The Affects of Porn- Jennifers Story Continued

This blog post is continued from “Jennifer H story… Thank you for sharing your story with others who may have experienced the affects of pornography .

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THE EFFECTS OF PORN – Jennifer’s Story Continues 

I was married to a porn addict and the effects it had on the family were astounding!  You would think that being LDS would help someone not be an addict to porn but I can tell you that it has nothing to do with the addiction.  Addicts will find a way to feed their addiction any way they can but the biggest way to feed it is being secretive.  They will find an excuse to be alone to feed the addiction.

We were married 27 years and 15 of those years he was looking at porn or finding a way to talk sexual to other women.  Once he started looking at porn the atmosphere in our home changed.  It went from having a good feeling to having a very dark feeling in our home.  I didn’t notice the change as much as others did because I lived in the home all the time but after he moved out I had several people tell me that they could feel a difference in the atmosphere in the home.

Porn feeds on darkness so keeping things dark is what helps feed it but once you add light to it then it goes away.  The changes were not drastic so I didn’t notice them right away–they happened a little at a time.  This reminds me of the story of the frog and a pan of water.  If you put a frog in a pan of boiling water he will jump out right away but if you put the frog in a pan of cold water and turn the heat up slowly he will end up boiling to death because he becomes accustomed to the heat.  This is the way porn works too.

As one looks at it at first they don’t see the damage it is making on them but their brain tells them that they need to see more to feel satisfied or build their self-esteem.  It starts with soft porn and can lead to hardcore porn the more they look at it.  With the harder porn you end up looking at how men dominate women and how they treat them.  If you watch it all the time then you start treating the women around you the way you saw them treated in the images.

It doesn’t matter if you are a religious person or not, porn doesn’t discriminate–it affects everyone.  It does, however, make it so you don’t want anything to do with the people around you or your religion–especially the LDS religion.  LDS standards are higher than other churches and so when one watches porn then they don’t want to live on the higher level that the church teaches.  You lose the desire to be active and the social aspect of going to church too.  Being around people goes out the window and all you want to do is be alone.

This also affects how you treat your spouse and children.  With our oldest 3 children he was more involved in their lives but with our youngest 3 children he didn’t seem to care as much about being involved in their lives.

He started to criticize his in-laws and my side of the family.  He also started to criticize going on family events and this affected our children to the point that they will not go with me to their grandparents home anymore.  Even the thought of having my parents come to visit makes my kids very negative towards them.

Our affection towards each other disappeared completely.  The only thing he ever wanted to do to get out of the house was to go out to eat which in turn made it so that we both gained weight and became obese which affected our health.  I would try and try to get him to go out for a walk or do something else but he always had an excuse to stay home.  With my calling in my church I was gone a lot to scouting events and would purposely stay as long as I could to avoid going home or would wait until I knew he was in bed before going home.

He told me that he had a problem with porn and asked for support as he went through the 12 step program to try to overcome the addiction.  But he never followed all the way through the 12 step program even with my support.  A lot of other women have felt that the addiction is their fault and their spouse would make them feel this way too but I only had a small time where I felt that it was my fault.

Also these women will turn away from God and their church after being betrayed but I didn’t.  I actually turned towards God and asked for his help to overcome my feelings of betrayal.  As I would talk to people and tell them my story I came to realize that we are only in charge of ourselves and the choices we make but we have to also think of who those choices will affect us.  They don’t just affect us– they affect everyone around us especially family.  Once I was able to accept that,  the healing was able to take place a lot quicker than I expected.

I even went to the point of asking for forgiveness from God to help me heal and I did get confirmation from him that I was forgiven.  That is the most important part of the healing process is having God forgive you, then you can forgive yourself a lot easier.  I now can wait for forgiveness from my children and my ex because I know that God has forgiven me.

I also have a Facebook support group where if I feel I need to talk to someone I can go there and they will not judge me or make me feel bad about myself.  I have become friends with several of those women and have talked to them and helped them with their healing.  Once you heal then you are able to help others in the healing process.

One of the ladies I met on my mission recently told me of her husband’s addiction and how it has affected her and her children.  The difference with her situation and mine is that her husband is very controlling and my ex wasn’t that way.  But I am here to help her and it makes me feel good that I can help someone else.

I have considered my situation and realize that mine is probably a lot different from others–especially after reading some of the other stories from women in the support group.  My ex was actually willing to work with me on our divorce papers and not fight me.  In hind sight I also noticed he was preparing me to support myself by telling me to get my own bank account and telling me to put my paychecks in that account instead of our joint account.

But he wasn’t the only one that prepared me for things to come.  God prepared me for the bad news of his physical adultery.  I knew he had physically cheated on me before he came home and admitted it to me.  This physical cheating was brought on by all the years of looking at porn.  Most people would not consider looking at porn as cheating, but in reality it is.

I was always a happy person but after years of feeling like I wasn’t worth much that disappeared.  My parents and siblings noticed the change but my kids didn’t know anything different until I became the happy person I was before all this happened.  I have had several of my children comment on how much happier I am now that I am on my own and living life the way I want to and doing those things to make me happy.  I took my oldest daughter to an Air Supply concert and on the way home she said, “Mom, I’ve never seen you that way before”.  I was singing and dancing to the music and had not done that before with her.

My determination to become the person I want to be is so much stronger than it has ever been.  I know that despite what I went through for 15 years has made me a stronger person and now I am able to help those that need to become stronger too.  There is help out there and there is a way to get out of the situation you may be in.  Having faith and love for God will help you do that.  God won’t abandon you and if you think he does it’s because you have abandoned him.  Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move forward with his help.  He will be there for you anytime you need him.  It won’t be easy but it will be worth it!

I still have bad days just like everyone does but I know he is there to help me.  On those days I turn to him in prayer and ask for his help.  For my children the only thing I can do now is be a good example for them and be there in case they need someone to talk to.  They have their own personal feelings towards the church and other things but I can’t fix those for them.  I can only be their support and help them when they ask for it.

With the healing process I have been able to tell my ex my feelings and what I expect from him to help me and the kids heal.  Expressing my feelings to my ex took a long time to do, but now it is up to him to make things right with us and not my problem anymore.  He says he is doing the 12 step program again so we will see if he stays with it this time.  I only wish the best for everyone.

Learn more about the effects of porn on these sites…

The Dangers of Pornography – Jennifer’s Story

My very good friend Jennifer has had her life turned upside down because of her husbands addition to porn. This is Jennifer’s Story. Topics like this are difficult to share and I know it has been a long road for her. This is a two-part experience.

My Husband Was Addicted to Porn

My Husband Was Addicted to Porn

My name is Jennifer H and my ex and I were married for 27 years with 6 six children.  Somewhere during that time he started viewing pornography without my knowing.  He was diagnosed with depression and anxiety during this time as well and started taking medication for his mental issues.  One of the side effects of the medication was non-performance so our sex life changed.  I don’t know when exactly he started looking at porn but he did.  He would come to me every now and then and talk to me about it and that he wanted to go through the 12 step program to try to change things–not sure how many times he went through the program yet never made any changes.

I would go to church and the lessons that I had would motivate me to want to do things better in our home but I never had his support.  We stopped having FHE, family scripture study and family prayer.  Any time I asked to do those things he would get mad and tell me that he didn’t like that I was controlling him.

All 6 of our children were baptized and confirmed but as the last boy became old enough for priesthood he was unable to do the ordinance so I had to lean on my family for that.  We stopped talking and the only time we went out was to eat with each other.  It wasn’t really “dating” in my book.  I really didn’t realize how much he was into porn until one day I woke up with him talking on the computer in our bedroom no less to a girl.  I faked sleep for a bit to listen to them and then had to get up.  Once he realized I was awake he got off with her.  He knew he had been caught but yet said nothing to me about it all day or ever.  He’s never apologized to me for that incident or anything else.

I just kept my faith and kept living my life and doing the things that make me happy–my crocheting and my scouting.  He had at this point his own online business doing technical writing for a couple of companies so he was always on the computer.  We moved his computer and desk into another room so he didn’t feel like he lived in our bedroom all the time and at times he would shut the door.  I had no way to know what was going on behind that closed-door but every time I asked for him to get his temple recommend renewed he told me he wasn’t worthy.  He never made an effort to change that.

In September 2014 he made a business trip to Las Vegas and I told myself that I needed to make sure I kept in touch through Skype with him.  At one point I needed to make a trip to the store and as I was driving down the street I had the thought come to me–“What would  you do if Gary came home and told you he cheated on you?”  At first I wasn’t sure what was going on and I just kind of let it go but on the way home I had the same thought come back to me.  I never really answered the question to myself but I just went through the day in my head and realized that my day had gone very good.  When he came home two days later the first thing he told me when he walked through the door was that we needed to talk.  We went into the bedroom and he told me that he had a one night stand.  He got all emotional and apologized and told me that he would move out whenever I was ready for him to do so.  I almost started laughing at him because I had been prepared for this to happen.  I told him that I wanted to work things out.  After he told me he told the kids and then he made an appointment with the bishop to do the same thing.

We went to visit the bishop and the bishop asked me if I was willing to try to work it out and I said yes.  At this point I was still thinking of my children and how this was going to affect them–I hadn’t even thought about myself yet.  I wanted to try and fix things for my kids and the fact that I was taught that eternal families are very important.  It was a couple of months later that he met with the Stake President and we then had a sit down with the kids and talked about church discipline and what could happen to him.  We were expecting the worse and then found out that the Stake President decided to leave the decision up to the Bishop.  I was floored!!  How could this happen?  I thought that for adultery you were either disfellowshipped or excommunicated and not on the ward level but on the stake level.

Following what my father taught me, that you didn’t question what your local authorities decided, I didn’t question the decision.  In January 2015 the Bishop came to the decision to just put him on probation for a year.  During the time he was on probation the Bishop met with him maybe twice.  Again I thought “what?” and again I didn’t question the decision based on the things I was taught by my father.

During the year 2015 I still struggled with how things were going in my home–or not going.  We still weren’t having FHE, family scripture study or family prayer unless I asked for it.  I was not getting anywhere as there was too much tension in the home.  I would make it a point to go home after a scouting activity when I knew he was already in bed.  The Bishop had us going to a marriage counselor and I thought ok I hope things change.  The day he admitted to the counselor that he had a problem with porn I expected the counselor to turn to me and ask me “how does that make you feel?” but I got nothing.  No one cared how I felt about all this.  I finished out our sessions but still felt no one cared about my feelings.  I was like a fly on the wall at those sessions.

At one point the Bishop sat us down and told us he wanted us to work on our relationship by holding hands, dating, etc.  I was concerned about my daughter and her attitude about Young Women’s so I started attending with her.  One Sunday as we were walking into church one of us took the others’ hand, however, once we got to the outside door he dropped my hand to open the door and after we were inside I took his hand again and he made this comment to me “What you trying to do prove to the Bishop we are holding hands?”  I thought to myself, “He’s not going to change.”  During YW that day the lesson was on the good and bad things we have in our lives and what to do about them.  One of the bad items listed was Abusive Relationships and the solution was to get out of it.  It was like someone had slapped me in the head and saying “duh” to me.  I went home and talked to my mom and a couple of friends about what I was feeling and during this time I had been praying for an answer as to what to do for my family.  After all of this I came to the conclusion that the best thing for my family was to move on and if that included a divorce then I needed to do that.  I struggled with that decision because of what we are taught in the church but I also decided that in order to make things better in my home it was a necessary move.  So on November 28, 2015 I asked my ex to move out and told him that I wanted a divorce.  He wasn’t happy with that decision and at first decided to get back at me by taking the only car we had and left the house.  I prayed at that point and asked my HF to let my ex know that this was the right thing to keep our family together.  Two days later he returned my car and agreed to the divorce.  We were divorced on January 25, 2016.

I still get emotional telling my story to people because it makes me sad that my children had to go through all this because my ex felt that porn was more important than his family.  During all this my doctor had told me that in order to reverse my type 2 diabetes was to lose weight and change my diet so I got serious and in one year I lost 65 pounds, got my blood sugar under control and changed my eating habits.  I still have faith that someday my family will come back to the church and that we will be together forever but it does get challenged too.

Before the divorce was final I met with my Bishop and he told me that he wasn’t going to try to change my mind because he knew I had already decided what I was going to do yet he proceeded to do just that adding “I’m scared for your eternal salvation.”  Why would he say that just about me and not about my ex?

I don’t believe that my Bishop knew how to handle this situation and I believe that they need more training when it comes to helping families that have been affected by pornography or anything else that is so damaging to the family unit.  I don’t feel that the decision the Bishop and Stake President made was the right decision for either my family or my ex because it did not repair the damage that was done but made it worse and it destroyed our family.  Even to this day I feel like my Bishop does not treat me like a member of the ward and that he feels that I destroyed my family.  I feel that the decision was a slap on the wrist and that it was a NO BIG DEAL to the Bishop and my ex.  I feel that the Bishop treated me like I was the bad guy in this situation when I should have been treated as the victim.  I still support my local authorities but I still have feelings about how this situation was handled and that it needs more attention for the sake of others that go through the same thing.

Continue reading about Jennifer and the effects of pornography. Click Here for the Effects of Pornography Blog Post…

 

 

Lessons Learned by Giving Up Social Media for Lent…

I gave up Facebook for Lent. I chose to do this because I needed to make room for better things and most of all for God.

This is the first year that I have given up lent and have made it the whole 40 days. I have had so many people ask me why I’m doing Lent since I’m not Catholic. A couple of my friends at church thought that Christians shouldn’t observe Lent since it is a Catholic observance.  One of the reasons I did this year is because I felt that God wanted me to  devote more time to Him.  Facebook was consuming my time and I didn’t realize how much time until I did Lent.

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I scoured through Amazon to find Bible studies and I bought some and I’m getting ready to start one called,”When God doesn’t fix it… Learning to Walk in God’s Plans Instead of Our Own.” I came across this one by Laura Story and I have no doubt that God has something to teach me. I’m really good at doing things my way. If it doesn’t work out the way I think it should, I can come up with all kinds of reasons or excuses about why it didn’t work out. I’m pretty sure that the main reasons why is because I’m a big time control freak.

As I prepared for Lent and taking time away from social media, I didn’t know what God was telling me to do. I had to trust Him fully and see what God’s plans were. I was in deed of a major detour that would direct me away from Facebook.

