Monday, December 26, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

If you knew for sure that you would get it, what is the one gift you would want for Christmas? That question was brought up in our sermon yesterday, then I spent the afternoon watching various "Christmas" movies concerning people making, granting, and receiving their wishes. Most of the movies showed people wanting love, family, peace. Some people wanted success, fame and fortune, but then realized that those other things were more important. Plenty of mushy, feel good sentiments for the day.

As I thought about it, I think that deep in our hearts most of us really want the same things. We want everyone to have enough to eat, be healthy, have peace, be happy, feel loved and life to be fair. That is what so many politicians make promises about. It is what so many people protest for. These things are the gift that was given to us by our Creator that very first Christmas.

As He promised long before that night, God sent us a Savior. His name was Jesus and He came to save His people from their sins. Saving us means that we now have a relationship with God that allows us to be with Him forever. Sending Christ means that God is about the work of restoring His creation to its original glory, to perfection. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ, but it is also about reminding us that God is working to give us the thing that we most desire. When Christ came, lived a perfect life, died and rose again, He defeated Satan and began the work of restoration. That is the gift I long for as do so many of you. Now, I just wish that He was working on my time table and not His. So, here is to the hope we have in the restoration of all things and the joy we will share together will all who believe the Truth.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sufficient Grace

One of the things that I really love about homeschooling is how much God teaches me while I am busy teaching. We have been doing this homeschool thing for 21 years now. There have been some great days. I enjoy the days when the kids seem to "get it", things go smoothly, and everyone gets along. Those days are icing on the cake. They are the fun days, the days you want those who are considering homeschooling to see. Those are not the common days.
That is okay, though. The common days are the ones where the regular flow of life happens. The school work gets done, sometimes not until after dinner. Chores are finished, not always joyfully, and we all bump along together.
It is the rough days, however, that can be the best ( only in retrospect, of course). Those days where there is crying over school work, frustration over the lack of cooperation around the house, and a general selfishness that fills the air are the ones that God uses to grow me the most. Those are the days where He increases my patience, my reliance on Him, and my realization of His amazing love for me. Those are the days that show me just who I really am and how very undeserving I am of a Savior who died for me. On the good days, I begin to think that I have it all under control and I am doing okay. It is the hard days that get me on my knees begging God for grace to make it through. And He always supplies my needs.
One of the greatest benefits of teaching my children at home is how much I have grown in my understanding of who God is and who I am. My advice? Embrace those difficult days, thank the Lord for the tears and tantrums, and remember that He is your Heavenly Father, willing and able to bless you with every good gift, including the grace to wake up the next day ready to do it all again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Homeschool

I've been doing this homeschool thing for the past 21 years, and I have heard a lot of reasons as to why moms couldn't possibly homeschool their kids. I must agree with these women. There are some very valid reasons to not homeschool your children. Here are a few of the things I have heard over the years.
1. I am not a teacher. You are probably right. The federal, state, or local government has probably not recognized you as an "official" teacher. That doesn't mean you are not a teacher. Do your children know their names? Who do you suppose taught them that? When Sally tells daddy about what she did during the day, does she say " I am playing in the sandbox," or does she tell him that she played there? Congratulations! Without even working at it you have taught your child to conjugate verbs. Does your child know the difference between a pet and a tree? Good, basic scientific concepts of discerning between living and non-living things has been passed along. You see, you ARE a teacher. You teach 24/7/365 like it or not. You have taught your children an incredible amount before you even pass them off to the "real" teachers. What on earth makes you think you are not a teacher?
2. I don't have enough patience. This is one of the best reasons to not homeschool. I know because I don't have enough patience either. The amazing thing about homeschooling ( or marriage, or parenting, or living on a planet with other people) is that you develop patience as you go. My husband is one of the most patient people I have ever met, and yet, God gave him me for a wife to help develop patience in him. I know when you started this parenting thing you were not as patient as you are now. I also know there is room to grow. Ask any homeschooler around, and they will tell you that they did not start this because they were patient enough. Homeschooling, like all of life, gives you an opportunity to develop the patience that you need.
3. I don't know enough. If this is your reason for not homeschooling, then you are probably not a good candidate for the job. If you do not know enough to know how to learn, then you should not be learning alongside your child. Maybe you could ask him to homeschool you. Who has ever started something new and known all about it? When you began school did you know all the answers? How about when you got married, started a new job, had children, or began a new hobby? Every, and I repeat, every homeschool mom I have ever met has marveled at how much they have learned while homeschooling their children. This could be really good news for some of you. Did you know that studies show that keeping your brain active by learning new things could lessen the onset or effects of dementia and Alzheimer's? Homeschooling can keep you healthy.
Those are just a few of the most common reasons to not homeschool your children. There are tons more. It is easy to find an excuse to not do something that might be difficult or make you stand out from the crowd. I hope that some of you who have been using these excuses will seriously consider rethinking things and give homeschooling a try. You just might surprise yourself. If it doesn't work out for you, you can always send your kid back to the professionals. I don't think you will.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Three Little Words

It seems like three little words are often enough to keep you out of trouble. "Yes, thank you", "I love you", "I am sorry", and "Save your money". All are so important for making your life run smoothly, but I've been thinking about the last group lately.
When I was growing up and my brother or I would see something at the store that caught our eye, we acted as any normal kid does, we asked for it. It didn't matter to us if it was penny candy (yes, kids, stores really used to sell candy for one penny) or a large ticket item. My moms response was most often "save your money". I am so grateful now that she was teaching us such an important life lesson that many parents seem to have forgotten. Those three little words have saved me much pain.
"Save your money" keeps you from drowning in debt. It teaches you patience, perseverance, and the joy of anticipation. It teaches you the value of hard work, wise decision making, and shopping for deals. With those three words my mom was teaching us to set our priorities in life. We learned that you can have a very happy fulfilling life without having to own the latest styles, most up to date electronic gadgets, or newest car. We learned to appreciate what we did have because we knew the effort that went into obtaining it. I am so very grateful that mom loved us enough to speak three words instead of saying the one "yes".
Now that I am a mom, I understand how hard that must have been for her. It is much easier to put a smile on your child's face with a "yes". We all want our kids to be happy. But, maybe we should start wanting more for them. Maybe, as parents, we should want our kids to enjoy the sense of accomplishment they will get by working hard for something that they want in life. I wish that some of the parents of the Occupy Wallstreet group had put the effort into teaching this to their kids.

Friday, November 4, 2011

50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know

My daughter is just about to turn 13, and we are beginning to be more intentional about our discussions concerning just exactly what a lady is and does. This book came into our lives at just the right time. Kay West does a good job of explaining to your young women just what to do and say in certain situations. She has covered traditional topics like dining, answering the phone and writing thank you notes as well as more current situations concerning cell phones, computers, and social networks. Many of the things that were covered in the book were not even topics that we had considered; such as entering and exiting a car.
It looks like, in this day and age, we have forgotten to teach our daughters some of the more common courtesies that they will need to get along well in this world. I often come across women who have no idea how to accept a compliment, respond to an invitation or lose graciously. These are things that all of our daughters will come across in their lifetime. Don't we want them to be able to handle these things with grace and poise? The saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression". This book is a good aid for those who want to make sure that they are making some good impressions by treating others with some simple respect.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Huddle Up

If you are like our family, you spend quite a bit of time this time of year watching football games. As I watched yesterday, I was reminded of a few negative comments I heard recently concerning the church as a "holy huddle". I got to thinking about the huddles that I was seeing on these football games.
The quarterback calls all of his guys on the field together in a tight circle so that he can relay information. Information on the plan that will help them accomplish their goal as a team. In the huddle the players get their instructions on where to go and what to do. The huddle is a time to remind the team about their goal and to encourage them to press on no matter how impossible it might look. The fans are not invited into the huddle an neither is the opposing team. This is a private time meant just for the members of that team.
After observing several huddles, I am finding it hard to understand why a "holy huddle" is such a bad thing. Shouldn't a worship service be about the "team" getting their instructions from their coach? Aren't we reminded about our goal? And encouraged to press on, even when times are tough? Aren't we given information and told where we need to go and what we need to do? We don't make the church service about the outsiders. Although, unlike a football huddle, they are invited and welcome, but ultimately it is about the "team members" and reaching the goal.
Maybe that is where the confusion comes in. Maybe we are not clear on what our goal is. Or maybe we have forgotten what our goal is. Remember, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, not saving the lost, having the most contemporary music, or best coffee. Maybe our churches need to have a few more of those "holy huddles" instead of shunning them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Job Well Done

A good man died yesterday. Most of you won't know his name. He was not famous. He was not powerful. He was not rich. At least not by the world's standards. Some of us think he was all of those things and more. I know that in years to come many will look back on their lives and be eternally grateful for the life that Wayne Walters led.

I knew Wayne for about 30 years. In all that time, I never saw him without a smile on his face and his arms open for a hug. He was a great example of showing the love of God to all. First, to his family. Then, to his friends. Finally, to anyone else that he met. He didn't make a big deal of his devotion. It wasn't flashy. It was just there. He loved you. He loved you because he was loved by a great God. I have seen the results of his love in his family.

All six of his children show that same love to others. They give honor and respect to everyone they meet. They learned this from their dad. I am sure that his lessons were not always the easiest to learn, but he was faithful to pass along his wisdom, and they were faithful to learn. I know that they will continue to follow the example that Wayne set, and we will all benefit. They will teach what they have learned to their children. They will touch the lives of their friends by living out what they know to be true.

It hurts to know that Wayne is not with us in body any longer. His presence will be sorely missed by many. But I know that when I look at Kyle, Matt, Nathan, Christina, Laura or Lindsey, I will see Wayne, and I will smile. Someday we will meet up again. Until then I know that the words, "well done, good and faithful servant" are ringing in his ears.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

To Serve and Protect

The police motto is "to serve and protect". How do they go about doing that? They go after the bad guys, and they make sure that we are safe. I appreciate their sacrifices on my behalf. It can't be easy to have a job like that where you put your life on the line every day, and so many people still look at you in fear and sometimes contempt. God must feel like the police sometimes.

Before God ever gave the Law to His people, he redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. He answered their cries and saved them from this most difficult life. Then, He gave them laws. Laws that would set them apart from the nations around them. Laws that would keep them from worshipping powerless idols, laws that would strengthen their nation, laws that would help them to live in safety, peace and unity with one another. God gave laws that would protect His people from their own sinful, selfish ways. By following God's laws, the Israelites would prosper. They would grow in number, strength and wealth. They would live the good life. Following the law perfectly would protect you from death and hell.

The Law was also given to serve us. We know we can not follow the law perfectly. If we are honest, most of us can admit to breaking the law before breakfast everyday. The law serves us by reminding us that we, in our weakness, can not keep it perfectly. We need someone to do it for us. We need a Savior. The Law points us to our inability to save ourselves. Christ HAD to come, HAD to live a perfect life, HAD to give us His righteousness, HAD to pay the price for sin, and HAD to rise again with power over death and hell. If he had not, we would all be lost. The Law reminds us daily of what it is that Christ accomplished on our behalf. It serves to ignite in us an appreciation for God's grace in our lives. It helps us to learn to be merciful ourselves.

We, as Christians, no longer need to fear God. Our debt has been paid. We have been given righteousness and are seen by God through the blood of Christ. We have been forgiven. We no longer hold God in contempt. We are not His enemy, but his sons and daughters. We appreciate the many gifts He has given us, including the Law that both serves and protects us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I've been doing a lot of thinking a I reflect on the ceremonies of last Sunday. Over and over we were called on to remember. While I don't advocate forgetting the tragedy and loss of the day, and I doubt that those who first hand experienced the horror will ever forget, I am unconvinced that remembering is enough. People don't seem to do a very good job when it comes to remembering.

God knows our memories are short. It is why in Deuteronomy 6 He commands us to impress His commandments upon our children, to talk of them when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, to tie them as symbols on our foreheads, and to write them on our doorframes and gates. It is why Joshua had the Israelites build a tower of stones out of the Jordan River so when the children asked " What do these stones mean?" Their parents would remember to tell them of the wonderous deeds God performed for them. It is why Christ instituted the Eucharist. When we celebrate it, we remember His life and death given for us.

Even when we are commanded to remember and we have symbols to remind us, we don't do such a great job. It didn't take long for the Israelite children to not know of God's deeds and turn to worship Baal. It doesn't take any of us long to forget. Remember the Alamo? Not too many do. Even those that recall the name or the slogan seldom remember the importance or the names of the men who gave their lives there. How about the "day that will live in infamy"? How often does Dec 7 come and go without the slightest acknowledgement of the horrors and bravery of the day? "Remember the Holocaust that it may never happen again". How many of our teens know the true atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps?

Yes, I agree we must remember 9/11, along with all of these other things, but it is not enough to say "remember". We must be intentional in our remembrance. We must pass these things on to our children and our grandchildren. It is important to talk about them and not just on the anniversary date. Future generations need to know, and it is our job to make sure they do.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I received the book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy to review as part of the Booksneeze program. I was a bit daunted by the size of this book when it came in the mail. At 576 pages, it seems like some people will just not bother to pick it up. All I can say is that it is their loss.
I have heard about Bonhoeffer all of my adult life but have never bothered to take the time to study his life. This was a great resource to use for discovering just the type of man he was. We learn of his conflicts over all that was happening in Germany during his lifetime. This was a man who felt deeply. He loved his country, and he loved the church. His desire to serve both to the best of his ability resulted in his death. But his death has inspired others to seek the best for their country through the Word.
I hesitate to recommend this book wholeheartedly only because of the length. I can see nothing that the author, Eric Metaxas, should have cut, but it is a long read. If you want to know more about this amazing man, there is no better book to get.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Think I Got the Message

Don't you just love the way God works? I know that sometimes He must just shake His head at me and wonder how it is He created such a thick headed woman. I pray that He would reveal His will for me and that He would make it so clear that I can't possibly miss it knowing that if He would just do that, I would so very gladly follow exactly where He is leading me without the slightest gripe and a smile on my face (so not).

The sad thing is, He has been so very clear about what He wants from me, but I don't like it, so I've been trying to just ignore Him and get Him to tell me something else. It just doesn't work that way. I can see that He is going to harp on this until I am willing to get serious. So, now I have enlisted the help of some wonderful friends, and I am going to buckle down and get to work. I am even going to get you to help me out because I am going to confess my sinfulness to you and ask you to pray for me when you remember (and maybe some of you could use the same prayers). Here it goes: I am not a submissive wife to the wonderful husband God has blessed me with. I can put on a good act sometimes, but I am not what He has called me to be in this area, and now, He is getting me to work on it.

A couple of years ago I heard a sermon on submission. It was a bad sermon and not biblical, but it got me thinking about what biblical submission was, and that showed me that I was falling way short of the mark. Nothing new about that in my life. Since I didn't really want to work on that part of my life, I went on my merry way only to be brought up short a few months later by a discussion with a friend on the difficulties she was having in this area. I pointed her to scripture. We prayed, and I was done with that. At least that is what I thought. Then months later a sweet young friend was lamenting the lack of Titus 2 teaching going on. As friends and I reminisced about some godly women who had poured their lives into us, I remembered vividly their call to be submissive as God requires. Okay, now I got it. This is something I need to work on, but I know that I will give up all too soon without accountability.

Enter a really awesome group of women who have agreed to go through the book "The Excellent Wife" with me. We are going to meet weekly (online and off) to discover just what the Bible has to say to us and how we can apply these things to our lives and our relationships with our husbands. I NEED this. I am desperate for this. And just when I think that God and I are good to go now, He pounds in the last (?) nail so that there are no lingering doubts or going back.

I have been eagerly awaiting my Tabletalk subscription renewal. I had let it go to help the budget, but found that I don't have an acceptable replacement for that first thing in the morning time in the word. Tabletalk works well for me. My September issue just arrived. Do you know what the verses are for Sept 1? You bet. "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior" Eph 5:22-23.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lay Aside Your LIfe

He sees you, you know. When you've had that stressful week and you just want to stay in bed and watch that sappy movie while it is raining this morning. He sees you. He also sees how you give that up when your mom calls and wants to chat because she is lonely. He sees when you give up your afternoon to go rescue a friend whose car broke down and needs a ride to the repair shop. He sees when you stretch your food budget yet again so you can make dinner for a neighbor who just got out of the hospital. He sees all of the times that you put your plans on hold in order to love others. And He is pleased.
He is pleased with you moms who have put your careers on the back burner so that you can be the one to raise your children. To make sure they are getting the right instruction on God and His creation. He is pleased with you wives who put your plans aside so that your husband can work at a job that he loves even if it means longer hours or less pay. He is honored when you lay aside your life for others. Laying aside our lives doesn't mean we cease to exist, it just means we die to our own selfishness and live in His grace. It is not an easy way to live, but He sees. He knows your sacrifice. And He is glorified by your life. What better way is there to live?

