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The Last Days

Hands holding the world2 Timothy 3: 1-9
One of Paul’s last Letters to Timothy
1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4.Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

Does any of this sound familiar? Look at our society today. Kids are rebelling against any kind of authority, and nothing is done about it. The cops or social services may come and take them out of the house for a few days, put them in a safe house or shelter, and then turn them loose again.

In any city at any time of the day, children, teens, and adults are walking around with cell phones stuck to their heads, or to their hands while they text. Accidents and deaths occur every day because of the attention given to these so called modern technologies and people barely get a slap on the hand for the grief and anguish they have caused.

Murders, rapes, burglaries, assaults and attacks are always in the news, yet the victims never really get their day in court because excuses are made for the actions of their attackers. They had a bad childhood, they were under duress, they were stressed, they didn’t have any role models, they have a mental illness, they were drunk or high, and the list goes on and on, and no one has to take full responsibility for their actions.

Christians are being attacked, not just in the Middle East but in Europe, Germany, Russia, China and America as well. Everyone turns a blind eye and does nothing about it. People attend church not for what they can learn, not to hear the word of God or to worship him, but to be entertained by the music, the video and the light shows. It’s more like going to a concert than attending a worship service in the house of God.

New churches are opened every day and new belief systems are introduced all the time. It is rumored on several blog sites that the Mormon Church has said there is no God, notice I said rumored, and now there are churches opening that are worshiping cannabis. More and more churches are preaching sermons about material wealth and less about a spiritual walk with the lord.

Everyone wants something, money, equal rights, property, acknowledgement, revenge or attention and are willing to step on as many heads and over as many bodies as they feel necessary, and we turn a blind eye as we walk down the street texting on our phones or scrolling through a social media site.

Yes, the last days are approaching quickly, and less and less people seem to care. It doesn’t seem to bother them that in a very short time they will have to stand in front of God and account for everything they did or everything they failed to do when they had the chance.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…. lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth

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Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go

Jesus with children 22 Samuel 14:29 15:12 : He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spread slander is a fool.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it

 

What’s the mark of a successful man? Many of us gauge success by money in the bank, prestige in the community, fine homes, fine cars or what have you!

Measuring success this way, David led the pack! His riches were unlimited. He stood head and shoulders above the crowds when it came to fame. He lived in a palace! But I wonder how he rated himself in old age. Those he loved the most, his own sons, plotted his downfall because of their hatred. Absalom and Adonijah both tried to overthrow him and usurp the throne. Why? Was David so busy being a king that he forgot to be a father? Only Solomon seems to have loved and respected David.

One of the big problems of our day is career orientation. Fathers/mothers must climb the ladder of success or search for fulfillment beyond the range of family. Who’s tending the home fires? How many Absaloms and Adonijahs are we producing?

Our entire Christian culture rests upon the foundation of the family. Are we so ambition geared that we destroy those we hold most dear?

(Source: Devotions for Every Day, The Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio 1978)

As I read this, this morning, it made me think about all the racial and civil violence and protests that are going on; All the families that have been destroyed by the shootings of young men in communities that have a large volume of criminal actions.

Every parent wants to believe that their child is perfect, that they don’t lie, steal, cheat, harm people or harbor any kind of hatred or ill feelings toward anyone. This is so far from the truth. Society today dictates that you are poor if you can’t buy all the latest fashions, all the bling bling that sparkles, all the latest technology and electronics.

Many children are raised in families that are poor and have just given up trying to make anything better for their children. Many of them are willing to sit back, collect benefits, complain about their situation and blame everyone else that they can. The sad fact is they are passing down this ideology to their children, stifling the chance for that child to seek something better in their life.

That is one main reason so many of them turn toward crime. They’ve been taught that their plight in life is never going to get better. Instead of the parents trying to instill honor, love, affection, mercy, forgiveness and grace in their children, they are instilling hatred, bitterness, and to be vengeful. They are teaching them  that nothing is their fault, it is always someone else’s fault and they are not taught to be respectful to anyone. They aren’t teaching them to take a responsibility for their actions, and then they wonder why they are arrested, beat, shot or killed in the act of committing a crime.

I really get tired of hearing what a good person they were, how they were loved and love others, how they were so sweet and innocent and then you find out they have a record of criminal acts as long as your arm, that they were involved in violent acts and never showed any intent on correcting anything in their lives and I have no doubt that a lot of this relates back to how they were raised.

It’s time for society, especially you parents, to wake up and realize “Your child is not perfect” and they never will be just as you never will be. Maybe it’s time to step back and take a look at yourself “Parents”. Exactly what are you teaching your children as they grow up? I have one child and have raised several others, and I have many grandchildren, and I don’t consider any one of them perfect. They all have problems of one sort or another. Even though they chose different paths in life, the parents did try to instill good habits in them.

