Money Truly Controls The World

I was driving the other day through a main street. Sitting in traffic all you can do is look around and see the businesses on both sides of the street and it had me thinking about the power that money has in our lives.

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We’ve heard say in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” and I can almost hear readers saying that’s not me, because…insert your reason.

The recent economy changes have demonstrated the power that money has in our lives. Some people lost their jobs, or their hours were decreased. The health insurance premiums became higher. Some lost their residence or vehicles. Crime rates increased, especially around the holidays. This happens when people get desperate trying to provide, to obtain things the “easy way” or attempting to maintain their lifestyles.

Some people think that they don’t serve money because they don’t have much. Take that little away or even attempt and you will see a different side of the same person. In corporate America we see people, including Christians, gossiping, forming alliances, gathering Intel to secure their positions, gain favor with their bosses or even get to higher grounds without doing the work.

Some people say that they don’t serve money because they are charitable. The question is the motive behind the pocketscontribution. Is it to get a tax break, to get recognition within an organization (church or socially)? Do we give what’s left or what we have?

If we think about it most prayers are for provision: a car, a house, a job, a raise, the vacation I haven’t taken in a while.

As long as we are comfortable, we believe that we don’t serve money. When money is lacking, we realize how painful it is to be without it. Money is one of the main reasons for divorce. It’s the primary reason why friendships and partnerships break. It’s a reason to go to jail. It’s a reason why families fight and stop talking to each other.

Let’s start this year doing a real evaluation on our lives and being honest with ourselves on how much hold and power that master (money) has on our lives.

Until then,

Be blessed!

wealth

Looking Towards 2015!

It is New Year’s Eve as I type this post. I’ve been thinking about the how this year was. I was looking on Facebook at the last posts of the year of some of my friends. Not everyone had jolly things to share, but just like me they were looking at 2015 with hope and 2014 as quite the growth school.

2014 was quite the spiritual boot camp for me. I had many loses, incomplete projects and some setbacks. I dealt jobwith health issues within myself and loved ones. There were more tears than laughs in 2014.But as this year sets down, the book seem to be turning a page. Things are slowly looking up.

I was at my chiropractor yesterday and he told me something that quite explains what my feelings are, “Life is like an ocean. It comes in waves, some are higher and some are lower. It all depends on how you navigate the wave” Which is where I stand grateful to God for helping me navigate through the waves of this year. I’ve had to grow and growing comes with pain.

I see this New Year as a new opportunity. It’s the year to not go back to the good things that were before, but to try new things, new approaches. It’s time to put into practice not only the lessons from this year, but the ones from years before. It is time to live differently, so that this New Year is different. We can’t control the waves that come our way, but we can control the way we ride them.

Care to share some of your thoughts on 2014 or your resolutions in 2015? I would love to hear them

Many blessings and Happy New Year.

2015

 

 

 

GLIn Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

Happy Anniversary The Rising Muse

The reality is that I’ve been so busy and this date snuck up on me. I can’t believe that I started this journey 5 years ago. I have been writing since I was  14 years old, but on a day like this day I decided that it was time to share what God had given me.

Today is not a day to congratulate me, as all I did was share. Today is a day of gratitude for all of you who have come to shared with me your own experiences, my good and growth opportunity moment. I’m grateful for all of you who have supported this dream and have allowed me to meet so many wonderful people.

Today I celebrate YOU!

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As a token of my appreciation to all my readers, my latest book “A Brother’s Vow” will be #99cents from today until through Sunday.  It’s yours to enjoy!

 

Thank you

ABV

What are you doing with your gratitude?

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This morning I woke up thinking about what today represents. To many is the day to have an excuse to overeat, party or drink. It’s also viewed as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends; nothing wrong with that. To some is another day at work. To some is the day to strategize about the next shopping spree to spend money that they don’t have to buy things they don’t need.

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The holidays are not festive for everyone and I used to be sensitive to that. Even before the traditional holiday excitement started to elude me. When I used to own a house, my Thanksgiving weekend was dedicated to inviting over people who didn’t have someone who spend this time with. It was my way of giving back with gratitude for what I have.