Monday, August 1, 2011

George Washington Carver

I've just read a very interesting and detailed account of the life of this incredibly gifted man. John Perry does a great job of giving us a in depth look at Carver while still keeping our interest. I learned a lot about a man that I thought I already knew much about.
Carver did not have an easy life, but his experiences made him the man he was. Like all of us, his early life shaped who and what he was to be, but unlike many these days, he did not complain against or blame circumstances. Instead, he gives us a wonderful example of taking what God has given you and using it to the best of your ability to glorify the Creator. Carver's foundational belief in a sovereign God gave him the confidence to move forward in life when others might have given up.
I appreciated the balance that Perry showed in presenting Carver to the reader. We are not shown a hero without flaws. The author clearly points out character flaws that cause conflicts in Carver's life. In spite of these, we come to know, love and appreciate this man and his amazing contribution to his fellow man as a teacher, botanist and Christian.
I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Walking His Way

As a mom of look alike twins you learn early on how to tell them apart. It often makes people ask, "They look so much alike. How can you tell?" You stop and think about it for a bit, shrug your shoulders and say, "They are just different." The one instance that sticks out most in my mind was the day that I amazed my friend by telling which was which from behind. When she questioned me I just said that they walk differently.

I wonder. Can people tell me apart from the world because I walk differently? Does my confident stride display the trust that I have in a sovereign God who cares for me? Does my slow stroll reflect the appreciation for all that He has created? Do the times that I stop show others that I am willing to minister to them instead of always focusing on my own goals? Do I run to His open arms when I am hurt or troubled? Do I skip for joy at the wonder of His amazing love? I hope so. I hope that others see that my walk is out of step with this world. I want to walk differently. I want to walk God's way.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Submission Is The Path to Joy

Submit. It is such a dirty word. Even among Christians. We would like to ignore it or soften the blow, but we must face the truth. We are called to submit.

As Christians we are called to submit to God, to His laws, to His way of doing things, to His will. Oh, how our pride chaffes at that. We want to control our own destiny, be in charge of our lives, make our own choices. We want to rule our own little world. We want to be our own god. We want to make deals. If I submit to you now, you have to give in to me later.

On top of it all, women are called to submit to their husbands. Even if they are not kind, loving, caring men. We are called to act in such a way that our husbands would gain respect from others. That means that even when we disagree with a decision he has made, no one else should ever know. Man, is that a tough one. Can't I even vent just a little to my best friend? No. We must support and encourage them. We must be ready to give godly councel when asked and keep our mouths shut when we aren't.

Our husbands have an incredible burden on their shoulders. It is they who will stand before God to answer for these choices. They are the ones who are held accountable. I, for one, am glad to not have that load. I am afraid it would crush me. But, if I feel that way, I imagine that at times men must feel that too, especially if their wives are battling them over decisions they make.

Think about your husband for a minute. Do you really think that he would make choices to seek your harm? Do you really think that his greatest desire is to thwart your desires? Do you not trust that he cares for you? If you think that he truly loves you, then you need to give him the repsect he deserves. One way to do that is to submit with a cheerful, willing heart. I am not saying that it is an easy thing to do. Our pride makes it awfully difficult, but discipling ourselves to follow the lead of the one God has put as head of our household will only reap benefits in the long run.

If we wives will learn to submit to our husbands, God will bless our efforts. If we Christians would just learn to submit to our Lord, our lives would be filled with boundless joy that would spill over to those around us. Just think how glorified He would be if we would learn to submit.

Why God Won't Go Away

This book was an easy read and had so much good information in it for those who would debate the New Atheists on their own turf, but I do feel it was titled incorrectly. I think this book was a case of showing where the new atheists are way off base even according to their own guidelines. I learned much about the four men who are acknowledged leaders in this movement. While they seem to have quite a strong following, the flaws in their reasoning that are pointed out in this book by Mr. McGrath are, in the end, going to be too much to overcome by any but the most rabid of their followers.
I truly appreciated the clear reasoning that the author used as he refuted the beliefs and statements made by those in the New Atheist movement. McGrath was logical and methodical in his presentation showed the reader many excellent ways to stand up to those who have been so badly deceived without being arrogant, disdainful, or overly antagonistic. Many times just following through their statements to their logical conclusion should be enough to show the error of their ways. Sadly, there are none so blind as those who will not see and we can see that to be the case with the four men who head this train of thought against Christianity.
More than anything, I found this book to be a wake up call for the church. The time is quickly coming when committed Christians will be seen by the majority as the enemy. Logical reasoning and intelligence will not prevail. Fortunately for us, we know how the story ends, and we know that God will not only not go away, He has won the war.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing as part of the booksneeze program in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lessons Learned

I confess that I, for one, am very grateful to Casey Anthony. She has given me a couple of wonderful gifts, and I am thankful. I guess it is true that every cloud has a silver lining.

Hope. Casey has given me hope. With all the complaining and fighting in America over everything from red light cameras to killing the unborn, I began to wonder if we had any understanding of right and wrong, of justice and punishment. Thanks to this murder trial I have hope. We do understand there is a right and a wrong. I have heard the outrage of many that this woman was not at least found guilty of child abuse. Not reporting a missing preschool child for months is wrong. We all know it. We all understand that even if this is not against any law written on the books, it is just plain wrong and should be punished. I really appreciate Ms. Anthony's contribution in restoring my hope in the people of America. We do know right from wrong and we do desire to see those who are guilty punished.

Grace. The Anthony trial has reminded me of the incredible importance of grace in my life. I am guilty of so much more than Casey Anthony. I regularly break the divine law of the Sovereign Lord of all. I have wounded the Creator of the World with my thoughtless actions. I, too, deserve a horrible punishment. God, however, is full of grace and mercy and has provided me with a "Not Guilty". Through the shed blood of His righteous Son I have been redeemed. Unlike Casey, there is no taint left on me. There is no shadow of guilt or shame. I am clean, righteous and forgiven. I imagine that if I were part of the heavenly host, I would want to cry out, "But she is guilty". I would want to see justice done, but that is the great gift. Justice has been served. The debt has been paid. Christ, who knew no sin, suffered the wrath of a thrice holy God in my place. I am grateful for grace and, as sorry as I am that a precious little girl was killed, I am grateful for the lessons that I am able to find in this tragedy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Old Cross and The New

I wouldn't usually do this, copy in total someone's work in my blog. But I couldn't think of a better way to say what AW Tozer did 45 years ago. There is truly nothing new under the sun and we are still struggling with the same problem today. I pray you will read on, give serious consideration to these words, and are as convicted as I am. I know it is long, but worth the effort.

All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.
From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of a new evangelical technique - a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.
The old cross would have no truck with the world. for Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of ocean of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he take delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.
The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad wold happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.
The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, "Come and assert yourself for Christ." To the egotist it says,"Come and do your boasting in the Lord." To the thrill-seeker it says, " Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship." The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.
The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.
The old cross is a symbol of death. It stand for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross mad no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished it work, the man was no more.
The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.
That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.
We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.
God offers life, but not an improve old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God's just sentence against him.
What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.
Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. the cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts and end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.
To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul's day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God's approval.
Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth/ Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Case of Bad Timing?

I don't know about the rest of the country, but if you live in Central Florida, you have been treated to an overwhelming amount of news coverage concerning the plight of Casey Anthony. I, for one am getting rather tired of this. It seems to be a lot of overkill if you ask me.

At the corner stoplight near my home, we now have red light cameras. Now, if I make an error in timing and miss the yellow light, the camera takes my picture and I am fined. I assume this is a pretty steep fine because a lot of people seem to be having a fit about these cameras. Regardless, my punishment is a fine. Why is it then, that if this court case against Casey goes as expected, she is not judged as being guilty of a timing error, given a fine, and sent on her merry way.

Many, many people in this area (and I assume around the country, but I know what they say about assumptions, so that may not be the case) are up in arms about the fact that this young woman may have killed her preschool daughter. A large number of these people are the same ones who would diligently defend Casey's right to murder Kaylee years earlier. As long as Kaylee was still in the womb and had not made it completely out before an abortion was attempted, our laws assert that the murder would be legal. To me, that makes this case about timing. Casey evidently waited too long to kill her daughter.

But just how long should we give a young woman to decide if she really wants to be a mom or not. Some women desperately want to be a mom long before it ever happens. Some never want the job. Some come to the realization that they are not cut out for the sacrifices only after they experience the reality. Why is it that our government has okayed a woman's ability to kill her child in the womb, but won't allow her the same freedom afterward? Just what has changed?

I know some people think that it is the baby's location that makes all the difference. Not true. There are children who survive abortion attempts and are left without food or medical attention for hours until they die. In a partial birth abortion the baby is all but delivered before it is killed.

Maybe it is the mom's desire to have a baby that makes the difference. Nope. There are still young ladies who do not want to raise a child, but choose to give birth and put their baby up for adoption. Besides, isn't the whole problem with Ms. Anthony that she decided that she no longer wished to be a mom?

It seems only logical to me that if it is okay to allow murder at any stage of life, then we must allow it for all stages. Of course, this could prove to be very hard on those "terrible twos" whose mom is having a bad day. Right now, it seems that it is only God's common grace that is keeping us from this place, but if He should remove His hand of protection, very few of our children may make it to adulthood. Maybe Casey Anthony is guilty of nothing more than bad timing and an attempt to cover it up, but I hope that we can see that this case is about so much more, and that we would start asking ourselves the tough questions. What time is the right time to kill your baby?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Using Shotguns to Kill Flies

Are you guilty of trying to kill a housefly with a shotgun? I know that I have been in the past. I hope I'm over it now. I think that we all do this at one point or another. The problem is that even though you might kill the fly, the shotgun is not the most efficient or effective way to get the job done. We don't always stop to think about that. We just see a job that needs to be done, and we step up to do it. Just maybe we should wait a minute and see if there is someone with a flyswatter on there way to take care of the problem.

I see this happen in the church. A lot. We see a job that needs to be done. We might even realize that it is not really our area of giftedness, but we step forward and take on the task anyway. After all, we reason, we can DO the job. We just might not be the best equipped for this particular one. Maybe we would be better served to take a step back, consider who in the church is best suited to the job, and encourage them to step forward. Everyone has their own talents that they need to use. If we are busy killing all the flies with our shotguns, what are they going to do with their flyswatters. And what happens when we need to use the shotguns, but are out of ammo because we wasted it on the flies.

God doesn't just call on us to serve. He calls on us to serve in particular areas. Not everyone is an excellent teacher, or hostess, or comforter, or dishwasher. We weren't all given the same gifts and abilities. That doesn't mean that goal oriented people like myself shouldn't be working to be more loving and patient with others. It does mean that we excel in administration and management. That is where our main service should be. As individuals and as a church body we need to make sure that we are using flyswatters to kill the flies and using our shotguns more appropriately.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Be The People

Are you concerned about the path that America seems to be taking? Does it seem to you that the cultural elite are leading us in a direction that is against what most Americans desire? Do you feel like you are just a lone voice and can't do anything to change what is happening? Carol Swain's new book Be The People is the book for you. Dr. Swain examines many of the most important and most controversial social issues facing Americans today from a sensible perspective that most Americans will applaud.

Even if you don't agree with her politics, it is hard to argue with her common sense conclusions on some of our toughest questions. Her life has prepared her to speak to all Americans on racism, poverty, abortion and many other topics. Besides living these issues, she has done much study into the problems, laws, and possible actions presented in her book. I applaud her for her hard work and dedication and for taking advantage of all that America had to offer and for not taking the easy way out, blaming others for the trials she has faced.

This is an important book for those concerned about the future of this great country. Ms. Swain has done an excellent job of researching and presenting the facts. At the end of each chapter she provides action points that will give you a place to start in reclaiming our country and returning it to the foundational roots that made us great to begin with. She also provides discussion questions on each chapter at her website which will make this a good book for book study groups and high school current issues discussions. Read this book and consider what your role should be in reclaiming America.

I received a free copy of this book from booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream

A young mom recently said to me, " Sometimes it would be nice to know that I am not the only mom who yells at her kids once in a while." My heart went out to her. I can remember sitting in a small ladies Bible study about 25 years ago and hearing another young mom saying the same thing. Only that time I was the one saying it.

In this day and age of facebook, texting, cell phones, and all other manner of staying in touch, you would think that this wouldn't still be a problem. It seems that we are more than willing to share what we are making for dinner, our brand of toothpaste, which celebrity we think is hot, but not the truth about our lives. We are more connected than ever, but it seems shallower than ever too. When I update my status on Facebook, no one can see what my life is really like. Maybe all of this social media allows us even more opportunity to hide behind the mask of what we wish our life was like instead of revealing the reality and helping one another through.

So this is for you young moms out there (and maybe some older ones).
I yell at my kids. Not as much as I did when they were younger, I was sleep deprived, and I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility that God had given me, but I yell. I wish I didn't. I hate having to apologize to them for it.
There are days that I am totally frustrated with my husband. I am tired of picking the socks up or turning the pants right side out before washing. In 29 years I have learned to appreciate much about him. More now than before, but there are still days where he frustrates me.
Our sheets don't get washed as often as they should. Dusting is a chore I will let go until I know someone is coming to visit. I think my windows get washed once a year (but don't make me swear to it). One reason I like homeschooling is that I don't have to fight to get the kids out of bed in the morning.
As much as I say I want to have regular time focused on God each morning, too often I let the day get away from me.

None of us has it all together. We are all struggling. Many in the same areas. It seems to me we should be encouraging one another. We aren't alone. God has given us a family. Maybe we should take the time to do a little more honest communicating and a little less impressing. I've had my say, so please excuse me while I go yell at the kids for throwing the football in the living room. How many times do I have to tell them?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Muffins and a Taste of Heaven

Today has been one of the best days that I have had in quite a while. I am full of joy. Nothing in my daily life has changed. Finances haven't improved. My children still annoy one another. The house still needs to be cleaned and laundry needs to be done. What has made to day such a great day? Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." This morning started off with coffee and muffins, but more importantly, fellowship with dear sisters in Christ.

In this day of two income families, school, sports, and other activities it can be so hard to find time to sit. And talk. And share. And love one another. That is what took place this morning. I got the chance to enjoy a blessed time with such sweet ladies. We range in age over 30 years. We are all at different stages of life (high school grad to grandparent), live in different areas, attend different churches, and have different interests and hobbies, but we all love the Lord with a passion that outweighs any difference. Some of us hadn't seen one another in 10 years, some had never met, some saw each other last night. It was an incredible time together.

For those of you who have given up meeting together to share your lives, I highly recommend that you start now. The blessings of those times together will fill your day, and probably your week. I told my husband last night how much I was longing for heaven lately. Today gave me a little foretaste. It was just an appetizer, but it reminds me how really awesome the banquet will be. There is no doubt that God was glorified in my home this morning, not because I am a wonderful hostess, the food was gourmet, or the floors were spotless, but because His people gathered together to love one another and share their lives. Thanks ladies. I hope we get a chance to get together again soon, but I know that even if it is 10 years, we will once more meet as family. I am well and truly blessed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Love Wins

I've been hearing about Mr. Bell's book Love Wins quite a bit lately. I haven't read it and have no desire to do so, but many whose opinion I respect have read and commented on it. I appreciate hearing so many in the church stand up against some of the ideas presented in this book, especially the thought that sometime after we die, we can choose to leave hell and go to heaven.

One thought that I have heard from more than one source is that we should be appreciative to Mr. Bell for asking tough questions that many outside (and some within) the church are asking. I guess I can understand that line of reasoning. I am appreciative because I think he has pointed out an area that the church has seriously failed in the last few decades.

It seems that the church has been so busy preaching that God is love, mercy, grace and forgiveness that they have forgotten about God's justice and wrath. God warns from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation that he punishes the guilty, the wages of sin is death, and hell awaits those who do not repent and acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior. Everything in the Bible points to this truth, but you are hard pressed to find a preacher who preaches this from his pulpit on Sunday morning. When is the last time you heard your pastor stand up and call you a sinner? When is the last time that you heard him say that, except for the grace of God, you were destined spend eternity in hell? Can you remember the last sermon you heard on His loving justice? We have failed those who don't know and read the Bible when we don't tell them the whole story.

Yes, God is love, but His love requires punishing the guilty. Perfect love requires perfect justice. Perfect justice requires that those who sin against a pure and holy God banished to hell FOREVER. There is no changing your mind after death. There is no post mortem second chance. Either Jesus is your Lord and Savior and you are presented before the Almighty Judge clothed in His righteousness or you are damned to suffer eternally. Maybe the church should get busy letting people know that. After all, if we really love others, don't we want them to avoid such a horrific future?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Merciful Justice

We love justice, don't we?
Right now local stations are showing much of Casey Anthony's trial because people are interested in seeing that justice is done.
We love seeing the good guy win in the movies. We will even root for those who are breaking laws if we see their cause as just.
Justice is important to us because we are created by a just God. The only problem we seem to have is when that justice starts applying to us personally.

I recently heard someone state that we complain when God applies His mercy to some and not others, but we are perfectly happy when He doesn't apply His justice equally. This is such a false statement. God IS just. That means He must apply His justice equally to all. If it is only for some, it isn't justice. Justice means that the same rules go for everyone. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death." We ALL deserve death in whatever way it comes, whenever it comes. God is not unfair when He allows people to die. He is just. Perfectly just.

God's mercy allows us to wake each morning. God's mercy allows us joy, happiness, peace and prosperity. Every second of every day is a merciful gift from a merciful loving God. That doesn't mean that God is required to continue to show mercy to anyone. If it is a requirement, it is not mercy. Just because God has shown an incredible amount of patience, love, and mercy to His creation does not mean that it must always be so. We don't deserve any of it. We deserve Hell for our sin against a perfect, holy God. We have rebelled against him and should be punished.

Does that mean that people in Haiti were more sinful than the rest of us? Are the Japanese more rebellious? Is Joplin full of the most heinous sins? NO. It means that we should look at these deaths and fall on our knees in repentance. God has shown us mercy in allowing us today, let's not waste the gift. Stop confusing mercy with justice. God is both, and in His mercy, sometimes He reminds us of just what we deserve, so that we will remember just what we have been given.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Do You Remember

As families get together in the next couple of months for family reunions the question "Do you remember?" is sure to be oft repeated. We gather with loved ones from far and near across the generations and revel in our shared memories. Think about your most treasured memories from the past five years or from when you were five. How many of those memories revolve around how clean the house was? How many times did you think about the dishes matching? Did it matter in your memories if you were dressed in the latest fashion?

My guess is that most of our most precious memories center around people. We remember the things that people said to us, what they did with us, how they showed that they cared for us. We remember the things that really matter the most. That should be a wake up call for each of us today and every day. Let's invest our time and energy into the things that will make a difference. Invite your neighbor over for coffee even if you haven't dusted in a week (or two in my case). Ask the young mom of four preschoolers over for lunch. I know the only thing you have in the cabinets is pb&j, but she isn't going to mind because she is starved for adult conversation and the knowledge that she is not alone. Spend the afternoon making mudpies with your kids. The dirt will come out in the wash, but the memory will be forever.

My brother and I don't get together often, but when we do our greatest laughs come from those precious shared memories. I don't want to be so focused on making things "perfect" that I miss out on those opportunities God has in place for me. My challenge to myself and to you is to let go of the ideal and live each day to the fullest. You will find a grin on your face much more often.

Monday, May 23, 2011

For The Kids

I watched the last 30 minutes of Celebrity Apprentice last night. It was interesting to me that both of these people were working for charities centered on the needs of children. Both made a big deal about how important it was to help out the kids, how much they deserved to win so that children could be helped. They sang "For The Kids", people wept, it was touching.

It amazes me how much we Americans care about the kids. We want to make sure they have food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. We want them to grow up safe and happy. All of that is great, but why is it we aren't so concerned that they get the chance to live? Why is it that we only seem to care about the welfare of our children after they are born? Actually, I don't even think this is true. I have read news stories concerning the murder of pregnant women where the killer is being charged with two counts of murder. That must mean that we have some concern for the unborn child. So, why is it we allow abortion in our country? Why is it okay with us if some preborn children are killed, but not others? What in the world is wrong with our ability to think logically and reasonably?

I would hope that someday soon America really is concerned about the children, all of the children. I would hope that we would see that caring about whether or not a child can hear doesn't do the child any good if he isn't even allowed to be born. We applaud St. Jude's and their tremendous effort to keep children alive while we willingly kill healthy children every day. What a screwed up world we live in. I think that maybe our society has a very sick soul indeed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Get Over It

Today a friend told me "Get over the 'abortion' issue - they don't really care and are just using it to control your vote." What he doesn't seem to understand is that it is not my greatest concern that the politicians care about abortion.

Yes, I would like them to see that protecting the life of unborn children is part of their calling as public servants, but it is not essential to me that they embrace that if they are voting that way. If their desire to keep their cushy political jobs is causing them to vote that way, fine by me. If it is because they don't want to go against their mama, that works too. I don't really care what causes a politician to vote to save a life. I just care that they vote that way.

Do we really think that the Democrats in Congress are so concerned with the lack of health care for the poor that they would jeopardize their jobs in order to make sure that everyone is covered by medical insurance or do we understand that a great way to stay in D.C. is to provide government hand outs to as many voters as possible? I am sure there are some true public servants in our nation's capital, but they are certain to be far outnumbered by those who are there to work the system to further themselves in this life. We all know this to be the case. I accept it, but that doesn't mean I don't support those who are voting the way I want on the issues that I feel are the most important. Isn't that they way the American government works?

It would be nice to see a Congress that was in office to serve the greatest good of the American people. Of course, that would mean a balanced budget, less government, and saving the lives of all Americans, even the unborn. Until that happens, I will continue to vote for those who vote against abortion whether they mean it or not. After all, I find it a little difficult to just "get over" the murder of hundreds of thousands of babies each year. Shouldn't you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Holy, Holy, Holy

When my kids are reading through their science or history books, they understand that the words printed in boldface type are things that are going to be on the test at the end of the chapter. These are the things that they want to be sure to pay attention to and know well in order to make the grade.

When the Bible has something that is going to be important for us to remember, it is repeated. When Jesus says, "Truly, truly I say unto you" he is saying to us "Hey, pay attention". When something is repeated three times, we should understand that this is something we do not want to miss. This is going to be very important in our lives. Did you know that the only attribute of God treated in this way is his holiness?

The four living creatures encircle the throne of God Almighty singing "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." and never stop. Not only is holy repeated three times, it is repeated continually forever. They don't sing "Love, love, love" or "Mercy, mercy, mercy". Could that be because of all God's attributes, holiness is supreme? If God's holiness is so important it is worth repeating three times, shouldn't it be important to us?

When you enter your church service are you struck by the impression that this is the house of a most holy God? Does the service direct your attention to His holiness and our unworthiness? As you are led in prayer, do you get the sense that you are in the presence of a God so incredibly holy that we should be shaking in awe? If you aren't, maybe you should spend some time dwelling on just who God is. His holiness is certainly way beyond our comprehension. I know that I don't even begin to have a handle on what it really means to serve a thrice holy God, but I do know that I had better pay attention and start treating God and His church in a way that shows I understand that He is above all.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Weeping Over the Compromise

Yesterday the PCUSA voted to allow their member churches to ordain and install leaders who are living a homosexual lifestyle. The letter sent out to the membership states that "Those who weep will consider this change one that compromises biblical authority and acquiesces to present culture." Count me among those who weep.

In 1996 the PCUSA policy stated that those "refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained." Now the policy is being rewritten to say that "governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates." If there is some way with this new policy that requires the governing bodies to be guided by Scripture, that homosexuals can be ordained as church leaders, I have to understand that the governing bodies of the PCUSA no longer accept that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of our Holy God.

If the Bible is not seen as such, why bother having a church at all. Why not just have a coffee shop, local hangout or bar? What makes the church different is the recognition that the Bible is God's Word for all people for all time. There are no mistakes. It is not outdated. It is holy, true and right. By throwing out the Scripture as the standard of measure on the acceptability of a man for ordination, the PCUSA has opened themselves to all kinds of sinners who are unashamedly and unrepentantly practicing what God teaches us against. How will they now exclude pornographers, wife beaters, drug addicts, gamblers, etc from their leadership? How will they convince their members that these are men (and women) worth following, that these leaders are worthy of honor from the congregation?

Yes, you can count me among those who weep at this decision. In fact, you can count me as one who weeps over the direction many American churches are taking today. The PCUSA did not come to this place overnight. This decision was 33 years in the making, 33 years of sliding a little more and a little more down that slippery slope of appealing to the culture, of making the "unchurched" comfortable.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Be Prepared

Last month my son-in-law was on a field training exercise for the Army. I like that. The army doesn't just send these guys off to do battle in another country. They train them. They give them practice before the real fight. They teach them what kinds of things to expect and how to handle them before they ever happen. God is like that with us.

God calls us to spend time with Him, getting to know Him, meditating on His word, wallowing in His mercy before we get called on to enter the fight. He prepares us for the coming battles in a multitude of ways, but too often we are lazy and selfish and don't take advantage of His provision. Then we are surprised when the enemy knocks us off our feet.

When times get tough do you stop to thank God and ask Him to use this opportunity to stretch you, teach you and use you as an example of His faithfulness or do you ask "why me"? Do you remember how He has prepared you through His Word and His people for such a time as this or do you complain about how difficult your trial is? Do you seek to glorify Him or to garner sympathy for yourself?

God is good to give us times of peace and calm in order to give us time to prepare for the fight to come. I want to make sure that I am ready to stand firm when the day comes. In order to do that I need to make sure that I am spending time each day getting to know my Lord through His beautiful Word. All that we need is there, ready for us to study and meditate on so that when the trials come and the flood waters rise, we know that our anchor will hold firm.

Don't wait until the battle begins to gather your weapons. By then it is too late. You will have allowed the enemy a foothold and he will be that much harder to vanquish. Start now, this very day, getting yourself ready for whatever is to come in your future. No matter what happens: job loss, spouse dies, children turn from your teaching, or a friend deserts you, you will be more than a conqueror because you know that God will not leave you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just In Case

In the past week I have talked with two pro-abortion advocates and both have used the same argument in favor of abortion. It is one that I just can't seem to understand at all. It goes like this: Abortion should be legal because these children are "unwanted" and they could end up being abused or even killed. In other words, kill them just in case something bad might happen to them in the future.

Let's seriously consider this argument. My guess is that if we polled every American who has been the victim of a violent crime and asked them if they would have preferred to be killed before the crime had happened, we would get an overwhelming "are you crazy?" response. I think that even though the crime was awful and they would prefer to have avoided that altogether, most people would still choose to live. No battered woman has ever said to me, "Boy, I sure wish someone had killed me before my husband (or boyfriend) had started beating on me." Are they happy with what is going on? No. Do they wish things were different? Certainly, but they still realize that life is better than death.

Now, take their argument to the next step. There is no proof that these " unwanted" babies are going to be abused. Do we live in a country where we feel it is right to kill someone because there is the possibility or even the probability that they will be the victim of a violent crime. I should hope not. We would have to kill everyone just in case they might suffer in such a way. How does that make any sense at all?

I am not saying that there are not parents out there who horribly abuse their children. There are. There are parents who very much wanted their children who beat them and hurt them. But we never say, "Kill the victims." Our answer is to prosecute those who would harm the innocent. Why, then, do we seem to feel it is okay to kill the possible victim as long as they have not traveled the birth canal? Even those who are pro-death must see how idiotic this argument is.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And Some To Be Mothers

My 3 year old grandson and his mom just left after a three week visit. It was such a blessing to have them here. I had a great time being the grandma and doing the fun things with him. But, his visit reminded me just how hard it can be to be the mom of young children.

I know that there are times that you feel the only word your child knows is "no", you will never have a converstion that isn't about Thomas the Tank Engine, have five minutes to yourself (even in the bathroom), or have a floor that isn't covered with Legos. I know there are days when you just want to sit and cry or to quit. I know that underneath it all you feel totally inadequate and ill-equipped for the job. I know that society has sent the message that your efforts are not worthwhile, and you should get a "real" job.Most importantly, I know that you are the right woman for this. No one, and I do mean absolutely no one, else ever created could be a better mother for your children.

Don't buy into the lies that Satan is continually feeding you in your exhaustion and exasperation. The Truth is that God chose you to be the mother of your children because you were the only one that could do just what needed to be done to make them into the people He wants them to be. He chose those children to be yours because they were the ones He will use to help sanctify you. He didn't make a mistake. You are not a failure. Wiping another runny nose, picking up soggy Cheerios again, and plowing through the same drudgery day after day are not futile efforts. You are making an invaluable investment in the future.

Your children will grow up knowing that they are loved. They will know that they are worth something because you have shown them that you value them greatly. They will know compassion, mercy, and forgiveness because they have seen them modeled daily. These children will grow up to be blessings to all who know them because of what you have done. Press on in your good works. Bring your cares before the Lord and know that He is watching and is pleased with you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Justice and Forgiveness

God doesn't forgive sins. He punishes sins so that sinners may be forgiven.

I heard a pastor not too long ago state that God's justice is not the same for everyone. He was speaking to the fact that some people seem to regard God as unfair when he metes out mercy to some and not to others. I have to agree that God's mercy is not given out in equal amounts, but I disagree that His justice is not the same for all. If God is just, then His laws must apply to everyone in the same way, and everyone must face the same punishment for breaking the law. God is just. God's laws apply equally to everyone. The wages of sin (breaking the law of God) is death for each and every lawbreaker ever created. There are no exceptions.

Fortunately, for those who are called by His name, God has provided a substitute who is willing to take our punishment upon Himself. Not only did Christ live a perfect life and obey all of God's laws, He willingly exchanged that perfection with my dirty, sin-filled life and went to the cross to satisfy my just God. God's justice didn't change. Death was still required for my law breaking ways. Christ lovingly met that need, so that I will spend eternity glorifying Him.

If God wasn't just, He wouldn't be God, and He wouldn't be worthy of our worship and praise. I am so glad that I can count on Him to be perfectly just. I am so thankful that He provided a spotless Redeemer to pay what I owe Him.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Singing Rocks

"I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Jesus is replying to the Pharisees when they are upset with the followers praising Christ on his entry into Jerusalem.

It reminds me how very important the job of singing Christs' praises is. It is so vital that God will make the stones cry out if we, as Christians, fail to do our job. While that would be something amazing to see, I don't want to be in the position of being disobedient to God in order to see singing rocks.

It also reminds me that I am no one special. I am not particularly eloquent, intelligent, or gifted. I am not the focus here. It is my job to focus others on Christ. I am no more important than a stone. I am blessed to be used by God, but I should always keep in mind that it is ALL about Him and not about me. After all, if a rock can do my work, it certainly doesn't take any great skill.

Let's be sure that we are not keeping silent. Don't let the rocks take your job away (there is already enough problem with outsourcing these days). Sing His praise loud and long. Don't worry if anyone is listening or not, if they agree or not, if they choose Christ or not. Leave that up to God. Let's be sure that we are being obedient to our call.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Liar, Lunatic or Lord?

For the past two years I have asked my facebook friends who are not believers to please share with me how it is they handle the resurrection of Christ. I am sincerely interested. I think that I would find that a huge stumbling block if I were not a Christian, so I wonder how it is they overcome it. I think I have my answer. In two years not one of these people has responded. My conclusion is that they have no response to the resurrection of Christ. There is not logical way to rebut the evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and if he did in fact rise from the dead, then they have no logical reason to not believe every other claim made in the Bible. My guess is that they just don't think about the resurrection. If you don't acknowledge it, it never happened seems to be the thought process. Maybe they take their cues from Bill Clinton and are busily arguing over the meaning of "is". I don't know why not one could bother to answer a serious but simple inquiry. My hope is that they are now thinking about this miracle and doing a bit of research. I know where the search will lead, so I look forward to hearing their questions and arguments in the future. God has the answers ready for them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Left, Right, Left, Right

They say that religion and politics don't mix. It seems to me that they are completely intertwined. One's religion shapes one's worldview. It affects every area of your life including your views in the political arena. There really seems to be no escaping that fact. I don't know that I agree with Kevin McCullough completely in his assessment of the Right and Left, but he is certainly on to something. "The primary difference between the Left and the Right is their view of God. To the Right, God is someone who is outside of humanity, uncontrollable by human effort, beyond them, sovereign over them. Whether we are talking about observant Jews, Orthodox, Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, charismatics, or evangelical Christians,to people on the right, God is an authority in their lives, who guides their actions, calls them to repentance, and seeks to mold them into better people, with greater integrity, who ultimately impact their world. To the Left, God is someone who might not exist. Or if he does, he is relatively uninvolved or uninterested and certainly unauthoritative in today's world. He might be controlled by human intent. He may even be able to be squelched altogether. But generally speaking, his is unwanted, unneeded, or needed on the terms of what the person desires, no what true omnipotence would logically require." K. McCullough, No He Can't Think about the people you know on the Right and the Left. Think about their religious views. Can you see that those views shape how they vote, the issues they deem important, and their idea of the American dream? I sure can.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No He Can't

I received the book No He Can't How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change for free as a part of the booksneeze blogger review program. All views written here are my own. I will start out by saying that I have never been a big fan of President Obama. While he campaigned on "Hope and Change" I wondered where he planned to get the funds for all of his change. I had no problem with Americans wanting something different than what they currently had in the political realm, but it was my opinion that we weren't questioning the change quite enough. Kevin McCullough points out with clarity the reasons behind many of my own (and others) misgivings concerning our current President and his goals for America. While some will find the book biased, I can find no lies in the things Mr. McCullough says. He has a great way of cutting through the muck and double speak of politics to make things clear to the average person. For this alone, I am grateful. I wish there were more honest writers out there seeking to do the same. Though McCullough is no fan of President Obama, he does not hesitate to point out where positive strides have been made during this administration. I would hope that many would bother to read this book before voting in our next presidential election. If more had done their homework the last time, the change we received might have been more like that which we had hoped for. It is our responsibility as voters to vet those wishing to represent us in Washington. Mr. McCullough's clear insights might just help us to do a better job of it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

To Conform or Transform, That is the Question

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will." A friend mentioned this verse a few days ago, and I have been thinking about it a lot since then. I checked a couple of things in my dictionary, and this is what I understand the verse to mean. Do not be the same as or very similar to the pattern of this world, but be altered in character, condition or nature by the making new spiritually or regenerating of your mind. This seems to be a pretty clear cut admonition to the people of God and by extension to His church as a whole. So what does it mean for the church? I think it means that we don't dispose of the pulpit in church just because some people don't realize that it is useful to give a picture of setting apart the Word of God and elevating it above everything else. It doesn't mean that the only music played or sung in a worship service has to be less than five years old. It doesn't mean that a Starbucks needs to be in the narthex. It doesn't mean that we stop using words like justification and sanctification because some people will have to go look those up after the service. It doesn't mean we stop talking about sin, its consequences, and the wonderful gift of salvation through Christ's work. Mostly, it does not mean we should put the comfort of people before the worship of our Holy Lord. The church is called to NOT follow the same pattern as the world. It is to be different. Really different. Stand out from the crowd different. That doesn't mean that Christians shouldn't care about those who are lost. They should seek to build those relationships. Volunteer in the schools, invite your neighbors to dinner, start a lunchtime discussion group at work. Get to know those around you who don't yet belong to the Lord. Share with them who He is and what He has done. Then, invite them to worship our glorious, wonderful Lord and Saviour with you at your church. Let them see just a glimpse of heaven where you worship. If God is working in their hearts, they will be back. You know they will because that is His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hoshimoto's in the House

When Tori was about 18 months, we took her to the doctor because we were a little concerned about her speech. She wasn't speaking much and wasn't clear when she did speak. We were pretty much patted on the head and sent home with the admonition that "all kids develop at different rates". Tori is number 4 for us, so we knew that and persisted in bringing up the speech problems. When we finally got a doctor to listen, we found that for inusrance purposes there were many treatments to try for her before sending her to an ENT. It took us until she was 3 to get her to an ENT and have a auditory specialist give her a hearing test. By then, she could hear only 10% from one ear and 40% in the other. They removed adnoids, inserted tubes, and things improved unbelievably. I confess that I was not a happy camper until that point. It frustrated me that no one would listen to her mom about what was wrong. I chomped at the bit at the restrictions insurance companies placed on getting the right doctors and treatments. I confess that I forgot that our God has perfect timing and works all things out for the good of them that love him. After two sets of tubes, Tori was visiting her ENT for a final check up before being dismissed as his patient. He discovered that her thyroid was a little large and ordered some blood work and a referral to a pediatric endocrinologist. It turns out that at age 8 Tori was diagnosed with Hoshimoto's disease. This is an auto immune disorder usually diagnosed in women in their late 20s or 30s where the body attacks the thyroid as an alien body. Left untreated, it would be fatal, but treatment is simple, a daily dose of thyroid medication. The difficulty comes about in finding the correct dosage of medication. This involves bloodwork every 6-8 weeks in order to test hormone levels. This last year we finally had the correct dosage and were happily living our lives. Unfortunately for my sweet 12 yr old, puberty plays havoc with hormone levels and thyroid function. This means that her last bloodwork (done 2/year when all is well) showed seriously increased numbers. That puts us back at square one in terms of determining dosage. Our idea of perfect would be that this first try at an increased dosage is just what she needs. The reality is that we are probably in for another couple of years of trying new dosages every couple of months. This in not a tragedy, but it is no fun. In all of this, God shows himself to be good and caring. His timing allowed for her to begin treatment very early in the disease. It has made her doctor more aware of Hoshimoto's as a possibility in young girls so that he has diagnosed a couple more girls and has done much study. There is readily available medication to treat her so that life is normal. One pill each morning is such an easy thing to do. Driving to Orlando to visit the doctor gives us some much needed time for girl talk in a house full of testosterone. We appreciate your prayers that the right dosage of medication will be found quickly.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Eat Your Peas Faithfully

This book is billed as a 3-minute-forever book. I am guessing that the thought there is that it will only take 3 minutes to read, but the sentiments will last forever. That just may be the case. The book is a short, syrupy read that encourages us as women that God loves us, made us special, has a purpose for us, and we can trust Him. All of these are wonderful truths that we need to dwell on, meditate on, and chisel on our hearts. Unfortunately, these truths are so quickly read that I fear they will not make the lasting impression that they should. I think that this would be a great gift book for a teen with whom you would like to share deeper, more intimate talks. It is an encouraging way to say that someone cares and is around to share your burdens. I would hope that those who are more mature would use this as a jumping off point though. Do not let this be the extent of your encouragement. The book is artistically well done. The textured pages are simply illustrated in soft colors. The type is feminine, yet easy to read. I did find it odd that some scripture passages had the translation listed, while others did not. It made me wonder. I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing as part of booksneeze a blogger book review program. I was not required to give a positive review.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blessings in the Burglary

We are at the point in our lives where Stan doesn't usually have to work on Saturdays. In fact, it has been so long since he has worked a Saturday that I make plans as if he will be home. So, when he told me that he had to work in the morning this week, I confess that I pouted a little. Not a lot, my plans could easily be adjusted, but enough to remind me that I am a selfish sinner. The thing about God is that He uses everything for our good, even when we don't want it, complain about it, or don't even realize it.

Our dog woke us up about 3:00 this morning barking like crazy. The police were at the front door wanting to know if the GPS they had belonged to us. It seems they met up with a couple of teens walking around the neighborhood with a back pack containing our GPS among other things. We claimed our other items, filled out a report and pressed charges for burglary. It seems these boys had been breaking into cars in the neighborhood. Nothing they took from Stan's work van was very valuable and that is where his Saturday morning job becomes a big praise. Stan carries several hundred dollars worth of tools in his van. None of them were missing. Why? The whole cargo area of his van was packed with wooden shutters for him to install in the morning. There was no way for these boys to get to the valuable things.

God is so good to us. Not only did He protect the expensive equipment that Stan needs to do his work, He returned our little items to us before we even realized that they were missing. Sometimes the blessings He heaps on us just make me sit in awe of His amazing power and grace. I wish I could say that I have learned my lesson and won't complain about my minor inconveniences in the future, but I know me better than that. I also know that He will continue to use everything for my good, whether I realize it at the time or not.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Right Stuff

"Do the right thing" So easy to say, much harder to do. We wonder, "What is the right thing?" How do we know the right thing to do? We look to God's Word. His Word is Truth, so He certainly won't steer us wrong. Use His guidelines to find the right thing in your life. They are there and with prayer and meditation on the Scripture, you will find them.

Sometimes it is hard to find the specific "right thing". We may not see a clear answer to our question, but by ruling out everything that is the "wrong thing" we have shortened our list by quite a bit. It can be hard at times to rule out the wrong things. Society tells us that some things are legal and okay, but we know they are the wrong choices. Our sinful selves tell us that we should just choose what makes us happy,(After all, God wants us to be happy) but because we know the truth, we know that isn't the standard we use for choices. It can be hard to find the right thing, but if we are honest, we can pretty easily rule out the wrong things.

Choosing the right thing is not easy. It is not popular. It is not the world's way. It will make you stand out. It will make you seem odd. It will bring ridicule and attacks. It almost doesn't seem worth the effort, but it is. Choosing the right thing will make you wiser. It will make you more dependent on God. It will make you pray more, weep more, love more, grow more. It will keep you on the path that God has intended for your life. It will bring you blessings that you never even imagined. Choose the right thing and do it. A great rule for life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yes, We Have No Bananas

I stopped by Walmart last week to pick up a few groceries. While I was there I noticed that they had NO bananas. I wasn't looking for bananas. In fact, I had some at home, but I was still a bit put out that they had NO bananas. How could this have happened? I expect there to be piles of bananas in the middle of the produce section when I go to Walmart. How is that for arogant, self centeredness? There should be bananas at the store whether I want to buy them or not.

When I got home and shared this startling news with my dear husband, he was kind enough to point out to me just how incredibly spoiled rotten I am. I make a grocery list and shop every couple of weeks after writing up a menu, checking sales and coupons. I never doubt that the foods I wish to purchase will be available. Oh sure, a store may be out of a special sale item, but I can get a rain check and pick it up later in the week. No big deal. So much of the world lives with a very different reality. Grocery lists aren't needed because you buy whatever the store has and are glad to get it. Many in our country and around the world don't have money to buy what little is available. The depend on being able to scrounge up something edible or on handouts from strangers.

Boy, am I humbled. I am seeing my job as family chef in a whole new light. I still may not enjoy grocery shopping, but I am darned appreciative of the opportunity to do it: in a clean store, with a variety of foods, with money to pay. God's blessings abound in my life. I need to stop taking them for granted and remember to thank Him.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Set Apart for Holiness

I love how God reveals new things to you every time you read the Bible. I have read through Exodus several times over the years. Sometimes I am reading a redemption story, sometimes I am struck by how God provides all of our needs, sometimes I see myself (and I cringe)as I watch Israel repeatedly doubt God, and sometimes I am amazed that God chooses such people to be His children. This time when I read through Exodus, I got something different.

I was struck by how God kept his people set apart from the culture around them. He brought them to a wilderness where there were no others in order to give them their instructions on how to live, how to build His temple and how to worship Him. He gave them instructions to not mingle with the tribes in their new home. Israel was not to let them live in the land because they would cause God's people to sin against him because the worship of their gods would be a snare. God is deadly serious about His people being holy and set apart for Him. Israel was different than any other tribe of the time. The people of Israel stood out from everyone else. Others in the area learned to fear the God of Israel.

I wonder why it is the church of today has decided that things should be different now. Why does the church in America seek to be like the culture around them? Why are we so afraid to stand out as unusual? Why don't we want our churches and our lives set apart as holy unto the Lord? Don't we want others to see who God really is? Don't we want them to know Him and tremble if they do not bow the knee? It seems that the church today is just like those long ago Israelites. We don't want to stand out from the crowd. We want to be just like those around us. Maybe we should continue reading the story. Conforming to the surrounding culture never did Israel much good. I doubt it will be any different today.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

An Ordinary Woman

I've been thinking about Pam Tebow today. I just love her. Not because she is someone extraordinary, amazing, or especially outstanding in any way, but because she is an ordinary wife and mom. She has become a well known name because many years ago she chose to give birth to her children and raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

I know a lot of women that fit that description. Not all of them are as famous. Most of them aren't. They go about their daily lives sinning, repenting, and calling upon the grace of God to make them into the woman that He desires them to be. They will never get national recognition for their tireless work to make a peaceful home and raise godly children. That is okay with them. None of them (and my guess is that includes Pam Tebow) are interested in our approval. They are looking to the One who set the universe in order. They are listening to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Pam Tebow made a decision all those years ago that has brought her into the limelight today. I pray that she (and her family) will continue to make decisions that will bring glory to God. I pray the same thing for myself, my family and my friends. Life today may be repetitive, tedious and without recognition, but you never know where God will call you to serve next. You never know what He has prepared for you in your future. Press on where you are. Be faithful in the little things and seek His glory always.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Sacred Meal

I knew when I picked up this book that I would have some issues with some of the things this author wrote. What I didn't realize was how many issues I would have or how serious they would be. The only recommendation that I can honestly give about this book is: Do not waste your money or your time with it.

Nora Gallagher states in her introduction that when the editors of this series on ancient practices contacted her, she was ready with her answer: no. Obviously, she changed her mind. Just as obviously, she shouldn't have. I do not know why anyone would choose her to write a book about Communion. Her claim that she is uniquely qualified because she has served both the bread and the wine and has also received communion is ludicrous. I know of many in that position who would have done a much better job on this task.

My first problem with this book is the lack of clear direction. It is full of rambling stories and personal experiences from the author. Unfortunately, many have nothing to do with the topic at hand. She tells of the soup kitchen her church started, miracle mud in New Mexico and her brother's death.

Next, there is the lack of information about Communion. Her only point of reference seems to be the Episcopal Eucharist. There is no effort to discuss communion in different denominations. Her thought that communion itself actually stems from the feeding of the 5,000 rather than the Last Supper is totally unfounded.

Then, comes the problem with her theology. This is a woman who seems to have very little interest in the sacred (that which is devoted or dedicated to a diety) to begin with. She has no use for a Christ who is God incarnate. Her statement that the things Jesus did could not have been done without the disciples and the thought that he sought out the vulnerable so that he would stay vulnerable make that very clear. Her views on heaven are just that, her views. When Christ talks of the "kingdom of God" he is not talking of heaven, but rather an alternative society to the Roman empire. Where in the Bible does she get that idea?

My biggest concern is addressed in the title of the book. The Sacred Meal never once addresses the sacredness of this meal. The Lord's Supper is repeatedly refered to as a practice and never as a sacrement. Since a practice is a habitual performance and a sacrament is a visible sign of an inward grace, she seems to have totally missed the point of Communion. In her mind, there should be no barriers to anyone partaking of this very special meal shared by those who are members of God's family, in fact, even geese should be served. Where is the sacredness in that?

I received this book for free from booksneeze in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Blessing of Peace

I just spent a couple of days at the Disney resort with my mom, aunt and youngest son. We didn't go into any of the parks, didn't buy any souvenirs, and didn't even see Mickey (gasp!), but it was a great time. After dinner on Sunday my aunt and I were standing on the boardwalk enjoying the cool breeze and gazing across the lake as the lights came on. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I had almost forgotten that feeling. It is funny to me that in the midst of the hustle and bustle that is Disney World, I was reminded that I was created for peace, a peace that reaches the very depths of my soul and nourishes me.

With 4 kids at home who are all involved in sports, homeschooling, and church, I all too often just move down my daily to-do list, running as fast as I can so that I fall only a little behind each day. I forget my purpose. I forget my God. I forget His peace. Disney World is not where most people are reminded of that. It sure isn't where I expected to hear that message, but then again, God does move in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. Sometimes getting a busy mom to slow down and remember Him is quite a wonder. Thank you God for reminding me. I hope it is a lesson that I take to heart.