Sunday, December 16, 2012

Answering the Question: Where Was God?

Where was God?  Was that the question Neil Cavuto asked Mike Huckabee after the tragic murder of 20 first graders, their principal, and teachers?  God was right there in the midst of them, right there with his wings around them comforting them as He lead them into His kingdom.  God was there when each of those teachers sheltered the rest of the students.  God was there when someone turned on the intercom so that the rest of the school knew something was wrong and to act immediately to save the children.  God was there when the custodian ran through the halls yelling that there was a gunman and to hide.  God was there when the principal and the teacher rushed the gunman to try to stop him.

Jesus Himself said "There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  These people in Sandy Hook Elementary School who immediately put their own bodies in between the shooter and the children were the hands and arms and feet and bodies of God.  Sandy Hook Elementary School, we are told, has 700 students, not counting the teachers and other staff.  The heroism shown by those teachers and the principal and janitor, as well as whoever it was who turned on the intercom so the rest of the school was on the alert immediately built a wall of defense the very best they could.  Twenty-eight lives were lost if I got the latest count. Over 672 lives were saved by their heroism.  Don't forget that.  We don't know yet what all happened in that school or why the shooter finally stopped shooting at everyone else and shot himself instead.  God is always working in our lives unseen but so few of us want to acknowledge His presence or His miracles.  Could you not choose to look at this event as a miracle that more lives were not lost?  That somehow, someway, it all occurred in just that one small location in the school and so many lives were spared IS a miracle.  That the killer chose guns rather than strategically placed bombs, or even a car bomb could be considered a miracle.  How much more damage would bombs have caused?  How much more loss of precious life?

Mike Huckabee said it right when he said that we are a society which has systematically removed God from our culture.  Here's the big mystery of our culture today.  People don't want to acknowledge that God exists, that is until something tragic happens.  But then instead of calling out to Him to invite Him back into our lives, we choose to blame him and question him and doubt Him. We never once remember that there is also a fallen archangel formerly named Lucifer but now known as Satan who is out there to destroy us in any way he can.  If God is real, then what He has said is real.  And God has told us that Satan roams the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  But it's so much easier for us to put the blame on God instead of putting it where it belongs, on Satan.  This world is full of both good and evil.  This world is at war.  Spiritual war between good and evil, between God and Satan.  It won't be much longer until the war ends and God wins.  But until then, Satan is getting in his best shots.  And there will be fallout.  Innocent lives get hurt, damaged, or killed in wars no matter what kind of war.  But God will win.

And God WAS with those children and their teachers.  He was with them just as He was with me when I was being molested fifty years ago from the ages of three to seven by old men who were neighbors, and teenage boys and girls who were neighbors, or the children of friends of the family.  How does a child get through that and live?  God. Now I am not going into any details.  Suffice it to say that was the late 1950's to early 1960's and people did not speak of such things.  But during at least one of those incidents, I apparently must have lost consciousness and woke to find myself in different clothing standing with Jesus Christ.  I felt nothing of the molestation.  I only knew what was happening right before and right after that evil incident. Instead I was being comforted by God.  So why didn't God just stop it from happening at all? Because He gave humans free will so they can choose who to follow, Him or Satan.  But He protected my life out of the incident.  He protected my mind and spirit.  And I absolutely KNOW God was with each of those children and their teachers Friday.

Those children died in a way that none of us ever want to even have to think about our children dying. But they were in the arms of God through it all, whether they could see Him or whether He kept Himself unseen.  The Bible says that God knows each and every sparrow that falls to the ground and that we are of much greater value than many sparrows.  You can legislate God out of our schools and out of our public lives to where you don't think He is there.  But God is everywhere and God is still in school.  Especially when someone overtaken in evil for whatever reason attacks God's precious little ones.  Your laws cannot keep God out of school.  They may force people to be silent about God and not read our Bibles in school.  But those of us who carry God in our hearts take God everywhere we go.  Yes, even into the schools.

So for anyone who is wondering where God was Friday morning, remind them that God was giving strength to the heroes and heroines at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Because that's what He was doing.  As long as evil still exists in this world, we will have to deal with it.  But God is always right there ready if we call out to Him for help.  He is always there giving us strength and courage when we are weak and afraid.  And God is there for anyone even now who needs Him and sincerely calls out to Him for help right now.  And as tragic and sad as it is that 20 young lives were ended on this earth, God escorted them with His angels into His presence for all eternity, to be missed on earth, but to be reunited later with those who choose to believe.

