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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Rick Warren's Post

Wanted to share this with you because it is so wonderful! Here it is...

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By Rick Warren — Mar 23, 2016

Devotional image from Rick

“By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).
Millions and millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter every year. But for far too many of us the story has become boring and rote. We have the basic facts down. Jesus was arrested. He was crucified. And three days later, God raised him from the dead.
Yet we miss something very important. We miss what turns Easter from a one-dimensional holiday to a multi-dimensional, life-transforming way of life.
We miss that the story of the Resurrection isn’t just Jesus’ story — it’s our story as well.
You see, you are a part of the Resurrection. Jesus’ death and Resurrection didn’t just prove there was life after death. The Resurrection proves you can have life after death, that there’s life beyond your grave.
Jesus says, if you trust in him, death becomes a transition, not an ending point.
One day your heart will stop. That will be the end of your body. But it will not be the end of you. God made you to last forever. That’s why you often have a feeling there’s more to life than this. Jesus made this amazing promise in John 11: 25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (NIV).
That’s quite a promise! Jesus proved he could do it by resurrecting himself. Otherwise, we would have no reason to believe it. If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross and been resurrected more than 2,000 years ago, you would have zero chance of getting to Heaven — no hope of the afterlife and no eternal life.
The Bible says, “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).
As Easter comes our way this year, that’s a truth to hang our lives upon. It’s great news that Jesus rose from the dead. But what turns that truth from black and white to living color is that one day — if you trust in him — he will raise you from the grave, too.
That’s the promise of Easter.

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Wonderful Version of The Widow's Mite by Mary Ann Riensche, as present in Mountain Wings

The following is a wonderful story that illustrates well the story of the Widow's Mite in the Bible. As Christians, we are supposed to tithe a certain portion of the money we make each month to a worthy charitable organization. However, for the contribution to be effective, it must comes from a person's first fruits. In other words, it must be given before you give out anything--be it for groceries, utilities and other necessities and it should be given out freely.

The Widow's Mite is a pure example of why we need to give. Giving should come from the heart, be given freely and be given to promote God's goodness and greatness. I hope you enjoy the story, for it is beautiful and so true!

For the last 18 years, I have been a public health nurse in my
county. About 17 years ago, I was caring for an elderly poor

At Christmas time, I turned her name into the adopt-a-family
program. She was chosen by a local church.

They delivered clothes, food and personal items. She saved all
of the presents and opened them in my presence on December 24.
This was her Christmas and she was sharing it with me because I
had turned in her name.

She also gave me a card with a brand new $5 bill inside. I knew
she didn’t have this kind of money. She told me that she saved
quarters all year long and walked downtown about two miles one
way to trade them in at the bank for the $5.

She was so pleased she could do this for me.

I knew she would be so offended if I refused. I took the money
and left her home. I drove about four blocks away and pulled
over and cried for the next 15 minutes.

I had taken the widow’s mite.

It was all she had and she gave it to me so willingly.

She’s been deceased for several years now.
I will never forget her.
I still have the card and the $5.00 bill.
I just can’t spend it.
It seems wrong somehow.

Another note. A friend forwarded MountainWings to me about one
year ago. I have enjoyed your e-mails so much. Please use the
enclosed check any way you need. It is not the widow’s mite.
Thanks so much for your wonderful words each day.

Mary Ann Riensche
Jesup, Iowa

From The Mountain:
The amount of the enclosed check?
Exactly ten times the widow’s mite.

Copyright 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vaentine's Day: the Greatest Love of all!

It's almost Valentine's Day and that means love. Of course, many will think of their sweetheart on Valentine's Day and that is normal and quite lovely. We all love to express love to our spouse, friend, boyfriend and girlfriend. However, there is one who loves without judgment or conditions and that someone is Jesus!

When I feel unloved or unappreciated, which doesn't happen often, I sometimes forget the one person who loves me no matter what I do or don't do. Of course, He doesn't like it when I disobey but even then, he loves me unconditionally. Now, many people love you and me when we give things to them or treat them well but how many "really" love us when times are tough and life is just plain awful?!

Well, isn't it wonderful that Jesus loves us always. In fact, he loved us even before we were born! As we grew in the womb and came out and lived our lives, He was with us when things got rough and when things went right!

In my darkest hours when I lost my mom and dad, when my husband was ill and I wasn't sure he would make it, it was that still small voice, that knowing that He was there and that I was not alone. That, my friend, is true for you, also! You are loved more than you know or ever will know!

So, when you feel down and out and feel that you are alone and no one loves you, think again! You are not alone and you are loved more than you know! Turn to Jesus, ask Him for help and guidance and He will show you the way!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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.


Friday, January 1, 2016

How to make Resolutions for the New Year that will last!

Much of what follows comes from Prevention magazine but I wanted to share part of what was in Prevention Magazine:
Instead of making big resolutions this year, begin by making small, positive decisions such as not sitting so much at your computer. For instance, instead of working hour after hour at your computer, get up every hour and walk. Walk for at least 10 minutes. When you return to your computer, sit up straight with feet on the floor and begin to work. In addition, add some exercise to your daily life such as walking to your mailbox instead of driving up to it. When out and about, instead of using the elevator, climb the stairs. Doesn't take long and you are taking small steps to better health.
Another small step that will help is to say "so long" to fad diets. Instead of following the latest diet fad, focus more on eating healthy. Stay away from empty calories and focus more on healthy fats and whole foods. Incorporate more salads and cereals into your diet and instead of drinking pop with every meal, drink water or water flavored with a bit of lemon juice. And when preparing food, prepare your own food with fresh ingredients.
With everyone using electronics--TV, cellphones, ipads, ipods and other electronics--we are getting a daily overload of these machines which is  increasing our risks for social anxiety, depression, heart disease, cancer and job burnout. There is a solution and that is spend an hour or a full day without these electronic devices. If you continue to do this on a regular basis, you will be less stressed out and you may find that you don't need to be connected to them so often!
Another resolution that is important is to get your financial house in order. Create an emergency fund of at least $3,000 and lessen the amount you put on your credit card for this year. Also, if you aren't doing it already, pay yourself first--and do this every payday. You will be surprised how fast it adds up.
Lastly, contribute to a worthy cause each month. Let your contribution come from the top of what you make each month. When you freely give something of what you make, you will find that what you have left will last a lot longer. So many are in need. However, before contributing, make sure that the organization you contribute to is reputable.
To conclude, start this year with resolutions you can live with! Start small, stay consistent throughout the year and if you mess up now and then, don't sweat it. Just get back on it and keep going! And, reach for the stars! God put them there for everyone to see and enjoy!
Blessings to everyone in 2016!
Copyright Toni Star 2016