Sunday, July 17, 2011


Well, things have been very busy for the past week or so. From Sunday to Tuesday (7/10 to 7/12) I went to a livestock show (I'm a farm kid!) and actually did pretty well. From Thursday to Saturday (7/14 to 7/16) I had to work (get up at 4:45 am to be to work at 6) at a farm, which was awesome!!! I finish at 9 am, but I've also been working at our apartment house, too.  I absolutely love it. So, at the end of the day I'm absolutely bushed. Which means there's not a lot of time for me to work on this! But God will provide.

    There's a lot of stuff that's been going through my mind lately, and I'm not exactly sure what to write about tonight, but before I forget, I'd like to ask you to do something for me. Would you guys pray? I'm not asking for you to pray for me (right now). I want you to pray for my friend Adam. He's been in the hospital with mono. He's out of the hospital now, but he's still recovering, and if you could pray for him that would be awesome. Adam is one of the coolest people I know. If he reads this, he's proably going to be embarassed, so I'll go to something else now.

    Since right now I'm at a loss as to what to write, I'm going to insert my dad's sermon from this morning. I hope you enjoy.

Trinity 4 MP Psalms 22:23&67; Genesis 12:1-9; Galatians 3:1-9

Praise the Lord, ye that fear Him; magnify Him all ye seed of Jacob, and fear Him, all ye seed of Israel. For He hath not despised nor abhorred the low estate of the poor; He hath not hid his face from him; but when he called unto Him, He heard him. –Ps 22:23,24

I would like to tell you today that these verses are for us. We are offering our praises today to a God who hears the prayers of the poor. I would probably be unpopular in the world today if I shouted out loud that it would be worth being poor if it meant God would listen to us. But it would be true.

Does it mean that God only listens to the poor, those who lack worldly success, power, and respect? No, not at all. But what does it mean that God hath not hid his face from him?

What is the most common way we recognize one-another? We can recognize a voice, a scent; Isaac sought to recognize his son by the feel of his hairy skin. Maybe cannibals recognize people by their flavor. Did you hear about the cannibals who ate a comedian? They said he tasted funny. All our senses help us to recognize someone, but the most commonly used is our sight, in recognizing their face.  As we get to know people through spending time with them, we learn about them not only through their words, but we watch their faces to see indications of how they truly feel.

So this psalm really tells us of an intimacy with God available to the poor which may not be available to the successful. I’m not saying that God won’t be intimate with those who are not poor, but there may be a certain relationship God wants to develop with the downtrodden, the failures of this world. It reminds me of a lady I know who loves animals. Her house has always been full of animals as long as I can remember; dogs, cats, injured rabbits, etc., often injured or unwanted by others, finding refuge in this lady’s home. She jokes about her animals, calling them “Lynn’s lucky losers.” Well, I have to admit that I think these “losers” find more love and acceptance than many purebreds in affluent homes. To me, this is a picture of the relationship God has in mind for the poor, the losers of this world.  To Him, our reliance and need is sweet music.

If you look at the life of Jesus, you will find he has an affinity for the outcast, the poor, and those who do not have much to crow about in terms of worldly things. It is no chance occurrence that the first person to be aware of the resurrection was once a prostitute with mental problems. Jesus has a big heart for those who need Him.

So on the outside some of the riches of this world may have quite an allure. But that allure, and nursing our desire for them as an end in themselves can easily draw our hearts away from God.  If we realize this, it may be easier to, as Paul puts it, “Give thanks in all things.” Can we give thanks for a hard life here? Can we give thanks for a special chance to know God more closely? Can we see the true riches, the everlasting riches? Can we be thankful for the taking away of worldly distractions? I say that anything which brings us closer to God is cause for rejoicing!

Look at Abram. We get a short part of his story today. Did you know that he was a rich man, successful in Ur? He was well established there, when one day God said to him, “Leave this. Leave here and go someplace you have never been. I have other plans for you.” So Abram locked up the shop and jumped in the Winnebago and left it all behind.  Now Abraham is known as the “Father of Faith.” One of the things that made his act such an act of faith was that he had the choice. He could choose stability and success where he was or what appeared to be taking a chance by listening to God. For many, this choice is too much of a temptation. They make the wrong one and put their hearts into worldly things.

