PERSECUTED CHURCH: Our lives as Christians under the microscope.

We are on watch, we are targeted – by our own government. The Supreme Court is weighing in on so-called ‘gay marriage’ which can force churches, ministries, and Christian organizations protected by their 501(c)(3) status.

Should we be concerned? YES. Because Christians are persecuted outloud with hideous beheadings, and sometimes so quiet that it’s almost undetectable, or so the government hopes. In China, the hope of Jesus Christ is so abhorred and feared by their government, they are calling it “a restriction on the public space for Christianity” toppling them one at a time: “Compared to the Communist Party’s previous militant-style campaigns aiming at wiping out the religion, the latest crackdown is milder and its primary target is a symbol rather than the belief itself“, read the rest here.

A restriction on the public space for Christianity? Sounds familiar? It should, Bible studies, prayer meetings and church services in private homes in America have been targeted:

“A California couple has been fined by the city of San Juan Capistrano for holding Bible studies and religious gatherings in their home.” Read the rest here.
AND
“A Phoenix man has been sentenced to 60 days in jail after he refused to stop hosting Bible studies in the privacy of his home – in violation of the city’s building code laws.” Read the rest here.

Is this what’s coming to American churches as the LGBT community continues to target and persecute Christianity? Look to Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston. She took her LGBT agenda and manifested it as law to placate her own sin to make it appear normal; ‘City of Houston’ demanded “sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker. Pastors and churches and ministries said a resounding NO, claiming rightfully that their Constitutional rights cannot be taken away by anyone.

“This new draft law is just another attempt by the government to legitimize its existing illegal violent campaign of destruction and removal of the cross,” said Bob Fu of U.S.-based China Aid, which has documented that 448 churches have had crosses removed or buildings destroyed…..To continue to forcefully remove and ban the cross on the rooftop of the church buildings demonstrates the Chinese regime’s determination to contain the rapid growth of Christianity in China,” he said in an email.” Read the rest here.

Many smaller churches here in America are decidedly not tax exempt so that  they can continue to use their rights to Freedom of Speech, religion, and religious liberty. These rights are Constitutional and is supposed to protect individual American citizens, but are they protected under a 501(c)(3)? Many people would disagree with what protects us by something manufactured by the IRS and Federal Government.

In China, an article depicted Christian church crosses being torn down and in some cases, the entire church:

“The battle started when a government-hired crew tore down the metal cross atop the one-room church in this village surrounded by rice paddies last month…The next day, a church member used his own welding torch to put it back. He was promptly detained and questioned for 10 hours on the charge of operating a welding business without a license.” Read the rest here.

Tear down the Cross? Not one person can tear down what God has provided: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,” [1Cor 1:18].

Doing nothing gains nothing. Jesus is knocking on the door trying to get back into the Church, we should let Him in and keep the government OUT.

Ministry of Minimalism

I do not believe for one minute that Christians understand anything about proper stewardship. Of course no one is perfect, but it’s as if no one is trying to stay out of debt and give as God wants us to. God wants to bless us but instead we want to BE God and bless ourselves with the newest smartphones, cars, clothes, jewelry, etc. Christians need to think in terms of what God has provided. His provision is perfect while our expectations are hugely inflated: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,Matthew 6:33.

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church - their doors were closed.

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church – their doors were closed.

Want to live debt free? God wants you to! Jesus didn’t have a place to lay His own head, but we clamor for the latest and greatest…in His name:

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” Luke 16.

Hmmm there it is….are we a servant in Christ or just shrugging along from church service to church service?

Conversely, we’ve held onto things for fear of not having enough. Again, it’s a symptom of not trusting God. But when God gives you to overflowing, it’s because He has plans for it! As Christians we are to ‘love our neighbor‘; God gives an abundance for us to use to help His children, not keep back from them: ‘But God said “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’, Luke 12.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist lifestyle. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter. And more clutter dims the view of our Savior.

We can’t have it both ways.

Love your neighbor as yourself, give to give, and God will Bless you more and in more ways than you ever could imagine. Minimalism will show you what you need rather than what you think you deserve; Christian minimalism shows you who you can help with the abundance you actually have.

Don’t be religious…be a Christian. And love.

National Sanctity of Human LIFE Day, 2015

CHURCH: As the pulpit goes, so goes the nation. We have abortion as law because the Church allowed it. Preach LIFE, love the unwanted and unplanned; they are the ‘least of these’.

©revkatherinemarple

KeepLifeLegal

PASTORS & FRIENDS: This Sunday, January 18th, is 2015’s National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Typically it is the 3rd Sunday of January, usually the Sunday before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. President Ronald Reagan designated this day in remembrance and reflection of the sacred life of every person, born and unborn; the sanctity of LIFE:

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

AND: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1Corinthians 3:16-17)

PASTORS, will you preach a message of Life to your church January 18th? My fear is that Pastors will…

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On the OTHER Side of Addiction

We hear on the news, internet, and other media sources about addiction, the addict, what the addict did, etc. Addiction is ugly and deadly. But I’m on the OTHER side of addiction, I’m his mom.

What seems like a million years ago, I was married to an addict. Saw it all with my own eyes…and so did my kid.

Every day I wondered if this was going to be THAT day. Will I find him dead? Will he crash his vehicle again? Is he in jail again? Will he come home? Will he hurt us again? Again and again, over and over…I waited for the other shoe to drop. It’s a surreal thing watching someone slowly commit suicide with drugs and alcohol and be completely helpless.

And every day of this marriage my young son watched and was witness to this daily chaos. As parents we want to protect our kids and home, but when you are married to an addict you’re too busy dealing with the addiction than trying to keep a home and family and a job. And for that I have begged God for forgiveness that my sweet child had to see this horror when all I had to do was just leave. I had to find out many years later that the cancer had spread.

The last day I saw him was 25 years ago, TODAY.

I won’t go through all of the gory details, that’s for me and God to know. But I do want to address what it’s like on the OTHER side of addiction….because that addiction spread like a cancer to one of my children.

Unlike a very bad marriage, you can’t just ‘leave’ your kids. An addicted adult child is much harder to understand and deal with because they are forever your children, not a bad marriage. I truly thought that after seeing with his young eyes how bad addiction was that it would be the absolute last thing that would happen to him. The cancer spread anyway and without any fanfare…yes, I was totally blindsided because I was never a drug user. Remember this the next time you think your kids aren’t paying attention to what you are saying or doing.

About thirteen years ago, I gave my life to Jesus and eventually became ordained…all before I found out about my son’s addiction. Now I have different eyes to see through and a different heart to love with. The hard thing for my kid to do was confess his addiction to me, the hard thing for me to do was accept the fact that it happened.

Just like with my ex-husband, I have to deal with codependency and enabling. I don’t want to make his addiction worse, I want to make his recovery extraordinary! But isn’t that just like a Christian, wanting to give the devil a great big ole black eye? Then what does a person do, on the OTHER side of addiction? Every day for me I struggle with wondering if I’ll get THAT phone call and every day he struggles with the real pain of detoxing. It’s harrowing, it’s hard and it’s exhausting.

Certainly I am NOT alone, although for the rest of you I wish it were just me. But as people on the OTHER side of addiction, we have to band up with the LORD and each other to face that precious face of our addicted adult child. This is a love I never knew I had but God is GOOD! He gives us this supernatural strength to see our kids with His eyes.

If there is one thing I would say to ANY addict, it is this: YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FORSAKEN. You are NOT an accident or mistake. Your life is NOT over. You are important to GOD! And here’s why: The Bible says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” This scripture says that we are all known by God since the beginning of the world with a purpose and path already assigned to us. There is no mistake or accident, God does NOT make mistakes! God cannot lie! We are all His, and He is ours. 

If there is one thing that is foremost on my mind about my addicted adult child is that I never want him to feel hopeless or worthless. That kind of desperation paralyzes me; and if it does that to me, I cannot imagine what that does to him.

As a mom, I have said that I would die for my child if it meant saving theirs. I’m sure you’ve said the same thing. But One mightier than I has died for him, and died for me! Jesus is the only way to true salvation and restoration! I could die for my kid but that would do nothing for him when Jesus can give him the true love that will save his life!

Addiction is forever, so is Eternity. And for as much as I LOVE my son, God loves him even MORE!

Every day I wake up giving my kid to Jesus and trusting God to heal and restore him from drugs, then I ask God to keep my heart full of love and understanding with the right balance to help my kid, not hurt him. After that I thank God for a husband who cares for and loves my kid and me. I can’t imagine my life without either of these guys.

Recovery…restoration is one day at a time, for all of us, even on the OTHER side of addiction.

“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

TRUSTJESUS

 

#2015 is the Year of…Awakenings?

The Bible is ALIVE, the beating heart of God. It is showing through literal signs and wonders that we are in the end of end times. The world will never get better but it may seem quiet at times. And like a quiet toddler in another room, be VERY afraid. This is what the Lord told me:

MYLIFEASACHRISTIAN

Three tubs of aborted baby remains going to the incinerator.

Abortion will continue to drop and a resurgence will erupt in certain states to literally draw ‘customers’, I feel they may be NY, CA, WA & IL. Roe makes sure that every state will offer abortion services even it it’s just one facility left in that state. The murderous Left chants ‘undue burden’ which is an outright lie. But we know that! But does the general population? Not yet. That is the job of prolife advocates and conservative elected officials.

The Church will continue to get bigger and bigger, although not necessarily in the right direction. Jesus is not the focus of the Church at large, this was hard to see in person, but see it I did – out loud on the public steps of the local Statehouse. There is a surging ‘morality’ that mimics a so-called ‘churchy’ quality to make the agnostics and atheists feel good about child murder [abortion], assisted suicide [euthanasia, eugenics, genocide] legalizing pot [gateway drug use & abuse], praying to ‘mother’ [mother earth and/or mother god], etc. Cults will be on the rise, as well.  The Cross will still be shunned by the ‘elite’ but more people are listening than we give them credit for. Keep preaching!

MYLIFEASACHRISTIAN

On Christmas Day, two people sorting thru a dumpster.

Addictions & Afflictions of all kinds will continue to spike because of the economy, medical system & imposed socialism. More and more people are cohabitating and living communal just to survive & live; daily living gets harder and nearly unachievable. Too many people are on the government dole because of Obamanomics which created and/or exacerbated more drug use and poor eating habits, all of which creates more dependency.  Kids begin getting medicated by the public school system for the malady du jour [ADHD, etc] which leads them to accept pill taking, medications of all kinds as normal. Since drugs were normal as a child, this continues into adulthood.

MYLIFEASACHRISTIAN

PJ can’t read or write; thru circumstances out of his control, he is homeless…at Christmas.

Electronics will become the parent, homeschooling will be attacked again. Too much technology has taken the form of a parent, babysitter, even a physical school. And while homeschooling is climbing, and it should, it will continue to  be attacked and the government will quietly try to make it illegal. Be vigilant, stay awake, read everything you can get your hands on. Mainstream media of any kind can’t truly be trusted, I suggest finding online radio/media outlets to balance out what you hear on television/radio. Balance is key.

Christians will be called on to step out in faith to take in the weak and rejected; a safe ship in the storm. Trust God. Simply that, trust God. Most of us are just one major indecent [cancer, accident, spouse’s death] from monetary ruin. Just one thing can send us out into the street, homeless. Jesus never had a place to lay His head, how then do we expect there to be a place for us? While we cannot control everything in our financial lives, we can live as Christ did to do for the ‘least of these‘…because there is a great chance you will find yourself needing the love AND benevolence of another Christian:

“And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church - their doors were closed.

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church – their doors were closed.

Random acts of crime will climb more than ever; ‘protesting’ will climb as well. Ferguson has taught us to keep an eye out for protesters even in our daily grind. People going to work will be kept from going, people going to the hospital may die in an ambulance just trying to get through a protest, kids may not get to school, government will be shut down from time to time, and it will get more and more violent. 

Then what?

DO NOT FEAR BUT BE EVER VIGILANT! This world will never get better but we will have those calm moments, like with gas being under $2 [crummy example :D] but these momentary glimpses of calmness will be exactly that: MOMENTARY. These ‘lulls’ will keep people from rejecting the government norm of medicating the masses to keep them apathetic and lethargic. Take advantage of cheap gas, tax holidays, etc; but do not accept the message behind it. Bad times are here, the worst of times is coming.

And read THE BOOK! Your Bible will tell you all that will happen. Christians skirt around the Prophets of the Old Testament but I assure you, it is imperative that Christians read and learn about them to see what we have coming; remember BALANCE – the New Testament confirms what the OT foresaw. Click here to read the back of the Book….WE WIN!

