Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Accept Jesus and Die

I drive past so many church signs, but this one almost caused me to wreck:
What an invitation! I am sure they will have a big crowd for that sermon. It just sounds creepy. I wonder what the follow up sermon will be next week: Carry Your Own Cross in Pain and Suffering, or  what about, You Will Be Persecuted!, or God says, "I Want Everything!"

Some loony Fundie (Urban language for Christian Fundamentalist) must have taken over the pulpit of that church. I wont be surprised if we soon see bonfires encouraging people to burn Korans, Crude Music and Adult Rated Movies.

When I got to the red light, I glanced back to make sure I read the sign right. I did. I shook my head and then rolled my eyes in disgust. When will those preachers ever learn? That is not the way to win people to Jesus. People have to know:

  • He loves them, 
  • He will heal them, 
  • He will always be there for them, and 
  • He wants to be their friend. 
The little children's song started playing in my mind, "Jesus loves me this I know, because the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong...yes, Jesus loves me..." As it trailed off I laughingly thought about what that church might be teaching their children to sing, "Jesus loves you, come and die, Sunday Preacher will tell you why, Expect to suffer and some pain, Your life will never be the same... yes, Jesus love you..."

I continued down the familiar road home, my driving was on mental cruise control. I instinctively knew every bump, stop or turn. My mind drifted back to that church. Newer popular churches have learned how to attract people to the gospel message. A successful church aims to get as many people as possible to come to their church by creating a memorable, appealing experience. Even the church names are chosen to sound inviting: Willow Creek, The Vine, Coastlands, Saddleback, Grace Street and Pleasant Valley. In my memory, I thought back to picture the name of that church, The Cross. Oh, well that was a winner! Why not call it "Two Bloody Beams Nailed Together"?

I finally arrived at my home sweet home, ready to plop down after I opened the door. I rattled around my purse as usual digging for the keys I just took out of the car. Panic hit me... oh, no... maybe I forgot. Are the keys still in the car? Flinging back to the driveway I peered through the window to see no keys in the ignition, but I was grateful I left the doors unlocked. Pulling across the front seat I slid my finger between the console and the seat. Yes, I felt the dangling metal objects that slid between some old piece of paper. Drawing them both out, I rested back in relief. I began to open the worn, tattered flyer. 

Seeing it, I remembered it was a piece of paper that someone slid under my windshield a while back when I was shopping one day. I looked at the quote in the center of the paper. It was an invitation from Jesus. An actual quote from the Bible! I read:

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

As I stared at the words printed on that tattered piece of paper, the words "Come and Die" echoed in my head.

(This is a fictitious story written after being inspired by the book, "Not A Fan". I highly recommend that you read it!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Playing, Dancing, and Artful Expression

Colors so brightly dance around in beauty. Musical melodies sprinkle through my soul. Paint, beads, and a rainbow of inks sing to me. "Come and play," they softly pull my heart strings.

"Yes," I reply, "I want to play." I want to draw, make jewelry and create all whimsical designs running around my soul, waiting to be explored. 

But I stop. I wait for God to say, "Go, it is time, enjoy." Those words never come. 

I could be sad. Maybe even mad! Why? I watch so many ladies getting to discover the childlike enthusiasm and fulfilling satisfaction of making wonderful things with their hands.  

Recently, I visited a website that was so creatively expressive. It has been over the past year that I have been watching this women blossom in so many different fun activities. She is gushing with joy. And I am happy for her, but part of me feels a little green.

So much of what she does resonant the "wants"  hidden inside of me, not yet fully explored. In my spirit, I am fluttering about deep within becoming beautiful, but I don't often get to play like I want. So much of me knows God will give a time for all to be explored, even if I must wait until until heavenly days of eternity. And I know those days will go on without end, and we will all be creating like our Father.

Today, in these present days, I am raising my three high-energy teens helping them to fulfill their dreams. And I am trying to be a loving wife to my beloved husband of 27 years.

I long to ease away from the serious grip of issues of the world: broken relationships, lies, impurity, laziness, painful experiences, illness, and watching our freedoms taken for granted until they are being usurped. So many things grip the heart of God! He cries when a baby is killed, when a person is raped, when a child does drugs, when a family is filled with violence, when greedy people steal from hard working families or when lazy people take advantage of kind hearted people... and unfortunately the list goes on. 

And I know the grime reality stares back at me impressing the urgency of this moment. Sin can not be prevented by whimsical, artsy, playful days. And our days are numbered, time is short, and each has a calling from God on their life.

Yes, I want to indulge in what bring me that greatest freedom, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull carefree ways. Then God's love restrains me. 

I pause knowing God gives each of us a role... a purpose... and He made me to see, to care, to speak up for truth, to stand in the gap, to lay prostrate in prayer, to grieve with the hurting, to give hope to the dying, to encouraging some to keep living no matter what they have been through or are about to enter, to plead for the unborn, and to stand on the battleground as a spiritual warrior! 

It is then when I see who He made me to be, what He calls me to do, what He illuminates for me to see that I am lifted up by His Spirit. Isaiah 40:31 says, 

Yet those who wait for the LORD will renew their strength; 
They will mount up with wings like eagles, 
They will run and not get tired, 
They will walk and not become weary.

And I humbly bow to my God, my Lord, My MASTER. I willingly become His bond-servant, His slave, out of love, and surrender my wishes for His. We are each called for His glory, and as a follower, we must be willing to obey what He asked us to do, knowing the grass/life on the other side is not better/greener. The best life is to live the life He directs step by step.

God created me for His purpose, for this time, to bring Him glory... each and every day. I shall rejoice in my calling, singing praises to Him as I learn to surrendered  to accomplish what His heart desires!

Have you struggled with wanting to get to do what others do? Do you know what you are called to do?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Do You Fear?

Empty eyes know real fear.
I say, "fear". You say, "____________"

Word associations were a fun game when I was growing up. We also called it free associations so everyone knew any answer was correct.

Fear, panic, terror. Palms sweating, heart palpitated, heading to a dizzy spin.

FEAR!!!!!     what do you fear?  You can whisper your answer to yourself.

I am told the greatest fear among all people is death, followed by speaking in public. I know darkness brings fear to many souls. And when the economy is bad, losing a job, losing a house, or getting seriously sick are top on the public's list.

What did or do you fear the most?

I feared my father, and it was not a healthy loving fear of disappointing him. It was a realistic fear of a psychopathic angry violent father that laughed at evil. I fear him no more.

At church today we talked about fear. Jesus taught about fear. In Luke 14:4-5, Jesus taught the need for fearing God:
4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!"
 Have you ever had a healthy fear of God? God loves you, and God is love. His perfect love casts out all fear. But before we can know God as our Father, we must have first bowed to Him as our LORD (master). We must become his slave, giving up all we own, want or do to become His willing obedient slave. This is the invitation God offers to every person in the world. He offers us the opportunity to be His slave, and for Him to be our Master. Do you feel uncomfortable about God? Does this seem repulsive to freedom loving people?

I need to tell you something beautiful about God being your Master. He is going to adopt you as His child, His son or daughter. You are going to be an heir to all He is and owns, and you will know Him better than your best friend on earth.

The object of our greatest fear is our Master, with the ability to control our mind, will and emotions. Who or what do you most fear? The answer is your current Master, your earthly Lord!

In coming to know God, who is All-powerful, All-seeing, All-hearing, Just and Holy.... it is easy to see how before you are in a right relationship with Him that you SHOULD fear Him. He alone has the power to end your physical life AND he determines whether you go to heaven or hell. Once again I ask, "Do you not like this God I am describing; does He not fit your comfortably teddy bear papa in the sky image?" Have you read the Bible? Do you really know God?

Do you fear surrendering all to Him? Do you fear losing face with family or friends? Do you fear being outcast at work? Do you feel the humiliation of bowing to Him? Oh,THAT IS NOT THE GOD YOU SIGNED UP TO BE FRIENDS WITH, the One you were told you would be following? This is the tradgedy of say a prayer with me, join the love fest, easy believism. You were tricked to commit to and believe a part of God, a censored God, a joyful celebrating laughing fun God. Are you willing to risk your eternity on waiting to hear God say to you, "Depart from Me. I never knew you."?

Do you fear having to give up fun activities? What about hanging out with friends, drinking, partying late into the night? Does God want to take that away? But I love to.....(you fill in). Do you love it more than God? Will you place it in His hands? Will you give Him every talent, dream, gift, vision, ability for Him to tell you how to use these to bring HIM that greatest glory?

