WELCOME!!!!!

WELCOME!!!!!
Hope you enjoy the blog; may it bless and encourage you!

Murphy Geer Toerner

My photo
Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy

Sunday, December 28, 2008

God Sent Us a Saviour

If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator.

If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.

If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness,
so God sent us a Saviour.

by Roy Lessin

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wet Pants

Sent to me by a dear friend!!!

Come with me to a third grade classroom.... There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and his pants are wet in front. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, 'Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat.'

He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered. As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water.

Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap. The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, 'Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!'

Now, all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else - Susie.

She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. 'You've done enough, you klutz!'

Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, 'You did that on purpose, didn't you?' Susie whispers back, 'I wet my pants once too.'

May God help us see the opportunities that are always around us to do good....

Remember.... Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Everyone one of us is going through tough times right now, but God is getting ready to bless us in a way that only He can. Keep the faith.

This prayer is powerful, and prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards. Let's continue to pray for one another.

The Prayer:

Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and those that I care deeply for, who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Where there is need, I ask You to fulfill their needs. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings. Amen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thorns

A bit long, but a good one....it's been around before, but now is a good time to read it again.

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a 'minor' automobile accident stole her joy.

This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss. Troubles had multiplied. Her husband's company 'threatened' to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What's worse, Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

'She has no idea what I'm feeling,' thought Sandra with a shudder. 'Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?' she wondered. 'For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her child's?'

'Good afternoon, can I help you?' Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. 'I . . . I need an arrangement,' stammered Sandra. 'For Thanksgiving? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories,' the clerk continued. 'Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?' 'Not exactly!' Sandra blurted out. 'In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.' Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, 'I have the perfect arrangement for you.'

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer, 'Hi, Barbara, let me get your order.' She excused herself and walked back to a s mall workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers. 'Do you want these in a box?' asked the clerk.

Sandra watched - was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed. 'Yes, please,' Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. 'You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,' she said, as she gently tapped her chest.

Sandra stammered, 'Ah, that lady just left with . . . uh . . . she left with no flowers!' 'That's right,' said the clerk. 'I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today,' explained the clerk. 'She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband,' continued the clerk. 'For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel.' 'So what did you do?' asked Sandra. 'I learned to be thankful for thorns,' answered the clerk quietly. 'I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, 'Why? Why me?!' It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our fai th! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort!

You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.' Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. 'I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God.' Just then someone else walked in the shop. 'Hey, Phil!' the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man. 'My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement . . twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!' laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

'Those are for your wife?' asked Sandra incredulously. 'Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?' 'Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced,' Phil replied. 'After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from 'thorny' times. That was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific 'problem' and give thanks for what that problem taught us.'

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, 'I highly recommend the Special!' 'I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life' Sandra said to the clerk. It's all too . . fresh.' 'Well,' the clerk replied carefully, 'my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious.

We treasure God's providential care more during trouble th an at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns.' Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment. 'I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,' she managed to choke out. 'I hoped you would,' said the clerk gently. 'I'll have them ready in a minute.' 'Thank you. What do I owe you?' 'Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me.'

The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. 'I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first. It read: 'My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.' Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns.

God Bless all of you. Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you. 'Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.' We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and duct tape. God did it with nails. I'm the world's worst at not thanking God for my thorns, only for the roses. My prayer today is to start being thankful for the thorns. I know they will help me grow. I pray this for you also.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Forget to Say, "I Love You!"

We were diligent about was telling our sons, "I love you." Often, out of the blue, I'd ask, "You know what?" and they'd respond, "Yes, mom, we know you love us ... We know you love us 'this much' " (and they would extend their hands/arms as far out as they could.)

Every once in a while, I'd ask them, "Do you know that you know that you know that I love you?" Without exception, they answered with a rapid-fire affirmative, "Of course, we know!!!" "How do you know?" I asked. "We know by the way you talk to us; the way you treat us; they way you encourage us; and you tell us you love us all the time. Mom, we know you love us!!!!"

Everyday our heavenly Father tells us He loves us. Jesus dying on the cross for our sins was God's way of saying, "I love you thiiiisssss much!" Jesus gave up His live so that we could live. We don't deserve this free gift of life. We can't earn it. We can't lose it. We don't get "more" when we are good nor do we lose any when we sin. Once we have God's spirit indwelling us, we have all that we can have; we have it in perfect measure. God's love is a done deal.

I hope you will grow to believe Him when He expresses His love for you. Sometimes this is difficult for some of us; but He is always truthful. I also hope you will become really good at telling the people closest to you that you love them. They need to hear it; they long to hear it.

By the way, before I forget, I just wanted to tell you, "I love you!"
Murphy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

God's Promise

Subject: The heavy cross...."Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.'"
-- Unknown

Awesome!! We complain about the cross we bear but don't realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we can't.

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,
there will always be sunshine, after the rain....

Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall;
But God's always ready, to answer your call....

He knows every heartache, sees every tear,
a word from His lips, can calm every fear...

Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night,
But suddenly vanish, dawn's early light...

The Savior is waiting, somewhere above,
to give you His grace, and send you His love...

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

(Taken from an email from Graham Cooke)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Many people have touched my life and I want to share this with you.

In case you are not aware, Saint Theresa is known as the Saint of the Little Ways, meaning she believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love. She is represented by roses.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. Read the prayer below.

Saint Theresa's Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Love to you all,
murphy

Monday, October 20, 2008

Please Pray with Me ...


Dear friends...

I'm asking you to pray for my sister, Karen. Hurricane Ike ruined her home. She and her husband Bubba live about 30 yards from Calcasieu Lake.

(This pic was taken during better times. Christmas, 2007)

Please pray that God will allow them to receive the maximum amount of insurance money they are due (for structure and contents.) The wave action (pounding the house) caused the walls to buckle away from the floor of the wooden structure. There were snakes in the house and a sewerage pipe was broken by the movement of the house. Sewage was backed-up in their master bedroom.

Karen and Bubba are doing fairly well in spirit, but the stress of the whole thing is weighty. If any of you feel led to help them financially, you can make a check out to Karen Wheat and mail it to their home: 349 Miguel Street; Lake Charles, Louisiana; 70607.

Your prayers are most welcomed. Blessings to you all. love, murphy






This was the view from Karen and Bubba's house on July 4th, 2008.











As we did the inventory, we had to wear masks because of the mold spores and fungus. It took several days to count everything. They had about 20 - 22 inches of water in the house.













Sunday, October 19, 2008

Guess What! Murphy Toerner and Associates, Inc. IN HAMMOND


Murphy Toerner and Associates, Inc. is now in Hammond!

This is our office. The address is 201 E. Robert Street, Apt. B; Hammond, Louisiana. 70402

Our door is to the far right. ((To the right of the three windows.)












This is a view of the waiting room.








I want to introduce these ladies to you. On the far left is Giselle Chaisson, Jenny Hollander (center), and April Foster (right). Giselle is finishing her counseling degree at Loyola University in New Orleans. We are eager for her to join MTA in Hammond.

We are subletting from Jenny (center). Thanks Jenny for your sweet, warm welcome. April is a counselor intern who will be working in Hammond.







Here we all are! We are very excited about what the Lord wants to do in Hammond. If you know anyone in that area who needs a Christian counselor, please feel free to call our BR office at: 225-753-7773 and ask to set up an appointment with April Foster. Or you can call her directly on her cell phone: 985-320-3980.

Please pray with us as we begin this new adventure!


Much love,

murphy

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Special People

God is cool. One manifestation of His “coolness” is the way He brings special people into our lives. One of His greatest gifts is the privilege of having a sibling(s). There are a lot of us who don’t have brothers or sisters, but that’s ok because God brings other people into our lives to fulfill those roles. This is one of the greatest benefits of being a Christian; you get to be a member of a gigantic family called the “family of God.”

Having a sibling(s) when we are younger can be tricky because of our sin natures. We tend to fight with our brothers and sisters. We’re territorial and selfish. Don’t you remember telling your sibling stuff like: “Get out of my room?” or “Don’t take my stuff without asking!” Some of us fought with our siblings, we told them we hated their guts when we were angry, but we didn’t mean it. We were just angry and said ugly stuff just to get back at them.

I have a sister. She has been and is one of the most influential people in my life. She has loved me well and she still loves me after knowing most, if not all, of my junk. My sister is older than I am. So, when our parents split up when we were young, my sister played several roles in my life. She was my sister, confidant, encourager, cheerleader, best friend, and primary care-giver.

She never faltered or wavered in any of these roles. Don’t get me wrong, we were normal and we had knock-down-drag-out fights as kids, but once we realized that the adults in our lives were not going to be there for us in the ways we needed, we knew that we had each other.

My sister is kind and hospitable to everyone. She shows no preferences (i.e., choosing a wealthy person over a poor person) and doesn’t play favorites. She is the epitome of steadiness. She is fun and funny. We make each other laugh in ways that no one else can. In fact, our laughs are very similar. You can’t always tell us apart on the phone. Our voices blend perfectly when we sing together and we create great music and harmony together.

She overflows with devotion and commitment. She is faithful to end and will work as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. She is a totally devoted wife and mother. A faithful friend and she actually can be trusted to keep a secret. She will give until it hurts and then will creatively look for other ways to give. She handles hard times (like losing her home in hurricane Ike, 2008) with class, dignity, hope, and a sense of humor. She is the type of person you want on your side.
Thanks be to Jesus Christ she has always and forever been on my side. I needed someone who would be faithful and steady in my life and before my husband came, my sister exclusively played that role. I write this as a tribute to her … you see, today is her birthday. I am so thankful to God for this precious gift/person named Karen. I shudder to think of what life might have been like without her. I don’t think I would have made it.

