WORDS / If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

One thing told to me when I was growing up was, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say then keep your mouth shut.’ I know this phrase is also said in other terms, but they all boil down to this message; Be careful what you speak, the damage your words can do cannot be undone.

People today are so quick to slander each other for such a wide variety of reasons, I won’t bother to start that list. I will talk today of my own self. As some of you may have noticed I have not been posting here for a while. This past year has thrown some painful pitches my way, and some of my earlier posts I talked about how pain can effect us. For me one thing it leads me to is anger, and not a righteous anger. It is an anger that can lead to mass destruction. I can do more damage with my tongue than with my fist.

So I had slowly been isolating myself, which is a terrible thing to do. Yet fear of what I would do in my anger helped me to justify becoming a hermit again. Since I had not had very many nice things to say, I just started shutting myself away from the world. Yet that did not keep me from thinking words of hate and destruction which in other words are curses. No sooner had I thought them or said them aloud, even though I am home alone, I knew that what I was doing was wrong and would have to quickly repent. Yet the thoughts and words still lingered in my mind.

So I have been having this inner battle, that if you saw me in person you would not see this struggle. I do know how to put on the right mask when necessary. I try hard to keep my dark battles to myself and only let those who I feel I truly can trust know of these battles. Which I thank God for blessing me with these close friends who love me unconditionally and do not condemn me when I falter, and so I can confide in them.

Yet this struggle has not left me blind to the fact that I how can I be of help to others if I am home alone licking my wounds, and living in fear? It is out in the fields where the laborers should be, and I have been hiding in my own little cave like David hiding from Saul, or Elijah hiding from Jezebel. Like Elijah hiding in his cave, God has reminded me that I need to get back out there and do what he has called me to do, and not stay hidden in the safety of my home. Which in all honesty is not so safe when you have to battle your personal demons alone because you have hidden yourself.

One assignment He had given me a while back, that I had put off on the back burner so to speak is to unite His body in prayer. I had one excuse after another pop up as either obstacles or rejection to this idea, for various reasons. Yet I have heard Him say it is not over yet, so get back up and keep trying. Now the most current obstacle I have faced is organizing a public gathering for people to gather in prayer because the current problems with the Covid 19. I was reminded that I still have a way to unite my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus in prayer here, and that this would actually reach more people, than if I had organized a prayer meeting for the area in which I live.

Our prayers are to include more than just our family, friends, church, and needs of those we are personally connected to, but to cover this earth with prayer, and for every need to be met and most important, for His will to be done. My next blog will speak more of this assignment and will include how I started making prayer boards.

I hope you will join me in this assignment, and if there are any prayer requests for anyone, ministry organizations, etc… please share those requests here and we can pray together.

P.S. I am sorry that this post started on one topic and led to another, but prayers are words that can do such good, and that is what I have to get back to. Speaking words of life.

Life and Death

Doc
Mary

I have recently lost two people I care deeply about with a very short time of each other. I know death is a part of life, but this does not bring comfort when someone you love has passed away. I also understand that there is nothing a person can say to take away the pain of your loss. It has been years now since my mother died of a stroke, but time did not take away how much I still miss her. Now a woman who has been like a second mother to me is gone. Another person who I had worked for over ten years, had also been a friend and father figure. I had left his funeral to visit Mary, and within a short time of coming home from visiting her she was gone. I am grateful for the time I had with both of these amazing people. Yet I still miss them. I am glad that I was able to spend time with Mary in the days that preceded her passing. I had not had the ability to do the same with my Mom, since she had died suddenly, so the time with Mary was very special. Doc had closed shop and moved away, so news of his death was shocking. At least his memorial was held here, and I was able to spend some time with his family.

I was blessed of these wonderful and loving people. Loosing them in such a short period of time is hard, but I am still alive, and they will not be forgotten. Life is a special gift that we should cherish what time we get to spend with each other while we are still here, because like it or not it does come to an end.

So call a loved one, or better yet spend time with them.

