Dead Things Don’t Grow

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“We used to sacrifice ourselves for our children; now we sacrifice our children for ourselves.”

-Author/Speaker: Frank Turek

It was a day of mourning in New York City on Jan. 22 when a law passed to allow abortions up to the time of birth. In this once great city, you can now freely get an abortion at any point in your pregnancy and it can be done by “anyone”, as the law says that abortions don’t have to be carried out by a doctor. This will only feed the business, or monster per se. And what can be done? What can we do to protect the unborn when more and more laws are being enacted to allow such heinous murder to continue?

I was listening to American Family Radio the other day, an organization that is listed as a “hate group” because of its firm root in basic morality, when I heard the quote above. I know for a fact that sacrificial parents still exist, however, as our culture changes, the biological impulse to protect our children is being erased and warped. People are actually believing that we are “protecting” these babies from a life of pain and rejection by killing them. They point their fingers at the conservative Christians saying that we are the ones who don’t value life, as if it is our fault that so many children reside in foster care and orphanages.

A woman’s choice. I am getting sick of the phrase, “it’s her choice, her right as a woman to have an abortion.” If a man were to stab his newborn baby everyone would scream. MURDERER!” And yet if a woman asks someone to kill her child for her she is praised and lifted up as the pinnacle of modern feminism. “But it’s just a cluster of cells, not a baby.” Where is the logic behind this statement? As the title of this blog so says, “dead things don’t grow.” Growth and maturity are in the very definition of Life as described in the Webster Dictionary:

“Life is the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”

Another argument squashed in an instant. And what else do they claim? That it goes against women’s rights. Hello, female babies are being aborted every day, what about their rights? And equality can’t be claimed here because giving a woman the right to murder is placing her above the law and moral boundaries that should confine every person whether man or woman. It isn’t enough to be equal, women long to become gods. Just observe the modern day feminist movement and you will see a sickening shift toward domination and sexism. They want to get rid of the natural man and replace him with their own version. Anyone who stands in their way is labeled a sexist in turn accept to those who oppose, the media makes sure the title sticks.

I truly believe that the media is the feminist movement’s greatest weapon. If you can sway the media to promote your vision or ideals, then you will have America eating out of the palm of your hands. We are all wrapped up in the belief that the news channel always tells the truth, that they couldn’t possibly be altering the way they film specific events. To those watching, the images don’t lie, and yet you can find a great many ways in which camera angles alone can get you picking sides.

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Here’s a link for more examples: Media Photos

Lastly, let’s talk about the reasons behind abortions. Many who are pro-choice would use the “rape” scenario to stop arguments in their tracks. So what about women who became pregnant due to rape? or women who endanger their own lives by going through with a pregnancy? These are very specific and quite honestly, rare situations that only make up about 1.5% of the population (Focus on the Family). The majority of abortions truly are “convenience” based, so anyone using such rare scenarios to justify the remaining murder of 60,069,971 babies since Roe vs. Wade (1973) is completely off point.

Oddly enough, those who promote abortions and feminism also openly say that they stand for minorities. However, the minority abortion statistics are rather unsettling. Here are the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015):

“Black non-Hispanic women have the highest abortion ratio. Black women’s abortion ratio has reached 444 abortions per 1,000 live births, while non-Hispanic white women’s abortion ratio is 124 abortions per 1,000 live births.”

Minorities fall victim to those who promote abortion as a viable option. In other words, organizations like Planned Parenthood, feed off of the poor and struggling minorities who face real worries about how they will be able to support/care for their children. No one explains the emotional damage abortion brings, the physical damage (there’s nothing natural at all about having your unborn child ripped from you), the overall cultural damage, you will remain a minority if you do not reproduce and bare children who could potentially rise above the societal hurdles and pave a way for a better future.

That is what we are doing, creating generational gaps, keeping God’s children from their purposes here on earth. What if we have aborted the very child who would’ve discovered a cure for cancer? When we kill a baby we don’t just kill them but who they would’ve become and the children and children’s children they would’ve borne after them. At their last dying breath, future millions fade into oblivion.

The most oppressed people today aren’t the minorities, aren’t women, aren’t even Christians or Jews….the most oppressed people are children. They are the voiceless, the ones who are killed for the sake of convenience, treated as less than human, protected less than animals, and discarded like trash in the street. Abortion solves nothing, it is the equivalent of fighting fire with an even bigger fire. The sin of sex outside of marriage (most women who abort are unmarried and young), the devaluing of family and sex, the selfish push for individuality over Godly submission has led to the cheapening of life as a whole. A child is a blessing from God, not a curse or a burden holding you back.

