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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

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What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? Yesterday, as we gathered together for our Sunday service, that was the morning’s topic. The question was not posed in a typical sermon format, but rather our pastor had several different people from our church come forward and share part of their own story. About six months ago, just as we began the new year, we invested together in a series called Into the Wild. The premise of the series was all about how we are called on a journey, and as we journey it is wild, but we have His promises and His presence as we go. Each person who shared their story, spoke of a portion of the adventure God had been taking them on over the past many months. All had the common thread of His promise and His presence that they held onto, even when the path before them seemed to be unmarked, and the ground unstable. Each one, was evidence of His faithfulness, as they had walked in obedience where they had been called.

 

This morning, I caught a glimpse of the bulletin. There in the top row, sits my smiling face, waiting to tell a story. At first, I kind of complained to the Lord, as I do not have as concrete of a path as some of the stories told yesterday. The gentle nudge did not let up, so I shall attempt to speak of the story He has been writing in me, as I have willingly walked into the wild…

 

By nature, I am an introvert. To those who know me, this is no great surprise, especially if observed in a large group. Also, as a result of both environment and of choice, I had become a very closed individual emotionally, and was unwilling to allow others to see past the smile. “The Wild” for me, has been a journey of learning to be vulnerable with trustworthy individuals. Willingness to share my heart, my thoughts, my fears, my hopes – without reservation, has been both a foreign and freeing phenomenon. Though I have in no way “arrived“, there is a visible change in my willingness to be “real” with those whom I trust, and I find myself opening my heart to more people than I ever thought I would. I know that I am still wandering in this portion of wilderness, yet He is with me, leading me, guiding me, and holding my hand as I travel in trust. Greater things are yet to come, and I look forward to all that He has for me – for all of us.

 

You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. – (Acts 22:15)

 

We are His, and no one can dispute what He has done in our lives, personally. Our story, is ours. He uses what we are willing to offer. May we be His mouthpiece to touch lives and transform communities.

 

What is your story?

What has Jesus done?

The trials you’ve faced,

the battles you’ve won?

Where have you wandered?

Where has your heart been?

Has He brought you through,

time and time again?

Think of the little,

as well as the large;Your Story

He’s ever present,

wherever you are.

Every aspect,

of each of our lives;

matter to Jesus,

that is why He died.

He willingly took,

every stain and scar;

so as we journey,

we’ll know Whose we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us has a story. Thank You that our story is not a quick read, but rather one with many chapters. Thank You that our adventure into the wild does not end when You walk us through a challenging season, but rather, You call us to adventure with You our entire lives. Thank You that You are always present, and that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we step out into the unknown. Make us courageous and strong to trust You in all things and at all times. Help us to clearly hear Your voice, so that we know which way we are meant to travel. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we live and love as an obedient offering. Be exalted, O God, through the story You are writing on our hearts. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

 

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Consider What You Were

 Brothers and sisters, consider what you were when God called you to be Christians. Not many of you were wise from a human point of view. You were not in powerful positions or in the upper social classes.  But God chose what the world considers nonsense to put wise people to shame. God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame.  God chose what the world considers ordinary and what it despises—what it considers to be nothing—in order to destroy what it considers to be something.  As a result, no one can brag in God’s presence.  You are partners with Christ Jesus because of God. Jesus has become our wisdom sent from God, our approval, our holiness, and our ransom from sin.  As Scripture says, “Whoever brags must brag about what the Lord has done.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 http://bit.ly/XjPfc7


Remember the sacrifice of our men and women


Cancer Update

This is just to let you know where things stand! I will have to have chemotherapy and radiation starting in a little over a week! Most of the time I will not be home nor probably be online! The good news is that they say this is 95-98% successful! I know it is in God’s hands and my faith rests with Him! Please keep me in your prayers and I will update you when I can! God bless you! Patricia aka loopyloo

Update 1: They are surgically implementing a port for the chemotherapy on Saturday and will find out more about the radiation on Monday

Update 2: Had the chemotherapy port put in today and the radiation consult has moved to Friday due to possible ice storm. I would rather not have to be on the road and it is about an hour and a half drive! Once every thing gets started, I will stay with my sister-in-law part of the time! She is only a few minutes from the cancer center! God bless you and thank you for your prayers! Love you all!


The Abuser and the Enabler: Two Faces of Evil

Reading the stories about Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow brings back a lot of memories for me, sadly memories that I would just as soon forget. My earliest memory is sexual abuse from my step-father, but unlike Dylan’s mother, mine refused to believe. By her actions, she enabled my continued abuse, as well as the abuse of others that I will not mention here.
Listening to the defenders of Mr. Allen, accusing Miss Farrow of lying because they know him and he couldn’t possibly do what he has been accused of, strikes me of some of the worst of enablers. He couldn’t do it because to them he is the nice guy, the guy you would like to live next door.
I understand innocent until proven guilty,I just wonder if they offer that same courtesy to the person making the claim of abuse? Or are they so quick to claim superior knowledge because to admit that the person they think is so nice, may instead be a monster!
Barbara Walters first instinct was denial, and that is acceptable. None of us want to believe our friends are evil, but going to the lengths that she has and using her power and position to accuse Miss Farrow of lying makes her an enabler, and that is another face of evil!


Has Mr. Obama had an Epiphany?

February 6, 2014|11:09 am

President Barack Obama:

“Today we profess the principles we know to be true,” he said. “We know that each of us is wonderfully made in the image of God. We therefore believe in the inherent dignity of every human being – dignity that no earthly power can take away. And central to that dignity is freedom of religion – the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do this free from persecution and fear.”

I am so thankful to hear President Obama make this statement on religious freedom! It seems that he has had an epiphany and I wonder when he will instruct his justice department to withdraw their persecution and prosecution of people of faith here who think that being forced to pay for abortions or provide services for those who promote homosexuality is a violation of their beliefs!

Obama declared:

“Promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy, and I’m proud that no nation on Earth does more to stand up for the freedom of religion around the world than the United States of America.”

This should be welcome news to the countries in which his administration has insisted that they must approve abortion in order to receive aid!

