2016 in REVIEW

img_1620Dear Friends: Just a note of wishing you a very blessed Christmas and most happy New Year. Have you ever glanced back over your shoulder while moving forward? This is what I’ve been doing recently as we approach the close of 2016. Mostly I’m just feeling blessed for family and friends and the many relationships I have in life.  The Lord has blessed me beyond measure.

My Family – Laura, Bill, Will, Grace & Paul

  • The year began with an amazing birthday party from friends who wanted to celebrate my life. Women came alongside to celebrate our friendship and fellowship in Christ through church, bible study, and neighboring.  It was a wonderful time of rest, prayer, and refocus on life.

Friends – Birthday Party

  • Just as I began to gain momentum, I was approached to travel to Africa…AFRICA! I   still can’t believe I made it there and back again.  There were so many needs and deficits in Uganda and Kenya.  Yet, the African people displayed so well the purpose of community through their similar needs.  Their voices often lifted in song as we arrived at each village.  The Western culture could learn so much from their helping one another.  I watched their faith in Jesus play out in their simple, though very hard life.  Walking as many as six miles a day to collect water for food and cleaning. (This makes the drought in Texas seem so trite in comparison.)


Pastor Raymond

  • Meeting with Pastor Raymond in Uganda will always be a favorite memory.  He is such a man of God, pastoring twelve churches each week and some many miles from his home. He ministers to his flock by way of a bicycle and did I mention he also farms as a means of income for his family? During the drought this year many were thankful to have only one meal a day.
  • Back home I am feeling grateful to work with friends in the prayer ministry of Jehovah Rapha.  This ministry comforts and nourishes my soul.  Praying for and with individuals in their need is most rewarding.  Seeing our Lord work in their lives affirms His many promises of always being with us to care, love, and protect.
  • As the year comes to a close, another opportunity is presenting itself through Partners Against Child Trafficking, (PACT).  Being available to assist and bring public awareness to the community of the devastating affects of child trafficking victims is a daunting task. Serving on the board of directors offers an opportunity to help put a plan in place to rescue the wounded and give voice to the broken hearted.  2017 gives hope for the least of those who are most in need.

My New Year prayer is that the Lord might use any new opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus in helping and comforting those in need.  In looking ahead, I’m wondering what other door will be opened in 2017. It’s been a good year and no doubt the Lord will provide another. In closing, I’m wishing a very good year for you as well. May His face shine upon you and fill your hearts with His joy, peace and love.



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“Imagine Heaven” authored by John Burke

Many of you know John Burke as pastor of Gateway Church here in Austin, TX, or you may recognize him as author of Unshockable Love, No Perfect People Allowed, and Soul Revolution. His latest book, Imagine Heaven captures the love of Christ from a different perspective.

All of us long to know what life after death will be like. Burke is no exception and in his book entitled Imagine Heaven, compares over 100 gripping stories of near-death experiences (NDEs) to what Scripture says about our biggest questions of Heaven: Will I be myself? Will I see friends and loved ones? What will Heaven look like? What is God like? What will we do forever? What about children and pets?

The central theme of the Bible is God desiring a relationship of love with you and me and every person created. But love requires several things — freedom, risk, and choice.  God pours out his heart to Jeremiah the prophet when the people he loves keep rejecting him to love and worship other things.”

“I have loved you with an everlasting love I have drawn youth unfailing kindness… Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 31:2, 20)

One of the greatest indications that the God NDErs describe is the God of the Christian Scriptures is how they depict their life review in His presence. Despite vividly seeing all their deeds, good and evil, and all the relational ripple effects of both, they do not experience a Being who desires to condemn. They experience a compassion coming from the Being of Light.

Many NDErs experienced the same love and some realized they had been living for their own agenda and repented.  Jesus is the God of light, of love, of forgiveness. Burke reminds us, He wants all people from all nations to turn back to him, but He won’t force us.  He respects our free will.  The book also records NDE interviews with those who did not experience the light but ultimate darkness. These interviews did not experience beings of light but beings of  darkness and their deeds of depravity.

Some NDErs are well known and others are not.  Some NDE experiences have been made into movies and others have written books.  Mary Neal, the surgeon who died kayaking, asked this questions: “…when I was speaking with Jesus in the sun-drenched field, I asked him why everyone on earth wasn’t given the same experience that I was having…His amused response reiterated Jesus’ comments to Thomas, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (John 20:29)

Burke reminds the reader, “God’s promise is that all who seek him wholeheartedly will find relationship with Him, because God created you and me for a uniquely special relationship. We don’t have to wait for eternity. You enter into that relationship by faith.

