Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Illegal Immigration: I'm just sayin'...

As we watch the battle rage in Arizona between the rule of law and supposed "compassion", I have to wonder how we decide which laws are worth defending and which are not. How can we say that any law needs to be obeyed if all of them don't need to be obeyed? We can't. Lawlessness is not compassionate because it leaves all in danger.

The premise of compassion, which is felt on all sides of the issue, is bogus. That's like saying we feel sorry for the thief that broke into our home, so we're just going to let him stay. I don't think so! As much compassion as I might have for certain theives that just "want a better life", that doesn't mean it's OK for them to take my things or move into my home.

Another fallacy we see is the "well they're here now and there are so many of them" argument. OK, millions of people are breaking the law by "breaking and entering" into the US, why not just forgive them and not give any consequences. Now suppose the 20 million people start killing their neighbors. Are we going to forgive them all just because so many are doing it that prosecuting would be a nightmare?

Have you ever observed the following scenario in your or another's children? Little sissy walks up to big brother and takes his toy. Big brother tries to take it back and little sister screams at the top of her lungs until the exasperated parent tells the brother to just give it to her. This is like giving in to fit-throwing children who think they are above having to follow house rules. Is it compassionate to teach a child that fits will give him/her what they want when they're adults? It's certainly not compassionate to those of us who have to live with these drama mongers!

Our rule of law is either followed or not followed. There can be no exceptions or the whole thing is invalid. It's not about race, it's about the law and the breaking of the law. Hey, Mr. President, I'm going to move in to the White House, and if you don't like it, I'll scream until you let me have my way. I'm just saying. . .

One article about the Arizona law: Readers may also want to look at articles about how Mexico treats illegal aliens.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What does real love look like?

I just finished reading a beautiful blog post by an old friend. It described her last days with her husband in a very moving, yet hopeful way. You can read her post here:

In thinking of this type of death, I always think back to the great love of my parents. Their love was a God story from the beginning, and her death was as beautiful as it was horrific. We knew she was going to go for 11 months before the time finally came, giving us opportunities to love one another and tie up loose ends. This too, was a gift from God.

Mom and dad were unable to sleep in the same bed, so we moved a twin in beside her. The spent many long hours in the night, alone in their own room, just talking and reminiscing and loving one another.

Each morning, my mother spent in her room, studying her Bible and listening to music and coming closer to God with each breath. I often think of this time with envy. Maybe her closeness to God was because she knew she would meet Him soon, but she was a godly woman from early on, and I aspire to be like her some day.

One of the songs she listened to was a tape of me singing. One day, about 3 months before the end, she called me in and said, "Angie, I want you to sing this song at my funeral." How I did it, I don't know, but God gave me the grace, and it was the least I could do to honor my blessed mother.

She was at WalMart a couple days before then end and sang in church the Sunday before. I had gone home for the weekend when I got the call. She woke up in horrible pain and they had taken her to the hospital. A tumor the size of a football had grown in her stomach and broken in two. Even though she had hospice and planned to die at home, her pain was too much. She was placed in a large room away from others where we could all stay with her all we wanted.

This time is one of my worst memories, but it is also one of my best. In many ways, it was the completion of a love rarely seen. It took three days for her to leave us, but dad stayed by her side the entire time, talking, loving, crying, praying, and eventually, letting her go. A couple of times we all left them alone in the room so he could express his grief in private.

I've never seen my father sob before or sense, and it was an experience that effected me deeply. He told her repeatedly how much he loved her as he sobbed over their clasped hands. At one point, he said, "Marilyn, if I had it to do over, I would marry you all over again." Then he asked, "Would you marry me?" She squeezed his hands to say yes, giving him something to hang on to during the long, lonely days of his widowhood to come.

November 11, 2005, with almost all her family standing around her, she left to be with the Lord. This date again showed the love God had brought to these lives. November 11, was the day he finally met her for the first time after writing letters back and forth from Ohio to Germany for a year and a half. November 11 was also the day he had surrendered to preach.

She followed him willingly through the good times and the not so good times, leaving behind family and much more to be a helpmeet to him. Thank you Lisa for reminding me that real love doesn't cut and run when the going gets tough. Real love loves through it all, to the very end. My husband and I have experienced this type of love, the love that shows up, and I thank God for the legacy my parents have given, not only to me, but to everyone who knew them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family: On Pride and Showing Up

My father has been in ill health his entire life. He has a genetic form of pancreatitis, and I have watched him suffer, in and out of hospitals, many, many times. Because of his pancreatitis, he eventually developed diabetes as well. He recently had another accident because of a sugar drop, and life has changed for all.

I spent a year going back and forth from my home to my Mother's when she had cancer, spending the majority of my time with her. I helped her physically when needed, and we leaned on each other emotionally and spiritually until her passing.

With dad, it is more difficult. He is harder to live with, and he will be the first to admit that. Trying to regulate his sugar and keep him from hurting himself further keeps us all hopping.

My point in telling you this? Dad sat with his family Saturday as I was giving instructions to my sister to take over his care for a while, and he told us he should not, did not want to, be a burden to us. What he doesn't understand is that God created us to need others and to need him. We take care of him because we love him, not because we have to.

Someone once told me that family "shows up". When we have a need, our family is there for us. They don't leave us to their own devices just because they have another life. They adjust. They sacrifice. They come through if at all possible.

