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A Letter to All Evangelical Leaders and Members of Congress:
I am writing this letter today with great concern as to what has been happening in this country over the past year. I am deeply concerned over the future of this country and am equally disturbed by the actions and words of some evangelical leaders in the U.S.
Donald Trump has done great damage to this country over the past year, yet Congress fails to do anything about it. This man and Congress have hurt so many people – the Native Americans for taking away their land, the people of Puerto Rico in the extremely poor response to the hurricane disaster, the poor by cutting healthcare, the elderly and disabled by cutting Medicaid, the middle class if the tax plan is passed (eventually taxes will go up), and others.
In addition, Donald Trump attacks people on almost a daily basis. His Twitter feed is causing great distress not only to me but to so many people. Our stress level is sky high. We are sick and tired of hearing about “fake news”. We have had it with the constant name-calling: Lil Bob Corker, Rocket Man, Crooked Hillary, etc. We’ve also had enough of his constant lies every. single. day. I am 52 years old, and I have never in my life witnessed such immoral and unethical behavior. The public is sick to death of it!
Something needs to be done fast regarding Donald Trump. This man and his administration are doing so much damage to this great democracy. Many people feel that he is destroying this country, and I have heard many people say that they are thinking about leaving the United States if this keeps up. I have been Republican my entire life, but this year I officially changed to Independent. I also know those who have done the same thing. I read an article the other day that says even James Comey has changed from Republican to Independent. We don’t want to be associated with the Republican party as it is today. This is not what we stand for.
This tax plan will hurt so many people. It will hurt the disabled like my sister who was born with spina bifida and cannot walk. Her husband has neuroblastoma. They both work six days a week but together make under $75,000 a year. This plan will hurt the elderly. Many are on social security and make nowhere near $75,000 per year. What about those in nursing homes? Typically, these patients aren’t allowed to have more than $2000 in the bank. What’s going to happen to them? Some of the vets come back home without limbs and/or with PTSD. What’s going to happen to them? I personally know of a woman whose husband left her, and she had two kids. She came to work in the lab where I worked, worked for two weeks, and then quit because she was losing money because childcare costs were so high. She wanted to work and cried when she left saying, “I don’t know what I am going to do”.
One problem lies in the pharmaceutical industry. I worked for Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer) for several years when I was younger. This company made a truckload of money. Salaries of the executives were crazy high. I know the salaries of some of the executives in these pharmaceutical companies are in the millions. Yet some people, particularly the elderly, cannot afford their medication. How is this just?? May I remind you of the Epi-Pen controversy – how the company increased the cost of this life-saving medication by 500% while the guy at the top made millions?? My parents even witnessed a woman sell her dishes at an antique store to pay for her medication. She was in tears. Congress needs to immediately confront this problem. There is no job out there that warrants a salary in the millions, especially when that salary results in people not being able to get life-saving medication.
The pharmaceutical issue is just one problem, but it is a big one. This is what Congress should be working on to help the American people…. not a tax plan that will hurt those who are already struggling and who actually voted Trump into office.
Now to the evangelical leaders – we are disgusted and appalled that some of the biggest evangelical leaders seem to overlook Trump’s actions and behaviors. His behavior is the exact opposite of how Jesus taught us to live.
Jesus told us to help the poor. Trump is trying to take healthcare away from the poor. He failed to help those struggling in Puerto Rico. He is taking land from the Native Americans.
Jesus told us to keep the commandments. Trump lies every single day. He made lewd comments about women on the Access Hollywood bus. He has cheated on his wives. Members of his administration and transition team are now under indictment. He supports Roy Moore, a man accused of sexual assault.
Jesus warned us against greed. Trump constantly talks about how great the economy is doing since he took office. He seems to be solely focused on money. He is taking land from the Native Americans so he can make more money. This tax plan is going to help Trump by giving him more tax breaks. He and Congress are going to increase taxes on the middle class while giving corporations and the rich big tax breaks so they can make more money. Jesus told us, “You cannot serve both God and money.”
I see many evangelical leaders overlooking Trump’s behavior by saying that since he believes in Jesus, his sins are forgiven. There is just one problem with that. They are missing the whole concept of repentance. Trump himself has said that he doesn’t ask for forgiveness, and he continues to sin constantly. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them”. Trump’s “fruits” are constant sin and immoral and unethical, non-Christian behavior. In addition, he is hurting so many people with his policies. His “fruits” do not indicate a true Christian man.
I also see dripping hypocrisy coming from the evangelicals. I see a lot of finger pointing at everyone else while they stay quiet about Trump’s behavior. One recent example is the sexual harassment claims. They yell about all the Democrats who are accused of sexual harassment, but they stay quiet about Roy Moore and Trump. In fact, they even support these two people. Remember, Jesus warned us repeatedly about hypocrisy. These evangelicals need to go back to the gospels and re-read those passages.
I would also like to ask the evangelicals this question – Why in the world would Trump, right at Christmas, recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and put lives at risk including American lives? He did it at Christmas! He is putting the birthplace of Christ right in the line of fire at Christmas. Think about that.
