Love Abraham Lincoln & the impact he had on our country.
“And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”
Love Abraham Lincoln & the impact he had on our country.
“And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”
“The heart is deceitful (crooked) above all things, and desperately sick with an incurable disease”
(Jer. 17:9). Even a reformed healthcare system can’t fix it.
But we’ve been offered a new plan that works from the inside out and ultimately promises a total transformation (Phil. 3:20-21, 1 Cor. 15:49, 53-57). Partakers of this new plan will experience powerful renewal & strength internally as their mind is transformed to a superior way of thinking (Eph. 3:16, 19; Col. 3:10).
You see we’ve been offered an amazing gift from a beneficent God in the form of His only begotten Son. For those who accept this precious, indescribable, free offer they will receive (1) irrevocable eternal life assurance (Eph. 1:13) and (2) bonus benefit of a new nature that can be redeemed & utilized immediately (2 Cor. 9:15, Eph. 2:8, John 3:16, 1 Tim. 4:8, Rom. 5:18-19, 6:23). This is a free deal! A universal plan (no exclusions) open to all who accept the offer (John 3:16). There are no premiums or deductibles and no need to be concerned about a pre-existing condition as it’s waived upon acceptance (2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 7:24, Col. 2:14, Rom. 3:19-26)!
Read on for more details regarding the plan.
New Nature portion of the Plan (Follow for optimal results):
By accepting this new winning plan the member immediately receives the flawless designed New Nature (Eph. 4:24, 2 Cor. 5:17). As the instructions in the manual are followed correctly the member will be able to deal with everything this life throws their way (Refer to sections: John 16:33, 1 John 5:4, 2 Tim. 2:15, 3:15-17, 1 Cor. 2:16, Phil. 4:9).
A loving, merciful God has offered an amazing plan.
What are you waiting for? Act today and reap the benefits now & eternally!
The purpose of creating this piece of Martin Luther King Jr was to focus on his message of love & forgiveness. In his time he had every reason to be bitter & hate but he chose love over hate & peace over conflict. He was not a perfect man but chose to handle himself in a way that has garnered respect many decades after his death. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness”. “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” Lets choose to live together as brothers instead of perish together as fools. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
The Christian life, like mountain climbing, is all about challenge and perseverance–not everyone will reach the summit. It’s akin to a mountaineering expedition that many are content with staying at a low altitude. It’s a wonderful (or as my Grandma would say, “Marvelous”) thing to be saved purely by grace from a loving & merciful God for all that receive it by faith. Thankfully, salvation does come by grace rather than by our works of any kind & we can feel secure that it won’t be taken away (It’s a sealed deal-Eph. 2:8-9, 1:13). Sadly many Christians stop here (at the base) and set up camp. They never desire ‘things above’ or to become “upwardly” mobile (Col. 3:1-2). Some seem content as the Israelites were with their captivity in Egypt. The hazards of “falling rocks” & “avalanches” in their lives keep them at base camp rather than ascending toward the summit.
To know and be secure in one’s salvation is a glorious thing and it should propel the believer toward good works. After all we are God’s workmanship & He even prepared ahead of time what our good works will be. He’s just waiting for us to walk in them (Eph. 2:10). Even though God has equipped us with all the proper gear that’s needed for our climb, we need to be willing to ‘work out’ what He’s already ‘worked in’–doing so with fear & trembling as a prize awaits to be won & a crown to be gained–but no man is crowned unless he strives within the rules (Phil. 2:12-13, 1 Cor. 9:24-27, 2 Tim. 2:5). The outworking comes as the hideousness of sin is exposed and the mind is renewed & understands what the good, acceptable & perfect will of God is (Rom. 12:2). All these the Lord uses to influence those willing to ascend to a Rock that is Higher (Ps. 61:2).
BEWARE: LET NO ONE CHEAT YOU OF YOUR REWARD
It isn’t just the obvious hazards of the climb that keep believers camped out. Satan doesn’t need to waste his time & energy in trying to deprive the believer of his acceptance in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6) as his life is ‘hid with Christ in God’–in the shadow of His wings (Col. 3:3, Ps. 91:1-2, 4). So Satan invests his time in trying to deceive the believer to turn away from the fullness of Christ—causing him to release his grip from the ‘Head’ (like gear protection from falling). The enemy accomplishes this through diversion–tricking the believer to be occupied with the philosophy & empty deceit of men & the basic principles of the world. This includes deluding the believer to delight in false humility, the worship of angels & be brainwashed into obeying the regulations according to the commandments & doctrines of men. These are only a facade of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, & neglect of the body, but are worthless protection against the indulgence of the flesh. Thus the devil’s scheme has effectively dishonored the believer and cheated them out of their reward. Their prize is lost & above all the Savior robbed–for what is a crown to the believer but an added crown to Him?” (Col. 2:1-10, 16-23). It’s not surprising that many have fallen off course in a society where instant gratification is promulgated whereas the reward in God’s economy goes to those who patiently suffer (Phil. 3:19, Heb. 12:1-2).
FOCUS on Upward Mobility. Avoid falling back. Look to the Rock that is Higher than you–where your true citizenship is (Ps. 61:2, Col. 3:2-3, Phil. 3:20-21). Be like the apostle Paul who desired to know what it was like ‘to walk in Christ’s shoes’ which involved a deep, personal relationship that was willing to partake of Christ’s suffering & shame–a fellowship & conformity that knew that the prize, reward and crown were worth the steep climb! So forget those things which are behind & reach forward to those things which are ahead–Press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14)! If we endure, we will also reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12). You can do all things through Christ who will strengthen you (Phi. 4:13)–So Ascend! Laura
For most, it’s far easier to grasp God as the Creator of the majestic mountains, the delicate flowers and the patterned butterfly than as a baby in a lowly manger.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).
A few years back when my husband & I took a trip to Arizona for our 25th wedding anniversary we road-tripped to the Grand Canyon. As we stood on the rim of the canyon and gazed first-hand at its majesty, it was awe-inspiring & breath-taking.
All creation bears God’s handiwork and the imprint of His touch as His eternal power & divine nature are revealed (Rom. 1:19-20). Pattern and purpose are visible everywhere–from the intricate design of a flower and butterfly to the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning & reproduction of the human body, as well as the reliable & orchestrated rising & setting of the sun.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
Purposefully God revealed Himself in the likeness of man (Hebrews 1:1-4).
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
–The same Word that is the invisible God.
–The same Word that is before all things & in Him, all things hold together (Col. 1:15-17).
–The same Word that upholds the universe by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).
–The same Word, who being in the form of God, made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a bondservant and came in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:6-7), being born in a lowly manger (Luke 2:7).
God chose to take on the likeness of man and suffer to pay the penalty (wages) of sin for man, which was death (on the cross), so that man could be redeemed through His blood (saved/released from the power & fear of death) and be reconciled to enjoy eternal life with Him (Rom. 3:23, 6:23, Col. 1:19-22, Eph. 1:7, 2:13-19, Col. 2:13-15, Heb. 2:9).
God revealed this great LOVE for man (even while man was dead in trespasses) because He so LOVED the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Eph. 2:4, John 3:16). It’s by grace man has been saved through faith (not of man’s doing)—it’s the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). But to enjoy a gift, one must first receive it–and this one through faith. Faith receives the gift that is undeserved.
When God came as a baby thousands of years ago, He wasn’t well received (except for some angels, shepherds and wise men)–But after Christ died & was raised from the dead, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Col. 2:12, Phil. 2:9-11).
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant–
O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!
faith•ful: loyal, constant, steadfast, true, trustworthy
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful & gracious, slow to anger, & abounding in steadfast love & faithfulness.” –Exodus 34:6
“For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” –2 Cor. 1:20
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful–for He cannot deny Himself.” -2 Tim. 2:13
un•faith•ful: disloyal, wavering, adulterous, false, unreliable
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23
Throughout the history of mankind, mortal man’s unfaithfulness to God is recorded.
God commissioned Jeremiah as His spokesman to prophesy to a nation gone astray. Jeremiah lamented bitterly as Israel went into captivity and Jerusalem was desolated.
It wasn’t until Lamentations 3:21, where Jeremiah’s tone changes, beginning with a pivotal word, “but”. All seemed without hope to Jeremiah until ”but this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness…“therefore I will hope in him” (Lam. 3:21-24).
but: except for the fact
In man’s failures of unfaithfulness to God above, all is not lost–there is a “but”…
Mankind should be so very thankful that God’s great faithfulness is coupled with great love & mercy. The Psalmist declares, “Thy mercy O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reaches unto the clouds.” -Ps. 36:5
Alas, this fallen world continues to be filled with disappointment and sadness whether over the loss of loved ones, failing health, broken appliances, vehicles & relationships…or even disappointment with our very own short-comings, but we can be like Jeremiah and keep God’s Words of hope in the forefront of our mind as we cling to the Father of lights Who never changes as we hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; FOR HE IS FAITHFUL THAT PROMISED” (James 1:17, Heb. 10:23).
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” –Isaiah 40:8
With a thankful heart, Laura
If we really believe in just what we see in our world today, we can be filled with fear.
One only has to look at the events going on in the news every night (not to mention the Presidential election) to realize we live in frightening times.
The truth is that we do wrestle against some pretty scary things–things that we don’t actually see but are pretty mighty like: “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age–spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). The enemy or bad guy in our scary movie, the devil, is a wily one with ‘tricks’ that may appear as ‘treats’ as his mode of operation (Matt. 13:39, Eph. 4:14, Gen. 3). The fact is that he was a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies (John 8:44). This prince of demons (Matt. 12:24) wants us to believe that it’s “flesh & blood” (the physical human person) that we wrestle with, instead of the very real, dark spiritual forces behind it. Satan is an incredible illusionist– a master of disguises. He is able to deceive many when he transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). That’s why God has provided us with a costume of sorts for our protection—it’s called the armor of God (aka the Lord Jesus Christ). When one chooses to put on this protection, they will become ‘hid in Him’ and able to stand in strength & mighty power against the devil’s tricks (Col. 3:3, Eph. 6:13-17).
Believers can take comfort that greater is He who is in their inner man than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4, Eph. 3:16). When we ‘put on’ the Lord Jesus Christ, we also put on love (Col. 3:14, 1 John 4:7-12). God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. The one who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
When we’re fearful we rely on our own fallible understanding & ways rather than trust in an almighty infallible God, Who moves in mysterious ways that we do not always understand. It’s helpful to be constantly mindful that God’s purpose is never the same as man’s purpose (Isa. 55:8-9). A Christian believer is someone who trusts in the knowledge & the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities or in man’s wisdom (1 Cor. 1:20-21, 2:5, 3:19; 2 Cor. 1:12). If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of a child of God.
Who hasn’t given their all physically at a time or two (or three…) and become exhausted? But when one gives of themselves spiritually (relying on an almighty, powerful source) their strength is enhanced, not depleted (Isa. 40:29; Eph. 3:16 6:10). Fear & worry steal the strength that God freely has available for us to be utilizing each moment of our day.
As we look to the Author & Finisher of our faith, we can be motivated to move in love, not fear (Heb. 12:2).
I find it helpful to consistently ask myself, “Are my words and actions motivated by love or by fear?” If I find they are motivated by fear, I pray to cast down this false thinking & renew my mind in the right spirit (2 Cor. 10:3-5, Eph. 4:23, Rom. 12:2). There is some truth in what the character Yoda, in the movie Star Wars said,
“Fear is the path to the dark side,
Fear leads to anger,
Anger leads to hate,
Hate leads to suffering.”
The suffering referred to is not the suffering that is patiently endured in the Christian faith (Col. 1:24, Phil. 3:10, 2 Tim. 1:8), rather it’s the suffering that’s rooted in fear and doesn’t lead to a peaceful resting in God.
So let’s pursue love, not fear and cast off the works of the dark side, and put on the armor of light–the Lord Jesus Christ–making sure there’s not any room for the flesh (or fear) (Rom. 13:12, 14). Laura
“Nisi Dominus Frustra”–three forgotten words that were brought back to memory after a recent cleaning of my art room. The small canvas that I had painted of this saying had fallen off a wall & was wedged in between cabinets. I picked it up & looked at it—remembering the Latin words meaning immediately: “Without the Lord—Frustration”. This forgotten truth had also fallen away from me–lost in certain areas of my life.
The reality is that there is nothing (not one thing) that is good that dwells in any of us apart from God in Christ. Our fallen, fleshly nature is corrupt & should not be trusted (Rom. 7:18, 3:23). Truly, “To err is human”. We mere mortals are so easily deceived (as our earliest ancestors were in Gen. 3:5) in believing that we are God and so we go about our day in our own self-sufficiency (thinking we have it all figured out) as we make our plans excluding God from our thoughts and conversations (prayers). For those of us who have chosen to believe and receive the gracious gift of God in Christ we have another Divine option available that doesn’t have to rely on fallible wisdom (Rom. 8:9, 26, 15:13; Eph. 1:13, 3:16, 4:23).
Without God one only has to look at Romans 1:18-32 & Eph. 2:12 (or at much of our world today).
We’ve seen how our country has deteriorated in the areas where God has been removed. When I catch myself striving in my flesh during projects, errands, household tasks—life’s circumstances, I know that I’ve forgotten to make God first, consulting Him through His Word and prayer.
Frustration sets in
as a man sets his own course
without thoughts from God
God seems to have an interesting way of upsetting the plans we’ve made when we don’t bring Him in on the initial stages of things. We may find ourselves in circumstances that weren’t chosen by Him and suddenly realize that we’ve been “leaning on our own understanding”, not trusting in Him with all our heart. Proverb 3:5-6 says, “In ALL your ways acknowledge Him (not just in what we consider the more important things) and He will direct your paths.” The following verses show the benefits of including the Lord in every area of life—besides a lack of frustration, there will be direction, established plans, and a renewal that brings strength and health to our lives.
With God all things are possible—we have purpose, love, mercy, forgiveness of sins, hope, peace, protection, & escape from temptation (Matt. 19:26; Eph. 2:10, 2; Rom. 15:13, 5:1; Phil. 4:9; Eph. 6:10-17; 1 Cor. 10:13)…and a lack of frustration!
The Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the
thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of Immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He as affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesces in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott;
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean;
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton;
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton;
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry;
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton;
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark;
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris;
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn;
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross;
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery;
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr. Arthur Middleton;
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton