Perspective: It’s All in How You See It, Part 2

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain. Author Unknown

Naomi has lost both her husband and her sons. Her husband’s spiritual state could have been the catalyst for his passing, but no specific reason is given. However for her sons, it seems that this truth may be closer to hitting the mark, due to the names given both boys.

Can you imagine calling your children…” Hey Sick! Hey Pining! Go help your father.” It’s like their parents sentenced them to a life of ill health that finally overcame them. People don’t realize that we all speak things into existence.

English: Naomi and Her Daughters-in-Law (Ruth ...
English: Naomi and Her Daughters-in-Law (Ruth 1:3-22) Русский: Ноеминь и её невестки (Руфь 1:3-22) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.

9 The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?

12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;

13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.

14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

At this juncture, Naomi is looking at her loss and is bitter. Bitterness is the offspring of resentment. It is an indignant, begrudging attitude, mixed with acrimony. In other words, it leaves an acidic, bitter taste in one’s mouth. Holding on to such an attitude for an extended amount of time can cause disease to set in, in the body. I believe that certain cancers result from this.

Did Naomi have reason to be resentful? Yes, she did, if you only view her losses through the eyes of unmet expectations. Such expectations are the result of an attitude of entitlement in which a person believes that no matter what they do or fail to do; regardless of their level of irresponsibility, everything will work out the way they think it is supposed to. I mean who made all those choices anyways?

This sort of attitude is the offspring of very limited utilization of the brain. It results from a spiritual deficit, which was the problem that caused her and her husband to leave in the first place. But she’s still missing the point.

The point is that no matter where you are in your journey; even if you’ve hit some bumps in the road; regardless of how low you think your situation is; and even if your heart is far from God, He can still bless you and turn the situation around.

Success is not measured by what a person accomplishes, but by the opposition they have encountered, and the courage with which they have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. Orison Swett Marden

Naomi did not even call out to God. The passage does not indicate that a lot of prayer was happening. Yet, there was enough of the Spirit in her, that caused her daughter-in-law Ruth to want to become part of her people and her God. And still she did not see that she had been blessed.

Instead, she continued to focus on her loss and her bitterness, as opposed to the new “friendship,” God blessed her with, which is the meaning of Ruth’s name.

20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

What gets me is who she blames for her bitterness. Why is it that people always want to lob grenades at God for the things that don’t go their way in life? She does this twice; in verse 13, she says that God’s hand has gone out against her, and then here again in v 20-21.

As I said previously, when we all are in possession of a billion dollar asset, our brains, but we fail to add value to it through education; and furthermore, just fail to use it at all, we have no one to blame, but ourselves. God calls us to renew our minds, but many ignore that call, and take no steps to draw closer to Him.

Life does not just happen to anyone. It is the culmination of either unthought out or well thought out decisions.

Life is challenging. Don’t make it any harder than it has to be.

Be careful how you:

•Speak to yourself
•Think of yourself
•Conduct yourself
•Develop yourself

Tony Dungy

So while Naomi was busy having her pity party, she completely missed the jewel God had given her. Then, she bad mouths God, and blames him for her misfortune; instead of examining herself and recognizing the part that her decisions played in the whole situation.

Nevertheless, God is a loving God, and she’s a lost child that has come home, so He restores her through Ruth, the blessing she overlooked. But, that story is in the later 3 chapters for another day.

The point is, no matter how destitute you think you are, God can restore you. In this case, this bitter, resentful, woman lost the dead weight in her life and gained a new perspective and life through the faith of a woman who’s origins were even worse than her own.

This other woman, Ruth, who by the standards of the society of that time, would be considered unworthy; became, through faith, the great grandmother to one of the most revered kings of history: King David. Why? Because her attitude and perspective had been changed through new information and the renewing of her mind.

This “pleasant” woman in a parched spiritual place still managed, despite her bitterness, to demonstrate enough of God’s Spirit to influence a change in the heart of an outsider, and just look at the blessings that resulted. Attitude is everything.


Perspective: It’s All in How You See It, Part 1

There’s something about reading books. I have read quite a few books on my iPad, and it’s nice for convenience sake, but it’s just not the same as holding a book, and turning the pages yourself. Personally, I love soft cover books so much better than hardcover, because they’re bendy and flexible, and easy to position for my own comfort.

One of my favorite, bendy books happens to be my old, NIV Bible. Now, if you aren’t into that, it’s ok. I’m not here to push my beliefs on you. However, if you are a frequent visitor to my site, you know that there are 3 elements that I focus on: Mind, Body, and Spirit, although not necessarily in that order. So as you peruse this site, you will see studies I’ve done on the spiritual tip that perhaps weren’t what anyone expected, but that may have provided a different perspective that I hope was helpful.

Today, I was thinking about perspectives when I decided to do some reading, and I chose to use my actual Bible as opposed to my iPad’s app, to read some scriptures. As I picked it up, it fell open to the book of Ruth; a book I have read before, but I felt perhaps I should look at again. I really thought I was just going to quickly read through all 4 chapters to satisfy my need for spiritual food for the day, but apparently, God had something else in mind.

Now, in order to explain why I was stopped after only the first chapter, I need to show you the verse near the end of that chapter that sort of stopped me in my tracks.

The Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith
The Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? (KJ)

The reason that this caught my attention was her attitude. Back in those times, people were very conscious about names and their meanings. They knew that a person’s path in life is often dictated by their name. It’s like when you name a child, you are setting their life’s course. For instance, my name – Sandra, means Helper and Defender. I was a defender of my co-workers years ago, when I was taking up the cause for employee rights as an EEO rep in the absence of bought union reps who picked and chose who they would represent.

Currently, evidence of the Helper in me is written into all of my websites and social media; as well as my current profession as an LMT. My desire and goals to educate people, especially on how to get freedom, and enjoy a healthier life free from pain is also evidence of my nature lining up with my name. This is why Naomi’s statement caught my attention. It is clear that she knows the meaning of her name.

So now, we have to go back to the beginning of the chapter to see what happened that caused her to make this statement.

1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem Judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.

4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.

5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of

her two sons and her husband.

English: Hendrick Goltzius. Orpah leaving Ruth...
English: Hendrick Goltzius. Orpah leaving Ruth and Naomi. 1576. Engraving. 19.8 × 27.3 cm. Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (inv.nr. BdH 8063). Nederlands: Hendrick Goltzius. Orpa verlaat Ruth en Naomi. 1576. Gravure. 19,8 × 27,3 cm. Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (inventarisnummer BdH 8063). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.

7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

What gets me is that when she returns home, she’s telling her friends to rename her. Her name Naomi means “pleasant.” But now, she’s doing what most people do. She’s only viewing her world through the eyes of loss.

Our words reveal our thoughts; Manners mirror our self-esteem; Our actions reflect our character; Our habits predict the future. William Arthur Ward

Losing her husband and her son’s has made her bitter, because apparently her world revolved around them, and she linked her identity with having a husband and having two sons. She did not see that she individually had worth, and that God could still bless her in spite of her loss.

As far as she’s concerned, their loss meant she is nothing and no one, and that the hand of God has turned against her. Her bitterness is because her connection with God was not correct. Her identity should have been linked to God, not her husband or sons.

We are all here for a specific reason and purpose, and we all encounter different seasons in life, as well as seasonal people. You just need some perspective glasses so you can see that your loss/mistake/failure is temporary; it’s just a seasonal thing.

Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power…Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it. Rabbi Harold Kushner

Naomi is saying that she doesn’t deserve her current name based upon her current condition. She’s completely missing the point…in fact, several. Number one is that God doesn’t judge us in that manner. God doesn’t say,

“I gave you this name because I expected you to behave/act/be like this, but you messed up/failed/made a mistake. So now, based the consequences of your actions, and the state that it’s left you in, I’m gonna have to rename you.”

Our name may be an indicator of our path or our nature, but it is not an indicator of our worth. Naomi is looking at the entire picture incorrectly. First of all, all she’s apparently thinking about is appearances, because her friends probably saw them off when her family originally left.

But, and this is what really gets me on this sort of inane thought process; look at what her children were named. First, her husband’s name, Elimelech means “My God is King.” So this brings us to a “Why” question.

If Elimelech’s faith truly lined up with his name, why did the family leave Bethlehem (house of bread and praise) to go to Moab (of father) a place who’s progenitor was birthed from incest? I know there was a famine in the land where they lived, but what better place to be in the time of famine, than the house of bread and praise?

A famine in the land is a physical manifestation of a condition of the spirit. It’s a matter of mindset. Your heart is out of alignment with God. So that is problem number 1. This was a nationwide problem.

But, Naomi and her husband took it a step further. They left the land of their forefathers, and went even further outside of God’s will into a land not only birthed from incest, but furthermore, where other gods were worshiped, and child sacrifice to these gods was done.

Furthermore, Naomi and her husband were so far gone spiritually, that before her sons died, the parents let them marry Moabite women, something God’s laws prohibited. This was not because of the race of these people, but because of their culture.

Coming back to the names of their sons, Mahlon and Chilion (Kilion), why would they name their children like this? Mahlon means ” sick,” and Chilion (Kilion), means “pining.” It is clear to me that Naomi and Elimelech both knew about name meanings, and the power of them.

The problem here, as I see it, is yet another situation where people fail to utilize the billion dollar asset God gave each and every one of us, and think.

 


Making Changes

 What is the point of telling someone, “I know I’m a mess,” if you have absolutely no intention to change? Is it simply an excuse to justify the pain or problems in your life currently, or is it to rationalize the fact that you refuse to change? 
 
I meet very few people that are totally beyond all help. I meet plenty who think they are, but it’s just another of many excuses for laziness and a spirit of defeat. They’ve chosen to give up; chosen to do nothing about their situation or pain. Most often what I find to be prevalent is that they have chosen to remain uneducated and stupid. Why do I say this? I see it every day.
 
At this point in time, I utilize public transportation; not because it was a choice originally, but I choose to continue using it as an economic choice currently. Every day while riding, I see a combination of the semi useful people, and the totally useless people. Note that I didn’t say productive. That’s because most of them aren’t. Now, this may sound judgmental…and that would be because it is.
 
For example, there’s a particular fat woman I used to see every day when I was going to work. She is immense. I want you to know that I myself am not a skinny girl, but I am not immense like this woman either.
 
She wears tent dresses (I don’t even think she can find pants to fit her); and the mindless, bland, indifferent look of someone who has completely given up, and has managed to find comfort in the idea of eating herself into oblivion.
 
