Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why I agree with Richard Dawkins and feel thankful that he finally said it.



When I saw Richard Dawkins' tweet that outraged the masses, this one:



I admit, my initial response was mostly emotional. What a disgusting thing to say! I have friends that have children that are beautiful and happy and also have Down syndrome. I was furious for the pain that they endure, not because of their child, but because of idiotic comments like the one from the best and brightest the atheist world has to offer.

And while I am a woman and definitely an emotional being, I also love math and logic which is the real reason why I had a definite problem with Richard Dawkins comment. Now, don't get me wrong. I am under no delusions that for one moment I could win a logic dance-off with RD, but his claim....it's a mess!!

Let's look at it:

“It would be immoral to bring it (a child with Down syndrome) into the world if you had a choice.”

He then goes on to explain that it is simply for the welfare of the child that he came to this conclusion. How generous.

So let me see if I can figure this out.

Children with Down Syndrome suffer.
Bringing a child into the world that will suffer is..... immoral.


Well Mr. Dawkins, I actually agree with half of it. Children with Down Syndrome suffer. It's true. You know how I know that? Because every human on the planet suffers. But do you know what other types of children suffer? And arguably more then a kid with DS? Children of divorce. You know what other type of children suffer? Again, arguably more? Spoiled children of rich parents. You know what other type of children suffer? Child actors. They are a mess!! I wonder if there is a prenatal test for the genetic predisposition to go into acting? Then Richard D. could campaign their abortions too. I mean, all this poor misunderstood lover of humanity wants to do is end the suffering of children by killing them. Don't be so hard on the guy.

Yes, children with Down Syndrome suffer, but hey Mr. Science and Reason guy, can you measure suffering? Because, if you can, wow, that's impressive. What is the formula for that? Oh wait, you can't actually measure suffering. But yet you are sure this one group of people are better off not existing because of their degree of suffering, right? All of them? They suffer so intensely that they would be better off non existent? None of them are ever happy, and sweet and actually the most unconditionally loving people you could ever meet? Yeah, just admit it. That comment was not only absurd, but also very un-sciency. Suffering. You can't measure it. And yet even if you could, what algorithm, exactly, would you use to determine if ones suffering renders their existence a total mistake? Here's an idea. Why not ask a grieving parent who lost their child, if they are suffering? Now ask them if they wish their child would never have been born...ya know...because then they could have avoided all that suffering. Here's the thing.

Suffering does not equal lack of joy or purpose.

 But now I am using all kinds of crazy words. Joy. Purpose. Sorry about that.

Ok, I know, it sounds like I don't agree with Mr. Dawkins, and now you are frustrated with my misleading “bait and switch” title. But wait! I really do agree with him! Here is the quote with which I completely agree.

"What I was saying simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most of us, I presume, espouse."

In other words, he is merely taking a pro-choice philosophy out to it's logical conclusion.

Case and point:
 If that unborn baby, that fetus, has no value, has no rights, is not a life,  then who cares what the reason is! Just abort it. Wrong gender? Abort it. Wrong timing? Abort it. Going to interfere with your modeling aspirations? Abort it. Going to have a chromosomal abnormality? Of course! No brainer.


As foolish and revolting as his initial comment was, this fact remains.

That comment flows perfectly and naturally from his evolutionary pro-choice stance.

So why, pray tell, is everyone so shocked? Why is there such outrage?

The reason is simple. Hardly anyone takes their pro-choice philosophy out to its logical conclusion.
They say things like, “It's a baby if you want it to be.” (So scientific) Or  "yes, decapitating babies is gross, but who am I to tell a woman what to do with her body." Huh?
 No matter how obviously illogical these statements are, people  continue with these ridiculous arguments for abortion. because they must cling to their "freedom" whatever the cost. The cost in this case is logical inconsistency.

I have to admit, when I took to the twitterverse and saw all the magnificently dissenting opinions, I felt relief. Ahhhh!! People do have souls! Yay! The internet can still distinguish evil! Hooray! All is not lost! But then it happened. The only way I can describe the feeling I had next would be to liken it to the day after our most recent presidential election As I stood in my neighborhood, covered in Romney signs, all I could do was shake my head and wonder what went wrong. I thought we all agreed? It hit me. My comfort was fleeting because I knew the truth. I sat there at my computer confused.  Yes, the majority of tweeters are using their twitter handles to blast Dawkins and his morally depraved views, but does that really match popular opinion? Does it accurately reflect what happens statistically? Or is everyone just mad that he said it out loud? Are they just in disbelief that he pulled the curtain back only to reveal a little atheist of a man whose pro-choice view of life is cold and black and empty.