This shooting along with the mall shooting earlier will no doubt be brought up later as political fuel to fan the flames of the heated gun control battle.  It's shameful and embarrassing that our political leaders would stoop to such manipulations to try to force their agenda into the spotlight.  Gun control would not have prevented such tragedies.  As we have been reminded, the Oklahoma City bombing wasn't about guns.  It was about fertilizer.  The terrorism of 9-11 was not about guns.  It was about airplanes, and box cutters.  Shortly after that fears at the airport caused everyone's shoes, open drinks, and even shampoo bottles to be things to be searched for possible bombs.  You can legislate everything until there is nothing more to legislate.  But as long as there is evil in the world, there will still be murders, molestations, crime, hate, and everything else that leads to destruction.  Only God brings peace, love, and true freedom.  And no matter how much you try to legislate God out of the world, for those of us who believe, He will always live in our hearts.  I guess that's why the Bible prophesies that eventually, since legislating everything else doesn't work to get rid of God, killing off the believers will do it.  Hitler tried it with the Jews and those Christians who reached out to help their Jewish brothers and sisters.  Hitler did a lot of damage.  But Hitler's plans failed.  God is still here in our hearts.  God will always be in the schools and anywhere else this world tries to remove Him from.  He created this world.  You can't take Him out of that.  You can't take God out of the beautiful sunsets, or the majestic ocean waves.  You can't take God out of any of His glorious creation.

Those 20 beautiful children are His creation as well, along with the school staff who also died protecting the children.  So, the next time you ask, or you hear someone else ask, "Where was God?", you tell them what I said.  Or give them this article.  I believe over time as healing begins in Newtown, we may begin to hear more and more stories of the miracles happening that kept people alive.  We will hear more and more of the bravery and heroism of the staff who kept the children hidden and safe and calm.  Managing to keep 628 elementary school students safe and calm in that situation had to be a miracle in itself.  It was God's guiding hand helping the teachers and staff know what to do, when and how to do it.

Psalm 33:12 says: " Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."  You want to know where God is?  Right here waiting for us to invite Him back into our lives and our culture.  But He isn't interested in puppets who love Him with a fake love.  He wants real love from His real creation--us.  That's why He gave us free will.  Why is there evil in the world?  Because too many are enticed away by the devil to choose Satan's lifestyle and corruption.  It's our choice and has always been our choice to invite God into our lives or send Him away.  But if this country continues to send Him away, don't expect to be blessed.  Stop singing God bless America and turning around and locking Him out of yet some other part of our society.  We've locked Him out of far too much already.  It's time to open those doors, admit we were wrong, and invite Him back.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Catching Up With Squidoo

Lately I've been putting in a lot of time writing on Squidoo. You can see many of my Squidoo lenses listed on the sidebar here.  But I keep writing more and more and just don't seem to keep as caught up here as I would like to be so you can see what I have been doing.  So this post it to give you more information about Squidoo in general, and especially information about my lenses.

Squidoo is a website where you can write and earn money by including various sales modules that sell items related to your topic.  You can also add your affiliates in come cases as well.  The thing about Squidoo is that as Squidoo makes money, you make money too.  Squidoo knows that if you were not writing there, they would have no page so they make sure you have a chance to do your best.  You can obviously click the link provided here to go to their site to learn more.  For now, I want to do a little review of some of my most recent lenses.

Well, the big news is that I have just recently become a GIANT SQUID which means that I have written and published at least 25 quality lenses. I actually have 37 published and a few others that are still in the working stage.  There are some perks to being a Giant Squid such as being able to give other lensmasters 25 points when I click that I like their page, instead of 4 points.  I like that best.  Then I also get some creative perks as well.  One of the requirements of becoming a Giant Squid was that I had to have a lens about me which I really wasn't all that inspired about writing.  But I gave it a few days thought and finally I came up with this one.  Who or What Is a Capirani? is one of my newest lenses.  The cool thing about this lens is that it really does tell you (hopefully) in an interesting way, who I really am.  Oh I don't go into real personal areas, but it ended up being fun to write.  I hope you take a look and post a comment to let me know what you thought of it.  

Another thing I have done is joined the Squidoo Book Club.   Members of the Book Club create specific lenses related to books and twice each month Squidoo has a topic competition and any members wanting to participate can by creating a lens falling into the categories listed for each competition.  Then people, including other Squidoo lensmasters, and any of our friends or family we ask, get to vote on the best lens posted in that category.  The winner gets an Amazon gift card or a choice of a free book from that contest's category.  I've entered twice so far.  Here are the two lenses I've created for the Squidoo Book Club.  

Scrambled Eggs Super by Dr. Seuss was written about one special book by Dr. Seuss that I discovered while visiting at a friend's home.  I got to read it to her kids and my kids that night and had all of us rolling with laughter while I tried to read Dr. Seuss' made up poetic words without getting my tongue tied in knots.  I wrote this lens for the category of Best Children's Fiction Book.  I didn't win.  But I did get a lot of attention which is another way of winning since being in these contests helps drive traffic to us and therefore helps us maybe make more sales.

