A World of Decay

“…blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.” ~Psalm 144:15

This morning I woke to the news that another innocent group of teenagers and teachers had been mercilessly killed, while another young murderer was born. I first thanked the Lord that my children were safe, and then began to pray for the families of those whose children were not.

Minutes into learning about this tragedy, I was bombarded with messages of gun control, while these proposed supporters of peace pointed the finger at my government for what occurred in Florida yesterday.cartridges-2166491_1280

Unapologetically, I have owned a gun since I was 12 years old. Now, I own multiple rifles and one handgun. I have been regularly using my firearms since I was old enough to hunt at the age of 14. At 21, I obtained a concealed and carry permit in order to protect those I love. I have, on more than one occasion, been very grateful to have a handgun with me. I was taught to respect firearms, but never to fear them.

hunting-3145387_1920My three-year old son has owned a gun since the day of his birth, a gift from his grandpa. It will always be one of his most cherished possessions, especially when his grandpa is no longer here. One of my most cherished possessions of course being a gun I received from my granddaddy.

No amount of gun control laws would ever have been able to guarantee that yesterday’s mass murder would not get his hands on a gun. He’s a criminal. Criminals obtain what they want, no matter what law is in place.

There is no one to blame: not his parents, not his brother, not his teachers, not his congress, not his president.

We can really only be sure of one thing. This boy did not know God, and lived his life with a profound and agonizing need to know His love.

This boy did not know the love of Christ.

That is the greatest tragedy today, the saddest reality of this horrific situation.

This country is in a frenzied and disordered urgency to erase all the things of God from our history and our future. The indoctrination of our children in public schools and media is literally killing them. This generation of children has experienced more mass violence and more suicide than any generation before it. We now live in a world where a Christian mother cannot even comfortably watch commercials with her toddler for fear of him absorbing the persistent untruths flooding the media. This indoctrination involves a complete and terrifying disregard for the law of Christ, the only law that is going to keep our children from dying.

human-2136095_1920Christians know that the world is not getting better; this world cannot get better. More lies about what love is will not make this world better. More men being harangued for sexual harassment will not make this world better. More acceptance of race or sexual orientation will not make this world better. More religious equality will not make this world better. We are watching this world crumble, and our teenagers are the ones begging us to show them the remedy. Our world is in a moral and physical decay, and it will continue to crumble until our Savior returns.

There’s your remedy. The Savior.

I pray each day the Lord will show me how to teach my children what a real and all-consuming love of Christ looks like, despite society’s warped vision of it. Christ’s love does not accept sin, nor does it ignore it. Christ’s love does not pass more laws, eliminating the freedom of His followers. Christ’s love does not force us to shut our mouths, for fear of offending another.

Christ’s love is unrelenting in its pursuit to save every single soul that walks on this earth.

feet-349687_1920We must save the souls of our children: those capable of unimaginable acts of violence, as well as those who simply must observe such evil. The only way we can save souls is to let Christ’s love flood this nation. Open the doors of our schools to His restoring truths. Open the doors of our broken homes to His healing power. Open the doors of our hardened hearts to His inarguable reality.

I may live in a world that elevates what is wrong and buries what is right, but I still wake with joy each day. I wake with joy because I have been saved by the love of Jesus, and I am eternally grateful to Him for pursuing me. He pursues us all. If this country continues selfishly down a path away from the Savior, we will lose so much more than the security of knowing our kids are safe in school. We will lose everything.
Our world is decaying, and Christ is the only remedy. If you love our children, you will love and obey the God who created them.

Advertisements
Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Heart of a Sinner

In high school I had a friend with very low self-esteem. She always pointed out her accomplishments and waited to be complimented—your standard fisherman of compliments. Even as a teenager, I knew low self-esteem was her problem. I saw that she was broken, but still, I chose not to love her. When she would start drawing attention to her greatness, I would do just about everything but compliment her. I have never been able to embrace a boastful person. I would avoid eye contact with her, change the subject, pretend I didn’t hear—all because I did not think a person as arrogant as her deserved to be praised. The irony here, however, is that this friend of mine was not arrogant. She was anything but arrogant.

fishing-164977_1280Over ten years later, I am an adult—a wife, a mom, and a daughter of the King. However, boastfulness and arrogance still crawl under my skin more skillfully than any other sin. I can’t stand a boastful person. Being in the presence of one causes me to start locating the exits. I want nothing to do with arrogance.

Boastfulness is certainly a sin. God says in Matthew 6:1-2, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Then in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Seeking validation from anyone but God means we care more for this world than for Him. However, our human nature causes us to crave praise from just about everyone. Some of us seek it more fervently than others, but we are all boastful—small, insecure beings who want someone to notice how fantastic we are. Even though God commands us to not be part of this world, the world’s praises is the very thing many of us desire the most.

