Tuesday, May 10, 2016

5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart

By Leslie Vernick

As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin. I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes. The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14; Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21; James 1:4). We all miss God’ mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19–21). These things are not true of the evil heart. Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart. If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

Read the rest here

Thursday, May 05, 2016

May is #LymeAwareness‬ month. How easy is it to contract Lyme?

I get asked a lot of questions about Lyme disease but interestingly enough some of the first questions receive revolve around the national discussion on how prevalent Lyme is. There is conflicting information out there. Often they ask me where I was when I got it.‪

Myth 1: Lyme is only in certain areas. It was either Washington State or possibly Alaska.

Myth 2: Even more frequently I am asked if I was bitten by a tick. The belief that Lyme is only transferred by a tick bite is not true. I was not bitten by a tick. It was likely a mosquito.

Myth 3‬: Did you have the bull's eye rash? It's believed that unless you have the rash, you don't have Lyme. Yes. I had a small bulls eye rash. No, you don't have to present a rash to have Lyme disease.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

There will always be times of conflict in relationships. They are opportunities when we can become more acutely aware of God's grace, how it can transform us, and by the Holy Spirit inform us on how to act in Christian love. We naturally take the low road. We fear, we speculate, we ruminate on the failings of others. We exaggerate our fears and their power over us, as if Christ dwelling in us is powerless to save us. We justify our faithlessness by exaggerating just how powerful evil is. We lose a sense of the reality of Christian living. It's a tailspin. But it doesn't have to be. Live in Him, in the transforming power of him. Root your confidence in faith and live in the knowledge of His love for you and for others.

I appreciate the post from Shepherd Press today. It gives some sound practical advice on how to communicate gracefully.
Once again, someone in your life has offended you. Your frustration boils over. How many more times will you have to put up with being offended? So, you take matters into your own hands and let the offender know how you feel.
You tell him just how annoyed and offended you are. You don’t care if he is your brother or your coworker, enough is enough. Afterwards, you think you feel vindicated, you think you feel better, you think you have stood up for your rights. But something is not right. You still feel edgy and angry.
Read the rest here

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

OurBucks, Prosumerism and Retail Estate

Originally published 9/27/07

One of the things that I have done as a stay-at-home daughter, is learn a little about business (and marketing, while helping my father who directs and controls online shopping with his Internet based and managed distribution company.

For us this has meant integrating the family business into our home-making and hospitality. How did we do that? Buy coupling two important business principles: Prosumerism and Retail Estate.

Prosumerism is the principle of being a producer and consumer at the same time.

Most people are consumers but are not producers. All of their money goes toward consumption.
While they may think that they are producing at their jobs, in actuality they are not. Instead they trade their time for money, bring the money home, spend it on consumer products, and when all is said and done all they have produced is a bag of trash to be hauled out to the street. There is nothing left over.

Saving is not producing. Consumers think that when they buy at a discount they are getting ahead by saving money. Are they? Where is the saved money? What they are actually doing is just spending. They are stretching their dollars as far as they will go, but there is still only one end result, spent money.

Consumer minded shoppers choose to let their time be consumed also. They clip and cut coupons & drive from store to store (at 2.89 a gallon) shopping sales. In the end they have less time to go along with their spent money. Consumer thinking spends money (and time).

By definition producers have time and/or money left over after time and money is invested in a project. The leftover time and/or money is invested back into the project and then produces more. See the cycle? Producer thinking invests money (and time).

So what is a Prosumer? Prosumers make money while they spend their consumer dollars.
Prosumerism is the answer for those on a tight budget that would like to make more money but haven't any investment capital. Prosumers spend wisely and differently. They get paid for buying smarter not cheaper.

This is where Retail Estate comes in. There are many things that we buy at various retail establishments. Whether we purchase items on sale or not, we still purchase them and store owners keep the difference between wholesale and retail. In other words, they profit.

When a prosumer invests in retail estate he converts expenses to income by keeping profits, similarly to the conventional business owner, which he used to leave behind at a retail establishment. The profit ends up in his own pocket, and the profits now stay in his household budget. How can this be done?

Let me show you one way we do it.

Around here many of us refer to Starbucks as Fourbucks. Why? Because that is what it costs for a cup of fluff-puff coffee at a Starbucks retail establishment. Yesterday, I opened a coffee shop right in our own kitchen. Mom cleverly named it Ourbucks. Why? From here on out, rather than spend four bucks at Starbucks, the buck stops at Ourbucks. First we have made ourselves the middlemen by buying coffee at wholesale from a manufacturer that pays us a rebate on the volume of product we buy. Then I use that coffee to make our fluff-puff drinks at home. We pay Ourbucks what we used to pay Starbucks and the retail profit stays in the family business.

But you're just paying yourself?!? Don't forget volume bonuses mentioned above. This is profit earned for consuming our own product line. And we're not limited to our own household of three coffee drinkers and one product, coffee.

A home-based business certainly has it beginnings in turning a profit from redirecting the family budget and expenditures. But it goes far beyond that allowing for income potential equivalent of a full time job or more. With companies willing to work with this type of direct distribution, now-a-days, you have the potential to distribute electricity, groceries, nutritional products, cosmetics, exercise group memberships, flooring, household appliances, insurance, beyond your own personal consumption, which ultimately means, no more living paycheck-to-paycheck.

