What On Earth are You Doing?

Homeless vetThanksgiving is just around the corner, and most of us have much to be thankful for.  In our resolve to be thankful, let’s not forget that there are others who are going through some pretty hard times, perhaps even wondering where they will sleep tonight,  or what they will eat tomorrow.  All we have to do is listen to the evening news to grasp the reality of what many are dealing with in these difficult days. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be especially rough on those less fortunate than ourselves.   I thought this  might be a good time to post a poem that I wrote several years ago.

What On Earth are You Doing,  for Heaven’s Sake?

Each night we watch the evening news. “Can things get worse?” we mourn.               “Crime,  corruption,  poverty, and war.   Killing babies before they’re born.

And in our own communities,  hundreds are in need.                                                      Grieving losses, and unemployment,  with hungry mouths to feed.

God’s gaze fell on the hurried one,  who had no time to give;                                                       To share a word with one who’d lost their appetite to live.

“When you watched the news last night,  I thought your heart would break.                 What on earth are you doing,  for Heaven’s  sake?”                                                        

Around the corner they stood in line for just a bowl of soup.                                           Hungry.  Cold.  It seemed like hours,  for few were there to serve this group.

“I saw you with your friends that night,  grilling up a steak,                                     Discussing the plight of those faceless strangers.                                                                       But what on earth are you doing,  for Heaven’s sake?”                                                       

They faced each other in the pew,  discussing other’s plights.                                          “Nothing has been done,” they said. “You know, that’s just not right.”

“Excuse me,”  interrupted He,  “What effort did you make?                                                 And tell me,  if you would,  my friends,                                                                                  What on earth, are you doing for Heaven’s sake?”                                                                   

So when you watch the news tonight, instead of bleak despair.                                        Could you accept the challenge?  Would you even dare?

Instead of rushing, discussing,  and waiting,  would you the effort make?                            To lend a hand of help right here,  on earth,   for Heaven’s sake?

**********

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,  you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40)

 God blesses us,  so that we can bless others.   That’s the view from here. . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Hope, AMERICA (and the “E” word)

My Hope America

I am praising God for the “E” word this week. You know, the one that not many   “church  people” talk about frequently. Evangelism. There I’ve said it.   It used to be spoken of frequently.  People would rejoice upon hearing that someone had received Christ as their Savior and Lord, and repented of their sins. They would come alongside that new disciple and help them grow in the Lord. Lives were transformed as God became their center.

The gospel was shared and invitations were given frequently at church services, events, and one on one to accept the call of Christ upon one’s life.  Yes,  this practice may have been abused by some, but that doesn’t mean it should be discontinued. However, many Christian churches today belittle “altar calls” and “invitations,” not wanting to repeat the mistakes of those that went before.  Do not misread me here.  I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of arm-twisting, or fear inducing, manipulating pleas to one’s emotions, utilized in the past or present by some counterfeit preachers, and designed to add numbers to their roster of “conquests.”

That being said, I don’t believe for one moment, that we should not issue an invitation to receive Christ,  and neither does Billy Graham, thankfully.  He and his staff have stood strong through the years and always given invitations,  even amidst their critics’ claims that many who went forward were their own staff.  The truth is, some were,  and that was never anything they tried to hide. Each one even wore staff ID tags. They, indeed, were counselors going forward to talk with the people.  Kudos to you, Billy Graham,  for never shrinking from what God called you to do!  And praise God for each and every soul that has heard the gospel through your ministry and answered the call of Christ on his/her life.  And God bless all those who have participated in the follow-up ministry that you made available to them in their own residential areas.  Thanks for never, ever,  “leaving” anyone at the altar.

In Billy’s latter years, his son, Franklin has faithfully carried on the ministry begun by his dad so many years ago.  On Thursday, November 7,  The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will hold a special televised Crusade.  This is what they say about the event.

Change a nation BG

“My Hope with Billy Graham is a massive effort to reach people across the United States and Canada with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Following a simple biblical model, My Hope with Billy Graham combines the reach and excitement of a nationwide media event with the power of personal relationships. Under the guidance of their local pastors, Christians across these two countries will open their homes to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors using different media programs featuring Billy Graham, dynamic music, and testimonies. Like the Apostle Matthew, some will invite their guests into their homes to learn about Jesus using prime time television, while others will gather at a coffee shop or the park to watch the program on a tablet or smartphone.”

The broadcasts will air on TBN Thursday,  Nov. 7 at 8 PM,  and on the FOX News channel at 10 PM.

My Hope originally launched in 2002.  Since that time, more than 4.4 million Christians have served as My Hope hosts:  They’ve been encouraged, trained, and given the opportunity to tell others about the change Christ has made in their lives.  At the conclusion of the My Hope broadcasts, hosts share their personal testimonies and invite their guests to receive Jesus Christ as Savior.  Hallelujah!

“Jesus said . . . Don’t you have a saying, “It’s still four months until the harvest?  I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest.”  Let’s pray for the harvest!

So when was the last time you heard of someone repenting of their sins and coming to Christ?  If you have to think about it for too long,  it’s been way too long.   Jesus has promised to return one day and take us to be with Him in Paradise.  Will you be taking anyone with you?

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

Leve with truth

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?  As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  (Romans 10:14,15)  Thank you, Rev. Billy Graham, for your beautiful, beautiful feet!

That’s the view from here . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SEEKING PRAYER, SEEKING ABBY

abby-300-wideClick here   http://www.whitemountainmilers.com/abby-missing   for more information.

I live in a relatively small town in the Mount Washington Valley of NH.  It’s a beautiful place to live and a great place to visit.  Because of the beauty of our setting we are a tourist attraction.  People from all over the country come and go,  almost year round. They come to hike the mountains in the summer,  thrill at the foliage in the fall,  and to ski the snowy slopes in the winter.   As such,  our population changes with the seasons,  but those of us who choose Conway as home,  year round,  are a friendly and pretty close knit community.

Three weeks ago today,   just three days before her fifteenth birthday,  fourteen year old Abigail Hernandez left Kennet High School and headed for her home on foot,  as is her usual routine.  According to reports,  she and her mom had plans for the evening.  Somewhere along her way she texted a  “heart”  to her boyfriend,  who was on the school bus headed for his home.   That was the last anyone has heard of her.   She has not been seen since.  When her mother arrived home from work,  Abby was not there.  Later that evening a missing person’s report was filed,  and the search began.

Local police,  our state’s Associate Atty General,  the State Police Major Crime Unit,  FBI Agents,  Secret Service,  and the Fish and Game Department have all joined in the search, along with numerous volunteers from the community.  The community . . . the shocked and saddened community has gone into action.  Some of Abby’s friends have created websites to keep her face and information in the public’s eye via social media.  Local businesses have printed posters, at no cost,  that have gone up everywhere.  The County Nursing Home, where Abby’s mom,  Zenya  is employed  has allowed it’s employees to donate some of their vacation time to her,  to help with finances as she takes time off from work.  Six hundred people attended a candlelight vigil and walk in the park, symbolically “to light the way home” for Abby,  followed the next day by a “half marathon” sponsored by a local runners’ group that Zenya and Abby’s sister belong to.  Funds raised were donated to the family to help with expenses.  It’s just a caring community coming together to help this heartbroken single mom and sister in their time of need.

 Though there have been many tips called in,  per request of the police,  there have been no real leads in the case. No communication from her of any kind.   There have been exhaustive searches,  but no real clues.  Posters abound throughout town, and now billboards are going up containing her picture.  There have been road stops, interviews, but nothing found that would lead to Abby. Those who know her say she seemed happy and not to have any major issues.  Officials feel that the longer she has been gone, the less likely it is that she is a runaway.  That gives all involved great concern because she is a beautiful fifteen year old girl,  without a car or a driver’s license,  and no means of financial support.  She is out there . . . somewhere.

So this community is rightfully concerned,  and somewhat on edge.  We are watching our  kids very carefully, as we should, and praying for our girl,  Abby to return.  Yes, our girl.  That’s what community is all about.  This community has taken Abby as their own and we won’t rest until she’s home.  Though there’s much we do not know, there is one thing we do know.  Wherever she is,  God is with her.

“Where can I go from your Spirit?                                                                                         Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;                                                                                        If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,                                                                                                   If I settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there your hand will guide me,                                                                                         Your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:7-10)

Let’s not forget that He is “El Roi,”   “. . . the God who sees . . .”  (Genesis 16:13)   We pray that by His mighty hand,  He will bring her back to her family and us, soon.

Wherever you live,  please take a good look at this beautiful face, and if you have seen her,   please make the call that will bring Abby home.   In the meantime, please pray.

Thanks so much.   That’s the view from here. . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

ART 101

779441237329516

Anyone who knows me know I love creative arts.  From crocheting to sewing to making scenery from cardboard, I love it.  I have always loved to draw and was fascinated when I discovered reruns of Bob Ross’s painting lessons on cable several years ago.  I hinted strongly to my husband that painting supplies and instruction books might be a great gift for Christmas that year.  He went “one better.”   Upscaling my suggestion,  I was privileged and delighted to receive private art lessons from a highly gifted and respected Christian artist and brother in the Lord.  Needless to say, they were an incredible blessing, and the Lord eventually moved me to offer art lessons to homeschoolers and others in my home for a couple of years, and also to help out with the art program in a Christian school in our area.

Painting is an exciting art form!   God has placed us on this beautiful planet with so much of His glory visibly displayed that reflecting it on canvas or paper can become an act of worship.

At the onset of any art training,  one of the first things you learn is the concept of “perspective” – seeing the whole picture.  Every picture has a foreground, middleground and background. Things look different up close  than they do from a distance. Sometimes you can even observe a photo or a painting, and by focusing in on one small section,  discover  something beautiful that you hardly knew was there.  The whole picture can look totally different.  You are viewing it from a different  perspective.

Isn’t that the way it is with life?  Sometimes we may be going through a trial or a struggle and things look a little out of control . . . maybe even chaotic.  If your life were a picture,  it might seem disjointed and confusing. That’s when, perhaps, we need to step back and take a look at the big picture.  What does it look like from a distance?  God has a purpose for whatever comes our way in life,  and when you gain that perspective,  you are better able to focus in on what you’re currently going through and see how God is using it for His glory.  We need to see our  struggle through His eyes, from His vantage point.  You may just find something beautiful that you might have missed had you not looked at it from the perspective of the Master Artist.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

Lee, if you are reading this, thanks. . . not just for great art lessons,  but for art lessons from a Godly perspective.  And John,  thanks for the amazingly thoughtful gift.  It carries on in so many areas of my life.   I love you.

So if things in your life occasionally appear out of control to you,  take a quiet moment to step back and look at the bigger picture, from the perspective of the Master Artist!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. “    Hebrews 12: 2-3

That’s the view from here . . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Family Matters . . .

Pers. ChainsPastor Richard Wurmbrand once said, “A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.”   He was qualified to make this statement,  because he lived his life ready to die for what – and whom  he believed in.  His body wore the scars of fourteen years of torture and suffering for his faith in a Communist prison, where he observed the unshakable courage and enduring faith of hundreds of fellow believers.  He and his wife, Sabina  (who also suffered two years in prison)  founded The Voice of the Martyrs in 1967, to raise awareness of the persecution of Christians worldwide, and to encourage the body of Christ to pray for and assist them.

It’s easy to become complacent in the comfort of our personal walk with the Lord.  It’s truly delightful to gather for worship on Sunday mornings with our church fellowship and to hear from His Word.  I was in that  “complacent” state of mind and heart when God, through a dear friend, opened my eyes to the plight of the many believers who are  suffering through a very different experience. But God didn’t just settle for opening my eyes.  He broke my heart.   Oh, I had heard about them before, but after reading a couple of books, and some VOM Newsletters detailing current events,  it became personal – and gut wrenching.  I would lie awake at night, unable to get these precious people out of my mind.  I’d pray for them, and weep.  My friend happened to be the Area Coordinator for Voice of the Martyrs, so I went through the training and served as an Area Representative in NH for a time, until my health wouldn’t allow me to continue.  But oh, how those blessed brothers and sisters have earned a permanent place in my heart.  They are my family.  God says so!

Did you know that there are approximately 200 million believers suffering significant persecution around the world every year?  That’s about one third of the body of Christ.   In about 60 countries it is basically illegal to practice your Christian faith or even have a bible.  These Christians are being harassed, and deprived of their homes, possessions and liberties.  Some are imprisoned, and some are tortured.  Reports indicate that about 160,000  believers make the “ultimate sacrifice” each year for the sake of the gospel – that’s one every 3 minutes.  Think about that.  They are passing from this earth via an untimely death,  just because they chose to stand for Christ. In most cases, if they chose to deny Christ, they would be spared.  But they don’t.  In spite of all that they go through, they still choose to stand for Christ,  and their commitment to share the gospel,  no matter the cost. They take to heart  2 Tim. 2:12,  “If we endure we will also reign with Him.  If we disown Him,  he will also disown us,”  and Rev.12: 11, “They overcame him (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,  they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

What’s that to us?  Everything. The Word tells us, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts,  and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given one Spirit to drink.”  (1 Cor. 12:12,13)  WE are His body.  It’s not “us,” who worship here in America,  in our comfortable churches with stain glass windows,   and “they,” who worship in the forests, or huddled in their houses in hiding,  or in filthy jail cells . . .   It’s we, the body of Christ.     Verse 26 teaches us that if one suffers, we all suffer.  We are family, and family matters!

“While we are worshipping in our beautiful sanctuaries . . . they go to church knowing that the building may not be standing when they arrive.  While we are enjoying the privilege of singing songs about Jesus . . . the reason they sing,  is the reason they are imprisoned.  While we meet in the open to pray and worship . . . they meet in secret,  and,  in some cases, whisper their praise songs and prayers, or it may be their last time.  While we,  even at a young age,  get to live for Christ . . . they are dying at a young age for Christ.”

Hebrews 13:3 says,  “Remember those who are in prison as if you were in prison with them,  and those who are mistreated as if you yourself were suffering.”   This is our responsibility as the body of Christ. You can visit http://www.persecution.com for more information,  current prayer concerns, and,  if God leads,  how you can help.

When this life is over and all has been said and done, there’s only one thing that will really matter.  Did I live my life for Him?  These precious folks will be able to answer with a solid  “Yes.”  I hope that I will, too.  Will you?   Please pray for them.   They are our family . . .  and family matters.

That’s the view from here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

On A Clear Day

Yes, this is really where I live!

Yes, this is really where I live!

We’re blessed to live, especially at this time of year, in the beautiful foothills of Mt Washington.  Breathing in that cool, clean mountain air is a refreshing, invigorating experience!  People who live in metropolitan areas such as LA, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC, often bemoan the condition of their air.  The blanket of smog that frequently covers their city pollutes it,  making it impure and dangerous to breathe.  They know that inhaling this impure air can cause your lungs to blacken, and coughs to develop.  In general,  it’s bad for your health!

I often wonder why we, as Christians, aren’t so concerned about our “spiritual” atmosphere.  James 1:27 gives us the recipe for “pure” religion.  “To look after the orphans and widows in their distress. . .”   This usually gives us no problem, but we somehow slide quickly over something that James regards as equally important to “pure” religion.  That is, that we are to “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  This clearly states that it is OUR responsibility, no one else’s.  We may, individually,  be able to do precious little about smog,  but we can, and are commanded, to control our spiritual atmosphere.  What are we watching?  What are we listening to, reading, and laughing at?

On more than one occasion during our years in ministry, I’ve found myself in the position of sharing some rather unpopular viewpoints on this subject.  One that I remember well, concerns a widely acclaimed Oscar-winning movie of several years ago.  It came with rave reviews from my husband’s teaching colleagues, and even from some of our Christian friends and parishoners. The film happened to be playing in  a  local theater where we were vacationing,   John and I,  along with our preteen daughter,  ventured out to see it, expecting to be entertained.  After a multitude of profanities,  graphic violence, and sexual explicitness, we walked out,  less than thirty minutes into the movie.  As I shared our experience with several other Christians, I was challenged with, “You should have stayed. . . it had a really good message!”  This general consensus surprised me, but it shouldn’t have.  You see,  the more we allow ourselves to be polluted by “a little profanity here,” “a smattering of violence there.” sexually explicit scenes in an otherwise “pretty good police show,” and the ever present questionable reading material and music,  the less impact the more blatant material will have on us.  It saddens me to see a popular show that started out to display great dancing,  now a vehicle to bring “soft porn” into our living rooms. And it’s not only accepted, but is anticipated and welcomed, as the viewing audience continues to become desensitized.

Isn’t that the way pollution works?  “Smog” obstructs our view, making it difficult for us  to see clearly, and damages our health.  When we allow ungodly influences to invade our spiritual atmosphere,  we start to lose our sense of discernment and our spiritual health is at risk.

Yes, the entertainment pollution is all around us.  It’s what the entertainment industry and its sponsors offer us.  Why?  Because we watch it.  It’s like inviting the enemy into our living room every day.  A friend once made an interesting observation that I have never forgotten.  She said,  “We entertain ourselves with sin.”  Thought-provoking, isn’t it?  But we don’t have to. There is a little button on that remote that can exorcize that “entertainment demon” right out of the room in a nanosecond.  It’s a choice.  There really are other selections if we look for them.  I have a rating I try to impose on my viewing, reading, and listening.   It’s the P4 rating:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,  whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Well, we may not have remained to discover the “redeeming” qualities of the acclaimed film, but we viewed enough to discern that it was not wholesome according to God’s standards.  You know,  I do not have to do drugs to know that it is wrong,  nor do I have to participate in a deviant lifestyle before making a decision that it is not godly.  God’s standards are clearly spelled out in His Word and WE are to keep ourselves from being “polluted” by the world.  “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. . .”  (Psalm 101:3)

Gleanings from James 1::27?  The more we expose ourselves to the pollution of the world,  the harder it is for us to breathe . . . that is, to inhale the Word of God and to exhale it by holding up His standards.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,  let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

As the familiar song says . . .

ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER!

That’s the glorious view from here . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s Not the Real Thing!

Acat&frogstatue

Last Saturday,  John & I spent the day with some treasured friends that we’ve known for years.  They’re the “real thing” . . . as followers of Christ,  and as  friends.  The four of us have been together in hard times and joyous times. We’ve shed tears together and had times when we laughed so hard we thought our sides would split.  We’ve shared our joys. It is true, that friendships really do divide our sorrows and multiply our joys.  We’re so grateful that God has allowed us to have a friendship so deep,  that even living in different communities cannot sever the ties.

We all yearn to be accepted and loved,  to feel that we have purpose and that we matter.  Sometimes we search for love and significance in the wrong places, like our kitty friend in the picture. It seems silly, doesn’t it?  Cuddling up to that cement frog? I just want to scream at that cat, “It’s not the real thing, silly!”  But I suspect we’ve all done things just as silly in our search for significance.  Have you ever poured so much of yourself into your job,  in the hope of getting a business promotion,  that you neglected other important aspects of your life?  Have you ever gone into deep financial debt, just to have the impressive “house of your dreams?”  Or the house of everyone else’s dream? Or the newest “status symbol” car.  You know, the one that will make the neighbors or people at work sit up and take notice of you?   That little sports thingy!  There are all kinds of dead end roads waiting for us if our search for significance is not directed by the Lord.  If we follow them, we make just about as much sense as that misguided kitty.   Real significance, acceptance, and meaning can be found.  It’s all a matter of what you cuddle up to, or cling to. Silly kitty isn’t going to receive much encourgement back from that cement frog.

God has created us to be relational beings.  As early as creation, He saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone,  and He created Eve from his rib. The bible records many accounts of significant relationships. The friendship of David and Jonathan, and the relationship of Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, are just a couple. In the New Testament we see Paul’s love for Timothy,  like a son.  Personal interaction,  and the sense that we’re not alone in this life, are needs that have been placed within us by God. Real significance comes when we make a difference in someone else’s life.  Searching for meaningful significance in other places is like cuddling up with that cement frog.

What’s your cement frog?  Is any pursuit, honorable though it may be, getting in the way of the relationships that God has brought to your life?  Proverbs 27:10a says, “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family.” I read today that “The value of friends is one of the most important things in a person’s life: Their worth is not diminished by time, not devalued by inflation, not worn out by use, but like a fine wine, they improve with time.”(Jack Wellman)  That has been proven in our life by our friendship with John and Micki.  I pray that your significance will be found,  not in the empty pursuits of this world,  but in “the real thing,” the relationships that God has privileged you to nurture,  the lives of those to whom He has called you to “make a difference.”  And may each of us find our ultimate significance in our “friend who sticks closer than a brother,”. . . in Jesus Christ,  Himself.  He’s the real thing!!!   (Proverbs 18:24)   Blessings on your day!

That’s the view from here . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Wake Up Call!

DownloadedFileIn the wake of yesterday’s commemorations of the events of 911, I’ve been reflecting. We can all recall where we were when we heard  the news.  We remember our raw emotions vividly, and the sense of patriotism, unity, and resolve that was so  tangible.  There was even a sense that hearts were “turning to God” as our nation struggled through the devastation and recovery from such loss.  In some ways it seems like only yesterday. In other ways that patriotism, unity, resolve, and seeming resurgence of faith, seem to be in a far more distant past than the twelve years gone by.

We live in a different time now, and dare I say, in a different America?  Some of the changes are to be expected.  We live enveloped in suspicion.  “Could that be a terrorist?”  “What are you carrying in that bag?”  Increased security is one of those expected  and reasonable changes.  But the unity that once held us together appears to have loosened its grip, as our nation seems to struggle to determine who we are.  We used to know.  We were “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”  It’s what united us. We were respected for it.

But things are different now.  Now socialism doesn’t even try to creep in, but stands to its feet and strolls on through, like that friendly camel, as if to say, obnoxiously, “Do you know what day it is?”  Well, according to the “powers that be,”  it’s a new day with  “a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared.”  The act of taking from the rich to give to the poor sounds really altruistic, in a Robin Hood sort of way, and to some, maybe even “godly.”  Proponents will even quote scripture in its defense.  But when they do,  they put their ignorance of scripture on display.   Oh, it is certainly a godly thing to share what we have with the poor. The early church pooled their resources and shared  so that everyone’s needs were met. But did  you notice, they chose to do it?  (Acts 2:42-47)  They weren’t forced by the government.  You can’t legislate love and kindness, nor are we supposed to.  It comes from a heart that’s been born of Christ.   “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”  (Acts 4:32)

 Things are different now.  As lies and deception of government officials continue to be revealed, disappointment and mistrust builds. Unity is not to be found, even within the nation’s  party divisions.  We learn that if we’re on the “wrong side of the tracks,” politically speaking,  our phone calls, donations, and who knows what else, apparently now can and have been secretly monitored,  for the purpose of determining if we are a “threat” to the current administration or their plans, or if indeed, we should be branded a “terrorist.”  Corruption and deception equal a confused and untrusting society,  hardly a place where patriotism and unity thrive.

Things are different now. As marriage has been “redefined,” it seems “tolerance” has taken on new meaning.  Schools must have “Holiday” concerts and parties.  Clerks are told not to say Merry Christmas!    Merry Mas!  It kinda loses its ring without Christ doesn’t it?  So Happy Holidays, it is, if you want your job!  We’re even told, “You can’t end that public prayer in Jesus’ name.  It might be offensive to some.”

If you are a Christian, be aware . . . The exclusive claims of Christ are being negated every day in the name of tolerance.  Jesus says, “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)

Christians, this is about life,  and whether we like it or not,  politics is a part of it.  Many believers prefer the docile, “peaceful” route of burying their heads in the sand and saying, “Oooh, I just don’t like to talk about that.  Don’t want to go down that road  –  might offend someone.”

And the enemy applauds . . . .

Jesus said,  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn  “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)

Knowing Jesus brings to our hearts a peace that passes all understanding, but Jesus knew full well that standing for His message would stir people up!  He expects us to stand anyway! These issues affect our life,  as representatives of Christ,  and we have a responsibility to respond to them as such.

On that day in September,  12 years ago,  as Americans stood together, resolved to bring justice to those responsible for the murder of of almost 3000 innocent American citizens, could you ever have imagined being told that it was in our best interests to help Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria?   Could you have imagined our government turning their backs on multiple pleas for help from our own military personnel under attack in Benghazi?

We’re living in a different America. Yes, things are very different now, and  troubling as it is, it shouldn’t take us by surprise.  We’ve been warned.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

We’re seeing this prophesy fulfilled today as the Christian values that were the foundation of our nation are ridiculed, and those who dare to uphold them are branded as intolerant fundamentalists.  We stand by and watch as our society sinks deeper into the godless pit of deception and depravity.

Our government rightfully decries the chemical weapons use by Assad on innocent men, women, and children,  but self-righteously legalizes the right to murder our own precious babies with forceps and medical implements before they are allowed to leave their mother’s womb.  God help this nation’s self-righteous, misguided soul.

Things are different now.  But they don’t have to stay this way. I want my America back!  You know the one.  “The land of the free and the home of the brave!”  Where people are free to speak the truth, and brave enough to stand for what is right and honorable!

There is a way.  I believe it with all my heart.  But it will need His people more than ever, to make it happen.   We share in the responsibility of where we’re at as a nation.  Whether we have just accepted with resignation, this “state of the Union” as being “our lot,”  or whether we have neglected to pray as we should.  Interestingly, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is addressed to God’s people.  That’s you and I, believer!  He says,

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”   It begins and ends with us.  If WE will turn from OUR wicked way . . . Let’s not forget that James says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”    His church needs to keep watch over what is going on, stop using the “politics” excuse,  and take a stand for what is right.  She needs to pray for our leaders and citizens, for our children and babies, for those who are lost and need a Savior. His  church needs to  STAND.  Can we do that?  Or have we forgotten that we are His Bride?

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”( Joshua 1:9)   “What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

God could have chosen for you to be born in any generation, in any land.  By His providence He chose for you to be born in this nation at this particular time in history.  “…Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

That’s the view from here . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Who’s In Charge Here?

rear-view-sunset“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  (Proverbs 16:9)

I’ve never thought of myself as a control freak really, but I’m beginning to see that the potential exists for me to behave in such a way that someone, who of course, doesn’t  know me well, might mistakenly assume . . . Oh, all right. I guess the potential has always been there.  I’ve always been goal oriented. I like organizing and seeing something through to completion,  whether it’s a craft project or an event.  And I’m a list maker, for sure. Lists help me stay focused when I’m working on a project.  They help me feel that I have . . . control?   Dang!

I haven’t had any “major” projects going lately,  so it’s odd that in the “norm” of life, this uncomfortable realization would sneak up on me like this.

It was time for a regular eye exam.  I felt my vision changing and there are certain ocular things that are supposed to be checked because of my AS condition.  I’ve been using a big box store’s vision center for years and my husband urged me to go to his eye doctor this time.  I,  with much contro- I mean, wisdom, chose my same optometrist, who told me two years ago, my eyes hadn’t changed much, when I knew they had.  I opted for cheap instead of quality.  I had the exam, came out again with the same diagnoses for vision, except that due to some increased pressure in my eyes,  I should see  (you guessed it) my husband’s eye doctor to get a glaucoma check.  Man I didn’t want to go back to him with that news.  Pride and control go together you know.  He was very gracious and we made an appointment to have another full exam done by his doc along with the glaucoma check.  Results?  A change in glasses prescription, and another appointment scheduled with another opthamologist to check the increased pressure,  and to probably perform a preventative laser procedure, because of a high risk for glaucoma.

As we were taking care of this, I had been having a lot of pain running from my shoulder down through my arm with numbness in my fingers, which finally sent me to my primary care office, locally.  Diagnoses bursitis, arthritis flare-up, and possible pinched nerve in the neck.  Back on 40 mg prednisone, after weaning myself to 5 a day.  They suggested an MRI which will be decided by my rheumetologist.  If the numbness subsides with the prednisone, it’s probably not a pinched nerve,  but just the flare-up causing it all.  In the meantime, avoid driving.  Avoid driving?  That’s not usually a problem for me, but I have an infusion due the next week that is two hours away.  My husband works for the school district and it’s the opening day of school.  Are you kidding me?  Oh, and I HATE asking anyone to drive me because it’s 4 hours on the road with a three hour treatment.  Grrrr.

On Thursday I was expecting my son-in-law to arrive to pick up their pup we had been caring for, when I got a call that my glasses were in.  Since I determined that my husband was on his way home and would be there if I weren’t,  I got in the car and drove to pick up my glasses.  Yes.   I did.   Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do,  hasn’t she?

On Friday,  for some reason, I was really tired – not due to any physical activity, because that’s another one of those things that I don’t do well anymore, and that I’m feeling out of control because of.   (And yes, just today, I choose to finsh that sentence with a preposition.) Frankly,  just getting from one place to another to do normal things takes much energy and effort because of the AS and fused spine.  So, I was just simply tired,  and grateful that there were no appointments, or places I had to be.  A day to “crash.”  Maybe to even blog.  Not long into the morning,  my phone rings and it’s the rheumetologist’s office in Concord.  “Mrs. Aron, your blood work done at the time of your infusion looks good except for the fact that your platelets are low.  We’re not sure if they really are, or if it’s a false reading, but we need you to go to your lab and have some blood drawn so we can check it again. Today.”  “Today?”  “Today.” In the middle of everything going on,  I hadn’t even told the rheumetologist about the flare-up yet. So I told her nurse about the megadoses of prednisone I was on at the time.  She said that could cause it,  but we needed to check it anyway.  So, without even doing my hair, (Can you believe that?) off we go.  No.  Off  I go. Driving again.  Doing what I know I’m not supposed to and feeling very out.   of.   control.  Getting angrier by the minute.  But at who?  Nobody is purposely plotting to make me feel this way.  So who?  God? Noooooo. . .  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. “(Jeremiah 29:11)   Ouch. . .

You know, when you’re going through stuff in the moment, even silly, frustrating things, it can get hard to see clearly.  I don’t know if eye pressure has anything to do with clarity of vision or not, but I do know that sometimes the pressure of even the little stuff in our lives can cloud our vision of reality.  Can I just tell you a few things that God did in the midst of these last few days?

In spite of me . . . God allowed the diagnoses of increased eye pressure at the first doc’s to get me into another practice and get an “accurate” eye exam, as well as the preventative care needed for glaucoma, and encouragement from a friend that has had the procedure done.  I now have new glasses and am reading comfortably and driving (Shhhh . . .) safely again . . . .  My sweet granddaughter, Jasmine,  took her entire day and drove me to my infusion appointment.  You have no idea, unless you are a grandmother, of what a blessed day that was.  I will treasure it always . . . . I had not called my rheumatologist to let her know what was going on.  Frankly, we had worked hard to get down to 5 mg of prednisone and I think/know I was avoiding making that phone call.  What do I think she was going to do to me?  Shoot me?  That’ll teach me.  But surprise!  They called me.  My secret’s out now, and I am free!   Actually I am already down to 10 mgs of prednisone.  In a few days I’ll be at the norm of 5.  Big deal, huh? . . . . Oh, and one more thing. When I went to have my blood drawn that day with my hair “undone”?   When John came home from work that day, he looked at me and said, “Hi!  You’re hair looks nice.”  I LOVE that man! And His God, whom he obviously listens to,  carefully.

Do you see what I mean? In the midst of my feeling so out of control lately, God was in total control,  seeing to my welfare,  future and hope – providing blessings all around.  Is there something you need to let go of today?  Trust me, No. Trust Him. Ask yourself in the midst of what you’re dealing with,  “Who’s in control here?”  You know the answer. Then let go of it.

It’s like looking through the windshield of our car at the speeding traffic coming at us and the frustrating congestion all around us.  It  can be very unnerving.  But pulling over and taking a minute to look out your rear view mirror  can reveal what’s already safely come to pass.  Remembering what He has already done, reminds us that, even when life seems out of our control, He has everything in His perfect control,  just as it should be.

Thanking Him today, for giving me the “rear-view”  from here . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Puppycations and Generations

Queen Olivia

Queen Olivia

We have been blessed for the last couple of summers to have each of our two daughters’ dogs spend a week or so with us, while they vacation.  It makes their time away a little easier and more relaxed and is a treat for us and our pup, Olivia,  to have these “grandpuppies” with us for a bit.

Our Olivia is a senior gal and spends much of her day “resting her eyes” with her small, but fluffy white body stretched out in the quietest, most undisturbed and secluded spots that she can maneuver herself into.  One of her favorites is in a far corner of the living room,  deeply hidden under a coffee table,  where no man can go.  One day she was found sound asleep curled up in John’s  opened computer case.  She’s thirteen now.  They say that would be about ninety in dog years.

ShrimpyThe first one to come for her puppycation with Grammy and Grampa is Heather’s “Shrimpy.” She’s a sweet elder pup too, though being a chihuahua/terrier mix,  she’s pretty spry for her years.  These two genteel ladies get along quite well together. I liken it to having two more “grammy types” in the house, along with myself.  They just kind of comfortably hang out with each other,  watching the neighborhood go by from the living room window, letting us know if anything noteworthy  happens.  They seem to fall into a routine.  I think,  if dogs were able,  these two would be found in their rocking chairs, sipping tea,  knitting,  and “shooting the breeze.”   I know what you’re thinking, but I mean that  last phrase in the best scents possible.  Really!   They have a  “my crate is your crate” philosophy, enjoy each others company,  and the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful,  much like a pleasant retirement home,  I guess.

Sandy

Sandy

A few days after Shrimpy returns home, it’s time for puppycation #2.  On Thursday, John met our daughter Glenna in Hampton,  to pick up Sandy and bring her the rest of the way home.  She is a  2 year old  energetic  Havenese baby and  rode nicely in the seat next to him for the whole trip.  I mentioned to Olivia that she was in for a surprise when Daddy came home.  She was napping on the couch when they arrived.  I heard them coming up the ramp, and so did she.   Her head shot up,  wide eyes planted on the door.  The door swung  open and Sandy spotted her.  There was one single bounce where her feet actually may have hit the floor between the door and couch. They kissed! They high-fived! (Really.)  They were happy, happy, happy!  Then they pounced around on the floor,  wrestling, yapping,  and having standoffs,  eyes glued on each other,  each waiting for the other to make the next move.  It was hilarious!  For a time, Olivia seemed to take on the youthful personality of  Sandy,  somehow finding this bounding energy  deep inside of her aging body,  to play as one many years younger than her thirteen.  About twenty minutes later, she settled down for a long evening’s nap.  Sandy was okay with that.  There they lay,  on opposite ends of the couch,  exhausted,  but delightfully happy!

Oh, how the generations need each other!  And we have so much to offer each other!  “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:40)  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,  for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

We are currently involved in a home church with a few families who choose to meet together each Sunday for Worship and hearing from God’s Word. We  have come to fondly refer to it a “Simple Church.” What a blessing it is to meet together with children, their parents,  and grandparents and with friends of all generations.  As we study and learn together,  the children see how important the Word of God is to their parents.  They are free to ask questions and offer their own thoughts. They bring life and energy and hope into the worship community,  while the adults and older ones bring stability genehandsand wisdom, all through the same Holy Spirit at work in each of us.  It’s healthy!  I think God intended it to be this way.  What a joy  as we all learn together, worship our Lord together, and and bring out the best in each other . . . not unlike our intergenerational grandpuppies!

That’s the view from here . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments