Sunday, November 30, 2008

Meet Larry the Smiley Guy

I have always liked a good smile. Turn that frown upside down is what I say. So much so, that I was even nick-named smiley myself by some people. Well, you can see where I might like smiley faces. I just like them, they make me smile. I also like little silly things. So if I happen to run across some silly little thing that makes me smile or laugh I will probably buy it. That is how I met Larry.

I was perusing the isles at the neighborhood Christian bookstore, when I happened by a circular stand. It had many square bins in it with lots of fun things in them. In one bin I found a light up pen with a smiley head top on it. Oh boy, I had to have that. A smiley head that lights up, how fun would that be to write with.

Then I turned the stand and there he was, my new friend Larry. A bendable smiley guy who had a key chain screwed into the top of his head. Of course I had to have him.

After I paid for him, I immediately put his key chain on my keys and into my purse he went. I would get a real kick out of him each time I took my keys out of my purse. This was short lived though, because soon I would pull my keys out of my purse and no Larry. The screw that held him to the key chain kept coming out. I would screw him back on and go about my business but it kept happening. Larry did not want to be tied to a key chain. Instead, he was always ending up at the bottom of my purse. This is not such a good place to be. It can get really yucky down there.

So I took him out of my purse and sat him on the mail counter in the kitchen. The next week, I seemed to find him everywhere in the house. I would go into the bedroom and there he was on the dresser. Open a drawer, there he was. Into the bathroom, there he was. It was starting to get a little scary, he seemed to be taking on a life of his own.

Then next thing you know, I find him and not only has he taken on a life of his own but he now has a tattoo. Right there on his chest in big bold letters, "Smile, God Loves You!” I was shocked! Now, not only does he give you a smile, but he tells you to smile too. So I asked, "Larry, what were you thinking?" All he would do was smile. I am not a big tattoo fan but I guess if you are going to indulge, it might as well be a good message. His new tattoo is permanent. He will forever spread his message of Gods love right there on his chest.

For now, Larry is resting in the bedroom. But you just never know what he might do...

So stop by each Sunday to see what mischief Larry got himself into during the week. I will be posting a new story about his weekly adventures. If he will get a tattoo, he might just do anything!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Life Of A Bondservant

A bondservant of Jesus Christ, what exactly does that mean?

I have run across this description many times in scripture. Several of the apostles called themselves bondservants. I have even heard other Christians talk about or describe themselves as a bondservant. So I decided to embark on a quest to dig deeper and find some answers.

First I looked up the word itself in Webster’s dictionary, here's the description:

Bondservant: a person bound to service without pay, long-term, a slave.
So what does a slave do? --- Anything they are asked to do, at anytime, day or night. They are at your service to do your work at anytime, anyway you want it done.

What does scripture have to say?

In Romans 1:1 Paul calls himself a bond servant. James, Jesus brother calls himself one in James 1:1. Then there is Simon Peter in 2 Peter 1:1 and Jude in Jude 1. Paul even calls Timothy one in Philippians 1:1. I would say from this, that the Disciples of Christ considered it important to be a bondservant of Jesus Christ.

If it is important for us to be a bondservant, what does it mean?

Ephesians 6:5 says a bondservant is - obedient to his master, sincere in heart, not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but doing the will of God from the heart.

Colossians 3:22 says a bondservant obeys in sincerity of heart, fearing God.

Titus 2:9 says bondservants are - obedient to their masters, well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our savior in all things.

Paul used the word bondservant about himself to describe a servant who willingly commits himself to serve a master he loves and respects.

So are you a bondservant? Obedient, sincere in heart, God fearing, doing the will of God from the heart, well pleasing in all things, not answering back.

Are you these things always? At all times? Available to do His will, His way, in His timing?

I believe this word has much more meaning than we ever anticipated and it should be used with the utmost respect. Not to be thrown around lightly or used without thought. The choice made by many who rightfully described themselves this way lead to martyrdom. They died for their savior and their choice to obey him.

I would only pray that I could become a person worthy to be called a bondservant. To stand for Christ the way the disciples did. I am not there yet, not even close, but I am working towards it. Are you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope today you have wonderful day and a thankful heart. God Bless!

Blessing In An Envelope

Yesterday as I trudged out to the mailbox to pick up the mail, I was filled with internal dialog. It went something like this....

Financial stress has been mounting. The holiday season is upon us. My son's wedding in Texas is coming in January. There is never enough money at the end of month. House is on the market but not selling. What are we going to do? "Lord, we need a miracle here."

I open the mailbox, take out the mail and trudge back inside. Bill.... bill.... bill.... Hmmm. What’s this from the Carpenters Union? Probably just another health benefits notification. I start to put it all on the table. I'll just let my husband deal with it, I think to myself. Something changes my mind.... No, I might as well open it.

I stand and stare in amazement. It’s not a health benefits notification, it’s a check. And not a small check. It appears that the Union is paying us vacation benefits that we didn't even know we had. Once again the picture is much bigger than we can see from our vantage point. I was worried but as always God was not. He of course knew this would happen.

The tears begin to stream down my face as I pick up the phone to dial my husbands number. When he answers all I can do is sob. "Honey, what’s wrong?!?!" he says to me. "What happened?!?!" After I finally gain my composure all I can say to him is "I can't believe God, He is so good!" Once again God had delivered a miracle our way. This time it came through the mail in a little white envelope.

Why is it that we continue to doubt the goodness of God? Or that we hold onto our worry when we shouldn't? Why is it that we can't just put it all in His hands and leave it there? Over and over again He shows us that He is faithful, that He will take care of us. He provided manna to His people everyday for forty years, now that's a faithful God. Our flesh just seems to get in the way.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am once again in awe of God. I am thankful for many things but most of all for His faithfulness and love. I am blessed even when I least deserve it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Words of a Father

I started my day today with a sadness that I could not pin point the cause of. It’s that feeling that comes over you in a crowded room when you feel so alone. I have always pondered on that, how we can be surrounded by people in our lives but feel completely alone.

I think it started with looking back on the times I had with my children. They are growing up and I sometimes feel left behind. I know that I am loved and appreciated. But I miss them and at times like these I want them to come back and be little again. I want them to need me like they used to.

I took my hurting heart to my heavenly Father, curled up in His lap and spent some time in His embrace. As I poured my heart out to Him, I could almost feel His hand stroke my hair, saying it will be OK, I will hold you till your done. The tenderness of a Father that loves His child seemed to pour over me.

What I knew at that moment is, I am not alone, I am never alone. My Father with His watchful eye never lets me out of His sight. He is always waiting for my hand to grasp His and hold it tight. He never leaves me alone. I only need to turn my eyes towards Him and speak His name and He hears. The moment the words leave my lips in prayer, He has heard me.

