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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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The 4th of July: I Still Love America

Author: Lori Carter

american flagThis is the day we celebrate our Independence, the day that our forefathers accepted and signed the paper that claimed our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now known as the United Kingdom). It has been celebrated every year since 1776 on July 4th.

Through the years it has been full of speeches, special presentations and ceremonies, BBQ’s, picnics, family gatherings, and plenty of fireworks. Families got together to celebrate living in a country where they had the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to bear arms, freedom to own their own land and create their own life, and to vote on their own laws.

I’ve watched over the years and it seems so much has changed in our country. We are involved in so many wars, trying to help other countries that we seem to be blind to the many wars that are going on right here on our home land. Freedom of speech doesn’t really exist anymore, for many are finding that when they talk about what they believe in, what they were raised to believe in, they are called bigots, racists, narrow minded, hypocrites, cultists, and so many other cruel labels.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have the groups of people screaming for their rights yet at the same time want to do away with the rights of others. Let’s take prayer and the pledge of allegiance out of the schools but designate one room for Muslim children to pray in and install foot baths for them. Let’s take down the Ten Commandments off public buildings but let us put up statues from a satanic cult. It is a full scale assault on our society.

People are afraid to give an honest opinion, afraid they will be sued, they will be publicly embarrassed in the news or on social media sites, and afraid they will become the victims of misdirected violence. Some are afraid they will be the subject of investigations and invasion of privacy if they voice their honest opinions about their local, county, state or federal governments.

People are attacked because of their race, their religion, their politics, their sexuality, there position in the community, or just because others don’t have anything better to do. Most are afraid to leave their homes unprotected, afraid to walk to their cars in many neighborhoods, especially after dark, afraid to talk to their neighbors or say hi to someone on the street.

I’ve watched the country that I was taught to respect, to love, consistently go down the drain and it breaks my heart that special days like Independence days are now just a time for more violence, for getting drugged up or drunk and abusing your fellow human. I am sad that so many people are silenced because they fear the end result of their honesty will be detrimental to them and their families.

Where have the communities gone that used to pull together, work together to make their neighborhood better and safer. Where are the neighbors who got along, had fun together on holidays like this instead of taking each other to court, making complaints or making noise to irritate their neighbor to get even for some argument or disagreement that was had?

Where are the people who were proud to live in America, that were proud to be called Americans, that were proud to help in their community, were proud to cast their votes because they believed in their government and believed in the American way?

It is such a shame, that a great country like this is quickly becoming the laughing stock of the world. How can we even attempt to help other countries when we seem to have forgotten about our own? Many people won’t even celebrate Independence Day or any other national holidays for fear of being harassed, injured or even killed when going to a special event.

I long for the America I grew up with, where people helped each other, people were kind and caring, and people cared about America, about here laws, her cities and towns, her promised freedom from oppression and her reputation. I long for the free America, where violence wasn’t tolerated and honest people could voice their opinion without fear of retaliation. I long for the America where everyone respected the rights of others, where everyone strove to get along with others, where everyone worked to make this America a greater country.

So while you are partying on this Fourth of July, remember what America used to be, what she could be, what she should be. Remember when you take that drink, eat that BBQ, go out on that boat to watch those fireworks, remember that all of this is possible because you do live in America, and be proud of your country, and even more importantly, find a way to work to make America the Icon of Freedom and Inspiration she used to be. If everyone did just one little thing to help America get back to where she used to be, it wouldn’t take long for her to be the great country she once was. I still love America and want to see her healed. We all need to pray for America.

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Take a Deep Breath, Step Back, Slow Down and Heal

Author: Lori Carter

Old Town, Missouri

Old Town, Missouri

Our attitude, the way we handle everyday life says so much about who we are as Christians, what our relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost is. Just by the way we act, the way we live; the way we talk is an example to people. If you wake up in the morning already predisposed to negativity, it is hard to look out and see the positive.

Everyone has been through their own personal hell and many have survived because of the attitude they take each day upon opening their eyes from their nights slumber. If you can wake up in the morning with a thankful attitude for just being able to see another day, you have already started your day in a positive way.

Many people go through life blaming everything bad that happens to them on God. A whole lot of them believe they must have committed some horrible sin, or a bunch of them, that they are going to be punished for the rest of their lives for it. I truly believed this for many years, during a dark time in my life. This is never true. God is not a punishing God. Even though he allows us to reap what we sow, often allowing us to go through trial, tribulations, loss, sorrow, and illness, he does not inflict it on us. Everything bad, everything that is evil is of the Devil

Take, for example, the plight of Job. He had no idea that what was happening to him was kind of a bet between God and the Devil. He had no idea he was a pawn in the scheme of the Devil to try and prove God wrong about the upstanding nature and faithfulness of Job. No, Job accepted what was happening, assumed it was his own fault that he was being afflicted. He thought it because of some sin he might have committed in his mind, or unknowingly did physically, that he deserved what was happening to him, but continued to praise God through all of it.

I have heard it preached many a time, that, when God is getting ready to move in your life, Satan will attack with everything within his power. Illness, depression, loss of loved ones, financial distress, dissension among friends and relatives, just about any tool he can use against you, he will use.

This world has become such a busy hub of activity. From morning to bedtime, most people, whether working, home, retired, or disabled, seem to have every minute of the day filled with some kind of activity. Getting ready for work, sending the kids off to school, paying bills, running your own business, attending soccer practice, night school, dance lessons, going to baseball games, basketball games, and church activities, it is a surprise that the majority of the population isn’t on some kind of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicines, oh wait, many of them are.

Through the media, large businesses establishments, medical research technicians, public relations experts, word of mouth, enticing displays at stores, and pushes by medical experts and pharmaceutical companies, the average family spends many thousands of dollars a year keeping up with the Jones, running around to every activity they are told they should be involved in, and imbibing in any medication a doctor suggests.

We are constantly being diverted and dumbed down to the very existence and involvement of God in our lives. There are great plans in the works everyday to draw our attention away from what should be most important to us. Sometimes God will allow something to happen to wake some of us up. This is a recent occurrence with me.

I was always on the go until I became disabled. I ran around, trying to accomplish perfection in everything I did. When the multitude of problems began to accumulate and I had to apply for disability, I had to make some major life adjustments. I had to back down from trying to solve everyone’s problems accept my own. I had to slow down, and do some self-evaluations and take a good look at the way I prioritize the things in my life. I had to accept the fact that my life had changed, even without my willing participation.

Even though I backed off from a lot of the things I did, I still often end up running a lot during the month. Between doctor’s visits, Rich’s infusions every 48 hours, the occasional ER visit, and trips to Mom’s to make sure she is alright, we can’t forget the many trips to the store to resupply the cabinets or pick up prescriptions or get something we might have forgotten on the last trip.

I like to believe that we can control a lot of our health through natural medicine. We strive to eat healthy, be proactive in preventative measures and such. I can sometimes get into my OCD mode with house cleaning, which can take several days due to my limitations, but I strive to live right, keep a positive attitude, show the Lords love and pray a lot, really a lot.

Recently I had a setback I hadn’t planned on. I get a little too gung-ho, to quickly at times. On the 28th of May it had rained, and then Sam came and mowed, so I decided we had to get out there to sweep up right away. The new-mown grass can get in Rich’s throat and cause a major attack, so I thought I was being smart by trying to get it cleaned up right away.

I awoke the next day, after sweeping and pulling up dandelions, with a rash all over my arms. After three visits to the ER, a diagnose of an allergic reaction to something, reactions to the medicines they prescribed, I have realized that maybe God is giving me a gentle push, telling me to slow down a little, not everything is an emergency, not everything needs to be done immediately.

So while these medicines make me feel worse, make me shaky, sleepy and edgy all at the same time, I still send up prayers of thanksgiving each day that the rash is lessened, each day that I awake again to see the sun shine, smell the fresh air, and am able to get out of bed and begin my day. I thank God that these medicines will not be a lifestyle for me, but are temporary. So now I will take a deep breath, step back, slow down and heal.

Do I think God is getting ready to move in my life? That is always a possibility. Do I feel like I am being punished for some unforgotten sin that I forgot to repent of or make right? Absolutely not, for I know my father loves and cares for me and that all bad and evil comes from Satan.

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How Satan Can Destroy Families

bible

Author: Lori Carter

Satan uses a lot of different tools to draw our attention away from being good Christians. He uses our emotions such as sadness, sorrow, anger, resentment, bitterness, hurt, and depression to fog our minds with negativity. He uses physical means such as poverty, illness and disease to enhance and play upon our emotions. He is busy, busy trying his best to draw attention from God to pleasures of the world, and he does this through many different methods, including the technology that we have today.

Richard said something the other day that made a lot of sense. “It’s hard to think positive thoughts when you are already predisposed to negative thoughts.” Sadly, this happens a lot during the formative years of childhood. When parents should be raising their children to recognize the goodness in life, they are, instead, exposing them to the negative. It also happens when the parents are bombarded with all the negativity that Satan tries to throw at them, and he does this on a continuous basis.

These children grow up listening to their parents argue, fight or disagree. They are exposed to their bad habits of smoking, drinking, doing drugs, and mishandling finances. They hear them complain on a daily basis about the problems in their life without hearing them give thankfulness for the good. They are raised with technological babysitters like TV’s, video games, cell phones, and computers.

When they should be going on family outings, to church, to libraries, or just outside to play, they are told to go play a game, watch a movie, go on the computer, or call a friend. It is understandable that the parents may be over stressed, tired, or over worked, but that is because of the decisions they have made in their life. It is because they have mixed up their priorities.

The sad part of this is what the child learns from these electronic, technical babysitters. They learn that material possessions are more important than anything else. They learn about alcohol from commercials, how it can make you feel, how it can make people like you more, how you can become more popular because you drink a certain brand.

They learn that you can’t fit in unless you have the latest video games, the latest iPad, iPod, cell phone, laptop or tablet. They come to believe that they have to wear $200.00 shoes and $70.00 pants to be appreciated and liked by their friends, and they can become very bitter, resentful and angry when the parents refuse or cannot afford to get them these things.

Even in families that are not plagued by bad habits like alcohol and drugs, the parents can be neglectful of the child’s emotional, moral and spiritual needs by filling up time with too many chores, too much work and too many self-indulgences. Instead of going to Church together on Sundays, Dad wants to go fishing or play golf.Instead of going to Bible study on Wednesday, Mom needs her “girl’s night out”.

Instead of bonding with the kids in a fun way, mom wants to be on Facebook, while dad is working overtime to get that new boat or those new golf clubs or is out in the garage working on a project. The family is separated. Separation of the family pleases the devil.

Maybe it’s time for parents, and yes, some grandparents and guardians to step back and take a good look at how they are raising their children. Giving them everything they want, whatever money can buy, will not make then responsible, morally strong adults. Taking away the electronic babysitters, exposing them to the Christian belief system, introducing them to Christian families with children their own age, and most importantly of all, spending time with them, without the interference of the outside world, bonding with them, will help get them on the right path to being the “faithful” and “responsible” generation this world needs.

Turn off the TV, turn off the computer, turn off your phones, tune out the world and spend time together enjoying and learning about the world the God really intended on us to enjoy.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”

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