She looks like she’s about 5’5 or 5’6 at the most, and I’m not even sure if she’s 30 years old. She gets on the bus, and sits literally taking up 2 seats; then snacks on chips and candy bars, and falls asleep for the remainder of the bus ride.
 
Every time I look at her, I can’t believe this woman is so young and so seemingly oblivious and indifferent to the condition she is putting herself into. If you were to see her face, it is clear that this is not a person interested in personal growth or education. 
 
She just looks like she’s vegetating, idly planted in her indifference and spreading out (in her personal bulk), as if waiting for someone to come along and prune her, like a weed from the garden of life.
 
I was seeing a woman at my office, that is in a similar condition. I was asked to work on her to release pain from her neck that she said was very bothersome. This woman was also immense, but a taller version of it. She could not get on the table, nor could she sit on the massage chair. I had to sit her in a regular chair and try to work the problem out of her neck that way. When she sat down, her stomach was so immense, I was reminded of Jabba the Hut in Star Wars
 
As I was working on her and asking her about her injuries and lifestyle habits, she said, “I know I’m a mess.” You know why I don’t have as much of a problem with her making this statement? She’s at least 70 years old. A grandmother.

Granted, she has not maintained a healthy lifestyle or habits, but unlike the younger woman, her condition is due, in large part, to a lifetime of neglect. Is she without hope, or helpless? No, not if she chooses not to be, and makes the decision to change. Most people in her age range don’t choose to, but they aren’t beyond all hope. Anything worth fighting for takes effort.

 
I am recognizing the irony as I tell you about the fortune cookie from my order of Chinese food today, which said, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” In other words, pain is a message telling you to stop being stupid; to wake up and think!
 
I know what some of you think. You think your pain is unexplainable, just because no one has explained it. This doesn’t mean there isn’t an explainable cause…just that no one up to this point in time, has told you anything that really makes sense. Or, you think it was caused by your accident, which wasn’t your fault. Or, you think it just suddenly occurred for no apparent reason.
 
First of all, there is never just one variable, so even in the case of an accident, there is always more than the one variable or situation that causes it. In the case of a vehicular accident, the level of impact is definitely a factor, but it is not the only factor.
 
Regardless, just because there seems to be no rhyme or reason for whatever has happened to you, that, in and of itself does not negate the fact that change is needed. Everything in life has a cause and effect factor. Just because your doctor either doesn’t know, or thinks it is unresolvable, does not mean that you are at a dead end without options.
 
Sarah-Jessica-Parker-Feet-2079700Recently, a picture of Sara Jessica Parker was shown on The Wendy Show as the Hot shot of the day. In it, Sara Jessica Parker was wearing a light blue dress that was very pretty. But, you know what made that picture look horrible? Did anyone look at her feet? I found a different image to help you see it better. The top of her feet looked worse than the worst case of old age turkey neck that I’ve ever seen. Her legs look fabulous, but her feet looked 20 years older than her. Why is that?
 

Well when you consider that she was one of the women of the 80’s and 90’s that wore and promoted the constant style of wearing high heels, then it makes sense. Remember, she was the Sex and the City star, and portrayed a wanna-be glamour girl, desperately seeking social acceptance and love.

This is the same basic attitude I have found in some of the sillier women I’ve worked on, who refuse to give up those horrible heels and the pain they cause to the back and other body parts. The problem is that the position that high heels puts the foot in, is one of over-extension of the extensor muscles on the front of the foot and leg, and over-contraction of the flexor muscles on the bottom of the foot and calf. 
 
So if someone were to try to Dorsiflex Sara Jessica Parker’s feet (bend the toes up towards the sky), it probably would be very painful for her, because the length of her calf muscles are too short as well as the plantar muscles on the underside or sole of her feet.
 
I was going to say, unless she stretches, and from the picture, it looks like she does, because her legs look great; but clearly, if she does stretch regularly, she overlooked her feet.
 
The point is, many people cause their own pain from stupidity, such as following popular fashion trends; and demonstrating more loyalty and care to a fashion fad than to their own bodies. 
 
Then people wonder why they have pain. Look at all the celebrities that have fallen by the wayside based on addiction. Many of them became addicted from too much partying, but many also became addicted due to prescription pain medications.
 
Even as I write this, people are still trying to determine if Prince actually died from an addiction, or if it was something else. If it was indeed an addiction, Prince does seem to me to be the type of person that would not want people to know. The latest word on the matter was a possible accidental overdose of pain medication.
 
So there are people making choices that are causing them pain. They aren’t examining their lives, habits and thought patterns to see what might be the source. To make matters worse, because of this lack of thoughtful inquiry and self examination, they run to seek medical care, which is only symptom management at best; and never usually hones in on the actual causes.
 
They completely place their faith in a man with a label, and never bother to do any personal research for answers, or methods of possible treatment. Then, based on a pain condition that is first and foremost, a condition of the mind or spirit; they make decisions or rather, accept what the man with the label tells them.
 
They begin to attack the problem in their body via a synthesized chemical they take in either pill form or as a shot, or even worse, they do surgery. Meanwhile, the actual problem, which, outside of a direct impact injury, is usually within themselves; is never addressed.
 
Change is needed, and the first place to start is to spend some time utilizing more than the 10 or 20% minimum of brain power that is said to be used by mankind. Striving to be ordinary is a state of mind that will definitely result in pain. It’s time not to just think outside the box; although more outer box thinking is definitely a necessity. Its time to rise up, and step out of the box that the culture has led you into; because it is a culture of pain that not only is detrimental to your mindset; it’s detrimental to your health. 


Everybody’s A Christian – NOT!

What is a Christian? Really. I’m asking this question, not because I don’t know; but because the word Christian is so casually claimed. It’s the same backwards, flippant manner in which people claim to be in love after just meeting someone. Let’s get our word definitions straight. That’s lust, not love.
Furthermore, Christianity does not have the Burger King as it’s head. This is NOT a have-it-your-way faith. 
You can’t say or do any and everything you want with complete disregard for others, because this is NOT a self-centered belief. Part of our purpose is to serve others, by eliminating selfish thinking and self-centered motivation in ourselves. We have true liberty and freedom in Christ, but that does not endow us with a license to sin.
And for the record, Christians are supposed to be quick to recognize if they err and offend; not due to speaking God’s truth per the scriptures, mind you; but if they inadvertently caused harm to another, whether or not they had the intention to do so. Not only should recognize it through conviction of the Spirit, but they should be quick to apologize and ask for forgiveness, because we are called to be peaceable with everyone.
Furthermore, saying “I’m sorry, but…” Is NOT a real apology. It is a justification, which STILL means that someone is trying excuse their behavior, by crediting something or someone outside of themselves with the fault that led to their actions. It is a means of denying your responsibility for your own actions and choices. Therefore, such statements are insincere rebuffs, not sincere apologies.
I’m just sick and tired of false and illicit associations being made to my faith in an attempt to deceive the masses per someone’s agenda. Some who might be in the faith, might think that I am wrong to call this out the way I am. 
So many people who claim to be Christian, are too soft; and seem to think that passiveness is a demonstration of love. It is not. There’s a difference between being gentle and being passive. These same alleged Christians are so busy agreeing with the culture of political correctness pushed by atheists, that they’ve forgotten that we have been given power from on high, and that we are called to speak the truth with boldness
This, in my opinion, is why Ben Carson lost his spot in the presidential race, and has fallen by the wayside. However, he really lost me when he said that healthcare is not everyone’s right. Unfortunately, his voice was not a voice of authority, nor is it bold; therefore, he couldn’t really go head to head with someone like “The Donald“. I had a conversation with a friend about this, and I said, ” If only Carson had the boldness of John Hagee! He’d give Trump a real run for his money!” Unfortunately, despite having great ideas, Carson has, by his lack of boldness, shown the position of the church at large; that of being asleep. We are called to boldly speak the truth, not in judgment, but with love; and to stand against the culture. 
Regardless, I think some clarity is in order, with regards to defining what is a real Christian, as well as who or what it represents; and furthermore, defining what it is not, or what is not in any way associated with the Christian faith.

All scriptures listed here by number, are from 1Tim 6:1-16, unless otherwise stated.

1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

“Under the yoke” in this verse, essentially means you are employed; it is a reference to servants or enslaved people. The word “blasphemed” means to speak irreverently or disrespectfully about God or His doctrine, i.e.the set of beliefs He espouses or advocates; i.e. Christianity.

2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

You can’t call yourself a Christian, and slouch off on the job, especially for a believing employer.

3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

Wholesome words mean words that edify, or lift others up. Words that are malicious, lewd, dirty, slanderous, or meant to put down, criticize, judge or destroy another, such as gossip and slander; are not part of the doctrine of Christ, or Christianity, which is according to godliness. I’m 
Verses 4 & 5 surmises what I see happening in the current political arena. Almost all of the current forerunners in the race for the party seat on either side, fit and demonstrate perfectly what these scriptures described.

Trump and Cruz are described perfectly by verses 4 & 5. Both of them know nothing. Trump makes things up, and in his egotistical arrogance, attacks, judges, and criticizes people and groups as if we are all still watching The Apprentice, and not an election. He separates and divides people, instead of bringing them together; and furthermore, supports racial hatred and division. 

Acts 10:34 (KJV)
Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.
James 2:9 (KJV)
But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
Colossians 3:25 (KJV
But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Romans 2:11 (KJV)
For there is no respect of persons with God.

Rom 16:17-18
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Trump then had the unmitigated gall…and the absolutely unbelievable nerve…to call himself a Christian! That got me fired up, because I considered him in the very beginning, because I liked the idea of us having borders and walls, but I was never under any illusions as to whether or not he is a Christian. 
However, it’s a cause of concern for those who aren’t aware of what a Christian really represents. He has attempted to associate himself, obviously, just to win votes. He seems to think that because he has money, he can say and do whatever he wants, and then, after bashing and ripping people apart, causing division and strife; that he can then align himself with the God of love?!? I think not! Remember verse 5 said about:

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

If anything, Donald Trump more than anyone, represents the position of mankind that has turned against their Creator! He has that fist-shaking-at-God, I-can-do-whatever-I-want, spirit of Cain;  that, like the Eygptian Pharoah, says, ” Who is God that I should obey Him?” 
He even stated in an interview that he never asks for forgiveness. That is a key principle of Christianity. In order to accept Christ, you must ask for forgiveness of sin. Just because he occasionally attends a Presbyterian church does not mean he’s a Christian. Scripture says there are many wolves among the sheep. There are plenty of self-righteous people sitting in church week after week, who have never accepted Christ. 
Their presence in a building does not automatically graft them into the body of true believers, who strive to follow all of God’s word; and not just the parts that justify their own will. Scripture says that by their fruit you will know them. The fruit indicates that the only “god” Donald Trump serves is the god of money, not the God of true Christianity.
For years, Christians have believed that the Republican Party was the Christian based party, but clearly, it is not about the party, which apparently is not Christian based; but the position and actions of the person running for office. Any pastors who pander to a particular political party from the pulpit, trying to influence the vote are wrong. That is not their position, and certainly, not what they are called to do.
If Trump really wanted to ” Make our nation great again,” he’d be like John Hagee, leading the call to return to what our forefathers originally set up; a Christian nation. That is not what we are now; and certainly, it is not what we have been for a long time; even prior to the fault maliciously laid by some on Obama. 
We have long been pulled in this direction by the historically dominant party of long-standing, political “representation” in the Oval Office, which has been self-serving; working only for the high income level minority, as opposed to what was best for everyone. We have left our first love in favor of Solomon’s folly; marriage or con-joining with pagan nations, and the adoption of their cultures, doctrines and gods. 
But, scripture says, you are either hot or cold. You cannot be lukewarm with regard to God. You are either for Him, or against Him. You cannot serve any other gods. That’s the number 1 rule of the Ten Commandments.
Speaking of lukewarm, Ted Cruz has been a whiner that from the jump, complained instead of  stating his position boldly and standing on what he would do for the country. Now, he’s all inflated and talking big, like he’s so tough, but he is still doing nothing more than blowing hot air. Absolutely no specifics at all. He has no concrete answers nor direction. In essence, he’s like the short, insecure guy that buys a big vehicle to try to run with the big boys and act more manly.
On the other side, there’s the she-devil, Hillary; whose lies and dirty secrets have been hitting the fan for a while now. This woman is in collusion (board member) with the biggest bane to mankind; the enemy of the health and well-being, Monsanto. 
For those who don’t know, Monsanto is the chemical giant that has been poisoning our food supply; trying initiate legislation that would deny us the right to food labels that identify everything being processed into our food. She’s a part of destroying our greatest wealth – our health; so any health care reform she claims she’ll initiate will be purely in favor of Monsanto and the medical industry; not the people. 
Why should women vote for her to represent women as president, if she’s deceptive and manipulative? As such, she would not be a good representative, first for females, and especially as president.
She also jumped on the ” I’m a Christian” bandwagon, as it currently suits her agenda to now claim association to gain a few points. There’s no true association, because again,scripture says that people will know us by our fruits; i.e., by the love we demonstrate for others. Claiming to care, and then supporting an industrial giant that has been the cause of sickness and disease (like cancer), and death for the sake of population control; is not bearing fruits of the Spirit of Christ.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Not only is the love of money the “root” of all evil, and coveting it causes one to err and fall away from the faith. You can’t love money and God. 

Matthew 6:24 (KJV) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

This is what Christians are called to do. We are not called to follow after money or the culture, because love of those things will lead you astray.

13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords
16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Note that verse 15 states that Christ is the ” only Potentate,” not the pope. So if your faith Is in that figurehead, it is mis-placed. Furthermore, idol worship is condemned in the scriptures; in fact, not only is it right there in the first of the Ten Commandments, but throughout the bible.

image

No saints are to be worshipped or ” revered, nor any physical objects like rosary beads and statues. Doing such is idolatry, and is not part of Christianity, but one who belongs to that organization is not like to know that, because their bible is different.
That is another point. Changing the bible; adding to it or subtracting from it, and then claiming that your revised book is still THE Bible is a falsehood. The Bible has 66 books, not 73, like the Catholic Bible has. They are NOT one and the same.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

Deuteronomy 12:‌32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Revelation 22 
18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. 
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

For those who may choose to take offense about this; I am sorry you have chosen to take offense, rather than to personally do some serious research to find out if the doctrine you’ve trusted in is true or not. I can only state what I know.
Paul Crouch erred when he attempted to assimilate and join us to the Catholic Church. Why would you join with an organization that tortured and killed Christians, especially when the doctrine and traditions of that organization remain unchanged? Scripture mentions those that would kill in the name of Christ as not belonging to Him.
To my knowledge, Crouch was also willing accept Jehovah’s Witness, and their changed doctrine and bible; and if he were still around today, he might be saying that we need to accept Muslims who try to claim they are part of Christianity. There’s a difference between Muslims who have accepted Christ, and Muslims who have not. Those that have accepted are no longer Muslims, but Christians. There is no such thing as a Muslim-Christian. You are either one or the other, but you cannot be both.
 
Matthew 24:24 (KJV)
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mark 13:22 (KJV)
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect.

Crouch just flung open the doors, saying we should forgive and forget, as if Christ was willing to allow other gods and doctrines in conjunction with His own. He’s not, and none of those other religions have any part of true Christianity. But this is why there’s so much confusion. This is the reason everyone is just claiming it without living and walking it.
So don’t be so quick to believe someone who claims to be Christian, until you check their fruit. Watch their actions and spirit. No one is perfect and we are all ever growing in journey of Christiandom, but you should see more fruits of the spirit than fruits of the flesh in someone claiming to belong to Christ. Here’s how you know:

2 Peter 2:10 (KJV)
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
1 John 2:16 (KJV)
For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Rom 8
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Galatians 5 (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:9 (KJV)
(For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)


Beating Comcast-Xfinity At Their Deceptive Game

Life likes to keep us busy; distracted with nonsense and overwhelmed. This is, in part, why I have been missing in action around these parts for a while. However, I’m fighting back, and emerging from the muck in tact, and ready to tell it as it is.
In view of that, let me give you the run down on the fast one that Comcast-Xfinity attempted to pull on me. It may just resonate with the experiences of many of my readers with this company. To my future naysayers from the company, and I know they will attempt discrediting comments; my purpose as always, is awareness.
I feel that circumstances like this affect not only the mind in frustrating people, but ultimately can be disheartening to the spirit; and furthermore, can affect the body, because muscles have memory and store emotional angst and trauma in the form of tension.
Since my site concerns those three facets of spirit, mind, and body, I think the public has the right to know if a company deals deceptively with customers so they can make an informed decision on whether they chose to purchase services from them; or save themselves from a situation that can potentially have an adverse effect on their health and well-being.
That being said, I have long fought the idea of purchasing services of any kind from Comcast-Xfinity. Just because Comcast changed their public name to Xfinity, does not mean there was any revolutionary change in the company, or their manner of doing business. For years I heard horrible reports from numerous people about Comcast. I’ve read multiple consumer complaints about them, so I never had any intention of ever dealing with them.
So when I was discussing the Xfinity deal my son had informed me about, with a sales rep at Target; who subsequently referred to them as Comcast; I was immediately put off.
“This is Comcast?!?” I said, in shocked disgust. “I’ve never wanted to deal with them! I’m not interested.”
imageBut at that moment, a Comcast field tech happened to be close by, and he claimed that the company had changed since becoming Xfinity. Between his comments, and the sales rep’s, and the area manager I spoke to on the phone, I was talked into trying the deal.
The deal was $19.99/mth and $10/mth for the box rental. All I wanted was internet. The set and installation was easy enough, and soon, we were enjoying having internet services at home. The first month was fine. I personally think that it’s the setup for a manipulation that is too easy for the company to do.
The next month, we “suddenly,” for no apparent reason, began having connection issues. It never occurred to me at that time, that they remotely control these lines, and could easily initiate a ” problem” on the lines from their location. When I called the company, the tech “checked” the line, and told me that the problem was coming from outside my home. She stated that they would send a tech over to fix it, but I immediately questioned whether my account was going to be charged any additional fees for this tech visit; as I clearly stated that I would immediately cancel the account if that was the case.
She assured me several times that there would be no charge to my account, and that I didn’t even need to be home for the tech to fix the issue. There was, according to her, no reason for the tech to come in my house. However, that was not the tech’s story. He claimed that he needed to check to ensure that my box was properly installed as well, so as to prevent the need for an additional visit, and subsequent $50 charge on my account.
So naturally, I let him check it, still reiterating the fact the the rep on the phone assured me of no additional charges. He confirmed this, stating that the problem was indeed the outside line; and he said the box on the building needed to be replaced, as the cover was missing; but again, that was their equipment, and their cost.
When he left, everything was working and he reiterated to me that there was no charge because he was not required to do any installation.
A week ago, I went online to my account, with the intention of paying the bill; only to find that my $30 bill has magically jumped up to $93. I immediately called the company demanding to know why (the hell) my bill was listed at $93, and assuring them that I would NOT be paying that amount.
“Let me look at the information, ” the tech says, after getting into my account.
“Well, the information I have here, says that $93 is due on your account.”
Again I very firmly (and loudly) reiterated that this is incorrect and that I will not pay it.
“Let me look at the information, ” he says again; then says, “Didn’t a tech visit your home?”
I was getting hotter by the minute, and I stated that I had been assured by both the phone tech and the field tech that there was no charge.
“Let me look at the information,” he says again, irritatingly. “According to the information, an installation was done, which is the reason for the additional charge.”
“There was no installation done!” I yell, reiterating again about the original promises I was told.
“Let me look at the information,” he says again. “Well, ma’am, due to the installation that was done, your bill is $93. That is the bill.”
“You know what?” I say, fuming. “Get a manager on the phone! I’m not wasting any more time with you! I want to speak to a supervisor NOW!”
“Ok. Let me look at the information to determine if a supervisor is needed.”
Say what?!?
“Look! I am not paying this bill! You either get a manager on the phone right now, or you can just cancel this account!”
Again he says, “Let me look at the information,” as if it’s not right in front of him on his computer screen.
Now meanwhile, every time he has said, ” Let me look at the information,” and left me holding the line; I was having little conversations with my son about the reputation of this company and all the crap I had been hearing about them over the years. I stated how I had told him that this company was deceptive and a bunch of underhanded dogs, and that I never wanted to do business with them.
I had these conversations without muting the phone in any way, so the rep heard every word. So the second to last time he made that same statement, while he had me holding, I hollered out to my son, “Hey! Look on that table over there and get me that card from Hughesnet! They sent me some information on their services, and I need to check them out, because I see no future with these idiots!” If they have a good deal, I’ll just cancel this account and deal with them!”
Then, the rep comes back on the line (allegedly, as if he had ever really left), and I said, “Where’s the work order receipt from your tech, that I signed, agreeing that your tech did an installation in my home? When you can produce a work order I signed, then we can talk about this $93 bill you people are trying to con me with!”
Suddenly, the rep says, “Let me look at the information so that my supervisor can credit your account.”
Then he goes on to say that he, himself, has fully credited my account, and my charge is $30 like before. Meanwhile, the “supervisor” never gets on the line with me.

One of my son’s friends does call center work just like this for AT&T. When I told him and his girlfriend, (who works with him) about this rep constantly saying, “Let me look at the information,” and how annoying that was; they laughed and said it sounded similar to what they say to customers.
However, they also informed me that they can give the customer whatever they want, and basically must do everything they can to keep the account. The last thing they want is a customer cancelling.
I personally think it was the combination of my threat to close the account; the fact that I had another provider’s info already handy, and my demand for the work order receipt that made the rep credit my account. No supervisor was involved in this situation.
There was no work order receipt. The field tech never provided one, because the work order was never for an installation in the first place. But, if you don’t stand your ground, an unscrupulous company like this will manipulate you as much as they want.
When another rep called yesterday to inform me that at the end of the deal, the rate would go up to $66/mth; I very curtly cut him off by stating that I have no intention of utilizing their services once this deal is done. I’ll find another provider, even if it costs as much or more than they charge. I refuse to do business with a company that would manipulate people like this, and which does not value their customers by provided great customer service in good faith.
No one needs such aggravation, because it causes stress and tension, which will not help anyone maintain a good state of health.


Spiritually Blessed

Everybody wants to be blessed. No one desires cursing. This why so many people call themselves Christians; despite the fact that they have no relationship with Christ, nor even any real association with God, nor any fellowship with Christian people or with a church. 

Many of these same people don’t even think about God unless they are in trouble, or once or twice per year at the time of a significant holiday. Worse yet, is the fact that God is not even mentioned from the majority of these same professing people except through crude jokes, or as a curse word. 

Yet, all such individuals want to be blessed. People associate themselves with Christianity, because they want to be seen as part of the group of people that God blesses and protects, yet He is nothing but an afterthought to them. This is why the verses below caught my attention.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

You see, in verse 3, it talks about blessings. However, what most people misunderstand is that it is not just ” blessings” that are mentioned, but a certain type: spiritual blessings. And furthermore, not only are the blessings ” spiritual,” but there’s a specific location and association that comes with or enables receivership of those blessings.

In order to get those spiritual blessings, you have to be ” in Christ.” That is the association. For example, if you wanted to receive the wages and benefits of Microsoft, you’d first have to be “in” Microsoft. In other words, there would have to be an association…a relationship…an investment of yourself. 

Just because you know of Microsoft, or you know who started or runs that company, does not automatically entitle you to any shares of it’s profits. You may even own some of Microsoft’s products, but again, does that get you paid? Does that get you company benefits? No. It doesn’t. You have to be invested to get the benefits.

You see, the blessings mentioned were distinguished as “spiritual.” So why the distinction? Spiritual as opposed to what? Well, if we look at Christ, the answer is clear. At the time Paul wrote this letter, it was after Christ’s death and resurrection. He was on earth, but now lives in heaven with the Father. He was flesh, but now, again, He returned to the Spirit. 

“Spiritual blessings in Christ” is not a reference to the earthly blessings that most people covet. Those things are not eternal and will fade away. Even the location mentioned tells us this. The verse says these spiritual blessings in Christ are in “heavenly realms.” That has absolutely nothing to do with the earth. 

For those who ascribe to the “name it, claim it” philosophy, this verse nullifies that. Being rich is NOT a “spiritual blessing.” It doesn’t mean that those who have great wealth can’t utilize it to be a blessing to others. It just means that we shouldn’t be focused on riches and wealth, but on helping one another.

Matt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

This is why the word ” mammon” is used in verse 24. It means wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. If you only want association with God because you think it will give you earthly blessings, you are only deceiving yourself, because God knows your heart.

imageHowever, if you have truly surrendered your will to Christ, you have already begun to live in a heavenly realm. Note that I said “a” heavenly realm, not “the” heavenly realms. There’s more than one, and your life in Christ involves levels of growth. 

“It’s the climb.”  Miley Cyrus

The heavenly realms may encompass the sphere of your Christian experience through your identification in Christ, in the areas of nature, life, relationships, service, suffering, inheritance and future glory in the kingdom of God. (See the following references for more details: 2 Pet. 1:4; Col. 3:4; 1 Jn. 5:12; Jn. 20:17; Heb. 2:11; Mt. 28:20; Jn. 17:18; Phil. 1:29, 3:10; Col. 1:24; Rom. 8:16-17; 18-21; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6, 5:10.)

So now that we understand the type of blessings, the association of the blessings and the location of them; we need to know what these blessings are. For that information, I’m referring you another well written article that lists and specifies each of the 15 spiritual blessings. You can also read it in Eph. 1:4-14.  

The point is, don’t look to earthly treasures as your blessings. The real blessings are eternal. They’re in the spirit, and completely trounce anything earthly you may benefit from. Keep your eyes on Christ and you’ll have no worries; just situations that test your faith to grow you and mature you more in Him. Just remember that the rewards come later; not while you are still on the testing grounds.


Trials and Blessings

It seems as though I just disappeared, right? There is always a good reason for those times when it seems I am neglecting my site; when it seems that I’m not doing any updates or articles. Usually, it’s a trial that I’m going through. The Amusement Park that is our world, does not just contain rides like the Carousel, or the Chairlift, where you ride comfortably along, enjoying the breeze and relaxing.

You see, I’m not the big adventurer. I’m pretty content in my little world. My preference is to feel more like I’m flying blithely through life. Even if I stumble a bit, I’m usually pretty confident I won’t fall. After all, isn’t faith like that? You know that you can weather the storms because You are in the palm of his hand. My slogan is “What me worry?” I’ve never felt severely  threatened in any way, because as I always say, God‘s got me…got us, my son included.

Usually, my walk is more like the Ferris wheel. I go up, reach a nice pinnacle; coast for a while and enjoy the view, and then slowly descend into whatever the next test or trial is. Most of the time, despite the trials, my life’s ride feels like the Star Flyer, where God and I are just sailing on a breeze. I think that’s my favorite ride, really, but this year…the ride has been different.

I don’t know what rides you prefer, or what rides best represent what you have gone through lately, but I can tell you that the rides I’ve been on this year have not been merely Bumper Cars; and I happen to like Bumper Cars. I mean, despite the fact that you do get bounced around and jolted a lot, sometimes pretty hard, the Bumper Cars of life are nothing!

Let me tell you the rides that will really kick you hard on a level you knew existed, but just never really fathomed the depth of the terror such rides could put you through.  You see, I’m not a big fan of Roller Coasters, especially those big ones like the Behemoth. I just can’t handle the lurching of my stomach when the cars are heading down from the peaks. It’s not the “terror” of the descent, but the speed with the downward pull that gets you. 

BehemothYeah, I said it. I don’t like the ride down into the valleys. Being in the valley can be hard, but in all honesty, it’s the climb back up from the valley that is the most difficult. The cars are chugging along so slowly at that point unless there is some momentum already in play. It’d be easier to stay in the valley and never climb out, but I don’t really have a problem with the climb out. I don’t want to stay in the valley. The problem for me with the Roller Coaster is the speed, and too much fluctuation.

I’ve tried the Round Up, which spins so fast you are sucked to the wall you are leaning on, and the floor drops out beneath you. I’ve had the floor drop on me…so that is nothing new. In that ride, the floor dropping is gradual. I simply relax and close my eyes so I don’t get dizzy. Its more of a spatial issue. And recovery from this sort of situation is more favorable, because despite the floor having dropped, it stays like that for a while, and then everything returns to normal. Your world stops spinning and everything comes back into focus. So this ride is not so bad.

But I have never been on the Space Shot or the Speed Pendulum rides; and I wouldn’t ever be so inclined. I’m sure most of you remember the first Marvel Avenger’s movie. These rides represent that moment in the movie when the Loki attempted to assert his authority over the Hulk. Do you remember that scene? It was the funniest part of the movie for me. The Hulk flung him about like a rag doll, slamming him into the floor several times. It was hysterical.

The-Avengers-Movie-Roster-Concept-ArtFor me, those two rides would be similar in experience, so I don’t see myself every wanting to try them. Thus, we come to the reality of my experience in the past few months. You see, despite my efforts to be somewhat prepared, and/or insulated against such a situation; I got strapped in on the Space Shot, and experienced that rather speedy free fall. Shortly after that decent; as I stumbled dizzily away from that ride, without the time to fully recovering my bearings; I ended up on the Speed Pendulum, where I was flung from one situation into another, several times with rapid speed; having barely recovered from the first ride.

I was so shaken by all of this, that all I could do was cry and fall on the Lord like a desperate, unwanted step-child, begging for help and relief. Not to say I wasn’t praying after the disorientation of the first ride; I was, and God was answering, but with the pendulum, the swing is ok, if its at a slow speed, but when its fast…its just like Loki getting slammed by the Hulk. You really feel it; and if anyone recalls, he got a severe attitude adjustment as a result, because his tune changed after that.

the-avengers-loki
Loki, immediately after his attitude adjustment by the hulk.

I don’t think I went through the experiences of the past few months due to a similar arrogance. I just believe it was another of my growing pains. God’s trying to pull me in closer. I get that. He wants to fine tune our relationship, because He wants more commitment from me. I’ve had trust issues. He’s breaking those walls down. He’s demolishing the bricks of my expectations.

And now, He has once again demonstrated His grace in bestowing me with unmerited favor. I don’t deserve His grace, and certainly, not His unmerited favor, but He loves me, so I reap the benefits of that love. The situation I have gone through caused delays in my rent payments for the last 3 months. Remember the landlords I told you about in this post? These same landlords dismissed 3 months of late fees for me…and these guys stipulated a 5% late fee per day on the lease. Just the fact that they were willing to work with me, and did not process an eviction is miraculous, considering the past relationship as mentioned in that previous article.

