Saturday, December 17, 2005

Are We Troubled or Trusting?

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Northern Flicker

The Word of God is a living Word. Psalm 119 says that the Word makes me wiser than my enemies, cleanses, strengthens, delights, teaches, saves, comforts, directs and gives understanding. What a resource! What other book do we truly need? God's Word is enough for us!

Do we consider His Word real and living? If we had a person who would be able to give us all these promises and make these things happen in our lives, wouldn't we feel like we'd found our own version of a genie?

God's promises are ours, but we have to accept them and place them into our lives. When somebody gives us a gift, we have to reach out and accept it and we then have to "find a place" for it in our home.

God offers us so many promises and all we need do is reach out for them and take them and then appropriate them into our lives.

It takes time to maintain what you own. Many gifts we've taken have required labor during ownership. A decor item requires dusting and time to consider proper placement. A book or magazine requires time to read it. Clothing must be washed, dried, ironed, and storage space must be given to it.

The Word is alive and powerful and able to perform great things in our lives, but we have to take time for it. We have to find the "perfect gift" [the appropriate Scripture] for our troubled mind and for the situation. Then when we take that gift, we have to spend time applying it to our lives. We have to come against the thoughts that are causing us to worry and be troubled. We use the Word as a sword against those thoughts!

Our health cannot get better if we are worrying and hold anxiety in our lives. Disease comes in with stress, anxiety and worry. We were not made for it so the body begins to break down under it.

The world tells us there are lots of things deserving of our worry, but as you've read many times before, we worry over things we cannot control. For adults who are supposed to have "grown up," this doesn't sound like a very mature choice for use of our time and lives. To spend thoughts and energy and health on something that we can never have control over.

Children are many times the basis for our worry and concerns, but we are told to trust God in everything. When we believe that He is truly wise and all-knowing, we can allow Him to take our lives and do what He will with them. Then we can allow Him to do that with our children also.

Faith will always provide the best results. Worry only brings more worry and I believe that we actually choose what we have in life by choosing worry or faith!

Thoughts and words are seeds! What we plant determines the harvest.

Commit your children to God. They are in His hands anyway, not ours. Consider these words from William L. Coleman:

"Ask God to watch over them. It is not that we have washed our hands of them, but rather that we have called for a first-class security guard, our heavenly Father. Our children are not orphaned but rather are protected by the ultimate Parent. The Great Watchman will be there. Type up Psalm 121:5-8 and paste it on your bathroom mirror. Every time you think of your children, claim these verses."

Psalm 121:5-8: "The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."

I have it placed under our son's picture by my bed and when I rise and go to bed I entrust him to God. After many years of worrying and thinking it would somehow change things I cannot control, I decided to trust in God. To obey His Word commanding me to do so. From that choice I have reaped so much joy and peace and faith about our son. I got absolutely no where with the worry, but the faith and trust has brought a harvest of good things.

Consider today what you worry about. Does it change the situation to worry about it? Does your heart testify that you are in disobedience to God when you worry? Do you want to choose today to trust instead of worry? Go to the Word and ask Him for your "perfect gift" - the Scriptures you need to overcome the habit of worry you have set up in your life and thoughts.

Sow the seeds of faith and trust and harvest great things for you and your family! If you trust Him to take you to heaven when you die, surely you can trust Him in the things of this life.

As Paul said in Acts: I commit you to God and to the Word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified!

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Which Food Plastics Are Safe?

A myriad of petroleum-based chemicals go into the manufacture of plastics. Some can leach into food and drinks and possibly impact human health. Leaching increases when plastic comes in contact with oily or fatty foods, during heating and from old or scratched plastic. Types of plastics shown to leach toxic chemicals are polycarbonate, PVC and styrene.

Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that mimics the action of the human hormone estrogen, can leach from polycarbonate plastic. Human exposure to BPA is widespread. A Centers for Disease Control study detected BPA in the urine of 95 percent of adults sampled. Scientists have measured BPA in the blood of pregnant women, in umbilical cord blood and in the placenta, all at levels demonstrated in animals to alter development.

Hormones stimulate certain cancers. Bisphenol A has been found to stimulate prostate cancer cells and causes breast tissue changes that resemble early stages of breast cancer. One study found an association between ovarian dysfunction and higher levels of BPA in urine.

For more detailed information on this topic, download a fact sheet published in October 2005 from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hope Has Healing Power

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Male Northern Flicker

Our outlook on life can determine life or death for us according to the research presented below. I've had a lot of health challenges in my life and I know that my optimistic attitude has allowed me to fare much better than many I come across with the same health problems.

This year I've gotten a glimpse of where I got some of that optimism and determination. My father has had a series of operations this year and on each one he was released earlier than expected and bounced back so well the doctors were amazed. Family members were stunned at the constitution of this man.

In December he went in for an angiogram and they kept him for triple bypass surgery. They discovered colon cancer. He recouped from the bypass and three months later went in for the colon surgery which was successful without chemo or radiation. After two months of wearing a temporary bag to give the colon time to heal, they opened him again to re-connect the intestine. He's now recovered from that surgery also.

From the beginning of these surgeries he's known that he had to have surgery for an aneurysm which was to be scheduled this month and in the process of tests along the way they informed him he would need to have carotid artery surgery also. It's been a year of doctors and hospitals but his determination to get through the hurdle and onto the rest of his life has been an inspiration to many.

We have to choose how we are going to think.

There are medical costs for pessimism, and corresponding benefits from optimism. For example, 122 men who had their first heart attack were evaulated on their degree of optimism or pessimism. Eight years later, of the 25 most pessimistic men, 21 had died; of the 25 most optimistic men, only 6 had died.

Their mental outlook proved a better indicator of survival than any medical risk factor, including the amount of damage to the heart in the first attack, artery blockage, cholesterol level, or blood pressure. And in other research, patients going into artery bypass surgery who were more optimistic had a much faster recovery and fewer medical complications during and after surgery than did more pessimistic patients.

Like optimism, hope has healing power. People with a great deal of hopefulness are better able to bear up under pressure. In a study of people paralyzed from spinal injuries, those who had more hope were able to gain greater levels of physical mobility compared to other patients with similar degrees of injury, who felt less hopeful.

Hope is especially telling in paralysis patients and how the person reacts emotionally has broad consequences for the degree to which he will make the efforts that might bring him greater physical and social functioning.

Why an optimistic vs. a pessimistic outlook should have health consequences is open to several explanations presented by the medical world. One theory proposes that pessimism leads to depression, which in turn interferes with the resistance of the immune system to tumors and infection. Or it may be that pessimists neglect themselves since some studies have shown that pessimists smoke and drink more, and exercise less, than optimists, and are generally much more careless about their health habits. Or, they say, "it may one day turn out that the physiology of hopefulness is itself somehow helpful biologically to the body's fight against disease."

There are many things in the Bible being proven true by science and that last statement is an interesting thought to a scientist, but it's a Truth to a Christian if we choose to believe what God's Word says:

Psalms 39:7
And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.

Psalms 43:5
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Jeremiah 17:7
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

1 Peter 1:21
Who by him [Jesus] do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

It's interesting that studies have shown that the immune system instantly weakens when you frown and put on a tragic face. But when you smile your immune system and your entire body perks up. Turns out that there are various pressure points in your face that affect your entire system when you flex certain facial muscles. That should make you want to smile every chance you get. Smiling will make you more attractive as you age also, so get used to wearing a smile all day, every day. You'll be amazed at how many people will smile back and give you unexpected energy.

My prayer for you is:

Romans 15:13 - "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

• "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman
• Optimism and bypass surgery: Chris Peterson et al., "Learned Helplessness: A Theory for the Age of Personal Control" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993)
• Spinal injury and hope: Timothy Elliott et al., "Negotiating Reality After Physical Loss: Hope, Depression, and Disability," (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 61, 4 - 1991)

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

The Frugal Life Newsletter

Living more simply is a great way to effect change in your own personal environment. It helps the planet also. The Frugal Life website has lots of ideas on getting back to basics. They also have a free newsletter written to encourage families wanting to stretch their dollars. It includes
articles or tidbits on topics such as: finance, decorating, gardening, and household tips from subscribers and questions from the website forum. I may be a bit partial since my husband is the editor. Subscribe here.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Animal Disaster Plan

From Cheryl Faulkenburry, Animal Behavior Expert
Center Hill School.

Listening to the plight of all the animals after Katrina, I’m worried about my own animals if a disaster should ever strike our area. Is there anything that I can do to be more prepared?

It’s always good to be prepared in case of any emergency. Most people think of preparing for their family, but they often overlook the needs of their furry family. Make sure you have three days of food and water set aside for your pets.

Put any medications, a leash, collar, toys, treats, and copies of vaccination records in a Ziploc bag and keep with the food. Include written instructions for the care of your pet- type and amount of food, medication amounts (if any), their normal routine (how often they go potty, what they like to play, etc.), and emergency numbers for people in your area as well as outside of your area who may be able to care for your pets in an emergency.

Check with your local Administration Office and see if there is a disaster plan in place that includes pets. If at all possible, it’s a good idea to bring a crate and the emergency kit that you’ve set aside so all the instructions are with the animal as well as their shot records.

Always make sure your animals have ID tags on their collars. Evacuation shelters are set up only during a “Declared Disaster,” not during every storm. Stay tuned to your radio to find out if there is a declared disaster in your area when storms approach.

Also have a list of animal-friendly hotels or friends houses outside of your area where you can evacuate with your animals if needed. You may want to leave before an evacuation is required to avoid the last minute rush and decrease the stress on everyone involved. If you have a destination set up ahead of time, you will know exactly where to go and can calmly take your family to safety where you can all stay together until the dangers pass. Take the time to plan and care for your family.

Remember that an emergency may not only be a natural disaster. You may end up in the hospital and need someone to go in and care for your animals. If you have everything necessary set aside in one place, this makes it easier for the caretaker.

It’s also a good idea to put a card in your wallet explaining that you have animals at home that need care if you are incapacitated. Be sure to list an emergency contact so someone can be contacted to care for your animals and where the supplies may be found. Being prepared for the unexpected will give you peace of mind during a very stressful time. Don’t wait until disaster strikes -- sit down with your family and make a plan today that includes everyone.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Living For Today

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Wren

I've lived most of my life
... thinking about
... planning for
... worrying over
the future!

It's easier to get away with doing this rather than thinking about and worrying over the past. It's obvious we can't change the past, so we can easily see how much of a waste it is to dwell in the past, but dwelling in the future is just as wasteful.

Maybe people who like to be in control of things dwell on the future, assuming if they think and plan and ponder it long enough they can get exactly what they want out of it.

Actually most of the thoughts, plans and worries are based on the past - not making the same mistakes or not doing what somebody else in your family has done. The past is something we definitely can't change, but how we respond to it is a big choice of who we become in this life.

There are plenty of books to tell you how to get what you want out of life ... as if life is about getting what you want. When has that ever consistently happened for any human being? Seems like a futile purpose to me.

I do believe that having plans and hopes and dreams are good for us, but we must hold them lightly as Christians because our ultimate desire should be to be more Christ-like and that is the ultimate end to our purpose on earth.

Our real life is in eternity. That's where all the fulfillment and rewards will come. Don't let the television and magazine advertising make you believe it's all about YOU and making this life what you want of it. If we have given our life to God, we are to let go of control and walk in the steps of Jesus. We can surely affect the future by the choices we make based on our past. How we respond to events in our past can determine what we may be able to get out of the future.

Circumstances will sometimes cause people to make vows.

"I'll never be like ... "
"Nobody is going to ever be able to hurt me like that again."
"I'm not going to make any more mistakes and my life will be perfect."
"My family is not going to be like the one I grew up in."
"Every thing I try to do fails. I'm not going to dream again."

Don't base your future on what your past has offered you. How you respond to things makes a big difference. That's why the Word says not to let the sun go down on your wrath. Never go to bed with issues not resolved in your own mind and heart. As much as it's possible live peaceably with all men. Don't go on to another day if there is any unforgiveness from a previous day of your life. The devil will weave it into a straight-jacket on you!

You don't have to accept what somebody has done to forgive them. You are simply choosing to allow God to handle the results of the offense and you are freeing yourself from the bondage and life-altering power that unforgiveness brings.

Ask God now where you've allowed the enemy to build a strong wall around your life due to past events and your responses to them. Resolve those issues today .... better yet, NOW!

" Our thoughts are silent words that only we and the Lord hear, but those words affect our inner man, our health, our joy and our attitude." --- Joyce Meyer

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Perfect Father

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
With Father's Day just having passed, I know many hearts and minds have been focused on their fathers of this world. For some that is a joyous event, but for many it's a very heartbreaking and soul-stirring time.

We have many promises in The Word. They are there to guide us, give us hope, and give us direction in how to attain them. There are many "if" clauses in the Bible. If you do this ... you get this. Sometimes we claim a Scripture but fail to read the "if clause" before it.

I love the Psalms of David. Psalms offers a lot of comfort because David went through some pretty tough times in his life and yet he kept his heart close to God and God was close to him. Read the following from Psalm 112. Feel and experience the promise and hope in them.

"Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord." (Psalms 112:1-7)

I want my heart fixed. I want those promises for my seed and I definitely need that light in the dark areas of my life. So I seek to understand what "feareth the Lord" means. I want to know Him. I want to delight in His commandments because they are life.

