Love Your Body: Is Overeating A Sin?

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Today is Memorial Day and the grandkids are visiting, so I’m going to re-post an updated article I wrote two years ago but still is so relevant on this Love Your Body Monday. At the end of this blog, I share a blog post that I couldn’t have written better myself.

Are You Being Tempted to Overeat Today?

Healthy Eating

Chances are you’re going to a picnic or BBQ today and you’ll survey a table full of delectable foods just calling your name. Foods like chips and dips, greasy ribs or fried chicken, and oh, the desserts … luscious brownies, pies, homemade ice cream maybe even with toppings. You think to yourself, well it’s a holiday and I’ll go on a diet tomorrow. But wait, haven’t you been saying that since New Years and now it’s six months later and you’re still playing that same “holiday” excuse for eating unwisely? There’s a “holiday” almost every month when we could justify “going off the diet” not to mention vacation time. I did write a blog post last year to help you Love Your Body On Vacation.

What if you looked at that table spread of food and mentally labeled each food that you know you shouldn’t be eating as “poison,” which you wouldn’t eat even when it wasn’t a holiday. That’s exactly what I do when I encounter a potluck. We now live in the land of potlucks at church, small group, people houses … and I never know what they’re serving or what’s in some of the dishes. So I make sure to take something to the potluck I can eat … usually a green salad, watermelon, or fruit. I don’t eat red meat or pork, so if that’s what they’re serving, I just fill up on the things I can eat. It won’t hurt me not to have the “main dish.”

Often The Church Encourages Overeating

The church has always been a place of eating and overeating as we fellowship together. The early Christians ate together and “broke bread,” but I doubt their potlucks would look like ours today. Church gatherings often center on food, and sadly, many pastors are overweight. Not so much the younger generation of pastors, but many of the older pastors set poor examples of taking care of their bodily temples. Especially when the Bible says that gluttony and overeating is wrong!

Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness

—Ezekiel 16:49 NLT

Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
point your life in the right direction.
Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk;
don’t eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
in a stupor and dressed in rags.

—Proverbs 23:19-21 The Message

I find that people often consider me an anomaly at our church as I ask what’s in something or only have a few items on my plate at a potluck or dinner event. One person even made the comment, “I saw you eat some chicken so I guess you do eat ‘normal.’” I laughed and said, “Yes I do eat normal, it’s just depends on your definition of normal.

Why Aren’t There More Sermons on Overeating as a Sin?

Like any sin, sin is personal and today especially even the church shrinks from calling out personal sin and its dangers. Churches are full of unmarried couples living together—that’s a sin. And they’re also full of parishioners eating themselves to death—that’s a sin too. But how often do you hear either as a topic of a sermon?

This week, I came across a blog post and I thought to myself, I must share this with my followers. It’s written by a pastor and I couldn’t say it any better than he did, so I’m going to leave you with the link and encourage all of you to prayerfully read it and consider for yourself whether or not you’re abusing your body with food and would that be considered a sin in God’s eyes.

Pray for the Military

American flag                       

Today, is a day to honor those who died in battle fighting for the very freedoms that many in our government and the liberal progressive left are trying to take away from Conservatives and Christians today, especially the men and women in the military. Read this articleAir Force general who spoke of God should be court-martialed.” Weep and pray as you remember the men and women who gave their lives so that you and I could worship the One True God.

Now, go to this link to read about “The Sin of Overeating” and if you received this blog by email, leave your comments here.

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5 Ways to Have a God-Glorifying Small Group

Last week as I was shutting down my computer, I noticed a Facebook tag from my dear friend and fellow author/speaker, Pam Farrel. Pam leads a group called Seasoned Sisters, and you’ll be able to read all about how she started this mentoring group for women going through midlife in my new book Mentoring For All Seasons when it releases in September this year! Pam shares in it several stories about being mentored and being a mentor during transition seasons of her life.

Several months ago, Pam told me her Seasoned Sisters group wanted to read and discuss my latest book that Pam endorsed, Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten. They purchased the books, and then I got a message from her that more women wanted to join the group as the word got out how much they were enjoying my book. You know how this encouraged me and warmed my heart since my vision for Forsaken God? was for Christians to make a change for God in our culture by simply remembering how good God has been to them in their own lives. There are discussion questions after each chapter for group study, and the book isn’t just for women: it’s for all Christians!

So back to last week’s Facebook tag. Pam was meeting with her Seasons Sisters and they sent me a live video to say “Hi” and tell me what Forsaken God? has meant to them. Several comments: “Very timely! I don’t want to watch the news; I just want to read this book.” “Forsaken God? will put the headlines in perspective and give you God’s view.” Here’s the short video for you to watch yourself.

One woman said she had given the book to a waitress. I was blessed and encouraged. If you read last week’s blog post 10 Ways to Change Our Culture, you know my heart for motivating Christians to take a stand for God in their sphere of influence. I’m praying some of you thought there was at least one way you would apply to your life.

The Value of Small Groups / Bible Study Groups / Life Groups

Small groups or Bible study groups or life groups, whatever your church calls them, are the perfect place to mature in your faith and encourage each other to take your faith public, as we’re told to do in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

My husband and I met in a small group at Saddleback Church. He was the co-leader of a business group that included men, women, couples, and singles. It was my first experience in a small group, but Dave and I have been leading small groups and support groups (such as Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter) ever since. Sometimes we lead together, other times he might lead a men’s group and I’ll lead a women’s group. We’ve led groups at a mega church like Saddleback, and at the small church in the mountain community where we now live. Our favorite groups are couples groups.

Like every small group, some of our groups ran smoothly with everyone committed, and others had problems that we had to address for the good of the group. Here are five key areas where God taught us through trial and error how to have a small group that glorifies Him and enriches the spiritual life of all the group members.

  1. Create a safe place with confidentiality – Do members of your group feel like the group is a safe place where they can share openly without condemnation, criticism, or worrying that what they say will leave the group?

Prayer time can unintentionally become a gossip session. Members should feel confident that prayer requests or comments made during the meetings are not discussed outside of the group, without permission from all individuals involved.

Spouses should not share stories about each other without receiving permission, whether or not their spouse is present. To keep the group accountable in this area, when a spouse starts to talk about his or her spouse, the leader can say something like, “That sounds like a hubby [or wife] story. Hubby [or wife], do you want us to hear this?” And if he or she says no, then nix the story.

  1. Don’t Try to Fix Each Other – Are members trying to solve each other’s problems or give unsolicited advice?

Members shouldn’t try to speak into each other’s life unless asked to do so. Often a member just wants to share a difficult situation and is solely looking for compassion, understanding, and prayer. The group should listen respectfully, and possibly offer constructive and empathetic comments from their own experience, as long as those thoughts are biblically sound, and above all, encouraging. No quick fixes or “you shoulds.”

