HEBREWS 10:23 ON 10/23

TL HEBREWS 10 23 ON 10 23

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.  – Hebrews 10:23

Shared with permission.

My parents and I were living in a refugee settlement in Vienna after we left the former Soviet Union.  Everything was uncertain, scary, and pretty terrible.  This didn’t stop my dad from announcing one day that we were going to visit the opera house in Vienna.  I thought playing tourists was ridiculous – we had no money, no citizenship, and no home.  “We don’t know if we’ll ever be back here again,” my dad said.  “Life is short.  It’s stupid to sit here and wallow in our troubles.”  Now I realize…  he’s right.  – Nataly Kogan

When our president said that he would fundamentally CHANGE the United States, a cold chill went up my back.  Part of me thought, “Well, maybe I’m just getting old and this is not as bad as I think it will be.”

This is not a political blog, but having lived under the leadership that promised HOPE AND CHANGE, I’m really just praying that in 2016 we get FAITH AND TRUST.  I want to be able to trust that those who lead my country are on my side.  It’s time for a change from hope and change.

Faith is not about finding meaning in the world:  there may be no such thing.  Faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.  – Terry Tempest Williams

How many people can you really trust?  Do you have to use both hands to tally it up, or will one hand suffice?  If you are having to take your shoes and socks off to count up your trustworthy peeps, you are blessed indeed!

In this verse, we are told to HOLD TIGHTLY WITHOUT WAVERING TO THE HOPE WE AFFIRM.  Does that mean the hope and change in America?  I really don’t think so.  It’s referring to the eternal hope we have found in our LORD, Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  It is a comfort to know that He has everything under control.

But this verse goes on to remind us that GOD CAN BE TRUSTED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.  It is important to remember that even when we can’t trust our government or some people in our life – God can be trusted to keep HIS promise.  Every single promise He makes He will keep!  This includes His promise of eternal salvation for anyone who comes to Him and confesses Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, accepting Him into their hearts and lives.

At salvation, we become children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This means everything the Father bestows upon the Son, we will receive with Him. The Lord has sealed these gifts for us by the Holy Spirit and reserves our treasures in heaven.  – Charles Stanley

The times we live in are frightening, but we do not have to be polarized by our circumstances.  We cannot afford to stop dreaming, stop living and stop loving because the world around us is a scary place.  Find a way to hang on to God and trust Him to keep His promise.  In the meantime, live your life to the fullest because your life is in God’s hands and in His keeping.

We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.  – Gretchen Rubin

I think in this day of uncertainty we need to know there is a God who understands our fears and sees every tear we shed in the privacy of our room.  Lean on Him because He can be trusted.  🙂

MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION DAY

TL 1-2 MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION DAY

 

1-2 WHAT MAKES YOU

What we do online, and who we follow…  will say more about us than we could ever think to tell our shrinks.  Today, Freud would be a big data analyst, consuming all we post online as a proxy for our dreams.  – Mark Cuban

Today is MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION DAY!!!  So let’s get busy making plans and setting goals to improve our lives.  What do you want to accomplish this year?  What changes would you like to make?  The only thing holding you back is the thought that you can not succeed.  It’s only a thought – a negative voice inside your head.  The first thing we need to do is ask God to diminish that voice and replace it with His comforting, encouraging voice!  God loves you and wants nothing but good things for you!  He wants you to succeed and will help every step of the way!

Much like setting a GPS before a road trip, we carefully, prayerfully and humbly map out a route for success.  If you already write in a journal, you will be familiar with this process.  If you don’t keep a journal, you might want to consider making it part of the planning process.  There is a sort of honesty in personal writing that comes to the surface.  It’s not for publication – but daily notes for your eyes only – and God’s eyes too, of course.

I find myself listing goals in my journal – but they are not general statements.  I’m specific about everything in my journal because I know I’m the only one who will see what I’ve written.  These resolutions, once written, remind me of the true desires of my heart – the deep conversations I’ve had with God.  Instead of writing “I want to lose weight”, I say “I will ride my recumbent bike for 30 minutes and walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes, 5 days a week”.  By being specific, and asking God to help me keep those goals before me, I’m much more likely to stick with it – and see results!

Some may disagree with this statement (and that’s okay), but I can’t look too far into the future.  I have so much weight to lose, I can’t even imagine myself with it all gone.  I’ve been obese since the early 1980’s, so this weight has been on me for a good long while.  It seems to like me very much.  I have to pick one small, short-term goal for NOW.  Once that goal is met, I reward myself (a non-food reward, such as a chair massage or facial or something).  I have to take baby steps.  In the past I’ve tried to knock myself out – and end up injuring myself in the long run – unable to do any physical activity.  This time it will be different.