Recently in a conversation with an overtly boastful person, God began to heal my own brokenness. As I visited with this person, trying so hard to love her and acknowledge her accomplishments (hating every minute of it), I began to realize that despite the sins and worldly desires of this woman, I, too, was in need of God’s grace. I sat there in judgment of this woman because of her sin, never considering that my inability to embrace her was my sin, equal to her boastfulness. As I judged and ridiculed the heart of a boaster, God revealed the sins of my own heart. Let me worry about her heart, Tara, you must take care of your own.sunrise-1756274_1920

By God’s grace, my next encounter with a self-conscious person who seeks my approval and praise, will be one where I exhibit the love of Christ. Because this person’s sins are not greater than my own, I will not condemn them nor despise them, but love them.

“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” ~Luke 11:28

Posted in Adulthood, Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The World is Cold

I cannot grasp the chaos that struck a Texas church earlier this week. The news tightened around my throat like a vice as I stared at the headline. The words, “God, not again,” slipped out. While I sat in a sanctuary with my family worshiping my Father, exhausted and frustrated because of my post-daylight-savings-time toddler, another group of believers was facing its worst nightmare. Evil walked into the body of Christ’s most sacred place and got a three-pointer in the game between good and evil.tree-2898647_1920

Every American, Christian or not, asks why. Perhaps, God allowed this evil to happen because this country is experiencing His punishment and wrath for how we’ve ignored Him. But when I think of the innocent believers who were left helpless inside that church, it occurs to me that perhaps committed followers of Christ were simply caught in the crossfire of lies and hatred.

Unfortunately, in today’s culture we are forced to raise our children in a world where active shooters are ever-present. I mentioned to my husband that perhaps he should start carrying in church. Bringing a gun to church? Surely this is not the world my children live in. Surely there’s been some mistake. Surely God will not allow this.

In a world where chaos reigns and God is rejected, only one thing is sure. Surely the Lord will prevail. Amen! For this recurrent chaos may temporarily destroy our sense of security, but it cannot destroy our eternal rest. We cannot help but rejoice that those precious lives taken too soon and so violently are residing with the Savior of the world right now. They have no memory of their deaths or the hatred that took them, for all they can see is Jesus Christ. What a glorious sight that must be!

candles-2628473_1920Amid persistent violence, helpless, lost, fearful people are turning to God with repentant hearts. Even while Christians are being massacred, He can and will further His kingdom. Even the fiercest unbeliever cannot help but seek out comfort and will eventually recognize that God is the only one who can remove this fear. For those who seek Him, find Him. So, as Christians are dying on the floor of the world God created, this fear plays a role in the birth of a new Christian. This is certainly something to celebrate!

Posted in Christianity, Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beauty in a Fallen Leaf

I have seen death’s merciless determination three times in my life. The first was when it 20171013_133140chased after my best friend’s mom, then it went after my Grandma, and finally it took my first child, whose face I never saw.

Death appeared to have won all three times, but I know, as a follower of Christ, that this is not the case.

God says He has conquered all death, and surely this must be true for death was left utterly immobilized when faced with the Savior of the world (2 Timothy 1:10).

We clearly see in the Bible that Jesus did not fear death, and was even able to reverse it in the case of Lazarus. However encouraging this reality is, death still has a powerful sting for those of us left behind. It is a great comfort to know that our loved ones are spending eternity in a painless and perfect Heaven, but we are left to face unbearable pain after they are gone.

20171013_132941Unfortunately, this earthly life is full of innumerable painful experiences, even when death is not involved.

However, if we were to see past our grief I think we would find something quite pristine in our pain. For as I sit here on this breezy October afternoon and gaze out my window to find the trees wrapped in the most vivid and electrifying colors, I am reminded that God creates beauty out of the most brutal of circumstances because, you see, these stunning leaves are, in fact, in the throes of death.

This is when I hear God whisper, “You see, my child, some of My most striking work is found in the midst of pain.”

Whether it is death or an ache less permanent, I rely upon God’s promise that He works for my good (Romans 8:28). Because He leaves me completely in awe of the death of a leaf, I know He sends even more beauty to surround me amid any turmoil.

So take James’ advice, rejoice in your trials and watch God transform your hurt into something spectacular (James 1:2).

Posted in Christianity, Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Unlikely Calling

Following God is hard. Just plain hard.

My pride often tricks me into believing I want to follow Christ, until I am asked to do something rather uncomfortable, then I am able to talk myself out of it with minimal effort.

walk-2635038_1280Until I receive a direct call, text, or email from the Man himself, there is no way to know for sure that I am hearing His requests accurately. Right?

I like to believe the heroes of the Bible had it easier. Even though they were asked to do some rather unlikely things, God always sent His own voice, or at least an angel, to encourage His followers. If an angel appeared before me right now, I guarantee you I would jump out of my chair and immediately do whatever is asked of me. Right?

