Blog

I am still here. 

I didn’t really intend on taking a hiatus for this long. Really, I didn’t. I have been thinking on a lot of things during the summer. Mostly about how I want to better my life and that of my family’s. 

To start with, I am two weeks away from beginning the last leg of my journey in becoming an ordained pastor in the Church of God. My wife and I have been exhorters for two years now and it is time to continue. 

What does this mean for me? For my family? I have no idea. Actually, it means that some doors are about to be opened for us. It also means that some intense warfare is anticipated. God never moves me forward without the enemy wanting to pull me back. 

There are also some hold backs in the reality of life that could play a part in when my wife and I obtain a church. Mostly they are centered around child custody issues. Going to honor those restrictions unless/until God has different plans. 

I have sensed in my spirit for a while now that it was time to continue to pursue my calling and destiny. Yet at the same time I am scared senseless because as I move closer to that place, I realize that I have no clue how to run a successful church. I don’t know about budgeting for a church. I don’t know how good of a leader I will be. I don’t like confrontation and avoid it at all costs, but I also realize that it is something that must not be avoided. I know how to “run” a church service and know how to prepare a message and preach it. 

While these are not necessarily fears, they are genuine concerns that I have. I don’t want to pastor an established church and mess it up because I didn’t know what to do behind the scenes of the pulpit. I do know, however, that I have some excellent pastors I can run to for advice and help if I need to. 

Aside from that, there are some things I have learned this far in my journey. 

If you want the people to love you, love them. Don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve as long as it’s not a distraction. 

Be the same person at home in private that you are at the pulpit. 

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know all the answers. Most people appreciate this. 

Be sensitive to the needs of the congregation. Know your people. 

Time is a touchy factor in a church service. Try to honor service times without quenching the move of the Spirit. 

Keep your life saturated in prayer, worship, and in the Word of God. 

I’m sure there are more things I have learned, but to keep this short and not boring, I will stop here. 

I hope to share more of my journey as I travel along. 

Be blessed. 

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Why Essential Oils?

Here’s the deal. I chose to learn about essential oils initially because of someone’s bath detox experience. I began learning then about the oils and what they could be used for. I’m not here to create a religion based on them. Because that would be foolish. But I do want to say this. 
My family has OHP for health insurance. I am grateful for it because that means I don’t have to pay out of pocket for doctor visits and emergency room visits for myself and my kids. I understand that eventually, money will run out and there won’t be funds available to get the free medical care that we do get. 
That being said, I know that God is ultimately the only source of healing and health. He gives us the means to be healthy and to stay healthy. If we get sick, He provides the healing, but it may come in a way we don’t expect. God cannot be contained within the walls of our minds. He’s much bigger than our minds. 
Where am I going with this? I believe that by learning as much as I can about the oils and using them, and more importantly trusting in God completely, the oils will be as much a better way to go for me and my family. 

How do I know this is true? How do I know God is leading me in this direction? Because it makes so much sense for me! 

The Bible has a verse that talks about the trees being healing for the nations. It’s in Revelation towards the end of the book I believe. There are also so many other verses talking about oils. The thing is that I believe the above mentioned verse has something to do with the oils. 

Okay, so what’s my story? It’s not much, but I do have one. 

To start with, I have a few different brands. The best brand that I have right now is Plant Therapy. I have a couple other brands, but I don’t really like them. I am in the process of becoming a Young Living member! 

It goes without saying. You should not expect instant healing. God does things in His time. Prayer should always be used when using the oils. 

Please note, nothing I am about to share should be used in place of advice of a medical professional. 

I have been taking a multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D for a couple years now. There have been gaps in time for one reason or another, but this time, I haven’t been taking them for a few months. 

I am in between doctor appointments for various reasons, but mostly for cholesterol levels and vitamin D levels. Blood pressure also is of a minor concern. It’s not too high, but enough to need to make some lifestyle changes. 

Since my last appointment in March, I have been running an experiment to see how the oils will help regulate my levels. I haven’t been keeping track of what oils I used, but I use them all for different reasons. That being said, if on my next appointment those levels are better, I will continue the experiment and this time keep track of the oils used and all that good stuff. 

Specific examples for other things are personally pretty good. I use lavender to help me sleep better. Sometimes I will even make a blend for synergestic results. Lavender works well for a lot of things besides sleep. 

I used to take two 500 MG acetaminophen for headaches and usually either a coffee to speed up the effectiveness or a mountain dew for even quicker results. Now, I will use a blend I made of lavender, peppermint and another oil whose name escapes me for aches and pains. I massage my temples, back of neck and forehead with the lotion. If the headache isn’t gone within a half hour, I reapply the lotion. Then I wait for another hour. If after a third massage the headache is still there, then I will take a 200 MG ibuprofen if the headache begins to affect my mood or attitude.  I prefer, though, to wait for my oils to do their work, bypassing vital organs that may get affected with toxins and/or synthetic chemicals. 

What are some other ways they have worked for me personally? I use tea tree oil and/or a special blend of oils I made for athlete’s foot to relieve itching from flea bites. The itch is usually gone within minutes! 

With some success, I have been able to keep bugs out of my greenhouse and away from the plants I am trying to grow in there. I also have a special blend combined with ammonia to kill and repel the snails that will devour whatever plants have grown. But this one is still being perfected. 

That has nothing to do with the body, though other than ensuring that no toxins are being used on the plants and hopefully any fruit or vegetables grown will not pass them onto you. 

Each person’s reaction to the oils is different. What may work for me might not work for you because of your body make up, but when yiu find what does work for you, stick with it. Your body will thank you. Your organs will thank you. 

Smells and Memories

Where does your mind take you when you smell certain things?

I’m gonna ask you a question and I would really appreciate your feedback and responses. It is going to help me out with a project I am working on with essential oils and the fact that our sense of smell and our memories run on the same circuit.

What smell or smells take you back to your childhood?

What do you smell when you think about your mom? Dad? Grandma? Grandpa?

Where does your mind take you when you smell that certain flower? Examples would be Roses, lilacs, apple blossoms, cherry blossoms, marigolds, and any other flowers.

What did your house smell like at Christmas? Thanksgiving?

Now I am going to name some smells. What comes to your mind when you think of the smell? It’s okay if you can’t think of anything particular. Just skip to the next one.

Eucaslyptus

Peppermint

Lemon

Cinnamon

Lavender

Rosemary

Frankincense

Lemongrass

Cedarwood/Cedar

Tea Tree /Melaleuca

Clove

Orange

Citronella

Grapefruit

Chamomile

Jasmine (NOT the Disney Princess)

Patchouli

If there is a certain smell that takes you back to that special place in time that’s not listed, what is it? Share that memory if you don’t mind.

 

 

Oiled Up…With Peppermint

Here it is. I’m sure if you liked my last post, you will like this one as well. Again, I am not a doctor by any means and anything I say as far as uses for the body has not been backed up by the FDA so be sure to check with your medical professional if you would like to include on your daily routines. 

Peppermint essential oil is probably one of my favorites. It has a variety of uses ranging from being used as an insecticide to helping relieve tummy issues. 

Peppermint has a calming and uplifting property to it. When it is diffused with wild orange essential oil and frankincense essential oil, it creates what has been called a holiday joy feel. Imagine it’s Christmas time and you have your candy canes and chocolate oranges out. There’s fresh apple cider on the stove and cookies in the oven. I better stop before I make that a reality in my house and it’s only April. 

Peppermint oil can be helpful for digestive issues such as IBS, or irritable bowl syndrome, nausea, and bloating associated with PMS.  

Peppermint essential oil can be used to help with breathing problems especially when combined with eucalyptus essential oil and lavender essential oil. The three combined are known as one of the best natural allergy remedies known to man. You can diffuse a blend of these three oils, apply topically, or make what’s known as an allergy bomb. Essentially, you would create a mini sauna in your sink or in a bowl. Place your head, face down over the sink or bowl and cover your head with a towel to trap in the steam. Take deep breaths and watch it do its magic. 

It is also a great remedy in relieving headaches. It probably won’t instantly relieve a headache, but it will help reduce the discomfort. It also helps relieve other body aches and pains when applied topically. It is best applied when diluted in a carrier such as fractionated coconut oil or almond oil. Say one or two drops of the peppermint to one teaspoon of carrier oil should be plenty. Carrier oils help the body absorb the essential oils. 

I have a friend who has seizures on a regular, daily basis. Some days she may only have one, and others she may have as many as 20 or more. On occassion, she will stop breathing for short periods of time.  It’s almost as if she’s holding her breath. A couple of Sundays ago, Easter Sunday to be exact, she had one of those episodes. She carries peppermint essential oil by Young Living with her everywhere she goes. I removed the cap and put it up to her nose. In just and couple of seconds, she resumed breathing. I know that seems odd. But shortly after, she had a seizure. After the seizure was over, I put the peppermint oil up to her nose again, and she recover from the seizure very quickly compared to most other times. It happened again just yesterday, but instead of the peppermint oil, I used my personal Thrive Blend, which contains the same oils ad Young Living’s Thieves Blend. This blend seemed to work well for her to help her recover fast. 

I mentioned peppermint can be used as an insecticide. Spiders as well as other creepy crawlies don’t like the smell and will avoid areas where it is being used. Certain rodents will avoid it as well. If you have bug problems in your garden or flower beds, you can plant some peppermint plants in amongst the other plants and the bugs will stay away. But, it also helps kill and keep away headlice. There are several different blends and DIY recipes out there using peppermint and tea tree oil as ways to deter headlice. You just have to do a little bit of homework to find one that works for you if you or your little one battles with it. The best part is that it is 100% chemical and Toxin free meaning that it won’t harm your body unless you are allergic to peppermint to begin with. 

I managed to find one DIY recipient online and made my own version based on the original. I used the oils I had and rather than use Vodka, I used rubbing alcohol. It was a little strong on two of my girls as it left their necks a little red, but I also told my wife to make sure she didn’t spray on their skin and only on their hair. So, next time, I won’t out in as much peppermint as it is a very strong oil. 

After using it three or four times on our two year old, my wife told me last night that she got a bath and afterwards,  she combed through her hair and any remaining bugs had gathered up to the crown of her head and had died. 

Peppermint oil can not only be used for the body externally, it can also be consumed. If you are having stomach upset, add one drop or two to a large glass of water. It can also help relieve a toothache. My wife used peppermint oil on one and it worked almost immediately. Unfortunately the tooth had an infection so it didn’t help the pain well with the infection. But, there are other oils and blends to try for oral infections. That’s a post for another time where I will share other oils that help with oral health. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg on peppermint oil. You can learn a whole lot more by visiting Young Living and Plant Therapy online or just searching for peppermint essential oil properties and uses.  Next time, I will highlight another one of my favorites, cinnamon essential oil. 

Oiled Up and Other Things

I know. I know. There are so many thousands of blogs, websites, books, and pamphlets on natural living and organic diets and what have you. I have over the past months begun a small research on essential oils. I have looked at many things such as the best oils, the best brands, the worst brands, and many other things.  I don’t want to endorse any particular brand or company, but I will suggest two or three companies that you can purchase your oils from. 

As I am not well versed in the oils and their uses, I am amazed at what I have learned up to this point. I am not a doctor either so I can’t give medical advice. Anything I say should be taken with a grain of salt as far as what to use the oils for. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think using oils may be a good option. 

So, why did I get started using essential oils? My story begins with a post on a social media account. A friend of mine said she hadn’t been feeling well.  Suffering from either a flu or cold virus. After having taken a bath with Thieves Oil Blend, she said that the water had turned into a grey-ish color. She couldn’t say for sure it was because of the detoxification process, but it sparked my interest. I began researching the oils after that. 

I do need to let you know that using essential oils can be expensive, but if you use them wisely, they will pay for themselves in the long run compared to buying outrageously priced medications and toxic cleaning chemicals, both of which contain synthetics and toxins that can have serious side effects. 

So what are essential oils? If you already know, please be with me as those who don’t know are just learning. 

Nearly every plant has oils in their roots, leaves, flowers, and barks. These oils are essentially the essence of the plants. They are obtained by different methods, but the most commonly used process is steam distillation. This method usually produces the best product. There a some oils that can’t be processed this way so they are cold pressed. Most of the fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are cold pressed. 

After the oils are extracted, they are then tested for quality, bottled and sold. But it’s not that simple. A good company will perform several tests for quality and if it passes each test, it will be sold.  If it fails even just one test, it will not be sold. 

Now before you purchase your oils, you do need to do some homework. Don’t just go to any store and buy oils if they sell them. You may not be getting a good product. When it comes to the production if essential oils, the FDA had no regulation at this time as for what is considered 100% pure essential oil. A company can make the oil, dilute it with water or alcohol or synthetic fragrance, bottle it, and slap a sticker on it calling it 100% pure, theraputic essential oil. 

A genuine 100% pure essential oil will be processed just precisely and will not be diluted with anything.  The bottle should be labeled along those signs. It should indicate that it is 100% pure essential oil and it should also indicate it is theraputic. The label is usually an indicator of quality oil, but unless you research the company selling the oil (not the store), you won’t really know. The price of the oil is another good indicator. Because of the amount of labor used to make the oil in add to the amount of plants needed to make just one 5ml bottle, the cost can be upwards of $20.00 for just one bottle. 

There is still more to know when you buy that first bottle of oil. Let’s look at the companies out there. Do they know where their crops are coming from? Do they know where the plants came from? Do they know who planted the crops? Do they know if insecticides were used? Do they know when they were harvested and what quality of dirt the crops were planted in? 

There is just one company that knows this information and more. As I said before, I am not going to endorse one company over another. I want to inform and you make the decisions based on what you have learned. This company is probably the leading company in essential oils. Young Living has built a reputation of being the cream of the crop. You can also check out how dedicated they are to ensuring quality oils here

After establishing Young Living in 1994, the Youngs developed more farmland in Utah and Idaho and began cultivating lavender, peppermint, melissa, clary sage, and many other herbs.  Fueled by a growing demand for top-quality essential oils, Young Living designed and built the largest, most technologically advanced essential oil distillate in North America. In harmony with the efforts, Young Living developed its groundbreaking Seed to Seal (circle R) process, which preserves the integrity and potency of essential oils through every step of the production process. 

Similarly, this company also holds their oils to high standards.  Plant Therapy  is another great company. While they do not own their own farms, they do work very closely with farms and farmers. Plant Therapy does have a high standard for the oils being produced. They are reasonably priced. Some of their prices are priced lower than others. They have a few excellent gift sets to start off with. For approximately  $30.00, you can get a set of 6 oils. One of the things in like about them is that they give back to charity. 

Essential oils are composed of many constituents, typically about 100, though it can range from 10-200. Factors that affect the composition, and therefore the quality of an oil, include where the plant was grown (country of origin, latitude, elevation) soil and weather conditions, time of day and time of year of harvest, and various parameters of distillation. 

Plant Therapy, like Young Living, also tests their oils for quality. They are tested first by one scientist and rend then sent on to a third party testing facility before being bottled and sold. At this facility, two tests are performed and if necessary, a third. Young Living conducts a series of eight tests that each batch of oil must pass. As mentioned earlier, if a batch fails just one test, it is rejected. Young Living in turn, takes the rejected oils and sprays it back on the crops as natural insect repellant. Toxin free! 

Young Living and Plant Therapy are my two favorite companies, but there are many more companies out there. Here is a list of many companies so you can get started researching where to purchase your oils from.  Each one is a clickable link. 

Young Living 

doterra
Edens Garden Essential Oils 
Radha Beauty Essential Oils
Majestic Pure Essential Oils 
Now Foods (NOW) Essential Oils 
ArtNaturals Essential Oils 
Healing Solutions Essential Oils 
Rocky Mountain Essential Oils 
Aura Cacia Essential Oils  
Plant Therapy
Next time, we will look into what essential oils are used for and how to use them. I will then highlight some of the more popular oils and what they can be used for.   
 

Who Knew?

I thought about doing this on Facebook, but I usually  tend to get in trouble or blow things up there. So I decided to make my platform here because I hardly get any visitors to my blog let alone any views. Haha! Just my luck, someone will actually read this and be offended. God bless them any way.

So, are you ready for what I have to say? I hope so.  If not, please continue to read and judge after you’ve completed reading.

Do you remember King Cyrus? He was the king who had declared the Israelites as free men in 538 B.C.  He was a Persian king. His reign started in 559 B.C. in Persia and ended in 530 B.C. Not very long, but very much accomplished in what he was able to do.

But he was a Persian king. He was not Jewish. He was Pagan. His reign as king in Babylon began in 538 B.C. I want  to share some things that the Bible shows us about him. The first place I want to look is in Isaiah. There is a prophecy concerning King Cyrus written 100 years before he even came to exist in this world.

Isaiah 44:28 says Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ‘

Isaiah 45:1 says “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut…” Verse 4 For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

Two things I want to point out, well, three things actually. The declaration is spoken to Cyrus. He is called anointed by the LORD Himself. That word anointed in the original Hebrew language is mashiach, and it means anointed, usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically, the Messiah — anointed, Messiah. It comes from the root word mashach, which means to rub with oil, i.e. To anoint; by implication, to consecrate; also to paint — anoint, paint.

When the LORD says that Cyrus was anointed, it means not only just that he was to be king, but also that he would be set apart (consecrated) for a special purpose that God had in mind.

The second thing I want to point out is that God had called him by name even 100 years before his birth! Even though Cyrus would not walk in God’s ways, he would be used by God to release the captives of Israel amongst other things that could only have been brought about by God.

Fast forward to the year 538 B.C. The southern kingdom of Israel (Judah) had been in captivity in Babylon for nearly 70 years. Meanwhile, Daniel (you know the guy that survived the den of lions?) had known what the prophet Jeremiah had said about the captivity of Judah. It was to be for a period of 70 years and he began fasting and pleading with God to be faithful and allow them to return to Jerusalem.

Let’s now look at how the story unfolds in Ezra chapter 1. I won’t go over the entire chapter, you can read it on your own. But I want to say that the very first verse gives us some important information. It starts out by saying in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: all the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? My his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.

The text continues and says that Cyrus also sent back all the articles of the house of the LORD which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods. ******************

I had read something on social media asking people to send President Trump a postcard of encouragement on 3/17/17. When I began reading comments that people were leaving, I was not surprised by any of them. While a lot were in favor of the idea and said they would participate, still others were bashing the man who now sits in the Oval Office.

I want to share one more thought from Scripture. Romans 13:1 says that every soul should be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves.

It can’ be any other way. What did that just say? The authorities that exist are appointed by God? You’ve got to be kidding me. Nope. I’m not. I didn’t say that. The Bible said it. The apostle Paul wrote it under the inspiration of God. So in effect, God Himself said it.

There are those who say that President Trump should not have been voted as President. Maybe so. I personally believe that he will be used by God during his time as President. That being said, I must also say this. Just because you may not like the man doesn’t give you the right to slander him and to speak ill of him. He may yet prove to be a poor leader in some areas and an excellent leader in other areas.

According to the verses I just shared, Trump, like Cyrus was anointed by God for a specific purpose. He is said to have given his life to God before the election, but that is not our place to say anything different. We judge the fruit. Remember when you were first saved? You weren’t perfect overnight and neither was he. Neither was I. In fact, I’m still not perfect and neither are you.

To the ones who do not like our nation’s leader, I ask you. What has he ever done to you? Did he ever once say to you face to face something you did not like? I personally am not fond of everything he said during his campaign. Some of it was really, very rude. But that does not give me a reason to not like him as President.

As Christians, we have a responsibility toward our President. Regardless of our opinion of the man, our job is to cover him with prayer. Not that he would run the nation the way we think he should run it, but according to how God shows him. As long as he listens to sound council and does not make rash and hasty decisions, we will be just fine. You will be just fine.

Pray for the man. Not just one time, but continually. That’s the only way you will see change in him if you don’t like what you see.

 

I Am And There is None Beside Me…

That’s what the ancient king Nebuchadnezzar said during the days of Israel’s captivity. I am and there is no one beside me. In his heart, he really thought he was all that and more. Daniel 4 shares his story of how he fell into a huge pride issue. At the beginning of his story he says that he was at home in his palace, contented and prosperous. Another translation reads that he was at rest in his house and flourishing in his palace.

Babylon was the city he lived in. Though he did not build the city from scratch, he did have a hand in making it the famous city it became. According ancient Greek historian Herodotus, he claimed the outer walls of the city to be 56 miles long, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high. The inner walls of the city weren’t quite as thick, but weren’t any weaker than the outer walls. Because the Euphrates River ran right through the city, there was plenty of water for growing crops and gardening as well as, well, whatever it was needed for.  The city was also surrounded by a rather big moat that served as another means of protecting the city from outsiders.

Nebuchadnezzar built the hanging gardens for his wife and built a large array of temples, streets, palaces and walls. Somehow, they were able to haul water from the river to the top of the hanging gardens. The gardens probably weren’t actually hanging as one would think right away. The word hanging comes from another word that means hanging and overhanging. The idea is that a rather large structure to imitate a mountain was built as raised beds to allow for not just flowering plants but also trees to be planted.

From this, we can see why Nebuchadnezzar would be sitting in his palace, flourishing in the comfort of his Babylon. It was beautiful.  No unwanted people could get in. It has also been said that Babylon was the most beautiful city in its day. There was not another city like it. No wonder Nebuchadnezzar was so full of pride and was as comfortable as he was.

He said, “I am and there is none beside me.” He looked at everything that had been built in Babylon and took credit for it all. He soon learned that there is One above him and that this One would make sure he recognized that truth.

When we get full of pride, it is really, very hard to see and acknowledge that we have it. Pride wants to lift itself up. Pride says I am better than you. Pride will tear someone down in order to look good. When we get puffed up, we put things out of perspective. The Bible teaches that pride will go before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. In other words, pride does exactly opposite of what we think it does.

Jesus said that we are to humble ourselves. We ask Him to make us humble, but that’s just not biblical. He says we are to make ourselves humble. He also said if we want to be great in the kingdom of God, we need to learn to be the servant of all. That’s humility. That’s the opposite of pride. That’s also love.