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Feb 17

Ask Amazing Grace: Is looking to God for a solution realistic?

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q: There have been side effects from taking certain medications to help with having Attention deficit disorder ADD. Is it realistic to turn to God with this problem?

A: First of all, I will never give advice about whether one should stop taking medication, but am happy to share what I do know regarding the power of Christ.

A relative of mine has a son who was diagnosed with learning differences and ADD. His mother ,whom we will call Sally was never convinced that ADD was the actual problem and often had arguments’ with the boys’ father who we will name Harvey about this diagnosis. They had divorced years ago and had shared custody. Harvey insisted that their son take medication so he would do better academically in school as well as controlling any behavioral difficulties. Sally hired tutors and found some non-medical methods of helping her son. However, this did not satisfy Harvey who then filed for an emergency hearing with the court system claiming that the mother was not a suitable parent because she was with-holding medicine from their son. Sally started doing research on the various medications prescribed for this condition and was extremely concerned about the possible side effects written about for each of them. Sally hired an attorney who presented the outcome of the research to the judge. The judge did not make any ruling at this case management meeting but did make a side comment that many children take these medications and her son would probably have to try it and see if it works. Sally was devastated, the judge wasn’t on her side and her own attorney told her that there was no way she could win this case. Her attorney said that she will have to come to terms with giving her son medication after the next hearing date when the matter would be settled because the judge usually rules on the side of the expert reports. Sally called me and relayed the disappointing news she was given. Immediately I told her to that she could trust God because he was the only judge and I would pray with her. Though Sally was not a religious person, she does have faith and was willing to listen to some podcasts on how others had prayed and received answers to their prayers. We even found a non -profit group in the state Sally lives in that is trying to find solutions to court mandated medical reliance, but at this point they were a start -up company and didn’t have the legal help necessary to assist her. Again Harvey told Sally that because of her medical negligence he was going to ask the judge to take all medical decision rights away from her.

Every day on the way to work, Sally would listen to podcasts from a variety of religious leaders. She found one from a lady named Mrs Gooding who stated that God is the only lawmaker and decision maker, so it doesn’t matter what the reports are saying. Sally clung to these words even when her attorney needed to resign from the case due to a leave of absence from her job. Another attorney was assigned to this case and Sally again heard the opinion that she would lose this case. A child psychologist evaluated their son and wrote a 42 page document in favor of prescribing medication and a private school that was designed to help children similar to those her son was experiencing. Sally was willing to pay for it without any assistance from Harvey who baulked at the idea and told Sally that he would not allow for this. Sally continued to declare that God was the only Law and decision maker and it didn’t matter what the reports said. The autumn came and their son was enrolled in a public middle school. Sally feared that the middle school teachers would support what the elementary school teachers’ had said about their sons challenges with school work and behavior. But Sally never gave up on trusting that God was present and could make any adjustments necessary.

Both Sally and Harvey were given the cost of court fees if they couldn’t settle this out of court. The negotiations resumed and a conclusion was settled on. Harvey suggested that they bring their son to the pediatrician and whatever was prescribed, they would agree to follow. The pediatrician then gave them a questionnaire which needed to be filled out by all their sons’ middle school teachers, speech therapist, tutor plus Sally and Harvey. Every one of the teachers, the tutor and speech therapist said that their son was doing well in class. His grades were good and he was paying attention. The pediatrician looked at all the comments made and told Sally and Harvey that there was no need to prescribe any medication.

Glory to God! Nothing is impossible when we stand up for Gods ability to help us even when no one else can.

Nov 14

Ask Amazing Grace: After being abused by my father, how can I think of God as father?

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q: My whole life I have been abused either by my dad or another male figure. When I think of God as father, it does not comfort me. This makes it hard for me to trust God. Any thoughts?

A: You are not alone in this struggle.

I experienced the same conflict in finding comfort with the word father when applied to God. Through prayer, a mentor of mine sensed that something was holding me back from spiritual and occupational growth in my chosen field of Life Coaching and asked me to pray about it.

As I listened for God’s message, the root of the problem became clear. The words father and fatherhood created anguish within me because my human experience of father suggested a vindictive authority, one who could be intimidating and trample on my self-esteem.

But, I knew that this wasn’t the nature of God or the ideal of true fatherhood. I continued in prayer to free myself from the negative reaction I felt from these words.

