Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let Your Light Shine Before Others

There is just so much about which I want to write. Do you ever get so many thoughts in your mind there is mass congestion and the ideas are all clogged up, stacked on top of each other? I guess, let me begin with
4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4. ESV.)

Born and raised a Florida girl, I set out as a young adult to make a life for myself elsewhere. I ventured to Oklahoma for a year and a half then returned to Florida. Next, while working overseas for nine months, I met an American man, ten years my senior, and followed him to California. We lived in Long Beach for a year, traveled abroad with work for a year, returned to Fairfield, CA for a year, moved to Rio Vista for eleven years, and then Vacaville, CA for two and a half years. All the while pursuing relationships with his children from his first marriage.

Unfortunately, California fell grossly short of the life I was seeking and needed. Hubs had been unhappy at his job for many years. He spoke of being anxious for his older children to graduate high school so we could move to a different state. We discussed Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, and Washington. Although I have some amazing friends in California, the negativity there far outweighed the positive and I prayed earnestly for God to provide the way for us to move to the state of our choice, Texas.

Selfishly, and perhaps pridefully, I feel I deserve this move to Texas. I am almost fearful to admit those words out loud but God knows my heart. I cannot keep anything hidden from Him. Nothing is a secret to Him. I begged and pleaded with Him, through cries so incomprehensible the Holy Spirit had to intercede on my behalf, for this move and I am so insanely, my words cannot express, thankful He has given me the desire of my heart. I am His and He has delivered me. I was in way over my head in California and now I have peace. Tears of heartache have turned into those of joy! Thank you, Lord!

Switching gears, now. I saw a quote by Billy Graham, this past week, which said,
It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.
Yes, I know as a believer I am called to go to my brother or sister in Christ when he or she has sinned against me (Matthew 18:15-20) and I am to go out and tell others about Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20), and we in the family of Christ are like iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). I also know I am instructed to choose my partners in crime carefully (1 Corinthians 15:33), not marry outside the church (2 Corinthians 6:14), and not hang out with those who are “hot tempered” and struggle with anger (Proverbs 22:24-25). Admittedly, I have disobeyed God on some of those and am reaping the consequences. But I also know, I cannot change a person’s heart. No matter how much I beseech, implore, or urge I cannot reveal God and his glory to anyone. I cannot remove the veil and give them eyes to see and ears to hear. I can, however, tell them about Him. I can live my life according to His word. I can endeavor to be a light in darkness (Matthew 5:14-16) but I cannot and am not anyone’s Holy Spirit. Further, trying to be such will only cause strife, heartache, and resentment. I must love and give grace but also stand firm in the word of God. I, personally, cannot be moved.

A storm is rolling in so I had better wrap this up. In conclusion I would like to close with a piece of scripture the pastor touched on this past Sunday.
4For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (John 7:4. ESV.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Then Shall the Trees of the Forest Sing for Joy Before the LORD, for He Comes to Judge the Earth: 50 Things I Am Going to Miss About California (#50 - #1)

We have been in Texas for a week and a half, now, and there is so much about which I have been meaning to write. We packed up all of our stuff, loaded it into a moving truck, and drove it out here ourselves. The pets, kiddos, and I were in one vehicle while hubs and his friend were in the moving truck. I took one route to get here while they took another. I made the drive in three days, they pushed through it in two. But, that is not about which I wish to write.

As I was killing time, waiting as patiently as possible for the move, I started this list. I did not finish it, though. I do, however, want to leave you with a completed lineup. In celebration of our move from California to Texas, I am listing 50 things I am going to miss about that state. They are as follows:
50. Earthquakes
49. Traffic

48. The freeways
47. The crazy expensive cost of living

46. The Oakland A’s
45. The Sacramento River Cats
44. The Stockton Ports

43. Disney’s California Adventure Park
42. Hiking to the Summit of Mt. Diablo

41. San Diego, CA
40. Los Angeles, CA
39. Long Beach, CA

38. The Redwood Trees
37. The Beautiful Drive Along Highway 1
36. Big Sur/ Carmel

35. Boating on the Sacramento River, Lake Berryessa, and Folsom Lake
34. Wine Country

33. Big Bear Mountain
32. Hearst Castle

31. Hollywood Blvd.
30. Rodeo Drive
29. Knott’s Berry/ Scary Farm
28. Second Street, Long Beach
27. The Boardwalk in Long Beach

26. Disneyland
25. Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch
24. Monterey
23. Pier 39
22. Alcatraz
21. Apple Hill
20. Bass Festival, Rio Vista
19. Pete’s Coffee
18. Six Flags Magic Mountain
17. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
16. Hiking Yosemite’s Half Dome
15. Evangeline’s in Old Sacramento
14. Joe’s Crab Shack in Old Sacramento
13. Old Sacramento
12. Japantown in San Francisco
11. The diversity.
10. San Francisco
09. Santa Cruz
08. Going to the snow around Christmas time.
07. The beautiful scenery.
06. James Drips Vocal Studio
05. Solano Christian Academy (SCA)
04. The AMAZING instructors and fellow students at Tracy’s Karate, Fairfield.
03. Union Baptist Church (UBC)
02. Great friends!
01. The College Kid (who decided to stay in California).

32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
34Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
(1 Chronicles 16:32-34. ESV.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Biblical Virtues Parents Can Pray for Their Children

Mankind as a majority tends to travel away from God, but for the minority, for the Christian, we seek to get closer to Him. The battle for parents today, is to have homes that, God intended and not as the world has fashioned them to be. Truth is, the will of God for the parents toward their children is the same today as it was in the 1st century, as God’s nature does not change with each century.

Here are 31 Biblical virtues to pray for your children: (Click here to continue reading.)

(Photo Information.)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

On Your Wondrous Works, I will Meditate: 50 Things I Am Going to Miss About California (#31-#27)

I have been all tied up with my university studies the past few weeks. But, the semester has ended and now we are working to pack our belongings for the move. In my free moments, I want to catch up on my list. In celebration of our move from California to Texas, I am listing 50 things I am going to miss about this state. So far, I covered:
50. Earthquakes
49. Traffic

48. The freeways
47. The crazy expensive cost of living

46. The Oakland A’s
45. The Sacramento River Cats
44. The Stockton Ports

43. Disney’s California Adventure Park
42. Hiking to the Summit of Mt. Diablo

41. San Diego, CA
40. Los Angeles, CA
39. Long Beach, CA

38. The Redwood Trees
37. The Beautiful Drive Along Highway 1
36. Big Sur/ Carmel

35. Boating on the Sacramento River, Lake Berryessa, and Folsom Lake
34. Wine Country

33. Big Bear Mountain
32. Hearst Castle


Which brings me to the next FIVE:

31. Hollywood Blvd.
Welcome to Hollywood. What’s your dream? (“Pretty Woman”. 1990. Lawton, J.F. Marshall, Garry.)
Stars on the pavement display names of celebrities and individuals dressed in costume stand outside Mann’s Chinese Theater. Handprints, signatures, and some shoe prints mark the entry way to the theater. But this is not Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. This is Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles, California. Bus, trollies, and car loads of scenic route participants cruise up and down the street while drag queens parade in extravagant attire. Small shops full of trinkets and souvenirs display postcards, keychains, books, etc. featuring Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, etc. Tour groups parade past movie lots, filming studios, old hotels, and the Hollywood sign (from a distance, of course). The glitz and glamor of the 21st century is a far cry from the golden age of Hollywood stretching from the late 1920s to the early 1960s.

30. Rodeo Drive
A person’s first trip to Rodeo Drive is Hollywood magical. I am not a fan of shopping so, for me, Rodeo Drive’s luster came from movies and media hype. Parking across the street, under a tree, at the Beverly Garden’s Park and then walking across to all of the shops was ideal. The street lined with palm trees and high end retail stores makes for a fun afternoon.

Though most of my day was spent window shopping and snacking, my travel buddy and I did venture into Ralph Lauren where I bought a shirt for my, then, infant. I found the prices to be comparable to other Ralph Lauren locations but the prestige of “Rodeo Drive” made it all the more exciting. I highly recommend dropping by for a whimsical walk down this street in Beverly Hills.

29. Knott’s Berry/Scary Farm
Once I had moved to Long Beach, I looked for employment. I auditioned for a Halloween show that was going to be out at Knott’s Berry’s Scary Farm, which is the equivalent of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights or Six Flags’ Fright Fest. After being placed on the hiring list as an “alternate”, I continued my job search. Two became available, which I took, before receiving a call from the production staff of the show saying someone had dropped out and did I want the gig. Nope, it was too late. But, I did go to Knott’s Scary Farm to show my support and check out the theme park.

Not unlike a Six Flags or Busch Gardens, Knott’s Berry Farm is action packed with roller coasters, water rides, thrill rides, family rides, games, and shows. The Peanuts Gang is usually on hand to meet and greet with guests and perform in productions. During Halloween time, however, they make themselves scarce and the park is taken over by zombies, ghouls, goblins, and haunted mazes. The park itself is transformed from a warm and fuzzy, family friendly venue to a nightmarish, dark playground splashed with “blood” and “guts”. Zombies on rollerblades scare guests in a certain area of the park by sliding on their knees causing sparks to flare from their metal knee pads.

It might not have the popularity of Disneyland or Universal but this place is right up there, in my opinion, with the aforementioned Six Flags and Busch Gardens. Knott’s Berry Farm is located at 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620 and has been open since 1940.

28. Second Street, Long Beach
I ended up in southern California after I met my husband while working oversees. He was from the Northern California area and I, of course, am from Florida. We were introduced by a mutual friend while we were both in Singapore. After the job ended, I went home to Florida, packed my things, said goodbye to my family and friends, took a HUGE gamble, and moved out to Long Beach, California.

When I was not at work --- I had two jobs at the time --- I enjoyed walking down Second Street, window shopping. Among many places there was Jamba Juice…my then favorite venue. Little shops and boutiques beckon to passersby. Second Street was, and hopefully still is, a lovely area to walk around whether you are by yourself or with a friend.

27. The Boardwalk (Shoreline Village) in Long Beach
If I had some time off and I was not wandering Second Street, I was rollerblading along the path that stretches the beach and leads to the marvelous boardwalk. Only a few blocks from our rental house, the walking/running, cycling, roller blading pathway smoothly sits nestled in the sand and paves the way leading to restaurants and shops overlooking the water.

One afternoon while making my way from my house to Shoreline Village, I passed a dear friend of mine, from my days of working for Disney in Singapore, who was rollerblading in the opposite direction. We both said, “Hey!” as we screamed past each other, slowed down, turned around, and met up to chit chat. Shoreline Village is packed with good food, delicious treats, and a relaxing ambiance.

The beach was perfect for my small children who could play in the calm water without large waves knocking them down. The breakwater kept the surf mellow.

3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
(Psalm 145:3-9. ESV.)

(Photo Information: Bing Public Domain.)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Looking For Love in the Wrong Places?

"Don’t think for a moment you can change a person with the following traits. You will do better to keep looking than to invest a-lot of time with Red-Flag People who exhibit the following ten characteristics." Click here to keep reading at Crosswalk.com.

(Photo information.)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Are You Dealing with Someone with an Evil and Wicked Heart?

"I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes....

"They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust." Continue reading at Crosswalk.com.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Critical Thinking Essay: Psychology - Implicit Memory

Can an event in a person’s childhood affect them for the rest of their adult life? A 10 year old child watches his/her parent die in an accident. What kind of affect will this have on the child when he/she is grown? Will this person be able to overcome this event after 30 years? Or, will this hinder the individual from having a “normal” life?

I believe an old memory can be triggered later in life no matter how hard an individual tries to forget or suppress it. Further, I believe it can cause problems in day to day life without the person realizing how much damage is actually being done to him/herself or those around him/her.

In researching memory, I came across “implicit memory” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSycdIx-C48&index=13&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtOPRKzVLY0JY-uHOH9KVU6) and a video about a man who, when faced with a joke box containing a fake mouse, became startled and had a flashback to a time when he was four years old. It was a traumatic experience because he had unknowingly eaten rat poison and had to have his stomach pumped. So, memories we feel have been forgotten can actually be brought back to life with great detail.

Implicit memories are “invisible and emotional” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hicJrLRjJM). A child who is given up for adoption may not have explicit memory of the event but the emotional memory, the implicit one, is there. Therefore, they may have a lifelong feeling of rejection. “Early experiences shape adult behavior.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUFSVw0u2QI). Given this information, I believe my conclusion regarding adult behavior being linked to childhood memories is accurate, though it may not apply to everyone.

If an adult behaves poorly, or is detached from those around him/her, he/she might have an implicit memory to blame.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thoughts pack my brain as I sit here to write, this morning. I had an eventful weekend which has me visiting and revisiting it in my mind. Conversations unfold as I look over each thing I recall speaking as I assess and evaluate myself. What did I do well? Where were my challenges? What could I have done differently? Did I glorify God or dishonor Him?

Sunday was especially discouraging for me. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, this past week, in the ministry in which I serve. I felt more confident than ever before…but after getting some feedback, it seems, perhaps I was not doing as well as I had perceived. Which leaves me pondering, if I feel I was performing up to par and really I was not and I could not tell the difference then perhaps I am really not cut out for that particular ministry. Or, maybe we just need more time together to get things fully ironed out. I do not know.

Yet God in His infinite wisdom and being able to see my thoughts and my heart, has redirected me to what is TRULY important, and on what my thinking and prayers should be, constantly.

As I was doing my university work and researching someone about which I had read, I found myself seeking John Piper’s input, as I generally do when I am confused about something faith based. On his site I came across a gem for me, today. It is “When Women Face Their Curse-Ravaged Homes”.
15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:15)
Then suddenly, nothing else --- none of the swirling contemplation of the weekend, etc. --- seemed to matter.

Kim Ransleben wrote,
Our children are our first students, and the constancy of their need is our pervasive teacher. Their cries and wants bring to life the battle of dying to ourselves that another might live. As our children grow up, so do their mothers….

Not only does it sometimes feel like we are being pushed to the “lesser” work, with no voice in the church (much less the world), but being faithful mothers means that we must turn toward the area of our lives that is often the hardest for us to face. Come to find out, we’re right about how painful it is. The curse of Genesis 3 is felt not only in the breadth of the pain in childbearing, but in the depth of the risk known as mothering. From prolonged singleness to struggling marriages, infertility to unplanned pregnancy, the death of a child to the waywardness of our young adult children, women face one grief after the other….

When I read of the women who came before me, I learn that if I serve like Martha, kneel like Mary, acquiesce like our Lord’s mother, serve like Phoebe, and teach like Priscilla, then I can know that forever men will be taught by my life. I don’t need to take on their roles to be effective in Christ’s church.
(By Kim Ransleben. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/when-women-face-their-curse-ravaged-homes

The events of this weekend are fading away. The days are gone and I have children to teach about Jesus in the day to day.

16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:16-19. ESV.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Limited in Service: Female Pastor?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a pastor/ minister. I felt God’s pull upon my heart so strong I wanted nothing more than to serve Him in such a capacity. I just knew that was what God had in store for me.

It was not until I was about 30 years old (give or take a couple years) I realized God was never calling me to be a preacher/ teacher. He never goes against His own word (which clearly states women cannot be leaders over men).
12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:12-15. ESV.)
I am not offended…most likely because the Holy Spirit within me is not. If I was walking in the flesh (instead of the spirit) I, personally, would probably be highly insulted.

So, where does that leave me…a person, born female, who desires with all her heart to serve Her God (and Christ Jesus) in a profound way?

Well, as always, I have to look to the word of God. All of us, male or female, adult or child, regardless of nationality or race, etc. are called to proclaim His word.
18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples ofall nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20. ESV.)

Further, I could possibly be a deacon because unlike elders, deacons do not have to be “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9)…but that might be a stretch. I can teach children and other women (Titus 2:3-5). According to 1 Corinthians 11:5 it looks as though I can pray publicly and prophesy. And, there does not appear to be a limit on spiritual gifts.

In answering the above question, “So where does that leave me?” Pastor John Piper offers the following:
My answer is: 75 percent of the seven billion people in the world—I just checked this to make sure this is a true statement—75 percent of the seven billion people in the world are women or [children] under the age of 15. They have limitless needs of every kind, right? Physical needs and education needs and spiritual needs and relational needs and parenting needs and needs for rescue and endless needs that they have. And my response is: Do anything you want. Care about them. Care about them physically and especially eternally and minister in whatever way you can. ( By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/the-world-needs-women-ministers.)

Also, he wrote a book called What is the Difference? which has a section in the back with a list of 80 kinds of ministries that are open to women. I guess I will be checking that out to see if anything strikes a chord with me. For now, I will stick with wife & mother (of course), full time student working toward a law degree, part time substitute teacher, and blogger. Thank you, Lord.

(Photo Information.)

Monday, April 06, 2015

There are no guarantees. No promises of, “Build it and they will come.” There is not even a “happily ever after” on this earth. What is assured is a life of struggle.
33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33. ESV.)

22strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22. ESV.)

4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5. ESV.)
And an eternity of no more death, suffering, or sadness.
4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4. ESV.)

23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.26They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

So, how must I continue day by day in the world but not of it?
2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2. ESV.)
We were created to glorify God.
1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. 5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. 6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:1-7. ESV.)

Pastor John Piper states,
If there is a God, as I believe there is, and if he rules the world in his sovereignty, as the Bible says he does, and if he will bring human history to a close according to his plan and appoint to every person his eternal destiny, as Jesus taught that he will, then two of the most important questions for any human being to answer are these:
1) What is God's goal in creating and governing the world?
2) How can I bring my life into alignment with that goal?
For if we don't know his goal and our lives are not in alignment with it, then we will find ourselves at cross purposes with God and excluded from his kingdom in the age to come. It is a fearful thing to be at cross purposes with your maker! But on the other hand, nothing inspires courage and endurance and pluck for daily living like knowing the purpose of God and feeling yourself wholeheartedly in harmony with it. Nothing has nourished the strength of my Christian faith like knowing God's ultimate goal for creation and discovering how to bring my heart and my behavior into alignment with that goal.
(By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/god-created-us-for-his-glory
27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27. ESV.)

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