Thursday, July 26, 2012

He's No Chicken: Honoring Dan Cathy's Courageous Stand

The wording of the title for an article in the New York Times, Chick-fil-A Thrust Back into the Spotlight on Gay Rights, reveals the covert roots of confusion that have expertly hidden the truth of this volatile issue for decades. Christians do not seek to exclude or suppress gays, but rather liberate all to the knowledge that the Word of God is the only absolute truth. For years, Christians have been labeled as “bigots” accused of being intolerant, anti-gay, and prejudiced. We, as Christians do not have a hate agenda against gays, we have a love agenda for God. Although Christians are facing aggressive persecution for upholding our beliefs, all you will hear from the media is how outrageous it is that we are oppressing the gays.
When we uphold our beliefs, it is not from a stance of pride, but from a place of humility for what the Word of God says. As we take a stand for Christ, we bow before His throne. Do not be deceived. The battle is not between gays and Christians, the battle is between you and God. We do not have to defend ourselves. Jesus did not defend Himself when hurled with mockery and false accusations. He simply said, “It is written…” If you choose to deny the Word of God, you deny Jesus, Himself. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Either you believe the Word of God is divinely inspired and that we are accountable or you don’t. I Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Do you not know what the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A knows the power of the Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” In a recent radio interview, Mr. Cathy said, “As it relates to society in general, I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, “We know better than You as to what constitutes marriage.” It is interesting and apparent that the author of this New York Times article does not share the same fear of the LORD by the intentional usage of lower-case pronouns when referencing God in Cathy’s quote. The New York Times quote reads, “….when we shake our fist at him, We know better than you.” Whether realized or not, the attempt to redefine marriage is a form of idolatry. Idolatry is making anything other than God absolute. To protest against God’s definition of marriage is to protest against God Himself.
Many individuals that practice the homosexual lifestyle embrace their identity as “gay.” In other words, there is no delineation in their minds between what they do and who they are. This deeply entrenched lie has caused them to believe that they, as a people are suppressed and oppressed. However, Christians believe that all men are created in the image of God, and that our identity is in Christ alone. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Christians do not label individuals as “gay,” but rather separate the lifestyle from the person. We do not see ourselves as better than any other, nor do we condemn, for we are all sinners in need of a Savior. The passage in I Corinthians 6 that speaks against homosexuality goes on to say in verse 11,“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit of our God.” How can one vehemently defend homosexuality if it is clearly a sin that requires one to be washed and sanctified? If you sincerely believe that gays have the right to marry, and yet you profess to believe in God, I implore you to do one thing. Simply ask God to reveal the truth to you by His Spirit. Ask the LORD,“Show me if I am wrong.”
Mr. Cathy’s courageous act of obedience should be honored and celebrated. I am confident that he knew that his faith-filled declarations would inevitably spark fiery persecutions against his name, his family, and his business, but he was willing to take up his cross and follow Jesus at any cost. He chose the narrow road. Thank-you, Mr. Cathy. May God richly bless and reward you for pleasing God rather than man.
Please show your support to Mr. Cathy by eating at Chick-fil-A regularly, and write him a letter of appreciation. You can mail it to the corporate headquarters at:
5200 Buffington Rd
Atlanta, GA 30349

Monday, July 16, 2012

Divine Multiplication

John 6:12 says, "When they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost."

One practical application for this verse is to be good financial stewards of whatever God has graciously entrusted you. In my marriage, Adam is the primary financial provider, and I try to make what he brings in stretch as far as possible.

One of my hobbies that I have acquired is couponing! When you strategically and creatively match up sales with coupons, the savings can be exponential! I love my local CVS. It is only a mile from our house and always has amazing deal scenarios. I thought I would update you guys from time to time to show you just how much you can really save.

Today, I found myself in the epicenter of an awesome convergence when everything seemed to line up exquisitely in my favor!

I went into the store with a $5 CVS gift card I earned using SwagBucks. When I entered the store, I scanned my CVS card at the big red machine in the front of the store, and a CVS coupon printed off for a $5 off any $15 beauty purchase. Here's what I did:

First Transaction:

(1) CoverGirl blush @ $4.49
(1) CoverGirl eyeliner @ $5.49
(1) CoverGirl eyeliner @ $5.99

The total for these items would have been $15.97 before tax. I used my $5 off $15 beauty purchase store coupon which broughtthe total down to $10.97.

