ICANN

The Internet Corporation for Assigned NAMES and NUMBERS is on the precipuce of controling the internet.  Obama has been working since 2014 to give the oversight and control of the Internet to this international governing body, with absolutely no push back from Congress.  There is a last ditch attempt as of today, September 30th, 2016 to sue Executive branch for an abuse of power in giving away something it does not have the power to do.  Now why in the world would the United States of America, the land of the free want to even consider giving away the rights to control names and numbers ( IP addresses) to an international corporation?   Honestly, I have no idea.   Our military created the WWW for the armed forces and then our brilliant computer science teams fined tuned and let this most powerful of communications out to our public.  It literally became the World Wide Web and now it is everywhere.   We govern the control within the confines of our constitional laws of free speech, press and religion.  There are several countries that are part of ICANN that DO NOT hold the free values of speech, press or religious speech.  With ICANN in control they can deny names or numbers based on what they “feel” could be racist, sexist, anti-religious or too religious….the list is too long to even think about.  

My first thought was this is crazy, I called my senator, but it appears neither one listened and did not try and stop the president.  Pretty upsetting to say the least, then I supported the ACLJ and signed a petition to stop this, but once again I am a lone person in a sea of virtual media black out.  When something this monumental happens I can only believe it has deep spiritual undertones and God is allowing this to happen for a reason.  ICANN uses powerful “Buzz” words that stood out to me.  NAMES and NUMBERS.   These are two words associated with a one world order in which people are controlled and must pledge their alliegience to this system or not be able to buy or sell.   It is really easy to see how we are headed to a cashless society, buying online,  banking online, paying bills online, etc.   But a mark with a NAME or NUMBER is more than just a simple name or number, it is a system that you believe in, adhere to and want to see succeed.  It is not just the name of a leader or the number of his name.



I was reading the Shema last week, and it starts out Hear Oh Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is ONE. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your oils, and with all your strength.  These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children, talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Bind them as a SIGN on your HAND and let them be a symbol on your FOREHEAD.  Write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:4-6 ( Capital letters are mine).    This is what the LORD wanted the children of Israel to hear when they left, who they were to pledge allegiance to and to whom they should love and learn all about.   It was and is a way of life, to do during the day and before bed.   Binding names or words on your address ( door posts and gate) on your person ( your personal IP address) just seemed to jump out at me when I read this in conjunction with an international corporation that will soon control what name or IP address I can use, how I can use it or if I will have to “listen, O World, The UN is one with the World, pay homage to the UN, esteem the world, join with the world, globalism is good, tell your children, teach them, make sure they know how to include everyone, make sure they value neutral and non-biased speech, speech that the UN deems good…….   This is just something that I made up of course, but do you think this could happen?   It has in the past, just not on such a global scale, with the ability to know everybody’s name and number and make sure you are not following the wrong “world value system”. They could stop you from buying or selling, getting a pay check, paying a bill, the list goes on. 


So although this may not be as scary as I believe it to be, it is the beginning of Global powers overruling our sovereignty and our constitution in favor of what ever the UN deems to be best.  You can join them, after all they will control your name and number or you can remember the LORD your God and His son Jesus Christ and have no other gods before Him, remembering He came in human form to take our sins, the wrong things of the world, upon His spirit, taking our judgement and dying in our place; for the wages of sin are death.  But He did die and took our wage of death, but then HE ROSE AGAIN to show us who believe that we too shall rise again and live eternally with Him.  It is good news.  
So whether or not ICANN is the beginnings of the end, we know God is in control, He already took the wrath and we will live even if we die.   That is the Shema and it seems fitting to write this at the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets.   Hear Oh Israel…..Here the trumpets , repent and believe , Christ Jesus loves you so.

How should a christian vote?

Christians-Politics-and-Voting1What an election year!  Can we say this is epic?  Are we allowed to compare this to every other election year and actually admit the process has become base and degrading and unlike previous years?  One might argue that every year mudslinging takes place and candidates up the ante with negative campaigns and exaggerations of the truth and even outright lies, but this year seemed to have started earlier and gotten uglier much faster.

I have been witnessing people become polarized over “their” candidate and their political views.  People are angry, protesting candidates, and the lies, wow the lies are just every where.  The press cannot be trusted to be objective and talking heads and reporters takes sides and skew the political rhetoric to appeal their own views.  I am exhausted from the robo calls and television ads, the mailers and the divisiveness of our country.  So, how am I to vote?  I have been told by just about everyone on TV how and what I should do, I have seen and read articles by pastors, preachers, teachers, politicians, journalists, comedians that tell me who not to vote for and why and what will happen if I do.  So, once again I ask, How am I to vote?