In this way, poverty can be a tremendous gift. If we don’t have the option of worldly success, we can remain dependent upon God, and close to Him, that much easier. So the lacks we think we have here may not really be lacks at all, but blessings eternal in nature, providing us heavenly rewards which far outshine the greatest treasure that can be piled up here.

Paul urges us to examine our choices; to look on how we view things. Do we want to go the path of the flesh or of the Spirit? Do we want to be secure in the world, or secure in the arms of God?

Only when we have a proper attitude of praise for God, for the Father who loves and seeks us, only then will the earth bring forth her increase. All the universe exists to bring us into a closer union with God. Let us rejoice in every thin that does, whether the world values it or not. The greatest treasure is given to us inside. Let us get to know and love our Lord better every day.

Glory and praise be to God!

    In Christ,

    Em xoxoxo

Monday, July 4, 2011

Something to Remember

    Today's Independence Day. I absolutely love this time of year; I love to get out and see people and watch parades and go to barbeques. I love to do those things. But on this day, and a few others, (Memorial Day, Veterans' Day) we shouldn't just get excited and have fun with the things I mentioned above.
    Think for a minute about why these days were made national holidays, set aside. Why? For two select, related, reasons.
    To remember. To be thankful.
    To remember what? This is one that makes my grandma mad. "How," she rants, "did we get sunk so low in this pit of laziness, that we forget, or don't even know at all, what we're supposed to remember on these days?"
    I actually have to agree with her. But that isn't for this post. At least not directly.
    On Independence Day, we're supposed to remember what happened. So, you say, they signed the Declaration of Independence. So what?
    So they signed it. Most of the world had no idea what power of force Britain was soon to be engaged in war against. King George III himself wrote in his diary on July 4, 1776, "Nothing of importance happened today."
    Seriously?! I mean, really?! He must've thought he was pretty stupid afterwards, huh?
    His military, the British military, robbed a good many of the brave men who signed that precious document of everything that they had in life, some even their life. Here's an excerpt from God is Still My Co-Pilot by Robert L. Scott:
Well, let's go back to wonder why it has been glossed over that we were the first successful revolutionaries. Why, further along, has it been implied at least that any revolution is wrong? And that even our forefathers who dared to sign that priceless document, The Declaration of Independence, lived happily ever after? If you think that, then we are permitting this generation to grow up thinking wrongly and we are responsible for the actions of all the irresponsible Americans as well as for indolence in allowing our Supreme Court to run rough-shod over all our freedoms, one-by-one.
    I don't know why it is that right in the front of every American history book there does not appear in Bold, Black Letters that far, far different things happened to most of the fifty-six brave Americans who signed the Declaration of Independence and that they did not live happily ever afterwards. They pledged their lives along with their fortunes and their sacred honor. Instead, it has grown to a sort of out-dated habit to talk of patriotism in too many places here in America much less tell the truth about what those fifty-six men risked when they signed, for they risked those things for all of us.
    Let me refresh your minds and you, please, pass it on before it is too late. We are all quite familiar with that big, scrawled signature of John Hancock, which has become a synonym for the word signature; he perhaps got along all right as did Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and a few others. But after learning what I had to dig up I am almost convinced that only those who lived in certain places in the Colonies, among friendly compatriots, were really safe from harm for their "dastardly" deed of daring to confront the greatest nation in the world with a revolutionary declaration of freedom.
For instance, five signers were captured by the British and tortured until they died. Twelve others had their homes ransacked and burned. Nine had to flee to the only place there was sanctuary: into general Washington's Revolutionary Army. Just imagine! Just suppose today that the only sanctuary a compatriot had was to flee into our Army, Navy, or Air Force and go to Veitnam and fight. These nine fought and died from wounds and hardships of the Revolutinary War and now modern educational brainwashers appear to be trying to disown them.
These twenty-six men were not all the unfortunate ones, there were worse things that happened. But first, what kind of men were these? Were they some kind of radicals in 1776, right-wingers caught up like splinter groups today, swept away with the delusions of grandeur about being noticed and "way out, men" just determined to express themselves before the big bomb falls? They were not! They were good solid Americans, our First Americans, our ancestors! Twenty-four of them were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, ten were farmers and plantation owners; men of means, well educated! They had everything but LIBERTY! They signed because they wanted liberty above all else. They signed though they knew their signatures could be their death warrants if they were caught. And so they really did pledge their sacred honor, their fortunes, and their lives.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the sea by the British Navy. He sold his home to pay his debts and died in rags.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the Tories (his neighbors) that he was forced to move his family constantly. Nevertheless, he served in Congress without pay and kept his family in hiding. His possessions were confiscated by the crown and poverty was his only reward.
Vandal Tories, formerly neighbors, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Walton, Guinnett, Rutledge and Middleton.
At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., being told that the British General Cornwallis had commandeered his home for headquarters, nevertheless, he quietly urged General Washington to open fire. This was done, and his home was destroyed as he had requested. He died bankrupt!
Francis Lewis also had his home destroyed. The enemy could not catch him so they jailed his wife and she died in a dungeon within a few months.
John Hart's wife was dying when he signed and when he hastened home to be at her bedisde he found the British had arrived first and he was driven into the nearby forest. He lived there with his eleven children in hiding and watched the British destroy his fields and grist mills. He lived for more than a year in caves in the forest. He never saw his wife again; never saw his home again, either. Yet, at almost seventy years of age he joined Washington's Continental Army as a private where he died...a soldier of the Revolution.
Lewis Morris was about to sign when word was sent by the British, who were at the gates of his Long Island home, that his property would be spared if he would with-hold his signature for liberty. "There are other homes," he said and signed. He added, "There is but one Country!"
The wonder is not that we had so many real patriots in 1776, but our sin is that we do not admit it today and still shout it from the roof tops. You, the priceless youth of this land, must know every instant of your lives that you are all entrusted with the sacred mission that each of you must do your part, whatever the cost, to see that liberty does not fade out and die!
    The story of Abraham Clark is a remarkable one. He signed the Declaration of Independence. His two oldest sons were in the Continental Army. Because he signed the Declaration, he was considered a traitor by the British.
    You can probably guess what's coming. His sons were taken prisoner, and word was sent to Abraham Clark that if he did not renounce his signature, his sons would be starved to death. If you don't say, "No, I didn't really mean it, my signing it," you'll never see your sons again. They'll starve. It will be your fault. If you don't take it back.
    He didn't renounce his signature. He begged them; he told the British they could have all his money; he'd sell his house. Anything but take his signature off that document. They told him there was no other way. So his sons died.
    "My sacred honor," he said, "is something I cannot take back." I admire him greatly for that.

    Imagine. never being able to see your wife again. Never. Or knowing that your sons are slowy dying an agonizing death, somewhere on a ship out a sea, and there is nothing that your conscience will permit you to do about it. And yet they lived on, and did what they knew they had to, for us. For US. Don't you think that deserves a few minutes of quiet meditation and prayer?
    To sacrifice your sons, for you and me. Isn't that very similar to what another greater Being did for us so many years ago? Then why should we throw that to the wind? 235 years from now, would you like someone to pick up a copy of an important document, casually look over the list of names scrawled across the bottom, and say, "Huh. Cool name!" and leave it at that? Not even acutely know the suffering and agony and sacrifice and blood that weaved that name into the fabric of history, or cemented it into the foundation of time? How would you feel if that was your name?
    Don't you think that those who gave everything that was theirs deserve to be remembered? The names aren't so much important as what they stood for, what they fought for. We all ought to fall on our knees and thank God for brave men such as these, for if it weren't for them, none of us would be here to so carelessly enjoy the freedoms and liberties that we do; the freedoms and liberties that are fast slipping out of our fingers.
    How long was the Revolutionary War? It was physically eight years long. But the Revolution is still going on. It never ended. We are the soldiers, the ones who must keep fighting for what is right. We must be ever vigilant, for liberty is more valuable than diamonds, and much, much, easier to steal away from those who have it.
    So, on this day, we ought to remember those who have given so much, if not all, for us, and be thankful to God for such great men as these. And then, go out and have fun. Go to the parade, the barbeque at your friend's house. And, just in case, remind them to remember and be thankful.

In Christ,

Em xoxoxo