Tag Archives: human-rights

Sacrificing to the fire of Molech

21 “Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Moloch, for you must not bring shame on the name of your God. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 18:21  NLT

The worship of Moloch is believed to have begun with the Phoenicians, a group of people who inhabited Canaan between 1550 BC and 300 BC.  Ashtoreth, the goddess of fertility, was considered to be Moloch’s consort.  Therefore, those who worshiped Moloch, also worshiped Ashtoreth.  Sexual immorality, prostitution, fortune telling and divination, usually in a grove of trees, were all a part of Ashtoreth worship.  As part of their worship of the fertility idol, women often sacrificed either their hair or their chastity to it…

Because Ashtoreth was considered Moloch’s consort, ritual prostitution was an important part of worshiping Moloch, as well.  Yet, what sticks out in most people’s mind, when thinking of Moloch, is the abhorrent practice of sacrificing children (usually firstborn sons), to the idol, by “passing them through the fire.”  It is thought that Moloch idols were giant metal statues that had a bull’s head and a man’s body.  There was a hole in the stomach, or an open mouth, in which a fire blazed.  Parents would place their children and babies on the statue’s outstretched arms, which were angled like a ramp, so that the children would roll or slide down the slippery arms, into the raging fire, to be burned alive.  People sacrificed their infants and children to ensure prosperity for themselves and their future children.

The whole thing sounds disgusting, doesn’t it?  Just last week, I was reading about one of Judah’s most wicked kings, King Ahaz, and it was while reading about him (2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28), that I started thinking about Moloch, and the depths of mankind’s depravity…

Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years.  He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestor David had done.  Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel.  He cast metal images for the worship of Baal. He offered sacrifices in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, even sacrificing his own sons in the fire.  In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.  He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree.

2 Chronicles 28:1-4  NLT

Do you wonder how someone could sacrifice his/her own child to an idol?  I remember reading about this practice as a child, feeling horror that such a thing ever happened.  Now, as an adult mother of two, and grandmother of ten, I feel even greater horror that this ever took place.  Yet, what is even more disturbing to me, is the fact that this wasn’t just an isolated event in history.  You see, men and women throughout the world continue to sacrifice their children for their own prosperity.  The only thing different, is the name of their idol.  Although men and women no longer sacrifice their children to Moloch, here in the United States, they sacrifice their children to an idol called “Choice.”

Woman 20 Weeks Pregnant With Twins Has Abortion Last Week
Woman 20 Weeks Pregnant With Twins Has Abortion Last Week

Again, just last week, during the same time period that I was reading about King Ahaz, I saw an article about a mother (click picture link above), who decided to abort her unborn twin girls at twenty weeks gestation, because she already has daughters, and doesn’t want any more girls.

What an abomination!  Just as King Ahaz, sacrificed his children for selfish reasons, this woman chose to murder her unborn twins, because they  were girls.  And, just as Ahaz and this woman sacrificed their children on the altar of Moloch, or “Choice”, so, too, do many others.

The Lord said to Moses, “Give the people of Israel these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living in Israel.

“If any of them offer their children as a sacrifice to Moloch, they must be put to death. The people of the community must stone them to death. I Myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled My sanctuary and brought shame on My holy name by offering their children to Moloch. And if the people of the community ignore those who offer their children to Moloch and refuse to execute them, I Myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Moloch.

Leviticus 20:1-4  NLT

I’m not suggesting we stone women who abort their babies, nor those doctors who perform the abortions.  However, I do believe it is important for us to cry out against abortion, and to try to influence our government legislators to revoke the current laws that legalize the murders of the unborn.  If we do not take a firm stance against the idol of “Choice,” God Himself made it clear that He would turn against us and our families, cutting us off from His community.  With 57,762,169 unborn babies aborted since 1973, when Roe vs. Wade made abortions legal in this nation, is it any wonder that our country is in such turmoil?  And yet, if we will stand against this evil, and turn from our wicked ways, God promises that He will heal our land…

14 Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14  NLT

While it’s true, the unborn are not placed on Moloch’s golden arms and rolled into the flames, as children were in Ahaz’s day, there are a number of different, but no less inhumane ways in which the unborn are sacrificed today.  Also, while they are not consumed by flames, we must understand that unborn babies feel pain, just as a newborn infant, a toddler, a child of any age, or an adult, like you and I feel pain…  (For more information, click this  link about Fetal Pain)

  • “At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG).”
    — Dr. Paul Ranalli, neurologist, University of Toronto
  • An unborn baby at 20 weeks gestation “is fully capable of experiencing pain. … Without question, [abortion] is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant subjected to such a surgical procedure.”
    — Robert J. White, M.D., PhD., professor of neurosurgery, Case Western University

It is utterly foolish and naive to believe that abortion is the mother’s choice only, and it hurts no one else.  Obviously, it not only kills, it also hurts the tiny human within the mother’s womb.  To understand this, let’s look at what is involved in some of the abortion procedures performed in the United States…

  • RU-486 – a drug that can be taken after the mother misses her period, and can be taken up to the second month of pregnancy.  This drug works by blocking progesterone, which is necessary to nourish the developing baby.  Without this hormone, the baby cannot grow, and it will die.  A second drug is administered to stimulate the uterus, so that it will begin contracting, and the baby will be expelled.
  • Suction Aspiration – after the woman’s cervix is paralyzed and stretched open, a hollow, plastic tube is inserted in the woman’s uterus.  It has a sharp, knife-like edge as it cuts and suctions parts of the unborn baby and its placenta from the walls of the uterus into a bottle.
  • Dilation and Evacuation – performed after the third month of pregnancy.  After the cervix is dilated and expanded, the abortionist inserts an instrument (similar to pliers), grabs hold of the unbaby’s limbs, and begins tearing and pulling the limbs from the baby’s body, until all that remains is the baby’s head.  The final part of the procedure is to crush the baby’s skull and remove it.  After the procedure is completed, like a puzzle, the nurse must place the various parts in order to ensure that the entire baby was removed.

For those who wish to read more about it, there are several other abortion procedures that are performed in the U.S., which you can learn about by visiting How Are Abortions Done?  

Abortion is a violent, invasive act, and sometimes, we get so caught up in the philosophy of it, that we lose sight of the brutality of it.  Many people claim that while abortion is not for them, all women should be able to choose their own course.  For those who refuse to take sides, I have included a video of an actual abortion procedure.  To watch this procedure and still uphold a woman’s right to choose, is to endorse infanticide, which makes us no better than other countries that engage in such atrocities…

http://www.herestheblood.com/

Everyone must take a stand on this issue, and if you refuse to stand on the side of life for every unborn child, you have chosen death.  I leave you with the words that Moses spoke to the Israelites before they crossed into the promised land, and like he did, I urge you to choose life!

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Deuteronomy 30:11-20  NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Woe to You Barak Obama!!! Woe to You Citizens of the United States!!!

But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in Me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matthew 18:6  NLT

 All sides are weighing in on this most recent outrage of Obama, and it’s plain to see that he is intent on leaving this nation a legacy of selfishness, perversity and sin.  Obama wants to build a monument to honor the LBGT community, by erecting a monument on a piece of parkland across the street from the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, because this is supposedly the birthplace of the American LBGT activist movement.  Apparently, the movement began as a result of protests in 1969 against police raids on Stonewall Tavern.

obama-gender-neutral-school-bathroom-1-678x381

Frankly, he could have stopped there, and it would have been bad enough, but now he’s taken things further, choosing to put our nation’s children at risk, for the sake of a few confused souls.  Make no mistake, by trying to create a law allowing both males and females into children’s and teen’s bathrooms at school, the president is not only establishing his legacy of wickedness to the nation, he is also endangering this nation’s children.

Advocates for this cursed reform, claim that this new law endangers no one, it simply allows transsexuals to be themselves.  However, by opening this door that has heretofore been closed, we are saying that any man who claims to feel as though he is a woman can enter a female bathroom, to relieve himself, and vice versa.  For the sake of a few, are we willing to put all of our children at risk of pedophiles entering their bathrooms, by claiming to be transsexual?  Yes, there are those who say pedophiles will commit their crimes anyway, and yes, this is true.  However, does this mean we should make it easier for them to commit their crimes against our children?  Think people!  Has this nation completely lost its mind???

Do you really wonder why this nation has such poor choices in the upcoming presidential election?  Have you entirely lost your ability to reason???  Take heed United States of America, or you will suffer just as Israel suffered many years ago.  Take heed, or you too, will topple like Sodom and Gomorrah.  Hear the word the Lord spoke to Isaiah the prophet, and let us recognize the similarities between then, and now…

He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.

Isaiah 6:9-10  NASB

Does this not sound like America’s current status?  People see what is right and true, but they don’t see.  They hear the truth, but they don’t understand it, because their hearts are insensitive.  They just don’t care about endangering our children.  Their own sinful urges are all that matter to them.  Do you wonder why our only choices for the presidency of this country are Hillary Clinton, a known liar and a criminal, Bernie Sanders, a socialist fool, and Donald Trump, a bully and a womanizer?

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Romans 1:21-32  NASB

Beloved readers, if we don’t rise up and cry out against our nation’s foolishness and corruptness, maybe God will still excuse us.  However, when a nation begins sacrificing millions of innocent children, so that others may freely and openly practice their sinful ways in freedom, and we stand idly by, doing nothing, it is inexcusable!  Oh, wait a minute!  We’re already doing that now, aren’t we, by sacrificing millions of unborn babies every year to abortion, so that millions of women are free to sin as they wish, while perverted baby-killing agencies (perhaps better known as abortion agencies), get rich off the sacrifice of these babies.  So, America, what shall we do now?  Once again allow our nation to sacrifice millions more innocent children to the fires of Molech?  Or shall we arise, lock arms, and take this as far as we can, even by pulling our innocent babes out of the schools that allow people of all sexes to enter in the bathrooms?

21 You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.

Leviticus 18:21  NASB

Beloved readers, hear me when I say that God will not allow this to continue forever.  There is coming a day, when He will step in to avenge the millions and millions of infant lives already taken, and do not think He will overlook the lives of the innocent children that Obama is putting at risk.  Obama will one day answer for his crimes against God, and against His children, and so will we, if we do nothing to protect the innocent.  “But how can I help the children?” you may ask.  I will tell you.  Do not send your children to schools that enforce Obama’s hateful toilet policy.  Write, protest, cry out against it.  Refuse to vote for anyone who endorses these policies.  And take this wise advice from the prophet Micah…

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8  NASB

Do justice, people.  Do justice.  I was violated by a pedophile, who lived in my own home – my stepfather.  Though she knew what happened, my own mother failed to protect me.  Now, Obama wants to place our nation’s children in harm’s way, and we have an opportunity to take a stand against this great evil.  I praise God for North Carolina’s state government, for their strong stance against this, as well as Texas’ state government.

It grieves me to say that Governor Jack Markel of my home state, Delaware, welcomed this latest policy with arms wide open.  In a statement to the press, he stated, “Our mission to build a welcoming and accepting state that can compete in the global economy requires laws that reflect our values,” Markell declared. “Today, we guarantee that our transgender relatives and neighbors can work hard, participate in our communities and live their lives with dignity and in safety.”

How dare he???  It is not ever a good mission to welcome and accept everyone.  I do not and will not, welcome pedophiles, nor any other sexual deviants to have access to my children, my grandchildren, nor any other child, as long as I have breath.  I know firsthand the damage that can be done to a child who is traumatized by someone’s perverted sexual deviances, and I would never want to even risk something like that happening to another child.  Will pedophiles continue to commit crimes, regardless of this latest grievous law Obama has tried to enact?  Yes, however, that doesn’t mean we should make it easier for them to access innocent children!  How interesting that Obama didn’t enact this law while his girls were in public school…  Oh, that’s right!  His girls go to private schools, and are surrounded by the secret service, who protect them from harm’s way!

The time for silence has passed.  The time for civility has passed.  It is past time for Christians to be “nice.”  As a matter of fact, nowhere in scripture are we told to be nice, although we are commanded to be kind.  The difference between nice and kind is that nice people say and do whatever makes someone happy, whether it’s good or right or true, or not.  Kind people know how to speak the truth in love, even if it is painful to the person hearing them, because that is what’s best.

Today, you have a choice, so be wise.  Will you choose to stand up and protect our nation’s children, and fight for them till the end?  Or will you choose to sit quietly, ignoring what is happening all around us, as our country sinks deeper into wickedness and perversion?

14 “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:14-15  NASB

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Inside Israel – Remembering the Holocaust

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve shared a letter from our sister in Christ, who is Inside Israel, but when I read the email she sent the other day, in remembrance of the 6,000,000 (yes, six million) Jews who were martyred, during World War II, for their race, culture and faith in the One True God, that we Christian Believers love and worship, I had to share it.  As you read this email, let those of us who have been grafted in, always remember God’s love for His chosen people has never waned, and one day, they, the true branches will also proclaim the name of Jesus, bringing even greater blessings to us!

12 Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.

Romans 11:12  NLT

 Beloved readers, as you read this email from our beloved sister Inside Israel, let us also remember to pray for the peace of Israel, who is still very much hated by the rest of the world:

Wailing_Wall_Jerusalem_Victor_2011_-1-2

Shalom again to Holocaust Memorial and Remembrance Day…Yom h’Shoar…Welcome, Lord of all comfort and Truth into this day.  Invade the hearts of those whose hearts have been so damaged by the unimaginable and yet still hope against hope that there is Truth, Hope and justice…May we who have seen The Face of Truth, Hope and Justice bring your Light into this darkening world. 
 
                Yes, it has been ‘Yom h’shoar’ (Day of Holocaust literally but called the Remembrance day for the martyrs of the Holocaust, or just Holocaust Memorial day) once again, with its full ‘shock’ of entry and time of deep reflection. 
                How does one begin to grieve or share the grief of 6,000,000,000…six million? 
                One at a time. 
                Our Knesset holds a ceremony ‘Unto every person there is a name’ .  It goes like this: (a quote from the Jerusalem Post)

“Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and her daughters lit a candle in her mother’s name, and in memory of her relatives killed in the Jado concentration camp in Libya, where 2,600 Jews were sent, 562 of whom died. Gamliel’s great-grandfather, Shia Bracha, was sent to the camp from Tripoli, and was killed while trying to escape, and her grandparents lost a daughter from malnutrition in Jado.

“Modern Israel owes part of its establishment to the heroes who underwent the hell of the Holocaust and rose from it to fight for Israel’s independence, thus ensuring the continuation of future generations in Israel,” Gamliel said. “The recognition in recent years of Holocaust survivors and victims of the Nazi regime in Arab countries is for me, as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor from Libya, is the closing of a circle and does justice to a large group in Israel that did not receive the recognition it deserves.”

Others who lit candles were Holocaust survivors Esther Meron, Avraham Ivanir, Fruma Galant, mother of Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant, and Svetlana Sorokin, mother of MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), as well as Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets Director-General Dr. Yisrael Peleg.

Next, MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) read from Psalms, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yaakov Yosef said Kaddish and an IDF cantor chanted the El Maleh Rachamim prayer.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein began the name-reading by reading the names of children who perished in the Sharogorod Ghetto in Transnistria, where his grandparents and mother survived the Holocaust.

President Reuven Rivlin read the names of soldiers killed in the War of Independence who were the last surviving members of their families, as well as the names of their relatives who were murdered by the Nazis. His wife, Nechama Rivlin, read names of relatives, and had to stop in the middle to compose herself, as she was crying.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept his annual tradition of reading a poem his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, wrote in 1941 in Israel, when he lost touch with his family in Europe and did not know what happened to them. They all perished in the Holocaust.

Supreme Court President Miriam Naor said she and her cousins did research to find out names and details about relatives who were killed in the Holocaust…” AND SO ON IT GOES.
 
‘Poignant’…’emotional’…’indescribable’…these are the words that come to me as I seek to, yes, describe the day that I have sought to describe for 21 years now.  At 10:00am the eerie wail of the siren sounded throughout the country for two minutes while a nation stood silent and at attention, agreeing to share a mantle of grief far too heavy to be borne alone on the shoulders…fewer and fewer…of tattooed old people.  For one day in the year they open the coffin of a closet where the dark memories lie hidden and share the unimaginable openly, in schools, on television and in ceremonies or homes, so that we can all carry it together with them.  We listen to their stories…sit and have tea with them…weep with them…hug them.  The stories are collected…written…dramatized…’They must never forget!’ they cry.  ‘The world must never never forget!’ they yell collectively…but their voices grow ever weaker.  It has been 70 years now since the Holocaust.  Many of them have lived this long because they have a burning passion to ‘Having survived…survive!’…but they are dying because they are, after all, just flesh and blood. 
                A new and hopeful thing has cropped up.  It is called ‘Zikeron b’salon’ or literally ‘Memory in the livingroom’.   I was listening to a report about it and they said that several years ago some young people were speaking of a need that they had to find further expression concerning the Holocaust.  Children here learn about it in school from pre-school…and the studies continue through the army and university.  During the last year in high school they participate in ‘The March of the Living’…a trip to Auschwitz death camp.  Suddenly they are post army and university and it all comes to an end.  A small group of young adults decided to ‘meet in the livingroom’, hear a testimony in person or on a tape, and to hold their own discussion and ceremony.  It caught on with young people all over the country and this year there were hundreds of such meetings. 
                Yes, it is taken ‘personally’.  Life from the dead…hope from ashes. 
                Last week one of our patients died.  Ada Steinberg was 96 and lived with a ‘helper’.  Originally from Russia, she had never married, made aliyah alone as a teenager, became a professor and had many friends…but she outlived them all!  That was a chilling thought to me when she told me that her last friend died.  She was now ‘all alone’…but she went on and became very close to her ‘helper’.  She died quietly in her sleep last week and I asked my boss…who would ‘sit shiva’ for her (mourn her in the Jewish tradition).  He stopped and said ‘I don’t know.’ That wasn’t like my boss.  He knows ALL of these things!  ‘Was she in the shoah?’ I asked him.  To my surprise, he didn’t know that either.  It took me quite awhile searching online to find anything about her but finally, on the Yad V’Shem website, (take a look) www.yadvashem.org/  amongst the recorded testimonies, I found hers.  It is in Hebrew and so it will take me awhile to listen, but I intend to.  She had a name.  She was brave. 
                I was raised with the Holocaust.  Today I found myself wondering how it had ‘colored’ my world.  I guess I will never know really.  I was very very small, perhaps two, when I first became ‘aware’ (yes, really) of the Holocaust.  I had very thick curly dark hair and I was with my Mother.  It was summer.  I remember the dress that I was wearing.  A woman stopped to talk to my mother and she reached out and put her fingers in my hair and began running them through lovingly, but even then at that young age I knew ‘something wasn’t right.’  I remember her getting down on her knees and looking at me and saying over and over ‘I had a little girl like you once, yes, I had a little girl just like you…’.  My Mother sheltered me behind herself and I was holding on to her knees (that is how I guess my age…knee high).  But that was only my first encounter.  Holocaust survivors began pouring into our neighborhood in NY, USA…and there was a ‘scary feeling’ about them…something of death held on to them and it haunted me.  In our apartment there were books and photos of the newly liberated camps.  I would lay on the floor and look at the pictures…and wonder. 
                My conclusion then was: ‘We must be such an awful people to be so deeply hated.’
                HOW THANKFUL I AM THAT THE ONE WHO WAS DISPISED AND REJECTED PURSUED ME AND SAVED ME OUT OF THE HELL THAT I FOUND MYSELF TRAPPED IN!
                So I stood outside of work at 10:00am this morning when the siren pierced the air and prayed for Kala Zeltzer, Yaakov and Ruth Lork and the other survivors that I know by name…for them to be comforted face to Face by The One Who is truly able to understand and bare even their grief…and lead them safely home. 
                It is late and this is nothing like I intended to share…but it just got too late.  I couldn’t let the day slip by without baring witness to it…least we forget. 
                I hope to write more in a couple of days.  God bless you all.  Lovingly, your sister here.

The Evil All Around Us

The evil all around us permeates the atmosphere, invading homes, neighborhoods, cities, towns, municipalities, states, regions and nations with fear and angst, deception and theft, as well as hatred and murder.  From racist cops to criminals and terrorists, including many others in between, evil is all around us.  How did this evil get here, and who is responsible for it? 

While most people like to believe that mankind is basically good, with only a few who are capable of evil, I subscribe to another, less popular viewpoint.  It is my belief that since Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, forbidden to them by God Almighty, the Creator of mankind, everyone birthed thereafter, was born with a sinful nature, which makes each one of us susceptible to evil.  Indeed, as the knowledge of man increases, so does his capacity for evil, and it is the sin, into which we are all born, that destines us to death. 

Image Credit: nymphschampions.wicki.com
Image Credit:
nymphschampions.wicki.com

Many, who don’t ascribe to my views often pose this question to those who believe as I do, “If all of mankind is truly born into sin, then how can there be any good people?  The answer to that question is that the Creator of all humanity has given everyone a free will, which enables them to choose whether to succumb to their sinful nature, or choose to do good.  Furthermore, He gave people (who, because of their sinful nature, were all condemned to die once, and after that, receive judgment), the option to receive the free gift of salvation and redemption, if they would simply choose to have faith in Him and His Son, Jesus.  However, as simple as that sounds, our humanity rebels against the notion that our salvation rests on something as simple as having faith in the One who created us.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 
(Romans 5:12  NLT) 

Adam’s single act of disobedience to God’s command led to the first murder, which, incidentally, was also the first death, when his and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, killed his younger brother, Abel, in a jealous rage.  I’m certain, that when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, in an act of rebellion against their Creator, they never dreamed that this single act of disobedience would lead to the devastating loss of not just one, but two sons.  For when Cain slew his brother, Abel, not only was Abel lost to them, but Cain was as well, for the Lord punished him by cursing the ground he walked on, forbidding it to yield crops to him.  He also banished Cain from the land, and condemned him to walk the land as a homeless wanderer.  From Cain’s vicious and murderous attack on Abel, man grew more and more sinful, and more and more violent.  If Adam’s one act of disobedience could have such devastating effects, that have continued to grow more and more horrible, with each generation that followed, how do we effect the world and the people around us, when we reject our Creator and His commands?

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. 
(Ecclesiastes 7:20  ESV)  

Image Credit: truth459.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
truth459.blogspot.com

Because each of us is born with a sinful nature, sin is instinctual to us.  Children need to be taught what good is, and how to do it.  Yet, no one has ever had to teach a child how to sin, because that comes naturally to us.  Have you ever noticed that when a child begins to crawl around and walk, discovering the world around him, he immediately begins discovering the many dangers around him?  Though we try to baby proof our homes, there is always some danger that the toddler discovers, that causes our hearts to pound in fear for him.  It is during this time, that we begin to tell the little one, “No,” and the child quickly learns what “No” means.  However, although that child knows that it is wrong to touch certain objects or to go to certain places within (or sometimes even outside) of the home, for some reason, the child seems to gravitate towards those things.  Did you ever wonder why that is?  It is because that baby, just like every other baby born after Adam ate the forbidden fruit, is born with a sinful nature, and it is the responsibility of the parents and those who are involved in that child’s life to teach him what is good, and how to do good.

Though all of us have different weaknesses, every one of us has been guilty of some wrongdoing, and no one had to instruct us on how to do the wrong thing.  Indeed, no one even needs to tell us that it is wrong.  For just as we are all born with a sinful nature, we are also born with the knowledge of right and wrong, because God, in His infinite mercy, has written His law on the hearts of mankind, so that no one can truly say, “I didn’t know my actions were wrong.”  In fact, that very law that is written on our hearts not only checks our actions, but even our very thoughts, so that we also feel guilty, when we are simply thinking about those things that are wrong.

14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
(Romans 2:14-15  NLT)

“If this is true,” some may ask, “then why do so many people commit such heinous crimes, without feeling any guilt?”  The answer to this question is very simple, yet very profound.  For although we may feel guilty when we first commit a sin, the more we engage in that or other sins, the less guilty we will feel about it, until, eventually, our conscience is seared. 

12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.  Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.  13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
(Hebrews 3:12-13  NLT)

This is true for all sins, no matter how big or small they may seem to be.  For God does not measure the size of a sin to determine one’s guilt or innocence.  God hates ALL sin, because sin is deadly.  It’s like cancer, killing and destroying every cell within us, until we, like every man, woman and child, since Adam sinned against God, finally die.  For those, whose hearts are hardened against God when they die, there will be no other chance for redemption.  Those, who choose to believe in their Creator, and His Son, Jesus, will receive eternal life, though their earthly bodies have died.

