Not Always Happy

Well, this is day six of cloudy, overcast, misty days.  Unusual weather, unusual times.

Days like this used to make me sad; depressed, even.  I would look out the window, see the clouds and a black cloud would cover my head.  I let the weather dictate my mood!  Ridiculous.  I was soo good at letting the weather dictate how I felt that the doctor actually diagnosed me with a disease called “Seasonal Affective Disorder”.  Imagine that.  It is a very real thing.  Some people, it seems, without sunshine do not produce the appropriate level of dopamine to stimulate serotonin and thus enhance their moods.  And doctors have a solution….pills!

I was on those for a while — two years, in fact.  And then one morning I woke up and sang a new tune to myself.  I don’t like medication so I decided I wasn’t going to be sad any longer.  I chose a new direction.  But in order to do that I had to do a lot of research and I found out that exposure to daylight and/or exercise would have the same effect as the medication.

I began to force myself outside for at least 20 minutes a day — no matter what the weather was like.  And as long as I was out there, I decided to take a walk.  So I got 20 minutes of daylight AND 20 minutes of exercise at the same time.  At the same time, I began weaning myself off of the medication.  Guess what?  It worked!

That was more than fifteen years ago and I have not had one day of S.A.D. since that time.  I have discovered that I like the weather — no matter what it is!  Some days are too hot to play outside for long, but that’s okay too.  I like the rain, I like the sun, I like the cold, I like the hot, I like it all!

I wouldn’t say that I am always happy.  Happiness is a fleeting thing — sparkly little moments in time.  I would say I am content and peaceful, enjoying each day as it comes without the aid of medication.

So today, as I look at the window of day SIX of clouds and misty rain, I rejoice in the cool weather, the fall colors, and the beauty that can be seen because I’m not squinting into the sunshine!

Isn’t God good??

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Oh, what love!

HE has engraved each one of us upon the palms of HIS hands ……

 

So many years I read over this verse with some arrogance.  A know-it-all, you know.  After all, everyone knows that it means the scars in HIS hands.  The scars from the nails when HE was nailed to the cross.  I always just assumed that when HE noticed the scars then HE would look at me differently – with a bit more compassion and tolerance, understanding that HE had suffered greatly for me and therefore would put up with a bit more.  In fact, I’ve thought that for years – many, many years.

This morning all of that changed.  My understanding changed from a me-focus to a HIM focus.

HE has engraved me on the palms of HIS hands…….

The engraving on HIS palm is not one of the broken, sinful, falling, shuffling, disobedient, rebellious, grudgingly obedient, sullen me.  It is an engraving of how HE created me to be….the finished product HE envisioned when HE first thought of me.  The engraving is a picture created in love, covered in grace and hope, lavished with mercy and lovingkindness.

HE sees me as I will never be in this lifetime and HE loves me as if I have ALREADY BECOME the wondrous creature displayed on HIS palm.

HE calls to me….beloved, my darling, precious, lover, friend, baby girl.

HE woos me with songs, and dreams, and visions, and caresses, and words of unfailing love and devotion.

HE opens HIS heart to me and allows me glimpses into HIS personality, HIS desires, HIS pleasures.

HE trusts me to be HIS and HIS alone.

HE gives me insights and trusts me to share those with HIS other children, knowing I will make every attempt to convey the message of HIS love as I have received it.

HE forgives me for not trusting HIM with the same fervency and faithfulness.

So many times in the past I have said ‘I love the Lord’.  This morning I received a glimpse of the depth of HIS love for ME, and that glimpse has created within me an urgent desire to love HIM as HE deserves to be loved, as HE longs to be loved, as HE has asked to be loved.

My prayer for you is that you will come to understand the depth of HIS love for you and find a way to return it to HIM.

Isaiah 49:16   See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands ……

Watchmen, Awake!

Newsflash:  the world is spinning out of control.

Okay, so it isn’t new news.  Everyone is aware things are screwy — out of control — all over the world.  People are either frightened or angry or bewildered or unconcerned, depending upon their own internal messaging system.  My internal messaging system is telling me to tell everyone I can that the world, as they know it, is about to end.

For some, that will mean instant glory as they are united with the King of Kings.  For others, it is going to mean fear and anguish and gnashing of teeth.  And for still others, it is going to mean forever separated from God.

I am not a fear-monger.  I love people, I love peace, and I love, love, LOVE Jesus.  I am not writing this to cause even more anxiety to those who are already anxious.  I am writing to wake up those who have gone to sleep so they do not miss the time of His return.

For as long as I have been aware, people have been telling me Jesus is coming soon.  You know what?  There were right!  He is.  His coming was foretold in scripture (see Revelation 12) and that prophecy is being played out in the stars above us right now.  As we were told in scripture, the generation that was alive at the time of the rebirth of Israel will not all be dead when He returns.

Matthew 24:33 “So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.…”

And so it is coming to pass.  We are in the season of the Lord’s return.  It is amazing to be alive at such a time as this!

The church is supposed to be awake and about the Lord’s business right now.  We are supposed to be the watchmen on the wall, sounding the call of warning for all who will hear.  It is our responsibility.

People are going to laugh at us, just as they laughed at Noah.  Forget about it.  Just keep doing what you have been told to do, because if you don’t you will have to explain to Him why you didn’t.  The scoffers will scoff.  Let them.  The haters will hate.  Let them.  You are called to SOUND THE WARNING OF HIS RETURN.

I am sounding a trumpet call:  if you don’t have a personal one-on-one relationship with Jesus, GET ONE!  If you do, it is time to make sure all of your family and friends and acquaintances also hear the GOOD NEWS!  And when you are finished telling them, there is still the rest of the world.

There is an urgency in the spiritual realm — an urgency which says time is very short.

Wake up, church!  It is the time of the great harvest.  It is the time of His return.  You don’t want to be caught sleeping now!

I love you.  I’m praying for you.  May the Lord multiply your harvest today.

Luke 21:36 – Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

What is God doing?

Sometimes I just have to ask myself, “What is God doing?”

I felt those words stirring in my mind this morning as I was out and about, running errands and then visiting a friend who is recovering from surgery.

It was while I was out and about that I began to wonder about the ‘bigger picture’ of what God is doing right now in my little corner of the world.  It isn’t as if I were the only person experiencing the wonder.  All over the world things seem to be out of kilter.

Take for instance, the weather.  Our weather has permanently changed since the mega-earthquake that occurred in Japan in March 2011, shifting the earth’s axis and shortening the length of a day.  And it isn’t just our weather that has changed.  Everyone is noticing changes.  Of course, there are the fear-mongers who consistently demand that it is global warming.  And they are right to the extent that part of the globe is warming that previously did not – but they are also wrong because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and the opposite sides of the earth are now cooler than they were previously.  The polar ice cap may be shrinking, but take a look at what is happening in Antarctica – a major increase in ice mass.  “A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.”  (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses)

But I digress.

What is God doing?

Another little tidbit is the way the stars are aligning above our heads.  Some point out that in September 2017 we will see the story of Revelation 12 played out in the sky and, in fact, it began in November 2016 and will culminate on September 23, 2017.  (Coincidentally, Feast of Trumpets)

Wars and rumors of wars.  Earthquakes.  Famine.  Pestilence.  All of these things are continuing and THIS WEEK I heard reported that SEVEN, count ‘em, SEVEN diseases that the U.S. had eradicated within its borders are now back in the country, brought in by the influx of immigrants and aggravated by the anti-vaccine groupies.  Small pox, measles, whooping cough, mumps, bubonic plague, leprosy, and polio.

What is God doing?  I believe He is fulfilling the prophecy that He gave to John the revelator.  All of these things have been foretold, and we were warned.  I think, though, that we are like ostriches – we stick our heads in the sand and pretend it is all for another time, another generation.

It is time to wake up church.  Wake up and spread the Word.  He is, indeed, coming SOON and the signs in the heavens and realities on earth make it so apparent.  It is all laid out for anyone who cares to read.  If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to try.  Read the book of Daniel.  Read the book of Revelation.  Read the gospel of John.  And make a decision as if your life depended upon it – because it does.

Time is short.

Bossy!

