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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

As we are well into April, 2020 will go down in history as the Corona Virus year…the worldwide Corona Virus Year. Three months that have shaken the world scene from political, to personal, to theology, to educational, to…you name it. Confined at home with a “shelter-in-place” order, what have you learned? What troubles you the most in those wee hours of darkness, when you can’t sleep?

I’ve long since turned off the local and national news at night. About one news broadcast a day plunges my brain into overload. Instead, I’ve turned to the Bible and my Lord Jesus Christ.
Hot in the Kitchen 4
One of the first lessons I’ve learned these past months is God keeps His promises to widows. Yes, after losing my husband in August of last year, I’ve learned God promises in Isaiah 54:4-5 He will be my husband. And again, in Proverbs 15:25, God promises “He will establish the boundaries of the widow.” Because I belong to Him—He holds onto me and I hold onto Him—regardless of the sorrow and pain death and separation have brought into my life, some way, somehow, God will bring good out of this too. I have already learned to do things I never thought I could do…and I give my Lord glory for those things.

Talk about an attitude adjuster…I am His, He is mine… that’s a fact! But the last few days of attempting to fast and pray found me distracted and discouraged. I know it’s a spiritual battle, but it’s been disconcerting. I feel like a failure and I wonder how many other brothers and sisters in Christ find themselves tossed about by all this discord and uncertainty? Finding it difficult to carry all their burden to the Lord…what would He say? What would He think about me? I have a shocking truth for you…He already knows what your burden is and how you’re reacting. I can almost hear you asking… “Why do we have to carry our burden to the Lord if He already knows?” None of us are good burden carriers. And Jesus wants you and me to recognize we are carrying needless burdens. Burdens we weren’t meant to carry, but Jesus is.
Truth stumbled in the street
I’m concerned far too many in the church have allowed themselves, conscientiously or unconscientiously, to wander from the truth of the Word of God. We’ve become a dial flipping generation that chooses what we believe about God, ourselves, and the devil—and sometimes we’re just plain wrong in what we choose to believe. False prophets abound these days, and seem to grow more and more brash, provocative, yet convincing…and you too can be trapped in Satan’s snare. That’s why your attitude is so crucial.

With the majority of the Church limited in their knowledge of the complete truth of the Word of God, Satan is having a heyday! Oh, we all can pluck a memory verse or two we can quote on demand. Some of us have even committed several passages to memory…but how few of us truly know and can connect the scarlet thread dots of scripture from beginning to end? And if you’re answering my question with a so-what-attitude do you see how this could be a problem?

As I crawled from the covers this morning a gnawing in my spirit called me to read the 9th Chapter of Daniel. I knew this chapter happened at the end of Jewish captivity in Babylon. You see God had given them over for their continued disobedience to the King of Babylon—for seventy years. King Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed the holy city in three sieges and taken God’s people captive. But now, they were about to go back to Jerusalem…at least some of them…and Daniel “observed in the books” the number of years for the completion of their desolation was about over.
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In verse 9:3, God’s finger of conviction pressed sore on my heart as I read… “So, I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” I winced as I thought about my own failure at fasting and praying the prior day.

The thought came to my mind, that’s right where Satan wanted you. So real was the voice I looked around, but I knew the Holy Spirit breathed those words to me. So I asked, What did Daniel do?

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore, he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Daniel refused to blend in. Daniel purposed in his heart he would remain true to His Jewish faith even far from home in a pagan land, and faithful to the Word of God. And now I’m reading, seventy years later he remained true to the principles and precepts of his faith. If you’ve never read the twelve chapters in this powerful book of the Old Testament, now might be a great time to sit down and read Daniel’s words and God’s message back to him…and to us.

Having lived such a righteous life, you might think Daniel would have approached God with a higher-than-thou attitude. He had kept the faith. He hadn’t taken up the ways of the pagan Babylonians…as a matter of scripture, it appears Daniel was the lone voice of truth to King Nebuchadnezzar and it may have been Daniel’ attitude that brought that king to faith and trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But Daniel’s prayer showed his attitude.

And when Daniel knelt to pray, in Daniel 9:5 this servant of the Living God said:

“O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments:”

Daniel’s attitude was humility before God. He owned the sin. He didn’t point a boney, self-righteous finger at those Jews who had adapted to Babylonian ways…he repented for the actions and way of life he and the rest of the Jewish nation had participated in that caused God to shake their world and send them into captivity in a strange, pagan land. He accepted God’s judgment as right and acknowledged their sin was wrong.
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So where do you believe Daniel’s attitude came from? Could it be Daniel had God fearing parents who taught him to worship and serve Jehovah YHWH? We know Daniel’s name means “God is my judge.” Could it be his parents were told by God he would be a man of honor before God? We know he was taken captive in the first group in 605 B.C. Daniel 1:3 tells us the king ordered the chief of his officials to bring in “…some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect…” Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah or as we’ve come to know them, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego were part of these young men, righteous young men who knew and practiced their faith in God—even in a pagan, foreign land.

I’m sure you’re asking, “How does this apply to me today? What’s your point, DiAne?”

America has become like Daniel’s rebellious nation. My grandparents would not recognize today’s America. And until the church folk rent their arrogant attitude and adopt an attitude like Daniel’s, God cannot and will not hear us. Until we humble ourselves and recognize how like the world we’ve become and repent, God cannot and will not hear us. Until we repent and turn to walk according to the principles and precepts of Our Living God, He cannot and will not hear us. Does that mean we have to be different? Oh yes, but isn’t that what God called us to be—a peculiar people?
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At this moment America hangs in the balances. It only takes one look at history to see God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. “Judgment must begin at the house of God.” This nation who once proclaimed to be One Nation Under God, has plunged off the cliff into Satan’s clutches. Much of the church has been neutered.

It’s up to us…to you and to me. Which way will we turn? Do your prayers typify a nannie-nannie-boo-boo tone as you point your finger at others’ sins? Finger-pointing time is over. Or will you and I be like Daniel? Will you and I accept we are all part of the problem and fall on our collective faces before Him pleading for His mercy and grace? If God depended on your attitude, or mine, to usher in the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit, what would be the result?

Deliverance or judgment? God is faithful…are you? Am I?

We may be standing on the precipice of America’s destruction. Our attitudes up to this point have spoken volumes to our children. The majority of our heritage are racing down that broad road because our attitudes and our actions have been out of line with the Word of God. We’ve worshiped the things of this world…the want more, get more, and then multiply that more has prevailed. We’ve replaced evenings with the Word of God with the latest technical entertainment. We’ve sent our kids to high ranking, expensive, ungodly colleges and universities with money we didn’t have. We’ve played church…and a majority of these highly educated kids have seen through the hollowness of our phony faith.
Spring Tornado
The sands in America’s rebellious hour glass are draining away. If the Church doesn’t repent and return to the Lord our God and faith in His only Son, Jesus Christ, those trickling sands will evaporate in the swish of a moment! And like Jerusalem…. America will be swept into the tornado of God’s righteous judgment. Remember Abraham’s pleading with God over Sodom and Gomorrah? Are you confessing your sin and pleading with God to wash and cleanse the polluted soil of your heart and your nation with Christ’s blood?

“O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolation’s and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion. O Lord hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name” (Daniel 9:18-19 NAS).

Are we still One Nation Under God? One former president and many of those in His White House and in this Congress today say “America is no longer a Christian nation.”

As we spend these next three days pondering the impact of what Jesus did for each one of us over 2,000 years ago—What does your attitude say?

HAPPY EASTER! HE IS RISEN…HE IS RISEN INDEED!

DiAne

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Come by and visit with Rene and myself on the Diamond Mine of Fiction and leave a comment to win a copy of either Roped or Twisted.

I believe in showing the good, the bad, and the ugly as well as the consequences those choices bring.
diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com

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 Last week would have been our celebration of 43 years of marriage. But God chose to take Dick home on the 22nd of August, 2019.  No surprise to God, but I was overwhelmed with grief…and the past weeks have been difficult to say the least. Yesterday, September 6th, we celebrated Dick’s life with friends and family. And the peace of God’s presence have calmed the waters of fear that threatened to drown me. I don’t know what’s ahead…but God does. Dick’s with Jesus…seeing Him face to face…how can I do anything but praise my Lord and Savior and thank Him for the years He gave us. What about you? Where does God find you today. A treasured friend reposted my blog from three years ago…might want to read it….

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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A gentle breeze ruffled the massive oaks on the sprawling spring-green lawn of the Texas Capital in Austin this past week. Eight-thousand-plus people were gathered to pray.

