Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seriously? There is a Dog Driving That Car!



Yesterday, my oldest daughter and I waited for too long in the Staples parking lot for our computer to be ready.  (To rewind a bit, our family computer caught a nasty bug and we finally opted to take it into Staples where it’s been immunized, vaccinated and everything that can be done to it.  We were told by the staff it would be done by Monday.  So I went in Monday to be told I wouldn’t be getting it yet.  I was told Tuesday morning, and then was called Tuesday morning to be told it would be ready at 5:30 that night.  So we went in Tuesday evening to wait because it still wasn’t done.  If I haven’t mentioned in a blog the customer service in Central Florida is sorely lacking, so anyway my oldest daughter and I were waiting in the parking lot in the car for about 45 minutes waiting for the computer to be done.) 

As I was waiting I happen to glance about two rows over.  There was a red pickup truck pulling into a parking space.  At first I saw a dog driving the car.  It took about two seconds for that thought to register so I began staring at the car.  “Wow,” I thought “Either a dog is driving that car or that guy is really ugly?!”  I sat staring at the truck waiting for someone to pop out with a camera crew telling me it was some crazy TV show because seriously it looked from where I was sitting that a dog was driving the car. 

Finally when the truck was put in park, the dog moved.  It was obvious that it wasn’t a dog driving the car, but the dog was on the driver’s lap.  What had appeared to be the dog driving wasn’t that at all. 

It’s funny how your eyes can play tricks on you like that.  What appears to be in a situation really may not be that at all.  Faith is a lot like that.  Faith believes what you know to be true versus what you seem to be seeing.   Faith believes God over the circumstances that seem to be visible. 

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) [ Faith in Action ] Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

            You have to trust God over the theatrics you may be seeing in your life right now.  You have to trust Him because a dog doesn’t drive a pickup truck.  You know God’s word, and you know what He’s told you. God doesn’t lie.  He doesn’t shake things in front of you and then say, ‘Made you look’.  He’s not like that.  His word is truth! It may look like a dog is driving this thing at the moment in your life, but it’s not. Trust God to see it come to pass in your life. Weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning.   

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

            *** I did want to make a quick update on the drama with the girls’ school.  We have decided that we will not be sending them back there next year for a list of reasons.  This issue was just one of many that put us over the top on this issue.  The administrative team did finally call me. After I called the School Board, and got an official apology from the city.  I got what I would call a “Sort of” apology.  It was filled with “the teacher was out of line” but’s.  I realize I’m not high on any of the administrations ‘love list’ at the moment, however according to my daughter this science teacher has been much more careful about how he’s teaching the subject matter, and in that case I feel something positive came from all of this.  They have given my daughter the ability to have a confrontation with the teacher along with a third party, which she’s open to do.  However, I think at this point it’ll just fizzle out.  We’re not pushing the issue.  If they think it’s needed she’s welcome to do it.  If she feels she needs to they are open to it.  It seems unbelievable how our public education system have taken to attack parents and think that kind of attitude is acceptable.  Anyway that’s the update. J ***

 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stolen Innocence


I am in my last few days of writing the rough draft of my 19th book.  That seems unbelievable to me.  Though I’ll finish the 19th in a couple of days, I’ll spend a few work days on a reread and then flushing it out.  Without much pause, I usually take some time between projects; I’ll go straight into #20.  #19 is part 2 and #20 is the last installment of a trilogy I’ve been working on.  Indecently the 1st book in this series was the one an agent just read, fell in love with and had to turn down due to it being outside of the box her agency tends to market.  (Sigh, one of these days my fiction books will find a good home, but all is well . . . it’s a business, I get it!)

This trilogy is Christian Fiction Fantasy.  It has required me to do a lot of research in Biblical times; more specifically King David’s family.  As a result I was reading up on anything I could get my hands on regarding this, and plural marriage.  King David had quite the harem and that was one household I would not want to have attended family reunions. In total he had 8 wives and 10 concubines; which doesn’t compare to his son Solomon, but that’s beside the point.  His children are quite the cast of characters.   

I found myself reading the book, Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall and Lisa Pulitzer.  Since I have no real concept of polygamy, reading about others that practice it can help me write the explosive dynamics of what I could imagine King David’s harem could have resembled. 

