WOMEN, EMPOWER YOURSELVES!

My mother was a trailblazer of her time. She was a strong woman who had a rough time growing up herself. She taught me the only things you can count on in life are your fingers and yourself.  (I count on the Lord).  My mother drilled into my head the value of an education, a college degree, and a good career.  She never wished to be one of those women reliant on a man to support her. She worked hard and, opened her own business. My mom became a widow in 1961 when I was 13 months old, leaving my mother to raise me and my ten-year-old sister.  Fortunately, mom had set herself up to be independent. With no life insurance, it was up to her. Government handouts were against her values. As long as she was able, she would work to support her family.
Growing up,  I wanted to get married, have a family and be a stay at home mom.  My sister, being ten years older than I, did just that, although it didn’t work out the way she’d envisioned either.  She had three little boys and a husband who was struggling too, “find himself,” causing my sister to be the main provider.  Nine years and three children later, she turned into a single mom struggling and dependent upon government programs to make ends meet.
My mom passed away when I was 23-years-old, leaving me alone and panicked.  It was now imperative  I marry and a start a family so I wed the first man that came along. He had a stable job, devoted to his family and said he loved me.  While I wasn’t crazy in love with him, I wanted someone to take care of me. What I discovered was, I had married a control freak. He monitored everything I did and every dime I spent. Two years later, we divorced.
My mother’s words came back to haunt me, “You need to have a career that offers full benefits and a retirement fund. You need to rely on yourself. When you depend on government or another person to support you, you give up your power.”  It was now the time I implemented the advice my mother had shared.
I went back to college, earned my master’s degree, became a special education teacher, opened a learning center, published a book and was a speaker/presenter for the National Tutoring Association.
I have endured many struggles and lessons learned in my life. I want to be a trailblazer like my mother was. My mission is to empower women, help them discover their God-given gifts and become what God has created them to be.

Find Your Purpose of Your Life

The purpose of your life is much greater than your achievements, your peace of mind, or your pleasure. It is much bigger than your family, your career, or your aspirations. If you wish to learn why you were called here on earth, you must start with your creator, God. God designed you for His purpose. For thousands of years, people have been searching for the meaning and purpose of their existence, but many never find it. Why? Because they commonly begin at the false starting point, themselves.
When we start with ourselves, we ask self-centered questions such as, “What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my ambitions, dreams, and desires?” By focusing on ourselves, we will unlikely know what God’s purpose for our life is.
Scriptures summarize God’s purpose-filled life;
Love the Lord with all your heart (worship), Love your neighbor as yourself (ministry) Make disciples (evangelism), baptize them (fellowship) and teach them to obey (discipleship).
Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life. God made us to have meaning. Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, we have no goal. God says, “I know what I am planning for you… I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). Our secular society tells us we can be whatever we want to be. Work hard and persist. I wanted to be a professional singer growing up. I was in the school choir in middle school and high school. When Karaoke became popular, I was at the bar on a weekly business just hoping someone would discover me. I can sing but I truly don’t have a professional voice to sell records. God didn’t bless me with that talent. I love art, but I can’t even draw stick figures! To pursue something, I wanted to do instead of tapping in on my gifts that God has given me, would have left me feeling frustrated.
Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. It defines what you do and what you can’t do. Ask yourself, “Does this activity help me fulfill one of God’s purposes for my life?” Without a clear purpose, it is difficult to make the correct decisions. People that don’t know their purpose often try to do too much-causing stress and conflict. For those of you that can never say no to others’ requests, keep in mind, you are here for God’s purpose, not for others. It’s impossible to do everything other people want you to do.
How can you bring glory to God? By worshiping Him, by fellowship and loving others, by becoming like Christ through discipleship, by serving others with our gifts, and by telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ.  God’s purpose for our life is to glorify His name.

Prioritize Your Time. You’ll Never Get It Back

 

Hello Friends!   It’s great to be online and writing again.  A week ago, my computer was dead. I contacted my computer guy to come pick it up and see what was wrong.  He called me two days later to inform me I fried the hard drive, and I needed a new one.  There was more bad news. He could not recover anything from the old hard drive.   I had an external hard drive to back up to, but I assumed it did all that on its own.  WRONG!

I had been writing my first Christian book and had six chapters completed. GONE!  Priceless pictures of our past ten vacations were gone too. However, the Lord was there to reassure me I had nothing to worry about.  “Fear Not,” I heard His small voice say. “Practice patience”.  I was without my computer for five days. It was difficult not being able to blog, especially when I had some wonderful ideas that I wanted to share, but I didn’t back up my ideas on paper either.

During the time I was without my computer, God suggested I focus on other things. As I laid in bed last night, I realized that I had spent more time reading scriptures in the five days than I had in months.  It had been months since I had actually spent any quality time with the Lord.  Oh I’d pray many times throughout the day and would give a shout out to Jesus, but what I had stopped doing was retiring early enough that I would read scripture before bedtime. I’d been so busy with  blogging and learning about social media that I took the time  I once spent in scripture and prayer. This also brought me to another realization that I would like to share with those of you who are parents.

My husband and I went out for dinner last weekend. I noticed that there were several tables of families (mom, dad, children). At every table having one child up to four children all shared the same family trait. Both mother and father were on their cell phones. The older children had their own phones too.  The younger ones sat quietly.  One woman sat with her daughter that was around 8 or 9 years old.  Mom was talking on her phone while her dinner sat untouched. The daughter had finished her meal and was just waiting patiently.  Parents, if this sounds like you, please listen to me.  While cell phones didn’t exist when I was a child, bars did.  My mother would take me out to dinner, sit me in a booth and directed the waitress to let me order whatever I wanted while she sashayed back to the “cocktail lounge.”  I remember feeling hurt that my own mother didn’t want to sit and talk with me. I was self conscious that the adults in the restaurant were staring at me wondering why I was sitting alone. Dinner at home wasn’t much better.  My mom, grandmother and older sister ate in the living room so they could watch the evening news. I was told to  sit in the kitchen  with my dinner because I was too young and I’d make a mess on the carpet or furniture.  I became used to eating by myself and,  as a teenager, I developed an eating disorder that I still battle to this day.

It’s been over 50 years and I still think about my plight every time I see a child of a single parent taking second place to the mother’s cell phone.  Meal time should be family time whenever possible.

How does this all tie together you might be asking?  It all has to do with priorities.  God should always come first in our lives. The Lord gently showed me I had allowed technology to take the special time I used to spend reading the bible and talking to Him.  It’s important to be mindful of our actions and how we spend our time.  God and family should never take a back seat to technology.

Are You Serving Anyone Besides Yourself?

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

This verse came at the precise time this morning. For years I have been wondering what God’s purpose was for my life. Growing up, I had dreams of being an outstanding singer, an actress, a teacher, a public speaker, or a famous writer. I sang in the school choir, acted in our local theatre, became a teacher, opened my own business, and  became a published author and speaker with the National Tutoring Associaiton.  Since the age of 18, I have worked with children and adults with disabilities.

When we moved to Idaho four years ago, I promised God that I would serve Him. For the first year, I stepped out of my comfort zone and volunteered at our church in Children’s ministry, women’s ministry, and benevolence. One or two days a week, I went to our local animal shelter and volunteered to walk dogs. I was happy serving. I loved what I was doing and discovered a new passion.

The following year, my husband and I had to go back into the workforce. I went back to teaching children having autism. While I realized this was a gift from God, I admit I wasn’t always working with a positive attitude. I wanted to serve God volunteering at the church and in the community. I wanted to pursue my dream of writing and becoming a public speaker for the Lord. Because I had to work full time, I could not continue serving in the roles I had held my first year with the church. Now, I was doing the right thing but with the wrong attitude. I wanted to serve the Lord doing what I wanted to do, but the Lord reminded me that when you serve others, you are serving Him. “Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2).

God draws people and opportunities across our path so we can be a blessing to others. Once I got my mind off myself and realized that my occupation was serving God, my attitude changed. We all need to serve where we are with a good attitude. You may feel you want to do something significant, but the small things God calls you to do may be a stepping stone to something bigger. You don’t know where that small step is leading. Promotions don’t come from people, promotions come from God.

When we serve others, we are serving God. If we continue being our best where we are, the blessings will come to us. Never discount the power of serving. You are never wasting time serving others.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

 

 

What Is Your Calling? (Written to me from my best friend)

This was written to me by my friend of 50+ years.  She was a believer long before I came to the Lord.  I wrote her the other day and told her I think I know what my calling is.  This is how she responded.  It was so touching I had to share.  Thank you Sheryl for loving me even through the worst parts of my life. 

