Friday, September 30, 2016

If you are suffering from insomnia, here are some tips

If you are suffering from insomnia, and many people do from time to time, there are some tips I can share with you that may help such as going to bed and getting up at the same time. Keep in mind; your body is a marvelous machine that was created by God and God is a very punctual and organized being. Because that is so, He knows that our bodies need sleep and one of the best ways to do this is to keep a good sleeping routine.

Also, keep your bedroom dark, cool and comfortable. Sleep goes better when there are no lights, no distractions and the temperature is cool and comfortable. In addition, leave your worries and problems out of the bedroom. If something is bothering you, take it to the good Lord, write it down on paper and then go to bed. And, if you find that you can't sleep, get up and read, listen to some soothing music or watch something boring on TV. Stay with that activity until you are tired, then go to bed.

It also helps to either read or listen to calming music before going to bed. Physical activity should end at least three to four hours before going to bed. Exercise during the day; however, can prepare you for a good night's sleep. Walking or bicycling, for at least a half hour to an hour each day, are exercises that calm the mind and body down.

In addition, sleep medication, under the guidance of your doctor, can also help. Non-prescription sleep aids can also help, something like Melatonin. However, sleep medication should only be taken under the guidance of your doctor and only used as a temporary measure to treat insomnia.

One other method that is longer-lasting and effective in treating insomnia is behavior-modification therapy. Behavior-modification therapy is helpful because it works to change the behavior or behaviors that are keeping you awake at night. For instance, if you are watching too much TV at night, especially shows that are violent, loud and disturbing, they could be causing insomnia. Or, if you are exercising an hour before bed, that, too can keep you awake.

Food that is high in fat and salt can also keep you awake. Foods like spaghetti, steak or casseroles that are heavy in fat and calories, food that is eaten several hours before going to bed, can keep you from sleeping. Or, if you lie in bed thinking about all the negative things of the day or worrying about what might go wrong the following day, all of these negative actions can keep you awake.

To change your behavior, first find out what is keeping you awake--food, exercise, worries or too much TV. Once you zero in on what is keeping you from sleeping, then you can begin to work on correcting those issues. If worries about sleeping or anything else is keeping your eyes open, try telling a short story to yourself, where you make  a clear decision in your thinking to solve the problem. In other words, try repeating in your mind something repetitive every night, where you provide an answer that leads to sleep. For example, set up a brief story such as making a decision about how and where you will sleep at night. Create a simple and clear dialogue with another person about where you prefer to sleep. Give a standard answer in your mind and as you drift off to sleep, see in your mind where you will be sleeping. It is a comforting thought because every night you make similar decisions and before you know it, you are sleeping because the thought is repetitive, relaxing and comforting. Try it and see what you think!

Try one or more of the above tips and get a good night's sleep! Remember, God wants you to sleep and be healthy and He is always there when you need Him. Because He is the Creator, He will never leave you nor forsake you!

Copyright Toni Star 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

When you are suffering, follow Christ's example!

Rick Warren posted a wonderful article that I would like to share with you. It concerned pain and suffering and how to handle it. He began his article with a quote from the Bible:
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21 NIV)

Rick Warren stated that everyone faces a tragedy at some point in his or her life. Not one of us can escape tragedy. Certainly, Jesus did not escape tragedy. However, Jesus did give us  fine example on handling pain with His death. He gave us a model of what we should do during the worst day of our lives. Look at 1 Peter 2:21: "To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." (NIV)

Rick goes on to share that several years ago before Easter, his youngest son took his life. And, it was the worst day of his life. However, he looked to the model of Jesus. The answer that came to him was Easter.

Let's look at what Jesus did during the worst day of his life on earth. First, he reached out to friends. The night that Jesus knew he was going to be arrested and executed, he gathered with his friends. All he wanted was to be with them. God didn't want his son to go through pain on his own. Being with a body of believers is what we need when something awful happens. 

Then, Jesus reached out to God through prayer. In times of trouble you need friends but you need God much more. When no one else will be with you, God will be there right by your side. Remember Jesus prayed to his father in the Garden of Gethsemane. When you pray, say something like "Lord, you can do anything because you are Lord." Then, say, "I can't go through this pain. It is too much." After that, surrender to his will. In other words, "Don't do what you want to do but what God wants for you."

Remember, you and I were not meant to go through suffering alone. When times get tough, reach out and up--because He will be waiting for you.

One other note, when I felt so alone and frightened with physical pain I had--and sometimes still have--I used to feel frightened and alone. It wasn't until my husband told me, "Honey, you are never alone; I am with you but more than anything, Jesus and God are with you." After hearing those words, I got busy praying and reading the Bible. There are three other steps I have taken that have also helped
and they are: (1) I acknowledge each day that I love the Lord with all my heart, body, soul and strength and mind, (2) love my neighbor as myself, (3) try to do what is right according to God's will and then once I do something, I leave it be and move on." After all, like all Christians, I have to be about my Father's business!

Copyright Toni Star 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Instead of fighting back from an attack, rest!

I read Rick Warren's article titled, "When you're under attack, just rest." In the last year, I have read many of his articles but I found this one particularly interesting. When he writes, "The world is getting ruder," I totally get that. When waiting in line and someone pushes through or when someone gives a rude reply like, "Who cares or who are you," I am tempted to fight back with a similar comment.

When people are rude or unkind is shows how small their hearts are. Small people belittle people, while great people make people feel great. Like many, I find it hard dealing with rude people. Rick Warren says don't handle people at all. He says, "Let God handle them." This is good and true because God, indeed, is our defender.

It is true that it takes a lot of faith and humility to trust God when you are under attack, when people spread rumors about your or when you are misunderstood. Often, I want to rise up and do something about it. But, you know what? You and I don't have to do anything. You can I can be like Jesus. He remained silent when he was attacked, even on his way to the cross. He stayed silent before those who accused him because he trusted in his father, God.

Now, that doesn't mean we have to be wimps; Jesus wasn't a wimp. There were times when he showed his anger, like the time he turned the tables of the money changers. The difference there was he saw that the money changers were using the house of God for profit and not for worship and prayer; whereas when he was under attack, he entrusted his feelings to his Father.

These words from 1 Peter 4:19 can help a great deal: "So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to God who created you, for he will never fail you."

What wonderful and comforting words! We all are attacked from time to time and as Christians, we can expect it to happen but our God will never fail us!

Blessings to all,


Sunday, July 3, 2016

God will give you the power to keep going!

Not long ago, I read an article that Rick Warren wrote about the importance of "keep going." From (Philipppians 1:6a NLT) comes: "God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished."

When I thought about those words, it gave me comfort because sometimes I feel like I can't go on, I just feel tired and weary. Maybe you, too, have felt this way. When you reread those words you see that it doesn't say that God may finish the good work within you, it says that God will finish the good work within you.

What this means to you and me is that once you have surrendered yourself to Christ and have made Him number one in your life, you will be going to Heaven. The only question is how you complete your life? Some will do well during the course of their lives, while others will barely make it. To finish the race of life in a good way, you need God's sustaining grace.

As Rick Warren put it, "Sustaining grace is the power to keep on going when you feel like giving up. It is the power to do the right thing when you don't feel like doing the right thing." Think back on the times when you didn't feel like doing the right thing; like helping a person who has often been rude and unkind or when you feel physically and mentally down and someone wants you to listen to them. It's not easy, is it?

So when you just don't feel like going on--going to that meeting or helping a neighbor who is needy--know that when you are a child of Christ and have made Him number one in your life, you can go that meeting, you can make that pie for your neighbor--you can do all things through Christ. He will give you His sustaining grace!

Start each day by thanking God for the day, ask Him for his guidance and ask Him to "go before you in all you do." Make each day a good day with the good Lord!

Copyright Toni Star 2016

Friday, May 6, 2016

Your Life is Shaped by your thoughts

Not an original topic, I know; however, it is a true saying that "whatever you think, therefore you will become." Of course, we are all products of our environment and certainly our past and current environment shapes who we are. According to Rick Warren, Christian writer and author, there are five factors that influence our identity and they are: how you and I are made, connections, identity, circumstances and consciousness.

Everyday, you and I experience life and interact with others. There are days when life is good and days when life is a challenge.

Consciousness is how you and I talk to ourselves. If, however, you talked to your friends and family the way you talk to yourself, you probably wouldn't be friends too long with them because our thoughts are often filled with the lies we've heard from other people that we sometimes let simmer and fester. When you repeat other people's thoughts in your head, those thoughts go deep into your consciousness and begin to shape your identity.

Rick Warren states in his article, "Your thoughts don't have to be true to hurt you; you just have to believe them." For example, if you tell yourself that your relationship with your sister or brother won't last, then it won't. If you're afraid to do something, then you won't. Your thoughts will run your life.

However, this doesn't have to be. God is in control of everything. You can change the way you think. Circumstances and Consciousness do shape who you are but the way you respond to your thoughts and circumstances, will shape the rest of your life!

So, keep your thoughts in alignment with God. To do this, you will need to stay in contact with Him every day. Pray, meditate and read the Bible. These activities will keep you close to His desires for your life. Think of God's faithfulness as a Morning glory flower--ready to blossom each morning, ready to add glory and beauty to the day.
He will show you the way to live a more positive and uplifting life! Trust in Him, always!

Copyright Toni Star 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Christianity is Changing: a Commentary by Toni Star

Christianity is changing; however, even though these words have been written before, they are disturbing.  Church attendance has dropped--not just in the U.S. but also in many countries overseas.  However, there is a rise in Christianity in many other parts of the world. In addition, some are looking at the Bible differently. Some are questioning the Old Testament and are trying to interpret its meaning by themselves.

It is important to note that many teachings of Christianity that have been solid for centuries are now being questioned such as the role of women in church, Jesus as the only way to God and changing views on homosexuality. Most importantly, many are no longer following the normal and established Christian way of living such as being married before having sex or teaching their children about God and Jesus and why they are so important in a Christian’s life. Instead, many are now accepting premarital sex, saying also that sexual abuse within the church is merely something that “happens now and then” and being more tolerant of other beliefs; such beliefs are a "slippery slope" and can water down our solid Christian beliefs. 

Keep in mind, too, that other types of faith are being more and more accepted such as alternative worship or an emerging church type of faith.

So, how are we as Christians react to react when we see our faith being watered down in our churches, on TV or in the movies? Do we look the other way and say, “Well, that’s O.K. as long as it doesn’t affect me or my family.” Or, do we say, “No, I don’t agree with this and I will either go to another church or continue stay with my church but follow beliefs that are set by God?

The decision, of course, is up to each person. From reading the Bible and praying, most Christians know and understand the importance of believing and following God and Jesus. I think, too, when we see situations where we feel a need to take a stand and can do it without being harmed, we should. Of course, this is up to the individual and of course, like Jesus we can certainly show our displeasure with how Christianity is presented by switching to another TV station, not watching a movie that degrades human beings and Christianity or staying away from individuals or groups of people who are leading ungodly lives.  Perhaps these ways are more effective.

Most importantly, as Christian writers we can proclaim the word of God and give factual information on the goodness of Christ and the importance of staying close to Him.

Perhaps one very good reason for following Christ and His Father, God comes from the following statement that was written in Revelations:

Revelation 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

Revelation 3:17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

To conclude, Christian faith and how we proclaim and live it is up to you and me. We can either set the standard of Christianity or we can follow a path that will lead us into eternal darkness.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving at Grandma's

November, then and now, signals just one thing to me, Thanksgiving at Grandma’s.  Thanksgiving at her house was paradise!  The atmosphere of food, laughter and love was wonderful and unforgettable. 

Thanksgiving morning at our house was busy.  Mom would prepare a salad or pie; we kids would dress up in our good clothes and then go outside to play. We had to be careful not to get dirty.  Good clothes in our family didn’t come easy.  We weren’t poor but we were very frugal with money and food.  Meanwhile, Dad stayed busy in the garage checking out the old Chevy.  He’d check the oil, water and the battery and then give the tires a kick, for readiness. 

Often, I would go into the garage from time to time to see how he was doing.  Often, he found things for me to do-such as checking the oil and water and inspecting the car battery to see if was clean and water filled to the proper level. I always felt important helping Dad, especially on holidays, when there was much to do. 

Later, around 12 we all piled into the Chevy, eager for Thanksgiving dinner. We would arrive at Grandma’s, all dressed up, gifts in hand, with offerings of a waldorf salad and pie. As we walked through her door the aroma of turkey and onions would fill our senses with the joy of delicious food to come.  That first whiff of turkey and steamed vegetables was delicious!  We walked through the house into her kitchen and put our donations of food and small gifts, (often a bottle of Rum) onto the kitchen table, kiss Grandma and then go into the living room where we would sit and talk.  Later, Mom and I would return to the kitchen and help Grandma with the meal. 

It was my job to help Grandma prepare the dressing, with ingredients of butter, celery, bread, milk, and onion, then help with the progress of the turkey.  Mom would put her donations of food into the already crammed refrigerator and then prepare green beans or another salad for dinner. Inside the oven the turkey was roasting, and occasionally Grandma would let me use her large ladling spoon to baste the turkey.    Later, Grandma and I would finish preparing a pie—often apple or cherry.  I would round out the crust while she prepared the filling.  After that was done, we’d check on the vegetables and then I would set the table.   

I loved that job because she had beautiful crystal and China, with delicate pink and blue patterns on the dishes and matching pink crystal for glasses. She also had beautiful silverware that was kept in a special drawer in the living room.  I would carefully remove the dinnerware from the old ornate cabinet in the dining room and tenderly place each piece in the proper setting.  I loved how it all sparkled on the table.

The meal of Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes; real green beans, cranberries and pie filled us up till we could eat no more.  We would all sit at the large table, enjoy her traditional Thanksgiving meal and talk about the latest “Uncle Millie” or “Jackie Gleason” shows.  We all loved those shows and each of us tried to “out do” each other, with our imitations of “Uncle Miltie” or “Jackie Gleason.” The adults would later have wine or brandy and we kids would go out and play in the small backyard.  Sometimes I would deliver food Grandma prepared for an old lady across the street.  The old lady lived alone and was often too ill to prepare food for herself.  I loved doing this for Grandma, and the old lady was always happy to receive it. I took pride running this errand because I helped Grandma prepare much of the meal.

Today, I continue Grandma’s Thanksgiving meal.  I have altered some of the foods but I try to prepare most of the foods she prepared; homemade  dressing, mashed potatoes 

and pie.  Many in my family can’t attend because they live too far away.  But, those who do enjoy a Thanksgiving meal of the 50’s.  You see, Grandma’s gone, but her traditions live on in a woman from the 50’s.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a blessed day with family!
Copyright Toni Star 2015
During the holidays, check out my revision edition of Maria's Final Days! End Times are upon us and this book will help! Here is the link