Saturday, July 21, 2012

When Bad Things Happen to Good People?

In light of the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Aurora, Colorado, I am re-posting this blog by a woman who was in the theater and survived along with her two daughters:

SO YOU STILL THINK GOD IS A MERCIFUL GOD?

I hope you will read it and pray for all who have been hurt, killed or otherwise, and the perpetrator.

God bless and keep you and yours from the evil one who seems to be everywhere right now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Can See God's Hand At Work

How do I say what I want to say without sounding trite?  If you frequent this blog at all, you know that my family has been in a state of flux for the past couple of years. 

You see, we started out wrong.  We started out in sin, and the sad thing is...I knew better.  It's confession time.  Not for my good, you see, but for the good of anyone who happens upon this blog; especially if that someone is grieving because their life is not what it should be - maybe because they accepted God's gift of salvation and misused it; mistreated it - in that they didn't go all the way and submit their life to Christ and stay on the path to the end.  Maybe they acted or are acting like I did.  They continue(d) to live life according to their plan.  The Bible says in Proverbs 16:25 that There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death, and that's where my plans were leading me.

As I've said many times on this blog, I accepted Christ as my Savior years ago -- when I was about 12/13 years old.  I am now 55.  I won't go into all the whys and wherefores of what brought all this about; I'll just start in 1999 where my son comes into the story.  Well, I have to go a little further back for just a little background. 

Before I begin even that, let me say this:  Satan is not omniscient.  We know that.  Only God is omniscient.  The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that we should:   Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Knowing this, I can now say that Satan found easy prey in me.  I was in a marriage that was constantly in a state of conflict over things that even then seemed ridiculous to me. As I said previously,  I won't go in to it all but I felt dissatisfied, unattractive, unfulfilled, and unhappy.  At just the right moment in time, I was introduced to a handsome, charming, funny, and (probably mostly - if you know what I mean) sexy man who had no compunction about approaching another man's wife even though he himself was married.  I believe Satan was behind that.  I fell for it; hook, line and sinker.  My marriage ended.  My affair did not.  If you can believe it, it lasted from the early 1990's until my son was born, out of wedlock in 1999.  It hurts to even look back on that time in my life.  It was so...ugly...and painful.  But I will look back and share what I have learned in the hope that it will benefit someone else.

If anyone ever tells you that God does not answer prayer, don't believe them.  I know He does because He answered mine.  A prayer breathed in desperation, not really thinking He would act on it.  I remember it well.  I was alone, in a car, driving on a country road, feeling convicted about my actions, yet I was so addicted to the relationship I couldn't end it.  I didn't want in and I couldn't pull myself out of it.  I loved it.  I hated it.  I told God that day these words.  "God, I can't do it by myself.  I'm desperate.  You have to do something to help me.  It's going to take something drastic to end this relationship; something like a pregnancy.  I know that would make him end it."  I never, in my life, dreamed He would do it, especially since this man had no other children and had been told he was sterile.  But God did. 

Sometimes God has to bring out the big guns to get our attention.  My affair did break up when my son was born for (the exact reason that I had known he would when I was offering up my prayer to God) the reason that his father's wife gave him an ultimatum:  either leave her and the child alone or the marriage ends and you lose all you've worked for all these years.   Yeah,  you know what he chose.  But I didn't stop loving him or wanting him, and about once every week, he'd sneak by to see what was happening with his son.  I guess now that I think about it, the adultery continued because I still coveted her husband.  It makes me cringe and want to hide now when I think about it.  Bless God, He knew my heart, and I thank Him now that He still loved me and wanted my heart (after it was made right with Him, of course), so He decided to shake up my world again.

Within the space of a year three big things happened:  my mom died, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and I found out that my daughter is gay.   So here I am, a 44 year old single mom making a living in one of the most demanding jobs there is, selling real estate, with a progressive illness, I've lost one of my main anchors in life and I don't know how to cope with having a gay daughter with my Christian beliefs.  I remember the day I fell on my face and told God to take over; I couldn't do it my way anymore.  I never felt more relief in my life.

My son's father was still coming around about once a week to see him, and I was working hard to be honorable and not look with longing at him when one day he showed up and told me that they were divorcing and he wanted us to be a family.   (Okay, in retrospect, here's sin #1)  Without thinking about what God wanted, and more importantly, without praying and asking Him what I should do, I said yes.  We were married six months later.

Also, you need to understand that my husband was not a Christian at any time prior to our getting married.  I had given my life to Christ (at least as to what I understood that to be at that time) and my son had been raised in the knowledge and admonition of God.  I read Him Bible stories, I sang songs about God to him every night as I put him to bed, we prayed at bedtime and dinner time together, he went to Sunday School, and he attended Christian preschool, so He was very aware of God and the importance of God in our lives on a five/six year old level. 

We went from a once a week visit where my son had all of his dad's attention for the whole time they were together to living together and finding out that his Dad worked A LOT and when he was done working, he'd be tired and wanted to just sit down and watch tv all night.  While he was probably thinking that he and his dad should be spending a lot of time together, it ended up that they really didn't spend much time together at all because his dad was up and out early, he was up and out to school, his dad would get home late, he'd be in bed soon after his dad got home and his dad worked weekends because he, too, is a real estate agent.  Promises are broken; feelings are hurt; words are said; anger ensues, bitterness takes root, hateful feelings grow, and it perpetuates for the next six years until my son is almost 12 years old.

If anyone would have told me then that there would have been conflict between my son and my husband, I would have never believed them. But, well, there you go: six years later, we were living in pure, unadulterated hell on earth. You can read about how we ended up deciding to enroll our son in the Ohio Wilderness Boys' Camp HERE.

We are finally at the place where I can say that I can see the hand of God at work in each one of our lives through this whole thing. Sometimes I wonder how God would have worked in each one of if we hadn't been married, but then I realize that's dumb because we did make the choice to be married and God is in the restoration business (if you let Him). So, it was right for Him to be actively working to bring us all back into right relationships with Him. I just didn't see it like that at that time.

The wonderful thing that I see now is that I kept on praying everyday for God to work this out.  I prayed mostly for my husband to give his life to Christ, but I prayed, too, for my son, and I kept asking God to give me wisdom on how to handle things.  And so, my son ended up at Camp and my husband and I ended up taking parenting classes and listening to a CD series which at this point has been lifechanging for us both as parents!  

Now, each evening my husband and I discuss what we each learned from the CD messages we listened to that day.  My husband's heart is being turned back toward our son and he acknowledges Jesus Christ is the son of God and came to save us from our sins and restore us to a right relationship with God.  Millimeter by millimeter I see him giving things up to God, trusting God, wanting to pray, wanting to save his relationship with his son, wanting to love his son the right way.  It is SO wonderful to watch and know in my heart that it's my Father working this out, and it builds my faith and trust and love, and I appreciate Him so much more.  I go to bed thankful, praising God for all He is doing in our lives.

My friend, I pray if you are living in sin, no matter what kind, that you might know that God is seeking you.  He wants your heart.  He wants to love you and He wants your love.   He hears our prayers and He DOES answer them.  So be careful what you ask for!    And when you respond in faith and trust, He IS faithful and He promises never to leave or forsake you even if you are unfaithful to Him.  The Bible says that "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus".  We ourselves are what separates us from God.  We either think we're above the law and too good for God or we think we're useless and what would God want with us anyway.  Those are lies straight from the pit of hell.  We are lost, helpless and dying without God, but when we let Him take control of our lives, He uses us and We are Valuable!   He is the only way, the only truth in a lying, deceit filled world, and the only life worth living (especially when you compare it to the loser life you live without him).   I wish I had the words to convey the joy in my heart, the expectancy I feel each day wondering what I will learn about or from Him, the peace I have knowing that I have repented of my sins and that I have His forgiveness (BTW I did ask for forgiveness from my husband's former wife and his family).  I am waiting and watching for His return and looking forward to the day when He changes me completely to be like Him.  There is hope, friend.   You do not have to continue letting yourself down and living life below the level of what God wants for you.   Look up, Friend; open your heart and your arms and ask God in.

 

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's Up With the Olympics?



The Olympics -- who can say that at some point in their past they haven't enjoyed some part of them?  From Mary Lou Retten to Kristi Yamaguchi and many others before, in between and beyond, the Olympic competitions have afforded most of us some moments of excitement and the pure pleasure of watching people stretch themselves to accomplish things all of us would love to do but lack either the drive, determination or skills to actually do. 

That being said, in the past several Olympics, there have a lot of things come out which have tarnished their reputation.  From the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan debacle to Ben Johnson and Marion Jones and their steroid use, and last year's Olympic record for condom usage - 90,000 condoms, and now this year's order for 100,000 condoms, the Olympics are sure to furnish us with plenty of scandal by the time they are over and done with.

My friend, Joseph Herrin has recently posted several eye-opening blogs regarding the history of the Olympics and what this year's Olympics in Great Britain may portend.  You can read all about them at the following links:

Babylon Rising Part 6:  London as Zion

The Inauguration of the Man of Sin

A Contrast of Kingdoms:  The Tower Builders

Babylon Rising Part 7:  Ringing in Satan's Kingdom

I have long been saying that we are living in the last days of this age.  With the Middle East being a powder keg which could produce World War III at any moment, the financial systems of the world being on the bring of a melt down, living in extreme weather conditions no matter where you are in the world, and the desire of the powers that be to bring about a one world government, many people are now joining in the fray of trying to tell others that time on this earth is very short. 

To think that the Olympics just possibly may be the event that brings about Satan's reign on this earth for the remaining few short years, is something I really don't like to even think about.  However, I would like to impress upon anyone who stops by here the necessity of submitting your life to Jesus Christ and living according to His leading until that day when He returns for His Church - which I believe to be imminent (and I mean like any moment now!).  Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against "spiritual wickedness in high places..." right here and right now every day of our lives but it is invisible to us.  In the end days or The Tribulation as it is called in The Revelation of Jesus Christ or the days of Jacob's Trouble in the Old Testament, it will literally be hell on earth and the spiritual warfare will be visible and all around those who have to be alive at that time. 

This is serious, serious stuff.  The worst horror movie could not depict what is coming to the earth.  Well maybe it could, I don't know.  I do know this:  Jeremiah 30:5-7 tells us this about that time:
5 "Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. 6 Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? 7 Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob;...

Please read Joseph's postings listed above, and please be in prayer for God's mercy and grace to reign supreme in these very challenging days. 

Father, Thank you that we can rely on you.  You never change, and you alone are good.  Lord, please show anyone who reads this and who does not have a relationship with you their  need for a Savior and cause them to repent and submit their lives to your loving hand and wise guidance.  We know the end of the story, Father, and praise you for the plan you have to bring many to salvation but also to impose justice and judgment on those who reject you.  Thank you, Father, that you chose to draw me near to you and I thank you for the way you are working in my life and my family.  All praise and glory and honor to your great name!  I love you and honor you and pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Enormity of Non-Conformity

I'm teaching Bible School this week, and we are learning about the prophet Daniel.  You know, Daniel and his three friends (Hannaiah (Shadrach),  Meshael (Mesach) and Azariah (Abenego)) really were amazing men.  As I meditated on our scripture for tonight, I was stricken by how strong their faith in and commitment to God was.  

Here they are, prisoners who have been captured in a babylonian raid on Jerusalem.  Life couldn't be any more different for them than if they had been captured and taken to live on Mars.  First, these are very young men!  They didn't believe in the same God as the babylonians, they didn't eat the same kinds of food they didn't drink the same wine, and they didn't have the same type of customs. 

From the minute they were taken captive, they settled it in their minds and heart (the Bible says that they "purposed it" in their hearts) that they would not conform to the lives of the babylonians.  They continued to pray to the One True God (three times a day), they asked to be excused from eating and drinking the food and wine of their captors, and yet they had to assimilate into society in some ways because scripture tells us that Daniel became a favorite of the King's head eunuch, Ashpenaz and that eventually, they "communed" with the king himself.

How would you respond if today you were captured by an invading army from a foreign country, would you be able to keep yourself from conforming to their demands of you in the face of torture and/or death?   Foxes Book of Martyrs tells of how followers of Christ were martyred by being boiled in oil and also had their skin ripped off their bodies.  There are lots of dastardly ways that followers of Christ were martyred by, but these two seem the worst to me.  When I imagine myself being tortured, these are the two I use.  Revelation 20:4 tells us that in the last days followers of Jesus will lose their heads because of their testimony of Him:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Political correctness has overtaken the world.  In my opinion, this is one way in which the whole world has taken to conforming.   Everyone wants to be kind, fair, and they certainly don't want to appear racist, bigoted and prejudicial in any way, so they revert to political correctness in touchy situations instead of speaking truth.

It's easy (and almost expected) these days to conform.   Joe gets a cell phone; and so Bob needs one.  Sally gets her nails done professionally; so her friend Kathy starts getting her nails done.  Kids are the worst!  They always want what their friends have or want to do what they are doing.  So,  being non-conforming is enormous!

God made us all as individuals. If He had wanted a bunch of clones, I'm sure He could have produced them.  We should all investigate and look thoroughly before we leap into the pile of muck called conformity, and if we need to stand by ourselves for or against something that God has convicted us about, then He will be there to see us through it.  Just think about Daniel and his three friends.  They faced man-eating lions and fires so hot you were killed just opening the door of the furnace.  Shouldn't steadfastness like theirs be our goal?  We don't know what we will face in the future, but it certainly doesn't look promising given the way Christianity is looked down upon these days. 

Father,  I pray for your people.  We sense that harsh and trying days are ahead of us.  Please give us a full measure of your spirit and enable us to stand for the things you want us to stand for and to stand against those things you want us to stand against.  Be our strength, our strong tower and our place of refuge.  I pray that even now, while we are relatively safe, that you will begin to build our faith so that when and if we are called out because of our faith in you, we can bring glory and honor to your name.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.








Friday, July 6, 2012

The Value of Children

I have previously confessed that my husband and I recently enrolled our son in a wilderness boys' camp here in Ohio.  You can read that blog in its entirety HERE

Since I posted that blog, we have had a "home visit" with our son.  We were very encouraged at the end of that visit as there were NO harsh words spoken, no arguments, no endless repetition of requests or instructions, and the only area where we didn't see a lot of progress was our son's tidiness in his bedroom!

So, ten days after we returned our son to camp, we were required to attend a parent meeting in a location three hours from our home.  The camp has provided us with homework to do while our son is at camp working hard to change so that we, too, can make some much needed changes in our own attitudes and actions.  As we were traveling to the meeting, we took two of the CDs with us to listen to in the car.  These messages were given by Pastor Denny Kenaston who (we could tell) has a heart that is on fire for Godly children!  The messages are annointed by God and let me tell you, my husband and I cried for the whole time we listened to his messages.    I will attempt to give you an inkling of what he had to say.  You can visit www.charityministries.org to obtain a copy of the series.  The message that changed my husband and my perception was "The Eternal Value of a Child".   

The world we live in today has very little regard for children.  We may think that we do, but we don't.  Oh, I will grant you, that there are some parents and individuals out there who do value children, but by and large, our society thinks children have little value.  Psalms 127:3-5 says:


                         Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.   
 The word "heritage" is Strong's H5159 which means:  property, portion, inheritance.  Our children are an inheritance!  They are a reward!  If you are a warrior depending on the arrows in your quiver, you want a lot of them there in times of trouble, and our children are like arrows!  When we fill our quiver full of children, we are BLESSED!

But, tell me, is that how the world looks at children today? I would have to say no.  We are a society who likes to get the children "out of our hair".   Since the Roe v. Wade decision was upheld, there have been millions of babies aborted in this country alone (well over 50 million)!  Chinese families are held to only ONE child per household and so forced abortion is in effect!  Our own legislative branch of the government FAILED to enact a law which would have made it illegal to have an abortion in the US simply because of the sex of your child; I said FAILED TO ENACT!  In other words, if you are unhappy with the sex of your child, you can just abort it! 

Our children are relegated to the TV and the video game room in order that the parents can work,  "relax", watch "adult" tv, visit with friends, or whatever else it is that holds their attention.  We allow our children, our most valuable treasures here on earth, to be babysat by the TV or a video game remote controller.  I know that I personally was so caught up in my career, that I rarely gave my son my undivided attention.    We had asked ourselves many times what our son had to be angry about; because while we had not given him anything he wanted, we had done our best to supply him with what we thought was right according to the "American" way!  What is the American Way, you ask.  Well, in my opinion, it is showering our children with everything they want but not giving them what they need...our undivided attention.

Pastor Kenaston incurred that immediately upon conception a child can "feel" what his mother is feeling...is she happy, sad, depressed, angry; and he can hear what she's saying...is she glad to be pregnant, does she want her child, what is she expressing about her child as he/she grows?   Let me tell you, that's where the tears began to fall and the Holy Spirit convicted us both on the spot.  You see, we are both older parents.  We were not expecting to be expecting.  My husband had no children in his first marriage (and was actually told he was unable to impregnate) and I was 42 years old when I conceived our son.  I cried for the whole nine months!  I was unhappy.  I was selfish.  I was not going to be "free" anymore (my daughter was 15 years old at the time).  I didn't want to watch "Barney"! 

God forgive me.  Son, forgive me.  

God gave me a new perspective.  He made me see my son with new eyes...a gift, from God -- at any age, under any circumstances -- and OH, SO VALUABLE!!

And so, I am counting the days until I see my son again; my sweet, hugable, lovable, handsome, funny, smart son.  The one who is learning to cook and budget and manage a checkbook and keep his camp site tidy and his sleeping quarters neat and who just wore out his first toothbrush!   My precious son whose hugs can't be replaced and whose kisses are so sweet; the same one who is now just a hair taller than me and is way stronger than me.   I pray daily that God (who has my son in his nail scarred palms) will allow him to come home quickly and that He will keep him safe.  Pray for us, won't you? 

Father, I am precious to you and oh, so valuable!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing me how valuable my children are to you and how valuable they should be to me.  Father, help me to be open to your leading in how to parent them both differently according to who You have made them to be.  I know you have entrusted them to me, and Father, I'm sorry if I haven't done the job properly up to this time.  Forgive me and help me.  I need your wisdom, your understanding and your ability to be patient, kind and to love at all times, no matter what.  I pray for all parents in the world who need to understand the great gift you have given them in their children, and I pray for the children that they would be given the unconditional love and acceptance that they deserve.  In Jesus' name.

Amen