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!

Friday, June 29, 2012

July Newsletter

Not too late to sign up for my July Newsletter. Sign up is easy- look to the right side of this post and you will see the word Newsletter written in white. Be sure you confirm your subscription through your email.

You can opt out at any time!

What's coming in the next issue?

Featured Blogger- Lincoln Parks

Books I recommend reading for this upcoming Political Battle.

Rise of Fascism 

Global Warming

AZ Immigration Laws

Isaiah 9:10 and Sept 11, 2001 - How are they connected?

And More!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Founder's Key- Book Review

Upon reading “The Founders’ Key” by Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, I am even more convinced America is at a cross roads.  We are a nation divided, with one side endeavoring to preserve our constitutional heritage and the other seeking to change it.

But what is our heritage?

What is the foundation we are built upon?

Do we even know and understand what our founding documents mean?

Arnn takes the reader step by step through the dilemma American’s face as both sides war over the meaning of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  He also breaks down the language found in those documents so we can understand how the founders intended them to be read and utilized.

He addresses common arguments employed to discourage American’s from preserving our foundation for a more progressive path leading toward bigger government. 

An example of this perversion of history is taking the issue of slavery out of context from the reality it was in 1776.  The “modern” WORLD, not just America, utilized slaves and profited off slave trade during that time.  The fact that some of our founders owned slaves does not diminish the bold steps they took to, at first slow slavery in America, and ultimately lead to its extinction.  Abraham Lincoln used the founding fathers own words to pursue emancipating slaves! 

Arnn highlights the truth surrounding the fallacy that the founding fathers did not mean “all men are created equal”.  I only wish he would have gone into greater detail about the history of slave trade in America and the founders’ views of it, however he gives the reader enough information to formulate a solid opinion. 

While his  book is not all inclusive to every argument that currently is being debated (who has time to read the volumes of books that would entail) he provides the reader with a basis for understanding our heritage and what is at stake if we allow our founding documents to be distorted by the progressive message. 

Not only does he lay the ground work for the reader to do further research, he also provides many helpful documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States of America, many of the Federalist Papers, an article by James Madison and other supportive notes. 

I recommend this book for anyone weak on American history and our founding government. It is a great start to learning about our Nation: where we’ve been, where we are and where we are headed! 

This book was provided complimentary by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through BookSneeze for the purpose of honest review. 

If you like what you read on my blog, you'll enjoy my Monthly Newsletter! Sign up at the top right hand side of the screen!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Cost of Discipleship Ch 2 Part 3

So far we’ve seen how faith and works go together. If divorced, we are bound to have problems.

If faith stands alone, we rest on cheap grace. A grace that thinks the sum of Christianity is saying the sinner’s prayer with no need for further change, action, or discipleship.  If works stand without faith one is doomed for hell, for the Bible clearly tells us we cannot work our way into heaven.

We’ve also look at disbelief being a form of disobedience, whether deliberate or unconscious. 

Today we delve even deeper, but first let’s go back to this phrase:

“Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.”

Scenario: Unsaved man desires to know more about Jesus but finds it difficult to believe.  At first he claims ignorance of God and His commandments, but as he begins to learn and hear about the grace of God he still is uncertain and asserts there are grey areas in the Bible, various interpretations and therefore he doesn’t know what to believe. As he continues to question the Bible, his heart grows harder until he finally decides there is no way for him to be saved.  

He may say, “I have lost the faith I once had.” 

Christians often do not know how to respond when confronted with this situation. This man tried and has given up. Perhaps we think he is being stubborn. He is being disobedient and therefore he cannot be saved because he refuses to have faith. 

 “Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.”

We, and the man, conclude he cannot be obedient because he does not believe.

But that does not have to be the end for this story.

“Only he who is obedient believes.”

Here is what Bonhoeffer says to one who struggles to believe, “You are disobedient, you are trying to keep some part of your life under your own control. That is what is preventing you from listening to Christ and believing in his grace.  You cannot hear Christ because you are willfully disobedient.  Somewhere in your heart you are refusing to listen to his call.”

Bonhoeffer explains that man must step out of his comfort zone to meet the Savior. So long as he remains inactive, he feels justified in his lack of faith and will continue to not hear the voice of God calling. 

“Our sinner has drugged himself with cheap and easy grace by accepting the proposition that only those who believe can obey. He persists in disobedience, and seeks consolation by absolving himself.  This only serves to deaden his ears to the Word of God.  We cannot breach the fortress so long as we merely repeat the proposition which affords him his self-defense. So we must make for the turning point…and exhort him to obedience- “Only those who obey can believe.””

If we move out of the sphere of questions, doubts and disobedience we are able to hear more clearly.  The will of God become easier to understand and our hesitations begin to fade, but first we must MOVE. We cannot remain immobile and expect our walk with Christ to grow!
Bonhoeffer continues, “He will be …compelled to come to a definite decision. In this way his ears are opened once more for the call of Jesus to faith and discipleship.” 

