What God is That? Guest Post by Donna Wasson

Donna is a guest blogger over at Rapture Ready, one of the Bible Prophecy sites I visit regularly and I have been noticing a peculiar thing. She and I have been posting about the same topics at about the same time interdependently of each other. This post below was going to be my next topic because of a similar and recent encounter I had over this issue with a dear friend. I don't think I could write this any better than she did so I contacted her and she agreed to let me share her blog posts here.

*Sigh*  You know this is not gonna be good if this article starts off like that.  I just read a piece titled; Christians Can Change Their Minds on Homosexuality.  The author states that she was all at once, elated and filled with dread when President Obama announced that he supported same-sex marriage, because she knew the negative backlash it would cause. You see, she was to attend a reception at the White House that marked Gay Pride Month, and could remember a time she wouldn’t have been caught dead at such an event. 

She had been an ‘evangelical Christian’ for 30 years when her very independent and successful daughter called to inform her she was gay.  At first, she was understandably devastated and prayed for the Lord to change her daughter’s choice.  “But instead, God changed me.”  Uh…really? 

She goes on to say she had a “dramatic change of heart; an epiphany, a paradigm shift or just plain coming to my senses, “ when her daughter called to say she and her partner were getting married.  At first she was upset and saddened and asked God, “What event could a parent be asked to attend that would be worse than this?”  “His answer was short—a funeral.”   

She marveled that she had never felt God’s presence and love as strongly as she did during the wedding weekend. Her daughter was raised with the message from pastors, Sunday school teachers, Christian leaders as well as her Christian parents that, “She was an abomination to God and didn’t deserve His love.”  But, thankfully, the daughter received the message from God himself that He loved her.  Of course God loves her!  He will NOT, however, tolerate her lesbianism. 

This lady agonizes about the years she taught her daughter that homosexuality was wrong and how deeply she must have hurt her feelings.  She’s now “On a mission to help keep other families from making our mistakes.  Now the lessons I have learned about unconditional love for the gay community need to be applied to those who are exactly where I was for so many years.”  Wrong. 

And man said to himself, ‘Let me make God in my image, after my likeness.’  So in the image of man created him God, and man blessed God and said unto Him, “Thou shalt have dominion over pretty much nothing, and shall give power and blessing to any and everything I will to do and thou shalt unconditionally love every depraved and sinful act I can imagine.”  

What ‘god’ is this lady talking about that would debase His holiness to attend a gay wedding? This woman opines, “Love can’t be legislated, politicized, forced or faked.  It comes from God. I have said many times that change will come one heart at a time, and only God can change a heart—if we will just get out of God’s way.”  I think she means, if God just gets out of OUR way! 

Let us turn in our Bibles to the 1st chapter of Romans. I want to take you through most of this chapter and include in parenthesis the Greek meanings of the words for clarification.  It really is eye opening to see the original meanings. 

Romans 1: 18 “For the wrath (anger, indignation) of God is revealed (made known) from heaven against all ungodliness (having no reverence for God) and unrighteousness (violating God’s law) of men, who hold (restrain, hinder) the truth (moral religious fact) in unrighteousness.” 

Then vs. 21 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations (inward reasoning), and their foolish (stupid) heart (soul or mind) was darkened” (deprived of understanding.) Professing themselves to be wise (expert, learned), they became fools” (be or act foolishly.) 

Vs. 24 “Wherefore God also gave them up (delivered, permitted) to uncleanness (impure morals) through the lusts (craving, longing for what is forbidden) of their own hearts, to dishonor (treat with contempt) their own bodies between themselves.”  

Vs. 26-28  “For this cause God gave (delivered, permitted) them up to vile (disgrace, dishonor)affections (depraved passion): for even their women did change (exchanged) the natural use (inborn-agreeable to instincts) into that which is against (from, besides) nature (distinctive native characteristics): and likewise also the men, leaving ( depart, disregard, abandon) the natural use (sexual use of a woman) of the woman, burned (set on fire, kindled) in their lust (appetite, unlawful craving) toward another (mutually, reciprocally) ; men with men working (perform, accomplish, achieve) that which is unseemly (ones nakedness, shame), and receiving (to get what is promised, retribution) in themselves that recompense  (reward given in compensation) of their error (wrong action, straying morally) which was meet (necessary, right and proper). And even as they did not like (deem worthy, approve) to retain God (adhere or cling to keep) in their knowledge (knowing things ethical and divine), God gave them over (delivered, permitted) to a reprobate (untested, unfit, rejected) mind, to do those things (perform, act out, carry out) which are not convenient” (becoming, proper, fit). 

Vs. 29-31 “Being filled with all unrighteousness (injustice, deeds violating law), fornication (illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery, homosexual, lesbian and bestiality), wickedness (depravity, iniquity), covetousness, maliciousness (desire to injure, evil, depravity); full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity (depravity of heart, bad character); whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection (inhumane, unloving), implacable, unmerciful:” 

Vs. 32 “Who knowing (being acquainted, understanding) the judgment of God (judicial decree, sentence of condemnation), that they which commit such things (practice, exercise, of this kind, sort) are worthy (merited, befitting) of death (loss of life and future misery in hell), not only do the same, but have pleasure (also, pleased, approve, applaud, agree to) in them that do them” (exercise, practice, act, commit).  *whew!* 

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”    Unchanging. Eternally the same.  Does not change His character or nature.  So this mother is agreeing to or applauding the kind of behavior from her daughter that God considers worthy of meriting a death sentence.   

‘Yay honey, your wedding dress is beautiful and Daddy and I will pay for the cake.   Then we can all pretend God blesses your lesbian union, and completely ignore that this lifestyle will lead you straight to hell; plus I will have to face a Holy God and explain why I decided to accept this charade of ‘love.’’ 

I think it is safe to say most parents love their children unconditionally.  Does that mean we have to sanction and applaud their actions?  For instance, let’s say my son was a serial killer.  We all know that is wicked behavior before God. What if I knew this information about him and, as he was on the run from the law, stopped by for Sunday dinner with a nice chunk of thigh meat from his latest victim.  “Here ma, I brought you a present. Cook this puppy up like roast beef, would you?  I’d love some of your mashed potatoes and green beans with it, and maybe you could make me some banana pudding for dessert! Whatta you say?” 

Like the mother in the article with her lesbian daughter, I would be horrified and disgusted beyond description!  The Bible is very clear that murder and depravity of this sort is completely against God’s laws—always has been, always will be.  After all, God is the same yesterday, today and forever, right? 

So do I take the wimpy road like this mother and say to my son, “Oh honey, that is one beautiful hunk of meat; Ooo, and so lean!  Must have been a jogger, huh? Thanks!  I love you and will delude myself into accepting your wicked behavior out of a misplaced definition of unconditional love; therefore I won’t call the cops and have your vile butt arrested.” 

How ridiculous, right?  So my son is a serial killer.  Do I stop loving that child I bore, nursed, cuddled and raised or do I completely cut all ties and ignore his existence?  Of course I would still love him!  And I’d call the cops on him in a heartbeat!  THAT is unconditional love, lady. 

Do I condone and accept his kidnapping, torture and murdering ways?  Of course NOT!  But I would still love him.  I wouldn’t be able to help it—just like God loves us but refuses to accept our sinful behavior.  He will still ‘call the cops’ on us, so to speak, and make sure justice is served.   

I feel for this very conflicted mother, but she is dead wrong.  As the verses with their original Greek meanings listed above, it is perfectly CLEAR homosexuality is not condoned or OK with God.  It wasn’t in Sodom and Gomorrah and it isn’t in this day and age either, no matter what the pushy, big mouthed, politically correct, depraved LGBT lobby tells you!   

For this mom to accept her daughter’s choice (and it IS a choice, don’t give me a bunch of bull that they are born that way), is doing her daughter and her own relationship with God a huge disservice.  I can completely understand her desire and overwhelming need to have a loving tie with her daughter, but she is leading her astray, as well as making a mockery of the Bible and the sanctified life we as Christians are to strive for.  

So what should she have done?  What should Christian parents do when their kid suddenly spouts off the news that they are gay?  You love them unconditionally. You reject their behavior.  Do you keep in touch? Yes.  Do you tell them as much as possible you love them?  Yes.  Do you have their lover over for dinner? No. Do you attend their ‘wedding’? Of course not. Don’t bother to give a gift either.  

What if that adult child chooses their lover over their loving, Godly parents?  Then you grieve like the dickens and pray for God’s intervention. That is their choice and like the rest of us, they will have to make their own decisions about God and decide whether to follow or reject Him. We ALL have to stand or fall on this issue alone and we parents cannot choose for them, as much as we want to and as much as our heart would break in a million pieces if they chose to shun God. 

Like this lady said, change will come one heart at a time and only God can change a heart—if we will get out of God’s way. God bless this mother. I know her heart aches to do the right thing and I will be praying for her to see the truth. 

If you would like to check both these sites out, Rapture Ready's website is: www.raptureready.com and Donna's blog is: http://dwantstotalk.blogspot.com/

If You Won the Lottery...

What would you do to change the world for the better?

What would you do for others?

What would you do for yourself? (This is where you can let your dreams run wild)

Okay, I want honest answers and just to show that I mean it, I will post what I would do if I won a lot of money.

If I won the lottery this is what I would do:
  1. Pay off all my debt including my house and finish the renovations.
  2. Pay off the debts of all my friends and family who are really hurting and provide what they need.
  3. Donate large chunks to Focus on the Family and other worthy Christian charities.
  4. Travel to all the places on my bucket list.
  5. Sock away the rest to earn interest.
  6. Invest in a B&B in Napa or Santa Barbara and maybe even buy a vacation cottage somewhere.

Along these lines, I write wish fulfillment stories as gifts for people so when someone asked me to write a story where they would win the lottery so they could help other people I found it to be a REAL challenge. The subject matter would not make for a very inspirational short story but I had committed to writing one so what could I do? I began to ask questions to see if "inspiration" would strike. After asking several questions that got me nowhere I finally asked where the person worked. Suntrust Bank. That's when the light bulb went on over my head! I typed away furiously and truly feel that this particular story was divinely inspired to re-prioritize what we hold to be valuable on this earth.

So just in case, you're curious; here is an excerpt from this story. If you would like to read the rest (or any of the other 35 short, wish fulfillment stories), you can either order Make a Wish from this blog or  Purchase Make a Wish from Amazon

"Something New Under the Son"

            Martha is a bank teller in North Carolina and has a very big heart. Her wish was to win a lot of money in the lottery so she could help her church, family and friends provide for the needs of the congregation,  pay off debts, provide homes and even some much needed and overdue vacations in return for the years of care and nurturing provided to her family by others.  I always pray before I write each story and ask God to give me the inspiration not to necessarily answer a “laundry list” of requests, but to deeply bless the heart and soul of the person who has asked for a story. I hope that the following Wish Fulfillment Story does all that.

            Martha woke up with a start.  Instead of taking her lunch break with her friend at the bank or running errands, today she had decided to roll down the windows, eat then take a short little snooze, setting her cell phone to wake her up ten minutes before she was to be back on “duty”. She was incredibly groggy and did not immediately recognize her surroundings. She was still parked in the one shady spot in the employee lot, and her bank looked the same but there was a long line of people going in and then coming out with what appeared to be sacks of money. That woke her up fast! Were they all robbing the bank?
            She bolted out of her car and was ready to dash inside, when a gentle hand restrained her. She fumbled in her purse for the bottle of mace; panic stricken.
            “Peace unto you,” said the calming voice of the tall stranger. Martha looked up, up up and felt her jaw going slack. The man next to her was at least 12’ tall, gorgeous, was glowing softly and had two large wings spreading outwards from his back.
            “Wha-wha-what are you?” Martha gaped.
            “I’m your Guardian Angel, dearest,” he replied, his blue eyes twin pools of pure love and adoration.
            Martha clutched at her heart…this was it! It was her time to die and God had sent her angel to come get her!
            Her angel put his arm about her and pulled her back up to an upright stand (as she had been sinking lower and lower). She could feel strength and love pouring into her body wherever he touched her.
            “What is your name?” she asked, unable to tear her eyes away from his incredible face.
            “Ooniemme,he smiled at her. “It is translated as ‘gratitude’ in Earthly terms.”
            Martha nodded and then her attention was diverted back to the line of people exiting her bank, carrying sacks of money. She dialed 9-1-1 but Ooniemme took her cell phone and waved his hand over it. It went dead.
            “But they’re stealing the bank’s money!” she hissed in a panic. “I need to get the police here right away!”
            “Take a better look,” Ooniemme said, gesturing to the sign over the building. Martha looked up at the signage. Same navy blue graphics; same sunburst logo. She shrugged, feeling very dumb. “Closer,” he encouraged her. She looked up and squinted her eyes…”SONTRUST BANK”. It was spelled wrong.
            She looked back at the 12’ tall Angel; enlightenment beginning to dawn. She looked at her surroundings…no parking lot, no strip mall…just the bank and a line of people as far as the eye could see going in and going out. She started to feel dizzy.

Could Jesus have been bullied?

Not much is revealed in the Gospels about Jesus' life as a young boy.  I'm sure we have all wondered what he must have been like. Was he a serious child? Cheerful? Did he always behave perfectly? What did he look like? The Old Testament declares in Isaiah that "...he had no form nor comeliness that we should desire him," so physically he must have blended in with everyone else but I'm sure in terms of behavior he must have stood out.  I think it is quite possible he was known as a "goody two shoes", perhaps even resented by his peers whose mothers and fathers would complain: "Why can't you be more like Miriam and Yocef's son, Yeshua?  He never misbehaves?!" I bet the neighbor kids got real tired of hearing that one.

In the Gospel of John 8:41, the pharisee's basically insinuate that Jesus was illegitimate when they declare:
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”  
Remember, even in the beginning Joseph thought Mary had been fooling around before an Angel from God came and set him straight that her pregnancy was a foreordained miracle of God. If you have ever lived in a small town (which Jesus' parents did), you know that everyone in it knows everyone else's business and dirty laundry. The rumors spread like wild fire but the actual truth often never comes to light or people or just more inclined to listen to the juicy gossip.

I can't prove it but I get the impression from this and other verses that Mary may have had to suffer endless suspicion and doubt as to Jesus' real father or that she had been fooling around before marriage and should have been stoned to death as the law decreed. 

The Bible declares that Jesus suffered in all things just like us; why would bullying be exempt? Perhaps it was an endless source of ridicule where he was concerned. Do you think that in their cruelest moments his peers cast dispersion's upon his mother (and him) which would have hurt and angered him? Can you imagine how difficult it might have been for Jesus to do nothing about it when he had all the power of the universe at his disposal?  It might have been a very sore trial not to snap his fingers or speak the words and deliver some much needed justice and correction to those who would insult his mother!

