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Previously I wrote about where I stand regarding the upcoming election.  So what about the others?  What about the people who disagree and are voting for the other guy?  If I claim to have chosen McCain because I feel he’s ‘moral’ and will uphold good Christian values, then what does that say about those who support Obama?  Does that imply that they’re not ‘moral’ or of good Christian standing?  What about our good Christian friends who do favor Obama? 

Well, I had a good, open, honest exchange of ideas with a dear Christian sister-friend who supports Obama.  I’d like to share a few of my ‘bottom line’ thoughts. 

1) It was great having a respectful exchange of ideas where each of us allowed the other to speak and be heard without being judgmental, offended, or defensive. 

2) Neither of us based our choice on political party, but instead upon the issues that were most important to each of us.

3) Because of differences in our life experiences and the way God ‘hard-wired’ us, we’re each affected by different things and, thus, have different concerns. 

4) She chose Obama because she feels he’s the best candidate to tend to the issues that are of greatest concern to her which are also based on her Christian beliefs.

5) She does not share Obama’s views on some of his so-called ‘moral’ issues, but trusts in the process of our governmental system and its checks and balances to prevent him from acting on some of the ‘moral’ issues we both agree upon.

6) My friend made an excellent point about the use of the words ‘moral’ and ‘morality’.  We toss them around too lightly, and she feels the general view is that the Republicans claim to be the moral party and that Dems are viewed as being immoral.  I don’t view them that way, but apparently there are those who do.  I feel ‘immorality’ has been shown by people of both parties!  Which leads us to her next viewpoint of “What is morality, anyway?”  It can’t be clearly defined because each of us has our own opinions about what’s moral and what is not.  I agree.  Good point, sister-friend. 

My conclusion after our discussion?  I understand and respect her thoughts and interests, and greatly appreciated her sharing them with me.  Although I agree with her on some issues, I still can’t support Obama based on my personal Christian values.  Does that mean she doesn’t have good Christian values?  Absolutely not.  She has a wonderful, loving heart for the Lord and others, but her heart leads her to see things and be affected by things differently than me. 

So what about our differences?  They’re a good thing!  No one idea is the best idea.  It often takes the input of numerous people with different ideas and perspectives to achieve the best outcome for the OVERALL good of everyone.  Our government is set up to be a system based on the voices of many.  Our constitutional rights give us freedom of speech.  It’s that freedom that allows us to come to the table, bringing our differences with us,  so that together we can represent the big picture and work toward the best possible solutions for our problems and concerns. 

I still worry that if Obama is elected, those voices might become too liberal and there will be more chipping away of Christianity and godliness in our American society.  I hope I’m mistaken. 

My bottom line thought is this: I am grateful to live in a country where opposing views can be expressed and heard, and I feel blessed to have a friend with whom I can exchange differing viewpoints without arguing – but for the sake of sharing and understanding.  I pray for God to be with us in this election and to stay with us as a nation, to lead us forward as HE would have us to go; and that He will work closely with whoever is elected to bring about His will and intended direction for us as His people.  I truly believe we’re a nation founded to be one nation under His blessing, and hope and pray that all will come together after this election to unify as such.  May God continue to bless the USA, and God bless you.

PREFACE:  The following post is about my thoughts for the upcoming election.  I don’t know know who God favors or what He wants, but I know what He expects of me.  He expects me to uphold my Christian beliefs and to help and encourage others to do the same.  I don’t expect others to share my viewpoints, but I do hope the following will prompt others to examine their own Christian beliefs and issues of morality, then consider if their candidate supports their same views and issues.  I pray that God will be with us as we choose our nation’s leader; that we, as a nation, will conduct ourselves so that God will continue to favor and bless us; and I pray that He will work closely with whoever is elected. 

Where I Stand.  This election isn’t about political parties for me.  It goes way beyond that.  I’m not casting my vote based on party affiliaiton, but instead upon my Christian affiliation.  I’m casting my votes for the candidates who I feel are most likely to uphold Biblical teaching and lead our nation based on godly principles. 

This land is YOUR land (the Lord’s land). We are a nation birthed from the desire to be a holy nation of the Lord’s.  Those who first arrived to stake claim for this land did so with a cross, not a flag.  This land was to be one nation under God from the very beginning! 

Countless lives have been lost in dedication to preserving our nation and its founding principles, to fight for the freedoms and rights afforded by our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  I  want a President who will honor all who went before him/her to make their candidacy possible.  I want a President who will honor and respect those now serving to fight terrorism because he/she will be a President who will also respect and support those who will serve in the future, soldiers who will be dedicated to preserve our nation and its Christian roots and heritage.

God is pro-life. The first pages of the Bible begin with God creating life on this earth, and then God bringing man into living existence by breathing His own breath into man.  He commands that we shall not kill. It is not right to take the life of another human being.  Early in Genesis He punishes Cane for killing his brother.  God even punishes David, the man claimed to be after God’s own heart, for arranging for the death of one of his soldiers.  I will not vote for a Presidential candidate who supports pre-term abortion, the killing of a fetus by damaging and forcefully removing the brains of the fetus. 

History I’m not an expert on the Bible, but one thing I’ve learned is that it’s an amazing Book of history.  When God’s people chose godly leaders, God was with them to lead and protect them.  When they turned their backs on God by electing and supporting ungodly leaders, God turned his back on them for a time to let them suffer from their own actions.  I don’t want this to happen to us!

Money Money Money My husband works hard and long hours to make a good living for us.  He wants to provide a good home and future education for our children.  He wants us to be able to retire and continue to enjoy a good life.  So we do our best to be good stewards of the opportunities and financial blessings we recieve.  The Bible says we’re blessed to be a blessing.  My husband and I believe that and do our best to live accordingly.  My husband is generous in giving.  We help where our hearts feel led to help.   When it comes to money and helping others, we want to answer to God, not the government. 

Obama’s plan for taxes makes me think of the analogy where you can toss a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Teach him to fish and he eats for life.  There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in our country.  Approve off-shore drilling, for example, and not only can we alleviate pain at the pump, but we can also employ many people who need money!  There are also highways that need to made and many other jobs that could be offered to those who would benefit more from a hand up than a hand out. 

Candidate’s histories:  The history of our candidates can be an indicator of their futures in office. 

Does your candidate have a history of voting for and supporting moral issues in godly ways?  If not, are you ok with that? 

How does your candidate feel about same-sex marriages?  Abortion? 

Has he voted for or against conservative judges? 

Will those he associates himself with uphold the moral teachings of the Bible, or lead us into laws and bills that further degrade the declining presence of Christianity in our country? 

My vote will be for McCain, a man of morality, integrity, and proven dedication to our nation and those who have gone before us in service, and those who are currently serving to protect and defend us.  He won’t be perfect, but he will be proud to fly the American flag and to lead us with a moral compass, protecting lives, and lifting others up, not giving hand-outs.   

Natalie Grant has a song out called, “I Will Not Be Moved”. It includes the words from a well-known hymn…”On Christ the solid rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.  I will not be moved!” 

 We, as Christians and people of God, need to think carefully about where we stand and resolve not to be moved on moral issues.  Above are the issues that are determinants for me.  What concerns you?  Who, based on your godly principles, will you vote for?

Then the LORD told Moses to give these instructions to the Israelites:  When you arrive in the land I’m giving you and you harvest your first crops, bring the priest some grain from the first portion of your grain harvest…From wherever you live, bring…an offering to the LORD from the first of your crops…Do not eat on that day until after you have brought this offering to your God…These (offerings) will be given to the LORD…and will be pleasing to him.

When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop.  Leave it for the poor and the foreginers living among you.  I, the LORD, am your God.         – Leviticus 23:1-22

Dear Friends, 

In the scripture above, God was instructing His earliest chosen people on how to observe the Festival of First Fruits and the Festival of Harvest.  He wanted to teach them how to worship and give thanks to Him for the blessings He had bestowed upon them.   He instructed them to give the FIRST of their fruits, not what was leftover, and to give of their best.  He said they weren’t to feed themselves until they’d made their offering to the LORD.   God also instructed them to save some of what they had to share with the poor and ‘foreign’ among them. 

Well, my friends, the time to celebrate the Harvest is now, and local food banks are in great need.  Please consider making an offering to the Lord to celebrate the Festival of Harvest in your life by donating much needed food to the ‘poor and foreigners living among you’.

Joy McGuire, who runs With Love From Jesus, is in great need of food to help those who come to her for help.  She would greatly appreciate any donations you could make or food drives you might hold on her behalf.  GIFT CARDS FOR ALDI WOULD ALSO BE HELPFUL.  You can take donations any time to the physical address below.  Joy’s contact info is as follows:

With Love From Jesus – Joy McGuire

Physical address:   5226 Indian Trail – Fairview Road,    Indian Trail, NC 28079

Mailing Address:   P O Box 612,    Indian Trail, NC 28079

Joy’s cell:   704-635-0229

 If you wold like more information about Joy and her ministry, please send an email to me at  In return, I’ll forward an email to you from Joy stating her ministry’s greatest needs. 

God bless you. 


And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 8:32

She stood barefoot and awe-struck, looking out across the ocean with the wide-eyed fascination and excitement you’d expect from one seeing the ocean for the very first time.  In fact, she was so excited that I don’t think she knew what to do first!  Should she just stand there for a moment to watch the waves coming ashore under a perfect blue, sunny sky?  Go to the water’s edge to feel the ocean waters and waves coming to greet her?  Or run right in and let the waves splash her?  Oh, the child-like awe and excitement  that spread across her face and shone in her eyes.  It was fun for those of us with her to watch her and share her excitement! 

Greater than sharing her joy and excitement was the privilege to be a part of this experience.  You see, I’m not talking about a child going to the ocean for the first time.  I’m talking about a dear woman we call Ms. Betty who was 46 years old and seeing the ocean for the first time.   This was an especially amazing experience for Ms. Betty because thought she’d never get the chance to travel from her native Charlotte area.  She didn’t think she’d ever get to see the outside world again – much less go to the ocean – because she spent most of her life in prison with a sentence that would keep her in prison for life. 

Can you imagine what it must have been like for Ms. Betty to stand there and feel the ocean’s breeze, hear the waves washing ashore right in front of her, feeling the cool soft texture of the sand under her feet, and looking out at a view so expanse that it went on forever? 

God was with her in this moment and she talked about what God said to her as she spent time taking in His marvelous creation.  Ms. Betty talks about God a lot.  She’s studied the Bible and earned three degrees while she was in prison.  She speaks with a depth of joy and spirituality that most of us aren’t capable of having because we haven’t lived as she’s lived.  You see, Ms. Betty didn’t just spend all those years in prison for a criminal act that she committed, but also because she took the blame for a serious crime committed by others.  It wasn’t until recently that, while on his death bed, one of the men confessed to what he’d done.  I assume that’s when she was granted an early release.

So Ms. Betty spent all that time in prison, away from her family and loved ones, living harsh realities with a sentence that would probably keep her there forever.  Yet she has a faithful and loving heart and must have lived with great hope because she earned those degrees with no assurance from the outside world that she’d ever get to use them.  Perhaps the greatest thing of all about Ms. Betty is that she’s such a beautiful and loving child of the Lord!  She worships and praises from such a deep part of her soul, and she shares HIm and shows Him to all who take the time to be with her.  Even if she doesn’t talk about the Lord, you can’t help but experience Him through her! 

Ms. Betty is one of the most amazing and inspirational women I’ve ever met.  I’ll never forget what a moment of joy and worship it was to be with her when she saw the ocean.  Praise be to God. 

Ms. Betty makes me think of two things from the Bible. 

1) JOHN 8:32  “…And you will know the truth, will set you free.”  

2) The story of Joseph becoming a slave and prisoner, yet keeping a righteous heart and being blessed and protected by God.  As such, He was able to be used by God to preserve God’s chosen Israelite people.  This found in Genesis chapters 37 – 50. 

Like Joseph, God is already using Ms. Betty in wonderful ways to reach out to those who meet her. 

And btw…I’d be remiss to close without telling you that not only did Ms. Betty get to see the ocean and splash around in it, she also got a bird’s eye view of the ocean when the women who took her to the retreat took her parasailing, too!   Woo Hoo, Miss Betty!

In our Bible study discussion today, one of the ladies brought up ‘omission vs commission’.  I hadn’t heard that phrase before.  She explained that comission was when someone sinned by committing to do the act (they do it on purpose).  Omission was when we sinned by NOT doing something that we SHOULD do. 

Oooooh, that wasn’t good for me to hear.  You see, I’m pretty good about not doing the commission stuff, but the omission?  Instantly I started thinking of all those times I intended to this or meant to do that, and the times I’d suggest ideas to others, then let them fall through the cracks.  There have also been times I’d think of things I should do for others, but failed to follow through with my intended good deeds.  Worse yet, there have been many times I’ve had opportunities to reach out on the Lord’s behalf to do His work, but put it off and then just never got the job done.  I’ve been guilty of a lot of omissions! 

So about these omissions things…I’ll have to start being more careful about discerning what’s just a fleeting idea and what is something I need to follow through with.  I need to be careful about what I offer to do for others, being sure I can carry through with my expressed intentions.  Most importantly, I need to be mindful of the things the Lord puts on my heart so that I don’t let him down by untentional acts of omission. 

Q) How many times might I have failed others by failing Him?   A) More than I care to think about. 

Lord, I’m sorry for all the times I’ve failed to carry through with things I should have done or needed to do.  I’m especially sorry for the times I let YOU down by my acts of omission.  Thank You for bringing this to my awareness.  Please help me to live more intentionally and to keep myself accountable for that which I need to do.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen. 

FROM MY FRIEND, KENDRA:  This is the day that the Lord has made.  Don’t mess it up!  🙂 

NOTE: Following is not what I sat down to write.  Writing this post was one of those times that my fingers had a life of their own as I typed, and Someone else’s message emerged instead.  This turned out to be a longer post than usual, but it’s all what God put on my heart to say.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read His message he wanted me to type for you and me.  God bless you!  Renee

Who likes a bully?  No one.  Bullies give us a hard time and try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad.  They sometimes like to figure out our weaknesses and exploit them.  Other times bullies are jealous so they try to make others look bad or undermine their efforts.  They try to hold others back from successes, taint their good experiences, and sometimes present threatening behavior.  I know.  I had to deal with a group of girls like this throughout my high school years.  They did everything they could to make life miserable for me…all for sport, for their pleasure and enjoyment. 

I’d been friends with some of these girls since elementary!  The betrayal of our friendships hurt worse than their behaviors – especially by those who still acted like they were my friends while being a part of that group.  How could they be my friend, yet side with those who treated me like they did? 

Bullies aren’t just in our childhoods.  The world is full of bullies at all ages and stages in our lives.  The worst is one known as Satan, aka the Destroyer, Accuser, and Enemy.  As Christians we need to be on guard for him because the Bible says he’s clever, crafty, and shrewd.  He’s also cowardly.  He doesn’t boldly attack us.  Instead, he finds our weaknesses and attacks us there. 

Satan does all the things the bullies do.  He wants to undermine our efforts, especially as we grow in Christ; and he loves to get inside our heads and tell us lies.  He tells us we’re not worthy, makes us feel ashamed, places seeds of doubt so that we question ourselves and sometimes become our own worst enemy.  In short, he tries to undo all the good that God does and tries to hold us back from experiencing the love and joy God wants to give us.  Worst of all, Satan tries to hold us back from receiving the gifts we have in Jesus – the gifts of forgiveness, accceptance, and salvation. 

As despicalble and dangerous as Satan sounds, he’s actually quite defeatable.  You see, he’s already been defeated by Christ.  I don’t want to spoil the ending of the Bible story for you, but just so you know, in the end Satan wages a terrible battle, but Christ is victorious!  When we have Christ on our side, Satan has no hold on us UNLESS WE ALLOW HIM TO!    That’s right.  We can denounce any attacks Satan tries to make by claiming our victory in Christ.  In fact, it’s at the very beginning of the Bible that God curses the serpent (Satan) to grovel on the ground, only being able to bite man’s heel, and He tells Man (Christ) that he will crush Satan’s head.  (Genesis 3:14-16) That’s graphic, I know, but it tells us at the very beginning of the Bible story that Satan can’t cast a crushing blow to us!  All he can do is nip at our heels!  His blow can only be fatal if we allow it to be!  When we claim the superceding powers of Jesus Christ, we take all authority and power away from Satan. 

I mentioned above that I felt betrayed by friends who sided with my enemies.  Jesus feels the same way when side with our Enemy.  So when do we side with the Enemy?  We side with the Enemy when we let him in – when we let him discourage us, doubt our capabilities, and believe his lies that we’re not worthy.  When we give in to those thougths, we’re giving in to Satan.  God doesn’t speak to us that way.  God speaks to us with love and encouragement.  If He convicts us it’s done with love to help make us better.  God doesn’t put something before us just to tell us we can’t do it.  God is trying to say, “Stick with me and you can!  Don’t give in to Satan’s lies!”  Can you imagine how hurt and betrayed GOD must feel when we choose to listen to Satan’s voice instead of His?  And why do we do that?  Wouldn’t we rather hear from a voice of love and encouragement?  I know I would.

If you’re giving in to negative and discouraging thoughts, then you’re giving in to Satan.  Don’t let him do that to you!  Chase those thoughts right out of your head and claim your stakes in Jesus’ Holy name! 

Did you know that God created you in His own image? (Genesis 1:27)  That alone makes you good, amazing, and wonderful!  He knitted you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and gifted you making you uniquely you!  He created you with plans and purposes (Jeremiah 29:11) that are just for you!  Then He sent His Son to live a blameless life, only to be broken and crucified as the perfect sacrifice for the sinful ways of all His children.  What more do we need to prove to us that we’re good stuff and that God loves us so much that He paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could be forgiven and released from sin, shame, guilt, and self-doubt, so that we could be free to live in His love?!  Wow! That’s amazing to me.  I don’t want to trade all of those wonderful and amazing things for the bullying ways of Satan.  I don’t want you to do it either! 

Please think carefully about how Satan bullies you.  What can you do to be on guard?  Pray, in the name of Chrsit, for God to help you avoid Satans’ tricks, and for God to protect you.  Then arm yourself with God’s truth and love.  Remind yourself of the verses below:

Genesis 1:27 – 28  So God created people in his own image, God patterned them after himself; male and female He created them.  God blessed them…

Psalm 139:14-15 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you..not to harm you but to prosper you, to give you hope and a future. 

Genesis 3:14 – 15 Because you have done this, you will be punished (cleverly temted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  Genesis 3:1-5.)…He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Romans 5:16-17 …we have the free gift of being  accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins…all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. 

Hebrews 10:14 For by that one offering he (Christ) perfected forever all those whom he (Christ) is making holy. 

Hebrews 10:17 Then he adds: I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds. 

Isn’t that amazing?  God made us in His own image to be wonderful and marvelous! He created us with plans for prosperity.  He has given us authority and victory over Satan and his lies through the gifts of sacrifice of Jesus Christ, promises His acceptance of us, and will even perfect forever those whom Christ is making holy (we must offer ourselves to Christ and allow Him to do this), and then adds that He will never again remember our sins!  When we surrender to Christ’s forgiveness and repent of our sins, God wipes them from His memory forever!!!  HE DOESN’T HOLD OUR PAST AGAINS US, SO WHY SHOULD WE? 

My dear friends, all these things are true for us, but we have to make the choices to claim them.  Let’s do so by praying now. 

Dear Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for the times I’ve entertained Satan by listening to his voice over Yours, for allowing his trickery to deceive me and distract me from you, and for allowing him to make me doubt myself and the possibilities of all I can do or become with You by my side.  Please help me to be mindful of his attacks and to keep myself on guard, to denounce Him by claiming victory in Christ.  Lord, I want those wonderful things you promise.  Please forgive my sins and let me feel your acceptance.  Help me to be free in You knowing You will erase my sins forever from Your memory, and help me to do the same, looking forward not back, and finding joy in Your love, mercy and grace.  And, LORD, I pray these things for anyone reading this who needs to receive these things from you, who needs to forgive or be forgiven; who needs to feel Your love and acceptance.  To You my Heavenly Father I pray, with Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in the love of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

There’s a current praise song playing on 91.9, our local Christian radio station.   I think the title is Slow Fade.  It includes the words from a children’s song…Be careful little eyes what you see…Be careful little tongue what you say…Be careful little ears what you hear…    These thoughts are especially appropriate as I recall a pre-teen named Joanna.  

 Joanna was innocently looking for a halloween costume online.  She wanted to be Hermoine (sp?) from the Harry Potter stories.  An ad at the online costume site caught her eye.  It was an ad for the ‘religion’ Wicca.  She was intrigued and, at age 11, Joanna decided to turn her back on her Christian upbringing to become a Wiccan (follower of Wicca).    Be careful little eyes what you see…

How could this happen?  I’ll tell you how.  Just before her discovery of Wicca, a girl at church told Joanna that “a girl like her (Joanna) didn’t belong at church.”  Be careful little tongue what you say…Be careful littel ears what you hear…  

Can you imagine how that would make you feel?  Can you imagine how it would make an 11-year old child feel?  So, feeling she didn’t belong at church, she sought for a sense of belonging somewhere else, and happened upon the site for Wicca.

Joanna was keeping her new religion a secret from her mother, which tells me she must have known deep down that it wasn’t the right thing to do.  What worried me so much for Joanna was that she was obviously very impressionable at that time and had allowed the ungodly influences of others to persuade her to turn her back on Christ.  I prayed and prayed for her, often asking God to be patient with her and allow her time to realize her mistake, and also prayed that she come back to Christianity.   I encouraged her through emails to not give up on God because He wouldn’t give up on her.  “Oh, I still believe in God”, she would say.  I found a little relief in that and hoped she would continue to keep doors open for Him. 

I eventually lost touch with Joanna, something I regret.  My computer went out and I didn’t have her email info anymore.  I think of her every year at this time since it was at Halloween that someone’s unkind tongue chased her away  – and her eyes tempted her to be led astray – from Christ. 

Dear Heavenly Father, I hope Joanna has found her way back to you.  Her story makes me fear for other young people who are searching for a sense of belonging and search in all the wrong places, not knowing that their true sense of belonging is with You.  I pray that this story will remind us of how important our words are.  They can build others up, or tear them down.  And let us also be reminded that temptations are all around us to distract us from You.  Help us to avoid letting those things pull us away from You; and please also help us to encourage others in Your love – that they might not stray away.  In Jesus’ Holy name I pray.  Amen. 

About Wicca:  Wicca claims to be a religion, but books I’ve read and research online indicate that Wicca is a type of witchcraft that denies the existence of God (instead they worship spirits) and includes voodoo and sacrifices. They refute that they worship Satan because they don’t believe he exists either.  Some wiccans admit they view Christianity as mythical.   Other Wiccans claim Wicca is a ‘peaceful’ religion, but even the ‘peaceful’ followers are not of God/Christ.

In the first part of this post (scroll down to post below), we reviewed Deuteronomy 8:11-20.

The final verses (19-20) say this: But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed.  Just as the LORD has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

Notice that when Moses is speaking of the LORD our God, the word ‘God’ is spelled with an upper case ‘G’.  When the word ‘god’ is spelled with a lower case ‘g’, it is referring to other things or beings that other people (usually referred to as pagan people) worshiped as their gods.  In Biblical times other people worshiped idols (inamimate objects that they believed to have power) or beings to which they prayed, bowed down to, and for which they made sacrifices.  That seems primitive to most of us today, but the truth is that many of us do worship and bow down to other gods.

God should come first in our lives.  Anything deemed more important than Him that we ‘serve’ is a god.  Anything that becomes the basis for which you live your life, or keeps you from fully worshiping God or putting Him first in your life, is another god.  A few common gods in today’s life are money, status, self (pride), and even those precious little beings in our lives that we call children.  Yes, children.  Who comes first in your household?  Your spouse or your children?  Do your children’s needs, wants and desires control your schedules, budget, and ability to have alone time with your spouse? Better yet…do their needs interfere with your ability or willingness to go to church and/or tend to your own faith needs?  I hope the answers are ‘no’ to those questions! 

So do you worship or bow down to other gods?  I hope your answer is ‘no’ to that question, too!  However, if you discovered that you do put your love and desire for money, status, self, children, or _______________ (you fill in the blank) before all else in your life, then this is the time to recognize those tendencies and reprioritize your life so things are in better order.   

How about as a nation?  Are we putting God first in our nation’s life?  Or are we allowing ourselves to bow down to other gods? 

I believe God still wants us to be one nation under Him, for Him, and abiding by His ways.  I pray for us to be that nation, and for HIm to continue to favor our country with His blessings.

And the Bible says:

Deuteronomy 8:11-19 (NLT)

Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws.  For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, that is the time to be careful.  Do not become proud at that time and forget what the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.  Do no forget that He led you through the great and terrifying wilderness…where it was so hot and dry.  He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors.  He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.  He did it so you would never think that it was your own strength and energy that made you wealthy.  Always remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you power to become  rich, and he does it to fulfill the covenant he made with your ancestors.

But I  assure you of this: If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed.  Just as the LORD has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God. 

The words above were spoken by Moses to the Israelites just before they entered the long awaited Promised Land.  He said that they would need to be careful when times were good and prosperous because then it would be so easy for them to feel self-sufficient and forget about the LORD and all that He had done for them.  He also reminded them of just a few of the many ways God had provided for them when they were in need. 

We are very much the Israelite people today.  Even though God has shown Himself to us in powerful and awesome ways in the Bible and in our lives today, we still fear the unknown and long for the times we ‘knew’ and that we felt we could control.  We can’t control whether or not we’ll be able to fill up with gas when we want to.  We can’t control the outcome of the economy.  And we can’t control the outcome of the election or how the elected President will conduct himself.  We are facing many unknowns and many things we can’t control.  You know what?  It’s ok!  God CAN see the big picture and knows the Grand Plan.  He CAN bring about good and deliver us from oppressions.  He’s proven it time and time again, beginning with His time with the Israelites when He brought them out of Egypt and delivered them into the Promised Land.  He’s the same God today He was then, and just as He delivered His people then, He longs to deliver us now.  So don’t be afraid of the unknown.  Embrace it in faith knowing God can handle it and He will if we turn to Him and ask Him to do so.   We, as a nation, need to turn from fear and turn to faith.

Re-read the verse above and apply it to today’s economic and political situations.  What does it say to you? 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”  -Proverbs 3:5-6

God bless you.

Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.  – Hebrews 10:24

Encourage one another daily, as long as it is Today…    – Hebrews 3:13

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  -Ephesians 4:29

Although he’s been a good little ball player in the past, my younger son began this baseball season in a hitting slump.  He’d moved up to machine pitch and just couldn’t get a hit.  Though hopeful in the first few games that he’d get a hit, he quickly became discouraged, said he wasn’t a good player, and started losing interest in the game.  He even tried getting out of practices. 

Because of his genuine desire to help the kids, the coach extended a special invitation for my son to meet with him an hour before the next game so they could practice hitting.  By the end of that practice my son was hitting balls again! 

My older son is on the middle school football team.  At one of the first practices, the coach had the players running timed laps.  One of the players who wasn’t as fit and agile as the others was struggling to make it around the track.  “Just keep moving! Don’t stop!” the coach said.  Some of the players had already completed their lap.  They saw him struggling and ran across the field to join him, run alongside him, and help him make it all the way around. 

The coach had the players run three more timed laps.  Each time the one who struggled said, “I can’t do it, Coach!”  And each time the coach replied, “Yes, you can!”  By the time the fourth lap was run, almost every player was running alongside this determined young man who wouldn’t quit.  They paced him and cheered him along, and that fourth lap was his best finish of all! 

Both my young son and the football player had it in them all along, but it took special help and encouragement from others to lead them to success.  We were excited to see our son hitting well again, but what we most appreciated was his coach taking the time to instruct him and give him the encouragement he needed. 

The Bible calls for us to come alongside others, to help and encourage them.  With my son, it just took an hour to make a huge difference not only in his performance, but also in his sense of confidence and self-esteem.  Just an hour with his coach was the difference between being discouraged and being determined. 

How about you?  Has there been a time when someone’s time, help or encouragement made a difference for you?

Who could benefit from your time, attention, and encouragement?  How might you help them along?  Sometimes just sharing a kind word of appreciation, admiration, or encouragement – or giving someone a smile – can change a person’s day and entire outlook. 

When you pray, ask God if there’s someone who could benefit from something you could say or do for them.  Take note of who comes to mind and be sure to follow up with those people.  Be aware of those around you.  God might have put them in your path so you could make a difference. 

I’ve benefited many times from the generous words and acts of others to lift me up, inspire, teach, and encourage me.  It is my daily prayer that God will use me to do the same for others.

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