Thursday, May 17, 2018

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.


Blessings, Dottie

Friday, May 11, 2018

MOTHER - DAUGHTER CLOSENESS

Q. My daughter and I had a good relationship when she was a child, but in her teens she disliked everything I did and became very independent. This was difficult for me, but I knew I had to let go. Now, at age 25, she and I have become good friends again. The problem is this closeness happened after I was diagnosed with cancer. I’m afraid she’s involved out of guilt or duty rather than love, though she seems very loving. What is a normal adult relationship between a mother and daughter? Is it OK for us to be close?

A. One of the many myths about motherhood is the myth that mother - daughter closeness is unhealthy. Children need to learn to take care of themselves. When young they need to learn to dress and feed themselves. As children grow up they need to move out into the world of school and then work. In the process of all this they need to learn to think for themselves and communicate with others.
        
Children need to learn how to relate to others, how to connect, how to maintain relationships. Our society in recent decades has made a virtue out of independence. To be a mature adult we are to assert ourselves, be who we are, do our own thing and not “need” anyone else. 
        
Yet women long for connection and intimacy. We want this not only in our marriage but in all our relationships. A study found that “women do not want to separate from their mothers. They went to keep that relationship authentic and add other strong and close relationships.”  
    
We often mislabel connection and closeness, assuming its dependency. Much has been written about “enmeshed” or “fused” relationships. There is a difference between enmeshment and a healthy close relationship. An enmeshed or dependent relationship is based on an inability to think and act for oneself. In these “fused” relationships there is no room for disagreement, no room for differences of opinion or taste, no room for independent thinking or action.
        
A healthy, close relationship is based on love and trust. There is acceptance of the other person as a separate personality yet there is a loving bond that also unites you. It is a relationship of equals. There is give and take. Differences of opinion are not taken personally. 

We have been sold a bill of goods about the virtue of independence. We are social beings. We thrive when we are in relationships - close relationships. When we are isolated we become emotionally and physically sick. It is normal to want and need closeness.
        
It also is normal to feel sad when we lose a close relationship. It’s normal to feel sad when a child begins school, goes away to camp for the first time or goes off to college. We can feel sad about our loss yet also feel happy and excited about the future ahead for our child. 
        
Your daughter’s decision to be closer to you after you had cancer is OK.  Your illness was “a wake up call” to her that you won’t be with her forever. There is nothing wrong with this. We tend to take our closest relationships for granted until illness or misfortune strike. 
        
You are fortunate to have such a loving, close relationship with your daughter. It’s a precious gift we all want. Enjoy it this Mother’s day.

Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10

Blessings, Dottie





Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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 2018 is this week on Thursday, May 10th. There are accounts of this in Luke and Acts.
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. 
The Scripture account in Luke reports:                              
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. Luke 24:50-52

The Scripture account in Acts 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.” Acts 1:6-12

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Two Book Reviews on Health Remedies

If you’re uncertain about your doctor’s orders for medication, surgery or testing or if they don’t help, you may be interested in these two books. The second one will cure you by dealing with unconscious issues! The first book will teach you ways to improve your health by taking less medication, eliminating toxins and boosting the immune system through diet, exercise, probiotics and supplements.


Natural Remedies for Essential Tremor     

By Donna Gagnon

Natural Remedies for Essential Tremor by Donna Gagnon is chock full of information about remedies other than drugs and surgery that may offer symptom relief for those suffering from essential tremor. Gagnon supplies background information on Essential Tremor and on conventional drugs and surgery treatments and then covers a multitude of natural remedies that will help our health today including food choices and life style choices, eliminating toxins, nutritional supplements, alternate therapies and more. The book is well written and easy to understand plus it is documented with references. At the end of the book Gagnon puts it all together with a step by step plan for implementing lifestyle changes gradually. The information in this book will help all of us be healthier and hopefully will reduce or even eliminate tremors.


The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders

By John Sarno

The Divided Mind by Dr. John Sarno is about the principles and practices of psychosomatic medicine written by a well known doctor who for decades specialized in helping people with back trouble using mindbody methods. Sarno is concerned that medical care in this country is in crisis. He says that over six million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia are being treated by specialists who don’t have a clue about what causes this disorder. The same is true for other disorders. He says there are hundreds of disorders that are psychosomatic. In spite of the prevalence of these disorders psychosomatic medicine is almost unknown today. Instead, doctors treat the symptoms.

Sarno writes the first four chapters in this book – about half of the book. He writes excellent chapters on the history of psychosomatic medicine, and the psychology and treatment of psychosomatic disorders. Case examples amplify his convictions about proper treatment for many people. His treatment involves teaching patients to at least keep an open mind to the fact that their problems are often due to underlying unconscious anger and the pain experienced by patients is to protect them from these feelings of rage. The patients who are open to this are often helped by realizing their unconscious issues and some accept a need for psychotherapy. Their unbearable pain goes away.

The second half of the book is written by six doctors who studied with Sarno and who use his methods. They support with their stories the need for an understanding of psychological needs and childhood or background issues. They include a doctor who specializes in hypertension, one who works in rehabilitation, a rheumatologist, an orthopedic surgeon, a doctor in sports medicine, and a family doctor. All of these doctors have similar stories of success with helping many people who were hopelessly sick prior to using this method. Chapter six by the orthopedic surgeon is terribly long and not well edited. The rest are excellent.

For those of us who recall seeing a family doctor in a leisurely setting in which time was not rushed and the doctor really knew you – I wish many of you could realize what we are missing today with managed care and doctors looking at their computers and doctors pushing medication or surgery for every ill. I know most doctors are caring but are trapped in the system. I hope some doctors will read this and open up their own practice to a kinder, more helpful way of treating illnesses. People need to exercise and eat right and quit most meds

“O Lord, my God, I cried out to you and you healed me.” Psalm 30:3

Blessings, Dottie








Tuesday, April 24, 2018

REASONS TO BELIEVE IN THE CHURCH


This is the twelfth and final in a series of blog posts with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes.


WHY I BELIEVE IN THE CHURCH

By Betty Haynie

The word “church” does not just mean a building, as I am sure you realize. It means the people who have accepted Jesus and are Christ’s “body” on earth, His “church,” spreading His message of love and salvation to all. Christ is the Head and we are all Members of or parts of His body - hence the word “Membership.” If your passion was golf you would need to go to a golf course in order to play, or at least a driving range. The same with bowling - you need a bowling alley and others with whom to bowl. Imagine a Barbershop Chorus where each member decides to stay home and work on their part alone. Hmmm? I don’t think I’d want to hear them sing. As a believer it is imperative to your spiritual growth to belong to a group of believers.

Those who believe in Him are His feet, hands, legs, and fingers serving Him through working together with other believers to accomplish the ministries put before us. A toe or finger cannot do much on its own - but, connected to the body, which is connected to “the Head” it can do its job! That’s why we need to belong to a body of believers. That’s why, when you believe, you must belong to a community with vital beliefs. They become just as much a family as our earthly family does when we are born into this world. Just as our mothers and fathers nurture, protect and care for our needs as babies, our church family nurtures, protects and cares for each of those who are “born” into the family of God.

I am sorry some of you have had bad experiences with church people. BUT… we (the mature church goers) are constantly seeking God and forgiveness and are far from perfect in every way, so please forgive those who behave adversely, in their ignorance, pettiness, whatever..., so that God can forgive you for the times when you may have been less than perfect. Don’t reject the message because of the messenger!

God wants a relationship with you. Of course you can have this by yourself, but most of us would not stick to the course alone. We would tend to revert back to old habits and procrastinate about reading the bible or praying. We need others with whom to bounce around our ideas and to learn from. We need others for love and acceptance. Birds of a feather.......you know the rest. It’s really hard to grow when you have no teachers or examples by which to measure yourself.

The practice of faith is personal as well as private, but we need one another for support and comfort. Real spiritual growth is produced through relationships and community; through loving one another and through your growing relationship with God Almighty! This kind of love is amazing, unselfish, truthful, kind, patient, loyal and more.

All of this in church! Not every one “gets it”! But everyone has the opportunity to!! Some think all they need to do is attend services every once in a while. That doesn’t cut it. You need to become involved! I’m sure you know that the more you put into something the more you get out of it.

Blessings, Betty


WHY I BELIEVE IN THE CHURCH

By Dottie Parish

Jesus began building the church while he was here on earth and he expected us to continue this work. (Matt.16:18) Scripture also urges us “to not give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25) and to “go into all the world” (Mark 16:25) and teach and witness. Jesus also promised the Holy Spirit to guide us.

When I returned to church after years away I was flooded with memories of my childhood and young adult experiences in church. I remembered singing “Jesus Loves Me” as a toddler. I remembered memorizing Bible verses. I remembered the smells of a church, the sounds of a church, the feel of wooden pews, the hymns, the scripture, and all felt precious. I remembered the teachers and youth leaders who had taught me, encouraged me and loved me. I remembered retreats where we sang, talked and learned to pray. I remembered my baptism at age 12 and my teenage joy one Easter in realizing Jesus is alive and is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Before my return to church there had been little music in my life. Now music fills my heart and soul every day and God’s presence brightens each day. As a church member I am no longer alone. I am part of the fellowship of Christ - a loving support group with a great mission. I have meaning and purpose in my life again. What greater cause than doing God’s will can there be? 

At least seven things minister to us and change us when we belong to a vital church. Here’s a short list.

Fellowship. We gain fellowship, like a warm family, a group united in purpose who know us and care about us. We worship with others, their worship encourages ours, and their experiences inform ours. We see people grow spiritually.

Prayer.  We pray together. “When “two or three agree as touching anything on earth.” Coming into God’s presence with others and interceding with and for others in need deepens our own faith and our care for others. Personal prayer is also available as others in church gladly pray for and with us.

Worship. We worship together lifting our voices in praise to God. This is not the same as singing along to a TV service or worshipping in nature (though these can also be valuable). Worshiping with my brothers and sisters in Christ and an open heart to God is life changing and fills us with his Holy Spirit.
                                                                                           
Giving. Giving enriches us. We give our time, money and our energy to build the church, to reach out to spread the Word, and to heal and help those in need.

Confession. Confessing our sins silently in prayer frees us to open our hearts to God and others. When we confess our sin and repent before God he hears us.

Communion. Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is a unique spiritual ritual in which we humble ourselves and give thanks for what Christ has done for us. And we remember that he gave his life for us.

Scripture. The church teaches us and our children the amazing and consistent truths throughout Scripture and that God is holy, loving and true.

Fellowship, Prayer, Worship, Giving, Confessing, Communion, Scripture. We gain spiritual wisdom from each of these things and it changes us. We go out into the world and live our faith, witness to others, and serve others. And we return to our church to keep the fire burning.

There are 100,000 or more Christian churches in the United States. These churches are often the heartbeat of a community. They are centers for charity, children’s teaching, family get togethers, Bible studies and missions around the world. Churches employ hundreds of thousands of people and spend billions of dollars on goods and services. And they fund 1.6 million social programs and gather 7.6 million volunteers.

As Betty said, real spiritual growth is produced through God focused relationships and community; through loving one another and through a deepening relationship with God Almighty! The church changes us and changes the world. Don’t miss out! Join the Church of Jesus Christ!

Blessings, Dottie




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Psych Info: WHAT IS EMOTIONAL MATURITY?


Q. It seems to me that more and more people are emotionally immature.  We hear about road rage, child abuse and outrageous competitive behavior by parents at their children’s soccer games. What is emotional maturity and how can we instill it in our children? 

A. Emotional maturity is lacking in many people today. We are tempted to tell them to “grow up”, if only just saying this would make it happen. William C. Menninger, MD, noted psychiatrist, lists seven Criteria of Emotional Maturity. These are excellent guidelines to judge and guide our quest for maturity in ourselves, and in our children. The comments following each of these are my own understanding and thoughts.

1. The ability to deal constructively with reality. Individuals with this trait are able to face the truth about them self and to see the world realistically.  For example, when given a bad review at work they will remain rational, though inwardly in turmoil. They will attempt to understand and grow from the criticism if it is valid.
   
2. The capacity to adapt to change. Change is inevitable in life. The mature person lets go of the past and moves forward in the direction change takes them. This isn’t necessarily easy even for the mature person, depending on the significance of the change.
   
3. A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties. The emotionally mature person is able to function in the world even though they may have some anxious or tearful times, occasional insomnia or minor physical symptoms. They go to work and do their job in spite of tension or anxiety.
   
4. The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving. Our culture encourages self-centeredness, grabbing for ourselves. Until we learn that giving is more rewarding we remain like children. When we enjoy giving we are kind, gentle and loving with others and with ourselves.
   
5. The capacity to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness. We enjoy working and relaxing with other people and there is mutual give and take in our relationships with others. Again, we connect and enjoy friendships. We are kind, gentle and loving.
   
6. The capacity to sublimate, to direct one’s instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets. I’m not sure I would describe anger as “instinctive hostile energy” but we certainly are born with the God given capacity to get angry. The emotionally mature person has learned to control his anger so it does not do emotional or physical damage to anyone.  After his or her anger has subsided, the emotionally mature person attempts to find a rational, constructive solution to the problem. Though anger may be justified often forgiveness goes the second mile.
   
7. The capacity to love. Love is not a feeling. It’s how we behave toward others. Love is the action we take no matter how we feel. A sick child wakes us at night and we stay up and nurse the child though we certainly don’t feel like it. The apostle Paul defines love in this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”  Read I Corinthians 13 for Paul’s complete description of love. 
   
How can we help our children grow toward emotional maturity? Children learn from our behavior as well as from our words. If we lovingly model emotional maturity they will learn this from us. We must understand that their growth toward maturity is a slow process. We must be patient and accept their immaturity while applauding each sign that they are becoming more emotionally mature. We need to be patient with ourselves in our own growth to maturity also. No one meets these criteria perfectly or all the time.

“Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, April 12, 2018

CARING FOR A DYING LOVED ONE


Q. My sisters and I are taking turns caring for our elderly mother who is very sick and not expected to recover. She has been declining for the past year and requires a great deal of care. It bothers me that my sisters talk about Mom as though she were already dead. I guess we’re all wishing she would die soon because we’re worn out by her care. I feel terrible for having said that but that’s how I’m feeling. What can I do to handle this better?

 A. You and your sisters are already grieving the loss of your mother.  This kind of grief is called “anticipatory grief.” It’s a normal part of the grief process which occurs when a person lingers for months on end.  Our minds are preparing us for the loss. 
    
Caring for an elderly, dying family member is often overwhelming for the caregivers. They love their family member and want to provide care but the added responsibilities along with the emotions involved, create major stress. Caregivers continue to meet the needs in their own families and many also have full time jobs. As a result marriages suffer from neglect and time for oneself is only a fleeting memory. 
    
It’s no wonder you find yourself wishing for your mother to hurry up and die. This does not indicate a lack of care for her. In fact, it may be a sign of your love for her since the quality of her life is minimal now.  Here are some things you and your sisters can do that will help.
    
1.  Allow yourselves to grieve, each in your own way. Be accepting of each other’s grieving styles. Grieving isn’t a one time event, it’s a process. Though grieving is painful it will relieve some of the stress you’re under. Face your Mom’s coming death and let your tears flow as you feel the sadness. 

2. Grieve together. Share your tears with your husband, your sisters, other close family members and close friends. Talk about your concerns and fears about her care. Don’t ignore any issue. However, don’t dwell only on the pain and the problems. Talk also about happy and humorous memories of your loved one.
    
3. If your mother is mentally alert, talk with her about her dying. Listen for her to bring this up or gently do so yourself. It can relieve the dying person to know you are facing this loss and accepting her passing. It may even give her permission to stop fighting for life when there is no hope. 
    
4. Tell your Mom how much you love her and what you appreciate about her. Ask her for forgiveness for ways you’ve hurt her and tell her you have forgiven her for any hurts she’s caused you. Settle all accounts with her. It will help you both. Tell her all this even if you’re not sure she can now understand you. Her spirit will hear you.
    
5. Take time off from caring for your Mom without feeling guilty. If you’re attempting to help on a daily basis over a lengthy period of time, ask other family members or close friends to relieve you for a day or two each week. Maintain outside interests. Make time for yourself and for your marriage.

6. Share your pain with God. We are conditioned to pray for health and healing so it seems some how wrong to ask God to take our loved one. But it’s not. God knows our hearts and accepts our deepest emotions. 
    
7. Hang onto your faith. We don’t understand God’s ways. Ask him to help you through these tough times.  Psalm 23 can help also. 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4

Blessings, Dottie