Goodbye Cardinals Hello Royals

October baseball

Goodbye Red October; there is no other sky I would rather live under every autumn. You are always faithful and fun; albeit nerve-wracking!

Baseball A Nervous Breakdown

Jon Jay dances with Matt Holliday’s son Ethan,7, while the team celebrates in the locker room after the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League Division Series after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Our team has style in every way! Just one more reason I love our team on and off the field.

Not a Cardinals Fan

I’m thankful Missouri’s rising Blue Moon has the force to push the Giants into the sea. May the Blue Moon’s powerful tide make the dawning of the fifth day unattainable for the San Francisco Giants.

KC Royals

This Missourian is cheering for you, Kansas City Royals.

Moo!

Moo

Farm Boy and I took our ten and eleven year old boys to Kansas City for a game during the Royals’ series against the Tigers the weekend of September 19th. Colson and A.J. thought the Royals’ fans displayed rude manners booing so many times at the umps, the other team, and even their own team when they made mistakes yet they also commented the fans were not as rude and unruly as the Giants’ fans.  Our boys did however love the Mooing!

Moooooooooooose!

The below video is of Matthew West’s Royals’ song. Matthew West is one of my favorite Christian recording artists; in fact, I have used some of his other songs/videos in earlier Toxic Tuesday posts to encourage my readers to thrive despite difficult circumstances.

KC mascot
Sluggerr—Royals’ Mascot
Royals' fountains
Kaufman Stadium Fountains

2014 World Series

KC

Giants

Toxic Tuesday: Self-Pleasuring

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

“Pornography twists and perverts the beauty and the biblical design of God’s creation. It leads men and women to look at each other as nothing more than objects of personal pleasure. It causes them to fantasize about sexual relationships with other people, and that’s a terrible blow to marital commitment.” – The Art of Marriage Session Five LOVE SIZZLES

Today’s topic comes on the heels of two articles that came across my Facebook feed through friends of mine.

The first article is about Hugh Hefner, the king of porn and Playboy. It seems Mr. Hefner lied to millions of men about the means he has to use to reach sexual satisfaction.

The second article alerts us to a new porn advertisement unveiled in New York City’s legendary Times Square.

The advertisement screams the lie, “All you need is hand,” while the testimony about a porn addicted millionaire says, “Hand is the only thing that will accomplish satisfaction once you are accustomed to using it.”

I’ll put it bluntly—as bluntly as I heard a Christian psychologist once state it, “No woman can compete with ‘Rosy Palm’. A soft warm wife will never grip as hard or move as fast as Rosy.” And this is why doctors are seeing skyrocketing rates of erectile dysfunction in otherwise healthy males.

I’m not singling men out because the truth is that millions of women are also self-pleasuring.

Statistics teach us that these rates are the same for Christians and non-Christians.

The habit of self-pleasuring/self-gratifying (masturbating) to porn is narcissistic in nature and often leads to narcissistic personality disorder. I bet you won’t find this huge fact in a porn magazine or in a disclaimer at the end of pornographic websites.

We were created to bond with other people and on the most intimate level we were made to bond and reproduce with our spouse in the love, safety, fun, creativity and mutual satisfaction of a committed marital relationship ‘til death do we part’. When people choose to have sex with themselves they bond with themselves.  They become full of toxic, malignant, cancerous, self-love. Instead of learning to care for others they only care for themselves. Everything is about them: Their body, their satisfaction, their time, their space, their money, their home, their ideas, their preferences—I hope you’re getting the idea. The, “I am and there is none besides me,” mentality to the max!

Masturbating takes sex outside of marriage; outside of the covenant relationship between husband, wife and God.

This greatly hinders a person from being a committed, loving spouse or parent who practices empathy, self-sacrifice, spiritual leadership, and meeting other people’s needs?

Here’s my question: If men and women knew the truth about porn, the chemical reactions/addictions that take place in brain chemistry due to using porn, and if they understood that the use of it eventually leads to erectile and sexual dysfunction and the inability to sexually perform with or enjoy their wife/husband; would they start down the path of looking at and using porn for stimulation? If they knew it could lead to a personality disorder and not being able to genuinely bond with and love other humans would they instead muster up self-control to STAY AWAY FROM PORN?

People with NPD think they bond and love like everyone else. They don’t! That is what makes it a disorder/mental illness.

We are to be, “rooted and established in love;” for God and for others. Not rooted and established in self-love.

I don’t believe any person sets the goal of, “I will learn to not love anyone and to not enjoy relationships with anyone. I will live a lonely miserable life.” Yet, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18a. In a world of temptations, and internet porn on demand, people must resolve to immediately look away and not look back again at pornographic images. Our families, our culture, and the church need resolved Christians who strive for purity with a vision for spiritually, emotionally and sexually healthy marriages.

“Love is life’s purest and most powerful motivator. It always does what is best for others and invites us to reach new heights in our relationships. Love brings fresh flavor to our living and renewed joy to our giving. Every relationship becomes more meaningful with it. No family is truly happy without it.”[i]

Read: Hugh Hefners dirty little secret by JONATHON VAN MAREN From the front lines of the culture wars. Jonathon Van Maren is a writer and pro-life speaker who has given presentations across North America on abortion and pro-life strategy.  CAUTION: Some graphically written content.

Read: Hey, Pornhub. We’re not buying it by Fight the New Drug. FTND is dropping knowledge on the harmful effects of porn since ’09.
Fight the New Drug’s mission is to educate and raise awareness on the harmful effects of pornography by using science, facts, and personal accounts.

The best place to begin understanding sex within marriage is the Bible. I recommend Song of Solomon; a love song described scene by scene of the wooing and wedding of a shepherdess by King Solomon.

[i] Stephen and Alex Kendrick, “The Love Dare for Parents,” (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2013) p. 1

DIY Family Prayer Board

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DIY PRAYER BOARD: Pass it on       

At this point in history, on our timeline, one way God shows proof of His existence is through each believer. I have witnessed God beat great odds and do the impossible in my life on multiple occasions.  I must pass my testimony on which is a reason I write this blog.

I long for the return of Jesus when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; but until then, some of the prayers of my heart are: “Allow Your word to become accessible to all people in our generation. Let me be found faithful. Empower my offspring to be found faithfully loving God and loving others. Come, Lord Jesus, come.” The wickedness I hear and read of in the news causes me to frequently ask for the return of Jesus.

I want to make God known for who He is to people in my circle of influence but most importantly I must make Him known to my children by teaching them how to have a daily relationship with Him. I can joyfully say that all of my children have asked Jesus into their hearts and proclaim Christ yet there is more for me to do. My calling as a mom is to pass my spiritual heritage on to my children.This includes sharing the stories of God’s deliverance, protection, provision and healing in our lives through prayer and fasting. I consider this heritage rich beyond words because there is no measure for sufficiently telling about God’s great works nor is there any way to adequately describe Jesus to them. Any attempt always falls short because there is no perfect way, on this side of heaven, to convey in words the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If my children are going to be found faithful with the life God has given them, and found fulfilling their God-given purpose they must be comfortable praying to God, their Father. This cannot be left up to chance so I have provided ways of helping them with their prayer life and below is one of the tools we use daily.

PRAYER BOARD

 I made this Prayer Board out of an old picture frame I no longer used.Prayer board

Adoration, Confession Thanksgiving, Supplication

A.C.T.S.

What is your heart and will in this matter, Lord? _______________ I petition this in the name of Jesus.

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“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

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“I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” 2 Corinthians 4:13

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Box of blank paper on which to write prayer needs.

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Answered Prayers:

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There is relief, sometimes unexplainable, that only comes through prayer. So we pray for those we know and love and for those who ask us to pray for them.