Do you have a brother or a sister? When was the last time you told them how much you loved them? Why not call them or email them today and express your gratitude. Tell them the ways they made a difference for good in your life. Don’t withhold this precious blessing from them. They were an intentional gift from God.

Happy Birthday Karen!

(Please join me in praying for my sister and brother-in-law as they start picking up the pieces after Hurricane Ike. Thanks so much ... murphy)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Expect a Miracle ...

When faced with a tough situation, what is your response? Do you expect God to show up? Do you believe He'll make a difference? Do you expect a miracle?

Most of us assert that we do believe in these things; or at least we want to. Our biggest obstacles seem to be our personal expectations and our distain for God's timing. We expect things to be done "yesterday" and His spiritual timepiece seems slower than molasses or it seems all together broken.

Think of your current and troublesome situation. It might involve your:

  • marriage
  • child(ren)
  • friendships
  • job or vocation
  • in-laws or extended family
  • elderly parent(s)
  • finances
  • health
  • happiness
  • future

When it feels as though God has forgotten us as we deal with some of the above concerns, doom and gloom presence themselves close by.

  • We worry and fret about whether our marriage can survive.
  • We cry over the child that refuses to grow up.
  • We whine about the demands at work.
  • We operate with polite distance with our extended family.
  • We feel the strain of caring for an elderly parent.
  • We grieve over the losses in the stock market.
  • We fore go our personal health because of our busyness and our commitment to serving others.
  • We believe happiness is inextricably linked to the opinions of others.
  • We grapple over impending decisions.
  • With each stressful situation, we risk getting upset, even enraged, with God.

Wouldn't a better option be to release our expectations and personal sense of urgency over to God? Wouldn't we have greater success and peace by accepting and submitting to His heavenly timetable, which must be infallable (if it is His)? Only He knows when, where, how, and why; and He doesn't always reveal this knowledge to us. But don't think of Him as holding out on you. Rather, think of His lack of revelation as a divine protection. He is never, never, never wrong; nor is He ever late. Therefore, we can still expect a miracle and wait patiently for His divine intervention.

Each of us needs to focus on the character of God in order to trust Him when things look dark and foreboding.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6

Murphy

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Easy Come; Easy Go

Most of us have heard this adage since we were little kids, "Easy come; easy go." It can be applied to all sorts of situations, but I have a particular situation in mind. In May, 1992, our house in Broadmoor subdivision suffered from a huge conflagration (a house fire). In about eight minutes from being discovered by Jon (who, in turn, found Mike). They got out of the house with their pajamas on. Cal and I were at church that Sunday morning; Jon and Mike were going to the second service. In those eight minutes, about 85% of our roof burned off our ranch-style home.

Mike called the church and a deacon told me about taking the phone call. Mike said, "Dorable, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is Jon and I are ok. The bad news is the house has burned down." I was shocked. After making sure that Cal was taken care of, a friend and I drove to my house. On the way I prayed, "Lord, I don't know what you are doing, but help Mike and I to glorify your name even in this situation."

As friends came to our house after the church service, I repeated to many of them, "Isn't God good?" Of course they looked at me in disbelief. It was sort of an odd thing to say ... if one were merely talking about the obvious loss of all our worldly possessions. But I wasn't talking about that at all. I was expressing praise and gratitude to God for sparing the lives of my sweet husband and my younger son. When I compared the loss of all of our stuff with the idea of having a four year old in the burn unit at the Baton Rouge General Hospital, it seemed that we came out pretty good. No one was hurt or burned in any way. We weren't going to the emergency room or the funeral home. In my economy (and God's), I was stating the obvious truth that God is good (in the good times and the hard times.)

Interestingly, my sister recently lost her house in Hurricane Ike. Karen and her husband live about 30 yards from the water's edge of Calcasieu Lake. The wave action and flood surge compromised the structure of their wooden house. It also dug a 15 x 8 ft (deep) hole in their yard. The surge squashed a stock trailer like one would crush a soda can. Amazing. Today, they have snakes in the house and a backed-up sewerage in their master bedroom. Probably, the wave action and wind and the FEMA trailer from Hurricane Rita bashed their house so much that it broke the pipes under the house. Subsequently, the water from the lake got into their lines and caused everything to back-up. Ugh.

God is so faithful. We walked through our loss fairly well and so far Karen and her family are doing the same. Praise the Lord. What do people do when they don't have a relationship with the Lord. I don't know. I'm glad I'll never have to find out what that is like. I'm already a member of the family. Are you?

Much love, murphy

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hurricane Gustov

Well, it is so good to be on the internet again.

Hurricane Gustov totally disrupted the lives of everyone living in Louisiana and the Deep South.

Most of us have been without electricity for over a week. We have depended on the graciousness of our neighbors when they:
  • covered our roofs with blue tarps after the tree crashed through the house
  • they brought cooked food (they had to cook everything in their freezer due to no electricity)
  • they brought bags of ice; loaned generators, fans, batteries and everything else you can imagine.