Yet, in spite of God’s great mercy and compassion on mankind, the overwhelming majority of mankind will choose to reject their Creator, choosing, instead, to follow their own sinful nature.  Although God has written His law on the hearts of humanity, they will still choose to go to hell, rather than heaven.  Indeed, despite the knowledge that is written on every heart, they will still choose to ignore that knowledge and follow the road to destruction.  They even make jokes about it, saying, “Well, if I go to hell, I won’t be alone.  All of my friends will be right there with me.” 

13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.  The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” 
(Matthew 7:13-14  NLT)

When I look at the world we live in today, it both saddens and sickens me to see how much evil has increased since I was a child.  When I was a child, there were the occasional fights in school, talking too much in class and chewing gum.  Most crimes were limited to big cities, which were far away, and though we had bomb drills, and lived during the Cold War, we had no fear, for who would ever be foolhardy enough to dare attacking us on American soil?

12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 
(Matthew 24:12  NLT)  

Now, I am fifty-four years old, and in today’s world, children and their parents fear they might not come home from school, alive, each day.  We now live in a world, where children plot and kill their parents, and where not only fathers, but also mothers, murder, abuse and molest their own children.  There are also police, who are corrupted by power, and use it to commit violence and homicides against both innocent citizens and unarmed criminals, thereby violating their duty to protect and defend.  Though they have made an oath to heal to the best of their ability, and to do no harm, doctors and nurses murder the very patients they have sworn to care for.  Yes, things like this have been happening since Adam’s rebellion, yet it is becoming more and more prevalent, and the crimes that people commit against one another are becoming more and more heinous.

Image Credit: openwalls.com
Image Credit:
openwalls.com

As we look at the evil all around us, and perhaps even within us, it would be easy to lose heart.  Yet, the very God who created us, also loves us with an unfathomable love, and He knew, long before He created the heavens and the earth, that Adam would sin against Him, thereby ushering sin into His beautiful creation.  Therefore, because sin is so deadly, God had a plan worked out for the redemption of mankind, who was created in His image, even as He breathed life into Adam and Eve.

For the penalty for sin is death, and because sin is so deadly, there are no exceptions.  Whether you eat a forbidden fruit, or whether you destroy the life of another human being, the requirement for the atonement of sin is the death of the sinner, for the sins he has committed.  Yet, despite the evil all around us, God’s love for mankind was so great that He made a way to redeem the life of man…

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” 
(John 3:16  NLT)  

God knew the depths to which the depravity of man would sink, still, even so, His love for us was so great, that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that we could live.  He knew that Nero would be born, and that he would commit terrible, torturous atrocities against those who followed Christ.  He knew that Adolf Hitler would one day, destroy the lives of untold millions, and in the process, slay six million Jewish men, women and children.  God knew that Osama bin Ladin would rise up and kill thousands, in the name of his false god, Allah, as he spewed out violence and hatred.  God also knows that one day the antichrist will rise up against Christ and His people, torturing and killing countless men, women and children.  Still, God chose to give the life of His one and only Son, so that you and I could live and be with Him in eternity.  And don’t think that Christ had no say in the matter, for He made it very clear that His love, is so great, that He laid His life down for us willingly…

17 “The Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again.  18 No one can take My life from Me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.  For this is what My Father has commanded.” 
(John 10:17-18  NLT) 

Yes, it is true that we live in a world with evil all around us, yet we don’t have to be discouraged or afraid.  For Jesus has told us in His word that as long as we live here on earth, there will be pain and tribulation, but we mustn’t fear, for He has overcome the world.  In fact, the word of God also tells us something else that many Christians in the western hemisphere have chosen to ignore…

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.  13 Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.  15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.  16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.  Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name!  17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household.  And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?  18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” 

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.
(1 Peter 4:12-19  NLT)

Sadly, not only do these “leaders of the church” ignore this passage, they also accuse those who suffer of having weak faith, causing believers to doubt their own faith in God, sometimes even causing them to turn away from the Lord, because they feel hopeless.  Those so called “leaders,” who make these false claims that someone’s suffering is their own fault, because a true child of God would claim healing and walk in it, will be held accountable for every false statement they have made in the name of God.  Indeed, the blood of every man, woman and child they have caused to stumble and turn away from God, will be on their hands.  For those who do these things, causing emotional pain and spiritual death, are just as evil as those who cause physical harm to another human being, and God will hold them accountable for every sin they committed in the name of Jesus.

As I stated earlier, there is evil all around us.  The spirit of evil dwells in the hearts and souls of many men and women, and it also exists in Satan and his demons.  Even so, when the enemies of our souls attack us, remember this, and take hope; though the evil all around us can steal our bodies and our minds, those who belong to Christ, should have no fear, for the evil cannot touch our spirits, which belong to Christ, and will one day arise from the grave in triumphant victory, clothed in our heavenly bodies.  Therefore, when you read of evil in the news, or watch it on the television, fear not!  For if God is for us, who can be against us?

It’s Not a Black Thing or a White Thing – It’s a Jesus Thing

The following is a letter that I posted on Facebook this morning, and I believe it’s important enough to post here as well, for it is vital to the life of our church and nation:

Greetings to ALL My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

To each and every man, woman and child, who has surrendered themselves to God in Christ Jesus our Lord, out of a heart filled with love and gratitude to our Savior, who willingly paid the penalty of death for your sins and for mine, I greet you in the name of Jesus.  I’m writing this letter to you because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for this beautiful nation that God has blessed us with.  I have always felt honored and blessed to live in this great nation, which was founded on the principles that…

… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… (Declaration of Independence)


I believe with all my heart that this is true, not because the Declaration of Independence says so, but because the bible tells me so…

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.  28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.  For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.  (Galatians 3:26-29  NLT)

Beloved readers, do you understand what this means? It means that once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you become a child of God and a joint heir with Jesus, Himself!  It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, a servant or a king, black or white or any other shade in between, you are a child of God, who loves each of His children equally.  It doesn’t matter whether you are very intelligent, or whether you have a learning disability, your Daddy (Abba/Father) loves you just as much as He loves His other children.  It doesn’t matter if your parents loved you more or less than your siblings, because God is your Father now, and He is just.  He loves you just as much as He loves me.  He loves you just as much as He loved King David, the Apostle Paul, Peter, James and John.  Do you understand?

If you understand this, you need to understand something else.  When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you become God’s child, you also gain some new siblings, who are also children of God.  Do you know what this means?  It means that you have brothers and sisters from every race and culture, and because they are your siblings, you have to love them, no matter what, because Daddy loves them, and if Daddy thinks they’re worthy of His love, don’t you think they’re worthy of yours too?

Now, I’ve told you that I’m writing this letter because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for our wonderful nation, and I’ve established a very good case for why we should love ALL of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, so now, I’m going to take this love thing a step further, before I share my grief with you.  Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, not only are we supposed to love our brothers and sisters, but according to the bible, we’re supposed to love our enemies too…

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-48  NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16  NLT)

After reading these words of Jesus, it is very clear that God expects us to love each other AND our enemies. There is no wiggle room, no way to escape this.  And, beloved reader, please allow me to make this perfectly clear, for it is of the utmost importance that you understand.  Jesus isn’t saying, “Try to love your enemies.”  He isn’t saying, “Love good people.”  Jesus is COMMANDING us to LOVE our enemies.  Do you still need more evidence?

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:9-13  NLT)

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:14-15  NLT)

Do you want to be forgiven?  Then forgive ALL who hurt you.  Do you want to remain in God’s love?  Then love ALL mankind.

This brings me to the reason for my grief.  We are all aware of the deep rooted racial anger that exists in our country.  It is like a dark plague that is killing the church and this once great nation.  You may ask why I say it is killing the church, and I will tell you, but first, I will remind you of my love for each and every one of you, my beloved readers, friends and enemies.  Some may read what I am saying and take offense, and I can live with that. However, one of the things that truly grieves me is that some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord may take offense, and it is this very thing that is killing the church.

Let’s talk about what is going on in our country, not as black or white people, but as Jesus’ people, okay?  You see, when we became children of God, we took on HIS identity.  I am no longer defined by my race or ethnicity, and neither are you, brothers and sisters.  I am now called “Christian,” and when I interact with people of the world, I want them to see Christ in me, not the white in me.  Also, when I look at my brothers and sisters of different races, I don’t see the color or lack of color in them, I look to see the same Jesus, who lives in me, in them too.  When I see the Christ in you, my beloved brothers and sisters, how can I help but love you?

Not only that, but when I look at those who don’t know Christ, it isn’t their color that I care about, it’s their heart.  My heart is filled with love for those who don’t know Christ, because I know the One who could set them free from their anger and bitterness against people of different races.  I grew up in a racist household, and I know firsthand that racism breeds bitterness, and that terrible root of bitterness chokes the life out of every other relationship the bitter person has.

Church, the reason I’m grieving is because WE are supposed to be different from the world.  WE are the ones who are supposed to be setting the examples for the world, and yet, how many of us have found ourselves caught up in the anger that is all around us?  How many of us are part of the problem, instead of trying to be part of the solution?  What if God’s people united as ONE, just as Jesus prayed we would be, and what if we humbled ourselves and prayed, and turned from our wicked ways?  And what if we joined together, seeking God’s face, and asking Him to bring unity and love to our land?  I believe God would hear our cry and He would heal our land.  Do you know why?  Because the bible says so.

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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV)

But sadly, something is preventing us from uniting and praying together, and do you know what that something is?  This may be offensive to you, but the words I write are written in love.  My heart’s desire is for God to heal our land, and in order for this to happen, we must humble ourselves, but PRIDE is preventing this from happening.  You see, there are some among us, who are proud of our race.

Now, I have to be honest with you, and if it offends you, I encourage you to study God’s word, and pray about it.  You see, there are some white people who are proud of their lack of pigment.  There are also some black people who are very proud of their dark pigment.  Now, here’s where I stand on the matter.  I’m white, but I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it.  I didn’t choose to be white.  In fact, I had nothing to do with it, because long before He laid the foundations of the earth, God had determined that I would be a white woman.  He’s the One who carefully formed me, and knitted me together in my mother’s womb, and for reasons that only He knows, He didn’t bless me with as much melanin as some of my darker brothers and sisters.  That’s okay.  I don’t feel slighted.  In fact, in the whole scheme of eternity, my lack of melanin, and someone else’s abundance of melanin is really unimportant.  After all, the current tent that I dwell in is only temporary, and at nearly fifty-four years old, it’s starting to break down.  In fact, one day in the not so distant future, it will finally wear out, and my spirit will leave this body.  At some point in time that only God knows, I will eventually receive an eternal body (my forever body), which will never wear out and die, so why should I care about the color of my current flesh?

Indeed, people of God, why should any of us care about our skin tone?  You don’t have to tell me the answer to my next question, but it is something you need to pray and talk to our Father about it.  Do you have white pride?  Do you have black pride?  Are you prideful of your race?  If so, you need to lay that pride aside and humble yourself and pray for forgiveness. You do know that Lucifer was cast down out of heaven, because he was proud of the body God had given him, right?  Do you think that God likes racial pride?  Think again.  If you want something to boast about, children of God, boast about this:

30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30-31  NLT)

14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.  (Galatians 6:14-16  NLT)

Beloved children of God, it’s time for us to stop allowing our flesh to control our thoughts and our attitudes.  It’s time for us to stop taking sides in the current trouble our nation faces.  The fact is that there are good white cops, and there are bad white cops. There are good black cops, and there are bad black cops.  There are good black men, who have been the innocent victims of bad white cops, and vice versa.  However, there are also dangerous and criminal black men, who have attacked good white cops, and been shot in self-defense, and vice versa.  So, what can we, as children of the Most High God, do to bring peace and righteousness to our land???

We can start by repenting of any pride that we may be clinging to.  We can unite as One church in this battle for peace in our land – no more “white” churches or “black” churches.  Let us come together as One people, not to preach or shout or argue about why “I” am right and “You” are wrong. Instead, let us come together as the sons and daughters of God, and let us humble ourselves, as Jesus did…

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.


You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:1-11  NLT)

My beloved brothers and sisters, do you want to heal our land and bring about a true and lasting peace?  Or, do you want to hold on to your bitterness and anger? Do you want to prove that you are right, holding fast to your pride?  Or do you want to surrender it to Christ and join together with ALL of your brothers and sisters, humbling ourselves and praying?  Do you want people to see the black or white in you?  Or do you want them to see the Christ in you?  Are you willing to risk offending friends and family for the sake of the cross?  Or are you ashamed of this gospel of peace?

Shall we teach our children to respect law enforcement officers and pray God removes the bad ones?  Or should we teach them to rebel against the law? Shall we love our friends and hate our enemies? Or shall we love our enemies, with no regard to race, and bless them, as Jesus commanded?  The choice is yours.  Shall we choose a time to unite and come together to humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face?  Or will we hold on to our bitterness and malice towards another race, refusing to forgive?  The choice is yours.  If you want to meet and join together, please leave a comment, and we can figure out where and when to join together and cry out to Jesus for our children, our law enforcement officers and our land.

In closing, I’d like to share the priestly blessing with each one of you.  For not only are we children of God, but we are also a royal priesthood…

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” 

In the blessed name of Jesus, I remain,

Your Sister Cheryl

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

Fifty Shades of Grey

Please note ~ the following post deals with sexually explicit material that may be offensive to some, or may trigger others.  However, my intent is not to offend or hurt, but to cast some light on a dark subject…

When the book came out, I was still working, and I remember many of my coworkers going on and on about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and how good it was.   Most would tell me how great it was, and then say, “But you shouldn’t read it, Cheryl. You wouldn’t like it.”  Most of my coworkers knew that I was a minister of the gospel, and that I wouldn’t enjoy this kind of book.  Most of my coworkers knew me well, yet I worked for a retirement facility, that employed more than two hundred people, so there were others, who were only casual acquaintances.

I remember this one woman who worked the evening shift.  She usually came on duty just as I was preparing to leave for the day.  One evening, before I left for the day, she stopped by the office, where I was working, to see if I knew where our boss was.  After telling her, she turned to leave, so she could finish administering medications to the residents she was caring for, but suddenly, she spun back around, facing my office mate and me again, as she asked, “Do you read?”

“Well,” I jested, “we’re not illiterate.”

Laughing at my comment, the woman gushed, “Then you just have to read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.  It’s so good.  It’s a love story with a little ‘soft porn.'”

After hearing so many people rave about this book, I was curious to know what the big deal was, and why so many people were talking about it.  Therefore, I went online, and looked to see what it was about.  Needless to say, I was shocked.  After reading an overview of the book, I wondered how so many good people call this book good?  Though it’s been touted as a “love story,” nothing could be further from the truth.

shades-covers-1024
Image Credit: People Magazine Evangelicals Offer to “Trade Your Shades” for “Christian Perspective” Intimacy Book

I really never thought too much about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” after that, until the movie was released, on Valentine’s Day, and yet again, people were boasting about this “must see” movie event, which raked in more money at the box office than any other movie has ever done.  Numerous people, from all over, flocked to see this “romantic film.”  Really???  Give me a break!  I’ve remained quiet about the subject until now, but enough is enough, and if I don’t share what’s on my heart about this, I just  might explode.

Therefore, let’s just call a spade a spade.  While I haven’t read this book or seen the movie (nor do I intend to), I still know enough about it to comment on it.  This serial (“Fifty Shades of Grey” is the first installment in a “Fifty Shades” trilogy.) is neither a love story, nor a romance.  Hence, in order for us to determine if “Fifty Shades of Grey” is truly a love story or not, we must first know what love really is.  To discover what love is, let’s look at the best definition of love that has been revealed to man…

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  NLT ~

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

~ 1 John 4:8  NLT ~

Now, let us look at “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in light of this definition…  As we examine the relationship between the two main characters, Chrisian and Ana, it becomes obvious almost immediately, that there is no patience or kindness between the two.  As Christian treats Ana as his personal sex slave, there is not romantic or loving about their relationship.  It is both cruel and hurtful.  These two characters are involved in an unhealthy relationship, instead of a healthy and loving one, where both people treat one another with respect and dignity.  This is an abusive relationship where Christian domineers Ana.

Image Credit: The Busy Mom Heidi St. John
Image Credit:
The Busy Mom
Heidi St. John

I must say that I am really surprised that more Christians have not spoken out against this novel/movie, and I’m also surprised that most women’s rights groups seem to be uncharacteristically silent on the subject.  Such an unhealthy relationship should be denounced for implying that women actually enjoy being tied up, beaten, and verbally, sexually and physically abused.

… Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude…

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4b-5a  NLT ~

Love is not jealous…  The main character, Christian, is jealous of other men who are a part of Ana’s life.  Now, I’ll grant you that there are some women who think it would be nice if their boyfriend or husband was jealous of other men in their lives, but that’s because they’ve never actually experienced the jealousy of a lover.

Jealousy is ugly.  Those who are jealous are mistrustful and resentful.  Because resentment can quickly grow into hatred, it also often leads to violence.  Many times, when a man is jealous of another man who is involved in the life of a woman he cares about, that jealous rage will be taken out on the woman that he supposedly cares about.  Does this sound like love to you?

Love is not boastful.  Someone who truly loves someone else will not flaunt his/her advantages to the one that he/she loves.  The one who truly loves will not ever want to make his/her beloved feel as though he/she is unworthy.

Likewise, the one who truly loves, will not allow his/her pride to enter his/her relationship.  The partner who truly loves, will be willing to humble him/herself to the other person.  The one who loves will be willing to submit to the wishes of his/her beloved, just as the beloved will also be willing to do.  True love is a partnership, in which both parties are willing to give 100% to their relationship.  If only one party is willing to do so, then there is no relationship, for a relationship requires two people.

Love is not rude.  Love would not even suggest that one partner submit to being tied up, whipped, gagged or sexually abused.  Love understands that these actions constitute rape, which is a violent act committed against someone.  Rape is not fun or sexy.  It is extremely damaging and harmful to the victim, long after the act has occurred.  Indeed, most people say that rape is not a sex act, but an act of violence.  Violence is not love.

or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

~ 1 Corinthians 13:5  NLT ~

Love does not demand its own way.  Women, girls, men and boys, hear me now.  Love does not demand its own way.  If someone truly loves you, he/she will not demand or insist that you participate or allow him/her to sexually abuse or exploit you.  If this person truly loves you, he/she will accept it when you say, “No.”  If the person you loves demands that you participate in sexually deviant acts, (any sexual act that is not condoned in the bible), even after you’ve said, “No,” then he/she does not love you.

If the person who claims to love you becomes angry or violent because you have told him/her, “No,” they are not treating you with love.  If the person begins to list all of the times you’ve failed to do what he/she wanted you to do, this person is not acting in love. Instead, he/she is acting selfishly, which is the polar opposite of love.

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 

~ 1 Corinthians 13:6  NLT ~

If the person who claims to love you takes pleasure in hurting you, (physically, sexually or emotionally), he/she is rejoicing about an injustice that has been done to you.  This is NOT love.  It is not fun.  This is cruel and harmful to you.  If the person you are in a relationship with does not rejoice in the truth of these words that I’ve written, then he/she does not truly love you.

Now, I’d like to share a few words with those of you who read the book and/or went to the movie, 50 Shades of Grey…  How would you feel if your daughter, your sister or perhaps, even your mother was involved in this type of relationship?  Would you talk to her about it?  Would you worry for her safety?  Would you worry about her emotional stability?

Or would you find it tantalizing?  Would you think it was exciting and sexy?  Would you encourage her to go ahead and do it, if she asked for your advice?  Would you want her to tell you all about it for your pleasure?

If you would find it disturbing for your beloved daughter, sister, or mother to be involved in this type of relationship, then why would you take pleasure in a book or movie that celebrates this type of behavior?  Suppose your daughter, sister or mother, knowing that you had read and enjoyed this book, shared that she was involved in a relationship like this?  How would it make you feel?  How could you argue against your loved one taking part in this?

Suppose your son, brother or father was involved in this type of relationship.  Would you feel proud of him?  Would you trust your daughter to be alone with him?

Maybe you’ve read what I’ve written here, and you think I’ve carried it to far.  I don’t think so.  This needs to be discussed.  We need to examine our hearts, for none of us should take pleasure in these things.  If this is something you wouldn’t want your loved ones to be involved in, then ask yourself why you’re involving yourself in it.  For when you purchase books such as these or go to see this movie, you’re condoning it, and welcoming it into your own life.

Perhaps you’re angry at what I’m sharing.  I can live with that.  For the fact is, that there are young women, wives and girls who are involved in sick relationships like this, and they would give anything to get out of it, yet they are trapped.  And then there are those who will copy what the movie or the book showed, and they will end up raping and hurting other women, and feel perfectly justified in doing so.  After all, the movie implies that women like to be treated this way, and every man and woman who bought the book, or a movie ticket also signified this was okay.  How would you like it if your spouse or boyfriend treated you like Christian treated Ana?  By taking pleasure in this book and/or the movie with him, haven’t you sent that message to him???

Do you think I’m exaggerating the dangers of this movie? If so, I urge you to read this newspaper article taken from the Chicago Tribune on February 24, 2015, by clicking the link below:

Prosecutors: UIC student charged with assault said he was re-enacting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Finally, I urge you, therefore, my beloved readers, to do something that many, especially those within the Christian community, are often reluctant to do.  Talk with your children, both male and female, and let them know how much God values their lives.  Let them know that they are worth too much to devalue themselves as someone’s sex slave or whipping boy/girl.  Make sure they know how much God loves them, and how much you love them, and let them know that they will always have a safe place to come to, if they do get involved in an abusive relationship.

And if you, my beloved reader, have taken pleasure in this perverted story, you are not so far away from God’s mercy and grace that you cannot be forgiven.  You have only to repent and confess your sins to Him.

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

~ 1 John 1:9  NLT ~

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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The Race Card and the Times We Live In

Image Credit: The Federalist Papers
Image Credit:
The Federalist Papers

After months of protests and riots, the grand jury’s decision has been made, and Ferguson, Missouri’s police officer, Darren Wilson will not be indicted. After months of listening, reading and weighing the data, which included witness testimonies and forensic evidence, the grand jury determined that Officer Wilson would not be criminally charged for shooting eighteen year old Michael Brown. Approximately an hour later, President Barak Obama made a speech, urging those who wished to protest the grand jury’s findings to do so peacefully, not with violence. However, those who needed to hear that message were already on the streets, rioting, looting, shooting guns, burning buildings and pelting police officers with rocks, etc.

I’ve listened to all of the media coverage regarding this sad event, as they and many others depicted Officer Darren Wilson as some sort of white supremacist. No one cared to present his side of the story, so all anyone ever heard about was how this poor, unarmed black teenager was brutally and repeatedly shot by the bad white policeman. I watched and listened while Michael Brown was elevated to a hero’s status, and Officer Darren Wilson was vilified. As the media had presented only one side of the story, it seemed right for me to be quiet about this tragedy, until both sides had been presented. For what everyone seemed to have forgotten in the months following the August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, is that this is the United States of America, where EVERYONE is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty, and this includes white policemen. Indeed, my biggest fear was that the grand jury would be swayed by the lynch mob that seemed hell bent on his indictment, regardless of his guilt or innocence.

I am outraged by the irresponsible media, who resorted to yellow journalism, simply looking for headlines, while stirring the pot with the race card. I wonder, would there have been the rioting and the outrage if a black police officer had shot a white eighteen year old who attacked him? Would a white boy in the same situation have been deemed a hero, or a violent criminal?

I have to ask this question, what difference does it make what color anyone involved was? Does their race change the facts of the case? Why is it that white policemen are always portrayed as racists?

I grew up in a racist home, and I hated it. Racism is foul and ugly, and it destroys nations. Look at Nazi Germany. Look at the violence that took place in Israel last week, when someone went into a synagogue, shooting rabbis who were praying.

Now, let’s look at America today. Yes, there are still white racists, who hate anyone who is not fair skinned. But let’s be real. There are Hispanic racists, who hate anyone who is not like them. And there are black racists, who hate white people, like the ones who went into the streets rioting, plundering and pilfering last night. The grand jury’s verdict was merely an excuse for violence and vandalism.

Violence and hatred will not end racism. It will only increase it. Idolizing criminals as though they are heroes will not end racism. It will only increase it. Parents who teach their children to hate or fear those who are different than them will not end racism. They will only increase it. As long as there are “black” churches, “white” churches, “hispanic” churches, “Baptist” churches, “Methodist” churches, “Pentecostal” churches, “Holiness” churches, etc., racism, bigotry, and prejudice will never end.

It is only when we begin to do as Jesus said and, Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” that racism will begin to die, one person, one family, one church at a time. As long as Christians look down on other Christians, because they worship differently, sing differently or dress differently, racism will continue to flourish.