My kids enjoy reading through the envelope of answered prayers.  Colson was just doing so and noticed that most of the prayers were answered in the way for which we had prayed. He also took note of the prayers that were not answered with the healings for which we had prayed. These were almost exclusively traumatic brain injuries.  Three of those were answered with complete healings in heaven. One did not have the complete healing A.J. received after his severe traumatic brain injury and another waits, after more than two months, to again be able to speak or move his body.

I do not understand God’s sovereignty regarding these T.B.I. prayer requests especially since I know there are no coincidences with God. He has for some reason brought to our attention the need to pray for several T.B.I. patients in the last year and a half.

We are thankful for the opportunity to storm the gates of heaven on behalf of others.

How I made my Prayer Board:

The decor in my house is inspired by nature and complimented with rustic and primitive style furniture in the colors of perpetual autumn. My goal was to make the Prayer Board blend with the autumn colors.

  • I sanded, wiped clean and painted the frame the same pumpkin color as my wall.
  • After the frame dried I rubbed an old candle on the edges and in groves followed by two coats of flat black paint, allowing dry time between each application.
  • After drying, I used my Pampered Chef scraper to scrape off the candle wax revealing distressed pumpkin, then lightly sanded and wiped clean.
  • I sealed it with two coats of matte polyurethane.
  • I covered the original mat-board with coordinating fabric and measured where to place the twine in each direction (ribbon could be used).
  • I wrapped the twine all the way around the board and tied it in knots which are part of the overall presentation.
  • I used a hot glue gun on the back to help keep the twine in place then I stapled the twine along the edges for long lasting hold.
  • I cut an allergy medicine box to size then covered it with scrapbooking paper.
  • I folded and tore (or use scrapbooking scissors) brown paper grocery sacks into note size papers and placed them in the box for quick use when someone needs to add a prayer need to the board.

The Prayer Board hangs next to our table so every time we eat we can glance at it and pray for people and situations that we would otherwise most likely forget. This helped my reluctant to pray child become ready to pray and full of confidence.  We use the Prayer Board during our Bible study and prayer time in school also.

A chalk board, magnetic board, marker board or bulletin board could just as easily be used. My favorite part of writing the needs on paper is that when the prayer is answered we write the answer and the date on the piece of paper and place it in an envelope to keep for our future boasting in the Lord.

PROOF POSITIVE:

  • Create an atmosphere of prayer in your home with an easily accessible type of Prayer Board.
  • Date the prayer need when you place it on the board and date it when you know it is answered. It will be your turn to brag on God!

Toxic Tuesday: ‘Christian’ Swingin’ Wife Swapping

Swingin’ for Jesus? “Christian” Couple swaps partners as “ministry”

False teachers abound!

This is so far out there it’s difficult to believe. But I do believe it! I also believe that if like-minded people such as those mentioned in the below article were administered the MMPI-2, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) which is the most widely used and researched standardized psychometric test of adult personality and psychopathology, they would possibly show patterns of having narcissistic personality disorder.

Most individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are sexually deviant; they find pleasure in acts of sexual activity that are often seen as “abnormal” “unnatural” or even “abusive” at times. ‘Swingin’ is sexually, emotionally and spiritually abusive and does not honor the marriage covenant between husband, wife and God.

Add to this one of the main signs of NPD, “I’m special and the rules don’t apply to me. That is what I do but it’s not who I am.” And there you have the formula for swingin’.

Also remember that people with NPD do no wrong and; therefore, have no need for the Savior. Sad but true.

I’m endured to the old sayin’, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it!”

Read Swingin’ for Jesus? “Christian” Couple Swaps Partners As “Ministry” by Steve Deace at Fear God. Tell the Truth. Make Money.  

 

 

 

DIY Fall Leaf Collage

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DIY ProjectsAutumn Project: Leaf Collage

Because I thrive in an organized and visually appealing environment I like our home to have a comfy, cozy, welcome, “Sit down and stay a while,” feel to it.  We had a big empty wall that screamed, “Lonely, void, help me,” which led to this project.

The concept came from the desperation of wanting a large piece of art for the lonely living room wall. I found a beautiful painting of a turkey at a Missouri Conservation Artists’ sale but the $2000 price tag did not fit in my budget.  Farm Boy is an excellent painter but since he already has a demanding day job I knew he did not have time to paint me a large — very large — turkey in an autumn landscape.  I brainstormed from March to September attempting to decide what to place on our large empty wall. Autumn descended and as I looked out my windows at the beautiful colors on the trees I realized I wanted these colors; all year long. How? Bring them in? Hmm… I knew I could do it. Yes, instead of colorful turkey plumage on canvas I would place the hues of fall foliage on canvas. So I began.

Here is how I created my Leaf art:

In Missouri, autumn will be peaking over the next four weeks which makes it the perfect time for collecting colorful fall foliage.

Five years ago I drove around looking for deep purple and red leaves which I did not have in my yard. I found them at a local lake along with gold Ginkgo leaves.  I also collected leaves from friend’s yards so I could think of them when I delighted in my finished project.  To this day the red Japanese Maple leaves, from my friend Ann’s house, are my favorites.

I am going to estimate I collected around 700 leaves, from small flaming red Burning Bush leaves to a few large dark brown Sycamore leaves. It sounds like a lot of leaves but it doesn’t take long once your begin picking. Other leaves included: Bright orange Sugar Maple, deep purple Red Maple, yellow Silver Maple, several types of brown Oak, gold Ginkgo, red Japanese Maple, purple Sweetgum, pumpkin orange Sassafras, bright gold Shag Bark Hickory, deep reddish-brown Red Bud and various shades of tan and brown from Elm and Poplar. I also collected several very small branches with 4-5 leaves still  intact.

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I allowed the wet leaves to dry then placed them in large heavy books for pressing.   2/3 of the leaves remained pressed 4-5 weeks  1/3 of the leaves were pressed for 2 weeks then removed so edges could slightly curl.

In a large ventilated area, our garage, I set up 4 saw horses and placed large pieces of lumber or old doors on top of them. I covered the large flat surfaces with wax paper to eliminate sticking.

I watched for a 50% off sale and then bought a 4’ x 4’ wrapped painter’s canvas at Hobby Lobby  for $40.00.

For the base color of the canvas I used two coats of a coordinating trim paint which we had left over after painting trim in our house. You will notice in pictures we do not have baseboards finished yet. I will admit we have way more projects going on than we can keep up with or afford. As the cost of living continues to sharply and painfully increase our rehab budget keeps shrinking. Add to that doctor bills and therapy for a severe traumatic brain injury plus some newly added college costs and well; maybe we will finish the house during retirement — if we ever achieve retirement. Nonetheless, I still enjoy my home of perpetual autumn and I love the people who live in it.

I was after a natural look for preserving the leaves; nothing shiny, which meant wax was not an option. I watched the ads for Hobby Lobby and Michaels to purchase flat finishing/ polyurethane spray 50% off. I used 5-7 cans (memory is foggy here).

To preserve color and ensure my leaves lasted for years, I used a flat spray and gave the slightly curled leaves two coats on each side, allowing dry time between each application and making sure the leaves did not touch/stick together.  When completely dried I loosely piled the leaves in a box and brought them back in the house to deter bugs from feasting on them in the garage.

When the remaining 2/3’s were finished being pressed I spread them out on the saw horses.  Using the flat polyurethane spray I gave the leaves two coats on each side, allowing dry time between each application making sure the leaves were not touching/sticking together.

Attaching the leaves to the canvas proved to be tricky. I attempted just about every type of adhesive and glue a soul can find at the arts and crafts store. None held! Out of desperation I took a look through our garage. Neither wall paper glue nor wood glue worked. While considering Liquid Nails I spied: Henry Premium Multipurpose Carpet and Sheet Vinyl Adhesive. Out of curiosity I opened the tub and my eyes beheld thick goopy beauty! Just what I needed to grab hold of the veins on the back of the leaves. I applied this adhesive, allowed dry time, turned the canvas over, shook it and nothing happened. Nothing! It held the leaves in place. No falling off. No breakage.

