Thursday, June 15, 2017

Let the Virginia Shooting Be a Wake Up Call to Ratchet-Down the Hate and Start Seeing Each Other as Fellow Americans

"We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good." -President Donald Trump
Wednesday morning's news of 66-year-old James Hodgkinson opening fire on Republican members of Congress as they practiced on a local baseball field for an upcoming charity game, has undoubtedly shaken Americans—not only in DC, but across the country. (Photo: Democratic members of Congressional baseball team pray for Rep. Scalise who was shot Wednesday morning/Twitter, Public Domain/via Christian Post)
It's not yet been stated by police what Hodgkinson's motive was. However, through the large, angry 'social footprint' he's left, along with reports that he was likely the one who asked Rep. Ron DeSantis—who was leaving the field just prior to the shooting—whether the players were Republican or Democrat, the puzzle seems to be coming together.
Hodgkinson apparently was a 'Trump-hater' and had actually been a volunteer on Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, a revelation that prompted Sanders to state:
"I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."
Yes, last year's presidential campaign was extremely heated, and the results—for some—seem very difficult to digest.
The first six months of President Trump's time in office have been fraught with flying accusations and false news spewed from media to Hollywood to even members of government itself.
But this rhetoric becomes dangerous when it begins to resemble a grave warning given by Jesus: "...Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." (Matt.12:25)
In this country we have always had differing views, some more important than others, some more passionate than others. The country has survived many things that threatened to tear it apart: the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, 9-11—and through all these things we have come back together even stronger, as a nation.
And with a country of some 326 million people, there are going to be opposing views, disagreements, protests and passionate arguments—it's a part of America's make up. All of us unique and different, but free citizens of ONE country. This is succinctly stated in our national motto: E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one).
I'm hoping that today, what was meant for evil will turn out for good, as each one of us remembers the vital importance of that simple Latin phrase.
During one of our most contentious times, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it well: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
I hope that today, those who have authored the most vial and destructive speech, actions and rhetoric against the one who was fairly elected as the leader of this great nation, will choose to just give him a chance.
I did not vote for Barack Obama in past election years, however, I chose to give him a chance. I prayed for wisdom for him and also his protection.
I knew we have a process in this country, for electing officials and for voting them out of office, and so I waited for a new opportunity to do just that. Now, those who did not vote for Trump have that same opportunity—to regroup and wait until it is again time to vote.
In the meantime, dare I ask one more time, let's just give President Trump a chance. Let him rise or fall on his own merits and see if he really can 'make America great again.'
Because, as we've seen during each Summer and Winter Olympics: America works best when we come together as many citizens, rooting for ONE nation. 
I close with part of the statement by President Trump on today's shooting—good words that bear repeating:
"We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above all, they love our country.
"We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
"Please take a moment today to cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe. God bless them all, God bless you, and God Bless America."
(This article first appeared on Breaking Christian News)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

 A Current Prayer Directive from 1Chron.29

“Furthermore King David said to all the assembly: ‘My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced; and the work is great, because the temple[a] is not for man but for the Lord God.’” 1Chron.29:1

I was reading 1Chronicles 29 this morning and was struck by the parallel that could be drawn between the transfer of power from King David to Solomon, and the extraordinary election of Donald Trump as President of the USA.

It’s not a perfect metaphor of course, and there are places that really don’t apply at all, but it really stood out to me this morning as a directive for God’s people to pray, if nothing else.

Solomon and The Building of the Temple
In V1, King David is speaking to “all the assembly” about his son Solomon, about whom he says he “alone God has chosen.” It’s been widely reported about this election that evangelical Christians made a huge difference, helping Trump to win because they came out en force—through prayer and voting—believing that Trump was the one God has chosen for the job, even with all of his many flaws.

King David describes his son as “young and inexperienced” in that verse. While Donald J. Trump—at 70-years-old—isn’t exactly young, he IS young and definitely inexperienced when it comes to being the President of the United States, and the leader of the free world.

Verse one continues with David saying, “the work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the Lord God.” As Christians, we know that because of Jesus’ work on the Cross, God does not limit Himself to the walls of a temple, but that each Believer’s body is now a temple for the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.

America was formed by people who believed that God was directing them, and they acknowledged this at every step in the crafting of this country’s foundations and Constitution. Even within America’s ‘Declaration of Independence,’ the dependence upon God the Creator is spelled out. This is also depicted in the more recent text of our National Motto: “In God We Trust.”

Because of America’s dedication to God, the last part of V1 comes into play, that this country is indeed not for man’s glory but that of “the Lord God.” Also, the position of this country’s Commander-in-Chief IS great, and really a monumental task.

The Remarkable Contributions
“Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might: gold for things to be made of gold, silver for things of silver, bronze for things of bronze, iron for things of iron, wood for things of wood, onyx stones, stones to be set, glistening stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and marble slabs in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for things of gold and the silver for things of silver, and for all kinds of work to be done by the hands of craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” 1 Chron. 29:2-5

In the following verses, 2-5, King David lists all the gold, silver, wood and precious stones that he has accumulated for the work of building God’s Temple, and then later on in this chapter it mentions how others gave for the work. In this, one can draw a loose parallel to the surprising way Americans supporting Trump gave to the cause, and his campaign was able to raise enough money—including that of his own—to help him win the office.

“Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly.” 1 Chron. 29:6 

In V6, it mentions how the leaders, captains, officers—and in the previous verses, the craftsmen—“offered willingly” to help Solomon build the Temple. The last few days we’ve heard of how President-elect Trump is putting together his cabinet, and the many good people who have stepped up to help.

“Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.” 1 Chron. 29:9

In V9 I see a parallel between these people who had “offered willingly” and with a “loyal heart offered willingly to the Lord” and those who came together and prayed for this election. It truly was inspirational the way God’s people from all denominations, religious backgrounds, and ethnicity joined in prayer and intercession—some even fasting—for God’s results in this 2016 election.

Praise and Dedication to God
In V10-17 King David offers praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, acknowledging that He reigns over all, and that all of this wealth, land position is His in the first place and that “we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope” if not for God.

As mentioned before, America’s forefathers did the same and dedicated this land to Him, acknowledging their dependence on their Creator. America belongs to God.

A Current Prayer Directive from the Ancient

“O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision.” 1 Chron. 29:18-19

King David prays that this dedication and reliance on God would be kept “forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people” and that the Lord would “fix their heart toward” Him. This is still an excellent prayer directive for all of us to pray over ourselves and the people of this country.

And then David prays for his son Solomon, a prayer that seems applicable and important to pray now over President-elect Trump; that God would give Donald Trump a “loyal heart to keep [God’s] commandments and [His] testimonies and [His] statutes.” Remembering how the Church rose up (with the exception of some) to pray and prophesy over him, and the incredible miracle of Trump’s victory over the seemingly insurmountable Clinton machine. May our new President-elect ponder all these things and hold them close in his heart, staying humble before the Lord.

We know from later chapters of the Bible that King Solomon was definitely not perfect—a bit of a playboy even—but he was the man that God had chosen for the building of The Temple and the leading of the nation of Israel.

Solomon Anointed as King, and the New President Taking Office

In the following verses, the transfer of power is made from King David to Solomon, and the people thanked the Lord and rejoiced, as God’s hand was truly on King Solomon and his reign, with great blessing and favor.

“And they made sacrifices to the Lord and offered burnt offerings to the Lord on the next day: a thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. So they ate and drank before the Lord with great gladness on that day. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him before the Lord to be the leader, and Zadok to be priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, submitted themselves to King Solomon. So the Lord exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.” 1 Chron. 29:21-25

We must certainly be praying for this transition from candidate Trump to President Trump, and for his presidency thereafter. Trump truly has a huge task before him of leading this nation, and of bringing this now very divided country together as one.

It does seem like an almost impossible mission, but so did the idea that Donald J Trump would ever actually win this election in the first place!

And we know that “with God, nothing shall be impossible.”



Monday, August 1, 2016

So Much Ado about a Temporary Ban, but Is It Really Just "Common Sense" as One Muslim Put It?

"For some time I have been saying that Muslim immigration into the United States should be stopped until we can properly vet them or until the war with Islam is over." -Franklin Graham
[This post first appeared on Breaking Christian News] Following the Democratic National Convention, and specifically the speech given by Gold Star father, Khizr Khan, media has blown up with what Khan directed toward Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and how he reacted. (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar/via Christian Post)
While I absolutely agree that Gold Star parents—who have had a son or daughter die while serving in the US Armed Forces—deserve the utmost respect, Khan was undeniably making accusatory statements that seemed designed to raise defenses and elicit a response.
How about an objective look at what Khan said...
His first statement was made regarding his son, Captain Humayun Khan's sacrifice to serve, and that "If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America."
This was directly related to Trump's call for a TEMPORARY ban on Muslim immigration from regions that are hotbeds of terrorism, UNTIL they can be properly vetted before entering the country.
Khizr Khan hails from the UAE, not on the list of terror-harboring countries, so it's likely he would not have had a problem coming to America.
(Side note: the UAE actually listed the largest Muslim group in America—CAIR—on its list of terror groups to watch)
The UAE Ambassador said back in 2014, "A successful campaign to defeat Islamist extremism in the long term must confront the transnational networks and organizations that breed and support hatred and violence in the name of religion.
"Backing these support networks and organizations is a sophisticated ideological, financial and communications complex that includes countries, charities, companies and individuals. It uses social media, religious centers, banks and false fronts. It must be choked off through an organized program of better intelligence, more-aggressive law enforcement and tougher sanctions."
Getting back to Khan's speech, he further went on the attack stating that "Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims..."
To what is he referring? To the calling of that oh-so-controversial temporary ban?
Actually, if Khan really wanted to go after those smearing the character of Muslims in general, shouldn't Khan be angry at ISIS, Boko Haram, and other Islamic Terror groups whose very existence (not to mention activity) call into question the 'peacefulness' of the religion?
Look at Germany, which recently suffered four Islamic terror attacks in one week, two of which were by migrants from Syria.
Germany has had an open door policy toward those seeking asylum from the conflict in the Middle East.
Note the July 25, 2016 headline in the Daily Mail: "After four savage attacks by Muslims in one week, Germans are living in fear—and this is just the beginning..."
In light of this, doesn't better vetting of those seeking to enter our country from these terror hotbed regions sound like a good idea?
There are at least two prominent people, one a Muslim himself, and one a Christian, who do agree with a temporary ban on Muslim immigration from particular countries on a terror watch list—but perhaps you haven't heard their take?
The Muslim? President Obama's own half-brother, Malik Obama. According to a Reuters report, Malik calls the temporary ban "common sense," adding, "I'm a Muslim, of course, but you can't have people going around just shooting people and killing people in the name of Islam." (Photo: Malik Obama/Reuters/via Christian Today)
(Another side note of interest, Malik stated it was "sort of disappointing, somewhat hypocritical" that none of Obama's family from Kenya were invited to the DNC)
The other person, who actually suggested a temporary ban before Donald Trump did, is son of the Rev. Billy Graham—evangelist Franklin Graham.
"For some time I have been saying that Muslim immigration into the United States should be stopped until we can properly vet them or until the war with Islam is over," Franklin wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
"Donald J. Trump has been criticized by some for saying something similar. The new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said yesterday that he disagrees—saying that 'such views are not what this party stands for and more importantly it's not what this country stands for.' Politicians in Washington seem to be totally disconnected with reality."
I am grateful for the great sacrifice made by Captain Humayun Khan, as he truly is a hero, along with all of our other men and women who have served and paid the ultimate price.
But when it comes to keeping this country safe, can we afford not to look at the migrant toll taken on Europe? Do we really think America wouldn't be next?
The U.S. already has 'homegrown terrorists' in our midst.
Is it wrong to take extra precautions which might help ensure we would not be overrun by terror in the future?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

One America Again: Rudy Giuliani's Words Ring True for the USA

Do black lives matter? Of course they do! But so do ALL lives! ALL lives in America matter, because we are together—ONE people, one country and one nation under God.
There were quite a few pertinent points made with passionate deliveries at the Republican National Convention's first day on Monday, but one of the most noted speeches was that of former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani(Photo: via Star Tribune)
With the recent tragic attacks on officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge fresh in mind, Giuliani thanked police forces throughout the country, noting that they protect "every race, every color, every creed, every sexual orientation."
What Giuliani said next was apparently off-script, however, it was the most powerful—and most repeated—part of his speech, as he fervidly stated what has always been what truly makes America great:
"It's time to make America ONE again. One America! ... What happened to there's no black America, there's no white America, there is just AMERICA?!..."
Our Founding Fathers said it best when they designed this country's Great Seal and motto: "E pluribus unim," which means "from many, one."
I don't recall learning this in History class, but apparently there were several ideas submitted for that official Seal during the formation of America, submitted by the First Great Seal Committee made up of: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, along with artist, Pierre Eugéne Du Simitiére. (Image via GreatSeal.com)
One of the artistic designs included symbols of the original countries from which they immigrated at the time; England, France, Holland, Germany, Ireland and Scotland. Those were surrounded by 13 smaller shields with initials representing the "thirteen Independent States of America."
In the end, though, the seal design that was finally chosen in 1782 was that of the American bald eagle, holding a ribbon in its beak with the Latin words: E Pluribus Unim. It's what America has always been; the common thread that unites each citizen—out of many, ONE.
Our proud heritage (from other countries or Native American) is what makes us UNIQUE—being a citizen of America is what makes us ONE. And being united as ONE is what makes us STRONG! It's what makes America strong. (Image via GreatSeal.com)
Do black lives matter? Of course they do! But so do ALL lives! ALL lives in America matter, because we are together—ONE people, one country, and one nation under God.
Please, let's return to E Pluribus Unim, and when voices that highlight division are shouting, let's please shout even louder: ONE AMERICA, ALL LIVES MATTER IN ONE AMERICA!
It's true the country seems more divided than ever right now. But if we can return to referring to ourselves as simply "Americans," and embrace what unites us, instead of promoting division and defining everything by the color of our skin—then maybe this nation really can be great again.
Jesus plainly warned, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand." (Matt. 12:25)
There is great evil to fight, ISIS will not wait.
The USA must come together again, and stand together once again—all of us with our different hues of skin, different heritages, differing talents and giftings, even differing religions—all of us united by the fact that we are all free citizens of this remarkable country: America!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why I'm Glad Women and Men are Different; a Woman's Perspective on International Woman's Day

The cry of gender-benders will ultimately only be satisfied by getting to know the One who "created them male and female."

In this age of gender-bending, and efforts to insure equality among women and men, it may be very counter-culture to express gratitude for the distinct differences between male and female. (Free photo via Pixabay)
But I—a woman—am very thankful for this creative expression from God's heart and His hands.
I would never want to lessen any hard-fought achievements made by suffragettes such as Susan B. Anthony and the like. I'm not calling into question any equality of rights, or of pay, or certainly of respect.
Instead, I would just like to highlight the simple-yet-complex characteristics of contradistinction that make our two genders unique. And which can—with the heart God intended—become beautifully congruent and harmonious.
After 30-plus years of marriage (like most couples, not always easy), I feel that I've gained a great deal of respect for the opposite gender, and have also grown in appreciation for that of my own.
Any good psychologist will tell you that men and women think differently and process things in contrasting ways. This is certainly God's design and intention.
When respect is maintained, these polar perspectives can become complimentary.
This is not to say that my husband and I don't have difficulty relating to one another's positions on occasion—we're human and that's a reality that is going to happen.
But I'm not threatened by my husband's "maleness," I have come to appreciate it. And I have come to realize that my perspective alone would be a narrow one, and likely somewhat short-sighted without the addition of his input.
My "female-ness" is also not threatened by the Word of God and the Gospel, as some women seem to be. In fact, the respect that Jesus showed to women as described in the New Testament was revolutionary in a time when their gender received little recognition, if any.
The vessels God spoke through and used for His glory and His plans, included women all throughout the Old Testament.
And what a privilege God has given women to actually carry another life—another little person—inside their bodies and bring them into the world!
Today we see the gender-bending trend being pushed and promoted all around the world, even among the very young.
I personally find the whole concept very tragic, as it seems to me its root is a soul crying out for acceptance and love.
That cry will ultimately only be satisfied by getting to know the One who "created them male and female"; by having a relationship with God who knows each of our hearts better than we know ourselves.
I'm forever grateful that the Lord, the One who created me, knows MY heart—even when I'd rather hide from Him out of shame. (Photo: Aimee and husband David)
In the end, He created my heart. He knows me inside and out, and He loves me, and what's more—because of what Jesus did—nothing will separate me from His love.
This sets me free to be who I was created to be: a woman, a mother, a partner to my husband without fear.
And for that I'm very grateful!
*This article first appeared in Breaking Christian News.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Mom and Dad's Journeys Through "the Door"

"After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven..." -Rev.4:1
It's been a month and a half since my Mother died. I knew the day she left I would write about the experience of watching her go—but it's taken this long to be able to do so. (Photo: Mom and Dad at the coast)
Holding my Mom's hand, helping her through the 'birthing process' of separating spirit from body, was both the most extraordinary and most difficult experience of my life.
But in order to fully tell of Mom's journey, I've got to back up about 10 months to my father's passing from this world, and what he told us he saw before he died.
Some background; both my mother and father have been faithful Christians, very involved in their church, doing Bible studies and devotions regularly... I—and my siblings—are blessed with a wonderful, heritage of faith.
Last June, my Dad—at 90 years-young—lay on a hospital bed in my parents' living room with 'aspirating pneumonia.' Hospice had been called in and we knew it wouldn't be long before he left us. In the dying process, he struggled with pain and "itching" in his feet, and my siblings and I would take turns massaging them.
During one of these times, my sister, Jill was rubbing his feet when he suddenly said, "Look out, Jill, when the door opens it'll hit you."
Jill was standing next to the living room wall—there was no door behind her... at least none that WE could see.
Jill quickly realized Dad must be talking about a doorway between this life and Heaven. She told him, "I can duck very fast, and move out of the way in time."
We are a family who believe in prayer, so my sister-in-law, Marie—who was visiting Dad—had requested prayer on my father's behalf from a friend of hers, Renea. This friend called Marie to see how Dad was doing, and Marie told her about 'the door.' Renea became silent.
When Marie asked her what was wrong, Renea told her, "Oh that's a prayer verification. When I was praying last night I saw a door, and Richard and the Lord were waiting behind it." (My brother, Richard—Marie's husband—had died in 2009)
About two days later, Dad was in his final hours and our wonderful Hospice nurse, Norita, was tending to him, when he again mentioned "the door," however he told her it was locked. From what I understand (I wasn't present at the time) something like the following conversation ensued...
"It's locked Mr. Frank? Well, do you have a key to the door?"
"No, I don't have keys for it."
Norita pretends to put something in my father's hand. "I brought a key, Mr. Frank, try this one."
A few minutes later Norita asks my dad if the key opened the door.
"No, it didn't fit."
She again pretends to put a key in my father's hand. "Well, I have lots of keys… here, try another!"
After a few more minutes... "Did that key fit, Mr. Frank?"
"Yeah... that one fit."
"OK well Mr. Frank, when you're ready, you go ahead and turn that key in the lock, open the door and walk through to Richard and Jesus."
It wasn't long after ‘til he did just that, and quietly passed away with my mother holding his hand sitting next to him. They had been married for 67 years.
My Mother
After my father died, my mother—who had always wanted to experience living in "the valley" (Willamette Valley that is), as opposed to Central Oregon where my dad wanted to be—had made the decision to move to an assisted living facility near me.
By September, we found one for her with a very nice, spacious apartment and porch, and she settled in as much as an 86-year-old, grieving widow can. She especially enjoyed Bingo and times when the activity director would pull out his guitar and lead them in song. (Photo: Mom's one-and-only 'selfie')
I still have a voice mail recording of her (priceless now) when she called me during one of those times, singing our family's favorite song, with which she had taught each of us to harmonize; "You Are My Sunshine."

But Mom was suffering from Congestive Heart Failure much worse than she let on, I think. And she missed my father terribly.
One day in mid-February I noticed her fingers and toes had swollen up, and I brought her to the hospital—she would never return to her apartment.
Mom's Journey Through the ‘Door'
Mom was lucid and carrying on conversations with all her family who came to visit her in the hospital; it was Valentine's Day and we filled her room with flowers. My husband even smuggled in some chocolate covered strawberries for her.
Later that night she insisted we all go home and get some sleep and she'd see us the next day.
I was called back to the hospital at 5am that next morning. The nurse said he wanted to call me earlier, but my mother didn't want to wake us up.
Now as I entered her room I could see she was already beginning her journey home.
Several generations were represented as we gathered around my mom—I didn't want to let go of her hand.
We talked to her, and sang and sat on chairs and benches pulled up near... as she lay back, in her bed.
Then suddenly Mom sat up—staring straight in front of her with a look on her face of complete amazement and wonder.
We all stopped in mid-sentence, waiting to see what would happen next.
She slowly sank back into her bed for a while, and then without warning, she would struggle to sit up again, having that same expression.
This happened several times, and with each one, we would fall silent, waiting to see what she would do.
Once I was adjusting Mom's pillows so she could more easily sit up, and I told her, "There, now you can see the 'door' better." She got a big smile on her face and nodded 'yes.'
We were laughing a little about this when she again sat up looking straight ahead, and for the first time since this process had begun she spoke in a hoarse voice and said, "Say prayers!"
All of us jumped up grabbing each others' hands and hers, and began to pray... and sing... and pray some more.
Then she just lay back in her bed for a while.
The next phase of my mom's journey was much more strenuous for her; it was truly a separating of her spirit with her body, until it was finally over and she exhaled her last breath in peace.
The most accurate description is that it was very much like giving birth except you don't have the joyous result on this side of Heaven.
Or... this side of 'the door.'
I had wanted to ask my mom to somehow give me a sign that all was well, if she could, when she arrived in Heaven; but I never got the chance.
The next day my sister and I went to Mom's assisted living facility.
As we walked inside the front doors, there in the main room was the activity director with his guitar. It suddenly occurred to us what he was playing and singing—and there was the sign from my Mom...
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey..."
For now, I'll miss you Mom, Dad and Richard... but I know I'll see you all again.
And I know who will be on the other side of the 'door' when the Lord calls me home.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In the Midst of Terror—NOT AFRAID

I was reminded of the Apostle Paul's encouragement to Timothy (and all Believers) that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind."

airliftThis week's terror attack in Paris was meant by the enemy to instill great fear. It's the M.O. of terrorists... and by their very definition, it's what they want. (Photo via Dallas News)
But as I watched the various responses from around the world unfold on my computer screen, the one that struck me the most was the Wednesday night vigil in the Place de la Republique, Paris.
The entire square was filled with people; there to honor those slain in cold blood that day, and there to make a statement—a very important statement:
NOT AFRAID.
Those words were spelled out in lights and hung among the huge crowd.
News reports said the gathering there was very quiet considering the amount of people. However, the pens held high in the air—to signify a solidarity with those who value freedom of speech—and their signs that read, "Je Suis Charlie," (I Am Charlie)—again a statement of support for the magazine Charlie Hebdo; the target of the Jihadists—spoke loud and clear.
As did those words in lights: NOT AFRAID.
I was reminded of the Apostle Paul's encouragement to Timothy (and all Believers) that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Tim.1:7)
And ultimately I thought about what Jesus said that "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
airliftTerrorism rightly makes us angry—it is a monstrous injustice. And the enemy would love to make each one of us paralyzingly fearful. (Photo via Times of Israel)
But the antidote to fear is God's perfect LOVE through Jesus. (See 1 John chapter 4)
As the enemy intensifies his attack, now is the time to be NOT AFRAID.
Remember what the Apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:6-10...
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you."
God is with us... be NOT AFRAID!