A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In

August 2, 2015

Recommended Product: Kinesiology Tape & How-To Book

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor and do not claim to offer professional advice.  I am simply relating my personal experience and suggesting that this product is something you might want to consider.  Obviously, you should contact your doctor if you have a serious injury, and for advice before using this product.       

     You've probably noticed this product if you've watched any serious sporting event in the last few years.  It can be seen as those long black pieces of tape applied to the athletes in various formations, depending on which muscle groups they are targeting.  It is known as kinesiology taping, and although many medical professionals may approach it with skepticism, I can tell you that it has been a long time since I have been this excited about a product, or felt I had found something that was essential to share with you.  I am very blessed to be in good health, and I try to do some form of exercise or physical activity every day so that I do not get too sedentary or incapable of moving quickly should some kind of emergency arise.
     But I'm sure most of you can sympathize when I say that the aches and pains are more frequent and take longer to rehab with each passing birthday.  A few years ago, I hyper-extended my knee and it has taken a long time for it to heal naturally.  (An orthopedic surgeon whom I visited told me that my meniscus was probably torn -- although X-rays did not show it -- and I would get tired of the pain and would return shortly, opting for surgery as the fix).  But I wanted to try to rehab it first instead of immediately going under the knife.
     The surgeon was correct; I did get tired of the pain, but I found that through the help and advice of a good friend who is a physical therapist, and my own persistence in doing the recommended exercises faithfully, my knee has recovered and getting stronger every day.  But I will tell you that it has taken at least two years to get back to a normal state.
     That has been the only real injury that I've encountered .... until several months ago.  I began feeling some discomfort in my deltoid muscle, but couldn't recall any strain from working out with weights, or any reason for the tenderness or occasional twinges of pain.  I felt strongly that I did not have a tear in the rotator cuff, and so opted to do some stretching exercises that would relieve the stiffness in the deltoid.  When the pain began to be a real inconvenience I asked my PT friend about it, and through the process of elimination figured out that the injury was likely due to the several hours a day I sit in my chair working at my laptop -- working on this blog, typing out my notes on the Bible class I teach, and the routine maintenance of my husband's business.  It seems that the source of the problem started in the trapezius/deltoid/latissimus dorsi muscle area across the back of my shoulder.  Apparently, as I'm sitting typing, I am not providing support to my arm, so there is a "pulling down" in this muscle group, which is inflaming my supraspinatus muscle and causing pain in my deltoid.
     I bought a computer tray to bring my laptop to the correct height, added pillows to the chair arms to rest my elbows on, and did everything I could think of to take the strain off my back and neck.  But nothing seemed to work, and it was beginning to affect my sleep; I would wake up in the morning after sleeping on that shoulder and it would be stiff and painful.  Finally, I decided to ask my PT friend what he thought of kinesiology tape, and he texted me back that they had had some success using it on their physical therapy patients.
     So I bought a roll of tape, watched a YouTube video on how to apply it for the supraspinatus muscle, and within just a couple of hours, I felt relief.  The real test came with sleeping with the tape on, and the good range of motion and lack of pain that I experienced the next morning.  I then decided to test it at a pistol shooting match over the weekend, where I spent two hours competing in the hot sun ... I was able to complete the match with no pain or disruption in my performance.  That's when I knew that this was something that could come in handy in the case of an emergency and needed to be a part of my long-term storage items.
     Think about it .... we are in the middle of hurricane season here in the South, and should the worst-case scenario happen, there will most likely be lots of minor injuries and sprains and strains as people deal with the aftermath.  For that matter, any type of crisis or emergency can result in unforeseen injuries.  If this product can temporarily relieve some physical impediment and allow you to take care of yourself and family, it will be a necessary item to have on hand.  I then took that situation a step further, and thought "what if we have no electricity and internet?"  There will be no YouTube video to watch on how to tape to provide support for a sprained ankle, wrist, or knee.  So, with the help of my husband, I found Kinesiology Taping: The Essential Step-by-Step Guidewhat I think is the best book to illustrate the proper techniques for a wide variety of incidents, and I promptly ordered it.
     As you can see by the following editorial review on Amazon, this product can transcend sports injuries to be a useful tool for emergency situations; especially when no doctor is available:  This book focuses on the use of taping as a treatment for reducing pain, muscle tension, sprains, strains and many more injuries. It provides information on how you yourself can apply tape on your body for sports, exercise and daily activities. Some examples are support upright position, bruised ribs, pain in muscle movement, carpal tunnel syndrome, sore back, help with breathing, promote better healing of scars, headaches and menstrual cramps. Provided in the book are step-by-step diagrams, written instructions and width/amount of tape required for each condition. As well, there is a full body diagram of the individual muscles in the human body at the beginning of the book. This book contains considerable information for relieving pain and tension during exercise, sports and daily life. 
     The authors of the book are trained in physiotherapy and are strong advocates for self-taping to treat a variety of conditions and ailments.  I also ordered several rolls of the tape, and feel a sense of relief in that I have given our household one more advantage in dealing with emergency situations.  In the final analysis, I am all for any product that can be a positive and useful addition to our personal storehouse of resources.  And having tried it myself, I know it works, and have no hesitation in recommending it to you.  After all, anytime we can find a simple solution to the aches and pains of life, it is worth sharing.

3 John 1:2   "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul."

Proverbs 21:20-21

There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it.
He who earnestly seeks after and craves righteousness, mercy, and loving-kindness will find life in addition to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) and honor.

