Seek The Things That Are Above – Sermon Notes

 

One of my goals or resolutions for this year is to learn about God and His Word daily. My thought process is if I can spend a daily average of 4 hours on social media, collectively then I have no excuse to not spend time in things that matter – like studying His Word or furthering His Kingdom.

Here are my notes on a powerful sermon given by John Piper on December 29, 2019. This is an excellent sermon to start the New Year.  It is about 45 minutes long.

Colossians 3: 1-4 This verse reveals an unbelievable reality. We will not believe what is here in this verse without the Holy Spirit in your mind.
There are 5 realities in this passage:
1. Reality of God – This is the most foundational. We see this also in Col. 1:14, 2:14
2. Christ is seated at the right hand of God
– Christ is seated
– He was once dead and is now alive. Col. 2:12
– There are 3 positional things told about Christ:
1. He is above – meaning He is above all and all things are under Him
2. He is at the right hand of God – This is a place of honor and authority. He is not below or above God. He is acting as God. Col. 1:15-19; Rom. 8:34
3. He is seated – Finished Heb. 1:23
3. As a Believer in Christ my death is behind me
– 
My life is hidden from the world. Even from me. What I see in the mirror is not my life. Verse 3 – I have died, so the worst is behind me. verse 4 – I have been raised                     – Quote – “The resurrection that awaits is as sure as the one you have already experienced”
          – Col.2:12 – We have passed from death unto life. I John 3:4
– Quote – “The most horrible experience is behind you. Your most glorious one awaits you. “
          – My death is over. The worst is behind me. My life is hidden. My glory is hidden. The true me is hidden.
– Quote “May God grant you to see that what you can’t see is more real and precious than all that you can.”
 4. Christ is going to appear. Verse 4
– Christ is here now in this world. Totally in charge. He’s reigning over the world now. He is also hiddena nd it will not always be so. Titus 2:13 – He is coming
5. My hiddenness will also be over as well. Verse 4
– We will appear with Him in glory. We are invisible right now. The true me is invisible, but will be manifested.

I must be shaped in my mind, attitude and in my longings. Have my mind shaped by these 5 realities. Not by TV, social media or other things. Let this shape how I see the world. How I feel about the world. Let it shape my perspective. Let it shape everything. How do I do this shaping? By seeking. Seek the things that are above. That’s the pathway to the mindset, to the shaping. No one gains the mindset of heaven passively. Seek, treasure, look, find. All these are not passive words. You seek it, or you don’t have it.

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mirrorWhat an excellent sermon. I was so inspired by this reality. I just loved how my true self hasn’t been revealed yet! My true self doesn’t have the baggage of all my sins and dispositions. I am still hidden. When I look at myself in the mirror, I am really not seeing myself! I can just meditate on that for so long! What truth! What hope! The quotes included in the notes are so encouraging! Also, the part that encourages me that the worst is already behind me because the worst time in my life was when I was not saved! This is so encouraging, that no matter what pain may come, the worse is already behind. Praise the Lord. This new year, it is my hope that I seek Him with all my heart and await to meet my true myself!

 

The Best 3 Books I Read in 2019

 

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This year I read a total of 52 books. That’s about a book a week! My goal was 40!

The shortest book I read was only 76 pages and was “Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce” by John Piper

The longest book I read was 659 pages and was “The Shining” by Stephen King.

And out of all those books I read in 2019 the top three I think would be, in no particular order:
1. “True Community” by Jerry Bridges
2. “Letters to the Church” by Francis Chan
3. “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness
These three books made me a better person, or gave me insight and words to emotions I couldn’t put into words. I highly recommend these books!

I look forward to 2020 and what wisdom and adventures it will bring.

A Box of Misfits – Like us!

They’re motto is “Always fresh, sometimes normal”. Misfits is a box of fruit and vegetables that I get every two weeks. At the grocery store most of the fruit and vegetables look the same, but what happens to those that don’t look like the rest. Well they are usually tossed. The fruit or veggies are perfectly normal, but they’re not sellable only because they aren’t appealing to the eyes. We all expect our food to look a certain way and in order to be marketable, things have to look pleasing. This company takes those “tossed” fruits and veggies and instead of wasting them, they box them up and sell them for about 40% less to people like me. Also, they are all organic.

I love getting my box of misfits! There are things in there I have never cooked with before like fennel, and butternut squash. But it has stretched my cooking abilities and I love every minute of it.

I have it set up where I get my box on Fridays so I can be creative and cook up different things during the weekend when I have more time to play around with my culinary ambitions.

Here is a picture of what I got today:

misfits

If you are interested in this, here is a link to their website. They also have some things you can add to the box that they have on sale! If you like to cook and explore new tastes, you will have so much fun with these boxes.

Here are some of my thoughts on how to use these little misfits:
Oranges/Lemons – Make a citrus-ade
Jalapenos/Large Shallots: I have some tomatoes, so I am making a pico or salsa.
Cabbage/Potatoes: Either boil or roast them with some polish sausage!
Green Beans: Side dish with some bacon
Kale: I will probably saute with green and red peppers and garlic for a side dish
Apples: Kids!
Acorn Squash: It is off to the side and out of the picture. Ooops! I have never cooked with acorn squash so I looked up some recipes and I think I am going to roast it and stuff it with ground beef and rice that I have left over!!
Squash: I use these all the time for almost any meat or rice dish

Open Borders and No Walls – for Christians

 

I lived in Texas most of my life, then my family and I moved to a small town (population 660) in Western Kentucky. I am going to be brutally honest with you for moment: until I married a white man, most of my friends were Latinos. I didn’t mean for that to be, I just hung around them more. I talked to white people here and there, but my closest friends were not white. I could go on and on about how we tend to migrate (no pun intended) towards people who look like us, but I will save that for another blog. What I want to talk about today is illegal immigration. I know that these words can stir up so much emotion on all sides, but I come hoping just to clarify my thoughts and where I stand on this issue.

My mother was born in a tiny town called El Potrero (near Monterrey), Nuevo Leon Mexico. My dad was born in Houston, Texas. My mother lived in Mexico until she married my dad. Due to her marriage to my father – a U.S. citizen, she obtained a permanent resident status i.e. the famed green card. They began their life in  Houston. Years later, my dad decided to join the U.S. Border Patrol and that moved us to El Paso and then Harlingen, Texas. Most of my life, I have lived in border towns. Seeing illegal immigrants where I worked, at my church, in my  home was something normal. I even knew a lady who would visit her family in Mexico every Christmas and would come in illegally every year!. I was friends with any and all who wanted to be my friend. As Mexican-Americans (literally), we hung around others like us, some just happened to be here illegally.

Now that I live in a tiny town in Kentucky our home is still open to all. We have had doctors and meth-heads who have come into my home. We have allowed single mothers to live with us as well as taken in foster kids. We have adopted 4 children of different ages and ethnic backgrounds. Every month at least 80 people come into my home to share a meal, a story, or just to chat for a while. People are always staying the night and on weekends half the time I don’t know whose kid is at my house. We have had people representing 8 different nationalities eat with us, stay with us and love on us throughout our 8 years of living in this area. I love feeding anyone who is hungry or not so hungry and I truly strive to open up not just my home but also my life to anyone from any walk of life. I do this because I am a Christian and God being so rich in mercy took me, a Gentile woman, and gave me an inheritance along with His Son. He adopted me into His family and I – a stranger, an alien, a non-Jew – am now a part of His eternal family. I am telling you all this because what I am about to say isn’t coming from a life lived in seclusion or from the safety of my home. I truly try to live out my faith to love on the neighbor God has placed in my life.