One of the things about Lent and one of the main reasons I felt I needed to give up something that was interfering with my own relationship with Christ.  I don’t know why I used Lent as a reason for giving up social media for 40 days, since I needed to have a period of reflection, repentance and to get back on tract with my prayer life and studying the Word of God.

This was the perfect opportunity to re-align my life and focus on God. We are supposed to sacrifice whatever it is that distracts ourselves from God and distracts me from my own selfish desires of the heart.  My objective was to seek to live a more faithful life and get closer to Jesus Christ.

I knew I needed to have a period of reflection, repentance and to get back on tract with my prayer life and studying the Word of God. This was the perfect opportunity to re-align my life and focus on God. We are supposed to sacrifice whatever it is that distracts ourselves from God and distracts me from my own selfish desires of the heart.  My objective was to seek to live a more faithful life and get closer to Jesus Christ.

For years, I always thought of Lent as a way of sacrificing something. I didn’t know many who did anything for Lent. Many friends of mine from church couldn’t understand why I observed Lent this year since for the most part it is Catholics. Giving up social media wasn’t a sacrifice for me since I would get flustered over a lot of it. Mainly because of the political stuff and the faith-based arguments.

I couldn’t 100 percent walk away from Facebook since I still had to do things for my church on there. I didn’t realize how much time I wasted when it came to watching those cure viral videos about puppies and kittens. Then the whole scrolling though messages from others that had to do with their political and religious views.

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One of the most important things I learned during this 40 day hiatus from Facebook is that social media is “TOXIC”.  I don’t spend time on Twitter or Instagram, so my break was from Facebook.

If I had one word to describe what I think about social media, I would say it is “toxic”. When I went directly to my Facebook page instead of my churches, it was kind of depressing. The reason I say that is because of the negativity.  The Facebook statuses was filled with political/faith-based arguments, complaints about how horrible this person or that person is, and people who share cute pictures(meme’s) or viral videos.

For the most part, many of the messages were political and fake images, fake news and fake pages. I hate the term, “Fake News”.  When I hear people say that or I hear it on the news, I hit mute. It isn’t just the news that is spreading fake news, it is people in general. People will share fake pictures that have been photoshopped, lies, fake websites and all kinds of things before making sure it is true. I have shared things before making sure it is true and when I find out it is a lie, I delete it or post the accurate story. People don’t care if it is true or not. I will be posting a blog with a number of fake stories and photoshopped images.

It takes less than five minutes to research a story and find out it is garbage. But, they don’t care because it is funny to them. I have one friend who only watches Fox News. I also have friends who watch either local news, CNN, MSNBC and whatever else. In my opinion, when a person uses only one source for the news, they are getting just one side. Then there are those who has this idea that everything you read or hear on the internet is the truth. I haven’t missed any of this on social media.

Before I stepped away from Facebook, the pictures that are posted below were all over Facebook and I come back yesterday and they are still being passed around.  Then the hatred that is going on with the students from Parkland Florida is horrible. I just want to hit people over the head with a hammer when it comes to common sense. I’m sure I will have some friends and even those who I go to church with who will gasp when I tell them that I don’t believe the spins coming from any of the news station. If people can learn how to post a comment on Facebook, they have the ability to look and see if is story or a picture is true.

When I checked out the stuff on my Facebook page last night it made me sick. It was like a soap opera. It doesn’t matter how long you are away, the same thing goes on. I plan on spending less time on Facebook because of the nastiness out there, I will have to still do things for my church since we need to reach out to the world.

I told myself a number of years ago that I wouldn’t unfriend someone because they voted differently than I did or because they didn’t share the same faith. I still stand by that, but I will unfriend family and friends if all they can do is spill hatred and lies. Nothing can be accomplished by these kinds of things.

One of the biggest things that I learned during Lent is that I’m not out to please the world. My faith and personal relationship with Christ is the only thing I am concerned about. It’s a waste of time arguing with people about politics and faith. I will continue to share my faith with others, but I’m not going to get into a tit for tat kind of mentality.

 

 

Were You There?

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With Easter coming up, I can’t help but think about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the lamb of God.  Have you ever heard the song “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”  

Here is a little history on this song. 

An African-American spiritual that probably predates the Civil War, “Were You There” was first published in William Barton’s Old Plantation Hymns (1899). The spiritual’s earlier roots include a white spiritual known in Tennessee as “Have you heard how they crucified my Lord?” Additional stanzas are available from oral and written tradition:

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?

Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?

As I prepare my heart for Easter Sunday I can’t help but feel a humble and undeserving. I was talking to my friend Jennifer Harris about the movie, “Passion of the Christ.” It is the one staring Mel Gibson. When I went to see the movie, I was prepared, or I thought I was. I heard about the 11 minutes where Christ was beaten with a cat of nine tales. I was prepared for a number of scenes. However, there is one that I wasn’t prepared for. I tried watching the movie again and I had a meltdown all over again.

Mary at crossThat scene was after Christ was taken down from the cross. He was being cradled in the arms of His earthly mom Mary. As she cradles Him, she holds his limp body and stares towards the audience. She didn’t say a word, but it was as if her eyes pierced my soul.

