Happy Hour: 5/21/2015

Michelle Teague collage

Note: This may not be for you guys  A couple of days ago…I hit the wall of overwhelmedness! I just did not see it…I felt like it was close, but ignored all the signs! Finally, after hitting this wall…I was sitting there just staring at it, and I sensed The Lord say, “SOoooooo…?”

I said, stunned and semi-numbly, trying to hold back the tears, “SOooooo…what?”

He said, “So what’s going on?”

And I began to sob…the dam of emotion broke and I just poured out all this stuff. Stuff I did not even know was there…it just came out like a fire hose!

Then, He said, “Let’s make a list of all of that.”

I said, “Okay, sure…I don’t know how that will help, but okay.” I reached for my journal and made the longest list ever!

When I was done…I felt like He said, “Do you see anything on that list I did not know about?”

Me, “Nope.”

“Do you see anything on that list I cannot handle, or am surprised by?”

Me, “Nope.”

“Would you be willing to give Me ALL of that?”

Me, “Good grief! Yes! Here! Take it all!”

Him, Big smile.

Me…much better.  

#‎Jesuslovesme ‪#‎thisIknow #‎gotalist

Jer 6 16 stand at the crossroads wpcom

5 Indicators: A Jerk or a Wicked Heart? There is a Difference

5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart

by Leslie Vernick

As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.

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

The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14; Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21; James 1:4). We all miss God’ mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19–21). These things are not true of the evil heart.

Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart.  If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention.

They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13;16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8; Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11–13; 2 Peter 3:16)

2. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words.

But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4;59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

3. Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference.

They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They useScripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22; 54:5,6; 73:6–9;Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8–16).

4. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card.

They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

5. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.

They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15)

If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.

They want you to believe that:

1. Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences.

When they say “I’m sorry,” they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person he or she has harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.

The Bible warns us saying, “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 26:10).

The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people, but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin (see Zacchaeus’ response when he repented of his greed in Luke 19).

Tim Keller writes, “If you have been the victim of a heinous crime. If you have suffered violence, and the perpetrator (or even the judge) says, ‘Sorry, can’t we just let it go?’ You would say, ‘No, that would be an injustice.’ Your refusal would rightly have nothing to do with bitterness or vengeance. If you have been badly wronged, you know that saying sorry is never enough. Something else is required—some kind of costly payment must be made to put things right.”1

As Biblical counselors let’s not collude with the evil one by turning our attention to the victim, requiring her to forgive, to forget, to trust again when there has been no evidence of inner change. Proverbs says, “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips” (Proverbs. 25:19). It’s foolishness.

The evil person will also try to get you to believe

2. That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk.

Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.

The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18; Jeremiah 7:8,10; James 1:22, 26). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8).

If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to question someone’s relationship with God.

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).

When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.

Daniel says, “[T]he wicked will continue to be wicked” (Daniel 12:10), which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?

[1] Tim Keller, Jesus the King, page 172

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) exists to encourage, equip, and empower people everywhere to live and counsel the Word, applying the Gospel to the whole experience of life.

Encourage: ABC provides a fellowship of believers committed to life transformation through the Living Word.

Equip: ABC promotes training in biblical counseling and points to resources that deal biblically with all of the issues of life.

Empower: ABC provides excellent materials for growth in Christ and for use in effective biblical counseling.

To find out more, visit the Association of Biblical Counselors website.

Toxic Tuesday: Keys to Your Sanity

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

KEEP YOUR SANITY!

Never argue

Your opinion

Solve a problem quote

majority enabler

Codependency is

Jer 6 16 stand at the crossroads wpcom

A Grand Deception: The Successful Response of Sex Offenders

Liar liar pants on fire

Religion News Service

By Boz Tchividjian

“I’m ready to be put this all behind me and to continue reaching for my dreams of filmmaking and in music.”

Those were the recent words of Brandon Milburn, a former youth minister, as he pleaded with a judge for a lenient sentence after being convicted of seven counts of child sexual abuse involving two eleven year old boys.   His pleas were echoed by supporters who came to court to proclaim his innocence. One even remarked, “I do not believe he is a predator. I love Brandon; my children love Brandon. If Brandon was released today, he would be welcome to come and live in my home.”

