Easter is Coming

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Do we even realize the pain Jesus went through in order that we may live?

No more have I realized my short-sightedness and recognized my apathy to the supernatural than when I read a blog on someone witnessing a death of a possibly unsaved person. In comparison with someone who dies knowing the truth to someone dying seeing the unseen hell of a lasting void without God, it’s disturbing. It’s not the first time that I have heard this. The blog also jerks me awake.

I am ashamed at my sense of apathy. I take away the power of Jesus by thinking my own strength can change things when Jesus can do things without us. I even take away the power of the Word by my actions. Why do I do that?

The Gospel is quite powerful on its own without any garnishment. No more was this shown than in Billy Graham’s, My Hope America. No wonder atheists fight to bring down crosses and abolish the Book. Little do they know of the power behind them from another source–a darker source–one with a fate already doomed who wants to bring down as many souls as possible. Our silence causes us to choose sides. So even if we claim agnostic, we are still an unbeliever. By our silence, we choose. Thankfully, God goes after His children, and even more so, I thank God for His mercy and grace. He knows I try, and He knows how much I fall short.

Only through Jesus, my mind whispers achingly. Only through Jesus…I can do all things through Him. But, Oh Lord, forgive me my apathy. Forgive me when I do not hold enough faith in Your power.

Easter is coming. The world feels like a great blanket is being pulled over it, dousing the light, as the world teaches us good is evil, and evil is good. The enlightened thinking of scholars who don’t know Christ continue to influence those who can’t look beyond the degrees or their own unhealed wounds. The minority groups yell the loudest, push the hardest, and where are the Christians?

Lord, forgive us for putting down each other when we can’t live up to each other’s expectations. Forgive us for infighting when a bigger fight exists outside the walls of our church. Forgive us for putting down Your church. My heart hurts for those hurting and for those without a voice. We need to get our hands dirty this Easter, vow to be better, close our mouths, withhold the hurtful words, do the work ourselves and stop expecting someone else to take on our burdens, and strive to speak truth with love to each other, even if it hurts a little. Forgive us for our apathy, Lord, when we take away the power of your Word and Your presence. Help us to understand. In Jesus Name, Amen

Meanwhile, I urge you to read this blog, it’s important…

Time
So he comes to us, this man we’ll call Dave, and the drugs aren’t working anymore. Dave’s heart continues growing weaker and weaker and the doctor, he tells him straight, “Time. Only time. Maybe minutes. Maybe hours. Maybe days. What do you want to do?” Read More…

Starbucks, Girl Scouts, and Me

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Remember when I wrote this article, Boycott: The War Cry?

Boycotts are effective, like in One Million Moms that fight bad programming or commercials on television most parents would object to, even the American Family Association has had some success in recent years. Your voice matters, but Perry Noble, senior pastor at Newspring Church, disagrees with the method:

“My question then would be, “what did you win?”  You succeeded in making a point, but you still have not made a difference.” Noble insists it is a matter of the heart. “…only JESUS has the power to change a heart, only through the proclamation of the GOSPEL will people hear about Jesus, and when Jesus takes over someone’s life HE will change more in five minutes that a boycott could change in 500 years.” So should we boycott?

I stopped buying Starbucks, not because of their long-held support of gay marriage, but due to the possible financial aspect of how they politically supported a same-sex bill that passed in the state of Washington. If I would vote against a same-sex marriage bill in my state, why would I give financially to support it in another state? If a boycott worked, it would harm a companies ability to continue supporting something I disagree with. That is why people boycott. However, Noble also makes a good point when he explains how many companies we’d have to boycott in order to stop financial support of an organization that help things Christians don’t agree with.

According to this site, the founder of Facebook gave $992 million to an organization that also supports Planned Parenthood. Nike announced political support towards the Oregon gay marriage initiative. The Girl Scouts tweeted some kind of pro-abortion statement.  So what do we do as Christians?

Perhaps Noble does have a point? Boycotts may still help and should be done in some cases, but bottom line: it is indeed a spiritual issue. Politically, we SHOULD fight through bills introduced in congress to protect Christians and unborn babies, and to protect marriage, but individually we should frequent places like Starbucks and work on changing their hearts one person and barista at a time through genuine friendship and love.

So, as of today, I am choosing my boycotts carefully. Starbucks may see me in their place of business on occasion (though I will do so moderately as I support locally run coffee houses). I am on the fence about the Girl Scouts. And I don’t plan on stopping my use of Facebook. Some companies grow too big, making them fearless in who they loudly support. But we can use Facebook and the products that other companies create to continue to spread the Gospel and conservative values.

What do you think about boycotts?

Anonymous Blogger: Death Tax

My Anonymous Blogger dropped off a handwritten note of upcoming bills. Some are national and some pertain to Arizona.

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Nikki, please call McCain, Flake, and Gosar

1: Ask that they vote to repeal the Death Tax–the money that has already been taxed that families and businesses have worked for and should be able to be passed on to succeeding generations without penalty. This is also a job creator.

2: Vote to make repeal of the marriage penalty tax permanent. An institution which is the building blocks of society and best atmosphere to raise (according to statistics) healthy, physically , and mentally and emotionally children. Marriage should be encouraged and not penalized. It is the best “preventer” of poverty, drug use, sexual promiscuity, school drop-outs, and other societal ills.

