INFLUENCE

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” — Jesus. (Matthew 10:34 NKJV)

 CULTURE

I’ve been told that 30% of Americans consider themselves evangelical Christians. The Screen Guild, Planned Parenthood and the Gay/Lesbian groups seem to be having more influence on our culture than we do. These, and many more, are part of the new religion: progressive-liberalism. I know, I was once a part of that mindset. I was also a part of that passive, let’s not shake the boat mindset…peace at any price, mindset.

 Why do you think that the progressive-liberals are having a great influence on our culture? Should Christians be non-confrontational and only peaceful?

Should Christians never be politically involved? I’ve heard Christians say they were not going to vote because the candidate isn’t a Christian. Really? People that is a cop out. One doesn’t need to be a Christian to be a great leader.

 Lord, help us. If we ever needed a great leader, it is NOW.

 If you care about our changing culture, get politically involved at the very least. Stay informed and hold your representatives feet to the fire on our important issues. For example: we need term limits, we need to be rid of lobbyist (which is political corruption), and we need some economic and trade reform. These things, left to the politicians, will not get changed. Let us be logical here. Why should they make these changes? They are profiting from them.

 Martin Luther King, Jr. was an unknown, black, Christian, preacher without mega money behind him; actually with nothing behind him. Did he let that stop him from taking the authority and influence given to him to make changes to the culture? Did he allow intimidation to make him back down?

 We don’t have to develop a powerful position like this to make a difference in our culture. Remember, snowflakes are all very small, but in short order they can completely cover a landscape.

 I believe God gave us this country to occupy until He comes and many other very good reasons I won’t address right now.

 Are we influencing our given territory or are we just letting TV, media, our educators, and/or politicians change our culture and the next generation’s mindset without our involvement? We have influence and authority, are we using it in the realm we have been assigned to? Or are we letting intimidation from the progressive-liberals keep our mouths shut?

 Do you know what your children/grandchildren are being taught in school? It may be a good influence or it may be a bad one. However, if we don’t get involved by reading over some of the materials…that is passive neglect of your influence. PERIOD

 Home schooling and private Christian schooling has had its fair share of ridicule. Wonder why? The progressive-liberals cannot control what is being taught.  

 Do you remember the story of Ester in the Bible (if not read it – the whole book is called, ESTER)? She was a beautiful woman from the Israel captives, who became the queen of the kingdom of her captors. She had the best of everything: food, servants, clothing, entertainment, protection and comfort of every kind. Why, I ask you, would she rock that boat? To go before her King with a request, without being summoned was often sure death. Why would she risk that? Because she loved her people and she culture more than her life. PERIOD

 Jesus was born a Jew in a religious culture, ruled by Romans. He fought the religious culture for three years, within the Roman culture. He made an obvious difference. Such a difference, that thousands of people since have been willing to and have died for Him. That, beloved is influence.

The Weapons of Our Warfare

I believe there is a Creator God.  A God Who loves us so unconditionally that we do not have the capacity to understand it, let alone completely receive it.

As much as I believe that, I also believe that there is a devil, who hates God and His creation at a level far more passionately intensive than we could ever understand.

There is warfare going on in a realm around us that we cannot see, but are a part of whether we want to be or not.  This hater of God has sent powers and principalities in this realm around us to bring great division and it is working. 

So, Beloved, what do we do about it?  How do we stand against it?  Our weapons are not weapons of this realm, but weapons of the Spirit realm. There are many, but today my focus is on one of the most powerful.  King David of Israel used this weapon; Paul the Apostle, used this weapon, Abraham Lincoln used it as did Martin Luther King, Jr. 

IT IS GRATITUDE.  The real thing.  Not a ritualistic activity, not a feast with family, but a humble heart of gratefulness for God’s goodness, mercy and faithfulness right in the middle of the battle. . . because

HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

A psalm of thanksgiving (Psalm 100 NLT)

Shout with joy to the Lord , all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. 

From Paul to the Philippian Church  (Philippians 4:6-8 NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

 

BLOOD

This morning when I was praying, I imagined placing my failures, cares and needs in the cups of my hands and laying them down on the ground of Calvary at the foot of the Cross.  I have done this before.  In my imagination of this process, in the past, I laid them down on the dirty, dry, barren ground with a rugged piece of wood sticking out of that arid, rocky and dusty place.

That was not the vision that appeared in my mind today.  What appeared was not a dry, dusty, rugged, rocky spot, but a blood soaked hill waiting for my failures, cares and needs.

There is nothing, no nothing as pure or as redeeming as the precious blood of God.  It never fails, it never gives up, it never walks out on me.

cross

Fatigue. . .

We have been on the road in our minivan since May.  I have pretty much covered our driving through New Mexico…then we got busy(er) and busy(er), it seems.   We have been overwhelmed by the beauty and enormity of what we have seen and done daily.  We literally fall asleep by 8:30 each night and sleep until 7:00 the next morning (unless there was a football game that Sweet Husband needed to see-I can actually through them).

Sweet Husband and I are over 60.  I know, I know. . . I’m shocked, too!  We are like toddlers we get really tired and grumpy w/o a nap.  We do not get naps, there is no time, which is why I haven’t posted on the following as yet.

Here is a list of the amazing places I will still report on (I promise):

  1. Sedona, AZ (3 nights)
  2. Las Vegas, NV (2 nights)
  3. Ronald Regan Library (one night & one FULL day)
  4. John Paul Getty Museum (1/2 day…not enough)
  5. San Diego, CA (5 nights)
  6. The Tournament Of Roses Parade (Pasadena, CA—4 nights)
  7. Continue up Hwy 1 to Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey, San Francisco, Muir Forest, the Avenue of the Giants and Yosemite (weather permitting)  [Many nights]
  8. Then we head back to our neck of the woods (I’m assuming)
  9. Big Sur (to me) is the closest thing to heaven here on earth!  REALLY

Pictures below, to tease you, from each location. . .

Ragged Point (South end of Big Sur)

Ragged Point (South end of Big Sur)

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

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La Bra Tar Pit

La Bra Tar Pit

Van Gogh @ Getty

Van Gogh @ Getty

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Roman Bath, Hearst Castle

Roman Bath, Hearst Castle

Pacific

Pacific

Getty Museum

Getty Museum

Princess Float

Princess Float

Coronado Hotel

Coronado Hotel

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Regan's Oval Office

Regan’s Oval Office

What happens in Vegas . . .

What happens in Vegas . . .

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Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Painted Desert, AZ

Painted Desert, AZ

THE STAR OF BETHELHEM

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus stayed in Bethlehem for two years and moved into a house.  The Magi or the Wise Men, arrived two years after Jesus’s birth. Thus they were not at the cave.  It is reasonable to assume that there were three Wise Men because they present Jesus with three gifts.  The Magi were from present day Iraq or Iran.  Three Gentile men started following a star that eventually brought them to the house where Mary, Joseph, and the two year old Jesus lived  (see the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew).

The star was supernatural and cannot be logically or astronomically explained.  Many people much smarter than I have tried: astronomers, scientist, theologians.  However, I want to offer you a theory I received (I believe) from the Holy Spirit a few years ago.

It is recored in all four Gospels that angels were involved in the announcement of the birth of Jesus and all though out the Bible they are associated with the delivery of messages from God to man, and many other activities in the Spirit Realm.

I did a study of angels a few years ago.  They are mentioned almost 300 times.  They all have different jobs…only some are messengers.  Some are called seraphim, cherubim, The Hose of Heaven and (among other names) Stars.  I present you the Star of Bethlehem, a Spirit Being assigned to herald the birth of the greatest man ever, the son of God.  So large and so bright he was seen as a celestial object and brought the Magi from far off Iraq.This beautiful being shown over the stable and moved with the Christ and His family until they went to Egypt to escape the army of Herod.