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America, Look Up

The importance of America returning to Christian principles and Traditional Family Values

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January 2016

Book Review: The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell


Honestly, I chose “The Feathered Bone” because it was one of the choices that was still offered as a “real life, hold in my hand, tangible” book. After reading through the first few pages, I wondered if I would like this story because I felt that the author’s descriptions of the surroundings and goings-on bogged down the tale. But, I muscled through. And I am glad I did.
“The Feathered Bone” addresses a few of the tragic issues facing our Country today. One of those is the atrocity of human trafficking. The author weaves together a story that prompts the reader to sit on the edge of his seat. But, it’s not a story for the faint of heart.
The horror of human trafficking coupled with an unexpected tragedy, brought tears to my eyes. In fact, at one point I laid the book aside to pick up a few groceries at the store. As I pushed the cart up and down the aisles, I hoped the scene I left was only a horrific nightmare. Yes, the author did that good of story telling to draw me in.
I look forward to reading other books by Julie Cantrell.

Receiving Free Christian Books (Yes, Really Free)


I guess you can call me “old school.”

Many people download books to their Kindles or other electronic devices and enjoy reading the “pages” off of a screen.  Not me.  I love to read books the old fashioned way, turning the pages of a published work.  Sadly I imagine, at some point in the future, books will no longer be published and the only available means of reading a book will be to download it from Amazon. But the good news is, that’s not today.

My family home schools, and I know how home school families love books. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a way to “earn” free books from Tyndale Publishing.  It can be found on TyndaleRewards.com  If you sign up there (free),the company offers differing ways to earn points, and points lead to free books. I’ve earned two already and a third is just a few more points away. And the great news is that these books are shipped freely as well. I haven’t explored the site enough to know how many books are geared towards kids and teenagers, but I do know they have several selections that would interest Moms and Dads. One of the ways to earn points is to refer people to the site…so, if this piques your curiosity, check it out. Feel free to ask questions!

Here’s my referral link:http://www.tyndalerewards.com/signup/?pc=dchy-tnhf-bpfr-288b  If you sign up to receive free Christian books using my link, I get ten points and you get 25!  So, what are you waiting for?  Sign up for free books!

Outlawing Biblical Values? It’s Coming!


The erosion of the rights of Believers continues at a dizzying pace. A landmark decision in Massachusetts now sets the stage for a continued attack upon those espousing Conservative Christian values. A Catholic preparatory school for girls, whose mission is

“the education of young women rooted in gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic Church,”

is learning this lesson the hard way.

In 2013, the Fontbonne Academy sought to hire a food services director and offered the job to applicant Matthew Barrett. During the interview process, Mr. Barrett was told that all school employees were expected to model Catholic teachings and values. Mr. Barrett responded his willingness and ability to abide by the school’s standards. The school extended the offer of employment and he accepted.

A few days later, that offer of employment was rescinded. On his new employee form, Mr. Barrett listed his husband as an emergency contact. The school responded swiftly, informing him that they could hire someone in a same-sex marriage because that type of relationship isn’t consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. This marriage failed to meet the criteria of living up to and upholding the teachings and values of Catholic and Bible doctrine.

Matthew Barrett filed a lawsuit against the Academy, challenging the school’s policy. In December of 2015, a judge ruled in favor of Mr. Barrett, stating the school had acted contrary to Massachusetts law by discriminating against Matthew Barrett based on his sexual orientation. The judge argued that since the school accepts students of all faiths and because a food service director does not meet the criteria of a “minister of the Gospel,” the school does not qualify for a religious exemption.

The judge failed to take into consideration that the Catholic Church has always opposed same sex marriage and that the Academy’s hiring agreement clearly stated all employees were expected to support and model Catholic teachings. This ruling punished a religious school for hiring someone living a lifestyle expressly considered as sinful both in Catholic teachings and in the Word of God. Sadly, the judge ignored the specific exception under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

“Religious Organization Exception: Under Title VII, religious organizations are permitted to give employment preference to members of their own religion. The exception applies only to those institutions whose “purpose and character are primarily religious.” Factors to consider that would indicate whether an entity is religious include: whether its articles of incorporation state a religious purpose; whether its day-to-day operations are religious (e.g., are the services the entity performs, the product it produces, or the educational curriculum it provides directed toward propagation of the religion?); whether it is not-for-profit; and whether it affiliated with, or supported by, a church or other religious organization.
This exception is not limited to religious activities of the organization. However, it only allows religious organizations to prefer to employ individuals who share their religion.” (Emphasis mine.)

Webster’s defines religion as,

“a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”

In ruling against the Academy, the judge ignored the religious institution’s right to hire individuals of like faith and practice. Of course, people warned of this government overreach and outcome prior to the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in 2015. Now, those staunchly opposed to redefining the marital relationship instituted by God, find themselves in the cross hairs of a culture adamantly opposed to all things Christian.
The fate of Christianity and Conservatism hinges not on the outcome of the 2016 election cycle. (Although, we definitely need to elect an individual that embraces Christian values and American Exceptionalism.) No, the future of this great nation depends upon Christians fervently practicing the following:

1. Humbly repenting of sin (II Chronicles 7:14)
2. Seeking God (II Chronicles 7:14)
3. Praying for our Country and for God’s Spirit to move mightily (II Chronicles 7:14, I Thess. 5:17)
4. Being Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16)

 

If we faithfully adhere to God and His Word, He pledges to

“hear from Heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land.”

If we as a Country ignore Him, boo Him, or flatly deny His existence, then future generations might read of America as only an asterisk in the history books of the world. Our children and children’s children deserve a better outcome. I’m praying for a better outcome.

Will you?

Book Review: The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes


When I chose to review “The Mountain Midwife,” I did so for two reasons.  It was one of the only books that I could actually get in a hard copy and I thought after I read this book, my wife might enjoy it as well.  I opened this novel fully expecting it to be a boring chick read, but instead, I was pleasantly surprised.

Ashley Tolliver is a highly educated mountain midwife, carrying on the family tradition established almost two hundred years prior.  Accustomed to catching babies of the poorest of the poor and those with great wealth, Tolliver looks past the socioeconomic backgrounds of the women and serves each woman with genuine care and respect.  Though she loves delivering babies, Tolliver plans to leave the Appalachian Mountains and earn a doctor’s degree in medicine.

Enter Hunter McDermott.  One day he receives a strange call, the voice on the other end suggesting the woman he grew up calling “mom” was not his birth mother.  McDermott finds himself chasing clues in the Appalachian Mountains, enlisting the help of Ms. Ashley Tolliver.

Author Laurie Alice Eakes weaves in just enough intrigue and mystery to make this a read that I would recommend to female and male readers.  I give this book two thumbs up!

Are You Distracted?


As a child, I heard adults say on many occasions that time seems to fly by faster as one ages.  Honestly, I never knew the reality of that statement until becoming an adult.  It does seem each year passes by at a faster clip.  Here we sit on the eve of 2016 and I’m just now used to writing ‘2015’ on my personal checks.  Maybe the days speed by in a blur because of our hectic schedules and varied obligations.  We run here, race there, barely finding time to breathe.  Careers monopolize much of our time with the other waking hours spent shuttling kids to basketball games, theater practice, or church activities.  Seldom do we simply pause and consider the most important things of life.

There’s a story found in the Gospels addressing the importance of this ‘pause.’  Mary and Martha find themselves in the position of hosting Jesus and the Disciples.  Martha immediately concerns herself with preparing a meal for thirteen men.  I can see Martha rummaging through the cupboards, pulling ingredients, cooking utensils and slipping on an apron.  As she organizes her thoughts, she realizes her sister hasn’t joined her in the kitchen.  I see her peeking into the living room, hoping to lock eyes with Mary.  When Mary ignores her sister’s laser like glare, I see Martha banging pots together and clearing her throat in an abnormally loud manner.  When all efforts to draw Mary’s attention fail, she takes her complaint to the Master.

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Martha assumes Jesus will side with her, sending Mary to help shoulder the work of meal preparation.  I see Martha crossing her arms with a smirk as she readies for Jesus gentle reprimand of her slacking sister.  However, Jesus responds in a manner completely unexpected.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset  about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

What had Mary chosen? To sit at the feet of Jesus.

The chore of fixing a meal distracted Martha from sitting at the Teacher’s feet.  In two thousand years, not much has changed.  We live in a society full of distractions.  News agencies seldom focus on the real issues, magnifying minor stories to protect their political ideologies.  For those unwilling to investigate for themselves, the journalistic “sleight of hand” keeps the masses uninformed.  This strategy bodes well for ideologues weaving webs of destruction to topple American Exceptionalism.  But there’s even a greater problem.  Christians.  Yes, Christians.

For years, followers of Christ have chosen to sit quietly on the sidelines watching America’s harrowing ride to “hell in a hand basket.”  Christians remained silent when one loud and overbearing atheist complained about prayer in schools.  When Roe versus Wade was argued at the Supreme Court, Christians largely held their tongues disbelieving a refined society would be allowed to legally destroy the life of an unwanted child.  And now, decades later, when Christians voice concerns, their views are largely ignored or dismissed as being intolerant.  And why?  Because only a small percentage of Christians choose to speak up.  Many Christians continue to believe a polite society avoids religious and political topics.  Based upon the current political and ideological climate of our Country, maybe that old philosophy needs to be tossed aside.

If we truly care about the future of our children and grandchildren we must take those truths we learn at the feet of Jesus and implement them in the world around us.  Remember, Jesus informed His disciples to

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the thing that our God’s.”

This holds true provided Caesar’s edicts steer clear of conflicting with the Law of God.  When the Government enacts laws failing to honor Biblical truths, we must stand firm on the Word of God.  We must remove the self-imposed muzzle from our mouths and make our voices heard.  That’s my intent as we embark upon another new year.

As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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