These are the thoughts that God put on my heart regarding a person’s “calling.” It seems that this term is actually used incorrectly. I don’t think people necessarily have just one calling in their spiritual life. Some people have many. I think the correct term is more, “What are my gifts that I can use to serve God, and how?”

For all of us, our “calling” is to draw non-believers to the Gospel of Christ and eternal life. All Christians have the same calling. God may use any of our special gifts, which have been given to each of us as He deemed; in any way, and at any time to serve Him. For many people, their gifts are used repeatedly and randomly. Such as someone with the gift of serving, who may make meals for a needy family, and serve in various other random ways. This same person will not have just the one gift, God has given him/her others to use at other times too. If he/she is listening and being obedient to God’s call, that is what is pleasing to God. Some people do have a special calling – those in ministry and missions come to mind. We see them (especially pastors) as having greater gifts than we ourselves possess, but that is not true in God’s eyes. We are all one body and each part of the body is just as important in achieving God’s mission, as the next.

It is not so important that someone finds their calling (if there is one). What is important is that we are in communication with our Father and listening to Him and being obedient to his call. We need to be patient and wait on the Lord. It is all in His timing, even when we would like it to be in ours. When we are serving the Lord – turning all the control over to Him, and waiting for his instruction on what to do next, we won’t flounder around asking, “What does God want me to do with my life?” We are already doing it. We just need to be satisfied in that knowledge.

Battles Along The Way — Take Your Faith With You

We read in the Bible about what this life will be like, it even has it in red letters for us to indicate that these are the words of Jesus…“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 Yet all of us attempt to get through things […]

via Battles Along The Way — Take Your Faith With You

Seek the Light- Take Your Faith With You

In our daily lives we are surrounded by messages of temptations, judgements and propaganda telling us what we should think, what we need to do, what brand of this or that, that a ‘sensible’ person uses. In the era of social media it has evolved into pop-up ads and notifications within streams of other information. […]

via Seek The Light — Take Your Faith With You

Re-Post from Jason Neil Soto

Preached at the San Diego Rescue Mission on Wednesday morning, October 18, 2017. I was reading a quote this week that said, “Change requires energy.” We want change, but doing what it takes to change is hard. We try to change our diet, but having to walk by those cakes and cookies every day? Hard! […]

via Jesus Changes Lives (1 John 3:4-15) — Jason Neil Soto

Is The Word Of God “Hate Speech?”

                      What Is Hate Speech?

 the media repeatedly uses The expression, hate speech, but what is hate speech?  One explanation states; Speech that attacks, threatens, or insults a person or group based on national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. However, I would go one step further. When political leaders, news commentators or celebrities, get into name-calling, criticizing someone’s character, the way they look, dress, or their mannerisms, this is also hateful speech.
 Are you aware our biblical worldview is hate speech according to unbelievers? Scripture defines marriage between a man and a woman. It was God who created marriage. However, by supporting what God established, we are homophobic.
 Society demands tolerance. However, these same individuals do not listen to the alternative position of the argument. They identify those of us that have differing views from non-believers as hate mongers, bigots, homophobes, and many other unattractive labels. They expect us to put our theological beliefs aside in businesses such as bakeries and wedding chapels. “Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you or to Him?” (Acts 4:18-19). So ask yourself, do you want the approval of society (friends, peers, etc.) or do you seek approval from God?   2 Timothy 2:23-26 reminds us, “Have nothing to do with foolish arguments because you know they produce quarrels.”  Don’t fight like the devil for the word of God. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always prepare to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1Peter 3:15) Our God can change us. Remember to always portray the heart of God and the fruit of the spirit.

You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

You are incredible! Did you know that?  The scriptures reinforce what I’m telling you. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14). The media, the food and diet industry all want you to believe there is something wrong with you. They say you-you lack willpower, you have bad genetics, your nose is too big/too small. “Enlarge your breasts, get rid of those lines and wrinkles.  You will never be enough the way you are.” They bombard us with advertisers telling us what’s wrong with us.  But I am here to tell you that God is not a liar. God made you the way you are.  Now, wait, before you decide that “if God wanted me to be thin, He would have given me a better metabolism.”   Let’s be real.  If you have an obesity problem, don’t blame God.  I have battled weight since I was a teenager and I used to blame God too.  The primary reason most Americans are obese has to do with their diet. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys have been charting obesity rates since the 1980s. Their findings point to Americans eating out more, eating more fast foods, drinking more sugary drinks (yes, this includes the fancy coffee drinks) and not practicing portion control.  The unhealthiest foods taste good, they’re cheaper, they serve larger portions and they are easily available.  

