice cream diet in two days! “itchy ears” again.

If I sold and promoted junk food as a weight loss program, I’d be rich by now. I continually battle false diet teachers who have a celebrity name or have a doctorate who profess unhealthy , unrealistic, quick weight loss, eliminating food groups and outright untruths to sell product. But professing the truth of Genesis 1:29, Genesis 9:3 and 1 Corinthains 10:23 as a legitimate health plan, doesn’t make one wealthy. I will continue to write and stand for mental, physical and spiritual interity, truth, praying you wil never become a sheep following blindly. Seek and hunger after the Word of God always, blessings,

Michelle Lesley

It started with Paige Patterson’s gobsmackingly horrible and unbiblical advice to an abused to wife to return to her husband. Then it was the lurid remarks he made about a teenage girl, with which he regaled a congregation during a sermon. Next came the allegations of his mishandling of two separate sexual assault cases at two different seminaries.

In response to all this turmoil, Beth Moore added to the conversation some vague stories of various unnamed men in Christian circles who had, in her perception, condescended to her or otherwise not treated her as an equal, leaving the impression that there is widespread, systemic misogyny within modern evangelicalism. Jen Wilkin, from a more biblical – yet, troublingly, similarly vague – perspective, joined the chorus, and has been afforded a wider audience for the “they can’t be pastors, natch, but we need more women in church leadership” platform she…

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The Best Present Ever

the-christ-child-birth“He it is who remembered us in our lowly circumstances, for his gracious love is everlasting—” (Psalm 136:23)

When I was a child we didn’t have a lot of material items. We lived in a dilapidated old farm house with no indoor plumbing. Until our father installed a bathroom and plumbing, we had to use a pump to draw water and use the outhouse. But choosing to remember the good, it did have a charming pot belly stove in the dining room and a fireplace in the living room.

One day, just before Christmas, the fireplace caught fire and we lost most if not all our presents that year. We were grateful our home didn’t burn to the ground but what did survive smelled like smoke.

One night as we were returning home, there was a note attached to our front door. It told us to walk around to the side of our house and lift up the storm door. There, lo and behold, we found it filled with gifts of warm clothes, quilts, food, stuffed animals and other toys! I can’t remember who gave us those gifts but decades later, it was the memory of finding those precious gifts that meant the most to me.

At that time, we could have sent the presents back, but did we? No, wouldn’t we be fools to do so? So we embraced those gifts as a true love offering from someone who cared and wanted to brighten up our holiday, allowing us to forget the sorrow of our past.

I am not poor anymore and have accumulated much over my lifetime. But sometimes I wonder how many materialistic items do I need in life? In the year 2000, after deciding to become fulltime RV’ers, we sold almost everything we owned. I looked over all those items and thought, it’s just stuff. (Basically the only items we kept were memories in a 5×7 storage unit.)

How much “stuff” do you need? Most items will fade or be given away and all this eventually will turn to dust. But memories should last forever. That memory warmed my soul and turned a tragedy into a kindness I never forgot.

This Christmas Season I urge you to enjoy all the true Joy which God wants us to possess. But please don’t get so caught up in the frivolity of the gift-giving and “who got what” that we forget the True Meaning of the Season.

“”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

God gave us the best present of all; one which will never fade away. He gave His Only Son that we may believe and accept God’s Gift of Eternal Life. But not all will accept and believe. Some will be foolish, rejecting a very special gift which is far greater than any we received after our chimney fire. I look forward to an eternity thanking God for the Best Gift of All! Accept God’s Precious Gift today and experience True Joy.

A Choice Between Nebuchadnezzar and Jezebel – Oh Goodie

Tomorrow is Election Day. Soon this painfully long spiteful political season will be over. Can I hear an “Amen?”

It seems we only have two possibilities even if several lesser candidates would be a better choice. With 322 million residents in the United States, many are wondering, is this the best we can do? Oh how the public is fretting over this election!

Wake up America! I don’t place my trust in government, I place it in my LORD and Savior. No matter what, God is in control! In Him I will place my trust! As it states in Psalm 118:6, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” and as Paul stated, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Although I’d unafraid of dying, I’d rather not nebuchadnezzarbecome Soylent Green. (It’s a futuristic movie where old people become food because the economy fails.)

No matter who wins, every one of our candidates is a flawed one. (Same as us, so let’s not get too judgmental.)

One candidate acts like Nebuchadnezzar and the other as King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. Don’t know who these people are? Never heard of them? Check out Daniel 4 in the Bible and 1 Kings 16:31; 18:4-19; 19:1, 2; 21:5-25.

