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 - OpposeClinton - Support)
3. Planned Parenthood - Does either candidate support or oppose giving tax dollars to Planned Parenthood? ( Trump - OpposeClinton - 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 - SupportClinton - Oppose)
5. Stem Cell Research - Does either candidate support or oppose federal funding of embryo-destructive stem cell research? ( Trump - UnknownClinton - Support)
6. Estate Tax - Does either candidate support or oppose the repeal of the federal estate tax, also known as the "death tax"? ( Trump - SupportClinton - 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 - OpposeClinton - 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 - SupportClinton - 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 - MixedClinton - 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 - UnknownClinton - Unknown)
13. Veterans - Does either candidate support or oppose policies that would help garner benefits for health and others services for our veterans? ( Trump - SupportClinton - 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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
Most people hate the word "submission," and whenever they hear it, they begin to get on the defensive. As we continue our study into developing a submissive spirit, some men might get excited by this and perk up. This is NOT the biblical application that some husbands are apt to toss in their wives face. Trust me I had such a man in my ex-husband. So what does the Bible really say about submission?
Ephesians 5:22 ~ "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."
If a man is going to memorize any Bible scripture, this is the one he loves the most and will have no trouble with remembering it. The wife will be the one who points out that he should love her, as Christ loves the church. That is absolutely true, but we need to look at what "submit" means by Bible standards and that is found in Ephesians 5:21
Ephesians 5:21 ~ "submitting to one another in the fear of the God."
Men and women are to have the same submissive heart to God in the fear of God. The first prerequisite is does your husband fear God? If you husband fears God, he will have a submissive spirit of God. He will be a man whom you will love being led by or submitted to. In fact the word "submission" will never come up in your relationship. He will be an awesome example of Jesus. You will want to do anything for him. You will have the most amazing relationship. You want to know why? Because you know he loves you. He would die for you and you know it!
It's not about forcing another to submit. That's not what the Bible's saying by any means. Submission in marriage is the missing link to happiness. If you want a happy marriage, it starts this way...The man is the example. The husband is always the pattern of practice. Let the husband submit to Christ in the fear of the Lord. Let the husband create a Christ-like spirit in that home. That woman will happily submit. There is no mandate of a woman submitting to a wicked man!
For a woman to sacrifice her faith, for her "ungodly, Christian husband," to entertain things that are a direct violation of Scripture because he told her to submit, that is completely wrong. In a Christian relationship, the fear of God, is to reign supreme. The awe and reverence to God, and that should first be exhibited in the husband who is the witness as a Christian leader in the home. That is where it starts. Tragically today, we hear, "Well the wife out to submit, I am the head of the house!" I doubt you are. We know that the word Islam means to submit. The difference is when the LORD asks to you submit, it's in a personal and loving relationship with God.
Remember as we continue this study on the three things we need to survive as believers in the last days is first, developing a thankful heart. Israel had failed to do that as we have been reading in Judges 10. When you begin to become unthankful, you begin to gripe and complain. You moan about everything and anything. Nothing is right. Everything is wrong. I can't take it anymore! That is the kind of age we are living in now. Everyone is pointing a finger at everyone else. When you don't have a thankful heart, a cynical heart will develop in its place.
Developing a submissive spirit.
Judges 10:10-16 ~ "And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, "We have
sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served
the Baals ( or allah today)!" So that Lord said to the children of
Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites
and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? (Yes). Also the
Sidonians and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you' and you
cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand? (Yes). Yet you
have forsaken Me and have served other gods. Therefore I will deliver
you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them
deliver you in your time of distress." And the children of Israel said
to the LORD, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only
deliver us this day, we pray." So they put away the foreign gods from
among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the
misery of Israel."
God goes down a list with the children of Israel showing them just how faithful He has been with them. They submitted to their worship system instead. He told them to go to their room. As they were marching off complaining, we see the tender heart of God. This is not the picture of the fire and brimstone God of the Old Testament God most people fear and think of when they think of God. When you are disobedient, you get called out. The children of Israel were bent on disobedience with God. God spanks those He loves. He knows discipline is necessary, but it always picks us up. He never crushes us or drives us away in doing so. The moment you remember God and turn around in repentance, He looks down on the misery of your heart and welcomes you back with loving arms. This is your first step to developing a submissive spirit, to acknowledge God. What a simple thing to do. Yet when pride is involved, it becomes a challenge to do so. We punish God when people hurt us. Don't turn your back on God.
The second thing that is required to develop a submissive spirit is that you need to love God. The children of Israel had taken their eyes off of God. When you love someone, you look at them. You watch them. We can see the love of God in His Word, especially in the New Testament. When you spend time with God in His Word, you begin to fall in love with Him. Humble your heart in front of Him. Read His love letter to you.
The final step in developing a submissive spirit is to surrender to God. We can't surrender to Him if we fail to understand His love for us. We can't surrender to Him unless we acknowledge Him. Life begins when we surrender to Him.
A.W. Tozar once said, "As Christians we no longer tell lies, we just sing them."
Think about it. When you sing your praise and worship songs at church, these are prayers to God. Do you really mean the words you are singing?
This is the key to those who want a successful relationship in any area of their lives from marriage to their work. You will never see a couple in love use the word "submit" in their relationship. Every woman looks for a man who will love them, lead them, is faithful to them. That's not truly possible unless a man loves the Lord to the fullest. If you want to find a true man, look for one who is in love with Jesus. The same applies to men, if you want a true woman, look for one who has a heart for Jesus. Look for those who fear the Lord with all their heart.
In light of all that has happened this week in this country, it makes you wonder, if there is any hope left? When things get so out of control that people take matters into their own hands and justify their actions as right, when it is clearly wrong. The Bible spoke of the days and times in which we, as American's find ourselves living in currently. You can see the signs clearly. God said in the latter days, there would be ethic wars, or racial wars against one another. God however doesn't see skin color because He created us all the same. What we see happening all around us is evil going on a rampage. There is a sense of lawlessness and godlessness all around. People are growing cold towards the value of human life, and the real issue at the center of it is a heart that has lost God and has said, "No thanks God, I'll handle things on my own. I don't need you to help me any longer."
We are the biggest bunch of whiners of an industrialized nation on earth. We file lawsuits, and in California, we file the most; we complain, we gripe, we file grievances, our feelings are hurt, and we try to justify our actions as right, by saying "that's offensive," "you're not tolerant," and the list goes on and on. How long does it take a nation to cry out to God? Sometimes for us, we can go our entire lives and not forgive someone who wronged us in our past. We, as believers, need three things to survive or thrive in this world today.
There can be no forgiveness extended until there is repentance. This applies to all of us. God doesn't forgive anyone unless they repent first. You don't forgive anyone unless they repent of their sin. Don't let them throw Scripture at you, telling you that you have to forgive them because you're a Christian. It doesn't work that way and God doesn't expect you to forgive them if they are not truly repent or sorry for wronging you.
We learned last week about having a thankful heart. We need to instill this into our children, by training them in what they are thankful for. There is nothing more powerful than a thankful heart. If you start when they are young, it helps them to grow up to be thankful as an adult. They can find things to be thankful for and to praise God in all things. That is what is vitally missing in the world today, where people feel they are entitled to things instead of being thankful for what they have. Entitled people are NEVER thankful because they will always want more.
A thankful heart, creates appreciation. Israel forgot God for 45 years when they had peace and prosperity. A thankful heart creates a call to action because it causes us to reach out and help others. When a culture no longer has regard for one another, that is a dangerous time. If you break down on the side of the road and no one stop because they don't care. A thankful heart shapes attitude. It truly changes those around you when facing any crisis or negative circumstance. We spoil things that don't count and it takes a crisis to bring our focus back to what matters (at least we still have each other).
So how do we do it? How do we have a thankful heart?
1. Choose to be appreciative right now. Find something right now you can appreciate and thank God for. We need to count our blessings. The power is in the choosing, it begins to affect everything and everyone around you when you do.
2. Decide to go active. Get engaged. Do things like vote. If you don't vote, you can't complain. Do everything you can today to make a difference. Be the salt and the light!