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Reminiscing on that memory I felt convicted. I haven’t stop being grateful for the blessings I continue to receive, but once I didn’t have a place big enough to entertain, I just stopped sharing what I had. I’m grateful every day for the life God has given me, the friends and family who have taken me in these years of selfishness. God has continue to provide and bless me every day and although I do share my blessings… This is one I need to get back to.
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I remember a friend of mine who’s children were court ordered to spend the holidays with her ex-husband. She didn’t have family in town and instead of sitting at home having a pity party or feeling lonely she used her time to bless others. She thought about something she loved, babies. On holidays she would volunteer at a hospice with the babies. She would look after them to allow the parents the opportunity to go home to spend time with their other children, get some sleep or at least change clothes.

Are we using our gratitude to self indulge or to be a blessing?

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Tsunami

By Holly Michael

Landing in South India, ten days after the 2004 tsunami, my husband said to our contact there, “Send us to the worst affected area, where no agency or person has yet provided help.”

Already weary from nearly thirty hours of travel, I mentally geared up for mission work. My husband, a pastor and native of Tamil Nadu, South India hadtsunami lived and worked in the affected region for more than twenty years and was aware of the living conditions of the fisher folks in the remote seaside villages. He was certain we’d find decimation and desperation.

Back home in Arkansas, we had raised a large sum of money during a week-long, major fund-raising event. As a freelancer for a Guideposts magazine, I planned to cover the story of a teenage survivor. My husband’s predictions rang true and I had no idea how difficult, yet fulfilling, this experience would be.

Ten years later, we are now preparing to head to South India for a follow-up visit. I plan to write a “then and now” book and release it on the anniversary of the tsunami: December 26th, 2014.

Ten years ago, we provided immediate assistance for the villages and people also helped many tsunami orphans. We arranged for the village headman to bring the children to the local bank where we identified them and put funds in CD’s to be collected ten years later (2014). This would give them money to begin their lives as adults. We also provided help to other small villages by purchasing boats for them.

I’m excited to return and see how the children—now adults—are doing and discover their future plans. I’m also curious to see how the once decimated villages have recovered.

On the ten-year anniversary, December 26th, 2014, I’ll publish, “Tsunami 2004: Then and Now. Devastation from the Sea. Help from Beyond. (Working Title).

It’s said that you should write what you know. This is true. Traveling to India several times since 2004, I have enjoyed and absorbed the cultural experiences and have since used them in my writing.

This past July, I released Crooked Lines, my debut novel, inspired by stories told by my husband and his friends who left their villages in India as teenagers to join a religious order. Crooked Lines threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. They struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth. I’m so pleased that Crooked Lines had reached #1 in Inspirational Fiction Category on Amazon.com.

Here’s my back cover blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Without giving a spoiler, some scenes from the novel were taken from my own experiences in South India after the tsunami. I’m also working on my sequel to Crooked Lines that I hope to release in February.

Maybe your travels won’t take you to far-away places, but we all travel along many emotional pathways and carry unique experiences in our hearts. As writers we should go back to the places of decimation, see how far we’ve come, and use this in our writing to help others. No matter what our background or culture—like in Crooked Lines—we all share similar emotional experiences. Matters of the heart are universal and worth writing about.

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TWO CONTINENTS. TWO  CULTURES. TWO SOULS
  …SEEK HOPE & A FUTURE

On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over
her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.
Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be  weighed…and buried memories, unearthed. Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and
deceptions in search of truth.

hollyHolly Michael
Website: http://www.hollymichael.com/
Blog: www.writingstraight.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHollyMichael
Twitter:@hollymichael

link: https://twitter.com/HollyMichael
www.HollyMichael.com
Debut Novel, Crooked Lines, now released! http://amzn.to/1jZsrLH.
 

WF: Overcomer

I read this devotional by Joyce Meyers and I wanted to share it in its entirety and I think it goes perfect with our worship song for today.

More Than Conquerors

As Christians, we often hear people quote Romans 8:37, which says we are more than conquerors. For years, I have pondered what being “more than a conqueror” actually means.

I’m sure other people have different interpretations, but I have come to the conclusion that being “more than a conqueror” means you have such confidence that no matter what comes up in your life, you know that through Christ you can handle it. You know before you are ever faced with a problem that you’re going to have victory over it. You believe you can do whatever you need to do in life. Therefore, you don’t dread things, you don’t fear the unknown, and you don’t live in anxiety about what’s going to happen. It doesn’t really matter what the specifics of each situation are, you know you will be victorious through Christ.

Power Thought: I am more than a conqueror through Christ.

From the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2010 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

#WhyILeft

Naty Matos:

As many of you know one of the causes I dearly support is Domestic Violence. When the Ray Rice case came out, like the writer of this post stated, a hashtag was born #WhyIstayed. It was heartbreaking hearing the stories of many survivors explaining how debilitating is the process to leave and even when they had finally realized that they were not treated well, they stayed a while longer.
In this post the author gives this theme a spin and talks about #WhyIleft

Originally posted on Nikewrites Blog:

Instead of posting the usual #FlashFictionFriday piece, I’ve decided to post a poem for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  This piece is a continuation of the #WhyIStayed hashtag discussion that was started on Twitter last month.  You can read my piece “Why I Stayed,” here.

Photograph: Johner Images / Alamy/Alamy As seen on: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/apr/27/save-money-holiday-costs

Why I Left

Because I was tired of being controlled and manipulated

Because I was tired being told I was crazy

Because I was tired of being told I didn’t measure up

Because he wouldn’t, didn’t protect my heart

Because being alone in the world no longer mattered,

Especially since I was so alone in my relationship.

Because the love was clearly one-sided.

Because I learned how to love myself more.

Because my child didn’t need to witness another fight.

Because I caught a glimpse of my strength

And his weakness was exposed.

Because it was…

View original 25 more words

A Biblical Definition of Wisdom

How do you define wisdom? For some it’s measured by a person’s level of knowledge and learning or by one’s level of education. Dictionaries define wisdom as philosophic and scientific learning. Other definitions of wisdom include sound judgment, good insight, or common sense. Native Americans believe wisdom is earned only after living a long life that brings learning and experience.

These definitions have merit, but they fall short of a biblical definition of wisdom. Biblical wisdom can be defined as the ability to see things from God’s point of view. As Christians, our wisdom grows when we understand and accept God’s point of view. The same is true of nations; they show wisdom when they align their policies with God’s view.

Without wisdom people can find themselves in trouble and countries risk disaster. The further a nation strays from God’s point of view, the closer it comes to being a nation under judgment.

We live in a nation that prides itself on being “one nation under God.” We ask for God’s blessing in songs like “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin. Our Supreme Court opens every session with “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.” The president and other politicians pandering for our votes give speeches that end with “God bless America.”

But what does it mean to be “one nation under God?” Have the words become merely a patriotic slogan? Do they have value only in times of national crises, when we feel threatened? Are we a nation asking for God’s protection and blessings while turning away from His point of view?

As a nation “under God” do we see things from God’s point of view when shaping national policies? Or have we lost our wisdom as a nation?  When we create polices on hunger, homelessness, poverty, protecting the environment and marriage, are we following God’s point of view – or a political agenda? What does it say about our values when one of every fifty children lacks sufficient food, in a nation that wastes 40 percent of its food? These are important questions that must be asked if we value being a nation “under God” because the answers may point to a nation moving away from God’s point of view and losing its wisdom.

Christians cannot escape our responsibility to hold those we elect to public office accountable for crafting polices that reflect God’s point of view. If our nation is losing its wisdom – its ability to see things from God’s point of view – we have a responsibility to advocate for change and to elect leaders who believe that “one nation under God” is not merely a political slogan but a call to action that will bring our policies into line with God’s point of view.

Our Founding Fathers knew that we could not indefinitely exist apart from God’s point of view. George Mason warned that providence would punish national sins with national calamities. Thomas Jefferson said “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that his justice cannot sleep forever.” These great men understood that our nation’s future rests on its commitment to live by the words “one nation under God” and that we must create national polices that reflect His point of view rather than policies that conform to a political agenda.

Have we lost our wisdom as a nation – our ability to see things from God’s point of view? Ultimately the answer to that question will determine if we are headed toward being a nation under judgment. Read more about a biblical definition of wisdom in A Nation Under Judgment. The book is available on Amazon and at http://www.anationunderjudgment.com

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WF: Beautiful

When someone is in an abusive relationship they feel devalued. People often ask how someone could allow another person to abuse them. The reality is that abuse is a slow systematic process. The abuser recognizes the vulnerabilities on their object of abuse and preys on those vulnerabilities.  It doesn’t happen overnight, but eats slowly at the core of the one suffering the abuse.

Once the chains of abuse have been locked, several things extend or perpetuate the abused to stay with the abuser. The lies that were believed, the toll to the self-esteem, the dependence on the abuser (emotional, financial, cultural, etc.) will make the smartest and most educated person stay in an abusive situation. It is very hard for someone who has not lived or is not living in an abusive relationship to understand. This isolates the victim even more.

Questions like: Why do you allow it? Why don’t you leave? And comments like: You are in this situation because you want to; do not help but alienate more the one that desperately needs help. And sometimes the only help that you can provide is a listening ear.

But my point in this Worship Friday is to tell you out there to stop believing the lie. Stop believing that you are not worth it. Stop believing that you are not special, that you’re unloved. Stop believing that you’re not attractive. You are perfectly made. You’re beautiful. I hope this song encourages you in the darkest hours and gives you the strength to know that to He who created you, you are all.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

If you need to prayer or to share your story, don’t hesitate to email me at therisingmuse at Gmail dot com

WF: Worship Friday

Enough With The Horror Stories

I’m sure that just like me; many of my sisters out there have heard horror stories about mammograms. I don’t know why as horrorwomen we have the tendency to create horror stories about those things that relate to our bodies. We heard horror stories about how our menstrual cycle was going to be. We heard the horror stories about our wedding night, child birth and many other things. And in a latter part of our life we have heard those same stories about our preventative checkup for breast cancer.

I admit that the horror stories kept me away from getting tested for a couple of years. I would go to my annual checkup. The doctor would give the order; the nurse would schedule my appointment and then I would miss it. Ironically I’ve been supporting the Breast Cancer Awareness Cause for about the same amount of time that I’ve been avoiding getting tested.

This year, a coworker who has promised to share her story with us later in the month, went through the experience of breast cancer. She used to have this pretty long beautiful hair and I had not seen her in a while. We ran into each other in the bathroom and I felt confident enough to ask her if something had happened. She briefly told me her story. I will not anticipate the details of her story, but it was preventative testing what help detect her cancer at an earlier stage. I told her about my fears and how I had been avoiding it. She encouraged me to get tested and I promised her that this year I would.

To be honest I had already missed the original date of my test. So, I called my doctor’s office and reschedule. The morning of the test I didn’t want to get out of the bed, but I decided to get up and go. I was late to my appointment. I think I secretly wanted for them to tell me that they couldn’t see me, but that was not the case. I was finally in my gown waiting to be called into the testing room and in my mind I was thinking Should I just get dressed and leave. Nah, I made it this far.

no more excusesLet me tell you that I felt like a fool after the testing was done. The tech told me that it is true that in the past, this was a painful test, but that technology has advance and now everything is done digitally. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. No pain, no discomfort, no horror stories to share. It was almost like taking a chest x-ray.

As soon as I left the office I thought of writing this post. I know that someone out there has been running from this the same way I did. If the blessing that God has given me through this forum saves one life, it is worth telling my story. If like me, you’ve been running to get tested. Stop listening to the horror stories. I’m living proof that it was the greatest experience ever and that next year I will not hesitate to go.

Stay Healthy

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