As long as people continue to take pride in their race, which was created and chosen for them by God, racism will flourish. How can I be proud of my skin color or eye color, when it wasn’t I who created them? How can I be proud of something I didn’t do? God gave me my skin tone, just as He gave you yours, so, knowing that God created both of us, how can you or I say one is good and the other is bad, when God makes all things good?

Therefore, beloved reader, isn’t it time for you and me to take a stand for what is right? Let us condemn the sin of racism, but let us love the sinners. Let us love one another just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Instead of teaching our children to have white pride or black pride, let us teach them to be humble, for pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. Our children will know great power and great joy, if we teach them to humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.

If we will do these things, and stop separating ourselves from other believers, simply because they are different than we are, we can begin to kill racism, one person, one family, one church at a time. But, if we refuse to do these things, instead, holding on to our pride and anger, not only will we fail in the mission to kill racism, we will also fail to reach heaven. For in heaven, there is no racism. Instead, there will only be men and women from every tribe and tongue and nation who love and trust in the Lord with all their hearts, and lean not on their own understanding.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

FREE MERIAM YEHYA IBRAHIM

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. (1 Peter 5:8-9 ~ NLT)

Meriam Ibrahim WesternJournalism.com
Meriam Ibrahim
WesternJournalism.com

This past weekend, those of us who live in the United States of America, celebrated Memorial Day, a time for us to honor those who fought and died, as well as those who continue to fight, so that we can live in freedom. Because of the sacrifice of our forefathers, we are granted certain inalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is because of the first amendment to the constitution, that I am free to worship my God in spirit and in truth. Because I live in a country that recognizes this fundamental freedom, I can openly declare to everyone who reads this post that I believe that I am a child of God Almighty, and I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, who was crucified for the sins of mankind, was dead for three days, and arose from the dead on the third day. I can also tell you without fear of reprisal, that Jesus Christ will come again on the clouds.

Martin Wani, Meriam's Son GistOnThis.com
Martin Wani, Meriam’s Son
GistOnThis.com

Freedoms we take for granted, are what makes Meriam Ibrahim’s situation so untenable. If you haven’t heard, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, a Sudanese Christian woman, married to U.S. citizen, Daniel Wani, was sentenced to death by hanging, for apostasy two weeks ago, and imprisoned in a Sudanese prison with her twenty month old son, a U.S. citizen. When she and her child were imprisoned, she was eight months pregnant.

Since then, Merriam gave birth to a daughter, who was born a month prematurely. Neither her husband, or her attorney have been permitted to see Merriam or her newborn. Hence, no-one is sure of their health. However, when Daniel saw her last week, before she gave birth, she was shackled in her cell. Since giving birth, Meriam’s sentence will now be delayed for two years, to allow her to nurse her baby, in accordance with Sudanese law.

So, what’s the point of this post? This is not just a sad story for everyone to sigh and say, “What a shame!” As citizens of the WORLD, each and every one of us have been given certain unalienable rights. Though some nations guarantee these rights, that’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about the rights given to ALL MANKIND by our CREATOR, who gives everyone a free will to choose who and what to believe…

Because we are all men and women, I’m asking you to take a stand and cry out on Meriam Yehya Ibrahim’s behalf. This is not a cry for any one race, religious group or culture, but a cry for humanity. Whatever your faith, surely you can see the wickedness that is being perpetrated against this woman, her husband and her children, simply because of her faith. I am a strong Spirit-filled Christian, however, if I heard about someone from another faith being imprisoned and executed for his/her faith, I would cry out on that person’s behalf as well.

Meriam Ibrahim to be hung inilah.com
Meriam Ibrahim to be hung
inilah.com

Therefore, I urge everyone who reads this post, to go to http://beheardproject.com/Meriam and sign the petition demanding the government of Sudan to free Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and her children from prison. Christians, please, also pray for this sister in Christ…

Finally, remember, Christianity is not a crime!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Be Encouraged, My Child! Your Sins Are Forgiven

1 Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to His own town. 2 Some people brought to Him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, My child! Your sins are forgiven.”

3 But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy! Does He think He’s God?”

4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 6 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

7 And the man jumped up and went home! 8 Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a Man with such great authority.

~ Matthew 9:1-8 — NLT ~

When I read this, passage of scripture, my mind immediately goes to the many people who have been paralyzed throughout the centuries. I think of people who I’ve known personally, and those that I don’t know personally, but I know of them.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America, was paralyzed from the waist down, and later diagnosed with infantile paralysis (polio) in 1921, at the age of 39. Unbeknownst to the very people who elected him, Roosevelt was able to keep his paralysis a secret, for the most part, through the aid of the press.

Image Credit: www.history.com
Image Credit:
http://www.history.com

How do you think people would react if their loved ones brought them to see Jesus, and He simply responded, “Be encouraged, My child! Your sins are forgiven.”?  How would Franklin D. Roosevelt have responded, I wonder? Would he praise the Lord and thank Jesus? Or would he be offended that Jesus brought his sins up? How would the wealthy spoiled politician have responded? Would he have angrily tried to silence Jesus, fearing He would Roosevelt’s adulterous affairs to the world? Or would he have repented, crying out to the Lord and asking for forgiveness for the sins he had committed against God and man?

Image Credit: Photorazzi
Image Credit:
Photorazzi

Many people have heard of Christopher Reeve, an actor best known for playing Superman in the 1980’s. Reeve was paralyzed after being thrown from a horse in 1995, at the age of 42. For the rest of his life, until he died at age 52, Reeve was a quadriplegic, unable to breathe on his own without breathing equipment.

How do you think Christopher Reeve and his family, friends and fans would have responded to Jesus telling him, “Be encouraged, My child! Your sins are forgiven.”? Do you think Reeve and those who loved him would have rejoiced at Jesus’ words of love and mercy? Or would he, his family, friends and fans be offended at the implication that he was a sinful man? Would he and those who loved him have recognized that He was in the presence of the Son of God, who had authority to forgive sins? Or would they simply think Jesus was a man like any other man, who had no authority… a man who had stepped out of line by implying that Christopher Reeves was a sinner? How would you feel if you witnessed this?

Image Credit: Messiah College News
Image Credit:
Messiah College News

And then there’s Joni Eareckson Tada… I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Joni Eareckson Tada, so I’ll just give you a brief overview of her life. In 1967, at the tender age of 17, Joni Eareckson Tada was involved in a terrible diving accident, fracturing her spine between the fourth and fifth cervical levels, which left her a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. During the months that followed her accident, Joni suffered from deep depression, wanting to commit suicide, yet physically unable to carry out her wishes, until finally, one night, a few months after her accident, she cried out to the Lord to help her endure and to let some good come from her pain.

Image Credit: Disability Campaign
Image Credit:
Disability Campaign

The Lord heard her cry, filling her life with purpose. Though she was no longer able to use her hands and arms, nor her feet and her legs, He gave her the ability to draw and to paint, holding the necessary instruments in her mouth. The quality of the artwork she produced far exceeded the abilities of most people who have use of all of their limbs. And every picture drawn, as well as every painting was done for the glory of the Lord… 

Image Credit: Heaven - Your Real Home Joni Eareckson Tada
Image Credit:
Heaven – Your Real Home
Joni Eareckson Tada

As she drew closer to the Lord, Joni acknowledged that as incomprehensible as it may seem to most people, the Lord had allowed the horrible accident in answer to a prayer that she had prayed few months prior. That night, after returning home from an evening of teenage passion and sin, Joni had cried out to God for forgiveness and for the strength to stop sinning against Him. She admitted that the Lord would have to give her the strength to repent and turn away from the sins she was involved in, because she was powerless to stop on her own. She admits that she has come to believe that the Lord allowed all that has happened in answer to that desperate cry for help, and to discipline her according to Hebrews 12…

5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” 

7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

~ Hebrews 12:5-11 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Tulips Joni Eareckson Tada
Image Credit:
Tulips
Joni Eareckson Tada

This seems so difficult for people to swallow. Would a God of love really ordain one of His children to become a quadriplegic in answer to prayer? Is God really more concerned about our souls than in the suffering of our bodies? Is it easier for God to forgive sins? Or is it easier for Him to heal our bodies, enabling the quadriplegics and the paraplegics to rise up and walk again?

Look at yourself and your own situations. How is your physical health? How is your emotional health? Have you ever wondered, “Why me, Lord?” Have you ever considered the possibility that not only has God allowed your present suffering, but perhaps, He also ordained it? Is this offensive to you? What if I told you that the Lord’s love for us runs so deep, and flies so high; its breadth is so wide and it spans so long that He will spare nothing to win us for eternity? Remember, my beloved readers, God knows our hearts better than we do…

9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.

~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 — NLT ~

Christ knows what is in the heart of man, and therefore, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows exactly what you and I must endure in order for us to submit our lives to Him, and while it is not His will to harm us, He will do whatever it takes in order to draw us to Him. Have you been suffering? I have suffered greatly, both throughout my younger years, and even recently. I don’t understand why the Lord chose to ordain my suffering, but I do know that He loves me, and He promises that He will work all things together for my good, because I love Him and He has called me according to His glory.

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

~ James 1:2-4 — NLT ~

What about you, beloved? Do you love the Lord? Has He called you according to His glory? Then count it all joy, for the Lord is perfecting you!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Go Away And Leave Us Alone!

28When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met Him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area. 

29They began screaming at Him, “Why are You interfering with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” 30There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

32“All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered t he pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

33The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged Him to go away and leave them alone.

~ Matthew 8:28-33 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.multipleworlds.net/Gadarene_Deliverance.html
Image Credit:
http://www.multipleworlds.net/Gadarene_Deliverance.html

This is one of the  most mind-blowing, confusing portions of scripture there is for me. Just think about this… Two violent, demon-possessed men were the first ones to move forward and greet Jesus. These two men lived in a cemetery, where the townspeople avoided them, because they were so violent and dangerous.

Now imagine how terrible life must have been for these two men… Although they were demon-possessed, surely, they experienced moments of sanity, where they longed to be delivered and set free from the demons that tormented and tortured them. Was it during one of these brief moments of sanity that  the two men learned of Jesus’ arrival and sought Him out? Only the Lord knows. When they approached Him, did they plan to ask Him to set them free? After reading this story in the book of Mark, I think it’s very possible that at least one of the men wanted to be set free…

1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among  the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in places; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting  himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

~ Mark 5:1-7 — NKJV ~

Do you see what the man did? Look at Mark 5:6…

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

~ Mark 5:6 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: pastormarkwood.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
pastormarkwood.blogspot.com

The demon-possessed man ran up to Jesus and worshiped Him! Now think about this — Jesus healed many demon-possessed men and women, but none of the others ran towards Him to worship Him, except for this man. Therefore, it is entirely possible that at least one of the two demon-possessed men, who lived in that cemetery, tried to escape the demons that tormented  him and his friend day and night, so that he might be set free. And hallelujah, Jesus not only set him free, but the other man as well!

30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

~ Matthew 8:30-32 — NLT ~

Image Credit: biblegraphics.com
Image Credit:
biblegraphics.com

Matthew wrote about two demon-possessed men, while both Mark and Luke only mentioned one, in their versions of the story. Although Mark and Luke only refer to one of the demon-possessed men, it does not mean that there weren’t two men. It only means that Mark and Luke only referred to one of the men for some reason not known to us.

Nonetheless, at Jesus’ command, the demons left the men and entered a herd of pigs, and sent them plunging down the steep hillside, where they drowned in the water.

Image Credit: James Tissot
Image Credit:
James Tissot

Now, there were some herdsmen nearby, who witnessed the whole thing. I wonder what they were thinking when they saw Jesus cast the demons out of the two men. Did they rejoice at the marvelous miracle that had just taken place before them, as the lives of two men were restored? Or were they frightened and angry over the death of the pigs?

When the townspeople came and saw the two men, who had formerly been so vile and dangerous, now clothed and in their right minds, talking with Jesus, did they delight in the fact that these former pariahs were now model citizens? Were they overjoyed that their people would no longer live in fear of the two demon-possessed men escaping their chains and possibly harming someone? Their response blows my mind. 

Sadly, the citizens of the town seemed more upset about the death of the pigs than the deliverance of the demonized men. Friends, think of this — what if the King of Glory came to your town and set the homeless, schizophrenic free, sending the demons that tormented him into the town’s stray cats, who end up plunging themselves to their death? Would you delight in the homeless schizophrenic’s new found freedom? Or would you be outraged that the Lord sent the demons into the town’s stray cats, who then plunged to their death? Would you welcome this King of Glory into your town, inviting Him to stay, or would you respond as the townspeople responded when the two demonized men were set free, and beg Jesus to please leave and go away?

I have to be honest with you — I find it shocking that the people asked Jesus to leave their town, after He delivered the two dangerous men, changing them from violent criminals to gentle men. Were the people really more concerned for the swine than for the two men, not to mention their citizens and tourists? Now, examine your hearts, my friends, how would you respond? Would you ask Jesus to stay forever? Or would you ask Him to go away and leave you alone???

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? Update

Greetings Friends,

Please forgive me for taking so long with my next post. Since returning home from my trip out of town, I’ve been under the weather, and with medication changes, unable to focus. Please keep me in your  prayers. I will be continuing this series and seeing it through its completion, so I ask for your continued patience.

May the Lord bless you!

Love,
Cheryl

Christ is the Head

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.

~ Colossians 1:18 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://raptureintheairnow.com/forums/topic/he-is-the-image-of-the-invisible-god/
Image Credit:
http://raptureintheairnow.com/forums/topic/he-is-the-image-of-the-invisible-god/

Don’t you just love the Word of God? There is power in God’s word. There is healing in His word. There is life in the Word of God and there is deliverance. As you read and study the Word of God, you will also find that there is freedom in it. Therefore, I want to share some things the Lord has revealed to me about freedom, and it all begins with the scripture above…

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body… I know that those of you who have been Christians for awhile have heard this repeated over and over, but I wonder… does everyone truly understand what this means to us? Do those people who go from church to church, following different leaders, because they need to “be fed”, truly understand what it means to have Christ as the head of the church? Do those ministers who bottle or spoon feed their congregations on various doctrines, understand what it means for Christ to be the head of the church? Do their congregations understand? Does anyone understand that Christ is the head of the church, and what this means to them in this day and time, when ministers, evangelists and televangelists grow filthy rich from tithes, offerings and gifts from their followers, who grow poorer as they give money that they don’t even have, because their leaders encourage them to pledge, borrow and give money to their ministries “by faith”?

Image Credit: http://pattycakesgreetingsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/
Image Credit:
http://pattycakesgreetingsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/

12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them“The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

~ Matthew 21:12-13 — NLT ~

Maybe this will offend some of you, but as I look around at the billion dollar business that Christianity is in America today, I wonder, what would Jesus think of it? Would He approve of men and women selling their products in His name? Would He approve the constant begging that takes place in “Share-a-thons”? Would He give His stamp of approval to those ministers who will not minister at smaller venues unless they are guaranteed to receive a certain amount of money? Would He approve of those who will not minister for free? Would Jesus be pleased with those ministers who have become wealthy by telling people that if they will just “sew a seed into their ministry”, God will answer their prayers? Or would He respond to those ministers the same way He responded to the moneychangers? “… My Temple will be called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

Sculpture-of-Homeless-Jesus-Sleeping-on-Bench-is-Rejected-by-Churches
“Jesus the Homeless” sculpture
by: Timothy Schmalz

57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”

~ Luke 9:57-58 — NLT ~

How would Jesus respond to the ministers and televangelists in America today, as He watches them grow richer and richer, while their followers grow poorer and poorer? How do you think Almighty God feels as today’s most popular ministers buy enormous mansions, and church buildings that are each more opulent than the other, while countless men and women remain poor and unsaved, with no one to minister to them? How do you think Jesus feels, as He watches men and women who are supposed to be ministering the gospel and seeking and saving the lost, instead, seeking fancy expensive cars and private jets for their own personal comfort? How does it feel to the Son of Man, knowing that while He, the KING of kings and LORD of lords, had no place to lay His head, many of America’s “ministers” have not just one home, but as many as two or more luxurious homes, paid for with money donated to their ministries?

One of Paul Crouch's 13 mansions...
One of Paul Crouch’s 13 mansions…

“If you have been healed or saved or blessed through TBN and have not contributed to (the) station, you are robbing God and will lose your reward in heaven.” ~ Paul Crouch

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything. Christ is the head of the church, not Paul and Jan Crouch, not John Hagee, not Kenneth Copeland, not Joyce Meyers or Paula White, or Fred Price, or Creflo Dollar or Jesse DuPlantis or T.D. Jakes or any other televangelist. Not even your pastor is the head of the church, for there can only be one head, and scrpiture clearly states that Christ is the head of the church. Therefore, when we hear or read a statement made by one of these leaders in the church, we must measure it against God’s standard — His Word… Let’s examine Paul Crouch’s statement above, and see how it measures up to God’s word…

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from abovecoming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

~ James 1:16-17 NIV  ~

Beloved readers, the statement above, made by Paul Crouch is wrong for many reasons. First of all, it is wrong, because he implies that your healing, salvation or blessing came through TBN, but scripture clearly states that every good and perfect gift is from above. If you were saved, healed or blessed while watching TBN, praise the Lord, for it is God the Father, through Christ, the head of the church, who chose to save, heal or bless you at that time. I have been privileged to lead several people to Christ, but it was He who saved them, not me, and they owe me and my ministry nothing more than to love me. Even in the Old Testament, when the prophet, Elisha, healed Naaman from leprosy (2 Kings 5), he refused to accept any gifts or payment for healing Naaman, and I’ve never read a single scripture where Jesus or the apostles accepted gifts or payment for healing, blessing or saving anyone, and they certainly never demanded payment, so why would any other follower of Christ expect this?

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.”

~ John 15:9-17 — NLT ~

Beloved readers, what is God’s will for His church? To understand His will for us, look at the scripture passage above, particularly the parts that are underlined. Does God say His will for us is to give to TBN? Of course not! Jesus’ command for His followers over 2,000 years ago, is the same as His command for us today. He commands His followers to love one another, as He loves us. If I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, just as He loves me, will He remove my reward because I choose not to give to TBN? That just doesn’t add up to His word…

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

~ Ephesians 2:8-9 — NLT ~

My beloved friends, our good works can’t earn us anything. As a matter of fact, scripture says that our good works are like filthy rags. Therefore, do you honestly believe that giving some money to TBN or any other ministry will earn you any points or rewards? Of course not. The only two commands the Lord gives us is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.. If we will just obey these two commandments, everything else will  fall into place, and He will give us wisdom and discernment so that we will know how He wants us to spend our money, and which ministries and/or people to give to, as well as how much to give.

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 — NLT ~

Finally, take careful note of the scripture above… God’s word tells us not to give reluctantly, because He wants us to give cheerfully, to whomever He sends our way. Now, take note of the 2nd sentence in the verse above… don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressureAll too  often, “Share-a-Thons” or “Praise-a-Thons” are nothing more than intense pressure tactics designed to coerce viewers into giving as much money as possible to give as much money as possible to a ministry. We are not to give in response to pressure. Therefore, before giving to any ministry, listen to Holy Spirit. He will direct you in your giving, and He will provide for each ministry that He supports…

Remember, my beloved readers, Christ is the head of the church, and we are His body. As I said before, Jesus is the only head. There is no other head besides Jesus, not your pastor, and not any other religious leader, because anything with two heads or more is a monster, and not worthy of worship…

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.

Colossians 1:18 NLT ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Inside Israel – the approaching fast day of the 9th of Av – 11 July, 2013

jeratnight12

Greetings Beloved Readers,

Below, you will find the letter from our sister in Jerusalem. Please continue to lift her and her family up in  prayer. Except by faith, we have no way of knowing the impact our prayers have on those whom we pray for, this side of heaven, but wouldn’t it be awesome to discover their impact when we meet our heavenly Father one day? I pray that our prayers for our sister and the lives she touches leads to the salvation of many inside and outside of Israel, in Jesus’ name. Meanwhile, please enjoy this letter from our sister…
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“What are your thoughts occupied with as we heard toward tisha b’av next Monday night and Tuesday? I’ve been thinking about those little mistakes in communication that snowball into huge conflicts between people and communities. The children that grow up estranged because their parents were too busy to say “I love you.” The couples that stopped listening to each other because they didn’t understand each other. The religious sectors that split apart because they never took the opportunity to learn to value each other.

When we talk about Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred) in Israel, it’s important to realize that so many of our fights can be avoided if we take the time to maintain the relationships we have, and fill them with love and beauty instead of jealousy and suspicion. If we can do that as a nation, we’ll never have to fast on tisha b’av again.

Wishing you an easy and meaningful fast.” (from the local “janglo” weekly letter)

Greetings and Blessings, dear sisters and brothers, May The Lord be glorified, blessed, worshipped… may you be blessed!

 As ramadan is being observed by the world’s moslems, the tisha b’av fast appears on the horizon.  Tisha b’av (or 9th day of the month of Av on the Hebrew calendar) is observed this year beginning Monday night the 8th through Tues sundown the 9th.  Aside from the fast day of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, this is the most solemn fast day of the Jewish year.  It is not observed as widely as Yom Kippur (which is commanded in scripture and actively observed by a large majority of Jews) but it IS observed by a surprising number of even secular or nominally observant Jews as well as the religious. 
 
As I have told you recently, I have been going through this interesting season of having my morning devotional reading ‘disrupted by The Lord’ after 37 years of following His initial directions to me, and have been having an intense time reading and re-reading the major prophets again and again (along with other portions in New Covenant and Psalms), so this day is making a very present and living impression on me this year, even more so then in past years. 
 
The 9th of Av commemorates the actual date of the destruction of BOTH the first and second temples and the punishment of the surviving remnant being sent out of the promised land of Israel into the diaspora.  You can read Jeremiah’s account of the date in the full chapter of Jeremiah chapter 52.  Verses 6 and 7 say:
 
By the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.
Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled and went out of the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden, even though the Chaldeans were near the city all around. And they went by way of the plain.
 
I have also shared many times over the past years lists of the unusual number of cataclysmic events that have taken place among the Jews through out modern history on this same date.  (If any of you wish, I will send it to you again separately)
 
People prepare for this time of often very real repentance and heart searching in many ways. The very religious men do not shave or cut their hair from Shavuot until tisha b’av, so there are many fully bearded men around right now.  There is also a general feeling of mourning in the air and I have heard many greetings which include a blessing for Jerusalem.  The teaching is that the judgment of God comes upon the people of Israel mainly for ‘brother hating brother’ (sinat chinam, in Hebrew).  Of course this is partly true according to the scriptures as hatred, or lack of love, produces selfishness, oppressing, cheating, theft and the like.  But the Scriptures make it clear that there are other reasons for the judgment of God upon the children of Israel: (I have been writing them down during these 6 months of reading through the major prophets).  Some of them are: Forsaking Him (our first love); serving other Gods (like material goods, the flesh, new age ideas…?), worshipping the work of our own hands, giving heed to seducing spirits (counterfeit works of a spirit other then HIS); defiling His land; rebellion; pride; not finding delight in The Word of The Lord; covetousness; dealing falsely; will not hear correction; following the dictates of our own heart; forsaking Shabat; following Eastern ways; arrogant tongue; despising this inherited land; lack of mercy…oh my, the list goes on (yes…I can provide you with the references if you ask).
 
At the top of this letter I copied a small paragraph that opened a local weekly email information site, and similar exhortations and encouragements are appearing all over in newspapers, in short messages on radio and tv and on billboards (at least in the Jerusalem area).  ‘Prepare your heart to seek The Lord…do not let Jerusalem go again…’ I was in the Old City on Tuesday and many large groups of youngsters, soldiers and older folks as well, were on ‘learning tours’, reviewing the history surrounding the destructions of the temples.  They stop to read scripture and pray. On tisha b’av itself, the book of Lamentations is prayed/read during the fast and many people stay up all night weeping and even dressing in sackcloth and ashes.  We can scoff at what is ‘religious show’, but I, for one, know that God hears hungry hearts and my prayer is that this will NOT be a religious tradition, but that there will be breakthroughs in hearts; that The Holy Spirit will convict, and draw the hungry to Yeshua, Whom He is well able to reveal!  AND… that He will indeed, CREATE hunger in the hearts of those who may be crying out of tradition only. He is able. 
 
I have not been well, so will close and go to bed now.  What a season we live in, eh?  His ways are so above our ways and His thoughts so above our…and I am thankful for that!  I send you much love.  God bless you and keep you and make HIS FACE to shine upon you…and give you (HIS) Shalom.
Lovingly, your sis
 
ani b’derek

Share the Love – July 2013

PrintHallelujah! I really look forward to Sharing the Love with one of my fellow bloggers each month, but I have to tell you, July 1 came really fast. I’ve known who the Lord wants me to showcase for a while, but life has a way of slipping in and throwing us off course. I’m really struggling with pain today, and your prayers are deeply appreciated. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m really excited to introduce July’s featured blog and author to some, and to present her to others, so without further ado, (drumroll please), I present CHRISTian ~ poetry by deborah annDeborah is truly a woman with a heart for Jesus, and her love for Him is evident in every poem that she writes, not for her own glory, but for His. I know this blesses the Lord, and I’m certain that’s why He wanted me to Share the Love with her. Continue reading Share the Love – July 2013

Inside Israel – Doves of Jerusalem …and trains!

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Greetings Beloved Readers!

Praise the Lord, I am now up to date with the letters from our sister in Jerusalem. As always, I want to encourage you to pray for Israel. It is so important for us to understand that even though the Lord has saved many of us and delivered us from sin, and adopting us as sons and daughters, His love for Israel is not diminished. Israel still remains His chosen people. Therefore, we must cry out for His people in these last days.

This week, as you read the letter from our sister in Israel, let the following scripture passage be your prayer for God’s chosen people…

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

And now, without further ado, I introduce to some of you, and present to those of you who follow our letters from our sister in Israel…

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Blessings and love to you dear sisters and brothers.  May The Lord of glory be blessed and glorified! 

 
Image Credit: Remi Kahane http://photolight.co.il/show_photo/346116.html
Image Credit:
Remi Kahane
http://photolight.co.il/show_photo/346116.html

Although most of us picture doves as white, the doves of Jerusalem are that beautiful ‘doe’ color…like a deer.  Perhaps you wonder why I write so much concerning nature.  Today I believe I understood the reason (besides the fact that I have always loved nature). 

 
When we first made arrived, we found that our new reality demanded that we find work as soon as possible.  Not being able to handle my new language yet at all, (and NOT having many qualifying skills…AND being 49 years old at the time) I was happy to be offered a job with a rather well known international ministry here.  Being in this intense area, there are probably more large, international ministries functioning here then anywhere else on earth, and not just ‘English speaking ones’ either.  It is the same with news media outlets; there are more world news media groups stationed here then anywhere else on the earth (that is a fact).  That should say something.  Those of you who know Jerusalem know what a tiny city this is.  When I was offered work with this ministry I asked them to pray with me as there were some doctrinal issues that they held that I could not stand in agreement with (not foundational ones of course).  They prayed and assured me that I was the one for the job and it would be fine.  I was so thankful for the work as the main part of my job was answering many of the letters that they received and I loved that.  We began each day with Bible reading and prayer and I loved the fellowship, in spite of our differences.   But the area that I was not in agreement with allowed them to embrace a false prophecy, which led them to the verge of bankruptcy and most of the staff had to be immediately dismissed, including me.  It was then that I found out that they had not been paying into our form of ‘social security’ for me (as a citizen it was required for the boss to do that) and that left me, after a year and a half, without the ability to receive unemployment. 
 
The Lord certainly works everything to the good and for His glory, for it was the beginning of an intensive course in learning to REALLY trust Him and walk by faith in a new dimension.  I was without work for two years after that (my husband was not in the country at the time…another story that glorifies Him in the end) and I felt firmly that He was directing me to work in secular work immersed in my new ‘culture’ rather then to work again with a ministry and He surely has directed my path.  But what in the world does this all have to do with ‘nature’ and ‘doves’?!? 
 
Image Credit: Kazwell http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaz/2275391632/
Image Credit:
Kazwell
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaz/2275391632/

Just this:  Because we are such a small body here and so dispersed, I now have very little opportunity for fellowship outside of our weekly meeting, but today I realized just how much He speaks to me through His creation!  I understood that I daily ‘fellowship’ with Him in this manner (as well, of course, in His Word and in prayer) and am edified!  No, it does NOT take the place of ‘fellowship’ with the body (HIS perfect design) but He always provides when we want His will, and this is part of my current provision. 

 
And now, back to our doe colored doves!
 
holytrinitypm0Jerusalem is literally covered with doves.  I have learned that if they are near to me as I walk and I don’t look directly at them or speak to them (yes…I do that! :-[ I admit it) they will stay where they are, but if I look at them or speak they will fly away.  Now we all know that The Holy Spirit came as a dove so as I learned this I have thought about how The Holy Spirit did not come to speak of Himself, but to point to Yeshua…to bring to remembrance everything that He said and to magnify Him…not to draw attention to Himself.
 
But yesterday my attention was drawn directly to a dove sitting on the ground next to a wooden fence along my path.  He looked at me and I sensed that he was injured.  I went toward him and he did not move, but kept watching me.  I saw that his gentle breast had been harmed, most likely by a cat.  I reached down to pick him up, but stopped: Where would I bring him?  There was no place around that would make him to be less prey for another cat attack, nor could I bring him to work…he would be petrified.  I know enough that if I were to touch him, he would carry my ‘scent’ and that might be worse…so…I stood and prayed simply that The Lord, Who cares for all creatures, would care for him mercifully, and went to walk on.  A bit further I felt just bothered to leave him like that so I turned to go back and then I saw a most unusual sight.  Another dove flew down and began to peck at him and flap his wings angrily.  I felt so bad, thinking that he was being attacked…UNTIL…I saw him reluctantly move and then, after some more pecking and harassment move again, and suddenly, hesitantly, he took off in unsteady flight, but up into a tree.  The second bird had come to rescue him and had likely been watching when I stooped down!  Immediately I thought of so many of the painful and harsh things that seem to come into our lives when we feel most vulnerable and I wondered at the goodness of God to ‘afflict us in His faithfulness’ (as is repeated over and over in Psalm 119, that marvelous teaching Psalm!)  for example 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.  And verse  71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,That I may learn Your statutes.     
 
Do my ‘parables’ drive you crazy?  I hope not!  I gather strength as mana to go through my days as He blesses me with these encouragements!  I actually thought about it as I was faced with my daily train ride.  Two days in a row I arrived halfway to my destination when the loud speaker announced a ‘hefetz ha’shood’ or an ‘unidentified object’ that the bomb squad was being called out to investigate.  We are usually advised to ‘walk’ or ‘possibly wait up to half an hour’, but this week, the first time, we were told that we would all have to get off of the train as the driver was being told to turn around and go in the other direction.  The lady-older-then-myself with some 20 kilos of cherries that she had just bought at the shuk began to grumble loudly, as did the very old man with a walker. Soon there was quite a rebellion taking place as it was noon and the sun was hot and the train was crowded with elderly people with packages or young mothers with babies.  I decided to walk rather then listen to the rage.  Thankfully today we were allowed to sit and wait.  As we did I looked around and it hit me for the first time that our trains carry perhaps an pretty odd assortment.  They are full of baby carriages and strollers, often twin strollers.  There are lots of shopping carts (mine included) and then there are walkers, canes, crutches, wheel chairs, Seeing Eye dogs, shopping bags, suitcases and myriads of backpacks, not to mention weapons.  More then occasionally there are also the ‘tools of the trade’; a mop and bucket, large tool box, computers or assorted furniture being brought home.  Sitting next to me today was a woman with a portable oxygen tank attached to her nose.  In front of us stood a young girl with BOTH a rocking horse and a plastic push ‘bike’.  And then there are all of those pregnant women!  No wonder the train is always so crowed! 
 
As many of you realize (although it IS summer where you are as well as here, and I know that many of you are up to your ears in activities…God BLESS your summer with joy and blessing in Him!)(along with work and children home, more difficult for some then for others.  MUCH GRACE to those of you who have difficulty!)  things here are more volatile and tense then ever, if that is possible! I think back to the beginnings of the ‘revolution’ in Egypt that began very shortly after the US President visited there, and how ‘revolt’ has been sparked in almost the entire region.  The nations on all of our borders are shaking and smoldering and the world is so foolishly trying to ‘solve the problems’ with embarrassing rhetoric and shallow human reasoning that knows almost nothing of the ancient roots of the problems…nor The Maker Who is watching over His Word.  The latest moves to ‘arm the rebels’ in Syria while screaming and crying about all of the people dying is so pathetic but can not be seen as funny.  More weapons will NOT stop the bloodshed.  I look at my Bible and see so many circumstances for which there was NO HUMAN SOLUTION.  Take, for example: the Sea in front and the Egyptians behind as the Israelites came out of Egypt.  Perhaps it was thousands in the wilderness without food in both the ancient days during the 40 years in the wilderness and the nearer days when Yeshua said ‘How many loaves have you?…Bring it to Me!’  What about Legion howling in the tombs or the lame man waiting for the stirring of the waters?  AND…how about Yeshua…dead in the tomb?  Oh my, there is no end to examples….in fact the Bible is FULL of situations that there was NO human solution for.  But we live in an age of ‘humanism’ and seem to actually have a foot in the door of the one world system that will carry the mark for buying and selling.  I can see much more clearly how that could be possible now.  When our value added tax went up 1% I somehow thought that my bills would also go up 1%, but (as I have admitted before) I have NO understanding of economics and basically bills (especially grocery bills) have shot up a whopping 25%!  Since wages don’t increase, I think of how young families who are not prepared by The Word mixed with faith and the fear of God will withstand taking such a mark.  From my vantage point the world appears to be spinning faster and faster out of the control of the nations and their leaders. 
 
And there are those of you who pray for our nation (I am aware that there are many also who might read some of these letters who don’t find the time to pray.  PLEASE don’t take ANY condemnation from me when I mention those who do!  It is ALL unto The Lord and we ALL do what we can and believe we are called to do.  Please be released from any condemnation over this.) I would like to ask for specific prayer for a 60 year old problem that I believe our nation is poised to impose a solution into that is perhaps unjust and I am very concerned. As you know we have a Bedouin population.  The Bedouins are a fascinating people.  They are nomads (I suspect that they are the people described in Jeremiah 35:1-12) and live mostly in the Negev where they move their goats and camels from place to place living in tent like structures with large extended families.  (google Bedouin if you are unfamiliar with them) Over the years efforts have been made to settle them in villages and extend all the benefits to them of education, health care, sanitation etc.  They are currently listed as the most rapidly growing population in the world.  Their land claims are not written down.  Israel is a small nation and wants to establish its borders.  Legislation has just passed to establish the Bedouin in villages against their will and this strikes me a lot like ‘American Indian Reservations’.  I have a long and personal history with Indian Reservations and my heart breaks at the thought that the same awful injury might be done here.  Please pray that this legislation is somehow overturned and that some just solution is found. The Druze population in the North was also nomadic and they were peacefully settled into villages, but I have a very bad feeling about this Bedouin decision. Thank you for praying if The Holy Spirit brings it to mind. 
 
But in the midst of all of the ‘distressing news’, you likely haven’t heard of the more then 30 wounded Syrians from both sides of the conflict that have been treated in Israeli hospitals as friends or family bring them to our borders.  Also, a lovely ‘peace prize’ was just awarded to our fast response health motorcycle paramedic service which was founded by an ultra religious man and an Israeli Arab working together.  They have no political agenda; they simply share a passion for saving lives and have formed a nationwide service that rushes to all emergencies.  In this context, a Jewish man with a kippa (skull cap) has delivered a Moslem baby and a bearded Moslem man has delivered an orthodox Jewish baby.  Lives are saved, and the result is trusting friendships…the same as I have found in my daily walk…’peace’ is made through kindness, one on one in the small ways that we can.  He is our Peace…He HAS broken down every wall. 
 
It is I who enjoy sharing, so I thank you for making time to read.  Come and visit???  God bless and encourage you ever nearer to His Heart beat. 
Thank you for continued prayer for our younger daughter at this time. 
Lovingly, your sis

Inside Israel – Taking a moment to share – 19 June 2013‏

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Dearest brothers and sisters in Yeshua,

He is precious and to be glorified and blessed, and as His Blood bought body, how very precious are each of you!  

… for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…” (2 Corin 6:16) 

Continue reading Inside Israel – Taking a moment to share – 19 June 2013‏

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

by michelle w. on June 24, 2013

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us THE SOURCE.
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As soon as I saw this prompt, I knew I just had to respond. As I was growing up, my moral compass was set by my parents. Some of those morals were good ones…

  • Work hard to earn everything you get in life
  • When you have children, spend time with them and take them with you when you go out to dinner and on vacations
  • Don’t steal
  • Always do your best at everything you do Continue reading Daily Prompt: Morality Play

Inside Israel

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Greetings Beloved Readers,

I apologize for not posting the Inside Israel letter sooner, however, I was having computer issues, and since all of you have computers, I know you understand. Nonetheless, all is well now, and the letter from our sister in Jerusalem follows. As always, I ask that you keep our sister in your prayers, and that you also pray for the peace of Jerusalem according to scripture…

Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.

~ Psalm 122:6 — NLT ~

Before sharing our sister’s letter, I want to let you know that I will be posting another letter from our sister on Wednesday, to help us get back on track from when I got behind. And now, without further ado, I present to you the letter from our sister in Jerusalem…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading Inside Israel

Inside Israel – just to say shalom – 4 June 2013‏

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

My Beloved Readers,

Greetings to you all in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, who forever remains, KING of kings and LORD of lords. May each one of you find peace in His presence, and may each one of you understand the boundless extent of God’s love for you. I pray that you will know, as all of God’s children should know, how long and how wide, how high and how deep His love for you really is, and may the roots of His love reach to the very depths of your soul and spirit! Continue reading Inside Israel – just to say shalom – 4 June 2013‏

Inside Israel – a bit of sharing on 5/29/2013

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

My Beloved Readers,

Please forgive me for not posting the Inside Israel letters for the last few weeks. I’m not up to talking about it yet, but I was recently hospitalized, and I haven’t been online very much lately. For those of you who have been praying for me, I truly appreciate your prayers, and I ask you to please continue praying for me, as I am in a dark place that I’ve never been in before, and without the help of the Lord, I could do nothing.

O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls;
they will pray day and night, continually.
Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.
Give the Lord no rest until He completes His work,
until He makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.

I also ask you to please continue praying for our sister in Israel, who so kindly shares her life and the mighty works of the Lord with us, and for all of Israel and Jerusalem in Jesus’ name… I will post another Inside Israel letter on Wednesday, June, 19, to try to catch you up on our sister’s letters.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading Inside Israel – a bit of sharing on 5/29/2013

Share the Love – June 2013

PrintGreetings, my beloved readers! It’s time once again to Share the Love with another great blog. I was really excited when the Lord placed it on my heart to feature this month’s blog, Prayers and Promises, authored by Diana Rasmussen. I was excited when the Lord placed Diana’s blog on my heart because Diana is a woman who has been through hell and back, and just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, her clothes aren’t even scorched, nor does she smell of the smoke from the fire. Continue reading Share the Love – June 2013

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

by michelle w. on May 31, 2013

When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?
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When I read this topic, I had to respond, because I’ve been dealing with guilt for several months now, because I didn’t respond as I wish I would have, and I am so deeply ashamed and disappointed in myself, that sometimes I just can’t stop crying. Even now, I tremble, because if I write about this, family members that I love could read it and be very offended by it. Regardless, many of them think the worst of me anyway, so I’m not sure why that worries me. Perhaps, there is still a part of me that hopes beyond reason that all of the old wounds will one day be forgiven, and there will be restoration between my family and me. Then again, how can there be restoration, unless everyone is willing to face our past openly and honestly?

I will give you back your health
and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.
“For you are called an outcast—
‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.’”

(Jeremiah 30:17 NLT)

Anyway, back to the questions… When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction? Continue reading Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

Inside Israel

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

My Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

Below you will find the most recent letter from our sister in Jerusalem. Please remember to pray for her and also to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, especially now, during these last and evil days… This is my main reason for sharing these letters, so that you and I may pray for Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as Scripture instructs us. For then, both we and they shall be blessed…

Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.

And now, my beloved readers, without further ado, here is the letter from our sister in Jerusalem…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading Inside Israel

Words of Jesus – Before We Ask…

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

~ Matthew 8:5-7 — NLT ~

I really do love this scripture, and all that the Lord reveals to us in it. When I first began to write about this encounter of the centurion and Jesus, I thought I would just write a simple post about the great faith of the centurion, and as great as that is, the Lord has revealed so much more to me in this passage. Let’s examine these verses…

Image Credit: http://searchingforthelightonthepath.blogspot.com/ 2011/01/roman-centurion-had-faith.html
Image Credit:
http://searchingforthelightonthepath.blogspot.com/
2011/01/roman-centurion-had-faith.html

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, (the place where His ministry was located, and the place where He performed many miracles, signs and wonders) He was approached by a Roman officer, who said to Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Look closely at this conversation between Jesus and the Roman centurion.

Do you see a question mark at the end of the centurion’s statement? Certainly, it is obvious that the centurion was concerned about his servant, by the way he humbly and reverently approached Jesus. And yes, it seems evident that the centurion wanted Jesus to heal his servant. But here is what made my heart pound… Immediately after the centurion told Him about his servant’s terrible pain and paralysis, Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”  Continue reading Words of Jesus – Before We Ask…

Words of Jesus – Humble Yourself Under the Mighty Hand of God…

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

~ Matthew 8:5-6 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://jenwilton.com/general/ does-god-still-speak-today-part-two/
Image Credit:
http://jenwilton.com/general/
does-god-still-speak-today-part-two/

I love when the Lord speaks directly to my heart through His word. It gets me all excited and wound up as I begin to ponder what He is telling me. Then, as I begin to wrap my mind around things that I’ve read many, many times before, suddenly, He opens the eyes of my heart so that I can see what I didn’t see before, and my ears begin to hear what I didn’t hear before. I’ve read this story many times in the past, and have heard many teachings on it, but now, the Lord is speaking directly to my heart again, and I am taking note of things that I didn’t see before.  Continue reading Words of Jesus – Humble Yourself Under the Mighty Hand of God…

Daily Prompt: Third From the Top

Daily Prompt: Third From the Top

by michelle w. on April 6, 2013

Head to “Blogs I Follow” in the Reader. Scroll down to the third post in the list. Take the third sentence in the post, and work it into your own.
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Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.

~ Psalm 72:1 ~
Third Sentence in Third Post on My List
“A Psalm For Saturday”

In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose

This is a prayer that King Solomon, son of King David offered up to  the Lord. It is a beautiful prayer asking the Lord to help him lead his people in righteousness. Let’s take a look at this powerful psalm.

1 A psalm of Solomon. Give justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. 2 Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. 3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful, because the king does what is right. 4 Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. 5 May he live as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon continues in the skies. Yes, forever! 6 May his reign be as refreshing as the springtime rains — like the showers that water the earth. 7 May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the end of time. 8 May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. 9 Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. 10 The western kings of Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. 11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him. 12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. 13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. 14 He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him. 15 Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long. 16 May there be abundant crops throughout the land, flourishing even on the mountaintops. May the fruit trees flourish as they do in Lebanon, sprouting up like grass in a field. 17 May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise. 18 Bless the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. 19 Bless His glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen! 20 (This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)

~ Psalm 72 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.jonmcnaughton.com/
mending-the-nation/

I wonder what kind of world we would live in, if every king, president, prime minister, and emperor sincerely prayed this prayer? I wonder what kind of world we would live in if our congressmen, senators, governors and mayors sincerely prayed this prayer?

What would it be like, if President Obama began to pray this prayer for himself and the people he has been ordained to lead. Now, I know that many Christians may disagree with me about Obama being ordained to lead this country, because he has so obviously proven himself to be a man who stands on his own selfish principles, and against the statutes of God. However, my beloved brothers and sisters, I would admonish you to read the following scriptures and pray about it.

1 Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. 3 For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. 4 The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. 5 So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due.

~ Romans 13:1-7 NLT ~

Now that’s a pretty hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? Not only did God place Obama and all of the U.S. Senate and House in their positions, but He also placed Korea’s dictator,  Kim Jong-un and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office. What’s more, it was God who placed the Emperor Nero into his position of power, and many centuries later, He placed Adolf Hitler in charge of Germany… So what’s up with that?

Image Credit: http://www.vice.com/en_za/read/ win-a-chance-to-be-at-hitlers-trial

Are we supposed to obey a corrupt government, like Hussein’s Iraq or Hitler’s Germany? After all, Romans 13:1 clearly states that we are to obey the government and that all governments are placed in power by God. The answer to that question is yes, unless that government commands you to do things that go against the law of God, such as denying Christ as Lord, murdering, and harming others or stealing from others, etc.

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

~ Acts 5:29 NLT ~

I must address another question that must be on many minds… Why would a holy and righteous God place a corrupt leader to rule over a nation? Now this might now set well with many, but I can live with that. You see, the answer to this question can be found in 1 Samuel 8, which I’ll paraphrase for you, along with a bit of history from the book of Judges in the Old Testament as well. (click the link if you’d like to read the chapter that I’m paraphrasing)

Back in Old Testament times, long before the nation of Israel had kings, God placed judges over the people. Some of the judges were good and obedient to the Lord, leading the people in the ways that they should go, but then, there were others, who were wicked, leading the people astray. The people of Israel would walk in obedience to the Lord for a while, but then, they would turn from the Lord, and instead of obeying Him, they would do what seemed right in their own eyes. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Wouldn’t you say that is how we Americans, and indeed, much of the world now lives?

Image Credit: http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/ enoch-the-prophet.html

When the people lived in obedience to the Lord, He never failed to bless them and their nation with success. However, when the people turned against Him, He placed evil leaders over them, and those leaders treated the people harshly, causing other nations to war against them, and often to rule over them. During these times of tribulation, when the people were oppressed, they would begin to think back on other times, when their people prospered, and it was then, that they would remember the Lord, and they would begin to follow His ordinances, and cry out to Him for mercy. And here is the most wonderful part — no matter how many times Israel turned her back on God, whenever she repented and cried out to Him, He forgave her and delivered her from bondage.

Now, Samuel was placed over Israel as a judge, and he was a good judge, who loved and served the Lord faithfully, but already, the people were beginning to turn from the Lord, as they looked to other countries. And when Samuel got old, he placed his sons as judges over Israel… the problem was, Samuel’s sons were not faithful to God like he was. They were completely and totally corrupt, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice. So the people came to Samuel, and pleaded with him to give them a king, like all the other nations had.

Samuel tried to warn the people that a king would not be good for them, but the people insisted. They didn’t want the righteous Samuel to lead them any longer, nor did they want his corrupt sons to be their leaders, and Samuel was very upset with their request and went to the LORD for advice, telling the Lord everything.

“Do as they say,” the LORD replied, “for it is Me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want Me to be their King any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually forsaken Me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them.” (1 Samuel 8:7-9 NLT)

So Samuel, though brokenhearted, did what the Lord had ordered him to do. “This is how a king will treat you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons into his army and make them run before his chariots. Some will be commanders of his troops, while others will be slave laborers. Some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, while others will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own servants. He will take a tenth of your harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will want your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but the LORD will not help you.” (1 Samuel 8:11-18 NLT)

Image Credit: http://entretenimento.r7.com/rei-davi

Now with a warning like that, you would think the people would see that it would be better for them to serve the Lord as their King, rather than a man. But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will govern us and lead us into battle.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20 NLT)

So Samuel told the LORD what the people had said, and the LORD replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home. (1 Samuel 8:21-22 NLT)

So the people got what they asked for… They got King Saul, and if you read the scriptures, King Saul turned out to be a lunatic, and he did everything that Samuel had warned the people he would do…

So, what does all of that history have to do with 2013? I believe that the Lord has heard the cries of the majority of people in this country, and in other countries around the world, and He has given them the leaders they and we desire in our hearts. Those countries and our country, like Israel in the Old Testament, have rejected Almighty God, and chosen to do what seems right in our own eyes, and men and women throughout the world are reaping what we have sown.

Image Credit: http://www.jonmcnaughton.com/content/ Obamanation.html

Having said all of that, I do not believe that mankind is doomed. I believe that as long as there are men, women and children who do still love the Lord and serve Him, they will be lifting their voices and crying out to God for mercy, and He hears those who love Him. I believe that as long as Jesus tarries, delaying His return for the sake of mankind, there is hope…

The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise to return, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent.

~ 2 Peter 3:9 NLT ~

Even though the kings, presidents, prime ministers, senators and congressmen throughout the world do not pray the prayer that Solomon prayed in Psalm 72, all is not lost. What if the men and women of God throughout the world began to pray for their leaders, as scripture commands?

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.

~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT ~

I believe that if Christians all over will pray for their leaders and one another, God will honor their prayers. If we will join together in praying Psalm 72 over our nations and our nations’ leaders, God will answer our cries, just as He did in the days of old, when He spoke these words to Solomon:

“Then if my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

~ 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT ~

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/ GatewayPrayerandIntercession/ posts/300418160071370

How about it, men and women of God? Instead of griping and complaining about the terrible state our country is in, why don’t we quit murmuring and complaining (God hates murmuring and complaining anyway)? Instead, let’s join together and humble ourselves and pray, for our president, our congressmen, our senators and legislators, the judges, and the kings, dictators, and rulers of other countries. And let each one of us examine our own hearts and repent, turning away from our wicked ways. Then, just watch and see how God responds to our prayers! For He is still the same God who parted the red sea, turned water into wine, cleansed the lepers, made the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak, and the  dead to rise. He has not changed, and His eyes run to and fro throughout the entire earth, seeking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him… Let us join together in prayer for our countries, and then watch in awe, as God heals our lands, just as He promised to do.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Shine On Award, Beautiful Mama Blog Award, Super Sweet Blogging Award

Greetings My Beloved Readers,

During my illness, and possibly before and possibly since (does anyone else ever lose track of time?) I was nominated for several blogging awards. Some awards I had already received, so I couldn’t accept them, though I am deeply appreciative that someone would think of me for an award. If I missed an award, or failed to acknowledge your nomination of me, please accept my humble apologies, and grant me your mercy and grace, because I truly got behind in reading communications while I was ill, and afterward, it was quite overwhelming, as I’m sure you understand.

Since I got so far behind, I’m going to attempt to just combine my acceptance for these awards into one acceptance. At almost 52 years old, I’ve learned to work smarter, not harder. 😀 Therefore, without further ado, what follows is my acceptance for the Shine On Award (It’s really pretty and shiney, and I love all things shiny and sparkly), the Beautiful Mama Blog Award (I am a mama, and as far as the beautiful part goes, my mama always said, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone”), and the Super Sweet Blogging Award (It’s a pretty picture of cupcakes, now you know I love cupcakes, so I have to accept this one)…

shine_on

Shine On Award Rules:
Swift Expression

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you – Swift Expression

2. Put the Award on your blog.

3. Share 7 little secrets about yourself.

4. Nominate 5 – 10 other bloggers who make others happy too.

Seven Little Secrets About Me:

  1. Image Credit: http://thepraiseandworshipconnection.blogspot.com/ 2010/12/hallelujah-factor.html

    One of my favorite sayings is “Hallelujah!”, which means God be praised, and if you were to meet me and talk to me in person, you would frequently hear that exclamation bursting forth from my lips! After all, there are a whole lot of things to praise God about, even when I’m going through a bad time.

  2. Coming from a small family, I’ve always longed for a large family, and God has seen fit to answer that unspoken prayer… While I only have two children, I am expecting my eighth grandchild in May, and my ninth grandchild in July – Hallelujah!
  3. Flower and Sparkle Cupcake
    Flower and Sparkle Cupcake

    My husband and I got one of our granddaughters a guinea pig for Christmas a year ago, and it turns out that we bought a pregnant guinea pig, who had four little piggies. My daughter decided they would keep one (another female, so there would be no more little piggies), and the pet store graciously accepted the other three little piggies when they were weaned from their mama, Hallelujah!

  4. My granddaughter named the guinea pig that we bought her “Sparkle Cupcake” and her baby was named “Flower,” and I’m not sure how it happened, but when my daughter and her family moved away, my husband and I came to be the proud owners of Sparkle and Flower – Hallelujah!
  5. mump_0409_01_z+1974_ford_mustang_ii_coupe+silver_exterior_side_viewMy first car was a white 1974 Ford Mustang II, which I was quite proud of, even though we had to turn the air conditioner off when we drove up a mountain, because it just didn’t have much power.
  6. I love to sing (though not everyone loves to hear me), and I can think of a song for just about any topic or situation, and sometimes in the middle of conversations, I will burst into a song about whatever it is we happen to be discussing.
  7. LOVE worshiping in dance, and over the years, I have started several dance ministries – the first one, Signs of Light, was comprised of teens who did sign language and interpretive movement to worship songs; the second one, Vessels of Mercy, began with a group of five of us, who ministered to female inmates first, and then to our home church – the group eventually grew to a membership of seventeen; the third group that I began was comprised of only two, and we traveled to many churches, colleges and seminars and ministered.

Beautiful Mama Blog Award Rules:
Musings and Rants

  • Click the award image, save it and use it in your acceptance post.
  • List 3 things you love about motherhood.
  • Nominate other deserving mamas; you may choose as many as you like. (And let them know of the nomination)
  1. Obviously, I love my children, and though they are adults now (my son, the oldest, will be 30 in May, and my youngest, just turned 28), they will always be my babies.
  2. I loved taking my children for rides. Often, when one needed to talk privately, we would climb into my mini-van and take a ride, sometimes parking beside a pond, or (on the rare occasions that I had money, we would go through the drive through and sit in the parking lot), while we talked about whatever was on their minds. I would always ask the Lord to give me the wisdom to know how to respond to their questions or issues, and He never failed me.
  3. I had the blessing and honor of leading both of my children to Christ.

Super Sweet Blogging Award
Musings and Rants

  • Answer the question listed below
  • Nominate other blog friends (if you want)
  • Post the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  • Send a link to the nominees so they are aware you are giving them the award and/or tag game.

Here is your question nominees to get your awards:

Name the one thing you are grateful for today (excluding this tag game/blog award.)

I am so grateful that God chose me to be His beloved daughter:

“You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.”

~ John 15:16 NLT ~

His word makes it very clear that He chose me, because He loves me, and because it gave Him great pleasure to choose me…

Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the wonderful kindness He has poured out on us because we belong to His dearly loved Son. He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

~ Ephesians 1:4-8 NLT ~

Hallelujah! Isn’t that a wonderful thing to be grateful for? 

And now, in no particular order, her are the five people that I would like to nominate for all of the awards above (yes, I really mean all for all – why not? And if one of my nominees is not yet a mother, perhaps she will be someday :D):

  1. Anna Bachinsky – if you want to be inspired, please take the time to check out her blog, A journey of faith… 
  2. Carri – this beautiful woman loves the Lord, loves her little “Muppin” and is a homeschooling mom (something I secretly longed to do, but did not have enough confidence in myself or God at the time) – go ahead and visit her blog, 

    Grace Unveiled

  3. Wendy – I love Wendy’s poems and pictures that glorify God. Her blog, GREENLIGHTLADY, is an inspiration… I should ask her what made her choose the name of her blog — regardless, her blog is a must read!

  4. Diana Rasmussen – What a beautiful, eye catching blog, Prayers and Promises is! Diana is a mom, gifted songwriter and poet who genuinely loves the Lord. You must visit this site and be blessed by it!
  5. Martha L. Shaw – this multi-talented woman is a teacher, writer and woman of God I encourage you to visit her site, In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose as well as the other sites above!

Share the Love – April 2013

PrintGreetings Everyone! I have been eagerly looking forward to sharing this month’s Share the Love featured blog with you. I started blogging in October, and this is one of the first blogs that I discovered. This blog site is a veritable treasure trove of wisdom and biblical insights. Do you want to gain an understanding of God’s word? Do you want to hear the heartbeat of the Father? Do you wish people would stop complicating God’s word? Do you long for good, sound biblical teaching? Do you long to know the word of God, but hate the boredom that too often accompanies the teaching? Then, my friends, you are in for a treat this month, as I Share the Love with Ben Nelson and his blog, Another Red Letter Day

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/ photo.php?fbid=2824221493128&set= t.1486714266&type=3&theater

How many of you know that there are a whole lot of blogs and websites here in cyberspace that teach a whole lot of twisted theology? People come up with all kinds of crazy rules and regulations that are not biblical. Many focus so much on the sinfulness of mankind, that they fail to share the good news of redemption. Still, others focus only on the warm fuzzies, talking about God’s love for His people, which is true, but they fail to inform the people that while God is love, He is also a holy and just God who hates and punishes sin. I shared all of this so you will see what a joy it was for me to discover Another Red Letter Day. As you click the links and visit this blog, I know that you will be blessed and overjoyed at the fresh, sound teaching that permeates this site…

Here are just a few of the posts that have knocked my socks off. One thing that I love about Ben’s teaching is that he doesn’t rush through whatever topic the Lord has placed on his heart. He takes his time in unfolding God’s word before his students and peers, so that everyone has a chance to grasp what is being shared. At the same time, Ben keeps his lessons brief each day, so that we don’t have time to be bored. He whets our appetites just enough just enough to make us hungry for the continuation of the subject, thus allowing us to chew and ponder on what we’ve learned that day. Please be sure to check these posts out:

  • Thy Name, Part 1– Have you ever studied the names of God? I love studying the names of God. So many of my wounds have been healed, as I learn just who my God and Savior is.
  • Thy Name, 8 (well 9) Old Testament names of God – I love studying the Old Testament names of God. There is such power, when I pray to Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals), when I need His healing touch. And when I am anxious, peace can be found when I cry out to Jehovah Shalom (the God of my perfect peace). 

  • Thy Name, 7 (well 8) New Testament names of God– Do you know the New Testament names of God? Have you ever cried out to the Bread of Life, to the Alpha and the Omega, to the King of kings and Lord of lords?

Please be sure to read those powerful posts, and make sure you “like” the posts that move you, and leave a comment to Ben too. As fellow bloggers, you know part of the joy in blogging is in chatting with your readers and hearing your input. I’ve been very blessed to engage in some great conversations with my fellow bloggers, and I know this will bless Ben as well.

One of the things I like to do when I Share the Love with someone is to find out which of all the posts my featured bloggers have written, is their favorite(s). This was quite a challenge for Ben, who has written more than 350 posts and counting, for his blog, but here are a couple of his favorite posts, and after reading them, I understand why they were his favorites, as I was blessed by them as well!

One of my all time favorites is a post called Condemnation or Conviction. The big revelation to me on this topic has been, first, that repentance is a gift, and further that when God gives repentance, it carries the promise of freedom and victory. True repentance actually leads to victory over sin.”

~ Ben Nelson ~

Ben also had another favorite that he wanted to share with you, and after reading it, I was deeply moved by the revelation that he imparts from God’s word to us.

“One other post that is rooted in some revelation I received working through some really tough times with a friend is Where was Jesus in Your Worst Moment? which turns the “Footprints” poem upside down a bit.”

~ Ben Nelson ~

As I said earlier, Ben has written more than 350 posts so far, and I have far too many favorites to list them all, but I just can’t close without telling you about one of the studies that Ben shares each week. Every Saturday is known as Song of Songs Saturday (this link will take you to a full listing of all of the Song of Songs Saturday posts written so far). Also, please make sure you visit Why SOS Saturdays? for an explanation of this study. Below is just a taste of my favorites from this category:

  • Fine as Wine – See if you’re not as captivated by the Lover of our souls, as the maiden in this story is…
  • That Name!– SOS Saturday – This is my absolute favorite post of all that Ben has written, and truthfully, I haven’t found any that I dislike. However, this post just captures my heart from the very beginning, causing me to fall deeper in love with the Love of my life! There’s just something about the name of Jesus, that sets the captive free, breaks the chains that bind us, that heals the broken hearted! Jesus – Just say the name… Breathe in the breath of life, and then expel it over a lost and dying world, and see what happens… Jesus…

In closing, I want to urge you, my beloved readers, to visit Another Red Letter Day, and take your time perusing the many different categories and posts. Also make sure you take the time to read the posts that Ben and I recommended to you. They are well worth your time to read them.

When you visit, be sure to “Like” those posts that you like, and please, take time to leave a comment to  Ben. As fellow authors and bloggers, you all know how much it means to you, when someone drops a word on your posts. Having said that, I just want to remind everyone to remember their blogging etiquette, opposing views are welcome, as long as they are presented with respect. Please remember my purpose for presenting the Share the Love post every month. 

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT)

Finally, my beloved readers, I just have to leave you with one more recommendation before I close this post. As you know, this past week was a solemn and holy time as we prepared for the joyous resurrection celebration, and when I read this post by Ben, I was deeply moved, and I believe you will be moved as well:

Many blessings to you, my beloved readers. I just know that you will be blessed as you read these posts from Ben Nelson on Another Red Letter Day.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – The Truth Shall Set Her Free

*** Warning – This post contains some graphic descriptions which may be offensive. My purpose in including the descriptions is not to offend, but to inform, so that the reader may know how to pray for and help “Jane Doe” and others like her. I place this warning at the beginning of the post, so that you have the option of closing this post before being offended. May the Lord bless each of you readers with His divine wisdom and understanding so that you can help those who have been broken by the evil acts of others. ***

Since hearing about the cruel and senseless rape of sixteen year old, “Jane Doe,” in Steubenville, Ohio, my heart has burned with anguish for the victim, who suffered this inexcusable rape. As if the pain of the rape wasn’t enough for this sixteen year old girl to bear, she has been shamed and blamed by her rapists, by the community of Steubenville, Ohio, and even by the news journalists as they mourned over the “two promising young men” whose lives were ruined by their guilty verdict. Since watching ABC’s 20/20 episode entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Overmy heart burned with the following questions, which I’ve addressed in individual posts for each of the first six:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

Tonight, I’d like to address the final question… 

How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

One of the reasons the Steubenville Horror has aroused such anguish from me is not merely a matter of sympathy, but empathy instead. You see, it’s easy for me to imagine how this girl must feel, because I know how I felt when I was a little girl between eleven and thirteen and my stepfather, the man I called Daddy, did the same to me as those boys did to “Jane Doe.” I remember the fear and the horror, followed by the shame and embarrassment that followed, when I awoke from a nap to find my daddy sitting on the edge of my bed, with his fingers penetrating me beneath my robe. At first, I tried to pretend that I was asleep, hoping and praying that he would stop, but he continued his unwanted and uninvited probing, and as he leaned forward kissing my mouth, I opened my eyes and said, “No Daddy. Please stop.” 

Image Credit: http://fab.com/inspiration/1965-princess-phone-light-blue

I praise God that He stopped my dad that day, before it went any farther, as he got up without a word, and walked out of my bedroom. I heard the garage door slam shut a few minutes later, and ran to peek out the window in time to see his little red Ford Falcon drive off. With my heart thumping wildly, I ran from the living room into Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, quickly grabbing their blue princess phone from the nightstand on the right of their bed, and listening carefully to make sure I didn’t hear him coming back, my shaking fingers dialed my mother’s number at work. My sister and I weren’t supposed to call Mommy at work unless it was an emergency, but I figured this was an emergency. What if he came back and killed me or something? 

What happened to me was in a different time and place, but with some similar results. The blame for what happened was placed on my shoulders… If I had worn clothing under my robe, this wouldn’t have happened… If I told anyone, I would destroy the family… If I talked about it to my sister, it would hurt her, and I wouldn’t want to do that, would I? 

There were all sorts of lies and cover-ups to protect the perpetrator, while I was left unprotected so that he could attack me again and again. Not only that, but all of the shame and the blame was placed squarely on my shoulders, much like “Jane Doe’s” perpetrators and the citizens of Steubenville have tried to do to her. I share this with you not to gain your pity, because praise God, I’ve overcome the shame and the pain of my past. I merely shared a piece of my past with you so that you will understand that when I answer the question, How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?, I am speaking from my own personal experience, and I know what works and what doesn’t work.

One of the ways for “Jane Doe” to pick up the pieces is to know the truth. 

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~ John 8:32 NLT ~

There have been a lot of rumors and lies circulating about “Jane Doe” since the night of her attack. She’s heard lies from her rapists, lies from other teens who attended the parties and lies from adults who have placed the blame for the attack on her shoulders. She’s heard people speculating that if she hadn’t done this, then her attackers wouldn’t have done that. She’s heard others speculate that if she had only done this, then her attackers would have done something else. And here’s the sad fact about most victims of crimes like this:

Victims tend to blame themselves for the crimes committed against them.

Image Credit: breathoflifeonline.net

When you combine this natural tendency to blame yourself for an attack against your person, along with the accusations from her attackers, friends and adults, the weight of that blame becomes a heavy burden for anyone to bear — let alone a sixteen year old girl. That’s why it’s so important for this girl to know the truth, so that she won’t begin to self-destruct, as so many victims do. She needs to know the truth not only about what happened that night, but she also needs to know the truth about who she really is. 

You’ve heard the lies and the names people have labeled her with. She already feels terrible about what happened, and like I said before, she’s probably blaming herself for what happened to her. This is why it is vital for her to know the truth about who she really is.

I’ve been to Christian counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists, and my recommendation for “Jane Doe” would be to receive counseling from a Christian counselor, who can assist her in knowing who she is in Christ. You see, in Christ, people like “Jane Doe” and me are no longer victims, and we’re not merely survivors just hanging on. In Christ, we are victorious. In Christ, we are overcomers. In Christ, we are blameless. In Christ, we are no longer rejected, we are chosen. These are important truths that “Jane Doe” needs to know in order to pick up the pieces and move on with her life.

Another reason for “Jane Doe” to receive Christian counseling is so that she can talk about what happened to her. Too often, people try to hide what happened by ignoring it. This will lead to nothing but anxiety and emotional pain for “Jane Doe,” and she’s already suffered enough. Her perpetrators tried to silence “Jane Doe” to hide their own sin, and it only caused her more pain. She needs to talk about what happened. She needs to talk about her role in what happened, and the roles of everyone else involved. It is only when she is able to speak the truth openly, out loud, that she will begin to overcome the lies and the pain.

“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops for all to hear! Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.”

~ Matthew 10:26-31 NLT ~

By speaking the truth about what was done to her out loud, she will overcome her tormentors, who tried to destroy her. 

Lord, I cry out to You for “Jane Doe.” Father, continue to minister to her, and draw her close into Your loving arms. Father, please set her free from the sin and the pain that have come together to destroy her. Lord, Your word says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and I pray, in Jesus’ name, that You would give “Jane Doe” life more abundantly. Save her, Lord and heal her in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy

Daily Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy

by michelle w. on March 28, 2013

We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?
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I haven’t responded to a Daily Prompt since March 18, because I’ve been sick and tired and depressed for quite a while, but when I saw today’s prompt I had to respond!

Since you don’t know me well, let me start off by telling you that for many years, I was unable to cry. I learned years ago to stifle my tears, out of fear, pride, bitterness and rebelliousness. As a child who was made fun of for having “buck-teeth” and the last name of Payne, I learned to swallow my tears, because even though my classmates tormented me, I refused to give them the satisfaction of seeing just how badly their words wounded me.

Image Credit: http://mybedsidemanner.blogspot.com/2012/07/ kind-word-turns-away-wrath.html

And then, there was my home life… All too often, if I would cry, my mother would warn me to, “Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about!” And she would too. I can remember getting beatings from my parents, and nearly choking on my tears, trying not to let any escape past the huge lump in my throat, sometimes with success, and sometimes unsuccessfully. 

Did you know that you really can will yourself not to cry and not to feel? The problem with that is when you begin blocking one emotion, it inevitably leads to blocking all emotions. When that happens, we become so out of touch with our feelings, that we really don’t know how we feel about anything. I remember not knowing how I felt about things, and so I would carefully watch how others responded to certain situations, to see how I “should feel.” I eventually came to the point that I was unable to cry — whether I was happy or sad. The tears just wouldn’t come.

It is a good sign if a person is able to shed tears. An individual who had had much experience in spiritual matters once made this statement: Giving your love to a person who cannot shed tears is like handing over your money bag to a thief to keep. This is quite true. A person often feels uneasy about giving his love to one who cannot shed tears. For tears are the one thing that is indispensable in this world. It can rightly be said that a person who is unable to shed tears has lost something of the very essence of man: he can no longer be considered as being human.

~ Practical Issues of this Life ~
by: Watchman Nee

To be unable to cry was a terrible thing. As a child, I learned to repress my emotions as an act of self-preservation, but by doing so, I killed something inside of me. You see, tears are an outlet of the heart. So what do you do, when that valve has frozen and will not let any tears escape? 

You could do what I did. I remember reading the following verse from Psalm 56, and how it caused me to begin to ponder and pray to God about it.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.

~ Palm 56:8 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://waitingatthewindow.blogspot.com/2012/10/tears-in-bottle.html

Isn’t that amazing? God keeps track of all our sorrows. He knows how deeply wounded I was as a child, and He cared. I can’t help but be amazed about this every time I read it or think about it! He has collected all of your tears, and all of my tears and placed them in His bottle. Imagine that! Your tears and mine too, are so important to God, that He has collected each and every one of them. Isn’t that awesome? And get this — He has a written record of every single tear that you have shed throughout your entire life, because those tears mean that much to Him. Do you remember every single tear that you’ve cried? I don’t, but God does.

When I read that scripture and realized how important our tears are to God, I began to pray, first, asking God to forgive me for quenching my tears, and then, asking Him to give me back my tears. Lord, help me to cry again. Restore my tears in Jesus’ name.” I won’t lie to you. It took a few years for me to have the privilege of crying again, but I got those tears back.

Having said all of that, 2013 has been an especially difficult year for me so far. Lord willing, the worst is behind me, and the best is yet to come! I lost my mother in February, the day after Valentine’s Day, and my heart has grieved for her. I never dreamed it would be so painful, and though I knew I loved her, I never realized how much I loved her. I’m sitting here weeping as I share this.

Anyway, January and February were both difficult months, as I dealt with my own physical issues, and my mother’s dying. Then, in the beginning of March, I got terribly sick — to the point that I thought I was dying. I had a horrible infection called Clostridium Difficile. It was terrible, and I was hospitalized for several days because of it. After returning home from the hospital, I was extremely weak and nauseous for several weeks — actually up until just a couple of days ago. 

Image Credit: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/eyes/images/
16143904/title/tears-photo

It was horrible. With all that has gone on in these first few months of the new year, I was unable to attend church during this time of trouble, and I fell into a dark place, as the spirit of heaviness oppressed me. During the last few months, I’ve wept more tears of pain and sorrow than I ever remember crying. You would think those tears would just dry up, but they just keep coming. However, if I have to choose between shedding those tears or repressing them, I choose to shed them, because there’s a release that comes after I’ve cried, as though those painful things have been cleansed. It also helps, knowing that my dear sweet heavenly Father values my tears.

I shared all of this so that you can truly appreciate my answer to the question, “When was the last time you shed tears of joy?” The last time I cried tears of joy was last night, when I attended a very special worship service at my church, as we celebrate this holy week in remembrance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. As I walked into the sanctuary with my pastor, who drove me to church, because I was unable to, I felt the joy of the Lord wash over me. As I helped prepare the communion, pouring the juice into the individual cups, and then helped to prepare the altar for the service, my heart was filled with contentment.

Have you ever been homesick? That’s how I’ve felt these last three months, and when I entered the sanctuary, I felt as though I’d come home. And then, my pastor asked me to open the service in prayer, and overwhelming joy flooded my soul as I realized that in spite of everything, I had been through, the Lord could still use me to bless others. When it came time for the foot washing, in remembrance of when Jesus cleansed the disciples feet, my pastor called for the ministers to come forward to wash the feet of the least among us, the children, and so, the other ministers and I knelt at the feet of the children in our congregation, and washed their feet as we prayed over each child. 

“But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then.”

~ Mark 10:31 NLT ~

What a privilege to humble ourselves and serve the children and the youth! My pastor then had the ministers sit down, as she humbled herself and washed the feet of the adult members of the church and the ministers. After this, she singled out one of the children, a girl who is often angry and rebellious, a girl who reminds me a little bit of myself as a child, in that she feels overlooked and unloved, and so she acts out sometimes. It was this girl that she asked to wash her feet, as she told her that the Lord had chosen her over the adults and ministers, to pray for her and wash her feet. You could see how seriously this girl took this invitation, as she soberly looked into her pastor’s eyes, with tears glistening, and then knelt at her feet and slowly, solemnly and gently washed first one foot and then the other, quietly praying.

After this, we sang together as the Spirit led. My heart was flowing over with joy, and last night, for the first time in such a long, long time, I wept with joy, and as I wrote this post, I was again, weeping with joy!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Who’s fault is it anyway?

As I’ve been studying the Steubenville Horror, and witnessed the lack of sympathy for the sixteen year old girl whose life was forever changed by the unwelcome invasion of her body by her two rapists, while the two perpetrators have received undue sympathy from their community and even from journalists, my heart has been heavy. In this series of posts, I have been tackling the following seven questions that have been very troubling to me.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve already addressed the first five questions in posts which are listed below under “Related Articles,” which leads me to the sixth question.

How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?

As I address this question, I want to make one thing clear from the  outset, so that there are no misunderstandings. Although “Jane Doe” placed herself in a dangerous position, she did not ask for nor did she invite her rapists to ravage her body. This little girl should not and must not be blamed for the crime committed against her. The blame for the rape, the filming of the rape and the defamation of her character rests squarely on her rapists and their enablers’ shoulders.

Image Credit: http://www.godui.org/news/?p=112

Having said that, it is important, if we want to protect our children and teens, to address this question. How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position? No one can argue that anyone attending this wild party of teenagers, with alcohol running freely, was extremely unsafe for male or female.

It really saddens me as I read the accusations that have been thrown against the victim of this crime, while the boys who committed the crime have had sympathy heaped on them, as though they were the victims of a crime that she committed against them… Doesn’t anyone remember what it was to be a teenager?

Image Credit: http://listoftheday.blogspot.com/2012/10/ news-of-day-family-makes-disturbing.html

If I think really hard (actually, it’s not that hard to remember), I can remember what it was like to be a sixteen year old girl. I remember what it was like to have a crush on a guy… how my heart would flutter and how I would blush if my current crush happened to glance at me. Does anyone else remember that? And if the guy walked up to you and began to talk to you, do you remember how your heart would pound, and your thoughts would be jumbled up, as you batted your eyes and giggled foolishly, while still trying to look cool? Or was I the only one?

Do you remember feeling as though you would just die if the one you had a crush on chose another girl? Do you remember those awful feelings of rejection, and how lonely and miserable you felt? It felt as if the world around you was crumbling. Do you remember wanting that boy so badly, that you would be willing to do almost anything just so he would want you too?

Image Credit: http://imgfave.com/search/+hey%20arnold

Teenage girls don’t always think rationally. They don’t always make the best or wisest decisions. Their hormones are running wild, and they haven’t yet matured enough to control all of their emotions. Unfortunately, rather than rationalizing things and thinking things through, teenage girls are often led by their emotions.

That’s why it is so important for parents to protect their daughters, because chances are, if they don’t, their daughters can get into all sorts of trouble — not because the girls are bad, but because they are immature and lack wisdom that only comes with age. It is the parents’ responsibility to check up on their teenage sons and daughters. Parents should know their children’s friends. They should know their children’s friends’ parents. When their child is invited to go somewhere overnight, check it out. Take them there and go inside and talk with the adults. Ask if the children/teens will be staying there, or going somewhere else that evening. If they are going somewhere else, get the address of that location. Don’t be afraid to go to that location later on and check it out, and don’t be afraid of embarrassing your son or daughter by making them come home if they are at a party that is inappropriate. It’s a whole lot easier to get over being embarrassed by your parents than it is to get over possible drug addictions, alcoholism or rape.

Before judging this girl, who placed herself in a very dangerous situation, try looking at things from her perspective, and remember, she was just a teenage girl, like many of us were, or for the men who are reading this post, just like your wives once were, or perhaps, like your daughter may be. Most teenage girls think with their emotions instead of their brain. Let’s look at the following statement that “Jane Doe” texted to Trent Mays, because it gives you a clear picture of the victim’s mindset that night she went to the party:

“Ok I liked you a lot and I left that night because I thought you’d take care of me. You were part of it. I was drugged. I never said you raped me but you and your friends did humiliate me. You should have protected me. Anyone with a heart would have.”

Think about it. Here was Trent Mays, the popular, good-looking football player that she “liked alot.” Isn’t it obvious that she had a crush on him? She wanted him to like her too, and she was drinking. Was it wrong for her to be drinking? Absolutely. Did she deserve to be raped for drinking way too much? Absolutely NOT!

Image Credit: (Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

Isn’t it clear from reading her text, that her motives and his motives were entirely different? She wanted to be with the handsome football player that she really liked, and she trusted him. It’s clear that she thought he liked her in the same way that she liked him. What young teenage girl doesn’t dream of the handsome football player “liking” her and taking care of her? It’s foolish, but most young people do act foolishly, and that isn’t a put down, most just don’t have the maturity necessary to think past their emotions. Did her foolishness merit rape? No way.

So to get back to the question, How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position? I think it’s pretty clear. She did what a lot of other girls did and still do when not supervised by adults — she behaved immaturely. But when I look back over my life, there were so many times that I behaved immaturely as well, and I didn’t deserve to be raped. Did none of you ever behave immaturely? Did you deserve to be raped? Of course not!

Both the girl and the boys, and all of the other teens who were at the party behaved immaturely, and should have been monitored by responsible adults, who in my opinion also acted immaturely by not keeping a closer eye on their children. The difference is that this girl was violated and raped. The only crime she committed was a misdemeanor — underage drinking. The boys, however, violated and raped this girl physically and emotionally, and then ridiculed her on social media, for all the world to see, as they completed their acts of humiliation against her. They committed several crimes:

  • Underage drinking — misdemeanor
  • Rape — felony
  • Taking pornographic pictures of a minor — felony
  • Harrassment — misdemeanor

The other teens who witnessed the violations against this girl and took pictures committed the felony crime of taking pornographic pictures of a minor. Those teens who witnessed the violations against the girl and did nothing to stop or report what was happening were guilty of enabling these fiends to further degrade and eventually rape the girl. All behaved immaturely, just as the girl did. Did any of these deserve to be raped? Of course not, and neither did the victim.

Finally, let’s look at all of the adults involved, parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Did any of them check up on their children who were out partying and getting drunk that night? Did anyone hear the commotion outside while the teens were chanting and encouraging one another to urinate on the girl, and try to stop it or call the police? Did Nate Hubbard act maturely by throwing the partiers out of his house instead of calling the police or their parents? Did any of the coaches, teachers, parents and other adults act maturely or responsibly after this crime was committed:

  • Teaching their sons that it is wrong to take advantage of a girl?
  • That it is wrong to video a girl being raped and debased?
  • That it is wrong to laugh at a crime being committed against a teenage girl or any other victim?
  • That it is wrong to go to parties and get drunk?
  • That it is wrong to stand by silently watching while a crime is being committed?
  • That they should call the police in order to stop or prevent a crime from being committed?
  • That they should shower compassion on the victim of the crime, not the perpetrators?

A terrible crime was committed on August 11, 2012, and that needs to be acknowledged. People in Steubenville, Ohio are no different than people in any part of this country or other countries. If this had happened in my hometown, I have very little doubt that people would have responded the same wrongful way as the citizens of Steubenville did. You see, for some reason, people think that if you’re physically attractive, smart and talented at sports or music, or whatever, then you’re a hero.

How wrong they are. Let me show you a real hero:

Many were amazed when they saw Him — beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know He was a person. And He will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in His presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard about.

Who has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal His saving power? My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God for His own sins! But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins — that He was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush Him and fill Him with grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s plan will prosper in His hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, my Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.

~ Isaiah 52:14-53:12 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.lostseed.com/extras/free-graphics/images/jesus-pictures/jesus-crucified.php

Jesus was a hero. He never played a football, basketball or baseball game, and He never wrestled on the wrestling team. He just came to a lost and dying world and healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, voices to the mute, and life to the dead. He showed love to the unlovable, mercy to those who knew no mercy, acceptance to those who were rejected, hope for the hopeless, and He gave grace upon grace to all who were willing to accept it. He is my hero, and friends, no sports figure can match Him!

Do you know what He would say to the girl who placed herself in a dangerous situation? He would say:

“Don’t be afraid, beloved. You no longer need to live in shame. Come to Me, and I will make you forget the shame of your youth. Cast all of your cares on Me, beloved, for I care for you. 

“Beloved, don’t let others shame you, because I love you. Trust in Me, beloved, with all of your heart, and don’t try to figure things out for yourself. I am with you, beloved, and I will never reject you or turn My back on you. You are My beloved. Behold, I have called you by your name and you are Mine.  When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, and I will be with you wherever you go. 

“Now, My beloved, hold your head up, and be not ashamed, for I am with you. You were wrong to get drunk, beloved, but you did not deserve to be raped. This was not your fault. The fault is not yours, My beloved. The blame rests on the shoulders of ALL who condemned you and trampled on you, so hold your head up, child. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Does Anybody Really Care?

*** Warning — There are some graphic terms in this post, as there were in a previous post — not because I approve of such language, but because I felt I needed to refute it. 

For the past few days, I’ve been writing about what I refer to as the Steubenville Horror. When I heard about this heartbreaking rape, my heart was flooded with a mixture of emotions, and there were seven questions that arose from those emotions that I was compelled to address.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve addressed the first four questions in previous posts, which are listed at the bottom under “Related Articles,” and tonight, I will address the fifth question on my list:

When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined?

Image Credit:
DefendWomensRights.org

I addressed the parents of all of the Steubenville teens who attended the now infamous parties on August 11, 2011, but now I want to extend my post to include all of the adults who reside in Steubenville, Ohio and beyond. I have to tell you that I am blown away by the number of adults from this town, as well as journalists express so much sympathy for these young men whose lives, which showed such promise, are supposedly ruined by the verdict.

Image Credit: http://d22r54gnmuhwmk.cloudfront.net/ photos/0/he/gt/flHeGtgYPJaTaXs-556×313-noPad.jpg

Excuse me — were they the victims of a crime? As far as I can see, these two young men received a merciful sentence for their unmerciful crime against “Jane Doe,” a sixteen year old girl with a real name, who was raped by these two “promising young men.” And I don’t mean to sound heartless, but I’m calling it as I see it… Those two “promising young men” apologized and cried only after they were found guilty by a court of law. Prior to their arrest, if you’ll recall, they were quite proud and cocky about their actions, judging from their own tweets and posts on social media.

As overwhelmed as I am by the outpouring of sympathy for the two “promising young men,” I am truly underwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy for a sixteen year old girl, who was not only physically raped by those two “promising young men,” but emotionally raped by them as well, as they posted nude pictures of her and called her all sorts of crude names — such as:

  • Whore — dictionary.com defines whore as a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet… 

    • According to this definition, a whore is a woman — this was a sixteen year old girl.
    • This girl did not engage in promiscuous sexual intercourse with these “promising young men” for money or any other reason — they raped her.
    • This  girl did not consent to have promiscuous sexual intercourse, therefore as I stated before, these “promising young men” raped her.
  • Bitch — dictionary.com defines bitch as a female dog…
    • As I have stated before, this girl is not a female dog — she is a human girl, one who has human feelings and emotions, one who should be treated with honor, dignity and respect, no matter how drunk she got that night.
  • Slut — dictionary.com defines slut as an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.
    • Although the defendants’ attorneys and the good townspeople of Steubenville have tried to label her as a slut, I will say it again — this was not an immoral or dissolute woman or prostitute. She was a girl.
    • This girl did not engage in consensual sex with the two “promising young men” — they raped her.

As I’ve read, and listened to the news, and watched numerous videos online about this case, I keep coming back to the adults in Steubenville and the adult reporters and journalists, and I wonder, “Does anybody really care?” Just look at some of the comments made by the adults from that town:

  • “The rape was just an excuse, I think. What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that? She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it.” ~ Nate Hubbard, Steubenville volunteer football coach
Image Credit: http://therealwithdarylanddevon.files.wordpress.com/ 2013/03/21655391_bg1.jpg

Do you know what’s really interesting about this? Nate Hubbard admits right here that the girl was drunk. Remember, Nate Hubbard’s home was the location of Party #1 that night, and it was he who told the drunken teens to leave his house on the night of the rape. He knew she was a drunk sixteen year old girl, and as a leader of the community’s youth, shouldn’t he have called her parents at the very least, instead of sending her and other drunken teenagers out to drive under the influence. As a coach of the city’s youth, didn’t he care that they might endanger themselves because they were clearly under the influence? Didn’t he care when he heard that the sixteen year old girl had been raped? It seems obvious that this leader and role model for the students didn’t care about them… His comments make it clear that he only cared about their football program.

In fact, the football program was so important to him, the other coaches and the parents, that the other teens who were at those infamous parties were not punished for their despicable behavior. Instead, knowing the garbage that had been plastered all over social media, the coaches, teachers, principals and other school officials allowed them to continue playing football. And let’s not forget the parents who could have punished their teens for their immoral behavior, but instead, allowed them to continue playing football. Meanwhile, across the river, in another town, a young girl’s life was tragically altered after she was raped. Does anybody really care?

“don’t feel bad bc we r talking about a girl also known as stubenvills “train whore” going to parties there every weekend and foul s- – – going down…” Deidre Myers, Steubenville resident

Nice. I just have to make this clear once again — this is a sixteen year old girl we are talking about, not a woman, not an adult, not a dog. However, even if this case was about an adult prostitute, the acts committed against her would still be rape. This girl did not give those boys permission to touch her, remove her clothes, insert anything into her body, or take pictures of her naked body. She was rapedDoes anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://www.handsintothelight.com/ steubenville-city-residentsgood-people-of/ 2012-10-26-rape-victims-accused/

I am appalled at the people who have tried to paint the rape victim in the worst possible light, while referring to the two perpetrators of the crime as “two promising young men.” Not only does my heart break for the victim, but it breaks for other teens who are being raised with that same mentality. My heart breaks for the people of Steubenville and other communities, who do not care how their boys behave, as long as they do a good job on the football field. I added other communities to that statement, because this attitude is not limited to one geographic location — it can be found all across the United States, even in my own community. It seems that sports “heroes” (and I use that term loosely) are deemed by many to be above the law. As long as they play well on game day, they can rape and pillage to their heart’s content, and their fans will gladly blame their victims. Does anybody really care?

As I’ve listened and read how people have justified the actions of those “promising young men,” and how they have vilified the victim, I’m reminded of the passage of scripture where the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, and I look at His response to her, a woman who was not raped, but had consensual sex with a man who was not her husband, and I think of many things that we can learn from this.

1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them. 3 As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 

6 They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, “All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!” 

8 Then He stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said,“Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

~ John 8:1-11 NLT ~

Isn’t it interesting that the Pharisees brought only the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery to Jesus? The law about adultery also applied to men, so why didn’t they demand that the adulterous man be stoned? Think about this — the Pharisees wanted to condemn only the woman involved in adultery, although justice demanded that both the man and the woman be condemned. Do you see a parallel? Steubenville wants to condemn the victim for being drunk, which a whole lot of others at the party were as well. It seems they believe that only she should be accountable. Does anyone see the injustice here? Does anybody really care?

While the girl was guilty of underage drinking, her two violators were as well, but Steubenville adults want to condemn the girl. While the girl’s only crime was underage drinking, a misdemeanor, and please don’t think that I minimize that, because it is a big deal that I’ll tackle at another time, the boys, those “promising young men,” committed the same misdemeanor, and a felony as well… They raped her, but the adults in Steubenville choose to condemn the girl’s actions. Is this their idea of justice? Does anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://images.acswebnetworks.com/1/325/c_lent_5.jpg

When Jesus was confronted with the adulterous woman, He who is perfect and never sinned, did not condemn her. Instead, He set her free, telling her to go and sin no more. Jesus refused to condemn a woman who was engaged in consensual sex, choosing to forgive her and set her free instead, but many of the adults in Steubenville would choose to forgive the rapists, while condemning the victim! Do you see the irony? Does anybody really care?

There has been talk by the news media about how the lives of these “promising young men” have been ruined by their guilty verdict. I say that if their lives have been ruined by anything, it was ruined by their criminal actions. They chose to rape a girl, and the consequences of their crime is really lenient, in my opinion. They committed an adult crime and could have been tried as adults and been sentenced to several years in prison, as well as being listed on the sex registry. Instead, they were tried as children (although children younger than they have been tried as adults for the crime of rape), and received the minimum sentence for their convicted crimes, possibly having to remain in juvenile detention until they are twenty-one years old. Richmond was given a minimum sentence of one year, while Mays, who was found guilty of disseminating pornographic pictures of the girl, who is a minor, in addition to the rape, was sentenced to the minimum of two years. They may not even be added to the sexual offenders registry when their behavior is evaluated after they are twenty-one years old.

Think about this, juvenile records are often closed once the person reaches adulthood with no further charges. Therefore, in just a few short years, this could all be behind those two “promising young men.”

Image Credit: http://wmc.3cdn.net/2e14d66f22ebcf87da_vvm6bnk26.jpg

However, the scars that “Jane Doe” received on August 11, 2012, against her will, will last her a lifetime. Rape is a crime that haunts a woman for many years, and the emotional scars that it leaves are devastating. When those boys are set free in a year or two, enjoying life and putting their past behind them, “Jane Doe” will most likely feel the pain of those scars, as the wounds are ripped open once again. Does anybody really care?

Father, I cry out to you for the adults who have failed so miserably in supporting and caring for this hurt and broken little girl. Have mercy on them, Lord, and change their hearts. Lord, fill them with Your compassion for the victim, and give them the wisdom to teach their children to love and respect all humans.

Lord, give them wisdom to teach their young men to respect girls and women, just as You do. Give them the wisdom to teach their young girls to respect other young girls, and to watch out for one another and protect one another. Lord, give the adults the wisdom and the hearts to watch out and protect those who are weaker. Teach them to care, in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Where Are The Parents?

I began this series of posts in response to ABC’s 20/20 episode, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Overwhich reported on the rape of sixteen year old “Jane Doe,” and the use of social media to further demoralize her. It was as I watched this report that the following questions arose in my spirit, beckoning me to respond to them.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

In the last couple of days, I’ve addressed the first three questions, which brings me to tonight’s question, and I have to tell you, this has really been burning in my spirit. 

Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?

Image Credit: http://www.npr.org/

How many different teens were at those three parties that night? My understanding is that there were around fifty teens at those parties, so I can’t help but wonder — were all of the parents of  fifty teenagers out of town that night? Were there no adults in either of the homes where the parties were held?

Were there no neighbors near any of the homes where the parties were held? Were the at least fifty teens who  had been drinking that night, at the various parties so quiet that no neighbors heard them when they were standing outside laughing at a sixteen year old girl who was throwing up? Did none of the neighbors hear any commotion? Did none of the neighbors hear the people at the party taunting her, while they chanted and cheered as a Steubenville High baseball player dared bystanders to urinate on her?

Image Credit: http://therealwithdarylanddevon.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/21655391_bg1.jpg

When twenty-seven year old Nate Hubbard, volunteer coach for the Steubenville Big Reds came home and found the drunken teenaged partiers at his home, why didn’t he phone the police? Isn’t underage drinking a crime in Steubenville, Ohio, or didn’t the twenty-seven year old assistant coach know that? Isn’t drinking and driving a crime? Why then, would he order the intoxicated minors to leave, without at least offering to drive them home?

Image Credit: http://writetodeepakbhatt.blogspot.com/2011/12/alcoholism-and-its-adverse-effect-on.html

What adult bought the alcoholic beverages that were consumed by the teens that night? Did none of the fifty parents know where their children were that night? When their teens told them where they were going, did it not occur to any of the parents to call other parents to see if their children were telling them the truth? Did all fifty of those teens have their own cars, so that their parents didn’t need to take them to their destinations that night? Of those parents who drove their children to the party or to their friends’ homes, did any of them walk inside with their teens and talk with any other parents that night? 

Image Credit: http://www.speechbuddy.com

How many of the at least fifty teens who were at the various parties that evening owned their own cell phone? Out of those teens that owned a cell phone, how many were bought by their parents? How many parents paid for their teens’ monthly service? How many of those parents had ever checked their children’s cell phones to see what kind of pictures, texts and other media messages their children received and posted before that night? How many of those same parents have ever checked their children’s cell phones since that night?

One has only to look at the reactions — or should I say lack of reactions from the parents, neighbors and other adults in the community to gain an understanding of why there was no one to defend “Jane Doe” on August 11, 2012. We need to look at the adults of the community who failed to teach their youth the difference from right and wrong. Do I sound harsh? Perhaps, but I am speaking truth. 

Image Credit: http://news.yahoo.com/lightbox/left-defense-attorney-adam-nemann-client-defendant-trent-photo-214631608.html

I heard the parents of the two boys who were convicted of rape talk about their boys, and what good boys they were, and how their boys wouldn’t do something like that, and it sickens me. I love my children, but when they are wrong, even though it breaks my heart, I cannot defend their actions. As I listened to them, and even some of the media lamenting for those poor boys, and how this has ruined their lives, I was struck at the lack of empathy for “Jane Doe,” who was victimized by those “poor boys.”

Did “Jane Doe” place herself in a dangerous situation? Absolutely, and I’ll talk about that in my next post, but no matter how drunk and foolish she may have behaved, the abuse inflicted on her by those “poor boys”, and by the other teens who were mocking her, photographing her and smearing her name all over cyberspace, was inexcusable. She was the victim, not those “poor boys,” nor any other person involved.

This is a wake-up call, America. We have become a selfish, self-centered culture, placing our own wants and needs above all else, which is completely contrary to the lives that God has ordained for us to live. You see, we were created for His glory, not for our own pleasure. 

“All who claim Me as their God will come, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.

~ Isaiah 43:7 NLT ~

This horrific case has broken my heart for everyone who was involved, the victim, the perpetrators, the bystanders and the parents, and though I don’t want to see something like this happen again, it will, unless people are willing to make a change in their lives. Not only will incidents like this happen again, but I tell you with certainty, that the crimes will become more and more vile and heinous, unless the people of this nation repent of their sins and cry out to God for His mercy. 

Image Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/474.html

I’m sure there are some who disagree with me, but the facts speak for themselves. If the parents of those teens had been proactive in their children’s lives, rather than reactive, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened. What if the parents of any of those teens who attended the parties that night, had checked up on their children’s plans before and even during the parties? This could have been prevented, right? 

Suppose the parents of the teens who attended the parties that night had brought their children up from childhood to love the Lord as the Scriptures say?

1 “These are all the commands, laws, and regulations that the LORD your God told me to teach you so you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and so you and your children and grandchildren might fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all His laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, to everything I say. Be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 

4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.”

~ Deuteronomy 6:1-7 NLT ~

It’s sad that many of the parents of the teens involved in this horrible crime likely would never dream of missing their child’s football game, but few would ever insist on their children learning to love the Lord God with all of their heart, soul and strength. How many of those parents have bought the music those teens were listening to that night, like “Way too Gone”, by Young Jeezy? How many bought their teens Nirvana’s “Rape Me”? I wonder, if the boys had been listening to something different, like the song below, do think it’s possible that it would have squelched their evil desires that night?

Suppose the parents of those teens taught their children from the time they were small to be kind to others…

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

~ Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT ~

Suppose, instead of defending their teen’s heinous actions, they disciplined them?

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind. 18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.

~ Proverbs 29:17-18 NLT ~

My dear readers, it’s too late to change what happened in Steubenville, Ohio on August 11, 2012, but it’s not too late to change future events. If you are a parent, grandparent, or an adult that children and teens look up to, teach them to love the Lord Jesus Christ by your words and by your actions. Children aren’t stupid. They are looking to the adults in their lives to show them how to live, not only by what they say, but by what they do. 

It isn’t enough for a father to tell his son to respect women, when his son observes his father looking at pornography and cursing his mother. Do you think the son will do as his father says, or as his father does? It isn’t enough to tell your kids to be truthful, when you tell lies. 

Parents, you can’t be friends with your children while they are still children and teens. You must be the responsible adult, and you must discipline. Parents who truly love their children will discipline them. Parents who tell their children they love them, but do not discipline them, do not show their children love. Instead, their lack of discipline shows them that their parents don’t really care about them. 

Do you want to do what is best for your children, and hopefully prevent your children and teens from committing despicable acts against others?

  • Pray for your children.
  • Dedicate yourself and them to Christ.
  • Lead them by example.
    • Show them mercy and compassion toward others
    • Live a disciplined life.
    • Pray with your children.
  • Discipline your children.
  • Maintain a loving relationship with the child’s other parent.
    • Even if you are no longer married or together, respect the child’s other parent and never put him/her down.
    • Even if you are no longer married or together, pray for your child’s other parent.
  • Talk to your teens about this case and others that have happened.
    • Ask your teen how they would respond to that situation.
    • Offer suggestions, so that if something like that ever happens, your teen will know what to do.

My beloved readers, I truly believe our country is at a deadly crossroad, and each one of us must choose which way we will go and lead our children. Will you lead your children on the path of righteousness? Or will you choose to lead your children on the path of destruction?

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. 12 It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?’ 13 It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?’ 14 The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. 

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 16 I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, laws, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. 

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!”

~ Deuteronomy 30:11-19 NLT ~

Father, I pray for all parents, not only those who live in Steubenville, Ohio, but for every parent throughout this country and throughout the earth. Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that You would give parents a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. I pray that You would give them godly wisdom, so that they can make good decisions for their children and themselves. 

Father, build a wall of fire around the youth in this nation, so that the enemy can’t penetrate their hearts. Lord, I pray that You would reveal Yourself to every man, woman, teen and child who might come across this post and draw them to You, for salvation is found only in Christ. 

In Jesus’ name, Father, I pray that men and women throughout the world who love You would humble themselves under Your mighty hand and pray to You and repent and seek Your face, and that You would hear our cries, and heal our land. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – My Brother’s and My Sister’s Keeper

Image Credit: http://thefreeman.net/journal/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/dog-bone.jpg

Sometimes, when the spirit within me is stirred up, I’m like a dog with a bone. I just can’t leave it alone. It’s like that when the Lord places a word on my heart. I can’t sleep or rest until I’ve said, written or done what He has compelled me to do. This is how I’ve felt ever since Friday night, when I watched ABC’s 20/20 episode, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, which informed us about the physical and emotional rape of a sixteen year old girl, referred to as “Jane Doe” on August 11, 2012. After viewing this program, I was haunted by the following questions, which I began addressing in a series of posts:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve addressed the first two questions in two other posts, which are listed under Recent Articles, at the end of this post. Therefore, today, I’m going to address the third question…

Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?

Image Credit: abcnews.com

It was reported that several girls present at the first party were concerned for the victim, and tried to talk her out of going with Mays and Richmond, but the inebriated girl did not heed their warning, so they let her go. How terrible… Look at this statement one of “Jane Doe’s” friends made to the police:

“I could tell that she was gradually getting more drunk and worse throughout the night,” 16-year-old Farrah Marcino is seen saying in the video, obtained by ABC News. “Just, like, that she couldn’t, like, she didn’t walk.”

“She wanted to go with Trent. Like, we just kept trying to tell her: ‘You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to go with them,’” Marcino told detectives. “I just let her do what she want(ed), which I understand was wrong.”

Read more: 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/steubenville-investigation-video-shows-fellow-students-concerned-victim-article-1.1297103#ixzz2OXiOUGyY

Image Credit: abcnews.com

It’s obvious that the teenaged girls who attended the parties were concerned for “Jane Doe,” but their concern meant nothing, because they failed to act on their concern. I can understand that they may have been afraid to stand up to the boys, perhaps, but all of them had access to a phone. For goodness’ sake — most, if not all of them had their own cell phones that they could have used to call a trusted adult to come and rescue the girl, who was obviously too impaired to make any decisions for herself. Or, if the teens were afraid of calling an adult to help the girl, they could have called the police to come and rescue her! So, why is it that none of the concerned girls or boys at the party did anything to protect her?

This reminds me of the discussion between the Lord and Cain, after he had murdered his brother Abel:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

~ Genesis 4:9 NKJV ~

Here is yet another example of the values that many parents have failed to instill in their children. Are we our brother’s (or in this case, our sister’s) keeper? YES!!! We are indeed, our brother’s and sister’s keeper. 

1 So we who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong, rather than please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor and act for his good, thus building him up.

~ Romans 15:1-2 CJB ~

God’s word is very clear to us. Those of us who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong, rather than please ourselves. Each of us should please his brother (or sister) and act for his (or her) good, thus building him (or her) up. I really want to break this down, because this is something that every parent needs to understand, so they can teach it to their children both by words and deeds.

Image Credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Those who were strong on the night of August 11, 2012, were all of the teenaged boys and girls who did not physically or verbally participate in the victimization of the girl that night. Those who were strong that night are the ones who tried to convince the girl not to leave with the boys. Those who were strong were the ones who witnessed what was going on, and felt bad about it, but said and did nothing to prevent the situation from growing worse. 

Those who are strong have a duty to bear the weaknesses of those who are not strong. Just to be very clear, the one who was not strong that night, was “Jane Doe,” and her weakness was the amount of alcohol she had consumed, which rendered her unable to make wise decisions. Her weaknesses that night, made it impossible for her to defend or protect herself. She needed one or more of those who were strong to bear her weaknesses and act for her good, thus building her up. 

But sadly, the strong ones failed in their duty to bear her weaknesses and act for her good. Why did they fail? Could it have been out of selfishness? Is it possible that they were afraid to call a trusted adult or the police, because they didn’t want to get in trouble? Did they think it was better to let “Jane Doe” be raped and hurt than to risk getting in trouble for being where they shouldn’t have been and doing what they shouldn’t have been doing? Were they supposed to be their sister’s keeper? YES!!! 

Image Credit: http://thetimehascome.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/living-sacrifices-romans-12.jpg

What a sad time it is for the people of this country! We have cast the Lord Jesus aside, and embraced our own selfish desires, and then, when disaster strikes, we demand to know how a good and loving God could allow such atrocities. It’s time for the people of this nation to get a grip. No longer do parents bother to teach their children how to worship the Lord and be a living sacrifice. Instead, they teach their children to worship themselves and sacrifice others!

How many more times will the same scenes be repeated, before men and women begin to sacrifice themselves and teach their children by word and by example that those who are strong must care for those who are weak? Do you want to see a change in this nation? Do you want to see a change in your children? Then teach them to do as Jesus commanded…

12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it — the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.

~ John 15:12-13 NLT ~

Please join me in praying for those teens who attended the party, and though they didn’t actively participate in the assault on “Jane Doe,” by their silence, they enabled the crime…

Heavenly Father, I pray for each person who attended the parties on that fateful night, and I ask You to touch their hearts and draw them to You. Lord, show them where they went wrong, and show them how to do what’s right from this time forward. Father, I pray that You would give each one of these teens a compassionate heart, filled with Your love for those who are weak. 

Inspire them to lay down their lives for others, Lord. Give them wisdom not to attend anymore parties like that, and if ever they are involved in a situation where someone who is weaker than they, is being harmed or exploited, enable them to be courageous and strong as they take a stand for what is right.

Father, I ask You to continue to watch over “Jane Doe,” and heal her broken heart in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Warning!

*** Readers Beware – I do not usually use any graphic language or descriptions in my posts, because first and foremost, in all that I do, I want to honor God. However, in this post, there are graphic descriptions and links to song lyrics, which denote the vileness of the crimes committed against the victim. My wish is still to honor God, however, in doing so, I must include the graphic descriptions below, in order to illustrate the evil that we must begin to battle in order to save our nation, our children, our elderly, and even ourselves. The time has come to wage war against evil, rather than standing by silently hoping it will disappear.

In the wee hours of this morning, I wrote the first post, entitled, Steubenville Horror – Heartless?, in a series about the callous rape of a drunk sixteen year old girl, and the equally heinous atrocities that followed. In the first post, I listed a seven questions that I would be addressing in this series, dedicating that first post to the first question:

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Image Credit: http://www.elefterian.com/files/mix_4/lavina2.jpg

In this post, I will attempt to address the second question from my list. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, however, as you examine this case, it is very evident that something has gone terribly wrong in our culture, and like a snowball that gains momentum in an avalanche, unless we make some drastic changes to our lives, many more lives will be devastated and destroyed. Therefore, as I share the events of that terrible night on August 11, 2012, look at it as a warning sign for every man, woman and child in this nation!

What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?

As horrible as the rape of this girl was, I was equally appalled by the cruelty shown by other teenaged boys, both those who were at the parties, and those who learned about the rape later. Briefly, on the night of August 11, 2012, a sixteen year old girl from West Virginia attended three parties that took place in Steubenville, Ohio, along with several other teenaged boys and girls. At all of these parties, the minors were consuming alcoholic beverages, and it became apparent to all by around 10 or 10:30pm, at the first party, that the girl, “Jane Doe,” had become extremely intoxicated, as she stumbled around, slurring her words.

Image Credit: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/01/steubenville-high-football-rape-crew/60554/

This is a very loose timeline of the events that occurred that evening, and I truly believe that this is like a shot heard ’round the world, and we must heed  its warning:

  • People at the party started making fun of “Jane Doe,” as one of Steubenville High School’s baseball players dared people to urinate on her.
  • A couple of hours later, “Jane Doe” left the party — now unable to walk on her own, Steubenville High School football players, Trent Mays, Ma’lik Richmond carried her by her hands and legs, as though she was an animal to Mark Cole’s Volkswagen Jetta. According to witnesses, she “was sleeping.”
  • On the way to Cole’s home, Mays exposed the girls breasts and penetrated her with his fingers, while Richmond drove and Cole recorded the crime on his cell phone, as the song, “Way too Gone”, by Young Jeezy played in the background. The lyrics to this song are truly vile and disgusting.
  • There were apparently three parties that night, and by the third party, witnesses report that “Jane Doe” was unable to walk on her own, and that she vomited several times, eventually winding up on the ground, naked, silent and motionless.
  • While at Mark Cole’s home, witnesses Anthony Craig and Evan Westlake testified that they saw Ma’lik Richmond behind the girl, with his hands between her legs, penetrating her with his fingers, while Trent Mays repeatedly smacked his penis against her side.
  • The victim woke up the next morning naked, in a room and a home that she did not recognize, unable to find her cell phone or her shirt.
  • The victim learned about what had happened to her from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube videos and texts.
Image Credit: http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18ah4v28dxs5tjpg/original.jpg

One of the many things that makes this so disturbing is the way other teenage boys responded to the girls victimization. They laughed about it and told crude jokes. They took pictures of Mays and Richmond violating the girl and posted them online.

One young man, who apparently wasn’t present at the incident, posted a twelve-minute YouTube video, where he laughed about the rape. He even commented via Twitter, “Song of the night is definitely Rape Me by Nirvana.” I checked out the lyrics of “Rape Me”, and they’re chilling.

Image Credit: http://www.realisticimaginations.com/Wallpapers/Loveless/loveless1400.jpg

There is something seriously wrong with a culture that raises teenaged boys to have such contempt for the lives of others. If “Jane Doe” had been one of their sisters, or mothers, would these boys have found such humor in her victimization? Because the girl was from another town, did that justify their behavior? Because the girl was drunk, did it make their actions less heinous? 

Is this anyone’s idea of harmless fun? As I read and learned about these boys who could have and should have stepped up to the plate and stopped the attack on this girl, I’m reminded of the bullies who laughed and cried out against Jesus when He was arrested. We like to pride ourselves in thinking of how far we’ve come from the violence of days gone by, but the truth is, mankind has not evolved into a kinder being. The true is that with each passing generation, as America has turned her back on Jesus Christ, she has become more evil and more debased. 

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…

~ Matthew 24:12 NIV ~

Think about it, not one of the boys involved in the parties had any love or compassion for a helpless sixteen year old girl, who was not able to even walk away from the first party. Parents, what are we teaching our children? What are we teaching our boys? Are we teaching them to respect the lives of others? Are we teaching them to protect, respect and care for women? Or are we fueling their egos? Heed this warning, people:

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

~ Proverbs 22:6 NIV ~

Image Credit: http://s1341.photobucket.com/user/MrsRaZella/media/compassion_zps3b56214e.jpg.html

Are you training your children to love others and put others ahead of themselves, or are you teaching them to look out for number one? I may not be popular for writing this, but it has to be said. How many of the teens who attended these parties bought and paid for their own cell phones and service? Or were they a gift from Mom and/or Dad? How many of the parents of those teens regularly check to see what their children are posting and texting? How many of the parents of the teens at these parties buy the music that their children were listening to that night — music that encourages rape and drunkenness? How many parents knew where their children were that terrible night, and if not, why not?

Didn’t any of the boys at these parties feel any compassion for the victim, or have their egos been stroked and groomed so that they think football players, wrestlers, baseball players, and anyone else deemed popular by the so-called “in-crowd,” is above everyone else? Are we raising a culture of boys who think that they just have to play a game well in order to be considered a “star” or a hero? Every single boy who came in contact with “Jane Doe” that evening had the opportunity to become a heroic man, and sadly, every single boy chose to be cowards and fools.

A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back.

~ Proverbs 29:11 NLT ~

Parents, the fact is that we are raising a generation of fools by covering up for their sins, buying them whatever they want and fueling their over-sized egos. Raising strong and wise young men requires hard work and much prayer. It means withholding those things which are bad for your children, no matter how much they badger you for it. It means that you must give up your own “me” time to devote yourself to teaching your child wisdom. Contrary to popular belief, doing the right thing does not come naturally to people — doing the wrong thing does. We must teach our children wisdom, and that means sacrificing our own desires for their good. It means that our children need to learn that life is not always fun. They must be taught the value and pleasures of wisdom.

Doing wrong is fun for a fool, while wise conduct is a pleasure to the wise.

~ Proverbs 10:23 NLT ~

This is my prayer for foolish teenaged boys throughout our country:

Father, forgive us, because rather than living according to Your word and teaching our children how to live according to Your word, many of us have become wise in our own sight. We thought it would be best to spoil and coddle our boys, rather than teaching them how to grow into strong and courageous men of God. In catering to their whims and desires, we have taught our children selfishness, rather than how to be selfless as Christ was.

Forgive us, Lord, and teach us as parents how to train up our children in the way that they should go from this day forward. Lord, Your word says that if we will obey You and ask for anything in Jesus’ name, according to Your will, that it will be done, do Father, in Jesus’ name, I’m asking You to touch the boys who are growing up in today’s world. Draw them to You Lord, and teach them to love You first and foremost. Show us how to teach them to love others first, by demonstrating that love for them. Show us how to teach our children repentance, by our own example of repentance. 

And Father, in Jesus’ name, show us how to teach our children and youth of today the value and sanctity of life, so that they will grow into strong and courageous heroes and men of God, no longer bound by the foolishness of their youth. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Steubenville Horror – Heartless?

Friday night, I watched an episode of ABC’s 20/20, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, and ever since watching it, my heart has grieved, and I can’t help wondering, Why? There are so many different perspectives here and you just have to ask yourself what went wrong? With all of the turmoil there has been in my life recently, it was really easy to fall behind on the news, and so when I saw this program, I was shocked and appalled by everyone involved in this horrible incident, and several questions began to brew in my spirit…

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Image Credit: http://abcnews.go.com/topics/news/steubenville-rape-trial.htm

The case has been tried, and two boys, Trent Mays, age 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, age 16, were convicted of rape on March 13, 2013. My reason for writing this post is not to question their guilt or innocence. My reason for examining this case and writing about it is to encourage parents, children and teens to talk about what happened in Steubenville, Ohio, and thereby, hopefully deter another horrific incident like this.

Therefore, in a series of posts, I will be addressing each of the questions that I listed above, beginning with the first question…

What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?

Were Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond completely heartless? Did they think that they were better than the girl they abused? What made them think they had a right to treat “Jane Doe” in such a callous manner?

9 “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” 

~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT ~

I don’t believe for a moment that these two boys were completely heartless, especially in light of scripture. Do you see it? The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked… The problem with these boys is not that they are heartless, but that their hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. Both Trent and Ma’lik had a heart problem that neither were aware of, and before we examine this any farther, I need to be up front with you… You and I are not exempt from this heart problem. Let’s look at verse 9 again:

“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

~ Jeremiah 17:9 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://cdn.hiphopwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/steubenville-football.jpg

The scripture doesn’t say some hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. It very clearly includes all human hearts — that includes yours and mine… So what could have led these two boys to humiliate, abuse, molest and rape this girl? 

Image Credit: http://collegecandy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/steubenville.jpg?w=600&h=350

These boys were “stars,” adored by Stuebenville’s football fans and their families. They were built up and put on a pedestal as star athletes, who were somehow better than others. Let’s be real, we see this adulation of high school athletes all over the country, and not only high school athletes, but college and professional athletes as well. They are given star treatment, often receiving special perks for being good-looking, talented and intelligent, and as the scripture says, “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked…” 

All too often, when people are built up like this, it goes to their heads, and they begin to believe that they really are special… that rules and laws don’t really apply to them… that they are entitled to receive special treatment… and that their needs are more important than the needs of others. While it’s true that not everyone who receives this kind of “special” treatment responds in this way, there are many who do.

It isn’t healthy or wise to put people on a pedestal. Certainly, it is good for parents and teachers to acknowledge a child’s accomplishments and to encourage him/her. But it is equally important to teach a child humility. Every child should know that while he/she may be gifted, their talents are just that — a gift from God, and that gift does not make someone more important than anyone else. Indeed, those who are given gifts must also be taught how to be responsible.

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

~ James 1:17 NKJV ~

Parents, it’s up to us to teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We are the ones who are responsible for teaching our children not to look out for number one, but to put the needs of others above even our own needs…

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

~ Romans 12:10 NIV ~

We need to recognize that while it is damaging to give a child low self-esteem, it is equally damaging to build a child’s self-esteem so high that they believe they are above others.

What if those boys had been armed with the knowledge that their hearts were so terribly wicked and deceitful? What if they were taught that their talent was a gift given to them by God, not because they were any better or more deserving than anyone else, but simply because of His grace? And what if those boys had been taught to honor others (including “Jane Doe”) above themselves? Is it possible that the Steubenville Horror could have been averted?

My beloved readers, do you have children… grandchildren… nieces and nephews… students… teen-aged friends? Talk to them about this horrible atrocity, and ask them what they would do if they were in the position these boys were in. Talk to them about how these boys should have responded and why what they did was so utterly and terribly wrong. Talk to them about the consequences of their actions…

And please, join me in praying for Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond…

Father, in Jesus’ name, I cry out to You for Trent Mays’ and Ma’lik Richmond’s hearts, which are most deceitful and desperately wicked, and I ask You to create a clean heart within them. Lord, let them see the wickedness of their actions against “Jane Doe,” and fill their hearts with remorse and repentance.

Lord, let them learn from this, and let each young man repent of his sins and find salvation in You. I pray that You would set them free from the lies that they have told themselves, and that others have told them. I pray that You would reveal to them that they are no better than anyone else, and that they would begin to place others above themselves, seeking ways to help others, rather than to harm them.

Lord, I also cry out to You for the girl that they damaged. Father, please protect this young woman, and touch her heart. Let her feel the warmth of Your embrace, and let Your rivers of healing waters wash over her, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

You’ve Got Mail…

Creative Writing Challenge: 2AM Photo

by Michael Pick on March 18, 2013
It’s 2AM and your phone has just buzzed you awake, filling the room in white-blue LED light. You have a message. It’s a photo. No words, no explanation. Just a photo. Tell us all about it. And what happens next.
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Image Credit: http://theperiledsea.ning.com/profiles/blogs/horse-rider-made-of-fire-what-i-saw

“You’ve got mail!” The sound loudly clamored repeatedly, jarring me awake from a dead sleep, as I reached over to grab my cell phone, wondering why it kept repeating over and over again. Usually, when I received a text or notification, it only sounded once, and I never had the volume as loud as it was now. 

“It must be some kind of a stupid glitch,” I thought to myself, as I sat up in the bed, squinting to see who could be texting me at 2:00 in the morning, and what kind of malfunction was causing my phone to vibrate and continue repeating, “You’ve got mail!” at full volume. Finally, unable to silence it, I decided to open the stupid message, hoping that would shut it up.

As I opened the message, my heart began to beat violently in my chest. There was no “Sender”, nor was there any message, just the grim picture of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. My heart felt like wax, as it melted within me, and a sudden weakness washed over my body. “Oh God,” I whimpered, as the image on the cell phone shook in my hands.

Suddenly, it seemed that time had run out. As I stared dumbly at the image on my cell phone, I saw the future begin to unfold, as other images raced across the screen, showing the impending doom of mankind and the earth as we now knew it. It was both great and terrible, as wars, famine and pestilence flashed across the screen, with each of the four horsemen leaving a horrible wake of destruction as they passed…

We were about to face the war that ends all wars, as families and friends would be pitted against one another. Children would turn against their parents, and mothers would betray their very own flesh. The love of many would wax cold, and it would soon be nearly impossible to tell friend from foe.

Indeed, this photo of the four horsemen was a call to war, and I knew immediately what I needed to do, as I dropped to my knees and began to pray fervently, crying out for God’s mercy and grace. I couldn’t deny that I’d already seen the signs — oh, who was I kidding? I knew that the first of the four horsemen had already arrived, and that it was only a matter of time before the second rider followed, as Antichrist set his evil plan into motion, winning the trust and adoration of many as they turned further and further away from Christ, calling His gospel of peace a gospel of war.

I had already witnessed the terrible toll that was taking place on believers throughout the world, and yet, like a foolish ostrich, I had buried my head in the sand, hoping that this terrible evil would just vanish if I didn’t look at it. “Oh Lord, forgive me for not taking a stand,” I now prayed, as I began to put my war clothes on.

Image Credit: http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2012_02_01_archive.html

Then, grabbing the breastplate of righteousness, I fastened it tightly, carefully guarding my heart. “Lord God,” I now prayed with purpose and fervency, “guard my heart and keep me righteous. In these last and evil times, Father, I ask You to protect my heart, so that I won’t stray from You, nor lead anyone else away from Your saving grace.”

Next, with purpose, I lifted the belt of truth, carefully examining it for any breaks or flaws that may have occurred during my time of cowardice, as I refused to face the truth before me. Thankfully, the Lord had guarded it, and I carefully fastened the belt of truth tightly around my waist, as I vowed, “Lord, from this day forth, with Your help, I will walk in truth, looking neither to the left nor the right. And though it may lead to my death, I will speak the truth in love, boldly to the men, women and children You place in my path, no matter who stands against me, because I know that no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and that every lying tongue that rises up against me shall be brought to justice.”

Image Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_15082883_old-and-dirty-military-boots-isolated-on-white-background.html

Even though it was now well past 2:00 a.m., I stooped down to slip my feet into the shoes in readiness of sharing the gospel of peace. “Lord, Jesus, send me to the streets, the prisons, the bars, the crack houses and the whore houses, so that I may share Your gospel of peace with those who are desperate for a Savior. Let me speak to them in Your love, so that they will be ready to face the trials and the tribulation that all must face. And Lord, I ask that You snatch them from the fiery grip of the enemy, saving many in these last and terrible days.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-shield-of-faith-booker-poole.html

I knew that my faith would need to be strong for me to endure until the end, and so, as I lifted my shield of faith, I entreated the Lord to take the faith He’d already given me, and to increase it, so that I would be able to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy. The helmet of salvation came next, and I carefully tied my hair up and out of the way, before resting the helmet on top of my head. It fit snugly and perfectly, and I breathed a deep sigh as I continued to pray, “Lord, let the mind of Christ be in me. Let my thoughts be Your thoughts, and Your thoughts be mine. Lord let me have the same attitude that Christ had, because even though He was God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing, becoming a humble slave and suffering for the sake of many. Lord, help me be willing to humble myself for the sake of others, let me care more for their lives than my own. Oh God,” I cried, “Let me be a woman after Your own heart.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/products/sword-of-the-spirit-jeff-haynie-poster.html

Finally, I was fully armed, save for one last weapon. I carefully picked up the sword of the Spirit, transferring it from my left hand to my right, placing it in its sheath, and then quickly removing it and assuming the warrior’s pose. The sword of the Spirit — the word of God… “Oh Lord,” I softly breathed. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. As I prepare to leave the warmth of my apartment to go into battle with my brothers and sisters that You have also armed and called for such a time as this, order my steps, for Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”

“It is time now,” I sensed the Spirit commanding me, as I stood at attention. Then, without so much as a final look at what I was leaving behind, I walked out of my apartment, locking the door behind me. I would not be returning, for I had received my orders, and I was off to wage war against the enemy of the souls of men and women. “Remember this final thing,” I heard a voice speaking from beside me, as I continued to walk toward the city’s red light district, “This battle belongs to the Lord!”

“Hallelujah!” I shouted loudly, as I set my face like flint and sprinted to my destination.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Unquestioning

This post is in response to the Blog Challenge by Tilda Swift at her blog, Swift Expression. This is my entry for number 1.

If any of my readers derives inspiration from this post and would like to do something similar on their own blog, please provide full credit to the owner of the original Blog Challenge (as stated above) to abide by copyright laws.
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Unquestioning

Image Credit: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/ conception-through-birth-pictures.htm

When does life begin?
There seems to be some confusion…
Does it begin at conception?
Or is it true that life is mere circumstance — just a chance?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a  fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://themahoganyway.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/six-weeks/

How can we deny the baby’s humanity
When only six weeks after conception,
The child has a face,
And a heart that beats
A heart that will one day love…

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/Normal-Pregnancy -and-Childbirth#slide3398945

How can we not call
This precious one “Baby”
When at only twelve weeks
He sucks on his thumb
And yes — even feels pain?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://www.verumserum.com/media/2009/07/21-week-fetus.jpg

As time marches on,
Baby changes and grows…
With all organs in place,
By her twenty-first week,
She clings tenaciously to life!

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/ Normal-Pregnancy-and-Childbirth#slide3398926

As Baby’s second trimester comes to a close,
She yawns and she stretches
And hiccups and kicks,
While she sucks her thumb.
If she were born now, this child could live!

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: http://izzym.hubpages.com/hub/ Normal-Pregnancy-and-Childbirth#slide3398969

As Mommy’s belly expands and it stretches,
She knows this is no tumor or parasite…
The evidence is clear, leaving no doubt
That within the depths of her womb
Human life is unfolding…

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

Image Credit: Huffaker Photography

And now the time has come,
This tiny human is ready to be born…
But what if now, after all of this time,
Mommy suddenly changes her mind?
Does this child have no rights?

Why are we so unquestioning
When a man or woman proclaims
The thing within the woman’s body
Is not a baby, not even human?
It’s merely a fetus, a parasite to be destroyed
By choice…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Silver Screen

Daily Prompt: Silver Screen

by michelle w. on March 13, 2013

Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!
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“Do not cite the Deep Magic to me Witch. I was there when it was written.”
Aslan – Chronicles of Narnia
“The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”

Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: Th...
Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If ever there was a show stopper, this was it. In case anyone wondered what this story, this allegory was about, it suddenly snapped into focus, as everyone suddenly realized that the character, Aslan, Lion of Narnia, was truly an allegorical character for none other than Jesus Christ, Lion of the tribe of Judah, and that the witch was merely an allegorical characterization of Satan himself. My heart rejoiced at this famous line in the movie, as the white witch tried to explain the meaning of the words, written by Aslan, much in the same way Satan tried to twist God’s Word to Jesus as he tempted Him in the wilderness, until Jesus, also known as the Word of God, had finally had enough!

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; serve only Him.'”

~ Matthew 4:10 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://hbiblecommentary.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/john-11/

If only everyone could see that as beautiful as this allegorical movie is, there is even more beauty in the true story of Jesus Christ, who was both the Lion and the Lamb. My heart’s desire is that all who enjoyed this movie would know the true joy of knowing the truth about Jesus Christ, who was the very Word of God.

1 In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and He was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make. 4 Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. 5 The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

~ John 1:1-5 NLT ~

He was in the beginning with God, and He created everything there is. In fact, nothing exists that He didn’t make. 

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. 16 Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through Him and for Him. 17 He existed before everything else began, and He holds all creation together.

~ Colossians 1:15-17 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/god-and-math-prove-that-nothing-is-greater-than-the-love-of-god/

My friends, you can go ahead and call it gravity if you want, but the truth is that everything was created through Christ and for Him, and it is He that holds all of creation together. It was He, who knew before He even laid the foundations of the earth, that man would sin, yet He chose to create us anyway. He knew that we would be tempted by the devil, and that we would choose to lie, cheat, steal and kill, rather than follow in His ways, but He chose to create us anyway. 

He knew that the only way to pay for sin would be death, but He had a plan.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

~ Romans 6:23 NLT ~

He knew the only way to save us from death and eternal damnation would be for Him to leave His throne in heaven and come to live here on earth as a man, and He made up His mind to do just that. He knew that no one else could do it, because there was no one who was just and holy. Everybody had sinned, so it would have to be Him.

10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is good — not even one.”

~ Romans 3:10 NLT ~

23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

~ Romans 3:23 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://petehise.com/2010/02/jesus-carried-the-weight/

He knew that Him living a perfect and holy life would not be enough to save  us from the penalty of our sin. He knew that He would also have to suffer for our sins. He knew that He would have to carry the weight of every person’s sins on His shoulders. He would have to suffer the pain of every man, woman and child who had ever lived before, and who ever would live. He would have to carry the sins of people who would never repent, and He would have to pay for them. Can you imagine how difficult that must have been? 

21 God made this sinless Man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with Him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.”

~ 2 Corinthians 5:21 CJB ~

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/inspirationalimages/4484580976/

Have you ever been punished for something that someone else did? Have you ever felt the righteous anger that rises up as you are falsely accused? Do you know what it’s like to experience rejection because of something you were wrongfully accused of? It’s hard, but you can tolerate the rejection of strangers, but what about those that you love? Do you know what it feels like to have those that you love turn their backs on you, knowing that you have truly done nothing wrong? Have you ever felt the pain of someone you love looking at you with disappointment and shame, knowing that nothing you say will convince them that you didn’t do what you were accused of? That’s what Jesus endured, and yet, He didn’t even try to defend Himself against the false accusations. Instead, He chose to lay down His life, so that you and I could live.

As I watched Aslan die on the stone slab, I thought of all of this, but inside, my heart was rejoicing, because you see, I know the ending of the true story… Jesus did suffer dreadfully. And unlike Aslan, people didn’t see the Lion of the tribe of Judah when they saw Him. They just saw a plain, unimportant man…

1 Who has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal His saving power? 2 My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him. 3 He was despised and rejected — a Man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God for His own sins! 5 But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! 6 All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all.7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins — that He was suffering their punishment? 9 He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave. 10 But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush Him and fill Him with grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s plan will prosper in His hands. 11 When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. 12 I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.

~ Isaiah 53 NLT ~

Oh my friends, the people of His day totally missed who He was! They didn’t put two and two together — and sadly, many people throughout many generations since have not been able to put two and two together. They too, have missed who He is!

Beloved, do you recognize who this Jesus is? Do you know this Lion of the tribe of Judah? He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end! He is the Savior of the universe! He is our hope… our peace… our joy… He is Jesus Christ and He is Lord.

Image Credit: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/every%20knee%20shall%20bow

There is also one more thing that I must share with you, beloved, so that you will know the whole truth. Yes, Jesus suffered, bled and died on the cross for your sins and for mine. And yes, He was buried in a borrowed tomb. BUT, on the third day, He arose from the dead, and He is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father, Almighty, and He is coming back again one day, to reign and to rule forevermore. Therefore, whether you acknowledge Him as Lord now, or whether you reject Him now, know this… There is coming a day, when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

6 Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. 7 He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8 And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

~ Philippians 2:6-11 NLT ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Erasure

Daily Prompt: Erasure

by michelle w. on March 12, 2013

You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened. What would you erase and why?
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Image Credit: http://www.dickblick.com/products/soft-pink-beveled-eraser/

If I had the opportunity to erase one incident from my past, as though it never happened, what would I erase and why? This is actually a question that I’ve given a great deal of thought to. In fact, I’ve even ministered to female inmates about this very subject, and the truth is that if I could erase one incident from my past, I would pass on that opportunity. 

If I could erase one instance of pain, abuse, rejection, abandonment or fear, I would refuse to do so, because every terrible, horrible incident in my life was ordained by God, to help mold me into the woman that I am today. 

2 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

~ James 1:2-4 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://gallery.mobile9.com/f/952728/

If I could go back to that day so many years ago, when as a scared little girl, I experienced the unthinkable, as my stepfather molested me, leaving behind a traumatized little girl with some very serious issues that would take more than two decades to resolve, I wouldn’t change a thing. For you see, that frightened little girl learned to cry out to God, seeking safety in Him, because there was safety in Him alone. Certainly, my earthly parents didn’t protect me.

If I could go back and pinpoint the time when I first felt unloved and unlovable, I would not erase that time, because when the Lord revealed to me the height and the depth, the width and the length of His love for me, I appreciated it so much more.

 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

~ Romans 8:38-39 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.c28.com/streetteam/contentdetails.asp?ContentID=318

Shall I give you an illustration of how God revealed His great love for me? My whole life, I felt unloved and unlovable, and I remember from the time I was a little child, having a deep longing to be loved. I used to hug my mother tightly and tell her I loved her, and though she said she loved me too, I couldn’t believe it, because I felt unlovable… Then, many years later, I remember riding in my car with my daughter, who was expecting her first child, a little girl, and we were talking about baby names and their meanings. Suddenly, as we rode along, I said to her, “Do you know what my name means?” When she said no, I told my daughter, “My name means, ‘Beloved.'” 

Suddenly, the Lord began to speak to me, and I began to weep. “That’s right Cheryl,” He said. “Your name means ‘Beloved,’ because you are My beloved. It was I, who named you in your mother’s womb, and your whole life you longed to be loved, not knowing that I loved you all along. I loved you before you were born, and I loved you after. I loved you when you were rejected, and I never forsook you. I loved you when you were molested, and when you thought you were unlovable. You have always been My Beloved, and you always will be My Beloved.”

If I could go back and erase any instant or any day, I would erase none, because every step I’ve taken has led me here. I am now in a place where I know I am loved, and because of the pain, the abuse, the rejection and abandonment that I’ve suffered, I am not only loved, but I am able to love freely. Because I’ve been forgiven much by God, I am also able to forgive much. Because I know what it is like to be miserable and depressed, apart from Christ, I appreciate the joy that I’ve found in Him all the more.

Therefore, although I appreciate your kind offer of erasure, I must decline.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

When Life Just Doesn’t Seem Fair! ~ Part 2

Image Credit: http://susanfee.blogspot.com/2011/11/be-glad-that-life-is-unfair.html

Here I am again, talking about the unfairness of life. Sometimes it really stinks, doesn’t it? I get so angry sometimes when I see the opulent living some people enjoy because they have swindled those less fortunate to support their lifestyles. Where is the justice in that? And what about the leaders of various countries, who live lives of decadence, while the citizens of those countries live meager lives, struggling just to find food and water for themselves and their families, never mind shelter!

For that matter, am I the only one who is outraged by our very own congress, who has the authority to vote for their own pay raises each year? How is it that they are allotted this privilege, when the rest of society must earn their raises based on merit, and even then, much of society still does not receive the raises necessary to make ends meet, regardless of how hard they work, and how dedicated they are to their various employers? Is that fair? I think not!

And what about those who get away with falsely accusing others, in order to cover their own shortcomings? I’ve been both a victim of this, as well as a witness to others who have suffered wrongly because of the lies of others. Is this fair? Of course not. That’s why I want to continue encouraging you, my brothers and sisters, to read the Word of God, and see that you’re not alone in this, as we learn how to deal with life’s unfair reality.

5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you. ~ Psalm 37:5 NLT

Beloved, as I did yesterday, I want to continue today, breaking Psalm 37 down, because it is so rich and full of wisdom and hope, and today, we’re going to camp right here at verse 5…

Image Credit:
http://wallpaperscristaos.com.br/christianwallpapers
/commit-your-way

Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you. This is huge. Stop and think about this for a while, then ask yourself, “Do I commit everything to the Lord?” Think about it… have you given Him all of your hopes, all of your joy, all of your plans and all of your dreams? Have you given Him your parents, your siblings, your spouse and your children? Have you given Him your friends, your acquaintances, your co-workers and your boss? Have you given Him your entire life, to do as He pleases?

When you commit everything you do to the Lord, you do as Christ did…

5 Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. 7 He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8 And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. ~ Philippians 2:5-8 NLT

Image Credit: http://souljournaler.blogspot.com/2010/07/self-selfless-two.html

Jesus committed everything He did to the Lord. His whole life – indeed, His whole purpose was to please God in everything He did. When He was treated unfairly, He never said, “You don’t know who you’re messing with. I’m a child of God, and you have no right to treat me like that. I know my rights,” like so many of us do. He knew who He was, and yet, He willingly laid His rights and privileges as the Son of God aside, so that God’s will might be accomplished, and not His own…

“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine.” ~ Luke 22:42 NLT

Image Credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/231020655855545967/

When I dare to complain about the unfairness of life, I find it very difficult to get past Jesus’ life. I’ve served God faithfully for more than twenty-five years now, and my husband and I haven’t had any income since November 2012… I’ve been hurt, abandoned and rejected by people that I love many times throughout the years… I just lost my mother, and she was only seventy-four years old… Less than a month after losing my mother, I found myself in the hospital, which I can’t afford, with a possibly deadly illness, and yet, when I think about Jesus and all that He endured for my sake, I just can’t bring myself to complain about the unfairness of it.

You see, even though I’ve had no income since November 2012, the Lord has been so very kind to me by making a way for my husband and me to keep our house. I have a roof over my head…

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of My own, not even a place to lay My head.” ~ Luke 9:58 NLT

Image Credit: http://www.christianforums.com/t7461156/

Wow – how unfair is that? I, a sinner saved by His grace and His suffering have a home and a place to lay my head, while the Son of Man did not…

And though I’ve been hurt, abandoned and rejected throughout the years, the Lord has graciously and mercifully brought reconciliation in many circumstances, while other times, He has placed new people in my life, who love me and accept me as I am, so how can I complain about the  unfairness of it?

3 He was despised and rejected — a Man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care. ~ Isaiah 53:3 NLT

Image Credit: http://tazi-san.deviantart.com/art/Silent-Lamb-62444292

How can I complain about the unfairness of suffering pain, abandonment and rejection, when Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world, left His home in glory to seek and save the lost ~ people like me, and His very own people ~ the ones He came to seek and save, hated Him and rejected Him? How can I whine about life’s unfairness, when He was hated and rejected to the point of death, and those people that He loved so much and came to rescue (people like you and me) turned our backs on Him? But even so, He didn’t whine or complain about it. He endured the shame and rejection and chose to rescue us anyway, even though we treated Him so unfairly…

I lost my mother, and then less than a month later, I wound up in the hospital with a potentially deadly illness, but dare I complain about that? No, my beloved, I can’t even complain about that, when I think about Jesus, who died at only thirty-three years of age. He died such a horrible, agonizing death, at such a young age, and He didn’t have to do it. He was beaten, spit upon, lied about and rejected, and He didn’t even argue about it. He didn’t tell His Father it was unfair, and He didn’t tell the scribes and pharisees it was unfair… 

“No one can take My life from Me. I lay down My life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For My Father has given Me this command.” ~ John 10:18 NLT

Brothers and sisters, in those times when life seem so unfair, don’t lose heart, and don’t be discouraged. Instead, let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who willingly endured all of the shame and the pain for the joy that was set before Him…

2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. Now He is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. 3 Think about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him, so that you don’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. ~ Hebrews 12:2-4 NLT

My beloved brothers and sisters, life is indeed very unfair, because we live in a fallen and sinful world, but don’t despair. No matter how bad our suffering, praise God, none of us have given our lives in our struggle against sin. And as Psalm 37:5 tells us, if we commit everything to the Lord and trust Him, He will help us…

This is my prayer for those of you who are currently suffering from the unfairness of life…

Heavenly Father, I pray that You would arise and show Yourself strong on behalf of my brothers and sisters, who are suffering from the unfair and unjust attacks from the enemy of our souls. I pray, Lord, that You would give them wisdom to know that if You are for them, no one can stand against them, and that You cause all things to work together for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose for them.

Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that my brothers and sisters would commit everything they do to You, and that they would walk in Your ways, no matter how difficult the road may be. I pray that You would enable them to say, like the apostle Paul: 

“17 For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT

In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, amen and amen…

May the Lord bless each one of you, my beloved readers, and I look forward to sharing with you again, as we continue this in depth study on the unfairness of life and Psalm 37.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Serendipity

Image Credit: http://kellieelmore.com/2013/03/01/fwf-free-write-friday-word-prompt-3/

Hallelujah! As soon as I saw this word, the spirit within me rose up, and I knew that I had to respond to this #FWF Free Write Friday: Word Prompt
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Do you know what it’s like to spend your whole life longing for purpose? Did you ever long to know that there was some reason for your existence? Yes, some people believe that we’re here by accident, but I’ve never bought into that theory. 

You see, I’m one of those people who believe in absolutes. I believe in black and white… I believe in the existence of good and evil… I believe in absolute rights and absolute wrongs… 

I believe that every man, woman and child was created and placed here on this earth for a very specific reason. I truly believe that every human being was created by God Almighty, and that before He even formed us in our mother’s womb, He had a plan for our lives, and I would like to share His plan for my life with you.

You see, while I have always believed in God, I didn’t always believe that everyone was created for a specific reason. I didn’t believe this, because for much of my life, I felt that I was a mistake. Indeed, there was a time that I hated to even look in the mirror, because I did not like the person looking back at me. I thought that person was an ugly mistake, and I tried for many years to mold myself into someone more acceptable. 

Image Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/829.html

For many years, I tried to be the person my parents wanted me to be, but I was destined for failure, because that was not who God created me to be. When I would meet people that I admired, I would try to take on the personality traits that I admired. I have a friend who is very meek and soft-spoken, and I tried very hard to be like her. The problem with that was that I am neither meek nor soft-spoken. I can be very loud and opinionated, which does not work well when you are trying to be meek and soft-spoken. 

For so many years, I didn’t know who I was, or what I was here for, and I envied those who had purpose in their lives and walked confidently and comfortably in their skin. I spent so much of my life trying to be acceptable to my family, to the people I looked up to, and to the people that I went to church with, and the truth is, I was miserable, though I was very careful not to let anyone see it.

Then, out of nowhere, as I was preparing for a Sunday School lesson that I was about to teach, I had the serendipity of discovering a truth that changed my life forever! 

13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. ~ Psalm 139:13-16 NASB

Image Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/523.html

God chose to reveal the answer to this problem of my existence that had haunted me all of my life serendipitously, as I prepared to teach a Sunday School lesson to teens. He revealed to me that He formed all of my inward parts, and that He had skillfully woven me together…

That meant that He had deliberately given me buck teeth, which required braces when I was younger. I wasn’t just some ugly freak. He had skillfully created me like that for some reason that I didn’t understand. And the scoliosis that caused me to wear a back brace as a young teenager, He had deliberately created that curvature in my spine. Again, it wasn’t just the result of some freakish accident – this was a result of His divine plan…

Now, here is the most amazing part of all of that:

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. ~Psalm 139:14 NASB

Image Credit: http://www.preeminenceofchrist.org/fearfully
_and_wonderfully_made.htm

I am fearfully and wonderfully made… With all of my physical problems, my back problems, the arthritis, the crooked teeth I had as a child, I was and am still fearfully and wonderfully made. I was created in His image. I wasn’t a mistake. He deliberately created me, with my loud voice (it’s the voice of a prophet and preacher), with my strong, uncompromising beliefs (a prophet cannot back down from what the Lord commands him/her to do, no matter what the cost). 

He wasn’t surprised by all of the suffering that I’ve gone through in my life. I’ve been abused, rejected and lied about. I’ve been cursed and ridiculed and belittled. And God not only allowed these things to happen to me, He ordained it!

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance ; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. ~Psalm 139:16 NASB

That’s a hard thing for many people to swallow, and you may wonder why I would find comfort in knowing that He ordained all of the painful events in my life, so I will try to explain it to you. 

I was a prison minister for almost ten years, and God allowed me to love and minister to those women because of what I had experienced in my life. You see, if I had never suffered rejection, abandonment, and abuse, I wouldn’t have been able to relate to those women as well as I did. If I hadn’t had those experiences in my life, I may not have had the love and compassion for those women that I have. You see, when I went in the prison to minister to them, I never felt that I was above them. I knew the truth — that it was only by the grace of God that I wasn’t an inmate.

Image Credit: http://www.oneyearbibleblog.com/2008/05/may-17th-one-ye.html

If I hadn’t suffered the things that I’ve been through in my life, I might never have known the love of Christ. I might have never realized how desperately I need Him, if I hadn’t suffered as I did. If I hadn’t suffered the things that I’ve been through in my life, I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing as I do.

You want to know something? As I write this, I’m not even sure this is a good example of serendipity, because the truth is that I didn’t just find this wonderful news without looking for it. The truth is that it found me. God sent His only begotten Son to find me, and if He hadn’t purposefully sought me out, I would never have discovered these wonderful truths.

Can I share just one more thing with you? Did you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? Did you know that God skillfully knit you together in your mother’s womb? Did you know that God has an ordained plan for your life? Please don’t let what I’ve shared with you scare you off, because I saved the best news for last.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. ~ Romans 8:28 NLT

Isn’t that wonderful? Because I love God and I’m called by Him, He makes every bad thing in my life work out for my good! Do you love God? Have you heard Him calling you? If your answer is yes, rejoice! Because He will cause everything to work together for your good too! 

If your answer to that question is no, then I pray that God will open the eyes of your heart, and that He will reveal Himself to you. I pray that you will believe in Jesus, His one and only Son, who died to pay for my sins and yours, so that we would no longer be bound by them. I pray that you will know that even though Jesus suffered, bled and died for the sins of all mankind, He rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of God, and that He is coming back again to reign and rule over all the earth. I pray, in Jesus’ mighty name, that as you read my  post, you serendipitously come to know and love the Almighty Creator of the universe, and that you know that you are no accident.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Share the Love – March 2013

Hallelujah! It is time once again to Share the Love with my beloved blogging friends. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what Share the Love is all about, please click the link above. 

As those of you who read my blog posts on a regular basis are aware, February has been a very difficult month for me, fraught with much pain and grief, as my mother passed from this life into the next. It is my fervent hope and belief that Mom made peace with God and is now in the presence of Jesus.

Because of all that has gone on, I haven’t given much thought to my blog or to the Share the Love project. Indeed, because I haven’t given it much thought, due to my circumstances, I had resigned myself to forgoing the Share the Love post this month, but God had other plans, as He ministered to my heart and showed me who HE wanted to highlight this month.

Image Credit:http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com/
Image Credit:
http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com/

Therefore, it is with great joy that I introduce to some of you, a blog site that brings me great joy, as the author shares nature’s beauty and God’s glory through her photography, poetry and prose… For those of you who are already familiar with this lovely blog, I’m sure you will all agree with God’s choice (and therefore mine also) for the Share the Love post this month — greenlightlady. The beauty that Wendy, author of greenlightlady, portrays in her posts is a wonderful blessing for all who read and view them. 

I pray that everyone who reads this post will take the time to visit her blog site and “Like” and comment on your favorite posts. If you’re not sure which posts to read and view, please be sure to check out some of these favorites of mine:

These are only a few of my favorites. Wendy has written and photographed many posts, which always bless me. I do have to share two more favorites, because they were such a delightful surprise to me. Are there any mushroom lovers out there? I am a huge mushroom fan… I like them stuffed, raw, on top of salads, and on pizzas… I truly enjoy eating mushrooms, but I must confess that although they are very tasty, I’ve always thought they were rather ugly, until I saw these two posts on greenlightlady’s blog:

I think it’s really important to know which post, out of all that she has posted since the inception of her blog, is the author’s personal favorite. Each month as I Share the Love, I will include not only my own personal favorites, but the author’s as well, and Wendy’s favorite post is On Either Side. After reading this, I can understand why that post would be her favorite, because it gives us a glimpse into the wonder of God’s great love for us, and it brings the following scripture to my mind:

 But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8 NLT)

As I stated earlier in this post, with the tumultuous month that February was, I really didn’t think I had it in me to do the Share the Love post this month, because I haven’t really had time to visit many blog sites, and truthfully, I hadn’t even thought to pray about Share the Love. However, God is the One who gave me the inspiration to do a Share the Love post every month, and it was He who revealed who I should highlight in my first Share the Love post for the month of February. And just as He did for February’s post, He showed me who to Share the Love with in March.

Image Credit: http://greenlightlady.files.wordpress.com

On February 24, I was reading through the many posts that I subscribe to, when I came across greenlightlady‘s post for that day. This post was unlike her usual posts, and the Lord clearly spoke to my heart and told me to showcase Wendy’s blog for March. For those of you who wonder how I go about choosing which blog to showcase, the answer is simple. I allow Holy Spirit to lead me to the blog that He chooses…

Anyway, Wendy’s, A Call to Prayer, truly moved and inspired me. Out of all the posts that Wendy (a.k.a. – greenlightlady) has written, this one was by far and away my very favorite post, because it deeply moved me. I was first struck by the genuine love and compassion expressed in this post, from the beginning to its glorious ending. The poem Wendy shared, exhibited the sheer beauty of God’s love for the millions of unborn babies whose lives are cut short in utero. And though the poem for those babies came to an end, the words that Wendy wrote afterwards in summary continued to display God’s everlasting love – not only for the wounded and murdered babies, but for those mothers who have aborted their babies. You see, we serve a wonderful God who not only loves the innocent babes, but He loves their lost mothers too, and it is not His will that any of them should perish. Therefore, I urge everyone who reads this post to please take the time to visit Wendy’s blog and read, A Call to Prayer. Then, after reading it, let’s join Wendy in her call to prayer for all of the unborn babies in this country and throughout the world, and for their mothers as well…

May the Lord bless each one of you as we all Share the Love with Wendy at greenlightlady.

Love in Christ,
Cheryl