     When the Holy Spirit makes me aware of something I must share, then I obey with gladness.  And this week I have been blessed to have God make me aware of the righteousness of my husband.  I have been proud of the changes in his spiritual life for a few years now, but God made me take the time this week to contemplate how earnestly my husband is seeking God's kingdom here on earth, and how much he cares about sharing it with others.
     I have disclosed in the past that his first and middle names literally mean "Peace-Loving Warrior", and he is the embodiment of that heavenly name.  He is at peace knowing that the good work which God has begun in him, He will be faithful to finish... and PLW is eager to finish strong.   He is at peace, knowing that His Savior will never leave him nor forsake him; the storms and troubles of this world do not deter him.
    And he has a strong warrior spirit, and he is earnestly training to take his position on the battlefield of spiritual warfare.  He has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge through Scripture and from researching Godly scholars on the subject, and is ready for every fellow believer to know and use their Authority through Jesus Christ and their Power in the Holy Spirit to fight the demons in their lives.  "We have been defenseless too long" is his daily motto.
     Watching him desire to help others know Jesus as their Savior and to achieve their full potential in God's purpose for their lives is encouraging in this age of luke-warm Christians.  He has gained a newfound discernment about who he has been called to reach, and is bold in his pursuit of sharing the good news of the kingdom of God.  I have watched him patiently instruct confused Christians during our Bible studies, as well as find an articulate way to answer the questions of new seekers.  
     I have watched in amazement as God has brought strangers to our door; people who thought they were coming for a different reason, and ended up in thoughtful discussions on God -- from His grace to His judgment -- and everything in between.  As the Proverb says, these occurrences have truly been "precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise"; and they have not been wasted.
     Instead of his earthly job being his priority, a new desire for greater closeness with God, and a calling to reach others for the Kingdom, has become his new focus.  And he pursues it with the utmost care and joy, pressing forward as if he is going to run out of time, and he fears coming up short in his race.  He's not perfect, and he will admit it.  But he recently told me that he is truly trying to lead a righteous life; as the Proverbs says, to have "right standing with God".  The results have been obvious.
     My husband now craves his morning time in the Word and every opportunity he can get to involve people in a discussion about God's sovereignty, His mercy, His grace, His justice, and the role we have in representing Him here on earth.  What's more, his life is now richer in the things that matter.  His pursuit of righteousness fulfills him like nothing on this earth can. 
     Proverbs 10 says that "the lips of a righteous man nourish many" and I have certainly witnessed that in the love that my husband has shown others -- in his sharing of the Word; in his encouragement to those who are seeking Truth; and in his active participation in spiritual warfare.  This proverb says that he will find "life".  I know he is making the most of this one, and I'm betting he will be rewarded with a crown of righteousness in the next.  I praise the Lord for allowing me to share in his journey.

August 1, 2015

As It Was In The Days of Old... Our Evil Will Precede Our Fall!

     Today's post may be hard to read, but I think it is absolutely necessary that we Christians face the sensational evidence of evil that is before our eyes.  I didn't think that the Planned Parenthood horror show could get any worse until I watched the fourth video released by the Center For Medical Progress.  I want to warn you, I was physically ill after watching it, and had to stop it before it finished, because it was just too hard to watch.  I hesitate to tell you to observe it, yet how can we turn away or ignore this evil?  What is our responsibility in making this known, and will it really make any difference?
     I mean, we have the White House declaring that all the videos are fake; there are threats of a veto if Congress tries to defund the slaughterhouse that is Planned Parenthood; and you have the President of PP, Cecile Richards, proclaiming to ABC's George Stephanopoulos that "it is not a fee ... it is not a fee; it's actually just the cost of transmitting this material.  There are no financial benefits...".
     Excuse me, Ms. Richards, but what you refer to as mere "material" is a baby!  And, in this fourth video, you have Dr. Ginde, a doctor in one of the biotech clinics that partners with you, saying quite clearly (as she dissects fetal body parts in a glass dish, "It's a baby."  And at the end of the video, she describes that sometimes during the second trimester abortions, the fetuses are so big, they can pull them out with their hands, so that they are "a little less war-torn".  But perhaps the most disturbing part (and which frankly, rocked my soul), was when the Medical Assistant is heard proclaiming in a triumphant voice, "Another boy!"  

     At this point I have to agree with my husband ... I know we are supposed to pray for these people, but God, forgive me, I want them to go straight to hell!  And I'm sure that other Christians are just as confounded as I am as to how we human beings have come so far in our evil ways.  In fact, during conversations with good friends, we find ourselves asking "Why?", and trying to come up with rational answers to explain why fetal parts are being sold.  Can it be justified for medical research? How can human beings not see the truth behind what they are doing?  And, for God's sake, can it really be true that fetal tissue is being sold to companies as flavor enhancers?
     That claim is so nightmarish that people won't believe it until they read the evidence themselves.  And I understand that reluctance, because it is just too hard to wrap our brains around the fact that we are eating our young... yet that is, in essence what we are doing.  And the Bible records it happening in the Old Testament, and prophecies it for this Age!
     As hard as it may be to fathom that cannibalism is mentioned in the Bible, it is!  Cannibalism is mentioned several times in Scripture; specifically, when referring to the prophecy about the siege of Samaria by the Assyrian army.  Perhaps the most descriptive of these prophecies is in Deuteronomy 28:53-57:  And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you ... The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter, her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns."  The prophecy had warned the people of Israel that their national disobedience to the commandments of God could reduce them to such a loathsome deed as cannibalism.
     This portion of Scripture alludes to just such a time in Biblical history (2 Kings) when the northern kingdom had entered a season of rapid decline that mirrored its spiritual condition.  The tribes of Israel had turned away from their worship of YHWH to follow an apostate state religion and near complete moral degeneracy.  They had also made some unwise political alliances with Assyria that ultimately brought about their demise and their captivity and exile.  During this period of their history, the capital of Israel, Samaria, was attacked by the Assyrians and a siege ensued, which resulted in the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy.  And lest you think the prophecy was only for the ancient kingdom of Israel, note that the Scripture in Deuteronomy mentions TWO times that the mother will eat her young secretly ... in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you...  Can you say for sure that the "distress" only happened in 721 B.C., and doesn't refer to a future time?
     Because now here we are, in the same state of moral and spiritual decline, unwise political alliances, and national disobedience to our once Biblical foundation.  And guess what?  We, too, are cannibalizing our young!  How else can you describe it, when fetal parts are auctioned off to the highest bidder, which may include the maker of your favorite soft drink or that most popular of coffee drinks?  Let's face it, folks --- this 21st century cannibalism is the physical horror which is a manifestation of the spiritual horror of our apostasy.
     But, remember, as I told you in my post, titled Forward March!... we must not curl up in defeat, lamenting that Satan has overrun our position in this world.  We must not give ground on this issue!  Planned Parenthood has been knocked back on their heels with the revelations coming forth from these videos... no matter how loudly they protest.  We must take a page from the Enemy's playbook.  They will try to keep saying the videos are fake, or heavily edited; but saying it won't make it so.  They will try to turn the tide of public opinion against the brave undercover investigators who are exposing their lies and wickedness.  Remember, there are more videos to come, with the promise that each one is worse than the one before.
     So keep playing them and showing them to people.  Each time they say it is a lie, reply that it is the words of the PP doctors and biotech partners themselves that indict them.  Demand that our tax dollars not fund this evil organization!  Make our elected officials accountable!  And most of all, please pray and fight this battle in the spiritual realm!  The souls of those babies are crying out for God's Justice and perhaps for the first time, their voices are being heard through these videos.  Pray for the protection of the Center for Medical Progress and their ongoing efforts to expose this evil.  Together, we can be a formidable army against the spiritual forces of darkness that are being unmasked and forced into the light of public scrutiny.  And, we can rejoice that Jesus, the Light of the World, will not suffer this evil much longer!

