I Am From

Do you need a treat? Something to fill your soul? A place where you can reflect on the ordinary goodness and blessings from God?

When visiting Debra at As I Now See It…I stumbled across another link to a wonderful website. Owl Haven…and it’s truly a must see website. What a lovely spirit we see here. In Mary’s latest feature…she has writings from her children…describing where they are from. It’s a wonderful word picture or snapshot of what their home and lives are like. This is a must visit site.

I Am From Last One
I Am From #4
I Am From #3

Now be forewarned…it will get your juices stirring and you will want to reflect on your own home and where you come from. So get out your pen and paper and get writing.

Not a Lone Voice

Below are some of the responses that I received from people who also saw the interview on Fox News with Shirley Phelps-Roper and read my piece…Confronting an Ugly Face of Christianity.

Thank you Christy, James, Danielle, Randy and Anonymous…appreciate your responses.

More than that…I’m glad to know that there are other Christians out there who were also outraged at Ms. Phelps-Ropers remarks. It is imperative that we as Christians respond to ugliness and hate veiled as Christianity…directly, boldly and sometimes loudly.

Hi..my name is Christy and I was looking around for information on this Shirley lady and I came across your blog. I agree with everything you had to say in your blog! This lady is crazy. Why is it that 90% of “Christians” shown on the television are crazy people like her that give us a bad name…good to know that there are still some good Christians out there.

This woman is psychotic and does not truly preach the word of God, simply what her and her ‘church’ aka her family think to be what God desires. If God did not mean for us to have military, there wouldn’t be one. Even the Bible speaks of battles and war. Her issue clearly is not with the military, it is with Gays… so why is she going out of her way to cause trauma and added grief at the side of these funerals? FOR ATTENTION!!!

I just read your blog regarding Shirley whats her name…and I just would like to say thank you for your response to that…it made me feel so much better after hearin that lunatic on fox news…I myself have more harsh words for her but your words were the right ones and most powerful and I once again thank you for that…God Bless

oh its cool i saw it on myspace… someone posted it as a bulletin… yea… she is crazy… i reposted it… my dad asked what day it was thou… cuz he was like woah sean and that other guy agreed…. he said the whole point of the show is that they have different viewpoints… so he thought it was funny… and yes he thinks shes crazy 2.

TALK ABOUT WHACKED OUT! Where did this woman come from, and why did brother Hannity give her the time of day? WHEW, I got wore out just reading this exchange. The Bible warns about the spirit of anti-Christ, and this is evidence of its continued arrival on the scene to add insult to injury. Thanks for exposing this and your courage for writing this, and may God bless our soldiers, and protect the true defenders of good and righteousness…Randy (Psallo Praise Ministries)

Christy is right…most of the Christians portrayed on television and in films are shown stupid, crazy, whacky or just down right mean. Thanks to the likes Ms. Phelps-Roper…that trend will continue.

Anonymous…you too are correct. Her argument and fight is not against the soldiers…but against that which she believes is worthy of damnation. The funerals of our fallen soldiers are merely a platform for her to spew forth her hatred.

James…I too had some rather harsh and ugly words for this woman. But God was able to help me write something a little less incendiary than I would have if written immediately after hearing her ugly, whacky, hate-filled defense of indefensible actions. It took me a while to find the video clip so I could transcribe the exchange. I felt that it was important…so that people could see for themselves what she was saying and why it was wrong…not just hear me rant and rave.

Danielle…your dad was right. Sean and Alan never agree. I think it was the first time I’ve watched Hannity and Colmes and actually agreed with Alan.

Randy…it is our duty as Christians today to fight those who misrepresent our Savior Jesus Christ and the Bible. We need to expose the lies for what they are.

I’d like all Christians to remember back to September 11, 2001. Do you remember the pictures of Palatines dancing in the street and shooting the guns in the air to celebrate their fellow Muslim’s success in striking the United States of America? Where were the voices speaking out against them? Were they there? Yeah I’m sure there was some and probably many were as stunned, hurt and outraged at the terrorist actions…but they were relatively silent.

We can’t afford to do that as Christians. We must, absolutely commit to being the first to call persons who speak hate and do hateful actions in the name of Christ to account. Silence will only reinforce the distorted pictures that people are seeing in the media.

Lastly…Ms. Phelps-Roper reminds me of the following saying, “They don’t mind giving your all…for their cause.” Ms. Phelps-Roper doesn’t mind inflicting pain to the wives, parents, brothers, sisters, family and friends of our fallen soldiers. She doesn’t mind inflicting pain…when she can take advantage to promote her cause of hatred.

If we fail to speak out…people will turn away and not hear the message of salvation. Yes our God is holy, righteous and just. And we…sinful man are deserving of eternal separation from God. But our God is also full of grace, mercy and love…and has provided a way for our forgiveness.

Ms. Phelps-Roper…while claiming to speak for God is an instrument of Satan to keep people from coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. She does so by making God and his word hateful and repugnant. Don’t let her be a lone voice!

Confronting an Ugly Face of Christianity – Shirley Phelps-Roper

I don’t normally take the time to transcribe news stories that I see on TV. But when listening to a recent interview on Hannity and Colmes…I could not contain myself.

Shortly after Sean started interviewing Shirley Phelps Roper…my blood pressure started to rise. There was only hatred, venom and ugliness that spewed forth from this woman who proclaimed herself to be a Christian. She and her family are very sick and distorted…they are the worse kind of evil. There is nothing worse than to hate and do evil in the name of God.

Upon hearing this distorted view of God and Christianity…I wanted to go toe to toe with this woman…and hit her upside the head with a spiritual two by four.

Now I don’t like to make fun of people’s looks. But this woman…looked down right evil. She had what can only be described as an evil grin on her face as she listened to Sean and Alan speak. If for no other reason than the subject matter was serious…her grin was inappropriate. What made her grin appear evil was that all the while she was she was smiling she proclaimed God’s hatred and judgment against our nation and its soldiers. She seemed to take delight in the pain she was inflicting…no in fact she rejoiced in it.

Didn’t we all see a picture of rejoicing in evil on September 11th? When pictures showed Palestinians dancing in the streets and firing guns at the news and pictures of jets that slammed into the Twin Towers? As 110 story buildings crumbled to the ground…leaving dust clouds with thousands of people incinerated…these people were celebrating.

Well now we have a picture that same kind of evil…of the home grown variety. Instead of dancing at news of our soldier’s deaths…Miss Phelps-Roper and her ilk choose to inflict pain upon the family and friends of these heroic men who sacrificed their lives at their funerals. Our soldiers made that sacrifice…so that Miss Phelps-Roper has the right and freedom to behave in such a shameful manner.

Miss Phelps-Roper and members of the Westborough Baptist Church attend funerals of our fallen soldiers. They are war protesters of a unique variety in that they claim the deaths of these brave men to be the wrath of God poured out upon our nation. These people are so far off from the word of God…that it is only the word of God that can be used to combat them.

Quite honestly…based on the fruit exhibited by Miss Phelps-Roper and Westborough Baptist Church members…I question their assertion they are Christians. God’s word tells us that we shall know them by their fruit. When comparing their fruit to God’s word…and their actions and words to that of Jesus Christ…I’m not seeing evidence of a humble spirit or a repentant heart. I’d like to compare Miss Phelps-Roper’s words and actions to God’s word.

Here’s my challenge and response to Miss Shirley Phelps-Roper and the congregation at the Westborough Baptist Church:

Jesus was the most critical of the religious Pharisees. We see the example of Jesus confronting the money changers in the temple. Or when he tells the hypocrite to take the log out of his own eye. Or what does Jesus say about the hypocrite that seeks praise when he gives a gift at the temple or wants to be noticed when he prays or fasts?

How did Jesus respond to sinners? What about the woman caught in adultery? Didn’t he have compassion on her, forgive her sins? “Neither do I convict thee, go and sin no more.”

God tells us that we are to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. When Jesus went to Bethany after Lazarus dies…what did he do? He wept. If Jesus set that example…ought we not go and do likewise? Do you really think that Jesus would be protesting at the funeral of our soldier?

My friend…if you had any real concern about people living in sin and their eternal consequences…the more effective approach is to show them that you love them and care about them. Be a reflection of God’s love to a lost and dying world. Right now you are very, very far from that.

If we hold up the pattern of 1 Corinthians 13…Miss Phelps-Roper…how would you compare? If I have not love…I am nothing.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Miss Phelps-Roper…are you but a clanging symbol? In what way are your actions kind? What is loving about your words?

What does God tell us he hates?

Proverbs 6:16-19
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Miss Phelps-Roper…when I compare your words and your actions to God’s word…they most closely resemble the Proverbs passage and not the 1 Corinthians passage. It’s much easier to look at and be condemning of another’s sins. It’s always easy to see their sin rather than your own. And then we get the added bonus of not having to confront our own sin.

What exactly is the good news here? The good news is revealed in God’s word…which tells us that he will not despise a broken and contrite heart.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 32:1
Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.

Jesus paid the price for our forgiveness…we just need to receive it. And then what does he ask us to do? Forgive others…not just once, but over and over…
seventy times seven.

Miss Phelps-Roper…I think that both you can I can be grateful when we look at the lineage of Jesus and see there were plenty of sinful, flawed men and women. God is able to take us and cleanse us, forgive us and make us his own. But only if we have a broken repentant contrite heart. I invite you to examine yourself and your actions in light of God’s word and run to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.

Below is my transcript of this very heated exchange. It was a challenge to transcribe because there were a number of times Sean, Alan and Miss Phelps-Roper were talking over one another. Below is the exchange that took place on Fox News last week. To view the video clip yourself…please click on the link to Fox News, go to the Video link and select the video entitled “Illegal in Iowa”.

SEAN HANNITY– Today more than 1,000 family and friends attended the funeral of Iowa National Army Guard Sergeant Daniel Sesker. He was killed in Iraq earlier this month. But as they filed into the funeral they were confronted with protesters carrying signs. Signs with anti-gay slogans and words like “thank God for dead soldiers”. Members of the Westborough Baptist Church have been protesting military funerals since last June but today’s display came one day after Iowa’s Governor Vilsack signed legislation that specifically bands disorderly conduct within 500 feet of a funeral or a memorial service.

Joining us now from Westborough Baptist Church Shirley Phelps Roper is with us.

Ah you feel good about this? Do you feel good about going to the funerals of men that put that put their lives on the line for their country to give you the right to do this and to put pain…


SEAN HANNITY- to inject pain into their families lives. This is something that you feel good about?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – I feel good about warning this nation that the wrath of God is pouring out on their heads.

SEAN HANNITY– So you want to warn the nation?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Because they will not obey. And the Lord your God is punishing this nation and he’s doing it, one of his weapons of choice is sending your children home dead from the battle. So what were there to do is help you connect the dots and what I feel best about is that in spite of the fact that those legislative Taliban in Iowa passed an unconstitutional measure to try to stop us from putting the cup of furry and the wrath of God to your lips and making you drink it…

SEAN HANNITY– You’re obviously a nut.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – We’re doing it anyway.

SEAN HANNITY– Okay, now look, you want to make your political and religious point and you want to do it…

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – It’s not political.

SEAN HANNITY– And you want to do it, you want to inject pain and heartache. I can’t think of, Madam, I’ve got to be honest with you. We’ve had a lot of nutty people on the show over the years. You are as mean and as sick and as cruel as anybody that I’ve ever had on this program. And the fact that you use religion to justify your hatred this way, it’s frankly, it’s mind numbing. Do you really believe that when you hold up your signs “thank God for IED’s that innocent people died”, “thank God for September 11th”, “thank God for AIDS”…

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – There are no innocent people. Thank God for 911. Thank God for dead soldiers. Thank God for IED’s. There are no innocent people.

SEAN HANNITY– And you believe all of that? You thank God for 911?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – You think that all these mean things that you’re saying can bring back a single one of those soldier?

SEAN HANNITY– Hang on a second.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Or bring back a single 911 victim?

SEAN HANNITY– I’ve got a question for you. You thank God for 911? You thank God for AIDS? You thank God for dead soldiers that give you the right to be a fool?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – I thank God for every God for every one of his single righteous judgments that he executes upon a rebellious nation…

ALAN COLMES – Hey Shirley, its Alan Colmes.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – And people who will not obey.

ALAN COLMES – What’s the matter with you?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – (laughs) What’s the matter with me?

ALAN COLMES – What’s the matter with you?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Why won’t you just obey? The scripture says if you obey…

ALAN COLMES – Who should I obey? Who would you like me to obey?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – That the Lord your God will bless you, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God then he’ll curse you.

ALAN COLMES – Shirley, I want to be very clear here. Your church…

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – We’re talking here about the curses of God. It’s a curse.

ALAN COLMES – Hold on a second. Your church. Hold on a second.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – It’s a curse when your child comes home dead from the battle.

ALAN COLMES – Shirley can you hear me okay?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – I can hear you.

ALAN COLMES – Shirley your church is called the Westborough Baptist Church and is not associated with any mainstream Baptist organization. It’s mostly your own family members in this church. You and your father Fred Phelps hate not just gays, you hate Catholics, you hate Jews. Your father referred to the Holocaust as minuscule. Lead a protest at the Holocaust museum in D.C., said Jews are the real Nazi’s. You are an abomination and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You are an embarrassment to this nation.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Well I’m glad that you recognize that there is a concept as an abomination.

ALAN COLMES – The way you behave towards soldiers that risk their lives for this country, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – What you need to do is line your notions of what an abomination is up with what the notion that Lord your God has put into the standard of what he put on what an abomination is.

ALAN COLMES – You know, I’m glad to have you on television. Because as Louis Brandais said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” And you need to be disinfected.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Thou shall not lie … what mankind … is an abomination. (Shirley and Alan were talking over one another at this point…and it was difficult to hear Shirley’s exact words.)

ALAN COLMES – This is sick the things you are doing. How dare you this to the families of our soldiers and to other Americans? How dare you do this?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – You can’t bring back anyone of those dead soldiers by throwing ____ at us. How dare you fail to obey the commandments of the Lord your God and bring his wrath down upon not just your own head, but the heads of these young men and women who have been cut off by a raging mad God, described in scriptures as being so angry as having smoke coming out of his nose and fire coming out of his mouth.

ALAN COLMES – (Both were talking over one another again.) Excuse me Miss Phelps. Yeah. I don’t respond to you. I don’t have to answer to you. I answer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You have said..

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – That’s your God. How dare you invoke the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then flip him off refusing to obey and behave yourself.

ALAN COLMES – If you know…let me ask you a question.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – You know that sodomy is an abomination and yet this nation rises up with one voice to say it’s okay to be gay. And you know that’s why the wrath of God us upon you.

ALAN COLMES – Okay if you can just stop your rant for one second, let me ask you a question. If you’re so popular and what you’re saying is truly the word of God, how is it that your church


ALAN COLMES – Let me get my question out. If you’re so popular, how is it that your church has 100 members?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Well it’s really not quite a 100.

ALAN COLMES – And it’s your family.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Well it’s not quite 100. And about 80% are our family. But nevertheless, that doesn’t change the word of God. And by the way, you say we are popular…no, no, no.

ALAN COLMES – You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – We are hated by this nation.

SEAN HANNITY– I’ve got a question. I’ve got one last question. Miss Phelps.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – And that’s what the scriptures say will happen. You hate God, you hate his judgments and you hate us for telling about it.

SEAN HANNITY- I’m a Christian, I don’t hate God. Let me ask you a last question.

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – No you’re not a Christian. But go ahead.

SEAN HANNITY– What are your sins?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Yeah, you tired this the other day. What don’t we talk about this issue at hand, Mr. Hannity.

SEAN HANNITY– What are your sins?

SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Why is it that you don’t warn your neighbor? Why is it that you don’t use that bully pulpit that you have to warn your neighbor that his sin is taking him to hell and to encourage your fellow man. Knowing the terror of the Lord, you should persuade men to obey and behave.

SEAN HANNITY– Alright…Halleluiah

Stepping Out in Faith…or Going the Route of Sarah?

So have you ever gotten a seemingly great idea only to find yourself seconding guessing that decision?

Anyone whose knows me…or has spent time with me…knows how much I hate being single…and struggle with it daily. Lately I’ve been thinking, “Susan…if you always do what you’ve always done…you always get what you’ve always got”. Actually not a bad philosophy…but maybe it’s not applicable to everything.

Case in point…my latest venture. After talking about it, thinking about it and praying about…I decided to join E-Harmony. It didn’t take long for me to say…“Gee wiz…what have I done?”.

Suddenly I was inundated with e-mails from E-Harmony announcing that a match had been found…lots of matches. So then…I’d click over their website…and read about someone that was supposedly a peachy keen match for me. Some seemed like pretty nice guys…and others…well…I’ll take a pass. But being that I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings…I wasn’t sure the nice way to “close a match”. Yet…there were a few gentlemen that didn’t have a problem closing me out right quick. And actually that’s a pretty smart way to manage that process…because it’s overwhelming. Every time you turn around…you get another e-mail notifying you that you’ve got another match.

Frankly…I was overwhelmed…and scared. Suddenly I had questions being posed from perfect strangers. Anything from meaningless trivial matters to downright intimate questions that I would only feel comfortable answering with a close friend.

So…it didn’t take long for me to say…thanks, but no thanks to E-Harmony.

Now maybe it’s the whole process and how E-Harmony works. Or maybe because my life is so busy and in a state of flux at the moment. Or maybe…it’s because my heart still lies with another.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand God’s will and leading. I’ve prayed for a long time now about wanting to be married. Thus far…God has said “No”…or “Not just yet”. I don’t know…I guess I’ll have to live this one out to see what God’s will is. I know what my desire is…and if God says no…it won’t be because I have not made my request known.

I guess I’m an old fashion girl…and want to meet my sweetheart I person. Maybe at work or church…or through family, or a friend of a friend. To get to know him over time…to go through some good times and bad times…and see his character proven in daily life. To be able to look him in the eye and talk things over. And maybe there’ll be that spark…and suddenly I’ll know…that God said yes. Now is the time.

Until then…I feel as though I was behaving like Sarah by trying help God out in fulfilling his promise. Or like Rebecca…working God’s plan out by my own means…instead of trusting God.

So…I guess I’ll step back…and look to God and wait…expectantly.

World of Good Wednesday – One Life Can Make a Difference

Little did I know that summer day how God would touch my heart…through one man.

I remember the day I met Hugo. He had been a fixture with our company. When you hear the word Sav-on…there are certain folks that come to mind. They are part of the history and legacy of our company. Their presence and character have made an indelible stamp on those with whom they’ve worked.

At that time…Hugo had worked for our company…for almost 40 years…and I had been around for over 20. But in all that time…I’d never met him. But you can be sure…I had heard about Hugo…AKA Mr. C. So it was odd to finally meet this man of renown in his current state.

As I worked at my desk across from the conference room where he was at…many people stopped by to welcome him back to work. They would go in and sit for a while and reminisce about some good times…and hard times too.

Later in the afternoon…when there was a break in the action…I went in to introduce myself to Hugo. I found a man…short of stature…but one whose spirit filled the whole room. As I sat down…Hugo shared with me what he had been going through for past couple of years.

By this time…Hugo’s body was very weak. Even taking ten steps was an effort…and the oxygen tank was always close at hand. He had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and had been fiercely battling for his life.

A man who once worked tirelessly…he always invested himself in people. Hugo made a difference in the lives of the people he worked with and the customers he served. He took the time to help young and inexperienced people…learn their job. Not by giving them the answers…but by helping guide and direct them as they came up with solutions for themselves. Not only allowing them to increase their knowledge…but their confidence too.

But more importantly he cared about the people who he worked with. He would always make time talk to you, find out how you were doing and hear you with a listening and caring ear. If you needed something and were at your whit’s end…there was still one call you could make. That’s why…there had been a steady stream of people to welcome this man back.

While Hugo’s body faded…his faith and his spirit grew. While desperately wanting to remain with his loving family…he prepared to meet his Lord and Savior. Some people in this situation would become bitter and angry…but not Hugo.

Instead Hugo fought, hoped and prayed for that miracle. He remained hopeful…and the news seemed promising when he got word that he had finally been approved for a lung transplant. As Hugo and his family learned about transplants they became keenly aware of the shortage of available organs. Not because there is a shortage of organs themselves…but because not enough people have signed up to be donors. That’s when the Constantino’s became involved with One Legacy/Donate Life.

Hugo’s miracle was not to be…this side of heaven. He passed away on June 26, 2005.

While deeply grieved at the death of her beloved husband…Maria Elaina and her children have continued with their commitment to spreading the word about the need for organ donors. As a result…over 1,500 people have now signed up on the One Legacy website to be donors…and doing so in the name of Hugo.

On April 29th, there will a Run/Walk to raise funds for One Legacy/Donate Life. Funds that will go to work to educate people about organ donation and the difference it make in the lives of so many who are in need. The Run/Walk will take place at California State University, Fullerton on Saturday April 29th, and race time starting at 9 AM.

I encourage you…take a few moments and go to the One Legacy/Donate Life website…and sign up to be an organ donor. Share the news with your family and friends…and encourage them to do likewise.

