Storm Warning, A Study of the Book of Revelation

When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say ” it is going to rain”  when the south wind blows you say ” it’s going to be hot”.  You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky.

How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? Luke 12:54

Coming soon…. Storm Warning, A Study of the Book of Revelation and

Interested?  Please email me and let me know.  I’ll provide the details.

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Season of Grief

I am currently going through a really hard season of grief.  For those of you who have lost a parent, Im sure you can relate.  My dad passed away April 11th and I miss him very much.  There are days I feel so empty and then there are days I sit and talk about him with no sadness at all.

One thing I realized through this grief is that it is a process.  There are no rules you follow, and you cant rush it.  The other thing I realized is that we as humans grieve more than death.  We grieve relationships, jobs, habits, decisions… It seems we are always grieving something!

Learning how to define and process loss in life when its not a death is a very positive thing.  Think about it…. when something bad happens in your life, you go through alot of these steps….Denial, guilt, sorrow, anger, fear and then acceptance.  It is a process.  I think so many of us get caught on one step and never choose to move forward, and that keeps us from living life as God intended us to do.

Think about areas of your life you are still grieving. Are you stuck on a step?  Is it time to get off and move to the next step?  What do you need to do to make the move?  Sometimes just admitting you are stuck is the hardest part. Or admitting you are afraid of the next step is holding you back.  Perhaps you are content on your step – you can sit there and not be harmed, or sit there and blame someone else.  But you will never have peace with your past and you may be missing out on a great future.  Grief can transform your heart and connect us to new and better things God has for us.

So perhaps its time to stand up on your step.  Look up, take God’s hand and move forward.  You’ll be rewarded, and you will be one step closer to healing your heart.

Until Next Time God Bless You

Carolyn

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4 questions to ask yourself when making an important decision

I recently watched a sermon series by Andy Stanley called Your Move.  It came at a great time in my life because I was pondering a decision that in my heart probably already knew the answer.

Andy talked about 4 questions you should ask yourself before making a big decision.

The first is a launcher!  Ask yourself, “Am I being completely honest with myself?” Understand first of all that you are an expert at selling yourself at something you really want to do!  When you stop and ask “WHY am I really doing this?” it puts that decision in a different light.  Are you doing it for self glory?  Are you looking to get revenge on someone?  Are you running from something out of fear of failure or giving up on something  that maybe God wants you to be patient and wait for?

Some people will tell you to “follow your heart”.  God doesnt always say to do that.  Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Every time we make a decision with our “hearts” we need to understand that God says our hearts will try to deceive us. Our hearts may be  emotionally wrapped around one option and we begin to look for our minds to justify that option.  We do that by mixing a bit of truth with a bit of false.  If left unchecked, your heart will operate on autodrive in the background and the mind will win.  But is that the right decision?

Andy Stanley suggests having a conversation in the mirror – out loud! Tell yourself  “the real reason i want to do this is….”  Then you can go from there by seeking if that reason is Godly or not. It will set you on the right foundation.  Be honest.  Search your heart.  Make sure you are choosing that path for the right reasons. The truth will set you free and that’s the starting point.

Until next time, God Bless!

Carolyn

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I have a question

Do you have a question about God or for God that you would like to see answered?  Post them here.  There is no doubt that we can’t answer all of them, but perhaps by talking about them we can shed some light.

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Decision Making: What’s Tugging at Your Heart

Are you trying to make an important decision in your life? Do you feel like you are at a crossroad, not sure what direction to go?  Here is what God says about your future:

You were created for a purpose.  “You were made by God and FOR God and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

So the starting point is to find out the purpose GOD put you here for.  Understand that being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not at all the same thing; You can reach all your personal goals, become a raving success by the worlds standard and still miss your purpose in this life.

Here is what God says in Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

That is a promise from God for each one of us.  He didn’t say: I have plans for only some of you or for only the ones who live a perfect life.  He didn’t say you need an IQ requirement or an entry fee.  He didn’t say he only wants to use those who go to church, or who are preachers and priests.  He said YOU.

Three  things to do to help you.

1. Ask God.  He is closer than you think.  When you talk to him, he quiets heaven to listen to you. You dont need a special prayer or code word.  Just your own thoughts.

2. Look Back.  What has made your life worthwhile in the past.  What decisions have you made that worked out well for you?  What God given skills, talents and passions have given you great joy and satisfaction in the past?  These are the seeds for future decisions.

3. Look Ahead.  The bible says: The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.  (Proverbs 27:12) Is there a tugging at your heart that one of the paths may not be the best way to go?  If so, listen to it.  Are you getting advice from wise people? Listen to them!  God uses subtle ways to show you His will.  Once you ask Him for directions….Slow down and wait for them.

Hope this helps!  Until Next Time….

God Bless and Keep you in His loving care.

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

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Making Decisions: What story do you want to tell?

Andy Stanley Your Move part 2

Decision Making when you are surprised by having to make a decision.
The big ones!

Question2: what story do I want to tell? People condense big chunks of
their life in a few sentances. Every season of your life is a story
you tell. No matter how big or complicatted the decision is at some
point in your life it will be a story as well.

In the decision making environment it’s always about the future. The
dilemma is that we already have a story up to this point. We don’t
always fit our decision in with our past.

Gen 39 Joseph had many decisions to make when he was sold into
slavery. He decides nit to play the role of victim and accepts his
fate as the will of God. He is the best slave he can be.

Just as things are good Jo is forced to make a decision that either
way he loses. He considers “what is the story he will want to
tell?” (Potiphers wife)

Which of the options facing us is most consistent with our story?

Why in light of my story so far would I not want to trust God by
making the righteous decision?  We know the values by which we are to
live our lives. If not, there is where we need to start.

Jo’s brothers had a story to tell to. They spent their lives
backtracking with lies for 15 years. They lived with the lie. That was
their story.

Jo has to make another decision when he saw his brothers. He chose to
do the righteousness because it was most consistent with his story.
No revenge. Grace just like God gave him.

Big decisions are bigger than a moment in time. They are writing the
story of your life. Write it and live it well.

You want to be able to tell the whole story, so far…. I can still
tell the while story. You story will either inspire your kids to
greatness or it will be something they will choose not to replicate.
What you do now matters.

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Will the world end in 2012?

Im studying the End Times right now.  Came across a number of great books that evaluate the possibility of the world coming to an end in 2012 based on predictions and prophecy.  There are many many theories out there including the Mayan Long Calendar, Nostradamus, the predicted “24″ the Solar Maximum, the magnetic pole and super volcano eruption predictions…as well as many writings and biblical prophecy from religions across the world.

Can they be right?  They could be, but they may not be.  One of the things that make you go hmmmmmm……

The world events, the financial crisis, the weather, and the deceptive culture we live in have many of us on alert these days.  There are so many things we cannot control happening all over the globe and moving rapidly on paths that we are unsure of.

I can and will share what I have learned with you in the weeks to come, but what is important to remember is that everyone’s world comes to an end at some point in their life.  We all die.  So for me, knowing where I am going after I die eases my mind and gives me the assurance that life here on earth is just a dash between the past and the future.

What are your thoughts on life after death?  Do you believe what the bible says or do you believe that God is a force of good, or a universal spirit that welcomes all into Heaven? Or do you believe in God at all?

There is a starting point when you study End Times. Its a serious one and yet it is a reassuring and life changing one. Id love to hear what you believe!

Until Next Time
God Bless,
Carolyn

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Life is not fair!

Fairness. Does it mean we all deserve to have the same thing?  Does it mean we should assume because we do the right things we should get that we want? What exactly do you think Fair means?

I think in our culture we want fair to equal even. Schools are changing the way they test and grade students because of self esteem issues.  Those who have are being pressed into feeling guilty because those who have not are crying “life is not fair”. We are constantly looking for ways to define fairness without accepting the reality that sometimes things just don’t add up like we think they should.  As my dad always said:  That’s Life.

We go wrong when the unfairness of life quickly becomes an excuse for our irresponsibility.  I believe this is true on both ends, for the haves and for the have nots. People who have not are quick to blame the system, or blame their past, or their employer, or their government for their circumstances. People who get the larger piece of the pie… the extra, become irresponsible with it as well!  Sometimes the more money you have the more money you waste. The more time you have the more time you waste.

From God’s Perspective, the issue isn’t how to make life fair or even, it’s how to deal with  the hand that you have been dealt.   There is parable Jesus taught in Matthew 25:14 about a master who had three servants. (think of it as a boss who had three employees so you dont get freaked about the master/servant thing LOL) The Master split up his wealth between three servants.  He gave one 5 bags of gold, he gave one 2 bags and he gave the third one 1 bag.  The bible said he gave “each accordingly to his ability.”  (looks like the unfairness thing is starting from the beginning) Then he went on his journey.

5 bag went to put his money to work. He gained 5 bags worth. He did what he invisioned his master wanted.

2 bag did the same.

One bag dug a hole and buried the money.
After a long time the Master returned and settled accounts with them. He wanted to see what they did with his money.
With 5 bag, the Master was pleased. He said to him, “you have been faithful with a few things,  I will put you in charge of many
things”  With 2 bag, the master said the same things.

Well… 1 bag whined. He blamed the Master….said he was tough and intimidating and he was afraid of losing all of the gold. So he hid it in the ground. The Master was mad and called him wicked and lazy. He had buried the money because it was the easiest way out.
As the bible does sometimes,there is another twist to the story. The Master took the bag of gold from him and gave it to 5
bag.  (remember he said: you have been faithful in a few things, and I will give you more).  He also threw 1bag outside the village.

1 bag blew it and was thrown to outer circle where he can tell everyone about his burdens, blame the master and cry that life is not fair.

The meaning of the parable you ask? Everyone gets thrown an uneven amount of opportunity. And everybody has the responsibility to someday give an account for what they did with their uneven amount of opportunity.  This opportunity, although purposefully not even with others, is not ours but on loan to us.

The xtra you have is an opportunity that You are responsible for and can’t be taken for granted, but needs to be leveraged to help other
people. This money wasn’t given to you for your benefit but for the benefit of other people. 5 bag is more responsible because he was
given more!

This is a lifetime attitude and we will someday be asked what we did with what God gave us. It’s like a teeter totter (remember those things?  I always hated them!) Look where you are sitting on your teeter totter and decide “how do I leverage this to the fullest and refuse to take it for granted and waste it?”

Don’t take it for granted

Don’t make excuses

Don’t compare yourselves to others.

You see, God doesn’t try to fix the uneveness and unfairness of life. He uses it to help us leverage it . Embrace that through the God who has given to us our portion, no matter how great or small, and know He loves us, knows us, and will work the best through us.

So today, be encouraged to do great things with your situation, talents, money, health, etc… and God will bless you and say “well done”.  Do nothing and you will be on the  outside looking in.

Let’s be the generation to get this right!

Until next time, God Bless and keep you in His care.
Carolyn Mento

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The “heart” condition of your Marriage

Your ability to stay in love has as much to do with the condition of  your own heart as your spouses behavior.

Both are equally important.

Prov 4:23 says  “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

So lets talk “Heart” issues. What’s IN you is going to come out of you regardless of who you are with. So how do you determine the condition of YOUR heart?

When you are upset with your marriage or relationship, I encourage you to look inward before acting outward.  So many arguments and decisions are made before really taking inventory of what is at the root of the problem.

Say to yourself:  “OK.  There are some negative emotions here.  What exactly am I feeling?” Take some time and figure out what the real culprit is. Negative emotions are not just “frustration” and “anger”. Feelings and emotions run the scale.  I dare you to dig deep and define what is in your heart. When you peel away the first layer of anger or frustration, you may be surprised at whats underneath.

Other emotions include: left out, embarrassed, unappreciated, ugly, unlovable,  inadequate, failure, old, stupid, lonely, abandoned, scared, out of control,  betrayed, picked on, jealous, disrespected. What exactly are you feeling?

You must identify it and verbally admit it. Now you are beginning to unearth what’s in you….  When you begin naming your emotions, you realize that you own the problem and not the person you love. Their  behavior just brings to the surface what you have inside you.  The junk in your trunk.

We sometimes don’t want to bring this out because it may make us lose our edge. We want to stay angry because it might work at changing the  behavior in our loved one we want changed. But it will surface again and again!

Search. Admit. Then tell your partner how you feel, using the words “I feel” and not “YOU never and YOU always.”  Their action may cause your feelings but you cant control their actions…. you can only admit and relate your feelings in reaction to them.”

There are no bad  feelings. They are just feelings. Remind your partner of that.

When you share your feelings, or better yet when your partner does the best response is: “I am so glad you told me”.  And then keep quiet. Do not say you shouldn’t feel that way or I’m sorry you feel that way, because when people discover that their emotions bring about a negative reaction, they wont share them anymore.  If you want the lines of communication open, you MUST not react negatively when your partner shares an open emotion.  TRY IT!   It works.

So……Start paying attention not just to your partner’s behavior but to your heart. Say this out loud….” It may not be a marriage problem but a heart problem.”  Admit it and ask God for help in learning how to overcome it.

Until Next Time….

Carolyn

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I Promise…

Do you believe that the marriage vows you made to your husband or wife were a sacred commitment before God and meant to be taken seriously?

After 27 years of marriage, through the good and the bad, I have come to realize that if you DO take them seriously and keep God in the center, He will make your marriage the safest place on earth.

The scriptures say that God designed and created marriage to be a GOOD THING.  It is a beautiful, priceless gift.  He uses marriage to help us eliminate loneliness, multiply our effectiveness, establish families, raise children, enjoy life, and bless us with relational intimacy. He loves us enough to make marriage a covenant (a sacred vow) between man and woman and Himself.  It becomes a strand of three.

Im reading a book called the Love Dare (see resources) and whats interesting about marriage is that is does promise all the above, but it also challenges our own issues and self-centeredness through the help of our lifetime partner. If we are teachable we will learn to do the one thing that is most important to marriage – to love.

This powerful union provides the path for you to learn how to love another imperfect person unconditionally.  Because He made us so different to begin with He had to of known marriage would be challenging and at times impossible.  But I have to believe thats his way of “cracking the door” of reliance upon Him and the unconditional love He shows us everyday.

Today, realize that although your marriage is not perfect, and although it may not seem like the marriage you always dreamed of, you are divinely made for your spouse.  If you make the decision to love God’s way, you will learn to lead with your heart instead of follow your heart.

Marriage is wonderful, difficult and life changing all in two words …. I Promise.

Until next time….

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