faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

Politics As Usual

I am frustrated with politics.  Are you?

Well I am even more frustrated now than before the last Presidential election! That’s when I wrote this post originally, but it holds true today.  I could use some encouragement and ideas on how to stay positive and make a difference in other people’s lives.  How about you?

There are so many lies and name calling and egos getting spread around.

So many false promises are being made.

The election is more than 1 year away, so we will only get more of this stuff!

What is the answer?

We can’t depend on Congress or the Supreme Court.

They haven’t done much to stop all the violence in our country in the last decade.

They haven’t done much to end poverty either.  Some things never change.

I want to focus more on what I can do.  What we can do!

We have a real chance to change things for the better.

We have more control over what gets done in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods than in national politics.

So, yeah, you say, but what can we actually do?

We can get neighbors together to talk about cleaning up the neighborhood.

We can ask neighbors to volunteer to help those who are sick or elderly or poor,

by painting their house, mowing their lawn, fixing a leak in their roof…

We can join a ministry at our church, to collect school supplies,

to collect new shoes for the homeless…

We can change hearts.  We can show people the love of Jesus.

Politics can’t do that!

So let’s forget all the empty political promises, and start doing things that Jesus wants us to do.

Let’s forget the empty political promises, and do things that Jesus wants us to do!

— Pray for those in need.  Love God with all your heart and mind and strength.

— Try not to be resentful, jealous, bitter or angry with every new political issue.

These were some of my own ideas, but I wanted more ideas,

 and I found this advice from a college student (very helpful)– 

–>15 Ways to Live with Compassion

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Sunday Hope #2

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Our Father God in Heaven loves you.  He loves me.  He loves each person, because He made us in His image.  We belong to Him.  

He wants us to call out to Him.  He wants us to love Him.  He loves us tenderly.

He has put in this world everything we need — water, food, sunshine… and He has given us so much more for our enjoyment.  He gives us things for our pleasure — beaches, cool breezes, colorful flowers, the flavors of spices and herbs, the sweetness of fruit… This is how He shows us how much He loves us.

God has given us the earth, and the sky, and the stars to live in, to gaze at, and enjoy.

Today in my prayer time I prayed, “Father, I am truly Yours.”  Over and over with each breath in, “Father”, then breathing out, “I am truly Yours”.

This prayer brought peace and gratefulness to my heart. Perhaps you can say this prayer today just for 1 minute or two.

And this prayer brought me understanding that every person has enough pain.  I do not want to hurt anyone.  I do not want to add to the pain.  Instead Lord, let me add love, or joy, peace, or kindness, tenderness, or forgiveness. My hope is that I will be able to do this from now on, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit.

We can hope to bring more love, joy, peace, kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness into this world, because of God’s love for us, and our love and gratefulness for Him.

 

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Finding Peace with Trouble

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Lately I have been overwhelmed with troubles.  

(bank mistakes on my loan, need more documents for the DMV, family member is asking for money again, IBS triggered, my mom fell and tore her ACL…)

When I feel overwhelmed, I am grumpy and lose my patience.

I don’t like feeling that way.  And I guess the people around me don’t like me much when I’m grumpy and impatient either.

But trouble just keeps coming, so I am trying a new solution —

I have recently read about using a “mindset”.

A “mindset” can help us look at circumstances in a better light.

A “mindset” can be a motto, or a Bible verse, or a belief.

So this is the “mindset” I am trying to use when trouble comes —

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I belong to God.  I am His daughter.

I have peace with Him,

no matter what goes wrong around me.

God still loves me, and is holding me in His arms.

That never changes.

I can find peace with Him, by calling on His name.

“Lord, help me find peace in your love.”

And the Lord always responds, “My peace I give to you”. (from John 14:27)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Scripture I remember to help me strengthen this “mindset”  —

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life (troubles come), neither angels nor demons (more troubles), neither our fears (troubles) for today nor our worries about tomorrow (troubles again) –not even the powers of hell (awful troubles) can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38-39 New Living Translation) (I added the troubles in parentheses.)

So now when I am frustrated, grumbling, and annoyed,

I can say, “Lord God, I know nothing can separate me from your love.  You love me no matter all my troubles that make me crazy.  Please give me your peace!”

And He says, “My peace I give to you.” (from John 14:27)

“Thank you God!”