Strong's Concordance says the definition of this Hebrew word, feareth, means: "to fear, to revere, be afraid, reverence.

Many people don't want to think of God with fear. They think of their earthly fathers and some people lived in fear their whole childhood, so they want to see a loving God. That's understandable, but a perfect Father would be one with love but also one you would fear/reverence so that you would do the right thing.

Personally I grew up with a Daddy that had nothing but love for me [he happened to be my grandfather]. My mother [grandmother] had to handle the discipline because there was not a cross word from my father no matter what I did. That may sound delightful to those who grew up with a mean father, but out of balance, is out of balance either way. I have had a struggle seeing God as God because I look at fathers as somebody to give me anything I want and to fix every problem I have.

That lack of balance is definitely in my face the past couple of weeks since we have discovered that we will not be moving into the house we've been building since November and we won't be moving onto the land that we've loved since last June. It's a tragic story but I know God uses all for good and rather than fixing this just the way I want it, we are promised God's best if we love Him. The hardest part is having to finish the project and get it sold before we can move on to another piece of land? another house building project? another house already built? Unanswered questions with much time to wait offers many opportunities for us to Trust and have Faith in our Father.

Our God is an awesome God and He is everything to us, but we have to know that His commandments are just that. We are commanded to follow them. Those with mean fathers generally want no more commands in their lives. Those with fathers like I had tend to whine and dwell in self-pity when we find that the problems of life aren't being instantly fixed by God.

Proverbs says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. (Proverbs 3:5-9)

The navel is defined in Strong's Concordance as "the center of strength." Marrow is defined as "moisture, drink, refreshment." There are many diseases affecting the bones and there is certainly a lack of strength and energy in so much of the population. Even children.

Stay in the Word! That's where we find the true picture of who God is and who we are to become through Him. We need a picture and feel of the really perfect Father and that will get us through anything we face in this life. His Word and our application of it can truly bring health to our bodies and minds.

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Why Christians Lose Their Peace & How to Get it Back

by Michael D. Jacobson, D.O.
(Prepared for the International Center for Biblical Counseling of Indiana)
Galatians 5:22 states, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience in hard circumstances), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law."

Did you notice that one of the fruits of the Spirit is PEACE? Is your heart at complete peace? Or are your emotions up and down, better characterized by anxiety, worry, or, the more commonly used term nowadays: stress? If you answered 'yes' to the latter part of the question, then don't feel alone, That is the reality for many of today's Christians. In fact, anxiety and stress have characterized my personal life as well. That is, until the last few years...

I used to wonder why it was my emotions and character so often differed drastically from those which are listed as the fruit of the Spirit. This was despite the fact that I had been a Christian since my youth, had attended Bible college for two years, and, through Christ, had a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father, even seeking His face each day through prayer and Scripture.

I would read other passages, like Philippians 4:7, where it reads, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Or, Isaiah 26:3, which states, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee." There seemed to be such a difference between my personal state and that which was supposed to be my condition in Christ. Why?

Allow me to share what God used to change me and to allow me to experience the freedom in Christ which should have been mine all along. Perhaps it will be a help to you, too.

Seeing Life From God's Frame of Reference:
The Critical Need for a Renewed Mind

The book of Ephesians affirms that as believers in Jesus Christ, we are "blessed ... with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (1:3), we have "redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (1:7), and "exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe" (1:19). Furthermore, Ephesians 1:20-21 states that Christ is now seated at God's right hand "in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named...." Finally, Christ dwells in our hearts through faith (3:17) and with this foundation, we are encouraged to comprehend and know His incredible love, that we "might be filled with all the fullness of God" (3:18-19).

Now, may I ask you, "Does fear, anxiety, worry, panic, etc. characterize God?" Of course not. If it does not characterize God, how can it characterize someone in whom He dwells? Paul cautions us not to walk as the "Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Ephesians 4:17-18). He tells us to "put off concerning the former conversation [manner of thinking and acting] of the old man ... and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and ... put on the new man" (4:22-24).

Here is the key to living the Christian life, to enjoying the freedom and power which it brings; we must be renewed in the spirit of our mind. 2Corinthians 10:4-5 says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

This passage teaches us three critical points to our success:

1) We are not waging a war against people. In other words, the problem is not my rebellious child, or my angry husband, or my irritating wife, or my harsh boss, or my environment at home or work. No, our battle is against unseen powers.

2) This battle is largely waged in the mind, i.e. the thought life. I can expect that the primary struggles which I will face will be those in which I am tempted to think wrong thoughts. This does not just refer to wrong thoughts morally, but also to thoughts of anger, worry, doubt, questioning the motives of others, fear of the future, fear of loss, etc.

3) Finally, this battle for my thoughts is one which I can win, the weapons which I have are "mighty" and it is possible for me to have every thought I think brought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Wrong patterns of thinking are "spiritual strongholds."

We all know who the tempter is. He is also known as our adversary. In Ephesians 6:16, we learn that he sends "fiery darts" our way, What are fiery darts? You guessed it: wrong thoughts. So, for example, when we hear that we might have messed up at work and the thought comes to our mind, "I'm going to get fired. Where will we get the money to pay our bills?" where is that thought coming from? Often, that thought is a fiery dart from the adversary. How do we know this? Because it is tempting us to doubt the faithfulness and promises of God, i.e. it is contrary to Scriptural teaching.

Ed Silvoso, an Argentine Christian evangelist defines a stronghold as, "a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes me to accept as unchangeable something that is contrary to the will of God." A mindset is a pattern of thinking. And so, if I have a pattern of thinking which is inconsistent with God's revealed truth, it is a stronghold. And, as we saw earlier, the Christian has weapons of warfare which are stronger than these strongholds, and are capable of bringing these wrong patterns of thinking into obedience to Jesus Christ.

How are strongholds built?

As I stated earlier, wrong thoughts often come as a fiery dart from the tempter. Remember, Satan cannot control Christians. But he can influence them. This is why we are commanded to put on the spiritual armor and resist him (Ephesians 6; James 5). Ephesians 4:27 warns us "neither give place to the devil." The word place comes from a Greek word which can be translated several ways, including ground, but its basic meaning is one of "jurisdiction." In other words, don't give the devil a right to operate in your life! And that is exactly why many Christians are tormented with wrong patterns of thinking: they have given their adversary the right to bother them!

How? There are three basic areas in which He tempts us.

1) He tempts us to be bitter toward another. (Isn't it interesting that the warning against giving the devil a place follows immediately after the verse telling us not to let the sun go down on our anger?)

2) He tempts us to be morally impure.

3) He tempts us to be greedy, i.e. to allow temporal things and cares of the world to occupy our thoughts more than they ought (Ephesians 4:17-19).