3. Take on a new attitude right now. Stop whining and gripping and instead be more appreciative and thankful.
Now we move on to the second thing believers need to survive in this world and that is developing a submissive spirit.
Judges 10:6-16 ~ "Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. So the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. From that year they harassed (to bite the heels of, to pick at, to taunt) and oppressed (to chip away piece by piece) the children of Israel for eighteen years - all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead. Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed ( to be worn out, made thin, tired, worn). And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals ( or allah today)!" So that Lord said to the children of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? (Yes). Also the Sidonians and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you' and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand? (Yes). Yet you have forsaken Me and have served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress." And the children of Israel said to the LORD, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray." So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel."
Notice some key points in this portion of Scripture:
" again did evil in the sight of the Lord." Doesn't that just make you want to shake them, but yet we are just like them.
"they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him." God doesn't take this lightly and it applies not only to America but to any nation. God will not bless them. Do the research and see what happens when a nation turns their back on God.
"He sold them.." doesn't mean God actually put a price on their heads, but this means that they were so hot after their passions in other gods, that God simply let them have their way. He allowed them to do whatever they wanted. You can try and justify things in your own life, telling yourself that God wants you to have this or that...believing it's God's will for your life, and then wonder why you struggle when you get it. You can't afford it. Wonder why you are not content in it.
Just like the Israelites when God gave them plenty of manna each day, yet they got sick of it and complained to God, "We want meat!" God granted their request, but He made them lean in their Spirits and the meat made them sick. You can get ahead of God and then wonder why your spiritual walk is so cold. You begin to develop an attitude of entitlement and then wonder where God is in all of it. Why does God feel so far away now? Nothing in your life should ever take the place of God. He wants to be number one on a list of one, not number one on a list of ten!
This was a culture that had gone completely pagan. They had various temples and gods. But when it says that they "put away the foreign gods from among them" it means they completely burned down and destroyed these temples and gods. They even killed those who worshiped them.
If the world goes forth after false gods, and God steps in and sends a revival to this nation, would Christians be able to handle it? Could you love people like God does and share the gospel truth with them no matter where they are or what they are doing? To share the love of God with a world that no longer seems to care?
It is so hard to look around the world today and not be affected by what you see. The injustices happening without our national government, and investigators finding evidence of conviction, but they won't act upon it. How can we simply allow this to happen? Is there anything to be thankful for in all of what is happening around us? Watch the news for one night and you begin to wonder, is anything good happening anywhere?
We need to begin to change our own perspectives first, and we need to begin to choose to be thankful, despite how we feel. Things can change when we choose how we will be in that moment. We can let things get us down if we let it, or we can find something to be thankful for. Counter the news of this world, with reading the Bible. We can see the power of God in the world. God's not in a paic by what He sees happening and neither should we.
Developing a thankful heart, provides us a call to action to respond to what God has done. Judges 10:2 ~ "He judged Israel twenty-three years; and he died and was buried in Shamir."
Nothing else is known about Tola, but there was peace under his leadership. We can even take peace for granted as a people. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Implied here is the call to 'exercise' which means to agonize, to labor, to work at. We must decide to be thankful. We must choose to be thankful. We are commanded to give thanks when things are going good only right? When everything is going our way? Or when life gives us all we asked for and more? No, we are to give thanks in ALL things!!! You don't need to understand it, when life is definitely NOT fair, in the negative. I thank God that He is not fair either, we don't deserve anything but death, yet Christ paid the price for all, and we simply have to accept His gift of salvation.
Developing a thankful heart shapes our attitudes.
Judges 10:3 ~ "After him, arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel for twenty-two years."
After these men died, Israel went back to their old ways again. Do you have a roof over your head? What about clean water from your sink? Do you know that America has 90% of the world's wealth but only 4% of the world's population? Most people living on welfare in America, have a phone, a car and a TV. 72% of the world doesn't own a TV, they don't know where they will get water from today, and many are living without a roof over their head.
Start developing an attitude for thins like a place to sleep tonight, a hot shower (that alone is a blessing!). If you're hungry today, most likely it means you skipped eating, not that you didn't have any food and you should be thankful that you will eat today. There are those that won't.
