3 Steps to Everyday Freedom

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 5:9                                New International Version (NIV) Enjoying Freedom Everyday freedom. As Christians, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to enjoy everyday freedom like no one else. We have the freedom to walk away from our sins and failings. The freedom to trust in Jesus, who is with us always through it all. We can forgive and be forgiven. Build bridges by building others up. We even have the ability to forgive ourselves for things we have done and not done, sins of omission and commission. We have the freedom to lead others to Jesus so that they, too, can walk in the everyday freedom that comes through Him alone. We have the opportunity and freedom to pray for ourselves, and others, with confidence, and to anticipate God will hear and answer our prayers as we seek to emulate Jesus. Perspectives Each of us has our own idea of what God is like. For some, He is a wrath-filled, angry task master; for others He is the very definition of Love, kindness, mercy, and compassion. How we see God has everything to do with how we see Jesus, and visa-versa. When you know Jesus, you know God, as He took human form while on earth. Surely our relationships with our parents can influence how we see God. Harsh parenting can lead one to conclude that God is punitive. Conversely, loving parents can...

Endurance, Perseverance & Patience

Endurance. Endurance and perseverance are so central to finishing any race. When blended with patience, these qualities often propel people to successfully complete the journey they embark on. These qualities make possible what God has asked them to endure. Endurance and perseverance, when blended with patience, are necessary to complete any task one sets out to complete—even and especially, healing. Two Brave Friends I have two friends who are fighting breast cancer bravely right now, with all their strength. The sheer courage these two have shown to all who know them is nothing short of miraculous. Even in this time of suffering, these women are faith-filled witnesses, shining examples of what happens when one serves God with all their strength despite adversity. The poise and grace they present to all who know them is clearly a testimony to the love of God, as they forge ahead with major surgery and cancer treatments that would challenge even the strongest among us. What makes them so special is the fact that they give God all of the credit for helping them and being by their side through every bend in the road. They lean heavily on His mercy and compassion. Perhaps more heavily than if they did not have such a need for healing. Cancer treatment is not for the faint of heart, but they credit God with the strength they embody, and the progress they make, in fighting their cancer. I’m sure they have asked “Why me?” at times, but their focus has stayed squarely on the healing power of the mighty God we serve. Surely these good women have...

Fallen Short & Lifting Up

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 Once I was in the hospital for 5 days and had a seemingly constant flow of visitors. They were quite friendly towards the staff, and lovingly acknowledged everyone from the doctors to the maintenance staff. I had so many visitors, in fact, that two nurses pulled me aside, and commented on how outgoing and friendly my friends were. They both asked me where I met my friends. “I met most of them at church,” I said. “What church?” they asked as they pressed for more information. So I told them. I suspect they saw in my friends what I also saw in them: The love of Jesus Christ. It is often said that church goers are ‘saints’ and everyone else are sinners. But that is far from the truth as we all have the capacity and propensity to sin. Some say arrogantly (and blindly) that sin is what others do. These prideful attitudes are pervasive in our culture, but detrimental to both church-goers and the unchurched. Though we try with all our strength, none of us is ‘good’ all the time. We are all flawed to some extent and only human—we need Jesus to be lifting up all who fall short of the glory of God. That reality only gives us more reason to pursue our faith with fervor to be the best we can be in God’s eyes. The truth is that we are all sinners to varying degrees—all of humanity, indeed, and we sin in a variety of ways through sins of omission...

No Condemnation in Jesus Christ

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1   This scripture tells us there is no commendation in Jesus Christ. So what does that mean? When you believe and trust in Jesus, you are free from judgement toward others. Discernment vs Worldly Judgement Tempting as it may be, we do not have the right to judge others, as that is Jesus’ job. There is a big difference between recognizing and addressing sin, and condemning someone through judging. At times we need to paradoxically trust our discernment, but also  refrain from judging others. We are called to pray for them, and ask God for discernment, and wisdom in every situation. When our prayerful discernment leads us in Divine  judgement, based on prayer and scripture reading, we are to lovingly encourage others along to return to the narrow path. Ironically, we are called to both strive to be at peace with everyone, and also, to avoid worldly judgement. Sometimes that means speaking truth in Love—even when it is not easy. At times such truth may not be well received, but it still important all the same. As the need arises, we need to try to gently encourage each other in Love to stay on, or return to, God’s uniquely planned journey. Can’t Earn Heaven When you have the Holy Spirit of Jesus within you, you naturally want to do as much good as you possibly can, to serve God. For who can possibly condemn one who is...

Are You at Peace?

Are You at Peace? “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,                                                 live at peace with everyone.”  Romans 12:18 Are you at peace? What a blessing it is when we are at peace. At peace with ourselves, at peace with our circumstances, at peace knowing we did our best, at peace with others—those we love and those who are difficult to love. When we are at peace, life just seems to run more smoothly. However, sometimes perfectionism, fear, challenges beyond our scope, or difficult people can throw a wrench into our best laid plans, leaving us unsettled, even reeling. It all makes such good sense to strive to be at peace each day. Yet, it is hard as we strive for peace, the operative word here is, ‘strive.’ As the Winds Change Sometimes peace can be elusive. Left to our own devices, being at peace may be dependent on our mood, the challenge at hand, or even the erratic behavior of others. As the winds change, there goes our peace. Yet, most agree peace is worth pursing all the same. Sometimes, we are ill-prepared to embrace peace, and we let another person make it seemingly impossible to attain that goal; so we let them steal our peace and joy. Good Reason to Find Peace There is ample, good reason why peace and joy are two of the first fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. They are two of the nine manifestations of...

5 Ways to Allay Stress

“Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”   Mark 5:34  New American Bible (NAB) by Adele M. Gill Stress is just a fact of life. We need to know how to allay stress. When we are in the thick of things, it is easy to get distracted by our circumstances, and forget to pray and ‘invite God in.’ When things are going smoothly, we often have little use for prayer. However, truth is, when we are in the thick of things is when we need God the most, but easily forget He is in our corner. That is when He is the closest to us–in times of suffering, strife, and yes, even times of stress. Here are 5 ways to allay stress and place God first in your life: Pray and invite God in before things seem to get out of control to allay stress. Ask your Christians to pray for you in stressful times, especially when you cannot pray for yourself. Thank God for all the blessings that He has showered upon you. Gratitude to God opens doors to His grace. Give credit where credit is due. When you pray and God ‘shows up’ to help you, be sure and thank Him, and tell others about what He is doing in your life. Prayer and gratitude are the keys to a deep, abiding inner peace and subsequent joy. Read the Bible daily for practical, spiritual direction. The Power of Prayer Is Strong Some people say faith in God is a waste of time, nothing more than a sign of weakness. But there is much they do not understand...

Faith: The Timeless Power Source

Faith in God is the timeless power source that changes lives. Those who have it recognize its power, and consider it their greatest treasure. Self-proclaimed Atheists and Agnostics, however, often cynically discount faith and prayer as useless and illogical. Yet, what is it about the gift of faith that makes it compelling, relevant and central in the lives of so many people in the US and around the world? There must be a reason… Unmerited Favor Faith in God is something that comes from God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a gift freely given and received through grace—unmerited favor, by a God who knows our every thought and move. People who have faith in God are, in a sense, plugged in to God, the timeless power source for all peace, joy, and unconditional Love. They trust Him. Like a tree planted by a stream has deep roots, so it goes with people of faith as they place their trust in God. Their foundations cannot be shaken or destroyed. Conversely, life without God is like having no power source, no oasis or water source to replenish and flourish.   God’s Unmatched Generosity Truly, the drudgery of this world can be dull and overwhelming—even underwhelming. Without God, when tragedy hits, there seems to be nowhere to turn, and little comfort can be found. We depend on our own devices to ‘get us through’ trials and tragedies. One cannot purchase faith or wish it into existence. That is, it cannot be bought by putting large donations in the offering basket. God’s grace and faith are not things that...

Extreme Abortion Laws: Celebrating Infanticide?

63 Million Babies Killed Since the passage of Roe vs Wade legalized abortion on demand in 1973, 63+ million babies have been aborted in the US alone. Certainly anyone can understand that unintended pregnancy is a daunting, life-changing experience. But the killing of 63+ million babies on demand by the abortion industry? Indefensible. It is the equivalent of the killing of a whole generation. Almost as many as died in WW II. This statistic speaks volumes about the lucrative abortion industry as a whole, one that takes advantage of vulnerable women and ends the life of precious babies: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”  Jeremiah 1:5 Abortion Up Until Birth New York recently passed a bill, the Reproductive Health Care Act, legalizing abortion of babies up until birth. Abortions there can now be performed without a physician present, or regulations in place to ensure the mother’s safety. This legislation reverses many of the precautions and protections for the mothers. It promotes abortion on demand for virtually any reason, and most importantly, mortally endangers viable baby’s lives through infanticide. The passage of this new law in NY, more than a few other states are planning to follow suit in a sort of domino effect including OR, RI, NM, VT, VA, and CA, among others.   Upon passage of this new extreme abortion law  in NY, there was great jubilation, revelry, and celebration in the legislature, and the streets across the US. Surreal as it was to witness via mainstream and social media, prominent buildings in NYC were lit...

Perilous US Legislation: Still a Civilized Nation?

In light of new US infanticide laws enacted, one must ask: Is the US still a civilized nation? To the shock and dismay of people all over the world, extreme abortion, a form of infanticide, the killing of a viable baby, even at birth, is now legal in NY as of January 22nd, 2019. This new legislation, the Reproductive Healthcare Protection Act is perilous legislation, and a scourge to this country and humanity. Infanticide: Far Beyond Politics There is contagion with this heinous legislation, as other states are working to follow suit including VA, RI, VT, NM, OR, and CA. Infanticide is only allowed in a handful of countries around the world, including two communist countries: North Korea and China. Infanticide also opens the door wide for other life and death issues most notably, assisted suicide, thereby further threatening the Culture of Life. Though it is noteworthy that progressives and Democrats voted for infanticide, this issue is far beyond politics. Rather, it is about the life and death of defenseless babies, something that endangers the very soul of this country. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act Similarly, more recently, on February 25th, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted down the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection bill, represented by Sen. Ben Sasse and backed by 48 other conservative legislators. The bill was defeated along party lines 53-44, as 60 votes were needed for it to pass, but it came up just 7 votes short. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would have protected babies from being killed after a botched extreme abortion in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Though not...

PART II: The New York Travesty: The Reproductive Health Act

One can only wonder if proponents of The Reproductive Health Act abortion bill that was passed by the New York legislature on January 22nd, 2019 understand the dire physical, emotional, mental, and most importantly, spiritual ramifications of their actions. Have they actually witnessed first-hand, personally, or experientially through others, what they just voted in? It is doubtful, as some find it is easy to stand tall for what they ideologically believe, avoiding the harsh realities of what they consider to be truth. In this case, it is a common strategy many legislators are using to circumvent this simple scientific/ DNA truth: Life and motherhood begin at conception rather than what some mistakenly believe, at birth.   Birth: The First Civil Right At this juncture, it would be folly to underestimate the everyday workings of the lucrative abortion industry at-large, and the resulting fallout from their ending lives before they even get started. It is critically important not to confuse ignorance with evil in all of this. There is a huge difference, and it seems that the latter prevails in this calculated legislative decision, The Reproductive Health Act,  voted in by New York law makers. This legislation denies the unborn their first and most basic civil right: The right to be born. The right to be born is a universal, God-given right, and life and motherhood begin at conception.   Abortion, PTSD and Depression I have met too many women who have aborted their babies, then went on to suffer with unrelenting, untreated PTSD, depression and unresolved, vague medical issues for the rest of their lives as a result of...