Friday, July 31, 2020

When times are tough, run to God! by Toni Star

Like millions of people, my husband and I are going through this worldwide virus deal and we are so tired of it! The cleaning, disinfecting, the not being able to go anywhere for fear of picking of the virus--well, it is just plain tiring and has turned our lifestyle and millions of others--upside down. In fact, my husband, two days ago, picked up the virus. We were in several stores days ago, came home, cleaned everything down, showered and then washed clothes; but still he came down with it.

He is doing better now but we are being very vigilant about his care. For months, we have been extremely careful and for months, nothing happened. But, the virus got him several days ago. He is feeling much better but from now on, we will be even more vigilant when we go out and come home. For several days, we have struggled and I have been depressed and worried but then I thought, "What am I doing to myself and my husband?"

Worry doesn't get you anywhere but running to God is the answer! He will provide for your every need, no matter how down and out you feel. Remember His words-- And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Jesus is always with us. Read these words, Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” – Psalm 139:7-8"

 

Jesus is always with you and me. He is as close as your next breath.


Toni Star August 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Hello Everyone,

Below is a wonderful piece--divided into sections--that will help you find peace with Jesus. I hope they help you as they have helped me. The only real peace we will have on this earth is with Jesus, so
turn to Him because He will truly give you the peace you want and need. Again, don't let this virus get you down. Yes, it is an intrusion to our lives but one day it will be gone and our lives will resume, hopefully, in normal ways.

Don't give up, take one day at a time and know this--that God is always with you--no matter where yo go or what you go through. Remember, trust, love and obey God. He will show you through because He is our loving Father. We need not fear a virus, or any other problem on earth. So for now, here is the piece. Read it, digest it and let the words flow through your heart and brain.

God Bless,

Toni

No matter what challenges you face, you can find peace of mind and heart with the Bible’s life-giving words.
1. When you face a problem, refuse to think thoughts of failure.
God can’t help you unless you trust him to help. Turn your thoughts from the problem to the God with whom all things are possible. Trust him to guide you to his wise, loving solution. “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13).
2. Put your problems in perspective.
Things are seldom as big or scary as they seem. Patience and perseverance can make your problems manageable. Prayer is vital, too. After you pray and wait, often it becomes clear what you can do to solve a problem. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
3. Live one day at a time.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). Our Lord told us to pray about our needs one day at a time: “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). When we leave the past behind and entrust the future to God, life can be filled joy.
4. Never forget the Lord’s desire to give you his blessing and peace.
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
5. Celebrate what you can be thankful for.
One of the vital principles of a peaceful, happy life is thankfulness. God asks us to give thanks always for everything (Ephesians 5:20). “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
6. Instead of asking, “Why?” or, “Why me?” ask what God wants you to do about the situation.
Every disaster is an opportunity to let Christ work through you to demonstrate his love and power. “Be an example…in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
7. Trust God for what you can’t understand.
Man’s inhumanity to man can be overwhelming, difficult to accept much less understand. How can such cruelty exist in a world created by a loving God? But wars and natural disasters are nothing new. They have been around for as long as man has. We are imperfect creatures living in a world where sin and evil have been set free. But God is still in control! Despite the tempest that may rage around you, Jesus promises, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Samuel Paul Veissière Ph.D. A positive article about the virus


I am posting this article about the virus because it is such a positive look about the virus. I hope it  helps you, as it has helped me. Even though this virus has caused pain and loneliness, it has also forced us to reevaluate and appreciate our lives. Toni Star Author of this peace...Samuel Paul Veissiere Ph.D.


