DON’T STROLL THROUGH THE SWAMP

“You’re gonna regret it!” I waved away the warning without turning around. What was to regret? I took the shortcut.

I was on my way to a picnic. The tables sat on the other side of a marsh. The parks department had kindly constructed a bridge over the marsh. But who needed a bridge? I ventured in. The mud swallowed my feet. Squiggly things swam past me. I think I saw a set of eyeballs peering in my direction. I backpedaled—flip-flops sucked into the abyss. I exited, mud covered, mosquito bitten, and red faced.

I walked over and took my seat at the picnic table. It made for a miserable picnic, but it makes for an apt proverb. Life comes with voices. Voices lead to choices, and choices have consequences!

~ Max Lucado

From God’s With You Every Day

Are you ready to march?

Think about the Christian you want to be. What qualities do you want to have: more compassion…more conviction…more courage? What attitudes do you want to discontinue: greed…guilt…endless negativity? With God’s help you can! You can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Indeed, the person God made you to be. You can live “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

To inherit your inheritance is God’s vision for your life! Imagine the thought. You as you were intended. It’s a life that is yours for the taking. You can expect to be challenged. The enemy won’t go down without a fight. But God’s promises outweigh personal problems. Victory becomes, dare we imagine, a way of life. Isn’t it time for you to change your mailing address from the wilderness to the promised land? Are you ready to march?

~ Max Lucado

We are the World! Happy New Year!

Praying for blessings to all of you around the world. May we all come together to find what is best in each of us. Love surely is better than hate. Working together, standing together, loving together will make the difference. If you are upset about something, find your voice. Go on Twitter, Facebook, start a Website, care and share positive ideas and progressive thinking instead of crying in a corner. We can all light the place where we stand and that light will shine enough to change things.

Be blessed with much love, joy, and happiness!

Sharon & Erick

We are the world!

There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And its time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somehow will soon make a change
We are all a part of Gods great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving

Christmas

So happy to be sharing this amazing day with all of you. Hoping you are having a wonderful, blessed, full-of-love day. If any of you are alone today, we reach out to you to let you know you are never alone because we love you and are with you in spirit. Remembering those who are no longer with us and feeling the loss of their presence. Sharon and Erick

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Why I love Christmas

When Christ was born, so was our hope! This is why I love Christmas. The event invites us to believe the wildest of promises! He did away with every barrier, fence, sin, bent, debt, and grave. Anything that might keep us from him was demolished.

He only awaits our word to walk through the door. Invite him in. Escort him to the seat of honor, and pull out his chair. Clear the table; clear the calendar. Call the kids and neighbors. Christmas is here. Christ is here. One request from you, and God will do again what he did then. He’ll scatter the night with everlasting light. He’ll be born in you.

Let “Silent Night” be sung! Every heart can be a manger. Every day can be a Christmas.  The Christmas miracle—a yearlong celebration! ~Max Lucado

The Heart of the Human Problem

The sinful nature is the stubborn, self-centered attitude that says, “My way or the highway.” The sinful nature is all about self: pleasing self, promoting self, preserving self. I have a sin nature! So do you. Under the right circumstances you will do the wrong thing. You’ll try not to, but you will. You have a sin nature. You were born with it. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart!

Christmas commemorates the day and the way God saved us from ourselves. The angel speaking to Mary in Matthew 1:21 says, “. . .you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Each of us entered the world with a sin nature. God entered the world to take it away!

~ Max Lucado

In Memoriam – Victims in the Oakland Fire

My note: Because we live in the area, I think this nightmare has affected us more than maybe some of you. Nonetheless, I am sure as you read this memoriam, and look at these beautiful faces, you will be unable to not feel it personally.

These victims were going to, or teaching in, schools in the Oakland Area, as I understand it. One of the victims was a student of Professor Chris Johnson at California College of the Arts. (My daughter graduated from CCA, and Professor Johnson has had a major influence in her life, and ours.)

Tragedy occurs when one least expects it. I imagine these victims were either living in this warehouse, or attending the party. I can envision them…artists, musicians, students, and educators–immersed in their life’s dream, creativity running rampant, determined to pass on the gifts they had been given by sharing their unique ability to see the world just a little differently than most.

