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Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Hannah on December 26, 2018, 08:46:27 pm »
Serving Your Husband When You Don’t Really Feel Like It
Nov 15, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other”   Romans 12:9-10

Friend to Friend

Carley and Dan are a couple who have gone the extra mile not to go the extra mile. They constantly keep score as to who put a new bar of soap in the shower last or who replaced the toilet paper roll last or who opened a new tube of toothpaste last.  “It’s sort of a contest to see who can use the smallest sliver of soap or use the last drop of toothpaste,” Carley boasted.

The contest, as silly as it may seem, boils down to who is going to serve the other. Imagine how adored Dan would feel if Carley began to get out a new bar of soap before the sliver war began or replenished the toilet paper before it was totally out.  If you want to try a contest in your home, how about seeing who can out-serve the other! The apostle Paul encourages: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT).

When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17), it wasn’t simply an act of kindness. He was actually fulfilling a need the other people had refused to meet. It was customary in those days for the host of a dinner party to have a servant wash the guests’ feet.   There were no Reeboks or Nikes in those days. Men and women wore leather sandals as they walked the dusty, often muddy, roads of the Holy Land. Nothing felt better than to sink callused, throbbing feet into a cool basin of water and rinse away the cares of the day. However, at Jesus’s last supper with His disciples, no servant was available to wash the guests’ feet, and no one volunteered.  So God made man wrapped a towel around His waist and did what no one else was willing to do. He washed the disciples’ feet.  Afterward, He sat down and said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15 NIV).

In Philippians 2:4, Paul tells us to look out for the interests of others, not just for our own. “Look out for” is from the Greek word skopos, from which we get the words telescope and microscope. It means to pay close attention. Whether we are using a telescope to get the big picture or a microscope for close examination, the wife of your man’s dreams pays close attention to his needs, desires, dreams, joys, and sorrows. She looks closely at his heart and thinks of ways to serve him.  Serving doesn’t mean the bondage of slavery. As Jesus put on the towel and served His disciples, He proved to us conclusively that God’s kind of serving love flows from choice, not coercion; from strength, not weakness; from gladness, not guilt.  Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV).

It may be entirely possible for you to serve your husband and not feel you are receiving anything in return. However, your heavenly Father is always watching, and the measure you use to bless your husband will be used by your heavenly Husband to bless you in return.

Furious Duchess of Cambridge 'fell out with Meghan Markle before the royal wedding after the former actress "b*****ked" a member of her staff'

    Meghan Markle allegedly berated a member of the Duchess of Cambridge's staff
    Kate Middleton is said to have told her it was 'unacceptable' to target her aides
    It comes amid rumours of a rift between Kate, 36, and the Duchess of Sussex, 37

By Tim Stickings For Mailonline

Published: 08:49, 1 December 2018 | Updated: 13:56, 1 December 2018

Kate Middleton had a furious row with Meghan Markle after the former actress 'b*****ed' a member of her staff, it has been claimed.  The Duchess of Cambridge allegedly told Meghan, 37, it was 'unacceptable' to target her aides before May's royal wedding in Windsor.  Kate, 36, is reported to have told Prince Harry's bride-to-be: 'They're my staff and I speak to them,' The Sun reported. 

The reported row comes amid rumours of a rift between the two Duchesses, which have emerged since it was announced that Harry and Meghan would move out of Kensington Palace. 
A source told the newspaper: [Meghan]  and Kate fell out when she b******ed Kate's staff.  'It's a tricky situation but it was a one-off and they are determined to maintain a positive relationship even though they are obviously very different in their approach.'

Kensington Palace has reportedly denied the claims.  Kate is also claimed to have been left crying in a stressful dress fitting in the lead-up to the wedding in May.  In addition sources have also told the Mirror that insiders are concerned about Meghan's 'authoritative' and 'abrupt' style.   It comes after claims from royal sources that Meghan clashed with Buckingham Palace over the smell at St George's Chapel, where she married Prince Harry.  Insiders claimed that Meghan wanted air fresheners to be used in the 15th-century chapel but was told it was not appropriate.  The Palace is said to have told her that the chapel was a regular place of worship for the Queen and that it would be good enough for Meghan.  The source said: 'Apparently Meghan didn't like the smell of the chapel, which, as you would expect, is a little musty.  It's not unpleasant at all, though. It just smells how you would expect an old building to smell. And that's something the Royal Family are particularly used to.  Meghan wanted staff to go around with these atomisers, like spritzer guns, and spray the chapel with scent before anyone arrived.  Royal Household staff stepped in and told her office politely, but firmly, that this was the Queen's Chapel and it simply wasn't appropriate. I don't believe they said no because they thought it could affect the chapel in any way. It was simply the principle of the thing  This is a place that has held royal weddings, funerals and even contains the Royal Vault. I don't believe a request of that nature had been made before.'   
Addiction / What is alcohol abuse disorder, and what is the treatment?
« Last post by Freaky Friday on December 01, 2018, 03:04:59 pm »

What is alcohol abuse disorder, and what is the treatment?
Last updated Tue 29 May 2018
By Christian Nordqvist   
Reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP   

Definition Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Complications Treatment

Alcoholism, now known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition in which a person has a desire or physical need to consume alcohol, even though it has a negative impact on their life.

In the past, a person with this condition was referred to as an "alcoholic." However, this is increasingly seen as an unhelpful and negative label. Health professionals now say that a person has an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), in 2015, 15.1 million American adults (6.2 percent of the population) had an alcohol use problem.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, 3.3 million deaths every year result from the harmful use of alcohol.


Alcohol abuse disorder refers to a long-term addiction to alcohol.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) describes alcohol use disorder as "problem drinking that becomes severe."

A person with this condition does not know when or how to stop drinking. They spend a lot of time thinking about alcohol, and they cannot control how much they consume, even if it is causing serious problems at home, work, and financially.

Alcohol abuse can be used to talk about excessive or inappropriate consumption of alcohol, but not necessarily dependence.

Moderate alcohol consumption does not generally cause any psychological or physical harm. However, if who enjoy social drinking increase their consumption or regularly consume more than is recommended, AUD may eventually develop.


A person who drinks excessive amounts of alcohol will often not be the first person to realize that this is so.

Some signs and symptoms of AUD include:

    drinking alone or in secret
    not being able to limit how much alcohol is consumed
    blacking out and not being able to remember chunks of time
    having rituals and being irritated if someone else comments on these rituals, for example, drinks before, during, or after meals, or after work
    losing interest in hobbies that were previously enjoyed
    feeling an urge to drink
    feeling irritable when drinking times approach, especially if alcohol is not, or may not be, available
    storing alcohol in unlikely places
    gulping drinks down in order to feel good
    having problems with relationships, the law, finances, or work that stem from drinking
    needing more alcohol to feel its effect
    experiencing nausea, sweating, or shaking when not drinking

Some people experience some of these signs and symptoms but are not dependent on alcohol.

Alcohol consumption becomes a problem when it takes precedence over all other activities. Dependence can take several years to develop.

The problems linked to alcohol dependence are extensive. The effects can be physical, psychological, and social.


Causes and risk factors include peer pressure, drinking from a young age, and depression.

Alcohol dependence can take from a few years to several decades to develop. For some people who are particularly vulnerable, it can happen within months.

Over time, regular alcohol consumption can disrupt the balance of:

gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain   
GABA controls impulsiveness and glutamate stimulates the nervous system.

Dopamine levels in the brain rise after consuming alcohol. Dopamine levels may make the drinking experience more gratifying.

Over the long- or medium-term, excessive drinking can significantly alter the levels of these brain chemicals. This causes the body to crave alcohol in order to feel good and avoid feeling bad.

Possible risk factors

Some risk factors may also be linked to excessive drinking.

    Genes: Some specific genetic factors may make some people more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol and other substances. There may be a family history.
    The age of the first alcoholic drink: A study has suggested that people who start drinking alcohol before the age of 15 years may be more likely to have problems with alcohol later in life.
    Easy access: There appears to be a correlation between easy access to alcohol such as cheap prices and alcohol abuse and alcohol-related deaths. One study registered a significant drop in alcohol-related deaths after one state raised alcohol taxes. The effect was found to be nearly two to four times that of other prevention strategies, such as school programs or media campaigns.
    Stress: Some stress hormones are linked to alcohol abuse. If stress and anxiety levels are high, a person may consume alcohol in an attempt to blank out the upheaval.
    Peer drinking: People whose friends drink regularly or excessively are more likely to drink too much. This can eventually lead to alcohol-related problems.
    Low self-esteem: Those with low self-esteem who have alcohol readily available are more likely to consume too much.
    Depression: People with depression may deliberately or unwittingly use alcohol as a means of self-treatment. On the other hand, consuming too much alcohol may increase the risk of depression, rather than reducing it.
    Media and advertising: In some countries, alcohol is portrayed as a glamorous, worldly, and cool activity. Alcohol advertising and media coverage of it may increase the risk by conveying the message that excessive drinking is acceptable.
    How the body processes (metabolizes) alcohol: People who need comparatively more alcohol to achieve an effect have a higher risk of eventually developing health problems related to alcohol.


For AUD to be diagnosed in the U.S., the individual must meet the criteria laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APS).

The criteria include having a pattern of consumption that leads to considerable impairment or distress.

At least three of the following criteria should have been present during the past 12 months:

    Alcohol tolerance: The person needs a large quantity of alcohol to feel intoxicated. However, when the liver is damaged and cannot metabolize the alcohol so well, this tolerance may drop. Damage to the central nervous system may also reduce tolerance levels.
    Withdrawal symptoms: When the individual abstains from alcohol or cuts down, they experience tremors, insomnia, nausea, or anxiety. They may drink more to avoid these symptoms.
    Beyond intentions: The person drinks more alcohol, or over a longer period, than they intended.
    Unsuccessful attempts to cut down: The person is continuously trying to cut down alcohol consumption but does not succeed. They may have a persistent desire to cut down.
    Time consumed: The person spends a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from alcohol consumption.
    Withdrawal: The individual withdraws from recreational, social, or occupational activities that they previously participated in.
    Persistence: The person continues consuming alcohol, even though they know it is harming them physically and psychologically.

Some signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse may be due to another condition. Ageing can lead to memory problems and falls, for example.

A person may go to the doctor about a medical condition, such as a digestive problem, and not mention how much alcohol they consume. This can make it difficult for a doctor to identify who might benefit from alcohol dependency screening.

If a health worker suspect alcohol may be a problem, they may ask a series of questions. If the patient answers in a certain way, the doctor may then use a standardized questionnaire to find out more.
Tests for alcoholism

Blood tests can only reveal very recent alcohol consumption. They cannot tell whether a person has been drinking heavily for a long time.

If a blood test reveals that the red blood cells have increased in size, it could be an indication of long-term alcohol abuse.

Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) is a blood test that helps detect heavy alcohol consumption.

Other tests can indicate whether there is damage to the liver, or in males reduced testosterone levels. Both of these might indicate chronic alcohol consumption.

However, screening with an appropriate questionnaire is seen as an effective means of reaching an accurate diagnosis.

Many people who consume unhealthy amounts of alcohol deny that alcohol poses a problem for them. They may tend to minimize the extent of their drinking.

Talking to family members may help the doctor understand the situation, but they will need permission to do this.


Complications of this condition may include memory loss, confusion, mental health issues, and problems with work or home life.

Drinking alcohol usually elevates a person's mood at first.

However, a person who has been consuming unhealthy amounts of alcohol for a long time is likely to become sedated when they drink.

This is because alcohol depresses the nervous system.

Alcohol may undermine a person's judgment. It can lower inhibitions and alter the drinker's thoughts, emotions, and general behavior.

Heavy regular drinking can seriously affect a person's ability to coordinate their muscles and speak properly.

Heavy binge drinking could lead to a coma.

Eventually, regular heavy drinking may cause at least one of the following problems:

