I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, April 30, 2012

How a Cup of Coffee Taught Me to Obey

I had an interesting conversation with God last Monday.  It went something like this:

I was pouring my first cup of coffee, thinking of all that needed to be accomplished and asking God to direct my path when I heard Him speak.  I had just told Him how I would do anything He wanted, if He simply told me what to do…and then He said, “Pour out your coffee.”

Instantly I laughed.  

Like God would tell me to pour out my coffee.  

I mean seriously, I LOVE COFFEE, I NEED COFFEE.  God would not want me to suffer by doing something so silly.  

As I was laughing I heard Him tell me again, “Pour out your coffee.”

Now I wasn’t laughing…I was moving on to rationalizing.

“Okay God, if you REALLY want me to pour out my coffee…” I waited, ready to hear Him tell me I could drink my warm beverage.  

All I heard was silence.

“Okay God, seriously, if you want me to, I will.  But it seems ridiculous.  How will pouring out my coffee serve You?”

“It will prove you obey.”


“Obey. Yes, I will obey.  But do I have to pour out my coffee?  I just made it.  Can’t I just tell You I’m willing, do I actually have to do it?”


“Abraham in the Bible didn’t have to sacrifice his son; do I have to pour out my coffee?  I really am willing to serve You, promise.” (yes I really went there in my conversation with God)

“Pour out your coffee.”

God spoke, would I listen?

I’d like to tell you I instantly poured out my coffee. 

 Instead, I spent time in prayer.  

Yes I prayed over my coffee, but more importantly, I asked God to help me be willing to listen to EVERYTHING He commanded and not just the stuff I liked.

I found myself asking these questions:

Why was I willing to do something BIG for God, but not willing to follow the simple command to pour out my coffee?  

Why would God trust me with something BIG, if I wouldn’t listen to the small stuff?

The answers- I don’t know and He won’t.  

This led me to this simple, yet profound truth:  If I want God’s blessings and I want Him to use me for His Kingdom, I have to be willing to listen to EVERYTHING and not just the things that make sense, (because pouring out a perfectly good cup of coffee did not make sense).  

But God’s ways are higher and His knowledge greater- I must be willing to FOLLOW and OBEY! 

My brain quickly jumped from my willingness to follow, to my sister who is training a new dog- it’s not going well.  The dog isn’t willing to follow simple commands.  My sister is ready to teach the basics so she can move on to more complex commands, but her dog isn’t complying.

I wonder, if like my sister, God isn’t waiting for me to follow the simple stuff so He can give me more complex tasks.

“Okay God,” Deep breath, “I’m willing to pour out my coffee. I don’t understand and I don’t really like it, but I’m willing.”

Silence.  Not sure if I was waiting for applause from heaven, but I wanted some recognition that God had heard…after all, this was a big sacrifice!

“I’m really willing God, lead me.”

I started moving towards the sink, ready to pour out my steaming cup of joy when I head,“You don’t have to pour it out.”

Now I was confused. Was Satan trying to trick me?

“God, I really want to follow You.  Please lead me, give me peace, I don’t want to be a fool.”

I didn’t hear anything else, but peace filled my heart.

I drank my coffee, full of happiness and contentment, down to the last drop! 

As I drank, I realized it wasn’t that God wanted me to pour out my coffee, it’s that He wanted me willing to pour out what I desired. He wanted me to place Him above even the smallest things.

I was ashamed, because at first I was only giving lip service to Him, I was trying to convince both Him and myself that I was willing to pour out my coffee.  But I wasn’t fooling God, He knew my heart and until my heart matched my lips, I had to pour out my coffee.  

So glad my toaster didn’t have to go up in flames for God to get my attention (referencing Moses and the Burning bush). 

Question:  What are you holding onto that God is asking you to let go of?

Friday, April 27, 2012

How I Research News Stories

I’ve been asked where I get the information for my current event/political posts or what sources I use to get my news.  

The answer is complex.  First I don’t take any news story at face value- I do my own research, sometimes more extensively than others- it depends on the topic, how much it seems distorted and my interest level.

I will tell you I listen to both right and left wing media, though both of them make me want to pull my hair out. Though I do listen to some left wing commentary, primarily I listen/read from conservative sources simply because they tend to grate on my nerves less. 

I question everything and I hope you do the same. I hope when someone is using a book as a reference you don’t just take that person’s opinions/inferences from that book, but you read the book yourselves.

