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Don’t you just hate to open your telephone or electric bill with all those pages of fine print? Do you read all the information or do you go to the bottom line—the amount you owe? Who takes the tim…

Source: FINE PRINT OR THE BOTTOM LINE?

Don’t you just hate to open your telephone or electric bill with all those pages of fine print? Do you read all the information or do you go to the bottom line—the amount you owe? Who takes the time to scan all the blah-blah-blah? Just pay ’em and get on to the next chore, right?

Well, that’s what hubs has done for the past year with our phone bill. Trusting AT&T to be right, he detached the payment tab at the bottom of the bill, wrote his check, and ba-ta-bing, he was done. At least ’til this past month when there was no payment tab.

att-bills-2We left for a few days’ vacation and while I drove, he attempted to make the phone payment, but couldn’t get past that infuriating auto response system.

Next morning, he pulled out the bill and asked, “How about seeing if you can get through to them.” I took the bill, scanned the small print, and noticed two phone numbers—one mine, the other one—not a clue.

“Do you have a phone I don’t know about?” My tone and words snagged caustic.

He glared at me with that what are you talking about now expression God slips into all men’s gene pool.

After more than an hour of aggravation, the Fraud Department identified it as an IPad number that we allegedly purchased when I bought a new cell phone last year. This fraud agent said I purchased this electronic gadget, I assured her I didn’t, and my original purchase bill confirmed what I said. But her verdict remained firm. No do overs, no refund. We owed the bill because we hadn’t read the fine print. Even though—Now it was too late and the conversation didn’t end well.

Almost four thousand years ago God gave the children of Israel the fine print of His everlasting covenant with them. One group of priests stood on Mount Gerizim and spoke the blessings of the Lord over His people of Israel as they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land—if they obeyed.

But a second group of priests stood on Mount Ebal and recited the curses that were sure to follow if they didn’t obey all the words of the law engraved on stones coated with lime.

Our amazing and merciful God however, gave them opportunity, after opportunity, after opportunity, to straighten up and fly right. But they refused, choosing instead to depend on the priests to give them the bottom line. Trusting the priests were conveying truth.

The priesthood became so corrupt that by 931 B.C. this great nation of God’s people was so divided they split into two nations—The Northern Kingdom, Israel—and the Southern Kingdom, Judah.

division-of-kingdom

The Northern Kingdom had no God fearing kings and by 722 B.C. God sent the nation of Assyria to take them captive into a foreign land where their captors disseminated them among their nation.

The Southern Kingdom had a few God fearing kings, but by 640 B.C. the Word of God had disappeared from the Temple. Their priests were teaching the people with their perverted word. But the eight-year-old son of evil King Manasseh became king after his father’s death. And the boy, King Josiah, loved the Lord God and ripped down the idol worship and ordered the cleansing of the Temple. And the priests found The Word of God buried in the rubble of seeking only the bottom line.

The Southern Kingdom by this time was so divided that God, by the nature of His righteousness and goodness, had to judge them. King Josiah’s son was an evil rascal, and so were his brothers, and the people eagerly continued their cheating, lies, and idolatry while pretending to worship God.

judahs-turn

Back in 1400 B.C. God warned them, in Deuteronomy 28:49-53, what would happen and in 605 B.C., because of their forsaking God and trusting empty things they made with their own hands, God sent the nation of Babylon to carry Judah into captivity.

We know from history and the Word neither Israel or Judah bothered with learning and obeying the fine print of God’s Words and the warnings of Deuteronomy became judgments. It was too late and things didn’t end well for Israel or Judah.

Today, September 26, 2016, we still struggle with learning, obeying, and practicing God’s absolute truth and like Ancient Israel, America has forsaken the God of her fathers. We are a deeply divided nation. A nation who serves gods made with our own hands. A nation who, even in the midst of great natural disasters and murderous revolts, stiffens her back, rejects the God of our Fathers, and refuses to return to the truth of the fine print of God’s Word.

In less than two months Americans are facing a clear choice. The choice between a candidate who believes in and supports the murder of unborn babies in the womb of their mothers. A candidate who believes in and supports destroying the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. A candidate who believes in globalism. Socialism.  A liar, a cheat, and a candidate who has no record of having done anything to help or support America or its citizens during the course of this career. On what grounds do you trust that candidate with your future? Have you read the fine print of this person’s history? A candidate who will continue leading our nation down the dangerous spiral forsaking the Lord our God.

The other choice? An unproven candidate in the political arena, but isn’t that why he won the primary? A candidate who is not a globalist, nor an abortionist, nor a believer or supporter of same sex marriage. A candidate who we have seen praying and being prayed for, who professes to be a new believer.  Is he perfect? By no means. But does God use imperfect people? We all know the answer to that question.

Their differences are distinct. Could God be giving us a deliberate, definitive choice?

No political party or candidate can repair the damage we have allowed to rip our country apart and steal the hearts and minds of our children. I can say with great certainty, according to the Word of God, if His people don’t get very serious, very fast, about seeking, learning, and obeying the fine print of the complete Word of God, and return to the Lord God Almighty, naming and forsaking our sins before Him, it will be too late and things will not end well for America either.

“Shall I not punish these people? declares the Lord. On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself? An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so!

But what will you do at the end of it?” (Jeremiah 5:29-31 NAS).

 

Part Two of this post brings me to a truly enormous learning curve. It’s not all about me. And that’s one of the major problems we all face in today’s culture. Bombarded with the deception if it fe…

Source: THINGS GOD’S TAUGHT ME IN 40YEARS OF MARRIAGE…PART TWO

Part Two of this post brings me to a truly enormous learning curve.

It’s not all about me.

family

And that’s one of the major problems we all face in today’s culture. Bombarded with the deception if it feels good—do it, we are led to believe we deserve to be happy.

A group of hot-shot educations began teaching this philosophy over fifty years ago. And we’ve allowed at least two generations of young people to believe life is all about them. They are special. And our tax dollars have paid and will continue to pay that costly bill. Parents bought the lie that their kid’s self-worth is the most important value we can teach them. And the P.C. police have pushed so far that everyone on the team gets a trophy…everybody’s a winner.

But we’ve failed to teach our children the Truth of the Word of God…without which, in the end, nobody wins. And you can’t teach what you don’t know and believe.

God created the family first. He didn’t create government, entertainment, or even the church first. Family was and is first. A nation is no stronger than its families. Which leads me, after the fact, to consider the importance God places on the family. Satan dealt us a two-fisted-knock-out punch with no-fault divorce, and we cheered.  Now there is no difference between divorce rates inside or outside the church.

Am I qualified to speak on this issue? You bet I am. In the old days of all about me, I packed up two small children and hit the door of our house, running straight to the courthouse.  I chose divorce. I wasn’t happy. I made a wrong mate choice.  I couldn’t tolerate another minute. But forty plus years later, I’ve come to understand I’ll never know what God could have done in that marriage had I trusted and allowed God time to change both of us.

And the consequences of my choice bled a permanent stain into the lives of me, my ex-husband, our new spouses, our parents, our friends, my children, and goodness knows who else. Has God forgiven me? Oh my yes. God is full of mercy and grace and when we repent, He always forgives the sin. But those stinky consequences lurk alive and well in the lives of angry children and my new-found knowledge I didn’t trust God. I knew about Him, but I didn’t trust Him as Lord and Savior. Because, at that time, my life was all about me.

papa-and-the-kids

All the “buts” don’t matter. And we always have a list of them, don’t we? “But I made a wrong choice in the first place.”  “But he or she doesn’t meet my needs.”  “But I don’t love him or her anymore.” God is either sovereign over all things or He is sovereign over nothing. And when He said, I hate divorce, there was a reason. And, after the fact, the consequences have taught me—just like what He told Judah in Jeremiah 2:19:

“Your own wickedness will correct you, and your apostasies will reprove you. Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God, and the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.”

Guess what, when I walked out that door, I forsook God’s authority over my life. Leaning to my own understanding, I pushed the fear of disobeying Him behind me, and I toted all my dirty laundry into a second marriage and Dick drug his rotten baggage along too. Divorce solved nothing.  We had to begin all over again–with our old problems and a stack of new ones too. We had to learn the lessons of faith and trust and Holy Spirit produced love God knew we must learn, else there would be a longer string of broken homes, broken lives, and broken people. Perhaps even people lost forever in the darkness and lies of it’s all about me.

Television, songs, movies, and of course, FaceBook scream words of unforgiveness, anger, and hatred, and we mimic what we hear, but God’s Word says, “If you don’t forgive others, I won’t forgive you.” (Translation by DiAne). In recent years I’m learning what that really means and sometimes the lessons are really hard.