Then I used a $3 off 2 CoveGirl products coupon and a $1 off any CoverGirl product coupon found in the 7/1 Procter and Gamble insert of the newspaper. This brought my total down to $6.97. Then, I used my $5 CVS gift card I earned using SwagBucks. This lowered my total to only $1.97! With tax, I paid only $2.45! Then $5 in ECB's (extra care bucks) printed off since I purchased a minimum of $15 in CoverGirl cosmetics (a promotion running from July 15-July 21 at CVS). A coupon for extra care bucks acts like a CVS coupon that you can use on any CVS purchase with some limited exclusions. The great thing about ECB's is you can turn around and use them immediately on your next transaction!

Second Transaction:

(6) Bumble Bee Tuna Fish Cans (retail $1.87) SALE @ $0.88 a can
(1) Zest Bar Soap, 8-pack @ $3.99
(1) Wet & Wild lip liner (retail $0.99) SALE @ $0.69

The total for these items would have been $9.96. I used my $5 extra care buck coupon that printed in the previous transaction, that $4.96. I had a $0.50 off zest bar soap coupon 7/8 smartsource which I stacked with a $1 CVS coupon that I had for any bar soap/body wash. I had three $1/2 Bumble Bee product coupons that brought my total down to $0.46. With tax, I paid only $1.26!

So basically, without the sale, the retail value for both transactions would have cost $32.17. With sale prices only, the total lowers to $25.93. When you pair manufacturer coupons, store coupons, and gift cards, the total for all items before tax comes to only $2.43! Or with tax, out of pocket, $3.71!!! This is a retail savings of 92%! It definitely pays to plan ahead 15 minutes before you go shop :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Degrees of Surrender

During my jog today, my spirit rose up and I heard the words, "You cannot be weighed down by that which you have laid down."

Over the past couple of weeks, God has been really working on my heart in the area of surrender. Oftentimes, I believe I have surrendered something, only to find my mind recirculate the very thing I had laid down, presenting it to me as a brand new concern. It begs the question, "What am I still holding on to?"

A few days ago, Adam woke up and told me about an interesting dream he had. He said there was a young child, a brunette girl, that appeared to him in a dream and told us, "You both have to baptized at the same time in water that is the same temperature."

I knew this dream contained some sort of spiritual revelation about marriage, and I believe I understand the interpretation. When we marry our spouse, there is not just a commitment, there is a baptism that must take place if we want to experience the fullness of unity. Many of us are asking God for manifold blessings to rise up in our marriage when we have not fully died to our own selfish desires. Perhaps one spouse has surrendered in an area partially, and the other has surrendered fully. This differential in surrender will result in some sort of division or wall in the marriage.

One definition of surrender is "to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another." To surrender by force is slavery; to surrender by free will is freedom. The difference between the two, of course, is slavery exists in the absence of love while freedom exists in the presence of love. When you love deeply, surrender comes naturally. Surrender is a direct response that results from a fusion of love and trust. If trust is not present, a wall of separation will erect.

This week, evaluate which areas in your marrriage that you have been "baptized together" and which areas you still need to surrender. When you wake up in the morning, do you think, "How can I make a difference in my spouse's life?" Or do you think, "How can he/she make a difference in mine?" I confess there have been many times in my marriage that I sought what Adam could give me rather than what I could give him. If one partner is only giving and the other partner is only receiving, there is inevitable lack and frustration that settles in. We have all heard the saying, "It is better to give than to receive." If you look up the word "better" in the dictionary, one meaning reads "greater than half." If you are only receiving, one partner's needs are being met at the expense of the other. However, when both partners freely give their all, there is an overflow and overabundance that gushes forth without measure.

When we concurrently lay down our dreams, our agendas, and our desires in favor of our spouse's, we will experience the blessings of a resurrected union. If you have heavy burdens in your marriage, you have not fully surrendered them to God. Because the areas that you have given Jesus full access to, there is freedom and victory. Matthew 11:30 says, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." If you feel something weighing you down, it is begging to be baptized. And do not worry. It is not lost. What is given to God will surely be resurrected.