I hope by sharing this it helps someone deal with troubles.  We all have them.

May God bless you today and tomorrow.

 

 

 

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Disappointed in your church?

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Are you disappointed in the church you attend now?

Thinking of leaving?

Me too.

But this is what has worked better for me —

 1. Pray about the problems you have with the church.  Give those problems to God to solve His way, which is always better than we could imagine.

2. Follow Jesus.  Do what Jesus said to do.

Sometimes a church will emphasize pet projects, like mission trips.  Maybe you can’t go on mission trips, or maybe you just don’t want to go.  That’s ok.  I have not gone on a mission trip, and I am fine with that. 

The highest priority is to have a good relationship with Jesus Christ.

What did Jesus tell us to do? 

             –> He said to Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

             –> He said to love each other (believers), and love your neighbor as yourself.

             –> He said to keep the 10 Commandments.

3. Continue to attend church each week.  Use this time for worship, prayer,                 communion, and giving money.

Even if you are disappointed with some things about your church, there are still many good things going on there.  At a recent worship service, God pointed out to me several amazing things at my church — Two church leaders I respect, who have been very encouraging to me.  Awesome worship music!  Also the church supports several important missions in poor countries. 

I can be thankful for the good things at my church.

— One exception, if your health or safety is in jeopardy at this church, then do leave and find a different one.

Is there a problem about your church that you would like to share below? 

I will  gladly pray about it.  I know it is difficult to continue to worship at a church when you are discouraged and disappointed.

 

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Why I Love Gardens!

— Have you ever wondered what Eden looked like where Adam and Eve lived?

I bet it was a lot like a botanical garden!

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Whenever my husband and I travel we stop at a garden along the way.  There are several in every state.  No, we have not seen that many!  

In Eden, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve.  Walking through a botanical garden, I can imagine God being there, walking with us.  He likes to show off you know! There are flowers in an array of colors, with so many different scents! Every season has different things to see.

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Although we have visited botanical gardens every year, we do have a few that we visit again and again — Japanese garden, Chicago garden — and our top favorite garden in 48 states — The Missouri Botanical Garden — just outside of St. Louis.

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 If you ever travel near St. Louis, you must stop and see it. (Allow all day, or at least 4 hours.) We have visited the Missouri Botanical Garden in every season (yes, even winter), and still we have not seen everything!

–>Take a peak Here!

That is what God likes to do.  He gives us more than we could ever need or think to even ask for!

So that is why I love gardens! I feel like I am in Eden.  I know that God loves me, because he gives us more than we would ever need!

Enjoy the pictures!

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Butterfly

 

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BirdonFlowers

Tulips

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Break Out and Go

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It is not very often that I can say it was such a joy to read and exciting to share the review of any book.  But that is how I feel about today’s book –

— “Break Out” by Jed Lindstrom!

“Break Out” is the story of Jed’s life, beginning with his childhood, then following him into drugs, robbery, and prison.  It is a true story of how evil can take over a young person’s life.  It is unfortunately true of many young people in the world.  Drug addiction has ruined the lives of millions of people.

Thankfully, Jed’s story does not end there.

While in prison, Jed is led to Jesus.  He gives his heart to the Lord, and his life begins to change.

When he gets out of prison, he is determined to follow Jesus.  He starts a ministry of leading others who are down and out to Jesus.  He does this in the most unusual places!  He talks to anyone who is desperate enough to listen on the streets and on the subway of New York, in Los Angeles, and on the bus in Minneapolis.  Yes he really did what he called “subway church”, telling his testimony to the people in the subway cars and praying with them.  You can read about how he did this in the book.

If you meet Jed, you will see that he loves people.  He genuinely cares.  Most of all, he loves Jesus with his whole heart and mind and strength.  Nothing keeps him from sharing Jesus with people. I was lucky enough to have met him earlier this month.

It was only a few years after prison, when he started his official full-time Christian ministry –>“Let’s Go Ministry”.  Which tells what he does himself, be willing to go to the no go places to reach people for Jesus.  Jed’s story may seem like fiction, but it is real life.

The book tells the true story of Jed Lindstrom. 

He was lost in darkness, in a pit from drug addiction, and locked in prison, but God reached him there.  God can reach anyone, no matter your circumstances.  If you have a friend or family member who is in a dark pit of drug addiction, pray for them, and don’t stop.  Prayer has the power to release God into any situation to reach the person you are praying for.  It will take time, but don’t give up.  Ask others to pray too.  I have seen prayer work a great healing and free a person from despair and drugs.  Jed’s mom prayed for him, and she did not stop.

This book tells a powerful true testimony about the love and grace of God. God loves each of us with a love that overcomes any pit of darkness.  God loves you no matter what you did, no matter what you do, God wants to heal you, and He wants you to love Him the same way He loves you.

This book can be the inspiration that changes your life, or the life of your friend or family member.  Read this book, then give it to someone else who needs it.  Can you tell I love this book?

Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram …. Help get this book in the hands of everyone who needs to make a change in their life! 

There are people praying for every person who reads this book!  

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Yes they are praying for you, and every person who even begins to read this book!  We know that this book will pick people up out of a pit, and turn people around.  Many people will give their heart to Jesus.  This book will inspire anyone to seek God’s help and change their life.

The quickest and cheapest way to get this book is to order the Kindle version –

–>Click HERE to download it now for less than $4.

If you want to hand the book to someone else, then order the paperback version –

–>Jump on IT, to order “Break Out” paperback expanded edition.

You can also read part of the book >HERE, just click on the book cover on Amazon.

Write a review on Amazon to encourage people to read this book.

It’s easy!  (On the book page, click on “Write a customer review”.) After you —

–>Click THIS to leave a review on the book page.  

To find out more about Jed’s story –

–>Go to Let’s Go Ministry.com

Where are you going tomorrow? 

Do you need to make a change? 

Don’t wait. Read this book!

LET’S GO!!  A better future is waiting for you.

You can —>follow Jed on Facebook HERE.

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Why Me?

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Have you been there?

Sometimes it seems that no one is doing what is needed to address a problem.   Then I realize that it is because God is waiting for me to act. 

It may not be comfortable to step up, but sometimes we are put in a position “for such a time as this”.  

Lately I have seen several references to this Scripture from >Esther 4:14.  Esther was a highly esteemed Queen, so only she could get the job done to help her people.  This has reminded me that several times I was put in place at the right time and in the right position to do what was needed.  Although it can be uncomfortable, the outcome is gratifying, knowing I did what was right, and I did it for God and His people.

One time I was leading a cancer support group at church.  When a member of the group dies of cancer, several members would attend the memorial service, representing our group to the family.  My priority was to be supportive of the grieving family first.  When one member decided it was taking too long for the family to plan the memorial of a friend in the group, she planned a memorial at our church, and publicized it to family and friends of the dead woman.  The family was very upset, as they didn’t want people not to come to the family’s memorial service that they were planning.  I stepped up and got the memorial at our church cancelled.  This made a few people in our group mad, but it was the right thing to do.   The family’s wishes needed to come first.  The family was very appreciative of what I did, and I was able to attend their memorial service with several other group members and many family members and friends.

Another time I led a prayer ministry at a church, when the church was divided on an issue of salary for ministers there.  There was anger, and suspicion, and some people left the church.  I stepped up and started a weekly prayer group at the church to pray for the church, its elders, and ministers.  After a couple months, the issue was resolved by a change in staffing.  It worked out well for everyone, even though we had to wade through turmoil first.  The only way to find a solution was prayer, and I was leading the prayer ministry at the time.

There have also been a couple work situations where unfair, sometimes even illegal practices were occurring.  I have had to stand up when others would not take a stand.  I have risked losing my job, in order to do the right thing.  In one job situation it was obvious to me that I was the only real Christian there, or at least the only one willing to make it known.  I would pray on my way to work every day for the workplace and the employees.  I knew God wanted me to stay and take a Christian stand.  It was hard, but eventually God found a way for me to leave with pay, and soon after the company went bankrupt from some of their unwise practices and legal problems.  God knows what is best, although we may be unsure until the turmoil is all over.

Sometimes we need to look around and see who is in the right position to do something about the problem.  If it is you, pray for courage, and step up to do what is right.  You will see in the end, that God will bring good results.

Are you in a “for such a time as this” position right now?  Let me know in the comments below and I will pray for you.

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How To Find God’s Plan for Your Life

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Have you ever asked this question?

  • What does God have planned for my life?

I know I have.  In fact, I have asked it at various turning points of my life.  Now that I am a cancer survivor, cancer-free for 6 years, I have been asking that question again.  You see, the answer changes over time.  It’s not a 1 answer for all time kind of thing.  What you are ready for at 20 is very different from what you can do with experience at 40. 

So if we are going to be asking this question over and over, we need a good way to get an answer! Right?

Since I have struggled through finding an answer to this question several times in my life already, let me take a stab at some ways to find the answer.  This will also help me as I am currently asking the same question.

  • How do we know what God has planned for our life? Your life and my life, are 2 very different set of circumstances. God has created each one of us as a unique human being.  We have different skills, and different experiences, and different circumstances.  I am a cancer-survivor.  You may be single, or a mom with kids.  You may have a full-time job, or need to work from home. 
  • So, how do we all get our own unique answer to the question?

#1 — The 1st priority is we need to start with prayer. 

For example, “Lord Jesus, I’m confused.  I don’t know what you want me to do.  I need some guidance.  I want to do something good, something useful for people and in God’s will.  I also need to make money for my family.  Can I do both? Please give me an answer.  Tell me what you have planned for me to do.  What is my next step?  Thank you for your help.  Thank you for the many blessings you give me and my family.  Thank you for our home.  Thank you for the beautiful spring flowers that are starting to bloom.  I will trust you to answer this prayer.  I will be listening for your answer.  Amen.” (You can pray something similar or totally different.  Fill in your unique situation, and pray for help from our God.)

#2 – So next we get into listening mode. 

Listening is hard for some people, but I listen pretty well most of the time.  This is what I do – I sit down to pray every morning.  I give thanks.  I pray for friends and family.  Then I tell Jesus, “Lord, I am listening to you with the ears God gave me.  Tell me what you want to say to me today.”  Then I listen for an answer.  Whatever answer I get, I write it down in a notebook with the date.  It is very important to write it down, because believe me, you will forget it if you don’t write it down.  That has happened to me too many times, so now I write it down. 

Most of the time the answer I get is simple, maybe part of a Bible verse, or He may tell me I should rest today, or go for a walk, or help someone.  Sometimes, what you need to do first is get yourself together, get organized, or get training.  As time goes on, there may be a pattern of the type of things He tells you to do, or a direction it seems to be heading in.  There may be certain words or phrases that are repeated over and over.  That means you need to pay attention to that!  (And, you know, write it down.)

#3 – Then we need to listen harder. 

This part is like being a detective.  We need to put together clues.  The clues can come from several places.  You may decide to read in the Bible and find a phrase that strikes you as something important.  You might be doing a Bible study and a phrase pops out at you as one you heard from Jesus in prayer.  A friend may be talking to you and say the same phrase or word.  Again, if you listen for these repetitions, you will hear them, then write them down. 

#4 – Now that we have some key ideas, and a direction this listening is taking us, take all the clues and go back to step #1. 

Pray for clarification. Ask God, “Is this what you want me to work on? Is this Scripture directing me?” Then you know the rest.  Go back through #2, #3 and #4 as needed. 

At some point you will have enough information to start on a project.  At first it may be something small, then as time goes on, it will grow.  This is a process that we go through in life.  Just be sure you go through it with Jesus Christ in your heart and by your side.  Without Him, we are lost in confusion!

Hey, Remember you saw this first at FaithCounts.Wordpress.com ! I hope to see you again.

Click the Follow button in the right side column of this post so you won’t forget.  Or write it down! 

Click the Share Buttons too!  Facebook and Twitter buttons are provided below!

If you want to ask me a question, post it in the comments below.  I will do my best to answer. 

If you have already received some answers from God and want to share them, I would love to read them!

Bye, See you soon!

 

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Choose Just One Thing

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Every day we have choices.  But we all have one choice that we avoid.  Just one choice that we know would be difficult, but it would change our life, and change our relationships with friends and family.

What is “just one thing”?

For some people, they have an addiction to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes.  For them choosing to give up just that one thing, would make a huge difference in their life.  Just that one thing would benefit every one of their close family and friends too.  These people will find they have better health, more money left to pay bills, and friends and family who want to spend more time with them.

Some people spend all their time working.  For them choosing to quit working at 5 p.m. would have dramatic benefits in their life.  They may be surprised to find out that their family misses seeing them and doing fun things together.  Their own health will improve too, choosing just that one thing.

Maybe some people need to quit loafing and get a job.  These people will gain self-respect, and the people who have been giving them a place to stay or giving them money, will be glad to not have to take care of them anymore. 

Others may need to quit spending money on unnecessary things like jewelry, clothes, video games, and lottery tickets.  They will prevent headaches from stress of not being able to pay all the bills.  They will have money to spend on healthier food and to even save some money.

Another just one thing could be quit arguing.  Or quit criticizing people.  Or quit blaming people for your problems.

You probably know just one thing you need to give up.  If you don’t know, ask a family member or close friend, and believe me, they will be able to tell you what your just one thing is.

So why should you choose to give up just one thing?

You don’t want to lose your friends and be avoided by family.  You don’t want to end up broke, maybe even homeless.  You don’t want to become so sick you can’t get out of bed.  You don’t want to live hating yourself and your life.  You don’t want to come to the end of your life with a ton of regrets for all that you missed, because you did not give up just one thing.

So, what is your “just one thing” that you need to give up? 

 Tell me in the comments below, and I will pray for you to have the strength to choose to give it up now.  And I will pray that if you have fail one day, that you will find the courage to try again the next day, and that you won’t give up trying.  Your life and your relationships with your friends and family, are more important than your just one thing.

Yesterday I chose to give up just one thing – criticizing people.  I have made it two days now.  I am learning better things I can say, and I am biting my tongue to avoid saying anything critical of someone.  I am trying to imagine what a difference this will make in my life, and in the life of my husband and friends.  I have been avoiding this problem, and making excuses, but I know I need to give up “just this one thing”.  I know that God wants me to make this choice.  I know that God will give me the strength and wisdom to be able to do this.

I am challenging you, to make the choice to give up “just one thing”. 

What are you waiting for?

>Click “How To Change” for encouragement and more information.

(This will take you to a great article by Joyce Meyer.)

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Refugees Must Go

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There are millions of refugees (both Christians and Muslims) leaving their homes to live in areas unknown to them. 

Just as God told Abraham to leave his home and head to a destination unknown to Abraham.  He only knew that God told him to go. 

Due to wars these millions of refugees have no other option, but to go. 

They do not know where.

God, through dire circumstances, has moved these refugees away from their homes and extended families, to a new place to live.  For Muslims, perhaps it will be a chance to meet Christians in a free country, where they will find Jesus for the first time.  For Christian refugees, perhaps they will be strengthened in their faith, or be able to share Jesus with other refugees along the way. 

Will Christians welcome them? Or will we send them away?

Those refugees that are refused, will have a bitter taste in their mouth for those people who reject them.  Refugees who are welcomed, will want to know more about those people who have given them a safe place to live.  As Christians, what will we do?  Will we show them the love of Jesus?

Jesus said, “Open your eyes and look at the fields!

They are ripe for harvest.” (>John 4:35b

We have an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to these refugees, a field ready to plant with the seeds of caring giving food, shelter, medical care and more.  There could soon be a great harvest of many new followers of Jesus.  It seems that God is saying, “Here is your opportunity, who will help?”

So how can you and I help to welcome refugees?

Some missionaries, churches, and charities are in Europe and the Middle East already helping the refugees.  We can send money to these groups to help them do more for the refugees.  (That is what I am doing. See links below marked with >.

 

Missionaries in Turkey are helping refugees there, and some have already accepted Jesus as their savior.  >Click HERE to give to Turkey missionaries with ChristianAid.org.

>Click HERE to help Syrian refugees with medical needs. 

>Click HERE to give to the refugee crisis fund at World Vision.

>Click HERE to support MAP International providing medical needs to refugees.

Can’t give money?

>Click HERE to sign up for Amazon’s smile program, and every time you order from Amazon at smile.amazon.com, a percentage of your order will be donated to the charity you have chosen!  (I use this program.) Some of the charities listed above are on the list, or pick your own favorite.

You can also pray for the refugees to find a safe place to live.

(I am praying for refugees, too.)

Please share this blog post with friends, on Twitter, and on Facebook…

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Thank you for helping refugees!

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