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, February 25, 2013

Do You See Through the Eyes of Christ?

The Cost of Discipleship
Chapter 21- The Harvest
Matt 9:35-38

“It is hardly surprising that so few are granted to see things with the pitying eyes of Jesus, for only those who share the love of his heart have been given the eyes to see.” 

Many are familiar with the passage, “The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few.”  

Bonhoeffer takes a different approach to this passage- One that was relevant in Jesus’ day, one that was relevant in Bonhoeffer’s pre-WWII day and one that is relevant today.


The religious leaders of Jesus’ time had failed the sheep.

The religious leaders of Bonhoeffer’s time had failed the sheep.

The religious leaders today are failing the sheep.

Not necessarily the sheep INSIDE the church (which there is failure there too) but the sheep that need to be brought into the fold. 

How many times do we pass by the beggar on the street and don’t them give a second thought? Or worse, feel superior because we have a job and think it is pure laziness that has brought them to begging? 

Jesus looks on these people with compassion. These are the sheep who need a shepherd.

How many times do we see the drug addict and think they are weak or have caused their own problems?

Jesus looks on these people with compassion. These are the sheep who need a shepherd.

How many times do we harshly criticize those who have had abortions and don’t see the pain that drove them to such a decision?

 Jesus looks on these people with compassion. These are the sheep who need a shepherd.

How many times do we see the homosexual but not the person?

Jesus looks on these people with compassion. These are the sheep who need a shepherd.

How many times do we quickly say we would never do “such and such”, therefore condemning those who do?

Jesus looks on these people with compassion. These are the sheep who need a shepherd.

During Jesus’ time, “There were no longer any shepherds in Israel. No one lead the flocks to fresh waters to quench their thirst, no on protected them form the wolf. They were harassed, wounded and distraught under the dire rod of the shepherds and lay prostrate upon the ground…What good was it when the scribes herded the people into the school, when the devotees of the law sternly condemned sinners without lifting a finger to help them? What use were all these orthodox preachers and expounders of the Word, when they were not filled with boundless pity and compassion for God’s maltreated and injured people?”

TODAY: What good are all the churches in the world if we do not see people through the loving eyes of Christ and love them with His heart?

The harvest is great…do you see it? 

Are you a laborer…or a consumer? 

The time is ripe…are you ready to be sent?

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send for laborers into his harvest.” Mark 9:38 KJV

 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Matt 7:1 NIV

UPDATE: As of 2/26/13 at noon, I will  be unavailable to reply to comments till Monday. Sorry for the inconvenience. Your time and friendships are precious to me. In my absents Barb from Beyond the Sinners Prayer will be commenting for me today and tomorrow. Thanks for understanding. God bless.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gun Control: Never Let a Serious Crisis go to Waste

I haven’t wanted to discuss the current debate on Gun Laws. It’s a personal and touchy subject. It brings heated dialog. While I don’t shy from deep discussions, I think a blog isn’t always the best place for such a profoundly personal issue.

However, there are a few FACTS that are being widely distorted, ignored, or are simply unknown. 

FACT- The Second Amendment wasn’t put in place to protect hunters! It was put in place so man (and woman) could defend himself, his family and his property. To talk about hunting is skirting and distorting the real issue.

FACT- History repeats itself if people don’t LEARN from it. Sadly many don’t care to learn. Or they have been incorrectly taught by teachers who are either seeking to further their own agenda’s or have also been incorrectly educated.  

I’m not saying we are headed to Nazi Germany. I’m not even saying we are headed to Canada. What I am saying is -it’s time American’s get educated and take a stand on one side or the other (stand not in fear, but in knowledge).

It is my “estimation” that approximately half of the American’s who don’t want to see our 2nd Amendment rights infringed upon are willing to take on this battle. 

Strangely, I see many who are apathetic to this and can’t begin to fathom why this is so important. 

It’s important because it’s in our Constitution- it’s part of what makes us AMERICA.

It’s important because history does repeat itself.

I’ve heard it said that only criminals and Dictators don’t want the citizens armed.  Mull that over for a while and tell me how it sits in your stomach. It doesn’t sit well in mine. 

When I was a youth and studied WWI & WWII, I couldn’t understand how the German people allowed such evil to occur. What was wrong with them? Didn’t they see how vile Hitler was? Why couldn’t they believe his words in Mein Kampf? How could the church have been fooled? 

Over the years I’ve come to realize the Germans were willfully blind. They chose not to see the evil and/or they didn’t believe it could ever get that bad. They allowed a Gun Registry to be established which made confiscation easy. Canada did the same thing. (check out this mind blowing article/video about gun owners in Canada and a warning to AMERICA). 

FACT- If stricter Gun laws make a place safer why do Chicago and Washington DC still have the highest crime rates (Homicides, A&B, Burglary, etc)? 

People like to take convenient little stats and twist them- such a saying strict Gun laws make citizens safer. In my January Newsletter I gave a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal providing the other side of the story to England and Australia’s strict Gun laws. 

Here’s what I’ve learned both from my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and my experience as an ER RN, when people want to do something, no amount of laws will stop them.

If someone wants to hurt another, having stricter Gun Laws won’t deter them…they will find alternative means.

If someone wants to hurt themselves, not having a Gun won’t deter them…they will find another way. 

If we are so concerned with safety, maybe we shouldn’t stop at Gun Control…

 Maybe we should stop selling knives- even steak knives. We can just chew our meat like dogs. 

But we can’t stop there; we also have to get rid of all explosives and compounds that make explosives. 

And we can’t allow people to drive; they might kill someone or themselves. 

What about meds, can people be trusted to take them as prescribed?

See how crazy this is? 

IF we really want to make citizens safer we need to start having real dialog and leave the 2nd Amendment alone.

REAL dialog…our mental health system needs help. Our family structures need readjustment. Our economy needs fixing. Our insane thirst for violent entertainment needs to be curbed. Our educational system needs to be overhauled. Our priorities need to be corrected. 

Leaving the topic of Gun Control, let’s look at what happened when America tried banning alcohol- Prohibition 1920-1933. It didn’t work. In fact, it led to an increase in crime and to the growth of the American Mafia. 

Why didn’t prohibition work? Because people’s moral/desires/principles (whatever you want to call it) wouldn’t comply- there were underlying issues warring with the law. 

If America wants to decrease crime and shooting sprees, we must address the underlying issues (have REAL dialog) and stop trying to put Band-Aids on hemorrhages. 

The real reason we are having this illogical debate over Gun Control isn’t for the citizen’s safety. It’s because those who oppose the 2ndAmendment “never let a serious crisis go to waste” (Rahm Emanuel- 2008 article not related to gun control). That sound harsh?…reality is harsh. Click here for Emanuel's Gun Law push. 

I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss Gun Control and possibly tighten up some areas. What I am saying is, we have to be careful we don’t go down the rabbit hole and get lost in the darkness. I’m saying we can’t let our liberties go so easily. I’m saying it’s time for REAL dialog. 

Check out this passionate defense of our 2nd Amendment by a Legal Immigrant here- though English is his second language, he says this better than I. 

FACT- Guns don't kill people. People kill people...guns are just sometimes the mechanism utilized.  Just like forks are sometimes used to assist people in gluttony- the forks don't make the person fat.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Addiction

Late last year, I lost my father-in-law to lung cancer. This new year my husbands’ aunt is battling stage four lung cancer.

This has led me to pray about addictions.

There are many types …some more obvious …like smoking, drinking, gambling, overeating. 

Some however are easier to hide…pride, perfectionism, control, possessions/lust, greed. 

I want to take you through some truth Journaling I’ve done about my own addiction. I pray it helps you identify your addictions and begin working through them with the help of Christ (Phil1:6).

My addiction: Worry

My anxiety masks itself in controlling behaviors. 

Feeling in control eases my fears and gives me a semblance of power in this crazy and unpredictable world.  

What do I fear?

I fear not having enough food for my family, so when I see a “good deal", I buy extra.  Then having it neatly organized adds to my sense of control and gives me pride in a job well done.  (Matt 6:19-21).
I fear someone will unexpectantly drop by my house so I clean it almost daily. I can’t have them think I’m a bad house keeper. I must be a good steward of the possessions God has blessed me with …so I clean, clean, clean!

I fear…well, you get the picture. 

I have fears that I cover up by trying to control my environment and be as perfect as I possibly can. 

Where did these fears come from? 

Not from God that’s certain (Romans 8:15, 2 Tim 1:7).
Many of them came from my childhood.

My dad owned his own business and he lived by the motto “better to give than receive”.  On more than one occasion that meant the homeless man on the street got his last $20, while his family had to pawn something in order to eat. 

As I grew up, I let insecurities about possessions rule my life. I realized I had this sinful habit, but it wasn’t until I began asking God to help me understand why people have such a hard time overcoming addictions that He revealed the true depth of my own.

Now, I know why the smoker can’t “just quit”. 

Before the smoker can stop the addiction, they must realize why they began it. Otherwise they will just pick up a new addiction to help them ease the underlying issue.

When God showed me where my fears steamed from, I began asking Him to help me view my fears through His eyes so I could live victoriously over them and not allow them to control me (I thought I was in control, but really my fears/insecurities controlled me) (Phil4:13, Romans 6:16).

Next God showed me all the times my family “almost” went without. Could my dad have used more discretion on giving…maybe…if I look with human eyes. 

But when I look through the eyes of God, I see my dad’s heart was in the right place. Our possessions aren’t ours to keep. They’re ours to bless others with. Not only that, God is our provider (Psalm 54:4, Matt 6:25-34).

Not once did God not provide. So why I thought I had to protect my family I have no idea. 

On the issue of cleaning: My mom always kept a tidy house. So did I get a cleaning obsession from that?

No, God showed me it came from me not wanting to be judged by others. 

I allowed what others thought of me dictate my days. Over the years I can count on one hand the number of times someone “unexpectantly” stopped by. So why this irrational desire to keep my house super clean is beyond me.

When I boiled all these fears and control issues down, I found the real culprit: Lack of Faith and Trust in God- OUCH!

All these addictions were there because I didn’t TRUST God. I thought I had to take care of everything. I had to be worthy in others eyes. I justified it by saying I was being a good steward of the things God had given me (1 John 5:21).

I never realized they held me captive (John 8:34).

Now that I know what fuels my worry, I’m ready to break free (Romans 8:37).

This doesn’t mean I’m going to become a lousy house keeper. No, I must be a good steward. But I do it now with the right heart and mindset (Col 3:23). I also keep my priories in line and spending time with family trumps picking up toys. I'm even getting better at buying only what we need now, instead of purchasing ahead.

Questions for reflection:

What are your addictions? 

Do you know what fuels them? 

Are you ready to ask God to help you break free?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Portals: Book Review

When Michael Kimball contacted me about reviewing his Christian Fiction I was torn. I don’t usually do Christ Fic reviews, but his amazing writing on Longings End inspired me to say yes. 

I have to say, I’m glad I got to read this book. 

As soon as I started reading Portals, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down (which meant I had to stay up late). 

I don’t want to give anything away, but I will tell you the plot was gripping and the characters believable. 

While the premise of the book is about losing a loved one, it isn’t sad or despairing. 

Instead Michael uses scripture and fiction to expand your imagination as you come face to face with the question, “Is there anything you wouldn’t do to see your loved one again?”
That’s a question many of us ask ourselves after suffering a loss, but Michael gives this question real meaning when the main character is given the opportunity to change history. 

But this isn’t all this story is about. There are twists and turns you won’t see coming, a blooming romance that faces certain death and sibling rivalry that most of us can relate to. 

Portals is a fast-paced, easy read. 

You can pick up a copy at the books store on Longings End or at Barns and Nobel.
Thanks, Michael, for allowing me to review this book. It was fun! 

God bless. 

Disclaimer: Michael asked for an honest review and I’m giving it. I didn’t have to give a good one but found it was easy to do so.

BONUS! Michael has offered to give this ebook FREE to my readers. Go to Longings End Book store and put in WISDOM in the Promo Code. I'm not sure how long this offer is good, so please jump on it. This is a fun book...unlike anything I've read before.