Posts Tagged ‘Faith’
It’s the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz! Pop some popcorn, mix in some M&M’s, turn out the lights and have a movie night! Because, “There’s no place like home.”
Um, great minds think alike, I think. Thanks Ann Voskamp. Need some spiritual healing? Click on over to Ann’s blog this weekend.
Photo courtesy of GFA. Verse added by me, courtesy of Isaiah.
Sarah Bessey reminded me of something very important. Not that I really forgot, but sometimes we ‘turn off’ the evil in the world because our heart can’t take it. Remember what is worth fighting for, and what is not. What makes a difference, and what does not.
May you have a blessed weekend. May you look up and around and see that there is beauty around you. May you guard your heart against the evil in this world. May you pray for those who are fighting their own battle against evil.
Dear elected officials,
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this letter. I had high hopes for you. I had hoped that you would make good on your campaign promises. I believed you when you said you would change this country; make it better, greater, safer, stronger.
You said you could fix the health care system with ObamaCare. In order to do this the insured had to become uninsured to then become reinsured under the new health care reform. I would like you to know that it is the end of July, my husband and I have yet to receive our insurance cards under the new plan. I have spent almost nine hours of phones calls, mailing forms, taking forms to an office, sitting on hold to get YOUR new and improved plan. When I can buy a house easier and faster than health insurance, there is something wrong. Did you sign up for the same plan you forced me to? Of course, you didn’t.
You promised us safer communities for our children. Over the July 4th weekend 67 people were shot in Chicago alone. Eleven people died in one weekend! That is in Chicago, not Iraq. What are you doing for the children of this city? What are you doing to help the law enforcement combat the crime there? You post signs with #BringBackOurGirls, but where’s your #SaveChicagoChildren? Don’t you own a home there, President Obama? This is your town, right?
South American children are being exploited, abused and dying crossing the border into the U.S. You are housing these children at an estimated cost of $2.28 billion, while not allowing journalist to report the condition of the camps. You Tweet comments and hold up protest signs as if these children are not human beings. What these children need more than anything is compassion from the American people, not to be used as pawns in your political games. By allowing these children to stay in the U.S. you are a willing accomplices to more deaths. Mixed in with these children are dangerous gang members. Can you tell the difference?
You asked us, the people, to tighten our belts. You told us we must make sacrifices. You said there will be tough choices in the future. But, I ask, what sacrifices have you made? You have added to our national debt, closed government while still taking a paycheck, and taken expensive vacations on the taxpayer’s dime. Mr. President, you have taken 141 days vacation since taking office. “The typical U.S. worker at a private company gets 10 days of paid vacation and six paid holidays per year.” Do the math. Although, I believe everyone, especially you, needs down-time, you are oblivious to the cost of your expensive trips. We paid for that trip to Maui, Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere. You owe the American people a thank you note.
You have broken your promises time and time again. The American people are tired of being thrown under the bus. We are tired of being lied to. For the good of this country, and my family, I must make some tough choices come election year. Unless you change your self-serving ways you will be asked to clean out your office. Go stand in the unemployment line that you helped create. Meet the people you should have been working for. Look into the faces of the struggling American families you promised to help. Ask them how they like the change in this country; the change in their lives.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
American Registered Voter
I jumped ahead on Saturday to Ephesians 6…because my heart needed it. Did your heart need it too?
So, let’s finish out the summer Bible study finishing with Ephesians 5.
This is the post I have put off writing.
“As the church submits to Christ, you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:24
That one word: Submit. It can cause feminist everywhere to run screaming to burn their bras in protest. I am woman. Hear me roar!
Not exactly a word we would use to describe a modern women. And certainly not what society tells women that we should be doing. Especially when so many women are the head of the household, bringing home the bacon, and are getting the job done every.single.day.
The definition of submit is this: To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another; To subject to a condition or process; To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another.
Some argue this instruction from Paul to submit to their husband is an antiquated ideal for women. I think it means more than the Webster definition of the word.
Christian author and actress, Candace Cameron Bure made headlines, and backlash, by saying she submits to her husband, Val Bure. I think she explained it well when she said, “The definition that I’m using with the word submissive is the biblical definition of that. So, it is meekness; it is not weakness. … It’s strength under control. It is bridled strength.”
This Biblical instruction does not say wives are valued less than their husband, nor does it say wives shouldn’t have their own thoughts, opinions, or desires. Paul gives instruction to both husbands and wives on how to treat each other with love and respect because “As a man leaves his father and mother and is joined as one with his wife, and the two are united as one.” 
Interestingly, Paul says more to husbands on how to treat their wife than anything else in Ephesians 5.
 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her  to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.  He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.  In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.  No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.  And we are members of his body.
Marriage is a delicate balance of give and take, respect and submission, love and care, one but separate, equal but different.
Husbands and wives, above all else, should walk in love with one another.
Related post: Marriage Is…
I had a post ready for today. It is thoughts on our summer bible reading of Ephesians 5. I can’t post that today.
My heart is heavy.
I can’t post that when planes are shot down. When Hamas is raging war against Israel. When ISIS is persecuting Christians, forcing them from their homeland they have had for the past 2000 years. When girls are kidnapped from schools. When children are dying to cross the border. When war rages in Ukraine.
That’s heavy stuff.
So. What’s a girl to do when it feels like the world is falling apart?
When the chaos of the world crushes my heart.
When injustice reins and hope has been drowned out.
When I feel helpless and hopeless.
When I sit safe at home.
When there is nothing I can do but Tweet information and support for fellow Christians being killed for our faith.
When governments, the U.N. turn a blind eye.
When hashtags don’t help.
When evil runs wild, and good is hard see.
My heart needs protection. I desperately need it.
I need to put on the Armor of God, as Paul instructs us to do in Ephesians 6.
 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:10-18
Today, I will ‘put on all of God’s armor’.
Today, I will ‘pray for all believers everywhere’.
Today, I will ‘hold up my shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil’.
Today, I will ‘take the sword of the Spirit’ and ‘stand firm against all strategies of the devil‘.
Everyone judges, it’s one of the many down-sides of human nature. Christians are not immune to passing judgement, nor being judged. What about those in a leadership role within the Church? Are they leading the charge?
Recently two teenage girls I know attended church services with a female relative. The girls were told their summer sundresses were “not appropriate for church”. They were asked to cover up or go home.
The girls chose to go home. (And, for the record, the sundresses were not revealing.)
The church member who asked them to leave missed a golden opportunity to deliver a message if grace. Instead they sent a stronger message of nonacceptance. They said, “You’re not good enough to be here. You don’t belong.”
I read somewhere that the number one reason ‘people of faith’ say they don’t “believe in organized religion” or don’t attend church on a regular basis is simply one word: HYPOCRISY.
It’s the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality that turns them away from the church.
Paul wrote in his letter in Ephesians 4:
(11) Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. (12) Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church. (13) This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in The Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
(14) Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever it sounds like the truth.
(15) Instead, we will speak the truth in love growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does it’s own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Thanks for laying it all out there, Paul.
Does the church have all the answers, all the time? I don’t think so.
Aren’t we all “like immature children”? Yes.
Then isn’t the church made up of imperfect people who are still growing in Christ? Absolutely.
In Ephesians 4:2, Paul is yelling at me, “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Nobody is perfect.
As Christians, we can’t afford to judge others. It’s not our job. It’s not our right. It’s not in our power.
What do we do when Christians disappoint us? Show grace.
Show grace because they are still growing in faith too. They are on their own faith-walk and imperfect, as we are.
LINKING UP | Holley Gerth Coffee for your Heart
Do you ever feel like the internet is full of negativity with people just looking for a fight?
Name calling, misunderstood comments, yelling IN ALL.CAPS.Oh.my.gosh. (There really shouldn’t be a caps lock button on a keyboard.)
In the middle of all the negativity and fighting…there are people in the blogashere committed to the encouragement of others.
There ARE people spreading compassion for humanity and the love of Christ with every tweet. At the very least, their tweets will make you smile, or nod in agreement.
And, to prove it, here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill @AQuotePage
“God loves us. We must not be afraid to love him.” Pope Francis @Unknown
“The first principle of success is desire – knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seeds.” Robert Collier @BoatingBonnieC
“If the girl says, ‘I hate drama’, there is a 99% chance she is a huge drama queen.” @JulienneTiarks
“Common sense is not so common.” Voltaire @WordsOfHumans
“Your life is only as chaotic as you allow it to become.” @LindseyBBridges
“Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.” Irvine Welsh @AQuotesPage
“Expect that your friends talk about you in the same way they do about everyone else in their lives.” @incourage
“Your words matter.” @JeffGoins
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” @EpicWomen
I am going to call them my Small Seeds Tribe.
I tweet encouragement @got2havefaithco too.
Free printable of the above is available here. (Right click the jpg to save to your desktop, then print.) The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday in America that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776. Let’s party and set off some fireworks!
To all the service men and women who have served to protect this great nation, and the people of nations who cannot fight for themselves…thank you! We are blessed to live in this great country.
“Thank You” are two simple little words. Almost too simple. It’s an understatement that conveys gratitude to the people who have fought for this country. The ones who lost their lives to protect ours. America is a country of undying hope, an unbridled spirit, at times feverish differences, and a patriotic heart that bleeds red, white and blue.
And, to say we are blessed is also an understatement. We are blessed for a reason. Let us not forget that with great freedom and blessings comes greater responsibilities. Let us not take our freedom for granted. Let us not fight among ourselves and lose sight of what makes this country great. Let us use our advantage to help the disadvantaged. Let us not forget the price that we have paid for that freedom.
“Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” Thomas Jefferson
According to Open Doors World Watch List*, 100 million Believers in Jesus Christ have been persecuted for their faith.
In America, we take religious freedom for granted. We totally do.
Imagine being a Christian but not having a Bible to study the Word of God.
Imagine not having the freedom to walk with your God.
Imagine living in fear of being persecuted for believing differently than the government tells you to believe.
Imagine being beaten, whipped, stoned to death, thrown in jail, or executed for believing in the one true God.
Yet, this is the reality for Christian believers around the world. The top 10 offending nations are in Asia where Christians and missionaries face persecution every day. It’s their way of life.
They risk their life for Christ. Daily.
Can you imagine that? I can’t, because I have never had to live it. Our family owns 6 Bibles. Six.
**Gospel For Asia
Without a Bible, Christians in these countries find it hard to study the Word, walk in the Word, and live in the Word. Their faith-walk is limited.
**Gospel for Asia
Gospel for Asia is helping to change all that. A donation to GFA will give bibles to missionaries to share with believers in Christ and give necessary tools to teach the Word. A donation of $3 buys one Bible, $96 buys 32 Bibles.
Won’t you join me in sharing the Good News with those who have never heard of God’s great love? Learn more about GFA bringing the Gospel to South Asia and donate here.
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I am a Gospel for Asia Blogger. I do not get paid for my posts. GFA is a Small Seed. *Source: Open Doors World Watch List 2013. **Top 10 Stats source: Gospel for Asia.
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LINKING UP | Make a Difference Mondays at She Lives Free.
The wonderful Holley Gerth Coffee for Your Heart. Find encouraging words from wonderful ladies there on Wednesday.
AND, with Faith Barista WhiteSpace on Friday.
We always talk about what we’ve lost.
Lost our car keys.
Lost our cell phone.
Lost our kid in the store.
Lost a loved one.
Lost our memory.
Lost our way on a trip…or in life.
But what about what we have here and now?
Our kids hiding.
Photos to remind us when we can’t remember.
A way back.
I once was lost but now I am found.
Lost and found.
You can’t have one without the other.
LINKING UP | 5 Minute Fridays with Lisa Jo Baker. Inhale. Exhale. Clear the mind. Get the Prompt. Write for 5 Minutes. Head over there to participate and/or find encouraging women writing for 5 minutes.
My late father-in-law always said, “Never plant seeds before Mother’s Day.” And, since he was the king of growing pole beans, I listened.
Oh, how I miss his home-grown green beans!
His theory of the perfect time to plant seeds was rooted in the idea that there was no longer danger of frost after Mother’s Day. Anyone who has ever planted seeds only to have the small plants that grew destroyed by a spring snow storm knows this…there is really no “perfect” time to plant.
You can only use information you have at hand and do your best. And, if your crop gets wiped out you start again. He learned that a few times as well.
Just like there is not perfect time to plant a garden, there is also no perfect time to start living your dream, doing your calling. There are a lot of things in your life that could threaten your crop, but you can’t let that stop you. You plant your small seeds anyway. All you can do is one small thing at a time. Then another small thing, and another, and another. Before long you will be growing in faith and compassion, and seeing the fruits of your labor.
That is the idea behind Small Seeds. Plant small seeds and watch it grow into something big.
June’s edition of individuals planting Small Seeds is all about kids doing good. And, if kids can plant a Small Seed, so can you!
Emma Brun | Emma is raising money for Chicago’s homeless. She is 10 years-old. She is currently actioning off one of her American Girl Dolls in the hopes to raise money to buy basic necessaries like blankets, pillows and water bottles for Chicago’s needy. Donations start at only $5. Keep planting your Small Seeds, Emma!
Rudy Hummel | Rudy slept outside for 365 days to raise funds for Habit for Humanity and the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. He raised over $4,000 for his charities, even sleeping outside in Minnesota’s brutal winter. His fundraising website is Snore Outdoors and he is still planting seeds.
Rachel Wheeler | At 9-years-old, Rachel pledged to build homes for Haiti’s poorest. With the help of her mother and a Facebook page, Rachel raised over $250,000 in three years. Today, she is 14-years-old and hasn’t stopped building. She also has partnered with Food for the Poor to raise more money for houses and a school. I remember hearing this story in 2011 on NBC News and have never forgot it. I had to find out what Rachel was up to since then. She is truly a Small Seed that has grown a garden.
Never Too Big To Be a Small Seed | Jon Bon Jovi, aka one of the biggest rock stars in the world, surprises a 10-year-old boy with cancer. Mario Carpino was diagnosed with brain tumors at 4-years-old. Mario organizes an annual lemonade stand in New Jersey to raise money for other kids with cancer. Jon Bon Jovi surprised him by stopping by to get a cup of lemonade and spending an hour with Mario. This is Mario’s 4th year of running the lemonade stand…one he will never forget! Mario holds the fundraiser in partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Oh, and Mario has raised over $200,000 in the past 4 years. Turning lemons into lemonade, people.
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LINKING UP with the wonderful Holley Gerth Coffee for your Heart. Find encouraging words from wonderful ladies there today.
LINKING UP with Faith Barista (Friday) WhiteSpace. And, she wrote a new book. She rocks!
*Thank you to Today Show, She Lives Free and NBC Nightly News for these inspiring stories. **Background photo above by StockVault.