Watching a particular scene, in the recently released movie Grace Unplugged, has prompted within me the desire to pour out my thoughts and feelings concerning it. Referring to his wayward eighteen year old daughter, Grace's father says, as he looks heavenward, "She's yours now, Lord."
Yes, how necessary it is for all parents, who have surrendered their allegiance to Jesus, to surrender total parenting control to Him as well. Of course, no matter what, He is in control whether or not we humans turn over our supposed control to Him. Thankfully, He works in our lives and in the lives of our children no matter how much control we do or do not relinquish to Him. God the Father, as the only perfect parent, loves our children even more than we do, and what He has planned for them is best. His ways are higher than our ways, and there will always be much we are unable to understand about His ways. As we spend time wrestling in prayer with Him, seeking His guidance, He will afford us His wisdom, knowledge and right thinking on how to parent our children. Our children are unmitigated blessings from Him, and to be blessed by Him with children is an awesome responsibility, one never to be taken lightly. With each passing year, as our children grow older, we afford them realistic opportunities to make more decisions for themselves. As they make poor decisions, they can choose to learn from them or not. This is all part of striving for independence that begins the very day of our birth.
Many these days have made a practice of accusing disciples of Jesus of brainwashing our children, by simply teaching them to seek God and His will through prayer and obedience to the precepts set forth in His Holy Word. They would prefer for us to offer our children up as sacrifices to the state, as if the state is not in the business of indoctrination. How convoluted and destructive this type of thinking is. How irresponsible and unloving it would be to keep from our children knowledge of the only way to truth, the only way to holy and righteous living, the only way to life eternal, the only way to peace that passes all understanding and joy unspeakable and full of glory. We are all born knowing God, with a conscience that divides right from wrong. The world begins it's seduction as soon as we are born into it, and if responsible parents remove their God-given, authoritative, loving teaching and correction from our children, how much sooner will the sad fall from truth inevitably occur. All of God's children have rebelled against Him, except for His only perfect child, so we can count on our imperfect children rebelling. Contrary to what some believe about themselves, human parents are also imperfect. How easy it is for folks to have all of the answers when they have been faced with none of the problems personally. This seems particularly true when it comes to parenting.
Yes, we are called to relinquish our parental control to God's ultimate authority, while at the same time, we are called by God to do our part in guiding our children along the narrow way to eternal life. We are partners in conjunction with God as we raise our children to know Him and to make Him known. We will all make many heartbreaking mistakes in raising our children, and many variables come into play as we do so. There are those among us who feel things much more deeply than do others, for we allow ourselves to. Some children linger long in the nest while others fly to independence much earlier. Some live close by, while others live at a great distance. Myriad varying influences come into children's lives, for good and for bad. Some families are exceedingly blessed by being able to remain in their home areas, where their ancestral roots are firm and deep, while others lose their close systems of loving support as they move away from such vital, life-giving and enhancing familiar connections. There are families whose members are intimately connected, and families that are much more loosely joined. There are children whose lives are always open books unto their parents, while children in other families have many chapters that remain ever closed to their parents. How exceedingly easy it is for those among us who have not yet become parents, especially parents of rebellious teens, to offer up advice to those of us who are in the midst of unimaginable suffering and heartbreak, due to the rebellion of our teens. There are many who would rather point the finger of condemnation, even relishing in the pain that we are suffering, because they believe that the suffering is deserved. Instead of helping to bear our burden by lovingly coming alongside to offer comfort, encouragement, inspiration and love, or simply a shoulder to cry on, they prefer to say, "I told you so." It's as if they want us to wallow in our disappointment and pain, as they withhold loving support. Another hurtful reaction to our pain is when others are not willing to grieve with us, as they unthinkingly tell us we should move past our pain. How can we move past it when it's an ongoing condition? We're living in the midst of it on a daily basis, wondering what antics our rebellious teens will act out next. What hurtful words will they sling and why? Will they come home tonight or not? If