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Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.  One of our soldiers has returned safely home!  He is the father of one of my son’s kindergarten classmates.  I met the wife and child on the day he was departing for Baghdad last Sept.  He had to be away for almost all of his son’s kindergarten year.  His wife is a faith-based prayerful woman with a mega-watt smile whose brightness could probably be seen by her husband oversees.   She’s been an inspiration as she kept her hope and faith in tact.   I was thrilled to get the long-awaited news that he was finally home.   

God bless the USA and the soldiers who serve to defend and protect it.  

I will close this message with the signature she uses on her emails.  

 “Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American G.I.   One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”

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The Lord is so good. Despite the bad, the sad, and gloom and doom, He prevails with good things, giving us special ‘treats’ of love and encouragement (usually through the kind words and deeds of others), just to say, ‘I love you!’  What an awesome God we serve!  I hope you’re finding the treats He’s left for you today! 

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will tend to your heart’s desires.  

– Psalm 37:4

I shared that with my email friends and wanted to share it with you, my blog buddies, too.     Blessings to all, – Renee

” Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors.”  – 1 Peter 2:12

“It’s God’s will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you.”  – 1 Peter 2:15

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…”      1 Peter 3:15

What a day yesterday was on this blog site!  I happened upon a ‘hot topic’ when I addressed the topic of Wicca.   To my surprise, it drew responses from those who were one or more of the following: in support of Wicca, anti-Christian, or anti-war. 

Where were the Christian voices???  I know you’re out there!  Let yourselves be seen and heard!! 

For the first time in our nation’s history, we can no longer claim to be a Christian nation.  Christians are not the majority.  Did you know that our nation was founded upon Christian principles? The reason pilgrims defected to this new land was so that they could pursue Christianity (not religion in general) in their own ways and not be subject to the worship dictatorship of the Queen.  Additionally, info I’ve read claims that Muslim is the fastest growing religion in our country. 

Where have all the Christians gone? 

Christians haven’t gone anywhere.  We’re all over the place!  However, we’ve become a quiet, complacent people.  No one likes a holier-than-thou, self-righteous person, but we can speak up and speak out in a righteous way without being self-righteous.  We can speak of Promise without being pompous, and we can be bible brethren without being bible beaters.   We can stand up for our faith and defend it when necessary, and we can do so without violating our Christian teachings by being humble and gracious and seeking to please God and bring honor to him.

The responses to the topic of Wicca shows me there are a lot of realities in this world/society we need to be aware of .  The presence of witchcraft is just one example. 

Satan is lurking everywhere and in many forms.  Be wary of that and be strong in faith.  Help your loved ones to do the same. 

The church gives Christians a base of operation, educates them, encourages them, and builds them up.  It reaches out to those who need to learn about Jesus and grow in the Word.  Be a part of Christian fellowship at church and support your local church. Invite others to visit your church! 

Many Christians complain that our rights are unfairly being taken away from us while other religions are allowed freedoms comparable to those we’ve lost.  So what are we going to do about it? Just complain?  I hope not. 

Go to God in prayer and pray for our nation, communities, schools, churches, families, and marriages.  Ask God to show you how you can be stronger in your Christian faith so that others might come to know Christ through you.  And ask God to give you the guidance and wisdom needed to speak with your Christian voice when necessary and to do so in a manner that is pleasing to Him. 

Oppose things that are not morally accecptable according to your Christian valuess, but do so respectfully in a way that is pleasing to God and brings honor to him. 

Whatever you do, don’t sit back in complacency and silence.  Be mindful of the attacks around you, guard against them with your faith, and let your Christian voice be heard!    

 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,…”  – Romans 5:1

A hard fall on our driveway last week led to my neck being out of alignment by about 39 degrees, and the jolt to my body caused many aches and pains.  I felt like I’d been beaten up by the next day. 

Coincidentally, by the end of the week, my inner self was out of alignment, too.  Events at VT,  the news and concern for the 11-year old son of a very dear church member who was diagnosed with cancer, and personal struggles to find answers for direction all contributed to my feelings of being off-center and out of balance. 

A good chiropractic team was able to give much needed relief to my physical problems, making the necessary adjustments to relieve the pressure in my spine and stress in my muscles. 

Realigning my inner-self wasn’t as quick and easy, but the results were certainly worth the effort it took to achieve them.  Just as I sought trusted medical help for my body, I sought God’s help to justify what was off-center within me.  Not only did I pray to Him, I sought the prayers of trusted friends, too.  It was amazing to see how God took over as soon as I gave the control to Him. 

As I was seeking prayer support from friends via email, another dear friend was sending me a message that just happened to include one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.    God was sending His message to me at that very moment.  And at that moment, what I heard was the last part of the verse:  “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ”

 God was telling me to come to Him in prayer, and that when  I was ready to seek Him with ALL my heart, He would be there to listen.  Troughout the day I received unexpected encouragements from others, including my husband, and knew they were God’s way of letting me know that He was there and understood what was going on.  What peace and assurance that gave me!

It was late that night before I could go before the Lord for a heart-to-heart meeting, and when I did, I was confident that His response would soon follow.  Sure enough, by the end of our sermon in church yesterday, God’s messages became clear to me.  The music and sermon, and personal messages shared in the service were uplifting, inspiring hope and peace of mind in response to the violence at VT and our concern for the boy with cancer.  Word of God speak…indeed it did!  By the time I left church, my inner-self was standing up straight again in proper alignment. 

And just as the chiropractor sends me home with tips for staying physically aligned, I’ll follow the spiritual disciplines of praying daily (and often!) and reading God’s Word every day, to keep me spiritually aligned. 

How are you feeling?  Could your inner-self use a little adjusting?  If so, I have the perfect Spiritual Adjuster for you!  You’ll find Him in prayer when you seek Him with all your heart, too! 

Dear God, What a truly awesome God You are, being there for all who were grieving this past week, tending to a boy and His family who needed to cling to You , and able to respond my needs in the midst of so many other things.  Thank You for being there to lead and guide me and justify my inner-self through Your truths and love.  May I always seek to share Your truth and love with others in a way that helps them to be spiritually aligned, as well.  In Your holy name I pray.  Amen. 

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Have you read today’s Proverbs 31 online devotion by Glynnis Whitwer?  If you are a parent, her thougths are for you.  

Tending to your spouse takes priority over your children, but your children should be your greatest mission project.   For more on this, go to www.Proverbs31.org and select today’s devotion. 

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Dear Heavenly Father, Giver of life and grace, we come to You on this day of worship with complete praise and adoration for all that You are and all that You do.  We humble ourselves before you mindful that we have failed in various ways this week, and seek your mercy upon us, for Yours is the grace that wipes the slate clean and allows us to try again, knowing You are still there, ever steadfast in your love regardless of the wrongs we commit.  We thank you for that, Lord, and for the many ways You bless us, giving in abundance much more than we deserve.  Although You are perfect in Your ways, the way before us is not always perfectly smooth and easy to navigate.  Please be with us always and in all ways to help us over the rough spots and to help us take in the beauty of the journey along our way – like the wonderful people You bless us with as we travel down Your road.  I pray that we will always take time to recognize You and appreciate Your presence in our lives; and that we will do our best to bless others in return for the many ways You have blessed us, so that we might bring glory and honor to Your name.  To You our Heavenly Father we pray, with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and with the love of the Holy Spirit, Amen.   

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Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of the lips that give thanks to His name.  – Hebrews 13:15 

According to this scripture, praise is considered to be the ‘fruit of the lips’.  What a beautiful way to think about our praises for God… as fruit from our lips that He desires as an offering.  And the bible tells us that God wants the first of our fruits, so let the first words that we offer Him be praise. 

Praise Him when you awake to thank Him for bringing you safely through the night. Praise Him at the beginning of each prayer before you bring your needs before Him and thank Him for the blessings you already have.

Praise Him with song as you go through your day. And give Him the ‘first of your fruits’ at the end of the day by praising Him for the blessings He sent your way that day and for being a God who will keep you and watch over you through the night.  (I also like to praise Him for allowing me to crawl into a comfy bed at the end of a long day.  J )

Yes.  Praise is the ‘fruit of our lips’.   Let the first words we offer Him be praise.    Renee Myers    1-23-07To respond, click on ‘comments’ below the title. 

I don’t like the blame game.  The media plays it every time there is a crisis or tragedy, and they’ve been at it full force this week regarding the VT events.  Does anyone really think that someone at VT is responsible for what Cho did?  Or that anyone there could have forseen to this magnitude what he might do one day?  If so, don’t you think they’d have done what they could to stop it? 

I do wish a lockdown had been enforced after the first murders, but even that wouldn’t have guaranteed that a bloody carnage wouldn’t have happened.  Cho was determined to carry out his plans. 

But if the media is going to insist that we play the blame game, then let me say this: WE ARE ALL TO BLAME.   From what I’ve learned about Cho in recent days, I believe that he has felt terribly wronged by the world for a long time.  Further, I think it stems from a bad experience when he was younger, possibly molestation, that was never properly dealth with; and that situation led to domino effect of mental and emotional problems for him.  Instead of dealing with him, the world just kept tossing him aside or passig him by.  Eventually an unimaginable rage began to grow inside him. 

Although many may hate and despise Cho, the VT killer, I am sorry for him.  I am horrified by what he did, but my heart goes out to him because I feel he was so wronged by the world.  

Cho seemed to respond to those who reached out to him.  Even though his roommates did not like him and were wary of him, they tried to help him.  People wonder why he didn’t kill them, too.  I think it’s because they at least took notice of him and treated him respectfully. 

A teacher who had concerns about Cho offered to tutor him hoping she could help him or get him to open up.  He didn’t have to go to tutoring, but he did.  He responded to her when she reached out to him.  She seemed very nurturing. 

Although many say they never heard him speak, and some even offered to pay him to say something, he took a theatre class as an elective.  That’s odd! Why would someone as introverted as Cho choose to pursue drama?  Because that’s where he found his voice.  He wrote a scathing, chilling play as his way of speaking out. 

And what about the video he left behind?  That was his way of telling all of us that we messed up.  Did he do it as a way of spitting in our faces?  Possibly that was part of it, but I also think he was trying one last time to make us ‘get it’, to see what we did wrong.  He said we’d had a hundred million ways to prevent this situation (or something like that).  To me that means that there have been numerous times in his life where we could have chosen to respond differently to him, to treat him differently, but we didn’t. 

When Cho likened himself to Jesus Christ, I don’t think he was trying to elevate himself to Jesus’ importance.  Instead, I think he was trying to say that just like Jesus died at the hand of many – not because of one particular person or group of people – he, too, felt persecuted in the same way. 

The horrible irony in all of this is that, according to some of the written evidence he left behind, Cho was disgusted by all the immorality and superficiality around him and his unspeakable acts were a rebellion to those behaviors.  I say this is a horrible irony because he responded in the most immoral and unacceptable way possible. 

Why does all this matter?  He’s gone now.  Well, it matters to me because I am sorry for what the world appears to have done to Cho, and as a result to the innocent people who died because of his actions.  As a Christian, ALL of these people were my brothers and sisters – INCLUDING CHO.   If the world wronged him, then I wronged him, too, and I want to learn from this so that I can do my best not to repeat past mistakes.

Dear God, Help me to recognize the hurts and pain of others so that I can respond in a way that makes things better, not worse.  Let me be part of the soution, not an addition to the problem.  Amen.

CLOSING THOUGHT:   Those who are the hardest to love, are the ones who need love the most.    – Renee Myers

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What a day.  It started out with the startling news that the 11-year old son of our praise and worship leader was undergoing tests for a lump found on his neck over spring break.  Prayer circles were quickly being formed online. 

 Then came news that a mass had also been found in/around his abdomen leading specialists to think that he had a Type III cancer.  His father announced that he’d be away from work indefinitely to be with his son as long as he was needed.  The boy had to be told that he had cancer.    More prayers were said on behalf of the boy, his father, and for God to bring healing. 

By 12:30 I became aware of the horrible situation unfolding at VT.  The rest of my afternoon was spent going back and forth between the tv for updates at VT and my computer where updates were being shared regarding the boy.  What an emotional afternoon this was for many because of VT and because our hearts were breaking for our dear friend/brother in Christ and his son.

By 4:30 came wonderful and welcome news.  The mass detected earlier in the abdomen area couldn’t be found!  Doctors claimed there had been a mistake.  Those of us who had been praying new there was not a mistake.  As my husband said, God doesn’t make mistakes!  Doctors then downgraded their prognosis to say they thought he had Hodgkins Lymphoma – a highly treatable cancer.  He was going to be discharged and could even prepare for school the next day! 

After such mournful news throughout the day, this was wonderful news!  The boy’s battle with cancer is just beginning, but his recovery seems much more likely now. 

So where was God on this day when such horrible things were happening to innocent people?  He was doing his best to enable survivors to protect themselves and tend to the living – even giving a Holocaust survivor the courage to lose his life guarding his classroom’s door so his students could escape through the windows; huddling among those whose hearts cried out to Him;  reaching out to those who needed someone or something to pray to; blanketing everyone with His presence; and responding to the prayers of countless believers by bringing a touch of healing and inspirations of hope to a boy with cancer and to all who prayed on his behalf and who also needed those rays of hope after a day clouded with unspeakable darkness. 

God does not cause these things to happen.  He is a loving God whose love is unfailing and who sent His Son to die for our sins and to triumph over evil.  He is with us always, often working in ways we cannot see and do not know.  We must cling to our faith and put our trust in Him. 

– Lamentations 3:33 “…for he doesn not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.”

– Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, perservere in prayer.”

At the end of the day we pray.   

As much as I’d like to be like the apostle Paul who is bold and couragous in his faith and always seems to say and do the right things – even in tough situations, the truth is I’m more like Peter who would often speak first and think later. 

All too often I’m guilty of saying the wrong things or saying them in the wrong way.  It’s not usually my actions that incriminate me, but my words.

The situation with Don Imus this past week is a good example of the trouble our tongues can get us into. 

Does your tongue woo or wound? 

The bible says many things about the tongue that wounds.  Following are just a few verses for example:

Psalm 10:7 – Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats. Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.     

Psalm 52:2 –Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies.

Psalm 140:3 – Their tongues sting like a snake;…

Psalm 64:3 – They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows.

Ouch! 

Let us seek to have a tongue that woos.   Following are scriptures to encourage a tongue that speaks of love and good things:

Psalm 16:9 – Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;…   (NIV)

Psalm 35:28 – My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.  (NIV) 

(How would those around you benefit if your tongue spoke of righteousness and praises all day long?)
 

Psalm 34:13 – And keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!  (NLT)

Proverbs 13:3 – Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.   (NLT)

(This one is good advice for me!  Just ask my husband!)

Psalm 119:72 – Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.   (NLT)

Proverbs 10:20 – The tongue of the righteous is choice silver… (NIV)

Proverbs 12:18 –  the tongue of the wise brings healing.  (NIV)

(Our words have the power to heal a wounded heart, mend rifts in relationships, and sooth a hurting soul.)
 

Proverbs 15:4 – Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.  (NLT)

(Words should be gentle…our tongue can crush the spirit.  How do I speak to my children?) 

Proverbs 31:26 –  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.     

(Hmmm…How have I spoken today?  Was I wise with faithful instruction?  No.  I’ll have to work on this one.)

Proverbs 18:21 – The tongue can bring death or life;those who love to talk will reap the consequences.      (NLT)

Lord, You know I love to talk.  Help me to bring life with my words and let the consequences bring glory to You.  Amen.

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