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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.




Saturday, August 20, 2016

Passing The Baton


Usain Bolt's final gold captivates the Twitter worldLike most people, I have been watching the 2016 Olympics every chance I get, and I'm blown away by the extraordinary performance of the athletes - even the losers. To me, they appear almost superhuman. And as I watched Usain Bolt, the athletic phenomenon, capture another gold medal in the men's 4 x 100 m relay, a thought ran through my mind. What if the person passing the baton was a second too late, or what if he stumbled and fell? The thought confirmed something I already knew. We all need someone to depend on. No one man - or woman - however great, achieves success on his/her own strength.


This is proven in the lives of many great men in the Bible. Moses had Joshua, Elijah had Elisha, the Apostle Paul had Barnabas and even Jesus depended on His disciples - especially Peter, James and John - to assist Him in His work. Just as these great men supported and received support from trusted individuals, so too we should train ourselves to be dependable. Those with whom we live and work should be able to count on us to do what we are supposed to do, when we are supposed to do it. And we in turn should not be selfish with our gifts, but should be willing to pass them on to others the way Elijah passed his mantle over to Elisha, and Jesus did with His disciples. He said to them, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14: 11).

 So, can you pass that baton, or grab it when it comes to you? Whatever your situation in life may be, you are needed. If you feel that you are lacking, ask the Holy Spirit to equip you to fulfill the role that is expected of you. You may never be a Usain Bolt, but you can be part of a formidable team that runs the race to victory.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

House Cleaning

When I was growing up, Saturday was always house -cleaning day at our house. We would pull the furniture away from the corners, sweep, dust, mop and polish until everything shone. The habit has stuck with me into adulthood, but as I grow older, I no longer have the interest -- nor the energy -- to do that much cleaning.

House cleaning takes a lot of time, if you are to do a good job. It also takes a lot of energy, the right products and the right tools. But the sad thing about house cleaning is that the house never stays clean. You keep repeating the same chores over and over again.

Would you be interested in a type of cleaning that is a "one-and-done" affair? It's one that is done by the Master Housekeeper Himself. His name is Jesus. He is so good that when you invite Him in to clean your house, He does it instantly and it's done for good.

He doesn't use an assortment of  products, neither does He bring the latest gadgets. All He uses is a time tested and proven cleaning agent. His precious blood which He shed on Calvary. The old hymn says,

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Emmanuel's vein,
And sinners plunge beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

One drop of His precious blood is all it takes to remove the deepest stain anyone can have. Lying, stealing, adultery, murder, all gone with one drop of His blood.

The other great thing about Jesus's cleansing is that it's FREE! You don't have to pay Him. If you hire a cleaner, it's going to cost you something. But Jesus knows we can never afford to pay Him, so He does it for free.

Isaiah 55: 1 says, "“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost."

If you are hiring someone to clean your house, you would try to make it look a little presentable before the person comes. But with Jesus, you don't have to do anything. Just acknowledge that you need to be cleansed and go to Him just  as you are.

There are others out there who promise cleaning, but their methods have a lot of conditions attached to them. Do this or that and you'll get to heaven. Cut your hair or don't cut your hair and you'll go to heaven. Eat this or don't eat that and a myriad of other things. All Jesus asks is that you believe that He is the Son of God and He is the only way to heaven.

So, here's what you need to remember about getting your house (yourself) cleaned.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3 : 23

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Acts 16: 31

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2 : 8 - 9

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.  Matthew 8: 3

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8: 1

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Want to read about someone who was in dire need of cleansing? My book Coming Out of Egypt, Book 1 of the Egypt trilogy, is a compelling story of two sisters who were sexually abused by their father. Marva, the older girl, accidentally kills him and she and her sister embark on a roller coaster journey trying to evade the law while trying to forge a new life for themselves. Through all of this, Marva's teacher introduces her to Jesus, and she accepts Him as her Lord and Savior. However, while she hopes for love and forgiveness, she expects only judgement. What will she get? Click below to read the exciting outcome.


 






Sunday, July 24, 2016

Racism And The Church

File:Protesters gather for Black Lives Matter march (20946900494).jpg
Fibonacci Blue Creative Commons Black Lives Matter

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I toyed for a while with the idea of writing on this subject, not sure how it would be received. You just have to turn on the news these days to realize this is a very hot topic. So hot, in fact, that the church doesn't seem to want to touch it. In recent times, the number of unarmed black men killed by white policemen has grown to alarming proportions, and the response from the pulpit and from Christian media has been a deafening silence.

 But this morning, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear a young, white, visiting preacher to my church speak on the subject. The young preacher spoke about the racism and injustice being played out on our streets gave rise to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. What he said was not anything we don't know already, but it was nice to hear a member of the clergy say it.

So my question is, what is the role of the church in society? Now, don't get me wrong. The church is very vocal about things that need to be spoken about - homosexuality, abortion and politics- to name a few. The church is always in the forefront when there is a natural disaster, distributing food, water and clothing to those in need, even providing shelter in some cases. This is why the church's silence on this national man-made disaster is so disturbing.

This article in the Florida Baptist Weekly not too long ago is encouraging. The opening sentence of the article, "Panel:Racism Cure Resides With Church" by Diana Chandler reads, "Racial reconciliation rests at the doorsteps of the church and can only be achieved through the Gospel in action." This was at the 2016 SBC annual meeting of Baptist pastors in St. Louis. The panelists touched on a lot of core issues, such as the link between racism and sin and the need for the church to "pass the Salt and turn on the "light." All good words, but they are preaching to the choir.

What we need is more visibility from our church leaders - black AND white - in dealing with this matter. Instead of meeting behind closed doors, how about using your vast platform to bring the matter out in the open? How about having dialogue with police and government officials?

Jesus did not shy away from tough issues. John 4: 4 says, "... He had to go through Samaria." Jesus could have gone anywhere else to get water, but He went there to bridge the racial divide that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, and to spread the Gospel. After Jesus had spoken to a Samaritan woman at the well, she went and told the people what He'd told her. Many of them came to see Him and believed on Him. (v 29; 39)

Jesus also told the story of a man who had been robbed, beaten and left for dead on the roadside. A priest and Levi - church leaders - passed him by. But a good Samaritan went out of his way to take the man to an inn and pay to have him looked after. Luke 10: 30 - 35

Can the church in today's society reach out across the racial divide and demonstrate that "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter?" We may have to watch and see.


If you enjoyed this blog post, please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. 

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This is a reminder about my novel Coming Out of Egypt, Book 1 of the Egypt trilogy now available on Amazon kindle. The book is a compelling story of two sisters who were sexually abused by their father. Marva, the older girl, accidentally kills him and she and her sister embark on a roller coaster journey trying to evade the law while trying to forge a new life for themselves. Through all of this Marva's teacher introduces her to Jesus and she accepts Him as her Lord and Savior. However, while she hopes for love and forgiveness, she expects only judgement. What will she get? Click below to read the exciting outcome.

Coming Out of Egypt