Two recent examples as to why you shouldn’t take popular opinion and run with it, but why you should read the actual book - 

1.        Hunger Games- It is being touted as a great book/movie though it has stirred some controversy within Conservative/Christian circles due to its violent nature. That it involves killing has even disturbed a few liberals. I heard a liberal friend say she couldn’t believe people let their children watch it due to the killings.  On the flip side, I’ve also had a Christian friend say she found that the author wrote it in such a way as to make one understand killing is wrong.  I have not read this book, so I will not pass judgment on it and unless you have read it, you shouldn’t either. You can decide based on others reviews if you want to read/watch it, but you shouldn’t praise or criticize this work unless you have actual firsthand knowledge.  

2.       Jefferson Bible- I have recently read a few blogs on this topic and I must say it is getting on my nerves! It makes me want to yell at BOTH sides- HAVE YOU READ THIS BIBLE AND THE HISTORY AS TO WHY IT WAS WRITTEN… OR ARE YOU TAKING OUR WONDERFUL GOVERNMENT AT THEIR WORDS? RESEARCH FOR YOURSELF!!!! History has been distorted for more years than we care to admit, or realize, and this is just one more example of something being taken out of context. David Barton has written a book about Jefferson titled, “The Jefferson Lies”.  While I have not read it, I will say Barton is a man I have come to respect and I look forward to reading it AND researching its content for credibility.  For a different perspective on the Jefferson Bible than the one currently being circulated, go here- I think you will be amazed, this could be a post by itself! (go to about 5 mins into this video if you are short on time):  

I hope from this you can see I don’t just question the authenticity (facts) of a story, but I also question the motives behind the story (example, why is our history being altered, what purpose does that serve and who is doing this manipulation-and if you don’t believe this is happening you need to do some homework because you are buying into a big fat lie!).  Equally important, yet more challenging, is placing myself in another’s shoes in order to try and understand all perspectives- even the ones I don’t like,  but that is vital for me to know why I believe something.  I am convinced you can’t say you know your own convictions until you challenge them.  Know why you believe something.  You must build your beliefs on a solid foundation; otherwise you can be easily persuaded with the changing winds. You have got to stand for something or you will fall for anything - so do your research!   

Often I will provide links to where I get the majority of my material for a post, but not always, and I rarely provide all the links simply because it would overwhelm you.  

I want you to be able to do research for yourself.  That being said, here are a few sites to help you begin:

LEFT LEANING                                                   RIGHT LEANING
Huffington Post                                                                TheBlaze.com
Media Matters                                                  Wall Builders
New York Times                                                               Wall Street Journal
Al Jazeera                                                            GBTV (Glenn Beck- radio program and online TV shows- 14 day free trial at gbtv.com as well as 24/7 free streaming- http://www.glennbeck.com/publish/themes/glennbeck/live_player/)
Politico                                                                 The Savage Nation Radio Show
MSNBC                                                                 Fox News
Los Angeles Times                                           American Thinker Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Going Through the Sea of Fear and Doubt

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer your world turns upside down. It begins the moment you hear the dreaded words.  Instantly fear grips your heart:  paralyzing you, consuming you, overpowering you and overshadowing everything else.

Your world is changed and nothing makes sense.

How did this happen?

Why did it happen?

Is this real?

Maybe they are wrong?

Did I cause this?

What am I going to do?

On and on the questions and doubts flow, fear motivating each and every thought until you think you are going crazy!

And you are going crazy, for that moment in time, you are crazy…crazy with fear.

The question isn’t IF you are going to fear but HOW you are going to deal with that fear.

Everyone deals with fear differently.

Hysterical laughter.
A combination of these...

Let’s take a look at how Jesus handled fear.

He knew His time was drawing near, He knew the pain He was about to face and He was scared!
So scared He asked His Father if maybe there was another way to save the human race, even knowing there wasn’t.  He asked anyway, He was scared and He wanted to make sure all options had been explored.  

The Gospels tell us of the night He spent in prayer, Luke even describes the physical agony He endured, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44 NIV

Jesus feared what was before Him.  He wouldn’t have been human if He didn’t.

He understands fear.  

Fear is not a sin. Thinking fear is sin is a trick of Satan, a trick meant to consume us with guilt or drive us to avoid what is causing the fear.

