31 March 2013

Sacred Sunday

Today, we celebrate His resurrection!  Today is not about colorful eggs, baskets over-flowing with cavity inducing candy, or outfits that are both beautiful and colorful.   These things are great symbols of new life, of triumph over death, but do not let them distract you from the vision of an empty tomb, of our Lord standing before you with the holes in his hands and feet.  Celebrate the beauty of new life in Him even as you focus on His love for us and His triumph over sin and death.

Happy Easter to you all!  He is Risen!  Hallelujah!

John 20

The Message (MSG)


1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.
11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
16 Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”
17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.


19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.
20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”
22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”
28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”
29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

29 March 2013

Celebrating Resurrection Day

I wrote this on my personal blog (A God-blessed Life), and thought I should share it here as well.

Disclaimer: My family celebrates Easter with eggs, baskets, and chocolate as most Christian families do. My intent is not to take away from family traditions used to teach the importance of Christ's resurrection- rather, my intent is to speak to adult Christians mucking around in a watered-down faith of our modern church to go back to our roots.

Easter is this Sunday.
Hallelujah! He is Risen!

For some of us this means putting on our nicest church clothes, getting up before the sun has risen, and rushing to a church that only sees us on major holidays to offer a feeble proclamation of praise and worship to a God we ignore the rest of the year.

For some of us this means several days of preparation: coloring eggs, decorating the house, shopping for pretty clothes for Easter pictures in front of the display at church, followed by a family meal that competes with Thanksgiving dinner, and very little thought goes into the actual representation of the day.

Then there are some of us who take great pains to remember Christ on this day, to use traditions and adopted symbolism to teach our friends, family, and children about Christ, His sacrifice, His Victory, and His love for us, while still trying to keep up with cantata's, dawn services, egg hunts, family dinners, etc. And try as we might, we still miss the big picture.

Easter Sunday, or as I prefer to refer to it, Resurrection Day, is the day we celebrate Christ rising from the dead of HIS OWN accord in victory over death with the debts of sin for every generation paid in full.

Please read that again. Let it sink in.

He died for our sins. Mine. Yours. Our parents. Our ancestors. Our children. Our grandchildren. Their grandchildren. He died for every single sin ever committed by every person who has ever lived, and who shall ever live! Think on that!

We no longer have to atone for our own sins... we merely need to accept that He did that for us, and accept His forgiveness, and offer our thanks, and strive to live better lives. Yet, we take his death for granted. We still go out living in sin that we KNOW in our hearts is sin. We think to ourselves that we are forgiven and that justifies our lack of action to stop sinning. Shame on us for wasting His gift!

But in addition to His dying for our sins, He willed Himself back to LIFE! He left the sins He paid for at the feet of Satan, and left the place of eternal damnation to prove to us His power over life and death, to prove to us He is the Son of God. On the third day after His death, Jesus Christ the Son of God, broke the gates of hell and walked among us once more.

Jesus Christ fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament freeing us from a life of law and inviting us to a life of peace, love, and freedom under His Grace, Perfect Love, and Mercy with the promise of eternal life at His side. This too we take for granted. We assume that living a life of peace, love, and freedom means that we can allow our Faith to become watered down. We study the Word less and cave into the world's views more. In the end, we start believing what the world has to say about our faith more than what His Word says about our faith and we are left hollow, confused, angry, and bitter.

My encouragement to you for this Resurrection Day, as you follow your family or personal traditions, is to add to your traditions a deliberate return to His Word. Make the time to lift your face to Heaven and call upon His name. His death and resurrection offer you the opportunity to directly seek His face. Raise your voice in prayer and praise. Tell your friends and family why modern Easter practices are simply icing on the cake of a gift so precious we need to stop taking it for granted.

Celebrate Resurrection Day and let the rest of the world have Easter.

God bless you!

25 March 2013

Rape in the Military

Recent news is again rife with rape scandals from across the Armed Forces.  The Air Force is still "recovering" from the news of gang rapes within the Academy, plus rape and sexual assault in Basic Training and on into Tech School.

Is rape of women (and now also men, according to recent reports) serving as Sisters At Arms something new to the Military?  Has this gone on since women first started joining the ranks?  Why are so many NOW coming forward?

Those are many questions I see in comments to articles.  But those questions do not even begin to address WHY this crime is not just happening, but why it seems to be okay to cover up, which in my opinion, just encourages this trend to continue.

Rape and sexual assault do not happen by accident.  While it may not be "premeditated," the person committing the act knows full well what they are doing and know, even in our modern society, that to push oneself on another is flat out wrong.  This should be especially true for someone serving in the Armed Forces, where we are called upon to live a life of richer morale, of selflessness, and of more honor.

So then we are back to this question:  WHY are rape and sexual assault cases of both men and women becoming more and more prevalent? 

Perhaps we will never know the complete and accurate reason.  However, one thing is for sure, there is obviously a loss of honor in the ranks.  There is certainly a loss of value for human dignity and human well-being in the ranks.  From the top down, we are seeing more dirty cases being hushed, being covered up with a slap on the hand for the aggressor, and a shameful discharge of the victim.

Rape is not the only indicator that the Armed Forces as a whole is losing its own morality.  The increasing number of divorces in the military because of unfaithful spouses, the increasing number of assaults, and the increase in crime in general in the military, prove it.

Women like myself joined the military for many different reasons.   For me it was skills training, education, opportunities to move, and a sense of pride in my Country.   Women like myself joined the military knowing we might be called upon to put our lives at risk in confrontation of an enemy.  Never would we have thought that the enemy might be our fellow Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman.  Never would we have thought that the enemy might be able to hide behind the ranks of those who are supposed to advocate for us.

Shame on the Armed Forces for allowing this immorality to seep into its ranks.  Shame on the Leadership who thought it would be more beneficial to protect the criminal and get rid of the victim.  Shame on the personnel who lost their sense of honor and who forgot their core values.

Bravo to the men and women who are coming forward and being heard!  My prayers go out to you as your lives are forever changed.  I pray that you can move forward toward forgiveness and may you find peace even in the aftermath of the hell you have gone through.

((I am going to research avenues of help that you might turn to if you are a victim that has yet to come forward.  Please come back in a few days and view my tab: Military Resources to access those links.))

Musical Monday

In keeping with the theme of returning to Scripture as the Holy Word of God, this week's music video is an oldie.
 Performed by Aaron-Jeoffrey in the mid-90's, "He Is" carries the books of the Bible and the Names of God as each book represents Him.  The song is very powerful, capturing the message of the Bible, and proving the theme of the Bible as a book to better know our Lord.
 I hope you enjoy it.

24 March 2013

Sacred Sunday

Christianity is based on the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord's Son, Jesus Christ.  How do you know Jesus?   How do we develop our Faith around a God whom we cannot see, a God-become-man who fits the stuff of legends, and a Holy Spirit that appears to move much more subtly in modern times?  We know these things to be true because of the Holy Bible- the Scriptures.  Christianity accepts the Word of God in its entirety, not a select few passages that give you a "good feeling."  The Living Word, the Bible, is meant to both uplift you, challenge you, convict you, and draw you closer to Him. 

It is time, dear Christians, to grasp the Bible, defend it against those who seek to water it down, and share it with those who are thirsty for the Truth.  Hide His Word in your heart, commit it to memory, read it, recite it, share it, and do not allow false Christians to muddy its message.

Hebrews 4 v 12-16
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 4 v 1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

John 1 v 5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

2 Timothy 3 v 10-17
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

And so I leave with you this final, emphasized verse from the last passage:
2 Timothy 3 v 16
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness,"

19 March 2013

The Christian's Creed

The Christian’s Creed (modern adaptation of the Apostle’s Creed)
By Christina Borden

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
who is big enough, wise enough, detailed enough, powerful enough to single-handedly be the Creator of all creation, the earth, the stars, and the universe.

I believe in the one and only Jesus Christ, who is the one God's only Son, our Lord,
who left His Father’s side, came to our level, and who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
He was born a common man of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered hatred, disdain, and disbelief under the hands of his own people and under Pontius Pilate.
He was brutally tortured, and hung on a criminal’s cross. He died and was buried.
He descended to the depths of Hell where He paid for the sins of all mankind.
On the third day, He rose again in Victory over the price of sin- death.
He ascended into Heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.
On a day unknown to man, He will return to judge, as only He can, both those still alive and those who have perished.

I believe in the Holy Spirit who acts to empower me to accomplish His will and intercedes for me when my soul cries out to God.
I believe in the Holy Bible as the infallible and Living Word of God in its entirety.
I believe in the Christian Church, as a body of believers in Christ that calls on and accepts Him alone as its Savior.

I believe in the fellowship of Christians for encouragement, admonishment, accountability, and discipleship so that we may glorify Him in all we say and do.
I believe in the continual forgiveness of sins; He forgave me, so I will strive to forgive others.
I believe in the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the body knowing as a Christian I may spend eternal life, so unlike this mortal life, with Him in Heaven.
I believe Christians are lead by example to love one another and to draw others to the Truth of the Christian faith.

I believe Christians who truly believe will be condemned, seen as outcasts, and ridiculed for adhering to an unwatered-down belief system in a world that seeks to inundate it with half-truths, political correctness, ignorance, and empty promises.
I believe no promises, no wealth, and no good fortune during this short life will equal the promises of eternal life with the Triune God.
I believe no matter how distorted the world tries to make Christianity appear, the true basis, the true foundations, and the true faith of the few will be enough to keep Christianity strong.

Corresponding Bible verses:
1 Cor. 12:14
1 Cor. 15:17
1 Peter 2:9
1 Peter 3:21-25
1 Thessalonians 5:21
2 Cor. 5:21
Acts 2:24
Col. 2:12
Deuteronomy 18:21-22
Gal. 2:20
Gal. 5:22-23
Heb. 4:15-16
Heb. 9:27
Hosea 4:6
Isa. 52:13-53:12
Isa. 7:14
Isaiah 1:18
John 1:14
John 16:8-14
John 17:16
John 5:16-27; 17:1-26
Jude 3
Luke 15:13
Matthew 6:9
Phil. 3:20
Ps. 8:1-3
Rom 4:22
Rom. 1:20
Rom. 1:4

Confusing Christianity

Reposted from 2008, a note I posted on my Facebook page.  However, due to recent events, this subject matter is still incredibly relevant.   It is intended to challenge you.
Recently, I have been part of a couple conversations that really set me back on my heals. I have had these types of conversations before, and have steered clear of speaking Truth even though every fiber in me is screaming out at the lies that these people are clinging to.

First... When you say that you are a Christian, what is it you base that on? Is this merely a title that you claim because you were raised in church, or because it was the popular thing growing up and its a safe label to hide behind? Or do you TRULY know Him and He dwells within your heart?

Second... Because if you claim to be a Christian, then HE will not accept untruths. There will be no doubt that the Bible IS the Word of God. Not just parts of it... ALL of it. It's not a book of famous quotes that you get to pick and choose what fits best with YOUR own philosophy; it is HIS desire for us, HIS direction and guidance for us, HIS challenge and HIS TRUTH that will bare our souls and convince us and draw us closer to HIM and away from ourselves.

Third... Because you claim to be a Christian, and you KNOW that the Bible is His Word, BECAUSE He dwells within you, you cannot claim that you believe there is more than one way to Heaven because the Holy Spirit within you will not let you say so without a bitter taste in your mouth and strong conviction of the Truth in your heart.

Fourth... Because you are a Christian, you will see your own flaws and you will feel guilt over them but you will also KNOW hope, peace, forgiveness, and love and will be able to share those things with others. Because you have Him in your heart, you will see the Truth, and even though you may struggle against it and may rant against it, you will know deep down in your secretest of places that He will not be denied. No false prophet will be able to hold you long if the Holy Spirit is within you. No false teachers will be able to sway you from the Truth with promises and temptations of all those worldly desires because the Word of God will reveal their lies, and as a Christian, even if you have never read the Bible cover to cover, His Word also dwells in you, and those lies will sit heavy in your heart.

If you are truly a Christian, these things will be true for you.

If you merely claim to be a Christian, what I have shared will be as lies and judgment to you and will offend you. I will not apologize for this offense. I will pray that He makes His presence known to you. And I will hope that if offense is taken that along with it will be the desire to seek out for yourself if I am really wrong. Question the points I have made (not me) by seeking out the answers for yourself. Seek Him out in prayer. Open up that Bible that you are convinced is antiquated and half-fiction and seek out ways to prove the facts above wrong. I challenge you to seek His face and tell Him that He is not the only way to eternal life, that His Word is not the Living Word, that His eternal promises are somehow also for this earthly life. Confront Him! I dare you.

((This is not up for debate.  There is nothing to defend... This is Truth))

18 March 2013

Musical Monday

The song I have chosen for this week is dedicated to the men and women I personally know who are struggling through deployments, moves, separations from family, separations from spouses, divorces, and deaths.
HE said... 
Do you remember what HE said?
The struggle does not mean He has left you.  The pain is real.  The sadness is real.  But there is Hope!  He offers Peace!
He offers His hand and wants to carry you through it.
He wants to see you become better and stronger on the other side.
God Bless You!

17 March 2013

Sacred Sunday

Psalm 12

A psalm of David.

1 Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
2 Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.

3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue—
4 those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.”
6 And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.

7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
8 who freely strut about
when what is vile is honored by the human race.

04 March 2013

Musical Monday

Sing along...  What a beautiful song of praise and admiration!  An incredible way to start the week!

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God
That spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Now I know, my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I-I-I know
My Redeemer

He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives
Forever I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sins
Was the precious life He gave
And now He's alive and
There's an empty

And I know
My Redeemer lives
He lives
I know
My Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I-I-I know my Redeemer

I know
My Redeemer lives
*I know my Redeemer lives*

03 March 2013

Sacred Sunday

Are you thirsting for more?  Quench your thirst with His Word!  Here is a letter of encouragement!

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
~Isaiah 55