God sent a Savior to help us and guide us…to protect us and save us! In the natural, it is UGLY…but in the supernatural, everything’s gonna be okay:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The Christian Sojourner

We, all Christians, are all sojourners here. This world is not our home; it is as temporary as our human flesh is. But we still have to live here and fellowship here until that time when we can finally go Home.

God made a way for the Christian Sojourner:

If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.” Leviticus 25:35-38

As a sojourner while still on this Earth, we seek the Father continually. We see Him through the eyes of a child, the infirm, the meek, the poor…and through a godly stranger. God is everywhere, He is in everything, even in the darkest of times:

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
And give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner, as all my fathers were.” Psalm 39:12

The Christian Sojourner sometimes is cast out from whom he trusted to fend for himself outside of the ‘city gate‘. For our Faith we are chastised and criticized and censured. The Christian Sojourner continues in the Faith, not luck! We are a wayfaring stranger, a rank stranger with chaotic worldly lusts all around. But we stand, we stand FAST, we stand in HIM, no matter the cost, and sometimes that cost is our own home, family and friends:

“If we had forgotten the name of our God,
Or stretched out our hands to a foreign god,
Would not God search this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.
Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Psalm 44:20-22. 

Who will help the Sojourner? Even Job said, “But no sojourner had to lodge in the street, for I have opened my doors to the traveler.” Job’s door was open, are ours? Until it’s time to go over that River, we are wayfaring, sojourning….travelling through and hopefully the love of a neighbor will let us lay our head down for a little while. Jesus said: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Yes, even Jesus.

Sometimes the Christian Sojourner has to move on relying on the mercy and love of other Christians. But with every step the River gets closer and the blessings are sure – this journey is shorter than you think.

Mary Believed.

Unimaginable. To think that a young girl, barely marriageable, was chosen to be the vessel God would use for the birth our Savior, Jesus Christ. And even more unimaginable is her Faith in whom she heard this Good News!

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

The New Testament reflects what the Prophet Isaiah said regarding the birth of The Redeemer:

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet [Is 7:14], saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

Why was Mary so special to God for Him to choose her? It has to be assumed that Mary’s heart to some degree, while yet a sinner by nature through the fall of Adam, had a level of receptive purity toward God. This would fulfill the sovereign Plan of God.

MYLIFEASACHRISTIAN

While Mary’s lineage went back to King David, the Bible doesn’t say who her parents were. However, the Scriptures do tell us her husband’s lineage [Luke 3:23, Matthew 1:16], both Mary and Joseph being descendants of David [Romans 1:3]. They seemed ‘common’, but they were chosen.

Though Mary was chosen by God, she still needed to answer the Call. Mary believed, through Faith alone, that her sacrifice would change the world.

Unimaginable…but Mary believed.

TESTIMONY: Choosing LIFE & Faith, no matter what.

For there to be a testimony, there has to be a test. And as Christians, we are tested all the time. In a time when a woman finds herself pregnant at the very worst time, God tells us it’s never bad time to be the life giver He made women to be. Since the foundation of the WORLD we have been known by God, each with a divine purpose only He can give.

FAITH.

Being on the sidewalk, we hear so many ‘reasons’ why they can’t have their baby. But there are no reasons…not ONE…good enough to kill an innocent unborn child entrusted to the parents by God.

What a blessing to read this incredible testimony given by God’s woman, a woman who follows Him no matter what. After all, lemonade tastes much better than sour, bitter lemons.

Thank you God’s woman, for sharing this incredible testimony, and thank you for choosing LIFE: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” [Gal 6:2]

Written in her own hand, enjoy this beautiful testimony:

One year ago today at this time I was saying hello for the first time to my 2nd little bundle of joy, Zachary! I knew as soon as I found out he was a boy that the Lord put the name Zachary on my heart for him. I knew the meaning of the name at the time but I didn’t know why in particular the Lord wanted me to name him it until after he was born. You see I’m not going to go into details but a few months before Zach’s birth I started going through one of the worst times of my life and it was something completely out of my control. There was nothing I could do to avoid or help the situation but I had to just deal with it and do it 7 months pregnant at that! The beauty of being a child of God though is that I didn’t have to deal with it on my own but as always my Heavenly Father was right there by my side taking care of me in any way He could. If I only had the time to tell you all how many ways God has showed me how much He loves me and has had my back through this thing! One of the biggest ways was by Him giving me Zach. Before his birth I honestly was a little worried about how I was going to take care of a newborn and a 3 year old in my emotional state but after he was born and I spent a little time with him I understood immediately why the Lord gave me the name Zachary for him. Zachary means “God remembered” so you see in a time of deep despair God remembered me and gave me a literal bundle of joy! He really is just the happiest most laid back baby ever and has been since his birth. You can pretty much guarantee a laugh out of him whenever you see him. Of course my 3 year old already made me smile and laugh everyday no matter what but the Lord gave me another little blessing to make me smile and laugh even more despite what I was going through. Words can’t even describe the love I have for my 2 little boys and the joy that they bring to my life! [Anonymous]

The Bible says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus

The Day After Mother’s Day

You may have noticed that I did not post anything for Mother’s Day. To me, Mother’s Day is not what it is for everyone else.

20170924_143514

I have learned a long time ago not to wait by my telephone on Mother’s Day. Sometimes it rings, sometimes it doesn’t. This is why my husband and I usually take a day trip that day. We really love to get out and drive the countryside, see and hear God’s creation, give Glory to God….because sometimes, my telephone doesn’t ring.

It doesn’t ring for everyone else, either. I know too many moms who have been rejected by their adult kids. I have grown accustomed to the disrespect and hate, I can’t change them. So, I have to change ME.

As I mentioned a bunch on times during the 30 Day Parenting Prayer Challenge for our adult kids, parents have to not look back but blaze a trail FORWARD. If we are forgiven by God, then who are they to keep us in THEIR subjection? That, my friends, is being held hostage. And I won’t live like that….anymore.

There are other victims of Mother’s Day: post abortive women, women who miscarried, mom passed away, kids in foster care, adopted kids, the brokenhearted, etc. A victim stays a victim until you escape. A holiday does not identify who we are to God. We are His, we are forgiven; if our kids can’t forgive, then too bad. I can’t live in the memory they have for us for the rest of THEIR lives.

My husband honors me for Mother’s Day. He always has. He knows that this day is really about MOM, they one who gave life, the one who loves unconditionally, the one who is there when she’s not needed or wanted. I have made mistakes just like every other person in the world, but I certainly don’t need a holiday to remind me of it.

Happy Day After Mother’s Day:

v16 Thus says the Lord: “Refrain your voice from weeping,
And your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.

v17 There is hope in your future, says the Lord,
That your children shall come back to their own border.”
Jeremiah 31:15-17

The Minimalist.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist life. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter.

My husband and I, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, have shorn down our life and lifestyle to accommodate our Christian walk. Now some would say that it’s a bit extreme, mostly because way too many Christians still want their one foot in the world. I mean, is it really necessary to have that $500 Coach purse? Did you have to get leather seats in the new car? Just how necessary is the mid-life-crisis Harley? How does anyone NEED a 3000 sqft home unless you’re a Duggar?

This world in which we live allows us – wants us – to go into a debt abyss to have things that others have…not just Christians, ESPECIALLY Christians. We are much more malleable to the government if we have a lot of debt. A lot of believers think that God will provide for their ‘stuff’ – and He will provide….to our NEEDS. We need food, we need clothing, we need shelter. We do not need ‘stuff’.

While having coffee with my husband, we discussed whether Christians should live a lavish lifestyle, whether in or out of debt. My first thought was if this lavishness glorifies God – I don’t think it can. We are to be a light to the world, not a lighting concept: “v14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. v15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. v16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16.

There is a great peace that comes with having less. We are unencumbered with ‘things’ that have no room in a Christian’s life. By choice we have one vehicle; by choice we do not have cable television. By choice we have a home that is reasonable rather than getting one big enough to store more stuff AND still rent a storage unit to store the rest of it. By choice we choose to have less so we can have more with Christ.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:18-20

Give much? While it is true that God does supply the needs of His people, this is a specific promise that those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ will never suffer lack. God gives us a lot of latitude to do His Will as well as just enough to mess it up. We are OBLIGATED to be the good steward that God wants us to be. He can put money in your bucket OR put a hole in the bottom of it.

And to summarize, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…”