What you do with fear, that is what can lead to sin.  But fear in and of itself is not sin -Jesus lived a life without sin and he experienced fear.  

So how did Jesus overcome His fear? 

The Book of Hebrews tells us not only how Jesus overcame His fear, but how we can too.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV

Fixing our eyes on Jesus.  He is the author of our race, He is the finish line.  

But you don’t want to die yet.

I get that.  I don’t want you to die, not until your time and that is the whole point. Jesus knows when your time is.  He knows the race you have to run, how much further you have to go and the hurdles you have to overcome.  

He WILL NOT take you until your race is FINISHED! 

And only He knows when that is.  No one, no doctor or psychic can tell you when your time in this world is finished.  

So if He knows when the end should come, and there is no way for you to know this information, why worry about it?  

Your ending is full of JOY- if you know Christ as your Lord and Savior.

So endure this trial, for great is your reward in Heaven!

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3 ESV

Hard times are going to be part of your race.  

How you face these challenges, that is up to you.

So how are you going to handle, when and if, your world ever turns upside down?

Are you going to realize your fear and take it to God the way Jesus did? Are you going to walk through the storm, trusting that in the end, there will be joy?

Or are you going to look at the waves, like Peter and sink?

When Peter asked Jesus to call Him out of the boat to walk on water, he was already aware there was a storm going on!  That wasn’t something new that occurred while he was meeting Jesus in the middle of the sea.  

A storm, with large waves, was already in progress and Peter ASKED to step out of the boat.  Knowing that, why did he suddenly have doubts and fears?  Why did the waves suddenly cause panic?

Because he took his eyes off Jesus.

When we focus our gazes on the waves crashing down, instead of on the finisher of our race, we will sink!  No if ands or buts’ about it. 

So keep your eyes focused on your goal- keep your eyes Heaven ward.

You may not be ready to go there yet (or to have someone you love go there) but God may not want you there yet either.  

Ultimately it is His decision when you leave this world.

So enjoy the time here, no matter the storms that come.

And remember, if you are breathing, God has a purpose for your life; He’s not finished with you!  

Ride through the storms; don’t let them paralyze you in a sea of fear and doubt.


Monday, April 23, 2012

What You Do Today Can Determine Your Tomorrow

When we think of the book of Nehemiah we tend to remember the hero Nehemiah was. How he led the people to rebuild their walls and gates surrounding Jerusalem.  How he encouraged, motivated and took action alongside them as their enemies surrounded, discouraged and threatened them.  He was a man of action and a man of prayer.  Throughout the centuries he’s been a great leader for all to emulate.

But Nehemiah didn’t start out as a leader, in fact he was the official cup bearer to the king- he was a servant.  But when he heard the wall surrounding Jerusalem was broken, he was distressed.  Not simply because a broken wall would allow calamity to befall the inhabitants inside, but because it represented the state God’s people were in.  They were broken and needed protection from the enemies of God who saw their weakened plight and were ready to take advantage.

Nehemiah wept for these people.  He spent time in prayer and fasting, pleading with God on their behalf.

And God heard his prayers and aligned a way for Nehemiah to go from being a servant to a leader.

You see, over the years Nehemiah had served the king well.  In today’s world he might have been considered “employee of the year”.  This loyal service won him the respect of the king.  When the king saw him distressed he quickly granted Nehemiah’s request to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem.  But that probably wouldn’t have occurred had Nehemiah not been a hardworking, trusting servant in the years prior to this event. 

What can you take away from this lesson?

Simple, you may not be in the career of your dreams and you may even be more qualified to lead an organization/company than the one in charge, but God calls you to be faithful in all that you do, not just what you aspire to do.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Colossians 3:23 NIV

Today you may be a servant, but tomorrow God could use your years of service to advance you to a great leadership position.

Don’t buy into the lie that what you do doesn’t matter- it does.  God sees everything, He hears our prayers and He works in mysterious ways.

So next time you feel discouraged, remember God is watching and God loves to bless those who seek Him.

Question:  In what ways is God using you to advance His kingdom?  Have you been broken before Him lately? Are you ready to be used, even if it’s not in the capacity you think you deserve?  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Winners Announced!

As promised four winners were randomly selected from Wednesday’s Interview with Kimanzi Constable. 

The winners are:

Joe Abraham
Lincoln Parks
Heather Day Gilbert

Kimanzi will be in contact with you via email.  

Thank you all for your wonderful support and comments.
God bless and have a great weekend!

