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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We Have Hope

"Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable, it begins to be useful." -G.K. Chesterton


Uganda is a country that has committed so much wickedness. 


Uganda is a country full of witch doctors.


It's a country where ritual child sacrifice increased by over 800% between the years of 2007 and 2008....


But, last week, something miraculous happened in Uganda. 


During the celebration of Uganda's 50th anniversary of independence from Britain, the president, Yoweri Museveni, publicly confessed his own sin and the sin of the nation of Uganda. 


"I stand here today," he prayed. "To close the evil past, and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask you for your forgiveness....We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue, and betrayal."


And then, he did something beautiful. Before his people, the president of Uganda dedicated his country to God.

"We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord A people you have chosen as your own." 

We have hope in our country. No matter how horrible things look; no matter how dark the night; no matter how evil men are, our God's love never fails and He is faithful. Stories like Museveni's just remind us how powerful God really is. We need reminders. We forget so easily. 



http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/ugandan-president-repents-of-personal-national-sins/


The Piano Guys

Okay. This is amazing. Enough said :)



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Autumn

It's the middle of November. . . I can hardly believe it!

It means that, even down here in the south, it's actually getting a little nippy outside. I can't go out without at least a sweater anymore.

It's been a great season so far. We went apple picking with good friends.  We had a Reformation celebration. We went to a birthday party last weekend, where we played games, went on a hayride, and danced. We roasted marshmallows.

The leaves are turning.

It will be Thanksgiving before we know it.

And then Christmas after that.

It's so easy to just let the busyness in your life cause everything to speed by. But I'm determined not to let that happen. You can slow things down by just enjoying every moment; really living every moment. Not spending your time wishing something else were happening, because there are blessings all around you with every breath you take. Enjoy the chilly air. Have bonfires. Watch the leaves fall, and relish their crispness under your feet. Drink lots of apple cider and hot chocolate.

Happy Autumn! :)










Tuesday, November 13, 2012

World-Changers



      
“When people stop believing in God, the problem is not that they believe in nothing, but that they believe in everything.” -Chesterton


        People used to believe in progress. Beginning in the 1600s and throughout the next three centuries, until about 1960, everyone was very excited about the new things that were happening and the new ideas that were being unearthed. They were what we now call "Modernists."

       Modernism really began with the printing press.


When people realized how easy it could be to write books, they went wild. Literacy sky-rocketed. This had some good consequences. . . as well as some very bad ones. More people could read, obviously. And that's a good thing. And since more people could read, they realized that they didn't need the priests to read the Bible for them anymore. Now that, in and of itself, is a good thing. However, this also meant that the people reading the Bible began interpreting it in different ways. This time of expansion and progress is what we call the "Age of Exploration." People were so excited. New things were happening. Never before in history had we discovered so much information in such a short span of time. In the past, it was relatively easy to learn everything there was to know about everything before you died. But now, that was becoming completely impossible. We were realizing that there was just far too much to know. We started having to pick and choose what we wanted to spend our lives learning. People began to learn more and more. . . about less and less.

       People were very excited about the dawn of the twentieth century. Everyone believed that since we had learned so much in the past few centuries, that this one would be the most progressive century in the history of the world. . . well, almost everyone. Frederick Nietzsche, on the other hand, ominously prophesied that it wouldn't be all sunshine and flowers and new inventions: "The story I have to tell, is the history of the next two centuries...For a long time now our whole civilization has been driving, with a tortured intensity growing from decade to decade, as if towards a catastrophe. Where we live, soon nobody will be able to exist. There will be wars such as have never been waged on earth. Chaos everywhere. Nothing left which is of any value; nothing which commands: Thou shalt!" And he wasn't saying that would be a bad thing, either. On the contrary, he was excited too. But he was more realistic about what the actual process and outcome would be.

       And he was right, too. The 20th century turned out to be the bloodiest, and the most depraved, in the history of the world.







  



More people died and more wars were fought than ever before. This was because people had "killed" God, as Nietzsche said. They had tried to take God out of the picture....and this was the result.
     
