Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Man I Will Always Love!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to share with all of you that it's my husband Steven's 44th Birthday today. I've had the most wonderful 14 years of being married to him and calling him my husband, but 17 years of finding and discovering the best friend, I thought I'd never find.

I can honestly say I love him more today than ever before mostly because of the ups and downs life has handed us during the time we've known one another. How God has used the storms of life to draw us both nearer not only to Him for our faith and hope but also to one another, for comfort, strength and knowing that it's only made us closer to each other.

I wanted to thank him for supporting a ready made family with me and my daughter, Caitlyn who he willingly accepted both battered and emotionally spent from a difficult divorce. He restored my self esteem and created a role model for what a husband should look like not only Caitlyn, but for the daughter we would share together when we had Kailee. He continues to encourage us, support us and provide for us not only as a husband and father, but shares his struggles at his daily spiritual walk with God. He's not perfect, but he's perfect for us.

Wishing you, Steven, a very Happy and Blessed Birthday. May God provide an overflowing abundance of blessings headed your way not only as you celebrate your birthday, but in the days, weeks and years to come for your faithfulness at leading our family!

Here's a video dedicated to what you mean to all of us! Happy Birthday Babe!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

She's Turning 19 Today!

I can't believe it, even though the day is here. So many great memories of watching my first born grow into an incredible woman she is today. She is filled with such a compassionate heart, is kind to those in need and will literally give you anything you need. She made being a first time mom a pleasure and I thought I would share a video montage of her life today! Thanks to Matthew West for providing the music, This is Your Life!

Happy 19th Birthday Caitlyn! You're life is going to be beautiful and it's only just beginning!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Monumental: In Search of America's Treasure

I had the rare opportunity to capture on my DVR, Kirk Cameron's new documentary, Monumental: In Search of America's Treasure and let me assure you, I can bet this will NOT be seen on the Discovery Channel or the History Channel or even debated on any of the major networks because it goes against everything happening in our government today including how we arrived at the current economic crisis we find ourselves faces with today. It's also one that liberals and those in the government would prohibit from being shown but if you truly value the truth that this country was founded on, I would seriously encourage you to watch this for yourself, do some of the research on the things sited and answer the question yourself, is there an answer to get ourselves out of the mess this country is in right now? Is the government the answer? Or is the answer to our world-wide dilemma much simpler than we ever thought possible?

I challenge you to watch this documentary and decide for yourself. The documentary itself opens with Kirk Cameron asking the question I think every person in this country is asking themselves and especially us as Christians, is this world going to hell in a handbasket? Why aren't we doing anything about it? Some merely sit back with an attitude that if the world is going into chaos, isn't it good because it simply means Jesus is coming back sooner than we had anticipated? If that is the case and as Christians, we sit back and actively do nothing to stop it, isn't this then becoming a self-fulfilled prophecy? This is perhaps the best line in the film for me as a Christian to sit up and take notice. We have the power to change it, despite what our current government may want to tell us, that this is a nation, the United States, that was founded on Christian (Biblical-based) principles, it always has been and it's been changed along the way.

The documentary begins where the birth of America began with the Pilgrims coming to this country and what their true purpose was in coming here. Kirk takes a trip back to England and talks with an English historian to learn about what their religious beliefs were and what was happening in their country during this time. I caution you, this is NOT the stuff I was taught in school and found it so interesting. It is in fact, what my daughter is learning in her home school/charter school class however, and thus provides the foundation for the drive for the Puritans to leave England under the power the Catholic church was demanding as the government for the King at that time. (Funny isn't it, how church and state at that time, were working as one, however not as God designed, as man had a need for power and greed).

Kirk than heads for Holland because due to the beliefs of the Puritans, they were considered outlaws since they were going against the beliefs of the church at the time, not against the beliefs of the Bible and they were wanted men. We then learn after 12 years of learning about God's word in the only place that they could find religious freedom, they went back to England, hired out two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, but when the later ship cracked they had to go back. Only half of the citizens were able to set sail on the Mayflower and arrived 8 weeks later in America.

I won't get into more of the movie at this point so you can enjoy your own discovery but I did love knowing about the National Monument to the Forefather in Plymouth, referred to in the documentary as the Matrix of Liberty, built 130 years ago as a way for America never to forget how this nation began and the principles that would work to help our country get back on track should it ever begin to fall apart. You can learn more about this incredible monument here. This the blue print to restore America and one I never heard about until today and am astounded that I never learned this as part of our American History.