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing The Will of God Workbook was written for the competition for favorite non-fiction book.  I would have done one on The Bible but I knew others were going to write about the Bible and I wanted to have mine be different.  Although I did not win, I got a lot of really nice comments from those who went to look at my lens.  But Bible study books ARE my favorite of all non-fiction books and I do believe this one tops my list.

The other night after talking to my grandson, the idea for this lens popped into my head.  Collecting John Deere Toys was the result.  That boy just loves his toy farm equipment and he came by that as naturally as anyone does.  His father and grandfather have been avid collectors of John Deere toys for many years.  In fact I think his grandfather began the collection when he had his only child, the young man who married my daughter.  He also collected the toys so combined now, my grandson has more than I would ever be able to guess.  My son-in-law died in 2008 and at that time in their house there was one whole room just dedicated to the toys.  I have no clue what toys were at his father's house too.

Shortly after that I had the idea from having just done that lens, and also from seeing a photo of a vintage camera that I could do a lens about collecting cameras, and that's exactly what I did.  Collecting Cameras is the result.  I found a lot of interesting information about the history of cameras and photography as well as got to see quite a few interesting models of old vintage cameras.

To get to the complete listing of all of my lenses, you can visit this site here which is my personal Squidoo profile.  This lens list shows everything I've done so you can explore and really get another look at who I am through the words of my lenses.  They are all about the things I am most interested in at the time I am writing them.

As I said, I have 37 active lenses and most of them are listed here on the sidebar.  Please feel free to share the links on your pages.  I'll gladly reciprocate as long as the links are family-friendly.  That's about all the news for you tonight. 

Jonah and I say goodnight to you all.  As you can see here, he's resting while my friend Sara puts up my Christmas tree.  He may believe he's guarding the branches.  Jonah is such a good dog.  He's in his winter hair cut.  But I am going to have to do something about the hair around his eyes.

Keep Going.

If you get off-track in life, check your GPS (Godly Positioning System--The Bible) to get going in the right direction. Believe me, I've gotten off the path many times in my life and still sometimes miss a turn here or there. More times than I can remember or can count. Thank God He gave us His map, His love letter, The Bible, to help us find our way. Nobody is running the same exact race, so we don't need to look at someone else to see how they are doing or how they might be measuring up. We are responsible only for the race we each are running. When we fall, Jesus is there to pick us up. All we have to do is ask. I might be the last one over the finish line. I might be the slowest one or the most clumsy. But as long as I keep going, I will win my race. My race (and your race) is not dependent on what anyone else does or their progress. Just keep going. Keep checking with the GPS God gave us. That's the only way to win this race.

If you are discouraged today, remember that those who have finished the race before us are cheering us on as are the angels, and God Himself. You are going to make it.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2 Chronicles 7:14 What Does That Look Like?

2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

What that would look like???

People everywhere who are calling themselves after the Name of God:
1. Humbling themselves
2. Praying
3. Seeking God's face
4. Turning from their wicked ways

"THEN..." God says...

"...then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

This Christmas season while we are out there complaining because we have to see "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" everywhere instead of Merry Christmas...this season when we are fighting for the best parking spaces so we don't have to walk far, pushing and shoving to get the best items on the shelves...(so we will be loved by our children and family and friends, right? Or so they will love our gifts better than any of the other gifts?)

This season when we are upset about having "Big Government" and "Big Brother" watching our every move...but we want that same government to deal with all the poor people, the homeless, the sick, etc...that same government ruling a country that is divided with over killing unborn children and gay marriage...while we spend our time with sports, shopping, cooking big family feasts, decorating our lavish homes...yet we still send the poor to the government for assistance (all the while complaining about them even needing assistance) while we expect the government to do all this without raising our taxes...well this could go on and on and on.

2000 years ago there was no room in the inn for a poor man and his very pregnant wife to lodge for the night.  It wasn't that they didn't have money to pay.  The innkeeper just had no more room left. (Wondering...could he not have opened his own room to a woman about to deliver a child instead of sticking her in a dirty barn?)  It's our sinful human nature that makes these choices.  We wonder today why people don't like church...why the church turns people off instead of drawing them least in America.  In other poorer countries around the world, the churches are overflowing.  How do we respond to that?

John 13:5 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

What does this love look like?  Apparently not what we are showing others who really need to see Jesus. 

When the Christian Church sends people away rather than helping them...when the Christian church is more concerned with business and building bigger, better buildings, and lots of good programs within the church...but shutting those in need out...when they make money such a big issue that people feel ashamed if they don't give even what they can't instead they stay away...and when that money they do give isn't really reaching the poor or the people Christ wants it to go to help...

 How can we expect to get rid of big government until we change?  How can we expect God to bless us until we change?

Well...back up to 2 Chronicles 7:14 again...what DOES that look like?