Use The Solar Path of Totality to Share the Path of Eternity

Use the Path to Totality to Share the Path to Etenrity helps put into perspective that God made both the sun and the moon and only He makes the total solar eclipse which lasts only a couple minutes but eternity is forever!

We live in a tiny mountain town in the “Path of Totality” for what many are calling “the great American eclipse” August 21. I even saw T-shirts with the moon eclipsing the sun and Charlie Brown and Linus sitting on the roof of the doghouse with large letters “Idaho Path of Totality.” Actually, the whole state of Idaho isn’t going to experience the total eclipse, not even partially, but hey, that’s marketing.

But we are going to experience it, and we’re so small that our city doesn’t appear on the map showing the coast-to-coast path of totality, but somehow people have learned it falls directly over us. And they’re coming! By the thousands to a town that’s barely 2000 residents, with one stop sign (not stop light) two lane and dirt roads, one gas station, a couple of small restaurants, the two small motels and B&B sold out for a year . . . you get the picture. There will be far more of them than there are of us.

People coming are willing to pay crazy prices to arrive, rent a room or cabin here or in surrounding cities, or at a nearby ski resort, even reserving seats on the ski lift during the eclipse. That’s the last place I would want to be! This is going on all along the “Path of Totality,” for an event that is only going to last two minutes!

I was reading an article by Zoe Schlanger, Witnessing an eclipse is so overwhelming it has created a global community of “addicts”. Schlanger interviewed “eclipse chasers” who admit it is addictive and a lifestyle of a “close-knit community of like-minded souls” who spend thousands of dollars and plan eclipse-watching trips. They describe the awe of what they call a life-changing experience.

Looking at the Eclipse Through God-Focused Eyes

I recently heard jokes that liberals were complaining the total eclipse was mainly passing over conservative states that voted for President Trump. As I looked closer at the map, with a few exceptions, like Oregon, that’s true. However, locals say the spot in Oregon used to be quite conservative.

That means many descending on our Midwest conservative cities will have the opportunity to see how the majority of Americans actually live. They’ll come and spend money, which will boost the economy of every city in the eclipse path, but we’ll also have a chance to shower them with hospitality, kindness, friendliness, and share Jesus with any who might not know Him as their life-changing Savior.

Regardless of what state you’re in, and whether or not you’ll see the eclipse, everyone should admit only God creates a total eclipse of the sun! He created the moon, the sun, the stars . . . the entire universe . . . and as hard as some will try to explain Him away, we can’t let that happen. Instead of participating in the hype of this great phenomena, we need to remind everyone that this is God’s doing.

Since the beginning of time, God ordained when and where all eclipses would happen. Scientists can study it, but they can’t change its course or change the effects. Only God.

Atheists can try to deny God and claim evolution, but they can’t explain who created their own body and breathed life into it. Only God.

God, the Creator of earth and all that’s in it decides when and where a total eclipse of the sun by the moon will happen. Only God.

What Can Christians Do to Put the Eclipse in Proper Perspective?

Where are the t-shirts, hats, and banners saying “Only God Can Make a Path of Total Eclipse”? Or maybe with Peanuts telling Linus, “God made the sun and the moon.”

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to view the eclipse, but I’m suggesting we use it as an opportunity to share the Creator of the universe and watch it with awe for our Great God.

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

The Bible records a time in the Old Testament when King Hezekiah was dying and he begged God to give him more years of life. God said he would give him fifteen years and as proof God turned back the sun: “‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’ So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.” Isaiah 38:7-8

Then Hezekiah praised God in a testimony. Here is a portion of it—

In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.
19 The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
parents tell their children
about your faithfulness. Is. 38:17,19

Job gives testimony of the total control God has over the sun, moon, stars, day, and night . . .

If someone wanted to take God to court,[a]
would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?
For God is so wise and so mighty.
Who has ever challenged him successfully?

If he commands it, the sun won’t rise
and the stars won’t shine.
He alone has spread out the heavens
and marches on the waves of the sea.
He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.
10 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles. Job 9:3-4, 7-10 NLT

Use the Eclipse to Share Jesus

Sometimes the first verses in the first chapter of the Bible are so familiar they lose their awe-inspiring, magnificent, amazing, indescribable impact that King Hezekiah and Job understood so well: our Holy God is totally responsible for everything in our universe. Now that’s a phenomena we all should be sharing and what better time than now?!

When the conversation turns to the eclipse, how about inserting discussion starters like:

  • Isn’t it amazing that God made this total eclipse happen right over us!
  • Since God created the sun and the moon, He decided August 21, 2017 was the exact time in history for another total eclipse across America. That’s incredible don’t you think?!
  • The eclipse is exciting, but it’s only going to last two minutes. As believers, we’ll spend eternity in heaven with God, the Creator of this eclipse. Now that’s something to get excited about!

“And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” Deut. 4:9

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Remember Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is available for pre-order and release date is getting very close, September 12!

What to Do When You Don’t Like Your Life Season

What Do You Do When You Don't Like Your Life Season? Cry yell scream get depressed? None of those things are going to change things. God tells us in Ecc. 3:1-8 that there's a time for every good and difficult season under heaven but read and discover how God and mentoriing can help you survive this season!

We’ve all heard it said, “There’s a time for everything.” Or “You’re just in a season, it will pass.” In fact, it’s Scriptural—

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The good and pleasant seasons sound wonderful and just what God wants for us, right? It’s so easy to think that God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. And yet this Scripture passage tells us that God made both, and while we’re alive, we’re going to experience every season—the good and the bad—under heaven.

Pastor Rick Warren often says that life is like a roller coaster: if you’re going up and experiencing a good season, brace yourself because in about three weeks you’ll probably find yourself going down into an unpleasant season, screaming all the way!

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace. But when the not so good times roll, we need to remember that God has not left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons, and that’s when a mentor is so helpful to remind us that she made it through her tough seasons and we will too.

The focus of my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture has Forgotten is for us to remember how good God has been in all the seasons of our life. God never abandons His children. This is a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during these challenging times we live in today.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually we don’t like our life season because:

It’s painful or uncomfortable.

We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.

We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.

We’re discontent or discouraged.

We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season that we never want to end. Many life seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers and the culture would try to make you believe differently. They set us up to fail either way by thinking if we just drink the right cola, take the right pill, own the right car, use the right cosmetics and anti-aging products, eat the right food, reach success . . . every season of our life will be heavenly. The aging clock is going to stop and somehow God made our life to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season that everyone will experience.

What to Do When We Don’t Like Our  Life Season

We probably feel like crying, screaming, maybe yelling, getting depressed, ignoring, or trying to get out of it. If we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

But soon we realize that the only thing that works when we don’t like our life season is to ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often He’s talking, but we’re not listening.

Someone on a friend’s Facebook post asked how my Christian friend knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does! Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5

26 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. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

While writing this post, I met a woman whose husband has cancer. As she shared her story, I heard in my mind hug her and pray for her. Mind you, we had just met, and I had already told her I would be praying for her husband and their family since I understood having had breast cancer three times. But as she kept talking, I knew I was to pray for her now. So I said, “Let me pray for you,” and stepped forward to hug her; but she didn’t realize that I meant right then. I knew God meant right then! She needed it and she was so grateful.

I had tried to talk myself out of it, and how many times is God trying to tell us what to do “right then,” but we’re dismissing His words of wisdom to see us through this season and on into the next one. That’s when a mentor can step in and do just what I was able to do for this woman, even though we barely knew each other. Can you imagine how much comfort can come from two women who have a personal mentoring relationship?!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone, but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom. That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture to study together that applies to the various issues women might experience in that season.

Being a mentor, or a mentee reaching out to another woman for guidance, doesn’t mean the mentor has all the answers or the Bible memorized. It just means she’s willing to search God’s Word and pray together for Him to tell you both what to do in the life seasons you might not like right now; and then, you both reach out and help someone else going through something similar.

And that’s exactly what Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us we need to do when we’re going through a life season we don’t like!

What to Do When You Don't Like Your Life Season? Find a mentor who has experienced it already and let her support and encourage you. Read some helpful tips on how to survive those unpleasant life seasons.

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

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness releasing 9/12/17 is available now for pre-order.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet at:

womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Love Your Body—In All Life Seasons

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

It’s Love Your Body Monday again. How do the months roll by so quickly? In my online About His Work Ministries newsletter this month, I actually wrote about how living in a state with four distinct seasons makes the year seem to fly by. And as the months go . . . so go the years and the body changes that occur in each of those life seasons.

Eating with Purpose in Every Season

A woman my age told me she felt her usefulness was over and she was just waiting for the Lord to take her home. That was shocking because I wake up every morning with a new sense of purpose and direction to accomplish what God has planned for me that day. I assured God could use her wisdom and experience to help mentor others if she would let Him.

I recently read an article that said those who live with purpose, live longer. I think that’s true for any age. When you’re younger, if you have a sense of purpose for your life, you’re not going to abuse your body with drugs, alcohol, permissive sex, poor eating habits etc. You have your eyes set on the future whether it’s college, a career, a marriage, parenting, contributing to making the world a better place. . . and you want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.

Living with purpose and a goal applies to the aging process too. How we treat our bodies when we’re younger plays a big role in how we age. But it’s never too early, or too late, to eat healthy and establish healthy lifestyle habits.

There’s an eighty-eight year old couple in our church, and the husband was excited that he got his driver’s license renewed for four more years! He’s funny, energetic, trim, and sharp. When we ran into them at a Mexican restaurant celebrating his license renewal, they invited us to eat with them. I asked how he stayed in such good shape and his answer was, “I’ve always been active. When I was younger, I was in sports, then career military. After I retired, I always had an active job that kept me physically fit. Now I stay busy doing things around the yard and house.” I wouldn’t be surprised if he still chops his own wood for their cabin stove.

For dinner, they each ordered two tacos—that’s it. He ate both of his and she took one home. Except for her eyesight going, she’s just as spunky, funny, energetic, and enjoying life as much as he is! That’s how I want to age, but it doesn’t just happen without effort.

Do We Treat Our Cars Better than Our Bodies?

After much prayer, my husband and I decided we needed to buy a new car. In twenty-five years of marriage, it’s only the third car we’ve owned. We take extremely good care of our cars so they’ll serve us well. We put in the right gas, take them in for regular checkups, replace tires when needed, watch the fluid levels, don’t put off getting assistance when the engine light keeps flashing . . . . We make an investment in keeping our cars running well so they will serve us well and keep us safe when we’re driving. The extra care could prevent us from having inconvenient breakdowns, protect us from injury, or even death in an accident so we want to keep it as dependable and smooth running as we can.

Dave, being the manual reader, is devouring the “books” that came with our new car so we understand how it works and what we need to do to maintain it and keep it running well.

Maybe you do the same thing with your cars for the same reasons. Yet, I often point out that many people take better care of their cars, which they don’t expect to last their lifetime, than they do their bodies. They would never think of putting in the wrong kind of gas or pouring alcohol or lard in the gas tank, but what about the “fuel” we put in our precious bodies.

If you’re a parent, you followed careful instructions what to feed your baby. You didn’t feed them anything that would harm their precious bodies. You listened to the doctor when to introduce new foods at what age and you took them in for their scheduled checkups. But as they grow older and start exerting their own will, it’s easier to give in to unhealthy snacks and foods because they like them better than healthy food and it’s less trouble. But what will this do to their still precious bodies as they grow into adulthood? We seldom see studies on this.

