Monday, April 12, 2010

The President Did Not "Edit Jesus out of Easter"

There's something I have in common with Noah, my 20 month old grandson--we're both into letters. His big eyes are always on the lookout for letters to point out with his darling little finger. In the beginning some months ago how surprised I was when I rolled his stroller up to the elevator at Barnes and Noble and he said, "1". And sure enough there was a "1"--which I would have missed entirely had it not been for his sharp eyes! Later, when on the second floor going down, he said, "2". I thought, "Wow! This is really something to tell Mommy and Daddy! “At his age it is so wonderful to watch as he learns new things which includes new letters and numbers almost daily. There were the days he was really into "zeros"--I handed him a round pretzel and he said, "Zero." Just last Thursday, he pointed out "Ws" and "Hs" as we took our walk and arrived at the park. And I, being a very receptive audience, exclaimed in amazement at such superb brilliance!

Yes, Mimi and Noah are in total agreement with a song from PBSKids:

"There's nothing better than a letter."

When something is strong in my heart and especially when it involves lies and misinformation against that which I love, I think, "I have to write a letter." Such was the case when I received the following email from my college friend--we have been emailing and talking on the phone since we found each other on Facebook. She and her family live in Brazil as missionaries. She wrote:

"Hi Sheila,
     "Here is a sad article that came into my mailbox today: http://www.torenewamerica.com/obama-removes-jesus-from-easter-message
      Yes, Obama left Jesus out of his Easter message. Why do a small minority want to deChristianize our country when God so obviously blessed our basic Christian principles? What makes this worse, is that not long ago I am sure I heard reporting on Obama recognizing a Muslim holiday.
    The USA respects all religions, but our foundation is Christian and we should hold fast to this heritage. Christ has already been taken out of what used to be Christmas and is now just a "holiday". Will Obama succeed in taking Him out of Good Friday and Easter, too?
    "So sad.Let me know your thoughts--any redeeming factor in this?
      Love, Diane"

Immediately I returned:

Diane, Will it never stop? I feel it is absolutely overwhelming what they are trying to do to President Obama--I have to go over to the park and pray. . . I feel like crying--it's too much, too much. Sheilah

and then I ran--I ran over to the park (Van Cortlandt Urban forest near me) praying and crying out loud. (I'm grateful for my prayer language so I don't have to think up the words.) Regarding our country, I feel overwhelmed with this avalanche—like a big mountain of misinformation and lies drowning us--me. My voice, my efforts like a little pebble in comparison. As far as I know, no human voice heard me--only the trees and the birds --maybe the squirrels paused or the ducks looked around.

And yet—and yet I remember-- The Invisible Host. . .See: If Your Enemy Hunger. .II Kings 8:6-23
http://shiningriver-sheilah.blogspot.com/2009/10/if-your-enemy-hunger_03.html

I am comforted. I am sustained.

When I returned from the park:

      "But, Sheilah, did you hear his Easter message? Did he mention the risen Christ? That is why I asked you for your comments. Did you hear him or read about him mentioning Christ being the reason for Easter? I know he attended a church that morning. I usually go on Snopes to check out reports, but haven't done so for this one yet.
       No matter what Obama says at other times, if he took Christ out of Easter as He has been taken out of Christmas, I find that concerning! Especially when he recognized a Muslim holiday. Was there any mention of the virgin birth of Christ in Obama's Christmas? or even any mention of Jesus Christ at all?. . .
        Anyway, our concern is not whether or not Obama is a true believer (many Presidents weren't), but what are his goals for Christianity in the USA? What is his respect for our Christian heritage? As you are concerned about falsehoods about him, we are concerned about falsehoods about Christianity and the role it has played in the USA. The CLU has done all they can to remove Christianity from our culture and that should not be done. Christmas is gone--will Easter follow? How can you not be concerned that millions of Americans have little knowledge about the part Christianity played in the lives of our founders? Why should America become a secular society? If our heritage and our culture were better taught in our schools, our youth would not be in the situation they are in today.
      You give me food for thought--I hope maybe I'll give you some, too.
                                             Love,Diane"

       I hadn't heard the President's Easter message--I just knew the accusation was wrong because I knew that much about the President.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2008/10/10/2008-campaign-what-the-candidates-believe/885/

       So now I looked up Diane's link about the President editing Jesus out of Easter (see link above): There it was—an article entitled:
Obama Removes Jesus from Easter Message by Vince Haley.

The organization is: Renewing American Leadership. (Actually since that time I learned that from this article have sprawn pages and pages of other organizations copying this false report--it's on Fox Nation.)
Next I looked up the President’s Easter message:

http://wjz.com/video/?id=69183@wjz.dayport.com

Diane, he said:

"My family will join other Christians all over the world in marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

His exact words. I put his message on Facebook--you can see for yourself. The accusation of Vince Haley is false. AND I'M GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! How wrong to give that false report--especially about the resurrection, which is so precious to Christians. And then you heard several times about the Muslim service. What is the intent? To stir Christians up with lies against the President? "they stirred up the people and poisoned their minds. . ." (Acts 14:1)

". . .the cause which I knew not, I searched out" (Job 29:26)

The President refers to a chaplain during World War II giving an Easter sermon. So President Obama didn't quote everything the chaplain said--yes, I'd like to say as much as possible about the resurrection and dwell on it and give testimony about it, but to accuse the President of leaving Jesus out acting like he didn't even know the reason we have Easter. Yes, there was some editing done—some wicked editing done—but by Vince Haley! He’s the one who edited Jesus out—yes, edited it out of the President’s Easter message! The very thing he accuses the President of—he did himself! How does he think he’s going to get away with this when it’s easy to prove the accusation is false? Because people so eager to believe the false won’t take time to check up on it. I’ve heard it said that lies circle the globe 10 times while truth is just getting its boots on. Truth is getting its boots on! Will you help me?

        Diane, I have never known such a terrible climate of vultures killing with words. Others say the same. In my lifetime I have never known anyone who so little deserves it to be so persecuted and maligned as the President. I want him to succeed--he has the seeds of greatness. For the sake of our country and our children and grandchildren we must stop this.

When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will lift up a standard against him (Isaiah)

It was over a year ago I read Led By faith, a book by Immaculee Ilibagizaa who, in Rwanda, hid with 7 others for 3 months in a bathroom. As I thought of the state of the country before the genocide in Rwanda and compared them to conditions here, my heart froze with such revelation. I didn't want to voice it, but what shall I do with such knowledge? It pounds inside of me!

I was also remembering the vision of George Washington at Valley Forge—the three times of trouble on American soil—the Revolutionary War, The Civil War and the worse to come. Since then, I've read and heard others say they fear for the President's life--Civil War--as I've seen in the Spirit.

The prophetic eye sees what is in the spirit world and will come to pass if the status quo remains the same. It can be one minute to midnight, but if enough people listen and act—if they sit at the feet of the Prince of Peace and then apply His words of the Kingdom of God—loving God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves—then time can be pushed back to 9:00—so to speak—until more people can understand and keep pushing total destruction back and back and back. Certainly angels have been doing it for a long time. God can multiple our small efforts and we should not underestimate them. King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the book of Daniel—a little stone hits the image (the world system) causing it to fall and then the stone grows to be a mountain covering the whole earth.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it TOGETHER! (Isaiah 40:5).

Apocalypse. My three children and seven grandchildren—what kind of a world for our children, Diane? Is there anything we can do about it? Yes! Diane, I do not believe in that Scofield/Darby/ Tim LaHaye/Left Behind series view of Biblical prophecy. Biblical prophesy I believe and respect, but not this very false and dangerous interpretation of it. It was in 1968 after Dick’s death when I was in the hospital that it came to me, “That’s not the way it’s going to be.” And that’s when I rejected the eschatology we were taught in college, Diane. I not only take seriously Biblical prophecy, but other prophecy as well—take it to the Lord for clarification. We pay attention to scientific prophecies of impending earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Can these predictions be stopped? Can earthquakes be stopped? Yes.

I must send you my story, Hurricane Floyd and Lessons of the Wind. I just learned from a friend what happened in Tallahassee during this same time— prayer made this hurricane dance—right off of the map. The headlines were:

Florida Stares at Hurricane Twice the Size of State.

Meteorologists said it was four times the size of the infamous Hurricane Andrew—one million people were evacuated. It did do some damage to North Carolina and New Jersey but very little and not in Florida. Some people, instead of being grateful, were angry with the weatherman—making them get in their cars and leave their homes for nothing--Scaring them unnecessarily, they were stuck in all that traffic and couldn’t get accommodations. I wonder, are there any other people in the world who have difficulty with “accommodations” –I mean all the time? However, it wasn’t the weatherman’s fault—a true report was given—just as Jonah’s prophecy was true. “Forty days and forty night and Nineveh will be destroyed.” However, Nineveh was not destroyed in forty days and forty nights. Why? Because something happened. Repentance and therefore, Redemption. Peace Pilgrim said that if you hear of an impending earthquake, pray, go to the place. She gives an example of doing just that. “There wasn’t a tremor.” She felt we had “entered a crisis period in human history. . .walking the brink between a nuclear war of annihilation and a golden age of peace.” (Surely we’ve been in that crisis period many times!) She felt it was her calling to arouse people from apathy. Can you see why the Darby fundamentalist view of prophecy is so dangerous? Self-fulfilling prophecy—there’s nothing you can do about it—it’s in the Bible. It promotes just sitting back, letting it happen and bringing it to pass by our words. However, there's a choice:

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30)

Incidentally, to understand this will also influence how we think of Israel. There are Christians who teach that we have to be for Israel no matter what or God will be mad at us—so if we want God’s blessings. . .But look at the verses above: “But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear. . .” Of course, we’re for Israel, but this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re for everything she does or all the policies—Jeremiah wasn’t. For example, the treatment of strangers—which seems to be an obsession with the Almighty—the poor, the widow, the stranger, the fatherless—over and over in Scripture. “Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23). So God sets before us life and death. Which path will we choose?


A
s providence would have it, while writing this, I found among my files this written some time ago. I include it—it is so important to understand and changes our perspective, the way we look at things:


Prophecy changes. Jonah said, “Forty days and forty night and Ninevah will be destroyed.” He gave a true prophecy but it didn’t come to pass because something changed. The prophetic eye sees what is in the spirit world and will come to pass If the status quo remains the same.

In Jeremiah 18 is the wonderful example of the marred vessel on the potter’s wheel. The potter took this marred vessel and made it again. “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, (put in your name, your country) cannot I do with you as this potter?” There are verses that speak of how prophecies can change: At what time destruction is prophetically spoken concerning a nation if the nation turn, the destruction will not come. Likewise, whenever blessing is prophetically spoken, if the nation turn, the blessing will not come.

Prophecy is to warn—to tell us where things are headed if there is no change. Events are in place and we’ll come up to them. If we don’t like what’s in place, we can change it.

In the unobstructed universe of eternity you can go backwards and forwards in time. Time is. In Biblical prophecy you see this backwards and forwards in time.

We have to receive a fresh word daily, as we are co-creators with God to prepare the way—to bring in the Kingdom of peace. Jesus said, “It is finished.” He has provided everything for “beating our swords into plowshares.” We don’t have to wait for further developments.

George Washing had a vision at Valley Forge of three times of trouble on American soil—the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Worst to Come.

I live within an hour by subway of ground zero. When 9/11 came, I thought, “It’s come—Washington’s vision of the worst time of trouble on American soil.

Prophecy is alive and moving. . . depending upon who is listening and connecting and what they do about it.. It can be 5 minutes until midnight, but if enough people connect—pray, obey—they can push the time back to 9 o’clock, so to speak, to give more time for more people to see and hear. “God is not willing that any should perish.”

We are co-creators. Without God, we cannot; without us, God will not—for we have been given freewill and dominion both

God has a 911 number—Psalm 91:1—“He that dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. . .Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror. . . He shall give His angels charge over you. . .” (Read, memorize the whole Psalm)
Security is in the Secret Place.
Security is not in military power, bombs, guns, etc. (Hosea 1:7; 2:18-23; II Corinthians. 10:4; Eph. 6:12) Our spiritual weapons are love, joy, peace, praise, faith, the Word, which “pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit”, and the Holy Spirit, “which rightly discerns and guides us into all Truth.” (Gal. 5:22; John 16:13)

“We do not live by bread alone, but by every word that PROCEEDS from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matt. 4:4) What is the “proceeding” word? What God is saying RIGHT NOW! This word is far more important than the fluctuations of the stock market, which deal with things that pass, for this is the word by which we live.

“Speak Lord for thy servant hears.” (I Samuel 3:9)
“Speak, Jesus for your friend listens" (John 15:15)

History repeats itself because nobody listens. We are familiar with this statement. Some years ago, I wrote:
History is NOT going to repeat itself BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO LISTEN!

“Whether there be prophecies they shall fail. . .love never fails.” (I Cor. 13)

Let God arise—Let Love arise and all that is not of Love, spiral down and scatter. Let the third part of George Washington’s vision fail. Let the greatest tribulation the world has ever known fail. Let Armageddon fail. Let this be behind us. We’ve had enough tribulation and Armageddon! Let’s qualify for “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb.” Let’s quality for “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and not learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2; 11) Let’s enlist The Invisible Host. (II Kings 6:) and the Army of Heaven. (Daniel 4:35)

We all may receive “direct revelation.” Give no person or hierarchy passive obedience. To do so is to be open and give heed to seducing spirits. (I Timothy 4:1-3) We are to be immediate disciples --not disciples of disciples. A good teacher becomes progressively unnecessary, leading people to listen to the Holy Spirit within—which Spirit will make us one and bring peace.

If the Spirit of the Living God be lifted up,
If the Spirit of Love be lifted up, She will draw all people to Her.

“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, Turn even to Me with all your heart. . .And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness. . .And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit. . .For the Promise is to you and your children. . .(Joel 2:12,13,27-29; Acts 2:17,18,39) “Make love your aim. Desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (I Corinthians. 14:1) “If any person speak, let her speak as the oracles of God. If any person minister, let him do it as of the ability which Love gives.” I Peter 4:7

At what time I speak the Greatest Tribulation the world has ever known. . .

The Bible is such a book that you can study and study and quote and quote and miss meaning. We have to have the Holy Spirit guiding into all truth, rightly discerning it—what verses go where, when-and there’s no substitute for the guidance of the Spirit. Love must be the motive. No set interpretation should cause us to believe God wants us to give unconditional support (no matter what they do) to any nation. Jeremiah didn’t. For his lack of support he was put in a dungeon. Likewise, we should not think any nation is going to be completely destroyed and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Prophecy is to warn—to tell us where things are headed if there is no change. Events are in place and we’ll come up to them. If we don’t like what’s in place, we can change it.

In the unobstructed universe of eternity you can go backwards and forwards in time. Time is. In Biblical prophecy you see this backwards and forwards in time. What kind of thinking is this: We can’t beat our swords into plowshares until we’ve had the greatest tribulation the world has ever known? Or: Beating our swords into plowshares is for when Jesus comes back. Jesus said, “It is finished.” Everything is already provided for us to beat our swords into plowshares. He said, “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” The Word became flesh in Jesus and now the Word is to become flesh in us—to be hands, and feet and mouth through which the love is God is manifest. Aren’t we individually and collectively to be the Messiah—“Christ in us, the hope of glory”?
1. Everyday we need to get a word from God. “We do not live by bread alone but by every word that PROCEEDETH from the mouth of God.” What is the “proceeding” word? What the Spirit of God is saying RIGHT NOW! It might be, “Get out of this building.” “Don’t go to work today.” “Go talk to Mrs. Brown.” “Give a message to the President.” It doesn’t have to be in the Bible. Martin Buber said, “God speaks in the guise of everything that happens.” We need to be always listening for The Voice—when we sit in church, look at TV, read the newspaper, listen to each other. “My words they are Spirit and they are life.” Something will quicken.

2. In conclusion, so--At what time I speak the Greatest Tribulation the world has ever known. . .the Apocalypse is upon us. . .but if we beat our swords into plowshares. . .3. I recently heard the song, “I ain’t gonna study war no more.” We are weary of war. Haven’t we had enough tribulation and Armageddon? Couldn’t we, with God’s help—“If my people who are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face. . .”couldn’t we just take a quantum leap over those tribulation prophecies and find ourselves. . .

The Lord hath called me from the womb. . .
He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword:
in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me,
and made me a polished shaft;
in his quiver hath he hid me. . .
my God shall be my strength. . .
Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer. . .
In an acceptable time have I heard thee,
and in a day of salvation have I helped thee:
and I will preserve thee. . .
to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth;
to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves,
They shall feed in the ways
and their pastures shall be in high places.
They shall not hunger nor thirst;
neither shall the heat nor sun smite them:
for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them,
even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth;
and break forth into singing,
O mountains, for the Lord hath comforted his people,
and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
But Zion said The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;
thy walls are continually before me. . .
Thus saith the Lord God, behold I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people:
and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and
Thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers and their queens thy nursing mothers. . .

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?
But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered:
for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee,
and I will save thy children. . .
and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am, thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One. . .
( from Isaiah 49)


And now I return to our country, to the President’s supposedly editing Jesus (the Life) out of Easter.


Rev. Jim Wallis said:
"The political polarization of our society has now reached a new and dangerous level. Honest disagreements over policy issues have turned into a growing vitriolic rage against political opponents, and even threats of violence against lawmakers are now being credibly reported."http://blog.sojo.net/2010/04/08/a-covenant-for-civility/

If not stopped, these words of hate eventually manifest themselves in violence.


I came across a book that echoes my observations and feelings entitled, Wingnuts—a bad craziness is snaking across America in the first years of the Obama Administration, hijacking America, by John Avlon. He gives examples from the left and right flooding the media.

On the cover:

"Extreme partisanship has never looked so preposterous. Wingnuts reads almost like a satire--too absurd to be true. But the damage being done to our democracy is very real." Mayor Michael Bloomberg

"It might be tempting to dismiss these statements as the work of a few well-placed cranks, congressmen and clergy. But the Secret Service reported more threats against Obama than any other president-elect. The politics of hate has a trickle-down effect, as the residents of Madison County, Idaho found out days after the election when a school bus full of second-and third-graders chanted “assassinate Obama.”

Yesterday, while I had breakfast in a diner, I overheard a conversation, “I don’t like the way our country is heading—just one little push and. . .”

Why had my heart froze when I read the book about the Rwandan Genocide before I heard anyone voice concern about the President’s safety?

In Rwanda the climate was prepared and then the final push:
“President Habyarimana had been killed when his plane was shot down during the night while returning from peace talks. Within the hour, Hutu extremists set their carefully laid plans for genocide in motion. The killing started immediately. . .”

Words in the media are powerful. I hope you will read my Open Letter to Sarah Palin. Her untrue ranting about administration “death panels” reverberated all over the country, hijacking town meetings, etc. and adding greatly to the irresponsible crazy talk.

Link to my letter and link to what really happened:


http://www.shiningriver-sheilah.blogspot.com/2010/04/open-letter-to-sarah-palin.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/opinion/15blumenauer.html?r=1&emc=etal

So in the light of this I get the article about how President Obama edited Jesus out of Easter! You say you listen to Fox. Fox is aptly named--not to be trusted--really junk TV. I see the fruits of their efforts in what you write to me and the opinion you have of the President. You write with total acceptance: “Yes, the President edited Jesus out of Easter.” "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."( Proverbs 18:21)

President Obama said, "I'm trying hard and I want the best for America." Rush Limbaugh mocked this statement, but I believe the President. Diane, please help me get the truth out. Love, Sheilah

Dear Diane,I got your email with more questions and concerns. I need to take them one by one and I especially want to answer this one completely--it is so critical and is to me, by far, the worst accusation to date--Obama takes Jesus out of Easter. May God and all that is true arise and His enemies and all that is false be scattered! At the end of your first email about taking Jesus out of Easter, you asked, "Let me know your thoughts--any redeeming factor here?"

Yes! This particular report has the potential to give the false accusers enough "rope to hang themselves" because it is easily misproved. I am most grateful for your sending these emails and our honest friendship that is not destroyed by our strong disagreement.

Since then, in listening to NPR, I heard Newt Gingrich refer to President Obama as "the secular, socialist president." I decided to look up Newt Gingrich's web site and there I found a link to the Obama-edits- jesus-out-of-easter link--which you sent to me-- by Vince Halley who wrote speeches for Newt Gingrich. I feel I am being led--the spreaders of this malicious lie are being revealed. Think, how horrible is this! To use the resurrection--which is to Christians most precious--to turn them against the President. To make sure they hear of the Muslim service, excluding the text of the Easter message--playing up to their prejudices. I can see the effect it has had on you --your unfounded fears about the President and how you spoke of the Muslim service twice. Now in the light of this, read below:

On Saturday, April 10, 2010,

While doing something else and half listening to Religion and Ethics on PBS, I heard a sound bite of President Obama saying something about redemption. I thought, I don't think I heard that statement in the other Easter message-- he must have given more than one Easter message and so I was led to the Easter Prayer Breakfast message--a message I probably would have missed had it not been for your sending me the editing Jesus out.
You remember in a previous email my saying that I would have like to dwell on the resurrection and give testimony regarding it. Well, I did not know, but the President did just that at the Easter Prayer Breakfast.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video-video-white-house-easter-prayer-breakfastthe

text:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/thepress-office/remarks-president-easter-prayer-breakfast

You said:

”As for the Obama's Christmas message, it is the typical liberal message--not of the birth of a Redeemer, but of the birth of a good man who taught us all to be good men. It is not offensive to anyone. I had already read his Easter message (before you wrote) and thought it was better.”

I had sent this part of the President’s Christmas message:

”This season, we celebrate that sacred moment -- the birth of a child and the message of love He would preach to the world; that we are our brother's keeper, our sister's keeper; that, "pure in heart," we do unto others as we would have them do unto us; that we devote ourselves to "good works;" that we are summoned to be peacemakers.More than 2,000 years later, that spirit still inspires us. It's why this celebration tonight benefits the Children's National Medical Center and all the children whose lives they touch and they save. And it's why, as so many of our fellow citizens struggle through tough times, we are called upon to help neighbors in need. And it's why, with our men and women in uniform serving far from home, in harm's way, our fervent wish remains, this season and all seasons -- let there be peace on Earth.

To all Americans, from our family to yours -- Merry Christmas and God bless you.” (Applause.)END

Diane, you say, ". . .not the birth of a Redeemer." Did you really listen to the Easter Breakfast message? The main theme was Redemption. I've listened to it around 10 times. It has caused me to think much of Redemption--I feel as though I could write a book using what the President so eloquently said in so few words as a springboard. I have to include it--not just the link:

(some introductory remarks left out)

The President:

"One of my hopes upon taking this office was to make the White House a place where all people would feel welcome. To that end, we held a Seder here to mark the first Passover. We held an Iftar here with Muslim Americans to break the daily fast during Ramadan. And today, I’m particularly blessed to welcome you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, for this Easter breakfast.

"With us are Christian leaders from all across America, men and women who lead small-town churches and big-city congregations, and major organizations in service of others; folks whose sermons are heard and whose examples are followed by millions all across the country. So I wanted to join you for a brief moment today to continue the Easter celebration of our risen Savior, and to reflect on the work to which His promise calls all of us.

"I can’t tell any of you anything about Easter that you don’t already know. (Laughter.) I can’t shed light on centuries of scriptural interpretation or bring any new understandings to those of you who reflect on Easter’s meaning each and every year and each and every day. But what I can do is tell you what draws me to this holy day and what lesson I take from Christ’s sacrifice and what inspires me about the story of the resurrection.

"For even after the passage of 2,000 years, we can still picture the moment in our mind’s eye. The young man from Nazareth marched through Jerusalem; object of scorn and derision and abuse and torture by an empire. The agony of crucifixion amid the cries of thieves. The discovery, just three days later, that would forever alter our world -- that the Son of Man was not to be found in His tomb and that Jesus Christ had risen.

"We are awed by the grace He showed even to those who would have killed Him. We are thankful for the sacrifice He gave for the sins of humanity. And we glory in the promise of redemption in the resurrection.

And such a promise is one of life’s great blessings, because, as I am continually learning, we are, each of us, imperfect. Each of us errs -- by accident or by design. Each of us falls short of how we ought to live. And selfishness and pride are vices that afflict us all.

"It’s not easy to purge these afflictions, to achieve redemption. But as Christians, we believe that redemption can be delivered -- by faith in Jesus Christ. And the possibility of redemption can make straight the crookedness of a character; make whole the incompleteness of a soul. Redemption makes life, however fleeting here on Earth, resound with eternal hope.

"Of all the stories passed down through the gospels, this one in particular speaks to me during this season. And I think of hanging -- watching Christ hang from the cross, enduring the final seconds of His passion. He summoned what remained of His strength to utter a few last words before He breathed His last breath.

Father,” He said, “into your hands I commit my spirit.” Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. These words were spoken by our Lord and Savior, but they can just as truly be spoken by every one of us here today. Their meaning can just as truly be lived out by all of God’s children.

"So, on this day, let us commit our spirit to the pursuit of a life that is true, to act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord. And when we falter, as we will, let redemption -- through commitment and through perseverance and through faith -- be our abiding hope and fervent prayer.

"Many of you are living out that commitment every day. So we want to honor you through this brief program, celebrating both the meaning of Easter and the spirit of service that embodies so much of your work. And our first celebrant today is Reverend Dr. Cynthia Hale, who will deliver our opening prayer.

"Thank you all for being here."

(Applause.)END

Diane, I hope you will, not just read these words here, but listen again to the President deliver it himself.

The President modestly says that he doesn't expect to tell them anything they haven't heard before or give any new interpretation of this scripture. And yet, for me--I who have been listening to Easter sermons since before I was born--my mother taking me to church--found something in this message especially deep and new affecting me I think as no other Easter message has. Perhaps the timing and the soil of my heart and my concerns. I thought, what if we as a country really believed in redemption? How would it affect our prison system?(We incarcerate more people than any other developed country.) What about Guantanamo Bay? If a person believed in Redemption could they ever think that torture is the means of keeping us safe? Some on the death panel deride the fact of "lawyers being used for terrorists" --never mind these people haven't even been tried so how can you know if they are innocent or guilty--

As I ran over to the park recently, and thinking about these lawyers, it came into my spirit, "Jesus is a lawyer for terrorists." He stands with the guilty. (Of course the Apostle Paul is a well known terrorist causing the death of many people before his experience on the Damascus Road.) Christ Receiveth Sinful Men.” He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Dick's favorite hymn was: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. . .did e'er such love and sorrow meet?

Could you even debate whether or not water boarding is torture? What about Love your enemies. . .do good. . .bless.. . " And most of those Guantanamo prisoners were innocent of any wrong doing toward Americans. It's proven. Did you read my blogs of Behind the Walls of Guantanamo and What Shall We Do With the Prisoners of Guantanamo Bay? and If Your Enemy Hunger. . .? I refer to many sources including the documentary Torturing Democracy, which was on PBS.
http://www.shiningriver-sheilah.blogspot.com/2009/09/behind-walls.html

http://www.shiningriver-sheilah.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-shall-we-do-with-the-prisoners-of-Guantanamo-bay?

Bill Moyers Journal Torturing Democracy PBS

www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/b5292009/profile.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?y=RzFlgubuBw

Also just google Torturing Democracy

I wrote the above and then opened my Bible at random to:

"For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him" (Acts 25:27)

Isn't this unreasonable, Diane, regarding the prisoners of Guantanamo? How can we so eager to torture and kill them when Jesus has a different plan?

Is this, along with torture Keeping America Safe, as Dick Cheney purports? Security is in the Secret Place--God's 911 number: Psalm 91. Do we believe what we say we believe?What if we believed in redemption? We certainly can't have peace on earth--what the angels sang--without Redemption.

From Behind the Walls of Guantanamo—beginning paragraphs:

The bay of Guantanamo is said to be beautiful, sheltered by hills and mountains. In my imagination I try to picture it. Kicking off my shoes and letting them rest in the sand, I walk along the shore letting the water make little splashes. A bird circles overhead and there’s one resting standing on one little leg. This scene of peace is a place where the sun rises as though nothing has happened. It sets—sometimes in glorious fire. I love sunsets and used to take pictures of them in Sarasota’s Siesta Key in Florida where my father lived.Where is the prison? Can it be seen from the shore—perhaps if I walk around the bend? As I stand in this place of beauty hearing only the sound of the lap of the water or the call of a bird, at the same time not far are walls holding hell. A place where prisoners—-fathers, uncles, brothers, sons-- are tortured having been neither charged nor tried. And by America the Beautiful. Can it be? Not My Country Tis of Thee!
. . .
Ending paragraphs:
My one year old grandson, Noah, looks up with such a trusting face. “Of such is the kingdom of God. . . “ All the little trusting faces. With God’s help, we must do our best redeeming the time.. “Follow me,” Jesus said.

The Prince of Peace shine upon us and our children and grandchildren—and the children and grandchildren of the world. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace . . “

Guantanmo Bay—the very words now evoke injustice and torture indicative of a shameful part of our present history. However, it is not the place, but the treatment received in this place that is at fault. The longer we wait to acknowledge the truth and do something about it, the greater will be the price we as a nation have to pay. May we uproot the wrong that was done in this place and turn it around to plant and build and multiply it as seed for good—that the suffering of those who suffered here be not in vain.. Is redemption possible? This symbol of torture be transformed—this bay be a haven of understanding, justice and hope--an example of what we really are and want to be as Americans.
A thrill of hope,
the weary world rejoices;
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Stand on your feet,
O hear the angel voices!


The bay—do you hear the sound of children playing? Let’s run down to the shore and join them!


Diane, you mention repeatedly your concern about what is happening to Christianity in America and how we are forgetting the faith of our founders. You ask, what are the President’s “goals for Christianity in the USA? What is his respect for our Christian heritage?” I hope I have shown that your fears are unfounded as far as the President is concerned. Instead, we should be so grateful—what a gift? Instead of taking liabilities and turning them into assets, these false reports about the President have sought to take an asset and turn it into a liability. President Obama is a role model for our young people!

Secondly, what about the founding of our nation? Yes, we owe our heritage to the work and sacrifice of many godly people, but let’s not rose-tint the whole history as a model to nostalgically follow. What about Thomas Jefferson taking a scissors and cutting up the Bible—cutting out the miracles, etc.? Here’s an article to google with some thoughts to think about: Live Before You Die. Jesus Without the Miracles—Thomas Jefferson’s Bible. By Erik Reese:
I, as well as you, am certainly against taking out the miracles, but I can resonate with Jefferson about some things in this article. What was Thomas Jefferson reacting to? He believed that “the authentic church had long ago been hijacked by the Christian Church.”

Some notes:
“His Jesus is trying to convince "whoever has ears" to shake off all of the world's distractions and encumbrances so they might finally see something real. It is the same impulse that drove Henry Thoreau out to Walden Pond.

“But what is it exactly they are supposed to do? . . .
“Jefferson's gospel also leads to an impressive clarification of what those teachings are. One can make a list, and it need not be long.
Be just; justice comes from virtue, which comes from the heart.
Treat people the way we want them to treat us.
Always work for peaceful resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion.
Consider valuable the things that have no material value.
Do not judge others.
Do not bear grudges.
Be modest and unpretentious.
Give out of true generosity, not because we expect to be repaid. In all of his teachings, the Jesus that Jefferson recovers has one overarching theme—the world's values are all upside down in relation to the kingdom of God. Material riches do not constitute real wealth; those whom we think of as the most powerful, the first in the nation-state, are actually the last in the kingdom of God; being true to one's self is more important than being loyal to one's family; the Sabbath is for men, men are not for the Sabbath; those who think they know the most are the most ignorant; the natural economy followed by birds and lilies is superior to the economy based on Caesar's coinage or bankers who charge interest.
“Above all, this Jesus cannot abide hypocrites. He has nothing but contempt for men who would kill a woman because of adultery when they themselves have thought about cheating on their wives, or for temple officials who tithe mint and cumin but would do nothing to help a poor woman with a child. "Stop talking about righteousness," this Jesus is saying, "and be righteous." It sounds simple. But of course nothing could be more difficult, as Jefferson's own life illustrates.

“In his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Jefferson urged readers to resist the factory life of large European cities and stay on the land. "Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue," Jefferson wrote in the famous chapter called "Manufactures." Farmers intuit the laws of God within the laws of nature, and so become virtuous, he reasoned. They are, by the nature of their work, resourceful, neighborly, independent. They are the elemental caretakers
“Four years later, Hamilton submitted to Congress his Report on Manufactures, in which he dismissed Jefferson's agrarian vision in favor of developing industry, division of labor, child labor, protective tariffs, and prohibitions on many imported manufactured goods. Today, fewer than 1 percent of Americans work on farms, and many of those are huge, industrial farms that generate massive amounts of toxic by-products. That Jefferson's self-reliant farmer is so unrecognizable to us today is evidence enough, should we need any, that we have inherited Hamilton's America, not Jefferson's.
“Jefferson's tombstone at Monticello does not remind visitors that the deceased was once president of the United States. Rather it states that Jefferson authored Statute of Virginia Religious Freedom. . .
“The relevance of Christianity to most Americans—then and now—has more to do with the promise of eternal salvation from this world than with any desire to practice the teachings of Jesus while we are here.”

I can understand the problem—however, unlike Thomas Jefferson, I don’t think it has to be an either/or but together—a focus on both. I’m thinking that Thomas Jefferson was reacting in an extreme and wrong way to something in religion that simply was not real. People today react in extreme ways to what they feel is hypocritical.

Religious liberty? Were all the colonies given to this? By no means. You had to believe as they did or be banished. We can be proud of Roger Williams, a Baptist. When he came to the Massachusetts Bay colony, he was in almost immediate conflict with the Puritans—who forced their religious beliefs on people. Also, Roger Williams felt they were not treating the Native Americans right—they should not just take the land, but buy land from them and only if the Native Americans were voluntarily willing to sell. He felt that no religious qualification should be required for voting. For these supposed heresies Roger Williams was expelled from the church, also banished from the colony and was going to be forcibly sent back to England had he not escaped. So much for religious liberty-an example for us today –which we decry that we no longer have?

Roger Williams went to Rhode Island to found a colony and such policies of anarchy you can not imagine! (Or so thought many at the time.) Even though he had a charter from England, he bought land from the Indians. He dared to say that government should be concerned with law and order—not a person’s personal religious beliefs. He even went to the extreme in saying that anyone could settle there—no matter what their religious beliefs—or no religious belief—even if you were an atheist. Imagine that! He said:

“Faith, by its very nature, has to be a free act.”

And so Rhode Island became a refuge for Jewish people, for Quakers—incidentally, in studying the founding of our nation, we need to study the history of the Quakers and the persecution they endured. While reciting their creeds and because of their creeds—which I’m sure included the Virgin Birth, Diane, Mary Dyer, a godly Quaker woman was hung in Boston for her religious beliefs. Look her up and see what she’s guilty of—there is so much more that is deplorable in the founding of our country regarding treatment of the Quakers.

William Penn, of course, was a notable Quaker. The Society of Friends (Quakers) was founded by George Fox, a most godly man who went to jail more than any other person for religious liberty—this was in England, however. The Quakers felt that the Eucharist had become an empty ritual—this is an example of one of their heretical beliefs. The Quakers were at the forefront against slavery—one hundred years before the Civil War—against war, for the ministry of women-- I’ve studied much about the Quakers and it is hard for me now to just mention them in passing. Roger Williams founded the first Baptist church in America. The liberty he advocated was not because he was not passionate about his own beliefs. I’m sure he sought to persuade others—but he knew it had to be freely received—from the heart.

And so it is today, Diane. The same battles— then, as now. The keeping of the 10 commandments. I wouldn’t spend one dime or one minute fighting for the 2.6 ton 10 commandments monument in the court building in Alabama. I’m happy for the display of the 10 commandments at the Supreme Court, etc. and Bible verses on government buildings as they are. However, this Alabama monument is a wrong battle. Everything in the physical is a shadow of the reality in the spirit. Do the work in the Spirit and the physical will appear. All the time and energy and finance in the name of fighting for God and our country—to me hypocritical. Rigid rule keepers know nothing about going by the Spirit. “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” How about keeping the 10 commandments—instead of just displaying them? How about applying the 10 commandments to Guantanamo Bay or our prisons or the war in Iraq? There’s a saying I saw once that stays with me:

Preach the Gospel and when necessary, use words.

Why not pray prayer back into the schools? NOBODY CAN KEEP YOU FROM PRAYING! And if it is so powerful, demonstrate it. Go to court about it? Pray. Be real. People are reacting as Thomas Jefferson did—to the falseness of it—that big ton 10 commandments—shoving it in their faces—people react to the hypocrisy of it. It’s a distraction, Diane. Getting people all up in arms, making enemies—spending time and money while the real issues go lacking. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction . ." James 1:25.

And abortion—at the heart of the wrangling and girdlock. I won’t say much here—it is too big a subject. I’ve been writing about it since 1990—my first article—I’m working on a booklet now. What misplaced energy doing more harm than good—actually causing abortion—being pro-death, instead of pro-life. Doing exactly the opposite. Like debating about whether to let a hedge grow free or clip it when there is a bulldozer down the road which will mow the whole thing down and it won’t matter if the hedge be free or clipped. We need to focus on the bulldozer—not reversing Roe vs. Wade. As Jesus taught, the laws that will change the world are not those written on paper, but those written on the heart. Stop dealing with symptoms and get down to root causes. My article: Wisdom for the Abortion War: A Peaceable Solution for Everyone Without Compromise. Yes, when we come to solutions—to God’s solutions—they are best for everyone.

I think you are aware of the President's Faith Advisory Board--out of 13, did you know that there are 4 Baptists and Joel S. Hunter, an evangelical or fundamentalist, of Florida--also the President of World Vision? One of the 4 goals of this group is to support fathers who support their families, address teenage pregnancy and seek to reduce abortion. I've heard the President accused of being "the most pro-abortion President"--a lie, Diane, but most people will do as you did regarding the editing Jesus out of Easter lie—just pass it on. That big demonstration—not wanting him to speak at Notre Dame—calling him a baby killer. Well, his views are mine. And I defy anybody to accuse me of not loving babies. So the goal of reversing Roe vs Wade is accomplished. Does anyone think the abortion problem has been solved? All right, now what? Drugs are illegal--you, no doubt, know what is happening in Mexica influenced by US appetites. If the law is passed, what are you now going to do about abortion. Talk of God with these policies helps the devil in reverse. Rebecca told me: One problem: Love denied. One solution: Love Applied. God’s work has to be done God’s way.

Diane, I want to be informed about what is happening in our country and the world. Single issue advocacy is harmful—just seeing things out of our window—our eyes. I want to see the big picture—to Pray the News—to see how God sees things. One thing I have gained from living in New York—you can go all over the world and still be in one place. I like to hear what other people believe and why they believe it—to share and receive—to teach and learn.

“Howbeit, when the Spirit of Truth is come, She will teach you all things. . .and She will show you things to come” (John 15:13).

Though I write here in defense of the President, I do not necessarily support all of his positions or decisions--for example, I was not happy about sending more troops to Afghanistan; I'm not for more drilling; I wasn't for the cash for clunkers. I would say: Let the car industry fall--put the money and jobs into mass transit. My grandfather was the first one to have a car in his community--then had a Ford dealership along with International Harvester and quite a few farms. About 10 years ago I walked by myself over one of his farms--the Mill Farm--wherethere is a lake and a hill with trees. I felt close to my grandparents--they are the ones who came to America in 1904 from then Austria-Hungary--now Serbia 100 miles from Belgrade. They came because they belonged to a church that didn't believe in war. They came when things were well with them--brought fine furniture and chandeliers on the boat--were not refugees but bought land--they obeyed God's Spirit. After the war, many of their friends and family had lost their sons and lands. My grandfather was often sponsored displaced people--also during the Hungarian Revolution. When I was a senior in high school, I wrote a report about Alex and Rosa and their baby and how they escaped from Hungary, my grandfather helping them. My grandparents were godly, hard working, thrifty, and generous. If people couldn't pay their bills at his International Harvester business, my grandfather did nothing about it. My grandmother's hands were never still. She gave things from her garden--she canned and froze things and gave them away.

Back to walking on the hill among the trees of the Mill Farm--this thought came to me--Cars and trucks shall spiral down, mass transit, hiking and biking shall spiral up and there will be quiet places in the midst of the city. It was a vision of how cars have become a weapon of mass destruction--l/10 of the population using up 9/10 of the resources. Leaving the farm, I went into the small town of Monon and there I saw what appeared to be a parade of cars and trucks--in little Monon! I felt I was being shown how out of bounds cars had become. Immediately, I think the next day, there was news about Firestone Tires recall, “perhaps the most deadly auto safety crisis in American history”—this was linked to Ford, the dealership of my grandfather Later I saw a documentary on PBS about how the car industry sabotaged mass transit. I need to write a whole story about my grandparents. Never was anyone so loving and caring as my grandmother. If there was a difference between anyone, she would take their arm and say, "You go now and make peace." My grandfather was one of the ministers of the church--there were around 5 to 7. They all had other jobs and didn't know who would give the message until Sunday morning waiting for the Spirit to reveal who would. Then that minister would open the Bible at random and preach from whatever text had been opened to. My grandfather wrote papers and if anyone would listen, he would talk on and on about God. As children we sat on the benches and drew pictures with paper and pencil provided--Grandma gave us peppermints. Being diligent to do all they thought the Bible was saying, women were silent in the church service. However, once when my grandfather was long preaching, my grandmother stood and said, "Philip, it is enough. We go home now." Everyone smiled--even though this was against the rules--it was a loving congregation--my grandfather smiled, too, and concluded his remarks. I have many favorite stories and didn't mean to ramble so.

We've just come through an appalling process in the health care (I won't call it debate but war) revealing how divided and uncivil much of our country is--how differences are dealt with in a most destructive way, don't listen, shout, judge--throw in lies like Sarah Palin's death panel accusation --certainly this is not the method for coming to the best solutions.

I have never been so aware of how our collective will and our collective consciousness so influence what happens in Washington. How pressure groups pushing and shoving lessen good options and hinder the President and law makers from making the best decisions.
I don't pretend to know all about the present bill. I do know we needed something done to our present health care--which costs more than other developed countries with less health care leaving out many people, depending upon emergency rooms to take care of the uninsured. I also know that President Obama is a listener--more than any other president I know of. He wants to hear opposing views. I know he began with a bipartisan approach--idealistic--thinking he could change Washington--was he naive? Bipartisan efforts disintegrated. Unbelievable! I'm ashamed for other countries to know how Americans behaved. I don't think this bill is what the President had in mind before his election. Certainly not the process--how could he have anticipated that? He wanted things open--over Fox repeatedly was the accusation: "The President said everything would be on C-Span." Over and over and over. So the vultures could watch like Hawks and grab any misstatement and twist it and circle the globe with it. (Lies circle the globe several times while truth is just getting its boots on.)President Obama alone couldn't make the decision to put everything on C-Span. He did have a meeting with the Republicans giving them opportunity to ask questions on C-Span. Actually what was done to President Obama is like pushing a person into the water and then asking, "Why are you wet?" It's a great comfort to me to know that God knows the truth.

You've mentioned a number of times that you are against big government and unions. I don't see how we can make blanket statements like that--it depends upon the situation. For example, it was due to lack of proper regulation that the banking crisis came about. We definitely need more regulation as far as our food is concerned--watch the documentar, Food, Inc. --I saw it on PBS. Without government regulatons we wouldn't have the National Parks--all the trees cut down and wildlife killed. As far as unions, the conditions should be best for everyone concerned. Rich men often (not always) oppress--read about it in the Bible. Before unions, many examples of unfair practices takng advantage of the poor--garbage collectors in Nashville had to be on welfare--their salary was so low. You've mentioned the Tea Party--protestors and demonstratons I have no problem with. Please see Bill Moyers Journal last episode. You'll lean about a group--CCI--Concerned Citizens of Iowa. They are not like the Tea Party--don't want any government The government is us--for our service and protection. As I was considering Th Tea Party, one word came to me: selfish. This was shortly confirmed to me by an article on Sojourner's blog from man who attended a rally. He sumed it up with the same word--selfishness. Looking out your own window without compassion for others. To come to solutions we have to have a foundation of truth and compassion.
Whatever policies we have-left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican--if we are not people of compassion--if we care not for the widow,the poor, the fatherless, the stranger--to this degree will the Lord's blessings be removed from us. How grateful I am for all the wonderful people in Ameirca doing wonderful things that often are overshadowed by screaming "words without knowledge".
I feel what you are I are experiencing in our writing is a microcosm of what is happening in our country. As Christians--followers of Jesus--I don't believe in "agree to disagree"--this is a phrase for the world. For us, it should be: to keep the unity of the Spirit, while waiting for the unity of faith and doctrine. . Let this mind be in you, which is in Christ Jesus. . .that you all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions.” This is possible through the Spirit.

Redemption. I probably have listened to the President's message around 10 times. What if I believed in Redemption?

Yes, I do believe. I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was eight years old. And through my life, Jesus has rescued me--He has redeemed me many times--not just salvation. The President's message has caused me to focus on Redemption in a way deeper and different than I ever have before. Redeem all my failures, regrets—“He is plenteous in redemption.”

Long ago while I was ruminating about a decision I had made in which I believed I had not put God first --while I was in much regret and thinking, “Now I don't deserve. . .I don't deserve. . .I don't deserve--all the blessings I was thinking I had forfeited--this thought came, "Just because you don't deserve something, doesn't mean you're not going to get it. That's what grace is." Unmerited favor, as we were taught in Sunday School. Yes, Grace! Mercy! Redemption!

The woman washing Jesus’ feet with her hair—Simon, looking on and thinking, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman. . .” Jesus, knowing his thoughts said, “Simon, when I came, you did not wash my feet, but this woman has not ceased to wash my feet with her tears.” Then he told Simon a story of a creditor who had two debtors—one who owed little and one who owed much. Both were forgiven their debt. Which one loved most? Simon answered, “The one who was forgiven most.” Jesus said of the woman, “Because she is forgiven much, she loves much.” (This beautiful story—(Luke 7:36)


Redemption.The President's saying, "We are awed by the grace He showed even to those who would have killed him"--I am awed by the grace of the President.

The last words of Jesus--how we can say them, too, the President said.

Someone said there are two quick prayers you can pray during the day, “Help” and “Thank You.” . But here's another one and the best: "Into Your hands, I commit my spirit. . Several mornings I woke up crying, saying this prayer--it was so sweet to be able to commit every concern into His hands. "Into your hands, I commit my spirit. . ..into your hands I commit my failures. . .into Your hands I commit my children, my grandchildren. Into Your hands I commit President Obama. . .Into Your hands I commit the health care reform. . .Into Your hands I commit-- just name all those people in the media. . .Into Your hands I commit what I am supposed to do. Order my steps. Into Your hands I commit this speech I'm supposed to give. Into Your hands I commit my job. . .Into Your hands. . .

Any time a concern comes across my mind, I can stop the thought and pray, Into Your hands, I commit. . .what peace if I really believe in redemption.

As Job said, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth Thee.” It makes a difference to go beyond hearing with the ear. I thought, “I have envied others their path. But if I had to go down this hard path to understand what I understand about redemption—then, thank You, Lord for this hard path.”

Yes, these can just be words that we hear and repeat, but if they take root in our hearts. . .

On the 18th of April I had a book signing at church for my book, They That Sow in Tears. You know it has the passage about the resurrection story after Dick’s death:

from Chapter III.

My husband’s death had been on a Friday. Monday the children and I would fly back to Indiana. On Sundays, I had been teaching Sunday school. My three year old daughter was in this class. At first, I thought I would not teach this Sunday, but then to my amazement, I realized that the lesson was on the resurrection! I thought it was meant that I go ahead and teach the class.

As I told the story, I identified with Mary Magdalene. I felt her heavy, heavy grief walking to the tomb while it was yet dark before morning. Things were all wrong. Jesus was dead. And how could it be? She knew what He’d done for her. She’d watched Him heal people and had heard Him teach. She had told all her friends, everyone she knew, that Jesus was the Promised One. Some had believed, but to the ones who hadn’t she’d said, “You’ll see—you’ll see. . .soon!”

But then they had taken Him to crucify Him. She had heard their hard mocking voices: “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now; if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God...”

Perhaps she had thought, “He will! He’ll come down off the cross. It will be His way of showing them.”

But He didn’t. Instead, He had died on that cross, and they had taken His dead body off of the cross and put it in a tomb.

And now, it seemed as though the ones who mocked—the ones who didn’t believe were right.

But they couldn’t be! They were wrong! They were!

But then. . .why was He dead. . .why did He die? Mary didn’t know. . .didn’t know. . .she still loved her Lord, but she was confused. . there was something she didn’t understand.

Now coming to the tomb, she found it empty. Someone took His body! Who? She must find Him!

But where?

Mary broke and sobs rent her body.

And then. . .a voice behind her, “Woman, why weepest thou?”

Supposing it to be the gardener, she did not look, "Oh, sir, if you’ve taken away His body, tell me where you’ve laid Him and I will take Him away.”

“Mary.”

I could see her. For a moment, afraid to believe what she had heard. That voice, was it—could it be--? And then turning, yes, yes, yes, alive—not dead—alive!

“Master.”

What must it have been—her trip to tell the others? Her being, which had been exhausted from grief and weeping, now surged with the strength of joy. Breathless, excited, almost incoherent, “The Lord, I’ve seen Him! At the tomb! Alive!”

Now all the darkness of night and the shadows of dawn were gone! Morning had fully come!
He had spoken her name and in that moment her horrible, dark, black sorrow had been turned into joy unspeakable!

As I told the story of the resurrection and experienced with Mary her sorrow and then her joy, it seemed as though Jesus spoke my name, too, and joy crowded out my sorrow.

. . .because I live, you shall live also. John 14:19

. . .the oil of joy for mourning. . .Isaiah 61:3

Along with telling about my story, I included President Obama's Easter message--Rebecca and Matt brought their computer so we could watch it.
I danced to:

O Divine Redeemer

Night gathers round my soul. . .haste to help me . . hear my cry. . .in Thy mercy. . .

O Divine Redeemer,

Into Your hands I commit, the words I say, I write, the thoughts I think. . .

Into Your hands. . .

If death and life be in the power of the tongue, then it is no small thing to speak falsehood against the leader of our nation. Disagree with the President. Debate the issues. But do so with respect, and above all truthfulness. If lies prevail, it is death to our democracy.

Diane, this attack on the President has blessed me and caused me to love and pray for him even more.

“For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor: If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, . . Then will I cause you to dwell in this place. . “

1 comment:

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Christian, iwspo.net