Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to Thank a Veteran

How to Thank our Veterans
Barbara Henderson

Once again, the military of the United States of America is on the front lines of a major battle.  They are fighting the battle for quality medical care to which they are entitled due to the service provided to the United States during their personal service to this nation.  God have mercy on them during this fight.  It is of major importance to the veterans; but it equally important to the rest of the USA due to the impending government run healthcare.  If something isn’t done to stop it, this is the sort of healthcare every single American can look forward to receiving.

So, while I sincerely regret their treatment at the hands of the government, I also sincerely thank them for speaking out and demanding competent and timely care.

All the guardianship of American freedom cannot be left to the military.  Every single citizen has a part to play.  When injustice rears its hideous head, everyone who loves freedom is obligated to speak out and do what they can to right a wrong, prevent a wrong, and stop habitual wrong doing.

We have a duty to speak out and act when duty calls.  Right now it is calling loud and often.  However, there is a seldom considered duty of those who enjoy freedom. 

It is the DUTY and the PRIVILEGE of Americans to USE THEIR FREEDOM.  I am sick of people being pushed around, or letting themselves be pushed around by political correctness, social acceptability, and peer pressure.  Christians are obligated to live within the laws set by God.  The laws of man that do not conflict with the laws of God must also be obeyed.  But that is the absolute end of what ‘must’ be done.

This means that within the boundaries set by God you are free to do whatever you please.  Do you want to know God’s will for your life?  His will is that you obey the commandments, be kind to others, and treat others the way you want to be treated.  Within the confines of those boundaries you are free to do whatever you want to do.  That is absolutely correct. 

The Bible does say to live at peace with others as much as possible, but it does not tell you to spend your life trying to avoid offending everyone.  If you are employed it is your duty to be a good employee.  That means you do the very best you can do and then you do a little more.  If you are part of a family, thank God.  Never offend anyone on purpose or through lack of caring.  But you are not required to live with ‘appeaser’ tattooed on your forehead.  Appeasement does not work in families, in the work place, in the church, or in governments.

Always remember you are not required to ‘think’ any specific way.  You are not required to believe in global warming, or any other political social hot button.  You are not required to save the planet.  You are not required to sacrifice your own way of life so someone else can keep their way of life.  Within the boundaries of love and kindness you are free to make choices, live with consequences, strive to achieve, set goals, and choose your own way of life.  Do not make these ‘boundaries’ larger or more difficult than they actually are.  Jesus said, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light’.  Compared to the tyrants running the government who put burdens on other people’s backs which they themselves will never bear, the burdens of good Christian behavior and duty are easy.  (If you are wondering what burdens – think ‘Obamacare’.  The working people are stuck with it, but government officials are not.  How wicked is that?”

The way you thank a veteran is to make use of the freedoms for which they sacrificed so much.  Never forget the cost of freedom.  It was paid it blood and personal sacrifice.  It was paid by the soldiers themselves.  It was paid by mothers and fathers living without their children so you could live with your children.  It was paid by moms and dads who did not stop their children from fighting for freedom for others.  It was paid by widows, widowers, orphans, and friends of those who sacrificed.  It is being paid every minute of day. 

Are you wasting your gift of freedom?  Are you spending your life trying to fit in and avoid the ill will of your peers instead of setting a goal and working to achieve that goal? 

Even worse than not having freedom is wasting freedom.  That is what many people are doing today.  Veterans have given their all to give freedom to people around the world, but especially here in the USA.  How would you feel if you had paid a dreadful price for a gift to someone – and they wound up leaving it in the gift box and never using it? 

I am personally sick of those who bash America. A great many American’s are giving loving people with a Christian work-ethic.  There are some power hunger thieves and murders who are currently in political office and others who are given undue influence because of who they are.  It is time for the backbone of America to speak up.  Fight for the good things of America.  We can currently do this without being shot or put in jail.  That is how you thank a veteran.  You appreciate their sacrifice by doing your part to keep the freedoms that have been so expensive to gain in the first place. 

Don’t waste your gift of freedom.  Don’t leave it in a box on the shelf.

God Bless America, and God bless our soldiers!

Barbara Henderson

Ps.  Of course, the ultimate freedom is found in Jesus Christ.  As Americans, we are doubly blessed.  We are free to speak out and tell others that Jesus is the way to life everlasting.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever beliveth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.’  John 3:16

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What to do When You are Facing Trouble

Where to Go When You Are Facing a Dark Night of the Soul
Barbara Henderson

In the Bible we are told of a man who needed food in the middle of the night to feed an unexpected guest.  He went to a neighbor and persistently banged on the door and asked for food.  Finally the neighbor realized he would not get any sleep until he got up and gave the man some food for his guests.

When thinking about this story I notice that there are at least two very rude people.  First, the unexpected guest who arrived in the middle of the night and demands to be fed!  Second the homeowner who goes to a neighbor and demands that he get up to give him some food for his rude guest.  If that happened often the neighbor probably listed his home for sale the next morning. 

This is sort of a complex story when applied to the lives of everyday Christians. 

First, the man had an unexpected ‘guest’.  In our lives we often have unexpected ‘visitors’. These visitors could include financial difficulty, illness, family strife, job loss, accidents, and many other unwanted things. 

Second, the man dealt with the unexpected guests by looking outside his own abilities and resources for help.  He went to his neighbor.  For Christians, when these unexpected circumstances and events come upon us, we also need to go outside our own abilities and resources.  We need to run to the Lord for help.  It is time to beat on His door until He gives us help. 

That does sound simple doesn’t it?  Feed the unexpected – and probably uninvited - guest – and then get on with your life.  Unfortunately, that dreadful ‘guest’ will usually overstay his welcome.  That is especially true when you are unhappy about the visit in the first place.

So, what do you do when the problem visitor moves in?  You keep knocking on the neighbor’s door.  However, Christians are not really ‘neighbors’ when it comes to God Almighty.  They are family.  I mean they are actual legally adopted family members.  When you pray to God through Jesus Christ the Son you are not banging on the door of a neighbor.  You are directly asking your adopted Father for help. 

Read Matthew Chapter 7:7-11.  The entire chapter is good, but these verses are especially helpful in this.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
And there you have it.  God is going to answer your prayers.  What often happens is we have a specific answer and a specific order in which we want things to happen.  Instead, God answers our prayers in a manner and order that is most beneficial.  It is like sewing a garment, or repairing an automobile.  For everything to work properly everything must be done in order.  For instance you can’t pour the oil into a new engine before all the gaskets and hoses are put in.  Sometimes, when we are pouring our heart out to God for help in one area He has to get things in order in another area before our particular prayer can be answered in a way that will actually  work. 

Remember the man who went to his neighbor kept beating on the door until the neighbor got up and gave him what he needed.  However, when going to God Almighty with a request remember that you do not have to wake God up.  He doesn’t sleep or slumber. 

Remember Psalm 121 which says:
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Verses 2 & 3 both tell you that God does not sleep.  You don’t have to wake him up.

It has been said, and I believe correctly, that prayers are not answered because people give up and stop praying.  Don’t let that be your story.  Keep praying.  Remember Luke 18:1-7 which says;
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

Keep praying.  Don’t give up on God.  He IS working on your behalf.  No matter how dark the night; no matter how deep the sorrow; or even no matter how trivial your request may be, God is with you and He will help you.

We have the tragic story in the Bible of Abraham and Sarah who had a direct promise from God regarding the birth of a son.  They grew impatient and took matters into their own hands.  Abraham had a son with his wife’s maid.  The entire world is currently reeling with the sorrow of that lapse of faith!  Of course we are to do what we can do, but we are not to manipulate a situation to make things come out in a manner that seems good to us.  God does not need us to manipulate a situation, or to take matters into our own hands on a large scale like Abraham or a small personal scale.  Also, none of us actually know what a small scale happens to be.  I am positive Abraham had no idea of what was going to happen to all the earth because of his impatience in waiting for the promised son.  God wants us to be obedient and patient in everything whether the matter is great or small.  He wants us to believe Him.  He wants us to trust Him that His blessings and His time table is the best for everyone concerned. 

Keep on praying. Pray without ceasing.  Keep on knocking on God’s door.  As you pray do not forget to give thanks.  The Bible says in everything we are to give thanks.  He doesn’t say to give thanks for terminal illness, heartbreaks, deaths of loved ones, financial disasters, or any other dreadful situation.  He says to give thanks during these times as well as during good times.  When my sister died unexpectedly at age 33 one of the first things I remember doing is to thank God that she was in heaven.  Giving thanks to God for His daily benefits is obedience to God, but it is also to our benefit as well.  Thankfulness gives order to things when the entire world may seem to be spinning out of control.  Do not discount the benefit to you personally of giving thanks and praising God during difficult situations. 

Do your best to listen to God as you pray.  You don’t want to miss your answer, or you don’t want to miss the first step in getting your prayer answered.  God is not going to speak to you from a burning bush.  He speaks through His word.  Read your Bible.  Bible reading does two things.  First, and possible most important during a difficult situation, reading the Bible provides a distraction from your problems!  Yes, that is right.  You can get so caught up in the story that you forget for even a few minutes that you have a problem or sorrow at all.  I definitely know what I am talking about.  Second, sometimes when you are prayerfully reading the Bible something will almost seem to speak to you personally.  It is usually a word of comfort or a word of hope that was written by God thousands of years ago, but the message is absolutely timeless.  It is inerrant, relevant, and it is enough!  You don’t need a sign or wonder outside God’s word and the comfort that it can give you if you are willing to look for it and accept it.

You can also find help and comfort in the written word of sound preachers and Bible commentaries.  These do not supersede the Bible in authority, but they are helpful.
Solid Christian friends are also helpful.  You do have God with you all the time, but a human shoulder to cry on can also be very comforting. 

In all this, pray without ceasing. Don’t stop.  Don’t doubt.  Don’t despair.  Unfortunately, we are all prone to stop praying, to doubt, and to despair.  Fortunately, the Bible tells us that ‘if our hearts condemn us God is greater than our hearts’.  How wonderful is that?  If you fall into despair like Elijah did when he ran to the cave God will seek you out and speak to you again in that still small voice.  Read the Bible.  Don’t give up. 

Another thing to do when in the sucking blackness of despair is to pray for your friends.  I know, that really sounds impossible.  After all, isn’t that when your friends are supposed to be praying for you?  Well, yes it is; but that is their job. If they fail you that is on their record.  The Bible tells us that when Job was in the middle of sorrow, loss, and a discussion with God regarding exactly why everything had happened to him, Job’s so-called friends asked Job to pray for them.  Job did what a true friend would do.  He prayed for them.  THEN, the Bible tells us that God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends’.    So, from a selfish point of view, pray for others.  It will help them, but it could help you more.  Once again, pray without ceasing.

God bless you.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Truth is for Real

The Truth is for Real
Barbara Henderson

The diagnosis was in.  Mortimer had stomach cancer.  He was rushed to surgery, underwent chemotherapy, radiation, a bone marrow transplant, and was sick enough to at least think he was dying. But Mortimer wanted to live, so he fought on.  He trusted his doctors to discover the truth; tell him the truth; and provide the best treatment possible.  Mortimer wanted to live.

Unfortunately, Mortimer died.  His family later found out that Mortimer’s medical records had been mixed up with someone else’s records.  Mortimer did not have cancer at all.  He had indigestion which, although very uncomfortable, could have been treated.  The man who actually had stomach cancer was treated for indigestion.  Lacking proper treatment, he died as well.  How dreadful is that? Does anyone believe the truth didn’t matter to Mortimer and the other man?

Yet, here we are today living in a world where the truth is not valued.  In fact the truth is often hated.  Even more important than getting the truth from your doctor is getting the truth from your preacher. Without the truth from you doctor you may die sooner than necessary while being tortured unmercifully by doctors who have sworn to do their best to heal you.  But, their torture will end in death.  That will be the end of the matter.  When spiritual advisors don’t tell the truth, souls are in danger of eternal torment.  The truth matters.  The truth is for real.  You can know the truth.

Generally speaking, people go to church trusting to hear the truth presented in an understandable way.  What they often hear is a few jokes, a nice poem, a seven-eleven songs (seven words sun eleven times), and an allusion to something in the Bible.  What is often not heard is the truth.  The truth that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven is not often heard.  The truth that while God is love, God is also holy and righteous may not be heard.  It is generally not preached that we shouldn’t deceive ourselves.  God is not mocked.  Whatsoever a man sows – that shall he also reap.  Living to please one’s self instead of living to please God has dire consequences. 

There are still many preachers who place a value on the truth that is above any earthly treasure.  Sometimes their congregation is appreciative, and other times their congregation isn’t interested in the truth.  One day they will claim ignorance when they stand before God, but that seems to be a long way off.  Besides, the truth is not pleasant to those who don’t like the truth.  The truth is that to enter the kingdom of heaven one is required to turn from sin and turn to God’s way.  Sin captivates its audience like a sugar captivates over-eaters.