Hugo made a difference in the lives of people who he knew…he fully invested himself and he cared. He continues to make a difference…even in his death…by inspiring people to give others a chance to live by becoming an organ donor. You too have that opportunity to make a difference. Sign up today…and I hope to see you there on race day, April 29th, at Cal State Fullerton…9 AM sharp!

To check out more good new stories start by going to Joe Speranzella’s website at A Tic in the Mind’s Eye. KT Cat…over at The Scratching Post…has an article on ordinary people joining in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

Wholly Surrendered?

On a recent post I shared that sometimes I struggle with prayer…especially when it intersects with ultimately submitting or surrendering to God’s will.

I find it easier to just submit to God’s will rather than to offer prayer requests to him and have him say no, or wait…or I have a better choice or answer for you. That it’s less painful to just submit than to ask and not receive what I asked for or in the manner or timing I asked for it.

Today I was reflecting further on that and wondered…by withholding prayer or being reluctant in making my requests to God…I’m not fully or wholly surrendering to God.

Real trust…in God or even a person is to being able to say this is what I want or need. And when the answer is no…or later…or I’ve got something better…or you’re just going to have to trust me…that indeed you do trust them.

You trust their character, wisdom, knowledge, motives, and you trust that they love you. That they love you enough to give you what you need and do that which is best for you. Even if it’s not readily apparent to you at the moment. That’s trust

When I don’t pray about something that concerns me…it’s not like God doesn’t know about it. Not only is he aware of my needs or wants…he’s also aware of my reluctance approach him or trust him.

How do you feel when someone you love and for whom you want the best doesn’t trust you enough to confide in you? Does it hurt you? Does it frustrate you? Does it break your heart?

Perhaps the only one I’m kidding is me. I think that by not asking…and just submitting I am surrendering to God’s will. When in fact…I am not fully trusting God. Not trusting him enough to say “God…this is what I want or need. But God…I know that you are good, holy, perfect and righteous. I know that you love me and I trust you to give me that which you deem best for me at the right and perfect time.”

So like…will I ever get this trust in God and faith thing right before I die? Well…if I’m a betting person…I don’t know. But then there is God…and his Spirit within me…and tomorrow is a new day…and each moment is fresh. Okay…let’s give it another try. Thank Jesus!

Surrender definition by Webster’s:
1 a : to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand b : to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another2 a : to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner b : to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence)

Jesus on the Road to Emmaus by Bob Kraning

Notes taken from Bob Kraning’s Easter Message on April 16, 2006

Luke 24:13-35

Two on the road to Emmaus. Their hopes had been dashed. They were disheartened and discouraged. Jesus had told them that he would rise on the 3rd day…but they hadn’t seen him. Had Jesus failed? Their minds were on death…and they were disappointed. Is that why the two did not recognize Jesus?

What does this story reveal to us about Jesus?

1) The ability of Jesus to make send out of the senseless things of life.

Vs. 18 – The two asked Jesus if he didn’t know what was going on. What’s ironic is that Jesus is the only one who truly knew what was going on. They were wistfully longing for what Jesus had promised.

Joy and hope is renewed when Jesus shows us the answers. Even in the bewildering times…we are learning about what life really means.

2) We see the kindness, understanding and courtesy of Jesus.

Jesus listened to them as they talked. Jesus waited for an invitation to stay with them. He does them same today…he waits for an invitation. He joined them only after the invitation was received.

Jesus listened first, and then he guided them through all that they had learned. Cleopus indicted himself by sighting the scriptures. But the problem is…that it was in his head, not his heart.

Vs. 27 – Jesus shared with them…he went through the Old Testament scripture references that spoke of him. Genesis 3:15, Abraham and Isaac Genesis 22. The ram in the thicket…a picture in the Old Testament of Jesus sacrificial offering. The Passover in Egypt…and the blood of the lamb on the doorposts…and how the angel of the Lord would pass over. Isaiah 53…the picture of the suffering servant (pierced, crushed, by wounds we were healed.

3) Ability of Jesus to reveal himself…during the breaking of bread. Jesus took the bread, blessed it and then broke it. That’s when they recognized him. Why? Had they been there when Jesus fed the 5,000? The moment he broke the bread…they recognized him. Then he slipped away.

4) When you realize who Jesus truly is…you have to act.

These two men…ran back 20 miles to Jerusalem to tell the others. You can’t just sit there and do nothing when you know the truth. You can’t just sit there when you have truth…life giving truth that they need to hear. You just have to share it.

So…had the Father abandoned his Son? No! Instead he said Arise.

I need to recognize:

1) Jesus is Lord.

He came; he died so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

2) I need to remember He is the God of the Resurrection

He will be for us a resurrection…new beginning…sunrise….life out of death…hope out of darkness…success out of failure.

3) I need to make a commitment to Jesus to be his witness.

Not a witness…but to witness to others about him. Witness to the fact that Jesus is alive and he came to redeem us from our sins.

In Max Lucado’s book Six Hours One Friday he talks about Jairus and his daughter whom Jesus had raised from the dead. She had been dead and was now alive. She had the answer to the question that everyone wanted to know. At breakfast one morning…he asks the question. What was her response? “It’s a secret too good for words.”

Peace when there should be pain. Confidence in the midst of crisis. Does death have the final word? “Not on your life.”

Because I live…you shall live also. He’s taken away our sins and guilt. We are free.

Jirus daughter…she has the look…she knows the answer for the question everyone has. Does death have the final answer? “Not on your life!”

Lastly Bob Kraning recommended a book “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger” by Dick Gregory…if you’re not sure of your salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ.

Out of the Fog

I feel like I’ve been driving in a fog for months now…and finally I’m coming out of the fog.

It seems strange to see the clearing…and I almost feel disoriented as the fog dissipates and I feel the sunshine around me. Sounds are muted in the fog…and now I begin to hear birds chirping…and maybe a car passing by in the distance. I’m not sure how long I’ve been in the fog…but it seems like it’s been such a very long time.

Now this is a metaphorical fog…but it is an apt description nonetheless.

So when did it begin? I’m not sure I even know. It seems like I’ve been driving for so very long…and much has happened in that time frame (or relief has not been forthcoming). Everything from Alzheimer’s, to job burnout…or family and friend concerns weighing heavily upon these frail shoulders…to unanswered, much desired prayer.

I think I know when it started to change. A couple of weeks ago…I went to the women’s retreat a church. It was just what I needed…to be refreshed and renewed. One of the exercises was to pick out a big rock and write on it…different things or people that you wanted to surrender and leave at the foot of the cross. It didn’t take long for me to know what I wanted to write on that rock. In fact…I could have used a whole satchel full of rocks to help me lay my burdens down.

One of the first things I wrote on the rock was the initials of a person with whom I’ve felt very burdened and discontented about for some time now. After much prayer and meditation…I took my rock up and laid it at the foot of the cross. Immediately…I felt a peace. For so long I had struggled to let go of my hopes regarding our relationship…and I resisted. But in doing this simple exercise…I was finally able to let him go.

When I walked away from church that day…I felt peace that had evaded me for far too long. Amazingly that peace has continued. By letting go of my hopes and dreams…I was also able to let go of my expectations…let it go, let it be and move on. That was the second marker I recalled seeing as I drove out of this fog.

Prior to that…I took a day and allowed myself to just be. It entailed a trip to the flower fields in Carlsbad. The visit filled my empty tanks…and I left renewed and at peace…with God, circumstances and myself.

You know those mountain top experiences…are frequently followed by a valley or two. This time I felt that God had me in the winepress…almost literally and physically. During this time…I had a migraine headache that lasted for over a week and was complicated by jaw pain from wisdom teeth. It was agonizing…and I would have done most anything to bring relief to the unrelenting, intense physical pain. Relief started only after I submitted a prayer request…to the faithful members of Kindred Community Church’s prayer team.

I was humbled that following Sunday…by my fellow church members inquiring to find out how I felt. They are so caring and faithful. I felt humbled and grateful for their prayers and that God has granted me the presence of these wonderful people in my life.

I think that God used the physical pain…and the resulting pain relief to remind me of God, his power, and the power of prayer…that he does care…yea, even for lowly me.

Prayer has always been a struggle for me. Honestly…prayer took a hit in my life following the death of my pastor. We had all prayed so long and so hard…for God to heal this man…but ultimately we prayed for God’s will and the ability to accept his will. And God sustained and strengthened us…as a church body and as individuals as we rode the cancer coaster for over two years. God’s perfect will was done…when he called his faithful servant home.

In some ways…riding the coaster was easier than when it stopped. I almost feel…as if I lost my purpose for prayer. I know this sounds wholly sacrilegious…but at times I felt it almost easier to submit to God and his will…without presenting him my requests in prayer. Only to have those requests overridden by God’s will. It hurt less to submit than to ask and be denied.

But thank God…he is faithful when I am faithless. He was there…solid and steady…an abiding rock for me. Though the fog and darkness hid God from me…he was there nonetheless.

Today…Good Friday…I awoke early. I wanted to read passages about Jesus’ crucifixion. I chose Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. In reading those passages…I was again reminded that God does care for me. That he sent his Son Jesus to die on that cross…bear the penalty for my sin…so that I may be forgiven and spend eternity with him in heaven.

Have the many things that concern me gone away? No…I could have written three more pages of things that come to mind.

But I am reminded of the love God has for me…and how big he is. He is sovereign and has a plan…a perfect plan in place. And I’m part of that plan…and he cares for me and will bring me through.

How can I not be amazed to think and know that Jesus chose to give up his life and die for me? Think about it. Who, in your life, would you be willing to give up your life to save? I’m sure there are a few people that you love greatly and for whom you would make that sacrifice. But would you make that sacrifice for the person who hurt you…or deceived and used you for personal gain? Would you do that for someone who hated you or someone who ignored you and didn’t even recognize you were there?

Well that’s exactly what Jesus did when he died on the cross…low those many years ago. For that I am most grateful…and I can now have a life of peace and yes even victory as I look with confidence to my future, eternally secured in heaven. Now who can beat that?

All to him I owe…all to thee my precious Savior…I surrender all.

Special Birthday Blessings…Joe

Today, April 10th, I send a special birthday blessing…for my friend Joe Egan.

  • Joseph….may your Irish eyes always be smiling,
  • May God’s blessings rain upon you each day,
  • May God bless you and make his love known to you through your family, friends…and even strangers.
  • May you in turn be a blessing to others,
  • May God strengthen you and enable you to face each challenge he brings your way,
  • As you look back on each day…plainly see God’s hand upon you and in each circumstance,
  • As you end each day…may your lips sing forth with praise and thanksgiving to God,
  • To the God who created you, knew you and formed you in your mother’s womb….low those many years ago.

God bless and Happy Birthday Joe…I hope this will be your best year yet.

How do you spell fraud? SILKIES

Have you ever received a card in the mail…with an offer for a free sample of a product? A brand or something that you don’t normally buy…so you think, “Hey…I’ll give it a try.”

That’s what I said when I received an offer for some free pantyhose…Silkies. I filled out the card and within a few weeks…I received my free sample. Actually I kind of liked the hose…and would probably have purchased them at the store. That is until I found out this company engages in fraudulent and deceptive business practices.

You see not only did I get my free sample…but shortly thereafter I receive another mailing of their product. I didn’t realize that this time it was not free sample…but instead…the beginnings of their fraudulent business practice.

First they send the “free sample”. Next they send more product…then a few weeks later you get the bill…for product you didn’t order or authorize.

Now that’s bad enough…but then I went to their website. I wanted to make sure there was no further misunderstanding…that they knew I didn’t order their product, nor want it. However…you can’t cancel your account or delete any orders on their website.

Now these folks are downright shifty. On their invoice there is no place to cancel an order or note that you don’t want their product.

So what’s a girl to do when taken in by fraud? Well first…a complaint and direction to Silkies customer service to cancel the account and to make sure they know I don’t appreciate their fraudulent business practice.

Second…a trip over to the FTC website to file a complaint.

Lastly…an article to forewarn others who might fall prey to fraud…in particular by SILKIES but also by others seeking to gain by dishonesty.
I come away from this experience leery and jaded. Silkies thinks they are quite clever by conducting business in this manner. However…it will on serve to backfire on them. Not only will I never purchase their product again…I will make sure I warn others about their company.

Next time…any “free offer” cards come my way…they will go in the trash. So other legitimate businesses seeking to get their product noticed…will fail with this girl. Taken in by fraud this time…but coming away a little wiser.

Be forewarned…throw those “free offers” in the trash.

Not a Good Combination

This week has been a lesson in pain…physical pain. Specifically how all consuming it can be.

Sunday evening lead into a week of a migraine headache. To make matters worse…my wisdom teeth decided to do an unwise and untimely thing…by trying once again to make an appearance. Then to add to the equation my sinuses said, “Hey…its springtime…let see what havoc we can cause.” So to say I was in pain…is an understatement.

This blessed migraine has lasted all week. At times thankfully it’s been less obnoxious…but it’s still hanging on today.

Tuesday and Wednesday were the worse…and sleep evaded me. I had to sleep sitting up because the pain was just throbbing when I laid down. Little did my sister know…but she almost received a phone call in the middle of the night to take me to the emergency room.

I think I cried out to God more this week than ever before. Finally on Wednesday night…when I could not bear another night of pain and no sleep…I sent a quick prayer request off to Kindred’s Prayer Team. Within a few minutes of sending that off…the pain eased up from about a level 10 to a level 1 or 2…allowing me to rest. I cried with relief and gratitude…and for the first time in days…was able to sleep.

Trying to sleep sitting up is awful. All I could think of was my dear Pastor Chuck…and how he had to do that towards the end of his cancer coaster. I just did it for a couple of nights…and it was hard. I can’t even imagine what its like for extended periods of time.

Finding something that can bring relief from physical pain can become all consuming quest. Even to bring it down a notch…so it’s bearable. My pain killer of choice Advil…is no longer an option…since I’m allergic and breakout in hives. Aspirin isn’t an option either…so I’m left with Tylenol. Grateful for something…but it’s just not a great pain killer.

It’s not uncommon to hear of pharmacies having burglaries or theft of Vicodin. Why…I’ll never know. On Tuesday night…I took a Vicodin left over from an earlier prescription…and I could have saved myself the time. It made absolutely no difference.

In the midst of the pain…I cried out to God for help. Not in any way an eloquent prayer…but one uttered in desperation. Trying to figure out why the pain was relentless and my prayers not being answered…I confessed my sins that came to mind. Yet the pain continued. So then I asked God to reveal to me what he wanted me to learn from this experience…just wanting to put an end to it.

Physical pain lessens my ability to concentrate and perform well. I’m distracted because of the pain. I was amazed that I was patient in dealing with some people and situations…I would have guessed other wise. But it’s very wearing…and just getting the basics done when I get home at night was an accomplishment. Ironing clothes for the next day or taking out the trash was difficult. I think I will have a new appreciation for being able to complete simple tasks…like washing dishes.

It got me thinking about emotional pain and how one might seek whatever means necessary to make that stop too. While different from physical pain…it can be as difficult to bear. And what about spiritual pain? What does that look like…and what do I do to bring relief?

Definitely not a road I would have chosen to go down. One…from which I’m looking for a quick exit. Thankfully I ended the week…with the pain level reduced. The migraine has lessened and even gone away for hours at a time. I’ve been able to sleep which I have a new appreciation for…after finding sleep so evasive.

Prayerfully I hope that this episode is something of the past, very soon. But, boy oh boy, what a wake up call…to pain and what some people deal with on a daily basis.

BSF Gems

Bible Study Fellowship has been a huge blessing in my life. It’s helped me to grow in wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word. It’s helped me better apply it to my life. It’s been both convicting and encouraging.

A couple of gems from tonights study…the above acronym on faith. I also took away the reminder that preoccupation with God’s goodness is the secret of growing old gracefully. May it be true in my life.

Joy Come in the Mourning by Bob Kraning

Notes taken from Bob Kranings sermon on 4/2/06

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Mathew 5:4

There are three perspectives on this passage:

1) Mourning for a world of sin without Christ
2) Mourning over our own sin
3) Mourning over great losses in our life

All our heartbreak and hurt…if only it was as simple as a 2nd grader’s. But life is much more difficult. The Bible does not explain suffering. But it does try and teach us how to handle suffering and to trust our God in the midst of it.

Mourning…when we suffer a great loss. How do I receive comfort in the midst of suffering?

1) Realize that God is with me even in the midst.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

God is totally aware of your pain. God cares that you are suffering and in pain. God is able to see you through.

So how much time does it take until it gets better? More for some…less for others.

After Job had lost everything he said, “He keeps close watch on all of my paths.” Job 33:11b

“I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears, behold, I will heal you.” 2King 20:5b

“God is our refuge and strength and an ever-present help in times of trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

“Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

God provides the grace to help you in your time of need. Awareness and assistance…God will walk with you through the difficult times. Are you growing in your pain? Or have you gotten stuck in your pain?”

“All sunshine makes for a desert.” Bears no fruit if there is only sunshine. Fruit bearing requires a little rain.

Quote: I walked a mile with Pleasure, She chattered all the way; But left me none the wiser, For all she had to say. I walked a mile with Sorrow And ne’er a word said she; But, oh, the things I learned from her When Sorrow walked with me! – Robert Browning Hamilton

The kindness of friends and comfort and compassion of our God can see us through.”
2) Release the hurt. Stop focusing on what was lost…and instead focus on what is left.

“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19

You have a couple of options. A) Repress your past, hurt, pain and loss. Pretend like it doesn’t exist. Become like the walking wounded. 2) Release it. Rethink it…second guess yourself again and again.

But the difference between mourning and moaning. Moaning…a pity party. Not getting over feeling sorry for yourself.

In his book. Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.” It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life.

3) Resent. Option three…you can continue to resent people, things and even God. Push away the one …the only one who can comfort us in our sorrow.

4) Release it…let God comfort and control.

14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14

Don’t push through the time of mourning. Let God help and take you through the mourning.

4) Rely on God’s resources. (Look up the message translation.)

“You never know Jesus is all you need, until he’s all you have.” Mother Theresa

The world has many escapes…drinking, drugs, money and sex among many other things..

God rescues us through the mourning:

a) God’s Word…look up verses about comfort, healing and help. God tells us that his word can make a difference in our lives. Let God help you to let things go, in his timing.

b) God’s people is another resource. People who will pray for you. Those in whom you can fully disclose in confidence.

“God comforts us in our hurt and our pain and our loss so that we may comfort others in their pain, with the same comfort with which we were comforted.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

God brings people in your path who has suffered similarly. When we have seen and know God’s understanding…we too will be able to know and understand another’s pain. Some are able to care because they’ve been there.

c) God’s Spirit –

The spirit of God is there to minister to us in our pain. How do we handle our pain? Run and try to fix ourselves or to call out to the God of heaven to minister to ourselves and others.

We sorrow and mourn, but not as those who have no hope. God tells us, “I’m aware, I care and I will be with you and I will help you in and through your pain.”

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10b

An Ordinary Hero

Tonight while finishing up at work…and before heading off to my weekend…I encountered an ordinary hero.

While inputting some last minute data…I looked up from my computer and encountered the smiling face and warm eyes of Elias. From the first moment I encounter him…I knew this was a special person. Elias has a peace, joy and happiness that radiates from him.

He offered a friendly hello…and reminded me it was Friday and that the weekend was here. Usually I’m quite focused…and able to tune out distractions…but this time I found myself chatting with this rather intriguing man. I asked how he was doing…and he said that he was feeling better because he was not sore anymore after running the LA marathon with his son.

He then told me that this was his second marathon…that he had run with his son. He had not been a runner until just last year. Now I’d guess Elias to be in his fifties. But I wasn’t surprised to hear that he had beaten his son in last year’s marathon. This year…his 27 year old son beat him by two minutes…both finishing the race in a little over five hours.

There was a definite pride that shown forth. Not a boastful pride…but a pleasure in the commitment and success that he and his son had achieved. But more important is the relationship that they enjoy. The proud dad shared that his son is in college and going for his bachelor degree.

Then Elias introduced himself to me…and showed the E & J on his shirt…the E stood for Elias. He was there to make sure that his cleaning crew was doing a good job. A small businessman who had started his business 20 years ago. He did not take accounts for granted…but was following up to make sure his crew was doing quality, detailed work.

He went on to share that tomorrow he was speaking at church and going to tell a story that he had written. A story that is a picture of the world with it’s temptations, distractions and dangers…and of God who loves us so much…that he reached down to pull us to safety. Elias said he likes write…and when he looks things…he likes to make stories about them.

As we parted company…Elias showed me his I-pod Nano. On it was engraved his name…and the saying “Success is a Choice”. Not just a phrase…but a way in which this man lives and walks each day. As he walked away…he stopped to write down a phrase from a motivational picture about perseverance.

A brief and unexpected encounter…but one that I will never forget. Creative…Motivated…Positive…Radiating the Love of God. An indelible impression was made upon my soul…by this man…just An Ordinary Hero.