Psalm 72:14    "From oppression and violence He redeems their life, and precious is their blood in His sight."


July 31, 2015

What Goes Around Comes Around

     Let me tell you a story about the goodness of men.  In the months between the Kristallnacht Pogrom (The Night of Broken Glass) of November 9-10, 1938, and the start of World War II, nearly 10,000 children were sent, without their parents, out of Nazi Germany, Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia to safety in Great Britain. These children were saved by the Kindertransport rescue movement.  The government  of Great Britain eased immigration restrictions to allow Jewish children escaping from the Nazi atrocities to be allowed to enter the country as war refugees.
     According to The Holocaust Encyclopedia, British authorities agreed to allow an unspecified number of children under the age of 17 to enter Great Britain from Germany and German-annexed territories (that is, Austria and the Czech lands). They were spurred by British public opinion and the persistent efforts of refugee aid committees.
     The program, known as Kindertransport, brought its first refugees to Harwich, Great Britain, on December 2, 1938.  The transport brought some 200 children from a Jewish orphanage in Berlin which had been destroyed in the Kristallnacht pogrom. Most transports left by train from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and other major cities in central Europe. Children from smaller towns and villages traveled from their homes to these collection points in order to join the transports.  Priority was given to homeless children, orphans, or those whose parents were already in concentration camps.
     Private citizens or organizations had to guarantee payment for each child's care, education, and eventual emigration from Britain. In return, the British government agreed to allow unaccompanied refugee children to enter the country on temporary travel visas. It was understood at the time that when the “crisis was over,” the children would return to their families.  But most of the children never saw their parents again.  Parents or guardians could not accompany the children. The few infants included in the program were cared for by other children on their transport.
     Children of the Kindertransport were dispersed to many parts of the British area. About half lived with foster families, the others in hostels, group homes, and farms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Those older than fourteen, unless they were fortunate enough to be sponsored by individuals and sent to boarding schools or taken into foster care, were frequently absorbed into the country’s labor force after a few weeks of training, mainly in agriculture or domestic service. Some children older than that were even forced to work in the armies of those countries in the war.
      Children chosen for a Kindertransport convoy traveled by train to ports in Belgium and the Netherlands, from where they sailed to Harwich. At least one of the early transports left from the port of Hamburg in Germany.  Some children from Czechoslovakia were flown by plane directly to Britain. The last transport from Germany left on September 1, 1939, just as World War II began. The last transport from the Netherlands left for Britain on May 14, 1940, the same day that the Dutch army surrendered to German forces.
     It wasn't always a positive experience for the children.  Some were overworked; some abused.  And in 1940, British authorities interned as enemy aliens about 1,000 children from the Kindertransport. They were held in internment camps on the Isle of Man, Canada, and Australia. Despite their classification as enemy aliens, some of the boys from the children's transport program later joined the British army and fought in the war against Germany.
     Many children from the children's transport program became citizens of Great Britain, or emigrated to Israel, the United States, Canada, and Australia. Most of them would never again see their parents, who were murdered during the Holocaust.
     Arthur George Weidenfeld, also known as Baron Weidenfeld, is a British publisher, philanthropist, and newspaper columnist.  He was also one of those children who was part of the Kindertransport.  He escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria through the help of Christians, and now this 95-year-old publishing mogul is returning the favor.   He has set up the Weidenfeld Safe Havens fund to support the rescue of up to 2,000 Christians from regions where ISIS is in control.
     With the funding, Iraqi and Syrian Christians are being flown via private jet to Poland. Once safely in the country, Weidenfeld is funding their new lives for 12 to 18 months.  Weidenfeld told The London Times, “I had a debt to repay. It applies to so many young people who were on the Kindertransports. It was Quakers and other Christian denominations who brought those children to England. It was a very high-minded operation, and we Jews should also be thankful, and do something for the endangered Christians.”
     In this time of Christian persecution, when it seems as if the world has turned a blind eye and deaf ear, it is heartwarming to read of this success story... a Jewish child escapes one of the greatest evils this world has ever known, becoming affluent and thriving in a strange, new land.  And because he has the means to rescue others, just as he was rescued, he saves the lives of persecuted Christian children and their families.
     The aim of Satan has not changed.  He is out to destroy the chosen people of God, along with those who have been grafted in as heirs of the Kingdom.  Seventy-five years ago, the Jews were the sole target.  Today, the Enemy has broadened his objective, and seeks to destroy those of us who are destined to share the Good News with the Jews.
     But because the devil cannot quench the Holy Spirit, hearts are being moved and souls will be delivered.  Just a short time ago, Poland was home to six of the worst concentrations camps --- including Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka --- and was a country that symbolized death.  Today, it is a place where life is reaffirmed and victims of evil are rescued and delivered.  May the Lord bless and keep you, Mr. Weidenfeld, and the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.  And on behalf of Christians around the world ... Thank you!

Thanks to the Kindertransport Association for their valuable information.

Galatians 6:9    "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

July 30, 2015

It's Called Collusion

Collusion:  conspiracy, connivance, complicity, plotting, secret understanding, collaboration, scheming.

     That's what I call it when Planned Parenthood and the Mainstream Media agree to restrict the coverage of damning videos by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).  And that's what I call it when that same Mainstream Media decides to do over-the-top coverage of a tragic big game hunt in Africa, instead.  Let me fill you in on the details....
     According to The Blaze, the Planned Parenthood regional headquarters in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota sent letters to regional media outlets warning them not to air coverage of the controversial videos showing Planned Parenthood officials bargaining for the sale of fetal tissue obtained through abortions.  In part, PP complained that "CMP gained access to Planned Parenthood facilities under false pretenses, and filmed without securing approval from the Planned Parenthood staff being filmed or the patients whose privacy is compromised by this secret videotaping. The material should not be aired."

     So, I guess Planned Parenthood wants us to feel that they and their patients have been violated by the videos that have been released.  I wish they would have given the same consideration to those precious fetuses.
     And I'm sure I don't need to point out that there has been a conspicuous lack of coverage on the major media outlets, too.  Other than Fox News, have you seen any serious coverage on the despicable practices of PP?  Of course, you might have heard how CMP was deceitful in obtaining the video; how the videos were heavily edited; and the general unscrupulousness of the undercover project... but nothing about the convicting statements by the PP doctors and officials that fetal parts are, indeed, a valuable commodity.  The implication of the videos were obvious:  there's money to be made by selling the livers, hearts, and heads of murdered fetuses!  But here's the unspoken message: we (the media) must work together to minimize this story and move on to the next news cycle.  We need to focus the public's attention on something else until this blows over.
     It didn't take them long to find their "something else".  As Breitbart.com reports, it's all over the news ... online news outlets, MSM, and every two-bit publicity source.  And here's the story that has the world worked up into a frenzy:  Cecil, supposedly, one of "Africa's most famous lions" was mistakenly shot during a purchased big game hunt by a dentist from Minnesota.  Now, paying thousands of dollars to hunt and collect trophies is not my thing, but it is legal in Africa.  However, this dentist claims that he was unaware that the lion had been lured out of a protected area until after the hunt.  He says that he relied on the expertise of his paid guides, who allegedly were responsible for the ruse.
     If it is proven that the dentist and/or his guides were unethical in their actions, and broke Zimbabwe's laws, then they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.  But, frankly, I am astonished at the outcry of those who are encouraging death threats against the dentist.  Piers Morgan, writing for Britain's Daily Mail said he would pay for someone to help him track down the dentist, "skin him alive, cut his head from his neck, and take a bunch of photos of us all grinning inanely at his quivering flesh."
     Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel actually cried on camera over the death of the famed lion, and wondered out loud if the dentist needed to kill a lion "to get an erection".  E! Online actually  called for the death of the dentist, in this thinly disguised threat: "if it were possible, we’d revoke his status as an actual human being…", while a fading actress tweeted that she would revoke his citizenship.  Actually, it's interesting what people will tweet about... I guess killing an unsuspecting lion in the wilds of Africa is a greater tragedy than killing an innocent young woman on a pier in San Francisco.  There were certainly no tweets about Kate Steinle's death from this same actress.
     But I think it was PETA's statement (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) that has upset me the most.  They stated that if it is proven that the dentist committed a crime, he should be "extradited, charged and, preferably, hanged... To get a thrill at the cost of a life, this man gunned down a beloved lion, Cecil with a high-powered weapon. All wild animals are beloved by their own mates and infants, but to hunters like this overblown, over-privileged little man, who lack empathy, understanding and respect for living creatures, they are merely targets to kill, decapitate and hang up on a wall as a trophy. The photograph of this dentist, smiling over the corpse of another animal, who, like Cecil, wanted only to be left in peace, will disgust every caring soul in the world."
     Well, here is what I would like to say to all these woefully foolish and deceived people:  I might give some credence to your words if only you showed the same outrage against Planned Parenthood.  I would like to restate PETA's charge against the choices made by the dentist and his hunting guides, and issue my own angry response towards those who support PP's activities.  By substituting Planned Parenthood's name in the diatribe, it would read something like this ... "To make money at the cost of a life, PP has encouraged the murder of millions of God's beloved creations, oftentimes in cruel and sadistic manners (think Kermit Gosnell).  All decent people love their mates and babies, but to immoral, unethical and shameless organizations and doctors like yourself, who lack empathy, understanding and respect for living creatures (which include fetuses), they are merely targets to kill, decapitate and make money off of.  The videos of Planned Parenthood, haggling over fetal body parts, who were once part of a living, growing, baby, should disgust every caring soul in the world."
     Do you think it's possible that any of these misled people in the media and Hollywood will recognize the similarity in these two statements?  Sadly, I doubt it.  They will remain silent regarding the atrocities against unborn babies and the profiteering that goes on behind the scenes; at the same time they will become enraged over the dishonorable death of an animal a continent away.  We can expect that the full force of the media and a loud and lengthy social outcry will be exercised against this dentist -- while unborn fetuses will continue to be killed and sold without nary a glance at the wicked practice.  Does anyone else feel like we've crossed over into the Twilight Zone?

Ecclesiastes 12:14:       "For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil."


July 29, 2015

God Can Use Everything For His Glory!

     I know this is going to seem like a worldly and superficial post today, but my mind just keeps returning to it, so I'm going to simply trust that God will use it for His purpose. 

     Have you noticed that there is less and less what I would call "good, wholesome" TV viewing these days?  Everywhere you turn there is sexual content that would have only been available in R or X-rated movies, just 20 years ago.  The pervasive homosexual agenda is on every comedy, drama, and reality show.  And for those who like to contemplate the outer regions of human existence, there are the shows that promote transhumanism, artificial intelligence, and interaction with space aliens.  And let's not forget the growing genre of entertainment that features satanic or occult overtones --- and in prime-time, no less!
     The major networks have become a cesspool of immorality, wickedness, and godless values.  But there is one show that my husband and I have become addicted to, and I have to admit it has been a surprise.  I'm talking about American Ninja Warrior (ANW).  Now, before you quit reading, let me tell you why... when we first began watching the show, I thought it was just another gimmicky visual reality show where the weird and eccentric could showcase their freaky natures.
     It is based on the highly successful Japanese sports entertainment television special in which 100 competitors attempt to complete a four-stage obstacle course, which ends with conquering the formidable Mount Midoriyama.  The American version is a spin-off, where the competitors advance through the stages and one winner is crowned, you guessed it ... the American Ninja Warrior.  A team of Americans then travels to compete against teams from other countries; all hoping to be the one to stand victorious, atop the famous Midoriyama.   
     At first it was hard to take it seriously.  Competitors would appear in outlandish costumes, and it seemed more like a ratings grabber than a serious competition.  But as the seasons progressed, the humanity and the dedication of the contestants has come to the forefront, and it is this reason that has me tuning in each week.  The people are real; and their life stories and commitment to doing their best are genuine.  They are not out-of-work models trying to "catch a break", or aged athletes trying to hang on to their glory days.
     There are more stories than I can count of people who meet the standard of the downtrodden in society; people who have had to overcome tremendous odds just to get their chance to compete in what is becoming a popular and legitimate sport.  There is the story of Abel, who found himself the sole caretaker of his younger brothers at the age of 16.  He fought hard to keep them out of foster homes, and through his commitment to them, they are all in school and pulling together as a family. American Ninja Warrior became a symbol of overcoming the odds, and he was determined to show his brothers that they could succeed if they worked hard.  In his spare time, he trained on home-made equipment, practicing the challenges that have become legendary on the show until he got his shot at making the cut.
     There was the autistic boy, and the girl with Tourette's Syndrome; neither who stood a real chance of finishing the competition.  But because they trained with dedication and pride, they were able to reach a goal they had set for themselves, and with heads held high, they let the glow of the audience applause wash over them.  Their lives are changed forever.
     This season there was Brian, a man who suddenly found himself facing the unthinkable:  his wife had developed a rare terminal illness in which she began losing muscle control and motor skills.  She is now in a wheelchair, and he has to carry her up and down the stairs of their home.  He realized he needed to get in better shape, and one day after watching the show together, his wife said her wish was to see him compete on ANW before she died.  He made the cut, and advanced past the first stage, with his wife in attendance and the crowd roaring their approval.  The tears on his wife's face and her beautiful smile won the hearts of America.  Sadly, he didn't make it to the second stage, but she announced to the whole world that he was still her hero.  That will be an experience that will sustain him when the end finally comes.
Jeremiah Morgan overcomes
     There are more stories like this than not... these are average people, of all ethnicities, body types, and backgrounds.  They are not picked for their beauty or their brains or for who they know.  Many are people who would be looked over and looked past in any other arena of our society.  Sure, there are doctors, and businessmen, and military members, and pro athletes who accept the challenge to compete.  But on the ANW obstacles, everyone has an equal shot, and it is often the underdog who rises to the top... the one who finds that this challenge gives him an opportunity to show the world his or her heart.
     And this competition has become a showcase for the faith of many contestants.  This week, we saw one of the most difficult courses to date.  Competitor after competitor got to the 7th stage out of 10, only to fail on the obstacle, plunging into the pool of water below.  Then up to the starting podium stepped Jeremiah Morgan, who in the lead-in to his run, revealed that he had not competed in college sports because, along with his brother and parents, he was a Messianic Christian.  College sporting events often took place over the weekend, and his family practiced the Sabbath from Friday evening at sundown until Saturday evening at the same time.  They spent that time in fervent study and contemplation of God, choosing to rest in His presence, as the Lord had commanded.
     It was so refreshing to see a young man, in the prime of his life, declare his faith on national TV and not be drawn to following the world!  As his brother, wife, and parents followed him along the track below, his dad could be seen and heard shouting, "Hallelujah!" as Jeremiah completed each of the stages.  He was the first of only two competitors to complete the 10-stage course, and as he stood at the top of the winning tower, he raised his hands towards heaven and thanked His Creator.
     The only other man to finish the grueling course was Sam Sann, a 48-year-old man who had escaped the devastation of Cambodia to begin a new life in Houston, TX, where he owns his own beauty salon by day, and trains other young ANW aspirants at his own gym by night.  He is a legend among Ninja competitors, and as he dropped to his knees in prayer after landing on top of the final tower, it was a triumph for all those with aging bodies, and for those who have come to this land for a better life.
     I know it probably sounds kind of silly to be so moved by this TV show, and you more than likely think that I am exaggerating the sentimentality of the competition.  But I'm always amazed at how God manages to insert His presence each week... sometimes when the contestants aren't even aware of it.  I see Him in the self-sacrifice that is often exhibited by competitors like Abel.  I see Him in the joyful triumph of simply competing, by those who are mentally and physically handicapped.  I have witnessed Him in the making and sharing of a dream between Brian and his wife, who will soon be separated by Death.  And I have felt the tears sting my eyes as men like Jeremiah aren't afraid to declare their allegiance to the Lord, rather than follow the ways of man.
     Week after week, I have watched the competitors cheer each other on, pulling for the success of others, even after their shot at winning has been denied them.  Here, in two hours a week, on the vast wasteland that is American television, I am able to see mankind at his best... age, color of skin, personal appearance ... none of these things matter; they are all seeking to reach their potential in an atmosphere of mutual respect, inspiration, and encouragement.  It's really all about overcoming obstacles ... both on the course, and in life.  And maybe this isn't how you see God being exalted, but He is a Sovereign Lord, and He can use anything in this world to show a picture of His glorious Mercy, Grace and Love.  You just have to be willing to see it.

Colossians 3:23-24   "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."

July 28, 2015

The Devil Comes To Detroit!

     I'm sure you are aware by now that leaders of the Satanic Temple have finally been successful in unveiling their statue of Baphomet, the symbolic pagan image of the fallen angel, Lucifer.  After unsuccessful attempts to display the disgusting statue in Boston, Oklahoma, and Florida, the organization finally got their way in Detroit.  
     In January of 2014, I posted an article on the proposed exhibit in Oklahoma, and a brief description of the statue and its significance in satanic worship and the occult.  I noted that the statue featured a conspicuous pentagram, and pointed out the meaning of the five points on this ancient occult icon.  They represent the five "I Will's" of Satan that are listed in Isaiah 14:  1)  I will ascend into heaven, 2) I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;  3) I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;  4) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, and 5) I will be like the Most High.  
     In their unyielding attempts to get this statue placed in the public square, the Satanic Temple is not hiding their "in your face" counter-attack to the display of the Ten Commandments across our nation.  But the fact that the statue includes smiling children looking up at the goat-headed representative of the Devil is especially disturbing.  If one considers the history of this ancient deity as it pertains to secret societies, it becomes apparent that this is an important idol to those involved in occultism -- from the Knights Templar in the 14th Century, through Freemasonry in the 18th Century, to the subsequent organizations founded by Alistair Crowley, L. Ron Hubbard, and the modern Satanic Temple.  The fact that it seems to be aimed at our children should have everyone paying attention.
      I found an interesting article on World Net Daily, about the activities that surrounded the installation of this frightening statue, including those by a group called "The Church Militant", who represent the Catholic Church and "the souls on Earth engaged in battle against the forces of evil.".  After securing entrance to the secretive unveiling, they revealed what happened during the ceremony:  "On one side of the room stood an inverted red cross, and on the other the nine-foot-tall statue of Baphomet, covered in a white sheet... At 11 p.m., two men in leather S&M attire grabbed each side of the sheet and yanked it off, to loud applause and shouting."  I will refrain from describing their actions in front of the statue, and those of the other attendees who paid $75 each to sit in the lap of the statue and perform perverted acts ... symbolically in front of the smiling children portion of the statue.  
     It serves no purpose to describe this occult orgy; it is enough to know that the Satanic Temple was successful in being allowed to carry out their offense towards God.  But it is also good to know that there were nine area pastors who joined forces to protest before the Detroit City Council, and that area churches gathered together to pray against the Satanic Temple, and for their city.  Their voices were united: “We gather together to stand, as one unit, against this demonic spirit.”
     Catholic churches held masses, praying against the spirit of perversion and deception; and there was even a 6-foot bronze statue of the Archangel Michael brought to the site to counter the presence of a statue of Satan.  While I cannot subscribe any power to the statue, itself, I do recognize Michael as "one of the chief princes [of God]" (Daniel 10:13) and "the great prince who stands up for the children of your (Daniel's) people [the Jews]" (Daniel 10:21 and 12:1).  And I do know that Revelation 12:7 tells us that "Michael and his angels went forth to battle with the dragon."  So I can appreciate the sentiment of Michael battling the Fallen Angel.
     And I definitely know that it is the children that need protecting and defending.  All one has to do is read the comments from the WND article to hear the horrific stories of the human sacrifices of babies, and the ritual rapings of children on altars to satan, to know that our children are in danger and are targeted by satanists and those who practice the occult.
     But I also know that God certainly hears the prayers of the faithful, and I would not be surprised to discover that there was indeed a battle in the spiritual realm, between God's angelic army and Satan's evil forces, over this occultic demon-fest.  For now, the army of Satan appears to be winning.  Detroit will be the home of the Satanic Temple's national chapter house.  They hope to display another of these depraved statues in Arkansas at the State Capitol and next to a statue of the Ten Commandments.  They are also planning to sue Oklahoma for its refusal to comply with their request for a statue at their State Capitol.  
     For the time being, I applaud those vigilant citizens in Detroit who stood in opposition to the brazen satanists who flaunt their hatred of God.  We must join them in vocal opposition, demanding that our state legislators and our city officials deny the presence of this satanic idol; we must safeguard our children, who are an obvious target of their perverse rituals; and above all else, we must storm God's throne room with our petitions and prayers to defeat this growing threat across our land.  As I mentioned yesterday, it is time to go on the offensive; no more political correctness in order to give equal voice to "religions" that are false and obscene.  We must do our part in the battle against Satanic forces.  While Michael and His army are fighting in the spiritual realm, there is much we can do in the physical.   It is imperative that we hold our ground and give up no more territory!

Revelation 17:13-14     "These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.  They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful."

July 27, 2015

Forward March!