To the evangelical leaders: Please read the book of Jude and pray about this. I want to point out one important passage in that book – “They are an ungodly people that pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality…”. I see this happening today. I see evangelicals justifying Trump’s behavior by perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality. If a person TRULY repents and TRULY accepts Jesus, he/she will turn from away from their life of sin. Yes, they will make mistakes because we are all human and we all sin. But they will not live in CONSTANT sin like Trump does.
This is an embarrassing time for the United States. We are on the verge of losing our democracy. Please, Congress, I beg you to think about what you are doing. I beg you to please do something about Donald Trump and his administration. And please, to all the evangelical leaders, please pray and re-think what you are teaching to those who follow you. The hypocrisy and the misunderstanding of true repentance is damaging this great religion. I am seeing people leave Christianity because of the hypocrisy. I love Christ too much to stay silent about this issue.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Have you ever gone through something horrible and thought “Why me?” Have you ever wondered why God allows us to walk through the “valley of death”?
I’ve certainly been there. And I’m quite sure you have too.
But I have also learned that no matter what we go through, somehow good always seems to come from it. One example in my life is my ordeal with adenomyosis. While I cried my way through some of the most painful nights of my life, I questioned why God was putting me through it. But today, I can look back and see why He put me through it – to help other women who are suffering through adenomyosis today. I have written one book on the subject and am working on a second book. I sell about one book per day, and I get constant “thank you” messages from women desperate to find help for this terrible medical disorder.
As many of my readers know, I don’t like Trump. Since Trump took office, I have heard over and over again from some on the far-right that “God put Trump in office”. I don’t believe this. Why? Because God gave us free will. He doesn’t dictate what we are to do in this life. He invites us to follow Him, but He doesn’t dictate. If he put Trump into office, then He also put Obama in office, and those on the far-right aren’t going to like that much…haha! Also, if God puts someone in office, why would we have elections? The truth is that we, the American people, voted Trump into office, and God ALLOWED it to happen.
Now, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. But what I have witnessed this year personally is that those on the far-right are not nearly as Christian as they say. I see a lot of people (not all, but some) point their fingers at the left and calling them evil. However, the behavior of these same far-righters is not at all Christian. In fact, some of these far-righters turn around and do exactly what they tell others not to do. Hypocrisy has become blatantly clear in some on the far-right.
So, what if God allowed Trump to get into office in order to shine a light onto the hypocrisy in the far-right evangelical movement? What if He allowed Trump to become President in order to show the hypocrisy and non-Christian behavior in the Republican party? Like I said, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. What I do know is that God works in mysterious ways, and many times, he will use something meant to hurt us for good. After all, in the Bible, it says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
I used to be Republican, but I am now just completely embarrassed and disgusted by the Republicans. What I now see is some on the far-right that loves to point fingers at other while acting in a non-Christian manner. I see white-washed tombs. Jesus said “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” This means some love to talk all about Jesus but they live in continual sin, and this is hypocritical. These people are all talk, but there is nothing Christian inside them. That’s why I have always said that words aren’t enough. You have to truly believe in Jesus in your heart, and your actions will follow. If you truly believe in Jesus, you will turn away from sin…not to say that you won’t ever sin again (we are all human), but you won’t live in continual sin.
I don’t agree with some of what the Democrats believe, but I now see that the Democrats actually act on helping the poor and welcoming the stranger. The Democratic party welcomes immigrants and is outraged when Trump and his administration didn’t adequately respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico. The Democrats are ACTING in a Christian manner regarding these issues. Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them” meaning that by ACTIONS, you will know them. I see more Christian actions this year from Democrats than Republicans.
For me, God opened my eyes this year. He opened my eyes to hypocrisy. I now understand the meaning of “white-washed tombs”. I now know that I can’t vote for a candidate based only on one issue – by doing that, we can end up in the situation we are in today. I have learned that pro-life addresses life at ALL stages, not just the unborn. Those who voted for Trump based solely on the abortion issue are knee-deep in hypocrisy as well. Why? Because they fight for the unborn, but once they are born (and many will have disabilities because a lot of abortions are done because of medical issues), they want to take healthcare away, specifically by cutting coverage for pre-existing conditions. So, we bring these children into the world, but the Republicans don’t want to take care of them once they get here. See the hypocrisy?
I think we should look back on this rough year and listen to what God is trying to show us. I listened and learned. Will you?
To Christians Who Support Donald Trump:
Why do you support this man?
Do you not realize that by supporting him and not calling him out on his bad behavior hurts Christianity?
People who are watching, including children, are witnessing hypocrisy. Is this really what you want to teach your children? Do you not realize that others are leaving the church because of the hypocrisy?
I don’t understand. Being a Christian myself, I am befuddled as how to someone who is a true Christian can support this man. A lot of people are confused. Please explain it to us.
Explain how you can look past the remarks that were made on the bus when Trump said that he “grabs them by the p****. Jesus tells us to follow the commandments. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of them. Trump was a married man. He even said he “tried to **** her”, referring to Nancy O’Dell who was also married. This behavior is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught us.
Explain how you seem to be able to look past all the lies Trump has told since he has been in office. He has lied over 1000 times since he took office, starting with the size of the crowds at the inauguration. Here are some other Trump statements that have been proven false:
Trump: “And I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.”
Truth: Nixon beat him by a wide margin. Trump was on the cover 11 times, and Nixon was on it 55 times.
Trump: “So, look, when President Obama was there [Chicago] two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.”
Truth: On the day that Obama made this speech, there were no gun homicide victims in Chicago.
Trump: “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.”
Truth: 746 people were detained. The Delta outage occurred two days later.
Trump: “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!”
Truth: The New York Times never apologized.
Trump: “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.”
Truth: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush won by bigger margins in the Electoral College.
Trump: “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”
Truth: There was no terror attack in Sweden that night. The next day, confusion set in as no one knew what Trump was talking about.
Trump: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
Truth: There was no evidence that Trump Tower was ever wiretapped.
Trump: “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.”
Truth: The cost cuts were already planned before Trump ever became President.
Trump: “I like Steve [Bannon], but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.”
Truth: Trump knew Steve Bannon since 2011.
Trump: “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”
Truth: The FBI was investigating Russian interference into the election before Trump ever took office (before Clinton’s loss).
Trump: On June 27, 2017, Trump, referring to CNN, said,“Ratings way down!”
Truth: At the time, CNN’s ratings were at a five-year high.
Trump: On July 17, 2017, Trump said, “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever.”
Truth: Clinton, Carter, Truman and FDR had all signed more bills than Trump at the same point.
Trump: “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem”
Truth: The NFL never made this demand.
These are just a few of over 1000 lies that Trump has told. Jesus told us that Satan is the father of lies:
“You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” John 8:44
So how do you justify Trump’s lies?
How about his lack of concern for others who are different? What about the botched immigration mess that occurred not long after he took office? All those poor people in distress because they couldn’t get back in the country? What about all the people in Puerto Rico who suffered without the basic necessities of life, having to wait a full week before Trump took any action to help them?
Let’s think about this. In the Bible, it says:
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:34
“Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.'” Acts 10:34
How do you justify the hate that Trump spreads? What about the horrible comments that he made after the Charolottesville attacks? What about all the name-calling on his Twitter feed? Here are just a few examples:
“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”
“With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have “tanked,” in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”
“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now?”
“…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”
There are so many more including the constant attacks on the media and on anyone who disagrees with him.
Where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to call people names? Where does it say that it’s OK to verbally attack anyone that disagrees or has a different opinion or view? Can’t find it? That’s because it isn’t in the Bible. Jesus said:
“ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
How do you justify all this behavior? Why would you say that Trump is a true Christian and that his behavior is OK with God? How can you say that? Have you read the Bible?
Please explain it to us.
I recently saw a post by Franklin Graham that said he was thankful that Trump was in office because he tells the truth. Truth?? Franklin Graham, hate to tell you this, but Trump has nothing to do with the truth. The fact is that Trump is the antithesis of Christianity. As Jesus told us, “Satan is the father of lies”. Trump has lied more than 1000 times since taking office.
That’s the truth.
In a previous post, I talked about judgement. I explained that only God can judge, and man cannot. Today, I would like to look at a few Bible passages that delve into this topic even further.
How many times have you heard someone claim that only their religion is going to heaven? How many times have you heard someone say that an entire class of people are going to hell? I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard it quite a bit. There are many different religions/groups that actually believe that their way is the only way to heaven. But there are passages in the Bible that refute this line of thinking. Let’s look at a few:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16
Let’s look at that again:
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.”
It should be clear from that statement that those who are saved ARE NOT only from one religion or any one specific group of people. Let’s look at another passage:
“He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” John 11:51-52
As you can see in that verse, the children of God are “scattered”. It says in this passage that Jesus would die “not only for that nation”.
Do you need more proof? Here’s more:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters…” Isaiah 56:4-5
“And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.” Isaiah 56:6-7
“I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land.” Ezekiel 34:12-13
We have to remember that God is love. His love knows no bounds. He knows our hearts and souls, and no human being can claim to have that ability. No human being can possibly know even a tiny amount of what God knows. Anyone, including well-known preachers, cannot determine which human beings are going to heaven or hell. If a preacher does this, he/she is trying to play God, and that is sacrilege. This is why the statement “Do not judge lest ye be judged” is in the Bible. It is a stark reminder that only God knows all and ONLY HE can make the judgement as to whether or not someone is saved.
It’s not about race, denomination, or any other belief system….it’s about what is in your heart and soul, and your actions reflect what is truly in your heart. In short, any person in any race, religion or any other belief system has an opportunity to enter heaven. EVERYONE is a creation of God, and it’s up to each of us to choose. It’s up to us to listen to the good shepherd.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:3-5
Today, I would like to talk about all the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Wow, the pictures on the news are just awful and heartbreaking. I’m sure most of you have seen the picture of the nursing home residents as they sat in water up to their waists. There was some suspicion that the picture was fake, but Snopes.com has confirmed this picture and story to be true. Thankfully, these elderly victims of Hurricane Harvey have been rescued and are now clean, dry and safe in a new location.
I was completely dismayed when I read a news article this morning that Joel Osteen, the leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, did NOT open the doors of his facility to refugees. This mega church can hold over 16,000 people. I was furious, but I wanted to get the entire true story before writing this blog. I once again checked Snopes.com.
The truth of this story is reported as a “Mixture” of true and false per Snopes. It is true that he did not open his church doors immediately citing flooding in the building. However, many different people went to the church to take pictures, and there was no flooding seen in and around the church. In addition, the police and other emergency personnel had not received any calls for help in that general area. Was there flooding in the building? We will never know for sure, but according to pictures, videos and reports from emergency personnel, there is no reason to think there was any problem at Lakewood Church.
Because Mr. Osteen didn’t open the doors to his church, he was hammered on social media. Hundreds of people went on the attack asking why a Christian preacher like himself wouldn’t open doors to the needy. Snopes attempted to contact the church, but as of the writing of this blog, there has been no response. Then things changed. This morning, days after the hurricane first hit and AFTER people spoke up about this issue, Joel Osteen sent out a message via his website that they would be opening the doors to Harvey refugees.
What took him so long? In my opinion, he only opened his doors because he was pressured by the public into doing so. That’s what it looks like to me. Am I impressed that Mr. Osteen opened the doors to his mega church this morning? Nope. I am thankful, but I am not impressed. Too little, too late.
We as Christians are supposed to help those in need. The Bible addresses this over and over again:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Luke 6:38
“Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27
“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” Romans 12:13
“Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There are so many other verses just like these in the Bible – these are just a few. The lesson here is that Joel Osteen, in the spirit of true Christianity, should have opened the doors of Lakewood Church immediately…not waiting days and after mounting public pressure.
I point this out because, as I said in the first blog of this series, I see a section of so-called Christianity that is being misled. Is Mr. Osteen a terrible Christian? I can’t say that. Like I said yesterday, we are not the judge. We don’t know Mr. Osteen’s heart – only God knows that. But I can point out instances where pastors don’t live up to true Christian values that are taught to us by God. Watch for behavioral patterns in these pastors. If they say something or act in a way that is inconsistent with biblical teaching, question it. Satan is very sly and will use tactics that many people will miss. This is why it is so important to pick up the Bible and read it yourself. Get immersed in God’s Word. Know the truth. Then and only then will you be able to see the real truth in others. Remember, too, that false prophets are out there. Meditate on this verse:
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ – do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
“Angel” – that is the name of my beautiful kitty cat. But I should have named her “Ornery”.
She is chock full of personality, and sometimes I call her “Miss Personality”. It is hard for me to hold her and love on her because she always wants to get down and play. When I talk to her, she rolls onto her back over and over again, and she loves to talk back. In fact, she is the most talkative cat that I have ever owned. One of the funniest things that she does is when she smells something, she will open her mouth and just look at me. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!
When I throw a toy in the air, she jumps up so high to get it – sometimes three to four feet! I am always shocked when she jumps that high. While I write in my living room, she goes down to the first level of my townhouse and looks out the window at the birds and those who walk their dogs. She absolutely loves to do this, but every 15 minutes or so, she comes back up to “check” on me. She lets me pet her head and she rubs up against me, and then she returns to the lower level to look out the window. It is so incredibly cute!
To understand this story, I have to share my morning routine. Angel sleeps on the bed with me. When I wake up, I turn on the TV and listen to the news for about ten minutes or so, and Angel knows this, so she patiently waits for me. But if it takes any more than ten minutes, she will start to meow. Then she will jump on the nightstand and start pushing things off onto the floor. I know at that point that I need to get up and get moving.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. When I woke up, I immediately picked up the phone and called my mom. This was different from the normal routine, so I guess it bothered Angel. While talking to my mom, she went over to the blinds and started patting them as hard as she could with her paws which made quite a bit of noise. I snapped my fingers to get her to be quiet at which point she stopped and looked at me. I continued to talk to my mom, and she went back to batting at the blinds. I gave up, got out of bed and went downstairs with her while I talked to my mom. We both laughed at Angel’s behavior – cats certainly know how to get us to do what they want!
This morning, when I woke up, Angel started to bat the blinds again with her paws. She didn’t even wait the usual ten minutes or so. I think she may have learned from yesterday that if she messes with the blinds, I will get up immediately. And that is exactly what I did! She certainly has me figured out!
Well, there is a picture of Jesus on the wall that I see every day when I go downstairs. This picture of Jesus is the same one from the book “Heaven is for Real”, and it is my favorite picture of Him. This morning, I was caught off guard as I glanced at this picture. For a split second, it looked as if Jesus was smiling….kind of as if he was about to laugh. I quickly looked back at the picture, and He looked just like He had always looked, but I knew what I saw in that split second. I smiled and then chuckled.
“Yeah, you are the one that gave her to me!” I said quietly as I walked down the steps, laughing. I then picked up Angel and loved on her, knowing that she was a gift from Jesus. I always knew that, but this morning I was reminded of how lucky I am to have this wonderful cat in my life.
Since the beginning of the year, it seems like I have been bombarded with quotes and pictures about red cardinals.
The first quote I saw was in January on my Facebook page. This quote, by Victoria McGovern, gave me great comfort:
“May you come to find comfort in and remember cardinals appear when angels are near. So go now, sit outside and drink your tea. Keep a look out for the little red bird – it is there, your loved one will be.”
This quote was accompanied by a picture of a beautiful male red cardinal in the snow. I immediately thought of my dad since he passed away in 2014, but I doubted that I would see any red cardinal since it was the middle of winter. At my home, I usually see finches or sparrows, but only in the spring/summer. It was a nice, fleeting thought, but I didn’t think much more about it.
About a week later, a friend of mine who is also an excellent writer and photographer posted a picture that he had taken that day. It was snowing, and two red cardinals, one male and one female, sat in the branches of a tree outside his window. I was stunned! I knew that this was a sign that angels were near. Again, I thought about my dad, and I told my mom what had happened which gave her great comfort.
A few weeks later, another post came across my Facebook page. Again, it was a picture of a male red cardinal. The quote read as follows:
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal.”
Once again, I thought about my dad and how no one can take away the memories I have of him. I remembered how he sat me on his lap and let me act like I was driving the car. I remembered how me held on to the back of my bicycle as I learned to ride while promising to not let go of the bike (even though he eventually did). I remembered how he taught me to calculate complex math problems for my school homework. I remembered how he wrestled with me and my brother and sister on the living room floor and had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. I thought about how none of these memories could ever be taken from me. I smiled.
A few days later, as I worked in my office, I looked up at my bookcase as I took a small break. My eyes immediately were drawn to a book that I had read last year – “The Gift of the Red Bird” by Paula D’Arcy. I thought about the red cardinal once again, and joy filled my heart.
Just about three weeks ago, I saw yet another post on my Facebook page. Again, it was a male red cardinal in the snow, and the quote was as follows:
“When a red cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven.”
Well, I don’t have a “yard” since I live in a townhouse. But, my mom has a nice big yard, and she loves to watch the birds in her backyard. She has a bird feeder that she keeps filled all the time, and the birds come often…that is if the squirrels don’t get to the feeder first. I called her and told her what I had just seen on Facebook and told her to keep an eye out for red cardinals in her yard.
A couple of days later, I again was surprised when I saw that another one of my good friends posted a picture that she had taken of a red cardinal in some tree branches. I didn’t have a yard, but that red cardinal somehow still managed to show up. Again, I smiled and thought of my dad.
That same day, I called my mom, and her first words were “You aren’t going to believe this!” As she sat on her deck that morning, she thought to herself, “I wonder if I will see a red cardinal today.” Not long after that, a female cardinal showed up in some bushes followed by a beautiful male red cardinal. She just couldn’t believe it, but she was so comforted. I was just shocked!
About two weeks ago, I went to visit my mom, and I stayed overnight. While we ate breakfast, we talked and looked outside through the bay window in her kitchen. Suddenly, a male and female red cardinal appeared near her bird feeder. It was probably the same pair that she saw just days earlier. The first thing that I noticed is that the male was such a bright red color and was absolutely gorgeous – probably the brightest red cardinal I had ever seen. We were both quite sure they were visitors from heaven – angels that had come to tell us that we were loved.
My mom’s birthday was March 1. On that morning, as she prepared her breakfast, she looked out the window only to see that gorgeous male red cardinal. But this time, he was sitting in the crape myrtle tree next to the house. This was my dad’s favorite tree. The cardinal looked directly at her and didn’t fly away. He just sat in the branches of my dad’s favorite tree and stared at her. It was a moment that she will never forget and is one of the best birthday gifts she has ever received. This was most certainly my dad sending his love from heaven.
Always be on the lookout for these “angels” from heaven. Love is being sent our way all the time, sometimes through the most simple and innocent of ways – we just have to slow down and look for it!
Well, I really don’t want to be involved in politics in any way. However, since the ugly behavior after this historic election has dipped into my religious beliefs (will explain in this blog), and I do like to blog on Christianity, I decided after thoughtful prayer that I must address the hate seen in America today. It affects Christianity because a lot of people who call themselves “Christian” are not acting in a Christian manner. This behavior may instill negative views about Christians, so I feel a need to clarify a few things, even going so far as to call out some of my fellow “Christians”. It’s a bit lengthy but worth the read in my opinion 🙂
Hypocrisy. Jesus warns us over and over again about hypocrisy throughout the gospels:
“You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to give it water?” Luke 13:15
“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others.” Matthew 6:2
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:5
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25
These are just a few.
So how does this relate to the election? Well, both sides are so quick to throw insults at the other side,but each candidate has their own long list of issues. I recently saw a meme of a woman crying, and it said “I argued with conservatives, they used facts”. Well, I will now present many facts showing that neither side should be throwing insults at anyone.
Let me start by saying that I did not support either Clinton or Trump during this election. I saw serious problems with both candidates. What bothers me most and the reason I decided to write this blog is that the amount of the hypocrisy and hate that is out there. And it is coming from both sides!
Let’s start with a little background on Hillary. Here is a list of issues that have concerned voters:
- Clinton Foundation issues – the pay-to-play scheme between Hillary and the Clinton Foundation has led to serious issues and concerns. There is a strong possibility of an indictment. Although Mrs. Clinton signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that she would not accept money from foreign governments during her years as Secretary of State, the Foundation did accept several million from seven different foreign governments. According to CNN, some e-mails between top Clinton aides were suspicious and added that these e-mails “raise questions about the Clinton Foundation’s influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure…” In October, 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI was collecting information about the Clinton Foundation to determine if there was any evidence of financial crimes.¹
- Whitewater scandal – tax evasion and fraud were found. Vince Foster, the primary legal council for the case, committed suicide which cast a very dark cloud over the Clintons and their involvement.
- E-mail scandal – Hillary’s use of a private e-mail server during her years as Secretary of State has led to a very prolonged investigation. Although she has been cleared as of now, questions still remain.
- Leaked e-mails show that there may have been some behind-the-scenes attempts to get Bernie Sanders out of the picture during the election process.
- Hillary told the story of how she was under sniper fire when she landed in Bosnia; however, the video of her exiting the plane clearly shows this not to be true.
- The Benghazi scandal – this was a very clear a and definite failure on the part of the State Department. She lied about the cause saying it was a result of an anti-Islam video. She was also able to skirt around taking responsibility for the loss of four lives during the attack.
- Bill Clinton’s sexual history – Juanita Broaddick accused Mr. Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s. She denied the rape for many years but recently accused him again. Paula Jones filed a lawsuit against him in 1994 in which she claims he exposed himself to her. During the deposition, Clinton denied having an affair with Monica Lewinsky which we all know now was a lie. The lawsuit ended with an out-of-court settlement. Kathleen Wiley claimed that Clinton had groped her, but her testimony was thrown out because it was determined that she had lied repeatedly.²
Now, here are the issues surrounding Trump:
- Trump Foundation issues – The Foundation gave $25,000 to the Florida Attorney General’s office (Pam Bondi) while she was reviewing fraud allegations against Trump University. Her office didn’t bring any charges against the Trump Foundation, and there is some concern that this may have been bribery. The Foundation used some of its money to settle legal disputes with Trump’s for-profit businesses, and some of the money may have also been used for political purposes during his presidential campaign. In October, they were ordered to cease fundraising for the Foundation because they were violating state law by soliciting donations without prior authorization.³
- Trump has used bankruptcy laws to get out of paying debt, leaving his workers to foot the bill. He also refuses to release his tax returns.
- Trump University – now defunct, the state of New York has filed a $40 million lawsuit stating that false claims were made and that the University defrauded people. Trump was found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license.
- Trump has been married three times and has had multiple affairs.
- Trump’s sexual issues – First of all, Trump himself admitted on a 2005 Howard Stern show that he entered the dressing rooms of beauty pageant contestants while they were undressing. Second – the October 2016 release of the audio clip from Access Hollywood caused a huge uproar when he made multiple inappropriate comments, particularly “grab them by the p***y”. Third, multiple women have accused him of sexual harrassment. Jill Harth filed a lawsuit in 1997 saying that Trump attempted to put his hands between her legs in 1992. She also states that he pushed her against the wall and tried to kiss her. The case was settled out of court. Jessica Leeds claimed that while on a flight (1980s), Trump attempted to put his hand up her skirt and grabbed her breast. In the 1990s, Kristen Anderson claimed he groped her at a Manhattan night club. And there are quite a few more.(4)
OK, so now that we have the background, let’s look at some of the mean, hateful things that are being posted around the internet. First we’ll do the anti-Hillary stuff:
- I’ve seen quite a few people refer to Hillary as narcissistic.
- REALLY?? Trump is the definition of narcissism. Clear hypocrisy.
- Someone was happy that a person was shot at the Azusa polling station in California, saying “At least they are killing CA liberals”.
- This one speaks for itself, but I will say it anyway – look in the mirror. Look at your own candidate!
- I can’t even count the number of times Hillary has been called “crooked”.
- I can agree as we all know she is corrupt, but look above at what Trump has done.
- “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
- “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged…” Matthew 7:1. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be judged by those measures. If you decide to judge either candidate, be my guest. I would be careful, though, especially when both candidates have such a long history of issues….
- There’s a meme which says “Hi, I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. Why don’t you take a seat?” There is a picture with Hillary walking in the room.
- We could EASILY put Trump’s picture in place of Hillary’s picture. Clear hypocrisy.
- Another meme – Picture of Hillary and it says “This loser will never be president. Get over it losers.”
- Let’s remember this Bible verse: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
- Picture of Hillary with the caption, “Satan, why have you forsaken me?”
- Again, look at the list of issues above regarding Donald Trump.
- Again,“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
- Another meme – “Pro-God, Pro-Country, Pro-Life, Proud to be Pro-Trump, 2016”.
- Pro-God? Jesus preaches kindness and compassion. Where is Trump’s compassion when he makes fun of a disabled person? Where is his kindness when he calls people “weak” or “a disaster” when they don’t agree with him (which, BTW, is also extremely narcissistic)?
Now for the anti-Trump comments:
- I saw a sweatshirt with the following statement: “Trump sucks. If you like Trump, you suck too.”
- REALLY?? Look at Hillary’s list of issues above.
- Many make fun of his hair and the orange-colored makeup on his face.
- All I can say is let’s remain focused on the issues. This is nit-picking and not necessary.
- There is a Wizard of Oz meme saying that Trump “doesn’t have a brain”.
- Again, not necessary. We need to stick to the issues.
- I saw a news report where a Chicago man was beaten and his car was stolen, all because he voted for Trump.
- Awful!!! We as Americans have the right to vote as we wish without the threat of violence.
- There are some people who are carrying around “Kill Trump” signs during the protests.
- Any threat of violence is unacceptable and should never be tolerated.
- I know of someone who was called “racist” for voting for Trump.
- Putting everyone in one big category is just wrong. Yes, there are racists out there, but just because someone voted for Trump doesn’t mean he/she is automatically a racist. Some that voted for him did so because of the Supreme Court as they want more conservative judges to occupy those positions. They are not hateful, racist bigots.
- I read that the CEO of GrubHub told his employees that if they supported Trump, they need to resign.
- This again is unacceptable and just plain wrong. We live in a democracy, and we all have the right to vote as we wish.
Now, to finish out this blog, I want to address how religion ties into all of this.
Neither Clinton nor Trump supporters really have any right to throw insults at the other candidate. Each candidate has baggage, and to finger-point is completely and totally hypocritical on both sides.
I know that some people were told to vote for Trump in order to get conservative judges in the Supreme Court. I do understand this reasoning as I struggled with it as well. It was a very real concern, and that is one reason why I am happy that Trump is now president. But that’s the only reason.
Franklin Graham recently made this statement: “I believe God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic, progressive agenda from taking control.” This statement does not make sense nor does it support Christianity. Donald Trump is an adulterer, a self-proclaimed greedy man, and someone who has left the small businessman out in the cold by filing bankruptcy even though he has billions. Take a look again at the list above. Does this man really sound like the type of person Jesus calls us to be?? Of course not. Franklin, I would re-think that comment. Wayne Grudem called Trump a “flawed candidate”, but thankfully he stated that he regretted that comment and he changed his opinion, asking for Trump to drop out of the race prior to the election. Sin is sin, and immorality is immorality. You cannot call someone a sinner and then turn around and call someone else “flawed”. Again, that is hypocrisy.
Politifact states that Trump’s statements are verifiably false 76% of the time (DallasNews.com), so we can safely say that Trump lies. Whatever happened to “Thou shalt not lie?” For all those who praised God for the election of Donald Trump, did you conveniently forget all the sins this man has committed? Yes, I do believe in forgiveness, but this man hasn’t repented as far as I can tell. He needs to truly apologize, especially to women (not saying it’s just locker room talk) and to the disabled. According to what is written in the Bible (and that’s all I can go on), I would venture to say that God isn’t happy with either of the candidates. I would bet He isn’t happy with America. Why?? Because none of us can get out of our own way to actually see the truth, and the truth is that we are all hypocrites.
Jesus taught us to be kind. He gave us the Ten Commandments which He expects us to follow. He expects us to love one another. To love our neighbors as ourselves. Christianity is centered around kindness, mercy, forgiveness, empathy, love, and faith. So-called “Christians” who can do nothing more than send out a constant stream of hateful posts, messages, videos, etc. are not practicing true Christianity. I don’t want those who are not Christian to look at us and think “what hypocrites!” Many do, and it’s the result of this kind of behavior. I want these non-Christians to know that true Christianity does not condone this kind of behavior. Jesus NEVER taught us that violence, distasteful comments, hateful memes, gloating over an election win, lying, adultery, etc. was alright. It is NEVER alright. We are to love each other just as God loves us and we are to follow His commands. I am ashamed at the behavior of some of the American citizens right now, especially those who say they are Christian but don’t act it. I think it’s time for people to stand back, look at all the facts, think about what they have done and then re-evaluate their behavior. We need to act like true Christians, not hateful hypocrites.
The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright ©1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.
When I pray, I always ask God to speak to me through His Word. When I open the Bible, I assume that God has me open it to whatever I am supposed to read that day. I have always done this, and I usually read something that really speaks to me that day. This is just the way I do it, and it works for me.
Today as I prayed, I felt like God was asking me to be silent. To just sit in His presence and listen to His still small voice. I have read some books recently which taught me this concept, and today, I felt like I just needed to listen to Him. Well, something came to my mind almost immediately. This had been in the back of my mind for a long time, but today, I felt as if God wanted me to delve in and understand this event in my life on a deeper level.
In 2011, just months before I found out that my husband had been having an affair, I began to have dreams that I was divorced. If you have read any of my past blogs, you will know that I had occasions of premonitions through dreams. My dad had this happen to him too – he dreamed that his brother was killed in a car accident, and a week later, it actually happened.
The first time I dreamed I was divorced, I just blew it off. I woke up thinking how ridiculous the dream was as I had no intention of ever getting divorced. When the second dream happened, I was a little bothered and wondered why in the world I would dream about something so crazy. When it happened a third time, I woke up confused and worried. I told my husband about the dream, and I asked him point-blank if he was going to divorce me. Although he denied that he would ever divorce me, his response was anything but convincing.
If that isn’t strange enough, around that same time, another amazing thing happened (although I didn’t understand it at the time). On at least three occasions while falling asleep, I audibly heard a voice say “Maria!” I opened my eyes, sure someone was calling my name, but no one was there. My husband was asleep next to me, and he didn’t move at all so I thought I had dreamed it. When it happened again, I thought that maybe it was an angel or even God trying to say something to me. Each time, I heard “Maria!”, clear as day, and when I opened my eyes, no one was there. My husband never moved, so clearly, he never heard it.
As I thought about these events this morning, I wondered if this was some kind of warning about what was going to happen to me later in 2011 when I found out about the affair. Was that God’s voice speaking to me?
I opened my Bible to Isaiah 41:
“Listen to me in silence…” Isaiah 41:1
This was interesting enough. But it went on:
“Do not fear for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Yes, all who are incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced….For I, the Lord your God hold your right hand. It is I who say to you, “Do not fear. I will help you.” Isaiah 41: 10-13
When I look back on these events, I now know that God was right there. I believe He was telling me that He was watching everything, and he knew every detail of the affair even when I had no idea what was happening. I believe this was His way of telling me that He never left my side during that time, and that even though I was going to be divorced, He would bring me through it. Even though I was about to go through hell and be yanked out of the life I knew, He would ensure that I would get through it and would end up in a much better place.
Always know that God sees EVERYTHING. He sees everything that is done in secret. He knows every insult, every lie, every betrayal….everything. Nothing can be hidden from God. On the other hand, He feels every single pain of betrayal. He sees every teardrop, feels every hurt, and goes through all the suffering with us. Remember – God was betrayed by Judas. He knows full well the pain of betrayal of someone who He believed loved Him.
He will always be with you, even when you think He isn’t there. God never leaves our side…EVER! As it is written in Isaiah 41:13, “Do not fear. I will help you.”
Yesterday morning, as I was channel surfing while eating breakfast, I once again stumbled across Andrew Wommack’s show. This time, he was teaching about prayer. I listened for a few minutes but was so disgusted by his remarks that I quickly turned off the television. Just now, I decided to listen to a little bit more of speech on prayer online because I wanted to address his remarks in this blog.
I was raised Catholic. Although I currently attend a non-denominational church, Catholicism is near and dear to my heart. I personally don’t believe there is any one “right” religion – I believe it depends upon what is truly in your heart and soul. Some of the finest people I have ever known were Catholic, so I’m sure you will understand when this man insulted Catholics during his show on Monday. No, he didn’t actually say the word “Catholic” – he actually said that he didn’t want to point out any one group, but he talked about how some Christians would use beads and say the Hail Mary repeatedly and how this wasn’t real prayer. Clearly, he is referring to Catholics. His attempt at saying he didn’t want to point out any one group was pathetic and just plain mean. We all know who he is talking about. He went on to say that some prayer is bad if it isn’t done “correctly”. He talked about how prayers aren’t answered because we aren’t praying the right way.
First and foremost, I would like to point out that Andrew Wommack isn’t God! He cannot say at all if someone’s prayers are right or wrong. Only GOD know what is in someone’s heart. Only GOD knows how someone was raised and what they were taught. Only GOD decides if a prayer is genuine or not. Andrew Wommack doesn’t get to decide how you must pray. If you reach out to God with all your heart and soul, He will respond. He doesn’t need anyone’s permission here on earth. Don’t be deceived by this man.
Second, it is of utmost importance to not compartmentalize religious groups – any group, really. I have been very active in the Catholic church, especially in my youth. Yes, there are some bad people, but there are many, many wonderful people in this denomination who believe in Jesus with their whole heart, mind, and soul. What about Mother Teresa? What about Padre Pio? Andrew – are you really saying that these two people, both of them Catholic and both who prayed the rosary constantly, were not really praying? Are you saying that their prayers weren’t heard by God? You’ve got to be kidding! And there are so many other examples! There are bad and good people in every religion. Judging an entire group of people based on the actions of a few is very dangerous. Remember, Andrew – the Bible also says “Do not judge lest ye be judged”.
Third, it is extremely important to realize that prayer will not always be answered according to how you think it should be answered. Sometimes what you are asking for is not God’s will for you. Andrew leads you to believe that if you pray a certain way, your prayers will be answered according to how you want them answered, and that is just not true. The key is that you pray, just as God taught us to, and then you submit to His will. His will may not be the same as your will, but you have to trust in Him.
I believe it is a very dangerous teaching to tell others that they must pray in a certain way or God won’t hear their prayers. If the prayer is truly coming from your heart and you believe in Him with all your heart and soul, He will listen, no matter how you pray. Remember – Jesus himself taught us how to pray through the Lord’s Prayer. He wants us to pray – listen to Jesus, not Andrew.
Finally, Andrew tells of a story where a woman asks him to pray for her husband. Andrew said “no” because in his mind, this lady wasn’t praying the right way. This is horrible. We should all pray for one another, no matter what. It is not up to us to judge how someone else talks to God. Shame on you, Andrew Wommack!