Using a small craft/paint brush I turned over each individual leaf and generously applied adhesive to the back then pressed it down on the canvas; wiping away any excess with a damp cloth. I covered the entire canvas with the flat-pressed leaves allowing overage along the straight edges of the canvas.

I allowed the pressed leaves to dry then sprayed two more light coats of poly on the entire project.

Next I generously applied adhesive to the curled three dimensional leaves on the spots where they would touch the canvas base of pressed leaves. I set them in place and allowed them to dry.

I allowed the newly adhered leaves to dry then sprayed three more light coats of poly on the entire project, allowing dry time between each coat.

Done.

My boys know when playing with Nerf guns that the guns may NOT be aimed at the leaves and they have been careful to obey. Someone did toss a pillow hitting a leaf and breaking a small portion off. To my knowledge this is the only damage to my leaf art. I have had minimal fading to the leaves but with the unfiltered direct light coming into our home I have had minimal fading on everything in the living room.  I do not have an expensive camera for taking quality photos but I believe I am showing a good representation of the final product.

I used just under ½ quart of the Carpet & Sheet Vinyl Adhesive for this project.

From start to finish, because of pressing time, this was a 2 month project.  My guesstimate on time spent is 25 working hours. This does not include dry time for the paint, poly & adhesive. Total cost was approx. $80.00. That’s $1920.00 less than the $2000.00 turkey painting!

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Above: View of the dimensional aspects.

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Above: View of edge                                                            Side profile

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I enjoy my little piece of autumn in winter, spring and summer too.

Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 3

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40

 

Can God’s word be applied to the issue of supporting alleged sexual abusers of children?

Does it take more faith to support an accused sex offender or to allow the law to do its job?

Do you give blind trust to someone just because you knew them in college, or know them through ministry avenues? Or do you think about how your leadership position in the church might influence the faith of a little child?

Do you support a family on the grounds they are long-standing members in your church or do you acknowledge you have no idea what may have taken place in their home, in their family, or in their family member’s life and decide to error on the side of safety for the children’s sake?

These are not easy questions to answer when placed in the position, by a friend or church member, of being asked for representation in a court of law.

I believe church staff and church leadership need to ask these questions and have policy in place before the situation arises.

Evangelical Christians are quickly gaining a status resembling that of Catholic dioceses which have earned reputations for ignoring, denying and hiding allegations of abuse; as well as, defending priests accused of sexually abusing children. If you doubt the seriousness of this statement look no further than Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment’s Facebook page: G.R.A.C.E. They have investigated and reported on numerous cases.

My thoughts on this subject have been all over the place so I will inform you that the rest of this post is a compilation of random thoughts.

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all he is the greatest.” Luke 9:46-48

 

Children should never be placed in the position of sacrifice for the sake of the church or the accused in the name of protecting Christ’s reputation. Souls are at stake! Jesus came to sacrifice Himself for us so don’t place a child where only Christ can reside. Protect the children; don’t blame them. Over the years I have read that children’s false claims of sexual abuse at the hands of Christian clergy remains between 1.5% and 2 %. It is rare for young children to lie about sexual abuse.

 

In Matthew 18:15-18 Jesus teaches us how to deal with sin issues among believers.

  1. Go in private to the person and point out the sin/error/offense.
  2. If they do not listen take two witnesses to help confront them.
  3. If still they do not listen take the issue before the church.
  4. If none of these steps work the unrepentant person is no longer allowed fellowship in the church

This is done in love for the purpose of leading the person to repentance and providing reconciliation in the relationship. These verses DO NOT APPLY to sexual offenders or people accused of breaking local, state or federal laws. All allegations must be immediately reported to the local authorities. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Pastors, church leadership, church members, family and friends cannot be objective mediators or investigators in these cases. Sexual abuse of children is criminal in all 50 states and is NOT a private matter. It is a public/civil felony to be professionally investigated. Pastors and church leadership are not professionally trained to handle such issues; no matter how well-intentioned they are.

 

We find a prime example in scripture of a family member who attempts to keep sexual abuse quiet. Admitting such evil exists in the world has been difficult since the beginning of time.

In 2 Samuel 13, Absalom told Tamar when he realized she had been raped by her brother Amnon, “Keep silent my sister, he is your brother, do not take this matter to heart.”  Not much can make sexual abuse worse than silence from biological family or church family.  It is hurtful and it is dangerous; moreover, it isn’t the end to the consequences of the sexual abuse. Until justice is served there is potential for further disunity, additional sin and destruction. Continue reading 2 Samuel 13-18 to see how silencing the sexually abused for the sake of peace ended.

 

Romans 13:1-7 teaches us that the civil government is part of God’s design for His people and that we are subject to the authorities.  Since we are commanded to respect the government/authorities placed over us  we also need to respect their investigations of alleged child victimizers. With the aforementioned random thoughts in mind; we need to stay quietly and respectfully in the background until the process if finished.

 

Background checks are necessary but not always beneficial. Why? Background checks processed through law enforcement computers only catch criminals who have been charged; not molesters or pedophilic offenders who have never been caught or reported or are too smart to get caught.

In a 1992 study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, sex researchers K. Freud and R. I. Watson found that the average pedophile victimizes between 20 and 150 boys before being arrested.[i]

Dr. Anna Salter in her best-selling book, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders, Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children reports the same statistics.

This is an alarming number and it tells us churches may have pedophilic offenders working or volunteering in children’s and/or youth ministries who have not YET been caught. This is one more reason to protect the children by making sure they are never alone in a room, hallway or bathroom with one person. There should always be two adults present; not two teens, and not an adult and a child—two adults.

 

If you or your church has supported a sexual offender through an investigation or trial have you expressed repentance or regret for declining to protect or believe the children?

Did you ever ask straight forward questions or request names and phone numbers of previous family members and former employers to consider their side of the story compared to the accused? Did you ever, with your own eyes, see medical records/diagnosis’s? Did you seek guidance from specialists in the field of child sexual abuse such as Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment?

If you didn’t seek information; why didn’t you?

Are you teachable in this area that plagues the church? If you are instructable I urge you to contact G.R.A.C.E. for help in training your church to protect the little children from the evil that roams in this world; harmful hurtful perpetrators.

 

Un-teachable churches are nothing more than shelters for victimizers who have the free reign to abuse children on church property, in their vehicle, during church outings, at summer youth camps, or on overseas mission trips.

Are we moved by past friendship, loyalty, sympathy and fear for the accused or by the distress, pain and heartache of the children? Make certain your compassion is properly placed and driven by love of truth and justice for sweet innocent children.

Current news articles paint the Christian community at large as turning their backs on the victims while supporting the adult standing accused. This is tragic but what I find even more disturbing is the church calling the children liars.

Matthew 19:13-14

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

 

Sexual abusers are found in every walk of life: Every gender although mostly the male gender, every sexual orientation, every religion, every race, every color, every country, every socioeconomic class, any profession, or any size of town.

Sexual offenders have no identifiable markings, speech or body language to alert us to their true character or motives. This is one more reason pastors are not qualified, nor are they legally authorized, to investigate felony crimes.

If you or your church has mishandled past abuse disclosures or erred on the wrong side of a sexual abuse case involving an investigation or trial I strongly recommend you contact Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. They exist to help the body of Christ protect children and minister to abuse survivors. You will find resources for the church and for individuals on their website; Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment @netgrace.org.

 

 Matthew 18:10

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

 

Read also:

Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 1

Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 2

 

[i] K. Freund & R.I. Watson. “The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children: An Exploratory Study.” 18 34, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 34-43 (1992).

I Choose Health

My Road to Toxic Health

I Choose HealthOver the years I’ve heard about unhealthy relationships leading to long-term health issues.

Now I know that symptoms ailing me for the last fifteen to sixteen years are from traumatic stress brought on by a toxic relationship.

Several weeks ago I took two typed pages of prolonged frequent symptoms to a Rheumatologist. After reading through the symptoms the doctor’s first question for me was, “In your home; have you ever felt unsafe in a relationship or have you ever feared for your life?”

I thought, “Hey doc, I came here for medical help not counseling.” Thankfully I kept my ignorant sarcasm to myself. I answered that I had indeed feared for my life and my child’s life two nights in a row before leaving an unhealthy and unsafe husband. Then in the years following I had great concern for my child’s safety when the court didn’t use its authority to protect the innocent.

The doctor then pointed to my onset of severe symptoms and told me that my particular auto immune disease is often triggered by trauma. I had an exact trigger point on the calendar.

I asked the doctor if there was also an explanation for all my symptoms; combined with extreme fatigue, weakness and joint pain descending upon me every summer for the last three years. These episodes arrive at approximately the same time and increase in severity each year. This year has been the worst by far and has lasted months instead of weeks.

My doctor answered that my illness is exacerbated by continued stress and new traumas.

Three years ago I received a call from investigators seeking information about a child sexual predator which put me on an emotional roller coaster I was hoping to never again ride. The raw emotion of memories and trauma overwhelmed me.

Plus my eleven year old son A.J. had a severe traumatic brain injury three and a half years ago.

It is one thing to fear for your own life but there is nothing worse than fearing for your children’s lives. This is the type of fear I experienced twice in my life. The second time of fearing along with the fresh reminder of the original trauma sent my immune system into over drive and it attempted to eradicate my body of toxic and traumatic stress.

My system is now attacking my joints, tendons and cartilage while zapping me of energy and strength; five months running.

Why do I share this with you? To let you know that if you come to my blog looking for the latest post and don’t find one it’s due to Psoriatic Arthritis; my auto-immunie disease. I’m most likely sitting on the sofa teaching my boy’s their school lessons and attempting to minimally keep up with the house and meals.

I’m nothing special in the world of auto-immune diseases. I join over 50 million other Americans who suffer from at least one auto-immune disease and who live with chronic illness.

My goal is to flush my continually ill body of unhealthy and inflammatory foods, environmental factors and stress since chronic illness is the leading cause of death and disability in our country. I must stop my immune system from attacking my body or take immunosuppressant drugs that will do the job for me. I’m hoping the drastic change in diet will do all or most of it; if not I’ll take the prescriptions and still eat healthy for optimal health.

Family genetics loaded the gun for this disease and trauma pulled the trigger.

The one issue I have the most control over is food so this is where I’m beginning.

I Choose Health

To help me in my endeavor my sweet sister Chasady bought me the above books for my birthday; none of which I had heard of:  Auto-Immune Protocol: Easy Recipe IdeasAgainst All Grain by Danielle Walker, and The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD.

I must say ignorance was bliss.

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD was eye-opening to the amount of control I have over my illness and pain.

For this reason I will give up the following foods as I strive for remission:  All grains, sugars and night shade plants which are the main staples in my diet and include potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, all peppers and all spices derived from peppers including cumin and pepper. I also cannot consume salt unless it is pink Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt.  Now I have to learn a whole new way to cook Tex-Mex food. {Sigh.} No beans, nuts, seeds, dairy/cheese/butter, eggs, corn or corn products, soy and the list goes on. I’m allergic to all fish: freshwater, sea water and shellfish (I think it is an iodine allergy) so these also are not an option.

I’m left with organic fruits, vegetables and herbs, and grass fed mammals for my recipe/meal options. Absolutely no processed foods.

For those of you who suffer from auto immune diseases and have adjusted to this nutrition based lifestyle this is old news but for me it is shocking.  I like to eat fruits and vegetables but not as the main ingredients for every meal; unless of course they are prepared in guacamole, Pico de Gallo, salsa or hummus.

I’m sooo hungry, but I’m working on nutritional health which I have immediate control over.

Now for the stress factors.

Yesterday while writing this post I had a majorly stressful situation arise.  By the time it was over I had an entire body ache and little strength to get through my day. I’ll blog about it next week; hopefully. I manage to come up with constant stories to tell about difficult circumstances.

I will now go pray; again, for a boring, uneventful and stress free life. Please join me! {Smile}

Teach Your Daughters to Fear God, Not Men!

A friend sent me this article via Facebook. This is an excellent read, recommended by Kirk Cameron, and I especially appreciate the call to the church to get involved when women are in these types of relationships. Great food for thought and more importantly for action. I’ll be re-reading and praying about this.

Click here to read this short article: Teach Your Daughters to Fear God, Not Men!.

Repost: After the Last Bullet

chocolateorelse:

Several weeks ago I reblogged, Because Life’s Not a Beach, by my friend Lisa Fisher. She wrote, “So blissfully blind to the upset just around the next bend.” She spoke of her oldest son’s traumatic death.

This article is written by one of her daughters, Anna Graham, and is the precursor to Because Life’s Not a Beach.

Please take a moment to read this beautifully written entry.

Originally posted on Funhouse:

Repost from ‘About the Platen’,  January 6, 2014

After the Last Bullet

 

It’s been a month since Ben died, and this could not have been more timely:

Screenshot from video journal by Tenth Avenue North. 
 
The crazy thing is, when I look back and feel the raw spot where Ben was torn away, I don’t feel cheated of a miracle. A freak accident – a tiny calibre bullet that could have gone anywhere – a wound that might have been a simple shoulder shot. Would surviving that constitute a miracle? No – by ordinary means, Ben should have walked away with a sling on his right arm and a rough experience under his belt (which he would have taken great pleasure into turning into a classic Ben-reenactment).
 
 
Instead, something unusual happened. That tiny bullet – fired from the chamber of a gun he knew how to…

View original 607 more words

Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders Part 2

Part 2

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10 ESV

I am concerned about many churches in America, and abroad, regarding their lack of discernment or care for children’s safety.

For background leading up to this post see Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders: Part 1

I am not a confrontational person at heart but last week the Lord gave me an assignment; a difficult uncomfortable lesson to present to people in places of church leadership and authority. I would rather pass on this project but at the same time; I am privileged for the option to obey.

So here it goes.

How would you feel if a sexual offender were in your house attacking your child, or had just left your house after attacking your child, and you called 911 for help but the 911 operator did not believe you? Instead they asked to speak to your attacker to hear their side of the story. Then they believed the attacker instead of you which in my book is the same as saying, “You’re crazy! Your child is lying! It never happened to your child; in fact, you invented this propaganda and told your child to repeat the lie. Admit it, you don’t like this person and you are trying to run them out-of-town and ruin their career. How could you say such a terrible thing about that person?” The operator then threatened you and your family should you decide to involve the law.

You turn your attacker in to the local authorities on your own but for doing so you experience hostility from the 911 operator and the staff from their office. You receive threats and your name is slandered in the community.

This is happening to children and their families in the church world-wide. There are predators in our society who are attending college and seminaries to train for working in the church to gain access to supply; children. Unsuspecting leadership and church goers are clueless to this fact so it isn’t surprising that when sexual abuse allegations come up; they are quickly denied by the perpetrator, not believed by the church staff or members, quieted or ignored.

I am disappointed, sad, sickened and frustrated when adults do not believe the children or take seriously the Biblical mandate to look after and welcome the little children; especially when they need protection from a predator. Children need to be believed.

I have witnessed churches, friends and ministry associates support such an offender and I believe they have much to answer for to the Lord, to the church they were entrusted with in leadership roles, to the children, and to the children’s families. I’m not alone in my opinion.

Here is a note I received from a well-respected man of God who specializes in bringing to light the plight of child sexual abuse in the church, Christian universities, para-church organizations, and on the mission field.

“Though I am glad this predator was finally caught and removed from having more opportunities to abuse little ones, I am sickened by the fact that the faith community has embraced him and advocates for his innocence. I have no doubt these individuals will one day be called into account for their failure to protect the vulnerable as they were too busy protecting evil. So glad that justice finally arrived…”

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42 ESV

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40 ESV

Church is one of the places where children and abuse survivors should be the safest. The unfortunate truth is that molesters, pedophiles and sexual offenders know that the church is the one place where they can  be a new attendee, volunteer to help in children’s ministry, and be gladly received.

Most churches have a process in place for doing criminal background checks on volunteers but the fact remains that many people with sexual addictions and attractions to children have never been arrested; therefore, they pass the background check.

I’ve heard of numerous instances where churches hired staff knowing there had been child sexual abuse allegations in the person’s background but the church believed the, “I’m innocent of the allegations. Someone was mad at me for ________ (fill in the blank). The church leadership and/or search committee believed them and gave them the authority to abuse more children. That’s exactly how I look at it.

Here is one example of a convicted sex offender: “The allegations were false’: At the time he was hired, the pastor informed the church of his past conviction and claimed the allegations were false. Despite the fact that a court of law found sufficient evidence to convict this man of a sexual offense against a child, the church preferred to believe his words. I have seldom encountered child sexual abusers who did not claim that the allegations made against them were false. I even prosecuted cases where the defendant gave a full confession to law enforcement as he maintained his innocence to friends and family. Anytime we are dealing with someone who has been prosecuted for sexually abusing a child, we don’t have the luxury to accept his or her words of denial.” [i]

The church needs to be concerned about the safety of children not concerned about the church’s reputation. When children are protected, families and people will know they are part of a loving godly ministry. While on earth Jesus did not teach, “Protect the reputation of the church, the pastors, or the leaders even if it means sacrificing the children.” This is not scriptural.

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:5-6

Beginning today I pray that churches, pastors and friends recognize God has set local authority over us; therefore, we need to use God’s tool (local authorities) by getting out of the way and allowing the law to do its job.

The church must believe and protect our children. We live in a world where drugs are readily available to help lessen or deaden the pain and where suicide claims the lives of so many children and young adults who have suffered at the hands of molesters and pedophilic offenders. If the church were doing its job drug usage and the suicide rate would be considerably less.

Pastors, friends and family members need to do what is right and when they don’t; we need to make the consequence a heavy weight that reminds them and shows people around them the importance of believing and protecting the children. It isn’t your job to decide guilt or innocence. Always report sexual abuse allegations to the authorities and allow the professionals to do their job. Children rarely lie about sexual abuse.

For the church members and friends who stood as character witnesses with the above/below mentioned pastor or wrote letters of reference for him to the court; you should have made a few phone calls before helping this sexual offender. The ex-wife, previous ministries and former mentors would have been the obvious choices. There was a trail of legal paperwork, medical paperwork and witnesses which should have removed any doubt or at least placed doubt and many questions in your mind.

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:5-6

Here are excerpts from the Independence Daily Reporter article, by Allen Smith, about Butler’s Montgomery County District Court sentencing.

“The former minister of the Community Christian Church of Independence, Kansas, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years for aggravated criminal sodomy of a child.” [ii]

The next portion is by the mother of the then 3-year-old boy who Steven Paul Butler was sentenced under Jessica’s Law for victimizing.

“I have prayed many different prayers over the past 4 ½ years. In one of the constant prayers I have asked God, that no child would ever be hurt by Steve Butler,” She said.

“I have watched my son go from a joyful confident child, to a shattered mess of confusion, fear and heartbreak, shame and anger.”

“He feels unworthy of love, friendship or success,” she said.

Then she focused her anger on Butler.

“I trusted a man who acted like a great man of God with the most important things in my life, my children. He abused his power. My son has suffered so much and the only hope he has, the light at the end of the tunnel, is Mr. Butler will never hurt another child again.”

“I merely ask you not to let my son’s suffering be in vain,” the mother wrote.

The boy’s grandfather also spoke at the hearing.

“This act of sexual abuse towards our grandson has robbed him of his precious childhood innocence,” he said. “He has had to relive the incident over and over for the past four years.”

“When he should have been enjoying things like Christmas, birthdays and the simple things of life, he has spent these years in fear, worrying that Steve Butler would be set free to come after him and harm him again.” [iii]

Here is the last segment I will share:

“Cullins (the judge) acknowledged he had received and reviewed ‘thoroughly,’ letters of support from several people including, David Bycroft, pastor at the Tryo Christian Church, Reggie Epps, Dave Rutherford, Larita Jones, Charles Rice, Ilene Vance, Bess Clark and Vicki Edington, among others.” [iv]

The local reporter believed one of the moms and her child to not be believable. Let me point out that this momma and her child were the perfect targets for any child predator. No, she didn’t show emotion. Yes, her child suffers from mental illness. Any child victimized before the age of 6 is at high risk for developing personality disorders. This momma’s child was 5 when the defendant was accused of molesting him. If the defendant followed his usual plan of attack he knew the child’s history of emotional difficulties, including abuse, and knew the mom’s personal and family history; preying upon the child specifically for these reasons. The defendant knew that even if he was caught, no one would ever believe the child or his mom. See : How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims and Pedophile or Molester

Ronnie Epps, founding pastor of Johnson County Christian Church/Legacy Christian Church in Overland Park, Kansas, and Reggie Thomas of White Fields Evangelism in Joplin, Missouri attended as supporters of the defendant. As a former adult victim of the defendant I can tell you that it felt like they were screaming at me, “He never raped you. He never abused your child. You’re crazy. How could you say such a thing about this wonderful man of God?”

I understood the words of past victims who have said, “It felt like I was being violated all over again.” That was exactly how I felt and it was painful but the torment came in how I felt for the helpless children who weeks earlier had to testify in front of their abuser while church members and pastors/evangelists sat there supporting the defendant. I pleadingly submit to you; the church should have been there for the children.

You blindly supported a sexual offender without investigating past allegations by contacting former churches, mentors and former family members and you betrayed innocent children; the apples of Jesus’ eye.

Now all of you who are supporters of this man have some accounting to do. You didn’t allow the little children to come to Jesus. You owe them and their families an apology. You need to decide how you can minister to them and help facilitate healing.

I understand that you may not recognize or understand a fraudulent deceiver when you see one because you are not deceitful. Perhaps you had no idea what to look for. But the fact remains that when the allegations arose you should have thought first and foremost about the innocent children and dug into the accuser’s background. You didn’t.

Some people have asked, “Where was God?” This question is an easy way of bucking the church’s responsibility.  I ask where the church was.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42

The local church needs to publicly apologize for their inexcusable behavior and the denial of the facts; for not investigating past allegations as soon as they learned about them, for believing the offender, for leaving children alone with Butler, and for not supporting the children and their families in court. I believe you have lost some of your reward. Have you regretted second guessing, remaining silent, or not supporting the children? You are partly responsible for the abuse that took place in the church building. I whole heartedly believe Jesus wants you to make amends and make sure children in your care are always protected today, and in the future.  For help on how to protect children in your church and how to minister to abuse survivors I recommend, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment or visit G.R.A.C.E. at their Facebook page.

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16

The church and the defendant’s supporters hindered the little children. You added to their heartache. The children will likely always remember that the church, Christians and Christian leaders/pastors did not believe them. This will make their journey to healing more difficult and could possibly interfere with a how they relate to God their Father. It has the potential to keep them from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. They will have a tendency to resist the Holy Spirit. Did you stop and ask if your response would hurt the child’s relationship with the Lord or if your support would add trauma to an already difficult circumstance?

Now for the good news; the reminder. The Lord in His great mercy, grace and beauty offers all of us the gift of repentance.

Repentance is not God’s way of condescendingly reminding us of our sin, failures and mistakes. Quite the opposite. It is our chance to approach Him, and through repentance, receive forgiveness, healing, power, wisdom and blessing. Repentance is a beautiful gift. God does not dole out punishments, although there may be natural consequences, but instead gives good gifts to those seeking His heart and will.

I will end this week’s post with a quote from my friend Cindy Sigler Dagnan’s Facebook author page. She had no idea about my blog or the fact I was asking the Lord if my post was appropriate.  I was inquiring of the Lord what to write and how to handle a sensitive subject. I knew I was to show firmness from a biblical viewpoint fueled by love for the Lord’s church. At the same time I was feeling completely inadequate and questioning what I had written. Then I felt the Holy Spirit almost blow me over as He reassured me through Cindy’s Facebook status update. I read it, then re-read it through blurry tear-filled eyes.

“It’s a poverty when God’s words are watered down for the sake of being culturally sensitive, in the name of comforting others or not being offensive. His absolute truth is by nature going to offend because it requires of us change. Perhaps more scary, it requires us to do nothing but ACCEPT His grace and the promise of salvation — we CANNOT earn it! We can sooo love others to Jesus without backing down. Confronting wrong is NOT the same as pointing unkind judgmental fingers. After all, Jesus saved His most pointed comments for those who should KNOW BETTER, not for the unsaved. He loved them, but gently and firmly said, “Go and sin no more.” He DID NOT say, “That’s not really sin if you really want to do this.” Cindy Sigler Dagnan 9/14/2014

Next week: Part 3 of Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders

 

[i]Boz Tchividjian, “4 lessons we can learn from a church that hired a sex offender”, Religion News Service, June 27, 2014- See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.04Tyr82H.dpuf

[ii]Allen Smith, “Former minister Butler receives life sentence for aggravated sodomy”, Independence Daily Reporter, August 22, 2014

[iii] Smith, “Former minister Butler receives life sentence for aggravated sodomy”

[iv] Smith, “Former minister Butler receives life sentence for aggravated sodomy”

 

Moms’ Night Out—Now on DVD

If you like comedy this is the movie for you. To top it off—it’s also clean!

It was refreshing! I needed to laugh and Moms’ Night Out provided the source.

I know some mothers who take a mom’s night out once a week, some who take one occasionally and some who rarely if ever take one. Do you have a friend to enjoy a mom’s night out with?

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Seeing Moms’ Night Out guarantees good medicine.

I had not experienced such unbridled laughter since reading the Pioneer Woman’s,  All I Wanted Was a Doughnuthttp://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2011/12/all-i-wanted-was-a-doughnut/

The thing that made the movie better was the longevity of it.  It was an extra-large jumbo size dose of good medicine and a timely lesson from Bones. (You will have to see the movie to find out about Bones.)

I thought the movie would strictly be a ‘Chick-Flick’ but no; I heard and saw men laughing as uncontrollably as me.

I have never laughed so much, so hard, so loud in any movie. Hysterical laughter, tears from hysterical laughter, snorting from not being able to catch my breath due to hysterical laughter. Side splitting I tell ya!

There you have it. My encouragement for the day: Laugh. Funny movies, funny books, comedians or funny friends; find your funny and take a full measure of it.

Buy or Rent Moms’ Night Out  tonight!

See the right side margin : A Cheerful Heart…for multiple opportunities to laugh.

Original Moms’ Night Out: You Need to Laugh post

 

Toxic Tuesday: Church Leadership Supporting Sexual Offenders

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Part 1

Matthew 18:10

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

 

This post has kept me up late at night shaking—literally. I know the Lord has called me to blog about my prayer life, about the boundaries He is patiently helping me learn to set (I’m an extremely slow learner in this area) and about the life difficulties and traumas I have experienced. The subjects tend to be downers; heavy and sometimes dark instead of fun, witty and uplifting. I’m a girl who wants to have fun. I want to quit writing about the subject content of a sex offender’s recent trial I waited, for what seemed a life time, to be successfully prosecuted and I wanted last week’s post to be the end of the subject, but I had no peace about my decision.

This week a statement kept surfacing in my mind, “The church; my people who are called by my name,  are not protecting or believing the little children.” I wanted to know if this was my discernment or words from the Lord. The statement wasn’t during my quiet time or during any prayer time. I’m good at reminding the Lord I am made from dust and fully capable of making mistakes, misreading Him or disobeying. I don’t want to be guilty of any of these things and I needed to confirm His heart and will in the matter and make sure my frustrations weren’t taking over my thought life.

I was awake at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning wondering if I was really supposed to continue with the ‘trial’ subject. I prayed about it—a lot. There was no instant answer so I asked questions, gave thanks and told the Lord I would skip it for this week, maybe forever, unless He specifically spoke to me on the subject in any way of His choosing.

I woke up Tuesday morning opened a workbook I studied years ago and which I am now taking my boys through for morning Bible study.  The study is, Jesus the One and Only by Beth Moore. We began week 8, Day 1, Causing Others to Sin. Please read Luke 17:1-5 to familiarize yourself with the passage.

Then at lunch my boys and I listened to Eric Metaxas on YouTube speak about Bonhoeffer. My boys enjoy listening to Eric Metaxas so I pulled up YouTube, searched his name, and clicked on Bonhoeffer so we could count it as part of a history lesson. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who did the right thing, a hard thing, despite the resistance and social climate of the day. He was a Nazi resister who defied the evil and false biblical teachings surrounding him to the point of death by execution in a concentration camp.

Great heroes of the faith who have gone before me climbed to much braver, more difficult, impossible, and courageous callings—unto death.

I received an easy assignment: Share what the Lord is teaching me through typing. I can do this.

Back to Beth’s lesson: In Luke 17:1-5 Christ was addressing his disciples about things that can cause people; more specifically, little children to sin. Jesus said, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.” Luke 17:1

I will not attempt to re-teach something Beth Moore has taught. Here are a few excerpts from week 8, day 1. I will refer to the sex offender as the trapper and defendant but the message is to the people who attempted to shield the trapper:

The Greek word for offenses, skandalon, means, “the trigger of a trap on which the bait is placed, and which, when touched by the animal, springs and causes it to close causing entrapment… .Skandalon always denotes an enticement to conduct which could ruin the person in question.” [i]

It is obvious the trapper is the defendant but I believe the defendant’s supporters (those who attempted to shield the trapper/defendant) should ask God to show them why they so easily and foolishly were vulnerable to the defendant. Then they should be resolved, that if ever another situation like this comes to light, they will demonstrate due diligence in performing a background check to the best of their ability—and believe the children. Young children rarely lie about sexual abuse.

“Christ issued a woe to anyone who causes another person to sin. But look at the pronounced indictment against anyone who causes one of these little ones to sin. Who are these little ones? The original word is mikros. Study the following definition: ‘of age meaning small, young, not grown up; in the comparative degree meaning less, younger…figuratively, of dignity, authority, meaning low, humble.’ We certainly know Christ’s reference to little ones includes literal children because in Matthew’s version He actually ‘called a little child and had him stand among them’ before He issued these statements in Matthew 18:2.”[ii]

“Christ’s reference to little ones spotlights children,” those young in age, “…or inferior to the trapper in knowledge, experience, authority, or power—anyone of whom it might be easy to take advantage. That Christ holds the trapper greatly responsible is a gross understatement! He appears to be saying, if you have entrapped a weaker, more vulnerable person in sin,” a child, “you’re going to wish you had drowned in the deepest sea rather than deal with me.”[iii]

“A day of reckoning is coming. No trapper gets away with entrapment—of human kind or spirit kind.”[iv]

Let’s go back to who Christ was addressing; His disciples. “Christ wasn’t just issuing an assurance of horrible consequences for the trapper. He was also issuing a warning that His disciples better not be among them.” Shielders. “If Christ’s temperature rises over the godless trapper, can you even imagine how His temperature would rise over the trapper who bears His name?” (Or those who help or shield the trapper.) “God forbid!”[v]

“If God would judge those outside His own household, I think we can rest assured He would discipline His own…by all means let’s be on our guard never to cause another person to sin. The Word is clear we have that potential.”[vi]

“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

“If we are functioning as a healthy body, ideally we should be able to bring issues that affect us to the table with one another and dialogue and, when appropriate, even rebuke or receive a rebuke. This type of approach demands the maturity expressed in Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV)” [vii]  “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Thank you for reading this introduction. I will continue on this theme the next 2-3 weeks of Toxic Tuesday posts. I’ll call them ‘Sticky Posts’ because they are about to become stickier.

 

[i] Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only,  (Nashville, TN, LifeWay Press, 2000), 171

[ii] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 172

[iii] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 173

[iv] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 173

[v] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 173

[vi] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 174

[vii] Moore, Jesus the One and Only, 174

 

 

Hospitality Bar Autumn Update

Hospitality Bar Autumn

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13

This is an autumn update of last year’s Christmas hospitality bar.

Fall decor on William Sonoma 3 tier tray
Fall decor on William Sonoma 3 tier tray

Having boys in the house necessitated adding another non-girly item. When my boys have friends over during warm weather we keep iced tea and lemonade on the bar but boys being boys, (translation = always hungry) we needed a quick easy snack they can help themselves to that takes care of their munchies.

I looked at the hospitality bar and saw the perfect slot for microwave popcorn, as well as, a place to add popcorn salts and disposable bags. (Pictures and details below.)

Top tier Fall decor
Top tier – Fall decor
Middle tier -Fall decor
Middle tier -Fall decor
Bottom tier - Fall decor
Bottom tier – Fall decor

 

 

I used gourds I grew in my garden, Burr Oak acorns (I have a love affair with Burr Oak acorns; they are huge, beautiful and unique), leaf trays and pumpkin/cornucopia creamers I found at Target a few years ago. I also used some silk greenery and a ceramic Blue Bird.

Top view of 3 tier William Sonoma tray
Top view of 3 tier William Sonoma tray

They say necessity is the mother of invention. My need to save time while preparing for a Mother/Daughter Bible study in my home led to this organized Hospitality Bar.  This saved me an easy hour of pulling all the drinks, condiments and mugs out of the cupboards and then organizing them into a centralized location. Add to that my incessant need to have seasonal or holiday decorations placed at this centralized location and—well—no matter how I tried not to worry myself about having everything just right; the hostess in me had no peace until everything looked pretty and was fully functional.

I did not care so much that my house was clean and picked up perfectly for other guests but Bible study was different. I desired for participants of the study to feel at home, relaxed and safe to share their needs and their hearts. I wanted them to feel pampered by me but more importantly, by their God who is crazy-in-love with them. I needed my attention off of the refreshment details so I could welcome, listen and interact with the mothers and daughters as we discussed and studied God’s word.

DSCN1987

Between homeschooling, driving to doctor and therapy appointments and keeping up with extracurricular activities I was finding it difficult to fully prepare for leading our study, cleaning the house and prepping the kitchen for refreshments. Thus I decided a central location was essential for storing all the refreshment items. Function was all I had in mind.

I began searching for cabinets that would match or coordinate with our current kitchen but could not find an equivalent or anything to bring together the old with the new while remaining within my budget.

Then one day while pulling in our driveway, a neighbor’s garage door was up and to my surprise I saw cabinets sitting against the wall of their garage that looked just like our cabinets. I did a double take. No. Yes. No doubt, they were a perfect match. Hmm?

A few weeks later I saw this neighbor and told them about my search for matching cabinets to install in our kitchen and my dilemma because the particular line of cabinetry was no longer available. I mentioned that I saw cabinets in their garage that looked like a perfect match and asked, “Do you have plans for those or are you interested in selling them to me for (a disclosed price)?”

Our neighbor was willing to sell them to me for the disclosed price and I found out the reason they were an exact match was because they  were a hutch that came out of our house.  We bought a foreclosed home and during the time of the foreclosure; friends, relatives and neighbors were allowed by the previous owners to take whatever they wanted out of the unlocked house. This explained why some appliances, some cabinets and all closet hardware were missing from the house.

Next, I planned how to use the hutch then took it apart piece by piece and gave all of it a good scrubbing.  2 X 4 lumber was used to build a frame behind the cabinets so I could acquire more depth for a deeper countertop.  I also pulled the shorter center cabinets out front more to add dimension to the unit. Bead board was added to the sides for decorative purposes and to hide the false depth. Since these are upper cabinets being used on the floor I added a one inch toe kick at the bottom to keep the doors from scraping the floor. I wanted to place feet underneath the cabinets but that would have required moving an outlet, changing the windowsill and making the countertop out of reach for young children. So, no pretty decorative feet but it overflows in functionality.

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I no longer have to prepare for guests’ arrivals. Relatives and friends know where to go for a drink when they come to my house. Below:  Ice water and a carafe of hot water. I also keep hot water in the tea kettle on the stove and in the coffee pot. This allows three separate areas for a large group to fill their mugs.

DSCN2019DSCN2035Left: I keep this 3-tier tray from William-Sonoma on the bar for seasonal and holiday decorations. And I always have a candle ready to burn. A guest will rarely come to my house without finding scrumptious looking chocolate on display. The only problem is that the chocolate usually isn’t real and I have offended a dear friend, and fellow chocoholic, on multiple occasions with my inedible treats.DSCN2037

If budget and space do not allow for a hospitality bar in your home; you could use a portion of your countertop, a buffet, a re-purposed dresser or a shelving unit to accomplish the same objective.

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Right: This is a bamboo utensil holder turned sideways for holding tea bags and coffee singles.

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Below: Flavorings and droppers for mixing flavors into drinks (3-4 drops does the job). Sprinkles – top cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles or Cappuccino Accent Toppings; Cinnamon, Sweet Nutmeg, Vanilla, Chocolate.

I buy my Stash teas and bottled flavorings at the Old Towne Spice Shop, Main Street, St. Charles, MO. http://www.oldtownspices.com/ The Cappuccino Accent Toppings are from Main Street MarketPlace, St. Charles, MO. http://www.mainstreetmarketplace.com/

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Right: Drinking straws. Small shelves: Sugar and sweeteners on top. Extra coasters on bottom. Hot Cocoa Mix and Hot Cider Mixes. (The compartments are a desk caddy organizer.)

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Below:  Flavorings and droppers. Sprinkles and Cappuccino Accent Toppings. Single serve coffee. Small shelves: Creamers on top. Napkins in bottom. Stir straws on right.

Popcorn salts/toppings
Popcorn salts/toppings

Above: I added microwave popcorn, flavored popcorn salts and disposable popcorn bags to the bar. The microwave popcorn is next to the apple ciders and cocoa packets; to the left of the red and white striped popcorn bags. Popcorn salts are in located with the popcorn isle and come in a variety of flavors. A word of caution about the popcorn salts; the Jalapeno Cheddar and the Buffalo Wing make us choke. It has nothing to do with the heat because we are huge fans of spice, but it tends to go down the airway and asphyxiate us—every single time. We now avoid these seasonings.

Popcorn bags
Popcorn bags

Left: The popcorn bags are from Hobby Lobby’s party supply department. I used a 40% off coupon so the cost for 25 bags is $1.93

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Above and Right: Extra tea supplies, extra sugar, Mullin spices for cider, pink and regular lemonade, drink pitcher.

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Left: Oregon Chai Tea Latte (Wal-Mart), Peppermint Hot Chocolate & Barra Mexican Chocolate (both need mixed into hot milk), Cappuccino Double Mocha (Aldi’s), Extra coffee singles, Cocoa, Diet-Sugar Free Swiss Miss Cocoa, French Vanilla Cappuccino (SAMS)

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Below: To go/travel cups with lids (collected from Hotel stays), Hot water carafe, cold water carafe.

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DSCN2030Above right: Mexican Lava Rock Molcajete with coffee beans. Sometimes used for decoration but my favorite way to use it is for homemade Guacamole.

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Left: Windowsill decorations

Below: The rest of the cabinets that were not used for the Hospitality Bar were hung in the utility room. Instead of using wood filler for the dead space (on right) I had a bottom shelf and right side panel added for storing trays and cookie cooling racks. We added crown molding at the top to dress it up. I considered using the top for storage but only considered. It looked much prettier decorated with the gourds A.J. grew and I painted.DSCN2655DSCN2652

This new set of Whirlpool Cabrios replaced my Frigidaire front loaders. For a host of reasons I would give both sets back to have our older model Maytags! Newer is not necessarily better.

Anne Graham Lotz

911 Initial Confirmation? • AnGeL Ministries • Anne Graham Lotz

I enjoy using Anne Graham Lotz’s material with my ten and eleven year old boys for Bible studies and devotions. We participated in her 777: An Urgent Call to Prayer back in July and we participated in this week’s 911: An Urgent Call to Prayer for Jerusalem.

Do you remember how God used a rainbow to show HE heard our prayers for 777:

Read the below link to see what happened—again!

911 Initial Confirmation? – Blog • AnGeL Ministries • Anne Graham Lotz.

Toxic Tuesday: Manifesto of the Duplicitous

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Here are remarks from an individual who was previously in a position of authority, leadership and influence over, unknown to them, a toxic character. Of this corrupted personality they write:

“…was duplicitous and deceptive, living a double life, disconnected from reality, certainly from spiritual reality.”

Here are the personal values of the Jekyll and Hyde described in the above quote. A soul in a bottomless pit of sexual addiction and mental illness.  A creature who blindly victimized the unsuspecting, the simple, the harmless and the innocent.   Who, by society’s standards, is an impostor perpetrating the vilest offenses.

This manifesto was penned to prove sincere devotion to God, to the ex-spouse, to the church, and to show they were healed and worthy of trust, respect, forgiveness and reconciliation.

  1. The economy of this nation depends on my acceptance of personal responsibility.
  2. I will seek to understand and empathize with others.
  3. My family is this nation’s citizenship.
  4. My family and friends are carefully selected allies with whom I have agreed to never war against.
  5. My happiness is not my first goal. Meeting my responsibilities is.
  6. True happiness is found in maintaining and growing in my relationships with God and others.
  7. I must daily be reminded that faith, decency and honor are the highest virtues of man.
  8. A poorly kept house is the first sign of danger: it is the thing most found in slums.
  9. Depression is a state of mind that wrecks the economy — not the reverse.
  10. Appreciation for nature and the arts are essential to maintaining health and centeredness.
  11. God is my First Love; my family and friends come second; I am third.
  12. I must gain independence before I can become interdependent with others.
  13. My attitudes, moods, and expressions must always be a reflection of God’s grace.
  14. God is Sovereign over the affairs of this and every life.
  15. ln every conflict and in every war — whether found from without or from within …is a Iust for what one hasn’t. May the passion of my heart, mind, soul, and strength be to love God completely; and my neighbor as myself.
  16. Faith, Hope, and Love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
  17. lf I bring anything of value, and pour it into the lives of others during my lifetime, may it all be of eternal value and for the good — not of taxing pain nor hurt by telling lies, victimizing others, nor of a pursuit for my own selfish gain and ambition.
  18. l am saved by Grace through Faith … my focus is not, nor can it be, on my righteousness for I have none. My focus is on Jesus Christ – the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He alone is the Righteousness of God, Who is received by Faith, reflected by Obedience, and revealed in Love.
  19. Although I have inherited a sinful nature, I am not captive to it. I have died to sin, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. He is my Hope of Glory.
  20. My life is a constant effort to remove idols and to tear down barriers. The television is my most visible idol and enemy.
  21. My daily regiment must include physical, mental, emotional, vocational, and most of all, spiritual exercise.
  22. Every meal should be eaten at the table.
  23. The windows should not be covered while the master is home. Light must be allowed to pour in.
  24. I will laugh and entertain with a clean sense of humor.
  25. Monotone fails to inspire … l will use effective and sincere inflections to motivate, challenge, and uplift others.
  26. l am committed to sexual and otherwise moral purity and excellence.
  27.  l will seek revival and restoration daily through confession, repentance and recommitment.
  28.  l will surrender my anger, frustrations, anxieties, and struggles to God daily.
  29.  I am a living sacrifice, not conforming to the world, but being transformed by the renewing of my mind.
  30.  Not a cent should be spent without giving thought to paying off every debt and investing for the future; however, it is acceptable to feed the birds on occasion.
  31.  The house and grounds are to reflect excellence and beauty – the canvass for a creative mind.
  32.  I am not an abuser who robs others of joy, but a gift-giver who offers all of myself to feed the souls of others consistently and in such a way that grows far beyond myself to touch lives within a darkened world in a very special, illuminating way.
  33.  Early to bed and early to rise, as a flexible rule.
  34.  My heart will not be allowed to grow cold, nor my conscience to be hardened. But I will maintain a sensitivity to things of beauty and a love for the Divine.
  35.  l will maintain a strong defense and readiness for personal or civil action as needs demand.
  36.  ‘The former ways” — even if only idealistic — are still to be desired over all others.
  37.  I will speak up and take a stand, even when unpopular, for the right.
  38.  I love my God, my family, His church, and the United States of America, and will honor, respect, and remember those who are older and wiser – and those who have gone before us.
  39.  The Bible will be open and visible in my home.
  40.  All I have is the Lord’s.
  41.  Verbal prayers will proceed every meal and will be said at the beginning and end of every day.
  42.  I will share my faith and the Gospel message with someone every day.
  43.  I will offer tithes and offerings, as God provides, to His storehouse, the Church.
  44.  l will not limit God by my unbelief but will seek to discover and fulfill His will for my life and for the lives of those entrusted to my care.
  45.  I will remember that humility honors God and welcomes His blessing.
  46.  I will remember that God seeks a bold, not weak faith in His ability rather than my own.
  47.  I will remember that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, not just for those in my tiny little circle.
  48.  l will remember holy days – birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations.
  49.  I will maintain and build upon close and distant past and present friendships.
  50.  Only Jesus can erase sin and hold it no longer to my account: yet it is my responsibility to perform the ongoing ministry of reconciliation – that of healing and re-uniting broken relationships.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In light of innocent victims; numbers 15, 17, 23 and 32 are the most disturbing to me. Number 32 is off the charts unhealthy and twisted when considered in the context of predator and victim.

15.  ln every conflict and in every war — whether found from without or from within…is a Iust for what one hasn’t. May the passion of my heart, mind, soul, and strength be to love God completely; and my neighbor as myself.

17.   lf I bring anything of value, and pour it into the lives of others during my lifetime, may it all be of eternal value and for the good — not of taxing pain nor hurt by telling lies, victimizing others, nor of a pursuit for my own selfish gain and ambition.

23.  The windows should not be covered while the master is home. Light must be allowed to pour in.

32.   I am not an abuser who robs others of joy, but a gift-giver who offers all of myself to feed the souls of others consistently and in such a way that grows far beyond myself to touch lives within a darkened world in a very special, illuminating way.

 

I share this as a wake-up call to those in positions of leadership; especially within the church. If someone hands you a value statement similar to this; it may be time to pursue professional help for them.

The power of prayer and the courage of little ‘David’ voices against their Goliath put an end to this reign of ‘gift-giving’ and ‘illuminating’ abuse.