Tuesday, November 3, 2020

2020 Election Day!

 

Big day! Good news - God already know the election results! So, trust Him.

Friday, October 30, 2020

PROUD to be an American - So, I Cast My Vote Today.


I am proud to be an American and cast my vote today. Yep. Got the sticker. Right there.

 

Granted, it’s just one vote out of 200+ million, but each one adds up – like drops of water in the ocean. Voting is my right – and my opportunity to show that I’m committed to my beliefs, to my country, to this world, and to you - my friend and my neighbor. I want the best for our country, as I’m sure you do, too. While we may not agree, we are fellow citizens with the freedom and privilege to make our voices heard. There were those before us who struggled, fought, and even gave up their lives for us – and our freedom so that we could…vote. 

 

In addition, the most – the MOST – important thing we can do for our country and this election – is pray. I had a friend express to me the other day that she was extremely anxious and worried about this election’s outcome. I responded to her, “It’s simple – God already knows the outcome – and He will use it (our preference or not) as a steppingstone toward His perfect plan.”

 

As difficult as this election is – as divisive as our country has been - and will probably continue to be – Christians can hang to Matthew 12:21, “The nations will put their hope in His name.”

 

My hope is in the Lord – that we will seek His will – not mine, not yours. Seek what He has prompted you to do. And then rest. Rest in the peace that God can and will do things – in situations – that we don’t always like or understand, but we can trust Him. He’s ultimately the superior in charge, not a president in an oval office.

 

Together, we’ll get through this year, and the next, and the next. Do your part – and I promise. God will do His part.

Friday, October 23, 2020

APART BUT TOGETHER – or – TOGETHER BUT APART?

Shortly after the COVID-19 “Stay-at-Home” order went into effect this spring, the hike/bike trails behind our house on the other side of the creek became packed daily. Hundreds of people and families hit the trails – perhaps for the first time ever. Understanding how concerned, scared, and apprehensive most may have been feeling about being torn apart from the life they once knew, our family wanted to use this as an opportunity to deliver a message of hope and encouragement. 

 

So, we ordered blank yard signs and markers. Nothing fancy, nothing professionally designed. We positioned a simple little encouraging message in our backyard between American flags stating, “APART BUT TOGETHER”. 

 

However, much to our surprise, it actually became an encouragement to us – as hundreds of people pointed, waved, and took photos of our simplistic, little homemade signs. I realized that it must have meant a lot to many - to know that we’re all in this together. To know – that others care – even strangers across the creek. 

 

In addition to fighting a once in a lifetime pandemic and civil unrest, throughout the year we’ve battled continual polarized opinions (to name a few) of masks/no masks. Go to work/work from home. In classroom/online classroom. Black lives/All lives. Riot/Don’t riot. Republican/Democrat. 

 

Yep, I said it – out loud. 

 

Nobody is exempt from the effects of this bizarre and unexpected year. We’ve been thrown into situations we didn’t ask for, experienced unbelievable hardships we never could have imagined, and the political polarization of our country – Has. Been. Exhausting. I’ve never seen so many toxic conversations over “opinions” ever. 

 

Ever. 

 

In fact - can I just say it? It appears – this year – 2020 – as though our “opinion” has become the only thing that really “matters.” And with the glorious benefit of social media – we can tell the world about that opinion within seconds.

While political stakes are high and every vote is important, election day will come, masks/no masks will repeatedly be determined, and school/jobs will be redefined by a new normal. It won’t be a quick fix. And all issues won’t be solved in one election year. However, when this is over – and you’re telling your grandchildren about the 2020 year you experienced “back in my day” – will you be proud of how you handled it? Will you be proud of your media comments to acquaintances, family, and – well, perhaps now “former” friends? (Will you need to apologize about any of this?)

Granted, we have a lot of concerns, but maybe our biggest concern should be the persecution of our relationships. People are destroying lifetime friendships and family relationships. Who’s the winner in these battles? I’ll tell you who. 

Paul (in the New Testament) said, “If only we could remember one thing – ‘We are not fighting against human beings but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.’”  Ephesians 6:12. 

Being a Christian isn’t being a Republican – or being a Democrat. It’s better than either one put together. It means loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, AND loving your neighbor (yep, with that opposing political view) as yourself. It means respecting our differences and encouraging each other during these hard times - regardless. It means we are to be our best in all situations and respond in a way that truly honors God. (I didn't say "agree.")

 

If God was standing right beside you, would He say, “Okay, I know it wasn’t easy for you to be nice. I get that. But, well done.” 

 

Regardless of the outcome of all these circumstances, we need to do our part and leave the rest to God. He’s got this. He’s got a plan. He already knows who’s going to be sitting in a political office and everything else that will transpire. He will – He WILL – use it as part of His plan – for good. ALL things (say it with me) work together (keep going) for the good for those Who. Love. The. Lord.

 

Do you? Do you love Him? Do you trust Him? And are you doing your part that is pleasing to Him? What if this division encompassing enormous polarized views within the Christian faith – is a test?!? What if each and every one of us are being tested on our love for others (as commanded) through this SPECIFIC election? Oh, my goodness.

 

Would you pass the test? Would God be pleased with every word we write or speak to others? May we never forget, we will be held accountable one day when we face judgement in Heaven – for what we’ve done, for what we’ve said, for what we’ve provoked, and how we’ve handled all situations.

 

Or have we taken on God’s job and been the judge? (And judged harshly?) Does Satan have a grip on our tongue (or keyboard)? Our point of contention should not be with each other. Let’s fight the real enemy and stop being gullible to Satan’s very cleaver tactics. Let’s stop fighting each other. We – as Americans – especially Christians – should be better than this. 

 

Bottom line - what will be – will be. We probably can’t change the outcome of most of this, but what we can do is remain faithful to Jesus – no matter what. Our political agendas should never come at the expense of pleasing the devil. It would be a tragedy to get the right president but exhibit the wrong behavior. Whatever happens or does not happen during this upcoming election, should have no bearing on our commitment to pleasing God in our behavior toward others.

 

Our most important job is to pray as one body – that God’s will (not yours, not mine) will be done. He has a plan and we need to stay in faith. Either candidate will be a part of God’s plan, although not a part of every Christian’s plan. Why is that? Because we’re not God. We don’t see the whole picture, we have no idea what God will use for His good, His perfect purpose. In fact, if we get “our” way, we could ruin everything.

 

So instead, control what we can. Take this time to “intentionally” give hope and encouragement to others – even strangers across the creek. Who knows? Perhaps you and I – perhaps the Church – was actually CREATED for such a year as this – the year of 2020 – APART BUT TOGETHER.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wait - a BLACK Jesus?


A few years ago, my husband, Dale, and I were the only white couple in attendance at an otherwise all black wedding. In addition, we felt honored to be asked to sit in the “family section” - and did so. (I give Dale all the credit for being such a kind and wonderful friend/boss to the groom. Clearly, Dale meant a lot to this young man.)

At the wedding, I noticed the church had a large piece of artwork prominently displayed on the wall. It was a beautiful rendition of Jesus. 

A black Jesus. 

Yep. It was there. And - it was indeed beautiful. In fact, stunning.
Nope, not EVEN an issue. Actually, not even much thought. It just…was.  

Therefore, we didn’t feel the need to destroy this piece of art because it did not represent our own personal “version” or “interpretation” of Jesus’ skin color. We didn’t instigate a hostile dialog, protest, or riot.  

In fact, we rejoiced – as a BODY of Christ – ONE body – but, with different skin colors. Instead - together – we CELEBRATED the union of this sweet couple’s special day and their love for one another. 

Then what, I have to wonder - is the real contributing factor to today’s complete out-of-control chaos? Granted, horrific things have happened to people due to their (uncontrollable) skin color. No debate needed. But, demolishing a Jesus statue because it personifies Jesus as "white-ish?" Seriously? Just because it doesn't exhibit an artist’s rendition of a notorious all-encompassing skin color preference? It. is. still. Jesus. He's not just "my" Jesus, He exists for "all" people.

Interestingly, we have absolutely NO control over our skin color - and yet some want to destroy others – or at the least - an artist's personal illustration of Jesus’ skin color (whom by the way, specifically created OUR skin color). 

There’s a real news flash here - there is NOTHING - absolutely NOTHING we can do about our skin color. Yet, we fight about it, write about, and riot about it! 

So many battles - everywhere. However, surprisingly - there is one thing that we ALL have in common - a mutual enemy. That enemy – doesn’t care about skin color. Meh. And that enemy – doesn’t care about politics. Meh. Those things are just convenient tools. 

You don’t have to BELIEVE this. You don’t have to AGREE with this. You don’t have to LIKE this. But I can say without hesitation – without a doubt – we share a brutal enemy – and that enemy is Satan. 

He would do anything (and has tried) to keep us (U.S.?) from unity. His goal is – and will continue to be – a constant attempt to Destroy. Our. Lives.

However, there is only one way Satan can win. That’s if – IF – we let him win. If – IF – we fall into his traps - and continue to fight with - and against each other - and refuse to recognize the real problem.

He wins.

We lose.

So, when on earth are we going to stop FIGHTING about every new issue? Perhaps we’re not rioting, but safely behind computer screens I see very few people (and sometimes lifelong friends) who respond respectfully or with civility toward each other – let alone kindness when they disagree. Somehow, the fight and/or hatefully voicing opposing opinions has become more important than the relationship. I hear, “Well, he/she MADE me respond that way because they did…(whatever).” That’s nonsense. We are 100% responsible for our emotions and responses, not anybody else. So, let’s express our differences, while first and foremost - protecting our relationships!

Bottom line – please join me in praying like we’ve never prayed before. We are clearly in one of the biggest battles of our lives. A battle that we can win – if we recognize the real enemy (not our friends and neighbors) - or we’ll get ambushed. Satan can destroy the work of Jesus – when he can destroy the people of Jesus. 

Let’s celebrate our skin color differences and stay focused on what God’s word says - love one another. However, He didn’t clarify – unless it’s difficult.

Is there anyone you need to show love to – or ask forgiveness from – today? Don’t let Satan win! Take action – it’s something YOU can control!