There was a group page on Facebook so the members could "talk" with one another to find out what was going on.

Governor Bobby Jindal has done an unbelievable job and his leadership skills have been stellar. Thank God for someone who has surrounding himself with intelligent, thoughtful, foresighted personnel.

I hope all of you are well. I hope you have electricity a.s.a.p.! I hope you can take a hot shower or a hot bath and feel really clean. I hope the constant sound of generators will soon disappear and the mounds of trees and debris will soon be taken away from our curbs.

Love you all,
Murphy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Videos from GodTube

Dear Friends,
I thought that these were deeply encouraging.
I hope you enjoy them.

Love,
Murphy

This one describes Jesus ...
http://www.godtube.com/view_video?viewkey=572b18853b3948570fad


This one is about a "double-amputee" who has learned to be more than a conqueror.
http://www.godtube.com/view_video?viewkey=3a44ada9659d13ab2f1a

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Life Is ...

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right and ask God to help you love, endure, or tolerate the ones who don't. Believe in the sovereignty of God ... everything happens for a reason (even when the reason isn't evident now or in the future.)

When you get a second chance, grab it with all your might. It is a gesture of the graciousness of God. You never know when that second or third effort will be the one that brings great success to you.

In general, life is hard and unfair, but don't let that get you down. There is always a situation that is worse than the one you're currently facing. Living a life that showcases God's glory makes life worth living, in spite of the difficulties.

Always treat your family and friends as treasures and blessings from the Lord because they are. God strategically placed you in your family of origin and He had divine reasons for doing so. God provided a support system for you; your family and friends make up that system. Love each person in your life well; treat them with dignity; own your wrong-doings and work toward reconciliation. This will pay off in the long run. Mature people can say, "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me." If you have a hard time doing this, it's time to grow up some more.

God is good, always good and can never be anything but good. Let that be the immovable framework within which you put the puzzle pieces of your life.

Love, Murphy

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Important Prayer to God

Importance: HIGH
To: YOU
Date: TODAY
From: GOD
Subject: YOURSELF
Reference: LIFE

This is God...

Today, I will be handling ALL of your problems for you. I do not need your help. So, have a nice day. I love you.

P.S. And, remember... If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it yourself!

Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box.
I will get to it in MY TIME.
All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it.
Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.

Try to think of things like this:

If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work; think of the man who has been out of work for years.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them!

Should you decide to send this to a friend; Thank you. You may have touched their life in ways you will never know! Now, you have a nice day.

God


A note from me:
God has seen you struggling, God says it's over.
A blessing is coming your way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Making Marriage Work

Making a marriage work starts way before the wedding ceremony. It starts way before pronouncing the vows and saying, "I do."

Making a marriage work starts with an instilled value system and a determined mindset which develops when we are children. Most of us keep our commitments and our covenants because we learned the value of keeping our promises while we were growing up.

How does one develop this kind of value system?

When a young person watches his or her parents faithfully keep their vows in marriage, it solidifies the inherent value of keeping one's word of honor. When a young person witnesses their parents choosing to stay together; choosing to make their marriage work through the good times and the hard times, it reinforces the value of being true to one's word.

When a couple chooses to work through their problems centered around:

rearing children and parenting styles
in-laws
boundaries with extended family members
finances
effective communication
physical and sexual intimacy
diversity in problem solving
health issues
navigating through disappointments and setbacks
spiritual issues and differences
conflict resolution
being able to work as a team
infidelity
career setbacks

... their children witness what a healthy marriage looks like. When we "see" something done correctly, it is a lot easier to implement that behavior into our own lives. This is a form of modeling. Knowing theories about success in marriage is one thing (a good thing), but actually seeing one's parents work hard at creating a successful marriage is much more effective. Seeing someone practice keeping their word of honor; keeping their vows is a powerful teaching tool. It helps to instill that same value in the person who witnessed such positive behavior.

Watching parents treat one another with respect and dignity (even when they are not in agreement) is a power dynamic to witness. When a husband and wife can agree to disagree, when they don't get angry with one another when they have differing opinions, it lays the foundation for their children to do the same when they get married.

Seeing things done in a positive and Godly way is the absolute best teacher. However, God can teach us how to do things His way even if our parents didn't do things His way. It is sort of like a "reverse application" system. If you saw your parents do everything wrong, you simply do the reverse of what you saw. This works beautifully and God is faithful to help you gain whatever skills you need to keep your marital covenant.

10 Big Mistakes Parents Make

By Craig Playstead

1) Spoiling kids - There is no doubt that parents love their kids and want them to have all the things they didn’t. However, this comes at a price. A ton of well-intentioned parents have ended up spoiling their kids to such a degree that the kids aren’t even happy with all the stuff they have. This causes them to never be satisfied and always want more. Junior doesn’t need one more piece of junk, what he needs is some special time with his parents. Think of it this way: How will they ever be prepared for disappointment throughout their life—or learn to be thankful for anything?

2) Inadequate discipline - When you’re too lazy to adequately discipline your kids, you pass the little devil you’ve created on to your relatives, coaches, teachers, and his friends’ parents. It’s not OK to let your kids treat your house like it was a Jump Planet (i.e. jumping on furniture) because that’s exactly how they’ll treat other people’s homes. They should also be much better behaved when they leave the house and visit elsewhere. I’ve lived through this nightmare first-hand, with the same kid at my house treating my $1,500 couch like a trampoline, and then calling my daughter “ugly” while the kids were eating dinner. All within a 15-minute span. If you don’t discipline your kid, someone else will—and you won’t like it.

3) Failing to get involved at school - School is where your kids will spend more time than any place besides your home. It’s also the place that will have the most responsibility for shaping their life—from teachers and their peers. That being said, how can you not want to be involved in what’s going on there? It doesn’t matter if it’s you or your spouse: Your family needs to have a presence at that school. And don’t use work as an excuse—take a vacation day if you need to. You’ll see immediately that it’s time well spent. You should also have at least an e-mail relationship with their teacher. It’s a great way for that teacher to see that you’re interested in your child’s development, and the teacher can alert you to any concern that may be going on with your son or daughter. Your kid’s teacher may take a much more active role with your child if they know you’re keeping close tabs.

4) Praising mediocrity - While we all want to encourage our kids to do well and build their self-esteem, there is a point of going too far. Building a child’s self-esteem is great, but having a big party for a mediocre accomplishment skews what they view as a real achievement. One big place I see this is in sports; (another is chores around the house.)

5) Not giving kids enough responsibility - Your kids shouldn’t be expecting any payment for doing chores around the house. It’s a home, not a hotel. That being said, an allowance is a great idea … for extra work. They should be pulling their weight as part of the family. If they grow up without enough responsibility, how in the world do you expect them to hold down a job, or get through college? When they get “of age,” make sure they’re taking some of the burden off you around the house—from unloading the dishwasher to caring for the family pet. Our children are not our slaves, but they don't have to live as though they are on a perpetual vacation either.

6) Not being a good spouse - How you treat your husband or wife is very important to the way your kids will develop relationships, especially as adults. If you treat your spouse poorly, or if your only way to settle any kind of dispute is to yell and scream at each other, you’re teaching your kids to handle themselves the same way. Kids learn from watching you much more than they learn from listening to you. If you treat your spouse with love and respect, it will show your kids the value of their family. It will also make them feel their family is a safe haven in what can be a dark, scary world.

7) Setting unreal expectations - When dealing with kids, you need to set reasonable expectations for them—especially the little ones. If you want to go out to a nice dinner and expect your 2-year-old to sit there like a little prince, you are setting yourself up for major disappointment. Also, if you have visions of a football star and your son weighs 80 pounds and likes to play the clarinet, you need to reset those expectations. Don’t have unreal expectations for your kids: the expectation you should have is for them to be respectful and responsible.

8) Not teaching kids to fend for themselves - Many parents tend to baby kids these days and cater to their every need, and that eliminates the value of hard work and becoming independent as they grow into adults. I fear that we’re raising a generations of disrespectful, irresponsible wimps. Kids nowadays expect everything to be done for them, from cleaning their room to band-aids for hurt feelings. Teaching them to toughen up and do things on their own doesn’t mean that you love them less; it means you love them more. (We want to equip them for success as adults.)

9) Pushing trends on kids - Let kids be kids. Parents shouldn’t push their trends or adult outlook on life on their kids. Just because it was your life’s dream to marry a rich guy doesn’t mean we need to see your 4-year-old daughter in a “Future Trophy Wife” t-shirt. The same goes for the double ear piercing—that’s what you want, not them. Teaching kids about your passions is great, but let them grow up to be who they are.

10) Not following through - I have trouble with this one sometimes. If you’re telling your kids that they’ll be grounded if they paint the neighbor’s dog one more time, you’d better follow through. Unfortunately, following though on punishments or promises makes your life a little more difficult, but building trust is what’s most important. If you’re not true to your word, your kids will assume anything you say is just talk. Then you have a real problem on your hands. You’ll end up with kids who don’t trust their parents.

Craig Playstead is a freelance writer and happily married father of three living in the suburbs of Seattle. In the past he's also been a sports writer, online editor, and talk show host.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Love of Jesus

This is a video from http://www.godtube.com/ that blew me away. I hope the Lord will use it to show you just how much He loves you and how far He will go to protect you.

To view the video, simply click on the following link:

http://www.godtube.com/view_video?viewkey=ee73e63418003b47d7d5


With much love and affection,
murphy

Monday, August 4, 2008

Time Heals All Wounds

At first glance, this saying, "Time heals all wounds," sounds like some old platitude or adage. It's the kind of saying that should have, "Laa tee daa, laa tee daa, " before it and after it. That's because the thought of time healing all wounds sounds just a bit overly simplistic and naive. But, I think that there is a lot of truth to this saying. What about you? In your experience, "Does time really heal all wounds?" Have you personally experienced this kind of healing?