       The horrors of 20th century left the people in confusion and despondency. What had happened? All of their grand hopes and dreams had been dashed. People became cynical and cold. They were skeptical of all knowledge and began to believe that you cannot know anything for certain; that there isn't really any truth at all, only interpretations. This, of course, led to the belief that right and wrong did not exist either. Progress became an illusion, in their minds. Life. . . was just random. Identity is always changing; never constant: You are whoever you make yourself. And all of these beliefs stem from the one, big, important belief that there is no big story to life. There are only little stories. Big stories leave people out. An example of this idea, would be that if there is no "big story" for marriage; who's to say that a marriage is a "formal union of a man and a woman"...? Why can't marriage be a union between two willing people of any gender? If there is no big story, then what's true for one couple may not be true for another couple. Postmodernists want us to spend our little individual lives in our little individual worlds living our little individual stories.

This thinking completely and utterly goes against God's will for mankind. The Bible tells us that we can, and should, be certain of some things: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1).
     
Jesus tells us that Truth is a very real thing; that He, Himself, is Truth: "And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
   
In the Bible, we are taught very clearly that right and wrong do exist. We were given Ten Commandments to obey; why would we need to follow a standard of morality, if there wasn't any right or wrong? Also, Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." This verse clearly tells us that there is a right side and a wrong side; or a light side and a dark side. And that we have to be discerning to decide which things are good and which things are bad.
     
Life, for the Christian, is not meaningless. Instead we have been created for a great purpose: "For this is My Father's will and His purpose, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)
     
Christians have also been given a very specific, and special, identity in Christ. "...You are a chosen raice, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)
     
And, finally, there is most certainly a big story for Christians. And it's a good story; That doesn't mean it's always a happy story. But it's good, because light triumphs over darkness in the end.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice coming from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will the with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be any mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away....Behold I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:1-5)


       Postmodernism is very prevalent in our culture today. You can see its effect in our art, in our literature, in our education, in our families. . .
     
       It has been proven that no society has ever survived after the family collapsed. We have to take that very seriously, because just look around you at our culture today. Our families are deteriorating; they are literally falling apart. We don't even really know what a family is anymore. We are trying to prove that the dad is an unnecessary part of the family; and extra wheel that we can dispose of. We keep kids away from their parents as much as possible; even every Sunday at church, for the Christians. Moms go to work everyday, and intrust the care of their children to people they don't even know. Home is just a place for a pit stop; it's where you sleep and grab some breakfast. And then you rush out the door again to wherever you really live your life, whether it's school or work or somewhere else.

       It's hard to push against the tide, but we have to. It has been said that whoever controls the school, rules the world. I would agree. And in other words, I would say that, whoever has control of what our children are learning, and of what environment they are in everyday, dictates what kind of people the next generation will be. Our culture desperately needs families who will raise up their children to be arrows in their hand; families who seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We can be those families. If you are faithful and pursue Truth with everything you have; if you pass a strong legacy of traditional and Biblical values on to your children, and they, in turn, pass this legacy on to their children, and they pass it on to their children, and to the children after that, then you, through obedience and faithfulness, will have raised up Godly generations, ready to fulfill God's purposes for them. And ready to further His Kingdom.

Faithfulness can change the world. . . .



~allie

     

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Out of These Ashes. . .

     Well, folks, looks like we have Obama for another four years. I must admit, I was quite depressed last night when I heard that he had been re-elected. Why? How in the world were there enough blinded people in our country to elect a man like that. . .not once, but twice? We have just thrown away everything that our founding fathers fought for. How infinitely ungrateful.
   
     They say that everything looks better in the morning. . .and I suppose that it's partly true. I am looking at things somewhat differently, this morning. I am still so disappointed in Americans; disappointed that we have re-elected this man. But at the same time, I am hopeful.

       G.K. Chesterton once said, "Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all...As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength."
     
       Things definitely seem pretty hopeless right now. But that doesn't mean that God has forgotten us, or that He doesn't have absolute control of the situation. Everything that happens, including the re-election of Barak Obama, is part of God's Story. When we are in a place where we have nothing left to cling to except God, then we are in a good place. We can't see right now how it all works together. It's like we're trying to see a beautiful painting...with our faces right up against it. All we can see right now is the part that is directly in front of our faces, as we move slowly along the length of the painting. Some places are dark and gloomy and we may wonder why the Artist would put something ugly in his painting. But, in order to see the beauty and magnificence of the painting, we have to be able to see it as a whole; we have to step back and admire the whole thing at once. Then, we see how the dark places fit in with the light, colorful places; we see that without the dark places, the painting wouldn't be nearly as wonderful. We can't step back right now, but we just have to trust God that it's a good story. After all, we do already know which side wins :)




"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3)


~allie