“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Psalms 33:12) I am proud to be an American and a Christian. It seems that both are being put down, fought and even oppressed by society these days. But we have to remember that since our country’s inception, the founding fathers of the United States of America wanted God to be our ruler: “…One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” (Pledge of Allegiance). “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” (Declaration of Independence.) and even the Constitution was “done in Convention … the Seventeenth Day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America.”(Article VII). So why do some Americans fight so hard to get rid of God in the schools, government halls and other public institutions? I would argue that we need to fight back in prayer. I recently watched the movie “War Room” (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a great lesson in how to pray…against evil and Satan instead of against other people.) I recommend that we pray that Satan leave the people leading the fight against God, and then pray to God to continue to oversee America. I sat in church yesterday and the choir did a medley of patriotic songs, including “America the Beautiful.” This Memorial Day (and every day) I encourage you to remember those who have fought for our God-given freedom, to pray we vote in future leaders who keep God in America, and to keep singing, “America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”
Monthly Archives: May 2016
Hardly anyone likes to “obey” someone. I spent time with my two-year-old granddaughter yesterday and watched as she playfully ran away from her daddy when he told her it was time to leave a party at our house. He used a more serious, commanding tone the second time and she pouted a little, then followed him to the door. She was rewarded by him scooping her up in his arms and giving her a kiss. I think that’s how it basically is with our heavenly Father. Sometimes we just don’t want to do what is asked of us, even though we know it is God’s will or is for a greater good, especially if it’s no fun, it’s not what we want,or it causes hardship or even heartache. I’ve been reading out of Jeremiah in the Bible and often feel like Baruch, the scribe who wrote down the prophet Jeremiah’s words from God to warn the people of Israel to repent and change their ways. The King got so angry with Jeremiah and Baruch that he jailed the prophet and burned Baruch’s scrolls. Yet Jeremiah asked Baruch to start over and write everything down again! We’ve all probably once in our lives had to completely start a task over from scratch…we deleted a file by accident on our computer, we lost important papers, a piece of artwork got damaged…and our first reaction was, “no way!” But then we knew we had to do it, had to obey. We were furious, depressed, sullen. That’s how Baruch felt, saying “…the Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest.” And God said, “…are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh…but I will give your life to you…in all the places where you may go.” (Jer 45: 2-5) As we all know, it is hard to be good and to follow God’s will (even though I have a passion to be an author, I don’t always like writing and have sometimes even questioned God, asking “Why did you pick me to do this?!”) And yet I am constantly reminded in the Bible to persevere in faith and not worry about the future because I will be rewarded. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land,” (Is 1:19) and “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!” (Deut 5:29) and “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21). I pray I can be obedient through good times and bad, knowing my reward will be great in heaven.
Monday morning, blank page, dry well, already starting the week with not enough to give. What to do when those strange mental blanks and that feeling of emptiness come on…and you have a whole day, week, lifetime ahead of you to fill? I am reminded that yesterday was the celebration of Pentecost, when Jesus gave his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit. They were afraid, hiding in a room, spent with grief, loneliness, fear. And suddenly, after being filled with the Spirit, they were courageously speaking to the people around them, proclaiming resurrection and joy. So how can we be filled back up so we can carry on and give to others? I’m reminded of the person on the plane with a child beside her who is warned by the attendant that before she can put on her child’s oxygen mask, she has to put on her own. Natural instinct would cry that you put on the child’s mask first (the plane is crashing!). But we know the truth is that we need to put on our own first in order to help our children. We can’t give what we don’t have. While I’m excited that I started last week in my “calling,” my author career, I am already feeling a little “dry” when it comes to writing this blog and beginning my second week. I don’t know why. But I know what I need to do. Fill up. First, I need to let go of worry (about tomorrow, my children, etc.) and guilt (about yesterday, my children, etc.) and focus on today. What difference can I make right here, right now? Second, I need to pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me. Third, I need to read the Bible for inspiration. I encourage you, if you are feeling “dry” or “empty” to take a few minutes and read the story Jesus Talks to a Samaritan Woman (John: 4) where Jesus meets the woman at the well and says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” I suddenly feel filled again, enough to give for this day. Time to go refill my coffee, my water glass, put on a smile and get back to work!
As I celebrate 12 years in recovery from alcoholism, I am reflective on God’s messages to all of us in recovery through His Word (the Bible) and how I can apply them today, since I write Biblical based contemporary novels. I’ve often wondered why God put wine (and other alcoholic substances) on the earth when some of us are what we call “allergic”. On the other hand, the world is full of temptations and things that aren’t good for some of us. (Some can’t have sweets, for example). Why are some of us tested and not others we might ask? Yet, after giving this some thought, I believe that those who find themselves working a 12-step program are actually quite fortunate, since it is a great, spiritual way to live and grow, get closer to God and become our best selves. It’s like turning the crosses we bear into victories. St. Paul speaks especially to those with problems with alcohol: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:15-18) And Jesus encourages us to share our message of recovery and help others: “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’…So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit…Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen…” (John 3:7-18). And to live one day at a time: “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt 6:34). We know that God (and His messages in the Bible) are an integral part of the 12-step program. And for me, that’s enough to keep me coming back and working my program, and to keep me grateful.