Thursday, July 21, 2016

Christian Voter's Guide for 2016 Election

I believe that this election of 2016 will be the one that causes more division among this nation than any other in this nations history. We have people voting based on their beliefs, their feelings, their political parties and just about everything in between. We see hate campaigns waged on both sides to slander the other in hopes of turning our vote to their side, while the nation as a whole becomes undone.

I have well meaning "Christian" friends tell me they will sit out the vote because their candidate is no longer in the running and they can't vote for who remains. That is just as bad as simply voting for the other candidate. What I want to know, is what are you really looking for in this next President. Forgo all their gender issues, and them as a person, based on what you have read from the media, (because we know how truthful they are) and look at what is really important to the next president who will run this country for the next 4 years.

While my candidate is not in the running, I have to look at what matters to me as a voter, do my own research and vote based on which of the candidates left line up biblically for me as a Christian voter. I suggest those of you that are considering a write in candidate of your cat, the candidate you had hoped would win, or sitting it out would reconsider. In fact, that is just what got us into the mess 8 years ago, and I shudder to think the same thing might happen again, if apathetic, self-righteous "Christians," "Conservatives, and every one in between doesn't do their own homework and vote.

Sure it's your right to sit it out, but honestly do you want 8 more years of what we have had or for that matter even worse? What would our Founding Fathers have to say? I fear, they would shake their heads at the American people and those we have let run this nation into the corrupt and economic bankrupt nation it is becoming. A nation not united but divided.

Here are the things I am weighing my vote against on whom I will vote for and hope you might consider the same issues when it boils down to it. By the way, those writing in Carson or Cruz, they won't win and by doing so you are voting for none of the above and again, that is your right in the end.

1. Marriage - Does either candidate support or oppose legislative and/or judicial actions necessary to reverse the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which imposed same-sex marriage on all 50 states? (Trump - Unknown    Clinton - Oppose)

2. Abortion - Does either candidate support or oppose taxpayer funding of elective abortions? (Trump - Oppose    Clinton - Support)

3. Planned Parenthood - Does either candidate support or oppose giving tax dollars to Planned Parenthood? ( Trump - Oppose    Clinton - Support)

4. Religious Liberty - Does either candidate support or oppose legislation, like the First Amendment Defense Act, which will protect from government discrimination against Christians and others who have orthodox religious beliefs or moral convictions regarding marriage, sanctity of human life or human sexuality? (Trump - Support     Clinton - Oppose)

5. Stem Cell Research - Does either candidate support or oppose federal funding of embryo-destructive stem cell research? ( Trump - Unknown     Clinton - Support)

6. Estate Tax - Does either candidate support or oppose the repeal of the federal estate tax, also known as the "death tax"? ( Trump - Support   Clinton - Oppose )

7. Natural Marriage - Does either candidate support or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects marriages as the union of one man and one woman? (Trump - Oppose    Clinton - Oppose)

8. ENDA/Equalilty Act - Does either candidate support or oppose federal legislation that creates special protections for LGBT categories, such as the ENDA or Equality Act? (Trump - Unknown    Clinton - Support)

9. Obamacare - Does either candidate support or oppose the repeal of ObamaCare? (Trump - Support    Clinton - Oppose)

10. Education - Does either candidate support or oppose Parental Rights in public and private education (educational choice)? (Trump - Support    Clinton - Oppose)

11. Military - Does either candidate support or oppose efforts to repeal the social policies of President Obama within the military, such as trangenderism, protected status based on sexual orientation, and the push the place women in frontline combat-units, which compromise readiness and have restricted religious liberty? (Trump - Mixed    Clinton - Oppose)

12. Women in the Draft - Does either candidate support or oppose a policy change that would require women to register for Selective Service when they turn 18 years old? (Trump - Unknown    Clinton - Unknown)

13. Veterans - Does either candidate support or oppose policies that would help garner benefits for health and others services for our veterans? ( Trump - Support    Clinton - Oppose)

The information I researched was provided as of 3/17/16, based on information the candidates campaign was able to provide with public documentation, be it on the candidate's website or a reputable news source. and I hope you will do the same to find out which of this issues matters to you and vote for the candidate that is at least willing to follow most of what you expect as a President and also lines up with what the Bible commands. For me, I believe, this is the only way we can best select a leader, not based on media fluff, or based on what I feel at that moment but who will best lead our country with the support of our prayers for the next 4 years. Feel free to pass this along to whomever might benefit. I hope and pray that you will continue to pray for this next election, above all else, God already knows how it turns out. They could all use our prayers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Bucket List Item Complete

As a book lover since I was old enough to read, there is nothing more exciting then to be able to see an author's vision of their book world come to life. For years, I have been telling my husband I wanted to go back to Universal Studios. I haven't been since they used to offer 3 hour studio tours and much to my excitement in early May, my hubby managed to plan both a Mother's Day gift and fulfilling our Bucket List for California item all in one. I wanted to take the time to share some of that with you today.

Our first trip in so many years commenced with the official opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in April of 2016 at Universal Studios Hollywood. To be able not only to walk into the book of J.K. Rowlings but for all the employees to stay in character as well. Just walking under the arches of Hogsmeade almost brought tears to my eyes. Once you step within the borders, you are immediately transported to the world of Harry Potter. You begin with the Hogwarts Express, and even though it is merely a prop, it is still amazing to see it all in living color.

The first thing I noticed was the attention to detail in every place you looked. From the smoking chimney's to the props lined within the windows of all your favorite places in Hogsmeade. The soundtrack of the Harry Potter movies is consistently playing in the area, and it is hard not to believe you are walking around a imaginary world.

From seeing all the candy delights in Honeydukes, from Sherbert Lemons, to Bertie Botts every flavor Jelly Bean, and even Chocolate Frogs. I knew I had to bring these home.

The first thing I really wanted to do was try both Pumpkin Juice and Butter Beer. Pumpkin Juice is like a blend of Apple Juice with pumpkin pie spices added. You can get it cold off a cart in the area or getting it carbonated at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant. Butter Beer is served cold or frozen, and my recommendation is frozen. Kind of like an icee with a buttery caramel whipped topping. You can get it with a commemorative cup or simply in a plastic cup. I opted for just the plastic cup.

The cost of the commemorative cup was around $6.00, I believe. The only way to describe Butterbeer is that it tastes like cream soda topped with a buttery caramel topping on either the cold or frozen drink choice. I am still craving them. They also sell Gilly Water, which is simply their Bottled Water. Still it's fun to pick one up to keep for a souvenir. 

There are only 2 rides currently at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  Both of the rides employ a brilliant use of movie props to engage you while waiting in line. The Flight of the Hippogriff is a roller coaster ride for the whole family as long as you are 39 inches tall. It allows you to capture a breathtaking view of Hogwarts Castle set high on the hillside and gives riders a peek at seeing Buckbeak. It was my favorite ride of the park.

Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey requires one to have a pretty strong stomach and not subject to motion sickness. I was feeling pretty poorly once I got off, but hey, I can say I rode it. For me, the best part was the ride queue. You get to venture into Herbology and see mandrakes keep behind their cages.

Then its off into Hogwarts castle, where you get to see the Hall of Portraits.

They actually talk and move just like in the movie. You get to go inside the Gryffindor common room, see the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, hear and see the Sorting Hat, along with the mirror of Erised. It is worth it just to walk through the line queue.

The ride takes riders of 4 into a 4D experience, where you get to follow Harry Potter riding his broomstick through the grounds of Hogwarts, battle a Dragon, and wrestle with both Dementors and the Whomping Willow. For me, I would recommend taking a dramamine before riding it to keep down the queasiness. All guests are required to check in their bags before riding as it really does twist you all over the place while watching the screen, like most motion sensor rides.

For meals, there is only one amazing place to visit and that is the Three Broomsticks. The prices are amazing for the quality and quantity of the food you get. Since we had a large party of 4, we opted for what is called the Feast, which garners you 4 spareribs, 4 chicken breasts, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables and 4 ears of corn, along with a giant bowl of salad for about $50.00.

Drinks are extra but you can get Pumpkin Juice, Butter Beer and even Sparkling Pear Juice here. This is the only place you can get fizzing Pumpkin Juice. The food is brought out to you and you can sit inside, which is pretty loud, or sit outside where you can view the Hogwarts castle and enjoy the music.

For entertainment, there are a wide variety of things to do, from visiting Ollivander's wand shop and picking out either a wand from the movie's characters or one of your own. You can even get an interactive wand which comes with a map to let the users cast spells from the movie in the windows of the storefronts and cause things to move. It is pretty tricky to get it to work just right, but there are plenty of employees to help encourage you.

You can see a Tri-Wizard show or even listen to the Hogwarts choir during various times in Hogsmeade. I would recommend seeing them both, Afterwards, you can get pictures with both groups.

There are so many amazing opportunities to buy all your favorite props and apparel from your favorite house cloak, scarves, hats, and even Quidditch attire.

You can even purchase collectible autographed items like movie scripts, broomsticks, Deatheater masks and more, but simply just sitting in the area and watching the movie come to life was well worth the experience. I can't wait to go back in the fall and during Christmas to see how they bring it all to life in a unique way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Season of Change

Thought I would take some time today and mix it up a bit and share with you what's been happening to the Smith family aside from my Bible Studies as well as Book and Product Reviews, which truly keeps me busy but it laying a firm foundation for our family's faith.

With my youngest, Kailee graduating this year as a Junior/graduating as a Senior, simply means she doubled up on her course work and completed two years in one so she could graduate early and hopefully begin her career in nursing a bit earlier than anticipated. Did I mention she graduated Valedictorian as well with a solid 4.0?  I am so proud of her, straight A's all through high school? Not an easy task to manage. She fell in love with the idea after my husband Steve's heart attack last year and felt God calling her to help. She has such a wonderful caregiver's heart and really had the chance to try out her angel wings a bit, when her boyfriend has leg corrective surgery and was hospitalized for a week with a long recovery time. It has challenged them both in their relationship aspects as they work through the limitations of free summer time, but without some mobility involved. Just causes them both to be a bit more creative. She is also preparing to get her driver's permit so that will mean another driver in the mix.

Since Kailee has graduated, it means that I graduated in a sense as well. It is hard to imagine that my life is changing as well. No longer do I have any more children to home school and when I think back on that, it makes me warm and fuzzy to know that I was there for 11 years of home schooling. I got to see where her strengths and weaknesses were but also see her overcome many of them. Now when September rolls around I get to prepare to spend a life with my husband more, something we never got to do when we married.

My oldest Caitlyn is well on her way in her career as a Cardiac Echo Tech, means she does ultrasounds of the heart and EKG's as well. She is based in Redlands hospital which is the same hospital she was born in. God's got quite the sense of humor to make that dream come true. She and her fiancè Steven are getting married in October this year in Wrightwood, so we are busy making wedding and bridal shower plans. The dress and venue as well as food has all been completed, so really it is just last minute preparations as family will make the trip in from the East coast soon. It also means a new addition to our family having Steven as my son. I don't use the terms inlaws because it sounds so outdated. He joins our family as a member, not an inlaw and we have loved having him for the last 4+ years during family events.

So where does that leave me? Besides continuing to streamline a lot of my book publishers, weeding out those who really aren't family friend and Christian, I have a host of product lines that have contacted me to try out their products and I can't wait to share them with you as well as Christian and family-friendly movies. Got travel plans with hubby after the October wedding and hope to bring you some of California's treasures as we venture forth on completing our California bucket list. Not sure what God has in store for our family, but we are always prepared to go wherever He calls. For now, just staying ever learning more about my faith in Jesus as I will be spending an eternity with Him, I want to know all about Him.

California is still suffering from horrible droughts again this year and so far not one summer thunderstorm. It gets downright depressing when you look at your Facebook feed and see how many days last year we had rain, but so far, nothing in the foreseeable future. That just makes me sad, because I am a rain lover at heart.

Well bloggers, that is all for now, got some chores to get done before picking up my youngest from her Beach Field Trip today. Hope she is having fun with her high school youth group! What are your summer plans?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Is Revival in America Even Possible?

These days it is hard to listen because of all of our distractions. If we have any hope for our nations, our communities, our churches, our marriages, our families or our homes, it has to start in the heart of believers first. We must develop a repentant heart and to learn how to listen to God. To do that, we must first read His Word. To follow His Word. We need to ask God how we can apply what we read to our lives. What does this mean for us today Lord? Ask God to reveal Himself to you, through His Word. What does God want you to do today? Why not ask Him?

