Tag Archives: God

A Wake-Up Call for Christians

Is it possible to get through to Christians who are disengaged from politics, uninformed and choose to ignore the fact our nation is racing full throttle on the highway to hell? I’m talking about good, well-meaning people, but ones who are infected with a misguided belief Christians don’t need to concern themselves over politics because “God’s in control”.

Of course, He watches over us and He’s there if we call on Him, but remember, man was created with free will, so human history is not predetermined. In the Garden of Eden, we saw how Adam and Eve’s exercise of their free will sent human history swerving down a path God never intended. Mankind’s future is still in our hands today. So God expects us to hold up our end of the bargain and use our free will wisely by taking personal responsibility, educating ourselves with the truth and making informed decisions.

I was recently surprised to discover some Christians actually believe God put Obama into office, so anyone who questions or criticizes his actions is guilty of “blatant disrespect” and the sin of “being judgmental”.

Yeah? So then, following that logic, God must have had something to do with putting into positions of authority the likes of:  Mao Tse Tung, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Ivan the Terrible, along with the other evil mass-murderer dictators throughout history? No way!

Brothers and sisters in Christ, take off those rose-colored glasses, flip to Exodus 20:13 and read out loud:  “You shall not murder.” (NIV)

Just as God had nothing to do with putting wicked tyrants into power, he had no part in placing a man into public office known to be the most ardent, pro-abortion President, ever, and whose actions as an Illinois state senator enabled doctors and nurses to legally commit the heinous crime of infanticide. Surely you’ve heard of brutal, excruciatingly painful ‘late term’ or ‘partial birth’ and ‘born alive’ abortions? Maybe not.

In late term or partial birth abortions, the living baby is stabbed in the skull and his brains are siphoned out. A born alive abortion means the baby survived the attempt to kill him in the womb and would live. That is, except for being either deliberately neglected and left to die or killed in cold blood by medical personnel.

Christians, pull your heads out of the sand and open your eyes. This isn’t a “choice”, it’s the murder of innocents.

To close our eyes, especially to ugly truths, is not Godly.

There’s a difference between God’s job of judging a person’s heart and ours to judge a candidate’s political actions. We aren’t determining the person’s eternal fate, but to the contrary, only whether or not they are fit to sit in a position of power and lead our nation. Matthew 7:1-5, in context, permits judging, after we have first judged ourselves and are right with God.

Did you get that? First, we must judge ourselves and get right with God.

As Paul writes (I Corinthians 6:2-3 NIV):  “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”

Yes! God expects us to use good judgement. In order to exercise good judgement, one must judge. Look past the window dressing, the sound bites, the slick ads… and become a truth seeker. Don’t be afraid to hold those in positions of power accountable. If we fail to do so, we will be judged accordingly.

A wise man once said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” As Christians, it is our duty and moral responsibility to wake-up, exercise our good judgement and cast an informed vote.

The Invisible Gift

Have you noticed? There’s someone missing from church.

People with disabilities make up about one-fifth of our population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These are our friends, neighbors and family members. They are, though, for the most part an invisible segment of our society. Some may be homebound or otherwise unable to move about in our communities, but many are mobile.

Then why are so few attending church?

As a mother of three blind and disabled children, it concerns me. Generally, many people tend to feel uncomfortable around those who are physically or mentally disabled. And, I’ve come to the conclusion church people are no different.

One Sunday, many years ago, on our way out of church service, the pastor looked at us and asked if we were visitors. We had sat in his Sunday services for the past two years, a church of less than 200 people, yet he never noticed us… a family with three blind children.

It was a rare occasion when our children were welcomed to attend Sunday school or any other function involving youth their own ages. At some churches, when I’d inquire, the reply was clearly exclusionary.

A friend, who is a mother of a boy with cerebral palsy, stopped taking her son to church after members asked “what’s wrong with your son”… in front of the boy and everyone else. The mother informed them that her son was most certainly not deaf – and left. Although terribly insensitive, they may have been well-meaning, but their thoughtless words still hurt.

Another mother enrolled her disabled daughter in a preschool of the church the family attended. Three weeks later, as the mother was helping her get ready for bed, she noticed a large red welt in the shape of a wooden spoon across the child’s buttocks. Tears welled up in the brokenhearted  little girl’s eyes when her mother asked what happened… and the child sobbed, “Jesus doesn’t love me anymore.”

