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The Book of Ezekiel: An Obedient Prophet, Reprobate Sinners and Disobedient Overseers

Who’s Who?

An obedient prophet—Ezekiel

Reprobate sinners—sinful people of Judah;

Disobedient overseers—shepherds/leaders of Israel who were not properly leading their sheep;


Three Sisters

The story has been told of three sisters who lived together.

Three sisters, ages 92, 94, and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96-year-old draws a bath. She puts one foot in and pauses. She yells down the stairs, “Was I getting in or out of the bath?” The 94-year-old yells back, “I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then she yells out, “Was I going up the stairs or down?” The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea and listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” She knocks on wood for good measure. She then replies, “I’ll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door.” ¹

While these three sisters can’t remember very well, they still want to help each other. They want to live in peace and harmony with each other. They want to serve each other.

In the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel, we see three people groups mingling and occupying the banks of the Chebar River during the Babylonian captivity: an obedient prophet, reprobate sinners and disobedient leaders. Unfortunately, they were NOT attempting to live harmoniously at all, like the sisters were above.

Historical Fact: The Babylonian Empire exerted influence over Judah. In 586 BC, they destroyed Jerusalem.

Ezekiel tries to lead the people in a godly manner. The sinners are living in the depths of depravity. Likewise, the disobedient leaders are living merely for themselves and for their pleasures.

Ezekiel: An Obedient Prophet

Wouldn’t it be nice to be so attuned to God that we would hear the word of the LORD come to us daily? Many leaders in the Bible were obedient to the voice of God; others not so. Some obeyed for a while and then retreated into sin.

The prophet Ezekiel was an obedient leader! Over and over in the Book of Ezekiel, we read, “And the word of the LORD came to me” or “The word of the LORD came again to me saying.” And he obeyed every time God told him to do something, no matter how bizarre it seemed.

In Ezekiel 33:7, Ezekiel is appointed to be a watchman for the house of Israel to give the people a warning. Ezekiel, as a spiritual leader, proceeds to warn the people of their sin and the upcoming prophecy of Jerusalem’s capture.

He lays out what happens when a group of people are not being led in the way of righteousness, like what was happening in Judah at the time: Babylonian leaders were threatening to overtake the people of Judah.

Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem during the second deportation of the Jews in 597 B.C.—one year before Jerusalem was conquered by the Chaldeans. This important time period occurred when many Jews were taken captive and similarly exiled by King Nebuchadnezzar II.

While the nation of Judah had sunk deep into sin, Ezekiel was called and commissioned by God to prophesize to an ungodly people about their many sins—idolatry, apostasy, and wickedness. Ezekiel’s boldness and dedication to the LORD gave him the power to predict the siege of Jerusalem, denounce idolatrous worship, lament over cities, and predict judgment. He was the instrument God chose to declare His verdict and reaffirm an individual’s responsibility to obey the Lord. Towards the end of the book, he joyfully shares about Israel’s eventual restoration and the glory which will fill God’s temple.

Historical Trivia: Sometimes the term “Chaldeans” is used to refer to Babylonians in general, but normally it refers to a specific semi-nomadic tribe that lived in the southern part of Babylon. ²

Historical Trivia: The House of Israel and The House of Judah are NOT the same people. Both are parts of the nation of Israel but reflect the division of the country into two different Kingdoms. Bible prophecies tell us that [the] Messiah will rule over a restored Kingdom during His millennial reign, as King David ruled over both Houses during his own tenure. ³

I’ve always thought of Ezekiel as my kind of prophet—he’s flamboyant and colorful. He wails, slaps his thighs, and has visions of dry bones. But his obedience to God’s call and willingness to do whatever God asks of him is what impresses me the most.

Sinners: Reprobates from the House of Judah, Including the Capital City of Jerusalem; 

Ezekiel 16 catalogues the sins of the people of Jerusalem. Many of the people were trusting in their personal beauty, and out of this hubris became prostitutes. They had sex with everyone who walked by. They took the gold and silver that the LORD had given them and out of it made idols for themselves. They covered their idols with embroidered clothes and offered God’s olive oil and incense in their presence. They similarly pledged all the fragrances and food that God had given them as well. They sacrificed their sons and daughters to their idols as sustenance. They had sex with the Assyrians, but they still weren’t satisfied, so they had sex with land merchants and the Babylonians (Ezekiel 16:15-34).

Leaders: Disobedient Overseers

Ezekiel warned the leaders as to what will happen if the people continued in sin due to a lack of leadership. Those in charge have a responsibility to lead their flock ethically no matter where they find themselves—in the workplace or in ministry. The overseers of the people were all about themselves: they became a stumbling block of iniquity to the House of Israel. They followed their idols far from God, thereby rendering them unable to lead the people. God’s desire was for them to be ashamed of their transgressions, but they weren’t (Ezekiel 43:10).

The leaders at that time were going to be punished for their sins. Leaders have a great responsibility to their people, as do ministers have towards their “sheep”—those that they have been given responsibility to lead within their churches or ministries. In each case, there will come a time when God says, “enough of all your abominations, because judgment will come!” (See Ezekiel 44).

What Happens To The People When Leaders “Run Amok?” 

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to them, the [spiritual] shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe (judgment is coming) to the [spiritual] shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat [the choicest of meat], and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the best of the livestock, but you do not feed the flock. You have not strengthened those who are weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bandaged the crippled, you have not brought back those gone astray, you have not looked for the lost; but you have ruled them with force and violence. They were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered, they became food for all the predators of the field. My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the face of the earth and no one searched or sought them.”’”

Therefore, you [spiritual] shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “certainly because My flock has become prey, My flock has even become food for every predator of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; therefore, you [spiritual] shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My flock from them and make them stop tending the flock, so that the shepherds cannot feed themselves anymore. I will rescue My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them”’” (Ezekiel 34:1-10 AMP).

Application to Leaders Today

The Drudge Report posted an article on January 15th, 2019 titled, “Staff at a Chinese company are forced to CRAWL on the street after ‘failing to hit their annual targets’” The article mentioned that a group of  female beauty company employees were made to crawl on their hands and knees through busy afternoon traffic in Zengzhou, China for failing to meet their company sales target. ⁴ I would classify their boss/leader as an uncouth, mean person. His flock wasn’t being led, or, to use a Christian term “fed” in an appropriate way.

The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel saying, “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people, and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming upon the land, and he blows on the trumpet and warns the people, then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.’” (Ezekiel 33:2-4).

We can extend Ezekiel’s analogy to all venues where leadership is established. Leaders such as CEOs, political leaders, teachers, pastors, prophets, and evangelists are put in the position of either following the Lord’s guidance in this area, or suffering the consequences.


Whatever God does with wicked individuals, leaders or nations, He is always generous in extending grace. His final goal is always the same, both then and now: God declares twenty times in the Book of Ezekiel that “they will know that I am the Lord.”

When the leaders didn’t do “their job”, God eventually stepped in Himself to restore Israel.  God said, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out . . . I will feed My flock and lead them to rest . . . I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.” (Ezekiel 34:16)

No matter what kind of leader you are, obey God as Ezekiel did.

If you are in a leadership position, most likely you will not be carrying out a public humiliation upon your employees or congregants or forcing them to slap themselves in the face 100 times (which occurred recently in China), but you must remember you are accountable to God for how you treat people.

In the three sisters story above, the sisters were not fully able to remember each other’s call for help, but their love for each other was evident. That’s how God’s love for us is: let’s commit to obey Him and serve His people in whatever situation we find ourselves.

If you are not a believer, consider the love that Christ has for you and how you can be part of the Kingdom of God by accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.

Bible Verses:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22)

Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (1 Peter 5:2)

So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

For the LORD will judge His people and will have compassion on His servants. (Psalm 135:14)


My heavenly Father, with all my heart, I desire to do Your will. Give me the courage of Ezekiel, the strength to remain strong in You, and to lead in a way that is honorable to You. Steer me away from all things which can send me astray. Prune me so I can serve You more and more each day.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God Bless,


Member of IWA-Inspirational Writers Alive!

Member of Biblegateway Bloggers #bgbg2

Bible Links are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

To read more about leadership, check out the following article.

https://greenepastures.org/leadership-part-1-nehemiah/  (From this blog, you can link to Leadership Part 2-Nehemiah)

Works Cited

¹ “Unjokes #1002.” Jan 17, 2019. Web. Unjokes.com.

² “Who were the Chaldeans in the Bible?” GotQuestions.org. Jan 17, 2019. Web: https://www.gotquestions.org/Chaldeans.html

³ “Are the House of Israel and The House of Judah the same people?” Blog Post WordPress. Bible Insights from Jerry. 17 Jan 2019. Web. https://bibleinsightsfromjerry.wordpress.com.

⁴ You, Tracy. “Staff at Chinese company are forced to CRAWL on the street after ‘failing to hit their annual targets.”Drudge Report: Daily Mail. 15 Jan 2019. Web. www.DrudgeReport.com.


“Ezekiel.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. Jan 16, 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezekiel.

Photo Credit: Lightstock.com

See Works Cited.

Edited by E. Johnson

Valentine's Day

Books by Patti Greene

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

Plan Your Bible Studies For 2019

Over the past 47 years, participation in various Bible studies was a no-brainer. Reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life. Whether the studies were from pastors, discipleship leaders or workbooks, the effect they have had on my life has been profound.

Ever since I accepted Jesus Christ, I have participated in various Bible studies

Being a reader, and one who enjoys any kind of paper-pen-pencil combination, Bible study workbooks became my favorite method of reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God. Through them, I have grown in my faith, learned Biblical principles and wrestled with spiritual issues. These studies grew me from a “baby believer”, who knew nothing about the Bible, Bible doctrine or theology, into a “baby believer” who became armed with the Word of God—ready to tackle whatever was in store for me in my faith journey.

Along with these Bible study workbooks, I have partaken in topical Bible studies, Bible-based book studies and personal Bible studies (those done solely on my own). Choosing which Bible study I utilize depends on my interests, the authors, what studies are going on at my church, and/or what the Lord leads me to study for purposes such as teaching me, teaching others, or pursuing ministries He has for me.

Shortly after becoming a believer, some profound Bible studies helped me in my early walk with the Lord. They were:

  • The Ten Basic Steps to Christian Maturity by Campus Crusade
  • The Be Series by Warren Wiersbe
  • The Joy of Living Bible study
  • David Wilkerson’s Jesus Person Maturity Manual, and later
  • Experiencing God by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Searching for Good Bible Studies

While it is not popular to say this, I have been involved in Bible studies that I later realized contained false doctrine and flat-out false teaching. [And yes, they are in Christian bookstores.]

As I grew, the Lord began to give me His discernment into which studies honored Him and which studies did not. It has become a challenge for me to find studies when I browse through Amazon or bookstores. I am diligent to read the author’s background, what they believe, and what their ministry stands for. If it makes you feel better, I am a “certified Texas librarian” so this kind of research and analysis comes easy—even expected—for me!

In January 2018, I walked into a Christian bookstore intending to find a Bible study to pursue at home. I looked and looked, but I couldn’t find one among the extensive shelves containing books from various authors from A-Z! I even looked at the $4.00 and under book carts. I’ve learned that some of the deeper books I enjoy end up on those carts. I’m not sure if it is because people like different studies than I do or if God is giving this retired gal a monetary break!

My Personal Journey

Because I own so many books, studies, literature, and Bibles, I periodically do some spring cleaning of my bookshelves—not so much to discard older ones but to make room for new selections. Since my books cover so many topics and authors, I even have a framed sign on my downstairs bookcases that say,

“Just because I own it and have read it, it doesn’t mean I believe it!”

Plan Your Bible Studies For 2019 by Patti Greene
Just because I own it and read it, does not mean I believe it!

You see, I keep some of my questionable books for comparison purposes for writing or speaking in ministry.

As I’ve grown in the Lord, I realize that reading the Bible semi-exclusively has become my forte (at least for now). While I enjoy other studies, I get more satisfaction out of studying God’s Word for myself than out of reading other people’s thoughts and their personal stories. Interestingly enough, the Bible resonates more with me now than when I first started my faith journey.

A Place for Bible Studies

Don’t get me wrong there is a place for Bible studies, but in all honesty, some stories or illustrations seem as if the author has stretched his imagination to make them fit a given verse and/or topic.

But hey, count me in that group! I am guilty of that myself. Many times, I have looked up topics in illustration books (usually ones written by well-known religious leaders or celebrities) when I am trying to write or speak to groups. Sometimes they work well—other times not.

But now in my journey, I love finding little nuggets about the lives of Biblical characters. I enjoy using them as my illustrations when writing or teaching. I have come to a point in my journey where I love God speaking to me directly from His Word.

13 Reasons to Read, Study and Meditate on the Bible

God’s Word . . .

  1. Convicts us of sin.

And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8)

  1. Gives us His promises to depend on.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

  1. Gives us strength and peace.

The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)

  1. Guides us in the moral and ethical decisions we face.

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

  1. Guides us into wise thinking and behavior.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

  1. Is powerful and true.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

  1. Keeps us from being swayed by false teachings, teachers and incorrect doctrinal errors.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)

  1. Keeps us from temptations.

No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

  1. Leads us and others to salvation and eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

  1. Leads us to consistency in our walk with God.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? But, to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

  1. Remains close to our heart to guide and influence us.

Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; (Psalm 23:3)

  1. Shows us how Christ lives so we can emulate His lifestyle as we grow and minister to others.

The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:  the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:4-6)

  1. Shows us how to minister to others.

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. (Luke 6:31)

In all love I can give you, I want to encourage you to block out time for reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word, to commit to reading more of the Bible (as opposed to the writings of others),  to spend more time reading the unadulterated, pure Word of God, and find a plan that works for you.

Bible Study Plans

Bible study plans are a great way to keep your Bible study consistent. Plans will vary in . . .

  • Length;
  • Time duration;
  • The number of days per week; [I love the plans that give me the weekend off to pursue other things of importance to me.]
  • Topic;
  • Money; [For example, if you choose to read the Bible through chronologically, you might need to purchase a chronological Bible.]
  • Ease, and more.

While I could link you to various plans, I have decided to let you do your own search for a plan that will work for you. Many plans provide you will a scheduled list you can print out, download digitally or have emailed to you daily. Some plans want you to sign up for their emails before providing a plan. My suggestion is for you to make those kinds of decisions yourself and follow through. However, please take special caution to make sure your source comes from true Bible-centered organizations!

13 Types of Bible-Reading Plans Available for Studying, Reading and Meditating

  1. A read-through-the entire Bible plan (reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation);
  2. An Old Testament plan;
  3. A New Testament plan;
  4. A Bible chronological plan;
  5. A Bible historical plan;
  6. A Gospel plan;
  7. A 90-day challenge plan; a 180-day reading plan; a 365-day reading plan;
  8. A thematic Bible plan;
  9. A “Bible book at a time” plan;
  10. A blended plan—reading some Old Testament and some New Testament simultaneously;
  11. A Jesus’ Words plan;
  12. A short-term commitment plan;
  13. A personalized plan, and more.

As for me, my Bible study plan for 2019, so far, looks like this. It’s a personalized plan written down on plain old notebook paper!*

  • Finish the Bible study plan I am currently doing; [Okay—it’s the read-through-the-Bible plan I intended to finish in 2018 but didn’t quite finish!]
  • Read all the Words of Jesus in the KJV;
  • Read, study and meditate on the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk;
  • Read, study and meditate on the New Testament Book of John through the Joy of Living series;
  • Read, study and meditate on the New Testament Book of Mark;
  • Read, study and meditate on the Old Testament during my quiet time;
  • Read, study and meditate on the New Testament during my quiet time; then
  • Pursue whatever the Lord leads me to –  Maybe a quick study on the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah.


I’d love to hear from you to see how you decide to hear from God this year—be it a programmed study, scheduled Bible study plan, or a personal plan.

Back in January, as I left that Christian bookstore empty-handed after a vain search for a Bible study, I heard a voice within me saying, “Patti, don’t be discouraged.” I smiled, started my car, and drove home pondering what was my yearly plan to be. It came to me in a still, small voice. “Patti, read through the Bible in 2018.” And while I didn’t quite reach that goal, I’m almost there!

The important thing is to MAKE A PLAN AND GET STARTED!

Bible Verses:

Old Testament prophet Joshua said, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it . . . “ (Joshua 1:8)

New Testament prophet John said, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)


My gracious heavenly Father. I come to You as I start 2019 looking for ways to please You. I need You in my life for so many reasons. I am committing myself right now to be more immersed Your Word this year. I need Your Holy Spirit to guide me into a study that I can finish—one that I won’t give up on by the end of January. Being in Your presence is my desire for this new year. Thank You for always being by my side even when my faith is weak and my heart is faint. I truly love You.

In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

God Bless,

Member of IWA-Inspirational Writers Alive!

Member of Biblegateway Bloggers #bgbg2

Bible Gateway Bloggers
Bible Gateway Bloggers

Edited by E. Johnson

*Commentaries are often used when studying the Bible.

Bible Links are from the NASB.

Valentine's Day

Books by Patti Greene


Valentine’s Day: Interpreting 1 Corinthians 13

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with February 14th. It’s the date that most people associate with LOVE, HEARTS, CANDY, and FLOWERS!

We know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because we see the gifts in the stores dressed up on lovely lace displays. We know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because Hallmark and other stores are stocked with lovely red cards abounding with hearts and kisses. We know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because our online pop-ups tell us with advertisements to purchase that special gift for that special person. And we know it’s close to Valentine’s Day because there is a reminder on our print and online calendars that it’s VALENTINE’S DAY!

Love has different meanings to different people. To some love means respect. To others love means acceptance. To others, love means a gushy sentimental type of lust.

The apostle Paul wrote a lovely poetic segment in 1 Corinthians about love. When you read the following verses, you can see that love is involved with actions—how we treat our family—how we treat our church family—how we treat our enemies, and more.

In the New American Standard Version (1 Corinthians 13), Paul urges us to view love in the following ways. (New American Standard Version. 1 Corinthians 13:4-13)

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I decided to just take a few of the LOVE qualities and explain/define them using Greek the common language used in the New Testament. I pray the one the Holy Spirit wants you to hang on to this week is below.

Love [is . . .]

  1. Patient— makrothumeō (mak-roth-en)

To be long-spirited; to be long-suffering, to have long patience; to be patient; to patiently endure; slow to anger.

  1. Does not brag— perpereuomai (per-per-yoό-om-ahee)

Does not boast; to be lifted up with pride; to become haughty; to think too highly [of].

  1. Does not take into account a wrong suffered— logizomai (log-id’-zom-ahee)

To take an inventory; to conclude; to judge; to suppose; to hold.

  1. Does not rejoice in unrighteousness— chairό (khah’ee-ro)
[Do not] be glad; do not be happy; especially on meeting or parting; rejoices as in salutation or parting.

  1. Believes all things— pisteuō (pist-yoo’)

To have faith (in); upon or with respect to; a person or thing; to entrust one’s spiritual well-being to Christ.

  1. Love never fails— agape (ag-ah-pay)

Love; affection or benevolence; speaking goodwill towards others, “the love of God” or “of Christ;” being full of love; the love of our neighbor; the brotherly affection which the Lord commands and inspires.

  1. Faith—pistis (pis’tis)

Reliance on Christ for salvation; the gospel.

  1. Hope—elpis (elpece’)

To anticipate usually with pleasure; hope of salvation through Christ; earnest expectation.

  1. Love—agape (ag-ah-pay)

Love; affection or benevolence; speaking goodwill towards others, “the love of God” or “of Christ;” being full of love; the love of our neighbor; the brotherly affection which the Lord commands and inspires.

  1. Abide—menō (men’o)

To stay; to abide; to dwell.

On this Valentine’s Day, commit to becoming a loving person following the qualities Paul set out to share with the followers of Jesus.

God loves us. Let’s love others.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

God Bless.

If you missed my last blog titled, “Feeling Trapped: How to Relieve Anxiety, Depression, and Hopelessness, click here to read it. (There’s a cute photo of a cat for my cat-loving followers.)


The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. Ed. Spiros Zodhiates. Chattanooga: AMG, 2008. Print.

All verses are from the NASB unless noted.

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Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Ezekiel: When God Says, “Enough is Enough!”

Ezekiel was called to do a job that required him to speak only when God told him to speak. God had conveyed that He was finished with their disobedience and hard hearts. Enough was enough, and He was ready to judge and punish His people for their rebellious spirit and actions.

Ezekiel, The Son of Man

In many respects, I relate to Ezekiel, an Old Testament priest, and prophet. Every time I write, I want to write only what God wants me to share with you. I try to write when He speaks to me, just as Ezekiel did when he spoke.

When Ezekiel spoke, he was to proclaim God’s message which was disregarded by the people and caused his peers to laugh and disrespect him. Ezekiel’s task was to foretell the future of Jerusalem and Judah to the people. He was to prophesy about the siege of Jerusalem, the desolation of Jerusalem, the idolatrous worship, the punishment for their wicked behavior, and their blasphemous disrespect for the temple.

In Chapters 4-7, where these issues were the major topics of interest, Ezekiel is called the “son of man” at the beginning of each chapter. In fact, Ezekiel is the only prophet regularly called the “son of man” by God. Some say that Ezekiel was called the “son of man” to show his humanness and to differentiate himself from the supernatural and bizarre visions he had—some of which occur in these chapters.

As we travel this journey together with Ezekiel, let’s remember that he is like us and human in many respects. He was brought up by religious parents and married in his 20s. He differed because he was exiled to Babylonia and he was receptive to God’s call on his life. Ezekiel had been filled with the Holy Spirit to do a BIG job. He is a believer in following God’s call on his life.

For 20 years, God called Ezekiel where people criticized him, made fun of him. He even continued his call through the untimely death of his beloved wife. He was called to proclaim the fall, turmoil, and restoration of Judah and especially Jerusalem.

Ezekiel knew that he was to be obedient. God shared this doom through action sermons. Action sermons consisted of Ezekiel acting out vivid physical depictions of God’s impending judgment in front of the people.

Are we willing to be obedient and endure being made fun of to be obedient to God? Some of us would if we had God’s continual assurance we were operating in His strength for His purposes.

Let’s look closer . . . Let’s see how Ezekiel did it by first looking at some prominent verses in Ezekiel 4-7.

I. An Action Sermon Ezekiel 4:1-3

Now you son of man, get yourself a brick, place it before you and inscribe a city on it, Jerusalem. Then lay siege against it, build a siege wall, raise up a ramp, pitch camps and place battering rams against it all around. Then get yourself an iron plate and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city, and set your face toward it so that it is under siege, and besiege it. This is a sign to the house of Israel.

II. An Action Sermon Ezekiel 5:1-2 

As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword; take and use it as a barbers’ razor on your head and beard. Then take scales for weighing and divide the hair. One-third you shall burn in the fire at the center of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. Then you shall take one-third and strike it with the sword all around the city, and one-third you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them.

III. An Action Sermon Ezekiel 6:1-3; Ezekiel 6:13

And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them and say, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord God!’ Thus, says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places.

Then you will know that I am the Lord, when their slain is among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, under every green tree and under every leafy oak—the places where they offered soothing aroma to all their idols.

IV. Prophecy Ezekiel 7:1-4

Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, “And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel, ‘An end! The end is coming on the four corners of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways and bring all your abominations upon you. For My eye will have no pity on you, nor will I spare you, but I will bring your ways upon you, and your abominations will be among you; then you will know that I am the Lord!’

Let’s Consider the Atmosphere

At the time, there was a spiritual battle going on between God and His people. The people were involved in deliberate and continual rebellion and they were about to reap the consequences. According to The Broadman Bible Commentary, they were worshiping pagan cults. They were morally corrupt. Their leaders were not guiding the people. Their priests gave no wise counsel. Even their court officials led with despair.

God was not going to tolerate their sinful behavior anymore.

At this point, God has called Ezekiel. He told him to prophesy to the people by using signs, action sermons, and visions. He was asked to do strange things to describe the desolation that was going to happen in Jerusalem. God gave him three specific prophecies regarding how the people will be punished—one-third will die by plagues or famine; one-third will fall by the sword; one-third will be scatted to every wind.

Ezekiel was told to denounce idolatry and tell the people of upcoming famines and diseases. He was obedient although up against calloused people who had no interest in hearing the word of God or prophecies of disaster even though he reminded them that God will leave a remnant of His people.

Let’s Consider the People

The people were enjoying their sinful lives. They took pride in their gorgeous jewels. They worshiped their vile idols and enjoyed their wealth to the fullest. The people continued to enrich themselves with material possessions, but their possessions were used for evil.

But, the Bible talks about disaster upon disaster about to be released upon them.

The people could not believe God would punish or hurt them. We hear this today, too, when people say, “God is good, and would never do anything to hurt us.”

It is rather devastating when a Trojan Horse “pop-up” warning appears on your computer screen while you are looking at a website. When it happened to me today, I immediately went to an authoritative source who could fix the problem—my husband.

But, that is not what happens in the book of Ezekiel. The people of Judah were so involved in their own pursuits they ignored the prophecies which instructed them to repent and turn to their own “authoritative source who could fix the problem”—God. They were not prepared to hear God through His servant Ezekiel. Today, Godly ministers experience many people who sit and listen to this same message, but it goes in one ear and out the other.

Let’s Consider the Leaders

The leaders themselves were not accountable to God. But regardless, God was making the people individually responsible for their actions even as their leaders were failing them.

Let’s Consider God

God’s patience was all used up and the penalty for their disobedience was coming NO MATTER WHAT. He was ready to unleash his anger and judge them for their conduct. Basically, God was sick and tired of the people’s shameless sinning. He tells Ezekiel that he is about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem and only give the people rationed water. He tells Ezekiel the people will waste away because of their sin. In Ezekiel 5:10, we are told that parents will eat their children and children were going to eat their parents. They were to be scattered to the wind. Nations would hate them. The wild beasts will be against them. And plagues and bloodshed were coming. Bones were going to be scattered, towns laid waste, and the high places of idolatry were going to be demolished. God was not going to spare the people or look at them with pity. God was going to withdraw from them. He was not going to have any more pity on them. A crisis was lurking around the corner!

Nevertheless, in His graciousness, God tells why He is going to cripple the people. In Ezekiel 6:14b, God states that His desired result is that, “They will know that I am the LORD.”

In Ezekiel 5:11b, God says, “I myself will shave you. I will not look on you with pity or spare you.” Shaving in the Bible is associated with drastic measures. And drastic measures were coming. Remember ten years ago when pop singer Britney Spears shaved her head amid a personal meltdown? It was during a desperate time in her life. And God’s people were about to become desperate.

What Happens When God Has Had Enough of Our Sins?

  1. He warns us by confronting us with our sin. Sometimes He speaks through our conscience, other times by other people, sometimes through the Word of God. This gives us a chance to confront our sin and change. Sometimes He warns us multiple times over an extended period.
  2. We have a choice whether to turn from our ways, or not. Choosing to disobey is never a good idea.
  3. If we do not turn away from our sins, He warns us judgment is coming. It comes in God’s timing, but it always comes—in this life or in the afterlife.
  4. God decides on the judgment. It is always God’s prerogative in how He will judge you for a defiant and/or stubborn spirit.
  5. God punishes us. It is also God’s choice in how He chooses to punish us.

Pastor Tony Evans has a quotation in one of his books that states, “Sinners have a jar. Once the jar is full, it’s over. Every time a sinner rebels against God, they fill up the jar. When the jar is full, God judges them.” ¹ When God’s jar is full and He says enough is enough, it’s never a good sign. Punishment will come. It may come in the form of suffering, misfortune, heartbreak, disease, or any kind of catastrophe of His choosing.

Ezekiel’s call was to warn the Jews of the upcoming judgment in Jerusalem and Judah. He was obedient; he obeyed God in the task. Many people of the land chose to continue in their sin. No matter what side of the spectrum you are on—following the LORD or rebelling against the LORD, we are all called to be obedient.

In a rebellious state, repentance is the only suitable option. We may be the remnant that will be restored. We are reestablished by looking at the source, Jesus Christ. If we are already living a holy and acceptable life, let’s encourage others to be restored before something ruinous happens to them. In the case of the Jews in Judah, it was, unfortunately, death!

On January 24, 1994, in his State of the State Address, New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo, said, “In baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. Here [in the law], it’s three strikes and you’re in for life. ²

Let’s not “strike out” in life. Let’s not get to the point where God says, “Enough is enough!” Let’s look at the source before it is too late because when all is said and done, God’s purpose is that we will know that He is the LORD.” (Ezekiel 6:14b)

Bible Verses:

[Blessings of Obedience] You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 26:1)

“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. (Isaiah 1:11)

Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, bear now the punishment of your lewdness and your harlotries.’” (Ezekiel 23:35)


Dear heavenly Father. Help me in my life to always desire to follow You. If I am led to a life that is dishonorable to You, please show me my wicked ways. Give me the courage to turn back to You. I need You every day Lord. I need Your protection, guidance, and wisdom to be all You have called me to be. Lord, I ask for Your forgiveness in the ways I have been living. I toss all sins and undesirable associations out of my life to follow You. I’ve had enough of my sin and I desire to live the life You have called me to live. Thank you, Jesus. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

God Bless,


Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited

¹ Evans, Tony. Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from more than 30 years

               of preaching and public speaking. Chicago: Moody, 2009.

² Spinrad, Leonard and Thelma Spinrad. Speaker’s Lifetime Library. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall. 1997.


Losch, Richard. All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

Wiersbe, Warren. Be Reverent: Bowing Before Our Awesome God. Colorado Springs: David Cook, 2000.

Allen, Clifton, ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary: Jeremiah-Daniel. Nashville: Broadman, 1971.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer by Patti Greene
Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer by Patti Greene
Anchor Me
Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer
Awaken Me
Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

Caregiving Part 5: Spirituality

Caregiving. My husband and I moved in with my mother when my father passed away a year and a half ago. Mom is a fragile 91-year-old. Her health is not good, but her mind is phenomenal. Today I drove Mom and her friend to their church for a special service. We stayed afterward for the end-of-the-year Women’s Club luncheon. The women chatted, laughed, and enjoyed fellowship with their friends. You might ask why I chauffer my mother around like this; I do it because I love my mother and I want her to continue to enjoy the church she has attended for the past 50 years. It is there she fellowships with her friends and shares a spiritual connection with others and the Lord.

As a caregiver, our concerns usually center around our parents’ emotional, physical and social life. One aspect often lacking in caregiving is an interest in the elderly’s spiritual life. Whether you are a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver, giving yourself to the spiritual needs concerning your parents is truly a privilege.

For those who take their spirituality seriously, a sense of purpose and fulfillment undergirds their lives. Despite this fact, some do not understand or take seriously this component of another’s life. Understanding spirituality is complicated because there are so many scenarios and so many definitions of spirituality at play. They involve answering questions such as:

  • Are you a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver?
  • Are your parents living in the same town or city as you are?
  • Are you a strong believer, a ‘sort of’ religious person, or an uninterested individual?
  • Have your parents lived a dedicated life for Christ and the church? Have they attended church sporadically? Or, have they rarely explored any ‘religious’ life?

Once you mix and match all these different dynamics together, it’s time to discern and pray about your part in your parents’ spiritual life. Regardless of your parents’ spiritual background, caring for them is one of the most compassionate undertakings you or your siblings can pursue. Included in regular caregiving responsibilities, being a part of allowing your parents to pursue or continue their interests in God, church, and spiritual growth is an important part of caregiving.

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Your Parents

Many seniors who have attended church all their lives develop a deeper desire for the things of God when they get older; but many do not. Some glide into old age making their spirituality more of an inward feat and not a community feat. In Spirituality and Aging, Sociology Professor Emeritus at Marquette University David O. Moberg says, “Many scientists who study spirituality and aging have concluded that spirituality increases with age. However, it is also important to acknowledge that other prominent researchers disagree with this premise.” ¹ Gerontologists are starting to see how the spiritual life regarding their patients yields an unexplainable peace and calmness as they face the future. As a result, their physical well-being is often affected in a positive way. They see their patients with faith as possessing strength and tranquility regarding their future.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Depend on God

  • Many seniors are concerned about their death and the afterlife.
  • Their faith provides strength as they face illnesses, loss of friends, and loneliness.
  • They have more time to pray and read their Bible.
  • Concern over a reduced income and the ability to meet their needs.
  • A renewed or deepening dependence and guidance by the Holy Spirit.

At a time when seniors tackle new challenges, many undergo losing their support systems. This should be a huge consideration in churches as “baby boomers” are starting to fit into the senior adult category.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Abandon their Faith and Church

  • Lack of activities for seniors—Feeling of alienation may occur when more emphasis is given to youth ministries, young adult ministries, or any ministries besides senior adult ministries.
  • Miss traditions—They feel left out, unwanted, unneeded in the congregation. Seniors enjoy the familiarity of things past, i.e. hymns, Sunday dinners, fellowship luncheons.
  • Difficulty adjusting to change—The new programs and facilities are too much for them. Adjusting to change is especially hard for the aging population.
  • Hearing loss—They can’t hear the preacher or Sunday school teacher.
  • Stimulating services (music, yelling, confusion)—The British Alzheimer’s Society discusses noise triggers by saying, “[People with Alzheimer’s] feel bewildered or anxious because there is too much noise, too many people around, or a change in a familiar routine.”
  • Other disabilities—There may not be handicapped parking or wheelchair accommodations at the church. They may be unable to get to church due to disability or inability to drive themselves. Or maybe, there is too much walking to get to their classes or sanctuary easily.

Caregiving and You

As a family caregiver member, it is imperative for you to be cognizant of your parents’ needs. This includes their spiritual needs.

Practical Ways You Can Help

  • If you live in the same town or city as your parents, bring them to church and church functions.
  • If you live out-of-town, contact their church organization, friends, or other family members to set up transportation.
  • If your parents are in a facility, investigate what kind of spiritual activities that are available.
  • Make their living environment familiar and comfortable, i.e. put their favorite cross in their room, be sure their Bible is easily accessible.
  • Provide notecards, stamps, and addresses so they can write and minister to their friends.
  • Get their hearing checked by an audiologist.
  • Get their eyesight checked by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
  • Purchase a large-print Bible for them if needed.
  • And, if you or family members live in the same city or town, be sure to visit them!

Whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

Questions Caregivers Must Ask

  • What hindrances are my parents facing?
  • My parents used to attend church. Why don’t they go now?
  • How do I approach my unbelieving parents about Jesus Christ?

These are just a few of the many questions caregivers might have. You may want to spend some time thinking, meditating, and praying for what questions need to be asked and how you can be a part of the solution.

How to Pray: Ten Tips for a Better Prayer Life

Keep Yourself in Top Spiritual Shape

Being connected to God’s divine source can help you manage better as your caregiving duties progress. Continuing or starting to seek God’s presence and strength in your life will assist you as you care for and minister to your loved ones. Understanding you are not perfect alleviates a mindset of inadequacy. Remind yourself of all your parents have done for you. If they haven’t done much, it is time to ask God how He wants you to treat them and care for them regardless of the past. God is available to help you as you support your parents. By being their caregiver, you can be assured, God has given you a divine assignment—one that you won’t regret.

Salvation and Eternal Life

On our most recent visit to my mother’s oncologist, we were discussing mom’s diagnosis and future prognosis. In his matter-of-fact intonation, he said, “Mrs. —————, life is a terminal illness!” While we don’t want to think about life like this, it is true. We all will die and face an eternal future.

As we live our earthly life, let us be ever mindful about our eternal destination. Gaining an understanding of our future existence is significant in understanding life-and-death anxieties and angsts.

Both caregivers and parents and all humanity will die. CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) discusses four laws in the booklet “Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?” ²

Four Spiritual Laws

Law 1: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

John 3:16

Law 2: Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.

Romans 3:23

Law 3: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him, you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

John 14:6

Law 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

Revelation 3:20

A Heart-to-Heart Prayer

If you or your parents have not accepted Jesus Christ, now is the time to have a frank conversation with God. If you are unsure how to pray for God’s salvation, a simple well-meaning prayer can be the best decision for both of your lives.

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” ³

If you have accepted Jesus Christ but your parents haven’t, now is the time to have a candid heart-to-heart with them.

Eight days before my father passed away, I had a candid heart-to-heart with him. He prayed a prayer akin to the prayer written above. As we sat on his couch at 5 am we quietly talked together and talked to God. Some may call this a deathbed conversion. No matter what it is called, my father accepted Jesus Christ and God used me to help him make the best decision of his life.

Caretaking means being responsible for various aspects of your parents’ life. As we face our parents’ sundown years, let’s do what we can to help them hold on to, delight in, and agree to take part in their spiritual life while at the same time progressing and preserving our own spiritual life.

Do You Fear Death?

Bible Verses: See above.


Dear heavenly Father, as I consider all the needs of my parents, let me be mindful of their whole being. I pray for their emotional, physical, social, and spiritual life. Make me aware of their needs. Let me offer my help. Give us both peace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Spirituality and Aging. http://www.nap411.com. Accessed 10 May 2017.

² Greene, Patti. Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer. Bloomington: WestBow, 2016. [Permission given from CRU for Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws summary.]

³ Begin Your Journey to Peace. www.peacewithgod.net. Accessed 10 May 2017.

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 6: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 4: Housing Options for Elderly Parents

Senior citizens are living longer. They have access to medical treatments which can prolong their lives. Many “baby boomers” encounter difficult decisions about caregiving and living arrangements for their parents. While boomers are concerned about their parents’ well-being, they are often clueless about what housing options are available.

Evaluating the Level of Care Your Parents’ Needs

Safety Issues – Are your parents safe in their home? Is their driving safe for themselves and others? Are they able to take care of themselves?

Medical Issues – Are your parents able to administer and track their own medicine? What medical conditions do your parents have? Are they showing signs of memory problems?

Social Issues – Are your parents lonely? Do your parents have friends they like to socialize with?

Location – Are your parents happy where they live now? How will changing their current living situation affect them?

Cost – Are your parents financially able to sustain a decent standard of living? Are they able to afford their current housing arrangement?

Many parents are making cross-country migrations, leaving home to live with their children. The Chicago Tribune tells the story of Elizabeth Larson.

Elizabeth Larson, 93, moved from Champaign [Illinois] to be near her son, who lives in Hinsdale [Illinois].

My son said that if anything happened, if I needed him, he was too far away,” she said. She thought he was right. And she knew the solution, and that it would involve her leaving Champaign. Larson was sorry to leave neighbors she liked. But she didn’t have to leave her two closest friends. They had already moved to out-of-state retirement complexes near their own adult children. “So it was easier for me to move,” she said. And “in a way, it was kind of exciting. I thought it would be nice to be near my son. ¹

While it was a nice amicable move for Elizabeth, it can be a gut-wrenching decision for others searching for senior housing options. Moving is a complex and confusing decision. The earlier you assess your parents’ desires and needs the better it will be. By becoming aware of the different housing options available, you may be the biggest asset helping your parents come to terms with their living arrangement. Communicate with them, give them time to consider the options and be kind and gentle as they face one of the most difficult decisions of their lives.

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Most Common Housing Options for the Elderly

Independent Care—Consists of single family homes or townhomes for self-sufficient seniors. They offer security and social activities in their community living setting. Services such as laundry, meals, transportation and social activities are usually provided. They are not regulated by the government. Independent Care facilities have a country club environment. The average cost to rent or buy a home, including community fees, can be up to $2,000 per month or more. They are also called retirement communities, retirement homes, or senior apartments.

Assisted Living—A community which provides 24-hour assistance. The personnel assists with eating, bathing and bathroom use. However, 24-hour medical service is not provided. Their care usually includes laundry, meals, transportation, social activities, toilet care, housekeeping and medication aid. Assisted living communities are regulated by the state. Other names for assisted living facilities are personal care homes, eldercare facilities, residential care facilities, group homes, and community residences. The cost ranges from approximately $2,300-$5,500 per month.

Nursing Home—A community which provides 24-hour assistance with daily living and medical care by nurses and therapists. Nursing homes include doctors on call, hospice and end-of-life services, medication aid, housekeeping, toilet care, bathing, dressing, transportation, and laundry. Nursing homes adhere to both state and federal regulations. They are also called rest homes, convalescent homes, and skilled nursing facilities. The cost averages between $4,000-$12,000 per month.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)—Campus-like communities which provide care from private residences to assisted living and skilled nursing care. They are designed for individuals with declining conditions. Many times the residents move from one community to another as their conditions change. The services are the same as nursing homes. CCRCs have some state regulations. These facilities are also called Continuing Care-Retirement facilities and life care facilities. Services and costs vary depending on what level facility one is in.

Aging in Place—Many seniors decide to age in place. This is a living arrangement where the elderly and their children have made the choice to live in the children’s home, their parents’ home or the home of their choice for as long as they are capable. When assistance is needed, nurses, private aides, physical therapists and other needed personnel will come to the home. Many seniors need to remodel their houses to make them suitable to meet their needs as they age. Financial planning is a must to handle living and home and providing for any outside help.  ²

Defining Types of Care for the Elderly

Skilled Care—a type of intermediate care where the patient or resident needs more assistance than usual, generally from licensed nursing personnel and certified nursing assistants. This care is not the same as long-term care, in which a resident may not need the services of a licensed nurse on a daily basis.

Custodial Care—care when seniors need caregivers to help take care of them. Unfortunately, many older adults reach a time in their life when they can no longer care for themselves. They cannot get around the house without assistance. They cannot do the things they once did, as their physical and mental skills are not quite as sharp as they used to be. A caregiver may make all the difference between an older adult struggling with life’s demands and an adult who has a helping hand.

Palliative Care/Hospice Care—a special type of care offered to patients who are at the end of their lives. Both hospice and palliative care centers are about providing the best care possible to their patients.

Hospice care most often occurs in a home environment. Hospice is not a place—It is a concept. A hospice team consists of doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual personnel, therapists, aides, and volunteers. Hospice does not focus on treating medical problems; rather, it centers on keeping the elderly pain-free, comfortable and happy during their last days. In the Hospice Handbook, Larry Beresford says, “While hospice is care for the dying, it places special emphasis on life and living each day as fully as possible.” ⁴ Eligibility in most hospice programs require an estimated death within the next six months due to the terminality of the patient’s illness.

Palliative care centers around the concept of care also. A nurse is there to lend support to the patient and family and to manage the pain and other symptoms which are affecting the patient. Palliative care usually occurs in a facility such as a hospital, assisted care facility, or nursing home that is associated with a palliative care team.

Due to different policies, It is important to consult with your physicians about what type of care is best for your parents.

Home Care—a type of medical and assisted living in which the care provider works with the patient within their own home. Typically, the process involves an initial meeting between the care provider and patient to determine the personal needs and the level of care required. The care provider and patient will then come up with a personal and customized program to make sure the patient’s needs are being met. The health care provider may be either a licensed professional or a part of a company which specializes in assisted living. Typically, assisted living organizations are comprised of nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals and are assigned to each patient based on their own specific needs.

Residential Care Homes—In some areas, residential care homes are the last resort in terms of finding placement for residents who don’t quite meet the criteria for nursing home care, but may not have the funds for assisted living. Residential care homes also tend to be a good choice for seniors who have mild mental health issues that hinder their ability to live independently or to be accepted into assisted living facilities.

Adult Day Care—places senior citizens into the hands of licensed professionals who are fully capable of taking care of them. For many people, this is a way for the elderly to get out of the house and socialize with other people. Socialization is extremely important; some people could easily slip into depression if they don’t have someone they can talk to.

Companion Care—Companions for the elderly. Companion care personnel are usually trained by their company in safety and CPR. They are also called comfort caregivers. No certification is required to be a companion. ³

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12)

How to Pay

Often finding housing for our parents boils down to financial ability to pay for services. Without going in depth, some ways to finance parental care are to use private savings from the parents or children, money from the sale of a home, long-term insurance, reverse mortgages, Medicare or Medicaid, VA benefits, stocks/bonds, or any other financial means family or parents possess.

As children face the prospect of caring for their aging parents, complex decisions about housing are imperative. Each housing options listed above comes with benefits and complexities. It is up to the family to educate themselves on what is available by communicating with them and providing time to formulate a plan that works for all parties involved.

When my father passed away, my husband and I decided to move into my mother’s home to care for her. It was a mutual decision on our parts with the understanding that we would talk if the situation was not working well for any of us. As retired baby boomers, our situation allowed this arrangement. While it isn’t for everybody, it was a mutual decision made in the best interest of both my mother and ourselves.

As you face any upcoming living arrangements for your parents, be open-minded, respectful, realistic and informed.

The expression “there’s no place like home” is true. But, when the time comes when parents need to consider whether to move or not, let’s make sure that whatever plan is crafted creates a secure, comfortable and pleasing environment for all involved.

Bible Verses:

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

Cease striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10a)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)


Dear Lord, As I face caring for my parents, please help me honor and respect them in all decisions that must be made regarding living arrangements. I trust that You will guide me and give me wisdom as plans and decisions are made. Thank you, Lord, for helping me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 5: Spirituality

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Older Parents Divulge What It’s Like to Leave Home to Live Near Adult Kids. Chicago Tribune. 5 June 2015. http://www.chicagotribune.com.

² Paying for Senior Care. https://www.payingforseniorcare.com. 5 May 2017.

³ Assisted Living Today.  http://assistedlivingtoday.com. Accessed 5 May 2017.

⁴ McGovern, Sue. What Everyone Should Know About Hospice. St. Meinrad: Abbey Press. 2004. Print.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 3: Being Your Parents’ Advocate

The “rich and famous” can hire a personal health advocate to help them with the issues they or their parents face as they age. These advocates help with access to medication, transportation, and other individual challenges.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an advocate as “one who pleads the cause of others.” ¹ They speak up for their client when they can’t speak up for themselves. While it would be nice for every elderly person to have their own personal health advocate, it is usually left up to family members to advocate on behalf of their parents and relatives rather than employing a paid staff member to help them navigate through the health and medical system.

Your parents need you and family members to:

  • Become familiar with their rights
  • Work on their behalf
  • Understand the intricacies of the services available
  • Be there to sign permissions, and
  • Resolve and discuss issues related to their healthcare.

Advocacy is essential when your parents reach a certain stage in life where they are unable to keep up with the complexity of the healthcare system. The elderly’s main health advocacy topics revolve around their doctor visits, medication, illnesses and disorders, dementia/Alzheimer disease, and Medicare/Medicaid.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

Make Hay While the Sun Shines: Doctor Visits

If possible, you or a family member should accompany the aged to their doctor appointments. This is especially important if your parents have any cognitive disabilities surfacing. Establishing a relationship with your parents’ doctors and an office is the beginning of establishing an agreed-upon working plan for their healthcare.

Writing down questions for the doctor before the visit is always a good idea. You will want to bring a list of your parent’s symptoms with you to discuss with the physician. No matter how trivial a question might seem to you or your parents, it is important to bring it up so the doctor can piece together the entire picture so the best care is given. However, keep in mind doctors only have so much time allotted for your visit, so prioritize your questions and comments to each physician.

Always bring a list of your parent’s medications to all doctor’s appointments. Medication or dosage may change from week to week, so it is critical to inform every physician visited of any changes to vitamins, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter-medicines. In addition, depending on your parent’s insurance policies, you may want to ask your doctor to prescribe the generic medicine if it works as well as the non-generic.

After your visit, record what the doctor said, fill any new prescriptions, talk about the visit with your parents, and write down the next appointment date in your calendar along with a reminder to call for the results of any blood work.

Here Goes! Medication

Many seniors take an agglomeration of medication. It is a daunting task for them and their caregivers to make sure they are labeled correctly and administered properly.

My mother has a medicine that comes in two dosages. The problem is that the pills are the same exact shape and size. One day she wasn’t feeling well and she noticed an irregular heartbeat. After a little detective work, we discovered that she was taking a double dose of medicine because the two pills looked so similar except for the small inscription on the pill. It was quite evident that this double dose was causing a significant problem for her—one that was easily remedied but not always easy to detect.

Polypharmacy is the term used when four or more medications are prescribed to a patient. Most adults over 65 years of age are taking four or more meds and monitoring all their medicines becomes more difficult. Using the same pharmacy for all prescriptions is advantageous and advisable. The pharmacist will have records of all the medicines taken and whether there are possible side effects and interactions with other medicines. Once prescriptions are received, note the ailment that the prescription is for on the bottle or tube.

If your parents aren’t competent, it will be left up to you—the advocate and caregiver—to manage their medications. If they aren’t able, you or a family member will be responsible for doling out, organizing, and storing their medicine.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

To help with medicine, it is wise to write what ailment all prescriptions are used for on the bottle or tube. Doing so will not only help you, but it will be useful for anyone who might need to take over distributing medicine to your parents.

Prevention is Better Than a Cure: Illnesses and Disorders

The aged are living longer now than previous generations. It follows, then, that as they live into their 80s, 90s, or even their 100s they will encounter a multitude of diseases and disorders. The most common issues affecting seniors are listed below

Accidents, Health Issues, and Disorders

  • Blood
  • Bone, joint, and muscle
  • Brain, spinal cord, and nerve
  • Cancer
  • Digestive
  • Ears, nose, and throat
  • Eye
  • Health issues and disorders of the elderly
  • Hearing
  • Heart and blood vessel
  • Hormonal
  • Immune
  • Infections
  • Injuries
  • Kidney and urinary tract
  • Liver and gallbladder
  • Lung and airway
  • Men’s health issues
  • Mental health
  • Mouth and dental
  • Nutrition and metabolic
  • Skin
  • Women’s health issues

As an advocate for your parents, you must be aware and discerning about their condition. It is not uncommon for the elderly to fear to tell you of new symptoms that present themselves. They may be concerned about bothering you or they may be justly concerned that you might move them from their home to a facility if it appears they have too many problems. By telling them you are concerned and asking them to be honest with you, they are more apt to mention any symptoms they notice.

If your parents are having memory problems, their ability to tell you about new symptoms may be diminished.

In This World, Nothing is Certain: Dementia and Alzheimer Disease

As we age, nothing is certain. No one knows what illnesses, if any, may be bestowed on them. But, one of the most devastating diagnoses imaginable is when you and your parents hear the words “dementia” or “Alzheimer’s.”

The terms dementia and Alzheimer’s are often used synonymously to represent any kind of changes in the brain which negatively affect cognitive function. However, they are defined differently.

The Alzheimer Foundation of America defines Alzheimer’s disease as “a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.” The foundation also defines dementia as “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.”

The signs were already there with my father. My mother and I noticed them gradually over the years. His confusion, inability to calculate a tip, slower reaction time and forgetfulness became more pronounced. By the time we took him to a neurologist, we knew. But when my father heard the word “dementia,” he was affected. It was his reaction that concerned us the most. He became worried about living and being an encumbrance on us, but at the same time was happy to have a name to put with his symptoms. Everyone reacts differently to the news. And, with Alzheimer’s or dementia, your parents may react differently from day to day!

Speaking specifically to Alzheimer’s, there are changes to the brain that have signs and symptoms. While the symptoms vary from one person to the next, some of the most common first symptoms of Alzheimer’s are: ³

  • Difficulty with word-finding
  • Vision/spatial issues, and
  • Impaired reasoning or judgment
  • Getting lost
  • Changes in personality

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. If you notice memory and cognitive changes with your parents, make an appointment with a neurologist. They will be able to discuss your parent’s symptoms with both of you. The physician will ask about the overall health of your parents, give memory tests, look at blood work, and possibly perform a CT, MRI, or PET scan to obtain a probable diagnosis. It is important to realize there are other medical conditions that can cause the same symptoms as dementia or Alzheimer’s and the physician will want to rule those out.

Owen Darnell has written a beautiful Alzheimer’s poem titled Do Not Ask Me to Remember. ⁴

Do Not Ask Me to Remember

Do not ask me to remember,

Don’t try to make me understand.

Let me rest and know you’re with me,

Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept.

I am sad and sick and lost.

All I know is that I need you

To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me.

Do not scold or curse or cry.

I can’t help the way I’m acting.

Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you.

That the best of me is gone,

Please don’t fail to stand beside me,

Love me ‘til my life is done.

All Systems Go: Medicare

Lastly, as your parent’s caregiver, overseeing their Medicare or Medicaid is vital.

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

A quick overview of Medicare from Understanding Medicare [medicare.gov] states,

  • Medicare Part A helps covers hospital insurance.
  • Medicare Part B helps cover medical insurance.
  • Medicare Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes all benefits and services under Part A and B and more.
  • Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.

Medicaid is a federal system providing health insurance to those requiring financial assistance.

Keeping up with the benefits and changes in Medicare or Medicaid is important because it can affect your loved one’s premiums, deductibles, hospital care, drug coverage and more. It is important not to miss deadlines for signing up and/or making changes that will affect your parent’s coverage.

There may be major changes for both Medicare and Medicaid under the new Trump administration. Reform is always in the works. Being vigilant and knowledgeable of these government programs can affect the health and care of your parents.

For more information on Medicare, click on Medicare.gov.

For more information on Medicaid, click on Medicaid.gov.

One Day at a Time: Wrap Up

Advocating for your loved ones can be exhausting and overwhelming. Your spiritual life can be a real comfort during this season. Acting in Christian love will enhance your character and provide a renewed hope for your parents. Some days will be more trying than others. Praying to be the sons and daughters your parents need will give you strength and help you to set a loving tone each day as you handle the infinite issues involved in your parent’s care.

Your parents need you to help them manage and advocate for them through their doctor visits, medication challenges, illnesses, and insurance programs. Concentrate on short-term goals. And proceed “one day at a time.”

Bible Verses:

So, do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. (Romans 12:10)


My heavenly Father, I can get so overwhelmed with all the jobs involved in caregiving. You know I love my parents. You know I care, but I get tired. There is so much to do each day. Give me Your strength and wisdom as I face the challenges ahead. Let me wake each day with a renewed love for You and my loved ones. Let me live day by day in Your presence. These things I ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 4: Housing Options for Elderly Parents

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Merriam-Webster Dictionary. merriam-webster.com. Accessed 26 Apr 2017.

² “About Alzheimer’s Disease.” Alzheimer Foundation of America. alzfdn.org/AboutAlzheimers/definition.html. Accessed 12 Dec 2016.

³ “Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet.” NationalInstitute on Aging. nia.nih.gov/…/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet. Accessed 4 Apr 2017.

⁴ Owen, Darnell. “Alzheimer’s Poem: Do Not Ask Me to Remember.” alzheimers.net/2013-08-05/do-not ask-me-to-remember-poem. Accessed Apr 26 2017.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 2: Getting Your Parents’ Affairs in Order

As a caregiver, one the most important things you can do for yourself and for your aging parents is to have a conversation with them about their legal, medical, and financial affairs. It is often left up to the children to address these issues and get the ball rolling before a crisis is upon the family.

A story was told about three daughters who tried to have that talk with their mother, but she would always avoid the topic by steering the conversation in a different direction. Their mother then passed away unexpectedly after at the age of 74 after falling down a flight of stairs. Since the conversation never took place, they were left learning that their mother had a mortgage on her house and the bank which held it could not divulge any information to the daughters without a death certificate. The girls found some items where they expected to find them, but then they found their mother’s insurance policy in a knitting bag.¹ Situations like these create frustration and stress as children try to handle the affairs of others before and after their parent’s death.

Often relatives are capable of setting their loved one’s affairs in order. Other times legal, medical, and financial help is needed to obtain the correct advice and documents.

A legal specialty called “elder law” helps families find specific help and advice to ensure their health and wealth is protected from upcoming legal issues, medical decisions, and money questions. An elder care attorney can usually help you see through your parent’s information. The result is an efficient approach to get you going in the right direction. Some families utilize their doctors, their financial advisers, and their own personal attorneys to reach the same goal. Different states have different laws and procedures for end-of-life planning, so it is always best to check what the laws are in your state as some may require a witness, a notary signature, or an attorney signature.

No matter which route you choose, be proactive. With so many terms related to elder care planning, I have chosen to give you a list compiled from various sources that will help you know what might be needed in your own situation. Sometimes the three areas of legal, medical, and financial overlap and other times an issue will fall directly under one category.

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

Legal Terms

Will/Trust – It is essential to have an up-to-date will and/or trust that designates financial, estate, and legal control and distribution. You and/or the elder may have few assets, but even with simple estates, it is generally advisable to have an attorney create a document that will protect the elder’s wishes about his or her estate.

Many people confuse a will with a trust. They both create designations for one’s assets.

Elder Law Answers, a long-term care and planning resource website, distinguishes the two by stating that the main difference is that a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect only after you die, while a trust takes effect as soon as you create it. A will is a document that directs who will receive your property at your death and it appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. By contrast, a trust can be used to begin distributing property before death, at death or afterward.

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) – A document that grants a person or persons (“Attorney-in-fact”) the legal powers to perform on behalf of the elder (“Grantor”) certain acts and functions specifically outlined in the document. This power is effective immediately and continues even if the grantor becomes disabled or incompetent. The powers usually granted include real estate, banking and financial transactions, personal and family maintenance, government benefits, estate trust and beneficiary transactions.

Advance Directive – Written instructions regarding an individual’s medical care preferences. The forms vary from state to state, but in general, advance directives can include a Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy, and a Do Not Resuscitate or Do Not Intubate Order (DNR or DNI). You do not necessarily need a lawyer to create these. ²

“An advance directive goes into effect only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself.” ³

Medical Terms

Advance directives are for people of all ages who might face any medical emergency or crisis. By maintaining up-to-date advance directives, you can be sure the medical treatment you want is carried out. It also relieves family members from making the gut-wrenching decisions that might occur in emergency situations. Be sure your family knows where these documents are and keep them in a handy, accessible location.

CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) – [Resuscitation that] might restore your heartbeat if your heart stops or is a life-threatening abnormal rhythm.”

Ventilator Use – Ventilators are machines that help you to breathe. A tube connected to the ventilator is put through the throat into the trachea (windpipe) so the machine can force air into the lungs. Putting the tube down the throat is called intubation.

Comfort Care – Comfort care is anything that can be done to soothe you and relieve suffering while staying in line with your wishes.

Hospice Care – [Provides] comfort to you and your family during a life-threatening illness, rather than provide treatments to cure the illness.

Palliative Care – [This is] similar to comfort care in hospice, but it is offered along with any medical treatments you might be receiving for a life-threatening illness.

Living Will – A written document that helps you tell doctors how you want to be treated if you are dying or permanently unconscious and cannot make decisions about emergency treatment. [It is important to note that a living will is different from the legal will mentioned above.]

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – A legal document naming a healthcare proxy, someone to make medical decisions for you at times when you might not be able to do so.

DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) – Tells medical staff in a hospital or nursing facility that you do not want them to try to return your heart to a normal rhythm if it stops or is beating unevenly. [Take this to the hospital and be sure your doctor has a copy of this document.]

DNI (Do Not Intubate) – Will alert emergency medical staff in a hospital or nursing facility that you do not want to be put on a breathing machine. [Take this to the hospital and be sure your doctor as a copy of this document.]

Organ and Tissue Donation – Allows organs or body parts from a generally healthy person who has died to be transplanted into people who need them. ³

HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) – MedicineNet.com defines HIPPA as “a U.S. law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.”

To have access to your loved one’s medical records, written permission must be given. Doctors, hospitals, other providers of healthcare have HIPPA release forms for their patients to sign. These release forms authorize all or some medical information to be disclosed to other individuals or organizations. Checking to be sure you have access to your loved one’s medical records is important.

Financial Terms

The time may come when the elderly parent is not able to handle their own finances. This could be due to mental or physical impairment, visual difficulties, falling prey to scams, or the death of a spouse who handled the finances. Don’t be afraid to step in to be sure financial losses do not occur. With the advent of the computers, the elderly may easily transfer money, buy or sell stocks, or give money away without a family member even knowing. You may need to assess the situation and find out what tools will help prevent unfortunate situations from occurring.

Joint Accounts – The elder can add you or another relative to a checking account as a joint account holder. This makes you a joint owner of the funds — both you and your loved one can withdraw and deposit money and write checks. It allows the elder to maintain some independence and control and allows you to keep an eye on things, pay bills, and handle some (but not all) financial affairs.

Single-Owner Accounts with an Authorized Signer – Your older relative can add you as an authorized signer on a checking or savings account, without making you a joint owner. This means you can write checks and withdraw and deposit funds. However, because you are not an owner of the account, all transactions must be made on behalf of the elder.

Automatic Payments – You can ease the bill paying burden by helping your older relative set up electronic automatic payments or withdrawals for monthly bills.

Representative Payee for Social Security Benefits – The elder can designate you as their representative payee for Social Security benefits. A representative payee receives the Social Security benefit checks and is responsible for using the funds on behalf of the elder.

Financial Power of Attorney – With a financial power of attorney, the elder gives another person legal authority to act on their behalf. ⁴

In addition, if your loved one has an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), stocks, mutual funds, or other accounts with financial institutions, a call to those businesses might be in order. They will be able to direct you as to handling the daunting situation you may be facing with your parent’s financial matters.

Just Do It

Let’s face it: you may not feel equipped to initiate a conversation about the legal, medical, and financial decisions that you may encounter. But, when we approach our elders with kindness, listen to their opinions, and let them know that we are on their side to help them to make these decisions, we can proceed with confidence that we are carrying out their desires.

And by doing so, we are honoring our parents. The apostle Paul summed it up accurately when he writes, “Honor your father and mother. This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.” (Ephesians 6:23 LB.)

Bible Verses:

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged. (2 Timothy 2:24)

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)


Lord, thank You for the many resources where I can find information to help me with my parent’s legal, medical, and financial needs. Make me aware of information that is pertinent to the care of my parents. I truly want to be the best caregiver I can be. I need Your guidance and help. Let me love like You loved. Let me serve like You served. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 3: Being Your Parents’ Advocate

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Siegel Bernard, Tara. The Talk You Didn’t Have with Your Parents Could Cost. New York Times, 24 May. www.nytimes.com. Accessed 22 April 2017.

² Caring for Your Parents: Legal Issues, PBS, pbs.org. Accessed 22 April 2017.

³ Advance CARE Planning: Tips from the National Institute on Aging. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. WEB. Accessed 22 April 2017.

⁴ Michon, Kathleen. First Steps to Managing an Elder’s Finances. nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/helping-seniors-manage-money-finances-32268-2.html. Accessed 22 April 2017.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 1: Keeping Aging Parents Safe

There are many issues and facets involved in caring for ones’ parents. The style and attitude of care provided to a parent by a child can vary considerably among the parent’s children. One child embraces caregiving with a total outflowing of love and energy while another could experience a total depletion of energy and frustration. Understanding your aging parents involves many aspects of care, especially caring for their safety.

The Utah Caregiver Coalition defines caregiving as “the provision of assistance to another person who is ill, disabled, or needs help with daily activities. It often requires attention to the physical, mental, social, and psychological needs and well-being of both the caregivers and the elderly person requiring care.” ¹

In a Christian sense, caregiving is a call to serve and give your life to another person. Serving others is a Biblical theme discussed multiple times within the context of the Bible as a virtue for us to strive for and act upon.

A call to serve others comes directly from Matthew 20:28 when Matthew, the most likely author of the book, wrote:

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

I was privileged to live with my mother and father during my father’s final days of acute myeloid leukemia and dementia. Currently, my husband and I are living with my mother in her home as she faces her own critical health issues. In June Hunt’s book Caregiving: A Privilege, Not a Prison, she shares that caregiving provides emotional and physical support to someone unable to live independently and makes a choice with the heart and mind to give needed support to a dependent person. She also mentions that “Christian caregiving is offered in the spirit of love, compassion, and relationship.” ²

This same spirit is what I am striving for as I face many diverse issues relating to caring for my own mom as she embraces her final days.

Before addressing the safety of your parents, you must first:

  • Understand the aging process
  • Become knowledgeable about the issues facing the aging population
  • Become proactive regarding the safety issues facing the elderly

Understand Aging

Understanding how seniors age is a difficult feat. They struggle with: forfeiting their freedom and independence, becoming forgetful, losing their eyesight and hearing; experiencing mobility problems, encountering depression, and more. College degrees in aging address topics such as age-related diseases, the biology of aging, nutrition, laws and ethics of aging, and even caregiving.

Your parents may develop attitudes or thoughts they may never have had in their younger years. Feelings of loneliness, friendlessness, uselessness, and unwantedness may unfold. These attitudes may appear as them being unsocial, depressed, anxious, irate or sad. Issues such as living arrangements, financial matters, medical treatments and legal issues may become household topics.

Too often caregivers have trouble adjusting to their parent’s newfound attitudes and opinions. As children, knowing your parents will help to understand why and how they act. Facing these issues with a sound and patient mind will help your parents trust and adjust more to the uncertain future they are entering.

On the other hand, some seniors are even-keeled, sweet, sociable, and concerned with the welfare of others all the while dealing with these important decisions.

Let’s look at the case of an older woman who seemingly was very competent in coping with what life held for her taken from an article titled “When God Sends Help, Don’t Ask Questions” in Senior News. ³

She hurried to the pharmacy to pick up the medication. When she got back to the car, she found her keys locked inside.

The woman found an old rusty coat hanger on the ground. She looked at it and said, “I don’t know how to use this.”

She bowed her head and asked God to send her some help.

Within five minutes an old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag. He got off his cycle and asked if he could help.

She said, “Yes, my husband is sick. I’ve locked my keys in my car. I must get home. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?”

He said, Sure.” He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was open.

She hugged the man and through tears said, “Thank you, God, for sending me such a very nice man.”

The man heard her little prayer and replied, “Lady I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison yesterday; I was in prison for car theft.”

The woman hugged the man again, sobbing, “Oh, thank you, God! You even sent me a professional.”

Become Knowledgeable

In perusing the Internet, I found multiple tips on caregiving. They came under the titles: Tips for Caregivers, Being a Healthy Caregiver, Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself, Tips for Caregivers: Coping with Stress and Anxiety, Helping Seniors Manage Money and Finances, and Caring for Your Parents: Legal Issues, and Medical Tips for Seniors. After immersing myself in these articles, I have compiled some brief tips to help you get started with your caregiving tour de force:

  • Get your parent’s medical and legal information in order. Keep these items in a location easy for quick retrieval. The items and information you want to locate and secure include advance directives, wills, medication lists, birth certificates, insurance policies, estate planning documents, usernames, passwords, and safety deposit keys.
  • Communicate with your parent’s doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and financial advisors.
  • Have candid conversations with your siblings. Delegate and plan a schedule for shared care even if one person is the primary caregiver.
  • Watch for medical issues that may surface regarding your parents and yourself.
  • Find out what your loved one’s preferences are regarding future living arrangements, long-term care, medical decisions, and legal issues before they are not able to participate in these discussions.
  • Understand you are not alone: You may need to seek out support from others. Realize, however, that unless your friends or relatives have experienced it themselves, they may not be capable of truly understanding your position.
  • Understand that being your parent’s caregiver is not an easy job. It is exhausting and possibly expensive, but it can be the most rewarding experience of your life.

Be Proactive in Creating a Safe Environment for Your Parents

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, “Many older Americans are injured in and around their homes every year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that on average 1.4 million people aged 65 and older are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries associated with consumer products. Within this age group, the rate of injury is the highest for people 75 years of age and older.” ⁴

Too often caregivers are so overwhelmed they overlook basic safety issues within the home. Some issues of concern here are:

  • Do you need to purchase a medical alert fall-protection system?
  • Do you need to discuss opening their doors to strangers?
  • Do you need to discuss fraud and scams— Internet fraud and telephone scams?
  • Are the shelves in their living quarters secure?
  • Will phone and electrical cords cause a tripping incident?
  • Do you need to discuss what to do in an emergency?
  • Does the doorbell work?
  • Are the rugs on the floor secure?
  • Are there flammable liquids around the house?
  • Are hallways free of clutter for walkers and wheelchairs?

To see a more exhaustive home safety list, click here: https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/122038/701.pdf

Many elderly men and women still drive. Some are capable; others are not. One of the hardest things any person has to give up is their driver’s license because it represents their independence and self-sufficiency.

Caregivers must be actively involved in the driving safety of their loved ones. Sometimes adult children can tell their parents that it is time to relinquish their keys; other times it is best left up to a physician or other entity. Either way, securing the safety of your loved one and those around them is important.

Some discussions to have with the elderly are:

  • Do you know which routes are the safest to take?
  • Have you had your hearing and vision checked recently?
  • Which is the best way to get to the doctor, church, friends, grocery store, and other places?
  • Using a taxi, bus or shuttle if needed.
  • Not driving when an emergency occurs.

To see a more exhaustive driving assessment checklist, click here: http://www.caregiverslibrary.org/Portals/0/ChecklistsandForms_DrivingAssessmentChecklist.pdf


One of the most important things about caregiving is being informed. I was recently asked to teach a six-week class on Caregiving at my church. At first, I couldn’t believe someone would ask me while caretaking myself, but I did anyway, and it was great!

In preparing for the class I consulted many resources. I read books, websites, and articles on the topic. It was through learning more and listening to others that I felt better able to face the challenge with love and appreciation.

I was tasked with finding an appropriate book for the class. I bought seven books and read through about ten more. I finally decided on the best reference book currently available on the topic and I would like to recommend it in hopes this book might help you.

Morris, Virginia. How to Care for Aging Parents, 3rd Edition: A One-Stop Resource for All Your Medical, Financial, Housing, and Emotional Issues.  New York: Workman, 2014. This book can be ordered HERE from Amazon.

Remember, caregiving is different for each of us. As caregivers, we must learn more to understand the aging process, use various resources to become knowledgeable about the elderly and be proactive in providing a safe environment for our loved ones.

Bible Verses:

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:2-3)


Dear Lord, help me to be the best caregiver possible. Give me wisdom and a desire to honor you in how I serve. There are so many issues to face. You know my time and my schedule. Let me experience joy as I honor my loved ones. Let me seek knowledge. Let me be wise in my dealings with others. Let me be generous with my hugs and kisses. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 2: Getting My Parent’s Affairs in Order on www.GreenePastures.org.

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ What is Caregiving? Utah Caregiving Coalition. utahcares.org/caregiving-2. Accessed 19 Apr 2017.

² Hunt, June. Caregiving: A Privilege: Not a Prison. Dallas: Hope for the Heart, 2015.

³ When God Sends Help, Don’t Ask Questions. Seniorific News. 13 Jan 2017.

Home Safety Checklist. Consumer Product Safety Commission Safety for Older Consumers.  https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/122038/701.pdf. Accessed 19 Apr 2017.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Christian Gifts

Christian Gifts

By Patti Greene / Greene Pastures by Patti

Originally Posted 12/06/2016

[From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

Christmas is around the corner! And, have you finished your shopping? I decided to ask some friends and family about where they have found some interesting, unique, and even routine Christian gifts. Below you will find the results. I’m hoping that this list will help you in your last-minute Christmas shopping and even into the new year. Links come and go, so if they are here today and gone tomorrow, that is technology on the move. Even though Greene Pastures is not recommending every item you may find on this list, many items will bring long-lasting joy to those you know.

So, grab some coffee and surf through these sites. Get some ideas for gifts even if you don’t buy from those sites per se. In addition, keep your eyes open for those items you love. There are always those folks who do ask you for what you want and now you can be ready for your response.

Wrapping up my shopping now will be easy. But, I better get moving. Online purchasing is easy! But order quickly as mail takes time and we don’t want gifts arriving after Jesus’ birthday or any birthday.

Christian Gifts


Best Selling Religious Gifts from Personalization Mall

Bible Scripture Bags and Handbags

Bible Trivia Games [Adults and Children] from Kohl’s

Bible Verse Posters by All Posters.com

Bibles from Mardel

Bible Toys Noah’s Ark 18 Piece Playset with Noah, 14 Animals and Floating Ark – Christian Based Faith Children Toys

Boxed Christian Cards from Daysprings

Christian Coloring Books for Adults and Children

Christian Cross Adult Bib

Christian Home Décor

Christian Jewelry that Inspires Faith in Jesus Christ

Christian Mugs

Christian Prayer Cube Bedtime Prayers

Christian Toys, Puzzles, and Games [By Age]

Christian T-Shirts from Christian Apparel Shop

Christian Videos for Children from Mardel

Christmas Specials and Giveaways by Elle Bee

Cute Clothes for Infants and Toddlers

Dear Mushka Products

Devotional Prayer Journals by Patti Greene

Gift Shop at Dayspring

I Can Read Book Series

Journals and Notebooks from Daysprings

Lauren Nicole Handwritten Gifts [Put a signature on Jewelry]

Miscellaneous Christian Gifts from Zazzle

Mother, Woman Of God Pen and Bookmark Gift Set

Practical Gifts for Him from Christian Books

Religious Christmas Gifts from Bradford Exchange

Roses and Teacups Gifts and Favors

The Jerusalem Gift Shop – Variety of Gifts

Unique Christian Gifts on Zazzle

Willow Tree Collection by Demdaco

And a good friend said, “Be sure to check out your local artists!”

God Bless. And let me know what treasures you find!


Patti Greene, Member Inspirational Writers Alive

Bible Verses:

  • Am I not allowed to do what I choose what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? Matthew 20:15
  • Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
  • Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3


Lord, as I choose gifts this season, please guide me in choosing items that will be honorable in your eyes. Let me discern when I should purchase Christian gifts for others. Let me find the perfect gift that will help them be a servant for you. Thank you, Jesus, for all you do for me and let me pass on Christian generosity to others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

If you liked this article and would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on www.GreenePastures.org to subscribe. It is an easy way not to miss any posts in your feed! Moreover, I would love seeing you as part of the Greene Pastures Community.

My Books – Available on Amazon or can be ordered at any retail bookstore. You may order an autographed copy by clicking on ‘Shop-Books by Patti Greene’ on this site.

NEW RELEASE – Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Just in time for Christmas! Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer has just been released by WestBow Press. I am so excited about this new book. If you or anyone you know is interested in developing a life of prayer, this 90-day prayer journal is perfect.

Answer Me includes:

  • An Undated Dateline
  • Topic of Prayer
  • Scripture Verse
  • Suggested Reading
  • Daily Thought
  • Prayer Request Section
  • Personal Reflection Section
  • Prayer

To Order from Amazon:

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

A 90-day devotional prayer journal for all ages; This informative and how-to book on prayer is for seekers, new believers, and mature believers. It encourages a commitment and devotion to the art of prayer. Learn how God reveals himself through Bible study and prayer. ISBN: 978-1512760453 (Paperback) $11.95 on Amazon.

Other Books by Patti Greene:

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

A 365-day devotional prayer journal for in-depth Bible study; Fun words or phrases from the Old and New Testaments! Perfect for mature believers. ISBN: 978-1490893181 (Paperback) $27.95 on Amazon.

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

A 181-day devotional prayer journal for growing individuals; The Bible and social issues. Perfect for new believers. Comes with a group study guide. ISBN: 978-1490893174 (Paperback) $19.95 on Amazon.

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On my blog, I want to write about topics that serve your needs and about what matters to you. I strive to help you with your needs and interests. Therefore, I am inviting you to share your interests with me so the content I write about will be more relevant to you. Please comment on this blog or email me at Patti@GreenePastures.org for confidentiality.

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