Thursday, June 22, 2017

SISTER BLOG PICTURES

Blog Readers: Just in case you missed my Facebook postings about my Sisters Blog I’m reposting pictures here of my sister and me together as children. We're writing a series on REASONS TO BELIEVE. See link at the end.


Here's my sister, Betty HaynieWe were opposites as kids and still are. She was an extrovert, loud, and spontaneous. I was an introvert, quiet and reflective. We did skate, ride bikes, hunt fire flies and enjoy vacations together as kids. But we were not close as kids or even as young adults. We enjoyed yearly family reunions while our children (in stair steps) were babies to teens. Since 1990, our love, enjoyment and understanding of each other has grown and blossomed as has our faith. 


Betty                         Dottie



Betty is on the left and I’m on the right in each of the pictures. We were not twins though dressed alike in the pictures and often mistaken as twins. Aren’t we cute?






We’re a bit older and I’ve lost a few teeth!



It’s winter and we have new snow outfits. Are those muffs? Or are we making snow balls?


Dottie: “This picture is unusual as I’m the quiet one. Yet it looks like I’m talking and Betty has her mouth clamped shut. No smiles here. But I do have my arm around her neck. Also Mom must have braided her hair but not mine!! And we’re dressed like twins again. (I’m the older sister, folks.)

Betty: "Where on earth did you get this one? I never saw it before. The reason your hair isn’t in braids is that your hair is so curly and beautiful. I had braids until I was 10 so I guess I’m not there but you are."

The Sister Blog with Betty and Dottie began here on Reasons I Believe in God.We will continue our story on July 4th or so.

Blessings, Betty and Dottie

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

PSYCH INFO: wHAT IS NORMAL?

 WHAT IS NORMAL

Q. I have never felt I was a normal person. Other people seem to be happier, more self-confident and better organized. I wonder about what is normal because my mother was mentally ill throughout my childhood. My Christian faith has helped me and I’ve had some counseling about this but I still wonder, am I normal? Can you give me some guidelines to tell me what is normal?

A. There are two definitions of normal. We are normal when free from a mental disorder; when not paranoid, not psychotic, not schizophrenic, not psychopathic, and not neurotic. By definition also, we are normal if we behave the way most of us behave; if we conform to what society expects of us.

There is a wide range of what is normal. Two people can be very different from each other but both can still be normal. We are all crippled or neurotic or abnormal in some way yet most of us are normal in most ways. With these ideas in mind here’s my definition of a normal person:
         
It is normal to have problems, struggles and difficulties in life. Normal people have days when they feel depressed or overwhelmed or dissatisfied. Normal people are not perfect. We fail at things. We lack confidence. We make mistakes. We forget. We procrastinate. We make excuses. We do dumb things. We have flaws. 
         
A normal person is in touch with a variety of feelings and can express these feelings in appropriate ways. A normal person has feelings of anger, sadness or fear in certain situations. A normal person is neither overly dependent nor overly independent. A normal person needs attention, connection and affection from others. A normal person also enjoys time alone. A normal person is able to adapt to changes, able to cooperate, able to be flexible. A normal person is able to be assertive when appropriate; able to set limits, doesn’t tolerate abuse.
                                                                                            
A normal person has awareness of the needs of others, cares about others and gives of themselves to others. A normal person also pays attention to their own needs. A normal person spends some time at work and some time at play. A normal person is interested in life and enjoys a variety of activities.

When life is difficult a normal person does not go to extremes. Even when very upset inwardly, a normal person keeps some perspective on their life and realizes that they will survive. A normal person does not become self-destructive or suicidal, or withdrawn. A normal person does not explode with out of control anger or become paralyzed with fear. A normal person does not turn to drugs or alcohol or some other addiction to solve their problems. A normal person maintains some emotional balance even in the midst of a crisis. A normal person also will recognize when they need to ask for help from others.

In view of your background it’s no wonder you are uncertain about what is normal. Your mother’s illness prevented her from modeling what is normal and kept her from affirming your worth. I hope these ideas will give you some reassurance and help you believe in yourself. You need to stop comparing yourself to others. We are each unique. Also, when we compare our insides to others outsides we are bound to come up short. Learn to love who you are. And remind yourself that God loves you. If your doubts continue, further Christian counseling can help.

“God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.” 1 John 4:17

Blessings, Dottie




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the fourth section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. This is an amazing chapter to meditate on and learn to rest in his Word.

Daleth
25 My soul cleaves to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.

Dear Father,
When my soul is way down you do revive me as your Word promises. This was true a few days ago. I was given the run around in a doctor’s office. You helped me process this and give it all to you. I was surprised how quickly I could let it go. Thank you, Lord.

26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.

Dear Father, I do tell you about my days and ways, my thoughts and questions and you answer me. Teach me Your statutes, I’m eager to learn and there’s much I don’t know. Show me when I fail to follow your statutes.

27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.

Dear Father, Help me be clear about the way of your precepts. It would be good if you would force me to listen. I don’t think you do this. I hope You will patiently and gently show me or teach me what I need to know. Then I will meditate on your wonders – more than ever before.

28 My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

Dear Father, My soul weeps in grief over friends and loved ones who are sick or facing difficulty. I grieve over my relatives who don’t know you even though they were raised in church. I grieve over our PC world – so anti-Christian. Strengthen me to hang onto your Joy in the midst of this fallen, sick world.

29 Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law.

Father, Don’t let me ever take the false way again. I was on that path for way too long. I know you graciously have shown me Your way, the way of Your law. Keep me on it.

30 I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.

Father, I have chosen your faithful way since 1990. Since then I have followed your ordinances, learning them and studying them and listening to you and your followers so I would learn more.

31 I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!

Dear Father, I cling to you and to your testimonies, your law, your word. Hold me close to you and don’t bring shame on me. Forgive my failures as you have done in the past and keep me growing in your ways.

32 I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart.

Father, I will run as fast as I can in the direction of your commands. I walk a mile or more daily on the treadmill and hope I “run” that fast and that often in the way of your commandments. You have and will enlarge my heart. That’s a delightful thought!

Blessings, Dottie



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

REASONS TO BELIEVE IN GOD

1. REASONS TO BELIEVE IN GOD
I’m beginning a series of blogs with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts may be helpful to those who don’t believe in God. Betty wrote down her beliefs in detail several years ago. I’ll post her thoughts monthly and add my thoughts and beliefs to each one. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes. We have some differing views but agree on the basics. She writes with wit and joy. Here’s the beginning.
                                                                                 
WHY I BELIEVE IN GOD
By Betty Haynie

There have been times in my life when I was unable to say with certainty that God really existed. I wanted to believe it because the alternative was unthinkable to me. But finding true belief took many years in spite of being brought up in a Christian home and in spite of the influence of my father, grandfather, cousin and two brother-in-laws in the ministry.

The age-old question of whether there is A God, or several gods, or no god at all comes to each of us at some time or other during our life and demands an answer. History tells us that people have sought a god or many gods from the beginning of time.

As a kid in a preacher’s family, I spent the prescribed number of years earning Sunday school pins (for attending), and going to Vacation Bible School, youth groups and Christian camps. I was baptized by immersion at age 11 because “it was time.” I knew I loved Jesus and had offered Him my life, but I really didn’t know what it meant.

At a Christian camp when I was 16, I re-dedicated my life to the Lord and had a little better idea of what it meant by then. But I was a teenager and, typically, had other priorities (like boys and friends). By the time I was a mother I began to want God closer. I felt totally inadequate for such an awesome responsibility and called on God a lot. I continued going to church because it was “the thing to do,” but it really didn’t mean much. I wanted to set a good example by going to church. Many times I went just because it was a job, (as a paid soloist or choir director) not because I wanted to worship. I still didn’t really “get it”!!

Something was missing in my life. I knew that, but I had no clue what “IT” was. I suggested to my husband that we should do something significant together as a family for the world, to make a difference! His response was “We could take up skiing as a family.” I was thinking more along the lines of us going to Africa to be missionaries, joining the Peace Corp or something like that. Not that being a mother was unsatisfying. On the contrary - I loved it. But “something” remained missing.....until 1990.

I believe we are each born with a God-shaped void, which we may spend a life-time trying to fill. We try to fill that space with things other than God, and since it is God-shaped, nothing else fits. Whatever you love and decide you can’t do without, IS your god and your master. Many people try to fill this void with alcohol, work, shopping, possessions, etc. You get the idea. These things do not satisfy, they leave a void; they are not God and they don’t fit the hole in your soul.

I decided that there had to be a higher power, if only to create this world with its precise axial tilt, its exact distance from the sun to keep us at livable climates and temperatures; its balance of gases that enable us to breathe and live; the ability of trees and other plants to give off what we need; and the proper gravitational pull to keep us upright and grounded, but able to move easily.

I’m constantly amazed at the intricate and complex systems that comprise the human being (not to mention all the wonderful animals); the amazing, majestic mountains and the deep, mysterious oceans which could not have occurred by accident. There had to be a creative designer. The odds of this happening “by chance” are impossible - mathematically off the charts!!

I came to the conclusion that, not only does a God exist, but that He had to be the Creator of our world; and designer of our universe - that God, and God alone designed everything that is in it - from amoebas to giant redwoods; from microscopic bacteria to gigantic whales.

I realized that the only God who claimed to be the Creator of the Universe, who claimed to leave us a “guide book,” and who claimed He sent His Son to die for us, is the One who deserves my allegiance and adoration. And as it turns out, this God loves me and wants a relationship with ME!! How cool is that? He wants intimacy with me. We are on a first-name basis. He is not just some abstract higher power; He is more than simply “spirit.” He IS ALMIGHTY GOD, who loves me more than I can imagine and who is with me always - my friend and Savior.

Blessings, Betty

WHY I BELIEVE IN GOD
By Dottie Parish

As Betty described we grew up in a Pastor’s family and went to church and Sunday school and more. I was baptized by immersion at age 12 and it was very meaningful to me. As a teen-ager I knew God in a very personal way. And I stayed close to him and to church through college and after. But I drifted away from him in graduate school. I didn’t plan it. While in grad school I remember thinking anger was a sin. In my classes I learned that it is normal to be angry – so it’s not a sin. I also didn’t find a church. (Drifting is dangerous - it takes you places without you choosing your direction.)

After graduate school I met and married my husband and we didn’t go to church. I no longer believed in the God I had so loved and who so loved me.  After our second child arrived we went with our kids to a Unitarian Fellowship. We found there an educated group of secular humanists. This was our “spiritual home” for more than ten years. We quit going there when the Unitarian teen-agers were more liberal than we were.

  Here are the four characteristics of humanism:
1. The only knowledge is scientific—fact based.
2. Independence and happiness is the prime goal of life—do whatever you want.
     3. Self indulgence, even narcissistic hedonism is approved.
     4. Morals are an individual or cultural choice; there are no absolutes, no right or wrong.

The Methodists in contrast based their beliefs on Scripture, experience, reason and tradition with Scripture the mainstay. We do have a reasonable faith.

We didn’t recognize it, but the beliefs of humanism were our beliefs at the time though we wouldn’t have said we approved of hedonism. We denied the God shaped void, Betty mentioned. I had a good marriage, three beautiful children and a fascinating career. I thought that was all I needed. My former Christian life resembled a boarded-up, abandoned building; a building unsuited for me. I wanted to forget the days I lived there. We enjoyed our family and our careers. Unlike Betty, I didn’t think anything was missing in my life. I thought I was happy and in many ways I was.

Years went by. Our kids grew up. In the late eighties, with the death of friends and a nephew, I removed a plank or two from my boarded up heart. I began praying again. I read Shirley McLain books and thought “spiritual” thoughts. I thought of God as a force. Bible verses slipped out from the cracks that were no longer boarded up. "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10). "My soul glorifies the Lord." (Luke1:46). The refrain from Godspell, "To see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, Follow Thee more nearly, day by day," invaded a corner of my thoughts. Glimmers of faith flickered in my mind. We have souls, God is a loving force. I do remember wondering if I could ever go back to true belief in the God of the Bible. I found out in 1990 I could!! After 35 years away.

“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” Proverbs 11:28 The Message

“Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.” Proverbs 11:28 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

P.S. Watch for HOW & WHY I BECAME A TRUE BELIEVER in early July from Betty and Dottie.





Tuesday, May 30, 2017

THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH

This Sunday is the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church. Most Christians know that the birth of the church occurred on the day of Pentecost, but I suspect most Christians don’t know what Pentecost meant to the Jewish people at that time. 


Pentecost was a Jewish festival fifty days after Passover. Pentecost celebrated the giving of the law to Moses and two loaves were offered to God in gratitude for the harvest. The Jewish law required that no work be done on the day of Pentecost. Crowds of Jews gathered in Jerusalem from various countries to celebrate this Jewish festival.


At the Ascension Jesus ordered the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. Just wait. Waiting is not easy for most of us but they obeyed. Scripture says:


“They all joined together constantly in prayer.” (Acts1:14)


There were 120 believers gathered together including the disciples, and other followers both men and women and Jesus brothers. They prayed for ten days! Perhaps this is a lesson to us that we need to pray more in order for the church to be in tune with and full of Holy Spirit power.


On the day of Pentecost the disciples were in the upper room praying. Scripture says:


When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4


Hearing the noise, a crowd gathered. Peter preached to the throng of people. He gave a powerful, convicting message explaining that Jesus was the Christ and was crucified, died and rose again. He was seen by many witnesses for forty days and then He ascended to the right hand of God and sent the promised Holy Spirit.


When the people heard Peter’s message, “they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off— for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:38-41


Following this “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer….And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42, 2:47)


As a result, of this small group of Holy Spirit empowered men and women, within a century half the then-known world came to Christ.


There is so much more in the first two chapters of Acts. Read all of it today; learn more and be inspired by the birthday of the Church. And vow to spend more time in prayer and in the Word.


Lord, We thank you for the Church united in Him!


Blessings, Dottie



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ascension Day

High and Lifted Up!
Scripture tells us that forty days after Jesus resurrection, that is, forty days after Easter, He ascended to heaven. This means that Ascension Day 2017 is this week on Thursday, May 25th. There are accounts of this in Luke and Acts.The Scripture account in Luke reports:


Luke 24:50- 52 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continuously at the temple, praising God.

Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus met His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Imagine their excitement, believing that now Jesus would establish His kingdom on earth and fulfill the great promise the Jews had clung to for centuries. Christ would be king, not just of Israel but of the whole world. Then the moment was upon them; their beloved Jesus was with them. Acts 1:6-12 then reports:

They asked Him,” Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times of dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood before them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

We need to take note today of this amazing event in history. Barclay says, “The Ascension was an absolute necessity. There had to be a final moment when Jesus was taken back to the glory that was his.” Barclay notes that the end of his resurrection appearances had to come to a definite end rather than just peter out. Also he says, “If Jesus was to give his followers unanswerable proof that he had returned to glory the Ascension was absolutely necessary.”

There is much to ponder about this amazing event in history when Jesus
returned to glory. And He’s coming back!

Blessings, Dottie







ASCENSION DAY

High and Lifted Up!
Scripture tells us that forty days after Jesus resurrection, that is, forty days after Easter, He ascended to heaven. This means that Ascension Day 2017 is this week on Thursday, May 25th. There are accounts of this in Luke and Acts.The Scripture account in Luke reports:


Luke 24:50- 52 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continuously at the temple, praising God.

Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus met His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Imagine their excitement, believing that now Jesus would establish His kingdom on earth and fulfill the great promise the Jews had clung to for centuries. Christ would be king, not just of Israel but of the whole world. Then the moment was upon them; their beloved Jesus was with them. Acts 1:6-12 then reports:

They asked Him,” Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times of dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood before them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

We need to take note today of this amazing event in history. Barclay says, “The Ascension was an absolute necessity. There had to be a final moment when Jesus was taken back to the glory that was his.” Barclay notes that the end of his resurrection appearances had to come to a definite end rather than just peter out. Also he says, “If Jesus was to give his followers unanswerable proof that he had returned to glory the Ascension was absolutely necessary.”

There is much to ponder about this amazing event in history when Jesus
returned to glory. And He’s coming back!

Blessings, Dottie