We are all winners because of Christ-
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interview with Kimanzi Constable- Chance to win a free book!

Kimanzi Constable is a great blogger who endeavors to inspire people to follow their dreams.  He wants people to be passionate about their lives and work.  He provides practical tips to help in your everyday life while pursuing your dreams.  You can read his blog here. You can also follow him on twitter here.

But Kimanzi doesn’t just write about following dreams, he also lives out his dream of being a writer. To date he has written a Manifesto as well as two books, “Tales of the Everyday Workingman (and Woman)” and “The Difference Between Living and Existing:  A Nine Month Plan to Radically Change Your Life”.   

All are refreshingly honest with touches of humor.   Kimanzi gives the reader a look into the steps he has taken to follow his dream, along with mistakes he has made along the way.  We all want to live our dreams, but we don’t all have the courage to pursue them.  Kimanzi can relate to what we are going through. I encourage you to read his blog and his books, even if you are living out your dreams. 

Below is a brief interview with Kimanzi. His love of Christ and helping his fellow man are evident in his answers.  

1.  You talk about your work history; do you believe God was teaching you what you needed to know in order for you to peruse your dreams today?  I believe God is always teaching us, we just get so wrapped up in what we want that we miss the lessons. God taught me so much about what’s my ideal work situation and how that situation will benefit my life.

2.  What do you think is the biggest obstacle people face when following their dreams? The biggest obstacle is that they don’t really know what their dreams are. We have so many ideas in our head about what WE think is our dreams, but when we sit down and pray and think things through, it usually is different (and better). Our dreams should be a reflection of what we believe and should complement every other area of our life.

3.  What excuse do you hear most often from people for not following their dreams? The biggest excuse I hear is “I won’t make enough money”, especially for those who are supporting their families. There’s a myth going around that you have to choose between a good paying job or chasing your dreams, why can’t you do both? You can do your dream work and chances are you’ll make more money because you’ll put everything you got into your passion, no one will work harder then you. I won’t sit here and tell you it will be easy to get there but if you’re willing to put in some hard work and properly plan, the payoff will be worth it.

4.  If you had one more thing to say to someone, to help them overcome their fears and follow their dreams, what would it be? Your life is too short to spend even one minute not fully living the life the Lord wants you to live.
“At the end of our lives, we all ask: did I live, did I love? Did I matter?” Brendon Burchard
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (sorry, you said one, LOL)

5.  Who are some people that have inspired you to follow your dreams? The biggest and the one that started me on my dream path was Dan Miller, he really woke me up! There’s a whole list: Dave Ramsey, Jon Acuff, Michael Hyatt, Brendon Burchard, Chris Guillebeau

6. How important is your walk with God in following your dreams? If your walk isn’t right, your path won’t be right. The biggest danger in following your dreams is doing what YOU want to do instead of doing what the Lord has for you. When you’re walking with the Lord, you see things clearly and He honors that.

7.  Do you believe God uses our mistakes to help guide us into becoming who we were created to be? Absolutely! The Lord honors action, the mistakes usually come when we rush or do what WE want to do. Following your dream’s isn’t a big mystery: identify your dreams, plan them out, and take action.

Kimanzi is graciously giving away 4 of his books.  All you have to do is leave a comment and the winners will be randomly selected.  We would also appreciate it if you would post links to this interview on your social media sites.   Friday the winners will be announced on this blog.  Thank you all and God bless.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Web of Deception

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.”
Sir Walter Scott

I’ve liked this quote since I was a youth, but over the years it has become apparent there are too many layers of deception to fully understand or appreciate the depth of these words.

What do I mean?

Simple, over the decades America has experienced a slow eroding of our fundamental values.  The deception was so subtle that we didn’t notice it at first (in fact many still are not noticing).  

Remember back to the I Love Lucy days, when Ricky and Lucy slept in separate beds?   (If you don’t remember, trust me, TV used to go out of its way to protect the innocents of our youth).  It was slow in coming and almost scandalous when husband and wife began being portrayed sleeping in the same bed! 

Fast forward a few decades and what do we see on almost every channel…sex, drugs and anything else that pushes limits and ups ratings.  There is no one protecting our youth, no one protecting the traditional values of conservative Christian beliefs.  Not even the church is openly vocal about condemning what the Bible blatantly says is evil.  But that is a topic for a different discussion.

What I want to talk about today is a new step down the path of destruction our media and entertainment is weaving around us. 

I was shocked and appalled when I heard a CNN news person say not only the F-word, but also the N-word on TV.  In fact, I have heard two different CNN broadcasts that have used the N-word.  And it’s not just CNN; Whoopi Goldberg was upset when The View bleeped her use of the N-word (side note: I do not watch The View, but I did see this clip on another media source).

Let’s go back to when Sarah Palin was criticized for using the word ‘target’ around the time AZ Representative Gabriel Gifford’s was shot.  CNN stopped a broadcast and warned the audience it was about to use the word ‘target’ and lectured us on how everyone needs to be more conscientious about the words we use so as not to incite angry outbursts in others.  Have they forgotten their own lecture or is there a double standard going on?

I’m sorry, but isn’t using this type of language only going to fan the angry flames of racism, sexism and any other type of ism that is out there?  

I am NOT okay with foul language of any sort being used in News media. We all understand what the    N-word, or the F-word mean. It is not ‘white washing’ it, as some are suggesting, by not saying the full word.  It does not degrade the severity of the words by not actually saying them. (If you are curious about the broadcast I am speaking of, it was in regards to quoting a Facebook comment a suspected posted prior to a shooting spree in Oklahoma). 

With all this said, I have a few questions for you:  
 Why is the media/entertainment trying to get us to be okay with such vulgar language?  What is the purpose?  Won’t using this type of language inflame hate and violence?  Aren’t we supposed to be respectful and tolerant of others, so why is this being shoved down our throats? 

I’ve heard it said using this language is about reporting with accuracy.  But that is a lie. I have heard many news broadcasts not use those words and I didn’t walk away thinking, “man I wonder what they were referring to?  I don’t think they were very accurate with that report.”

We are being deceived America. But why?  What is the motivation for this?  

My answer:  I think it is to take us one step farther away from all that is considered holy and respectful.  We have the blind leading the blind.  We have evil being spoken of as good, and good being spoken of as evil.  

Wake up America, Wake up Christians…before it is too late.

“Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, "Who sees us? Who will know?" Isaiah 29:15 NIV

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm Guest Posting Today. But here is information on Upcoming Events!

As promised, a winner was randomly selected to win the book “How Do you Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews.  And the winner is:  Heather Day Gilbert!  Heather please email me your address and the book will be on its way! I hope you enjoy it.  

Today’s post is a follow up to last week’s Harry Potter Character Cast on Voice of a Patriot, please hop over to participate,  http://voiceofapatriot.com/?p=151

  Also, if you are interested in knowing more about any of the people I chose for certain roles, please indicate that in the comments section and  I will work on future posts expounding on those people (this is in reference to real people and not any HP actors/characters). 

Further news:  

I want to give you a heads up on some projects I am hoping to share this summer. 

1.       For starters, I would like to do something like a Sunday School Bible Study. 
Beginning in June, each Monday I want to post on a chapter from the book, “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I hope you will join.  You do not have to purchase the book, you can simply continue to read my posts and make comments as usual.  But I invite you to not only purchases the book and add to the conversation on my blog, but to also post on your own blog whatever God revealed to you while reading that chapter.  

I think it will be enlightening.  When reading, God reveals different things to each of us, He imparts revelations that we must share with others.  What I take from the chapter, may or may not be what God directs you to share.  

I recently finished reading this book.  Continually I was blown away by the Spiritual truths and God laid it on my heart to share it with you. I think June will give you plenty of time to purchase the book if you chose to do so.  It is not an extremely costly book. I purchased my new copy for around $14, but I have seen used ones go for less than $10.  I know there are different publishers to this book and I really don’t know the difference, but mine is from the publisher Touchstone Books Simon & Schuster.  

There are 32 chapters, but some are extremely short, so I will combine them.

Please let me know if you think you are interested in posting from this book as well. It is a big commitment and I understand if time doesn’t permit. Pray about it and see how God directs you. If you do chose to do it, we can coordinate chapters and post links to each other’s sites.  

2.   I am working on featuring guest posts (thank you Kimanzi for being my first guest, I am honored you wanted to be a part of my blog). If you would be interested in guest posting please email me at tnc.avey@gmail.com.  I only ask that your posts be less than 800 words and centered either on religion, current events, history and/or politics and spoken in respectful love.

Looking forward to this summer. God bless you all!