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Monday, January 31, 2011

Attitude is everything!

If you've read more than three or four posts, you know you know that I'm all about the attitude.  It's your attitude that will determine if your parenting works or not.  It's your attitude that controls the levels of your marriage.  It's your attitude that determines the success of your spiritual life. 

I'm currently struggling with a difficult medical problem.  Hopefully it will be resolved shortly - and in a good way. (I appreciate your prayers) My darling husband sent me the following story and gave my attitude a boost.  Answers are always a matter of God's, His love and our own attitude.  Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'  He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!' You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'

He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or...you can choose to be in a bad mood.  I choose to be in a good mood.' Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.

'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.  Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.  I saw him about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?'
I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'

'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.

He continued, '...the paramedics were great.

They kept telling me they would take good care of me. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.'

'What did you do?' I asked.

'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity''
Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'   He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude....I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34.

Please pray that God will provide a good report so I can continue to work without interruption........

God loves you,

Debbie

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why should anyone be a Christian?

Before we continue a listing of Christian Traits....perhaps we should discuss why anyone would even want to be a Christian. What should you believe?  Which way should you take your life?

I Googled, "How many religions are in the world?"  According to World Christian Encyclopedia there are 34,000 separate Christian Groups.  Then there are all kinds of other religions that contain many different Gods.  In India for example, the Hindu faith claims to have 330 million faces of God.  In our own country, native Indians have a God for almost everything that lives.  There are wind gods and sun gods and plant gods and animal gods. 

It's confusing.  Especially if you haven't had what is called a Theophany.  A theophany is where you have actually experienced a "manifestation of God or a Deity."  So...if you haven't come face to face with God - how do you know that what I'm telling you is true?  And furthermore....why would you want to live by my faith?

First let me assure you that if you don't believe in God - I won't attack you in any way.  Just because we have different opinions doesn't mean I dislike you.  And...just because I don't see any "logical" basis for other religions doesn't mean I think bad of those people either. 

So...let's look at this problem from a purely logical standpoint. 

I have a hard time finding a reason to even consider other religions.  For example, I just don't understand why the Muslim faith is still around.  Half of their participants are in slavery.  As a Muslim wife you are demanded to have as many children as possible and....forget having the freedom to be who you want to be. The Muslim faith is awful to wives, children and anyone that goes against the wishes of the father or the "honor" of the family. And the biggest plus to the religion is that if you kill others in Allah's name, you get to experience virgins to your hearts content.  While that may be enticing to some people - I want more of heaven than that.  After a while anything loses it's pleasure.  Being stuck in the sex mode for all of eternity isn't as appealing as having the freedom to enjoy everything God has been preparing for literally millions of years.  If he created everything here on earth and has been waiting and creating for centuries - don't you think he could come up with something better than 70 virgins??  Sounds like of pathetic to me.

Buddhism is even harder for me.  Their take on this religion thing is that life is sort of a punishment.  You are supposed to learn something from every life but you have to keep reincarnating until you finally reach Nirvana - which is a state of nothingness.  Talk about a hard life! 

Since I was in college I've issued a challenge.  Bring me any faith that offers more freedom, more creativity, more of a good life and more rewards in the after life - and I'll change.  Yep!  You heard it here.  Show me that your religion is better than mine and I'll change.  The problem is in the details.  Some religions may sound good on the surface but in the end it disappoints. 

I remember going to a youth group at a large church in Atlanta when I was in my early twenties.  The speaker was a wealthy business man who lived most of his life as an atheist.  His life was a mess!  His business was failing and his family was falling apart.  When his wife served him with divorce papers, he sought advice from a Christian friend.  The friend said, "Look John, I know you can't bring yourself to be a Christian...but that doesn't negate the great advice in the Bible.  Even if you never become a Christian, I promise that if you study the Bible and follow it's teachings your life will get better." 

The businessman took his advice and spent the next few years studying and implementing Bible values.  At the end of six months his business was growing.  At the end of a year he was dating his wife and at the end of two years they were re-married. Now remember....he was not a Christian - he was only living like one.  His only goal was to put the values of a Christian into practice in his own life. 

Amazingly, at the end of four years he decided that God was real and that he wanted to give not only his heart - but his entire life to God.  (Is that why atheist are so afraid of even the word "God"?  Any connection to this Christianity thing is dangerous to their position.)

If the Bible is just a good way to live....what makes it so good?  Why don't most people see the value? 

There's been a lot of propaganda.  Ask anyone if they think the Bible is made up of a lot of restrictions and they will probably agree with you.  Even Christians are likely to say more about the "no no's" of the Bible than the actual purpose of why we follow this book.

The Bible is simply "God's word".  But what does that mean?  The Bible starts out with creation and then moves forward.  With each book, Christianity begins to evolve.  Until Jesus comes and begins to set the record straight about what he really meant us to be.

Let's pretend for a moment that we are like cars.  We are assembled at the factory and then sent out into the world to do "our" thing.  Some of us are made to race and some of us are made to carry groceries and kids.  But....if something goes wrong in our engine - we aren't rolled up to the bakery for repairs.  We go back to the people that made us. 

That's what Christianity is!  God made us and the Bible is His instruction book on how we work best. 

But here's the creepy part that some people don't want to look at.  They don't want to accept that there's some big dude in the sky that has even a small interest in what they are doing.  They want complete and total control over their own lives.  So....because they can't accept the big guy....they discredit and make fun of the Bible.

The Bible isn't all that weird.  And...it is not a negative - "You can't do this" book.  Go back to the car illustration.  Suppose you bought a new $40,000 SUV.  You decide that you can't pay for the car and the gas all at the same time.  So...you brew up a concoction of rubbing alcohol and sugar.  A little dash of this and that....a little corn liquor and voila!  Gas!  You decide you better call the dealership that sold you the car and tell them what you've done.  "Great news! I've just invented a new gas.  You'll probably want it for all your customers."  The salesman screams into the phone..."No, please....don't do it.  It will ruin the engine."  You get mad.  "You can't talk to me like that.  I know what I'm doing.  How dare you!" 

The salesman quietly explains, "If you do this there's no way we will cover the cost to fix the engine."

You yell back.  "You won't have to you jerk.  I'm going to save the world money!  You just wait and see, I'll be the one rolling in the dough.  You don't know anything about me."

The thing is, you are convinced that you are right.....but you are gambling with a $40,000 car.  You put your invention in the gas tank and start the engine.  The car sputters and takes off.  You are grinning from ear to ear.  You did it.  You showed those guys.  You are rolling along on free gas.  As the gas that was in the tank begins to mix with your untested solution, the car sputters.  It slows and drags.  It can hardly go.  Finally smoke rolls out of the engine.  It's clacking and clanging and the entire car trembles with the pain of it all.  It dies a horrible death.

What happened?  It was your car and you had the right to put anything in the tank you wanted.  Why didn't it work.  All of us know the answer to that question.  It doesn't matter how much you believed in your invention, if the car wasn't "designed" to work with your solution - it's not going to happen.

