Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blessed Thanks

Every year, my husband has to work the Sunday before the big holidays in order to stay caught up on production and have the actual holidays off. Today was one of those Sundays. Therefore, the kids and I just stayed home this Sunday and missed church today (and no "tsk"ing! I go every Sunday otherwise!). Today was baptism Sunday, though I don't think I probably missed a sermon (so all you peeps that love Chad's sermons shouldn't have to fret). Though, if you really want to, I'm sure they'll have the audio of today uploaded on the church website (www.missionoflife.com) by the end of the week.

So, since I don't have any notes from church to blog on, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to share an article I wrote for the Mom Life Newsletter that I produce for our Mom's group at church. It's entitled "Blessed Thanks" because it's focused on the concept (as well as the holiday) of Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy it!! God bless you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week and a blessed time of gathering with your families!

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“Thank you, Mommy!” Those are three precious words that I should never get tired of hearing, or take for granted. The importance of showing thankfulness is something that my own parents taught me; just as I have strived to teach my own children. It’s important that you acknowledge and show your appreciation to someone who has shown kindness to you.

However, I think the “politeness” of saying “thank-you” has caused its meaning to be lost in the vast sea of social courtesies. “Thank you” is often a formality and an obligation and we say it almost nonchalantly and without much thought. Of course, I am thankful that my kids have learned to automatically say “please” and “thank you” when they should, but my greater hope is that they will know that true thankfulness goes beyond just mere words. It’s all about the heart!

Having a thankful heart has been on my mind; considering that the Thanksgiving holiday is coming up. We all know the history, the traditions, and the meanings behind this holiday, but do we really truly grasp the joy? How often do we really allow thankful thoughts to invade our minds and seize our hearts with gladness? How often do we get so filled with gratefulness that we just burst with praise because of our gratitude? For me, the politeness in our house is so prevalent that I often miss the greater blessings of thankfulness. As a wife, mom, woman, etc. I sometimes feel under appreciated; despite the regular “thank yous.” They get dismissed too often when they become casual and expected, but nevertheless, they ARE acknowledgements and affirmations are they not? Maybe it’s my perspective that needs the change. Maybe if I spent more time offering God more high quality and non-casual “thank yous”, I would be able to appreciate any grade of “thank you” from my family and friends with a greater sense of joy and without so many judgments towards the authenticity of their every-day “thank yous“.

God craves that same genuine display of appreciation and thankfulness as well. Yet, how often do we take the time to thank Him - REALLY thank Him? How often do we just give Him polite every-day “thank yous” but neglect to really tell Him from our heart just how much we appreciate His goodness and blessings to us? Just like we go the extra mile to thank someone for an extra special gift by writing a thank-you note (or reciprocating with a gift of our own at some point) we should be even MORE eager to give back to God by sharing our heart with Him; and with others. God never tires of hearing our praises and offers of thanksgiving. The Psalms are full of exclamations of thanks. Psalm 69:30 says: “I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” And, Psalm 95:2 “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” And that’s just a start!

Why are the Psalms so full of praises? Why such a grateful heart? Well, my friends, it’s because the Lord is worthy of any and all praise we can offer! Not because He needs to be reminded of how glorious He is (He already knows!) but because WE need to remember how glorious He is! WE need to remember how sovereign, wonderful, loving, and amazing our heavenly Father is! We need to meditate on His goodness and share with Him how humbled and blessed we are that He has shown such favor to us! Thanksgiving blesses us just as much (if not more) than it blesses Him because it forces us to remember just how much we have and how little we have to complain about! Our God is GOOD and He shares that goodness with us!!

Beyond just the holiday, thanksgiving is truly year round. We should be cherishing it in the every day moments; whether giving or receiving it. In fact, it’s the very foundation of prayer! In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul says: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Did you notice that declaring praise to the Lord is so noteworthy that Paul emphasizes rejoicing TWICE! And, he says “always.” He also says “with thanksgiving” we are to present our requests to God. Those exhortations then turn into the peace we receive as we rest in the joy of knowing that we are blessed, protected, and so much more! And, it’s just like a saying I saw on a poster once: “Always thank God for what you have before you ask Him for more.” It’s a good thing to remember; especially when we are feeling stressed, busy, greedy, etc. at this time of year!!

May your hearts be blessed as you savor the joy of each blessing God has given you! May every “thank you” you give and receive have value, and fill your hearts with joy! May we ALWAYS rejoice!! Grace and peace to all of you!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"And Knowing Is Half The Battle!"

If any of you are even remotely familiar with the "G.I. Joe" cartoons of the 80's, you'll no doubt remember a familiar phrase that I am about to repeat. At the end of the cartoons, they always did public service announcements in order to teach a concept to kids. The kid would always say, "now I know" and then they would say "and knowing is half the battle." If you need a refresher, check out the video I found on YouTube in which a girl is encouraged to keep trying to learn how to water ski. She finds it difficult and wants to give up, but is encouraged to keep trying until she masters the new skill she is hoping to learn. 

What I'm getting at is that if knowing really is half the battle, why do so many people not even "know" about the battles we are fighting? How can we win if we are so ignorant of the facts? Case and point being this new video from American Life League in which they present the truth about Margaret Sanger and the organization she proudly founded: Planned Parenthood. Take a moment to watch the video as you see and hear her words of hate and racism. Listen to how she talks about implementing eugenics programs in America as they had in Nazi Germany. Listen carefully to how she talks about exterminating "Negroes". Don't miss the part where she talks about using black ministers to "educate" the black population and dissuade them from multiplying. Is it any wonder Planned Parenthood loves Barack Obama so much? They are proud as peaches to be able to use his influence to further their destructive agenda!! Though, I still can't figure out how or why he or ANYONE (no matter what your "color") would want to promote the evil legacy of Planned Parenthood and the twisted logic of Margaret Sanger!! How can anyone be so proud of trumpeting that horn? 

So, what do you think? Do you believe in Margaret Sanger's idea that we are all just a bunch of human "weeds" and that there are so many inferior human beings standing in the way of progress? Do you agree that there are so many "weeds" who have no purpose or value, and that we must be cleared out to make way for a super race? Well, this is one "weed" that she will not be able to get rid of! You see, I am NOT a weed!! Quite the opposite. I am grafted into the VINE (John 15:1-17) and through that abundant LIFE-GIVING source, I bear fruit! I am FAR from a weed, and I am pruned and nurtured in that precious vine! I AM NOT , and WILL NOT, be a weed or branch that is bundled and burned in the fire! 

Don't believe the lies of Margaret Sanger! Hopefully, your eyes have been opened to the truth so that you KNOW how to fight in this battle!! Consider this to have been your own public service announcement (though, I am not a "G.I. Joe" er…Jane lol). Remember that you and everyone else on this earth is NOT a mistake!! As my English teacher always used to say, "Everything is done on purpose FOR a purpose…..there are no accidents." I am not an "accident" and neither were you!!  We were created "on purpose for a purpose" (Ephesians 2:10). We were known even before we were even born (Isaiah 44:2) and were knit in our mother's wombs by the hands of our Blessed Creator (Psalm 139:13). YOU ARE PRECIOUS AND PURPOSED!! Your life is NOT a waste, so don't waste your life!! LIVE IT! LIVE IN HIM!! Keep fighting the good fight!! Grace and peace to all of you!! 

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Red Letter" Days

Over the past few weeks, Chad has been talking about the tough questions of our faith. It all leads up to our response to the gospel. How will we react? What will we choose?

In our bulletins, Chad has lots of scripture listed there. It was the “red letters” of Jesus. Do we cling to the “red letters”? Will His words lead to “red letter” days for us? Will there be people who are praising God because of the “red letters” that are being displayed in our lives?

We are a light to the world (Matthew 5:14-16). We need to be shinning!! We shouldn’t be hiding our light, or letting our fires dim and fizzle out!! Because of the dark places all around us, there are people crying out for light!! We need to be taking our light into those dark places; and leading people out!! We shouldn’t be the type that just shines our light in the dark, remind people that they are dark, and then just expect people to get out if we don’t lead them. We need to extend our hands to the ones that are searching for something to hold onto. We shouldn’t just shine in a stationary place and expect people to come to us if we aren’t coming to pursue them too!

What kind of light are we then? Does our light go to others, or do we just expect others to come to us? You know, it’s like something I read once about darkness not existing unless there is an ABSENCE of light. But, where there IS light, there is no darkness! So, the LIGHT has to go to the darkness in order for it to be eliminated. Darkness doesn’t seek light, because darkness cannot exist where there is light. LIGHT seeks the darkness to make the darkness light!!

How do we be the brightest light possible? Well, Chad said we have to be a student of our master. The better student we are, the more effective we will be. We will be “salty” and create a “thirst” in others. They will crave the living water that will quench their thirst!! Chad illustrated how well of a drummer he was in order to show the relationship between student and teacher. He showed us the best he could do on the drums, which was a drum solo that he was taught when he was in school. He played a timid “little drummer boy” solo, that he performed in a Christmas program, and that was it. Then, he had one of our praise team drummers perform a drum solo (which was astounding!). And, it definitely had me “thirsty” because his salty solo had me wanting to clap my hands and tap my feet! When his solo was over, I was thinking “Ah, come on! Play some more!! That was awesome!” THAT, my friends, is how we need to be!! We need to be a seasoned and experienced student of our master in order to be able to have that kind of effect - having people desiring “more.” If all we put out is “little drummer boy” efforts, we won’t attract much!

Chad ended the sermon by having us all write down our responses on a piece of paper. We wrote about our personal response and mission, and our prayer requests for it. He even had a few envelopes placed around the auditorium at random (and each envelope had “seed money” in it). He said those envelopes had God’s resources in it, and that he was challenging everyone (envelope or no envelope) to invest in God’s Kingdom by planting seeds. The church’s mission is to live out the “red letter” messages of Jesus!

So, what’s my “red letter” mission? Well, many of you know that it’s my passion to write. Therefore, I blog and share my heart online and otherwise. I do my best to serve, minister, and encourage others, work for good causes, use my talents in the church (writing, drama team, prayer team) etc. I’ll continue to do all I have been doing, and will look forward to having more opportunities to use them!!

May you all have “red letter” days and use your gifts to “shine” and serve!! Grace and peace to all of you!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Say "No" to Suffering!

Back in April, I participated in the pro-life t-shirt day (sponsored by American Life League). I even made a video with my son, Casey, who had asked me about my shirt as best as he knew how (watch the video and you'll see what I mean).

American Life League/Rock for Life even featured it on their YouTube and on their site. My greatest hope was/is that the common sense of that video would touch hearts and spread across the internet as people realize that if even a CHILD knows a baby is a baby, how can anyone be any less perceptive?? I never had to tell my son that a "fetus" in the womb is a human being - he knew by looking at it!! So, is that to say that most of us aren't smarter than a five year old?? Where is our common sense, reason, and compassion??

I DREAD the day that my children become of age to understand what abortion is. How does one explain abortion to our kids? Even CHILDREN know that babies are babies!! I can only hope and pray that by that day, abortion will be a tragic thing of the past. Though, if Barack Obama has his way, it will be the stain that never gets washed away. For some reason, it's his greatest hope that human life continues to be destroyed and that women everywhere continue to be victimized, psychologically scarred, and so much more!! I have heard countless abortion stories and heard the pain, guilt, and regret of women as they tearfully tell me the stories that weigh them down with so much regret and shame. Thankfully, for those that know Christ, they have learned how to heal, and that God remembers it no more and holds their children in his arms. Though, even then, the memories rarely fade away; and many live with the after-effects of abortion (miscarriages, infertility, increased risk for breast cancer, psychological distress, etc.).

This is why I fight for life so much!! I am so tired of seeing people needlessly suffer - and that's only the tip of the iceberg! I have even had a man tell me his story of how he pressured his girlfriend to have an abortion; and he has grieved it ever since. EVERYONE suffers, people!!

This madness has got to stop!! America can't go on letting this silent genocide continue!! That is why we must stand up and fight FOCA aka the "Freedom of Choice Act" which Barack Obama is eager to make the law of the land. To learn more about FOCA, and to sign the petition to fight it, click here. It explains what FOCA is and also includes the video of Barack Obama addressing his buddy, Planned Parenthood, about how he plans to indoctrinate FOCA into our nation .

If any of you still aren't convinced about what's at stake, or how much abortion hurts people, click on the links I have provided at the end of this entry. They are the stories of real-life women who have shared their stories on my blog. And, in addition to that, I'm including a link to a poem I wrote last year when I was raising money for the "Walk for Life" for my local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Grace and peace to all of you!! Keep fighting the good fight!!

The Lost Child: Nancy’s Story

Saundra’s Story
Jackie‘s Story
Saved from Abortion
Poem: “Hearing Their Hearts’ Cry”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Video: Obama Cheats His Own Supporters!

While reading some blogs today, I noticed a video on Ashli's blog that I would like to share. Though, before I do, I had better tell you a little bit about Ashli first (because she's someone worth mentioning!). I have mentioned her before (most specifically in last year's "Walk for Life" video on my YouTube) but let me refresh your memory! First of all, her blog can be found at http://www.thesiclecell.blogspot.com/ Secondly, she is also the author of the book "Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum" If you don't know what that is, you're not alone. Most people don't because so little research has been done and not much information is available on the topic (which is why she wrote the book). It's a condition in which a pregnant mother gets so debilitating and horribly sick that death is almost rather preferable. Ashli personally suffered through this disease FOUR TIMES (and deeply regrets the abortion of her first child because she didn't know how to cope with her disease). Now, she speaks of her loss, her triumphs, and the precious children that she has now. She is a powerful voice for life, and is the poster-child for women everywhere who have gone through the horrible trenches of "choice" and are now recovering. In addition to her blog, you can also check out the website for her book: http://www.beyondmorningsickness.com/

As for the video I mentioned, this was prompted from a recent blog entry on her page. And, ironically enough, this event that you will see in the video took place right here in my home state of Indiana!! It's a video of Obama campaign workers trying to get the compensation that they were told they would be receiving. As you will see in the video, most of them only got around HALF of what was promised. Does this tell you anything?? Obama's inauguration hasn't even occurred and he's already cheating the American people; and his OWN supporters no less!!! How's that for a "thank you"? America, are you waking up from the Obama trance yet?? This is only a taste of what's to come!! EVERYONE'S paycheck is NEXT!! What a shame! Glad I didn't vote for "that one" (and no, I do NOT mean that in a racial way!! I mean it as a choice between any two alternatives of "this" and "that" and I most certainly didn't vote for "that" - which will soon turn into "this" as soon as Obama takes control in January).

Keep praying America!!! May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you!!

Stuff I Have Been Wanting To Say/Share

Today, I am just posting a lot of thoughts and information that I have been wanting to share. So, this blog is going to be a little "random" for a change. LOL So, anyways…..

First of all, today is a day we pause to remember and honor our veterans and active military. My Dad served in the army, and so did my Mom's father (my Grandpa). My Great Uncle's son (Mike) served in the Navy. My husband's father served as a marine in Vietnam. I'm sure we all know someone who has gallantly served in our nation's military - and has maybe even died while defending our country's honor and freedom. These people deserve our thanks and our prayers. Salute your heroes if you see them today and/or call them up and thank them!! God bless them all!! We love you!!

Second of all, today, my baby brother turns 23!! OH MY GOSH!! LOL Happy birthday Ryan!! Your big sis (though now much shorter than you!) loves you VERY much!!! Have a WONDERFUL birthday and many more….yeah, CRIPE!! LOL

Lastly, I wanted to make you all aware of a few important links I have come across in the last few days. One of them being a very interesting explanation of why Barack Obama has been so easily able to smooth-talk his way into office. If you have the time to even briefly look this one over, please see this detailed and comprehensive document that my myspace friend, Elaine, found (thanks Elaine for finding this and confirming what I had already suspected for months!).

The next link I want to mention is a VERY important one: http://www.fightfoca.com/ FOCA is what's known as the "Freedom of Choice Act" which Barack Obama wants to make his first priority to sign!! Dear friends, let's stand up, make our voices heard, and fight this!! We have harmed enough women and children over the years; it's time for it to STOP, not continue!! Please, visit the link (all the information you need to know about FOCA is posted there) and sign the petition!! Pass it along to everyone you know as well!!

I also want to share a link that I became aware of today. It's from Grassfire.org. Please click here to sign this important petition and pass it along. This is a peaceful petition of resistance which states: "As an American citizen, while I will show respect to President-elect Obama, I oppose the far-Left and socialistic elements that comprise the centerpiece of his agenda. I recognize that it will take a patriotic and resilient Citizen Resistance to block implementation of this agenda and I join with others who oppose these threats to our liberties." In conjunction with that, I also agree with the brilliant statements given by Mike Huckabee: "Some of President Bush's harsh critics went beyond loyal opposition and engaged in angry, vile and mean-spirited hate. Those of us who found that kind of attitude and behavior despicable can hardly engage in similar conduct toward President Obama. We can show our true patriotism conducting ourselves in the way that we wanted people to have treated President Bush…….If Barack Obama pushes tax increases, indifference to the sanctity of life or same sex marriages, I'll strongly and loudly disagree. But I will still show him the respect that he has earned having been elected president of the United States."

The last link I want to share is one that particularly resounded with me, because I had the exact same thoughts after election day (and was going to blog it myself). Though, this article articulated it perfectly (one small correction….the Bible text quoted is supposed to be first Samuel, and not second Samuel. May we all remember the history and warnings found in 1 Samuel 8 and may we be aware of the end time prophecies being fulfilled even now!). Sometimes, God just allows us to have what we "think" we want in order to open our eyes to the goodness He TRULY wants for us; and to draw us back to Him when "our way" falls apart. The one good thing that will hopefully come out of all of this is that God's people will band together in unity even stronger than before and press onward for righteousness!!

Grace and peace to all of you!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Life or Death?

On Sunday, Chad continued the series of tough questions. The latest question was “What difference does Jesus make?” In other words, do we exhibit the changed life that occurs when we become a child of God, or are we no different than anyone else?

It’s an important question to consider. After all, if Jesus has made such a difference, shouldn’t others be able to see the fruit of that? Or, is there a big gap between what we say we believe and the actual evidence of our faith? What is faith without action? It isn‘t enough to just “believe in God“ - even the demons “believe“ and SHUDDER (James 2:19). So, what sets us apart from a head-knowledge belief, like a demon, and true faith? It‘s our FRUIT, my friends!! It‘s our ACTIONS!! James 2:26 says “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” Basically, practice what you profess!

How much “gap” is there between the faith we profess and the actual evidence of what we say we believe? Chad said that the gaps “diminish Jesus.” In all actuality, NOTHING truly diminishes Jesus. What Chad meant was that the more our testimony displays a poor witness, the more that unbelievers will look at our lives and say “if that’s what a Christian is, than Jesus is not for me!” All my life, I have tried hard to make sure that there was as little “gap” as possible. Though, I am not infallible. Being that I have a sin nature, I am prone to mistakes. There are times that I won’t measure up to someone’s ideals, but that’s ok. I don’t live to please the world; neither can I be the “savior” of the world by my testimony alone. Laying down the legalism and perfection was something that was very tough for me to realize and cope with, but living on the side of GRACE is so much better than trying to act as though everyone’s choice to accept Christ depends on me! Through Christ, I will do the best I can, but everyone is responsible for their own response to God’s Holy Spirit. If they don’t like the message of truth that I proclaim, that’s their choice. In fact, let’s talk about the ability to “choose” for a moment.

Chad said that REAL love gives a choice. True love cannot exist without freedom, because love is not demanded. God NEVER demands our love. In fact, He communicated to Adam in the garden of Eden that he was FREE to eat from any tree in the garden, but that he must not (He didn‘t say “you can‘t“ just that he shouldn‘t) eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he would surely die (Genesis 2:8-17). He gave Adam a CHOICE; whether to choose the tree of life, or the tree that would lead to death. Adam made his choice, and it’s that choice that caused the separation between us and God (which God so graciously decided to restore by giving us a second chance at life through Jesus sacrifice for our sins! ISN‘T GOD AMAZING, GRACIOUS, LOVING, AND COMPASSIONATE?!).

Of course, one might argue that if God is so “loving” why does He give us rules? Some may view rules as a restriction, but what are the purposes of rules anyways? Rules are for OUR benefit and protection. If their were no guidelines, boundaries, or standards, how would there be any peace? God is our Father, and He tells us the “yeas” and “nays” for OUR own good; just as any parent instructs a child. One makes “rules” out of love. Of course, we can “choose” to disobey, but we will suffer consequences. Though, if we DO obey, we reap the benefits of positive results that flow from good choices and we spare ourselves pain. It’s like I tell my children, “Casey, Gianna, don’t jump off the couch or you’ll get an ouchie.” They can “choose” whether or not they want to obey, but their choices have consequences one way or another. Giving them a command is for their benefit, because I love them and don’t want them to get hurt. However, they are still free to see for themselves what jumping off the couch will do if they don’t believe me. Regardless of their mistakes, I will comfort them; just as God comforts us even when we defiantly go against His good plans for us. His love for us never changes, just like my love for my children doesn’t change no matter how much they disobey.

The choice is truly ours; and it really is a “life and death” choice. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says:

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Blessings come when we choose LIFE! Destruction comes when we choose death. Which would you rather have? Life by the Spirit which is real LIFE, or life in our sinful nature which is death? (Romans 8:13) Choosing ourselves results in death, but choosing God equals life - FOREVER!! God freely gives you the option. It’s up to you to DECIDE! I pray you will choose life and that the separation from His presence wouldn‘t be something you would desire!! May grace and peace be with you!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Barack Obama is Covered in Chinese Food! :)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

Since Tuesday night, my heart has been sick. The hearts of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have been sick as well as we mourned and grieved over what is to come in the next four years. We shared our concerns for Israel, the unborn, and for the welfare of our faith and families. We painfully watched the world rejoice over their exalted “messiah” and groaned to think that so many in our nation voted for the one that was the choice of all our hostile enemies and terrorist in the world. We are left wondering “why” and how we can cope with what lies ahead. Beyond any promises of “hope” we hear from the mouth of the world, we rest in the REAL hope of what we know to be true:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. - Jeremiah 23:16

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. - Psalm 130:5

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. - Psalm 33:20

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water. - Jeremiah 17:13

For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. - Psalm 37:9

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. - Psalm 31:24

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Our only hope is God, and in Him will we trust! We will bond together and stand stronger than ever in our faith. Hopefully, the body of Christ will be unified even more as we seek to uplift our leaders and pray harder!

As I cried and prayed Wednesday morning, I was comforted with the fact that as surely as the Lord lives, there is HOPE! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! And, as long as His people are drawing breath here on this earth, we have hope, unity, fellowship, and His Kingdom come on earth!! We who are in Him will still continue to do His Will and goodness and love shall prevail!

You know, I serve a great God!! Even though this nation acted in defiant rebellion against His will, He is greater than all things!! He will have favor on His faithful ones and protect His people. He will redeem and restore those who cry unto Him. He will give us grace, hope, and peace. It is the very thing He graciously gave to me in a powerful way, yesterday, as I carried the burden of sadness on my heart. I would like to share that beautiful and blessed story with you now:

Yesterday afternoon, I told Mitch I just wanted to get out of the house and get my mind off of things. So, we decided we would go to Fort Wayne (which I had an errand to run up there anyways). Usually, when we go to Fort Wayne, we pick somewhere to eat. Knowing my state of being, Mitch kindly offered to let me pick the place to go; hoping that it would cheer me up. So, as we made our way to Fort Wayne, I felt a strong urge to go to a little Chinese place that we hadn’t been to in a long time. I was almost hesitant to go considering that our children are such picky eaters, but we went.

As we entered the place, it was very empty. We were the only ones there. The kids headed straight for the fish tank, so we picked a table right in front of it so they could enjoy the view. The owners of the establishment were very friendly and kind, and they took our order and we waited.

Meanwhile, two guys came in and ordered some food to go. They sat down at the table beside us as they waited for their food. All the while, they watched our children talk about the fish, and they made funny comments to them as they seemingly shared in their joy and delight in seeing such big fish. We said a few words to them here and there as well, and just smiled and laughed along with them as they watched our kids take joy in such simple pleasures. Then, we motioned the kids to sit down as the lady brought us some food. We told the kids to pray, and we all bowed our heads as our five-year-old son uttered the blessing in a small little voice. Promptly thereafter, the kids decided they weren’t ready to eat yet, and went to admire the fish some more. (That’s children for you! Ha ha!).

A few minutes later, the men received their order and left. Then, the owner came up to us and said that our bill (tip and everything) had been paid in full by one of those guys. Mitch rose from his seat; hoping to find them and thank them, but they were already gone. The owner asked if we knew the men and we said no. He then told us that they were from a town nearby (which is in the northern part of the county that we live in). He said the one guy came in a lot to get take-out. I asked if I could write a thank-you note and if they would give it to him the next time they came in. He said of course, and gave me a paper and pen. Clearly, they were just as moved by such a random act of kindness as we were. He read my note of thanks and we talked to them a little while as we enjoyed our very delicious meal (and the kids ate their food that night too! LOL).

I tried hard to hold back the tears as I marveled at what had been done. The whole time, God was speaking to my heart and here are the few verses that particularly came to me:

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:31-34

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. - Psalm 30:5

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. - 1 Peter 4:8

As I pondered all those verses in my mind, I was blessed with such comfort and peace beyond what I imagined was possible. I was assured of God’s sovereignty and provision for my every need, whether great or small. He is my hope and security no matter what happens! I knew that the night of grieving was gone and that the time for rejoicing had come! No one or nothing will steal my joy!! God is still good and worthy of my praise and He will work all things out for good (Romans 8:28) even if we disobeyed Him and went against His will by choosing someone who will oppress His people (Israel), kill our children (the unborn), and bring strife and calamity on this nation. God is sovereign over it all!! And, His people are STILL here and we can STILL carry out His will and bring blessing on this nation through our rendered hearts!!

Deeper still, I thought of King David’s reaction to his child’s death in 2 Samuel 12:20-23:

Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!" He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.

In other words, what's done is done. We will reap what we sow. David learned that disobedience has consequences. Then, he prayed and fasted and hoped that God would show mercy. But when it didn’t happen, he accepted it and moved on. Likewise, we mustn't look back and try to "revive the dead." The past must stay in the past; we cannot resurrect it. It cannot come back to life. All we can do is live with whatever consequences come and band together in unity and prayer so that we can face our lives today and in the days to come. God has nothing but good plans for us if we would only listen and welcome Him in. Otherwise, we bear the consequences of our own free-will. Hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes and have changed and repentant hearts like David’s.

Above all else, I was comforted in remembering that love covers!! Love certainly covered us in that little restaurant. My heart was blessed beyond all I could comprehend. That act of love and kindness COVERED the wrongs and sadness that were disturbing my heart! God must have stirred that man’s heart to do what he did because only God could have known how much it would mean to me. I don’t know the heart of that man, but what he displayed was true agape love - which he must have recognized in our family as well. He blessed us immensely, though I know in some way we must have blessed him first. Maybe it was the pure joy and innocence of our kids, our display of faith through prayer, or maybe even the pro-life t-shirt I was wearing (or all of the above!). I may never know, but what I do know is that those blessings spread! Those two guys, our family, and those restaurant owners were touched. Now, more hearts will be touched as they read this story. I had written on the note that the world would know of their kindness, and I gave them the link to my blog in case they should ever see it. The best thing you can do with a blessing is pay it forward and keep the chain going!! Moments like that is what encourages me that in the broader scope of things, we will all be ok because the Holy Spirit continues to work and move in the hearts of His people. We will not be shaken!!!!

Because of that blessing, I am not bothered so much by what has occurred in our nation. Of course it’s saddening and even scary, but it’s COVERED!!! LOVE COVERS!! Barack Obama is covered in Chinese food (ha ha)!! No matter what he does or doesn’t do, the love of God’s people can cover it because we have God’s grace and agape love in our hearts!! NOTHING on earth is greater than God’s Holy Spirit - NOTHING!!!

Believe in REAL hope and pray for REAL change!! Let’s lift up all of our newly elected leaders in prayer (especially Barack Obama). May those whose hearts are right before God continue standing up for what’s right, and may those who don’t have a heart changed by the Holy Spirit!! Take heart in knowing that God will carry us through - just as this Mark Schultz song describes (which totally spoke to my heart as I heard it on the radio after leaving the restaurant).

May true hope, grace, and peace be in YOUR hearts!! God bless you all, and GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Final Thoughts and Truths to Consider Before Voting Tomorrow

What you will read at the end of my message is something that I also found on a message board today. If you need some refreshing on who stands for what let me remind you:

McCain/Palin are Christians who will stand up for our faith and for YOU!! They are whole-heartedly pro-life and they seek to overturn Roe vs. Wade (and through appointing some good supreme court justices, that just might happen eventually!). They also support and defend marriage between one man and one woman. They do not promote the perversion of homosexuality. Also, they seek to stick to the capitalist system that keeps our country running (and they will cut your taxes too!). They do not believe in “wealth spreading” and encouraging idleness/laziness by insisting that we provide funds and benefits to those who only seek to use and abuse government systems (such as welfare). They want to create jobs and encourage people to work and provide for themselves (and save us tax money!) They also stand with ISRAEL and do not support the radical agendas to break it apart.

