Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year in Review

I don't know why the text color is off. It's late, and I can't fix it. I hope you're able to read, and I apologize for any inconvenience.

If you've read the
LETTER I wrote in my previous post, you'll understand why I'm looking forward to 2016 and why I'd rather not look back on 2015.

One of the exciting things that happened this year was the publication of my first book since cancer:

Sales have gone well, and I've been happy with it. It's a historical, Christian romance. You can click HERE to find out what it's about.

Then there were a lot of overwhelming things that took place this year that pretty much left me without words, which is why I didn't write. My oldest daughter got married and moved out of state. I miss her terribly! I visited my dad in prison, and he met my youngest daughter for the very first time (I hadn't seen my dad in twelve years). Even got to see my grandma who lived in another state and passed away a few months after our visit. So glad I got to say goodbye to her.

There were also several events that made me feel unsafe. I lived in Holland for thirteen years, and I felt safer there than I do here in America. How sad that this "land of the free" is intolerant of people of faith, that Americans are killing other Americans, that the LBGT agenda is being taught to our children in public schools, that ISIS is on the rampage in other countries, and that so many nonsensical events and beliefs are being thrust upon so many (and we better not voice our opinions for fear of being politically incorrect), and God is basically left behind and forgotten in society, being tossed out with the trash. I wrote a post on gay marriage, attempted another on all the persecution believers have been suffering from money-hungry LBGT folks, but I couldn't post any of it. I couldn't bring myself to share the deep sorrow and discouragement I was feeling. Why dump that on others? But now I've shared it in a letter to both Christians and LBGT people. Hope it's not too heavy-handed.

Finally, a month or two ago, my oldest daughter (who's married and far away from me, *sniff*) shared something that gave me peace and hope. It was a reminder I desperately needed, and I hope it will encourage all of you. Allow me to quote what she posted on her Facebook page:

"In light of the recent events in this world I found this calming and was left in awe:

'14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good Romans 12:14-21.'"

Thank you, my precious girl, for sharing God's word and a passage that we ALL need. This is a good way to close out the year and start anew. Whew. I'm ready to go!

May God bless all of you in this upcoming new year! And may we all find peace in Him and His word, and keep in mind, this world is temporary, we're "just passing through."

2 Corinthians 4:18 "So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A letter to Christians and the LGBT community

I wrote this post the day after the law was passed in the Supreme Court, and I've been siting on this for a LONG time, unsure if I should even share my thoughts on the matter. But I finally decided to go ahead and share, so here goes nothin'...

When the Supreme Court of the United States passed “a law” forcing all States to embrace LGBT marriages, fear overtook me. I know God tells me not to be afraid because He is with me. But shamefully, I’m still afraid. I lay down at night in fear. I wake up in the morning fearful. I fear for all Christians in the “land of the free” and especially for the future of my kids. What’s crazy is, if the LGBT movement lost this case, I would still be afraid. 

For the first time in my life, I’m afraid to live in America. Isn’t this the country everyone is trying to get in to? Why in the world am I so afraid?

You see, when I lived in Holland (and I’m actually having thoughts of going back!), gay marriage was passed there a long time ago, and you know, I wasn’t “fearful.” Gay couples weren’t attacking Christian business owners who refused to serve at their weddings. In fact, I never heard of anything like that happening in Holland. Perhaps no one running those businesses were Christian? But here, in the land of the “free,” Christians are being taken to court, are being fined, are being threatened with jail time, are being accused of being “bigots!" Seriously? What would our forefathers think? They must be rolling in their graves! But what's even more important is what God thinks about all this.

The LGBT folks in Holland weren't afraid of Christians, nor did they get their "feelings hurt" because of their beliefs. They just wanted to be allowed to live the way they desired, and went on to do that. Period. And honestly, it’s their choice. Yes, LGBT is a "choice." Our heavenly Father would not condemn something that we have no control over. When it comes down to it, God has given us ALL freedom to choose, whether it’s “righteous” or not. Revelation 22:11, "Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy."

So . . . what's my problem?

This is my concern: freedom of religion is being threatened in America. Our Constitution has been tossed out the window. Should that surprise me? No. People have done the same thing with God’s word, so why would they honor a document made by man? Perhaps I’ve watched too much news, and maybe it’s time to get away from it, but these are just a few cases made against fellow believers for acting on their faith that have brought on my fear:

The Bible states clearly that homosexuality is a sin (Lev. 20:13, Rom. 1:26-32, 1 Tim. 1:9-10). I stand by God’s word. I MUST because He is my Father and I love Him.

Does this mean I “hate" homosexuals?

Of course not! God teaches us the opposite! He teaches us Christians to LOVE!

You see, I grew up with two moms. They love me, and I love them. To be completely honest, my mom (who wasn’t my mother by blood) showed more love than my “Christian” father who was abusive to us kids and many around him. I lived in fear of my father. During my years with two moms, I was taught by my “new mom” starting at the age of 7 that I was worthy of love, worthy of acknowledgment, worthy of someone’s time. She would sit with me for hours, helping me with homework, teaching me math, teaching me reading comprehension, encouraging me in my talents. The good that came from her not only ended with her, but I got a whole new family to boot! A new grandma, who’s still my grandma today, and more of a grandma to me than my other two grandmas had ever been! I gained a gazillion aunts and uncles (well, only 11, but still, that’s a lot). It was especially wonderful because I was a very lonely and frightened child. These strangers embraced me and invited me in to their family! And I did nothing to deserve their love and attention. Does that remind you of Someone? We don’t deserve God’s love, and yet He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16) so he could adopt us as His children.

God is the only One I know who can turn a tragedy into a blessing. In this case, God loved me through my new family. God cared for me through them. God taught me how to love others, despite our differences. God taught me through them not to fear anyone who was “different” than me because they are ALL made in the image of our Heavenly Father. And since He was willing to die for them, I should be willing to do the same.

I repeat: "God taught me not to fear those who are different." A note to the LGBT community: you don't have to fear Christians! We are not out to "get you!" All we want to do is "love" you by presenting the Truth. If you saw a flood coming that was going to wipe out an entire community, wouldn't you want to warn those people of the impending doom? Wouldn't you do everything in your power to save those people? That's all we Christians are doing. Throwing out life vests and life rafts! But every time we throw one out, Satan blinds your view and makes you see "bigots" hurtling "knives." That's not what we're sharing. We're sharing the love of Christ! And in the end . . . you don't have to take hold of the raft. You can toss away the life vest. It's your choice. It's not our job to drag you to the throne of God. He wants you to come willingly to Him. So . . . here's a vest. It's up to you if you're gonna take it or not.

Yes, I grew up around homosexuals. And they are the most loving people anyone could ever meet. But that doesn’t mean I should accept the LGBT “behaviors” as “okay.” It’s sinful. God made it clear. So, I need to listen and obey Him. Note, I said, “behaviors.” Not the people. I embrace the people! Not the sin. JESUS taught me how to do that. He's not a "bad guy!" Really! 

Does this mean I’m "Oh, so perfect" and better than any of the LGBT folks? 

Absolutely NOT. Romans 3:23 says “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Note, “all” leaves no one out! We’re all sinners! We’re all screw ups! And we are all given the chance to be forgiven!

I fall into the following list. I’ve told more lies than I can count. I'm guilty of idolatry, among other things not even mentioned here. There are plenty of other passages in the Bible that have me thoroughly condemned. I'm one nasty sinner, and yet, Jesus loves me. And he loves LGBT folks too.

As you read this passage, FOCUS on the very LAST VERSE. But also as you read, be honest. Have you ever been guilty of any of these sins? And if not these, what about others mentioned in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

We all desperately NEED Jesus! And ALL our sins CAN BE FORGIVEN!

So . . . whether you believe in Jesus or not, can you please see that whether or not you're LGBT, you are LOVED? We're all in the same boat, drowning in our sins. Can you please love us Christians back? We never went after you, never took you to court, or tried to get your money, never sent you hate mail and said we wished you were dead. And if someone did do that in the past, that wasn't us! That wasn't your neighbor who just happens to be a baker, a photographer, or a florist who tries to bring joy to people's lives. I mean, think about it. Where would we be without those people? 

My "mom" believes that out of the entire population 99.9 percent are good people. People who deserve honor and respect, people who just need to be loved. And she often quotes the passage (even though she's not a Christian), "Love your neighbor as yourself." Yes, those were Jesus' words, the words we Christians LIVE by (or SHOULD anyway). Why is it we can have peace with each other, while we still have our differences? Could it be because we're putting this verse into action?

LGBTs preach tolerance and love. Will you please love us Christians too? Will you please treat us the way you wish to be treated? Will you please PRACTICE what you PREACH?

To those Christians who are afraid like me, here is a passage that gave me comfort:

Psalms 34:7 
"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them."