Our hearts are aching for the losses their families and friends are feeling. Our prayers are covering all of them.

Let us remember these people–their names, their faces. We will keep them in our hearts forever.

 

Oakland Fire Victims

  • askew
    CASH ASKEW
  • emb
    EM B
  • bernbaum
    JONATHAN BERNBAUM
  • barrettclark
    BARRETT CLARK
  • cline
    DAVID CLINE
  • danemayer
    MICAH DANEMAYER
  • dixon
    BILLY DIXON
  • dolan
    CHELSEA DOLAN
  • ghassan
    ALEX GHASSAN
  • gomez-hall
    NICK GOMEZ-HALL
  • gregory
    MICHELA GREGORY
  • hoda
    SARA HODA
  • hough
    TRAVIS HOUGH
  • igaz
    JOHNNY IGAZ
  • jo
    ARA JO
  • kellogg
    DONNA KELLOGG
  • kershaw.jpg
    AMANDA KERSHAW
  • lapine
    EDMOND LAPINE
  • madden
    GRIFFIN MADDEN
  • matlock
    JOSEPH MATLOCK
  • mccarty
    JASON MCCARTY
  • mcgill
    DRAVEN MCGILL
  • mendiola
    JENNIFER MENDIOLA
  • morris
    JENNIFER MORRIS
  • pines
    FERAL PINES
  • plotkin
    VANESSA PLOTKIN
  • Wolfgang Renner
    WOLFGANG RENNER
  • ruax
    HANNA RUAX
  • runnels
    BENJAMIN RUNNELS
  • siegrist
    NICOLE SIEGRIST
  • sylvan
    MICHELE SYLVAN
  • tanouye
    JENNIFER KIYOMI TANOUYE
  • vega.jpg
    ALEX VEGA
  • wadsworth
    PETER WADSWORTH
  • walrath
    NICK WALRATH
  • wittenauer
    BRANDON “CHASE” WITTENAUER

 

Change Is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions

12/06/2016 Climate ChangeThe science has long been settled: climate change is real and it’s happening all around us right now. Our new five-session discussion course on climate action will help you take action to increase resilience and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Presented in an interactive ebook, this new discussion course experience integrates video, audio and printed content with action plans that help you roll your sleeves up and get started taking action toward a better tomorrow.“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up. In contrast to optimism or despair, hope requires that one actually do something to improve the world. Authentic hope comes with an imperative to act. There is no such thing as passive hope.” – David Orr, introduction to Hope Is an Imperative: The Essential David Orr

The science has long been settled, climate change is real and it’s happening all around us right now. Our lifestyles are not only a contributing factor, but the root cause, despite what many politicians and talking heads would have us believe.  Those of us hoping for real solutions often despair at the unnecessary political gridlock and the lack of traction for widespread solutions.But there is reason to hope: many ordinary citizens desire to make positive change in their daily lives, in their communities, and in the world at large.

Yes, climate change is already happening. Yes, it is getting worse. But people working together to take action can find real solutions.The choice is ours – take action now or react to even larger systemic problems later.Climate Change link

Source: Change Is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions

Standing, Stronger Together

My Note: This is a great example of people standing together for what is right. I am 1/64th Creek Indian, so this whole situation has been tearing at my heart. I am so impressed and inspired by the resolve of all the people who were protesting.
Bernie Sanders

I appreciate very much President Obama listening to the Native American people and millions of others who believe this pipeline should not be built. In the year 2016, we should not continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. We should not endanger the water supply of millions of people. We should not become more dependent on fossil fuel and accelerate the planetary crisis of climate change. Our job now is to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, not to produce more greenhouse gas emissions.

Protesters Gain Victory in Fight Over Dakota Access Oil Pipeline

My note: This is awesome!Hopefully, Trump won’t rescind this, considering he owns an interest in it. We can Pray that the Victory will hold. 

Protesters Gain Victory

CANNON BALL, N.D. — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a major victory on Sunday in its battle to block an oil pipeline being built near its reservation when the Department of the Army announced that it would not allow the pipeline to be drilled under a dammed section of the Missouri River.