Mr.Obama also said:
Some of the reasons to promote religious freedom is when they protect the religious freedom of their citizens, this, in turn, helps U.S. national security.

“History shows,” he said, “that nations that uphold the rights of their people, including freedom of religion, are ultimately more just, more peaceful and more successful. Nations that do not uphold these rights, sow the bitters seeds of instability and violence and extremism. So freedom of religion matters to our national security.”

Indeed, it does seem that Mr. Obama sees clearly here! Perhaps we will see him speaking forcefully against the persecution of Christians that is happening in the Middle East and Africa right now and we will see him meeting with members of the group’s being killed and using his meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood to call them to account for the violence that the are taking part in and promoting!

After all Mr. Obama makes that point:

“Nations that do not protect religious freedom”, he added, will not be successful: “No society can truly succeed unless it guarantees the rights of all of its peoples, including religious minorities.”

Mr. Obama also said:
“We will keep standing for religious freedom around the world. That includes, by the way, opposing blasphemy and defamation of religion measures, which are promoted sometimes as an expression of religion, but in fact, can all too often be used to suppress religious minorities.”

To this I say amen and amen!!!! Hopefully, he will inform the U.N that any rule that is aimed at preventing the blasphemy of any religion will not be approved by this country!

God works in amazing ways, and perhaps He truly has worked through Mr. Obama to make us realize what a wonderful privilege and opportunity we have in this country!!! As for the words spoken by Mr. Obama at the prayer breakfast, we will have to wait and see if they are truly an epiphany on his part and he believes them himself, or if they are just words intended to placate his detractors! After all words without action are nothing more than empty air!!


But where shall wisdom be found

Job 28:1Surely there is a vein for the silver,
and a place for gold where they fine it.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth,
and brass is molten out of the stone.
3 He setteth an end to darkness,
and searcheth out all perfection:
the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.
4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant;
even the waters forgotten of the foot:
they are dried up, they are gone away from men.
5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread:
and under it is turned up as it were fire.
6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires:
and it hath dust of gold.
7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth,
and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen:
8 The lion’s whelps have not trodden it,
nor the fierce lion passed by it.
9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock;
he overturneth the mountains by the roots.
10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks;
and his eye seeth every precious thing.
11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing;
and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.
12 But where shall wisdom be found?
and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knoweth not the price thereof;
neither is it found in the land of the living.
14 The depth saith, It is not in me:
and the sea saith, It is not with me.
15 It cannot be gotten for gold,
neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,
with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it:
and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls:
for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it,
neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
20 Whence then cometh wisdom?
and where is the place of understanding?
21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living,
and kept close from the fowls of the air.
22 Destruction and death say,
We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
23 God understandeth the way thereof,
and he knoweth the place thereof.
24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;
25 To make weight for the winds; and he weighteth the waters by measure.
26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
28 And to man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.


Nineveh needs the warning

Jonah Chapter 3
1 And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days ‘journey. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing:let them not feed, nor drink water:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God:yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (KJV)


In the belly of the fish

Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly, 2 And said,
I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me;
out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas;
and the floods compassed me about:
all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight;
yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul:
the depth closed me round about,
the weeds were wrapped about my head.
6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains;
the earth with her bars was about me for ever:
yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord:
and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that that I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord.
10 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. (KJV)


Prayer Request for Andrew

Please pray for a friend who was in an accident this morning and is in critical condition and pray for the family of the other man who was killed. Thank you and God bless!

Update: Andrew is doing well but please continue prayers for him as well as the family of the man who was killed! Thank you and God bless!


It Shall Come to Pass

jesus-with-crown-of-thorns2Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.


What if Ninevah had not listened to Jonah?

Source: tumblr.com via Ashley on Pinterest

The story of Jonah and the whale is often dismissed by most as a Children’s story, but it really is not. It is one of the most important stories of redemption in the Bible. When God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and warn them to turn back from their ways, Jonah did not want to go.

Jonah 1

King James Version (KJV)

1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,314428_189607997781575_188738997868475_422680_285128613_n

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

What we see in Jonah is a man who thought that his way was the best and didn’t not trust in God when He had a plan for the future of Ninevah. Jonah did not believe that Ninevah deserved redemption, and did not want to be the messenger that gave them the opportunity. But one of the most important things that we learn from the story of Jonah is that God is in control!

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, OLord, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.

17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

We all know this part of the story, this is what we learned as children. But for so many the story stops here. Yet when Jonah gets to Ninevah is more important to the world of Jonah’s day. God warns them through Jonah that if they do not pray for forgiveness and turn from their ways that they will be destroyed.

So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jonah was one of God’s messengers that rebelled from doing what God wanted him to do, and yet God used that very rebellion  to convince Ninevah of His message. If Jonah had been a willing messenger, Ninevah probably would not have taken him seriously. And yet Ninevah still might have gone the other way. They might have refused to listen. If they had not listened God would have kept His promise to destroy them. We see from this story that no matter how bad things are that there are hopes for redemption, that God always keeps His promise, that He is in control no matter what we think, and that no matter how faulty we are as humans, He can use us to save others. We see an example of resurrection and redemption, a forerunner of Jesus Christ Himself.

No matter what we think about this world, we need to remember that things are not always what they seem, and that God is still in control and His plan is in place. We are not aware of what He is doing at any given time, and what we think is a failure, may just be another step in the process to the final goal that He wants. We have read the Book and we know the end. God’s time is His own and our time on earth is only important in fulfilling the objectives that He has given us and that is to “go forth and make disciples.”

God bless you all, have faith and trust in God no matter what you think should be the right path!


The Curse of Blindness

Julije Klovi? - Elymas Struck Blind by St Paul...

Julije Klovi? – Elymas Struck Blind by St Paul before the Proconsul Sergius Paulus – WGA05091 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So many times we wonder how someone can not see the reality of a situation. We wonder how they miss the obvious and twist reality into something totally different. In this world of craziness it is as if a fellow blogger said the other day, we are living in an upside down world. As if the Mad Hatter is in charge of the world and whatever we view is in their eyes something totally different.

According to wiki.answers.com In the King James version

  • the word – blind – appears 82 times
  • the word – blinded – appears 5 times
  • the word – blindeth – appears once
  • the word – blindfolded – appears once
  • the word – blindness – appears 7 times

There is a physical blindness, a mental blindness, and a spiritual blindness. We see Jesus use blindness in ways to get His message across, whether it is healing, as in:

Matthew 15:30

And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:
Or as an allegory:

Matthew 15:14

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
It was used as a curse by Paul:

And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:

Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.

10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

But one way that it is used is the way God uses a type of blindness in the days preceding the Day of the Lord:

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

King James Version (KJV)

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

God is not allowing some to see the truth and nothing we say or do will remove their blindness. At some point they made a deliberate decision to be unrighteous. To these whom the seed of faith and truth will never grow, they will only find the truth when it hits them in the face.

It is  an object lesson to all of us to choose righteousness, if we willfully choose to do wrong, we will not be able to see the truth. My friends consider your actions carefully, understand that when you see someone who will not see the truth and takes reality and turns it into something totally different, that it is sometimes God’s will that they do not see. Prophecy has to be fulfilled in order for the Lord to return. What it shows us is that God’s word is true and that His will is being done!

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Through the Whole World

Romans 10

King James Version (KJV)

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Have they not heard? Has every nation on earth had the opportunity to hear the word of God? Have they had the opportunity to hear about the sacrifice that Jesus made? We know that not every person has had the opportunity but is that what is expected?

Matthew 24:14 “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nation’s, and then the end will come.”

I don’t know about you but I am eagerly awaiting the day our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ returns!

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JAN. 16 – Religious Freedom Day ‘- Almighty God hath created the mind free’ Thomas Jefferson

 

American Minute by Bill Federer
“Each year on JANUARY 16, we celebrate Religious Freedom Day in commemoration of the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,”-wrote President George W. Bush in his 2003 Proclamation.

Passed in 1786, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and commemorated on his tombstone.

Did Jefferson intend to limit the public religious expression of students, teachers, coaches, chaplains, schools, organizations and communities?


In his original 1777 draft of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, Jefferson wrote:

“Almighty God hath created the mind free, and…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…tend only to begat habits of hypocrisy and meanness,

and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone….”

President Thomas Jefferson explained in his Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805:

“In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government.

I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercise suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state and church authorities by the several religious societies.”

Jefferson explained to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808:

“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from inter-meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…

This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States [10th Amendment]…”

Jefferson continued:

“Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General government…

I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines…

Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.”

In 1776, a year before Jefferson drafted his Statute, another Virginian, George Mason, drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was later revised by James Madison and referred to in his Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785:

“Religion, or the duty we owe to our CREATOR, and manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence;

and, therefore, that all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,

and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity toward each other.”

James Madison made a journal entry, June 12, 1788:

“There is not a shadow of right in the general government to inter-meddle with religion…The subject is, for the honor of America, perfectly free and unshackled. The government has no jurisdiction over it.”

On June 7, 1789, James Madison introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress with the wording:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship.”

James Madison appointed to the Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story.


Justice Joseph Story wrote in hisCommentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833, Chapter XLIV, “Amendments to the Constitution,” Section 991:

“The real object of the First Amendment was, not to countenance, much less advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”

Samuel Chase, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington, wrote in the Maryland case of Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799:

“By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.”

FOR A SHORT HISTORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT, READ BELOW:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens admitted in Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985:

“At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith.”

When the country began, religious liberty was under each individual Colony’s jurisdiction.

In the decision Engel v. Vitale, 1962, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote:

“Groups which had most strenuously opposed the established Church of England…passed laws making their own religion the official religion of their respective colonies.”

Like dropping a pebble in a pond and the ripples go out, States began to expand religious liberty from the particular Christian denomination that founded each colony to all Protestants, then to Catholics, then to liberal Christian denominations, then to Jews, then to monotheists, then to polytheists.

This process was then continued by the Federal Government to expand “religious” liberty to atheists, pagans, occultic, and eventually to religions which historically have been violently ANTI-Judeo-Christian.

After the Constitution, the States ratified the First Amendment, as well as all Ten Amendments, specifically to limit the new Federal government’s power:

“CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF…”

The word “Congress” meant the Federal Congress.

“Shall make no law” meant the Federal Congress could not introduce, debate, vote on or send to the President any bill respecting an establishment of religion.

The word “respecting” meant “concerning” or “pertaining to.”

It was simply telling the Federal government “HANDS OFF” all religious issues.

When anything regarding religion came before the Federal government, the response was to be that it had no jurisdiction to decide anything on that issue, neither for nor against.

“Establishment” did not mean “acknowledgment.”

“Establishment” did not mean believing in Christianity or believing in God.

Establishment was a clearly understood term.

It meant setting up one particular Christian denomination as the official denomination.

With varying levels of official state endorsement and favoritism, countries typically had some kind of established Church:

England had established the Anglican Church;
Sweden had established the Lutheran Church;
Scotland had established the Church of Scotland;
Holland had established the Dutch Reformed Church;
Russia had established the Russian Orthodox Church;
Serbia had established the Serbian Orthodox Church;
Romania had established the Romanian Orthodox Church;
Greece had established the Greek Orthodox Church;
Bulgaria had established the Bulgarian Orthodox Church;
Finland had established the Finnish Orthodox Church;
Ethiopia had established the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church;
Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Austria, Mexico, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Vatican City had established the Roman Catholic Church; and
Switzerland had established Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances.

The attitude of the original 13 States was that they did not want the new Federal Government to follow the pattern of most Western nations and pick one denomination with its headquarters in the Capitol.

Allegorically, they did not want a Federal Walmart Church to come into town and put out of business their individual State “mom & pop department store” denominations.

To make the purpose of the First Amendment unquestionably clear, they went on to state that the Federal Congress could not make a law which prohibited “THE FREE EXERCISE” of religion.

Ronald Reagan stated in a Radio Address, 1982:

“Founding Fathers…enshrined the principle of freedom of religion in the First Amendment…

The purpose of that Amendment was to protect religion from the interference of government and to guarantee, in its own words, ‘the free exercise of religion.'”

Like dealing a deck of cards in a card game, the States dealt to the Federal Government jurisdiction over a few things, like providing for the common defense and regulating interstate commerce, but the rest of the cards were held by the States.

Justice Joseph Story wrote in hisCommentaries on the Constitution, 1833:

“The whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State Governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State Constitutions.”

Just as today some States allow minors to consume alcohol and other States do not;
some States allow the selling of marijuana and others do not;
some States have smoking bans and others do not;
some States allow gambling and others do not, and
some States allow prostitution (Nevada and formerly Rhode Island) and the rest do not;
at the time the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified some States allowed more religious freedom, such as Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, and other States, such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, did not.

But it was up to the people in each State to decide.

Congressman James Meacham of Vermont gave a House Judiciary Committee report, March 27, 1854:

“At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State – certainly ten of the thirteen – provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government.”

When did things change?

Charles Darwin theorized that species could evolve.

This inspired a political theorist named Herbert Spencer to suggest that laws could evolve.

This influenced Harvard Law Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to develop the case precedent method of practicing law, which influenced his student, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 with the original intent to guarantee rights to freed slaves in the Democrat South.

Activist Justices quickly began to use the 14th Amendment very creatively to take jurisdiction away from the States over issues such as unions, strikes, railroads, polygamy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

The freedom of religion was still under each individual State’s jurisdiction until Franklin D. Roosevelt.

FDR was elected President four times, which led to the 22nd Amendment being passed to limit all future Presidents to only two terms.

During his 12 years in office, FDR concentrated power in the Federal Government to an unprecedented degree.

Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Justice Hugo Black to the Supreme Court in 1937.

Justice Hugo Black concentrated power in the Federal government by taking jurisdiction over religion away from each State.

He did this by simply inserting the phrase “Neither a State” in his 1947 Everson v Board of Education decision:

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a State nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another.”

He conveniently ignored innumerable references to and requirements in the various State Constitutions regarding religion.

In a word, he took the handcuffs off the Federal government and placed them on the States.

After this, Federal Courts began evolving the definition of “religion” away from that originally used by George Mason and James Madison in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776:

“Religion…the duty we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it.”

This progression can be seen in several cases.

“ETHICAL” = RELIGION

In 1957, the IRS denied tax-exempt status to an “ethical society” stating it did not qualify as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt “church” or “religious society.”

The case went to the Supreme Court, where Justice Warren Burger wrote in Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia (1957):

“We hold on this record and under the controlling statutory language petitioner [The Washington Ethical Society] qualifies as ‘a religious corporation or society’…

It is incumbent upon Congress to utilize this broad definition of religion in all its legislative actions bearing on the support or non-support of religion, within the context of the ‘no-establishment’ clause of the First Amendment.”

“SECULAR HUMANISM” = RELIGION

In 1961, Roy Torcaso wanted to be a notary public in Maryland, but did not want to make “a declaration of belief in the existence of God,” as required by Maryland’s State Constitution, Article 37.

In the Supreme Court case Torcaso v Watkins (1961), Justice Hugo Black included a footnote which has been cited authoritatively in subsequent cases:

“Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.”

Justice Scalia wrote in Edwards v. Aguillard(1987):

“In Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495, n. 11 (1961), we did indeed refer to ‘SECULAR HUMANISM’ as a ‘religio[n].'”

“A SINCERE AND MEANINGFUL BELIEF” = RELIGION

During the Vietnam War, Mr. Seeger said he could not affirm or deny the existence of a Supreme Being and wanted to be a draft-dodger, claiming to be a conscientious objector under the Universal Military Training and Service Act, Section 6(j) that allowed exemptions for “religious training and belief.”

In United States v Seeger, (1965), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark stated:

“The test of religious belief within the meaning in Section 6(j) is whether it is a sincere and meaningful belief occupying in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those admittedly qualified for the exemption.”

“BELIEFS ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG” = RELIGION

Another draft-dodger case involved Elliot Welsh. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Welsh v. United States (1970), decided that belief in a “deity” is not necessary to be “religious”:

“Having decided that all religious conscientious objectors were entitled to the exemption, we faced the more serious problem of determining which beliefs were ‘religious’ within the meaning of the statute…

Determining whether the registrant’s beliefs are religious is whether these beliefs play the role of religion and function as a religion in the registrant’s life…

Because his beliefs function as a religion in his life, such an individual is as much entitled to a ‘religious’ conscientious objector exemption under Section 6(j) as is someone who derives his conscientious opposition to the war from traditional religious convictions…

We think it clear that the beliefs which prompted his objection occupy the same place in his life as the belief in a traditional deity holds in the lives of his friends, the Quakers…

A registrant’s conscientious objection to all war is ‘religious’ within the meaning Section 6(j) if this opposition stems from the registrant’s moral, ethical, or religious beliefs about what is right and wrong and these beliefs are held with the strength of traditional religious convictions.”

“ATHEISM” = RELIGION

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, (W.D. WI) decision inKaufman v. McCaughtry, August 19, 2005, stated:

“A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being…Atheism may be considered…religion… ‘Atheism is indeed a form of religion…’

The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a ‘religion’ for purposes of the First Amendment…

The Court has adopted a broad definition of ‘religion’ that includes non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as theistic ones…

Atheism is Kaufman’s religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being.”

Overlooking that the Constitution is only to be changed by Amendments voted in by the majority of the people, the Supreme Court admitted in Wallace v Jaffree (472 U.S. 38, 1985) that the original meaning of the First Amendment was modified “in the crucible of litigation,” a term not mentioned in the Constitution:

“At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the consciences of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism.

But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.”

The Federal Courts gradually gave the word “religion” a new definition which included “ethical,” “secular humanism,” “a sincere and meaningful belief,”  “beliefs about right and wrong,” and “atheism.”

Under this new definition, so as not to prefer one “religion” over another, Federal Courts have prohibited God, which, ironically, has effectively established the religion of atheism in the exact the way the First Amendment was intended to prohibit.