Ultimately, the judge decided that Brandon Milburn should spend the next 25 years reaching for his dreams inside the walls of a prison.

Sexual offenders have perfected a grand deception that sadly seems to work all too well inside faith communities. This deception twists truth, minimizes abuse, and exploits guilt in order to create a fictional narrative that paints the offender as the victim and those who accuse and confront as perpetrators of injustice. Unfortunately, too many fail to realize that this deceptive narrative is fiction.

Finish reading 4 steps offenders use as narrative when caught: A Grand Deception: The Successful Response of Sex Offenders

Happy Hour: 5/14/2015

Michelle Teague collage

Every day is a NEW day! The good news is… no matter what you said yesterday, no matter what you did, or didn’t do yesterday…you get to start completely over today!! It’s a NEW day! Yay!!!  :-)

Jer 6 16 stand at the crossroads wpcom

We can start our day over anytime. The enemy of our hearts tells us otherwise. Some mornings we just get off on the wrong foot. BUT God says…just dust off, apologize if you need to…and move on! Don’t lose an entire day of living in My Peace, Love and Joy…hit the start over button…anytime!

5 Reasons I Judge and What I am Doing About it

Reasons I Judge

I’m so excited to refer you to Michelle Pohl’s blog where I was asked to contribute an original article relevant to the, Blooming With Joy, audience. It’s about a lesson I’m learning—often the hard way, but it’s starting to sink in—finally!

My hope is to cheer you on and encourage you to learn this lesson from the text-book and not from the school of hard knocks.

While at, Blooming With Joy; look around, be inspired, and learn how to find joy in your mess.

I’m a guest blogger; check it out!

Click here: Blooming With Joy guest post, 5 Reasons I Judge and What I am Doing About it

Blooming With Joy blog art

Feed your faith

Expect Trials to Multiply

Feed your faith

In my previous blog I shared about my late night of crying so hard that I broke a blood vessel in my eye while praying over a prolonged spiritual battle. A circumstance I was in out of obedience to God. I told God I was finished fighting and I meant it…unless He showed me otherwise. I remembered Hebrews 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” Jesus was intense with deep emotion. Jesus was not guarding his heart, soul, mind and strength from his heavenly Father. No! He was showing exceeding sorrow. God considered this passion reverent submission to His plan.

Reverent. Humble. Obedient.

Yes, there isn’t anyone else I would be comfortable showing this much emotional confusion, need and turmoil to. No one else could handle it on any level. It is only God’s opinion that matters and He is the one I want to obey…because I trust Him. God does not become frustrated with or tired of my raw emotions. He considers them reverent submission.

The next morning when I woke up I rolled over and picked up my devotional book turning to page two. I just began reading this devotional the day before. I like to keep devotional books around the house that I can read for a quick pick-me-up during the day when I need more of God and this particular morning I needed a stimulant just to muster up the strength to crawl out of bed.

I read:

___________________________________________________________________________

EXPECT TRIALS TO MULTIPLY

God does not put heavy burdens on weak shoulders. God educates and tests our faith by trials that increase in proportion to our faith. God expects us to do adult work and to endure adult afflictions only after we have reached a mature status in Christ Jesus. Therefore, beloved, expect your trials to multiply as you proceed toward heaven.

Do not think that as you grow in grace your path will become smoother and the sky calmer and clearer. Quite the contrary. As God gives you greater skill as a soldier of the cross, He will send you on more difficult missions. As He more fully equips your ship to sail in storms, He will send you on longer voyages to more boisterous seas, so that you may honor Him and increase in holy confidence.

You would think that in Abraham’s old age – after he had come to the land of Beulah, after the birth of Isaac, and especially after the expulsion of Ishmael – he would have had a time of rest. But “it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1). Let Abraham’s story warn us to never plan on a rest from trials this side of the grave.

The trumpet still plays the notes of war. You cannot sit down and put the victory wreath on your head. You do not have a crown. You still must wear the helmet and carry the sword. You must watch, pray, and fight. Expect your last battle to be most difficult, for the enemy’s fiercest charge is reserved for the end of the day.

*Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for the Soul. C.H. Spurgeon, Edited by Roy H. Clarke, p2

 ___________________________________________________________________________

Watch, pray and fight.” Fight was the very thing I made clear I no longer wanted to do unless God told me I must. When God answers my prayers specifically through scriptures, a Bible study, Christian book/author or a godly person, I know it is not a coincidence and I better take note of it. Rarely do I receive an answer this quickly but God knew my heart, my need and my state of mind. God was not removing or ending my suffering but I knew He would give me His grace for each new day.

Well, I cannot say my soul was comforted but it was resolved. I took note of expecting my last battle to be the most difficult because it meant the situation could intensify. I knew better than to ask, “What else can go wrong?” because there is always something else. I knew God would honor and bless my submission to keep fighting even though I was not complying with a smile on my face or a joyful song in my heart. I knew the transformation and blessings might not happen here on earth so I was not looking around every corner or new day for the answered prayer to be placed in my lap. Life is not about me and what I think I deserve or do not deserve. I deserve nothing. I deserve death but Christ took care of the justice I deserved, on the cross, and made me worthy. All my sins and failures are paid for and eternal life in heaven is my destiny. Life is about agape; loving God and loving others. I may have to wait until heaven to see the big picture and that’s all right…because I am pretty certain my obedience will be GREATLY rewarded and paid out in a jewel for my crown. I think part of the reason I was allowed this battle was from praying years ago to be allowed a crown of splendid jewels to toss at Jesus’ feet.

There have been a couple of battles where I had to bite my tongue when I found myself wanting to tell someone, with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye, “Thanks! I know you meant that for bad but you just earned me another jewel for my crown.” In this way I can keep some humor in my heart during the heat of the battle.

A few years earlier God had impressed upon my heart that this particular spiritual battle would grow worse before it became better. I have always held on to the ‘better’.

I knew I would need to collect my spiritual manna each morning. My, “What is it?” I have never known what it is and I often have no idea how I will endure another day of watching, praying and fighting. All I can say is that God’s manna is super natural and it is always enough. Occasionally I believe I didn’t collect enough morning manna to make it all the way through the day but God has a track record of seeing me through my tough hours one hundred percent (100%) of the time.

That day was no exception. I did crawl out of bed, care for and teach my children, prepare my home for facilitating a mother/daughter Bible study, prepare dinner and eat with my family plus found a few moments of time alone with my husband before guests began arriving for our next Beth Moore Bible study, Daniel: Lives of Integrity – Words of Prophecy.

Even as I type out that day’s schedule I realize only God could have given me the energy and clarity of mind to get through that day. He’s good like that. God delights in the invitation to be involved in our daily lives. I’ll gladly take more of Him!

“There is only one group of people who don’t have any problems…

Yep, and they are no longer breathing air either.”

– Michelle Teague

Part 1: Weebles Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down, previous blog

Lyrics:

So faithful
So constant
So loving and so true
So powerful in all You do

You fill me
You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

So patient
So gracious
So merciful and true
So wonderful in all You do

You fill me
You see me
You know my every move
And You love for me to sing to You

And Lord, I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

You remind me

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

Proof positive

Read the accounts of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44, Luke 22: 41-44). What is Jesus saying to you about being real and honest when you pray to God?

Tell God you want your relationship with Him to grow deeper.

Be real when you pray because God knows the real you anyway. He knows your strengths, weaknesses, failures and sins. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Don’t pretend and don’t try to hide how you feel or what you are thinking. God already knows who you are so just be yourself when you approach Him.

Jesus gave us examples for prayer. Don’t wear masks or withhold feelings – God can handle all of it. God heard the full range of emotions from Jesus, our example, so that we will know what is acceptable and pleasing to Him.