When we bow before God in fear, accept His invitation to be His slave for life, He will lift our head up and looking deep within our being saying, "I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind." (paraphrase 2Tim 1:7)

In fearing Him, we conquer ALL other fears: death, broken relationships, bankruptcy, standing up for justice, speaking in crowds, going on mission trips, changing jobs, moving to other cities, giving our money for His Kingdom work, being labeled a freak (or Fundie - Fundamental Christian), or basically, taking the plunge into anything He asks with a strong "Yes, God."

In turn, God will supply all your needs abundantly. He will give you a spirit of power (Holy Spirit Power, Resurrection Power, Enabling Power), love (sacrificial, selfless, abandoned love) and of sound mind (having the mind of Jesus Christ through meditating and studying His Holy Bible, His Word). We learn to grow into using His power, love and sound mind in and through us every day.

So, let me ask again, what/who do you fear? Even what did you fear, before you learned the freedom and wisdom in fearing God?

I feared my father. God showed me He is the kindest, caring, available, personable Father in the world! He is the Father to the fatherless, the abandoned, the beat, the raped, the belittled, the hurting wounded child.

What about you? What have you learned to not fear? Or do you still fear someone or something?   

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No Truth in Public Education

America is keeping Truth out of Public schools. We must return to our foundational morals and principles that made America the greatest Nation of Time.

Throughout history power has been obtained over the large masses of people by removing the Bible. Emperors of Rome did it! Popes did it! Murderous Conquerors and Rulers did it!

America is keeping the Truth out of School!
Why would they? What does Scripture have to do with government and power since the Bible teaches Christians should be submit to secular authority? Jesus, Himself,  said, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."

The problem is a question of knowledge of truth and absolute authority, not civil obedience and honoring governing leaders. The person that gets to define truth and absolute authority has controlling power.  If people are allowed to read God's Word for themselves they discover truth, and question whether ultimate authority rests with government leadership or Scriptures.

Wycliffe stated, "We ought to believe in the authority of no man unless he say the Word of God. It is impossible if any word or deed of man should be of equal authority of the Holy Scripture." We certainly don't believe this today! If we desire to be a Nation of Christian values we must protect our liberty in civil arenas, we can't just sit on our pews in church.

Is it any wonder today, 60 years after the Bible has been removed from American education schooling that no one can be absolute about anything that is taught in schools?!? Apart from God there is no truth! We foolishly have allowed the Judaical Branch of our USA government to turn our public schools into institutions of chaos that are amoral, even violent. Without a Biblical God Worldview, our country and western civilization will be destroyed.

I am not advocating evangelism, preaching, trying to get people to say a Jesus prayer in American public schools. No one can or even should pathetically try to force anyone to accept Jesus as their Lord. Everyone must decide for himself if he chooses to be a follower, disciple, of Jesus. Frankly, the only way to become a follower is by free will choice. But everyone should hear truth, know right from wrong, and be taught that there are absolute truths. The Bible, the Book of Truth, must be returned and placed into the hands of all Americans.

The textbooks filled with Bible verses used for over 200 years in the Americas, even prior to becoming a Nation, are what build up the minds and hearts of Americans! The moral decline, the school chaos, the acceptance of abortion, the break up of families, the economic destruction of our great Nation can be directly linked to the removal of Biblical truth text from public schools.

To hide Truth from American students in public schools is to be like the Papal state of Rome that would burn Bibles in English or German and not allow the public access to the Bible because they wanted to be empowered by keeping people in the dark. This mindset ushered in the dark ages! They did not want anyone to question their authority. They did not want people to know God had absolute authority, answers, help for everything they needed for life because they wanted people to live totally dependent on government!

In the 1960's Truth was removed from Education.

  • 1962 Engel v. Vitale case in which the Court first negated school prayer (“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country”).  
  •  Abington School District v. Schempp, the lawsuit reached the Supreme Court of the United States in 1963. The Court voted 8-1 in Murray's favor, which effectively banned coercive prayer and Bible verse recitation at public schools in the United States. (Madalyn Murray O'Hair claimed that her son was bullied when he refused to partake in Bible reading in class.)

 Let us look at a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

"The reason Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion in the world that deals with the heart." 
Jefferson understood that Christianity was the only religion that could stop crime before it started because all crime came out of the heart. If you deal with the heart problem, you won't have to deal with crime, such as adultery, lying, stealing, murder, etc.
Let's also look at a quote from John Dewey (regarded as the architect of modern education):
 "There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there is no need for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes."

Therefore, it is with this mindset (of Dewey) and the Supreme Court laws of 1962 and 1963, that absolute truth was dismissed from American Public School Education!

Schools don't need more money! If we want to see America turn around, to become a Nation of Great Citizens, to be a people who can truly govern themselves, we must have truth read and taught in school!

Why do you think we who even claim to be Christians don't protect Truth?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Special Summer Blogroll Listing - Being a Follower of Jesus!

We are all unique to God!
When is the last time you enjoyed checking out other people's blogs? It seems many people today write, write, write but have so few regular followers. Just yesterday I was reading a post by a book publisher that I enjoy, Michael Hyatt from Thomas Nelson. He explaining how essential it is to have a high number of followers on your blog/website. He encouraged want-to -be published writers to work hard to promote themselves. Something didn't ring Biblical in his suggestions; it didn't set right with the indwelling Holy Spirit. So I thought the opposite: "What does it take to get people to take time to check each others' blog/website as a way to serve, encourage, and see another person grow?" or easily said "how can I promote others?"

The solution is surrender (or submission). We must surrender to God.

My pastor this morning talked about submission (don't freak out yet). He explained that when we submit to one another, we put the needs of others above our own. So how can I meet the needs of my friends and followers to help them get a wider platform in the eyes of publishers? This week, June 12-18, I will offer anyone who desires to list their blog with their comment below if they want others to check them out. Simply make a comment and add your site/location and a friend's!

Then during the week of June 20-26, I will compile an interactive blog list and encourage others to take 15-30 each day for this one week to check out other people's blogs/websites. Not as a duty, but as a summer luxury: In the hot days of summer, we should enjoy taking time to rest from hectic school schedules and soak up some healthy vitamin D from a daily dose of sunshine, sip on iced tea/coffee and browse a few blogs. If you like it, join as a follower! Even better, if you find a treasure and join it, come back to comment and let other's know. Write a simple one sentence review of why you liked another's blog/website. I will try to ask God to show me what makes each site special to Him and comment on this point.

Then beginning on  Monday,  June 27 I will highlight and review a few (2-3) blogs for a weekly Monday post on my site for the rest of the year. Between now and January 2012 we could together preview 100+ sites and really be a strong godly influence in each other lives! Hopefully, I will be able to focus on every single person's blog by doing a few each week! You can always return to check out that week's highlighted blogs!

It is that simple!

If you are talented enough to help make a "follower of Jesus" graphic button during this week, send it to me at www.lindylou.abbott@gmail.com. I will hopefully be able to pick one to provide everyone with a button that can be add it to our personal sites to show our support of others. In being a follower of Jesus we are learning to live God's way, not the way of the world. The Bible teaches when we humble ourselves and promote Him by what we say, do and think that He will lift us up when He deems the timing to be right!

James 4:10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall life you up."
Philippians 2:3-4 "Let nothing be done through vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better then themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
Galatians 5:13-14 "...but by love serve one another. For all law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 
Being a disciple of Jesus is all about living for Jesus, and not ourselves. We sing "I surrender all" but are we really willing to take the risk of surrender ALL (our writing, our photos, our plans, our goals, our blogs, our daily routine, our very life). Being a follower of Jesus is rewarding!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Becoming A Great Writer of Devotions

What makes a devotion great?

She is precious in God's sight!

Real life illustration:

Every writer has heard this saying over and over, "show, don't tell." I still don't have this ability down like a great fiction writer. 

Showing would be something like this: 
"The wind whipped around the two Asian ladies as they dragged their happy, bright-colored, heavy suitcases down the wet two lane street. With her damp hat folded in one hand, she tried to focus her map directions that she held in her other hand as it flipped around in the steamy early evening breeze. Confused but not discouraged, she trudged along with her companion in tow until I interrupted their odd journey. Smiling as I offered to give them a ride to their destination, their jaw dropped before they could speak." 