This book is so beyond sad.  In it Elissa Wall tells her story of growing up under Warren Jeffs.  She was forced married off at 14 to her first cousin that she never liked.  She repeatedly begged to get released from the marriage.  She was threatened with isolation from her family if she dissented, and was raped on regular occasions.  All the while misquoted scripture was flung at her to justify the actions of this cult.  It was out of shear desperation she finally made her way out of the cult, and later was used as one of the witnesses to get Warren Jeffs behind bars. 

In all my years that I’ve heard about cults or read about them the misuse of scripture, and running of the masses by fear are common threads.  No matter the group there always seems to be a measure of truth in the teaching, but then it gets really off; like way out into left field off.  As Elissa kept trying to leave fear is what kept her there.  Fear of losing her family, not getting into heaven, and fear of not being a good girl.  When finally she breaks free she decides if being free was hell she’d rather go there.  What people who grew up in these environments may not see right away is God isn’t a god of fear. He doesn’t control people.  This is religion talking, not a relationship with Jesus.

Typically of cults there are leaders that interpret scripture for the people.  But people aren’t encouraged to hear from God on their own.  In truth the people don’t even know what the word of God really says.  I believe God wants to warn us all from this.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

            In the KJV version instead of be diligent it says ‘Study to show yourself approved’ in other words don’t take what someone says the Bible to mean and assume its fact.  Go look it up for yourself.  Find out what it really said, and look at the context in which it was written.  Not that is wrong at all to have a pastor, or someone preaching.  You need that, but you also need to know what the Bible says for you, so that you can’t be deceived. 

            While yes there is a Holy fear, or reverence to God.  But God does not dominate or dictate by fear.  He does not hold your salvation over your head for you to one day obtain.  Through Jesus Christ, one can obtain it, and walk it out.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I found myself praying for this young survivor, and praying that she could get through all brainwash, to find a real relationship with Jesus Christ. 

No matter who you are it can be very easy for any of us to get deceived.  But in the Bible it says on the earth that in the last days many would be deceived.  (2 Timothy 3)  You can make sure that’s not you, but using your Bible for more than just a dusty book that becomes a paper weight on your shelf.  Open it up.  Study it.  Let it become very real to you.  Ask the Holy Spirit what you should read, and allow Him to speak to you.  Be on your guard and don’t allow yourself to be deceived by outside sources. 

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Waiting For The Announcement!


 

Last week my youngest daughter had her artwork chosen to represent her school at our local library.  We were all excited and went to the opening of the art exhibit.  We happily took a couple of pictures, saw her work, said a round of “hello’s” and came home.  The next morning when I dropped the kids off at school, the art teacher practically ran me down.  Given the problems we’ve had recently at my children’s school, I thought Really?  What now?  Evidently the art show had been independently juried, and my daughter won 1st place in her division.  Evidently they’d had an awards ceremony that we hadn’t known about and unfortunately missed.  Had we have known all of this we’d have happily stayed for the awards, but we hadn’t known.  My daughter was so excited to have won, but we all felt bad we missed the ceremony. 

Though there were several things roaming in my mind, when the art teacher chased me down, I automatically assumed it wouldn’t be good.  Given the school and I have had our evolution battles and the City of Kissimmee officially apologized to me regarding their behavior, I assumed when the art teacher wanted to talk to me, it would just be more drama.  She had news of a blessing; It was not news of more chaos. 

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things

How often do we all do this?  We jump to worse case scenario’s in people and situations. 

Also in this case had we have stayed at the art show a little while longer my daughter would have been so blessed to be called on stage to receive her reward.  Yes, she still got her reward, yes she still won, but she would have been so blessed to have been there.  It is true we didn’t know that this was going to happen, but sometimes when we are so impatient in life we miss the things that would really bless us. 

Galatians 6:9 (ESV)


And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

            It’s easy to get frustrated, impatient, and leave before seeing what God wanted you to see.  I realize we didn’t know in this case what was waiting for my daughter if we had stayed just a few more minutes.  How important it is that we not grow impatient in the midst of seasons of transition, and perhaps sticking around just a little while longer will make sense later.  I guess we all can learn from this.  Think the best in people whether you think the situation deserves it or not, and don’t let your impatience dictate to you when you should leave a situation.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sitting In A Garage Won't Make You A Car! Evolution Debate Part 4


 

            I want to thank all of you who have prayed or emailed me with some great evolution/creation information over the last few days. 

