True Love ❤️

         True love is not something that suddenly comes to us like we think. Instead, it is something that is built inside of us.
          With every surrendered dream, every sacrifice we make to put Christ first, with every bold letting go of our own desires to pursue His desires, we begin to get a glimpse of what Calvary love was all about.
         As a single woman, so many of us are looking to someday find that guy who will love us with the true love that we have waited for our whole lives. But, what we don’t fully understand is that in order to have a mutual true love in marriage, we have to be the first to practice that kind of death to self and submission to Christ that is required for true love to be fully born in us.
         I was thinking last week about the pain found in relationships. All my life I have tried to protect myself from the pain found in relationships. Somehow pain meant that something was wrong. But, over the past two months, God has shown me that there is pain found in relationships when we love people, and it is GOOD. To think that pain can be good was breaking boxes for me. It may for you, too. There is a pain found in laying down our lives for others, in allowing ourselves to be stretched outside our comfort zone, in finally facing our weaknesses through the eyes of another life we truly care about. This kind of pain is actually GOOD because when we encounter it, we know that something is being changed in us for GOOD. We shouldn’t shrink back from it, we shouldn’t try to run from it. We need to rejoice in it, by simply taking it all to the feet of Jesus and spending time with Him, talking to Him about it. He knows why He allows GOOD pain in our lives. He faced pain, too, when He was practicing true love. He knows how to help us experience the JOY found in the moments of crucifixion that is required in true love.
        This weekend was one of those moments for me. Because of some my childhood brokenness that I now realize God is still healing in me, sometimes when it comes to relationships, I either cocoon myself from them, or I just expect them to be pain-free and all joy. But, but, but…the reality is that some of the best relationships are ones that help us grow in Truth and Love. They stretch us. They force us to rely on God. When we rely on God, then we get Truth in our inward members, and it’s that Truth that builds our lives in love toward God and others.
        That is the true love we are waiting for. It’s this amazing ability to suffer as Christ suffered by laying down our lives for the sake of others. When a man and a woman learn this practice in their own lives led by the Holy Spirit, they are better prepared for the marriage that reflects Jesus and His Bride.
So, be willing to be built by True Love.
        This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
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God Heals. ♡

I refuse to limit God to man’s cultural religion. Leave it to man, and God will no longer be a Healer, just only a Comforter. But, the thing is…He is both. He can still heal today. I refuse to believe that cancer is greater than God. Cancer is a disease. Jesus took the stripes for all diseases, and He knew someday there would be something called cancer. We can’t forget God’s Word. He said to confess our sins and to be healed. He said He would send forth His Word and heal us. He is still our Healer.

Sometimes God calls His children Home. He knows when we need Healing at Home more than we need Healing on earth. But, He should be the One to decide that, not man.

I believe our first recourse must always be surrender and faith when we get sick. Surrender to ask forgiveness and mercy for our sins if we sinned and/or faith to believe God wants to be glorified as Healer through our lives. He IS Healer. We must always make that our default belief. By Jesus’ stripes we are healed.

Friday I was in tears on my way home. My head was throbbing. I put my hand on the base of my neck, and I simply prayed and asked God to heal me. I heard His Spirit tell me that He loved me. I let that wash over me. Although the top right of my head still hurt, the base of my neck had no pain. It was all gone. All gone. I found myself marveling at that, but I should know it’s part of my inheritance as His child. Healing is what the Father does.

I know when people die whom we care for it challenges us to the core. Why does disease seem to have the upper hand? Where is healing? I am here to say that I still believe God heals. He is Healer. He always will be. Never cease praying for the health of those we love. Let God choose where He wants to heal them, in heaven or on earth. But, let’s partner WITH the Holy Spirit and AGREE for others’ complete healing in Jesus Christ. God loves us. ❤

🌿The Unexpected Gift of Election 2016:Donald J. Trump and His Relationship with the “Forgotten” Americans

Introduction

President Donald J. Trump was an unexpected gift to the United States on Nov. 20, 2016; however, like some surprises, not everyone was willing to accept him.  When he began his race for Presidency in June of 2015, all the odds were against him.  Political analysts highlighted a list of his deficiencies;  the media, like CBS for example, exploited him for their personal marketing gain during his campaign and spoke disparagingly about him throughout;  and although Trump was successful in the business world for decades, dealing with others auspiciously in both domestic and international relations, it was evident that within politics, he was an outsider, not part of the political establishment, not even accepted by his own party.  As a matter of fact, according to Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney, “GOP leaders were at a loss to stop a reality TV star with seemingly unlimited wealth and almost universal name recognition.”   Perhaps it was these outcast elements that helped Trump relate to those whom he would best serve and who would in the end help him win his Presidency.

To those in the opposing party and other multiple factions across the nation, dubious and ready to take offense at his every word, action, and policy, Donald Trump was simply a bombastic icon, a too-familiar brand; he was mocked, chastised, and judged for his past moral failures, his current temperamental weaknesses, and his apparent lack of political etiquette. How could such a man then outrun every other candidate and accomplish the improbable, becoming the 45th President of the United States of America?

Some in the evangelical Christian community would assert that the game changer was that President Trump found real Christianity during his campaign. Although Trump had not officially spoken out about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, key pastors like Robert Jeffress began serving and promoting Trump because they had confidence that Trump would protect evangelical Christians in America.  At the time of the election, Christian consciences and rights were being violated through lawsuits.  In multiple private businesses throughout the nation, evangelical Christians were being forced to compromise their consciences or to pay penalties to the government. America, a place once known as a haven of religious freedom was slowly becoming a place of persecution for those of faith.  Therefore, when Pastor Jeffress stated, “I can tell you from experience, if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, we who are evangelical Christians are going to have a true friend in the White House,”  regardless of President Trump’s personal faith, this acknowledgement gave the unsettled Christians hope. What they didn’t realize was that Trump was also providing hope to many more of his constituents, as well.

Keeping these details in mind, after analyzing Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney’s book, Defying the Odds and reading Richard Neustadt’s Presidential Powers and Jeffrey Tulis’ The Rhetorical Presidency, I assert that the fundamentals and contingencies surrounding the 2016 election impacted President Trump’s relationship with the American people in a more positive manner than what most are willing to admit: President Trump has been able to begin building trust with the people by keeping his promises to the “Forgotten” Americans.

Fundamentals and Contingencies During the Election

Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney ask the question, “Are presidential elections mostly about ‘fundamentals,’ or mostly about ‘contingencies?’”   They later admit that like all elections, the 2016 election was a mixture of both.  If we are able to see fundamentals as the practical groundwork, framework, and blueprint of what is taking root in America, then perhaps we can see contingencies in elections as the means of potential fruit for the future. Pragmatic roots and the hope of economic fruit were among several reasons why hardworking Americans had favor for President Trump during his campaign.

One of the fundamentals that highly stand out during the election process of 2016 was the need for jobs in the economy. When Obama took office, he inherited an unemployment rate of about 11.1 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December of 2008.  However, by 2014, the rate had become 17.7 million unemployed people, and in 2015, the rate had been 16.9 million people unemployed, showing a decrease of 783,000.

Yet more employment is what the people expected the new President to provide. To work toward this end, Donald Trump made promises during his campaign to blue-collar workers that he would make America great again by bringing jobs back to America.  According to Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney, automation had put blue-collar workers out of jobs, and they were also afraid of the rise in economic globalization.  From automobile jobs being sent to Mexico, to the rise of undocumented immigration, the native-born working whites were feeling the effects of not only job loss, but also wage depression.   Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney state that  “Between 2007 and 2016, whites between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four lost about 6.5 million more jobs than they gained,” whereas Hispanics, Asians, and African-Americans all gained employment during that time.   As a result, resentment began growing regarding discrimination.  Trump would step onto this scene, however, and reach out to “the forgotten” blue-collar Americans in the Mid-west and Pennsylvania, and this outreach would work toward his electoral gain and building trust with the American workers.

The interesting part about this fundamental puzzle piece is that in a sense it was all made possible by a contingency, Trump’s spirited personality and his “demotic rhetoric” with the people.   Although Trump was a billionaire, as he campaigned, he grew in public prestige as “the people’s billionaire.”  Trump found that he didn’t need to identify himself as an elite with a super PAC or any other party organization.  Instead, he simply related directly with the people through his rallies and social media.  As a result, he came to identify himself as a “spokesperson of a popular movement.”   Whereas most politicians were busy chasing money to make a difference, Trump already had the money.  He shifted his focus to chasing “the forgotten,” and as a result, he won their votes.

Certainly, Tulis would see Trump’s rising as “soft-demagoguery.”   After all, Trump saw himself as a solution for the white working class; he would bridge the apparent gap between his prosperity and their need for a job by extending his attention on their behalf and drawing closer to them in understanding. Then, he would assure them by making campaign promises to bring back jobs that would serve them when he became President.   However, to Trump it wasn’t just a speech to gain their loyalty, but his word.

Consequently, in his is first 100 days of office President Trump did keep his word to his constituents.  He effectively used his Presidential power to decisively withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.  Also, he chose to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline and roll back anti-coal regulations, as well as implement the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.   Neustadt would have been proud that Trump used his Presidential power to build his reputation as a decisive leader in the first 100 days of office, building his prestige and trust with the American people by keeping his promises to them.

Consequently, Trump used some Neustadtian principles also to pass the above orders, which additionally built up the President’s credibility and relationship with the people.  He made certain that all Americans knew he had signed executive orders by publishing them on his White House homepage and sharing them on social media for the public to see.  In addition, he held press conferences, so the country could know about his executive orders. Furthermore, any directives he issued out to his cabinet members were understood and astutely applied, and they were fully aware that he had authority to sign the executive orders, terminate agreements, and begin new ones, all on his own authority without Congress (although we certainly found courts jumped in to try and stop him).

The fundamentals and contingency plan were clear:  America needed a better economy and more jobs, and the fruit would be Trump keeping his word to the people, building trust to bring those jobs back to America. As Neustadt asserts, “[I]f choices are the means by which a President builds power, it is only as he sees his power stakes in what he does that choices become building blocks for him.”   In Trump’s case, his choices helped him build trust in his relationship with the American people, especially his constituents, “the forgotten” blue-collar workers who voted him in to do exactly what he said he would do.
Conclusion

Both the fundamentals and contingencies of the 2016 election greatly impacted President Trump’s relationship with the public. President Trump understood that economy and jobs were a major concern in people’s lives. Using his unique personality and bold rhetoric, he built a relationship of growing trust specifically with his constituents, the working class, even as he tried to build better relationships with angry factions across the nation.

Where some will see a “basket of deplorables,”  God will allow another to see with His heart of compassion. Maybe that is the spark of hope that inspired Trump to run for office, Make America Great Again.

Donald Trump was an improbable candidate in the 2016 election; however, truly his win has been an unexpected gift for our nation. God says in His Word that whatever we do for the least of these, we do it for Him.   “The forgotten” blue-collar workers finally had someone looking after them this past election, someone they would never have likely expected, a billionaire from New York City. They understood what it meant to be falsely judged, what it meant to be overlooked, and what it meant to be misunderstood and forgotten. I suspect Donald J. Trump had not expected to be the one to help them, but by the time he could, he understood all those things, as well.  That’s what  servant-leadership is, a true gift to those who are being served.  We never look more truly like Jesus than when we are willing to lay down our lives to serve others, and in order to do that well, sometimes we have to go through what they go through.  Perhaps this is why Robert Jefress knew President Trump would be a friend.

God bless America.  God bless President Donald J. Trump.
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Pounces.”  New York Times. Com Sept. 10, 2016.  Accessed on October 11, 2016.https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/us/politics/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorables.html
Hallman, Tristan. “Donald Trump Reaches Evangelical Vote Through Dallas Pastor

Robert Jeffress.” Dallas News. Mar. 2016. Accessed on October 10, 2017. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/news/2016/03/06/donald-trump-reaches-

evangelical-vote-through-dallas-pastor-robert-jeffress.
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The White House.Gov.  Accessed on October 11, 2017. https://www.whitehouse.gov/100-

Days.

We Belong:  A Part of His Body

Oh, I get it.  I get the liberal.  They have “atomistic” thinking.  Hear me out.  They don’t believe they are whole within a society.  They believe their whole societal concern is within themselves.

If I were not a Christian, I would be a tree-hugging liberal who would believe we are all individual and unique and we should just focus on that.  I would probably be asocial.  Some of it has to do with being hurt by institutions like family, school, church, and even the closest of friends.  Sometimes it’s safer to not lean on anyone else, but ourselves.

But, I thank God I am a Christian, and God will not let me be alone.  He has told us we are part of His body.  We are not the whole body, just a part.  That takes humility and dependecy.  We need others in this life.  We need God above all.

But, this is the pain of this generation. They lack moms and dads committed in marriage. So, many have learned to trust in nobody else, but themselves.  The idea of God being Lord through Jesus Christ means they have to let go of their personal power which is the one safe thing they KNOW they can depend on. 

Oh, we need to pray.  God wants to heal our society, community, our churches, families, marriages.  God cares about our part in His whole picture.  He created us in community. In Christ, we are His body.  He has more He wants to be in His body.  He died for us ALL, after all. ❤

So.. Yeah.  I got this whole revelation by looking up the word “atomization” today in my reading because I didn’t understand how that scientic word would fit politics.  But, I get it now.  And, it burdens me to pray for this generation, causes me to praise God for placing me in His body, and I look forward to how He will set this girl in His beautiful plan someday to understand the fullness of what marriage and family means.  Jesus heals.  There is HOPE for ALL OF US IN OUR NATION!!!!!!!! ❤

The whole body depends on Christ. And all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part of the body does its own work. And this makes the whole body grow and be strong with love.

Ephesians 4:16

🌿Judicial Activism in Roe v. Wade and Its Effects on the Nation

Paper submitted on June 28, 2019.

 

Introduction

    In the fall of 1967 a young woman and her boyfriend drove south through Texas to cross the border into Mexico.  Her purpose was to get an illegal abortion. The Texas statute enacted in 1857 and remaining “substantially unchanged to the present time” would not allow a woman to get an abortion unless her health was in danger.  Since the only thing that was potentially in danger that year was her JD degree at the University of Texas Law School in Austin, she did what she thought she had to do to protect her future career. Six years later, at the age of 26, she would find herself standing-poised, eloquent, and articulate- at the highest judicial ground of the land—the Supreme Court.  This was her shining moment. Her name was Sarah Weddington, the young, female lawyer who would represent the appellant in the United States landmark case of Roe v. Wade.

Sarah Weddington was not Jane Roe.  But, by all accounts, she could have been.  The truth is, most don’t know the full story of Roe v. Wade.  In an impromptu survey, I had asked eight people if they knew the name of a different girl, Norma McCorvey.  Interestingly enough, all eight did not know who she was.  They did not know that 25 year old Norma McCorvey was the nationally acclaimed Jane Roe, the young woman searching for a way out of her pregnancy in 1969. Since they did not know her name, they also did not know her story.  Although the abortion case was initiated by McCorvey, by the time the Supreme Court fully tried her case, she was no longer pregnant.  She had delivered her baby. Although these personal reasons could have mooted her case, the classified class-action suit continued on with the appellant counsel Sarah Weddington, perhaps the true Jane Roe of the hour, leading the way at the Supreme Court with her opening remarks on Dec. 13, 1971.

From the start, the Supreme Court took advantage of their opportunity to practice judicial activism in Roe v. Wade.   Perhaps it was the opportunity to move beyond just trying a case for jurisdiction.  Perhaps it was that they only had seven fully appointed judges on the bench at the time of the first argument.  Or perhaps, it was that the majority of the remaining justices among them were liberal, and they were reaching for the opportunity to make a lasting social change in the nation. Whatever their true motives were, these Supreme Court justices in the years of 1971 -1973 creatively tried a case that would end up not only altering the lives of so many women, babies, and families all across our nation, but stretching how justices can interpret and create new rights not directly found in the United States Constitution. Perhaps the greatest qualm against these justices’ actions is that they conducted these trials and wrote their opinions and decisions by using that strong measure of judicial activism that left the republic without a voice in the decision. That is what the heart of this research paper is about.  In the landmark abortion trial of Roe v. Wade, the seeds of judicial activism in the Supreme Court grew until it fully produced a piece of judicial legislation that would not only adversely affect mothers and babies, but the entire nation.

Judicial Activism in Roe v. Wade

Whoever thought that judicial activism only started when Supreme Court justices were currently seated on the bench did not know the domino effect that could occur as a result of one retired judge’s article.  In the fall of 1969 retired Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark published a law review article advocating legalized abortion.  He had been one of the judges who had helped to strike down the Connecticut contraceptive law in Griswold before he retired.  Now, he had written an article that would be cited by many lawyers and lower court justices, including two Supreme Court colleagues, Justices Douglas and Brennan, who would also favorably influence a third justice with ideas of legalizing abortion. Although Clark’s final conclusion to his random article was that in the end “It is for the legislature to determine the proper balance…,” the damage of his publication had already been completed for these liberal minded justices who wanted an opportunity to try their hand at striking down abortion laws throughout the land.  Manipulative seeds of arguments for abortion rights had been scattered throughout his article, influencing these key members of the judiciary with words that would eventually make their way into the Roe v. Wade decision.

There were only seven justices on the panel when Roe v. Wade first came up for judicial review in the Supreme Court in Dec. 13, 1971. The justices had decided to hear the abortion argument without the two new judges, because at the time they had a majority of four who were favorable toward abortion, and they did not want the chance of losing their liberal advantage.  They were also neither too concerned, nor too prepared for the abortion argument because it was specifically determined that Roe was going to be argued as a jurisdiction case to settle procedural issues between the church and state. As a matter of fact, it had another case even attached with it, Doe v. Bolton which would be tried in the same manner. However, the four liberal justices were eager to legislate from the bench, especially Justice Brennan who submitted his opinion of Eisenstadt v. Baird on that same day of the first arguments.  Quite timely, his opinion would contain the rhetoric needed to tie abortion with the right to privacy as established as precedent in that case.

    To further understand the judicial activism that was happening on the bench during Roe’s trial, we need to consider key concepts covered in Ronald Fisher’s book, The Concept of Judicial Activism.  In the book, Fisher asserts that both scholars and common court observers have a hard time differentiating when the Supreme Court is legislating or interpreting in their court decisions and policies in regards to judicial activism.  He claims that justices are bound by the constraints of the Constitution; otherwise, their “actions” would be dismissed.”  Yet, by citing Professor Mendelson, he shows how some justices seem to have a broader, more liberal view of the Constitution:

The Constitution lives on in a changing world because it grows not only by formal amendment but also by “interpretations”—a process in which the judiciary plays a large, yet by no means an exclusive role.  Lawmaking, then, is an inherent and inevitable part of the judicial process.  Judges must be more than mimics.  Greatness on the bench—or—elsewhere—lies in creativity.

Keeping this in mind with Roe v. Wade, it is apparent then that Justice Brennan was in agreement with Mendelson’s liberal view of “creative” judicial activism and judicial lawmaking.  It is also apparent that he was working within the constraints in his mind of a living Constitution when he wrote his opinion for Eisenstadt v. Baird which held the rhetoric that would later be used in Roe v. Wade.

The majority of the seven had already decided their decision to strike down the state abortion legislation when Chief Justice Burger suggested not only once, but twice that Roe v. Wade should be reargued with a full panel of nine judges who were finally appointed to the bench. The liberal core of four were very upset.  Forsythe writes, “The four liberals were enraged; fearful that a 4-3 ruling might become 5-4 against abortion rights, they immediately circulated statements that they opposed reargument.  Nevertheless, Chief Justice Burger prevailed in getting the case heard by the full panel of nine for a second set of arguments in October of 1972.

    In this line of thought, it is interesting to briefly highlight former Justice Black’s convictions regarding judicial activism in the Supreme Court.  Fisher writes that retired “Justice Black stated that he based his faith in the Supreme Court’s ability to interpret the United States Constitution as a living document on two personal convictions:  (1) his enduring belief in the Bill of Rights, and (2) his belief that there existed ‘absolutes’ in the Constitution of the United States.”  Although Black had retired from the Supreme Court prior to Roe, according to Forsythe, if Black had been involved with the Roe deliberations, there were strong reasons to believe he would have voted against creating a constitutional right to abortion, and he would have been for leaving the abortion issue to the democratic process in the states.  Forsythe’s reasons were because Justice Black not only dissented the decision in Griswold, Roe’s precedent, but he had also rejected Justice Douglas’ idea of the “penumbrae” in the Constitution being used.  As a result, although Black was no longer on the Court, the fact that Forsythe could extrapolate Black’s views into the case of Roe ironically exposes the other justices’ liberal judicial activism.

    Perhaps the strongest voice that exposed the overreach of judicial activism in Roe v. Wade, however, came from Justice Rehnquist, one of the new justices in the full panel of nine who would end up voting dissent in the Roe v. Wade decision. His arguments all revealed how the role of judicial activism in the case went beyond the bounds of the Constitution.  First off, he challenged the Court’s new right of “privacy.”   He declared, “The Court’s sweeping invalidation of any restrictions on abortion during the first trimester is impossible to justify under that standard, and the conscious weighing of competing factors that the Court’s opinion apparently substitutes for the test is far more appropriate to a legislative judgment than to a judicial one.”  It was apparent that he saw the overreach of the Supreme Court and made it clear that they were misapplying the word “privacy” as the Constitution would originally mean it.  In addition, Rehnquist challenged the “compelling state interest test” by asserting that the Supreme Court judges breaking down pregnancy for the states into three distinct terms, outlining acceptable state regulations for each trimester took “more of judicial legislation than it does of a determination of the intent of the drafter of the Fourteenth Amendment.”  In other words, again, it went beyond the original intent of our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Additionally, Rehnquist wisely took some time to do careful research into the past histories on abortion legislation to back up his dissent.  As a result, his words further exposed the excessive current judicial overreach in creating a new right:

The fact that a majority of the States reflecting, after all, the majority sentiment in those States have had restrictions on abortions for at least a century is a strong indication, it seems to me, that the asserted right to an abortion is not “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental…Even today when society’s views on abortion are changing, the very existence of the debate is evidence that the “right” to an abortion is not so universally accepted as the appellant would have us believe.

As a final incitement of truth and revelation, Rehnquist ended his dissent explanations by challenging the Supreme Court by ironically addressing the original Founding Father’s intent for the use of the Fourteenth Amendment in the states:

There apparently was no question concerning the validity of this provision or of any other state statutes when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted.  The only conclusion possible from this history is that the drafters did not intend to have the Fourteenth Amendment withdraw from the states the power to legislate with respect to this matter….

There are no better words of rebuke for the Supreme Court for their judicial overreach in Roe v. Wade than these that came directly from one of their new colleagues.  Rehnquist’s’ dissent and argument succinctly revealed how the Supreme Court justices had gone over the constraints of the Constitution in their final decision of Roe v. Wade.

National Effects of Judicial Activism in Roe

The adverse effects of the Supreme Court’s decision on Jan. 22, 1973 in Roe v. Wade went beyond just mothers and babies to the whole nation.  When Justice Blackman wrote the final Roe decision, he removed the abortion issue out of the legislatures and placed it in the courts.  With his one decision, Blackmun and the other justices denied the people of the United States the opportunity to debate the abortion issue. Those who were opposed or who were for abortion could not go through the legislative process of contacting their state representatives regarding their views about the issue.  If the republic had been allowed that democratic process, new legislation could have been formed to examine all the various aspects of the abortion issue.  

David Brooks of the New York Times asserts that “If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that’s always existed on this issue.”  As it turns out, prosecutions were pending in many states against abortionists when the decision was published, and there were already 30 states who upheld anti-abortion laws, except in the case of saving the mother’s life. Regardless of this 3/5 majority of the states affirming anti-abortion laws, with the Blackmun decision, the Supreme Court nullified the statutes of all 50 states, requiring that they, instead, implement the new created laws given by the Supreme Court of the land.