A congregation that dislikes the truth will soon dislike the teller of the truth.  In other words, a preacher of the gospel will soon find himself unemployed!  People who don’t like the truth certainly don’t want to be reminded of the truth on Sunday or any other day of the week.  (Here’s a hint.  If you have a church where a preacher who is scripturally and morally sound is determined to preach the truth of the Bible and you keep hearing someone complain about the preacher – that person probably has an aversion to the truth.  They hate having their nose rubbed in the truth on a consistent basis.  Soon they will hate the one who tells the truth!)

When a church throws out a perfectly good preacher you can bet there is a much more evil reason than was given for the preacher’s dismissal.  In all honesty, preachers are like everyone else.  Some have strong points in managing people, choosing compatible staff, and getting their job done efficiently and in a timely manner.  On the other hand, there are at least an equal number of dedicated preachers who are scatter brained, disorganize, clueless when it comes to compatible staff, and altogether out of step with the needs of church management.  If you have a preacher who preaches and manages things well, you happen to have a wonderful blessing. If you have a preacher who falls into the sort of ‘goofy’ category, thank God anyway.  You may be able to help out in some way.  One definite way you can help is to not listen to grumblers.  Another way is to defend the truth.  Honestly, when there are real issues related to management, they need to be addressed as such.  Constructive suggestions should be offered.  But so often in church problems there is an underlying issue with the truth!  Grumblers don’t like it!  Soon grumblers go from disliking the truth itself to disliking the messenger.  That is why the preacher winds up getting the axe.

Once a congregation is rid of the disgusting truth telling preacher, they find a ‘preacher’ who is happy with lies himself.  He may not lie outright.  He may just avoid the truth.  He may preach whatever the people want to hear.  If they want to hear ‘how to win on Wallstreet’ then he will preach on that. If they want to hear ‘God wants you to be happy’ the preacher will preach on that. (And by the way – God does NOT want you to be happy.  God wants you to be OBEDIENT.  A by-product of obedience is joy and contentment.  Happiness is often achieved, but it is not the goal.)  He may lace his sermon with uses of Biblical phrases to make people feel ok about the sermon, but he won’t cross the line by actually preaching a real sermon.  The truth for them is they come to hate the actual truth.  They progress to the point that if anyone suggest that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven they would like to stone him. 

It goes like this:
Don’t like the truth
Don’t like those who tell the truth
Hate the truth
Hate those who tell the truth
Like those who don’t tell the truth
Hate those who love the truth.

Jesus Christ is the Truth that leads to life everlasting.  We shouldn’t be surprised that people hate those who love the truth, because they hate the truth. 

These haters of the truth are everywhere.  They are like unrestrained cockroaches!  They want to silence or even kill those who tell the truth that Jesus is the way into heaven.  Every ideology or lack of is to be tolerated and given respect because ‘it might be true’, or because ‘everyone has a right to choose what they believe’.  But they don’t tolerate the real truth.  Actually, though it may sound like they are tolerating everything except one belief, they are really only tolerating lies.  That’s it.  Lies.  They hate the truth, so they are left with lies.  There are many lies, so they have what seems like a wide range of choices.  But they really only have one choice.  They believe the truth according to Jesus Christ, or they believe a lie.  It doesn’t really matter which lie they choose.  It is still a lie.  Buddha?  It’s a lie.  Allah?  It’s a lie.  Reincarnation?  It’s a lie.  New Age Mysticism?  It’s a lie.  Animism? It’s a lie.  Paganism?  It’s a lie.  Mother Earth?  That is a real whopper!  Earth worship?  Another lie.  Communism?  Lies. Collectivism?  All lies. So, you see, no matter what they call it, if it rejects the Almighty Most High God of the Bible, it is a lie.  They all lead to the same place. That place is hell. False religions are like splitting a ball of yarn into many threads.  When you follow any thread it leads back to the same ball of yarn.  Lies lead to hell.  The truth leads to heaven.

In the truth of Jesus Christ there is eternal security and constant companionship.  In lies there is nothing but disappointment and torment.

Do you want to know the truth?  Are you looking for the truth?  If you really want to find the truth, you want to find Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the real truth.  In Him is the peace that passes understanding. Seek Him with all your heart, and He will be found by you.