    Fatigue: The person feels tired most of the time.
    Memory loss: Alcohol affects the short-term memory in particular.
    Eye muscles: The eye muscles can become significantly weaker.
    Liver diseases: There is a higher chance of developing hepatitis and cirrhosis, an irreversible and progressive condition.
    Gastrointestinal complications: Gastritis or pancreas damage can occur. These will undermine the body's ability to digest food, absorb certain vitamins, and produce hormones that regulate metabolism.
    Hypertension: Regular heavy drinking is likely to raise blood pressure.
    Heart problems: There is a higher risk of cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle), heart failure, and stroke.
    Diabetes: There is a high risk of developing diabetes type 2, and people with diabetes have a high chance of complications if they regularly consume more alcohol than is recommended. Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver, resulting in hypoglycemia. If a person with diabetes is already using insulin to lower their blood sugar levels, hypoglycemia could have serious consequences.
    Menstruation: Excessive consumption of alcohol can stop or disrupt menstruation.
    Erectile dysfunction: There may be problems getting or sustaining an erection.
    Fetal alcohol syndrome: Consuming alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects. The newborn may have a small head, heart problems, shortened eyelids, and developmental and cognitive problems.
    Thinning bones: Alcohol interferes with the production of new bone, leading to a thinning of the bones and an increased risk of fractures.
    Nervous system problems: There may be numbness in the extremities, dementia, and confused or disordered thinking.
    Cancer: There is a higher risk of developing several cancers, including cancer of the mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, breast, prostate, and pharynx.
    Accidents: There is a higher chance of injuries from falls, road traffic accidents, and so on.
    Domestic abuse: Alcohol is a major factor in spouse-beating, child abuse, and conflicts with neighbors.
    Work or school problems: Employment or educational problems and unemployment are often alcohol-related.
    Suicide: Suicide rates among people with alcohol dependence or who consume alcohol inappropriately are higher than among those who do not.
    Mental illness: Alcohol abuse increases the risk of mental illness, and it can make existing mental illnesses worse.
    Problems with the law: People who consume alcohol are significantly more likely to spend time in court or in prison, compared with the rest of the population.

What is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome?

Alcohol consumption can affect the way the body absorbs vitamins, and this can lead to further complications. In Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, low levels of vitamin B1 can lead to a range of problems.


The first step toward recovery is to acknowledge that there is an alcohol dependency problem.

The next step is to get help. This is available from a range of support groups and professional services.

The following are recognized treatment options for alcoholism:

    Do-it-yourself: Some people with an alcohol problem manage to reduce their drinking or abstain without seeking professional help. Free information is available on websites, and self-help books can be purchased online.
    Counseling: A qualified counselor can help the person share their problems and then devise a plan to tackle the drinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to treat alcohol dependency.
    Treating underlying problems: There may be problems with self-esteem, stress, anxiety, depression, or other aspects of mental health. It is important to treat these problems, too, as they can increase the risks posed by alcohol. Common alcohol-related issues, such as hypertension, liver diseases, and possibly heart diseases, will need to be treated too.
    Residential programs: These can offer expert professional help, individual or group therapy, support groups, training, family involvement, activity therapy, and a host of strategies for treating alcohol abuse. Being physically away from access to temptation is helpful for some people.
    Drug that provokes a severe reaction to alcohol: Antabuse (disulfiram) causes a severe reaction when somebody drinks alcohol, including nausea, flushing, vomiting, and headaches. It is a deterrent, but it will not treat the compulsion to drink or solve the problem in the long term.
    Drugs for cravings: Naltrexone (ReVia) may help reduce the urge to have a drink. Acamprosate (Campral) may help with cravings.
    Detoxification: Medications can help prevent withdrawal symptoms (delirium tremens, or DTs) that can occur after quitting. Treatment usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Chlordiazepoxide, a benzodiazepine medication, is frequently used for detoxification (detox).
    Abstinence: Some people complete detox successfully, but they start drinking again either soon after or some time later. Access to counseling, medical help, support groups, and family support can all help the individual avoid alcohol as time goes on.
    Alcoholics Anonymous: Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have faced problems with alcohol. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to stop drinking.

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The Chatterbox / Re: Famous Last Words his
« Last post by Philippa on November 20, 2018, 09:09:34 pm »
"I wish I had drunk more champagne."  John Maynard Keynes

The British Keynes was not your average economist.  Keynes, whose eponymous theories influenced Roosevelt's New Deal and the rise of the European welfare state, was also a member of the famously liberated Bloomsbury group.  He was politically liberated and sexually liberated, sleeping with many of the bohemian men in his circle and, of course, drinking champagne.  Of that, and government spending, Keynes thought that there could never be enough.
The Chatterbox / Famous Last Words ....
« Last post by Philippa on November 20, 2018, 08:57:16 pm »
"I've never felt better."  Douglass Fairbanks

After suffering a heart attack in 1939 at the age of 57, "The King of Silent Hollywood" (Robin Hood, The Thief of Baghdad, The Mask of Zorro) reassured an attendant while resting at home, then went to sleep and died that night.  Fairbanks was an athletic movie star known for his charm, good looks, and - apparently - an inability to gauge his physical condition.

Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee has died aged 95 after battling a long illness and just a day after Tweeting a picture of himself in WWII Army uniform on Veterans' Day
By Chris Spargo For
Published: 18:45, 12 November 2018 | Updated: 19:43, 12 November 2018

Stan Lee has passed away at the age of 95.  The co-founder of Marvel Comics had been in declining health for the past year, and there had been a number of battles regarding who would inherit his $70 million fortune.  An ambulance was called to lee's home in the Hollywood Hills early Monday and he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai according to TMZ.  He died shortly after arriving at the medical facility.  Lee is survived by his daughter and only child Joan Celia, known as 'J.C.'  His wife Joan died in July of last year after suffering complications from a stroke. The pair had been married for 70 years at the time of her death.  Lee was also a veteran, and his final tweet was sent out by his team on Sunday and commemorated his time in the service with a photo of the beloved comic-book creator in his uniform during World War II.  Lee rose to fame in 1961 when he turned Timely Comics, where he was started out in the industry as an assistant, into Marvel Comics.  That change came about in the 1960s, and Lee then proceeded to oversee the creation of many of the iconic superheroes people around the world know and love to this day.  The Incredible Hulk, Thor, the X-Men, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Spiderman and Captain America were just a few of the many superhuman, and super flawed, characters crated by Lee and artist Jack Kirby.  The relationship between Lee and Marvel had grown contentious in his final months however, and in May he filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against the company.  The complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleged that POW! Entertainment CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion failed to fully disclose to Lee details of the firm's 2017 sale to Camsing International.  Lee said that the company took advantage of him at a time when he was despondent over the death of his wife Joan and suffering from macular degeneration, a condition affecting the eyes.  As a result, he was duped into signing an agreement giving away the rights to his image and likeness states the complaint.  Lee also argued that he was unable to read the document due to his eye condition and suggested the signature on the paperwork was not his own.  The comic-book legend was still a big part of the Marvel universe until his death though, making a cameo in every Marvel Studios film since 1993, with his most recent appearance being in Venom, which has proven to be yet another blockbuster.  That film, released in early October, had grossed $674 million at the worldwide box office as of Sunday on a $100 million budget.  Lee also served as an executive producer on these titles, which helped boost his fortune in a very big way in recent years.  In fact, in the past 10 years alone, Marvel Studios has released 20 films in the Marvel universe which have made over $17 billion at the box office.  This has easily earned it the title of the highest-grossing film franchise of all time.  There was a long time when Lee's comics were thought only good enough for the small screen, with CBS turning the Hulk into a successful television series in 1978 which lasted five season.  And on children's television a number of his comics were turned into cartoons.  Then, in 2000, X-Men became the first of Lee's comics to be turned into a feature-length studio film.  It was a roaring success and earned $130 million at the North America box office, a number that was best two years later when Spiderman earned $400 million.  Four of Marvel Studio's pictures Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers and Black Panther are among the the top ten grossing films of all time.  This success ledr to much fighting over Lee's wealth in his final days.  His legal woes began back in January, when revealed that Lee had been accused of groping his nurses in a lawsuit, which was dismissed as his daughter as a shakedown of the old man.  Lee then sought a restraining orders against one manager and fired his road manager claiming he was victim of elder abuse.  At the same time, some are pointing a finger at his daughter J.C, with allegations her penchant for shopping and buying luxury goods was eating away at her father's fortune. 
Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Daffy on November 10, 2018, 11:01:44 pm »
Sometimes You Just Need to Breathe
Oct 18, 2018 | Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither whatever they do prospers.  Psalm 1:1-3

Friend to Friend

It was one of my favorite trees. And it was dying.  We live on a lake, and my dying tree was truly a “tree planted by streams of water.” So how could it be dying? How could  branches right in the smack dab middle of the bushy green be turning into kindling?

It didn’t make sense.  I called an arborist to come out and take a look. He saw the problem right away.  “Ma’am, see how that tree looks like a telephone pole stuck in the ground? That’s not the way a tree should be planted. You should be able to see some of the roots spreading out from the trunk. Those roots are covered up with dirt, grass, and these pretty perennials you’ve planted at the base. The tree can’t breathe.”

“It can’t breathe?” I asked.

“Yep. You see a tree is a living organism that needs to breathe just like you do. If the roots are smothered, then it can’t. Trees need sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and nutrients from the soil. Those flowers you have planted around it are actually stealing the nutrients.  The dirt covering the roots is suffocating it. It has water, but it needs more than that.  “Bottom line, your tree is stressed out.”

Ah, words I understood. “Stressed out.”

So, the arborist cleared away some of the dirt from around the roots to allow the tree to breathe and cut away the dead limbs. Then he dug up the flowers and tossed them aside. I could almost hear the tree take a deep breath as if to say, “Ah, thank you!”

Three months later, it looks like the tree is going to make it after all.  All this thinking about my tree planted by the water made me think about my schedule my life. And of course, that led me to your schedule your life.  I like to think of myself as a tree planted by the water similar to the one mentioned in the first psalm. I get up every morning and soak in God’s Word before jumping into my day. That’s my water. My living water.  But it’s not enough to drink in the morning and then smother my day with too many activities, commitments, and deadlines. I need more than water to thrive. I need to be able to breathe.  I can plant “beautiful” activities in my life like those flowers, but they may be sucking the nutrients right out of my soul. Those activities might look nice on my calendar, but they might not be soul nice. I can smother my roots with commitments and pile on the soil so that I look more like a non-living thing stuck in the ground a telephone pole rather than a fruit-bearing tree.  So as I begin this fall season with its activities left and right, I need to stop and examine if they are exactly what God wants me to do, or if they are just “pretty flowers ” that are keeping me from being that tree that yields fruit in due season.  As I think about my fall schedule with its commitments and deadlines, I need to ask myself if I am covering up the roots of my heart smothering it from the very air I need to breathe.  And that’s what I want you to consider today. Let’s do more than survive. Let’s thrive! Clear away what needs to be cleared away. Toss out what needs to be tossed (even if it looks pretty on your schedule). Make room to breathe.
Christian / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Daffy on November 10, 2018, 10:51:50 pm »
The Wisdom of Having Wise Friends
Oct 17, 2018 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.  Proverbs 15:22

Friend to Friend

God always needs to be our go-to guy when it comes to counsel. Our first call. But the Bible also gives us the directive to connect with other Christ followers for guidance: seek godly counsel.  “The LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless” (Prov. 2:6–7).

When I make an effort to seek godly counsel, I benefit from the power of the Lord that is at work in the lives of those around me. I benefit from their mistakes and from their successes. And it frees me from the pressure of having to figure everything out on my own. It frees me to move forward beyond my own limited experiences, faith, and knowledge.  Struggling with a tough work situation?

Tangled up in a messy marriage knot?

Are you being held captive by fear, doubt, and insecurity?

Get some godly counsel. Proverbs tells us, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (15:22 ESV).

My husband is a wise man, and God has placed him as the head of our home, so I like to talk through difficult things with him. He gives me a perspective that’s often quite different from mine. When I need to hash out confusion, I sometimes go to the small group of women I call my besties. They are godly. They love me. They like me. They laugh at and with me. They pray for me. They mentor me and provide counsel.  We’re all in different seasons of life and have different needs for godly wisdom. I am a poppy, you are a rose, she is a daisy we are a wildflower bouquet! If you’re single, divorced, or widowed, you might be the head of your home. If so, you could connect with a pastor for godly counsel, or a trusted friend who follows hard after Jesus, or a godly family member or coworker. Another person I encourage you to reach out to is the women’s ministry director of your church. Grab coffee or lunch with her. She will love you!  There are many ways you can gain wisdom and add greater power to your life. Add to this list as you discover what works for you. Are you a journal girl?

Write about the areas in which you need God’s wisdom. Write a prayer in your journal that spells them out in black and white. Pursue the treasure!  And here’s a wonky twist: sometimes God answers our prayers for wisdom by sending us to talk with someone who doesn’t even follow Him but has the knowledge we need. When our son Preston broke his jaw and needed reconstructive surgery, Brad and I got counsel from a highly trained oral and maxillofacial surgeon. We prayed for the Lord to lead each decision we made and to guide the hands and choices of the surgical team, but our medical counsel came straight from the medical expert. His faith had nothing to do with it. Though that medical advice may or may not have come from a follower of Christ, Brad and I prayed for the Lord to lead with His wisdom in, on, and through it all.  God’s Word promises that He will walk you to the understanding you need. Just ask. I know you want His leading as much as I do. So when life gets crazy confusing, remember that you can gain clarity and power when you surround yourself with godly people of wise counsel.
Fun, Games and Silliness / Re: Jokes
« Last post by Charlies Girl on October 24, 2018, 09:22:54 pm »
My older son loves school, but his younger brother Tommy absolutely hates it. One weekend Tommy cried and fretted and tried every excuse not to go back on Monday. Sunday morning on the way home from church, the crying and whining built to a crescendo.  At the end of my rope, I finally stopped the car and explained, "Honey, it's a law. If you don’t go to school, they'll put Mommy in jail."

Tommy looked at me, thought a moment, then asked, "How long would you have to stay?"
Christian / The Perils Of Preaching Grace
« Last post by Charlies Girl on October 24, 2018, 09:20:03 pm »

The Perils Of Preaching Grace
By Ron Forseth on Jun 19, 2013

We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14b

God's grace freely provides what we have the inability to produce ourselves. Grace elicits the confidence that he will accomplish that which he requires of us as we cooperate with and obey him. When we preach grace, we motivate our listeners to trust God in confidence rather than shrink from him in fear.  "Ungrace," on the other hand, leaves people looking to themselves to produce the very thing they lack and therefore leaves them burdened and discouraged.  Grace empowers righteous living. Ungrace disables it.  Grace motivates obedience because God has generously given us what we need. Ungrace demands obedience under threat of condemnation if we come up short.  Grace begins with the provision of God and ends with the completeness of the believer. Ungrace begins with the incompleteness of the hearer and ends with the same. Grace leads to freedom and victory. Ungrace leads to bondage and defeat.  Grace looks to God as the source of that which is required and much is required! Ungrace looks to people to produce what they lack.  Grace is the mark of New Testament preaching and the key to empowering right living.  And yet, some pastors fear that preaching grace can lead to pitfalls. Here are five frequently raised objections to preaching grace:

1. Grace can be mistaken as a license to sin and the last thing we want to do in our preaching is encourage sin. But for the believing heart, it provides the very motivation to say "No" to sin. It is grace and grace alone that will empower people to overcome sin! The road to victory over sin is paved with grace.

2. Preaching grace will undo sacrificial giving. Actually, for those giving from a confused motive to start with, it may well affect their giving. But if preaching grace decreases your church's giving (which is unlikely over the long run), then better to make do on less money than to elicit more money in a graceless or manipulative manner that leaves people in legalistic bondage. (See Paul’s commentary on the value of legalism in Galatians 5.)  There is nothing like grace, properly understood, to unleash greater giving, because the heart of grace is God’s own incredible sacrificial giving. Sure, manipulation can achieve a short-term and short-lived result. But grace is the path to long-term, sustained results in the hearts of people.

3. It could lead to a drop in attendance. Similar to giving, grace motivates the believer to engage and not pull back. If your church members are coming because you’ve withheld grace or exercised law over them, it’s only a matter of time before they stop coming anyway.  Grace will not rob a preacher of the right to say the hard words or make challenges or ask for commitment. It enables us as preachers to make challenges with the best hope of a lasting result. Preaching grace with power will yield a greater long-term result than will legalistic manipulation.

4. We will be perceived as morally spineless or, worse yet, actually encouraging sin. Grace never has, and properly understood, never will encourage sin. Grace was bought by God at the highest of prices. And grace dispensed from that account will never take sin lightly. But it will address it from a different posture and actually empower victory over it.

5. Grace may lead to a de-emphasis on truth. Actually, grace emboldens a proclamation of truth because it provides the only appealing path back to truth. The path to truth and holy living is paved not with manipulation but with grace.

To overcome these fears, we remind ourselves that:

Preaching grace does not mean avoiding a confrontation with sin.  Preaching grace does not mean avoiding a call to commitment.  Preaching grace does not mean serving up spiritual mush with no caloric value for the soul.

But here's what it does mean:

Preaching grace always keeps an eye on the incredible forgiving nature of God.  Preaching grace does mean refusing to manipulate your hearers to accomplish an objective in a fleshly, legalistic manner.  Preaching grace does mean loving your hearers in spite of how they respond to your message.  Preaching grace does mean trusting God to accomplish his objectives in his way and in his time.  May God give you, first of all, an unshakeable confidence in his grace for you as his child. And then, may he give you the wisdom and the heart to generously dispense that grace through your preaching.  Freely you have received, freely give. - Matthew 10:8
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