3: Let us keep control of the internet in the US. It began here. Let’s keep it here under the direction of those who are accountable to the American people.

4: According to economic experts, our country could be financially solvent in a very short time if we don’t utilize our natural resources-coal, natural gas, etc. Let’s keep our priorities right–the welfare and livelihood of the human being is more important than the preservation of the habitat of a plant or animal. When there is a confluct , let’s rightly choose life for the apex of God’s creation-the homosapian. Environmental protection of the air and water should be reasonable and rational, not based on doubtful and uncertain scientific theory.

Listen to Wise Counsel

imageA ship needs maps to plot their way across vast oceans. So do we who traverse this life. Without clear direction and wise counsel, we can fall under foul influences.

But when you are a teenager or young adult, the world lies before you unexplored and tantalizing. Your dreams are almost surreal. This is when you need to listen to others who have been there before, because the easiest route is rarely all it appears. Everyone has a bias or agenda, and the word, no, is your best friend. But not everyone is an enemy, but like you, took the wrong path and got lost, and may not even know they are still lost.

Listen to wise counsel. Keep the Bible close. Weigh every word against what the Bible says. Emotions are as fickle as some friends I have known, and doing the right thing won’t always feel good. A ship can get back on course with the right directions.

The Bosnia List Review

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The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic surprised me. When I read in another article how his Christian neighbors turned on him, I thought, “So this is going to be a Muslim rant against Christians?” Yet the war was much more complicated.

I remember the Bosnia war news stories, but I have to admit to not paying attention. At the time, I was a teenager. So the war was somewhere ‘over there.’ Kenan’s story reminds me of the Holocaust. The story begins in New York. The Bosnia List is an actual list Kenan wrote down on things he wanted to accomplish when he took his dad back to the old country. Kenan didn’t want to go, but pressure from his father, friends, and sibling changed his mind. Kenan returns to the old country years after the Bosnian war, and reflects on his trip with a much different spirit. I had just two problems with the book.

First, I really didn’t care for the swearing in the dialogue. It peppered the manuscript. Second, the prologue begins with, “December, 2009,” written in italics, and on page 7 jumps to 2010 in a regular paragraph without any extra spaces. When you put a title in italics listing a chapter as 2009, usually you don’t suddenly switch to another year. On page 11, he brings us to 2011 in the same prologue. Otherwise, the reader follows Kenan’s growth and healing from present day New York to the past during the war, and back again. It’s a great story with lessons we could all learn from it, like putting our belief in God and His values first above our nationality. This is not all though.

Kenan shows how some things he observed as a child were taken out of context, and he learns the truth during his visit to his home country as an adult. I really loved how he rounds out his whole experience from war to visiting home again post war. His last page made me nod and smile. What I thought would primarily be a rant against Christians stayed true to his story of how complicated the war became for him. I gave this book four stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by author to review.

Birds on a Wire

A line of birds always settle on the wire every morning. It’s the wire that sways over the green pastures of Olsen’s Grain. Sometimes, twenty or thirty doves balance on the wire. One morning a hawk glided through the sky, across the highway, and plopped himself on the wire. Ten or so birds fluttered in panic into the sky, and settled again a safe distance from the hawk on the same wire.

I laughed as I drove to work. I laughed, too, because no one else would have noticed this scene play out. The people around me drove fast towards the edge of town. Some of them were putting on their make-up. Others were sipping coffee with the music on the radio. Some frown at the road in front of them, always angry. They strive to be the first car through the round-a-bout and the first car before the second lane disappears and highway 89 becomes one lane again.

That hawk disrupted the peaceful morning of those twenty or so doves. It made me smile. So the next time you drive to work, keep your eyes open and notice what’s going on around you. Don’t be in such a hurry that you miss precious glimpses of life. It doesn’t always pay to be first.

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”- Mark 10:42-45

Virtual Hiking

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The L.A. Times reported that, “Young people now devote an average of seven hours and 38 minutes to daily media use, or about 53 hours a week — more than a full-time job — according to Kaiser Family Foundation findings released today.” So when Nature Valley began advertising a wonderful virtual hike here, I both loved and hated it.

From an outdoor perspective, I loved a sneak peak into future hiking trails. However, I realized how many people will not experience anything outside this website who live nearly all their life through video games and other online activities. They will never be moved to leave the couch and see these places in person. With obesity at a high rate in our country, a great many others will not attempt it. Everyone should get out and explore the country we live in.

As for what this website inspires from me, I can’t wait to explore it some more, and then, go out and explore those trails for real!

222 Sundays: Consequences Do Occur For Wrong Choices

According to the Dake Annotated Reference Bible-KJV-Large Print, there are 176 prayers in the Old Testament and 46 prayers in the New Testament. I first heard about this reference (found here) during a prayer meeting. For the next 200 Sundays I will post a prayer in regards to each section of scripture mentioned.

42. David for forgiveness of sin (29 words; 2 Sam 24:10). Answered, but judgments fell (2 Sam 24:11-25).

Choices

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”