Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"What about this one?"

As you all know, today is the sixth annual pro-life t-shirt day - sponsored by American Life League (ALL). And, of course, I am wearing my t-shirt today!! Are you wearing yours??

This year’s shirt is blue and it has three pictures on it. Two pictures are of babies in development, and the other picture is a pitch black square. Above the pictures, it says “Abortion.” Below the pictures, it says “growing, growing, gone.” Today, Casey looked at my shirt and pointed to BOTH pictures and said, “Mommy,….baby.” No one had to tell him that. We are BORN knowing that those little “fetuses” or “blobs of tissue” (as Planned Parenthood so wrongly calls them) are BABIES, created in the image of God and so easily recognizable that even a child knows it!! Yet, some adults aren’t even smart enough to realize that because they are lied to, brainwashed, and deceived into believing lies that go against common sense and their very essence of being! Not so with my son. He KNEW they were babies just by looking at them. Though, he was very perplexed when he looked at the empty square of blackness. He pointed to it and said, “what about this one?” When I heard that, it really struck me. Indeed, “what about this one?” What about the babies that don’t survive? What about THEM?!

How do I explain what happens to “this one” to my five-year-old child? He couldn’t understand even if I wanted to tell him. The saddest thing is, abortion shouldn’t have to be something I have to explain to my child because it shouldn’t be going on in the first place. I don’t want to have to explain willful murder to my son, or the devastation of those who are now saying, “what have I done to ‘this one’?” I don’t want to have to hear the countless stories of pain from mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents who are grieving for the lost children who were taken away by “choice.” I don’t want to have to explain to him the sick and twisted agenda of Planned Parenthood and how they lie and scheme their way to profits; profits off of death!! Yet, this is currently the sad reality, and the culture of death continues on….and with the endorsement of countless celebrities, businesses and corporations (some of which will likely surprise you as much as it did me!), and OUR TAX DOLLARS TOO!!. One can only hope that before my child reaches an age to where he can understand what abortion is, all I will have to say is that it’s a tragic thing of the past and not something that occurs in the present.

So, how will that happen? WHEN will that happen? When will we start fighting for “this one”? I’m doing my best RIGHT NOW for “this one.” How about you? Some of the best and simple ways that we can help is by praying, getting involved (like the call for life, for example), spreading awareness about what abortion REALLY is, how it HURTS women’s health (not helps it!), and what it does to all others involved. This has GOT TO STOP!! Not just for “this one” but for “every one!”

Once again, I must remind everyone that the next call for life is this Friday. Please, speak up for baby “this one.” Take just a few minutes to participate, ONCE A MONTH, EVERY MONTH!!

In closing, I would like to share a video I made today. It’s a video of Casey and I, and I am wearing the t-shirt. Listen to the pure and innocent words of my five-year-old. Watch his face as he tries to think about what my shirt could possibly mean. Think about all the “this ones.” Then, I pray you will be moved to help save them, as well as the fate of “every one” in America. May God forgive and save us from ourselves. May we repent and be redeemed!! We CAN turn things around!! Let’s make it happen!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reflecting On "Responsible For Our Own Responses"

As you all know, I haven’t been online or blogging much for a variety of reasons. Everyone knows about my Grandma’s passing, my trip to South Carolina, and some of you even know more than that. Needless to say, I have been busy and not around much. I still don’t know how much I will be around, but blogging has always been a good outlet for me and it’s something I will continue to do here and there.

So, as I was reflecting about blogging, I thought of a past blog I wrote last December. It came to my mind last Wednesday as I was having a conversation with a helpful friend at church. I thought of it because we were talking about human behavior; self behavior as well as other peoples‘ behavior. She was saying that the only people we can control is ourselves (though, sadly, there are those that seem to have NO self-control - myself included at times!). Also, we can’t control other peoples’ behavior or responses. Sometimes, we expect certain responses or reactions from someone, and when we don’t get what we were hoping for, that sets us off in one way or another. But why? We can’t control another person’s feelings, thoughts, or actions. We can’t (and shouldn’t) live our lives based on assumptions, expectations, and false impressions that we make up in our minds about someone or something else. After all, why create extra stress for ourselves by attempting to control people/things that we can‘t?

In my life thus far, I have had my share of conflicts, difficult people, and circumstances. I hope that as I continue living life, I will improve more and more as I learn how to deal with people and things that come my way. God only knows how hard I try to adequately and nicely deal with the things that I am confronted with. Sometimes I do well, and sometimes I don’t. I’m human and I do make mistakes. Though, through it all, I strive to continue being “me.” My prayer is that both the good and the bad will make me a better person and that the “bad” things that come my way won’t change me for the worse. I have learned how to have compassion for those who behave badly and I pray for them diligently as my prayer life has increased over the past year. I have also learned how to handle bad behavior much better. As my friend has shown me, I cannot control anyone’s bad behavior through my own responses. How they behave is their problem, not mine. I’m responsible for my own self and how I respond, and if others choose to react badly (even when my responses are positive) that is out of my hands. I don’t always have to explain and defend myself to others. My life and my heart is its own defense and if I get misinterpreted, there‘s nothing I can really do to change another person‘s mentality or the way they filter and analyze things.

The things that people (or even Satan) think or say about me doesn’t matter so long as I am confident and secure with who I am as a unique and beautiful child of God. I am defined by the truth of God’s Word and what I know myself to be, and no amount of judgment, condemnation, negativity, lies, or anything else from any person or demon can erase the essence of who I am as a person and child of God!! Jesus knew this concept well. When the Pharisees accused him and lied about Him, he didn’t have to argue or defend Himself. Anyone that knew Jesus already knew who He really was and what was true and what were lies. There was no need for Jesus to try to convince his accusers of what they consistently refused to believe. They were under the influence of their own pride, arrogance, and Satan’s influence. Blinded people who are under the yoke of bondage cannot see the truth until they have surrendered, repented, and received deliverance. Jesus knew that. Likewise, we must also realize that there are people like that in our lives that have that same attitude and behavior. Some don’t even know they have it. Regardless, we are to have compassion on them and pray for them, because they are living lives of confusion, unhappiness, and misery. I know countless people who are in this state of being, and I pray daily for their eyes to be opened, their bondages to be broken, and that through humility and repentance, they will receive the deliverance that they desperately need. Like I’ve constantly reiterated, “surrender is a lifestyle.” Every day when I spend time with God, I surrender to Him, repent of any and all things I can think of, ask him to forgive me, and to empty me out and fill me with Him and the fruits of His Spirit. It’s a beautiful thing, and it always renews and refreshes me.

My prayer is that I can learn how to deal with people/circumstances in the best way possible and according to one’s needs and spiritual level. With God as my guide, I’m getting better at it. I am even learning when NOT to speak. ;) LOL (IMAGINE THAT!! LOL). It’s hard to bite my tongue sometimes, but that is often the best way of dealing with things when you know that no amount of words is going to make a person understand anything. In those cases, silence is best and all you can do is pray. Then, in other circumstances, a few (or more than a few) words are necessary. The Holy Spirit helps with discernment, and when I listen to God and not my flesh, things always work out so much better!!! Thank you God for always helping me!! Help me to choose your ways and not my own and thank you for teaching me when to speak and when not to speak. I still need work, but I’m getting there!! LOL

Anyways, sorry that this is one of my longer blogs. But, hey…..I’ve had a lot of build-up over the last few weeks. LOL It was bound to happen!! Ok, so here is the blog I was speaking about. It’s a real-life experience explaining everything I was referencing. I thought it was worth re-posting because we all need reminded of how GOD is in control……not US!! Re-reading it blessed my heart all over again my prayer is that it will bless you too!! GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU!! OXOXO

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December 06

Responsible For Our Own Responses

I was uptown today taking a few pictures of the Christmas decorations (and nativity scene) today when I recognized an acquaintance of mine. She looked a little sad and upset. I watched as she walked down the street and then sat down on the step of a local business.

By that time, I had walked back to the van and sat there for a moment. My heart was troubled and I felt like I should say something to her. I didn’t want to waste an opportunity if God was giving me a chance to help someone, so I ventured out to see if there was some way I could comfort her. I wasn’t sure how she would receive it, but the last time I had reached out to her when she was in need, she had accepted my help.

I went up to her and sat beside her for a moment and asked how she was. I got the standard “fine” response. She didn’t look fine to me. I told her I wanted to make sure she was ok and asked if there was anything she needed. She snapped and insisted that she was fine and that I was bugging her. So, I just politely said that I considered her a friend and that I only wanted to see if there was anything I could do for her. Then, I stood up and said, “Merry Christmas” and walked away.

As I sat in the van, I felt stupefied. I wondered if I had had any business trying to do anything in the first place. Was it God or was it me that wanted to talk to her? Had I forced myself into doing something that I wasn’t meant to do in the first place? It certainly wasn’t in my “comfort zone” to begin with, so one would think it was God prompting me to talk to her. Well, I was a little confused, hurt, and even a tad angry. I guess one feels that when something like that comes about (and being the Christmas season) people are just going to respond well and accept your good-natured spirit and everything will work out just like in some kind of sentimental Christmas special. Obviously, that wasn‘t the case this time.

So, after I uttered some prayers for her, I pulled out of the parking space and headed for home. All the while, I was teary eyed and even a little blown away as I listened to the announcer on the Christian radio station talk about living for Christ by loving people and doing good for others. Now I was the one who felt like snapping and saying, “Are you kidding me?!! Geez!! I just tried that and it didn’t do a bit of good!”

As a thought about it a little more, I realized that it couldn’t possibly have been a waste. You never know what impact you make; even if it seems like there is none at all. And, besides the fact, I felt like God impressed upon me that “How you respond is your responsibility. How THEY respond is theirs.”

As I thought about it, it also hit me that Jesus didn’t always get favorable responses from everyone either. People snapped at Jesus too. It’s not that God’s message is ineffective (because it’s NOT!) it’s just up to the receiver what they want to do: accept or reject it.
I am only responsible for my own response to God’s heart. I’ll do my part, God will do His, and everyone else is responsible for their own reaction to what God is telling them. I’ll do my best to be obedient and act upon what God lays on my heart, but the results are up to God because it’s not in my control. So whether this blog touches anyone or not isn’t my responsibility. God does all the touching of hearts; not me or anything I say, do, or write. All I have to worry about is touching God’s heart; just like the Jeremy Camp song “Give You Glory” talks about. So, here’s to hoping that God touches your heart!! God bless you!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Videos and Reminders

Here is the latest ALL report. It’s a video talking about the late Wellington Mara; co-owner of the New York Giants, and strong advocate for life.

In addition to that, I would like to remind everyone of the sixth annual pro-life t-shirt day which is on TUESDAY!! If you bought a t-shirt, remember to wear it!! If you didn’t, wear another pro-life t-shirt that you have hanging up in your closet. If you don’t have a pro-life t-shirt, MAKE ONE!! Let’s be a voice and commemorate the day!!

Speaking of voices, let’s make our voices heard on the next monthly call for life day (which is next Friday). I don’t know who all participates, but I have been doing this for quite a while now. I know that I have been participating since at least 2005 or earlier. Once a month, EVERY MONTH, I take time to contact my representatives and to call an abortion clinic to let them know I am praying for them.

I don’t know how many people are doing this, but I pray that we will grow in number. I don’t even know if any of those who read my blogs are even doing it. I’ve been blogging about it for a long time, and have yet to hear from anyone that they are participating with me in this and spreading the word. I just hope that those who have read about this have been moved to action, whether I know about it or not.

I don’t know what else to say to motivate anyone to help in this fight for life ONCE A MONTH. It’s such a small thing, but it can add up to SO MUCH!! Can you imagine if we all did this? If we all jammed the phone lines and inboxes, wouldn’t we eventually be heard? Wouldn’t our representatives be pushed so hard with the outcries on behalf of the unborn that they would HAVE to move to action in order to attain justice for the innocent (and shut us up as well!)? In Luke 18, Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow who keeps coming before the judge to attain justice. The judge doesn’t care, but because of her persistence, he decides to see to it that she gets the justice she is pleading for so he won‘t be bothered by her pleas anymore. Jesus told this parable to illustrate persistence in prayer. Indeed, we should be persistent in our prayers for the unborn, and for all of our prayers and petitions to God. And, we should continue being persistent in fighting for what is right and pursuing justice for the defenseless whose innocent blood is crying out to God for it. As Christians, we can’t just sit idly by and let this go on. Not only do countless babies die, but those that undergo abortions suffer as well and subsequently, so do we. It’s a ripple effect, people. But, we can put a stop to it, and the call for life is one of the many things that we can do to put an end to more tragedies and pain. I have heard countless personal stories from articles, friends, and so many others that have told me of the pain their abortion caused them. I don’t want to keep watching so many suffer. Let’s protect them!! Let’s be there for them, educate them, and do all we can to stop the agendas, outlaw the killings, and show them what REAL choice is - a choice for LIFE (which is a choice EVERYONE can live with!!).

As I finish this blog, I would like to share the video playlist I promised of my kids’ adventures while we were in South Carolina. May their smiles and laughter remind you like it reminds me of how important it is to do all we can to protect and defend life. May you look at the children in your life and think about what a blessing their lives are and then be motivated to help ensure that other children get the chance to laugh, smile, and be blessings in this world too.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just to Catch You Up on Things Before I Leave...

This is just a miscellaneous blog to bring up a few things and catch all of you up on what’s been going on lately…….

Wednesday, we spent all day at the funeral home. My great-grandmother looked wonderful. She looked like she was merely asleep and resting peacefully. I half-expected her to wake up and smile at us; though I know that she is already alive and well in heaven!! Her casket was also very beautiful (and she had it all picked out herself - way back in 1995! LOL). That’s Grandma for you!! ;) She had it all planned out and everything was beautiful. Her casket was gray, but it had shades of pink and burgundy and roses etched into it. The inside, where she was resting, was a beautiful and soft pink. She always did love pink!! Many of her flowers were shades of pink as well.

There were some tears, of course, but very little compared to all the memories of life and laughter that we shared as family gathered together (some of which hadn’t seen each other in a long time). It was wonderful to be together, celebrate her life, and fellowship together. And, I must also say, the funeral home was a wonderful, homey, and accommodating place with an all-star staff that went out of their way to do all they could to care for the needs of everyone present. My kudos to them on a job well done!! THANK YOU!!

Today’s funeral was also wonderful and my step-father preached it; as well as sang a couple songs (my Mom sang one of the songs with him). And, my Uncle Jim (who is recovering from injuries incurred while in Florida for the winter) even managed the strength to sing a song.
I also was asked to read the blog I composed about Grandma right after her passing. I was amazed that I got through it without crying and I can’t thank all of you enough for praying for my family and I!! I had expected that everyone would be tremendously emotional, but it wasn’t nearly as taxing as we had anticipating and everyone coped very well!! Thank you so much, everyone. Your prayers have been giving us the strength, endurance, and comfort that we have all been desiring.

Speaking of prayer, I would like to request that you pray for a safe trip for all of us who are traveling after coming together this week. Pray for health and safety. Some of you may even be wondering why I said “us” and that is because I will be traveling with my children to South Carolina to stay with my Mom, step-father, and brother for two weeks. This is the kind of break that we need for so many reasons. The togetherness, change of scenery, etc. will be good for us. Therefore, my online time will still be limited. Thank you for your understanding!!

One last thing I would like to mention before I close is that tomorrow is once again the monthly call for life. I participated yesterday; given the fact that I will be on the road all day tomorrow. And, I do have some news to report (I don’t know if it means anything or not, but hey,…….I’ll take it!!). Anyways, on the call for life days, I always e-mail the president, my governor, senators, and congressmen and thank them for their stance on life and encourage them to keep doing so (with the exception of Mr. Evan Bayh whom I have to beg to see the light and change his position to life instead of death - hasn’t happened yet either!! GOD SAVE EVAN BAYH!!). Then, I also call an abortion clinic. The past few times, I have called the Indy abortion clinic. I don’t know for sure, but I think I have gotten the same voice on the other line each time for a while. Each time, she sounds softer and more open. I always tell her that I am from the monthly call for life campaign and that I am thinking of them and praying for them today. Then, I ask if there is anything I could personally pray for her about. Often times, I get hang ups, snide remarks, and even strange requests that I pray for God to bless their “business” or something. One time, I was just simply told to pray that she could get through each day every day. (Wow, that just broke my heart!!) But, today, she said “no thanks, darling,” politely said good-bye and hung up. Like I said, I don’t know for sure if I keep getting the same lady, but it sounds like it. Pray that God would continue working on her heart. I feel as if something is going on inside her.

That’s what makes these calls for life so worth it. You never know what kind of a difference you make!! You might be helping to convict the heart of one of your representatives, abortion clinic workers, or encouraging the leaders who do stand for life to keep doing what they are doing. All of this is simple but important work and it’s only once a month!! It doesn’t take long!! Please, make time to do this!! Isn’t it worth just a few precious minutes ONCE A MONTH to try and make a difference and maybe even save lives??

With that final thought, I will bid you adieu. I don’t know when I will be blogging next, but I thank you all for continuing to read and I just pray that God will bless you as much as all of you have blessed me with your kindness, thoughtfulness, and prayers!! I love you all!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Life or Death Decision

Last Sunday, Kent preached about “choices.” Life is full of choices isn’t it? Kent said that “the most spiritual thing you can do is make decisions.” Even “not deciding” is a decision all on its own. Like the saying goes, “not to decide is to decide.”

Our lives are a compilation of choices - both good and bad. You are who you are now because of the choices that you made. Your good choices lead to good things and the bad choices lead to bad things. Of course, none of us like the consequences of our bad choices, but that‘s what happens. There is no escaping it; regardless of how our selfish society tries to deceive us into thinking we can get away with anything. Bad choices come with a price; both to us and the ones around us. Everyone suffers.

However, there is good news! God can and will redeem the bad choices that we make! Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” That is God’s promise and that is the hope that I cling to in my own life. I’m a child of God, and I love Jesus. I have the assurance that no matter what goes right or wrong in my life, God will work it all together for a purpose because He has a plan for my life; just like He does with all of you!! Nothing in your life comes as a surprise to God!! Everything that you have ever done, or will do, is already known by Him. He is an awesome and amazing God and He knows how to work it all out!! All we have to do is believe and trust Him and put it into His hands.

Kent shared a lot of things in his message; and I encourage everyone to listen to it when it’s available on our church website. He shared about how even in the garden of Eden, God provided Adam and Eve with lots of “good choices” and only ONE bad one. We have the same kind of opportunity. There are LOTS of good decisions to make; but, only ONE bad one; that one choice being disobedience to God. We need to stay away from the “trees” that are no good. There are bad fruits that God tells us to stay away from and not partake in because HE KNOWS that they are not good for us. We overcome those bad choices by the one good choice to obey. Just like a parent laments over the mess their child gets into and says, “If you had only listened to me” so our heavenly Father is just pleading with us to listen to His words of love, protection, and guidance.

Ok, now, I know some of you may be thinking, “So, why do we have bad choices available to us to begin with?” Well, that’s because of Satan and his deception to Eve - which she chose to believe. Therefore, sin entered the world and now, the biggest choice we have NOW is whether or not we want Christ to pay the penalty of our sins or pay for it ourselves. If we pay for it ourselves, we will spend an eternity in Hell paying for it. Sin demands that consequences be paid and justice served. But, if we accept the sacrifice that God provided (Jesus’ death on the cross) then, the debt is already paid and we have eternal life and an eternity in heaven to look forward to!! We won’t have to payoff a debt that we already allowed Jesus to pay for us!! GOD DID PROVIDE A WAY OUT!! We don’t have to suffer as our sins deserve because we have a wonderful, loving, and merciful God to spare us!! He sacrificed His own Son to do it!! Wow, that’s love!! GOD’S choice to make sure that we didn’t have to be eternally separated from Him works out for good for all those who believe in what He has done for them!!

Kent encouraged everyone to align themselves with God. We need to be led by the Spirit and enable God to be the first thought in our decision making process. He illustrated that by giving us all packets of M&M’s and telling us to pick one. He asked us all which color we picked and how/why we might have picked it. He also asked if anyone had wondered or asked God which one they should pick. It makes you think because then you start wondering how often you include God in your decision making - not just with the “big stuff” (like who to marry, what job to take, car to buy, etc.) but with the every day choices. Do we include God in our simple decisions as well as the big ones? Do we listen to His ways of freedom or our own selfish ways of bondage? Are we led by the flesh, which continually choose bad decisions, or are we led by the Spirit of God that will show us the right and good things to choose for ourselves? Sometimes, the decisions can even be as simple as obeying a gentle nudge by God to take a different way to work or saying “hi” to a stranger or someone that just needed to be asked, “how are you doing today?” How many times do we hear stories of people who say, “Something told me not to go that way to work today and it saved my life because there was a huge accident. It could have been me.” Or, maybe someone decided to reach out and say “hello, how are you?” to someone and it just made their day. Gosh, it reminds me of the story Jama told us at lunch the other day about how her, “hi, how are you?” made all the difference in the life of someone. Sometimes, people just need someone to talk to, and making those small every day decisions and obeying those God-instilled prompts to “decide” on what He’s telling you to do makes all the difference!!!
Of course, the biggest decision of all is whether or not to choose Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life. It’s a “simple” yes or no question: “Do you want to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior?” Either answer will drastically change your life. One for the bad, and one for the good. What’s your answer? How will your life (and the life in the hereafter) turn out based on that ONE decision; that one choice?? It’s laid out before us just like God did in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

Some choices really are about life and death - and this is the ultimate one. It really does decide your whole life. Choose wisely and carefully!! If you have already made the choice for life, praise God!! I’m glad to count you as a brother/sister in Christ!! If you have yet to choose life, (and you would like to) talk to me, a pastor, or a Christian brother/sister about it!! Please, don’t wait!! The burning question isn’t on fire forever; there is a deadline (that is, when you’re dead!). Respond to the question while you still have a chance to answer!

May God bless all who read this and I pray that all your choices, whether big or small, are good ones!!