Sometimes members with difficult issues can dominate the entire meeting and that might be appropriate if someone is in an immediate crisis. But if this becomes a pattern, the leader/facilitator gently suggests that the member might benefit from speaking with pastors at the church or offer to talk privately and pray with him or her after the group.

  1. Set Clear Expectations and Request Commitment – Is everyone committed and giving priority to meetings and communicating in advance when they aren’t going to attend? Do all members have clear expectations of what they’re going to receive from the study, and are they in concert with the group?

Will it be a social fellowship group vs. a Bible study group, or a combination of the two?

Commitment and making meetings a high priority is imperative. Members shouldn’t have an “I’ll-be-there-if-I-can” attitude. Your goal is to become a spiritual family growing and doing life together, respectful of each other’s time and efforts.

There’s nothing more discouraging as a leader than to prepare for the group and then start receiving the phone calls and emails, often at the last minute, that members aren’t coming. One way to share the commitment and ownership of the group is to pass the facilitating of the group among the members. So it’s not always a leader/members group, but a group with everyone having a part in facilitating the meetings.

Make sure you have a group covenant that clearly states the purpose of the group and allow everyone an opportunity to express his or her expectations. This is also a good place to reemphasize confidentiality and commitment expectations.

  1. Maintain Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit—Do you spend enough time in the Word and let the Holy Spirit lead or are you rushing through studies to reach a goal?

Regardless of the focus or purpose of the group, everyone must be reading from the Bible every meeting. Members need to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer during the meetings and during the week for spiritual growth to occur.

It’s important to end at the agreed expected time so people can plan, but don’t be overly concerned how much material is covered each meeting. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and expose just the right discussion for growth in everyone’s life.

  1. Encourage Active Group Participation – Is everyone doing his or her outside study material between meetings and participating in the discussion? Do some people never talk and others do all the talking?

It’s important for the health and growth of the group that everyone comes prepared if there is homework or reading between meetings, and that each member has an opportunity to participate in discussion.

A good way to engage people who tend to be quiet is to ask them to read a Scripture, and if it applies to a study question, that’s an open door to read their answer. Or to prevent them from feeling pressured to respond first, after some initial group discussion on the question, the leader/facilitator can invite their input. These suggestions also are effective in preventing the group from relying on the same group members for answers and discussion.

Small groups are vital to the spiritual growth and maturity of a church congregation, whether the church is large or small. It’s easy to get lost in a large church and not feel accountable, but a small group makes a big church small. In a small church, like where we are right now, small groups expand the ministry and teaching during the week and can make a small church seem like a large extended family.

What other things have you found to be a problem and/or helpful in keeping your small group effective and maturing together in Christ?

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All my books have discussion questions for groups. I’ve also written a Face to Face Bible Study Series for women. There are seven in the series and each one is a perfect length for summer study. Or there’s a First Place 4 Heath Bible study God’s Best for Your Life.

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10 Ways to Change Our Culture

When it comes to making a change in our world, we often feel . . .

  • Who am I to make a difference? I’m only one person.
  • What does it matter what I say? Who listens to me anyway?
  • I don’t have a platform. How would I get my voice heard if I did try to make a change?

Have you had similar thoughts? I did. Twenty years ago, I wasn’t thinking about making a difference in the world’s culture—just in my world. Then during the journey of starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and watching lives changing—one woman at a time—I realized I was making a difference. These mentors and mentees were making a difference. One woman mentoring another woman was having a ripple effect out into the culture.

You too can make a significant change in our culture today. God never forces us to do anything, but He created us with gifts and a purpose, and when we use our God-given talents for His glory, things change—for the good—in our circle of influence, our platform.

In the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-16), Jesus tells us to shout the Good News to everyone who will listen. That means in our jobs, activities, sports, shopping, playing, parenting . . . whatever we do, wherever we do it . . . joyfully let others know that God is at the center of our lives. Someone is noticing. Someone sees a difference in how we live our lives, and that changes things.

Celebrities, Sports Stars, and Politicians

Movies stars and entertainers have changed the culture mostly in a negative way by making it fashionable to have babies with whomever they’re dating, normalizing living together without getting married, wearing revealing clothes, swearing and using vulgar language—both men and women—doing things in movies we would never let them do in our living rooms. They have influenced our culture by lowering the moral and sexual standards for society. And in today’s volatile political culture, the majority of them are liberal progressives, and those who aren’t are blackballed.

Gospel-sharing movies are beginning to get some traction at theaters, many started by grassroots Christians who want to make a difference in today’s culture. We need to support them. It’s upsetting to hear Christians armchair criticize other Christians who are stepping out to make a difference for God, especially when the critics aren’t trying to make a difference themselves!

Sports figures and teams have become idols. We recently watched one football player dishonor our National Anthem and young high school football players followed suit. Time Magazine included him in the most influential people of the year! 2016 Olympic swimmers lied and falsified an assault story in Brazil, and yet one of them ended up on Dancing with the Stars! Instead of being good role models, again we see the culture influenced in worldly, ungodly ways, while sports figures honoring God are ridiculed. Still it was refreshing to hear many Olympians praising God.

People don’t trust politicians. Many will change the culture for good, but others make changes that starkly contradict our Christian beliefs and values. The media blasts and tries to silence politicians who agree with a conservative agenda because the vast majority of culture today is liberal.

We’ve seen the liberal agenda invade the Federal and local government, and we feel helpless watching the sanctity of life and marriage destroyed by laws legalizing sin. We cry out to God and to each other at the atrocities; but we hang our heads thinking we can’t do anything. But that’s when the real work begins. There’s more to changing culture than just voting in our candidates! We still have control of where we spend our money, our time, and how we use our voice and influence.

You Can Change Culture

It’s time for Christians to step up, speak out, and seize opportunities to defend God and change our culture back to one that respects and honors virtue and morals. We need a revival, which doesn’t start in government, it starts in the church with the people sitting in the chairs and pews. That’s you and me!

Christianity has come under attack by the media, the government, and the entertainment world for several generations, so today’s generation has formed prejudices and perceptions based more on the worldly lies of Satan than on the truths of God. We need to proclaim the Good News of Christ because many have only heard the distorted lies of Satan.

10 Ways You Can Help Change Our Culture

  1. Speak Up

Today, society marginalizes, neutralizes, and denies God—forgotten by a culture forsaking him. Wherever and whenever you hear someone speaking disrespectfully of God, kindly let him or her know you’re a believer and explain why and what you believe, and would they please speak respectfully of the most important person in your life.

  1. Mentor—

I receive so many stories from women of all ages desperate for someone spiritually older to share their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. They’re begging for mentors as Titus 2:1-8 instructs spiritually older Christians to help spiritually younger men and women learn how to navigate life and make choices that honor God. If more Christians became mentors, we would see less violence, rage, poverty, divorce, single-parent families, abuse, abortion . . . the list goes on. Titus 2:5 says we mentor so “no one will malign the word of God.”

  1. Use Social Media

As an author and speaker, I have a large social media presence, and I boldly comment from a Christian perspective. A young mom approached me at church and thanked me for my Facebook posts. She said I always wrote something on my timeline just when she needed it or when she needed perspective on a current topic.

Then I received an email from a mom saying she found my tweets, Facebook messages, and blog posts helpful in her life. The list goes on. I have no idea how many lives I may be touching and changing through social media, but I try to always include something about God in today’s culture, and hope it sounds doable to my readers to duplicate.

Pick one form of social media, establish a following, and get a dialogue going for cultural change.

  1. Blogging—

I also write a weekly Monday Morning Blog. Not everyone likes to write, but a blog reaches multitudes. Whatever your passion is—sports, gardening, building, cooking, parenting—write about it and add something in your post to help the reader make positive cultural changes in his/her life or environment.

  1. Parenting

Your children are the future of our country and will define the culture for decades. They look to you for guidance and direction to set their moral compass. Talk about the difficult issues they face. Know what the culture is saying and doing and teach them how to identify twisted doctrine and counter it with the truth. Give them the tools they need to be change agents in the culture. Help them be leaders, not followers.

  1. Teach Sunday School or Help in Youth Ministry

One of the most important roles in the church is teaching and training the next generations. These children and youth are the future who will determine if the church remains true to God’s Word, the Bible, or casts it aside to accommodate the falsehoods of the culture. They must go into the world not only knowing about Jesus, but also knowing Him in a personal relationship they wouldn’t give up or give away for anything.

  1. Support Business that Champions Christian Values—

Businesses are succumbing to the liberal cultural pressure to market and financially support the LGBTQ agenda. We have a choice where we spend our money and our time. If you know a business supports something you don’t agree with, don’t spend money there. It’s that simple. There are plenty of other places to eat and shop—especially those owned by Christians.

If a movie is full of violence, sex, and vulgar language . . . don’t see it. Go to opening weekend of a Christian movie. Businesses, television, the movie and sports industry . . . notice when revenue declines.

  1. Run for a Local Office

We need more Christians and conservatives in government! If you feel called, run for office and be the voice in the wilderness in your community that fights for the sanctity of life, morals, freedom of speech for all, and laws that honor God and the Constitution.

  1. Remember God’s Goodness

When we remember how good God has been in the past, we share it with others. Today’s millennials, and those younger, don’t know a world where you can openly pray, talk about Jesus, and take your Bible to school. When “gay” meant joyful, and the rainbow only stood for God’s blessings. Where marriage was only between a man and a woman, and kids didn’t have two dads or two moms. It’s our job to tell them that the culture we’re living in today is not God’s way, but we can find our way back to His ways.

  1. Prayer—

God hears the prayers of His people: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Jesus changed the culture, and He was only one man, whose fame came after his death, but he left a band of followers to keep up His work of changing the worldly culture.

“As Christians, God calls us to live holy lives: separated to God, separated from the world, and separated for God. Our responsibility is to help a generation that thrives on conforming, want to conform to God’s standards! Don’t think you can’t make a difference. You can. Sure, you can’t transform the whole world, but you can make a difference in your world.”*

*Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten

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Messy Journey, Offering the Prodigal a Way Home by Lori Wildenberg

I always teach that mentoring the next generation starts with our own family. But what do you do when your children or grandchildren are walking with the world instead of with God? As many of you know, parenting prodigals is dear to my heart and prompted me to share our family’s journey in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents.

Today, my author friend, and licensed parent and family educator Lori Wildenberg offers practical grace- and truth-filled ways of navigating your relationship with a detoured child whether they are rejecting faith, dabbling in sin, or wholeheartedly embracing sinful behavior.

Lori knows the heartache of having a rebel child. Her new release Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home is for parents walking the difficult road with a wayward child. Be inspired to drink the deep waters of peace as you draw closer to the Father of all prodigals. There is hope. After all, their struggle isn’t really with you, it’s with God.

 

MESSY LIFE by Lori Wildenberg

“When her parents discovered she was pregnant, they kicked her out.”

This single mom has defied the odds. She is raising her child, going to college, and working to support the two of them.

Not easy.

I don’t know the details of this woman’s story. I have no clue as to the relationship she had or has with her parents. I don’t know all the times of trouble that led up to this separation.

But…

I do know a number of families in a similar situation who chose to do life differently. They chose to support their unwed pregnant daughter and help her in her time of need. Three of the girls kept their babies. All three are now married (not to the baby daddy), another girl miscarried (now married with kids), and a fifth made an open adoption plan.

During the most difficult time in their life, each young mom knew her parents were there for her. Each woman in the middle of the mess knew she could count on her parents to help stabilize the shaky ground. All girls are now thriving.

As daughter’s of Eve and sons of Adam, we make decisions that are not in our best interest, ones that are not God’s best for us.

Humans have a wandering propensity.

Some young people stray due to an unwed pregnancy, sexual sin, porn, substance abuse, or a rejection of faith. When we have a prodigal, sometimes we are to let ’em go (see Luke 15) and other times we are to chase after our lost sheep (see Luke 15).

Either way, we need to keep the bridge built so our prodigal is able to return.

I have a child who, for a season, stepped away from the family. It was the most painful thing I have ever endured. There were times I chased her down like the shepherd and other times I waited like the dad.

I cried. I prayed.

I was a mess. I was weak.

God was strong.

Praise God, He brought her back to us.

I am thankful I kept the drawbridge down so she could cross it.

If your young person has taken a detour from the way in which he should go, keep the bridge open.

Don’t destroy it, build it.

During a messy life, lay down the planks of unconditional love: grace, humility, mercy, forgiveness, honesty, and truth.

Build the bridge and yes…they will come.

Back.

“Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.”
Luke 15:6b (NIV)

Where is God calling you to build or rebuild a relational bridge?

If you received this post by email, leave a comment here.

Lori Wildenberg is passionate about helping families build connections that last a life time. She is a licensed parent-family educator and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. She has written 4 parenting books with Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home published by New Hope as her most recent. She is a parent consultant, national speaker, and lead Mentor Mom over at the Moms Together Facebook Community Page. Lori is a contributor to a number of on-line magazines. Every Monday you can find her blogging about faith and family. Mostly, Lori is wife to Tom and mom of four. The Wildenberg’s home is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A perfect day in Lori’s world is a hike with her hubby, four kids plus a daughter-in-love, and Murphy the family labradoodle.

