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

Saturday, March 28, 2009

All Things ...

Everything that happens to you is for your own good.  If the waves roll against you, it only speeds your ship toward the port.  If lighting and thunder comes, it clears the atmosphere and promotes your sol's health.   You gain by loss, you grow healthy in sickness, you live by dying, and you are made rich in losses.

Could you ask for a better promise?  It is better that all things should work for my good than all things should be as I would wish to have them.  All things might work for my pleasure and yet might all work my ruin.  Of all things do not always please me, they will always benefit me.

This is the best promise of this life.           -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Do you believe this promise?  
Is the God you worship big enough to cause everything to work together for your good?
Are  you quick to blame God because he did not "perform" for you?
In your current situation, what is God trying to work into your life?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What's Wrong

G.K. Chesterton (1874--1936) was an English journalist, theologian, philosopher, playwright, mystery writer, and  more.  Among his many great works are Saint Francis of Assisi, The Everlasting Man, The Man Who Would be Thursday, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

When the London Times asked a number of writers for essays on the topic "What's Wrong with the World?"  Chesterton sent in the shortest reply and one that was to the point:

   Dear Sirs:
   I am.

   Sincerely yours,
   G.K. Chesterton

What is wrong with our world today?  

We are and unless we learn to love others and care about others the way Jesus did, there is little hope that the world will get better on its own.  Let us all work toward creating a better world.  


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Scenery People

How do we survive family dysfunction?  We learn to: fly under the radar, be seen and not heard, pursue perfection, obey promptly, play quietly, deny feelings, suppress thoughts, keep secrets, and tell adults what they want to hear.  

In severely dysfunctional homes, we learn that dissociation, not dogs, is our best friend (even though it costs us huge portions of our memory).  In order to survive, we learn to "X" ourselves out as people.  Our joy, spontaneity, hope, and child-likeness is quashed and we intuitively know it is not safe to ask for what we want or need.  When carried to an extreme, these defense mechanisms unequivocally change us from "real" people to "scenery" people.  

What's so bad about "scenery" people?  I'll tell you.  "Scenery" people easily and effortlessly replicate and re-create themselves.  In no time at all, one "scenery" person rubs off onto scores of others transforming them into dull, lifeless, disingenuous, inauthentic, uncaring, unloving droids, i.e. "scenery" people.

God never designed human beings to be pieces of scenery.  We are created to be image bearers. We are made from muscle, bone, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and more. We have hearts and minds; personalities and temperaments. According to our original design, we are supposed to be open, honest, real, and transparent.  We have eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear.   Our hands and arms can touch, hold, and comfort.  God gives us the ability and desire to love others and help others.  We portray Him well when we fulfill His design.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Wide Open Spaces of God

Photos by M. Toerner; 3/2009; Chapel Women's Retreat 

If you have not yet read The Wide Open Spaces of God by Beth Booram, you need to.  This is a poignant book about the various stages of life through which we navigate.   

Some stages will be familiar to you:  the valley of darkness, the valley of light; the valley of transition, the valley of the shadow of death; the valley of discouragement, the plateau of praise and worship; the valley of green pastures and quiet waters.  

Do you know these places?  Some of you know a few; others know them all.  

Being in a specific "landscape" is not bad; it just is.  If you are struggling with depression, it is not because one morning you woke up and said, "I know what.  I want to get severely depressed today.  I want the depression to overwhelm me so I can know the faithfulness of Jesus."  Most assuredly you did not do such a thing.   If you are in the valley of the shadow of death, you probably did not see it coming.  However, once you entered that place, your only way out was through the faithful guidance of the Lord Jesus.  

If you are currently in a green pasture, if you are experiencing the Father's peace, then you are truly blessed.   God gives heavenly peace to His children.  May His peace bring rest and hope to your weary soul.  May His peace linger heavily upon you.  May His grace, mercy, hope, and forgiveness enable you to rise above the fray.   



Monday, March 16, 2009

The Prayer of St. Patrick

Christ be with me, Christ within me.
Christ behind me, Christ before me.
Christ beside me, Christ to win me.
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me.
Christ in quiet and in danger.
Christ in hearts of all that love me.
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How Open Is Your Spirit?

Photos by M Toerner; July, 2008
When children are young, you can look at their faces and into their eyes and see that the spirit within them is WIDE open.

Children laugh and play easily; emerse themselves in the moment; express their feelings readily.

An open spirit allows a child to live with little or no shame or guilt. They don't know about how the world works. All they know is they are well loved and cared for.
Jesus tells us that unless we become like little children, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Mmmmmmm.
Consider for a moment, how open is your spirit ... right now ... this moment?
If it is open, that is wonderful!!!!
If it isn't, why isn't it?

Ask the Lord for insight or confirmation ... or ask Him for healing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Les Miserables

The Chapel on the Campus Youth Choir
Les Miserables
Please check out the information at the churches website.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Five P's of Prayer

Last year, I attended my first silent retreat. My spiritual director was a wonderful Christian sister named Bonnie Chase (from Slidell, Louisiana.) She taught me was the following ...

The 5 - P's of Prayer and Journaling

1. Passage of Scripture

Go to a particular scripture ... about 5 to 10 verses in length. Read over the passage before your prayer time; choose a favorite (or prescribed) passage or a Psalm, one that fits your mood or present situation.

2. Place ...

Go to a private place or spot where you can be alone with God. A place where you will be undisturbed and uninhibited.

3. Posture ...

Body posture is very important. At the beginning take time to settle yourself. Peacefully take the position that helps you feel most responsive to God's presence (i.e., sit, kneel, experiment with lying face down on the ground, etc.)

4. Presence of God ...

Respond to God's presence, peacefully reminding yourself how present He is with you during your time. Pray something like, "You love feeling into me;" "You love sight into me;" "You love life into me;" "You, God, indwell me;" and/or "Thank you for living in me, for loving goodness and faith INTO me."

This takes time. Never rush it, even if it takes the whole period.

5. Passage from Scripture ...

There may be no time left to read the Scripture passage. That is OK. However, there may be enough time left to read the passage. For instance, if after a brief response to God's presence, you feel finished or even empty, God may be inviting you to listen to Him as He speaks to you through the Scriptures. Turn to the passage you selected and very slowly read the passage out loud.

A. If it is an action story, watch the activity. Allow yourself to join in the activity, to listen to the words, to catch the expressions on the faces of the people involved and the feelings they feel. Allow yourself to ask the characters in the passage some questions. Also, you can ask your own questions and you can speak out about the passage from your heart.

B. If it is a teaching passage, listen to the words spoken as though they were spoken direction to you. In a very real sense, they were spoken to you.

Avoid: Don't spend time searching for profound meanings or novel resolutions. This is not the time for that. Just simply spend time watching and speaking to the LORD and to the other characters included in the passage.

When your time is up, thank God for speaking to you. Carry your visit with the LORD into the rest of the day.

Journaling ...

Writing down your experience can help you to discern the movement of the LORD's Spirit in your life. The time you spend in prayer and journaling will vary, depending on your choice of passage and your ability to take it all in.

Consider doing this exercise for any where from fifteen minutes to an hour a day (if possible.) It can revolutionize your intimacy with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


(Video by M Toerner; 2/2009)

Watch the video:

What do you see? What do you hear?

What is present? What is missing?

What is powerful? What is weak?

With what do you identify? ... the drift wood, the sense of peace, the surf, the sun?

Are you drawn to God? Do you feel indifferent? Is anything repelling?

Reflect for a moment; slow down and think; what is God showing you?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Special Places

(Photo by MToerner; 2/2009)

Recently I had the privilege of going to the beach. I needed some time away from work and responsibility; from phone calls and the demands of normal life.
During the winter, the beach is very quiet. A few "snow-birds" rent condos there in order to escape the brutal cold, ice, and snow of the north. There are a few folks visiting from surrounding states who are there for very short vacations. But for the most part, it is slower, calmer, and more restful than during the summer time. It is beautiful, peaceful, and intimate. The beach feels like a "holy" place especially during the winter.

Beach time allows times to reflect, to rest, and to restore our souls. If you have the luxury of being there with a spouse or a friend, it is a perfect place to connect on deeper levels. Talking late into the night, walking on the beach looking for special shells and avoiding bright blue jelly-fish are opportune times to connect, converse, and engage. Watching movies that bring tears to your eyes and then discussing the meaning you gleened are fun and intimate. Sharing deep thoughts produces a sense of being known and loved; a sense of connection and trust.
I think God created special places like the beach to give us unique opportunities to see His nature expressed in creation. The beach is a place where the natural tempo of life is retarded and slowed; it is so different from real-life time. The sunsets are breath-taking; the sun-rises are too. The entire package produces a deep sense of awe.

I so loved my time away. And yet, let me ask you what does God use in your life to slow you down and help you rest? Where do you go to be quiet and thoughtful. Where do you slip away to regain your balance and your peace?
I hope you have such a place. It is the key to being and staying healthy -- mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you were to look at your life right now, would you see the need to find a place to get away? If you do, please do something about it. Please care for yourself.