By contrast, Obama is the mirror opposite (and then some!). He claims Christianity, but none of his beliefs reflect that (and, as we all know, he has roots in Islam as well as ties to terrorists). Add to all this that he doesn’t even like to salute our flag (and would rather create his own version of the American flag - as evidenced by his logo). My gosh, he’s more and more like Hitler all the time!! Brainwashing crowds everywhere and gaining their allegiance as they blindly follow and believe whatever comes out of that smooth-talking mouth of his! When, all the while, he is helping to promote the American Holocaust of MILLIONS OF BABIES!!!

It’s downright blasphemous how he claims that he cares about all us “Joes” but says that we just cling to our guns and religion! But it doesn’t stop there!! He also claims that he wants to provide quality education for our children (well, those that survive life in the womb anyways!) Only “wanted“ children have the right to life and prosperity; but if they are a “mistake“ we shouldn‘t be “punished“ with those children; even more so if they have special needs. Just abort and try again. Why bother with them right? This is all part of his plan. In fact, he said that the first thing he wants to do as president is sign the “freedom of choice act.“ He supports every form of abortion under the sun (AND infanticide!!!). He is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, and has even said that he wouldn’t yield and Planned Parenthood wouldn’t yield (just what we need right? Unyielding radical liberals who will never stop promoting promiscuity, abortion, and perverted “sexual education” to our children - when they aren’t killing them of course). I’m sorry….is all of this news to you? I’d imagine it is because the media sure wouldn’t broadcast it!! However, you can hear all these statements from his own mouth by checking out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NN4TKrViNE

Obama would appoint supreme court judges that would strip away all of our rights (our right to our faith, to bear arms, and so much more!). Not only that, he seeks to grant homosexuals the right to marry; which would destroy the family dynamics and moral fabric of our nation (and it is not something that God purposed or created us for! It violates the completion and unity that He created through a one man/one woman union).

Also, he seeks to “spread the wealth” with his health care schemes and wealth redistribution (do we really want a socialist system? Is it working for Cuba???). In other words, you will work hard so that other people who refuse to work can have your money - after all, that’s the “fair” thing to do…..that way, everyone benefits right? And, last but not least, Obama opposes Israel. World leaders every where are hoping for Obama’s election so that they can have his support in dismantling the country and taking what they want. Can you imagine terrorists having an ally in the White House, someone that will pretty much give them a stamp of approval when he yanks our troops out of Iraq and all hell breaks loose? God forbid we ever see another 9/11!

One final notation, the majority of Hollywood endorses Obama (how about that? Are you going to vote the same way those radical and empty-headed celebrities vote?? How well does a godless millionaire celebrity relate to us “Joe the plumbers”? Whomever THEY are voting for, we should vote the opposite!!). The world doesn’t embrace children of God, but they do embrace other worldly and ungodly people. So, shouldn’t we be thinking about that and embracing the ones that AREN’T being endorsed by the world/media/Hollywood?

Those are my final thoughts before the historic vote tomorrow. If you want to read more about Osama Obama, re-read my October 16th entry: “Truth Serum Anyone??“

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!

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WHO WOULD JESUS VOTE FOR?

1. Jesus would not vote according to his "pocketbook."
" For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager
for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many
griefs." 1 Timothy 6:10

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory
by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

2. Jesus is Pro Life.
"Before you were formed in the body of your mother I had knowledge of you, and before your birth I made you holy..." Jeremiah 1:5 "

"But Jesus said, suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14

3. Jesus is not tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle.
"And in the same way the men gave up the natural use of the woman and were
burning in their desire for one another, men doing shame with men, and
getting in their bodies the right reward of their evil-doing. And
because they had not the mind to keep God in their knowledge, God gave
them up to an evil mind, to do those things which are not right..." Romans 1:27-28

4. Jesus would not vote for anyone who has interests in other religions besides Christianity.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

5. Jesus is against welfare.
"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10

6. Jesus is pro Israel.
"Because they did not give the children of Israel bread and water when they came to them, but got Balaam to put a curse on them: though the curse was turned into a blessing by our God." Nehemiah 13:2

"I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. You will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you." Genesis 12:2-3

7. Jesus knows who really controls the economy.
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear? 'For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:31-34

8. Jesus is not worried about social security or the stock market.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." Matthew 6:19-20

It all comes down to this. We need God in America again. Our economy,
our children, our marriages, etc. need healing.

While neither candidate looks to be a strong Christian candidate - as
a nation which one will lead us closer to God and not farther away?

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

As Christians, who we vote for does matter to God!
"As surely as I live,' says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God. ' So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:11-12

I'm a Christian and I approve of this message...

To My Friends and Fellow Believers: READ THIS BEFORE VOTING TOMORROW!

Before you read this, I just wanted to tell you all that I DID NOT WRITE THIS ONE!! :) I got this from someone on a message board. Though, it really touched my heart and moved me so much that I thought I would make sure more people could read it before they vote tomorrow! God bless you!!

Melissa :)

*************************************

This Emai is circulating... Please pass it on. Just got it from a friend who returned from OH volunteering on the McCain Campaign...

Dear Friends in Christ:

Are you sensing that there is something different about this presidential election? I was telling someone just recently that it seems like this election is far more serious than those in the recent past. Something in my spirit is very uneasy. In the past I have felt the need to pray for different elections but I have never felt so strongly the urge to pray, and pray fervently, for an election as I do for this one. I truly believe that if the wrong person (Obama) is elected this nation will be changed forever. We may not be able to undo the things that will be unleashed during an Obama presidency. My concern about an Obama presidency is not based on politics; it is based on righteousness. Look at any of the major moral issues (abortion, homosexuality etc.) and you will find Obama on the wrong side of the issue, and Palin and McCain on the right side of the issue. What makes this so disturbing is that the Obama team has raised far more money than McCain/Palin, and the media is unabashedly supporting Obama with every story and headline they write. Currently McCain/Palin is behind in the polls and is having a very difficult time. Some in the media have suggested that the race is over and there is little or nothing McCain can do to change the outcome. Oh how wrong they are!

Let me briefly share a story I recently read in 2 Samuel Chapter 5. David had just become king of Israel and the Philistines went up to wage war against him. So David inquired of the Lord and said, 'Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?' The LORD said, 'Yes I will surely hand them over to you.' So David went and defeated them. He said, 'As waters break out, the LORD has broken out against my enemies before me.' After suffering a great loss in the first battle the Philistines must have thought they now knew David's defense strategy and they would be ready for him the next time because once more the Philistines came up to attack David. So once again David inquired of the LORD, but this time the Lord gave different instructions. He said to David, 'Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.' David obeyed the Lord and was victorious.

This story holds a very important lesson for us at this time. In most presidential elections a frontal assault, a face-to-face battle, is what is needed. But this is no ordinary election. McCain is trying all the normal tactics, but he is not prevailing. It seems no matter what he says or does it is not effective. I am convinced this election CANNOT be won using normal methods. Just as the Lord told David to go around behind the enemy and attack him there, so we must go around the face of this election and wage war where the battle is truly raging...in the spiritual realm! The fact that the normal physical methods are not effective this time should tell us that this is a very important spiritual battle and we can only win by using spiritual methods...Prayer!

What about the sound of marching in the treetops? What is that? I have read on the Internet several accounts of fellow Christians being stirred up in their spirits to pray.

Many have been drawn into times of deep prayer and weeping as they intercede for Palin and McCain. Some have awakened in the middle of the night and sensed a great need to pray; others have told that when they heard about Sarah Palin being chosen as VP something came over them and they wept and felt a need to pray for her and McCain. Many others are feeling the calling and urging of the Spirit to enter into a time of fervent prayer and fasting for Palin and McCain and our nation. What is this unusual stirring that is occurring? I believe it is the Sound of the Lord marching in the trees, calling his children to act quickly to pray and fast for Palin and McCain. Think about this: What would the marching have sounded like to David? It may have sounded like the rustling of leaves as when wind blows through them, but this time something was different and out of the ordinary. Maybe it was like the sound of the great wind when the Spirit moved on the day of Pentecost. Also, God's people are referred to as Trees of Righteousness in Isaiah 61. So the sound of the Lord marching in the treetops in David's time is a portrait of the Spirit of the Lord moving among and stirring up his children today.

So what are we to do when we sense this stirring of the Spirit? Two things, first we are to take it as the sign that the Lord is moving out in front of us. Anytime the Lord calls us to do something he goes ahead of us to prepare the way and fight for us. When Joshua returned from spying out Jericho the Lord gave him insight to see that the Lord had removed Jericho's protection so Israel could defeat them. When the Lord calls us into battle he goes ahead of us, removes the enemy's protection, and fights for us to give us the victory. Secondly, the Lord tells us when we sense the stirring of the Spirit we are to act quickly and join Him in the battle (through prayer, fasting, praise and obedience).

This election is by no means lost. God would not be stirring up his children all across this nation--and around the world--to pray, if he did not want to give us the victory in this election. And he wants us to join him in the battle. God will hear the cries of his children if we will only cry out to him with fervent, earnest, prayers for this election and this nation. If those who are being drawn to prayer by the Spirit will indeed enter into a time of prayer and seeking His face, then God will have mercy on America and spare us from having an ungodly leader. I'm sure of it!

One more thought . . . After the last debate, so-called 'conservative' David Brooks gushed about Obama, 'I thought Obama had the night he needed to have. You know, through this whole 20-month marathon, I think what struck me is how incredibly even he is. And how frankly reassuring he is. It is like you're camping, and you wake up one morning, and there is a mountain. And then the next morning, there is a mountain, and there's the next morning, there's a mountain. Obama is just the mountain. He is just there. He is always the same, he doesn't hurt himself. McCain can sometimes lob a cannonball at the mountain, but the mountain doesn't move, and the mountain doesn't care. And so I think his steadiness, his temperament has been the dramatic theme of this campaign, dramatic in being undramatic. And it was on display tonight. And the good part of the mountain is that he is reassuring and reliable.'

I'm really glad he used the word 'mountain' to describe Obama. It caused me to remember what Jesus said about unmovable mountains. Jesus said, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'

And it only takes a little faith!

Tomorrow's Crossroads

I pray that everything goes well tomorrow. Best case scenario, McCain/Palin will be elected and our nation can let out a sigh of relief. Our faith, freedoms, families, and sacred marriages will be defended and protected, and our children (whether born or yet to be born) will have a voice in the White House. We will also have the hope that very soon, the Roe vs. Wade decision that destroyed millions of lives and traumatized countless women will soon be overturned. Now THAT is hope that we can believe in!

In addition to all of that, we will have the promise of a brighter future as we watch the two of them clean up Washington, give back to the American people, and make this nation a better place!! I can't wait to see the fruit of our prayers come to pass!! May the Lord show mercy and favor to us as He did four years ago when He refused to allow John Kerry to destroy America. The danger is even greater this time around, and I pray that He will show even more compassion on His faithful ones by sparing us from Obama's reign of terror!

I surely hope that Obama isn't elected. Our moral fabric will unravel at the seams and the principles our nation was founded on will dissolve little by little. It's a "slow fade" like the song by Casting Crowns. Check it out! The subject of the video doesn't just apply to relationships, but to the state our hearts and this nation. Will we let it all fade away, turn to gray, and let our values and faith slip away? We'll pay a high price if we don't stand up and stand strong! If all that we are turns into all that we "were", our nation will continue to spiral into despair and misery. I pray that we will move towards restoration, rather than destruction.

This is my heart's plea. I pray that you will stand with me tomorrow. And, in case you missed it, here's my video message for you to see once again. Feel free to pass it on!

On that final note, I would like to remind everyone that this Friday is the next monthly call for life. The people I may have to contact for these calls might be changing soon. I will still be contacting Richard Lugar (he's not up for reelection yet). And, more than likely, I'll still be contacting Mike Pence (I'm confident he will be reelected!). And, of course, I still have to continue contacting Evan Bayh (PRAY FOR HIM!). The only thing that might change is who I will be contacting concerning the offices of governor and president. Mitch Daniels is looking as though he will probably get reelected, but the office of president is really close right now (of course!). America, please don't make my job harder!! Right now, I have the joy of thanking and encouraging my representatives to continue standing for life, family, and values (with the exception of Evan Bayh). Please, don't make me have to plead and beg Obama each month to change his heart and do what's right!!! Of course, I will if it comes to that, but I sincerely hope I won't have to!! I would love to be able to continue encouraging a pro-life president to keep making strides in the right direction. I don't want to have to weep and mourn knowing that the leader of the country that I love is in favor of killing off innocent and defenseless people!!

Grace and peace to you all!! Please, VOTE TOMORROW as if your life depends on it - because it DOES!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My First Video Blog!

Are you ready for this??! I’ve done it, people!! I’ve made a video blog!! I’m usually better at communicating my thoughts in “word” blogs, but I thought that I would vary it up and try to make an impact visually/verbally. (By the way, Mitch and the kids make a short cameo appearance!).

This video was totally unscripted. I had wanted to write out what I wanted to say, but I wanted to be as real and natural as possible. Take it all in. I hope it makes you think, touches your heart, and moves you to action (and feel free to pass on the video and get it circulating around the internet! I don’t mind!).

Grace and peace to all of you!! Have a blessed week - and don’t forget to VOTE!! Prayerfully consider your options, folks. Consider the worldview, their faiths, and their fruit!

The Million Dollar Case

Today, Chad continued talking about the tough questions that many of us have. Today’s big question was “Is Jesus the only way?” That was the question that was debated in a skit, that a lady and I performed, at the beginning of the service. We made the arguments that a lot of people make; the ones like “there are many ways to God” and “whatever works for me….whatever makes me happy” and the “intolerance” of Jesus saying that HE is the “only way.”

What about these claims? IS Jesus the only way? Doesn’t every belief system get you to heaven? Some say yes, but what about the question I proposed at the end of the skit “What if we’re wrong? Have you ever thought about that?”

In order to ponder these things a little, Chad talked about the difference between Christ and a few different “belief systems” - including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. He presented it kind of like “deal or no deal” in which he had people bring out cases with the names of the religions on it. He said that all our “sincerity” believes that our “system” is the right one. But does every case contain the million bucks? No, of course not! Not everyone wins! It’s not all balloons and confetti every time is it? If that’s how things go in a GAME, how much MORE important is it for us to win in life (and the after-life)?

Chad explained the different kinds of beliefs. You can listen to his descriptions of them when the sermon is uploaded at http://www.missionoflife.com/ Or, you can visit http://www.wikipedia.org/ to research it. I am just going to be brief about the three religions mentioned by saying that it all boils down to legalism and self. How can you earn your way to eternity. How can you “make it” on your own efforts? In those systems, you are exhausting yourselves to meet standards that most will spend their whole lives obsessing over and trying to be “good enough” to attain. It must be discouraging and stressful!! I know that I could never measure up!! And, through it all, none of those “cases” hold a million bucks!! (Oh well, you can always be “reincarnated” and try again right? LOL)

Not one of those cases contains salvation because there is no Savior to do it (except “yourself”). I don’t know about you, but I CANNOT save myself! I am not my own salvation or my own god. Someone greater and bigger than me made all you see here. Therefore, it’s His rules, His world, and His way. And, it’s not “intolerant.” Just like a parent disciplines their child and does everything out of love for them (even when it’s tough or the child rebels) so does our heavenly Father do with us. EVERYTHING He does is out of love - which no other “belief system” preaches. If you are in Christ, you believe in the ONLY ONE who ever LOVED AND PURSUED YOU (and is COMING BACK FOR YOU)!!! He DEMONSTRATED His love for you by dying on a cross for YOUR sins so He could provide to you THE WAY to heaven! Salvation is HERE and it‘s for YOU! HE took care of it!! Getting to heaven doesn’t depend on anything that you do or earn! Whew!! What a relief!!

Shouldn’t that be great news? You are loved and pursued by your Maker; God cares about you and HE PROVED IT!! Romans 5:8 says: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Do you see the beauty in that? We don’t have to save ourselves! Christ already has!! All we have to do is believe; confessing with our mouths and believing in our hearts that He is Lord (Romans 10:9-10). And, you don’t have to be “perfect” to make that confession. That’s the whole point of Romans 5:8. He died for us “while we were still sinners.” He died for us “imperfect” people in order to give us “perfect” salvation! We can’t clean ourselves up first before we ask Him to save us. How much sense does that make? If you could save yourself, what need do you have for a Savior? That’s like trying to take a shower without water. You can’t wash away the dirt without that cleansing water. All you will do is just spread that grime around with a filthy rag - that’s what our own “righteousness” is: filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We can’t clean ourselves without the purifying blood of Jesus Christ that washes away our sins! If we try to present ourselves to God without that cleansing blood, He will not be able to accept us or look upon us in all our sin stained glory. In His perfect, just, and holy being, He cannot look upon it. It’s through Jesus’ blood, that filter of grace, that He sees us and we are purified and made clean!! That blood washes our black sin as white as snow!! Praise God!!

Do you want to know how I know that Jesus is the only way? I know it because I have experienced it! Those who are in Him have these “God stories”. Several people shared theirs today onstage (if you can listen to the sermon on our website, I highly recommend it!). I have tons of “God stories.” There have been countless times where God has demonstrated His reality and presence to me in miraculous and unexplainable ways that can ONLY be attributed to Him! He’s the real deal!! Take the deal!!! Have the assurance of that “million dollar case.” Don’t just pick a man-made belief system. Screw the “systems”!! God doesn’t want our religion, He wants a RELATIONSHIP!!

If you’re just “hoping” that you make it to heaven, I encourage you to “know” that you’re going to make it by accepting Christ!! Confess, believe, and LIVE (eternally!!). Say “no deal” to all the rest and choose JESUS!!

I’ll leave you with two videos that I think fit beautifully with today’s message. The first one is the song/music video “What If” by Nichole Nordeman and the other is the song “Perfect People” by Natalie Grant.

Grace and peace to all of you!! May God bless you this week (and especially as you go out to VOTE!! Vote values America!!! Vote McCain/Palin!). ;)