I don’t know if others felt the way I did. But, without words she stared off and said that it is because of me that her Son had to die. He didn’t do anything to deserve death. He never sinned and yet He was killed as if he committed the worst unpardonable sins. It was if I was the one holding the hammer in my hands and driving the nails into His hands.

There is another song about the Crucifixion of Christ. The song is called “The Hammer”. The first time I heard it and watched the video, it immediately brought tears to my eyes. I felt as if I was there with the hammer in my hand. Every time I struck the nail it was as if my sins was the hammer and I kept hitting the nails over and over as tears stream down my face.

Listen to Ray Boltz singing “The Alter/The Hammer/Feel the Nails

Ray Boltz singing “The Alter/The Hammer/Feel the Nails

I was in the crowd
The day that Jesus died
And as He hung upon the cross
His mother cried

I saw the crown of thorns He wore
The stripes upon His back
The water and the blood ran out
And then the sky turned black

My mind was filled with anger
My heart was filled with shame
This man brought only healing
Who could bring Him pain

Why does it seem the strong
Always victimize the weak?
And suddenly I found myself
Standing to my feet

 

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1 Peter 1: 18-21 –  For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.  Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

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He is the Lamb of God. So at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptizer’s words invite us to “Look!” and see the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” All that is required of us is to open our hearts, listen and keep watching, then we will see the Lamb.

 

 

Preparing for ChristEaster

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Since I have been away from Facebook and thinking about the importance of the birth, death and Resurrection of Christ, I have been reminded of the unconditional love God has for us. I’m also reminded that the power He has over death is more than a colored Easter Egg or candy that is shaped like a bunny.  Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and He overcame death by rising on the third day.

Most people who knows me personally knows that our family celebrates Christmas and Easter on Easter Sunday.

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Springtime is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Not because of flowers blooming and such, it’s because Easter reminds me that Christ is alive and how blessed I feel. The trees are blooming, birds are singing and new life is everywhere you look. Easter also reminds me that the problems I have faced in the past and continue to face are small when I take into consideration of eternity, my problems are temporary.

Every day Christ provides me with all of the things that I need or want. There are times when He provides for me that isn’t exactly what I want lol. He does that for everyone if you only ask. He gives us all the strength we need to get through another day. He blesses me with awesome friends, family and more. I don’t always understand His ways, but I know that He understands me, even when I don’t understand myself. He knows my every thought, desire and hopes. As my heart and mind prepares for Easter, I know that His love for me and everyone else is deeper than I will ever be able to understand.

The-Debt-We-Owe-GodJesus Christ paid the ultimate price when He died on the cross. He paid the penalty for my sins. He died for you and everyone else. I have made countless mistakes and it seems as if I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I can’t save myself. I’m my own worse enemy. Jesus Christ knows what is on my heart and He knows what my imperfections are. He knows the sins I have committed. And, yet, He loves me despite of all of the things I have done wrong.

2 Corinthians 5:21  (NIV) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Christmas and Easter are the only holidays I celebrate because they remind of why I am a Christian. When I focus on Christmas and Easter, it helps me keep my eyes open so I can see the path that is laid out in front of me.  I have found that celebrating Christmas and Easter together, it helps me stay focused on Christ, not the world.

in-the-arms-of-jesusI don’t know about you, but I know for myself that it is hard to see God’s promises when I’m going to trials and hardships. It’s hard to see God while we are suffering from diseases and illnesses. It’s hard to see God while we deal with the loss of someone who is close to us.  What I have found while going through these times in our lives is that God uses His believers to bring us back to where we need to be. He brings us through these trials by wrapping His loving arms around us and comforting us.

Since I have limited my time away from Facebook and refocus on Christ during Lent, it has allowed me to open my heart up to those who are going through difficult times. I’m reminded that I can count on God’s love, light and peace during the hard times in my life. As I journey through life, I’m striving to honor God and to do whatever it is that is God’s Will.

James 1:12 NIV, it says, Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

I don’t know how people make it through life without hope. He gave his life so I can live. That gift is something I can never repay. My hope and prayer is that I will never forget what He has done for me. I hope I never forget to thank Him for being there for those that are in my life.

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We are all saved because of Christs sacrifice. My sins are washed away because of Christ. I have overcome death because you payed the price by dying for me. You died so that anyone who asks can be saved. I look forward to the day when I take my last breath here on earth and wake up and see you.

I found this Easter Prayer or Blessing on a website and I want to share this with you and close this post with it. I don’t know who wrote it.

May the celebration of resurrected life bring new hope to your being. May the victory over earthly death turn your eyes to the promises of heaven. May the empty tomb help you to leave your sorrows at the foot of the cross. So that God’s hope, promises and forgiveness reign in your life forever.

Have a happy Easter.

 

“Christ is Risen!” “He is Risen, Indeed!”