A waaAAaay better cup!

When it comes to Starbuck vs. Ourbucks, rather than building the vision of the owners of Starbucks, who openly denounces the magnificent creations of God and God Himself, promoting false religions & sodomy on their cups... (Update: This is from the day when quotes on their cups where quite horrible. Now it take much less, in fact nothing, to upset 'Christians,' which is unfortunate)

We are not happy with Starbucks...nor espouse their vision.

...we are building our family's vision and future by gaining a greater hold on our finances giving us the options we'd not have other wise, hopefully to benefit future generations of God fearing coffee drinkers to come.

We learned these ideas from the following recommended books: Household GOLD & Prosumer Power

Friday, July 31, 2015

Early morning road trip

We watch everything on the road as we're driving and talk about all we see going on; construction trucks throwing rocks, tire snakes, and the occasional Mario Andretti. This morning it went something like this.

Me: Andrea, put on your cop glasses. I think I need to pull this guy over. 
Andrea: I don't have any cop glasses. What's wrong this time?
Me: Then make those finger circles around your eyes because look at that pipe on the back of that trailer...it's hopping around. I don't think it's tied down. He's going to harpoon someone and I feel like an endangered species following this guy.
Andrea: Police officers are declining in the public opinion polls. I'm not sure my impersonation will help them any.

The pipe jumps back 20 inches.

Me: I'm turning on the lights. Make a siren noise so we can get this guy to pull over.
Andrea: Okay fine. You drive. I'll tell him.
Andrea: I don't think he can read lips at 75mph. Wave him over.

I wave him over. We pull off the interstate. 

Me: I'm going to go talk to him.
Andrea: No. You stay here. I'll talk to him.
Me: Are you sure? I can go with you.
Andrea: No. Stay here.
Me: Okay fine. Radio for back up if you need me. 

She hops out and tells him. He thanks her and she hops back in. 

Me: What did he say?
Andrea: He said I made a pretty good siren noise now turn off your lights and let's go.

Five minutes later...
Me: That was pretty easy to pull him over. He's lucky we weren't pirates.

Monday, August 18, 2014

SOLD: A Searle Classic

This Full length cashmere coat with beautiful Norwegian Fox Fur Collar and cuffs, is a Steve by Searle label, and can be easily worn with a jacket or chunky sweater beneath. Perfect for Autumn / Winter nights out on the town or a evening at the Opera.

Spliced princess cut seaming makes this coat perfect for any body type.

Email for more information and to purchase.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thoughts on Health and Eternity in a Letter to my Friend

Dear Friend,

Andrea and your mother both mentioned that you were meditating upon eternity, it's value, it's glory. When I was really sick I was also. Wishing for that heavenly place and seeing all the world as nothing in comparison.

I was just reading scripture, and I thought I would pass along what I am meditating on tonight.

Rom. 6:10, For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

I referenced Matthew Henry next so as to understand how Christ "lived unto God," wanting to make no assumptions of my own. Logic dictates He was always living unto God. Out of curiosity I looked to see if there was more depth of understanding to this little phrase.

Matthew Henry says,

He rose to live unto God, to live a heavenly life, to receive that glory which was set before him. Others that were raised from the dead returned to the same life in every respect which they had before lived; but so did not Christ: He rose again to leave this world. Now I am no more in the World, John 13:1, Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 
John 17:11, And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  
He rose to live to God, that is, to intercede and rule, and all to the glory of the Father. Thus must we rise to live to God: this is what he calls newness of life. 

My thoughts on the passage and MH's explanation:

I find that now that I am much better and can engage in life and relationships, I am beginning to be swept up in the cares of this world as if eternity is far off and hard to be understood. And here I had such a keen understanding just a short while ago. Christ maintains His view of eternity always. All in the present, though we plan and toil, is towards that end. Nothing that we do here fits us for heaven. Only Christ's continual work in us has merit.

We will share in His glory. It is set before us also. Unfathomable and humbling it is as the nature of understanding spiritual things is that it demands a greater degree of humility. It is impossible to be proud of our good graces, thanks to Him. Anyone who is, is graceless indeed. What could possibly compare to sitting with Him in glory? Or even now knowing how He works, how He worked in us, and continues to work here on earth.  Here we are working along side Him until we meet Him in eternity.

We rise to leave this world also. Everyday we do. Everyday we are a day closer. Every day we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Our confidence is that the God of heaven rules and superintends over all we would leave behind. He is our confidence.

Should we stay a while longer, we too will intercede and rule over our homes. Our jurisdiction for the time being. We rise and we live unto God. That is our witness. Whether we rise a little, or are restored to full health  in order that we may do quite a lot, it is all done in newness of life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are the benefactors no matter what the circumstances.

