Friday, November 9, 2012

CHILDREN: Endangered Species

I don't know about you, but I have become appalled, angry and disgusted with the latest news stories about children. Each story is heart-wrenching, because another innocent child has been abducted, sexually assaulted, murdered and/or dismembered! When, I first hear news about an abduction, I pray that the child will be reunited with his or her family, but with the exception of one girl, who's brother died--that has not been the case. Children are to be and feel safe in and near their homes, but surprisingly, many are abducted near their homes and sometimes assaulted and killed by parents, people they know or in the home of a babysitter. Parents have also been in the news, because they have been killing their own children. It's sad, when children can't be protected by their own parents! Sexual predators are sick, because they have allowed the hurt someone caused them in their early years to fester in their hearts and minds. You must know the saying: "Hurt people HURT people," and it seems they don't get help-but get even. This has become not only personal revenge, but a sport of perversion and complete wickedness against children. Unfortunately, this epidemic is at an all time high!

There is never a good reason for taking an innocent life and it's despicable to take the life of a child. It's wickedness that causes people to do to others what they would not want done to themselves. Unfortunately, because of the depravity of these predators, there are few--if any happy endings for the families. Shocking discoveries only leave the parents to grieve bitterly as they try to sort out the gruesome acts that took the life of their beloved and precious child.

No doubt, they can't forget that it was only hours or a few days before they were able to hold, kiss and tuck their child into bed--maybe with a prayer. Some enjoyed talking about school and assisted their child with homework; others might have had some popcorn and watched a movie together. Unfortunately, ONE violent and perverted act STOLE their son, daughter, niece, nephew or grandchild. They might have even wondered if there was something they could or should have done to prevent the loss of their child. They find themselves suffering from grief with underlying guilt.

When will this nightmare for parents and children end and can it even be prevented? What is it that parents and well-meaning family and friends CAN really do? Well, there's nothing that can be done to the predators until they are caught, arrested and prosecuted. But when you can't stop people from causing you hurt, you must intolerant and fight back in a strategic way to protect yourself and loved ones and set up boundaries for future protection.

When I was a youth, Neighborhood Watch worked, because people were consistent and cared about the surrounding communities and nearby neighbors. Perhaps, there are still some communities that look out for one another.  I have few ideas for consideration. Having a Chaperon Rotation System with stay-at-home-moms or dads would ensure that children get to and from school safely. Also, it could alleviate children having to stand alone, while waiting for their school bus in the morning. Because, sexual predators know they can't be in close proximity of any school, they usually wait until the child is walking home. If an adult is with a child, who normally walks home, they would not be a target.  Adults are usually more aware of their surroundings than children, although children are pretty sharp these day. Noticing unfamiliar cars or new faces of new comers on the block is very important. Predators have body language that must be read. They're either too friendly and charming or very eccentric and just look weird. We all need to be on the look out for strangers in our own communities, because predators could be watching us and becoming familiar with the pattern of our comings and goings. One important thing to remember is that not all sexual predators work alone, so parents need to be in pairs and children should never be alone--but have a buddy, when needed until they meet up with parent chaperons.  

Children need to be trained thoroughly on the DO's and DON'Ts of strangers (men and women), so they will not fall prey to someone, who is really a wolf in sheep's clothing and intends to harm them. If they're approached they should go in the opposite direction and run fast like Forrest Gump to get help! Having chaperons might be a lot of work, but an ounce of prevention with worth a pound of cure and can save the lives of children in communities nationwide and worldwide.  Back to the sheep; Christians need to pray for the protection of children--not just in their surrounding areas or nationwide, but worldwide. This is a 'worldwide' epidemic of sexual evil against ALL children regardless of gender, age or nationality.  Children have become a high-priced commodity in the underground world and in our own cities.

This is serious, so DON'T BE PASSIVE about this epidemic. We need to work together to save all children, because they are are our future. When they are killed-- personal dreams and destiny die with them! Selah!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


No matter how old you are, you should remember the infamous slogan: “Got milk?” I remember it well from TV commercials. How important is milk? Parents can tell you it’s important for nourishing their children; and there aren’t too many people in our nation, who don’t drink milk unless it’s not readily available. It seems that we drink it, because we like it and most importantly for it’s health benefits. We can incorporate it in our recipes and use it to complement our meals, desserts, afternoon or late night snacks. Today, besides the familiar varieties like Non-fat (or skim), 1%, 2%, Whole, Buttermilk and Goat's Milk; we also have non-dairy milks like Soy, Almond, Coconut and Rice Dream, which are popular. Just like cow’s milk, these non-dairy varieties can be used for cereals, cooking and baking. Let’s not forget about powdered milk (a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness), which has the same nutrients as whole milk; and canned evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, which many people  also use for cooking and baking.

When I was growing up, the only milk, we drank in our home was whole. My grandmother used half and half for her coffee and when I stayed with her, she would sometimes make me a cup of coffee that contained enough coffee to taste, three (3) teaspoons of sugar and a dollop of half and half to smother everything out. It could have been called Kid’s Java! Another thing I remember about milk, while growing up was that it was delivered by the milkman and came in glass bottles. I will date myself to share a little tidbit related to milk: Although, it’s been over 50 years, since I was a youth, I remember watching a local after school show hosted by Johnny Downs in San Diego, California –my home town. “As one of the shows frequent sponsors was a local dairy, Downs was regularly featured as a superimposed miniature dancer on top of an old-style milk bottle.’ In addition to Mr. Downs dancing on top of a milk bottle, I can still hear the special greeting he shared at the beginning of each show: “Howdy, howdy, howdy, I’m Johnny Downs.” By the way, Mr. Downs hosted this show in the 1950s and early 1960s [For more information on Johnny Downs, visit].