Find Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home at Amazon.

Additional Books:
Raising Little Kids with Big Love (for parents of toddlers- 9)
Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love (for parents of tweens-young adults)

www.loriwildenberg.blogspot.com

www.loriwildenberg.com

www.facebook.com/momstogether

www.facebook.com/1Corinthians13Parenting

www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com
https://twitter.com/LoriWildenberg

https://pinterest.com/loriwildenberg/

Instagram: LoriWildenberg

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I Didn’t See This Coming!

I’m back! I’m sure that many of you who are used to receiving my Monday Morning Blog wondered what happened to me the month of April. I’m sorry that I didn’t have time to explain, but I was completely unprepared for the events that knocked me down so fast and hard. I didn’t have any warning myself.

Let me explain. If you’ve followed me for a while, you will remember that on Christmas Day I tripped on a rug and landed head first on a wooden chest. So I started 2017 with 5 staples in my head, a concussion, and a constant ringing in my ears. I wrote about that experience on January 9 in the blog post 8 Reasons to Make 2017 the Year of New Connections, when one of the opening sentences was, “You know how we make our plans but the Lord directs our steps.” And the next week in, What If You Didn’t Get to Say Goodbye I wrote, “I don’t remember ever having an accident like that before.”

I did not see that accident coming or the length of time it would take to recover from the concussion. By February, I had come to terms with the fact that I would probably live the rest of my life with the ringing in my ears as an array of doctors told me there was probably no hope it would ever go away. Many people told me their stories of living with this distraction and all the many cures, but I am an easily distracted person so I knew it wouldn’t be easy for me to overcome, but with the Lord’s help, I will not be shaken.

Then I started feeling bad the beginning of March in a part of my body unrelated to the concussion—my lower stomach, from my navel down. After several weeks, it got worse so I started the round of doctors, ending up at an urologist who did a CT scan revealing I had kidney stones and gallbladder stones, but he was sure my pain was coming from one kidney stone that looked to be lodged in the top of my bladder. He sent me home for the weekend to drink gallons of water and lemonade, but nothing had changed by the time his office called to check with me on Monday, the last Monday in March and the day of my last blog post to you.

Two days later, on Wednesday at 6:30 AM I was being prepped for surgery to remove what we all thought was one stuck kidney stone. I told everyone I would be back in my office Thursday, including my publisher as we were working on the cover for my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Everyone I knew who had ever had kidney stones assured me by Wednesday night I would be feeling great!

Well I wasn’t feeling great. I opened my eyes after surgery and felt twenty times worse! What?! I cried I was so disappointed and one of the nurses said, “Who told you that you were going to feel better?” All my Facebook friends, and I just assumed it would be an easy surgery. Wrong!!!

It turns out I had “dozens” of small stones stuck in both ureters—the tubes that come out of your kidneys. Yes you read right, I had been walking around with dozens of stones!!! So that meant cameras, wires, surgical tools all had invaded both ureters to scrape out the dozens of stones, as well as removing any left in my kidneys. I came home with stints in both ureters, excruciating cramps and pain, and was knocked flat on my back for weeks.

As many of you know I’ve had breast cancer surgery three times, so I am not a wimp and I have a very high threshold for pain, which is how I went so long with all these stones; but I was in agony after this surgery. The recovery has been so much slower than I could have ever expected. There were times when I couldn’t even pray except to groan, which the Bible tells me the Holy Spirit interpreted those groans to God for me.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Analysis of the stones showed the cause was a medication I was taking for a neurological condition, so in the midst of all this, I had to transition off those meds and onto a different one that made me nauseated, dizzy, and knocked me back down again.

So that’s where I’ve been this past month. But I made it back to church today and once we get these medications figured out, I pray the rest of the year will be better.

Points to Ponder

One Sunday morning, I was sobbing in pain and my husband asked what could he ask the church to pray for during their time of “Praise, Prayer, and Share.” The only thing I could say was, “Hope.” But I told him don’t say that or people will think my faith if faltering, but what I meant was hope that I was going to wake up one morning and feel better. I think he asked for prayer that there would be a turn for the better in my recovery.

He came home from church that morning with a gift bag from a sweet woman who serves our church by sending get well cards and gifts when a parishioner is ill. She had no idea of my plea for hope. In the bag was this cup!

Interestingly, the day before surgery I had turned into Crosswalk.com, who I write for regularly, a blog 10 Ways Not to Help a Suffer. Crosswalk posted that blog exactly one week after surgery. The blog talks about things not to do when someone you know is suffering, with the corresponding ten ways to help someone suffering. My church family, small group, and small mountain community were the example of everything to do to help someone. They showed up at the door with meals, sent cards, called faithfully, and prayed continually. As I walked into church today, I was greeted over and over by “It’s so good to see you back and I was praying for you!”

My next article assigned by Crosswalk is “How to Remain Hopeful When the Pain Won’t Stop.” I’ll let you know when that posts because I will share more of what kept me going and hopeful this past month.

Two days after surgery, the copy edits from my publisher arrived for me to review. It would be my last chance to make any changes or corrections and to review the changes their editors had made. When I let the product manager for Mentoring for All Seasons know about the surgery and it would probably be a few weeks before I could look at these, she quickly extended the April 21 deadline to today May 1. During the month, she checked in to see how I was doing, and often I was miserable. She continually sent me prayers along with this sweet graphic.

So while the health issues this year caught me completely by surprise, I know that God is never caught off guard and He sustains me. The word He gave me in both the concussion and the recovery from this surgery is: I will not be shaken.

God willing, I will be back next week. Thank you for those who prayed for me that knew about this, and the many Facebook friends who let me know their prayers and thoughts were with me. I was so blessed to see all of your comments when I felt up to checking in on Facebook. I pray if any of you are suffering, you also know that our hope is in the Lord who never leaves our side.

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Love Your Body: Don’t Let Bullies Get To You

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Last month’s Love Your Body Monday was on the topic of “Why Are We Still So Angry?” One way anger expresses itself is through bullying—and whether you’re the person doing the bullying or on the receiving end, it’s not healthy!

Whoever sows sin reaps weeds, and bullying anger sputters into nothing. Pr. 22:8 MSG

Bullying has always been a serious problem with school kids. We’ve seen tragedies of children committing crimes of violence, assault—even murder—and children bullied to the brink of suicide.

Adults shake their heads in dismay wondering the source of these children’s anger. Why do they feel such little concern for the feelings, dignity, or honor of others? What has happened to regard for human life? There seems to be no limits to vengefulness, humiliation, meanness, degradation, hurt, spite, revenge, or harm. Often no purpose or reason for the bullying . . . “Just for the fun of it.” “Just because.” “Something to do.” On a dare. Bored. See if they could get away with it.

With the rise of electronics and cell phones in every child’s hand and computers at home, it’s become easier and easier to use words and pictures as weapons with no boundaries, safe-guards, rules, or supervision to stop bullies from torturing other children in cyber space, if not face to face. Bullying no longer has to leave visible physical bruises, black eyes, and broken bones—the damage is now inflicted internally with words, images, and crushing spirits.

If you’re the parent of the bully, you wonder what you’ve done wrong. If your child is bullied, your heart breaks, because nothing will ever erase the words they’ve heard, the names they’ve been called, the pictures viewed, the social torture they’ve endured that will haunt them for life.

Here is a definition of bullying:

Wikipedia defines bullying as:

There is no universal definition of bullying, however, it is widely agreed upon that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria: (1) hostile intent, (2) imbalance of power, and (3) repetition over a period of time.[11] Bullying may thus be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally.

The Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus[12] says bullying occurs when a person is “exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons”. He says negative actions occur “when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways.”[12] Individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.[

Cultural Bullying

The spike in school bullying is not surprising. Instead of adults setting a role model to guide the younger generation to treat others by the “Golden Rule,” bullying has become accepted communication. Who would have ever imagined the things we hear on television, the media, and read in the news today? I just saw the term “Bullying Fake News!” No boundaries, nothing off limits. No rules. No guidelines, nothing sacred—no concern for feelings, unprofessionalism, unkindness, rudeness, ungentlemanly or unlady-like behavior, disrespect, fowl language, crudeness.

Pretentious with arrogance,
they wear the latest fashions in violence,
Pampered and overfed,
decked out in silk bows of silliness.
They jeer, using words to kill;
they bully their way with words.
They’re full of hot air,
loudmouths disturbing the peace.
People actually listen to them—can you believe it?
Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words. Psalm 73:6-10 MSG

Here are just a few public examples of bullying:

Beauty and Beast Actors Mock Christians

Katie Rich of ‘S.N.L.’ Is Suspended for Tweet Mocking Barron Trump

Watch Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer Return to Hit Donald and Ivanka Trump Where It Hurts

Dumping on Trump Pays Off For Late-Night TV Shows

Chelsea Handler Shames, Bullies Melania Trump Over English

Recently, extreme bullying was acceptable when a rapper made a video replicating assassinating the President and another rapper followed with a lewd verbal and tweeting attack on the First Lady, with no repercussions! Not even a reprimand, except for those who objected on social media and Fox News. Others encouraged them, just like thousands who watch Saturday Night Live as they bully and mock the Commander and Chief, his administration, and family, and call it “humor,” while talk show hosts make a living bullying them and others.

Crude, lude, degrading remarks and skits about others is sick, satirical, critical, hurtful, and demeaning and reflects the darkness in the heart of those who create and consider this humor and funny. A window into the unhealthy culture our young people are exposed to and why they are so easily prone to bullying.

Respect isn’t a word commonly used today or displayed for our National Anthem, our flag, our military, our President, Our Father . . . or each other!

Jesus Was Bullied—the Bible called it Persecution

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.—John 5:16

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:20

Stay Healthy—Bless the Bullies!

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5:10

If you take a stand for the Lord in today’s godless culture, you’re going to endure persecution and bullying: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12. I encounter bullying almost daily. At first, I took it personally and felt like arrows hitting my heart. They didn’t know me. How could they call me those vile names—the election season was vicious. If they knew I was a Christian, the name calling, was worse. So I had to make a healthy choice. Determine this would not affect me emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Nor would I back down from standing strong for Jesus and the call I feel He has put on my heart, my ministry, and my writing.

I had to figure out how not to receive the bullying and not dish it back: “Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder, always spoiling for a fight. Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life. Why be a bully? “Why not?” you say. Because God can’t stand twisted souls. It’s the straightforward who get his respect.” Pr. 3:30-32 MSG

You’ve probably experienced the same and asking: But what if it’s a friend? A family member? A loved one? People today feel justified saying whatever they want, calling you names, or ridiculing your beliefs. You feel your blood pressure rising, your stomach churning, your sadness quotient moving towards depression or retaliation.

This isn’t the neighborhood bully mocking me—I could take that. This isn’t a foreign devil spitting invective—I could tune that out. It’s you! We grew up together! You! My best friend! Those long hours of leisure as we walked arm in arm, God a third party to our conversation. Ps. 55:12-14 MSG

My granddaughter and I were talking about how to respond when someone says or does something that makes her angry. Maybe a friend, her siblings, a kid at school. I was helping her understand that when she responds the same way, her behavior isn’t any better than the one treating her badly. They’re both in the wrong. She looked at me with eyes that said, so what should I do? I said the way to surprise the person bullying her, or to catch them off guard, was to say, “Well, bless you!”

The shocked expression on my granddaughter’s face was priceless, before she burst out laughing! Then we practiced Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35-39

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How Do You Know You’re A Christian?

Talking about who is a Christian is a sensitive subject that sets me up for being called judgmental, Pharisee, legalistic, and a new one, “fundie.” I had to look it up because I had no idea what it meant:

fund·ie ˈfəndē/

noun

noun: fundie; plural noun: fundies

  1. Britishinformal

a fundamentalist, especially a Christian fundamentalist.

Well there you have it. Maybe you learned a new term too.

Saying You Are a Christian Is Not Good Enough!

I’ve been called many things, which I’ll be talking more about next week, but I’m distressed with how people casually call themselves a “Christian,” without really knowing what that designation means. Some believe they’re a “Christian” if they simply know about God or believe there is a God. Attend, serve in, or raised in church, attended a Christian school, have Christian parents, own a Bible, or even live in America. No heart change by personally asking Jesus into their heart and seeking forgiveness for their sins or having a relationship with Jesus and believing that salvation comes through Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross and resurrection. No casting off the old way of life for the new life in Christ, but still buying into the world’s ways. Yet, still thinking of themselves as Christians.

These in-name-only “Christians” often claim to be more “enlightened” then born-again Christians, saved by grace–who confess our sins and ask Jesus to forgive us and come into our heart. We make a commitment to live in a relationship with Him. Christians who depend on God to help us live by the principles in His Word hidden in our heart. We have the assurance our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life when our time comes to meet Jesus for eternity. We live in complete confidence and faith because Jesus is alive in our heart every day, and that’s what we celebrate next month at Easter. No question. Jesus is alive. We know that’s what it means when we say we’re a Christian!

Let me share with you four examples I encountered this week of the confusion in so many people’s minds of what it means to be a Christian. How is this happening? Why is it not clear to people? An immigrant understands the requirements to American citizenship and calling himself an American. How many have no idea how narrow the gate is into heavenly citizenship as a Christian? What does Jesus want you and me to do about this? Jesus wants none to perish.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matt. 7:13-14

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

  1.  Example: I am a Christian and so is my wife, although she is much more likely to describe herself as a feminist.

I’m sure there are Christian women entrapped by the feminists movement. But if being an activist takes priority over being a Christian, that’s a crisis of faith. If a woman identifies with the feminist movement instead of Christ, she’s replaced Christianity with feminism, or perhaps never knew Christ as her personal Savior. Here are several discussion points if you know a Christian feminist:

  • Research the background of the leaders of the feminist movement. None are Christians! They belong to other “isms,” and organization, but none profess to follow Jesus so why would you follow them?
  • Would you wear the “pink knitted hats,” carry the signs made for the marches, and chant the protests in or around your church?
  • Jesus loves the little children and He does not want one to perish. The central focus of the feminists is abortion. Some women in the marches were carrying signs that said Jesus’ mother Mary should have had an abortion. You can’t pick and choose what part of their agenda you want to endorse. How can you overlook these things as a Christian?
  • Jesus made Eve to be a helpmate to Adam, not to compete with or emasculate him.
  • Look up the goals of the feminist movement and try to justify them with Scripture.
  • Research Scriptures on how Christian women are to conduct themselves, even when they don’t like someone.
  1. Example: I go to a Christian church every Sunday and during Lent I go every day. I went to religious schools and my parents are Christian.

You’ve heard the saying that standing in the garage doesn’t make you a car. Going to church, even going every day and going during Lent, Christmas or Easter, doesn’t make us a Christian. Going to Christian schools, having Christian parents, reading Christian books, even reading the Bible, or being baptized doesn’t make us a Christian. It’s a personal decision that no one else can make for us, and Jesus is clear when He says we must be born again. I wonder how many people who call themselves “Christians” have actually asked Jesus to come into their heart, experienced that change of heart, and been spiritually born again.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. John 3:3

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

  1. Example: I attend church regularly and volunteer there. I believe in separation of church and state and we should keep God out of our politics, as our forefathers intended.

Attending church and serving is wonderful, but works doesn’t make us a Christian. And we can’t keep God out of anything. God is omnipotent. He has all the power over everything. We don’t tell Him what to do or where He can go. But even many believers think: I trust God with eternity, but I make my own decisions down here.

  1. Example:As a Christian woman, I understand persecution, but I will not sit here and be persecuted,” Brazile said. “Your information is totally false.” —Donna Brazile in an interview with Megyn Kelley regarding the validity of the WikiLeaks emails that Brazile gave candidate Hillary Clinton’s camp debate questions.

March 17 the headlines were Brazile Admits She Forwarded Town Hall Questions to Clinton Camp after almost a year of denying —lying—even when leaked emails were evidence that she had cheated. But even worse, she tried to evoke Jesus as her alibi! Some would say she’s now making amends by confessing. Looking closer at the “essay” she wrote for Time Magazine, she only admits to passing along “topics,” not the specific questions, which the leaked emails show she did. The focus of her Time essay is blaming the Russians and Donald Trump, so it’s back to Eve in the Garden. Never does she humbly ask for forgiveness from the American people or from God. No sign of true repentance, which one would expect from a “Christian woman.” As one reporter said, there never is any guilt assigned. Every Christian knows confession is only complete when you humbly take full responsibility for your mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and repent . . . not shift the blame.

We don’t know Brazile’s faith background, but she may have used “Christian” in the interview to get Kelley to back off because the perception is that Christians tell the truth. She also claimed “persecuted” when she was actually receiving an opportunity to admit the truth.

In a Fox News panel discussing Brazile’s Time “confession,” Meghan McCain mentioned she was disappointed because Brazile had offered to pray for Meghan if she ever needed it. Our witness is always on trial as Christians.

Perhaps political zeal was too big a temptation when so many thought Clinton would win. But as happens so often when we defy God’s ways, it backfired. As God brings Donna Brazile to mind, pray she will truly repent and not just regret she sent the emails, but seek forgiveness.

For there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. Matt 10:26

I suppose the litmus test for knowing that you’re a Christian is when you can confidently—no doubts—answer the question the Gideon’s asked us in church this morning: Where are you going to spend eternity?

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

But these are written that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.—John 20:31

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What Does the Bible Say to Women Who Don’t Show Up?

March 8 was another attempt for the new “feminist” women’s movement to feel relevant by not showing up for work. Twisted thinking that not fulfilling their responsibilities would make them invaluable to their employers and fellow workers who had to fill the gap or do double duty while they were marching in the streets, shopping at minority or women owned stores or just hanging out at home for the day.

With each interview I heard of representatives of this liberal movement, their reasons for taking the day off ranged from not shopping at businesses owned by white men to all the reasons they didn’t like Donald Trump as president, and very few said anything about work related issues. I wrote a blog post after the women’s march the day following the Inauguration titled “Why Are Some Women like Eve . . . Still Listening to the Serpent?” With each failed attempt at relevancy, the devil is becoming bolder and more obvious in these women’s protests. The women involved seem confused, blinded, and resistant to reason and logic. All tools of the evil serpent.

These liberal feminists represent a select minority of women. The majority of women are watching from the sidelines, shaking their heads, and saying, “This is not my march. This is not my cause. These women do not represent me.”

Maybe you know some of the feminists or have some in your family or friends, and it saddens and sickens you to watch them being used as pawns by a political, satanical force that could care less about women and is only using them to create perceived chaos during President Trump’s first few months. Bill O’Reilly asked one woman “Would you be protesting if Hillary Clinton had won?” She didn’t answer. Then he asked, “Isn’t it true that you just don’t like President Trump?” Those two truths annihilate feminist’s credibility!

How do we get women entrapped by these feminists to listen to reason?

One way we train mentors to work with mentees is to ask questions and help them arrive at their own answers. I realize that many of the liberal feminists are not Christians, but sadly, they have lured some Christians, seekers, or your children. So perhaps you can use the following questions to start a discussion, and I’ll provide supportive Scriptures. I hope it helps. It helped me just writing this for you.

Questions to Consider When Discussing the Liberal Feminist Movement

  1. Who are the organizers? Did you know the current movement is lead by people like Linda Sarsour with ties to a terrorist group that supports sharia law. Other organizers and supporters of the “women’s march” and “general strike” include a half dozen Marxist professors and Black Panther supporter, Angela Davis, who fled to Cuba after guns she illegally obtained were used in a courthouse shoot-up, and Ramsea Yousef Odeh, convicted of terrorism and imprisoned in Israeli in 1970? Do these sound like people who want the best for American women?

As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ 1 Samuel 24:13 NLT

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:1-6

  1. Why protest work-related issues now? President Trump has only been in office two months and the women marched around the Trump Tower on March 8. Why not march around Obama’s home in Washington? He was president for the past eight years and didn’t rectify any of their complaints. Why didn’t they protest Obama for not doing anything about the issues rather than a president who just took office and actually signed two bills for women entrepreneurs?

In your anger do not sin. Ephesians 4:26

  1. Since sexism on the job is a justified complaint, why wasn’t there a loud protest from the liberal left or the feminist leaders when Democrat U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana made a vile and crude “joke” in a public speech in Washington regarding Kellyanne Conway? If this protest is about all women in the workplace, why didn’t one woman on the left, defend her? Did employers know women only stayed home from work for the rights of liberal left feminist women?

Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. You are God my stronghold. Psalm 43:1

  1. What about the rights of employers and the people you serve? Were your reasons for staying off the job more important than school kids and their parents? Patients? Customers? Fellow employees? Deadlines? Products? Why are you so much more important than them?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23

  1. Have you ever seen protestors yelling and carrying mean, vulgar, and crude signs achieve a worthwhile purpose? Is this an appropriate role model for your daughters? What would be a better way to have your voice heard?

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-24

  1. Don’t you believe that both men and women are important to society? Hillary Clinton said to the feminists, “the future is women.” Do you believe that means without men? Is that really what you want? An emasculated society? Is that what you tell your sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers? It’s all about our daughters and us? Why would we want a world without men and why do we want to dominate men? Don’t you agree that men and women were created for partnership together? That’s not to say someday we might not have a woman president, but not just because she’s a woman. Because she’s the best person for the job. Hillary Clinton did not lose because she was a woman. Many men voted for her. She lost because clearly she was not the best candidate, as evidenced by how she has handled her loss so unprofessionally.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

  1. Who do you think is listening to you? What purpose are you expecting to achieve? What is your focus? Do you know why you joined this feminist movement? If only to protest President Trump, all other issues lose credibility. Every interviewer, your employer, and the public see right through the motives of the organizers because President Trump did not create any of these issues.

The feminist leaders have one agenda: Chaos, disruption, and agitation! They don’t care about real issues, they don’t care about women, and they don’t care about America! Their sole purpose is to stir up women against perceived and manufactured issues, along with a few real ones, and convince emotional women to blame President Trump, as if he created all their problems.

Gullible women are falling into the trap set by the devil and the feminist movement leaders who want to destroy President Trump and America and are using deceived women to help achieve their deceptive goal.

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Ephesians 5:15 NLT

“There remains far more brutal and terrifying incarnations of actual gender persecution which we must face together, such as forced enslavement, sexual abuse and absolute repression of far too many women and girls around the globe. We must remember these women in our daily prayers and use our combined resources to help free them from such unthinkable and inhumane circumstances.” Melania Trump

 

PS: I was surprised not to receive even one story from last week’s blog. So I’m going to try again. How about a story about when you had to show strength and determination? Or a story where God gets all the glory because He helped you do something impossible. Can you share one of those with me, pretty please?

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What Does Brave Mean to You?

What does it mean to be brave?

I’ve been asking this question as I write my next book. Women typically don’t consider themselves brave. When I ask someone if she has a brave story to share, I often receive a blank or questioning stare. But these same women instinctively and bravely protect their loved ones, and maybe even strangers. Most women wouldn’t hesitate to push a child from the path of an oncoming car and take the hit herself. We fight fiercely for justice for children and families. But brave? No, we wouldn’t consider ourselves brave, just doing what comes naturally.

However, in today’s volatile, liberal, progressive culture women may think twice before voicing an opposing political or spiritual opinion for fear of facing harsh pushback or criticism.

When President Trump invited Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL William Ryan Owens, to attend the President’s address to a joint session of Congress, Mrs. Owens probably didn’t consider her attendance brave. Her husband was the brave one in the family, as President Trump referenced John 15:13, “Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom — we will never forget Ryan.” It might have taken bravery to tell her father-in-law, who wasn’t even willing to meet with President Trump, but she went to proudly honor her fallen hero husband. She probably couldn’t have imagined how difficult it would be to stand for two minutes with the world watching her grief-etched face, while she relived her agonizing loss as she cried out, “I love you baby” looking repeatedly to the heavens.

As she heard the echoing applause and the kind, comforting, and praising words of the president, I doubt she looked down to see any who refused to stand again to honor her hero as the audience broke out in a second round of applause at the president’s comments. And how could she have ever imagined the bravery it would take to see her tear-stained, tortured face on talk show programs and media broadcasts becoming the brunt of callous, brutal, cowardly criticism. Liberal bullying men and women pundits and media, who turned a sacred moment into a political secular opportunity for their own vengeance against a president they detest. Those accusers were the users. They were the ones making it political. They were the cowards.

I was the child of a brave widow whose husband laid down his life in the line of law enforcement duty, so I know that Carryn’s brave days started when she married a Navy SEAL. Now as a widow with three young children to raise on her own . . . not one of those clapping or criticizing has any idea the bravery it will take for her to get out of bed and face each new day . . . alone. Many will be there to help her, but woe to those who made her burden harder.

What Is Your Brave Story?

Some call me “brave” simply for defending Jesus, conservatism, and morality in today’s secular culture, something I don’t think twice about, just doing what comes naturally. But like many of you, I do sometimes encounter hostile reactions, but I count it all part of the cost of serving Jesus and doing what’s right.

In my new book, Get Your Brave On: Women in the Bible Encourage Women of Today to be Brave, I explore women in the Bible who took a brave stand for justice, for their families, and for God. Some we aren’t even told their names. We’ll learn from these women of the Bible how to inspire and encourage spiritual bravery in women of today’s world.

Also, I share modern day stories. I would love to share your brave story.

Times when . . .

  • You couldn’t have made it without God
  • God asked you to do something you didn’t want to do or had no idea how to do
  • You did something just because it was the right thing to do
  • It was dangerous
  • You were afraid
  • It took all your strength physically, emotionally, or spiritually
  • You overcame a fear, an addiction, a trial, an illness, a hardship . . .
  • You shared your testimony in public
  • Whatever is brave to you . . .

We all define brave in different ways.

An Example of Biblical Bravery

When Jesus was arrested, all His disciples deserted him. Only John returned and was with him at the cross, but women who had been his followers were bravely there for him, “Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.” (Mark 15:40-41) They showed a courageous faith. It was these same brave women, not the men, who were first at the empty tomb (Mark 16:1). They had such a deep love for Jesus that they were not afraid to follow their heart. They are brave role models for us today.

I Will Be Including My Brave Stories

When I reflect back over my life, I too never thought I was brave, just doing what life demanded. Or after rededicating my life to Jesus . . . following God’s direction. Even now, when someone thanks me for being brave for Jesus, it surprises me because I think well isn’t that what we all should be doing? Isn’t that what it means to be a Christian? Then, I remember Jesus had to return after the crucifixion and give the disciples a pep talk before they got their brave on, and sometimes we need our bravery bolstered. My prayer is for this book to be that encouragement. Women will see Jesus at work in other women’s lives—in the Bible and in modern day—and it will bolster their faith enough to get their brave on too.

If you would like more information about sharing your story, please contact me. You don’t have to be a writer. I’ll do the editing, and I only use first names or I won’t use your name if you prefer.

The women who gathered at the cross had no idea that we would still be talking about their bravery today. They just did what love does. Jesus needs us to show up for Him today in a brave and bold way in our world. Our families need us to help them set a moral compass in a world that is resetting the compass back to the days of Noah. Our girlfriends and other women need us to take a brave stand for modesty, morality, civility, and ethics. Our single friends need support in living godly lives, and single parents need encouragement in the brave roles they’re undertaking alone.

Doing everything for the glory of God in a Godless world is brave!

I can’t wait to see what God puts on your hearts to share. I know there are so many stories. Maybe you’re in the midst of a brave battle right now, my heart goes out to you. What is sustaining you? What gives you hope? How can we pray for you?

I treasure you, and I’m praying the Lord will speak to many of you to work with me on this new writing project. It’s a joy and pleasure to chat with you each Monday morning, and it warms my heart when I hear from you.

Here’s my latest Crosswalk article encouraging all to be brave and Let Us Change the World Rather Than Being Changed By the World.

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Love Your Body—Why Are We Still So Angry?

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Here we are again—the last Monday of the month—Love Your Body Like God Loves Your Body Monday! If you’re on social media, or watch any kind of news or talk shows, you’ve probably noticed an undercurrent of anxiety and anger. It’s actually been going on for several years, during the election cycle. Last October, I wrote a post Love Your Body: Why Are We So Angry? where I talked about how to overcome the Election Stress Disorder so many people were experiencing.  We might have expected things to settle down and everyone to get back to normal after the inauguration this past January. But with daily news of protests and riots, newscasters continually stirring up fear and strife 24/7, the great divide between the liberal left and conservative right creating division in friends and family . . . the anger and angst is taking its toll on the American public.

So how are you doing? Are you experiencing any of these symptoms?

  • Insomnia?
  • Indigestion?
  • High blood pressure?
  • Weight gain or loss?
  • Uneasiness or anxiety?
  • Fear?
  • Misplaced Anger?
  • Restlessness?
  • Worry?
  • Depression

I have to admit, I’ve experienced some of these symptoms myself as I’ve been in the heat of the spiritual battle, but the Lord has helped me identify when I’m letting Satan’s “world” invade my space instead of me invading the world for God’s Truth. Christians champion most of the conservative right agenda, but since this world is not our final home, we must remember that our true allegiance is to Jesus Christ.

We’re not on the “right” side or the “left” side; we’re on Christ’s side!

Look at that list of symptoms above. None are from God! Yes, you can experience anger, but notice I said “misplaced” anger. That means you find yourself easily angered and acting irrationally at your spouse, the kids, the dog, your friend, your social media “friend,” the television, the media . . . yourself when you forget something or make a mistake.

Conservatives should be rejoicing as they watch platform issues they voted for checked off their “wish list.” But instead, many find themselves trying to figure out why they’re not happier.

Last week, I wrote about Fake News Trumps Good News. It’s hard today to turn on the news and hear anything positive. Even those “checked off” items are twisted and turned into bad news so many people don’t feel victory or happiness because they’re still in the defend-and-justify mode. Peace doesn’t even come in victory. Satan wins whether they win or lose.

Hmmm . . . we need to do something about that or our bodies will pay the price. And yes, I’m speaking to myself too because I intend to stay in the spiritual battle, and I hope you will too. Many have thanked me for my bold stand as a “voice in the wilderness.” But as I said in “Taking the Gospel Viral,” the opening article of February’s About His Work Ministries Newsletter, the original voice in the wilderness, John the Baptist, ended up with his head on a platter.

Here are several suggestions that help me stay strong for God in a world that is not God-friendly, while keeping peace in my mind, body, and soul. I hope they will help you too:

  1. Pray the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 every morning.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

  1. Join a Bible study group. We need to be among like-minded people who study God’s Word and pray together for our country and for each other. It isn’t enough to just go to church on Sunday or even to have our own time with the Lord. Both are essential, but being a Christian requires—yes I said requires—being around other Christians who can build us up, let us know when we’re off track, pray for us, and remind us that we’re in the world but not of the world. Many people don’t think they need small groups, but they probably suffer from some of the symptoms I listed above. There are many verses to support this kind of fellowship . . .

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20

  1. Don’t watch the news, engage in social media, or watch NCIS-type or disturbing graphic murder programs in the evening before bed. If you find your heart racing or angry, don’t watch them anytime.

Troubling news, social media, graphic pictures, and dialogue stay in your mind and can disrupt your sleep. The injustice in some programs haunts me. I’ll give you an example. At the end of last season, we were watching a new program, Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland, about a terrorist attack on Washington killing the President and almost everyone on Capitol Hill. Sutherland, the HUD Director, was the next living person in line to become president. The program is full of deceit, lying, espionage, people and the media trying to take the new president down, and the viewer is privy to all of this . . . much like real life today. When we watched this program, my heart raced and I felt anxious. I finally told my husband I couldn’t take it anymore! In my downtime, I need to do something relaxing and refueling, especially before bed. Not watch something that leaves me anxious, unsettled, upset, and mentally exhausted. I would imagine you do too.

  1. Don’t listen to naysayers and remove yourself from unpleasant situations. We live in a cynical world. In last week’s blog, I posted how Melania Trump introduced President Trump by praying the Lord’s Prayer. Immediately, the liberal media and many on the left criticized her. But she said in advance to her opponents, “I will stay true to myself.” I would add, always stay true to God. And no matter what happens . . . be joyful that you’re pleasing Him . . . even if that angers others. Don’t internalize the anger of others.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-9

Like Mrs. Trump, I’ve also had others criticize, misconstrue, or take out of context something I’ve done or said. Or I’ve been in the middle of a firestorm where I’ve had to say, “Enough! I can’t do this anymore!”

So Finally, brothers and sisters fill our minds with, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

  1. We’ve talked a lot about exercise on Love Your Body Mondays. It always gets the endorphins going and clears my mind of negativity. It’s also a great time to pray and talk to God because . . .

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

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