To help us understand this scenario Bonhoeffer looks at the Rich Young Man in Matt 19:16-22.

Here we find a young man who knows the Bible and wants to have a religious discussion with a “Good Master”.   Jesus quickly lets him know He isn’t an ordinary rabbi and the young man goes on the defense asking “Which?” commandment pertains to him, even though he knows the scriptures.

“But this means disobedience from the start. Doubt and reflection take the place of spontaneous obedience. The grown-up man with his freedom of conscious vaunts his superiority over the child of obedience.”

This young man wants an academic discussion, a pat on the back for his works; he is unprepared for a meeting with God.  

“He hoped Jesus would offer him a solution to his moral difficulties. But instead he finds Jesus attacking not his question but himself.” 

Jesus commands him to ACT instead of focusing on details.  

When we listen to Satan we find an endless array of questions keeping us from performing whatever task God is calling us to do. “[H]e (Satan) says: “Keep on posing problems, and you will escape the necessity of obedience.”

Bonhoeffer breaks this scripture down further.  I encourage you to read it as it is very enlightening.
Next Bonhoeffer looks at the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-29.  This man too questions God; the only difference- we are told he is trying to trap Jesus by his questions. 

To sum this chapter up- whether you are an unbeliever, a new Christian or been a follower of Christ for multiple years: 

“You can only know and think about it by actually doing it.  You can only learn what obedience is by obeying.  It is no use asking questions; for it is only through obedience that you come to learn the truth.”


1.        Have you ever witnessed to a person who struggling to believe, if so how did you handle it? Do you think the equation of obedience and faith would be effective in witnessing?
2.       Can you see how this applies to our daily lives and being obedient and not just about the initial call to follow? What is God calling you to do that is testing your faith? Does this post help motivate you to ACT regardless of all your questions?

1.        Is God trying to speak but you’re having difficulty hearing/understanding?
2.       Do you have more questions than answers?  If so, I encourage you to take the step even if you don’t have the faith.  You may not have answers right away, your life may not change immediately, but I truly believe God wants to lavish His love on you.  Please be open to listening, take a step…what could it hurt?

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Heart Is Breaking...Is Your's?

I was watching Fox News yesterday morning when a disturbing video had me falling to my knees in prayer. 

Dear Lord in Heaven, help us!

I really don’t have words to describe the emotion this story evokes in me and I pray in you as well- I pray you are affected by watching this, because if you aren’t, God help you.

Please read the following and watch the video in its entirety. You can also Google multiple other stories on this horribly tragic interaction between Middle School youth and an elderly woman. I didn’t have the stomach to read other articles, so I have only provided one link.  

Let us pray for our nation, children, school systems, family units and churches.

America needs God. This is one more example of the wickedness eroding our culture.

Are we going to do something to change this world or look the other way?

There were other people on that bus; they looked the other way…will you?

Side note- many are donating money to this woman and I believe that is wonderful, however that does not change the fact that similar occurrences happen on a daily basis. We are in a spiritual war, it’s time we put on the Armor of God and resist the evil around us. It’s time we shine!

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:16 NIV

Question for you to think about:
What are you going to DO to help change this world? (Faith + Works)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Love Story

Today, I have the privilege of guest posting at CycleGuy’s Spin. Please stop over and read part of my testimony- Walking Through the Valley of Death. Below you will find a short poem I wrote a few weeks back. Hope you enjoy!

Also, if you have not signed up for my Monthly NEWSLETTER you can do so by clicking on the white header to your right- it will only take a few seconds and I would greatly appreciate it (and don’t forget to confirm your sign up in your email)! For more info on the benefits this Newsletter provides please see this post.
A Love Story
I love her.
It does not matter that she doesn’t love me in return.
I cannot help that I love her.
It is as natural to me as breathing.
I love her.
It’s that simple…and that complex.
I will wait for her…and she will see.
She will someday know that she is my beloved, that there is none above her.
My love will prevail.
Of that I have no doubt.
Though her lovers court her with dazzle and flare, she will not be deceived for long.
Though her lovers cast me in the shadows, the beauty of my love will overcome them all.
Though her loves be as numerous as the sands of the sea, still I love her as dearly as if she were my very own.
I love her.
It’s as simple as that…and as complex.
My love for her is purer than the freshly fallen snow.
My love for her can move mountains and stop an angry bear in its tracks.
My love for her is all consuming, a fire I cannot put out!
My love for her is everything to me.
And so I will wait.
I do not mind.
For one day, she will know and she will be mine.
She will come to me and I will hold her.
She will ask forgiveness, for which I will tell her there is nothing to forgive.
I gladly wait, knowing this prize is worth the sacrifice.
I gladly wait, knowing someday she will love me as I love her.
She is my beloved and I am hers.
I belong to her as surely as night follows day.
I belong with her as surely as the tides ebb and flow.
I belong to her for she is mine.
My beloved.
I like the sound of that.
My beloved.
Someday she will be mine.
I will wait.
I have no other choice, I love her.
It’s who I am.
I do not change.
For my name is eternal, just as my love.
I am Jesus Christ and I love her…so I will wait. 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV

I don’t know about you, but to me, this is the greatest love story ever! No one has ever loved me as much as Christ, and though I have never met you, I know no one has ever loved you as much as Christ does. 

