Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One week until Christmas!

One week until we have our children and their children with us for the celebration of our Savior's birth and the start of his 33 years on earth as God-Man. What a privilege to be called one of His own!

Looks like it will be a full week; so, if I don't get back online to post before the 25th, please know that I pray for everyone who visits my blog and I am praying for a wonder-filled CHRISTmas season and abundant blessings for 2008 to each of you!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Do you know who YOU are?


I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord(1 Cor. 6:17 )
I am bought with a price(1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth ( Matt.5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ(1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant ( Phil.3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God(2 Cor.5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God( Rom.8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor.1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16 ). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Rms 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship Eph. 2:10
I'm confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. Phil 1: 5
I've been redeemed & forgiven; Col.1:14 - I've been adopted as God's child(Eph 1:5)

I belong to God
Do you know
Who you are!?

Keep this bell ringing...pass it on 'The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you And be gracious to you; The LORD turn His face toward you And give you peace..' Numbers 6:24-26

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Twas a Fortnight until Christmas (YEP!! Only 14 days)

Hey there! It's been a few days since I posted anything. I have been looking for a job. I have had the wonderful gift of being able to stay home since August and now, I am ready to get back "out there." I like office work. I do well at it - maybe that is why I am choosing to work outside of the home again.

I don't have children at home and I only get to see my daughter and grandson about once a week as things are now, so I am looking for something interesting to do. I can afford to be picky - which is, in and of itself, a TERRIFIC place to be! If I don't like something, I don't have to take it because we have bills that need to be paid, etc. It is a great feeling.

So, if you think of me or happen to come across my blog, please pray that the Lord will direct me to exactly what HE wants for me, and that does include staying home.

Thanks - I appreciate it!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Different take on 'Twas The Night Before Christmas"


T’was the month before Christmas, when all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying, nor taking a stand.
Why the Politically Correct Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a " Holiday ".
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was nowhere to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded.
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


ADAM is our son!!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!!

Worth reading, even a second and third time!

I was walking around in a Target store, when I saw a cashier hand this little boy some money back. The boy couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 years old. The Cashier said, "I'm sorry, but you don't have enough money to buy this doll. Then the little boy turned to the old woman next to him: ''Granny, are you sure I don't have enough money?'' The old lady replied: ''You know that you don't have enough money to buy this doll, my dear.'' Then she asked him to stay there for just 5 minutes while she went to look around. She left quickly. The little boy was still holding the doll in his hand. Finally, I walked toward him and I asked him who he wished to give this dol lto. "It's the doll that my sister loved most and wanted so much for Christmas. She was sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her." I replied to him that maybe Santa Claus would bring it to her afterall, and not to worry. But he replied to me sadly. "No, Santa Claus can't bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my mommy so that she can give it to my sister when she goes there." His eyes were so sad while saying this. "My Sister has gone to be with God...Daddy says that Mommy is going to see God very soon too, so I thought that she could take the doll with her to give it to my sister.'' My heart nearly stopped. The little boy looked up at me and said: "I told daddy to tell mommy not to go yet. I need her to wait until I come back from the mall." Then he showed me a very nice photo of him where he was laughing. He then told me, "I want mommy to take my picture with her so she won't forget me.""I love my mommy and I wish she doesn't have to leave me, but daddy says that she has to go to be with my little sister." Then he looked again at the doll with sad eyes. I quickly reached for my wallet and said to the boy. "Suppose we check again, just in case you do have enough money for the doll?'' "OK" he said, "I hope I do have enough." I added some of my money to his without him seeing and we started to count it. There was enoughfor the doll and even some spare money. The little boy said, "Thank you God for giving me enough money!" Then he looked at me and added, "I asked last night before I went to sleep for God to make sure I had enough money to buy this doll, so that mommy could give it to my sister. He heard me!'' "I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my mommy, but I didn't dare to ask God for too much. But He gave me enough to buy the doll and a white rose.'' "My mommy loves white roses." A few minutes later, the old lady returned and I left with my basket. I finished my shopping in a totally different state from when Istarted. I couldn't get the little boy out of my mind. Then I remembered a local newspaper article two days ago, which mentioned a drunk man in a truck, who hit a car occupied by a young woman and a little girl. The little girl died right away, and the mother was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the life-sustaining machine, because the young woman would not be able to recover from the coma. Was this the family of the little boy? Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the newspaper that the young woman had passed away. I couldn't stop myself as I bought a bunch of white roses and I went to the funeral home where the body of the young woman was exposed for people to see and make last wishes before her burial. She was there, in her coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in her hand with the photo of the little boy and the doll placed over her chest. I left the place, teary-eyed, feeling that my life had been changed forever... The love that the little boy had for his mother and his sister is still, to this day, hard to imagine. And in a fraction of a second, a drunk driver had taken all this away from him.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A special gift - Volunterring