Guess what?  It doesn't really matter what you believe.  If you don't do the stuff that's needed to make your life wonderful - it won't work!  When your life falls apart because you are lying or cheating....it really doesn't matter what you believe.  The results will be what they are.  It's sad to me that most people wouldn't dare take the chance on ruining a $40,000 car but they have no problem gambling with their lives and all of eternity.  As the old saying goes - "I'm a Christian.  If you're right about the "no God" thing and I die and go into nothingness - I've still had a good life.  If your wrong about the God thing and you die, you go to Hell."  Hum.....

Let's go back to the Bible.  I've studied it my entire life.  I became a Christian when I was six years old.  I participated in Bible drills, memorization and as a preacher's kid I've listened to thousands of sermons. 

I realized early on that the Bible isn't about what you can't do.....the Bible is about living the "Good" life.  It's an instruction manual on how to stay out of trouble. 

Some people look at my life and say, "Man you sure have been blessed.  You haven't had the troubles a lot of us have had."  While I do thank God for making me who I am....it's the Bible that I credit with the reason I have a good life. 

I came from a heritage of Christians.  My parents were ministers, my grandmother was a minister, All grandparents and most of my extended family were Christians.  My husbands family was the same way. 

We have had good lives not just because they were Christians - but because their lives kept us away from the things that would "hurt" or cause problems in our lives.  They passed on wise instructions that kept all of us from getting into stuff that would hurt our ability to have a great life.

For example - let's take the Ten commandments.  The first four are about God.  Since we are "logically" discussing this, let's leave him out of it. 

#5 "Honor thy father and mother".  What possible problem could that avoid?  If I had a nickle for every time I heard someone say, "I hate to admit it but my parents were right" - I would be a rich person.  If more children, teens and adults honored their parents they could learn from the wisdom they have.  And even if you don't think your parents are wise (provided they also live by Biblical values) perhaps you can learn from their mistakes.

#6 Don't murder.  Well hello!  Who wants to spend the rest of their lives in jail?  And even if we lived in a society where murder was okay - who wants to be the one murdered?  Or who wants to be so dysfunctional that killing is the only way to solve a problem.  Ick! Instead of living a life of yelling, screaming and getting so angry that you flip out and kill your spouse....you have a different mindset.  Look at all the problems and issues that you've avoided just by one commandment.

#7 Don't commit adultery.  It would take a 15 page post to list all the pain this one will save.  Just the guilt and therapy you can avoid will be worth thousands of dollars. 

#8  Don't lie.  Again...what's not to like about this little gem?  Do you know how much trouble could be avoided in this life if people couldn't lie.  Remember the movie Liar, Liar with Jim Carrey?  Remember all the trouble he was in because he told lies? 

The point is....The Bible isn't about taking away from your life.  The Bible is about giving you a plan so you can have the best life possible.  While others around you are struggling to figure out how to get down the street with their cars of life - you will be racing around the neighborhood and learning how to use all the tools to help your car sprout wings and fly!

Being a Christian is all about God.  It's about loving him and appreciating all he's done for us.  But it's also much more than that.  It's about using his teachings to have the greatest life you can.  My hope for you is that when your life is over that you will stand before a smiling God and say, "Wow!  What a fantastic ride!"

God loves you,

Debbie

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who says this isn't a Christian Nation!!!!

A good friend sent this to me. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  God bless this Marine!




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0fQd858cRc&feature=player_embedded

God loves you - and God bless America!

Debbie

The Donkey

Since the symbol of the democratic party is a donkey....I think it's okay to use an old euphemism I've heard many times.

"If the donkey kicks me once it's his fault.....if the donkey kicks me twice it's my fault."

What that means is that it's often easy to be surprised by the actions of others.  It's understandable to be naive and fooled by a crook - once.  It's understandable to be naive and fooled by a fast talking salesman - once.  But....if you are smart and you continue to let people take advantage of you....then it's no longer the crooks fault - it's your fault.

Once we have the information we need to make an informed decision....it's smart to use that information and avoid being robbed, hit, hurt, taken advantage of.....you get the idea.  We can use information we have learned in the past to prevent the disaster in the future.  To ignore the information means we are on the fast track to being hurt - again.

Over the past few days the news has touted the possibility that Mr. Obama is moving to the center and will be a hard person to beat in the 2012 elections.  I couldn't believe I heard anyone say that!  Are Americans really that dumb?  Surely not.

The man promised to be centrist before he was elected the first time.  He lied!  He couldn't wait to get into office and prove his radical left agenda.  We've been suffering every since.  He's lied to us about so many things and proved to be inept and on a radical left race to socialism. 

Why would you believe him ever again?  Why would some people look at a one time speech and believe that he is going to do anything better the second time? 

But Debbie....aren't we supposed to be kind and compassionate?  People can change you know?  Shouldn't we give him a chance?

Sure....give the drug addict a chance to get clean - but don't ask him to be a guard at the local pharmacy. 
Give the alcoholic a chance to change - but don't ask him to be a fill in bartender when yours is sick.
Give an abusing spouse the chance to change but don't live with them and subject your 10 year old to another beating.  Wait until the change has been proven and documented and you know that it's for real!

Our country's future is too important to trust this man...again.  I'm counting the days and hoping that our luck will last and God will show us mercy until we can get him out of office.  If he's elected for a second term, there's no hope for this country.  You will see another massive move to socialism that we may not be able to survive and surely won't recover from. 

So....my suggestion....do your homework.  Look at his pre-election speeches.  Hear what he said and then look at what he actually did or didn't do.  Make the connections.  Things like the fact that gas is going up and instead of letting companies in the gulf with safe rigs begin drilling again - he is stalling.  Why?  Watch Glen Beck and try to put all the pieces together.  Gather your information and don't let that donkey kick you again!

God loves you,

Debbie

Thursday, January 20, 2011

#1 Love me...Obey my commandments

A true Christian will know who Jesus is and will work to obey his commandments.

Jesus had gathered all his disciples together for the last supper.  If there was ever a time to give them cliff notes, this was it.  Read John Chapter 13 and 14 and you'll see that the disciples just didn't understand all that was going on.  They acted like small children wanting to be near him, sensing there was a problem, not knowing what to do etc...  And then Jesus did a great and noble thing.  He washed their feet.  He talked quietly and slowly.  He was not angry or ill at ease.  These were the men he had chosen to carry on his work and now it was time to simply be friends.  He knew that Judas had already betrayed him and yet...he was kind with him as well. 

Chapter 14 starts out with a wonderful command. 
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

Now that we know the whole story it's easy to read that passage and know that Jesus is talking about Heaven.  But listen to his last statement.  Verse 4 "You know the way to the place where I am going."

Here's comes the children.....Even though they had listened and followed for three years....In the next verse Thomas says..."Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

Jesus probably wanted to give a big sigh at this point and say, "What?  What do you mean you don't know the way?  Haven't you been listening!"

Instead in verse 6 Jesus answered,  "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Please pull out your Bible and read these two chapters, they are wonderful sweet urgings of Jesus.  For today and our point today however, let's concentrate on the following verses.  Consider this a cliff note straight from Jesus.

In John 14:15  Jesus said:
 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

How can you do that if you haven't studied enough to know what his command is?  And notice he didn't say, "Do what the priests have told you."  NO, he said do what I command.  In other words, get it for yourself!

In John 14: 21-24 Jesus went on to say:
 
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 
Okay Friends....now you have it from the horses mouth.  We can all close up shop and go home.  That's your salvation in a nut shell. 
 
If you say that you love God (Jesus) you will obey his command.  If you don't obey then you don't love and you can't call yourself a Christian.
 
Period.  End of statement.  Everybody out of the pool!
 
Do you conveniently avoid certain scriptures?  - You are not a Christian.
 
Do you twist the scriptures you don't like?  - You are not a Christian.
 
Do you avoid church and learning about Jesus?  Maybe it's just too boring.  Sorry, You are not a Christian.
 
Do you work and study and cross reference - hoping, pushing and looking for a way to make the scriptures support the wrong you want to do?  - You are not a Christian.
 
We must take the Bible as a whole, understand the writers, the life of Christ, the overall meaning, the cross references, the implied and the unimplied. 
 
We must be doubly and 500% sure that we know who Jesus was and is - what his commandments are and that we are doing everything possible to obey those commandments.
 
A true Christian will love the study of the Bible because he "wants" and craves knowing who Jesus is and what His commandments are. A true Christian will not care if he's missing out on some fun or something he wants to do.  All he will care about is that he loves Jesus and that he is obeying his commands.
 
Can you say that you know and obey the commandments of Jesus?
 
God loves you,
 
Debbie

What should a Christian look like?

Over the next few months I'll be posting to a category called "The Christian". 
Find link in Right sidebar
This category isn't about the outward "looks" of a Christian.  This category is about the whole man/woman.  The thoughts, beliefs, actions, motives, desires, looks and reputation of the Christian.

The definition of the word Christian is....
1.  A person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ, or in the religion based on the teaching of Jesus.

used as a adj.  it means.....
1.  of Jesus Christ or his teachings
2.  of or professing the religion based on these teachings
3.  having the qualities demonstrated and taught by Jesus Christ, as love, kindness, humility, etc..
4. of or representing Christians or Christianity
5.  humane, decent, etc...

But....the word that most Christians use to define their label is...."Christ - like"

Have you ever met a person who claims to be a Christian and yet...hasn't studied enough about Christ to know what that would look like?  A lot of churches have stopped having Sunday school.  Now instead of a deeper walk through the Bible and a systematic way to teach our children about the Bible, we have discussion groups in homes.  Most of the time the emphasis is on visiting and eating rather than on real Bible study.  The result - people who claim to be Christians but have no idea what that really means.

I even had one immature person say...."Just give me a list and I'll do what's on it."  While that type of reduction of the Christian faith won't produce a true Christian - perhaps it will lead all of us into a deeper discussion of what's currently missing in our faith.

I hope you will join me here for "short" discussions about the traits and values of "The Christian"

#1 Love me - Obey my commandments


God loves you,

Debbie

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bible in American History.....

It appears to me that some people just like to lie.  They get a kick out of looking you square in the face and telling you something they know isn't true but try to use to "force" you to their way of thinking. 

In the South we have several sayings about people who lie to prove a point.

"His tongue is long enough to cut his throat."  "He can talk up a tow sack."  (To fill a sack with foolish talk or nonsense.)  "Crooked as a worm on a hook."     "Like a Bug arguing with a chicken."

"He has a tongue for Tolling."  (To lure, lead on, entice with lies.)  "Rather tell a lie on credit than the truth for cash."  (Prefers to lie.)

And my personal favorite....."Put grease in yer pan, yer fish is burning." (You are incorrect, lying, tell the truth!)


Lately....that's all I can think about as I post the columns from American Minute   I started posting these because I thought they would be a wonderful topic of conversation around the evening supper table.  Yet the more I post, the more I am aware that progressives have been viciously lying to us.  I recently heard one leftist commentator say that it had been over 50 years since the government promoted Biblical study.  Here's a few choice Southern sayings for that guy....

"His head is full of stump water."  (Dumb)  "He'd hold a fish under water to drown it." (Stupid, dumb)

I don't like calling people stupid or dumb....yet what else do you call someone that expects you to believe such a silly obvious lie?? 

I enjoyed the following post by American Minute.  Amazing that I was busy living my life and never heard about this.

A Joint Resolution of the 97th U.S. Congress proclaimed "A Year of the Bible."


It was signed by Democrat Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil, Republican President of the Senate Strom Thurmond and President Ronald Reagan, who stated OCTOBER 4, 1982:

"Now, therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, in recognition of the contributions and influence of the Bible on our Republic and our people, do hereby proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible in the United States.

I encourage all citizens, each in his or her own way, to reexamine and rediscover its priceless and timeless message."

Similarly, on January 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote the prologue of a special Gideons' edition of the New Testament & Book of Psalms distributed to millions of World War II soldiers:

"As Commander-in-Chief, I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States.  Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration."

FDR continued:

"It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul."

 
All I have left to say is that anyone that believes this is no longer a Christian Nation --- "They are doing a heap of stirring but making no  biscuits!"  (A lot of talking with no results)
God loves you,

Debbie

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pastor's Corner

Can you be saved inwardly and not look like it on the outside?

Debbie Jansen
Author, speaker, minister

It depends on if you are talking about physical appearance or the impression you leave with your character or rhetoric.  While we are instructed to be "modest" in attire....specifics on our looks really isn't a focus of the Bible.  I do think that there are many styles that don't reflect the values of the Christian Faith and probably should be avoided....but appearance is NOT as important as what we say, what we do and the motive of our heart.

Having said that, If you are truly saved - your life will change.  You will talk and act differently.  You will feel uncomfortable around anything that doesn't reflect Christ.  Your purpose and the direction of your life will change.  You will be different. 

I remember a man that attended a Wednesday evening Bible study.  He was so dirty and smelly it was hard to sit next to him.  His beard was straggly and brushed against a filthy shirt.  His hair was greasy and looked as if it hadn't been combed in months.  His fingernails were filled with dirt.  He sat with his arms folded and frowned as he watched my Dad teach.  Later that week he asked Dad to come pray with him about Salvation.  No one at church said anything about his appearance.  No one asked him to change.  My Dad didn't ask him to change....but change he did.  When he returned for Sunday morning (with wife and baby in tow) everyone was scrubbed and clean.  It was hard to tell he was the same man.  It didn't stop there.  He continued to grow and within just two years he became a deacon in the church and a well respected man.

When you become a Christian....you will change.




Ken Jansen
Music Pastor
Crossroads Community




This question makes me think of the idea of Baptism. It's an outward sign of an inward confession. If your life doesn’t show that God is within you… is He?

When I asked Dr. Crocker to answer this question he sent me a long story.  I tried to edit it for space but couldn't.  It's just too good.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!



Dr. Ken Crocker
Pastor, Missionary, author

Let me tell you a true story about Frank Nantz. Years ago I was his pastor. I was 28 years old and Frank was close to 70. He was tall and lanky, with big hands and had lost a front tooth. He couldn’t hide it because he smiled all the time.

He was the most lovable, kind hearted and generous man I ever knew. He was a deacon in the church, and loved everybody. I called him “Uncle Frank” like everyone else.

The day I moved in the old parsonage the church started building a new one across the street. Frank was the best carpenter around, so I saw a lot of him every day. He just showed up with his tools and started working. He laughed a lot and had so much fun that everyone was happy to have him around.

He always had interesting tales to tell about his life working in the coal mines of West Virginia. I learned about “tommy-knockers,” a strange knocking sound that the miners believed was a warning about an impending cave-in. He dug coal by hand in veins so small he had to lie on his stomach and push the coal behind him. All this took place hundreds of feet below ground in the damp, dark world of the coal miner.

No, he wasn’t perfect any more than I was. We came through town one day from a fishing trip and he had to stop at a gift shop. He hurriedly bought his wife a birthday card and we drove to his house.

I waited while he went inside to give his wife the card.

“Frank Nantz, what do you mean by such a thing,” I heard her say in a loud angry voice. There was more talking and then she came out to the car.  She showed me the card. It read: “Happy birthday to my brother.”

Frank apologized over and over again, and finally she simmered down. He grinned sheepishly, and said: “I’m sorry Maggie, I messed up again.” Then she smiled and said, “Well, all right, I guess you were in a hurry.”

She finally laughed about it with us. How could you stay mad at a man filled with such humility, love and kindness?

He lived in a small little “doll house” down the street from the church and although he had worked hard all his life he got by on Social Security and a small pension. He attended every service at the church and there was absolutely nothing he wouldn’t do for the Lord or for those in need.

I loved him and considered him one of the best Christians I had ever known. One day I saw him coming up to the sidewalk in front of the parsonage.

“Brother Crocker” I’ve got something for you,” he said. He had something held high in each hand.

“My wife knows you like butterscotch and lemon pies, and so she baked one of each for you. I guess we will soon have a fat preacher.” We laughed, sat down and talked for a while. Every Friday he would come to the parsonage with two pies. I never told anyone, but I enjoyed his visits as much as the delicious pies.

One day I asked him how he became a Christian and the story he told me was beyond belief.

“ I grew up poor in West Virginia in a coal mining town. We were so poor my daddy would catch rattlesnakes, pull their fangs out with a pair of old pliers, and give them to me and my sister to play with.”

He talked about the grinding poverty and the many days he spent in the mines digging coal by hand.  Often, at the end of the week he would get a paycheck with a black snake across the front of it. He explained what that meant.

“Well, we had some really hard times back then. We ate the squirrels I killed and the fish I caught by hand in the river. But we still had to get things from the company store. Those items went on the books, and at the end of the week if we still owed the store we got a paycheck with that long black line on it telling us that we were overdrawn at the company store.”

“Frank said: “Like everyone else I drank to forget all the misery and soon was a terrible drunk. When we moved up here I got a job at the RCA plant making television picture tubes. I made good money but couldn’t break the habit of smoking and getting drunk on week ends.”

He went on to tell me what a terrible drunkard he was and how he abused his family. Maggie and the children begged him to go to church with them on Sunday Morning.  Instead he chose to sit under a willow tree in the front yard.  “I was so sorry I would curse and throw whiskey bottles at my wife as she took the children to church on Sunday morning.  The really sad thing for me is that my boys followed in my footsteps. Now they won’t even talk about going to church or changing their ways.”

I couldn’t believe the story he told me about the man he use to be. There was no way I could picture this lovable old friend as that kind of man.

“What changed you Frank,” I asked him.

“I had a bad sickness and wound up in the hospital,” he said, “and they didn’t expect me to live. I was awake early one morning and suddenly I saw something that could have only been a vision. I saw a beautiful river and standing on the other side was Jesus. I was worn out, tired and sick and begged the Lord to let me come over there with him.”

“No Frank,” he said. “You are not fit to come over here. You’ve never been born again. It’s not too late. You could turn your life over to me. It’s up to you.”

“Then he disappeared,” Frank said as he wiped the tears from his eyes. “I knew what I had to do and as soon as my wife came to see me I took her hand and begged her to forgive me for all the things I had done to her. I didn’t know what else to do and I pleaded with her to pray for me to be saved.”

“I was born again, like Jesus taught in the bible,” He said. “It took months for me to apologize to people I had hurt, to mend the fences, take back the things I had stolen, and get things right in my life. All the old troubles and bad feelings just disappeared,” Frank told me.

“What about all the bad habits Frank? Were they hard to quit? Was it a struggle to change your life,” I asked?

“Not a bit”, he said, “In fact it was as easy as pie. I’ve never wanted another drink, I quit smoking, cursing, and my bad temper disappeared. It was like a miracle. God changed me because he knew I couldn’t do it myself. Over night my attitudes changed.  I couldn’t wait to get to church and I lovef everything about being a Christian. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life.  I asked the Lord to take over my life and make me the person I should have been. Not a day from that time to this have I ever failed to pray, read my bible and look for ways to serve the Lord.”

When I resigned as Pastor of the church, he came to see me. “I’m really going to miss you,” he said. “If we don’t see each other again, I’ll see you in the Morning.” I knew what he meant.

Frank never worried about whether or not he was saved....he changed and he knew he was!

God loves you,

Debbie, Ken and Dr. Ken


Free Class ! Principles of Parenting

Debbie is doing a free class on her Mommy Detective blog.  She will cover all the information she gives in her two-hour "Principles of Parenting" class.  If you click the "follow" button on this blog or on my Mommy Detective blog....you will receive the class study guide - free!


Principles of Parenting - Planning to have good children
This class teaches tested principles that will help you achieve your personal parenting goals. It includes the basics for better communication, discipline, and family dynamics. Practical behavior modification tips are included.

I hope you will check it out!

Mommy Detective

God loves you,

Debbie

Friday, January 14, 2011

Change vs. Truth - The tragedy of University of Arizona

I am not a difficult older woman who hates young people and their ideas!  I love children, teens and young adults. 

What I do hate is waste.  I hate to see lives wasted and opportunities missed.  As a true Mommy Detective, I've spent my life trying to dig through the facts and discover the Truth of any situation.  Truth isn't always easy.  Sometimes Truth can hurt our feelings or make us feel bad.  Sometimes Truth demands that we change a habit that we've become comfortable with.  Sometimes Truth means we have to get off our butt and work to change for the better.  But Truth usually does not leave us where we are and it moves us to making something wonderful out of our lives - and that is always worth the work!

It is human nature to resist change.  We get comfortable in our misguided or unintentional mistakes and we fight to stay the same.  Even with the best intentions and the greatest desire to change - every one of us will feel a resistance to change. 

Yet....if we are to be the best that God created us to be - we must change.  And unfortunately, in my entire life - (dare I say in all of history?) I have never heard anyone say this:  "My life is great!  Everything is going good for me.  I have everything I want.  I think I'll change."

When life seems to be okay - or when we've accepted the life we have - it's un-natural to want to change it.  Instead we hold our breath and hope that nothing disturbes the way things are.

YET.....Again.....if we are to be the best that God created us to be - if we are to change our world and make it better than it ever was....WE MUST CHANGE.

CHANGE is good.  Change moves us along.  Change helps us reach for the gold. 

CHANGE CAN also BE BAD....What if I make a wrong choice?  What if my change makes things worse not better?  Can I go back to what I was?  And if I can't go back will I regret this change for the rest of my life?

I believe that Change is good but it demands a committed responsibility to finding TRUTH.  If you ignore the facts in any situation you will regret your change.  

A great example of this is our country.  We have made change our God.  We encourage people to change, to be edgy (never understood this term - have mental picture of someone about to fall off a cliff - why is that desirable?), to be different for the sake of being different.  Young children grow up feeling as though the only way to have a successful life is to be seen as "different" - yet at the same time they try to look like everyone else that's following the stupid looks and behaviors of superstars. 

Can I just take a bunny trail here?  Why would anyone care what a movie star or music star has to say about anything?  They are not thinkers.  Their main focus in life is self and doing what a director or writer tells them to do.  Hum....they are just followers.  What our youth needs is someone who will "teach" them to be thinkers, entrepreneurs and inventors.  We need youth that are determined to find answers to societies problems.  We don't need more followers....we need more leaders!

Okay....back on the main trail here. 

When you are considering change you must have all the facts....you must consider every side and check out all the details of your change.  If you don't, you will be in the middle of change only to find because of some new information that you've made the wrong move.

Let's look at one example.  Back in the 60's, our country bought into the nonsense that the way to protect your child's self-esteem was to never say no.  Saying no would hurt little Johnny's psyche so we have to protect him.  Now those children are adults.  These are the people in our society that want to put down every attempt to "control" the evil in our society. 

If you are raised believing that every thought, every whim, every desire you have should be explored - regardless of what it does to others.....then any attempt to say "no" to you will cause a fight. Every contradictory thought would be an attack.  That's why some childish people can't stand to look at a religious symbol.  That symbol isn't hurting them.  They have the choice to look away or do the same thing I do when some evil is portrayed on TV - I turn it off and try another channel I believe in.  Only a childish spoiled brat whose never been forced to have boundaries would want to force others to cater to his own selfish desires.  I believe this is why America is so involved in catering to criminals and shifting our focus from caring for decent people to the elevated rights of criminals.

Here's the problem with that philosophy.  Catering to someone who is doing wrong does not make them change.  He's getting what he wants.  He's receiving respect even though he's a killer or a rapist.  He's allowed to go on functioning in society even though he's mentally or physically abused a child.  He's allowed to hold on to every stupid excuse he can fine to avoid change. Why would he change? 

I was appalled by the actions of the University of Arizona.  If I had been a relative of one of the victims, I would have left the building.  Why?  Because none of the people there were had respect for the grieving and the dead.  Clapping and cheering for someone who was murdered is not showing respect.  Hadn't any of those animalistic attendees ever been to a funeral?  I heard one commentator say, "Perhaps this was just what the crowd needed.  After three days of gloomy news, maybe they needed a release." 

That comment made me furious.  I had just sent an e-mail to Bret Bair and explained how awful I thought the pretend memorial service was.(perhaps I'll post my comments to him)  But then to hear a commentator excuse their actions - well that just infuriated me more.  I was not mad at the commentator but at the sentiment and belief that all we can expect from our children - from those that hold the future of this country in their hands - all we can expect from them is selfish animalistic behavior!  We can and should expect much more.  We can and should expect our youth to have some class and respect for others.

Those spoiled students didn't have to walk into the bedroom of their loved one and know that they will never return.  They didn't have to pick out the casket or make burial arrangements.  Remember - this was only three days after the shooting.  Most funeral services hadn't happened.  And while these poor victims were still in mourning, they were fooled into attending an emotionally difficult situation by misrepresenting a political pep rally and calling it a memorial service. 

I've stood beside a casket and looked at a relative that's passed on.  Even as a Christian and knowing that they were with Jesus and someday I would see them again - my heart was broken.  Every thought of them took my breath away.  Every moment was filled with pain, anger and yes some guilt.  I felt guilty every time I smiled - knowing that they couldn't smile.  It takes time - lots of quiet time - to get over that feeling.  It takes reflection and hugs and peaceful contemplation. 

At the pretend memorial services in Arizona, the University President allowed ill-mannered, selfish, animalistic children to hurt the victims of the shooting.  It seemed as though he was seeking his own moment of fame by issuing T-shirts and encouraging the crowd to be rowdy.  Mr. Obama is also to blame.  While he may have been caught off guard, where was his leadership?  Why didn't he simply address the crowd with an off scripted reprimand?  Why didn't he take control of the situation and defend the victims?  Instead he joined in the disrespectful display by saying nothing.  (Which again speaks to Mr. Obama as a president.  He's not a leader.  He's a follower.  He bows and apologizes and follows.  He doesn't lead.)  And I'm sorry.  I do not agree with all the commentators that say his speech was comforting.  Poppycock!  It was filled with political overtones.  If it had truly been a memorial service it should have pointed only to the victims and their families.  Mr. Obama should have only been a vessel spotlight pointing to the victims.  He should have resisted any attempt to point the spotlight on himself or any political agenda.  Instead his speech was heavy with political rhetoric overtones.  Instead it spoke to a pep rally for America and Obama's political stand.

The TRUTH is....Someone at that ridiculous pep rally should have taken the mike and defended the "grief stricken" families.  Would that have been difficult and hard?  Yes.  But would it have been proper and right?  Yes.  Would it have taught some of those in attendance about good manners and unselfish behavior?  Perhaps.  Would the victims have felt vindicated in their grief?  Would they have felt like someone truly understood their pain?  Would they have avoided the problem of leaving the building and feeling guilty because they didn't want to clap but rather wanted to cry?  Yes! 

What the TRUTH in this situation would have done is open a conversation about good manners and appropriate behavior.  And change?  Maybe we should think about the way things used to be and realize that selfish - my desires and needs first - was not a "good change".  Maybe we should consider how we can help our children have a good self-esteem without become animals bent on having what they want at any cost.  I feel sorry for the victims of Arizona.  They were betrayed by that University, the university president and staff, Mr. Obama and those spoiled brat attendees.  I am saddened that they had to be hurt again.  No handshake by a passive president can make up for the pain they will feel over the next few weeks knowing that the crowd was more interested in politics than in their dead relative. 

Class and respect is a wonderful comforting virtue.  When it is absent it leaves the heart feeling sick and alone.

God loves you,

Debbie 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer

Brought to you by American Minute


On OCTOBER 3, 1789, from the U.S. Capitol in New York City, President George Washington issued the first Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God, as just one week earlier the first session of the U.S. Congress successfully approved the First Ten Amendments limiting the power of the Federal Government.


The First Amendment begins:

"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

In his Proclamation, President Washington stated:

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God....we may...unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations..."

Washington continued:

"and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our...duties properly...to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws...and to bless them with...peace and concord...and the increase of science...and...to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best."


How can anyone state that this is no longer a Christian nation without looking and feeling like a fool?  More and more we are learning how deep our Christian heritage is.  This country was built on Christian principles and it's success is based on the observance of God.  Any man that tries to remove Godly attitudes from this country will kill our freedoms and our future!

God loves you,

Debbie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Arnold Joseph Toynbee - historian

Brought to you by American Minute


Historian Arnold Joseph Toynbee died OCTOBER 2, 1975.


Providing foreign intelligence for the British during World Wars I and II, Toynbee was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conferences.

Educated at Oxford "almost entirely in the Greek and Latin Classics,"

Toynbee taught at King's College of London, the London School of Economics, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

His 12-volume "Study of History," 1934-1961, described the rise, flowering, and decline of 26 cultures from Egypt, Greece and Rome to Polynesia and Peru.

"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder," argued Toynbee, who saw religion as a prime motivation in history.

"When I started, religion was not a prominent feature...In writing my study, I have been constantly surprised to find religion coming back to fill an even greater place."

Toynbee continued:

"So what does the universe look like?..It looks as if everything were on the move either toward its Creator or away from Him."

Arnold Toynbee wrote:

"The course of human history consists of a series of encounters... in which each man or woman or child...is challenged by God to make the free choice between doing God's will and refusing to do it.

When Man refuses, he is free to make his refusal and to take the consequences."


What a wonderful observation by an intelligent and dedicated man.  How well have you been able to explain this philosophy to your children?  They deserve to know that others believe in God and His will.

God loves you,

Debbie

Destruction of God's Creation

In my new booklet, Scriptures Against Abuse, I discuss the consequences of destroying God's Creation.  Most Christians don't put a lot of emphasis on God's view of the destruction of talent - but God's consequences are severe.

God values every human.  In Matthew 10 Jesus was talking about not being afraid of your enemies.  In verse 29 he let us know how important we are and that He watches everything that is done even to the least of his creations.  In verse 30 he confirms our importance..."And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

The question then is....If God values you life so much that he even numbers the hairs on your head (which for me may take several angels just to keep the record straight) - how will he react when someone destroys His creation?

People rarely think about this side of the issue.  Most Christians are taught to go the extra mile, give the last penny, suffer for Christ and give 100%.  After all, the man we follow gave his life for all of us.  He was the ultimate sacrifice.  Do we need to do all that?  Of course! 

The problem is that while we study about giving and sacrifice - we must understand that there is a balance.  Jesus sacrificed in order to accomplish a goal.  He asks us to sacrifice in order to accomplish a goal.  Sacrifice or destruction just for the sake of destruction is actually a sinful act.  It's the same a suicide.  It destroys God's creation and we are not allowed to do that!

For example....We do not have the right to destroy someone physically and we do not have the right to destroy a person mentally or emotionally.  God is not about destruction!

So....what will he say on the day of judgement when we stand before him and he asks..."What did you do with the talents I gave you?"

Let's suppose some talented young man gives this answer....."Well, God....it's like this.  I know you gave me a singing talent but my wife wasn't on board with that.  She didn't like me in the spotlight and well...she wanted a more normal life.  I tried talking with her but it escalated to arguments and finally she said she would divorce me if I didn't get a normal job.  And you know....you said that you hated divorce, so I quit my pursuit and love of music and I got a job so I could save my marriage."

Let's look at scripture for this one.  In Matthew 25: 14-30 Jesus told a parable about three men whose master gave them talents (money) before he left on a journey.  Two men did their best to increase the money.  The third man wasn't a bad man - he was a frightened man.  He knew the owner was hard to deal with and he was afraid that if he tried to increase the money and instead lost it that the owner would be angry.  So...he took the money and hid it in the ground.  In verse 26 Jesus showed no compassion for this man. 

*Remember parables are just stories Jesus made up to prove his points and to share his understanding of God's laws.

In verse 26- 30  Jesus was incredibly hard on this man.  "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant!...Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents....And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Whoa!  That's really harsh.  Jesus is not compassionate with people who destroy the talents he has entrusted to them.  That poses an important question for victims of abuse, victims of mental stress and victims of past experiences.  If God has placed certain talents within you, which is more important....to stay in a destructive situation or to get out where you can actually promote your God given talents?

Do you have a friend that constantly puts you down and makes you feel so defeated that you wouldn't dare share your talents with your Sunday school class?

Do you have a pastor who wouldn't let God share a testimony in the pulpit unless he presented references and went through a vetting process?  You feel like you have a talent but wouldn't dare offer it to your pastor.

Do you have a God given talent that you want to pursue but your spouse keeps your self-esteem so low there's no way you would ever cross them to take a stand for truth?

Does your job provide a great salary but limits your ability to pursue your talents?

Why are you so afraid of leaving those situations in pursuit of God's will for your life?  Will you be punished at the judgement for turning away from or hiding the talents God has given you?

While we are trying to get along with our dear Christian friends, trying to have Godly homes and trying to get closer to God.....it's important that we are all aware that God expects you to use your talent!  If you don't there are grave consequences.  Remember how he cursed the fig tree because it didn't bear fruit?  Remember what he said in Mark 9:43-48?  That's the  - if your hand (foot or eye) causes you to sin, cut it off scripture. 

God has a purpose for your life!  God gave you talents that are different from everyone else in the world.  God demands that you protect and promote those talents.  God must come first!  In Matthew 10:37 Jesus said, "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." 

In other words....nothing in this world should come between you and God.  And....nothing in this world should keep you from promoting the talents God has given you.  Every Christian should be aware that the destruction of your talents is not right.  We must all work together to assure that every individual within the body is doing what God created him/her to do.

God loves you,

Debbie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

John Peter Muhlenberg

Brought to you by American Minute


"In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight."

Thus ended the sermon of 30-year-old pastor John Peter Muhlenberg as he removed his clerical robes to reveal a uniform in the Continental Army.

After church, 300 men of his congregation rode off with him to join General Washington's 8th Virginia regiment.

Born OCTOBER 1, 1746, John Peter Muhlenberg died the same day in 1807.

After hearing Patrick Henry speak the famous words, "give me liberty or give me death," John Peter Muhlenberg approached General Washington and enlisted.

Promoted to Major-General, he endured the freezing winter of Valley Forge and fought at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Stonypoint and Yorktown.

John Peter Muhlenberg was elected Congressman and Senator.

John's father, Henry Muhlenberg, was a founder of the Lutheran Church in America.

John's brother, Frederick, also an ordained minister, was elected the first Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Both John and Frederick served in the first session of Congress which passed the First Amendment.

In 1889, Pennsylvania placed a statue of John Peter Muhlenberg in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall.


It's time to talk about the fact that the best of this country came from devoted Christian backgrounds.  We would not have the freedoms or the advances in this country without the great men who lived in the honor of Christianity.  To deny that those men contributed so deeply to our country will strip us of our heritage and our strength!  So...teach your children about the men presented in these short history lessons. 

I hope you choose to sit with your children at supper and discuss these lessons.  Here's a little more information I found on this great man.


"Brethren, we came to this county to practice our religious liberties, and if we don't get involved, we're going to lose them." John Peter Muhlenberg 1777  (Good advice for today)


The Black Robe Regiment arose from the pulpits across the colonies during the Revolutionary War. The movement had its beginnings with Reverend Peter Muhlenberg in 1776 concluding his Sunday sermon declaring "In the language of the holy writ, there was a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time is now coming!" Muhlenberg then removed his black robe reveling a full military uniform. Marching to the rear of his church he declared "Who among you is with me? On that day 300 men from his congregation stood up and joined Muhlenberg in the fight for liberty.


Dear God, please help me to have the same courage as our forefathers!

God loves you,

Debbie

America - a confusing place for our youth

Wisdom is the merging of all thought and the ability to discern the nuggets of truth in that thought.

America has always stood for the freedom of the individual.  This is a good thing.

America promotes education and information.  This too is a good thing.

America stands for free speech and freedom of thought and freedom of religion.....but for how long?

I've thought about this post for two days now.  Those of you who can follow logical reasoning and proper transference of information won't have a problem with my point.  Those who are incapable of seeing all sides or judging a situation based on "all" facts will probably give me grief about this post. 

I just don't understand how "supposedly" intelligent people can tell lies with a straight face.  To me, a lie is not only misrepresenting the truth - but it's also when you refuse to look at "all" the facts or truths.  Lying also applies to a person who does the same thing you are doing but will twist it to make you look like you are in the wrong while their improper actions are somehow void of wrongdoing. 

This last week-end we had a horrible tragedy.  A deranged man walked into a crowd of innocent people and took lives.  There is no punishment too awful for this man.  When I read about the victims - especially the nine year old girl - I cried and then I was enraged!  This is a horrible act and we should find a way to stop this kind of insanity.

BUT....HOLD ON LIBERALS AND GOVERNMENT!  It's impossible to legislate good/honorable/productive/proper behavior!  Trying to legislate good behavior is like putting a band-aid on a man who's leg was cut off.  He's bleeding to death and you stick a band-aid on the side of his leg, smile and walk away proudly announcing - "I fixed the problem with my band-aid".  NO - idiot! You didn't fix the problem you just like to brag and think you did.

Legislation is not the problem.  We are already legislated to death.  Here's the real problem....

1.  For years lawmakers and businessmen and psychiatrists have told the American public that violent movies, violent games and violent - raging - music can't be held accountable for "weak" people who may be affected by the Art.

If you are going to believe that nonsense (I have a lot of proof against this) - then someone verbally raging against a politician or anyone else - can't be held accountable for the action of the crazy.  If violent movies, violent games and violent music can't control a man's mind - what his neighbor or the tea party or a telelvision commentator says won't change his mind either.

2.  For years psychologist have told the American public that bad parenting, non-involved parenting and dysfunctional homes can't be held accountable for the actions of children within those homes.

If parents who know what's going on with their children can't be held accountable - why would it matter what some television commentator says?

3.  For years medical know-it-alls have told us that marijuana doesn't lead to hard drugs and doesn't impair a person's mental or emotional state of mind. 

Why then are these same people so concerned about drinking and pregnancy, obesity, smoking, over the counter medications, etc?  I found a new study they are doing that suggests chemicals in our water, our foods and our polluted air are causing all types of problems - including mental illness.  If these things can affect us - why not marijuana?

4.  For years the American public has been told that it doesn't matter what happens in public schools.  Bullying will make your child tough.  Reading unacceptable material will open your child's world.  Teaching them about different lifestyles will help them to be tolerant.  And yet....as every year passes our children become more confused about their world and about their own individuality. 

If our children spend 70% of their time at school during any one week - why is there no accountability for what they are being taught.  Why doesn't the school curriculum share some of the blame.

4.  If you look back in history, there have been some awful times for this country.  Times when people had to face horrible dangers on a daily basis.  The problem for me is that if you take an "honest" look at history - you will discover six important truths.

         A.  When God is a central part of a society, individual freedom is stronger and it is accompanied by a better way of life.
         B.  Like Back to the Future Part II, when evil is allowed unlimited freedom - society suffers and individual freedom is almost non-existent.  (Socialist - Hitler times)
        C.  When a country refuses to define what they stand for, they open the door for evil to rise to the top and conquer.  Evil and Good can NOT co-exist. 
        D.  There is always a fight between good and evil.  If you try to make evil good and accept evil unconditionally - evil will conquer!  It's their nature and it will happen.  The only way to stop it is to define and punish evil.
        E.  The heart of a good man can never be turned by evil.  The heart of an evil man has only one hope - God.  Evil never gives up control easily.  It will take more than normal teaching or simple legislation to change an evil heart.
       F.  You can't regulate or legislate good.  Your only hope is to "grow" good men and women.  Governments can only reward good behavior and punish bad.  They can't change the hearts of men.


Having said all that, this discussion about who said what and caused some crazy lunatic to pick up a gun becomes the rantings of idiots who don't understand human nature or sociology.

When someone takes the time to look at the gunman's life, you will find that his environment and habits had a lot to do with this senseless act.  If his parents didn't take the time to show him how to properly deal with his anger - that's a huge part of why he felt it was necessary to pick up a gun.  If his parents didn't work to build his self-esteem - that's a huge part of why he felt a need to be noted even if it was for an evil act.  If his parents didn't show him "the way to a good life" (yet he watches others obtaining a good life)  his frustration at not knowing how to achieve it would cause him to act in a violent way.  If he took drugs or was a regular user of marijuana his brain would not be able to process information properly.  If he was a regular listener of raging music (dare I call it music) or watched horror films - he would see their solutions to life as his own.

The truth is this.....

Your brain is a delicate organ.  It must be protected.  It must also be stimulated with "good" information or it can become depressed and dysfunctional.  It needs to be stimulated by soothing...good...input.  It needs to have logical information that doesn't disappoint.  It needs to have in place all the "necessary" components for a healthy life as laid out by Maslow.  And....you must be taught how to be a responsible person and that your success in life will be determined by the decisions you make.

I think the Bible said it best.  Philippians 4 is a great study of Peace in life.  But, for now, look at the great teaching in Philippians 4:8-9.

"Finally, bothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."

That kind of says it all doesn't it.  If our government would spend more time promoting the Bible and Christian teachings - America would grow generations who would naturally come to be a society of peace.  While I hate the thought of book burnings or bans on movies or music - I do think parents should be taught that these things will hurt your child.  As responsible parents begin to refuse to purchase those items and also begin to properly administer discipline (per my book Discipline Exposed) the money for those items will diminish and the greed of producers will send them running to find "inspiring" entertainment.

Not buying it?  Look again at history.  From the late 1800's until the mid 60's there were more peaceful towns and more good people than ever before.  Why?  The great revivals.  People were concentrating on living a godly life of sacrifice.  And don't try to tell me they don't exist!  I lived in several of those small towns and Andy Griffith's Mayberry did exist! 

When new parenting philosophies began to emerge (early 50's) and children were no longer required to have boundaries - things began to change.  Add to the spoiled brat era - the fact that families became more concerned about money and possessions and less concerned about living a good life.  At that point we had spoiled brats who couldn't accept the word "no" - and who had access to even more money.  Soon they saw money as a barrier to family relationships so they rebelled.  The  hippies were born.  Their drugs soon moved their generation from peaceful nonsence to frustration, anger and rage.  Parents were angry at their children and those children hated their parents.  Parents decided that their lives were ruined and they fell into the same practices of drugs and alcohol that their children were experiencing. 

Now begins the legacy of generations that have no connection to good examples of honorable, decent lives committed to living the good life.  Even if these bratty children wanted to return to the good life - their parents don't have the information needed to get them there.

Enter the arts and movie industry who was glad to cater to a raging generation as long as they could depleate them of their money.  It didn't matter that they were helping to create a generation that felt anger, bulling, sex and extreme violence was simply a way of life - as long as the money continued to flow - the mental health of young children didn't matter.  Now we have terror in our schools and on public streets.  We have young children losing their talents, their abilities and the hope of a better future - all because we have allowed evil to rise to the top and conquer.  (Does anyone else despise reality shows that highlight ignorant, violent, low class behavior?)

It took several generations to turn out men like the mass murderers we have today.  It did not come from the recent resurgence of men and women who want to return this country to it's Godly peaceful roots.  Evil didn't just happen because a few good men voiced their distaste for the men and women who promote evil.  It took a long time for this evil to rise and it will take a long time for dedicated honorable people to "grow" new generations of hope and peace.

I do hope others will also rise to the top and begin the conversation about "training" our generation and the next on how to have a good life.  That's why I offer so many classes.  I will come to your church or organization and train you and your people on the specifics of family dynamics.  Don't be fooled into accepting the current way of life.  There are answers!  You and your family can live a better life filled with hope and peace.

God loves you,

Debbie



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Monday, January 10, 2011

George Whitefield & Ben Franklin

Brought to you by American Minute

Seven times he preached in America to crowds of 25,000, spreading the Great Awakening Revival, which helped unite the Colonies prior to the Revolution.


Ben Franklin wrote in his Autobiography:

"He preached one evening from the top of the Court-house steps...Streets were filled with his hearers...

I had the curiosity to learn how far he could be heard by retiring backwards down the street...and found his voice distinct till I came near Front-street."

Franklin was describing George Whitefield, who died SEPTEMBER 30, 1770.

Franklin wrote of George Whitefield:

"Multitudes of all denominations attended his sermons...It was wonderful to see."

Ben Franklin printed George Whitefield's sermons and financed construction of the largest building in Philadelphia for his meetings, which later became the first building of the University of Pennsylvania.

Franklin wrote to George Whitefield:

"I sometimes wish you and I were jointly employed by the Crown to settle a colony on the Ohio...a strong body of religious and industrious people!...

Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could, by such a colony, show them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see in our Indian traders?"

This shows the evangelical desire of Ben Franklin.  How cool is that?

God loves you,

Debbie

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The deepest love - Philippians 1:15-18

The Andy Griffith Show was and still is one of my very favorite shows.  It was great fun but it was also a great study of Biblical principles.  In fact, Joey Fann and Brad Grasham developed a Bible class, "Finding the Way Back to Mayberry," using 12 episodes from The Andy Griffith Show as parables; referring to Matthew 13:34 as the key to the lesson series' purpose and success:  "All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable."  The first class debuted in June of 1998 at the Twickenham Church of Christ in Huntsville, Alabama and was facilitated by Fann and Grasham.

When George Lindsay, who played Goober in the series, was asked what he thought of the idea using the series for a Bible class, he replied, "One of the incredible things about every single episode is that Andy insisted each show have a moral point, something good, lofty and moral.  It's a shame current shows on TV don't adopt that high road."

What does this have to do with our study of Philippians?

While reading the notes on verses 15-18 the commentator said, "Paul knew he was facing a great ordeal, but took great pains not to alarm his friends.  His all-consuming concern was for the advancement of the gospel."

When I read that, I thought of the way Andy always took great care to protect the self-esteem and integrity of the people of Mayberry - especially Barney. 

Barney was like the Donald Duck of Mayberry.  He always said and did the wrong thing, always had his foot in his mouth and always jumped to the wrong conclusion.  Yet, Barney had a good heart and Andy knew that.  Andy was the quiet loving friend who was secure enough to "silently" protect his friend's honor.  He didn't go behind his back to make sure everyone else knew that he was the real hero.  Instead, he seemed to consider it an honor to promote his friend.

Philippians 1:15-18

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.  The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.  But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this I rejoice.

Like Paul, on the television show Andy's character was defined by one overall goal.  He was not selfish and he cared deeply for his friends.  Everything he did was measured by that definition.  It wasn't important who received the praise - what was important was that his friends were loved and cared for.

Paul also had a deep love for his followers.  He knew that trouble and sorrow was in the future.  He understood the danger for anyone that choose Christ over the Roman Empire.  He knew that he - and his friends - would suffer just like Christ has suffered.  His concern was not for his own feelings or even for his own reputation.  His concern was for his friends, followers and the great commission.  His concern wasn't for some type of earthly recognition but rather the heavenly vision and the message of Christ.  Paul defined his life as "an existence only to help forward the cause of Christ."

Today as I read this scripture, I thought about my own family and friends.  Do I preach and teach out of love and goodwill or are my actions self serving?  Do I live a life that points others to Christ or do others look at my life and lose their desire to be a Christian?  Am I willing to sacrifice my life, my reputation, my desires and my feelings so that others may find Christ?  Do I rejoice when Christ is elevated even if I am pushed to the side?

Did you know that when a palace guard was assigned to guard Paul, he was chained together with Paul?  This made a captive audience for the gospel.  Many guards had to listen to Paul teach about Christ.  To combat this, some people tried to discredit Paul's influence.  While the church in Rome was becoming more confident about a trial, Paul was even more dedicated to follow his course of promoting Jesus Christ. 

In this scripture Paul lifts the bar a little higher for every follower of Christ.  Paul asks you to show the deepest love you can for your friends and for Christ.  He asks us to be aware that while our work for Christ is important - we must be concerned about the faith and feelings of those we influence.  We also must be more concerned about the "mission" of Christ rather than our participation in that mission.  In other words we should be willing to rejoice with others about their work as well as promoting our own work. 

The last thing Paul encourages us to do is probably the hardest.  He was pleased with his current condition.  He rejoiced that the gospel was being preached.  He was content.  To support this....later in Philippians 4:12 he states.... "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

God loves you,

Debbie