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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cal and Sara Toerner have trained "Mike, the cat" well.
Geaux Tigers!!!!!!!!!!

2012 - Don't Fret

No matter how dark life seems,
God will illuminate your path!!!!
(Photo and Quote - Murphy Toerner)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Psalm 4:1

Psalm 4:1 - Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

How often do you pick up your cell phone to call or text someone because something happened and you want to share your life with them. Why do we reach out like that, it's because we're "hard-wired" by God to connect with others.

David didn't need a cell phone to "call" God; he prayed. David KNOWS God pretty well. God is the source of all goodness and righteousness within him. Without God, David is helplessly flawed. David is a human being; God is perfectly divine. God consistently "answers" David when he "calls."

When God answers his "call," David experiences relief from his distress.

Today, when you find yourself wanting to call a friend to find relief from your distress, try calling, i.e., praying to God. Tell Him the details of your situation. Describe what your feelings are in this distressing moment. Pour your heart out to the One who always answers. You will find relief for your weary soul just as David did.

Reasons to Read the Psalms

When you want ... Read

To find comfort Psalm 23
To meet God intimately Psalm 103
To learn a new prayer Psalm 136
To learn a new song Psalm 92
To learn more about God Psalm 24
To understand yourself more clearly Psalm 8
To know how to come to God each day Psalm 5
To be forgiven for your sins Psalm 51
To feel worthwhile Psalm 139
To understand why you need the Bible Psalm 119
To give praise to God Psalm 145
To know that God is in control Psalm 146
To give thanks to God Psalm 136
To please God Psalm 15
To know why you should worship God Psalm 104

God's Word was written to be studied, understood, and applied, and the book of Psalms lends itself most directly to application. (Life Application Study Bible, p.895)

"Reading the Psalms will change you from the inside out." - Murphy Toerner

Friday, November 25, 2011

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.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Psalm 3:3

November 18, 2011

Psalm 3 – vv. 3 (a Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son)

v. 3. But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.

David addresses God as, “LORD.” David is acknowledging that Jehovah is the supreme authority in his life. He is LORD. God is the ultimate authority and the totally sovereign God of heaven and earth. When God commands and instructs, David’s job is to be obedient to his LORD.

David knows Jehovah as a perfect “shield about me,” meaning God totally protects David and nothing can touch David without passing through the hands of a loving, perfect, divine Father. David understands that all good comes from above from God and yet, in God’s permissive will, He will allow Satan to come against us in the form of troubles, trials, temptations, deceptions, seductions, and human enemies and adversaries. Yet, we must remember that Satan is always the real enemy.

David knows the GLORY of God, meaning God is worthy of all praise, honor, and distinction from His children and followers. David is also asserting that God, the LORD, is the sole source of David’s honor, fame, and admiration. David is great because the LORD has made him great. David’s character qualities and honorable choices are present because the Spirit of God is his consistent counselor and guide and when David listens to God, the LORD, life is better.

Lastly, David proclaims God, the LORD to be the lifter of his head. This means David has experienced the gentle care, nurture, love and healing of God as a healer or even a parent. Parents who love their children are kind and gentle when their children are struggling with a problem, crisis, or illness. When people adore us they will lovingly “lift our heads” and tend to us.

Question: Do you see something new about God in this verse? Hang on to it throughout the day and meditate on the new insight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Psalm 1

Psalm 1:1-3

1. How blessed is the man who does not walk in (practice) the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and His law he meditates day and night.

3. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prosper’s.

Psalm 1 instructs us to be firmly planted in God and the inference is to be grounded and rooted in His ways, His word, His law, and His essence.

What does this “look like”? To me it means that God is the first Person I think of when I wake up and the last Person to whom I say good night. He is ever present in my life. He directs my path. He encourages. He loves me completely just as He does all His children. I praise Him for the great things in my life; I praise Him for the hurdles. I am confident that He is with me always and He faithfully hears my cries. These are the things that make me “prosper.” It is my relationship with Him that gives me an abundant life no matter what my current circumstances are.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Are You In Debt?

Last Updated: 11/05/2011 13:10 PST

The 5 Dumbest Things You Can Do if You Have too Much Debt

The 5 Dumbest Things You Can Do if You Have too Much Debt

If you’re struggling with too much debt, you’re not alone. It seems as if the whole nation has a borrowing hangover. For years, credit was easy and many people became overextended. But, we now live in an era of austerity and it’s time to get our affairs in order.

The five strategies you may want to avoid:

The first piece of advice from experts in the field is to be sure you don't make your situation worse by making common mistakes. In particular try to avoid:

1. Paying only the minimum payment on your debt, as this will result in the amount you owe actually growing, and your problems will only become worse.

2. Relying on friends and family, as this can damage relationships with the most important people in your life.

3. Unscrupulous credit counselors that demand cash upfront or high fees for help they promise, but don't deliver.

4. Using new high-interest loans to pay off lower interest rate loans. It may be easier to just have one payment. but it will actually increase the amount you have to pay back.

5. Declaring bankruptcy. This can have permanent and severe consequences on your financial future. Avoid it if you can, especially when debt settlement may work for you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When To Love

"Love me when I least deserve it,
because that's when I really need it."

Swedish Proverb

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

(Murphy-ism) God is ...

(Photo by M. Toerner, 2011)

God is good; always good

and He can never be anything BUT GOOD!!!!

This truth is the framework within which all Christians

must place the puzzle pieces of their lives.

Dance in the Rain

Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Compare

It's human nature to compare.

When we compare we are trying to gain a sense of, "How do I look compared to how you look? How am I performing compared to your performance? Is my house bigger or smaller than yours? Is my marriage as good or better than yours? Are my children better at "looking right" compared to yours?" The list of potential comparisons is endless.

In John 21:15-17, Jesus questions Peter three times concerning Peter's love for Him. Peter emphatically asserts his love for the Savior. This would have been a great place to end the chapter because Peter's commitment and devotion are powerful and admirable, but the chapter doesn't end.

In John 21:20-21, Peter shifts from walking in the Spirit to walking in his flesh, "Peter, turning around, saw the disciple who Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on (Jesus') bosom at the last supper (referring to the Apostle John). Peter says in verse 21, "Lord, and what about this man (pointing to John)?"

Comparing is a human phenomenon. God doesn't compare and He doesn't want us to compare either. In John 21:22, Jesus rebukes Peter, "If I want him (John) to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" Jesus directs Peter to get his eyes off John and maintain his focus and will on his personal obedience to Jesus.

Are you currently comparing something in your life with something in the life of another? Comparing fosters internal pride and gloating or it creates a deep sense of shame and feeling less than. Don't compare. Do what Jesus commanded Peter, keep your eyes on yourself and your personal walk with the Lord.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

God Told Me ...

I was on Young Life staff for several years, first as a Staff Representative in Baton Rouge, LA and then as an Area Director in Bowling Green, KY. My time in Bowling Green was a wonderful time. Mike was teaching at Western Kentucky University (Go Hilltoppers!) and as a Young Life Area Director, I was blessed to have a great committee of adults and 18 leaders over our four years there. Many high school students came to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior through the ministry there.

When new leaders wanted to join our YL team, they attended "Leadership Training" for a year. Upon completion of the course, they made a verbal commitment to serve as a Young Life leader for two school years (unless they were a graduating senior.) This pledge was important because it was disruptive for the high school kids to have a lot of leadership turn-over in their Young Life Club. Young Life is a relationship ministry. Consistent relationships are foundational.

The two year commitment was never a problem until ... one day a leader who was in the middle of his/her first year of commitment said, "God told me that I'm supposed to quit leadership."

I thought the statement was interesting. Does God tell us to break our commitments? Since God is the epitome of a promise keeper, it seems He would not direct His children to break their pledge. It's possible that God might lead a person to do so, but not probable.

I released the leader from their commitment. I asked that he/she would consider praying to see if they were operating in their FLESH or truly following the SPIRIT.

Please be mindful when you use the phrase, "God told me to ______."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From a High School Friend

Making the Journey

Being a Christian and walking with Christ is a journey. I wish it were an effortless Journey; one with no detours or bumpy roads, but that isn't the case. If you have been a Christian for very long, you already know that it can feel like a roller-coaster ride. There are many detours along the way. Twists and turns can happen at any time on our spiritual highway. Every once in a while a Christian can experience a train wreck or a car crash; meaning they may have a child with cancer or a marriage that is falling apart.

What are we to do when the journey does not go the way we hoped (or silently demanded)?

The first thing some of us do is get angry and even enraged with God. It is amazing how we seem to blame God and treat Him as our enemy.

One thing you can do to when times are tough and the chaos of this world seems to be getting bigger and stronger: hunker down with a spirit of faith and humility. Don't rage at God; get still before Him. Trust that He is good, always good, and can never be anything but good. Trust that He is in control and He has you in the palm of His hand. This is the truth for every child of God.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How to Look at Trials

James 1:2-4 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (4) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Have you ever had a spouse, a child, a friend, a relative, or a co-worker share the details of a current, personal trial or tribulation?

As a Christian counselor with 20 years of experience, I often heard such testimonies from clients. It's the nature of my job.

In an attempt to give the client a differing perspective, I have often asked some thought provoking questions, such as, "Can you think of how God is attempting to use your situation in an effort to accomplish a good, righteous, or Godly outcome?"

Sometimes I'll throw in, "Could God intentionally allow this trial as a viable way to get your attention?"

If the client chooses to stay in my office, I might ask, "Can you entertain the idea that God uses tests, trials, and tribulations because they are proven means for Him to break through our crusty defenses. Only through specific tests, trials, and tribulations is God able to gain access to your heart, your mind, and your will. In God's economy, brokenness is not a bad thing. It's one of His most powerful tools in our sanctification."

Clients don't much like hearing those questions and statements, but they are true none the less.

How would you respond to those questions and statements?

Please re-read the above passage: James 1:2-4 "Consider it good or joyful ...."

For the Scriptures to assert this, there must be a way to see earthly things from a Godly, Heavenly, Divine perspective.

How well are you able to do that?
Let's pray we all get better at it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tie Yourself to the Tree of Truth

It is not uncommon for me to stop mid-sentence during a conversation and say, "That's not true." What I'm doing is stopping myself from saying something that I don't believe is 100 % true.

The reason why I do that is because I've learned that "the truth" really will set you free. So if I say something that is only 50 % true or 90 % true, I will stop what I am saying out loud and I will confront myself in mid-sentence.

I learned this technique during college. And in all sincerity, it saved my life.

Do you tell yourself the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? If not, it's time to start.

The truth will truly set you free. Trust me, I know.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Common Disciplines by RENOVARE

  • By God's grace, I will set aside time regularly for prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading and will seek to practice the presence of God.
  • By God's grace, I will strive mightily against sin and will do deeds of love and mercy.
  • By God's grace, I will welcome the Holy Spirit, exercising the gifts and nurturing the fruit while living in the joy and power of the Spirit.
  • By God's grace, I will endeavor to serve others everywhere I can and will work for justice in all human relationships and social structures.
  • By God's grace, I will share my faith with others as God leads and will study the Scriptures regularly.
  • By God's grace, I will joyfully seek to show forth the presence of God in all that I am, in all that I do, in all that I say.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Remember Me (The Death of a Loved One)

Fill not your hearts with pain and sorrow,
but remember me in every tomorrow.
Remember the joy, the laughter, the smiles,
I've only gone to rest a little while.

Although my leaving causes pain and grief,
my going has eased my hurt,
and given me relief.

So dry your eyes and remember me,
not as I am now, but as I used to be.
Because, I will remember you all,
and look on with a smile.
Understand in your hearts,
I've only gone to rest a little while.

As long as I have the love of each of you,
I can live my life in the hearts of all of you.

(Unknown Author)

10 Signs of Caregiver Stress (ALZHEIMER'S)

1. DENIAL - about the disease and its effects on the person who's been diagnosed. "I know my Mom's is going to get better."

2. ANGER - at the person with Alzheimer's or others that no effective treatments or cures currently exist and that people don't understand what's going on. "If he asks me that question one more time, I'll scream."

3. SOCIAL WITHDRAWAL - from friends and activities that once brought pleasure. "I don't care about getting together with the neighbors any more."

4. ANXIETY - about facing another day and what the future holds. "What happens when he needs more are than I can provide?"

5. DEPRESSION - begins to affect the ability to cope. "I don't care anymore."

6. EXHAUSTION - makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. "I'm too tired for this."

7. SLEEPLESSNESS - caused by a never-ending list of concerns. "What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?"

8. IRRITABILITY - leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and reactions. "Leave me alone."

9. LACK OF CONCENTRATION - makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks. "I was so busy, I forgot we had an appointment."

10. HEALTH PROBLEMS - begin to talk their toll, both mentally and physically. "I can't remember the last time I felt good."

Pass this on to a caregiver you know!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time To Adore by Ruth Bell Graham (Collected Poems, 1977)

And when I die, I hope my soul ascends slowly,
so that I may watch the earth receding out of sight,

Its vastness growing smaller as I rise,
savoring its recession with delight.

Anticipating joy is itself a joy.

And joy unspeakable and full of glory
needs more than than, "in the twinkling of an eye,"
more than, "in a moment."

LORD, who am I to disagree?
It's only we have much to leave behind;
so much . . .
Before, these moments of transition will, for me,
be time to adore.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Whole Thing - The Prayer of Serenity

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Monday, September 5, 2011

Let No Unwholesome Word ...

We live in a world that is dominated with negativism, sarcasm, one-ups-manship and other means of relating and communicating that are counter-productive and destructive. Even Christians engage in verbal jousting and sarcasm. Being witty and genuinely funny are wonderful qualities, but some of us go well beyond wit and playfulness.

What does it mean that "no unwholesome word should proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification?"

Invite the Holy Spirit to teach you how you are to apply this scripture to your present day life.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Murphy's Devotions: Top Ten Relational Needs ...

Murphy's Devotions: Top Ten Relational Needs ...: "1. Acceptance - receiving others willingly and unconditionally (even when their behavior is imperfect) and loving them in spite of any diffe..."

Top Ten Relational Needs ...

1. Acceptance - receiving others willingly and unconditionally (even when their behavior is imperfect) and loving them in spite of any differences that may exist between you.

2. Affection - expressing care and closeness through physical touch and through words such as, "I love you," or "I care about you."

3. Appreciation - expressing thanks, praise, or commendation, particularly in recognition of someone's accomplishments or efforts.

4. Approval (Blessing) - building up or affirming another person, particularly for who they are (as opposed to what they do); affirming both the fact and the importance of our relationship with another person.

5. Attention - conveying appropriate interest, concern, and care, taking notice of others and making an effort to enter into their respective worlds.

6. Comfort - responding with care to a hurting person through words, actions, emotional responses, and physical touch; hurting with and for others in the midst of their grief or pain.

7. Encouragement - urging others to persist and persevere in their efforts to attain their goals; stimulating others toward love and good deeds.

8. Respect - valuing one another highly, treating one another as important, and honoring one another with our words and actions.

9. Security - establishing and maintaining harmony in our relationships and providing freedom from fear or threat of harm through expressions of vulnerability, deepening of trust, and the successful resolution of conflict.

10. Support - coming along side others and providing gentle, appropriate assistance with a problem or struggle.

Murphy J Foster told me about these and I wanted to pass them on to you. Love, Murphy T.

Murphy's Devotions: Look for the FRUIT!

Murphy's Devotions: Look for the FRUIT!: "The fruit of Silence is prayer... The fruit of Prayer is faith... The fruit of Faith is love... The fruit of Love is service... The fruit of..."

Look for the FRUIT!

The fruit of Silence is prayer...
The fruit of Prayer is faith...
The fruit of Faith is love...
The fruit of Love is service...
The fruit of Service is peace...

— Mother Teresa

Saturday, June 18, 2011


For a person of faith, forgiveness is much more than a notion, it is imperative. In fact, God calls Christians to forgive others as He has forgiven us. One definition of forgiveness is "not holding the past against someone who is injured you."

Is there someone that you have had difficulty forgiving? One reason it is difficult to forgive is because the injury or wound happened recently and you are still feeling a lot of pain because of it. Another name I've given for such an injury or wound is a "sin debt," meaning an offender has sinned in some way against you and created a "debt" of sorts.

Christians generally feel very rushed to forgive someone who has created a "sin debt" in their lives. What I've seen is that when forgiveness is forced or rushed, it is not as sincere or authentic. Rushed forgiveness is not true forgiveness, it is mainly lip-service. Acknowledging the hurt of the injury or sin debt, is the foundation of authentic forgiveness. When we minimize the wound, our efforts at forgiving the one who hurt us is usually not as thorough.

Is there someone who has injured you recently? Is there someone you know you need to forgive? God wants you to express His grace to others through forgiveness, but you want to make sure that it is the right time, that it is authentic, and that it is complete.