This one statistic is what brought me back to reality. I read it recently, and it is horrific.
Ninety percent.......(you know what I am going to say right?) Ninety percent of unborn babies diagnosed with DS are aborted. So you know what that means?

The internet is a liar. 

Because if people were honest, there would have been no backlash. There would have been no blogs on Huffington Post making a joke out of the whole debacle. If people were honest, 90% of them would have “favorited” his comment. Because statistics say that most people agree with him. And that is that sad truth.

Yes Dawkins, you are right when you say that your comment flows perfectly from your world view. And I can imagine how shocked you were when you were attacked by the very people that are normally on your side. You will have to forgive them because they are just not smart enough to take your espoused views to their logical conclusions. And to you, I am truly thankful. I am thankful that you said it out loud. I am thankful that you exposed the pro-choice philosophy for all that it really is. Because of you, I know right now someone out there finally gets it.

So before I conclude, that person is the one with whom I need to talk. With all this media attention, all this talk of aborting babies because they had down syndrome, all the apparent outrage over taking the life of an innocent, there is someone else out there that may understand now what they didn't realize then. You see, like many others,  we too were told that our first baby girl had all the markers for down syndrome. But we refused an amnio because we didn't think knowing was worth the risk. Any baby from God deserved a chance at life. That was an easy decision for us. But I know that it is not an easy decision for all. I know that there are women and men, mothers and fathers that agonized over that same decision. I know that some decided to get the amnio, and in turn, due to complications, lost their baby, a baby that actually did not even have DS. I also know that others chose a drastically different route. They chose to end the life of their child. They believed the lie. They really thought they were doing the charitable thing. They were deceived by men “smarter” then them. Doctors. Midwives. Family members. All lied. And just like that a life was gone. This was a baby, with eyelashes and fingernails and smiles and toes. A baby that was brutally murdered. If that was you, if you made that choice, but now, thanks to Dawkins, you have seen the lies exposed for what they really are, you may feel so much pain that you think you will die. But I need you to know one thing. There is forgiveness at the cross. There is healing from the hand of God. You can find freedom and peace. I promise you. Yes, I am glad Dawkins said what he did. I agree that pro-choice philosophy logically leads one to his exact pitiful and nauseating comments. And I am thankful that he drew back the curtain for all to see the ugliness that comes with the pro-choice world view.But more than that I pray that those that were deceived, would find healing. And I pray that those that are in that valley of decision, would choose life.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The top 15 reasons it's tough to be a lefty.




 In honor of Left handers day I thought I would try to educate 90% of the world on what it's like for a minority like me. If you're a righty, I don't expect you to understand. But if you are a lefty, I know you will be nodding your head, and reliving tragic childhood memories with me. Seriously people. My grandfather had his hands smacked with a ruler for using his left hand. But because of it, I think his genes doubled down and produced a ton of lefties, including both of his children, and all three of his grandchildren! My poor right handed mother. The craftiest woman known to man had to teach two lefty daughters how to knit, crochet, and needlepoint backwards! One hundred percent of her children were lefty! Can you imagine? The social implications? In our house it was the opposite of the rest of the world. In our house 75% of the population was lefty! For my sister and I, it was a utopia of sorts. But I guess my mom could have used this this:


Yeah, there is a whole book dedicated to helping parents raise lefty children in this right handed world. So here ya go. I know that only 10% of my readers will be interested in this list, if that! But for once, there is something designed just for us, and not the other way around. So I dare you, my fellow lefty, share with pride! Let's stand in solidarity! Go lefties!!!
  1. Erasable pens.Yes they are in our past, thank God, but what about my memory? That is permanent, and so are the ink stains on my hand.
     
  2. Teachers lamenting that my handwriting skills are doomed.
     
  3. 3 ring binders- These are like some kind of medieval torture device. Could you write neatly with your arm stuck in between 2 giant metal hoops?

  4. Spiral bound notebooks- ouch

  5. Desks- Where does my elbow go?

  6. Scissors- I always had to fight that other lefty for the rusty pair of left scissors. Or share. That works good. 
     
  7. Realizing your belt buckle is upside down.

  8. Dealing with traders- people who write with their left and play sports with their right.

  9. Feeling used- "Oh you're a lefty? You can hit to right field, right??"

  10. Never being associated with a correct answer. “You're....... not right” Who wants to be “left” out?

  11. Always being associated with liberals. “Those lefties”

  12. Lame jokes to help us cope. “At least I am in my right mind”

  13. Nobody wants to sit next to you at meals. 
     
  14. Spending 90% of your life using doors, cup holders in cars, computer mouses, knives, pens, pencils, belts, pant zippers, can openers, playing cards, etc. that have been specifically designed to NOT work for you. 
  15. Googling " famous lefties" and realizing Justin Bieber is a lefty.
     (because everyone knows that the best way to invoke sympathy is to link yourself with Justin Bieber)
Justin Bieber




Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's a cruel...cruel cruel summer.....-time to review! I Samuel 26-28, and some Psalms

It's a cruel, cruel, cruel summer....

Summer....it can't be over yet. Seriously, where did it go? What did I do? I keep trying to remember, but the thing is, this has been one of the hardest summers of my life. Hands down. A lot of loss. A lot of pain. A lot of trying to keep my head above water and keep doing laundry when all I wanted to do was cry.  But there was also a lot of joy, love, and beauty in the midst of the pain. I haven't done a devo blog in about a month. But when I sat down tonight to do one, I realized it was time for a recap. (I try to recap every 5 chapters or so to really meditate on what God is teaching me, and it has been more than that.) The crazy part is that these 7 or so devo blogs I needed to review, covered the entire summer.  So as I am trying to recall and review what exactly what happened to this summer, I sit down to type out a devo and what is up next for me to study? A review  of what *God* taught me this summer. Pretty cool. Pre-tty cool. God's timing. It's amazing.

I Samuel 26- Excuse me, your fear is showing.

In chapter 26 David displays a healthy fear of God when given the opportunity to end Saul's life. He feared God more than he feared Saul. And this was to his great credit. We could learn a lot from David here.  Too often we fear man more than God. This truth is displayed any time you try to hide a sin from someone, or fear admitting a mistake. Newsflash: God already knows! Yet too often we can try to hide sin from man, foolishly thinking it matters more what man thinks than what God knows.
Here is a list of things that we fear, and how we show that we fear man more than God:
Pain- afraid of pain? Drink it away.
Disappointment-afraid of disappointment?  Don't love others. Than you will be safe.

Loneliness- Afraid of loneliness? Date that guy/girl that you know is wrong for you. At least you won't be lonely.

Failure- Ignore God's calling. It's too scary. You might fail. 
 

Yet fearing *God* leads to freedom!
David knew that Saul's days were limited, because of God's promise. David knew his victory was going to come directly from the hand of God. He feared God, not man. He was free.
So many things that stress me out during the day are related to fear. I would challenge you to think about  this as you go through the day and find your own stress building.  Don't let that moment pass you by. Examine yourself before the Lord as we are told to do time and time again. Discover what is causing you to fear. Revisit the above list. Identify the misplaced fear and replace it with freedom. 
Fearing God leads to trusting God.

Just like our actions give away our source of fear, our actions also display our lack of fear. If you do not fear God, it will show.

This is what the Bible says about those that fear the Lord.

Prov 14:26-27 He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
Ps 34:9  Fear the Lord, all you his holy people; for those who fear him lack nothing.
Prov 19:23  The fear of the Lord is life; he who is full of it will rest untouched by evil.
Ps 118:4  Let those who fear the LORD say: "His love endures forever."

I Samuel 27- Enough already!

The first five words of this chapter tell us all we need to know about where David is headed. These words here:
Then David said to himself,
This is where the trouble begins. This chapter would tell a different story if it had a different beginning. Oh how I wish this chapter started with ….
Then David sought the Lord”
Because I am just a little tired of people seeking their own hearts for counsel. It is a recipe for disaster.
Humans have this amazing and simultaneously ridiculous ability to convince themselves of anything.
But back to David:
Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand.” 
 
David felt like he had no choice but to follow his feelings. He acted powerless. So for protection he ran to the Philistines. Seriously David? I mean, you don't have to be a Bible scholar to know that the Philistines are not who he should be running to for protection. Did David forget his famous standoff with one giant of a Philistine? And now he is running to them for protection. How embarrassing.
 
 
So I refuse to seek my own heart for counsel. The heart is deceitful and wicked. Who can know it?
Instead I will:
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55: 6-7

Read what John Piper wrote in his blog about seeking the Lord:
Seeking involves calling and pleading. O Lord, open my eyes. O Lord, pull back the curtain of my own blindness. Lord, have mercy and reveal yourself. I long to see your face.
The great obstacle to seeking the Lord is pride. “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him” (Psalm 10:4). Therefore, humility is essential to seeking the Lord. 
 
 

When I see you smile..Psalm 17

 
 
I love the Psalms because David feels every emotion and shares every emotion with God and consequently with us. Nothing is sugar coated. But in the end, he encourages himself in the Lord. And that is where I need to be. In that place of encouraging myself in the Lord. At the beginning of chapter 17 we find David in this place of desperation. Running from Saul he took refuge with the Philistines. Why David? How deceived do you have to be to seek refuge with your enemy. He is at the end of his rope. He doesn't want to fight anymore. So he cries out to God for us to read in Psalms 17
Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.
HEAR ME!
Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.
HOLD ME UP!


I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;

O You who save those who trust in You
From those who rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
Listen to me.
Show your loving kindness.
Keep me
Hide me.
Arise, O Lord,
Confront him, cast him down;
He has run out of ideas. He doesn't know what to do. All He knows is that He wants God to do it for him.
And I can relate.
Lord, I am out of ideas. I don't know what to do. I am praying. I am seeking. I am reading. And I am tired. But you. You are good. Hear me. Hold me. Keep me. Hide me.
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
I want to be changed into his image. And the truth is that I become most like him when I have partaken in the fellowship of His sufferings. Sometimes we are called to act. Sometimes we call out to God to act on our behalf. But always, He goes before us. And He is able! And through it all, in this world filled with pain, I will be satisfied in Him. I will see His face in righteousness. And that is enough.


Don't Settle for Substitutes! Psalm 35

Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
3 Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”

Say to my soul. "I am your salvation" 
I AM. 
He is. Whatever you need. He is.

"I am your salvation"

This is definitely my new "Print it out in about size 80 font and stick it on the wall verse."
 I need to see this all.day.long!
When I fail - He is my salvation.
When I am weak- He is my salvation.
When I feel strong- He is my salvation. 
It is just Him.

7. For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.

The enemy is digging pits. And he knows exactly what bait to use. His goal? To substitute. To get you to fill your God given craving with a second best substitute. How? Ok, for you it may not that need for communion. For you maybe it is love. We all have that need to feel loved. It was implanted by God so that we would draw close to Him. But when we feel that need for love, where do you turn?
 Or what about approval? Validation? Defense? 
When someone wrongs you, do you take it to Jesus? Do you cry out like David, "Stop those who pursue me. Fight those that fight against me." Or do you pick up that phone as fast as you can so that someone can know how wronged you have been?


9. And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.
10 All my bones shall say,
“Lord, who is like You,
Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him,
Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”

Where do our souls find joy? In the Lord. In the Lord. In the Lord! JoyFULL. Then we are full. We are free to pour out that joy, that love, on others.


His name saves- all day long! Psalms 54





54 Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your strength.
2 Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers have risen up against me,
And oppressors have sought after my life;
They have not set God before them. Selah
4 Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
5 He will repay my enemies for their evil.
Cut them off in Your truth.
6 I will freely sacrifice to You;
I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good.
7 For He has delivered me out of all trouble;
And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.
The power in a name.
There is power in my name. "Mommy said!"
There is even more power in my husband's name. "Daddy said!"
Power.
In the spirit of full disclosure,however, in most circles, my name does not hold any power. Zero. But in my house, in my family, in my own little world, my name holds a lot of power.

But there is One whose name does hold the ultimate power.
 This is His world. His creation. His name.

Save me O God, by Your name.

He saves my soul. He saves my sanity. He saves my heart, my mind. All of it. I need to be saved. All day long. From myself. From my flesh. From temptation. And that is ok. Because His Name.
It saves! But why?
Because:

It is good.
An earthly name has power, but it is not always good, and a bad name holds destructive power. Yes there are certain names that you do not want to be associated with. Names can even  go from good to bad 
in.an.instant.
 Names can even hinder you, not help you.
But not God's name.
Jesus' name. It is good. Always. His name is sweet. Say it out loud.
His name is the quickest prayer. The quickest call for help. And the most powerful.
Jesus.

And what is the proper response?
I will freely sacrifice to You.
I will praise Your Name, for it is Good!
Call on His name today. All day. Every day. Praise His name. Praise it to all that you meet. Tell of His Good Name! And because we are saved, we will sacrifice, freely.
 

Thirsty? Psalm 63

Psalm 63
 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

This is such a powerful realization. I believe that this awareness is a key reason why David was God's choice for king. Above all, he recognized his thirst for God. We all have this thirst. Eternity is written on our hearts. But we try to quench that thirst with the things of the world. And they sustain. For a moment. But it doesn't last, and not only is the initial thirst magnified, but now we add in the frustration that comes from failing to fill that need. If we go to God first, what refreshment we will feel. Over and over David acknowledges His thirst is for God.We would save so much disappointment if we went to God first to fill our needs. Not to a spouse, a family member, a friend, a social network, and shopping trip, a refrigerator, a drink. God. Early we should seek Him because it is HIM for which our souls thirst.



2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Approach God with expectations of seeing His power and His glory because we have already, so many times.

3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Do we believe this? His lovingkindness, better than life? The only response will be praise.
Praise.
 Lifting our hands in His name.


5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
The last devo blog was on the power of the name of Jesus. And as is the norm, that devo was mostly for me. But I had no idea how much. I have been so anxious these last few weeks. Anxiety is real. You can tell yourself that your problem does not compare to "real" problems. You can remind yourself that it will be over soon. But in those moments, trying to sleep, trying to function, trying to focus, what helped me? What word kept escaping my lips in a cry for help?
Jesus. One word. Meditating. He was my help, and I will rejoice!

8 My soul followeth hard after thee: 
 
So that's where that song came from!

Thy right hand upholdeth me.

Today I am thankful for God's mighty hand that upholds me. I am thankful that His well of living water does not run dry. I am thankful that while I may be surrounded by noise and distraction, His voice breaks through, and He responds with power when I call out His name. Fill yourself with the Living word of God. Quench your thirst in His presence with a position of prayer. And you will see His glory and His power! Amen!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Two things that should scare you more than flesh-eating bacteria in the water and dry drowning!!

Whenever someone posts anything dramatic on face book, I am instantly skeptical and have to check about three websites before I will believe it or even think about sharing it!  Google people. It is your friend! Statistics bring amazing perspective.

Living in Florida, I have seen two headlines hitting my newsfeed over and over.

Flesh eating bacteria in the water 
and 
dry drowning.

 If I am going to be honest with you I have to admit that my first reactions were a typical knee-jerk response. 

Like this:

FLESH EATING BACTERIA AT THE BEACH??? BUT I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO TO THE BEACH TOMORROW!!! NOW WHAT???

Then I remembered this one small fact. Please, if you take anything away from this blog, remember this. We live in the most sensational country ever. People actually NEED you to click on their article to make money. Therefore, (here comes your “takeaway”)

***The headline of an article is rarely 100% true.****

 In other words, it is likely 99% misleading.

The blog post that reads “10 reasons why I don’t homeschool,” is written by a homeschooling mom who is going to tell you a bunch of reasons that aren’t the reasons why she homeschools, and then she will tell you why she does.

 “Israel Violates Ceasefire” is the title of an article that will likely mention that Hamas had actually never even observed the ceasefire to begin with, so technically there was no ceasefire for Israel to violate.

Or even this from a “Christian” website:

 “Bob Coy update: Cocaine addicted, alcoholic….”
 and that is all you seen on the homepage.
   That one made my blood boil!! Because what does it sound like? It sounds like they are giving you an update. But that is his actually information that is 30 years old that they are chronicling in said article, not an update. But they got a bunch of people to click on their link and made money. Pretty disgusting if you ask me (Christiantoday.com. ) But I digress.  
My points are the following:

1. Never believe a headline.
2. Pay attention to the details.

Which leads me to the sensational (but 100% true) title of this blog post.

What is *more dangerous* than going in water where you could contract a flesh-eating bacteria at the beach?

 Driving to the beach.

Yes. Let’s look at the numbers that prompted the headline “Florida Officials: Watch out for flesh-eating bacteria” from Florida Today:

Wow, I have to watch out for it? Ok. It must be everywhere!
Of course I had to google to find out how many people had actually died from this ailment in Florida over the course of a year. The answer? 11.

Now, please understand this.  I believe that every one of those lives is important, and I am not arguing their value. My question is merely this, do the headlines and fear mongering match the likelihood that it will actually happen to you.  And furthermore, are their suggestions for avoiding this disease practical?
So how do you avoid flesh eating bacteria? Don’t go into the water during the summer with a scrape or open wound or if you have a low immunity. Like, the whole summer? Any scrape? What if I don't know I have one? Full body scans for all of my 5 children before letting them in the water??
 Because...11 people...in the whole state…. over the course of a year?

Let’s contrast that now with the number of fatalities that have occurred during that same year in Florida from driving accidents. Over 2,300.

So mathematically speaking, you are 209 times more likely to die on the way to the beach, then actually from a flesh eating bacteria at the beach.

What does that mean?

Go to the beach for the love of Pete.   But be careful on your drive there!! That’s what the headline should have read! Or maybe this:
“Stay in the ocean this summer to avoid being killed in a car.”

But instead we get:
“Watch out for flesh eating bacteria.” Oh boy.

Next, let’s cover dry drowning. Dry drowning occurs when a person inhales a small amount of water during a struggle. The results can be fatal. But you know what else is fatal? Real drowning. In fact, of all drowning cases, 99% of fatalities are typical drowning cases. But if you could see my face book feed you would think it was the opposite. Maybe one or two people mentioning that it is a good idea to get swim lessons, and everyone else is making sure I know about dry drowning.

 *Once again, the warning is not proportionate to the risk.* 
A better use of everyone's newsfeed would be to encourage others to make sure their kids learn how to  swim, like really swim, not with floaties.  Here is a statistic that actually should scare every single person in Florida. Drowning, the real kind, is the number one killer of kids under 5. Number one. Not cancer, not vaccinations, not flesh-eating bacteria, not even car accidents. Drowning. You must have your kids vaccinated to get them into school to make sure they don’t spread polio. But polio isn’t what is killing our little children. Water is.

There are a lot of people clamoring for our attention. And trust me, as an information junkie, I think information is absolutely important. I just think it should be proportionate to how it affects us and the world at large, and also what we can reasonably do about it.

This may surprise you, but I actually do believe that for safety reasons certain people should stay out of the water at the beach. But unlike Florida officials, my reasons aren’t because of flesh eating bacteria. The reason that people, kids especially, should stay out of the water is if one cannot swim!  Do not despair though, because “not being able to swim” is curable!! So find a good teacher. A good teacher can get your kid swimming in a week, not over the course of a million weeks. Do it now. Do it fast. Yes, it costs money, but seriously people. What is more important?

***Check out Miss Leigh's Swim School on FB  We used her on all five of our children. This is the youngest last summer. 






Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saulthern Comfort- I Samuel 28

The Bible is just amazing. And the power it has to speak into our lives daily is beyond. Just beyond. I am literally brought to tears today with the story of Saul, the cautionary tale, and the relevance to my world, and my life.

Saul. He was appointed and anointed-by God. But for some time, he has been operating out of the will of God. He has gotten rid of anyone in his life that would bring conviction. However in doing so, he has also eliminated his connection to God and therefore His peace. He is without both, and desperate for answers and comfort.

In this chapter we are reminded that Samuel is dead and buried. Samuel was likely Saul's last connection to what was right and noble and true. When he died, Saul had completely lost his way.

6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

This verse gave me chills. What a terrifying place to be. He had cut himself off from anything godly, and had gotten just what he wanted. Silence.

Now, in total despair and confusion, Saul  was left to his own devices. So what did he do? He went back to the sin he knew.

When he was following God, Saul had established accountability. He had Samuel to keep him in check. And scripture tells us this:

And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

Back when Saul was following God he had established safe guards in his life. He had actually banished all fortune tellers, mediums and the like because they had no place in a godly kingdom.
But that was then. And this is now. He was anxiety ridden and desperate for answers. So he sought out a fortune teller. But notice the word used in this passage.
Familiar.

We all have things that are "familiar" to us, things that comfort. Comfort food. Comfort tv. Comfort conversation. Southern Comfort. You get the drift. When things get stressful, when our brain is in over drive, where do you turn for comfort?

Saul sought the things of this world to bring him comfort. And the enemy was ready and waiting to take advantage of this exact moment.

Saul goes to a "fortune teller" to ask for advice. But he goes in disguise because no medium would admit to being just that to the king that expelled all mediums from the land. Not knowing with whom she is talking, she agrees to conjure up the Spirit of Samuel so Saul can ask him some questions about what to do now. This medium then conjures up a spirit disguised as Samuel. We know this is not really Samuel. Matthew Henry had this to say. And it just blew my mind.

We have here the conference between Saul and Satan. Saul came in disguise (1 Sam. 28:8), but Satan soon discovered him, 1 Sam. 28:12. Satan comes in disguise, in the disguise of Samuel’s mantle, and Saul cannot discover him. Such is the disadvantage we labour under, in wrestling with the rulers of the darkness of this world, that they know us, while we are ignorant of their wiles and devices. 
 
You might need to read that again. This part:

Such is the disadvantage we labour under, in wrestling with the rulers of the darkness of this world, that they know us, while we are ignorant of their wiles and devices.

The devil's tricks are not new. We should expect them. But we are distracted. And we forget that this fight is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the spiritual forces of wickedness. And instead of fighting Satan, we fight each other. But I digress.

How do we know it's a "fake" Samuel?
Matthew Henry had some more great insight!

Had it been the true Samuel, when Saul desired to be told what he should do he would have told him to repent and make his peace with God, and recall David from his banishment, and would then have told him that he might hope in this way to find mercy with God; but, instead of that, he represents his case as helpless and hopeless, serving him as he did Judas, to whom he was first a tempter and then a tormentor, persuading him first to sell his master and then to hang himself.

This is Satan's typical technique. His calling card. He lures you into sin, into anxiety, into deception, and then, when you give in, he humiliates you, and tells you that you are hopeless and worthless.

Saul sought comfort from that which was familiar. And in the end, it brought nothing but despair.

But God.

Saul did not have to have this ending. Maybe the reason that he heard nothing from God was because he already knew what he was supposed to do, yet he refused to do it. I once heard a pastor say that when you feel that God has become silent, think back to the last thing He told you to do, and do it. Saul was not the only one who felt the Lord was quiet, however. This is one of my favorite Psalms.



Psalms 13
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.




BUT........Here is the difference. Here is the response we need:



5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

I pray that we would seek God, and that even when He seems "silent," I pray that instead of going to what seems "familiar" for comfort, that we would trust in His mercy, That our hearts would rejoice in His Salvation. That we would sing to the Lord. Because He Has Dealt Bountifully With Us! Amen!!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Thirsty? Psalm 63

Psalm 63
 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

This is such a powerful realization. I believe that this awareness is a key reason why David was God's choice for king. Above all, he recognized his thirst for God. We all have this thirst. Eternity is written on our hearts. But we try to quench that thirst with the things of the world. And they sustain. For a moment. But it doesn't last, and not only is the initial thirst magnified, but now we add in the frustration that comes from failing to fill that need. If we go to God first, what refreshment we will feel. Over and over David acknowledges His thirst is for God.We would save so much disappointment if we went to God first to fill our needs. Not to a spouse, a family member, a friend, a social network, and shopping trip, a refrigerator, a drink. God. Early we should seek Him because it is HIM for which our souls thirst.



2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Approach God with expectations of seeing His power and His glory because we have already, so many times.

3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Do we believe this? His lovingkindness, better than life? The only response will be praise.
Praise.
 Lifting our hands in His name.


5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
The last devo blog was on the power of the name of Jesus. And as is the norm, that devo was mostly for me. But I had no idea how much. I have been so anxious these last few weeks. Anxiety is real. You can tell yourself that your problem does not compare to "real" problems. You can remind yourself that it will be over soon. But in those moments, trying to sleep, trying to function, trying to focus, what helped me? What word kept escaping my lips in a cry for help?
Jesus. One word. Meditating. He was my help, and I will rejoice!

8 My soul followeth hard after thee: 
 
So that's where that song came from!

Thy right hand upholdeth me.

Today I am thankful for God's mighty hand that upholds me. I am thankful that His well of living water does not run dry. I am thankful that while I may be surrounded by noise and distraction, His voice breaks through, and He responds with power when I call out His name. Fill yourself with the Living word of God. Quench your thirst in His presence with a position of prayer. And you will see His glory and His power! Amen!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

You're so vain.....you probably think this book is about you!


I blog, which means I also read blogs. Information is addicting. Thankfully I am a speed reader! In reading so many blogs, I have noticed that blog topics seem to come in waves. And one of the latest that I have seen, is a plethora of bloggers letting me know that those of us that believe God's word can be applied to our lives are narcissistic. To which I brilliantly rebut with a

Psh. No way!

But lucky for you and me, just this weekend, as God would have it, I heard a sermon from a man way more learned than I, with a much better rebuttal than that! He gave proof! My favorite :)

The teacher, Warren Gage, was talking about the account in Acts 8 when Phillip, in the middle of a major revival, is led by an angel of the Lord out to the wilderness, a desert road, to essentially preach the gospel to one man, an Ethiopian eunuch. I have heard this story before. You may have too. But the details that he gave next were so telling and so powerful.
I can’t stop thinking about it.

For starters, the Eunich was saved along a road. But he is not the only one to be saved along a road.
There were two others. Saul on the road to Damascus, and Cornelius at Caesarea. God was making a point to send out His gospel message into the whole world through these three men.
How do these three men connect to the whole human race? Well remember that Noah had three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth from whom would descend all of humanity.  Now when you look at these three men a little bit more closely you see that the Ethiopian eunuch was a descendant of
Ham, Saul was a descendant of Shem, and Cornelius was a descendant of Japheth. Sit on that for a minute.  Our sovereign Lord is so deliberate and intentional. This was such a neat discovery for me.

So let's get back to the eunuch. While riding home to Ethiopia in a chariot, he was reading Isaiah 53 from the ancient scrolls. But he didn’t understand it. Enter Phillip. Being sent by an angel to be at this place at the exact right time, Phillip hopped up in the chariot to explain it to him.
This is what he was reading:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter:
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth.
In humiliation his judgment was taken away:
Who will relate his generation?
For his life is removed from the earth."

"The eunuch answered Phillip and said, “Please tell me of whom does this prophet
say this?” .....Then, beginning from this scripture Phillip preached Jesus to him!"

Ok, I could just about go have church now. I just love those words.

"From this scripture Phillip preached Jesus to him"!

So Phillip tells us and the eunuch who it was written about, but the question remains, who do you think it was written to? (I know I just ended two sentences with prepositions. It's going to be ok.)
I think you know what I think, but let's keep going because that is not even the best part!


Upon hearing the gospel, the Ethiopian Eunuch believed with all of his heart, confessed Jesus as
the Son of God, and was baptized. Then, in an instant, Phillip was snatched away. Gone. Just like that. Some kind of star trek number. But Luke, the writer of Acts continues on to tell us that the Eunuch "went on his way rejoicing."


 Dr. Warren Gage encouraged us to think about how Luke knew that information. It would have happened after Phillip was gone, so how did Luke find out that the eunuch went on his way rejoicing? It could be, he suggested, one of three possibilities. One would be that Luke knew that amazing feeling that comes over you after giving your life to Jesus. Luke could have just assumed that the eunuch was bound to be rejoicing. Another possibility would be that the Holy Spirit simply revealed to Luke that the eunuch went
away rejoicing. But the third possibility Gage presented was an idea I had never thought of before. Most likely, once the eunuch was headed home again, he would pick up reading where he left off. Luke knew that portion of scripture well. He knew what the eunuch was about to read and therefore knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was going to be some serious hallelujahs coming from that chariot!


But before we look at that portion of scripture, take a minute to think about the eunuch. As a child he was stripped of his manhood. He felt such shame from his youth. He looked different  never growing any facial hair. He was a slave to the queen. Although he had prominence in his position, to the onlooker, he was broken. He would never have offspring. He was barren. He was not allowed in the temple because of this. But now. Now he was made whole in Christ Jesus. So what did that mean? The rest of Isaiah 53 continues to describe the pain and suffering that Jesus endured, but then comes Isaiah 54. Look at what he read next:

Isaiah 54
54 “Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.
4 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,

"Enlarge your tents" means "get ready, you are going to need a big house for all of your descendants!"

Then this:

Isaiah 55
12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”


And finally Isaiah 56

3 Do not let the son of the foreigner
Who has joined himself to the Lord
Speak, saying,
“The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”;
Nor let the EUNUCH say,
“Here I am, a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
5 Even to them I will give in My house
And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
You better believe that he went away rejoicing! A man not allowed in the temple, with no hope of any descendants, now reads these amazing promises that seem to be written just for him!
And whatever became of this eunuch?
Well historical records indicate that this man, who could bear no earthly children,became the father of the Coptic Christian nation in Africa that is still around today. He is the spiritual father to millions and millions. Wow!

Yet the question remains: to whom was Isaiah written? I think that Luke knew the answer to that question.
And the eunuch knew. And my husband knows too. You see, my husband took that same passage, that was read by a Eunuch 2000 years ago and read it to an unsuspecting Jewish man the other day without
telling him where it was located. After reading the whole chapter that describes prophetically the life of our Savior in such detail,  he asked the man, “Who do you think that passage was talking about?”
The man answered without hesitation,“Jesus, of course.”
Of course.
Needless to say the room got very quiet when Paul then let him know that those words that so clearly describe Jesus, were written as a prophecy in his own Hebrew scriptures.

 Those scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God and have unbelievable power. They can tell a historical account, minister to the eunuch of a great African queen, and speak to the heart of a man still today all while pointing to Jesus Christ. They are for you and me, and anyone with ears to hear. I pray that we would believe this so completely that we would share it with everyone that we meet, knowing that the power of the gospel is on every page.  God's Word changes lives, so let us read it, study it, and share it today. Amen!