This is such an powerful movie that I would encourage every single person to watch this and see for themselves just where we fell short and why we are in the mess we are in today. Why violence in the schools is running out of control; why our constitution and laws from our forefathers are being questioned and redefined; why our education system is failing and why what our kids are being taught is out of our hands; why our country that was once blessed and prosperous is rapidly falling apart at the seams. Isn't this worth a look at to judge for yourselves?

My review of this documentary is based on my honest opinion and I received no compensation for my review from any one in regards to this documentary but it is one I think every single Christian American should be watching. We still have it in our power to change things. We don't have to sit back on our hands while the government does nothing but steer us in the wrong direction. God gave us a plan and it's time to rise together and begin with our families. To educate them, to raise up a generation that will pick up the pieces before it all falls apart and we should be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. I rate this film as a 10 out of 10 stars and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this documentary. I can only hope we learn from our history, and not repeat what happened in the Roman Empire for it we do, we already know what happened to that one.

For more information on Monumental: In Search of America's Treasure, Kirk Cameron or where to purchase this DVD today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow the movie page on Facebook and learn more interesting facts about this nations history by clicking here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

I know at some point in all of our lives, we've all been afraid of the dark. In the dark, things aren't what they should be, things are hidden, and our minds play with our imaginations so much that suddenly life is breathed into fear. So where does this fear come from? Is it simply a lack of knowledge, an overactive imagination, or perhaps its an unveiling waiting to take place. Darkness isn't even real, it is simply the absence of light. No matter how much darkness prevails, all it takes is but a little light and it flees from it. Darkness can not put out the light. Just like evil can not outweigh goodness. There will also be a light in this world and that light is the love of God.

This is why on the day of Jesus Christ's crucifixion, that darkness was allowed to dwell for a time, the light for a moment in time, had gone out. Disbelief, sadness, despair, fear and grief was not present in the lives of those that lived with Christ. All hope was lost, despite Jesus' words that He would return on the third day. But during that time, darkness had a field day. Much like it still is ever since sin came into the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of fruit of the tree of knowledge. Notice they didn't get a chance in all their time in the Garden of Eden to sample any of the fruit from the Tree of Life? The stage had been set for a time of man's conscience choice. Man would chose wrong and the consequences would be felt by all even if we didn't commit the original sin. Life was forever changed.

Just like last night when a masked man, entered a darkened theater. He was covered and he entered the darkness. He didn't want to be seen and what he had planned to do was pure and utter evil, and thus the need for darkness to hide him. He took the lives of innocent people and wounded many others. For every single person in the theater that day and even afterward, darkness wanted to have it's time and push out the light and now their lives will never be the same again. Yet light can still push out that darkness. We can't let what one person did, outweigh the lasting effects of God's love. The enemy would love for us to dwell upon all the what ifs, what is that had been our family, why did that happen if God really cares, and why should this man be allowed to live despite the lives of some many that didn't have a choice?

It goes back to the darkness against light. The enemy would have us now, cower in our homes, afraid to send our family out anymore to prevent this type of thing from happening again. To begin to question every single person that is around us now. Life was renewed in fear again last night, but it doesn't have to stay that way. We serve a greater God than the enemy.

We serve a God whose light shines before men, but those who do not know Him can't seem to understand it. They run from it because it exposes them for what they want to hide. This is why our world is falling apart, because the darkness is threatening to overtake the light. We cast blame, look the other way when we should be shining the light of what God is doing in our lives. We need to immerse ourselves with those that are in need, the sick, the hungry, the lost and bring them into the light of God's eternal love.

How much do we have to hate someone for us to withhold the great news that eternal life awaits anyone who asks for it? Why do we only associate ourselves with other Christians, see only Christian movies, listen only to Christian music, and build up the walls around us, so we can keep the darkness out? God has called us for something more. He didn't come here to save us so we would keep the information a secret. He came so we might all who know Him, would tell every single person about Him. We, as Christians, need more than ever to take a stand, and let His light shine before ALL men, not just the ones we want to see enter heaven. More than ever, this world needs the love, mercy and grace of God. Each one of us that is saved now has a responsibility to share the Love of God with the lost and unbelievers. The light we are to shine is not our own, it is God.