So I tell Him of my broken heart and how my feelings are betraying me. I tell Him how I feel so much less than I should be. How I should be stronger and more grateful for the things that I have but I'm not. As I pour out the words, they seem so shallow, so unworthy of speaking them. I have so much to be grateful for and yet I can not find that place today. "I can not find it, please help me find it", I say to Him.

I take it to my Father and lay it at His throne, my burdens, my hurts and I humbly ask for Him to replace them with a grateful and joyful heart. I need a change inside today and I am not able to make it happen.

It is only in the arms of my Father that I once again feel loved and protected. As He says to me, "no hurt of yours is too small or unworthy to give to me. I will take them all. I will replace them with my love; you are mine, my beloved. Nothing I have, will I withhold from you, for I love you. I have paid a great price to have you as my own. I will give you all I have in heaven. Just wait and you will see."

Words only a Father would speak to his child. I thank you Father. Just your words spoken over me begin to change my heart. For I know that I am loved. I am loved so much that my Father sent His son to die in my place. I am loved and when I am reminded of that, how can joy not invade my heart.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Wise Will Stumble

Today as I studied the last of the book of Daniel with my "Tuesday girls", a scripture was brought up that merits some serious thought.

Daniel 11: 35 - Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

In this part of scripture Daniel is being told about the rein of the anti-Christ. But today, this scripture really spoke to me personally about our walk as Christians.

We learn and grow every day as Christians, but we will not be completely perfected until we go to meet Christ. Along the way though, as we grow, we should ask for wisdom. And I am sure our God will gladly give it to us.

There will be some times in our walk that we are allowed to stumble and fall. To be thrown into dark places of despair by tragedy or trials. It is not always a mistake that we have made or sin that causes these things to happen. Sometimes it is just shear circumstance that gets us there.

I began to think on the phrase "some of the wise will stumble". When we stumble, it usually causes us to fall. When we fall, it is usually on our face. On our face before God in submission. It is in those times on our face that we cry out to God for help. We cry out because we are at the end of ourselves. In those times, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Because of our willingness to give up trying and just let Him take over we are again made strong. So maybe since we are human and made with a will that is bent toward sin, we really need those times much more than we realize. Maybe we need to stop trying to avoid them and begin to just "live in Christ" through them. Even more, maybe to begin to do as James instructs and consider it pure joy when we face them.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

It is not during the peaceful times where we are coasting through life that we are radically changed or moved to a higher place spiritually. It is not during those times that we see the supernatural power of God at work. Instead it is in those dark times, the times in the valley, that mold and shape us. In times of tragedy, loss and trials we seek God for miracles with our whole heart. We look to Him, not complacently but expectantly. Asking for the miraculous to happen and really expecting it. We believe, we have faith, we have hope in Him because He is God.

In these times our hearts are laid bare before God, open; to be purified, refined, and transformed. To eventually be made spotless so we can be acceptable in His sight for eternity. What a thought, to be spotless before the creator, before our Father, before the one we love.

Yes, the wise will stumble and fall. This includes us. But we can rest assured that God is in control and the end will happen at its appointed time.

We will see many trials before then, so we must learn not to fight them. And eventually, even count it all joy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Testosterone Overload

A shout out to all the ladies in the house. Don't worry guys; it gets good in the end.

I have been living in testosterone overload most of my life. You know, when your house is overrun with the male population. It is and always has been, "a mans world" in my house. My husband and I have six children between us, five of them are males. Yes, I know, right about now you are feeling for me. I am too.... I think I might need to lie down for a while before I finish this.... Maybe say a prayer or two....

No, I'm OK, back to the story.

Not to long ago; I had three boys that were in there 20's living in the basement, my husband, a five year old boy and little old me. I was the lone female in a male world. You could cut the testosterone with a knife. I think if you could describe the smell of my basement, it would be a combination of body odor and stinky socks. And yes, believe it or not, I think back on it now and I miss those days.... Walking over piles of dirty clothes in the laundry room because they never finished a load of laundry the same day. Searching the house for the cordless phone that always disappeared. Wondering who that great big guy was in my house with them and sometimes thinking I had gained some extra kids. Well, now that I think about it, I miss the boys..... I do not however miss the mess they always left in their wake. I wish their wives the best of luck, I tried to train them. I really did!

I am still living in testosterone overload, just not on the scale I used to. I am now only out numbered by two to one. Though, I still notice faint hints of the past. Hair left in the bathroom sink after shaving. The toilet seat not lifted up. EWW! Or left up so I fall in. Coffee grounds on the counter. Why is it that no one but me knows how to wipe off the kitchen counters? I want to know! I also want to know why everything lays right where it lands, always. It can stay there for days, months, even years and not be touched. But when they need it, I hear "hey, wheres my......?" What about a mans ability to step right over a mess. HUH? Big spill on the floor, stepped right over it..... Ever seen that one happen? Or they do one thing, like vacuum and think they deserve a party to be thrown in their honor. Oh, King, man of the house, you are so great, thank you for your vacuuming!!! I am forever grateful!

I could go on and on and on. I won't though, because it will only bring my frustration level up and I will begin to sin.

So, I do these things instead. I clean the hair out of the sink. I put the toilet seat down. I wipe the counters off. I clean up the spills they walk over. I pat my husband on the back when he vacuums. Then I say a prayer and remind myself why I do it. It's because I love them.

Lets talk Truth

Do you ever get tired of hearing this?.....

You believe one way and I believe another so lets just all get along. The tolerance speech, lets just all get along. It’s the tolerance that is destroying our nation. I bet Satan roars with laughter. He knows the truth, that there is only one way to God. That's why he laughs. We are so quick to buy into it and all he needs us to do is to be off the truth by a fraction. Which a large percentage of the world is. Although God would like to see all His creation come to the saving grace of the cross of Jesus Christ, a lot will not.

Matthew 7:14 says "narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Few who find it..... Could some of this be our fault? I mean those of us that understand the truth. Are we doing everything we can to let people know the truth about Jesus Christ? Are we accepting the "tolerance speech", letting them "believe what they want" while we silently watch them go to hell?

The truth is the truth. You can try and slice it or dice it any way you like but it does not change that it is still the truth. Truth in the Webster dictionary is defined as the quality or state of being true, reality, fact. So a fact is a fact, just because we don't like it, does not mean we get to change it. Like the bible, it’s either all true or none of it is true. You can't pick and choose what you want from it. But guess what, it’s all true.

People get so upset when you mention the name of Jesus. "Leave us alone, we have our religion", they say. "We have our books and our prayers". To them I say, the thing you are worshipping is wrong and it will not save you from the pit of hell. I care, please listen to me. I don't say this for my sake, I say it for yours.

