River Region's Journey - Montgomery, Prattville, Wetumpka, Millbrook Joomla! - the dynamic portal engine and content management system http://readjourneymagazine.com Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:22:01 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Dave Ramsey has the Answers to Your Questions! http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1096:dave-ramsey-has-the-answers-to-your-questions&Itemid=116 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1096:dave-ramsey-has-the-answers-to-your-questions&Itemid=116

Using the Grandchild for Money

 

Q.  My wife and I have been helping our adopted daughter financially for some time. She’s 25, has been married for three years, and we don’t see this cycle stopping anytime soon. The worst part is, they will often throw in that our grandchild will go without something unless we help. We’re certain this isn’t teaching them to stand on their own feet, but we don’t know what else to do.

 

 

 

You’re giving them money left and right, and it’s not working. You’re giving them fish, and you’ve heard that whole saying. You could also teach them to fish and then not give them any fish, but I like a third choice in this scenario — give them fish only if they take fishing lessons. They get no more money from you unless they get financial counseling together and make a serious move toward straightening up their lives.

 

If they try to play on your feelings by saying your grandchild is hungry, tell them to send the child over for a meal. If they run out of money until payday, tell them to go to their financial counseling session to find answers. Right now, every time they have a problem they call mom and dad. Guess what? They don’t have any problems as long as you’re doing what you’re doing.

 

Love them well. Hold their hands and say, “When I was your age, I wish someone had done this for me. I’m not going to give you any more money unless you go to financial counseling sessions regularly and together. If you do this, turn in a budget to us and let us coach you on how to be adults and handle your own money well, we’ll help and set up a matching system. If you don’t do the matching part though, you won’t see anything from us.”

 

They’ve figured out if they hold your feet to the fire when it comes to this grandbaby, you’re going to open the wallet. They’re playing you right now, and it’s not to their benefit — or yours!

 

Borrow against retirement?

 

Q.  I have an opportunity to take a loan against my 401(k) retirement, and pay myself interest. Is this a good idea?

 

A.  Actually, you’ll end up costing yourself interest. Never take a loan against your retirement!

 

When you pay interest against your retirement, you cost yourself interest. If you leave the company — which you will someday — the loan against the 401(k) is due within 60 days. If you don’t pay it off, they consider it an early withdrawal and you’ll get taxed and penalized big-time.

 

If you have a certifiable emergency, like owing the IRS or facing a foreclosure, you may have to withdraw some. You’ll still get taxed, but please don’t ever borrow against retirement!

 

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Dave Ramsey Says Tue, 12 Sep 2017 23:26:00 +0000
Listening as a Lifestyle http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1095:listening-as-a-lifestyle&Itemid=112 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1095:listening-as-a-lifestyle&Itemid=112

Ms. Christy, you just don’t get it.  You don’t understand.”  My client, a feisty, brave and loveable 19-year-old female was telling me about a difficult situation that she had been involved with at work.  And this was her response to me.  The sad part about it is that I thought I was really listening!  Her words were sobering and so I paused for reflection.

  What occurred to me was that in my desire to “help her”,  I also had an agenda for her:  what I thought she “needed” to do.  I so desperately wanted  this young lady to have a good and productive life that I missed out on the opportunity to really hear her, hear her heart, to hear what is important to her and what it is like to daily live her life. When we have an agenda for another person, it keeps us from hearing them, really hearing them. She was right that day when she called me out.  I didn’t understand what her world was like because I thought I had a solution for what she should do.  I missed a great opportunity that day.

 

This experience was a wake  up call for me.  I mean after all, I am supposed to be a professional listener.  Right?  So what about you?  Maybe you want to brush up on your listening skills along with me.  Professor David Benner says  “a major obstacle to growth in listening abilities is that most us already think we are good listeners.”  Hmm…sounds too  familiar.

 

In this article, we will look at listening as a lifestyle, not just a set of prescribed listening skills.  The first thing that seems obvious is that in order to really listen we have to be quiet and settle in.  We hear all day long from the time we get up until the time we go to bed.  Very few of us work on cultivating quiet.  Quiet is almost uncomfortable for a lot of us these days, so we keep the noise turned up.  What would happen if we were still and sat in our quiet for even a little while each day?  We might have more peace and a better sense of ourselves, God and the world around us.  We might be quiet long enough to hear the deeper longings of our heart.  What if we listened to our emotions before we preached to them? God is always speaking to us through His spirit, creation, others, and of course through His written word.

 

We are so concerned with our beliefs, point of view, and rights that we talk over each other, ever growing louder and louder.  Rarely are we willing to show the courage to listen, especially if it is uncomfortable.  Just watch any talk show on TV and this will be displayed for you right in your living room.  No one listening, but everyone talking! 

 

How about each one of us?  I have often said that one of the hardest  jobs of a parent is to listen to your child when he or she is saying something that you are uncomfortable with or that goes against your own personal beliefs. But parents, be encouraged that your child is talking to you! There are so many other people they could be talking to about this particular issue.  How might you listen in a way that welcomes them to continue to share with you?  Can we, as parents, ask God for the courage to press deeper into the conversation, deeper into the heart of our child to really hear the story underneath the story!  Winston Churchhill said “courage is what takes to stand up and speak and courage is what it takes to listen. “  Let’s be diligent to be courageous parents in this area of our child’s life.

 

All of creation listens.  Think about it -  the world was created out of chaos when the Lord spoke.  All of creation is as a response to listening to God speak.  The earth and the entirety of creation listens better than most of us.  The Bible repeatedly encourages us to have ears that hear.  Not only do we get to listen to God, but He also listens to us.  That the God of the universe would take the time to listen to us is pretty astounding.  We know that God heard the cries of the slaves in Egypt and He delivered them.  The psalms are full of the Lord hearing our cries for help.  When Jesus was on the earth, He certainly listened and listened well. Because of His intent listening,  He heard “ the story beneath the story” of those He encountered.   The woman at the well is a perfect example.  Jesus listened and He was able to discern that her greatest need was not just water, but to be heard, seen, understood, and forgiven.

 

The woman at the well represents each one of us.  We go to the “well” to get what we need to make it through a particular day.  Yes, water is necessary, good, and refreshing. We would never argue about that being an essential part of life.  But just like the woman at the well, we need so much more.  Each of us longs and needs to be heard, seen, and known for who we really are.  Then once that happens, we are in a better position to receive the water that is eternal.

 

So, I have apologized to my client for trying to “shove a cup of water into her hands.” In essence I was saying, “Here, I  know what is best for you, drink this!”  This 19 year old taught me a great lesson that day.  Before we can “take water” from someone, we really need to be heard and seen. She has been gracious, has forgiven me, and now I look forward to listening to her...really listening.

 

James 1:19  So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

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Counselors Corner Tue, 12 Sep 2017 23:18:31 +0000
Microchips...and the Return of Jesus http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1093:microchipsand-the-return-of-jesus&Itemid=113 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1093:microchipsand-the-return-of-jesus&Itemid=113

A Wisconsin company announced its offering of a microchip to its employees to enable them to enter the building, as well as to purchase food on-site.

 

That’s the word from Three Square Market, according to a USA Today story, which reported that the rice-sized chip would be implanted between the thumb and forefinger.  Company CEO Todd Westby is quoted here:

 

“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals...” (RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification.)

 

Westby added, “Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.”  Three Square is partnering with a Swedish company with a number of employees who are “chipped.”  The story notes that Westby says there is no GPS tracking with the chip.

 

NBC News pointed out:

 

Privacy protections were among the concerns when it was first rolled out, and fundamentalist religious groups publicly objected to the tiny tags as being the “mark of the beast” mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.

 

NBC did not quote one of these “fundamentalist” believers, but CBN News rightly stated:

 

Many Christians express concerns about microchip implants because they see the idea as a prelude to “the mark of the Beast” as described in the book of Revelation.

 

Here’s that verse about the End Times from Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV): “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

 

When Apple Pay technology came out a few years ago, consumer privacy expert and bestselling author Dr. Katherine Albrecht told CBN News, “We’re kind of moving closer and closer to that ‘right hand’ and closer and closer to the fulfillment of biblical prophecy about the mark of the Beast.”

 

Jerry Newcombe, writing at WND.com, indicates that people believing in the return of Jesus by the year 2050 comprise over one-third of the population.  He referred to a July 2010 Pew poll that shows a total of 41 percent of Americans believe Jesus definitely (23 percent) or probably (18 percent) will have returned to earth by that time.

 

Newcombe does caution against what he calls “newspaper exegesis,” and writes:

 

Regardless of whether this story on buying a bag of chips in a break room in Wisconsin by means of a microchip planted in the hand has anything to do with the return of Christ, I take great comfort in knowing that one day Jesus will come back.

 

Radio preacher Chuck Swindoll gives us great insight for living, on keeping the return of Christ in perspective: “There’s something about Christ’s soon return that stirs up our urgency and keeps us involved. … What we need is balance. We need to be informed and aware, thinking it could occur at any moment, but carrying out our lives as responsibly as if His return would not be for another two or three generations.”

 

Here are some points to consider:

 

Microchip and RFID technology are certainly available, and, while convenience is a factor, privacy and moral concerns abound.

 

Scripture teaches that what is called the “mark of the beast” in Revelation will become a mandatory element, without which no one can buy and sell; so, it’s not too much of a stretch to see how implanted technology could lead to a fulfillment of prophecy.

 

The “mark” is a tool that will be used by the Antichrist.  The Bible teaches that those loyal to him will take the mark, those who are not will reject it.  So, there is the question of methodology, but there is also the matter of meaning.  And, to whom will people on the earth swear their allegiance?

 

Of course, for those who believe that Jesus will take His Church to be with Him in the rapture, that event would predate the distribution of the “mark.”  But, these technological developments can help us to see how that man of perdition could actually control the lives of people by regulating their ability to buy and sell. 

 

Finally, we have to make sure that we are ready when Jesus comes to receive His Church.  The Bible teaches us that we are to strive to be found faithful.  There is certainly a sense of urgency - we need to make sure that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of our lives and that we are walking in obedience to His Word.

 

 

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Bob Crittendon Tue, 12 Sep 2017 22:50:45 +0000
Stop Procrastinating...Get On With It! http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1092:stop-procrastinatingget-on-with-it&Itemid=126 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1092:stop-procrastinatingget-on-with-it&Itemid=126

Maybe you can relate to Craig from the UK. He wrote in a blog, “I bought a book called 52 Steps To Defeating Procrastination. I’ve still never read it - it was over 10 years ago, and I’m not even sure where it is now.” 

 

Almost everyone will choose to procrastinate about something sometime, for various reasons. Some of these reasons may be things beyond our control; some may come out of forgetfulness; other times we just simply don’t want to tackle the issue at that time. All of these reasons demonstrate just how human we are.

 

Chronic procrastinators habitually put off what needs to be done today for tomorrow, and when tomorrow comes, they again determine to put the same task off for the next tomorrow. Even if they accomplish the assignment on one of those tomorrows, it merely means that the task finally took precedence over what might have been accomplished on that day. No one succeeds or progresses if they are a habitual procrastinator.   

     

Kathleen J. Shields said, “Tomorrow is a mystical land where 99% of all human achievement is stored.” This is a strong indictment against procrastination! Another poignant quote, “Tomorrow is a place in the sky where wishes and dreams go to die.” I wonder how many dreams we have had over our lifetime that never came to life because we pushed the cost of engaging them from today to tomorrow.

 

To maximize our potential in life we must see procrastination as a formidable enemy “of whom you cannot fellowship.” We must war against it vehemently.

 

What would you do if someone approached you on an alley and tried to snatch your purse, yet you know you are capable of tackling and stopping the perpetrator from robbing you? I believe you will put on the fight of your life to foil the robber’s assault. Why, then, do we sit by addled and do nothing with procrastination? We must realize procrastination is a subtle thief that robs us of our greatness.   

 

With your eyes closed, think about the promotion you missed because you put off making an important call, or delayed delivering a report. How different might life have been for you, if you had taken ample time to do the business plan, or to write the book that needs written?  You may have blamed others for your lack of progress, but in your heart of hearts, you know it was you who didn’t deliver.

 

God has invested greatly in you, and He’s expecting you to do and be so much. Yet there is a time limit to see the opportunity accomplished. So kick procrastination to the curb and get on with it!

 

 

WHY WE PROCRASTINATE

1. Learned behavior. No one was born a procrastinator. For the most part, it is a learned behavior derived from an undisciplined, relaxed upbringing, or bucking authority from a strong, authoritarian parent or tutors.

2. Fear of failure.  Anxiety to take on a task can make us want to put a task off to another time. One type of anxiety is the fear that we may not succeed.

3. Feeling of being overwhelmed. Chronic procrastinators become drained quickly by the size of a project, and their natural inclination is to put it off.

4. Laziness. Laziness is synonymous with procrastination, and is the leading cause of it. Laziness is so detrimental to our progress that God has much to say about it. See Proverbs 6:6-11; Ecclesiastes 11:4; Proverbs 26:13-15; or Proverbs 12:24.   

5. Indecision. If you have developed a habit for this trait, you need to wage war, not with the devil, but with your own self to shed this harmful behavior. Indecisiveness about life, and the path and purposes for success could have you going in circles. When you finally get to the goal, you might not know where you are.

 

 

HOW TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION

1. Keep Destiny in View. As Christians we must live God-focused lives, being aware that we are here for a specific assignment with an expiration date attached. Knowing this will help us get on task quickly and with the precision that destiny demands of us. Study the life of Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

2. Plan Things Out. Approach life with ease. Work out your daily plan in bite-sized pieces, refusing to be stressed, and trusting God for fruitful results.

3. Don’t Live in Denial. Seeing the problem, accepting responsibility, taking the steps necessary for change, and asking God for help in overcoming is the way to go.

 

Beloved, you are destined for something grand. Stop procrastinating and get on with it!

 

 

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Pastor Kemi Searcy Mon, 11 Sep 2017 17:55:49 +0000
Finding Shelter http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1090:finding-shelter&Itemid=125 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1090:finding-shelter&Itemid=125

When a wildfire sweeps across the scrub oak, sandy land of north Florida, south Alabama, and south Georgia many small animals find a place to hide, thanks to a creature called the gopher tortoise. This tortoise, about fifteen inches long and weighing eight to fifteen pounds, loves to dig in the sand. His front feet are like shovels. His back feet are strong and sturdy. Consequently, he can create large burrows. One in north Florida left a burrow that was 26 feet deep and 65 feet long. But that project was huge.

 

You would think the tortoise would dig just to create a home to protect himself from predators and the cold of winter. But there is more to it than that. You see, once each tortoise has dug a tunnel to his satisfaction, he leaves it to start digging a new one. Each one leaves several burrows vacant every year. That’s when the mice, fox, raccoons, opossums, and any of 350 other species of mammals move in, along with reptiles and insects. Whether he intended to or not, he has left behind an underground village of life.

 

This is why the gopher tortoise is called a keystone species, defined as a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend. If it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically, which reminds me of what our Lord is and what He calls each of us to be.

 

Isaiah describes our Lord like this:  You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat (Isaiah 35:4, NIV).

 

Jesus speaks of this as he mourns the faithlessness of Jerusalem. He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:32 NIV).

 

Isaiah describes a future time when we will share this sheltering responsibility with Christ. He writes: See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land (Isaiah 32:1-2, NIV).

 

But, we don’t have to wait for the Second Coming to start being a shelter to those around us. We can be with them in their trials. We can listen. We can share our blessings. We can show that we care for them. How that is lived out will be different for each of us. God has not made us all the same.

 

One family that I know has been willing to share their home with teen-aged boys who are no longer welcome in their own homes. This family is not officially in the foster care system, but on a temporary basis, young men sometimes stay overnight. Some have stayed much longer. But the goal is to help them get their lives together and get right with the Lord. Most of us are not called to offer that literal kind of shelter, but thank God for those who are.

 

You may represent a shelter you have not considered. Your church may be the spiritual shelter that someone you know really needs. Life can be harsh, confusing, and cruel. Many people don’t know which way to turn or whether anything is really true. You could be that connection between a hurting soul and the comforting presence of God.

 

Sometimes what people need when fire rages around them is someone like you, someone who is willing to admit they have had the same struggles, and they understand the pain. Share with them the hope you have in Christ, that things will not be this bad forever.

 

You may not know you are being someone’s shelter. Consider that gopher tortoise. Does he really know the impact he is having on those around him?     

     

The important thing is for us to continue living out the calling God has placed on our lives. When the fire of life threatens those around us, let us be their shelter.

       

**Sam Whatley’s latest book, Ponder Anew, is now available at the Frazer Bookstore located inside Frazer Memorial UMC.

 

 

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Pondering the Journey Mon, 11 Sep 2017 16:53:44 +0000
Life is Hard, But There is Hope http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1087:life-is-hard-but-there-is-hope&Itemid=105 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1087:life-is-hard-but-there-is-hope&Itemid=105

There is hope.

 

Alice Cooper was recently reflecting on the life of his late friend Glen Campbell. Yes, that Alice Cooper, the shock rocker known for dark theatrical rock shows, was a friend with that Glen Campbell, the smooth singing star of radio and television.

 

Cooper said that both he and Campbell battled addictions through their years in Los Angeles. However, both of them found faith in Christ. They became better husbands and fathers, and they overcame the drugs and alcohol.

 

Life isn’t perfect. We experience pains. We find ourselves in trouble. We stumble. This is as true for those who have experienced Jesus as any one. Maybe it’s the addiction that trains our brains in unhealthy ways. Maybe it’s broken relationships, separation and divorce. Maybe it’s financial instability that causes anxiety and fear. Maybe it’s the breakdown of mental health.

 

Each of us has been affected by these, either personally or through someone we love. I want to invite you today to (1) recognize that difficulties are to be expected, (2) seek help, and (3) know that God is with you.

 

We can’t be sure what exactly was the “thorn in the flesh” that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 12. It may have been a person who tormented the churches being planted. Another explanation could be that Paul is referring to a physical ailment. We know that his eyesight was worsening. Further, this “thorn” could have been a habit or proclivity that was not God-honoring. If the Apostle Paul experienced hardship, I expect that I will as well.

 

Of course the crucial step in dealing with these things that make life difficult is to get help. I love the story of the friends who brought a man on a mat to Jesus for healing. When they arrived, the room was too crowded. So, they lowered their friend down to Jesus from the roof. Share your struggles with someone. If you don’t know how to get the help you need, tell a few friends. Let them carry you to Jesus.

 

I love the prophet Isaiah. Throughout Isaiah’s words from the Lord, he tells deep truth about us and about God. He shares about the brevity of our lives, that we are like flowers that wither. He makes clear that our lives are not forever and that we will go through difficulties.

 

Yet, throughout the prophecy, he constantly reminds us that God is with us. “When you pass through the waters,” God says through Isaiah, “I will be with you. The waves will not overcome you.” He is with us in the ups. He’s especially with us in the downs.

 

It is tempting when we face hardship, especially when we contributed to our own hardship, to think of God as judgy and angry. Sometimes, sadly, we get that impression from the messages being preached at church or from the response that we might expect from our parents. Yet, Scripture doesn’t reveal that as part of God’s role when his people are in trouble. Not only does God walk with us through the difficulties of our lives, he has compassion upon us. “[A] bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.”

 

This is the best news of all. God is with us.

 

What do Alice Cooper, Glen Campbell, the Apostle Paul, you, and me have in common? We all experience brokenness. So, let’s recognize that only makes us human. Let us look for those who can help us. Let us remember that God is with us, and even in our darkest days, we will never be alone.

 

The perfect life isn’t the one that experiences no trouble. It’s the life where the trouble doesn’t determine the outcome.

 

 

Brian Miller is pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Montgomery. Visit online at www.aldersgateumc.org.

 

 

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Pastor's Perspective Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:43:13 +0000
The Physical and Spiritual Aspects of OCD http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1085:the-physical-and-spiritual-aspects-of-ocd&Itemid=112 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1085:the-physical-and-spiritual-aspects-of-ocd&Itemid=112

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a hard task, and it is even harder to live with it. The first part of this article is technical but important information to understand this disorder, and the latter part incorporates the spiritual portion and may help provide some relief. The basic definition given by the National Institute of Mental Health states, “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.” But where do these come from? And what can be done?

 

Let’s start with the most important part, “The Brain”. The brain is an amazing organ in the human body. Without it we could not survive the world around us. Not only does it control the body’s motor function, organs’ function, and interpret information coming from all of our senses, but many other amazing things.The brain is responsible for interpreting threats that could potentially harm us and responding accordingly (what is known as the fight or flight response). Everyone has fleeting thoughts that can be seen as just that “fleeting” or “irrational”. However, the brain can send information that could potentially be misinterpreted by an individual.  This is where a disorder like OCD can start.

 

An example many mothers can relate to would be a new mother, already anxious with a newborn, going down the stairs and the brain sends the thought that the mother could drop the baby. The brains “intent” is for the mother to hold tightly, hold the rail, or just be extra careful. Many would do exactly that, but there are individuals that interpret that information not as a caution, but as a possibility. The new mother now believes she will drop her baby, and the thought increases her anxiety, so she begins a “ritual” that helps her feel some relief from her fear of dropping the baby. She may start going up and down the stairs a number of times - maybe her anxiety isn’t lowered until she repeats that five times - and then she can continue with other activities until the anxiety or fear returns. A distinction of this disorder is that it becomes debilitating since it begins to disrupt daily life.

 

Every individual is different, but the most common obsessions are related to fears of harming someone (e.g. baby), fear of contamination or germs, unwanted thoughts about sex or religion, and the need to have symmetry or perfect order. The common behavioral responses or compulsions are excessive cleaning, ordering, checking, and counting.  

 

But we are not only physical beings, we are spiritual as well, and both aspects are important to understand OCD and to treat it.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is typically treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. We can’t underestimate the intensity and struggle sufferers go through when they don’t seek professional help or take necessary medications. Therapy usually entails psychoeducation on OCD and the stress response, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (understanding thoughts and challenging them), exposure and response prevention and others. But, we can also rely on God and the spiritual aspects of OCD to recover and work through it.

 

First, like with the example of the new mother, she is responding to her fear of dropping her baby and feels guilty and sinful with even “just the thought”. Understanding that the thoughts are not definite temptations to sin is an important step in beginning to see the obsessions differently (not “conceiving the desire” described in James 1:13-15). By observing the thoughts, “take captive every thought”, we can then start to “demolish” these thoughts to “make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) rather than against his love and grace.

 

Second, individuals who are debilitated by obsessions and act out their compulsions steer away from God’s main intent and desire to love” God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). When the mind is preoccupied with obsessive thoughts we are unable to focus and direct our spirit to God.

 

Finally, a big component of the anxiety behind OCD is the uncertainty that if the individual does not act according to their compulsions something bad will happen or their fear will be real. This is where faith comes in. It will be uncomfortable to not play out a compulsion (as learned in therapy with CBT or exposure and response prevention) when anxious, but a component of therapy is having faith that the anxiety will decrease. If we look at 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” can help the individual trust God (and the therapist) in this long, strenuous process of recovery.  Psalm 23:1-6 shows God’s love and care and can become a spiritual tool for an individual with OCD to mediate on.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

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Counselors Corner Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:17:15 +0000
Dip In, Pay It Off! http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1084:dip-in-pay-it-off&Itemid=116 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1084:dip-in-pay-it-off&Itemid=116

Q.My wife just had our first child. Now, we now have about $3,000 in medical bills not covered by insurance. We’ve got $8,000 in our emergency fund, and I make between $25,000 and $30,000 a year. Should we try setting up a payment plan with the hospital, or is dipping into our savings a better idea?

 

A. I’d write a check today and knock out that hospital bill. This falls under the heading of “emergency” in my mind, so pay the bill and jump back into rebuilding your emergency fund.

 

You’ve done a really good job of saving on your income, but let’s see what we can do about making better money in the future. Extra practical training in your field, or more education in the classroom, could increase your income quickly. Your emergency fund needs to be a little bigger as well, and it’ll be a lot easier to make this happen if you’re making more money.

 

I’m sure you’re a hard-working guy, but it’s going to be tough for even a small family to make it on what you’re bringing home now. The unexpected can become a common occurrence when there’s a little one in the picture.

 

 

Can They Really Garnish My Wages?

 

 

Q. I got a call from a debt collector regarding $2,000 I owe in medical bills. I’m trying to get my finances in order and pay this off, but I’m afraid they’ll follow through on their threat to garnish my wages. Can you give me some advice?

 

A. First, I want you to take a deep breath and calm down. Debt collectors like to play on your emotions because they think you’ll give in and do something you can’t really afford to do. Most of them don’t care about you or your situation as long as they get some money.

 

They won’t garnish your wages because they can’t. They would have to go through the formal, legal procedure of first suing you and then winning the case. They broke federal law by saying they would garnish your wages but hadn’t sued you. If I’m in your shoes, I’d be filing a complaint against these bozos with the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Don’t react with fear and panic in the face of debt collector threats. Talk to them and explain your situation. See if you can work out a compromise. If they get nasty or break federal law again, let them know you’ll be filing another complaint with the FTC.

 

In the meantime, do everything you can to scrape up as much cash as possible. Have a big garage sale and sell everything in your attic or basement you don’t need. Then, when you get this mess cleaned up, pay off the rest of your debts — if you have any — and start living on a written monthly budget!

 

 

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Dave Ramsey Says Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:06:45 +0000
The Church's Health http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1083:the-churchs-health&Itemid=113 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1083:the-churchs-health&Itemid=113

Some survey data shows that not only does church attendance help keep the church healthy, but it also can keep the people healthy!

 

Marino Bruce, a social and behavioral scientist from Vanderbilt University, as well as a Baptist minister, is a primary author of the study along with Keith Norris of UCLA. The study has nine other co-authors, too.  A piece on the USA Today website stated that the study “has found that people who attend religious services live longer and are less stressed.” Bruce is quoted as saying, “We found in our study that actually attending church is actually good for your health, particularly for those who are between the ages of 40 and 65...”

 

This is from the study that was published by the Plos One journal, entitled, “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults.”  As USA Today puts it: “Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%.”

 

Bruce said, “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did attend church at some point over the last year...” He was also quoted as saying, “I’m ordained clergy so I’m always about what do we mean by our spiritual health. Does spiritual health matter with respect to biological outcomes?”

 

The USA Today article gave some background into the nuts and bolts of the study:

 

The researchers used publicly available data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, for the study. They filtered the data set, finding 5,449 participants of both sexes and all races.

 

They looked at the participants’ survey results, analyzing their worship attendance, mortality and allostatic load (AL), which is a physiological measurement. Higher allostatic loads were interpreted as a person experiencing more stress.

 

Here are some more scientific words from the Discussion section from the Plos One website:

 

In conclusion, we found a significant relationship between church attendance and mortality in middle-aged (≥40–65 yrs) adults NHANES III participants with an extended mean follow up time of 14 years. This relationship remained significant even after adjustment for education, poverty status, health insurance status, self-rated health, social support, and AL, suggesting a potential independent effect of religiosity on mortality. Similar findings were also noted in a secondary analysis of NHANES III participants ≥ 40 years old. Our results underscore the potential importance of church attendance as a surrogate for religiosity as a mediator of health and lifespan.

 

The article also says: “The increased attention to religiosity and other faith-related factors by health professionals and scientists is warranted by these findings and those from similar studies,” referring to the Plos One website. It added, “Results from this study contribute to the existing body of evidence and support the need for more rigorous prospective studies to explore causal relationships of religiosity and health.”

 

There are several relationships to explore here. Think first of all about, as Dr. Bruce referred to, “spiritual health” and its relationship with biological health.  I believe there is a distinct relationship.  The Bible talks about prospering and being in health - as your soul prospers.  That’s from 3rd John. Proverbs talks about the issues of life flowing from the heart, or the spirit.  If things are not right spiritually or emotionally, I think you can make the case that there may be physical manifestations. Stress is one factor that is consistently talked about, but there are many.  We can be challenged to maintain a healthy spirit; to make sure that our souls are being taken care of. 

 

There is also that central relationship from this study of church attendance and longer life, especially among so-called “middle age” adults.  I would even submit, in a non-scientific way, that church involvement among senior citizens can help lead to a longer life. We can be encouraged to not become sedentary in those latter years, but to remain active and connected with other believers.

 

I can definitely see it, especially for the Christian - as we expose ourselves to God’s Word, the words of life, and remain connected, it can feed our spirits and contribute to our overall well-being.

 

Also, Dr. Bruce said, “While churches are places where people can get social support, we actually found that and began to think about whether compassion is particularly important — feeling that you’re doing good or having empathy for others...” 

 

For the believer in Christ, we can have confidence that our personal relationship with Him and our interaction with fellow Christians through the local church can lead to a life that reflects proper spiritual – and perhaps even physical – health.

 

 

 

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Bob Crittendon Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:01:26 +0000
Refuse to be Distracted http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1081:refuse-to-be-distracted&Itemid=126 http://readjourneymagazine.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1081:refuse-to-be-distracted&Itemid=126

 

There is a billboard between my house and my place of work that reads, “Don’t drive distracted.” I have to admit that the billboard reminds me of what happened a few years back. I was driving to meet a friend for lunch one sunny day when I suddenly remembered an important phone call I had forgotten to make. I immediately stretched to reach my back seat where I had left my cell phone. I took my eyes off the road for just a few seconds. Immediately I heard a loud bang; I had crashed into the car in front of me. My truck was bashed in, and the car I hit badly damaged. Thank God no one was hurt physically, but the damage to my wallet was ginormous.

 

Distraction is very detrimental to life, both physically and spiritually. I could have killed the people I hit as well as myself, and cut short our spiritual assignments. We are all on a journey driving through life, so it will serve us well to keep focused and attentive to the road ahead, in order to avoid possible collision.   

 

Paul told the Corinthians that he had the intention to present them as a pure bride to their bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. But Paul said he was afraid that just as the snake had deceived Eve, the Corinthians’ minds would be led astray from a sincere devotion to Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 11:1-3.) 

 

Why was the apostle so unsure about the faith of the Corinthian believers? Could it be that what Paul had hoped to see about their walk with Christ and their zeal for the kingdom was not what he was seeing?  What made him feel like they were being deceived?

 

Adam and Eve lived focused lives. They communed with God in the garden daily, fulfilling their ordained assignments. Satan became enraged out of envy, because they were experiencing the intimacy with God he had once enjoyed. Looking for a means to break their fellowship, Satan came up with a plan to distract man’s attention from his Creator.

 

He presented the “bait” in Genesis 3. Eve and her hubby took the bait, tainting their wholehearted devotion to Christ, losing their innocence, and their trust in God. They began to find the means of self-preservation. Yet the best mankind can do without his Creator is use human means to cover up the problems. Adam and Eve did this by sewing leaves.

 

God has a specific assignment for you to carry out to completion. Satan fights to distract you from getting done what you were born to do. We must resist distractions at all cost, because someone else’s victory is contingent on you saying yes to God’s call on your life. Someone’s breakthrough depends on your prayer, but you have to live to say the prayer and refuse to be distracted!

 

Ways the Enemy Distracts Us

 

1. Mind Wars

Beware of what you accept in your mind as thoughts. A thought could be an enemy distraction. Satan is a master of bombarding our minds with inordinate and un-wholesome thoughts in an attempt to defile, hinder, and block us from progress. Have you ever tried to pray only to find your mind roaming everywhere? Or have you tried to read the Word only to wake up an hour later with your Bible serving as your pillow? Most of the root causes of the anger, bitterness, unforgivingness that we deal with originate in our uncontrolled thought lives.

 

2. Cares of this World

Lack of daily life necessities can be a major distraction. Jesus says to not worry about anything but to trust Him. Someone has wisely said to trust God as if it all depends on Him, work as if it all depends on you, and leave the outcome to God. 

 

3. Spirit of Entertainment

In the past we used our phone to either make a call or to answer one. We used to wait to get on our computers at home or at work. But now everything we need is in the palm of our hands – from voice mail to games – from texts to movies. Don’t be overly indulged by the spirit of entertainment.

 

How to Stay Focused

 

Nehemiah 6:1- 5 describes how Nehemiah’s team rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem in 52 days, despite serious opposition. They did this by resisting distractions.  

 

Here are some suggestions for you to remain focused:

 

1.Take an inventory of your life, doing away with all unproductive activity.

 

2. Determine to fulfill your specific purpose in life.   

 

3. Refuse to live a scattered life. Instead, live intentionally.

 

Always remember that the Holy Spirit is willing to assist you in your weakness. He can help you remain focused. Just open your heart to His aid.

 

 

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Pastor Kemi Searcy Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:31:06 +0000