I am on my way out today. I am going to the mall. Now, that might now sound like anything out of the ordinary for most of us, but 1) I don't hardly ever go to the mall and 2) I am going there to help.

I was presented with 7 different ways to volunteer in the last few days. Our children's choir performed a wonderful musical entitled, "The Church Has Left The Buidling...an empty church can be a good thing." After their performance, there were opportunities to get involved in ministries already in action (As it was said, "Why recreate the wheel?). I signed up for helping wrap presents for a family ministry in town (the reason for my mall excursion), delivering food to shut-ins, helping out at a boy's ranch thrift store, driving Special Needs adults home after Sunday services and painting a house in a neighborhood improvement project.

I plan, Lord willing, on doing some of these things long past the holiday season. Christmas is a good time to be helpful, but people also need help all year long!

This blog is NOT intended to make anyone feel guilty because of what they are not able to do. I am in a position in which I have never been in before and that is that I do not have a job at this time and I have some time to help others (AND my husband is fully supporting my efforts!). My reason for posting this was to encourage you to look for ways, even just a small something, that will help out someone else. You will probably end up being even more blessed than the receiver!

(22 days to go!)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy December! (24 days till Christmas)

I have decided to take the blog to a different place today - I am sure that you have heard the controversy over the new movie (from the book), "The Golden Compass." I read an EXCELLENT article from Christianity today and decided it was well-worth publishing here. Please take the time to read it.

"Fear Not the Compass
Many Christians are concerned about the upcoming release of "The Golden Compass." Here's some good advice for how we might respond to it all. by Jeffrey Overstreet posted 11/30/07 Editor's note: CT Movies critic Jeffrey Overstreet has done many interviews to promote his new fantasy novel, "
Should Christians be afraid of The Golden Compass? Mercy, no. Let's not be afraid. Discerning, yes. But not afraid. God is not threatened by Philip Pullman. And people who stop to think through Pullman's story, and how he "refutes" Christianity, will see what a feeble "attack" against Christian belief it really is.
Pullman has painted a picture of the church—represented by "The Magisterium" in his stories—that basically reflects only those ways in which the church has abused power. And he has used that selective reflection as an excuse to write off Christianity as a whole. That's sort of like condemning the entire produce section in a grocery store because a few of the apples were bad. (And "Magisterium" is not something Pullman just made up. It's a very real word referring to the church, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. So he's not trying to cloak his intentions here.)
It's interesting to note that Pullman's dismissal of Christianity skips over one little detail: Jesus. Pullman's story never makes any attempt to explore or refute the claims and ministry and person of Christ. He has, in effect, set up a "straw God" rather than a "straw man," and his fans are congratulating him for knocking down Pullman's flawed perception of God rather than the God of Christianity. He's not really undermining Christian belief as he thinks he is; he is undermining the abuse of authority, something altogether contrary to the gospel.
Pullman points to bad people as a way of saying that the faith is wrong. For examples of religious folk, he illustrates people who abuse power. That's not God. And Christ would frown on the persecution carried out by The Magisterium. In the history of the church, followers of Christ have been persecuted and oppressed by others far more than the other way around. So when one of Pullman's heroic characters, the ex-nun physicist Mary Malone, tells our heroes (in the third book) that "The Christian religion is a powerful and convincing mistake, that's all," well, she's not talking about Christianity at all. She's talking about Pullman's misrepresentation of the church.
But here's a question worth considering: Why does Pullman have this wrongful impression of the church in the first place? Could it be that he's encountered arrogant, judgmental Christians? Could it be, to some degree, Christians' fault?
At any rate, no, don't be afraid. The gospel will survive the publishing phenomenon of Pullman's trilogy—and any movies that come from it—without so much as a scratch. It's not worth getting all worked up about it.
Do Pullman's stories pose a threat to children?Yes, if … And that is a very big "if."
Pullman's trilogy poses a threat if our children read these books without any discussion about the claims made by the characters in the story, or without any parental guidance. The stories pose a threat if their parents and teachers are not reading the books too, and participating in the experience, talking about what the storyteller is doing.
They also could pose a threat if parents forbid these stories in such a way that the child becomes fascinated by the forbidden book. In elementary school, I discovered that adults had crossed out certain words from storybooks like Huckleberry Finn. This became the most interesting aspect of the book for me: I held the pages up the light, fascinated by what had been crossed out. If we make these books seem more powerful and dangerous than they are, and outlaw them, we have just thrown fuel on the fires of curiosity. Better to teach our kids discernment, so that if they do read the books, they can see Pullman's deception for themselves. (And this raises the question: How many adults are discerning enough to read these books "with eyes to see"?)
Teachers who encourage children to accept Pullman's naive definition of Christianity are encouraging religious illiteracy, and exposing their own. In extreme cases, they're glorifying religious bigotry. The author has said, "If there is a God, and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against." For a man who likes to talk about the value of "tolerance," that's a pretty striking show of the opposite.
I've read "The Golden Compass," and didn't find anything offensive. What's the fuss about? This conversation—and the concerns that have resulted—isn't just about "The Golden Compass," only the first book in the trilogy. That's like making "The Fellowship of the Ring" our subject instead of the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The conversation is about His Dark Materials, the entire Pullman trilogy. "The Golden Compass" is just the first chapter, laying the foundation for all that will come after it. It is in parts two (The Subtle Knife) and especially three (The Amber Spyglass) that we get into the most controversial material. We won't see those movies for a while.
Is Pullman overrated? Is he a good storyteller? Pullman is an amazing storyteller, with one of the most formidable imaginations since J.R.R. Tolkien himself. I was enthralled by The Golden Compass when I first read it: Colorful characters, fanciful creatures, a strong sense of mystery, and a compelling story about young and vulnerable characters being oppressed and abused by adults.
