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A Changing of Seasons

Author: Lori Carter

the four seasonsYes, fall is coming in quickly. I remember that we were warm well into October last year, but the temps are dropping rapidly at night now. Hopefully, all the rumors about a very bad winter are false. Even so, we take it one day at a time for that is the only way you can really take it. We do not have control over the weather, even though it is rumored that our government, among others have tried to change/control the weather at times.  In the end, God is in control.

It is the same as you go through different seasons in your life. Sometimes it is out of your control. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to change something, it remains the same or goes in the opposite direction.

I’ve had a lot of different seasons in my life, probably too many to accurately describe, but I have learned along the way that there are only certain things I can accomplish. I can change myself, my habits, my behavior and my attitude, but I cannot change those around me. I can try to encourage, good, healthy changes in those that are close, but in the end the decision has to be theirs.

Are you in a new season in your life today? Are things rapidly changing and you aren’t sure which way to turn or what the final outcome will be? Praise the lord for the blessings you have every day, and step out in faith that he is control.

Change yourself in the areas that you know you should, and encourage healthy, Christian change in those around you. Do not be discontent, angry or upset if they don’t follow your lead, for you are not in control. The final outcome will always be up to God.

Enjoy the good seasons, praise the lord and thank him for the trials and tribulations you go through for they build your character, your strength, endurance and compassion. They allow you to learn valuable lessons and let you feel first-hand some of the sufferings of others.

In all things, every day, remember that he is God, he has the final say, and the very best that you can do is take one day at a time, keeping faith in him, following his laws, and trusting him for the best results, no matter what they may be.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
Genesis 8:22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease

Be Blessed, Lori

GOD IS GOD ALL THE TIME. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD

Originally Published on “Positive Mornings” September 15, 2012

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Are Your Reservations Confirmed?

Christ of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Christ of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Author: Lori Carter

When I was a new Christian, I ended up being very confused. I heard sermons that said you were to go out and spread the world. I heard sermons that gave off a whole list of things you should be doing for other people. Then I heard the commercial sermons where you were promised a gold star from God or a confirmed reservation in Heaven if you sowed a monetary seed into this cause or that cause.

In the early years I was confused a lot. I read my bible, but I have to tell the truth, I found it very hard to understand, and still do today. Many preachers offered their interpretations or those of their church leaders to the congregation.

Since the bible was put together by men, I truly believe that the first church left a lot of important information out, on purpose to sway people toward what they determined they should know, since they, in fact, incorporated pagan elements into the church to sway people to attend.

Every sect has its own interpretations of the bible, so it can get very confusing trying to figure out who is right, who is wrong, and if anyone is even anywhere close to the truth.

My deceased husband was a minister for twenty years before I met him. I asked him one day, how to determine who was preaching the right word. His simple answer was to let the Holy Ghost tell you.  He said if you open your mind to the whisperings of the savior, you will know in your heart what is right and what is wrong.

I interpret the bible differently than many of my past church associations do. I believe that God is so much bigger than this, one small compilation of his word.  I also believe that churches only take part of the gospel to teach their members. I have found so much in this book that has never been spoken about or taught in the 17 years that I have been a Christian.

He built such an expansive universe. He put life on this world of ours, and even though some believe he no longer interacts with us, he still performs miracles. A god this big has to have a great big heart to love so many sinful people.

None of us are perfect. Even as Christians we struggle each day against temptations and problems. I truly believe that the Ten Commandments are a great recipe for living, and that showing God’s love can often be the best way to preach his salvation.

Sometimes being an example and trying to live his word is the best sermon anyone can see or hear. God knows the heart. He knows what we are capable of and what we are incapable of. He judges our true heart and not the physical actions we do because we think they will please him.

You can give tons of money away (if you have it), volunteer at a soup kitchen and feed the hungry and homeless or offer your time in a group or ministry at church, but if you are doing it to impress others and score brownie points with god, your future is bleak.

I guess the main point I want to get across, is the fact that we, none of us, are perfect, nor will we ever be. I believe that god sees the heart. He sees our struggles, our responses and our attitude.

He knows we struggle each day, but I believe as long as we have a heart that seeks after him, as long as we try to be the examples, the people he wants us to be, we will have our reservation in his mansion when we leave this temporary earth. What’s in your heart?  Are your reservations confirmed?

Matthew 6:1-4“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

GOD IS GOD ALL THE TIME. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD

(Article originally published in “Positive Mornings”, my other blog – 2012)

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Being a True Christian

Author: Lori Carter

bible

Many arguments continue about the validity of the bible. I have even read opinions that state if you don’t accept the bible as being “wholly God’s word” you cannot classify yourself as a Christian. I don’t agree with this statement.

The bible holds many writings that have been passed down since the beginning of time. To say all of it is exact would be in error, since it has never all been put together in one source. The bible that we read today has many books and writings that were left out. If you read through the history of the first churches you can see where they changed doctrine to fit what they wanted or needed at the time.

Many Hebrew and Jewish writings and books were left out because they were not considered Christians, however they did/do believe in God and their earlier writings, before the time of Jesus should all be included. It is just part of history.

My honest opinion is that since the books of the bible were gathered together, read, edited and combined by “men”, there is room for errors, inclusions and exclusions. For those who don’t quite understand this, there were many different bibles written by scholars, popes and other theologians before the King James Version was finally determined to be the most accurate.

If we are to believe that our God is the one and only true God then we have to believe that he is really omnipotent, omnipresent, Omni-everything. We have to open our minds that a being this great would have made many different creations, of which we are just one. Don’t believe it? Then just take a look at the Universe.

There is great information to live by in the bible. If you read it through, you will also see that from time to time God changed his mind. This is his right as our God, but can you just imagine him sitting in heaven, looking down on his children and wondering when we are going to wake up to just how great and awesome he is?

During my years as a Pentecostal Christian I have noticed a difference, even among the preachers of this denomination, in the interpretation of God’s word and in the stated belief system common to this church. I have observed changes in doctrine every few years in some of them. When I first started the one Church, they believed that only members of their church would make it to heaven. That line of thinking has since then changed.

I believe that as long as you live the way God intended, act the way he has directed, believe on his son Jesus and basically follow the Ten Commandments as set forth, you are a Christian, no matter what others may think. As long as you avoid the elements that you know are wrong, repent of your sins, show the love of the lord and pray, then you are a Christian.as

I think this a verse that many Churches need to remember “Mathew 7:5 :Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye”. I think this says a lot about many of the churches today and their need to judge others.

Share what you know to be true, pray for those you are convinced are following the wrong path, and live as you believe God intended. He only asks that we are faithful, believe in him and follow his commandments. How much simpler can it be?

Over the centuries, all the different denominations have made it difficult to choose what to believe. Follow your heart, your conscience and take from your own experiences where you have seen God work and forget all the rules, laws, and rituals that mainline churches incorporate into their teachings, after all, if your read the history of the “Church”, you clearly see that early on, rules, laws and teachings were changed to fit their wants and needs.

It is a Glorious day in the Lord, Be Blessed, Lori
This article was originally published 7/15/2012 on my old blog page “positive mornings”. I have added and corrected a few things on it.

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True Worshp Comes From the Heart

(Originally published 10/25/12 on “Positive Mornings”. I am working on transferring everything over to “More of Positive Mornings”)

Author: Lori Carter

First Flowers of 2014 007
I am not a seasoned Christian, or at least I do not consider myself one. I am not perfect. I make mistakes, I get angry, I get depressed and sometimes, more often than I would like to admit, I let my tongue override my brain. Even though I was married to a Pastor for a short time, before God took him home, I do not know all there is to know about God either.

I have struggled during the early years of my “Christianity” on the right way to worship. I have attended many churches during my 18 years as a Christian, and even though some of them follow the same general belief system, each church has its own ideas on the way to worship. Over the years I have discovered that true worship comes from the heart. It is a personal experience with God and different for each person.

Sadly, I have seen pastors change their services to try to match those of other churches that may be going through a great time of the outpouring of the spirit. I saw one pastor couple, who took over a church that had been used, abused and beaten up by former leaders, try to change the way the congregation worshiped overnight. It was obvious in the services, even though many were willing to follow their suggestions that the worship was forced and did not come from the heart.

When you stand on the stage, as I did because I handled the overheads for the worship songs, and look out at the congregation, seeing older men profusely sweating, having trouble breathing and turning red in the face from trying to hop around or dance, because the pastor says to, then you know immediately that the worship is not from the heart, but more from people wanting to please their pastor, wanting to be part of whatever is happening in the service.

It is the same when it comes to the outpouring of the spirit in speaking in tongues. I have been blessed many times, but I wasn’t boisterous about it, nor did I, in any want to draw attention to myself, but have observed others who have. I was even asked by a woman one day if I practiced speaking in tongues, and when I told her “no” she was adamant that I needed to practice every day.

I was taught, and even the bible indicates, that speaking in tongues is a spur of the moment blessing. It is not something you practice or study for like you do French, German or Spanish. It is instantaneous when the Holy Spirit decides it is to be. I know many people who have never had the blessing of speaking in tongues, but this does not make them any less a Christian. It is not a requirement, but a blessing being poured out when the Holy Ghost decides.

Just as God made each one of us different, so our worship is different. I have been blessed as many times in a quiet service as I have in a louder service. I have felt Gods hand on me in silence, and in open, verbal prayer. True worship comes from deep within us, within our hearts, whether we choose to do it quietly or less than quietly.

Unfortunately many people do not understand this. Many people want so badly to be accepted and be part of those around them that they feel they need to “follow” the pack, act like others, and worship like others, that they actually end up losing out on blessings God has for them.

True worship comes from the heart. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to dance in the spirit, wave your arms in the air or talk loudly in tongues to truly worship God. This will happen instantaneously, without any effort if it is the way that God wants you to worship.

It doesn’t matter what the person standing next you, the woman in the front row or that guy across the room is doing. All that matters is that your heart and soul truly holds worship for God. When you are truly worshiping God, everyone around you disappears and you are alone with him. You won’t notice the woman jumping up and down next to you, or the man crying at the altar or the person in the back row who is trying to be heard over everyone else.

True Worship Comes from the Heart

Be Blessed, Lori

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Your Participation is Required

Author: Lori Carter

Old Town, Missouri

Old Town, Missouri

The tale goes something like this. “There was an elderly gentleman that lived by himself in a small, rural town. He was a devout Christian, attended every service at church, read his bible, gave to the poor, and belonged to every charitable group in town. One summer it rained severely and the town started to flood. As he got out his ladder and started to climb on his roof, some neighbors in a row boat came up and asked him to go with them. He answered “no thank you, God will take care of me”. The waters kept rising and most of the town had evacuated. The Navy sent in a boat to rescue anyone that was left, but when they came upon the elderly gentleman, he again refused to get in the boat. Several hours later, a helicopter flew above him, stopped and hovered there, and let down a ladder. The man still declined to be helped, and eventually the waters overcame and he drowned. When he got to Heaven and stood in front of God, he asked “God, why didn’t you save me?” to which God replied “I sent your neighbors to help you, I sent the Navy to help you, and I sent a helicopter to help you, what more did you want me to do?”

God still performs miracles. You hear about them every day, but he doesn’t always do it with a flash of lightening and a peal of thunder. He often opens doors, sends the right people your way, or gives you the knowledge to find your own way of resolving your problems. You have to walk through that door, recognize the people he sent, and listen to his voice. Hiding off in the corner with a “woe is me” attitude will accomplish nothing. Your participation is required.

I worked for a company many years back, for six years. The first three years, the owners were as fair as they could be with their employees. The company was small and didn’t rake in a huge profit, but you got a raise every year, sometimes just a quarter an hour and there was always a Christmas bonus. If someone left the company and you had to take on their work load, you got another raise.

When the new owners took over that all stopped. There were no bonuses and there were no raises, except for the people they brought with them. They blamed it on poor sales, but the truth was they were paying for their cars and credit cards for both them and their wives out of the company instead of their own pockets.

I prayed for some kind of relief. I was barely making it week to week. I didn’t have time to even start looking for a better job. God sent a young lady to me one day in church, who asked me to meet her the following day at a restaurant in my neighborhood. She hired me as a customer service rep at two dollars more an hour than I was presently making. My pay increased by another dollar after 30 days and another dollar at my year-end review. He answered that prayer more abundantly that I had ever anticipated. He gave me my miracle, but if I hadn’t agreed to meet with her after a grueling day at work, I wouldn’t have been able to reap the rewards of my miracle. My participation was required.

Another example is that of an elderly woman that rode the church bus. She had bad cataracts on her eyes, to the point where she was almost blind. Her neighbor would go over and help her with the house work, the cooking and the laundry. She would help her on and off the bus and around inside the church. It was found out later that her insurance would pay for her cataracts to be removed, but she refused. She was waiting on a miracle healing from God. Eventually she had to get the surgery for her neighbor moved away and she found herself unable to find someone to provide the help she needed.

God opened a door for her, but she didn’t walk through it right away and wasted several years, sitting around in the dark, when her miracle was within her reach. Her participation was required.

God still performs miracles, some instantly and others by putting you in the right place at the right time with the right people. Your participation, however, is always required.

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How High Can You Count?

Author: Lori Carter

Old Town, Missouri

Old Town, Missouri

 

“Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings” Psalm 77:11-12 I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all the work, and talk of thy doings. (God’s Little Devotional Book – Honor Books – 1995)

What do you keep track of in your life? Sure there are the finances, bills to be paid, food to be bought, utilities, car payments, Internet and the like. Then there are the material items to keep track of like how many cars you own, how many TV’s that actually work, how many pairs of shoes or how many coats.

We often go through each month of the year looking at what has worn out and needs to be replaced. We then have to look at the options for replacing that item. Do we want to go with the most current, top of the line, more expensive item or do we want to go with what really fits our budget.

