WELCOME!!!!!

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

Murphy Geer Toerner

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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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tell The Truth...

A friend was struggling with:
  • comparing (she doesn't have a lot of what others have)
  • potential poverty
  • spending emotional energy getting healthier
1. Any effort you put into fixing your life is never, never, never wasted. Real growth can not be taken away. It may not be walked out consistently, but it still present.

You are the daughter of a King. No matter how much money you have or don't have, you are richer than most of the people you know. You are committed to getting healthier (emotionally, socially, psychologically, physically, and spiritually). You genuinely love your family and friends.

2. Some people are better at acquiring stuff. But stuff can't buy love, happiness, peace, or eternal life. Yes, it is easier for some people to acquire things, but they don't have the quality of life you do.

Plus, things acquired by ill-gotten-gain are ultimately tainted and tarnished. The way some people get stuff is outright sinful and hurtful.

Do you ever struggle with comparing, fear of poverty, or concern that getting healthier is just a waste of energy?

Take a moment to tell yourself the truth from a Godly perspective.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Evil We Commit


Jeremiah 2:13 -

"For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water."

When you read this verse, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Do you feel accused or exposed?

Do you feel appealed to?

Do you feel regret, remorse or discomfort?

Do you feel energized to live to God?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Way to Live

LIVE simply,
LOVE generously,
SERVE faithfully,
SPEAK truthfully,
PRAY DAILY,
Then, leave Everything else to GOD.

He's Here

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit

"Bidden or not bidden, God is present."

(Eminent psychologist Carl Jung had these words carved over the front door of his house in Zurich; they are also on his tombstone.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Today, we pay tribute to all who defend and protect our country from various enemies both foreign or domestic. Since our country's inception, men and women willingly put their lives on the line to protect our God-given freedom. They knowingly put themselves in harms way accomplish that mission. Their ultimate sacrifice is losing their lives in the process.

It is a noble thing to serve in our armed forces and all Americans need to consider the debt we owe to every man and woman who has done so.

When thinking of someone's willingness to give his or her life for our greater good, my thoughts quickly turn to Jesus. He willingly gave his life as a sacrifice for us. God, the Father, did not want any to perish. He wanted and continues to want all to have eternal life. They must choose. We all must choose.

The God we worship is persistent. I think God is the supreme example of the above quote. He will never, never, never give up. If you have come to faith in God, through Jesus Christ, He will never give up on His forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Never! If you have not yet been adopted into God's forever family, He will call your name every day until the day you die.

Thank God for all that He has done in your life.

Thank Him for His future plans for you.

Thank Him for your spiritual transformation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Deadliest Catch

Have you ever watched, "The Deadliest Catch?" It is an amazing show that captures the dangers, hardships and oppressive weather crab fishermen endure out on the Bering Sea.

On one episode, one of the fishing vessels headed for a small, uninhabited harbor tucked behind a mountainous landscape. They were attempting to shield themselves from a winter storm. They dropped the anchor in an effort to maintain their position and not be pulled out to sea, out of the harbor by the strong currents.

The size of the anchor was huge. It weighed so much that it was fastened to a thick wire cable and it was raised and lowered by mechanized pulley. The size of the anchor amazed me. The sight of it and the way it was able to hold a sizable ship in place gave me a whole new mental picture of the importance of God being the spiritual anchor for Christians.

In the New Testament, Jesus was an anchor of sorts to the men and women who believed in Him and put their faith in Him. He was an anchor that never let them down. He always kept His word. He always told the truth. He was candid about the suffering that all believers incur. He was equally candid about the hope we have concerning our future being settled when we die. He clearly stated that if we believe in Him, we will receive eternal life.

Is Jesus your anchor? Or has something or someone taken His place? Our connection to Him, once it is established, is permanent; but we don't always tend to that connection. We don't always remember that relating to Him every day ... all throughout the day ... helps us stay steady and steadfast. Our connection enhances His ability to be that immovable anchor in our lives. If you don't feel as connected as you once did, what is one thing you can do to refocus on Him?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Successfully Launching Our Children















Last Thursday evening, our son Cal proposed to Miss Sara O. Povlish. Cal and Sara met each other in a Border's Bookstore in San Antonio, Texas on September 20, 2008. They became the best of friends and are looking forward to spending their lives together.

The cool thing about Cal's proposal was Mike and I were able to witness the whole event. After all those years of Junior/Senior Proms and high school homecomings, we got to see our son propose to the woman he adores. We even have pictures!!!!

The next day was equally important. Cal graduated from Navigator Training and got his "wings." This means he is a rated officer in the United States Air Force. His new fiance, Sara, pinned his wings on his uniform. It was a wonderful event in Cal and Sara's life together and it was a huge accomplishment for them both.

It is a joyful thing to see our children grow up. It is super rewarding to see them launch successfully.

If you are a young parent, it may feel as though the launching stage may never come, but it will arrive. Try to think of the most important things you want to pass on to your children and work really hard in achieving these goals. The time you have with them will pass by ever so quickly. You turn around and the time is gone. No kidding. So, think long and hard about what God's goals for your child are and work with your child to achieve those goals.

I hope that the launching of your child(ren) will be as rewarding as this has been for us.

Blessings, Murphy






Monday, October 12, 2009

A Spiritual Business Plan

Recently someone asked me to share my business plan with them.

Murphy Toerner and Associates, Inc. has grown into a wonderfully effective and multi-faceted Christian counseling center. We currently have 8 counselors serving in two locations (Baton Rouge and Hammond, La.). In the near future, we plan to add another male counselor at the Baton Rouge location and another female counselor at the Hammond location.

When the request was posed to me, I almost chuckled because I know that my business plan consists of asking the Father what He wants me to do and then doing it. I know this is not considered "good business practice," but for my simple approach to running MTA it has been very effective.

Since my years on Young Life staff, God has proven that if He wants me to be "up front," I don't have to scratch or claw to work my way into being "up front." He showed me that whatever was supposed to happen, He would do the work. All I had to do was wait, listen, and obey.

How well do you wait on the Lord?
How well do you listen to Him?
How well do you obey Him once He has directed you?

Pay attention this week to these qualities. Take note of how you're doing in each area. Then, make an adjustment if you need to.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trauma


I want you to know that if you have been hurt, abused or traumatized, God understands that it will take longer for you to trust Him. He is not mad at you. He is not in any hurry. He knows that you were more controlled than loved; you were more manipulated than cherished. He is aware that you were “used” by one or more adults in your life and then you were thrown away. You were discarded. (I want you to know that I am very sorry for every way you were hurt.)

God is perfectly patient with all of us, especially those of us who have been hurt, abused and traumatized. He knows that we have been damaged. God is like no one we have ever known before. His love is different. He is committed to pursuing us. He has all the time in the world and we are supremely important to Him. He will love us … and love us … and love us some more until we believe (trust, have faith) that He is real and His love for us is real. At some point, most of us will respond to Him and to His unadulterated love. How could we resist the greatest Lover of our souls? In time, as His love unwaveringly continues, we will fall in love with Him. We will love Him with a love that we had not thought possible for our wounded hearts.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Uncommon Graces - by John Vawter

A list of uncommon graces:
  • GENTLENESS
  • ATTENTIVENESS
  • LOYALTY
  • CANDOR
  • MERCY
  • KINDNESS
  • REPENTANCE
Take a moment and review each of these Christ-like graces which are rarely demonstrated in today's culture.

How would you rank your ability and consistency of demonstrating these graces to others in your everyday life? Use a scale of 1-10 (where 10 represents "outstanding")

What were the results?
How do you feel about your findings?
Ask God what He wants you to do, via His help, to grow in each of these Christ-like qualities.

Uncommon Graces - by John Vawter

Taken from the foreword -- written by Dr. Leith Anderson(p.8)

...(T)he number one reason for Christians to live Christianly is Christ. Our motivations to do good is to please Jesus and be like Jesus. But there is a second powerful motivation -- seeing the impact of our grace in the lives of others.

Victor Hugo's classic Les Miserables keeps coming back to the public in stage musicals and screen movies. It is the story of a convict who is treated kindly by a French bishop who gives him a place to stay in the bishop's home. In return for generous hospitality, the convict steals the bishop's silver. He is arrested by the police who have the man, the stolen goods, and every intent of sending him back to prison and hard labor. However, the bishop insists that the silver is a gift and the man is set free. The impact of the bishop's uncommon grace is so profound that the convict's life is transformed. Unexpected love, forgiveness, and generosity change him from a hardened criminal into a respectable civil leader whose entire life is marked by kindness to others. He, too, becomes a man of uncommon graces.

Imagine if we were all like that bishop returning good for evil, love for hate, generosity for greed, and hope for hopelessness. We would be more than like the bishop; we would be just like Jesus!

In Uncommon Graces, John Vawter has candidly and compassionately tackled the topic and the tension. He is no "do-good wimp" who blindly allows others to take unfair advantage of him. He is no 'hardened legalist" who knows the law but forgets the grace. John realistically understands our complex human nature and calls us to live uncommonly and graciously as Christians who represent Jesus and transform others.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Parent Job Description



This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way,
I don't believe any of us would have done it!!!!

POSITION :
Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

JOB DESCRIPTION :

Long term, team p layers needed, for challenging,
permanent work in an
often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication
and organizational skills and be willing to work
variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends
and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to
primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES :

The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily,
until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a
pack mule
and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat
in case, this time, the screams from
the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges,
such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets
and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and
coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings
for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute,
an embarrassment the next..
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a
half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for
the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and
janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION :

None.
Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills,
so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE :

None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION :

Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because
of the assumption that college will help them
become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that
you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS :

While no health or dental insurance, no pension,
no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and
no stock options are offered;
this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love,
and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.


Forward this on to all the PARENTS you know, in appreciation for everything they do on a daily basis,
letting them know they are appreciated
for the fabulous job they do...
or forward with love
to anyone thinking of applying for the job.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Different Light

In our marriage, Mike and I had a tumultuous beginning. We were older when we got married and we were quite unaware of the personal baggage we brought into our marriage. In spite of a rough few years, we "made it," meaning we've been married since 1981!!!

Learning to deal with our expectations was key to our marital success. Mike and I had very specific expectations of what the other person should be like or how they should treat us. We had expectations about what married life needed to look like and there were many other expectations.

God was most gracious when he gave me a word picture that helped me "see" Mike's limitations; see Mike's humanity. Prior to this time, I was upset with Mike because I thought, "You're a grown man, you're smart, you're successful, why is it so hard for you to love me in the ways I think I need or deserve to be loved? Why is it so hard for you to remember _____?"

Here's what the Father did for me. He showed me that even though Mike and I were adults when we married, in some ways we were still wounded little kids. Significant people in our lives had created "holes" in our lives. "Holes" are created when legitimate childhood needs are not adequately met or not met at all. Siblings, parents, teachers, coaches, fellow students, friends, and others did not love us in ways we needed. I'm not blaming them because most people are doing their best with what they have at a given moment. This is not about placing blame on anyone; it is about legitimate childhood needs going unmet.

Unmet needs tend to create expectations and they set the tone for how we manage life. Unmet needs cause us to be more driven and determined than others. Unmet needs are usually the main culprits in developing our adult addictions. We are running after stuff in hopes of filling a specific "hole."

The word picture God gave me was seeing Mike, as an adult, lying in a hospital bed with an oxygen tent over his head and torso. He was unconscious and so when I entered the room of my visualization, Mike did not get up and joyfully greet me. He couldn't because his "condition." He was not avoiding meeting my expectations; he was in an unconscious state. The fact that he was an "adult" did not matter in the least because the truth was he could not act or perform in the way(s) I was demanding. He couldn't. He just couldn't.

When God showed me that Mike's failure to treat me in ways that I demanded was not a personal rejection of me on his part. He could not be there for me because there was something more devastating going on in his life.

For whatever reason, this visual image totally changed my perspective. I was able to adjust my expectations. I was able to accept where Mike was because "he could not be where he wasn't."

Is there a person in your life that God wants you to "see" them in a different light? God can give you insight and a heavenly perspective concerning some of the people in your life who are most hurtful or disappointing. Just ask the Father to show you.

Wisdom of Years Gone Bye

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Deepest Fear


Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?"

Actually, who are you not to be?

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

(Quote taken from the movie "Akeela and the Bee" - 2007)

Human nature is interesting, isn't it? All of us are designed by God to want to "win" the race; and yet, so often we are too anxious to enter the contest. Why is this the case? What are we so afraid of?

Our insecurities act like invisible thieves who masterfully steal God-ordained opportunities, which are designed to showcase the glory of God as He manifests Himself through us. If you listen closely (in your imagination), you can almost hear the Father say, "Go for it!!! You and I can do it together. Don't be afraid." It is as though God is cheering us on to try new things; brave new worlds; and go for the gold medals of life. We linger and hang back ...

What is up with this?

In God's economy, everything is a "win - win" situation. If you enter the race and try your best, you may actually win the contest, receive the gold medal, and hear the heavenly "national anthem" played as you stand on the winner's stand. But, ... what if you lose the race, what then? Well, from God's economy, it can still be a "win" situation, if you will only see it from a heavenly perspective.

Winning is not limited to "crossing the finish line" first. We "win" every time we:

  • overcome our anxiety to enter the contest
  • train hard and prepare well
  • overcome adversity
  • maintain a positive mental attitude
  • are resilient after a defeat
  • help a brother or sister win his / her individual race
  • don't quit
  • don't fail on purpose (believe it or not, some people do struggle with this one)

The concept of "winning" and subsequently feeling good about yourself comes from God. Read the story of creation in Genesis. Every time God created something, He stepped back, looked at His accomplishment, and saw that it was good. Every time we try our best, overcome our fears, assuage our performance anxiety ... we win. And it feels really, really, really good.

Don't be afraid to enter the various contests of life. Ask the Lord to help you press through the things that strike fear in your heart. Jesus overcame His fears by drawing strength from His Father in heaven. We can do the same, through the power of His indwelling Spirit.

Go and manifest the glory of God that is within you.

By doing so you will be giving others permission to do the same.

May this encourage you deeply in your inner-person.

murphy


The Nature of the Journey: What Movement Toward God Looks Like

"Christ-following involves daring to float on the dark river of unseeing that leads to the Kingdom of Light." It requires the courage to set out on a path that is not only narrow, but also far from straight. That is why it is a journey of faith.

"The essence of Christian spirituality is to follow Christ on a pilgrimage that will often leave us feeling we are lost in the desert or heading in the wrong direction away from everything known and safe."

"The distant land is the new creature into whom Christ wishes to fashion us -- the whole and holy person who finds his/her uniqueness, identity, and calling in Christ. The distant land is God and the true self we are fully found in God."

"... there is a divine pattern at work which allows the widest variety for each Christian's idiosyncrasies, but seeks through the Holy Spirit to bring us toward union with God through spiritual encounters and experiences common to us all."

Our "union with God necessitates":

Desire for holiness

Accept Suffering

Relationship is the Essence of Reality

Eternal Perspective

A Desire for Holiness -- a deep desire to overcome sin and experience biblical holiness. Isaiah -- "The blinding glimpse of God's burning holiness educes the obligation and desire for holiness to become part of his own soul. He is compounded of but one desire, that the burning holiness of God would sear the sin out of his innermost being. Symbolically it is done. A live coal touches his lips, and his sin is purged."

John Stott -- "One of the God-appointed functions of the Holy Spirit is to make us know, feel, mourn, loathe, and forsake out sins."

To get a sense of "holiness" -- "gaze steadily at Jesus Christ and consult one's heart and mind at the reaction one feels. He is pure, adorable, holy. Gaze at Jesus! Adoring contemplation of the Savior. Look at Jesus ... looking in loe and longing on Jesus. Holiness is a by-product of this. They grew in holiness as they grew in the steadiness and fixity of their gazing."

"Throughout church history all the saints are of one mind on this issue -- because God is holy, we must be holy too."

Accept Suffering -- Dennis Covington - "Mystery is not the absence of meaning, but the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend."

"Both biblical teaching and personal experience combine to show us that God uses suffering to bring us to holiness and maturity. (mental, emotional, and physical suffering) ... Character, love, and pompassion develop through suffering."

Hebrews 2:10 (NIV) - "being made 'perfect through suffering.' "

"Suffering is not a very popular doctrine amongst modern-day believers. But have you noticed? There is always an indefinable something about people who have suffered. They have a fragrance around them that reminds one of the meekness and gentleness of Christ."

John Stott -- "I sometimes wonder if the real test of our hunger for holiness is our willingness to experience any degree of suffering if only thereby God will make us holy."

Relationship is the Essence of Reality -- God places great importance on interpersonal relationships. Relationships are frought with difficulties; ... minor jealousies; ... pettiness; ... belitttling ...

One can read biographies ... "that talk about ... difficulties with relationships and how they sought to overcome them. And many of them tell how even though they may have inherited a difficult and passionate temperament, they allowed grace to work in their lives until they soared above such things as pettiness, temper, and lack of consideration toward others."

What is the divine purpose behind relationships? ... to enable us to understand the essence of reality.

Quote -- The Everlasting God -- "... we learn from the Trinity that relationship is the essence of reality and therefore the essence of our existence, and we also learn that the way this relationship should be expressed is by 'concern for others.' Within the Trinity itself is a concern by the persons of the Trinity for one another."

"I used to believe that truth is the essence of reality (then, I made a paradigm shift) ... I came to see ... that the energy which pulses at the heart of the Trinity is other-centered. Each member of the Trinity is more concerned about the others than He is about Himself. Part of the movement toward God, i am convinced, is learning to relate to others in the way the Trinity related to one another -- in true other-centeredness."

Often we regard people "as the cause of many of our problems until I read ... 'Relationships do not so much cause problems as reveal problems.'" (My reaction to people was the real problem.)

"To be thoroughly honest, the greatest challenge of my life has been to consider others as more important than myself."

"Dr. E. Stanley Jones defines Christianity as 'the science of relating well to others in the spirit of Jesus Christ.' He added, ' ... we are as mature as our relationships.' " (Unless we learn to relate to others in other-centeredness, our union with God will be blocked.)

Eternal Perspective -- All great saints see life in the light of eternity. The great and the godly seem always to be able to keep heaven in view. ( ... the silly little honors ... or the material things that many love and crave are seen as unimportant.)

"With a mind set on the glory of God and a heart aflame with supernatural love, ... (they know ... they know that earth is not their home.)"

"Heaven is our home; it is where we belong. It is a theme that must be kept in constant focus ... 'we are to be God-intoxicated men who always have heaven in view.' "

"The happiest people on earth ... are those who keep their eyes focused on heaven. The Psalmist wrote, 'In thy presence is fullness of joy. In thy right hand are pleasures forevermore' (Psalm 16:11, NASB).

Joy is found in the realization of heaven.

Joy is also found in the anticipation of heaven.

by David G. Benner Conversations Magazine, Vol. 2:2, Fall-2004


(Murphy Toerner -- this article was just one of many wonderful, challenging articles found in a relatively new periodical "Conversations". The senior editor is Larry Crabb. If you are interested in knowing more about this new magazine, please contact me at 753-7773 and I will be glad to give you the information.)


Spiritual Practices


The purpose of spiritual practices is NOT to earn more grace or love or mercy or forgiveness or power or more eternal life. The truth is, once we become believers in Jesus Christ, we have gained a heavenly inheritance which is complete and can not be added to by human means. To think that we can add anything or earn anything in addition to what Jesus Christ gained for us through His death, burial, and resurrection is unthinkable.

However, to believe that there is no way for us to enhance our connection to and experience of God, the Father; of Jesus Christ, the Son; and of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our day to day relationships with them … our daily walk as practicing Christians, is inconceivable. Throughout the history of the faith, the spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers of our faith discovered that spiritual practices (disciplines) were not only invaluable to “spiritual formation” but essential. Often these spiritual forefathers and foremothers suffered greatly because the intimacy that they gained via spiritual practices produced a visibly unique level of intimacy with God. This level of intimacy was uncommon and consequently many of the saints who practiced spiritual exercises were often jailed, burned, tortured, and caste out of the church as heretics. Anytime a Christian attained some sort of special connection with God, they were suspected of heresy.

Spiritual formation, also known as Christian maturity, is the ultimate goal for every Christian. Freely accepting the gift of salvation from God through Jesus Christ is just the initial part of our journey toward Him and maturity in Him (and we accept this free gift via God’s grace.) The major part of the journey is concerned with our connection with God. It must be deep and personal. It must be consistent…day in and day out so God will be glorified in our lives. (To me, glorified means that His life is increasingly and consistently expressed through each of us who belong to Him and His forever family.)



There are many spiritual practices. A few are:

· bible study

· meditation on scripture

· solitude and silence

· fasting

· scripture memory

· simplicity

· worship

· praise and singing

· prayer

The only way to approach God is with reverence and humility and meekness of heart. The bible is clear that “fear” of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A.W. Tozier, in Knowledge of the Holy, says that the way a culture views God is strategic. The spiritual practices are aimed at posturing us before the Holy Spirit so that He can work within us. His goal is to renew our minds, change our hearts and inner thoughts and attitudes, increase the presence and quality of His fruit (the Fruit of the Spirit) in our lives and make us more like Jesus (conform us to the image of Christ.) [Think how much sin we get into on a daily basis or how much sin we casually tolerate because we have a “low view” of God or we lack a deep respect for who He is and what He is capable of.]

Blessings to you.

murphy toerner

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hide and Seek

I grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. We were the first house on our block, but as time passed, other families came to reside there. As the number of kids grew in size, we played together and hung out together. We built Christmas tree forts, played softball and football, and we also played "hide & seek."

I loved this game. Some of my favorite places to hide were: the acres of woods behind our houses. If we were playing inside "hide & seek," I'd hide in the hall bathroom (in the dirty clothes hamper ... when it was empty of course or under the long built-in vanity). I also hid in my bedroom (behind the door or inside the huge closet).

Both of my sons loved playing hide & seek. When my husband walked down the hallway toward their bedroom, I'd throw a sheet over the boys and pretend I did not know where they were when my husband walked into the room. Of course, Mike would play along and say, "Dorable, have you seen the boys?" At which time, the boys would giggle and scream with glee.

Most people think that the goal of "hide & seek" is to hide so well that you will never be found; but this isn't the case. The real goal of the game is to hide well enough to make the game fun, but not so well that you are never found. The fun really comes in the near misses. It's when you are just about to be found and you dart from your hiding place and make it back to base before the person playing "IT" can catch you.

How do I know this? Because if it takes, what we consider too long to be found, we'll actually start to give our position away. We'll say, "I'm in hhheeeerrrrreeeee!" or "You're getting warmer (or colder)."

No one likes playing a game and never being found. We'll give up and quit the game if it takes an inordinate amount of time for "IT" to find us.

As silly as it sounds, some of us still play "hide & seek" as adults. Instead of hiding from "IT," we hide from God and the people around us. We'll even hide from ourselves. I think we hide from God because we are fearful that He is angry with us, disappointed in us, or that He is going to require something from us that would be painful to fulfill. We hide from others because we are ashamed and feel inferior. We wear "masks" so they can't see who we really are because what if they were to see us and not like us ... so we hide. We hide from ourselves because we don't accept parts of who we are.

You know, we started the whole hiding from God thing in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, they realized they were naked and in their shame, hid from God. Interestingly, we still do the same.

It is sad that we hide from the very Person who loves us so much. God is the only Person who knows us and loves us perfectly. He is the only Person who accepts us and understands us completely. He is the only Person who utterly values us and cherishes us.

Don't let Satan confuse you. God is the safest Person on Earth (and in the Heavens). Don't hide from God. Don't run from God. He is not the bad guy. He is not going to force you to go to some remote place to share the Gospel. If God wants you to do something, He will give you or create within you the desire to do what He is calling you to do. God doesn't use "force." He uses love and kindness; gentleness and compassion.

You don't have to hide from God. You don't have to be afraid of Him. He is the good Shepherd. He is the Perfect Father. He is our loving Bridegroom. He is our divine Power Source.

Don't hide. But if you do, stop and ask why you feel you need to hide. God will show you your misbeliefs.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Being Remembered

 

Photo by M Toerner; June, 2008; Rome, Italy

This is a statue in the Piazza Navona. A piazza is a large open area like an open square. This one had two big fountains. The two figures in the photograph represent two architects. The story goes that two architects were working on the same building. They were jealous and envious of each other and they wanted to discredit one another. 

The figure in the fore-ground, whose head is covered by a cloth, represents the disdain and disgust its creator had for the other artist.  The man's covered head represents the unwillingness of this artist to even gaze upon the other man's "lesser work."  To make the point, this figure's entire head is covered and therefore, blinded.  He can not look at the work of the other artist. 

The figure in the background, with his hand held up as though is he protecting himself, was created by to other architect.  The figure is portraying the idea that the first architect's work is so shabby that the building is about to fall down.  It is conveying the workmanship is not trustworthy and he must protect himself.

Can you believe these guys?  They created and carved two statues which reveal the hardness and petty jealousy of their hearts.  On top of that, they have existed for centuries.  Jealousy and callousness are not sources of productive inspiration. 

How sad!  I wonder how they felt 10 years or 20 years after the completion of these two statues?  I wonder if they ever came to regret their petty, immature judgments?  As it is, the two architects are remembered more for their foolishness than the quality of their work.  They are more remembered for the "in your face" contempt for one another.  What a regrettable lasting legacy.

Do you have any "statues" in your heart which communicate your hardness of heart; your unforgiveness; you envy, distrust, and disrespect?  Do you want to be remembered for these things?

Instead, be remembered for the quality and consistency of your Christ-like character, your: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and your self-control. 

Praying for you today, Murphy

The Illusion of Control

Do you try to control situations and people in your life? Do you try to control your children, boyfriend/girlfriend, or your spouse? Do you use control as a means to gaining a sense of security?

A lot of people go through life trying to control circumstances and people, but the thought of successfully controlling anyone or anything is an illusion. When you really think about it, there is no such thing as control.

Somewhere along the way Christians embraced the idea that if their children looked perfect, acted perfect, and achieved a lot, then the parents proved they were good Christians. (Our children's performances don't prove anything. Anyone can "look good" on the outside, and yet, their hearts are far from God.

How do we control our children? We use threats, manipulation, and other things to get them to do what we want. How do we try to control our spouses? Again, we use threats, rejection, shame, criticism, withdrawal, or contempt. We say all sorts of things. We will even throw out the "D-word" (divorce) every now and then just to scare them into doing what we want.

We often attempt to control our sense of well-being and security by performing perfectly or having a huge groups of tennis buddies and Bible study friends. We think if we have enough money and resources we'll insulate ourselves from hardships and disappointments. If we can be the president of this organization or a leader of that committee, we will gain the status we seek. If we live in the most popular or pricey neighborhood, we believe people will respect us or look up to us.

All of these are aimed at gaining some sort of control over situations or people. Sadly, the idea of successfully controlling anyone or anything is truly an illusion. It can't be done. If you believe you can control people or situations, think again. In fact, you'd better rethink your entire approach to life because all of your effort to control will fail. You will continue to try, however, because you've bought into the illusion of control.

Think about it. Can you really make an 18 year old son or daughter consistently clean their room? Can you make your middle schooler make all A's and B's on their report card? Can you force your spouse to be on time? Can you make a spouse change their value system? Even if you threaten divorce, will that make your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend stop doing a specific annoying behavior? Can you control events? Can you make more good ones happen; and less bad ones? Can you guarantee financial security? Can you be certain that your house will never burn down or you'll never get into another car accident?

We can not control life, circumstances, events, or people. Truthfully, we can barely control ourselves at times. Thinking we can control anything is just an illusion promoted by our enemy.