Goals are dreams with deadlines.  – Diana Scharf Hunt

When you plan a journey, there are often strict timelines such as flight times, show times and check-in times at hotels.  The same is true on this trip.  Deadlines are motivating, and setting a strict timeline fights procrastination.  In the past, I’ve been the queen of procrastination.  I can sit and think about exercising – and by the time I get done with my writing and posting and socializing via the internet, it’s too late to exercise.  I’ve written in my journal for 2015, and I declare to you this day, I will take better care of myself than I have in the past.  I will relax and drink my coffee in the morning, but then I will exercise because in order to be healthy, this weight has to go!  I know you all support my decision because you care about me.  Thank you for backing me up.

My mother and I were riding a trolley on a Saturday morning in West Philadelphia.  I told her how much my first-grade teacher Miss Invernessy loved me, boasting that I was the teacher’s pet.  I didn’t know that Miss Invernessy’s own mother was riding behind us.  She heard everything.  On Monday, Miss Invernessy kept me after class.  After she told me, to my total humiliation, what her mother had overheard, I expected her to scold me for my hubris.  She said, “The important thing is that you work for yourself, not for my approval.  If you feel that doing well matters to you, you become your most loyal fan as well as your most severe critic.”  – Judith Rodin, PhD

You wouldn’t take an extended trip without first carefully packing a suitcase.  So what will you pack in your suitcase for this trip through 2015?  I plan to pack some healthy recipes and discard the less healthy ones.  I plan to surround myself with more encouraging people through online resources such as Fit 2 me, positive facebook groups and Christian resources.  I plan to respect my body more than ever and nourish it instead of punishing it.  I plan to carry optimism and laughter and toss aside depression and tears, in Jesus’ Name!

Write every day – about what?  Write a prayer to God and pour out your heart to Him.  Tell Him how you feel and what you believe needs to change in your life.  Trust that He hears and will answer your plea.  Remember that He has a marvelous plan for your life and wants only good things for you.  He wants to walk through this year with you!

Here’s some motivation, inspiration and real beauty for the New Year!  The Grand Canyon is covered in snow!

Some days may not seem good, but we can’t get stronger without those not so good days.  We grow and build character through them and become better prepared for the future.  Some people say I am a character…  hmm…  is that the same thing???  😉

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Lucinda’s second book in the “Coffee with Jesus” series is out!   To get your copy, click on the link below:

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx

 

 

THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

TL 11-25 INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

THE WINDOWS OF THE SOUL

Violence is such a buzz word in our society.  There is violence all around us.  Times are tough right now.  People don’t have jobs (or more than likely they have a couple of part-time jobs and still can’t skate by).  The stresses of life can build up and if you don’t have an outlet (the gym or some other release), you might strike out at the ones you supposedly love the most.  But abuse is NEVER right – NEVER. 

Let me tell you about a woman who experiences violence behind closed doors.  Behind lead-glass French doors, I might add.

It’s the heaviest burden she will ever bear.  It’s the darkest secret she will ever hide.  She will go to great lengths to make it look as though everything is perfect to outsiders – neighbors and friends.  She will make every excuse in the book to “cover” for her abuser, saying, “He just had a bad day” – or “Wow am I stupid, why did I make him angry like that?”   She turns the fault on herself – every single time.

After a while, she begins to believe that lie.  She has internalized the blame for so long that eventually – everything that goes wrong is somehow her fault.  It doesn’t matter if it does not make logical sense – it is still her fault.  Her abuser has her right where he wants her…  frightened and vulnerable.  She’s afraid of her own shadow and unable to make simple decisions anymore.  She is completely paralyzed and spends time over thinking things that the rest of us don’t think twice about.  She questions her own sanity at times.

She’s lost every ounce of self-esteem and beats herself up and may even cut herself because she “deserves” nothing less in her mind.  Her abuser has convinced her that she is less than in every respect.  She is not as pretty, as smart, as skinny, as understanding, as – anything.  She thinks if only she was all those things, then finally she would be good enough and her abuser would stop verbally  and/or physically abusing her.

If she has children she feels especially trapped.  If she does not have children there is a chance she can get away, but she knows she needs a plan.  It’s frightening to plan her escape because up to this point she does not believe she has done one single thing right.  She asks herself why this plan would be any better than anything else she’s done.

She keeps replaying the conversation she had with her sister before the wedding.  Her sister expressed concern about specific times when his temper flared or he seemed too controlling.    The blushing bride patted her sister’s hand and assured her that it was nothing, but thanked her for being concerned.  She recalls quickly changing the subject at that point.

But now she knows her sister was right about him.  Those moments were red flags – signs.  She ignored them.  Why did she choose to ignore them?  She thought she loved him.  A nervous  laugh becomes audible as that thought passes through her mind.  She quietly said under her breath, ” What a cliche’!”  Now she knows that the only One who ever loved her gave His life for her.  Love was never a part of her marriage.  It’s always been about survival.

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She has a best friend who stays closer than a brother – His name is Jesus.  He knows her name – he knows what she is thinking and how she is feeling about herself.  He will help her through this.  She prays for her abuser as she scratches and claws her way out of this pit.  She listens to teaching that helps her hold on to threads of self-esteem.  She spends time alone with God to gain strength.  She found a loving circle of support from good Christian folks who  encourage her to take another step.  She just needs the courage to leave.  She needs a plan.  She prays that one in her circle can be trusted to help her.  She asks God who she should confide in and ask for help.

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If you are a man who abuses a woman – know this…  God is watching.  You may control your woman through violent behavior or verbal vomit, but when you have to stand before God one day (and oh yeah – you will) – you won’t have enough honey-covered words to get you out of that situation.  GET HELP – get it now.  Stopping is a process but it has to begin TODAY.  Find a good reputable Christian counselor and begin sessions.  Abusing a woman (or anyone else) does not make you more of a man.  If you have anger management issues – it is YOUR problem – don’t make it hers too. 

That woman you have – she is a bright, brilliant, fragile and loving soul that God entrusted you with!  Treat her with all the tenderness you possibly can.  If you will do that, you will be AMAZED at the love you receive in return!  Get on your knees and thank God for her every day.  Instead of belittling her, lift her up – it really does not take much to make a woman smile.  You know what, Mr. abuser?  God counts that woman’s tears – every one of them.  On judgment day He will show you that bottle of tears and ask for an explanation.  But the smiles you put on her face – now wouldn’t you rather see images of the smiles from God and hear the words WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT…  ???  😀

 

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NON-VIOLENCE

TL 10-2 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NON-VIOLENCE

Nobody writes poetry from the heart like Lucinda Berry Hill. I’m blessed to call her my friend. God brought us together as writers and sisters in Christ. It was not until later in our friendship we discovered we have more in common. We both experienced abuse in past relationships. We want to come together today and not only tell our stories, but encourage those who are in an abusive relationship to get out of it. God loves you so much. You are important to Him. You are His precious child.

Lucinda is speaking out. She begins by saying, “Lately there’s a lot of talk about domestic violence. Football players are being found out and female celebrities are sharing their stories.” She continues on a more personal note. “So let me say, I too have been subjected to domestic violence for 8 long years. I used to say I could write a Stephan King novel with all that has happened to me. But now I write about God’s mercy, power, and His love.”

HE CRIED WITH ME
HE MADE ME TOUGHER
I'M GOD'S SOMEBODY

Shine in the midst of your troubles, proclaiming that God is able. – Judy Janowski

Hey, it’s me – Linda. My questions are simple: Why do abusers feel no shame? Why does society not hold them accountable for what they’ve done? Where is the outrage? Did it take a video in an elevator to make everyone speak up?

You know, abuse comes in a lot of forms. We think of domestic violence right away, with scars on the outside, but there’s an abuse called mental cruelty. It made me afraid to speak because I knew I would be shot down. It gave me a knot so big and tight in the pit of my stomach, I thought I might die from it. I second-guessed every little thing I did because he will surely find fault with it if I didn’t. Even if I did double-check what I did, it would still be wrong. Then I decided to do nothing and be quiet. It made me feel lonely and hurt – and I cried – a lot. I continued to do nothing because it’s never good enough. I felt paralyzed and stayed hunkered down and quiet because I never said the right thing. Pretty soon you developed an attitude that said, “I don’t care anymore – he’s going to shoot down whatever I do or say anyway, so who cares?”

Deep down I did care – and I knew I did. I just didn’t know what to do about it. I just craved – and I do mean CRAVED (there’s just no other word for it) a compliment, a smile, a hug, some positive affirmation from him. It never happened, but I kept hoping it would. I told myself, “That’s just not the way he shows his love for me. He shows love in different ways.” That’s the lie that got me through the days, weeks, months, years. Some days it worked. Some days it didn’t work. Some days I played Bejeweled 2 just so I could hear the words GOOD and EXCELLENT – the strong, booming voice on the game told me I was doing well. At least I knew I was good at something. Sometimes that was the closest thing to a compliment I got all day.

If you are a man and you abuse a woman, know this: God sees what you do whether other people see it or not. He counts that woman’s tears and keeps them in a bottle. He cries with her and holds her in the palm of His mighty hand. He will always protect her and you, my friend, are in big trouble. Think before you tear a woman down mentally or abuse her physically. You will have God to reckon with! You’d better think about how you will justify that behavior with Him. He won’t believe just any excuse you come up with. :-/

MENTAL CRUELTY

Today is INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NON-VIOLENCE. It must stop. It needs to stop – now. ❤  If you abuse your significant other, be prepared to walk away, learn from your mistakes, get help, change your ways and start over.  No one will take you back having been abused by you.  If you get an opportunity to love again, make sure it is love.  Don’t mess it up.  A relationship is a precious gift from God.

If you are the victim of abuse, read this:

Become a Lake

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.
“How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter,” said the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”
“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.
“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.
“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,
“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (28)

WELL MASKED
The words of the heart surgeon still ring in my mind as though she spoke them yesterday.  She said:

DON’T YOU EVER CRY IN FRONT OF HIM AGAIN! I DON’T WANT YOU TO SPEAK NEGATIVELY AROUND HIM. DO NOT UPSET HIM OR RAISE YOUR VOICE TO HIM. WE CAN GET HIM THROUGH THIS, BUT IT’S UP TO YOU TO KEEP HIS SPIRITS UP FROM NOW ON. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Not one soul on this planet understands the pressure I have felt from that moment forward – not one. Yes, I know God gets it – we’ve talked a few million times.  If I don’t feel particularly positive, it makes me feel extremely guilty and I feel as though I have to put on this fake mask and just force myself to BE positive.  I can be positive or be quiet.

It’s not that I’m a negative person – but I’m not just all smiles and rainbows every day. I’ve just become this sort of nothing in particular – no real emotions shine through at all. I’m guarded and careful – and numb. Yes, madam surgeon – I understand. I can’t get angry or show any excitement of any kind. Yep – I get it.

So this is me. My emotions are in check and I’ve become calculated. I’m no longer the spontaneous person I used to be. I miss that person, but it’s okay.  Last week we went to a convention. I socialize in a sort of moderate way with people. I don’t talk too much and I listen when I’m spoken to. I don’t over-react to anything and I’ve been almost editing every syllable since my husband’s heart surgery.

We were sitting with friends at the hotel’s restaurant. I ordered a spinach salad and a glass of water. The salad was wonderful and quite large. I ate half and took half back to the room. The waitress came to our table with the box in one hand and the water pitcher in the other. She was trying to hand me the box and fill my water-glass at the same time – the glass spilled and the water (and ice) went right in my lap.

I just sat there. I really honestly showed no emotion. My friends were doing plenty of reacting on my behalf. I’m still walking through life with this emotionless mask on my face.  I do remember thinking, “Hey, I think I have the hang of this now.”  I mean everyone was commenting about how non-reactive I was.  Is it a good thing?  Well, good or bad – it is what it is.

The surgeon has spoken – and I must obey!

THANKS LIVING DAY 34

TL THANKSGIVING

PRAYER ABOUT ANIMALS

If you have 5 good friends in the course of your life, that’s a good thing! People will come and go and not all of them will stay – and not all of them are keepers. When I am a friend, I try to be a good one. I pray for my friends and help as much as I can. I take friendship very seriously and expect nothing less from my friend.

Friends are the family we would choose for ourselves if we could. They are the people who are honest with us when no one else is. They are the ones who tell us when we have a price tag hanging from that new Christmas sweater at church (yes, that really happened – sigh).

I feel free to share nearly anything with my best friends. I ask questions of them that I would not ask anyone else. When I’m crying, they cry with me. When I’m laughing, they laugh too! We don’t hide emotions. There are no masks between me and my best friends. If I hurt them – they forgive quickly. If they hurt me, I forgive quickly. We work it out; then we move on.

Sometimes friends get called away for mission service or God has another place for them to serve. It’s painful to lose friends but with Skype and other technology, it’s easier to let them go, and of course we know that God has a great work for them to do.

The reality check I need comes from my best friends. They keep me grounded when I think too much of myself or my abilities. They encourage my spirit when I feel lower than a snake’s belly. Sometimes it cuts like a knife to hear the truth from them, but I know they tell the truth and I love them for it.

Iron sharpens iron… I believe in my friends and they believe in me. We all believe in GOD and that makes all the difference! ❤