Tuesday, April 24, 2018


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.


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


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


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


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

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the thirteenth 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.

Mem. February 5, 2016

97 O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Father, I love your Word!
I ponder and feed on your word every day.

98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.

Your commands and precepts and word make me wiser than unbelievers,
For your way is eternal and will be mine forever.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.

Father, I have more insight than some of my former teachers,
Your Way and Truth are my daily contemplation.

100 I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.

I grasp more than many believers of all ages,
Because I study and follow your laws and your way of love.

101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.

Father, I keep my eyes and mind and my actions from evil ways,
That I may be true to you and your Word.

102 I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.

I will not and have not drifted away from your teaching,
For You Yourself have touched me and taught me.

103 How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Your words are delicious and nourishing to me!
Yes, sweeter than ice cream to my mouth!

104 From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

Father, from your Word I gain understanding of you;
Therefore I deplore and pray against every false way.

Blessings, Dottie