Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Freedom Isn't Free

As I reflect upon the approaching holiday, (Friday will be the 4th of July)I can't help but focus upon freedom and it's cost. I think as a whole, we are slowly losing perspective on what it really costs for us to be free. Sometimes, as Americans, we seem to trample on the grace that freedom really allows us. For instance....there has been an awful lot of discussions about Hobby Lobby on Facebook lately. They won their Supreme Court case against being forced to pay for abortions dealing with insurance. People are appalled at this decision....yet they should be down on their knees thanking God that the Supreme Court will still allow some of these freedoms. We have the right to open businesses and choose how we run them. We still have our right to bear arms...but for how long. America is slowly being indoctrinated by the media and government that it is a good thing to slowly give up all of their constitutional rights and have mandated rules and regulations (not by the people) but by whoever the people in charge feels is necessary to do to get the people to all mindlessly follow. If we speak out, and try to fight against our rights slowly being taken away, we are sometimes even condemned by our own peers. And believe me, if the word "Christian" or "religious" happens to be attached to it in some way, there doesn't seem to be much tolerance at all. It won't be long (already happening to some degree), when church denominations will not be allowed to exist because,their differences are too offensive or divisive. We are entering a socialist world view. Is that what America really wants to become? Is that what you really want to see happen? Because we are only about one generation away from becoming that. America has become fat, selfish individuals who want more, more, and more! We are living in a material world and only crying injustice if it affects something that we happen to care about. We donate billions of dollars to save the puppies, whales, seals, owls, prairie dogs etc, then turn around and donate and support pro-choice institutions, killing our future the pretense that this is about the women, ignoring the fact that this is a real baby. Now, don't get me wrong, we should be taking care of the earth and of women and all the other things....but where is our perspective? What is happening to our hearts? Why are we becoming so callous and selfish? Millions of men and women and eighteen year old boys have died for the freedom of America and it's almost like Americans are yelling at their graves.."Well, we didn't ask you to!" But do you realize that in order for you to be able to have the right to do the things you can.....your freedom, America's freedom, cost them their lives. Why are we so abusing the grace of this freedom? Yes! It is your right.....because as of today...we are still free! But how much longer do you have before the doors burst open and you surrender all your rights and become slaves to the government or worse the United Nations. Pornography is running rampant in our country...yet we are still free to choose to look at it. We should take pride in our country....but we still have the freedom to burn the flag and bash our president. We can post some of the most disgusting things on Facebook and utilize our Freedom of Speech in whatever foul way we want....because there was a cost to this freedom. We still live in a land that allows you the freedom to pretty much "do whatever you want". We are seeing this freedom implemented in Colorado with the legalization of pot and the same sex marriages. We can still go to church and talk about God (although it's getting harder to talk about Jesus). Guess that name has a little too much divisiveness and intolerance attached to it. I guess what I'm really saying is....think about the freedoms and opportunities that affords you to pursue your dreams and desires (whether they be honorable or dishonorable) to the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for you to enjoy this freedom at this very moment! Please, take this freedom seriously! Don't be willing to sell your birthright (America's freedom) for a bowl of soup! Don't trample the grace that allows you the freedom to live life abundantly. Freedom isn't free! There is always a cost or a sacrifice involved. This fourth of July.....Enjoy Your may not be here tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Parable of the Playground of Life my parable begins...."Life is like a teeter-totter. Sometimes you are up. feet swinging underneath you, laughing and giggling,....and sometimes you are down....bumping on the ground with a swack! And so life goes...Up! Down! Up! Down! And if you are going to stay on the ride....that is how it goes. When you are young and unhindered by are light and free and spend most of your time in the air. You just don't understand the weightiness of how the game works. But as the heaviness of life begins to take it's toll, you spend an awful lot of life sitting on the low end wondering when it will be your turn to be lifted up again. You begin to learn that only someone with weightier problems than yours are really able to lift you up.....and so rather than deal with all their wisdom along with their burdens, I felt it was time to hop off of the teeter totter and move on to the next ride. I probably dropped the ball, when I let that teeter totter drop, maybe even hurt someone on the other end, but I didn't think much of it. After all, there are places to go and people to I ran on. I hadn't minded the ups so much, but those downs of life became too much for me to handle....I ran to the Merry Go Round. This looked more my speed and I loved the music. The carousel is an endless ride around and around, and it goes slow enough for even the most unadventurous. For awhile, I was enamored by it's hypnotizing lull and smooth ride....but in actuality, you never really go anywhere on the Merry-Go-Round. The journey is the same day in and day out I began to get bored with it. You just keep passing by the same people in the same ruts and the scenery never changes. How much can you learn about life on an eternal road to nowhere? I glanced a few times at the gigantic slippery slide, although it's promise of adventure looked very scary to me. And matter how high you eventually have to come down a slippery path to where??? I'm not much of a thrill seeker. I like things that are safe. I'm seeing a pattern here, I think. Adventure can get you to a higher plane, and the exhilaration might be worth the risk, but always involves more than you are willing to give, or fear that won't allow you to give it. So I passed it by, at least for now. Was their nothing in this playground of life for me to enjoy? I did stop to smell a couple of flowers on my way to the swing set, but again, I remembered that these, too, must die. I did swing for a couple of minutes, but not too high, and not too long. After all, life wasn't meant to be fun....was it? It just seemed selfish of me to do what I, I didn't. I can still feel the breeze blowing through my hair and hear the giggle that rose in my throat. I felt free! For a moment, I forgot the worries of life and just enjoyed being! I decided that I like the swings....but it seemed to me like pleasure brought with it, guilt. How sad to want to soar in a swing, but feeling the pleasure and enjoyment of it is wrong. I went and sat down by the biggest tree in the park and cried! I cried for things that can never be, and I wept for things and the way they are. I yearned to be a child again, but alas, I am not. I am growing old. I have forgotten what a playground (or life) if you will, is really meant for. I have strayed away from the very thing it was created to be. The wonderment of little eyes, the tiny barefooted freedom of the green grass or squishy mud between your toes. The awe of a child's hands that explore, and grasp, and feel. Oh, and especially the ears that hear the wind whisper it's secrets from an ever present Creator who runs and plays next to me. I am my Father's child, although I am already fifty-five. He still sees me as if I were the newborn baby in my mother's arms. As the ups and downs of life weigh heavy on these fifty-five year old shoulders crying under the tree, Jesus came to me in my sadness and lifted me to my feet. Grabbing my hand, he pulls me to my feet. "Come play with Me," He says with an impish grin. He drags me to the slide first and tells me He has my back. The way looks steep....but He is right behind me. We giggle and laugh as the speed of the slope takes me to the bottom. He sits on the teeter totter and I am high in the air waving my feet and smiling. "Will there be bumps?" I ask warily. "Yes," He replies, "but I will be there to pick you up and brush you off. And at the end of life's ride....I will be there waiting for you to come play with Me in the kingdom My Father and I have created." He starts to leave me, and I cry out to Him. "I can't do this alone! This playground is too hard! Too many ups and downs! Too much loneliness and sadness. And Jesus, I say, "Things DIE here. It hurts when you have bumps. Sometimes, the pain is unbearable to my heart. I have so many questions...Why? Please, don't leave me. The playground is getting darker all the time." Jesus looked at me with sadness in His eyes. "In this world you will have troubles, Cathy. But rest assured, little one, I have overcome the world." Jesus motioned again for me to follow Him. "Come, it is my pleasure to give you the kingdom." I started to follow at a distance, than began running to catch up with him. I smiled as He began skipping. It's funny...although my weary old body couldn't skip very spirit began to skip...and it didn't take long for my heart and soul to follow.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Playing Catch Up

Holy cow! I haven't been on here in a very long time. I still love that isn't the problem. A lot has been going on in the year it has been since I last wrote. My husband, Gregg, had a pacemaker put in in December of 2012 and then in May of 2013, he had an ablation of the heart, which is surgery where they burn around the heart in order to stop the atrial fibrillation. He had some problems early on, but we just went for his appointment on April 2014 (Year) and he is doing really well and gaining his strength back. It's been a long haul, though. They make it sound easier than what it actually don't buy the talk that it is a piece of cake. It isn't. Then our youngest daughter had a complicated pregnancy. She was told that the baby has downs syndrome and delivered a month early on April 23rd. After 3 days of doing okay, the baby had to be flown to Denver. After a week in the NICU with really high jaundice count and really low platelet count, she is finally rallying around. Things are looking up! Our faith has been tested and hopefully proven true, however, I must confess that I got a little testy with God a few times. I will feel much better down the road a little farther, however Aspen Ariya is a beautiful gift from God and we are so grateful for her. Mostly, you just see how kind and loving all your friends and community are and how all the prayers said on her behalf are so important to you when you are going through something like that. So, I guess, I would have to say that we have had our fair share of prayers lifted up lately. We have seen love come in the form of kind words, gifts, money, and prayers. Facebook really shows you how many people and connections you have in the time of need. Both experiences have shown me how important it is for me to be in tuned to others' needs at critical times in their lives, also.
Anyway, welcome to our family, Aspen! I can't wait to learn so much from you. And to my blogger friends.......I've really missed talking to you. I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Breaking the Silence!

The Supreme Court has spoken. Today will go down in history as the day same sex marriage became legal and recognized as acceptable. A lot of my facebook friends will say, "It's about time." "People have the right to love whom they want." "It's no one's business what people do in their own bedrooms." And I thank God that we are still in a free country and able to have the freedom of speech to be able to express our opinions. However, I am noticing an interesting trend here.....that freedom of speech is somehow not intended for Christians. Christians are called horrendous names and do not seem to have the right to share their opinions with the world. So, for the most part, because I love my facebook friends, I "tolerate" the f-bombs, the crude jokes and pictures, the political agenda of the "gays", the demeaning Obama comments, the recipe lovers, the cat lovers, the cowboys, the drinkers, the gun toting conservatives, the "post if you love Jesus and ignore if you love Satan"....posts! Because that is what this country is all about! The freedom to have a voice and be heard. And so, as long as freedom is still an option in this country...I am going to play my freedom card and share my own for a moment. This should not make me intolerant, a hate monger, a narrow minded bigot, or a bible thumper. It should make me an American. So, to set the record straight, in case I have been misunderstood, and in case at my funeral, someone may say.....I didn't know that is what she believed, I'm breaking the silence. I'm stepping up on my political platform and risking you liking me to tell you who I really am. So, here goes. I believe abortion is murder. I believe lots of the people I know and love have had them....we do what we do with the knowledge we have at the time. And I love those women who face what appears to be no other option. I do not pass judgement on anyone...but if I were allowed to talk to you personally, I would tell you....don't do it. There are options. I understand there are some very hard cases...but these are the exceptions....not the rule. Most abortions are done for convenience. (This is one I use to fight on the side for abortion.) I believe homosexuality is not a disease. I believe it is a chosen behavior. If I again, could talk to each of my homosexual facebook friends, I would tell you that I love you and understand that you believe God made you this way. I just don't want you to believe that because I don't comment on things that I accept this behavior as true. I believe the majority of homosexuals have been molested as children that have left them broken. Again, if you are my true friend, I should be able to express this even if you disagree with me. If this really angers you, and changes your opinion of me, please feel free to delete me as a friend. I will understand. However, I can't sit be and let the world believe I think it is true. I do not believe in aliens! You know, the outer space kind. However, I do believe they will have a part in the great deception to our world in the near future. I believe in a real heaven and a real hell! I see the results of good/evil on earth all the time. I believe that not everyone goes to heaven when they die. Only those who place their trust in Jesus Christ will enter heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Again...this is either the truth or a lie. Either Jesus is who he says he is...or he is a liar! That simple. I believe the Holy Bible is God's word. Every bit of it is true. You heard me....even the hard to except parts. Otherwise, why believe any of it? How could you know what parts are real and what parts aren't? I don't know if I believe in bigfoot. But if he is real, he is a created animal....not a missing link. I absolutely do not believe in evolution. Adaption, yes...evolution....NO. Why do we keep getting worse if the theory of evolution is true? (And I use to believe in I changed my mind on this one.) I still believe there is hope for mankind....if we turn from our wicked, self centered ways and repent. I do not believe repent means to be sorry for.....I believe it means to change an about face....change the way we are going. I believe God loves us....and is not out to get us. That He gives us chance after chance to see Him for who He really is. That even though "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, He made a provision for that through Jesus Christ." We are the only thing blocking our way to receiving that love and forgiveness. I believe that we never die....your soul lives on eternally somewhere. And that eternity starts here in this life...right now. God has a plan and a purpose for every person and that no one is an accident. But we do have a choice...what we do with that life we were given. I believe Jesus is coming again! And from the looks of could be soon. I believe our children are a gift from God. A legacy to leave the earth after we are gone. I believe WE are the church. Church is not a building we go to on Sunday. It is a living breathing spirit that resides in each of us. It is about love, and kindness, and patience, and selflessness, sharing, and giving. I'm not just the overweight body that greets you at the elementary school everyday. I am a multifaceted being with ideas, and thoughts, and creativity, and spirituality, as are you! Will you choose to love or hate me based upon one aspect of my belief system? Thank you for allowing me to express who I am and what makes me tick! You don't have to like me...but you don't have to deny my rights as a Christian, either! I believe there is enough room on this planet for me and you.......and maybe a bigfoot or two????

Saturday, October 13, 2012

God's Timing

I am waiting...our 6th grandchild will be born sometime within the next couple of hours and I find the significance of the date very interesting. You see, it is 11:30 pm on October 13. If it arrives after will be an interesting story of God's grace and His perfect timing. God's timing is something we really do not have a grip on. Ecclesiastes 3 states, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build." and in 2 Peter 3:8, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." Time just isn't the same in the kingdom realm as it is here on earth. So often, we can't understand why God is silent for so long when we need to have our answers quickly,why He tarries and delays when we feel He should move quicker. And yet, it seems timing is everything to Him. When Jesus heard that His friend Lazarus was sick and in need of healing, He did not rush to his side, but the bible says, in John 11:6, "So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days." This is something that we find difficult to understand, yet Jesus had no need to hurry. He knew exactly what He was doing. There was no rush, even when Lazarus' sister ran out to meet Him and tell Him that He was too late.....her brother, Lazarus, had died. She stated that if Christ had been there, he might have lived.....but Jesus was too late!!! In her eyes, once his heart had stopped beating...Jesus was impotent. Render powerless. Unable to perform a miracle. As long as their was life....there was hope. Why is it so easy for us to forget that in the supernatural kingdom, we all are ETERNAL beings (whether we are saved or not?) So although Lazarus was physically dead....spiritually He was still alive. Jesus knew this. Let me state for the record that Jesus is NEVER too late! Jesus is ALWAYS right on time. Again, we may have difficulty recognizing this in the earthly realm....but that is what He wants to teach us. When you get your mind wrapped around the kingdom realm...there is always hope! The lesson He taught us was that EVEN in the physical realm, when all hope is gone....Jesus IS our hope. I have always been a person who likes to be on time. I'm a clock watcher. We need the seconds...the minutes....the hours....the days....the months....the years. They help us stay sane in an insane world. But God isn't like us in that way. He isn't constrained by time. His timing is perfect. He knows the exact time whether it is in our realm or His. And that is why I started this blog in the first place. You was EXACTLY one year ago that Gina was told in the doctor's office that they could not detect a heart beat on the child she miscarried. It's little heart had stopped beating in the womb and she had to say goodbye to a little baby she never got a chance to meet. She saw it's ultrasound picture and knew it was a gift from God that was taken away from her before she even got to hold it. But....exactly one year later, on the exact is the birthday of my newest grandchild...a gift...and another miracle in the lives of the Raben's. Thank you, Jesus for your we will always remember and celebrate the life of TWO special children, one that is now in the kingdom realm and one that is here with us in the physical realm. Your grace is amazing....and your timing is PERFECT! Miss Kira arrived at 11:59 pm....I just got the call....mother and baby doing fine!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Fight is Getting More Ferocious

As I is within 5 miles of our house. If the wind changes, well....OUR HEDGE WILL HOLD....because our God is bigger.....our God is stronger....our God is higher than any other power in the universe. We serve a mighty God....prayers are being lifted all over the surrounding area....we need rain.....we need this blazing inferno to stop. It's sad, but I have a feeling it is sort of how the end of the world will be....fires out of control everywhere and no one to fight them....left to run rampant incinerating everything in their path. We have no use for God until we need something from Him. How many have called on His name in this crisis, but have not spoken to Him in a very long time. Oh, Father....we repent of our selfishness and stubborness. We cry out to you in our fear and anguish...please forgive us. We need you always. In the good and the bad. Please form a hedge around our land, our family, our house....and keep us safe from the arrows of the enemy. Let no weapon formed against us prosper. Thank you...Save us Lord. As we stand firm in the enemy's attack! Amen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Attack Continues...But We are More Than Conquerers

As I write this, I am continuing from the last blog where I explained how my family was under attack from one of the highest demon adversaries. I can't even begin to tell you some of the ways he is trying to destroy our family, but I do know that he is mad as a hornet for some reason. As I write this, my youngest daughter, Jill and her husband, Vaughn, are in their second week of Chi Alpha ministry on the WNCC campus in Scottsbluff. It isn't an easy campus to get onto with a Christian ministry, so they have kind of an uphill battle. Last week they had their first meeting with about 15 attending. Saturday, they had a bowling party and about 20 attended. Tonight, Jill had facebooked saying that it was a great night of ministry on campus with nearly 30 attending. Her excitement was short lived. At 10:30 pm tonight, she called asking us to begin our spiritual warfare in prayers. The enemy had struck again.....while they were in their meeting, one of the boys in there group lost his home to a fire (during the meeting). Afterwards, they all went to have pie at a local cafe (17-18 of their students and them. Jill and Vaughn's pastor called and told them about the fire and they had to go try and find a place for this boy to stay. While they were trying to find a motel for him.... they drove back by the cafe and there had been a multi car accident involving several of their students. They were all in shock and a couple of them had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital complaining of neck and back injuries. One of them now does not have a car. Jill immediately called us, as she also believes that we are under attack. The enemy is like a roaring lion seeking to kill, steal and destroy. His time on earth is short and he fears our family's faith and ministry. He knows we are close to big spiritual victories.....Please continue to cover us in your prayers and the blood of Jesus. What a mighty God we serve! Greater is He that is in us, than He that is in the world! All praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If God is for us...who can be against us???