God did not create fast food. Man did.  It wasn’t until I was ready to surrender the control of my eating to God that I found successful weight loss. I reminded myself that Satan is a liar and a murderer. He loves nothing more than to hit us with our weakness, mine being sugar. For over 50 years, I ate sugar like an alcoholic drinks liquor.  I spent all my allowance money on candy, I would hide it, lie about it, and I hate to admit this, but I would even steal sweets out of the student’s lunch boxes.  

Satan made me believe I was weak and had no self-control.  I had avoided becoming an alcoholic like my parents.  At 31 years old, I developed type 2 diabetes and had high cholesterol. This was not how God had made me. At 40, I underwent gastric banding and lost 100lbs, but within five years, I had gained 80 of the 100 pounds back.  As I grew in Christ and studied scripture, I discovered that I had to surrender my control of eating to God. When we begin to trust him, we can accomplish so much more than trying to do it ourselves. (Eph. 3:20).  God is the source of our health and healing.  “Do you not know your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)  

I have no control over the natural aging process. I’m getting more wrinkles, my hair is turning white (which until recently I was buying color from a bottle), my eyesight nor my hearing isn’t as good as it was, but I still believe God made me and, in His eyes, I’m beautiful.   

 

Fake News Began in the Bible

 

We hear a lot about “fake news” these days. It has developed into a prominent term for the past three years, but “fake news” is not a unique phenomenon. What precisely does fake news mean? Fake news implies that someone has taken selected facts and misrepresented them by including or withholding information to make you accept their idea of reasoning. Why should we be concerned? The world is seeking to move us toward a way of believing and a way of acting. Their goal is to move use toward their agenda.

If we revert to the garden of Eden, we learn of an enemy who twisted the facts to persuade Eve to eat from the tree rather than following the word of God.   Will you listen to the truth from God or other forces in the world?  Here exists the spiritual battle.  When you believe fake news, you experience the repercussions. There is such a thing as truth.  Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14”6). For other non-Christian believers,  they believe in their truth.  “What’s right for me is right for me and what’s right for you is right for you” and,  Oprah Winfrey has said, “there are many paths to what you call God” and has endorsed new age gurus,  Deepak Chopra, and Eckhart Tolle.

When we present a false narrative, it determines and changes one’s convictions. Fake news impacts your worldview. The scriptures state “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through God, all things were made; In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1:1-4). Whenever I hear non-believers come up with their own beliefs, I must remind myself that when Jesus was living on earth, He revealed to all who he was, many still denied him even though they had witnessed his miracles.

2 Timothy 3:1-17 warns us of turbulent times ahead. People will not love God or each other, but only themselves. These people oppose the truth other than their own. These are false teachers who claim there is no God. We find many of these teachers in our public schools and universities. Where did they come from? We know where Jesus came from. We know he’s the truth. All Paul (or any of the disciples) had to do was deny Jesus to save their life. They all died for the truth. Galatians 1:8 warns us about angels from heaven preaching a gospel other than the one we have been given. Lucifer was an angel.  An angel that the other religions were incorrect told Mormon “prophet” Joseph Smith and Muslim “prophet” Mohammad. Scripture is how you know the truth, right from wrong, what is fake news. 1 John 4: 1-6 Don’t believe false prophets that are being led by false spirits. How do you know if they are false? If the spirit does not speak of Jesus that came into the flesh and was the God’s son, be leary. How do you know if a person is telling you the truth? Test it by the word of God. It is possible the world will trick some of us because we don’t know what the bible says. Therefore, it is important that as Christians, we study the word. “Fake news” from Satan is leading some to suicide. It leads to brokenness, emptiness, hopelessness. Satan convinces you you’re worthless. God wants to counter the fake news with his son Jesus Christ. Satan is the father of lies.  What does Jesus want for you? For more information about the truth look to John 14:5-7,   John 17:13-19,   2 Timothy 4: 2-5, 1 John 1:1-4,  1 John 4:1-6