Jesus loves you…and He will wait…but once your life is over, it’s too late. 

Jesus is a gentleman, He will not force Himself on you…you must chose to accept His love over all the other lovers this world offers. 

Jesus loves you…do you love Him?

Monday, June 18, 2012

"The Cost of Discipleship" Ch 2 Part 2

“Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.”

These next pages get deep, and can be summed up by reading James 2:14-26. However let’s go deeper and see how faith and works should be married in our walks with Christ, for we truly cannot divorce faith and works if we are Disciples of the One who calls.

“For faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience…In one case faith is the condition of obedience, and in the other obedience is the condition of faith.”

Divorcing faith from works creates multiple problems.  Works in and of themselves cannot save us- they only provide an external show of religion.  On the flip side, as James says, “Faith without works is dead.” 

Bonhoeffer delves deeper, “If a drunkard signs a pledge, or a rich man gives all his money away, they are both of them freeing themselves from their slavery to alcohol or riches, but not from their bondage to themselves.  They are still subject to the commandment of works, still as submerged in the death of the old life as they were before.” 

This external show of obedience has left the heart unchanged. Faith was left out of the equation.

So how does one know if their hearts are aligned with their external works?

“[W]e can only take this step aright if we fix our eyes not on the work we do, but on the word with which Jesus calls us to do it.”

Next Bonhoeffer explains the account of Peter walking on water. Before he stepped out of the boat, he asked Jesus to bid him to come and Jesus complies.  Jesus calls, Peter fixes his eyes on Christ (for a time) and takes that step of faith necessary to walk on water-remember there was a storm going on.  Faith + Works = Miracles.

Time to get your toes stepped on

“Unless he obeys, a man cannot believe.”

Re-read that statement.  

When I do, I hear that unless I am willing to obey in EVERYTHING, I am not believing in Christ. But my brain immediately rejects this saying, “I’m a Christian, I believe, I follow my Savior.”  But do I?  Is there something I am holding back? Some area of my life that is off limits to God? Some hurt I refuse to let go of? If so, I am lacking in faith, I am being disobedient- even if it is unintentional. 

 “The man who disobeys cannot believe, for only he who obeys can believe.”

Is your walk with Christ difficult? Do you struggle with hearing God? Is reading the Bible boring and your prayer life stagnant? Perhaps there is an area of disobedience (even unintentional or subconscious) that needs to be addressed first. Perhaps before God can expand your faith,  re-kindle your passion or answer your prayers you first have to become obedient by aligning your faith with your works. 

When I read this chapter, I think not only of people who are trying to work their way to heaven, but also of those who take too much pride in their works and their works become their trophy/idol/god in place of Jesus.  

We must make sure we are fixing our eyes on Christ, listening to His directives and following HIM, not our works. 

Relating this back to the original call to follow Christ (look at last week’s post) we know that when Jesus calls and we must decide if we will follow. This next statement by Bonhoeffer is true of our first calling to follow, as well as all future callings to listen and obey.

“Do not say you have not got faith. You will not have it so long as you persist in disobedience and refuse to take the first step.  Neither must you say that you have faith, and therefore there is no need for you to take the first step.” 

Growing up in a Baptist church, each Sunday we had an alter call. Each Sunday the preacher would say we could be saved if we sat in the pew and prayed the prayer but he encouraged us to take that step of faith and come forward. Looking back, I think this is wise. That step doesn’t save you, neither do magical words/prayers. It is faith in Christ’s work on the cross that saves and that faith in Christ requires action by us.

Christ does not call us into inactivity. His ministry was extremely active, that hasn’t changed. Following Christ is hard WORK! But we do that work by and with FAITH. Faith + Works = Discipleship

Now to those who want to argue that they don’t have the faith to step out, that they are not sure if they ‘believe’ or ‘hear the call’(whatever that call may be) here is what Bonhoeffer says, “If you believe, take the first step, it leads to Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe, take the first step all the same, for you are bidden to take it.” 

Do you hear?

Will you obey?

Questions: (you do not have to answer these on this blog, but I encourage you to prayerfully meditate over this). Of course comments are greatly appreciated and help others learn.

1.       Is there an area of your life you are struggling to surrender to Christ? If so I encourage you to acknowledge it and to ask God to help you let go.  I also encourage you to realize it has taken a life time to make you into who you are, change will not happen overnight. Discipleship takes time, it requires training to become like Christ and to follow Him- give yourself some grace, Jesus is.

2.      Can you see how crafty Satan can be by twisting the message of faith and works? What are some other distortions to this Biblical truth you see/hear/witness/experience?

3.      Is this message difficult for you? Are you struggling with your faith and works? If so, I pray you ask God to bring revelation to your heart and mind and to reveal HIS word for YOU.