Before I started writing this post, I didn’t know who was responsible for the “Got Milk?” slogan, but I gleaned some information that explains how the slogan came about:

“Jeff Manning was hired in 1993 by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) as Executive Director to revive the sagging milk consumption in California.” [Jeff had his work cut out for him and shared his feelings about the white liquid]:

What could you say about milk? It was white and came in gallons. People felt they knew all there was to know about it, so it was hard to find a strategic platform.”

“A month after he was hired, Manning hired San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to create a new ad campaign for milk. "We weren't going to turn around a 15-year decline in per capita in one year, but we did believe that at least for certain portions of the population, we could flatten it out and start to move it up," said Manning. . . Goodby and his team used (this) consumer insight as the spark for what came to be called the deprivation strategy: rather than selling milk as a complement to certain foods, instead the strategy became to remind milk drinkers of the anxiety and disappointment that came when milk wasn't available at crucial moments. Working to distill this milk-deprived emotional state into a phrase that everyone might instantly understand, Goodby coined the campaign's well-known grammatically-challenged tag line, "got milk?" For more story details visit: Advertising Educational Foundation.

As infants, we drank breast milk or formula that was eventually replaced with whole milk, which became an important part of our daily diet. Cow’s milk has always been an important staple in households with children of all ages, unless there is some ‘lactose’ intolerance. A tall, cold glass of milk tastes so good, but more importantly, it is good for us and includes benefits like: glowing skin; healthy bones and teeth; it rebuilds muscles; helps in weight loss (with low-fat or skim); minimizes stress (drink a glass of warm milk to relax tense muscles); and promotes a healthy body. Also, milk is a staple that we never outgrow. Today, many adults still drink whole milk but those watching their calories prefer non-fat or 1%. When I drink dairy milk, it is 2%, but I really prefer Soy or Coconut milk above all others. If you choose not to drink cow’s milk, you won’t be at a loss for healthy options.

We all know from personal experience and viewing television commercials countless times that: milk – it does a body good! Now, I’m going to share some spiritual insight you might not know. Contrary to popular belief: you’re not a body; your physical body is the house for the real you. No matter how tasty and beneficial cow’s milk is for one’s body, it has no 'spiritual' benefits. I will tell you later about the benefits of: the ‘milk’ of the Word of God. Scripture tell us that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) and we were made in His image (Genesis 26-28). We are, tri-part beings and are spirit, we have a soul and live in a physical body (1 Thess. 5:23). Because, we are spirit, we need something other than cow’s milk for nourishment and strength. In order for us to be fed and strengthened in this way, we must be joined to God through rebirth or salvation and stay connected to Him-- like a branch is connected to a vine (John 15:1-2). When a person is born into the family of God through salvation, he or she is considered a babe in Christ. Just as we desired our mother’s milk or formula that nurtured our physical bodies during infancy, babes in Christ have a desire for the ‘sincere’ milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2); [The Greek word for sincere is adolos (ad’-ol-os) – meaning without deceit. The Greek word for milk is gala (gal’ah) – milk (figuratively): milk].

The Word of God is also considered seed (Luke 8:11; 1 Peter 1:24) that when planted in our hearts will produce good fruit and make us healthy, wise and prosperous (totally complete). [A side note: I used to think like many other people that prosperity pertained ‘only’ to having a good amount of money, but I learned that it includes more. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines prosperity as: the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being. I like the word well-being for it is defined as: the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous : welfare.]

The right nourishment makes a difference in our growth and overall health. Just as milk and food nourish us from infancy to adulthood, the ‘sincere’ milk of the Word contributes to the spiritual growth and maturity of those connected to Christ. In addition to spiritual growth, we also gain an increase of faith as a result of hearing the Word (Roman 10:17). Just as growth spurts in children result in an increase of appetite and/or an acquired taste for different foods; the same applies tor a Christian, who reaches a state of maturity or full age. The appetite is no longer satisfied with just ‘sincere’ milk, but requires something more filling like the meat (core: the inmost or most intimate part) of the Word (Hebrews 5:14).

I have discovered that no matter how old one becomes, he or she will never outgrow the need for the ‘milk’ of the Word of God. If you are new to the family of God, because you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10), don’t forget to do your part to stay spiritually fit: receive spiritual nourishment daily and as often as possible. There is no danger of consuming too much, but you will grow stronger in the Lord each day. One’s spiritual growth is measured by the intake of spiritual nourishment. Want to learn more about the three levels of salvation, please feel free to check out the following link:

A final word of advice: If you’re only concerned about your body and want to ‘prevent the anxiety and disappointment that can come in your lives at crucial moments’ be sure you’ve got milk! For those, who are connected to Christ and want an increase in spiritual maturity, make sure you’ve got the ‘sincere’ milk of the Word! Selah (pause and calmly think about that)!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