 

Please take some time to read this powerful and devastating account of abuse, allegations of cover-up, brave souls stepping forward, and a pastor suing a former member to keep quiet. These tragic dynamics are all too familiar in churches around the globe.

CLICK HERE: A Youth Minister’s Downfall Is Tearing First Christian Church of Florissant Apart

P R A Y E R acronym

Happy Hour: 05/7/2015

Michelle Teague collage

Thoughts to ponder on this National Day of Prayer:

 

It seems to me like…we may have overdone the “I”, “me”, “my” thing just a smidge-a-rooskie in this country…may need to get back to some selfless, humble, others first, love others more stuff…  ‪#‎lifeisnotallaboutme  ‪#‎blessandloveothers‪   #‎lastwillbefirst

The enemy of our country, our families, our marriages, and ourselves is not a person, or an organization…The enemy of all our destinies is the devil…let’s stop him…and love people.

Jer 6 16 stand at the crossroads wpcom

Read more about Michelle here…

Feed your faith

Weebles Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down

Saturday, as I prayed about what God wanted me to share in my next blog I realized I had not spent any time reading the Bible that day and had not given God an invitation to speak to me about it. I woke early and immediately began the task of purging our school room of games, puzzles, manipulatives and curriculum that my children had outgrown combined with thirteen years of Riley’s school work which I had kept on file. Okay, that was putting a spin on the situation. Thirteen years of papers were piled in the bottom of the closet. I did not mean to keep all her work, it was just that by the beginning of her second grade I was pregnant, sick from pregnancy, recovering from pregnancy and then began the entire pregnancy thing over again. Add in moving a couple of times plus extreme stress brought on by an unstable neighbor which lead to another move for our family… followed by my son A.J.’s severe traumatic brain injury and therapy… all while teaching Riley, A.J. and Colson at home and well, there you have it…a closet floor ‘file-pile’ of school work.

Before bed that night I sat down with a little bit of chocolate and worked through my Bible study allowing God to impress upon my heart scriptures and ideas to encourage women struggling through tough hard-hitting seasons.

My heart goes out to women feeling hopeless while living through difficult circumstances. Some sweet women may wonder if there is something painfully wrong with them. They may desire to figure out what so they can change it, seek healing for it, or attempt to make their circumstances better. The difficulty could include a spouse, loved one, neighbor, co-worker or boss. Do you feel hopeless?  This blog sight is really for you. There is always hope. No one can steal hope from you because your hope is in God and no one can take Him away from you. Likewise no one can take your soul from you for it belongs to God alone once you accept His Son as your Savior. So grab on to hope…it is yours! Take your difficult situations and shine God’s word on it knowing He will use it for purpose if you allow Him to do so.  Do you find yourself constantly thinking, “There is nothing normal or healthy about this circumstance or relationship. Is it me, is it them, or is it both of us?” God knows. Inquire.

God’s word, Bible study, and prayer always see me through. Make no mistake; Satan wants to steal my testimony, my marriage, my children, my sanity and my daily walk with the Lord. This means that I must invite God into all areas of my heart, soul, mind and strength and seek protection over those I love. I have never had a day in my existence when I spent time with the Lord that I thought, “That was time wasted.” Never! I love Him more every single time. More and more and more.

I prayed over scriptures I read Saturday night and asked God for confirmation that this was indeed His idea and not mine.

The next morning at church during praise and worship a member of the worship team read scripture from 1 Samuel 30 of the Amalekites taking captive women, sons and daughters, both young and old who were the family members of David and his men. David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” the LORD answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”

Confirmation. I knew the Lord wanted me to share about one of my battles during which I inquired of the Lord. A deeply personal battle which God has not given me liberty regarding details being revealed at this time. In my mind I was thinking, “No way. Really? Must I?” I can be such a whiner. I need to reframe it as, “May I?”

My testimony revolves around prayer. I cannot pray better than anyone else. I do not pray more than most and God does not listen to my prayers above anyone else’s prayers. I just simply pray and my favorite way to pray is recalling to God His own words. I have fun submitting to Him any and all precedence’s I can find that could be applied to my need, my thankful heart, or my victory. In this way the burden of effective prayer does not depend on my ability, or lack thereof, to communicate with God. It rests on His word and Him alone. The best part is that God loves to answer me, thrill me, grow me and pull me closer to His heart. He will do the same for you although not necessarily in the same way. Just as parents respond to their children who have different personalities, different love languages and different needs; God responds to us individually.

This particular ‘battle’ conversation with God was a few years ago, around the midnight hour after my children were fast asleep and my husband was working, covering for another manager, on the late shift at work. I had been fighting a deep spiritual battle for years which goes back to Satan trying to kill, steal and destroy everything dear to me. The fight that day had taken every ounce of my strength and I was humbly lying sprawled out on my floor face down in reverence, praying and crying so hard…so long. I could not stop thinking about this battle, praying over this situation, begging for God’s help because years of prayer were not helping the problem. Instead it kept growing worse. I told God I trusted Him and wanted to obey Him more than anything but for the second time in a couple of months I thought I would have to call an ambulance to come and get me because I just could not come out of this despair and stop my crying. I told God that I could not do this anymore. I was tired of being the only person fighting for this. I was the only one who cared about a victory; besides God himself. I told God that it was over. I was finished fighting for something I thought God had given me. I felt the need to remind Him that I was in this exact predicament out of obedience to Him. I told God that I knew He could see the entire plan and the outcome, but I could not and I was not taking another step in that direction unless He clearly showed me that I must. As in tomorrow…or I am finished. This praying, crying and wrestling with God lasted over an hour before I finally sang Him a song. I could barely get the words out but I had to refocus my problem through His viewpoint and not my own. I sobbed as I sang Him a love song, You Are My All in All, and allowed Him to calm my weary heart and tend to my raw nerves. He is so good at this. He always picks me up, puts me back together, dusts me off, and sends me on my way. God keeps me from staying down when I fall over…its like being a Weeble Wobble.

I went in the bathroom to wash my face and found that I had once again cried so hard that I broke a blood vessel in my eye. Half of my eye ball was shrouded in fresh blood.

The next morning I woke up mindful of my conversation with God hours earlier when I told Him I was finished fighting this battle unless He showed me otherwise. I rolled over, picked up and opened a devotional book I had just begun the day before.

Next week I will share the devotion I read that morning and you can decide if God answered me.

“Prayer is not preparation for the work; prayer is the work.”

-Oswald Chambers

Happy Hour: 4/30/2015

HAPPY HOUR, THURSDAYS, AT 5:00 P.M.—Kick back after a hard day’s work and enjoy the intoxicating goodness of true Love and Wisdom. The GiveMe Chocolate ‘Bar’ won’t put a dent in your wallet!

Michelle Teague collage

I had a good day today, but that is not how all of them turn out, or how all of them have ended ‪#‎fosho  ;-) So…here’s the truth God continues to show me and has “pounded” into my head and heart: God is right by you…He never left your side today. He wasn’t surprised or upset about our choices…He already knew all the stuff we’d deal with in our days, and how we would drag into our homes and/or beds at night, on occasion. Some days just did not, and will not, turn out exactly how we pictured. But God knew…He loves you right now, just the way you are…bad mood, melancholy minded, frustrated, tired, troubled, in pain, emotional for (or not for) a reason, etc … He’s not angry if you “messed up”, or even if your “vaccine” did not work, and you caught a serious case of Negative Nellie/Norm Disease (sorry if your name is Nellie or Norm.)  :-O   ;-)… He “gets” you…He understands…He NEVER said be perfect…He sees you and hears your sighs, cries, huffs and puffs…HOWEVER, He also gives you that next breath, that next heart beat, the ability to change your mind, to start over, to smile (oh, go ahead, you can do it.)  :-)   You can turn and look to Him…choose to set your mind on Him…on things around you that are beautiful, good, kind, and well…pretty much grace! So…here’s to being thankful and grateful… even in the midst and middle of the tough stuff, hard days, trials, and times we just don’t seem to get it right. He says…”Breath…once more…take in a deep breath. I am still right here. I never left you. I am not disappointed in you, or angry. I love you just the way you are…come to Me, just hand me all of that stuff, and I will refill those emptied places with My Peace…Look away from the things that concern and trouble you…come to Me all you who are heavy laden and I WILL give you rest!” ‪#‎sweetdreams ‪#‎snuggledinHisarms ‪#‎nomatterwhat  :-)    ;-)

MORE ABOUT MICHELLE: CLICK HERE

Jer 6 16 stand at the crossroads wpcom

Toxic Tuesday: Starve the Toxins

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

Is your problem looking larger than life today? Is your difficult relationship sucking all your energy out of you? Do you think facing your day looks like more than you can handle?

Instead of looking at the day from your point of view; pick up God’s spiritual eye glasses and see it from His point of view.

  1. God is who He says He is.

    (Isaiah 43:1-12) “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,“and my servant whom I have chosen,

    so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
    Before me no god was formed,
    nor will there be one after me.
    I, even I, am the Lord,
    and apart from me there is no savior.
     I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
    I, and not some foreign god among you.
    You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.

  2. Remember God is trustworthy.

    (2 Timothy 2:13) “…if we are faithless,
    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot disown himself.”

  3. Think about Bible verses related to your specific problem.

    (2 Timothy 3:16-17) “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

  4. Use the power of positive thinking.

    (Philippians 4:8,9) “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

  5. There is power and healing to be found in a grateful heart.

    (Psalm 103) Praise the Lord, my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

6.  Extinguish negative thoughts.

(2 Corinthians 10:5) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

7.  Remember the power in you.

(Philippians 4:13) “I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Take everything to God. Your job is to pray. His job is to work in your life through those prayers.

I hope your day looks a better now!

#powerup

Feed your faith

Happy Hour—4/23/2015

Michelle Teague collage

“By the way…I don’t need you to think, do, believe, or say things a certain way for me to love you.” – Unconditional LOVE. :-)#‎realLOVEfromarealGOD ‪#‎letsLOVElikeHIM

There is SO much more we can say from a place of love…however, remember also…there is SO much more we can hear from that very same spot.    :-)

If we cultivate our relationship with God…He does all the work…we love Him…He finishes the work He started in us…no struggling…just loving.  :-)

HAPPY HOUR THURSDAYS AT 5:00 P.M.—Kick back after a hard day of work and enjoy the intoxicating goodness of true Love and Wisdom. The GiveMe Chocolate ‘Bar’ won’t put a dent in your wallet!

More about Michelle: Click Here

Toxic Tuesday: Good Parents ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

Trust.

I don’t trust easily these days. Life has been blinding, littered with betrayal from the last place I would have ever suspected it, and life has been steeped in emotional trauma.

How does a parent trust this world where danger and sexual addictions abound? How do we safeguard our children?

Hindsight has been beneficial for planning how to protect but there is no full proof way to keep child predators at bay.

I’ve had a couple of occasions the last few years where my, ‘Abuser Radar Alert,’ made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

The first: When a man I met for the first time asked if he could sit in my house and watch my daughter, whom he had never met, play the piano since he, 1) Heard me say she plays the piano and 2) He enjoys listening to piano music. Seriously…NO! The man may have been innocent in his asking but for this momma it came across as CREEPY.

The second: When a man I had never met, but who had met my boys at an extra-curricular activity, invited my boys to his house. He was an older man with no children left at home. He told my boys that the next time their mom needed to go shopping or the next time their parents needed to go out, they could stay at his house with him to play and swim.

Since my history includes once upon a time being married to a pedophile pastor who used the ministry to gain employment granting him immediate leadership access to potential victims, my radar is at high alert over such propositions.

My boys thrilled at the prospect of swimming; what a fun invitation to receive!

It never happened.

I’m all about having fun, in fact; one of the questions I always have when my kids are through with an activity, or are finished visiting with a friend, is if they had fun. Fun is important to me; always has been.  But fun doesn’t necessarily equate with safe or beneficial.

Here are a few questions I have learned to ask over the years. I’ve been known to ask these questions after play dates, youth group, extracurricular outings and even after church on Sundays.  I don’t ask every question after each encounter and I don’t question each activity. I ask these questions so casually that I don’t know if my kids are aware of my motives. New people, places and activities are held to a higher level of interest while family, friends and regularly scheduled activities are randomly questioned. This is where the greatest vulnerability can lie; most molestation acts do not involve stranger danger, they are the result of a close family member or friend who gained trust and access to the child. Single moms’ children tend to be the biggest targets for such predators; but not the only targets.

I do not ask my children questions in the presence of other people. This ensures my children feel secure in speaking their heart and mind.

QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION:

What did you do at the event?

What was your favorite activity or part of your visit?

Was there anything you didn’t like or anything that made you feel uncomfortable? (This is a good time to reinforce that children do not have to obey everything an adult tells them to do.)

Did you feel safe? (I’ve been asking this questions since my boys were wee little things.)

Tell me something you liked about the adult/s in charge? Was there anything you disliked?

Is there anything interesting about a helper or kid that you can tell me?

Is there any reason you would not want to go back there again?

Did anyone ask you to keep a secret today?

Did anyone show you something on their iPhone or iTouch that was inappropriate?

Do you have questions about anything that happened?

Did you understand everything that was said or that was asked of you?

Is there anything you want to tell me about your visit today?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next 2 questions I reserve for stranger danger and body/health educational teaching at home:

Has anyone ever touched you in your private places or asked to touch you in your private places?

Has anyone ever shown you their private places or asked you to show them your private places?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When at a private residence or at public places with public restrooms my kids know the rule: 1 person per bathroom/stall, and to never hesitate screaming for help if someone makes them feel uncomfortable.

You never know who has an attraction to children or who has a sick abusive desire on which they plan to act. It could be a trusted adult or it could be a close friend. Sadly, we never know if a friend, cousin or relative has abused or taught a child something they should not know that could be passed on to your child.

If your child has an answer that concerns you or startles you; always believe the child! Children rarely lie about childhood victimization.

DO NOT approach or question the accused and keep your child out of the accused’s presence.  Call the child abuse hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD) or call your local authorities. Professionals will know how to legally investigate your child’s allegations. You would not want to jeopardize the case being thrown out of court due to leading the witness with wrong lines of questioning.

Seek medical attention from the child’s doctor or at the emergency room to find out if he or she was physically harmed. Creating a paper trail will be very important in seeking justice.

Find a licensed counselor to guide your child through the psychological trauma of abuse and victimization which will continue beyond the physical trauma. Ongoing therapy for coping and healing is a must.

There is wisdom in asking questions at the right time.

Listen and learn from your children.

Read: How Sexual Predators Choose Victims

Protecting Children from Predators

Pedophile or Molester: *Content Warning

Happy Hour: 4/16/2015

Michelle Teague collage

Years ago…I kept having this nagging feeling I was carrying things around that were so “heavy” and/or “yucky”, and I could not put my finger on what all it was. I prayed one morning asking God to help…to show me what “it” was…and to please, even, take it away. As soon as I asked Him, I saw a picture of Jesus coming toward me with a laundry basket and a BIG smile on His face. I was thinking, “That is JUST what I need, Lord, to do more laundry!” And as if He read my mind  ;-)… He quickly said, “No, I have come to do laundry.” At that point, I looked down at what I was wearing, and was horrified at the site! I was covered from head to toe in the filthiest rags I had ever seen. As I looked back at Him holding the basket, He said, “If you will give Me those…I have a gift for you.” What girl doesn’t want a gift!? I walked into a small “dressing room” and threw all the rags in the basket! He picked up the basket and said, “I will be right back!” As He returned shortly after…He said, “Look!” I looked down, and was now wearing what looked like a robe a Queen would wear! It was purplish blue, the threading was gold, and it glistened with diamonds and jewels! I “gave” Him garbage, and He gave Me a covering of Royalty!! #‎muchbetter ‪#‎ragstoriches  ;-)  #‎truestory  :-)

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