not, where are they, with whom and what are they doing? Is it illegal, safe, healthy? Whom are they harming besides themselves and their concerned family? Will they end up in jail or possibly dead? We will not be able to move past the torment until our prodigals return to their first love - Jesus, who is the truth. Sadly, many are unwilling to listen as we seek healing and comfort through talking about it. Until someone has walked in another's shoes, quite often we are sorely unequipped to extend the mercy, compassion and discernment needed in order to display the love of Jesus to another. WHY IS THAT? The reality of it is, as long as our child is a prodigal, our hearts will remain broken, that is, if we are responsibly engaged with our children. Of course, the Bible instructs us to be content whatever state we are in, and as hurting parents, we can achieve a state of contentment. It's necessary for us to be able to function in our daily lives. However, it is wise of us to remember that there will be days where we will be utterly depleted due to fighting the ongoing battle for our souls, and we will be unable to quench the grievous weeping over our children from deep within. It's healthier to allow ourselves to feel the deep well of profound pain, for then we are also able to feel the deep well of profound joy that is also a significant part of our lives, as we abide in Jesus. To attempt to stifle the devastating pain is unrealistic and crippling. Out of our painful experiences comes the ability to reach out to others in their suffering. It enables us to make a difference for good in this life as well as into eternity. It's part of the refinement process as we become more like Jesus, if we allow it. Out of our deep pain, we become warriors for Him, soldiers of the Cross, as we determine to keep our branches in His vine.
Check out my daughter's first pro-life pregnancy center banquet keynote address, September 19, 2013. You'll be exceedingly blessed! It just happened to be my mother's 82nd birthday, and she was able to join our entire family there! It was definitely a Jesus occasion! :) I felt God smiling as my humble daughter wrapped up her compelling speech and received a standing ovation!
There is something that I simply must share with you this month. It concerns the moral collapse we are experiencing as a nation. It has many dimensions, but the aspect that troubles me most is the assault on Christianity and religious liberty, orchestrated by the Obama Administration and its associates on the Far Left. Our Founding Fathers would not have believed a day would come when American citizens would elect a government that is openly hostile to the Cause of Christ. It is true. Traditional standards of morality and righteousness are fading away like smoke on a windy afternoon.
Rather than trying to explain what is happening to religious liberty in America, it will become clear by reading an editorial written by Congressman Tim Huelskamp, from the First District of Kansas. He focuses specifically on what the Commander-in-Chief and his senior officers are doing to the U.S. military, as follows:
If Army chaplain Emil Kapaun served in Afghanistan today rather than Korea six decades ago, President Obama would probably give the Catholic priest discharge papers instead of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In Obama's Army, the Pentagon brass is ordained in the priesthood of political correctness, while devout Christians such as Medal of Honor recipient Emil Kapaun are shunned and ostracized. At all times between the presidential terms of George Washington and George W. Bush, the open practice of Christianity in the ranks was widespread and the open practice of homosexuality was deemed incompatible with military service. In the Obama era, the reverse is true.
President Obama is a wartime Commander-in-Chief. No, I don't mean the obvious (Iraq or Afghanistan). I'm talking about his preference for waging a race war, a gender war, class warfare, generational warfare, and – with escalating aggression and mounting casualties – a culture war. With the exceptions of free enterprise and traditional marriage, no institution has been more "radically transformed" by the Obama regime than our Armed Forces. Given President Obama's notorious contempt for Americans who "cling to their Bibles" and "guns," perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by his Administration's hostility to service members who espouse traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs.
The persecution of Christians and conservatives has become increasingly brazen and pervasive since the President took office four and one half years ago. To "protect patients" from proselytizing or prayer, Walter Reed Army Medical Center banned wounded warriors' family members from "bringing or using Bibles" during visits. The Department of Veterans Affairs barred Christian prayers at a National Cemetery. The President signed the law that repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Attorney General refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, and the Department of Defense authorized unholy "matrimony" ceremonies at military installations even before the Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA.
A war games scenario at Ft. Leavenworth identified evangelical Christian groups as a national security threat.
A field grade officer listed the American Family Association and Family Research Council as "domestic hate groups" and directed his subordinate officers to monitor soldiers who might be supporters. Evangelist Franklin Graham was un-invited from the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer service. A training exercise funded by the Department of Homeland Security portrayed home-schooling families as domestic terrorists.
Last year, I introduced the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act. The bill requires the military to accommodate service members' moral principles and religious beliefs so long as they don't "threaten good order and discipline," forbids the military from using an individual's beliefs as the basis for an adverse personnel action, and forbids the military from forcing chaplains to perform homosexual marriage ceremonies. My bill's language was included in the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last December.
When President Obama signed it into law, he claimed the conscience protections I authored were "unnecessary and ill-advised." But recent events confirm the new law was necessary, well-advised, and prophetic. These episodes exemplify the new military culture, one that rebukes those who practice Christianity and rewards those who worship at the altar of political correctness.
Army Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers' superiors told him to remove the conservative, Republican, and scripture-quoting bumper stickers from his personal vehicle. He was told he must avoid being seen reading books authored by Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, or David Limbaugh while in uniform. He was investigated for serving Chick-fil-A food at his promotion party to express his support for traditional marriage. In retribution, the Army is pursuing trumped up disciplinary charges against him.
The Utah Air National Guard cancelled the six-year re-enlistment contract of Tech Sergeant Layne Wilson because he told a chaplain he thought the chapel at West Point shouldn't be used for a homosexual wedding. An Air Force officer was required to hide from view the Bible he once kept on top of his desk. An Air Force chaplain's video tribute to sergeants was banned for fear it would offend an "agnostic, atheist, or Muslim." The chaplain's video narration said: "On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, 'I need someone who will take care of the Airmen.' So God created a First Sergeant."
Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee told a National Day of Prayer audience that Christian service members are being told to hide their faith and religious liberty is being threatened by Pentagon lawyers. Army Reserve training materials listed Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, and Orthodox Judaism as extremist religious groups alongside Al-Qaeda and Hamas. This is especially outrageous since the Obama Administration continues to classify the mass shooting at Ft. Hood (in which 13 people were killed by Army Major Nidal Hasan) as "workplace violence" rather than admit it was a terrorist attack carried out by a radicalized Muslim.
In April, several Generals consulted Mikey Weinstein – the anti-Christian zealot dedicated to attacking men and women of any faith – to solicit his help writing Air Force policies concerning "religious tolerance." If there's one person whose advice the Pentagon brass shouldn't solicit, it is that of Mr. Weinstein, a man who says the military ranks are full of "Christian fundamentalist monsters" whose evangelizing constitutes "spiritual rape," "a national security threat," and "sedition and treason." After Weinstein telephoned the Pentagon to complain about a painting displayed at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, it was removed less than one hour later. The painting bore the word "Integrity" and the citation "Matthew 5:9" (the verse says:"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God").
Mr. Weinstein bragged to The Washington Post that the Defense Department expressed its willingness to ban proselytizing (i.e., evangelizing, sharing one's faith, or spreading the Gospel) and added, "We need half a dozen court-martials real quick." Days later, the Pentagon issued a statement to the news media that announced: "Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense." After reading about this alarming situation on my Facebook page, a Sergeant First Class posted the following comment: "This is why I am retiring. ... The liberals are destroying our values." One wonders how long before the radical Weinstein and his Pentagon pals find and punish this Sergeant.
These revelations highlight the fact that Obama's war on God-fearing servicemen is not only morally repugnant, but also threatens the long-term soundness of our voluntary military. Who wants to join an organization that increasingly caters to homosexuals and atheists, meanwhile denigrating Christians and traditional marriage? If you care nothing at all about the constitutional free exercise rights of our servicemen, surely you can at least see the dangers to military readiness posed by such harassment and persecution.