But alas, I am reminded of Philip. Even though he did encounter an angel, this angel’s request was so far-fetched, so out of left field, it would have been wildly difficult to obey.

Philip does not get a whole lot of credit for spreading the news of Christ, but he deserves abundant recognition. Peter is usually the one credited for starting the Christian church, but the facts are pretty clear: Peter was a racist. Yes, you heard me correctly. You see, in Acts, Philip was the first evangelist to spread the news of Jesus’ salvation to the Gentiles. Philip was the one who revealed to the rest of the apostles that the Holy Spirit was for all people, not just for the Jews. He did this by visiting one of the most condemned and filthy cities of his day, where Jews and Gentiles created a vile mixed race of humans, Samaria.

Philip had a shockingly successful ministry among the Samaritans. It says in Acts 8:6, “And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.”

It would appear to the modern-day reader, and no doubt also appeared to Philip, that he had found his place. The success he was having in Samaria would certainly cause any believer to assume that this was God’s will for him, this was where he belonged.

Not likely.

Just a few verses after Philip arrives in Samaria an angel appears to him and commands him to leave Samaria and walk along a desert road.monks-1077839_1280

Hold up. Philip is converting Samaritans to Christianity left and right and God decides he needs to go walk on a desert road, instead? That can’t be right.

Despite God’s unlikely calling, Philip goes immediately. On this road he finds an Ethiopian eunuch, shows him Jesus, and baptizes him. Because Philip did not hesitate to follow God’s call, Christianity was spread to a new continent, a new government, and a new people who would have been otherwise kept in the dark about the Good News.

Let us never hesitate to follow the Lord to the ends of the earth. For sometimes it is at the end of the earth that we will find His miracles.

Posted in Adulthood, Christianity, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Lesson in the Leaves

My son and I went on a Fall walk today and tried to find as many of God’s colors in the leaves as we could.

Leaves2Every leaf a different shape, a different color. Some turn from the outside in and some from the inside out. Some trees consist of one Fall color and some seem to incorporate every shade into its foliage. Some leaves are already brown and shriveled being taken by the wind, while others hang on to their dark green pigment well into November.

The beauties and intricacies of Fall are all the evidence this world needs that we are indeed made by a mighty, omniscient Creator. The love and devotion with which He turns each leaf are just mere traces of the immense love and devotion with which He approaches us.

When this world is being shaken by the hatred and suppression of God that runs rampant through humanity, I am reminded of God’s eternal power and incorruptible love. In the same way the leaves obey Him, we too are created to obey Him. Disobedience only breeds disorder and horror.20171002_172735

My two-year old is left breathless by God’s exquisiteness all around him. This leaves no excuse for the rest of us who have gone on without the Artist of an idyllic October day and the Giver of each of our breaths.

May God continue to pursue our hearts the way He so lovingly chases after my son’s until every man recognizes whom it is we should be worshiping.

Posted in Christianity, Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gift from the King

I remember when I was a kid, and it was the night before my birthday or Christmas or Pajama Day, I would lie awake, smiling at the ceiling, with just the slightest trace of nervousness fluttering around in my chest–as if the air I was breathing had been charged with a startling energy. The notion of sleep was such an impossibility that I didn’t even attempt to close my eyes. I just lied there, thinking about how perfect my life was.

It’s not like my life was perfect. It’s just that none of the crap mattered because I knew tomorrow was going to be awesome. It’s as though, while I lied there dreaming of tomorrow, I could already experience the joy that I would encounter the next day. Now that is childlike faith.Person, Human, Female, Girl, Cap, Winter, Snow, Gloves

Things aren’t like that anymore.

I still have joy, but my life is so far from perfect that the word actually makes me grin more than anything. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I stared at the ceiling in the middle of the night with an unmistakable giddiness in my heart. I do, however, recall staring at the ceiling on several occasions with worry swirling through my mind.

It is difficult to obtain a childlike faith when you are smack in the middle of adulthood.

Even though these moments of inexpressible joy are fewer than they used to be, they certainly still happen, and my adulthood has made me more aware of who deserves credit for these blissful moments.

It is the moments where your problems have not gone from your life, but they’ve gone from your thoughts. In these moments, you recognize what life is truly about. It is not worry. It is not finances. It is not career. It is not simply surviving from one moment to the next, fighting to enjoy a life of chaos.

gift-1420830_1920

No. It is in these moments where God decides to stand up and command your mind to be still.

These moments, where childlike faith actually seems within reach, are the most unlikely of gifts. For these moments are utterly contrary to our earthly reality but undeniably in harmony with a Heavenly truth. For in these moments, you get to see a King bring a gift to His servant.

Posted in Adulthood, Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments