Thursday, April 28, 2005

Amazin' Love

Faith, hope and love are important aspects of our lives. But Jesus said, "The greatest of these is love." Isn't that the truth!! Love is so important in our lives and we really can't (and don't want to) ever live without it. Love can be defined in many different ways such as a parent's love for their children; erotic love and commitment of marriage between spouses; brotherly love of friends and fellow Christians; and, of course, the agape love of God. Agape is the term used to describe the love of God for his children and the love of us, as his children, for God. However, some find God's love for mankind confusing. I think this is due to a misunderstanding of what agape love really is. What does agape love consist of? Scripture teaches us that God "first loved us" and desires fellowship with each one of us in this life and in the life to come. He wants to love us unconditionally. He longs for us to love him freely, without reservation, without any barriers between us. However, sin has marred the chance for such a relationship because God is holy and cannot accept the presence of sin. His righteousness is the antithesis of sin and His justice declares that sin be punished, and the penalty is death. Because God loves us, His plan included a Substitute who would be our Savior, the One willing to take that punishment we deserved and lay down His life for His friends. We have the free will choice to either accept or reject this Ultimate Gift. Our sin will either remain upon our own individual souls, or, we will choose to accept God's gift of salvation, Jesus Christ who took the punishment we deserve upon himself in order for us to be redeemed for eternity. What is the cost of this gift to us? It is free. What was the cost to Jesus? It was his life. Death is the punishment for sin, so Christ took the condemnation for OUR sins upon himself in order that we be made pure through his shed blood on the cross. Why blood? Because God's word says, "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins." What is our part in this? It is to answer Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?" It is to confess our sins and ask Jesus into our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to reign in our hearts now and into eternity. Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the hope that we have, as demonstrated in his resurrection to life abides in Him. If Jesus had come down from that cross, as the one thief on the cross and some of the soldiers said mockingly to him, then he would not have paid the penalty of death for our sins and he would have entered into heaven alone. Because of our Savior, at the moment of our physical death, we will be united to him immediately because Scripture tells us "to be absent from the body is to be with the Lord." Thank you Lord Jesus. I love you and I trust you with my life now and forever!

Amazin' love, how can it be?
That you my King should die for me?

Amazin' love, I know it's true
And it's my joy to honor You
In all I do
To honor You!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Voice of Truth

I had my typical early morning routine. Woke up with a kiss from my husband before he's off to work. Made coffee, watched the news for a while, checked my message board and some favorite news websites. With all that is being broadcasted into our homes through T.V. , radio, and the internet, we are bombarded with different "voices" out there all proclaiming to know the truth on various topics.

I just heard a portion of an MSNBC show that asked the questions, "What would Jesus do" and "How would Jesus vote" and "Would Jesus be a Democrat or Republican; Liberal or Conservative." There were two guests who were on opposite sides of the political spectrum who answered (according to their basic ideology of course) these questions and quite surprisingly did a great job for the most part. The one question that I think the host and hostess neglected to ask was, "what should be our source for absolute truth?" I think that question would have been interesting to peruse. The answer(s) may have been interesting to see, too. What "side" would each guest have ended up on? How would each side have most likely viewed the Bible? Would their view be that it is meant to be progressive, frequently updated and re-interpretated for the times with an evolving moral and legal structure to match? Or, is the Bible to be viewed as God's Word to all mankind which was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit? Is it the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living?
Think about it. How one answers that question determines how we will live as Christians. Both cannot possibly be correct. It is precisely because the Bible is inspired by God that it is perceived as truth without any mixture of error. That is how absolute truth is determined.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalms 12:6; 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5

God's Truth in the Bible is how we discern which, of all the voices calling out to us today, is truly joining in lock step with the One and Only Voice of Truth, Jesus Christ.

As the Casting Crowns song called The Voice of Truth tells us:

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story

The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"

And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory

Out of all the voices calling out to me

I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

Monday, April 25, 2005

I am Yours

It's good ole' Monday morning and I have the usual long list of things I need to do. I would rather spend time at my message board than do housework...ugh...but someone has to clean this place up! I'll put on some Mercy Me CD's while I clean and that will get me through it!

I really do love sharing God's Word with people at my message board as well as other message boards. Sometimes I am met with great hostility, but many times I can see that people are desperate for the Lord in their lives (whether they know it or not, or, in fact, want to admit it or not). Not knowing Jesus, or understanding one's purpose here on earth is the greatest tragedy that anyone could face during their lifetime here. Studying God's Word and learning about His purpose for our lives here, and also in eternity, through general revelation (the Bible, Creation) and special revelation (Jesus Christ) has helped me tremendously in my every day living. I recognize the blessings that abound in my country, church, family and friends through God's goodness to us. When tragedy and death come, those who are in the Lord have nothing to fear. I have seen the difference at the funerals of the lost vs. those of believers. It is truly tragic when one goes through life without recognizing that it's "not about me", rather, it's all about You, Jesus Christ.

In Proverbs 9:10, the Bible tells us, "The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding."

That term "fear" doesn't mean the cowering, scary kind of fear, but a reverence for God. We can only get that attitude of reverence by knowing God's Word and Jesus Christ, whom God the Father has sent for our salvation, for he is the exact representation of His holy character.

One of my favorite Mercy Me songs has lyrics that say it quite well:

Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done, but because of Who you are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow

A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind

Still you, hear me when I'm calling
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling

You told me who I am
I am Yours

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Cherished family time

Sundays are so great. Time with the Lord and time with the family. It is the only day that my family of four gets to spend together and the only night that we all get to have dinner together. I miss the old days...when we would often have dinner together every night. But children grow up, they go off to college, work etc. and we seem to have meals at all different times during the week.

I just kissed my son goodbye as he drives back to Biola U. tonight. I will really miss him this week. All of the baseball games are away and at locations (like Chico) that are too far away to drive to. Ho hum. I'll see if the universities have a webcast. At least the playoffs will be at the home field! The team is doing great! They clinched the GSAC conference last week and are ranked # 7 in the NAIA with a 34-8-1 record! They are a great group of athletes who get along so well and are also fine young men. What a blessing!

My daughter and I went to Santa Monica for her commercial wardrobe fitting last Friday. We are so excited that she will be in her first commercial for Mercury Insurance which will shoot on May first! She has been taking acting lessons for over 3 years now, worked hard to get two agents, and now that she is with one of the top commercial agencies in L.A., she has averaged one audition per week! It isn't easy to break into this business, but once you do the potential for success and earning a great income is there!

My husband spent part of the afternoon getting packed up for a business trip later this week as well as a weekend away with his buddies at their annual FADE trip. FADE stands for "Fishing And Drinking Expedition". Heh heh. They were a lot younger when they started this annual trip 20 years ago so now it's more like "Fishing, a few drinks and right to bed" expedition! haha

With all this free time coming up this week I gotta round up my girl friends to spend some time together. Go to a movie, shopping or lunch/dinner. I will be busy next Sunday when I accompany my daughter to her first commercial shoot! How exciting it will be!

I just love my family! God has truly blessed me in my life and my greatest blessing has been our loving family. Even when we are apart, we always have that bond that lasts for life. And as a decorative ceramic plaque in my kitchen says, "Home is where you're loved the most." So true!

A difficult ministry

Two nights ago I was searching through a memberlist on Stephen Bennett's (a Christian ministry dedicated to sharing the truth in love about God's Word and homosexuality) website message board and
found out that some registered "members" had posted website links to porn sites! I was horrified! I knew that Stephen would not be pleased about this so I emailed the site admin about it. This resulted in closing down public access to the member list until the offensive links could all be found and eliminated.

Why do people do such things? Were they just trying to be funny?
Were they mocking Stephen's ministry? Are they just plain evil? Or, as Jesus might say, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they

Porn addiction is very real. Unfortunately, even in the Christian community. It's like smoking. Once you try it, you either cough to
death, get disgusted and never want to experience that again (me, as a teen) or you keep on smoking because you think it's cool, thrilling and pleasurable. Then your body wants more and more and suddenly, you are addicted.

Some people claim that porn is harmless. Not at all true. Sexual sin ALWAYS hurts SOMEONE and unfortunately there are victims that
we may never even know about. Just like with smoking. A person can
"get away with it" for years, unscathed, and then suddenly, they get a CAT scan and find out they have lung cancer. This just happened to a relative of mine. She had been smoking since age 15 and now, in her
early 60's she has been diagnosed with lung cancer. She is in my
prayers daily. She stopped smoking the day of her diagnosis.
Sometimes it takes the reality of a severe consequence to get one to realize their addiction and motivate them to stop what is making
them sick.

Back to my original topic. Last night I visited Stephen's new blog spot.
He is an ex-gay, now married for 12 years to his beautiful wife, Irene
and they have two precious children. He is attempting to open up a dialogue between his Christian ministry (which is designed to help individuals out of their unwanted homosexual attraction through the saving grace of Jesus Christ) and the homosexual community which is, unfortunately, often guilty of brutally attacking him for his conversion
to Christ and ministry geared towards helping all people, especially
gays and lesbians, to find Christ and live life to the fullest. He has even started a dialogue there with Rosie O'Donnell, who happens to live in
the same vicinity as he and his family! The following is a post that I placed at his blog site:

Hello Stephen,

I was the person who emailed about the discovery of the porn site links.
I'm sorry if I ruined your evening! :-( I was searching for additional Christian
sites from your member list and boy was I shocked when I found that some of
their website links were to porn sites! I knew that you wouldn't be happy about
it and I'm glad to see that it has been resolved now.My family and I live in
California. The year that Proposition 22 was passed with a 62% majority vote was
the year that I became involved with battling the homosexual agenda in our
public school. A neighbor of mine came running over extremely upset that a
gay-straight alliance was being started in our school. We are a mostly
conservative, Republican area (yes, there ARE some in CA!) and this was not
welcomed by many of my fellow Christian friends. I must admit that I was
reluctant to get involved with such a politically explosive issue. But I was
asked to sit in on some of the GSA meetings and my heart just ached and broke
for these kids! I wasn't allowed to speak, just observe. How I wanted to share
the love of Jesus Christ with these boys and girls! We offered to have an ex-gay
male come to share his story at a meeting but were turned down. I met with an
ex-gay man named Dean (now married to a woman) from Desert Stream Ministries and
he shared his story with me over lunch. I wept with grief, then joy as he shared
his life journey both into and then out of, homosexuality. We held hands and
prayed about our plan for him to speak at a GSA meeting. How I wished that we
weren't turned down by the school advisors! If only those kids had the chance to
hear his story and how he overcame homosexual behavior through the saving grace
of Christ! Sometime later, I was invited to a public forum at a local community
college campus. There were over 65 people attending and only 5 of us were
conservative Christians! Talk about being outnumbered! The leader for the
Christians was also a writer for the local newspaper. Here is a portion of what
he wrote:"Yet one of the most compelling stories told at the forum came from a
cultural conservative who shared her story about a friend of hers who was once
gay but now is not. The friend struggled with his sexuality for years and felt
outcast in the straight world. He found acceptance in the gay community. Later,
with motivation and faith in God, he changed his sexual orientation (he has been
married for five years now). But the change was seen as a betrayal to his gay
friends and he found he was an outcast once more."I am so pleased to see a blog
like yours online Stephen. I think that it is truly a step in the right
direction to open up the dialogue between people with opposing views without
being drowned out by the shouting and claims of bigoty, hatred, and homophobia.
God bless you for your efforts. Your type of ministry is one of the most
difficult (IMHO) that I have ever encountered and it is evident to me that the
Holy Spirit is guiding your way. As a Christian who previously didn't realize
the struggles of gay and ex-gay people, your website is certainly helpful in
tempering my attitudes and approach towards gay-affirming people in a more
loving and Godly way. Thank you for that!At that college forum, there were some
hot debates and tempers flared at times. At the end of the forum, a few people
approached me with some questions. One female student was apparently moved by
the real-life experiences and struggles I had shared regarding an ex-gay friend
(Dean's story). She wanted to know more about the strength and healing he had
obtained through his return to faith. We discussed the meaning of forgiveness
and repentance. She shared some concerns about a lesbian friend and I offered
some words of encouragement. We had a brief but nice discussion.What a pleasant
surprise that after three hours of sharing differing opinions a few from the
other side took the time to shake hands with the five or so conservatives and
thanked them for attending. As I reflect on that experience, I must admit that I
went from shaking in my boots (literally!) at the beginning of the forum to
shaking hands with those who were on the opposite side of the political
spectrum! It may only be my opinion but I couldn't help but notice a glimmer of
hope shine through for more breakthrough discussion in the future. I truly think
that your blog will be such a place for breakthrough discussions just like the
one I experienced when I attended that college forum!

God bless you, your lovely family and your ministry,


Please keep Stephen, his family and his ministry in your prayers. As I stated in my post, I think that it has to be one of the most difficult ministries because of the fact that it is often attacked from all sides.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

My daughter & I made the right choice!

An article that was recently posted on WorldNetDaily just absolutely appalled me! It is just another indication that the general public school system is seriously flawed. Ever since they ordered Bible reading and classroom prayer out of the schools, the intensity of evil abounds!

My daughter (then age 16) saw many of the results of moral relativism
at our local high school. She "smelled the stench" of those who would rather be "politically correct" and cover up problems and the real reasons for such problems (a.k.a. liberalism gone wild) rather than
deal with them.

If you read the article, you will read that the school had refused this mother's request for a safety transfer before the assault. My advice? Don't wait for the school to initiate a transfer. TAKE YOUR CHILD
OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOL NOW!! Register him/her into a charter school, or private/Christian school! If your son/daughter is willing to make this move, you and your child will not regret it!! If their safety at
a public school is in jeopardy YOU, AS THE RESPONSIBLE PARENT MAKE THE DECISION FOR THEM! That is why they are called "minors". Until the age of 18, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT TO PROTECT THEM AND MAKE PROPER DECISIONS REGARDING THEIR SCHOOL CHOICES/ENVIRONMENT!!As a concerned parent, I was so grateful that my daughter made such a
choice on her own and REQUESTED that I take her out of the public school cesspool environment. Am I ever glad that I did!! Since transferring out, she has successfully completed her high school
courses (only video editing computer course left) with a 4.0 average;
she has completed 3 college level courses at our local community
college which count towards her high school graduation and college credit which is transferable to her 4-year college destination. She
applied to, and was accepted at all three colleges where she had sent applications!! She has a part time job at the mall and is earning her
own income. She has been involved with acting classes over the past 3 years and late last year she had signed with an L.A. agent for acting in commercials. We have been traveling together on auditions for the past
3 months and we are so excited because she just got her first
commercial booking this week!! Those in the acting industry KNOW
how difficult and how long that first break into the industry can be!
I'm so proud of my daughter!!The Independent Learning Program at
a charter high school was the perfect fit for my daughter. If your son/daughter is miserable in their current public school, maybe
he/she should try the charter school experience too!