In Daniel 4: 28-37, we find Nebuchadnezzar, the pompous King of Assyria who conquered the Israelites. Now he had a huuuuggge ego. One day as he gazed out over his vast kingdom, he pompously proclaimed how impressed he was with this Empire which he had built. Due to Nebuchadnezzar’s incredible arrogance, God immediately drove him from his kingdom. He lived  in madness outside his beautiful Babylonian city living literally as a beast in the field for seven years, until he humbled himself and gave God the glory. God restored him when he gave honor and worship to the One True God. God is in control!

King Ahab’s wicked wife Queen Jezebel on the other hand, let nothing get in her way while winning thejezebels-death crown. Diabolical, she ruled over her weak husband and recklessly destroyed anyone who got in her way, including family members. She lusted after control and would do anything to achieve it. She was determined to destroy all God’s prophets to retain it and worship idols. Power was her idol. In 2 Kings 9: 30-37, she met a gruesome death when members of her own court threw her out of a window and her flesh was eaten by dogs. Again God is in control!

Remember the saying, anyone who doesn’t remember the past is doomed to repeat it? Well here we go again. We should always respect the office and authority but only have one God. These are dark days but I know who rules the future and it is no candidate.

Please vote with a Spiritual lens and trust the Lord.

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  (Joshua 24:15)

 

 

Peace and Contentment

thAK4MS6ZZWhen I was a young child and asked my mother what she wanted for Christmas, she would always reply, “Peace and contentment.”  Okay, I wondered in my childlike mind, how do I package that?

Well, as I grew, I learned that peace and contentment isn’t a thing to be wrapped, it’s an attitude. It can’t be bought, it just is. Love comes from our hearts, minds and spirits . . . and the best love is always given away.

How do you believe God would answer that question if we asked Him what gift He would like from us this Christmas? Wouldn’t it  be the same? For the best gift is something we give of ourselves with the express goal of making another happy. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always thought the best presents were handmade because they were created from the heart.

God doesn’t need presents. Let’s face it, He could write a check for anything He wanted. Speak and it would Be. What He needs and desires is an attitude of love. He loved US enough, even in our most despicable, selfish self, to give the most glorious gift of all, the gift of Salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

As you unwrap all those material presents this year, remember the real reason for the season amidst all that clutter. Those gifts will deteriorate and pass away but the gift of Salvation lasts for eternity. Accept the most important Gift God offers to us, an eternity of peace and contentment.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Merry Christmas to all and I pray our attitudes continually express peace and contentment,  for we have been very blessed indeed.

 

 

So A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to Florida . . .

So Goodbye Arizona:

At our age, it seemed no one wanted an enthusiastic but older couple who simply wanted to follow God’s leading into ministry. With 27 years of schooling, a Seminary Master’s degree and two photo of Dave and Ellie 2Doctorate’s, who wouldn’t want my husband as a teaching pastor?  However, sending out resumes and receiving countless rejection letters became discouraging. News Flash: If you’re on a search committee, please don’t send a rejection letter stating you’ve decided to go in a “different direction.”  As Christians, Dave and I are going in the right direction, where is your church going???

So we then contemplated moving to The Villages in Florida, complacent to teaching adult Sunday School.  You know . . .  somewhere, hot , sunny and warm. Nearer our children.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression,  “Man plans . . .  God laughs?”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Out of the blue,” we received a call. A small town church in Ohio was looking for a compassionate pastor who would take the helm and grow their church.  After much prayer, many conference calls and a personal visit, we fell in love with the warmth of the congregation, (which more than substituted for the warmth of Florida.)

Arizona is a snow bird location but sadly the economy here hasn’t risen as other areas have. Everyone told us the prospect of selling our home quickly was remote, usually taking an average of eight months to sell. However we had a secret weapon: the Will of God! Faith believes that if God wants a mountain to move, it will move.

“There is no coincidence with God.” 

I’m hardly ever out in my front yard (everyone lives in their gravel-based backyards in Arizona)  but 7:30 that morning I was out sweeping off my walkway, preparing for a large realtor tour in a couple of hours. A man coincidentally drives up to our sign out front and picks up a flyer. He glances over at me and asks enthusiastically if I am the owner? When I confirmed I was, he wondered why his realtor hadn’t shown him this beauty before? Of course I joked it was even prettier inside.

His name was Bob from New Jersey. He was on a mission, here for only three days, searching for a home for his wife and him in a warmer climate. Would it be possible on short notice to view our home? He came by with his realtor immediately after the tour and within three hours we accepted his cash offer. He generously offered to purchase some of our furniture which he didn’t know, I had been praying to sell anyway.

Another coincidence was, that very morning at 6am, (9am Ohio time) we had been notified that our offer on the home we desired in Ohio had been accepted!  And the street name of the new home?  It happened to be my sister’s name who lived 75 miles away.  Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

So goodbye my beloved Arizona, goodbye cowboy hat and hello new adventure as we follow God’s chosen pathway for us. I want to  especially thank Pastor Sebastian Weaver,  Pastor Joe Quatrone and Storyad for their continuing, encouraging prayers for God’s Will to be done in our lives and the acceptance of whatever that might be!

 “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”  (Ruth 1:16)

 

 

 

Praising Pathways – Wherever They Lead!

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Little did I know, as a teenager, when my mother wrote those precious words in my first Bible, where those pathways would lead.Dave and Ellie Marrandette

Sometimes the paths were winding:

In college, this guy walks into my classroom as I was leaving, and a friend introduced us. He said his name was David, handed me his newspaper and mentioned he had a gerbil named Gina Lollogerbil. I just thought he was the cutest thing on campus. Three days later he asked me to marry him.  But I was stubborn. I had no interest in marriage, I was having too much fun and anyway, another guy had already proposed the day I met Dave. Well, I held out for three weeks.  Next month we celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. Where did those years go? (I still feel thirty although my bones tell me differently.)

Headed to Australia for a new job, we had Visa’s, passports, shots, airline tickets . . . when life took an abrupt “drafty” turn. “Uncle Sam wants you,” his country declared!  So our path took us down 20 years of military service, with its 12 moves including California, Washington D.C. and Germany. Then it was Dave’s call to seminary which lead to a teaching position at a small Christian school. A tiny $500 per month salary was tough, so he was lured away into the golf industry. More exciting diversity ensued, as well as several more moves. Then it was fulltime motor-homing for 6 years with more adventures while cultivating friendships along the way.

Occasionally the paths became rocky:

One can’t be married without some impediments along the pathways. But with God as our GPS system, He steered us through the rough patches, restoring, growing and refining our love for each other. Believing that marriage is a 50-50 proposition is a myth. Sometimes Dave needed me 70% and sometimes I needed him more. Spouses also get on each other’s nerves and sometimes even being married can be a lonely situation. But through it all, the Lord is faithful and I praise God for always having Him as our solid marital foundation.

Gloriously, there were smooth paths:

When a decision is God’s Will, it has a way of working out. That is what Faith is all about. When we were out of God’s Will, challenges arose, but when He called us out of the desert, (quite literally since we live in the Arizona desert)  we answered that call. As we discover when reading and study Scriptures, it is unwise to rebel against God’s Will. (Jonah, anyone?)

Even if it meant sacrifice, such as giving up a family celebration, we learned to obey and trust Him. The world doesn’t understand and looks at any Christian who must choose between God and family and criticizes that choice, no matter how heartbreaking it was to make.

My husband has answered the call to be a pastor at a loving, praying, small church in Ohio. Although I prayed we would eventually return to the Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC area, God had other plans. (Good thing I never gave away my winter coat!) Perhaps I always knew in my heart that to make a decision to follow Christ wouldn’t be easy, but it is certainly worth the sacrifice for our LORD who gave up all for me.

So we are moving this week! My next post will confirm that this was the miraculous “coincidental” pathway God wanted us to follow all along! Please stay tuned!

Overcoming

While working with doctors in the ’90s, I specialized in diabetic care. “Joe,” a 55-year-old overweight patient was a Type 1 Diabetic. He had been injecting insulin shots for over 40 years. Joes’ obesity didn’t thBCI8XUYSallow insulin to reach his insulin-responsive muscles and was in danger of losing a limb. Through a better diet and daily exercise, he lost 75 pounds in 14 months. His blood sugar levels stabilized and I was extremely proud of his dedication to healthy habits.

 

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Be Your Own Best Friend and Also God’s!

Are we truly a friend of God’s, exemplifying peace, joy and kindness in the world? If I claim to be a Christian, it’s important for me to ‘walk the walk,’ otherwise I am a stumbling block for those who are watching me and this grieves the Holy Spirit. When I was young, I expected perfection from myself. Over the years I took steps to be more realistic, but it wasn’t easy. Change isn’t instantaneous. For me it was usually five steps forward, two steps back. If that’s you too, remember we’re still moving forward!

It’s amazing how the mind can be one’s most motivational cheerleader and friend one moment and in a blink of an eye, be its worst enemy. It can build up but also break down a person so emotionally that they hide their subconscious thoughts behind closed lady looking in a mirrordoors in a far-off corner of the mind. It is simply too painful to unlock the memories to view them honestly.

It’s the same with our nutritional health. It’s never easy to admit our part in failure. Occasionally a dieter blames failure on heredity. Genes do play an important role in one’s bone structure, ability to lose and how one ends up with the body shape they have. But so does self-destructive eating, pride, unconscious eating, people pleasing, peer pressure and even revenge.

One diabetic patient insisted there was absolutely nothing to be done about her weight gain due to it “being in her genes.” Possibly, I thought. Some are predisposed to genetic challenges.  But then later that month I saw the small family pet at the vet clinic, overweight by 20 lbs. and wondered sadly what genes the dog had? Clearly personal lifestyle habits factored in and this patient was in denial.

Unfortunately many, such as my patient above, deny reality, preferring to bury truth deep inside the recesses of the mind and find excuses. The fantasy land they desire is better than the factual one they live in.

Awareness is the first step in anyone’s recovery.  Until one knows why he/she acts in a particular way, they won’t change. This only masks the problem.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” (Proverbs 1:3)

Think back. Every overweight person had only five pounds to lose at first. Then it became ten, then twenty and on and on. Why?  What occurred originally to make them self-destruct? Was it abuse, rebellion, overwhelming problems with seemingly no way out?  At that time reach outward instead of withdrawing within, find a trusted friend, pastor or organization such as Against Abuse to confide in. Just because someone you see wears a smile, doesn’t mean they haven’t experienced deep pain. In fact, it usually means they are survivors and learned how to cope. Don’t you want to know how they overcame challenges so you can too?

Reaching out to another person isn’t weakness! It takes a strong individual to humble themselves and ask for help. Even Jesus cried out for help in the Garden. But then he resolved within himself to find the strength to continue his mission for our souls. He went boldly toward Calvary. Praise God he didn’t give up on us! How can we then justify giving up and not present our best temple of the Holy Spirit to Him? Strive to discover that best friend within that God knows you are, because He resides in you! Utilize His strength!

“We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.”  (2 Corinthians 8:21)

 

Weight Loss? First Things First – Find Support!

As one begins yet another health quest, there’s something vital each must do to be successful: develop a personal support system. Surrounding yourself with trusted family and friends is essential. And not just any support system – develop one as strong and powerful as the Redwood Forest!

My thanks to Richard J Green of http://rjgreenphoto.wordpress.com for this incredibly beautiful photo

My thanks to Richard J Green of http://rjgreenphoto.wordpress.com for this incredibly beautiful photo

 Have you ever had the privilege as I have, of meandering through the magnificent Redwood National Forest in northern California?  As you gazed at those majestic 350 foot tall trees towering above you, you probably thought as I did: Wow, their roots must tunnel 50 ft. into the earth!

Amazingly, that’s not the case. Their roots are only a few feet deep! The next logical question one would ask is: So what’s to prevent them from toppling over and being destroyed when disaster strikes? Support.

As Christians we should emulate the Redwoods innate support system when trials occur in our lives.

1. Since the root system is actually shallow, the tree’s root structure supports each other by interlocking their shallow roots with the other Redwoods surrounding them. When under duress, the older trees buttress each other by developing roots on the downward side of those under stress. The younger trees are bolstered up by the older ones, thus supporting the younger generation.

When we know someone is struggling to become healthier in mind, body and spirit, do we encourage or hinder them? Do we strengthen them with the Word of God or only criticize, allowing them to struggle on their own? Can we uphold them by sharing our experiences, offering wise counsel or a church home? If So – Do So.

2The second truth I learned was that when exposed to fire, these trees develop a heat shieldThe charring of the bark actually makes them stronger!

Have life experiences strengthened you? Some of you have gone through the worst that man can dish out; drug, mental or sexual abuse, divorce, abandonment, cancer or other health obstacles, but you’re inwardly strong and still standing! Why? Chances are you were surrounded by a strong support system.

Everyone needs an advocate. If you’re attempting a healthier lifestyle, you shouldn’t go it alone no matter how strong and powerful you believe you are. No one climbs Mt. Everest without support and some of you might be thinking that losing weight is an enormous endeavor to undertake as well. All of us need close friends whom we can totally trust and confide in.

 3. A fallen Redwood will ultimately branch out and continue to grow. Still useful; its roots become other trees.

What this teaches us is to never give up simply because we get knocked down or face trials! Overcoming adversity and temptation makes us stronger, wiser and more confident. Use those life skills to help others because God bestowed them on us for a reason.

God will not abandon us. He provides common-sense ways out of our predicament. As it states in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (KJV)

4.  Just as in life, some young trees won’t survive, but many more do because of the support of older trees. After obtaining your goals, reach out to others who might need your expertise and encouragement. Be a shining example of resiliency. Young Redwoods are more vulnerable, similar to young Christians. Even Billy Graham rebelled as a youth. He didn’t become Billy Graham overnight.

5.  Surprisingly, the chemical composition of the bark is distasteful and even poisonous to termites and other pests! Let’s develop a ‘Bodily Armor of God’ so strong  that even the pesky demons don’t dare to bother us!

In our humanity, occasionally trials, temptations and failure will occur. Real friends won’t judge or ridicule, nor will they allow a friend to destroy themselves. We don’t need more “yes men”, we need friends who will speak the truth in love, not what our itchy ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” (ESV)