As we continue our study today in Judges, it is vital that we need to hear from God, more so than ever before. We live in a world today where everything is instantaneous. We don't have to wait long for anything. But God isn't like that. We have to work at hearing from the Lord. These are the times when so many distractions are pulling at the believer. We need to find some quiet time, to listen and hear from God, away from all distractions.

A nation under God is a nation under a greater judgment.

Judges 2:14-15 ~ "And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of the plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for calamity, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD has sworn oto them. And they were greatly distressed."

"despoiled" means to take away your comforts, your rights, your achievements.
"plunderers" = the infiltrators, the invaders, those not welcome.

Do you think God would be disappointed in America? Think this isn't beginning to happen here in America? Let's look at His story. Those nations whom God had blessed in prosperity in history, Europe for one, then they turned their back on God. It's all in history of the world, if you don't want to use the Bible as your resource.

A nation can be revived if that nation, the people choose to listen.

Judges 2:16-17 ~ "Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD, they did not do so."

The LORD is always faithful to have a voice in a nation that is willing to listen. When there's no prophet in the land, it is a sobering announcement that judgment is near. Is there a strong, unwavering, uncompromising voice for God in our age? A real Biblical voice that kings and presidents hear?

There is something even better tonight, Vladmir Putin, George Bush, Tony Blair and even Obama, all have the same Bible as you do. They can read God's voice. God's Word. God's grace is there for that.

A nation can revived if that nation, the people are determined to follow.

Judges 2:18-19 ~ "And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way."

God has always had a spokesman in America. Moody, Jonathan Edwards whose sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God", is the most powerful sermon that this nation has ever heard. In each generation, there has always been a voice in America, where are we as a nation now? Has America divorced itself from God?

Who is behind Billy Graham? Age is slowly claiming what I believe is the last voice of God in America. Did you know that Billy Graham had access to presidents and kings of nations? He could walk into any nation, he could ask for a meeting and they would open the doors for him without question. Who is in his place now?

No one right now. There is no voice on the horizon. Can you see the cycle?

A nation can be revived if they commit themselves to obey the Lord.

Judges 2:20-23 ~ "Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, I also will no longer drive out from them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died., so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them or not." Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out immediately; not did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua."

Do you see any parallels in America? You might say, you don't see it. It hope not. Even when God sent the prophets the nation of Israel didn't see it either. The warnings in the message fell on deaf ears. I see God calling America, just like He called Israel. God's about ready to deal with Israel, one on one. It's why they became a nation on May 14, 1948. Time is about up! There will be no need for America any more. The book of Zechariah says that "ALL nations will turn against Israel." That includes the United States in the last days.

If we can say that God blesses America, then we need to understand that God disciplines those who are disobedient to Him as well. He must discipline America. Billy Graham has said, "If God does not discipline America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." He will not apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.

As a nation, we can not worship pagan gods. The last couple of years in Washington, we have see things happen that are in complete opposition of God's Word, and yet we expect God's goodness. That is exactly what Israel expected and experienced. But make no mistake about it, just because nothing serious has happened yet, that God condones and approves what is happening in America. It is God's mercy that is allowing us time to turn things around.

So what is the answer?

If we love the Lord, not just those of you that are reading this, passionately cry out to the LORD, really intensely and ask God to spare us, to spare this country. The LORD isn't asking for all non-believers to pray, for Congress to pray or even every American citizen to pray, He is asking believers in Christ to pray, "Oh God, have mercy on America!" I believe He can stop the tide that is rushing in.

I find it very unnerving as a nation, the enemy that is coming to judge us. We don't even believe they are an enemy. We don't even believe we are under attack. Israel's enemy lived right next door to them. Those pagan nations, took them captive. Dont' you see the parody if things continue the way they are?

Our borders are being flooded with pagan gods from all nations, not just from Mexico, but internationally. In this nation, you can go and do business with companies that have pagan gods right in their office. They have food in front of their pagan idol with incense burning and adorned with flowers. You wouldn't dare say what they're doing is ridiculous as a Westerner, you'll hurt their feelings. What you should say is, "Jesus Christ can set you free!"