A forest path in Redwoods State Park, California.
Have you ever thought about faith, what it is and most importantly what it means to you?  Do you think (or believe) that faith impacts your life or do you think that you can live without it?  I believe that faith is vitally  important in our lives and that we cannot live without it; also, without faith, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is a gift from God: believers have been given ‘the’ measure of faith and there is no amount of money we can pay for it nor can we earn it through good works (Romans 12:3b). I think it’s helpful to define words so we can have a better understanding of how we are to use and apply them to our lives.
Merriam-Webster defines FAITH as follows:
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty; b. (1) fidelity : to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions; 2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust; 3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially: a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>
If you think about it, we actually have faith in both people and things without really considering it  a belief. We sit in chairs and expect them to hold us up; we turn on our televisions, radios and other electronic devices in anticipation of them working as we expect. We can also have faith in people we don’t even know (e.g. airline pilots, bus operators, taxi drivers, doctors, hospital staff, etcetera) and trust them with our lives and safety. This type of faith could be considered sincerity of intentions and we always hope and pray that the people we are trusting, will not let us down or cause us harm.
The most important kind of faith, loyalty or complete trust that anyone can have is faith in God. We would cease to exist without Him and would not have any hope in this life or for the next (Acts 17:28). God loved mankind so much that He gave His only Begotten Son to die for us, so that we would be reconciled to Him (John 3:16). Through Jesus we were redeemed from the eternal destiny we inherited as a result of Adam and Eve’s transgression against God in the Garden of Eden. Without Jesus Christ, we would have been eternally lost. The way that the world believes is quite different from the Scripture way of believing. The popular secular cliché for faith is:”I’ll believe it, when I see it.”  But, believers in Jesus Christ, believe  the opposite: “For we live by believing and not by seeing (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT).”  It’s easy to believe what we can see, but that’s not faith; but believing in something that has not physically manifested is faith. “Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.] (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).
I believe that we sometimes have a tendency to believe in the things we desire [to see], when we are not to have faith in things, but in the Creator of things:God! It’s absurd for us to have more faith in people, who can and will let us down than we do in God! That should not be, for God is faithful, always keeps His promises and has an impeccable track record (Numbers 23:19). Mankind, on the other hand is fallible with the tendency to fall short. Since, we have the tendency to believe in what we can see instead of believing, when we can’t, what can we do to have the faith that will allow us to trust God for something before we see it? The answer is the Word of God. If we are faithful, we can develop faith that will not waiver, regardless of the situation: “So faith comes by hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ“ (Romans 10:17 NLT). What we hear and embrace can either build or block our faith. I believe without a doubt that there’s nothing on earth more effective in building our faith in God than His infallible Word.       
Now, let’s look at FEAR, which is verb denoting action. Again, I am using Merriam-Webster for the definition.
As an transitive verb, it is defined as: 1. archaic: frighten; 2 archaic: to feel fear in (oneself); 3: to have a reverential awe of <fear God>; 4: to be afraid of : expect with alarm <fear the worst>; as an intransitive verb, it is defined as: to be afraid or apprehensive <feared for their lives>.
Looking at the definitions above, we see that fear can frighten us; cause us alarm (fearing the worst) or to have a reverential awe of God and His greatness. Scripture refers to fear as a spirit, that was not given to believers by God, but is a satanic tactic. Fear has the potential to be debilitating in that it can impair our spiritual strength and cause it to diminish if not identified and eliminated quickly. Renewing our minds with consistent doses of the Word of God can help us  tremendously (Romans 12:2).   
Everything positive has a negative or opposite, so let’s look at fear as the opposite of faith, because it’s incongruous and works against faith. I consider fear an enemy of faith, because if allowed, it will cause us to switch our focus on things that are temporary (tangible) and away from the things that are truly lasting (intangible); It will cause us to doubt God and not believe His Word. Fear if allowed can be a strong influential spirit in our lives as it is False, Evidence, Appearing, Real. The devil has an arsenal he uses against believers in Christ, but, God has also given us the spirit of power and love and spiritual weapons to counteract Satan’s collection of weapons and their effects (2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 6:11-18).
God does not want us to be in fear, because He knows the emotional damage it can cause us and that it will prevent us from walking in faith and receiving from Him. I find it interesting that each time God sent a messenger to deliver a message to anyone in the Scriptures or whenever Jesus spoke to those during His time of ministry, there was the exhortation to: Fear not! Take time to read the following references (or even better the associated chapter) at your leisure: Matthew 1:20; Matthew 28:5; Luke 1:13; Luke 1:30; Luke 2:10; Luke 5:10; Luke 8:50; Luke 12:7, 32. The love of God is perfect and fear cannot exist with love: “There is no fear in love [dread does not  exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thoughts of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into loves’ complete perfection].
As we continue to dwell in God and His love, stayed armed with faith, the Word of God and the Armor of God, we will be equipped to frustrate the devil; most importantly, we can stop the fear that he uses to paralyze us in an effort to make us ineffective for God and His kingdom. We never have to fear being abandoned by Him, because God said that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b). Stopping fear in our lives is not a one-time event, but we must be diligent each moment of everyday to guard our hearts and minds to prevent future inroads. We can trust God to keep His promise (Hebrews 10:35) and fulfill His good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). God has given us everything we need to live a life of godliness, victory and success on earth without fear (2 Peter1:3).     

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Few Thoughts About BULLIES


As a youth, I grew up hearing and saying with my playmates: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  We believed that to be true, but it was only through study of the Scriptures as an adult that I found out the truth: names and words can really hurt. “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (Proverbs 18:21 – The Message).  In our formative years, we chose to do what was popular and as school age children and teens, we wanted to be cool, spent time sharing the latest gossip about our peers and maybe even making fun of those we did not like. There were fights (I wasn’t a fighter, but had friends who did) and maybe we encountered a bully or two, but sometimes, those you were Stop-Bullying-Sign-K-7052initially afraid of ended up becoming a good friend at the end! It was all about communicating and getting to know one another. The bullies during my childhood and teen years only wanted tasty lunches, money, homework assistance or answers to a test they knew they couldn’t pass. The violence that did occur among youth was mostly between gang members. Today, bullies are heartless and have a violent mindset towards their peers.

I recently read an article that was heart wrenching about a seven year-old boy, who was found dead in Detroit in what authorities ruled a suicide. Suicide at seven years old? When I was that age, I don’t even remember if I knew how to spell the word! Thank God, I never had a thought about taking my life. It was reported in The Detroit Free Press, that the mother told police that her son, “had been depressed due to the fact that he had been bullied continuously by the children at school, in addition to the constant teasing he had endured because he was the only boy in the home of eight females.” This article also referenced a 14 year old youth, who was rendered blind in one eye after being jumped by classmates, who accused him of being gay. What happened to being ‘your brother’s keeper’ and having love for your neighbor? I guess some young people didn’t get that memo (I mean text)! Times have surely changed and so have people; many are not getting better but worse with these evil times. The medias of our century have great influence that is generated through the air waves and internet. Their varied and diverse messages can and do impact us all in unexpected and subtle ways. Unfortunately, their negative effects are evident in the behavior displayed by some of today’s children, youth and young adults.

I believe today’s medias have influenced our children, youth and young adults in such a way that it causes them to be cruel, hateful and insensitive toward their peers without a reason. They emulate what they see on television, video games or rap videos. Where are the parents of children and youth who bully and what are these parents teaching their children at home? It’s obvious that some parents are clueless about their children’s aggressive and violent behavior until they are exposed after an unfortunate incident.You would think that young adults would know and show better, but unfortunately, bullying incidents are also taking place in our nation’s colleges and universities. Could it be that some bullies are in the closet with their family, but emulating towards outsiders what they see and experience at the hand of family members? Since, “hurt people hurt people,” personal hurt (or emotional damage) could be the catalyst for the violent acts committed by our children, youth and young adults against their peers. Regardless of the reasons, something needs to be done to bring a complete HALT to this modern-day terrorism.

It seems that no one is exempt from being a target of bullies; children and adults alike have been victimized. My heart goes out to all families, whose loved one could no longer endure the cruel treatment received from classmates or peers. These victims were severely wounded; left feeling worthless and without a desire to continue life. Gone are the days of being safe at school or in institutions of higher learning. It seems that no one is safe: whether an administrator, a teacher or a student; even school bus drivers have become targets for bullies and while doing their job! Parents and guardians send their children to school or off to college for an education and hope they will be safe and have a good experience. Instead, some children end up emotionally wounded by their classmates. Could home schooling become a safety net and a way for parents, who can participate-- to protect their children from peer violence that is found in elementary, middle or high school?

This problem is not yet a priority for our Government legislature, but if it came close to one of the homes of a member, there’s no doubt some action would be taken. Until that time, acts of violence by bullies need to be handled expeditiously by our local law enforcement agencies as a criminal offense. Parents and/or guardians of children should be held responsible and ordered to pay restitution to the families of the victims. Also, students, who bully should be suspended or expelled from school; this means that school officials can’t afford to be passive or inattentive and risk the safety or life of any student in their school. A strong message needs to be sent to all parents of children or youth, who feel the need to taunt or physically attack classmates. Since, there is no acceptable reason for this kind of behavior, it should not be tolerated at any time in any school in our nation. On-site counseling and support groups could be helpful for students, who fear being targeted and don’t know what to do or who to trust.

I consider individuals, who bully others to be cowards, but I also realize the possibility that some of these bullies might be victims, who are acting out the things they have experienced at the hands of individuals in or outside of their families. Some individuals appear normal to everyone, but have deep-seated hurt, are emotionally scarred and are just trying to cope. There has been enough hurt and loss of life as a result of bullying—whether in our backyards, surrounding areas or across the nation at large. We as citizens of the United States should take a stand and develop a NO-TOLERANCE position and do what we can to support any Anti-Bully group or cause in a collective effort. We need to send out a clarion call to action and put those who choose to bully out of commission, make them and their parents legally accountable and if necessary get them immediate help for any emotional dysfunction as well as anger issues. I believe that enough is too much! What do you think? The child you help save, could be your own! Selah (pause and calmly think about that)!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012



Forgiveness is one thing we all want to receive from others, especially God, but then find it difficult to give. Then on the other hand, if we’ve been hurt (emotionally or physically), offended or betrayed, forgiving the offender can be difficult or even seem unfair. What’s so important about forgiveness and what does it really mean to forgive someone? I could present a few reasons why forgiveness is important, but the only one that really matters is that it’s commanded by God in Scripture. The New Testament contains a number of exhortations pertaining to forgiveness, but here’s one: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV).

Since, we’re commanded to forgive; you might ask: How many times do I have to forgive someone, who trespasses against me? I’m glad you asked, because the disciple Peter also wanted to know and asked Jesus: “. . . Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"  “Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly! Try seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21 Mess).” Did Jesus mean that we should forgive a brother or sister only 70 X 7? That would equal 490 times and then our duty to forgive - would be complete, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, we don’t get off that easy and Jesus hardly meant for us to forgive one another only 70 times seven. Let’s go deeper and look at Jesus’ answer in the King James Version: “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22) What did Jesus mean by the word until? The word until is defined by Webster-Merriam Online Dictionary and the English Thesaurus as: a function word to indicate continuance, awaiting, pending, in anticipation of.
Until seventy times seven is: a certain number for an uncertain situation. Christ’s meaning is, that a man should be all the days, and every day of his life, forgiving those that sin against him, as often as they repent and acknowledge their fault; and that no time is to be set for the exercise of the ‘grace’ of forgiveness; but as often as there are objects and occasions, though ever so many and frequent, it should be used; and He illustrates this in the parable of the Unforgiving Servant in the same chapter.”
Let’s consider some important points about forgiveness that we don’t think about when we’re hurting: 1. Our enemy Satan knows that when we choose not to forgive others, we are only hurting ourselves and prolonging personal misery. On the other hand, when we do forgive others, we are actually blessed because, as we acknowledge God as our vindicator, we are able to release the offender to the Lord for judgment; also, we can be delivered from a bitter heart, which opens the door for God’s peace. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray using the ‘Model Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).’ Through praying this prayer, they were constantly reminded that as they asked God to forgive them of their debts, they too should forgive others, who trespassed against them. There would be no point in asking God to forgive us if we did not intend to forgive others. Another important point is: 2. When we don’t forgive others, we are in sin, which separates us from God and our fellowship with Him is broken. In my personal opinion, nothing and no one should be more important than our fellowship with the Father, yet we sometimes justify our unwillingness to forgive others because of the severity of the offense. Voices whisper in our ear: “If I were you, I wouldn’t forgive him or her for what was done to you. That was too much and I wouldn’t take it if I were you!” Yet, God in His great love and mercy gave His Only Begotten Son to die for us, when we were yet in our offenses (sin – emphasis mine) and enemies (haters – emphasis mine) of God. “But if we confess our sins (or offenses – emphasis mine) to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” (1 John 1:9 NLT)
In my personal life, I learned the hard way that not forgiving others only hurt me and that the offenders had no clue that even after several months or maybe longer, I was still unglued about what the offenders had done to me and licking my wounds. In my ignorance, I was not resisting the devil and allowed him to mess with my mind, which was not stayed on the Lord therefore; I was far from being in ‘perfect peace Isaiah 26:3)’ I was constantly rehearsing the offenses done to me and wanted some kind of punishment or personal vindication because, it was sometimes so hard to release those, who had caused me hurt. Thank God, I finally discovered that, although, it was not always easy, it was liberating, when I chose to release to God those, who hurt me. Scripture tells us that God is not (or will not be) mocked and we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:9), therefore, we can be assured that God will take care of those who have hurt us (and we too will pay for our wrong towards others). One thing I have learned about vindication is that God does not always allow us to see our enemies fall but, if He does, we must not rejoice or God will withhold His wrath. (Proverbs 24:17-18)
Some final thoughts to remember about forgiveness:
  • As long as we live, we should await and anticipate forgiving and being forgiven by others. “If we do not forgive others, our faith will not work and everything that comes from God-- comes by faith.” To receive freely from God, we must freely give. (Mark 11:26);
  • Don’t give place to the devil by holding grudges. Give way to God, be quick to forgive and do not let the sun go down on your anger. (Ephesians 4:26-27) Forgiveness leads to healing; and
  • Let’s practice forgiving others as well as ourselves, when we fail. As we do so, we can learn to love ourselves in healthier ways, let go of hurtful memories and painful events, while we anticipate a brighter future. By consistently applying ‘seventy times seven’ to our own lives, it becomes easier to acknowledge our personal frailties and seek God for His grace, mercy and wisdom to replace the guilt and self-hatred of a painful past with ‘sincere forgiveness.’
John Gills Exhibition of the Bible, Matthew 18:21.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Education: a Link to Telemarketing

My current interest is only in finding gainful employment, but unfortunately, during my diligent search for work, I have encountered aggressive offers that are not job-related. Certain job boards (e.g.;; are contaminated with aggressive advertisements for various colleges and universities --geared towards those interested in furthering their education. If you're not interested, it can be a real distraction and nuisance. When completing online applications, it’s important to pay attention to the application thCAJK1OCY_educationinformation on a given site, while making sure to close out the educational pop-ups you might encounter during the process. If you don’t pay attention, you will be providing information to a college or university seeking new students and end up receiving unsolicited phones calls or emails.
Although, I clicked NO THANKS during the application process and selected the option, which said: I am not interested in furthering my education, I still ended up being a target for education telemarketers/advisers and the calls started. There must be an electronic alert that is sent in cyberspace--even when one declines the offer-- resulting in unsolicited phone calls. At present, I  using a mobile phone yet, it seems that I have been getting as many calls as I did, when I was using a land line. 

A friendly reminder: Don't forget, whenever you visit a website and provide contact information, you set yourself up to receive unsolicited calls and/or emails. The people calling don’t always leave a message and can call up to three or more times per day. If you’re like me, you’re not that quick to take calls from anyone not in your Contacts. Of course, I found these calls to be very annoying and it didn’t take long for me to come up with an effective solution for my problem. I went to Google Play and found an app that has been working very well: SPC (Super Private Conversation).  Just follow the instructions to add any unwanted number from your call list to have transferred to the Blacklist.  The next time the caller attempts to reach you, the phone might ring once, but the entry is immediately added to the Blacklist log. The next time the call comes in from that number, the phone will vibrate and another entry is added to the Blacklist. Because, the app is free, it does come with unwanted ads, but the benefits of the app outweigh the inconvenience of annoying ads.
Telemarketers sometimes call from various toll-free numbers and other times, local numbers from their state. I have attempted to call back with my number blocked (*67) to see who was calling, but only received an 'out of service' message, which is probably a way for them to reject blocked calls. If you choose to call without blocking your number, you might be more successful. The most recent call I received came from South University, Savannah, GA: (912) 659-5697.  A message was left, which said: I had indicated online an interest in furthering my education. That was NOT true (I know I declined all the offers, while I completed job applications)! I was provided a number to call if I was interested in either furthering my education or to have my number removed from their database. Of course, I took the second option. Fortunately, since my request, I have received no further calls from this university. Honestly, I find unsolicited calls from educational institutions just as annoying as traditional telemarketing calls.

Some people are not aware that education is about number crunching. There is much money to be made from each person, who decides to enroll, apply for financial aid (or pay out of pocket) to attend a college or university in the nation. Another money making area I discovered is working  from home. Take it from me, don’t sign up for anything on these websites (no matter how promising the opportunity sounds); don’t give your personal information online or you will end up receiving numerous emails and some calls from aggressive telemarketers -- wanting to add another member to their team. They are seeking unsuspecting newbies, who they hope will believe the lies about how much money can be made with their Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) plan (scheme). It usually takes money to make money and in the telemarketing game, there are many loopholes that could cause extra unwanted expenses and unforeseen problems. If you’re unemployed or need more income, why should you be expected to shell out any cash before you get paid, right? Well, it’s all a part of the marketing game and the beat goes on . . .

I encourage you to take any available measures you can to stop your unwanted calls like: National Do Not Call Registry and helpful mobile apps- both of which are free. Don't forget that the World Wide Web is a massive network with a plethora of resource information. Because of the countless Internet opportunities available, you must do your due diligence: use wisdom always to guard yourselves against online predators (they make a living off of the unsuspecting web surfers) and those innocent looking offers about going back to school.If you're interested in returning to school to furuther your education, contact the desired college or university directly. Surfing the Internet is like fishing: you must beware of sharks, take what’s really fish and refuse the bony or phony offerings.

I'm sure you not too discouraged to continue your online searches, because just like me, you know that there are some helpful resources on the Internet. Although, I am not interested in furthering my education by going back to school, I do appreciate the positive and helpful resources that are searchable and available online. One area I have always found interesting is English (e.g. grammar and parts of speech). Yes, it is my primary language, but I don't know all there is to know. Also, there are many things I have forgotten, so I could use a refresher with good tips to help me in my areas of deficiency. If you believe you could use some helpful tips to better your English skills, feel free to click the link below.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my post and I invite you to visit again. Happy surfing and be safe!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Laundry, a Chore or a Joy: Tips for Beginners

As long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed doing certain chores like washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, ironing, vacuuming (the sound is soothing to me, when someone else is vacuuming-lol!) and doing laundry, which is my favorite! Why do I enjoy this task, you might ask? Well, for one, I have mastered doing laundry well and work hard to make sure that I wash everything with care.

Perhaps, you are reading this article because you need some first time pointers before you attempt to do laundry if this is not your regular chore or perhaps, you thought this would be an interesting read. Whatever your reason for reading this post, I trust I will keep your attention. My ability to do laundry well is a skill that has been mastered over time. I watched both my mother and grandmother do laundry, as a youth and learned from them. My mother was a laundromat person during my teen years while, my grandmother washed at home with a machine and clothesline; she eventually got a dryer. She was very efficient and did things to perfection! I even remember her dry cleaning knit suits in the dryer and that was over 30+ years ago. Using the best products is important, because you want to achieve the best results. Hopefully, have a washer and dryer or access to those applicances. You can’t do laundry quickly and efficiently without one, unless you want to go old school and use a washing board and tub (lol)! Let’s look at the supplies you will need for doing your laundry:

ü  Laundry detergent (powder or liquid) – I recommend liquid (Try Woolite for fine washables and knits); also the new Pods very convenient; there’s no measuring, which means no mess and they will leave your clothes smelling nice. I have products I use because of the way they make my clothes smell. and I am sure you will have you own. Here's a  free tip: I have found that adding ½ to 1 cup of vinegar (apple cider or distilled) to your wash will both soften clothes and aid in eliminating odors. The amount of vinegar will depend on size of your load; try ½ cup for smaller loads and 1 cup for larger ones.  

ü  Bleach  (Clorox, Purex, non-Chlorine)

ü  Stain remover (e.g. Spray n Wash, etc.)

ü  Fabric softener (liquid or sheets);

ü  Laundry bar soap (gentle treatment to lift  stubborn stains)

Once, you make sure you’ve got the supplies listed above, it’s time for the part most people don’t like: SORTING clothes. This is really not that difficult; because you can always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the detergent container or you can use the suggestions provided below: 

ü  Sort soiled clothes by color and water temperature

ü  Treat any stains or spots before washing

ü  Check pockets on all garments for paper, tissue, or other items that should be removed

ü  Turn shirts with appliqué inside out
Remembering to check all pockets and secret pouches in the pieces to be washed is very important and will prevent a lint disaster. My pet peeve is forgetting (once in a blue moon) to check the pockets, when sorting the dark clothes. Don’t be surprised if you forget a couple of times; and be encouraged, because practice does make proficient!
 Once the clothes are sorted, you can get started with washing:
ü   Starting with dark clothes is best; you can wash anything (whites or lightly colored items) that requires bleach or whitener LAST. Use COLD water for dark clothes to prevent colors from bleeding (seeping) on the others. Actually, using cold water for all your wash will work (and  could reduce your gas bill). Just experiment and see what works best for you.

ü  Select water level based on size of load

ü  Add detergent or Pod to the tub first and then clothes

ü  Add softener to dispenser

ü  Leave lid open to make sure the water level is sufficient for the size load (or change the level) and then let lid down to start cycle. 

If you use liquid softener, you might choose not want to use the dryer sheets. Some people use both and I too prefer extra softening and lasting fragrance. If you want to use a dryer sheet, have it ready to add to the dryer as well as the next batch of clothes for the washer. You should wash your clothes in the following order: 1. dark clothes, 2. lighter colors and 3.whites. Non-chlorine beach or laundry color booster is good for light colors and should work with warm or cold water. You will discover your own preferences the more you do laundry as well as the products that give the best results..

Always check the label on each garment to see what the manufacturer recommends for both washing and drying and make any adjustments that are suitable. If you end up forgetting to check the pockets of the dark clothes or any other load and end up with lint, because of an overlooked tissue, you can remedy that with the dryer. As those items dry, the pieces of tissue will end up on the lint filter and your clothes should be lint-free. 

You can determine the temperature you need to use by clothing type and the cycle button on your washer. Please refer to reminder below: 

ü   COTTON cycle (high) is used for drying: whites, towels, socks, t-shirts, and A-shirts; PERMANENT PRESS/normal cycle (medium-high) - for permanent press clothing; KNIT cycle (medium): knits or items requiring more heat than delicate;  DELICATE cycle (low) – for fine washables, lingerie, and items needing less heat. Today, most dryers have an AIR cycle, which can used to dry items without heat; I find the air dry cycle is shorter than the heated cycles.  

ü  Always fill the dryer evenly with a medium to full load of clothes (don't try to cram extra clothes in dryer; just save for next load) to prevent overheating or under drying of clothes. Add a dryer if you prefer.

ü  Remove permanent press and delicate items as soon as they are dry. It’s best to check the clothes before the cycle ends to take out clothes that are dry, to prevent over drying, shrinkage or permanent wrinkles (occurs with too much heat for clothing type). You can allow clothes that are slightly damp to continue to air dry on a tubular hanger. 

After your clothes are dry, determine which items should be hung up right away and be prepared to fold everything else. Folding clothes is not always something people look forward to, but it is necessary. To prevent your clothes from getting extra wrinkles, fold them right after they are dry instead of letting them sit in the dryer. When it comes to folding, the important thing to remember is to KEEP IT SIMPLE! It's not hard and doesn’t have to be fancy, but DO try to go for neatness and you will be glad later on. Also, if you have young siblings, nieces or nephews, you can let them help with rolling socks and folding smaller items such as wash clothes and hand towels. You can teach them tricks, while you’re perfecting your skill and you will all have fun!

Check the washer to make sure you didn't leave anything. Clothes can sour, when forgotten in the machine wet and will need to be washed again. One last thing before you go, please don’t forget to CLEAN THE LINT FILTER after drying cottons as they produce more lint  Actually, it’s a good practice to check and clean the filter each time you complete your laundry session, so that it will be clean for future use.

Thank you for your time and attention and may your laundry days be happy ones!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Creating with Our Words

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth . . . ‘then God said, let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. . .’” So God created people in His own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:1-27 NLT)  God created the heavens, the earth and people with His Words and each time God spoke a thought; He created things that were full of life.  Everything He created was good. Have you ever thought about what you’re creating when you speak?  The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT)
The tongue, though a small member, can create some BIG problems in our lives and also in the lives of others.  Scripture tells us that the tongue is a fire (James 3:6) so, the words we speak with our tongues will either contribute to verbal combustion or they can be used to control or contain that fire and lessen or prevent damage.  Wisdom will show itself in our speech, but if we speak unwisely, we will be responsible for the destructive results of our words and reap the consequences.

One problem that can affect us all at times is poor communication: ‘hearing others but not really listening’ as well as attacking others with our words. You might even know some church people, who either talk too much or say hurtful things rather than using their words to bring healing, comfort and life [to others as well as themselves].  It is important that we learn how to speak in a way that both glorifies God and blesses those whom we speak about. God spoke us into existence, but the wrong words spoken from our mouths or someone else’s could result in curses instead of blessings!

I thought it would be interesting to look at some biblical saints and examine how they used words and what they created:

Eve, “the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20) was the first woman created by God and taken from Adam’s side—‘a place of protection.’  Uniquely created, she never knew what it was like not to be married.” Residing in the Garden of Eden, Eve had excellent health, wanted for nothing material, was loved by her husband Adam, and most importantly, had communion with Almighty God.  God had warned both Adam and Eve about one particular tree in the Garden: The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  One day Eve was visited by Satan, who appeared in the form of a serpent and whet her desire to become all-knowing “as God,” thus tempting her to doubt and disobey God’s Word. When Satan questioned what God had told her about eating the fruit of the garden, Eve answered: Of course we may eat it," "It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it or we will die." (Genesis 3:2-3 NLT) God’s warning prohibited only the eating of the fruit.  With further coaxing by the serpent, she ate [of] then shared the forbidden fruit with Adam and afterwards, both she and Adam found themselves separated from God and—expelled from the Garden. The motto here is: Obey only God’s Word and be thankful for what you have.

Rebekah the daughter of Bethuel, was the wife of Isaac and the mother of twin boys—Esau, both a skillful hunter and man of the open country and Jacob, a quiet man, who liked to stay at home.  From the beginning, Rebekah showed partiality to Jacob and Isaac favored Esau, who sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. (Genesis 25:32 NIV)  Rebekah overheard her husband ask Esau to go hunt for game and prepare a savory meal before pronouncing his final blessing upon Esau. She then told Jacob and sought his help with her plan to ensure that he received his father’s blessing instead of Esau and said: “Go out to the flocks and bring me two fine young goats. I'll prepare your father's favorite dish from them. Take the food to your father; then he can eat it and bless you instead of Esau before he dies." Jacob was apprehensive about trying to fool his father and did not want to receive a curse instead of the coveted blessing.  His mother said: "Let the curse fall on me, dear son;” Just do what I tell you. . ."  (Genesis 27:9-11) The mouths of fools are their ruin. (Proverbs 18:7 NLT)

Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior.  Gilead was his father and his mother was a harlot.  When he and his brothers were grown up, Jephthah was driven away by Gilead‘s wife and denied any inheritance in their family, because he was the son of another woman [the harlot].  Sometime later, the elders of Gilead called Jepthah to be their commander, when the Ammonites made war on Israel.  They had previously hated Jephthah and drove him from his father’s house.  But, in their troubles, they turned to him and wanted him to be their leader.  Before going to battle, Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: "If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."  (Judges 11:31 NLT) Unfortunately, when Jephthah returned to his home, his only daughter came out to meet him. He tore his clothes and felt miserable and wretched because, he had made a vow to the Lord that could not be broken. (Considering reading the entire account of Jephthah in Judges 11:1-40)

Mary was a young virgin, who lived in the city of Galilee. She was visited in the sixth month by the angel Gabriel, who greeted her with a salutation and blessing and told her that she was blessed among women.  He told her that she had found favor with God and was chosen to conceive and bring forth a son, who was to be called Jesus.  After pondering all of the things told to her by the angel, Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38 KJV) Although, Mary did not understand how the things she heard would come to pass in her life, she embraced the knowledge that nothing was impossible for God and accepted His will for our her life. (Luke 1:28-38)

Woman with the issue of blood: While going to the house of a ruler, whose daughter had died, Jesus and His disciples were followed by a woman, who had suffered 12 years with an issue of blood. A victim of her culture, she was considered unclean and isolated from society.  She was broke from paying doctors, still had her condition and was desperate. Considering her plight, she realized that, her only hope was Jesus: “For she said within herself, if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.” (Matthew 9:21- KJV).  Suddenly, she reached and touched the hem of His garment. Even in distress and illness, this woman spoke words of faith in her heart, believed that she would be healed, and Jesus honored her faith. (Hebrews 11:6) Our faith pleases God.

