Sunday, September 30, 2012

Newsletter from

      I do not believe the majority of Americans are aware of the information contained in the following email newsletter.  The mainstream news media does not report it.
      Because it appears this election may be the most important one in the history of the U.S. I am feeling more and more as if I must do everything I can to share what I am hearing, so I will be posting news from sources I regularly read.
      Our freedoms are being taken from us daily and we are unaware.  We must be certain to vote in this election to remove those leaders who do not have a love for this country but are only seeking their own gain.  Please don't be uninformed or apathetic.
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DailySanity Newsletter from

Civil War In The U.S.? Brace Yourself

      You have to hand it to Obama. At least he is keeping his promises.
July 02, 2008 – Colorado Springs, Colorado: Presidential candidate Barack Obama announces, “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
     And now the Department of Homeland Security is busy purchasing bulletproof checkpoint booths; riot gear, hollow point bullets, and now sniper grade ammunition, among other things.
“This is tyranny, “ says Alex Jones at InfoWars.
      In March of this year, the Department of Homeland Security purchased 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point bullets, even though these types of bullets have been illegal in international warfare since 1899.
     Since November of 2011, the DHS has purchased a total of 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition—and now they recently released a series of new purchase orders on the FedBizOpps website requesting over 2 million more rounds of sniper-grade ammo.
      So ask yourself why the federal government is busy purchasing checkpoint booths, anti-radiation pills, and large assault vehicles, and why they are so vague and dismissive when someone presses them to explain why.

      Obama is nationalizing industries (automakers, the internet, healthcare) and going around Congress to impose his agenda (Net Neutrality, the Dream Act, cybersecurity). America is now paying the price for the “hope and change” propaganda of 2008.
      And he is placing the DHS front and center as the Gestapo of the United States.
This is the same agency that gropes you at the airport (and steals your belongings with increasingly regularity); and they also released a report warning of radical groups in the U.S. comprised of Christians, war veterans, pro-life supporters and small government promoters.
Are conservatives now going to be labeled as “terrorists” by the Obama administration and singled out for destruction?
       His administration has targeted many conservative individuals and groups for auditing; it is no reach to assume he will use the power of the government to stamp out any dissenters.
      As Obama clears government agencies for firepower, he is working to take away our rights to bear arms and defend ourselves. Consider:
  • The Obama administration is working with the United Nations to disarm all Americans through the Small Arms Treaty.
  • He has used his corrupt Attorney General Eric Holder and his comrades at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) to sell arms to Mexico in an effort to force Congress to limit our Second Amendment rights.
  • Under an expansion of the civil forfeiture doctrine, Obama has just given the ATF the power to seize your firearms if they choose to, without due process, and even if you are not under investigation. Under Obama’s new decree, if the ATF says they are going to confiscate your firearms, they can.
  • The draft cybersecurity order, which would place all activities on the Internet under the jurisdiction of the DHS, included gun control language, encouraged by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). When that cybersecurity bill didn’t pass, Obama began drafting one of his own, which he plans to introduce by Executive Order, … will that EO contain limits on our Second Amendment right to bear arms?
      If you weren’t already concerned about the power the Department of Homeland Security is amassing, you should be now—especially because we don’t have a President who respects the Constitution and the rights it gives us.
      The ACLU made a Freedom of Information Act request and found that since 2009…during Obama’s entire presidential term…Justice Department spying on Americans has increased 64 percent.
      Be aware that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that defeating terrorism will require the use of more “soft power,” meaning civilians will need to contribute more. And he wasn’t just touting Big Sis Janet Napolitano’s line of “see something, say something;” the Associated Press reported that he was calling for the “creation of new government organizations, including a permanent group of civilian experts with a wide range of expertise who could be sent abroad on short notice as a supplement to U.S. military efforts.”
       The Department of Defense’s Civilian Expeditionary Workforce directive will establish that “soft power.”
       Members of the DoD Civilian Expeditionary Workforce shall be organized, trained, cleared, equipped, and ready to deploy in support of combat operations by the military; contingencies; emergency operations; humanitarian missions; disaster relief; restoration of order; drug interdiction; and stability operations of the Department of Defense in accordance with DoD 3000.05
      This is not something that can be ignored!
       The DHS continues to request more firepower, their reasons for doing so continue to be vague, and Obama continues to give them more control over our daily lives. All this as he ignores the corruption and scandal going on within the agency itself, which is overrun with criminal allegations and corruption!
      We must, as Alex Jones at InfoWars urges, become like Paul Revere and expose the purchases the DHS is making, while we lean on Congress to stop this military-like behavior by a domestic agency. Our Constitution and our Bill of Rights must be defended against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Tony Adkins

