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Dont’ forget the ABC’s

Originally Posted on The Whatever Girls site.

Looking back to when my kids were little I remember one to the big milestones was hearing them successfully sing their ABC’s. Oh how I loved the sounds of their sweet voices as they sang that song.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 6.50.51 AMI remember how important it seemed that they knew their alphabet before going in to kindergarten. Now that they have grown I see there is something far more important that we need to teach our children than the standard ABC’s that we all think of.

We need to be teaching our children the most important ABC’s. The ABC’s of God.

At this point you are probably wondering what I am talking about. Let me explain…

A: Always remember to say your prayers. Teaching our children the power of prayer is so important. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons they have. Life is not always going to be easy and when we teach our children that they can find wisdom, strength and hope in prayer you equip them with the means to withstand the storms of life. When we teach them to pray we give them a way to find the answers to some of life hardest questions they will be sure to face.

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The thankful children in Nicaragua

BBe thankful: We live in a world that tells us we should want more things. Like “things” are really the answer to happiness. I heard one of my daughter’s friends say after a mission to Nicaragua, that she watched a child play with a deflated soccer ball and a broken truck that he had found. What spoke to my daughters friend was that he was just happy to just have something to play with. We need to teach our children to be thankful for what really matters. We need to teach them to give thanks for food in their stomachs, a roof over their heads, or that they have a single toy to play with. Teaching them to be thankful for friends, laughter, and whatever they have leads to a happy heart.

C: Christ is the ticket…..Christ is the truth, Christ is life, Christ is love. We need our children to understand the importance of a relationship with Him. He is someone they can always count on. They need to understand His forgiveness and how important they are to Him. We need to teach them that nothing the world offers will ever give them what Christ can give them. If there is only one thing you give your children, give them a firm foundation in Christ!

1661772_587282591349065_1148364347_nA child who prays, who gives thanks and who is shown the importance of relationship with Christ will have a much happier life. As parents we need to spend more time teaching our children what really matters….

 

When they learn the ABC’s of God, everything else falls in place.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 KJV

Rejoice always, (Always) pray continually, give thanks (Be thankful) in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.(Christ is the ticket)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Don’t forget the ABC”s

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Beautiful: My Story

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Thank you to “Photos by Heather”

By Taler Ray

Photo Credit: “Photos by Heather”

We all long to feel beautiful and somehow those 9 letters are the epitome of worth to most women around the world. Have you ever thought about how important in essence the word beautiful is? This word either empowers or destroys. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there, we probably all have and if we are honest we base our level beauty and worth by what culture says. Today we have social media, magazines, commercials etc. to thank for “idols” that clearly and visually, state clearly how little our hearts and passions matter.  Because to the world we are how we look the definition of who we are depends on it.  But friends….”beautiful” really isn’t an adjective that supports the noun. Being beautiful is a verb.

Beauty by social standard has destroyed and woman’s heart and I am a victim. 

Unknown-5Yes, I finally said it. I have been a victim of society and the media when it comes to feeling beautiful, but not until recently did I realize how deep these influences have affected my heart. For so many years I have tried to pretend I knew what it felt like to love myself, to feel completely confident and pretty-but I was so very wrong. My standards of beauty have been skewed by the world and the devil. He is always seeking to destroy. I have struggled with my weight and outer body image my whole life, but didn’t address it. Instead I allowed the devil to capitalize on my insecurities but worse was the denial that covered them.

I neglected the aching in my heart to feel beautiful and shoved my insecurity to the depths of my soul, hoping no one would ever find it

But, Jesus did. He found & revealed them. Jesus dug out my deepest insecurities and put them on display. Ultimately, he showed me that I failed to realize that my struggle with being beautiful was keeping me from being the truest version he created. I had been lying to myself for years, but lie I will no more.

Being pre-diabetic since high school, I have never really been healthy. Loosing weight was hard, no matter how healthy I ate. Returning from my first year of college heavier and more in denial than ever I was headed for type 2 diabetes which is hereditary. I knew that I had to make a change, but I just felt trapped in these chains of self-pity, guilt and frustration. I started baby steps and took the advice of my dear friend Claire and started approaching exercise totally different. As an act of worship. It was during one of my runs in early May that I finally surrendered my burden of self-image to Jesus. I surrendered the lies that Satan and culture. My chains were broken and set free through Jesus.

Being broken is not fun, and I am slowly beginning to be made “WHOLE” in the Lord. For so many years I had failed to understand that my body is a temple and when I neglect it, I neglect my relationship with Jesus. Following him means I must also honor my body; for it I do not I am dishonoring the Holy Spirit whom dwells within me. I’m learning that only when I surrender my flesh can I begin to be shaped into something new.  The new that is revealed through God’s glory and grace.

I love the message version of 1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20 which says

“Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

As I close I can admit that for so long I let my insecurities and society define me as unworthy of being a beautiful creation. But through the convictions, trials and triumph I can hear the Creator whisper to me, saying:

Beloved, you are my masterpiece.”Unknown-3

Choose to live life as a beautiful verb because we are not called to let others define our worth. We are called to live as he has defined us: beloved. 

In Christ Jesus,

Taler Ray

To read more of Taler’s awesome posts you can go to a New Adventure Each Day.  God has his hand on this young lady and I look forward to having her back again to share her wisdom.

Thank you to “Photos by Heather”  or on Facebook

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Trusting God in the evil of the world

My heart has been so heavy as I see the news of women being raped and children being beheaded.  Photos of the violence tells a story that many don’t want to have to think about.  People with guns to their backs and their heads is hard to look at.  I saw a photo of the smoking guns that were fired in an act of evil on Facebook.

This violence is happening and yet so many are not even aware of it and if they are they seem to say nothing about it.  We get upset, we mourn and we share the tragic stories of celebrities.  We are quick to hit the share button, the favorite button and the re-tweet button when a celebrity speaks.  I saw a post last night about people being mad at Rosanne Barr for making a tweet about Robin Williams actually being alive.  She used the death of an amazing actor as a joke for her gain and people were outraged.  I think they should be. It is not a joke. A man died and that should never be taken lightly.  For that matter the deaths of those by the ISIS group should not be taken lightly either but it seems to be getting sweep under the rug.  Rosanne made an out of line remark in regards to Robin Williams and it hits the social media sites.  People got fired up about it. Yet, hundreds of people are raped, shot, and beheaded and we seem to accept it like that is just part of life.  Among these people are children. Innocent children and we hear very little about it.

Why is it that we can so easily accept the fact that someone can be killed for his or her religious beliefs?

I have been praying for those who are faced with persecution. I have been praying the God would supernaturally take the pain away that they are facing. That He would give them strength that only He can give as they face the evil acts of violence.  I pray the God is would catch the tears of the women who are raped and that He would comfort the parents who mourn the loss of their children.

In my humanness it is easy to question God.  I know I should not question because God because He is in control but it is hard not to. Thankfully God knows I will fall short from time to time.  Why? I ask Him.  Why is this happening to people who put their faith in you?  Why are you letting this happen God?  I pray that they are given a special crown when they enter the gates of heaven.  I pray for the violence to stop. I pray that people would get fed up and say something.  I pray that our Government would do more.  I pray and I seek for answers as to why evil happens.

Today I choose to open my bible and read whatever page I landed on. Habakkuk 3 was where I landed.  It is a prayer by Habakkuk the prophet and something I have never read before.  God never stops amazing me.  Here I am after days of praying and questioning and all I had to do was open the bible and let it speak to my heart.

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; 
 in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens
 and his praise filled the earth.

His splendor was like the sunrise; 
rays flashed from his hand,
 where his power was hidden. 

Plague went before him;
 pestilence followed his steps.

He stood, and shook the earth;
 he looked, and made the nations tremble.
 The ancient mountains crumbled
 and the age-old hills collapsed—
 but he marches on forever. 

I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
 the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
 Was your wrath against the streams?
 Did you rage against the sea
 when you rode your horses
 and your chariots to victory?

You uncovered your bow, you called for many arrows.
 You split the earth with rivers;

The mountains saw you and writhed.
 Torrents of water swept by;
 the deep roared
 and lifted its waves on high 

Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
 at the glint of your flying arrows,
 at the lightning of your flashing spear 

In wrath you strode through the earth
 and in anger you threshed the nations. 

You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
 you stripped him from head to foot.

With his own spear you pierced his head
 when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
 gloating as though about to devour
 the wretched who were in hiding.

You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters.

I heard and my heart pounded, 
my lips quivered at the sound;
 decay crept into my bones, 
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.

Though the fig tree does not bud
 and there are no grapes on the vines,
 though the olive crop fails 
and the fields produce no food, 
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
 he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
 he enables me to tread on the heights.  (NIV)

Habakkuk’s prayer was praising God for answering his questions. God showed him that evil wouldn’t triumph forever. God is in control and this reminded me that we can always trust Him to vindicate those who are faithful to him. God will ratify the evil that his people have faced. I believe that God will give those who suffer because of their belief in Christ the strength to make it through the difficult times. I am not saying I can accept what is happening to them as okay, I am just saying I believe that God is with them.

The notes in my NIV study bible said this: “God will give his followers surefooted confidence through difficult times.  They will run like deer across rough and dangerous terrain.  At the proper time, God will bring about His justice and completely rid the world of evil.  In the mean time, God’s people need to live in the strength of his spirit, confident in His ultimate victory over the world”.   It also said, “Habakkuk saw his own limitations in contrast to God’s unlimited control of all the world’s event.  God is alive and in control of the world and it’s events.  We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do.  But we can be assured that he is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world”. (NIV Life Application bible, Page 1479)

That was just what I needed today as I tried to wrap my mind around the evil that is happening. My heart still breaks that society and social media has such a skewed idea of what is really important. I will continue to pray that what breaks God’s heart would break the heart’s of people too. I will pray that more people will speak out against evil and I will trust with all my heart that God is in control. I will trust that God will vindicate those that were harmed by evil.  That He will ratify the wrong.  In God’s perfect timing He will have victory over evil.

I WILL TRUST GOD IN THE EVIL OF THIS WORLD.

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The Real Housewives: Suzanne Niles

“He is the only one who can rescue us from our sinful self and fulfill us with love that no one else can.  I could be in a room filled with people I love, but if I didn’t have Christ I would be lost and empty.  He is truly everything to me.  I can’t say that I came to this overnight, but I will say that over the years, God has continued to be faithful to transform me into who He wants me to be for Him”- Suzanne Niles

Let me introduce you to my friend Suzanne Niles. Suzanne has been married to an awesome man named Bob for 36 years. High school sweethearts, still in love, and by the grace of God they have 3 spirit filled children, a daughter in law that shines for Jesus and a grand baby on the way. I have thanked God so many times for this amazing women. If I had to choose one person that has affected my life the most, it would be her.

Suzanne studied at Moody Bible Institute and Fullerton College. She also has one amazing sold out life for the Lord. God has used her in media in so many ways for His kingdom. She was a mom first, but as her kids became more Suzanne Headshotindependent, Suzanne said her husband asked, “If you could do anything what would that be?”  She replied, “Hum… I would like to do Public Relations”.

Suzanne told me that it could only have been the leading of God because she had never thought that or desired it nor did she have any experience in that area whatsoever!  “Who in their right mind would hire someone with no PR skills to do PR?  Little did I know the great plans God had” said Suzanne.

When God decides to call someone into something nothing can stop Him. Before long, she was getting asked to promote local businesses and artists. What she saw as a hobby became the training for what God had planned for the future. Never underestimate what God has planned for you. The Billy Graham Association needed someone to handle Communications and Media in her hometown for a Franklin Graham Crusade and God knew Suzanne was ready for that. She says, “I had ten wonderful ‘volunteer’ months where I truly grew in my knowledge of this area”.  That was the open door to an amazing line up of jobs that God has used for His kingdom.

Here are just a few of the other things she has done in media. World Compassion/Terry Law Ministries used her talents for a local event.  She has been asked to book a famous actor (a believer) into speaking engagements, done some casting, written articles for an online magazine and she has been asked to speak at various events. Along the way, ~9350897 (2)she has met some of the most amazing Christians.  Suzanne also did her share of acting over the years.  Here she is in a show I am guessing many are familiar with.

Today, Suzanne working for The Salvation Army Vision Network and God continues to use her.  She has covered not only PR and promotions, but Suzanne was an associate producer on a soon to be released documentary titled “Hard Corps”.

Suzanne is also a member of the Christian Women in Media Association which is an organization made up of women who “impact our culture in media”.

Suzanne faced the hard job of balancing a family and a carrier that came as her kids got older. I asked her if she had any advice for women who find themselves trying to balance the two.

  • “Be certain of what God has called you to”.  Really seek God in prayer for direction.
  • “While your children are young, they are your mission field.  The time you have with your children will fly by quicker than you could ever imagine and if you are anything like me, you will wish you could go back in time and do it all over again!  As they grow, they will need you to pray and help them stay on the narrow path in a world that begs them to follow a wide and dangerous road.

I ask every woman in this series to give me her favorite verse. Suzanne gave me 2 verses and the first one is why I am able to say she is the person who has affected my life the most.

 Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”.

“What an invitation.  I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t RSVP for this immediately, going to God in prayer and hearing amazing things from the heart of the Lord” is what Suzanne says in regards to this verse. It was her boldness in the Lord that led me to RSVP to this invitation.  God used Suzanne to bring me to a new life.  Her second verse is Isaiah 53:5

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

Suzanne is just one more amazing real housewife of God’s kingdom. She may be working in the social media world, her job may have her in the Hollywood scene from time to time but she keeps her feet firmly planted in Lord and not in the world. She is the reality of the women in my world. She is not what the networks try to push on us as the reality in their real housewives of some city series that they are running.

For more information on the Salvation Army and the work they do in the name of Jesus Christ log on to www.savn.tv. You can find out how you can help and even volunteer to work alongside them to bring the gospel to a world that so desperately needs Jesus.

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From 0-to-Irrational in under 10 seconds

From 0-to-Irraitonal in under 10 seconds is my latest post on Living Better 50 magazine.  It is my real life example of how letting fear take control can drive you right into one big mess.  62707_680487478629774_1537285299_n

Fear led me to say one of the most irrational and mean things to my husband.  Thankfully he is full of forgiveness and grace.  I am almost embarrassed to admit I did this but I am willing to share it if it will keep someone from loosing control.  To see how dangerous fear can me and how we have the authority over it just click on this link….From 0-to-Irrational in under 10 seconds on Living Better 50+ magazine. 

 

LB50ContributorSQ

 

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