There is only one way to heaven, not many. That way is through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. In all other religions you have to perform certain things, prayers, etc and if you do enough, then HOPEFULLY you will make it to heaven. You can never "do good enough" your way in to heaven. We are never going to be good enough, God is holy, sinless. We would have to go our whole life without committing even one sin just to stand in His sight. That's just not possible for us to do. This is why we needed a savior. To take the penalty for sin, which is death and make a way to God. That happened when Jesus Christ came and died on the cross, then rose again on the third day. He defeated the penalty of death for us.

The gift of salvation He offers is free; you do not have to work for it. You need only to receive it.

This my friend, is the unchangeable truth.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Slave To The Flesh

Excuses.... Justifications......Permission Statements....

Who do these come from? Do they come from the enemy?

If it feels good, do it.
If it tastes good I should eat it.
I deserve to have what I want.
Just one time is OK.
I'll do it tomorrow, why do it today?
I'm to tired.
I'm to busy.
I have to much to do.
I don't feel like it.
I don't really need to.

How often have these statements stopped you from proceeding with what God has asked you to do? Often, the thoughts in our mind or the way we feel keep us from obeying God. They keep us bound up in our fleshly desires and we then miss a blessing. Sometimes we will miss the opportunity to do the will of God.

When we choose to obey in spite of how we feel or what we think, then we achieve true success. For true success is not defined by the money that we make or the position that we hold. It is defined by the desires of God, by finding the purpose He has for our lives. Once we find that purpose and begin to obey, God will take us one step at a time to our ultimate goal. To walk in Christ's image.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Grace is Sufficient

I am still trying to wrap my mind around the whole concept of grace. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul writes about his thorn in the flesh, how he asked three times for it to be removed. In verse 9 the Lord tells him "My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness."

I know that we are saved by grace. By the definition of grace, meaning "unmerited favor". So in other words because of God's unmerited favor on us we are saved. Because He had favor on us when we were still in sin, Christ came and paid the penalty for us. The Father loved us so much that he showed favor on us, we did not deserve and sent His son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of death for us. We are saved by turning from our sin and receiving that free gift of grace.

This passage in 2 Corinthians is not talking about grace in the terms of saving; he is talking about living daily in that saving grace. Here is where I had to do much study to learn what that meant. Then find out how to apply this kind of grace to my life. Here's what I came up with. Let me break it down in simple terms for you.

When Christ says "My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness.” He means when you were saved through grace (unmerited favor), you were given favor in Gods eyes, and you no longer need to continue to strive or work to be good enough. It is through Christ that we are good enough and when we just accept that and rely on Christ, we will see His power working through us.

I think a lot of Christians accept Jesus as their savior and then work real hard to keep their salvation. They think they have to "perform" with good works. Christ saved us through grace and we do not need to "perform", we only need to "transform" into His image. Our job is to saturate ourselves in the word for the renewing of our minds and yield to the spirit to give us the strength to "transform".

It is in our weakness that we are transformed in the image of Christ because; guess what, we do not have the power to change our hearts. We must ask for the supernatural power of the spirit to transform us, to help us to love, to give us the characters of Christ.

It is in this daily surrender that we begin to learn to "live in grace", the unmerited favor of God. We begin to learn that we can stop striving and trust in Him for all things. He is the creator of all things and His grace is sufficient.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Santa Claus is Coming...

Now is the time of year that we should start to prepare for the Christmas season. I have always loved the Christmas season and Santa has always made it great fun. Now is the time we begin to tell our children that they must be good little boys and girls if they want Santa to bring them gifts. You know, the part about Santa making his list and checking it twice, to see if they are naughty or nice. I remember with my oldest child I would start early, as early as possible, using the season as a way to keep him in line. Santa has always made a great tool for discipline in my house.

As the season would approach I would warn my child "Santa is watching" so you better be good. As soon as he would begin to complain or do something he wasn't suppose to be doing I would say "Did you see that!?". "What momma?" he would say. My reply would be, "In the window, I thought I saw one of Santa's elves!". His eyes would get really big and his behavior would suddenly improve. Oh how I loved Santa and his little elves. If only they were around all year long....

Santa can also be a very effective potty training tool. When my oldest son was getting ready to turn three years old, he still would not potty on the big boy potty. He knew how and he knew he was supposed to, but he was a stubborn child and refused. You would ask him, "do you have to go potty?", he would say no and then proceed to find a hiding place where he could have privacy as he messed his pants. The Christmas season approached and I became more and more frustrated. So when we went to visit Santa, I quietly snuck up and whispered to Santa about the situation I was in. My son got up on Santa's lap and it went like this.

Santa said "one of my elves told me that you have been going potty in your pants instead of the big boy potty." My sons eyes got great big and he looked over at me with a look I can not even describe. It was priceless, I only wish I had a picture of it. Then he said "if you want Santa to bring you toys for Christmas, you need to go in the big boy potty, OK?" My son shook his head in agreement and then began to give Santa his Christmas list.

Potty training accomplished! He had one accident before Christmas which sent him into a fit of tears. He was afraid that Santa wouldn't bring him anything because of it. I lovingly reassured him that I was pretty sure there were no elves looking in the windows, that Santa would know it was an accident and he would still bring him gifts. That was the last accident and my son was forever a big boy.

I know that Santa is not the reason for the season, that it is all about Jesus Christ. We are very clear about that at our house. We read the story of the birth of Christ and bake a birthday cake for him. We also have a tradition where we write a card to him each year. We write about what we will commit to do for him in the upcoming year. Each person takes a card, fills it out and seals it up. It is kept in a box until the next Christmas when we get to read what we wrote last year.

Santa is not the main focus, but he sure is a lot of fun! And in my opinion, whats wrong with a little fun?!?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Rich Young Ruler

I am blessed to have a group of ladies in my life that have true hearts after Christ. Every Tuesday morning we meet for bible study. I am so blessed and lifted up by them! Recently, we decided that once a month we would use our time to serve the community around us. So, yesterday we rounded up the troops to go help a sister in need. We helped her pack up her house so she would be ready to move in two days. We also spent the last week collecting items to pack up boxes for "Operation Christmas Child". We ended up with enough items to fill 8 boxes. Also recently, we began to collect money each week for "Blood/Water Missions", a ministry that digs wells in Africa to give them clean drinking water. We have so many things we want to do that it might just take another day out of the week.

I am telling you this because I keep hearing more and more about ministries that are suffering. How can they spread the gospel without our contribution? Or take care of the poor as we are commanded to do? The truth is, they can't and if we only give from our overflow, the gospel will suffer and the poor will increase. And you know what, we will suffer too. If we pull back our giving, we may not suffer externally but we will suffer internally. Our hearts will begin to grow colder and we will become more selfish.

In Luke 18:18-23 it tells the story of the rich young ruler. As I see it he had three strikes against him. First, he was rich. Second, he was young. Third, he was a ruler. What do I mean? I mean that he had wealth, youth and power. Three of the things that often corrupt us and make us think that we can do life on our own power. Today, I want to address the issue that this passage speaks about, his wealth. This man wanted eternal life and asked Jesus what he could do to inherit it. He knew the commandments and had kept them from his youth. So what did Jesus tell him to do? He told the man to go and sell all he had and distribute to the poor, then come and follow Him. The man became very sorrowful because he was very rich.

Too often we think of our income as our own and it is not. The WHOLE thing belongs to God, not just ten percent. If we are to give our entire life to Christ, this too would be part of it. Maybe instead of doing only what is required, we should put it all in His hands and then ask how much He would have us keep.

Somehow, our view of what makes us rich has gotten warped. Jesus Christ, even though he was a carpenter, did not build himself a huge house, buy himself every luxury He could find and then give ten percent to the church. He gave all, and I am thankful He did. For without His sacrificial life we would have no way to eternal life.

So maybe as Christians we should begin to scale back, live with less and give more. More of ourselves, our time AND our money.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Symphony of Life

Each morning I see the sun rise over the horizon as it displays the brilliant colors of a great masterpiece. The light begins to rise and the pinks and oranges fill the sky. I look out my window and watch a beautiful picture emerge and it is as if God is saying good morning. As if He is saying, "come be with me, look, I have made a beautiful day for us to share."

My heart begins to swell as I watch the maestro of life begin his symphony. The creator of all things again revealing himself in the beauty of the earth. I wait, almost anticipating Him to appear in the skyline. How else could it reveal more.

There are many things about this earth that are not a thing of beauty. But there are also many things that are so amazing that they can leave you awestruck. Just the beauty revealed in nature can take your breath away.

I wonder, did God need to put such a variety of color in the leaves when they change and fall from the trees? Did he need to paint the sky every morning and evening or put soft billowy clouds there during the day? He didn't have to. The leaves could of all been the same color of brown and the sky a dull gray. Even the grass has different depth and shade. Incredible!

I picture an artist at work, with wide sweeping motions of his hands, pure joy in his heart, as he directs the glory of the earth. The maestro that sets the wind to blow, the birds to chirp, the frogs to croak and a beautiful song from those that love Him. What an awesome picture it creates in my mind. My heart begins to sing a new song with the thought.

As much beauty as there is on this earth, there is much more awaiting us in heaven. I long to see that beauty. To see Him face to face. To see the loving look in His eye, as he says "come my beloved I have made a place for you. A place where there are no more tears or longings, where joy abounds. " And then the words... "with you, I am well pleased". There are no other words that could ever mean more.

So for now, as I wait. I will start each day and put it in his hands. Open my heart so He can fill it with joy each morning. Look to Him throughout the day to point which direction. Settle down with Him at night. And hope as my Heavenly Father looks down on me through out the day, He is nudging the angels to say... "see that one, she's mine" as his face beams bright.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More About My Journey

I started this blog with the intent to go out and change the world and then write about it..... OK, maybe just talk to the world and meet people in it. All right, also to share my faith and the gospel.

What I am finding is, the one that is changing is me. I am overcoming fears and learning to take rejection in stride. I have found myself working harder on being more like Christ. And the more I work at it, the more I realize I have more to work on.

What it does do, is it drives me to my knees. It makes me more and more dependent on Him, my savior Jesus Christ. Everyday I see more of myself and ask for that part in me to be changed. I see the parts in me I never saw before and know how very precious the gift of the holy spirit is. I could not be like Christ without His spirit in me, changing me.

As I see these things I am reminded of the sacrifice He made for me. That He, the Father, sent his only son to die for me. That He, Jesus went of His own free will, to the cross for me. I need to be reminded of that. I need to remember the sacrifice that was made so I can know my great need for Him. So I stop doing life on my own and rely on Him like I should.

I have so much, but yet so little. What I am finding is the much of, that I need so desperately is HIM and the little that I need so little of is ME. And the more I get of Him, the more I seem to need. I am reminded of the song....

I need thee oh I need thee
Every hour I need thee
Bless me now my savior
I come to thee...

I believe it may even go further...... I need thee every minute. Every second.

I heard a sermon recently and the pastor spoke these words, "You are your fathers favorite child". Those words spoke volumes to me. I am my fathers favorite child. Even when I am not deserving. Even when I am sinful and disobedient. Even though I am but filthy rags. I am still His favorite. I am truly loved.

And so are you.

To much of ME

Babylon, sweet Babylon, you are a thing of beauty, a shining city up on a hill. You drip with honey and sweetness. Everything I could ever want you have to offer me. I can be all and have all, for in Babylon its all about ME. But your nectar is filled with poison once it touches my lips and the more I drink you in the sicker I become.

All through the bible the city of Babylon is spoke about. In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar built up the city of Babylon to the most beautiful city in the world. Everything a person could ever want was in Babylon. So much so that when the people of Israel were set free from captivity, many stayed in Babylon. They had been won over by her beauty, poisoned by her charm. In Revelation she is called the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.

Do we not have some of her in our country today? Is she not consuming our nation? Consuming us? We are told over and over we can have whatever, whenever, any way we want it. Because guess what, its all about me.... ME ME ME. I should be able to have what I want. I should be able to do what I want. I should be able to do things my way, always.

We are being force feed every day the concept of self. Never mind sacrifice for others. Don't bother putting yourself aside and helping others, it is more important that you are satisfied. This my friends is America today. The world we live in.

But here is the truth. It is no mistake that we here now, at this time in history. We are exactly where God intended us to be. We were made for such a time as this.

I thought that I had rid myself of all my worldly desires in pursuit of Godly desires. I am finding that just being in this culture, it is much to easy to think to highly of myself. Things like, "I'm going to do great things for God" creep in. Do you see the problem with that? Its me I am looking at, its me that is going to do great things, its all about me.

So I am asking God to empty me of myself, of my selfish desires, of my vain attempts and prideful ways. Lord take the ME out of me....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taken Captive by the American Dream

As I studied the book of Daniel recently I became aware of the similarities between America today and the state of affairs that Daniel faced living in Babylon. I was then faced with what I believe is the truth that God wants his people to hear.

Not unlike Daniel, who at the age of 14 was taken captive from his home in Jerusalem and carted off to Babylon, we too have been taken captive. Here in America, a country built by our christian forefathers to be one nation under God, we have fallen into friendly captivity by the enemy. The enemy began many years ago, luring us with the "american dream", live better, be happier. The sad part is as we forsook the good book, put aside our moral values and the pursuit of holiness, we have not found the happiness we wanted so desperately. As always, the words the enemy spoke, the promises he made are lies.

The "american dream" should not be the pursuit of money or power, for once you have these things they don't bring any real fulfillment or sooth your soul. Instead our pursuit should be what our forefathers intended, the pursuit of a holy nation.

I believe our forefathers intended this nation to be one nation under God, to grow to maturity in Him and do as he called. A great nation that would spread the good news to all the world. Instead of following after Christ and doing the Fathers wishes, we have become a sinful, self seeking nation. We call ourselves Christians but don't follow His will.

All through the Old Testament God continuously calls to his people to be faithful to Him and to love Him. His people continually turned away from Him and served other Gods, just as America is doing today. Today America is lusting after money, other Gods, only concerned with self gratification. Every day our nation looks more and more like Babylon. More and more like the sinful cities in the bible that God destroyed because He could find no righteous man among them. We have become a nation that has grown cold for God and we are speeding fast down a path of destruction. God calls us today, as a nation, as the people of God, as the body of Christ to do as it says in the scriptures.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14 He says:

"if my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land"

We must humble ourselves, we must pray and seek his face, fall to our knees and cry out for mercy, and turn from our sin.

He will hear and forgive, He will heal America.It's up to us.......

What will we, the people of God, do????

Meet Mabel

I did not write this story but it made a profound impact on my life. It is from the book "The Life You've Always wanted" by John Ortberg. The story itself was written by a friend of his named Tom Schmidt. It's a bit long but well worth it! Enjoy!

The state-run convalescent hospital is not a pleasant place. It is large, understaffed, and overfilled with senile and helpless and lonely who are waiting to die. On the brightest of days it seems dark inside, and it smells of sickness and stale urine. I went there once or twice a week for four years, but I never wanted to go there, and I always left with a sense of relief. It is not the kind of place one gets used to.

On this particular day I was walking in a hallway that I had not visited before, looking in vain for a few who were alive enough to receive a flower and a few words of encouragement. This hallway seemed to contain some of the worst cases, strapped onto carts or into wheelchairs and looking completely helpless.

As I neared the end of this hallway, I saw an old woman strapped up in a wheelchair. Her face was an absolute horror. The empty stare and white pupils of her eyes told me that she was blind. The large hearing aid over one ear told me that she was almost deaf. One side of her face was being eaten by cancer. There was a discolored and running sore covering part of one check, and it had pushed her nose to one side, dropped one eye, and distorted her jaw so that what should have been the corner of her mouth was the bottom of her mouth. As a consequence, she drooled constantly. I was told later that when new nurses arrived, the supervisors would send them to feed this woman, thinking that if they could stand this sight they could stand anything in the building. I also learned later that this woman was eighty-nine years old and that she had been here, bedridden, blind, nearly deaf, and alone, for twenty-five years. This was Mabel.

I don't know why I spoke to her - she looked less likely to respond than most of the people I saw in that hallway. But I put a flower in her hand and said "Here is a flower for you. Happy Mother's Day." She held the flower up to her face and tried to smell it, and then she spoke. And much to my surprise, her words, although somewhat garbled because of her deformity, were obviously produced by a clear mind. She said, "Thank you. It's lovely. But can I give it to someone else? I can't see it, you know, I'm blind."

I said, "Of Course", and I pushed her in her chair back down the hallway to a place where I thought I could find some alert patients. I found one, and I stopped the chair. Mabel held out the flower and said, "Here, this is from Jesus."

That was when it began to dawn on me that this was not an ordinary human being. Later I wheeled her back to her room and learned more about her history. She had grown up on a small farm that she managed with only her mother until her mother died. Then she ran the farm alone until 1950 when her blindness and sickness sent her to the convalescent hospital. For twenty-five years she got weaker and sicker, with constant headaches, backaches, and stomachaches, and then the cancer came too. Her three roommates were all human vegetables who screamed occasionally but never talked. They often soiled their bed clothes, and because the hospital was understaffed, especially on Sundays when I usually visited, the stench was often overpowering.

Mabel and I became friends over the next few weeks, and I went to see her once of twice a week for the next three years. Her first words to me were usually an offer of hard candy from the tissue box near her bed. Some days I would read to from the Bible, and often when I would pause she would continue reciting the passage from memory, word-for-word. On other days I would take a book of old songs. For Mabel, these were not merely exercises in memory. She would often stop in mid-hymn and make a brief comment about lyrics she considered particularly relevant to her own situation. I never heard her speak of loneliness or pain except in the stress she placed on certain lines in certain hymns.

It was not many weeks before I turned from a sense that I was being helpful to a sense of wonder, and I would go to her with a pen and paper to write down the things she would say...

During one hectic week of final exams I was frustrated because my mind seemed to be pulled in ten directions at once with all of the things that I had to think about. The question occurred to me, "What does Mabel have to think about - hour after hour, day after day, week after week, not even able to know if it's day or night?" So I went to her and asked, "Mabel what do you think about when you lie here?"

And she said, "I think about my Jesus"

I sat there, and thought for a moment about the difficulty, for me, of thinking about Jesus for even five minutes, and I asked, "What do you think about Jesus?" She replied slowly and deliberately as I wrote....

"I think about how good He's been to me. He's been awfully good to me in my life, you know...I'm one of those kind who's mostly satisfied...Lots of folks wouldn't care much for what I think. Lots of folks would think I'm kind of old-fashioned. But I don't care. I'd rather have Jesus. He's all the world to me."

And then Mabel began to sing an old hymn:

Jesus is all the world to me,
My life, my joy, my all.
He is my strength from day to day,
Without him I would fall.
When I am sad, to him I go,
No other one can cheer me so.
When I am sad He makes me glad.
He's my friend.

This is not fiction. Incredible as it may seem, a human being really lived like this. I know. I knew her. How could she do it? Seconds ticked and minutes crawled, and so did days and weeks and months and years of pain without human company and without an explanation of why it was all happening - and she lay there and sang hymns. How could she do it?

The answer, I think, is that Mabel had something that you and I don't have much of. She had power. Lying there in that bed, unable to move, unable to see, unable to hear, unable to talk to anyone, she had incredible power.

Here was an ordinary human being who received supernatural power to do extraordinary things. Her entire life consisted of following Jesus as best she could in her situation: patient endurance of suffering, solitude, prayer, meditation on Scripture, worship, fellowship when it was possible, giving when she had a flower of a piece of candy to offer.

Imagine being in her condition and saying "I think about how good he's been to me. He's been awfully good to me in my life, you know... I'm one of those kind who's mostly satisfied." This is the Twenty-third Psalm come to life: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Love is Patient....What?

Everyone needs a little down time. Time to rest, meditate and refresh. That was my day yesterday.

While I was spending time in reading, God was really speaking to me about the whole concept of love. I realized at that point he was beginning to answer my prayer from Wednesday. I had prayed He would put His kind of love for others in my heart.

I began to think on the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 13 where the bible describes the attributes of love. Love is patient, love is kind..... I had to stop right there. I realized that these two attributes are the pillars that are the foundation of love. God spoke to my heart.... work on these first.

The kindness I have covered, already working on that one. Not a problem! But the patience.... What does that look like? Had to look that up in the brand new book I bought call "The Love Dare"

Here is the interpretation of patience: It respond in a positive way to a negative situation. It is slow to anger. It extends mercy to those around them. Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm. It doesn't rush to judgement but listens to what the other person is saying. It understands that everyone fails. When a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time than they deserve to correct it.

More time than they deserve to correct it? WHAO! It hit me... I am really going to have to make a determined, deliberate effort to change if I want that kind of love in me. I am going to have to be intentional in my actions to have that kind of patience.

So how do I practice patience? Lets see....

Be slow to anger.... OK, so when someone says something I do not like, I will need to step back and keep my mouth shut. Maybe say a prayer for help! Slow to anger might mean, slow to respond, to give myself time to adjust my natural reaction. Time to think and respond like Christ. Time to ask for a heart change.

Have mercy! I can tell already this is not going to be easy. I'm gonna need some prayers for this one!

Its a good thing I don't have to do it alone.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

So What Exactly is a Christian?

Last time I heard, 85% of Americans claim to be Christians. Supposedly we are a "Christian Nation" If this is so, then why are we so flexible when it comes to sin. If it feels good, do it.

Here's the truth, a large portion of people that claim to be Christians have no clue what it truly means.

So today's post will give you a lesson on what it means to call yourself a Christian.

If you ask someone "Are you a good person?" Chances are they will say yes. Go ahead, try it some time, I dare you... You know why? Because the majority of people in America think that if you're a good person, believe in God and are sorry for the things you do wrong, you get to go to heaven. That God is like a Grandpa that only sees the good in us; after all he loves us, right. WRONG! God does love us but everyone does not get to go to heaven.

Matt 7:13-14 says this "enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

So the gate to heaven is narrow, not wide. You can't get to heaven because you are a good person. It must be through Jesus Christ.

So here goes....

God did create each of us and He does love us. That is exactly why he sent His son to die for us. He is a holy God and can not look upon sin. That means if we have committed just one sin; told a lie, stole a pencil, had a lustful thought, God can not even look on us. He wants to have a relationship with us and be with us but because of His holiness it is impossible if we have ANY sin. So He made for us to get to Him, by sending His son Jesus to the earth to become flesh and blood. Jesus paid the penalty on the cross for us and made a bridge to God for us.

If you don't believe me, go find a bible and look up these verses:

Romans 3:23 - All have sinned
Romans 6:23 - The wages of sin is death
John 3:3 - You must be born again
John 14:6 - I am the way
Romans 10: 9-11 - If you confess... you will be saved
2 Corinthians 5:15 - Those that live should no longer live for themselves
Revelation 3:20 - I stand at the door and knock

or check out the site below and see if you are good enough to get to heaven without Jesus.

Any questions? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Greatest Gift is Love

As you may have already figured out. Each day, I will be writing about the things, people and insights that came from the day before. What you may not have realize is that you have now become my accountability partner. Wow! You didn't see that coming did you. Well, neither did I.

I got up yesterday morning and went in to wake up my seven year old son. It was a Wednesday, a school day, with the same routine as every other day. I lovingly patted his back and called his name. "Get up honey" I said. All I heard from him was a grunt as he pulled the covers over his head. I gently nudged him again. From under the covers came a guttural sound that I think was "LEAVE ME ALONE!".

After I finally got him out of bed, he enters the living room with a tee shirt and shorts on. We live in Missouri, its cold here in November. "Go put jeans on" I say. "I don't want to wear jeans" .... and the argument begins.

Ten minutes later when he is finally dressed properly, we move on to the subject of breakfast. "What would you like for breakfast?" I say. He replies, "What do we have?". By now my patience is gone and I am not thinking like Jesus would at all! I'm thinking, for pete sakes, I have the same things we had in the cabinets yesterday, the day before and for that matter, the last five years. Come On! But instead, I give him his selection of items available for breakfast.

After I finally get him off to school and sit down to do my daily devotions, this thought came to me. "You said you were going to get up everyday and give your day to Jesus to be used by him, did you do that?" Well I guess the daily dedication and commitment each day must come before I even get out of bed!

This blog has reminded me that there are no days off, and the day begins when your feet hit the floor. That I should strive to live each moment of each day to do as Christ would do. Will I fail? Of course I will. I am still here on earth, not in heaven . Until then, I will fall and pick myself back up many times. So you see how you have become my accountability? I can't write about how Jesus changed my day if I didn't take him with me.

Here is what else I learned from the rest of my day.

As I went about my day, I saw many people and once again engaged with them. The woman at the gas station, Wendy's, the book store. Sometimes they seemed surprised by me. Like they weren't used to people being kind to them or trying to have a conversation with them. Then on my way home I said a small prayer to my Lord.

"Jesus, give me a heart to love these people. To really love them. Young and old, strangers and ones I know. And yes, even the ones that make it hard to love them. Let me love them like you love them, I can't do it on my own. And their life won't change without you as their savior. You have said that the unbeliever will know we are yours by our love. Make it known that I am yours."

I Corinthians 13:1-3 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eyes Wide Open

Yesterday was a very different day...

After my answers came to what this blog was to be about, I began to see everything around me differently. Mind you, I was driving in my car to a bible study when my answers came.

Every Tuesday morning I lead a women's bible study that lasts for about two hours. By the time I left there it was around noon. On the way home, I decided I would stop at the local Walmart to pickup a few random items. Normally I avoid Walmart like the plague, they are always so busy and you have to park a mile away. I know, I know, that in itself can be a lesson on patience if you approach it right. But I will leave that subject for another day.

I digress. Sorry. Back to the story.

As I got out of my car I notice there was as lady up ahead of me who was limping. She was pushing her cart to her car. I thought, "maybe she needs help, I'll ask her". But by the time I got to her she was already getting into her car.

Then I noticed a lady walking from her car towards the entrance with a scowl on her face. I wondered to myself what her problem might be. So, I said a small prayer for her.

As I approached the entrance myself, there was a tall thin man outside the door. He was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. I looked straight at him and smiled a great big Jesus loves you smile at him. You know what he did, he smiled a great big smile right back at me. He smiled so big you could see his whole face light up.

I noticed everyone around me. I was so engaged in all the people, I almost forgot why I was there. As I checked out, I had a conversation with the women in front of me, the woman in back of me and the cashier. I was looking for any and every opportunity to mention Jesus, any opportunity to show his love to them. As you can probably figure out, I got to do that. We can stand around and wait for the opportunity or we can find a way to make one.

I used to be so afraid to talk to random strangers, why in the world was I afraid? The worst thing they can do is say something rude or mean. Didn't Jesus experience way worse than that. I think I should be able to handle a rude comment. Hows that for perspective.

I have a sister that shows no fear in this area. Check this out. As you well know, snacks and drinks are much needed items for a road trip. Several months ago, before we began a road trip together, we stopped at a gas station for supplies. As I was pondering my drink selection, I could hear her talking clear across the room. She had already picked and was in the process of purchasing. So she says to the cashier "What can I pray for you about today?" I have to say, my jaw hit the floor. Watching her engage total strangers in conversation inspires me.

The rest of my day was the same. I just seemed to notice everyone around me more clearly. I saw the world and the people in it through different eyes, through Christs eyes. And the best part, I was willing and ready to respond like him also.

Job 42:5 "I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Journey Begins

As I started putting this blog together yesterday, I began a conversation with God, asking Him what in the world He wanted me to do with this thing. Yes, I think I might have been given what I can only explain as a gift from Him to write. So if He decided to give me this gift what exactly did he expect me to do with it. Hmmmm. What to do...... What to write.....

So I posted some things that I had already written, which were all very random subjects. But shouldn't this thing have a purpose, a reason for you the reader to follow what I write. Once again I began to pray. "What are you up to God?" What is it You want the reader to follow?".

As always when God begins a work, He completes it. As I drove in to town today to meet with what from now on I will lovingly refer to as the "Tuesday girls", (my Tuesday morning women's bible study group), God began to answer my prayers. His answer came in the form of a question as He sometimes does to me. Does he do that to you? Anyway, this was the question, "what would happen if you got up every morning and really committed to give your day to me for my kingdom?" OK, so can you see where He is going with this? Maybe this thing isn't just about writing. Hmmmm.... I think big things might be coming....

I began to think , if I were to get up everyday and really commit my day to Him there is no telling what might happen. There's no telling where He would take me and who might be affected. But I am sure of one thing, when we make ourselves available, He will use us. That is all He really needs, for us to be available. He doesn't really need our help, in spite of what we think. He has the power to do the rest.

So I have committed to become intentional, to become available and to give up my grasp on my agenda each day. To be transparent, loving and open with my life. To overcome the fear of rejection and fear only God so I can experience things that others only read about. To be looking for opportunities everywhere I go to do as Jesus would do. Lets take some God-sized risks together! Will you commit with me?

So our journey to be about our fathers business begins... Follow me.... Here we go....

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Want to Become Dangerous

Have I stepped across the line of freedom and entered into rebellion?

No, I have just sold out completely to God and I am ready for whatever He has for me to do.

Call it extreme, call me a Jesus Freak but don't forget to call me ON FIRE FOR GOD!

I want to be strong in the name of Jesus. I want wisdom and the courage to take God-sized risks where very few will. I want to speak up in confidence when I have something to say. I want to be vulnerable and transparent. I want my life to draw others into this adventure that is life in Christ.

I have become desperate for God. Willing to go the extreme, do anything, fight any battle not to go through life as a mediocre christian.

To become desperate means to begin to live in the victory promised by Jesus Christ. Here is where you will have to turn your life in order to change and become who God intended you to be.

People that are starving in third world countries are desperate for food and water. When the relief truck comes full of food and water do they stand politely and wait their turn? No, they are desperate, they charge the truck, they want to live. They climb over one another to get to the food that will save their lives. When you are starving you are desperate.

Are you starving for God and desperate to know Him completely as I am? Are you in need of the bread of life and living water?

We are living in a dieing world where the lost are wandering around looking for answers, answers we as Christians have. Will you go on the path less traveled and become dangerous with me?


HOPE WON!!! Now really, what audacity to think, hope.... But it did, HOPE WON!!! HOPE REALLY REALLY WON!!!!

But it wasn't on November 4th 2008... it was more than 2000 years ago.... on a cross.

More than 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ broke the hold of death on us and TRUE HOPE WON. At that time we were given a lasting hope of an eternity in heaven. PRAISE GOD!!! Free at last, free at last, thank God all mighty I'm free at last!!! This is the freedom that the great late Martin Luther King Jr also believed in. The hope and freedom that comes through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In bad times as well as good times, we must not forget where our hope comes from. For it comes from no man, but only from our Lord God and Savior. Our destiny or eternity are not in mans hands, they are in Gods hands. God is sovereign, which means he is in total control. God is also personal, which means he cares for His people. He watches over them like a mother watches over her child, never out of her line of sight. God is holy, yes, and he hates sin, yes, but God IS love.(1 John 4:8). This is why He sacrificed His son to pay for our sin, because of HIS great love for us. So we can have faith and believe in His promises. We can believe that when we put our trust in the blood of Jesus Christ to cover our sins that we are redeemed. We can believe that when Christ hung on that cross and all the worlds sins were laid on His shoulders, the price was paid once and for all. We can believe that three days later when the stone was rolled away from His grave He was no longer there. Yes, he rose up out of that grave on the third day and defeated death. We can put our faith, our belief in Jesus Christ and follow Him knowing that HE is the one to have hope in.

He, Jesus, is also the one returning on the clouds one day to collect His people, His bride. In a twinkling of an eye... those of us who have put our faith in Christ will be caught up to be with Him in the clouds, to spend an eternity with Him.

So in the mean time while we wait for Him; we do His work, we spread His message and we keep hope in our hearts for His return.

So let us shout praises because, yes, hope won!!! It really, really won!!

Gods View of Gay and Lesbian Marriage

I was asked the question by one of my sweet adopted daughters (at least I consider her mine), doesn't God want us to respect each other and when they want to be married or adopt shouldn't we respect that? I have given this question much thought and have looked to the scripture for the answers. In this I will try to give Gods perspective when it comes to this subject, but as always, don't believe it because a man (or woman in my case) says it, look to what God says in his word. Look it up in the Bible and read what He has to say.

First let me say that as I embark on territory that most don't like to even talk about, I do it with love not hate. There have been to many people hurt, physically and mentally by those that spew hate messages on this subject. I do not hate gays and lesbians, I have some people in my own life that have chosen this way of life that I love dearly. We have to learn as Christians how to love like Christ loved but still stand for the truth that the bible teaches. That is what I hope to reveal to you in this note.

So where did marriage start? .....

In the beginning when God created man, Adam was alone and given the job of naming the animals. As the animals were named, each had a mate. He would name the male and the female each with their own name. I am sure at this point he began to see that something was different, he did not have a mate. So, God put him to sleep and created woman to be his mate. This is the first instance in scripture that God shows us his intention for marriage. One man and one woman. (Genesis 1 and 2)

Genesis 2:24 says "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" God says when a man and a woman join together they shall become one. That is Gods intention, that we become one. Then in Genesis 1:27 God says "So God created man in His own image: in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

So what is God saying here, what does He mean? He is saying that both man and woman were created in His image. You say, how can that be when we are so different? True, but let me explain. Man was created in Gods image and carries Gods masculine qualities. Woman was created in Gods image and carries Gods feminine qualities. So together, man and woman most closely reflect Gods complete image. This was His design, man and woman would come together through marriage and most closely reflect Him and His qualities.

So what does the bible have to say when man decides to deviate from his plan and moves to sexual impurity and homosexuality?

Leviticus 18:22 - "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination"

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 - "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God."

In Old Testament times - in Leviticus 20:13 - the punishment for homosexual behavior was death. This was done so that sin would not overcome the nation.

In Genesis 18 and 19 we are told about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Both were so full of what God called wicked sexual immorality that he destroys them saving only Lot and his family.

In Romans 1:24-32 Paul writes about those that choose unrighteousness. Verses 26 and 27 say this: "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due."

OK, so we have scripture that shows us what Gods view is of homosexuality is. He considers it sexual sin, an abomination. Back to the original question, Does God want us to respect one another and a persons choice? Well, the answer is yes and no.

Absolutely, yes, God wants us to love and respect one another no matter what our choices are. He does not however want us to condone sin. He tells us to turn from sin ourselves and to warn other to do the same. None of us will ever be perfect, we are flesh and blood. But there is one who is perfect, his name is Jesus Christ. And he came to this earth over 2000 years ago, died on the cross, rose again on the third day so that our sins would be paid for. It is only through accepting that He died on the cross for us and making Him Lord of our life that we are acceptable in Gods eyes. Then comes the second part, we must turn from our sin and follow Gods truth revealed to us in His word.

So the most loving thing we can do for those caught up in homosexuality is not to just accept their decision to live the way they want so we can co-exist peacefully. It is to tell them the truth, that God considers what they are doing sin. That one day we will all have to stand before God and answer for our sins. But also, there is a way to become acceptable in God eyes and that is through Jesus Christ. We must show them that we do love them, that we love them so much that we would not want them to parish. We must show them that we love them by being concerned about their eternity and wanting them to be with us in heaven

A New nation

On November 4th the nation spoke loud and clear. The 44th President of the United States will be Barack Obama. And yes, it is truly an historic event. For the first time an African American has risen to the greatest platform in America as President and commander in Chief. History has been made and I must say that when I think of that, I am glad to see discrimination defeated.

I believe that this event in history will take our nation into a new place and just like what was promised, true change is about to occur. We as a nation have pushed for change at whatever the cost and that is exactly what we will get. What was forgotten was to count the cost and to examine the outcome. Here is just a glimpse of what we have in store for us in the future.

The dignity and sanctity of life will no longer be upheld, he has promised planned parenthood the first thing he will do is sign the "Freedom of Choice Act" . In this, the debate over Roe vs Wade will be a thing of the past, a woman's choice to murder her own unborn child will be law. So I ask you, what will be next on the issue of life, legalized Euthanasia? If we can rid ourselves of the unborn children that cannot speak for themselves, will the old be the next that we should murder when they are no longer useful and can no longer speak for themselves.

And what will we see for the family? At least those that are left in our culture, with most ending in divorce? Will we still see the biblical definition of marriage be of one woman to one man as God intended it to be? The answer is no, President Obama has declared his aim to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. What this means is that gay and lesbian marriage will be legalized. Some states that have legalized gay and lesbian marriage have already begun to see the effects of this in the public schools. What has already begun to happen and will become normal in all public schools is "diversification education". Meaning, starting in Kindergarten, children will be taught that having 2 Mom's or 2 Dad's instead of a Mom and Dad is normal and OK. The Bible states very clearly and in several places that homosexual behavior is an abomination to God. He has defined it as sin and he hates sin. So what is next when it comes to the definition of marriage, will we accept more than one wife or more than one husband? Maybe harems are OK too. By what are we going to define right and wrong. When we move away from the bible as our definition of what is morally correct, what do we have to decide by?

Lets talk about our economy, what about that. Everyone is concerned about it, so much so that they bought into Obama's message and elected him President. His talk was all about "spreading the wealth around". Taxing the rich to give to the poor, a modern day robin-hood. Here is the problem with that theory. No where in the Bible does God punish the rich for the poor's benefit. He does tell the rich to help the poor, but he leaves the responsibility of that to his people, not the government. Even God does not require a larger tithe from the rich than the poor, its 10% across the board. Same percentage no matter what you make. When you force what God does not condone, it is the same as stealing from your brother. But mark my words, we will not see less taxes under President Obama, he has so many government programs that he needs funded that taxes will increase. You can not go to socialist type programs such as health-care and not raise taxes for it. Besides the bailout that now has to be paid for.

As our government becomes less and less Godly under the Presidency of Obama you have to ask yourself, "will God continue to bless a nation that is no longer built on His word?" We have already seen many issues take place where God is being taken out of our nation. God has been completely taken out of our school and creationism is forbidden to be taught. Even though more and more science has proven that there is no other explanation for our existence. They want to take any reference of God or scripture off of government buildings and off our money. They are trying to silence Christianity by screaming for tolerance. Tolerance will be our downfall, and Islam loves it. As we strive for tolerance and to be politically correct, Islam becomes more extreme and demands more tolerance of their religion. Islam is not a tolerant religion, they do not assimilate into a new culture and begin to blend in. They are not allowed to, their religion forbids it. So they create their own communities within the culture. They begin to ask that culture to assimilate to them. Islam is now sending missionaries into our country with the intent to convert America to Islam. President Obama has stated that he wants us to be NOT a christian nation but a nation that has Muslims, Jews, Christians and all religions in it. He will support the effort to take God out of our school and government and we will stop being "One nation under God". Will God bless us as a nation any more after we turn our backs on Him?

So, after all I have said, what do we do?

As Christians, we stand up for what we believe in, no matter what the cost. We decide to become intolerant of sin and stand up. We love people with all our hearts but hate the sin around us. That is what we do, we get to work. We don't get depressed or curl up into a fetal position. Our God is still sovereign and in charge. He raises up Kings and deposes them. And we that know His son Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord are still the apple of His eye. Our times are about to get tougher but our Lord that lives within us is the one that gives us strength to stand tall and firm. We are to get busy and be about our Fathers business.