We can see from these saints that WORDS HAVE POWER TO CREATE and when used without wisdom, they can cause us or others injury.  Let’s remembers that “A good person produces good deeds from a good heart . . .;” also making daily confessions [deposits] of God’s Word in our hearts will increase our faith and enable us to speak in faith--words that create life and good things (Romans 10:17; Proverbs 18:4; Luke 6:45 NLT).

Resources:          The Holy Spirit; Holy Bible
                                “Women in the Bible: Examples to Live By” Sylvia Charles

Friday, June 29, 2012

Are You Prepared for the Race?


 Yes, it's about time I came back to the table with a new post, but my absence was family-related. I  recently went to San Diego, California (birth home), to be with my siblings, children, and other family members due to the passing of my mother last month; she had turned 84 years old in April and I was so thankful to God for granting her another year with us. In my mind, I wanted to see her get even older, but God had another plan for her and for the rest of us.  Even though we were numb, hurting or in disbelief at our loss, we had a memorable time in San Diego as we gathered together with  each other and close friends, we had not seen in a while. We encouraged each other, reflected on special (and funny) memories about my mother, got personal closure and celebrated her life at her home-going service held at the church where she and my late father married in 1950. It was a bitter-sweet time, which went by too quickly and then it was time for us to return to our various homes and continue life without our mother, grandmother, godmother and friend. Death is imminent and an appointment no human being on earth will escape (Hebrews 9:27).  It comes as an unwelcome guest to survivors and leaves aching hearts that no one but God can heal and an emptiness that only He can fill with Himself. The consolation for my family is that my mother is now free from  pain and sickness and  that at God's appointed time, we will see her again in Heaven.  I have heard it said that: "We are born to die."  Yes, each year takes us closer to the end of this life and the beginning of the next. Life is a race with time and we all have a specific time to run our individual race.  During the course of our lives, there are various races we will need to run; a portion will be spiritual and others will be physical just like the Peachtree Race that will be held next month here in Atlanta, GA.  Unless one is physically fit and is dedicated to properly  prepare for this race,  winning,  placing  or making it to the finish line is unlikely. 

Each year thousands of individuals participate in the 10K Peachtree Road Race (PR Race) that is sponsored annually by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) and held in Metro Atlanta, on the Fourth of July--Independence Day. One important requirement for participation is ‘timely’ registration, because the race is currently limited to 55,000 entries. The first 45,000 online registration applications received are automatically entered into the race and an additional 10,000 are randomly selected from mailed applications, which must be postmarked by the end of March.  Along with their application, participants are to include the running time from a previous race that was a 5-mile distance or longer and run on a USATF-certified course, to help determine their placement/group category.   
Those of us, who believe in Jesus Christ also, have a race, but our race is not of a competitive nature.  Unlike the participants of the PR Race, Christians are NOT to compete or compare, but instead, we are to cooperate with each other in our service to God.  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.  And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).  Let us find hope and encouragement in the life of faith demonstrated by the cloud of witnesses, who went before us.  Just as the Lord strengthened them to run their course, He will also strengthen us to run ours with endurance.  Before attempting to run any race, the following things are necessary:
  • Train to ensure that you are physically fit and equipped for the task.  For the Christian race, we train by prayer, praise and studying the Word of God (Matthew 26:41; Psalm 33:1;  2 Timothy 2:15).
  • Adhere to a diet that will help you to maintain and/or produce the best health and energy levels.  We must be consistent in feeding on the Word of God so we can grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18).
  • Include strength training and some type of cardio exercise.  As we actively wait on the Lord and train for our God-given place of service, we gain strength. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint”  (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).
  • Get proper rest each day.  We can receive perfect rest and peace in the Lord. “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams” (Psalm 23:2 NLT).
  • Have clothing that is suitable for your activity.  Having the proper clothing will help to keep the body comfortable and free to move without restriction.  We are to put on Jesus Christ and make no provision for anything that will hinder our progress in the Lord; also, we are to put on the full armor of God so we can stand against the wiles of the devil (Romans 14:14; Ephesians 6:11).
  • Have shoes that will provide support for your feet during training and the activity.  We must put on and walk in the peace of the Good News of the Gospel so we will be fully prepared for service and to run our race well (Ephesians 6:15 NLT).
Just as professional runners wear light, loose-fitting clothing to be free of restrictions, we too must strip off anything burdensome—‘every sin, which is a hindrance in running the Christian race.’   In order to be free to run our race well, we must guard ourselves against becoming accustomed to the burdensome and dangerous weight of sin because Scripture tell us that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23).  Aside from hindering our Christian walk (Romans 6:20), sin separates us from God and without God; we are nothing and would cease to exist.  For in him we live and move and exist.  . . . We are his offspring” (Acts 17:28 NLT). 

In a traditional race, there are participants, who will earn a place of recognition (e.g. second and third place), some might even receive honorable mention but only one receives first place in a given race and/or in specific categories.  The Christian race differs because we each have an individual course that we must run well and at our own pace.  The blessing in this race is that, if we endure and don’t become weary and faint, we will receive the prize God has for each of us (Galatians 6:9).  We are to “strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven (Philippians 3:14 NLT). 

Those who wish to participate in the AJC 10k Peachtree Road Race can only run once a year. Once registration is submitted, it is time to start training for the big event.  On the day of the race, excited participants will run the PR race to the best of their physical ability, but there will only be one first place runner in each category. Once the race is over and the winners are publicly acknowledged, the participants will go back home to their usual routines. The race that is set before believers is currently in progress and began the day we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. God will provide us the grace and strength we need to continue our race until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What a day of excitement it will be when we reach the finish line and joyously receive our prize and eternal reward and finally hear the Lord say: “. . ., well done, my good and faithful servant . . .  Let’s celebrate together” (Matthew 25:23 NLT)!  Are you prepared for the race?