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Like a Thief in the Night

Author: Lori Carter

heavens

There are some mornings that I wake up and just hate to read the news. So much violence around the world just breaks my heart. People in war torn countries suffering casualties, death, loss of homes and starvation while the rest of the world looks on with indifference for a few minutes and then turns back to their iPods, tablets, computers, and phones checking e-mails, twitter, Facebook and other social media sights.

We, as the human race, that live in the countries that are not torn apart by war, starvation and natural disasters, walk around blindly inattentive to what is happening. Do we not care, do we not recognize that the world could be right on the verge of mass destruction.

There are so many that are involved in this destruction, and not realizing that they will also lose their plans for survival, they continue on a daily basis to instigate these events and circumstances secretly against their fellow human beings. Power, money, fame all spur them onward to try and work everything out in the end to put them above everyone else, to put them in control, to make them rich, to elevate them in the eyes of the lower classes.

It is not just governments working to control the world, decrease the population and working toward a universal control system, but many of the rich and powerful elitists that don’t want to lose their costly way of living, that don’t want to have to struggle to survive. The sad fact is, in the end, everyone will go, whether to heaven or hell, we are all scheduled for a change in our life situations. Some will go on to eternal life with Christ while others will lie in anguish in the fiery pits of hell.

The world in its present situation presents many things to draw our attention from what is really going on around us, who is actually in control, who is herding us toward that time when everyone will be subject to some kind of constant control.

Electronics, advances in technology, wars, criminal acts, entertainment, gossip, and busy schedules created to push people to the extremes and keep their minds occupied with making the almighty buck so they can keep up with the Jones’s, are daily events. There is always something new to draw our attention away from the reality around us.

In several different places in the Bible, it is written that Jesus will return like a thief in the night. In Matthew 24: 42-44, watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night, and Revelations 3:3 3Remember how you have received and heard, so hold fast and repent. And if you do not awake, I will come against you as a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come on you.

There are so many controversies about religion floating around today, that a new convert to Christianity will find it hard to know what to believe. Groups and individuals who want to be in on the New World Order will go to any means possible to see this come to fruition, even staging a holographic “Rapture” at some point in time. Satan knows his time is short and is using everything in his power to bring down the people of God. UFO’s do exist and are sighted around the world on a daily basis and no-one seems to know for sure who or what they are.

While we believe in a God that created this universe and could have created life on other planets, there is also the chance that they could be some of the fallen angels, their offspring or in fact the minions of Satan himself.

Are you ready for the one who will come like a thief in the night? Will you know if it is him or a man-made, staged event? How can you be sure it is the right time and the right savior? If you are a true Christian, if you are diligent and observing, you will know because you will no longer be here, you will be with Jesus in the twinkling of an eye.

The bible says the dead in Christ will rise first and then the living, but it will probably happen within seconds and not be visible to the non-believers who are still standing in their homes, yards, or jobs. More than likely they will not be able to see Gods chosen rising in the air. For all that we really know, since God’s time is different from ours, the rapture could be already taking place in increments according to his schedule, as he sees fit.

It is really Disheartening, when the place that was supposed to be the root of Christendom, starts changing the reality of the bible and the works of the prophets. When they start looking for these other life-forms themselves, and tell their people to welcome them with open arms before finding out who/what they really are, they could in fact be misleading them to welcome, accept and worship other beings that are, in fact the evil that we are to avoid.

When archeological finds, whether proven or dis-proven start changing the history that is recorded in the bible, such as the recent find that declares Jesus had a wife, those who start to believe in all of this may find themselves waiting on a rapture that they will not have the joy of experiencing.

Stand strong, believe,  be diligent and wait for he that may come as a thief in the night.

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The Whisperers

Author: Lori Carter

Any Christian will be the first person to tell you that God has a plan for everyone. Each of us were put here for a reason, and no matter what decisions we make along that long highway of life, he will work the circumstances around until we are where he wants us to be, when he wants us there, doing what he has planned for us to do.

We make wrong choices as we grow up, get older, and go out on our own, but a forgiving God understands and uses many ways to get us back on the right path. He may allow us to suffer the consequences of those wrong decisions for a period, but when the time is right he will move us on to where he wants us.

There is no guarantee that you will be told or shown what God’s purpose for you is. He doesn’t blatantly come out and say I want you to go see this person, at this address, on this date, twenty years from now to give them a message from me they need to hear.

Through the urgings of the Holy Spirit, he moves to do and say certain things. Some people feel the tugging in their hearts to be ministers and preachers of Gods words. Other may find that they are tugged in different directions, and it may, in fact be that they are chosen to complete several of God’s plans.

