Video Archives

She Said He Said: Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

 

Naghmeh Abedini photo
Naghmeh Abedini’s Facebook profile pic

Today’s post is for those who spent the last three and a half years praying for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini from his unjust prison sentence in the Iranian prison system. More specifically, if Naghmeh’s testimony is true, this is for those who support her on a new path of setting boundaries as God invites her to participate in the next redemptive part of the story in her husband’s life. Saeed was delivered from the chains of physical prison but she now has a new prison to pray him out of; and it’s a prison that Satan has every intention of keeping Saeed in for life.

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Satan missed out on killing Saeed Abedini, he stole his testimony (the good news is it can be reclaimed), and Satan desires to destroy the Abedini’s family unit.

I’ve struggled on the path of boundary setting several times in my life, and continue to battle there. Years ago I was led by the Lord to legally separate from my first husband as a means to get his attention that life could not go on as it had. That history gives me a passion for women in difficult relationships and allows me a perception to understand their heart, insecurities, questions and needs. Fortunately the Lord provides a safe place to wrestle through our struggles, brokenness, and call to obedience. If Naghmeh is experiencing anything like I did, she is laboring through her fasting and prayer time with eagerness to CLEARLY hear God’s answers and leading. I imagine she longs to obey her heavenly Father. I know I begged the Lord to not allow me to make a mistake; to make it so clear to this, ‘Dust’ (Psalm 103:14) that there would be no way for me to miss His answer. And most importantly, if I was praying outside of God’s heart and will for my marriage and family—outside of the very best He had for us, that He would override my desires and requests with His sovereignty. Lastly, if I errored I decided I would rather error in faith than in unbelief, rebellion or inaction.

I remember all too well the people who did not believe me.  I’m grateful to this day the Lord gave me peace to move forward, not look back, and not concern myself with other people’s opinions. That was difficult for this people pleaser! I remember my, then, husband telling friends and ministry associates that I was having emotional difficulties and that he would be gracious to give me the time I needed to find help and healing. There were abundant lies told about me. He insisted I was causing marital problems since I didn’t want to go back into the ministry with him and because I refused to leave my parents. Both were non-truths! In the end I lost dozens, if not hundreds, of friends and ministry contacts. In the void, God provided me with rich, mature, enduring friendships.

Fast-forward eighteen years: Vindication and justice prevailed. The times when I asked God for an immediate fix and instant safety for my daughter and myself; God was working out a permanent solution for our safety and the protection of children in churches where this man could potentially find more victims. This man now sits in prison for the rest of his life, without the possibility of parole for 25 years. The Lord, acting on the prayers of friends, family and GiveMe Chocolate readers put a known pedophile where he belongs!

Now rewind. During those years of a difficult marriage with an abusive, mentally ill husband I consumed Christian books on marriage. In the process I realized those were great book, but not for my marriage.

So if you are thinking Naghmeh could benefit from Christian marriage and counseling books; please don’t. They are not the place for Naghmeh to begin; no, no, no! Those books are for couples in normal, godly relationships who have hit a rough spot; possibly even infidelity, but who both want to work on honest reconciliation. What Naghmeh is going through is on a different level and she needs mature, godly counsel who understands the abuse she has lived through. More importantly, Saeed needs mature, godly counsel who understands his Islamic background, personality issues, beliefs about women, and addictions. He can choose to stop the wrong behavior, wrong beliefs, and wrong words. It’s up to him.

Here are some accusations toward Naghmeh I have read:

“Think about it for a minute – Saeed’s in jail, he’s getting severely beaten BUT he has enough time to abuse his wife during the brief phone calls or Skype sessions? Wow, he’s quite a guy – and I say that with sarcasm. Quite frankly, I find that scenario difficult to believe.”

Reply: Unfortunately, it is possible to verbally and emotionally abuse your spouse over the phone or via the internet/Skype.

“There are two sides to every story.”

Reply: If Naghmeh’s accusations are true there are not two sides to the story, but possibly five sides to the story (As was in my case):

  1. Naghmeh’s side of what she has lived through and understands.
  2. Naghmeh’s hind-sight that will take years to sort through because of the lasting effects of post-traumatic stress disorder from the spousal abuse and the trauma of the last three and a half years.
  3. Saeed’s version of what he is telling people.
  4. Saeed’s motivation for the abuse he acted out upon his wife, and the addictions about which only he knows the full truth.
  5. God’s truth since He understands His children better than we understand ourselves.

I want to make clear that when abuse is taking place the victim needs support, trust and understanding. Saying there are two sides to abuse is like saying I don’t believe you. If you were to physically see the man beating up the woman, breaking her arm and bruising her face, would you say, “Yes, but the abuser has a side to his story too and we need to hear why he is acting out this way?” NO! We would say, “Stop it.” We would call the police; we would want to protect her; would we not? Verbal and emotional abuse are equally wrong, but possibly make coping more difficult because no one can see, and often do not believe, the abuse under which the spouse is suffering.

Here is Naghmeh Abedini’s Facebook post from shortly after her husband was released from Iran:

Naghmeh letter part 1

Naghmeh letter part 2

“Where’s the proof?”

Reply: Here is a piece of evidence. Saeed plead guilty to a domestic abuse charge.

Abedini Court documentation

Click here for the direct link to the above website-court document.

Below you will find links to interviews and more articles.

Video: Full Interview with Naghmeh Abedini

A Final Word on Saeed Abedini

Saeed Abedini Rejects Wife Naghmeh Marriage Problems-Calls Her Hero

Saeed Abedini Speaks Out on Marital Woes 

Video: Pastor Saeed Abedini’s interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News

If the allegations against Saeed Abedini are true, and if he has a church ministry that ordained him a pastor; his ordination needs to be revoked until restoration is complete.

Finally, I’m grateful four American men who were wrongly imprisoned in Iran are now safely back in America.

My prayer is for the Abedini family to find rest for their weary souls.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30

This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16

10 Simple Chocolate Candy Recipes

Chocolate Almond Bark Recipes

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

This is a recipe post from the Holiday season two years ago before I stopped eating most chocolate. I now use raw chocolate in my recipes along with raw honey. But for those of you who eat any and all chocolate; these recipes will make your taste buds happy!

Maybe you heard the below rumors two years ago. Fortunately the chocolate price increase was temporary and prices are back to normal.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I have heard about child labor and even slavery being used for cocoa harvesting. Read more about it at Slavery in the Chocolate Industry. I am thankful for journalists exposing the ugly truth. Hopefully shining light on the truth will force the industry to stop the practice of using children and slaves for profit. I will gladly pay more for my chocolate if it means freedom for people whose lives have value because they are created by God; and loved and precious in His sight.

Now add cocoa plantation owner’s concerns regarding low rainfall expected in their regions in the coming months. Cocoa grows best in climates with high rainfall so a country known for high cocoa production not receiving enough rain will affect the country’s cocoa harvest; meaning a shortage of beans. A shortage of beans could mean a drastic price increase to the chocolate foundries. The chocolate manufacturer will then pass the increase on to us, the consumers. The cost of cocoa butter has risen by 70% in the last twelve months with retail prices increasing by only 7%. The question is how long companies can wait before passing the higher cost on to the consumer; especially dark chocolate lovers. Me!

If you travel the World Wide Web or partake in social networking on Pinterest you have likely read about preppers; people who take precautionary measures to be prepared for catastrophic events. By gathering in advance, supplies and necessities, preppers have a plan to help them survive potential disasters.

Well, as an admitted chocoholic I’ll tell you—I’m taking no chance of chocolate becoming too expensive for me to afford it. Long term or short-term. I am prepared. I am responsible for my children—I must think of my boys. They need chocolate too. If tart and sour candies are ever in jeopardy I will make a run on the store for Riley a survival rationing of Sweet Tarts, Sour Patch Kids and Skittles, but for now her taste buds are safe.

Upon hearing the news of expected price increases and possibly only the wealthy being able to afford chocolate in the near future, I drove straight to Aldi’s where I purchased my affordable favorite Choceur chocolate candy bars; milk chocolate, rich almond chocolate, dark chocolate, dark hazelnut chocolate and Moser Roth Privat Chocolatiers Toffee Crunch. I’m not telling how many but it could last a long time if it absolutely had to. I will fess up to buying a case of chocolate almond bark. Yes, a case. This is in addition to the packages already on hand for my Thanksgiving and Christmas candy making.  A case is only twelve packages after all and it has a longer shelf life than the expiration date suggests.

Chocolate almond bark goes a long way for candy making. When mixed with an array of diverse ingredients you have the ability to produce various candy bar type treats. If you have never tried using almond bark for your holiday baking I will pass on my favorite recipes. I am the queen of quick quantity so you will find these recipes easy to make, faster than baking cookies, and they yield a high number of bite size goodies. I forgot to mention another high point of almond bark; it is inexpensive compared to using chocolate chips for candy making.

I relish thinking half-heartedly of myself as being the Proverbs 31 woman. Here is my spin on it. Proverbs 31:13-15 & 28: Carolyn selects milk chocolate, dark chocolate and almond bark; and works with eager hands. She is like a merchant van bringing her chocolate from Aldi’s. She stays up while it is still the middle of the night; she provides chocolate to her family; but mainly to herself; followed by A.J., Colson and Riley.  Her children arise asking for chocolate and call her tired; but blessed.

The inspired word of Proverbs 31:13-15 & 28 reads:

“She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family

Her children arise and call her blessed;”

I am prepar-r-r-ed! My family shall not run out of chocolate candy options any time soon.

NEEDED SUPPLIES:

Baking with almond bark requires a double boiler. If you do not own a double boiler use two pots of varying sizes or a pot and a metal or glass bowl.

Double Boiler Double Boiler with 2 saucepans Double Boiler using a pot and bowl

A 1 – 1 ½ quart saucepan (which technically is a pot) works beautifully because the chocolate melts deep enough to easily submerge the candy.

If you are mixing ingredients into the pot you will need a 2 ½ quart saucepan (pot) for the almond bark and a larger pot for holding the water. A metal or glass bowl could also be placed on top of the water pot. The technique requires water in the larger bottom pot (approx. 1/3 full of water) with the smaller pot resting on top, You will also need wax or parchment paper and large cookie sheets or trays.

Remove almond bark from package and melt it in a double boiler. (If your packages are a year or two old—beware of crumbling plastic packaging.)

DO NOT ALLOW WATER TO BOIL UP INTO TOP PAN OF CHOCOLATE. DO NOT ADD ANY OTHER INGREDIENT TO ALMOND BARK FOR THINNING PURPOSES. It will become gritty and dry; ruining your candy.

Line cookies sheets and large trays with Wax or Parchment Paper for easy removal of candy & easy clean-up.

When I have removed a batch of candy from the wax paper I turn the paper over and use the other side for the next batch.

Place finished goodies in airtight containers or freezer bags.

All of these candies freeze perfectly; so if do all of your baking before Thanksgiving it will last through the New Year’s celebrations.

I also make the candies in small pieces, 1-2 bites each. This way when I give a tray of cookies, candies and breads for teacher gifts, neighbor gifts and appreciation gifts; the receiver can sample everything without being overwhelmed with sugar. I find this works well for my own holiday trays too since we eat and snack all day long. We can sample everything without grossly overeating to the point of nausea.

All of these recipes may be created with chocolate or vanilla almond bark. I do not consider vanilla bark or white chocolate true chocolate. I only bake with it to cater to non-chocolate lovers and to add color to the cookie/candy trays.

Baking sprinkles, glitters, ground nuts or shaved chocolate may be added to the top of freshly dipped wet chocolates for decoration.

 Chocolate Covered Peanuts(or any nut)

chocolate covered peanuts

Use at least a 2 ½ qt. saucepan/bowl for melting the bark

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-32 ounces Party peanuts or Spanish peanuts stirred into melted chocolate.

You can cook raw peanuts (found in the produce department of the store) in the microwave by cooking 6 minutes; stirring every 2 minutes. If you begin to smell burning peanuts they are beginning to overcook and may be removed from the microwave. They are ready to use in a recipe. Peanuts make my favorite chocolate nut clusters!

Spoon small clusters onto Wax paper lined trays. Keep clusters close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel clusters off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 5 dozen small clusters

Chocolate Covered PretzelsKids love these and they are ridiculously easy to make.

Chocolate covered pretzels

-1 package Chocolate or Vanilla Almond Bark – melted

-1 bag Pretzel Twists

Use a fork to fully dip pretzels in melted almond bark. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use an extra fork, knife or candy tong to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Keep pretzels close together on wax paper but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel pretzels off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Chocolate Almond Bark Cookies

Chocolate Almond Bark

Use at least a 2 ½ qt. saucepan/bowl for melting the bark

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 ½ cup Peanut Butter – stirred in.

-3 cups Marshmallows – stirred in.

-4 cups Rice Crispies – stirred in.

Spoon small amounts onto Wax paper lined trays using an extra fork, knife or candy tong to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Keep clusters close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel clusters off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 5 dozen cookies

 Oreo Truffles

(I always double the below recipe and use: 2 packages cookies,  2-8 oz. cream cheeses & 1 pkg. almond bark.

oreo truffles

-1 package Oreos, Mint Oreos, or Great Value from Walmart.  ALDI’S brand does NOT work – Place one package of cookies at a time in blender, then add to the cream cheese which has been softened in the microwave.

After mixing Oreos and cream cheese together, cover with plastic wrap & place in fridge or freezer until firm.

-½ package melted Chocolate Almond Bark

Roll mixture into small (3/4 -1 inchI) bite size balls, place onto Wax paper lined trays.

predipped oreo truffles

Return to fridge or freezer to re-firm before dipping.

Dip with a toothpick, candy pick or nut pick to completely cover balls in melted chocolate almond bark. Tap toothpick on side of pan to remove excess chocolate; use an toothpick to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Yields: 3 dozen

Keep balls close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel truffles off of paper and place in airtight containers..

Turtle Truffles

turtle truffle

-8 ounces Cream Cheese softened

-7 oz. which equals ½ bag of Kraft caramels. Unwrap and place in microwaveable bowl with 1 Tbsp. water. Cook 1 minute, stir, and repeat at 1 minute intervals until completely melted.

-8 ounces chopped pecans

Mix softened cream cheese, melted caramel and chopped pecans.

Cover with plastic wrap and place mixture in fridge or freezer until firm.

Melt 1 package Chocolate Almond Bark

Roll mixture into ¾” – 1” small bite size balls, place onto Wax paper lined trays. Melt ½ pkg. Choc. Almond bark.

Return to fridge or freezer to re-firm before dipping.

Use a fork to dip balls in melted chocolate almond bark; covering all sides. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the truffle onto the pan/tray.

Yields: 30

Keep balls close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel truffles off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Ritz Cookies So simple—so easy!

Chocolate Ritz cookies

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 box, 4 sleeves, Ritz or store brand crackers

-Peanut butter spread to desired thickness on one cracker. Place a second cracker on top of peanut butter to create a sandwich.

Ritz cracker spread with peanut butter

Use a fork to completely dip crackers in melted chocolate almond bark. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the cookie onto the pan/tray.

Keep crackers close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel cookies off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: just under 4 dozen

Mint Bark

Mint Bark

WHENEVER YOU HAVE LEFT OVER ALMOND BARK in the bottom of a pan ADD FLAVORING SUCH AS MINT, PEPPERMINT OR ORANGE, 3 DROPS AT A TIME UNTIL YOU APPROVE OF THE FLAVOR; STIR. POUR ONTO WAX PAPER LINED PAN & TAP PAN UNTIL MIXTURE IS SMOOTH or spread with a spatula. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When hardened, peel BARK off of paper, break into small pieces and place in airtight containers.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

-½ package White Almond Bark – melted

-Peppermint  extract, 1 tsp. to begin; stir, and add more if desired.

-1 box of peppermint Candy canes, crushed, I pulse them in a blender or food processor

Mix candy canes in for desired thickness.

POUR ONTO WAX PAPER LINED PAN & TAP PAN UNTIL MIXTURE IS SMOOTH, or use a spatula. Place trays in fridge freezer for quick set time. When hardened, peel BARK off of paper, break into bite size pieces and place in airtight containers.

This recipe can be changed using lemon extract and crushed Lemon Drops candy.

Yields: 4 dozen small pieces

 

Millionaire Bites

Millionaire Bites

-½  package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 14 oz. package Kraft caramels unwrapped. Place in a microwavable bowl and add 3 Tbsp. water. Melt 1 minute at a time; stirring after each minute until melted.

-1 ½ cups ground pecans – use a blender of food processor

-1 ½ cups Rice Crispies

Yields: 3 about 3 dozen

Line two large pans or trays with wax paper; GREASE the paper (or you will be sorry – guess how I know?)

Combine melted caramel, pecans and cereal (in this order). Drop small teaspoonfuls onto greased pans. Place in fridge or freezer for quick set time.

Line two more pans/trays with wax paper. The greased wax paper will not be reusable.

When the candy is set, dip it in the almond bark on all sides with a fork; tap fork on the side of the pot allowing excess to drip back in the pot. Use a second fork to slide the cookie onto the pan/tray. Keep candies close together but not touching. Place  trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, pop candies off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Peppermint Patties

Peppermint patties

-½ package chocolate almond bark – melted

-¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

-1 ½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract –imitation does not taste good; mint extract could be substituted

-4 cups confectioners (powder) sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and peppermint extract. Beat in enough confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough that is no longer sticky. Form into 1/2 inch balls, then place on waxed paper. Grease or butter the bottom of a flat glass. Press the glass on the dough to form small thin patties.  Let patties dry at room temperature one hour, turning once at a half hour.

IMG_0026

Using a fork, a meat fork may be necessary depending on the size of the patties, dip the patties, one at a time, into the melted chocolate. . Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the patties onto the pan/tray lined with wax paper. Keep patties close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel patties off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 3 dozen

~Enjoy

A Delivery Room Perspective: Comedian Michael Jr.

Listen.

Open your eyes…

Goodbye Cardinals Hello Royals

October baseball

Goodbye Red October; there is no other sky I would rather live under every autumn. You are always faithful and fun; albeit nerve-wracking!

Baseball A Nervous Breakdown

Jon Jay dances with Matt Holliday’s son Ethan,7, while the team celebrates in the locker room after the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League Division Series after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Our team has style in every way! Just one more reason I love our team on and off the field.

Not a Cardinals Fan

I’m thankful Missouri’s rising Blue Moon has the force to push the Giants into the sea. May the Blue Moon’s powerful tide make the dawning of the fifth day unattainable for the San Francisco Giants.

KC Royals

This Missourian is cheering for you, Kansas City Royals.

Moo!

Moo

Farm Boy and I took our ten and eleven year old boys to Kansas City for a game during the Royals’ series against the Tigers the weekend of September 19th. Colson and A.J. thought the Royals’ fans displayed rude manners booing so many times at the umps, the other team, and even their own team when they made mistakes yet they also commented the fans were not as rude and unruly as the Giants’ fans.  Our boys did however love the Mooing!

Moooooooooooose!

The below video is of Matthew West’s Royals’ song. Matthew West is one of my favorite Christian recording artists; in fact, I have used some of his other songs/videos in earlier Toxic Tuesday posts to encourage my readers to thrive despite difficult circumstances.

KC mascot
Sluggerr—Royals’ Mascot
Royals' fountains
Kaufman Stadium Fountains

2014 World Series

KC

Giants

Moms’ Night Out—Now on DVD

If you like comedy this is the movie for you. To top it off—it’s also clean!

It was refreshing! I needed to laugh and Moms’ Night Out provided the source.

I know some mothers who take a mom’s night out once a week, some who take one occasionally and some who rarely if ever take one. Do you have a friend to enjoy a mom’s night out with?

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Seeing Moms’ Night Out guarantees good medicine.

I had not experienced such unbridled laughter since reading the Pioneer Woman’s,  All I Wanted Was a Doughnuthttp://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2011/12/all-i-wanted-was-a-doughnut/

The thing that made the movie better was the longevity of it.  It was an extra-large jumbo size dose of good medicine and a timely lesson from Bones. (You will have to see the movie to find out about Bones.)

I thought the movie would strictly be a ‘Chick-Flick’ but no; I heard and saw men laughing as uncontrollably as me.

I have never laughed so much, so hard, so loud in any movie. Hysterical laughter, tears from hysterical laughter, snorting from not being able to catch my breath due to hysterical laughter. Side splitting I tell ya!

There you have it. My encouragement for the day: Laugh. Funny movies, funny books, comedians or funny friends; find your funny and take a full measure of it.

Buy or Rent Moms’ Night Out  tonight!

See the right side margin : A Cheerful Heart…for multiple opportunities to laugh.

Original Moms’ Night Out: You Need to Laugh post

 

Because Life’s Not a Beach…

The below blog post is by a dear friend of mine.

To me she has been the poster mom for ‘Thriving Despite Difficult Circumstances’ since I met her fourteen years ago.

I watched through curious eyes and heart as she taught her eight exceptionally smart and sweet spirited children in her home. She managed to homeschool her kids while dealing with the considerable health needs of her two youngest children coupled with endless doctor appointments. All this while imparting to her children the most important lesson of all: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

Less than one year ago ‘Poster Mom’ experienced every mom’s worst nightmare, “upset just around the next bend.” I remember the moment I realized what she was saying from across the World Wide Web.

I went to my knees sobbing and praying on her behalf.

“No Lord, please no! Please don’t require this of her! I know life is not fair but this is too much. I don’t know how she handles her auto immune disease while caring for a son whose own auto immune diseases have threatened to take his life more times than I can remember. Her life has been difficult on so many levels and yet she doesn’t complain. She proclaims Your name and gives You glory. Please undo this for her. Show her a miracle—show her Your glory! ‘Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known,’ (Hab. 3:2) I have seen You do it—please do it for her today.”

This is where Sovereignty met her trust and her love for Him.

WAKE-UP TOXIC AMERICA

alarm clock

 

Church, body of Christ, we must repent!

“if my peoplewho are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

Notice this scripture does not say, “My creation,” “All people,” or “Your nation.” It says, “My people, who are called by my name,” referring to the people who believe in and worship the ONE TRUE GOD.

For the next several days I will be referring to Anne Graham Lotz and her 777 campaign, An Urgent Call to Prayer. I’m sad to say I did not learn of this campaign or listen to Anne Graham Lotz speak at the National Day of Prayer until last Wednesday via god.tv.  God has clearly placed a responsibility on her to sound the alarm to American Christians that judgment is coming.

I was so disappointed to realize I had missed the 7 days of prayer campaign but since God lives in eternity and not in time, and since God knows our hearts, I believe He will still accept our participation; even at a late date.

Are we going to listen to Anne Graham Lotz or are we going to treat her as the Israelites treated the Old Testament prophets.  The people did not want to hear from God through His prophets. The Israelites were enjoying life, becoming complacent and their complacency led to sin. The people did not want burdened with worship, acts of service, repentance, truth or tithes. They wanted to follow false leaders. They forgot the law of sowing and reaping.

As a mom raising children in this generation to understand the Lord’s love for them; to love the Lord, seek Him, and stay pure seems impossible yet my faith is in the Lord. You’ve heard the idiom, “Never place all your eggs in one basket.” Well, I am. I am resolved to make everything dependent on one person, God. I am placing all my resources, energy, talents, gifts, finances, children, my marriage, and my reputation at His feet; my only course of action. I don’t even consider it a risk. I am confident I will reap what I sow.

Surely God must be ready to end this corrupt world where people  who call themselves, “Christian,” devalue life, murder their children while in the womb, crave excessive materialism, live for participation in the next sexual sin , practice deceitfulness as a positive quality trait, and throw off all self-control calling good bad and bad good.

We, the church, are toxic and our toxicity spilled over on those around us. The world became corrupt because God’s people, the church, failed in her mission. We have failed to understand God’s love for us, God’s protection through His laws, and the blessings God wants to pour down on us.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is an essential lesson. Please watch and listen.

Help for Living in a Toxic Relationship

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

A few days ago I blogged about the power of the cross for overcoming lies.

This week I return to the cross applying it to a hurt heart, soul, mind and strength.

Are you broken-hearted from living in a toxic relationship while believing no one can possibly fathom what goes on in your daily life; let alone, help you?

There is someone who knows the truth, who understands, who feels your broken heart, who wants to help and best of all; this person can help. I know because He has helped me on multiple occasions.

“He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness;” Isaiah 53:3 (AMP) 

He has been in our shoes.

“Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5

Jesus experienced all our sin, hurt, and heartache while upon the cross. He experienced the hurt and heartache that happened to us at the hands or words of another person sinning against us because Jesus died for their sin too. He bore their sin against you just as He bore our sin against Him and against others.

Jesus experienced the depth of rejection by the religious leaders and community, His brothers did not believe Him (John 7:5), several apostles and close friends were embarrassed or fearful and abandoned Him,  one of His closest companions betrayed him. Add to all this slander, lies and attempted CRAZYMAKING from every direction. He was mocked, arrested, beaten, tortured and then He willingly laid down His life in the worst possible death; crucifixion on the cross. He suffered crucifixion death for every person who ever had lived, was living and would live; including the people who partook in His arrest, trial and death.

Because of the cross Jesus understands. Those who have accepted Jesus, by faith, as their Lord and Savior can receive healing, power, wisdom, and provisions for journey.

The best way I find these provisions is through a daily love relationship with Father God. I have a pattern of trying to make this relationship better by trying to love Him more; forgetting that although He wants me to love Him, it is based on His love for me. I tend to think the same way about the cross in my belief that Jesus died for me so I wouldn’t miss out on Father God in heaven because Jesus knows exactly what we are missing out on by not being in heaven. Although this is true, Jesus died for us because He loves us and knows how loved we are by our heavenly Father. I just cannot wrap my mind around how great His love, their love, for me is—how great their love for you is.

I cannot adequately explain this or explain God. There is always more to tell you.

All I know is it happens one day at a time. Day after day. Struggle after struggle. Victory after victory. At the beginning or the end of a day when it seems like there isn’t strength or sanity left in heart, soul, mind and strength to carry on; there is.

Here is a quote I have had printed, framed and sitting on my dresser for the last sixteen years:

DL MOODY

For those of you in a toxic relationship; you may need to draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from hour to hour as you need it. There is always hope; no one can take that from you. And there is always God; no one can keep you from Him—except you.

Cross Fit Overcoming Lies

Little Bit of Chocolate final

 

“For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18 (AMP)

My quiet time today centered on the power of the cross for healing ungodly beliefs and lies which I have believed about God and about myself. You see, the finished work of Christ on the cross and my authority as a believer gives me power over these strongholds. I am grateful. But more than grateful; I continually bask in God’s love, radiance and wisdom to grow more like Jesus every day. I have an eternity to go.

Saved/redeemed people have a sincere desire and need for God’s truth. We want our minds to become more like the mind of Christ. We want our minds to be in-line with scripture so we have Godly beliefs.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

God does not simply want us to know about Him or to acknowledge He exists. No! He wants a daily personal relationship us. When we know Him personally; His character, His principles, His Son, His truth and His heart we will be able to recognize lies. Lies other people tell us, lies Satan tells us or lies in which he seeks our participation, lies we believe about ourselves, false judgments we make against others, and even lies (ungodly) beliefs we hold against God.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.” John 15:4-7 (The Message)

I don’t want to be burned up as deadwood. I want to be found fruitful. I want to be alive and full of His truth so I can be free from the lies and fiery arrows that are thrown at me. I don’t have to pull the arrows out. I don’t even have to deflect them!

You see when I have problems or relational difficulty I have an unhealthy (ungodly) belief that I must be the problem. I assume if something is wrong, it must be my fault. Satan has spent years ingraining this in my life through experience.

A few months ago when I was meditating on these truths I sensed God breathe into my heart, soul, mind and strength, “You are not the problem.” Not always and when I error I would rather error on the side of acting in faith than not acting/doing at all. “You are a helper. Your heart is set toward Jesus. All you have to do is look at My Son, speak the Truth and the arrows will not touch you. Jesus is always there to protect you. I love you. You are not your past. You are who Christ says you are—the daughter of the Most High God.”

The Lord even gave me three word pictures.

  1. He showed me Jesus in my heart, but with all the arrows coming at me I couldn’t feel Jesus, or at the moment, remember Jesus was there in my heart. I allowed the pain to take over. God reminded me that Jesus is always here to protect me. (This does not mean I will always understand the way He chooses to protect me.)
  2. God took me through a timeline from childhood and past to remind me that although these events, people and choices are a part of my past, they are not who I am in Christ—“It is not who you are.”
  3. He reminded me through scripture that He is on His throne. I was on the steps just below Him dressed like a Princess; dressed in His love. I realized I had been living like a peasant most of my life when all along I’ve been a Princess daughter of the Most High King.

I encourage you to spend time with the Lord each day. Read His word, go through a Bible study, and spend time in prayer. Pray scriptures back to God. God’s word is the main way He speaks to you so as He speaks to you—speak back to Him by responding to what He said to you.  Ask Him questions and wait on the answers; this is a discipline that comes with practice and time. Acknowledge false beliefs or judgments you have made over yourself or other people. Give God your hurts. Ask Him to reveal His truth to you.

In these moments I have found God to be tender and merciful. I have found Jesus to be the great physician who heals instantly, completely and permanently. Doesn’t that sound just like Him? Yes! I have also found the Holy Spirit to be the Great Comforter.

 “Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’” Luke 5:31 (NIV)

“Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,” Isaiah 53:4 (NIV)

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

BELIEF SYSTEM(By: Anonymous)

If you accept a belief,
You reap a thought.

If you sow a thought,
You reap an attitude.

If you sow an attitude,
You reap an action.

If you sow an action,
You reap a habit.

If you sow a habit,
You reap a character.

If you sow a character,
You reap a destiny.

 

Sow God’s word; truth through prayer and Bible study.

Reap a personal relationship with God who loves you, and a mind more like Christ’s mind.

Get cross fit. Overcome the lies.

5 (More) Things You Should Never Say to an Abuse Survivor

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Today is an addition to Last week’s Toxic Tuesday 21 Things NOT to Say to an Abuse Survivor and Leadership Journal’s Lack of Discernment .

5 (More) Things You Should Never Say to a Victim were added at Tamara Rice’s blog, Hope Fully Known.

Tam is a lover of words and Jesus and family, though perhaps not in that order. She’s an editor, writer, a breast cancer survivor, and an advocate for mental health and for victims of sexual abuse.

Here are her five main points:

1. “If so-and-so had touched me, I’d have told someone right away.”

2. “My parents raised me to stand up to people.”

3. “Aren’t we called to love rapists and pedophiles too?”

4. “You’ll need to learn to talk about this if you want to help others.”

5. “But what about your abuser’s family? You’re hurting them by speaking up.”

Tamara clearly presents the love and logic for each of these five points at http://hopefullyknown.com/2014/06/16/5-things-you-shouldnt-say-to-victims/

Also take time to read thoughts, responses and added things you should never say to victims of sexual abuse written at the end of her post by readers who left comments.

I urge you to read up on this topic because statistics tell us 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18; even in the Christian community.  The church/body of Christ needs to acknowledge this truth, be sensitive to it, be real and be part of ministering to the victims.  We do not want to add toxic thoughts, attitudes, words or denials to an already hurting heart. We want to take part in a victim’s healing; not in reinjuring a deep hurt or scar.

“A church that embraces silence over truth is a magnet for those who exploit, abuse, and destroy.” G.R.A.C.E. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment

“After the Last Tear Falls” By: Andrew Peterson

After the last tear falls, after the last secret’s told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves and the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that’s just too hard

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

After the last disgrace, after the last lie to save some face
After the last brutal jab from a poison tongue
After the last dirty politician, after the last meal down at the mission
After the last lonely night in prison

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

And in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

‘Cause after the last plan fails, after the last siren wails
After the last young husband sails off to join the war
After the last, this marriage is over
After the last young girl’s innocence is stolen
After the last years of silence that won’t let a heart open

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

And in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

‘Cause after the last tear falls there is love

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin

I witnessed a long-awaited answer to prayer in a court of law yesterday. Toward the end of the post is more information on that but first I am sharing a letter I sent to family and friends the day before the verdict.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

P R A Y E R acronym

Please continue to pray for the children to have justice and closure in this chapter of their lives.

Why do I keep asking for prayer support with praying scripture over this trial? I am aiming scripture at the bull’s-eye of this target and I have no intention of missing.

Jesus used scripture to aim at the bull’s-eye of the temptation, issue or challenge in front of Him during His time on earth. That means I can do the same thing; in fact, I can call on what I know God’s word has to say about such topics. This is why I have chosen so many scriptures out of the book of Psalms. I want to walk with God through this and these are the scriptures He has equipped me with. The enemy has had his feet on my promised land, and multiple children’s promised land, for long enough. I’m shooting him off it! I am not shooting at random; I am aiming for victory.

So please keep shooting with me; over and over and over and over and over. Stand up as a son or daughter of the King Eternal and take your rightful place as a master marksman. Keep practicing because at the end of this week I have faith the bull’s-eye will have a hole right through the middle of it!

 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  John 15:7-8

 

As you pray remind the Lord who the defendant is:

Psalm 36

I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked;
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.

In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.

 

Intercede for the children:

Psalm 9

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
The Lord reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.

 Psalm 18

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.

 

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.< br> 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

 

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
with my God I can scale a wall.

39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the Lord, but he did not answer.

46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48     who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.

 

My friend Kim, who traveled to the trial with me, and I did an ENORMOUS amount of praying Wednesday. We had a Bible plus index card notebooks full of favorite scriptures with us and we prayed them out loud over the verdict as we drove in the car and as we sat in the court room.

Here are two of my favorites; the first is from Romans 2:5 which I was praying/whispering, inserting the defendant’s name, when we received word that the jury had reached a verdict. I prayed it again as the verdict was read.

Romans 2:5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”

Second is Daniel 5 and it is the story of Nebuchadnezzar seeing the hand writing on the wall. If you have not read it, or would like to refresh your memory, you can go to:  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+5&version=NIV

25 “This is the inscription that was written:

mene, mene, tekel, parsin

26 “Here is what these words mean:

Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres[g]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

The hand writing was on the wall in the spiritual realm so we prayed,” Mene, mene, tekal, parsin” just before the the verdict was read.

You see our work is to pray. God’s work is to respond or act on our prayers; in His time and in His way.

I am grateful beyond words that God answered, “Guilty.”

Today I am emotionally exhausted but pleased, thrilled and relieved.

This is the beginning of a new chapter of life for everyone involved and as Kim said yesterday, “I bet that millstone is looking like a much better option than prison to him about right now.”

Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. “

Sentencing is in August and will most likely be somewhere between twenty-five years, without the possibility of parole, to life.

Here are some scriptures I have prayed to thank God:

 

Psalm 44:4-8

“You are my King and my God,
who decrees victories for Jacob.
Through you we push back our enemies;
through your name we trample our foes.
I put no trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.”

Psalm 30:11-12

You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” 

Psalm 31:19-24

“How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
    from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
    from accusing tongues.

Praise be to the Lord,
    for he showed me the wonders of his love
    when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
    “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
    when I called to you for help.

Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
    but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord.” 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Holy are you my heavenly Father. I love you, Lord Jesus. Thank you, Holy Spirit, my comforter and counselor.

 

 

 

P.R.A.Y.E.R. for Innocent Children

P R A Y E R acronym

 

I may not be able to keep all child molesters off the street or pray specifically for all children who have suffered childhood victimization, but I can make a difference in four lives that I know of; possibly untold numbers of others.

So I pray.

Sixteen years ago I had concerns about a specific person’s behaviors and fourteen years ago the suspicions were confirmed. I have prayed fourteen years for God’s hand to bring safety and justice. Waiting on God’s sovereignty has been one of the most difficult faith walks of my life. Scripture, prayer and my daily relationship the Lord have been at times the only glue holding my sanity together.

I have wanted to shout from the roof tops and mountain tops what I know is true about this person, or point people in the direction of legal and professional documentation regarding this person, but a judge in a court of law made it clear I was not to keep this clergy member from attaining and keeping gainful employment.

I pray this is the week of redemption, of ‘Vengence is mine’, says the Lord, of justice, of vindication, of “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

I pray this is the beginning of needed healing for young victims, young victims the church did not believe. My heart weeps and breaks for them…

Always believe the children.

Let us together end the reign of a child victimizer.

Please begin praying for the jury of twelve.

Pray:

  • for calm nerves in the midst of excitement, stress, denial, blame and judgment
  • they will not be overwhelmed by the responsibility of determining another person’s innocence or guilt in a court of law
  • they will trust and have favor toward the judge and the state prosecutor
  • they will not be blinded by the title, “Minister of the Gospel”
  • they will understand none of the defense’s witnesses know the defendant’s complete history, character or true personality
  •  they will listen, truly listen, to the young children who have been so deeply wounded by the profoundly wicked offenses committed in the name of love and in the name of Jesus
  • they will understand and believe the victim’s expert witnesses, doctors and counselors
  • they will not be persuaded by influences outside the court room
  • they will find the defendant guilty
  • they will sentence the defendant  to the fullest extent of the law (I understand the jury will decide this sentence)

If just one of the jury members believes the defendant is innocent the defendant will walk free. No record, no ankle monitor—free to return to ministry and they WILL return to ministry.

I know this is heavy content. Thank you for going before the throne of grace with me on behalf of innocent children.

One day we will all stand guilty as charged before our Just and Holy God but He will only see the blood of Jesus covering us. I am thankful Jesus is my advocate who lives to intercede for me, for you, and for the innocent children.  Jesus has paid our penalty in full. For this I thank Him!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Scriptures to pray over the jury:

Proverbs 14:16 – The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.

Proverbs 14:33 – Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.

Proverbs 15:2 – The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Proverbs 15:14 – The discerning heart seeks knowledge,

Proverbs 16:22 – Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.

Proverbs 17:24 – A discerning person keeps wisdom in view

Psalm 75 (The Message)

We thank you, God, we thank you—
your Name is our favorite word;
your mighty works are all we talk about.

2-4 You say, “I’m calling this meeting to order,
I’m ready to set things right.
When the earth goes topsy-turvy
And nobody knows which end is up,
I nail it all down,
I put everything in place again.
I say to the smart alecks, ‘That’s enough,’
to the bullies, ‘Not so fast.’”

5-6 Don’t raise your fist against High God.
Don’t raise your voice against Rock of Ages.
He’s the One from east to west;
from desert to mountains, he’s the One.

7-8 God rules: he brings this one down to his knees,
pulls that one up on her feet.
God has a cup in his hand,
a bowl of wine, full to the brim.
He draws from it and pours;
it’s drained to the dregs.
Earth’s wicked ones drink it all,
drink it down to the last bitter drop!

9-10 And I’m telling the story of God Eternal,
singing the praises of Jacob’s God.
The fists of the wicked
are bloody stumps,
The arms of the righteous
are lofty green branches.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The lyrics in this video are applicable for boys and girls who have been victimized.

Introducing Mr. Fatal Self-Love

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Today I want to show you, with video, what someone with Narcissistic personality disorder may look like. While watching this short video, replace the character of Facebook cofounder, Mark Zuckerberg, with a dynamic speaker who has a witty sense of humor and is a leader in the Christian community.

Consider a person who intertwines scripture as a means for emotional control and twists verses to support his male dominance over his girlfriend/wife. A specialist who tries to tell his love interest who she is and is not with no regard to reality.

“The husband who uses the title of headship as a cover for control, dominance, or even abuse is not only not a head in the way the Bible sets forth but is instead a moral and spiritual failure. Let me make this clear: When it comes to a man’s leadership in his home, male domination is never a teaching of the Bible. But headship is.” -Robert Lewis

“Your wife is your precious one, your only one … She’s to be cherished, not because of what she does for you, but because of her essence, her value to God as a child born in His image. You’ve been entrusted with the priceless essence of a human soul, so precious to God that at the foundation of the world He planned to pay His dearest price to buy her back again.” –Steve Arterburn

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25
“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

 

Now add in a spiritual leader who is hired for being a biblically vibrant motivational speaker, who is entertaining and exciting as well. Only to later find the person is aggressive and manipulative in the process of gaining control over the congregation and dominance over the church leadership teams. When confronted about their behavior they insist that their underlying brilliance be seen, acknowledged and praised; not criticized.

When truth is revealed against the backdrop of their deception, sin, or crime they play the “I am special” card and, “This isn’t the way it appears” line. In classic narcissistic fashion they hold up a mirror and reflect the accusation being made against them back at the plaintiff. You will NEVER win an argument with a narcissist or point out their error since they are perfect and do no wrong. Remember the rules and laws do not apply to them: For more on this topic see previous Toxic Tuesday posts about Narcissism.

“Jesus…is the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5) and the Lamb of God (Rev. 5:6) – He was lionhearted and lamblike, strong and meek, tough and tender, aggressive and responsive, bold and brokenhearted. He sets the pattern for manhood.” -John Piper

Narcissists like to explain why your accomplishments are of little importance and possibly not true accomplishments. They do not know how to encourage others and be genuinely happy for other’s successes. The only time you are praise worthy is when they can use your achievement to make themselves look better to someone else; or make it seem like your triumph was due to their input in your life.

You will not gain a narcissist’s understanding. You will be ignored, dismissed and belittled while the narcissist manipulates behind the scenes with no remorse or twinge of conscience toward the path of destruction they leave behind.

Narcissists are entitled to treat people however they feel with no regard to the other person’s feeling, needs or input. They make executive decisions for everyone involved without allowing feedback, questions or creative involvement. They are a god unto themselves.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you are involved in a relationship with someone showing narcissistic tendencies, do not allow their viewpoint to dictate who you are or to force you into a pit of depression.

Be a tattle tale and tell God what is happening to you. Allow God to deal with the other person in His way and in His timing. Then take responsibility for your ideas, thoughts, decisions, actions and responses by asking God what His heart and will is for your life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To be clinically diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder a person must exhibit five of nine criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. See: https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/to-live-but-not-exist/

Imagine being in a relationship with someone who meets all nine of the criteria. Now imagine the narcissism is the easiest part of the toxic relationship because underneath this surface lurks a tormented dark soul disguised as light.

One does not have to imagine long on this concept of darkness disguised as light since Satan has masqueraded in a cloak of light through the centuries.

Satan is not creative; just a good copycat who counterfeits everything he sees the Heavenly Father do. Satan produces many fake replicas; evil beautifully gift-wrapped with a forged logo or brand name.  As with counterfeit consumer products, Satan’s imitations are of a lower quality, sometimes not working at all, and often have toxic elements; producing toxic people—resultsing in a lesser quality of life for God’s beloved children. Satan’s bogus plans, interjected into the lives of humans, has resulted in physical and spiritual deaths. Fatal poison has been packaged as the healing balm of Christ.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
Scripture cannot necessarily help you discern a narcissist, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, because they are some of the best actors you will ever see.  Dealing with this personality disorder is outside the box for Christians and even for many psychologists. It takes a long-term relationship to identify if a person suffers from Narcissistic personality disorder; meeting the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The complexity of a narcissist makes them interesting to study, infuriating to live with, and the subject of psychological and spiritual scrutiny.

Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Fatal Self-Love:

Toxic Tuesday: Dangerous and Difficult to Identify

toxic-people-warning-keep-calm

 

What does Narcissistic Personality Disorder look like in the Christian Community?

Today I will share about the most dangerous and difficult narcissist to identify: The Covert Narcissist.

You cannot walk into a room and spot someone with N.P.D.—not at a party, not at school, not in your neighborhood and most likely not in your own family. You would never expect it at church so you will not know if your pastor, teacher or leader has N.P. D. by the way they teach; not at first anyway.

When a friend, spouse, colleague or therapist realizes a person has N.P.D., the narcissist will usually let the personality disorder all hang out while in private with these people. In public they keep the ‘normal’ charade up very well and NO ONE would ever believe they have a personality disorder.

To the outside world a narcissistic personality can appear to be an island of stability but in their hidden reality they are surrounded by an ocean of unpredictability, chaos and often sexual addictions. Those with N.P.D. believe they are special, superior and entitled making them above the law, social norms, moral law and scriptural teachings. Please understand they believe all of these to be true, good and beneficial for common people; just not for themselves due to their specialness.