Really, I do get it. Showing instead of telling is so nice to read, but it is not very natural to me. It is not the way God created me to write, at least not yet. I never know what He may do next. So here is what naturally flows from my rapid typing fingers:

I love God, and have many real life encounters with Him and people. For example, after dropping off my 16 year old son on Thursday night to do his 4th double day of volunteering (morning VBS at one church and evening VBS at another church), I saw two Asian ladies pulling huge suitcases down the busy 4 lane street. I pulled into the entrance/exit path out of the church so that I would be close to the road to ask these ladies if they needed a ride somewhere or help of some kind. One spoke broken English, the other mostly her native tongue, Japanese. I happily offered to drive them to their destination, a hotel on the main Hwy after the upcoming light. Stunned by kindness of a stranger, she handed me the map and directions. I assisted in loading the luggage and they gratefully climbed up into my van. 
On the way I asked questions to find out more about my new passengers. They had flown from Japan to our little town of Murfreesboro, TN to attend the Bonaroo, a yearly musical festival that has attracted really big name artists in a woodstock-ish environment for a long weekend on farmland in the middle of nowhere. They were so cheerful, and very willing to explain their situation. I drove them about 10-15 blocks down to the hotel that even included an overpass over the interstate! It would have taken them hours on a very dangerous highway path.
I enjoy allowing God to let me cross roads with people I may never see again. I am not sure how God will use this experience in their life, but I loving cared for them and even gave them my number in case they needed a ride again while still in town. When I hugged them goodbye and wished them well on their visit, they both bowed in thanksgiving toward me. As I drove off I trusted God to use the encounter for good in these two sweet ladies lives.

This is an example of a day in my life. It is not all neatly, packaged, well-written showing- story with a great moral punch. I may never know the "Paul Harvey, "And here is the rest of the story" ending" until I am in heaven. It is enough for me to be obedient to God's nudging to intervene in helping two strangers on His behalf without cheapening the moment by trying any gimmicky one verse or one question evangelism. I trust the Holy Spirit to do His job, and simply am content to do my part... not flashy, not a cinch in my witnessing belt, not a number to report for a religious job well done. No, simply living the life of a disciple, a Jesus follower, bringing warmth, kindness, and help in others lives.  

I reflect on this today because I have been trying to take a stab at writing devotions for a ministry that I was the copy editor for their magazine. The devotional site is a new ministry and I just thought I would try it out, but it seems I can't compose the kind of devotions they are needing for their intended audience. It is either not based on a single theme, not short enough, or not having illustrations of how I have had great interactions with my children or others that can be perfect little examples of God at work in our lives. Here is the example I was to try to follow:

Where I have highlighted could you replace with a story to illustrate this idea - such as “When I saw my son give away one of his favorite Hot Wheels I asked why he was so nice to the little boy who wasn’t even a close friend and he replied, ‘Well, I saw you being nice to Mrs. Nelson our neighbor when she was lonely and you did it even though we know she is a real bad gossip.’  I was amazed seeing my actions spoke louder than words and my child was exercising spiritual values based on what he saw as much or more than what he heard.”
I get the point. It is a very nicely concise story that gets a moral point across, but for me it is not real. Maybe it is what happens in other Christian families, but it has not been my experience. So, this was my reply to the devotional re-write suggestion:

When it comes to examples I am not the best because I don't have a lot of typical real life examples... like the one you wrote is really nice but in my life that was the "suppose to happen" example and never reality. My children never spoke to me that way, and still don't. And I never had many "perfect scenario" teaching moments. I don't know how to pretend or to write a pretend "wish it was like that" story illustration. (inserted thought for blog, not included in original response: I think these kind of stories make most normal parents feel like failures thinking why can't my child be like that and why don't I find those great statements to make in "teachable" moments.)
Everything we did together was a challenge. Raising up my little ones was one struggle after the next. I was on my knees a lot, and really crying out to God in desperation. He never failed to meet me, but many times the messy reality of imperfect parenting caused me to be more of a teacher to my children in seeking forgiveness and trying to make sense out of disasters. We had a lot of spiritual warfare, conflict, disobedience, repentance, forgiveness, grace and gradual growth - but it was all real. 
No hypocrites in my house. And while we love each other deeply, we know each other deeply. My children have seen most of my faults firsthand, and I have seen theirs. The real victory in Christ is despite the rumbling, uphill path God allowed us to walk on, we still have very honest, open, important conversations.
We push deep into our relationship with God, knowing how easily we fail ourselves, each other and mostly God. But we don't hold grudges, grace abounds. My children are now teens (17 (18 in July),16,13 (14 in Aug). And I am just entering the healing years of being more consistent, stable and available. Due to all of this, I am not sure I am able to provide the type of devotions that will be telling sweet stories like the one you wrote. I have none to share. Nothing like that ever happen in my life or my children's. It would have been nice, maybe, but I don't regret our experience. I know that God will use it mightily in each of our lives.
I thanked the editor for the opportunity but declined trying another re-write. My writing just doesn't fit the mold the site is looking for and that is OK. If you might like to read the devotion I submitted go to this link.

