Tag Archive | church

Why does God allow suffering?

These days it seems there are so many tragic stories, so much pain. Between school and mall shootings, children and babies suffering and dying, and currently the flu epidemic and the fear that goes with it. There’s illness, abuse, broken relationships, betrayal, sorrow, injuries, disappointment, heartache, crime and death. All of these leave many people asking the question, “Why? Why does God allow this?”

Just last night, a tiny, newborn baby girl, beautiful and precious, left the loving arms of her mother and father and went to be with Jesus. This little girl being so close to my family that she may as well of been. She is the daughter of my son-in-law’s cousin, a young man we have had to our house often, eaten many a meal with and shared holidays and family celebrations with. I’m sure there are several members of this family currently asking those questions, “Why? Why me? Why, God?”

That “why” question goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.
Things didn’t get any better in the 21st century. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why is all of this happening if there’s a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Several years ago, a national survey asked people what question they’d ask if they could only ask God one thing. The Number One response? “Why is there suffering in the world?” Interestingly, married people were much more likely to want to know why there’s so much suffering.

But if you’ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, you will when you or someone you love is struck. And Jesus warned us those times would come. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as just being imagined, Jesus was honest. He told us the truth. He said in John 16:33, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might – he assured us it would happen.

But, why? If you ask me point-blank, “Why did God allow that precious baby, and now her parents to suffer?”, the only answer I can honestly give consists of four words – “I do not know.”

I cannot stand in the shoes of God and give a complete answer to that question. I don’t have God’s mind. I don’t see with God’s eyes. 1st Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

So when you ask about specific individual events and want to know why this particular thing happened, we won’t get the full answer in this world. Someday, we’ll see with clarity, but for now things are foggy. We can’t understand everything from our finite perspective. And honestly, I don’t think any attempt at theological explanation is going to do anyone any good right now; any intellectual response is just going to seem rehearsed. What is desperately needed now is the very real and comforting presence of Jesus Christ in their lives. And I’m so grateful that this young family has a loving church and family helping them through this difficult time.

But for us, let’s focus on the big, overarching issue of why God generally allows suffering in our lives – your life and mine. People, this is important: even though we can’t understand everything about it, we can understand some things. So let’s try.

Imagine driving along a highway in the dark, when it starts to rain heavily and suddenly you hit dense fog. You can barely see the white stripe on the edge of the road and that is what you are using to attempt to stay on the road! You can’t stop because then someone might come along and rear-end you. Talk about scary!

Just as suddenly a truck appears in front of you. You can just make out his taillights through the fog. You guess he must have fog lamps in front, because he is traveling at a confident and deliberate pace, and somehow, you know if you can just follow those taillights, you’ll be okay, heading in the right direction.

I think the same is true in understanding why there is tragedy and suffering in our lives and in our world. We may not be able to make out all the peripheral details of why — they may be obscured from our view — but there are some key Biblical truths that can illuminate some points of light for us. And if we follow those lights, they will lead us in the right direction, toward some conclusions that I believe can help satisfy our hearts and souls.

What are those points of light? Let’s take a look at some that people have found helpful whenever they have felt prompted to ask the question, “Why?”
The first point would be that God is not the creator of evil and suffering.

This answers the question you hear so often: “Why didn’t God merely create a world where tragedy and suffering didn’t exist?” The answer is: He did! Genesis 1:31 says: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

But if God is not the author of tragedy or evil or death, where did those things come from? Well, God has existed from eternity past as the Father, Son and Spirit, together in a relationship of perfect love. So, I think we can agree love is the highest value in the universe. And when God decided to create human beings, he wanted us to experience love. But to give us the ability to love, God had to give us free will to choose whether to love or not. Why? Well, because love always involves a choice.

If we were programmed to say, “I love you,” it wouldn’t really be love. Think of those dolls with a string in the back, and when you pull that string the doll says, “I love you.” Does that doll love the string puller? Of course not. It is programmed to say those words. To really experience love, that doll would need to be able to choose to love or not to love. Again – real love always involves a choice.

So in order for us to experience love, God bestowed on us free will. But unfortunately, we humans have abused our free will by rejecting God and walking away from Him. And that has resulted in the introduction of two kinds of evil into the world: moral evil and natural evil.

Moral evil is the immorality and pain and suffering and tragedy that come because we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, hateful and abusive. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

So much of the world’s suffering results from the sinful action or inaction of ourselves and others. For example, people look at a famine and wonder where God is. When in reality the world produces enough food for each person to have 3,000 calories a day. It’s our own irresponsibility and self-centeredness that prevents people from getting fed.

