The song, “Riders on the Storm,” recorded in 1971 by the Doors invaded my mind this morning.  Perhaps I’m the only person in the US who can’t remember ever hearing this song.

My curiosity peaked by the title, I had to look up the lyrics.  Like many songs, some of the lyrics didn’t make sense to me.  However, the chorus is stunningly applicable to what happened a year ago.

Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house we’re born
Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out alone
Riders on the storm

There is such amazing hope and despair coupled in these lyrics that my imagination was captured.  The songwriter says, we are riders on the storm.  Not tossed or turned in the storm but caught up riding above the storms of life.  However, once the hope is given, there is great despair because we are born to be thrown alone and lost.

One year ago today, my husband fell and broke his hip and leg.  He came home from an extended stay in the hospital and rehab centers on February 14, 2011 and died May 10.  I was only 10 feet from him when he fell; but we were in different rooms.  I bust through the door to find him sitting on the shower floor writhing in pain.  I knew he had broken his hip.  My first thoughts were our lives just radically changed.  Nevertheless, I had no idea how much change had stolen through our doorway.

From that moment, together he and I became riders on the storm, embracing and repelling the future with all our strength.  We laughed and cried in the same breath.  As his dementia accelerated, each moment became a bitter/sweet memory that I knew he would forget as soon as the hour passed.  I felt bitterly alone; yet surprisingly embraced second by second by Frank, our family and friends.  God’s wisdom was clearly working in our lives while the mystery of tomorrow became more and more clouded.

Often, God uses the secular to teach us His truths.  Today, I’m grateful to the Doors for their prophetic recording.  I ask God to bless them abundantly by leading them to know him through His Son, Jesus their Savior and Lord.

What about you?  Has there be one song–perhaps even a secular song–that God has used to help you through difficult circumstances?  Would you ever be able to use this teaching with your members who are mentally challenged?  How would you share this teaching?

When the Biblical young woman, Ruth, married into a Jewish family she understood little about their ways, God or religion.  This is my supposition; but I base the conjecture on facts.  Moabites were shunned by the Israelis.  Decades before, Moab wronged the wandering tribes who desired to travel through their land.  This set up a national rivalry.  Israel was a young nation and were probably not accustomed to travel, especially to Moab.

As a famine devastated the land of Israel, a Judean took his wife and two sons to live temporarily in Moab where there was food.  In Moab, the small Jewish family of a mother, father and two sons grew to include two Moabite daughters-in-law.  Ruth was one of them.  At the end of ten years in Moab, the ranks of the family had diminished.  All the men had died.

By this time, Ruth had come to understand the ways of Judaism.  She was familiar with the customs and norms of her adopted family.  They were attractive and persuasive.

It is understandable that Naomi, now a widow and having limited means, would want to go back home to her home town, Bethlehem.  She had family there.  They would take care of her.

The Judean famine which propelled her young family to Moab was over.  Once again, there was food in Israel.  Naomi made the logical decision to go back to her roots.  The three widows set out on their journey.

Once in that process, it appears that Naomi had second thoughts about the daughters-in-law going with her.  Perhaps out of politeness, Naomi urged and even argued with the two younger women to go back to their Moab homes and their mothers.  One turned back.  But Ruth made a history-altering decision.  She opposed the idea of leaving Naomi against all reason.  She would go with Naomi and share in her fate.

Ruth said, “I will go where you go.  I will live where you live.  Your people will be my people.  Your God will be my God.”

The wonderfully attractive customs of Naomi and her God had drawn Ruth in such a magnetic way that she was willing to leave every thing, even her own security to follow Naomi.  The key to Ruth’s decision was her resolution to follow Jehovah.  “Your God will be my God.”

The Bible is not a book about religion.  It is about God’s relationship with men and women–usually in the context of families.  Too often we see the laws.  We want to magnify the do’s and don’t’s when God wants relationship.

Moab was a rejected nation.  God had told Israel to reject Moab.  Yet, God orchestrated circumstances to include Ruth in Jesus’ genealogy.  Ruth, a Moabite, was King David’s great-grandmother.  Jesus was a direct descendent of David.  The hated and rejected Moabite’s have a prominent position in the history of our Lord.

Within the disability community, there is a lot of rejection.  Perhaps this is one reason why people who are mentally challenged are often eager to hear about the good news of God’s love for them.  Their relationship with the Lord becomes a safe haven for them to grow and mature.

Our Father desires us to know that no matter what our customs or how limited our means and circumstances, He longs for a relationship with us.  Customs and finances are fluid. God’s grace never changes.  His desire for you to know Him is unchanging and everlasting.

Is there a time that you can remember that you were pressured beyond your ability to cope? There have been many for me.

As a child, my mother told me again and again that I was constantly burning the candle at both ends. For years, I had no idea what she meant. When I finally understood her, I was sure that I was getting ready to “burn out” at any moment because she had been giving me that dreaded warning for a decade.

It’s been many years since her stern predictions and I’m still burning.

I’ve found that God is my source and strength, especially in times of stress. We are preparing for Camp Agape which is May 23 to 26. There are many details for getting ready and for being responsible for 100 people and their safety.

Yet, again and again, I find the Lord going before me and preparing my way. I’ve learned to rest in Him and trust that He will make a way. And He always does even though my eyesight gets foggy and dim through the smoke my candle burning generates.

 

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/simplelife/2014/05/pressure-time.html#ixzz31vkjlINu Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/simplelife/2014/05/pressure-time.html#PxUwgqSoxPWQxIIE.99

meeting PresidentMeeting Important People

Central Theme:  As the Lord leads, we can have influence on many people.

Call to Worship: Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone (Mark 16:15).  

I will tell you what he has done for me (Psalm 66:16)

Introduction—Many years ago, a young man moved down the street from us.  He was living with friends.  He was from Canada and beginning a small ministry.  My husband and I worked hard to introduce him to some important people in the area.  That young man has become pretty famous and infamous TV evangelist.  At different times in our lives we will be thrown with people who are famous.  Paul was in prison but he was meeting important people.  Have a member read Psalm 66:16.

I.    The Romans had put Paul in jail.  In addition, the Jewish leaders were still trying to kill him.  Paul didn’t want to go free because he believed that the Jews would kill him. (Acts 25:13-26:32).

A.    The Roman governor was Felix.  Paul was called before him many times.  Felix wanted to set him free; but he also knew the Jews would kill Paul.  Then Festus became governor.

B.    One day King Agrippa visited Paul.  Agrippa was a Jew, like Paul.  Paul told Agrippa about Jesus.  King Agrippa asked, “Do you think you can convince me to become a Christian?”  Paul said, “I wish everyone could be like me, except for these chains.

C.    Everyone agreed  that Paul had done nothing wrong.  They wanted to set him free.  Nevertheless, Paul said that he wanted to have a trial before Caesar, the Emperor of Rome.  As a Roman citizen he could do that.

II.    Because Paul was in prison, he was able to tell many important people about Jesus.

A.    One of the worst things in Paul’s life became a great blessing because Paul followed the Lord and obey him.

B.    Paul obeyed God and did what the Lord wanted him to do.

III.    The time for each of us to share Jesus may be during times that are hard for us.

A.    Paul said that he hoped everyone would be like him, except for the chains.

Conclusion—Can you think of a time that the Lord used you even though you were hurting?  God wants to use us all the time, not only when things are going good.

 

Family Cafe logo

Dear Friends,

It’s official, the 2014 Florida Legislative Session has begun! Our elected representatives will be in session until May 2nd, working on a state budget, and tackling issues like Medicaid expansion, changes to the education system and efforts to reduce waitlists for state services.

While all sessions are political, the practice of the politics of the 2014 Session will be intensified, as the Governor, the entire Cabinet, all 120 members of the House, and half of the Senate (20 members) are up for election in November. So, this is the perfect time for advocates in the community to get involved. Let’s talk . . . let’s get informed and let’s get engaged!

 


 

Let’s talk . . . The Family Café is built around the idea that better informed families make better decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

Let’s talk . . . During the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, which beganTuesday, March 4, 2014 and lasts for 60 days, The Family Cafe is providing an opportunity to meet weekly via conference call to discuss the outcomes of Session. Please call in!

Let’s talk . . . During the conference call we will host various speakers, including community leaders, legislative leadership and local activists to share ideas/comments regarding the agencies and programs funded by the state.

Let’s talk . . . This is your call!  We will offer this conference call option every Friday for starting Friday, March 14th  at 4:00 p.m. The call is open to everyone! 

Let’s talk . . . Our  vision of meaningful family engagement in the legislative process can only be successful with the your participation!  Simply call the number below on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. (EST). Sharing our various, unique perspectives is how we effect change, and how we learn from each other. At such a crucial time, we need to concentrate our strength, power and wisdom in order to insure an improved quality of life for all Floridians. Your input, suggestions and sharing of resources will ultimately make this community as powerful and productive as it should be.

But we can’t do it without you!

Let’s Talk!

Friday, March 14th

4:00 p.m. EST

Dial-in Number:  1-888-670-3525 

 Conference Code 2424632211 followed by the # Key.

storm

It is a popular misconceptions that most miracles happen in our bodies.  While many of them do happen in connection within our bodies.  In reality, most miracles happen within the natural world.

Derek Prince often told about a miracle that happened during World War II.  One evening the prayer group he attended prayed for a particular battle that was being fought in North Africa.  It was thought that the tides of war would turn if this battle could be won by the Allied forces.  The next day, it was reported that the Allies had decidedly fought back the Axis and gained victory in this battle.  This was a miracle achieved through prayer.

storm babiesIn 2004, as their home was being totally destroyed as Hurricane Jeanne slammed into the coastline of Central Florida, the family gathered in a small inner room and prayed.  Miraculously, the house was destroyed; yet, one room was spared.  It was the room in which the family gathered to pray.

On April 3, 1974, when a category 5 tornado ravaged Xenia, Ohio.  A widow took refuge in a small closet under the staircase of her home.  She cried out to the Lord that He spare her life.  She understood that her home could be replaced; but this widow believed that she still had a work to do for the Lord.  It was a miracle that her entire house was shredded into pieces.  Only the staircase and that small closet remained at the end of the day.

A young man was diagnosed with an incurable disability.  His father was in the Air Force in Hawaii.  The entire family prayed.  Friends prayed.  Taking their son to the doctor on base, they found that the doctor who was assigned to their son’s case was the only doctor who was known to be an expert in treating their son’s disease.  Under this doctor’s care, the young man made a complete recovery from the disability.

It appears that God repeatedly and meticulously creates events that are beyond understanding and comprehension.  There is no other explanation, except that there was a miracle of God.

It is often said that if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.  That is a great rule to follow, except when God decides to break His own rules and give us a miracle.

jassmineGod is Patient

II Peter 3:9

Central Theme: God is patient with everyone.

Introduction– I had purchased a new jasmine vine that that I brought to show. My other vine was killed in a hurricane.  It took me a long time to replace it because I was really sad that the other one  died.  It had grown so large that it was a shelter for my back yard. Do you think a man of God should be more concerned about a dead plant than he is a city like Vero Beach  or Melbourne, Florida?  (Insert your city.)

I. Have a member read II Peter 3:9

  1. Tell the story of Jonah.
  2. Show a dead plant.
  3. Jonah wanted God to kill all the people in the city on Ninavah. But he was so angry he wanted to die rather than live because his vine had died.   (Jonah 4)

II. God is patient with everyone.

  1. He does not want anyone to have an unhappy life or die without Him.
  2.           A. There was a time that I got angry with some people who were gossiping about me.  There were actually times I wanted them to die.
  3.           B. God helped me to love them because He loves them.
  4. This is how God will help me to be patient with people, especially people who are being hateful to me.

A. God helps me remember that God loves that person as much as he loves me.
B.  God  helps me find out good things about that person.
C. God  helps me think good thoughts about the person when he or she is not with me.  I find that we usually like people when we are with them.  But we will think bad thoughts when there are not with us.

a. Many times when they are not with us, we think about what the people did or said.  Then we get angry.

Conclusion–God is patient and he can help me to be patient with other people.

Family Cafe logo

Dear Friend,

The Family Café is excited to let you know that NFL legend and disability advocate Dan Marino will be in attendance at The 16thAnnual Family Caféthis June!

Dan MarinoOf course, Dan Marino is best known for the seventeen seasons he spent as quarterback of the Miami Dolphins, which led to him being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. But did you know that he is also the parent of a child with autism, and an active disability advocate? He and his wife founded The Dan Marino Foundation in 1992 to help children with autism and other disabilities. Since then, the foundation has distributed over $22 million to research, services, and treatment programs. His foundation also established The Dan Marino Center at Miami Children’s Hospital in 1995, and recently launched the Marino Campus in Fort Lauderdale to provide education and training to help young people with disabilities acquire job skills.

Marino Children's centerThe Family Café is pleased to let you know that Dan Marino will be on hand to share his advocacy message, and perhaps some NFL memories, at The Annual Summit on Disabilities on the evening of Friday, June 6th. Governor Rick Scott has also committed to attend, as has long-time Family Café supporter and Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Bill Galvano. This year’s Summit is sure to be a memorable occasion, and we definitely want to see you there!

If you haven’t already registered for The 16th Annual Family Café, why not take a minute to do it today? In addition to The Annual Summit on Disabilities with Dan Marino, we have a full slate of informative breakout sessions, a full Exhibit Hall and plenty of family-friendly activities in store. It should be an amazing event!

The 16th Annual Family Café is set for June 6-8 at the Hilton Orlando, and there is no cost for families to attend. We even have limited financial assistance available to cover the cost of on-site accommodations. To register, visit our website. We will look forward to seeing you there!

Thanks,

The Family Cafe

The Family Cafe 888-309-CAFE www.FamilyCafe.net

519 North Gadsden Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
United States

creationGenesis tells us that God made Adam from dirt and Eve from Adam’s rib.  However, he had made the earth with his Word.  He spoke the earth and heavens into existence.

There is no denying that the creation of life itself was a glorious miracle.  Yet, the miracle of human life is that God breathed His life into the man and man became a living soul–set a part from all other creatures and creation.  The human spirit was created with the breath of God.  This is the miracle of mankind.  However, once God formed man and woman and mankind became a human spirit, He put into place a well-order plan for the propagation of life.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the spirit of man was killed.  The part of mankind that was supernatural was no longer alive.  It was the work of the Holy Spirit, through the death, blood and resurrection of Jesus that produced the miracle of salvation and the regeneration of the spirit of man.

babyWhen a person is born, made from the egg of a mother and the sperm of a father, it is a wonderful extension of God’s creative power.  In that life, many miracles may follow, including the best miracle, salvation and transformation of that soul when and if s/he accepts Jesus as his or her savior.

However, the Biblical understanding does not place childbirth as a miracle. Children were not born until Adam and Eve had sinned and broke God’s covenant with them.

A miracle is when God breaks his own rules in order to do something different from the proper order of life.  Childbirth is a function of life. It conforms to God’s laws and order that have been carefully positioned for action.  Complicated, mysterious and wonderful, new life is part of God’s overall plan.  It flows through a well-ordered design set into place by our Creator-Father.

When a female egg is fertilized by a male sperm, human life is formed.  The natural order of creation is amazingly complicated, superbly detailed and designed to perfection.  Humankind is the crown-jewel of God’s creation.  However, it is not a miracle until the miracle of new-birth begins.

This idea offends every fiber of my heart as a mother because my brain and soulish nature say that children are miracles.  My grandchildren are double miracles.  Yet, when I look into the scripture and God’s plan for the propagation of life, I see that children are, indeed, a part of God’s purpose and design; but they are not miracles.  We cannot be placed into category of miracles, until the Spirit of God  brings to life the spirit of a man or woman transforming us into a child of God.

Beb LinderThe Power of Listening

(Like you, I get hundred’s of emails each week.  However, I look forward to receiving the newsletter from Bev Linder.  We’ve never met but her newsletter speaks to my heart each time I receive it.  I believe it will bless you also.  You may want to request her newsletter.  The information is at the bottom. )

James 1:19 says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak…” There is power in active intentional, and respectful listening.  It’s the best way to help our kids have an open heart to receive what we have to say about faith in God.

Imparting faith to children (ed. note: everyone) involves listening to them, for that is the beginning of giving them an understanding of their value before God. It is an un-special need to be valued in this tangible way.

Josh McDowell has said, “Part of good communication is listening with the eyes as well as with the ears.” Our culture moves so fast. As a special parent you are probably moving from therapy session to school meeting to doctor appointment, but nothing will touch the life of your precious child more than slowing down and listening to his words and to his heart. You might have a child who is nonverbal, but you can still “listen” by giving him or her your undivided attention in a quiet setting.

A while ago, Mike and I attended a memorial service that changed our lives. We didn’t even know this person. His name was Jan, a man in his 40’s who died of cancer. We only went because we knew his sister and wanted to be supportive of her. Little did we know how Jan’s life would touch our own!

The sharing time came at the service, and thus started the most amazing accounts of a person touching people’s lives, and it all revolved around Jan’s giftedness to listen! There were homeless people, neighbors, couples whose marriages were in trouble, there were old people and young people, and they all were moved by Jan’s listening heart. One friend of Jan’s felt compelled to go up to the stairs of the church and demonstrate how Jan would listen. “He would hunker down and get comfortable, like this. Then he would set his gaze on me, and say, “What’s going on with you, brother?”

It was the perfect picture of James 1:19 because Jan would be quick and deliberate in his “hearing” and then he would slowly share the truth of God’s Word, which found fertile soil in the hearts of these individuals who felt so valued.

Have you ever had someone listen to you? I mean really “hunker down” and set their gaze on you and communicate through body language that what is in your soul matters to them? When that happens, life suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. And you are much more open to whatever that person wants to share with you.  Kids are no different. Our kids with special needs are especially hungry to have someone care about what is inside of their soul for it’s something they likely don’t experience very often. Their young hearts will respond to respectful attentiveness and that will set the stage for you to tell them about the love of God.

 
Bev Linderbev@special-heart.com

www.special-heart.com

 

Bible studyIn studying the life of Jesus, it is impossible to ignore miracles.  This quarter as we delve into the ministry of Jesus, the members of Special Gathering–a ministry within the intellectually disabled community– have asked lots of questions.  Their questions have led me to think again about miracles and how God uses them in the lives of the believer.

From my study of the Scripture, I found that miracles an interesting phenomena.  There are many misconceptions regarding miracles.  Here are a few of them.

Miracles are not magic.  Magic is not a miracle.  A miracle is when God breaks his own laws for a purpose.  Magic is an illusion or trick used to make it seem as though God’s laws have been broken.

Miracles happen instantaneously. 

A miracle is not healing.  Healings happen over a period of time.  Often people pray for healings, expecting a miracle and without understanding there is a difference.  If a healing happens instantly, then it is a miracle.  A healing may take a matter of minutes, hours or years.  Healing is a process.  Miracles are instantaneous activity from the hand of God.  This may seem like a matter of somatic.  However, it has caused a lot of people to doubt their healing because it did not happen instantly.

sunsetMost miracles involve inanimate objects. Even thought, miracles may happen within our bodies or outside our bodies.  On that rainy day when the car in front of me slammed on its brakes, I knew that there was no way our car could miss the stopping automobile.  I called out, “Jesus, help us” and slammed on my brakes.  Our car stopped instantaneously which is impossible.  My teenage son asked in wonder, “Mom, did you see what just happened?”  It was a miracle.

People don’t perform miracles.  God is the miracle-worker, not humans.  We may speak the word but the work is done by our Heavenly Father.

Miracles demonstrate God’s power and glory, not the faith of the individual. While the individual may have faith for a miracle, there is never a guarantee that God will perform a miracle.  The Lord has knowledge and understanding that is beyond our depth.  God may know that this supernatural act would harm the person and withhold the miracle.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list.  Yet, these are things which too often cause problems within the church regarding the miracle-working power of the Lord.

AA Allen 1The Lord has done amazing things in my life.  Working with youth for more than 25 years, I came to understand these young men and women were able to grasp the wonder of God’s love in spectacular ways.

One evening while carpooling a group of teenagers home from our weekly meetings, we had to pull over because the flashing lights of an ambulance signaled an emergency in the neighborhood.  “We need to pray,” one of the young men insisted as the ambulance speeded past us.  “Father, touch and heal the person in the ambulance” was the simple prayer.

Later that evening we were told by family members that the man in the ambulance was dead when they passed us.  The young people in the car steadfastly believed, however, that the man had been healed. The next day we heard that the dead-man had miraculously been revived during their trip to the hospital.

I can recount hundreds of such miracles in my life.  There is a divine purpose for miracles.  However, I’ve come to believe that miracles are greatly misunderstood.

AllenMiracles are not and never will be the be-all and end-all of the Christian life.  A. A. Allen who was known to have prayed for and received hundred’s and perhaps thousand’s of miracles died from liver failure caused by acute alcoholism.  Other men who have been hailed as God’s vessel for working miracles have fallen miserably or lived undercover reporbate lives.

This is not recorded to discount miracles but to underscore the fact that while miraclous happenings are valid in the Christian life, they are not the most important aspect of living a godly and holy life in Christ.

Working within the mentally challenged community, I dance comfortable with miracles every day.  Almost every member I face on a weekly basis is a miracle.  Their lives are filled with unaccountable healings and divine interventions.  Many of them have seen God work in ways that would curl toenails.  However, what impresses me more than the miracles is their faithful obedience to His commands.  I believe that is also what impresses God.

courage

Who are the helpers at church?

When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it (Gal 6:10)

In 2006, the entire nation was glued to our TV’s because two boys had been found in Missouri. Ben had been missing for four days and Shawn had been missing for 4 ½ years.  The two boys were kidnapped by a man and the police found them. Everyone is saying that a young teenager named Mitchell is the key to what happened because he was willing to help his friend in identifying a truck. We are all to be helpers for others. Have a member read, Galatians 6:10.

widowsI.  The Bible records the story of the first men who were chosen to be helpers in the church (Acts 6:1-7).

  1. The church would come together, bring their food and eat their meals together. The Jewish men were helping their older family members who were women to have food.
  2. The non-Jewish women did not have a family member to help them so they were not getting food.
  3. They complained and the Apostles decided they could not wait on the table; but they would choose men who could help these women get the food they needed.

II.  This was a severe need.  The Greek women were not being fed.  We all have concerns and problems.  God gave them men who would help the women who were not being given food to eat.

III.  What we must  understand is that God wants us to win every battle and to have the victory every time and in every way.

  1. God gives victory to his children because he loves us.
  2. Last week we had a funeral for my brother-in-law.  It was sad but wonderful because we were able to spend time together and be with the family that does not know Jesus as their Savior and we saw the young people ministering to each other.
  3. Have you ever been involved with a problem and seen God turn that problem around for your good.
  4. I have a person in my life that has tried to hurt me and my family. This person has only made us stronger people.

IV.  I had a person one time who wanted to really hurt me and for a while it seemed to work and then in my hurt, I found SpG and God gave me all you folks to love me and for me to love.

Conclusion: God doesn’t fight fair when it comes to his children. There will be people who will try to hurt you; but they cannot because God is on your side and he always gives us victory

noah's arkThe Villages at Noah’s Landing has been recommended to receive a $14 Million dollar grant in order to begin construction.  Noah’s Landing is an awesome, pedestrian-oriented lifestyle community that will feature unique apartment-styled homes with a clubhouse, daily activities, pool, nature trails, a community park, and an optional dining room. We are working on the mountain of paperwork that is needed to finalize the grant and we have been asked to provide a list of people that may be interested in moving into our community.

So we need your immediate help!  Please log on to the following link and complete the survey:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLInterest

This will only take 10 to 15 minutes to complete but the information is essential to keep our grant funding moving forward.  Even if you have previously completed a similar survey, please complete the survey again, this is very important.

This survey is not an application for The Villages at Noah’s Landing.  However, the people that complete the survey will be among the first to be notified when applications are being accepted. If you have any questions please call our office at (863) 815-0909

Visit our website at:  NoahsArkFlorida.org

Jack Kosik – Executive Director of Noah’s Ark

If you would like to read the recent Lakeland Ledger article on our grant, go to the following link:

http://www.theledger.com/article/20131214/NEWS/131219602/0/SEARCH