As a result of Roe, an assumption rose in the public regarding rights, linking the court to social change.  Scheingold declares that “The assumption is that litigation can evoke a declaration of rights from the courts; that it can further be used to assure the realization of the rights; and, finally that realization is tantamount to meaningful change.  The myth of rights is, in other words, premised on a direct linking of litigation, rights, and remedies with social change” Because they took the fight away from the states and the public, the Supreme Court opened themselves to the precedent of creating new rights, extracting them from somewhere in the penumbrae of the Constitution.  

Some justices like Skelly Wright would argue that in general the role of judicial activism in shaping our country has been “necessary and proper,” especially in areas of law where the political process has been ineffective because politicians have neglected the problems. However, in Roe v. Wade, when the Supreme Court took the debate away from the politicians and democracy, they legislated to “shape a society” where abortion would be acceptable even into the 3rd trimester, unto viability (28 weeks), even though the majority of the states had a hard time even accepting any stage of abortion outside of saving a mother’s life.  If they had left the debate with the legislators and voters, who could work through the issue through the democratic processes of “bargaining, education, persuasion, and voting,” it is possible that during this process statistics would have disclosed that a woman’s health is rarely the reason why women get abortions. After all, according to Bennett’s statistics, from 1972-1991 only seven percent of all abortions actually fell into the category of threatening the mother’s health, whereas nearly 200,000 second-and-third-trimester abortions were committed annually.  Without knowing the statistics at the time, in the end, seven percent, clearly a minority, is what the Supreme Court based their final Roe decision on.  As a result, the majority in the nation was adversely affected, as well.

According to Brooks, there were a number of other political effects that also emanated throughout the land from the Supreme Court decision in Roe.  For one, the political parties polarized.  In addition, both parties developed groups to destroy future judicial nominees that might oppose their side of the abortion fight.  Furthermore, the Senate, once strong in deliberation to achieve consensus, began playing manipulative games to make sure that appointed Supreme Court nominees would reflect their legislative partisan view.  As a result, electing judges was no longer about the judicial wrong and right, but about the judicial left and right. Democrats began using the method of filibustering again and again, while the Republicans began threatening to change the Senate rules.  According to Brooks, present-day America still needs to have this democratic abortion debate because he asserts that it is in eventually overturning Roe v. Wade, that the cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness will be destroyed at the root.

According to Judith Blake, a number of abortion-related bills increased significantly to oppose the Roe v. Wade decision that was released in January of 1973.  Right after the Supreme Court decision, 260 bills were introduced and 39 enacted.  In addition, several states enacted statutes to either deny or restrict Medicaid reimbursement for women who had abortions and expected tax dollars to cover the expense of their decision.  

Blake also shared data from national surveys conducted by Gallup and NORC to reveal attitudes of those surveyed in the public prior, during, and after the abortion legislation passed.  In terms of men and women’s attitude toward elective abortions, it was interesting to note the disapproval rating for abortion declined from 85 percent in 1968 to 63 percent in 1974 and 1977.  Nevertheless, Blake indicated that none of the results showed more than 50 percent approving or less than 50 percent disapproving elective abortions.  

In regards to questions about the timing of abortion procedures, results from Blake’s survey clearly showed that the country was in opposition with the Supreme Court here, as well.  Although the Court didn’t feel it necessary at the time to solve the issue of when life began, and eventually, they extended the right to abortion up to 28 weeks, in 1975, 58 percent of the women said life began at conception.  Only 11 percent agreed with the Supreme Court that it would be at viability.  

Also, according to Forsythe, the abortion decision affected the other branches of government, as well. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade bound Congress, the President, and all state and local governments across all 50 states through the Supremacy Clause in Article VI because the supreme law superseded all the state laws of the land. With the passing of the Supreme Court legislation, abortions increased throughout the whole nation, reaching an annual high of 1.6 million in 1992, before declining to 1.2 million in 2006.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, the consequence of Roe v. Wade is that from 1973-2014, the women in America have had 59, 115, 995 abortions.

More specifically, according to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, from the years of 1972 to 1991, there are some other startling facts that resulted from Roe v. Wade. (Because it was difficult to disaggregate the data for just the years starting from 1973, these statistics will include the initial year prior to Roe, as well).  From the statistics, Bennett disclosed that 59% of abortions were committed by women under the age of 24.  Also, about 40 percent of teenage pregnancies (about 400,000 a year) ended in abortion, and the teen number of abortions was one-fourth the total number of abortions that were committed yearly in the United States. Also, he reported that girls who were younger than the age of 15 had an inflating abortion rate by 18 percent between 1980 and 1987.  

In lieu of these results, perhaps having more than seven justices on the panel of the first argument may have helped them consider other possible questions to address in regards to the  abortion decision that would affect the whole nation.  The closest they came to considering other perspectives than just the woman’s health was in the first oral arguments when Jay Floyd submitted in his conclusion that in some instances the consideration should be given to the father of the baby, if he would object abortion. Because of the connection to Doe v. Bolton, it seems likely that the main perspective and age range the justices were considering in regards to abortion legislation at that time were that of adult women, either married or single.  If the thought of teenage abortions would have crossed the justices’ minds, then perhaps their conferences and drafts of opinions may have included some thought regarding parental consent for minors and whether that would even be Constitutional.  However, because the seven justices on the panel denied Texas’ motion to postpone the first argument until Powell and Rehnquist had been sworn in, they were left to hear the first arguments without them on Dec. 13, 1971, and just three days later, a bloc of justices were ready to vote for abortion rights. As a result not much deliberation took place over an issue that would impact the nation for the next 43 years.

Perhaps in their scheming to leave out the other two justices and in moving too quickly through the case, the Supreme Court justices were negligent in doing their research and homework to get all the facts needed to make the most judicious decision. As Forsythe writes, “Roe and Doe began, in the Supreme Court as a serious procedural mistake that left the justices without any factual record to consider the complex historical, legal, medical, and constitutional issues surrounding abortion.” In a landmark class-action suit that would affect the whole nation, it would have been wise to do some research before applying judicial activism from the bench.  After all, according to Bennett’s report, 63 percent of total abortions were committed by women who had never been married, and one of their main supports for the abortion argument was taken from Griswold v. Connecticut, which was about stablishing the Constitutional right of privacy specifically for married couples. Perhaps with some judicial restraint and taking some extra time, the Supreme Court justices may have reconsidered their decision. After all, one of the two who dissented, Justice Rehnquist, did so because he took the time to conduct some research into the opinions that were submitted by the justices to see if the judicial activism happening in the bench stayed within the constraints of the Constitution.  Perhaps if more of the Supreme Court justices had chosen to just interpret the law according to the Constitution, rather than judicially legislate, these adverse effects in our nation could have been constrained.  

Conclusion

    In conclusion, Alexander Hamilton in the 78th Federal paper described judges as the guardians of the Constitution.  He wrote that “the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them.”  It is evident that he never expected to see the day that judges would legislate from the bench to add rights to the Constitution and change the culture of a nation.  That is exactly what the Supreme Court did in Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court justices who used the Roe v. Wade decision to practice judicial activism went beyond the constraints of the United States Constitution to create new rights and laws that in the end have adversely affected the whole country.  By establishing prior precedents in cases like Griswold v Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Supreme Court created new rights of privacy and abortion that are not found anywhere in the text of the Constitution. The results of this encroachment on state legislative responsibilities and the rights of the people left the country needing to fully debate the abortion issue. There was so much to consider.

The basic qualm against the Supreme Court and their decision is that they usurped the power of deliberation and representation from the democracy by judicially legislating from the bench.  In hindsight, their decision was calculated, because there was a majority on the bench that wanted to strike down the abortion laws.  They based so much of their opinions and decisions on penumbrae and precedents from other cases.  Instead, like Justice Rehnquist, they could have considered the context of the Constitution as the Founding Fathers meant it, and they could have researched some factual evidence.

Although the fact that Norma McCorvey never had an abortion did not matter to the Supreme Court, perhaps, if they knew at the time that Sarah Weddington did have an abortion, it may have mattered.  It may have made them pause, to think.  Why would this woman want so badly to fight for this case?  There may have been a conflict of interest with her presenting the case. In the end, Sarah Weddington may have seemed “successful” in achieving so many of her goals.  After all, she graduated from law school, and she “won” the national landmark Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade.  However, I can’t imagine what the cost has been to her life.  The cost of her “success” to America has been very excessive, indeed.

Bibliography

“Abortion Statistics:  United States Data and Trends.” National Right to Life. Fact sheet. April  

2017.  Accessed on June 26, 2017. http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/factsheets/FS01AbortionintheUS.pdf.

 

Bennett, William. The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators: Facts and Figures on the State of                     American Society. New York: Touchstone, 1994.

Bickel, Alexander. The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics. 2nd ed. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1986.

 

Blake, Judith. “The Supreme Court’s Abortion Decisions and Public Opinion in the United States.” Population and Development Review Vol. 3, No. 1/2 (Mar. – Jun., 1977).

 

Brooks, David. “Roe’s Birth, and Death,” The New York Times, April 21, 2005. Accessed June 18, 2017.https://mobile.nytimes.com/2005/04/21/opinion/roes-birth-and-death.html?referer.

 

Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech. “Roe v. Wade.” Oyez https://www.oyez.org/cases/1971/70-18 (accessed June 26, 2017).

 

Clark, Tom C. Religion, Morality, and Abortion: A Constitutional Appraisal, 2 Loy. L.A. L. Rev.1 (1969). Accessed June 18, 2017. http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol2/iss1/1.

 

Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972).

 

Fisher, Ronald E. The Concept of Judicial Activism. California: Banner Books International, 1977.

 

Forsythe Clarke. Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade. New York: Encounter Books, 2013.

 

Garrow, David J. “She Put the v in Roe v. Wade.” The New York Times. September 27, 1992. Accessed June 26, 2017.  http://www.nytimes.com/1992/09/27/books/she-put-the-v-in-roe-v-wade.html.

Griswold v. Connecticut. 381 U.S. 479 (1965).

Kernell, Samuel and Steven S. Smith.  Principles and Practice of American Politics:  Classic and Contemporary Readings, 6th ed. Washington:  CQ Press, 2016.

 

Reich, Charles. “Mr. Justice Black and the Living Constitution,” Harvard Law Review 76 (February 1963): 673.

 

Roe v. Wade. 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

 

Scheingold, Stuart A., The Politics of Rights:  Lawyers, Public Policy and Political Change. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 1974.

 

Wright, J. Skelly.  “The Role of the Supreme Court in a Democratic Society—Judicial Activism or Restraint,” Cornell Law Review 55 (November 1968): 27-28.

 

Vincent, S. James. “Unwanted Pregnancy and the Unmerited Row over ‘Roe v. Wade,’” Journal of the Indian Law Institute 32, no. 2 (1990): 246-58. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43953183.

 🌿  Life Word

On Youversion I did a cool little devotional series called Life Word.  I think I know what my Life Word is…

Truth.

All my life God has used me in one way or another to bring truth out of situations, even when some were very uncomfortable and costly.  Truth offers a chance at mercy, at redemption.  I love that in my youth I began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Truth. He redeemed me and filled my life with mercy.  Over the years, He has held me accountable in so many ways to honor Truth, even at the expense of being misunderstood, unloved, and even at times, facing great loss.  

The thing about Truth is that it’s tenaciously grounded and steady, regardless of life circumstances.  Truth never changes. Instead, it changes us.  It gives us pure eyes, clean hearts, and Godly resolve. I love Truth and want to champion it. 

It’s not like what we think it is sometimes.  It’s not our truth, so limited by our scope and personal experience.  Truth is beyond us.  Truth is about the character and person of Jesus Christ who sees  every person’s heart, yet submits to God and leaves the judging with Him.  Truth isn’t a tool for condemnation or exposure.  Not in God’s hands.  Truth is always a tool to move us forward toward God’s redemption and mercy.  It’s because Truth sees and knows the whole story. 

I believe our nation needs more Truth.

Idolotry: Bowing to a Lying God

The enemy will try to steal glory from God by offering counterfeit ways of receiving God’s real grace.  Examples:  instead of hearing God through His Word, people rely on hearing God through signs.  Instead of receiving healing by the Holy Spirit, people will put their trust in trees and herbs through homeopathic/natural medicine.   Instead of running to God for provision, people will run to a lotto ticket.  And, instead of getting comfort and love from God, people run to relationships, thinking another person’s love can deliver them.  But, as I shared with a friend tonight….these are bandaid and false substitutes for real healing and Hope.

Idolotry in every form is a system of bowing to a lying god. At first, these and other counterfeit ways may at times offer a momentary fix, but it eventually leaves a cavern in the soul where FAITH was meant to fill lives with the substance of Truth found in all JESUS CHRIST has done and His Spirit continues to do for those who love and trust Him.

 
Let’s not be a people substituting our ways over God’s wisdom and Spirit.  Jesus is alive.  He is the one who guides us, heals us, provides for, and comforts us.  He is a real God we can have a real relationship with.  HE will help us.  Emmanuel.  God WITH us.

The Martyr Is a Witness

To be a martyr is to be a witness.

Stephen, the faithful waiter on widows, full of the Holy Spirit, performing miracles in the Name of Jesus Christ, was the first martyr for Jesus Christ. It’s amazing when we think about it. He was simply doing an ordinary job, but God’s power on Him was so evident that signs and wonders broke out, drawing attention, not unto him, but unto God.

Stephen ended up getting stoned for speaking the Truth when they questioned him. He stood firm and shared Jesus to a generation of people who literally ended up covering their ears and screaming at him. But, it wasn’t at him. What could Stephen really have to say that would be so powerful, so convicting in and of himself? Absolutely nothing. It was God whom they were closing their hearts and ears to. In their mass hysteria of delusion and hard-heartedness, they stoned a God-honoring man, a man who had the heart of serving, a man who had been called to wait on widows, a group of “the least of these.”

So, when it came down to it…Stephen was a witness for Jesus Christ. His life was a testimony of God’s amazing power and Truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what about us? Are we willing to stand up for the name of Jesus Christ in all areas of our lives, to be a witness for Him?

 

The bottom line is that it WILL end up costing everything we have to follow Jesus. That is why He tells us from the very start that if we are to follow Him that we have to deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him. He’s revealing up front that it’s costing our very lives to follow Him. But, He has given us the great exchange; He now lives inside of us, so He enables us to follow hard after Him in Spirit and Truth.

Today’s Christianity makes it look to easy and too cool to be in the kingdom. To have Jesus and our very desires, too—that is the marketing pitch in many churches today. And, I specifically use those words because it’s a business they are running, rather than the Kingdom of Jesus Christ they are growing. It’s going to be a sad day when people in churches are going to get hungry for the true and living God, and they are going to find that it was the blind leading the blind, and all are lost.

 

 

 

 

My prayer is that God will raise up shepherds after His own heart. Those like Stephen who are living to lay down their lives rather than deny Jesus Christ. Those like Stephen who are willing to serve in an ordinary way to bring glory to our extraordinary God. Those like Stephen who will be vessles willing to pour out supernatural wisdom, healing, and miracles to testify to the awesomeness and greatness of our God.

 

I am convinced that all of us who are desiring to live Godly lives for the sake of Jesus Christ and not ourselves are going to go through some new and profound testings in this day and age. Testings that will cost us as we stand in the Name of Jesus Christ. For some it may be relationships. Others, jobs. Others, even lives. But, there will be such testings. And, when they come, it will be allowed by our Lord into our lives for one very great purpose—TO TESTIFY FOR JESUS CHRIST. What an honor and privilege. No matter what the cost, giving Him our very all, our very lives is worth it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, run the good race. Stand firm. And, minister before Him in His presence. He will strengthen you and make you bold for such a time as this for the sake of His Awesome and Holy Name


Saul, who would later be changed to Paul and who would make one of the greatest impacts in building the body of Christ, saw first-hand Stephen’s witness:

And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.  Acts 22:20 

The Aroma of Christ

Jesus Christ has a distinct smell. And, depending on whether or not people are being drawn to Him and receiving Him, they are keenly experiencing two very dissimilar scents.

The Word says this in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life…

It’s no wonder then why Christians and non-Christians have a hard time mixing together. Have you ever been in a situation where the perfume or cologne or body scent of someone around you smells so putrid that you want to run away? It sounds to me like when those who choose to reject Christ are around Christians, they have this kind of experience, except it’s sad, but what they are really smelling is their own death. In order to mask that scent, they bring on the persecution and rejection. My guess is that the stronger the anointing on the Christian’s life, the stronger the rejecting unbeliever smells their own demise.

Notice, though, the first part of the verse. It reveals purpose. It reveals the mercy of God. The Word says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (2 Corinthians 2:14). This verse is saying that God exists. He is alive and there for the accepting by everyone, because through those who believe in Him, He is sharing His fragrance everywhere. Why would God choose to share the knowledge of Him everywhere, unless it was to make Himself known! Therefore, one cannot miss that God is revealing His presence and also extending His mercy even by way of His particular aroma–the aroma of LIFE! But, it’s obvious that for those who choose to continue pretending that He doesn’t exist, or those who choose to remain in unbelief and reject Him, they are smelling something completely different. What they smell is probably themselves. Their own death.

Why would anyone want to smell something like that?

I can’t imagine that’s their desire. What I think is that they have been surrounded by so much fear and doubt and that they don’t know that God can break through all that and give them LIFE. And, one of the reasons they may not know is because the ones who are walking around with His scent may not be sharing the Gospel of Life. And, the Word clearly says, “How can they know unless they hear?” And, also the Word says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

So, going back to the very beginning of the verse again, I feel like we brothers and sisters have a responsibility when we wear the scent of our Heavenly King. Again, the verse says, “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphant procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Since God is leading us in triumph in Christ, since God is spreading through us the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ, let’s share the Gospel with conviction, love, and honor to our King.

 Paul ends the verse in 2 Corinthians 2:16 by saying, “And who is equal to such a task?” What he was asking is…Who will be responsible for sharing the Gospel keeping this in mind? (We know this because he continues to talk about sharing the Gospel in verse 17).

