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Monday, May 23, 2011

Biblical chart

I called my Dad tonight about a little problem I had.  He sent me something I've never seen before.  It was so good that I couldn't resist sharing it with all of you.  I hope you will print this out and put it on your fridge.  If for some reason you can't copy it off this blog....write me and I'll send it to you in an e-mail.



You say: "It's impossible"
God says:  All things are possible (Luke 18:27)
You say: "I'm too tired"
God says:  I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says:  I love you (John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )
You say: "I can't go on"
God says:  My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says:  I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
You say: "I can't do it"
God says:  You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)
You say: "I'm not able"
God says:  I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: "It's not worth it"
God says:  It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )
You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: "I can't manage"
God says:  I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)
You say:"I'm afraid"
God says:  I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)
You say:"I'm always worried and Frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)
You say:"I'm not smart enough"
God says:  I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say:"I feel all alone"
God says:  I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

Thanks Dad....I really needed this today!

God Loves You,


Singing in the Night - Philippians 1:19-26

Do you ever wonder how some folks can keep their spirits high even during dire circumstances? matter how strong a Christian - everyone has a breaking point.  There will be times when even the strongest Christian will cry out to God in desperation, despair or even depression.

The miracle of the Christian faith however, is when we are privileged to watch precious saints stand in some kind of stream from Heaven and endure Satanic attacks with unbelievable grace and joy.  I hate to admit it but I'm not always one of those people.  I'm very optimistic and I diligently look for positive ways to view my circumstances.  Yet when I'm in pain and overwhelmed - I often let God know about it!  I'm not always quiet and I'm certainly not using grace to it's fullest advantage?!?

In Philippians 1:19-26, I believe there's a clue as to how to handle life's disappointments.  It's such an important passage, I'll include it here for you.  I'll begin with the last sentence in verse 18.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,  (19) for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.  I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.   For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

Paul had learned the secret.  Nothing on this earth matters when compared to being with Jesus.  If you step back from all your wants and desires....all your needs....Step back from everything on this earth and simply look into the face of Jesus - Everything becomes clear.  If you are a Christian and you know that you will "graduate" into the arms of Jesus when you die - then life and everything here is unimportant.  Once you wrap your mind around the reality of Heaven and all it offers, holding on to earth feels ridiculous.  Fighting to have that relationship, competing to own that possession or even worrying over looks, fame, finances - it all reminds you of little "toys".  You begin to feel like a mature adult with no desire to cry over some worthless McDonald's happy meal toy.  After all, you are holding Heaven and all it's unimaginable joy and wealth.  Earth looks small, restrictive and completely unimportant.  Compared to Heaven earth is but a pebble in your shoe. 

And yet our life here is important.  What we do here can make a difference.  God insists that we "occupy" until he comes.  He insists that we go on about our daily work and that we have an impact on others so that our work and our life will point them to Heaven.  So...we can't just sit on a rooftop and wait for him.  We must be about our father's work.  We must continue.

In this passage of Philippians Paul argues with himself about desperately wanting to be with Jesus.  Finally going home represents the greatest joy of all.  Yet, he also realizes that he has "fruitful labor" to accomplish.  For that reason he must continue to work and do all that Jesus wants him to do.

I'm comforted when I look at this life the same way I viewed my education.  Elementary school was preparation for High school.  High school prepared me for college.  It wasn't until I left college that I felt my life really began.  The 80 or 90 years I have on this planet is merely education - a preparation for Heaven.  I'm preparing the only thing that will go with me into the next life --my soul and my brain.  Who I become and what I believe about life and God will follow me into Heaven.  It's in Heaven that the party and real life actually begins!

No matter what you are going through, I hope today you can find a place alone with God and get into the stream from Heaven that helps you to see only the "Godly" importance of your being.  Acquiring things, holding on to fame or accomplishments, being popular or even pushing ahead at work.....all these issues are only important in the framework of doing what God has called you to do.  If you are a Christian and everything you are and everything you have were to disappear tomorrow - it's not really important.  It's only a toy that amuses here on earth but dissipates when we cross over. 

Knowing Jesus Christ and understanding the Heavenly vision - is the truth that will keep you singing through the night.  It is the only truth that can set you free from every pain and sorrow of this world.

Last night my heart was heavy with burdens that seemed to crush me.  I sat in my big fluffy living room chair and cried.  I asked God to wrap his arms around me and to solve the problems I faced.  It took a while, but gently and patiently God led me to the truth.  "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."  Nothing here on earth can take away my real treasures.  Nothing here can take away the fact that when God calls my name and decides it's time for me to go home....I win.  I get it all!  I will live forever in paradise with Jesus Christ.  I hope you too will accept him as your best friend.  I hope when the time comes...we both will sit as his feet - big smiles on our face - never once thinking about the swirling problems of earth.

God loves you,


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prayer works

I've been praying with several people about some problems they had.  I'm excited to hear that those problems are being resolved.  I firmly believe that God answers prayers.  Sometimes his answer is "wait" and sometimes he answers - "no".   But...I'm always thrilled when he answers with a yes. 

A few days ago I took the time to click over to my favorite website.  I checked on  Last year Today's Christian Woman magazine (top seller in the industry) became a digital magazine.  It's a wonderful site and I do hope that you will join.  The articles are fabulous and there are a lot of wonderful Bible studies and other resources that you can purchase, download and print up to a thousand copies for your Sunday school or other study groups.  Please check it out...I know you will love it.

Anyway....I clicked over to the editors blog to see if my friend Ginger had written anything.  Her article Little surprises  was about God answering a quickly whispered insignificant prayer.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I thought back to the first time God had ever answered a prayer for me.  

I hope you will enjoy going down memory lane with me.  Here's my comment to Ginger's article.

Your article maybe cry! Thank you so much for writing about this.

It made me cry because it reminded me of the very first time God answered a prayer - just for me. I was about7 years old, just beginning my walk with God and trying to be the "good" girl that Sunday school lessons promoted.

It was a long time ago when as an elementary student I sat in a wooden desk with hands folded while a very strict teacher tapped a long thin stick on her desk. It was near the end of school, a very hot day with absolutely no breeze flowing through tilted windows. Chalk squeaked across the blackboard and left dots of dust on the floor.  Our books smelled musty and the #2 pencil I held seemed to weigh two pounds.

I wiped my sweaty hands on my new pink dress, stared at the problem on the board and wished there was something fun to speed up the afternoon. The second hand on the massive black and while circular clock seemed to drag as if time actually wanted to stand still.  Tick, tock, tick, tock.  It felt as though the day would never end. 

I remembered my Sunday School teacher telling me that God cares.  She had bounced on her high heels and squealed with excitement.  "God loves you and wants to be there for you.  You are his child."  I wondered if he really cared about musty books and scowling teachers.  I squinted out the window and decided it was time to find out.  I took a split second to bow my head, "God if you are really there, please let something fun happen."

Within minutes the face of that harsh teacher smiled. She tapped her stick on her desk and announced. "Children. You have been so good today, I have a special surprise. I've brought a piece of bazooka gum for each of you. After you open it, save the paper. On your way out of the room you must throw the gum away. I won't tolerate anyone misusing this privilege."

For the next 20 minutes I happily chewed my bubblegum. I remember looking out the window at the blue sky and trying to wink like my mother often did. I wanted God to know that he was now my friend and that I was convinced he would always listen to my prayers.

Insignificant...not at all. The point was not the simplistic prayer or the fact that the world was filled with bigger needs than a 20 minute escape from boredom.  The point was that God listens to all prayers....even the ones that are simple triggers to let us know that he's watching, listening and always there. God listens to the children and the aged, the pastors and the businessman. He listens to the wealthy and the poor, the hidden and those with fame. God listens!

Prayer works!  It's a fact.  Whenever we bow our heads in honest appeal - God hears us.  53 years later I can honestly say, God has listened to every prayer and has been the best friend I could have ever had! :)

No matter what you are matter how hard the rough the road scary the problem....give God a try.  I can promise you that He will listen.  I hope that you will make prayer a daily experience for your entire family.  Teach your children to pray.  Pray with your husband.  Pray with your friends.  Even if your circumstances never change - pray and I promise you that God will let you know that he is there.

God loves you,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lincoln - the Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation brought to you by American Minute

The first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
Just 70 miles from Washington, DC, the Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862.

It was the single bloodiest day in the Civil War with the North and the South both losing over 10,000 men.

This costly battle convinced Britain and France not to recognize the Confederacy.

A week later, President Lincoln announced he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1.

Three weeks after the battle, on OCTOBER 6, 1862, President Lincoln met with Eliza Gurney and three other Quakers, saying:

"We are indeed going through a great trial...In the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly we all are, to work out His great purposes..."

Lincoln continued:

"But if, after endeavoring to do my best in the light which He affords me, I find my efforts fail, I must believe that for some purpose unknown to me, He wills it...

If I had been allowed my way, this war would have ended...But we find it still continues...We must believe that He permits it for some wise purpose of His own."

Lincoln concluded:

"We cannot but believe that He who made the world still governs it."

