Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God Will Not Forget You

Discouragement is a real obstacle to our progress in life. Just when we think things are beginning to go in our direction, something happens, and we suffer a setback. We all know what discouragement feels like because we all have to deal with it. Did you know that Jesus dealt with discouragement when he lived on this earth? These words are written about Jesus, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing” (Isaiah 49:4). Jesus expressed his discouragement at times, "O unbelieving and perverse generation...…how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Matt. 17:17). Jesus knew what it felt like to be despised and rejected, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).

It is important to remember that Jesus lived like us in a human body with the full gamut of human emotions, and though he did not sin, he knows our weaknesses. He never strutted across the stage of human history as the Roman conquerors did. He identified himself with us—the common person. He lived in obscurity and fulfilled the will of his father.

How did he respond to the discouragement? That is an important question because we need to know how Jesus dealt with a real problem like discouragement. The answer is found in the latter half of the same verse in Isaiah, “Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God." (Isaiah 49:4).

Jesus trusted God with the future, with his work and with the problem. He never abandoned his faith, nor did he turn away in cynical unbelief though he was tempted to do so. He deliberately chose to trust God with each setback. What an example for each of us.

How many times are we disappointed with the results? We want more. We want a different outcome than the one we got. Jesus’ attitude is, “This is not what I expected or hoped for, but nevertheless, I will contend myself with what the Lord says is due me. This is not the reward I had my heart set on, but I will accept and receive with joy the reward God gives.”

I don’t know what setback you are experiencing right now, but whatever it is, the best way to respond to it is the way Jesus did. Look to God and say to him, “Whatever is due me is in the Lord’s hand.” This mentality embraces a sovereign view of God. He is greater than my problems or even my opponents. God is watching out for me, and I can trust him with all my disappointments.

When we are discouraged, we often feel the Lord has forsaken us. Israel felt this way, “But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." (Isaiah 49:14). These feelings are common, and God knows we can face them. This is why he told Israel he would never forget them, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

God is always mindful of us, and he will never forget us. I hope these words will impress you today with how much God loves you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Enjoying Life

One of the greatest challenges in life is to enjoy life. As we get older, life gets more complicated, and of course there are always problems to deal with. Then there is the unexpected which often times brings undesirable circumstances. If we are not careful, these challenges will make us cynical, unenthusiastic and bored with life.

I work at enjoying my life. First on the list is my relationship with God, and I want that relationship to be vibrant and alive. As David said, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God,” (Psalms 42:1), so also it is my desire to experience God’s presence. Secondly is my desire to enjoy my wife, children and grandchildren. There is a special joy that family brings to our hearts that cannot be equaled from any other source, and for this I am grateful.

This past week my family and I traveled to California for a few days of vacation. We had the privilege of traveling with our son Eric and his wife and two beautiful daughters. We also had the privilege of seeing firsthand the wonders of God’s creation throughout the 9 states we were driving through.

The reason for this trip was to participate in the celebration of the 100th birthday of Marilyn’s grandmother. Grandmother Peters was born on October 20, 1912, in Willow Springs, Missouri.  She is a committed believer and has always loved God and devoted her life to serving him; even at this age she never misses a church service.  She truly has been an example for her entire family.

When my life is over, I want my children and grandchildren to remember a dad and grandpa who loved God, life love, and loved them. I hope they will remember someone who was fun to be around. I certainly don’t want them to remember me by my problems but by my faith and my desire to live life to the fullest.

I have lived long enough to know that life can be disappointing with plenty of regrets to go around. However, God is able to take any regrets we have and turn them into opportunities for Him to do something in our lives. This is really what Paul wrote to the Romans: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
(Romans 8:28).

Learning to be content in life is not easy, and I emphasize the learning part. Paul said, “… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11-12). Even for Paul, he admits that he had to learn how to do this. When we do learn this, and I am encouraging you to learn it, it makes all the difference in the world in whether or not we enjoy life. Life is too short and too important to not enjoy, so let’s focus on what is important and not sweat the small stuff.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Will You Take A Stand

It seems the one religion in the world that can be persecuted and ridiculed with the approval of our society is Christianity. Obama and his administration have made their view of Christianity very clear. In May of 2009 he refused to host the National Day of Prayer but has hosted dinners to celebrate Ramadan each year of his term. In April of 2009 he ordered that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered while speaking in a Catholic University. In disrespect of Christian values Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican in April of 2009. In October of 2010 he begins omitting the phrase “the Creator” from the Declaration of Independence. In August of 2011 the Obama administration releases its new health rules requiring health care workers to perform abortions regardless of their religious views. In November 2011 Obama avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. January 2012 his administration argues that churches have no protection from the First Amendment when hiring pastors or rabbis. February 2012 Obama’s administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, with one exception—any student loan related to religion.

In June of 2011 the Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial services at Houston National Cemetery. September 2011 the Army forbids Bibles from being given to soldiers in Walter Reed Medical Center. June 2012 the Bibles that have been printed from the beginning of our existence as a country and given to soldiers in war are stopped by this administration. August 2010 the administration cuts all funding to abstinence education programs. Feb 2011 Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. In October 2011 the administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. September 2011 Obama orders the Pentagon to direct chaplains to perform same-sex marriage in violation of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. January 2011 the Obama administration disobeys a court order to transfer federal land to a private entity for a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert. August 2012 ObamaCare mandates Catholic Hospitals and Universities and private companies owned by religious people to pay for abortion and contraception as part of the health care they provide for their employees.[1]

There is probably no group of people that has seen its religious liberties ripped away as much as military chaplains under the Obama rule. They have been told they will not be exempted from performing same-sex marriages. They have been ordered to not explain the biblical view of homosexuality from now on because it is no longer acceptable to this administration. They have been told that no disobedience on this area will be tolerated. It has become very clear that any chaplains who are enticed to reject biblical Christianity can expect promotions and those who teach the Biblical view will be court martialed.

There is more than a pattern here; there is blatant hostility toward the church, pastors and Christians. If Obama has another term, we will see the treatment chaplains are receiving now extended to pastors and churches.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago writes about the crisis of our freedom of religion:

Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship—no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice, and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long, cold war to defeat that vision of society.

The strangest accusation in this manipulated public discussion has the bishops not respecting the separation between church and state. The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself a church. The bishops didn’t begin this dismaying conflict or choose its timing.[2]

[2] Phylllis, Schlafly, No Higher Power, Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C. 2012, pp. 11-12.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life, Liberty and Property

On July 4, 1776, our forefathers signed one of the most important documents in our history as a nation. It is one of our founding documents—The Declaration of Independence. It was signed unanimously by all thirteen original States of America. The abuse of a King who believed that the colonies existed for none other than his benefit brought a long train of injustice. That abuse was finally answered in this wonderful document. The Declaration begins with these words:

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, —

First and foremost, our forefathers acknowledged that we have a creator and that he created us all as equals. He endowed us with God-given rights. These rights come from God and cannot be taken away by the government, and when they are, as in our forefathers’ case, something has to be done. These rights were enumerated as Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and were further enunciated in the Bill of Rights, with the Right to Worship and the Right to Bear Arms. The founding fathers believed in the right to own property, as William Blackstone declared: “So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property that it will not authorize the least violation of it – no, not even for the general good of the whole community”[i]

Never before in our history have we experienced an attack against these unalienable Rights like we are seeing at this time. The Right to Life has been assailed by this White House. The new health care mandate overrides religious conscience protection for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. This order compels Christian health care workers to perform abortions against their convictions. H.H.S. healthcare mandates require religious companies, such as Hobby Lobby, to pay for the abortions and contraceptives of their workers, even if it violates the owners’ religious rights. David Green the CEO writes: “Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It's not right.” No, it’s not right! This health care mandate is an attack on our rights of Life and Liberty.

The third area under attack is the Right to own property. Thomas Jefferson maintained that the purpose of government “is to declare and enforce only our natural [inalienable, God-given] rights and duties and to take none of them from us, including the right to own, use, and enjoy one’s own private property.”[ii] When the government seeks to take the property of one man solely for the purpose of redistributing the wealth, it is stealing. We have seen the Federal Government strengthened in its power to take our property. We have heard the president declare that he intends to see that everyone gets his fair share. Socialism the world over has failed to prove itself as a successful model of government, but none-the-less, we move closer to a socialistic state every day.

I urge you to vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, for your God-given Rights of Life, Liberty and Property.

[i] William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771), Vol. I, p. 139; see also The Founders’ Constitution, “Property: William Blackstone, Commentaries” (at
[ii] Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, editor (Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1830), Vol. IV, p. 278, to Francis Gilmer, June 7, 1816.