In the second and third book, when those cold-hearted and abusive adults turn out to be the good guys, exploiting children in their quest to destroy God, my feelings about the story changed. As Pullman's agenda became more important, my favorite characters began to lose their personality and color. So, we must take into account that, beneath the formidable imagination, there is a dagger concealed within this extravagant overcoat—and the intentions of the fellow preparing to use that dagger.
It's interesting that a man of such extraordinary imagination would have so little regard for the storytellers whose work his style resembles. Pullman scoffs at the stories of Tolkien and Lewis. He says, "The Lord of the Rings is just not interesting psychologically; there's nothing about people in it." And his scorn for Lewis's fantasy world has been widely documented. Pullman has said, "I hate the Narnia books. I hate them with a deep and bitter passion, with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are a falling away." He has called the series "one of the most ugly and poisonous things" he's ever read.
But Pullman is following in the footsteps of Lewis and Tolkien. Like them, he has created alternate worlds of fantasy that vividly manifest his own particular worldview and his perspective on spiritual matters. Tolkien and Lewis established the foundation of modern fantasy storytelling, adding to what George MacDonald imagined before them. And Pullman continues that tradition, especially in The Golden Compass.
It's also worth noting that his characters are interested in truth, freedom, friendship, justice, and love. People are drawn to Pullman's trilogy for the powerful writing, but also because it is another story about an oppressed minority rising up and striking back at an Arrogant, Cruel Authority figure—just like the heroes of Narnia rise up against the wicked White Witch, and just like Tolkien's Fellowship rise up against Sauron and his tyrannical power. The big difference is that Pullman has cast history's greatest champion of the oppressed—their Redeemer—as the enemy. He would rather leave us to our own fractured will, which is certain to doom us very quickly.
What does Pullman say about his own beliefs?Pullman told the Sydney Morning Herald, "If we're talking on the scale of human life and the things we see around us, I'm an atheist. There's no God here. There never was. But if you go out into the vastness of space, well, I'm not so sure. On that level, I'm an agnostic." Pullman says God should be 'put down'
On the one hand he says, "What I am against is organized religion of the sort which persecutes people who don't believe. I'm against religious intolerance." But then elsewhere he says that if there is a God, and he is as Christians describe him, then that God should be "put down."
For Pullman, embracing the questions of science, mathematics, art, and literature is a rejection of religion. He seems ignorant of the fact that much of modern science was discovered and established by very religious people, and that mathematics inspires many to faith, and that art is one of the primary avenues for religious discovery and expression.
His opinions have taken quite a turn recently, perhaps to make the movie seem more appealing. Now, he's saying things like this (in a Today interview): "As for the atheism, it doesn't matter to me whether people believe in God or not, so I'm not promoting anything of that sort. What I do care about is whether people are cruel or whether they're kind, whether they act for democracy or for tyranny, whether they believe in open-minded enquiry or in shutting the freedom of thought and expression. Good things have been done in the name of religion, and so have bad things; and both good things and bad things have been done with no religion at all. What I care about is the good, wherever it comes from."
That's quite an astonishing change of tone there from "My books are about killing God."
Why is New Line Cinema conspiring against Christians?They're not. Just last year they produced "The Nativity Story' and not so long ago, brought us The Lord of the Rings films. New Line is a film studio, a business trying to make money—not a conspiracy of blasphemers. And in the wake of their extraordinary success with Tolkien's stories, they went to the obvious follow-up—another fantasy saga that has become an international bestselling sensation.
Why are so many people, including many Christians, drawn to this story of people who fight against the church?People are drawn to stories about brave souls who stand up against oppressors. And, for many people, the church represents fear, power, and condemnation.
The best way to make Pullman's stories look like gospel truth is to respond by acting like the villainous Christians in his stories. The best way to expose Pullman's lie is to respond like Christ himself: With grace and truth, not wrath and condemnation.
I'm not saying we shouldn't point out where he is wrong. His story is deeply flawed, and his religious bigotry is shameful. We should not ignore that. But we also should not ignore the excellence of his artistry.
We should encourage people to compare the church of Pullman's universe with the church in the real world, and how it is growing and ministering to so many needs—all around the world. We should remind people of the church that serves, and that Christ would not have wanted an oppressive church.
But isn't Pullman attacking all religions?He calls the "God" character in the series "Yahweh." And his characters specifically condemn Christianity as "a powerful and convincing mistake, that's all." (Allah, on the other hand, isn't mentioned.) Pullman has said he wrote these stories "to undermine Christian belief"—quite a different claim than undermining religion in general.
Pullman's characters come to the firm belief that Yahweh is not the creator of the universe. In fact, he's just a big liar. And later in the series, when the Almighty shows up, he's a feeble, senile joke. And they kill him.
Isn't this just the Harry Potter controversy all over again?No. This time, there really is a serious problem. But God forbid that we respond to Pullman the way we've responded to J.K. Rowling. We've just been through a decade in which fearful, judgmental people have burned Harry Potter books, called J.K. Rowling a witch, and warned us that children who read her books will become warlocks. (This reminds me of those folks who told me, when I was ten, that if I saw The Empire Strikes Back, I might be lured into Buddhism.) What we missed with Harry Potter was the power of fairy tales, which use magic metaphorically and symbolically to help us understand mysterious concepts and appreciate the marvelous, otherworldly reality of grace.
And we encouraged a generation of children to believe that you can't be a Christian and also value fairy tales—a devastating deception. As Lewis and Tolkien have discussed and proposed, fairy tales reflect the truth of the gospel in a unique and timeless way. In fact, Lewis became a Christian through discussions with Tolkien about fairy tales.
Many Christians also overlooked the fact that, in damning the Potter series, we were persecuting a Christian woman who has admitted that the process of telling those stories was a journey of sorting out her own faith and persistent doubts. We missed that there were Bible verses woven through the stories and glimmering with truth.
But Pullman is a different storyteller. He says, "I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. I'm a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people—mainly from America's Bible Belt—who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."
Okay, maybe we shouldn't boycott and complain. But what should Christians do?These recommendations come from my humble opinion, and you're welcome to disagree.
Essentially, don't behave in ways that the Magisterium in Pullman's books would behave. You'll just make his stories more persuasive, by confirming for the culture around us that Christians only really get excited when they're condemning something.
Instead, respond with grace and love. And truth. Admit that, yes, Christians have committed grave sins in the name of Christ, and that those shameful misrepresentations of the gospel have made many people fearful of, and even repulsed by, the church. But Christians have been called to serve the oppressed, proclaim freedom for the captives, bring healing to the sick, to seek justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly, and to bring good news of "great joy." And by God's grace, many are living out that calling. They paint quite a different picture than what Pullman has painted.
Finally, educate yourselves and equip your kids with questions—lenses, so to speak—that will expose the problems in these stories. (Worried about padding Pullman's pockets by investigating the books? Fair enough. But there's always the library.)
What questions might you and your kids ask as you read Pullman's books?
Some suggestions:
If we cast off all "authority" and set up "free will" as the ultimate source of guidance, where will that get us?
Has the world shown us that the human heart is a trustworthy "compass"?
Does free will lead us always to the right choice?
If the heroes accept the "truth" of the alethiometer (the compass itself), aren't they letting themselves be guided by just another source of truth—another "Authority"? But didn't the story tell us "Authority" is bad and we should only follow our own hearts?
If there are "many truths," then aren't these heroes being as self-righteous and wicked as the oppressors by demanding that their version of the truth is better than others?
What is so inspiring about the battle between the bears? Hasn't this story led us to a place where it's just "survival of the fittest" all over again? Should we really hope that the world falls into the hands of the strongest fighter, rather than into the hands of love?
Finally, pray for Philip Pullman. Pray about the influence of his work. And pray for humility and wisdom in your own response. Pullman is just a man who, somewhere along the way, got a very bad impression of the church. It's also worth noting that Pullman's father died in a plane crash when Pullman was only seven years old. I don't know if that had anything to do with his view of God, but many men who have struggled with the idea of a loving, caring, benevolent God are those whose fathers abandoned them or died while they were young. Boys without fathers often grow up with deep resentment, and having no focus for that pain, they target God.
I want to be careful here: I am not explaining Pullman to you, because I don't know him. But that detail made me stop and think about how little I know about his experiences and motivations. Shouldn't I be praying for him instead of condemning him? Shouldn't I be looking for ways to show love and respect to the man, even as I look for ways to expose the flaws in his work? Pullman's not likely to reconsider his notions about God if those who believe in God organize a full-scale assault against him and his work."

© Jeffrey Overstreet 2007, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved.
"This article first appeared in the 11/30/2007 issue of Christianity Today. Used by permission of Christianity Today International, Carol Stream, IL 60188."