 

This blog post was written by Pastor Ray Schroeder at St. George Community Church. He is one of our guest writers here at Senseless Ramblings of the Mindless.  

THE COMMUNICATOR

APRIL 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Christ is Risen!” “He is Risen, Indeed!”

the-resurrection

This is the joyful shout and response of Easter morning. Interestingly, this year Easter falls on April Fool’s Day. However, the resurrection is no joke. It is the absolute truth. The resurrection of Jesus Christ in a physical body is so important that the Bible says without it our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins. We must constantly and committedly lift up the truth of Jesus’ resurrection to a world that thinks it is of no consequence or ignores it completely.

There are two factors that constitute the truth of the resurrection: the empty grave and the appearances of Jesus after his death. We know that Jesus was completely and totally dead on the cross. After the initial whippings and physical torture he endured he was then nailed to a cross and a soldier punctured his side with a spear. Blood and water rushed out which is a sign of cardiac failure. Let no one tell you that Jesus was not completely and totally dead on the cross. He was dead.

Then Jesus was buried for three days before arising from the tomb. No one was present at the actually moment of his resurrection but when the women arrived at the tomb on Sunday morning it was empty. Romans and Pharisees tried to spread the story that His body had been stolen but no dead body was ever found.

Then Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the other Apostles and finally to more than 500 believers at one time (1 Cor. 15:6). Many of whom were still alive at the time of the writing of the books of the New Testament and who could have verified to anyone that they saw the risen Lord Jesus. He told his disciples that he was not a ghost and to touch him and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

Jesus-Is-AliveNo rebuttal to the resurrection has ever been proven. The body was not stolen or hidden. The tomb was empty. Jesus appeared physically to his disciples and it was not simply a vision or a spirit. This is the great good news of Jesus’ resurrection. It’s true! And because of Christ’s resurrection we know our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life. Our great and blessed hope is that we, too, shall be resurrected and we shall be changed to be like him.

Also, because of the resurrection we can be assured that every Word of Jesus is true and every word of the Bible is true. Jesus believed all of the Bible and He believed it in a literal fashion. Because Jesus rose from the grave I believe the earth was created in six days. I believe Jesus was born of a virgin. I believe that Christ ascended to heaven in the same resurrection body and that He is coming again in that same body. Praise God for the resurrection! Let’s spread the Good News reminding everyone that this is no April Fool’s joke. This is the glorious truth!

My love be with you all in Christ,

Pastor Ray

Dogs in Heaven Part 2

This blog post is long. I tried to cut down how many words I used. Thank you for reading it.  This is one of those topics that is very near and dear to my heart. This post is dedicated to all of you have knows that dogs aren’t just dogs, they are family members. I will be doing the final part of this blog that has pictures of four-legged family members that have done over the bridge and some are still with us. If there is anyone who would like to add a picture of their 4 legged family member to that page, let me know. It is going to be a showcase of beloved pets that are still with us and those who have made it to the Rainbow Bridge.

Click Here to view a video about the four-legged family members we have rescued.

12.11.14-Pope-Francis-Says-All-Dogs-Go-to-Heaven1This is the part two of are “Dogs In Heaven?”  I have to say right off the bat that I totally believe that pets will be in Heaven. I don’t think they will be there in the same way they are here since I wouldn’t think they would be owned by anyone. They would be there to be enjoyed by all. I don’t think we will have to train them to walk on leashes or tell them to not pee on the furniture or the other dogs in the house.  In my house the most used saying is. “Henry, don’t pee on Jasper”and “Henry, don’t pee on Parker!” Now, the question is, what does the Bible say about pets in Heaven?

I belong to a number of rescue groups and over the years I have experienced many losses when it comes to my dogs going to Heaven. I have put together a few videos about some of the dogs we have rescued and dogs that people have thrown out or wasn’t as cute as they think they should be. Dogs have such a short life span compared to humans, so it is a difficult emotion to deal with when it comes to the time when our four-legged family members cross over.

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This is Maverick in the back and Maddie. She passed away 3 or 4 years after we rescued her. She was super sweet and died of cancer.

As a friend of mine lost his family members Anna and Bart, it’s hard to not think back to those times when Brandie, Maverick and Maddie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I know this sounds bad, but I have loved all of our four-legged family members, but there are some I was just closer to and broke my heart.

Last week as I was taking my bath, I was listening to some Christian music and some studies that a friend loaned me to listen to. As I was listening to the music, I was looking at Jasper. I have been noticing that he is having a harder time seeing. I have to turn the lights on so he can see the door is open or that it’s OK to go into the room. If the light in the hallway is off, he will wait at the door waiting for me to open it, even though it’s open. Once the light is turned on, he will go into the room. Then, he is getting a lot of grey. I couldn’t help but think about how he may only have a few years.

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Jasper was rescued because his previous owners said he shed too much so they were going to take him to a high kill shelter

I rescued him, so I don’t know how old he is. I’m guessing he was about 3 yrs old when I got him. I have had him for 6 yrs or so. During my bath time, my heart was breaking since I could tell he is having a hard time. I couldn’t help but cry over the thought that in a few short years, he too will be crossing over the Rainbow Bridge.

Now to the point of this blog post.

Will Our Pets Be in Heaven With Us?

Anytime I think about if my beloved family members will be there, I’m sure I’m not alone when I ask about if they will be in Heaven. This is one question that many Christians and people of faith have asked over the years. I’m no different. There are many opinions when it comes to these questions.

  • “Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.” – Genesis 7:15
  • “God wishes other creatures besides humans to be included in the plan of salvation.” – St. Francis of Assisi
  • “One day we will see our pets in the eternity of Christ.” – Pope Paul VI

There are many Christians who believe that God will allow our pets to be in Heaven after they die and they will be with us for eternity. But, there are also those who feel that none of our four-legged family members will be there when we get there.

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Brandie Muffins- Over the Rainbow Bridge

I have been studying this topic for some time and I have talked to a number of pastors. When my previous pastor was at our church before he retired, I asked him what his thoughts were on the subject. I just lost Brandie and I was distraught to say the least. I didn’t realize how upset I was and angry that she was gone. I asked him if he thought Brandie would be in Heaven. When I asked him thought, I worded it this way, “do you think Brandie is in Heaven? If you don’t think she is in Heaven and that God doesn’t think dogs should be in Heaven, then I don’t want to talk to you about it.” I pretty much put of anger those him that if he didn’t think my Brandie would be there, then I will no longer talk to a pastor who doesn’t feel that she would be there.

Pastor Dean told me that while the Bible doesn’t say that our four-legged family members will be in Heaven, there are verses that can give us some clues and answers. Pastor Dean pointed me to Genesis 1:26-28. I don’t think I would have accepted any answer if that answer meant that our four-legged family members wouldn’t be there.

God has a special reason and place for each of His created beings. Animals, too, have a purpose in God’s creation. Man, as the highest order of creation, has been given dominion over the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:26-28).

namingtheanimals.jpgI have no doubt that animals were created for our enjoyment and use. Even though the Bible doesn’t say if there is life after death for animals since they don’t have a soul. I have gotten into some pretty heated debates over that topic.  There are those who say that animals were created by God for a specific purpose. For example, cows are for hamburgers and steaks. You have pigs for pork chops, bacon and Jello. They say that the purpose for animals is full filled on this earth, and not in Heaven.  In my thought, if animals aka our four-legged family members make us happier in Heaven, I would think there would be a place for them.

Isaiah’s description of the peace of God’s future kingdom where he says that “the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 65:25). Heaven will lack nothing that is good and that will bring glory to God

My life has been enriched because of my four-legged family members. Dogs and other animals have many purposes. Not only are they there to love us unconditionally, they also save lives. How can there not be a place for them in Heaven considering everything they can do and want to do. They don’t ask for anything in return.

I have many bad days and no matter how bad my day is, my dogs lift my spirit and they make me smile. Well, unless they are peeing on each other lol. As I walk through the door and it doesn’t matter if it is 5 minutes or 5 hours, our dogs makes me feel loved and missed. How can there be no place in Heaven for dogs or other animals when they demonstrate such love and compassion? In my personal opinion, I can’t imagine Heaven without dogs or other animals. The only animals or creepy crawlers that I hope aren’t there is snakes, spiders, roaches and wasps. I know they have a purpose, but, I would prefer them to NOT be there lol.

I wish people/humans had the kind of love that dogs have. I think God gave us dogs and other animals as examples of how we should be and how we should treat each other.

My thoughts on why dogs or animals will be in Heaven.

Dogs love us unconditionally and are considered “mans best friends. They are always loyal and trusting.  I could be having one of the worst days and just at the end of my rope. For example, a number of years ago, I went to my Dr. I was sick of living at the Dr’s office and all of the life changing diagnosis’. My neurologist let me know that I was having another bought of Guillian Barre Syndrome and I would have to go back into the hospital. I will be doing a blog on Guillian Barre Syndrome since it is awareness month.

7d7835c6b9a20a228387f51ffa5d7530As I was going through all of the paper work and signing the papers that I brought home, I was visibly upset. My dogs and one of them was Brandie, came up to sit by me. She put her head on my lap and her eyes met mine and she comforted me. The dogs we have now are the same. How can God not have a place for them when they demonstrate unconditional love, loyalty, faithfulness and trust? These traits are things that all of mankind should be doing. Every relationship in life has to do with unconditional love and trust

Another question that many ask when it comes to dogs in Heaven is,  do pets have a soul? Do you need a soul to get into “heaven”? I had to do some research on this instead of just going on “what I think”.   

One of many things you can think about when it comes to pets in Heaven is that they are part of God’s creation and God said “they were good. Since He said they were good, I can’t say that animals won’t be there. We do know that God is just and that when we get to heaven we will find ourselves in complete agreement with His decision on this issue, whatever it may be.

Genesis 1:25 – God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Isaiah 11:6 – The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

I may be interpreting Genesis wrong, but those who boarded the Ark of Salvation wasn’t just Noah and his family, it was all living creatures that were welcomed, even snakes and spiders, yuck.   In Genesis it doesn’t say only those who are super smart, or speak correctly will be there, it says All living creatures were welcome aboard, including Noah and his family’s pets.

There are some that feel that pets lake the ability to reason in the same way we do, but they don’t lack the ability to love humans in the same way. I have listed some of the ways dogs and other animals have made our lives easier.

Service/Therapy and Assist people on the job 

justice1Dogs have the ability to detect a wide variety of allergies all work to improve the lives of their human companions and allow them to live more independently. I know a number of people who have service dogs for their children or an adult that is under their care. I have witnessed how huge the difference is when it comes to alerting someone who a seizure is about to happen.  Dogs aid those who have psychiatric disorders, mobility problems, autism, PTSD or hearing/blindness disabilities.

Search and Rescue

  • Their ability to smell  human scent allow them to track the air as well as the ground and locate people, both living and dead.

Guarding/Watchdog/Police and Detections

  • Dogs can be used to guard just about anything and anyone. One of the most popular breeds that are used by the military and law enforcement agencies are the German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. Dogs are used to keep soldiers and their surroundings safe.
  • Dogs use their keen senses of smell to detect everything – from bombs to bedbugs to contraband in prisons (such as cell phones!).
  • Police dogs can play many rolls including enforcing public order, detection, search and rescue and cadaver detection.

If dogs are able to provide these types of services and be such a benefit to man kind, why would there not be a place for them in Heaven. These very special creations are wonderful gifts from a loving God to bring joy, laughter and warmth into our lives. When I think about the saying, “heaven-sent”, I truly believe they are.

Alzheimers-Pet-TherapyI have spent a lot of time in the hospital and when someone brings in a therapy dog or other animal, the people’s faces light up. They begin smiling and sharing stories about what kind of dog, cat or other animal. Many hospitals and care centers will bring therapy dogs. For those who are on hospice and are on a memory unit that treats patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, the dogs roam from room to room freely.

Anytime I was in the hospital and my husband or daughters brought in my Brandie Muffins, it made my day 1000 times better. Not only my day, but others that were on the same unit that I was in just loved her. She would walk up to people and rest her chin on their lap. She has never been trained. I know that God was the only One who trained her and brought her into my life.

For many people, myself included, when I lose a pet, I feel a great deal of grief. Some people have said, it’s just a dog, get over it. I can tell you that when people have said that to me, it didn’t go over well. In my opinion a dog is not just a dog. They are family. There are many who have never been able to have children. They feel the loss just as much as if they lost other family members. I have experienced a loss of family, friends and pets, and it seems to me that a loss is a loss, grief is grief, and love is love.

I can’t even begin to wonder what heaven would be like if no pets were allowed there. I stated earlier that I’m sure dogs wouldn’t be on leases and they wouldn’t be property. If there is going to be lions laying down with lambs, then why wouldn’t there be dogs.

noahI mentioned before Noah’s Ark.  If God instructed Noah to enter the ark with his sons, wife, and your sons’ wives along with every living creature into the ark so they may remain alive with them.

They are to be male and female. From birds according to their species, from domestic animals according to their species, and from everything that crawls on the ground according to their species —two of everything will come to you so they may remain alive. For your part, take some of the edible food and store it away—these stores will be food for you and the animals. Noah did all of this, precisely as God had commanded.

Genesis 6:19-22 it says,

 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.  You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”

I may be wrong on this, but if animals weren’t created to be fully enjoyed by Adam and Eve and humans, then why would God have created them in the first place. He would never have created them if there wasn’t a greater purpose for them.

The question about if dogs will be in Heaven has been a long time question and the Bible doesn’t specifically say they are there. Bible theologians and scholars also agree that there isn’t anything that says they are there or not there.

I don’t think there is going to be a direct answer to this question. It will have to be something that we just have to wait and see. I hope and pray they are there.  While we are living here on earth, we won’t know that answer nor answers to most everything else. People have asked me what is the one question I would like to ask God when I get there. As I think about that question, I would have to say that it wouldn’t be important since I will be there. I will be so overwhelmed by just standing before Christ, that no question I have here on earth will be important.

Because He is our Heavenly Father who has nothing but our best interests at heart and wants nothing more than to show us how much He really does love and care for all of us. If there is one other verse that I would hang my hat on for the argument that our pets could possibly be resurrected for us, it would be this verse:

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withheld from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

In closing I want to say that animals such as dogs and cats are very special. The way they were created, how different they all look, how they all have different personalities, and how they all add that extra element of love and surprise into our lives. And again, God already knew all of this before He even created us.

I believe God created millions of animals and creatures before He even created us. He knew how much we would really love, enjoy, and appreciate some of them.