My Mom

May 9, 2020 The Seeds We Sow

May 9, 2020 The Seeds We Sow

IMG_20200502_154937IMG_20200509_124354This grapefruit tree, which is still a sapling, was grown from a seed from a grapefruit given to me a few years back. It had come from a tree that was growing in a friends yard back in Florida. I kept a few of the seeds after I had eaten the fruit and thought I would see if the seed would grow. To my surprise a few weeks after I had planted it in a pot did I see a sprout. To my amazement it continued to grow over the past few years. This spring I thought it was time for it to be planted in the ground. Living in an apartment I had not planned on planting it in my little yard, but when I had seen that the bush outside my door had died over the winter I thought it was good as time as ever.

I have grown many plants from cuttings and had even been able to grow an avocado tree from a seed but this is my first attempt of growing any kind of citrus.

IMG_20200509_124129This is an orange tree that was also grown from a seed that I planted.

Avocado trees.

I love watching things grow. It lets me know there is still life no matter how dark things may be at times. They also let me see growth. For one to truly live we need to grow, not just physically but spiritually. Jesus gave us the parable of the sower and the seed.(Matthew 13:1-23/Luke 8:1-15) I have grown plants and trees from either cuttings or seeds, they have both needed to be planted in order to grow. They have also needed to be cared for, if I wanted them to grow.

There are things in our lives that grow that are not plant life. I gave birth to a beautiful daughter, who then had her own child. What God had blessed me with has been fruitful and had given birth to a child who will grow up and some day give her a grandchild. Now there are other things we grow, relationships are one of those things. How we grow in these relationships depends on the care and nurturing we give to them. We do this not only by the words we speak but by are actions as well.

We are not judged by our words alone but how we live. If we live in love we grow in love. Others see how we live, if only for a brief moment a stranger can be effected by how we act and speak. These are the seeds we plant without thinking about. Yet these seeds are just as important as the close relationships we have with family and friends. Simple acts of kindness can impact people in ways we may not see or realize. These are seeds we may not nurture or see the fruits of but they can grow and the next person may be the one to nurture and cultivate what we have planted.(1 Corinthians 3:6 Contemporary English Version / I planted the seeds, Apollos watered them, but God made them sprout and grow.)

I look forward to seeing this tree grow, and possibly produce some fruit. This will take time and over that time I look to learn even more and do some growing myself.

May 3, 2020 The Dead Sea

Today I have been thinking about the Dead Sea. Many tourists travel to it because of the high mineral content and the buoyancy caused by the salt volume. This is supposed to have healing qualities, but it is the name that is stuck in my mind today. Water flows in but it goes no where and this is to be the reason why for the high salt and mineral content. This sea is called dead because it cannot support life. Water continues to flow in but then it under the sun it evaporates. I wonder how many of us are like the Dead Sea? His spirit and blessings are flowing into us, but what are we doing with what He is giving to us? Works do not produce faith but faith should produce works.

James 2:26
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.(Read James 2:14-24)

Think about the parable of ‘the servants and the talents. Matthew 25:14-30. In this parable three servants are each given talents. The amounts varied, but it was what each servant did with what was given to them. The first two increased their talents, but the third one buried his talent and it produced him nothing. It is with this servant that the master was not pleased. This servant lost his talent and it was given to the first servant. This parable too, reminds of the Dead Sea. I want to be like the first two servants and do something with what God has entrusted to me.

Even though I have faced many trials and abuse in my life, I know He has been with me through it all. He kept me going when I there was nothing I could do. When I felt hopeless He gave me hope. He did not create me for the pain I have lived through but that pain inspires me to help others who are in pain. I don’t want to wallow in my self pity, but share that even when everything in the world is coming against you, He never leaves you and His love is limitless. For all that He has done for me I want to do whatever I can to be there for others. I want to be a vessel that He uses, not one that sits on a shelf collecting dust, and I don’t want to be a dead sea. Receiving but doing nothing with what He has given to me. I want to be more than a hearer of the Word, but a doer as well.

What about you? Are you using what has been given to you to further His Kingdom, or are you sitting their collecting dust?

