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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't Quit Too Soon

We are a generation of gratification seekers and fulfill my expectations demanders. What a sad commentary. When our food arrives in 4 minutes instead of 2, we notoriously act out our contempt. How many of us regularly treat others with long-suffering and patience?
We demand dignified treatment from others, but whenever they fail, which undoubtedly they will, we respond with disgruntled disapproval. Every day, we go through our day with a very distinct "back-drop." We want what we want, when we want, and with whom we want; and it should have been delivered yesterday. Much like an undisciplined toddler, we want things NOW.
Being demanding and impatient with those around us leads more to covenant-breaking rather than covenant-keeping. We repel one another because of our immaturity, selfishness, and self-centeredness. We don't consider the fact that it truly takes a life-time for God to heal us from our hurts and conform us into the image of Christ.
Yes, it takes a long, long, ... long, long, ... long, long, long, time for us to grow up. Truly, it takes a life-time.
There are times in our lives when we are given permission from God to "self-protect" in our most intimate relationships. That might require that we cut down the time we spend with some people. We might have to set some clearly stated boundaries in order to regain some deserved respect. It is, however, not uncommon for God to direct us to "get back in there" with someone who has been very tough to love.
Humans tend to want to just cut people off at the knees and run away from difficult relationships. How often do we start fresh with people who hurt us. (Now, I'm not saying that if your spouse is beating you up you are supposed to stay in that relationship even if it costs you your life. That would be imprudent.) God will give us His direction as His eternal framework plays itself out.
No matter what happens in your relationships, don't ever give up hope that God is able to change a person's heart. Sometimes a person has to get old and weak for their bitterness, control, and meanness to lose their potency.
Always ask God what He wants you to do. He will direct your path.
Love to you all, Murphy

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another World - C.S. Lewis

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." -- CS Lewis

Thursday, February 19, 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 distain and hatred of its creator for the other man. He did not want to gaze upon the other man's lesser work. To make his point, he created this figure whose entire head is blinded and covered.
The figure in the background, with his hand held up as though is he protecting himself, was created by the other architect. It represents the idea that the other builder was not trust-worthy. His posture is suggesting that the part of the building created by his rival is about to fall on him.
Can you believe that these guys? They created and carved these two statues which have revealed the hardness of their hearts toward one another for centuries. Jealousy and callousness are not productive sources of inspiration. How sad! These two artists are not remembered for the architecture of the building in the background; they are remembered for the "in your face" commentaries made by these two figures. It is regrettable that hard-hearts and hatred are their lasting legacy.
Do you have any "statues" in your heart which communicate your hardness of heart; your unforgiveness; your envy, distrust, and lack of respect for another? Don't be remembered for this type of attitude.
Instead, be remembered for the quality and consistency of your: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. What do you think you will be most remembered for? Praying for you, Murphy

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Should Ain't Good

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to a Mothers of Preschoolers group. It was great fun to see the young moms bonding with one another and seeking guidance from one another. There were some moms who had older children there as well; they were like motherly mentors. The members of the group had submitted several questions to be discussed during our time together.

One of the questions started off with, "Should I ... ?" When I, as a counselor/therapist, hear the word "should," I am quick to point out that the word "should" is a very bad word. No, it is not a cuss word, but it is a destructive word. When I "should" myself, I am creating a no-win situation.

Let me explain...

Let's say a dear friend is in the hospital. I have had a long, hard day. It is 7:30 p.m. and I am finished seeing clients. I might tell myself, "You know, you really should go and see your friend. If you are any kind of friend at all, you should make the effort to visit. If you don't go, you are just being selfish and self-centered." By using the word, should, I have created a no-win situation. If I go home after telling myself that I should go visit my friend, I will consider myself a terrible person and friend. However, if I know that I am exhausted and tired and missing my family, but should myself into going to the hospital in order to prove that I am a good friend, I am still in a no-win situation. What if God had wanted me to go home because I was emotionally exhausted? What if He did not want me to visit my friend? Or what if I went home, but God wanted me to go to see my friend in the hospital.

Should is an iron-clad word. It connotes a value judgment. If I should do something, but I don't do it, I'm a terrible person. If I should not do something, but I do it anyway, I am also a terrible loser of a person. How can I win? I can't because I have "shoulded" myself.

In stead of using the word should, wouldn't it be better to simply ask God what He wants you to do? He might want you to visit your friend. He might want you to go home and rest. But, you won't know until you ask Him.

In stead of "shoulding," you might approach the situation by saying, "It would be good to see my friend in the hospital, but if I'm too tired, God might want me to go on home. Lord, what would you have me do?"

Do you use the words: should, ought, must, or have to -- very much? If so, try to eliminate them from your vocabulary. Simply ask God in every situation what is the better thing for you to do, rather than assuming you "should" do this or that. He might surprise you with His answer. I can tell you this, you will be much freer and happier if you will simply choose to please the Father rather than satisfying your self-imposed"shoulds."

Much love, Murphy

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dear Senator Landrieu,

I hope you will consider voting against the upcoming stimulus package. There are too many things that are wrong with the bill as it is written. Some are reporting that the "stimulus" package will dole out billions of dollars and perhaps up to one trillion dollars. In times of economic crisis, we don't need knee-jerk reactions where we literally throw good money after bad. We need leaders who will actually think and layout very precise ways that government money will be allocated. Usually when people do things "fast" there are a multitude of mistakes made in the name of urgency.

If the US government proceeds with the current bill, our currency will almost inevitably become grossly inflated rendering it practically worthless.

Here are a few examples of the wasteful spending in the current Senate stimulus package:

• $20 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove small and mid-sized fish barriers
• $1 billion for the 2010 census
• $600 million for the federal government to purchase energy efficient vehicles
• $500 million for NASA climate change studies
• $850 million to bail out Amtrak
• $100 million for the Department of Defense to purchase hybrid vehicles
• $2.25 billion for groups engaged in neighborhood stabilization programs, such as ACORN and other entities

I am really appealing to your sense of good judgment about appropriating so much money without the proper stipulations and oversight. It has been reported that some of the spending package that was passed during the 2008 campaign was used for renovating some one's office at a cost of $900,000 complete with a $30,000 dollar toilet.

How can we ever possibly balance the US budget if such a stimulus package is passed into law? In my opinion, this is tantamount to fiscal irresponsibility.

I would hope that you and Sen. David Vitter could attempt to revise/rewrite the proposal and make it more geared to the creation of jobs for the multitudes of Americans who are struggling. At the present time, the items being funded in the current stimulus plan do not guarantee the creation of jobs.

I think that overall you have done an outstanding job for Louisiana. I know you care deeply about our state and its future. I believe you care just as much about our country and the welfare of all citizens. Please vote against the current bill as it is written. It is literally painful to know / think that our federal officials are approaching these desperate times in this manner. I did not read this quote personally in the paper, but it has been said that House Speaker Nancy Pelowsi did not care what the money was going to. She just wanted the bill passed. If this comment is true ... it is an outrageous statement.

Please consider writing a bill that is well thought out, organized, and intentional concerning the recipients of the funds. Alternatively, you could implement major tax credits which would immediately put money into the hands of tax payers. It is ludicrous to give a tax refund or tax credit to people who do not actually pay income taxes. Isn't this comparable to a socialist society? I can't comprehend such a thing in a democratic; free enterprise society.

I have written recently and I am not trying to bother you or bombard you. I am simply asking that you give weight to the idea that current plan is not worthy of your support. If you disagree, please respond to my email(s) and let me know what your thinking is about the current bill. And again, I am a registered Louisiana Democrat since 1970.

With best personal regards and respect,
Murphy Toerner
Baton Rouge, LA

A Believer's Job Description - "Being About God's Work" Luke 4:18, 19

"Good news to the poor"
"Healing for the broken-hearted"
"Freedom for prisoners"
"Recovery to the blind"
"Liberty to the oppressed"
(By Byron Kehler - Trauma Specialist)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Psalm 13 ...

A Psalm of David

1. How long, O LORD? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?

2. How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3. Consider and answer me, O LORD, my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

4. Lest my enemy say, "I have overcome him," Lest my adversaries rejoice when I am shaken.

5. But I have trusted in Thy loving kindness; My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.

6. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Can you identify with the sentiments expressed in beginning of this Psalm? Have you prayed, "How long, O LORD? How long? Have you forgotten me? Are you hiding your face from me? My feelings of sorrow overwhelm me. It seems as though you don't care that my enemies are exalted above me. Don't you care that they are trying to overcome me."

Most of us have felt this way. During such times, we've felt discouraged; we've felt that God is very distant. We don't understand our circumstances. We don't understand what's happening to us and our loved ones. We can't understand God's inactivity."

David, based on this Psalm, seems like an every day Christian. Yet, at the end of the passage, he is able to trust in God's loving kindness. His heart is still able to rejoice because of the salvation of the LORD.

Many Christians can identify with the sentiments expressed at the beginning of the Psalm. However, we don't always resolve these feelings. We don't always process everything and come out on the other side. We don't choose to trust in God's loving kindness; nor do we value our salvation in spite of our troubles, losses, and disappointments. We camp out in the "I'm really mad at God stage."

Why do we do that? Why do we get stuck?

Are you more like David or the "stuck" Christians?

Spend some time praying; ask the Lord to help you know Him so well that you can cling to His goodness, loving kindness, and the gift of salvation in spite of your circumstances.

By doing this, I think God will help you handle the ever-present problems of life on earth in a more effective way.

Bless you all, murphy

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Care ...

The word care finds its roots in the Gothic "Kara" which means lament.
The most basic meaning of caring is to grieve,
to experience sorrow, to cry out with.
This is striking in that we tend to think of caring as an attitude
of the strong toward the weak.
Yet it is more properly understood as an invitation
to enter into the pain of another and simply to be present.
by Byron Kehler; Trauma Counselor
Portland, OR