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Category: In the News

Reminders about sin from the Duggar situation 

You’ve probably heard about Josh Duggar and the scandal associated with him. If not, a quick google search can give you more info than you will ever need to know. I have only read a few articles but it was enough to give me a quick synopsis, though probably not the complete truth. I really don’t think it’s important for me to dwell too much on it. It’s a shame. But it’s always a shame when people choose sin and it always hurts. So I started thinking about what I can take away from this situation and a few things came to mind.

1. Sin is powerful and dangerous 
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but agains the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Sin is real and since it is our nature we will always struggle with it. With Christ, we have the power to overcome, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a struggle or that we don’t still fail. We all struggle in different areas and none of us is immune to the temptation of sin. A good reminder of why we need to “put on the full armor of God.”

2. No one is infallible

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV

The bible is full of stories of great heros of the faith and also their sins. And these weren’t just what we might consider trivial sins. Several were actually murderers. Even those whose heart is close to God can be pulled away when sin gets the best of them.

3. Sin always affects more than just yourself

Justification of our sins is something we are so good at. We tell ourselves that it only affects us. But that is just a plain lie. Sin ALWAYS affects us and those around us. We don’t think about the consequences or those that may get hurt along the way. Some sins can even affect generations. But that is what sin is – selfish.

4. Why we need a Savior

So we’ve seen the power of sin and that no one is immune to it’s pull. We all can fall prey to it and will at some time or another. Our actions hurt God and hurt others. Who can save us from this evil?

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:13 NIV

I am so thankful for grace and forgiveness. We have hope in Christ to stand firm and to choose to live for him. No longer slaves to sin. We will still fall and won’t be perfect this side of heaven, but we can rest assured that our sins won’t separate us from His love and if we repent He will always welcome us.

 

Thoughts on the the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I am a little confused as to how something somewhat straightforward often gets misconstrued and used to prevent freedom of worship and expression rather than protect it. It seems rather ironic, don’t ya think?

I think we have forgotten in our country what it actually looks like to have our freedoms stripped from us. What does it look like to have a governing body establish a religion? Does that mean any mention of God by a public official, on public land or in a building purchased by public tax dollars is somehow establishing a certain religion? Seriously, if you think that we are not reading the same language.

Because we have enjoyed our freedoms for so long in order to see what this actually means we either need to go back to history or look outside ourselves to the world surrounding us. There are many countries where the governing bodies have established a religion, and even though their constitutions may protect religious freedom the actuality is much different. In those countries it is no crime to believe and act on your faith, so long as it is the same as the governing body. However, if you act on your faith and it is different, you are in danger of harassment, job loss, beatings, imprisonment and even death.

On the other hand there are countries where it is illegal to worship or freely express yourself at all. Religion of any kind except what is government sanctioned is strictly prohibited. You can be imprisoned for sharing facts and many journalists and lawyers are. You can be imprisoned for meeting with other people of like faith, and the list goes on and on.

In both cases these countries clearly violate our first amendment. The first clearly has a government established religion that the laws of the land are built around and the second clearly has prohibited the free exercise of religion, not to mention the freedom of expression, etc.

So I would like to ask again, how is a public prayer or a display of the ten commandments or the like a violation of the first amendment? If anything, this amendment is in place to protect such freedoms. No one is being forced to pray. No one is being forced to believe anything. No one is getting arrested if they do not bow down. No one is going to lose their government job because they don’t close their eyes during a prayer. No one is getting hanged if they abstain and share a different set of beliefs. Prayer in the public domain, by public officials, in public buildings does not equal an establishment of religion, merely the freedom to exercise that religion, and that right is very much protected!

I am awaiting the Supreme Court decision and while I do not put my faith in their decision, I am hoping that they will correctly interpret this amendment that is in place to protect rights more than prohibit.

 

Remembering: September 11

To most of us, September 11 is a day that we will always remember. Every year I reminisce about what I was doing on that fateful day when I found out. I remember the fear and unbelief at what I was seeing. It was a sad day in our history. As I think back my heart continues to ache for those who lost loved ones to a senseless tragedy.

This year as I began to pray for comfort for the many still hurting from the affects I couldn’t help but pray also for those who planned the attacks. They are so misguided and actually believe they are committing these murders in the name of God. That is so sad, as one day they will have to give an account for their actions, like the rest of us. I also began to think about how this one event affected our country.

Thankfully this is not the norm for America. But what about the Middle East? The threat of violence seems to be imminent every day. Radicals seem to be taking over and people are beaten, maimed, executed, imprisoned, harassed, tortured and intimidated everyday. Not foreigners, mind you. Their own fellow country men. Neighbor against neighbor. This is the true tragedy. We need to pray for these countries who are not affected by one event of terrorism, but live in it every day. I cannot imagine that.

