Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm Dreaming

Randy Newman has released a new song entitled "I'm Dreaming."  My husband came across it one night as he listened to some of his favorite songs via the internet.  He had me listen to it to see what I thought of it.  His initial reaction was that it is a very racist song, though he did not tell me so until after I had listened.  I had a different reaction.  I assumed symbolism: white means honesty and integrity vs. black meaning doing as pleased regardless of the effect on the country or possibly even to gain more power to become tyrannical.  Racism didn't enter the picture in my mind, but perhaps that is because I was reared not to think in those terms.  A person is a person and there is no such thing as red, yellow, black and white, but simply different shades of brown.  We are all equally created in the image of God and therefore should not esteem ourselves better than anyone else.  "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."  Philippians 2:3  So when I heard the ending of the song that says:
Whiter than this?
Whiter than this?
Whiter than this?
Whiter than this?
Oh yeah
I actually smiled.  Yes, I want a president who is more honest and has more integrity than even Lincoln, or Washington, etc.  I want Jesus as Lord over us all!  The only way that can happen is for a man or woman, regardless of race, with deep convictions and trust in the Lord to enter the office.
However, I am sad to say that I have recently learned that was not his message of intent.  He states in an article written about the song:  “I think there are a lot of people who find it jarring to have a black man in the White House and they want him out. They just can’t believe that there’s not a more qualified white man. You won’t get anyone, and I do mean anyone, to admit it."
It saddened me, I admit.  However, it cannot and will not change my opinion.  We need a man or woman in the White House as president who will stand by the constitution as it was intended, listen to the people when they cry out, and offer answers that bring integrity and honor back to our nation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our Sovereign God

God's Sovereignty and It's Reach ...  I long ago had to deal with this topic when we experienced a church splitting over differences of opinion regarding it.  Some were saying that because God is sovereign, everything we do is His hand forcing us to do so.  Others said that we have complete freedom in everything we choose to do and that God simply takes what we do and uses it for good.  Both of these sides completely disregarded the others ideas and a split took place.  It was a very frustrating experience, because I believed neither way was completely true.  I saw truth on both sides, danger on both sides and was powerless to stop what happened. 
Being a person who takes Scripture as it is and accepts it even when it upsets my little world to do so, I have to agree with this statement: "We delude ourselves when we think we have ultimate control over our lives.  We imagine that God should let us have our way.  And when He doesn't, we resent Him." 
However, I also do not believe God forces me to make every little decision.  He couldn't possibly.  Why?  Because sometimes I make sinful decisions and God would not force me to sin.
"And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. James 1:13 
He might allow it, though not always, but He would never force my hand to do so.  He does, however, know in advance that I am going to do so and therefore uses that negative choice to bring about good in my (undeserving though I am) or someone else's life.
When suffering we get it into our heads that no one is suffering as we are; no one has it as badly as we do; no one knows what we are going through and every bit of it is a lie from the evil one.  If we would step back and simply look around us for a moment, we would find hundreds of thousands of people in worse shape than we are.  Then, if we would refuse to give in to the temptation of self-pity, but rather turn to God for the comfort He so longs to give, not only would we receive said comfort, but it would be greater than we ever imagined possible, as we would begin to realize that He went through it all before us, agonizing over the fact that we were going to have to experience the problem in the first place.  We are His children and He loves us as such. Therefore how He must grieve over the poor decisions He knows we will make, the hazards Satan will throw in our path that we will be wounded with - but ultimately grow from, the resentment we will fling at Him (God) even though everything He does and/or allows is for our ultimate good.  Who is hurting more?  If a parent has gone through a child involved in drugs and having to watch them suffer in prison or some other form of detention, they know that though their child is suffering physical agony and they grieve over the fact with tears, moaning, aching from the inside out, that that very physical suffering is the only thing that may save their child from permanent destruction, so they allow it.
We, as human beings, suffer from addiction to sin.  It is a drug.  It makes us temporarily feel good about ourselves or relieves some sort of stress for a very temporary time.  God knows every addiction and what it needs in order for us to be set free.  Should we condemn Him for wanting what is very best for us?  So if I must suffer in some manner in order for good to take place, then so be it, whether it be for sin in my own life or to set someone else free.
I went through my worst suffering ever almost two years ago.  I felt as if I were dying inside.  I would rather have been literally beaten to death than what I was feeling at the time.  I am not being facetious, or even exaggerating about my feelings.  I even asked to be beaten to get it over with, but was told no.  But I tell you now, that was one of the greatest blessings I could have ever experienced.  God used it to bring about more good and freedom in my life than I ever thought possible.  Would I have known it was coming would I have avoided it?  Yes!!  And guess what?  I would have given up the great wonder in life that I am experiencing right now. Therefore, I am utterly grateful that it came as a complete surprise.  Did I enjoy it?  Not in the least, but I am enjoying the results of it immensely!!
God loves you and me.  It may not feel like it at times, but love is not a feeling, it is a decision, otherwise we would all go to hell.  God decided before He created us, knowing we would give in to sin and temptation, that He was going to love us regardless and lay down His own life that we might experience His life for ourselves.  A grand life it is too.  It is full of suffering, grief, turmoil, distress, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The best part is that at the end of our time here on this earth: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  I Corinthians 13:13
All the negative will be gone while faith, hope and love remain to guard our hearts for all eternity.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On Being Blessed

There is a song that was written with great intentions and has been loved over the past several years.  It is revived when there is a crisis in our land such as 9/11 and on Memorial Day quite often.  We all, including me, know the lyrics to the chorus and sing along quite loudly, even when we cannot carry a tune:

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

There is nothing wrong with loving our country.  We should, by all means, as it was a gift to us from God almighty.  Our forefathers wanted the right to worship God in freedom rather than being told how to do so, what denomination they had to attend and what they were to believe, even when it didn't match up with God's Word exactly.  They left their homeland where they had been born and reared; the land they had grown to love, for a country of which they had heard vague reports.  They left family, friends, home....How lonely they must have felt, but their hearts were determined to be allowed to serve God freely and fully, so they boarded a ship that would claim some of their lives.  They knew the probability of lives lost, yet their love of and faith in God kept them going.
Things have changed, many believe for the better.  However, the problem we as a nation have fallen into is pride in the land.  We sometimes act as if this country is our god.  We have declared pride a strength and humility a weakness and have begun to laugh at anyone who cries out for us to go back to our roots of faith and trust in almighty God.  We tend to think that because we are Americans we are indestructible.
I am personally very thankful to the men and women who place their very lives on the line to protect this nation.  My heart cries out in love and admiration for their dedication to the task.  However, I realize that without God in their midst, they can do nothing and their lives may be forfeit.  I do not want to hear about or see this take place, so I pray for them that God would move in their lives to bring them to the understanding that they need to call upon His name for strength and wisdom in each and every situation that arises.  May they depend on Him for victory in their own personal lives even more so than in battle, though I desire victory for them there as well.
If we would all turn our hearts back to realizing that everything we have is a gift from God, quit demanding blessing upon our nation because it is so great, but instead humbly ask for grace, forgiveness, wisdom and understanding in love out of respect for the gift we have been given, repent of pride in country and become humble toward the God Who gave it to us, then we become automatically blessed.

  "Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar."  Psalm 138:6

Lord, make us a humble people.  Keep us from pride and come close to us.  We, Your people, desire to be close to You and have You with us at every turn.  Thank You for giving us this country to dwell in in safety and freedom, but help us remember that these things are a gift from You and not from the land itself.  Help us depend on You for deliverance rather than the strength of mankind and protect the men and women who place their lives in Your hands in order to maintain freedom for us.  Grant them understanding and wisdom in every circumstance.  Grant them personal victories in their walk with You as well as strength and determination to do all that must be done in order to maintain victory for freedom in this country.  In Jesus' name.