“Covert narcissists are masters of disguise — successful actors, humanitarians, politicians, clergy members, and even psychotherapists who are beloved and appreciated, but are secretly selfish, calculating, controlling, angry and vindictive. Covert narcissists create an illusion of selflessness while gaining from their elevated status. Although they share similar basic traits with the overt narcissist, i.e., the need for attention, affirmation, approval and recognition, they are stealthier about hiding their selfish and egocentric motives. Unlike the overt narcissist who parades his narcissism for all to see, the covert narcissist furtively hides his real motives and identity. These narcissists are able to trick others into believing they are honest, altruistic and empathetic individuals. They are successful at pretending to be a more likable version of themselves, knowing that if their true identity was uncovered, they would not be able to maintain the respect, status and prestige that they have so furtively garnered.” Ross Rosenberg 

 

Watch, listen and learn.

For more on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, toxic people and how to pray your way through such relationships; see earlier Toxic Tuesday posts.

You are not alone and God cares about what you are enduring; so do I.

Toxic Tuesday: Moms’ Night Out—You Need to Laugh

toxic-people-warning-keep-calm

No More Frumpy Mommy ‘Moms’ Night Out’ Challenge Day 5 with Tricia Goyer

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This post is another encouragement to those of you living in a toxic relationship.

I had a mom’s night out last Thursday with my friends, Kim and Michelle. We all needed out of the house; I desperately needed out of the house! No kids, no responsibilities, no house work, no refereeing conflicts among siblings, no endless questions and no meal to cook. We ate dinner out, saw the movie Moms’ Night Out, and afterward went out for yogurt to enjoy a long conversation. Ahhh… *Smile*

It was refreshing! I needed to laugh and Moms’ Night Out provided the source.

I know some mothers who take a moms’ night out once a week, some who take one occasionally and some who rarely if ever take one. Do you have a friend to enjoy a moms’ night out with?

After the movie, Kim reflected on the fact that the husband in this movie was a good sweet husband and was so understanding of his wife’s need to make a break from the house, and from the  kids, for some fun girl time, good food, adult conversation and relaxation.  What about people living in toxic relationships, she asked? They especially need a night out with friends and seeing this movie would definitely provide laughter and encouragement. Kim told me I should write about this on my next Toxic Tuesday blog post.

I agreed!

The mom in the movie had a wonderful husband who treated her with kindness, tenderness, understanding, moral support, love and encouragement. Yet she needed an opportunity to recharge her heart, soul, mind and strength so she could pour positive life into her family members.

What about those of you living in a negative environment where the only thing you might be receiving is love from your children?

What if you have a spouse who criticizes you, often gives you the silent treatment, physically withholds from you, and plays crazymaking games with you?

Do you find you cannot please them even though you are biblically solid and in a daily relationship with the Lord, you are FUN in the bedroom, you are a terrific mom, housekeeper, cook and friend? You do what the Bible teaches regarding being a good spouse. You have implemented applications you read about in Christian marriage books, learned from marriage conferences, gleaned from older godly mentors and read on Christian blogs? Are you still treated as unworthy?

If this is you then please take time to care for yourself. You must pray, asking God for a friend or Bible study group who could be your prayer support and a listening ear when you need it. 

You need time alone with God each day and you also need time to de-stress. You need some simple pleasures specifically for you; even if you have to provide them for yourself.

Here are some examples:

  • A new book to read; for fun (Bought, borrowed, or on loan from the library)
  • A movie to watch after the kids are in bed
  • A new decoration for the house; this can be free by bringing nature inside
  • An aromatic candle to enjoy burning
  • A new piece of jewelry if finances allow
  • A special treat/dessert
  • A cup of your favorite coffee or tea
  • A lunch date with a dear friend
  • A new outfit; try thrift stores if finances are tight—you won’t have to worry about shrinkage because the clothes have already been laundered (Makes me wish all clothes were washed and dried before hitting the store racks)
  • A new CD or time alone to listen to favorite music on the internet
  • A relaxing drive in the country
  • A few moments alone to sit on the back deck/porch uninterrupted
  • A trip to the gym to work off stress
  • An appointment at an upscale salon for a relaxing massage. If you lack physical touch a massage will relieve stress and bring much of your body back in to balance. A massage is an effective way to alleviate depression, anxiety and tension while improving sleep quality. The state of calmness you achieve allows you better coping skills for interacting with your toxic person. Staying calm is essential. The connection between touch and feelings of emotion seem to occur in the limbic brain. The limbic system controls mood and attitude. It sets the emotional tone of the mind and modulates motivation, controls appetite and sleep cycles and promotes bonding. Problems with the system lead to moodiness, irritability and clinical depression. Amen DG. Brain Function and Physiology. Limbic System (controls mood and attitude). Internet. 2003.
  • A relaxing bath
  • Make a grateful list—yes there are things to be grateful for, even in your circumstances
  • A nature walk or walk around your neighborhood
  • Take a nap or enjoy a 5-15 minute rest
  • Go to the library, alone, to sit and read a book or enjoy browsing through magazines
  • Do not over schedule
  • Journal your thoughts, allow God to be your audience when  you journal
  • Call a trusted friend or family member
  • Plant a new flower, bush or plant; or ask a friend/neighbor for leftovers next time they thin their flower beds or garden
  • Make an appointment with a Christian counselor or church staff member
  • Get a dose of outdoor sunlight every day
  • Provide an act of service for someone else
  • Take a walk through an art gallery or history museum; many are free or offer a free day/time
  • Window shop at your favorite shopping destination
  • Visit a local botanical garden or nursery/greenhouse

If you are feeling mentally, physically or spiritually drained it is never too late to make changes that will improve your situation. Begin making simple pleasures a part of your daily routine for the next thirty days and see if it helps you manage your stress factors. Ask a friend to check in on you at the end of each week and inquire about your simple pleasures experiment.

Start with seeing Moms’ Night Out in a theatre near you with a friend or group of friends; or rent it when it when it comes out on DVD or through video streaming to enjoy with a friend over a hot cup of tea or favorite drink.

You need encouragement and you need to laugh!

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Seeing Moms’ Night Out guarantees good medicine.

I had not experienced such unbridled laughter since reading the Pioneer Woman’s, All I Wanted Was a Doughnut.

The thing that made the movie better was the longevity of it.  It was an extra-large jumbo size dose of good medicine and a timely lesson from Bones. (You will have to see the movie to find out about Bones.)

I thought the movie would strictly be a ‘Chick-Flick’ but no; I heard and saw men laughing as uncontrollably as me.

I have never laughed so much, so hard, so loud in any movie. Hysterical laughter, tears from hysterical laughter, snorting from not being able to catch my breath due to hysterical laughter. Side splitting I tell ya!

There you have it. My encouragement for the day: Laugh. Funny movies, funny books, comedians or funny friends; find your funny and take a full measure of it.

word filled linkup