This was warned against by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in his dissent in Abington Township v. Schempp, 1963:

“The state may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus ‘preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe’…

Refusal to permit religious exercises thus is seen, not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

Ronald Reagan referred to this decision in a radio address, February 25, 1984:

“Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart noted if religious exercises are held to be impermissible activity in schools, religion is placed at an artificial and state-created disadvantage.

Permission for such exercises for those who want them is necessary if the schools are truly to be neutral in the matter of religion. And a refusal to permit them is seen not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

U.S. District Court, Crockett v. Sorenson, W.D. Va,. 1983:

“The First Amendment was never intended to insulate our public institutions from any mention of God, the Bible or religion. When such insulation occurs, another religion, such as secular humanism, is effectively established.”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Q & A Session, October 13, 1983:

“The First Amendment has been twisted to the point that freedom of religion is in danger of becoming freedom from religion.”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Ceremony for Prayer in Schools, September 25, 1982:

“In the last two decades we’ve experienced an onslaught of such twisted logic that if Alice were visiting America, she might think she’d never left Wonderland.

We’re told that it somehow violates the rights of others to permit students in school who desire to pray to do so. Clearly, this infringes on the freedom of those who choose to pray…

To prevent those who believe in God from expressing their faith is an outrage.”

Is it just a coincidence that the ACLU’s agenda is similar to the Communist agenda read into the Congressional Record, January 10, 1963 by Congressman Albert S. Herlong, Jr., of Florida (Vol 109, 88th Congress, 1st Session, Appendix, pp. A34-A35):

“Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state.'”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Radio Address, 1982:

“The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying; its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.”

Judge Richard Suhrheinrich stated inACLU v Mercer County, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, December 20, 2005:

“The ACLU makes repeated reference to ‘the separation of church and state.’ This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome.

The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some case, accommodation of religion.”

The Supreme Court stated in Lynch v Donnelly, 1984:

“The Constitution does not ‘require complete separation of church and state.'”

Associate Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the U.S. Supreme Court caseWallace v. Jafree, 1985, dissent, 472 U. S., 38, 99:

“The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.

It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of Constitutional history…The establishment clause had been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly forty years…

There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation…Recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers…

But the greatest injury of the ‘wall’ notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote in Engle v Vitale, 1962, dissent:

“The Court…is not aided…by the…invocation of metaphors like the ‘wall of separation,’ a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court decision, McCullum v Board of Education, it stated:

“Rule of law should not be drawn from a figure of speech.”

Justice William O’Douglas wrote inZorach v Clausen, 1952:

“The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State…

We find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence…

We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion.”

Ronald Reagan told the Annual Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, January 30, 1984:

“I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible. But, you know, a group called the ACLU severely criticized me for doing that. Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor.”

Are anti-faith groups using the evolved interpretation of the First Amendment to take away the liberties which the original First Amendment was intended to guarantee?

Dwight Eisenhower is quoted in the TIME Magazine article, “Eisenhower on Communism,” October 13, 1952:

“The Bill of Rights contains no grant of privilege for a group of people to destroy the Bill of Rights.

A group – like the Communist conspiracy – dedicated to the ultimate destruction of all civil liberties, cannot be allowed to claim civil liberties as its privileged sanctuary from which to carry on subversion of the Government.”

Ronald Reagan worded it differently on the National Day of Prayer, May 6, 1982:

“Well-meaning Americans in the name of freedom have taken freedom away. For the sake of religious tolerance, they’ve forbidden religious practice.”

Ronald Reagan stated at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, August 23, 1984:

“The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance and freedom and open-mindedness. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion?”

Did Jefferson intend to outlaw the acknowledgment of God and limit students, teachers, coaches, chaplains, schools, organizations, and communities from public religious expression?

In light of mandates in President’s Healthcare law which forces individuals to violate their religious beliefs or be subject to “temporal punishments” for non-compliance, it is incumbent upon Americans to read again the words of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom:

“Almighty God hath created the mind free, and…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion…

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical…

That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity…unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which…he has a natural right…

That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion…is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own…

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man…shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief,

but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

Ronald Reagan addressed the Alabama State Legislature, March 15, 1982:

“The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”

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What if Freedom Meant Exodus?

David Wilkerson said:

“Consider the plight of Israel in Egypt. God’s nation was in incredible ruin, with widespread apostasy. Satan had Israel under his heel, manipulating the political powers of the day to make laws against them and persecute them. The enemy was ridiculing and mocking God’s testimony on earth.

It was a dark hour in Israel’s history and over time the people grew discouraged. They began backsliding, indulging in the pleasures and sensuality of Egypt. Idolatry and fornication became rampant. Israel’s situation seemed hopeless and the faith of the nation was slowly dying.

What was God’s response to this rising power of darkness? Did He stir up surrounding empires to act as His rod against Egypt? Did He incite a civil war among the Egyptians? Did He send avenging angels? No– God did no such thing. He had a totally different plan and laid His hand on a single man, raising up Moses!”

Think about that for a moment! Christians in America are increasingly seeing the same thing here! With our faith being ridiculed and mocked and a government increasingly hostile to our practicing our faith. We see a rampant increase of sexual immorality and perversion along with an assault on a on our children by forcing them to accept this behavior as normal.

We pray for wisdom for our leaders and for God to intercede. But what if God has other plans? What if God were to bring a Moses forth? Would we recognise and welcome him? If he wanted to lead us to a different place, would we go?

“The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, plentous in mercy.” Psalms 103:6-8


Enlarge My Heart, Lord

The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of his presence. The instant cure for most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to suddenly become aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged. This would burn away the impurities from our lives as the bugs and fungi were burned away by the fire that dwelt in the bush. A. W. Tozer — The Pursuit of God

Oh Lord please enlarge my heart with Your words and Your love!

Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou will prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. Psalms 10:17


Un-Approved By The Age

Christ and His gospel will always be spoken against. If you know a gospel that is approved of by the age and patronized by the learned, that gospel is a lie. Sermon 2396, C.H. Spurgeon 1895

People are always looking for the easy way, but that is not the path that a follower of Christ can expect. There is truly not much difference between the snake-oil salesmen in the days of old and preachers of today who promise eternity while lining their wallets with your money. If they had faith and truly believed in the word of God, they would follow His instruction and build up their treasures in heaven and not on earth!

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20

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Love Over Law

Often, it seems, Jesus spent the Sabbath teaching in synagogues. Word of His teaching, must have been spreading like wildfire, for everywhere He went, there were both those in need, and those who hoped to trap Him in some sort of violation of the law. In Luke chapter thirteen, verses ten through seventeen, there is an account of Jesus healing a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen long years. “When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” – (vs. 12-13)

The synagogue ruler had his undergarments in a bunch, and was outraged that Jesus would dare to heal on the Sabbath. “The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” – (vs. 15-16) His opponents were left without words to respond, for there was no arguing with such profound truth. All who had seen the miraculous, marveled at the wonderful things that He was doing.

When we see someone in need, do we respond immediately, or do we rationalize reason to not respond?

Though there are times and places that genuinely prevent us from physically getting out of the car and moving in the direction of the need, can’t we at the very least, lift up a prayer on their behalf? We cannot always do something tangible to be of help, but we can always pray. God knows each need far better than we do, and when we pause to pray, we give Him opportunity to speak to us as well. Perhaps there is something specific that we are meant to do, but unless we stop to listen, we miss the miraculous that He had intended. Sometimes the miracle is meant for another, yet, at times, it may be something new, moving within our hearts.

When we see a need,Love Over Law

let us stop and pray;

show us what to do,

Lord, You lead the way.

A touch or a gift,

a smile, or prayer;

every need known,

God, You are aware.

Please make known to us,

what we’re meant to do;

to show Your great love,

so we honor You.

Let hearts found in need,

know their needs are met;

by You alone, God,

not one You’d forget.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to prioritize people. Thank You Jesus, that touching lives trumped man-made rules and regulations every time. Thank You that above all – You loved, and continue to love. Forgive us for having hearts that resemble the synagogue ruler, who set limits as to when and what could be done. Help us to recognize that with You, there is no limit – for You are our Source and Supply. Whatever You call us to do, You will also equip and empower us to complete. Our part, is to step forward in faith. Teach us to trust You more. May we live and move and do all things out of our love for You, and may many come to see Your heart for them as a result. Let lives be changed and hearts turned toward You. Be glorified God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.


‘To destroy us…our enemies must first seduce us from the house of God’ -Yale President Timothy Dwight

 

American Minute with Bill Federer
A grandson of Princeton president Jonathan Edwards, he could read at age 4 and entered Yale at 13.He was a chaplain in the Continental Army until his father died.

Then, as the eldest of 13 children, he worked the family farm to pay off debts.

He served in Massachusetts’ first State Legislature.

His name was Timothy Dwight IV, and he died JANUARY 11, 1817.


He was Yale’s 8th president, 1795 to 1817.

In his 22 years at Yale, he created Departments of Chemistry, Geology, Law, and Medicine.

He also founded Andover Theological Seminary.

Timothy Dwight pioneered women’s education, and was critical of slavery and encroachment on Indian lands.

He befriended Henry Opukahaia, the first Hawaiian convert to Christianity, which led to missionaries sailing to the Islands.

During his administration, Yale grew from 110 to 313 students, with one of his students, Samuel Morse, inventing the telegraph.

Originally a Puritan college, Yale students had become enamored with “French infidelity” and the deistic “cult of reason.”

Dwight met with students and answered their questions on faith.

By the time of his death, JANUARY 11, 1817, a third of the graduates were professing Christians, and 30 entered the ministry.

On July 4, 1798, Timothy Dwight gave an address in New Haven titled “The Duty of Americans at the Present Crisis.”

In this address, he explained how Voltaire’s atheism inspired the French Revolution and it’s Reign of Terror, 1793-1794, where 40,000 people were beheaded and 300,000 were butchered in the Vendee:

“About the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy and not less distinguished for his hatred of Christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy Christianity and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism.

For this purpose he associated with himself Frederick the II, king of Prussia, and Mess. D’Alembert and Diderot, the principal compilers of the Encyclopedie, all men of talents, atheists and in the like manner abandoned.

The principle parts of this system were:

1. The compilation of the Encyclopedie: in which with great art and insidiousness the doctrines of … Christian theology were rendered absurd and ridiculous; and the mind of the reader was insensibly steeled against conviction and duty.

2. The overthrow of the religious orders in Catholic countries, a step essentially necessary to the destruction of the religion professed in those countries.

3. The establishment of a sect of philosophists to serve, it is presumed as a conclave, a rallying point, for all their followers.

4. The appropriation to themselves, and their disciples, of the places and honors of members of the French Academy, the most respectable literary society in France, and always considered as containing none but men of prime learning and talents.

In this way they designed to hold out themselves and their friends as the only persons of great literary and intellectual distinction in that country, and to dictate all literary opinions to the nation.

5. The fabrication of books of all kinds against Christianity, especially such as excite doubt and generate contempt and derision.

Of these they issued by themselves and their friends who early became numerous, an immense number; so printed as to be purchased for little or nothing, and so written as to catch the feelings, and steal upon the approbation, of every class of men.


6. The formation of a secret Academy, of which Voltaire was the standing president, and in which books were formed, altered, forged, imputed as posthumous to deceased writers of reputation, and sent abroad with the weight of their names.

These were printed and circulated at the lowest price through all classes of men in an uninterrupted succession, and through every part of the kingdom.”


Timothy Dwight continued:

“In societies of Illuminati…the being of God was denied and ridiculed….

The possession of property was pronounced robbery.

Chastity and natural affection were declared to be nothing more than groundless prejudices.

Adultery, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful…provided the end was good….

The good ends proposed by the Illuminati…are the overthrow of religion, government, and human society, civil and domestic.

These they pronounce to be so good that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable…

The means…were…the education of youth…every unprincipled civil officer…every abandoned clergyman…books replete with infidelity, irreligion, immorality, and obscenity…

Where religion prevails, Illumination cannot make disciples, a French directory cannot govern, a nation cannot be made slaves, nor villains, nor atheists, nor beasts.

To destroy us therefore, in this dreadful sense, our enemies must first destroy our Sabbath and seduce us from the house of God…”

Timothy Dwight concluded:

“Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic.

Withdraw one of them and in languishes, consumes, and dies.

If indifference…becomes the prevailing character of a people…their motives to vigorous defense is lost, and the hopes of their enemies are proportionally increased…

Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England.

If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it and nothing would be left which would be worth defending.”

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But for a Word

This is a repost of a post that I put up a year ago, but it is still relevant and I decided that it was worth reposting!

In the post I put up previously about the founding Father’s  there was something that struck me! Roger Sherman stated:

 There is one amendment proposed by the convention of South Carolina respecting religious tests, by inserting the word other, between the words no and religious in that article, which is an ingenious thought, and had that word been inserted, it would probably have prevented any objection on that head. But it may be considered as a clerical omission and be inserted without calling a convention; as it now stands the effect will be the same”

This was written in his second letter to the New Haven Gazette on the 25th of December 1788. It made me wonder how much history would have changed if that word, other, had been inserted in between the words no and religious? 

Article. VI.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

From the Congressional Debates of 1789, we have this discussion on Religious Amendments:

August 15, 1789 First Federal Congress (Amendments-religious reference)

[House of Representatives]

The House again went into a Committee of the Whole on the proposed amendments to the Constitution. Mr. Boudinot in the chair.

The fourth proposition being under consideration, as follows:

(Religious Reference)

Article 1. Section 9. Between paragraphs two and three insert ‘no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.

Mr. SYLVESTER had some doubts of the propriety of the mode of expression used in this paragraph. He apprehended that it was liable to a construction different from what had been made by the committee. He feared it might be thought to abolish religion altogether.

Mr. VINING suggested the propriety of transposing the two members of the sentence.

Mr. GERRY said it would read better if it was no religious doctrine shall be established by law.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the amendment altogether unnecessary, inasmuch as Congress had ‘no authority whatever delegated to them by the Constitution to make religious establishments; he would, therefore, move to have it struck out.’

Mr. CARROLL As the rights of conscience are, in their nature, a peculiar delicacy, and will little bear the gentlest touch of governmental hand; and as many sects have concurred in opinion that they are not well secured under the present constitution, he said he was much in favor of adopting the words. He thought it would tend more towards conciliating the minds of the people to the government than almost any other opinion he heard proposed. He would not contend with gentlemen about the phraseology, his object was to secure the substance in such a manner as to satisfy the wishes of the honest part of the community.

Mr. MADISON said he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience. Whether the words are necessary or not, he did not mean to say, but they had been required by some of the state conventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion, that under the clause of the Constitution, which gave power to Congress to make all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the constitution, and the laws made under it, enabled them to make laws of such a nature as might infringe the rights of conscience, and establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended, and he thought it as well expressed as the nature of the language would admit.

Mr. HUNTINGTON said that he feared, with the gentleman first up on this subject, that the words might be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion. He understood the amendment to mean what had been expressed by the gentleman from Virginia; but others might find it convenient to put another construction on it. The ministers of their congregations to the eastward were maintained by contributions of those who belong to their society; the expense of building meeting houses was contributed in the same manner. These things were regulated by bylaws. If an action was brought before a federal court on any of these cases, the person who had neglected to perform his engagements could not be compelled to do it; for a support of ministers or buildings of places of worship might be construed into a religious establishment.

By the charter of Rhode Island, no religion could be established by law; he could give a history of the effects of such a regulation; indeed the people were now enjoying the blessed fruits of it. He hoped, therefore, the amendment would be made in such a way as to secure the rights of conscience, and the free exercise of religion, but not to patronize those who professed no religion at all.

Mr. MADISON thought, if the word ‘National’ was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion, to which they would compel others to conform. He thought if the word ‘National’ was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.

Mr. LIVERMORE was not satisfied with the amendment; but he did not wish them to dwell long on the subject. He thought it would be better if it were altered, and made to read in this manner, that Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.

Mr. GERRY did not like the term National, proposed by the gentleman from Virginia, and he hoped it would not be adopted by the House. It brought to his mind some observations that had taken place in the Conventions at the time they were considering the present constitution. It had been insisted upon by those who were called anti-federalists, that this form of government consolidated the union; the honorable gentleman’s motion shows that he considers it in the same light. Those who were called anti-federalists at that time, complained that they were in favor of a federal government, and the others were in favor of a National one; the federalists were for ratifying the constitution as it stood, and the others did not until amendments were made. Their names then ought not to have been distinguished by federalists and anti-federalists, but rats and anti-rats.

Mr. MADISON withdrew his motion but observed that the words single ‘no National religion shall be established by law’, did not apply that the government was a national one; the question was then taken on MR. LIVERMORE’s motion, and passed in the affirmative 31 for it, and 20 against it.(5)

(End of Religious Reference)

I find it odd that people can read the amendment and clearly understand that the government is not allowed to infringe on the rights of the press, and yet as the same time ignore the statement that this same government is forbidden from infringing upon the rights of the people to practice their religion and to assemble peaceably as they will.

ARTICLE THE THIRD.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition to the government for a redress of grievances.

I also find it odd that those we elect to serve us and defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of American, assume that their role is instead to change that very document into something that suits their ideas of what should be. We have a responsibility to those who come after us to teach them the true meaning of what the oath of affirmation says.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

We have strayed very far from our beginnings, so far that children today seem to believe that our President serves as a Monarch, instead as part of a trinity of three equal branches of government with each having their own established jobs to do. We have let Presidents take power by way of Presidential Signings that has no real basis in law, and yet they use this power to force their will upon the people even when the people who elected them cry out for change. Our current discussion of limiting the rights of the people is another power grab that goes totally against the Constitution and knowing it, our leaders intend to do all they can to steal this right away from the people. This was not unforeseen by those very writers of the Constitution:

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.”

Mr. GERRY: This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous and prevent them from bearing arms.

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures, with respect to a militia as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward. The Assembly of Massachusetts, seeing the rapid progress that administration were making to divest them of their inherent privileges, endeavored to counteract them by the organization of the militia; but they were always defeated by the influence of the Crown.

These gentlemen knew what it was like to be under an oppressive government. They understood the probability that there would come a time when our government no longer served the people but instead used force to impose their will upon them. They wanted to prevent this from happening.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” (Quoting Cesare Beccaria)

The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.

To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. (Back then!)

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

The god who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.

And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.

In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.

The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.

When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.

Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.

It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.

Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free.

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

In a government bottomed on the will of all, the…liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

Most bad government has grown out of too much government.

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. Read more at

John Petrie’s Collection of

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

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Tangible Touch

Twelve years without so much as a handshake, high five, nor a hug. Can you imagine? Touch is a biological and developmental need. It helps us feel connected to others. Touch reduces anxiety, forms bonds, lowers blood pressure, improves our outlook, and provides sensory input that we need to function and develop properly. This morning, as I again read the story of the woman who’d been subject to bleeding for twelve years, in Luke, chapter eight, I saw the story through fresh eyes – through a perspective that I had not previously seen. This woman had lived with not only the stigma of being considered “unclean” for twelve years, but she had likely lived in isolation for just as long. The sheer loneliness was likely far worse than the condition itself. I wonder if that is the very thing that drove her determination to hold onto the hope that she might be healed, if she could only touch the hem of His cloak?

Personally, I picture her experience as some sort of roller coaster ride. Sheer determination to end her isolation propelled her through the throes of the crowd. Hope reached out her hand for His hem, and joy unimagined must have been rising as she felt the bleeding cease. Then, she was called out. Would He take it back? Would she be sent back to her isolated space for her violation of societal laws in her unclean state? Imagine the momentary fear that tried to lay hold of her heart. Somehow, faith continued to rise within her. “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” – (Luke 8:47-48)

She was free! Not only was she free from the illness that had plagued her for twelve long years, but she no longer needed to live in isolation. The touch of His hem touched more than her hand, it touched her heart and soul. Never again, would she be considered “untouchable“.

Lonely, untouched,Tangible Touch

a face in the crowd;

the world, silent,

despite being loud.

Who knows not touch,

in our world today?

Lonely, outcast,

let love light the way.

For He will show,

where the need is great;

are we willing,

to step out in faith?

Pat on the back,

a hug on the side;

what will it cost,

to give those denied?

Please show us, God,

how we’re meant to touch;

as Your hands, Lord,

to share Your love much.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an unfailing and everlasting love. Thank You that while we were yet stuck in our own sinfulness, You loved. Thank You that You touch us, even when we feel untouchable, and that there is never a time when You are not willing to be near. Forgive us for neglecting to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in a tangible way, and help us to know how to touch those who feel alone and untouchable. May Your light and love be evident in us, and may many come to know the freedom and acceptance that is always available in You alone. May lives be changed and hearts be restored, as the lonely and isolated find way into community. Be glorified as we gather, Lord God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.


One Body in Christ

The congregation of the church works as separate members but all too often forget that they exist as one body and need each other. The Pastor often is the heart of the church, although sometimes there is another who functions in that place. If the heart is damaged or diseased it affects the whole of the body. If it is healthy it circulates well and the gospel and intent of the church are usually healthy as well. But when there is disease in part of the body and it is not treated, eventually in spreads to the whole and can easily kill it. We know that when we have a diseased limb and it can’t be saved, it must be removed, but do we consider the church the same way? Or do we just accept the diseased portion because it adds to the whole?

1 Corinthians 12

King James Version (KJV)

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

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Above All – Love

In this day and age, more and more is being deemed permissible and acceptable, despite that only a decade ago, the very same, was viewed with disdain. It is a strange space to stand – to have morals and convictions that are steadfast, yet live in a society where what is seen as acceptable, is ever changing. My charge, as one who loves God and longs to serve Him well, is to love people, not judge and condemn them. I only need look to the scriptures to see how Jesus interacted with those living a life of intentional sin. He did not condemn them, rather He loved them where they were. He touched, He healed, He helped, and He showed them that there was another way – a way that would bring life and light, hope and peace, not only for now, but for eternity.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Luke 6:35-36)

In the face of criticism for touching the untouchables, dining with the “unworthy“, healing on a day that had been declared a day off, and for loving with His life, Jesus, who alone is worthy to judge and condemn, spoke the above written words. If He, who will be our final judge and jury tells us not to judge, then we ought not stand in judgment of one another. It does not mean that we are to allow ourselves to become entangled in that which we know is wrong, but we are not to point a finger, while we still have four other digits that are aimed back at us.

We are called to forgive, just as He forgives us. I cannot even begin to count the times that I have asked for His forgiveness, and yet, neither will He. The same must hold true from me toward others. I am called to forgive in the same way. Likewise, I ought to be generous and kind, not withholding goodness and grace from anyone. For He has given unto me, so I also am to give.

Judge not in the world,Above All Love

for we are not called;

to stand on the throne,

a place self-installed.

No condemnation,

is issued in love;

rather grace given,

from our God above.

When a heart repents,

and asks for His grace;

He takes sin away,

puts love in its place.

How will they know Him,

if in us they see;

our pointing fingers,

rather than mercy?

Let us love so well,

that all long to know;

what is our reason,

so they too may grow.

May goodness and grace,

and God’s love be seen;

so many may come,

to know what Love means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love the way that You want us to. Help us to not judge nor condemn those around us, and please grant us the grace to forgive and extend mercy to all. Forgive us for judging and condemning things, even if only in our hearts, and help us to approach all with Your mercy and grace, so that many may see Your love in us. May many who are stuck or are somewhere in the search, come to find the Light in You, as we are faithful to do as You ask of us. Help us to forgive and give, as if it is unto You. Be exalted in our obedience to all that You are asking. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.


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