Graham Decision America

The sights and sounds of people of like mind and faith—some kneeling, some with hands lifted, some standing—all with heads and hearts bowed, humbled before the Sovereign God of the Universe, confessing the sins of our fathers, the sins of our nation, and our own sins.

How sweet was the sound of those voices lifted to Heaven, recognizing the only hope for our nation comes from The Lord God Almighty and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  As we held hands and prayed with people of many races, nations, and ages, I felt the presence of the Lord and His peace and knew we were standing on holy ground.

Graham Boss picture

At the close of the hour of prayer, we sang God Bless America, and my eyes could no longer hold back the tears.

And this scene is being repeated in State after State, as Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, calls Americans to prayer. Praying not to a god of our imagination, or an idol of wood or stone, but to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—The God of all creation—El Shaddai, The Lord God Almighty.

Graham crowd flags

The only God. The God of our forefathers. And the God upon whose principles America was founded and has prospered–until we chose to turn our backs in ridicule of His holiness and righteousness and march to the tune of our own drum beat.

But our God is a God of mercy, forgiveness, grace, and a love so deep our tiny hearts and minds do not have the ability to comprehend, unless we choose to come to the cross, and allow His Spirit to teach us His way.

In II Chronicles 7:14 God gave His people the following instructions:

“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, forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Graham Boots

Almost 2,700 years ago a young Jewish teen was captured and carried to Babylon with thousands of other Jews. Jews who were given over to judgment by this same righteous, holy God for many of the same offenses Americans are participating in today. Their priests were corrupt. Their kings were evil. The people had forsaken the Lord God Almighty and perverted their worship and their ways.

According to His Word, God had to judge them, just as He will have to judge us. Scripture tells us, “God is the same today, yesterday, and forever.”

This Jewish teen, Daniel, spent seventy years in Babylon, just as God had told them through the prophet Jeremiah, and Daniel realized because of the books—God’s Word recorded by the prophets from the beginning—the time of their desolation was almost completed. So Daniel “…set his face before the Lord God to make requests by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sack cloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3 NKJV).  “Oh Lord, to us belongs shame of face to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You” (Daniel 9:8 NKJV).

Daniel’s prayer is recorded in the 9th Chapter of Daniel, and I plead with you—take time to study this prayer and use it as a model, a template, for your prayer time.

Graham children a

If you are concerned about the state of our nation, the condition of our homes and churches, and the peril facing our children, I ask you to set aside time every day to come apart from the chaos of your life and earnestly seek God—confessing your sins, seeking His forgiveness, asking His directions, and pleading for Him to create in you an insatiable appetite for His Word.

We are in trouble, folks. Trouble no political party or candidate can fix. Trouble no stable economy or being great again can mend. If we are to survive as a nation and a people, we must seek God. Now. If like Daniel, we look at the Book, we will know there’s little time left to seek God’s mercy and grace and forgiveness. Little time left for our generation to repent and return to the God of our Fathers.

Graham Capital

                        GOD, PLEASE RESTORE AND BLESS AMERICA

 

 

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“Look at those people, honey!” I pointed out the kitchen window. “Are they silly, stupid, or just not paying attention?”

My husband peered out the kitchen window. “Can’t they see the road’s closed?”

Missing the Warnings

“Obviously not. And here comes the school bus too. Gracious, you can see that barricade and those large orange signs from the top of the hill, but they keep coming and are forced to turn around. I vote for stupid.” I ran to slip on a pair of jeans and a shirt and grab my camera. “This would make a great blog; don’t you think?”

Missing the Warnings 2

Hubs grinned. “Don’t make any enemies. Folks might not like you taking their picture and calling ’em stupid.

We live in a small subdivision off a country road with only two ways in and out. The Texas Road Department has been working on our stretch of road since way before Christmas. They’ve been diligent to put up signs for detours and closures—big signs—that can be seen from far away.

I glanced up again and the school bus ripped right by the road closure sign and then had to back up a long block to turn around. Sigh. Not one person paid any attention to the warning signs.

Missing the Mark 4

But don’t we all do the same thing as we zip through life? Somehow thinking we’re immune to the consequences of not following warnings.

God spent a great deal of time recording His warnings and the consequences of bolting through the barricade. Yet we don’t even take the time to educate ourselves on the words the Spirit of God breathed to the prophets, to Christ Jesus, to His disciples, and to us. He warned us over and over again, and what do we do? Race down that closed off road, believing we are going to be the only one who makes it through the barrier unscathed.

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He warned Ancient Israel, and this warning still screams at Americans, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls” (Luke 11:17 NAS). And what have we done? Elect and re-elect a president who is sprinting toward the finish line with the label of the most divisive president in U.S. history.

“For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel” (Malachi 2:16 NAS). Yet the divorce stats within the church are basically the same as couples outside the church.

The Book of Proverbs tells us, “Do not associate with a man given to anger or go with a hot tempered man” (Proverbs 22:24 NAS). And what would we call the front runner on the Republican side in the upcoming election?

Romans tells us, “Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together with other believers” (Hebrews 10:25 NAS). But many say, I work all week, I’m tired. I’ll just watch church on HDTV—Hmm.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness” (II Corinthians 6:14 NAS).  Another warning gone by the wayside—the believer is always going to change the unbelieving date…until they fall in love. Then what are they to do? God is not a cosmic kill-joy. These warnings are to keep His children from plunging off the cliff.

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The Word warns, “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NAS). I don’t see any exclusions for rush hour on the freeway, do you? And listening to the local news confirms we live in a very angry society.

“Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8 NAS). I’m old enough to remember Sunday Blue Laws, and I can say with certainty, we never missed a meal or went to church naked because the stores weren’t open on Sunday. Sunday afternoons were family days.

What warning barrier have you catapulted over? Which warning signals have you ignored? We have all sinned as individuals and as a nation. “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10 NAS). Remember, God stands ready to forgive our sins, but the consequences of disregarding God’s warnings remain.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His Holy name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5 NAS).

Praying

 

 

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Darkness obscured the noise.
Glass crashed and shattered across the floor.
A brick wrapped in brown butcher paper, decorated with hate speech scribbled in black and tied with a string, fell to the floor.
Unable to move, a frightened boy gawked. His saucer-sized-eyes reflected the horror exploding inside him.
Torched by a man saturated in hate, a flaming match ignited the gasoline he’d doused on a cross, illuminating a black football jersey with his brother’s number 22—hung there to fry in hell’s fury.

I sat in the shadows and shook and sobbed as the above scene flashed across the wide screen. Unable to restrain the gush of anguish. Transported fifty years in the past—my early teens—to a street corner in Jacksonville, Florida, just after dark. Where A gang of unruly men in white robes with pointed hoods. Shouted death threats. And burned another cross.

My brother and I were glued to the horror, but unable to look away. Daddy explained these were evil men. “But that’s what America’s all about,” he offered. “Freedom to demonstrate and say whatever you think, even when it’s wrong and folks don’t agree.”

I didn’t believe those words then and I don’t believe them now. Hate is not an acceptable synonym of freedom. If your actions harm another person, those actions aren’t legitimized because you live in America. Those actions testify of the perpetrator’s bondage to lies, hatred, and sin. But like Daddy, many in the 50’s and 60’s rejected the Klan’s evil, but hedged ignorant suspicions on the side of prejudice about anyone not like them. And the black community did the same.

Racial prejudice knows no boundaries.

First John

Unaware of the imprint those images etched in my soul, I watched this true story played out in HD in the movie, Woodlawn. Those turbulent years in our nation’s history, and the vile words and actions of then governor of Alabama, George Wallace, echoed off the screen and through the years.

I saw again the faces of those satiated with hate on that street corner so long ago, but I also heard and remembered the words of justice and peace spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King. And the maker of this film told the true story how six words transformed the lives and futures of the Woodlawn football team, the school, and the town. One afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama, the entire team of integrated, but deeply divided, angry young men uttered those life-changing words—I choose Jesus and I forgive you.

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Thousands of years ago, in the Book of Deuteronomy, God recited before the people the blessing and the cursing and allowed them to likewise choose.

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it…I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19-20 NAS).

The same God who created the heavens and the earth, is the same God who spoke through Moses to the nation of Israel, and is the same God this nation has worshiped and served over two hundred years. This same God who blessed America would have continued to bless our nation had the people of this land chosen life and blessings and obedience, rather than death and cursings.

King Solomon was right when he said, “Behold there is nothing new under the sun.”
And here we are in 2015 having crossed that same despicable threshold. Again.

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The fabric of faith has been contorted and twisted and shredded across America by the continual lies and rebellion of the enemies of God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

I listen to the continual words of this president, and those who surround him, and the media, who, like those KKK men of the past, spew their divisive, hate laced words, dividing, vilifying, and separating Americans. Daily choosing death rather than life.

And we see this consequential death displayed in each major city in America every day. We have been sucked back in time and have allowed days of the hideous history of hatred to rekindle and reproduce in our land. Fueled by a willful ignorance of God’s Word, people of every race and creed, deceived by the times and tunes chanted by Satan and his vicious demons, dance to the melody of deception.

They fail to understand fear of The Ku Klux Klan was just another wicked lie established in the South by deceived Democrats intent on keeping the black populous from voting. Democrats controlled the South during those years. The word Republican was whispered, but not on the ballot. And did you know one of the oldest Democratic members of the U.S. Senate was a past Dragon of the Klan? Who knows how many other leaders swore allegiance to the Klan?

But that was the way of the south in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s—or so my Daddy believed.

And if we don’t discern and aren’t diligent to seek God’s guidance, 2016 will be the same song, umpteenth verse of this ditty of deception.

God has answered our prayers and raised up a trio of godly patriots, well qualified to seek the office of President. Men who aren’t ashamed of their faith in Jesus Christ. Men who have the courage to speak the truth. But, it’s hard to fight free stuff. Because we’ve raised a generation of folks who believe their have a right to free, refusing to care or comprehend someone has to pay for their free. Scripture instructs, “If you do not work, you do not eat.”

 Thessalonians

What’s the point, you ask? The Klan no longer exists.

Really? Are you sure?

Jesus tells us, “If we say we love God and hate our brothers, we are liars and the truth is not in us.”

Anyone who hates another human enough to kill is like a current-day-member of the Klan. Just as despicable and evil. And God says we’ve murdered them in our hearts first. Anyone who chooses the lie of the father-of-lies, rather than obeying the commands of the Lord God, will inherit the eternal consequences of their choices.

Make no mistake, for there to be a heaven, there must be a hell. But God sends no one to that eternal place of torment…they choose hell because they refuse to acknowledge and believe and choose Jesus and refuse to forgive others.

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I highly endorse the movie Woodlawn. And would suggest it for family viewing and discussion.

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“158.16 Disabled, incapacitated, crippled, disqualified, ham-strung, invalidated, disarmed, paralyzed. Hog-tied.” (Roget’s International Thesaurus, page 92).
If only you could feel the ache in my heart tonight over the state of our families, our nation, and the world. If only I could let you see what my eyes have seen and know there is help, hope, and healing, whatever your problem. If only I could convince parents you can’t teach your children what you don’t know. And your children will suffer the consequences of your ignorance of God’s Word.
There is no black church. No white church. No Spanish church. No Oriental church. No Indian church. No Jewish church. No Baptist DSCF3049church. No Methodist or Presbyterian church—we are ONE CHURCH—The Church. The Body. Made in the image of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer, bought and paid for by His blood that is red—just like yours and mine.
This is a volatile point in history and the only answer lies at Golgotha’s cross where the blood Jesus shed covers my sins and your sins. The place where like an onion He can peel away the stinky DSCF7673layers of hidden sin in our lives. Or the place where you choose to reject His mercy and grace and keep sloshing through the pig-pen of life—hog-tied by the enemy of your soul.
And make no mistake, from the White House to our house, we are hog-tied by a generational battle of anger and racial prejudice while the godly foundations of this nation are ripped, shredded and trampled underfoot. And people, black and white and all shades in between, are hog-tied, unable to discern and overcome the source of this chaotic ruckus.
Our judicial system of righteousness judgment is hog-tied. Our lawimage enforcement officials are hog-tied. Our educational and parental rights as Christians are hog-tied. And many congregations in this nation are hog-tied by preachers delivering false messages. Lies rather than truth.
The spirit of lawlessness is raging among us.
This past Sunday, in St. Louis, we watched that spirit at work when one of those sons of lawlessness stood on holy ground and stoked incendiary fires of damnation. He stood where God’s word should have been proclaimed and spewed lies. Lies spoken to incite God’s people to rebel against His instructions to His Body.
The sad part is those enticed believe every word these false prophets speak and knowingly or unknowingly choose to violate God’s command to love their brothers whose blood is red—just like theirs.

Hot in the Kitchen 4
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 NAS).
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21 NAS).
The victim mentality lie has been perpetrated in our nation for at least fifty or more years. The mentality that says you can do anything you want because of the color of your skin or the way you were raised or what you have or don’t have.
This erroneous teaching taunts If it feels good, do it. Take what you want. Or do whatever your mind conjures-do it. There will be no consequences. And that lying voice inside answers, something in your background caused you to steal, bully, abuse, murder, sexual perversion—you’re not to blame. It’s someone else fault. Because the lie there is no God, no heaven, no hell, no accountability, and no consequences has been openly taught in our public schools and from some pulpits for over forty years.
On August 11, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a white, unarmed, twenty-year old, Dillon Taylor was shot and killed by a Salt Lake City black police officer. The officer’s name hasn’t been released. Nor have the false preachers gathered in Salt Lake City. Why? Because this event, plus countless others like Dillon, don’t fit the enemy’s false picture of victim mentality.
The civil war was fought over the issue of slavery, and if the enemy of God has his way, I’m afraid we will be deceived into another war or forced into a national or international police force. Because the erupting boil of racial prejudice continues to seep and spread poison, pushed by those in authority with a strange agenda, an agenda that gives Satan a stronghold in the hearts and minds of any who listen and agree, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.
This disgusting boil is sin. Sin that weaves throughout generational lines of all people and needs to be confessed and washed in the blood of Jesus. Forgiven. Cleansed. Healed. Restored.
But why has the enemy used this one sin to attack America over and over again? Because we’ve clutched and held onto pride, anger, hatred, and lack of forgiveness, allowing this fierce-some-foursome to fester and grow in our hearts. All our hearts. Either by choosing to do what’s wrong or choosing to do nothing.
We still allow white hoods to organize and exist in America. Criminals who hide in sheets and perpetrate hate, violence, and murder in the dark night of their hearts. And many stashed their hoods and sat in churches on Sunday morning after their despicable evil on Saturday night. I’ve seen burning crosses, fires, and the riots of the ‘50’s. And God rest His precious soul, Martin Luther King led and won many battles by his faith in our Lord God Almighty and his commitment to peace. Our nation must not digress and repeat such a horrific history.
Yes, we have bad cops, like we have bad people—of every ethnic group. And these rotten apples cast dispersion and doubt over the multitude of good policemen and good people.
But could there be something more sinister involved here? Like an evil spiritual force many refuse to admit exists?
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm—Stand firm therefore…” (Ephesians 6:12-14a NAS).
Have you believed the enemy’s lie that your anger is justified? Is God placing His finger in that ugly black hole in your heart where you’ve harbored pride, anger, hatred, or even evil against a brother whose blood is red like yours?
Can you worship one day then shrug, laugh or participate in those actions you know cause God pain?
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20 NAS).
DSCF6601 013_edited-1So where do we go from here? Will you continue to allow yourself to be hog-tied by lies that pour from social media and the news? Will your tongue remain hog-tied when racists remarks leap out your mouth or the mouths of your friends and acquaintances? Will you speak out over injustices, regardless of race, in a peaceful, lawful manner? Or will you have the courage to rebuke them in Jesus name with the truth of God?

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Have you ever held a baby lamb? Felt the softness of the white wool? And understood the vulnerability of this little creature?

In the 12th Chapter of Exodus God instructed Moses to have each household of the congregation of Israel take a lamb for themselves, according to the number of people in the family.
Their lamb had to be an unblemished male, a year old, and they were to care for until the fourteenth day of the same month.

Can you imagine the joy of the younger children in the household?
I can hear them say, “Oh Daddy, can we keep the lamb?” But on the fourteenth day of that month, at twilight, each special lamb, in every household of the congregation of Israel was killed.

Imagine the number of lambs slain that night. Imagine the tension in each family. Imagine the fear. The anticipation. The hope. They were instructed to paint some of the blood on the two doorposts and on the lintels of their houses.

Roasting directions were given and they were to eat all of the lamb, have their clothes packed, and be ready to leave Egypt at dawn. This meal would be known forever as The Lord’s Passover—the night the Lord passed through Egypt and killed the first-born of every household without the lamb’s blood on the doorposts.

God told Israel, “I am the Lord.” And the blood would be a sign for them, when He saw the blood He would pass over them, and no plague would destroy them when He struck Egypt. And God did just as He promised.

This Passover Celebration continues in Jewish households today and is a permanent ordinance for them. Forever. The date of this event would have been around 1445 B.C.

Let’s fast-forward through the pages of the Old Testament. God told Israel over and over again in the fullness of time their would be another lamb. One Lamb, Messiah, Prince of Peace would come and deliver them. And they envisioned a king. A king who would sweep in, deliver them from all their woes, set up a regal kingdom and life would be good. They refused to hear and understand what God said.

We have the complete Word of God. They didn’t. And we still refuse to hear God’s Word. Like the stubborn and prideful Israelites, we apply our own understanding to what He has said rather than read and heed the beautiful painting of words our merciful God has preserved for us?

From that Passover night in Egypt how fitting that shepherds would receive the good news of the long awaited Savior—Christ, the Lord—a baby—God’s Passover Lamb, laying in a manger in Bethlehem. Just where the prophets said He would be. Yet, everyone but the shepherds missed it.

God’s Lamb left His throne in heaven and submitted Himself to the confines of a human being in order to become our Kinsman Redeemer. He loved us enough to live on this hostile, sin-filled planet in order to become our perfect, Passover Lamb. He obeyed the Father’s just judgment in order that you and I might be painted with His blood and washed clean and white. Forgiven. And through God’s mercy and grace and love adopted into His family. Forever.

Have the door posts of your life been painted with the blood of the Perfect Lamb, God’s Only Lamb, your Passover Lamb?DSCF2349

If you hear His voice today, be very sure, because the Word tells us He’s coming again. And soon. And this time He won’t be in a stable in Bethlehem. He will be The Prince of Peace, The Lord of Lords, and The King of Kings. Forever.

“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:37-40 NAS).

Have a joyful and blessed Christmas as we celebrate The Lamb!

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When our daughter died, the children moved in with my husband and me for six months while our son-in-law completed required Army schooling and relocated to his next duty assignment.

After that I relocated with the children to the new Post to help establish their household. My husband, the children’s Papa, stayed behind in Dallas to keep our home fires burning. Yet another loss for me.

My list of secondary losses grew day by day. Only I didn’t know what they were or even that they were. I just knew I hurt and everything in my life spun out-of-control. But there were more important issues to address—children who had lost their mom, and a father who had lost his wife. So I put my grief aside.

I thought.

Papa came for weekend visits once or twice a month. During one visit I gave him a box of vintage Madame Alexander dolls to take back home for safe-keeping until our granddaughter was old enough to care for them. Some were her mom’s dolls and some were my mine. Treasures. Waiting to be passed to this child of my child.

Papa rented a car for his trip and when he returned it to the rental company, he forgot the dolls were in the trunk. Half-way home he remembered and backtracked, but the dolls were nowhere to be found. Like so many other things that had vanished during the past six months, they were gone forever.

The emotional rip-tide of tears eroded deeper trenches in my aching heart.

He apologized, over and over again. But I could do nothing but weep, snarl at him, and pile this new heartache onto the mounting stack of losses. I had no idea, nor did I care how he felt.

I’ve come to understand that during the grief process husbands and wives are total  strangers. Unlike a woman, the worst thing a man ever has to face are his emotions. Now Papa had to deal with his emotions as well as a wife drowning in her raging ocean of grief. He was clueless. And I did nothing to ease his guilt.

We are all like porcupines during this anguish.  If threatened or aggravated, our quills extend, aim, and fire at the first shift in the landscape. We are so self-absorbed, we don’t recognize that other family members are also grieving. We focus on ourselves. On our pain. On our loss. Unable to comprehend that our hemorrhaging hearts need a transfusion.

But the old saying—the bumps are what you climb on—holds true. And eventually these losses are rocks we must climb and conquer. Some are not too bad, but others are jagged boulders that feel like we’re scaling Mt. Everest.

So how do we begin managing these troublesome after-the-fact losses?

One profound fact is, Hurt people hurt people.

That’s true among family members where death has intruded.  Understanding this doesn’t take the sting out of hateful words or actions we’ve received or inflicted, but it encourages us to think about why and then choose to forgive whoever caused the pain and anguish. Just like Jesus forgives us when we cause Him pain and anguish.

A few weeks after the lost dolls, I was reading the Word and crying out to God when I heard that still, small voice inside me ask, Would I withhold anything from you that you needed?

I had to answer, “No Lord. But her dolls? Lord, why?”

My mind flew back to the verse that had become my life-ring, The secret things belong to the Lord. The things revealed belong to you and your children forever…”(Deuteronomy 29:29). This would be another one of those secret things.

Again, another question.  Do you trust Me?

My pathetic voice, saturated with fear and very little faith said, “Yes, Lord. I trust You, even with those dolls.”

And for the moment His peace reigned in my heart.

That’s what the grief journey is about—a rollercoaster ride through heights of His peace interrupted by heart-stopping plunges into the abyss of the next secondary loss.

This pain and confusion you’re going through will not last forever, but it lasts longer than you ever imagined. The goal is to accept the fact you are mourning the loss of someone you loved and you must let tears come when they may. Jesus wept over Lazarus, even as He knew in the next moments He would issue the command and Lazarus would walk out of that tomb—Alive.

Over the years, I’ve wondered if perhaps some father or grandfather who worked at the rental company saw those dolls and his little girl had no dolls. Could those dolls have brought joy where there was none? I choose to believe God allowed those dolls to be held and loved by a little girl He knew needed them. And I thank Him. I’ve also come to understand that God never wastes anything. But we’ll talk about that next week. That’s right. God never wastes anything—even your grief.

Prescription #2:   Be still and quiet before the Lord God and read and listen to His Word.  Then make a commitment to compose a Loss History. Take a sheet of paper and list every loss you can remember experiencing. At the edge of the paper make two columns Historical and Current.

As you list each loss, evaluate whether you’re still grieving. Even if it was fifty years ago. If you are, mark Current. If there is no churning or anger, mark Historical. Every loss must be individually dealt with.

Every grief is unique. You can choose to forgive, even when your heart and mind want to raise a ruckus. Cast your pain on God and leave it there. Refuse to hurt people because you’re hurting.

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Ever suffer a consequence initiated by a wrong choice, a rebellious act, or a broken relationship? I can almost hear you groan. Are you saying, “Let me count the times and ways.”

I’m right there with you.

In the early ‘60’s I deliberately disobeyed God. Forty-nine years later, the consequences of that choice continues to billow. Like a hot air balloon in the lives of my children, that decision continually soars to greater heights in troubled skies.

God is faithful to forgive our sin and rebellion when we repent, but unfortunately the consequences of our foolish choices remain. That is why it is imperative to “train up your children in the way they should go…” because when they are old the consequences of your training—whether good or bad—will follow them. Forever.

Parents, you get to make the choice of good or bad training. But you aren’t allowed to choose the consequences.

Failure to teach children the law of the Lord, and the resulting consequences, parade across the TV screen every night during the evening news. The juvenile and criminal courts are full of men, women, boys and girls caught  in the consequences of ignorant or willful rebellion to God’s Word. And the failure of the church to follow God’s instruction to, “love one another,” and then, “go and make disciples,” have multiplied the consequences of bitter, hateful hearts all over the globe.

Only God can chisel the sin and shame from a hardened heart. Only God can take a hurting heart and make it healthy and whole again. Only God can rescue and transform a bitter heart into a tender and transparent one.

I wonder what the hearts of those young girls at Red Neck Heaven are becoming as they grow older? Caught in the sensual thrill of the moment, they become captives of the flesh which cries gimme, gimme, gimme. More, more, more. Do you think, after being exposed to the lustful attention of crowds of men day after day they can be satisfied in one marriage, with the attention of one man, for the rest of their lives?

Do young women brazenly use their bodies to attract young men in order to satisfy their need of an absent father’s love and attention? Have girls become so desensitized they don’t realize they are sacrificing the opportunity for God’s gift of a pure, lifelong relationship with one man? Or are they even aware of the possibility of joy and oneness in an until death do us part marital relationship, because of the examples we have given them? Could this be part of the divorce problem inside and outside the church?

And what about our young men? Mothers, you can verify the fact that your  boys are pursued with a vengeance by girls with a hormonal body, a cell phone, and a computer. Mere children, exploited and bombarded with delusions of fun, pleasure, and excitement. However, the consequences are life changing. Painful. Tragic. Is it any wonder so many men are addicted to pornography—even those in the pulpit?

Is it possible when we give our children carte blanche to the whims of all that surrounds them—movies, books, clothes, attitudes of rebellious friends, fads, the list goes on—we set them up to fail?

The only answer is to teach them God’s truth, that joy and contentment in life only come when you allow God to fill the hole in your heart. Seeking success and fulfillment the world’s way will bring disappointing, lamentable, even disastrous consequences.

What are you going to do today to squash the deception that is suffocating this world, seeking to destroy your child?

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on  your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up,” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NAS).

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