All posts filed under: Women

Trees spring to life. Credit: hoho_simon/Flickr/Creative Commons

Unwrapping guilt and shame

I remember feeling numb and barely able to move at times as I began to take responsibility for some of my harsh experiences in past years. Whoever else I had been blaming for my problems was no longer the issue. I had to be real and heal. Denial that I could have possibly played a part or even been responsible for some of my  experiences kept me in the dark. Denial does that. It could include denial about our part in a relationship gone wrong, a breakdown in family relationships or a situation turned bad at work. Facing the facts and focusing on the role we may have played is the first step to turning things around in our lives. When we remove denial and start owning up (being real, and honest) about some things that have not gone particularly well, we begin to move from death to life. The scales  fall from our eyes as we take responsibility (even if it was just a small part). But once we have accepted our role, we …

Southwest Airline jet Credit: David デビッド Deitering/Flickr/Creative Commons

Born again with ‘Nerves of steel’, ‘hero’ pilot Tammie Jo Shults successfully landed stricken Southwest jet

Commercial pilot Tammie Jo Shults, 56, is credited with safely landing a Boeing 737 on Tuesday, April 17, after its engine exploded resulting in shrapnel shattering a window, de-pressurizing the cabin and damaging the jet’s wing and fuselage. It resulted in one death and another seven injured. The woman who died was being sucked out of the plane, but several passengers bravely fought to keep her inside. She died later in hospital. UPDATE: USA Today wrote a story on the stetson-wearing cowboy, Tim McGinty, who along with firefighter Andrew Needum risked their lives to pull the woman back into the plane. In the interview, Tim’s wife Kristin said, “My husband loves God and believes our purpose here is to love fiercely and to serve others. Some heroes wear capes, but mine wears a cowboy hat.” Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was on a regularly scheduled trip from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Dallas Texas, when Shults was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Shults’s journey to the pilot chair with Southwest Airlines was not an …

Humbolt's main street Credit: Monique Vezina/Wikipedia

Where was God? The Humboldt Bronco tragedy

They did not know they were going to be the latest news and that it would send waves of shock and sorrow across the nation. The Humboldt Broncos, a hockey team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League consisting of 16 to 20-year-old players, were headed to a play off game in the northern town of  Nipawin, in Saskatchewan, Canada. Their team bus t-boned a semi-trailer crossing highway 35 killing 16 of the 29 people on board — 10 players and 5 team personnel including the head coach and the bus driver. The Humboldt players had all dyed their hair blonde which made it difficult to identify them. Tragically because the players were so badly hurt, two were misidentified. It would take a couple of days for one family to find out that a son they had thought died was actually alive, and for another family to sadly learn their son was dead. How heart breaking this must have been. What were the players thinking as they traveled on the bus?  The bus was quiet recalls …

Katy Perry Credit: ONU Brazil/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Katy Perry’s heart softening towards God?

American pop star Katy Perry posted an interesting Christian message to her 69 million Instagram followers on Easter Sunday. She also works as a judge on the new American Idol show. She not only highlighted her Jesus tattoo, that she has had for years, with special lighting, Katy also added the words: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” As some may know, Katy has a Christian background. Her parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. Katy’s birth name was Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. As a girl, she even spoke in tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit and with her natural singing ability Katy sang gospel in church.  She hoped to move full-time into gospel music but that ultimately transformed into secular. Below is a Gospel song that Katy Perry (then Katy Hudson), sang on the Christian broadcast network, TBN, in 2002: The relationship with her parents has been strained as she rejected her parent’s faith. In 2008, she wrote a song, I Kissed a Girl, that topped the pop chart …

Credit: Kerri Lee Smith/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cultivating thanksgiving

Yesterday started out well but then in the afternoon I had a couple of hours of frustration when something didn’t go the way I wanted. I ended up taking two hours to complete a task that should have taken 10 minutes. But me, computers and technology don’t always see eye to eye. I quickly fell into a slump and was starting to get depressed. I was surprised how quickly things had taken a turn for the worse. I knew I needed to pull myself out of this slump and real quick. The Apostle Paul tells us to: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) All circumstances, describe good and bad and in the midst of bad we are to give thanks. Paul was right, because according to writer J.D. Roth, studies show that roughly 10% of our happiness is determined by our circumstances and 40% of our happiness comes from “intentional activity” which involves what we think and do. Knowing what will …