ALL three have their root in self and pride. When we yield to Satan in any of these three basic areas, we give him the right to have influence in our life, i.e. we give him a place.

How to Find Freedom in Christ

Galatians 5:1 says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Sad to say, most of my early Christian life was not characterized by this liberty. But I can say from experience that there is no greater joy in life than to walk in the freedom that Christ has already provided. Here are some basic steps which Biblical counselors have identified as necessary to take in restoring freedom:

1. Ask God to reveal to you any ways in which you may have given the adversary a jurisdictional place in your life. Have you responded to someone in bitterness? Is there or has there been moral impurity, including in your thought life? Do the cares of the world occupy your mind?

2. Once He shows you what it is, confess it to Him and repent. Note: I have found that in order to be free, I have usually needed to acknowledge this need for repentance in a discreet way with a trusted Christian, such as my spouse or pastor.

3. Ask God to forgive you of your Claim the shed blood of Christ as full payment. And thank the Lord once again for the forgiveness that is yours in Christ!

4. Ask God to reclaim the "ground" which you previously yielded to Satan.

5. Identify the wrong thought patterns which you have had. Identify and memorize Scriptures in which you can put your faith during times of testing, This is at the heart of putting on the spiritual armor discussed in Ephesians 6.

6. Consider studying additional resources on this important subject (see references below).

I will conclude by saying that this Fact Sheet is not intended to comprehensively treat the subjects of spiritual warfare, freedom in Christ or their relationship to mental and emotional stress. Furthermore, your understanding of these areas may differ from what I have just shared with you. Don't let that bother you. Instead, consider doing your own personal study, particularly of Scripture, into this very important subject. If you or a loved one need specific counseling in this area, we may be able to provide information on specific counselors.

I pray that "you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32).

Recommended References for Further Study:
Logan, James - Reclaiming Surrendered Ground (1995; Moodv Press, Chicago; ISBN 0-8024-3948-9)
Anderson, Neil - Bondage Breaker (1990; Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon; ISBN, 0-89081787-1) & Victory Over the Darkness (Regal Books)

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Emotions and Disease

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Pileated Woodpecker At Suet
The medical world admits that 75% to 85% of all disease is stress-related. That would make most diseases emotionally rooted, wouldn't it? If God tells us to be "anxious for nothing." Should we be? Can He bless us if we continue to disobey without even a heart to make an effort to change? Do we believe the world's "go-go/run-run" instead of Him...and thereby reap the consequences of it? If God gives us a command should we obey it? If we do not, aren't there natural consequences?

So when we beg God for healing and it doesn't come ... is it because we have" asked" to be sick and weak? In Deuteronomy God gave a choice of being blessed or being cursed. Do we make the choices for the curses and expect the blessings? Is God's Word true and is He unchangeable - the same today, yesterday and tomorrow? Scripture tells us that He will show mercy where He will show mercy, so there can always be exceptions, but basically as I see it, He has set the world up and it works the way He ordained it to do so.

As Pastor Henry Wright puts it in the book, A More Excellent Way, "It isn't that God cannot heal, it's an issue that He can't do it without denying His own holiness and giving us a leavened gospel that would say we can keep our sin and receive His blessings."

I've been reading Dean Ornish's book, Love and Intimacy, which mentions all the research that has been done with heart disease, and other health issues, and the link between relationships and the emotional side of health. When they studied this, all of the "environmental" factors didn't even count. If somebody had a meaningful, loving relationship (and the more they had the better the odds), then their prognosis ended up so much better (like 6X) than those without. And the amazing part of it was that it crossed the boundaries of the co-factors of smoking, diet, drinking, exercise, etc.

As I read I thought of what the Bible says: "the greatest of these is love" and "love covers a multitude of sins" (diet, toxins, etc.). VERY intriguing! I thought about the environmental factors in regards to cancer, allergies and the diseases of our present age. If the toxins are the key, then why doesn't EVERYBODY have the diseases from it? Why do some people seem to slip right on through without the health problems?

The studies show that where diet (junk) enters, so does disease ... but is that because the nutrient deficiencies make us addicted, messes with our blood sugar, and changes our mood and personalities?

Or is it the other way around? Do we eat the junk because of a love hunger and hatred for our own body? That's what Dr. Ornish mentioned. You can tell people how much difference changing the diet makes, but unless the person loves himself, he doesn't have any motivation to leave what he does love behind - the junk food.

Think about it!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jairus' Daughter and Kitty Girl

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Kitty Girl (aka Squeek)
Through some strange circumstances, we ended up with a trip scheduled to Costa Rica with less than three weeks to plan in November 1999.

Many things happened during that preparation time that seemed targeted at making us fear going. The volcano we would be staying 1.6 miles from, for two days, was having an immense amount of sudden activity.

There was a murder of an older couple not far from where we would spend a day.

There was concern of earthquakes off the coast of the South Pacific jungle where we would be for three days.

Those and other details aren't important other than the fact that we chose Faith instead of Fear. The trip was an incredible one, with our witness shared with many.  Even our encounter with a fer de lance snake in the jungle (accredited with the most human kills) didn't deter the plans that God had for this trip.

However, when we returned "our cat" was no where to be found. She is a wild kitty that has quite a story of her own. I have been an animal lover since I was a very small child with a special attraction to cats. The only problem is that on a scale of 1 to 10, my cat allergy rates off the top of the scale.

Although we've always had stray cats and up to 3 at a time, my sweet husband told me in 1996 that after the last one died, that would be it. He wasn't going to see me suffer any longer with cat dander all over the house. In April 1997, Princess, my favorite cat died at the age of 20. We had one cat left who was only 6 years old, so I didn't have to worry yet, but I really missed my Princess.

One week after her death, I was on the phone and left it drop to the floor when I looked out the window and saw what I thought to be Princess. It was a female cat that looked and acted like her - our wild kitty. It was a joy to see her and I felt like she was a gift from God to me. A kitty that could be "mine" but not really since she was a feral cat.

In June 1998, our last kitty died suddenly. That was so difficult since I knew it was the last cat I would have until I got to my home in Heaven.

The wild black kitty continued to come around since we always had some kind of food out for the wildlife in our woods. Now she was all I had and after we buried our last cat, I really worked at being able to pet her, which finally occurred after two years of feeding her. So, this is how Miss Kitty Girl came to be "our cat." During 1999 she had been spending most of the day on our back porch with a soft bed of her own and a recently added long box to crawl into for winter nights with a blanket at the back for warmth.

Although we trapped her to have her spayed in March 1999, she'd had no interest in human touch until the summer of 1999. She would allow me to rub on her and about a month before the trip, I could even pick her up for about 1/2 a minute before she'd panic to get down. She seemed to be well on her way to accepting me as a special part of her life.

Return from Costa Rica

Getting in at midnight on November 21, we didn't see Kitty Girl anywhere. We had taken a 12-day trip in September and she was there just a little bit after we returned, so we expected to see her in the morning, but didn't. The entire week went by - hour by hour - looking for Kitty Girl. The joy of the trip was greatly dimmed by these circumstances.

I know daily that it is dangerous in the woods. There's no traffic to worry about, just the natural flow of nature to hunt or be hunted. Having spent time in Costa Rica in a true jungle setting, this understanding was very real to me. I've always believed in house pets, but I don't believe in zoos and wild animals being kept as pets, so I conceded that what was best for her was what life was to her and that was to be wild until she wanted something else. I have truly learned the definition of a feral cat.

I had no problem allowing God to take her from us for His best in our lives. I could say with rejoicing, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" However, in my heart, I knew it just wasn't God's way. I would feel so much guilt if she got killed because we weren't here for her.

So, later in the week I mustered up all the Faith I could find inside me and prayed. I wasn't going to give up and succumb to my worst fears. This was just a continuation of the fear the devil tried to throw in before the trip.

I felt pretty good for the balance of that day, but was back in tears by the next. I spent more time looking at the porch door where she would sit than anything else I did each day. I called out to the woods throughout the day and throughout the nights. I battled guilt and condemnation with grief-filled tears. Being an "empty-nester" since our only son moved 815 miles away in January, made Kitty Girl something to care for. She had become a more important part of my life than I had realized.

By Saturday night I felt that there wasn't much hope left since there would be no reason she wouldn't return for food and the warmth and safety of the box with the weather at freezing during the night.

I had a decision to make!

I was torn between desiring to go to church to praise and worship my Lord for who He was and for the love He gave that would cover all the grief I had in this human body - or - to stay home and cry my heart out, with my pride not wanting to possibly break down and cry uncontrollably at church as I'd been doing at home.

My decision was to go. I needed the Spirit flowing around me and didn't want to let the devil have a winning stroke. I was soon to be reminded that the devil's power is nothing when you put it up against the Power of God.

I dressed early on Sunday so there wouldn't be any hesitation and I thought about our prayers before we left for the trip. We had prayed over the house, over our land, and over our kitty. We prayed during the trip for protection for all. I began to think of the promises in Psalm 91 that we had always stood on and believed in and remembered those prayers prayed in Faith had always been fulfilled. I just didn't have a peace in my heart to give up hope, but my mind said there wasn't a chance. I had checked with the neighbors and nobody had seen her. I had done everything I could humanly do. My mind wouldn't allow me any hope. But,

Hope comes from the heart!

I knew I would be fine during church, but was confused as to why. The praise and worship time was special and it reaffirmed that whatever went on in life, I could make it through to the other side because I had the hand of the Almighty God in mine.

Our Pastor was home sick that day, so our Youth Pastor spoke. I began to take notes as usual, and then I realized that this was a message to me ... and as I listened to it, God unveiled His Words to me through Pastor Jimmerson's sermon.

The Scripture reference began with Mark 5:22 and the story of Jairus asking Jesus to come heal his daughter. On the way a woman with an "issue of blood" stopped Him and He spent time healing her, and then somebody came to tell Jairus that his daughter had already died. Jesus told him, "Don't be afraid, JUST BELIEVE!" I had asked Jesus to help the kitty, to heal her if she was injured, to bring her home, but I kept battling fear, and now I was hearing, "JUST BELIEVE!"

Pastor said that the devil will plant seeds of doubt and how you view your situation is how it will turn out. The title of the sermon was called, "Your Outlook Determines your Outcome."

When they got to the daughter everybody laughed when Jesus said she wasn't dead, but only asleep. Pastor mentioned that even death has to go at the Word of Jesus.

Every time fear would try to fill my mind, I would hear from within, "She's not dead, but only sleeping." I even thought at one point, "yeah, sleeping in heaven." I would keep my head filled with His Word and the message that He gave me through the sermon. The Bible says that the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword (and a sermon preached right before we took the trip included a visual aid of a two-edged sword, so I could picture it cutting the doubt and fear into pieces).

The girl was 12 years old. I thought: My kitty is a girl and if you take 3 cat years times 4, you get 12 human years of age.

I reminded myself of Pastor's words that spoke directly to my heart, "Jesus is on the way, He's just stopped along the way." And I remembered Jesus' words, "Don't be afraid, just believe" and "she is not dead, but sleeps."

I kept reminding myself of all the real problems in the world. The famines, fathers dying in plane crashes and single moms who struggle with daily life, children being killed by gunfire and horrified by wars. How could I even shed a tear over something as trivial as a cat being gone?

I came to realize that even that was condemnation from the devil, although it sounds pretty spiritual when you rehearse it in your mind.

The reason it wasn't trivial is because it was my pain and my Daddy in Heaven cares about me just as we are to care about our own children with their trivial hurts. Yes, there are greater sorrows all around us, but even so, our own little sorrows are important to our Lord.

He keeps every tear drop we shed in a bottle.

Isn't that a picture of how much He cares? I have known much greater sorrows in life and shall know many more, as life promises trials and tribulations, but whatever it is that hurts our heart concerns our Heavenly Father just because He loves us that much.

Humanly I knew I couldn't keep fear out and doubt from overwhelming me and grief of the loss from destroying me. But I had this extremely strange-to-human kind of peace that was radically opposite from what I had experienced all week long grieving for her. Pastor said, "God works from the inside out. The devil works from the outside in." I kept His Word inside me so that it could work from the inside out and I could be free of the fear that would try to attack from the outside in.

There's no record of Jairus tugging at Jesus to go when the lady tugged on His garments. She'd had the problem for 12 years, couldn't she wait a little longer?

Jairus had stated when he came to Jesus, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." Jairus KNEW that his daughter would live.

From the time I returned home from church I was at peace knowing that my Kitty Girl was okay. Jesus would get to her. At moments it seemed so impossible that I knew this, that I would stir myself up to a bit of reality. I'd think to myself that it was so long and maybe the Father meant that she would live in Heaven.

I could tell the difference between the devil feeding me fear and doubt and my mind trying to make me think "sensibly." My thinking was still surrounded with peace and knowing. Fear and doubt would cause me to rise up with His Word and jab it to death. That sword at church was huge and certainly too heavy for me to use effectively. God's Word has so much in it that sometimes we get confused about which Scripture is "right." Just let God show you "your Word" and stand on it and jab away at the devil's promptings.

You don't need to be a skilled warrior to win the battle. You just need to keep jabbing away. Determination and persistence will get the job done while you remember all the time that Jesus is on the way!

Pastor said that "criticism is always a part of the supernatural" and I guess I was criticizing myself for being so seemingly senseless. I consider myself a pretty down-to-earth kind of person and live pretty close to the reality realm of life. However, there comes a time when your mind and human thought has nothing to do with life. When your heart KNOWS that God says something is going to happen, you just have to KNOW that it will.

It's not something that you can do on your own. Maybe it comes down to Faith or Fear. Exact opposites. We all know how much Fear can accomplish in us. We hear a tap on the window while we're alone in the dark and in 10 seconds we can almost kill ourselves from fright before realizing that a pine cone hit the window on its way to the ground.

I've been working at building Faith and fighting Fear for many years and I guess it's like a muscle. The more you exercise it the stronger it will be. It's just a matter of choice and like all exercise, it's not easy to be consistent. But then what comes easy in life is generally not of much value.

Choose faith and not fear!

From the time I got home after church, I was back to the duties at hand. If I passed the door or window I would look, but it didn't control me. I just knew that she'd be back. I pictured her arriving and the knowing allowed me to continue on.

I was working at my desk in another room when my husband called me to the living room to see Kitty Girl at the door. I can't describe the feelings of that moment. I mentally ran up to my Heavenly Daddy and jumped into His lap to say, "Thank You." As I sat there on the floor petting her and feeling stunned, I had thoughts of how much that "exercise" of my Faith muscle had actually reaped. God will use this to make my prayer and intercession more powerful.

I've heard a phrase for many years: "What you can believe, you can achieve." Doesn't it all comes down to that! God's power in us can achieve great and mighty things if we just believe in His power. His power is always available. We just don't flip the switch. Can we really can have all of the "desires of our heart" if we just believe in Him?

Maybe my sharing this piece of my life will make a change in your life that will allow you to see God in a different way. We have a lot of choices to make every day.

Choose FAITH and not fear! "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22

"Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Every Drop for Good

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Rose of Sharon Bloom With Raindrops
There are so many events in our lives that don't seem to be justified. We do good to others, we tithe, we do our best to walk in the fruits of the Spirit, and yet we sometimes go through periods of our lives (and sometimes for most of our lives) that just don't seem fair - or just!

Hannah Whitall Smith says, "Nothing that is not part of God's will is allowed to come into the life of someone who trusts and obeys Him. No matter how unjust something may be, even when it comes straight from Satan himself, by the time it reaches us it is God's will for us and will ultimately work to our good."

I want to say that God's will is never for evil! However, the world is and we open many doorways as we pass through it for the devil to appeal before God for permission as he did with Job. In Job's case it was pride and fear that opened the doorway to allow the devil to work.

Read Job again and notice that "what he feared the most" came upon him and his "arguments" with his friends and God revealed the pride in his life.

God used it all for good though because Job's heart was with God. God is just and even the devil has to play by His rules. We ultimately, as children of God, win the war! We must make a conscious decision daily to walk in His ways no matter what comes our way. That is the way we overcome, which is the promise given to us. What we choose to think and believe about our circumstances will change the world around us. Jesus said, "Only believe."

In the pain, we share in Christ's sufferings. We look upward and onward knowing that our reward is not of this world. We can get good out of the evil we endure. Sometimes we just don't see the door out, but in it all, God is still with us, never leaving nor forsaking us, but calling us always to follow Him in Faith.

I sat on the porch and watched it raining one afternoon. The raindrops beat down the flowers until they almost laid on the ground. I in my wisdom knew that the rain would be good for the flowers, for without it, they would surely die. However, if I did not know that, I would think that the rain was destroying those beautiful flowers. When it stopped the flowers did their part and stood up again glowing to show us a picture of Christ in this fallen world.

God knows that the pain we endure will not destroy us, if we take His hand and choose Faith. God will turn every drop into good for us and others. Don't let the rain in life keep you from glowing inside.

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Sunday, August 7, 2005

Freedom From Fear

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Wren at Mepkin
I grew up with a lot of fears and through Christ I have conquered many. I used to be afraid of the dark. When I was about 8 years old I didn't want to walk to the kitchen at bedtime to get a drink of water. My mother would always get it for me. I was afraid of walking down the dark hallway. One night she had fallen asleep on the chair and I wanted water so bad I went down the long hall to the kitchen. On the way, an ironing board behind a bedroom door along the hallway decided to fall forward which slammed the door closed while the ironing board hit the floor with a loud thud. Well, that was proof that my fear of the dark was validated! At least for 19 more years of my life.

I meditated on Scripture about fear during my first year of salvation in 1977, and got freedom from fear of the dark. Since then I don't need lights on all over the house and I can walk through the house in the dark without thinking something is going to eat me alive!

I used to have a fear of bugs. I was terrified at the sight of them. When I was small I saw my mother scream and run and I adopted the same posture with an added step. I'd get up on a piece of furniture and scream hysterically. Although I was getting B's in my 9th grade Science class, the fourth quarter was the time for a bug collection which was to be the basis for our grade for that quarter. I got the only F my report cards ever saw. I couldn't even think about looking at a bug collection.

Many years ago I asked the Lord for land with woods to find His peace and presence, and after 7 years of prayer while living on a busy street, He provided it in 1989. Living in the woods provides you with many opportunities to overcome a fear of bugs, but I don't think opportunity is what allows you to overcome. It's only the power of the Holy Spirit within applying Christ's victory on the cross to everyday life.

I wanted to renew my mind about bugs since it was absolutely ridiculous that I was so fearful about something so small and literally harmless. The world calls it a phobia. The definition of a phobia is "an irrational fear." There's no rhyme or reason to it. There isn't a bug in the world that is even the size of my hand, and yet my reaction appeared that it was the size of an airplane ready to land on me.

I thought about all the beautiful critters we were privileged to view in the woods and began considering bugs to be in the same category. There are some truly beautiful insects in this world and I let God show me more of His creation as I began to be able to stay nearby and look at bugs to find something beautiful about them. Over time I renewed my mind so much that I could actually pick them up. We had a bug jar at the house in Alabama (a state with many bug opportunities since there's not enough cold to kill them off easily). The bug jar was a rescue vehicle for any bugs that got inside the house. We put them back outside.

Roaches! I know you have had this bug flash across your mind -- you are wondering, aren't you? Well, I'm not that renewed yet. I still have a mental imprint about roaches, but I can say I'm not afraid of them. I can get them into a jar and put them outside instead of screaming and fleeing for my life. I'm talking about wood roaches, not the kind that multiply and plague homes.

It seems the more fears I am willing to face, the more God reveals to me. The victories and freedom as I leave them behind one by one is nothing less than incredible!

For those who have done what it takes to overcome a fear, you know the exhilaration of getting free. It's like standing on elevated rocks with a mountain breeze blowing on your face and through your hair as you look around at the scenery thinking, what a powerful and awesome God we have to create what can be seen in Nature. That power is also within us to not only change our own lives, but to change others, and even change the world for the better.

It's worth it to be free! It's worth it to take the time to face up to your fears and begin the process of evicting them from the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The workbook, "Biblical Foundations of Freedom" by Art Mathias has been a tremendous blessing to me as it has helped to bring out fears that I didn't even know existed. And shining The Light on them is the first step to victory. It has been so refreshing to be able to recognize fears and see how they've led to various health problems. I know I still have a lot of hard work ahead of me, but the rewards are so great and each battle is easier than the last as I unravel the web the devil has woven around my soul. I pray that each of you will be able to do the same.

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Our Life Is Our Thoughts

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Song Sparrow
Love is a common theme in the Bible. We are also to walk in FAITH, not fear. These Scriptures come to mind as I ponder the power of God's love for us and in us.

1 John 4:18 - "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

Seems to me the more we know God's love for us, the more we can love others and love will "cast out" fear from our lives. Here are a few Scriptures to

Psalms 91:14a - "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him."

Mark 12:30 - "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."

Zephaniah 3:17 - "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."

When we love God, we can love others. We see ourselves in a new light when we see God's love for us. To think that God rejoices over you with joy! God commands us to love others:

John 15:17 - "These things I command you, that ye love one another."

John 13:35 - "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

God has a way around fear in our lives. He's made provision for it:

2 Timothy 1:7 - "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Psalms 119:165 - "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

When we love God's law, people will no longer offend us, and we can simply love them right past their imperfections. We lose our defensiveness and focus more on God's work in our own lives which enables us to see others as unfinished works in progress also.

Relationships can create joy in our lives which brings healing --- or they can create bitterness and anger. We're the only ones who can decide for ourselves which way it's going to be.

Here's some excerpts from the book, "Reduce Me to Love," by Joyce Meyer about our thoughts and words toward others:

When God takes charge of us, we cannot think bad things about people {not even ourselves}.

We are not really living the life of the Spirit until we allow the Holy Spirit to control every area of our life. He will certainly never get control of our life until He has control of our thoughts and words.

As long as we think our own thoughts and speak our own words, we will never experience victory!

Our life is a reflection of our thoughts. It is impossible to have a good life unless we have trained ourselves to have good thoughts.

I am sure that many people have been controlled all of their life by wrong thinking. They think all their problems are caused by the devil, other people, the way they were raised as children, etc. but the truth is that in many cases the problem is simply a lack of knowledge or a lazy spirit that refuses to act on the knowledge available.

Thinking right thoughts will often resemble warfare. The mind is the battlefield on which Satan tries to defeat us. In the Bible we are told to "cast down" wrong thoughts, but what does that mean? It means once wrong thoughts present themselves to us, we are to refuse to receive them and turn them over and over in our mind. We are not to give them strength by meditating on them.

The real key to victory is not only to cast down wrong thoughts, but to replace them with right ones: "For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on, and weigh, and take account of these things." (Philippians 4:8 AMP)

It is virtually impossible to think two things at the same time. When a new thought comes in, the old must go.

Go ahead and try it! Start thinking about your name for example. Now begin to think about your address. When you changed to thinking about your address, you stopped thinking about your name.

We get rid of the darkness by turning on the light. In the same way, we rid ourselves of wrong thoughts by deliberately turning our attention to right thoughts.

Be determined to love God, yourself and others with your thoughts. Ask the Lord to reduce you to love. It is the only road to true happiness, and the only way we can be a witness in our world today."

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Thursday, July 7, 2005


by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Pink Rose

Worry is a nice word for fear, but Jesus simplifies a way around worry when He says, "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

We look at that statement and it's just too simple, and yet it's just too hard. How do you seek the Kingdom of God? How will that take care of everything else?

If we seek God and His righteousness, our focus is going to have to be one of Faith. If we seek His Word on life and believe what He says, we will have Faith enough to leave every thing (all details of life) in His hands.

Jesus says, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Matthew 6:25-26)

Jesus talks about food, drink, and clothes. In America most people don't really have to worry about having these. We generally worry about "how much" (fast food, overeating, binging from emotional worry) of it to have when it comes to food and drink, or the "kind" (stylish/right label) of it to have when it comes to clothing. We also worry about the kind / size / location of our homes. It's more of a competitive thing rather than a necessity. It's hard for us to imagine being grateful for simply having "something" to eat with food stamps and food banks providing for the poor in our country.

Why do we worry? It's of no value. We know that. Most people worry about the past or future. Neither of which can we truly control.

You certainly can't change the past, but it continues to change you if you worry and muse on it. It will continue to take you down if you're thinking about the bad things in the past. You can't change anything, so give God the permission to change you because of it --- into something good! My friend in Atlanta has a favorite saying from Othello: "It makes us, or it mars us, think on that."

We have choices in life to make and one of them is whether we will obey the voice of the Lord when He says, "Fear Not!" It makes a tremendous difference in our health - mentally and physically.

"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" (Matthew 6:26-27)

We add nothing to our lives from worry, but we can take a lot of life away with worry. We can also bring a lot of life to us with faith and belief in God. Most people see God as they saw their earthly father and for most folks that just isn't a correct view. An earthly father will never provide a totally accurate picture of who God is because our earthly fathers are human, and God is GOD!

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

When we worry we are serving the devil. His desire is to cause us to lose our peace and faith in God and he will use all tactics and evil from his pit. When we have faith we are serving God because we believe His Word and we act upon it.

It's a process! One thought at a time!

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow..." (Matthew 6:24)

Our Lord points out the utter unreasonableness from His standpoint of being so anxious over the means of living. Money worries are the #1 cause of divorce and in my mind, it's a good guess that it's at the root of much depression in our nation also.

The great concern of our lives seems to be how we are to fit ourselves for life on earth. "Seek ye first...." I think our first concern should be how we are to fit ourselves for eternity in Heaven.

I know money concerns can eat you up! When we decided to be debt-free to eliminate that worry, I thought it would take the rest of our lives. But God met us after we only took a few steps of our own and did amazing things.

We lived in the early 90's with the average income of $12,000 with a mortgage to pay and a child to raise, but at the end of those years you couldn't figure it out on paper or in your mind. God really does make up the difference.

To win the battle over worry you will need to have a Scripture to renew your thoughts and you may use that Scripture every five minutes when you begin. You will be surprised how much energy you spend worrying --- I was! And I'm not the proverbial worrying type!

Take your life back from the schemes of the devil - he has come only to steal, kill and destroy. Choose not to be one of his victories. Choose God's Word and LIVE!

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Make Money & Time Last Longer

by Donna L. Watkins

There are so many ways to save money, and the least effective one is finding things on sale. We have to learn how to find and use what we already have. It's a talent lost in our present culture of wanting more. Find a few ideas below to stimulate your own creativity to do what fits for your own family and household.

We have been recycling paper for many years, as many others have, but we've found that many folks don't think about using the paper before recycling it.

Do you realize how much junk mail passes through the home or office that has printing only on one side?

We keep it and use it in our printers. Most of what we print is for ourselves and for our files, so we save having to buy reams of paper. We also do this when we print something for somebody else that we know, so it will be a topic for conversation, which gives us the chance to teach that recycling and concern for the environment is important....and that frugality can be fun and not embarrassing. We set the example and that opens the doorway to teach that it's okay to choose voluntary simplicity instead of 'keeping up with the neighbors.'

While we're discussing paper for printers, you must check out the refill options for those ink's much too expensive to keep buying new ones.

We also save all those envelopes included in junk mail. It costs more for a label than it does for an envelope, so it's not frugal to use them in place of envelopes for mailing and the post office doesn't like it either. However, we've used envelopes for sorting things, dropping off a night deposit at the bank, passing a note or a check payment to somebody. We cross off the address with a squiggly, creative flair and write the name of the person we are going to give it to. You can file canceled checks in them or coupons by different categories. I'm sure you'll think of more uses for them. This also sends a message of "waste not, want not" to our nation of in-debt families.

If you like spiral notebooks because of the hard surface, find a pocket portfolio and put junk mail in it to use. It's actually nicer than the spiral since you can arrange the papers/notes in any order you want and still have them orderly in the portfolio.

We never buy note paper. We have little boxes sitting by the telephones and put any scraps of paper that we find with a clean side up to write on. Some paper isn't the right size for a printer. There are all kinds of different scraps of paper to provide for your note paper box: extra deposit slips, the backs of receipts, small junk mail envelopes, the backing on check pads, etc.

Just begin the process and you'll find many opportunities for free paper and you'll feel good about saving money and trees. You can lay sheets by the phone and while you're on one of those long conversations, you can tear them into note size making good use of your time while listening to a friend. Feel good using some of the junk mail instead of just recycling it!

Do you know that many people have eliminated trash pickup by recycling garbage in a compost pile and recycling almost everything else they use.

You can keep a large trash can outside with a plastic bag inside that will take a month to fill....and then you can haul it off to the community dumpster which is free, thereby eliminating trash pickup fees which have really become high in most towns.

Since we decided Voluntary Simplicity is the way for us, we have also been concerned about being frugal with the environment. That has required some choices where we had to choose between frugalities for conservation reasons or the pocketbook. It's been an interesting journey which began when I read the following:

"If every household in the US replaced just one roll of 500 sheet virgin fiber bathroom tissues with 100% recycled ones we could save: 297,000 trees, 1.2 million cubic feet of landfill space (equal to 1400 full garbage trucks), and 122 million gallons of water (a year's supply for 3500 families of 4)"

It doesn't take much to make a difference!

We began using recycled toilet paper, tissues, napkins and paper towels. They cost a little more, but somehow they give us a really deep feeling of satisfaction for helping the world God made for us to enjoy. Most recycled papers are not bleached with chlorine which is beneficial to the environment and our health also. I like the absence of dyes and fragrances, yet another elimination of chemicals in our homes. The toxicity of our environment does not go unnoticed by our physical bodies since research has shown that as chemicals increase so does cancer.

We've replaced a shelf full of cleaners by buying one simple laundry/cleaning product: Sunshine Concentrate.

We use it for laundry, hand soap, window and car cleaner, and for disinfectant qualities we make it up in a spray bottle with antibacterial essential oils.

Since we use herbs and vitamins we make sure we recycle those bottles, but first we like to use them for something. We enjoy making snacks from dried fruits and nuts to carry with us or to pack for lunches, so we use the bottles in place of plastic baggies.

You can use them for many things if you get a little creative. Our herb bottles have a 2" wide opening, so they're great to put in drawers to organize paper clips, tacks, rubber bands, buttons, etc. and can be used for pencil holders and flower pots for beginning seeds.

Let's allow our minds to become creative again as they were in older days when 'things' weren't so available and our nation didn't have a disposable mentality. Frugality begins in finding use of the things we already have in our possession, not just saving money on obtaining more things. You not only feel good about doing more with what you have, but you'll be surprised at how much more time and money you have when you don't have to spend gas and time shopping. You'll also find that you can reduce your car insurance if you put less miles on your car each year.

I firmly believe one of the main reasons our ancestors lives were so much more peaceful is because they didn't shop every day or week. Get rid of the "have it now" mentality and make lists of what you need and schedule a time weekly at first and eventually less often to shop. It will happen automatically as you stir your creativity to find things you can substitute that are already in your home.

Make your money last longer --- you can have more fun times with your family, and you can give more to organizations your heart cries for.

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Instant Obedience

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Gulf Fritillary Butterflies

Aren't we all fighting for freedom? Freedom from fear? Freedom from debt? Freedom from others' expectations? Freedom from worry?

Worry is fear. No doubt about it. If we're worrying over something it's standing on the foundation of fear.

As I mentioned in a previous week's issue, I've overcome many fears, but as I pass through one I find that I have another and another. That would sound very disheartening except for the fact that each one I pass through finds me more and more freedom in Christ. The process gets easier also. It's like I know the maze a bit better and the way out is a bit quicker.

Mazes and Mice - Yes, I overcame my fear of mice also. That's one of those "everybody fears" where you say, "Everybody is afraid of mice. It's normal." Like snakes. I told myself everybody hated snakes.

I'm over the mice thing. I actually think they are the cutest things. And although I won't pick up a snake since I've never been taught how, I do love to see them and I've touched them with love in my hands at a Science Center.

I'll tell you something! There is nothing like the freedom of overcoming fear! It's better than a bungie jump! (Shall we talk about foolishness now?) Always looking for a positive way to see things, bungie jumps may be a way for somebody to overcome their fear of heights.

I've discovered that the biggest hurdle is overcoming the fear to face the fear. Fear produces emotional pain which produces health issues. We have to make that decision to deal with the fear when the Holy Spirit brings to mind that it's a problem. I think this excerpt explains it well:

"Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is, for delayed obedience is disobedience. Each time God calls upon us to do something, He is offering to make a covenant with us. Our part is to obey, and then He will do His part to send a special blessing. ...... Postponed obedience can never bring us the full blessing God intended or what it would have brought had we obeyed at the earliest possible moment. What a pity it is how we rob ourselves, as well as God and others, by our procrastination!" (From "Messages for the Morning Watch")

"Obedience is the fruit of Faith ..." Christina Rossetti

Consider obedience to the Holy Spirit's speaking. Does your heart long to be free of fear? You have to begin somewhere. You're not alone! Jesus holds out His hand to you. He died on the cross to give us the victory over all evil. Fear is the opposite of Faith. It is evil. Take the authority given to you and step forth to conquer.

May God's boldness and strength be with you!

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

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