Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ransomed Dreams



I just ran across a new author I am impressed with, Amy Wallace. She has 2 books out so far in the "Defenders of Hope" series. Book #1, "Ransomed Dreams", is the book I just read. My favorite type of book to read is Christian suspense, and she has nailed it down better than any books I have read lately.
When I read the short author bio on the back, I thought it said she was a self-confessed alcoholic, and read the whole book thinking she was a recovering alcoholic. After going on her website, I read something that made me double check, and found out it says "chocoholic". :-)
This book has it all. Tragedy, forgiveness, people struggling with trusting God, believing that He can really make a difference, kidnapping, and even romance. (Romance is ok as long as it is someone else who is involved in it!) The characters are very likable, and flawed.
I have heard people knock reading Christian fiction, and I have read some that really wasn't up to par, but I have read many more where authors can address issues like trusting God, forgiveness, and other issues in a way that wouldn't grab a reader's attention in the same way. Also, I believe God uses all sorts of ways to speak to people. I also believes He uses methods according to the person and their interests. For me, one way has been through Christian fiction, for that is one of my favorite things to do.
One dream I have, which has a snowball's chance at the equator of happening, is to write a Christian novel some day. Not just for entertainment, but the kind that will make a person think. I even have a plot for it. If you read my blog very often though, you know I am not a writer, but more of a "rambler", and can't see me writing a novel that would be interesting and captivate anyone, much less make any sense. :-)
Back to the book, I love the title. "Ransomed Dreams". Those words give the idea of our dreams being taken from us, but then being returned as a result of a ransom being paid. I have to admit, I can relate to the idea of my dreams being held hostage, but I have become pretty much a realist. I am sure many would disagree with me, but sometimes it isn't so much a lack of faith, but just plain reality to know and believe something will not happen, and that is where I am with some of my dreams. Could they come true? Sure, God can do anything. Are they likely to come true? No.
The Bible doesn't necessarily talk about our dreams, in the respect of what we want out of life, but it does say a lot about turning sorrow into joy and beauty for ashes. It also talks a lot about sowing what we reap, and sometimes life gives is lemons. We can make lemonade, but its still lemons. Sometimes God restores everything, like with Job. And sometimes, we have to just live with the scars. What it all boils down to, is trusting God to do whatever He wants with our lives, not what we want.

Black Friday

My foray into Black Friday shopping wasn't too bad, though we escaped the worst of it by not going until 7 am, plus, more people went to Youngstown to shop than Salem. I didn't get anything I wanted at Walmart - they were out, but I did get a zippered "hoodie" somewhere else for a good price, and nicer than Walmart would have had. We got Mom and Dad pretty much finished for Christmas, which is mainly what we were out to do, then got Chinese food and went to Vicki's to wrap - well, they wrapped and I read a Garfield book. :-)

I was reading that at a Walmart in New York, people were in such a hurry to get to the deals that an employee was trampled. I love a good deal as much as the next person, but that is insane. This may sound extreme, but I think they should have examined everyone's shoes for blood and at least fined them, if not charge them for manslaughter.

This may also sound extreme, but I feel that the stores are at least partially responsible when something like that happens. They put out a "limited supply" of items at a really good price, with no rain checks. They know people will be fighting to get some of the deals, yet they do it year after year, so does it not fall partly on them if a death happens in that manner?

I had an idea, but they don't ask for my input. :-) Instead of opening early and having a stampede, advertise the specials, but put certain things on at certain times, only announced over the loudspeaker, or do some kind of deal where people get a number, by Internet or something - like a lottery type, and then they are assured to get it. I don't know, but it seems crazy to have stuff like that happen.

Paul and Pam went back home this evening - they went over to his parents' for a while, then headed back to PA. Joey spent most of the day on the couch in his pj's, and threw up at least once. We are hoping no one else gets it, but as much as he and Katie are around each other when they are here, I'd say her chances of catching it are pretty high. I was sad to see them go, but God willing, will see them in about a month when they are here for Christmas. Hard to believe Christmas is that close.

After buying wrapping paper to wrap everything I bought, we found my wrapping paper in a closet today, too late to use it this year. Oh well. I won't have to buy any next year for sure. If we are still allowed to celebrate Christmas - ok, that sounds extreme, but I am afraid the new president is going to try to change this country as drastically as he can, and who knows what next year will bring forth.

There has been as song on my mind a lot lately, as I think about the election results, and read stories of how this nation seems to be getting farther and farther from being a Christian nation. It is the song that I got my blog name from, and I quoted the lyrics in my first blog on blog spot, but they bear repeating. For anyone who is a true Christian doesn't belong here, and should never feel completely at home.

I DON'T BELONG: words by Gloria Gaither, music by Buddy Greene

It's not home
Where men sell their souls
And the taste of power is sweet
Where wrong is right
And neighbors fight
While the hungry are dyin' in the streets
Where kids are abused And women are used
And the weak are crushed by the strong
Nations gone mad
Jesus is sad
And I don't belong

Chorus:
I don't belong
And I'm going someday
Home to my own native land
I don't belong
And it seems like I hear
The sound of a "welcome home" band
I don't belong
I'm a foreigner here
Singing a sojourner's song
I've always known
This place ain't home
And I don't belong

Don't belong
But while I'm here
I'll be living like I've nothin' to lose
And while I breathe
I'll just believe
My Lord is gonna see me through
I'll not be deceived
By earth's make-believe
I'll close my ears to her siren song
By praisin' His name, I'm not ashamed
'Cause I don't belong

Repeat chorus

I belong To a kingdom of peace
Where only love is the law
Where children lead And captives are freed
And God becomes a baby on the straw
Where dead men live
And rich men give
Their kingdoms to buy back a song
Where sinners like me
Become royalty
And we'll all belong

Yes I belong
And I'm going someday
Home to my own native land
Where I'll belong
And it seems like I hear
The sound of a "welcome home" band
Yes, I'll belong
No foreigner there
Singin' a sojourner's song
I've always known
I'm going home
Where I belong
Yes I've always known
This place ain't home
And I don't belong

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Paul and Pam didn't arrive out here until close to 8 pm last night. Their neighbor, who also goes to their church some, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the surgery was scheduled for yesterday morning, and Paul wanted to be at the hospital, so that delayed their departure time. The boys were happy to be here.

My morning started out way too early today. I was awakened around 4 am when the turkey was being put in the oven in the basement. I got back to sleep after a bit, but got awakened again around 7 when Josiah came down to play a computer game.

After a breakfast of a Panera Bread bagel, Paul, Pam, and I set off for Big Lots to take advantage of some specials. About 2 miles down the road, Vicki called and wanted us to go back, as they were coming earlier than planned and wanted Paul to take some family pictures, so we came back and transformed Mom and Dad's basement into "Duncan Studios".


























I even got pulled into the "studio" - though I didn't know what was in store when they called me over. I was not dressed for pictures, and had not shaved either, but they made me sit on the stool and smile. Well, at least I sat. :-)

Lunch was served around 12:30, and man did we eat. Mom got carried away with mashed potatoes and there were enough to feed us all a second time. As usual, I didn't quit when I should have. That one last helping of stuffing was over the top, but you can't beat in-the-bird stuffing!


After clean-up, we played some games, then Vicki, Paul & Pam, and I headed off for Big Lots, and got there uninterrupted this time. I didn't quite get what I went for - a blue tooth that was on special for $10 - I paid a few $ more and got one that had something extra with it. Sweat shirts & pants were on sale, but I couldn't find my size. I did pick up a Christmas CD for $4 and my favorite kind of potato chips - salt & pepper. Paul did get half of what he went for - a bookshelf, but they were out of the phone set he wanted. He almost got more than he went for. He and I were looking at the blue tooth case and a woman was also standing there looking. Paul grabbed her cart and started off with it, thinking it was his. She quickly stopped him since her purse was in it. :-) She was nice, and knew it was an honest mistake. What she doesn't know is, later he started off with it again, but relaized before she saw him he had goofed again...............

After coming back home, most of us ate some more - not sure why - you just do that on the holidays! - and finally had dessert. Steve had gone home to work on the addition to their house, so Vicki left soon after. We must be nuts, but decided to go into Salem tomorrow at 7 am to do some shopping, (well, I was not given a vote on the time! ) - so to avoid making the girls go shopping, they are staying tonight also - something they are excited about, as they are already staying tomorrow night.

It is sad that so many of us focus on being thankful more today than any other day - it's good that we do focus, but sad that we don't focus more on being thankful the rest of the year. I was making up my bed a few minutes ago, and Benjy came downstairs to give me a hug good night. He squeezed about as hard as he could, and asked me if that was a "tight one". I assured him it was, and he went off to bed. It's the little things like Benjy seeking me out to give me a hug, that help me realize I have a lot to be thankful for. My family isn't perfect - none are, but they are a great family, and I am thankful for them. And for 50-some more days at least, we are privileged to live in a free country.


I would like a full time job, and a place of my own - I am really starting to feel in the way, though Mom and Dad have said nothing or done anything to make me feel that way, but at least I have a place to stay until I reach that point, and have a part time job that pays my bills and lets me buy an occasional item that I want, and don't really need.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and may this time next year find us all doing as well.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What About Santa?

What is a Christian to do about Santa? The subject came out on a site I used to vist, theirholiness.com - well, there is actually a my instead of "their", just my name for it. I and some others presented some ideas, and they were scoffed at, but I think the ideas have merit, so since I love to blog, I decided to take on jolly old Santa.

I think we all know where Santa came from: a man named St Nicholas, and how he was generous with his gift giving to the poor. I won't go into all that, but Wikipedia has a page on all that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_claus

What I want to tackle, is what are we as Christians, especially parents, supposed to do about Santa Claus? Here are my thought and opinions. I know I have no kids, and to some people, thats seems to exclude me from the right to talk about subjects pertaining to kids, but what do they know?!

I read about a Sunday School teacher who was talking about the devil, and one of her students raised their hand and said "I don't think the devil is for real. I think its like Santa Claus - he is Daddy!" That brings a smile, but should also make us think. If we let kids believe Santa is real, and tell them he brings their presents, is there not a danger that when they find out he isn't for real, that they could assume the same thing about God & Jesus?

Kids can't always distinguish between the real and fantasy. I personally don't think a child should be led to believe that Santa is real and brings his presents. Beside the dangers, why let them think someone else brought the presents? If I pay money for gifts, I want my nieces & nephews to know they are from me - I don't want some fat guy getting the credit!

Some may scoff at the idea of kids getting confused about Jesus after finding out the truth about Santa. Really? On one hand you tell your kids this fat man in a red suit brings their presents, watches them to make sure they are being good, and has a naughty list if they are bad, and they might get no presents if they get on that list. At the same time, you tell them there is a God they cannot see, who is watching all they do. He also has a couple of "lists" - they want to be on the one that will mean they are going to Heaven. Then at some point the kid finds out Santa isn't real. He didn't bring them presents. What if they start wondering about this God they were told about? Is He for real, or is He someone Mommy and Daddy made up to make me be good........

It is a very real, and dangerous possibility. Plus, it is lying to your kids. Yep, lying. I don't see how anyone can get around it. Sure, someday you are going to tell them Santa isn't for real, but it is still lying to tell them he is for real and is bringing their presents. And if the kid finds out you were lying about that, how much trust will they have in their parents?

I know of course, that it won't affect every kid that way, but just because it isn't a guarantee that it will mess a kid up with his view of God, doesn't mean it is guaranteed that it won't mess them up in that area. There are tons of people who struggle with their view of God, why risk having Santa possibly cause problems?

I am somewhat middle of the road with Santa. I think Santa plays a big part in the commercialization of Christmas, and he shouldn't be portrayed as real to kids, but I don't go clear to the right and point out his name is an anagram for Satan, and all that. As I pointed out in another post, I do have some "Santa" songs on my Ipod and CDs, but they are far outnumbered by songs that don't mention Santa.

I think a lot of what to do with Santa should be left up to personal convictions and discretion - other than lying to kids and letting him think he is real - I know people who refuse to have anything to do with him, and that is fine. If one has kids, and Santa songs are played around them, and they go sit on Santa's lap, they should be aware that he isn't real, he is just a symbol of Christmas.

One other Santa issue I will mention, is having Santa at the manger. That totally disgusts me. We sold them at the bookstore when I worked there, and I was totally against it. Santa does not belong at the manger. I know the idea behind it, but to me, it is just plain sacrilegious.

So what is a Christian to do with Santa? Tell the truth, and handle the situation with kid gloves. You can't be too careful with kids and their beliefs.

I will close with the words of a Santa song that I love. From the first time I heard this song, I thought it was a cool song, and still do. Words & music by Buck Owens & Don Rich

Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy

Well, Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
It's not the way I had him pictured
Santa was much too thin
He didn't come down the chimney
So mama must have let him in
Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
Well, they thought I was fast-a-sleepin
'They thought that I was tucked in bed
They never thought I'd come a-peepin'
Or that I'd hear what was said
Santa put his arm around mama
And mama put her arm around him
So if Santa Claus ain't daddy
Well then I'm a gonna tell on them
Well, Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
It's not the way I had him pictured
Santa was much too thin
I never saw Dancer or Prancer
I never heard the sleigh bells ring
I never saw a red-nosed reindeer
Like they show on the TV screen
But he sure brought lots of presents
So Santa Claus he must have been
Well he sure looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
Well, Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
It's not the way I had him pictured
Santa was much too thin

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Riven


I blogged a while back about a fiction book that really moved me, possibly more than any I had ever read. It has been upstaged by the book I just finished, "Riven", by Jerry Jenkins. I started the book a few days ago - it is longer than most I read, over 500 pages, so I didn't get it done in one sitting. As I sit here with my eyes having that terrible feeling that have after you have had a really hard cry, all I can say is "wow". And I did cry a lot, pretty steadily for the last few chapters of the book. Jerry Jenkins says this is the book he was destined to write, and has had the idea for years. If you intend to read the book, you may not want to read what I write. This book has impacted me, and I will give a lot of it away. But if you don't plan on reading it, or don't care if it is given away, read on.
For most of the book, it reads like 2 stories. On one hand, you have Reverend Thomas Carey & his wife, Grace. Pastors for years, never succeeding anywhere, and having the worst done to them by the people they are trying to serve. Add a college-age daughter with her live-in boyfriend, and nothing is going right for this wonderful pastor. He finally ends up as chaplain for the Adamsville Supermax prison, where only the worst offenders go, and there are no privileges or human contact, other than guards.
And you have the hero of the story. Sixteen-year-old Brady Wayne Darby. Fatherless, cigarette smoking, beer drinking, and eventually druggie and school drop-out. His main mission in life is to look after his little brother, Pete, and keep their mother from abusing him. As the book bounces back and forth between the pastor who is a failure, and feeling like God has deserted he and his wife, and the young boy who has everything going against him, the author gives a good fictional account of how everything can go wrong for a young boy, until after in and out of juvenile detention and jail, he is finally on death row at Adamsville Super max Prison. The same prison where Thomas Carey has been working futilely for 14 years. No convert. No man ever serious about his request to see the chaplain - they all have ulterior motive.
And then the "heiress killer", Brady Darby arrives, and no one is ever the same again. Unlike the other prisoners, he is no trouble. He wants no appeals, no mercy. He wants to die for his crime, and as fast as possible. But somewhere along the line, the little bit of church he had comes back to remind him that when he dies, he will drop straight into Hell. He asks for a meeting with the chaplain to ask if there is any hope for a murderer like him.
After several meetings, worn-out, depressed Thomas finally has a convert, one that will change his life, and change the prison. I admit, I was taken aback by the end of the book, though the readers know what is going to happen a few chapters before, and even though I had a good idea before I read the book, due to a review I read. Each prisoner on death row is allowed to choose his method of death. Brady decides not to go with the usual 4. He has only recently come to understand just what Jesus went through on the cross, and wants his death to help people understand that, so he chooses crucifixion. Filmed live. By the time I got to the actual death scene, I had given up on fighting the tears - not that I had been very successful, and just let them come.
I know that could never happen in real life, and even in the fiction world, it was fought, but it was his right to choose.
This book was really worth reading. It was recommended to me, but I had put off buying it due to the price - $24.99 - even the sale price wasn't a good deal, til I found it half off, and had a 25% coupon I could use in addition to that. I am glad I got it, and read it. I don't think I could have read it a better time in my life, for it addresses some of the things I struggle with. Does God really love unconditionally, no matter how bad we are, no matter how far we stray? Why does it seem God is distant and lets His children suffer so much?
The one review I read, on Christianbook.com that gave the ending away for me, was negative. The man who wrote it didn't like the idea that Jenkins had his character die the same way Jesus did. I had no problem with it. The author was not trying to make this guy into Jesus, but was trying to let people see through his eyes, what it must have been like for Jesus. If that helps even one person, that is worth the book being written, printed, and sold.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rap Music!

I detest winter, and snow, and the cold, and all that, but I have to admit, it puts me in the mood for Christmas. I got out all of my presents, and wrapped them Monday. I got some good (w)rap music going, which helped me get more in the mood to wrap the presents. I have decided next year, I need to buy on;y gifts that are in square boxes. Most of what I bought for the kids this year was horrible to wrap, and looks horrible wrapped, especially the stuffed animals. :-) Oh well, they wouldn't stay pretty anyway once they start tearing into them. All of the things that are here, are wrapped. I have a couple of things coming in the mail for Stephanie, and I still need to buy for my siblings. Instead of buying them all separate- sisters and brothers-in-law, I had the bright idea to buy them things for couples. Brilliant plan if I could come up with an idea what to buy. :-)

This will be the first time in 4 years that we will all be together for Thanksgiving. The last time was in 2004. Vicki & Steve have to spend every other with his family - that's one thing I don't have to worry about - having in-laws drag me from my family! Anyway, in 2005, Vicki and Steve were with his side, then in 2006, they were here, but Pam was pregnant and due around the end of November, so they were afraid to travel - no fears there, Nathan was 10 days late just like his brothers! - Then last year, Paul and Pam were here, but Vicki and Steve had their off year, so it will be nice that the whole gang will be here. Paul & Pam & the boys will arrive Wednesday some time, and will stay through at least Friday, hopefully Saturday.

I slept horribly last night -was in one of my melancholy worrying moods, I guess. Then work was rough today - the machine wasn't set right, so that was frustrating. I came home beat, and managed to grab a short nap - too short. I really felt like staying home, but went to church anyway, then found out it was missionary. :-( It was a pretty good service. This will sound horrible, but I am not a fan of missionary prayer meetings. If they announced when they were, I would stay home - maybe that is why they don't! Missions are great, missionaries are great for doing what they do, but 99% of the missionary services I have been in since I started going to church regularly in 1981, have not been too impressive. Nothing against the speakers, but it usually consists of someone talking some, and people reading stuff. I personally don't think men should have to attend anyway, it is the WOMEN"S missionary society - we aren't allowed to be president, or hold any office, so why should we be expected to go?! :-) I know, I am a horrible person for admitting it, but its true. I have always dreaded missionary prayer meeting, as a kid, and as an adult. Oh well. Who says we have to like everything at church anyway?!

It was a decent service tonight - was on Thanksgiving, and a lady from my church wrote it, and she also presented it. It was a little different than the average thanksgiving service.

Well, I need to shut up and get off of here. Til next time!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Becoming A Butterfly

First off, my sincere apologies to Steve Goodenow for reading more into his closing remarks in Sunday School, but he doesn't seem upset with me, and it did make my mind work blogging about it, so I will let that blog up. :-)

I'd like to explore an idea, and if anyone reads my ramblings, feel free to leave your input.

Most of us, if not all, have some affliction and/or temptation to deal with. Some people seem to have it easier than others, though we can't always tell from the surface. I still look at people in church and think there is no way anyone there has to deal with what I have to deal with, but who knows?

A friend of mine told me on occasion that his dad had a theory, and there may be something to it. There are people who when they become a Christian, are immediately delivered from the desire for whatever sinful practice that had a hold of them, whether it be pornography, alcoholism, sexual immorality, smoking, drugs. Yet others have to daily fight not to give into that one drink, that one glimpse at those magazines. My friend's dad suggested that the ones who are delivered instantly isn't because they are stronger, or got a better experience, but possibly because God knew they could not handle struggling with the daily temptation & desire for what used to hold them captive, and that the ones who are not delivered instantly from the old desires are the ones that God knows can handle it, and that it will make them stronger.

Another friend of mine more recently made similar comments, so my brain is spinning thinking about it.

You can take it out of the sinful realm and into the physical realm. Some people have to deal with crippling disease, while others are healed, or never have to go through any physical pain. Parents have to deal raising a child who will never be able to run & play like other kids, and may not live to see high school. Others face horrible accidents, and things too horrible for any person to go through.

Could there be something to this idea? That God lets those suffer from strong temptations or physical pain who will be able to handle it, and become stronger because of the struggle? Are some of us like the butterfly? They say the butterfly needs the struggle of getting out of the cocoon to emerge a beautiful butterfly, and if someone tries to help that butterfly by snipping away part of the cocoon, the butterfly will emerge crippled, and will not live long. So it isn't a stretch to say that many of us need to go through tough times, or rough times of intense temptations, to emerge a mature Christian.

If this is the case, isn't it a gamble for God? He is all-knowing, but what if the person can't handle the temptation or physical affliction? Some haven't, and have walked away back into the sinful life that they used to live. What if Job had cursed God, instead of trusting Him? Obviously, God knew he would hang in there, and he did.

We don't see the heart, and God does. The same people who become discouraged and walk away possibly were never surrendered, and had no intention of ever giving their all, so God could use their struggles to weed out who will truly be faithful.

The Bible does say He will not give us more than we can bear, and will always make a way of escape, but do we always look for the escape? Do we always want it, or do we sometimes want the forbidden worse than we want the promised escape?

Another reason God could let some of us struggle so much, is to drive us to Him. I will admit I have a natural tendency to just drift along like a stream taking the path of least resistance. Had God wiped out my struggles completely, and answered my desperate prayers, I very likely would have "rested on my laurels", coasted along, and been easy prey for the devil. Anyone who has a daily. or almost daily, temptation or affliction, cannot sit back and relax. That person has to rely on and go running to God more than the Christian who never had anything major to deal with. All too many of us would be happy to stay in that cocoon, and be an ugly old worm, but the struggle pushes us forward, seeking more of God, desperate for more of Him, knowing only closeness to Him can pull us through.

I know all Christians are tempted, and Satan fights all of us. I don't mean to trivialize anyone's Christian walk, but it is a fact that many of us have harder issues to deal with, and Satan knows where our weakness lies.

My post may be rambling and not make sense, but it has stretched my mind, which is good. I welcome comments, and speaking of comments, I used to get an email with new comments, asking me to publish or ignore the comment, but I haven't been getting emails for the last few comments I have received - anyone have any ideas how to fix that?

Called By God

They threw the Sunday School book out the window for my class at church, and give different people subjects to speak on. This month the subject is work, and they come at it and how it relates to Christians from different ways. Not sure how they will get a whole month out of it - guess they will have to really WORK at it. :-)

Steve Goodenow has been teaching this month, and as he always does, has been doing a great job. It just isn't fair that one family has all that intelligence! They have been a great addition to the church and school since they came our way a few years back. Steve put up different areas that jobs fall under: Discovering Truth, Interpreting Truth, Implementing Truth, Restoring Truth, etc, and we had to come up with jobs that fit into each category. For instance, science came under Discovering Truth, police & government and the like came in under restoring truth. I did however, disagree with his closing statements, but he left no time for discussion or disagreement - and he will most likely read this, so I am not talking behind his back. :-)

His closing thesis is that we are all called by God to do certain jobs. We tend to set preachers, Christian School teachers, and missionaries in a separate category, as "called", and the rest of us as not called. He further stated that whatever job God calls us to, we should stay there until He calls us somewhere else, and not move on for just better pay.

Now since he gave no opportunity in class, I am going to disagree with him on here. :-) I do believe that we should seek God's will on what kind of work we do, and where we move to do it, but for most of us, I don't believe God calls us to any particular work. He may call some to be something outside of the religious work, but overall, I don't think we are called to any certain work.

I have had several jobs in my life, and really never felt God calling me to any of them. I did move on for better pay, or better circumstances, and most of the time felt God worked it out, or it was just time to move on, but I never felt called to the new job, or the old one.

Looking back, the type of work I enjoyed the most, was working at the Christian Bookstore. There was something satisfying about finding a book, CD, or just a song, for someone. Sadly, circumstances got to where I couldn't stand working there, but of all the jobs I had, that one had the most satisfying moments. But was I called there? To be honest, I didn't even pray about taking the job. I needed one, was offered one, and took it. And to be more honest, since I am currently working just part-time, I would most likely take the first job that was in my abilities to do, and where I did not have to work Sundays, that came along. I wouldn't dream of wondering if I were called to it.

I think preachers, Christian School teachers, and missionaries are a different breed. Often, their service to God takes them far from family, friends, and the familiar. Sometimes it seems they have absolutely no control over where they will be called next. But people like me - I look for work in my area. At this point, I don't think there is any way I would move away from here again unless God practically wrote it in the sky. Am I waiting for God to call me to some job? No. I am trying to find whatever is available that is within my abilities to do, and one that will allow me to have Sundays free.

Just because I disagree with Steve, doesn't mean I don't believe God can call people to secular work. I believe there are doctors and nurses who are called of God, and very likely other professions, but all of us? Nope, don't believe it.

I do believe we should all seek God's will and blessing on a new job, and we should never move where there is no church similar to what we attend, and should be careful what kind of place we are moving family to. We are all called to serve, and if our job is serving God, then we are called of God to do that: serve.

Sorry I disagree with you Steve, and hope you still like me!

Concerts & Birthdays

Last night was the Booth Brothers & Hoppers concert. It started at 7:00, and we left around 4 for a 1 1/2 hour trip, planning to eat on the way, which ended up being Wendy's in Dalton. It has been so long since I was at a concert there, that I had to get directions. We got there shorty before 6, and they didn't open the doors til close to 6:30.

I was hoping to buy a Booth Brothers' Christmas CD - mine is in storage, and I cannot find my Christmas CDs, and I was going to put it on my Ipod and pass it on to someone else, but they had had only 4 with them, and had already sold them, so still no Christmas CD.

We sat in the wrong seats until close to the start of the concert. I had asked for aisle seats, and the girl on the phone said all she had was in row "T" against the wall, so we found row T by the wall - a row of 6 seats, and sat there until some people came and said we were in their seats. Oops! Our seats were in one of the middle sections on the aisle, so I was told wrong. They ended up being better seats, and we were still in row "T".



They usually put up the group that has been around the longest, which is the Hoppers, so they took the platform first, and they were great. Highlight songs for me were "I've Come Too Far Too Look Back", "Jerusalem", "Shoutin' Time" - which the Booth Brothers came out and joined them on the last chorus, and their final closing song of the night was "O Holy Night", and what a powerful rendition of that song! Unfortunately, I sat in front of the Hoppers' back-up singers, or a wanna be. :-) He sang along on a lot of their songs, which is annoying. One thing that impressed me about the Hopper women, is they both had on very long dresses. I of course don't like everything about them - I don't understand why women have to change their hair color and pile on the make-up, but overall, they look pretty decent on stage. I wonder if some men would recognize their own wife if they saw her without make-up on. :-)

The Booth Brothers were up last, and also were great. They sang a few songs from their new CD, and some different ones than they sang last time, though they did open with the same song as last concert I saw them at: "Where No One Stands Alone". Highlight songs for me were "I'm Forgiven", "This Love Is Mine", and "Welcome to The Family". The other time I saw them, Michael Booth had some really good things to say about trusting God that made me think, and I walked away much more encouraged than before. He again impressed me with a mini-message, but along a different subject. He asked how our hearts were, how we are sleeping, and talked about God being a just God, about hell, how if we aren't serving God, we need to do so before it is too late, etc. I actually never heard anyone talk quite like that at a concert, and I admire him for doing so.

Tomorrow is my brother-in-law Steve's birthday, so we are celebrating that today. Mom always makes the birthday person whatever they want for their birthday dinner, and whatever kind of cake. He picked roast beef, mashed potatoes, & noodles, and a boston cream pie for dessert. (Why do they call it a pie when it is plainly a cake?!) This practice hit a snag with Paul a few years ago. He wanted pizza for his birthday dinner, and it was Sunday. We always have done a dinner of potatoes, meat, etc for Sunday dinner, and we were horrified at the idea of pizza for Sunday dinner! Pizza is a Saturday night meal, not Sunday dinner! Paul insisted it was his birthday, and that is what he wanted. So we compromised. Mom made him his own personal pizza, and we had our traditional Sunday dinner, and he was happy. :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Disappointed by God & A Day of Shopping

I finally got some Christmas shopping done today. I had already gotten a good deal on the whole Chronicles of Narnia dramatized on CD, a set for my nieces, and one for my nephews. I also replaced my set with a set that will work better on my bookshelf. I plan on passing my old set onto the school if my nieces ever give it back. :-)

Mom, Vicki, the 3 girls, and I went to Boardman for the afternoon to do some Christmas shopping. I needed to go badly - other than the Narnia CDs, I hadn't bought anything, but now I am almost done with the kids. I got really good deals at Kohls - and I love good deals! What I bought there for the boys (toys) were 30% off, with an additional 20% off, and then we had cards that gave 15% more at the register. I actually got my purchases there for more than half off. :-)

We got home close to 5 - the girls are spending the night, and good grief, are they ever picky! We had spaghetti, which was very good, and all 3 girls picked the hamburg out of the pasta. I don't know if Vicki just uses sauce, or what the deal was with that.

Tomorrow evening is the Booth Brothers and Hoppers' concert, which I am looking forward to a lot. I have been rubbing it into my friend Cindy since she likes the Booth Brothers so well, but she can take it. She just can't take losing in Rook to me, which she was making a career out of before I moved back, and saved her some dignity. :-)

I am currently reading a non-fiction book. Big shock there. I admit I read mostly fiction, but have been doing so since I was a kid. One of my friends bought me a couple of books he said I needed to read, so since he bought them, I have begun to read them. I am in the middle of "Disappointment With God" by Phillip Yancey. Parts of the book seem familiar, but I don't think I have read the whole book.

It is interesting to me that other people have gone through the same things as me - why do we always think we are the only person who could possibly have experienced something?! the author has actually mentioned specific things in the book that I have found myself thinking. Such as: why do we always thank God and give Him credit for good things happening and answering prayers, but when the opposite happens, we don't blame Him? And does it do any good to ask Him for anything when it seems He already has it laid out what will happen.

I think we all have had experiences where we look at a situation and wonder where was God? I have had them. I have battled things that no one should have to battle, and wondered why it seemed I was alone on the battlefield. Wondering where God was as the devil crashed through every defense I tried to put up.

I don't have all the answers yet, and in fact, don't have many answers at all, but the author brought out some interesting things. We all at times have wanted God to do something miraculous thinking that would solve the problem, but as Yancey pointed out, the Israelites had God with them all the time, doing all kinds of miracles, but were constantly complaining, grumbling, and going back to their idols. Even in the story of the fiery serpents, all they had to do was look at the serpent on the pole, and they would be healed, and some refused to do that. So, if God would do some miracle, would it change anything for those of us who struggle with these issues? Maybe temporarily, but the minute something would go wrong, our doubts would start up again, and we would want another miracle.

So can a true Christian be disappointed in God? I have heard people sing the song "There Are No Disappointments In Christ", and found myself thinking, "yeah, right". Does He disappoint? Can He? Can we expect too much of Him?

I really am not sure how to answer my own questions at this point. People disappoint us, for they are human, and we can expect too much of them, but if we have faith and expect God to do something, and He doesn't, then doesn't it make sense to be disappointed in Him? It sounds un-Christian and irreverent.

A person who comes to my mind many times, and I may have mentioned it before, is Joni Eareckson Tada. How does she do it? Is she disappointed in God? If not now, was she? I cannot imagine living life as a paraplegic, depending on other people 24/7, yet she paints, has authored several books, and has an amazing ministry that she wouldn't have had were she out of that wheel chair.

It isn't always easy to stand back and just chalk it up to the fact that something wasn't God's will. I look back on my life, and so many times it seemed like I was so discouraged and wondering where God was, nothing was going right, no matter what I did or how I prayed, and I would just give up. Even now, older, and somewhat wiser, I find myself wondering why God didn't do something. It seems like the devil has fought harder for my soul than God has.

I would guess I have never truly "died out" to God, though I thought I had reached the point of total surrender. A lot of us have that one thing we hope God never asks of us, and I truly felt I had reached that point. I told Him He could do anything with my life, even if it involved....And then something happened recently that showed me I didn't honestly feel that way. Something happened that totally shredded my heart and emotions. I walked out of that situation fighting tears and thinking "there is no way on earth....." God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knew whether I meant it or not. I thought that I had, but now, I don't know I could handle it if it happened.

It's getting late, and I am still rattling on about this deep subject. I would ask that anyone that reads this, would pray for me when you think of it. I have let circumstances, and things I battle with, wear me down, not to the point of giving up, but to the point that something needs to change. Reading a book may help some, and I think it is helping, but I know the best help comes from God.

America, Our Last Best Hope

I rarely do this, but thought this article was excellent, and worth passing on. It was written by a man in London, about our election and Obama. I copied and pasted it, and noticed there are different spellings on some words - I am guessing that is intentional since he is a journalist, I wouldn't think he would make all of those mistakes. Anyway, read it - it is worth it.


The night we waved goodbye to America... our last best hope on Earth

Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.
The night America changed: Barack and Michelle Obama in Chicago.


It already has all the signs of such a thing. The newspapers which recorded Obama’s victory have become valuable relics. You may buy Obama picture books and Obama calendars and if there isn’t yet a children’s picture version of his story, there soon will be.
Proper books, recording his sordid associates, his cowardly voting record, his astonishingly militant commitment to unrestricted abortion and his blundering trip to Africa, are little-read and hard to find.


If you can believe that this undistinguished and conventionally Left-wing machine politician is a sort of secular saviour, then you can believe anything. He plainly doesn’t believe it himself. His cliche-stuffed, PC clunker of an acceptance speech suffered badly from nerves. It was what you would expect from someone who knew he’d promised too much and that from now on the easy bit was over.

He needn’t worry too much. From now on, the rough boys and girls of America’s Democratic Party apparatus, many recycled from Bill Clinton’s stained and crumpled entourage, will crowd round him, to collect the rich spoils of his victory and also tell him what to do, which is what he is used to.

Just look at his sermon by the shores of Lake Michigan. He really did talk about a ‘new dawn’, and a ‘timeless creed’ (which was ‘yes, we can’). He proclaimed that ‘change has come’. He revealed that, despite having edited the Harvard Law Review, he doesn’t know what ‘enormity’ means. He reached depths of oratorical drivel never even plumbed by our own Mr Blair, burbling about putting our hands on the arc of history (or was it the ark of history?) and bending it once more toward the hope of a better day (Don’t try this at home).

I am not making this up. No wonder that awful old hack Jesse Jackson sobbed as he watched. How he must wish he, too, could get away with this sort of stuff.
And it was interesting how the President-elect failed to lift his admiring audience by repeated – but rather hesitant – invocations of the brainless slogan he was forced by his minders to adopt against his will – ‘Yes, we can’. They were supposed to thunder ‘Yes, we can!’ back at him, but they just wouldn’t join in. No wonder. Yes we can what exactly? Go home and keep a close eye on the tax rate, is my advice. He’d have been better off bursting into ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’ which contains roughly the same message and might have attracted some valuable commercial sponsorship.


Perhaps, being a Chicago crowd, they knew some of the things that 52.5 per cent of America prefers not to know. They know Obama is the obedient servant of one of the most squalid and unshakeable political machines in America. They know that one of his alarmingly close associates, a state-subsidised slum landlord called Tony Rezko, has been convicted on fraud and corruption charges.

They also know the US is just as segregated as it was before Martin Luther King – in schools, streets, neighbourhoods, holidays, even in its TV-watching habits and its choice of fast-food joint. The difference is that it is now done by unspoken agreement rather than by law.
If Mr Obama’s election had threatened any of that, his feel-good white supporters would have scuttled off and voted for John McCain, or practically anyone. But it doesn’t. Mr Obama, thanks mainly to the now-departed grandmother he alternately praised as a saint and denounced as a racial bigot, has the huge advantages of an expensive private education. He did not have to grow up in the badlands of useless schools, shattered families and gangs which are the lot of so many young black men of his generation.


If the nonsensical claims made for this election were true, then every positive discrimination programme aimed at helping black people into jobs they otherwise wouldn’t get should be abandoned forthwith. Nothing of the kind will happen. On the contrary, there will probably be more of them.

And if those who voted for Obama were all proving their anti-racist nobility, that presumably means that those many millions who didn’t vote for him were proving themselves to be hopeless bigots. This is obviously untrue.
Yes we can what?: Barack Obama ran on the ticket of change
I was in Washington DC the night of the election. America’s beautiful capital has a sad secret. It is perhaps the most racially divided city in the world, with 15th Street – which runs due north from the White House – the unofficial frontier between black and white. But, like so much of America, it also now has a new division, and one which is in many ways much more important. I had attended an election-night party in a smart and liberal white area, but was staying the night less than a mile away on the edge of a suburb where Spanish is spoken as much as English, plus a smattering of tongues from such places as Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan.


As I walked, I crossed another of Washington’s secret frontiers. There had been a few white people blowing car horns and shouting, as the result became clear. But among the Mexicans, Salvadorans and the other Third World nationalities, there was something like ecstasy.
They grasped the real significance of this moment. They knew it meant that America had finally switched sides in a global cultural war. Forget the Cold War, or even the Iraq War. The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world.
Suspicious of welfare addiction, feeble justice and high taxes, totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique.


These strengths had been fading for some time, mainly due to poorly controlled mass immigration and to the march of political correctness. They had also been weakened by the failure of America’s conservative party – the Republicans – to fight on the cultural and moral fronts.

They preferred to posture on the world stage. Scared of confronting Left-wing teachers and sexual revolutionaries at home, they could order soldiers to be brave on their behalf in far-off deserts. And now the US, like Britain before it, has begun the long slow descent into the Third World. How sad. Where now is our last best hope on Earth?
Article found here, by Peter Hitchens: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1084111/PETER-HITCHENS-The-night-waved-goodbye-America--best-hope-Earth.html

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keeping Christ In Christmas

I love Christmas! Everything about it - well, the good things. :-) Family, presents, Christmas cookies, presents, the music, presents, the lights, presents..........Seriously, there is more to it than presents. I do like to get them - who doesn't?! But I also like to give them.

A few years ago, back before our church started this new "youth focus" thing, I spoke on this subject. Wish I had kept my notes, but I usually threw them away after I got suckered into speaking. (I would rather speak than sing though - that is a horrid experience!) Anyway, thought I'd "jot" a few of those ideas down, what I can remember. Christmas is so commercialized, it is easy to get caught up in the sales and the hustle and bustle, til we forget what we are celebrating. I think Christians should celebrate Christmas like no one else on earth. It isn't about Santa, it is about our Savior being born in a manger. The TRUE Messiah. Easter is a big deal - what good would our religion be with a dead Savior, but let us not overlook Christmas. The time set aside to celebrate His birth. Without His birth, there would not have been a Calvary, or a Resurrection. Here are a few ideas of mine, and a few borrowed from a book that I have. The list is not exhaustive, but it is a start.

1) Start early, especially if you have kids. Get an advent calendar, and involve the kids in using it in the days before Christmas arrives. There are also devotionals written for Christmas, and the month preceding it. I saw one at our local Christian bookstore for either 99 cents, or a couple of bucks.

2) Among your Christmas decorations, a Nativity scene is a must. Therein lies the very reason for the Season. One of the highlights of my Christmas is putting mine out, lighting it up, and as I gaze at it, think about what that first Christmas was like. I don't get hung up on things like the wise men weren't at the manger, and things like that. I just enjoy my Nativity scene.

3) If one can afford it, it is nice to pick a family from church or your neighborhood, or even an individual, who doesn't have much, and take them some gifts, or even a cookie tray. Another neat idea is to do the 12 days of Christmas, and do it anonymously: take a small gift every day for 11 days preceding Christmas, and a larger one on Christmas day.

4) Give money once in a while to the Salvation Army. It gets old seeing them everywhere, but they do good things with the money they bring in.

5) Read Christmas stories. I have a ton - ok, a lot - of Christmas books, not all of them necessarily about the birth of Christ, but they still convey the true meaning of Christmas. Fortunately, I did manage to dig those out of storage, and will be able to enjoy them in the coming days.

6) Take in a Christmas cantata, candle light service, or some type of Christmas program. Even a play. The Christmas Carol isn't a Christian production, but it does get the meaning of Christmas out - giving.

7) Break out the Christmas music. There is a ton of good Christmas music out there. I like the occasional "Jingle Bells", "White Christmas", and some other secular tunes, but you just can't beat the ones that tell the Christmas Story. "Silent Night", "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", and even the new ones: "It's Still the Greatest Story Ever Told", "Mary's Boy Child". Usually I break it out in September, and by mid-November, am listening to nothing but Christmas.

9) Say "Merry Christmas". I hate this trend away from calling it Christmas. It isn't "Happy Holidays", or "Xmas"( and yes, I have heard the theory about that one, but still hate to see it).

10) Family traditions. One our family had which isn't religious, but was fun, and slowed us down, was to drive around looking at the Christmas lights. There are others. The author of a book I have, "Keeping Christ In Christmas", takes his family to a candy making store to watch candy canes being made by hand. The possibilities are endless. They don't always have to be religious in nature, but a tradition that takes some of the hustle and bustle out of the season for a while.

For younger kids, a birthday party for Jesus can be a neat idea.

11) Special Christmas event. In my area,  the Columbiana Christian Church does a "Walk With Jesus", where they have scenes from Jesus' life from the Nativity to the Resurrection. I always enjoy it, and it was a great reminder of everything that Christmas was about, and beyond. If one could find something like that, or a live nativity, that is a great thing to do at Christmas.

12) Spread the joy. I have never been one to witness much, but have taken the opportunity at Christmas a couple of times. When approached or asked by a sales clerk to buy this or that, one can ask if they know what Christmas is all about - I have done it.

13) Outreach. Organizations like Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and more, are good ways to give, without receiving any material thing back. Some churches have a special offering that goes to some need. Our pastor has made it a practice that people can give him money that he can pass on to someone who needs it.

14) Christmas Caroling. This may get back to my church, but that's ok. :-) I am not a fan of our modern day caroling. We pack up in vehicles and drive from place to place to sing to church members, many of them not house-bound, though some are. Whatever happened to standing on a street corner and singing to nearby houses? That is what I'd enjoy. Regardless, it is a way to keep Christ in Christmas.

15) Do an advent candle, with appropriate readings.

16) Maybe the best way of all: do some spiritual inventory. Someone once said that Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts: the Gift of God (His Son) to man, and our lives to Him. If all is not right between our soul and God, what better time could there be, than the Season that is all about Him to get things straightened out. And even if all is well, it is still a good time for some personal reflections on what His birth, and death, has done for us.

17) Lastly, read the Christmas Story from the Bible. It can be stretched out into a few readings, whether individually, or for the family.

I may have told the story on my blog before, but it bears repeating. A young couple had tried for years to have a baby, with no success. Finally, when they had lost all hope, it happened. A baby boy was born into their empty arms. They were thrilled! After he was brought home, they threw a party in his honor, so that all of their friends and family could meet the little prince who had made their lives complete.
After all of the guests had arrived, someone finally asked to see the little guy. The joyous celebration turned somber as they realized no one knew where he was. A frantic search began all through the house until finally he was found. On the bed where all of the guests' coats had been piled, nearly suffocated to death. Christmas is still 6 weeks and 2 days away, but let us go into this one determined to celebrate the true Reason for the season. Let us not suffocate Jesus and lose site of Him amid all of the hustle, bustle, and commercialization of Christmas. Christians have the best reason to celebrate, and let's do it in style.

And lastly, the words to one of my favorite newer songs:
The Reason
Verse 1
Going back to Bethlehem, gonna' find this Baby
Looking for a manger, where the King of Kings was laid.
But I never made it to Bethlehem, I never passed a star or three wise men
I found out Baby Jesus was real, when I was distracted at Calvary's Hill.

Chorus:
And you can't get to His manger, without looking past His cross
A "No vacancy" sign at the Bethlehem Inn
But He made room for the lost.
And on your journey to find three wise men
You'll pass a crowd crying "Crucify Him"
There's just a lot whole lot more to Baby Jesus
There's the reason why He came.

Verse 2
I don't come to condemn the excitement the season brings
I'd just like to leave with you this very important thing
He's not in a manger. You won't find Him there anymore.
But if you listen closely, you'll hear a full-grown Jesus
Knocking at your heart's door.

Bridge:
The reason He came was to give life
He came to set the captive free
To bind up the broken-hearted
And give a chance to a loser like me
So while you're making memories during the holiday
Don't forget the reason Jesus came.




Monday, November 10, 2008

New Holiday?

I am going to have to start slapping myself to make sure I am not dreaming. Plans are underway to promote a national holiday for Barrack Hussein Obama. No, I am not making that up: http://special.cjonline.com/stories/110908/loc_353922770.shtml

Also, the first three things that BO plans on doing with his executive destruction (AKA executive orders) - reverse the stem cell research ruling by Bush, so they can use aborted babies, reverse the ruling on the lifting of the drilling ban, and this last one is a doozy: close the
Guantanamo Bay prison, and try the terrorist criminals as US citizens. Is he nuts? - well, I think that is pretty evident already, and he hasn't even taken over the presidency yet. According to the article I read, this "could require creation of a controversial new system of justice". http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081110/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_guantanamo

I got pretty tired of the Cintons after they had been in office for a couple of years, but I am already filled to the brim with this guy. How on earth will we stand 4, or worse, 8 years of him?! He seems intent on reversing anything that Bush has accomplished. I am afraid we are in for it. Welcome to the United Socialist States of America!

And this just in: He would like to do away with our national anthem, as he "doesn't like the bombs bursting in mid-air" part - please! That has nothing to do with it - he is just bent on destroying this country, and the vast amount of Americans have paved the way. God have mercy on us!

And one last thing on the strange side: The winning lottery number for Illinois, Obama's home state, on the day after the election was 6-6-6. Mean anything? Maybe not, but kind of creepy. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/lottery.asp

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Trapped In A Storage Shed

Most of my belongings are in a storage shed, evidently including my Christmas CDs, as I cannot find them anywhere else. I decided to brave the storage unit and try to find some things I am wanting. I went alone, bad mistake. :-) After pulling a few things out of the way, and unstacking some boxes, I had the brilliant idea to stand on a chair, and climb up further on some boxes that seemed rather sturdy. As I was looking at box contents, a tall bookshelf fell behind me, blocking the chair I had been on. This shelf had been holding my bed's mattress and box springs up, which since they had nothing to hold them up, promptly fell on my head. I was stuck pretty badly there for a bit, and thought I was going to have to call for some assistance, but I managed to move what the bed had knocked over, and somehow got the bed back on top of the shelf and got myself extricated from my belongings which had tried to bury me alive. :-) I did manage to find a box with jackets in, hopefully containing a winter jacket (haven't opened it yet), and a box containing most of my Christmas books, but no Cds. They must be buried worse than I was. :-)

I ran across a timely song that I have on my Ipod, but had forgot about. It is a country song by Diamond Rio, but packs a good message: In God We Still Trust. One line in the song says "He's the One we turn to, every time the going gets rough", and I am afraid that is what it is going to take to wake people up. I still remain convinced that we are in for rough times in the next 4 years, and we had better enjoy these couple of months left before we enter a new administration. We as Christians in America have fallen asleep and need awakened. When we have people who profess Christianity, but vote on their pocketbook instead of moral issues, something is wrong. No matter what happens in the days ahead, we have to remember that God is still running this world, not Barrack Hussein Obama. We may face difficult days, but our trust must be in God, not in our nation, or circumstances.

If things get too bad, and I come up missing, I will be in my storage shed. :-)

In God We Still Trust

You place your hand on His bible, and when you swear to tell the truth.

His name is on our greatest monuments an' all our money too.

An' when we pledge allegiance, there's no doubt where we stand:

There's no separation, we're one nation under Him.

Chorus:

In God, we still trust here in America,

He's the one we turn to every time the going gets tough.

He is the source of all our strength, the one who watches over us.

Here in America, in God, we still trust.

Now there are those among us, Who wanna push Him out.

And erase his name from everything, This country's all about.

From the schoolhouse to the courthouse, They're silencing His word,

An' now it's time for all believers, To make our voices heard.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Need I Say More?!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

God Can Use You!

I was looking over my documents folder and found this - had forgotten it was on my computer, and decided to pass it on:

YOU THINK GOD CAN'T USE YOU? Amazing when you come to think of it!! The next time you feel like God can't use you, just remember...
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ
The disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once)
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer....
AND Lazarus was dead!!!!!!!!..............no more excuses now. God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message, you are the messenger.

Israel & America

I am sure I have never had an original thought, and someone has most likely thought about this already, but I was thinking today about the similarities between the Israel of the Old Testament, and modern day America.

Israel would get a godly king, and all would go well for several years. People would worship God, and do right. Then that king would die, and a wicked king would take his place. He would bring back idol worship and all sorts of wickedness. Manessah introduced child sacrifice - we have abortion instead. King after king, they would go from serving God, to serving idols, back and forth, until God said it was enough, and the captivity began.

Now I certainly hope we aren't about to be taken into captivity, though it could be close to that - but do we not have a similar track record? The first president I can remember was Jimmy Carter, and I don't remember much about his policies, just that he didn't do too great of a job. We used to have a song we sang as kids "Jimmy Carter has a way of messing up the USA" - Jimmy or Carter could be exchanged for "peanut". :-)

Then 1980 came, and Ronald Reagan became president, in my opinion the greatest president we have ever had. After 2 terms with this great president, he was followed by George Bush, and the conservative traditions and policies continued.

Then the Clinton years began. America was tired of Bush, and wanted new blood, and fell in love with the Clintons - something I still cannot comprehend. Bill Clinton tried to undo what was good in our country. He worked with the abortion industry, made homosexuals in the military legal with the "don't ask, don't tell policy", sold secrets to China, killed only God knows how many people who got in their way, and of course brought a lot of scandal to the White House. And it seemed the majority of Americans didn't care. It didn't matter what the Clintons did, or were suspected of, America practically worshipped the Clintons. Liberalism was again the god of America.

George W Bush took over in 2000, and conservatism was again on the rise. With the tragedy of 911, America's focus went heavily toward God and religion. We seemed to become a Christian nation again. Strides were made in protecting marriage and the unborn, and although the media has demonized Bush, he has kept this country safe from another attack, something I fear will not be true of the next administration.

America has become lax spiritually. Christians are asleep. I find it alarming that anyone who professes to have a relationship with Jesus Christ could vote for a man like Barack Obama, and think what he has to offer is more important than what he stands for and will do to our very freedoms, and what he will do against the unborn.

I think, like Israel, we have made the turn back to our idols, but not idols like they had in Israel. Yes, our idols are gold and silver, but the kind associated with our pocketbook. A vast amount of Americans has decided that the answer to America - and the world's problems, lie in America's first bi-racial president. They decided the economy, our standing with the rest of the world, and other such issues are more important than saving the unborn, and voting for a man who would uphold what is right in America and in God's Word.

I believe that like Israel, America will see the light in the next few years, though it may not take that long. The "Christians" who voted for this man are going to experience buyer's remorse, along with people who do not claim to be Christians. People are going to wake up, Christians are going to finally get off their butts and this nation will turn around again, not as a whole, but we will turn to God and conservatism, but it may take some persecution and loss of some freedoms that may very likely happen in this administration. May God have mercy o America, and as He often did after a wicked rule by a wicked king in Israel, send us a godly president in 4 years, not in 8 or more.

Trusting Amid Election Blues

I have to admit, I don't feel much less depressed than I did last night, but what can we do about it. We will just have to pray, a lot, in the next 4 years, and do our duty to call our congressmen when any dangerous legislation comes up for a vote.

A lot can happen in 4 years. We may not even be here at the end of Barrack HUSSEIN Obama's term. It is very possible that it is all in God's plan. Some people feel Israel may launch an attack on Iran before January, so they will be sure of the support of the USA, as it has been said that an Obama administration will not take Israel's part as we always have. I feel one reason we have been so successful as a nation, is because we are Israels' biggest ally, and if that changes, God could let this country go down.

I don't remember who said it - I could look it up, but don't feel like it :-) - that America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, it will cease to be great. Hopefully, in the next 4 years, we will somehow remain good, even though the forces of Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid, and more may go after the conservatives, starting with the so-called fairness doctrine.

Life must go on, and even though the future looks bleak to me, we have to live for more than election results. A friend of mine from church sent out an email trying to cheer several of us up. She quoted the lyrics to a song I quoted on here back in April, but it bears repeating. Babbie Mason wrote it, and sings it, but I have it on a CD by my favorite group, who I will be seeing in person again a week from Saturday - The Booth Brothers. (Eat your heart out Cindy!)

Trust His Heart

Verse 1
All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don't see how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth
our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grow dim
And you just don't see Him
Remember, you're never alone

Chorus
God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart.

He sees the master plan
And He holds our future in His hand
So don't live as those who have no hope
All our hope is found in Him
We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry
He's weaving you and me
To someday be just like Him

Chorus:
He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you

When you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart
Trust His heart!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Doomsday

Well, it looks like we are doomed. Barack Hussein Obama has become the first black president of the USA. Whoopee ding. I am not sure if it is in God's plan that he got in, or if God has stepped back and decided to let America get what it deserves. We certainly are ripe for judgement, and this terrorist affiliated, Muslim-raised, white hating person could be the ticket for America's judgment.

I admit, I am really depressed. I had such hope and faith that McCain would win this, and I fear that Obama has plans that even the most liberal Democrats in Congress don't have a clue about. How a man who has no experience, and was never even investigated by the media, can become president, is beyond me.

Someone has said that we still need to respect him. I disagree. After all, everyone else picks and chooses what they want to obey from the Bible, and twists verses, or bends them to excuse what they want to do, so why can't I do the same with B. Hussein Obama? :-) OK, I sound bitter. Maybe I am. This election has been the most crooked-run, and it seems we conservatives are in the gun sights of the liberals, and only God knows what the next 4 years can bring. I am a realist leaning toward pessimism, though I did a good job of putting that aside considering the election, but to be honest, I only expect the worst. The passing of the fairness doctrine, reversal of any pro-life progress, capitulation to the United Nations, and more. Very likely, they will try to silence the Christians. The real Christians who did not vote for this messiah wanna be.

There is one bright spot. A lot of Obama's followers seem to make him into a messiah, so maybe he will be crucified 3 years into his presidency, as the real Messiah was, 3 years into his mininstry.

I am sure if I read this post later, I will be horrified, but I am really discouraged and depressed about this. Why did so many people waste their time praying and fasting about this election, to get these results? America is doomed, and will never be the same. We only have a few months of freedom left, we had better enjoy them. Come January, we start 4 years of America held hostage.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Where They Stand

Wow, it is almost over. Election 2008. There is still a lot of polling going on, a lot of predictions, but no one really knows what will happen. I am firmly convinced if Obama wins, America as we know it will never be the same. It is scary that a man with no experience, and such a shady, and basically unknown past, could become our next president. Good grief, Joe the Plumber has been vetted better than Obama. The Palin baby has been vetted more.

I found a pretty detailed list of where the candidates stand on issues, a little more detailed than some I have seen. I wanted to paste it here, but due to the fact that it is in chart form, that wouldn't work, so here is the link if anyone wants to check it out. It does have more info on it, such as posting of the 10 commandments. I hadn't heard Obama's position on that, but wasn't surprised by it. Let's pray that God has mercy on America and doesn't give us what we deserve.

One of my friends from church had a good idea: she said since Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, she was going to pray that He multiply her vote. Amusing idea, but a good one too. :-)

Link here: http://www.liberallyconservative.com/?p=2619

Reason Enough

Here is a new song that I have been listening to a lot, by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, words below, and a video of the song at the end of the blog, if I did it right. :-)

Reason Enough:


1)You have walked me through the valley

Of the shadows dark and low

And that's reason enough to believe.

You have shown me endless mercy

Oh why, I'll never know

And that's reason enough to believe


Chorus:

So I won't wait for signs and wonders

To teach me how to trust

Cause You've already proven Lord

The depths of your great love.

You took the cross so willingly

And spilled your precious blood

And that's reason enough for me.


2) When I took your grace for granted

I was granted even more

And that's reason enough to believe.

With compassion You convinced me

I'm not hopeless anymore

And that's reason enough to believe.

It has been a struggle for as far back as I can remember for me to believe that God loves me and cares about me, and what happens to me. I think a lot of it is rooted in my getting picked on so much as a kid & teenager, I grew up thinking no one liked me, including God.

At times, it seems I have finally gotten a foothold in believing that this God who created everything and oversees all of Creation, does care about me, and actually love me, and then something would happen to pull the rug out from under my feet, and there I would lie in a flood of hurt and disbelief, thinking I had been right all along. God really doesn't care.

Needless to say, someone who struggles with this very basic tenant of our faith, that God loves everyone, does not have the most successful Christian experience. The crazy thing about it, is I think I could do a pretty decent job of convincing someone else that God loves them and that they are important to Him, so why can't I convince myself?

If everything in life is going wrong, and our earthly parents have the resources to help us out, but just sit back and watch us struggle, we would deduce that they didn't love us or care what happens. I have to admit, all too often that is how I have felt with God. He likened Himself to the father/son relationship so much in the Bible, and I have found myself wondering why He hasn't done what an earthly father would do, and bail me out. Impress me with a miracle. Answer a prayer in a powerful way.

At times, it has seemed I was drowning, feeling like I was going down for the last time, and God was sitting on the bank casually looking on, telling me to just have faith, and all would be right. Sometimes, I have wondered if I was so messed up with what I know is an incorrect view of God, if there was any hope that I could ever have a true relationship with Him.

The thing is, we cannot put God in a box. As tough as it is to believe, He always has a reason for what He does. Or what He doesn't do. He isn't a genie in a bottle who will give us whatever we wish for. He sees everything, past, present, and future. He knows what is best for us, and even though everything in us thinks it will be good for us, that we can handle getting what we want or think we need, God knows the end result.

I had been trying to sell my piano for some time. I would have preferred selling it before I moved back to Ohio, but that didn't happen, even though I had been praying that it would sell. Well, it finally sold this past week, and just in time to give me enough money for Christmas, which I had been worrying about having enough money for. Did God know what He was doing? It sure looks like it.

This new song, Reason Enough", has an awesome message, and is one of those songs that seemed to come along for just me, though I am sure there are many others who need to hear the same message. Just the fact that Jesus died on the cross for everyone - and that does include me, no matter how much it has seemed that it didn't. Kind of a ridiculous notion to believe that of all the people in the world, I was the only one that Jesus didn't die for, or love. Looks even more ridiculous in print!

What it boils down to, is the devil is out to destroy all of us, and he knows where we are weak. He will never work much at tempting me to steal, kill someone, drink alcohol - for he knows better. I have no desire to do any of that. But he knows there is a weakness in me regarding God's love and my believing in it, and it seems he has worked overtime to make that weakness my downfall.

The Bible still says that God loves the whole world. That He sees even the sparrow when it falls. That He takes care of the lilies of the field. There are so many things in the Bible that I believe as true, so why doubt Him on this one, yet major, issue?

I am basically a realistic person, and as encouraging as this song is, I know it isn't going to erase any doubts I have, but it has helped put a few cracks in the massive wall of disbelief and doubt that has been growing more and more solid lately. So, does that make me a sinner? I'd like to think not. Obviously, God wants His children to believe that He loves them, and when we don't believe that, or struggle believing it, it puts a strain and distance in that relationship. He never gives up on us though, and I have to believe that He doesn't throw us out as quickly as many of us have been raised to believe. And no, I am not going Calvinistic. I fear that we holiness people, in trying to distance ourselves from the once-saved-always-saved, have come to see God as judgemental and as a God who is just waiting for us to do something wrong so He can throw us out. Yes, sin is sin, and if we do sin, we need to ask forgiveness immediately, and not just go on our merry way, but many people have things we struggle with, that a trip to the altar doesn't just wipe out, and if I am going to have any hope of making it, I have to believe that God will be patient with me.

What Jesus went through for us, for me, should be reason enough to believe. What more does He need to do? The devil has tried to convince me that He has to do this or that to prove that He cares and loves me, but really, would it? God doesn't need to prove Himself. He did that 2000 years ago, and that is what I need to work on getting a grasp on. It is hard to imagine that the God of the universe really cares about me, but if the Bible is true, and I believe that it is, then He does indeed love me. Just as much as the next person.