The Anchor

The last couple of weeks…actually more like the last few years…have been especially challenging…both emotionally and spiritually. You know those times…when you feel like your faith is dwindling…or failing you…but the waves continue to pound you relentlessly.

But God…always seems to bring along a word of encouragement just when you need it most. Recently for me…it was listening to a message by Charles Stanley about Jesus Christ being the Anchor for our Storms. Jesus Christ is the only person or thing that is unchanging and immovable…he anchors us from within.

People changes, circumstances change, our health will decline, and family and friends will fail us, disappoint us and hurt us. Those whom we love will die. When our anchor is external…and is based on our circumstances…then we will be dragged about when the storms of life assail us. Our ship will be dashed upon the rocks…and may even break up. We may escape only with our life.

Yet…when our anchor is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God…we are secure. The storms may wail around us…we may get wet and sustain a few bumps and bruises. But our core and foundation will remain stable and secure.

It is my prayer that you will anchor yourself…to the only one who is our firm foundation…Jesus Christ. May God bless you and sustain in the coming week…and be your firm foundation.

Anchor for the Storms

Below are some notes I took from Charles Stanley’s recent broadcast…Anchor for the Storms. Be sure to click on the link to In Touch Ministries…to hear the entire message.

When the storms of life come your way…how do you respond? Who do you turn to? Who do you start believing in?

Who helps you when the waves start to beat against your life? When the clouds all about you turn dark? When the rains begin to pour down, you become discouraged, you don’t know where to turn. How do you respond in the storms of life?

A ship anchored and anchored well can withstand a great beating. If it’s not anchored, it will be blown this way and that way…crashes wrecks and ruins.

There is an anchor for your life and mine…and it will keep us from being blown, tossed, tumbled and worn out. An anchor that you can trust in, always trust in. Never have to worry about that anchor proving unfaithful, unreliable, but always anchors you in…no matter what the storm may be.

Hebrews 13:5-6, 8

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,

because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Now here is the anchor that will see you through, that will stabilize you, secure you through any and every storm, heartache and burden and hardship and trouble and trial…every form of persecution…every disappointment…every disillusion…everything that you and I face that is difficult.

Here’s the anchor. It is the awareness that our Savior, the immovable Rock of all Ages, is always the same. The same yesterday, the same today and the same forever. There is nothing in all the world that will anchor you and stabilize and secure you in times of difficulty and heartache like being very consciously aware that my Savior who is on the inside of me. He who has anchored me is not from without, where I can break loose from the mooring, but rather I am anchored from within. Anchored to the Rock of Ages, the unchangeable Christ, who is always the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Paul tells us that Jesus Christ “Is the same”, not similar to, not close to, not a shadow of, not a variation of. But Jesus Christ is the same. What he was when he walked the roads of Palestine 2000 years ago is what he is today. And what is today, is what he is going to be tomorrow, and the next day and the next day and all the days thereafter, and here after and forever.

Jesus Christ never changes. Everything else is in a state of change. Everything about you, everything surrounding you. Only one thing is as it always was and always shall be…and that is the living Lord Jesus Christ who lives on the inside of you. Jesus Christ is the only thing in existence in this world that has not, does not, will not, and can not ever change under any circumstances. Everything else is going to change.

What are you anchored to?

If you anchor yourself to anything that is in a state of change, you don’t know where it’s going to take you. You don’t know what the end result is going to be.

Jesus Christ what he was yesterday, he will be today and he’ll be the same tomorrow. He is the only anchor that you can bet your present and your future on. Whatever he said, whatever he says, whatever he shall say it will never change.

Look at Jesus in his person…what was he like when he walked here 2000 years ago? When he walked this earth he was a Christ of love. Loving everybody he met…that hasn’t changed. He was willing to forgive anyone who every came to him, no matter what…that hasn’t changed. He was a Christ of mercy…always reaching out compassionately. Helping those who are in need…that hasn’t changed. He was a Christ willing to confront those living in sin…that hasn’t changed. He was the Christ who was calling those to follow him…that hasn’t changed. He was the Christ who knew all men…that hasn’t changed. Everything about Jesus that was true in that day is true today. The way he responded to people then, he responds today. Character, personality and attributes…all the same.

Jesus Christ…he came to anchor us unto himself. In order that you and I through every storm of life, trial, tribulation, every heartache, every burden…we might know that there is one whom we know…who never changes. We don’t have to wonder or question. We know exactly what he says. I will never leave you, I will never abandon you, I will never forsake you, I will never leave you, I will never leave you destitute, I will never leave you in need. I am the all sufficient Christ. I am the one who has anchored you unto myself and I never change.

No storm can push the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing can batter the Son of God.

Oh no…it’s coming!

Oh yeah…it’s coming…once again that most dreaded of days is almost here.

That day…in which single females who want to change that check box on their W-2 from single to married…is a mere 18 days away. That day in which…if I had my druthers…I would lapse into a coma on or about February 10th and awaken…refreshed from my good rest on February 17th. Actually if I was really smart I’d go all the way through to March 1st being that I have a not too eagerly awaited birthday shortly thereafter.

Being that the coma thing probably ain’t gonna happen…how am I going to get through the torture this year? And make no mistake…I would do almost anything to avoid this most wretched day. Yes…that dreaded day is none other than Valentines Day! AHHH!

For those really discerning individuals…you can probably tell…I’m not overly fond of Valentines Day. Not because I’m not romantic…or the scrooge of love…but because my sweetheart has yet to make himself known. (Just between you and me…he’s a little tardy.)

That’s not too say I don’t have my eye on a gentleman or two…but nothing that’s current or active for me to brag about.

So getting through Valentine’s Day is like being on a fast…and having to walk through a banquet room with people eating hearty meals…but you can’t stop and enjoy the meal. It’s not for you…just keep on moving.

Not that I begrudge others the displays of affection…from flowers, to cards filled with loving romantic sentiments or a nice candle light dinner with their sweetheart. I celebrate and am happy that they are most fortunate to have their husband or boyfriend. That’s exactly what I want for me too.

Yet…I have my days in which I feel like Hannah or Leah or the woman begging at Jesus feet…for even the little dogs receive the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.

I can honestly say…I was the poster child for Janis Ian’s song “At Seventeen”. Hearing it even now, evokes much pain.

To those of us who know the pain
Of valentines that never came,
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball.
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
And dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me.

But instead of burying my head in the sand…I must grit my teeth and face the day.

Now I’ve tried many a thing to help make it better. From trying to make Valentines Day special for my mom…especially as she continues to decline. Or making it a fun or special day for those with whom I work…by bringing old fashion school box Valentines along with the heart candies. And yes…to some degree it does help…a wee bit. But it’s still hard.

It remains my daily prayer that God will bless me with a husband. I dream of that day…from the proposal to my wedding day. I do so hope that if ever that day comes…I will never forget how it feels to be without a sweetheart on Valentines Day. And in turn help make it a special day for that person who may not hear “I love you”…from that someone special.

Reaching the World

We living as Christians today…especially those who live in the United States of America are most blessed to have an abundance of Christian resources at our finger tips. Whether its Bible translations, commentaries and study materials…or ministries who make their radio or television broadcast available online…we have a veritable feast for our spirit.

One of the newest developments has been the I-pod…and podcasting. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Gee wiz, I’m a low tech kind of person…not sure I can do that.” But let me tell you there are a plethora of broadcasts to take advantage of. Preaching and teaching that will help build you up, encourage you and keep you in check…when you are straying down that wrong path. What a wonderful instrument and tool in the hands of God…to get His word out to a lost and dying world. Available for your use…simply by downloading.

One of my very favorites…is Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries. In Touch Ministries is committed to getting out the Word of God…and reaching the entire world with the gospel message. In their efforts they have recently starting podcasting Charles Stanley’s radio program.

Additionally, the In Touch Ministries website has an abundance of resources available for all to utilize. Expanded studies, sermon outlines/notes, radio and TV broadcasts to replay, a daily devotional, and much more.

Charles Stanley is rooted and well grounded in the Word of God. He has a heart for God and great desire to worship and praise Him and obediently follow him. He’s a gifted teacher and loves people and loves to share God’s Word.

In the last few weeks Dr. Stanley has been teaching a series on “Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit”. He’s reviewing the gifts of the Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit within the life of a Christian. Below from In Touch Ministries is a list of the “Motivational Gifts and their Characteristics”. It’s some great teaching…and helps you to see how God might use you in His Kingdom to help build up the body of Christ.

Please be sure to take advantage…as you grow in your walk with Christ. Check out In Touch Ministries…and feed your hungry soul.

Read…think and pray how God may want to use you…to further His kingdom.

Characteristics of Motivational Gifts

The Characteristics of the Gift of Prophecy:
1. A strong need to express themselves verbally.
2. A strong ability to discern the character and motives of other people.
3. A wholehearted involvement in whatever they are doing.
4. Very open to correction.
5. Extremely loyal.
6. Willing to suffer for what is right.
7. Very persuasive in defining truth.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Service:
1. Sees and meets practical needs.
2. Frees others to achieve.
3. Disregard for weariness.
4. Difficulty in saying “No!”
5. Alert to likes and dislikes.
6. Strong desire to be with others.
7. Need for approval and appreciation
8. Likes short-range projects.
9. Meets needs quickly.
10. Tendency to feel inadequate and unqualified for spiritual leadership.

The Characteristics of The Gift of Teaching:
1. Strong desire to present truth systematically.
2. Requires thoroughness.
3. Needs to validate information.
4. Checks out the teacher.
5. Great delight in researching.
6. Tendency to avoid illustrations from non-biblical sources.
7. Needs to clarify misunderstandings.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Exhortation:
1. A motivation to urge peoples to their full spiritual maturity in Christ.
2. An ability to see root problems in a person.
3. Prescribes steps of action.
4. Turn problems into benefits.
5. A desire for face to face discussion in order to determine and insure a positive response.
6. Desire to gain spiritual insights through personal experience.
7. Desires to bring harmony between diverse groups.
8. An enjoyment with those eager to follow steps of action.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Giving:
1. Able to see resources
2. Desire to feel a part of the work.
3. Desire to give high quality.
4. Hope the gift is an answer to prayer.
5. Desires to give secretly.
6. Prefers to give without pressure of appeals.
7. Concern that giving will corrupt.
8. Exercises personal thriftiness.
9. Gives to motivate others to give.
10. Ability to see financial needs that others overlook.
11. Confirms amount with counsel.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Organization:
1. Ability to see the big picture and visualize final results.
2. The ability to break down the major goals into smaller, achievable tasks.
3. Motivated to organize that for which they are responsible.
4. The ability to know what resources are available and needed to reach a goal.
5. The ability to know what can and what cannot be delegated.
6. Tendency to remove self from detracting details and focus on ultimate goals.
7. The willingness to endure reaction.
8. A need for loyalty and confidence from those who are being directed and served.
9. A tendency to assume responsibility if no structured leadership exists.
10. A desire to complete the task as soon as possible.
11. A joy and fulfillment in seeing all the parts come together and others enjoying the finished product.
12. A desire to move on to a new challenge when the previous task is fully completed.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Mercy:
1. Ability to feel an atmosphere of joy or distress in an individual or group.
2. Attracted to and understand people who are having mental and emotional distress.
3. Desire to remove hurts and bring healing to others rather than to look for the benefits of the hurts.
4. A greater concern for mental distress than physical distress of others.
5. A sensitivity to words and action which will hurt others.
6. A tendency to react harshly when intimate friends are rejected.
7. An ability to sense genuine love and a greater vulnerability to deeper and more frequent hurts from the lack of love.
8. A need for deep friendships in which there is mutual commitment.
9. A need to measure acceptance by physical closeness and quality time together.
10. An enjoyment and unity with those who are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
11. A tendency to avoid firmness unless he sees how it will bring benefit and eliminate greater hurt.
12. A closing of the spirit to those who are insincere or insensitive.

If I could have just one…

Thomas Kinkade is one of my favorite artists. There is just something quite beautiful, peaceful, homey and romantic about his work. When I look at his paintings….I can feel my stress level decrease as I gaze at his work.

I feel as if I could step into right into his pictures and be taken back in time…to a different world. It’s almost like reading a novel. When you can look at his paintings you can see something new or in a different way each and every time you look.

Now if I could own just one Thomas Kinkade painting…it would be a picture of a church and the surrounding neighborhood in a painting entitled Home Town Evening.

On his website…Thomas recalls paining this work. “I remember wandering the lanes of my hometown on a Sunday evening, drawn as if by magnetic attraction toward the heart of the village. Hometown Evening, third in my Hometown Memories collection is enriched by intense childhood memories, although I’ve chosen to turn the clock back a few decades… I did that to heighten the nostalgia, and to give myself the chance to paint some of my favorite vintage cars.”

Ah….someday…one day I hope this painting will grace the walls of my home.

Feminism…a Misnomer…or “Let’s Pretend”

A while back I had received, via e-mail, a “beef cake calendar”. When I got it…I was offended. This is my normal reaction when women forward on to me male cheesecake type pictures…sometimes pictures boarding on soft porn.

Until I received this e-mail…I never fully understood or thought through why I get offended by these e-mails. Yes of course there is the fact that I am a Christian…and undoubtedly that comes into play. I believe that we as Christians should try to keep our minds pure. That means not allowing images or words to come into my mind that will allow me to dwell on that which God considers sinful.

But I believe the offence is at deeper and at a more primal level. As I started thinking about it…I realized that it comes back to that lying, deceptive, destructive feminist influence again. Not too long ago I wrote a piece on feminism and about what a failure it has been and the harmful effects that are widespread to men, women and children. It was actually very therapeutic to speak the truth.

Well…it’s time to speak the truth again.

Like a lot of women every once and a while I’m forwarded an e-mail picture of some guy who is scantily clad. I’m suppose to ogle at this picture and fawn over what a hunky guy this is…as if this is evidence of my sexually liberated feminine nature.

The women that forward on these e-mails on are acting like they are liberated woman. That they can do anything a man can do…including look at pictures of “sexy” men. Just like guys will look at pictures of naked women…and share them with their buddies.

Ladies…usually the guys in these pictures aren’t exactly real masculine looking. They are nothing more than glorified pretty boys. Boys being the operative word…not men. They are not manly.

Guys that look like they stepped out of the latest issue of “Playgirl Magazine” aren’t exactly your poster child for testosterone. Let’s get real. Who do you think actually buys “Playgirl”? It’s not usually women. It gay guys!

God designed women much different than men. Men are visually stimulated…stimulated by beautiful women…scantily clad women…well developed women…women showing some flesh. Real women, women passing by, women entering the room, women at the gym, women on TV or in movies, pictures of women and on and on and on.

One way to know that visual stimulation is specific to men and not women…is that with gay guys, it’s not pictures or images of women that sexually stimulate them…but instead it’s other guys. But the means by which they are stimulated…is the same…it’s visual.

Women on the other hand are not hard wired that way. They are not usually sexually stimulated by pictures of handsome men that they don’t know.

Men are sexually stimulated by pictures of beautiful women…women they know or women they don’t know….it doesn’t really matter.

Does that mean that women don’t find handsome men attractive? Of course they do…but the visual impact of a good looking man effects women entirely different.

Who do you think is the primary consumer of porn? Its men…not women, but men.

In your attempts to be liberated and equal to men…you are merely throwing feminine nature under the bus. Instead you try and put on a man’s nature. What’s really weird about this…is that feminists hate men. But in doing this you are trying to be like them.

It’s kind of ironic… feminists try to display their liberation by ogling over pictures of naked guys. But if a guy is ogling over a picture of some scantily clad woman…that same feminist is running to human resources and crying foul. She’s making a complaint about a hostile work environment or sexual harassment. Rather hypocritical now, isn’t it?

Feminists…tell me do you think that women who have been raped, or sexually assaulted or are incest victims find these male cheesecake pictures a turn on? I’d say they have a different reaction.

Whatever happened to the desire to be a lady or lady like?

I’m more likely to get a raunchy, suggestive e-mail from a woman these days than a guy. When did decency become archaic?

I don’t know why you even call yourself feminists. The last thing you are is feminine. You hate men…but you try to embrace male nature as your own. You are not feminine, you are not masculine; you are just mixed up!

When I see a handsome guy some on TV or walking by me in real life…I do a double take. I’m thinking what a nice smile and pretty eyes he has. I’m thinking wouldn’t it be nice to have dinner with him…and talk.

What’s attractive to me? A man who has a heart towards God. One who loves the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. A man who treats me nice…who is considerate, respectful and caring. A man who will open that door for me or help carry a heavy package. Someone who has a sense of humor that makes me laugh…someone who listens to me. That is what’s attractive to me…that’s what turns me on. I am entirely comfortable with my feminine nature and I don’t need to go around and pretend I have some raunchy sexual nature, that’s just like a guy’s nature.

So when I get offended at receiving one of these “hunky guy” pictures…it’s not me that is confused with my feminine nature. I know who I am…and I’m comfortable with being a woman. I don’t need to try and be like a guy to be liberated and equal.

And the Story is Told…

Things Aren’t Always as They First Appear!

Please click on the audio link below…for your weekly dose of humor from Pastor Chuck Obremski.

It has been my privilege to continue to pass out CD’s from my dear beloved Pastor…despite his change of address to a more heavenly home. God continues to use these CD’s to reach out and help people. Whether the CD’s are going to someone who has not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior…or to encourage a fellow Christians…God’s Word bring salvation…and acts as a healing balm to those in need.

Consistently…people comment on Chuck’s humor and his weekly jokes. Usually used to illustrate a point in his sermon…they allow you to loosen up and relax and help draw you in to hear God’s word. Some times Chuck’s sermons were a word of encouragement to help strengthen you…and some times a kick in the butt to get you back on track when you’ve wandered off course.

If you’ve not yet heard Chuck’s CD’s…I would encourage you to please get some. If you know me personally and I’ve not yet given you any of the CD’s…please be sure let me know. Due to the faithful servants of Kindred’s Audio Ministry…I normally keep some with me at all times and would love to share with you. If don’t know me…or you’d prefer…please click on the link to Kindred Community Church. Go to the audio ministry where you can download sermons online. Or if you would like some of the CD albums please e-mail or write Kindred’s audio ministry.

Each week when I leave church…I put on one of Chuck’s CD’s. As good and powerful and as incredible as it was to hear these sermons when Chuck was teaching them live…I can honestly say that they are equally or more powerful now. Why? Because…we at Kindred got to see a man live out his faith. He did not stumble…and his faith did not fail him. When in the wine press…his lips continued to pour forth praise for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was able to do that because he was rooted and grounded in the Word of God. It was part of his daily life…he believed it and trusted in God and in His Word…to the end of his earthly life. Chuck’s eyes were on Jesus Christ…not his circumstance.

If you are struggling in your own life, if you have doubts and find yourself stumbling at life’s daily challenges…I urge you to please make sure that your relationship with Jesus Christ is strong, firm and secure. I recommend that you start with Desperation to Dependence, move on to the Heaven Series…and then listen to Thinking Like a Genuine Servant. There is much more great teaching to feed your soul and spirit…but start there.

May the Lord bless you this coming week…may your faith not fail you…but instead remain strong. God bless!


Recently I was engaged in a conversation with some guys when the subject changed to a mutual acquaintance. They commented enthusiastically about what a “looker” she was. Not only that but she was really smart, and had skills, talents and abilities to match her good looks. I’ve got to tell you when hearing their comments…I felt like I was cut to the quick.

Now I’m least PC kind of gal you are ever going to know. I know that guys like looking at pretty women. It’s almost an involuntary response when their head turns and they watch as a beautiful women walks in. I know that guys talk among themselves about the girls and women they know or see. With all that being said…if one of these guys had stuck a knife in my stomach and turned it…that wouldn’t have hurt more then their comments did. In part, it hurt all the more because I actually like and respect these guys.

On a good day…I’m average looking. On a bad day…well let’s not go there. God has not chosen to bless me with fabulous hair, flawless perfect skin and a drop dead gorgeous body. While it may not be obvious…I do make at attempt to look good. Some days more successfully than others.

I want to try to translate that conversation…if guys were hearing women talk about another guy…and how they might feel.

So here’s the scenario…you are Bob…an average looking guy…a little short on stature and loosing some hair. You recently lost your job due to corporate downsizing. But because you have a strong work ethic and love your wife and family…you got another job right away. Even though the pay is considerably less than what you were earning…and are capable of…you took that job so you could continue to take care of your family. You work really hard…50 to 60 hours a week are not uncommon. Even so…with less money coming in…the family has to do without on some things these days.

One night…you come home from the office later than expected because of an important project at the work. You and your wife are having a little get-together with some friends. When you walk in the door…you are greeted by your wife who comments, “Couldn’t you have got home earlier…you knew we had this party. Don’t you love me or care about anyone but yourself?” You are thinking, “It’s because I love you I’m working so hard.” But you restrain yourself from comment and instead go into the kitchen to help your wife with the party.

In the kitchen…some women are gathered and are chit chatting. The subject turns to some of the neighborhood guys. They start talking about your neighbor Mike. Some of the comments you hear are: “That Mike…he is such a good husband and father.” “He has a great job…and did you hear about the bonus check he got? Unbelievable…they are going on a two week Panamanian cruise.” “Not only that but he’s such a good dad. Home every night by 5:30 and helps not only with the cooking…but spends a lot of time with the kids too.” “Yeah…not only is he a good provider, husband and father…he’s drop dead gorgeous. He’s so tall, look at his hair and what body. Wow…hubba, hubba baby!”

And just when you want to melt into the floor…you wife comments, “You know…I really respect Mike. His wife is so lucky. He’s the best!”

Now tell me gentlemen…do you think that upon hearing that conversation…you might feel not so good? Both about yourself and those ladies. Well that is an equivalent of the conversation and what I felt like when those guys were talking. Only their emphasis was bit more focused on the physical…and not her other attributes.

No one made any disparaging remarks about me in any way. Nothing vulgar or inappropriate was said. But at the same time…I’m keenly aware of my very average looks. I felt invisible, irrelevant and unworthy.

Now I would like to be able to brag…that I responded in a loving Christian way. Or that I just let their comments not bother me…that I “let it go”. But I’d be lying…instead I took the shot. I purposely and deliberately make a comment that was intended to hurt right back.

I think that men and women are equally clueless about the opposite sex. Their conversation was a guy’s thing…and comments about another woman’s looks really should remain between guys.

I don’t think that they made those comments to be hurtful. But don’t know…I’m not a mind reader. Maybe they were clueless that hearing something like that is hurtful to woman. Maybe they just didn’t care…or worse.

Gentlemen…if you love your wife, girlfriend, daughters, sisters, mothers and friends…just know that when you go down that road…it will likely cause pain. Remember…your wife’s confidence and knowledge that she is loved by you…is a direct reflection of you.

I know that women are equally as guilty of making hurtful and demeaning comments about guys…sometimes with intent and sometime out of ignorance. And that is just as wrong. So it is not that I try to place myself or women on pedestal…but instead…would like others to learn from my experience.

So this Christian who stumbled…and failed miserably is reminded how I should have responded.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 & 13 – 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. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

Alzheimer’s…Grace for the Moment

Well today I encountered another turning point in this adventure called Alzheimer’s.

My mom was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 3 ½ years ago…but in the wisdom of hindsight…I’m quite certain her decline started much earlier than that. Her decline has been slow…but somewhat steady. Usually the sharp declines are temporary…and are related to an illness that she has at the moment. Once she’s feeling physically better…her functioning level comes up again.

Gayle was sick for a couple weeks…but was physically feeling better today. But despite that improvement the nurses were concerned that her functioning level had rapidly changed within the last week or two. They are not sure if it’s permanent…or if the sudden big jump is due to her recent illness briefly impacting her functioning level.

Her ability to walk was greatly impacted, as was her eating. Now over the past few years, more and more something just as simple as chewing and swallowing has become an issue. Some days more than others. In the last week, it’s gotten worse. So much so that they are currently puréeing her food.

On a normal day…you have to remind Gayle to chew and swallow. It’s not uncommon for her to look like chipmunk as she stores away the food in her cheeks. For someone who can function normally…not a big deal…you’ll just swallow when you are ready to. But with Alzheimer’s…you may not know how to swallow or forget to swallow. Thus…the puréeing her food…to insure that she doesn’t choke on it later.

Also Gayle’s ability to walk has also been impacted. The primary nurse for my mom is Jennie. She works really well with her and seems quite in tune. She did not want to go down that road of having Gayle in a wheelchair…and put it off for most of the week. However the last day or two…Gayle’s been in wheelchair…because something simple, like walking down the hallway, is very difficult. Jennie knows that sometimes people start to give up at that point…and she works hard to keep Gayle involved, interactive and motivated.

The other thing that was new today…Gayle was kind of zoning out. By that I mean she would just put her head down while she sitting there…almost as if she was asleep. But she wasn’t asleep…when you talk to her she’ll pop her head up and respond. Sometime with words…and sometime an “uh huh”. She’s not able to say if she’s feeling good or bad. She says she doesn’t know.

About a week ago…one of the head nurses suggested that it might be time to take Gayle’s rings from her…so they don’t get lost. Between Alzheimer’s people tending to lose things…or the rings just falling off…she thought it was advisable to take her rings.

Now that is something I knew was coming down the pike…but like so much of this adventure…I’ve put it off as long as possible. So it was with a very heavy heart today I had my mom…give me her wedding ring. I asked her to take it off…and told that I would get it cleaned. She did so…very willingly.

In some respects…it was so easy. Really a landmark in someone’s life…but it was almost uneventful. Yet…I’m so torn. These last few years have been watching my mother loose her personhood, her life and herself. And now…here’s another thing that is gone for good. I know practically speaking, in her right mind she would agree that it was the right thing to do.

And the ring has been safely delivered to a family member that it was intended to go to. Now I don’t have the worry, “what if she looses it?” weighing on my conscience.

But I wonder…how much of it was God’s grace in the moment that helped make a very sad situation easier? Or am I becoming one hard hearted son of a gun? I surely hope it’s the former and not the later.

The other thing that stood out…was how difficult it is for the nurses that care for these people…as they decline and eventually die. God has blessed me with a wonderful church, Kindred Community Church that is committed to giving out God’s word. Thus it has been my privilege to share CD’s with the nurses…with the hope that it will help encourage and build them up. And indeed it has done that. For that I am most grateful.

So thank you God for that dose of grace today. I needed it…and I pray for grace and mercy…for my mom and the nurses that care for her.

Out of Commission…But Be Forewarned…I’m Back!

Man oh man alive. Whooooooooo!

Well…I’ve been out of commission since last week, computer wise that is. But I am back up and running. What a week to have my computer down….with all the stories in the news during the last week! The miner tragedy compounded by miscommunication that went uncorrected, the Alito hearing, some illustrious senators grandstanding and thinking that the world revolves around them (okay…so that’s not new), and Ariel Sharon in a coma…and possibly on his death bed.

It’s very hard to do research on stories when your computer can’t get online. Now that it’s working again…I’m more appreciative than ever for my computer and the amazing age in which we live and the resources that are available at the click of a mouse.

My little adventure in “computer malfunction and repair” came about when I got the swell idea to install more RAM in my computer. Easy enough, right? Ah…not quite. Something went wrong during the process. Not only would Mr. Computer not recognize the RAM…but somewhere along the line a couple of DLL files were corrupted. Files that Zone Alarm needed to operate. Not only operated…but also needed in order to delete the program altogether.

But in the process of this little adventure I have learned and want to pass along a few tips in case you are not already practicing good computer habits.

1) Back up your computer. Back up, back up and back up. Fortunately this was something that I get a passing mark on. Now you can back up to CD’s or DVD’s…but that takes time. Yes you should do that…but for a quicker and fuller back up there are the portable external hard drives or USB drives that you can use to back up your files quite easily. It takes a fraction of the time…and you can back up everything you need and want to.

2) Now another area that I get a passing grade on is having an anti virus, spyware and ad-ware removal programs. Some of which are free…and I’ve been using over the past few year. I give them a thumbs up. While I did have problems…it was entirely unrelated to a virus or spyware. So here are a few links and recommendations:

Ad-aware 6.0 – this program is free…and used in conjunction with other programs…it will help clean off the ad/spyware that downloads when you visit websites.

Spybot Search & Destroy – another free program for download. Does a great job. It takes care of items that Ad-aware may miss.

Spy Sweeper by Webroot – this one program that I purchased. It’s not free…but well worth the investment if you want to protect your computer. If you are surfing the net a lot…protect your computer. This program will catch items missed by both Ad-aware and Spybot Search & Destroy. While it would be peachy keen to have just one program…there are too far too many folks out there trying to wreak havoc with your computer life. Forewarned is forearmed.

Panda Software Active Scan – Still having problem with your computer? Try the Active Scan on Panda Software’s website. Even if you have another anti virus…this will scan your computer and detect any viruses or spyware problems. The Active Scan is free.

If you, like me, are finding your current anti-virus sometime causes problems rather than fixing them…you may want to change to a new/different anti virus. If you need to remove Norton Anti-virus to install a new program…be sure to remove all traces of this program. Not only do you need to remove from “ad/remove programs”…but you also need to use the removal tool on Symantec to fully remove all traces of Norton Anti-virus. Failure to do so…will result in many problems for your computer. If you install another anti-virus without fully removing Norton you will have problems multiplied…as they war against each other.

3) When finally you are at your wit’s end…call the professionals. I ended up calling Make It Work…for those of you in Southern California I recommend their services. A little word of warning…the ads make it seem as if they’ll be right out to your home as soon as you call. But reality is that they have to schedule you…Monday through Saturday, 8 AM to 5 PM. But when they get there…they do a good job. The gentleman that came to fix my computer was knowledgeable and diligent…and kept at it until he was able to fix the problems.

So…my computer is back up and running. I have computer knowledge at the end of the week than I did at the beginning of the week. Achieved, not in the manner I would have preferred…but I have it, nonetheless. I know about pinging, ipconfig, release, renew…network connections and repairs. I also know more about RAM and if your computer is without power for a time…it resets the clock on your computer back to when it was new. Which causes a whole other set of problems.

So…if you haven’t backed up your computer recently…do so. If your spyware and antivirus programs are lacking…or not up to speed…get them in place. Good computing to you all…except to a few nasty senators whom I will address in another piece shortly.

And The Story Was Told…by Chuck Obremski

One of the most fun things about my former Pastor, Chuck Obremski was that he started each sermon with a joke or two. Sometime corny, sometimes rather irreverent, and frequently just down right funny. His favorite jokes were saved for Mother’s Day.

Whenever I give out one of Chuck’s CD’s…the first thing people comment on is about how the funny jokes are.

The Audio Ministry at Kindred Community Church had made a new CD with a compilation of jokes that Chuck told at the beginning of his sermons. Great idea…brings not only a laugh…but a tear or two upon hearing Chuck’s jokes. So many of which I recall hearing during his original sermons.

Kindred’s Audio Ministry…does yeoman’s work. In 2005…the audio ministry gave out over 96,000 CD’s. That’s up about 80,000 CD’s from the prior year. Awesome job folks!

Just a reminder…if you would like to sign up to receive the CD’s each week…or would like to get some of Chuck’s CD’s from the past…please click on the link to Kindred Community Church. All the CD albums are great…but just to recommend a few: Luke, Romans, Daniel, I and II Timothy, Spiritual Health, Destination Heaven, Desperation to Dependence and Thinking Like a Genuine Servant.

So…it will be my project in 2006 each week post one of Chuck’s jokes. Without further ado…here is Chuck:

War Is Not the Answer…Except

From my former liberal days…I can honestly vouch for the fact that liberals and leftist are very naive. Most are well intentioned…not evil.

But nevertheless their reasoning is very flawed. They have an inability to see evil, true evil for what it is. When you can’t see evil as evil and call it what it is…you can’t fight it. Not effectively.

That’s when you are the victim of a terrorist act and treat the terrorists like they are criminals. Like our country did after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Naiveté at that point becomes dangerous.

While I’d like to take credit for the above “War Is Not the Answer…Except” bumper sticker…in all honesty, I can’t. I did have it specially made…but the idea came from the Dennis Prager show. I believe the quote is a compilation of Dennis’ sentiments and caller’s contributions.

For quite some time now…I’ve hoping to run across one like this…but finally decided to have my own done up. If you have a favorite bit of wisdom you would like to see in a bumper sticker…click on the link to Make Stickers.

NBC Takes Aim

NBC has taken a shot across the bow of Christianity. It’s not a warning shot…but a pot shot.

I would like nothing better than to be able to sit back in 2006 and enjoy the New Year. But I can’t…there’s a culture war going on…and like it or not, Christians are engaged in that war. We have two options…engage the opposition and refuse to give up more territory…or shut up and shut ourselves off from today’s culture. Option 2…isn’t an option.

NBC seems increasingly hostile to family values in general and Christians, Jews and other persons of faith. They demonstrate it regularly with their programming. It’s frequently seen in programs with gratuitous violence and sexual perversion that seems to come from the diaries of some sick, perverted soul. Sometimes it’s a not so subtle jab at Christians by portraying the token Christian as total hypocritical whack job. Let’s not forget the regular diet of criticism and condemnation of Republicans and conservatives that seeps its way into the story lines. Some of these shows include Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Medium, Las Vegas, The West Wing…and on, and on. Pick a show…any show.

But NBC has outdone itself with the release of its latest show “The Book of Daniel”. It premiers this Friday, January 6th. Here’s the show description…directly from NBC’s website:

“Emmy nominee Aidan Quinn (“An Early Frost,” “Plainsong,” “Legends of the Fall”) stars as Reverend Daniel Webster, an unconventional Episcopalian minister who not only believes in Jesus – he actually sees him and discusses life with him. Webster is challenged on many levels as he struggles to be a good husband, father and minister, while trying to control a nagging addiction to prescription painkillers, and an often rocky relationship with the church hierarchy, led by Bishop Beatrice Congreve (Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “Requiem of a Dream”), Roger Paxton, a senior warden of the parish and stalwart churchgoer (Dylan Baker, “Kinsey,” “Happiness”).

The reverend also has loving, but challenging relationships with his three children: Peter (Christian Campbell, “Trick”), his 23-year-old gay son, who struggles with the loss of his twin brother; Grace (Alison Pill, “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen”), his 16-year-old daughter who doesn’t try to push her father’s buttons but succeeds at it nonetheless; and Adam (Ivan Shaw, “All My Children”), his 16-year-old adopted Chinese son, a handsome and cocky high school jock with a wicked sense of humor. Keeping Webster grounded is his strong and loving wife Judith (Susanna Thompson, “Now and Again”), who is fighting her own fondness for mid-day martinis, as well as Jesus (Garret Dillahunt, “Deadwood”), whose frequent chats with Daniel serve to remind him of his strengths and weaknesses.”

Some of the details that NBC leaves out of this description about “The Book of Daniel” include: that the 23-year-old son is a homosexual Republican, the 16-year-old daughter is a drug dealer, and a 16-year-old adopted son is having sex with the bishop’s daughter. Let’s not forget that the reverend’s secretary is a lesbian and is sleeping with his sister-in-law.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that persons producing, writing, directing and acting in this program…aren’t your typical Bible believing Christians. In fact if they know how to spell the word Christian I would be surprised. Obviously they are not well rooted, grounded and knowledgeable about the Bible.

They are openly hostile towards Christianity. Portraying Christians as hypocrites and actively engaged in sin…sin that God, in no uncertain terms, has condemned in His Word, the Bible.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. What God called sin in the Bible…remains sin today. Sexual sin including sex outside of marriage, adultery, homosexuality, drug abuse, alcoholism, lying, stealing and murder to name a few…are still considered sin in God’s Word.

By having characters whom are allegedly self professed Christians disregard God’s Word and actively and willfully engage in sin…NBC is spitting on Christians. They see Christians as hypocrites who are no better than the rest of the world who is engaged in the same sins. In fact…the Christian is worse…because they think they are better and judge others…all the while sinning up a storm.

Do Christians sin? Of course they do. But I would advise the Christian that continually and knowingly engages in that which God has declared sin…to examine themselves…to see if they really have a saving faith in Jesus Christ. He takes as we are…sinners. But then His Holy Spirit dwells within us and transforms us daily.

Are there some Christians out there walking very far from Biblical Christianity? Yes! Are there are some of the more liberal denominations that turn a blind eye or even give a nod of approval to sin. Yes! Some denominations have had scandal after scandal in which members of the clergy sexually abuse children…seemingly without consequence. Have we had prominent Christian leaders fall in to sin and their downfall visible to all? Yes!

I have no doubt that Christian sins and public failings contribute to this very cynical and negative view that we see portrayed in the media, more and more.

But NBC has gone too far with “The Book of Daniel”.

The vast majority of Christians in this country are good, decent, honest, hard working people. Not perfect, not sinless…but people who believe in God. The God of the Bible. They believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to pay the penalty for their sins. Not so they can take sin lightly…but so they can receive forgiveness for their sins and the help to stop sinning. None of us…none but Jesus…will leave this life without sin.

But the characters that are the face Christianity in “The Book of Daniel”…are not Christians. But instead…persons in need of forgiveness and the transforming power of God…through Jesus Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit within us.

So what’s a Christian to do when slapped in the face by a big corporation…who thinks nothing of spitting in the face of Christians? They need to speak out. They need to contact NBC and voice their opposition to this program. Write to or call the chairman of NBC, Bob Wright. Write or call your local NBC affiliate and ask them to not air this program.

If indeed NBC does not back down…and airs this program…get the names of the sponsors and write them. Let them know that while they may not like or respect your faith…that your dollars do count. Your time and viewing habits will be spent on programs that are not an offense to Christianity and persons of faith. That your dollars will be spent on products that don’t back this affront and assault to Christianity.

You can contact Bob Wright at:

Bob Wright, Chairman
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Primary Phone: 212-664-4444
Fax: 212-489-7592
E-Mail: Bob Wright, NBC

Christians…it’s time to get up…and get busy. It’s a New Year…but an old battle continues rage. It’s too important to let the opposition win. Get going…now!