When people lived on rural farms, far from town, they ate what they brought home from an occasional trip to town and what they grew. That meant if the kids were hungry, they ate what was on the table or went to bed hungry. There was no running down to the market or driving by fast food. Unfortunately, with the wide array of food choices we have today, our families could easily eat less healthy than previous generations. Kids often tell parents what they will eat and not eat, and because the refrigerator and pantry are full, it’s easier to give into their demands than take a stand for their health.

Know What You’re Putting Into Your Body’s “Fuel Tank”!

As we move into the adulthood season and can make our own food choices, we often throw away the “healthy fuel tank manual” and stop watching what we put in our own precious bodies. In a previous post, Love Your Body—Read Labels, I talked about the importance of being an avid label reader and checking dates. Last week, I was at the market checking dates on packages of lettuce, and the woman next to me asked where she would find a date? I showed her, but thought, I wonder how many packages of lettuce she’s thrown away because it was ready to spoil?! Hint: they usually put the older dates in front.

Even something “healthy,” like sheep’s milk cheese, I read the labels between two different brands. One label, which was cheaper, had other things added than the simple ingredients to make cheese. Read the labels on corn tortillas. You’d be surprised how some brands have much more than corn, lime, and maybe a little salt. All those ingredients you don’t recognize on labels are preservatives.

Here’s my Point!

No matter what season of life you’re in, God wants you to take care of the body He gave you. We may not like some of our features, but they’re ours and God thought they were perfect for us. And how magnificent to think that He made us in His own image! So let’s show Him honor by honoring His creation. You. And. Me!

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

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

I’m getting so excited to share Mentoring for All Seasons with you. Remember it’s available right NOW for pre-order and preorders usually arrive before the September 12 release date!

Also, if you have a blog where I could be a guest, or would like to be on the Launch Team to help spread the word from coast to coast, woman to woman, please contact me.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet at:

womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Mentoring Can Change the World: Starting with Our Children

Last week, my eleven-year-old granddaughter and her friend were here to participate in a kids’ Drama Camp at our local outdoor theater. Both girls are baptized Christian tweens, at a perfect age for mentoring as they enter into middle school this year. We’ve been doing my Bible study Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ together via SKYPE, or in person, for quite a while. We’ve had lots of discussions where I help them use Scripture from their Bibles to apply to their young lives. They have so many questions and are at a crossroads between not little girls, but not grown ups either. As tweens, they’re soon going to have more freedoms to make decisions—but not the wisdom that comes with maturity.

Every parent has heard the excuse, “But everyone else is doing it.” I remember my parents saying something like, “If everyone jumped off a cliff would you too?” Sadly, today many kids and adults are jumping off the moral and spiritual cliff to fit in with the culture, or they’re afraid to express beliefs that differ from the worldview.

Even children are bullied for supporting America’s president when their accosters usually don’t even understand why they’re reacting so violently. Where do these young bullies learn this reaction? Television, the internet . . . perhaps parents, grandparents, or even teachers?

I watched an interview of high school kids encouraged by their teachers to ditch school and participate in a protest march. Those kids had no clue why they were marching or what they were protesting?! They weren’t trying to change the world; they were being changed by a worldview they didn’t really understand.

We may want to pull the covers over our head and ignore the unrest in the world. But the parting words Jesus gave to His disciples regarding Christians’ place in the world, the Great Commission, reminds us there’s work to do, starting with our children.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

However, the last page in the Bible also foretells that the world will always have good and evil.

Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” Revelations 22:11

We all want our children and grandchildren knowing and doing what is right and holy, even when their peers encourage them to do wrong and vile acts! Parents and grandparents are the ones responsible for teaching and instilling these virtues. We cannot rely on the schools, and sometimes not even our churches.

The important thing is to help them not grow weary or discouraged doing good. Some things have helped me be a world change agent, while not letting the world change me. Maybe these will help you too in guiding and mentoring your children or young mentees.

Use the Word of God and Help Your Children Learn Scripture from Their Own Bible

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Teach them to paraphrase if they need to, but God’s Word applies to every area of life in every century (Heb. 13:8). Jesus used Scripture when tempted by Satan in the desert and taught the disciples to pray “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). Help them memorize Scriptures to resist temptation. My granddaughter’s friend said her Dad is teaching her Psalm 23 for when she’s afraid.

Stay Civil and Polite But Stay Firm in Your Convictions

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Satan is the ruler of this world, so those caught up in the world’s cults, atheism, alternate belief systems or lifestyles, feel compelled to challenge us for our faith in Christ, and they have devised a myriad of unkind words to call us. The hurt runs deep when it’s aimed at our Lord and Savior. So our first impulse is to engage in a debate. If you’ve ever tried arguing or reasoning with someone blinded by the world’s belief system, you know it’s usually futile. I mentor my granddaughter that her best answer is “This is what I believe because the Bible (or God or Jesus) tells me so.”

Other times, believers fall into the same trap the serpent used with Eve when someone asks them, “Did God really say…?” Simply say, “Yes He did, and I’ll find the Scripture for you.” Jesus didn’t come to sanctify the world’s ways, He came to save the world from its ways.

The World is In Darkness So Let Your Light Shine

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. John 3:18-20

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

The world loves darkness. Yet into this dark world came Jesus, the Light of the world, and He has hidden His light in each believer’s heart. Our light must shine brightly, no flickering. When we enter a room, a social media conversation, a family or friendly gathering, work, play, school, as parents, grandparents, employers, employees, kids . . . wherever life takes us . . . our light shines, even if we’re the only light for Jesus. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

We are living in a lost world that is loudly anti-God and anti-Christian and influencing the next generation. We can’t be quiet. Our job as Christians is to be world-changers for Christ. We must worry more about what God thinks about us than what the world thinks. Our job is to put God back in the public square and reach the world with the love of Christ. It may be hard for kids to get this point, but they do need to know that there will be people who won’t like you for not agreeing to do the wrong thing. They may try to bully, dare, entice, make you feel bad, but that’s just because you doing the right thing convicts them for doing the wrong thing.