Other NDEs recorded are renowned surgeons, professional pilots, established businessmen who have returned with the same experience of the love of Christ.  We all want to know what happens after death.  This book records experiences of  the NDEr who came back from death with an experience of love or despair.  John Burke reminds us, there will be a day of judgement and those who deny the love of God while on earth will live eternally as they’ve chosen to live on earth. Their existence will be without the presence of God and His light. This book asks the ultimate question, says Burke, “Are you prepared for life after death? People can’t imagine heaven, so they don’t live for it.” 


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Reflections on Uganda and Kenya Mission Trip

Reflections on Uganda & Kenya Mission Trip or
Journey of Reluctant African Traveler June 8-25, 2016

How does one respond to a call of the Lord to go into an area of the world you never even thought about visiting. After all it’s a continent half a world away. My friend Dale McPherson first approached me about joining his family, wife Alba, and four teenagers to go into Uganda and Kenya on a mission trip. He asked me to pray about it.  After the initial shock and being sure I knew the answer, I said “OK, I’ll pray about it.” Well, what is the first thing you do when you are a life-long comfortable committed Christian? First, you question whether that’s really from the Lord…after all it’s something that is way out of my comfort zone, and I’m use to being comfortable. I have been grateful that I could support others going into difficult parts of the world, and thanked the Lord for not calling me to go. So, my prayer went something like this, “Lord, You don’t want me to go to Africa, do you? After all, I just turned 75 and there are much younger people who are more experienced and travel better than I do. You know I can’t sleep on a plane, and it’s a very long way to fly half-way around the world. What about all those shots I have to get to keep from getting all those diseases in Africa, like Malaria, Typhoid, Yellow Fever…Yikes!” But again, like any faithful follower of Christ, you say out of an obedient heart, “I’ll do what you want me to do, I just want it to be clear.” It took a while for clarity to come, but obviously the answer was “GO!” Really Lord? “Okay, but I don’t want to know anything about all the dangers that could be lurking when I get there. I don’t want anybody talking to me about scary things. I just want to pack my bags, get on the plane and deal with what I deal with when I get there, trusting that if You want me to go, You will protect and provide for my needs.”

A friend recommended I read Kisses From Katie, about a young 18 year old American girl who went on a mission trip to Uganda, had her heart changed, stayed and adopted 14 true orphans. Her journey was difficult and she faced many challenges in living in a new culture and extreme poverty areas. I began to be convicted that the Lord wasn’t calling me to move there, just go and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those He’s called us to mIMG_0726inister with. At that point I became excited and even eager.

  • Emotions: In the beginning there were many emotions. I was excited, enthusiastic, grateful and thrilled at the opportunity to go into an unknown territory at the Lord’s leading. Also, hopeful for bringing the light of Christ to the darkness of pain and poverty.
  • Poverty: After arriving, then driving through miles of poverty, I began to feel overwhelmed and shocked at the lack of infrastructure. There were poor roads, shacks for homes, lack of necessities, an extreme low level of poverty, unemployment, and poor health resources. Disgusted and frustrated at the lack of government support for the people (i.e. high taxes, but no money put into infrastructure if their tribes didn’t support the president). The people were subject to government rules, but even voting was made difficult.
  • Inadequate: I felt inadequate to make any kind of difference and felt vulnerable to disease and being close to high crime areas. Hopeless to have a long lasting impact, due to generational oppression, but trusting God’s provision. I was worried that I may not be able to communicate since I didn’t know the language and many didn’t speak IMG_0730English. Confused as to how to do what we were asked to do, especially praying for major life threatening health issues when they had little opporuntiy to get help.
  • Welcome: Immediately I felt connected to the African people. We were welcomed, appreciated, and accepted in each encounter whether in cities or villages. We experienced an open and friendly reception at each village.  We were greeted with song and reverence, even though they had been waiting in a hot sun for a long time for us to arrive.
  • Respected and Valued: Many women and children were kneeling as we were greeted in the villages. We were also greeted with excitement and song. It was important to them that we took the time and effort to come to their remote villages, which is a rarity. They were trusting us for prayer and healing. The only way we could minister the way we did, was because we were covered in prayer and empowered by the Holy Spirit each challenging step of the way. I was totally outIMG_0724 of my comfort zone and prayed for strength and provision of the Lord.

Trip details: Left Austin on June 8 in the afternoon to fly to London where we spent the night, leaving on the 11th to Nairobi through Rwanda and on to Entebee on the 11th. Met Jack, our driver, who took us to our hotel for few hours sleep before the long five hour drive to Masindi. We went to a grocery store for water and supplies and exchanged money. We met Pastor Raymond after getting settled in our cabins where I roomed with Meghan. I had a gecko in my bed, a yellow jacket nest on our door, and later found a big wasp that I killed with a protein bar.

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How do you process the possibility of a life-changing diagnosis?

How do you process the possibility of a life-changing diagnosis? Last week I had an unexpected possible diagnosis due to my concern of having some double vision. I thought it might have something to do with my mono-vision not working well. My eye doctor was concerned enough to order an MRI to rule out a stroke or brain tumor. I appreciate his professional concern, but WOW! I just went in thinking I might need reading glasses, not expecting that it might be something far more serious.MRI machine

How do you process the possibility that a diagnosis like that could change the current trajectory of my life and what I thought it would look like for the next few years. Yes, I know I turned 75 in February and have been really blessed with a long, healthy and blessed life.  But, am I ready to face the end by maybe getting sick with something as debilitating as a stroke or brain tumor?

Here are some of the thoughts that went through my mind as I had to wait several days before I could get the results from the MRI.

  • Lord, are you through with me? Somehow I think you still have things for me to do in the ministries I have been involved in.
  • What do I need to start doing with all my stuff, books, counseling materials, etc?
  • What am I leaving for my daughter to deal with? I don’t want to add more to her plate than she already has.
  • I have things I want to do with my grandchildren since I’m the only living grandparent.
  • I have numerous things still on my “Bucket List” that I would like to do.
  • If I have a debilitating disease, what will I choose to do? I have seen many of my friends go through the aftermath of chemo and radiation and still die, often from complications of the treatments that were to prolong their life. The quality of life at the end was strongly compromised.
  • Since I am a widow, who will take care of me? I never want to be a burden on my family or friends.
  • What do I have left to do to make things better for my family?  I have taken care of my Will, how do I take care of those I love?
  • I refuse to live in fear and have it control my thoughts.  Claiming the promise that “God has not given me a “spirit of fear”, but love power and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • What is causing these symptoms? What can I do to help build the strength of my eyes?
  • While getting the MRI, I did a lot of praying as the machine made it’s loud banging noises, so that was a good thing. My family, friends and counselees all got covered well during that time in the tunnel.

Praise the Lord, the MRI showed that there was no stroke or brain tumor!  For that, I am grateful. The truth is none of us know whether we have tomorrow and need to live today to the fullest by loving and serving others as the Lord leads. It is very sobering to process how you are living life and see what changes in perspective need to be changed or altered.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure you, my brothers (sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Do you have similar questions? If so, I would like to hear from you.



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The Multiple Gifts of Gratitude

I wanted to share an article from “Abundant Gifts” which gives multiple quotes on “Gratitude”.  It suggests journaling our appreciation for the daily gifts in our life that will eventually change our perspective.

“Science has discovered many benefits of gratitude. If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner

“I am often surprised when I think to count my graces, for the more I count, the more there seem to be.  And if pride in my accomplishments is the emotion that I naturally feel when I focus on my gifts, gratitude is the emotion I feel as I become aware of the many graces that have shaped me and my gifts.” — Susan Wittig Albert

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” — Karl Barth

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” — Brian Tracy

“Just as millions of snowflakes pile up to create a blanket of snow, the ‘thank you’s’ we say pile up and fall gently upon one another until, in our hearts and minds, we are adrift in gratitude.” — Daphne Rose Kingman

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” — French Proverb

“Gratitude is the lens that sharpens our ability to see the gifts and the graces of our lives as more real than the material world to which we are often tethered.  Gratitude energizes us for living more fully in the middle of the life we have been given as we become more practiced as finding God there.” — Ruth Barton

“True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us, and not to tell Him what we have done for Him.” — George R. Hendrick

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength.  Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living.  If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself” –Tecumseh

Journal Your Gifts Each Day

Journal Your Gifts Each Day

“God is inclined to bestow blessedness, and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.” — A.W. Tozer

“Taste and see the Lord is good…” –Psalm 34:8  Do you ever long to see or feel the personal love of God?  When your life appears to become unraveled around the edges, write your blessings down in a daily journal.  Take a few minutes each day to list “gifts” received that day.  Jot down anything you felt was a blessing that day.  Perhaps it was an encouraging word or a prayer answered in your life or for others.  When we journal our thankfulness for gifts it changes our life’s perspective.

“Once you begin to look for God’s gift, His tokens of that generous spirit that loves to bless His beloved children, you will begin to feel loved unconditionally.”

This article was taken from www.abundant-gifts.com/benefits_of_gratitude.html 9/1/2012

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Emotional Freedom from Stress

Can you imagine what it would be like not to sleep all night for 30 years due to nightmares and painful flashbacks from trauma stuck in your system? I viewed training videos of aging Viet Nam Vets in their 50’s and 60’s who were finally able to sleep without sleep aides, freed from war nightmares.  Other people were claiming they no longer had chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, headaches or years of grief over loss of a loved one, and even addictions were helped.

We were all touched on some level following Robin Williams’ suicide, however, twenty-two vets commit suicide every day.  My initial response to both of these facts was, “You’ve got to be kidding!” I was very skeptical and personally had a whole set of beliefs and a paradigm shift I had to sort through.  The more I studied, the more excited I became about using EFT techniques with clients.  I couldn’t argue with the results!

EFT or “Emotional Freedom Technique”, is like acupuncture but without needles.  Theory is that all negative emotion is caused by an imbalance in the body’s energy balance.  EFT works on balancing both sides of the brain.  The “right” side of the brain is where we store emotions, and the “left” side is our logical processing side.  Say you have a trauma such as a car wreck.  This event can get stuck in the right lobe making you hyper vigilant and anxious.  The EFT process seems to bring the anxiety down so you can access the logical side more easily.

I decided to test my new theory and see if it could help me with a thirty year “stuck emotion”.  As a twenty-one year old college sophomore, my eighteen month old sister, Laurie Ann, that I loved as my own died after a brief illness.  I became angry, bitter and resentful that my mother or the doctor wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to explain that Laura was sick enough to die.  They just dismissed me as neurotic over this baby.  There was no way I could begin to express how angry I was.  My words then could have caused deep wounds in my family, and it wouldn’t bring her back.  So, I never talked about it to anyone.

So for thirty years I carried the guilt and anger of her death. I also developed anxiety any time one of my daughter’s got a stomach virus or ran a fever. I would immediately take them to the doctor even though I didn’t trust doctors anymore.

After my first EFT session, the pain, anger and guilt was gone to my utter surprise!  Strangely, my perspective changed also and I could see things in a totally different light.  The deep grief was released.  Needless to say this got my attention…big time!  My clients started benefitting from all that I had learned as I gradually integrated the practice of EFT.

We don’t have to look far to see what’s happening to health in our country.  Have you noticed how many clinics and hospitals have opened in Austin in the last ten years? Dr. Bruce Lipton, Stanford University graduate of cellular biology says, “Stress is the cause of at least 95% of illness and disease.  The remaining 5% is genetic and caused by stress somewhere in the ancestry of person.” The US Government CDC’s website says,”Ninety percent of disease is related to stress”. Harvard Medical School website says, “Chronic stress is linked to heart disease, stroke and may influence cancer and chronic respiratory disease.”

We have a choice of how we respond to negative thoughts and situations. Negative attitudes create more chronic stress than anything else. Brain chemicals like endorphins which are required for good or happy feelings are depleted.  We start overproducing cortisol, a stress hormone and that is what starts tearing down our immune system, that’s usually when the weakest area of our body is affected.

Thoughts In Our Head

Difficulty is Part of Life

Difficulty is just a part of  life.  Are you holding on to bitterness and un-forgiveness toward someone today?  Did someone do something that hurt you that you need to forgive?  Un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.  It’s as toxic as drinking dirty water from Mexico…it will make you sick!

If you’re at a place in life that needs healing, this may be the new beginning you’ve been looking for to deal with emotional stress.

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3 Secrets to Shielding Your Brain from Memory Loss

Most of us want to live a long fruitful life well into our retirement years.  Good health for me would be described as unassisted mobility, sound cognitive skills and energy for my grandchildren.  Memory loss seems to be an accepted trait with aging but an article written by Joshua Corn, CEO of Stop Aging Now, suggests three things we can do to change the way our brain functions in our senior years.

The article attracted me because there are three relatively simple things to shield the brain from memory loss.  He lists alternative health solutions that he claims to be safe, effective and practical.  In some regard it’s nothing new – healthy lifestyle is the best way of warding off cognitive decline or as he refers to it, “brain decay”.

  1. The Brain’s Fountain of Youth – “power of antioxidant CoQ10 is a primary player in energy production and the brain has high demands for cellular energy.” Mr. Corn’s research shows CoQ10 deficiency severely compromises brain function which leads to sluggish thinking and impaired memory.  He quotes from a UCSD study that said proper levels of CoQ10 can slow brain deterioration by 44% and people with high levels have sharper acuity, better motor abilities and more mental energy.  There is also a benefit to the heart and overall energy.
  2. The Omega-3 Fat Your Brain Craves – Unfortunately, this does not give me freedom to eat french fries. Corn says, to have optimal brain function Omega-3 fat DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is critical. What does this mean?  Mr. Corn said as we age our brain lacks the ability to absorb DHA.  The low levels are literally starving your brain, compromising its function and memory retention. Research shows that those suffering from cognitive decline have dramatically lower levels of DHA in their brains.  He sites one study that shows a 60% decrease in cognitive decline in those who had a regular intake of DHA.
  3. One of the Most Powerful Brain Protectors – Curry Spice Tumeric.  Did you know that India has the highest consumption rate of curry spice turmeric in the world?  India also has one of the lowest rates of cognitive decline in the world, with a death rate 8 times lower than that of the U.S.  So, what’s the connection, you may ask?   Corn says the answer lies in a powerful antioxidant called curcumin, which is found in the root of the turmeric plant.  One study shows that curcumin is one of the most powerful natural brain protection substances on the planet. It boosts antioxidant enzymes in the brain and slows neurodegeneration.  Another study shows that cur-cumin memory and acts as a potent inflammation fighter.  Who wouldn’t want that in their head?

Mr. Corn firmly believes that CoQ10, DHA and curcumin are the best tools available for your brain’s optimal function along with healthy eating, exercise and keeping your mind active.  He advises not to just take the supplement. He provides some quick tips:

  1. CoQ10 – Many supplements contain “fake” CoQ10 synthesized from tobacco.  Look for the words “transform” to make sure it’s natural CoQ10.  Don’t take less than 100 mg per day.
  2. DHA – Lots of DHA supplements have too little DHA to be beneficial.  100mg is a good amount.  His preference is plant-based DHA, so he doesn’t worry about pollutants like mercury.
  3. Curcumin – The good “stuff” in churchmen is curcuminoids.  Look for a supplement that provides about 200mg per day and is standardized to 95% total curcuminoids for maximum benefit.

Our brain is one of the most vital parts of our body and this article by Joshua Corn points out the wisdom of researching ALL supplements to our diet.  Though I’ve taken vitamins and supplements for different ailments on and off over time, I never realized that some things in a jar labeled “good” can actually be fake.  Snake oil relived, I suppose.

Footnotes: Special Advertiser Supplement “3 Secrets to Shielding Your Brain fromMemory Loss”

Scientific References:  https://www.alz.org/downloads/facts_figures_2012.pdf; http://www.na.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet; Arch Neurol.2002;59, 1541-50; CNS Spectrums 2007 :12-8; J Nutr. 2008;138:12, 2510-2514; Arch Neurol. 2003 Jul; 60:940-6; Ann Neurol. 1997 Nov, 42: 776-82; Lipids. 1991 June 26:421-5; http://www.wordlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/alzheimers-dementia/by-country/Int Psychogeriatr. 2001; 13, 439-50; J Clin Pschopharmacol. 2008 Feb 28:110-3; Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Feb;37:289-305



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Soul Ties

Terri Savalle Foy gives four indicators of Wrong Soul Ties.

She says, “Many adults who are in wrong relationships, admit that it’s wrong but can’t seem to move on.  Even our teens have crossed the line with various partners and don’t know how to make things right.  Old flames have re-kindled an inappropriate secret romance.  They grieve in their soul when that person rejects them, moves on to someone else, or God clearly instructs them to end things.  To put it mildly, soul ties are very powerful.

What is a “Soul Tie”?

A soul tie is an emotional bond or connection that unites you with someone else.  You can become bound to a person through your soul.  Have you found yourself tormented by thoughts about a person, excessively wondering about them, checking on them, rehearsing times with them?  If so, you have soul ties.  Have you grieved over a severed relationship with someone you were once close to?  If, you have soul ties.

Soul ties are formed through close friendships, through vows, commitments and promises, and through physical intimacy.  Not all soul ties are bad.  God wants us to have healthy relationships that build us up, provide wisdom, and give godly counsel.  God will strategically bring good relationships into our lives to form healthy soul ties. “When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own life” (1Sam 18:1 (AMP).  In contrast, Satan always brings counterfeits into our lives to form unhealthy soul ties.

Here are a few ways unhealthy soul ties can be formed:

  • Abusive relationships (physically, sexually, emotionally, verbally)
  • Adulterous affairs
  • Sex before marriage
  • Obsessive entanglements with a person (giving them more authority in your life than you give to God)
  • Controlling relationships

Four Indicators of Wrong Soul Ties

  1. “I feel so confused.”
    You are outside the will of God in a particular relationship, you will experience confusion.  Your feelings will tell you one thing; your spirit will tell you another.  That’s where the confusion comes in.  “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1Cor 14:33, KJV).  If you are not experiencing peace in this relationship or “soul tie”, then something is not right.  That is the Holy Spirit warning you and working to get your attention.  You need to respect these warnings. They are not to be brushed off or treated as a small thing. Honor the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life. You should not feel confused if you are in the will of God, and honestly, why would you want to be any other place? When you are confused about a relationship, you can make unwise, regretful decisions. You need to take purposeful steps in feeding your spirit the truth of God’s Word. The truth always overrides deception.
  2. “I’m just miserable.”
    When we persist in doing something that we know God is not in agreement with, we will experience a type of misery that doesn’t go away. You may feel uneasy inside, extreme anxiety, sorrow or pain. You may feel disgusted by what you’re doing, yet feel powerless to change your situation. Those are all indicators that Satan is at work in your life to destroy it. David cried out in Psalm 38:8, “I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart.” (NLT). If that describes how you feel when you’re alone, I want you to know there is hope. Psalm 23:3 says, “He restores my soul” (NIV). Those four little words will redefine your life. God will restore your mind, your will and your emotions.
  3. “My mind is tormented.”
    The mind of Christ is one that is at peace no matter what the circumstances. When Satan has invaded our souls through wrong soul ties, our minds will not be at rest. This is where your battle takes place. Is your mind constantly replaying images of the past and rehearsing previous conversations like a broken record? Do your thoughts produce fear or make you feel unclean? Whatever is going on in your mind is affecting your emotional state. Your feelings are indicators of what you are thinking about. Second Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to renew our minds by taking “captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV). I will be the first to admit that this is not easy, but it is necessary. You can do this. As a Christian you can get your thoughts under the control of your reborn spirit. How? By speaking God’s Word out of your mouth every single time a negative thought enters your mind. Don’t just think it, speak it. It can be as simple as saying: “Thank You, Lord, that you restore my soul”… over and over and over. Be persistent. There’s nothing Satan hates more than to hear you speak the Word of God and the name of Jesus out of your mouth!
  4. “I didn’t mean to disobey God…on purpose.”
    If you feel like you have been dealing with a situation for far too long and nothing seems to help you get beyond it, remember this phrase: God will not advance your instructions beyond your last act of disobedience. If you don’t fully obey what God is telling you to do, you will never move beyond your current circumstances. I don’t know what that means to you, but I know what it meant for me years ago. I was desperate to move beyond my circumstances no matter how painful it would be.

Why would we disobey God?

· We doubt our ability to hear from God.
· It hurts too badly.
· It’s uncomfortable.
· It’s not what our flesh “wants” to do.
· We say that we are waiting for God to change us.
· We are waiting for God to change someone else.

Rather than simply obey God, I believe we try to find answers that won’t be uncomfortable. We wait for an easier way, but we stay miserable inside. What is God telling you to do? Be honest with yourself right now. If God was standing in front of you right now, what do you believe He would instruct you to do in your situation? Don’t go another day, month, or year struggling—obey God’s instructions. Remember, partial obedience is still disobedience. Delayed obedience is still disobedience. Do what God is telling you to do knowing ahead of time that it’s always for your benefit. God is not trying to hurt you. He’s trying to help you. He sees what you don’t see. You will never regret obeying God. Never. Your life isn’t over because a relationship is. God wants you to let go of the past and get on a pursuit. He has big dreams for your life.”

If you experience any of the four indicators listed, you may wish to do a little prayerful “soul searching” to determine how to bring your life back into obedience to God. We are His child and we are loved by Him.

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Spirit, Soul, and Body

BODY: Physiological relates to environment or “world-consciousness” of what we feel (i.e.. heat, cold, or stress).

An illustration might be a three-legged stool. Cut off one leg and it becomes unstable, or unbalanced. Another type of illustration might be loaves of bread or a cake. The recipe is balanced with flour, yeast, liquid, and eggs.

Right amount of Kneeding = Spirit
Right number of eggs = Soul
Right amount of Yeast and oil = Body
We need all three to create balance and result in a Lemon Poppy Seed pound cake.

SPIRIT: Spending time with the Lord in Scripture and prayer and asking Him, “What do I need to do to bring balance to my responsibilities and commitments to honor You above all?”  Sometimes He tells us to “be still”. Honestly seeking after Him for balance may surprise you in what He says to you.

Join the Journey, of Hill Country Bible Church, takes a small amount of time but is a powerful tool. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you” Matthew 6:33

SOUL: Relationships with others is our biggest area of struggle.  Do you have unresolved issues of unforgiveness or bitterness that not only hinders relationships but grieves the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives? “See to it that no one misses the Grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defy many.” Hebrews 12:15

If we don’t want to become bitter as an old woman, remember “Dis-Ease” can lead to Disease. A recent survey shows 75-85% of visits to primary care physicians are for “stress related” problems usually.

Not all stress is harmful such as lifting weights, it makes us stronger.  The problem arises when challenges overwhelm our ability to cope with them.  Living without margins or filling the margins with unbalanced activity. The problem comes when challenges overwhelm our ability to cope with them and”Living without Margins” and filling the Margins with unbalanced activity.  Imagine the impact on Health Care if stress were managed.

Here are some Emotional Steps to “De-Stress” –

  1. Live in the here and now.  It’s all we really have.
  2. We’re always looking to the future for something that will bring us happiness.  Remember that Happiness and Happening are from the same root word.  If good things aren’t happening, then we aren’t happy.  “Joy” comes from deeper inner perspective and balance.
  3. No matter who you are, or in what wealth or poverty you live, life will not allow you more than one minute at a time.
  4. God wants us to treasure “this day”, “this time”, who knows what tomorrow holds? Just ask yourself – Is there someone I need to forgive? – Am I holding on to unforgiveness far too long?  Did someone “write on my wall” sending negative messages that I’m still trying to overcome?

Truthfully, our view of life determines how we live, not our circumstances.  It’s what brings us balance.  If you endure a shattered dream, loss, or disappointment, recognize it’s one event in a lifetime of events. This event does not need to define who you are – we are born, go to school, get a job, become married, have children and will have many events until we die.  One event does not have to determine the end of your story.

Personal Choices in Widowhood:  I never planned to be a widow at sixty-four.  Only two and one-half weeks after being diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, my Ron was taken to be with the Lord.  I felt like I had been hit by a MAC Truck. Ron had taken care of all the details of our life, the finances, house maintenance, cars, travel, etc.

We had planned to grow old together, travel enjoy grandchildren and live to be in our 90’s like my dad and his mom. What was I suppose to do now? I relied on God’s promise of “My Grace is sufficient for you”.  It was a daily choice to trust God in this promise and some days I didn’t want to get out of bed.

The life lesson I learned was “What might have been” doesn’t exist. “What is” is what’s important. If we choose to focus only on “If only, my life was different” we’ll get “stuck”.  It then becomes our “comfort zone” and we think it’s the way it “should” be.  Our desire to “control” those around us and our circumstance is a major issue as women.  When we aren’t able to maintain control, like an adult child, a parent, sibling, mate, etc, it raises our stress level.

Life Lessons I’ve Learned:  I have a bi-polar brother and my dad says to me, “fix him”!  Where I have no control, I have no responsibility!  Choosing not to get out of a trap like this and holding on to negative emotions, leads to anxiety and depression.  “Anxiety” is fear of tomorrow and “Depression” is anger about the past.  Also, fatigue, irritability, moodiness, could be warnings signs you need to heed, says “Imbalance”.  Some studies indicate that repressed anger burns up large amounts of Vitamin C, leading to a compromised immune system which makes us more susceptible to illness.  Don’t let anxiety and depression get an ugly grip on you.  It’s toxic to you emotionally and physically. It’s important to talk to a trusted friend, spouse, or someone you respect before it takes over your emotional and physical well-being.

Changing our words can help change the way we think such as the “Can’ts” to “Won’ts”

  • I “can’t” communicate with my husband
  • I “can’t” discipline the kids like I should
  • I “can’t” stop overeating
  • I “can’t” forgive
  • I “can’t let go of the bitterness (bitter old woman?)

If you change your “can’ts” to “won’ts”, you quit deceiving yourself and at least live more in reality.  Ask yourself, “Why can’t I do these things? What is holding me back?”  More times than not you will realize you have more choices than you previously believed.  Remember, Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength”.  There’s a Greek Proverb, “The heart that loves is always young.”  Don’t we all want to stay as young as we can?

Here are a few ways to maintain positive connections.

  • Be kind.  You don’t need to know specifics of a person’s burden to know it may feel very heavy.
  • No matter how big the fault of another person, there is something worthy, even if you can’t see it.  Learn to extend Grace.
  • Celebrate the temporary.  Today is all you have, celebrate your children and if married, your husband.  He may not be here tomorrow.
  • If you want to change the way you feel about someone, change the way you treat them and watch what happens, mainly in you.  Pray for them.

Our “BODY” is defined in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 as a temple of the Holy Spirit. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own, you were bought with a price, therefore, honor God with your body.”

Magazines and news programs tell us a “Balanced Life” is living with less physical stress. Here are some practical physical steps to reduce stress:

  • Take time for “TLC”, smell the roses in life, have a hot bath, turn on calm music, read a good book, journal your thoughts, meditate or have quiet time.
  • Do deep breathing exercises. It oxygenates the cells. Try it!
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar. Stress makes us want comfort food.
  • Sleep more.  One and half hour increments is nine hours of healing.
  • Drink lots of water
  • Exercise 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times a week. This fights illness.
  • Eat healthy, incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • A laugh a day may keep the doctor away.  Dr. Joseph Mercola says, “Watching a funny movie can increase blood flow as much as a 15-20 minutes workout.”

FINALLY – Get rid of the writings on your walls.  Negative messages from mom, dad, teachers, friends that say “you have to do it all, have it all, be it all, be perfect” to be significant.  This is Satan’s lie that works against God’s design for us as women.  Who does God say I am?  He says I am His child.

I encourage you to process some of what you have read today.  Ask God what is His message for you and then seek to make whatever changes you feel will make your life look and feel more balanced.  Your family will thank you, your friends will thank you, and your body will thank you.  The Spirit, Soul, and Body all need balance just like ingredients that go into our baking bread.






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The Problem of Negativity

The popular belief is people need to express their feelings of frustration to effectively process anger.  Some therapist believe anger unexpressed is a sign of not being honest with yourself.  However, Mark Waldman, in his book Words Can Change Your Brain, says “…brevity keeps the emotional centers of the brain from sabotaging a conversation. Anger is averted before it begins, and, besides anger rarely works. Expressing anger is destructive, but this does not mean that we should completely repress negative feelings…” Negativity is very powerful and hurtful comments can easily slip out.

Waldman suggests “reframing each negative feeling and thought by shaping it into a positive, compassionate and solution-based direction. In each conversation express frequent comments of appreciation. The more the better, however, they need to be heartfelt and genuine. Speak of positive events and steer clear of complaining about the world. The brain simply can’t focus on both negative and positive feelings at the same time.”  If we desire to have our work relationships and lives flourish we must maintain the highest ‘positivity ratio’ during communication and ditch the negativity.

Few words of anger have ever ended with a positive outcome.  Even  if we tell ourselves we feel better afterward, the fallout is negative. Angry words spoken, can’t be taken back. The reframing technique during a heated topic works. It takes practice but speaking slowly with sincerity and truth reviewing the facts helps defuse or limit escalation and anger. When I see a co-worker trying hard to accomplish a goal, I’m more apt to try harder myself. I’m inclined to think the same applies in communication.

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