I have noticed over the last 10-15 years the increase in the way our society changes each day; new technologies, new inventions, new breakthroughs in medical procedures, new designs in clothes, shoes, cars, kitchen appliances and the like. Every day there is something new and improved that is pushed at the people in advertisements. Everyone feels pressured to keep up with their friends, family, neighbors or co-workers.

Our children and grandchildren are being raised with material values. They have to have the newest video game. It also has to be downloadable to their new cell phone with all the new applications and graphics that are available. They have to have the latest tablet or I-pad so they can text their friends while walking down the street instead of using their imagination and actually finding physical activities they and their friends can do together.

It is not just the children, but teens, young adults, and adults who are always spending money to keep up with the latest in everything because it would be just too disastrous if we didn’t have the same things everyone else is buying. Let’s put off the house payment another week so we can get those new I-pads, let’s cut back on a few of the groceries so the kids can have those Nike’s like the boy next door has.

It goes on and on and society often feels that their troubles are compounded by not being able to buy everything those big corporations and advertisements insist that they need. Soon they feel like they have this heavy burden on their shoulders and so many troubles arising each month that they feel they will never feel free again.

Priorities have changed and just being able to afford the basics doesn’t seem to be enough. Your oldest son wants a new tattoo because his friend just got one, or your daughter, who already has her ears pierced, wants to get her lip pierced also because her best friend did, and your best friend wants you to join her health club because it is the best in town. The list just gets longer.

It is a sorry mess when people become so involved in the society’s pressures that they forget where everything actually comes from. Nothing is this world would exist if God did not allow people to come up with the ideas for new inventions, new remedies, new technology. He can stop everything from existing in a split second.

A large portion of society needs to step back and get realistic. Instead of counting what they consider their troubles, it is a better idea to count the blessings first. Everything else is secondary. People forget that. They forget where everything originates. God

If you woke up this morning and were able to get out of bed, what a blessing that is. Do you have a roof over your head, enough money to pay the necessary bills and food in your cabinet? There are three more big blessings. You get the drift of what I’m saying don’t you. See how high you can count when you forget the troubles for a while and start your day by counting the true blessings in your life.

Remember, for every problem you think you have, for every crisis you go through, there is always someone out there that is going through so much more than you are. Lessons are to be learned in every level of your life, and if you keep your faith in Christ, then the father will turn every sorrow into rejoicing according to his will, and his will is always perfect.

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD, BE BLESSED

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How Often do You Listen to Your Conscience?

Author:  Lori Carter

One of our friendliest Neighbors

One of our friendliest Neighbors

Conscience is God’s built-in warning system. Be very happy when it hurts you; be very worried when it doesn’t. Acts 24:16 and herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward me. (God’s Little Devotional Book – Honor Books 1995)

How often do you listen to your conscience? Many believe just as I do that the conscience is one way that the Holy Spirit, the helper Jesus sent us, talks to you. That little voice that nips at us in the back of our minds, that says don’t say this, don’t do that can often be ignore when we are hurt or angry. It is very easy to choose the negative feelings over the voice that tries to direct us to the right thing. It is very easy to choose what we think will make us happy, even if it is temporary and against the word of God.

I can well remember, not just before I was a Christian, but even today, times that I wanted to say something or do something because I was hurt, upset or angry. More often in the past, I would ignore that little voice and burst out with a tirade of insulting or threatening words when someone accidentally or on purpose, upset my applecart.

We often hear about how we are to learn lessons from our past and one that I learned during my years of abuse was to hold my tongue. When I look back now, I see how that learning actually helps me today in my efforts to live and be what Christ wants me to be. That lesson from the past has taught me a lot about holding my tongue when I am hurt or angry.

Although there is a lot in my past that was hurtful, I thank God for the lessons I have come out of it with. It is not easy to watch the tongue when we are angry or hurt. It is a natural instinct to lash back, it is a natural instinct to be defensive, but if we practice listening to that little voice that tells us to wait before we speak, or offers us a different solution, if we wait before we act, look at the event or reason we are so upset, before we speak or act, we would be able to see that our conscience is working on our behalf.

How many times, when you were younger, did you start to do something that you felt in your heart and mind was wrong, but you did it anyway? Not one of us can claim to have been a perfect child, teen or adult. Even then it was our conscience that was speaking to us. Do you remember the results of ignoring that conscience? Maybe you were grounded, spanked or some other punishment was dished out, or maybe you even regretted what you said or did, but couldn’t mend it with just a “sorry”.

That still, small voice that often comes into our heads and says “think about what you are planning to do, think about what you are planning to say” is with us for all of our lives and we need to practice listening to it. The consequences of listening to your conscience can make the difference between living a peaceful, God filled life full of love or a lonely one, alienated from all other, living an isolated and dread filled life.

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD , BE BLESSED

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