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Reach for your thread of hope

God’s faithfulness has been my lifeline through  the desperate times when it seemed that there was no hope in sight and nothing to reach for. But at the last moment when my faith was at its lowest and my desperation at its peak, a  very thin thread of hope would appear dangling in thin air, barely visible . This was the case of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment – it was her last thread of hope. Mark said she had suffered at the hands of physicians for years (Mark 5:26) and the fringe of Jesus’s cloak was her lifeline. “20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well.’” (Matthew 9: 20-21) There is a thread of hope hanging from the hem of Christ’s robe just for you. Desperation and fear often brought me low, but it also positioned me to …

Do you love yourself? Credit: chandrika221/Flickr/Creative Commons

Forgiving yourself is not just about you

For many of us, our biggest forgiveness issue may be forgiving ourselves. From blowing your budget, stealing, lying or cheating on a spouse or perhaps you were in a war where people died because of you. Whatever it was the awfulness of it sinks you with guilt and shame. God may forgive you, but can you forgive yourself? According to Dr. Luskin, Director of Stanford University’s Forgiveness Project, the biggest obstacle to self-forgiveness is the tendency we have to wallow in our guilt. He says: “It’s not just that we feel bad because we know we’ve done wrong, Everybody does that. But some of us actually draw those bad feelings around ourselves like a blanket, cover our heads, and refuse to stop the wailing. He states, that it is a crazy form of penance. We curl up in a ball and say, Hey, Look how bad I feel! See how I’m suffering! I’m pitiful! I’m pathetic! I can’t be punished any more than this; it wouldn’t be fair!” Instead of taking responsibility for what we’ve …

Peter Ruben's (1577-1640) painting of the women at the tomb. Perhaps fitting of her reputation as a prostitute, Ruben's had Mary of Magdalene wearing a red dress.

Taking a second look at Mary Magdalene’s tattered reputation

It was during a sermon preached by Pope Gregory 1, in 591 AD, that Mary Magdalene’s reputation was publicly scandalized for the first time and she never full recovered. In his homily, Pope Gregory said that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute. And it is a view that stuck. He based this conclusion on a couple of things. First according to the Gospels, Mary had seven demons cast out of her (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2). Pope Gregory suggested these seven demons involved seven capital sins that included lust. Gregory then added the unnamed sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50, who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, was none other than Mary of Magdalene. It was generally believed by everyone’s reaction that the immoral woman was probably a prostitute, but even that can’t be certain. But nevertheless, Gregory concluded: She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. What did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? It is …

Credit: Piers Canadas/Flickr/Creative Commons

From Victim to Victor

Refusing to forgive others keeps me in a victim mentality (poor me) state of mind. The victim mentality places the responsibility for my choices and actions on someone else and has become a stumbling block that many in this day are falling over. We see it every day in the news particularly the anger and blame directed towards others that deflects personal responsibility for one’s happiness.  This victim mentality is ripping our society apart. Feminists are blaming the “patriarchy” (code word for men) for their imagined oppression. It is always someone else’s fault. Yet, there are women from horrific backgrounds who have gone on to lead very successful lives, somehow men did not hold them back. The victim mentality prevents us from reaching our full potential. It is a stumbling block made up of blame, anger and reliving your victim story over and over again until it takes on a life of its own. It can take over your life and locks us into a limitation that we have unknowingly placed on ourselves. By holding …

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Forgiving, the springboard to a better future

Has anyone ever told you to “move on” or “get over it.” I am learning, after a few years of dealing with unforgiveness in my life, that you never really get over the past.  And much to my relief, it’s OK! The act of forgiveness is a process and not just a one-time act. It has been helpful for me to understand that we need to develop the capacity to forgive. It is a skill we must learn and practice every day. We each have our own unique story of anger and hurt, but there are two components to forgiveness: Step 1: Grieving what was and what could have been. Step 2: Letting go – of the suffering Most think that a big part of forgiveness is about forgetting the incident or person that brought so much hurt and anger. But denying our past, without first acknowledging it, does not make it easier to forgive. Several experts on forgiveness talk about the importance of grieving over what happened and what could have been. We need …

Letitia Wright with Forest Whitaker at 2017 Comic Con International in San Diego Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Black Panther’s’ Letitia Wright: ‘I went on a journey to discover God and I became a Christian’

Black Panther has become the shocking hit of 2018. Many though it would do well but nobody expected it to be the second highest grossing film in history during it first four days. Made up of a largely black cast some says it provides an overview of America’s current racial and political climate with the intent of finding a middle ground in a country that is splitting apart over the issue. One of the breakout stars in the movie is British actress Letitia Wright, 24, who plays, Shuri, the younger sister of the King T’Challa. People are raving about her performance around the world with Vanity Fair titling its article about her sudden rise as Black Panther Star Letitia Wright Might Be the Next Leonardo DiCaprio But for God, it may not have happened. In an interview on Feb.9, 2018 with This Morning, a British talk show, Letitia explains what happened: “I was going through a lot, a very difficult time in my life and I just needed to take a break from acting because …

Credit: Mussi Katz/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Breath of God, the Breath of Life

Whenever I get that ‘lost’ feeling where life seems out of control and I am overwhelmed, I remember these words spoken by God at creation. “The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” I recognize the signals that are warning me to slow down and when all else fails and I am really desperate I go back to the beginning, to the “breath of life.” I often take a deep breath and allow the breath of God (life) to flow through me. The Hebrew word for spirit in the Old Testament is “ruach” and it means “air in motion.” The same word is translated “breath” and “life.” When talking about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said He is like wind or “pneuma,” which means “a current of air, breeze or breath.” “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where …

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Deep Calls to Deep

There are times when ‘life happens’ for all of us. We find ourselves stranded in deep waters where waves of trouble and trials crash over us again and again. Our emotions are in turmoil. Many times, I have found myself in a place where words could not be spoken. The heart cry of my sadness and grief echoed out over the waters of my despair. But during these times God reaches out to us: “Deep calleth unto deep at the voice of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindess in the day time and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock why has thou forgotten me? (Psalm 42:7 KJV) This is also the only place in the Bible that refers to waterspouts. Waterspouts are created during ocean storms when funnels touch the water connecting the ocean with the heavens. It speaks of the connection that God …

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It’s time to re-calibrate! You don’t have to save the world

It’s easy to lose ourselves in the spinning and twirling events of our daily lives. Often, we burn out when we give all our time and energy for a worthy cause or in meeting the needs of those around us. I am learning that I am not indispensable and that the world can do very well without me for a while. The harsh reality is that we often become “indispensable” in our own eyes. We get lost in the illusion that the world can’t make it without us. We must step away and take a good look at who we have become. My ego loves the attention and the “need to be needed.” I call it my “save the world mentality.” My husband can attest to the many times I have asked him to remind me that “I don’t have to save the world.” Because that mentality has ruined my health, run me into the ground, hurt my most valued relationships (husband and kids) as I ran off to save the world, leaving them and …

Flamenco dance, Seville, Spain Credit: Laurence Vagner/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Dance of Life

These past few weeks my eyes have been opened to my need for love, respect and acceptance from others. I tend to accuse others of being uncaring when they dismiss my plans and ideas. I demand from others what I am lacking in myself and make others responsible for the way I feel. When I quit blaming others for the way I am feeling (angry, hurt, rejected), only then can I see what the real problem is — my lack of self-esteem mostly. I needed to ask ‘why’ am I blaming someone else for my lack of self-worth and insecurities. Why do I so badly need to be right? Resentment and anger are dis-empowering. They debilitate and cripple us, yet we unknowingly lean on them like crutches to get the emotional support and love that we so badly need. When we seek love without giving it to ourselves first, (embracing our value and worth in God and believing that) we will never be satisfied with what we get from people.  We will find ourselves continually …

