WHO/WHAT IS THIS INNER CRITIC? ~ the one pop-culture talks about

 

Depression memeSilence your inner critic, they say. These are the tapes from your past, the ones that seem to run on a loop. These tapes say, “There’s nothing special about you,” or “You’ve made too many mistakes to make anything of yourself now.” Many of these tapes have been passed down in families from generation to generation. “Your grandpa was a hard drinker, just like your dad. You probably will be too.” This type of negative prognosticating goes on in many families without much thought. It’s become a damaging habit that’s often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Words have power. If you say over-and-over, “Like the rest of my family, I’ll probably never amount to much,” you probably never will. These “internal tapes” can be seen as generational curses. What is a curse? It’s words…negative words pronounced over somebody or something. A generational curse is something negative that seems to travel in families and it’s accompanied by destructive words the family says about itself and others say about it.

What we want to strive to do is pronounce a positive and holy vision over our lives and bestow a blessing upon ourselves and others. Habakkuk 2:2 [ESV] ~ And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. I like to write Scripture out. When I see a Word for me in Scripture and I write it down, I’m the one who reads it, and I’m the one who runs with it.

It’s my belief that we Christians should speak about ourselves and see ourselves the way the Lord sees us. The Scripture says in Psalms 139: 3 – 14 [NASB] ~ 13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

A lot of people like to say the Scripture aloud that pertains to their particular situation, and I do believe saying a Scripture out loud can stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks. This is what Jesus did when the devil tempted Him. If it worked for Him it will work for us.

 


What to Call a Young(ish) on-the-go Grandmother

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Right now this is the most important issue in my life. Somehow “Grandma” doesn’t do it for me. And I don’t want any of the boring aged-sounding ones like Granny.  And Grammy sounds like an award.

I found out east-coast Italian-American grandmothers are being called Me-Me, the French Canadians spell it Meme (pronounced with a long ‘e’). That has a certain elan to it. I’ve also heard southern grandmothers called that. Italian grandmothers are also called Nona. Oma and Opa is of German descent. Baba and Lala has Eastern European roots. Yaya is Greek. Mummers sounds oh, so British.

I’ve heard one little boy couldn’t pronounce ‘grandma’ and the family wound up with ‘Mega.’ I’ve also heard toddlers can spit it out as ‘Mawa’ or any way they want.

Then there’s Nonnie,  Nonny, or Nandy.

GRANDMAS STILL WANNA KICK UP THEIR HEELS AND MIX IT UP A BIT…

I think Mumzie is cute. Though I don’t think I could be  Mumzie. Could I? Maybe. It’s cute.

I’ve heard there’s a trend toward words: Happy, Huggy, Lovey, Peaches, Punky, and the like. Things they are a changing. At one time I might’ve been called ‘funky’. It had a whole different meaning waaay back then. It meant ‘cool’ or ‘admirable’. Trust me. It did. Could I be called ‘Punky’? That makes me think of Punk Rock. There’s a problem when words mean different things to the different generations.

Where would a list be without a few celebrity grandma names. Debby Reynolds: Aba Daba. Joan Rivers: Nana New Face (speaks for itself). Goldie Hawn: Glam-ma. I’ve heard Glamma (glamorous grandma) is popular in Hollywood.

Then there’s GG for “grace-filled grandma” or “groovy grandma” (my age is showing again) or”genius grandma” or “greatest grandma” or “gorgeous grandma” or “generous grandma”. That last one is what the grandchild will most likely say it stands for. I also like GG.

 

 


GRACE, God’s Unmerited Favor by Charles Spurgeon ~ a review

Grace, God's Unmerited FavorI found myself without Wi-Fi or cable in a tiny house in Florida for two and a half weeks. Knowing I would be technologically starved (except for outings to McDonald’s or Wendy’s for free Wi-Fi), I decided to read several works I’d put off for years. GRACE, GOD’S UNMERITED FAVOR by Charles Spurgeon was one of them. To be honest, this work had always been a bit intimidating. After all, the author was a pastoral, evangelical, and theological giant of his era.