Do you like people telling you what to do?  Not asking, telling.  And sometimes, not even telling, but ordering.  Do you like it?  Me neither.  I would do anything for anybody, all they have to do is ask and if it is within my power, I will do it.  But telling?  Ordering?  Here comes that rebellious streak again…..

I had an epiphany of sorts about that very thing today.  My life has been full of bullies, from childhood through marriage, and I rail against anything that even smells like bully.  So having someone tell (order) me to do something brings out the worst in my spiritual nature.  It creates such emotional turmoil and upheaval that it is impossible for me to focus on anything else until the issue is resolved.

Earlier this week I was actually impressed in my spirit that Lord was NOT going to tell me to do something.  That gave me such relief because the ‘something’ was not something I wanted to do.  So I was happy go lucky and headed down my little trail without a care in the world.  That, of course, changed today.

There I was, minding my own business, reading the Scripture and BOOM! Out of the blue it hit me.  Maybe I should do what the Lord was saying He wouldn’t tell me to do.  Lord?  No response.

For me, there is nothing so telling about my spiritual temperature than ‘no response’ from Lord.  It is sort of like the calm before the storm.  You know, all’s quiet on the western front – but not for long!  So, I approached the situation with fear and trepidation because I was beginning to think I might be in trouble.  Entering my prayer closet (which is to say, quieting my spirit and focusing on Lord), I laid before Him the three options I saw for the situation and asked Him which one I should do.  This time, the response was, “You choose.”

Once again I felt like maybe I was in big trouble here.  I approached the throne again, this time with explanation that I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know what the truth of the situation was and I surely didn’t want to make a misstep.  Silence.

Finally, after quite a long time (several hours, in fact) I was greeted with a revelation of sorts.  Lord wasn’t making this choice for me.  He wasn’t going to allow me to lay the responsibility on Him and then run the risk of my turning on Him some time in the future and blaming Him for the way things turned out.  In essence, He was saying to me, “Put on your big girl panties and make a choice.  Whatever your choice, I am with you.”

I felt abandoned.  Do you see the paradox here?  I don’t like to be told what to do but when He wouldn’t tell me what to do, I didn’t like that either!  Talk about a lose-lose situation for the Lord!

And as I sat there in my car in the local shopping center parking lot, I meditated on what I had just learned about myself.  I want to do everything myself up to a point – no interference, no bosses.  Then, when the choices get more difficult, I want someone else to make the decision so I don’t have to shoulder the responsibility for that decision.  Hmmmm.  Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too!

I learned something else.  Lord loves us.  He wants what is best for us and His advice about what is best for us in order to live happy and healthy lives is clearly spelled out in His Holy Scriptures.  But He isn’t about to force us and He isn’t going to abandon us when we make dumb choices or walk a rocky path as opposed to a smooth trail.  God loves us.

It gets better than that.  God loves ME!  ME!  Just as I am.  So, having learned everything I did today, I am going back to the drawing board on this big decision.  I will be studying Scripture that pertains to like circumstances and hopefully I will be strong enough to make the decision that Lord believes is the one that will give me the happiest and healthiest life.

What a mighty God we serve!

 

Proverbs 1:20-33   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Wisdom Warns

20 Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 “Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
25 And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
26 I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
27 When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
30 “They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

Keep Smiling!

What a glorious day! The sun is playing hide-and-seek with passing rain clouds, the temperature is around 80 degrees F, and the humidity is low enough so life outside is bearable. I feel marvelous inside and out! My health is good, my attitude is good, and LIFE is good!

As I walked about taking care of little chores today and then running errands around town, I was conscious of an attitude of gratitude for all the blessings that pour out upon me on a daily basis. I was also conscious of a sadness as I prayed for a dear friend who had a knee replaced yesterday. She isn’t doing very well. They had a terrible time yesterday getting her veins to stay still long enough to put the intravenous line in for anesthesia, and then, after the surgery she was in great pain and so nauseous. And now, today, she is still so nauseous she cannot keep any food down. She was supposed to be going home today but that has changed and she will be staying in hospital until…..who knows when.

