God Has Placed Helping Others Upon My Heart

God has placed helping others upon my heart. While I am NOT an expert in any of these areas, I have experienced many of them. By the grace of God I am an overcomer. It is a daily struggle but I trust in Him to get me through one day at a time. He has brought me through so much in my 58 years of life; He can and will do same for you if you will allow Him.

As a child, I led a normal life with the exception that I felt closer to my dad than my mom. At the age of 13 I discovered that my mom was not my birth mother. Truly it did not matter, as she always loved me as her own. My only regret is that my parents had not been honest with my step-brother (I call him brother to this day) and I sooner.

When I was a baby, 1-1/2 years old, my biological mother left my two half-brothers and I with my dad to be with another man. Granted I was too small to remember, but my half-brothers were older. After approximated six weeks following her departure, my dad took my two half-brothers to their maternal grandmother’s house a short distance away from where we lived. We were not to see one another until I was 19 years old.

My mom, the one who raised me, married my dad when I was 4 years old. She brought with her my brother with whom I was raised. We had a fairly normal life. We were a happy family. About two weeks before my 13th birthday I was caught shoplifting at our local mall. I had been shoplifting for close to two years by this time. Honestly, I was glad that I was caught. I knew right from wrong and it ate me up inside. You see God has created all of us with the need to worship. Who or what we choose to worship is our choice.  Praise and worship seems to be universal. Have you ever heard of an explorer finding a new tribe or culture that doesn’t worship? Worship is a natural instinct and a basic need for every person. A simple definition of worship is to regard with great devotion or to honor as a divine being. Take a second to think about what you are most devoted to in this life and ask yourself, “Is it worthy of my devotion; do I worship a divine being?”

We don’t all worship the same God, but everyone worships something or someone. Since we all worship, we should question the reason for this desire. The most logical conclusion is that we were created by a higher being for the very purpose of worship. Addiction is a worship problem.

The ongoing quest of man is to find answers to the fundamental questions of human origin, human nature, and human destiny. There is one book that has the answers to all these questions, including our questions about worship. The Bible is the wonderful and mysterious book that God has chosen as a way to communicate with us. God loves you and will not force you to love Him back. That’s genuine love.

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.

In the weeks to follow I will be sharing more of my journey thus far with you in hopes that God will touch your life and lead you to a relationship with Him. He never promises that we won’t go through trials and suffering, but if you are truly a child of God, He promises to get you through it. Jesus teaches us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I implore you to give Him chance. You will NEVER regret it.

Please feel free to contact me through this website, confidentially of course. I have added a ‘contact me’ page for this purpose.   I do not have all the answers, but I will do my best to get you any help you might need throughout this journey we call life. Blessings to you all.

There is Nothing to Fear

10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. 

Isaiah 41:10

Don’t Give Up

12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.

13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

Philippians 3:12-14

National Statistics on Child Abuse

In 2015, an estimated 1,670 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States.1 In 2015, Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country served more than 311,0002 child victims of abuse, providing victim advocacy and support to these children and their families.

Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S annually. An estimated 683,000 children (unique incidents) were victims of abuse and neglect in 2015, the most recent year for which there is national data.

CPS protects more than 3 million children. Approximately 3.4 million children received an investigation or alternative response from child protective services agencies. 2.3 million children received prevention services.

The youngest children were most vulnerable to maltreatment. Children in the first year of their life had the highest rate of victimization of 24.2 per 1,000 children in the national population of the same age.

Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment. Of the children who experienced maltreatment or abuse, three-quarters suffered neglect; 17.2% suffered physical abuse; and 8.4% suffered sexual abuse. (Some children are polyvictimized—they have suffered more than one form of maltreatment.)

About four out of five abusers are the victims’ parents. A parent of the child victim was the perpetrator in 78.1% of substantiated cases of child maltreatment.

How Children’s Advocacy Centers Served Children: Statistics 2

Children’s Advocacy Centers served more than 311,000 children around the country in 2015. Here’s a snapshot of these children.

Child Victims Served by CACs by Age, 2015 | Ages 0-6, 37%; Ages 7-12, 37%; Ages 13-17, 26%

Two-thirds of children served disclosed sexual abuse (205,438).

Nearly 20% of children served disclosed physical abuse (60,897).

211,831 children received on-site forensic interviewing at a Children’s Advocacy Center.

People Investigated for Abuse

People Investigated by Age | 18+ 77%; 13-17, 13%; Under 13, 10% | Relationship to Victim | Known, not family, 10%; Parent or Caregiver, 39%; Relative of Child, 51%

Of those alleged to have abused children, nearly a quarter were themselves children.

Almost 40% were a parent or caregiver of the child victim.

Fully 90% of alleged abusers were related in some way to the child victim.

It Shouldn’t Hurt to Be a Child

KARLY’S NIGHTMARE

How a system to protect children couldn’t save this little girl from the abuse that finally killed her

By Gwyneth Gibby

Corvallis Gazette-Times

The call 911 dispatchers hate the most is, “Child not breathing.”

On June 3, 2005, at about 1:45 p.m., a frantic Sarah Sheehan made that call. She had arrived at her boyfriend’s house to find her daughter, 3-year-old Karly, lying limp on the floor of a bedroom. Karly’s left eye was swollen shut with a large bruise. Her right eye was open and fixed. She was not breathing.

Police and paramedics tried to revive Karly for 45 minutes but failed. Doctors at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center pronounced her dead at 2:40 p.m.

The nurses and doctors in the emergency room were shocked at the extent of Karly’s injuries. Dr. Carol Chervenak, an expert on child abuse who examined Karly after her death, counted 60 injuries all over Karly’s tiny body, from her head to the bottoms of her feet.

Karly had been beaten to death.

Corvallis police detectives immediately began to investigate. David Sheehan, Karly’s father, and his ex-wife, Sarah, were interviewed separately. Sarah’s boyfriend, Shawn Field, who had been at home when Karly died, accompanied police to the Law Enforcement Center and remained there for hours while detectives tried to put the pieces together.

There was an extra element of tragedy in Karly’s death. The Department of Human Services still had an open case involving Karly. According to their files she was possibly the victim of child abuse. Karly’s babysitter had called DHS the previous November to say Karly was losing her hair and saying her “daddy” hit her.

Even after Field was tried and convicted of murder in Karly’s case, questions haunted those familiar with the matter: Could her death have been prevented? Are there loopholes in the child-abuse investigation process through which her life slipped?

To try to answer those questions, the Gazette-Times interviewed many of the principals in Karly’s case and reviewed the testimony and evidence in Field’s murder trial. The review shows the difficulties inherent in investigating allegations of child abuse, and it spotlights gaps in the system that officials are trying to plug.

The story starts with another phone call, this one seven months before Karly’s death.

Nov. 16, 2004

It was lunchtime at day care when Delynn Zoller heard the words she hated to hear. They came from a little girl named Karla. Everyone called her Karly. She was not yet 3 years old and she had been coming to Zoller’s day care since June. Zoller knew Karly as a happy, spunky girl.

She was playful, smart and precociously verbal. So when Karly spoke out of the blue at lunch, Zoller was taken aback.

“My dad hits me all the time,” Karly said.

“What?” Zoller asked, stunned.

“Yes, he hits me on the head all the time,” Karly said.

“Daddy David?” Zoller asked.

“Yes.”

Karly’s parents, David and Sarah Sheehan, both in their late 20s, were divorced. But as far as Zoller knew they had an amicable relationship and shared custody of Karly. True, there had been signs lately that all was not well with Karly. She normally had long, blond hair, but in the last week of October Sarah had brought her to day care with her hair cut short. Sarah said she had French-braided Karly’s hair and it became so matted overnight that she had to cut it off. After that Karly seemed to lose hair gradually until there were balding patches.

She had also been sleeping for hours and hours at day care as though she were exhausted. Zoller had also noticed Karly wasn’t crying as much for her mother lately. She was focused on her father and cried for him all the time.

“You need to talk to my daddy,” Karly told Zoller.

“What should I say?” Zoller asked.

“You need to tell him, ‘No!'” Karly C Zoller was on the phone to the DHS Child Abuse hotline. A DHS screener, Anita Parker, wrote up a report. While she was on the phone with Zoller, Parker could hear Karly in the background ask when her daddy was coming to pick her up.

“When (Zoller) stated to Karly, ‘Oh honey, your mommy is coming to get you tonight,'” wrote the DHS caseworker, “Karly was then heard begin to sob severely & say repeatedly to (Zoller) ‘I want my daddy, I want my daddy.'”

The report said Zoller had major concerns for Karly but didn’t know what needed to be done.

David Sheehan is Irish. He has sandy hair and Karly had inherited his blue eyes. He worked in computers, having worked for Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis and then gotten a job at Flextronics where he traveled more often, sometimes to the Far East.

Sarah Sheehan is from northeast Oregon. She was pretty with bright brown eyes and a sweet smile. They met at the Peacock in Corvallis early in 1997. After a slow courtship, with David moving back to Ireland and working in other parts of Europe, they married in October 1998.

Karly was born Jan. 4, 2002. By summertime, though, David and Sarah had separated. Their divorce became final in the summer of 2004, when Karly was 2½. Although there was no formal child support agreement, David was generous with Sarah and spent whatever was needed to maintain a good lifestyle for Karly.

That night, after Zoller called DHS, Karly went home with Sarah.

The next day, during breakfast at day care, Karly cried again for her daddy. She slept for most of the day. Zoller talked to Parker again and also to Matt Stark, the DHS case worker assigned to investigate. Zoller told Stark that Karly’s parents had made an appointment to see her doctor that afternoon at 4:45. Stark made arrangements to meet the Sheehans there.

Dr. Shanika DeSoyza had been seeing Karly since birth.

“She was a great little girl,” DeSoyza said. “She had a great personality – mischievous. She liked to crawl around the exam area and mess with the medical supplies.”

DeSoyza thought Karly was clingy and subdued that day. She also had a small bruise on her right cheek, hair loss on the crown of her head and some discoloration there. It could have been a bruise. DeSoyza ordered blood tests.

At the doctor’s office, Stark spoke with David, Sarah and Karly together. He noted Karly stayed close to David.

“When she was not occupying herself,” Stark wrote in his report, “Karly sought the attention and contact of her father exclusively.”

David told Stark it seemed someone was pulling Karly’s hair out, and he didn’t think it was Karly.

Sarah said she thought Karly was more anxious lately because of her parents’ separation. Sarah had recently moved in with her new boyfriend, Shawn Field. But she didn’t think the move was causing Karly anxiety because she thought the situation with Field and his 8-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, was “very stable.”

Stark asked Sarah if Karly was ever alone with Field. David looked her right in the eye as she answered. She said no.

Stark asked to interview Karly alone. Even with a nurse present, Karly wouldn’t make eye contact with Stark and began to cry and ask for her daddy. So Stark abandoned the interview.

The next day, the case was discussed by the Child Abuse Response Team, CART. The team includes representatives from DHS, the District Attorney’s office, Corvallis Police and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, ABC (All Because of Children) House, the juvenile department and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a volunteer group that offers court advocates for juveniles. The team agreed that Stark should try again to interview Karly, this time in a comfortable setting for her at Zoller’s day care.

There was one more thing Zoller had told Stark that was not discussed at the CART meeting – Zoller said David had expressed some concerns about Sarah’s new boyfriend, Field.

“When Karly has talked about her dad hitting her,” Stark wrote in his report, “(Zoller) wonders if it is her father or the boyfriend she is talking about.”

Karly had told Zoller that Field spanked her sometimes.

“Ms. Zoller believes the mother works at night and does not know who watches Karly,” Stark noted in his report.

Stark’s attempt to interview Karly at day care was unsuccessful. Karly again cried and asked for her daddy.

A week later Karly’s blood tests came back. They were all normal. Child abuse expert Dr. Carol Chervenak, from ABC House, told Stark that because medical reasons for the hair loss had been ruled out, that left “inflicted loss.” Someone was pulling out Karly’s hair. But who?

David called to tell Stark he and Sarah agreed Karly would only spend one night a week at Field’s house. David thought Karly was better after spending the night at his own house.

Stark checked Field out for a criminal record – and found one hit, a case from 2001 in which Field’s wife, Eileen, had called the police because Field had pushed her and threatened to have her killed. No arrest was made and no charges were filed.

To get a better sense of what life was like at the Field residence, Stark and detective Karin Stauder, who was assigned to the case, went to interview Kaitlyn Field at school. Kaitlyn seemed introspective to Stark. But she was in good health and there was nothing about her that caused him to be concerned. She told Stauder and Stark that when she or Karly did something wrong, they were sent to the corner. Sometimes they got spanked. She never saw anyone pull Karly’s hair, although sometimes Kaitlyn’s dad would pull Kaitlyn’s hair playfully.

When Stauder called Field to let him know they had talked to Kaitlyn, she asked if she could talk to him freely about Karly. He said, Yes.

“I asked Shawn if Karly has ever mentioned anyone hitting her,” Stauder reported, “and he said she has told him, ‘My daddy hit me.’ Shawn asked Karly where and he said she pointed to her head, her back and her nose.”

He also told Stauder he had seen Karly pull her own hair and tell herself she was bad. He felt Sarah sent Karly to the corner too often but didn’t think she was abusing Karly. He thought David was strict, but not excessively so.

When Stauder reported back to Stark after this conversation, she said she needed to talk to David. Up to this point, Stark had done all the interviewing of the Sheehans.

In the meantime, Zoller reported that Karly was doing better. She had been spending more time with her dad and was less clingy and didn’t cry as much. She was playing more with the other kids at day care.

“She attributes the change to being around mom’s boyfriend less,” Stark reported.

On Dec. 6, David dropped Karly off at day care. Then he met Stauder and Stark at the DHS office in Corvallis.

To David their message was clear: “We are investigating you for child abuse.”

“They flat-out told me,” David said. “That was a very sobering thing to hear.”

Stauder said she was tough on David. When she told him Karly said he was hitting her, David was visibly upset – he told the detective that he didn’t know why she would say that.

“Do you suspect Sarah is abusing Karly?” Stauder asked.

“Absolutely not,” David said.

Nor, he said, did he have any reason to think Field was. David said he had seen Karly pull her own hair once, when she had a temper tantrum once in November 2004.

David offered to take a polygraph. Stauder and Stark noted his willingness in their reports, but David thought they were dismissive.

“They said, ‘A lot of people offer to take polygraphs, but they don’t follow through.'”

Police did give David a polygraph, but not till June 2005.

At the end of the interview they told David they weren’t sure what to conclude. The three possible findings for the investigation were Unfounded for Abuse, Founded and Unable to Determine.

“They were on the fence between Unfounded and Indeterminate,” David recalled. “They said, ‘We cannot tell if you are doing it.'”

Sarah met with Stauder and Stark the next day.

“Sarah said David is a terrific dad,” Stauder reported, “doesn’t think he is hitting Karly, doesn’t know why she would say he did.”

Sarah also didn’t think Field was abusing Karly.

Stauder told Sarah that sometimes an abuser will pull a child’s hair because it doesn’t leave marks. But Sarah thought Karly was just stressed because of her move in with Field. And DeSoyza had mentioned to her a disorder that could be responsible for Karly’s condition.

DeSoyza knew of a disorder called trichotillomania, a stress reaction not unlike nail-biting, that leads people to pull out their hair. It happens most frequently around adolescence, but children as young as 4 can have it. DeSoyza had seen four or five cases in her career. Doctors are able to diagnose the disorder by excluding other possibilities.

Child abuse was on the list of possible causes for Karly’s condition, according to DeSoyza, but it wasn’t high on the list.

“I didn’t think it could be completely ruled out,” DeSoyza said. But she didn’t tell David or Sarah.

“I didn’t have any strong suspicion of abuse at the time,” she said. “I thought it was possible someone had frightened her.”

Stauder checked with some hairdressers and learned that people could lose their hair because of stress. After conferring again with Stark, she wrote her report.

“Disposition: Case Unfound. Based on the information I learned in my investigation, I do not believe Sarah or David are physically abusing Karly; nor anyone else I identified.”

Stark concurred.

“Staffed case with Supervisor Sara Stanke,” he wrote. “This referral can be Unfounded for physical abuse. We have different people witnessing the child pulling her own hair. This is most likely the result of stress associated with Karly and her mother moving in with the boyfriend in October and seeing less of her father due to changes in his employment. The child’s condition is currently improved as she is spending more time with the father.”

Stark phoned David and Sarah and left messages informing them of the result of the investigation.

David was relieved to hear the case had been closed as unfounded. But he thought the only reason he had been cleared was that Sarah didn’t think he was abusing Karly, and that concerned him. Stark and Stauder had left him saying they were on the fence about him. It was only after talking to Sarah they concluded he was telling the truth. He felt they relied more on her word than on his.

When investigators closed their case Dec. 7, Karly went home with her mother to Shawn Field’s house.

Sarah Sheehan met Shawn Field in a bar in September 2004, and it seemed they had things in common. Both were divorced and had daughters, both were students at OSU. They clicked, and the relationship progressed quickly.

“After the first week, Mr. Field started mentioning marriage and moving in,” Sarah said.

Sarah wasn’t good with money. Field said he had a master’s degree in economics and was going for a Ph.D., so it seemed like a good idea to let him control her finances. Soon he insisted she put all her tips from bartending in a jar, and he’d give her an allowance. After they moved in together, Field gave Sarah grocery lists and insisted she buy only what he chose. He said he was investing her money for her. When she questioned him about it, he became angry with her for not trusting him.

“Oppressive and sad,” is how Sarah later described the relationship.

Field was also critical of Sarah’s arrangement with David. He told Sarah good mothers stayed home with their children. If she made a legal settlement with David that included child support for Karly, then Sarah could stop working and stay home.

“I began to feel like a bad mother,” Sarah said.

Field told her she was lucky to have someone like him in her life.

But Field wasn’t telling Sarah the truth: He had no degrees beyond high school, he was not a Ph.D. candidate, and he was not investing her money.

Field also had a criminal record. As a 16-year-old, he committed a series of burglaries with two friends. They imprisoned the mother of one friend, robbed the friend’s house, and set off to steal a truck owned by Field’s brother. The plan was to head across country and take up a life of skiing in Aspen, Colo. They didn’t get far before sheriff’s deputies caught up with them. Because the crimes occurred when Field was a juvenile, most of the record was later expunged. One file containing investigation reports from the kidnap/burglary had been overlooked and still remained in law enforcement files. But it lay forgotten, presumed destroyed until months after the DHS investigation ended.

Sarah knew nothing of Field’s past. She only knew that Karly seemed upset and stressed when she moved in with him.

Karly was stressed for a good reason. She was upset because Field, who at 6-feet-4 inches towered over her, pulled her hair out, which left no marks, hit her on the head where bruises wouldn’t show and terrorized her into silence. He did it when she was left alone with him, when there were no witnesses.

Karly was the only one who knew. She had tried to tell Zoller, but at the age of 2, she was only able to communicate part of the story. Whether Field had schooled her to accuse “daddy,” no one knows.

Karly’s behavior, her clinging to David, her crying for him and her panic at being taken to Field’s house, directly contradicted her words, leaving her parents puzzled and very worried. Karly was too terrified to say more.

Karly’s condition had improved while staying with David during the three-week investigation. Now it was her turn to be with Sarah – and Field.

The week after Karly went back to the house where Sarah Sheehan lived with Shawn Field, Sarah wasn’t feeling well and spent much of the week in bed.

“I was exhausted to the point where my extremities hurt,” Sarah said. “It hurt to have my eyes open. Beyond sick and exhausted.”

Field took care of Karly and Kaitlyn, Field’s 8-year-old daughter.

When Sarah got up to use the bathroom, which was between the master bedroom and the girls’ room, Field would block the girls’ door so she couldn’t go in and check on Karly. Before Field finally did bring Karly in to see Sarah on Friday, Dec. 10, the day before Karly was to return to David, he told Sarah to prepare herself. He said Karly had been hurting herself again.

“When he handed her off to me she said ‘Mommy I hurt myself’ in a really tiny voice,” Sarah said. “But she didn’t look at me.”

Karly’s hair was almost gone. She had bruises and scratches on her face.

“I just held her and cuddled with her,” Sarah said. “I was just shocked.”

When Karly got to David’s the next day, all she could do was cling to him. David was in a state of shock. He held her all day while she slept in his arms.

“I couldn’t put her down,” he said. “Any sense of movement, she’d wake from her sleep and cry.”

She didn’t say anything about what had happened to her.

Soon after arriving home with Karly, David took her to some friends’ next door so they could see her. With fresh memories of the earlier investigation in his mind – an investigation in which David thought he had been targeted as a possible abuser n he wanted someone to witness that he had done nothing to Karly, that she had arrived at his house in a horrifying state.

After he got Karly to sleep by herself at about 7 p.m., David called Matt Stark and left a long voice-mail message.

David’s friends were concerned, too. Word got to a DHS employee who called the child-abuse hotline. Late that night, Corvallis police officer Dave Cox went to do a welfare check on Karly. He reported back to DHS.

“Officer Cox is stating that the child’s appearance is pretty bad but in his experience it appears to be self-inflicted,” the DHS screener noted. “Officer Cox has informed both parents of their obligation and responsibility to seek appropriate care for their child, whether that be a physician or psychiatrist.”

The screener also noted that Cox had pictures. Stark was out of the office so Elizabeth Castillo, another DHS case worker, responded to David’s call. Castillo took pictures of Karly on the following Monday. Those pictures were mislaid. No one saw them.

DeSoyza saw Karly on Monday, too. She reported seeing abrasions on the left side of Karly’s scalp and swelling of the left eyelid. The white part of her eye was bloodshot. Karly clung to David during the appointment. DeSoyza still thought Karly was hurting herself.

When child abuse expert Dr. Chervenak saw the pictures David took of Karly at his house, she did not agree. But she didn’t see the pictures until several more months had passed. When she did see them, she said it was highly unlikely that Karly, small as she was, would have the muscle mass to injure herself so severely. Chervenak said facial bruises in a child Karly’s age were extremely rare. Children do get bruises, but usually on places like their shins.

In view of Cox’s report, Stauder chose not to reopen the police investigation. Stark followed up, and went to interview Field and Sarah.

“Mr. Field presented as somewhat defensive,” Stark reported. “When interviewed he said, ‘I’ll answer general questions, but not anything else without my attorney.'”

 

 

Are You Struggling With Addiction (s)? 

Although a churchgoing Christian,  for many years I had secret addictions, sex and primarily, drugs.  What I have learned is that instead of depending on my own power , I learned to be filled (continually as Ephesians 5:18 teaches) with the power of The Holy Spirit.  That is where I found my Victory.  Halleluyah! It was not until I finally admitted defeat and began to humbly walk with the True and Living God,  the Creator of heaven and earth and all living things,  that I began to experience freedom.  I know without a doubt that there are many others like myself who are struggling with addiction;  perhaps drugs,  perhaps gambling,  perhaps sex or even abuse.  Take it from me hope is available.  Call on Jesus.  Yes,  you may need rehab but consider it a blessing,  a start to your freedom..  Might I suggest that you also confide in someone you trust (I confided in Pastor Chuck Smith) and use a facility that is led by Christ.  I pray this will bless you. Don’t beat yourself up.  Besides,  God Almighty already knows.  Nothing is hidden from Him.  He loves and values you.  You are His treasure !

God Is Good

The Lord is good (Nahum 1:7),

That is a basic foundation of theology that we must, all of us, incorporate into our own understanding. God is good. If you don’t know anything else, know that God is good. It’s important that you know that, and that is something that I accept by faith. Believing the word of God, I accept by faith that God is good, because not always would my circumstances indicate that God was good. And Satan is constantly assailing the truth of the goodness of God. And so often, as I’m looking at adverse situations, I’m prone to say, “If God is so good, then why is this happening?” Don’t you hear that so very often from people, “If God is good, why are there so many people starving in Cambodia? If God is good, why does He allow this to happen in the world? Why does He allow a little nine-year-old girl to get kidnapped if God is good?” There are always those challenges to the goodness of God that are thrown at us. Satan is always challenging that truth. And thus, I need to have that truth deeply, firmly ingrained within me. God is good, that I know.

There is a very interesting Psalm, it’s about the seventy-third Psalm, where the psalmist begins by the declaration, “Truly the Lord is good unto Israel, and unto all those that fear Him.” And he begins that psalm with that basic premise. But then he said, “As for me, man, when I tried to understand the world around me, I was almost wiped out, my foot almost slipped when I saw the prosperity of the wicked and I saw how well they got along. I looked at my own problems and everything else, and here I’m trying to serve God. I’ve tried to have a clean heart. I’ve tried to do the right things, and everybody’s just pushing me down, and I’m in trouble. Here are these guys cheating, lying, stealing, blaspheming, and they seem to have no problems at all. Everything seems to fall in line for them. When I sought to know this,” he said, “it was too painful for me; I almost was wiped out!” Satan can really play games with your mind. Especially regarding the goodness of God. He challenges that continually. The psalmist said, “I was almost wiped out when I tried to understand it,” he said, “until I went into the sanctuary of God. And, then,” he said, “I saw their end. I was jealous of the wicked; I was jealous of the ungodly man. It seems he has everything, until I went into the sanctuary of God.” And then what happened? His vision was corrected. In the sanctuary of God that nearsightedness was corrected, and he began to get the long view of things. You see, the goodness of God is that which is always challenged by our nearsightedness, when we are only looking at the immediate things that surround us. It is then that I’m prone to challenge the goodness of God. Things are going bad for me today, “If God’s so good, how come things are going so bad today?” See, it’s today, and it’s my hurt right now, and it’s the pain I feel right now. I don’t look down the road; I’m only looking at that which is right in front of my face. “Until I went into the sanctuary of God, and then I began to get things in perspective, and then I began to get the eternal view, and the sight of eternity comes into view, and somehow in that eternal view things begin to balance out.” That’s our problem is that we don’t have the long-term view, and we get confused. Satan can really upset us. But how many of those things as you look back in your own life that you thought were disasters, now as you look at them, you can see the hand of God and realize how important they were for your development, or how important they were even for your future. God put me in some places that you just can’t believe. I mean it was just plain tough. And in those situations, down on my knees before God, the questions, the challenging of the goodness of God, “God, if You’re so good, why do I have all these problems? Why did You put me here, God, in this place with these people?” And yet, now as I look back on it, oh the invaluable lessons that God was teaching me. How important those lessons that I learned. I could not have the ministry that God has given to me today had I not gone through those experiences. There were things that God had to work out of my own life before He could really use me effectively. And though I cried, and though I just went through torture mentally, yet as I look back, now I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything, for the lessons and the value that they’ve brought to me. As God was working though, I could not see it and I could not understand it. Now I look back and I say, “Oh, the Lord was so good to me!” But I sure didn’t think so at the time. I thought He had forgotten me, forsaken me, and yet, God is good. I need to remember that. Don’t forget that. “And all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Not only is God good, the prophet said,

[He is] a stronghold in the day of trouble (Nahum 1:7);

God doesn’t promise that you’re never going to have trouble. In the book of Job it says, “As sparks fly upward, so man was born for trouble.” Now, I don’t know of anybody who hasn’t had trouble some time in their life. Trouble is just a part of life itself. In Psalm we read, thirty-four, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Somehow, we think because we’re righteous we should never have any affliction, everything should go well, after all, I love God and I’m trying to do the right thing, everyone should love me and treat me nice. Nothing evil should ever happen to me because I love God and I’m willing to serve God and I’m wanting to please God, therefore everything should always be wonderful and beautiful around me. Well, it wasn’t so with Jesus was it? Jesus said, “Hey, if I being your Lord, and they haven’t received Me, they persecuted Me… Servant’s not greater than… They’re not going to receive you. They’re not going to open up and accept you with open arms. The world’s going to hate you because you love Me!” You’re going to have trouble. But whenever the trouble comes, the Lord is a stronghold. I’ve got a place I can run, I’ve got a place where I can find strength, I’ve got a place where I can be protected. The Lord is a stronghold to those that are in trouble. The thing is, if you’re not a child of God, when trouble comes, you have no place to go. But the child of God always has a refuge. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Then he declares,

and he knoweth them that trust in him (Nahum 1:7).

God knows those that are trusting. God knows you, isn’t that great? God knows me. Not only does He know me, and of course, this is just boggling to my own mind, and it’s just, again, that gap between the finite and the infinite, and the ability for… inability for us to really bridge it. But God not only knows me, He’s thinking about me constantly. That just blows my mind. That God would be constantly thinking about me. David said, “And if I should number thy thoughts concerning me, they are more than the sands of the sea.” How I love to go down to the beach and just take and pick up sand and let it run through my hands and watch the little grains make a little pile on the beach there. And as I do, I think, “Every one of those grains of sand there is a thought that God is thinking of me.” Fabulous! Then I look up the beach and I see all those grains of sand. I think, “Oh, God, who can fathom Your love, and Your wisdom, and Your glory, that You should think of me?” How many grains of sand are there in the earth? Someone has estimated there’s ten to the twenty-fifth power. That’s an awful lot of thinking. It’d take an infinite God to have that many thoughts. God is thinking about you. God knows you. God knows the situations that you’re in. God knows the trials that you have. God knows the problems that you face. Really that’s all that I need to be reminded of when I’m in trouble and I start to despair. All someone has to say is, “Hey, don’t worry, Judi. God knows all about it.” Oh, thank you. I needed that. God knows the way of the righteous. His ears are open to their cries.

 

God Is In Control: 8 Bible Verses

Anxiety and fear are relentless. These are two of the enemy’s most popular weapons that he uses against us. Unchecked fear can keep you in bed for hours past what is healthy or wise. Anxiety can also show us as a fiery anger, in unkind speech and hurtful attitudes. The longer you struggle with fear, the more likely it is for you to be overwhelmed by it, allowing it to control your every decision and move. Choosing not to deal with it can leave you with scars. Even still, we have a promise that “God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability” (1 Corinthians 10:13), and this includes the sinful unbelief of an anxious heart. One of the best ways to rid yourself of the fear that is plaguing you is to turn to Scripture. Here are eight Bible verses that remind us God is in control.

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Sometimes, we can read certain verses from Scripture a hundred times and fail to take them to heart the way the Lord wants us to. Other times, we can linger on a verse or two, and let them minister life, healing and comfort to us. Isaiah 41:10 is so rich with the promises of God that it warrants some special attention from us. Ultimately, the Lord wants to impart to us through this verse that we shouldn’t be afraid. “Fear not [there is nothing to fear].” On reason why God warns us against fear is that it can short-circuit the answered prayers and blessings that He has in store for us.

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

By definition, a refuge is a safe place. When the Bible describes God as our refuge, it is saying that God is our safe place when we need protection from something. Knowing God is our refuge enables us to trust Him more freely. We need not fear situations or people who threaten our well-being, whether in a physical or spiritual sense. There is no situation we will ever face that is out of God’s control, so the best place to be, always, is right with Him.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

According to data released by Amazon on the most highlighted passage in Kindle ebooks, the most popular passage from the Bible is this passage from Philippians. Most biblical scholars agree that the apostle Paul composed Philippians while he was in prison so the fact that Paul was able to reject anxiety even during his own imprisonment makes the passage all the more encouraging. Although it might seem novel to see biblical writers addressing modern worries, the lesson from this passage is timeless and can affect anyone. The life of faith is filled with constant challenge to risk more to become our true selves.

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The One who fears is not made perfect in love.”

In the previous verse (verse 17), John tells us how to have confidence or boldness on the Day of Judgment. And in verse 18, he tells us how to cast fear out of our lives. These are simply positive and negative ways of saying the same thing: getting rid of fear is the negative way of saying become confident. John wants to help us enjoy confidence before God. He does not want us to be paralyzed or depressed by fear of judgment.

Psalm 94:19

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19

What this Psalm tells us is that even in rough or desperate situations, we can be filled with the joy of the Lord. He is our consolation and His Word eases anxiety like nothing else can. God can bring joy to your soul even during times when you’re most anxious by simply knowing that He’s present and trusting in His power.

Luke 12:22-26

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Life is more than food and clothing. God has reminded us of that throughout the Scriptures. Jesus reminded us of it when He faced temptation from Satan. So we shouldn’t worry because God will take care of the big stuff and the little stuff. Worrying doesn’t change things, big or small, except to make those problems appear worse than they really are. So why let ourselves get so worked up into a frenzy over “big things”? Cast your cares on God and then trust in His wisdom.

Psalm 27:1

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

Like many psalms, King David wrote this from a season of trouble. Yet, it is a song of confidence and triumph because David was not in darkness or ultimate peril because the Lord was his light and salvation. God Himself brought light to David’s life. He did not despair in darkness and all that it represented. His life was filled with the Lord, and his life was filled with the light.

Revelation 1:17

“Then He placed His right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”

Jesus said first, “Do not be afraid” This is what we need to hear in these days when many of us are so anxious. Remember, fear doesn’t glorify God. Jesus was always saying “fear not” to his frightened disciples. The Gospels record that every time they were in trouble, they expressed themselves in manifestations of fear, anxiety, worry and panic, but the Lord always came along at the right moment and said, “Fear not.” We are called to do the same

 

Please Think Before You Attempt Suicide

Wanna kill yourself? Imagine this. You come home from school one day. You’ve had yet another horrible day. You’re just ready to give up. So you go to your room, close the door, and take out that suicide note you’ve written and rewritten over and over and over You take out those razor blades, and cut for the very last time. You grab that bottle of pills and take them all. Laying down, holding the letter to your chest, you close your eyes for the very last time. A few hours later, your little brother knocks on your door to come tell you dinners ready. You don’t answer, so he walks in. All he sees is you laying on your bed, so he thinks you’re asleep. He tells your mom this. Your mom goes to your room to wake you up. She notices something is odd. She grabs the paper in your hand and reads it. Sobbing, she tries to wake you up. She’s screaming your name. Your brother, so confused, runs to go tell Dad that “Mommy is crying and sissy won’t wake up.” Your dad runs to your room. He looks at your mom, crying, holding the letter to her chest, sitting next to your lifeless body. It hits him, what’s going on, and he screams. He screams and throws something at the wall. And then, falling to his knees, he starts to cry. Your mom crawls over to him, and they sit there, holding each other, crying. The next day at school, there’s an announcement. The principal tells everyone about your suicide. It takes a few seconds for it to sink in, and once it does, everyone goes silent. Everyone blames themselves. Your teachers think they were too hard on you. Those mean popular girls, they think of all the things they’ve said to you. That boy that used to tease you and call you names, he can’t help but hate himself for never telling you how beautiful you really are. Your ex boyfriend, the one that you told everything to, that broke up with you.. He can’t handle it. He breaks down and starts crying, and runs out of the school. Your friends? They’re sobbing too, wondering how they could never see that anything was wrong, wishing they could have helped you before it was too late. And your best friend? She’s in shock. She can’t believe it. She knew what you were going through, but she never thought it would get that bad… Bad enough for you to end it. She can’t cry, she can’t feel anything. She stands up, walks out of the classroom, and just sinks to the floor. Shaking, screaming, but no tears coming out. It’s a few days later, at your funeral. The whole town came. Everyone knew you, that girl with the bright smile and bubbly personality. The one that was always there for them, the shoulder to cry on. Lots of people talk about all the good memories they had with you, there were a lot. Everyone’s crying, your little brother still doesn’t know you killed yourself, he’s too young. Your parents just said you died. It hurts him, a lot. You were his big sister, you were supposed to always be there for him. Your best friend, she stays strong through the entire service, but as soon as they start lowering your casket into the ground, she just loses it. She cries and cries and doesn’t stop for days. It’s two years later. Your teachers all quit their job. Those mean girls have eating disorders now. That boy that used to tease you cuts himself. Your ex boyfriend doesn’t know how to love anymore and just sleeps around with girls. Your friends all go into depression. Your best friend? She tried to kill herself. She didn’t succeed like you did, but she tried…your brother? He finally found out the truth about your death. He self harms, he cries at night, he does exactly what you did for years leading up to your suicide. Your parents? Their marriage fell apart. Your dad became a workaholic to distract himself from your death. Your mom got diagnosed with depression and just lays in bed all day. People care. You may not think so, but they do. Your choices don’t just effect you. They effect everyone. Don’t end your life, you have so much to live for. Things can’t get better if you give up. I’m here for absolutely anyone that needs to talk, no matter who you are. Even if we’ve NEVER talked before, I’m here for you.

Please Contact me! You are loved!

 

Trust Jesus, He Is Our Laminin

Laminin is a cell adhesion protein molecule. Now it is amazing what the function of this little molecule is…laminin is responsible for holding all of our body structures together…basically, it is the rebar of our bodies.

But what is most amazing is actually what laminin looks like, or the sight of it. Laminin is actually in the shape of a cross.  Laminin, the very thing that holds our bodies together, is in the shape of a cross.

 “Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He is supreme over all creation, 16 because in connection with him were created all things — in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, lordships, rulers or authorities — they have all been created through him and for him. 17 He existed before all things, and he holds everything together.” Colossians 1:15-17