Halfway Done

Every year I choose to do the Tim Challies book challenge and if you want to know what I have been reading here is the list so far. I will put the challenge, the title and a quick note of what I thought about it.

A book published in 2020 or 2021 – Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
This book was weird. I somewhat enjoyed it, but probably will not read another book by this author. If you like fantasy with minimal characters and slow builders, then you may like this book.

A memoir or autobiography – Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
This book was full of quips and ways to live. It has a lot of wisdom in it, but it is worldly wisdom. There was some religious aspects to it, but like all self-help books, they fall short to the wisdom given in the Bible. It’s a good book for older teens.

A classic novel – The Curious Life of Benjamin Button by F. Scott FItzgerald
This was another weird novel. It was somewhat Kafkaish and I didn’t really like it. I liked the Great Gatsby, so I thought this would be a good novel, but I was left feeling confused and wondering why I even started it.

A book by a pastor – Something Needs to Change by David Platt
I recommend this book to all Christians! Phenomenal book about taking our faith seriously and shaking off the clutches of complacent Christianity.

A book about a book of the Bible – Colossians He is Enough by Asheritah Ciuciu
Great devotional book! I recommend reading her!

A book published by Zondervan – Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
The book was informative but I had forgotten that Ravi Zacharias was one of the men Lee interviewed, so the book didn’t sit well with. It also seemed a bit too permissive when it came to sin and grace. Case for Christ was better.

A book the word “gospel” in the title – Another Gospel by Alisa Childers
What a great book on the dangers of what is now called deconstruction. Every Christian needs to read this book. Alisa, also has a youTube channel that I enjoy watching. She is a great theologian.

A book with an image of a person on the cover – Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
This is the second book to the Wolf Hall series. I love the way this woman writes and I love Tudor historical fiction! If you love this era and historical fiction, you will love this book, bur read Wolf Hall first.

A book about a current social issue – (A)typcial Woman by Abigail Dodds
This was a good book, the author did a good job in describing Biblical womanhood. She used Scripture well and I encourage you to read it if you are a Christian woman.

A book for children or teens – Wingfeather by Andrew Peterson
Loved this book. Adventrure, Pirates. Villans. My kids really enjoyed this book It is a series that we may continue. I read this book aloud to my kids.

A book about theology – Royal Deception: Exposing the KJV Only Conspiracies by Fred Butler
This book was lacking in what I really wanted to know. There is so much about KJV onlyist that I wanted to know about and this book did not provide it. I think James White does a better job.

A book about Christian living – Full by Asheritah Ciuciu
I loved this book! I got in on audio, but bought the actual book after I listened to the audio. I plan on re-reading it this year! If you struggle with food addiction, this is a wonderful book full of the Gospel and freedom!

A book of your choice – The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
I love the way this woman writes. This was a good thriller, mystery book.

A book written by a puritan – Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards
Puritans love their descriptions of hell. I am so glad I am saved and this motivates me to keep giving the Gospel to my loved ones.

A book recommended by a friend – Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This book is set in occupied France. Great book about the love between sisters and the courage of the people who suffered under the Nazis. This book is long, but it does submerge you into this time.

A book about social justice – Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice by Scott David Allen
Totally recommend if you are Christian wondering what to think about the culture in the US right now.

A novel that won a Pulitzer prize – The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
This book was actually a runner up to the Pulitzer, but still it was beautifully written. It is about the Spanish conquest of the Americas and their exploits. It is harsh and sad. This book was about a slave of one of the Spaniards, one of only 4 survivors.

A book with 2 or more authors – Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie H. Perry and Nancy DeMoss
The book was good, but not my kind of taste. JHP is very artistic and was a bit too long winded about colors, fashion partying and her relationships. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. When it comes to this particular genre, I prefer Rosaria Butterfield.

A book with at least 400 pages – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Tudor Historical Fiction again. This book was harder to read than Bring up the Bodies because HM uses the pronoun “he” quiet a bit and sometimes I forget what “he” she is talking about. She does better in her second book. I can’t wait to read the third and final book about Mr. Thomas Cromwell.

A book cy CS Lewis or JRR Tolkien – The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
Must read for all Christians. What a wonderful and smart man is Mr. Lewis. This book is about a “younger” demon learning the ropes from his uncle Screwtape on how to ruin the lives of Christians and people.

A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title – Sovereign Joy by John Piper
This book was about the lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin. I loved reading about them and because of this book I have added Augustine’s “Confessions” to my reading list.

A book on the New York Times Bestseller list – Dream Big by Bob Goff
Like always, this man inspires. This is a good book to get you motivated to dream big and pursue your dreams.

A book about prayer – Dangerous Prayers by Craig Groeschel
This was a good book. I was pleasantly surprised though that I already pray dangerous prayers. If you want to grow in how you pray, this is a good book. I just need to pray more often!

A book about theology – Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Suffers by Dane C. Ortlund
This is by far the best book I have read so far this year. What a breath of restful air this was. This book made me cry and reminded me of what a gentle and loving Father I have in God. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

A book of your choice – Outsider by Stephen King
The book started off really good, but what a cop-out for an ending. I wasn’t too happy with the sci-fi cop out. SK does write well though, but the ending was so disappointing.

A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with – Recovering from Biblical Womanhood by Aimee Byrd
She has a chip on her shoulder and her illustrations and allegories were awful. I also listened to this book on audio and the author reads it and she sounded a bit to “karen” for my taste. Maybe if I read it instead of listening to it, it may be better.

A book by someone whose ethnicity is different than yours – Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham Jr.
Great book. So needed for our times right now. It is a book about the dangers of critical race theory and social justice.

A book that won an award – Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman
This book won the Edgar Award. It is about a young detective solving a case in a small town. It was a great crime/suspense novel.