Interestingly enough, God understands the illusion of control. He never tries to control us. If He wanted to control us, He could. All He'd have to do is turn off the air in the atmosphere for about 30 seconds. That would surely get our attention and our complete, albeit coerced, obedience. But God does not do that. He understands the illusion of control.

Are you currently trying to control someone or something. If so, please stop! It is an exercise in futility. Instead, turn to God; trust in God; rely on Him. Nothing can touch your life that hasn't passed through the loving hands of your Father in heaven.

 

Monday, June 29, 2009

FRIENDS...

Friends are very special people who accept each other with a unconditional caring.

They recognize each other's talents and faults and acknowledge them without judgment.

They are incapable of turning away when times are tough and life's problems seem hard to bear.

Instead, they encourage each other so they can enjoy the good times and find strength to endure the bad times.

They're never afraid to say what they feel and can be honest without causing hurt or pain.

They can depend on each other because they have the kind of trust that allows them to share the best and worst of their lives with laughter and without fear.

May you be this kind of friend...

By Andrea L. Hines - Blue Mountain Arts

Lord, I Surrender

Lord, I surrender all that I am and all that I possess to You today.

I fully understand and am very thankful for all that You have blessed me with. 

I know that with Your blessings comes responsibilities.  

I ask that You forgive me when I look to other people or material items for happiness and fulfillment.

I know You are my source.  I know You are my strength.  I know You are my everything.

You define the quality of my life.

I give my life back to You today, fully surrendered and fully devoted to Your cause.

I love You and thank You for being Lord of my life.

Amen




Differentiation

“Differentiation permits you to maintain your own course when friends and family pressure you to agree and conform. Well-differentiated people can agree without feeling like they’re ‘losing themselves’ and can disagree without feeling alienated and embittered. They can stay connected with people who disagree with them and still ‘know who they are’. They don’t have to leave the situation to hold onto their sense of self.” (p.56)

“Differentiation is the ability to stay in connection without being consumed by the other person. Our urge for togetherness and our capacity to care always drive us to seek connection but true interdependence requires emotionally distinct people.” (p. 57)

“Emotional fusion is the opposite of differentiation.”(p.57)

“Emotional fusion is connection without separation… Emotional fusion is a tenacious emotional link between people that allows anxiety to flow between them. It arises as the consequence of incomplete emotional development, wherein each partner relies on the other to support and supplant is or her functioning. (“Few of us are highly developed when we marry-marriage itself makes us grow up. To the degree that you are not a well-developed human, you will be emotionally fused with the people around you.” p. 295) I’m not referring to some kind of unconscious feeling, but rather a tangible process by which people pass anxiety between them.” (p. 116)

“Lack of differentiation alienates us from those we love. Emotional fusion deceives us into thinking that we’re not connected and we move away in defense. But the deeper truth is that we have to move away to counterbalance the tremendous impact we feel our spouse has on us. Or, unable to turn away, we turn ourselves over to the connection, but it feels engulfing.” (p. 57)

“Differentiation is the ability to maintain your sense of self when your partner is away or when you are not in a primary love relationship.” (p. 67).

“The differentiated self is solid but permeable, allowing you to remain close even when your partner tries to mold or manipulate you.” (p. 67).

“Differentiation doesn’t involve any lack of feelings or emotions. You can connect with your partner without fear of being swept up in his or her emotions. You can evaluate your emotions (and your partner’s) both subjectively and objectively. You have feelings, but they don’t control you or define your sense of self.” (p. 68).

“…we emerge from our family of origin at about the highest level of differentiation our parents achieved. Our basic level of differentiation is pretty much established by adolescence and can remain at that level for life. In the process of regulating their own emotions, poorly differentiated parents pressure their children for togetherness or distance, which stops children from developing their ability to think, feel, and act for themselves. They learn to conduct themselves only in reaction to others.” (p. 69).

“By now the paradoxes of differentiation should be clear: while differentiation allows us to set ourselves apart from others and determines how far apart we sit, it also opens the space for true togetherness. It’s about getting closer and more distinct-rather than more distant. “ (p. 74).

Excerpts compiled by Anne Hays from Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch, Ph.D.