Having made the commitment to open the book, I was struck by the simplicity of Spurgeon’s writing. In Chapter 1, ‘The Covenant of Grace’, he writes:

This is all of it. Do you believe in Christ? Then God will work in you “to will and do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). God will conquer your sin; God will sanctify you; God will save you: God will keep you: God will bring you to Himself. Rest in this covenant. Then moved by intense gratitude, go forward to serve your Lord with all your heart and soul and strength.

What could be plainer than this? What could be simpler language? And yet, I had been intimidated by the name Spurgeon for years and had put off opening the book.

He writes with eloquence. The passage ‘From Eternity Past’ is stunning. He talks about the time before the earth and stars, “that time before all time — when God dwelt alone.”

In this thin volume Spurgeon says he’s striving to give us the “natural and grammatical teaching” of Bible verses as they relate to the Covenant of Grace..

To me it was astonishing to find the words below because I’ve long believed freedom and liberty have their origin in the Bible. Here Spurgeon declares they are part of the Covenant of Grace.

There is no doctrine like it for putting a backbone into a man and making him feel that he is something better than to be trodden down like straw for the dunghill beneath a despot’s heel.

Spurgeon further points out it’s not any old grace. In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter specifically stated, “We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.”

I can’t find fault with Spurgeon’s teaching on God’s rod of chastisement, though modern ‘grace teachers’ would certainly use contemporary language and nuance it in a much different manner. The doctrine of grace as presented by the author is not one of the license, which some critics fear comes with this teaching. Far from it. It is one whereby the believer’s heart cries out for a deeper relationship with a Holy God.   

 


DIAMONDS ARE FOR EDEN by Felicia Mires ~ a review

Diamonds Are For Eden

The author thrusts the reader into a whirlwind of spies and assassins, all the while delivering a well written romantc suspense novel. Personally, I like my terrorists horrific and frightening as all get out, while the hero and heroine and totally focused on and consumed by the chase. That’s simply my espionage thriller preference and doesn’t at all detract from this writer’s ability to deliver a suspenseful romance.

Natasha Kelly owns a courier service for museums with her African born brother Katir, adopted by her parents when they were missionairies. She has been engaged by the Mossad, Israel’s spy organization, to transport uncut diamonds from South Africa to Israel. However, terrorists are trying to stop all diamond shipments from reaching Israel. Natasha not only has to get the diamonds to Israel, she also has to find out who the terrorists, are and why they’ve targeted South African diamonds.

Brithis screen heartthrob Dirk Sloan happens to sit across the aisle from Natasha on her flight to South Africa. He is also staying at her hotel, and appears out of nowhere to stop an attack upon her in a dark alleyway. At that point he gives her a kiss and she has to wonder if he’s playing foot-loose-and-fancy-free with her. She’s beginning to have an attraction to him she is fighting. He seems to be able to find her at any moment. He could be working with the terrorists seeking to stop her.

David Benjamin, career Mossad agent, has feelings for Natasha. So does Dirk Sloan, and there you have the classic romance novel love-triangle. Natasha is attacked in the middle of the night at a Mossad camp in the desert. The upshot is the two men take turns sleeping on her couch to protect her. Later Natasha and Dirk travel by camel to a desert Christian abbey where they must rescue monks who have been taken hostage by the same  terrorists who have been intercepting the diamonds. This romantic suspense novel has twists and turns, action, plenty of sizzle, with a deep faith element. The story continues in the next novel of the series.


Line of Duty Police Deaths ~ a recent rash of killings

Police Tape

It seems lately, every time I turn on the nightly news another police officer has been shot or killed by a criminal. So far this year there have been ten line of duty police officer deaths. 2015 had 133 police officer line of duty deaths, more than two per week.

In the past ten-days five US police officers were murdered in cold blood in shootings around the country. Last Monday a Colorado sheriff’s deputy died after being shot. Wednesday saw a lot of police death when two sheriff’s deputies were killed in Maryland and a police officer was killed in North Dakota. Thursday a Georgia police officer died after being shot. I didn’t need proof, but these five killings reinforced beyond a shadow of a doubt how dangerous police work is. The men and women who chose this line of work are exceptional human beings. They are the line of defense between us and the criminals who think nothing of pointing a gun at a police officer’s head and pulling the trigger.

Historical Tidbits: The first recorded police death was in 1791 and since then more than 20,000 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty. Nobody is at all surprised that the deadliest law enforcement day was September 11, 2001 when 71 officers died responding to the terrorist attacks on our nation.

 


LOOKS THAT DECEIVE by Braxton DeGarmo ~ a review

Looks That Deceive

Steven James ~ Move over!

LOOKS THAT DECEIVE by Braxton DeGarmo is both edgy and gritty crime fiction and a seat of the pants medical thriller. ‘Edgy’ because it pushes the edge of the envelope. It could be categorized as noir.

Lync Cully, a workaholic, dedicated detective has been loaned to the Major Case Squad. He’s investigating a series of gruesome and bizarre assaults on women in the legal profession, an explosion killing a lawyer, and the torture and murder of another man. The “wonder boy” of the detective squad, he knows these crimes are related.

Amy Gibbs, Cully’s former  girlfriend, is a medivac nurse and part of the team transporting the torture victim by chopper to the emergency room. The horrifically injured man is able to mumble a few words about the killer to her and her partner before expiring. Cully wants to hold back this information from the public, but it gets out to the press, putting Amy squarely in the sights of this heinous killer.

The author uses plot construction often typical of thrillers. The reader is introduced to the highly intelligent and technologically advanced killer as “Lady Law,” a pseudonym the male predator uses online to lure females in the legal profession into his trap. He is adept in the use of aliases and ruse. The reader also becomes aware the killer has relationships with other characters in the story and they are none-the-wiser about his violent and depraved other life.

As it turns out in this deadly tale, looks can be deceiving. If you like unabashed, nail biting thrillers with an inspirational twist, this novel is for you.


My 2016 Blessing Jar ~ quite a work this year

 

IMG_1850In the middle of last year I went blessing jar minimalist. I wanted to get the all mighty me out of the way. I took a pickle jar that struck my fancy and simplified the entire blessing jar phenomena. Slapped a label on it and took my list out of the old jar and rehoused it.

2016 is the third year I’m involved with a blessing jar. I say ‘involved with’ because to me a blessing jar is so much more than creating a jar reflecting one’s essence, or mood, or with ribbon in one’s favorite color.

A blessing jar is a spiritual adventure. The past two years, they have been my spiritual vision for the year in lieu of new years resolutions.

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This year it went further than that. I knew something was taking hold of me but didn’t quite know what. So, I went to Michael’s and bought some glass painting pens and painted a few flowers on my jar while I ruminated. I’m no artist but I think it’s kinda cute.

 

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Then the real deal took hold of me and I began writing out what would be inside my blessing jar. This year it was far more than a list of spiritual goals for the new year. It became a prayer of petition as I’d never done one before. You see, I had just come across Jerry Savelle’s teaching on The Prayer of Petition as a formal, written out spiritual document according to God’s will. So, I prayed about God’s will for me and sited Scripture for each point in the petition. This took the better part of January. Then I sewed a financial seed toward it, signed it, and took communion over it.

IMG_1866Like in past years, I folded it up and put it in my blessing jar. In past years it had been one sheet of paper with a list on it. This year it became a letter to God with a petition attached… three sheets, on both sides, because I sited Scripture for the points listed in my prayer…as to how my petition was according to God’s Word.

I’ve always kept my blessing jar near my computer and referred to it throughout the year. The document I write at the beginning of the year deals with my life for the upcoming year and my hopes and dreams for my loved ones. However, during the year, as I pray for others, I often write their names and the prayer down on a piece of paper, date it, and stick it in the blessing jar. Then from time-to-time I’ll open my blessing jar, refer to what I’ve written inside, and thank the Lord for everything He’s doing in my life and for the people I’m praying for.

Habakkuk 2: 2-4 [NASB] ~ Then the Lord answered me and said,“Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

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