 

 

April 18, 2020

Many these days are anxious because of the pandemic of Covid19, that is world wide. It is effecting people of all nationalities and classes. Social media has become the main way people are keeping connected. Unless you have a job that is deemed necessary, you are basically grounded. When the stay at home orders were first being issued, one of my first thoughts were about the parallel of Passover and the Exodus. One of the things Moses had told the people to do before Pharaoh would finally release the Hebrews, was that they were to put blood on their doorposts and were to remain inside. The reason for this was to keep their first born alive. For the plague of death of every first born was coming. yet those under the blood would be safe.

Exodus 12:22-23 22 Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin, and brush the top and the two side posts of the doorframe with some of the blood. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD passes through to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and the two sideposts and pass over the door; so He will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

We are all going through a terrible time right now and the treat to life is real, so I understand why so many are afraid. This virus does not care if you are a first born, what your religion is,what color your skin is, or if you are wealthy or poor. Any one of us could get sick from this virus. If we take the necessary precautions we should be okay. Looking at the story of Exodus I do see the reason to have hope. If you are stuck staying home you could very well have cabin fever by now, and are itching to get out. If you have a full house you may want to get away just to find some peace and quiet, if you live alone the desire for company can make you want to leave the safety of your home. As much as I do not like feeling like I have been grounded, I do see the importance of staying home unless I have an important reason to go somewhere.

We need to remember these is temporary and that we will get through this. There is hope. I turn to the Word for this hope and it never lies.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Art by Julie Sheppard

Light at the end of the tunnel is not a train but the Light of Jesus Christ!

April 14, 2020

John 16:32-33 “Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. (33) I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”

With all this social distancing we are supposed to be practicing, there are many who are feeling isolated and alone. I work as a home care attendant taking care of those who are home-bound to begin with. Now they are limited to only myself and nurses who come to take care of them. My own contact with people outside of those who I care for has been restricted because I cannot risk exposure with my clients already compromised health.  It almost feel like we have been grounded. Isolation can make one feel cut off from the world, even with modern technology, and all the social media, it is not the same as fellowship. Gathering together, and sharing each others company. Man was not made to be alone, we need each other. Yet while there are many who are alone in their homes, there is One who is with each and everyone of us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is always with us. I hope this brings comfort to at least one person who is feeling lonely because of this isolation many have to practice.Even In The Dark3 Art by Julie Sheppard

April 11, 2020

I have not been on this site for a while and have not written for even longer. Yet I still occasionally read posts of other bloggers. Most of have heard the saying ‘If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. Well that is how I have been feeling for a while. So much negativity had built up in me. Those of you who have been reading my posts when I first started blogging know of my struggle with depression and PTSD. I know I am not the only one, we have good days and we have bad ones, but we keep going. Eventually we become overwhelmed and have to take a step back and put ourselves into an adult time out. My desire not to speak negatively can have one set back for me and that is I can become a hermit, and begin shutting out people. I don’t want to say something that I will regret so I pull away, and distance myself. I have learned not to completely shut everyone out so I have struggled to keep lines of communication open with with a small group of friends, but even this has been difficult. I read the Word, pray, and even watch messages online, but I understand the importance of fellowship. Connecting with others, both believers and nonbelievers. I am not saying you will see me on here every week but I am coming out of my cave. so i will be seeing you all again soon. God bless and keep you all safe.

Right Relations/ When should you let go? / June 12, 2019

The term ‘Toxic Relationship” can be applied to a number of relationships we may have. What makes the relationship toxic? Well there can be a number of reason to label a relationship toxic. The word ‘Toxic’ implies that it is poisonous, harmful and even deadly. A relationship is obviously toxic when you can see the outward signs of abuse. Bruises, black eyes, and broken bones, are signs you can see. What about the unseen? The emotional and mental damaged being done that the eyes do not always detect. What ever  the excuse or reason that we may have to stay in these relationships, there comes a time when we need to realize that we are doing more harm than good to ourselves and to the other person. We may have the need to stay to help them, but how can you save someone from drowning when you are drowning yourself?

We need to remove ourselves from harmful relationships. This does not mean you do not care or that you have to hate them to leave. Sometimes the saying, ‘If you love someone, you set them free’, is very exactly what we need to do. Staying in a harmful relationship does neither of you any good. You could be standing in the way of God reaching that person, or they may be standing in the way of God in your life. Proverbs tells us that it is better for a man to be on top of the roof with a dry morsel of bread than in a house with a quarrelsome wife. If you are a woman or a man this is telling you to distance yourself from the one who is trying to do you harm. This could be physical, emotional or verbal, no matter what it is that is causing you harm, the only way to stop it,is to remove yourself from the picture. You would not put your hand in the fire and keep it there. If you did, more than your hand would catch on fire.

Some relationships will be restored and others will come to an end. either way you will grieve the loss, whether it is temporary or permanent. It will hurt more than ripping off a band-aide, but it is a pain you will heal. Healing is the goal in letting go of a harmful relationship. It takes courage to walk away, especially when you love the other person, and they may actually love you but sometimes the only way for the both of you to find healing is to let go.

(A personal thought – bleach is a cleaner and ammonia is another cleaning product, but you don’t put the two together. Why? If combined they produces a toxic gas that will kill you.)

Right Relations / thoughts on Abandoned and Rejected/ 5/19/2019

When I was 5 years old, my parents divorced. My father got custody of me and my brother. I grew up thinking that my mother had left me behind. It was an abusive marriage, and I was left with her abuser to be abused myself. I felt abandoned. I was lied to for most of my life about my mother and how my father got custody. I was made to believe that she left me by her own choice. That she was selfish and only cared about partying and sex. She was in my life, and I saw her often but I still felt abandoned. As I got older and started living a very self destructive life. I loved and hated her. I loved her because she was my mother. I hated her because I thought she had abandoned me to be raised by her abuser. It was not until the year before she died that I learned the truth. She had not abandoned me, but had to make a choice that no mother should ever had to make. I have shared my testimony on my arrest and trials, so I will not go into all those details. Yet that was what it took for her to share what had been done to her. It was one of the most painful conversations that I have had. Yet it brought us both healing, and understanding. I learned that she had not abandoned me, but had done what she had to, so that she could be in my life, even though she knew what kind of man my father was.

I have had a problem with relationships, for many reasons. Growing up thinking that I had been abandoned, had also caused me to feel rejected. I still struggle with feeling unwanted. I don’t feel like I fit in. So how can I feel close to an unseen God?  My Heavenly Father. Being lied to and feeling abandoned and rejected, how can I trust Him?

First I have to realize that He is not a man. He is God. In other religions the god requires sacrifice from their subjects. With God, my Heavenly Father, He sacrificed His own Son, to forgive us, and to adopt us, making us His children and not just mere worshippers. Yet even being called His child, with my history with my own parents is still having an affect on how I am able to relate to others. Including my Heavenly Father. How can I trust that He wants me and that He has chosen me. I know I don’t deserve His love, that I have committed many sins. Yet in spite of all that I have done wrong, His love is perfect and He loves me perfectly. He will never leave or forsake me or you.

Read Deuteronomy 31:6&8

Hebrews 13:5-6

Psalm 27:10, 38:21, 71:9

Right Relations/5/12/19/Abused or Abuser

It took me blowing up and verbally abusive towards my daughter to realize that I was taking out my physical and emotional pain on her. When I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I realized that I had become my abusers all rolled up in one. Even though it was verbal, the damage was done. My relationship’s with those who had abused m, had affected how I was relating to my daughter. Thankfully I realized that I needed to stop and get help. The words that had come out of my mouth still haunt me. I had to acknowledge that I had allowed pain and anger fill me with hate.  Filled with hatred how could I love? Anger and resentment towards others effected how I treated my daughter. I love her, but what she got was an unstable mother who loved her but did not know how to love. I am thankful that through counseling and going through ‘Life ‘s Healing Choices’ a small group my church had offered helped me to make the changes that I had to, so I could heal from the abuse O had suffered. That what was done to me did not justify my behavior. I had to acknowledge the wrongs that I have done without blaming my actions on another. I am grateful that God forgave me and that I am not who I used to be. Now I pray that my daughter can forgive me and know that she never deserved how she was treated.