I have broken it down to what I believe can be a way to clear out all the noise and get to heart of the issue.  But it will take effort on your part, do not read this if you just want someone to spoon feed you an answer. Don’t read further if you get offended easily.

  1.   I will choose a candidate that will allow me to practice and proselytize my christian faith.  As a Christian ,it is not enough to just be allowed to attend church or a bible study, but I am commanded to go into all the world and preach the Gospel and make disciples of all peoples.  I am to love them and tell them about the saving and forgiving love of Christ by faith through grace and not forgetting repentance.  So I need to be free to teach biblical truth about marriage, the sanctity of life, all life, unborn, elderly, disabled, enslaved, and imprisoned.     That is the most important issue to me-a founding father constitutional right-freedom of religion.
  2.   Although I have been told by teachers of the law that a man who is arrogant and brash cannot be allowed to preside over America, I wonder what they think of all the presidents who have served before these potential candidates?  We have learned that many  were foul mouthed, adulterous, liars, cheats, etc–they just did it behind closed doors until they were caught.  Am I to assume that if one doesn’t speak that way in public that somehow he or she is moral? truthful? honest? humble?  The past has shown us that what we have seen has not always been truth.  There was NO Camelot.   Politicians are by their very job skilled at speeches and telling people what they want to hear to get votes.  They use their tongues to spin tales using half truths and false promises, as WE LISTEN  ugh!    Do people really believe that these professional politicians who line their pockets with our hard earned taxed dollars–that’s right, their pay is OUR money–do not make deals with our enemies or keep the status quo so they can keep their jobs?   I sometimes believe a leader like Saul, who was Israel’s first king, was given to the people so they might repent and return to God.  He gave them what they demanded, He did this to show them their need for Him. Once again, I look for the  freedom of speech, religion, and the  press.
  3.  You must be willing to learn.   This election has forced me to actually learn the constitution, the bill of rights and the amendments.  Because the press can no longer be trusted to keep the checks and balances I have had to get out of my comfort zone and actually see what our founding documents say.  I need to know what power “we the people” have.   Then I am able to see through the clutter.   I can see the twisting of the truth, the sound bites, the media seeking viewers to drive up commerical dollars and therefore profits.    I have learned to read what the candidate say on their pages, not just what they say in 4 second bites that get played out of context and warped to once again fit the opinions of those promoting their own ideology.   This drives me back to number one again: Freedom–freedom of the press so I can write, publish my own findings, freedom to fact check, freedom to see who gives money to these people and what they will want in return.  Freedom Freedom Freedom

You see when Jesus came in His first advent, He did not come to overthrow Rome and yet this is what the people wanted.  They wanted someone to ride in and fix the mess.  They were not concerned with their sin, they had their laws and sacrifices, they just had this issue with Rome ruling over them  If they had the right person to rule then they all could just keep on living their lives and be free from Roman oppression.  They didn’t want a heart change, just a leadership change.  When Jesus did not do as they thought he should they found a way to kill Him; interestingly enough, that was the plan all along.  Jesus was in on it too, He went to the cross on His own power, knowing His blood would even save those who were killing him, if they would only believe.  Many did, and the rest is history.  This is the one time in history that ONE MAN could impact the entire world.

So once again, How do I vote?  Well I  know that no one man or woman can fix this country. It belongs to the people and if the people are too lazy or busy or distracted to care about saving it then we get what we deserve.  If this offends you then thicken up your skin.  Most people are too consumed with their own lives to do the hard work of studying government, or law, man’s or Gods, we all have become slaves to pleasure and work in a vicious cycle.   No man or woman is supposed to “save” us, no amount of money or free programs will work, no economic plan will rectify a broken and sinful world, no climate control can stop the inevitable course of action of our planet to end in fire; God’s word tells us that this is the future.  God will come again, He will come to judge this time.     So as a person who is blessed to live in a free country at the moment, and have the privilege to vote, I will, but I will choose based on who will keep the freedoms our constitution was written to protect.   I do not want to lose my right to teach the bible, to tell my neighbor about Christ and not be thrown in jail, to express God’s desire and plan for one man and one woman in holy matrimony and not be in fear of being fined or jailed or forced to take a sensitivity course.   When it comes down to two people in November, I WILL vote, even if that person is arrogant, yep I will, because I have studied enough to know they all are arrogant, full of pride, have huge amounts of money given to them so that they will be swayed in one arena or another, they all will fall short, the system has been hijacked and we the people have allowed it.  They are sincere, they do want to help the country, although there plans are as different as the ocean is vast.  Look to who will keep you freedom to praise Christ, and in the event we lose that right, we will still not lose heart, for we know the One in charge.

So before you take what the media says at face value, before you hate your neighbor for voting for a person you don’t care for, ask yourself if you know the truth?  Have you even tried to find the truth?   Do you use God’s standard for truth or the cultures?  Have your read their biographies, their websites, or do you blindly trust those who are more than glad to keep you in the dark, silent and being led like sheep to the slaughter?   Voting should not be about a name you recognize, or how they look or sound, you should be informed and in this day and age you have no excuse.  Every candidate has their own information out there.   If you are more offended by someone saying something against a political candidate than you are offended by those who degrade God in heaven then you have a political idol.   If you believe one person can build America up or destroy America then you do not trust God.  After all it is God who puts kings in positions and He wields them as He will.

So Vote, vote informed, vote knowing that God will be placing a man or woman in charge and it will be we deserve.  We have a duty to our God, our family and our Country.  If we neglect any of these we will lose them.   So trust God, trust in His plan and believe  He can use any person to fulfill His Will;  No candidate has more power to rule than the Lord has allowed them to have.

I am off the soapbox, this was long and painful.  I hope you will get through this election year intact, full of grace and mercy and ready to pray for the leaders put in place.  God’s way is always for our good according to His riches in Glory.

God Speed

Your sister in Christ

Amy

Ponytail and BootsChristians-Politics-and-Voting1

 

Drifting Away

Recently I returned home from one of my favorite places to visit, the Isle of Palms, or IOP, South Carolina. I have been fortunate to visit often since 1989, it is a home away from home. A place I walk with my dogs early in the morning as they run and play off leash. Because I have just finished a bible study on Hebrews this last visit was especially meaningful due to the instructors analogy of “drifting away” and the ocean. The second chapter of Hebrews teaches us “to hold on to what we have been taught, lest we drift away”. It is a clear teaching that we must live intentionally for Christ. We cannot simply float around and think we are okay. She gave a great illustration of a riptide pulling tugging you along and you not being aware of how far you have traveled down the beach. You do not even realize how far you have drifted until you make your way to shore and have to walk 200 yards back to your chair and cold drink! She went even further to give the riptide a name, the Devil; that prowling lion who is out to kill, steal and destroy us.
I have felt this very current many times while playing in the ocean. Sometimes the riptide is mild and other days it can literally pull you under water leaving you gasping for breath. When I was 3 years old I was pulled under the surf by a powerful undertow along the Oregon coast. My dad was franticly trying to find me as I rolled over and over in the current. My parents thought I would die or at least be terrified of the ocean after that day. By God’s grace and mercy my father was able to grab my tender foot and pull me to safety. I am so fortunate that he saved me and also that I have no memory of that day or a fear of water or the ocean. I only have their stories of the day I nearly died and was rescued.

Taking this thought even deeper I thought of the possibility of floating into harm’s way without even having a clue. There is an inlet between Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island called “Breech Inlet”. It has warning signs posted everywhere on huge white signs that warn people of the dangerous currents and riptides. No swimming is allowed and it warns people stay out of this inlet at all tides, high and low, but especially during the tidal shifts. It can be very deceptive at low tide. Seeing those exposed sandbars is enticing and it can be quite an adventure to explore underwater spaces during low tide. After all you can walk to the sandbar at low tide in ankle deep water, but without warning the tide shifts and suddenly you find you must swim in deep water fighting the destructive currents the entire way back. I know, I have been out there before, not actually in the inlet, but nearby and I have had to swim hard to get back.

Your christian walk must be an intentional walk. Jesus tells us to turn away from sin that so easily entangles us and to walk with our hand on the plow, not looking back. He sends the Holy Spirit to be our counselor and teacher to instruct us on the Way, His Way. It is a race and once we start we can only go one direction on the track or course. It can be slow like the tortoise or crazy like the hare, but we are on an endurance race no matter. Our destination is Jesus and along the way we are to tell as many as we can about this eternal and amazing prize, a man/God Christ Jesus, who takes away our sin and redeems our lives. It is an intentional trip, no looking back. Jesus even goes so far to tell us if we turn back we are not fit to enter the kingdom of God. Wow! Strong words. We cannot casually walk in and out of our faith when we need it. We cannot walk into church once in awhile and think we are just fine. The pastor of Hebrews tells his flock that many are in the habit of not meeting together, but they are not to fall into that trap. We encourage each other while together, to be alone is not safe, two are better than one, a strand of three is not easily broken. We will inevitably wake up hundreds of yards away from the truth if we do not pursue Christ with all our hearts, souls and minds. And do not forget while drifting away we could end up in a sudden and violent current that steals our life, family, livelihood or friends.

The writer of Hebrews implores us to remember what we have been taught, actively pursue Jesus, consider Jesus, stay in weekly gatherings with other believers at a church AND in small groups. The devil is the riptide and he does not slow down in his pursuit to steal, destroy and attempt to kill us. He is a ravenous lion seeking whom he can destroy. He comes when we are distracted, when he can deceive us, when we have drifted away from sound doctrine and believe tales of angels and false christs.

So walk in a manner worthy of your calling, look to Jesus, who saw the joy before him and endured death, even death on a cross and ignored the disgrace it brought Him. He is our example, He is our lifeboat when we do drift, He does and will rescue us when we cry out to Him. Know Him, Know the Truth, stay the course and above all remember the race. Imagine if a coach told you to come to practice when you could, work out if you felt like it or that training once a week on your own for an hour was sufficient to expect a victory in the game Friday night. Coaches have daily practice, off season training schedules, dietary requirements for optimal health and in addition to physical workouts, mental training for plays, positions, defensive and offensive strategies. An effective coach knows what is needed for victory and if he sees a team member not actively participating he will cut them. This is how I understand Christ’s words about not being fit for the kingdom. Jesus knows what we need for victory over our adversary and He coaches us to practice daily, learn the plays, memorize mental and physical muscle memory skills, be part of the team meetings and practices, (even in solo sports there are many components), and to know the playbook by heart. This is the walk of a Christian. Do not drift away, stay the course, for we run not for a crown that fades but for an eternal crown for His glory.
Have a blessed week and pursue Jesus diligently and remember His words the next time you are floating in the ocean.
God Bless, your sister in Christ,
Amy-
ponytail and boots

The lamb born in a stable

image I love Christmas time. I always have. Growing up in a liturgical church, we had such an array of festival and pageantry that Christmas was a time I always looked forward to; not only because of receiving gifts, but the nativity. I loved the nativity scene. My parents owned a jewelry store back in the day; Hart’s Jewelers. They worked late in December and we would always drive home in the darkness or fog after a full nights work.   On the way home there was a star off in the distance with cascading streams of light. You could see it 5 miles away, at least that’s how I remember it.  Under the star was a full-size life ( not living) nativity scene. It was truly amazing. Every night on the way my brother and I would beg my parents to drive by the “star”.  They did, probably once a week, although I could have gone every night. I can remember every detail in my memory and it simply was the Christmas story for me. Jesus, in the manger, his parents over Him, the shepherds and wise men near by. Camels and sheep, lots of sheep.  It was lit up and straw was all around. It was magical.

I always believed in Jesus, I didn’t doubt His existence or the virgin birth or the Angels appearing in the heavens singing “Gloria in excelsis   Deo “.   But I just didn’t realize what was really happening.  God, leaving His throne, His kingdom, His worshippers to put on human flesh. To feel human, fully human; joy, pain, love, grief, anger, and abandoned.   He became everything that we are; born, a life full of family drama ( remember no one believed Mary was a virgin, except Joseph ,Elizabeth, and Zechariah.) His brothers and sisters thought He was crazy and his earthly father died before His ministry began. He knew He was God, but He never used His powers beyond what we ourselves as believers with faith could use also. He didn’t come handsome so that people would look at Him and say”now there is a king!”   He knew deep moments of loneliness that would not be satisfied the way it was in the heavenlies.  And above all, He came knowing the mission, to die for all humans, to die in each and everyone’s place for their sins, great and small, filthy dirty icky sin. Every human that has been conceived He paid in full their debt for sin and filled an account full of all they will ever need. That account sits full awaiting the activation that occurs when you believe.  Even those who rejected Him to their final breath have an account in their name that only awaits their belief.  What belief?  The need for being rescued.

This salvation that Christ came to redeem is all about the story of us. Our need to be rescued from bondage, a place we can’t get out of ourselves;  a problem arises that impedes God’s purpose for life and blessing*.  What God wants is for us to cry out to Him For help, to recognize we need help.  The problem that arises, however, is that we think we can handle problems thrown our way; that we can work it out, create a plan to solve it.  Our American culture is simply full to the brim of American self reliance and hard work. We built this country and we can make it better, we can bring it back, we just need a new leader, a new plan, or more money, but we can handle this, we don’t ask for help, that would be too dependent.

The crux of the salvation story is right at the beginning, God waiting to hear from us, to cry out.  He gave us example after example of a people He called out to live so that we would see the pattern.   The Israelites cried out and God heard them, the primal scream for redemption*.  This is what we need to hear this season. Not what leader will get us, but what a God, The God, is waiting for. He seeks us out and asks “where are you?”

This Christmas season, don’t just remember the baby, the incarnate Word of God in human flesh, but remember why He came.  That we might recognize our feeble attempt to save ourselves from a difficult life or circumstances.  Those very issues are there to cause of to realize we can’t do it without this Almighty God. He is there, waiting in the garden, in the stable, on the cross, and in the empty tomb.  Embrace your lack of control, embrace life’s curve ball that hits you in the eye, God wants you to need Him. Then sit back and watch the mighty rescue of your God.  See his wonders and receive His grace.  Without suffering or pain we would never know we need to be rescued.

Merry Christmas and may 2016 be the year you allow God to save and rescue you in everything, great to small. Then He receives the Glory and we get to share our story of rescue.

Restless yet trusting 

Can life get any worse?  I am sure it can. The poorest of the poor get hit with another earthquake, Christians lose their lives for holding to the testimony of the Lamb, sweet babies fall into the arms of Jesus too soon for us still left here on earth.  But for me it this is a time of sweetness but as it goes down it becomes bitter and gives you an upset stomach.  

The sweetness comes from hanging onto the cross , running into random Christians who fix your direct tv, having bible study with Monday night tribe and seeing God answer prayers; the bitter…..pain of a mothers broken heart.  When your child , no matter the age, comes down with a disease it is life changing.  When there is no cure and it comes with social stigma it is even worse.  Making hard decisions that make you second guess your plan, your motives , what is best for all and still wishing you could fix it right now; it also makes you question what is the right path to treatment causing a deep deep groaning in your spirit and soul. 

Knowing that Christ is interceding on my behalf and my familie’s life brings comfort.  But if you asked me what life I would want to have I would choose this difficult one over and over again.  I don’t think I could honestly say that in the past.  When life is easy , when you don’t have trouble or struggle you never get to exercise faith.  If things just  go smooth according to your own dream plan you never need to pray or ask God the hard questions.  You can just assume all is well and you are blessed because life is smooth. 

 Mine is not, never has been.  It is a true path of struggle , pain, sin, shame, and one that must be lighted by the word of God.   I have had a hard time living my own personal path when I keep comparing my life to others.  I have known people who cruise through life , they are Christians for sure, but their path is not a curvy up and down steep mountain drop off a cliff kind of path.  Theirs is a straight road with the wind blowing in their hair and laughter all the way home to Jesus.  I used to be jealous.  I used to want that life and wonder why God loves them more than me to bless them with such a families that never break down.  

But I am set free from that.  I have seen people suffer more than me and still love God.  I believe God made me to live in this time and have these kids and this husband.  My family needs each of us to stand in the gap for such a time as this.  I now embrace where the Lord is taking me.  I even know He uses my sin to foil the plans of the devil.  I can’t out sin His grace and I don’t want to.  I don’t want to covet a life that is not mine. I am not bored ( laughing at that word) and I am in deep pain but my God has a bigger plan.  He sees from a far and knows what needs to be Knit together and then puts me where I need to be.  So just when I thought peace was here we get hit with news of ours sons brain disease.  I still have hope and love. I will borrow that phrase from my sweet and dear sister in Christ,  Mary, who lost her son last week.  HOPE AND LOVE.   I want my life.  I want this beautiful mess I want to walk where others fear to go, I want to shout at the enemy and watch him leave as I submit to God. I want to be a part of this unperfect family that I Love so much.  We may not be smiling all the time, we may not even have a thing to smile or laugh about but we will anyway.  So when you see us don’t judge , you don’t know what path God has for us. What He needs to do from past generations to move us forward with new generations.  But I am finally free to let it go and carry on.  Yes I am a beautiful mess, I may not look beautiful or act “Christian” enough for some but my love for Christ grows daily and my trust and faith in His plan is growing deep roots so I may weather this storm and those to come.  When I am weak He is strong.   So let me be weak , let my fragile family be weak for He has a plan and it is specific to us.  

Peter was so concerned about what Jesus said about John that he had to be rebuked by Christ.  Jesus said “what is it to you Peter if John doesn’t die?”  ” you follow me and where I want you to go “.  I wants this life that causes me to cling to faith as I ride along the side of a curvy steep path along the edge of a cliff because it is here that I can only trust my maker.  I would never call on him along a straight easy smooth road , I would trust in myself and think “I got this”. So God , thanks for knowing me better, thank you for all the beautiful messes because I know that is how you are crafting me into the likeness of your son.   I am humbled you still love me and I believe in miracles.  Just thank you Lord.  I surrender