Don’t Give Up!

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. John 17:15-21

We’ll never have a perfect world until Jesus returns, but as long as we have breath, we’re saved to make a difference in the world. Start your children young believing this means them too! Maybe it’s their friends, sports coaches, unsaved relatives…teach them to pray. Here’s a prayer to start with:

Dear Lord, though the world does not know you, I___________ know you, and I pray that you will let the world know that you have sent me as your servant. Help me make you known to a lost world and I will continue to make you known where you put me so that the love you have for me may be in them also. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to live in my heart. Amen. John 17:25-26 personalized and paraphrased as a prayer.

Just a reminder that my September 12 release Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness has helps, tips, encouragement from Scripture for mentors and mentees from tweens to twilight seasons. It’s available for pre-sale now. If you would like to participate in the Prayer and Launch Team to help spread the message of this book from coast to coast, woman to woman, contact me ASAP as we’re doing some pre-launch activities.

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

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet at:

womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Why Do We Care What Everyone Thinks?

Everyone thinks this about you.”

They’re all talking about you.”

“You make everyone feel” __________________.

“Everyone thinks you should”_____________.

These types of phrases can be negative or positive.

We love it when the context is everyone thinks you’re wonderful! They’re all talking about how you make everyone feel so good and everyone thinks you should do more to let people know about the great things you’re doing!

But what about a negative context when everyone thinks you’re not wonderful. They’re all talking about you because you make everyone so uncomfortable and everyone thinks you should change your ways and keep to yourself!

When I was starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, and then when other churches wanted to know how to start one and God chained me to the computer to write the Woman to Woman Mentoring resources, I heard both negative and positive comments. That was twenty years ago. If I had listened to the negative, there would be no Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry today; but likewise if I had let the positive puff me up instead of just encourage and motivate me, I don’t believe God would have blessed this ministry. Yet even as I sit here writing to you, I see a confirming email come in from a church telling me they started the ministry last year and they’re so thankful for the resources. To God be the glory. Only God starts an international life-changing ministry and keeps it going! We can’t do anything without Him, but with Him all things are possible.

Positive or negative comments; let’s look objectively.

Receiving Negative Comments

 

No one can speak for everyone. More than likely there’s a group with a perception about you, which could actually only be two or three people.

We hear sweeping comments in the news today, and it’s easy to transfer similar all-inclusive conversation to our private lives. Especially, when someone wants to convey something negative. Everyone sounds more impressive, meaningful, and authoritative.

Words are easy to release, but impossible to retrieve!

Hurtful words and connotations are like an arrow to the heart. They penetrate our identity, our purpose, our character. As our curiosity fuels thoughts of who is “everyone,”  our anger and defenses go into high gear. We want to know why people are thinking or saying these things about us. We’re hurt. People are gossiping about us, which never comes to any good!

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Prov. 16:28

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. Prov. 20:19

Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. Prov. 26:22

Remember Paul is talking to the church at Corinth here:

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 2 Cor. 12:20

It takes two to gossip—the gossiper and the listener—so beware of becoming an accomplice to sin by listening to gossip. Our role as Titus 2 women is “to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good train the younger women.” (Titus 2:3)

So consider the following when you hear an “everybody” negative comment about you. Believe me when I say, I haven’t always done this on the spot, and sometimes need to give myself time to pray and put everything into perspective.

  1. Rather than trying to defend yourself or lashing outSay a quick mind prayer, stay calm, and ask God for wisdom. Ask yourself before responding: Why do I care what these people think?
  2. Question: “Really, everyone thinks this?”
  3. Ask: Why are they telling you this? Steer the conversation away from everyone to one-on-one.

My point:

We worry too much about what other people think about us and not enough about what God thinks about us. He’s the only One we’re concerned about. Consider if there’s something you should search your heart about and act on and if not, let this go. If there is something, then take it to the Lord. And be watchful of not doing an “everyone” comment yourself.

Don’t replay the encounter or comments over in your head, so Satan gets a foothold in your mind. It’s best to forgive, pray, and carry on. Easier said than done? I offer many helps and tips in my Bible study Face-to-Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community.

Receiving Positive Comments

But what if all those “everyone” statements are positive building us up and making us feel good about ourselves? Well there’s certainly nothing wrong with encouragement, but again, we have to remember a couple of truths:

No one knows what everyone is speaking and they can’t speak for them. Hopefully, there are many who agree with them, but “everyone” is still an encompassing sweeping generalization.

If we think that we’re just fine because everyone likes us, then we might miss some areas we do need to change and improve, because after all . . . everyone thinks we’re great.

And we know what that leads to—pride—taking credit ourselves, instead of praising God giving Him the glory and honor He deserves. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18)

There will always be areas in our life we need to improve, change, sanctify, ask God for wisdom. We can be grateful for approval of how we’re living and serving the Lord, but I guarantee that if you’re living out loud for God, everyone is not going to like you. If everyone does, do an internal check and see if there are areas in your life you’ve compromised to be liked by everyone.

When Paul was accused by the Jewish high priest Ananias, some of the elders, and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against him before the governor, Felix for doing nothing more than sharing the Gospel, Paul told them in his defense: “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16). That should be the goal of every Christian, don’t you agree?

Sadie Robertson of the Duck Dynasty Family, who I’ve written about before, recently gave an amazing “sermon” to a college group and challenged those millennials who might be leaving their values and faith behind because they want to fit in: “Worry more about your relationship with Jesus than your reputation with people you don’t even know.” Here’s the link and I recommend you listen to it with your kids or college age youth groups. It’s excellent!

So I close with a modification of Sadie’s advice:
Worry more about your relationship with Jesus than your reputation with everyone!

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. 2 Peter 2:12

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

If you would like to know more about the Prayer and Launch Team for Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness releasing September 12, please contact me soon.

Why Does God Want Women Mentoring Each Other Through Life’s Change?

While chatting with several women at the July 4th church potluck, the conversation turned to menopause. The women were going through it now and struggling with the changes in their bodies. I have to admit, I’m so glad to be on the other side of that season of life, even though I did go through all the symptoms again when I was on Tamoxifen after breast cancer. My friend’s discussion of menopause symptoms brought back memories of never knowing how many nightgowns I was going to go through in a night or wondering if my face and neck would suddenly turn red and blotchy while speaking.

But I also remembered a conversation I had with an elderly woman in our church about menopause when I started Woman to Woman Mentoring twenty years ago. You can be sure in my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, there’s a chapter on menopause! Here’s a sneak preview into that chapter:

When I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, an elderly woman said she felt the church let her down when she went through menopause. Someone in “the church” should have prepared her for the body and emotional changes she would experience. Since I was a few years away from menopause, I made a mental note, because if this was so important to her, it must be a season mentoring should address.

Then I went through menopause! I called everyone I knew my age to see if what I was experiencing was “normal.” I finally found a Christian book on menopause, which I later gave to another clueless menopausal friend.

When I told my girlfriends lamenting menopause about this, they eagerly asked if I still had the book?! I said no, but it’s definitely a season covered in Mentoring for All Seasons. Menopause is one of those seasons where one woman can share from her life experience what helped her and be there to pray and encourage a younger woman going through “the change.” You’ll laugh, cry, and truly relate to author, speaker, and a dear friend of mine, Pam Farrel, who shares about her own midlife years and how she became a mentor to many women by starting a “seasoned sisters” group.

Another friend who shares in Mentoring for All Seasons about being mentored during early parenting years is now also in menopause, and she’s started a Facebook group called Menopause Maidens.

We know that life is full of change in every season, but God has given us the tools to help each other through them. We just need to be willing to do what he asked of us in so many places in the Bible: reach out and mentor each other. I was incredibly blessed to have sixty-five women, including some of you, share mentoring stories—both mentees and mentors—in Mentoring for All Seasons. These women had experienced the blessings of mentoring, as mentors and mentees, and wanted to encourage other women that they can do it too, and it’s a fabulous blessing! I also give God’s perspective from Scripture to use in mentoring and tips in how to mentor and be a mentee in all seasons, along with sharing biblical M&M relationships.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecc. 3:1

I could use your help in spreading the word, however you feel led!

  • Pray for God to take Mentoring for All Seasons from coast to coast, from woman to woman, to equip them to do what He has asked of every Christian woman. Not just to be a mentor, but to seek a mentor also. We’re always coming out of a season to mentor from that experience and going into another season where we need a mentor!
  • Share with your friends, church, women’s ministry, social media, blogs, websites. It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon. You can read more about the content of the book there and order a copy for yourself and be the first to receive it on release day, September 12.
  • Tell me what ministries we should share this book with? Do you have a contact or know who we should contact?
  • Do you have a blog where I could be a guest blogger or you would post a review?
  • What other ideas do you have?

If you’ve followed me on this Monday Morning Blog for very long, you know God has given me a passion for evangelism and mentoring. Many women become believers, but they have no idea how to live the life. Or they hit a difficult season and feel alone or distanced from God. You know this was never God’s plan. So won’t you help me turn my small contribution into a revival of women mentoring women!

“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, before you know it, he brings us alongside others who also go through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5

In reflecting on the many women in my life who have helped me through all kinds of seasons . . . I’ve been blessed to have many women speak into my life and influence me in different ways. From the way I entertain using their examples of hospitality to my deeply, personal involvement in my friends’ lives, I have had beautiful, courageous women of faith who were there to teach me and train me. They helped me with my floundering anxieties as a young mother, supported me as friends during my children’s busy school years, and many are faithful friends who have stood by my side in ministry for decades now. Where would I be without these generous hearted friends? I’m grateful I’ll never have to know. Joneal Kirby, founder of Heartfelt Ministry, endorser and shares a story in Mentoring for All Seasons.

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Available for Order and on Kindle

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet at:

womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

Love Your Body: Use Your Freedoms Wisely

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Last Monday was actually Love Your Body Monday, but as I mentioned in that post, Why I Have Hope for Katy Perry, I felt led that someone needed me to write about prodigals last week. So I’m switching Mondays on you, ha ha.

This week, we celebrate our Independence on the 4th of July. While I could write an entire post on how important it is to remember that we’re in a battle to maintain our religious freedoms and independence from government and special interest groups trying to take away those freedoms and misinterpret what our founding fathers wanted for us, I’m going to refer you to a great article by Todd Starnes, Teens Threatened with Arrest for Praying—in America! Todd gives a shout out for every Christian not to become complacent as we watch yet another cross torn down, or a 10 Commandments monument destroyed. People doing these sacrilegious acts are clueless that nothing can destroy the Cross or the will or presence of God—not a wrecking ball, sludge hammer, car, dynamite, unfair law—yep God’s still omnipresent and omnipotent!

But I diverse, let’s get back to how independence effects our bodies and our health. Once we move into our teens and adulthood, we usually have freedom to determine what we eat, when we eat it, and how much we eat. I remember when I went off to college and staying in the dorms came with an all-you-can-eat meal pass in the cafeteria! After growing up with my mom carefully portioning out food on our plates and determining what we ate, it was amazing and a little overwhelming to have so many food choices! Some foods I’d never even tried before. Since I was getting a degree in Dietetics, I made wise choices (for the most part LOL), but let’s just say it’s a good thing I didn’t have a car and had to do a lot of walking around campus!

Often the resistance people have to eating healthy is that it’s their body and they’ll do what they want with it, whether it’s unhealthy eating and drinking, or even drugs, cigarettes, promiscuous sex, and sadly abortion. But thinking of our bodies as our own is a false statement fed and fueled by the father of lies who can’t create anything but deterioration, destruction, and decay.

God created every person. No one created himself or herself, and no one comes into being except through God. Every atheist or unbeliever, who by birth becomes part of “mankind,” has to admit he or she was created by something, even if they don’t believe the Scriptures that affirm it is was God! I wonder who or what they think made them and breathed life into them?!

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

God does care about what we do with the body He gave each of us. It’s not our body, it’s His. We aren’t supposed to treat our God-given body like it’s worthless to anyone but us. When you think of the intricate workings of our bodies that sustain life, it’s almost more than our minds can conceive. I’m sure every doctor who studies the body has to stand in awe. It’s hard to imagine any of them could not be believers, and yet, I had a radiation oncologist who was an atheist!

God cares how we treat His intricate temple that comprises our body, soul, and spirit:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:10-20

God cares so much about your body that He even knows the hairs on your head, and those that fall. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

Now it’s true that God isn’t going to love us any more or less based on how we treat our body, and He has given us free will. But when He created man and woman, He did say that it was good. He was pleased with His creation, and before the fall I have to believe that the Garden of Eden was full of fabulous food! Everything Adam and Eve had at their fingertips would have nourished them and kept them healthy. But we all know what happened when they gave into Satan’s temptation by eating what they weren’t supposed to eat and God cast them out of the garden. They had to start making their own food choices, just like we do.

One last point I want to make is that some people can eat whatever they want without any problems of weight or health issues. I hope you savor that freedom, but don’t boast about it because not everyone is like you. Be considerate with your freedoms, especially as we enter a holiday weekend remember:

Maybe you can eat steak, ribs, and hamburgers, but someone else is trying to lower red and fatty meat intake because of high cholesterol or cancer. Don’t berate them; offer an alternative choice like fish, chicken or turkey.

Maybe you’re a meat lover, but someone else is vegetarian. Have many veggies and salads available.

Maybe you can eat desserts with no concern for weight gain, but someone else is trying to lose weight, is a diabetic, or history of cancer. Don’t tempt them with gooey concoctions that will only make them feel guilty later or maybe seriously hurt their health. Offer fruit and light cheese to your dessert menu.

Maybe you can drink a glass of wine or have a beer, but someone else doesn’t drink, can’t tolerate alcohol without getting drunk, is an alcoholic, or young children and teens are watching. More accidents happen from drinking on holiday weekends than from any other cause. There are so many nonalcoholic sparkling alternatives and parties really are more fun when everyone has their faculties about them and is coherent.

Here’s the bottom line, just because you have the “right” to do something doesn’t make it righteous. With freedom comes responsibility . . .

“It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” 1 Corinthians 8:8-9 NLT

I pray each of you has a happy, healthy, safe Independence and Freedom in God we Trust Day!

Janet

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Why I Have Hope for Katy Perry

My book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, is about a prodigal, aka me, raising a prodigal. As I’ve read about Katy Perry’s recent public confessions of why she turned away from her childhood Christian faith, I saw a certain parallel to my life. No, I never became a multimillion dollar, outrageously popular pop star, but I did turn my back on my Christian faith after my divorce and became a very successful businesswoman living a worldly life while raising my prodigal.

Katy’s father is a pastor and her childhood home was faith-filled. In her public therapy session aired on Viceland, she went by her birth name Katheryn Hudson. Faithwire wrote an article from this session, Why Kathy Perry’s Rejection of Her Childhood Faith Should Concern Every Bible-Believing Christian. They quoted Hudson as saying, “I grew up with a lot of born-again Christian beliefs around me, and so I had people around me — like-minded people — and I would say it was a bit of a bubble,” Hudson explained. “I was a very curious person, and the curiosity — sometimes it wasn’t allowed because you had to have faith.”

The article goes on to say that Hudson explained she was “curious about what was going on in the rest of the world, and how they lived, and what they saw as they were living . . . I felt like I was missing out.” She decided to explore her singing career further to “pop [her] own bubble, to get out of [her] own situation.”

“I guess I was just trying to get out of one way of thinking. It was like ‘do as I say, no ifs, ands, or buts. It was based on my religious upbringing… I have so many questions. I ask all the questions in the world, and all the questions in the world have gotten me to where I am at now.” [To read the whole article]

There is so much in that last statement about finding answers in the world, which made her rich and famous, but spiritually bankrupt denouncing her faith and  singing songs with provocative, shocking lyrics and movements that many young girls listen to and imitate.

Why did she turn to the world for answers? Because she couldn’t find answers to her questions in the church. She was raised around born-again Christians, but never actually says she was born-again.

In Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I challenge the church with that same thought: “If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to. Not encumber them with rules easily broken, but guide them toward a relationship they wouldn’t forfeit or jeopardize for anything.” I ask the question: “How many are making sure their children and grandchildren understand, accept, and embrace the Christian lifestyle? How many know, for certain, their children have a personal relationship with Jesus?”

Again I warn in Forsaken God?: “The church failed to reach out to the next generation with a message relevant to the world they live in today, but the secular world was ready and waiting for them. . . .Today, even children from Bible-believing homes may not have the tools or fortitude to equip them to face a liberal world drifting away from the God of the Bible.”

I stress exactly what Katy Perry said she couldn’t get from the Christian “bubble.”

They need mentors and parents to have the tough, honest discussion about abortion, sexuality, sexual exploitation, marriage, same-sex attraction, transgenderism, radical Islam, cults, drugs, alcohol, suicide . . . whatever they’re facing in their world.

My “Katy Perry” Story

When I left my good-girl Christian lifestyle, even though I was a born-again Christian since age eleven, I felt just like Katy that I was missing something “out in the world.” Satan makes sin seem fun and enticing. And there were plenty of people ready to teach me the “world’s ways.” I was naïve enough not to understand how quickly I was being sucked into that lifestyle.

I wasn’t raised in a Christian home like Katy was, but I did have a very devout grandmother who planted the seeds of faith in me. My mother would drop me off at church, but I was on my own. I loved everything about church and did find mentors and “spiritual mothers” to answer my questions until I went away to college and there was no one guiding me not to marry an unbeliever or pray with me about my choices.

What Brought Me Back to the Lord?

After seventeen years of backsliding, I was invited to a Harvest Crusade where Pastor Greg Laurie asked the crowd if they were ready to die that night? The Lord had gradually been bringing me back to Him through attending Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and I knew the answer to Pastor Laurie’s question was, no. I rededicated my life to the Lord that night and God has been using me About His Work ever since.

I think Katy Perry, Katherine Hudson’s, public “therapy” session is her cry for help. I know she feels God on her shoulder calling her back with every provocative move, word, and action she uses to try to separate from Him.

What Can We Do?

Katy Perry’s mother, a minister’s wife, author, and a mentor to many Christian women, has some advice that she shared in an interview by J. Lee Grady, Charisma News, “How Katy Perry’s Mother Praises God Through the Pain.” Grady asks: How does a Christian mother handle it when she sees her daughter drifting so far from the values she taught her?

“The devil definitely tries to steal my joy,” Mary told me. “I sometimes have to fight depression.” A few years ago, Mary anchored her soul to Psalm 113:9, which says, “He gives the barren woman a dwelling, making her the joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!”

“That verse inspired her to write her 2015 book, Joyful Parent, Happy Home. Mary believes if you want your children to live for God, “You have to get happy and stay in the ‘God zone.’ Mary’s close friends also support her unconditionally. And she asks new friends to agree with her in prayer for a miracle turnaround for her daughter . . . Mary believes parents of prodigals must focus on others rather than wallowing in their own pain. For the past 11 years she has poured her life into women who attend her Arise conferences.” The full interview is at CharismaNews.

Mary also mentioned something important that I share in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: show unconditional love to your prodigal, and as much as it is up to you, keep the lines of communication open.

Praise God, both my daughter and I enjoy a wonderful relationship with God and each other. I now have precious grandchildren to help pour into spiritually. I want to make sure I’m not just telling them what to believe, but helping them come to their own conclusions. To feel free to ask us questions and to help them solve their faith problems without giving them the answers we think they should arrive at. To help them develop problem-solving techniques and know where and how to go to the Bible when they question something happening in the world.

When they ask if I know that Katy Perry “used to be a Christian,” we talk about the fact that if she did give her heart to Jesus as a child, she still is a Christian, but she’s not living like one, so let’s pray for her.

The 6/26/17 issue of Time Magazine, quoted Katy’s apology for “criticized acts of cultural appropriation”: “I didn’t know that I did it wrong until I heard people saying I did it wrong. And sometimes that’s what it takes.” Let’s pray Katy hears from God that she’s been doing wrong and apologizes to Him. Someday, Katy could have an amazing testimony and God will use it for good. Pray it’s soon before she influences more young girls and women for the world.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

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PS I just realized this is the end of June already and should be Love Your Body Monday, but this post was on my heart so I’ll post a Love Your Body blog for the 4th of July week!

A Letter to Politicians, Media, and Hollywood from We The American People

On June 14, 2017, our President Donald J. Trump’s 71st birthday, a radicalized liberal with a high-powered rifle went to a ball field where Republican Congressmen and one of their 10 year-old sons were practicing baseball for the next night’s partisan baseball game. These men and the child were all unarmed, except for the two Capitol police who were with the Republican Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, but were not out on second base to protect him as the shooter started spraying bullets, only after clarifying it was Republicans who were practicing!

My friend and founder of the MOM Initiative sat down that morning and wrote this letter to politicians, the media, and Hollywood. She’s also made it available on her website for you to download and share. Information for that download is at the end of this blog. I know many of you, like me, share Stephanie’s passion for our country to unite, as Americans.

Dear #Politicians, #Media, and #Hollywood – please understand that your platform comes with great responsibility. Stirring hate & division creates chaos. Remember…we are #1NationUnderGod and a house divided can not stand.

We, the American people, have watched what has happened to this country as it consistently and methodically tried to remove God from its foundation.

We, the American people, know this country stands in need of repentance. That means you too. This country cannot blatantly turn it’s back on God and then wonder where He is and where His blessings and protection have gone.

We, the American people, want unity…not division.

We, the American people, want peace…not political war.

We, the American people, elected you to help solve problems, not create them.

We, the American people, want strong common-sense leadership that protects our country…not squabbles about whether you think people have the right to break the laws of this land.

We, the American people, want to be able to watch television without seeing political agendas spewed, violence justified, hate embraced, and chaos excused.

We, the American people, want to live freely by our Constitution as set forth very carefully, very prayerfully, and very intentionally by our Founding Fathers.

We, the American people want to see respect for one another and responsible words and actions from those who take the stage whether politically or for entertainment.

We, the American people, are tired of calls for resistance and obstruction, and unwise and controversial tweets that stir the pot instead of speaking wisdom and strength.

We, the American people, want the media to report unbiased stories instead of looking to create scandalous headlines that aren’t based on facts.

We, the American people, expect those who are given a platform to conduct themselves with integrity, dignity, respect, and for the good of the American people.

We, the American people, are asking you… the Hollywood elite, the Political leaders, and the Media to remember why you do what you do… because we, the American people have applauded your well-skilled craft, elected you to office, and invited you into our living rooms to hear what you have to say.

We, the American people, are asking you to behave yourselves like responsible, respectful, and patient adults.

We, the American people, still believe we are one nation under God and that we are endowed by our Creator with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We, the American people, expect you to believe that too.

We, the American people, expect you to behave in a way that teaches young people how to listen to other’s points of view with respect…even if you respectfully disagree.

We, the American people, expect you to seek peace and truth, not create chaos and spew lies.

We, the American people, are praying for each of you and want to see you fulfill your God-given destiny.

But you, Hollywood, Politicians, and Media, must care enough about us, the American people, to take responsibility for the platform you’ve been given and do what you are there to do for the good of the American people.

*Think before you speak…
*Consider consequences before you act…
*Pray before you take the platform…

Because we, the American people, are desperate to see America continue to enjoy the freedoms we have been blessed with in this country…to be the land of the free, the home of the brave.

People have fought and died so that we could freely disagree, but the freedom to disagree comes with the responsibility to do so civilly with honesty and integrity.

So, be brave enough to consider we the American people before you say or do anything – and remember, our freedoms came at great cost and your platform comes with great responsibility.

** A note to you from Stephanie: I’ve rarely asked people to share a post, but if you agree with this, please share. In fact, print out and mail to your elected officials, to Hollywood producers and actors and singers, and to television stations, media personalities, journalists, and whoever you think might need to hear the heart of the American people.

Stephanie has provided a free download on her website.

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Is Your Church a Hugging Church?

I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, which as Pastor Rick Warren describes . . . “We’re a hugging church.” So I knew that women attending one of our Woman to Woman Mentoring Orientation Coffees would need welcoming from a “Greeter/Hugger” at the front door.

Some churches starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry question the need for a Greeter/Hugger, until they have an experience similar to the church who shared this story with me:

A helper offered to be the Greeter/Hugger at our Orientation Coffee, but she couldn’t hug a stranger so she would shake hands. We aren’t a hugging church, but since we were following your Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry Coordinator’s Guide where you stress the importance of having a Greeter/Hugger, we decided we would have her help in another area and find someone who would hug the women as they arrived. Then during the sharing time, one woman said she was a newlywed, and shortly after their wedding, her husband deployed overseas. The hug she received from the Greeter/Hugger was her first hug in eighteen months, and that hug assured her the mentoring ministry was just where the Lord wanted her. After the Coffee, the helper who said she couldn’t hug strangers, said she would be the Greeter/Hugger at our next Orientation Coffee.

How Did Church Members Greet Each Other in Jesus’s Day?

God’s design for the church was for believers to be family. Jesus made that clear in Mark 3:31-35:

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

We often refer to ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ, and some churches still call each other “brother _______” and “sister _______,” but most have dropped the use of this familiar term, maybe to a detriment. Families hug each other in greeting, so it shouldn’t seem strange for brothers and sisters in Christ to greet each other with a hug.

The early church actually went a step beyond a hug and greeted fellow believers with a kiss. This wasn’t a romantic kiss, but one like Europeans or relatives give to each other, maybe on the cheek. When Paul sent letters to the churches, this is how he told them to greet each other . . .

“Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.” Romans 16:16

“All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” 1 Corinthians 16:20

“Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss.” 1 Thessalonians 5:26

Peter also said, “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” 1 Peter 5:14

Why Don’t All Churches Hug Today?

I asked several people if they had a time of greeting in their church, and if so, was it shaking hands or hugging. One man replied that there was greeting prior to the service and if you had a relationship with someone you might hug them, but if there had been some animosity or misunderstanding, you wouldn’t want to hug that person. I thought that was interesting since this is church we’re talking about! But then I had a disagreement with someone, and it was hard to hug that person until we resolved it.

When my husband and I travel and attend churches, we notice that sometimes we’re the only people hugging. One church we attend regularly, the pastor sticks out his hand to shake my husband Dave’s hand, and as Dave gives him a hug, the Pastor laughs and says, “Oh yes, you’re the hugger.”

I don’t remember that many people hugging when we first started attending our small mountain community church where we live now, unless they were already friends, but now everyone hugs! I’m so used to hugging people, I once hugged our new neighbor, and I barely knew her. It just seemed like the welcoming thing to do, although she did seem a little surprised, I did it without thinking . . . because I’m a hugger.

Admittedly, some people are extremely private and don’t like people invading their space. They’re uncomfortable hugging, especially if they don’t know you. I’ve never had anyone take inappropriate advantage of hugging in church, but I suppose that could happen too. And it’s important to caution children to be leery of anyone they don’t know hugging them inappropriately, and be sure your church has a vetting process for everyone working in youth and children’s ministry.

Here are hugging etiquette considerations if you’re a hugger like me, but not sure how the other person feels about hugging:

  1. If it’s a first meeting/greeting, shake hands, especially with the opposite sex.
  2. After several meetings, try a side hug. If you feel resistance or tenseness, return to handshakes.
  3. Be open. Explain that you’re a hugger, and ask if they’re OK with a hug in greeting and honor their wishes.

If you’re uncomfortable with hugs, that’s OK. Don’t feel badly or that you have to explain. A bright smile, and kind, friendly greeting speaks volumes.

“An honest answer is like a warm hug.” Psalm 24:26 The Message

What are your thoughts on giving hugs during greeting time at church?

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