1. We are no longer inattentive to what matters. Illnesses and accidents always trigger a cascade of unexpected positive events.  First, they tend to channel our attention toward things we usually take for granted.  Paradoxically, it is not until things break down that we start appreciating them – or even remembering that they exist.  People with asthma, for example, speak of how grateful they are for the wonders of air and breathing.  A broken leg or a broken car can make us appreciate the privilege of free movement.  Or again, an unexpected inability to move effortlessly can trigger a wave of friends and relatives offering to help with a ride or a grocery store run.  It is from these minor mishaps that we come to remember our loved ones, and create or renew rituals like car-pooling, long walks with friends, or having meals together. Illnesses and accidents are also blessings for bringing families, friends, and communities together.
The mass anxiety, extreme measures, and manic media coverage around the COVID-19 event have drastically restructured our attention toward many crucial features of our lives.  We are now more mindful of our health and thankful for our bodies.  We are reminded of all the vulnerable populations in our societies, and how much we care about them. We are more cognizant of, and grateful for the complex chains of production, supply, maintenance, and care without which our societies couldn’t exist.  Most crucially, we are now reminded that we have, and that we are, a global society. Caring for one another is what allowed our species to survive and thrive against all odds.  In remembering that our lives are intrinsically connected, and in taking note of the fragility of the world we took for granted, we are also reminded of how precious we are to one another.
2. Cooperation is spreading on an unprecedented global scale. Before the panic around COVID-19 mobilized our attention, the Western world was already facing an epidemic of anxiety, lonelinessmental illness, and rising uncertainty about the future. From politics gone mad to climate change, from the culture wars to the sex recession, new deaths of despair, and social media feeds exploiting our mental vulnerabilities, the symptoms of rampant individualism were already ravaging our lives. In many ways, the conditions for a global panic and mental health crisis were already in place. The COVID-19 epidemic is providing a timely antidote to all of this. 
As we are all focusing on what matters most, the vital importance of coordination and cooperation has become a reality again. Those same cognitive biases for negative information that make us obsess about potential threats are at play when we choose what to read, report on, or think about in these times of uncertainties. Hypothetical scenarios of collapsing health systems and millions dying, or rare incidents of panic hoarding mobilize our attention and go viral online. What we forget to notice, and what never gets reported on or shared on social media, is the cooperative business of life as usual: people patiently waiting their turn and taking precautions to protect the weak, ongoing acts of kindness among strangers, friends checking in on each other, families spending time together, volunteers delivering food to elders. On a much bigger scale, world governments are now coordinating preventive measures with a degree of cooperation never seen before.  China has deployed doctors and public health experts to assist Italy with the ongoing crisis.  Israelis and Palestinians are uniting to fight the epidemic. Governments around the world are implementing economic measures to assist the economically vulnerable. 
3. The global pandemic is expanding our psychology. Natural disasters typically bring people together and prompt spontaneous acts of solidarity among strangers. In the past, pandemics have often proven to be a sad exception to this rule, with fear of contagion increasing xenophobiadiscrimination, conflict, and competition for resources. But humanity seems to have learned from past mistakes. 
Expanding the bounds of our tribalistic – but ultimately altruistic — psychology has always been humanity’s greatest challenge.  Our species evolved in extremely harsh conditions that required carefully executed cooperation within small groups.  Human history has been one of expanding, and failing to exploit the full potential of this cooperative nature.   As our worlds became more integrated following population increases in the late Neolithic, conquest, war, and slavery — but also exchange, trade, dialogue, and diversification — have predictably occurred each time humans groups came into contact.  Such ills as racism and classism, or such atrocities as segregation and genocide, are at their core fundamentally altruistic actions: They are invariably conducted selflessly, for the benefit of one’s family, kin, tribe, nation, and group, and for something greater than oneself.  The terrible problem with such exclusionary acts is simply their limits — the artificial boundary beyond which a fellow human can be considered a stranger. 
The recent historical advent of fast media (from print media and the telegraph to radio, TV, and the Internet) enabled the efficient spread of information.  This mass diffusion of myths and ideas, in turn, accentuated both tribalism and exchange.  Cooperation and conflict have thus spread exponentially as our worlds have become more integrated.  What history has taught us, in other words, is that the limits of our tribal psychology make it difficult not to favour “our” group over others, and make it much easier for people to rally against a perceived enemy than for a just cause.  Or again, that the tribal bounds of our psychology only expand when groups can cooperate against a bigger enemy.
As the increased polarization observed in recent times has shown, democracy and climate change have proven to be too abstract and complex processes for the average mind and Internet-fuelled crowd to comprehend and make informed cooperative decisions about. The threat of a pandemics, however — actual or perceived — harnesses all the right cognitive biases.  As many of our psychological mechanisms and social norms co-evolved with pathogens and infection avoidance, the thought of a pandemic provides a catchy, intuitive, life-changing opportunity to restructure our attention, priorities, and coalitions.  Pandemics thus offer a tangible opportunity to unite the whole of humanity against a real threat, and so without engaging in any tribalistic, racist, or exclusionary action.     
4. We are finally slowing down. Overwork and over-productivity is another problem COVID-19 is helping us surmount.  From poor mental health to pollution and increased polarization, it had already become evident that our societies’ addiction to over-production, over-consumption, and individual achievements was a public health, political, and environmental disaster.  As social distancing measures are being implemented around the world, a sharp increase in life-saving air quality has already been documented from China to Italy, with carbon emissions reaching new lows each day because of reduced air travel.  
At this point, most of us are already living in conditions of enforced slowness and distancing that are finally giving us the opportunity to work less, spend time with loved ones, and find the time to chat, read, play music, cook, go for long walks, and engage in all the pleasures we had forgotten to cultivate as we were chasing the futile goals of our accelerated, anxious lives.  Our traditions used to prescribe days of rest, family, and pleasure like the Sabbath — along with many opportunities for ritual gathering and celebration of our shared humanity and a common search for meaning.  COVID-19 also reminded us that the very social fabric that once made us strong was broken, and is showing us the way to fix it.
5. We are finding meaning and connections, even in isolation. Striking that balance between slowness and isolation will continue to be a challenge in the weeks to come.  We will need to take cues from our local public health authorities on the degrees of physical connectedness that are advisable in our communities to help protect the vulnerable.  Our thoughts and prayers must go to those who must remain away from be their loved ones for now.  In these times of intense refocusing of our priorities, we must interpret the longing we may feel for more connections as a reminder and celebration of the importance of these connections.
In a moving email announcing the temporary suspension of services and activities as the Quebec government implemented lockdown measures, Rabbi Lisa Grushcow of Montreal quoted the book of Ecclesiastes as she encouraged Temple members to stay safe and connected:  
“There is a time for everything under the sun... a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” It can be hard to accept that the most important and helpful thing we can do at this time is stay home. But we are doing so to save lives and take care of one another. 
Refraining from embrace, like being thankful for air during an asthma attack, can make us deeply grateful for others. The Book of Ecclesiastes offers timeless advice to help us remember what matters and what we take for granted.  Often recognized as the most philosophically profound text in the scriptures, Ecclesiastes warns us against the pursuit of vanities under the assurance that there is nothing new under the sun. The long poem’s narrator invites us to consider the futility and loneliness of our insatiable appetites for wealth, hoarding, and individual achievements:
"Two are better off than one (…) for should they fall, one can raise the other (…). When two lie together, they are warm; but how can he who is alone get warm?"
Ecclesiastes reminds us of the simple things that make us whole: spending time with family and loved ones; eating good meals; sleeping; feeling the sun on one’s skin; watching the sun fall and rise again, and feeling at peace in the knowledge that it will rise again.   
Let us be grateful that these troubled times have brought us closer together. The sun will rise again.
Facebook image: Alex Post/Shutterstock
My words: The author's last words are so good and true..."These  troubled times" have indeed brought us closer together. We will get through this and we will be stronger, tougher, more resilient and hopefully--kinder to our fellow men and women. Toni Star May 26, 2020

Friday, April 24, 2020

Bound to Jesus by Lisa Stilwell August 28, 2019


I saved this article from last year and wanted to post it at this time. With all the bad news we have received from this awful virus, I thought this article would uplift and encourage you to get closer to Him. I hope you like this article and I hope it brings you closer to Him.
Toni Star 2020


Bound to Jesus
Aug 28, 2019 by: Lisa Stilwell

Faith is being literally bound to Jesus. Have you seen a branch that has been grafted to a tree? A branch from one tree is wrapped and bound to another, and over time, the branch and tree begin to grow together. The branch grows so entwined with the tree that it no longer needs to be wrapped – they literally become one. That’s what happens when we place our faith in Christ. There is a spiritual closeness like no other – we become part of His royal priesthood. We are complete. We are forgiven. We are able to walk in His power and experience freedom like never before. Fear no longer has a home when we are one with Jesus. Our residence is bound and fixed where no enemy can be.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener… Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. (John 15:1, 4-5)
[Jesus] is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. (John 14:17)
You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. (Romans 8:9)
Anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (I Corinthians 6:17)
Lord, having lived with You, I couldn’t imagine life without You. You are closer than a friend – You are my very source of life. Thank You for Your promise to never leave.
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This is an excerpt from 100 Days of Faith Over Fear by Lisa Stilwell - a brand new devotional book released by DaySpring publishing.  Learn more about this book, or shop other books from DaySpring.



Monday, April 13, 2020

Don't let this virus steal away your peace


Don’t let this virus steal away your peace.
Soon, it will be over; you’ll see it will cease.
Our Lord and Savior are aware of it all.
He will keep you from the fall.

There are lessons to be learned from all of this.
No need to focus on the abyss.
Focus on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
All three will keep you fit.

Friend; so much beauty and life ahead.
Focus on the good and not the dread.
Soon, all of this will be over.
Then, you and I will be living in clover.

So, think of good and not bad.
This will keep you from feeling sad.
Life is for the living; of that I am sure.
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit—all three are pure!

Focus on the Creator, for He loves us all!

Copyright Toni Star 2020


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Special prayer for Easter from Day Spring

An Easter Prayer


As we reflect on the Resurrection of Jesus, let’s take some time to praise Him and ask for even more of His Presence in our lives! Here’s a simple Easter prayer you can reflect on:
Dear Jesus,
Thank you for the gift of eternal salvation that we get to celebrate on Easter morning. Your love is so great! Come close to me and renew my mind to let go of everything I’ve held on to that hinders me and entangles me. I ask you to draw near to me as I draw near to you and purify my heart.
Thank you for being the example of mercy when you ministered to and saved a thief while you suffered your own death. Your love covers a multitude of sins! I repent of my sins and ask you to cover me with your love and help me love others deeply.
Help me to forgive those who have offended me and give me the courage to bless my enemies.
Thank you for the anchoring of peace the Cross gives us. When difficult times find me, help me keep my eyes on you. Help me calm and quiet my soul so I can find full contentment in You alone.
Thank you for the promise of joy and the restoration to the Father through the work of the Cross. Let me remember to take active steps in rejoicing together in fellowship with family and friends. May we never forget the good works You have done in our lives.
I praise you that you are the gift of HOPE. Nothing can separate me from your love for not even death could do it. I love you, Jesus!
Amen!
This Easter, why not spend a little quiet time with Jesus, thanking Him for His sacrifice, soaking in His Word and connecting with Him in a very real, personal and meaningful way? Let’s breathe in the Easter story and rejoice in the empty tomb—in our risen King and in His unfailing love for us, because “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 NIV  Thanks to Day Spring!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Two Steps Toward Knowing God's Will by Rick Warren and preface by Toni Star

The below article, from Rick Warren, is wonderful and helpful. How many times have I gone ahead and did things not really knowing what I was doing and expecting things to turn out right. Or, there have been times when I asked for opinions from others--husband and friends--on what to do. What I finally learned, and will try to hold in my brain and heart, is how important it is to follow God's will. In the last couple of months I turned to God, asked Him for guidance and also asked for directions. I only wish that I did this a long time ago. God has given me guidance and directions and I have gained the "peace that passes all understanding."

I wish for you all peace, love and the steps below that will guide you toward knowing God's will. Follow Him and He will show you the way!

Toni Star



By Rick Warren — March 23, 2020
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Devotional image from Rick Warren
“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him.”
James 1:5 (TLB)
If you want to know God’s will, then you can start with these two steps:
1. Admit that you need guidance.
Psalm 25:9 says, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (NIV).
If you’ve never felt God guiding you, maybe it’s because you’ve never admitted that you need his guidance. You go to work assuming that you know what to do without praying about it. You make financial decisions, vacation plans, or career decisions before stopping to pray about them. If you’re single, you might even ask someone out on a date without first asking for God’s guidance.
You think you know, but you might want to stop and admit that you need guidance, because it’s the first step in getting God’s will for your life.
2. Ask God in faith for directions.
The Bible says in James 1:5-6, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (TLB).
Notice there are two keys to knowing God’s wisdom. First, you’ve got to ask the right person: God. You don’t ask your hairdresser, mechanic, or radio talk show host. You need to ask the right person!
Then, you ask with the right attitude: expecting God to answer. Have you ever asked God to lead you, but you didn’t really expect him to? You must ask, expecting God to answer.
God honors faith, and he promises wisdom for the next step of your life.