In other words: look at your hand. You can choose to use that hand to hold a gun and shoot someone, or you can use it to feed hungry people. It’s your choice. But it’s unfair to shoot someone and then blame God for the existence of evil and suffering. Like that old saying, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

The second kind of evil is called natural evil. These are things like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes that cause suffering for people. But these, too, are the indirect result of sin being allowed into the world. As one author explained: “When we humans told God to shove off, He partially honored our request. Nature began to revolt. The earth was cursed. Genetic breakdown and disease began. Pain and death became part of the human experience.”

The Bible says it’s because of sin that nature was corrupted and “thorns and thistles” entered the world. Romans 8:22 says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” In other words, nature longs for redemption to come and for things to be set right. That’s the source of disorder and chaos.

To be perfectly clear, God did not create evil and suffering. However, He did create the potential for evil to enter the world, because that was the only way to create the potential for genuine goodness and love. But it was us, human beings, in our free will, who brought that potential evil into reality.

Some people may ask, “Doesn’t God have a plan? Couldn’t He have foreseen all of this?” And I have no doubt He did. But look at it this way: many of you are parents. Even before you had children, couldn’t you foresee that there was the very real possibility they may suffer disappointment or pain or heartache in life, or that they might even hurt you and walk away from you? Of course — but you still had kids. Why? Because you knew there was also the potential for tremendous joy and deep love and great meaning.

God undoubtedly knew we’d rebel against Him, but He also knew many people would choose to follow Him and have a relationship with Him and spend eternity in heaven with Him. He must have thought it was all worth it for that, even though it would cost His own Son great pain and suffering to achieve their redemption.

In my next post, I’ll look at another ‘point of light’, the fact that God can use suffering to accomplish good.

Joel Osteen is pastor of one of the largest churches in our country, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He has written numerous books, travels all over the world speaking and ‘preaching’. There is a website for his church, as well as his personal blog/web page. Whomever his publicist is, is a creative, blinded, genius! Osteen has been marketed in such a way that he has become a multi-millionaire while preaching the ‘prosperity’ message.
According to http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/3059879/posts … Osteen has recently decided that the Bible has errors in it and that the apostles Paul, Peter, and John are mistaken about some things, and they should be corrected and rebuked! I will let you read the article for yourself! When you finish reading it, please leave a comment sharing your thoughts on this article. I am very interested to see how others interpret what has been said by Osteen.
HERE IS THE ARTICLE….
Joel Osteen Rebukes Apostles Paul, Peter, and John
United for Awakening ^ | 8/27/13 | Peter Michael Martinez
Posted on 8/28/2013 2:22:54 PM by Sopater
According to Joel Osteen – Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, these first century apostles are wrong and outdated and he has come out boldly to infer indirectly that Apostles Paul, Peter, and John whom wrote much of the New Testament were wrong and need to be corrected and rebuked.
When asked directly if people whom are openly practicing homosexuals are accepted into the Kingdom, Joel Osteen responded with “Absolutely, anybody is.”
We all need to listen carefully to the words that this “man of God” speaks as he goes on interviews so we too can find the errors in the preaching of the first century apostles.
Joel does acknowledge that some things are “sin” but says, “I don’t address these things from the pulpit. They only come up in interviews.” When asked if openly practicing gay/homosexual people will be accepted into heaven, Joel Osteen responded, “I believe they will.”
He makes no mention of the need for repentance.
Joel Osteen Brings Us Universalism

The doctrine of universalism is the belief that all people are “saved” no matter who you are or what you’ve done.
This is a new version of the “good news” that is MUCH BETTER than the message the Jesus and the Apostles preached 2,ooo years ago which was far too narrow according to the way Joel Osteen explains his “message.”
“I’m for everybody” says Joel Osteen, “I’m not into excluding people. Jesus can reveal himself to anybody.”
The idea is that since no one would be accepted if we are called to be “holy” then all have to be accepted. So goes this logic. This doctrine also believes that all roads lead to heaven so there is no one “way, truth, and life that leads to the father.”
According to Joel, “sin means to miss the mark” which, while technically correct, stands in contrast to the teachings of many writers of the Bible that teach that sin is violation of God’s Holy Laws so if by missing the mark Joel means violating God’s ways, then yes, sin is missing the mark.
According to the out of date writers of the Bible, the “wages of sin is death” for which blood is required and for which a sacrifice was presented.
It sounds a lot more harsh to say SIN is TREASON punishable by death than to say it is “missing the mark” which is a bit incomplete. Sin is also “to incur guilt, incur penalty” which according to the scripture is death.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When asked about people who live in open sin, Joel smilingly said, “I’m not going to bash those people. I’m not going to be against those people. They’re good people.”
So by contrast, Apostle Jude is “bashing people” when he said:
Jude 1:14-16 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”
Joel’s wife recently said to Piers Morgan. “It’s the people that we’re after. We’re not trying to judge their sin. We want to encourage them and love them. You’re only going to win people by reaching out to them.”
Isn’t that so awesome! They are all about the people! They want you and I be accepted without having to discuss anything like repentance or righteousness. These are “judgmental” subjects that we just don’t need.
These modern day ministry giants have gone on national television to essentially correct Apostles Peter, John, and Paul to say … they are wrong … if you listen to Joel Osteen. So many across the nation are so proud of this Pastor and his courage in confronting the church fathers!
According to Joel Osteen, Apostle Paul erroneously stated to the Corinthians …
1 Corinthians 6:8-10 “Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
In saying this, according to Joel Osteen, Apostle Paul is being “exclusionary” and should be rebuked and corrected. He is obviously wrong and should never have said these things to the Corinthian church.
Corinth was known for its sexual openness and promiscuity so for Paul to “condemn” all these “good people” was completely out of order and he needs to be rebuked.
When Paul wrote to the Romans he also was in complete error in stating the following in the first chapter of his letter, according to Joel Osteen.
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
According to Joel Osteen, Paul was absolutely incorrect and to state that being a homosexual is a sin is being “judgmental” and should not be tolerated. It is just wrong according to Joel Osteen. Many people agree with Joel Osteen today and so, Apostle Paul is apparently misguided and incorrect in his letter.
Joel goes on to point out the additional errors in the words Apostle Paul wrote.
“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Paul went on to write in the first chapter of Romans, which according to the words of Joel Osteen, he is deeply misguided and mistaken.
Apostle Paul should repent for saying such things according to Joel Osteen. A growing number of people in America agree with Joel that Apostle Paul should be rebuked for ever saying such things because Paul isn’t accepting of people like Joel Osteen is.
Equally misguided and incorrect according to Joel Osteen is Paul’s words to the Galatian church. In his writings, Apostle Paul made stunning comments that were clearly exclusionary statements concerning the Kingdom and those whom are accepted, and in so doing has made grave error according to Joel Osteen.
See if you can detect the absolutely false statements that Apostle Paul made to the Galatian church according to the stated doctrine of Joel Osteen.
Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.“
You can clearly see what has Joel Osteen so unhappy that he’s gone on national television to correct this! It is this type of rhetoric, according to Joel Osteen, that is completely false and misrepresents the God he serves.
Joel Osteen’s God loves everybody and there are no exclusions because then, according to Joel, “none of us would be saved.” So again, Apostle Paul was completely incorrect and should never have written such harsh and insensitive words to the Galatian church according to Joel.
I imagine Joel Osteen would say “shame on Apostle Paul for ever writing such hateful words!”
Now, not only is Joel out to correct the misguided Apostle Paul, but Apostle Peter was also brought into serious question for clearly being exclusionary when he wrote these words.
1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
According to the doctrine Joel Osteen has now shared with us all as “his message,” being clearly more evolved and enlightened than the archaic Apostle Peter, no one can be holy. We are left to conclude that Peter is misguided and is being judgmental. What a terrible yoke and condemnation Apostle Peter is trying to put on the good people he is writing to.
Additionally, Apostle Peter goes on to say things that are completely against the Lakewood Church Pastor’s God when he stated the following.
2 Peter 2:6-8 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”
According to Joel Osteen’s public comments, one could conclude that Apostle Peter was in complete error and deceived when he wrote such things. What a terrible condemnation. He clearly did not know the doctrine that Joel Osteen preaches or he would never have said such awful and critical things.
Joel Osteen indirectly implies (subtly) that these apostles were false and were critical and judgmental and should NOT be listened to in America today. We all need to listen instead to Joel Osteen and Oprah Winfrey.
Now Apostle John made even greater errors if the benchmark is Joel Osteen’s “message” when he stated some of the thing that he wrote which, according to Joel Osteen, is just plain and simply not true.
It takes a lot of courage for Joel to stand against these writings but he believes strongly in his “uplifting and encouraging” doctrine that does not endorse such harsh and judgmental statements as written by these ancient Apostles.

We should all pray for Joel Osteen because he needs our prayers if he’s going to continue to champion the cause of those oppressed and condemned by the writings and statements of Apostles like Paul, Peter and John.
Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
You see, according to Joel Osteen in a recent interview, “God doesn’t see any sin as worse than another” and all are going to heaven. Apparently in Joel Osteen’s bible, he has redacted the unpardonable sin. So if you’re a follower of Joel Osteen’s then this statement by Apostle John must seem just plain wrong.
Apostle John doesn’t know what he’s talking about and we need to listen to the wisdom of Joel Osteen. Apostle John clearly was in error and should be rebuked for suggesting that people who tell lies are going to have their part in the lake of fire.
What was Apostle John thinking writing such judgmental things???
That’s a terrible thing to say and no one, certainly not Apostle John, should be allowed to say such things. As Joel says, “there’s enough condemnation in the world” and we don’t need anymore.
Additionally, in his letter, Apostle John says things like …
1 John 3:8-10 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
Now according to Joel Osteen and the thousands that agree with his “message,” this entire passage should be removed from the pages of the bible and no one should be saying such things. In fact, Joel goes on to share that it is this exact kind of preaching that will hinder “church growth.”
Apostles Paul, Peter, and John listen up. Joel Osteen rebukes you all.
Now listen, Joel Osteen and his ministry in Houston are all about people. He is standing up for your rights! He is taking a REALLY BIG RISK because … if he’s wrong, and Apostle Paul is right … then he stands to be cursed! So he needs your support in prayer NOW!
Galatians 1:9 “As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
Instead, you all need to listen to his message of universal acceptance and lawless living without any condemnation so we can all “lift our spirits” and be “encouraging and loving” to all people no matter what lifestyle or choices they make. After all, according to Joel, God loves us all and everyone is going to heaven so lighten up!
There is no exclusive path to the Kingdom. According to Joel Osteen, we need to hear this message because it’s the right message and anyone that says that there is an exclusive path to God is wrong.
Joel would know, look at the size of his church! He is clearly telling you the truth more than anyone in history.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Exactly how much error is too much?
Sources:

Overview of Joel Osteen/Oprah deceptions:http://youtu.be/weEWl52wevI
Joel Osteen meets with Larry King … Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/KwL1DThtxYg
Joel Osteen meets with Piers Morgan … Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/tgCpRNfBzys
To his credit, in this interview Joel does call out sin, however, he softens it and backs away from talking about repentance … and when he is asked “what would you say” his comment is that he doesn’t understand. You’re leading the largest church in America and you don’t understand REPENTANCE?
The quotes are taken right from what Joel himself has spoken. He positions himself on his own without being told how to answer. On the one hand he wants to appease his Christian followers by saying “the bible says” but on the other he clearly fellowships with darkness and facilitates those whom deny the power thereof.
2 Timothy 3:1-7 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

As I said I am very interested in your opinions of what you have just read. So please, leave a comment and let’s have a calm and focused discussion!
To be fair, I did go to Osteen’s webpage and do a little reading. I don’t know if the website just needs to be updated to correlate with what Osteen has said he believes, or if the article above is completely false. I do know that something is stinky in Houston though!!
I will let you discern for yourself. Here is a link to Osteen’s webpage and a description of what their beliefs are, or were! http://www.joelosteen.com/Pages/WhatWeBelieve.aspx

So I guess my question comes down to, just what is Joel Osteen up to?

Extended Family

So often when someone talks of extended family they are referring to cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, etc. We tend not to consider friends as extended family, but in so many cases they are just that. When you have known someone for 30 years, been friends with them, been to dinners, prayed with them, had them preach at relatives funerals, had them marry your children, then I think you become extended family.

Last week we lost a very dear member of our extended family. You see, my husband and I met Thomas Brown and his wife Jean on our wedding day! From that day on, they were members of our family, and I always have felt that they were members of our family. I had the special priviledge of becoming friends with both of their daughters, Vicki and Liz, and later son Paul. As the time passed I met other members of their family and each and every one always treated me as if I had been a member of their family my entire life. I never had anyone in that family treat me with anything less than love, grace, and compassion.

I have learned so much about love and grace and compassion from each and every member of the Brown family. Anytime that you see any of them, be ready because they have a hug ready for you! They are always ready and willing to pray with you, or for you. If you ever had a need in your life, whether for you or a family member, or even just someone you knew, whether it was a physical, mental, or financial need, they were ready to do whatever they could to help.

As owners of the Christian Book & Supply Store in Jasper, I can’t begin to tell you how many Bibles I saw Bro. or Sis. Brown give to whomever the customer might be. Or in many cases, they would hear a story of someone in need, someone struggling and their first response would be to give…whether it was a Bible they would give or some other material item, or even a financial gift, they gave. They gave because they knew that God had already given them so much and they delighted in sharing their blessings. They truly enjoyed helping someone in need and it didn’t matter to them what color someone’s skin was, or where they grew up. It didn’t matter to them what someone’s address was. All that mattered to them was if the person had a need and God led them to help.

You see, unlike so many of us, this family listened to the Holy Spirit. In each and every thing that they did, every decision they made, every gift they gave, they listened to what God told them. They would always pray and listen. So many of us fail to do that and then we wonder why our decisions or our actions don’t go the way we think they should.

We pray, oh BOY do we pray! We ask God to give us this or do that for us. We rarely ask what we can do for someone else or how we can do something for someone else. If we would simply pray with our hearts and ears open, pray humbly, and pray seeking God’s will, we would see that things would turn around and be so much better for all around us.

That is what the Brown family does. When they pray, they trust that God is going to answer. They don’t know if God’s answer is going to be yes, no, or not right now, but they knew WITHOUT A DOUBT that God was going to answer. And they knew that He was going to answer in His own time, not in our time. The faith that family has is so inspiring and encouraging to me.

Oh, they have had their difficulties, their downs and disappointments, but through them all they maintained their faith. They always KNEW that God was going to take care of things. They KNEW that He was going to supply what was needed, open the hearts that they encountered, and they had no doubt that “All things are possible with God.”

And, because of the beautiful and wonderful Brown family, I also know that “With God, all things are possible.” I will always, always love each and every member of that beautiful family, and I am so eternally grateful that God introduced us almost 30 years ago.

Brother Thomas Edgar Brown, Jr., I will always love you and miss you. You now know what a profound affect you have had on my life, on the lives of all my family members, and on the lives of all those you have touched in one way or another. You have had a hand in leading so many to come to know and accept Jesus, too many to count! But God knows, and that is what is important. You are now there in Heaven walking the streets of gold, enjoying reunions with family and friends that have gone before you, but most importantly, you are in the presence of Jesus! I am so thrilled for you! Yes, we miss you here on this cold, hard-hearted earth, but we look forward to the day when we can celebrate with you there with Jesus. Until that time, thank you for being a guardian angel for me, and the many others that you are. We love you so very much!

Relationships

Today is my mother’s birthday. She is 88 years old, and has lived a hard life, but she keeps hanging on. I truly believe that is all that she is doing is just hanging on.

My family has never been on that could be considered anywhere NEAR a close family. I am closer to some of my aunts and cousins than to my own siblings. That is a long story that I’m going to keep to myself for a bit longer. Both of my brothers are much older than me. Well, I say much, but the youngest of my two brothers is 5 years older than me. That’s enough that I had to tolerate all the years of being compared to him and how well he did in school, how he never got into trouble, how perfect he was, because he was a boy! Yep, that’s what I said. Because he was a boy!

That was an actual reason given to me by my  parents when I asked to do something that he had been allowed to do at either the same age I was at the time, or even earlier! He was a straight A student in school, without even putting forth any effort. I was a struggler, and definitely defiant! My brother could do no wrong in my parents eyes, or anyone else’s for that matter! I, on the other hand, was known as the family trouble maker. I was blamed for all of the problems my family had, and I do mean all of them!

Like I said, we were not a close family. My oldest brother disappeared from the family when I was a child of about 6 or 7 years old. He was in the Air Force when I was born. I’m not exactly sure, but I believe he is about 20 years older than me.  My earliest memory of him was right before he pulled his disappearing act when he gave me a dog.

We were living in Phoenix, AZ at the time and my father was a carpenter. He traveled all over Arizona building houses for Jim Walter Homes. He built quite a few in the mountains of Arizona.  Typically, if he was somewhere north, in the mountains, we would travel to where he was for the weekend. He had a very small travel trailer that he stayed in, and we stayed in when we went to visit. This trailer was so small that he had to build in a bunk bed over the master bed for me to sleep in. My brother got to sleep on the floor. The only reason I got the bunk was because he was too heavy to climb up and sleep on a flimsy piece of plywood covered by a maybe 2 inch piece of foam.

Anyway, on one of these trips, my oldest brother came to visit us. He brought with him the most beautiful dog I have ever seen. He was an Irish Setter. I don’t know how the decision was made, but I ended up with the dog. My brother had bought two and could only keep one in his apartment so that was the excuse he gave my parents. I’m sure it didn’t go over easy with them. But, no matter, I got the dog. His name was Mutt, but he was most definitely no mutt. He was still a puppy at the time.

Mutt ended up being my lifeline for so long. I had a few friends when we lived in Phx., but these were childhood friendships and they don’t typically last very long, especially when one of you moves away! The summer between my 5th and 6th grade year of school, we moved back to Texas. My father had come to Texas many months before us, “looking for work”. There is another long story there as well, which I may share at a later date.

Anyway, we came to Texas. I was so upset at leaving my few friends and the comfort of familiarity I had with our house and my school in Phoenix, but I was just a child, and a girl at that!! I never got to ride in the front seat of the car the entire trip!! When we made it to Texas, east Texas actually, we went to my mothers home town, where some of her siblings lived. I remember staying at various aunts and uncles and had no clue as to why at the time. Now I know though that my mother was having a difficult time locating my father!

Anyway, once she located him, and life started to get back to normal, or at least normal for us, they bought a small piece of property and my father was going to build us a house! Meanwhile, we would live in…….the tiny travel trailer!! Boy, oh boy, was that fun! My brother and I were ready to kill each other almost every day! I tried to spend as much time as possible outside, in the woods exploring.

I loved living in the woods. I could go somewhere way out in the woods, far from where we lived, and play, and pretend. I would pretend I was a very rich girl who lived in a huge house, so large that my brother, on the days I pretended he could live with us, lived on the opposite end of the house, and I never had to see him! Many times I just pretended that I wouldn’t let him live with me in my mansion.

One of the main things I remember about my childhood, is the fact that my parents NEVER took us to church. I don’t recall ever even seeing  my parents in a church unless someone was getting married or there was a funeral. They used God’s name in vain on a regular basis. They NEVER prayed, at least not that I was aware of. We never said Grace before a meal at holidays or anything like that. We also never really  made any holidays special. Thanksgiving was just a day that my mother would cook chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, usually green beans, and rolls. Sometimes there might be another vegetable in there. But there was no focus on family time. We would sit down and eat, my father would finish and go sit in his chair to watch football, or wrestling, or whatever else he could find, and then proceed to sleep through it. The only time the television was ever turned off in our house, was when my father was asleep, in his room.

I kind of got off my point there, but my parents never indicated an importance of family ties or connections. I had cousins that I had never met, even though I was a young teenager and they lived maybe an hour away! Oh, there was the occasional “family reunion” at our house where my mother’s family would come and we would eat, and I usually ended up playing by myself because all the other kids were either much older, or much younger than me. So, I spent a lot of time alone. But, these reunions didn’t start happening until I was about 12 or 13. So, there were lots of family members I did not know! Yep, not much closeness in our family.

There is so much more to this story, but I will stop here for now. I will share more at a later date.

The beginning of First Place 4 Health!

I have been feeling for quite some time that God has a special task for me but I have been unable to understand what it is He is asking me to do. At least until now. I believe God is leading me to hold a Bible study for people, like me, who want to get ourselves healthy. Yes, weight loss is part of it, but not the only part. I don’t want to focus on strictly weight loss. There are several aspects to getting yourself healthy and that’s what I want to focus on, all aspects. Physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. I believe that you can not have one and be successful, without the others included. Each aspect of our health directly affects the others. But we have to start with the most important aspect, our spiritual health.

We have to get our spiritual health in order before the others can be successful. Without our spiritual health being in order, trying to get any other aspect of our health in order is useless, a waste of time. Unless we give control to God, over ALL aspects of our health, and then we study His word so we know what He wants us to do, then we are just treading water.  While treading water might be fairly good exercise, it is not enough by itself. We cannot survive by simply ‘treading water’.

So, spiritual health being first and most important, our second most important, at least in my  opinion, is going to be our mental health. If we are not ready mentally for weight loss or exercise, or healthy eating, or ready to deal with our emotional “baggage”, then again, all of our efforts are going to be a waste of time.  In other words, if we want to get our whole body healthy, we can not leave out any single aspect.  That is why I am planning this Bible study using the First Place 4 Health program.

This program addresses each and every aspect of getting or being healthy, and once reaching your personal goals, then maintaining those goals, and it does so while teaching us to follow Gods plan for us. I think the most difficult part of this is going to be realizing that different plans for each of us. While our paths may cross, or we may serve in the same capacity at times, He has other plans for us, and this is just a step on that path God is leading us down. Our job is to make sure we stay on that path and  don’t venture off on our own thinking we know a better way.

I know for me personally, I tend to want to see results quickly, if not instantly. That is why I have had such a difficult time with weight loss. Any amount of weight loss is good, but if you truly want to lose weight, and KEEP IT OFF, then you must, absolutely MUST follow God’s guidance.  If you think for one second that you will be able to lose weight and keep it off, and get yourself healthy, all on your own, you are sadly mistaken. You cannot do it alone!! You have to depend on God to help you. That is the ONLY way that a person with 75+ pounds to lose, recent back surgery, three surgeries on the right knee, c-spine surgery, will EVER be successful.

I know that I have to have Gods help in becoming healthy. What makes me so sure? Because I have tried repeatedly to lose weight. Oh, there have been times that I would lose weight, significant amounts of weight! I would be so proud of myself! And then, it would inevitably happen. The weight would start coming back on.  The worst part about all of this is that the weight I had lost would come back, and bring a few more pounds with it! Talk about discouraging!!

Presently, I weigh more than I EVER have in my entire life. I am carrying around an extra person with me! I have never had blood pressure problems. In fact, I have always had a low blood pressure, 110/60 typically.  My last two visits to my pain management doctor’s office, for my back, my blood pressure has been significantly elevated. That is a sign to me that I am in dangerous territory physically. High blood pressure, diabetes, various types of cancer, and arthritis all run in my family. I have to do whatever I can now, to avoid having to deal with any of these problems later in life. I see that chance in the First Place 4 Health Program. I know that God wants me to be healthy because He has much more in store for me to do for His kingdom, and if I am not healthy, I won’t be a very productive worker!

So, beginning in January, my household will be following the FP4H program, and  hopefully, I will have a group of people ready to join me by participating in the Bible study group I will be starting. I have not finalized any details yet, but, if you are interested in participating, and live close enough to attend our weekly meetings, please do!! If you live too far away, I will be more than happy to help you find a group that is closer to you. Or, if there is enough need, who knows? Maybe we can do a video chat or something of that nature to include those who are unable to be there personally.  Right now, I primarily need to know what kind of interest level there is. Are you interested in participating in something like this? If it sounds like something you would like to be a part of, please, either leave me a comment here or on FB (scrappinmama253), and I will keep you posted on the details as they become official or finalized.

I will be speaking to my pastor about use of the church fellowship hall for these Bible study classes. And once I receive the approval from the church, then I can really get some plans set in stone. My plan at this time is to offer the same class twice a week. I know, huh??? I want to be able to reach as many people as possible that want to participate, therefore, I want to hold a daytime class and an evening class. This way, if you work during the day, you can come to the evening class, or if you would rather come during the day, that will be available also. Another great feature of offering the same class twice in a week, if you miss a class, you can come to the next one for that week!

Again, none of this is official yet, but hopefully and with much prayer, it soon will be. Please be praying for me and for this project, and the success of this Bible study for everyone that chooses to participate. Pray that things will fall into place so that materials needed can be provided to anyone who cannot afford to purchase them, and pray that I am following God’s will and continue to do so.

I have to say, once I made my decision to follow this program, I felt such a sense of peace about it. Now, that has turned into a sense of determination. As I said, the greatest need from anyone right now, is prayer.

I do not work, which is why I will be able to offer the Bible study two times a week, but it will also prevent me from doing what I would really love to do, which is to purchase the study guides for everyone interested. But, I just can’t. I pray that God will help each of us who wish to participate the ability to find the funds. Each study guide, covering approximately 12 weeks is around $14.oo. There are also other products that can be purchased, though not necessary. But we can talk about all of that later, at our first meeting!!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am extremely excited about this and so ready to get started!! Again, if you are interested, or have suggestions, please leave me a comment here or on FB.

Have a wonderful and blessed day everyone!!