Category Archives: Christianity

James 1:27

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father
means caring for orphans and widows in their distress
and refusing to let the world corrupt you."   James 1:27  NLT

I have a little bit of trouble identifying with this particular passage. I wholeheartedly claim 2 Timothy 3:16-17   (“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” NLT) , but it’s been hard for me to apply the James passage to my life. What does it mean for me and for my family? God has been stirring my heart…

One huge reason this is so fresh is because I am watching some people who I love and respect live this out in a big way. They are putting their money where their mouths are (literally) and growing their family through adoption. International Adoption. It’s blessing me to watch them walk by faith and trust God so completely. You’d be doing yourself a huge favor by checking their adoption story here: Waiting for Rain. In fact, you should bookmark it. Better yet, subscribe to their updates. You’ll be blessed, too.

Today I got to assist them in a small way by helping out at their massive fund-raising yard sale. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you check out the pictures on their blog you might get a small idea of the amount of stuff that was donated to them. Good stuff. Furniture, TVs, clothes, exercise equipment, Christmas trees, clothes, toys, dishes, clothes, strollers, high chairs, frames, knickknacks, clothes, etc. Did I mention there was clothes? An unending pile. I spent a few hours helping to fill the hanging racks and tables yet when I left the pile looked like it hadn’t been touched. Oh, and that was after the early birds had done their shopping. Matt and Marilee were expecting to open for business at 1:00pm today, giving them time to sort and price items this morning. I arrived around 8:30am to help with that and when they opened the gate to let me in, following behind were the first shoppers. A steady stream and they spent money. Lots of money. God is good.

They’ll be at it again tomorrow morning, bright and early at 6:00am. Come, bring some cash and check it out. Location listed on their blog Waiting for Rain

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Steak and The Blind Side

Our family tradition for the last 12 New Year’s Eves has been to go to dinner and a movie. We started it when Jonathan was about 5 (and I was really pregnant with Josh) as a family friendly way for us to spend the evening together. Each of us takes a turn picking the restaurant and the movie.

This year it was my turn to pick. While a nice juicy rib eye and baked potato from Outback would’ve been my first choice for dinner, I decided to opt for an eatery that would please my finicky sons. So we ate at the Olive Garden – thus allowing me to enjoy the meal with a little less whining. A win for everyone.

My choice for the movie was The Blind Side (watch the trailer here) and to my pleasant suprise, there was almost no resistance. While I am pretty certain all 3 of them would liked to have seen Sherlock Holmes instead, they respected my choice. 

This movie is based on the book  The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis and it tells the true story of Michael Oher and the Tuohy family (below, in real life).

I was really not sure what to expect. Having heard that the Tuohy’s were a strong Christian family, I was nervous about how that would be portrayed through Hollywood’s eyes.  Were we going to see a cheesy, narrow-minded stereotype… again? Well, without giving too much away, there is a little of that from Leigh Anne Tuohy’s lunch companions but she puts them into their places.

That scene also offers one of my favorite lines that really sums things up well. One of Leigh Anne’s friends comments on how the Tuohy’s “…are changing that boy’s life.” She replies, “No, he’s changing mine.”

 

It was one of the best true-story movies I have seen in a long time and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Sweet old story

There once was a man named George Thomas, a pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Several eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak…

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, ‘What you got there son?’ “Just some old birds,” came the reply. What are you gonna do with them?” I asked. “Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?” “Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take’em to them.” The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?” “Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing – they ain’t even pretty!” “How much?” the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?” The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story……

One day Satan and God were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” God asked.

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you get done with them?” God asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” God asked.

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take

them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you!! You don’t want those people!!”

“How much?” He asked again. Satan looked at God and sneered, “All your tears, and all your blood.”

God said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage he opened the door and he walked from the pulpit.

Now is no time to stop praying…

 One of the editors of Charisma Magazine has published this prayer list for Mr. Obama. It is worth circulating. Whether you voted for Obama or not, we need to pray for him. Here are 10 ways to pray. 

1.  Pray for Obama’s protection. We already know that some weird, neo-Nazi fanatics in Tennessee plotted to kill Sen. Obama during his campaign. Let’s pray that racist hatred is not allowed to spread. Let’s cancel every assassin’s bullet in the name of Jesus. May civility triumph over bigotry.

2.  Cover his wife and daughters in prayer. It is not easy to live under constant media scrutiny. Pray for Obama’s wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Natasha, as they face invasive cameras, nosy reporters, maniacal fans and dangerous enemies.  Obama is not only a politician but also a husband and a father.

3.  Pray that Obama will govern with God’s wisdom. God rewarded Solomon because he asked for wisdom instead of wealth, long life or vengeance on his enemies (see 1 Kings 3:11-12). Pray that Obama will order his priorities like that. Despite Solomon’s tragic character flaws, his legacy was wisdom. We can ask God to give our president the same grace.

4.  Ask God to keep our president humble. Many great American leaders became corrupt after they moved to Washington. The fatal attraction of fame, wealth and power proved irresistible. The only thing that will guard a man or woman from this pitfall is humility. May God deliver President Obama from the curse of pride.

5.  Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him. Godly leaders cannot do their job alone. Even the best leaders have failed because they trusted the wrong people. Pray that Obama will not select his counselors based on party, race, pedigree or political cronyism but on godly character and proven wisdom. Pray also that he will not allow secret traitors into his inner circle.