God also provided a better employment offer that gives me benefits I wasn’t receiving before. But, like I said, God’s grace is more than sufficient for my needs, and He has ALWAYS got me…not just my back, but all of me. You know…I intended to write an article on this fab recipe I worked out yesterday when I was cooking, but apparently, God had other plans. My life is His to direct, and today, His intention was a testimony. I don’t mind. He’s good to me ALL the time. I have much to be thankful for.


A Matter of Consideration

This world is so backwards. Last weekend the people that live a few buildings north of me had another of their big parties. Now normally, they aren’t too troublesome with their parties. Generally speaking, they tend to be respectful of the neighbors. They don’t play their music so loud that we hear it thundering through every room in our house. We hear it, but its not so bad as to be a disruption unless we are trying to sleep; and even then, its usually just the bass beat that we hear. I told them quite some time ago that their guests could not park in my yard, and for the most part, they have respected that. But every once in a while, there’s always one or two individual guests of theirs that want to give us a hard time about that. They act like they have the right to park anywhere they choose. Last week was an example of this.

So you are probably wondering why I don’t allow people to park in my yard. Its not because my grass is in such stellar condition. We’ve had a few issues with people both from our neighborhood, and outside it, with that same idea and disposition; the sentiment that they are entitled to park anywhere they choose. Unfortunately, I presently live in the neighborhood of necessity, instead of choice. That translates to mean that I live in an area where a lot of lawless types live or frequent. It is amplified by the fact that there is a good deal of cultural diversity, but predominantly, it is dominated by one outside culture.

Because of this, the level of civility and consideration for neighbors is almost non-existent. People from this particular dominant culture don’t tend to be in the habit of demonstrating respect for their neighbors; at least, I have yet to see evidence of this. Two years ago we had a blatant example of this. This little church down the street apparently was one of the havens of the independence celebration these people were having. My street became so filled with traffic that it was like I95. People who did not live in the neighborhood were just trolling – driving through with their flags flying from their cars; hanging out of windows, yelling and carrying on. There were so many people rolling through that police attendants were stationed throughout the neighborhood, including on the corner where I live.

Unbeknownst to me, people were parking in my yard, as apparently, they had been parking all down the street to where this little church was. I stepped outside to see cars lining my yard, and someone coming out of his car after parking in my yard. I immediately informed him that he needed to move his car; he could not park there. I then proceeded to ask the officers on the corner what was going on. I asked them what was to be done about all these vehicles parked in my yard, as I did not want them there. The officer said they would call the police, as these were simply from the city to help with the traffic problems.

The thing that gets me the most about them parking in my yard, is that there is a big empty lot directly across the street from my house, on the south east corner. It is not fenced in, and no one would be bothered if they parked there, but instead, they insist on parking in everyone’s yard. My neighbors directly south of me, belong to this cultural group, and the irate wife was standing outside when I spoke to the officers about the cars. She looked very angry but I didn’t care, because for one thing, she exemplifies the problems within this cultural group.

Her behavior is always very loud, rude, and disrespectful. She fails to control her children, (5) who are constantly a disturbance at all hours of the day and night; and her family members, including the kids, are very nosy, and have a habit of intruding into my yard and causing damage to my plants, trees, and the water sprinkler system. This is one of those people that you know on sight to leave alone; don’t just get involved with.

Needless to say, the police arrived with a tow truck, and they began telling people to move their vehicles out of my yard or risk being towed. The reason most of the people knew to come move their cars, is because aside from the woman looking at me with anger, there was a man from their same culture who was standing in the middle of the street between her house and mine, giving me the same angry look. He was calling on his cellphone to people to tell them to come move their cars.

Personally, I didn’t like the way this particular officer was addressing it. He came and spoke to me, telling me about how they’ve had problems with “these people” every year. This was the first time we had noticed this particular situation, so maybe the problems they had was on another street. However, I still thought his mannerisms with this one old guy was a bit harsh, because he failed to get there to move his truck before the tow truck loaded it. I was willing to let him go, but the officer told him he was trespassing when he tried to talk to me; and they told him he had to pay $100 to get the car now, or more at the lot if they towed it.

My reasons for having the cars moved, is that in every scenario that involves people parking on the swale, it is always first – a right they think they have, yet it is my yard. Second and most predominant, they cause damage and then drive away without regard for the damage. Either their tires have dug deep grooves into my grass; or worse, they have left my yard strewn with their discards and garbage.

It is not my job to clean up after someone else’s party; and I don’t say this because I wasn’t invited. These are not the type of people I choose to associate with, so its not like I care about their party nor want to go. I don’t want the mess in my yard, and currently, because my house is a corner lot, on the corner of a well travelled street for people trying to get to the main avenues, my yard is already being used as a garbage dump by pedestrians.

I saw the condition of the angry neighbor’s yard after this celebration was done. She had allowed a bunch of people, mostly teenagers, park on the side of her yard. They sat out there drinking, yelling and screaming for several hours, with their loud music blasting through my house; and when they had finally left, her yard was a disaster. Empty bottles and cans were everywhere.

Now, its not like her kids don’t throw all kinds of junk and trash around in her yard already. They throw junk into my yard as well, which is why I don’t want them in my yard. Her back yard, which is fenced in, is like a junk yard, literally. Her fence has big gaps and you can see all the junk back there, broken glass, huge metal drums…I mean, it is really like a junk yard. I don’t even understand how she lets her kids play back there, but like I said, she doesn’t seem to be too mindful of what they are doing.

This same disregard for people’s property is the reason why I don’t let anyone park in my yard for any of the neighbor’s parties. Like I said, there is a large empty lot right across the street that they could use without causing inconvenience to any of the neighbors, but that is the last thing these people want to do. Consideration is not at the top of their list in any circumstance.

So last week, a few of this neighbor’s party-goers began parking in my yard. I came outside and began telling them that they needed to move their vehicles. Two guys immediately moved without giving us any problems, as they were just pulling up when I came out.

Two females sitting on a car parked across the street in my neighbor’s front yard began to give my son and I some abusive verbal lip service, and two guys decided that they needed to challenge us, so they decided to show out.

They approached us individually first, with the first guy posturing with aggressive body gestures like the dude from the smoking commercial. He wanted to get loud and boisterous, stating with his arms flailing, that this was “HIS NEIGHBORHOOD AND HE CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS!” This guy doesn’t even live on our street.

Smoker hip aggressiveI wasn’t impressed. I told my son to come in the house, but he was still trying to reason with them amidst all the verbal abuse. Then this other guy came up with even more aggressive behavior, that was meant to be threatening. He got in my son’s face, jabbing his hand at him, and according to my son, he actually stuck his hand in his mouth. I saw him jabbing at him, but until he came in the house, hot as he could be, I did not know the man actually touched him.

He was ready to get a weapon and confront the guy. He’s 19. I had to catch him and correct him. I told him that those guys were not worth him going to jail for and messing his life up over. That’s not how you handle this. You don’t stoop to their level. For all their noise and posturing, I simply told them that I’m not going to argue with them. If the cars weren’t removed, I would call the police. And that was all I needed to say. I have nothing to prove. I have no need to be concerned with impressing anyone. It’s just a fact.

They were infringing on my property, and I was within my rights to tell them to move their vehicles. Whether they like it or not, is not a concern. And, without having to showboat, I calmly got my point across, because 3 officers arrived, and an older woman from the apartments that were having the party, came running down the street to tell those people not to park in my yard. I told one officer that normally, the party hosts were respectful with their parties and generally not a problem, but they had some guests that got too disrespectful with my son and myself when we told them they could not park in our yard, and that necessitated the call to them.

They asked me for my name and if I was willing to call them back if anything else developed and press charges, because the dude who came at me talking smack about he could do what he wants, had already gotten in one officer’s face with a threatening gesture. I told them I’d call if there were any more problems. Simple. Done. And there were no more problems. The officers made everyone parked in a neighbor’s yard move their vehicles and directed them to the empty lot. The party was very quiet after that.

My mom got upset when I had told her a week or two ago about a similar situation with some people in the apartments just west of us. She was upset over the fact that I went out there, or my son, to speak to these people, but in my mind, I was trying to be considerate of their party and give them the opportunity to adjust or modify the problem without calling the police first, which is normally my immediate action. It was the same thing with this other group.

They were having a party, and this started around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. By 11pm, we were tired of it, because they played their particular style of Caribbean music very loudly, and were generally very noisy. They were parking on the side of my yard in the back as the apartments were on the side of the well travelled street that runs next to my house. When I walked outside and past them, I was assessing first. As I came back, I asked whose vehicles were parked in my yard?

One tall guy came up to me and began to tell me that I must understand that they are having a birthday party. I told him I understood that, and had no problem with that, but I wanted to know how much longer this was going to go on, because the noise had been going on most of the day. I also told him that they had to move the cars. He started to get boisterous with me, because when he first responded about not moving the cars, I told him that it was very simple, and either the cars are moved, or I call the police.

He began getting louder and more physically aggressive and threatening, lying and claiming that he lives in the apartments. I interrupted him, “Dude! Bring it down a few levels. I’m not going to argue with you. I know you don’t live around here because I’ve never seen you before. Listen, you are asking me to have consideration of the fact that you are having a party. I’m fine with your party. But at the same time you are asking me to consider your party, you are failing to consider that the neighbors here have been putting up with your party for hours now. All I want to know is how much longer are we going to have to put up with the noise. We’d like to get some sleep.”

At that, he calmed down and told me to give them one more hour. They moved their cars and as he said, they left after an hour. I do try to be reasonable, but I expect some consideration in return. When I go to parties my friends host, if I park in someone’s swale, I always check with the party host, to be sure its ok to park there. The parties I go to are never loud and noisy enough to disturb any of the host’s neighbors. We are always mindful of that. I don’t think its too unreasonable to expect the same in return.

 

 


A Slight Change in Direction

laptop_problems-300x199As I’m sure most of my readers have noticed, I have been incognito of late. There’s a reason for that. First of all, I was working two jobs for a little while. In addition, my laptop was apparently in pc hell, because of viruses. I found out the hard way that when a Microsoft system is in your computer, either McAfee or Norton security is included, even if you don’t want either of those products.

I already had Kaspersky, a security system I liked, but when I removed the system Windows included to install Kaspersky, it uninstalled everything, but left the files where the viruses were that it had quarantined. So those viruses were free to roam through my computer and infect it. A nice little parting gift from McAfee.

The worse part, according to the outsourced Kaspersky reps who were really undercover peddlers of Microsoft support packages; is that the Kaspersky security could not stop those viruses, because they were contained in a hidden McAfee file that Kaspersky could not access. So those viruses did a job on my computer because I was unwilling to buy into the con-job from the undercover Microsoft reps that were outsourced Kaspersky techs. Sound complicated? Yeah, I was a bit bamboozled at first too.

So my laptop was out of commission for about 6 months. First because I couldn’t afford to get it fixed. However, God blessed me with a (former) client at my job who was so appreciative of my massage technique, and how I was able to release her pain problem, that she offered to enlist her father, who is some sort of technical wizard with computers. She said she would have her daddy fix it for me, so I drove into the next county where she lived…miles away, mind you, to drop it off to her for the repairs. That was about 2 months into the 6 months.

After her father contacted me to let me know that I needed a new drive, I sent a previous one that I had saved from my other laptop when the machine got damaged. So when I finally mailed one, it was still another few months without the laptop until I would get it back; mostly due to transportation issues I had, and scheduling conflicts trying to meet for me to retrieve it.

Nevertheless, in that time frame, I was back at the library to do my online interactions. But, when God wants to bring you into a new arena, certain of the old things in your life must change or else there is no room for the new. I was very dissatisfied with the first job I had at the doctor’s office. I liked the work, but not the conditions in which I worked. So I took another part-time job in lieu of leaving the first job.

That second job was at a very nice, new spa franchise that had a young, very nice manager. I really liked her, and the spa, even though it doesn’t fit with what I do. This issue was something I had brought to the manager’s attention when I was being interviewed, as I was surprised that, based on my resume, she had hired me for her spa. She explained that her customers were always requesting deep tissue massage; so knowing that I was more of a deep tissue specialist, she had emailed me twice after seeing my resume; before I responded.

After a month, she realized that I was right, as she determined that it was not a good fit; and that despite how much she liked me, she had to let me go. It was simply unfortunate that this happened to occur on the very evening after I had submitted a letter of resignation at the first job. She emailed it that same night, and I didn’t receive it until the following morning.

Right after I had gotten hired at that spa, my car, which I had felt was dying for some time, finally coughed up its last breath. It was simply not worth the investment to repair because there were too many major problems and repairs needed, so I let it go. I had been utilizing the public transportation, which I didn’t mind because I get more exercise from walking to catch the buses, and I have a tendency to bike ride more often. So aside from a few creepy, stinky people at the main terminal, it has not been bad.

Additionally, I had taken that second job at the spa, because it was on the same main road as the first job, and I took the same bus route to get there. When I submitted the letter of resignation, I had prayed about the situation for more than a week prior to submitting the letter. I was looking for the situation to play out a certain way, to make it conducive for me to leave the letter. The situation was exactly what I prayed for, which is why the email from the manager of the spa caught me so off guard the following day. I was so elated to have finally left the first job, as I had been aching to leave there for months prior.

Imagine my surprise, when I was at the library, about to leave for the second job, when I got the email. It was a big let down, especially because I had already submitted the resignation letter the evening before. Would I go back and beg for my job back? Heck no. I was done there. I had reached the point where I couldn’t stomach going into that office. There was no going back. But, what was I to do, having lost 2 jobs in the space of 24 hours?

Believe me when I tell you that the enemy attempted to attack me in that vulnerable moment. The thought he attacked me with was, “Wow! Two jobs in 1 day…what a loser you are!” So for about 5 minutes, I felt a little down. However, I recovered quickly when I realized, “Wait a minute! This is just too coincidental! God knew that the manager at the second job was intending to let me go Tuesday. He knew this long before I submitted that letter of resignation on Monday! Yet, He set everything up perfectly in order for me to do so! That was no coincidence. He’s got something better for me!”

Naturally, when I had this revelation at the end of April, I set out to find out what that new, better thing was…and I think I’ve found it. It is something I’ve been praying for a while now…something to do with my calling and purpose here. I know this because it is not only what I have been asking for, but also, it is a part of the meaning of my name, and I can’t wait to reveal it to you all.

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What To Do If Your Landlord Breaches The Lease Contract

Landlord-Tenant-Disputes-_-Hollywood-FloridaAs a single mom, I’ve had quite a few run-ins with Landlords over the years, and the struggle is always in understanding and figuring out what your rights are when the Landlord is trying to strong-arm you or extort more money from you.To be frank, I’m sick of these guys I’m currently dealing with. The first offense was about two years ago, when my heel got caught in the doorway of my son’s room as the door was being shut. It caused a minor dent at the bottom of the door; one that could easily have been fixed by wood putty and some paint.

However, my Landlord chose instead, to replace the entire door; an unrequested service, for which, he charged me $170; what he called the “industry standard.” What bugged me more was that the son-of-a-biscuit kept the old door, which like I said, could easily be fixed and, I’m sure, he reused it elsewhere, charging someone else for a new door too. If I paid for a new door, the old door belongs to me, not him!

So last December, in the busyness of the season, I made an error on the check I wrote for that month’s rent. It was late, I was away from home, and did not have my rental portion on my person, to verify if the amount was correct. It had just recently been changed by HUD, so I still had the previous amount in my head. In my efforts to ensure the rent was submitted on time, I wrote out the check with the wrong amount, and put it the drop box for the Landlord the night of 11/30, and then caught the error two days later on 12/2. I immediately called the Landlord and left a message stating that I was unsure whether or not I had written the correct amount on the check, and wanted to verify it.

I requested that the Landlord contact me and let me know either way, if the check amount was correct; and if not, what was the difference outstanding, so that I could immediately give them another check to cover this error. No one responded. Mind you, I wasn’t sure if the check was wrong. I know what my checkbook stated, but I didn’t know if I had written the same on the check, or if I had written the check correctly, and simply erred in my checkbook. Since no one had contacted me, I sent an email with the same message on 12/5, and then I waited. Again, no one responded.

Those first two dates, were the only dates I definitely documented. I did call several more times leaving the same message, but I didn’t document those dates, and regardless, no response was ever given during the entire month of December. So I began to think that maybe I had just made an error in my checkbook. I kept looking for a rent payment of the normal amount being processed in my bank, but didn’t see any.

The Landlord, who had also tried to run a game on me with regard to an additional stipulation he had placed in the lease; failed to provide the lease for my review and signing until 5 days before it was due. He claimed in the lease that I was agreeing to it, because it involved an expense he was supposed to incur for days vacated for extermination that he was trying to push off onto me. He then emailed my case worker and falsely claiming difficulties with my email, which is an Outlook account with a Hotmail extension, so that he could justify not contacting me sooner, and have her email me to tell me about signing the lease.

He also tried to tell me at one point per his convenience, that he’s an IT tech, and that his server doesn’t receive emails from “free” email services. He stated that I’m “getting what I pay for.” His attempts to fabricate these issues started back in 2013. When I checked all my email communications with him, there were apparently no issues until about November of that year. He claimed to have changed his server close to that timeframe.

cyndant_net1However, when I took his email extension (the part after @ and including the .net) and put it into the address bar, it pulled up his site. Funny thing is, the very front page of his site lists all the free email services which are good to use, my Hotmail account included.

cyndant_net2But I didn’t stop there. I went to WHOIS.com and looked up that same name.net, and it pulled up info on who the server host was…GODADDY.com. So I went to GODADDY, and what did their first page show me? It lists their services, and what email service was listed there? Microsoft Office 365. When I clicked on that, it showed Q & A about Outlook…the exact same email service I have my Hotmail extension through.

godaddy_com main pageBut, I went a step further. I contacted a GODADDY tech who ran his email extension, the .net through their Outlook system, and confirmed that there was no problem with their system receiving any emails from GODADDY’S Outlook program or any extension listed within Outlook.

godaddy_com support pageLastly, I did a GOOGLE search to find out the timeframe of the Outlook takeover of the Hotmail accounts. It was about 6 months prior to the beginning of this fabrication by the Landlords about problems with my emails. Microsoft Outlook took over Hotmail in May of 2013, and the Landlords began complaining about issues with my email in November of that same year. You’d think an IT tech would have known this. It was all just a ploy to enable them to pick and choose what maintenance requests and messages they wanted to answer or acknowledge.

I thought that we would end up in court, so I gathered all this information, just in case. The Landlord finally contacted me on 1/12, but his message was only about the lease agreement. At that time, I was not taking calls due to illness. I did respond and leave him at least 2 messages, again requesting the information about the December rent. Each time he called and left me a message, he was intentionally vague, only stating that there was a discrepancy, but not giving me the amount as requested.

When I recovered, I spoke to him on 1/17, and finally on that date, he indicated the shortage; a month and a half later. He acted like he did me a favor, claiming that he waived the late fee for December on the 5th of that month, which meant that he did receive my messages; he just refused to answer them. This was so that he could snowball the situation into a perpetual late fee collection. He stated that he took my January rent, which was the full amount paid on time, and applied it to the December discrepancy; thereby causing January’s rent to be late, and charging me late fees for it.

At that point, he attempted to negotiate payment. I agreed to two payments to try to get the rent current, yet pointed out that it was his fault the situation happened in the first place. This effort failed because the first payment I made never cleared as a result of bank errors due to another dispute I was having since November with an insurance company. As a result, I stopped all payments to him; first because I was sure he had made some sort of legal violation with his actions, and second because I didn’t want to write a check I couldn’t guarantee, while the other dispute was still looming in the background.

He and his nasty partner began sending me threats via email and priority airmail; citing my responsibilities per the lease. I was pretty angry by this time, so I fired off a letter myself, exposing his lies and manipulation attempts, and the outright extortion he was blatantly attempting. I thought for sure we’d have to move, and I was ok with that. However, the logistics had me concerned, so I prayed about it. Not only did I pray about it, but I had my bible study group also praying about the situation for several weeks, as it was ongoing.

As soon as I gave it to God, I calmed down. I experienced such peace about the whole situation, even with the possibility of eviction looming; and answers started coming. Answers that showed me where we would go immediately should we have to move. A place was being made available and even storage provided by a friend that I had been helping for several months. So if we needed to vacate, we were covered.

Finally, I went to Legal Aid seeking some assistance. In truth, I only wanted to know what my options and rights were. I really wasn’t looking for them to take on my case. I also sought the same assistance via HUD, but neither of these agencies offered me a bit of help. One would think that at least HUD, who is also involved via a Section 8 voucher; would have at least explained my options and rights; especially to ensure that I was not violating their regulations with this situation. But they only fussed at me for giving them so much documentation, which I gave them to cover my “assets”. They only stated that they don’t get involved in disputes between Landlords and tenants.

Finally, when all those doors were closed, I went first to the Better Business Bureau, because after all, the Landlord has an incorporated business that he rents property through. I figured, if he’s a business, I can file a complaint against his business for public record, just like he would place information on my credit file for public record.

The Better Business Bureau’s site indicated that they only accept complaints regarding product and service issues in the marketplace. They referred other complaints to the consumer protection agency of the state; namely, the Attorney General’s office. So I filed a complaint there.

Additionally, I went to justanswer.com to see if I could get some legal advice. For $34, I could state my entire situation, and ask any questions I needed answered, to better understand my rights and options in the situation. Here is the answer I received from them:

It is not illegal for a landlord to wait to communicate, but it is a breach of contract if the tenant asks the landlord for a statement on the account balance, for the landlord to refuse to do so and then seek to charge any late fees for doing so. If there is a discrepancy in a Section 8 tenancy rent and the landlord will not communicate so that the discrepancy can be cleared up and late charges in the future can be avoided, first the tenant needs to contact the Section 8 office and notify them in writing about the landlord refusing to provide a correct accounting for the amount due by the tenant.

Second, if the landlord is trying to charge any late fees, you said they waived the late fee on this one time, based on the landlord’s refusal to communicate the accurate amount due so it could be corrected by the tenant, then the legal theory of “estoppel” applies. The legal theory of “estoppel” states that if the landlord’s own conduct, their refusal to tell you what the discrepancy is so you can correct it, causes the late payment then the landlord cannot seek to hold the tenant at fault for the late payments.

Then I asked if this breach gives me the right to move out. This was his answer:

He has breached the lease by refusing to provide you the proper information regarding balance due and correct monthly payment amount. The breach is not one that impairs the habitability of the premises, so no, it is not grounds to move, it is grounds to sue to force him to correct any issues with his billing process.

The great thing about this service is, the lawyer that answers your question usually specializes in the field that pertains to your issue. The other benefit is that you can email the attorney and respond with further questions if his answer did not clear up all matters pertaining to your inquiry. They ask you to rate your satisfaction with the attorney and give you the option to tip him, but I thought that $34 for 10-15 minutes of his time was enough. You also have the option of checking their system for previous answers on similar topics. If you do that, you pay nothing to get your answer, and believe me, there are tons of Q & A on their site that you can peruse to find the answers to your legal questions.

As soon as I got this answer, I immediately composed a letter to the Landlord, which I sent priority post; telling him that I spoke with an attorney who told me that he breached the lease, and quoted the attorney’s statements above. I stated that I was not willing to negotiate any payment agreements, until it was understood and agreed upon by him, that he could not penalize me for ANY late payments while I was making payments on the arrears; until all arrears were caught up. Despite his efforts to find a way around it, he had no choice but to agree, and after 3.5 months, the matter is now resolved. I kept my peace, trusted God and waited and He took care of it. God is amazing!

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A Time of Testing

A friend and I have been helping each other out with a few things. We have been helping each other for a little while now, and he was supposed to hook me up 3 weeks ago as well as last week, but fell through again. That is the edited version of the situation.

When he was not able to reciprocate for me as agreed upon and give back per our general mutual agreement; I got frustrated, and thought to myself, “Really?!? I can’t believe this! Here I am providing x, y and z for him, and he’s not reciprocating and giving back…” and then it hit me.

stormsAny time you are in a storm situation, any help that friends or family gives is like shelter in the midst of that storm, regardless of what the storm may be or what type. So when he didn’t come through after I had been “sheltering” him for several months now, I was quite upset. “Oh wow!” I thought. “This must be how God feels after He provides (shelter) for us time and again, and we don’t tithe and give back.”

After all, this relationship with God is reciprocal just like my relationship with this friend. God expects us to follow His ways and live according to His word; to obey. He has plenty of blessings for us, but He also has plenty of work for us to do on His behalf. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.

It’s like if my son was working, and did not contribute to the household, but simply kept his money because he thinks it belongs to him, or because he is simply being selfish; I would have had a similar reaction. I think my sentiment would be, “I can’t believe that this boy….again? He’s not giving me anything?!?! After I’ve been providing for him for 19 years?!?”

At the time that this thought had occurred to me about my friend, I was gearing up for full self-righteous mode, and as soon as the above sentiment hit my noggin, it was as if God whispered to me, “See how I feel?” Man! That was a very quick slap back into reality. After all, I’ve been reading Psalms 91 of late, and getting a real breakdown on what it is really saying and how explicit this covenant of protection actually is.

While visiting our church this past Sunday, Dr. Bob Barnes said that even if we think we are being taken advantage of by someone we try to help; we should be grateful, because even in that, God has privileged us with the opportunity to work for Him. We should actually hope that someone would try to take advantage, because it affords us that opportunity.

Funny thing is, it was this same friend that gave this Psalm 91 book to me, yet his family seems to be so under attack from all sides. I was surprised about it when I began reading the book, which he stated that certain family members have read; yet still they are under major attack that is doing some physical damage. I wondered about this same thing when it came to Job. You see, Job prayed daily for his family like he was worried about them.

Job 1:5

When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

My mom does the same thing. If she can’t reach me by phone for a day or two, she’s freaking out. She says she prays for us all the time, but it seems like its done out of worry, not faith. She worries because she already lost my baby brother in 2012. We are all she has left since my older brother has distanced himself.

So like Job, she prays out of fear. Job feared his kids had sinned and had cursed God in their hearts. She doesn’t think we do that. She is just constantly fearful about losing anything and anyone, especially us since my brother’s passing.

Psa 91:1

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

There should be no fear because if you are dwelling in the shelter of the Most High, you are at rest. So is my mom dwelling there? Was Job? The other question is, did Job know about these promises? Did he know about his faith being great enough to cover his family and protect them as well as him?

Psa 91:10

no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent

Your tent is representing your household; your family. So the question is, did Job know about this promise and more importantly, did he believe it? His actions say otherwise.

Psa 91:2

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Trust is truly the issue, because if you really trust that God is a God of integrity; if you know that He never goes back on His word or any of His promises to us, then you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that He will protect both you and yours…if you are dwelling in that secret place; the shelter of the Most High that is.

If you live in fear, it will directly affect your kidneys, and indirectly affect your stomach through worry, and affect heart through sadness or distress. Speaking of distress, there’s a spider that has made its home on my side view mirror on my car. Not that I’m upset about it, but I have been observing it. I watched as it rolled up a breakfast snack in what looked like sheets of webbing; when I thought each roll of the webbing would only be threads and would take much longer.

But the thing about this spider is where he has chosen to position himself. Granted, the web he has woven near my mirror is an amazing work of art; so delicate and intricate. It manages to capture every leaf, bud or twig that falls from any trees I may park under. In normal city driving conditions, it seems to hold its own quite well.

However, when I get above 35 miles per hour, the web takes a serious hit. So it seems that pretty much every night, this spider must go to work, rebuilding his web; and he does this willingly. He doesn’t seem to mind at all. After all, he did position himself in what is, in essence, a wind tunnel.

stormsYet, imagine living your life day to day, or even year to year, and having to rebuild constantly like that. If you had a Job experience year after year, could you deal? My thought is that after a while, you must learn to live with a lot less, so that you lose a lot less, or…re-position yourself and move out of the wind tunnel.

With the spider, I think he actually enjoys it. It provides him with work…something to do. Building webs is his specialty. He probably takes pride in doing so (if a spider could take pride in such things) and enjoys the creative process of building a better, stronger, and more intricately designed web. And after he completes it, he gets to sit back and chill; rest and relax until his next meal comes along. Not a bad life, especially when you consider that a day is like a thousand years according to Genesis.

Two other observations I picked up on from this book on Psalms 91. The church tells us frequently to pray in the morning before starting our day. However, as the author of this book pointed out, Jesus did his praying at night, and walked in power with authority throughout the day.

Also, because Jesus was so much in the shelter of the Most High; because the relationship was so tight; he walked and lived in a realm in which evil did not, and could not come near him. We are protected from it. It is promised in the Psalm. Don’t mistake persecution for evil. Those are two different things.

So, right now, I’m in a wind tunnel position of sorts, however, like the spider, I know where to go. He goes in the crack of the side view mirror when the wind starts to kick up. I go to the Rock. And, I plan to reposition myself up out of that wind tunnel very, very soon.

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Treacherous Insurance Companies

anger-rantlifestyle_comMan, was I hot a few weeks ago! These people from Esurance, an Allstate company; had me hoppin’ mad! Most of my day was spent addressing this nonsense they tried to pull on me. I’m sure this trap was the brain child of Allstate. It was clear that this is their standard process; part of their normal policy, and used on every person ignorant enough to purchase products or services from either company. It all started in November, when I naively purchased an insurance policy from Esurance for my car.

My previous insurer, Direct had proven to be totally unreliable due to extremely poor service. At the time I was still dealing with them, I couldn’t even get them to send me documentation they needed me to sign; neither via email or snail mail. Their website is a malfunctioning monster that I was extreme tired of fighting with on every renewal. The rapidly, ever changing quote amounts, even within the span of 1 hour, had infuriated me and I could not download or sign documents in their site; so I had requested several times with their reps that they send the documents. I even stated that I refused to make any further payments until they addressed this, so they had issued a cancellation notice.

Since I had no faith that they were going to get the documents to me on time, which I had been requesting for almost two months; I started looking for another company. I had just had enough. At the time I got the quote from Esurance, there was only about one week left on my previous policy. So I had an active car insurance policy at the time I processed the quote per their questionnaire. All I needed to do was pay the down-payment. My check was coming in two days after the cancellation date, and since I wanted to be sure funds were available, I had set the initiation date of the policy to 4 days after the cancellation date.

I wasn’t worried about the small gap because other insurance companies had told me previously that a canceled policy is not reported for about 30 days. Many previous insurers had told me that as long as the gap did not exceed 30 days, there was no rate increase. So I wasn’t worried about 4 days. On the 4th day, I purchased the insurance with Esurance. Their rate was just a few dollars above my previous insurance payment, so I accepted it because it was very close to the last low rate I had. I don’t need anything, but the most basic required insurance, because my car is old…a ’94. I still thought the cost was high for just PIP and liability, but this was the lowest price range I could find outside of Direct’s price.

Having previously had problems with Progressive a few years ago, I don’t even look in their direction for service. After I paid the down payment, Esurance contacted me stating that they needed to talk to me. Upon calling I found out that they wanted info from the previous insurer, and brought up a gap between insurance from the policy prior to the previous one. We called Direct and they gave them the info. No gap.

I thought that was it, but then the Esurance rep tells me that just the 4 day gap between the last policy and the initiation of theirs was going to cause my rate to increase over $100! I explained the reason for those 4 days, but she rudely informed me that that’s what the company was going to do, regardless. I was pretty ticked off, especially at her rude attitude with me about it. I told her to inform her managers that I wouldn’t be with the company long, since this was their position. So this brings us to what happened what really set me off.

You see, I had specifically given this company my Paypal credit card because I had been told by Paypal’s reps that since they have direct access to my account, they can verify if funds are available or not, and their system doesn’t process a payment if the funds are not available in my bank account. Since I had decided not to continue with Esurance, I never put funds in my online account. It is not linked to my main account, so I felt pretty assured that Esurance could not process and collect any more payments from my account. Paypal was supposed to be my safety net.

Imagine my surprise when I checked my account and found that Paypal had indeed processed the charge. So first, I fired off an email to Paypal, because if they don’t verify fund availability prior to processing a charge, their reps should not be misrepresenting information like that. Of course you know, that left a negative in my bank account, and, I realized, subsequent fees would be pending.

Anger-driverlayer_comSo now you know why I was hot.

I called Esurance to cancel the policy, because I had already sent an email, but their site says you have to call them to cancel. That’s so they can attempt to manipulate you out of doing it. So I started off hot, but I went into ether….like sub-atomic levels of hotness after the runaround I got from the Esurance reps on the phone.

In the aggravation of going through their automated system, you get to a section where they say, if you have an account issue press 1. After that, you get three options. For cancellation, you press 2. Now, you’d think this would be where you get directed to a rep, but it isn’t. The automated system asks if you are cancelling and have already obtained another policy, press 1, but if you haven’t already gotten a policy, you press 2. This is where the manipulation begins, and thus the reason for this separation.

First you are left on hold for 15-20 minutes before an operator even picks up the line. This is every time, and even if you pressed 1 on that last question. If you are cancelling, they don’t care how long they leave you waiting. The rep finally came on the line. I stated very matter-of-factly that I was cancelling the policy. He asked for the policy info with all the coddling apologies for my wanting to cancel, then attempted to pry the reason out of me, but I was resolute. I told him I was not going into it with him, just cancel the policy. Then he asks me if I had another policy in place already. I stated that I had gotten my quote, and just had to pay and the policy would be activated.

So he said that what he could do is not to make the cancellation effective until midnight, that way, since I stated that I would be paying for the other policy that day, I would be covered until then. I agreed. Then he asked for my policy number, verified it, and upon seeing that I had not had the policy for more than 5 weeks, he began again to try to pry into the reason I was cancelling.

At that point I stated that I did not like the rate increase they did, and that I didn’t want to debate the issue; just cancel my policy. Here’s where his tune changed. He began to whine, like how someone might talk to a pet, pleading with it; stating that he had nothing to do with my issue with the billing dept. He was just trying his best to help me, so that I could keep my policy. I stated very firmly that I didn’t care what he said, I didn’t want the policy – to just cancel it! At that point, he stated that he couldn’t cancel my policy anyways, because of FL law that states that I cannot be uninsured!

He stated that I would have to supply him with a policy number from the new policy before he could cancel my insurance with Esurance. Five minutes ago, he was able to cancel it, but was allegedly doing me a favor, making the cancellation effective at midnight, but now suddenly, he can’t do it at all?!? And since when does an insurance company get to hold a customer hostage due to FL law? They refuse to cancel my policy??? I’ve never heard of such nonsense!

And let me tell you, if you want to cancel by allowing the policy to lapse, you can’t. They have their system set up so that you cannot change the charge card info in the website unless you put another card in there. You can’t erase the info, nor change it without replacing the info with another card’s info. So they are literally trying to hold people hostage. If I choose to cancel my policy, they don’t have the right to refuse to cancel it because FL law says I have to have insurance. If I don’t carry it, is the state of FL going to arrest the management of Esurance because they cancelled it when I had no other policy in place? No. I make my own decisions, and I would be held responsible. How dare they refuse to cancel it! So you know I was burning up by this time, right?

mad as hell“Don’t worry!” I told the rep, “I’ll have that policy number for you in a few minutes!” Then I hung up on him while he was still yakking, attempting to manipulate me more. After I processed the payment on my new insurance, I called back. This time, I pressed 1 for cancelling with a policy in place already. I got a different rep with a different line of b.s. By this time, I had figured that I was going to cover my tush. I not only received a letter from my current car insurer to give to the former about cancelling, but I called Esurance to get a fax number so I could fax it to them. You would think that such a simple request like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!

The first rep that I asked for the fax number, immediately puts me on hold for 10 minutes, then tells me she needs my policy number! Just to get the fax number?!? But, you see, it was because I stated that I was sending them my notice of cancellation. Then of course, she wants the reason for the cancellation. I told her that she doesn’t need to know that; just give me the fax number. Now, suddenly, she has to transfer the call because she’s not in that dept. She disconnected the line. I was see’n red.

I immediately called back. The next rep again asks me for the policy number, but I’m not falling for it this time. “You don’t need my policy number to give me the fax number,” I said. “Oh, but I need to know what dept. to send you to,” was her excuse. “I’m faxing a cancellation. You will NOT change my mind! I need the fax number, not a bunch of runaround!” She puts me on hold for 10 minutes again, then finally comes back with the fax number. I faxed the cancellation notice, got the receipt, then called to verify it had been received.

At first, the rep stated they had received a notice that I emailed the previous day that they deemed as unacceptable as a reason to cancel. That notice contained my complaint about the fact that they had raised my rate. So in other words, what they were saying is that they can randomly raise the rate on their customers, and if their customers decide that they don’t like it and don’t want to pay that higher rate, they can just refuse to cancel the contract per the customer’s request, if they deem it is not a good enough reason.

So they use all this manipulation to try to keep your money, and when that fails and the customer is adamant about cancelling, they hold them hostage by refusing to accept the reason for the cancellation, and by locking you in via the credit card trap on their website. If you aren’t strong-willed and insistent, you would never escape their clutches! You’d have to cancel your credit card to avoid any further charges and initiate a cancellation! It’s ridiculous! How can the law even allow this sort of thing?

I told the rep that I had faxed another cancellation notice that was provided to me from my new insurer with December the 30th as the effective date. I mentioned this, because the next thing she would have told me is that the request would have to have their policy number, plus the new policy number from the new insurer on it before they would agree; as if they are looking out for my best interests, when they are really trying to hold me hostage. She tells me that the fax has not shown up in the system yet, and to call back and check later, but that even when it does show up, they can’t cancel my policy until 1/23/2015. This was their excuse so they could justify keeping the payment that they had just processed. I was thinking, “Uh-uh! That’s not happening!”

Meanwhile, I get a notice that they received the first cancellation request I sent on 12/28/2014. I go back to the website to see, per the notice, the cancellation fee, which the first rep had already told me was 10% of the remaining payments. I had paid a down-payment that was the equivalent of 2 months payment. Then they had increased the policy, and processed another payment; a process they started on the 9th, despite the due date being the 23. So they had 3 months of payments, with 3 months remaining, and I had only used 5 weeks.

So by my calculations, they owed me the payment they had just processed, plus whatever remained after the 10% of the final 3 payments had been subtracted from the 3 weeks of service I had not used for the second month. We’re talking about $250, but when I saw the notice of cancellation, they claimed that they only owed me $53 and some change! So if you believed I was hot before….

anger-trendistic_comI immediately filed a charge against them with the financial officer of FL who oversees insurance. They weren’t keeping my money! There was no way I was going to sit quietly while they attempted this maneuver, which was like a bank robbery in broad daylight! So when I said that my day was taken up with addressing this, you see what I mean, right? I was at work at the time, fitting this in during open times on my schedule. By the time I got home that night, I was exhausted from the stress of it all.

However, my remaining thought, which I told my son from another mother (what I call my son’s best friend); was that this was another of those situations that God had allowed so that I could inform all of you about how scandalous these companies are. Despite the lack of understanding that some Christians have about the fact that I out companies like this online; I believe that God wants people to know. He’s all about people, and he doesn’t like extortion on any level. Somehow or another, He was going to work it all out for me, but I had to experience this, because people needed to be aware, and I needed to write about these traps of the enemy.

So today, I already see His hand moving. First of all, I sent my bank an email to let them know that I was disputing that charge Esurance had made through my Paypal account. I asked them to consider removing any fees that might result from the situation. They sent a response, which was to update and inform them of the outcome, and they would try to dismiss the fees. I then updated them, informing them that I had indeed cancelled the policy, and would send the cancellation letter if they requested it. I also received a notice from the financial officer of FL and updated them. You see, that last charge that Esurance had processed, never went through.

Because I didn’t have the funds available in the account, the bank had not paid it, and Paypal notified me that they would attempt to process it again in three days. I had already contacted them about my dispute, and, knowing I could not stop this auto process, this info was in the update to my bank. Since the charge was not successful, I had to update the financial officer about the difference in the balance owed to me. A day or two ago I received an email from Esurance, which I’m sure was in response to the complaint I filed; stating that they had refunded my $150 payment, but the reality is, they never actually had that payment in the first place. But the great thing was that it only took God less 24 hours to initiate the change.

In fact, He was already on it before I even ran into this snag with these deceptive companies. You see, the insurer I switched to gave me exactly what I had been seeking for quite some time. Straight insurance…no stacking. USAA is insurance available to military personnel and their families. I didn’t find out about this company until two days ago, but I’m so grateful I did. I’m talking about a difference in price like from $150 mthly to $50 mthly. As the adult child of a military father, I am eligible for this. And, there’s no stacking with this company.

They automatically gave me the minimal amount of insurance required, and the maximum discounts available according to my driving record, car type and the age of it. There was nothing about my credit, rental history, and all this other crap that these other insurers use as an excuse to jack your rate up. I was reminded yesterday about how a friend of mine’s mother always used to pray to God to make a way out of no way.

I did pray that, because when I thought about losing so much money, plus the likelihood of getting hit with bank fees, I was just dying inside. I don’t like to speak in the negative, so I don’t say times are hard; but they aren’t easy and who could afford such a loss? That’s why I’m so glad I’ve got God. He’s always got my back long before something hits me from the front. I don’t see how people live without Him.

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