The next day, the mother stormed into the church to confront the teacher and pastor. At first, they lied, denying anything had happened, which rightly angered the mother. Eventually, the truth was admitted… along with a callous parting comment from the teacher of “she’s retarded” – as though that somehow justified her brutal actions.

Words that burned a hole in the mother’s tender heart.

Over the years, we’ve lived in many parts of the country, attending many churches, searching for a place we would feel welcome. A place where our children and our family would be accepted.

Many years ago, after learning our youngest child was also afflicted with the same condition as the older ones, I approached a pastor looking for a Biblical answer to my pain… a passage from the Bible… some encouragement. Instead, he simply said “It’s too bad God doesn’t heal people any more”, turned and walked away.

I wasn’t asking for a miracle, just some strength and hope.

How could we attend a church where the pastor admittedly has no faith or compassion?

We couldn’t.

And we’ve been to churches at the opposite end of the spectrum. Churches where without asking, people prayed for a miraculous healing, then when nothing happened, blamed us.

God doesn’t make mistakes. In His infinite wisdom, he gives us all gifts and He places people in our lives so we might gain a greater understanding of His love. Just because someone may be mentally or physically disabled… or blind… does not mean they are somehow defective or less of a person than someone who appears “normal”. Why is it so many people are quick to judge these people and reject them? Why do some Christians believe they need to ask God to fix or heal those who may not fit their own mold of wholeness?

I believe in the healing power of prayer… I know He heals. I believe in miracles… and I’ve seen God work miracles. I also know God has a plan and events are intended to unfold on His timeline, not always ours.

Too often, we are like the petulant child who demands, pleads or begs for his cookies before dinner… and God’s role is like the parent who wisely knows it is better to wait  until after dinner for a cookie. It’s not that He doesn’t want us to have our cookie, just not right now. So can it be with our prayers asking for healing or financial blessings… or whatever it is… now, when it may not be according to God’s timing. If it doesn’t happen… now… how do we react? Do we sulk, get mad or give up? Or do we build our faith and live in submission to God’s will, trusting Him?

I found my strength and hope in a promise from God:

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.–Isaiah 35:5-6 (New Living Translation)

“When He comes”… what a glorious day that will be!

I will lead the blind on unfamiliar roads. I will lead them on unfamiliar paths. I will turn darkness into light in front of them. I will make rough places smooth. These are the things I will do for them, and I will never abandon them.–Isaiah 42:16 (GOD’S WORD)

Although many churches have abandoned the blind and disabled, God has not and never will. He cares deeply about those who are blind or otherwise disabled, as He does for us all. God has a plan… a magnificent plan… and these precious people are a part of it. We may not understand God’s thoughts, but we must learn to trust in His wisdom. When He gives us the gift of an exceptionally challenged person in our lives, we must learn not to judge them or reject God’s gift. After all, not one of us is “perfect”.

Wishing you a joyful Christmas and a year of gifts and many blessings

I have learned so much from my own precious children:  unconditional love; having a heart for charity towards the poverty-stricken; a sense of pure joy in life’s simple pleasures; being grateful, having a spirit of genuine forgiveness;  generosity; empathy; optimism; good humor; learning to become non-judgmental; patience; truly caring for others… and selflessness, to name just a few. Never have I heard any of them utter even one word of self-pity. They have blessed our family, encouraged me to become a better person and strengthened my faith in God greatly.

The church is missing out on a great opportunity to learn these same lessons, be blessed with these gifts and so much more, from those who, for the most part, are missing from their congregations. On the flip side of the coin, the disabled, and their families, who do not feel welcome or comfortable attending church… those who may have experienced callous rejection, may be missing out on the opportunity to learn of God’s love and the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. After all, in Mark 16:15 He commanded:  “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (New Living Translation)

In this season of giving, it is my prayer God may open the eyes and touch the hearts of Christians and church leaders so they might not be blind to those who are invisible members of their communities.

Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Modern Day Eugenics

It’s not uncommon for individuals and families of those diagnosed with a genetic condition to be asked to donate blood for genetic research purposes. Many do, desperately hoping and praying their participation in the project will result in the discovery of a treatment or cure to help their affected child or loved one. But these families are unaware they are actually pawns in a modern day eugenics.

God cherishes each and every baby... so must we


Deceived into believing identifying “the gene” meant hope for a treatment or even a cure, my own family participated in a blood draw about twenty years ago. Genetic research can be slow, tedious work and as the ensuing years slipped by, hope for a breakthrough dimmed.

Fast forward to April 2009 when, out of the blue, I heard from the doctor, who is considered to be the foremost expert in the world on our children’s genetic condition. He also heads the research project at the prestigious Baylor University in Texas. When he called, asking for another blood donation for the purpose of continuing the work, he told me they had run out of our samples and felt they were very, very close to discovering a completely “new” gene, unique to our family. Flickering hope reignited and without hesitation, I agreed. Soon, a package containing vials and consent forms was on it’s way to our doorstep.

Curious as to the status of the research, and since the doctor had mentioned the name of a fellow researcher at Duke University who was focused on working to discover “our” gene, I Googled. Checking online sources, I soon found a paper detailing the researcher’s work on our children’s genetic condition originating from a presentation he gave to colleagues. It was an eye-opening read. As I read, the truth became crystal clear. My hope was snuffed out, stomped and drowned by buckets of betrayal. I was stunned and bitterly disappointed to discover there’s no hope of preventing, treating or reversing blindness, physical or mental disabilities or any of the other symptoms associated with the condition. NO HOPE. Absolutely no hope, at all.

Because it’s a rare syndrome, funding is extremely limited, but beyond that and contrary to everything we were led to believe, the researchers and experts, themselves, admit the likelihood of a cure or treatment for any of the associated health problems is non-existent. It’s nothing more than a fairy tale told to desired blood donors to exchange false hope for vials of blood – potentially worth a fortune.

I learned the only expected outcome of the research described is in the development a screening test for use prenatally… to identify unborn children with the condition. Surely an end goal of enormous financial benefit to the researchers, universities, and most certainly the genetic testing and abortion industries, which is the ONLY reason why the research has continued all these years. It is fueled by their expectation of a big financial payoff down the road. No one had mentioned this fact to me… ever, and the stack of consent forms accompanying the vials conveniently omitted this information, as well.

“Their throats are open graves. Their tongues practice deception. Their lips hide the venom of poisonous snakes.”–Romans 3:13 (God’s Word Translation)

Undoubtedly, our unwitting participation in the genetic research project would eventually result in the creation of a test designed to identify this condition in unborn children and facilitate the murder of God only knows how many innocents.

This raises serious moral and ethical concerns because many pregnant women undergoing genetic testing and counseling could – and do – decide not to carry what they perceive to be a “defective” child to term. Such a decision could be based on misinformation, false perceptions, prejudice or fear about the quality of life for children with disabilities… or even unreliable test results. Prenatal genetic testing, which can now include approximately 6,000 so-called “defects”, stacks the deck against the unborn child. It puts the mother in a position of being pressured to quickly make the decision so the child can be aborted, while she is still processing the shock of the test results and fear of the unknown.

When a child is born who has a challenge, it is not always evident at birth. Often, it may be many years before the condition is apparent and a vast number of so-called “defects” are not life-threatening or even life-altering. Without prenatal genetic testing, the natural process of forging the mother and child’s bond of love is able to progress, as God intended. Someday, when the challenge presents itself, the family does the best they can to deal with the situation because the child is loved and rightfully viewed as part of themselves.

Families, like ours, with exceptionally challenged children, experience life’s ups and downs… triumphs and difficulties… joys and heartbreaks… just like any other family. Our children are normal. Just like everyone else, they deserve equal respect… and the opportunity to enjoy their God-given right to Life. These children are a precious gift from God. They are truly a blessing to our lives. How empty our lives would be without these children my husband and I deeply respect, admire, cherish, adore and love so dearly. They are our family and our life.

The very thought that our family’s blood, given in good faith, could ever be used for such a detestable, evil purpose, contrary to our Christian moral beliefs and without our knowledge or consent is unthinkable, inexcusable and absolutely infuriating. Genetic research is the new genocide. It threatens to exterminate an entire social class of people who do not fit into society’s ideal of “normal”… those who are viewed as “defective”… those who are labeled as mentally or physically disabled. It is disability racism… the extermination of an ‘undesired’ population group… which is eugenics:

“Indeed, parents of babies diagnosed prenatally with DS [Downs Syndrome] reported in the study mentioned above that 23 percent of the physicians or genetics counselors they spoke with either “emphasized the negative” aspects of parenting such children or “urged” parents to choose abortion.”–Politically Correct Eugenics by Wesley J. Smith, published in the Weekly Standard

“Still, social policy may be unable to sway a seemingly strong personal preference for avoiding children with perceived genetic defects. About 90 percent of women who learn they are carrying a fetus with the extra 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome choose an abortion. Studies have shown that many women choose to abort for diagnoses of less serious conditions.”–Genetic Testing + Abortion = ??? by Amy Harmon, New York Times

“There are troublesome implications to those statistics and the new testing,” says Dr. Mary Mahowald, a University of Chicago ethicist. “They suggest an attitude that deems the lives of people with disabilities not worth living. They’re also troublesome because the fewer people with disabilities there are, the more likely they are to be victims of discrimination.”–Baylor Offers Fetal DNA Test Sheds Light, But Stirs an Ethical Battle by Todd Ackerman, Houston Chronicle

Upon learning the truth, I immediately telephoned the doctor at Baylor University to inform him we would NOT be a part of any effort to identify the gene, now knowing the intended use for the information would be the development of such a test – one that could and would undoubtedly be used as a “reason” to abort children. He made no attempt whatsoever to deny the facts – nor did he even bother to offer an apology for the deception.

After our conversation, I immediately followed through to ensure that our family’s past participation would likewise be purged from their files and records, along with any remaining blood samples in their possession. Had we trustingly and unknowingly contributed the requested blood to this research project – with an end result of facilitating the discovery of a prenatal test, it would have been devastating to know our family was indirectly responsible for the abortion deaths of untold numbers of innocent unborn children as well as the lifelong guilt and emotional suffering abortion wrecks on the parents’ lives. This is the face of modern day eugenics… right here, in the “land of the free”.

I firmly believe it is unethical for genetic researchers to deliberately deceive and exploit donor families by omission – but that is exactly what’s happening. The genetic research industry is deliberately deceiving potential blood donors by employing fabricated lies manufactured for the sole purpose of manipulating and exploiting families like ours. Because they are not providing full disclosure, families and individual blood donors are denied the opportunity to make a fully informed decision as to whether or not they wish to participate. This is morally and ethically wrong.

“In any event, in the minds of many ethicists, the testing suggests the arrival of a new eugenics, not state-run but voluntary. They debate whether it’s a “good or bad eugenics,” noting that before Adolf Hitler gave it a bad name, eugenics was science’s hope for a better future, the answer to economic inequities and social ills.”–Baylor Offers Fetal DNA Test Sheds Light, But Stirs an Ethical Battle by Todd Ackerman, Houston Chronicle

Families asked to participate in genetic research deserve honesty with the respect and right of full disclosure so as to avoid violating their personal ethics, religious and moral beliefs.

As a Christian mother devoted to protecting ALL unborn children, I would like to see legislation written to require Full Disclosure notification to all families and individuals, who are either solicited to participate or who are seeking inclusion in any genetic research project – as well as to all past and present participants. The whole truth must be provided so each and every participant fully understands the possibility their cooperation in efforts to identify specific genes could result – or already has resulted – in a screening test used to identify and abort unborn children who carry the same gene. It must be clearly given both verbally and in writing to each participant to prevent any individual from being unwittingly exploited. Anything less than full disclosure is unethical and unacceptable.

“Let it not seem to you that one of these little ones is of no value; for I say unto you that in heaven their angels see at all times the face of my Father in heaven.”–Matthew 18:10 (Bible in Basic English)

“The King will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth:  Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant [they seemed], you did for me’”–Matthew 25:40 (God’s Word Translation)

There is a clear choice to be made:  either you believe in LIFE… or you believe it is OK to kill babies. Will you stand up for all unborn children – or look the other way? Please share this message with others.

God cherishes, each and every baby, born or unborn… so must we.

Dehumanizing People

Last year, the Wisconsin legislature expanded the scope of sex-education in our state when they passed 2009 Wisconsin Act 134 into law. It is a controversial change because local school boards choosing to teach Human Growth and Development lost their ability to teach abstinence before marriage without forced inclusion of Planned Parenthood-style comprehensive sex-ed, as a result of the so-called Healthy Youth Act of 2009.

Now, many public schools are including, at the very least, discussions on the issue of abortion. In some school districts, Planned Parenthood, or other like-minded groups, are actually allowed into classrooms to “teach” these sensitive topics, giving them the opportunity for financial gain as they cultivate students’ trust while undermining family values.

In schools across the country, districts using GLENCOE Education in Sexuality textbooks, are subverting some students’ Christian, Pro-Life values by introducing a grey area concept in what is, and should be, a black and white issue. In teacher-led discussion, the class analyzes three different viewpoints on abortion… yes, three: against, in favor, and what they call “A Third View”.

Follows is an excerpt:

Some people believe that abortion should be legal in special cases. Those cases include pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, when the physical health and life of the pregnant female is in danger, and if certain severe birth defects are confirmed. These people feel that abortions for any other reason should be illegal.

The GLENCOE book limits the topic to a couple of pages and an exercise explicitly designed to expose students’ personal beliefs on the issue and, for those who are identified as holding beliefs against abortion, it tries to weaken their resolve. In question three, it misleads students as the wording attempts to equate using contraceptives with abstinence in reducing pregnancy risk:

EXPLORING YOUR VIEWS
1. What is your view on abortion?
2. Are there certain circumstances when you think abortion might be justified? Explain your answer.
3. How would practicing abstinence or using reliable contraception reduce the need for abortions?”
–Lesson 2 Concerns About Sexuality, GLENCOE Education in Sexuality, Chapter 6:  Issues of Sexuality, pg 96 (1999)

mother and child

Life is a gift from God

The so called Third View endorses abortion without addressing the alternative of adoption and its benefits. It ignores factual information on the risk to the physical health and life of the woman undergoing an abortion.

Inclusion of the phrase “if certain severe birth defects are confirmed” as a legitimate reason to support abortion in “special cases” becomes an open door to the idea that unborn babies who are determined to have some sort of physical or mental “defect” are somehow less entitled to live their lives than those individuals who are deemed “normal” by society. I believe this teaching is, by design, intended to undermine the beliefs of Pro-Life students who believe abortion is wrong, by slipping a seed of doubt into their minds… by way of suggesting it could be justified in certain situations.

The Third View notion that these abortions are only being performed in cases of “severe birth defects” is far from accurate as it is clearly outdated. Since this book was first published in 1987, and even it’s more recent update in 1999, the science of gene mapping has progressed far beyond just identifying “severe birth defects” through in utero, prenatal testing to now include literally thousands of conditions, many resulting in milder or even no disabilities at all.

What is not explained in the GLENCOE textbook is how often, when abortions are performed due to the discovery of some sort of birth defect in the unborn child, it occurs in the second – or even third trimester of the pregnancy to infants who could be considered viable, if given the opportunity to live. This is commonly referred to as a partial-birth abortion. Instead, the focus of this high school textbook is targeted to promote a woman-centered justification for abortion, while ignoring the brutal reality inflicted upon the unborn child.

If the student adopts the belief it is OK to abort so-called “defective” babies from the womb, as the Third View clearly suggests, their thinking is on the slippery slope to accepting a suggestion it is also OK deny these infants and individuals food, water or medical attention after they are born… or even go as far as to euthanize them as though they were unwanted stray dogs. You see, that’s the trouble with the slippery slope. Just like the Serpent in the Garden of Eden poisoned Eve’s mind until she was convinced to take just one bite of the forbidden fruit, when cleverly deceptive persuasion – and perhaps some classroom peer pressure – are allowed to weaken moral beliefs by swaying young people’s thinking on the issue, inclusion of the Third View “seed” in public school sex-ed curriculums has found fertile ground and accomplished its evil goal.

The so-called Third View is dangerous because it dehumanizes people.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”–Jeremiah 1:5 (God’s Word Translation)

“Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be revealed in him.”–John 9:3 (International Standard Version)

When a child is identified with a physical or mental challenge, some people wrongly want to assign blame. It is those who, by their own lack of understanding, prejudices, biases, fears and arrogance, brutishly view mentally or physically challenged individuals as inferior.

God doesn’t make mistakes. He is all knowing and perfect. We may not understand the reason why some are born facing lifelong challenges, but must trust that God creates each and every person for a purpose. As His children, He values each of us equally. We must learn to do the same.

The Third View condones and exploits discrimination against special needs people, advancing the cruel belief they are less entitled to live their God-given life. We must remember Planned Parenthood is the driving force behind comprehensive sex-ed in the public schools… the same Planned Parenthood who is the single largest abortion provider in the nation… and who stands to gain financially if they convince young people it’s OK to condemn to death unborn babies viewed as less than “perfect”.

I do not believe the morality discussion related to abortion belongs in public school classrooms. That is, unless students are presented with the whole truth about abortion. Factual, medically accurate information which includes: photographic evidence of the baby’s developmental stages in the womb; exactly what happens to the child during an abortion; photographs of aborted babies; immediate and long-term medical and psychological risks to the mother’s health caused by the abortion, including the risk of death. Without this material to ensure a balanced handling of this controversial issue, we are doing a great disservice to students.

Inclusion of this Third View – whether through the GLENCOE book or another source – in a school district’s curriculum clearly creates a bias against children with disabilities by justifying the false belief their lives are somehow less valuable than so-called “normal” people. It demeans special needs people to the status of second class citizens – while sending the message it is acceptable to play God and deny these unborn children LIFE.

Wisconsin’s Human Growth and Development (HG&D) law clearly states schools “cannot use instructional materials that promote bias against… children with disabilities”. Wouldn’t a classroom discussion encompassing the belief that unborn children with disabilities can simply be disposed of by denying them life – in and of itself- create a bias against these very individuals? This is unacceptable and, I believe, is a clear violation of the non-discrimination clause emphasized within state statutes pertaining to Human Growth and Development instruction.

Aside from this, it is my belief high school students lack the maturity and understanding to discuss and comprehend the ramifications of this issue, especially when presented almost exclusively from the pro-Planned Parenthood viewpoint. This is indoctrination. Furthermore, the Third View could cause some impressionable students, particularly those who may not have a family background firmly rooted in faith, to adopt a dangerous, discriminatory view of physically or mentally challenged people being somehow less worthy of life.

Whatever became of teaching children to respect others? …To care for and protect those who cannot do so for themselves? …To value LIFE? …To live according to God’s command:  “Never murder” (God’s Word Translation).

Where is our society and our country headed?

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”–Luke 6:31 (New International Version)

Blessings Sent in Disguise

Learning a precious child or other family member is afflicted with a health problem can turn everyone’s life upside down. A parent’s natural reaction is to move heaven and earth in an effort to do whatever it takes to solve the problem… to make things better. But that’s not always possible. When the source of the affliction is determined to be genetic, it can – and often does – send families into an emotional tail spin as they work through the stages of grief:

  • First, sets in the initial shock: asking “how could this happen to us?” questions;
  • Then denial: “oh, there must be a mistake”;
  • Often followed by blame and finger pointing: “well, it couldn’t have come from my side of the family”;
  • A sense of despondency, guilt and depression may flood in as parents mistakenly wonder: “Why is God punishing my innocent child?”;
  • Next, there’s a realization of loss, the what will never-bees: “my child will never play baseball, go to college, marry or have a family of his own… and we’ll never know the joys of becoming grandparents.”;
  • And finally, acceptance.

I believe this is a normal and natural process, similar to what people experience whenever they face any unexpected life challenge. It takes time to work through this process. The “never-bees” can be extremely painful and difficult for many parents and families to work through. Why is that? Because as the child reaches each life event age, the “never-bees” can unexpectedly trigger a new flood of grief.

For some, it may take years to work through the grief process. Others may never reach the end of this tunnel to the point where they can accept whatever it may be and, once again, walk into the sunlight.

God never promised us rainbows and roses as we journey along life’s path. The test is how do we react when we come face-to-face with life’s obstacles? Do we allow seeds of bitterness and self-pity to be planted and take root in our hearts? For a season or two, we may, as I know it can be difficult to avoid the pitfalls, after all, we are only human. But it is far better to take our troubles to Jesus, right from the start. There’s an age-old hymn I’d like to share:

I have been through the valley of sorrow and weeping,
The valley of trouble and pain;
But the “God of all comfort,” the “God of all comfort,”
Was with me to hold and sustain.

My beloved Grandma was a strong Christian woman who was no stranger to life’s disappointments, tribulations, pain, loss and suffering, but by her unshakable faith in Jesus Christ, she was able to navigate these heartaches and challenges with the help of her Bible and the power of prayer.

After she passed on to Heaven’s pearly gates, I was honored to be given her well-worn Bible, falling apart at the seams and full of handwritten notes. She wrote the verse of this old-time hymn inside the cover, followed by the words:  “yes, Lord I know”.

blessing

My Blessing

When my first child was just a toddler, I’ll always remember a day when we visited Grandma, who lovingly held the young girl on her lap as she sweetly sang Jesus Loves Me.

By then, I was well aware of some of my daughter’s challenges and special needs, as was Grandma. I’ll never forget what she told me that day as she gently shared a piece of wisdom gained from a lifetime of experience and unshakable faith:  “God gives Special Children to Special Moms. Dear Loretta, know that God never gives us more of a burden than what we can bear.” 

The old hymn continues:

Yet how often we shrink from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Husbandman knows
That the deeper and closer the cutting and paring,
The richer the cluster that grows.

At the time, I was young, still wrestling the never-bees and not quite ready or able to see past my disappointments in spite of my deep love for my child.

It was, however, not long afterwards when out of the blue on a Tuesday afternoon, there was a knock at our door. To my surprise, there stood the pastor from a small country church we were attending and another man whom he introduced as simply “a Prophet”. Having been raised attending very traditional churches all my life, I’d never met a prophet before – and quite frankly, did not even realize there was such a thing as modern day prophets.

We had a brief conversation as I held our daughter, not quite sure what to make of it all. But before departing, the Prophet looked at me and said something I’ll never forget:  “This child is a blessing from God.”  And truer words were never spoken. Indeed, she is a precious gift from above.

As we travel the pathway thru life’s shadowed valleys,
Fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our troubles, our sorrows and losses,
Are blessings just sent in disguise.

Debt Makes Slaves of Those Who Owe

As I was growing up, like most children, I had a piggy bank. I learned from an early age how to save my money, putting it away for the proverbial “rainy day”. At birthdays, when my grandparents would tuck some paper money into my birthday card, I fed the piggy. Spare change, allowances, change from a treat at the dime store, a coin found on the sidewalk… I fed the piggy. From time to time, my dad would lay newspaper out on the floor, open my bank and help me count the money, then carefully, we’d sort and put the coins into paper “rolls” to be deposited into my bank account. Over time, my account passbook tally grew… with interest… and I learned an important life lesson: how to manage money.

I landed my first “real” job at fourteen years old at the corner drug store. Sure, I had earned money babysitting, mowing lawns and managing my own Kool-aid stands, like most kids, but this was a “real” job paying $1.25 an hour. I used my meager paychecks to purchase my own clothes and still managed to squirrel some into my saving account.

At seventeen, I had saved enough pennies, and nickles, and dimes and quarters… and dollars… to pay cash for my first automobile: a 1972 Buick Skylark with a 350 cubic inch engine… and I did it without emptying my account.

My parents taught me the value of a dollar. How to set goals and achieve them. They gave me the life-long gift of learning how to handle money responsibly.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.–Proverbs 22:6 (American King James Version)

As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our children how to exercise good stewardship of their money. By teaching them the principles of good money management from an early age, we can help prevent them from going astray by making poor money decisions as adults.

It’s important that we remember to set a good example for our children to follow, by managing our own finances responsibly. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to keep your head above water – especially, if you weren’t taught how to handle money, yourself.

Remember in the classic old movie, The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy closed her eyes and repeated “There’s no place like home” as she clicked the heels of her ruby slippers three times? She awoke, her problems were solved, the sun was shining, she was surrounded by her family, friends, and of course, her little dog Toto… and she was back in Kansas. You see, as Glenda told her, she had the ability to change her life all along. It’s something we all possess: free will.

We just have to stop compounding our problems and change our mindset… change our way of thinking about how we manage our money. Stop allowing yourself to be held hostage to your finances and take control. You can do it… and you don’t even need a pair of ruby slippers.

As long as you are a slave to debt, you cannot prosper.

What do I mean by that… what does it mean to be a slave to debt?

When a person is in debt, they are legally obligated to pay off that debt, plus interest. The debt owed becomes money the person no longer has any control over, so there’s a loss of freedom on the part of the debtor… plus the additional money to be paid in interest, are given to the creditor. In other words, the debtor’s productivity belongs his creditor. The debtor, in effect, will be working by the sweat of his brow for the creditor while he’s paying back the loan, but also while he’s earning the additional money to pay the interest on that loan.

The man of wealth has rule over the poor, and he who gets into debt is a servant to his creditor.–Proverbs 22:7 (Bible in Basic English)

As long as a person owes a debt, they do not actually own whatever the item may be on which they are making payments. This is what’s meant by saying a person’s wealth is on paper. Their name may be on the papers, but if they do not meet the terms of the obligation… the loan, they’ll find our very quickly exactly who owns it when the lender, who has the legal right to repossess or foreclose, does so. Basically, until the things a person is in debt for are completely paid in full, he doesn’t actually own them. This is why a person who is in debt cannot prosper… because debt stands in the way of prosperity.

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yes, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.–Psalm 35:27 (American King James Version)

Isn’t it great to know God takes pleasure in our prosperity?

In the secular world, prosperity is generally believed to mean having wealth, fame and prestige. We see people in the world who seemingly have insatiable appetites for riches and things. They seem to be driven by materialism, yet no mater how incredibly wealthy they become, they are never satisfied. The reality is money, riches and possessions do not make a person prosperous.

True prosperity is far more than just being successful or financially secure because it describes a state of the soul. The Biblical meaning also includes: to have joy, health, and to see progress in all we undertake… peace of mind. Ask yourself, what good is wealth, if the person is miserable? True prosperity is rooted in faith and obedience to God’s Word.

Do you remember the old Sunday school song, The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock? This is about prosperity. In the song, the foolish man built his house upon the sand and met calamity. But the obedient man built his house on the Lord Jesus Christ and he received blessings. Joy, good health, success and financial security are blessings and they are the evidence of Biblical… true prosperity.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.–3 John 1:2 (New American Standard Bible)

Think about how your family’s life could improve if your were living debt-free and were able to set aside a nest egg to purchase your next vehicle with cash, take a special family trip… and save for your retirement. Having peace of mind in knowing when life’s unexpected calamities come knocking at your door, you will have the resources available to deal with them. How fantastic to be out from under the crushing weight of the debt burden you carry on your shoulders and drag along day by day shackled to your ankles and wrists!

Freedom! That’s the feeling of financial freedom.

Most people are shackled by debt. The lion’s share of what they earn goes to making payments and they struggle to make ends meet. If anything upsets the apple cart, they’re in trouble. The downward spiral can quickly get out of control and spill over into other areas of a person’s life. Consequently, money problems are often a contributing factor to divorce.

I’ve seen this happen to a family member. Like most people, they had a mortgage and car payments, then the husband went into debt to start a business. It takes time to get a business off the ground… more time than he expected. In order to keep things going, he relied on credit cards… maxing out several. Big mistake. The interest alone was a crushing burden.

After the divorce, it took the wife years to dig out from under her share of the debt. At one point, she was so overwhelmed by bills, she would put them into a plastic ice cream bucket, then draw one out at a time as she was able to come up with the money. Eventually, with perseverance, she succeeded, but it was not easy and it took a lot of determination and self-discipline.

What’s easy is getting into financial trouble. It’s easy… far too easy to get approved for credit – often, even if you don’t have a job or the income to justify it. We live in an impatient world where everyone wants instant gratification. Why wait? Why deny yourself that luxury you deserve? There’s simply too much “keeping up with the Jones”… which is envy. Everyone wants everything… now… which is coveting.

The temptations to buy and unwisely spend money we don’t have for things we really don’t need bombards us on a daily basis. This can lead to impulse buying, which is exactly what advertisers count on – and is why advertising is such a booming business.

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”–Luke 12:15 (New International Version)

A godly life brings huge profits to people who are content with what they have.–1 Timothy 6:6 (God’s Word Translation)

So where to start?… How does a person get out of debt?

Stay tuned. My next entry, A Roadmap to Financial Freedom, will show the way.