Lord, we pray that you would intervene in these countries – Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and all the ones I’m forgetting. We pray that your love would penetrate to the darkest places and change the hearts of those who think they are pleasing you. Give your people strength and supernatural power to love those who persecute them. May the violence end. Protect those who are innocent, especially the children. Put rulers in place that will rule with justice and peace. It seems it will never end, but we pray it will. Your will be done. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Land of the Free?

Pentagon May Move to Court-Martial Christian Soldiers Who Share Faith.

The above article really frightens me. Not in a way that makes me cower, but in a way that makes me realize my concerns about the direction we are headed as a nation are based on fact. I fear for our country as a whole. I fear for those that won’t repent because their hearts are hard and will therefore experience God’s wrath. I fear for our children that will not experience the freedom that our country was founded on, but will instead live with restrictions that our constitution is supposed to protect.

People, wake up! The things I read about every day in other countries that so many of us get up in arms about….that could be us one day. I don’t think anyone will be hanged for sharing their faith any time soon, but the fact that it could even possibly be a crime is beyond my comprehension. The day that happens, is the day we lose our freedom completely. The fact that it is even being discussed blows my mind. “Separation of church and state” is a phrase not even found in the constitution. Yet it’s used to defend all sorts of ridiculous lawsuits.

I am just appalled and really disappointed in our leaders. Seriously?!
You can sign this petition if you want to protect the religious freedom of our troops.

 

The hope I have is that I know that laws and prison bars cannot hold back God’s Spirit from working despite man’s best efforts to contain Him.

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

It’s official. President Obama has declared January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. I actually think that this should be at the top of our list for prevention and awareness every month. Human slavery is big business and there are actually more humans in bondage today than at any other point in history. This is appalling and something needs to be done. We need to know what’s going on. Please check out the links below, or do a search on human trafficking. There is info out there and there are ways you can help.

Traffick Free is an organization based in Chicago that helps to raise awareness about human trafficking. They host all sorts of events and there are many volunteer opportunities. If you live in the city it’s definitely worth checking out!

The Polaris Project is another organization that works to fight trafficking within the US. There are resources for every state.

International Justice Mission is a wonderful organization that works around the globe to fight human trafficking and slavery. They have worked through the justice system to physically free victims and their stories are just incredible. This is the organization that I was able to raise $520 for this Christmas season. Check out their site and learn about all they are doing. There are many ways to get involved as well.

These are just a few of so many organizations and people fighting on the front lines to rid us of this horrible crime. Will you join the fight to end slavery?

Trafficking Hits Close to Home

I came across this article via the facebook feed of Traffick Free. It is from ABC local news. Basically it details the conviction of a man running a prostitution ring in Mt. Prospect, IL. That’s really close to home. I know it shouldn’t surprise me, but it still does. I know that these things go on, but it is much more real when you come across something like this. The fact that he felt he owned these women is so appalling.

So that lends to some thoughts. This is going on. It’s going on nearby. What can I do about it? There are many groups dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. Here are some steps from Traffickfree.org that you can take to help. Take Action.
Another thing you can do is donate time or money to organizations that help fight trafficking. International Justice Mission does work around the world to end human slavery. You can help them by making a donation to my campaign. Just click the link below. 
Donate to my campaign for International Justice Mission. 

This is not a problem that will be going away any time soon. But the more people know about what is going on the more chance there is for change.

Walmart, This is Getting Ridiculous!

You may have heard the news by now. Black Friday has moved up to Thursday. What? Yes, you heard me right. This year, Walmart has decided to open for Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day at 8pm. This is wrong on so many levels. And I think something should be done about it.

It’s been getting worse and worse every year. The times for these poor employees having to work the stores has been getting earlier and earlier. It used to be like 6am, then 5am, then 4am, then midnight. Now we are pushing it up to the actual holiday? Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of spending time with family or friends and celebrating our many blessings. Giving thanks for all we have. I’m pretty sure spending Thanksgiving evening at Walmart does not qualify as giving thanks. That is in fact the opposite because that is saying, “I am thankful, but I need more.”

We are so rich in this country. We have so much. Most of us have food and shelter, albeit some more than others. We have clothing and basic necessities, for the most part. There is so little we NEED. I can’t believe that we have the need to shop so much so that 1 whole day dedicated just to shopping for deals is not enough. As if there aren’t more days in the year before Christmas. Seriously? What about the rest of November and December? We really have push it up to the holiday itself.

I am pretty upset at Walmart right now. And I am learning from the advocacy group that I can do something about it instead of just venting on my blog. So I intend to do just that and would ask you, if you agree, to do the same. You can contact Wal-mart via their website and express your dislike of this policy. I did.

I have also learned that Target may be doing the same thing. A Target employee actually started a petition on change.org that you can sign agreeing with him that they should revoke this decision.

I am overall just so fed up with commercialism. And I truly believe that if you plan wisely and spend wisely then there is no need for you to have to stand in a line at 4am to get some “too good to pass up” deal. There are good deals all through the year. As far as I’m concerned Black Friday has become just that, a dark day in our culture, a day to celebrate our materialistic commercialism based culture. So raise a glass of overpriced wine and say cheers. “Here’s to us and our never-ending addiction to more stuff! May we never be satisfied so stores will continue to pummel us with ridiculous ads and may we never grow the wiser to their strategies of enticement. May we spend in our lives working to gain and forget to enjoy what we have in the quest for more! Here’s to Black Friday!”

Intolerance?

I am so tired of being accused of being intolerant and discriminatory as a Christian. I can’t say that I personally have heard those exact phrases coming from people I am around on a regular basis because they know me. I am speaking in general terms here.

Why are we the only ones labeled as intolerant of others beliefs? What about the freedom we have to choose our beliefs. Last time I checked that right was still protected by the Constitution. I don’t agree with the values of many people, and businesses in this world, but I don’t expect them to change just because I say so. They are entitled to their opinions and beliefs.

I was “just a little” frustrated this morning reading about the controversy surrounding Chik fil a. They want to put one up in a Chicago neighborhood and from what I can gather, there were protests by gay rights groups and the Mayor actually stated that he doesn’t want it because it doesn’t promote the values of Chicago. Really? Do you speak for the entire city? Arggghh. What bothers me the most is the gay rights groups. I have no problem with you if you choose a different sexual orientation. Do I think it’s wrong? Yes. Because God says so. I also think pride is wrong, and adultery and divorce, and so many things. Why? Because God says so. The bible is pretty clear on some things!

However, because I think it’s wrong does that mean I hate people or discriminate against people who choose to sin, of course not. But I won’t endorse it either. I don’t think it’s fair for these gay rights activists to expect that every person and every business (run by people and with certain values) will just embrace their mission just because they say so. It seems to me that what they are touting now is that by not endorsing them you are discriminating against them. How ludicrous! I’ve been to Chik fil a several times and I can tell you that they don’t have anti-gay messages on the wall. They really do nothing to address the issue other than to adhere to biblical values. And aren’t they entitled to do that?

People boast of tolerance and how intolerant us Christians are of people different then us, but they are intolerant of our beliefs and I honestly don’t see what the difference is. Why can’t they just accept that our views are different and that’s not gonna change. I don’t think they should expect it to.

It worries me for our future when we have mayors of cities making comments like that as well! Satan is at work my friends and he’s working hard. I pray that as more of our freedoms come under attack that we will stand strong and not back down. Know your bible and use it to combat the lies of the evil one. We are commanded to love our neighbor, whether they are right or wrong, but we are not commanded to tell to them their sin is ok and embrace it. That is not love.

Thoughts on Trials from a Tightrope Walker

Not sure if you heard about the crazy man, Nik Wallenda who became the first man in history to walk a tightrope across Niagra Falls. Granted he’s the first that’s been allowed to try, but he did succeed. It happened last Friday night. It’s really a pretty cool story and John and I enjoyed watching it live.

ABC Story with more details and actual footage

In his interview after the walk one thing he said struck me as rather profound and applicable to our spiritual lives as well. There is a good chunk of his walk where he is getting bombarded with the mist and wind that the Falls generate. The video showed just how wet it was. When asked how that part was he replied that it was tough and he wanted nothing more than to run and get through it, but he had to just take it one step at a time.

It made me think how I like to respond to harsh conditions, to situations less than ideal. I like to be out of them as soon as possible. I think that’s our natural inclination. But if he had followed his natural inclination then he probably would have fallen to his death (except for the harness he was wearing would have caught him). But still, it would have ruined his dream if he had tried to get through the rough spot in a hurry. Sometimes I think we are so bent on getting out of our rough spot that we do more harm to ourselves or those around us then if we just accept things for what they are and just move forward, one step at a time. Rough spots in life never last forever, though I will admit, some seem to last an awful long time.

So my advice to myself from this is to not be in such a hurry to clear the storm. That may in fact create another scenario even worse than the original. Just take it one step at a time and trust that God will get me through it.

Seriously #2

I was reading the paper this weekend which is something I like to avoid because it usually leaves me feeling depressed. Anyhow, I came across a crazy little article about a case that was dismissed in court. I am so happy it was dismissed but what got my attention was that the case was submitted at all. Two very well to do young adults were suing their mother for “bad parenting.” Seriously? First of all if people could sue for that, the legal system would be jam packed. No one is perfect. But their “evidence” was ridiculous: a birthday card that was not liked. Not getting a pony or something like that. Seriously? If anything the parents are guilty of raising spoiled brats and the kids are guilty of immaturity. That’s my verdict. And here’s my sentence: Grow up and be thankful for all you have! Be thankful you had parents who provided for you!