Click this text to start editing. This block is a basic combination of a title and a paragraph. Use it to welcome visitors to your website, or explain a product or service without using an image. Try keeping the paragraph short and breaking off the text-only areas of your page to keep your website interesting to visitors.

THE HOMELESS MAN IN NYC WHO TAUGHT ME ABOUT GOD


     I was in NYC recently and stayed in a hotel downtown that looked over a busy street bustling with flower shops, a high-end restaurant, and various other top-name hotels. Despite this, I noticed there were homeless people almost everywhere I turned. One man in what I assumed was his twenties specifically caught my eye as I people-watched from the view of my room. At night he sat up against the storefront of a flower shop, but in the early morning before shop owners came and shooed him away, he searched for food in the piles of trash bags that had been left out. When people began to fill the streets, he'd lay out his backpack smack in the middle of the sidewalk, lay his head on it, close his eyes and sleep. I was struck by the fact that people passing by wouldn't even look at him, but walk by, step over, and around him essentially as though he didn't exist. My heart broke for him. Let me tell you why.


     I have a son, Paul, who is thirty-four who is mentally ill. What you don't know is that when he was eighteen, he had one of many psychotic breaks, hitchhiked across America, was homeless for six months, and ended up living on the streets of NYC. It was only by the miraculous hand of God that he survived and was returned safely to me. 70% of homeless people are said to be mentally ill, many of whom are Veterans.


     Needless to say, the homeless young man reminded me of my son. One night I went over to this young man and introduced myself. From four feet away I could smell him. His long, curly hair was matted to his head and flies swarmed around him in the heat. His clothes were not only dirty, but worn and torn, and his long, broken nails were caked with dirt. His shoes were coming apart at the soles and didn't have laces, and he wasn't wearing socks, which I'm sure contributed to his smell. I've got to be honest. Smell is my strongest sense and I don't handle foul odors well, but all I could think about was that he was somebody's son, and even more important, a child that God created and had a plan for in life.


     I found out his name was Aaron. I asked him if he was hungry and he said yes. I told him to come with me and he obediently followed as we walked 100 feet over to the only restaurant I knew of - the top-named one across from my hotel. It was expensive, but I didn't care. I wanted to feed Aaron, and I didn't know where else to go. Aaron looked at me and then looked inside the window at all the men in suits and the ladies dressed in outfits that likely cost more than he'd eaten in a couple of years. "I can't go in there." He firmly proclaimed. "Yes you can," I answered. "You're my guest." He shook his head. "Look at me!" Aaron answered as though I hadn't noticed he was homeless. "Look at them!" he said pointing. I smiled. "It doesn't matter," I assured him. "You don't have to get cleaned up to eat at a table."


AND.THAT'S.WHEN.IT.HIT.ME.


     Isn't it true that we feel the EXACT same way with God? We feel ashamed, dirty, guilty. We are living lives of filth. Maybe lives that aren't reflective of being the new creations He's made us to be. Lives that reflect who we used to be; our hair is matted, our clothes are dirty and smell, and the odor of sin is penetrating our lives. We hear the call of God in our hearts and we feel the yearning of His Spirit drawing us into Him, and yet we believe the lie that we have to WAIT...I have to stop smoking....stop sleeping with...stop lying....stop cheating or stealing...stop gossiping and slandering...STOP - fill in the blank - FIRST, before we answer His call, before we start reading the Bible or going to church, or spending time with THAT Christian who might ask us the hard questions about our life spiritually.


     Let me tell you the truth: GOD WILL ACCEPT YOU JUST AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. But know, He loves you too much to leave you there! Answering His call, going to church, reading your Bible, and hopefully spending time with other believers will encourage, inspire, and challenge you in your faith to walk in a personal relationship with Christ, and give you the strength and knowledge to walk in righteousness.


     Aaron wouldn't go into the restaurant with me, so I went in and bought him some food and brought it out to him. People starred at me and they starred at him through the window and they probably whispered about us too, but I don't care. There will ALWAYS be people in your life who will try to keep you or constantly remind you of who you used to be. But the power IS yours, NOT theirs's, to choose to fulfill their lies or defy them! Personally, I choose not to accept criticism from those I wouldn't go to for advice!


Matthew 11:28

"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 

The Special-Needs of Raising a Special-Needs Child

     As I sat in the airport terminal waiting to board my flight to Oakland, California, I watched a husband and wife tag team their four children; all who looked to be under eight-years-old. The two oldest were boys and were restless, but trying to be patient as they oscillated between sitting in their seats, wrestling with one another and standing. Their youngest daughter, a toddler, would randomly take off to boldly explore uncharted territory, usually with dad chasing after her with a smile on his face, as mom catered to the needs of what appeared to be their middle child: a special-needs daughter in a stroller.


     It looked like the family was on vacation, but the Mom looked tired and weary. I continued to watch her juggle the needs of her children like a pro, balancing the toddler at times on her hip with a diaper bag around her shoulder, while pushing the stroller back-and-forth to soothe her older daughter, while dad corralled and tamed the boys. And I admired her as she did the same all the while trying to find the boarding passes in her purse as they went up to the gate agent to get on the plane. As a business class ticket holder, I was right behind the family as they boarded and watched as she and her husband handed off kids and bags, and then as she folded the multi-dimensional stroller. I’m sure by the time she sat down she was exhausted, but her day had just begun.


     The first time I really began to notice my son Paul was “different” was when he was around eight-years-old. He’d been through a lot in life already; enduring extensive and intensive abuse at the hands of his father and step-mother who he’d been living with previously for a time. When the abuse was exposed, he came directly to me to live permanently. Initially, I attributed his inability to make and retain friends, lack of social skills, inability to understand or implement common sense, having several invisible “friends,”  and lack of emotional responses, as a direct response to the abuse, but as time wore on, his behavior became increasingly disturbing.


     At the time Paul came to live with me I’d been counseling abuse victims for the Y.W.C.A. for five years. While some of the symptoms Paul showed were familiar with abuse, many were not. In conjunction with that, I knew that schizophrenia ran rampant on his father’s side of the family. Doctor’s tried to tell me there was no such thing as adolescent schizophrenia, but I continued to press them. At sixteen, Paul had his first of more than fifty hospitalizations, and at eighteen, he experienced his first full psychotic break, at which point he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.


     Paul is now 34-years-old. When not in the hospital or in short stints in group homes, he’s lived with me, and it's been one of the most challenging things I've endured. Raising a special-needs child is hard on many levels, despite what the disability is: mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. Parent’s who are raising a child that requires 24-hour care or responsibility face challenges other parents never think about. While there are many, consider these ten:


1) Long-term Care: Parents with special-needs children frequently wonder, ‘What will happen to my child if something happens to me/when I’m gone? Who will care for them then?’ While it’s normal for every parent to worry and prepare for this type of emergency, most kids will eventually become independent and self-sufficient. Kids with disabilities often will require some level of care for the rest of their lives.


2) No Restful Sleep: Remember those early days with your newborn when you couldn’t sleep soundly because you were listening for baby’s cries or getting up in the night to feed the baby? Parent’s of special-needs children often never get the chance to sleep soundly due to the around the clock needs of their child.


3) Financial Burden: While insurance may pay for some care, medication, and necessary items for their child’s needs, there are always co-pays and costs that aren’t covered. Most insurances don’t cover emotional or medically support animals, wheelchairs, and other big-ticket items, and often only cover 80% of hospital bills. Even if the child gets Disability, the family’s income is taken into consideration and they may have to pay co-pays for medication and other things. Additionally, if you end up caring for your child for the rest of your life, you pay for everything for them for the rest of your life; food, clothing, extracurricular activities, interests, etc. They never leave home. They never become financially independent like other kids, and often, you have to arrange some type of financial support for when your gone to continue to care for their needs.


4) Certification Requirements: In my state, I had to become certified to care for my own son if I wanted him to live in my home, which cost me over $3,000 initially, and $1,500 annually. Additionally, there is the cost of maintaining your CPR/AED/FIRST AID card, retaining yearly continued education classes, and more. Some parents have to do much more than that to be  able to care for the needs of their children sufficiently. 


5) Pressures on Marriage: Research shows there is a higher risk of divorce for couples who have a special-needs child. Stress, lack of sleep and respite, and financial pressures are said to be the reasons. For example, along with my son’s diagnosis, he struggles with being obsessive compulsive. This puts a lot of pressure on my husband and I, individually and as a couple, because when he wants something – anything – he starts spinning out of control. I’ve implemented some tools to help him deescalate from that, but he often needs one or both of us to help him do that, which makes us have to stop whatever we’re doing several times a day to help him.  Additionally, some parents deal with kids with disabilities that make them violent or verbally and emotionally abusive, so the parents are continually under assault.  As a result, you become hyper-sensitive and easy irritable and anxious to just about everything around you.  


6) Respite Care: Is it hard for you to find a babysitter? Imagine trying to find someone who is specialized to care for your child’s specific needs. There are people out there, but the fee structure is more than $5-10 per hour that you’d pay a normal sitter. Try hundreds of dollars a day. Why? Because people who care for your child usually have to be certified in specific areas to do so. For example, if you care for my son for more than four hours, you must have a background check complete with fingerprints ($45), have your CPR/AED/FIRSTAID card ($160), and have gone to the local college and received your Administration of Medication course ($79).  Additionally, you have to have a minimum of 8-hours a year of continued education to keep your status current.   So, unless you or Grandma, your neighbor, bestie (must be over 18), is willing to shell out some money, it’s not an option.


7) Neglect of Siblings: No one likes to talk about this, but it can’t be ignored. Siblings of children with disabilities are at high risk for developing emotional issues, anxiety, and stress, according to research. Parent’s don’t intentionally ignore or neglect their other children, but as the saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” What often happens in a family where there are siblings is that the other children attempt to hide their problems by internalizing them to protect their overburdened parents. Additionally, if the parents are actively running around or caring for their child with a disability, their other children may not get the kind of engagement in extracurricular activities and academic opportunities that other kids may have due to a lack of time or finances. Long-term issues that have been reported by siblings of special-needs children are feeling neglected, or pressure to be overly responsible, and being forced to be independent at an early age. Interestingly, some adult-children reported a lack of communication from the parents, feeling lost and guilty because they didn’t know what caused the disability and wondered why it didn’t happen to them rather than their sibling.


8) Physically Taxing: Is there anything worse than cleaning up someone else’s vomit, feces, or urine? And yet, thousands of parents do it several times every day for their young children and adult-children with disabilities. They change their catheters and diapers, wash and change their clothes several times, and make sure their dry and clean twenty-four hours a day. Often, this includes physically picking up and transporting adult-children who are bigger than they are and moving them around by themselves. 


9) Silence: Tears sting my eyes when I think about getting uninterrupted time alone to do something – it’s seldom at my house, and it can be maddening. Everyone needs silence and time alone to just have clarity of mind. Parents with kids with disabilities rarely get that - if ever.  And even when they do, they are usually swamped with work or household chores to catch up on.  


10) 24/7 Teaching Mode: Remember those days when you were teaching your kids not to do something (or to do something like say ‘Please’ or ‘Thank you’)? Whether it was chewing or talking with their mouths shut, shutting the front door without the screen so the cat doesn’t get out and lost, or even how to wash themselves in the bath tub, they eventually learned and you didn’t have to teach it to them anymore. Children with disabilities often have difficulties remembering these simple things, so parents are in continual teaching (and reteaching, and reteaching, and reteaching) mode. As my son’s mind has deteriorated over the years, this has become literally a continual process.


I've shared pieces of my story above, but believe me when I say that there are stories and circumstances out there that make mine look like a breeze.  I'm continually in awe of parents who raise kids with disabilities and the things they endure and go through every day.  Let me point out that while it's difficult, raising a special-needs child can also be incredibly rewarding.  My son is an incredible human being; he loves people without boundaries or barriers.  He would literally give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it.  He is passionate about Jesus and sharing the gospel with everyone he meets.  And in word and action he represents Jesus more than 99.9% of people I know who don't have a disability.  I have learned more about God and His love, grace, and faithfulness through my son's life than I've learned through most any other area of my life.  But it's not without its challenges. 


How can you help?


Disabilities range from being mild to severe, but I assure you that for a parent with what anyone would consider a “mild” disability, it frequently feels severe! Having a child with ADHD can be just as overwhelming and exhausting as it can be as having a child who needs continual physical care. A friend of mine, who is also a Christian, went through a tough period of time when she was really sick and her son was a toddler who had some special needs of his own. Unfortunately, no one from their church ever called to check in with them to see how they were doing or if they could help in any way. This caused a deep, spiritual wound in my friend. Letting someone know that you see them, that you notice their struggle, that you care, are praying, and that you’re there as a listening ear for them to vent can make all the difference in the world to someone. If you are able, take a meal or arrange a meal train where the family gets a meal or two a week for three or four months to help take some pressure off of them. Depending on the child’s disability and state requirements, offer respite, or to babysit the other kids to give them a break or a date night. First and foremost, reach out and talk with the family and find out what their needs are, and find ways to bless them in Christ.


In closing, remember that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, and often our lives are the only Bible other people read. What is it saying to them? Be the light on the hill God called us to be.   

Click Here to Add a Title

Click this text to start editing. This block is a basic combination of a title and a paragraph. Use it to welcome visitors to your website, or explain a product or service without using an image. Try keeping the paragraph short and breaking off the text-only areas of your page to keep your website interesting to visitors.

What Your Past Has to Do with Your Hope



          Hope is one of the most important virtues that needs to be developed and nurtured within us. Most people associate hope with the future; I hope I get to…I hope this happens…I hope…fill in the blank; the answers are endless. But the truth is, hope has less to do with our future than it does with our past.  

From the worlds point-of-view, hope is seen as a wish. The problem with this is that our wishes aren’t always aligned with God’s will for our lives. In the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has already promised and the strength and power of His faithfulness. When we hope for what He’s promised, we can be assured that He is going to give it to us. But how is hope formed in the first place and where do we get it?


          We build hope within ourselves (and others – I’m thinking our kids here) as we experience difficult circumstances in life that we endure and overcome. When we go through tragedy, trauma or circumstances that challenge us and we are able to work through them and get to a place where we find ourselves in a safe, thankful state, we arrive at a place of hope. When that happens repeatedly in our lives, we come to expect an end to our pain or difficult circumstances, and develop the virtue we call hope – the expectation that good will come eventually, no matter how bad things are right now.


Faith and hope are not the same, but they work together. By biblical definition, faith is the combination of two crucial, foundational components: belief and trust. You absolutely can’t have one without the other. In other words, you must both believe in God and His Word to be true and trust in God and His Word to be true in order to walk in faith in your life. Faith is always initially defined by experiences we have. For example, if you grew up believing that you can’t trust men because they are all abusive, then it would be difficult for you to have faith in men as an adult. Faith, however, can be changed, and should always align with God’s Word. Faith is crucial to having hope because you must believe and trust God and His Word in order to hope in them, right? If your faith has been damaged by others, this may be trying, but that is how faith grows, by clinging to Christ for your strength and renewal of your mind. While the Bible tells us we are all given a measure of faith, it also tells us to build our faith (Romans 12:3). We do this by exercising or using it by holding God to His Word. God is faithful to do that which He promises. Faith in God and His Word always enables us to be able to hope for God’s promises to be fulfilled in our lives. Just think about Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who

love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


          All of us have some hope to fall back on from our past if we look for it. Think about things you’ve overcome. How were you able to endure those circumstance? Through God’s strength and power? Through professionals He endowed with wisdom and expertise? Through medication He led man to create? Through the extraordinary power of His Living Word? Through others that He sent into your life? How has He used what you’ve gone through for His glory? Has He enabled you to minister to others? Have you been able to sympathize with a group of people you otherwise wouldn’t have? Has He drawn you closer to Him? The questions and answers could go on forever.


          Another thing that will build faith and hope in your life is a journal or prayer list. If you kept a running list of prayer requests that God answered in your life it would be miles long. We do this at our home with our kids and I bet God answers a minimum of 30-40 prayers a week! You probably don’t even realize how much God is moving in your life daily if you don’t keep a watchful eye on it. Writing it down and seeing it on paper everyday will astonish you.


          Often, when we’ve gone through difficult childhoods we feel as though we can’t trust or put our hope in anyone but ourselves. However, this leads to a great deal of frustration and loneliness. When we decide to trust in God and finally put our hope in Him, there are some incredible promises in Bible that we can relish in. Some of those include:


Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”


Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


Romans 8:24-25: “For in this hope we are saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”


          As you think about my words today, ask yourself what you have to lose in putting your hope in God. You’ve done it your way. How has that worked for you? Isn’t it time you gave it over the God and let Him work in your life? Isn’t it time you trusted and hoped in Him?  


"When you let guilt and shame make decisions 

for you, you're making the wrong choice."

Leslie Montgomery

Problematic Prayer

     I read a CNN interview this week with a presidential hopeful regarding his faith. Politics aside, he said some things that about God and the Bible that really startled me for someone who referred to themselves as a Christian. One of the most glaring things he said was that apart from saying ritualistic prayers, he didn’t pray because he found it “problematic.” His perspective is that prayer is only about asking for things and since God already knows what we need, what’s the point? This view eliminates the entire point of prayer, so I wanted to take a moment to discuss the issue as I’m sure there are others who see prayer in the same light.


     I’m sure you’ve heard some people talk about praying as if it’s like breathing for them. For others, it’s a chore. What’s the difference? A lot has to do with your perspective about why you pray and what you pray for. Prayer is not just about asking for things. We pray for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it’s about developing a relationship with God. It’s a quiet place where we share our hearts and seek His. But doesn’t God already know what we think or feel? Absolutely, but something unique and special happens when we take the time to personally share it with God. One is that we are humbled. When we share our needs, heartache, and dreams with God, we are admitting to both ourselves and to Him that we can’t get or overcome them apart from Him. Prayer is also a form of obeying God (Luke 2:36-38), serving Him and the needs of other people. This is called intercession. In Philippians 4:6-7, God commands us to pray, telling us not to “be anxious about anything,” but “with thanksgiving, present your requests” to Him, and “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Who doesn’t want that?


     There are a lot of wonderful promises in the Bible associated with prayer that I can personally assure you are true. One is John 15:4, which says, “Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.” The word ‘abide’ means to dwell. To dwell in God is to be in His presence. You do that in prayer and that can be done with words or in meditation (silence), where you focus on a specific verse or characteristic of God. Another verse is Hebrews 11:6, which says that God is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him.


     Let me tell you that there is no greater love or joy on earth that you will find than that which you will experience in the throne room of God. If you are willing to press in and through any resistance that you may initially experience as you begin to incorporate prayer in your life on a daily basis you will experience a freedom you’ve never had before. If you need more help in this area, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be praying for you as you take on this incredible endeavor! I assure you – you’ll never be the same again! 

Who I Am In Christ

I AM ACCEPTED IN CHRIST

I am God’s child (John 1:12)

I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15)

I have been justified (Romans 5:1)

I am united with the Lord and one with Him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17)

I have been bought with a price; I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20)

I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27)

I am a saint (Ephesians 1:1)

I have been adopted as God’s child (Ephesians 1:5)

I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18)

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (Colossians 1:14)

I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)


I AM SECURE IN CHRIST

I am free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2_

I am assured that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)

I am free from any condemning charges against me (Romans 8:33-34)

I cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35, 38-39)

I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (Philippians 1:6)

I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)

I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)

I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

I can find grace and mercy to help me in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)

I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)


I AM SIGNIFICANT IN CHRIST

I am the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14)

I am a branch of the true vine a channel of His life (John 15:1, 5)

I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)

I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)

I am God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)

I am a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)

I am God’s coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1)

I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)

I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)

I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)

What our customers are saying

"When other people judge you, it really says 

more about them than it does about you." 

Leslie Montgomery

THE MIRACLE OF YOU

YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT.


     Do you know you have overcome great odds to be conceived and born? Consider this...At first you’re nothing more than a cell, far smaller than a pinhead, beginning to stir at the command of Your Creator, literally, your Father in Heaven. You and your parents don’t control it. It is the divine handiwork of God and only He has the power to shut it down or let it grow. If you’re reading these words, He obviously blessed your conception. You are not here by accident.


The ‘chance’ of you happening, out of four hundred million sperm connecting and penetrating a healthy egg (generally one out of approximately 150), is less likely to occur than a person winning a world-wide lottery, yet it took place. You are not here by accident. You are a miracle - - a divine, unexplainable miracle.


Once the sperm and egg connect, your parents’ genes blend. Your conception is on such a minute scale that it is impossible for your mother to feel it. But her body knows. It stops producing ripened eggs. Her uterine lining miraculously changes and becomes thicker, thus preparing a healthy, safe place for you to grow. You are not here by accident.


     Thousands of genes connect and work together to form your physical characteristics; your sex, eye color, diseases, handicaps, and immune system. You are not here by chance, but rather a planned, purposeful growing baby that God has anointed for His purpose. Your genetic make-up is decided by God instantaneously. Everything about you is orchestrated. You are not here by accident. You are a miracle.


     Cells divide and the amniotic sac develops. Another cluster becomes the placenta, and within six weeks you are an embryo. You have a neck, a head with rudimentary eyes and ears, a brain, and a beating heart. You have a bloodstream, a digestive system, kidneys, a liver, and tiny buds that will become your arms and legs. In your innermost being, God has knitted you together (Ps. 139). You are not an accident. You are a miracle.


     Your spine develops and you become a tiny being cradled in a warm, soft bed of tissue that God created for your transformation. In another week you have nostrils, lips, and a tongue. Your first teeth have even started to develop. What were buds a week ago are now arms and legs. You are not an accident. You are a miracle.


     Within a month, your organs and features are complete, but they will continue to mature. One out of three fetuses do not make it thus far; they miscarry or are aborted. But you were not one of them. You made it. You are a miracle. You are not an accident, but part of the Creator’s plan. He has a purpose for you. He wants you to experience life at its fullest. He desires you to accomplish the plan He has prepared for you. You are a miracle.


     The umbilical cord circulates blood between you and your mother’s uterus. Sustenance is passed back and forth between you. The placenta nourishes you and excretes your waste. You and your mother are two in one. Her body functions for both of you. You exemplify God’s greatest creative masterpiece (Genesis 1:26-28). He purposefully protects your every stage of development (Is. 46:3-4). God has given you as a gift to your parents (Ps. 127:3-5). You are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image (Ps. 139:13-16). Although the world can explain your conception, they cannot explain how you are formed (Ecc. 11:5). You are a miracle. You are not an accident.


     You continue to grow and mature in form. You breathe, kick, sleep, and cry. You suck your thumb and float about like an astronaut in space. You stretch, turn, and recognize your mother’s voice, tone, and mood. You can hear, see, feel, taste, and learn. You even dream. You respond to your mother and she responds to you. You are not an accident, but a miracle.


     Within months you are ready to make your entrance into the world. You are eager and excited. Every day of your life is ordained, written in your Creator’s book (Ps. 139), and He commands your presence into the world. It is time for you to fulfill the plans He ordained for you before you were formed; plans for good and not for evil; plans to give you hope and a future in Him (Jeremiah 29:11-12). You are a miracle, a chosen child of the King, the Almighty, all Powerful, Majestic Creator of the world. You are His child. You are sanctified, set apart for a specific purpose. You are not an accident. You are a miracle.

What our customers are saying

"What we tell ourselves internally 

we are destined to become externally." 

Leslie Montgomery

What No One Will Tell You About Abortion Except Me

     Let's take God out of it. Let's take politics out of it. And let's lay all the cards on the table and be brutally honest.


     First of all, six years before I became a born-again Christian I had an abortion, so I understand why a woman may choose to abort a child, and I've also experienced the aftermath of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain that follows. This does not make me an authority on the topic, but I do feel it gives me a right to be a voice regarding it. But let's even take ME out of it.


     Between the chasm of pro-choice and pro-life crusaders, there's a woman in agony. Research has shown that PRIOR to having an abortion, 59% of women who end up having an abortion suffer from one or more mental health disorders. The top five include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulse-control disorders, eating disorders, and for suicidal ideation. To put that into perspective, there are 40,883,000 plus abortions world-wide EVERY YEAR. 59% of that number is over 24,120,970 women who have pre-existing mental health issues prior to having an abortion (World Health Organization (WHO); HHS Public Access, Abortion and Mental Health).


     To add fuel to that fire, research has found the following statistics AFTER a woman has aborted her baby:

90% suffer damage in their self-esteem

50% begin or increase alcohol and drug use

60% report suicidal ideation

28% actually attempt suicide

20% suffer full blown post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

50% report some symptoms of PTSD

52% say they felt pressured by others to have the abortion

(HLI Reports; Abortion and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)


     Abortion is the ultimate two-faced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; it promises you relief from your situation, then turns on you afterwards, overshadowing you with a blanket of guilt and shame that continually threatens to smother you. Why such strong emotions post-abortion? Because EVERY woman who has an abortion knows she's murdering a baby - regardless of what she says - it's just that her desire to rid herself of the "problem" far exceed her internal conviction/conscious that tells her that she's killing her child. Thus, to avoid facing this fact, she justifies it by saying it's not viable and it's just a wad of tissue, among other excuses. Who wants to admit that they murdered a baby? She uses these excuses because it gives her a barrier between her and the onslaught of guilt, shame, regret, and judgement that she's trying to keep at bay. The problem is that these emotions (among others) don't go away - she internalizes them and they eat her alive.


     So, what can we do about this? In one study, 83% of women who had aborted their babies stated they would have kept the pregnancy if they had been encouraged to do so by one or more other persons, and 84% would have kept the pregnancy under "better circumstances" (HLI Reports). That means that we, as the hands and feet of Christ, need to make ourselves accessible to women at risk, to encourage and support those who are grappling with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy and provide assistance in any way we can. Post-abortion, we need to be accessible to share God's truth: they are loved by God, that they can be forgiven and set free from the aftermath of the decision, that their child is in the arms of Jesus, and that God has great plans for them. The truth is, the majority of women never hear those truths. Often, from pro-life groups she hears, "You murdered your baby; how did you expect to feel?" From pro-choice groups she's told, "It's your body, and it was your decision. It was just a piece of tissue, and there is no reason to feel bad." Neither of these responses help a woman find any internal relief or healing. Thus, we MUST be compassionate and loving both pre and post-abortion, opposed to being judgmental and accusatory.


     Many times, as Christians, we can appear to be rather self-righteous and judgmental towards specific sins and therefore be unapproachable and harsh, which is not a reflection of Jesus, but of our own flesh, and it keeps a woman from seeking Jesus - often making her run in the opposite direction. We forget that prior to our own conversion we too were immersed in sin and facing God's eternal judgement. We forget the grace, compassion and love He extended to us so that we might have freedom from the guilt, shame, and regret of our actions. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to do that we must reflect those characteristics to others - regardless of what they've said or done in their lives. So, be love. Be grace. Be compassion. Your behavior may be the only Bible someone ever reads. Make what they read in you and your actions a true reflection of Christ and His Word. 

What our customers are saying

"When I wake up every morning I ask myself, 

'What can I do today to be the best godly 

woman, wife and mother tomorrow?'"

Leslie Montgomery

WHEN BREAKDOWNS BECOME BREAKTHROUGHS

     In the darkest, most difficult times of my life I've cried out to God to rescue me, to deliver me from the circumstances. When going through the fire all you want is out of the heat! But looking back over my life and the many trials I've endured I can clearly see moments of God's grace, God's power, and spiritual growth as I clung to Him in desperation.


     Life is hard and times of trial and testing are inevitable. The Bible tells us that it rains on both the just and unjust. While God can rescue us, He often allows us to go through them for our own good and for the sake of our relationship with Him. It is during these times that we are humbled, stripped of pride, and recognize that we don't have the power or ability within us to save ourselves. Trials and tribulations reveal our desperate need for God in our lives.


     Throughout the New Testament of the Bible, the Apostle Paul addresses the body of Christ about the trials and tribulations they were going through. Never once in any letter does Paul pray, "Lord, take away the affliction that they're going through." Instead, he prays, "May you see your way through it. May you grow by leaps and bounds. May the Lord look upon your response and say, 'Worthy! Now that is a worthy member of My kingdom.'"


     I don't know what you are going through right now, but God does. While I can pray for you and perhaps meet some of your practical needs, I cannot take your trial out of your life. Neither can you. Instead of fighting the difficulty, being angry with God for what's happened/happening, and drowning in hopelessness, turn to God and allow Him to meet you right where you are. Ask Him to give you His strength to endure and persevere. Request that He provide you the people and tools to face the trial head-on, and know in confidence and in expectation that He will answer your prayers.


     If you do this, there will come a time that you are able to look back at these trials and see His miraculous intervention and your progressive growth in Him. If you chose not to do this, but fight against the difficulty, remain angry and bitter, or focus on blaming others and God for your trial, there will be no looking back, because you'll continue to remain in this state permanently. It's a harsh reality, but true. I don't know about you, but I chose clinging to God and experience His peace that can be found in the midst of the storm.


     Remember, always keep your eyes on the Prize and your feet on the Rock and you will not falter.

What our customers are saying

"If fear is everything, then God is nothing.

If God is everything, then fear is nothing."

Leslie Montgomery

GRIEF

The Sorrow of the Soul

     Grief is an intense, emotional suffering caused by personal loss, and a universal human experience through which we all must pass. It is God’s way of helping us react to the tremendous shock of death and it’s emotional aftermath. Reactions to loss include feeling helpless, empty, fearful, angry, guilty and restless. All of these feelings are normal to the grieving process and acceptance. When experiencing the loss of a loved one, the following suggestions may help us work through the heartache and loss.


• Allow yourself to experience the loss, but not to dwell in it for long periods of time.

• Continue to assure yourself that you will survive.

• Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to heal. Recognize that you will have ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days.

• Get lots of rest during this time, but don’t become lethargic. Stick to your schedule as much as possible with time out to rest your body, spirit and soul.

• Keep decision making to a minimum until you’ve been able to work through some of the initial shock and pain.

• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t already have one, build a support group of friends and family to walk through this transition with you.

• Reaffirm and stay grounded in your beliefs. Keep in the Word of God and allow Him to nurture and heal your loss.

• Eat! Keep your health up during this time. Decrease junk foods and increase protein to help keep your energy level up.

• Keep a journal. Expressing your feelings on paper can be beneficial for release of tension, anxiety and pain.

• Heal at your own pace. Everyone experiences mourning differently. Do not conform to others expectations of when you should be through grieving.


     In some ways, no one is ever completely delivered from the sense of loss, so ‘getting over it’ should never be the goal, but instead, learning to deal with it on a day to day basis. Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult, and it’s not unusual for the person grieving to feel as though their experience is unique. But there are other believers who have survived through the same experience. Even Jesus mourned at the death of Lazurus (Jhn 11:35). Jesus said: ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Matt. 5:4). Stand on His Words and expect comfort as you seek God healing during this time of loss.

What our customers are saying

"As long as you continue to play the victim to the self-inflicted chaos in your life, you'll never experience 

what it truly means to feel free in Christ." 

Leslie Montgomery

Facing Terminal Illness Head-On


“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15)


     Jacqueline and her husband Rob were looking forward to the birth of their eighth grandchild. Rob had just retired and he and Jacqueline had plans to travel and become more involved in the lives of their children. They had been waiting for this time for years, and finally their dream was a reality. It was an exciting time, however, when the doctor diagnosed Rob with heart disease, their joy turned sour. Like many individuals facing terminal illness they felt alone and angry at God. Where was He during this time? How could He allow this to happen? Their plans suddenly faded, and their hope diminished.


     At the point of initial prognosis from a professional, the stages of grief begin. Life changes immediately, and despite an individuals faith and belief in God, changes and adjustments are inevitable, and everyone involved realizes that their lives will never be the same again.


     Successively, though not necessarily chronologically, the sick individual and family members experience the stages of grief:

• Denial (“This can’t be happening to me/us/our dad.”)

• Anger (“Why me, Lord,” or “My husbands such a godly man.”)

• Depression (“There’s no hope.”)

• Bargaining (“Lord, heal me and I’ll do whatever You say.”)

• Acceptance (“May God’s will be done.”)


     These feelings are not experienced once and then forgotten, but return again and again as the individual and family walk through the stages of the illness. They are normal characteristics of grieving and must not be suppressed, but expressed.


     It is vital during this time that the spouse of the terminally ill patient find someone to talk to about their feelings, changes that are occurring, and decisions yet to come. This person should be a trusted friend or loved one who can help you make wise choices and be a strong support. Additionally, if you haven’t already, look into your community to see if there is a hospice agency. These agencies specialize in providing reinforcement to patients whose diseases are considered terminal, and to their families.


     Most of all, remember that you are not alone, that God is close to the brokenhearted. He has not forsaken you during this time. Call on Him for strength, wisdom and direction. It is His desire to walk through this with you. You can face this tribulation with His supernatural power. Do not hide your pain from Him, but rely on Him to sooth it with the healing balm of Gilead.

What our customers are saying

"When controlling people can't control you, they try

to control what other people think about you."

Leslie Montgomery

Truth and Tolerance

     On the surface, the word “tolerance” appears as a benign manner of getting along with people who are different. The traditional definition of tolerance means simply to recognize and respect other’s beliefs and practices without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing with them. But today’s definition is vastly different. The traditional definition of tolerance considers every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyle, and truth, as equally valid. Because the new tolerance declares all beliefs equally valid, Christians will face increasing pressure to be silent about their convictions, because to speak out will be seen as an intolerant judgment of others’ beliefs and lifestyle.


     It may be difficult to speak the truth in today’s climate, but Jesus said, “The truth shall make you free (John 8:32). Pursuing truth in this context means countering the new doctrines of tolerance. It means teaching children to embrace all people, but not all beliefs. It means showing them how to listen to and learn from all people without accepting everything they  say. It means helping them to courageously but humbly speak the truth, even if it makes them the object of scorn or hatred. Christians must always remember that the Apostle Peter said, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).”

What our customers are saying

"If Jesus was walking the earth today, He would not be picketing abortion clinics, spewing hatred towards homosexuals, or pointing fingers and condemning people to hell. He was known as a 'Friend of sinners.' He wasn't afraid to address sin and say it was wrong, but He said it in love with a message of hope and reconciliation in Him. That being said, He'd be with the woman who has had an abortion; with the homosexual; and with the gossip, liar, adulterer, slanderer, and other sinners saying, 'I love you. Go and sin no more.'" 

Leslie Montgomery

Jealousy, The Jaundice of the Soul

     The client sat across from the counselor, tears running down her face. In between sobs, she told her story. “He was whispering on the phone in the other room with the door shut. My mind went crazy wondering who he was talking with and what they were planning. In my mind I visually ran through the women in his office, quietly putting my ear to the door to hear the conversation. Then I heard him say he’d call to confirm the time in an hour and hung up. I was furious! I stormed into the room like a raging bull, screaming at him, confronting him, telling him I knew he was having an affair. You can imagine how humiliated and stupid I felt when, after an hour of me interrogating and accusing him, he hit redial and the travel agent confirmed his plans to take me away on a weekend trip to San Francisco for my birthday.”


     The grip of jealousy will strangle the life out of the strongest relationship. It is a bitter feeling of hurt and hostility that, without care, can become one of the most powerful obsessions of human life. Jealousy is a fickle feeling, and is the hidden root of other motives (such as fear) that influences our thoughts and actions. Scripture tells us that fear involves torment ~ and it is torment for the jealous individual who must remain in control of their mate out of fear of abandonment. Religious leaders murdered Jesus because of jealousy that led to fear (Matt. 27:17-18).


OVERCOMING JEALOUSY

• Remember that twenty questions will breed jealousy, not relieve it.

• When it comes to trusting your partner, don’t resort to the pessimistic path.

• Developing your self esteem will help you set healthy boundaries for yourself in relationship with others.

• Don’t allow your thoughts to dominate your emotions and behavior. Take every thought captive and take them to the foot of the cross, then leave them there.

• Work through any childhood relationships that may have stimulated or induced the jealousy you are currently experiencing.

• Realize that you cannot control your mate’s actions, thoughts or behavior. Turn them over to God and allow Him to work in their lives, remembering that it’s not your job to police them.

• Spend time with God, soaking the pain and fear you experience in assurance that He will give you the strength to overcome irrational jealousy.

What our customers are saying

"When you refuse to forgive yourself for something 

you did in your past, what you are really saying is that 

what Jesus did on the cross wasn't enough for you, 

that you have to be your own savior and punish yourself for your sins. Personally, I'm not willing to say that." 

Leslie Montgomery

The Pain of Loneliness


“Loneliness eats into the soul.”

A Jewish Proverb

    

     ‘Please pray that God will help me overcome my loneliness.’ The request comes from many believers who have raised families, retired and been active members in the body of Christ. Loneliness is one of “the most universal sources of human suffering,”1 and is a breeding ground for sadness, depression, anxiety, restlessness, self-pity and the deterioration of self-esteem. In other words, it can be immobilizing.


     Being alone and being lonely are not synonymous. Loneliness is the result of broken relationships. Aloneness is the lack of, or estrangement of relationships. Before the creation of Eve, God told Adam that it was not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2:18). In turn, Adam noticed that there was no helper comparable to him. Like all of us, Adam desired to have fellowship with another human. His ‘aloneness’ was fulfilled with the creation of Eve.


     ‘Loneliness’, on the other hand, becomes evident in one’s life when a relationship break occurs. In our lives, loneliness occurs when there is a separation or divorce, death of a friend or loved one, estrangement from family, or in the worse case scenario, for the unbeliever who lives life separate and isolated from God. Loneliness is a feeling of dissatisfaction with the quality or quantity of a relationship with others, ~ specifically with Christ, then friends, family & colleagues.


     Recovery from loneliness is not always long and tedious. It can begin by seeking God’s wisdom, guidance and dependence in these difficult circumstances. In addition, some of the following suggestions may help you overcome loneliness.


1. Develop a spiritual social network. This can be done by attending a Bible study that is appropriate for your age, likes and interests.


2. Develop one or two relationships from this network into confidants and friends.


3. Realize that we are never alone as believers (Prov. 18:24; John 15:15).


4. Learn to stand on God’s promises, allowing them to be your foundation. In doing so, you are climbing the stairs to freedom.


Loneliness is a battle you can win. The brokenness we experience in loneliness is an invitation by God for the restoration of relationships. Using loneliness as motivation will transform your relationship with Christ and other loved ones in your life.

What our customers are saying

"It's not your responsibility to control or change the 

opinion other people have about you. In fact, it's 

impossible to do so. Instead, consider God's 

perspective: You are a branch of the True Vine, 

a new creation, justified and redeemed, a fellow 

heir with Christ, a saint, righteous, sanctified, 

forgiven, chosen,  holy and blameless, and sealed 

with the Holy Spirit of promise. Now go live your 

life in accordance to that definition and 

it won't matter what others think about you." 

Leslie Montgomery

RESENTMENT

The Bitter Truth

     Her name was Naomi, but after the death of her husband and two sons, she asked to be called, ‘Mara’, meaning bitter. She believed that God had dealt harshly with her and accused Him falsely for her emptiness and loss. By focusing negatively, Naomi became bitter and could not see the blessings in her life. Such is the case with all believers who look outside themselves for someone to blame for their current or past circumstances. The truth of God’s Word is evident to to everyone who has contact with them: a bitter root bears bitter fruit.


     The Bible describes bitterness as being in the root of the soul, the by-product of intense animosity, characterized by cynicism and ill will. Like rattlesnakes that are cornered, bitter believers become so frenzied that they bite and poison themselves against the body of Christ and God Himself, creating a wall of resentment that separates themselves from the grace and power to overcome.


     A resentful person is infectious and highly contagious, manifesting pain through gossip, slander, sarcasm, self-pity, cruelty, arrogance and an unteachable heart. In some cases, bottled-up feelings eat away at individuals until some become emotionally crippled and physically ill. Their ability to function is impaired, which diminishes their effectiveness. In turn, they often have difficulty sleeping, coping with life’s everyday trials, and dealing effectively with others, all the while their faith in Christ deteriorates.


     God understands the challenge of forgiving those who hurt us. He does not forbid the believer to feel the result of a wrongdoing. He does however, set up two guidelines for working through pain and anger inflicted upon us by others. One, He tells us to keep clear of bitterness, spite and hatred. The second, check daily for unresolved malevolent feelings. Both are accomplished by walking in continual forgiveness towards those who have harmed us in the past, present and future. God’s plan calls for all Christians to suffer. While this reality is sometimes difficult to accept, the truth remains that grace for life’s circumstances is dependent upon Almighty God, who allows trials as a means to draw us closer to Him. Moving forward against overwhelming adversity builds perseverance, character, wisdom and intimacy with Christ. Without the grace of God, the results of bitterness are devastating, as it erodes joy, poisons peace, sours love and reaps unforgiveness in the lives of all it touches.

What our customers are saying

The body of Christ will become more effective in 

achieving God's will when we stop trying to be 

politically correct and focus on being biblically correct.

Leslie Montgomery

5 Secrets to Maturing in Christ

     I have to admit something. I long to be like the Apostle Paul who was mature in his faith, but have been more like the disciple Peter. Not unlike the disciple, I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth so much that I have ‘Size 10’ tattooed on my tongue. Over the years of my repeated folly, the Lord has taught me a few things about maturing in my faith that I’ve incorporated in my daily life that have forced me to grow in Christ. Here are five of them:


1. Practice walking in faith (belief + trust). If you look up the word faith in the Greek language you’d find that it represents two words, both believing in God and the Bible and trusting them. Whether we’re faced with a sin or stronghold or going through a storm in life we are all faced with either having faith (belief + trust) or unbelief + mistrust. The word faith demands action, so you should be able to see faith in your life or that of others if you’re really believing and trusting God.


2. Learn the real meaning for forgiveness (giving & receiving). I can tell someone is maturing in their faith when they are actively working on forgiving those who have harmed them as well as taking responsibility and asking forgiveness when they hurt others. When someone is the perpetual victim and can’t see the error of their ways or just want to talk about those who have hurt them instead of working through their pain, they’re usually stuck in immaturity and attention-seeking behavior.


3. Discipline, discipline, discipline. If location increases the value of real estate, then discipline increases maturity. It’s easy to forget that the Bible is the living Word of God; it has power and we need to partake of it daily to grow and mature in Christ’s image. I encourage people to read for quality instead of quantity. You can read the Bible in a year so you can check it off your list and understand none of it, or you can read a chapter and spend the day chewing on its knowledge.


4. Find spiritual accountability. It takes humility and a real desire to grow in Christ to ask another believer to hold us accountable to our walk in Christ, but if done correctly it can help you grow faster than most anything. The danger? Becoming offended or not being honest with your accountability partner. Find someone who will faithfully pray for you and who is willing to ask you the hard questions in life that we shy away from sharing.


5. Do a daily spiritual inventory. The armor of God gets a lot of attention when it comes to battling the world, the enemy, and our flesh, but I use it as a spiritual inventory as well. When I put on the Belt of Truth I ask myself where, over the last 24-hours since I did my previous spiritual inventory if there is anywhere in life I’ve been less than truthful (little white lies count!) and where I may have received lies such as believing something about myself, others, or the world that’s not true.


I ask myself a series of questions about each piece such as:

• Helmet of Salvation: Salvation literally means ‘Christ like,’ so I ask myself if my life has reflected Christ in all I’ve said and done, then repent as needed.

• Feet Shod with the Gospel of Peace: Have I shared the Gospel of Peace at every given crossroad as led by the Holy Spirit?

• The Breastplate of Righteousness: Where haven’t I walked in righteousness and not protected my heart?

• The Shield of Faith: Faith is trust + belief, so I challenge myself to point out my areas of weakness and work on them after confessing unbelief and mistrust in God.

• The Sword of the Spirit: The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (the Bible) is powerful and effective and cuts and separates truth from untruth. The Holy Spirit convicts, teaches, reveals, heals and oh, so much more through the power of the Word of God. Have I been standing and walking in the Truth found in the Bible? Have I been using it to speak over the lives of others?


Now it’s your turn. How do you challenge yourself to grow and mature in Christ?

What our customers are saying

It is in the waiting on God that we grow dependent upon 

Him. It's where faith grows and humility is found. It's 

where we realize there is a God and we are not Him.

Leslie Montgomery

INFIDELITY

Burning Bridges From Both Ends

   He was a passionate man, one of God’s chosen. When he spoke, people listened, knowing words of wisdom would flow. He was compassionate, understanding, loving, patient, and a warrior, both in and out of prayer. He turned ordinary words into psalms and chords into music as his enemies came crashing down around him. He was bold and courageous ~ a man after God’s own heart, a conqueror in every definition of the word, except when it came to a woman named Bathsheba, with whom his lust was overwrought, pushing him over the edge into adultery.

 

     Overall, the general trend of King David’s life was spiritual, as with many other men who, for reasons unclear to many, have stepped aside from years of dedicated years with their spouse to partake of the forbidden apple; a woman other than their own.


     Some suggest that infidelity is an impossibility after being married for long periods of time. However, statistics show that adultry affects all age groups and has more to do with culture and upbringing rather than age and length of union with a spouse. Adultery is woven throughout the fabric of our culture. From television shows such as ‘NYPD Blue,’ ‘Melrose Place,’ and ‘Sisters,’ to the pages of our daily newspapers, infidelity is all too common.


     Unmet emotional needs appears to be another major downfall. Often, when one marries, they subconsciously hope that their spouse will be able to fulfil emotional needs that have gone unmet by their family. In doing so, they set their partner up for failure. Upon realizing the spouse doesn’t encompass their every need, many individuals often begin to believe that they didn’t really love their spouse, or have ‘fallen’ out of love.


     According to Dave Carder, author of the book Torn Assunder, “The most important motivator of any affair is the deep desire to be nurtured and loved unconditionally. That includes many components such as touch, attitude, playfulness, romance, sex, and appreciation,” all of which sometimes wane after years together.


RECOMMENDATIONS

• Cultivate your personal relationship with Christ.

• Set aside time to process major transitions ~ such events as retirement, income reduction, cross country move, health crisis, or death make an individual vulnerable to infidelity.

• Initiate same-sex relationships, avoiding personal, intimate relationships with the opposite sex if you are married.

• Continually develop emotional intimacy in your marriage.

What our customers are saying

Shame says you are the sin, the bad or wrong you committed and it's not of God. It leads you down a road of condemnation and self-hatred. Conviction on the other hand, comes from God and leads you to repentance and restoration in Him. Don't confuse the difference. One will keep you in bondage and the other will set you free.

Leslie Montgomery

Informal Care-giving and Economic Ties




     According to a new study, divorce can negatively affect the parent-child relationship even in the later part of life. Researchers Barbara Steinberg-Schone, Ph.D., of the Agency for Healthy Care Policy and Research, and Liliana E. Pezzin, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that divorced elderly parents, particularly fathers, are less likely than are widowed elderly parents to have adult children willing to provide them with informal care.


     The study focused on unmarried (divorced or widowed) parents and their children and looked at four aspects of assistance: parents living with adult children; financial assistance to adult children; and, among disabled elderly parents, adults’ children’s provision of informal care and parental use of formal (paid) care.


     Schone and Pezzin credit the results of the study to weakened relations that occur between parent and child in a divorce. The study, based on data from the first wave of the Assets and Health Dynamics of the Elderly (AHEAD) survey, found that:

• Divorced fathers are particularly vulnerable to receiving less care in later life due to weaker ties with their children. They are much less likely to live with an adult child and to receive fewer hours of informal care.

• Ties to step-children are not as strong as ties with biological children. Elderly step-parents are more likely to purchase formal care, and provide less cash assistance to their step-children than to biological children. Elderly parents also are more likely to be sensitive to the characteristics ~ such as economic and marital status ~ their biological children, but not their step-children.

• Ties are further weakened by remarriage. Remarried parents receive less informal care from their children, purchase more hours of formal care, and provide less cash assistance to their children than parents who were married only once.


     Overall, the study revealed the concern about future generations of elderly parents, who will have experienced higher rates of divorce, and therefore are likely to place greater demands on public and social insurance programs for assistance.

What our customers are saying

"Jesus said, "You are My friends IF you do whatever I command you." The problem in the body of Christ 

today is that we've given a far higher place to privilege 

as a child of God than to duty. We have not considered 

implicit obedience to Christ as a condition of true discipleship. The secret thought within our hearts that 

it is impossible to do the things God requires of us (and therefore it shouldn't be expected of us), and the lie 

that God is "tolerant" of our sin, have frequently robbed both precepts and promises of their power in our 

lives. Therefore we have settled for spiritual mediocracy, 

all the while complaining that we are unhappy with 

our relationship with God, as though it's His fault."

Leslie Montgomery

Understanding Depression

Depression is like a violent storm that inhibits ones soul, bringing havoc

to every part of a victims life. It’s torrential rains pierce the heart

and drown out hope, flooding the mind with thoughts of helplessness.


     Depression is debilitating, and it is said to affect twelve million people in the United States. To make matters worse, it is one of the most under-treated medical illnesses within the prison system.


     Depression is more than just the occasional bad mood that everyone experiences from time to time. In contrast, it is like a violent storm that inhibits one’s soul, bringing havoc to every part of a victim’s life. Its torrential rains pierce the heart and drown out hope, flooding the mind with thoughts of helplessness. And while depression often manifests itself by lack of pleasure rather than a presence of pain, it’s debilitating none the less to those who suffer.


     Studies have shown that individuals are more prone to depression at certain times of life and for different reasons. Divorce, sexual problems, a limited work horizon, personal disappointments, separation from family (especially children), unresolved grief and past abuse are the most prominent issues that cause depression. Death of friends and family, physical or mental limitations, and thoughts of a limited future behind become significant factors as well and women are twice as susceptible to falling into depression than their male counterparts.


     The word depression comes from the Latin word depressus, which means “to be pressed down,” that is, not up to your usual bounce. Feeling overwhelmed, hard-pressed and a loss of hope can occur without any apparent reason, although current research supports the belief that environment, biochemical changes, and genetics may be part of the reasons behind this culprit. Medical problems such as thyroid abnormalities, female hormone fluctuations, diabetes, vitamin B-12 or iron deficiencies can enhance sadness. Abnormalities in the brain’s management of hormones such as serotonin and epinephrine can also bring on overwhelming feelings of doom and gloom. So, what can you do about it?


     First and foremost, it is vital to see a physician to rule out any possibility of medical problems. It's important to note that some women who have used drugs and alcohol excessively in the past, have difficulty "coping" without them and sometimes need an anti-depressant to help stable them as they deal with the emotional adjustments that inevitably come with sobriety. In most cases, depression doesn’t go away simply by ignoring it. Matter-of-fact, without proper care, it can consume the individual caught in its web. It is reported that depression is responsible for an estimated seventy percent of the country’s 30,000 people who commit suicide every year, so it's not something to take lightly.


     There are other ways to help yourself move from depression into joy. Exercise, limiting fried foods, and attending activities outside of your home and with others will help you. Isolation will only feed your already existing feelings of hopelessness. The most important aspect of walking through depression and getting to the promise land of healing is reliance upon God every step of the way. Even though a person suffering from depression may blame God or feel like He’s absent from their pain, He’s not. 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 tells us; “…In our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead…on Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us…”. Scripture also tells us that without vision, men perish. Our Creator must be at the core of our focus, for only He knows what unique needs our bodies require for healing. Thus, He can be the compass leading you and your physician in your journey of healing.

What our customers are saying

"Some people are so obsessed with being 

'right' on a specific issue, that they close 

themselves off to hearing the truth about it." 

Leslie Montgomery

Obesity: Battling the Middle-Aged Spread


     I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life, but as I get older, I notice that the infamous middle-age spread becomes more of a battle. I’m not the only one that struggles with weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, and researchers have found that people who are overweight at 40 are likely to die at least three years sooner than those who are not.

In addition to the danger of a decreased life span, excess weight saps your energy, increasing your risk of just about every major disease, including; high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, breast, uterine and colon cancer, and gallstones.


     Before you exclude yourself from the category of being obese, consider that the bedroom mirror or bathroom scale are not sufficient tools to identify obesity. The best way to determine if you are overweight is by defining your body-mass index (BMI), which is a measure of weight relative to height. This is how you can determine yours:


1) Calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703.

2) Divide your answer by your height in inches.

3) Finally, divide your answer again by your height in inches.


     If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, that’s considered healthy. For men, a desirable BMI is 22 to 24; for women, 21 to 23. If your BMI is 25 or higher, you’re considered overweight, and if your BMI is 30 or higher, you’re obese. Keep in mind that people who are very muscular will have a high BMI without the associated health risk.


     If you need to lose weight, crash dieting is not the answer. Basically, there are three components to weight loss. First, is the emotional and spiritual component. Researchers have found that the root cause of overeating is an the attempt to meet emotional needs such as unconditional love, significance, and security. Cognitively, food feels like it nurtures us, giving us a sense of control, and a false belief that we are not being deprived. This pseudo-comfort dissipates as soon as we consume our fill of food, often leaving us feeling unloved, out of control, and empty. Obviously eating is not the solution for emotional starvation; Christ is our answer.

    

     Begin all lifestyle changes with prayer. Whenever you feel the urge to eat and you know you’re not hungry, seek God’s comfort. Pray and ask Him to show you clearly the difference between emotional and physical hunger, and act accordingly. Keeping a prayer journal where you can express your emotions freely may help you let them go and turn them over to God.


     Next, is the consumption component. Every 10 years after age 50, we need approximately 100 fewer calories a day to maintain the same weight. Because of this fact, most Americans gain about 10 pounds per decade after their twenties. Sometimes, this is caused by a change in the speed of our metabolism.

Most of the calories we consume (60 to 65 percent) go toward keeping our hearts beating, maintaining body temperature, and other essential bodily functions. But often, we engulf more than our body needs. To find out how many calories your body needs to fuel these tasks, calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).


1) Convert your weight into kilograms by dividing by 2.2

2) Multiply this result by 0.9 (women only)

3) Multiply the result by 24


     This is how many calories you need a day without allowing for physical activity and exercise. If you are active or work out, you’ll need 30 to 50 percent more calories. If you don’t exercise or find that you’re not active, you are likely taking in more calories than your BMR, and are gaining weight.

The final component to weight loss is physical activity. Studies have found that most people who watch their food consumption but don’t exercise eventually gain back their excess weight. The Surgeon General recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on all or most days of the week.

 

     One reason exercise is so crucial to health is because it helps preserve muscle, and the more muscles you have, the more calories your body will use up. Researchers at the University of Alabama found that middle-aged adults who work out with weights three times a week for six months build enough muscle to raise their resting metabolism by 80 to 150 calories a day - the equivalent of a 20- to 40- minute workout. But you don’t have to look like a professional body builder to meet your goal. Elastic resistance bands, water aerobics, walking, or hiking can provide enough resistance to build muscle strength.

Overall, we must remember that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and were never meant to be abused by excessive consumption of food. Making sure we are well fed spiritually will enable us to distinguish between our emotional and physical hunger.

What our customers are saying

"If you've never questioned why you believe 

what you believe to be true regarding any 

issue, your beliefs are not your own." 

Leslie Montgomery

Contact Us 

Have any question about the blog you just read? Feel free to contact us via email. We’ll do our best to help you.  


Please contact Leslie's assistant,  Jenny at [email protected]

Click Here to Add a Title

Click this text to start editing. This block is a basic combination of a title and a paragraph. Use it to welcome visitors to your website, or explain a product or service without using an image. Try keeping the paragraph short and breaking off the text-only areas of your page to keep your website interesting to visitors.