Blame: The Ultimate Cop-out

Lately, I found myself repeating an old pattern in my life. It’s the one where I suddenly don’t feel good enough or I feel shame about something or an unpleasant memory pops up and I blame someone else for the problem. I recognize in those moments, I have chosen to become a victim and end up dumping my emotional garbage on my unsuspecting husband. He gets to take the garbage out! In a moment, my own personal trash is transferred to him and for a few seconds “I feel better.” But, the “rush” does not last long and soon those sick emotions return. I realize now why many of us like to blame others. It provides a temporary rush that numbs our senses and makes us feel better. But like all addictions, drugs, alcohol or gambling, the problem is not solved. It returns with a vengeance and we need to dump our frustration, anger and unchecked feelings again and again. Blaming someone else becomes our temporary fix. We become addicted to it because of the …

Old watermill in Mabry Mill, North Carolina Credit: Scott Sanford/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Wheel of Gratitude

Somewhere along the way the wheel of my life got stuck. What was I not getting?  I was feeling pretty rough and everyone in our house knew it. I was being pulled under and drowning in self-doubt. False perceptions of myself hung like strings of seaweed on the waterwheel of my life as it lurched and jolted  to a stop. I wondered, what if I am not good enough to accomplish what is at hand for me to do? And even if I do start something, what if I’m not sure what to do next? Lana Vawser prophesied recently that one of the main strategies of the enemy is to whisper in your ear that ‘there’s something wrong with you.’ “One of the strategies of the enemy, is he is coming in as a slithering snake, whispering”there’s something wrong with you.  “God has withdrawn,” God is far away” and the opposite  is true. The Lord is close, and the Lord is inviting you to a deeper place than you have been before.”   (Prophetic word January …

Forest near Oslo, Norway Credit: Thorbjorn Sigberg/Flickr/Creative Commons

Surviving a winter season

As I enter the last half of January, I find myself bracing for the emotional challenges these months have brought in past years. It involves a slow descent into darkness. I often feel trapped, restless and revisit old issues that I thought were healed. Depression and feelings of worthlessness can overtake me as the days get shorter and the cold settles in. But not this year! I am putting  my best foot forward as we descend into the shadows of winter. I am like the groundhog who hibernates and waits for the right conditions to resurface. Actually, in a spiritual sense, it’s the perfect season to ‘exercise grace’. What does ‘exercising grace’ mean?  For me, it’s the  full release of my ‘doing mentality’ that has been known to drive me and others in my family to utter insanity. In other words cease trying to make things happen. It means that over these next couple months I choose to embrace knowing that it is ok to ‘just be’ and that ‘I am enough.’ It’s about accepting …

Credit: Howard Jefferson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Clouds of Emotion

Is there a message in the madness when our emotions are out of control and things are not going the way you hoped? Of course it’s about them, the other people, who don’t understand or ‘get it’. It becomes so frustrating as we repeatedly circle the situation with increasing intensity. The light dims as we are encompassed by thickening clouds that become darker and more controlling. We start to lose our reason and perspective. I must admit that I was being swallowed up by clouds of emotion that were surfacing in my life. My elderly parents are resisting the inevitable changes that are coming for them. I have been trying to help them navigate this transition and they have been fighting it. This has been emotionally draining as I watch them struggle in this season of life.  Anger, tears and overwhelming concern for them caught me up in whirling and intensifying emotions.  It was a brewing storm cloud in my life. Often in these difficult times, we want to blame others and I was blaming …

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Bent, but not broken

There are people whom I can’t help because they are not able to receive or believe words of encouragement or hope spoken to them. But I was no different. Deep down I didn’t feel that I was worthy of the attention or the possible good that could happen. An underlying root of unbelief grew deep into my heart. Because of fear of what the unearthing might expose, I stubbornly stood in the way and for a long time prevented this root from being pulled up. I felt safe in the damp, dark dirt of the past. I allowed some digging and uprooting but when the tangled roots got close to the surface I shrunk back.  The light revealed too much. The fear of unearthing and acknowledging the past in order to heal can be difficult to handle. There has been too much trauma and any further emotional upheaval in the present is almost unbearable. But God wants to heal our emotional wounds. I so appreciate this verse in Isaiah that helps me take a gracious …

Jacob buying Esau's birthright by Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629) Credit: Wikipedia

Entitled or Loved?

I have always been bothered by the scripture, ‘Jacob have I loved Esau have I hated’ (Malachi 1:2-3/ Romans 9:13). To me that is a really strong statement. After all, how could God hate anyone and yet love the ‘ deceiver’ Jacob? When the twins, Jacob and Esau were born, Jacob was born second, holding onto Esau’s heel. “Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand grasped Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob (supplanter).” (Genesis 25:26 AMP) Through his life Jacob really wanted Esau’s birthright. He knew the value of the birthright and its blessings. I’m sure you know the story. When opportunity presented itself, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a pot of stew. So Jacob the youngest, legally received the birthright, while the bible says Esau despised it (Genesis 25:34). In addition, with the help of his mother Rebekah, Jacob stole the final blessing from his father Isaac, when he was on his deathbed. This blessing was also meant for the eldest son (Genesis 27:27-30). In all honesty, I could never …

A touch of heaven

I felt a light touch and then it was gone. It was a bright and beautiful fall day. My jacket was open because it was getting warm.  My daughter and I were running errands and crossing the mall parking lot to the bank. There was a spring in my step.   Life was good and there was so much to be grateful for lately. The warmth and brightness of the sun made it even better. I saw the truck out of the corner of my eye as it rounded the corner where we were crossing the parking lot.  I hesitated and then stepped forward confident that he had seen me. It was a big, white, wide, 4×4 truck.  As my daughter and I continued across the road I was blinded by a white light in the shape of a large cross.  It was the cross that struck me in that moment. I heard my daughter’s concerned voice urgently say,  “Mom, did you feel that?  That truck touched your leg!” Then, I remembered the gentle touch, …

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What does surrender to God mean?

Does surrender conjure up images of a criminal giving up his gun and surrendering himself to the police?  For many Christians this is what we envision and it terrifies us. In her article, Winning Through Surrender, Kathy Cordova writes: “For most of us the word surrender has a negative meaning because we think surrender is waving the white flag and giving up.” We consider the spiritual process of surrender with giving up, but spiritual surrender is not about defeat. It is about acceptance, joy and faith.   Spiritual surrender is about a mutual relationship with loving reciprocity between the creator and the creation. It’s about  accepting the gift of salvation and experiencing the joy of a relationship with the God of the universe who  not only loves us but knows us well. I realized that after all these years as a Christian I did not have a healthy perspective of what surrendering to God really meant. I felt that I could never live up to the traditional Christian perception of surrender. I was fully aware of …

Credit: Christian R. Hamacher/Flickr/Creative Commons

Struggling to love unconditionally

Loving others unconditionally (without any conditions, or expectations attached) does not come naturally for me or anyone I know. The question is how does one DO unconditional love (live it out, act and think). In order for me to extend unconditional love to others  I must have  a reason. What would motivate me to love others unconditionally and withhold judgement. Glynnis Whitwer from First5.org ministry says that we must ‘find the why’ and reason for our motivation to love unconditionally. The Apostle Paul writes: “For we were once thoughtless and senseless, obstinate, deluded and misled  . .  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of anything we had done, but because of His mercy.” (Titus 3:3-4) Everyday, I must be mindful of the reason I choose to love unconditionally which is  to  honor God’s gift of grace to me by reflecting it back into my world. In the Old Testament, the Jews had rules and regulations to please God and the Greeks lived to appease their …

Credit: Alex Pang/Flickr/Creative Commons

Human ‘being’ or human ‘doer’

A few weeks ago my husband and daughter noticed that I was tired and sleeping more than usual. Immediately, I became angry and defensively opened my calendar to recount every thing I had done over the past two weeks that justified my tiredness. My husband said to me, “it’s not about how much you have done or are doing.  Maybe, you need to go to the doctor and make sure it’s not your heart.  Your mother has heart disease.” His concern for my health interrupted my rant and how much I had done (with proof written in my calendar). I thanked him for caring enough to say something.  He was not questioning my ‘doer’ abilities but was genuinely concerned about my health. I was later moved to tears when I realized my Heavenly Father tries in the same way to push aside my “doing mindset” and convince me that “I am enough.” God loves and accepts us just the way we are. There is nothing we can do to prove ourselves to our Heavenly Father. …

London, England subway Credit: Nige Harris/Flickr/Creative Commons

Should we take #MeToo seriously?

A few years ago I had to travel on the rapid transit for my work. On a busy day I walked to a subway station because I had to get some paper work in another part of the city. I remember a small crowd on the platform waiting for the train and I stayed higher up on the stairs to see the train when it came. And then something caught my attention. A young woman, probably a teenager kept pulling down her shirt, to expose one shoulder. A few steps from her was a young man, who I guessed was her boyfriend. He watched over her closely, and I began to realize that she was a prostitute and he was her pimp. They had brought their business onto the public transit system. If you are wondering, they didn’t seem to get any business. In any city, the public transit crowd is short on cash and the couple’s “business model” was never going to work, but I was really shaken. We all see the world in …

Mirror glasses at a restaurant in Budapest, Hungary Credit: Elekes Andor/Wikipedia

Judgements: A mirror into your heart

What your think about others reveals a lot about yourself.  Catching yourself in judgement is a first step to bringing wholeness into your life. There is a message behind our complaints, judgements and frustrations with others. Judgement is almost always a projection. Often it’s not about them, it’s all about you. We end up projecting our brokenness or an unhealed part of our lives upon someone else. Catching yourself judging others is the first step to healing your emotional wounds. Notice every time you react to what someone has said or done because this is really a message to you, about you. On the surface scenarios that bother you seem to have nothing to do with you.  But if you are having a reaction to what someone has said or done, know this, it’s about you! This is tough stuff! Our personal criticisms and frustrations about others many times mirror exactly how we secretly feel about ourselves. But it is so much easier to point the finger at someone else and not own up to the fact …

Credit: Lucy Lang/Flickr/Creative Commons

Neither do I condemn you

In an article for Foxnews, Angel Hatfield shared a powerful story on forgiveness. Hatfield, who serves as executive producer for a movie “Because of Gracia” grew up in a Christian home. In fact, her father pastored a church. As she left her teen years, Hatfield became rebellious: “I skated in sin believing the big lie that there was more pleasure to be found in this world than in God.” Hatfield became pregnant and after hiding her pregnancy for five months, she finally decided to come clean with her father on what had happened. She was expecting her father to react and judge her for what she had done. Instead, he hung his head and when he finally spoke, her dad expressed his disappointment for what had happened but then he added: “And you have made poor choices which now have consequences. It won’t be easy — and there will be struggles and a hard path ahead of you. But I love you — and now I figure I have been given more to love.” Then …

Brooke Simpson Blind audition Credit: Youtube Caputer/The Voice

Church youth leader wows ‘The Voice’

It was a four-chair turn for church youth leader Brooke Simpson on ‘The Voice’ as she sang a song by Demi Lovato called Stone Cold. Entering is sixteenth season, the winner of ‘The Voice’ receive $100,000 and a recording deal. Simpson is a graduate of Lee University, a Church of God University based in Cleveland Indiana. She works for Potential church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In a YouTube video uploaded earlier this year, Brooke said that she and her husband Ray started a program called ‘Youth in Revolt’ encouraging youth to live as rebels for God in a society that is increasing becoming anti-Christian. Before she was done all four coaches were standing applauding her performance. Pop Singer Miley Cyrus said “You know you’re good because I am a little speechless and that never happens.” Adam Levine called her “one in a million.” I find it more than a coincidence that Simpson is following in the footsteps of another Lee graduate Jordan Smith who won ‘The Voice’ in 2016. All four judges turned their chairs …

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Letting go of your unrealistic expectations of others

For three days I battled with the expectations I had put on a particular person in our church. I would relinquish the expectation and then take it back. I fought with this expectation for three days and equally long nights. I was practically foaming at the mouth. By the end I was frazzled and worn out. My expectations were a weight on my mind and I was unable to release them.  A heaviness fell on me making it almost impossible to relinquish them. It was a tug-a-war of letting go and then pulling back, over and over in my mind. I had to put an end to this struggle and the hopes, fears and expectations that had become tangled up in my mind. I had become a prisoner of the expectations I had put on someone else. Selena C. Snow, a Clinical psychologist in Rockvileed, MD, says expectations are potentially damaging because they set us and others up for failure. She adds that “unrealistic expectations assume a level of control, that we don’t actually have …

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Are you a people-pleaser?

Giving and pleasing look exactly the same on the outside but they both come from a different place or motivation of the heart. They even feel different because giving comes from a positive space and people-pleasing comes from a negative one. Stacey Martino, a relationship expert, refers to people-pleasing as ‘the kiss of death’ because we are giving from a place of insecurity (our need for approval and to be valued).  We are doing it for the wrong reasons and this creates resentment. People-pleasing drains you emotionally because you really didn’t want to do it in the first place. You just did it to please someone. And if we experience rejection it magnifies our resentment. An internal explosion is not to far away. Giving comes from a positive place of optimism hopefulness, passion, gratitude, joy and desire to bless. People-pleasing comes from a place of insecurity, doubt, worry, jealousy, disappointment, blame or boredom. Ultimately, people-pleasing stems from our need to be loved and valued. It is rooted in insecurity.  We don’t know our true worth …

Watch Gospel music ring out at Hurricane Harvey rescue shelter

Gospel singer Victoria White and others entertained people taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey in the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. The song was videoed by volunteer Joni Villemez-Commeaux. White works as an admission counselor at Sam Houston State University. She was ministering with Outreach Missions who was raising support for the victims of Harvey. White’s powerful voice emanated in the hall as others joined the singing. So far the video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 12 million times. The death toll for the storm is now nearing 40 and includes the rescue of 13,000 people trapped by the rapidly rising waters that hit Houston and area. Sources: Lifting spirits: Texas woman breaks out into incredible gospel performance inside Hurricane Harvey shelter: Daily Mail Watch: Spontaneous Gospel singing fills Harvey evacuation shelter: Breitbart

Eye of the hurricane Isabel as seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia

Living in the eye of the storm

In the midst of a raging hurricane that can have winds upwards of 250 kms an hour (Category 5) it has an eye that is typically between 30 km to 50 km wide. It is a place of calm. There are often no clouds allowing you to see the sun and blues skies. The wind is light. A person would never know there is a brutal storm raging beyond the horizon. This is the ‘eye of the storm.’ The world is in utter chaos today and as Christians we must live in the eye of the hurricane. So how do we do this? In Matthew, Jesus talks about having a single eye and this is the key to living in the ‘eye of the storm:’ “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22) In this verse Jesus says if we have a single eye, our whole body will be full of light. It can have blue skies in the …

Credit: arbyreed/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are You living in the present?

“Don’t worry about tomorrow sufficient for the day is the evil [trouble thereof]. (Matthew 6:34) It has become clear the root of my worry stems from trying to plan for what may or may not happen the next day or even the weekend. Every angle is covered. With my worry I try to control the next day and the day after that. Elliot’s Commentary has an interesting spin on this verse, when he interprets “don’t worry about tomorrow” as “make most of the present.” Staying rooted and grounded firmly in the present day and moment will change your life. It allows us to get the most out of today. I remember one author stating that it is important to stay in the present for ourselves. I immediately discarded the thought. It would be so selfish. But after prayerful consideration, I changed my mind. When I am in the present for myself, I am able to discern the voice of God in my life. I am a much better person to live with and able to …