In Christ,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Second Great Embarrassment

Karl Marx was a mediocre writer, but his reference to a great philosopher has been quoted and re-quoted: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
If we could laugh off current evangelical scandals, our situation would not be so dim—but we cannot. Historians lecture on the Great Awakening (1730s-1740s) and the Second Great Awakening (1800s), but in our time we could mutter about the Great Embarrassment (1987-1991) and the Second Great Embarrassment (2006-present).
Read the rest here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Love-Hate Relationship With Christian Art

or most people, Christianity and art no longer resonate as a glorious pairing. It's a sad and sorry truth that even as Christians, we've largely lost our respect and reverence for "Christian art."
Wandering through Western Christendom, in which artists are currently arting, I've sampled just about all the flavors of Christian creator and Christian consumer. The too-sugary-sweet, message-is-master types. The respect-me-at-all-costs-hard-bitten types. The ironic. The naïve. The truly talented. The posers. The Christians who can't tell a story without an altar call and the Christians who write as if all of reality fits into that one guilt-ridden moment when Cain was busy slaying Abel—giving man's sinful nature the last word. And of course, there are also those Christian artists who don't want their art to be "Christian" at all. (And the Christian consumers who feel the same way.)
Despite the vast confusion of taste in the kingdom, and the proliferation of art of varying quality, we share one profoundly common bond: Everyone is insecure about the branding of Christian art. Everyone worries about being labeled cheesy—even the cheesiest people I know. Some artists delude themselves into thinking that they aren't, and others attempt to divorce their faith from their creations with a secular firewall.
Many actually believe that they are building something that has never been built before, like they are the first to stand against the raging tide of schlock and do something worthwhile. They are in pursuit of Christian art, but, you know—good this time.
As Christian artists and Christian consumers, it is all too easy for our eyes—particularly (but not only) the eyes of the young—to look ever sideways. Is this cool? Is it cool enough? We get embarrassed by a movie celebrating life and grieving over abortion carnage and bemoan the state of Christian film. Why? Because of the camera work? Because of the acting? Maybe. But more likely because we believe a worldly lie about our own branding.
I come to you with strange news. Brace yourselves. There is a hundred times more schlock and garbage in unbelieving art than in ours. More terrible camera work. More bad acting. More mindlessness. More soul-lessness. More pitiful lyrics. More misery. not to excuse our own inadequacies (which are all too real), but we should stop fearing the snarkiness of those performing worse than we are.
Need some confidence? Take a look beyond our own pop-frothy moment.
Christian art? Are you kidding me? Christianity has produced the greatest art of all time. Get some swagger, people, because we're undefeated. Did a culture of atheism bring us Handel'sMessiahBach? What faith fed the Dutch masters? Give the cathedrals a glance and then find me better architecture. Have a listen to some American spirituals. To the blues. To gospel. Our brothers illuminated manuscripts (and don't you forget it). Narnia. Hobbits. Folk songs. Symphonies. Through the history of the Christian church there runs a wide and roaring river of artistic glory, feeding believers and unbelievers alike.
Now before you start pointing to some of the unbelieving masters, watch me cheat: all beauty is God's. All truth is God's. All goodness is God's. Even those who hate him are made in his image, and if they, by grace, craft glory, we should thank them very much for their contribution and swipe it.
Read the rest here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Meditating On Future Life - John Calvin

WHATEVER be the kind of tribulation with which we are afflicted, we should always consider the end of it to be, that we may be trained to despise the present, and thereby stimulated to aspire to the future life. For since God well knows how strongly we are inclined by nature to a slavish love of this world, in order to prevent us from clinging too strongly to it, he employs the fittest reason for calling us back, and shaking off our lethargy. Every one of us, indeed, would be thought to aspire and aim at heavenly immortality during the whole course of his life.

 This life, though abounding in all kinds of wretchedness, is justly classed among divine blessings which are not to be despised. Wherefore, if we do not recognize the kindness of God in it, we are chargeable with no little ingratitude towards him. To believers, especially, it ought to be a proof of divine benevolence, since it is wholly destined to promote their salvation. Before openly exhibiting the inheritance of eternal glory, God is pleased to manifest himself to us as a Father by minor proofs, viz., the blessings which he daily bestows upon us. Therefore, while this life serves to acquaint us with the goodness of God, shall we disdain it as if it did not contain one particle of good? We ought, therefore, to feel and be affected towards it in such a manner as to place it among those gifts of the divine benignity which are by no means to be despised.

 Were there no proofs in Scripture, (they are most numerous and clear,) yet nature herself exhorts us to return thanks to God for having brought us forth into light, granted us the use of it, and bestowed upon us all the means necessary for its preservation. And there is a much higher reason when we reflect that here we are in a manner prepared for the glory of the heavenly kingdom. For the Lord hath ordained, that those who are ultimately to be crowned in heaven must maintain a previous warfare on the earth, that they may not triumph before they have overcome the difficulties of war, and obtained the victory. Another reason is, that we here begin to experience in various ways a foretaste of the divine benignity, in order that our hope and desire may be whetted for its full manifestation. When once we have concluded that our earthly life is a gift of the divine mercy, of which, agreeably to our obligation, it behoves us to have a grateful remembrance, we shall then properly descend to consider its most wretched condition, and thus escape from that excessive fondness for it, to which, as I have said, we are naturally prone.