 So, that is the question I will end with. Now that we know that we are carrying around His fragrance, are we willing to make His Truth known by sharing, telling, teaching, preaching, and speaking the Gospel so that others who merely smell their own death may have the chance to repent and also receive the aroma of LIFE in Christ? As for me, I say, YES.

Lord, here I am. Give me the Words to Speak. Help me to shine You, share the fragrance of You, and speak the Truth of You so that in every way, everywhere you guide my feet to trod that everyone will have the knowledge of who You are and also the opportunity to receive LIFE in You and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised You from the dead they they may be saved. That they may then bear Your Light and be filled with the fragrance of the knowledge of God through You, Lord! In Jesus’ Name, I pray, amen.

Chapter One: Not About My Plans, But His Purpose

When I resigned from 10 years of English teaching in Central Illinois, I thought God was sending me as a missionary to Africa…

Instead, He brought me out here to Texas,  honestly an “Africa” in its own right, at least by its 100 degree temperatures, but to be clear, it’s not Africa at all- the culture, values, and people are all different.

Where I thought I was going is not where God sent me.  What I thought I would be doing is not how God has used me.  And, who I thought I would become is not the person I am today.

Certainly, we have ideas, many plans, in our own hearts of what our lives will look like when we step into our futures following Jesus Christ; however, God has a purpose for us that always prevails.

This is a story of how God has purposed me to come to a new perspective about worship by trekking me through a wilderness…

I left Illinois on a hot day in July 2009, following my brother’s white pick-up truck, loaded with all my valuables, in my lil’ faithful Toyota sedan. They had invited me to come and live with them for the summer.  Since I had just resigned that spring from teaching, and God had not given me peace about going to Uganda, I agreed to move to the panhandle area of Oklahoma for the summer. So, they came all that way with their truck.

I had to give away my 7 foot Christmas tree, the one I used to always put up in the broad picture window of my beautiful Victorian apartment. I had to say goodbye to the place where God healed, filled, and restored my life:  those wooden floors that had met my tears in prayer, the plastered walls and mouldings that had watched God transform my life, growing me from glory to glory, the longest place I’d ever lived.

I still don’t know how I packed up 10 years of steady living onto the back of that white truck.  Honestly, I don’t even know how I finally managed to let myself be pealed off that couch to go with them, to head into the unknown future, just like that.

Every U-turn along the way screamed at me to turn back.  If I were traveling alone, I may have changed my mind.  However, I had all kinds of witnesses watching me and my reaction to stepping out in faith, including four precious young nieces and a nephew.  No turning back.  No turning back.

I ended up in Hardesty, Oklahoma that July of 2009, a town that held about 200 people.  Although it was an opportunity to rest, my whole world seemed up in the air.  This was no Africa.  I was not doing any mission work.  And, I was no longer an English teacher, which is how I saw myself for a decade.  Instead, I was now living in a place not my own, doing nothing but typing away on the increasingly popular social media, and I was uncertain of my future.  But, even in all this, God had me.  For where I had plans, He had something greater: God had purpose for me.

His purpose for me that summer was to bond with my family, get rest and healing (I had a hurt back due to stress causing muscle spasms that I hadn’t gotten healed of in years), and to share Christ with the youth in my brother’s church.

His purpose was also for me to practice piano in front of my nieces who would someday come to love playing the piano and to eat ice cream with my 2 year old nephew who thought my bowl of ice cream was his, as well.

I laughed so much for the first time in years that summer, shedding off my English teacher life of always grading, always in solitude, for children’s laughter and family connections.  God always knows what He is doing.  He always has a purpose.

As if those purposes weren’t enough, God also had a purpose to seed my heart with convictions regarding my walk and worship.

One day, I was at the church, sitting behind the organ.  A hymnal caught my attention. I can’t remember if it fell, and it landed on the page, or if it had already been opened to that particular page, but the song on the page was, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”

It was so anointed in that moment. As I quietly played and sang each verse on the organ, God asked me to respond to His simple, but convicting question, “Would you?”

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.
Would you?
Yes.

I’d rather have Him than riches untold.
Would you?
Yes.

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
Would you?
Yes.

I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hands.
Would you?
Yes.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause.
Would you?
Yes.

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause.
Would you?
Yes.

I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame?
Would you?
Yes.

I’d rather be true to His Holy Name.
Would you?
Yes.

Every line broke me.  I was left with nothing but my “Yes.”  I knew it was just the beginning. 

God’s purpose in showing me that song, in having me commit a response to Him, as He went over it line by line, built convictions in me for the days of testing ahead of me.  His purpose was to seed me with what would solidify my walk of faith in Him in the days that would follow where I would have to choose by faith to trust Him.  He already knew my heart.  He was making me respond, so I could hear it, as well, so I would remember.

It was shortly after that, that I received confirmation in prayer that I was to attend worship school in Dallas, Texas.  It was also shortly after that, that my brother’s family got the call to be a pastor near Houston.  On their way further South, they were able to drop me off in Dallas.

Amazing how smooth transitions are in God’s timing.  Amazing how God always knows the true desires of our hearts.

You see, I had wanted to study worship more than I’d ever wanted to go to Africa, but I had been afraid to admit that to God.  After all, I wanted so badly to serve Him doing His will, not mine.  Would God allow me to attend worship school, instead of doing missions?  Well, He did! God already knew the true desire of my heart, and I now see that part of His purpose that summer was placing me where I needed to be to make that next step happen.

Where should I be? What should I do? Who am I?

These are important questions which will truly try our hearts.  God always has an answer for us. However, sometimes He will allow those answers to unfold, as He fulfills His purpose in and through us.

God’s Word says in Proverbs 19:21:

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

That summer I began to learn this truth.

Well…like every story God writes, this was just a chapter in His glorious plan.  As, I finally got settled in for the rest of that summer, spending time with my family and finally getting some rest, I watched God quickly close this chapter with another new beginning for me in worship school.

Looking back, I am amazed at how quickly that time flew by.  Chapters in God’s story of our lives tend to do that. However, I’m thankful that His purpose always remains even as we enter the next chapter.

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