My story, The Victor, explores this idea of Jesus potentially being bullied as a child.  My protagonist, Joshua, enters into service anonymously as a page known as Immanuel where his peers don't realize that he is actually the son of the King. Below is an excerpt from this "Garden of Gethsemane type scene":

            The following day Joshua awoke even more stiff and sore than the one before.  To make matters worse, Jarrod was back with a vengeance. Joshua had no sooner gotten his buckler and wooden sword from the armory than he was forcibly grabbed from behind, spun about and rabbit punched in the face. Joshua raised his arms to protect himself but Jarrod was too fast and strong for him. Joshua felt Jarrod’s fists make contact with his face a few more times before he was thrown onto the ground. All the air in his lungs whooshed out of him.  He could neither cry out, breathe, nor defend himself. Jarrod sat astride him, trapping Joshua’s arms against his side with his thighs.
            “I’ll teach you to make a fool of me!” he screamed, punching his ribs on either side.  He was oblivious to the other pages and knights that were running up from behind. The pages froze in horror but the knights did not. They reacted immediately. Sir Eric got to them first and threw Jarrod off. He went flying, landing face first in a pile of freshly dropped horse manure. Sir Bors and Sir Penloth knelt beside Joshua, rolling him over gently. His face was already purpling and swelling from the beating. Joshua struggled to rise but was constrained by the intense pain in his ribs.  He bit his lip to keep from crying aloud, tears streaming down his cheeks. A strange whistling was coming from him whenever he drew breath. Penloth cursed loudly and lifted him into his arms; half-marching, half-running with him into the castle and bellowing for everyone to clear a path.  His first impulse was to take Joshua immediately to the king’s personal physician but he still dare not do anything to expose him. Not knowing what else to do, he carried Joshua up into his own bedchamber, laid him on the bed then ran to summon the court physician who treated the knights. Joshua lay like a limp rag, fighting back his tears without success. Why did Jarrod hate him so? What had he ever done to deserve such brutality? The physician arrived in moments and checked him over from head to foot, giving no indication that he recognized Joshua for who he really was. Gently he prodded each rib, causing Joshua to yelp and convulse with pain. Two ribs were bruised and one appeared to be fractured. His nose was bleeding but unbroken and both eyes were blackened and swollen shut. The physician concocted several poultices, layering them in strips of clean linen.  One he laid across Joshua’s eyes and face and the other he wrapped tightly about his ribs.  Joshua did his best to bear it bravely. Then he was given a good draft of laudanum[1] to put him to sleep and numb the pain. It tasted bitter and smelled foul but Joshua suffered him to ladle it into his mouth. Heavy drowsiness swept over him, numbing the pain; soon he was asleep.
            Penloth stayed by his side throughout the day, giving him sips of water whenever he woke and more laudanum as needed, his heart burning with anger. Curse his stupidity for not having prevented today’s beating! He was well aware of Jarrod’s propensity toward petty violence but it had never escalated to this level before. This morn he had almost beaten the crown prince to a pulp.
            At that moment he felt a hand upon his shoulder. He looked up to find a cloaked figure standing behind him.
            “Leave us for a while, my good knight,” said the voice from beneath the cowl. Penloth’s face drained of blood. There was no mistaking the voice. It was the king!
            He stood to his feet, unable to look his master in the face.
            Eloth patted his shoulder reassuringly. “Do not blame thyself, my good Captain. I’m sure this is not the first time a page has taken his fist to another. Jarrod shall be dealt with accordingly. Go now to thy rest; I will keep watch by Immanuel’s side this night.”
            Penloth hesitated for only a moment, nodded then exited the chamber to room with his brother. Eloth knelt beside the bed, threw back the cowl and took Joshua’s small hand into his, murmuring words of comfort. Joshua slowly awoke to the smell of beeswax candles, a poultice of pungent spices and the foul taste of laudanum upon his lips. Every inch of him was in excruciating pain. He tried to sit up but collapsed, finally succumbing to tears of defeat. What was the use? He had failed, both himself and his father. Pent up sobs of misery and shame wracked his small body despite how much it hurt him to cry. Eloth’s arms went about him, drawing him close in a gentle hug to cradle him against his breast.
            “Father!” Joshua wept, clutching at him fiercely. “They hate me! I ju-ju-just can’t do this anymore!”
            Eloth said nothing in response; he just held his son closer in his arms, resting his chin upon his shorn head. Joshua buried his bruised and swollen face against his father’s breast, allowing himself to weep with abandon, his entire body heaving. He wept until he could weep no more and still his father said nothing.
            “I do not wish to return to the academy,” Joshua hiccupped, unable to speak clearly. “It is harder than I ever dreamed but even worse is that page, Jarrod! He..he...he hates me without reason![i] Please talk to me, father…what am I to do?”
            Eloth closed his eyes as if deep in thought but still gave no answer. Joshua’s lip quivered violently as he struggled with his warring emotions. “If I do not return then I will have failed you and our kingdom, won’t I? I’ll be proven a coward. I will disappoint not only Sir Penloth and Sir Luther but…but you most of all. Oh, father, please tell me what to do!  I don’t want to go back yet how can I live with myself if I do not see this through? Father, have thee no words of counsel for me?” His voice trailed off on a feeble whimper of pain.
            Eloth opened his eyes, looking down upon his beloved son with love and compassion. Joshua could barely see him through his swollen eyes.
            “The choice is entirely thine, my son,” he replied softly, gently wiping the tears that leaked from his purpled eyes. “I will not force thee to drink this cup.  It is not only thine own reputation that is at stake but the welfare of our kingdom as well; much now depends upon thee.”
            Joshua sank back into his father’s arms and a long silence ensued as he struggled against what he wanted to do and what he knew he needed to do. It was such a heavy burden to carry. It would be so much easier to walk away from it all and go back to his old life, but could he really? He thought of his soft bed with the down pillows and coverlets, the books and scrolls that lined the shelves in his room, the rich foods he had given up, and the many intellectual pursuits he had left behind– and could easily return to with but a single word.  Most of all, he missed his father! He missed their long talks by candlelight; holding his large warm hand as they walked; being cuddled in his arms as they read books together by firelight and the game of chess he had just begun to teach him. How he longed to be back with him again yet, in his inner heart he knew what honor demanded of him. A shuddering sigh shook his entire body as he finally came to his decision.
            “I will return,” he said at last in a small voice. “I will not bring shame upon thy name. I will do what I must for our kingdom.”