Some people are called into the ministry; others are chosen to be teachers, others mothers, supportive wives/spouses, while still others are behind the scenes in the role of servitude. You can wear many hats during your life, depending on what God’s will is. You might be a prayer warrior, a children’s leader, a choir director, soloist or musician. Maybe you will become a great farmer that is able to share his over abundances with the hungry or a great surgeon saving many lives.

But there is still another group that you don’t hear too much about, and they don’t even know they are being used of God. They are the compassionate, loving and caring whisperers, the ones who lay a gentle hand on your back at the alter and whisper “I am here for you”, “Jesus Loves You”, “I want to help”, and “I feel your pain”, and then there is the greatest whisperer of them all who whispers gently in your ear “My child, I’m here with you and I’ve got this, you don’t need to struggle with it anymore”.

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I Have Not Lived My Life in Vain

Author: Lori Carter

pruple fieldWhen I first became a Christian, I started to see things in a different light. Everything seemed brand new. I would observe the “seasoned” Christians and ministers at the church. They all seemed so devoted in what they did that it inspired me to want to serve also. I would do whatever I was asked, including being bus captain for a few years. Often, when no one from the church could drive me, I would get out on Saturdays and walk my route to see who needed to be picked up on Sunday. I still felt, however, that I wasn’t doing enough.

It took several years for me to learn that God doesn’t call everyone to be a teacher, minister or praise warrior. Each person is born with certain gifts and everyone is used for his purpose, sometimes unknowingly, regardless of their education, job, medical or physical status.

As I have gotten older, have become disabled, I cannot do the physical things I once did, but I realize that no matter what shape I am in, God can still use me for his purpose. In my daily readings I ran across the following paragraphs and I think that this sums it up for many of us. Even in the small things, God is ever present and can make use of people from all walks and circumstances of life. Everyone, no matter who they are, can make a difference.

If I can throw a single ray of light across the darkened pathway of another;

If I can aid some soul to clearer sight of life and duty, and thus bless my brother,

If I can wipe from any human cheek a tear,

I shall not have lived my life in vain while here.

If I can guide some erring one to truth, inspire within his heart of duty;

If I can plant within my soul of rosy light youth a sense of right, a love of truth and beauty;

If I can teach one man that God and heaven are near,

I shall not then have lived in vain while here.

If from my mind I banish doubt and fear, and keep my life attuned to love and kindness;

If I can scatter light and hope and cheer, and help remove the curse of mental blindness;

If I can make more joy, more hope, less pain,

I shall not have lived and loved in vain.”

If by life’s roadside I can plant a tree, beneath whose shade some wearied head may rest,

Though I may never share its beauty, I shall yet be truly blest –

Though no one knows my name,

Nor drops a flower upon my grave,

I shall not have lived in vain while here.”

(Anonymous)From God’s Little Devotional Book Published by Honor Books 1995, Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Spring Cleaning in the Winter

Author: Lori Carter

Country Sunrise

Country Sunrise

I’m a pack rat. I admit it. I love to go to thrift stores, yard sales, antique malls and flea markets. I always come home with at least two bags of stuff!! I will see a vase, or some trinkets, or some material and think “I can use that, or I can make something out of that.” It comes home, I will wash it up and it will sit on my work table for a month or two and eventually gets packed away for future use. Then I forget all about it.

A couple times a year, and for sure at the beginning of the year when I need to clean out my files, I start going through boxes and drawers to eliminate the junk. I run into all of these items I purchased and stowed away. Some of them I have had for a year or two and completely forgot about. Recently I decided that I was going to eliminate some of this junk, and boy was that hard to do. Every item I picked up, I would think “I can do something with this.” But I was strong and decided to throw a lot away because I realized if I didn’t use it within a few weeks or months after I brought home, I was probably not going to ever get around to using it.

We can sometimes be a pack rat with our souls too!! Something happens, to us, which is unpleasant, devastating or hurtful. Maybe someone said or did something to us that wasn’t right and although we can’t deal with it at the moment or may never be able to do something about it, we file it away to a certain part of our brain to be dealt with later.

When something else happens, we draw these items out of storage and compare them to the newest event and we start thinking we need to do something with them. Maybe we think we need to confront someone for something they said or did. Maybe we even think we should look into some kind of legal action against someone, even though what happened may have been months or even years ago.

The sad fact is; there are a lot of things that happen in our lives that we can’t or shouldn’t do anything about. For example, there are thousands, perhaps millions of times that people say something hateful, hurtful or just incorrect to or about us. It is hard to take words back once they are said. If we didn’t take care of the problem at the time it occurred, chances are the person has forgotten about it completely.

We need to occasionally do some spring cleaning within ourselves. We need to let go of the unpleasant events and words that we store in our heart and minds. The human race is a cruel race and it is only going to get worse. We need to clean out that closet and start storing all of the good things in there instead. We need to store the blessings of God, the happy events and the love of our family and friends instead of all the garbage that can constantly make us sad, depressed and unhappy.

If you’re going to be a pack-rat, collect and store the items you can really use, like honesty, love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and kindness and draw on this storage when you are going through those tough times that are common throughout our lives. Calling up the positive events can help us weather the storm and find something positive no matter what might be going on at the time.

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Yes, It is Christmas

Luke 2: 8-15 and there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

It comes around this time each year, Christmas. It is when we remember and celebrate the birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ, yet so many would like to stop this celebration by declaring that it is insulting and discriminatory to their beliefs. Christmas has been celebrated at the same time each year for centuries, and no matter what anyone says or tries to do about it, it will continue, at least among Christians.

It is also a time of the year that we miss those who have gone on to be with Jesus and those who live to far away to visit. Sadness and joy combined make up all the feelings that abound this time of the year. For many it is a hard time as they remember bad times, lost loved ones, and separation from family and friends.

The good news is that Jesus was born, the son of God, to take away the sins of the world, to act as intercessor with the father, so that all who believe on him shall be saved and enter into eternal life with him.

I remember good Christmas’s and bad, and when I look back, I see how blessed I have been since the day I turned my heart over to the lord. No matter what this world does, no matter how immoral, wicked or violent it gets, I know who stands by my side and guides me. I know who I will stand beside at the end, and I know I will see all of those loved ones that have gone before and will come after, once again.

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, not “Happy Holidays, but Merry Christmas – Happy Birthday Jesus. Think about the times when Christmas might not have been as good. Maybe you were alone, away from loved ones and friends or maybe you lost someone close to this day. As you reflect, think about what some others may be going through and reach out to those you can with the love of Jesus to let them know, they are loved and are never truly alone.

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It is “Christmas” Not “Happy Holidays”

Author: Lori Carter

christmas-tree-in-woods.jpg

There are times when I will awake with an article in my mind. Usually it is something that I feel needs to be said and I believe that many of these times I am being directed by God. Often times I let the article bounce around in my mind for several hours before I start writing and this can sometimes be a problem. If I don’t sit down and take some notes and allow it to keep circulating through my mind, I will come up with at least a dozen different ways to write it. This often stops me from writing the article that very day and my notes will sit for a while until I can sort them out or I will end up writing a small novel instead of an article.

I research a lot of things. Research is what I did at my last job, the longest lasting job I had and I consider myself pretty good at. I browse the news on yahoo and check it out periodically during the day along with my regular visits to Facebook. I look for odd stories and events that don’t make the headlines but are listed or shared separately. I find a lot of articles buried in out of way places that, if true, are very upsetting. I also notice trends in certain subjects and one that has bothered me for a while is the way that many Christians, at least a lot who claim to be Christians, cow tow to idea of being politically correct.

Political correctness is just another fancy phrase for saying you want to avoid conflict of any kind. It is saying that you will make statements or perform actions that are contrary to your beliefs just to make others content or to avoid arguments. If you are a true Christian you cannot be politically correct. It seems that it is alright for Gay rights groups to hold protests, the Church of Satan to erect a monument close to the ten commandments, and public schools to change their structures to add prayer area for Muslim children, but if Christian children form a prayer group, the get suspended?

Turning the other cheek does not mean to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. It means if you are to avoid acting back to an aggressor in a violent fashion. It means that you take an insult or an attack without retaliation, but you also have the right to protect yourself if it comes to the infliction of bodily harm. If someone slanders you, calls you a name, insults you, you should consider the source and ignore it. If someone physically attacks you or your family, you should be all means thwart that attack.

Jesus wants us to stand up for our faith, no matter what; Matthew 10:33; But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” This applies to different religious observances just as much as it does in everyday life.

It really irks me when I hear someone who claims to be a Christian saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. A holiday is simply a day or combination of days that you are exempt from work. This can include legal holidays, vacation time, religious holidays or just personal time off, so if you are wishing someone Happy Holidays, you are simply saying “happy time off”.

Christmas is Christ’s birthday. Although the actual day is incorrect, it is the day, which has been set aside for many generations to celebrate the day that Jesus was born. Christians, world-wide, have celebrated this day for few thousand years.

Think about it. You don’t hear Jewish people running around saying “Happy Holidays” on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur and you don’t hear Muslims shouting “Happy Holidays” during Eid Ul-Fitr or Eid Ul-Adha, so why is it politically correct to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas on Christ’s Birthday?

If you are going to be a Christian, be a real Christian. Take Christ with you when you walk out those church doors on Sunday. Show his teachings in your everyday life. Don’t whisper his name for fear of insulting someone. Don’t hide the fact that you pray. Love everyone just as Jesus and the father loves us and pray for those who don’t understand.

I have made a variety of friends on Facebook due to some strange events in my life. Many of them are Christian friends from the churches I have attended in my life. Some believe they are spiritualists and some believe they are psychic. A few  actually believe we come from Aliens and the rest aren’t sure what they believe, but not one of them, Christian or other has ever disrespected me for speaking what I believe and more of the non-Christians act like Christians than some of the Christians do.

It is “Christmas” not “Happy Holidays”

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Four Wooden Angels

Author: Lori Carter

wooden angleThey sat on the shelf at the antique mall. I passed by them a few times, picked them up, looked at them, and then put them back. As we walked around looking at the other items for sale, I found my mind wandering back to the four wooden angels. Someone had taken the time to cut them out, draw out each angle, and hook them together with hinges so they would sit accordion style on a table, dresser or shelf somewhere.

Each angel was different, with the hairstyle changed and the gowns with different decorations. One had scallops along the edge, another with little holly leaves, one with flowers and one with no trim at all. Each one held something different in their hands. One held a candle, another a wreath, while one held holly leaves, and the fourth a string of bells.

Finally, before we left, I went back and grabbed the four wooden angels. I didn’t know what I would do with them, but I knew they would be a gift of special meaning to someone this Christmas.

For several weeks I would go back and pick up these wooden angels and look at them. I had already decided they would go to my older sister in Arizona, but I wanted to do something with them first. I thought about painting in the details but decided I my hands weren’t steady enough to do it right. I thought about coating or spraying them with clear lacquer but decided it would take away from the plain wood color that made them so unique

There were four of girls in the family, Dee, me, Cindy and Francis. Francis unfortunately met with an untimely death back in the 80’s. She was murdered in her home and her murder was never found. I thought about writing our names across the bottom, in order of age, one for each sister, but for some reason it didn’t feel like what I was supposed to do.

If the finances work out right, I tried to send something to Dee, Cindy and all the grandchildren. It has been the habit of us sisters to find unique items for each other, when we can afford it, for birthday presents or Christmas gifts. Some years we find some really unique items and others we just send prayers and love.

I like to send out gifts, if it is a year for giving, long before the last minute rush and that time was drawing close so I had to make a decision. I woke up one the 5th of December with the idea that I shouldn’t paint the angels, but leave them simple and write the four names of Dee’s granddaughters on them.

This I did with a black felt pen. I also took the pen and outlined the details of each angel so that they were very clear, and then I packed them up with the other little things I had found that I thought my sister would like.

Now Dee has been going through very tough trials the last few years. Along with her medications becoming more expensive, she has been dealing with severe depression. I sent a letter telling her that we hoped something in this box would help to cheer her up a little.

She called yesterday. She received the box and was delighted with everything in it. She thanked us profoundly for all the little items that we knew she would like and exclaimed that the wooden angels were the best. She now has a goal in mind. She plans on painting them herself and displaying them all year around to show others how much she loves her granddaughters and to remind her of some of the blessings she does have. I haven’t heard her talk this positive in years. She claims that they are responsible for giving her “the Christmas Spirit” that she wasn’t feeling yet this year.

I tell you this story for a very special reason. The Lord speaks to us in many different ways. The Holy Spirit that he sent as our helper can be very forceful in our lives, allowing us to see things clearly, or it can be as simple as an instinct to do or say something to a chosen individual at just the right time.

I do believe that these four wooden angels were just what my sister needed to bring some joy back into her life. I was meant to buy them and send them to her, and that was why I was sent back several times to look at them.

Do you feel a nudging at times to do something special for someone, to send out a little note or make a certain call? Do you feel and instinct to visit someone, or to buy a certain thing for a person you haven’t seen for a while? Follow your instincts, your inclinations, those nudges that say “call this person, write this person, drop a little something for this other one”.

It is often the smaller things we do to show we care for someone, to show we love someone, to show we haven’t forgotten someone that will make all the difference in their day, their week, and possibly their life. God works through us, sometimes without our knowledge until he has exacted his will.

If you feel those nudging or feel an instinct to do something, remember that it is often the Holy Spirit moving you to do something for someone else that may make all the difference in the world to them.

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