Mother Teresa said it best when she refuted peoples claims that there are too many children in the world. She worked in the poorest and darkest places, and yet she never lost sight of the value of a child, no matter how full the orphanages were, no matter what condition the children she cared for were in, a child was a gift and would remain so.

“Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.”

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The Lord Builds the House

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As many of you know, a friend of ours lost his wife in a car accident a few months ago. They had moved here from Virginia to help our church, a wonderful God-filled couple, with their 3-year-old son. I never expected God to move like He has through this tragedy, bringing beauty from ashes in ways only He can.

The husband, Jared, has impacted hundreds with his message of hope and healing. He has never lost sight of God or His promises despite this. And I really want to share one of his messages with you so that you too can be impacted by one man’s unshakable Faith.

The Lord Builds the House

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”  -Psalms 127:1

My first home remodeling memories go back all the way to my toddler years, hammering nails into a board my dad had set up and helping paint the side porch on my childhood home while wearing only a Sherwin Williams hat and a bathing suit. If my father didn’t have tools around, it was shingle samples. Dad was employed in different home repair based industries all growing up and he owned his own kitchen cabinet business. Home repair was the backbone to my family’s wellbeing all of my life. It led me to working full time in the family kitchen cabinet business after graduating college. Customers would ask at what point did my brother and I begin working with our dad, we would respond “full time or just in general?” All of us kids (including my sisters) knew a hammer and a paintbrush from a very early age so the “first day of work” could have been that one trip mom made to the store without us kids.

Having worked in many different homes, you come to appreciate the sanctuary that a house is for so many different types of people. It’s your haven from your job, your safe place for your children and the gathering place for your outside family and friends; home just isn’t four walls and a roof. As Rachel and I put our previous home up for sale last April, the picture she sent me of Isaac (my son) with the realtors sign shook me as I realized what we had just done haha-but in total faith we knew “home” rested well beyond the materials that make up a home, but what we had formed in our hearts as a family. Taking that with us as we packed the house only meant “home” was moving, not being left behind.

How great the difference a few weeks later. As family and loved ones repacked our things back for VA, “home” had been greatly altered from that moment on from that highway accident. It became another structure entirely different. It was a home I couldn’t fix.

The line applies here as much this week, as it does every week. My writing here isn’t to depress you. This is to illustrate to you through my journey the healing deliverance of our Mighty God.

In the months that followed I began to clean the yard of “home.” Picking up pieces, fragments of what was and contemplating the necessary repairs. I needed help. I cried out to God and began to seek Him on moving forward; I asked Him for help.
God began a work in my “home.” 

Weekly I began to see repairs rise up out of me as I dealt with the anger, loss of hope, bitterness, loss of faith, loss of joy, loss of peace, all the while carrying the grief of Rachel’s loss. One day, God got me to hand off that grief to Him…and I was done grieving. Like a freshly repaired plumbing leak, I routinely “checked the pipes” on that repair. As I told loved ones where I was at on my grief and how it was gone, I felt the safety nets come up-ready to catch me in case I was wrong.

I pushed on. 1997-2001 Honda CRV’s became just another car for me.
God put the desire in me to stop at Rachel’s old job last Friday. I hadn’t been able to step foot in a Starbucks and order a drink since her accident…especially that Starbucks.
I approached the cashier and made my order. I got a sideways glance while my order was placed and then a, “are you Jared?” God always times His help. I took my time tasting my drink at the bar and speaking to another customer with small talk and spoke more to the Barista. No impulse to run, no tears. The master plumber had made his repair.

So why does this matter? 

The “house” that gets built in life inevitably faces use, the elements of life, and even storms. Wrecks happen. We lose loved ones. Attacks come. The house becomes damaged and all the while we try to continue to live. 

Where do you stand with your house?

It says in Psalm 127:1 that God builds the house. BuildSSSSSSSSSSS.
This isn’t a one time build. It’s a build and rebuild and rebuild and rebuild…
We are getting additions, remodeling, and changes constantly as we act to do our part and apply the Word of God to our lives.

Unfortunately, some of us haven’t invited God to remodel our homes. Hello, pink walls, dingy carpet, and wallpaper! God wants to rip that stuff out and replace it. Maybe God began a work in you but you didn’t let him finish. Maybe the job is done but you kept the dumpster of debris…the bitterness, the anger, the resentment, and the unforgiveness. Invite Him to complete the work within you. Invite Him back to finish. Let Him take away that dumpster. God’s ready to go to work in your life.

Let your light shine bright, Jesus Bright

 

My Provider

 

 

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God IS our provider…saying that is one thing, believing it is another. When you pray do you do so with doubt? Do you repeat your prayers in desperation, just in case God didn’t hear you the first time, or several? I have the assurance that God not only hears my prayers but that it is His delight to answer them. He is a Father who loves to bless His children, and that has been proven in my life, time and again.

We can get so hung up on the prayers that haven’t yet been answered (or have without our knowing yet), forgetting the countless daily yearnings of our hearts that God satisfies. We can go as basic as you want with this, right down to what we need each day to survive. Starting in that place and counting our many blessings we can then move on from surviving to thriving. Just ask yourself this question, “If God hears my small prayers, how much more does He hear my BIG prayers, my deepest longings, and dreams?

A parent automatically cares for their child’s basic needs, and in a healthy home where the parent is meeting those needs, a child automatically trusts in the parent’s ability to provide them. Why then do we struggle with this concept? We openly profess God as our Father and yet we do not trust Him with that role.

In all honesty, God could have stopped at us calling Him friend, and yet He took it farther in taking the position of Father. A friend is there for you, a Father provides for you. Traditionally, it was the sole role of the Father to provide for His family. He was the breadwinner, the one who brought home the bacon, so to speak. Not that the mother couldn’t also generate wealth, but even she depended greatly on her husband. That is why many widows back in Biblical times were poor and needy. Without a husband, the church was commanded to take on that role, proving that no matter what storms come our way, the Will of God is always to provide and protect.

And so, whenever you start to fear or doubt that God hears your prayers, make a list of all that you have been given, of your many daily needs that have been met whether you prayed for them or not, of the countless times God came through for you, maybe through someone else, and you didn’t recognize it as a God-thing.

I will share some examples with you of times God was my provider, times when He proved He was listening to me, even when I thought my prayers or desires were too small for Him to notice.

Here recently, even as I type, there is a large blizzard blowing through Ohio. Our electric bill has been outrageous due to the cold temperatures and our home’s poor insulation. Aaron did some research and discovered that a pellet stove was our best option. Unfortunately to buy one and install it was pretty expensive and we have been trying to save money. Aaron randomly brought up the subject at work to his boss, and to our amazement, his boss immediately offered to give us his pellet stove that was in perfect condition, sitting unused for years in storage.

Now as I type this, with the temperatures dropping and the blizzard getting deadly outside, I am quite warm because a large pellet stove is burning just to my right. God IS my provider. As far as I can remember, Aaron and I hadn’t even prayed for a pellet stove, it was just something we longed for. What escaped our minds didn’t escape God’s.

Another recent blessing, God has blessed us with a vacation to Florida. Feb. 22, will be Aaron and I’s 5 year wedding anniversary and we had been wanting to do something special for the occasion. The only thing I could come up with in Ohio was staying at a cabin for a couple nights in the freezing weather. I didn’t pray for a trip to the beach, but I longed for it. The ocean is my favorite place, and my favorite beach is on Captiva Island off the coast of Fort Myers.

Thanks to God-established connections we were able to find a cheaper avenue to travel and stay in Florida for a few days. And my seemingly small concerns, like about what to do with my dog Kota have been pacified as well. God wants us to celebrate! And we want more than anything for this trip to be a time spent with Him, rededicating our lives to Him as a couple.

These are just a few of the many monthly and daily ways God reminds me that He is my provider and that He hears my every prayer. Trust in Him, even if you don’t get an answer right away, some of the best things in life take time. I never knew that I would meet such a Godly man like Aaron. We were both quite young when we met, and young when we married, and yet looking back I know that God had set it all in motion. He had picked out someone for me and it took me a while to realize it, to let go of things that weren’t “God’s best” for me. I am glad He made me wait, that He withheld something till I was ready to fully receive it.

Part of being the best gift giver is knowing when the right time is to give the gift. Trust God with your prayers, your dreams, and your desires…He will respond and provide. He will give you what you are ready to receive. And when you look back, you will be all the more amazed at how Good He IS.

How has God provided for you?

 

The Salesman Pastor

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Pete was a car salesman for many years. He learned from his father all the ways to rope people in, how to make something old and beat-up look desirable and affordable, and how to paste on a friendly trustworthy smile. The result, people liked Pete, no one felt like they were buying junk but that they were truly getting a good deal. In their eyes Pete was their friend, he was on their side and would do anything to help his customers out.

Strange as it may seem, one of his customers actually did become his friend. Pete was drawn to something in this man that he did not possess, if only he knew what that was. This man soon invited Pete to church, his church happened to be the largest one in town, a megachurch that Pete had often marveled at on his way to work. Pete sat open-mouthed as the pastor, clean cut and clad in a suit and tie entered the stage after an amazing worship set. He held everyone’s attention, his eyes swept the room and Pete noticed that this man too wore that friendly trustworthy smile he had mastered as a salesman. The pastor then went on to sway and persuade his flock to give their lives to Jesus. He painted a life of luxury, a life of constant joy and hope. The latter being a life of hell and emptiness. Pete couldn’t help but think, “what a deal!”

During the alter call Pete gave his life to God and decided then and there that he would become a pastor just like the one who stood on the high pedestal before him bathed in glory. At this moment, saving the lost wasn’t on Pete’s mind, only promoting himself and taking on what he thought was a better salesman job, one that would buy more people. Let’s face it, everyone wants a life of bliss!

Due to his skill and his outward charisma, Pete soon had a church of his own. Like his personality, it was outwardly desirable, the band that he had put together was perfect, the cafe room, warm and inviting, the sanctuary a throne room, with lights, cushioned black seats, New Testament Bibles, fog machines, the works. The entrance lobby held “freebies”, that helped to rope people in, things like coffee mugs, t-shirts, inspirational books etc.

As to his sermons, he plucked verses and hand-picked stories from the Bible that helped to paint a Jesus that everyone could relate too. He was warm and fuzzy and just wanted everyone to believe in him so that they could enjoy a life of bliss with the promise of an afterlife of more bliss. God’s people didn’t have to do anything but accept Jesus and support the church financially. That was all they needed to do to earn a ticket to heaven! the latter was simply a bad deal, as far as Pete was concerned only a fool would turn down the deal that he offered.

The church grew, quickly. People flocked to have their ears tickled with half-truths and to hear about hippie Jesus and a laid back God. Satan was simply the bad salesman, the one wanting to rope people into a bad deal. Pete failed to recognize that he was much like that as a car salesman, and just as vile as a pastor. He had mutilated the Word of God, had erased the need for true lovers of Christ, and had completely destroyed the existence of sin and the need for real repentance. The matter of life and death had been cheapened to that of a business deal. People were coming to the altar to sign this deal, picking up their “get out of jail free” card, and then going on about their lives…as lost and unchanged as ever, except they now had the assurance that “that” life was perfectly ok.

It was a Sunday like every other, Pete’s church was now officially mega. A small town pastor entered the front doors and beheld the scene before him with apparent distaste. The multiple tithing bins, the cheap-made freebies, the expensive books and merchandise promoting the church all lined before the entrance to the sanctuary reminded him of the time Jesus upturned the money changers tables in the Temple because they cut off the people from a relationship with God.

He stepped into the sanctuary and saw the bright flashing lights and fog machines and noticed the crowd moved by the sole experience. Where were the true worshippers of Spirit and Truth? He sat down and prayed till the music ceased as if on cue and everyone seated. He looked up from his praying and saw Pete enter the stage much like the President of the world would. His image screamed wealth and prosperity, and though he smiled warmly at them all, the small town pastor felt only a chill go down his spine.

The sermon was brief, it talked about a Jesus void of zealous passion, a God who only watched things from His distant throne, was He only the ticket master? And a devil that was in plain sight, a bumbling fool that people could easily avoid if they gave their lives to God? No, if they financially supported this church and joined its ever-growing country club. The small town pastor sat quite still and waited till the sermon closed, and everyone left, some having just bought their tickets to heaven. The pastor only then disembarked the stage, his smile turning to greed as his eyes beheld the money poured out before the altar. He then locked eyes with the small town pastor and approached him, his smile returning to its original feigned innocence.

“Hello, did you give your life to Jesus today?” He asked, the small town pastor chuckled, “son I gave my life a long time ago and it’s not supposed to look like this.” He gestured around the room, though he had spoken kindly, the words stung Pete’s ego, he had never dealt with a critic before and didn’t like to be called “son.” He straightened his tie, his smile grew tight and thin, “how do you know you are saved, my friend? What if you were brought here for a reason?” The small town pastor chuckled again, “oh, I was brought here for a reason alright.” He suddenly stood and his warm smiled disappeared, he gripped Pete’s shoulders like a man pleading for reason. “Son, what you have done here is a grave thing! You have made a business out of peoples fear and desire for security, you have robbed them of the truth and without out this truth, how can anyone really be free?!”

Pete pushed the man’s hands away and stood back, his anger was suddenly overcome with a grip of fear, the fear of God. He looked at his shaking hands and gasped, “I…I wanted to sell Jesus to them, make Him desirable…” the small town pastor shook his head, “son, Jesus is already desirable, He gave his life as a ransom for many, God is already all-powerful, and satan, though wicked is not witless but very cunning in his attempts to take the flock!” The small town pastor then rubbed his eyes, “…your flock son, is not saved, the wolves have entered your gates, have devoured your sheep and you have made them ignorant to this.” He pulled out his own Bible, worn as it was from being read over and over. He handed it to Pete who still stood shaking, confused. “Read it son, the whole thing this time, don’t leave anything out, that’s why I was brought here today.” With that the small town pastor turned and left, leaving Pete alone with his thoughts.

And Pete then read the Word of God, this time listening to every word, not scanning it for what he could use to create his own religion. He read 2 Peter 2:3,

“in their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 

Pete thought of all the people who supported him and loved him, why only one critic? He found Luke 6:26,

“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”

He had known the truth the whole time, deep down he knew what he was doing, and yet, he too wanted to believe what he taught. He flipped to 2 Timothy 4:3-4,

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit
their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
With tears in his eyes, he turned to Acts 20:28-30 and read,
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”

 

He closed the Bible and looked out upon the great sanctuary and wept. That day, Pete was no longer a salesman pastor, he truly gave his life to God and the end of his next sermon caused more than half the church to walk out. He called that small town pastor and asked to be mentored by him. In time, his smile grew truly trustworthy and kind, his flock grew slowly, but Pete was sure that all those who gave their lives to God truly transformed, picking up their cross to follow Jesus and not himself.

Pete stood upon the stage, no longer a pedestal, but in his heart, an open field, with a shepherd’s staff in his hand, protecting his flock from the cunning wolf who had proven himself a foe not to overlook. True salvation can’t be bought, a pastor’s burden isn’t light, and the truth cannot be divided.

 

 

 

The Power of Laughter

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“[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

— Mark Twain

 

Here I was, longing to contemplate the new year, the losses we suffered and the pain we endured. I was solemn and excited as the countdown began, a new year could mean new beginnings or blessings. I was poised and ready to turn and kiss Aaron, we each had a party whistle in hand also. The moment the ball dropped, instead of a kiss, Aaron went to town blowing the party whistle and the sound that came out was so funny that the seriousness of the moment turned to instant comedy. It sounded like a screaming goat! I laughed so hard I cried. This went on for a while, making me laugh harder still.

And so, we began this new year of 2019, not with a somber pause, not with a desperate prayer, but with uncontrolled jubilant laughter! Oddly enough, God had been nudging me toward this subject the last few weeks and this was the finale. He wanted me to be carefree and joyful. This year WILL be a year of laughter and satan won’t be able to withstand it. There is nothing more mocking than laughter and at the same time, nothing more diffusing of a situation than laughter.

Just as Sarah laughed when God told her that she would bear a son in her old age (Genesis 18:13). When the promise came to pass she named her son, Isaac, which means laughter. She had mocked God at first, now her laughter would be one of joy, forever mocking her unbelief because in her arms was the son she never thought possible.

“And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me.” -Genesis 21:6

Throughout the scripture, there is both joy and laughter. The ancient Hebrew culture is well known for only writing down what they thought was important. This adds proof to the legitimacy of the Bible, and also adds emphasis to what lies therein. “Laugher,” apparently, is well worth the mention and not roped into the all-encompassing term of “Joy” every time as these verses below demonstrate.

“We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the LORD has done for them.” –Psalm 126:2

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” –Job 8:21

Whether in mocking or in celebration, laughter makes as strong a statement as any spoken word. This year I long to laugh at satan’s schemes, I long to celebrate the work of God in our lives and in our church, I long to laugh and smile, rather than weep and worry. I want to look in a mirror someday when I’m old and see a lifetime of “laugh-lines”, wrinkles that tell a great story, and not a great tragedy.

Oh, how I love hearing my children laugh in class, maybe that’s why adults love tickling them, to hear such laughter from a child! Now, imagine how much more our heavenly Father loves to hear our laughter, our joy. There is much yet to learn from children, I believe the moment we think we can’t learn anything else from our youth is the moment we truly start to die.

Laugh every day, laugh in times of celebration, laugh in times of suffering-mock satan and his feeble attempts to rob you of your joy, a joy that rests in a promise that will come to fruition. Even God laughs at the evil of this world for it is petty and short-lived compared to the Glory that awaits those who trust in Him.

“The Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming.” –Psalm 37:13

God bless you all with laughter this year! God bless you all with unspeakable joy! 2019 WILL BE A GREAT YEAR! Amen!

“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” -Luke 6:21