I came from a very poor family. We lived in the basement of a building that flooded every time it rained. My mom would put us on a bed and we would watch all the bugs float by. We ended up spending several years in Foster Homes because my father died and my mother got sick. But no one, not one parent, my mom, my dad, or any of my foster parents taught me that my plight in life was someone else fault.

I wasn’t taught that lying, cheating, stealing, or hurting someone was the right thing to do because I was poor. I was taught to respect authority whether it was my parents, grandparents or the police. I didn’t even know I was poor until someone told me.

It’s time for parents to quit letting society, their relatives, their friends, their neighbors dictate how to live and how to raise their children. It’s time for them to forget about the material things in life and start raising their children to be responsible, respectful, helpful, loving and giving adults.

Let me make one thing very clear “No particular race has a monopoly on this problem. It is prevalent nationwide and worldwide and is in every community, no matter what color, religion, or gender or social status you are.”

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True Prayer: Giving it All to God

older woman prayingI once heard a pastor say that if you weren’t sure how to pray, to picture Jesus sitting in a chair next to your bed like a friend would, and just talk to him as you would your friend. Think about it, Jesus is not just our lord, but our constant companion and friend.

Sometimes praying can be confusing. You might not be sure you are praying for the right things, especially where others are concerned. For example, you might be praying for what you think is right in their lives when you should be praying that god just works in their lives.

I try not to be judgmental. That doesn’t mean that I always succeed, especially when it comes to those family members that I know so well. It is very easy to look at a person’s past and assume they haven’t changed, especially when you are miles and miles away from them and unable to witness with your own eyes any changes they have made.

I pray off and on all day. Sometimes it is silly little things like “God give me the strength to open this jar so I don’t have to disturb someone else by asking them to do it.” Other times something may come to mind that is an urgent need and I may walk around praying for several minutes.

I am a bit OCD, aren’t we all in one way or another. Unfortunately this sometimes seeps into my prayers and I think that I have to give God exact instructions on how to answer certain prayers. I have caught myself doing this a couple of times and have been working on just giving it to God and letting it go, the same advice that I have given others but haven’t followed as often as I should.

Anyway, I started thinking about changing the way I pray. I searched through the bible and found several verses that give insight on how to pray (actually found a site that gives you 13 steps on learning how to pray) but after scrolling through it found out that I didn’t agree with what they said.

Matthew 6:6-8King James Version (KJV)
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

I changed up my prayers the other night and decided instead to just ask God to watch over and protect those I was praying about, to guide them and strengthen them, and to bless them as much as he has blessed me. It was time for me to follow my own advice and give it all to God.

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Materialistic Things

junk

Author: Lori Carter

I detest moving, but sometimes it is a necessity. We were at the last house for six years, probably the longest I have ever lived at one place in my life. We finally decided that we weren’t meant to be homeowners. It is just more than we can handle.

It was an older house that needed a whole lot more work than we were led to believe and after having a fourth plumbing problem in four years, we decided to let it go.

We found a nice little home for rent that is perfect for us. We decided ahead of time that we were going to weed things out a little, but in the end, even after the weeding, we seem to have collected a couple truckloads of “stuff”.

The hard part is finally over. We did it ourselves and it was a job, since Rich had to do most of the lifting. We got some help moving the appliances; we borrowed a dolly, and used my poor Isuzu to haul everything over to the new place. We did three to four loads a week for two weeks because we just mentally and physically could do no more, but we are finally moved in.

I look around me at the things we have collected. Rich’s stuff and my stuff, and I can honestly say there needs to be more weeding done. I just emptied a box in the kitchen that we brought over, and apparently didn’t go through first because I ended up throwing most of it out.

Are we hoarders? Maybe in a sense, but when you are raised poor you tend to collect little things that you might be able to re-purpose, like the porch pole that was going to get a birdhouse put on top or that silver “thingy” you wanted to make a wind chime out of.

If I ever have to move again, I have decided that if I can’t afford to have someone move me, I am just going to walk away from everything, rent a furnished place, and start all over again, because nothing I own, not one materialistic thing is worth the health or life of myself or anyone else.

After all, when I leave for my heavenly home, it is just so much junk that someone will have to throw out. Not one item will go with me. There is not one item I would even take if I could, for the Lord will be supplying all of my needs. A new body, a new home, a renewed spirit will all mine and I won’t want or need any materialistic thing.

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A Positive Attitude

crossIn mathematics we are taught that the addition sign, the plus sign is called a positive, while the minus sign is called a negative. When you add something you gain something, when you subtract you lose something. Have you ever noticed that the plus sign is also a cross, similar in composition to the cross that Jesus died on, although somewhat shorter? Could there be a connection?

We gained so much when Jesus was sacrificed for our sins on that cross. When we see a cross on a wall, on top of a church, at an altar or in a book or article we are reminded of that sacrifice that was essentially a positive for mankind, in that we are now able to be forgiven of our sins, through Jesus.

He didn’t have to die on that cross. Being God’s son he could have called upon a league of Angels to take him home, but he went through the whole procedure, the pain and agony, according to his father’s will so we could also be saved. He could have objected, even though he was the father’s son, he could have pleaded with the father, but he said “thy will be done”.

Many of us walk around telling people to have a positive attitude, when, in fact many of us don’t practice it. Talking to others face to face, we tell them they have to look for the positive in each day, the positive in the crucifixion of Christ, and the positive in being a Christian, and then we go to our homes and complain about how bad our lives are, or how bad our city is, how bad our neighbors are, how sick we feel or how bad we hurt etc.

I have a positive attitude. For example, I am positive that I will have several migraines this week. I am positive that my bones will ache, I will be tired, and I will be depressed, stressed and cranky. I’m positive I have not fully recovered from my cancer surgery, and that someone where along the line, I will pick up another virus, or break out in a rash or hives. It’s just life. I chalk it up to getting older, my body is slowing wearing out, and that is what it is supposed to do because it is temporary shell that’s not made to last forever.

I’m also positive that this world is getting worse each day. You read it in the papers, you see it on the internet, and you listen to it on the news. Everything is happening just as predicted, and just as it has before, repeated again and again just check your history, and not just the history of your particular country, but world history, going all the way back to the beginning of time.

I am positive that not many people look for the positive each day, for you rarely see the stories about something positive happening. Once in a while you will see an article on what could be called a miracle or a pay it forward event, but it nowhere equals the horrible news that is thrown at us on a daily basis.

I am positive that many of my unsaved family members and friends ignore my advice and just chalk up to getting older. I know eventually they will have to make a choice, but in the mean time they don’t want to hear it from me, because who am I, I am no expert.

Ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, there has been hate, deceit, jealousy, violence, wars, discrimination, immorality and fights for power. There has been murder, rape, child abuse, poverty and more. It is repeated over and over again in the Bible. Sometimes the wars, violence and death were at the command of God, but most the time they were at the command of humans.

I’m positive that the flowers will bloom, fade away and die, that the trees will grow their beautiful green leaves only to toss them to the wind a few months later, that the grass will grow, have to be mowed, and then will die again under a blanket of snow. It’s what happens.

You hear all the comments and stories about climate change and global warming, and they may very well be true, for I have noticed over the years that each season is different from the one the year before. More severe snow storms, ice storms, thunder storms, tornadoes, cyclones and hurricanes are recorded than ever before. More earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis are occurring than ever before in history.

Face it; we have not taken care of this beautiful world that God created for us. We have damaged the earth with all of our new techniques for mining. We have polluted her waters and air and destroyed many of her fields and mountains. We have slowly destroyed the protective layer he put around our earth by disrupting it with planes, jets, rockets, pollution and radiation.

I am also positive that the month will outlast the money, it sometimes does and it is just a fact of life for many people. I am positive that at some point the car will need repairs that we can’t afford, because it already needs three tires and back window replaced. I am positive that someday we will be on shoe leather express, the Caravan and maybe the Senior Taxi again.

Now you might say that all of these positives are really negatives, but in reality they are not. They are 63 years’ experience of living life. Sixty three years watching the changing patterns in the habits of man, experiencing the ups and downs of living day to day life, and watching us destroy our earth. They are just facts of life.

But I do have a positive attitude, for I am positive that whether I die a peaceful death, an agonizing death or an accidental death, however it comes about, I am positive that I will stand in front of the Lord and praise him, that I will be surrounded by his glory and see those who have gone before me, and that he will shower me with the blessing of a new, permanent and eternal life..

Do you have a positive attitude? Where will you be when you leave this temporary home? Maybe it’s time to get a true, positive attitude through accepting Jesus as your Savior!! If you already know him, maybe it’s time to reconnect with him. You decide, positive or negative?

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Fantasy Trees

fantasy trees111

The purple flowers were the first tree

Fantasy trees2222

The yellow flowers next to the bird feeder were the 2nd tree

Ever since I moved to this small rural town, I have enjoyed being closer to nature. I do not miss the hustle and bustle, pollution or noise of the big cities, and I lived in and around them for almost 40 years of my life. I rode public transportation, drove through rush hour back up and took racing taxis in and around several large cities to get to work and just do the normal activities like going to church, taking grand kids to school and grocery shopping.

I can’t even begin to explain the tension that rode around on the top of my shoulders. I often took on the load of others at a time when I already had a lot to take care of. I would be up at 5:00 am and on the road by 7:00 am. When I worked in an office or warehouse setting I wouldn’t get out until 5:00 PM and was sure to be caught up in rush hour traffic whether I was on a bus, drove or in a taxi. This meant that I often didn’t get home until 6:00 or 7:00, giving me enough time to eat, do a few chores, bath and get into bed to start all over again the next day.

When I went on the road for my work, it was close to the same with the exception that I would be done driving around to the courts by at least 3:00 which gave me a chance to get home before rush hour, just barely. But it didn’t give me any more time to unwind or relax before bed time. There was always that trip to the store, or taking the grand-kids somewhere or picking my son up from work.

As if this wasn’t stress enough, there were always the sounds of the city during the night; Cars speeding up and down the streets, horns blowing, sirens going, the occasional sound of an accident, a gun going off or someone yelling or fighting.

When I put my plan to the company to move me down here as a field agent from Ohio, I had already done the research on getting to the various courts from this small rural town that was already home to my sister and her family.

I remember the first night that I slept in the apartment I rented. The quiet was almost eerie when you are used to the city noises. I slept probably the best that I had in many years and it didn’t take me long to get used to the peacefulness that you couldn’t find in cities or even suburbs.

When I first moved here, the one thing I wanted was to get closer to nature, and what better way to do that in a small, country town than having your own garden. I didn’t have a green thumb, in fact I used to laugh and say that any plant would shrivel up and die if I even looked at. Well it looked like that curse has been lifted as I have had some luck with small container gardens and house pants.

Richard, artist that he is, came up with the idea of the fantasy trees. He makes it look so easy when he creates them. When we lived on Pine he made two for the small flower garden area in the front yard. People would often stop by and ask us what kind of trees they were. When we moved this house and brought them with us, the woman on the corner stopped one day and said she drove home down our street just so she could get a glimpse of what she called our secret little garden.

salvaging with Lori

This is the first tree for this year, there will be more

Richard   takes a branch with several other branches on it. We peruse the thrift stores, grabbing up any fake flowers and plants that we can find and he spends hours forming them into our fantasy trees. He uses hot glue and florists tape to attach the flowers, and he is very detailed when working on them. (note: the link takes you to pictures of Butler Square, look for the building that has the presidents on it, the paintings were done by Rich)

Anyone who know me, knows I am as thrifty as I can be and will not spend a dime on anything new if it can be found used. Even when I had money to spend, I wouldn’t buy anything new unless it was something I absolutely needed and couldn’t find a good used version of it. Electronics are about the only item, besides underwear that I won’t buy used. Being thrifty has been a godsend, especially  when I am living on a fixed income.

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The Weight of the World

Hands holding the worldDo you ever feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? I’ve felt that way many times in life, especially when people were looking to me to solve their problems or help them out. The sad fact is that many didn’t want their problems solved; they were too lazy to deal with them and expected me to solve them for them. Sometimes it wasn’t help they needed but a firm stance against what they were doing, but I was too soft hearted to say so.

I live far away from some major family members, and I do that on purpose because God told me to. It was time for some people to grow up and handle their own lives instead of depending on someone else to do it for them. God literally told me to get out of his way. Unfortunately, God does not work in our time, but only in his, when he decides and to the present day, I am still waiting for him to work in several family members’ lives, trying to wait patiently, which we all know is not always easy.

Moving away from my family didn’t take the weight off my shoulders. Even though I am not trying to solve all of their problems, they and their needs are always on my mind. I guess you could call me a worry wart because that is what I seem to do so very well. But it isn’t just my family that worries me. It is them, my friends, my neighbors, our country, the world, the hungry, the sick, the disabled, and the lost.

Every time that I read about what is going on in the Middle East, all the innocent people being killed, all the Christians that are being tortured and executed, all the destruction in the cities and historical areas, my heart breaks.

Every time I read about the murder of an innocent child, the abduction and rape of young girls, and the suicides of teens that haven’t even begun to start their lives, my heart breaks. Every time I hear of someone in need, someone who lost a loved one, someone who is very ill or someone who has lost their home, my heart breaks.

When I read about how people lived in the days before, during and after Christ, I think of how much more simple life was. No atomic bombs, no pollution, no bombers, submarines, biological warfare and no terrorists and yet there were still cruel and evil men, even then.

I find myself praying constantly during the day, from the time I awake until I go to sleep. Even when I wake during the night, I go back to sleep with a prayer upon my lips, often remembering something I wanted to pray about and forgot to include in my nightly prayers.

So, yes, there are times when I feel like I have the weight of the whole world on my shoulders, even though I know that is nowhere near the truth and that I am incapable of doing anything about the things I worry about.

Do you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? There is one who is willing to carry all of that weight and make our loads so much lighter. I often have to remind myself that when I pray I am asking him to take on these weights that seem too often to bear me down. His name is Jesus, and he literally does carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Next time you feel pushed down by the weight of the world, remember that he is there to take the load off you and put it on his own shoulders. All you have to do is ask and he will willingly ease your load.

Matthew 11: 28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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