Sometimes that "family" is a friend with no blood ties or a church member (a different kind of family) but those who 'show up' are family. The following are some things we need to know about needing others.

--When we don't allow others to help us, we steal their blessing! In my case, God will honor me for honoring my father and taking care of him as he ages. I don't do it for that reason, but I'm so glad I get to do it. How will I ever have this honor if I am not allowed to sacrifice?

--When we don't allow others to help us, we are full of pride. When someone feels that others may have to have help, but not him or her, he or she is really saying, "I am special. I will never be old, need help. I will always be able to take care of myself, and I don't need help." Pride, plain and simple, keeps us from accepting reality and allowing the inevitable to come with dignity and grace.

--When we don't allow others to help us, we probably stubbornly resist God's help as well. God wants us to depend on Him, completely and wholely, and often we try to make it on our own, only calling on Him for help when we become desperate. God wants us to walk with Him every day and depend on Him for everything - even those things we can handle on our own.

When we don't watch our strengths, we open a door for the devil. We tend to turn to God for help in our infirmities, but think we're good in our strengths. This makes our strengths the prime target. Realizing we cannot go it alone in anything we do is a big step in our walk of faith.

All of that to say that we need to depend on others in the same way we depend on God. Others can't "show up", even family, if we don't allow it. God,the sin of pride is so invasive in all we do. Help us to step aside and accept help when we need it, allowing others the self-esteem and blessing that comes from showing up. In learning to submit, teach us to submit to you as well. You: above all, in all, for all.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves...
Ecclesiastes (paraphrase)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


My pastor, David Frasure, preached about 3 things Christians long for more and more as time passes, titled "Three Great Longings of the Christian Heart". I so needed to hear this tonight, and it is so true.

The first item we long for is the rapture of the church. As the world grows increasingly wicked and we become more aware of it in our growing wisdom, we realize even more that this world is not our home. We long for that day when Christ comes to take His bride, the church, back to the place he has prepared for her. Just as the bride anticipates that day she becomes the wife of her intended, we look forward to that day our bridegroom comes to get us, and we get to be with Him for an eternity. We can know that this is the beginning of a new life and a new world for those who are saved.

The second item we long to see is the Almighty God. Can you imagine that day when we finally get to be with God in a way we understand for an eternity! That alone will make heaven heaven, but He has even more than we could ever imagine prepared for us. Just as the bride longs to see the face of the bridegroom on her wedding day, we too long to see the face of our Savior and groom. Why? Because we are in love with Him, and we want to be with Him!

The third item Christians long for is the experience of worshiping the Living God by all. Often, as I lift up my soul to God through song or prayer in the midst of other Christians, also focusing on worship, my soul explodes with wonder inside me. Sometimes I sit or stand quietly and listen to the voices rising up all around me, glorying in the sound of others worshiping God too. Some day we will all be in a giant worship service with glorious music and a wonderful God to worship. There won't be any missing someone who didn't make it to service, splits, back-biting, just worship in its purest form - GLORY!

As I anticipate this future time, I also think about all those around me who do not have this hope. I know God will wipe away all tears at some future date, but in the meantime, I have to stand before Him and tell Him why I didn't try to pull more into the boat with me. Excuses won't cut it when I stand before Him. It doesn't matter if I'm busy, or shy, or not good with words, what matters is that I took every opportunity to share the gospel of Christ with everyone in my sphere of influence and beyond. I want all to stand there with me that day, worshiping God and drinking in the bridegroom.

Yes, we long for the day when we are raptured up to meet our bridegroom and spend eternity worshiping God, but we're not there yet. While we're here on earth is the only time we will have to share this hope with a lost and dying world. God didn't call us to selfishly hoard the good news, He called us to share it, to go and witness, to bring this hope to all who would believe. Wouldn't it be great if we could have many people standing there beside us, also believers, instead of having to watch them judged and cast into hell while we are helpless to do anything about it?

Even so, Lord, Jesus, come!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

How many people do you have in your life that you can actually say are worth the pain?

The question is how many people do you have in your life that you can actually say are worth the pain?

Everyone I keep in my life is worth the pain! All relationships involve pain at some time, and all good relationships have gone through a great deal of pain. It is through conflict that we discover one another and learn about ourselves.

Right now, my father is at the point of his life where he can no longer live alone. He was a pastor till last year, but his health is deteriorating. This means I travel 2 1/2 hours south to his home to take care of him and make sure he makes his doctor's appointments when needed. It also means bringing him to my home and taking care of him by feeding him and monitoring his insulin intake and sugar.

Now, my dad is an extremely stubborn man, and taking care of him is not the easiest thing I've ever done. In fact it's downright painful at times. However, this is my father, and he is worth any pain that might come my way to help him out, even if he doesn't want helped.

This is an extreme example, but if you are truly a friend, you will endure pain when it comes. If you don't know how to have deep relationships, you will jump ship when the pain comes along and find yourself alone in the end. Caring for others involves pain and risk, but it's always worth it in the end.

Keep reading after this statement, I have a bit more to say. This is my reply to the above question posed by "Colors Magazine"@

Arent we glad Jesus never asked that question? He went through the greatest pain imaginable for us because He loved us and thought of us as worth the pain!