First I focused on the phrases I found in the Bible that defined God’s nature. Among them are Shepherd, Love, Light and Mother, each synonym uniquely giving a clearer picture of God.

The second, and more arduous battle, was to redefine my perception of what fatherhood truly encompassed. I searched to understand the qualities that exemplified true fatherhood and found God’s attributes to include protection for all his children as found in the beatitudes, safety measures for a good life as found in the Ten Commandments and strength and care through prayer.

Nov 14

Ask Amazing Grace: Can the Bible help banish my night terrors?

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q: I have night terrors when I sleep. When I wake up, I don’t have any memory of them. Yet, I don’t feel rested at night. Is there anything in the Bible that can be helpful?

A: A friend of mine mentioned she too suffered from night terrors. My immediate thought went to Psalm 91:5, and I told her to pray with this verse: “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.”

She really embraced the message and promise. But, then I started pondering the next part of the verse: “nor for the arrow that flieth by day.”

I wondered if those “arrows” were what caused the night terrors. We started talking about the overwhelming amount of responsibilities placed on her at such a young age. Everyone depended on her to take care of their emotions, do all the cooking and cleaning, plus work outside the home.

She didn’t feel she could say no to anyone, and this put an insurmountable amount of pressure and anxiety on her life. She said yes to everything because she didn’t want to hurt anyone or have someone feel as though she wasn’t “there” for them.

As she shared her struggles to please everyone and recognized she had spread herself too thin, she also realized she disappointed those whom she wished to bless. She couldn’t do it all.

That evening she discussed our conversation with her mom, and they came to the conclusion that she needed to delegate some of her responsibilities with people who were the recipients of her nurturing talents.

A few days later, I asked her if she continued to have night terrors. Yes, she replied, but much less and more peaceful sleep patterns. Again, I went back to the “arrows that flieth by day” quote.

She revealed she was upset about being left alone. The last of her siblings was moving to be nearer the rest of their family, and she could not move for a while. She felt this was key to eliminating these night terrors.

I assured her God’s love for her is always present and will comfort her.

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3

So, if you are dealing with nightmares or night terrors, rest assured that God has a solution. Pray and ask God to reveal to you what are those “arrows” pointed at you that are making you a target for terror. Here are some Bible verses to support your prayers.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. — Isaiah 41:9-11

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:6-8

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. — Psalms 4: 8

 

 

When I adopted my daughter at age 3, she experienced great anxiety in the middle of the night and would seem to wake up. When I mentioned this to people involved in the adoption process, they explained that these were night terrors.

Nov 14

Ask Amazing Grace: How do I find my niche, even when I struggle with faith?

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q: I don’t know a lot about God, but I am open to him helping me. I am not sure what to do with my life. Though I have a double major in college, neither seems perfect for me. Can prayer help?

A: Yes! Turning to God, no matter how big or small your faith is always a step towards progress. Jesus tells us:

If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Luke 17:6)

Many people find themselves working in jobs unrelated to their interests, but continue working in that capacity because they don’t know what else to do. I spoke with several individuals struggling with this dilemma. We talked about what inspired them. They all presented their visions as a dream that wouldn’t come true due to a list of obstacles.

Not knowing if any of them had any faith in God, I still suggested the option of turning to him, who is Love and Wisdom itself, to find clarity and affirmed that an all-powerful and present God had a perfect plan for them.

I back up these declarations with the following promise from the Bible.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matt.: 7-8)

Each one had an earnest passion for a particular occupation, but saw the constant obstacles in their way as reasons ‘why’ their career choice couldn’t be achieved. Time, money, competition and the seeming lack of the world’s need for their talent, were among the most-mentioned reasons why these God-given gifts weren’t being utilized.

I asked, “If time and money were unlimited to you, what would you do?”

One wanted to participate in fashion, others in research, cooking and social services. In all these situations, the intent was to help others.

I found that when I asked this question in my coaching practice, the majority of answers also involved serving other people. Whether they knew it or not, each one was following a God-given directive found in Galatians 5:13:

For you, brethren, were indeed called to freedom; only do not let your freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse for selfishness, but through love you should serve one another. (Amplified Bible)

God created you for a specific purpose, and if a motive is based on love, truth, integrity, peace, justice and the infinite characteristics of a good God, then you will achieve these goals. Prayer will help you discover your specific niche in life.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jer. 29 11-13)

Having that mustard seed of faith is effective, as stated in 1 John 5:4:

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Nov 14

Ask Amazing Grace: Friends or Lovers?

