Monday, May 14, 2012

Doing the Right Thing, Having Integrity by Nina Keegan- Owens

Recently while I was in the grocery store parking lot, I was witness to a horrible onslaught of obsenities a young couple was hurling at a woman they believed had taken their coveted parking spot. They were relentless in their hostility and rage. The woman seemed oblivious to what was going on, she appeared to not even realize that she may have taken the parking spot they had wanted. When she finally realized the mean banter was aimed at her she looked scared and rushed into the store. It was a beautiful day and the parking lot was not particularly full. The couple was well able to walk yet they spent several minutes harrassing a woman that had no idea of the brawl she had caused. What good did any of this do? The couple wasted more time feuding than parking elsewhere! Why can't we stay calm, be still, and give people the benefit of the doubt? The woman's actions were clearly unintentional. She may have just had a lot on her mind. We never know what issues people are facing each day. Had the couple kept calm and moved on to a different spot, I guarantee they would have had a much better day with maybe a few unexpected blessings thrown in for good measure. What if situations like that are all a test, one we need to pass to be blessed?

Do you ever struggle with trying to do the right thing? You may be facing one of those tough times where you know what the right thing to do is but you may be waivering in your decision and your choices to follow through with your actions. Sometimes the hardest things are the right things. There is no easy way out of our messes, many times God allows us to have trials, like a checks and balances system to measure our integrity, to make sure we will listen to Him and do what's right. Sure God can turn your mess into a message and your trials into triumphs, but we are always looking for instant gratification and don't want to wait out our trials. For many people, if there is an easy way out, they will take it and lose themselves in the process. We may think that we got away with something or that our misgivings will go unoticed just this once, but that is never the case, I believe God will just keep giving you the same test, just different scenerios over and over again until we finally pass and are able to move on to the next grade.

We are often presented with opportunities where by we are challenged to do the right thing even when we so want to buck the system and do what's easier or what's seemingly more beneficial at the time. Those so called instant gratifications, and benefits that may result from not doing the right thing will most assuredly come back to haunt you later and cost you precious blessings from God. Doing the right thing will ALWAYS keep you on the right path causing you to reap what you sow!! God will bless you when you take the high road! You get what you give, it's pure karma at it's best. When you operate your life with the highest standards of morals and integrity, you will triumph and set an example that will cause an avalanche of blessings for you and set an amazing example for those around you and those that look up to you!

Proverbs10:9 says whoever walks in integrity, walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out!
God knows each and every time that you are faced with a will I or wont I question. He also knows how hard it is for us to keep our cool and our tempers in check. The heavenly rewards we store up every time we serve God instead of our emotions is imeasurable.

Integrity, what is it exactly? It's an unequaled quality of being honest, having sound moral principles, a strong code of ethics and a lack of corruption. It's the opposite of hypocracy, It's not following the crowd, but going against the grain and doing the right thing even if it hurts or even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. It's never compromising one's values and beliefs. Having Integrity means that your moral standards are so high, that one would never question your charactor. It means we should live our lives in a way by which someone could talk bad about us and nobody would believe it. Integrity means you play by the rules, you are fair and equal, and you do not conform to this world if it will cause you to compromise yourself or your faith. Integrity means you are true to yourself and to the Lord and never waiver in those truths reguardless of gain or loss and that there is no discrepancy in your beliefs. It simply means keeping a commitment even after our circumstances have changed.

Not allowing ourselves to get angry and lose our tempers over every little thing, forgiving others first even when we feel it was not our fault, these are all examples of integrity. Not obeying rules and laws, not working an honest days work and leaving early or handling personal affairs on the computer during company time, is an example of a lack of integrity we may all be guilty of. Letting God handle your battles and staying out of petty scuffles. Keeping your word on promises you've made, can all help us grow in charactor. We can build our integrity by defeating the temptation to be dishonest.
We can either stand for something or fall for everything.
Trust your Gut, your inner voice, the Holy Spirit and pay close attention to the small still whispers deep inside you that is God guiding you and keeping you from compromising your integrity. It's Him saying "let it go and follow me"!

According to the scriptures, virtually everything that truly qualifies a person for good leadership, is built on integrity and charactor. I challenge you today to do the right thing when faced with a fork in the road, to always take the high road, the road leading straight to the blessings of God.

Proverbs 2:6-8
For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He stores up wisdom for the upright; He is a sheild to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.

Heavenly Father, please help us to live and walk in integrity, displaying your light through ourselves everywhere we go. Help us to be an example of what it means to be a christian. We thank you for all our many blessings. In Jesus name we pray!

"Few things are more infectious than a Godly lifestyle"!
Chuck swindoll

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gods Summer By Nina Keegan-Owens

As summer is fast approaching and the realization of having our kids back home driving us crazy with endless commotion sets in, I get anxious about wanting to keep everyone safe and happy this summer. I have started praying for God to swoop in like a super hero and fix it all... Line it all up nice and neat and not give us anything to panic about!!!... I think to myself, This is God's summer too! He wants to enjoy this time with us, he wants us to trust Him to be with our kids when they need Him most.
I Have always been one of those moms that continuously wants to"fix"everything for my kids. You know the deal, we want to make easy their paths, take away their hurts, ease their pains, and erase all their insecurities. We don't want them to make the same mistakes we made.

When our kids hurt, we hurt! Up until about 2 years ago, I feel like I had been a pretty darn good fixer mom, as compared to what I do not know, as I don't believe there are any statistics on that sort of thing yet! I may even have been deserving of a small award of sorts. A tiny trophy perhaps, the good fixer medal or at the very least a pat on the mom back! Yup, I took my mom fixing job to extreme heights, it was and still is a job I take very seriously. I could talk my kids off the ledge when they were upset or had had the "worst day ever!!!" I was there to help with all the problems, the endless homework and studying, I drove them to at the very least, an infinity X a million practices and lessons, I took them out driving through parking lots and on abandoned roads when they were eagerly learning to drive. I was the life guard each and every summer. We
have been through girl troubles and being grounded, when I was certain I was not winning any popularity contests any time soon. I was there to calm the nerves of first days of school or when they were starting a new job, and I sat vigil by the bedside when they were sick, becoming an instant nurse that would watch hours of cartoons armed with popsicles and tons of jello.
I'm sure you as a parent have quite the same long laundry list... We could go on and on until our list resembles the looooong white grocery store receipt after shopping for Christmas dinner groceries! The issues, whatever they may have been, were ones we were always able to find the answers to, the solutions, the magic touch, or just plain old ice cream worked great! Problems solved! All fixed!
In Feb of 2010, the unfixable happened!! My boys father passed away after battling lung and brain cancer for 2 long, indescribable years. After falling into a coma, he was removed from life support and so began the unfixable!
We had been divorced for quite sometime, but remained friendly. We lived a close proximity to each other which was what we thought would be best for the consistancy of raising the kids through a difficult divorce. He was a good dad and the boys were extremely close to him.
I knew God was there from the start and the morning after their father died was proof positive. God's presence was everywhere!
My youngest son who was 16 at the time called his golf coach and announced he would be playing in the 18 hole varsity tournament that very day. He had been up all night, had not been at any recent practices and had just lost his dad a few short hours before, yet he wanted to play! He played because he said his dad would have wanted him to play. On that cold day in Februrary, God was watching... On 18 holes, he shot 18 pars! A perfect round.. No bogies ,no birdies, just 18 straight pars!! There was not a dry eye among those of us who were watching. The strength, poise and charactor he had displayed at such a young age was unparalleled. God was there guiding him, guiding us all. He was saying, "this will take some time, but I am right here!"
I remember feeling a little less helpless and as I watched hole by hole, I knew I could not do anything to fix this for them..but God was already there... He had shown up that very day to give us all a glimmer of joy in the midst of the sorrow. As the time passed I had to stand back helplessly and watch them go through it all, every text book stage of grief, each one in order as if it were written just for them, the disbelief, the anger...every one displaying a new pain or revelation, a new something I yet again could do nothing about. Try as I might, I would fail in my insurmountable attempts to calm the unending storms. Every step though God was there, growing my faith, guiding and loving us through it all.

All I could do then and all I still can do is pray! I can leave it all in God's hands. God was and is always right where we need Him the most. He is armed with tons of angels, 100 SPF sunscreen, and a truck load of life jackets and He's ready to protect our kids this summer! We can rest under God's giant, striped beach umbrella because His arms are wrapped tightly around our kids and He is holding them close!

I pray for God to handle each day on it's own and to be with them all during this and all unfixable times in their lives. I pray for God to give them peace for their pain, strength when it gets tough and for God to give me signs that He is always right there, holding our joy in his grasp! God is helping me to help them. I was reminded that God knew exactly how my boys felt, He too had watched his own son suffer and die an unthinkable death. I was comforted by knowing that God loves my boys, He created them and He still has a great plan for them.(Jeremiah 29:11)
I am confident that nothing they have been through will be wasted. They will be stronger because pain builds charactor and faith. I stand on the scripture that says God turns ALL things around for the good for those who love Him!! (Romans 8:28)
I know how amazingly strong they both are because God does not give us anything we cannot handle!!!
If God leads you to it, He will lead you through it.
As a mom, a parent, you may be facing uncertainty where your kids are concerned, they may be going through some tough times, maybe they are spiraling down a wrong and destructive path, and the thought of summer terrifies you. They may have issues with drugs, alcohol, or immorality. They may be experiencing peer pressures and insecurities or they too may have lost someone close to them.
Whatever the case , please know that God will always show up! He will never leave our kids or forsake them, and for you, the worry filled parent, well, He is close to the broken hearted and He will perfect that which concerns you!! (psalms 34:18,138:8)
Yes He will perfect our concerns!! We can do all we can when it comes to our children, but when you absolutely are beating your head against the wall in sheer frustration, feeling like you have nowhere else to turn, when it looks like all hope is lost, please remember that God is our super hero! Our lifeguard! He carries us when we are to weak to carry the heavy load ourselves. He will give us rest and a calming peace and make light our burdens.

My boys will always miss their dad , but I see God's strength in each one of them. They are strong, they are fighters, they are resiliant. I am still the mom that is always trying to fix what I can, but I am letting God handle the rest, in fact, who am I kidding? I cant do any of it without God anyway!!

2 years later when Kris was graduating highschool, his coach used Kris's story at the varsity golf banquet. He said kris was his hero and that he would never forget that day and the bravery kris had shown. We too will never forget!

Lord please be with our kids always, keep them safe and protected this summer. Please give them perseverence, wisdom and guidence. Help them to stay focused on you and the plans you have for them so they can fufil your will for their lives! Please give us, peace for our lives, and a wonderful endless summer!!! Thank you! In Jesus name!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Embracing Change by Nina Keegan -Owens

It seems one of the only guarantees we have in this life, is that change is inevitable. God however does not change, He is our constant, our rock! He is a fortress in times of trouble. His love for us will never change!!!
People, circumstances, life, will be always and forever changing, sometimes those changes are expected and welcomed, but most of the time change carries with it some dreaded fears and anxieties, it's like peering around the corner to see what change will bring but you can't see anything, or reading a long book and there is no ending. We just can't see the forest through the trees. We all wish we could sit down in a comfy chair, pen in hand, and write the script ourselves. Start to finish.. This is how the story ends. We want the crystal ball, just a peek...just one hint.

We must learn to embrace change. Where would we be without it? Still stuck in the 1950's when computers were the size of a truck, no smart phones, modern medicines and technologies or even before that when cars and modern transportation did not exist... It's coming no matter what, we can't fight it, it's on its way, just like it always has been. We need to grasp change and face it head on, take ownership of every situation, and know that whatever the changes you are going through right now, good or bad, they too will change.
With change comes growth, maturity, wisdom.. With each change we take on, endure, and conquer, we become more equipped. We quite often have a hard time when we have to step outside the box and are removed from our comfort zones. When we go through changes and face new challenges, we are simultaneously gathering precious fragments of information, gaining valuable life experiences, tidbits and particles of every change we go through cling to us like a magnet, creating us, and shaping us into the very person we were created to be.
We have all heard the expressions,"go with the flow" or "roll with the changes", we must do just that. Change can be a golden opportunity for us. God knows what He is doing! We may need a gentle nudge, a little coaxing here and there to get us moving and changing. Sometimes we just need to get pushed out of the nest so we can learn to fly.

We can all look back at our lives and see countless times when we were facing major changes and now, how differently we see those same situations. We can see just how necessary those changes were, that they happened for a very specific reason. We can now see how it all added up, that A+B does not always = C. Sometimes there are a few other letters thrown in just to keep us on our toes, to keep us playing our best game, to keep us motivated to persevere through it all and to become our best selves. We begin to understand how changes lead us out of something that was wrong for us or how it was a beautiful gift on a silver platter, but we just did not recognize it at the time. Sometimes things are good for a season but then it's time to move on, think of your life as a fabulous expedition. There are many treasures in your life yet to be unearthed. Many treasures that are very valuable to the purposes for which you were created.

We would never want to be sitting still while the world and all its constant changes races passed us leaving us in the dust. We must grab hold of change, put our running shoes on and get in the race too. No finish lines here, not in this race but there are plenty of beautiful places and wonderful people and an abundance of fabulous things to enjoy along the way. If we happen to stumble or fall down while we are running our race, God will be there to pick us up, and to carry us straight through to whatever the next changes in our lives will be.
If you look at it this way, there will always be somethings about your life you can change, we can always better ourselves, we can strive to learn more, stay healthy, be more positive, work harder towards our goals, but there are many things we simply have no control over. We must accept those changes and not stress over things we can't do anything about anyway. It is a huge waste of precious time trying to manipulate change. Have faith and let God be God and let Him handle what we can't.

In James1:7 it says, Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the father of the heavenly lights who does not CHANGE.

So while we are in the midst of uncertainty and maybe feeling quite uncomfortable with all the changes going on around us, we can relax with the knowledge that God is right there walking us through it, He will never change, He is the same yesturday, today and tomorrow. We have no need He will not meet, no problem He cannot solve, while change is inevitable, His presence is constant!!!
His love for us will never change!!!

Serenity prayer written by
Reinhold Niebuhr 1930's

Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference!

Have a blessed and wonderful day!!!!!