Israel was blessed, but there weren't thankful and had forgotten God. This nation, like Israel, has forgotten God.
Psalm 69:30 ~ "I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving."
Therefore it should come as no surprise to you that many of our states public education systems are revising the curriculum that removes references to Veteran's Day, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. We are already seeing our founding father's removed from history because it isn't relevant to teaching our children of today. If this country begins to take the path of an unthankful heart, ad it changes its attitude to exalt man before God, to revise God's history (His Story), when you remove God from the story, you take away opportunities to thank God and praise Him. It affects an attitude of a nation, and how they think, what they do and how they rule. We are seeing that happen here in America even more every day.
Congress alone is the most messed up institution since the founding of the nation. 81% of American's want "In God We Trust" on our money. A very small group in Congress, that is supposed to represent the will of the people, said No! We are supposed to begin seeing some money soon that has "In God We Trust" removed from it.
If you don't believe in God, don't use a dollar bill then. Go use a Peso or Canadian money. Stop saying it offends you. Tough!
When the National Endowment for the Arts lets a painting of Jesus covered in fecal matter be displayed publicly, it offends me.
But guess what? Life is bigger than that. It doesn't matter what you do, Jesus is still coming back and I don't have to be insane and burn down a building to get my point across.
When you remove God and stop being thankful, it changes your attitude. How do you as a parent feel when your own child stops being thankful? Children at that point begin to despise their parents. "I only have 1 iPod, I want 2 and I want it now!'
Psalm 100:4 ~ "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name."
This is a command! So how do I develop a thankful heart?
By beginning to appreciate what you have now! (Not "someday" or "When my ship comes in," or "When I win the lottery!").
Luke 3:14c ~ "Be content with your wages." Philippians 4:11 ~ "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." 1 Timothy 6:6-9 ~ "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition."
Let's start getting out children to be thankful, by having them look around and ask them what are they thankful for. Start nurturing it now. Lead by example. We can help those around us, by doing this, in spite of what is happening in our life, good or bad.
A great example of this happened yesterday. On trash day, I have been taking my neighbors trash cans in when I bring my in. Yesterday she walked over and thanked me for doing it. She said it may seem like a small thing, but each time I see that I remember that you are doing that and no matter how bad my day is, I am thankful you take the time to do that for me. Isn't that what it is all about anyway?
If you truly want to know about History, go back as far as you can. In fact anything prior to 1927 would be a great placeholder as most of what we now know as history, has been washed clean of what is really all about American history and the students today are getting a far different view of our nations history than what our grandparents were taught. It is a filtered version of what they believe should be taught and not what really happened.
Little by little, what we know to be true and what we are told is true is vastly different, so it is no wonder that this next generation and those coming afterwards will have a different version of our nations history than ever before.
I had the wonderful pleasure to sit in our church in Calvary Chapel Chino Hills yesterday with my 17-year-old daughter and get a taste for what is truly a remarkable reminder of our nations foundation as a Christian nation. Don't let the government or our educators fool you for one minute. Do the research yourself and discover what is missing from what is being taught to this generation. Most millennials don't even understand the three branches of our government and what their limited powers really are and why they were established. It is understandable to face confusion when our judicial branch takes on the legislative powers and creates their own laws without the consultation of the people.
We have fallen so far from the biblical values that this great nation was founded on and instead are willing to take what is spoon-fed to us from our nations leaders instead of really understanding what is happening around us and watching our freedoms, rights, and liberties one by one, slowly being stripped away without any protest from the American people. You can't even get American's anymore to agree that this is and has always been a Christian nation. You have stanch liberals telling you that religion and politics don't mix but that is precisely how this nation was born. Using the Bible as the standard for setting up a government and creation of laws is how this all came to be. It is when you have a leader or a king who takes it upon himself to usurp his authority, that the American revolution came into existence.
We still see remnant of this in things like our nations seal, which many overlook or the various places you will find Bible Scriptures all over our nation's historical places. The liberals would have you believe that most of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were deists and atheists with a handful being those who supported the Bible and that is so far from the truth.
America was born when religious men and women came from England in search of religious freedom from King George the 3rd. They wanted the right to worship as they saw fit without a country telling them how. In fact it was just this issue that caused our Founding Fathers to draft the Declaration of Independence to take back their rights and freedoms from King George the 3rd who was acting like a tyrannical leader even though he was separated by the colonists by a vast ocean.
The great seal of our nation was a creation by the brilliant minds of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Around the great seal were the words,"Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God." It shows Moses (in the dress of the High Priest) standing on the shore, and extending his hand over the sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open chariot, a crown on his head and a sword in his hand. Rays from a pillar of fire in the clouds reaching to Moses, to express that he acts by the command of the Deity. This is found in the Bible in Exodus 13.
Three of the five drafters of the Declaration of Independence and three of the defining faces of the Revolution, Franklin, Jefferson and Adams, proposed that Moses be the face of the United States of America. In their eyes, Moses was America's true founding father.
If ever history knew an indispensable man, George Washington was that man. When the 13 colonies needed leadership in the War of Independence, The Continental Congress chose Washington. When liberty seemed lost in the fall of 1777. Washington kept soldiers in the field. When independence lapsed into sectional conflict after the war, the framers asked Washington to chair the Constitutional Convention. And when the new republic elected its first president, again the natural choice was Washington.
"Congress will look upon them as their own Children...You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention." ~ May 12, 1779, George Washington.
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." John Jay, October 12, 1816, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
"There can be no political happiness, without liberty; there can be no liberty without morality; and there can be no morality, without religion." ~ Historian David Ramsey
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." Farewell Address 1796, Washington taking Presidential Oath on the Bible.
It is interesting to see and research the Founding Father's faith in this great nation, of which so many fail to acknowledge its Christian foundational beliefs. If you just do the work yourself and open book after book, you will see that there is no loss of facts that will line up with the truth. Just the abhorrent truth that is being told to us regarding the truth meaning of the separation of church and state has got us all in a tailspin. You would think the justices and leaders of this nation would really understand what it means and how to enforce it, instead of stripping away the Ten Commandments from our government buildings and prayer from our schools. These are the very nature of what made our nation so great to begin with. It's not like these things suddenly showed up in these places, they have always been the foundation of our education system when no such curriculum existed. Students were taught from the Bible.
The Ten Commandments and the Bible were the basis for the creation of the laws we have and the system of justice and government we have in this country today, although that is rapidly changing for the worse so that it no longer resembles what it used to. Our three branches of government are no longer staying within the confines that they were established and the rights, freedoms, and liberties we have are slowly being taken away with minimal protest. From the erosion of our families, religious freedoms, and even the inalienable rights guaranteed to all men and women.
All along America has been created using the Bible as our moral compass and the pastors of the church as our facilitators to making that truth apparent and accessible to all. Yet if you look at the America today from the foundation of this nation, it looks vastly different in its foundation and that is not how the Founding Father's today originally planned it would be. But it is the knowledge of the people that is being undermined, and it is that ignorance that is changing things that should never be challenged, because people are willing to be led instead of realizing that all of this nations leaders work for us. Not the other way around.
As we celebrate the 4th of July, I would encourage you to realize that America is a Christian nation, despite what this nation's leaders would have you to believe. America has a chance to become great again, but it is only with the help of Christians and American's working to unite together and make it so under the leadership and guidelines found in the Bible under the leadership of God and Jesus Christ.
Remember the freedoms we have are not without a price, they were paid for by the sacrifices of brave men and women who realized this, so that this day, you can celebrate this day thanks to the blood of those who believed in these truths. Happy 240th America!
“Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the
nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it
forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it
not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social
compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it
laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of
Christianity?” - President John Quincy Adams
cannot sustain this free and blessed country which we love and pray for
unless the Church will take the right ground. Politics are a part of
religions in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty
to the country as a part of their duty to God." - Charles Finney
As cultures go, the future can be predicted if we look at the
generation that is being raised now. For the most part, that can be a
pretty bleak picture unless we pray and seek to do all that we can to
reach the next generation for Christ Jesus. There is hope if they follow
Let no one despise your YOUTH, but be an example to the
believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. - 1Tim. 4:12-13
I have had my heart breaking for some many as I read my social media news feed lately. There is so much hatred in the realm of politics and in the upcoming presidential elections, and my biggest concern is those "Christians" who are saying they are not going to vote or write in their own choice for candidate over those who are eligible based on what the primary elections have chosen for us as candidates.
God wants us to get involved in politics. God commands us to pray for our leaders. Pray for their salvation. For wisdom. To do the right things. For God to use them. That they would have a great walk with God.
Today we are going to learn how not to be led to vote for a candidate based on how we feel, but in lining them up and comparing them to the biblical world view and the things they support. As believers in Christ, we are mandated by Scripture on how to vote, and there will be a candidate that comes to the most closest to a biblical world view, not on our own views of what matters.
People today don't even understand the term "separation of church and state," and have it all confused. It simply was a statement issued in the 1st Amendment in the Declaration of Independence not the Constitution, and it states, " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of or abridging the freedom of speech." It means no state or government could mandate a religion to apply for everyone. A state supported religion like England had. They allowed for no freedom of religion. You could not evangelize without permission from the Church of England in Europe.
Even when our Founding Fathers came to America and started to evangelize King George the Third, got involved and wanted it stopped because they were doing it without his permission here in America. Our Founding Fathers said "No! There will be no government mandated religion in this nation!" In that case there will be a secular nation, doesn't mean we don't believe in God, it means we will not have a United States of America church. You should have the freedom, not to worship or to worship. Only people who can think or reason would agree with that. THAT is what separation of church and state is, not what people have been spoon-feeding you to believe. Do you own research on it!
Did you know that Congress can not tell you when, where or how you can worship in your religious community? It's against the law for them to tell you that you can or can't practice your religious faith. From handing out Bibles to praying publicly, you have a Constitutional right based on what our Founding Fathers established.
The greatest way for you to lose these freedoms is to tune all this out and not vote wisely. Don't you know how we prevent bloodless revolutions in this country? We vote! Every 2 to 4 years, we have a revolution in this country without blood. You vote! The power of the vote and we have a responsibility from God to do the right thing at all times. Ephesians 2:8-10 ~ "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
"Good works" here means righteous acts, to do the right thing. Set your feelings aside, and how you feel, because we are commanded by God to do the right thing.
Young people today don't know the real definition of tolerance. Today it means you all have to think like I think and if anyone doesn't, we'll destroy them. We will marginalize them. We will mock them into oblivion. That's not tolerance, that's tyranny. If you're tolerant, you can get along with someone even if they don't agree with your biblical world view or any other religious view. You don't kill them or call them bigots, haters, intolerant and any other label you can slap on them because they disagree with you.
So why should the Christian care about politics? Because we are to be the voice for good. Christian influence throughout history can not be ignored. We know what is good, because we have the Bible as our standard. Who will speak up for the things that are wrong? How do we speak up? You call in. You vote! Use it! Do it! We have the opportunity to do it.
Proverbs 29:18 ~ "When people don't accept divine guidance, they run wild." ~ NLT Hosea 4:6 ~ "My people are destroyed by a lack of knowledge,because you have rejected knowledge. I also will reject you from being a priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children."
We speak into our culture in various ways and voting is a very important way we speak. We're to warn our culture, we're to be salt and light; we're to be defending the defenseless and economically moral. Voting is the opportunity before us.
Isaiah 62:6 ~ "I have set watchman on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent." Ephesians 6:10-14 ~ "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate or righteousness,"
Be a voice for good, tell women not to have abortions to pray about it and give it more time!
We are the keepers of civility. If you want to understand Christianity, look at the Spirit of Christianity which is revealed in the sermon on the mount.(Matthew 5-7).
Matthew 5:3-9 ~ " Blessed are the poor in spirit (humble), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, (hurting from widows, homeless, orphans), for they shall be comforted. Blessed at the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
The Judeo-Christian worldview has created the greatest civilization, economy, liberty, compassion, freedom, and religious tolerance in the history of mankind. Why? Hospitals, schools, universities and missionary ventures have all been started overwhelmingly by Christians. No place should be exempt from any area of influence you might have. You can look at the UCLA logo, which has a book open in the middle with the phrase, "Let there be light" on it.
We are to persuade our culture. Biblical faith, scientific logic and practical reason should never be in conflict if the Bible is your source book. They should exist in perfect harmony.
Acts 17:1-4 ~ "Now when they have passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again fro the dead, and saying, "This Jesus who I preach to you is the Christ." And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Silas and Paul."
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." ~ John Adams, Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, 2nd President of the United States.
"Providence has given our people the choice of rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." ~ John Jay, Founding Father, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, October 12, 1816.
How the mighty have fallen!
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ." ~ Patrick Henry, Orator, Governor, Founding Father.
We are to obey God in all things. To choose our leaders. Other than God, government dictates our lives. The United States of America stands alone. That those who govern us do so by the consent of the governed.
"That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." ~ Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ "Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
It's known as the American trinity and it's on every coin..."In God We Trust/Unity/Liberty
"Have you come to the point where evangelicals will only vote for people they consider Christians? I hope not, for nothing in the Bible says that people have to be born again Christians before they can be governmental authorities who are used greatly by God to advance His purposes. God used Pharaoh, King of Egypt, to raise Joseph to a position of authority over the whole country, so he could save his people from famine (Genesis 41:37-57). God used Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to protect and raise up Daniel and his Jewish friends to positions of high authority over Babylon (Daniel 2:46-49). God used Cyrus, King of Persia, to restore the Jewish exiles to their homeland (Isaiah 45:16; Ezra 1:1-4), and used Darius, King of Persia to protect the Jewish people as they rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6:1-12). God used Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to raise up Esther as Queen and to give Mordecai high authority and honor in his kingdom. (Esther 6:10-11; 8:1-2, 7-15).
In the New Testament age, God used the peace enforced by the secular Roman Empire, the Pax Romana, to enable the early Christians, to travel freely and spread the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean world.
Without Christian influence, governments will have no moral compass. Consider how many political issues that now face the United States, and that face other nations, have significant moral components to them. War, same-sex marriage, abortion, pornography, poverty, care for the environment, capital punishment, education and moral standards. The United States at the present time has a tremendous need for moral guidance and if pastors and churches, believers in Christ, say, "I'll let somebody else speak about that, where will the nation's moral standards come from?"
If Christians do not speak out publicly about moral and ethical issues facing a nation, who will? Where will people learn about ethics? Where will a nation learn how to tell right from wrong? If Christians are silent and opt out of voting about such moral and ethical issues, then where will moral standards come from? We cannot leave a moral vacuum, and allow the ultimate adversaries of the gospel, Satan and his demons, to rush in and influence every decision in a way contrary to biblical standards. And if that happens, then governments around the world will increasingly use their tremendous power to silence the church." - Politics According to the Bible, Wayne Grudem
This is why Christians, believers in Christ, need to vote. By not voting, you are voting. You are saying in a nutshell, you don't care about what happens because you don't feel any of the candidates are worth voting for. That is the definition of apathy and that is what Jesus warned about would happen in the last days. Take another look and see where each of them simply line up with the issues above and take a biblical worldview on the issues that remain.
You, as a Christian believer, are not called to remain silent, but to speak out on the issues that matter!
Father, I come to You, confessing my sin and asking for Your forgiveness. I thank you, Lord, for You have promised that if I will confess my sins, You will be faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I want to turn from my sins and live in Your will. I ask that You give me the power through Your Holy Spirit to live the right way.
I thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying the price for my sins, and then rose from the dead. I accept Him now as my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ. I surrender myself to You; make me what You want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen!
This is my online ministry that God is using to bring about encouragement, hope and love to a hurting and dark world. I am hoping that all of you that find your way here will take something away that will add some meaning to your life! I personally feel it's a calling I have from God at this time in my life to reach out to people that are hurting and offer them hope in a dark world or at least give them a smile and laughter back! I am sold out, body, mind, spirit and soul to Jesus Christ! This blog is dedicated to God, The Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, Jesus Christ, my Savior!