This dear friend of mine has suffered with health issues for many years, some of which I had never heard of until she came down with the sickness. The doctors have been trying to replace this particular knee for years but her health would never allow it. First cancer; then shingles; then an unknown and undiagnosed swelling and raw tissue in her mouth; next came the itching – without rash or any visible reason, her skin began to itch so much that it was almost unbearable; and of course a fall at work that would have killed most of us; follow this with eye surgery as a result of the fall; then vascular issues in both legs which eventually led to the veins in both legs being ‘stripped’; follow this with blood pressure issues that almost seemed schizophrenic – sometimes way high followed by way low in the same half-hour period; and now, this.

Why is it that some of us suffer so much with health issues and others do not? What is the underlying cause of my friend’s many sicknesses and surgeries? I just do not know, and I do not believe the doctors have an answer either. For the last ten years this dear one has spent most of her time going to doctors or hospitals or laboratories and radiological clinics. She has been prodded, poked, cut open, sewn up, drugged, dilated, badgered and bullied. Yet, in all of this, she is a delight to be with. At each visit she tells people about Jesus and how much He loves them. She carries the joy of the Lord within her heart and nothing seems to dislodge it from that place of honor. In the midst of the most horrendous times she will get the giggles so severely that she falls onto the floor, rolling with laughter!

This has been a most amazing walk to watch as she allows the joy of the Lord to be her strength and she walks into victory after victory after victory. No cancer – seven years healed. Legs totally healed. Eyesight totally restored. Skin healed. Mouth healed. Blood pressure normalized. And, (speaking in faith) knee totally healed. Her doctors call her the ‘miracle patient’.

My friend is a walking, talking, praising testimony to the keeping power of God and His amazing strength through trials. Truly, her very life is the greatest evangelistic tool I have ever seen.

God has used my friend in the most amazing manner and she has touched an untold number of lives BECAUSE of her circumstances. She has spoken to doctors, soldiers, families, friends, nurses, janitors, technicians, and countless visitors about Jesus. So, my friends, the next time you think God isn’t using you or has placed you on the shelf because things in your life aren’t going so swimmingly, I hope you will remember my dear friend and remember that God loves you just the way you are and He is using you right in the middle of your mess!

God bless! Keep smiling!

Yesterday

Wow! Sometimes the memories of our childhood are so bright they can take our breath away! That’s what happened to me yesterday and then again this morning. I had this flash of a memory of my brother and sisters and I all walking to the local movie house to see the Saturday matinee. I had my quarter clutched tightly in my hand and my older brother was holding my ‘popcorn’ money.

I wouldn’t want you to think that this was an everyday occurrence for us. We did not have much in the way of disposable income in our family so to get to go to the movies meant that someone – my step-grandmother perhaps, or my single uncle – had given my parents money so that the kids could go do something fun.

We walked to the movie house from our home. It wasn’t too far away but for an eight year old it was quite a trek, little legs striving to keep up with all of my older siblings. We lived in a suburb of Detroit and the roads were busy then, but not impossible to cross. We always made it in time to get popcorn and find seats all together. Then the movies! Sometimes it would be a double feature. I remember seeing The Blob, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Boy, oh, boy did those things scare me!

I had occasion recently to be back in Detroit for a revival meeting. I hadn’t been in the area since we moved away in 1966. It had changed so much, and yet was so very much the same. We drove by my elementary school (wow! So small!) and cruised by the two homes we had lived in. Both were so small! How did a family of eight live in those little bitty houses? If it weren’t for the addresses in front of me I would swear we were in the wrong place. They had looked so much bigger when I was a child.

I was surprised at the waves of nostalgia that swept over me. We had only lived in Detroit for about five years but they must have made quite an impression upon my life. I felt the ache of homesickness as we drove the streets, and the longing to have those days and my family back again. I wanted to start over – to go back to 1960 and start all over again, taking time to appreciate my family and the days we shared in those little homes. Life was easier (for me) then and I didn’t have all of the bad memories tormenting me. I only had a future and dreams.

As I reminisced about hopscotch and dodge ball and snow cones and Saturday matinees my driver was silent and simply drove where I directed him. I suppose he sensed that I was reliving those moments in my mind and he left me to it. After almost 50 years I still knew which turns to take and what road led to where.

The Lord has reminded me this morning that my memories, my past, are part of who I am. The good, the bad, and the ugly have all had a part in shaping me into the woman I have become. He has reminded me, too, that some of those memories are colored or tainted, like my memory of the houses as being so much bigger than they actually were. He reminded me that it is never good to yearn for the past. What we remember is not actually how it was and, if we could go back, we would wish we hadn’t done so. He has brought me back to the present like a kaleidoscope quickly turning and in the same moments bringing to mind all of the blessings He has placed in my life for today – right now. And with His sweet, gentle, touch I release the past into the past and embrace my present. After all, we really only have today.

May His love rain down upon you and His light shine through you – TODAY.

Give Me A Break!

What a gorgeous day! Absolutely perfect weather – which we NEVER see this time of year. I should be out walking or riding a bike or swimming or SOMETHING other than what I am doing!

And what is that, you may ask? I am engaged in warfare!

I have a mouse in my house! At least I think it is just one. I saw it come in when it crawled out of a box that was carried in from the garage after having sat out there for three days longer than it should have. (Can someone PLEASE explain to me why some people never do what you ask WHEN you ask? But I digress….)

I saw the little brown mouse head for the kitchen and lost him around the bend. Over the next several months I have put out ‘humane’ traps, old-fashioned mouse traps, mouse bait, RAT bait, glue boards, glue boxes, mouse tunnels, and on, and on, and on. After a while I gave up. I hadn’t caught anything and no one else in the house seemed to care or notice the occasional dropping. I finally convinced myself it had crawled off and died somewhere.

The most amazing thing through this struggle is that no one believes me. My family laughs at me and does absolutely NOTHING to assist in my battle to free my home from detestable inhabitants (the mouse!)

I haven’t tried a cat because, of course, I’m allergic as is everyone else in the house. But that would be the best solution.

As I said, I sort of quit trying. I left a couple of traps lying around but I’ve never caught anything. And then BOOM! I awoke this morning to a mouse dropping in my BED! IN MY BED!!! This means WAR!!

This afternoon I am making up glue traps and boxes, baiting with peanut butter and putting them everywhere. I’ve even cut some down and made a three foot long glue board to go in front of my closet door – nothing goes in, nothing comes out!!!!

My most frustrating moment was when the three-foot-long glue board got stuck to the BOTTOM of the closet door! You know, those things are REALLY STICKY!! I pushed, I pulled, I swore (forgive me, Lord) and I tore. Eventually, I pulled it loose, repaired what I could and taped it to the floor.

Now I know this sounds silly to most people, but I can’t stand mice. They are dirty, disease carrying rodents who belong OUTSIDE, not in my home! And I swear, if I don’t catch the little monster this week, I’m bringing in the big guns – EXTERMINATORS!!!

Beautiful Niagara!

You know, God is GOOD! I remember thinking many years ago that I wanted to retire “young” and then travel. Lo’ and behold, I have done just that (thank you, Lord!) I have been many places and there are so many more on my list! This year, I have managed to take a ‘short’ trip each month, to places within one day’s driving distance. (For me, that means 18 hours or less J )

This week I decided to go back and revisit a place that I have always loved and haven’t been to in about fifteen years. So, bag packed, reservations made, car filled, I headed off to Niagara Falls. Perfect timing, too! The temperatures at home climbed into the triple digits as I basked in seventy and eighty degree weather in beautiful Canada.

Canadians are friendly, courteous, and very helpful. I enjoyed my time away and took just as much pleasure in crossing the border back into the USA. There really is nothing like hearing the border guard say “Welcome Home!”   J   J   J

The falls were beautiful, as always. But they were also different. This was my third trip to the falls and I don’t think I will be going back. Over the years, the U.S. has, on multiple occasions, diverted much of the water that goes over the falls to other uses, limiting erosion, so I’m told, and creating power. The U.S. does not put that water back. The gallon-flow over the falls continues to decrease and what was once a majestic sight is a little less so.

