A Day Without a Woman

“A Day Without a Woman” – Women’s rights groups organized a march on Washington today to celebrate International Women’s Day, and they encouraged women to stand together against inequality and injustice against women. They marched against President Trump and “the decades long economic inequality, racial and sexual violence, and imperial wars abroad.” The organizers asked women to take off work, avoid shopping, and basically not do the things they would normally do in a day. Thrown into the mix of all of the platforms of the movement was the platform of “reproductive justice,” which basically is a call for the right to kill unborn children at any point during pregnancy. The International Women’s Strike group included this statement on their website: “We demand free abortion without conditions.” Without conditions includes abortion at full-term just before birth, partial birth abortion, convenience abortion at any point during the pregnancy, and any other form of abortion the woman wishes to have without consideration of the baby’s rights. What about reproductive justice for the unborn?

I must hasten to say that I believe if a woman is doing the same job as a man, she should be paid the same, and women should be respected and regarded highly at all levels. In my opinion, this focus today had nothing to do with honoring women. It had everything to do with hatred of President Trump, pride, arrogance, self-servitude and self-aggrandizement. These attitudes are a total 180 from what the Bible teaches about love, servanthood and humility. Organizers of the event referred to themselves as an “army of love,” but I only see hatred (toward President Trump and maybe all men in general).

The only way our country will find healing during this terrible time of upheaval is if we will apply the golden rule (Do unto others what you want them to do unto you) and the Great Commandment (Love your neighbor as yourself). Marching with an agenda of hatred, acting with a motive of malevolence, or speaking with a goal of besmirching political leaders does not honor God and does not make for a strong Republic.

I would like to encourage a day that we would not call “A Day Without a Woman,” but maybe “A Day for a Woman.” Let’s serve the ladies in our lives and give them the respect that they deserve. Let’s thank God for the wonderful gift of women in our lives. If you’re a woman, it is my hope that you are appalled at what transpired today and would recommit yourself to the attributes and character qualities that best represent Jesus Christ. Then let’s have “A Day for Unity” where people of both sexes and all ethnicities stand together as Americans – not white Americans, black Americans, male or female Americans, Mexican-Americans – just Americans. Maybe we could follow that up with “A Day for Jesus” where all Christians share the wonderful stories of how Jesus Christ has changed our lives.

It’s time to come together. Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Let’s all recommit ourselves to community and love. Let’s look around today to see who we can out serve. Focus on giving instead of receiving. Think of serving others instead of reclaiming our rights. That would be a real day worth celebrating.

Healing for America as we Seek God’s Face

prayer22 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Today is the day. So much will be determined about our future by the casting of ballots, and a lot hangs in the balance. At the same time, God is not limited by what happens today. Regardless of who becomes our next president or representative or senator, God is still on His throne. His plan will not be thwarted and His purpose will not go unfulfilled. We can find great comfort today in knowing that God’s will is not dependent upon our opinions and actions.

Regardless of today’s outcome, America is in dire need of renewal. Our renewal, however, does not need only to come in the form of new initiatives, new laws, and new Supreme Court justices. We have a much deeper need than that. We need spiritual renewal and revival. God says that He will heal our land if His people will humble themselves and pray. He also calls us to seek His face and turn from our wicked ways.

Seeking God’s face is a call to authenticity and transparency before a holy God Who already knows all things. Looking into the eyes of our Heavenly Father is an invitation for Him to look deep into our souls and see everything. Such divine scrutiny always leads to repentance in the lives of God’s children. We cannot maintain our heavenly gaze unless we’re willing to repent. We either seek God’s face and enjoy the refreshing grace of a merciful God, or we turn away and continue in our destructive patterns and rebellion.

Seeking God’s face also calls for a relationship. God never intended us to just obey Him. He also wants us to love Him. We can be rule followers and still be far from God. It’s like the strong-willed little boy who finally sat down after being told to do so by his mother one hundred times. He replied, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m still standing up on the inside.” God doesn’t just want outward conformity. He wants an inner relationship. God has many things He wants to do in your life, but He can only do them in the context of love.