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Embracing the Fight of Faith by Francis Frangipane

Embracing the Fight of Faith
       In spite of worldwide conflicts, the Holy Spirit is guiding the true Church into her greatest season of transformation. We must not look at the pressures of our times as though they were obstacles set to restrict us. For in the hands of the Almighty, these are the very tools He is using to perfect us.
       One of the problems of interpreting end-time events is the tendency to focus upon only one set of conditions. If we look only at the fact that Satan is raging or that lawlessness, wars, earthquakes and famines are escalating, we might conclude that difficulty and darkness are all that we have awaiting us until the Rapture. And, as I mentioned, many people have been taught that life will only grow more evil until Christ returns.
       But the same Spirit that predicted the perilous conditions at the end of the age also forecasts that, in spite of difficulties and battle, the Gospel of Christ's love will be proclaimed worldwide to all nations (see Matt. 24:14). The Lord also said that the "crop" of last-days Christians will reach full stature (see Mark 4:28-29), and that those who know their God will be strong, do exploits, shine like the stars and lead multitudes to righteousness (see Dan. 11:32; 12:3).
       In every age God requires that we walk as overcomers. Our call is to pray, to stand in spiritual warfare, to intercede for our leaders and soldiers and not to surrender our vision of a world in revival, regardless of whatever temporary setbacks we may face. The very fact that some distant nations are experiencing renewal and great harvests in recent years (Uganda and Fiji, for instance) reminds us that there is still time for our own nations. Our focus must remain riveted upon becoming like Christ in all things.
      We might feel overwhelmed by the flood of evil storming against our societies, yet the promise of God is that, when the enemy comes in like a flood, He shall raise a standard against him (see Isa. 59:19, KJV).
      So we must ask ourselves, is our focus upon the enemy's flood? Or are we aware of the standard God is raising up to counter the onslaught of evil? Do not forget, beloved, that even when darkness covers the earth and deep darkness the peoples, the promise of God is that His glory shall rise upon us and His presence shall be visibly seen through us! In spite of the appearance that darkness is never ending, the Lord promises that, at the end of the war between light and darkness, "nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (see Isa. 60:1-3). Indeed, God's Word reveals that nestled and unfolding in the panorama of end-time events will also be an ongoing "period of restoration" (see Acts 3:20-21).
      This does not mean that the world will be subdued by the Church (as some erroneously teach), but that the true Church itself will be glorious, subdued and transformed by Christ! This final display of grace will be consummated in a Christlike Church, whose spiritual maturity shall manifest on earth the person and passions of Jesus Christ Himself.
      Our fight is the fight of faith: Do we believe what God has promised? Our war is against principalities and powers: Do we believe the report that Christ shall "sprinkle [that is, cleanse, and bring forgiveness and transformation to] many nations" (Isaiah 52:15)?
       I, for one, believe the promises of God. His Word is not just a comfort to me in times of trouble but a sword that I wield in times of spiritual war. His faithful Word is what I proclaim over my family, my church, my city and nation! Consider His proclamation: "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:11). No matter how the battle rages, God's Word shall not return to Him void.
       Consider also His commitment: "I am watching over My word to perform it" (Jer. 1:12). And His accessibility:
       "Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart'- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching" (Rom. 10:6-8).
        We are not mere mortals stumbling blindly on earth, separated from God and isolated from His response to our needs. No! We are new creatures, born again from above, and resident within us is the Holy Spirit of Almighty God.
        Yes, we labor and intercede; we repent for our sins and the sins of our nations. But the weight of our victory rests not upon how much we labor and groan, but upon how sincerely we believe what God has promised. The Lord does not want us worrying about the future; He wants us to create it through the knowledge of His will, through the proclamation of His Word - which is the "sword of the Spirit" (Eph. 6:17) - and through our yieldedness to the power of the Holy Spirit. And then He promises, "Whoever believes in [Me] will not be disappointed" (Rom. 10:11).
          Beloved, the sword God has put in our hearts and mouths is nothing less than the echo of His voice in us! So, let's not whine about negative conditions in the world or sigh prayers muttered in fear and unbelief. Let's embrace the fight of faith! May Christ's love for mankind be our compelling motivation! Pick up your Bible and speak audibly the promises of God's Word. Pick any verse quoted above and speak it out loud, with faith and authority. I guarantee that if you proclaim God's Word with faith, it will release power in and through your spirit. No power can quench the promises God has inspired in His Book.
           He assures us, "All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23). Let's break the bondage of a passive spirit. Let's take up the sword of the Spirit and embrace the fight of faith!

Lord, I repent of self-pity and fear. Train my hands for war! Teach me to stand and fight back on behalf of Your righteous cause. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A reminder to watch the words of our mouths

Faith Tabernacle
September 26, 2012
You might think that when you talk about others in a poor light that you are just sharing your thoughts and feelings.  But, this is nothing more than idle chatter and gossip that will open a door for you to be cursed instead of blessed, for the curses that are sent out by the words of your mouth will only come back to yourself.  It is true that you will be held accountable for every idle word you speak (Matthew 12:36).  You are entering a new season that will bring you closer to Me, but this one thing needs to be done away with by making better choices.  You will be glad you chose to watch the words of your mouth. 

Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Centurion Recognized Authority, Do We?

      In today's chronological New Testament reading I was struck by the words of the centurion:   "But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 
      Matthew 8:10 says that because the centurion recognized Jesus' authority, "[Jesus] was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith..."  Then He said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would."  And his servant was healed at that very hour. 
      As I was reading it occurred to me that Jesus might still be saying today He has not found anyone in the church with such great faith.  How many of us recognize the authority of Jesus and act on His words?  Jesus said in Matt. 28:18,  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."  
     Do we search the scriptures to see what Jesus says we are to do?  Do we understand, as the centurion did, that when He gives a command it is to be obeyed?
     Is Jesus really Lord of our lives?  Why do we think we will go to heaven because we have made the declaration that we believe in Jesus?  Didn't He say that even the demons believe?  True belief is to realize we are under His authority and we are to do the things He did.  When he says, Love one another, go into all the world, preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, take up your cross, deny yourself, etc. etc. do we go and do?  Or do we make excuses, or worse yet not even listen? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mumford & Sons - I Will Wait

       Are you familiar with Mumford & Sons?  To let you know how behind the times I am I will confess I had never heard of them.  Obviously they are very popular from the size of the crowd and the enthusiasm in this video!
      While looking for this song I saw their YouTube video, "The Cave" had over 14,000,000 hits on it!  Amazing that I am so far from being "in the know"!  Or is it?  :o)
     Their style of music seems to be unique!   If you haven't heard of them either I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.

       I was curious to know where this concert was held so I looked up Red Rocks Amphitheater which I found to be an incredible amphitheater near Morrison, Colorado--once again something I had never heard of.  Amazing what you can learn on the Internet, isn't it?
      Here is a picture if you are as curious as I was:   Have you ever been there?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wouldn't it be much easier to cook if someone would come up with suggestions?

    I get in such a rut cooking that I forget about some of our favorite recipes.  For lunch today I made Beef (Hamburger) Stroganoff which I haven't made for awhile but which has been a favorite since our children were small.  The recipe was given to me by my friend, Sara, back when we were always trying to think of something different to cook for dinner.  It is very easy, and one of Country Guy's favorites.

I thought some of you might be in one of those "ruts" too and need a new easy recipe to inspire you. This one is included in my Shalom In The Wilderness Cookbook.  (I have a few left, so if you would like one send me an email and I'll get you the info for ordering), but it's also posted in Section 3 of the Recipes #1 page on this blog.

Here it is if you don't want to look it up.

Beef (Hamburger) Stroganoff
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. butter
1 lb hamburger or round steak
2 T. flour
1/2-1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 can mushrooms
1 can cream of chicken soup (can also use cream of celery, or mushroom soup)
1 c. sour cream
2 T. parsley (optional)

Saute onion & garlic in butter.  Add meat.  Brown.  Drain (partially)  Add flour, salt, mushrooms.  Cook 5 minutes.  Add soup.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Stir in sour cream.  Heat through.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve over hot buttered noodles or rice.

This is just as good as leftovers.

**Recipe notes.  I used to omit the mushrooms because some of our children didn't like mushrooms but I often include the now.

 I most often use a 1 lb. package of fettuccini, but I also sometimes make homemade noodles from the recipe in the cookbook/blog when I have extra time, and once in a while when if I had nothing else in the cabinet I've used spaghetti.

Also, I rarely use the butter--mainly to cut down on a few calories.  I can't tell any difference in taste.  Instead, I brown the ground beef, onion and garlic together.  And since it seems to be thick enough without adding additional flour I omit it, too.

I also like to serve peas as a side dish with this meal--and sliced tomatoes, if I have them.

Lou Pritchett's Letter to America

        I received this email a few days ago.  What do you think?  Do you agree with Mr. Pritchett?

Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America ’s true living legends --- a former P  & G executive, an acclaimed author, a dynamic teacher, and one of the  world's most highly rated speakers.  It was he who changed the way  America  does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "Partnering".

You may remember a previous letter he wrote in 2009 to Obama and the New York Times, which went viral. 

From a speech given by Lou Pritchett April 15,  2012

"I was born in year two of the Great  Depression (1931) and spent the first 10 years of my life, influenced by the extreme hardships of the depression.  --By today’s standards my family was about  a mile below today’s so called ‘poverty level’; but if you never ‘had’ - -  doing without was not so ‘bad’.  Borrowing shoes to graduate from the 8th grade didn’t seem at all demeaning because most of the 8th graders did the same thing.

In June 1944, my only brother, Joe, was killed in action on Utah Beach in Normandy, France during the D-Day landings. Exactly one year later, my father died and left me, my mother, and my sister to go it alone - - and alone we went. My mother went to work at a department store, my sister dropped out of school and joined her, and I went to work shining shoes on the streets of Memphis for a dime a shine. Government assistance was not available, and if it were, I am confident my mother would have refused it, because she never wanted the government involved in our lives.

I mention this bit of personal history to help you understand that millions of Americans, including your parents and grandparents, grew up like me during the Great Depression and never expected nor wanted the government to offer them anything other than an opportunity - - and now to see what Obama is trying to do to our country tends to make you crazy.

As some of you know, my “Scare Me" letter went viral with millions of hits on the internet during the past 3 years. I have now written a follow-up letter, which I will now share with you.

To the editors:

"In April 2009, I  sent President Obama and the New York Times a letter titled "You Scare Me" because, as a candidate, he promised to "fundamentally  transform America ."  Now, after observing his performance for over three years, he no longer  scares me - - he terrifies me for the following reasons:

  He has done more to damage America 's standing in the world, to lower the standard of living in America, to impoverish future generations, and to shake our faith in the country's future than any other American president in history.

  With a compliant Democrat congress, a lapdog media, and a weak, almost nonexistent Republican opposition, he has shattered the American dream of job security, home ownership, and rugged individualism for millions of Americans and has poisoned and divided our civil society with his politics of envy, class warfare, race warfare, and religious warfare - - which he is using as fundamental building blocks for his 'socialist' agenda.

  Culturally, he remains totally out of touch with traditional American values. This has absolutely nothing to do with race or where he was born, rather it has everything to do with where, how and with whom he was raised, schooled, educated, trained, and associates with - - still today.

  He has surrounded himself with naive academicians, lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and socialist leaning czars who arrogantly think and behave exactly as he does.  People who offer no balanced suggestions, or devil’s advocate positions, and think in lock step with him that big government is the answer to all our problems.

  He not only encourages, but aids and abets the unionization of all American industry, the albatross around the neck of the free market. In turn, they provide the money and muscle to intimidate his opponents.

  He has increased the national debt by over 30% in just three years.  If re-elected, and this rate of increase continues, America will be burdened with an unsustainable 20 trillion dollar debt which will result in the country's financial death. Recovery will be impossible - -America will be the Greece   of 2016.

  Given his fanatical beholding to the 'environmental' and 'man-caused global warming' fringe, he has deliberately discouraged U.S. fossil fuel exploration and production, while wasting billions of tax payer dollars on solar, wind, and algae experiments. He refuses to accept that oil, gas, and coal are not America’s enemies, they are America’s assets - - which, properly managed, could make us energy independent within a generation.

  He views the U.S. as a power in retreat which abused its World dominance. Therefore, he systematically apologizes round the world.  This past March, he whispered to Russian President Medvedev - - "This is my last election. After my election, I will have more flexibility".  Just what is the secret that Obama and Putin are concealing from the American people until after the election? With what other leaders has he made similar secret agreements?

  And finally, after all his miss-steps, bad decision-making, poor management, and zero leadership, the fact that he has the audacity to seek re-election should terrify every American.

I predict that if re-elected, future historians and political interpreters will look back at the eight-year period 2008-2016, and conclude "the 44
th President of the U.S. allowed the takers to overpower the payers, which resulted in the greatest economy in history vanishing from the face of the Earth".  Farewell America, the World will really miss you!!"

Lou  Pritchett April 15, 2012

It is my hope and prayer that this letter will also go viral and serve as a 'wake up' call to Americans of all political  leaning - - convincing them that never before in U.S. history has so much depended on Americans understanding that we are facing one of the greatest crises in U.S. history. Convincing them that this election will be won not by letters to the editor, political speeches, or radio and TV sound bites.

No!!  It will be won by those with a conviction, with a belief, and with a willingness to pay the price in helping put the most enlightened voters in the polling booth on November 6.