I love the way our forefathers recognized the purpose and plan of God.  I also am amazed at how they fully understood that humans are not always able to comprehend the plan of God.  I struggle with that on a daily basis.  I am always wondering how my current circumstances fit with the plan and purpose of God.  Even as I struggle with his will, I do not allow my simple human spirit and the inability of my understanding  - to ever demote God because I can't understand him.  Instead I choose to trust Him....confident that He has my best interest and the best interest of the world in mind.
My mother wrote a song about this very problem.  Her CD and sheet music are now being offered on my store.  You can find I Don't Need to Understand at My Store
The first verse goes like this...."Sunshine comes and sunshine goes, then shadows linger;  Darkness fills the night with mystery and care.  But within my heart a gentle voice reminds me, “Fear no evil,” Jesus said, “for I’ll be there.”
The chorus affirms President Lincoln's thoughts.  "I don’t need to understand, I just need to hold his hand.
I don’t need to ever ask the reason why.  For I know He’ll make a way thru the night and thru the day;
I don’t need to understand, I just need to hold His hand."

God loves you,


Mr. President, Why do you hate me?

The other day I was watching an insignificant TV show where a small child looked up at his parents and just blurted out the truth.  He "innocently" asked questions about the 800 pound gorilla in the room that everyone else was avoiding.  For the next few days I couldn't help but imagine what I would say to Mr. Obama if we ever met - or if I knew he was going to read something I wrote.  Here's what I would say. 

Debbie Jansen - about age five
Dear Mr. Obama,

I don't know what I did to cause it, but I find myself constantly asking the question...."why do you hate me?" 

We have never met so I'm pretty sure it couldn't be something that I've said.  Maybe you've read my blog and you don't think I'm being respectful because I won't call you "President Obama".  Let me assure you that it's just a tiny little protest against the way you are hurting me.  It's a tiny little personal protest because the pain you have caused me makes me feel that you are "not" my president.  You couldn't hurt me as you have and still be my president.   If I was ever on television or a radio show, I would force myself to do the right thing, observe protocol and respect others that believe in you.  In that situation I would certainly call you "President Obama".  I hope that clears things up.  Is that why you hate me?

Maybe you are worried that I'm so upset about what you've done to my country that maybe I would be mean to you if we met.  Maybe you think that I would try to cause some harm to you physically.  Let me assure you that if I vacationed in Washington and...
I went walking early in the morning and
if you were also walking around the gates of your home and
you glanced my way and waved...I would not yell at you or try to hurt you in any way. 
I wouldn't run up to you and ask for your autograph because...well, because you are trying to take all of my freedoms away - but I wouldn't yell at you.  So I'm wondering...why do you want to hurt me?  Why do you hate me?

Maybe you are worried that if you could get away from your bodyguards to take a quiet walk and that if you tripped and broke your ankle and no one else was around but me,
Maybe you think I wouldn't help you.   I would you know!  Of course I would.  I'm a Christian and even when I don't like the policies of another person - I wouldn't hurt them.  I would defend myself from their attacks - but I wouldn't hurt them.  If I stood over you and you were physically in trouble, I would be kind.  I would do whatever I needed to do to get you help.  I would even put my arm around you, let you lean on me and I would bear your weight until we could hobble back to your home.  So, I'm wondering.  Why do you hate me?  Why do you want to do me harm?  If I was hurt - if I had the broken ankle - would you help me?

I understand that your parents had issues and that those issues shaped your life.  I understand how parents can influence a child and change their perspective on other people. were able to move beyond the middle class stigma.  You obtained large amounts of money and you live a mega rich lifestyle.  You have every convenience you need.  All your wants and desires are being met.  You have all kinds of people seeing to your every wish.  In fact, you have all the things you cite "the rich" for having.  You are one of them. still feel compelled to take away my freedoms.  Why do you feel you need to take my money, my child, my possessions?  Why do you hate me so much that you feel you need to take from my life in order to make your own life important.  Maybe if you come to my home and see the leaking roof and the torn couches.  Maybe if you watch me work 12 hours a day hoping that my writing will encourage others.  Maybe if you see my exhausted husband worry about making our mortgage payment.....maybe then you wouldn't hate us so much.  Maybe then you would feel blessed and you wouldn't want to interfere and hurt us like you have.  Maybe then you would have compassion. 

Maybe you hate me because you think too much about philosophies and concepts. 
Maybe if you came to my house and overlooked the comforts we don't have. 
Maybe if you petted my dog and looked at pictures of my children.
Maybe if you took the time to find out that I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't cuss, I've never been arrested and I do everything possible to be a credit to this country - maybe then you would respect me enough not to hate me.  Maybe then you would want to keep my personal freedoms in tack.

Do you hate me because I try to shine a light on inconsistencies?  Is it because I believe in the freedoms this country has always fought for and the fact that Everyone - absolutely everyone should be allowed those freedoms.  Maybe it's because I believe that your freedom stops where mine begins.  Maybe it's because I think everyone - including politicians - should follow our rules and laws.  Maybe it's because I think everyone has a voice and the right to make their opinions known.  Is that why you hate me?

Maybe Mr. President....maybe if you put all the rhetoric aside and allowed me and Ron to take your hands, bow our heads and pray for America....maybe then you wouldn't hate me so much.  Or is it my religion?  Maybe you don't like me because of my religion.  How can that be?  After all, you say you are a Christian.  Are you a Christian Mr. President? 

Maybe if I showed you pictures of all the times I've cried for America. 
Maybe if I showed you pictures of all the times I've put my head on my Bible and sobbed for America.
Maybe if I showed you pictures of all the times I've talked with sweet little old ladies and out of work men and tired frustrated pastors and scared young adults....Maybe if I could show you how many people you are hurting - maybe then you wouldn't hate normal conservative hard working people like me.  Maybe you just need to spend more time with us and see that we are the real backbone of this country.  Maybe once you understand that if you restrict or hurt us - the country will die and take you down with her.  Maybe you just don't want to face that fact.  Is that why you hate me?  

Like I said, maybe it is a faith thing.  Some people don't live their faith. For some people it's a way to win an argument.  For me, my faith is everything.  Maybe that's why you hate me.  Maybe it makes you nervous because I pray so much or I don't believe in murder or stealing or lying.  Maybe it's because I want people to be responsible for their own actions.  Maybe it's because I want people to be smart and logical.  Maybe it's because I think I have the right to pray or to go to church on Sunday.  Maybe you think I would be less of a threat if I wore a burka or was an atheist.  Maybe you hate me because I want the liberal, Muslim, homosexual or atheist to give me the same respect and tolerance I'm expected to give to them.  Does that make me a radical?  Is that why you hate me?

I've racked my brain trying to figure out why you think you have the right to hate me and more importantly to make laws that hurt me.  Why do you think you have the right to take away my freedoms?  Have I ever done anything to hurt this country or to hurt you?  Why do you hate me?

Why do you target my children - our children?  Why do you hate me and my friends so much that you just don't care how we feel.  What did we do that was so wrong?  Are our bodies so offensive to Michele that she thinks she has to rid this country of everyone that doesn't have a perfect model body?  Maybe you both just don't like anyone that's not like you.  Maybe you think punishing anyone that doesn't agree with you is okay.  Maybe you think that if you could clone you and Michelle and have nothing in this country except Obama people - then the world would be at peace.  Boring! that what you want?  Is that why you hate me?

Why do you hate me so much that you want to take away my parenting abilities?  Do you really believe that I'm so stupid that I can't care for my own child?  Do you honestly believe that the only way to grow healthy, wise, mature adults is for you and the government to take over parenting?  To indoctrinate my child?  In effect that means you hate my life so much that you can't bear to know I'm influencing my children.  Is that why you hate me so much?

Do you hate me because I want to preserve goodness?  There are some philosophies and habits that will destroy the very foundation and lives of the people that live in this country.  Evil must conquer.  That's it's only purpose.  If we allow evil a foothold, we will be conquered.  Do you hate me because I want to fight against evil?
Please Mr. Obama.  Please stop hating me.  I don't hate you.  I disagree with the very core of your philosophy.  I believe in the founding fathers and their dreams for this country.  I believe that it's only through understanding the faith that this country was built on that we will achieve true peace and harmony.  I believe that all hate should stop but that we have to be responsible for our actions.  That means that some actions are wrong and must be stopped because they will destroy freedom.  That means that we must have boundaries and "logical compassionate, responsible" laws.  That means that no one - not even a judge  - has the right to hate or show partiality to even the smallest of God's creatures.  While my beliefs seem to be in direct conflict with yours, I don't hate you.  I don't wish you any harm and I don't want to take away your freedoms or your money. 

So for the life of me, I can't figure out why you hate me?

Are you wondering the same thing? 

God loves you,


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Isn't it harsh to talk about sin?

Dear Debbie,

I really love reading your posts.  You do a great job of explaining the tough issues especially about family matters.  I am wondering about your last post.  Isn't it kind of harsh?  I don't think my pastor wants fame.  It's true that he's never been in my home, but I get the impression that he does care about the people he preaches to......  Could you also explain why you spend so much time discussing politics and church when your blog is called Family tracks.      -J

Dear J

Thanks for writing and giving me permission to answer your questions publicly.

Of course there are thousands of wonderful pastors who do care about the people they serve.  You can never lump everyone into the same pot.  But, there are a few facts we must consider. 

First of all, sin is harsh.  There's just no way around the fact that when people engage in sin - life will be harsh.  I have a choice.  I can do the popular politically correct thing and simply look the other way - or I can love my readers enough to be honest about what I see. 

I spend a lot of time fasting and praying for my family, my friends, my readers and the world.  I hate sin.  I hate the destruction it causes and the way it changes the hopes and dreams of those who must suffer through it.  I know that the best thing I can do for those I love is to be honest and confront sin. 

Is it more loving to say nothing and let my readers march to judgement with hidden sin - or - tell the truth, help my readers get rid of sin and then rejoice with them when we all make heaven?

Sin is a lot like the Abraham Lincoln quote. "How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?  Four.  Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."  How true.  Many contemporary Christians want to rename sins.  They think if they find a way to "accept" or "justify" sin that God will go along with them. 

I have a healthy respect for the power of God.  I understand that GOD is the final word.  It really doesn't matter what I think.  I'm not going to judge people.  The only voice that really matters in all this is the voice of God.  The only opinion that really matters is God's. 

No one has God's permission to change the rules.  There is nothing in the Bible that even hints that we have the right to change his word in order to please others.  In fact, there are many scriptures that warn against doing just that!

Let me restructure yesterday's example.  Let's suppose you die and you find yourself standing before God.  He begins to ask questions about your life.  Some of it is good but then he comes to one of the major sins.  He asks..."You never repented over this sin.  In fact, you told others that you didn't believe a loving God would require you to rid your life of this sin.  I gave you over 15 scriptures including 4 that said "Thou shalt not" and you still continued in the sin.  What part of no didn't you understand?"

I don't believe at that point that you will stiffen your shoulders and argue with the Almighty All powerful God.  Will you have the courage to say, "Well excuse me.  I just couldn't believe that you would get yourself in a snit over that.  After all, you tell us to be compassionate.  Where is your compassion?  My pastor didn't tell me I had to be so stiff.  My friends didn't encourage me to stop - why should you?  I thought you said you loved me.  Why would you take this fun thing away from me?  I didn't hurt anyone with it - well, not anyone that was important.  You're just being mean."

Can you imagine anyone saying that to God?  That brings us back to what I've said many times before.  God made us.  He knows how our bodies, minds and hearts work.  He knows what will give us a great life and what will not.  He is also a holy and righteous God.  There are some absolutes that he can not accept.  He will never be okay with sin!  It is our job to learn about his character, his demands and his love.  Once we get in line with his plan for our lives...we find out that it is a thousand times more satisfying than anything we might choose to hang on to. 

Have you ever seen a spoiled child making a huge fuss and hanging on to a broken piece of candy that he found in the dirt?  "Mine, mine, mine.  This is mine and you can't have it."  The adult is trying to calm the child down and explain if he will throw away the broken dirt laden piece of candy, he can choose a brand new piece from a pile of new lollipops.  The child refuses to listen and continues to fuss and scream. 

Another child who has been taught some discipline and logic, listens to her mother, relinquishes her candy and marches into the store to pick out something wonderful.

That's the scene I imagine when I hear so-called Christians fighting for their right to lie or steal or have an affair or hurt the generation that preceded them.  Christians are to be mature, logical, kind and understanding.  We are to follow God's rules, study his word, live a sin free life and be prepared to move into eternity at any moment. 

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

While this verse begins with a directive for husbands, it also goes on to confirm what many other verses teach - Jesus loved the church (that's all of us) and he loved us enough to die for us.  But....he wants us to be sanctified, clean and to present ourselves to him without any blemishes.  No spots, no wrinkles or anything that might be displeasing to a holy God.
That means that we are charged with seeking out and destroying the sin that may be in our own lives.  Yes, J - that's often harsh.  That means that we look at ourselves and are willing to say, "You know, I better not do that anymore.  That might not be where God wants to take me. 
Churches are changing.  Like a huge wave crossing this country, churches have the idea that bigger is better and that being hip is best.  They have bought into the thought that if they look like the people they want to preach to, that maybe those people will feel comfortable and will accept Christ.  Unfortunately there's bad theology in these new ideas. 
Jesus Christ doesn't need your help!  He doesn't need us to change him in order for him to appeal to a sinful man.  He doesn't need a publicist or a go between.  He doesn't need your rationalization as to how to make him more pleasing.  Jesus Christ can touch anyone he chooses.  He doesn't need special music and he doesn't need to be accepted.  He doesn't need to be repackaged or redesigned.  All he needs is one willing Christian to speak up and say, "Do you know Jesus?"  He can pretty much take it from there.
Remember Saul?  Saul killed Christians. Acts Chapter 9 begins with "Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples..."  Saul worked for the Jewish High Priests and was delighted anytime he found a Christian he could kill. 
God didn't need any one's help.  God struck Saul with a light from heaven.   He fell off his horse and was immediately blinded.  God sent him to Ananias who prayed, (vs. 13-15) "God I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.  And he has come here with authority from the Chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."  But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kinds and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
Can you imagine if Ananias had said, "Well God, I think maybe if I just accept him like he is and if I eat what he eats and dress like he dresses - maybe then he won't be so angry about you."
God and Jesus didn't need Ananias's help.  They had the situation well under control.  It's always wrong and actually very sinful to rob God of his character and who He is.  When we do that we strip him down to some namby pamby grandfather without the authority to rule.
Want proof?  The Barna group says that over 76% of today's youth is leaving the church.  What reason do they give?  The church isn't representing the true nature of God.   Hum.....
As far as why I talk about politics, religion and other issues - it's because families are not islands.  You are raising adults that will be sent into the world to leave their mark.  They will face all the things we talk about on this blog.  If you don't train them to handle false teachers, to date, to vote  - to be a light to this world - they will fail the first time they meet some negative issue.  You and I need to discuss what's happening in the world so you can pass on a logical solution to your child.  You and I need to discuss issues so your family can practice and become strong influences in the future.
Hope that helps....keep the questions coming.
God loves you,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mega Church Pop Stars

Recently Ron and I visited a local church.  It was a denomination that we trusted and we hoped we would find comfort and encouragement. 

It's getting harder and harder for us to find music that fits the Christian compromise and provides some sort of inspiration to mature audiences as well as young people.  We stood and tried to smile politely while several young people who obviously had never seen a chord chart banged and screeched their guitars until the audience was battered into a ringing stupor. 

The prayer was more of a generic call to the four winds than it was a genuine conversation with a familiar God.  After a long list of announcements and a video of flashing lights that pleaded with us to attend a dinner, the pastor finally took the stage. 

He was about our age but looked as if he had been dragged into a teeny bop mall by a group of Hollywood designers.  His hair was salt and pepper but spiked high enough to make any rock star proud.  He had a tan that would make George Hamilton jealous.  He wore cowboy boots and jeans that were frayed and torn at the knees.  He wore a sports shirt - collar unbuttoned - under a suit jacket.  He proudly waved a hand that revealed a gaudy gold and diamond ring and a gold watch so big that selling it would have funded a small clinic for a week.  He jumped and jittered when he talked and tried to look hip.  He introduced his wife so she could make an announcement.  She took the stage in 4 inch heels, Tammy Faye makeup and a short skirt.  I had to look at the bulletin again to be sure I was in church and not at a seminar on how to look young even when you aren't.

Looking around the room I wondered who they were trying to appeal to.  90% of the congregation was my age, dressed in suits and sitting with their arms crossed.  Someone was filming the service so maybe, I thought, maybe he's going to show it on the local Rock and Roll station.

I did my best to get past the way he looked and moved on to what he was saying.  For 20 minutes I struggled to pay attention.  Not because I was tired or didn't want to be there, but because it was an elementary Sunday School lesson.  I dare say if anyone in the audience had attended church or Sunday school for the past 5 years - they did not need this simple sermon.  Most people were yawning or doodling or even dozing off. 

Finally he showed another video that was nothing more than a moving background with words while some deep throat narrator read the script.  I assumed this video was for people in the audience who couldn't read.  At this point I punched Ron and gave him a tsk tsk tsk for dozing off.  He rolled his eyes and whispered, "I need something stimulating to stay awake."

Finally the pastor caused both of us to resurrect.  He boldly announced that God was so impressed with a prophets dedication that he was going to accept the prophets prostitute wife as God's own bride!  That got my attention.  I scrambled to find a pen and write down the scripture reference but he didn't include that in his tirade about how God wants us all to keep coming back even when we sin and that God will always always always forgives.  "After all" he yelled, "we are all his children and he loves us so much he can't bear to turn us away."

With this proclamation Ron and I sat up straight and began shaking our heads no.  We believe that God loves to forgive us even when we fail at ridding our life of sin....but....even with God there is a limit. (Romans 1:28)  I was writing fast and furious in order to keep myself from jumping to my feet and yelling "Are you crazy?"  Obviously we didn't want that kind of scene.  This pastor was almost begging the congregants to sin and test the fact that God wasn't really about Hell but only about loving. Finally my anger turned to fear and then to compassion.  I began to cry for all those listening.  I began to wonder what kind of other lies he was telling this congregation.  I wondered how many people would be lead astray because this pastor wanted fame.

How do I know he wanted fame?  That's all most pastors talk about any more.  They don't talk about how much time they spend visiting the elderly or shut ins.  They don't talk about sitting at a young mother's kitchen table and discussing the Bible while she washes dishes or praying with those in the hospital all through the night until miraculously they recover. time for that kind of foolishness.  Pastors have laid that kind of talk down or simply delegated it to someone whose not as important as they are.  Pastors have to have time to get a tan and run 5 miles a day to stay in shape --- for who?  Pastors have to have time to meet with business people and design all sorts of programs so they can draw in the crowds. 

And who teaches and prays and makes a personal connection with the congregation?  Sometimes the staff - but more than likely that job goes one.  That single mom either has to commit to another Bible study in order to make friends or go it alone in her problems.  GET INVOLVED is the mandate.  How can we help you unless you are involved?

Once many years ago when I asked what I thought was a caring pastor to visit my dis-illusioned son he replied, "Now Debbie.  I don't have time to go out and visit with everyone that calls on me.  Tell your son to come to church and get involved.  If he's in my inner circle I'll have plenty of time to meet his needs." I had to hang up quick before I exploded.  What about Jesus command to go out and search for the one lost sheep?  What about Jesus call to go into all the world?  What about Jesus rebuke of men who favored one sheep over another?

Being a pastor isn't about numbers or how cool you look.  Being a good pastor is about being a great shepherd.  It's about searching for the lost and being willing to spend whatever time is needed on one single sheep. 

I'm terribly afraid that when God begins his judgement of the church, most of the numbers will disappear.  I'm afraid when God returns He will find people who saw the church as a safe place to join and have fun without being forced to study and know the character of God.  I'm afraid that many people attend today's mega churches so they can tell their neighbors they are Christian, speak some Christianise and have a social club that's safe and fun.  All the while they sit in the back and hide the very sins that will keep them out of heaven.  Thinking that it's just a matter of accepting that there may be a God but never surrendering to a Savior - they rock along happy that the church they attend is an insurance policy to avoid Hell in the afterlife.

The pastor gets to feel like a rock star, the church member gets to hide his sin and they all have fun doing the program happy dance.  Until......God and his holy angels swoop in and yell, "That's it.  Everybody out of the pool!"  God sits on his throne and begins to pronounce judgement on all the lives that haven't followed his Word.

"Did you take care of my sheep!"  God yells at pastor pop star.  He straightens his shoulders and announces, "I had 3,546 people in church last Sunday."

God slams his hand on his chair.  The angels bow their heads and fold their wings.  "Out of those 3,546 people only 47 are going to be saved.  I repeat....Did you take care of my sheep!"

" see sir.....I uh....I preached about loving each other and well....they just didn't listen."

God stands up and his base voice booms.  "Did you tell them about sin?  Did you visit 92 year old Aunt Lucy that helped to start your church?  Did you give her communion and pray with her when she was lonely?  Did you sing her favorite hymn until she finished wiping tears from her eyes?  Did you visit Mary when her husband died?  Did you pray with John when he lost his son?"

" weren't on my schedule.  It must have been an oversight on the part of my secretary.  I'm an important pastor you know."

God raises his finger and growls.  "Did you tell the pre-teens that premarital sex is a sin?  Did you tell them that all liars will have their day in hell?  Did you tell them to respect their parents - did you respect their parents?"

The pastor is now on his knees.  "I had 3,546 people in church."  His voice trails off as God motions to the angels of judgment.

"I commit you to everlasting Hell.  You did not respect my people.  You did not teach them about me.  You were just as wicked as any sinner."

I personally don't want a hip pastor or music that appeals to local bars.  I don't want a pastor that would be more comfortable on TV than in my living room.  I want a pastor that knows the way to heaven.  I want a pastor that I feel comfortable crying on his shoulder or telling him my problems.  I want a pastor whose both compassionate and kind but knows enough about sin to guide me to heaven - not send me to hell.  I want someone who knows that he has been given the greatest honor of all, he's been asked to be a shepherd to God's flock. 

Hum....makes you think doesn't it?

God loves you,


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Political Thoughts

Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.

'In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.'

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

Perhaps we need to investigate why our forefathers believed as they did.  Are we missing something with our current political policies?  Perhaps our forefathers knew that once you begin to chip away at our uniqueness you erode our exceptionalism.  Perhaps our forefathers felt that while we grow we need to preserve the core of our beliefs and our strengths. 

We used to be called the melting pot.  When I heard that as a child, I imagined a huge black cauldron that had soup in it.  Now that I'm older I realize what makes a good soup.  A good soup is a blending of flavors.  Each ingredient adds something to the pot but it gives up it's own flavor in order to blend together and make a "new" and different flavor.  You may add onions to a pot of soup but if onions are all you taste then it can't be a melting pot of blended soup.  Instead it becomes onion soup only.  The onions must give up their flavor so that it can be blended with other ingredients to make something make a new soup that stands alone in flavor. 

Last night I made a blended soup.  I used onions, garlic, red bell pepper, chicken bouillon, chicken chunks, corn, celery and something new....I added smoked paprika.  The soup was wonderful!  But as I sat there enjoying every bite I realized that the flavors were different from what I normally enjoyed.  I had created a wonderful new taste with the melting of flavors. The smoked paprika had added some new taste.  It wasn't a harsh paprika taste but it created this wonderful new dimension that gave the soup a depth of flavor.  I couldn't pick out a distinct paprika or onion or even garlic taste.  They had all blended to make something new.

That's what America should be.  A blending of people and backgrounds.  None of us should stand out but instead we should all be committed to one goal - American Patriotism.  We should all be committed to American Strength, American freedom and American exceptionalism.  We should be the best.  Not the best woman or the best Mexican or the best Indian or even the best heritage with relatives dating back to the Mayflower.  While we may celebrate those things within our groups - we should not demand that others be like us or even adopt our heritage.  Instead, we should and must be the best AMERICANS...period.  We should love the American flag, the pledge of allegiance and American capitalism.  We should be Americans to the core.  If you were born elsewhere and have become an American citizen then your loyalty should be to America.  You should embrace her as you would new parents who decided to adopt.  You should be proud to be a part of the country you have chosen. 

Why would that be important?  If we don't blend then we aren't connected.  If we are more concerned about being Dutch or Italian or Muslim than we are about being American then fights break out and we lose that connective string that keeps us moving forward.  I don't understand why anyone would come to this country or stay in this country if they adamantly disagree with the country - unless they simply want us to fail so they can steal our land.  If we are constantly fighting about who we are or who we should be...then we fall victim to another old but very wise statement, "A house divided against itself will not stand." - Abraham Lincoln

Read the entire speech and you'll see that President Lincoln was explaining that if we fight each other one idea will win out.  The two ideas stand as opposites and will determine what kind of country we become.  Fighting and straying from the core of who we are will ultimately change the entire framework of America. 

Wikipedia states....
The speech contains the quotation "A house divided against itself cannot stand," which is taken from Matthew 12:25: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Lincoln was referring to the division of the country between slave and free states. The "house divided" phrase had been used by others before, and by Lincoln himself in another context in 1843. Most famously, eight years before Lincoln's speech, during the Senate debate on the Compromise of 1850, Sam Houston had proclaimed: "A nation divided against itself cannot stand." During the War of 1812 a similar line appeared in a letter from Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren. Mrs. Adams wrote "... A house divided upon itself - and upon that foundation do our enemies build their hopes of subduing us."

Seems to me this has been a problem for a long time.  I hope America will wake up and learn from our forefathers.  I hope that we will understand what it means and what kind of commitment it will take to be "One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all!"

So today....I renew my oath...."I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

God loves you and God Bless America


Monday, May 2, 2011

Interview with Debbie - Does God have answers?

Do you really believe there are answers for every problem?

Yes, of course I do. I feel that way because I’m a Christian and I believe that God is all knowing and all powerful. What does it say about God if he made the world and all inhabitants but he doesn’t have answers for our problems and doesn’t want to be involved?

Thinking that God is not involved in our lives or that he doesn’t have answers reduces God to a simple creative artist. It takes away his power.

I’m sure that some folks who have been hit with terrible tragedies feel as though God could have intervened or maybe they are mad that it happened in the first place. That’s a hard pill to swallow unless you look at the facts.

God can be all powerful and ready to help you and give you a good life….but your actions or the actions of others can throw negative forces in the mix that change the dynamics of the situation.

God can also have a marvelous plan for you, but if you stomp your foot and shake your fist at him in defiance refusing to follow the plan – it may not materialize.

God might then go to work to develop a new plan…a plan that will get you out of the mess you are in, but no matter how much information he sends your way…if you aren’t listening - how can He help you? Like a little two-year old in a mall and on the run….no matter how much God calls you and demands that you come back, you keep running.

Think for a moment where we would be today if America and our government had not answered the call of the Jewish people suffering under the brutal Hitler?  God provided an answer because our men were willing to stand up for those who couldn't fight for their own freedom.
It’s important to remember that even though God is loving and does all He can to help us…He ultimately works through us. Our participation in His plan is a key element of success.

REMEMBER - God never forces anyone to do anything.  He works through us and through our will.  Because he waits to work through us, often there are times when Christians suffer as victims.
There are times when good Christians are simply victims. Don't be discouraged if you are doing all you can and the answer hasn't come.  There are times when we are truly victims and did nothing to cause our problems.  But again....God has to work through other people.  That's why it's so important to listen to the leading of God.  Often we are being asked to "help rescue" someone in pain.  Be careful in those situations but don't ever run away from being God's help to ease the suffering of those around you.

In some situations we didn’t do anything to cause the problem and like Job there’s not a lot we can do to get out of the problem. Car accidents, abductions, rapes, evil men and women and yes….even some Christians can create true victims that have no power over the situation they are in. That’s when the rest of us must be compassionate and allow God to use us to bring about a God inspired solution to their problems.

Again, if we listen to God’s gentle voice, become A+ biblical students and dedicate our lives to living for Him; we can be the solution to the majority of problems around us.
God loves you,