Don't think you can't say that because it isn't Christian? How would you like to be in bondage to a piece of plastic, porcelain or metal? That little god has to be positioned just right, did you know that?

These things are going on all around us in our communities. We might be able to stop them, but we shouldn't tip toe around them either. They need Jesus! Tell them what Jesus did. They don't need to wonder if they will come back again and again to get their life right, Jesus can set you free! God's Word is THEE Absolute Truth! We either believe the gospel or we don't. If we do, we will love, care and pray for those who remain lost.

America has no promise from God that it will survive in the future. I can not turn to one single verse in the Bible and say, "That's America's verse!" Unlike Israel, America has no promise.

Matthew 16:13-18 ~ "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."

We have a glorious future. It looks bright for us because it is bright for us. Let us listen, obey and follow Jesus. He is our only hope!

Friday, July 15, 2016

How To Destroy America!

All of us are alive today, for such a time as this. Like Israel, that failed to pass along to their children, all the greatness of God, as Americans, we are failing in our endeavor as well. Families in America are growing up never hearing about Jesus, they don't know the great Bible events recorded in Scripture, they don't know who Goliath is, or that Jesus rose from the grave. These are tragedies! Parents hold the key to America's future, to pass along His Story, the story of God, to men and nations. We are dropping the ball on that.

The Christian parent is ordained by God to teach their kids the truth. They're not getting it in the public school systems. Someone is going to teach, instruct, indoctrinate your child something. It should be you! Think about it. Our children spend so much time in school each day. What are they learning? Liberalism, revisionism, certainly not God dealing with the nation of Israel.

Horace Greely, you might remember him, he was the one in school that said, "Go west young man!" But do you know he also said, 'It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading public. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom." When's the last time you heard that in school?

Thomas Jefferson said, "I have always said and will always say, that studious perusal of the Sacred Volume (what he called the Bible) will make us better citizens."

Kids learn the best, are the most impressionable and that moms and dads should teach the children well, so that when they go to public school system, or talking to their friends or watching something on TV, they're not rocked by it. They're able to say, "That's not right." "That's strange?" or ask you as parents, what did that guy mean? We should be able as parents to be able to instruct our children on the things they will encounter in school such as evolution, what the arguments are for it, but also what the Bible has to say. Let them discern from the Word of God, that the Bible is the authority over the doctrines of man or the man-made religions of man. Teach your kids how to discern. It is vitally important!

God did great works among His people. Think about all the children of Israel saw in those 40 years in the desert. It is estimated by some that there were 2.5 to 3 million people. God provided them manna every single day. Is your life blessed? Can you quote at least one Scripture from the Bible? We are accountable for it.

Imagine if you could see into the spiritual realm. What would it look like around certain leaders of nations? In the Middle East? The demonic activity in and around the U.N. building alone? Where global policies are made, especially those concerning Israel? No wonder the Bible says to pray for our leaders. The enemy traffics in places of power. The spiritual powers that be behind them. We need to be very aware that behind national borders and national policies there are spiritual powers at play.

Haggai 2:6-7 ~ "For thus says the LORD of hosts: "Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory," says the LORD of hosts."

Notice the name "Desire of All Nations," it is another name for the Messiah. God IS into nations. A nation under God is a nation that's responsible for what it has and is a people that is held accountable.

Judges 2:10 ~ "When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel."

You have to ask yourself, how did that happen? Didn't anyone share stories about what God had done to their children? An entire generation heard nothing from their parents?

This is how it happened. Israel was blessed and prospered. They got involved in all kinds of stuff and forgot their kids. Ask your own children, where was Abraham Lincoln born? What year was America liberated in the war of independence from Great Britain?

It's easy to let kids grow up without knowing, if we don't tell them. Don't you think if you were a parent back then, you would have at least shared about when the Red Sea parted? Today, we simply say we don't have the time to tell them. We are too busy!

A nation is required to know its history.

Judges 2:11-13 ~ "Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and the followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths."

It is easy to follow other gods. It appealed to what the flesh desired. Boy, we don't see that happening today right? Just like it was 1000's of years ago. It could idols that appeal to violence, sensual, wealth or dominance, as long as it appeals to the things the flesh desires.