In April, I attended the White House ceremony at which President Obama presented Ray Kapaun with the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to his uncle, Chaplain (Captain) Emil Kaupan. A farm boy from my congressional district in Kansas, the "Patriot Priest of the Korean Conflict," saved countless lives of fellow soldiers on the battlefield, along the death march to the Pyoktong Prisoner of War camp, and during the seven months of captivity that preceded his murder by communist Chinese guards in May 1951.
I can only imagine what Mr. Weinstein would say about the "how to witness Christianity" proselytizing clinic that Fr. Kapaun put on in the POW camp or this report of repatriated American soldiers: "He was their hero – their admired and beloved 'padre.' He kept up the G.I.'s morale, and most of all [caused] a lot of men to become good Catholics."
It speaks volumes that Fr. Kapaun had Protestants, Jews, and atheists saying the Rosary, singing the Lord's Prayer, and praying together at the Easter sunrise service he led, all in defiance of the communist camp guards who ridiculed his devotion to faith and punished him for it. In a detailed account of the priest's life, Arthur Tonne wrote: "He has transmitted to every one of us a new appreciation of America, and a keener, more realistic understanding of our country's greatest enemy – godlessness."
When Fr. Kapaun was being carried to the "Death House" (i.e., isolation without food or water), the Muslim POWs from Turkey stood at attention to honor him. According to witnesses, Fr. Kapaun blessed the very guards who were murdering him by saying, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." President Obama should be earnestly and prayerfully seeking more such men, not forging a military where they are not welcome, or where the very actions that once earned them the Medal of Honor are now forbidden by the Commander-in-Chief.
Only in America ... actually, only in Barack Obama's and Mikey Weinstein's America ...1
Huelskamp's analysis of hostility to people of faith in the military is shocking. It will weaken us as a nation and demoralize those who are fighting to defend our freedoms. A similar article could be written about other dimensions of the religious war. One of them concerns children and what the pagan culture is doing to their understanding of biblical truth. They are being taught that God is irrelevant, discriminatory and unconstitutional. It has profound implications for their young minds.
Most adult Christians are grounded in their faith and are not likely to be shaken off the limb. However, our children and teens are at much greater risk. They lack the spiritual foundation to reject the distortions they are being told, or to resist the propaganda that invades their lives. They can be twisted and warped by a society that glorifies wickedness.
Shame on the schools and churches that are teaching the young that sexual immorality is not an offense against the Almighty, whether it is homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. Sin is sin, and our leaders used to call it by that name. Now children hear regularly that perversity is a civil right protected by the Constitution. But biblical truth has not changed. The wages of sin is still death, as it has always been.
The Prophet Micah said, "Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds!" Micah 2:1
Isaiah issued the same warning: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20
Family Talk exists, in part, to help defend righteousness in the culture. We are also attempting to help parents protect their children from those who would undermine their beliefs and values. The best way to do that is to maintain the connectedness between parents and kids. Mothers and fathers can't afford to become so busy and distracted that they miss the most important purpose in living, which is to introduce their children to Jesus Christ and teach them a Christian worldview from early in life.
This is our mission, and we are working tirelessly on it. It is why we are preparing a new eight-DVD series called, Building A Family Legacy, and why I am writing a book for parents on the same theme.
If you agree with this objective and can assist us financially here at the end of a very lean summer, we would certainly appreciate your support. Thank you so much for getting us through these past couple of months. The attack on religious liberty is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Anything you can do to oppose it in the public square would be wise. We will join you in that cause.
Now y’all know I tend toward the kinder gentler form of blogging, right? Y’all know that my meemaw would not approve of me hollerin’ in public like some hick with rollers in my hair and a Marlboro hangin’ out of my mouth. Well, I’ve been asked more than a few times by some of y’all to stop being shy, to not be so damn polite and just speak boldly what I believe.
Well, ok, – here’s one for ya…
There are folks claiming to be Christians who feed on a heart-full of arrogant, ignorant, narrow interpretations of a dislodged handful of scripture and a head full of misogynistic, sycophant opportunists masquerading as self-proclaimed prophets. In my limited time on this blue ball I have experienced them as more interested in cramming their world-views, justified by a murky interpretation of holy texts, down an already parched throat than they are willing to allow the Spirit of grace and love to permeate their lives and be cooled by the waters of honest and faithful dialogue where a posture of listening and questioning are the paddles that keep us moving in this journey toward The Center. One such individual had the tits to ask if I take Matthew 25 literally since that is “the heart of the social gospel.” I figured a full post in reply was worth my time, and maybe yours.
Sister – you are wrong on your thoughts about more than a few things (yes, I have taken the time to read your blog). Though you are not wrong about Christians like Bonhoeffer, tenBoom and Stowe, you are dead wrong in your esteem for a people such as the Dobsons, Pipers, Spurgeons and Franklin Grahams of the world – how you can conflate the two types I am truly baffled.
Yes, I take Matthew 25 quite seriously and yes, I read it as one core element of the over-arching Narrative that calls me to speak up on the side of love for ALL people. But you are wrong if you think I take it literally – hell you do not really take it literally for if you did you would think it is actually and literally talking about wooly little sheep and bristly old goats not an allegory about types of people -parables are not literal. Yep, I read Matthew 25 and take it to deeply to heart and believe there are sheep and goats in the world you just don’t realize I think you might be one of the goats.
I believe the goats are the ones who persecute others in the name of legalistic religion devoid of love and compassion – and perhaps so did Jesus (Mark 3:1-6) . I believe the goats are the ones who spend more time and money ranting about sexuality than caring for the poor, hungry and imprisoned – and just maybe Jesus did too (John 8). And I sure as hell believe the goats are the ones who claim that God would allow children to be slaughtered because an earthly government actually believes in the protection of ALL religion and can not allow state-sanctioned prayer of ONE religion in public schools. That sort of belief about God is blasphemy and I will not tolerate it anymore. As Rachel Held Evans said – God cannot be kept out. Any blithering Fox news rant or pathetic blog that claims God would do such is blasphemy plain and simple. God did not allow or cause such horror. That is not the God of the manger, that is not the God of the Beatitudes, that is not the God executed by the state on a cross and that is not the God of the empty tomb.
It is time that more of us who see the goats masquerading as Christians lift the wool from their backs and reclaim the Gospel.
Yes, KK wrote this about lil ole me, folks. What a claim to fame, huh? I AM A FOOL FOR CHRIST! Whose fool are you?
A so-called "friend" on facebook posted a message about the wonderful speech President Carter delivered at James Madison University back in the fall. He gave her reason to announce, "Peace IS possible!" Since she claims to be a follower of Jesus, I couldn't believe her comment, and proceeded to leave her a message concerning her posting. I told her that peace is not possible in this world, according to Jesus. His own words proclaim in Matthew 10:34-36, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'" I John 5:20 declares, "the whole world is under the control of the evil one." Either this person does not read her Bible, or she is one of those who delves into cafeteria Christianity, picking and choosing the verses that give her warm fuzzies, while discarding those she finds unsavory.
Consider, if you will, how when one realistically views one's own family, the impossibility of peace reigning even there! Then magnify that as you consider the seven billion human inhabitants living on our privileged planet! Thomas Becket delivered T. S. Eliot's Christmas sermon in the play Murder in the Cathedral: But think for a while on the meaning of this word "peace." Does it seem strange to you that the angels should have announced Peace, when ceaselessly the world has been stricken with War and the fear of War? Does it seem to you that the angelic voices were mistaken, and that the promise was a disappointment and a cheat?
Reflect now, how our Lord Himself spoke of Peace. He said to His disciples "My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Did He mean peace as we think of it: the kingdom of England at peace with its neighbours, the barons at peace with the King, the householder counting over his peaceful gains, the swept hearth, his best wine for a friend at the table, his wife singing to the children? Those men, His disciples, knew no such things: they went forth to journey afar, to suffer by land and sea, to know torture, imprisonment, disappointment, to suffer death by martyrdom. What then did He mean? If you ask that, remember then that He said also, "Not as the world gives, give I unto you." So then, He gave to His disciples peace, but not peace as the world gives. * ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"Will you take one of these parcels and pray that you will be guided to give the clothes to those most in need?"
So, with one of the unopened bundles sent from Christians in England, the merchant set off for Macao, China. Immediately upon arriving there, he went out to buy some food. Coming down the street he met a man who looked ill and starved, yet carried himself proudly in spite of the fact that all he wore on his emaciated body were a sleeveless waistcoat and a pair of ladies' panties!
The merchant stared, then gasped. This man had once been one of China's most prominent men.
"Sir, would you come and eat with me?" inquired the merchant.
"Thank you, I accept," was the dignified reply.
Together they went to a small eating house and the merchant ordered a simple meal.
"I recognized you as you came down the street," the merchant remarked as the meal progressed. "Is there anything I can do to help you?"
"I believe you are a Christian. Will you pray with me?"
The merchant bowed his head, and very simply the nobleman said, "O Lord, thank You for answering the first two parts of my prayer. You have brought me to safety; You have given me something to eat. Now please answer the third part and give me something to wear so that I can get employment and so keep my self-respect."
"I believe God has answered that prayer already," the merchant said eagerly. "Come home with me now."
Together they opened the bundle which had been sent, with loving prayers, from London and there, right on top, lay something which had very seldom come into our hands - a man's complete suit! Rarely was there ever an entire matching suit!
Weeks later those who had sent the bundle of clothes from London, received a letter from Macao, China, bearing the signature of a man who had been one of China's wealthiest and most influential men before the Communists came into power and robbed him of home, money and family.
In that letter were many grateful thanks for the clothes he had received, and through which he had been able to gain employment. Now he was hoping to save a little money so he could help his wife and family to escape and join him once more.
He told how he, a prominent Buddhist, had been stripped of all he possessed, then thrown into prison. But it was there he had come to know Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord.
He had lost all in this world, but he had peace and joy in his heart because he was a Christian, and nothing the enemy could do would take that from him.
~excerpt from GLADYS AYLWARD with Christine Hunter
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “Realize that the aim of the Prince of Peace is not peace with unbelief and disobedience. Those are the enemies that must be destroyed, lest they destroy. When the amnesty of Jesus is despised, division is inevitable. What we meet in the biting language of Christ is a form of love that corresponds with the real world of corruption, the dullness of our hearts and the magnitude of what is at stake in our choices. If there were no great evils, no deaf hearts and no eternal consequences, perhaps the only fitting forms of love would be a... soft touch and tender words. But such a world does not kill the Son of God and hate his disciples.” ~John Piper "There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer As stated in Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace." Within the body of Christ, peace is possible, of course, if we are willing to surrender all authority to Jesus. Face facts folks, that's a big "if." By the way, the person on facebook, who sings in her church choir, claiming to be my friend, deleted my comment on peace. How ironic that immediately after professing how peace is possible, as one key is pressed, she demonstrates how unlikely that possibility is with one swift stroke of her hand.
*The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950, New York: Harcourt Brace, 1952, pp. 198-99.
I surrendered my allegiance to Jesus in a stone Catholic chapel while a college student. My four children are my magnum opus: twin sons Joseph Linden and Adam Edward, Hannah Rose and Laurel Emmaline.
My dear dad, eldest of ten, strove for and achieved excellence at whatever he did: surrendering his allegiance to Jesus and serving Him his entire life, most proficient sharpshooter during his stint in the Marines; scouted not once, but twice, to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers; struck Willie Mays out; valedictorian in his high school class, junior college and at UVA. While a Marine, he appointed himself as THE man to ensure his mates came safely back to the ship after carousing on land. He was never drunk in his entire life, was sexually intimate with one woman his entire life, and that after they were married. He had a strong work ethic, believing that he who doesn't work doesn't eat. He provided financially for his family.