Answer my poll about bullying below this post. I'd really love to hear from you.


Bullies...I hate them.

Have you ever been bullied? I was bullied as a kid. Seventh grade for me was absolutely brutal. I would come home every day crying to my mom about the cruelty of my peers who either treated me like I didn't exist or found new and creative ways to emotionally and mentally torment me. I already had a self-esteem problem as it was so the bullying and my mother's response only served to make me feel like I had done something to deserve it. She sent me to a shrink (which I resented) and even worse...in an attempt to change things for the better, she invited my entire class over to my house for a surprise party. It gets worse...it was a sleep over. I took my mom aside shortly after I arrived home to discover all my arch enemies leering at me behind her back in triumph when I shrieked "What were you thinking?!!" They had plenty of ammunition with which to torture me after that night, I can tell you.

It's funny, even though I am in my early 50's; I can easily remember the pain of being bullied and how it permanently changed my self-image for the worse. I can't remember most of my former classmates names, not even people I considered friends but I can sure remember the name of my two chief tormentors. For years I swore to myself that if I ever ran into them on the street I would bust them in the chops and ask questions later.

Bullying has become an epidemic problem. Despite the "zero tolerance" it has gotten worse not better and now it has all the social media to help spread the "wealth" around. At least when I was bullied back in 1972 it remained a localized event.  Nowadays, kids are bullied not only in person but their names are slandered all over the internet where libel goes viral in a matter of seconds. Kids today don't stand a chance; no wonder they are committing suicide in record numbers!

Why are children so intentionally cruel to one another? Why do so many behave like savage animals when it comes to their peers? What can be done to fix this seemingly insurmountable problem?

It wasn’t always this way but it seems to be on the rise. Why? Many (like me) would argue that it is the natural consequence of having abandoned moral teachings based upon the Bible in our schools. Since the Bible and God are considered persona non grata in the public square, how can we, as authors who have faith, share the concepts of compassion, mercy, honesty, perseverance in a way that communicates these values to our young people without coming off sounding “preachy”?
I think Bill Bennett, the former Education Czar had it right when he compiled and produced The Book of Virtues. It contained stories that exemplified all of the above listed virtues in such a way as to compel the reader to feel compassion for the poor Little Match Girl and The Little Mermaid. Who hasn’t watched the film “Rudy” starring Sean Astin, and not found themselves cheering him on when he finally achieved his ultimate dream of playing for Notre Dame after years of persevering?

These are all wonderful stories that have much to teach us. They have a way of winding into our hearts and planting a seed there that when mature, can blossom and grow a young person into someone who has compassion, who can persevere through trials, be courageous in the face of danger, and do what is right when no one is looking. Well written stories not only entertain and touch us deeply; they can change our worldview.

This is where inspirational fiction authors can play an important role; especially in our nation’s schools. That is what I have sought to do in my own books.

Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever bullied someone else? Please share.

CONTEST: You Own Personal Story!

Contest Rules

I will write a wish fulfillment story for one lucky person. It will be published in my next "Make a Wish" book. You will star as the main character in your own story. Here are the rules to be entered:

  1. You must be a member (follower) of my blog (for that you will either need a twitter account or a gmail account). Or you can follow me thru Networked blogs.
  2. You need to post a comment about what your wish is then email me privately at: thevictorbook@sbcglobal.net because I will need to ask you more information in order to write your story.
The winning story will have their story posted (after approval) on my blog which can then be shared on your own social media. I use only first names in the stories and can include family members or good friends. All stories will be G-rated and inspirational.

If You Had One Deep Heartfelt Wish...what would it be?

Below is an excerpt from a "wish fulfillment story" from my book "Make a Wish" that made me sob like a baby while I wrote it:


                Darlene regarded the Christmas decorations in her local grocery store glumly. She hated this time of year.  Absolutely hated it! All it did was accentuate the sadness that she always carried in her heart like a heavy lead balloon.  As a kid she had enjoyed the holidays as much as anyone else but all that had changed three years ago when her husband, Steve, had died in her arms of heart failure.  She sighed, fighting back the tears that welled up in her eyes and threatened to spill down her cheeks. She wasn’t going to cry in the check-out line! Not in front of all these strangers!
                The box boy stuffed the last of her groceries into the bag and Darlene hurried out, her head down, her shoulders beginning to shake. She got into her car, her hands trembling with the grief she tried to suppress and yet couldn’t. She let her head drop onto the steering wheel and allowed the tears to come. She missed him.  She couldn’t help it. Even after a few years, there was still a big hole in her heart that just wouldn’t heal.
                Oh, Stevie…she thought to herself, not for the last time. If only we had had more time together…if only your heart hadn’t been sick…if only…
                Darlene violently brushed the tears from her cheeks and started the car. She didn’t want to go down that road again. She had to get home, unload the groceries alone without help and get some dinner for herself.  The very idea depressed her beyond belief.
                She turned the key in the ignition and maneuvered out of the parking lot.  She made to turn right, but the car suddenly had other ideas.  It turned left.  It shocked her so much she just gaped.  Then the gas pedal depressed itself and the car began speeding up and driving itself. Darlene sat back and watched in shock as the car continued to steer, turning down streets she was unfamiliar with, stopping and starting without assistance from her, wondering where on earth her car was taking her and why.  For some reason she felt no panic but a few times she caught the shocked glances of people in other cars as she half-heartedly smiled and waved at them as her car turned a corner without her assistance. Once or twice she gripped the steering wheel and tried to steer the way she wanted and to brake but the car was completely unresponsive.  Why fight it? She thought to herself and sat back to watch what would happen.  A half hour passed, then 45 minutes and the car was on the main highway heading north. Before she knew it, she had nodded off to sleep...

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

My daughter graduates from High School Tomorrow

It's hard to believe this day has finally come. It seems like just last year we met and adopted our 3-1/2 year old little girl with the large brown eyes and dimples. School has not been easy for our daughter. She has ADHD and has struggled with motivation all of her life. Getting straight A's was never high on her list of priorities. More than financial issues, our daughter's struggles with school has been the primary source of friction in our family and major sore point.  Now she is getting ready to fly on her own. Despite all my fears about adopting a child through the county, our daughter has grown up into a lovely young lady and a good girl.

Her next venture will be attending a local community college, looking for part-time work and baby-sitting until she can become a full time nanny.

In two weeks we will be having a large family and friend graduation celebration at our home and as a special gift I made the 4 "music" videos below for our guests to watch. They all feature my daughter. Each one (except for Graduation) is about 2 minutes long. Enjoy!

The first one is in honor of Father's Day and the special relationship that Karina shares with her daddy.

The second video is about girls just wanting to have fun.

The third video features pictures that show Karina off at all ages at significant milestones.

The last video features all of her school photos (except for the two I can't find) and photos from her last year as a senior.


There's a new book out that is becoming quite the talk of the town. It is called "To Heaven and Back" by Dr. Mary C. Neal. Another New York Time's best selling book entitled "Heaven is for Real" covered the same topic by Colton Burpo.  I love to read these kinds of books. Like everyone else, I would like to get a glimpse of heaven from someone who has really been there.

There is, however, another book by a local gentlemen called "Twenty-three Minutes in Hell" that has been out for quite a few years. The author was a Christian whom Jesus took to hell for 23 minute so he could come back and warn people.  By contrast, this author has never been on the NY Times best seller list. Do you think he has been invited on Good Morning America, the Today Show or The View like these other authors? Nope. Gee...I wonder why...? (Sarcasm on) I read this book. It was not a pleasant read. It was extremely disturbing and frightening.  No one (including me) likes to think about hell being a real place and yet Jesus spoke about it a lot in very graphic terms. Most people (even church goers) deny the existence of hell. Why?

When was the last time you heard about hell in church? When is the last time you heard a pastor preach about repentance? If there is no hell then why did Jesus die? What did we have to be saved from if there is no place of eternal punishment? Do you really think God would send his only Son into the world to be tortured and brutally put to death for a myth? It's funny...no one thinks there is a hell until you ask them about Hitler. Hitler is definitely there but apparently he is the only one who deserves to be. Really?

A church we once went to did a great theatrical presentation on people's different concepts on what God was really like. One was that he was policeman just looking to charge you with a crime and throw you into jail. Another was that of a teddy-bear like father who would never condemn anything wrong you did and would always bail you out of trouble no matter how bad you were with no consequences. I forget what the other characterizations were but they were equally as unrealistic. God is not like us. His ways are not our ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts but He has given us both his written word and the Word of God: Jesus and they both testify to the reality of Hell and how to avoid going there.

If churches never talk about hell then they are only preaching half the Gospel. Proverbs declares that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He is our eternal judge and He had said that we are all destined for hell unless we make a U-turn and accept His free gift of salvation merely by asking Jesus into our heart and trusting in Him yet millions find that offensive and impossible to swallow. I used to be one of them. God doesn't want anyone going to hell but if a person wants nothing to do with God, who is the author of light, peace and love than what is the alternative? The absence of light, love and peace: hell...and it is eternal. Without hope.

I think there is a reason that there are so many people dying and returning to tell us all about how real heaven is. I truly believe that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is around the corner. God has been trying to get our attention with 911 (see the book "The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn), the numerous monster earthquakes almost every month, the mysterious death of birds and animals, the financial melt-downs around the globe, the rise of radical Islam, the exponential decay of society.

We will listen to His warnings, humble ourselves, repent and turn from our wicked ways or we will ignore Him at our own peril? Judgment starts at the house of God first. Yes there is a real heaven to look forward to but there is also a very real hell and that is what Jesus died to save us from. It is the commission of the church to preach the whole Gospel and we are doing a really bad job.