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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Caring For Others

Yesterday was a 12 hour day for me. It was non-stop; yet, fulfilling. I saw growth taking place in the lives of my clients and supervisees and myself as well.

Yesterday afternoon, out of the blue, I received a text message that said, "Hey buddy, hang in there. U R almost on the last leg of UR marathon. Praying 4 U!!!! Love, U ... (the person's name.) I have to admit when I read the message, I broke into a huge smile. I smiled because I felt the fullness of care, concern, encouragement, and love sent by a friend through a text message. It was awesome. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Caring for others doesn't have to take an excessive amount of time or money. It can be expressed in the few seconds/minutes it takes to write a text message or a quick phone call. Caring doesn't have to be draining or taxing. Just letting a person know you are thinking of him or her makes a huge difference. Who doesn't want to feel loved or cared about? We all want to be thought of and loved. God made us this way.

That is why it is important to remember to reach out to people. Give them kind encouragement. Remind them of the truth about God, this world, other people and them as individuals:
* God is ... good, always good, and can never be anything but good. He can't be put in a box and He is not predictable. He is as wild as a lion, but always good. He is love. He is the perfect Father (who nurtures like a mother.) He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He wishes that none should perish, but all have eternal life. He ears the cries of His people. An abundant life is attained through a relationship with Him.

* This world ... contains good and bad; godly and evil; reverence and contempt. It has natural rhythms; and unexpected chaos. It is difficult and yet, interesting; it is rewarding and yet, discouraging. It is full of troubles and woes. It seduces us into believing that it is heavenly, yet truthfully, it is hell on earth. It is a fallen world. It can never satisfy our longings. It is not God's best for us; the best is yet to come for those who place their trust in Jesus Christ.

* Other people ... are often the sources of our greatest hurts and deepest disappointments. In turn, people are the recipients of our best behavior and our worst revenge. Sometimes, God uses specific people as instruments of divine healing. As we engage with other people, we see the Christian life modeled; we see what it can look like. Some people are bent on doing great harm against their fellowman. Others are committed to loving others so well that emotional healing emerges. These brothers and sisters in Christ are unexpected sources of comfort, kindness, and hope.

* Ourselves ... We are capable of loving well and hurting deeply. We sometimes connect with others; sometimes we cut and run. We long to be known and loved, yet, we masterfully hide from ourselves and others on an as need basis. We are inclined to live life in extremes: I'm really great or I'm awful. In truth, no one is better than another. We all fall short of the glory of God. We applaud others one minute and curse them the next. We extend helping hands and we slap people in the face. We are loved by God with an incomprehensible love. He cherishes us. It is difficult for us to wrap our minds around God's son dying in our place for our sins. Our personal wellness is correlated to our maturity in Christ.

Ponder these thoughts.

Is there someone you need to call or text right now?
Is there someone you need to thank or express gratitude?
Is there someone you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness?

Ask God to show you who you are to care for right now, this moment. If He shows you, don't think about reaching out ... pull a "Nike" and "just do it."

much love, Murphy

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hope

I was talking to a friend tonight on the phone. We were commiserating about some current difficulties and obstacles each of us are facing with kids, work, ministry, marriage, decisions, and such. Some of our concerns are comparatively minor; others become weightier with each passing day. Although the backdrop of our conversation was serious, laughter was lavishly sprinkled through out.

How could that be? Our laughter was rooted and grounded in our knowledge that as children (in fact, daughters) of a King, we are NOT TO LIVE AS THOSE WHO HAVE NO HOPE.

Our hope is not based on present circumstances or eleventh hour rescues; nor is our hope based on human intelligence or physical prowess. Our hope is firmly based on the consistent character, the kind intentions, the tender mercies and graces, and the supernatural love of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Our hope is generated through trust; through faith. To the degree that we embrace the truth that Jesus is sovereign over every event, every problem, every worry, and every outcome; to that same degree ... hope is generated.

When Jesus rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit brought that which was dead back to life. This indelibly demonstrated that when a situation seems the darkest, there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and the darkest hour is just before dawn. Believing God is able to raise us from the "dead," creates a resiliency the world can not understand, manufacture, or imitate. Supernatural resiliency founded on the love and goodness of God; always yields supernatural hope.

Are you in a situation that feels hopeless?
Does it seem as though there is no way out; no way to resolve your dilemma?
Don't forget to draw hope from the God who loves you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Developmental Stages

Usually, when we think about "developmental stages," we have our children in mind. The truth is, however, when our kids go through their developmental stages, we as parents navigate through developmental stages too.   

When children are small, parents are thrilled to watch them go through the appropriate developmental stages.  You remember:  turning over, holding up their head, laughing, rocking, pulling up, crawling, one-word sentences, multiple word sentences.  It is all just one big celebration after another.  Most parents have Hallmark calendars (complete with stickers) to record each event so they can remember what happened and where it happened.  It was thrilling.  

In the beginning, it is as though the parents are cheering and rooting for their child to successful complete each expected marker of development.  When the child is delayed, we fret and worry that something might be wrong.  When they breeze through the various stages, we think our child is off-the-chart in intelligence and we are sure they will go to some prestigious university.  

At some point, especially around the teenage years, our children start pulling at us because they are chomping at the bit to do all the things that they see as markers of adolescence.  They can't wait to:  spend the night over at a friends, go to dances, drive the family car, get a car of their own, go away to college, get a job, live in the dorm, and many more.  During this time period, the parents are almost universally putting on the brakes because the stages are flying by and we feel out of control.  Parents don't think these stages are nearly as much fun as the kids do.  The parents would much rather prefer for things to go back to the way things were when their child was in elementary school.  

When our children "launch" from home, meaning:  when they graduate from college or trade school; get a job; move out of the house; live independently and make their own choices, parents pretty much begin to freak out.  The maturing process of the kids is going so fast that the parents feel uncomfortable with the rapid pace.  Parents are scared to death because they just don't have the control they once did.  

Truthfully, it is a good and right thing for our children to grow up.  The goal of parenting is to launch our children successfully.  Even though we struggle with the new-found independence of our children, we need to try to go along with as much as we can.  We need to allow them the room to grow up and the opportunity to fail.  That's how our children will grow the most:  taking things one step at a time and calling on the wisdom of God (and our wisdom if they seek it) in order to make wise, appropriate decisions.  

Are you having trouble letting your adult children go?
Do you still seek to control and yet you call it influence?
What do you think that is really about?
Could it be that we are so afraid that God won't come through for them that we feel as though we need to take care of the matter ourselves?

Ask the Father how well you are doing in allowing your adult children to grow up?  See what He says and then be prepared to make some adjustments if necessary.  God is a much better parent than we could ever hope to be.  Allow Him to have enough space in the lives of your children.  To do this, you might have to actually get out of the way.  

Think about it ...   

 




Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday

(M. Toerner, 2004, Episcopal Church)
Today is Maundy Thursday. Tonight there will be scores of churches all over the country commemorating the Last Supper. I wonder what the Lord thought about as he approached the upper room. I wonder what he felt when Peter proclaimed his loyalty. I wonder what he experienced when Judas dipped the bread into the wine and subsequently betrayed Jesus in the garden with a kiss.
The only way to survive it all was to maintain a close, personal intimacy with His Father in heaven. Jesus was intentional about staying close to His Father. Often, He would depart from big groups and settle in a deserted place to pray ... to commune ... to meditate and to hear God.
Their connection, their relationship empowered Jesus to endure great hardship just like a righteous oak planted by a stream of water is empowered and strengthen to withstand powerful wind, destructive hail, and drought.
With each of these questions, literally try to "picture" Jesus' face, heart, mind, and eyes as He is experiencing each of these situations. Put yourself in close proximity to the Lord so that you can get a good, sound imaginary look.
Then, answer the following questions:
What do you think Jesus was feeling in the upper room?
What did He feel and think when Peter pledged his loyalty?
What did He experience knowing His betrayal was imminent?
How did it feel to be kissed by a close friend and companion while in the act of betraying you?
During this Easter weekend, take the time to meditate on the fact that Jesus was a real man, who endured real suffering, and died a real death and burial.
BTW, He experienced a real resurrection too. Can you imagine what that must have been like?
WOW!
Blessings, murphy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Successful Parenting

Christian parents have two goals.  They want their kids to: act right and be right.  Christians tend to believe that if their kids are good (or perfect), the parents feel as though they successfully accomplished their job.  If their kids turn our right, it proves Christianity pays off.

It doesn't take long for these parents to come to their senses and realize this approach to parenting is hog-wash.  A better approach emerges as parents purposefully and intentionally connecting to their children.  Having a solid emotional connection with children enhances their influence on their children.  Emotionally connecting to their children does not assure success, but it is usually helpful.  Christian parents would do well to relax a bit and realize there is only one Perfect parent. He presents an excellent model for healthy parenting. 

Being a Christian does not insure parental success. It does, however, strengthen the odds for a positive outcome, but there's no guarantee. The ultimate goal of parenting is successfully launching children into the world of work.  Parents also hope their children will choose to live for God and be a productive member of society.

Sometimes parents lose sight of the original goals and get side-tracked.  They narrow their focus.  When this happens, they are more concerned about their children looking right and acting right than they are about being right or having a right heart.  

If you ever see that you are going down the performance road, stop dead in your tracks.  Don't go one step further.  No positive consequence with come from requiring perfection from our children.  It will only beget rebellion.  Be wise.  Love your children well.  Lead them toward Jesus and equip them for being on their own when they launch from your home.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You are Not Alone ...

(M. Toerner; Beach Club; February, 2008)


One of the kindest things one Christian can do for those around him or her is to be authentic. Authenticity is the foundation of truth and truth consistently brings freedom.


One of the oldest tricks Satan uses is to influence people to believe they are the only ones who struggle with _____, referring to a specific issue or sin. The classic metaphor that describes this is the lone sheep being separated from the other ninety-nine. When one sheep (or person) is singled out, they are singularly more vulnerable. They are easier prey for predators. Thankfully our good Shepherd will search until He finds us.


Authenticity, sincerity, and truth show others how similar we all are. Every one struggles with jealousy. It is the context of jealousy that differs. Every one struggles with lust or the temptation to lie. Every one is tempted to steal, cheat on taxes, or exceed the speed limit on the interstate. Truly, all of us are tempted to commit the same sins. The Bible verifies this, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

Knowing that all of us miss the mark of perfection (sin), asserts that we are not alone. We have many traveling companions and we all are tempted by the same enemy. I Corinthians 10:13 substantiates this, "No temptation has overtaken you, but such is as common to man, but God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation, He will provide a way of escape so that you will be able to endure it (bear up underneath it.)"


Authenticity forces us to reveal our real-self as opposed to our public-self. Authenticity makes us take our "Stepford Christian" masks off and get real about what is going on in our lives, whether it is good or bad. Freely talking about real life struggles reveals the truth that we all struggle with the same kinds of issues. We all commit the same kinds of sin. As we come clean, we show the world we are in this together. We are making the journey through life with true companions.


So, when Satan tells you the lie, "You are the only one who struggles with ____! No one else struggles as you do. No one will understand. If anyone really knew all of these secret things about you, they would not like you at all. They would know that you are worthless and shameful," don't believe a word he says. He is a consummate liar, thief, deceiver, and seducer. He wants to keep you down and despondent. God wants you to know you are not alone.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Perspective

(Photo by M. Toerner; March/2009)
                                                                                                                                Is this a sunrise or a sunset?  Your answer will depend on your perspective.  Looking at the picture, can you be 100% sure it's the early morning light of a new day?  Are you confident it's the sun peaking its yellow head above the horizon?  Or, could it be capturing the day's final, fleeting moments?  Your answer will be based on your perspective.  

Perspective is the view we take of something or someone.  It is how we "see" a person, thing, or situation.  Perspective is individual specific.  It's the proverbial, "You see the glass as half-full or half-empty."  Often siblings have different memories and interpretations of their family of origin because their perspectives differ.

Having a personal relationship with God changes a person's eternal destination.  It also changes their earthly perspective.  God sees and perceives perfectly.  To Him, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day.  He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He understands what we do and why we do it.  Because of His perfect maturity and perfect wisdom, He perceives properly and accurately.  

As one is conformed to His image, he/she adopts this eternal perspective.  It is as though they are able to see earthly things from a heavenly vantage point.  It is the heavenly vantage point that enables one to stay calm during a storm, to not react to a child's tantrums, to not own what they are not responsible for.  

Always ask yourself how God might look at a situation, a person, or whatever.  Search for this divine perspective.  It is always there.  Remember the more you practice seeing as God sees, the easier it gets.  (BTW, the above picture is of a sunset.  Just in case you were interested.)

Blessings,
Murphy




Sunday, April 5, 2009

Appreciate the Little Things

(Photo by M. Toerner; November, 2008)

One morning the Lord woke me up about 4:30 a.m. Usually when He does that, it is because He wants me to pray for someone or something.  I never know 100% what He is up to, but it is always interesting. 

On this particular morning, the Lord impressed me to get my camera and walk out onto our covered patio.  I gladly did as I was "told."  In those initial moments, all seemed forever dark and still. In those dark moments, I witnessed the colors and light of the pre-dawn sky subtly, yet assuredly, transform into a new day.  It was amazing to behold; pure beauty.   

Through the entire experience, I sensed the Lord whispering, "Good morning, sweetheart."  It was as though He and I watched the initial hints of color press through the darkness.  The sky was a mixture of maroon and black.  It continued to morph into lighter and darker shades of pink and lavender.  The limbs of the trees effortlessly reached toward the heavens like hands greeting the day with welcoming arms.  The trees, the birds, the grass, and my own soul were mesmerized as we patiently awaited the transformation.  We were not disappointed.

Watching the morning unfold created a deep sense of wonder.  As the light slowly, softly changed, my heart, mind, strength, and soul felt the full impact of God's goodness and creativity.  It was simply amazing.  How precious it was of the Father to awaken me and invite me to join Him for the birth of a new day.  


What are some ways the Father manifests Himself to you?
Do you see Him in the little things in your life? 
Do you give Him credit for the beauty that surrounds you?  
What are you most grateful for?  

Don't forget that He is the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end; the first and the last.  Let's appreciate Him in all things, even in the little things of life.  

Love, murphy  




Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The First Step Toward Healing

Photo by M. Toerner; December, 2007

The general definition of "trauma" is anything that leaves a lasting negative impact on one's life. According to this broad definition, all of us have experienced one or more traumatic events during our lifetime.  

There are several categories of traumas. Physical traumas include things like:  car accidents, sports injuries, excessive discipline, mistreatment by a bully, military action, domestic violence and more.
  
Emotional or psychological traumas include: abandonment, rejection, betrayal, teasing, sarcasm, poverty, neglect, unemployment, and others.  Abuse of any kind, whether physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual, would be considered sources of trauma.

When you think about it, most traumatic events touch our lives because of the poor choices and/or mean-spirited actions of people.  If a person drinks too much and causes a car accident, their choice to drink and drive caused a trauma.  If a parent is immature and ill equipped and chooses to beat a small child because the child is crying, that child experiences a trauma.  If a young girl is sexually abused by her father, mother, or brother, she is traumatized by their choices to sin.  

Most often, we experience trauma at the hands of other people.  Isn't that why we self-protect and withdraw?  Isn't that why we shy away from vulnerability in relationships and refuse to cry or be emotional in front of others because we might appear weak? Our greatest injuries happen because of the willfulness of those around us.  

Yet, we learn about healing and wholeness through the healthy relationships in our lives.  Although some people may believe it is possible to become healthy and whole without a relationship with God, I know from personal experience that God is the greatest and most profound source of healing, health, and wholeness.  Our relationship with God is founded on His love for us.  It is a settling thing to know you are totally and completely loved and accepted by God.  He knows everything you've done, are doing, and will do. He knows every sin and yet chooses to not hold the past against us.  His wrath has been appeased by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus.  He knows our thoughts and choices. His sense of and demand for justice is satisfied because Jesus paid for the sins of the world via His sacrificial death on the cross.  

Have you experienced one or more traumas in your life?  If you want to be healed, the first step is to establish a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  This is the first and foremost initial step toward healing because God becomes the most powerful, stable, unchanging source of strength, acceptance, love, and stability in your life.  Do you have that kind of relationship with Him?