Let me end on my favorite quote - - which I think is very appropriate for each of us today:


Those words spoken by Winston Churchill over 70 years ago are very appropriate for all Americans today.

For, if each of us is prepared and is qualified, then 6 November 2012 just might be our, and our Nation's, finest hour as we reclaim this "shining city on the hill" from the ravages of Obama Socialism.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Speak God’s Word And Activate His Angels by Joseph Prince

Psalm 103:20
20Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.

Notice that the verse says that angels are “heeding the voice of His word”. Now, who gives voice to God’s Word? We do! Each time we speak God’s Word, we give voice to His Word. And when angels hear His Word given voice, they respond!

The Bible says that at the end of Daniel’s three weeks of fasting and praying for an answer from God, the angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel and said to him, “I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:12)

So when angels hear you saying, “Thank You, Father, no evil shall befall me nor shall any plague come near my dwelling,” (Psalm 91:10) they will come to your aid because you are giving voice to God’s Word. Even if you cannot quote the verse perfectly, they can still come to your rescue.

This was what happened to a lady in the United States. While walking home after an evening church service, she was attacked from behind by a man and dragged toward a dark corner in an alley. In that frantic state, she remembered only one word from that evening’s sermon. So she shouted, “Feathers! Feathers!” Her attacker released her and fled!

Feathers? What did she mean? She was actually referring to Psalm 91:4 — “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge”. In that state of panic, she remembered only one word — “feathers”, and it was enough to cause her attacker to flee. You see, it is not your ability to quote an entire verse perfectly that releases God’s power, but faith in His Word and His love for you. And one word from Him is enough to send your enemies scurrying away.

However, if you know God’s Word by heart but refuse to proclaim it, the power of His Word cannot be released. The Bible does not say that angels heed His Word. No, it says that “His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word”. So beloved, give voice to God’s Word and see His angels respond. His angels are activated for your benefit when you speak His Word!

(From Joseph Prince's Email Devotional)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Being Offended

     Did you know that wrong reactions to stress is one of the major causes of sickness?  The medical community now believes at least 85%--and possibly as high as 95%--of all illness is caused by our inability to handle stress.  Have you ever thought about how much it stresses our bodies when we take offense at another person?  In fact, it is one of the most common causes of stress.  The dictionary defines "an offense" as an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to, or disregard for, oneself or one's standards or principles.  It also defines "offended" as caused to feel upset, annoyed, or resentful.  How often during the day do we feel upset, annoyed, or resentful of someone because they didn't agree with us, or they didn't do something the way we wanted them to?  Some of us have become such control freaks that almost every decision made by someone else that affects our lives in any small way contrary to what we think or how we would do it irritates us.  Often we find ourselves in a struggle not to get irritated!
       We are tempted to be offended many times daily.  What better tool of the enemy than to whisper in our ears about how OUR rights are being violated, how no one cares about OUR feelings, no one takes OUR advice, or asks OUR opinion, or invites US to be part of what they're doing, or how WE have to do everything, and on and on and on.  It seems to be all about us, doesn't it?  And we're offended that others don't recognize that.  Sometimes we overcome the temptation to take offense.  Other times we yield to it and become downright angry!  If we don't recognize what we're doing and continue in that line of thinking we become bitter and have smoldering resentment!
     As I was thinking about this, the post I did on Wednesday "Let Our "Yes" Be "Yes"" came to mind.  Was it the Lord prompting me?  I suspect so.  It's true that we are to represent Christ to the best of our abilities.  I believe it is a mark against Christianity when we don't, but when I get irritated because others aren't representing Jesus the way I think they should, I am taking offense.  I can only be responsible for my actions and reactions.  I need to be sure that I am setting a good example.  We all need to, but I am beginning to see that every time I criticize, or get upset, or resentful, or disappointed at anyone else for doing something contrary to the way I think it should be done, I am sinning.  I am playing God.  I am allowing debris to settle in my soul.  Since the soul is the center of our emotions, if I allow this debris to accumulate it will cause problems in my life.  There is now proof from the scientific community that when we continue to allow wrong emotions to rule our bodies we will get sick, but even worse, our spirits will get sick.  We will lose communication with God.
      3 John 1:2 says, " Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."  But how can our souls prosper if they are filled with thoughts of grudges, resentments, bitterness, anger, etc..?  We must not allow this to happen.  Phil. 4:8-9 tells us how we can avoid this.  It says, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  We will prosper in our souls when we change the way we think and react, then we will also prosper [in life] and be in health.
      To cleanse our souls we need two things.  The first one we are familiar with--the blood of Jesus.  We know that if we confess our sins and repent, we will receive forgiveness through Jesus' blood.  Then as the Bible says, we are justified--"just as if I'd" never sinned.  We are new creations.  But to remain free of sin, we also need His resurrection power given to us through the Holy Spirit living in us.  His dunamis is defined as--power to achieve by applying the abilities that are part of the Lord's nature.  We must turn to the Holy Spirit who lives in us and appropriate the power He makes available for us to keep from sinning.  Let's declare and proclaim that with His help we will no longer allow ourselves to be offended.
      I confess, Lord Jesus, that I have been quick to take offense.  It has become almost second nature for me to critique others' decisions.  Forgive me, Lord.  Please help me instead, to be quick to recognize this tendency, and to stop immediately, and ask the Holy Spirit to replace my thoughts of criticism and offense with your thoughts of love and acceptance.  I don't want to allow any thoughts to be used to create sickness in my body, or anything to stand in the way of communing with you.   I need you, Lord, more than I know.  Amen. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New Color Scheme

    I played with the color scheme on my blog this afternoon while Country Guy watched the Nebraska football game.  I brought my laptop downstairs so I could sit with him, but didn't have to give my entire attention to football.
    It seemed time for an update, but for some reason I am hooked on shades of green.  One of these days you'll check back to an entirely different look, but this will have to do for awhile.  My goal is to use one of my photos for the background of the blog, but so far I haven't figured out how to reduce the size of the photo to less than 300 kb while keeping the overall dimensions to something like 1800 x 1600.  If you have any idea how to do that, I would love to know.

Door of Hope by Francis Frangipane

Francis Frangipane      We tend to boast in the power of faith while minimizing the value of hope. Yet, "faith is the substance of the things hoped for" (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). Without first having a living hope in God, our faith is meaningless. Indeed, the first stage of transformation is the awakening of hope.
      Yet, even after we come to Christ, we still fail. Often a downward spiral occurs when sin opens the door to condemnation, and condemnation smothers the voice of hope. Consider the story of Israel's conquest of Canaan. The Lord was about to prosper Israel with the wealth of the Canaanites, but only if the spoils of their first battle at Jericho were completely dedicated to God. However, one man, Achan, defied the Lord's edict. He took silver, gold, and a garment from Shinar, and then he hid the spoils in his tent. As a result of his sin, thirty-six Israelites died in their next battle – defeated and humiliated by the tiny city of Ai.
      After the Lord exposed Achan as the perpetrator, Joshua took him, along with his family and possessions, and brought them all to a valley. There Israel's leader said, "'Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.' And all Israel stoned them with stones...Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day" (Joshua 7:25-26).
The word Achor meant "troubling." It represented the trouble and pain one person's sin exacted on many others. Certainly the most terrible thing Achan experienced was that his sin caused his wife and children to die with him. As they huddled together awaiting this horrible judgment, the guilt and regret flooding Achan's mind must have been insufferable.
Personal Failure
       In time, the valley of Achor came to symbolize the worst of punishments. It was a place of death and desolation. Today, of course, we do not stone those whose sin or irresponsibility has caused others grief. Still, sin has consequences, and though we may not be physically stoned for our failure, the effects of public condemnation can be just as crushing to the human spirit. The fact is, too many of us have known a personal valley of Achor where our moral negligence or ill-advised actions caused another's suffering.
      Perhaps you committed adultery, and your spouse and children are devastated. It might be that your anxious or careless driving caused an accident, resulting in great suffering or possibly even another person's death. Or maybe your lack of Christian example has caused your children to turn from God. The possible ways of falling are endless, but the result is nearly always the same: it is as though a curse rests on your life.
      Not only does your own heart condemn you, but there are also others who know your failure, whose chorus of criticisms convince you of your hopeless nature. Public censure, cold looks and judgmental attitudes have the same effect on your soul as Achan's stoning had on his flesh, only what dies in you is hope. Where once you could look with anticipation toward the future, now heartache and regret block your view.
       Only virtue, made pure and strong by true repentance, can displace the burden of self-condemnation. Thus, the only correct response to wrong actions and their consequences is the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, the enemy has many Christians trapped in unbelief and self-condemnation. They know what they did was wrong and they hate it, but they cannot unburden themselves of the guilt. Remember, our Redeemer came to proclaim liberty to those who are "prisoners" (see Isaiah 61:1). Is He speaking only of those who are incarcerated in jails? No, His mission is for all of us who are prisoners of our past failures. God wants us to learn from our mistakes, not be held captive to them. Jesus came to deliver and restore those whose dreams lie buried in the valley of Achor.
Personal Tragedy
       The burdens we carry may have nothing to do with moral failure. They might have come from any number of life's calamities.
One of the worst ordeals for the soul is the death of a loved one. Such a loss can leave us excessively burdened and trapped in the past. The story of Abraham's father, Terah, gives us an insightful picture of a man who could not depart from the loss of a loved one.
     Terah had three sons: Abram, Nahor and Haran. The Bible tells us, "Haran died in the presence of his father" (Genesis 11:28). To lose your son can produce terrible heartache; to have him die in your arms can be utterly devastating.