     I don't know about you, but I'm in need of a little pep talk; I am literally sick and tired of letting this world dictate my status and condition.  If I listen to our culture, or our national leadership, or our enemies at home and abroad, then I may as well give up and pull the blankets over my head --- I'm already defeated!
     But I suggest to you that it's time to take our eyes off this world and realize that what we see all around us is an illusion that evil is winning. We must stop listening to who the world tells us we are, and become who we sometimes casually refer to ourselves as ... true brothers and sisters in Christ.  That's not a cavalier statement, so please don't stop reading -- instead, stop and think seriously about that identification.  I know that it doesn't carry much weight in this age of celebrity and technology.  In fact it sounds like an old-fashioned and irrelevant term; an archaic religious title that belongs to centuries long past, and which offers no prestige in our superstar-obsessed society.
     But I want you to take a couple of minutes and honestly contemplate these questions I'm about to ask you.  Don't rush through them, but allow the significance of each to speak to your heart ... Do you believe that 'Jesus is the Son of God' is a true statement?  Do you accept Him as your Savior from the penalty you deserve; that He died on the Cross as payment for your sins (past, present, and future) so that you might live in eternity with Him and our Father in Heaven?  Do you believe that His resurrection has conquered Satan's plan to destroy our relationship with our Creator by leading us to an eternal Death?  And finally, do you accept that you are a child of God -- a chosen, adopted, and blessed co-heir with Christ; that you are destined to inherit the Kingdom of God?  If you can answer "yes" to those questions, and can determinedly follow that train of thought, then it should be obvious that in God's eyes, you are truly a brother or sister of Christ's.
     Christ is the "begotten" son of God, meaning, in Hebrew, that He is from the lineage of God; he has been "brought forth" by God.  In the Greek, it means that, as the Son of God, Jesus was the sole representative of the Being and the character of the One who sent Him.  As a child of God, and a co-heir with Christ, you and I share that same lineage in our "rebirth"; and we are the sole representatives of God/Jesus on this earth.  That alone should make us lift our heads high! So why do we feel so defeated in these days?  And believe me, I am as guilty as the next person of succumbing to the lies that Satan and the spiritual realm are so clever at whispering in my most vulnerable moments.
     But I want to share a simple truth that my wonderful husband discovered in his Spirit-inspired study of spiritual warfare.  We are all familiar with the Armor of God that Paul tells us to put on in Ephesians 6.  And I am faithful to arm myself each day with the Truth of God, my Salvation, the Peace of God, the Righteousness of Christ, the shield of Faith, and the Word of the Lord.  But for the most part, I use each of these weapons as a defense against the onslaught and advance of Satan in the world.
     As the culture launches another aggressive act against my Christianity; and the news media reports another heinous crime; or the economists forecast a worldwide crash; and the terrorists are upping their rhetoric against Israel and the US, I react in a defensive mode, wrapping myself in my armor, fending off each new fear or threat with the weapons from God.  Other than the Word of God, which I can use to strike out against my attackers, I am relying on defensive weapons to protect myself.
     What my husband, Peace-Loving Warrior, showed me was that as the sole representatives of God's kingdom on earth, we are obligated to go on the offensive!  Christ has already won the Victory!  With His resurrection, Satan's weapon of Death was defeated!  And look at our battles from this perspective ... whoever won a war by being defensive or holding their ground?  The army that advances -- and goes on the offense -- is the one that gains new ground against the enemy.
     Right now, we Christians are feeling great oppression against our faith.  The Supreme Court has ruled against Biblical marriage; Christian business owners are being sued for defending their faith; fellow Christians around the world are being persecuted and murdered.  In response, we Christians are so worried about trying to keep Satan out of our world.  But what we should be doing is going on the offensive so that Satan has to worry about keeping US out of his world!
     How many of our thoughts run along this course:  "I wonder where Satan is going to strike us next?"  Can you see how much better it would be if Satan was kept off balance, wondering where Christians were going to attack next?  You see, Christ has already beat the Devil; the Enemy just doesn't know it yet.  It's right there in Colossians 2:15:  [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].  
     Can you see that Jesus won the victory on our behalf?  That His victory over the principalities and powers is our victory?  We don't have to become depressed and scared about what we see going on in the world, or the future!  Yes, it might become a bit (or maybe a lot!) uncomfortable for us for a short time, but Jesus has given us His Authority to exercise an effective campaign against the Enemy, who has only that short time left.  Christ has already won the eternal victory, but as our commander-in-chief, he has given each of us an assignment:  to make a bold display and public example of that victory by how we live our lives ... representing His character and mercy and declaring our conviction of His righteousness.
     So the next time you are overwhelmed with sadness or fear or doubt, just picture yourself in full armor, running headlong toward the retreating enemy!  Make a public declaration of your testimony -- even if it's only spoken out loud in the privacy of your home (I promise you it will send the enemy in full flight).  Whenever you have the opportunity, go on the offensive -- shout out a praise when you are driving in your car; pray Psalm 18:2-3 out loud; and preach the Word to someone who needs it.  You will find that Satan's spiritual troops have left the battlefield in the face of your organized and forceful attack on their territory.
     Let's make a commitment to each other.  From now on, no more retreating!  We've been given our marching orders and we cannot be defeated.  At the sight of our enemy, we will go on the offensive and storm the gates of his strongholds.  We can defend ourselves, when need be, with the full armor of God, but we know that we have the additional weapons of boldness and surprise in our arsenal.  The Devil doesn't know who he's messing with!

I owe a debt of gratitude to the inspiring words and knowledge of author Derek Prince in his wonderful book, "Spiritual Warfare".

2 Corinthians 10:4-6    "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."

July 26, 2015

1 Corinthians 10:8: Cheaters Beware!

We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality 
as some of them did—
and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell dead in a single day!

     Paul is addressing the Church in the important city of Corinth.  This ancient city was known for its commercial success.  For centuries it had dominated the east-west trade route with its flow of merchandise, and it celebrated its ethnic diversity as travelers from the known world inevitably found their way to the thriving metropolis.
     The New King James version of the Bible says that "Corinth's commercial success was rivaled only by its decadence.  The immorality of Corinth was so well known that Aristophanes, a comic playwright of ancient Athens, coined a Greek verb, meaning to act like a Corinthian as a synonym for sexual immorality."  In addition, the Corinthians were famous for calling attention to their lewdness through their worship of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.  (She is also known by the Roman name Venus, and is ultimately the same spirit as Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod, who was known as the "Queen of Heaven".  She is a major deity used by Satan throughout the ages to tempt mankind away from God).
     Although the city of Corinth was famous for its idolatry and sexual immorality, it was also an important and strategic location for dispersing the Word and the transforming power of Jesus Christ.  Paul spent 18 months in Corinth establishing and grounding the Church.  The Jews in the synagogue rejected his message, so he took it to the Gentiles, with some measure of success.  But the Church in Corinth was seriously troubled.  Besides reflecting the multiple nationalities of the city, the Corinthian Church also demonstrated some of Corinth's immorality.  And our Scripture today voices Paul's concern about a repetition of God's judgment against such immoral behavior in the past.  
     This verse, 1 Corinthians 10:8, actually refers to a passage in Numbers 25:1-9.  It recounts that while God is giving the law to Moses, the people are down the hill worshipping a golden calf through idolatry and sexual immorality.  It tells the tale of the people of Israel "playing the harlot" with the women of Moab; and how easily they "ate and bowed down to Moab's gods".  It is the age-old story of being tempted into idol worship of the things of the world, and Satan's seduction through lust.
     I can't help but look upon this Biblical scene and think of the recent revelations concerning Ashley Madison, the website whose slogan is "Life is short.  Have an affair".  The site entices people to cheat on their spouses; to openly commit adultery under the guise that their identities will remain private... sshhh, no one will ever know.  Yet, this week the site was hacked by someone, or group of someones, who threaten to reveal the identities of 33 million subscribers in 46 countries.  If this happens, it may well have the same effects that God's judgment had on the Israelites after their idolatry and immorality was exposed.
     In the Bible, "the Lord said to Moses, Take all the leaders or chiefs of the people, and hang them before the Lord in the sun [after killing them], that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel."  The Israelite judges are then commanded to "slay the men who joined themselves to Baal Peor".  They did so, and 23,000 died that day!
     Now, we need to understand that, yes, Baal Peor was a false god and worship of it was idolatry in God's eyes.  But it is so much more!  The Moabite god, Baal Peor, was depicted either as a beautiful naked woman or a bearded demon with open mouth, horns, and sharply pointed nails (the open mouth being an indicator of the sexual rites used to worship him). St. Jerome reported that statues of Baal-Peor he encountered in Syria depicted the god with a phallus in his mouth.  Furthermore, the name of this false Moabite god means "gaping, wide, and consuming".  I'm sure you can see the implications for sexual immorality with both men and women in this description.
     This is the warning Paul is giving the Church members in Corinth.  He is saying, "Don't be tempted to make the same mistake as the ancient Israelites and succumb to the lustful appetite that comes from worshipping this false goddess in the current Corinthian culture... [the Israelites'] destruction was swift and complete in a plague of death, and so will yours be." 
     I would daresay that the same advice holds true for today's immoral worshippers of the idolatrous company Ashley Madison.  If the hackers follow through on their promise, and millions of credit card transactions, names, and addresses are released, the destruction of marriages, careers and reputations will be swift and complete.  Life as they know it in this world will be destroyed.  But as Paul warns, it is God's ultimate judgment in the next life that they should fear.  

July 25, 2015

Do Not Put Your Trust In Man!

     Unfortunately, I am not one who thinks that we, the American people, really have a say in who will be the next President of the United States.  I can't help but feel that all the media circus -- which includes 16 or more Republican candidates; a mostly silent former Secretary of State with lots of questions to answer; and a provocative and outspoken real estate and entertainment mogul -- is all a front to make us feel that we are really going to have a choice this time.
    But a circus is what it is; which is defined as "a public scene of frenzied and noisily intrusive activity".  And I fear it is all for show.  My spirit tells me that all we are seeing is a public display of orchestrated campaign shenanigans so we will feel better about the illusion that our vote counts.  But what is really going on is a carefully followed script; the victor has already been decided in the back rooms and closed meetings of the Elite.
     At the same time, I know that God is ultimately in control, no matter what the election operatives think, and our next President will be His judgment upon our nation, whether good or bad.  If, as a nation, we would fall to our knees and repent of our grievous sins, perhaps He will bless us with a leader who will restore us to our once-upon-a-time moral greatness and prosperity.  But if we don't, then we can be assured we will get the leader we deserve.  I believe in miracles, but, frankly, it looks as if our chances of that are slipping away.
     I will admit that the fleshly side of me longs for a hero to come out of the wings, and I have even applauded the brashness and unconventional approach of Donald Trump.  Yes, he was a breath of fresh air; voicing the thoughts and hopes of the common man.  But as the days have advanced, I am forced to regard his campaign with an even sharper eye than I first viewed him... especially now that he is openly contemplating running as a Third Party candidate.
     I'm sorry, but I guess I'm a born cynic.  Is he just a shill for Hillary Clinton?  After all, he is on record contributing to the Clinton Foundation, and even endorsed her Senate campaign.  And how sincere is he really, when it comes to representing conservative values?  He has changed parties several times since the 1980s, and three times since 2001, alone.  He certainly appears to be saying all the right things that would appeal to those in the heartland, but I have yet to hear of a statement on his faith that I could, well, ... but any faith in.  His rhetoric is full of emotion, but lacks any real hard facts  or foundation on where he stands on the issues that matter.  There is enough suspicion about his positions on gun control and higher taxes to make me nervous, and his history on using eminent domain to further his business ambitions is less than complimentary.
     So, is all this just primetime theater and a shell game for those who might still hold out hope that our election system is fair and honest?  A Third Party candidate will certainly split the vote and perhaps the Democrats are playing it safe ... just sit back and let the Conservatives waste their votes.  Or better yet, it is just all part of the game; they are all in on it, and we are just gullible pawns.
     In my heart and soul, I know that there is a good possibility that nothing is going to change.  I know that I can put no trust in man; that I will not find my strength or shelter in the flesh.  I know that "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes" (Psalms 118:9).  Yet, we must never forget that God can use anyone to glorify Himself.  We must pray that out of all these candidates, He can find one that will represent Him; one man that will put God before his own selfish ambitions.  Have we seen that man or woman yet?  I am going to try to put aside my fleshly hopes and dreams and rely on God's choice.  Whether the next President is redemption or judgment, only the Lord knows.  I just pray that He will be merciful...

John 2:24-25    "But Jesus [for His part] did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all [men]; And He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man [needed no evidence from anyone about men], for He Himself knew what was in human nature. [He could read men’s hearts.]"