Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Month: May 2016

Do you have idols in your Heart?

www.1stfreewillbaptist.church/media/sermon-archive.html

Ezekiel 14:4-5       Colossians 3:5     Isaiah 44:9-20     Leviticus 4:19         Psalms 16:4 

As Christians it is so important for us to do consistent heart checks on our selves so that we do not allow idols to form in our heart. An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our heart.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines an idol as  “a picture or an object that is worshipped as a god”.

There are so many things that can be constituted as an idol such as our families, jobs, money, worries and cares, needs and desires and even our self.

In Tim Keller’s book “Counterfeit God’s: The empty promises of money, sex and power and the only hope that matters”, makes a powerful statement about “heart idols” in today’s society. He states that

…….Life only has meaning or I only have worth if …..

  1. I have power over others (power idolatry)
  2. I am loved and respected by …….. (approval idolatry)
  3. People are dependant on me and need me (helping idolatry)
  4. I have a particular kind of look or body image (image idolatry)
  5. I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom and very nice possessions (materialism idolatry)

These are statements that we may have said or thought at one time or another. Do we secretly feel discontentment take root in our heart because we crave “nice things” and feel resentful about not having them. Materialism is not  necessarily about having nice things it is also about craving them. The discontentment can also prove to be an idol in our heart.

Ezekiel 14:4 the word “setteth up”  translates to transcend, to be high, to mount, arise up, to cast upward and to offer up. It also carried the connotation of an upward movement or an ascension to a higher place.

After reading this can you think for a moment and ask yourself the question, when I come to God in prayer do I come based on the multitude of idols in my heart?  Does  bitterness, unforgiveness, malice, pride or my own self importance occupy my heart more than who God is to me?

I try to check my heart daily  and clear my heart iof anything that wants to exalt itself greater than my father. It is not always an easy process but it can be done and must be done because in the end these things destroy and the things of God will always build.

Take a moment now and check your heart and prayerfully ask God to show you any idol or idols you may  have that is competing with HIM in your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Being a Military Wife by Maxine Reyes


The difference between a non-military wife and a military wife is the challenges that we face when it comes to separation from our husbands, knowing that separation is inevitable. Being a dual military wife is even more challenging because we get to experience deployments multiplied by two.  Deployments take a toll on most marriages of military couples.  Deployment separation has been a key contributor or the cause of many divorces.  Ken and I have experienced hardships that challenged our relationship, but we never consider allowing those challenges to overpower our love for each other.  We have been huge supporters of each other’s careers and personal goals and we refused to let the forces of the world stop us from having the best marriage that we know we can have with God leading us.

Placing trust in God and knowing that we must keep Him at the forefront of our marriage at all times, has allowed us to face our challenges with the utmost boldness. Ken and I are definitely each other’s soul mates.  We feel one another’s pain and happiness and always find ways to make each other feel special and uplifted during unhappy times.  Our Happily Joint movement blog has allowed us to display our determination to love and care for each other for the rest of our lives while living a joyful and sacred Christian life.  Couples who know us usually compliment us and ask us our recipe to happiness.  We have written a book to share experience with others.  There is no trick to a happy marriage, but we will definitely share what works for us.  We teach resiliency in relationships to couples in order for them to have the ability to withstand the challenges of marriage and find ways to recover from difficult times.

After 19 years, we are at a beautiful point of our marriage where we know more about what makes us happy and sad. We know our priorities and are absolutely supportive of our careers and personal goals.  Ken is the most wonderful person I know and I am so grateful for his love and his adoration.  I am most grateful for the father that he is to our adorable daughter.  He is such a gentleman and I can speak all day about him in a positive way.

Success for me is persevering through my lifelong goals. We have always kept God at the forefront of our life.  Being an empowered career woman while being a wife can be challenging.  Women get treated sometimes tougher than our male counter parts so we have to work twice as hard.  I am blessed to have a husband like mine who encourages me to be a strong woman.  He empowers me to pursue my dreams and he makes me feel confident in being his wife.  My husband makes it so much easier for me to pursue my passion.  I am grateful for our relationship with Jesus, which has allowed me to be a successful mother and wife.   Our faith has taken us a long way and we look forward to growing old together.

 

 

img_2725-1

courtesy of Maxine Reyes

MAXINE REYES – Bio

Maxine Reyes is a burgeoning singer/songwriter/speaker whose vocal talent have embellished countless of people around the world.

Born in Kingston and raised in Manchester, Jamaica, her family sang in the community church where she was encouraged to share her special talent. With her rich and earthly Jamaican accent seasoned with grounded grace, you can see right away when she shares her infectious smile that you have just met a new friend.

These endearing qualities also helped Maxine, when she moved to Pembroke Pines, Florida as a teenager – where she began participating in local talent vocal competitions and winning on numerous occasions. It was at that point that she gained the confidence as a vocalist that allowed both her inner and outer beauty to transcend.

Voted Most Talented” of her graduating class at Miramar High School, FL. Maxine desired to pursue singing, but also having a strong sense of reality and being very mindful that is was also more important to be a positive representation of her native Jamaica, Maxine decided at that point of her life that it was much more important to secure her advance educational goals. She also felt like she had a higher calling to serve in the United States Military.

After graduating from High School, Maxine joined the United States Air Force which afforded her advanced education. However, this vibrant and energetic artist still kept her passion to share her gift of song by volunteering to sing at numerous nationally supported Military related events.

Maxine continued to not only sing whenever she can, but she also elevated her service to the Country by proudly becoming a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army and earned her Master of Arts in Management and Leadership. She is currently the Company Commander of the United States Army Recruiting Company in Orlando, FL. It is this same presentation of excellence that makes her performances a breath of fresh air to all. Maxine founded Happily Joint, Inc along with her husband. Happily Joint is an organization that helps couples deal with challenges in their relationships while living their best life with each other. Maxine and Ken know too well the challenges of keeping a relationship together as they met when they were teenagers and have been married for 18 years, both being under the age of 40. With multiple military separations some up to 15 months, the couple kept their marriage in tack and uphold an image that is admired by many. They have vowed to help others who deal with similar challenges as they have by hosting seminars and speaking to audiences interested in Maxine and Ken’s story. They are in the process of writing their first book together “The Happily Joint Guide.”

 

Additional Activities and Musical Performances:

  • Performed at sports games and ceremonies filed with dignitaries on multiple occasions when she sang the National Anthem at Orlando City Soccer, Independence Day Celebration, NBA game San Antonio Spurs vs Charlotte Bobcats at the Time Warner Arena, Ambassador of Qatar and government officials of Qatar, Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show, Toyota Indy 300, Miami Grand Prix and Marlins Opening ceremony.
  • She has performed for the President of the United States of America at the Miami Arena.
  • Maxine is loved by many and her broad appeal has won ardent supporters wherever she has performed. She returned home in April of 2014 after a year of serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Qatar and Afghanistan where she entertained Coalition forces in the area where she was based.
  • Her versatility and diverse background makes her the perfect ambassador for her nation. Maxine’s style can be described as “Reggae Soul” blending sultry inspiring Inspirational love R&B/Jazz grooves with Reggae.
  • Her Patriotic song “I’ve Got You/Military Wife” which she penned after her husband’s First Sergeant was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012 tugs at the heart and displays her writing skills and soulful vocal style. The song is perfect for any function honouring veterans, their spouses and the memories of the lives lost in the fight against terror.
  • Besides work, she is active in her community volunteering for different causes at every moment that she can. She is currently working on creating a non-profit organization, which offers mentoring and educational opportunities for the young girls. She actively supports her primary school back in Jamaica with her very own Maxine Reyes/Doctor Bird Award Program since 2000. It is a program that encourages students to work hard in school and reach for the stars in everything that they do. It fosters education, positive attitudes and selflessness. Her passion for people and her family is commendable and is noticed by the way she cares for her Soldiers and their families.

 

Social Media and contact Information

Happily Joint
Www.HappilyJoint.com
IG,FB,Twitter,Pinterest @HappilyJ

From The Heart of a Man ~ Kenneth Reyes

 

Courtesy Kenneth Reyes

Nothing in life carries more gravity than being a good father and husband. Serving in the military adds a level of complexity that most families do not have to deal with. Most civilians are unaware of the lawful demand that the profession of arms asks of its members. This demand is simply stated as, the mission comes first. If you are unfamiliar with the term, the mission comes first, allow me to get you up-to-speed. The “mission” is any military requirement that is asked of me. This can stem from as mundane as administrative paper work to the extreme of a combat deployment. The mission comes first regardless of my family situation. Child being born < Army; Wedding Anniversary < Army; Death in the Family < Army. True, with special permission these conflicts of interest can be resolved but you need the Army’s permission first.

This requires me to be on top of my husband and fatherly duties at all times. I need to build emotional resiliency in my wife and daughter so they can mentally manage the disappointment of my absence and all the little things that are on the daily battlefield of emotional happiness. School plays, playtime, tucking my daughter into bed, being there to hold my wife after a rough day. These are just some of the constant challenges I face as a father and husband in the military.

The question for those that know me is, how did I stay married for 19 years and be under 40? The answer is simple but the execution is much harder. I loved my wife as I wanted her to love me. I tried to be as understanding to her needs as I want her to be understanding to mine. Lastly, forgiveness proved to be the most important element to our success. I strived to forgive her for all perceived wrongs against me as I hoped she would try to forgive me for all my perceived wrongs against her. It didn’t hurt that the Lord scripted onto my heart that I would take care of her till my dying breath either.

Our relationship enjoys the unfair advantage of the Lord’s favor. We have faced challenges that have crushed other couples, but our love has the spiritual backing of one that is greater than the world. Therefore our love is able to resist the world’s challenges. This doesn’t mean we don’t fall victim to the snares of being rude, impatient, or hurting-one-another. We just seem to have an unending well of forgiveness for each other. This allows us to enjoy an unbreakable bond. After reading this you may be disappointed if you came looking for answers that could easily be replicated in your own relationship, but in the end we give God all the glory.

 

 

Captain Kenneth Reyes  ~ United States Army Paratrooper

Kenneth Reyes was born in Hoboken, NJ in 1978 and grew up as a military dependent.  Ken travelled the world with his mother and older brother; Hawaii, California, Puerto Rico, Germany, and Texas.  He graduated from High School at Killeen, TX and promptly enlisted in the United States Air Force at the age of 17 in 1996.  He attended Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.  After Basic Military Training, his first permanent duty station was McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, California.  He soon deployed to Bosnia to support the NATO led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 3 months. His mission was to assist in halting Serbian forces from completing their campaign of ethnic cleansing the Kosovo Albanians.

In 2000 while serving as a Senior Airman, Ken completed his first Associates in Applied Science in Information Technology Systems form the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF).  The CCAF is a federally-chartered degree-granting institution that serves the United States Air Force’s enlisted force.  In 2005 while serving as a Technical Sergeant, Ken completed his second Associates in Applied Science from the CCAF in Education & Training Management. He also completed a Bachelors of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix.  In 2006 Ken competed and was awarded an opportunity to attended Officer Candidate School.  After successfully completing Officer Candidate School, Ken received a commission from the President of the United States as an Army Second Lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps.

In 2007 while serving as a Second Lieutenant, Ken volunteered to serve his country as a United States Army Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.  Ken was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (4th Brigade Combat Team).  Ken served as their Adjutant General Officer for 46 months.  While in the 82nd Airborne Division he served 27 months in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2011 while serving as a Captain, Ken took command of Charlie Company, 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC for 22 months.  During this time Ken received, equipped, motivated, and shipped over 36,000 Soldiers to Basic Combat Training.  In 2013 Ken completed his Masters of Arts in Human Resource Management from Webster University.

Since 2013 Ken has been serving as an Assistant Professor of Military Science for Army ROTC at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Stetson University, Bethune-Cookman, and Daytona State College. Some of his awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, theArmy Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement

Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with two campaign stars), the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO ISAF Medal, the Polish Army Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 16th to 22nd May 2016 – Encouragement from My Heart to Yours

Image result for christians and mental health

image from www.christiansontheleft.org.uk

 

Mental Health Awareness week is 16th to 22nd May 2016 and I wanted to write a post about mental health that would encourage someone who maybe experiencing mental health challenges, especially in the church setting.

I have been in church for over forty years and it is only in recent years that the church is becoming comfortable with discussing mental issues.

So many people suffer in silence in church because it is not discussed from the pulpit or the stigma of it is too much for them to bear in their community.

MIND (www.mind.org.uk) the organisation that offers support to sufferers and their family, lists reasons why people suffer from periods of poor mental health. They include:

The following factors could potentially trigger a period of poor mental health:

  • childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect
  • social isolation or loneliness
  • experiencing discrimination and stigma
  • the death of someone close to you
  • severe or long-term stress
  • unemployment or losing your job
  • social disadvantage, poverty or debt
  • homelessness or poor housing
  • caring for a family member or friend
  • a long-term physical health condition
  • drug and alcohol misuse
  • domestic violence or other abuse as an adult
  • significant trauma as an adult, such as military combat, being involved in a serious accident or being the victim of a violent crime
  • physical causes – for example, a head injury or a condition such as epilepsy can have an impact on behaviour and mood (it is important to rule out causes such as this before seeking further treatment for a mental health problem)
  • genetic factors – researchers are currently investigating whether there might be a genetic cause of various mental health problems but there is no clear proof yet.

The first thing I want to encourage you with is that Jesus came to set you free. I love how Luke 4:18 reads in the Amplified bible.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah), Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy),”

This dear heart is what Jesus has for you; this is what he died for, for you to be whole in your mind and body. He came to release you from the trappings and pain of your past.

If you need to seek professional help then please ensure that you do, but I just wanted to let you know that you are loved and appreciated and a new day awaits you. The best in life is ahead of you so please do not allow the pain of your past to keep you caged, isolated and alone. Jesus promised to never leave you nor forsake you, he promised to be with you always. Believe that with me today.

Prayer

Father, right now I lift up to you anyone who is reading this blog post and is having mental health challenges. I pray restoration and healing for their mind and life. Father, minister to them in a unique and tangible way that they will know that you love and care about them. Touch them like only you can do Lord in Jesus name. AMEN

 

For more information  please visit

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/mental-health-problems-introduction/causes/#.Vye1M9LmrIU

 

 

 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén