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Only in America

1 Jul

I read some funny “Only in America” quotes on a political joke archive:

  • Only in America. This country is so accommodating. There are handicapped parking places everywhere, even in front of a skating rink.
  • Only in America… do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet Coke.
  • Only in America… do we buy ourselves answering machines to screen calls, and then have ‘call waiting’ so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to converse with in the first place.
  • Only in America… do we have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.
  • Only in America… do banks leave both doors to the vault open, and then chain the pens to the counters.
  • Only in America… do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten, and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America … but I’d rather be in America than any country on earth.

Travel anywhere in the world … see the beautiful sites and interesting cultures … and you’ll still get a lump in your throat as you return home.

Home

“This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through,” says the old Gospel song. Yes, heaven is my true home (John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9; Philippians 1:21-23; 3:20-21), but as long as I’m alive on this earth, America will always be special. I love to sing “God bless America, my home sweet home….”

Only in America …

As I’ve been thinking about that phrase all week, my mind focused on “The Four Freedoms.”

An engraving on a wall at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC, bears the four freedoms we celebrate in our country.*

President Roosevelt articulated these goals in 1941 in his January 6 State of the Union Address, proposing four fundamental freedoms that he thought people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy. By stating these freedoms, he went beyond the US Constitution’s values ~ the first two freedoms protected by the First Amendment ~ to include values he felt were important to human security.

Roosevelt envisioned a world where freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want (economic understandings and security), and freedom from fear (which in his mind translated into worldwide reduction of armaments).  “That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb,” Franklin said.

Roosevelt’s speech was later represented by artist Norman Rockwell in his series ofFour Freedoms paintings, published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943.

I thought about these four freedoms and how they relate to scriptural truth.I believe that it is the Truth of God’s Word that brings the freedom our hearts crave.

First, let me say that there are no guarantees of any of these freedoms in this sin-corrupted world. Humans sometimes have the nasty habit of being nasty to each other and robbing each other of the dignity and beauty God created us to bear as well as the good gifts He provides.

Roosevelt expressed some guiding principles for peace as the world seemed to crumble in the 1940s. But long before this, God gave us His Word to show us how we could realize the deepest desires of our hearts ~ including the desire for freedom. True freedom is never freedom from God; it is freedom found in God.

Freedom of Speech and Expression ~ God created us with the ability to speak and express ourselves. He didn’t want silent puppets. He wanted people who can talk to Him (our part in prayer). He wanted us to express our hearts and thoughts to Him, and God wants to interact with us. He wants us to listen, too. Imagine the freedom of sweet communication with Him and with others in the family of God.

Freedom of Worship ~ God created us to worship Him. Yes, we were designed for worship. We will all worship something or someone. God is the only one, however, who deserves our worship and praise. Imagine the freedom of perfect worship before the Creator who loves you and delights in you.

Freedom from Want ~ God created mankind to enjoy Him in the Garden of Eden, and He provided all that the first man and woman needed (food, a perfect environment,  companionship, meaningful work, etc.), and God is still our Ultimate Provider Imagine the freedom of walking with God, knowing all your needs are met. 

Freedom from Fear ~ God did not create us to fear. The scriptures tell us that perfect love casts out fear, and God created us to know His perfect love. He sent His Son to show us how much He loves us. He asks us to cast all our anxieties on Him ~ all our worries and fears, because He cares about us. Imagine the freedom of childlike trust and complete freedom from all fear.

We do not have to simply imagine these things, Friends. We were created to experience and enjoy these great freedoms. Sin, Satan and selfishness rob us of those blessings, but when we return to our Father God, He redeems our lives and restores these freedoms and many more.

It is the truth that sets us free; and we come to the Father through Jesus, who embodies “the truth.”

True freedom is in Christ, and we are not to live in bondage to sin. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)

Yes, we celebrate America’s Independence and all our freedoms on July 4th; but the truth is … it is not “only in America” that we experience these great freedoms. We enjoy the best blessings of freedom when our citizenship is in heaven, our true home.

 

* Photo, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic; Wikimedia Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FDR_Memorial_wall.jpg; original photographer unknown.

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Announcement from Pam and Dawn

1 Nov

Most of our readers think of humor when they think of our book, LOL with God, but there’s a lot of hope in the book, too!

Pam has already ministered in many kinds of places where she offers help and hope to women; and for some time, the Lord has burdened me (Dawn) with a desire to reach women in prisons. But God has never given me the opportunity to go through those prison doors.

I’ve been praying for a way to make a difference with our book, LOL with God: Devotional Messages of Hope and Woman in PrisonHumor for Women. This summer, the Lord allowed me to speak with two different women about the possibility of placing our book in the hands of women in prison or with wives of inmates.

Right after Thanksgiving, Pam and I will present a special FUNdraising event of “Humor, Heart, and Hope.” Both Pam and I will speak, and there will be some fun interludes, but the “heart” of this event is to raise funds to purchase books for two ministries ~ one local and one national ~ that have prison ministry outreaches.

The event ~ sponsored by Rock Church Prison Ministry and Blended Step Families ~ will be held from 7-8:30pm on Monday, November 28, at The Rock Church in San Diego (Room 232).

Admission is $5, and we will also take an offering to benefit those impacted by the prison The Bible in Prisonministries of the Rock Church and also Speak Up for Hope.

The Word of God makes a difference behind bars … and LOL with God is an ice-breaker to get women into the Word who might never open a Bible otherwise.

Only in Christ will these women find the freedom, peace, hope, and joy that their souls seek.

Please PRAY for this event, and for Pam and me. But we also hope you will consider JOINING US if you live in San Diego County.

This is a wonderful way to express some post-Thanksgiving Day gratitude to God for how He has given YOU hope in Christ! Help us bring hope and joy to women who need it ~ just like you!

For more information, visit http://www.love-wise.com/LOL or call 1-800-810-4449.

[Note: no child-care]

Oops. Caught in a Lie!

4 Apr

“Two guys were taking Chemistry at the University of Mississippi. They did pretty well on all of the quizzes and the midterms and labs, such that going into the final they had a solid “A”. These two friends were so confident going into the final that the weekend before finals week (even though the Chemistry final was on Monday), they decided to go up to the University of Tennessee and party with some friends.

“… They overslept all day Sunday and didn’t make it back to Mississippi until early Monday morning. Rather than taking the final then, they found their professor after the final to explain to him why they missed the final.

“They told him that they went up to the University of Tennessee for the weekend, and had planned to come back in time to study, but that they had a flat tire on the way back, and … so they were late in getting back to campus.

“The professor thought this over and told them they could make up the final on the following day. The two guys were elated and relieved. They studied that night and went in the next day for the final.

Chemical Formula“The professor placed them in separate rooms, and handed each of them a test booklet and told them to begin. They looked at the first problem, which was worth 5 points. It was something simple about Molarity & Solutions.

“‘Cool ,’ they thought. ‘This is going to be easy.’ They did that problem and then turned the page.

“They were not prepared, however, for what they saw on this page. It said:

(95 Points). WHICH TIRE?” *

Is the scripture verse, “Be sure your sins will find you out?” ringing in your ears right now? (Numbers 32:23. See also Cain’s secret sin, that was exposed ~ Genesis 4:8-10.)

I (Dawn) laughed as I read Bill and Pam’s account of their son’s stubborn lie in their book, The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make. On pages 36-38, they tell the story of little Zach, age four, who grabbed some goodies out of an ice chest before dinner ~ though he had been instructed not to eat any more before dinner.

Pam caught him with stuffed cheeks, and said, “Zach, tell me the truth. Did you eat more chocolate after I told you not to?”

With a chocolate ring around his mouth, he shook his head no. The next two pages detail Pam and Bill’s efforts to get stubborn Zach to admit his act of disobedience and his continuing lie.

They tried repeatedly, pleading with him to tell the truth and praying that God’s Spirit would help by working on “his stony little heart.” Finally, after being put into a time out alone ~ a strategy that worked better than a spanking on this people-loving little guy ~ after an hour, Zach confessed. Pam thanked him, told him that she forgave him, and took him to Bill to make the same confession. Then they loved on their little boy.

Bob and I had a similar situation with our son Michael when he was almost four. I remember sitting on the end of the bed, Continue reading

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