       In time, Terah took his family and left Ur of the Chaldeans in search of a new destiny in Canaan. En route, however, Terah had to pass through a city with the same name as his deceased son, Haran. Instead of continuing on to Canaan, the Scripture says Terah "went as far as Haran, and settled there" (v. 31).
       Longing for a deceased loved one is normal. However, life's tragedies also have a way of obligating us to a false loyalty that prohibits the release of our pain. Without notice, a face in an airport or a song on the radio floods our hearts, and suddenly we are overcome by sorrow. How quickly we reenter the place of our grief; how easy it is to settle there!
      "And Terah died in Haran" (v. 32). Not only did Terah settle in Haran, but he also died there. The wording is both prophetic and significant. Perhaps it was a false sense of guilt that held him hostage: If only I had done such and such my son would not have died! Whatever the reason, Terah was never able to live beyond Haran's death.
      We must also see that, as painful as the loss of a loved one is, we cannot permit the wounds of our past to nullify what God has for us in our future. Even if we enter limping, we must not settle for something outside our destiny. God's grace is here now. With His help, we must choose to journey on to Canaan or we too will die in Haran.
A Time For Healing
      These two things, personal failure and personal tragedy, can place cruel burdens of oppression and guilt upon our souls. God's response to our need is that, in addition to forgiving our sins, He has laid on Christ "the guilt of us all" (Isaiah 53:6 NAB). Whether our guilt is justified or not, it must be lifted from our shoulders and placed on Christ.
      Today a renewal is occurring in various parts of the world; God is restoring joy to His people. Many whom the Lord has touched were weighed down – just like you might be – with either moral failure or tragedy. In the very place where our deferred hopes produced heart sickness, Christ is here "to bind up the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1). Where once sorrow and heaviness reigned, He gives a "garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting" (v. 3).
      No longer will church attendance be a penance for your failures. From now on you shall enter His gates with thanksgiving. Indeed, to every Christian struggling with an unbearable burden, the Lord says, "You are still My Bride."
      Indeed, speaking of this very valley of troubling, the Lord has promised: "I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. Then I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth" (Hosea 2:14-15).
The fruitfulness of God's blessing from this day forward shall increase in your life. And there in "the valley of Achor" – the scene of your deepest wounds or worst failures – the Lord has placed for you a "door of hope." His goal is nothing less than to restore to you the song of the Lord, that you might sing again"as in the days of [your] youth."

The preceding message is adapted from a chapter in Francis' book, The Days of His Presence.
Francis Frangipane 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Truth

    Country Guy was telling me the other day that he heard someone on the radio saying they interviewed delegates at the Democratic Convention who, when asked if corporations should be allowed to make profits, they replied, "Absolutely not!"  Can you believe that?  Where do they think the money is going to come from to support all those who don't work, if businesses are not allowed to make profits?  Who would want to start a business?
     I am so tired of the media--and other liberals--trying to convince us that we need to redistribute income so that everyone gets their "fair share."  I have pointed out to anyone who has ever mentioned this to me that there is no incentive to work if what we make is taken from us and divided among those who don't want to work.  Eventually, everyone will stop working, starting businesses, investing, etc. and then who is going to support all the 'free loaders'?  It seems people have lost all common sense and ability to think a problem through to the ultimate consequences of their solutions.  We are being brainwashed by the media in every area of life.  I, for one, am getting fed up, aren't you?  I have decided I'll do everything I can to contradict the lies being spread.
    I this article Alexander Green, investment director of the Oxford Club and its free Investment U e-letter does a great job of exploding some of the myths the media is trying to push off as truth.

If Markets Are Unfair and Wall Street Is Corrupt, Why Invest?
By Alexander Green, Investment U chief investment strategist

The truth is a casualty in almost any election. But perhaps especially this year due to the tightness of the presidential race.

However, it's not just the candidates getting tarred and feathered by political bombast, heavy-handed rhetoric, and over-the-top political ads. It's the free-enterprise system itself.

If you've paid any attention at all this year, you've heard four things:

  1. Wall Street caused the financial crisis
  2. Capitalism hurts the poor and middle class
  3. Markets are driven by selfishness and greed, and
  4. The free-enterprise system is inherently unfair
This is a troubling development, one that has serious implications for our economic future and your investment portfolio. So let's take a closer look at these claims.

Are Wall Street firms responsible for the financial crisis? In part, yes. CEOs Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns, Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, and Hank Greenberg of AIG all failed to understand the huge risks their firms were taking. Shareholders and employees suffered mightily as a result. There was plenty of collateral damage, too.

But these business leaders – and others like them – aren't solely to blame. Politicians on both sides of the aisle spent years weakening lending laws to allow almost anyone to buy a home whether they could afford one or not. The Federal Reserve took interest rates too low for too long, making mortgages dirt-cheap and priming the real estate bubble. And plenty of Americans got caught up in the hoopla, and figured they could get rich in a hurry by flipping a house using borrowed money they couldn't reasonably repay. There is plenty of blame to go around.

Capitalism hurts the poor and middle class? Nothing could be further from the truth. Hundreds of millions around the world have been pulled out of poverty by the free-enterprise system. The evidence of history is clear. There is nothing that creates prosperity like capitalism. Have "the 1%" benefited more than most? Yes, but not because they somehow cheated the rest of us. Over the past 100 years, the U.S. has evolved from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy to a knowledge economy. Those with higher education and more technical skills are in greater demand.

This is a particularly nasty downturn, but when the economy recovers – as it will – demand for all sorts of jobs will increase. In the meantime, how do you raise up the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer? As a young man, I worked maintenance on a truck terminal, the night shift in an auto-parts warehouse, and a lot of other unglamorous, low-paying jobs for high-net-worth individuals. Yet never in my wildest dreams did I believe that sticking it to them would somehow benefit me.

The idea that markets are driven by greed is another misnomer. When does self-interest become greed? And who – in a free society – should tell you when you have enough?

Of course, it's never you or me who is greedy. It's always the other guy. The truth is, all markets are driven by rational self-interest. This is "the invisible hand" organizing society that Adam Smith praised more than two centuries ago. In The Wealth of Nations, he said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

There is nothing the least bit immoral about this. Free markets are about voluntary exchange for mutual benefit. Capitalism promises that you can have anything you want if you just provide enough other people with what they want.

But is the free-enterprise system unfair? It is undeniable that the rewards of capitalism are unevenly distributed. And some income redistribution is necessary to pay for the state and to finance a social safety net for the needy. But let's also talk about the fairness of keeping the fruits of your labor. If the top federal income tax rate returns to 39.6% and you add in the average state income tax of 6%, plus Medicare and Social Security taxes, the government will take over 50% of many entrepreneurs' income.

When you start or expand a business, you are taking a risk, one that could generate a loss for which you are solely responsible. But if you work hard or smart (or both) and are successful, is it fair for the government to take most of what you earn? (And that's before sales taxes, property taxes, sin taxes, and so on.) I don't believe that's the kind of republic the Founders had in mind when they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in what was largely a tax revolt against the king.

I mention these widespread misconceptions because if you truly believe the economic system is rigged, financial markets are unfair, and Wall Street is corrupt, why invest? And if we don't have a dynamic, growing economy to throw off hundreds of billions in tax revenue, where will we get the money to pay for essential government services?

I understand why candidates in both major parties are under attack, but I don't get the hostility toward the free-enterprise system itself. What do we do after we strangle the goose that lays the golden eggs?

Good investing,

Alex Green

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why do so many oppose Christianity?

     I am really enjoying reading the New Testament chronologically.  It is so interesting to read the accounts of the events from each gospel simultaneously since each gives details of what happened from a different perspective.
    As I was completing the Daily Bible Reading on Tuesday, I came across these verses in Luke 2:34-35:

        34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.

     I have often wondered why Jesus is so hated and His words rejected by some, when His words give life, hope, and peace to many of us.  I've always thought that if people don't want to follow Jesus, why don't they just ignore Christianity?  Why do those bound in sin spew such hatred towards Christians?  These verses give us the answer.  It was ordained from Jesus' birth.          
     The Bible tells us here that people are opposed to Christianity because of Jesus and the standard of righteousness He presents.  As long as His example is set before them through the lives of those who follow Him, those who are choosing to live sinful lives will be continually convicted of their sinful lifestyles.  Therefore they are intent on destroying the "Sign" instead of the sin.
     This is another example of how God has already answered my questions in His word.  I just need to keep reading it so that I can discover them!