            We did go yesterday to have the 2nd meeting at my daughters’ school regarding how evolution has been taught.  While I hear their point that my big aggravation is with the State of Florida who approved teaching the ‘Theory of Evolution’ in 2008 and they are who my issue is with, the meeting did not go well at all.  (I want to state again: my children learning about the THEORY of Evolution is not what makes me mad.  It’s them and classes of children being taught it as fact that does, and my daughter has felt bullied by this teacher)  While the school has conducted its own private investigation, this teacher took it upon himself to call me a ‘bullying bad parent’ in front of my children and the principal, because I support and defending my child.  I have taken this to the next level by contacting the Superintendent and the School Board.

            In all of my years with my children in public school, I’ve only had a total of two times where things have spilled over into bringing in the higher ups. That is two times in 8 years.  The first time was due to the fact a ‘Counselor’ felt it was okay to ‘palm read’ at events and was furious that I would suggest that was a religious act. I told her if she wanted to keep doing it, that was fine, and then I would gladly prophesy over all the kids too…grin… In that case the ‘Counselor’ kept telling me that it was okay because she went to church all the time.  In that case, the Counselor was eventually banned from palm reading on school grounds.  In this case after several back and forths with this teacher (Who really needs Jesus, please pray for him), He responded to me that he went to church for 2 years so therefore he knows my point. 

Why do people do that?  They assume that just because they’ve opened a Bible once or went to a church a few times that automatically makes them an okay person.  People in the world still believe that Christianity is a bunch of rules and regulations, it’s sad that they don’t understand it’s not a religion.  It’s a relationship!

In the Evolution vs God video (http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/), I love a response Ray Comfort gives to a very outspoken atheist. 

He asks the atheist, “What if you’re wrong?” 

“It’s possible,” The atheist responds, “But could you be wrong.”

“No” Ray Comfort answers boldly.  The atheist looks at him puzzled. Ray continues, “What if I told you your wife doesn’t exist.”  The atheist is still puzzled.  “You have a relationship with her.  You know she is real.  So if someone told you that your wife didn’t exist you wouldn’t believe them.  I feel the same way about God.  I have a relationship with Him.  I talk to Him all the time.  I know what life was like before I did and after.  I’m not wrong.”

I thought this exchange was so beautiful, and so true.  It’s never about just going to church.  Just like the old saying goes, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, just like sitting in a garage will make you a car.”  Sure I believe in church.  I believe that we are better together; iron sharpens iron, etc. etc. But going doesn’t make you a Christian.  Having a relationship with Jesus Christ and living that does. 

We read John 3:16 and quote it all the time.  But do we really read it?  What about verse 17.  God didn’t give Jesus to condemn the world.  He did it to save it.
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

            As mad and upset as I am about all of this, when we left that meeting my husband had such wisdom.  He just kept saying, “Anna, they are unbelievers.  So why are you expecting them to act like believers?”  He’s right.  As angry as I have been, these people are acting this way because they don’t know Jesus.  Bottom line is they need Him.

            There are many around you, and maybe even you would answer this same statement if asked a statement of your faith.  “Well I’m okay, I go to church.”  That may be all well and good, but God discerns your heart.  He sees past all the masks and veneer.  Perhaps it’s time to get real with you and real with God.  Perhaps when people give us that excuse, “Oh I go to church,” we should tell them we’re going to go sit in our garage expecting to turn into a car.

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

 

 

 

 

Monday, February 10, 2014

No, My Great Grandfather Was Not A Monkey!


 

            For those of you who follow my blogs, you know we’ve had some ongoing arguments with my oldest daughter’s science teacher.  I understand that faith and science don’t always agree.  I understand that the whole Creation Vs Evolution has been an argument in public schools for years.   I understand that currently my child goes to a secular school, and thus is subject to what the state standards say.  Believe it or not I am not a person that tries to start arguments, but in this case I feel the situation got thrown in my lap.

            The first time I blogged about this I was legitimately mad because I felt the Science Teacher was telling me that my daughter was not allowed to view her opinion.  That felt to me like a violation of the Freedom of Speech, and no matter if I agree with a person’s opinion or not, I think that it’s still America and we all have a freedom to say and believe how we choose.  When I went into that conference, the teacher assured me it was a communication error, and my daughter misunderstood some things that he had said.  My daughter thinks he was lying to cover himself from the absolutes he’d been speaking to her class.  I wasn’t in the classroom and while I tend to side with her in her assessment I have to respect the teacher gave me the answers that he did.

            So for the last several months my daughter has been coming home telling me that her teacher is going on and on regarding evolution.  He keeps telling the class that they all came from monkeys.  She keeps getting very upset.  Given my last go around in this class I was hoping that by now the teacher would just move onto another topic.  Instead he appears to be preaching from his own pulpit.  I finally started to tell my daughter if he is upsetting you that much, you need to confront it and know I will have your back.

            His response will put us all in the principal’s office again.  Honestly I didn’t go to the principal’s office this much when I was in school.  He replied to me that according to the FL Board of Education Benchmark it’s his job to do this. “SC.7.L.15.1 - Recognize that fossil evidence is consistent with the scientific theory of evolution that living things evolved from earlier species.”

            In all honesty I am what I call a Creation Evolutionist.  I believe that in Genesis 1:1 that God created man and woman (Adam and Eve).  I believe that our world and environment has changed over the years and mankind has evolved through the Divine Design to change with the environment.  IE. I have no doubt that through the years man’s forehead isn’t as sloped or is not as strong as a caveman.  I don’t disagree with the fossils.   However my great granddaddy was not a monkey.

            So to prove my point in this and to dance around the Florida Board of Education I learned that the definition of Evolution is NOT that we came from monkeys, as many people try to profess.  The definition of evolution is simply put the “process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.”  In that regard I don’t disagree with that brand of evolution.   

            According to a Spanish Scientific Study (http://christiannews.net/2013/06/17/groundbreaking-genetic-discoveries-challenge-ape-to-human-evolutionary-theory/), I printed out both the article and the report that it has already been discovered that Apes and Humans though similar in their DNA, they aren’t the same.  So science has already begun to debunk the THEORY that we were once monkeys.  A recent 12-page journal article, written by three scientists in Spain and published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, details the results of careful analysis of human and chimpanzee DNA. After comparing and contrasting thousands of orthologous genes from humans and chimps, the scientists found their final data to be very much at odds with evolutionary theory. In fact, they even titled their article “Recombination Rates and Genomic Shuffling in Human and Chimpanzee—A New Twist in the Chromosomal Speciation Theory.”

            I understand this teacher in his mind is trying to do his job, but this crusade he’s on to tell a bunch of kids that they have evolved from monkeys, is not scientific.  It’s just a theory, and while going there and having to have this conversation yet again is the last thing I want to do, it appears that it’s been thrown my way again. 

            So while you all go about your day, I’d ask that you pray that God gives me wisdom on how to handle this. 

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

           

 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Me? Have a Big Mouth? Never...

 
            I guess I need to call this the week where I randomly confess areas in my life that I need to work on.  Because today I have another confession, I have a big mouth.  I mean I probably say things and repeat them way more than I should.  My family and I are in the midst of a very difficult time of transition, and privately I’ve shared much of what God is doing to too many people.  Perhaps I’m just excited, perhaps I’m so ready for things to happen, perhaps I just don’t know when to zip it, lock it, and put it in my pocket. 
            My husband has been reading Pastor Gary Keesee’s book, “Kingdom Thoughts Your Roadmap to a Successful Tomorrow”.  I plan on reading it as soon as Dan is done, but in it one thing Pastor Gary talks about is the reason why often times God doesn’t tell us everything that’s getting ready to take place in our lives is because God knows we’d go tell people.  Thusly God doesn’t want the devil to find out so he could put up roadblocks.  If you repeat it the devil can hear it, so God doesn’t always share it with us.  While Dan had shared this thought, which is very true with me, I probably forgot.  It was my oldest daughter that reminded me of this in the car during a conversation about what God was doing in our lives. 
            As a result, I really pondered this and thought, “Wow that is so true.  Surely I need to start buttoning up my lips.”  But I was in a conversation with someone the other day and sure enough, I found myself talking a bit too much again.
            Joseph, in the Bible, learned the hard way that sometimes you have to be careful with whom you share what God has spoken to you.  He shared his dreams and visions and it just made his brothers more angry and jealous of him (Gen 37:5)  While I live my life a fairly open book, I am still learning on when do just wait on the Lord, and not repeat everything that’s going on.

Proverbs 21:23 (ESV) Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue
    keeps himself out of trouble.

            There is nothing wrong with giving a testimony, or sharing what God has already done, those inspire others.  But what I’m talking about is learning the balance of “when you’re going through a season, what to say and what not to say.”  It’s learning who will be praying for you and with you over a situation and who you’re just spewing forth the precious things of God at. If you just gotta talk to someone about the situation, perhaps going to God is your best option!

            Surely I am not the only one that struggles in this area.  So please learn from my mistakes.  There are times you need to button your lip.  Have a few people you share things with, but for the most part be silent.  When you’re through the storm, go ahead, grab a megaphone and tell the world.  But in the meantime, remember loose lips sink ships.

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Integrity or Approval of Man?


 

            Earlier last week my oldest daughter had to write a short paper in class regarding which was more important to the students; was it having integrity or having the approval of their peers. This resulted in a good conversation with my daughter and me.  The obvious choice was that integrity is more important because one day we’ll all have to stand before God and give an account for our own lives.  What is more important is what we stood for, not who approved of us.  I’ve often said that the only opinions that matter of yourself in life are yours and God’s. 

            While this topic caused a nice conversation between us, I found later in the week I was tested in this area.  It’s easy to say one doesn’t care about the approval of their peers, but let’s be honest we all want liked by those around us.  I had a situation arise and I needed to handle the situation.  I loathe being confrontational.  But I had to make a stand in an issue.  Most people assume that just because I’m bold about my opinions that the thoughts of others don’t get to me.  I would say I’m getting better in this, but truthfully in some instances I’ll tell you like it is, and then go in a corner and weep.  Most people don’t know that about me, but it’s true.  I realized this week that as the events played out, it’s not the necessary the fear of man that is what gets to me.  It’s the fear of being misunderstood.  Truthfully if I have to tell someone off, in a sense, and I have already mentally accepted that they are going to be against me, it doesn’t get to me.  But I struggle with being misunderstood to people I care about.  I loathe drama, controversy, and chaos especially when I’m being blamed for it.  I hate it when my intentions are misunderstood. 

            As I had to face this issue that arose in my life this week, I realized that while I struggle with a fear of being misunderstood the root of this comes back to a fear of peoples’ approval.  While ultimately I’d choose integrity over that, I struggle with letting the fear go whether I am misunderstood or people just don’t like me.  This situation that occurred left me in tears for too long.  While I have long since known this was a pattern in my life, something in me snapped.  So what if I’m misunderstood?  God knows my heart on the matter. Those that know me and love me know my intentions in this situation were good.   I’m sure when Jesus was going to the cross his intentions were misunderstood. I’m sure the disciples had dozens of random thoughts running through their minds.  People will choose to believe what they want.   I cannot let the fear of what others are thinking or not thinking block me from moving forward.  Fear of people keeps you bound, and I am making a very public choice to let it go.

            People will misunderstand me, and often may not like me, but it’s my choice on how I handle it.  I CHOOSE to have a sound mind!  I CHOOSE not to keep letting this issue drag me through the mud.  I CHOOSE not to lose one more night of sleep over this.  I CHOOSE to smile and love people regardless of what they might think my motives are because really it just doesn’t matter what they think.  It matters what God thinks.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

            So perhaps I’m not the only one who is reading this today who has struggled in this area.  Maybe my very real, very public confession has made you realize that you find yourself in the same traps.  May you join me today in my wake up call to my new way of thinking.  I used to sing “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, Please Lord don’t let me be misunderstood” by the Animals as some theme song in these situations. http://youtu.be/vstNm5xzuKM   But now I think I’ll change the song to “No More Shackles No More Chains, I am Free” From Freedom by Eddie James http://youtu.be/XL8a5s2rzLk

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.