Written on May, 06, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

This is just beautiful.  I keep listening to it over and over.  Kristene DiMarco’s voice is so lovely.  I am a huge fan of Jesus Culture in general, but this song stands out.

Verse 1
Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Chorus
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Verse 2
Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Bridge
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name 

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

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Written on Apr, 22, 2014 by in , | Leave a comment

This is just a short thought post that I hope to revisit later, but I want to write it down now so I don’t forget it.

If we are interpreting Scripture in such a way that we are bringing bondage to people, then we need to re-examine our beliefs.  Jesus came to set us free, not lead us into further slavery.

Galatians 5:1 (NASB) – It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Isa 61:1-3 (NASB)
(1) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;
(2) To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
(3) To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

This does not mean that we excuse, condone, or ignore sin.  There is still holiness and the fear of the LORD, but oftentimes what we claim is righteousness is only the traditions of men.  The traditions of men invalidate the word of God (see Mark 7:13).

Scripture, taken out of context and separated from the Spirit of God, can be used to justify slavery, misogyny, racism, and so on.  The letter kills, but the Spirit brings life (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Yes, homosexuality is a sin, but when we spend all out time pointing that out and no time offering homosexuals hope and deliverance, we do nothing but bring more condemnation on people already condemned and drive them away from, not toward, Christ.  We are breaking the bruised reed and extinguishing the smoking wick.

Yes, abortion is a sin, but if we do not offer women who have had one (or more) forgiveness and reconciliation, we are doubling-down their shame.  We are obligated to tell them that they have sinned but only if we also offer our lives to lead them to the Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are to hate evil, yes, but we are also to love good.  We spend so much time focusing on one or the other and forget to do both.  May God help us.

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Written on Apr, 09, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

I just discovered a webcomic that has been around for going on four years.  It’s called Gronk, written and drawn by Katie Cook. It’s adorable, charming, sweet, and funny.  Go and read.

Just for fun, here’s my favorite strip thus far.  It’s actually a little bit darker than most of this comic’s fare; however, this is acceptable because spiders are eew.

By Katie Cook

Gronk

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Written on Apr, 05, 2014 by in , , , | 1 Comment.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the Fort Hood shooting of 2014.  If you haven’t, follow the link.  I’m not going to rehash the details here.

There’s a lot that could be said about this shooting, but I want to focus on one part – how much is due to Lopez’s mental health issues and medication, how much of this is human nature, and how much of this is due to spiritual darkness?

I find it to be incredibly bizarre that the FDA has approved medications that we don’t fully understand in order to treat mental disorders and illnesses and doctors prescribe multiple types of these medications to their patients without hesitation. Drug interactions are a major problem when it comes to medication. Two medications are exponentially more complicated than one, yet we are giving people drugs that we don’t fully understand when taken individually, let alone in combination, and act surprised when things like this happen.

Is Ivan Lopez accountable for his actions? That’s hard to say; only God truly knows. I know not everybody diagnosed with a mental disorder and on medication decides to go on a shooting spree, but no single human being is in the exact same physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual situation. Normally I am a huge supporter of personal responsibility, but when you start mixing mind-altering drugs into the situation the issue gets fuzzy very fast. One could argue that he agreed to take the medications and therefore is responsible, but he most likely trusted his doctor and believed that the drugs would help, not harm.

If I felt like I was on the edge of losing it and my doctor told me that these medications would help me keep it together, there’s a good chance I’d at least try it. Odds are pretty good he wasn’t in a place to make objective decisions like that anyway. That’s part of the problem of mental illness; oftentimes you simply *can’t* make those kinds of decisions objectively by yourself. You have to trust that the medical professionals know what they are doing. It’s a very scary place to be.

As to military personnel on bases being mostly unarmed, I agree that it’s completely ridiculous. We trust these men and women in combat zones to handle millions of dollars worth of deadly equipment, but put them on U.S. bases and suddenly they can’t handle a gun? That makes no sense whatsoever.

Is Ivan Lopez evil? Well, that’s a matter of degree. We are all born evil; there is none righteous, no not one. The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked; who can know it? It is only through Jesus Christ that we overcome our natural state and rise to something higher. That doesn’t mean that humanity is not capable of great acts of courage and beauty, but we as a whole have a pretty dismal track record.

I don’t think the system did Spc. Lopez any favors. Perhaps with the right kind of help he could have avoided this fate, perhaps not. How much of this came from the evil in his own heart and how much came from the combination of mental illness and medication? I don’t think any of us can answer that question. As the saying goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

I feel for Spc. Lopez’s victims and their families.  I don’t know what I would think of Lopez if I were in their shoes.  I hope that I would find the grace to forgive him.  I think of Jesus’ words on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  I don’t think Lopez was in his right mind; then again, is anybody in their right mind when they decide to do something like this?

I also feel for Spc. Lopez’s family, especially his children (I can’t seem to find any reports on how many he has; I know he has at least one).  They will have to grow up with knowledge of what their daddy did and worry that it might happen to them.  I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

All of this discussion about Spc. Lopez’s mental state is ignoring his spiritual state.  I’ve never met Spc. Lopez, but I have met and befriended an individual who was the perpetrator in a school shooting.  This person was once a classmate of mine who left my school to attend another one because the bullying was too great at my school.  This person eventually decided, for whatever reason(s), to bring a gun to school and shoot another student.  Nobody died, thank God, but it was a close thing.

This person went to jail and has since come to Christ.  In conversations that I’ve had with this person, I’ve been told that there was a great spiritual darkness in this person’s life to the point of possible possession.  I’m not sure where the line is between severe oppression and possession, but I believe that both are realities that make Americans very uncomfortable.  Does that mean Spc. Lopez was demon-possessed or oppressed?  I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s possible and even likely.

The devil is here to steal, kill, and destroy.  He takes great delight in influencing us to aid him in his cause and then dumping us to suffer the consequences alone.  Does that excuse bad behavior?  No, but it helps explain it.  I am thoroughly convinced that there is a strong spiritual aspect to these types of stories that is all but ignored by most people because we do not like the idea that there are spiritual powers at play in our world.  That would require us to admit that we don’t know everything, that science doesn’t have all the answers, and that there is a power higher than mankind.  We call it mental illness and prescribe medications to try and control the symptoms when the source is sometimes not biological but rather spiritual.  I don’t think every mental illness is caused by demonic activity, but some of it certainly is.  We need to discern the difference and deal with the real source(s) of our problems.

I think that these kinds of shootings and violent crimes are going to continue and even increase unless we allow Jesus Christ into our lives and see real revival in this country.  Only Jesus can change hearts, heal minds, and give us spiritual life.  Anything else is just a band-aid on a bullet wound.

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Written on Apr, 02, 2014 by in , , | Leave a comment

“[Obamacare] has not, nor was it meant to, make [sic] insurance cheaper and more accessible – but it has stripped away choice and freedom, and made more people dependent on the government.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the core of the Obama Administration. Take this concept and broaden it to all of the liberal left’s policies, and you’ll find that it fits very well – unless we’re talking about murdering babies or redefining marriage. In that case, by all means help yourself.

American liberals are not very concerned about liberty.  They want control.  They want the government to make our decisions for us.  They want what all governments ultimately want: more power.

Want to start a new business?  Here’s thousands of pages of regulations, subject to change whenever the government feels like it, that you have to be sure to follow to the letter.  Want to remove some old junk and renovate your newly-purchased land?  Whoops, looks like the EPA has classified that land as “wetland”.  Prepare to be arrested, fined, and jailed by the government.  Want to homeschool your children?  Look out for members of Obama’s administration or state bills seeking to hinder you in your pursuit of raising your own children according to the dictates of your conscience.  Want to start a political group that may be at odds with the establishment?  Get ready for the IRS to target you.

I could go on and on with examples.  I am not claiming that it is only liberals who are seeking to place limits on American freedom.  All one has to do is look at the Right’s anti-terrorism insanity to see that.  I am, however, convinced that the vast majority of such efforts come from the left side of the aisle.  Most conservatives just want the government to leave us alone as much as possible.

I don’t trust the government.  Only a fool does that.  The government, as a whole, is only interested in one thing: more government.  I look at what the government does with a great deal of suspicion.  I don’t think it has my best interests at heart.  To be fair, I feel the same way about huge corporations; they exist to secure as much money as possible and will do whatever they can to further that goal.  Replace the word “money” with “power” and you have government.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t good people in government because there are.  They are fighting an uphill battle, trying to reform an institution that has been playing this game for far longer than any of us have been alive.  Unfortunately, they seem to be on the losing side, and far too many of them become what they are fighting.

The current President and his administration is doing nothing to alleviate my concerns.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Hopefully 2016 brings a gust of fresh air, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Written on Mar, 24, 2014 by in , | Leave a comment
m4s0n501

For the past two weeks, the news media have breathlessly reported every detail they could find on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  They have speculated endlessly on all possible reasons for the flight’s disappearance, from terrorists to supernatural exploits.  Matt Walsh covers this whole disgusting phenomenon here better than I ever could.

Well, the speculation can stop.  Prime Minister Najib Razak announced today that the missing flight is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.  No survivors have been found.

For two weeks, the family and friends of the passengers and crew have been holding on to a terrible hope that their loved ones are still alive.  Those hopes have been broken to pieces.  The families are now free to grieve in peace.

Oh, wait, no they aren’t.  Their grief has to be captured and broadcast to the rest of the world to satisfy our twisted curiousity and desire for entertainment.  The whole world gets to look on as they experience some of the most difficult, heart-rending pain imaginable while we sit back and comment.

The story linked above doesn’t really add anything new to the story.  It’s not groundbreaking reporting.  The reaction of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 families is not surprising; it’s the natural beginning of the grief cycle.  Capturing it on film for us to dissect at our leisure strikes me as borderline sociopathic behavior.

Try putting yourself into their shoes.  Imagine that your worst fears have been confirmed: your family member has died in a plane crash.  All your desperate hopes are dashed; you now have to face the long, ardorous process of grieving.  Suddenly, cameras flash in your face.  News reporters surround you like vultures, asking for a comment so they have a soundbite for their story.  They capture some of the darkest, most personal moments of your life for the viewing entertainment of millions of unknown, unrelated, impersonal viewers.  You’ve become a public spectacle, a curiousity, like an exotic animal in a zoo.

I hope you are, at the very least, uncomfortable with this picture.

Have we no decency left?  Can we no longer leave the grieving to their grief?  Must we parade any and every event that tickles our fancy as though it were the news of the century?

Personally, I find the entire debacle to be disgusting.  We are feeding on their pain.  That is not the behavior of sane people.  We have created a society where nothing is sacred and nothing is private.  There are no boundaries and no limits to what we will display for our own entertainment.

We have become gawkers at grief, rubbernecking to see their anguish so that we can be satisfied.  We have become less for it.  Shame on us.

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Written on Mar, 21, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

Hello, Fair Reader!  My name is Abby, and I’ve decided to dive back into the world of blogging.  It’s been a few years since I’ve had a blog.  I’ve actually had more than one, but none of them have survived to tell the tale.

Eh, first posts are always tough.  What does one say to introduce oneself to the world and the world to oneself?  If you want to know more about me and the blog, see the About page.

This blog is a Christian blog, though Christianity is not the only topic upon which I will touch.  I, like most people, have a wide variety of interests.  I hope to explore them with you here.

In short, I would like to say a hearty “Hello, world!”.

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