To me, time has the capability of bringing great healing. Our merciful and gracious Father created each of us with the ability to heal: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We will experience a variety of healings while we live on earth. However, make no mistake, our final and most complete healing will take place in heaven as we stand in the presence of God. As Christians, when we enter the throne-room of the Almighty and stand in front of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God, the Father, we will miraculously be made well ... totally well. In His presence, we will be whole.

Think of a time when a spouse, a child, an extended family member, a friend, or a co-worker hurt your feelings. The wound could have been an emotional "scratch" or it could have been more like a severed artery. As time passed, did the wound stop bleeding? Did you regain your emotional and relational strength? In time, were you well enough to re-engage the so-called "perpetrator?" Most of us would have to say, "Yes." In time, the hurt feelings subsided and we felt capable of re-engaging the offender.

The length of time it takes to heal depends on several things:
(1) our spiritual and emotional resiliency
(2) our intimacy with God
(3) the depth of the emotional wounding
(4) the history of previous woundings
(5) how much we want to re-engage or re-connect with the offender

If the hurtful person is your spouse, it could take a shorter amount of time or it could take a much longer amount of time to heal. If the offender is your parent, it could take a few hours to a few years to regain your health, resiliency, and ability to re-engage them.

The length of time it takes to heal is not nearly as important, in my mind, as the fact that we are able to heal. Think of some of the ways you have been wounded and you were able to navigate through the hurt; you were able to heal; and you were able to re-engage the offender/hurtful person. Our ability to heal (in every area) is a miracle. God knew that we would surely need it.

In your life, is there a hurt that needs healing? Has someone "cut" you to the quick, emotionally? Has someone bruised your spirit or bludgeoned your soul? Ask God to heal those wounded places. He will do it. He desires wholeness and wellness for His children. It might take some time, but you will heal.

Blessings to you all. I'll be praying for you and your healing.
Murphy

Friday, August 1, 2008

If We Only Had More Of...

THE FOLLOWING QUALITIES:

Loyalty

Duty

Respect

Selfless-Service

Honor

Integrity

Personal Courage


THE FOLLOWING ETHICS:

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.


These were taken from a medal my nephew received while he was in basic training at Fort Bragg, Georgia. James is a sergeant in the Louisiana National Guard. He has served one tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq for 15 months.

Don't you wish Christians would aspire to live out these character qualities and ethical values? I do. As an exercise in reflection, take each one and meditate on them and see what the Lord tells you about how well you express them in your own life.

Muchly,
Murphy

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mike's Birthday

Today is my husband's 59th birthday. July 31, 1949.

He had a great birthday gift! An article, submitted to one of the educational accounting journals, has been approved! As you can imagine, we are both very pleased.

Please pray that a second article, which is currently under review by a different journal, will also be accepted. That would be one of the best birthday gifts ever ... or almost ever.

Blessings to all of you who care about the Toerner family.

We love you.
Murphy

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tantrums - Part 2

How To Prevent or Diffuse Tantrums

The key to preventing or diffusing tantrums is to understand your child's tantrum triggers, and understand what it feels like to be little and out of control. Here are some suggestions:

Avoid tantrum-provoking situations. Use the candy-free check-out aisle at the supermarket.

Toy shop when you can leave your child at home — and definitely don't take your child to the store or any other possibly challenging place when they are tired or hungry. (Bring snacks whenever you go out if hunger is a trigger for your child). At home, keep things your child wants but can't have out of sight. When it comes to tantrums, a little advance planning goes a long way.

Spend positive time together. Dedicate some time every day to snuggling and playing with your child. (Reading together is a great way to snuggle!) Even if it doesn't totally prevent tantrums, it is good for your child—and for your relationship with her.

Let your child feel in control. Obviously, you are in charge. But when you can, give your child choices. Instead of saying "Time to get dressed!" say "Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the green one?" Instead of "Time to go to bed!" try "Which book shall we read before bed — this one, or that one?" (Limiting the choices to two is generally best.) When you do that, your child is less likely to feel bossed around—and is therefore less likely to struggle with you.

Use distraction. It's amazing how well this can work, if you do it at the first sign of trouble. Before your child gets really upset about not being able to play with a particular toy, swoop in with a different one and make a big deal out of it ("Wow, look at this truck! It makes noises and everything!"). Quickly suggest playing on the slide when someone gets to the last swing before you. Sometimes doing something really unexpected, such as breaking into song, or doing the Chicken Dance, does the trick. Take advantage of your child's short attention span.

If all else fails and your child explodes into a tantrum, don't despair. Here's how to survive it:

Take a deep breath. If you get upset, it's only going to make things worse.

Resist the temptation to give in. Giving your child what she wants may quiet things down right then, but teaching your child that tantrums work is not the way to get them to stop.

Let your child scream it out, in a safe place. That may mean leaving the nearly full grocery cart in the store and going home. If your child is older, send him to his room; let him know that he can come out as soon as he calms down.

Give hugs when he's done. It can be scary for a child to get that upset — and they usually know that you're not happy with them. Let him know that you love him, and that you are proud of him for stopping.

While tantrums are usually nothing to worry about, and will go away as your child gets older, it's important to call your child's doctor for help if:

The tantrums are getting more frequent, or severe
Your child is in mid- to late- elementary school and still having tantrums
Your child hurts herself or others during the tantrum
You have any concerns about your child's development
You are very upset by the tantrums, especially if you feel like you might hurt your child
Don't feel ashamed — the best thing you can do is ask for help!


content by:
Harvard Medical ...

Tantrums - Part 1

A Guide to Tantrums

Understanding, preventing and surviving them
By Claire McCarthy, M.D., Harvard Health Publications

I've been there, too — in public with a small child who is screaming her brains out, as if someone is pulling her fingernails out one by one. Of my five children, Natasha was the most dramatic:

Once I walked through Target pulling her along as she clung to my leg, letting the entire (huge) store know that she wanted the (very expensive) princess telephone. I know that feeling of anger, embarrassment, and desperation.


Why Tantrums Happen

Tantrums are a normal part of childhood. They are most common in 1- to 3-year-olds, but sometimes older children have them. They usually happen because a child:

Gets frustrated. Children ages one to three are learning to use language and their bodies. They become frustrated as they struggle to express themselves and when they can't do something they want to.

Gets upset. Disappointment and anger can be very difficult feelings to deal with, especially for a small child.

Is asserting his or her independence. This is the age when children begin to say no — sometimes purely for the sake of saying no.


Some Children Are More Prone to Tantrums

While every child throws a tantrum at some point in their lives, some children are definitely more prone to them than others. My eldest, Michaela, hardly ever threw one; I thought I was doing everything right as a parent — until my next child came along and threw plenty of tantrums.

Here are the most common reasons why some children are more prone to tantrums:
Some kids get frustrated more often than others, usually because they don't talk well enough to express themselves — or aren't yet physically able to do what they want to like running, climbing and reaching.

Temperaments vary. Some children are simply more emotional, more stubborn (that's Natasha!), or have more trouble handling disappointment than others. It was Michaela's thoroughly easygoing temperament that made tantrums rare for her, as opposed to my parenting of her.

Some kids need more attention. The attention they get for tantrums isn't really the kind they want, but it's attention.

Tantrums work. If you could get what you wanted by screaming, wouldn't you do it?

(Please check out Part 2)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dear God...

You have made me ...

* confident
* happy
* healthy
* wealthy
* smart
* fit
* safe

I thank you!

In Jesus' name...

(From Richard O.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

We Are Of God

1 John 5:19 - "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."

There are two opposing concepts in this verse:
*we are of God
*the whole world lies in the power of the evil one

The "we are of God" part is pretty self-explanatory for Christians. It's the second part that gives us trouble. It seems as though many of us have either never read it or we've failed to understand its implications.

As Christians, we don't belong here anymore. Our citizenship has been transferred from earth to heaven. The instant we came to Christ, we changed from being children of darkness to children of light; but there's a catch. Although we now "are of God," we must live-out the rest of our physical existence on earth. We go home to heaven when we die.

There are some cool things about earth. We seek all sorts of experiences; thinking they'll bring us some happiness. But, ultimately, everything on earth is doomed to disappoint and let us down. Earth offers nothing that can compare to the life-giving, scintillating connection we have with God. He gives true life; not fake life. Yet, so often we settle for the counterfeit and fail to embrace the authentic.

It is hard to have faith in that which we cannot see. The visible realm is more believable because it's tangible. The visible realm woos us and manipulates us. This is a common tactic Satan uses to get us to focus more on the seen than the unseen. It is a powerful, useful trick. Satan loves twisting things around. He enjoys it when the object of our faith is some visible, earthly entity instead the invisible, supreme God of the universe. Satan is a menace. For a season, yet to be fully grasped, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Are you aware of the ways Satan twists things in your life? Has he messed with your internal plumb line by confusing your thinking, your ability to discern truth vs. untruth; or your ability to trust the One you cannot see?

When you are attacked, remember to turn (or return) to God and live by His truth. His truth is a solid foundation. Trust the invisible God whom you can't see more than anything on this earth in the visible realm. God is steadfast and real. Everything else is fading away. Be cautious about only trusting what you can see. Often, visible things are the least trustworthy.

Put your trust in the God who is sure, steady, and sound!

(Please check out http://www.murphytoerner.com/ for more articles and devotions.)

Blessings to you all...m

Monday, July 21, 2008

No Kid Leaves Home Done ...

I'm in the middle of a developmental stage. Some of you would never think that at 55+ I'd be navigating through a developmental stage. This is a term used for babies and kids in Pre-K through 8th grade, isn't it?

No, the truth is all of us navigate through a variety of stages throughout our lifetimes. My current one falls under the heading, "Role of Parent Quickly Changes as Son Launches." You see, my older son recently graduated from LSU and he moved on to pursue his career and fulfill a life-long dream. On one hand, as a parent I am thrilled to see the light at the end of the financial, money pit tunnel. Yet, on the other hand and with equal passion, I feel a sense of grief because of the changes in our close knit family unit. On another hand, (hey wait ... that's three hands) I struggle with a tiny amount of dread; realizing the truth of the Murphy-ism, "No kid leaves home done."

If you are a parent, you know what I'm talking about. If you are not a parent, you'll know in about 18 to 20 years. As your son or daughter launchs from your family, you will notice some values and qualities that you thought were present, but they aren't there. You'll also notice a few things you hoped would never reside in your son or daughter; yet there they are as big as life. It is a hard reality to navigate through.

Thank God our self-esteem as parents isn't dependent on our children's performance. If your's is, you're in deep trouble. Our sons and daughters don't leave home complete. You know how I know? I know because I'm 55+ and I'm not finished growing either. How could I possibly expect a 20, 21, 22+ year old be mature when I, as an old person, am not anywhere close to being as mature as Christ would have me be.

So, what are we to do? Here are a couple of things to consider: (1) Be ready for a continual stream of developmental stages thoughout your lifetime. (2) Don't expect your son or daughter to be totally mature when they launch from your home. (3) For sure don't link your parental self-esteem to the successes of failures of your children. (4) Trust that as your son or daughter launches, God will send a perpetual stream of people who will carry on in your place. They will be God's instruments in helping your young adult continue to grow, change, mature, and ultimately win (in the sense that they will be who God originally intended them to be.)

So, don't let the developmental stage you are in freak you out. Just hang in there and look for what God is trying to accomplish in you. He will show you at the proper time.

Blessings to you ... muchly, m

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Body of Christ - A Necessity, Not Just a Perk

Recently I spoke with a friend and she shared some things that were presently going on in her life. We talked for a while and then we ended our conversation in prayer. We lifted up our concerns about some fairly heavy personal situations. By the end of our time she said, "I did not realize just how much emotional stuff I'd been carrying until now. I feel so much better, almost lighter; and I'm able to relax and let it go."

It is a wonderful gift to have a friend and confident. It's more than a good thing or nice thing; it's a necessity. Sharing our lives with one another in deeply personal ways helps us keep our spiritual balance and emotional well-being. Of course, the first Person we need to speak with about any matter is God. He is the Source of all wisdom and grace; power and persistence. Often, He will send a human being with whom we can share. God knows the benefit of having friends who are safe confidants and faithful prayer partners. Every one needs at least one friend who can keep things in the "vault," so to speak.

Galatians 6:2a says, "Bear one another's burdens..." To fulfill this command, we need God and each other. Sometimes God will send us burden bearers. At other times, He will come alone. In our minds and hearts, both sources of relief are reasons to praise Him.

Do you have great friends; faithful friends? Are you a great friend; a faithful friend?

What are some of the qualities you look for in friendship? What is most important? Think about it and then, list what you come up with.

Blessings to you all, mt

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Know Who You Are

Mark 1:22-25 -- "They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (23) Just then there a man in the synagogue with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, (24) saying, 'What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who You are -- the Holy One of God! (25) And Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, (literally ... be muzzled) and come out of him!'"
When you were a kid, did you mom ever call you by your entire name; especially when you were in trouble? You know ... the proverbial, "Nancy Murphy Geer, get in this house!" Whether it was a mother, father, or in this case a demon, when someone uses one's entire name, they are attempting to exercise authority over that person.
Of course, no demon has greater power than Jesus Christ, God incarnate. 1 John 4:4b says, "... greater is He (Jesus) who is in you than he who is in the world." No created being, neither angel, fallen angel, nor man/woman has greater authority than Jesus Christ. The demon in this passage could not control or manipulate Jesus, even when calling Jesus by His full name. The demon knew who Jesus was but he had no love or allegiance for Jesus. He belonged to another, Satan.
Every evil spirit knows Jesus as the Son of God, but their intellectual assent does not mean that they worship Jesus or belong to Him. Be a child of God is based on our love, adoration, devotion, worship, and obedience to Him. Intellectual belief is based on facts and knowledge. Belonging to God (through the work of Christ on the cross) is based on faith and receiving salvation as a free gift.
Do you know about Jesus intellectually; the same way one believes the sun will rise in the east or the ocean is wide? Or do you know the Son of God by faith; have you asked Him to be the most significant Person in your life? There is a huge difference between the two.
Have you drifted away from Him? Has the personal relationship He desires with you weakened through lack of attention on your part (not His)? If so, what can you do today in response to His ever present call for an intimate, love relationship with you?
Tell me what you think ...