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q:  Every woman I have dated in the past 11 years just wants to be friends. This happens especially after I bring up the importance of God and spirituality to me. No one seems to appreciate the topic. Do you have any suggestions?

A: It’s wonderful that you want your dating choices to include God.  In fact, that is your most important relationship.  And yet, if you have ever been on the receiving end of the comment “let’s just be friends,” it might feel like a very personal rejection.  We know what the person truly intends to say is “let’s be acquaintances” because if we find that special person in our life we want them to be our best friend.

So, the question is how to attract a woman who shares your love for God, common human interests and values your dedicated friendship.  Since marriage is not my expertise, but biblical relationships and communication are, here are a few suggestions that will help you whether you are dating or not.

  • Appreciate your talents, skills and unique individuality that are the pure expressions from God.
  • Enjoy being you!!! Be certain that you are your own best friend and love your neighbor as yourself, not better than yourself.
  • Consider the various characteristics you find compelling about another individual.  Are they honest, kind, adventurous, courageous, intelligent, playful, and/or creative etc.?
  • Then find those qualities within and display them daily.  If you are looking for a genuinely godly person then they will be attracted to godly qualities more than physicality.

Also, we are created to both give and receive with one another. If you are being burdened by giving extremely more than receiving then this needs to be balanced. It is unwise to allow someone to take advantage of your good nature. The same is true for the reverse.  If you are abundantly blessed by someone’s good nature, return the care and concern for their life.

John tells us in the Bible that God is love.  Not just loving, but actually love.  So when we love others or feel loved, that is God’s presence in our life.

A perfectly yoked marriage is simply wonderful.  But if you are currently single, then take your abilities and volunteer to help others. As an example, I knew several men and women in church were working during the holidays and many of them didn’t bake.  So, I spent the week making sugared pecans and cakes and combined them with other goodies to give to them.

Having a church family filled a void Christmas week and allowed me to contribute my talents to blessing others. Take time to be the spouse God wants you to be even to those you aren’t dating.

Develop those skills now.  I am not talking about intimacy, just to be clear. Rather focus on being a willing listener and exemplifying true friendship.  Then you will naturally attract someone to date who appreciates character more than personality.

In the story of Ruth in the Bible, it seemed almost impossible that she would find a spouse.  She was a widow in a foreign land and lived with her mother-in-law, who was also a widow.  Ruth had to depend on her strong work ethic so she could provide for both she and her mother-in-law, Naomi.  She had followed Naomi to a country where she knew no one because of her loyalty and her love for God, whom she came to know because of her husband’s family.

A wealthy man named Boaz took notice of her good character and said, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.” Ruth 2:10-12.  Eventually they got married and had a son who was King David’s grandfather.

Deep friendships found in marriage and in a single life are part of God’s love-filled plan for each of us because we are made complete.

Claim your completeness consistently so you feel the confidence that no other person can determine your worth.  God thinks his creation is awesome and this includes you.

Nov 14

Ask Amazing Grace: Verbal abuse, is there a biblical remedy? Yes!

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q: Though I dearly love my spouse, lately there has been verbal abuse, and I no longer can deal with it. Is there anything in the Bible about verbal abuse?

A: Yes. James 4: 11, 12 states:

Speak not evil one to another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Our homes should be a place of safety rather than of fear as promised in Psalms 4:8, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”

The Bible is often referred to as The Word, and it is this Word that tells us of our true identity. Recognize that what the person antagonizing you says is absolutely untrue.

Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Now I ask you, is not God’s image beautiful and perfect? Then you must accept yourself as reflecting this image and not the false image presented to you by a verbal abuser, “for sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

Find strength and comfort from Psalms 91:1, 2 –

“Whosoever goes to the Lord for safety, whosoever remains under the protection of the Almighty, can say to him, “You are my defender and protector. You are my God, in you I trust”.

Ask God to give you the words needed to stand up against mistreatment. It is a challenge to think quickly under such circumstances.

Moses, who wrote down the Ten Commandments given by God, also lacked the confidence to know exactly what words to use when asked to confront a challenging situation. In Exodus 4 Moses replies to God, “No, LORD, don’t send me. I have never been a good speaker

 

Nov 14

Ask Amazing Grace: How do I encourage my adult daughter to get a job?

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q: Should a 20-year-old living at home with her parents and going to college be required to have a job, too? I provide very little spending money (usually for chores) and encourage work experience, even though volunteer work, but I’m not sure how hard to push the job issue.

A: Your question reveals that you’re a caring mother who wants to guide her child in the right direction. That love alone will open up your daughter’s receptiveness to her own progressive steps.

Every child is different, so I don’t have a one size fits all answer. Perhaps some questions need reflective prayer, followed by earnest listening for God’s guidance before you make any decisions.

Hold your daughter’s character and personality in thought and then as you pray think about the answers to these questions: Will her school work suffer if she gets a job? Will she grow spiritually or be morally depleted? Will working give her a better sense of responsibility or will she become overburdened? Is there a position or a volunteer opportunity that supports the subjects she is taking or her major in college?

A relative of mine had several children and the older they were, the less household demands were made on them. This seemed contrary to what should happen, according to the younger children. They felt more responsibility should be placed on their older siblings because they were more capable. But the parents thought that education and learning were the most important area in which children should focus. Since the eldest child was very serious about his studies, the outcome of this parenting style served their son well and he is now a practicing attorney.

Certain types of work may make your daughter feel successful, while other jobs may drain the energy away from her coming home and studying. You and God know your daughter’s needs and what creates pressure and stress for her rather than triumph. If she does have the time to work or volunteer, pray together that she will be led to a place where she is blessed and blesses others too. Jobs that make us feel more exhilarated and purposeful usually don’t feel like work. If she likes the idea of volunteering but needs income, there are paid internships. Many nonprofits offer this and train a person for a position they hope to pursue.

Trust in God’s perfect direction.

Here are a few verses to add to your prayers.

My child, don’t forget what I teach you. Always remember what I tell you to do. My teaching will give you a long and prosperous life. Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness. Tie them around your neck; write them on your heart. If you do this, both God and people will be pleased with you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.
– Proverbs 3: 1-6. Good News Translation

Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity.
– 1 Timothy 4:12. Good News Translation

The Lord your God will lead you.
– Deut. 1:30. Good News Translation

Nov 12

Ask Amazing Grace: How can I help my super-busy husband to value the importance of family?

By Jenny Morris | Uncategorized

Q: My husband and I own a business. He has a big heart, does everything and anything to please his customers. He doesn’t know where to draw the line and then the children and I rarely see him. When he does come home he is too tired to pay attention to any of us. How can I help him see the importance of family? 

A: It is apparent that your husband is dedicated to making people happy and I am sure there are times when you wish you were his customer and not his wife. He may think that the better business person he is, the more he is able to financially care for his family and not realize that what you need from him is quality time. Balance is the key word in this situation.

Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. (NIV Job 31:6) –

Most of those who worship God recognize that in terms of priorities, God is first, family second and career third. All three, though, need attention. If I could ask him questions it would be: How are you glorifying God in your work? Have you asked God how you should schedule your day to give you ample time for both work and family? Are these hours are in or out of balance?

Your question seems to indicate that there is an inequality between your husband’s attention to business and to his family. Perhaps a change in business hours would give him more time at home with the family. For example, if the business is currently open from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and overtime needs keep him there until 7:30 pm, a change of hours to 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. would get him home an hour earlier at 6:30 p.m.

Your husband may not realize his customers have the ability to respect and understand that his family is waiting for him to come home and that he has already stayed 1 1/2 hours after closing.

Does this sound absurd? When I was taking classes in real estate marketing, the speaker told us of a Realtor who only worked days, no nights and weekends. She advertised that, and her business boomed. People related to her commitment to family.

Everyone should have an appointment planner. Time with God is an appointment, so is time with family, friends and even quiet time alone. Be sure to have a date night every week. If it needs to be postponed, that should be the exception and not the rule. Spending time with the children is also an appointment.

It is also important to delegate work and not think you are the only one capable of completing various tasks. God gave us all abilities and as a business owner you can pray for wisdom and discernment as to who can manage each situation. Moses, too, thought he needed to lead and judge every scenario, but his father-in-law told him a better way.

NIV- EX 18:14-22 tells the story this way:

When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

Every business is truly God’s business. A woman I know always seemed very happy. Her husband owned three companies and I asked her how she managed to have such joy in her marriage. She told me that her husband did work long hours, but when he came home he gave 100 percent of himself to the family.

A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight. (KJV – Prov. 11:1)

Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. (Job 31:6)