Deuteronomy 6:4-12 ~ "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be a frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, house full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant - when you have eaten and are full - then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage."

Start with your child. Tell them the wonders of God. That God made the things they see. They'll begin to respect life, not stomp on it. Put God into everything you do.

God says, "I'm going to bless you, but don't forget about me." We should be the ones teaching our children, before they ever get to public school. You don't give up when they go to school and you drop them off. Get involved! You must just say, "They're only coloring!" What are they coloring? What is it a picture of?

Thomas Jefferson, was the first elected President of the Washington, D.C. public school board, while under Jefferson's leadership, he instituted the use of the Bible to be the official text book for reading in all public school classroom. (National Archives.)

"The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that have ever been printed." ~ Patrick Henry.

Did you know that? Were you taught these things in school? It's pretty hard to control people who know their Bible. That is why Communist countries won't allow the Bible in their country. People begin to learn truth and that they are of value and begin to think for themselves.

A study done by the American Political Science Review (secular group) on political documents of the Founding Era, found that 94% of the documents that went into the Founding Era of public education in America were based on the Bible, and of that, 34% of the contents were direct quotations from the Bible. 88% of students nationwide are were educated in the public school system using the Bible. It should be noted that the Bible was used as a source book for the foundation and blueprint for the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the public educational system and history, until the 1960's.

The parents, the church, and the neighborhood are molding factors in your children's life. I believe that kids learn first and foremost at home from cradle to grave, the greatest lessons are learned by a child being with mom and dad, then in church life of faith and then in the community around them.

You can't leave it up to someone else to teach your children. Look at their text books they're reading. Don't assume anything!!! Be informed. A child's education naturally begins at home.

That is why I believe that there is such a push to change the curriculum in our school systems and to change the traditional views of marriage and family to what society believes is the new normal. Wake up American before it's too late!!! This is how a nation is destroyed, from the inside out.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Nation Without God

Just looking at that title, you can automatically assume I must be talking about America right? I mean when you look at the state of this nation and where we have left God, it is no wonder we are seeing what is happening all around us. We shouldn't be at all shocked. Yet you need to realize that God causes nations to come and go. We can become blind to that fact because we are only as a dot on the time line of human history.

Think about the nation of Egypt. I can only imagine that those Egyptians who sat in Egypt so long ago, looking around at all that they had, could imagine that someday their great empire would be nothing but a dusty, arid destination for archaeologists. It is not the power it once was. It's barely surviving.

Look at the Babylonian Empire with all its great engineering and advances in technology. Where is it now? It doesn't exist. What about the Medo-Persian Empire? The Greecian Empire? What about the Roman Empire? The Roman Empire, who looked back in history and "lifted" what was useful from all the other empires of the world to create a super-power that prior to Rome, the world had never seen. Where is that now? It broke off into fragmented pieces.

Amazing enough, with the ebb and flow of these great kingdoms, Israel had endured them all. Israel remained. And it wasn't until the Roman Empire neared its breakup, that Israel and the Jews were displaced throughout the world. Yet, as a people, they stayed one throughout the world. They never ceased to be a people even though they didn't have a homeland again until 1948.

There are only really two nations that stand out in history in total contrast to all others. Israel, the Lord's land and people, and America. A nation whose desire was to be established and developed solely for the glory of God, based upon the desire to worship the Lord freely and to be governed by righteousness.

So much so was that true that President Abraham Lincoln said that "America is a Christian nation." Because both America and Israel have been established for God, there are similarities, parallels, that help us to see ourselves. But please, make no mistake about it, America is not spiritual Israel, and the church is not the Spiritual Jews as some replacement theology might have you believe.

I believe that in the end, America's place in history will be seen as a covering piece, a banner, a soldier alongside a burgeoning Israel. Chapter 2 in the Book of Judges is a teaching overview if you will, a reminder and a rebuke, about learning from our past.

Christians in this nation, need to rise up, wake up, like Israel did and repent. Maybe what we are seeing in this great nation, one that has clearly forgotten and removed God, will once again be blessed when it remembers God and repents. What we are seeing now is the result or end product of what happens when you take God out of the picture and let man attempt to self govern. We need to remember that God is always in control. As long as American walks with God, it will be blessed. When it disobeys, God will administer discipline.

One nation under God? Are we really?

"In God We Trust" is printed on our currency, but do we still trust in God?

A nation is created for a purpose.

Genesis 12:1-3 ~ "Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

God established Israel to fulfill His plans.

Judges 2:1-2a ~ "Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, "I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars."

God creates nations for His own purposes. That is His sovereign right. When we see this reference, "Angel of the LORD" this is a Christophany or a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ before He was born. No angel can swear or make covenants and we see this reference through the Old Testament.

The reference of Gilgal to give you some background is when the nation of Israel crossed over the Jordan and this was the first camping site. It is where the covenant with God was renewed by Joshua.

Psalm 33:11-12 ~ "The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance."

A nation created for a purpose is a people that must answer to Him.

Judges 2:2b-5 ~ "But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, "I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you." So it was, when the Angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept. Then they called the name of that place Bochim,; and they sacrificed there to the LORD."

This has great meaning to us in America today. Notice that Israel simply wept, they did not repent. They didn't drive their enemies out of their land. They let their enemies live among them. Sound familiar?

God could do anything in a moment. He could have fixed Israel's issue in a snap of His fingers. He didn't do that. They didn't obey God. Their enemies would now be problems in their own borders. Instead of Israel repenting, they simply cried, not because they were sorry, but because they were caught. It's not in their heart.

We must answer to the Lord, as believers. Nations must answer to the Lord. Israel will answer to God. When nations honor God, they are blessed. Some are still living off of residual blessings.

Judges 2:6-9 ~ "And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went teach to his own inheritance to possess the land. So the people served the LORD all of days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel. Now Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath-Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash."

Luke 12:48b ~ "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him the more will be asked."

The Lord is more involved than you might think. I believe the Bible teaches us that the Lord is extremely involved in geopolitical activities. We know that Satan is very much concerned about nations, leaders and powers. We see this being played out right before your eyes. It is any wonder we are seeing the events that have been spiraling out of control in this nation and getting much much worse?

God didn't turn His back on us. This is what a world looks like when we turn our backs on God.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What Does a True Leader Look Like?

I had the opportunity this morning to watch a comparison between former President George W. Bush and current president obama over their speeches at the Dallas memorial service and was appalled but not surprised by the comments each of them made in regards to the quality and character of the leadership they possess. If you haven't seen it, you might wish to watch it, because today we complete our study on the three things believers need to survive and thrive in this world and the final point is developing a mind to lead.

There needs to be a leadership character and quality whether in a marriage, a county, a church, a community, a kingdom, a government, or even a home that is established. Yet, it can not be accomplished without first having a thankful heart and a submissive spirit.

In having a thankful heart as a leader, we will remember where we came from. We'll remember our sacrifices and hardships. We'll be thankful at heart.

In being submissive in spirit, a leader remembers that he is here to serve others. As a husband, he serves his wife. As a father, he serves his children. As a pastor, he serves his church. As a citizen, he serves his nation. As a statesman, you serve the people. There is a difference between a politician and a statesman. A statesman says and does what is right, not what is popular or politically correct. A statesman will sacrifice himself for the greater cause and for the what is best for the people.

You need to have all three of these qualities present in order to be an effective leader since they all build upon one another. Developing a leadership mind is a practice. It is a demeanor, whereby you are looking out for those around you, to be better off then yourself. To give them the picture of Jesus, in how we speak to our spouses and children, and even co-partners in the gospel. We should ask ourselves, have we exhibited the life of Jesus and His Word, in our words and actions? We are not perfect by any means, nor does God expect us to be.

In our study, we see that Israel failed to make the Lord their leader and it's a cycle they go through, throughout the Old Testament. It takes them decades before they are willing to repent as we see through the Book of Judges. They cry out to God in repentance, to deliver them from their sin. God delivers them from their enemy. He brings a good leader to them. They prosper as a nation. In their wealth and prosperity, they forget God. They begin to reject God and accept other gods. God sends them warnings through prophets. They blow those guys off. Then He sends them the invasion of their enemies, until they are in shackles. Decades go by and then they will cry out to God again. It's the cycle of the human heart and it's the cycle of nations as well. It's pretty pathetic.

We don't have to go through the same cycle however. We can go straight, fly direct, non-stop, from having committed a sin, as a nation or as a people. We can repent now, and get restoration. This is vitally important. You can see this throughout the history of the world.

Israel began to make their own decisions and forgot God. They created their own gods and worshiped them instead.

Now we need to develop a leadership mind. Let's look at what Israel did.

Judges 10:17-18 ~ "Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped around Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled together and camped around Mizpah. And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, "Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

We learn from others mistakes. They repented to God twice for their sins. They understood as their enemies surrounded them, they're in trouble. Some one says, "Who is the man who will deliver us?" Remember what God told Israel? "It will be a theocracy. I will be your God. You don't need rulers like those other nations. I will watch over you and take care of you." What did Israel respond with? "We want a king! All the other nations have kings, we want a king!!!" And God said, "Okay, you have rejected me, here is your king." God gave them Saul as king, and he was a mess. The people thought he was tall and handsome however and that is how Hollywood would pick a king or any of the other political parties. "He looks presidential!" What does that look like? A president is one who will bow down before God like George Washington did in the snow.

A leadership mind understands that we will never be leaders, until we are first followers. There are leaders who have titles, graduated from prestigious colleges or attend seminars but those are not leaders. King David, when he was a kid, became a leader. How? Through hardships and challenges. Saul was declared to be the leader, but he was a mess. God had groomed David all of his life to be a leader. What was his strength? He said it. "I want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life!" You know why he said that? Because he was a follower. Only the person who is following the Lord can be a true leader.

Where are you going to take people if you're not following the Lord?

You can't take them anywhere! God says, "Let's go!" Every future leader will follow! That's why there is an inseparable relationship between a true leader and those who follow.

When you look at great generals and warriors in battle, what inspires people? When the bullets are flying? Napoleon was tenacious. He heard the gospel throughout his whole life, and understood mercy and he applied it to the man he was going to kill for betraying not only him, but the nation of France. When the man's mother pleaded to Napoleon for mercy, he gave it.

When we are followers, then we will become leaders. That's why Jesus picked 12 men. He told them to "Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men." In other words, "Come and follow me. You are going to go to college in the wilderness for about 3 1/2 years. When you are done,  you will be able to lead."

We develop a leadership mind, by being willing to follow. You have to be willing to follow the Lord. The God-factor was missing in Israel and they looked for a man instead. Jesus was willing to take on the form of a man and follow His Father.

Philippians 2:5 ~ "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 2:8-11 ~ "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Jesus was the model to follow. How did He humble Himself? Even though He was in the form of man in the flesh? Was He lower than God at the moment? No, this is where kenosis applies. It means He willingly took whatever attributes pertained to what was needed, like those who beat Him. He could have called down all the power from heaven, but He willingly took that authority and set it down. Absolute power. Jesus didn't pick it up to save Himself. Wouldn't you have? He absolutely humbled Himself and He showed us absolutely that God can be followed. That is our example!

Is that not your goal, as a believer, to be more like Him?

To develop a leadership mind, we need to be obedient to answer. When God calls, we need to respond. He is always talking, but our problem is that we are not always listening. We can tell that whenever we do something wrong, He speaks to us and tells us we need to stop. He is always talking! We need to develop an awareness and ask, "Lord, what do you want to say? " We need to be in tune like that. What is He saying to you today? Now?

If God were to stop speaking to us, as believers, it should cause us to be terrified!  We should be delighted, that God is speaking personally to us!

Finally in developing an leadership mind, we must be willing to serve. When He speaks, do it! In the crisis, what did Israel do? They called for a man, any man to lead them to victory. They never thought to call a prayer meeting, they called for a man. God's leaders are faithful to serve in God's business.

Galatians 5:13 ~ "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

Matthew 20:27-28 ~ "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

John 15:12 ~ "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

How are you serving in your community? Christians have made a bad name for themselves. The world has had it with Christians. We have the ability to show others the love of Jesus. The days are upon us to stand up for Him and be obedient to Him.

Will you be willing to follow God?

What in the world are you living for?

Is it worth it in the end?