This time, I could see the rock ledge over which the water drops quite clearly. That was not the case on my last visit. What the picture can’t convey is the sound, which has also diminished. What was once a deafening roar of water when standing above the falls, is no longer so. Oh, it is still noisy, but nothing to compare with trying to hear your companions because of the noise. It is still a beautiful sight, to be sure, but it isn’t how God made it. Man has intervened. Gone is the majesty and in its place are pretty falls and unattractive touristy things – like zip-lines and casinos and stores, music and restaurants.

 

I confess I was saddened by it all. In fact, I brooded about it for quite a while that first evening. And then, as if a light bulb flicked on in my mind, the thought came to me: “Man is always trying to improve on what God has done. And never succeeds.” Along with that thought came a sense that I should apply that to my own life. God has created each of us a unique creatures endowed with unique gifts to reach people that only we can reach.

The person who bemoans being too short or too tall or too skinny or too fat or too bald or too dark or too light or tooo, toooo, tooooo anything is forgetting about the One who made them. The tall person is that height so that at the appointed time and place they will be looking eye-to-eye with their divine appointment. Skinny people cannot understand and therefore will never be in true intimate fellowship with a fat person, and vice-versa. Old people need other old people. Young people need other young people. And on, and on, and on.

So what did I take away from all of this? Just this: I will no longer look in the mirror and catalogue my faults or things I would like to see changed. God made me just right for what He wants to do, and that’s okay with me!

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!
Whew! It is 10:00 a.m. and already 84 degrees. The humidity is high, and I have spent the last 45 minutes OUTSIDE and IN THE ATTIC, looking for reasons (with the help of my friends) for why my air conditioner is working overtime. It ran for 10 hours yesterday non-stop, and since it is a relatively new unit, the reasons for it working so hard when the thermostat is set at 76 degrees is a bit of a mystery.

Well, we looked in the attic, and everything looks fine, insulation wise. Then out to the external unit, where it appeared to be running just fine, not straining, and cooling as expected. However, my friends think the coils are too dirty, and so for 20 minutes we cleaned the coils with a hose and sprayer. Amazing how dirty they were! I have no idea if that will help, but I am now safely, coolly, back inside watching the thermometer outside rise.

I don’t really expect it to do anything else. After all, it’s Independence Day! A day of celebrations: picnics, pools, sunshine, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, baseball and fireworks. In this one day, in the middle of summer, the USA takes the day off and celebrates our independence with a little bit of everything that is America. And in the horrid heat that engulfs the nation this time of year, we play outside and rejoice in our freedom and in one another.

Independence. That’s a pretty sweet word. In fact, it is a word that symbolizes the deepest desire of every living soul. Independence. Autonomy. Liberation. Freedom. Individuality. These words symbolize the United States of America – a nation established by invading immigrants, which has welcomed with open arms anyone from around the world who desired to become part of our free nation. For two centuries, the USA was a melting pot – a stew created from people who were born here and who came here from all over the world. The one thing they all had in common was a desire to be free, and so they came together, united in their belief that we could all live together in freedom and peace, and passionate in their defense of those rights for others.

Over the past thirty years, the heart of the USA has changed. It has become politically incorrect to celebrate individuality, autonomy, freedom and independence. We are no longer a melting pot of individuals striving for a common goal. We are now a salad, made up of immigrants who have come to this nation wanting to partake of our abundance and blessings without assimilating into our society. Each segment (ingredient) wishes to retain its own flavor – its own culture – while trying to change the existing culture of the USA. And they are succeeding.

Gone are the days of free speech. Gone are the days of freedom OF religion (not FROM religion). Going are the days of the right to keep and bear arms. Our freedoms, established by our founding fathers, are being eroded one by one.

This Independence Day, as we reflect on what was created by our founding fathers — on the lives of the men and women who stood against all aggression; the soldiers who fought on this soil and on foreign soil in defense of freedom and liberty; on our proud (if somewhat spotted) heritage — let us reflect with overwhelming gratitude on the greatest freedom of all – the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. No matter what happens to or in this nation, we can have that blessed assurance that we are held in His hands, and that He has prepared a place for us for all eternity – WITH HIM!

May your Independence Day reflect the true freedom you have in Christ Jesus!