Jesus Christ forgave me for every single evil, hateful thing I’ve ever done—past, present, and future on that night in January. My despicable thoughts, actions, and deeds were nailed as an indictment against Him when He hung on that cross, suffered, and died for me.  How then can I refuse to forgive every person who has been ugly, evil, or mean to me? And that’s the next lesson after life is not all about me. Refusing to forgive each other is not an option in the heart and life of a believer.

mimi-and-kids

I am still learning, but have made great strides, in the dysfunctional use of my tongue. I don’t have to voice an opinion about everything and sometimes I just need to be silent. And most times, silence is preferred. I came from a loud and boisterous family and old habits and personality disorders die hard. I must choose to put them to death. Crucify them with the help of my Lord Jesus. Sure cuts down on the marital feuds and helps trend peace in my family and with others.

My ramblings, I hope, will strike a needful cord of help to some of you along the way. And, if you’d like, I’d love to have the opportunity to share more of those hard life lessons. Ours wasn’t always a peace-filled, loving forty years. I was taken to church from the nursery on. I walked the aisle at twelve with a group of girlfriends. But when we came to faith and trust in Christ in January of 1989, all things changed. Forever. The Spirit of God moved in, threw out a raft-a-garbage, tore down self-constructed walls, installed light that radiates into the dark, secret corners, and began a life-long remodeling job in our hearts, our home, and our lives.

Dick and I made a pledge to plaster prayer—together—into our daily lives. A praying plaster that cements that strong “cord of three strands” talked about in Ecclesiastes 4:12—The Father, Dick, and me—together ‘til He comes or we go to be with Him.  ‘Cause it’s real hard to be screaming hate and throwing a tantrum when the three of you are involved in a life-changing, life-long conversation together.

Hope your old-house make-over is well underway too! And I pray you younger couples, at whatever age and stage you find yourselves today, have the extreme joy and faith and trust to reach forty, fifty, maybe even sixty years together with your spouse and the Lord Jesus Christ.

DSCF3352

 

  Dick and I have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and while it was a great time of celebration, I paused to ponder some of the things God has taught me along the way. Things, in light …

Source: THINGS GOD’S TAUGHT ME IN 40 YEARS OF MARRIAGE – PART ONE

 

Dick and I have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and while it was a great time of celebration, I paused to ponder some of the things God has taught me along the way. Things, in light of our current culture, I’d like to share with those of you who think y’all might not make next year’s anniversary, or those of you who’ve decided marriage isn’t your cup-a-tea.

One of the first amazing facts, I’ve learned to ponder what God has taught me. God tells us over and over to remember—remember what? Remember what we’ve gone through. Remember how He carried us through the bad times. Remember the joy of the good times. Remember His promises to those who love and obey Him. Remember who He is and who we’re not. Remember and act upon what He desires us to become. But remember, you can’t remember what you’ve never learned.

michelle-and-ashton

 

Expect difficult trials and times. These forty years the hurdles have been many and varied: Job loss, several times. Critical illness. Heart attacks. Death of a daughter. Parenting grandchildren for a year after daughter’s death. Change in family dynamics. Destructive thoughts and behavior patterns. No job, no income, lots of bills. Anger. Rebellion to God. Caring for elder parents in our home. Death of both sets of parents. All of which lead to the third thing I’ve learned.

God never leaves us or turns His back when the going gets tough. He carried us through many of these harsh life experiences and guided us through the rest. God is faithful—even when we’re not. He is my Rock and He’s taught me to lean on Him. Doesn’t mean the grieving wasn’t hard. Stretched me to the limit. But He has never failed us.

noah

Keep the main thing, the main thing. Today’s culture tends to encourage us to be attentive to the urgent while by-passing the important. Sometimes at the end of a day I just wanted to jump off the crazy train—too much of everything, not enough of me. Then I began to learn about seasons of life and God’s order. Remember, seasons come and go, they don’t stay forever. What we ought to do, we ought to do now. Like education, college and graduation. Career choices. Marriage. Parenthood. Then your teen’s years swiftly turn into empty nest years. And finally retirement and old age. How’s that for a quick, sweeping  broad brush stroke across the seasons of life?

God tells us to do all things decently and in order. He is a God of order. We don’t see a flim-flam creation do we? No. Down to the last intricate detail, God orchestrated all of His creation and freely gave us life. We’re the ones who embrace confusion rather than order. We become bored with order or tantalized by the haram-scaram voice of deception. And that’s where God found me.

Hold your hand in front of you and consider, what would happen if your thumb were replaced by your pinky? Or how about if your index finger took your ring finger’s place and your thumb nestled in beside it to bump the middle finger to the thumb’s place. The answer is weird, fumbling, chaos.

And many of us have experienced fumbling, chaotic points where we by-passed stages of life or jumbled their order. Like an un-wed single mom attempting to get a college degree. Or grandparents forced to take over parenting the grandchildren because the parents rebelled against God.

papa-noah-ashton

All of us have, in one way or another, violated God’s deliberate order of life and many of us end up with a diagnosis of terminal heart failure…stuffing too much, too soon, into an unprepared vessel. God is always in the business of forgiveness, but the consequences of wrong choices or sin continue to trail behind us like super sleuths.

Whether you believe it or not, God is Sovereign over all things. He knew me and He knew you before we were formed in our mother’s womb. I can’t even comprehend that, can you? Not only did He know us, He granted personalities, skills, talents—gifts, to each one of us. We are all unique.  Created for the purpose of glorifying Him. Do you know He loves to hear the sound of your voice—but is the sound He hears from me pleasing or full of discord? He gives me the right to choose.

I don’t know about you, but much of my life brought shame, not glory to God. I knew He was God, but had no clue what His sovereignty meant.  But because God never changes and is always ready to grant us mercy when we change our ways and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and choose to obey Him—when I came to Jesus and confessed my sin and shame, He forgave me. Then the key word is surrender. I surrendered my will to His will. My wants to His wants. My choices to His choices for Dick and for me. My obedience to God brings order and peace to my life and my home.

Sovereignty means whatever you’re going through did not catch God by surprise. He’s not pacing the heavens shouting, Oh no! What am I going to do now? He’s in charge of what’s happening—sets the limits of your trials and temptations. Before you were born He knew you. Before a word is on your lips He knows what you’re going to say. And He loves you anyway. Jesus died because of your and my desperate need for a Savior.

And it also means I don’t have the option of allowing my temper to run rough-shod over people. I can’t carry a grudge and be pleasing to Him. I’m accountable to God for every tiny word that comes out of my mouth and every thought I allow to fog my mind. I’m accountable to Him for each minute of every day, whether I choose good or evil. And I don’t get the choice of defining what’s good and what’s evil. God makes the rules. And they’re not old-timey words. His Word will stand forever.

michael-graduating-flite

 

Next week Part Two: It’s Not All About Me!

 

A NOTE FROM AMY

This past week I posted a series of articles from a new friend Amy McNew in light of the tornado damage done to their town, Kokomo, Indiana.

Amy sends the following note which I wish all of us would share and write on the backside of our eyeballs. It’s information we need to know because unintentionally we may be guilty of doing exactly what Amy’s talking about. Being a nuisance!

Please continue to pray for these folks and for the folks in Louisiana. They need help, but let’s make it the right kind!

Amy Brock McNew

“I haven’t said anything about this yet because frankly, I’ve had other pressing issues to worry about. But after being out today and dealing with what we encountered, I have to say something.

I know people want to see the damage. I get it. But we DO NOT need people clogging up our streets, dang near running over people just so they can get pictures and video, driving up in our yards to get around traffic, and generally making jackasses out of themselves. Yeah. I said it. Because that’s what’s happening out here today and has been going on since this whole mess happened. And I’m not the only one who is so sick of it I could spit nails.

We have several companies, contractors, and private citizens out here on what should be their day off helping get the debris cleared out and the rebuilding process started. Many of those volunteering their time instead of being with their families.

While we were coming home from yet another restock and supply trip, we saw I don’t know how many gawkers, and had a heck of a time getting back to our own house. Some almost hitting workers, some getting in their way and slowing down work, and one actually yelling at an equipment operator to get out of the road. An operator in the process of clearing debris. You know, pieces of someone’s home.

So let me say this once and hear me well. Really listen. This is OUR neighborhood, our homes. These workers are busting their butts doing all they can to get us back to normal. They need to be able to do their jobs. We need to be able to get around. If you want to help, by all means, WE WELCOME YOU! If you can’t work for some reason, then bring a case of water and some granola bars for the workers, or clean up supplies and tools. Whatever you can. We’ll be more than grateful for help of any kind.

But if all you want to do is gawk and get in our way and generally be a jackass, stay home. We don’t need the aggravation. Trust me, we’ve got plenty crap to deal with without people gumming up the works just to get a dang picture.”

Well said Amy! Now maybe the traffic will lessen and y’all can get the job done! Prayers are the best thing we can do for Kokomo right now.