Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weakness- the human condition

Today I was reading out of my Daily Devotional New Testament book that I purchased from Truth for Life. I will admit I have not been very good about reading this, and am only on January 16th... but it is so amazing how God puts exactly what I need to hear in front of me at just the right time. I was writing in my journal about my struggle with weakness. I have a hard time following through on plans and commitments to myself that require discipline and sacrifice. I spend too much money, I eat food that is bad for me and makes me feel bad, I sleep in instead of exercising when I know I will feel better if I just do it, you know what I mean. I ended my journal entry with: "Are all Believers this weak?"

Then, right after I wrote that, this is what I read (pay particular attention to the commentary after the Bible verse):

Matthew 7:24 "Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who build his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

COMMENTARY FROM THE BOOK: "Jesus explains that some who claim to follow Him are not, in fact, true disciples. True Christian discipleship is genuine when it arises from a heart and mind transformed by God's grace. Jesus wants us to recognize that this inner transformation will inevitably bear good fruit (Matt. 7:17-20). True Christians have been transformed, and their lifestyles prove it." [THIS IS THE PART I AM REFERRING TO IN MY COMMENTS ABOVE-THE PART GOD PUT RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME AT EXACTLY THE RIGHT TIME] "This does not mean that Believers are flawless. They will have to battle and turn from sin until the day they die. It does mean, however, that their pattern of life now suggests that they have started down a new path (v.14). It would no longer be accurate to describe genuine Christians as "workers of lawlessness" (v.23). They have entered into an authentic relationship with Jesus, and are now laboring to build their lives upon what He has said (v.24).

So, Christian friends, take heart! Your struggles are just a fact of your being human, and have nothing to do with your heart for Christ or desire to follow and please Him. Don't give up- remember, those who persevere/ stand firm until the end will have eternal life (Matt 24:13)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Letter to our lawmakers- defend the 2nd amendment!

Gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment had better sit up and take notice of what is happening in Washington. Losing Justice Scalia was a HUGE blow to us in many ways, but especially when it comes to having 2A support on the Supreme Court. Now, we no longer have majority support for what is arguably one of the most important Constitutional amendments. Four justices believe law-abiding Americans have that right – and four justices do not. The person who becomes the next justice is critical to whether or not we can continue to LEGALLY exercise the GOD-GIVEN right to defend ourselves or not.

It is no secret that President Obama has nothing but contempt for the Second Amendment. He has already nominated two Supreme Court justices who oppose the right to own firearms and there is absolutely no reason to think he will do anything different this time. That is what is so concerning about what is happening in Washington right now with his nomination of Merrick Garland. This man's judicial record shows that he does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Confirming him would be a disaster.

It is also no secret that the Republicans in congress have been a HUGE disappointment to voters since they took control of the House and Senate. I am very fearful that they will continue to be weak and wimpy now even though they are talking big about not allowing a Supreme Court confirmation to take place until the next president is in office. Yeah, sure. 

I'm not sure what difference it will make to write letters and contact your Representatives, but we cannot just sit around waiting to see what will happen. We must act and do whatever we can do to make sure this critical right is not taken away from us. Not without a fight! If you believe in the Second Amendment, if you believe GOD provided you with the right to self defense, if you do not want to be faced with either having this right stripped of you OR going against the law to continue to protect yourself, please consider being vocal about this. There are too many gun owners in America for any acts against us to succeed, UNLESS too many of us sit on our hands and wish and hope instead of acting.

I wrote this letter to my representatives today, and encourage you to do the same. Feel free to use any part of the below letter in yours, I am putting it out there as an open invitation to help you if you aren't sure what to say.


Dear "insert name here",

I am writing you today to plead with you to support the Second Amendment and OPPOSE anything and anyone who threatens our Second Amendment rights in any way. 

For most of my life I didn't think very much about my own personal protection aside from locking my doors and being aware of my surroundings. After I became a mom the idea that I was somehow invincible or impervious to being the victim of violence has left me, only to be replaced by the knowledge of not only my own mortality, but also how dangerous this world has become and how necessary it is that we all have the means and ability to protect ourselves and our family members. My four children depend on me for much, and protection from those who would harm them is one of the things they count on me to do.

Just like I try to eat well and exercise to protect myself from diseases and ailments that affect all of us, so also do I train and practice self-defense techniques that include both physical and firearm training. I do not ever want to be in the position to either be helpless against an attacker or to have to rely on someone else to protect me or my children should the unthinkable happen.

As a woman I know I am at a disadvantage physically should I ever be confronted by a male attacker, armed or not. Add to that being faced with an attack while trying to protect my children, well, you can understand how that multiplies my disadvantage.

"Insert name here", please listen to your fellow "Insert state name here" who truly want to be law abiding citizens but are fearful about a future where we will no longer be able to protect ourselves from the criminals who don't care at all what the gun laws are. Disarming us, or supporting someone who will, is tantamount to telling me and my children that our lives don't really matter to you. When the data doesn't support that stronger gun legislation decreases crime or makes us safer but instead INCREASES crime and creates more victims, what other conclusion could there be when lawmakers still insist on fighting this amendment which is essential to our right of self-defense?

Thank you so much for reading, and I pray you will work to support all "insert state name here" law-abiding gun owners on this issue.

All my best to you and your family.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Separation of church and state

What do you think "separation of church and state" means? Where was this written by our Founding Fathers that it is so often quoted as though it is part of our country's Constitution?

In case you are interested in educating yourself about something before you talk about it, I thought I would post a couple of articles for you to read. The first one from The Village Church Blog is a little bit of an easier read than the second from Forbes, but I included the Forbes article because I figured some of you would just write off the first one as being biased since it was posted by a religious organization.

Just to be clear where I stand... I am against our FEDERAL government making laws outside its jurisdiction. Legalizing gay marriage is outside the Federal Government's purview according to the Constitution (states can choose to do it, though). Legalizing abortion- same thing. States can do it, the Fed can not.

Yes, as a Christian I believe that going against God and His Word is a huge mistake, which both of these things do... but my biggest beef is the complete abuse of power that our Federal Government has exhibited over the years. If you choose to violate God's Word and take your chances with Hell I can't stop you. Our Federal Government, though, has no business legislating these things for the whole country ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTION which very clearly limits its power.

Come on, people. Be smarter than this. If you are going to quote something and say it is part of the Constitution and then ignore things that are actually part of the Constitution, you are just contributing to the dumbing down of our country. Do some research on what our Constitution really says and allows before you throw your support at something. If you want legal gay marriage and legal abortion, then work with your STATE GOVERNMENT to make that happen, the way the founders intended and take "separation of church and state" out of it.

Faith vs. Knowledge

This daily devotional by Truth for Life really spoke to my heart. As I read this, I kept wondering who “she” was. I looked at the Bible verse listed before the devotional and went to my Bible to see if I could find out who the “she” is that is being referred to here. Go ahead and quickly go read that devotional and come back....

I had to go back to verse 40 of Luke 8 to learn that “she” was just a woman in a crowd. Jesus was on His way to a man named Jairus’ house to see his dying daughter when a woman in the crowd touched Jesus. She had been suffering with an ailment for 12 years that no one could cure, and upon touching Jesus she was instantly healed. When He tried to find out who in the crowd had just received His healing touch no one would admit it. Finally, the woman fell down before Him and admitted that it was she who touched Him, because, even though she was afraid that she might be wrong, her faith led her to take the chance that Jesus could heal her.

As a new believer who came to faith before I came to knowledge, this devotional really speaks to me. How many of us struggle to feel worthy because we don’t live the perfect Christian life we think God wants? How many of us struggle to feel worthy because we don’t really understand the teachings of the Bible yet, or can’t refute criticism leveled against us by non-believers? How many of us wonder if God will change His mind about us if we mess up, or don’t engage in enough charitable work on behalf of His Kingdom? If any of you can affirm these struggles (or others) in your own life as I can, I ask you…. How many of you have unrelenting faith and love for our Lord? If you can also affirm the truth of your faith and love then that is all you need my friend. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, our
FAITH always saves us instantly, and is always prized before knowledge.

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

Thursday, March 10, 2016

There will be suffering in this world....

Do you suffer from fear and anxiety over worldly pain? Over the fear of loss? For what seems like no reason at all? You are not alone- most of us do at some time in our lives, even if we don't share it publicly.

I went through an extremely difficult period in my life prior to giving my life to Jesus. Years and years of difficulty. Pain and anxiety and fear that I would not wish upon anyone for any reason. When I look back on it now, I can't believe I went through that all alone without God by my side.

Um, that's not quite right. I know now that God always walks beside us, but when we don't accept Him, when we don't call on Him and pray to Him and have a relationship with Him, we flounder and can't take full advantage of His power and the grace of the Holy Spirit which strengthens us and protects us from the fire of life. He was there with me, wanting me to call out to Him and willingly be His child. I suffered terribly, much more terribly than I needed to, but I knew about Jesus and chose not to call Him to me. I chose to suffer alone. I didn't believe.

Now that I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and work to be in relationship with Him every single day, I have such a different perspective on suffering. Instead of being angry and defeated by it, I am humbled and girded by Jesus' incredible love for us, demonstrated by His unimaginable sacrifice on the cross. He suffered and died for me so that I could have hope and faith in an eternity where suffering doesn't exist. He came to us as a man, fully man, to experience what we experience and demonstrate through His actions that we can survive even the worst pain and suffering, because not only did HE do it, but by HIS doing it He made a way through the fire for us.

If you are suffering right now and can't see a way out or seem to find any relief from the pain, I ask you- do you believe in God's strength to heal you? Do you believe in His promise that, while life here on earth may be hard and terribly unfair, He has a place for you in His Kingdom where there will be no more suffering and no more pain? Do you really believe? Do you pray, and call out to Him and call on the prayers and love and strength of other Believers to lift you up when you can barely raise your head? I believe that Jesus has an ARMY here on earth. An army being prepared to do His work; to be His hands and feet (and heart and head) until He returns. 

You do not have to walk through this battle alone. Praying to God is incredibly important. Being in relationship with Him where you go to Him with praise and with pain; where you talk to Him about your hopes and your fears; where you pray for others as much as you pray for yourself. All this is important. BUT- when you are stuck in the depths of despair, when you are not sure if you have enough breath left in you to keep you alive much less to pray, when you have been dealt a blow that would crush even the strongest most faithful believer, that's when you call on God's army. It may be me, it may be a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone you haven't spoken to in years. It doesn't matter- if you know someone who is a warrior for God- who has publicly proclaimed his or her love for our Almighty Father- call on that person right now to pray for you and WITH you during your time of need. We are Brothers and Sisters in Christ for a reason. God has filled us with His Spirit for just such a time as this.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."   Romans 8:18

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.                              2 Corinthians 1:3-8