The Army said it would look for alternative routes for the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline. Construction of the route a half-mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation has become a global flash point for environmental and indigenous activism, drawing thousands of people out here to a sprawling prairie camp of tents, tepees and yurts.

“The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing,” Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in a statement. The move could presage a lengthy environmental review that has the potential to block the pipeline’s construction for months or years.

But it was unclear how durable the government’s decision would be. Sunday’s announcement came in the dwindling days of the Obama administration, which revealed in November that the Army Corps of Engineers was considering an alternative route. The Corps of Engineers is part of the Department of the Army.

Continue reading the main story

President-elect Donald J. Trump, however, has taken a different view of the project and said as recently as last week that he supported finishing the 1,170-mile pipeline, which crosses four states and is almost complete.

Faithful Perseverance

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:36-37

The greatest example of Christian perseverance for me is Sister Alice Yuan from China. Her pastor husband, Allen Yuan, was imprisoned for almost twenty-two years for refusing to join the government controlled church in the middle 1950’s. She says:

“When my husband Allen was sent to prison in April 1958, I was told that I would never see him again. I felt completely miserable and continually blamed God. The future looked so terribly bleak. I had the care of six children and my mother-in-law. I was only earning 80 cents a day. How could I keep my family alive on that?

“When it all became too much for me, one night I heard a voice: ‘My child, I have everything in My hands. These things come from Me.’ I replied, ‘If these things come from You, please protect me and my family. Do not allow me to dishonor Your name. I want to serve You and glorify Your name’

“Then I received peace in my heart. I was encouraged by Psalm 68:19, Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. In those difficult years, people let me down, but God never abandoned me. But he did put me through trials.

“The first trial was the struggle to survive. I was only earning 80 cents a day. How could we get by on that? But God took care of us, in the same way that he took care of Elijah. He promised to be my shepherd and provider.

“One evening, my mother-in-law said that there was no food anymore in the house. The next morning, at five to six there was a knock on the door. ‘Are you sister Alice?’ asked a woman in her sixties, whom I didn’t know. ‘God wanted me to give you this.’ She put a package in my hand and disappeared. When I opened the parcel I found there was rice in it and some other food and a banknote to the value of about four month’s salary of a professor! Praise the Lord. Where man comes to an end, God begins! This was only one of the many miracles which kept us alive all those years.”

RESPONSE: Today I will not complain about discomforts but thank God for all His blessings!

PRAYER: Lord, You desire faithfulness and perseverance. Help me develop these qualities in my life.

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:38-39

“The second trial came from the Communist party. Every day for nineteen years, I had to report to the police station, where for six hours, they put pressure on me. They said that I would never see my husband again, that I should divorce him and that I should give up my faith. With God’s help I kept going. Praying with my eyes closed, I endured the interrogations every day.

“The third trial consisted of the hard work. After I had been pressured by the security police for six hours, I still had to work for eight hours to earn a living. I had to push handcarts filled with building materials. The carts were much too heavy. I was completely exhausted and was already tired before I started. In the winter, it was even worse. Sometimes I had to shovel cement up onto a floor above my head. The work was dirty, hard and cold, but I achieved my quota. The others were surprised and wondered where I got the energy from.

“The fourth trial had to do with my natural desires. I was thirty-nine-years-old when my husband was taken away. The authorities put me under pressure to marry someone else. All my papers would be changed, so that I could start a new life without all the difficulties. I was offered money and clothing. God loved me so much that He gave me the strength to resist all these temptations. When I prayed to God, He gave me everything I needed, and even more than that.

“My favorite text is Psalm 68:6, God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.”

It is a miracle that her husband, Allen Yuan, got out of the labour camp alive. In December 1979, he was released after twenty-one years and eight months. He was then sixty-five years old, thin but still healthy. At an age when many people are enjoying retirement, Allan again took up his vocation as a pastor. He died on August 16th 2005 at the age of ninety-one. Alice joined him in heaven in early August 2010 to hear her own “Well done!”

RESPONSE: I resolve to persevere, with faith in a good God, through all the trials that come my way.

PRAYER: Lord, may all Your children experiencing severe persecution today be filled with faith and refuse to shrink back. Help me to emulate these great examples of faithful perseverance.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission