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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Women And The Presidential Elections

Politics has always been called a nasty game, but this presidential election campaign will go down in history as one like no other. The mudslinging has reached an all-time low, and it does no one, not even those slinging the mud, any good. One notable feature of the campaign is its focus on women. And that should be a good thing because, for the first in US history, we have a female presidential nominee. But instead, the female gender is being maligned and ridiculed in a way that takes us back to the dark ages.

When Jesus walked this earth, He treated women with respect, and they followed Him wherever He went. So much so that Mary Magdalene, who had been demon-possessed and believed to be a woman of ill-repute, received the honor of being the first to see the risen Lord and proclaim the good news that He was alive (John 20: 1 - 18).

Sexual abuse, sexual assault, whatever label you put on it, is never right. It strips a woman of her dignity, her self-worth and her sense of purpose. This is why I wrote the book Coming Out of Egypt. A compelling story of characters who were sexually abused and whose roller-coaster journey out of that horrible experience is well worth reading.

The book does not deal with the abuse itself, but the deleterious effects the abuse had on the life of the main character. You will see her anger, fear and mistrust transformed into love, faith, and hope with the help of a teacher and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is not a true story, but it is based on what I saw as a teacher many years ago, and what I still see as a therapist in behavioral health. I encourage you to get this book. The content will tug at your heartstrings, but it will also entertain you and reinforce your faith in a God who delivers. If you know someone who likes to read, this book will make a great Christmas gift.

I am posting this blog today because right now you can pick up  Coming Out of Egypt  for just .99c. Or you can read it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What To Do When You Can't Sleep - II

I'm finally able to get back to this post I promised you on what you can do to improve your sleep. If you are one of those people who sometimes have to take a sleep aid to fall asleep - and I think we all do occasionally - I hope you will try my remedy. It costs you nothing, it works and benefits you in more ways than one. Prayer is one of the best things you can do for yourself physically as well as spiritually.

Okay, so what's the other thing? It is meditation. Now when I speak of meditation I'm not referring to the Eastern practice where you sit cross-legged and chant. The meditation I'm referring to is the type spoken of in the Bible.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1: 8

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.  Psalm 119: 97

 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. v 148

God's word instructs us to meditate on it "day and night." With our busy lifestyle, we may not be able to  meditate during the day, but what's to stop us from meditating on God's word during a few sleepless hours? Just reflecting on God's love and greatness is enough to erase our worrying thoughts and help us get back to sleep.

I have taken meditation to a different level. I have learned to say my ABC. Not the kind your child learns in pre-K, but the kind that focuses on the attributes of God. So A is for amazing, B is for bountiful, C is for compassionate and so on. I usually fall asleep before I've got half-way through. This works for me. You may come up with your own form of meditation that you will find effective.

Unless you have a medical condition that is robbing you of sleep, I  think you would find these suggestions helpful. Sleep deprivation is not something God wants us to struggle with. He wants us to be well rested so we can impact the world for Him. But in addition to getting a good night's sleep, your spiritual life will improve and you will find yourself having a deeper and more satisfying relationship with God.

This is by no means to be taken as medical advice. Please follow your  physician's advice in addition to consulting the Great Physician.
See my other post on this topic here

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Unity In Disaster

Courtesy morgue file
At the time of this writing, hurricane Matthew is making his presence felt on the North Carolina coast. The last time I checked, he was responsible for nine deaths along the eastern United States and the number in Haiti has been astronomical. I pray that there will be no more loss of lives and that any future damage from this storm will not be severe.

Here in South Florida we have been truly blessed. The rain and wind that we got were milder than the downpours we are accustomed to in this part of the world. We had no flooding, and didn't lose power. So we are praising God while praying for those less fortunate.

One of the things that stood out for me during the lead-up to the hurricane was the unity and caring that was evident as we made frantic preparations to secure our homes and stock up on food. As I entered the supermarket, one lady told me of a nearby store that still had bottled water. One of my neighbors cheerfully assured me that he'd survived other hurricanes in the area and there was nothing to be afraid of. In the stores, people smiled and helped each other.

This reminded me of hurricane Andrew which devastated parts of Florida many years ago. People were eager to help each other, sharing their goods, equipment and even their homes to ensure the safety of people they didn't even know.

Why can't we be like this all the time? Why should it take a disaster to bring out the best in us? On the other hand, there are those who use disaster to take advantage of others, but they are usually in the minority.

Maybe God causes disaster to teach us something. To teach us how much we value ourselves, our fellow human beings and what they really mean to us. But let us not wait until something bad happens or is about to happen. Let us show kindness to others every chance we get.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.Psalm 133: 1 - 3

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti that they will get the assistance they need to rebuild their lives and that that nation will turn to God as a result of this tragedy. Please pray for those in the US still in the path of the storm.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What To Do When You Can't Fall Asleep

Browse through any magazine, newspaper, or the internet and you are bound to come across articles about sleep and/or advertisements for sleep aids. With our busy lifestyle, people are forcing themselves to get by on less and less sleep. Could that be one reason we are so irritable and angry?

Age-related hormonal changes can also contribute to sleep deprivation, and this is why I have found that as I grow older, I have to make a conscious effort to get enough sleep. Since I hate swallowing pills, I searched for and found the perfect solutions.

The first one is PRAYER. Yes, prayer.

When you have difficulty falling asleep and the ticking of the clock seems to reverberate in your ears, PRAY.

When your mind regurgitates all the stressful incidents of the day, PRAY.

Instead of counting sheep, PRAY.

Instead of heading to the refrigerator for a glass of milk - you might end up grabbing a few cookies as well and then wonder why you are putting on weight - PRAY.

Instead of waking up your husband, who is snoring peacefully, so he could share in your misery, PRAY.

I mean seriously, PRAY! Don't lie there and think some prayers in your mind. Get up in the quiet of the night or early morning, kneel, sit up in bed or go into the living-room so as not to wake your husband and PRAY. Talk to God. Ask Him if there's anything He wants you to learn or do. Bring that nagging work, family, health problem or whatever and lay it at His feet. Maybe He needs you to pray for a loved one, or about a situation you never thought about before. Or maybe you need to forgive someone. Maybe there's something taking place in the heavenly realm, and God wants to reveal it to you. Prayer is a two-way street. It's not just you talking to God. You need to be still and have Him talk to you as well.

I have found that when I have trouble falling asleep and I pray out loud, not silently, I go back to sleep almost immediately and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed. Try it!

In my next post I will tell you what the other solution is. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and on social media and leave a comment. God bless you.

I invite you to check out my books on this page.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pray For Your Enemies

Courtesy Morguefile
Like most churches throughout the US, my church Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church in Miami said special prayers in observance of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. In calling on the congregation to pray, our pastor said that we should also pray for our enemies that God may turn their hearts to Him. Little did I know that before the week was out, I would have cause to pray for my enemies in a way I never expected.

Like the attack on the WTC, the attack on me was well planned and executed, and I never saw it coming. Most attacks of the enemy are like that - sneaky and underhanded. However, unlike the WTC, I was not completely destroyed. Devastated, yes, but still hopeful, "hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair" (2 Corinthians 4 : 8).  At ground zero, but still functioning and, like Ground Zero, less vulnerable to attack.

Why did Jesus say " love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5: 44) ? 

It's because 1) when others try to destroy us, they only end up destroying themselves. 

Psalm 9: 6 says, "Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished."

2) God rewards you when you bless your enemies. 

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6: 35).

King David was a great king, but he was besieged by enemies. How did he react? He wrote psalms and set them to music to praise his God. 

In Psalm 56 he writes, "In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,
in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me" (v 10 - 11)?
Are you under attack? Cry out to God, sing praises to Him, and pray for your enemies. 
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site you belong to. And a comment is always appreciated. God bless you 


Friday, September 09, 2016

Pray For Teachers

With the school year now underway, you have no doubt established a routine of getting your kids up in the morning, dropping them off to school and picking them up in the afternoon. Some of you may even include a time of prayer, either before or after school, for your children's safety and success in their studies. But have you ever prayed for those men and women who are responsible for your children's welfare during the day?

Children spend more of their waking moments with their teachers than they do with their parents. Teachers can and do exert a considerable amount of influence over your children.  I am sure you can recall some favorite teacher who inspired you and helped to make you the man or woman you are today. For some children, the only guidance or show of love they will ever receive is from a teacher. And this is why we need to pray for them.

As someone whose first career was teaching, I know how challenging this job can be. It's not easy to try to mold the lives of thirty-odd children with varying needs, abilities and backgrounds. Yet, this is what teachers do everyday. In recent times, teaching has become more demanding. Teachers' skills, patience and even their safety are being tested all the time. We need to pray that God will give our teachers the grace, wisdom and strength necessary to keep on giving their best even when things get tough.

Let us pray that teachers will not become "weary in well doing" (Galatians 6: 9) but will work "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6: 6) and that God will "Make them perfect in every good work to do his will, working in them that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever" (Hebrews 13: 21). 

If you wish to encourage a special teacher in a tangible way, here are some ways you can do it:

a. Write a note to the teacher(s) letting them know you appreciate their hard work and that you are praying for them. 

b. Give a gift - a mug filled with chocolate, a small basket of apples, nicely wrapped, or a daily planner decorated and signed by you and your child. 

For more ideas, see the link below.  

If you enjoyed this blog post, why not share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest by clicking the relevant button below? Until next time, may God keep on holding you in the palm of His hands.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Write It Down

If you are like most Christians, you no doubt enjoy reading the Psalms. These verses, most of which were put to music, were used as expressions of praise to God for His love, His goodness and His mercy.

 I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13: 6

The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!  Psalm 18: 46

 Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.Psalm 28: 6

But many of them, written by David when he was experiencing persecution from his enemies, were songs of lament, hardship and the wrath of God.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42: 5

Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Psalm 7: 6

You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Psalm 18: 48

The prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah and others also wrote about God's faithfulness, wisdom and His willingness to forgive.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41: 13

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Hosea 13: 11

Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Hosea 14: 2

What about you? What has God done for you? What do you have to be thankful for? Has God forgiven you, blessed you, comforted you in times of distress?  Why don't you do what the Bible writers did? Why not write it down? This will help you in a number of ways:

It will help you recognize what you have to be thankful for.
It's something you can refer back to when things might be rough and you tend to forget what God has done for you.
You can write some verses of praise and memorize them. Use them to comfort you when you are feeling down.
It will help you identify those areas of your life that you need to pray to God about, either because you are weak in those areas, or you simply don't know what to do.

By now I think you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about journaling. You can use a simple spiral notebook, or if you prefer something fancy you can click on the link below. If you do, I will receive a small commission.