This is the reason that the Jews missed their calling. They failed to understand their purpose in bringing the light into the darkness from the Old Testament. Let not this generation fall into a spiritual sleep like the generations of old. God came so we would know Him. It's time to rise up, and address our lost culture.

When was the last time you cried?

When was the last time you cried for the people who are lost that don't know Christ? Isn't it about time for us to soften our hearts towards the lost instead of ganging up on them in a Us versus Them mentality? Our testimony's hold the greatest power to change lives. It is the power of Christ living in us that has completely transformed us through the renewing of our minds, our thoughts, and our bodies and we need to share what God living in us has done for us. Just look at what William Booth, the founder/creator of the Salvation Army had to say on this:

"Not called!' did you say? 'Not heard the call,' I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world."

Our greatest treasure in life is the gift of salvation and shouldn't everyone have an opportunity to share in it? Even David Wilkerson had this to say, "Today, some Christians are content to merely exist until they die. They don't want to risk anything, to believe God, to grow or mature. They refuse to believe his Word, and have become hardened in their unbelief. Now they're living just to die."

God can and will raise up misfits to use to get His word out. We need to stop feeling like what we have to say doesn't matter. We need to share every day what God's love and power is doing in us. We need to rise up and become bearers of the Light. Let us not, allow what has happened in the world around us, to make us bitter and angry. Let us instead rise up and put an end to the darkness that is trying to prevail in the word. All it takes is one speck of light in a enormous darkness to make a difference. I challenge you to be the difference today.

That is why the world around us is spiraling out of control, unbelievers are blind, they can't see what is happening right in front of them, but we can. This is why we can see the evil but there are those that can't. They remain in the darkness until we can help them "see" with the power of God's love what has been in front of them the whole time. No amount of reasoning can help someone see in the darkness if there is no light.

Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light (God's power) shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pick and Choose?

Lately there seems to be a great debate among Christians and non-Christians especially when it comes to politics and the next presidential candidate. It even seems like people can't voice their opinion in less it's in favor of what others think without receiving a bashing like you wouldn't believe. You can't even post things on your own Social Media network without opening what I would call a can of worms and the war of words begins. I have even seen this happen on my own page from something as innocent as me choosing to home school my kids to where I may be casting my vote in November or what I think of the latest health care program our president is putting before us all.

I realize, one of the best blessings about being able to live in the United States is my freedoms. The freedom to not agree with what some people think, my freedom to voice my concerns as well as my freedom to support my beliefs. I often wonder where all this bashing and verbal wars come from when people launch their tirades on you via your Social Media network. Are they voicing their opinion as well, trying to get you to change your mind and consider their opinion or it is simply they don't really have a valid argument, they are just mad. Mad at everything and everyone. It's easier to find someone to blame rather than work together to try and change things.

Then today I came across the quote that I listed above this post and I thought, that is what most Christians attempt to do so why does our message seem to not get through. I had a revelation from God like I do from time to time and felt burdened to share it with you. It may just resonate something you hadn't considered and hopefully for some, it may change the way you think about Christians.

First of all we believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is a God. There is only one! This world did not just create itself from a cosmic speck of dust in space or anything loud noise. For those of you that argue that it did, where did the cosmic dust or loud noise come from? It all has to start somewhere and for Christian's that is God. He created everything and everyone. Even atheists believe in something. They simply believe that God doesn't exist but they believe.

Second, we believe that the Bible is the living word of God and it is our guidebook to help us through this life until we die and return to our eternal home. We believe it all! We don't randomly pick what parts we will chose to believe and which parts we won't. There is two parts to the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The old is based on the creation of everything, the fall of man and when sin entered the world, and how life existed for believers and non believers until Jesus was born. There are those that would choose to take parts of the old testament and hold them up as valid truths while ignoring the New Testament, what happened and how things changed for all of us through the power of Jesus' life here until he was crucified; how life went on with believers and non believers and ultimately where this world is headed and how it will all end.

Third, we believe in Jesus Christ, that He was the Son of God, was born, lived and died for us, to save us all from every sin man would do past, present and future forever. It is through that belief in Jesus that we can be "Saved" and thus have an assurance that when our physical body dies in this world, we will go to be with Him in Heaven with all the other believers until Judgement Day.

We don't have an organized religion, we have a relationship, not only with Jesus Christ but also with God our Father. We choose to live a life as close to Jesus as possible. We are not perfect. Never claim to be, and try to do what Jesus would want until we breath our last breath. There are some that claim that there are some things you can do that are so terrible, God could never forgive you, but the Bible speaks against that. Nothing you have done, if you confess of your sins, turn away from them and follow Jesus, will keep you from entering heaven. Look at the example of the thief on the cross, who was the worst murderer at the time, yet when he turned to Jesus and asked him to remember him when Jesus went to his kingdom, Jesus instantly forgave him and said, that the thief would be with Him in paradise. That's pretty powerful stuff and it's the truth.

I think more Christians need to love people instead of merely quoting scripture to one another. Love and live your life as though you truly believe what Jesus and God taught. I feel that people can be won that way more than attempting to get into a verbal war with them. It leaves bad feelings and thoughts for non believers about what being a "Christian" really is.

My reason behind this post it simply this, you can't pick and choose the parts of the Bible that work with you. This isn't a create your own Bible version if you will, you either choose to believe it all or none of it. I would caution you as well to understand the unique differences between the Old and New Testaments. You can't live like people in the Old Testament and think there are no consequences, that way of life in regards to the sinful things has changed because of who Jesus is and what He did. People who sinned in the Old Testament had to offer up sacrifices to God, through priests for their sins to be forgiven, now we simply ask it in Jesus' name because His was the ultimate sacrifice. It is His blood that washes us clean not a lamb or other sacrifice.

Lastly, if you need prayer for anything, please leave me a comment or email me. I'd be more than happy to pray for you or add you to my prayer requests! God loves you, just remember that and He wants you to spend eternity with Him. I hope you make a decision today and choose life!

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. " ~ John 3:16 (The Message)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Too often we take for granted that our parents will always be here and we don't take the time to let them know how much they have impacted our lives until too often, it's too late. Well today I wanted to celebrate my mom's life in the last 70 seventy years and wish her not only a Beautiful and Blessed Birthday, but to share with all of you what makes my mom, unique!

Looking at that number, 70 makes it hard to believe all my mother has seen in her young lifetime so far and how much trials and struggles she has had to watch and endure to make her the wonderful mom and woman she is today. At a very young age, she was left with only a father to raise her in the difficult coal mining years. Her mother died young and so she was left to grow up with only her two older sisters and brother to help fill in the gaps. Along with her Aunt who soon moved into the family leaving her a widow as well, they did what they could to make it work with two families merging together.

In fact some of my best family memories of being with my mom, is visiting her old family home in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania and seeing her three story home and the smells from my grandfather's old pipe filling the air. We didn't have much growing up, but it was more than what my mom and her siblings had. It was the sense of family that my mom instilled in me over my own 48 years. That as long as you have family, it's enough.

My mother served in the Navy working in the chaplain's office as a secretary working through the difficult war years and it's there she met my father. Even though their marriage didn't last, I never saw my mom deal with anything less than grace. She is well-loved by all who know her and no one has ever had an unkind word to say about her. She worked two jobs to make ends meet raising my brother and myself being a single parent and even though we didn't see her much, she showed me what sacrifice looked like. She never asked for much and tried her best to do what she could for us. I remember all her days spent waitressing, she would put her change in mason jars and when they were filled gave one to both my brother and myself to spend going to the movies or at times, a trip to Disneyland.

I learned so much from my mom that when I went through my own divorce and wondered how I could make it as a single parent, I looked back to what I learned watching my own mother do it with so much less and one more child. I knew then, that my mom had left me with some vital tools to help me grow as the mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend I am today. Now that she has retired, I can only hope that my mom will look back at my life and see that the legacy she has started in my life will only continue to grow in the lives of my own daughters.

I just wanted to take the time to thank my mother for all those times, you did without, so we could do with a little bit more. Your own sacrifice has taught me it is possible to move through whatever difficulties life throws our way and we can handle it all without complaint and with so much grace that those around us can only learn by watching us deal with it all and rise above.

I can only wish that the remaining days of your life, will be filled with abundant blessings, smiles, wonderful memories of your children and grandchildren and know that you did more than enough to raise an amazing family who loves and adores you! Happy Birthday to the most beautiful lady in the world. Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Discouraged? Depressed? Try God's Cure!

Oh this week, our family has been hit with a series of what I would call spiritual arrows aimed straight at our heart. While I can't go into specifics, we are trying to keep our proverbial heads above the raising waters. So what do I do in the midst of this? Well first of all, I pray. I pray because after enduring so many of these trials, I've learned that is what I need to do first. Then I ask all my fellow Christians to add me and my family to their prayer lists and to pray for us. We hold fast to the truth that where two or more are gathered in His name, God is with us! How wonderful is that statement alone. God is meeting us in the midst of our struggle.

Do you wonder what some of the signs are of being discouraged? See if any of these apply to the current situation you may find yourself in and then I will provide God's cure to help you see things differently. I don't guarantee that overnight all your problems will vanish, but I hope this may change your outlook on them today, until they do.

1. Lack of energy: We literally feel like we don't have the strength or power to endure this storm we are in. We'd rather find a way to head on back to bed, pull the covers over our eyes and pray that somehow it will be different in the morning.

2. Losing touch with reality: Ever heard these words or thoughts? No one cared that I am going through this? No one cares? Why, God am I going through this by myself while everyone else is so happy in their lives? We can't even comprehend that God cares about us. We have lost touch with what makes sense and yet those around us, can see perfectly clear that this is not the end of the world even though to us it seems like it is.

3. Losing our memory: We forget how many times we have endured trials or struggles in the past and now find ourselves consumed by worry, anxiety, and are literally stressing ourselves out so bad that we are making ourselves sick. We know that in the end, we will make it through, but we can't seem to find a way to get through one day at a time.

4. We lose heart: We fail to seek God to help us through our struggles and instead turn to ourselves which ultimately and almost always leaves us lacking in so many areas, instead of being filled with God's fullness.

All these signs combined lead to one thing: Losing Hope!

If any of you have planted any time of tree when it's young, you know that you need to stake it so that the winds and storms will not blow it over while it's trying to establish it's roots. However, if you never take the stake out, the tree will also fail to grow roots deep enough to prevent it from blowing over in a bad storm.

We know the winds of trials will try to blow us over, and that is why it's important for us to grow our roots strong. We need to dig deep into God's word through prayer and reading the Bible and even encouragement from believers to help us establish our roots. We have to learn to grow our own roots through each storm we have to endure. We will weather through it. We will bend and not break when our faith is strong. Hold fast to God and you will get through it.

Do you build your faith on sand or rocks? What happens then when the storms of life come? If your faith is on yourself, the world, money or other things (sand), you will be swayed by your feelings and emotions. However if you have your faith in God (rock) you simply need to exercise your faith and put your trust in God instead of your feelings.

We need to rest in this simple assurance as believers.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably, abundantly, exceedingly more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." ~ Ephesians 3:20.

We need to know that whatever difficulty we are faced with, we need to bring it God, daily if needed, and ask simply what He wants you to do. Remember these 4 steps:

1. Power: Ask for God's strength and power to do what you feel you can't do. When you feel like you don't have the strength to get through it, ask God for help through prayer.

2. Provision: Remember that God cares for you. You are precious and valuable to Him. Just like you wouldn't let your children struggle if you could help, neither does God and He can do ALL things to help you. Just ask.

3. Presence: God will never ask you to endure something beyond what you can bear and He will never let you go it alone. Remember even though there will be valleys and dark times, there will also come mountain tops and light once we get through it all. Then looking back down, we will see it wasn't so bad as when we were knee deep in it.

4. Protection: What can God do? He can do anything, beyond our ability to measure it, more than we could ever expect or imagine and He's waiting for us to simply ask. We need to walk through it all humbly, with gentleness, being patient that God is bring us through it and He knows when it will end, and bearing with one another in love.

Our lives, the way we live, how we endure these times, are a testimony to what God is doing in our lives. These are powerful tools to remember. The enemy loves division in the midst of struggles, to divide family's, husband against wife, parent against child, and division in our communities. So remember to come together in prayer is the strongest weapon we wage against the enemy.

If your joy is missing or lost, you've let the enemy discourage you. We need to remember through these storms to TRUST GOD!

Don't lose heart, and remember God's got a plan! He will bring your through it.