How do your illustrations flow as you write?

Beyond Material Needs

Newborns enter life naked and naturally beautiful. The adoring eyes of parents and grandparents delight at the innocence of their precious infant. However innocent a child may first appear, no one is born intrinsically good, and all parents can attest to how quickly the innocence disappears. Consider St. Paul’s words:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12 NAS).

It is hard to see that a child’s greatest need is spiritual, and not physical, mental or emotional. Every person born into this world has a pressing need to be spiritually alive to God.  Parents diligently provide sustenance and comfort for their children. They want them to have quality medical care, new clothes, healthy meals, and a wide variety of toys and activities to stimulate their mind. What parent does love to hear pure giggling pleasure from their child? In providing their child these good things, a strong sense of safety and emotional stability is established. Unintentionally a child spiritual health is easily overlooked.

During a very trying time or an actual crisis, people tend to focus on spirituality. For example, after violent storms ravage cities with widespread destruction, even lose of life, we see people quickly understand that relationships are the most vital part of life, and for a short time, attendance grows at churches. Suffering pierces the thin line between physical and spiritual realms, and the emptiness of life alone, apart from God, is more clearly revealed through painful experiences.

Mankind’s personal relationship with God is the greatest gift to obtain in life. No preparatory preschool, athletic finesse, musical skill or quantity of material belongings, can satisfy the spiritual need of a child. As parents, we must, from our child’s earliest days, teach him to know and love God through our example of a personal prayer life, meditative Bible study, and a disciplined moral lifestyle. In doing so, we demonstrate how God has provided abundantly for our spiritual needs.
People remember stories. That’s why Jesus used them so much. And, they put more power to your words.

Because of man’s sin, which is common to all, Jesus took the form of man and was birthed through the body of Mary as her firstborn son. Jesus, though, was not fathered like all men but by the Holy Spirit. He is the only begotten son of God, through Him we have this hope:
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

You see, it is by Jesus’ sinless life, that parents of every child can believe the promise:
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Faith in God must be taught and the best way this is done is through demonstrating God’s sacrificial grace-filled life with our children and one another. The spiritual re-birth of a child is truly the greatest day in their life!

Bio: Lindy Abbott, raised in New Orleans, met her husband of 27 years at the University of AL. After they wed, they moved Nashville, TN where they placed their roots and homeschooled three precious children. Lindy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She is a published author in the book Out of The Overflow and a frequent writer of articles in magazines and online sites. Her weekly column, Letters From the King for Take, Root and Write has been her most popular. Lindy has a passion to see broken people find healing and encouragement in God and through His ministering believers. http://lindylou-abbott.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Racism - How Do You Help Stop it?

The answer is in the blood - not the skin.

Understanding racism helps people to change their own thoughts that precede behavior. We are each responsible for how we teach our own family and others how we should live. Racism can be stopped because:

Ethnicity (race) is taught; ethnicity (race) is not an inborn trait!

Believe it! YOU are beautiful!

Go, back and re-read the previous bold sentence because it may be easy to miss how important it is to solving racism. Racist are taught to be racist. No person is born a racist! God did not create any human to be a racist; He created us all equal of one human race. People are taught through parents, teachers, peers, neighbors, family members, ministers, books, media, and inter-relational experience what to think about the difference in people's skin color. In some ethnic groups, parents strongly teach their children to make judgements about a person based on the pigment color of their skin.

The blood is the living vitality of the body, not the skin. While the skin is the largest organ in the human body, the protective layer, the outer layer, the visible cover, the blood is the life giving essential element. Is it not surprising the Jesus came to redeem the blood. He bled out for each person equally. His blood covers all humans alike. In Jesus no racism exists! And it is the very blood - the spiritual and physical understanding - of the Jesus through which we will experience the washing, purification, and justice for all. The blood - particularly the blood of Jesus - is the great equalizer of humanity. One for all. All need One.

In America's early years, especially during and after slavery, white skinned parents taught their children they were better than dark skinned people. But this teaching has all but stopped in most white American families. Matter of fact, I personally do not know current peers (and I am from the south) that have ever taught their children to judge a person in any way by skin color. While I am certain racial prejudice still takes place in pockets of people throughout society, it is NOT the norm nor acceptable to most.

I am almost fifty; my parent's generation did learn to judge people by skin color; I did not, nor have I taught my children. Thankfully, to teach your child to judge someone based on skin color is viewed as something very sinful and therefore, wrong. But what is alarmingly, discouraging is MANY ethnic groups, particularly black Americans, raise up their children to determine a person's attitude, actions and thoughts based on color. Black children are largely taught to be weary, guarded, even to hate or fight, people based on skin color. If racism is to stop, Black Americans must stop perpetuating it through generational prejudice upbring, both at home and in many all Black Congregations/Churches/organizations.

Genetic diversity is not synonymous to Ethnic diversity! In plain language, our genetic make-up does not identify what is most commonly, and erroneously, called "race." Yes, the DNA does have coding to regulate the size of cells that cause a variety in skin color, but scientist are unable to separate DNA by ethnic groups (black, white, asian, latino, etc.). Matter of fact, there is a larger variety of DNA within all distinct social ethnic groups than what is varying between groupings of people.

On October 3, 2009, I wrote an article about An Easy Solution for Racism which has been the second most viewed article in the life of my blog. With so many people from all over the world seeking a solution for racism it seems some progress would be made. But in our current times, especially in America, so many people hitched their hope of change to Barack Obama to be the great peacemaker. If you recall, he was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize BEFORE he did anything negative or positive toward peacemaking! (Maybe it was given as a sign of hope for change and encouragement.)

When we give anything (advancement, promotions, privileges, programs, membership, education, credit, testing, opportunity, scholarship, admittance, acceptance, assistance) based on pseudo-race (code for skin color), we are WRONG! And moreover, doing so is a SIN that separates you from fellowship with God if left un-confessed and un-repented. It is also wrong to only think racism is a "white" person's sin. A variety of ethnic groups and individuals sin in this way, and it should not be acceptable for any human to be racist!

After two years of Obama's presidency America is much more race-conscious, and divided. It is unfortunate that he has not been a leader of unity, but one of a deeper divide as his administration attempts to broaden the have and the have-nots. Black Americans overwhelmingly (85%) voted for Barack Obama, mostly because he was a black canidate, not because they necessarily supported his policies. This is surely unfortunate, because it shows that black Americans, in larger majority than white, voted purely based on race... something whites are accused of all the time. And moreover, anyone who did not vote for Obama or who doesn't not support his governing are called racist. Ironically, that is such a racist claim... to blame people who disagree on principle policies to be skin-color-haters. The accusations are not better in 2011. To the contrary, they have only increased. And the fall-out of blaming innocent people of being racist makes people who are not very spiritually mature more likely to think of race and to consider judging people by skin color.

In the first article I addressed the truth that we are all created by God. We are all sons and daughters of Adam, and Noah. God  made the human race. Every human is a member of this race regardless to skin color. Moreover, evolution has only fed hate-filled people with philosophies to deny equality of all races because they deny that humans are created by one loving, sovereign God and teach lies about races being a unique identifying factor. Truth is skin color is only skin deep. Only 10% of the top layer of skin cells is responsible for variety in skin color due to ranges of size of the pigmentation cells, not quanity.

I found this information from another author quite interesting:

Once humans formed settlements all over the world, the relative geographic isolation of those settlements led to some degree of reproductive isolation. Then, the differences in local climate, ecology, and culture, combined with random mutation and genetic drift, led inevitably to the evolution of ethnic diversity. The single human population that migrated out of Africa eventually became many thousands of tribes, each with slightly different gene pools. Of course, reproductive isolation was never absolute; some genetic mixing of neighbors did occur. Nonetheless, ethnic diversity clearly exists and seems strongly connected to the dispersal of humans to different parts of the globe.
So how is a white-skinned Icelander related to a tan-skinned Taiwanese? Well, the ancestors of both people lived in Central Asia about 40,000 years ago. And how are the Icelander and Taiwanese person related to a black-skinned Rwandan? They all share ancestors.... 
It is clear that all human beings are related to each other and shared a common ancestor less than 5000 generations ago. Within that time, the genes contributing to skin color have diversified. (Dennis Chang, PhD Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2009) 
I am not in agreement the all Dennis Chang, PhD wrote nor do we share the same ultimate conclusions, but his observable research is eye-opening, and mind-opening.

If racism is to be stopped we must see into the eyes of people, beyond the skin color. We must look to the soul! And it will only be stopped one person at a time, one family at a time. What about you? What do you choose for you and your family? Consider Joshua 24:15:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served ... in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (able to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, wh

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Who Am I? According to God

Take a Gaze of the Self-Existent One
This conversation reminded me of "Who Am I?" in comparison to God!

I received this recent response to a book review I placed on amazon:
This was an intriguing "review" of Dr. Daft's book; it is interesting to see how some individuals believe that the world, and all the individuals within it, must cater to their dogma and frame ideas based upon a worldview they do not hold in order for those ideas to be given serious consideration. Very interesting indeed . . .
So this was my reply:

Hrbizstudent, you misunderstand. Not at all!

I do not believe all individuals must cater to my dogma nor my frame of ideas based upon the worldview "they do not hold in order for those ideas to be given serious consideration." I have no dogma, framework or worldview of my own. I simply believe God's worldview, and naturally so, since He alone is the One who created and set in motion all that we know and live in - our reality - our world.

Quite opposite to what you state - His worldview is given all serious consideration and validity apart from whether anyone "holds them" or denies them. He is self-existent! He so are his ways not dependent upon anyone's belief. God and His ways remain, even in the midst of total rejection and denial.

This is the mindset you are unaware of if you make such a claim.

If I die and never read, breathe or write another word, God and His worldview and His ways remain - and therefore MUST be dealt with even by if people believing as you deal with by rejecting or claiming to be "very interesting indeed".

The views of man has no effect on the reality of God. And is that not such a wonderful fact, because if God was left to man we would certainly completely mess Him up as we often do in the churches and denominational organizations of today. 

Awake! Book Review of The Future War of the Church By Chuck Pierce


The cry of Chuck Pierce book, The Future War of the Church is for the Church to awake! While I am a quick reader, I was still surprised last night I read this 300 page book in full. I could not put it down because in it is an urgent message for members of the body of Christ, particularly those who are still finding God asking them to align and not abandon the local church - even if the local church has abandoned them. Originally written in 2001 prior to 9/11 (and revised/updated/re-released in 2007) the prophetic words are rich with punctuation now of how the Spirit of God is supplying the ministry and message given to Chuck Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Sytsema.

We, the Church, the Body of Christ, must not run and hide, nor fearfully reject the non-traditionalism move of the Holy Spirit. That which we don't understand, can still be quite grounded in the Word of God. The Church NEEDS its gifted apostles and prophets just as much as it needs its pastors, teachers and evangelists! Who is man, apart of the Spirit, to determine what is of God and what is not? Is not that the office of the Holy Spirit to confirm or deny a moving of God? Too long has the members of Christ who are gifted in Apostolic and Prophetic ministries been sidelined, removed, stripped of authority, and denied access to the local church.

What are We afraid of - that the Spirit of God might take control of equipping His people for the work of the ministry? Is it that leaders in churches do not want to see God's power distributed freely as He chooses, in the manner He decides, in the timing He ordains, in the way He designs, through the vessels He deems? Is the controlling spirit so strong in the halls and office of pastoral staff? Are they afraid God might call them to serve and minister to the very disciples of Jesus that are not contained by tradition and conditioned by seminary schooling, and therefore not rendered controllable by administrators or executives of the hierarchal norm found in the majority of denominational churches?

God has a plan! He is preparing new wineskin! God is on the move! We either join Him or we quench His Spirit to empower and release supernatural ability to harvest the lost and captive to the father of this world. Since we don't fight against flesh and blood, why do churches attempt to lead in it! The Future of the Church and its powerful role to defeat lawlessness and to bring God's order to the earth depends on our readiness. This is War! We must be disciplined in the ways of spiritual battle. The fight against darkness has its key focus on prayer for standing strong in the very real battle that we are already surrounded by. Is the Church willing to be used? Are you positioning yourself to be prepared for the day God calls you to "Fear not, and tread forth!"? Is this is your heart-cry? If so, read this book by Chuck Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Sytsema and awaken your mind and spirit to God.