Training

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.” Proverbs 23:13+14 NIV

Children need discipline to teach them respect and good character. The world has tried to tell parents that discipline is bad and can break the spirit of a child. But I see a world where chaos is the norm and respect and good values are gone. With everyone doing what they want and not caring about others. It really doesn’t matter how old you are. Everyone needs guidelines and it takes everyone to be willing to help others grow in their character. We learn best by example. It doesn’t matter how old you are. I know at 45 when I had my stroke I had a difficult time adjusting to my new way of living. It has taken me fourteen years so far and I am still trying to improve my character. I like the chapter of Psalms 23 about the shepherd leading his sheep in the way they should go. Anyone who cares about people can be a shepherd. We need each other to care enough about each other to lead and encourage each other in good character. No matter how old we get there is always growing we can go through because God is not through with us till we take our last breath. When people work together they make each other better if they truly care. Children need more work, it takes a community to raise a child. They have mothers, fathers, siblings and grandparents . Aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Teachers, coaches, ministers, and Sunday school teachers. As kids their greatest need is to be loved and accepted for who they are. They are wanting to be someone important. I guess that’s what we all really want. Older people get to a point where they don’t really need that validation anymore. At some point they accept who they are and why they are how they are. It’s very important to get to a place where you can love who you are and who you have become. Not needing to feel the acceptance of others to know that your life matters. Being there for others helps you get there. If a child is trained up and disciplined well by all those influencing their lives they won’t stray from it when they are older. Hopefully their character will be strong and they will help instill good character into others also. That is how this world should work.

Can you help to be a character builder in others?

The Temple of God

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple; God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV

We are made in the image of God. Therefore we have everything available to us to be holy. This is not something we can do on our own though. It takes God’s help, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us guiding and leading us. When we let the world lead us that is where we go wrong. The world cares more about meeting and fulfilling our sinful nature rather than God’s desires. We need to remember that God is watching and knows our every thought. Do we want him with us in everything we do. If you are a born again Christian he is. He promises to never leave you or forsake you. Before my stroke I was living a worldly life. Doing whatever I wanted. I look back on my life then and wince. God was right there with me. I ate whatever I wanted. I drank and partied whenever I wanted. I hung out with whomever I wanted. I know my behavior hurt God and was not good for me. Living for the moments gratification is not good. People eat too much, drink too much, and don’t generally take very good care of themselves. Our physical bodies pay, but our spiritual bodies pay even more. I was far from God. I thought I was living. I now know that it was a shallow life. It would satisfy for a few minutes, or help me to forget my problems temporarily, but they weren’t gone just hidden. People who get involved with many addictions can tell you they help for a time. But your life is still there and the addictions can spiral. They get stronger and you get weaker. You have less and less control over your life. I also worked a lot. I would feel the need to work even on the weekends and would miss church. You think you are doing the right thing. It’s my job right? I have responsibilities and bills. I worked with my husband so I felt I needed to be there for him. These were all deceptions of the enemy. I believe my stroke was a wake up call. I almost died and I was not where I should have been. I didn’t die though because God knew just where I was headed and he knew the best was yet to come. And he knew all I would do for him. He didn’t give up on me and he won’t give up on you.

Are you living a life worthy of all you have been given?

God Is Good

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.” Nahum 1;7-8 NIVp

God is good. He cares for his children and always hears when we cry out to him. He does not like to see his children hurting. Especially at the hand of wicked and evil people. That’s how he is , He always brings punishment on those who are evil, sinners. Eventually judgement will come. Nineveh was a very worldly and corrupt city. Their reputation preceded them. That is why God asked Jonah to prophesy the destruction he had for them. But Jonah said no way and ran the other way. God sent a big storm to follow him . God always knows what we are up to. You can not hide from God. When the people found out he was running away from God they had no choice but to get him out of their ship. They still cried out to God to forgive them for throwing him overboard. But the minute he was out of the ship the seas grew calm. God is powerful. They were stunned. Well we all know what happened next. After three days in the belly of a fish yelling at God he agreed to go to Nineveh . He had not wanted to go because he knew God to be very merciful and loving. He knew if he warned them then they would cry out to Him and he would stop from sending judgement . They were so wicked that he thought they should pay. Well the minute he agreed to go, poof, he was on dry land. He headed for Nineveh and poured his heart out to the people letting them know all God had told him. Well you know what happened? They cried out to God for forgiveness and turned from their evil. And he forgave them. Jonah knew it. He was so upset he went just outside the city and sat down to pout. “Just kill me, I knew you would do that. I would be better off dead.,” he said. Well God let him sit there and fume for a while, but God sent a plant to grow up over his head to shield him from the burning sun. The next day when he woke up a worm came munching on that plant and it died. Well now Jonah was real mad. But God asked him why he was so angry? You didn’t make that plant. It was just an old plant so why should you care. You see that city is full of thousands of people that I made. Some were good and some were bad but I loved them. That’s why I had to warn them. Even when we are evil sinners. God still cares about us. If you come to Him and ask him to forgive you for bad tings you have done, even if they are really bad. If you are sorry for those sins he will forgive you.

Don’t you want to be on God’s side?

Thy Will Be Done

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2: 15-17 NIV

As I grow in my relationship with the Lord my ways have changed so much. Things that used to matter don’t matter anymore but his ways matter more and more to me. I just don’t care much for things anymore. I like nice things don’t get me wrong. I just don’t bust my butt to get things anymore. I’ve come to learn that who I am and where I’m at is more important.

I moved to this retirement home in 2006 and was looking forward to hard work and getting my life back. Going home. I struggled to do little things. My legs just did not want to do what I wanted them to do. It was depressing. I remember when a case worker told me one day, “Get used to it your not getting out of here.” That comment ate at me for a long time.

I felt like God had punished me and even if I deserved it my life stunk. I was getting out of here one way or another. I kept an open mind and tried to do everything I could. I was always finding ways to help out around here. I wrote a book about what happened to me. About my stroke and what I went through. It helped so many people see it from different eyes.

I got to know so many people here. They kept asking when I was going to write another book. Me? I’m not a writer? But after time God gave me another book. It was like being dictated to. God spoke and I typed. It was good I loved it. It was a very awesome time. People loved it. I followed it up with another one. Currently I am working on a devotional with a good friend. God taught me so much over time.

The more I trust him and pray that he will use me in his ways, the more he does and my life is so blessed. I may have lost many things in my life but my life is better than ever. He is using me and blessing me more than I could imagine. I see things differently now. I have so many friends who have become family. I love doing whatever I want and being retired. I don’t even have to do the cooking and cleaning. I feel at times like a spoiled kid.

A spoiled Kings kid.

Do you want to really live? And know it’s forever?

He Cares for Us

‘In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them.’ Isaiah 63:9 NIV

When we suffer he cares. In this life we will have trials. That is a given. But when we suffer he blesses us with his presence. Knowing he is with us can bring comfort. Knowing we are not alone and that he will help us is important for strength. When we are weak he can be strong.

When I am dealing with hard things such as my health and pain it always helps to know he cares and he will in his time bring about what is best for me. His best is always more than I expect. He loves me and as I focus on being the best me I can be for him he wants to bless me.

He always is doing special things for me. Whenever I think I am going to need something a special gift I never expected will show up. Like this week the bag of chocolates I got for Christmas was almost gone. I had really enjoyed having a little treat after lunch each day and even though I can do without. A package came from my daughter of a large bag of chocolates.

Just God’s way of sending blessings my way. Extra special blessings. I always say thank you. And I feel that he cares always.

I had pneumonia a few months back and it came on quickly and strong. One minute I was enjoying time at church with friends and feeling fine. Then at dinner I felt dizzy and nauseous. I had to go to bed. I kept feeling worse and worse. This had never happened before and I thought I was having a heart attack.

I had to trust that God knew what was wrong and that he was in charge. But that didn’t happen at first. I gave myself a panic attack first. I felt my heart race and knew I needed to relax. God helped me fall asleep when I thought I couldn’t. He helped me rest over the next few days even when my roommate was loud.

They did lots of tests and assured me that in time I would be fine. It took about three weeks before I got to feeling like myself again. Dizziness and plugged ears almost drove me crazy. God was with me though. It just took a lot of rest.

Recently as I prepared to go to the conference at church I awoke In the night worrying about everything that could go wrong. My ride being late. Not being able to open doors and get around on my own. I laid awake for quite some time thinking of everything that could go wrong.

I finally said a prayer that he would take care of all my needs. I reminded myself that he had it under control and I had nothing to worry about. As the conference came and went it went off without a hitch. Better than I ever expected. I had a great time.

Let him take your cares for he does care for you.

His plans

Everyone is very special to God.  We were all made in his image. That is why we can all live our lives to the fullest. He knew us before we were ever born. He sees the big picture. He is looking through a wide lens. Everything that will make us the best we can be is all planned out.

We have a very important purpose. God knows before anything ever happens how his plan will work best. It would work perfectly if we did everything right. Problem is that we are not perfect. We are all given free will to do as we want. Life is a learning process that lasts till our very last breath.

The people we are around as we grow. The time we were born. Where we were born. Our choices that we make. All these things make us who we are. For every action God has a consequence for us. Good behaviors bring blessings. Bad behaviors will bring more challenges and trials.

God is not surprised by any of these life choices. Good or bad he sees them coming and adjusts our lives with his love and care. Making our lives work out for our best.

He is not just concerned about us but about everyone. Our lives do impact everyone else’s.

Take a family for example. I have one sister and two brothers. I was the first born to my parents. They were good Christians and my grandfather was a Baptist minister. All these things made me who I was and the relationships I had with each member of my family touched each ones lives.

Slowly I was becoming who he made me to be. Trials come to teach us. Just as we go through school from grades kindergarten till we finish High school. These trials are meant to help us grow. They come with tests that we need to pass to move us to the next level.

Some move quickly and others take more time. Molding us and making us just right.

We can trust that God knows just what he is doing. He can keep our life on track just as he keeps billions of other lives on track.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. “ Jeremiah 29:11   NIV

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

We continue to be special because of every life we touch. It is so easy to say, “ if only this happened”, or “I did this differently.” We might not see our lives as good.

God sees the whole picture though, remember. He is making our lives count.

Lord God,

Please help me to stick with your plans, help me to do your will. To be the best I can be. Make my life make a difference in the lives of others.

Amen

Attitude of gratitude

It’s that time of year again. Hard to believe but it is already time for thanksgiving this Thursday. Time to spend with family and friends enjoying what God designed from the very beginning when he said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” Fellowship and enjoying others is so important to a satisfied life.

Living every day with an attitude of gratitude and gratefulness can really make a great difference in our quality of life. People spend a lot of time and money trying to enjoy life. I heard it said that it really comes down to 10% of how life treats you and 90% of the attitude you have to that life. So true.

We all have trials and tough situations to face. They bring growth to our lives. We can dwell on the negative or we can look at the positive. I never wanted to be a recovering stroke victim. Unable to walk or even stand. One good hand, poor speech that is very hard to understand. Not much control over body functions.

I have to live in an old folks home away from my family. I don’t see my grandkids that much and my ex-husband has moved on. I have plenty to be bitter about. People tell me life has dealt me an unfair hand but I want my remaining years to be happy and fulfilled. I want my days joyful.

My life is what it is. God has given me a good life. A life that is designed just for me and what is truly best for me. All good and perfect gifts come from the father above. I truly believe that.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. He is right there beside me helping me.

Every day I want to do God’s perfect will for my life. To be able to further his kingdom and touch everyone I come in contact with for God. This is the cry of my heart every morning.

I may be totally helpless when I am flat on my back in bed but when I am up in my electric wheelchair I am very independent. It has taken years of work to get there. But I feel blessed. It could be so much worse. I am used to the life I live. Every minute of every day I see things I can be thankful for.

Quiet is one thing in my life right now that I cherish. It lets me spend time talking to God and also hearing him speak to me. I also have a roommate who watches television 24/7 and with poor hearing it is very loud so I spend all day outside enjoying God’s handiwork.

Living in Arizona we have nice weather most of the year and since I’ve lived here my whole life I enjoy even 100 degree days so only a few weeks am I indoors.

The home I live in is my family. I know everyone and care very much about their lives.

I have my meals prepared, my room and home cleaned, my laundry done and most every need met. My time is free to spend as I want. If I want to sleep all day I can or get up early.

I so love to spend quality time with my children and grandkids. They all live out of town but like to visit. My oldest lives in Ohio but married an airline pilot so I see her a lot. With Facebook I can check in on them anytime.

I have a friend that always reacts to everything coming his way and always negatively. “Oh, I’m not very good today.”  It really worries me how he can be so miserable so much of the time. That is not a good way to live.

I have some really great friends and I love my church and church family. God also has given me favor with people. He has shown me that I am good at encouraging others. It is my calling. I love to write and God has helped me to be good at it. I never would have envisioned my life as it is now but he knows me better than I do.

I am a better person than I thought I could be but then he knows what I’m capable of.

I can’t wait for what is next.