Seeking God’s face also means gaining God’s approval. Imagine the nod of God’s eternal head as He watches the lives of His children. God says that he will bring healing to our land when His people live in such a way as to please the heart of our Heavenly Father. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the world and begin comparing ourselves to the wrong standard. My mother used to remind me that it didn’t matter what my friends did because they weren’t the standard. Our only standard is Jesus Christ and His Word. If you want God’s healing in our land, in your family, or in your life, seek God’s face by living in obedience to His will.

We want God to heal our land; therefore, it means that we must fall on our face in prayer and seek His face. We must humble ourselves and continue to pray as we repent of our sins and intercede for our land. If God’s people will do that, God will respond and heal our land. May we join our hearts together and plea for the soul of America.

Family Devotion by Amy Autry

Getting Started: Take a piece of paper. Have a member of the family rip the paper into smaller pieces. As a family work to put the paper back together. Like this piece of paper, it started out perfect. Our actions tore into tiny pieces. We can try to put it back together, but we cannot make it look like it did before. It is the same with sin. We cannot do it by ourselves. Only God can restore us after we have sinned.

Bible Time:

Read 1 John 1:5-10

When God created the world, he created us in His image and there was no sin. In verse 5, John tells his readers that “God is light and in Him there is no darkness.” We were created to have a perfect relationship with God where there was no sin. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that disobeys God. Soon after God created people, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God.

Because of sin our relationship with God was broken. Verse 6 tells us that we cannot have fellowship with God if we continue to sin. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Sin separates us from God, but God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to take our punishment for disobeying God. God tells us that if we repent of our sin, our relationship with Him will be restored. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

When we ask God to be our Lord, it doesn’t mean that we will never mess up. God wants us to constantly confess, or repent of our sins and turn back to Him. Repent means that we are turning away from our sin and turning back to following God. God promises that when we repent, he will forgive our sins as if they never happened and our relationship with Him is restored.

Discussion Questions:

  • What is sin? (Anything we think, say or do that disobeys God)
  • Who has sinned? (Everyone)
  • What does God do when we confess our sin? (He forgives us and restores our relationship with Him.)

 

Spend some time praying and asking God to forgive any sin in your life. If your child is asking questions about salvation, spend time discussing what it means to follow Christ.

How Do You Say Goodbye to your Mother?

momHow do you say goodbye to your mother? My mother passed away last week. I kissed her the night before she died, told her I loved her, and told her that she would soon see Jesus. It was a sad time when she died the next day, but our sorrow was not for my mom. It was for us. My mother loved Jesus with all of her heart. The scripture is clear that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Even with Alzheimer’s, my mother lived out her faith. Just months before her death, she was not able to talk about much, but she could carry on a conversation about the Word of God. She would sing hymns and pray. A month before she passed, I was at my parent’s house doing some repairs, and my mom walked into the kitchen and said, “I need to pray for you.” We bowed our heads, and she started a prayer. My mother didn’t get past “Dear Heavenly Father,” but God knew exactly what was on her heart. I am confident that the Holy Spirit finished her prayer somewhere in the portals of Heaven.

My mother was passionate about sharing the gospel with everyone in the world. She lived out her passion and influenced thousands and thousands of people all over the world. I know that she personally led over 1000 children to Christ during the 13-year period she was a camp director. I learned last week that she had written a song or chorus. I can’t believe I didn’t know that. Many of the grandchildren knew it. All of the grandchildren and great grandchildren (at least those who were old enough to sing) sang her song at her funeral:

Everyone, everywhere needs to know of God’s love; for everyone, everywhere, Jesus came from above
To die on Calvary; His great love for all to see. Everyone, everywhere needs God’s love.

My oldest daughter told me yesterday that her two-year-old daughter asked her daddy to sing to her Grandma’s song. I am confident that my mother’s heart and life’s passion will continue to influence my family and the world for generations to come.

How do you say goodbye to your mother? If you and your mom are Christians, you don’t have to. The Bible is clear that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. I have no doubt my mother is in Heaven. I don’t have to say “goodbye” but rather “I’ll see you later.”

Happy Emoji Day!!

emojiHappy world emoji day!! Hard to believe, but today (July 17), we are actually celebrating the little icons people use in texting to communicate feelings. While a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m not real sure what the emojis are worth. I can’t tell what feelings many of them represent. It does kind of remind me of a tutorial on feelings I read for men once. Because men do not always connect with their feelings, this particular book offered suggestions (and even little drawings) to help the Neanderthal guy figure out exactly how he feels. The jury is still out as to whether or not that book is actually that helpful either. I have learned to be careful in texting because words do not always adequately communicate feelings. Now we are supposed to somehow express ourselves through little pictures – some of which are wide open for interpretations. Maybe World Emoji Day can be a day we recommit ourselves to really communicating, and not just with little drawings. What steps can you take to communicate better with the ones you love?

 

Court Foreshadows Coming Persecution

traditional_marriageBiblical values and teaching are under attack. As Supreme Court Justices recently discussed the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, Solicitor General Donald Verilli pointed out that religious colleges would potentially lose their tax-exempt status if they continued to only support traditional marriage. There is no doubt that this decision will bring about the same results in churches all across America. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently said in a speech to the Women of the World Summit, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Does Clinton’s statement bother you as much as it bothers me? It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to see where all of this is going. It seems that every day that passes our nation takes another giant leap away from the teachings of the Bible, which were the very principles upon which our Founding Fathers established our country. We are very close to laws being established that restrict freedom of speech and the teaching of the Word of God. Travis Weber of the Family Research Council recently warned that if the current trend continues, those who refuse to endorse same-sex marriage could face “fines, potentially imprisonment.” We are living in both troubling and exciting times. The church is about to experience very serious persecution in our own nation, but God’s Word tells us to comfort one another as the return of Christ draws ever closer.

How should Christians respond to this trend? Share your thoughts below and pass this along to your friends by clicking the social media links.

Fifty Shades of Shame

I know I’ve posted something already today on prayer, but I’ve got share some thoughts about this new movie.

shame2Fifty Shades of Grey opened up this weekend and has already been awarded the record of the highest earnings of any film ever that opened up during the month of February. The film that did hold this record was The Passion of the Christ. Maybe we should just let that sink in for a moment. I can’t help but feel that this fact alone reveals the spiritual warfare aspect of this movie. Box office receipts for this opening weekend of Fifty Shades could be as much as $100 million. Did you catch that? $100 million! So, who is going to see this movie? Evidently a lot of people. Here’s the interesting thing. I’ve read a few reviews about the movie, from both Christian and secular sources, and I haven’t found anyone yet who says the movie is a great movie. So, even with bad reviews, the theatres are full this weekend of people wanting to see a movie that glamorizes the abuse of women and promotes a perversion of sex.

I entitled this article Fifty Shades of Shame because first of all, shame on Christians for reading this book, and now, going to see the movie. While I can’t know for sure whether or not Christians have done this, I’m guessing that this movie is going to make nearly $100 million this weekend with the help of curious believers. Christians could make a huge statement to Hollywood if we refused to see movies that do not promote themes that are wholesome and promote healthy relationships.

It is also shameful because few people seem to be calling this lifestyle what it is – a perversion of what God intends. We live in a time when everyone seems to be saying that anything goes and everything is okay. Everything is NOT okay. Everything has consequences, and the consequence of perversion is never ultimate fulfillment. In a day where the abuse of women is recognized as wrong, Hollywood and our secular media seems to be having a hard time calling these producers out for creating such a film. This movie should be the greatest flop in the history of Hollywood because American people do not want to promote such outrageous behavior and organizations across the country, both secular and Christian, take a stand for women and healthy relationships. What happened to the character of our nation? Why are we going to reward the film maker and the author of such shameful material?

While I could say more, I would like to address one final area of shame. Shame on Christians for not willingly promoting a biblical view of relationships, marriage, and even sex through our conversations and practices. Marriage is a beautiful thing, and sex is a wonderful gift from our Creator who designed the whole thing. While we need to be circumspect in how we talk about this subject, there are places that the topic of sex and relationships should be talked about, and when we talk about it, it should be in glowing terms. The problem is that for many Christians, relationships and sex are not glowing because we do not have the kind of marriages we should have. God intends marriage to be a joyful experience filled with happiness, support, encouragement, and fun – yes fun. Maybe young people would not be drawn to this perversion if the model they see in their parents and in this culture was one that showed the fulfillment and joy that is experienced in healthy marriages. Let’s let this Hollywood perversion challenge us not to settle for anything less in our marriages than God’s best so that we can model for the world the true shade of love and commitment.

Putin: Political or Prophetic?

PutinVladimir Putin, president of Russia, has an agenda, though we may not fully understand it. While many political leaders are trying to figure out Putin’s next move and trying to determine how to stop his strategic acclamation of more territory, the Russian president simply thumbs his nose at Western leaders and stays his course. Julia Loffe wrote in the New Republic: “Russia, or, more accurately, Putin, sees the world according to his own logic, and the logic goes like this: it is better to be feared than loved, it is better to be overly strong than to risk appearing week, and Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion.” What is really going on? What is Putin up to? I think we can return to Bible prophecy to answer these questions.

Russia is going to lead a coalition of nations against Israel in a battle called the battle of Gog and Magog described in Ezekiel 38-39. For Russia to head up such an attack, what do you suppose would have to be true about Russia?

  • They will obviously need to have garnered some respect and influence in the region.
  • They will need to know that they can initiate such activity without western interference.
  • They will need strong respect from the Arabic nations who hate Israel.
  • They will need the military resources and backbone to be able to arm their soldiers for such an invasion. (One can only guess what rich, industrial resources Russia will gain by taking over eastern, Russian speaking Ukraine. They have already secured the home of the Black Sea Fleet in the Ukraine.)
  • They will need to have no fear of the U.S. or any other nation who may disagree with what they are doing.
  • They will need to position themselves as friends with anyone who hates Israel and promote a global intolerance of the Jewish state so Israel will look like the bad guys.

Maybe we could all put our heads together and list additional reasons, but my point is that all of the things we see happening today are leading to an end that was prophesied thousands of years ago in the Bible: leading a coalition of nations in war against Israel.

We cannot date when all of this is going to happen, but I do believe there is something to Putin’s strategy to ensure his role as president of Russia. All of this could linger for another 100 years, but it sure seems like something is building now. It could take 15, 20, 25, or 50 years to develop or it could happen in the next five years, but it is coming. We do know that Putin will be president until at least 2018. We must respond by praying for Israel, sharing the gospel freely, doing everything we can to reach the nations with the gospel (this includes the unreached people groups of the world), preparing ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially for what may be difficult times ahead, and preparing our children to stand strong for the cause of Christ. We are living in challenging but exciting times. Jesus said to be alert and watchful. Be diligent and faithful. Jesus is coming again.

Parenting Blog

My family and I are beginning to work on writing a new book together entitled 31 Days to Parenting Success. In order to promote interest, I will be writing an additional blog on parenting at http://www.31daysworks.blogspot.com. I will work to post on this blog as regularly as possible and make you aware of updates on the other blog as well. I encourage you to join both blogs so update notices will come in your e-mail. I am going to do my best to post a blog on each site about three times a week.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the incredible sacrifices made by men and women so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. Even the freedom to write this blog, to publish books, and to enjoy worship yesterday has come at an incredible price. Thank you God for the sacrifices of men and women through the years so our country can remain free. I encourage you to spend some time with your family today talking about the price of freedom.

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