6.  Ask for the spirit of reconciliation. Some segments of our deeply divided society want nothing to do with Obama now that he has won the presidency. Even some Christians will be tempted to harbor resentment and nurse political grudges throughout his term in office.  Pray that God will grant forgiveness and healing so that leaders on all political levels can have constructive dialogue.

7.  Pray that Obama will adopt pro-life convictions. Many politicians have changed their views on key issues while in office. In the 1800s some leaders who favored slavery later denounced it. In the 1950s some who opposed racial integration later became champions of it.  Even though Obama won approval from many voters because he sanctions abortion, God could soften and change his heart.

8.  Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our president. The specter of Islamic terrorism looms over the United States, and dark forces are ready to infiltrate. Our only hope lies in prayer to the God who is able to expose and outwit the schemes of the wicked. This is truly a time for spiritual warfare, and intercessors must not come off the wall in this hour! Pray that no foreign government, terrorist organization or demonic principality will use Obama as a tool. We must stand strong against the spirit of antichrist that promotes dictatorship, persecution of Christians and hostility toward Israel.

9.  Pray that Obama’s door will remain open to the church. The loudest voices of secular culture-from Bill Maher in Hollywood to atheists in academia-would be happy if religion were removed from public life. Pray that Obama, who claims to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ, will unapologetically welcome Christian leaders into his company and seek their counsel. And pray that false religious leaders (who claim to know Christ but deny His power) will not have his ear.

10.  Pray that our nation will enjoy God’s peace and blessing during the Obama administration. The apostle Paul instructed early believers to pray for all in authority “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim.  2:2, NASB). God’s will is for America to experience peace and prosperity so that we can continue to export the gospel to the nations. This must happen whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. As we  cry out for God’s mercy on our wayward nation, pray that He will allow  us to be a light to the world as we finance global missions, feed and  heal the world’s poor and share Christ’s love at home and abroad.

Pity Party

Today I held a pity party and the only invited guests were me, myself and I.
It started off when I received some disappointing news from a co-worker first thing this morning and by the time I got home this afternoon it was in full-swing.
Feeling like I really needed to shake it off before contaminating the rest of my family, I retreated to my bedroom where I put on my favorite song: “Never Let Go” by David Crowder Band.
Now if I was as savvy as my friend Cheri there would be a button for you to listen to this song right here on my blog, but since I am not here are the lyrics…

When clouds veil sun and disaster comes Oh, my soul – Oh, my soul
When waters rise and hope takes flight Oh, my soul – Oh, my soul – Oh, my soul

Ever faithful ever true You I know You never let go
You never let go – You never let go – You never let go
You never let go – You never let go – You never let go

When clouds brought rain and disaster came Oh, my soul – Oh, my soul
When waters rose and hope had flown Oh, my soul – Oh, my soul – Oh, my soul

Ever faithful ever true You I know You never let go
You never let go – You never let go – You never let go
You never let go – You never let go – You never let go

Oh, my soul overflows Oh, what love – Oh, what love
Oh, my soul fills with hope Perfect love that never lets go

You never let go – You never let go – You never let go
You never let go – You never let go – You never let go
You never let go – You never let go – You never let go

Oh, what love – Oh, what love – Oh, what love
Oh, what love – Oh, what love – Oh, what love
In joy and pain in sun and rain You’re the same. Oh, You never let go
In joy and pain in sun and rain You’re the same. Oh, You never let go
In joy and pain in sun and rain You’re the same. Oh, You never let go. Never let go.

This song provokes the image of God’s firm grip on me. Even during days like today when my grip on Him is not as tight as He would want it to be, I know that His grip on me is firm and He will “Never Let Go.”

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever   …This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:1, 24

Amazing Ironman Story

A son asked his father, ‘Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?’  The father, despite having a heart condition, says ‘Yes’.  They went on to complete the marathon together.

The father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying ‘Yes’ to his son’s request of going through the race together.
One day, the son asked his father, ‘Dad, let’s join the Ironman together.’ To which, his father once again said ‘Yes.’

For those who may not know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.  This would be challenging for most people but add on the other obstacles the pair faces you see where they draw their strength from. Father and son went on to complete the race together.

Watch the video. It is totally amazing!!! (click the link below)

Ironman

Freedom

 

Remember to price paid for freedom

Remember the price paid for freedom

This picture was taken on Jonathan’s 8th grade field trip to DC. I had the privilege of being a chaperon on this trip and I was especially affected by our visit to Arlington National Cemetery. I was moved to tears as hundreds of us stood in complete silence and watched the changing of the guard and the laying of this wreath by some of our CCS students. Even someone like myself who has fortunately never lost a loved one in combat can gain a real sense of the sacrifice so many have made for our freedom.

Naturally, this guides my thoughts to another sacrifice made very long ago. And a mother’s question…

A mother asked President Bush, “Why did my son have to die in Iraq?”
Another mother asked President Kennedy, “Why did my son have to die in Viet Nam?”
Another mother asked President Truman, “Why did my son have to die in Korea?”
Another mother asked President F.D. Roosevelt, “Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?”
Another mother asked President W. Wilson, “Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?”
Another mother asked President Lincoln, “Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?”
Another mother asked President G. Washington, “Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?”
But long, long ago another mother asked… “Heavenly Father, why did my Son have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?”

Regardless of how these men responded to this question, we know God the Father’s reason:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

And our response? “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

I hope that today as we are involved in the festivities of Independance Day we can stop and be thankful to all who sacrificed for our freedom, especially Jesus Christ.

Love

I love this picture (which I stole from someone else’s blog). It stirs the thought in me that “why is it be so hard to make time for a book that’s main message is love?”
What does it say to you?