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When I as a Christian love on my neighbor, it is out of obedience to what He calls me to do, but as a nation I also believe that we must uphold our laws. Personally, I do not ask for IDs for someone coming into my home. If you have a warrant for your arrest, are illegally here or if you have unpaid taxes that doesn’t change my hospitality towards you. But, as a country, there are consequences to breaking our laws that thankfully are not mine to uphold. If judges turned the other cheek when passing sentence, our society would turn into chaos. If our army loved the enemy as Christians do, frankly I would probably be writing this blog in Russian or Chinese. If we allowed all to come into our country without a vetting process, our economy and society would not be able to sustain itself. We are in this world as Christians to love, but that is not the job of our government. Our government isn’t based on grace, but on laws, and to say that the government should behave as a Christian is very dangerous. And to feel guilty because our nation isn’t acting as a Christian would act independently isn’t right. I once saw a show where the radio host purposefully looked at churches who were sanctimoniously on their websites  condemning law makers and the government for being cruel for not having open borders. He then called these churches and pretended to be a social worker who needed to place some illegal immigrant children and families in temporary homes. NOT ONE OF THESE CHURCHES took any of them in. NOT ONE had a protocol in place to assist these immigrants. NOT ONE said they wanted more information. NOT ONE! The hypocrisy was vomit inducing. And that is why I can tell you, if you want to guilt trip this nation to open up its borders, you first. Open up your home without vetting, stop locking your door at night, take in and provide for foster kids or the homeless addict down the road, allow single moms to live rent free, allow a group of immigrant men to live anywhere in your home without questions asked. If you wont do it in your home for obvious reasons, what do you think will happen when those numbers are multiplied in the millions?

God established governing powers because we need structure and the law. We need speed limits and a police force. We need a judicial system that puts dangerous people in prison. We need punishments and sentences. And yes, I will say it, we need immigration policy and laws. Let us not forget that we live in a very evil world. People are murderers, rapists, slanderers and just plain cruel. There are people who rob and steal and cause misery and pain. This world is broken and dark, and as Christians we know it because the light brushes with darkness all the time. And if the law begins to violate our conscience (for example for me legalizing abortion), we are blessed that we can vote a certain way and voice are opinions. We can volunteer, advocate and do something about our concerns. Don’t just complain about an issue, do something about it. That is another great thing about this country: I can place my concerns or any apparent inhumanity into action. The problem arises when you try to force others to live a certain way, when you yourself do not live out that life.

Individually, yes the Christian life is risky and can be dangerous. It always is when we leave our comfort and try to be a light in this world. Yes, I have had things stolen, walls and doors busted up, and ungrateful recipients of our love. We have been slandered and used, but we can do all these things because we have the freedom of living in a safe nation with laws. We have freedom to love our God and our neighbor because we are safe to do so. We have resources to give because we have an economic system that allows us to make money to pay for those things.

Are there people fleeing awful places,  yes. And as a Christian if someone like them shows up near me, I will be the first to put my money where my mouth is and take them in and love on them the best I can. I already have and will continue to do so. But, as a nation, we cannot save everyone and we must have laws in order for us to protect our way of life. Are there people fleeing the law, yes. And as a Christian I will love on them the best I can. I already have and will continue to do so, no questions asked. But as a country this person has a reckoning with a judge and will have to face his/her consequences eventually.

As Christians, our lives should be lived with open borders allowing all who want to come to Christ to come, forgiving all from all because we have been forgiven so much, but we would struggle to live this kind of life if our nation did the same thing.

adoption

Dear Christian, I do not feel guilty and neither should you for not wanting open borders or for wanting a wall. Things like this are necessary. When Paul was in trouble he used the law to protect himself (Acts 22:22-29), and it was the law that kept him from being crucified and only beheaded. In this world, we need the law. And laws placed for our safety is a good thing. It provides us with freedom other people from other countries are willing to risk their lives to experience. Why else would Hong Kong protesters wave American flags or so many travel thousand of miles to get here?

I want to end this with an exhortation. Christian, love your neighbor, open your home, take a risk to further His Kingdom, give of your time and money, live in forgiveness and grace. Leave the law and the safety to the world. They need it more.

adoption 2

Girl Wash Your Face – Book Review

I realize that this is a very popular book especially among women my age, so I did hesitate for a moment about writing this review – but only for a moment.

Overall the book is another self-help book sprinkled with Scripture and some Christianese. Mrs. Hollis is an excellent writer and listening to her read her own book, I can tell she is a great motivator and speaker. There are some things I did get from the book that were helpful, but her slaughter of Scripture left me wanting to throw the book across the room. I didn’t, only because I got the book on audible and would have probably shattered my phone.

In her book, she does provide little small things you can do to start changing bad habits or traits. She has done very well for herself and has a huge following and it is good to take advice from people who have been so successful. She lets the reader know her thought process and provides tidbits of advice and counsel that are helpful. She is also very vivacious and humorous. The book was funny at times, and that made it easier to listen to. She is also very open about her struggles, but I believe this can also lead to a false sense of entitlement or authority. Just because someone is open about their suffering, doesn’t mean they have the authority to tell others how to feel about pain. It can definitely make them more empathetic, but not wiser. So my advice – Girl, you’re a fool and so am I!

Also, Mrs. Hollis unfortunately is not a good theologian. She is your typical American Christian – my way and Jesus on the side. I wouldn’t say this is a religious book, but she does mention her faith and how it helps her in her life often. If I remember correctly, every verse she uses, she uses out of context. She even wrote Philippians 4:13 on her arm as encouragement when she ran her marathon. Ugh! So my advice – Girl, read your Bible!

She also oozes with white guilt. I can’t stand that! There is nothing wrong with being white! Say it with me my white friends “There is nothing wrong with being white!” She mentions in her book how she left her all white church to go to a multi-ethnic church so her children could be exposed to differences. Would she have encouraged me to leave my all Hispanic church in Texas? Or what about a black mom, would she encourage her to leaver her all-black church? I don’t know, but I think she wouldn’t have. Here is where she gets it so wrong. She paints a picture of having friends off all colors and cultures and religions – and that is a good thing! – but she erroneously says that is how Heaven will be. Sorry, but not sorry, there wont be any Muslims in Heaven or Buddhist or unbelievers. Yes, there will be people of all tongues and tribes, but all of them will be believers and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. She does address a problem in the church – we self-segregate. But this isn’t a white problem. It is a human problem. Growing up in El Paso, Texas my church’s name was Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana. In case you didn’t catch that, it translates to: First MEXICAN Baptist Church. We even excluded Hispanics belonging to other countries! So my advice – Girl, grow where you’re planted and you don’t need a tan!

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She also drinks way too much. She admits she drank alcohol to relieve stress and that that wasn’t a good thing, but several times she mentions where she met her best friend at happy hour, where she drinks some wine here or drinks with her friends. It’s just not me. I drink, very occasionally, but for someone who admits they had a problem, I was just a bit concerned at the way she nonchalantly mentions these moments. My advice – Girl, find a happy hour with Jesus.

The book ends up being very human-centered just like all self-help books, especially towards the end. She talks about stepping out and meeting new people not like you, which basically is the Great Commission of every Christian, but she dangerously says you do not need a hero because you are the hero. You do need a hero, I do. we do. She does talk about God giving you strength, but that in the end, it is up to  you to really change. I beg to differ, I only change because of what God does in me. I fail me. My strength fails me. My motives are tainted. My soul is depraved. My ambitions are marred. All throughout Scripture, there is a constant reminder that I am not the hero, but the one who needs rescuing. My advice – Girl, get rescued!

I do not recommend this book, but if  you are a woman who may need a quick pick-me up or just some temporary motivation – this book will provide that. She did motivate me to set goals, to dream and to stop lying to myself. I do that all the time on my own -thanks to Christian friends and THE BIBLE AND JESUS! -, but it was nice for someone else to tell me, and like I said before, she does give some good advice. SOME. I do not recommend this book to white women because she will make you feel bad about your whiteness, and that’s something you can’t do anything about. Most of my friends are white and I don’t want that kind of negativity in their lives. I’m watching out for you my sister! 🙂

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Basically she is the next Joyce Meyer. If you like her, you will like Rachel Hollis.

 

The Benedict Option – Book Review

The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher

Summary: This book is very much about the current state of the American church and how Christians should worry more about living out their lives helping others and other believers instead of delving too much into politics and trying to save America from foreign or domestic invasion. The book emphasizes living out Christian virtues and being the hands and feet of Jesus. It also implores the Christian to look less like the world by living simpler, being less plugged in to technology and social media, and working to help out the least of these. He encourages the Christian to influence culture and others locally.

My take: Although the author does speak about not trying to sound too doom and gloomish, he does. Also, he really doesn’t bring anything new to the Christian’s table. If you are a practicing Christian, you are already doing what he recommends. I didn’t see the Benedict option as something new, more of just a carrying out of the Two Greatest Commandments. Although he talks about influencing unbelievers with how we live, he also glorifies seclusion. He exalts monks and nuns who cloister themselves apart from the world. Throughout the book I remember thinking, “Well if we seclude ourselves, how do we influence or love on the lost?”.

I did agree with most of what Mr. Dreher wrote, I just didn’t think it was  new. He did have some new information on current events, but nothing really unfamiliar in how to respond to it. A better title would have been: “The Christian Option”, because truly that is what he is writing about. I don’t think if it had had that title that it would have sold as many books though.

I don’t recommend this book to the modestly practicing, unpolitical Christian. I do recommend it to the Christian who may struggle with over-politicizing everything.  As American Christians we do have that beautiful liberty to be involved in politics, but there are those who battle too much for this kingdom and not the one to come. This would be a good book that I think would benefit, in that case.

You can buy the book here.

 

 

A Comforting Force

Twitter, short quips of what people are thinking. If you are not careful who you follow, it can be a cesspool of some of the vilest utterances imaginable. If anything is happening or if I want to somewhat know what is going on, I look at my twitter feed and rest assured, there are dozens of people already talking about any event I am interested in.

Rolling Stone yesterday sent out a twitter about “Professional Cuddling” and how grown adults have to resort to hiring out a professional cuddler to cope with their difficult lives. If you would like to check out the tweet click here.

There are several problems that came to mind when I read this tweet and I will try to explain what they are:

Suffering is belittled. Jesus said we would have many troubles in this world. (John 16:33) Remember he said this as His people were occupied by the Romans. They were a conquered people and succumbed to all kinds of suffering. After the ascension of Jesus, the Christians faced some of the most physical sufferings imaginable. Having to hire out a cuddler because President Trump is crass and a bully downgrades the true trials and sufferings of other people. Also, as Christians our sufferings are different. We may be suffering because we are hated (John 15:18), grieving over sin (2 Corinthians 7:10), being disciplined by God (Hebrews 12:7-8), or just feeling the pangs of this world but we do all these things with hope.(I Thess. 4:13) We freely cling to God and His truths, not paid strangers.

This brings me to the sadness I felt reading this tweet. Regardless of how dainty I think the reason for their suffering is, these young adults are still feeling it. And it saddens me that they have to pay someone to listen and hug them. They are paying for physical displays of affection. Where are their mothers, their fathers, their friends, their church?

As Christians we should be the masters of comforting those who are suffering, regardless of how petty we believe the cause is. (I can’t even count how many times I held teenage girls as they sobbed because they couldn’t get the prom dress they wanted, they didn’t make the cheerleading squad, their friend is moving to varsity and she’s still in JV, the boy they like likes another girl, their cell phone was taken away, the list is endless!) What better time and place to hug, console, comfort and once they feel “safe” help them see a different Godly perspective? 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. This is why we are master comforters because we have been comforted by the only True Comforter.

This made me reflect on how I treat my fellow saint. Paul several times mentions greeting each other with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16, 2 Corinthians 13:12). In Acts 20:37 we see a beautiful display of affection where they weep, kiss and hug each other as brothers in Christ as they say goodbye to Paul.  Many times God describes his comfort to us as being under his wings, close to His heart, embraced by Him. (Psalm 91:4, Psalm 17:8, Psalm 36:7)

Also, let us love on the children in our church. There is an interesting paradox in our society. We commit constant idolatry when it comes to their wants, but we also hate them. In one hand we spend thousands a year getting them the stuff they don’t need, and on the other hand we are outright hateful when we are inconvenienced at restaurants, airplanes, movie theaters etc. by fussy children. (Matthew 19:13) We throw elaborate gender reveal parties, but are silent at the slaughter of babies in the womb. Saying this, we need to love the children of our church. We should encourage them, ask them questions about their day, hug them, play with them, and love on them . Let the church be a place where they know they are loved, not put up with. Let it not only be the nursery workers that interact with the next generation of American Christians.

My dear Christian, let us be comforters. Let us be nice and lovable. Let us truly mourn with and miss our brothers and rejoice when we see each other. If you do not feel that way about your church, let me encourage you to pick out one member of your church and make them miss you when you are not around and rejoice when they see you. Invite just one person to your home and listen to them. Seek out the elderly in your church and ask them about their day, ask them if anything is hurting them, I promise most have something to say. 😉 Buy some gum and hand them out to the kids. Baking for anyone for any reason is always a good idea. Always! Write a short note to your Pastor and let him know you are praying for him. Be sweet dear Christian.  Be a comforting force, just as our God is!

May John 13:35 ring true of us that “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”

Gosnell – Book Review

Gosnell – The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer is a book written by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. Ann and Phelim are journalists and the book is very well written. The book is about Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor who was charged and found guilty of serial murder.  .

I got this book on audio and I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. McElhinney is the reader. It made the book more personal and she does an excellent job. At certain points in the book I was outraged and she mirrored my outrage as she read along. At other moments, I was heartbroken, and I could hear her voice almost crack as she tried not to cry. Towards the end, I was disgusted and she reflected what I was feeling as she read. I really appreciated that about the audio, and I highly recommend getting the book in audio format. Several times as I listened I would stop what I was doing and just concentrated on her voice because I actually felt numb. I couldn’t even move.

I am not unfamiliar with abortion. I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy clinic and am helping to open up another one in my county. I have seen the pictures. I have seen videos and read about the “procedures” done to babies in the womb. I have listened and spoken to women still haunted by memories and regrets. I saw all the videos posted by David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt with the Center of Medical Progress revealing the gruesome truth of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the harvesting and selling of dead baby organs and tissue. So, I went into the book semi-prepared to hear about the horrors of abortion, but I wasn’t prepared to to be completely outraged at the resounding silence of the media. I wasn’t prepared for the bigotry against the poor, minorities and immigrants by elitist medical interns and staff. I wasn’t prepared for the selective incompetence of the government’s health departments. I wasn’t prepared for the lack of zealotry from feminists at the unequivocal mistreatment of vulnerable women – minority women to boot. And I wasn’t prepared for the creepy hubris of Kermit Gosnell.

As I finished the book I concluded that unless they could be exploited to fulfill an agenda, no one cared about them – the women seeking abortions and the babies that died. I can’t think of words to describe the hypocrisy of the media, of the health department, of the nurses, and of all these civil right leaders who supposedly care about minorities and women. Where were they!? Where was I?

This book will stir your very soul, but it didn’t leave me in despair, something awakened in me. After the numbness wore off, the book motivated me to be informed about issues that matter to me. In an age of information, we must be careful what we read and see, but we must also be careful to seek out several sources when shaping our opinions. Ms. McElhinney does this. She actually reads from court transcripts, she quotes eye witnesses and gives her first hand account of her meeting with Gosnell. She makes it clear that this isn’t a right or left issue. It’s not even a pro-life or pro-choice issue. Live babies were murdered and the world looked away because no one wants to violate a woman’s right to choose. I am not pro-choice at all, but if a woman is going to have an abortion, it should be safe, clean and provide her with ALL the information available to  her. That is the only way she can truly make any choice! How can anyone not agree with this? Two adult women of color died because of Gosnell’s malpractice and many more were treated in horrendous conditions by untrained staff. Some were minors and taken there against their will. And not one civil rights activist said a word! On the contrary, no one spoke out because they thought that is how abortion clinics must look in poor neighborhoods. What an outrage! They too looked away because no one truly cares about minorities unless it’s profitable to their agenda and/or pockets.

Recommendation: I recommend this book to everyone. It is not a pro-life or pro-choice book. It pro human dignity book.

To the Christian: We believe all humans are made in the image of God. All. Whether white, black, immigrant, poor or rich etc – all, carry with them the imprint of being created by a loving God. People, all people, should be treated with a dignity that is given to them by their Creator.This book is secular, but needs to be read by all Christians. Tim Challies has a great blog about this. With a warning that this book will outrage them, and open their eyes to a very cruel world, I would allow my teenage children to read this. They, most of all, need to know that the main stream media is out for their minds and is hoping to shape their opinions. The book is gory, it is frightening, and it is very heartbreaking, but so is the Holocaust and we don’t hesitate to teach this to our older children. This book sheds light at the depravity of man, but we cannot look away. We cannot hope that by ignoring what happens in these neighborhoods or in these clinics, that somehow they will go away. This happens every day, and we are commanded to go and be a light – no matter how small the light may be – in these dark recesses of human abasement.

I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. ~ John 12:46 

We cannot hide from this. We cannot ignore. Every night at 10:10 pm I pray for the children that undergo abortion, the mothers who abort them, the doctors who kill, and those who give their time and money to minister to those broken by these atrocities. Why do I pray at 10:10 pm? Because John 10:10 says – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” There’s nothing magical about the number, it’s just an alarm I set at that time to stop what I am doing and pray which pushes  me to not look away and do something. 

271 Babies

I am currently reading a book called “Gosnell, The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer” by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer and so far, I really can’t identify the emotions I am feeling. As I read, some moments I’m in an outrage at the lack of oversight of the local health departments or the bigotry against the poor. Other moments I feel crushed at so much death and outright lack of humanity and dignity. Other times I feel hopeless, “will this ever end?”. It’s a great read though and so far I highly recommend it!

I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center and one day as I was planning out my day there, I picked up a newsletter about “intrauterine instillation”. I had no idea what that was so I read up on it. It is a form of abortion. It is saline or prostaglandin injected through the abdomen into the amniotic sac where in the space of 14-29 hours a pregnancy is terminated by burning the baby inside. You can read more about the procedure  here – don’t worry it’s not graphic it’s just wikipedia. As I read this newsletter, I was informed that these types of abortions still happen. I was completely shocked! I thought saline abortions were used only in the 70’s and 80’s. Although the number has gone drastically down, it is still currently used. Only .1% of abortions are done in this manner making the grand total of deaths by burning 271 – a little less than Queen Mary I of England in the 1500’s aka Bloody Mary! This number is still too high.

Deuteronomy 12:31 says: 
“You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

They even burn their children. This last segment in this  verse intensifies their sin . Not only do they do horrible acts, they’re even worse because they burn their children! Not only do we just rip babies apart in utero, we even burn some of them. Like Molech worshipers, in the name of prosperity, we allow our children to be burned alive.

I do believe there is hope though. With the help of the internet, science and social networks, the numbers of these atrocities do seem to be going down. We must inform ourselves, love the lost and desperate, and pray for wisdom in how God wants us to act individually and collectively as Christians.

I found a great website here, if you would like to volunteer your time or donate money to help men and women make informed decisions about their pregnancies and to help save these babies. I also want to encourage you to pray and to set up an alarm on your cell phone that will remind you to pray for these babies and their parents and this sacred cause. I have my alarm set at 10:10 p.m. because John 10:10 says: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Will you join me in prayer? Set up your alarm to ring every night to remind you to stop what you are doing and pray for our children, their parents and the cause. At 10:10 p.m. most of our kids are in bed, some of us are getting ready for bed ourselves and the day is winding down. If you are an early sleeper, could you set the alarm for 10:10 a.m. or forget the 10:10 and set it for a time of day when is most convenient.

via Daily Prompt: Baby

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert – Book Review

Ever since I heard the testimony of Rosaria Butterfield, I just fell in love with her. I spent a couple of days looking her up on youtube and other sites and just listening to what she had to say. When I found out that Mrs. Butterfield wrote an autobiography, I just had to read it, so I added her book to my Christmas list and I got it. Needless to say, I read the book in two days!

On youtube and other sites, a lot of the focus of her testimony is that she was a lesbian, Marxist progressive and that she no longer is now. Although that is important, there is just so much more to her than her past lesbianism. In her book she does mention her life before Jesus, but she also speaks vulnerably about her transformation into a repenting Christian and even mentions her current sin issues and how horrible they are to a Holy God. Rosaria beautifully speaks of the struggles in the life of a Christian. My sins, the currents ones I am committing as I write, God hates; but because of the trust I have on the work of the Cross, I can boldly approach this Holy God and plead for forgiveness, and because He is faithful to forgive, I can jump for joy that He is a great God! She also reveals the Gospel in such a way that it just grabs me by the hand and takes me along for a journey in getting to know this forgiving God! Rosaria’s story (like all Christians) doesn’t stop once she converts!

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that she also wrote about worshiping God through hospitality. She mentions the lack of hospitality among Christians and the plenitude of it among the LGBT. And I had to agree with her. Why are we quick to look the other way when someone needs attention or even just a hug? Why do we not open our doors enough to the wretched, the ugly or the lost? Why do I turn up my nose to the depressed, the emotionally needy, the poor, the pill poppers and the losers? What is the point of my candle light shining in an already lit room? Have I forgotten the mire of where I came from and where I still continue to go?

A specific sentence she wrote really captured my attention. On page 24 she says that looking back at pictures of herself, she no longer recognizes herself. Am I transforming in my Christian life that much that I too do not recognize myself? My life before my conversion was despicable. But am I continuing to change to become more and more like my Savior. Am I different from the person I was last year or even last month? Or do I still continue with my same sins, not caring about the monotony of my daily besetting transgressions?

I loved this book! And I recommend it to all Christians! I do not want you to think for a second that this book is only for those struggling with same-sex addictions or inclinations! It is not! It is for the Christian who struggles with hypocrisy (me). It is for the Christian who feels that God cannot heal him from a besetting sin (me also). It is for the Christian who is at peace with their holiness (the self-righteous). It is also for the lost. It is for all of us.

I also want to tell you that the book is not graphic. There is nothing obscene or tasteless in the book, unless words like “drag queen” or “butch” offend you. Not once did I flinch, or think she had crossed a line. Rosaria does well writing her autobiography in a way that exalts her Savior, not her sins (past or present).

I leave you with several excerpts from her book:

Undisciplined taste will always lead to egregious sin – slowly and almost imperceptibly. (pg30)
 In regards to evangelism – The integrity of our relationships matters more than the boldness of our words. (pg. 48)
I felt and feel no solidarity with people who think their salvation makes them more worthy than others. (pg. 81)
People whose lives are riddled with unrestrained sin act like rebellious children. Sin, when unrestrained, infatilizes a person. (pg. 108)
We in the church tend to be more fearful of the (perceived) sin in the world than of the sin in our own hearts. Why is that? (pg. 115)
Our plans are not sacred. (pg. 126)
You can help, but only Jesus can heal. (pg. 146)
There is so much more in this book, but I want to leave it to you to discover on your own.