Do Not Be Deceived

 

My eyes are now open to the truth! I just read Chapter 18, How Do People Become Oppressed or Possessed by Demons?, in the book: “Not I But Christ” by Corrie ten Boom.

We think of things like reading horoscopes, fortune cookies, etc. or playing around with the Ouija-board (pronounced wee-jee) or other games or books having to do with any kind of divination, as harmless fun. Satan deceived us into thinking this, because he knows it’s a sin. If we think of these things as harmless, playing but not believing, etc. we are opening ourselves up to Satan and his demons, as well as thinking these things don’t need forgiveness and therefore putting our eternal souls in danger of hell.

What things have you done or been a participate in? I know, for myself, I read fortune cookies and horoscopes in the past, as well as playing with a ouija-board and participating in levitation, when I was young. I never thought of these things, as sins, but as just harmless entertainment and because of this thinking, I never asked for forgiveness for these things, specifically, until now.

In your Bible, in Deuteronomy 18:9-13 (NIV), it is written, when you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritualist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. In the King James version, it’s much more specific and states that all of these things are an abomination to the Lord. In I John 1:7 & 9, it reads: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. vs.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. So, if you have done any of these things, it’s not hopeless, but like I John states, if you confess your sins, he will forgive you! Thank you, Lord Jesus for your forgiveness and hope!

“Cracked Fortune Cookie” by Daniel St.Pierre from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Cracked Fortune Cookie” by Daniel St.Pierre from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Thanksgiving & Forgiveness

Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving Day is only a week away, I wanted to share all the wonderful blessings that I’m thankful for. Being thankful is much easier than forgiving, but I felt the need to write about both, because many times they come hand in hand.

The definition by http://www.dictionary.com of the word forgive, is to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); to absolve or to give up all claim or account of; remit(a debt, obligation, etc.) The definition by the same website, for thanksgiving is the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God. The definition of the root word, to thank, is to express gratitude, appreciation or acknowledgement to.

I’m thankful for many things, but the number one, is Jesus Christ and his love for me. He died a horrible death on a cross, for my sins, not for his, because Jesus was without sin and therefore not needing forgiveness himself, took on all of our sins and died, so that we could be forgiven. He was the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins.

Forgiven

Forgiveness is more about the condition of our own heart, because we do ourselves a dishonor by not forgiving. If you’ve ever held  a grudge against someone that has done something against you, you know that it hurts your heart and stays with you, much more than it hurts the person you need to forgive. In the Bible (NIV), in Ephesians 4:32, it states, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” The words, in these verses, make it very clear how important it is to forgive. Whenever I have a difficult time forgiving someone, I remember these verses and I recall, Corrie Ten Boom’s personal story of her forgiveness to the former Ravensbruck camp guard, who had been known as one of the cruelest. She said, “she was reluctant to forgive him, so she prayed that she would be able to . She wrote: “For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensly as I did then.”

Even though we are living in very difficult times, let’s remember this Thanksgiving, to give thanks and forgiveness.

 

Depression

There is a difference between those who have been diagnosed by a doctor, to have clinical depression and those that are depressed or down, due to their situation in life. If you have been diagnosed with depression, as many have, including myself, you have a true chemical imbalance that causes you to feel depressed.

I was depressed for a long time, before I sought help from a doctor. I know many others, who have done this and it seems that the main reason is that we don’t want to admit there is a problem or we don’t want to take any medication for it. My first really bad experience with depression, was in college and I thought that it was due to my grandfather’s death and this probably triggered it, but I found out years later that it was a combination of chemical and situational depression. During this time, I felt that I couldn’t reach God, I would pray, but I couldn’t feel that God was there. Like there was a wall between us.

The great news is, that the Lord answered my prayers for help! During a chapel service, the preacher said that the Lord spoke to his heart, that there was someone there, who felt depressed and that God wasn’t there when they prayed. I knew the minute I heard this, that he was talking about me! I went to the front to be prayed for and I was the only one who responded to this. After this happened, I felt much better! Years later, I began to feel down and I was very irritable. I didn’t know that being irritable, was a symptom of chemical depression, of course not this symptom alone, but it was part of it and I wasn’t even aware of it at the time. When I thought of depression, I thought the symptoms would be feeling very down, upset and crying all the time, having a loss of interests in the things that were favorite activities and even feeling suicidal. I want to stress to you, how important it is to get help, especially if you feel suicidal. Being irritable all the time, caused me to be mean sometimes to others, especially those I love and it didn’t even cross my mind that it would be a symptom of depression.

God gave us many promises, including helping us with our depression. In Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” My favorite verses are in Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So even if it feels like God isn’t there, He is, so don’t stop praying! God may not answer you in the same way He answered me, but He promises that He will never leave us and will answer our prayers! 

girlpraying

The Drop Box

 

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This is definitely a movie you want to see! If you like to be inspired, this movie really makes the top 10 list! Anything about adoption and special needs children always gets my attention, because my husband and I adopted twin boys with multiple disabilities from Ukraine in December of 2000. These subjects are near and dear to my heart. This story is not fiction, it is very real!

Pastor Lee and his wife live in Seoul, South Korea. Women were dropping their unwanted babies at their church doorsteps and they knew that the babies didn’t have much of a chance to survive, especially outside in the winter. To keep this from happening, Pastor Lee made a box, where the women could leave their babies, anonymously. This box was heated and made with a doorbell, so whenever a baby was dropped off, it would go off and let the Pastor know a baby was there and in need of attention. Many of these babies are disabled and because of the culture and the poverty, the women feel that they have no choice, but to give them up. This man is a man after God’s own heart!

As a bonus to this movie, it includes a panel discussion, a musical performance by Steven Curtis Chapman and a behind the scenes featurette.

For more information on this movie, you can go to: http://www.TheDropBoxFilm.com

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?

mindfulness

What is the definition for mindfulness? Dictionary.com states that it’s the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something. It’s also a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings and sensations but not judging them. This practice can reduce stress and physical pain. So, why is mindfulness so important? We need to be, not only mindful of ourselves, our environment and others; but in order to accomplish things of importance. We need to think for ourselves, not allow t.v., internet, games, media, etc. to do the thinking for us or we just become products of these things. We were made to use our minds and in order to do this, we must have time to be mindful or to be thinking.

There are many verses in the Bible, that speak of being mindful. In Colossians 3:2 (NIV) it states to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” In Romans 8:5-6 (NIV) , it says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what the nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. In Romans 12:2 (NIV), it states, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is -his good, pleasing and perfect will!

So what are you mindful of? Is your mind full of t.v. shows, internet, video games, etc. or are you being in the moment or present. Our minds were never intended to “veg out”, not that there’s anything wrong with a little bit of it, but to be healthy, sane and creative, we must be mindful and have that quiet time to think.

STRUGGLING?

Where do you go for help? Whom or what do you turn to? You might be in the middle of a financial crisis or maybe you’ve been hurt by someone. There are lots of time when we need help, but think of the first thing that comes to your mind, in your time of need? Many people turn to alcohol, drugs or sex to forget or escape what they’re going through. As human beings we have one of two responses, they are called “flight” or “fight”. If we choose “flight”, we are trying to escape the problem and if we “fight”, we are choosing to stay with our problem(s). The problem will not be solved, if we just run away, through things like alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.  These only last for a short time and they don’t make the situation better, but usually much worse. The great news is that God, our heavenly Father, has already provided a guide for our lives and it’s, the Bible.

God knows what we need, before we need it. It is so great to know that all we have to do for help, is to pray to God. Even though he knows what we need, before we tell him, he wants us to go to him and tell him and ask for help, because he knows that we need this relationship and that we grow spiritually through our trials and tribulations. Our faith in God grows stronger each time we need him and ask for whatever it is that we need, because he is faithful in answering our prayers!

We’ve been through many trials and tribulations in our lives and God has always been there and answered our prayers for help! In 2012, I started keeping track of my prayers and answers to my prayers in writing, so I could always remind myself  of all God has done for us and proof that he answers prayers. It’s been a wonderful faith building tool for my family and I. It helps me to remember who or what to pray for, because as some of you know, age has a way of affecting our memories, unfortunately. It’s also easy to tell someone, that you’ll pray for them, but not follow through with it. I know that when I ask someone to pray for me or my family, I really want them to pray! If we share this with our children, we’re helping them with their faith and what to do in the future, when they are in need.

We lived in Florida, actually I was born there, met and married my husband, went to Ukraine and adopted our boys and we all lived together for 15 years. One of our trials, happened in 2004, in Florida, one night during the week , we had been out shopping with our boys, who were only 6 at the time, at our Wal-Mart Supercenter. At this time, we owned a 1988 GMC Jimmy and as we were driving it on a back road to go home. I started to smell something burning and told my husband to pull over and this time, he listened to me and pulled over, as soon as he did, we began to see smoke and fire coming out from under our hood. So, we both jumped out to get the boys out of their car seats and go a distance away from our vehicle. Then, we tried to call for help with our cell phone, but we couldn’t get any reception, because we were out in the middle of nowhere. I was so frustrated and angry with God, because we had been going through trial after trial, recently. I cried out to God for help and said, “you told us that you would never give us more than we can handle and this is more than I can handle. I found out after that, God says, “he will not give us more than he can handle. At this time, 3 things happened, almost simultaneously. It started to rain, which put the fire out and a policeman was headed home from his shift and saw that we needed help, so he stopped and helped us, then the fire truck showed up. My husband had to stay with the vehicle, but we needed to get home, because it was getting late and the boys still needed a bath and they had school in the morning. If you recall, I said that we had just came from shopping at Wal-Mart and we had groceries that needed to be refrigerated. So, this great policeman helped us get the food items into his car and the boys and I were driven home. My husband had to stay for the tow truck and then he came home. This is just one instance where God was there when we needed him and he answered all of our prayers! I have many instances of answered prayer from my life and the lives of my family, as well. God is so good and faithful to us! Next time you have a trial or tribulation, if you haven’t prayed in the past, try praying and give God the opportunity to show you how much he loves you!

girlpraying

PROMISES

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV Bible)-“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”In order to do this, we must first look at what we’re doing and make sure it lines up with the Bible and/or the laws of God. In other words, if we commit our drug selling business or our career choice of prostitution, for example, to the Lord, he will not help you to succeed in these, because they are sins and go against what the Bible says. In Proverbs 16:9 (NIV Bible), it says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”The Lord makes many promises in the Bible, but he also gave us a free will to decide which way we will go. This decision is yours to make, but remember you also will reap what you sow.