Pages

Friday, October 3, 2014

Are your rights more important than mine?

So often in the news lately I'm reading about some anti-God group or another being angry about some monument or sign that offends them and they're insisting it be taken down. I'm reading about some business owner who does- or refuses to do- something that offends someone so the offended party sues the business owner. The business owner takes down their sign or closes their business...or sometimes they fight back. I'm reading stories of U.S. Military members being denied the right to have religious bumper stickers on their personal cars, or being told they cannot pray while in uniform. National Military cemeteries taking crosses off the graves because it offends someone. Taking Bibles out of hotels because it offends someone. Taking down an American Flag...In AMERICA... because it offends someone. Taking down a sign advertising bacon...BECAUSE IT OFFENDS SOMEONE!!!
 
And then I'm reading stories of school children being told they cannot pray in school or at school events...and they pray anyway!

We need to take a lesson from these school children because they are brave enough to stand firm in their faith. They are standing up to the bullies and practicing their God given and constitutionally affirmed right to practice their religion.

So here is a question that people need to be asking in the situations listed above:

*Why do the rights of one group seem to be stripping away the rights of another?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is on a mission to see every single religious symbol, word, sign, celebration, etc, removed from public view. They threaten to sue little towns who have a cross or bible verse painted on a water tower. They threaten to sue schools who pray at graduation ceremonies or football games. They threaten to sue the federal government for owning property that has a religious monument of any sort upon it's grounds...simply because they are offended by such things. They don't believe in God so they don't want to see any evidence that others do believe.

So here's the thing, if they don't want to see those things, they can simply look the other way. If they win their fight and get all religious symbols removed from public view, those of us who want to see those things cannot see them. So in order to appease a very small minority, the judges are stripping away the rights of the majority.

In what way is that right? I want to see a town nativity scene at Christmas time. I want to listen to heartfelt prayers at my children's high school graduations and sporting events. I want to see a monument of the 10 Commandments outside my courthouse. I want to see a cross at the Veteran's Cemetery. But my rights are being taken away from me just because someone else is offended by those things and refuse to look away.

When did we become such a weak minded nation that we're offended by every little thing? I'm offended by those who are offended by my God! Have your  beliefs, fine, you're welcome to them, but stop trying to take mine away or force me to hide them! I'm not asking you to deny your beliefs but you are asking me to deny mine. Why is that suddenly okay?

It's time for the church- not a specific building in your town or mine- but the church as a whole- to unite and stand up to this tyranny that's trying to put God in a closet, hidden away where they hope He'll be forgotten over time. It's time for us to push back! It's time to show the mainstream public that we're not going to go quietly into the night.

VOTE! Participate in town meetings, school board meetings, educate yourself about your rights and the rights of your children, (Yes, your kids can take their Bibles to school, it's their right to do so.) Make your voices heard above the din of those whining about being offended by every little thing. Jesus got angry in the temple and turned over tables....it's not a sin to get angry as long as it's righteous...and this is a great reason to dig up some righteous indignation! Fight back!



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What does your freedom mean to you?

I've been quiet for a few weeks with many things on my mind as I ponder what's going on in the world around me. Things good and things bad, fill the news headlines, although these days it seems there's far more bad than good to be found. Our world seems to be falling apart at the seams and there's little anyone can do to make it better. My heart is so heavily burdened for the suffering Christians in Iraq and Syria right now. I know there are others all over the world, but those groups just seem to be front and center right now. They are being slaughtered and tortured...their only crime being that they follow Jesus and/or refuse to follow Allah.

Here in America we have little to no idea what it's truly like to have to fight for the right to worship freely...or the right to not worship at all. We haven't had to fight for it since our founding fathers did 238 years ago, so we personally take for granted what we have here. We've always had it because it's been handed down to us generation after generation. After awhile it ceases to be important to us. After awhile it doesn't mean anything anymore.

I, myself, have been guilty of taking for granted the freedoms I've been given. Freedoms that someone far up in the branches of my family tree fought and died for. Freedoms that our men and women in uniform today are fighting to maintain. Because I've always had them I rarely notice the fact that they're there at all. It's like a child who's raised in a wealthy family. Money is always there and it loses it's meaning, it's value until it's gone and that child doesn't know how to cope because they never stopped to think about where that money came from. They have no respect for it until it's gone and they have to go earn it for themselves. Then all of a sudden its clear to them, the value.

Our freedoms should never be taken for granted. They weren't free, they've never been free. They came with a heavy price- human lives were lost to purchase it. Soldiers were willing to fight and die for YOU, so that you could have something they didn't have but felt was worth the fight to obtain. Jesus did the same. He died a death that was meant for you and me, so that we wouldn't have to because even our death wasn't enough to pay the price for our salvation. He died willingly so that we could have freedom from the price of sin, freedom from certain eternal death apart from God. He didn't have to do it. But He did.

Remember that the next time you walk into a church and worship freely, without fear of being killed for doing so. Remember that the next time you pass by a church and don't go in because you don't believe.... Because you have the freedom of Religion- to practice or not. Remember that the next time you spout off on Facebook about something in the government or in the news that makes you angry...because you have the freedom of speech. Remember and Respect the freedoms you have because not everyone in the world is so blessed.

And also remember that the others in this country share those freedoms. Just because someone thinks or believes differently than you does not make it okay for you to be ugly or hateful. You want to enjoy your freedoms...so do they and they're perfectly within their rights to do so as openly as you. If we would all start treating each other with dignity and compassion, no matter what they believe, this world would be a much better place. After all, Jesus didn't command us to only love people who think the same way we do...He commanded us to love everyone!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Walking through the Valley

As Christians we have that blessed hope of an eternity spent with God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit. We live each day in this broken world, suffering the things this broken world dishes out, enduring hurts of every kind but still we cling to the hope that is promised in the Word of God...the hope of salvation and the knowledge that we do not endure alone.

We walk the path of this life. Sometimes the going is easy and smooth. Sometimes the pathway is broken and difficult. Sometimes we live with abundance and can easily pay the bills. Other times we struggle and have to sell off our possessions to put food on the table. We have times of health...and times of sickness. Times of great joy and times of unimaginable sorrow.

But through it all, even when we have no idea where the path is leading us, we can have the confidence of knowing the One who is paving the path. The One who is leading us to a specific destination. It's difficult when the path is rocky and covered with obstacles that we must traverse, but if it was always easy we wouldn't get to see how great our God is when He brings us through the hard times stronger on the other side. Resistance- life pushing against us- makes us stronger.

Ginny Owens is one of my favorite Christian singers. She sings a song that illustrates this so perfectly. In one video I found of her singing this song, she also tells the story of how this song came to be written and it's very good.


Please take the 6+ minutes time to watch this, listen to the lyrics. It's beautiful and might give you the courage to take one more step on the road that seems particularly difficult.


Monday, May 19, 2014

It's not supposed to be easy

Jesus never promised his disciples that following Him would be easy. He never promised that loving God and putting away the things of this world would be a walk in the park. In fact, He promises quite the opposite. He promises persecution. He promises hardship. And He goes as far as to say that if you are persecuted for His name's sake, you are blessed.

I was talking with my older sister the other day and we were having a difficult discussion about the death of a baby. The baby was only 2 months old when God took her unexpectedly and my sister was confused and angry and heartbroken over this news. She asked why...I said I didn't know because truthfully I don't know why it seems like the children of this world have to suffer more than any other. Children who are abused, children with cancer, children who die unexpectedly of seemingly nothing, as this baby did. And the children are the least deserving of these afflictions, they're innocent, they don't deserve to suffer that way.

When I spoke to my sister about her own beliefs she assured me that she believes in God, that she has a relationship with Jesus...but that it's volatile and hard.

Those 2 words struck me.

Volatile and hard.

And because her relationship with God is volatile and hard, she probably has the most real relationship with Him of anyone I know. It's not supposed to be sunshine and rainbows. It's not supposed to be easy and carefree. What happens to us when we spend our time doing only the easy things? We get lazy. We get complacent. We take the easy things for granted.

When we have something worth having that we have to work at, really work at, grind and toil for, we respect that thing. We appreciate that thing more than if it had simply been handed to us in all it's fullness. A relationship with God should be something we work at, something we sweat and bleed for. It shouldn't be something we get dressed up for on Sundays and sing a couple of hymns for, then go about our day as if we've done nothing at all.

It should be volatile and hard!

And yes, Jesus also said, Come, all who are burdened and heavy laden, I will give you rest. Because there are those times when our faith is sweet and precious and sunshine and rainbows. Those times when things are good and it's easy to believe. But those times are few and far between because life in this sin sick world is hard and it will continue to be hard until we die.

Once again my big sister is teaching me something about myself and my God and she probably didn't even realize it. She is amazing and one of the strongest women I've ever had the privilege of knowing.

So if your relationship with God is easy, you have no conflict about it, no persecution, no tears...then you're doing something wrong and you're missing out on something richer, deeper, and more meaningful than what you have. Dig deeper!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Love in the face of hate

Several news outlets this week have reported on the fact that  Fred Phelps Sr.- founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas- is ill and near death. His family has asked for respect and privacy at this time and that no one picket his funeral.

This is the man who led pickets at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. He and his church have, in the name of serving God, spewed toxic bitterness that created agony for those trying to get through an already difficult day as they mourned for their soldiers.

They threatened to picket the funerals of the children who died at Sandy Hook. Turning something so intensely painful for the parents of these precious children into an agenda full of hate.

And yet this man's family asks for privacy and that no one picket his funeral. They request the one thing they refused those who were grieving their own losses.

The human in me wants to show up at Mr. Phelps' funeral and rage and give his family a taste of what they've given to so many. To let them drink the bitter cup they've poured out on so many hurting families who simply wanted to mourn and say goodbye to someone who fought and died for our nation, someone they loved and will never see again.

But the Jesus in me says something different.

The Jesus in me says that I should be praying for these people during what will surely be a difficult time for them. They're about to lose a father, grandfather, brother, and friend.

The Jesus in me says that I should mourn for a man who clearly never had Jesus in his own heart and will die apart from God. He will have to stand before His Maker one day soon and justify his actions, justify the hate he's spread in the name of God, justify the hurt he's caused when he had the power to spread love instead.

The Jesus in me says that I should behave the way a true Christian would in order to show the Fred Phelps' of the world what love truly looks like. Love, real love, does not teach hate. It does not intentionally cause pain to anyone. It does not use the name of God as a weapon to injure the grief stricken, the down trodden, the weak, and the hurting. Love upholds the weak, gives strength to the weary, encourages the hopeless, helps the helpless, befriends the lonely, leads the lost.

Jesus would not picket the funeral of Fred Phelps. He would attend and grieve and comfort those who mourn.

I cannot attend, but I will grieve with those who mourn and pray that the Phelps family and church will learn something from those who do likewise. I'll will be showing love in the face of hate and praying that Jesus will touch the hearts of those who have lived on a diet of hate for too long.




Sunday, February 23, 2014

A hard headed church...

I went to church with the girls this morning and I'm cautiously optimistic about this church we went to. We're searching for a new church, one that will be our home. My stipulations are thus:


  • Bible believing and teaching
  • Active in the community
  • Strong on social issues
  • Not afraid to speak the truth
  • Active Youth group

I've visited a few churches since we left the one we'd been in for 3 years. Finding a new home church is not an easy task, especially when I have specific requirements. The church we visited today is called Calvary Christian Fellowship. The congregation is quite small- about 10 in Sunday School and about 40 in worship. All of the people greeted us and engaged us in conversation, all were very friendly and these are good things but not on my list of must haves. 

The Sunday School lesson was good. It focused on making restitution for wrong doings. We read Exodus chapter 22 and discussed it. The people in attendance were engaged and talkative. This is good and shows me that they listen and are active and don't just sit waiting for the service to be over. 

Then things got good...so good! Worship service started. The musicians took their places on the stage with their instruments- piano, violin, 2 guitars, drums, and a keyboard. The music started with a quick beat and we sang and then it happened...the song that's been on my heart so much lately, the one that I posted the video link for in my previous post, Go Light Your World was played. My heart filled to overflowing and I dropped to my knees right there in the pew and sobbed. The music continued, Jesus I Need You was played and I cried harder. I was a mess but I felt God there, I FELT Him! He was right there in that sanctuary moving me to tears. I couldn't have stopped if I'd wanted to and I didn't want to! I've been in worship services like that before and Oh how I've missed it! People raising their hands in praise, singing with all their hearts. 

The message that the pastor brought was also an indicator for me. He titled it Persistence with God. He talked about being a hard headed church. A church that stands up against the pressure of the unbelieving world. Fighting for our rights to worship and believe as we do. Walking in the Spirit and behaving like a Child of God even when no one is looking. Be bold and confident in God and stop  believing the lies of satan. Satan wants to discourage us, make us believe we're not worth God's time. He wants to constantly remind us that we're sinners, that we've messed up, and convince us that God couldn't possibly want anything to do with us. 

HE'S WRONG!! 

Why else would God send his precious only Son to die on the cross for us if He didn't want us? He could have ended it all like He did in Sodom and Gomorrah but He didn't. He made a way. He bridged the un-crossable gap so we could be reunited with Him. He wants us! 

Be bold! Ask, Seek, Knock. These are action words. Ask and it SHALL be given, Seek and you WILL find, Knock and the door WILL be opened. Matthew 7:7 does not say ask and it might be given, seek and you might find, knock and maybe the door will open. It's affirmative. Do it and it WILL happen. 

Walk in the Spirit, Be bold, Do not be afraid, Nothing is impossible with God. Be a hard headed church and DO God's work and nothing can stop you.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A City on a Hill

My Bible study this morning was about being a light in the darkness, a city on a hill. In the book of Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus commands us to be the light of the world. To let our light shine before men so that men will see our good works and glorify God in Heaven.

We are not to do good works for a pat on the back or kudos that tickle our ears and inflate our pride and egos. We are also not to hide the light. Do not place the light under a basket and keep it all to ourselves. We are to share the source of the light- Jesus Christ- with those around us.

We, as humans, tend to underestimate how much one life can impact the world. We can be a beacon of hope for the lost or we can be the one person who turns someone from Christ forever by being hateful or arrogant in our salvation. With a single word or action we can be the one to lead someone to Jesus...or turn a seeking soul away. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What kind of impact do you want to have on this world we live in but are not part of?

Help the homeless, the needy, the hungry, and the hurting. Be a good example to your children even in the privacy of your home when no one else sees. Be a good spouse. Treat each and every person you come across with dignity and respect even if you think they don't deserve it- Because after all, we don't deserve anything from God either. We're all wretched sinners in the eyes of God, yet He sent His only Son to die for us so that we might live. How then can we treat other sinners as though we're better than they are?

The Light of the world is meant to shed light in the dark places, the same dark places we once used to reside in. I'm posting a video of a song that I instantly thought of while doing my study this morning. One I've heard dozens of times and it touches my heart each time.

Chris Rice- Go Light Your World:


How are you, how am I, being a candle in the darkness? Will Jesus be able to say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant." ?