Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Learn from the past and enjoy a brighter future


Everyone has past experiences that are good and bad. It is the past that sometimes drag us down and make us feel that we may never achieve our dreams and be happy. However, there are things you and I can do that will help us understand the past, learn from it and then put it away. The first step in this process is to reflect on it. To find insight and value from the past, we must first reflect on it. This may seem unnecessary but it must be done so that we understand the past.
Then, it is important to study it. The goal of this step is to understand what was happening at the time and what you can learn from it. This step will help you create a mental list of ideas and actions that will help you make better, more informed and wiser decisions in the future. This step is most important because it will give you an insight on the past and why you did what you did. The next step is to replay the past. Go back to the situation or situations like you are reliving the situation; however, with the knowledge and perspective you now have after the many days, months or years. This replay is necessary because it will give you a new perspective on how you may do something better the next time a situation or situations occur.
Then, generalize the situation or situations. Keep in mind; what happened to you in the past may never revisit you again in the future.  However, this doesn’t take away from the value of looking aback. By going back to the past, you may find common generalities of situations that you can use to create ideas and plans for the future. This step will provide a more focused feeling on what happened and perhaps why it happened. Once you do this, release yourself from it. Remember, what has happened in the past is over, no matter how bad or embarrassing it might have been. Once you experience pain going through this step, let it go and keep learning and growing.
The next step is to reframe the past. When you reframe something it is a different way of looking at a problem or relationship by changing its meaning. In other words, by reframing your past, you look at situations from a different perspective. An example might be looking at a bad relationship by examining it from a different perspective such as what was going on with each person during the relationship. What other factors were involved?
Examine the past and then use what happened in the past so that you can move closer to a more positive future. Use what you have learned in the above steps; put those lessons in motion now and in the future. Keep in mind; there are several great benefits of learning from the past such as lowering emotional stress, developing a more spiritual mindset and getting the most out of life. Most importantly, don't be too critical of yourself;  everyone goes through good and bad periods but you can do better, especially if you draw on a higher power, which is God. He will show you the way...

 Copyright Toni Star 2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Think, Feel Act

I've been reading Rick Warrens' book, "God's Power to change your life." It is a wonderful book, full of helpful and godly information. As a Christian and person who seeks a closer relationship to God and people, I am getting a lot of helpful information from the book.

Like some, I struggle in trying to be a good person; a person who tries to do the will of God. Like can be difficult, stressful and a challenge; I think many can attest to this. However, Rick Warren states in his book that there is simple and easy way to feel better about yourself and your life on this earth.

He states that one of the best ways to be a happier and more fulfilled person is to first think positive and Christian thoughts, then feel positive and Christian thoughts and then act in a positive and Christian way.

Sounds simple? It is simple and it works! Think about it--what you think is what you will begin to feel and what you feel is how you will act. For example, if I feel stressed out thinking that something coming up will not go well, then I am setting myself up to feel stressed and then before you know it, I will act stressed.

So, to change the negative thinking, feeling and acting, replace those negative and fearful feelings, with positive and faith-filled feelings. This in turn, will lead to positive actions. I have tried this method and it works. However, it is something that has to be practiced on a regular basis. The best way to keep this going is to pray and read the Bible.

As you pray and read the Bible, hold on to the positive words and actions that are so prevalent in the Bible. Soon, you will be feeling so much better and you will be helping others along the way, too.

So, put away those anxieties and fears and replace them with godly traits of hope, faith, courage and peace. Remember--think, feel and act!

God Bless

Toni Star

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Owl and the Field Mouse: article from the Internet




The following is a fictional story about an owl and a field mouse. It is a wonderful story about fear and about putting your trust in God--no matter how big or small the concern. Jesus said, Matthew 28:20: "I am with you always." When you become baptized and ask the Holy Spirit to enter your life, He will be with you always. You and I can't see Jesus but He is always there with us--day or night. We need not fear anything or any situation! It is a wonderful feeling to know that when we need Him, he is there. We don't have to worry about what might happen, for he said, "Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...." Matthew 6:25 And, yet, he knew we would worry because we are human beings. Because he knew this, he made sure to put in the Bible many references to worry and how important it is to turn to Him. Don't ever forget, he is always with you! The following is a funny but very good example on how important it is to live free of worry. 

There once was a great horned owl who would sit in old oak tree for hours and hours and watch the field mice scampering around in search of food. As the mice would frolic and play, the owl would simply sleep the day away. As the sun began to set, the mice would go to bed and the owl would wake, ready for something to eat. One night while the owl was out hunting for his breakfast, he spotted a mouse but this mouse was different. He didn’t look like the other field mice for he had a bright orange tail which made him very easy to spot at night, even in dark. 

The owl began to watch the mouse, and he became very curious as to why the mouse was not in his house sleeping. The owl thought about it and decided he would play a game with the mouse, just to see if he could scare him. The owl flew swiftly down to the field where the mouse was and let out a sudden screech, a screech so loud that it sounded like the horn of a great ship. Then the owl watched but the mouse didn’t react, the mouse just continued about his business like nothing had happened. The owl tried again to scare the mouse but nothing happen, he didn’t respond. 

So, the owl flew down to the mouse and rested on a fallen tree right in front of where the mouse was working. He shouted at the mouse, “Why aren’t you afraid of me?” and the mouse stopped working and looked at the great horned owl and simply smiled and said, “Is living life in fear, really living at all? I choose to live life without fear, no matter how short life may be.”

Think about it! Living in fear is not really living, is it? So, when you become afraid of anything, anyone or any situation, go directly to Jesus. He already knows what you need and He is there for you in the form of the Holy Spirit. Go directly to Jesus and He will help you with your needs and concerns. Why does He do all of this? Because He loves you!

Copyright Toni Star 2018

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Choices verses rejection


Everyday, we all make choices; some, however, instead use rejection as their way to treat others.

God gives us all a choice—we can choose to follow him or follow our own devices and desires. Rejection is man-made; it is something some of us do now and then. It can harm those to whom we reject and it can also harm us. 

Actually, rejecting others can backfire because we are setting ourselves up for rejections too. Keep in mind; the scripture says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So, whenever you reject a person, simply because you don’t like or agree with him or her, means that you too, somewhere will also be rejected.

For awhile I took rejection as personal; however, it should not be taken personal because that person or persons is making a choice—a choice that has nothing to do with you. Instead, he or she is showing you who they are. Their choices stem from the very depth of who they are.

So, when you feel that someone is rejecting you, think again! They are simply making a choice; a choice that has nothing to do with you at all. Remember, God chose you and He will never abandon or stop loving you. He loves you now and will throughout eternity.

Follow God’s commands, live your life according to His instructions and you will be a happier and more fulfilled person. With God in your heart and in your life, you will not need the approval and love of anyone! All you will need is His love. For he said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Copyright Toni Star 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018

You and I have direct access to God



The following is a short article written by Rick Warren. He states that according to the Bible, you and I have direct access to God. What comforting words! We don't have to wait to talk with a relative or close friend when we are hurting; no, we simply go directly to God. As Rick notes, "God says that you are a priest." 

We have the same benefits of priests; we have the privilege of going directly to God and we also have the responsibility and privilege of representing God. These two facts are true when you become a believer in Jesus Christ. 

Because this is true, we can go directly to God with our problems and we also have the privilege of representing God. This is fantastic news for everyone--especially when we are hurting, in need or just wanting to give praise to God and His Son, Jesus.

So, enjoy the article, get closer to God and know that He is with you always--even to the end of the age. And, as the picture says below, "Take a breath. Trust the path God has set before you.

Toni 



By By Rick Warren — June 1, 2018
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Devotional image
from Rick Warren
“You come to him as living stones, a spiritual house that is being built into a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5 GW).
God says that you are a priest. Depending on your background, that may be scary or confusing. Peter is saying that the two benefits that priests have are now available to everyone who is a believer.
In the Old Testament, priests did two things:
  1. They had the right, privilege, and responsibility to go directly to God. They could pray and talk to God, worship, and fellowship with God. Everybody else had to go through a priest.
  2. The priest had the privilege and responsibility of representing God to the people and ministering to the needs of other people (serving).
Those are the very two things that are true of you when you become a believer.
The Bible says that when Jesus died on the cross, there was a veil in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies, where God’s Spirit was, from where man was. Only priests could go behind that veil once a year. When Jesus died on the cross, God ripped that veil — about 70 feet — from top to bottom, symbolizing that there no longer was a barrier.
You now have direct access to God. You don’t have to pray through anybody else. You don’t have to confess through anybody else. You don’t have to fellowship with God through anybody else. Read your Bible, talk with the Lord, and fellowship directly with him.
You have also been gifted for ministry to serve other people. Every Christian is a minister — not a pastor, but a minister. Anytime you use your talents and gifts to help others, you are ministering.
He saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9 TLB). Why did God save you? So you could serve him. A non-serving Christian is a contradiction.
How do you know what your ministry is? Look at your talents, gifts, and abilities. When you use those talents and gifts to help other people, that’s called ministry — nothing fancy or scary about it. It’s just helping others. Can you be a priest in a sales office? You bet you can. Can you be a priest as an accountant? Of course. Driving a truck? Sure. Anytime you’re helping other people in God’s name, you’re ministering.
  • How are you using your gifts and abilities to serve God and others?
  • How have you grown closer to Jesus through other believers’ ministry and service to you?
  • How do you make the most of your status as a priest? Do you take full advantage of your direct access to God?
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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Trust in God

Trust, these days, is hard to do. Look at the news. What do you see? I see lies, lies and more lies. Our government in the U.S. is scrambling to survive. We have enemies within and without. The news on TV is unbelievable and most of us don't know who to trust.

When trust becomes an issue in your life--no matter if it comes from your loved ones, friends or people you work for, you will be disappointed many times. I have been disappointed numerous times and like many, I feel discouraged and depressed.

As in the movie Ghostbusters, the famous line was, "Who are you going to call?" You could also turn this around and say, "Who are you going to trust?" You can put your trust in the stars, your partner, a family member, a business person or someone from a church.

But, do you know what? There will be times, I'm sure already, when you were let down. Am I right? You bet! So, do you know who you should put your complete and total trust in? You're already ahead of me, I'm sure. God! God should be the one we turn to when we are weary, afraid and don't know what to do.

Put your trust in God. He will never let you down. He is always there; no need to turn to anyone else. God and His son Jesus--the two are one--already know your need; they know when you are hurting, when you are afraid and what you need to feel better.

As Rick Warren often says in his books, "trust in God." In addition, he also suggests to "stop trying to figure things out and trust in God." It has taken me a long time--and sometimes I still struggle with the trust issue, but I am finding that time after time, God takes care of my needs and concerns. So, stop trying to figure things out--trying to solve problems on your own and trust in God who knows what you want before you know what you want.

Jesus said, "I am with you always, even to the end." Why should this give us comfort? These words should give us comfort because He is with us because He died on the cross, rose from the dead and will come again. However, for you and me to have this blessing, this miracle. we must be born again. To be born again, you must believe that Jesus lived, died, rose from the dead and will come again. Because, it is all true!

Trust in God and He will see you through!

God Bless,

Toni

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Hazel's Easter Surprise by Toni Star

Before you read Hazel's Easter Surprise, I just want to wish everyone a very Happy Easter and to always keep in mind what is so special about Easter; it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know most Christians know this but sometimes during the rush of days before Easter, we sometimes lose track of what is truly important, not just at Easter but throughout the year. It is the resurrection of a man named Jesus. Without the resurrection of Jesus, there would be no reason to live, no reason for anything. Jesus is Lord and is the only person who rose from the dead. The only one.

So, give praise and glory to God for His Son, Jesus Christ, and live in hope, peace and truth!
Blessings,
Toni Star


Hazel’s Easter Surprise


It is eight o’clock in the morning, March the second and Hazel McGreedy is busy planning Easter dinner.  As she jogs down the sidewalk in her new red, white and blue spandex running outfit with matching jogging shoes, she listens to a tape recording she made the night before.  The tape begins with Hazel singing, “I love me, myself and I!  I am so groovy, groovy…groovy!”  At the end of her song she listens gleefully to her recorded plans….

‘Call the caterer.  Make sure that he brings three large hams, plenty of mashed potatoes, a bunch of veggies and a large tin of homemade fudge.  Have hubby buy some cheap gifts at Forever Discount Center.  Remind him, oh illustrious one, to get these gifts late at night so he won’t be seen by our “nibby and spying” neighbors.  Invite friends from church and a few neighbors, especially Jean Snooty.  Call Speedy Lawn care and get our yard cleaned up from the dirty, old winter.”

Satisfied with her plans, Hazel smiled to herself and started to sing, “Oh I love to be cheap, and I love to be cheap!  It’s fun and really, really neat!”

Days passed and Hazel completed all of her plans, per schedule.  She checked off each item in her Day Book Planner as it was completed.  Hazel’s family was in for an Easter surprise, for she hadn’t told anyone about her plans for Easter.  She loved giving her family surprises.

Well, Easter Sunday arrived and guess what happened?

No one on her list showed up but old Jean Snooty.  The children had to be nice to her, even though she ate almost everything in sight, stuffing her mouth full and talking at the same time.  The children thought to themselves, “How gross!”

Speedy Lawn care didn’t show up, so the lawn didn’t look so good and the caterers brought the wrong menu.  There was no Easter hams, no mashed potatoes, no veggies and no homemade fudge.  Instead, they had chicken and rice, a few veggies and a butterscotch pie, that was not well made.  Everyone found the menu boring, except Jean Snooty.  Jean Snooty would eat just about everything, and usually did.  (Later in the day, Jean blabbed to all of Hazel’s friends how cheap she was with the food.)

After dinner and visiting with Jean and family, Hazel went for a long walk.  She was depressed and tired.  She thought, “Why is it everything I do fails?  I make such good plans and yet nothing turns out like I want it to.”  As she walked down the street she saw some lilies planted in front of a small house.  Lilies reminded her of her youth, her family and the old church she and her family used to attend.

She thought out loud, “I have lost sight of what’s most important at Easter!  I guess it’s not about impressing others with a fancy dinner.  I guess it’s really about Jesus.  Why do I always forget that?”
Hazel’s fleeting moment of truth brought to her, if only for a while, a true insight to what Easter is all about—Jesus and love.

Copyright Toni Star 2018