A book by Charles Dickens or one of his contemporaries – The Woman in the Black Veil by Charles Dickens
This is one of his first books ever written and what a plot twist. Good short book. It was only like 35 pages long.

A book about leadership – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
There was a lot of insight and great advice in this book. Highly recommend for all people who want to get their life together and do more.

A book based on a true story – Beneath Devil’s Bridge by Loreth Anne White
Good mystery book and great twist at the end.

A book with an illustration on the cover – A Court of Thorns by Sarah J. Maas
This book was a bit too romantic for me. So not my genre at all. If you the Twilight series you will like this. SJM writes extremely well and there were some scenes in the book that were outright scary and frightening, but just not into the romancy parts.

A book with one word in the title – Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Great book about the subject of Heaven. It makes me want to go there already. Death is hard for us to understand, but in the light of the Bible, physical death is what God uses to bring us to Him. Long book, but I definitely recommend.

A book whose title comes from a Bible verse – Filling up the afflictions of Christ by John Piper
Great book on suffering and why we suffer and how God uses our afflictions to make us more like Him. This book is short but very impactful. If you are struggling through a painful time in your life right now, this is a good read. Full of Scripture and grace.

A book by an author 30 years or younger – Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne
This book was great! Its about an FBI agent who happens to also be an ex-magician. The book was fun to read, but also mysterious. Great book for a summer read. Andrew Mayne is also a professional magician.

A book about theology – Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer
A good book about why we should not just feel our faith, but know why we believe. It also has a lot to say about the character of God and who He is. Why we should know about the God we worship.

A novel set in a country that is not your own – The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler and Ann Long
This book is set in Sweden and was annoying. The main characters were not very deep and the way they behaved was erratic and odd. I don’t recommend this book, and will not read any more of their novels.

37 books so far!! It is my hope to read 54 books this year and I think I will be able to make it. From now on, I hope to do book reviews on each of the books I read. Let me know what you think and tell me about some of the books you enjoy reading.

Blessings


Do Not Let Satan Use Us

Last night the governor of Kentucky stated that wearing masks is no longer voluntary, but mandatory. As expected, Facebook exploded with blistering comments on both sides. Verses like “consider others more than yourself” and “God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear” were thrown around like cafeteria food during a food fight. It was not pretty and in the end someone has to clean this mess up, and it’ usually is not the ones who were throwing the food around.

Do not get me wrong, using Bible verses is a great way to make a point or to strengthen an argument. But the world is watching us hurt our own. How would things have turned out if two Christians with opposing views had said, “I don’t agree with you on this based on my knowledge of Scripture, let me call you so we can pray together, and so you can better understand me and I you.” or “Let me buy you lunch, I will wear a mask for you.”

I think back to moments where my mind was changed on topics I had held strongly to and I can tell you, it was never changed by Christians ramming down Scripture down the throats of their fellow brethren. It was done by weeping pastors worried for my soul pleading for me to repent – based on Scripture. It was done when a close friend lovingly explained a sovereign God while we sat in her car late one night – based on Scripture. It was done listening to a respectful debate between two Christian brothers who love each other – based on Scripture. It was done listening to someone echo my fears, but still not voting a certain way or taking a certain action – based on Scripture. (And may I briefly add that if you haven’t changed your mind on any subject, you are not a very good listener.)

I have learned that we cannot hear when we are angry. I learned this well with foster children, later with raising teenagers and even my adult child. During a meltdown, my kids don’t hear. They don’t even feel the spankings! Any discipline goes out the window and all they end up feeling is resentment. Also, when my emotions are conflated, I am unreasonable and cannot hear anything either. It is later when I am calm and still that the Spirit stabs me with His Word, that I am able to feel the pain of His rebuke or the rebuke of another Believer.

My dear Christians, if you became angry yesterday and “couldn’t believe how other people behaved” and responded to them, could you humbly go to them and ask them if you were a good Christian witness? To a stronger point, could you look them in the eye and partake of holy communion with them? (I Corinthians 11:29) Could you look into your heart and tell the Lord, I have nothing against my brother, and they have nothing against me? If you can’t, make this right. This is serious (I Corinthians 11:30) and we must be different from the way the world handles disagreements.

Romans 12:13 says: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”

The verse says “as it depends on you”. Don’t wait for the other Believer to make the first move. Don’t brush it off as if it is not a big deal. It is a big deal. A life or death deal.

Why? Because when we are not saved, Satan has us and does what he can to keep us in the darkness, but when we are saved, Satan no longer has us, but can tarnish our witness to keep others in the darkness.

Do not let Satan use you.

If you try to make amends and the other Christian is holding on to their pride, be sorrowful and look back at the verse. It says “if possible”. If it isn’t possible, continue to live your life loving God and loving the saints and then others. Then maybe try again one more time after the election, maybe. ūüėČ

If you didn’t say anything to someone but thought it only – congratulations on showing some self-control, but the feeling to talk to them could be a prompt by the Spirit to come along side them and love on them. Don’t muffle the Spirit, you could be changing their mind soon or they may be on the verge of changing yours!! Or you may not come to an agreement, but at least Satan was denied, God was glorified and this is not a salvific issue. You do know that Christians who wear a mask are still going to Heaven, the same as Christians who don’t?

If an all-knowing, holy God can sit and reason with us feeble minded ignoramuses, (Isaiah 1:18) surely we can reason – one unholy masked ignoramus to another un-masked one! Surely?

I am not your redeemer .. .

I was driving back home from Chicago – a 7 hour drive one way. I was deep in thought listening to my audio book when the sudden urge to pee came over me. I looked down to check to see how many miles I had until empty and to my utter horror it was a big fat zero! How long had I been driving like this? Where am I? I have to pee even more now. I had no idea humans could whimper until I heard one coming from my mouth and my nose. Tears welled up from the lack of bladder relief and I was in total despair. I quickly looked up the nearest gas station on Google maps and saw that the closest one was 8 MILES AWAY! I whimpered again. I saw a sign that said Pesotum and I figured it was a tiny town and surely they have a gas station that Google forgot to add. So I exited and hoped to find civilization. I didn’t see a gas station, but I did see a couple outside their home enjoying the soon approaching sunset – which was my doom if I had to walk in the dark to get gas in the cornfields of central Illinois. This is how all murder movies begin! Thankfully this sweet couple had a big dining table for sale in their front yard so I had a perfectly good excuse to peel into their driveway and frantically wave at them as I got out of my minivan. They approached me with reserve because I was a bit jittery due to a full bladder and the non-stop whimpering. With the biggest smile and quavering voice I told them I was on zero on gas and if there was a little gas station near by I could fill up at. She told me there was one about 5 miles from where we were. I told her thanks and I hoped I could make it. I tried to comfort myself saying, well I could use a walk, and cornfields at night aren’t that scary. Right? Oh yes they are!! Darn you, Children Of The Corn, Signs, Freddy vs Jason, A Quiet Place, Sinister, Jeepers Creepers and every other friggin horror movie with a friggin corn field!! And just to top off the scary corn field, Illinois has these massive windmill propellers swinging around. I know they draw attention to all kinds of aliens and monsters and white-haired children who kill for kicks! Thankfully, the man who had been silent this whole time said I was in luck and I need not drive away, run out of gas and pee myself as I was being strung up to be a live scarecrow. He had just filled up his little gas cans and he would put gas in my van. I almost peed for joy. He put gas in my van and then said something very interesting to me.

He apologized to me.

He told me he had not one racist bone in his body. And frankly I believed him, because most people don’t. We have biases, ignorance, stereotypes, but outright racism, no most people don’t. I quickly held up my hand and shook my head stopping him from further apologizing for something he never had done to me and I believe, to anyone else. I was not his Judge or his Redeemer.

As I drove away noticing that I now had 46 miles until empty thanks to my white new friends, I thought a lot, but not too much because I didn’t have the heart to ask them to use their toilet so I got to the nearest gas station and ran – yes ran my jiggly self – to the bathroom. There are few joys in life than peeing in a non-cornfield place, with lighting, and minimal gas station bathroom juice on the floor. After that AND filling up my minivan, I did think a lot about my new friends. We had chatted for about 10 minutes and even took a selfie. I thought about all my closest friends where I live (who just happen to be white). I thought about how they make me laugh. I thought about how we have shared tears, and joys, and even fights. I remembered the strong opinions we have, the hobbies we enjoy, the theological debates we partook in. They are a true joy to have on this earth and I revel in the idea that they are joining me eternally in Heaven – together forever, literally!! And their whiteness or my Mexicaness has NOTHING to do with these moments. We have such strong bonds because of our shared faith. My or their DNA has nothing to do with our friendship, it just adds to the fun!

My gas-giving-new friends – who just happen to be white!

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we must not allow others to apologize for things they did not do. If any sin has ever been committed, it was firstly done to Christ! Sins done in the past by others who are now dead were either paid for on the cross by Jesus or are being paid for right now in hell. And it should stir us to a sense of finality because we cannot do anything about that reality now.

BUT

We are alive now, and many are alive with us who still have a hope. So let us proclaim the Good News to any who will hear us. Let us love all the image bearers that God has placed in our lives! Let us, with a little partiality, love and enjoy Christians a little more because of our shared faith. God only sees one color when He looks at us, and that is red – the color of the blood of His Son. If you’re not stained by His blood, repent and trust in that payment. Believe in Him and you shall be saved. Trust in Him and He will make your path straight. Rely on Him and He will give you peace. Look to Him and this world will grow less interesting. All who are called can come to Him. All who repent and believe. All.

#race #culture #Christian #Redeemer

Hanna More – I love you!

Opie, John, 1761-1807; Hannah More

I remember her name vaguely. She was somebody important during the time when William Wilberforce was fighting for the abolition of the slave trade. That is all I knew of her and I wanted to know more. I help manage a crisis pregnancy clinic, and it is my belief that abortion doctors and clinics are our modern day slaver traders. The people affected by slavery were voiceless, abused, powerless and mistreated. They were seen as less than human and their dignity was not a God-given right, but one exploited by shameless people. The life of a slave was based on the convenience it brought, never on their potential or individuality. They were just hunks of flesh to be used at the pleasure of others and it was wrong. It was Christian abolitionist who lead the charge for the slaves’ freedom and their persistence and passion is admirable. I know that the¬† more I read on these abolitionists, the more I can learn about leading a cause now to end the murder of those who are also voiceless, powerless and mistreated. I too want to be an abolitionist.

Goodreads recommended this book to me. Oh, I love Goodreads, and if you don’t have it and are an avid reader, get it. The book I read is called Fierce Convictions and it is written by Karen Swallow Prior.

¬† ¬† ¬†Christianity in England during the 1700’s was a lot like it is now is the United States, it was nominal. Everyone was a Christian, and so was Hannah. It wasn’t until later in her life that she realized she had to experience her Christianity, in other words, she had to live out her faith, and when she decided to just do that, her actions and obedienced changed the world.
¬† ¬† ¬†Hannah More is known for not only being a slave abolitionist. She was also a writer and poet and she, along with her sisters helped cultivate a society that saw the importance in educating all children regardless of social status. Schools were not free then, and she helped champion the cause to teach all children mathematics, geography, reading and writing. Many of her contemporaries looked down on this because they saw no use in educating the poor. I was delightfully surprised also that she was so progressive that she even advocated against animal cruelty. She, along with William Wilberforce, help set up laws that made it against the law to abuse animals. She makes a great point on treating all life with dignity, including animals, the poor and slaves. These social stands were extremely liberal at the time. She made it clear in the tracts she distributed to be “religiously and politically conservative, but socially liberal.” Besides all these extraordinary causes for her time, she also believed that women should not focus so much on dainty hobbies that were done just to pass the time, but actual rigorous learning!¬† This is what Prior wrote:
           More argued for a rigorous education for women. One that would illicit truth,                          foster precision in thinking and cultivate an exact mind. Female education                      should bring the imagination under dominion and lead women to think, to compare,                        to combine, to methodize. It should confer such a power of discrimination                                 that the student shall learn to reject what was dazzling if it be not solid,                                      and to prefer not what is striking or bright or new, but what is just.

¬† ¬† ¬†More also saw the importance of mixing social inequalities with politics. Her and William Wilberforce – a member of parliament – became very close friends. Wilberforce treated her as an equal and many times they spent hours conversing about political and social matters. Wilberforce wrote to her saying: “That in parlimentary measures of importance more is to be done out of the house than in it. In other words, changing the minds of parliament would require changing the mind of the nation.” What true words!
More used her writing and social skills to help others see the sheer inhumanity of the slave trade. Wilberforce used his eloquence in speaking to help his peers to see and then vote his way. Both forces, united, as one is what changed their country for the better.

I read about these two pillars of our faith and tried to learn from them. They were extraordinary Christians that changed their world through media (newspapers, books, tracts, pamphlets, drawings) and politics (voting, town hall meetings, friends in parliament, law making). A lot of times, I want to move away from politics. I want to just live my little Christian life and leave to Ceasar what is his. But like 1700’s Britain had some atrocious laws, so does the present United States. And unlike Hannah, I can vote for these changes, not just speak about them. I want to type out a testimony of a witness that was taken to a slaver traders post. This testimony was given in parliament in 1790 for the abolition of the slave trade. Here it is:
“The witness was taken to a small gathering of slave traders about to put an infant to death. I asked him why they were murdering it, and they answered ‘Because it was of no value.’ I told them, ‘if that’s the case, I hope they made me a present of it.’ They answered that if I had any use for the child then it was worth money. I first offered them some knives, but that would not do. They however sold the child to me for a mug of brandy. It proved to be that of a woman whom the captain of our ship had purchased that very morning. We carried it on board and judged of the mother’s joy when she saw her own child put on board the same ship – her child, whom she concluded was murdered. She fell on her knees and kissed my feet.”

The words “because it was of no value” rung in my head. I stopped what I was doing and just repeated those words in my mind. What is the value of a “useless” infant? Unfortunately, in our society, the answer is relative if the baby happens to be in utero. Foster kids, orphans, babies born alive after a botched abortion, poor kids, don’t we all put a value on them. Some maybe worth more than others? Put action to your passion, don’t just let it fester and dissipate.

atrocious deeds should never be called by gentle names

I admire Hannah More, she never stopped using her God-given talents to bring about justice and kindness to those who bore God’s image. She says this: “It is part of Christianity to convert every natural talent to a religious use.” This is so true. What are your talents, and are you using those talents to glorify your Savior by beings His hands and feet here on earth? Read Matthew 25.

     Hannah More died an old lady with hands upraised to her Lord. She wrote 11 books after the age of 60 and three weeks before her death, the slave trade was abolished! There is much for us to do in our world and it is time that we move from the sidelines and experience our Christianity.

She is grounded in the Bible. She is no clamorous beggar for extortent alms of admiration. She lives on her own stock. She does not wait for the opinion of the world to know she is right, nor the applause of the wor

I recommend Fierce Convictions to all Christians, especially women. Stop reading those darn Amish romances and get into these kinds of books. You can buy the book here. I listened to this book on audible, and you can get that here.

#life #abolition #hannahmore #dosomething #experiencechristianity

 

 

 

Challah Bread Recipe

No nonsense, just the recipe. Here it is:

WilHomed

Makes 2 large loaves

Ingredients:
* 2 packets of dry yeast (instant is fine) or 4.5 teaspoons
* 2 C  warm water
* 1/4 C sugar
* 1/4 C vegetable oil
* 4 tsp salt
* 3 room temperature eggs slightly beaten
* 4 TBS honey (optional)
* 7 1/2 C flour
* Eggwash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
* Poppy seeds (optional)

Directions:
* Whisk yeast and water well. Make it frothy.
* Add sugar, oil, salt and eggs and whisk well again. Make it frothy.
* Add 3 C of the flour and whisk well until there are no lumps. Here is where I add a bit of honey sometimes if I have some (about 4 TBS). Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. It should bubble a bit.
* After the 5 minutes, gradually mix in the rest of the flour with a spatula.
* Drop mixture onto a dusted counter top and begin to knead dough for 10 minutes (I use this time to pray for the ones who will eat the bread. Traditionally, I do not think it is Challah bread unless it has been prayed over.)
* Dough may be sticky at first, but it should smooth up after a couple of minutes. If by 10 minutes it is still sticky, add a small amount of flour and knead a bit more. Same if it is crumbly, add very small amounts of water and knead a bit more.
* Form dough into a ball and let rise in large, oiled bowl for 1.5 hours. Cover bowl with clean towel and place in a warm area.
* Divide dough in half. Then divide each half into three equal parts. Roll out thick, long strands with each part and make into a braid. Tuck in ends.
* Let rise again for 45 minutes to an hour. Cover braided loaves with a clean towel.
* Brush with egg wash
* Sprinkle poppy seeds if you like
*Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes

Some ideas:
* You can also not braid this bread and make small domes for an awesome soup bowl instead.
* When you divide the dough in half, you can freeze the other half in a ziplock bag then thaw and resume to next step at a later time.

Enjoy!

#bread #recipe #challah #love #fromscratch #homemade

Reproved!

When was the last time someone reproved you_

The definition of reprove is: to scold or correct usually gently or with kindly intent.

When was the last time a brother or sister in Christ reproved you? In a world where everyone’s statements matter. Where any experience makes that person an automatic authority of that subject. Where everyone has their own truth and is allowed to tout it to whomever will listen. I think it is a good question to ask oneself.

And if it has been a long time since someone has corrected the dastardly ways you behave, can I kindly suggest it isn’t because you really are that great of a human being.¬† Let me quote Romans 3:10-12 –

None is righteous, not one; no one understands; no
one seeks for God. All have turned aside;
together they have become worthless; no one does good,
not even one. 

Jesus gave us instruction on how to reprove our fellow brother. In Matthew 7 he says WHEN we reprove/judge we must take out the log in our own eye so we may see better, but a lot of us stop there and hesitate to assist in taking the speck out of our brother’s eye.

If it has been a long time since you have been reproved by a fellow saint, here are some reasons maybe why:
 1. You are easily offended. 
This is probably the main reason you haven’t been reproved. Most Christians are very aware of the feelings of others and it could be that your Christian friends and family are afraid of hurting your feelings by telling you some truths that could be damaging your testimony, sanctification or soul. Remember, we are to help and build one another up (I Thess. 5:11) and part of that process can be a bit painful. And even if the truths are not told in love, but out of spite, remind yourself that this sin in your life doesn’t change your status with God positionally. You are still His and nothing will ever change that. (Romans 8:38-39). So get over your offense, quit your sin if there is a sin to quit and God still loves you and the other Christian.
2. You are hiding.
Could the reason no one reproves you be because no one hasn’t really gotten to know you? As Christians we are meant to do life together. When Jesus prayed specifically for future Christians, he prayed this: “I do not ask on behalf of these (the 12), but for those also who believe in Me through their (the 12) word (YES THAT’S YOU); that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent me.” I love this whole chapter because it lets us into Jesus’ prayer life! But do you see what He just prayed? You cannot be united with anyone all by yourself. This whole prayer presupposes your life being involved in the life of other Believers. And your life includes your mess,¬† your sins, your nasty, you. And if you only give¬† your “good” side for other Believers to see, you forfeit the opportunity to potentially help a fellow saint who may be struggling with the same sin pattern as¬† you. (James 5:16). You throw away an opportunity to give the Gospel, and frankly you are being fake. Spend time with other Christian, so much time that they can call you out when you are not being real with them.
 3. You are proud.
Pride is such a hard sin to see in oneself because you think you are right. It blinds us to the reality that we are actually awful sinners. It justifies our shortcomings, and our outbursts. It coddles our little sins and tells us it really isn’t that bad. It places us on a pedestal and gives us the right to look down on others. I struggle with pride daily. It is a lack of humility. Pride is the root of all sin because it tells us what we are doing is right and what God says is wrong or untrue. Could it be that no one reproves you because you are too proud to be told anything? That you give off a vibe that you are so righteous that any rebuke is met with a harsh reminder of the other Believer’s sin? Who are they to tell me I am sinning when they themselves are a Jezebel or an Ahab? Ask yourself “Who is the chief of all sinners?” and if you can’t say “I am”, then can I lovingly reprove you that you too nailed Jesus to that cross and he bore every single one of your pitiful sins too? The proud Christian is the hardest kind of Christian to reprove.
4. People are clueless.
There could be a very legitimate reason you haven’t been reproved just simply because American Christians don’t know that this is what they are supposed to do with each other. In other countries I have visited, Christians are constantly telling each other the wrong things they are doing. In one church, I knew the sin issues of all that were at the church that day, and it wasn’t gossip because the people they were talking about were all¬† just nodding in agreement saying “yeah, we need to get right with the Lord”. And the preacher’s wife who was telling me all this was like “yeah, they keep telling me that!” And by contrast, here in the US, we have idolized privacy. And it is sinful. This has allowed certain sins to grab a hold of us so tightly that we are callous to its blows.¬† We excuse so many secular behaviors that other Christians in other countries are shocked at our worldlinesss. All in the name of grace (trying not to be a legalist) and respecting each other’s lives, we watch as our Christian culture deteriorates right before our eyes. And we are all part of it. How many times have we seen pictures on social media where a sister or brother in Christ is wearing something inappropriate, but we say nothing. When a Believer uses awful language, but we let it slide. We prefer to gossip behind their backs instead of lovingly pointing out our concern, based on God’s Word, after we have removed our log. We fear we may be seen as self-righteous. As hypocrites. As busy-bodies. May it not be! Read Matthew 7, all of it, not just the first verse. And then remove the speck of your brother’s eye. It is not just okay to do so, it is Biblical
5. They don’t want to be reproved
The last reason I will mention is very simple. It could be you have not been reproved because the ones who should be reproving you don’t want to be reproved back! This could be¬† you. Do not fear my fellow brethren, although being reproved stinks, when you take what is said in humility – regardless on how it was given – I promise it will sanctify you. Learn from it, pray about it with the person who is reproving you. And move on in the joy of your salvation. Isn’t it good to know that the person reproving you doesn’t really know how truly bad you are. They just know about that one thing, not the 50 other dastardly things you have done when no one was watching you!

I write this blog because I was recently reproved and it sucked! Reproof is not meant to be fun, but meant to grow us. Paul said:
For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; . . .- 
for I see that  that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while  РI
now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful
to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God,
so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.  2 Corinthians 7:8-10

Yes, I licked my wounds. I pouted, I justified my motives, but at the end of the day I did lack humility. My brother in Christ was right. He saw a sin in my life, I didn’t see. I couldn’t see. I wanted to lash out at his imperfection. At his audacity. And even though I thought I was right, being right at the wrong time, is still wrong. I may tell you about this exchange later, but not right now. So please respect my privacy ūüėõ

My dear, dear Christian friend, could I challenge you to place trust in another brother or sister in Christ and give them permission to reprove you? And in turn ask them if you could speak truth into their life if it is necessary? His Word says:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. . . . My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.  РJames 5:16, 19-20

Blessings!

#Christian #christianliving #reproved

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Reading Challenge 2019

For the past three years I have been attempting the reading challenge created by Tim Challies. In the challenge there are 4 sections to try out, depending on your desire of books to read. I usually don’t stick to one of the sections and just challenge myself with the number of books to read in a year. I use the Reading Challenge as a guide to read genres I would typically not read. Here is the challenge if you are interested in looking at it.

Usually, I fail every year. I challenge myself with 40 books and fall short, but I get closer every  year. This year, I will finally reached my goal and I am so excited! Here is the list and a short review of all the books I have read this year.

Reading Challenge = RC
Finished Reading = FR

1. RC – A Novel:¬† “The Word is Murder” by Anthony Horowitz. This is the second book I have read by him and I really like this author. He is the creator of Midsummer Mysteries and Foyle’s War.¬† His books are generally clean of cuss words and sex. I recommend this book to those who like British mystery, who-dun-it books. The books is 390 pages. FR -January 10

2.¬† RC – A Book by or about a missionary: “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” by Howard and Geraldine Taylor. This book was about the life of Hudson Taylor. Christians should always challenge themselves to read books about missionaries. Hudson’s Taylors faith and life encouraged me to live out my faith more boldly and to stop complaining about things that happen around me that I have no control over. I recommend this book to all Christians or those specifically being called to mission work. This book is 256 pages long. FR – January 28

3. RC – A book about Christian living: “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Don Whitney. This book is about ways to bring order to your faith. It is also a book on freedom through discipline. I really enjoyed this book and took so much out of it. I recommend this book to any Christian needing some structure to their faith. This book is 272 pages.¬† FR – January 29

4. RC – A sad book: “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness. This book is one of the best books I have read! The life and pain of its main character, Connor is so very well written you feel like you are Connor yourself. There is also a magical context to the book that just is enough to make the book an instant classic. This is why I love these challenges, because I would have never picked up this book had it not been for this challenge and I am so grateful for it. I recommend this book to anyone who has felt the pain of loss or feels like life is out of control. The book has great pictures also that just add to its depth. It is 237 pages long.¬† FR – February 15

5. RC – A book over 400 pages long: “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman. This is a dystopian book about a world where all diseases and death have been cured. In this world, special people (Scythes) are chosen to do what no longer exists and that is to kill any who they choose. There is an order to it and there is a villain that is despicable. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it any dystopian lover. This book is 435 long. FR – February 15.

6. RC – A book published in 2019: “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides. This book had a great twist at the end that I had no idea was coming. I literally gasped out loud! It’s about a patient who isn’t speaking and a psychiatrist’s attempt to get her to talk about a murder. I recommend this book for any who like psychological suspense. This book is 323 pages. FR – February 17

7. RC – A book targeted at the opposite gender: “Spartan Fit – 30 Days Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit” by Joe DeSena. This book made me curl up into a ball and feel bad about myself. I found this book by looking up “books for men”. I didn’t want to read about becoming a better leader. I didn’t want to read about becoming rich and my own boss, so I picked this one. This book is for super athletes who don’t mind breaking their bones and then going up a mountain in the winter, carrying a bucket of rocks. I only recommend this book for the super-adrenaline junkies. Don’t read this book if you are just a mere mortal. This book is 256 pages and comes with illustrated training techniques. FR – February 23

8. RC – A biography: “The Butchering Art – Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine” by Lindsey Fitzharris. This book is about Joseph Lister and is not for the faint of heart. There is plenty of information about Victorian medical techniques that just shocked me and made me grateful that I live in a world where doctors wash their hands and patients are anesthetized before amputations!! If you are into biographies, you will like this book. This book is 304 pages. FR – February 27.

9. RC – A book more than 100 years old: “The Wonderful Wizard of OZ” by L. Frank Baum. This is another genre that I wouldn’t normally read, but I am usually grateful I do. This is a rare time when I think the movie was better than the book. Baum seem to be on drugs when he wrote this. But if you like fantasy and easy reads, you will like this book. The book is 154 pages. FR – March 4

10. RC – A book for children or teens: “Closed for the Season” by Mary Hahn. I read this book out loud for my kids. The plot was okay and the characters made my kids laugh, but I hated the attack on conservatives, the religious and republicans. Yes, it was that blatant. Let the kids enjoy your story, without the political brainwashing. Because of this, I¬†don’t recommend this book or this author. This book is 192 pages. FR – March 8.

11. RC – A book a friend recommends: “Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People” by Bob Goff. This book is about loving people radically as Christians. I do warn that this book can easily becoming very humanitarian since Mr. Goff doesn’t use a lot of Scripture in his book. But this book encourages the Christian to get up and love people, even the difficult ones. I recommend this book for strong Christians who know their Scripture and want to be challenged into loving on people the way Christ did, fearlessly. This book is 240 pages. FR – March 9.

12. RC – A book of your choice: “The Chemistry of Death” by Simon Beckett. This book is a psychological thriller. It had a great ending. It is about a doctor helping authorities with a grisly death. If you like thrillers and don’t mind some smelly scenes, you will like this book. This book is 320 pages. FR – March 27

13. RC – A book by an author you have never read before: “Truly Devious” by Maureen Johnson. This book is in the Young Adult genre, a genre I usually don’t read. I think I would have enjoyed it more without the usual drama that comes with Young Adult books. But if you like Young Adult tomes, and don’t mind the mean-pretty girl, the conceited-hot boy, the shy-but-pretty-smart girl and the token lesbian/black person;¬† you will like this book. The mystery behind it is great. This book is 416 pages. FR – March 31

14. RC – A classic: “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. I am so happy there is a challenge to read classics. I have really enjoyed reading or re-reading books I have long forgotten. There is a good reason these are classics! If you like books about the human condition, you will like this book. This book is only 103 pages. FR – April 3.

15. RC – A book by someone from a different continent than you: “The Dry” by Jane Harper. This book takes place in Australia and it made me thirsty. Like literally thirsty. The story is good, but it really wasn’t too impressive. The characters were a bit bland and underdeveloped and the past coming to haunt them made me get lost a couple of times about who was who. I don’t recommend this book, it was a bit boring. This book is 352 pages. FR – April 6.

16. RC – A book with a verb in the title: “Blindsighted” by Karin Slaughter. This book was dark and gripping. Slaughter is a superb stoty-teller. If you like Gillian Flynn, you will like this book or if you like thrillers. This book is about awful murders and trying to find a serial killer and is not for the faint of heart. This book is 418 pages. FR – April 14.

17. RC -A commentary:¬†“God of Covenant – A Study of Genesis 12-50” by Jen Wilkin. Jen Wilkin is a great writer. I love it when women study God’s word like this. I recommend to any Christian wanting to know more about these chapters of the Bible. Great read! FR – April 21.

18. RC – A book of your choice: “Thunderhead” by Neal Shusterman. After reading “Scythe” I was so ready to continue the story. I believe the second book is better than the first one! I just wish I would have known that the third book hadn’t come out yet, now I have to wait. The cliffhanger it ends with is almost unbearable! The audio book for this is also stupendous! If you love dystopians, you will absolutely love this series! This book is 504 pages long. FR – April 22

19. RC – A book about science: “The Naturalist” by Andrew Mayne. This book is fictional but contained a lot scientific material. It is about a biologist who is seeking out a serial killer. I really enjoyed reading this book, so much so that I plan on reading all of the books Mr. Mayne writes. I loved following the awkward Dr. Theo Cray around as he solved very heinous crimes. If you love mystery thrillers, you will love this series! This book is 382 pages long. FR – April 29.

20. RC – A book that looks easy to read: “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown. I read this book out loud to my kids and they absolutely loved it! We all fell in love with Roz and Brightbill. We loved this book so much so that we are currently reading the second book in the series! Definitely recommend as a read out loud book for your children. It has pictures and the kids will love this lovable robot’s adventures. This book is 279 pages. FR – April 29.

21. RC – A book of 240 pages or more: “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. I really thought this book would be as good as Norse Mythology, but it wasn’t. I really couldn’t get into the book. It was a bit too fantastical for me. If you like fantasy this may a book for you. It was a bit too weird and I couldn’t get into it. This book is 304 pages. FR – April 30.

22. RC – A book by a female author: “The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchison. This book was dark and sad. There is a lot of death and I hated the villain in it. This book was very violent towards women. I recommend it only if you have the stomach for an abuser of women. This book is 288 pages. FR – May¬† 13

23. RC – A book of your choice: “The Looking Glass” by Andrew Mayne. I really liked the main character, Dr. Theo Cray. I had to read the second book in this series and I loved it. I can’t wait to get the third book! If you like mystery/scientific thrillers, you will love this series! This book is 312 pages. FR – May 20.

24. RC – A book about Christian Living: “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller. I still have problems with the title of this book. Regardless, the book is a great read about the tendencies of Christians to be hypocrites and the righteous “good” son. I recommend this book to any Christian. It’s also short and to the point at only 139 pages long. FR – May 29

25. RC – A book by an author you have always wanted to read: “The Line Between” by Tosca Lee. I’ve always wanted to read “Demon” by Tosca, but was unable to find it on audio and I had a credit and couldn’t wait to get something! So I settled for this one. It had some romance that was a bit eye-rolling for me, but the story was well written. She is a good writer, but I didn’t like the apocalyptic/plague genre. If you like those kinds of things then you would like this book. It is 384 pages. FR – June 6

26. RC – A book about an interest of yours: “Well Nourished – A Guide to Mindful Eating, Inner Nourishment and Feeding¬† Your Whole Self” by Andrea Liberstein. This book has a lot of pointers but I am a person who needs things simplified. Most of this book was making eating more difficult and time consuming. I really don’t recommend this book. It felt like a waste of time. This book is 208 pages long with illustrations. FR – June 18

27. RC – A book with a great cover: “Krampus” by Brom. This man is a great artist and writer. He is an excellent story teller and creates places that make me feel I am there. This book is about Santa Clause’s nemesis and makes you root for the anti-hero. If you like folk lore, you will love this book! It is 357 pages. FR – June 22

28.RC – A book of your choice: “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin. I really wished I had never seen this movie. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more than I already did. It is very well written and did have a lot of tense moments. If you like suspenseful novels with a religious twist, you will love this book. It is 308 pages long. FR – July 2

29. RC – A book about Europe: “Night” by Elie Weisel. This book is also a classic and should be read by all. It is a book about the depravity of man. This book made me cry and shake my head at how awful we are to one another. I recommend this book to anyone who likes history, the holocaust and/or biographies. This book is 115 pages. FR – July 4.

30. RC – A book about animals: “Shadow Beast” by Luke Phillips. Again this is a genre I would not normally pick. This book was okay, but I just couldn’t get into it much. And it had some romance in it that was eye-rolling. If you like books about animals who hunt humans, you will like this book. This book is 380 pages long. FR – July 10

31. RC – A book about Canada, Set in Canada, or written by a Canadian: “Deja Dead” by Kathy Reichs. I am so happy I picked up this book, I really enjoyed it and was ecstatic to find out about the many books in this series. This is a medical thriller and if you like that genre, you will really like this series. If you like BONES, I have heard you may not like the book. This book is 532 pages long. FR – August 5

32. RC – A book by Jerry Bridges: “True Community – The Biblical Practice of Koinonia” by Jerry Bridges. This was a great book! I loved it and recommend it to all Christians wanting to expand their love to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This book is 176 pages long. FR – August 12

33. RC – A book of your choice: “Gretchen” by Shannon Kirk. This book was good. If you are interested in the dark thrillers with twists or if you like Gillian Flynn, you really will like this book.¬† This book is 353 pages long.¬† FR – August 20

34. RC – A book about a Christian: “Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce” by John Piper. It is always good to read about people who fought the good fight in regards to our faith. It is always challenging and encouraging when I read about these giants of the faith. This book is for any Christian wanting to know more about this phenomenal man. He was busy for the Lord. This was a short book of 76 pages. FR – August 27

35. RC – A book on the EPCA bestseller list: “Letters to the Church”¬† by Francis Chan. This book blew my mind and came at the perfect time in my faith. Like always, Mr. Chan is challenging and exhorts us to step out of our comfort zone and seek a higher calling. I loved this book and I have changed several things in my spiritual life because of it. I recommend this book to any Christian ready to take the next step in their faith. This book was 224 pages long. FR – August 31

36. RC – A book based on a true story: “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” by Michelle McNamara. This book scared the heck out of me. At night I made sure my doors were always locked. This book is about several serial killers and what they did. It was my first true crime book. I don’t think I can handle this genre. I recommend this book to anyone who likes true crime books. This book is 352 pages long. FR – September 9

37. RC – A book about Christian living: “A Hunger for God” by John Piper. I like to pick out books about things I know I am struggling with in my faith. Fasting is one of them. This book was a wonderful read and very informative on what God expects from His children. I recommend this book to all Christians, especially those who want to honor God more with fasting. This book is 240 pages long. FR – September 16

38. RC – A book by Francis Schaffer: “The God Who is There” by Francis Schaeffer. I have never read a book by this author, but I had heard of him and decided to give him a try. I honestly couldn’t stand the book. He drew too much spirituality out of mundane art pieces. Yes, some were really well done, but I couldn’t really care for the depth he seemed to be forcing out of some works of art. If you like philosophy in respects to your faith, then you may like this book. This is book is 226 pages long. FR – September 19

39. RC – A children’s book: “The Wild Robot Escapes” by Peter Brown. I read this book out loud to my children and they loved it. It is the last book of the 2 book series and we were sad that there are no more books to read about this lovable robot. There is also a tender adoption story in the plot that my children really connected with also. I recommend these books to all who are children at heart. The book is 279 pages long. FR – September 30

40. RC – A book about an interest of yours: “The Huntress” by Kate Quinn. I have always wanted to know more about the Night Witches – Russian women pilots that bombed Germans during WWII. This book is historical fiction and deals with the aftermaths of WWII. It is written from the perspectives of several people, so it was a little difficult to remember who was who in the book. There is a lesbian romance also that I found a little annoying, but that’s life. Thankfully it wasn’t so descriptive.¬†I recommend this book to women who would like to know more about these Russian pilots and about other aspects of WWII.¬† This book is 560 pages long. FR – October 19

I look forward to next year’s challenge. I think I may try 45 books next year we will see. I am still reading my books, but only books of my choice right now. Currently, I am reading “The Shining” by Stephen King, “Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible” by Sandra Glahn and “The Toll” by Neal Shusterman

 

 

 

 

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 Рa 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.

people

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

Unplanned

I have been following Abby Johnson for some time now. She is a tremendous speaker whose every single word packs a punch of meaning and logic. Her testimony is definitely one of those stories that magnifies the verse:  . . . you meant evil . . . but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. РGenesis 50:20 Through a lot of pain and spiritual growth, Abby gave up her successful career in the abortion industry and is now an advocate for the unborn. She is a champion for the most vulnerable in our society and I pray and encourage her to keep up the outstanding and long-suffering work she currently does.

I first heard of her movie in an interview with Steven Crowder where she promoted it, so I marked the date on my calendar and set myself to see this movie. The movie is very well done and not cheesy (a fear I have when I see Christian flicks). It is rated R for blood and some violence. Please do not let this rating deter you, as Christians we need to understand that this is abortion. It is not pretty, it is shocking and it is violent. Although, I do believe that this rating is more because of it’s political unpopularity- one look at secular critics of the movie and you can see how much it is hated. I watch PG-13 movies all the time and most are way more violent than what was portrayed in the movie. This movie has no nudity,¬† no sex and no strong cuss words. The movie has about two scenes where it was shocking and uncomfortable to see, but I applaud them for not turning the camera away from an ultrasound guided abortion or another scene of a chemically induced abortion. This reminded me of Wilberforce taking people to see the slave ships in the English trading ports or the naive Germans who were taken to view the concentration camps in their own back yard. These things must be seen and they must be seen by Christians. We can not turn a blind eye to the evil that has penetrated our society and the minds of our young men and women. Abortion kills a baby, and it is wrong. Just like slavery is wrong and genocide is wrong. It doesn’t matter who benefits from it, it is wrong.

So would I take my kids to see this movie? I believe if your kid is old enough to have sex then your kid is old enough to watch this movie. In my family that is my 13, 16 and 20  year old kids. The 12 and two 10 year-olds are staying home. This movie will also provide a wonderful opportunity for a deep and meaningful conversation about so many things. My son and I had such a significant talk afterwards.

Women, take your sons and husbands to see this movie. I work at a crisis pregnancy center and the impact a man has on a woman making a decision about her pregnancy is vital. Most women who abort their babies would not if the men in their lives had encouraged them not to. This is not just a woman’s issue.

I recommend this movie to all Christians and those interested in the pro-life movement.