Who is John Galt?

Who is John Galt?

We watched ‘Atlas Shrugged’ written by Ayn Rand and published in 1957. Three movies were made from the book, with the third ‘Who is John Galt?’ the most recent. On this blog, we talk about preparing for hard times ahead each week. ‘Atlas Shrugged’ talks about some of the why.

Let me begin by saying, Ayn Rand was a non-believer, in fact she did not believe God exists at all. Where I disagree there is no God, many of her words have merit. She predicted the downfall of our country and the reasons. At the time her book was published, most people paid little attention to her words. After all, the book was fiction and how could anyone believe our country could fail? But Ayn Rand believed our government officials would grab more and more power, establish more laws and regulations, while buying votes with welfare programs that enslave people.

In Ms. Rand’s story, the government’s ideology is no man builds a business on his own. No invention belongs to the designer, ishould be turned over to the public and used for the common good. No man deserves to make more money than anyone else even if some are willing to work long hours and sacrifice to achieve their goals. No matter the years of education, people must be equal. We are a collective, and all should prosper from the work of others. They believe businessmen and women use public roads to move their goods, public utilities to power their factories and public education who teach those they hire. For this reason, the business owners owe their success to the government. Finally, the government takes over all major businesses, factories, railroads and transportation. As a result, the entrepreneurs and hard workers disappear, they move to a hidden community and establish their own community. The country falls into ruin through poor management, lack of initiative and innovation, and corruption. Even when things fall apart, the government will not admit free enterprise and commerce, along with the ability of each person to work to achieve their personal prosperity, is what keeps things running efficiently. Sound familiar?

John Galt’s belief was, we must work to achieve our goals. No one has our best interest at heart but us and our families. Each person must provide for themselves to the best of their ability. There are no free rides. We need government to provide infrastructure including roads, highways, and schools. It is also their job to establish international and interstate trade, along with furnishing protection for our nation.  After that, they need to step aside and allow the free enterprise system to work without hindrances. Government should be limited to the things our founders laid out for the government to provide through our taxes, nothing more.

We all know government has expanded their reach way beyond the original intentions of our Constitution. In doing so, they have spent us into high taxes and even higher debt. As a result, much of what Ms. Rand wrote has come or is coming true.

We all know there are abuses in any system. There will always be greedy and power-hungry men and women who trample on others. But that is true in every area of life. Business people have done some horrible things in the name of profit, but government is no better. We have corrupt politicians who pass legislation that enrich or profit them as well.

An article I read, complained that John Galt and his philosophy was not compassionate and empathetic, that he does not take into consideration natural disasters and people need help after experiencing a catastrophe. However, it is not the responsibility of government to fix or restore things after a tragedy hits. People need to save for emergencies or purchase insurance to take care of that kind of thing. But in worst case scenarios where there is no savings or insurance, Americans are very generous people and come to the aid of others in times of tragedy. People from all over the country go to help whenever hardships hit around the country providing time and money. We don’t need government to do it for us.

God is our provider, government is not. He supplies our needs, wants, and desires. He gives each of us talents and skills to provide for our families and share with our community. If we have widows, orphans and sick in our mist, we must help, not government…us. And though God established governments, He is our final authority. If our government asks us to violate our faith/beliefs, we must draw the line.

The dark days ahead will test our faith. There may come a day when we are told by government officials to disobey God or suffer the consequences. We must decide now, obey God and suffer for our faith or disobey and earn the praise of men. What will you do?

Search my Heart

Search my heart, Lord. Allow me to see all that you find displeasing within me. Help me see where I may have taken a wrong turn and set me on the right path.                   Cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me.               Allow your heart of love for all people to become one with mine that I may be a witness of your love and kindness to all I encounter.                                                                               I understand that the world hates you and they hate me as well. Help me to love my enemy.                                              I rejoice in you, Lord. I lift you high and place you above all things in my life. You are my life and my light.                           I thank you for all your blessings. I am sincerely grateful.       I love you Lord with all my heart.

I wanted to share this with you because this is something you need to do. Think about and talk to the Lord. You need to make your walk with Jesus personal. He is a person and enjoys his time with you. We run to him with our problems/concerns and we should. But a true friend, doesn’t just talk about the bad that happens in our life and never shares the good. Take time in your visits to talk about the good, the bad and the mundane. Remember to say thank you for all he does working in the background of your life.             As times become more difficult, we will need Jesus more and more. If you already have a solid relationship with him, you will be able to trust him to take care of things. But remember, he doesn’t always do things the way we think he should. His ways are not our ways. That’s where the trust comes in.

It’s Hard to Say Good Bye

It’s Hard to say Goodbye
Through the years, we have only a few loved ones who have died. Two more joined them this past week. After a death, it’s hard to say goodbye no matter who it is. As Believers, we know we will see them again. But grief is real, we love our family members or friends and we will miss them…greatly. Some we will miss more than others, but no matter who they are we don’t want a separation. It is selfish, but love doesn’t want a parting, even if it’s not forever.
In our times of grief, we must remember, Jesus is our hope. Believers should not grieve as the world does. Jesus promised that all who believe will be with him in paradise and his words are true. Our loved ones, who know and have accepted Him as Savior, are in heaven and we will see them again.
It is important to focus on the good times with our loved ones who have passed on before us. We have wonderful memories we need to draw on instead of the separation. My father-in-law wanted to see his wife one last time after her passing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible. I retrieved their wedding book and told him, he needed to remember her happy and filled with joy instead of sick and in pain. It is even more important to focus on the good times if the person who died has been ill for a long time.
Time will heal the deepest hurt as days, weeks, months and years pass. With profound love…a husband, wife, child or best friend…you’ll never get over it entirely, but God brings new things into our life that will help with the loss. Treasure your memories, they are God’s gift to us. Pictures and videos are great reminders of the love and good times you shared. When grieve pulls at you, get them down and take a look. We are blessed to live in a period where we have photos. Make use of them to help with your sorrow. Yet, we must go on with life. We cannot live in or dwell on the past. Just because someone we love has died and we feel sad, we cannot stop moving forward. Our life and purpose continues. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We still have work to do.
The days ahead will bring more death. In the normal passing of time, the older generation passes the mantel to the next one. But as the darkness increases, the death rate will climb. It is a reality I struggle with. We have to push those thoughts aside, or they can bring depression. We know evil is growing. Lawlessness, selfish ambition and pursuit of power to name a few. But regardless of the future, our hope is in Jesus. So when you’re having a hard time saying good-bye to a loved one who has died, say ‘see you later instead.’ Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will see us through until our physical death comes, then we too will live with Jesus forever.

Armor of God

The armor of God is an important protection for all Believers in Jesus Christ. Gird your waist with Truth. Breast Plate of Righteousness. Boots of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. The Shield of Faith. The Helmet of Salvation. The Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). Prayer. Each piece is needed to create an effective armor. Since it is essential in our defense in our spiritual warfare, let’s take a look at each piece.

Gird your waist with truth. Wrap yourself with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let God be true and every man a liar. Believe God and if someone says anything that does not line up with His truth, discard it.

Breast Plate of Righteousness. We only reach a small measure of righteousness on our own, but when we put on the Breast Plate of Righteousness, we can take on Jesus’ attitudes, attributes, and actions as our own. Then we can walk in His holiness and do His work on the earth. It also protects us from sin by reminding us we belong to Jesus and need to walk in His righteousness.

Boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace. We can share the gospel with others and in doing so reveal that Jesus has prepared the way and has established peace between sinners and a Holy God. His sacrifice bridged the rift created by sin. Jesus made the way for us on the cross, and now we can have a relationship with our Father who is in Heaven…God.  This shields us from God’s wrath to come. Believers will not suffer God’s final judgment.

Shield of Faith. A shield is held in front of your body to guard your heart. The stronger your faith the more resilient you will be. The shield will protect you from the fiery darts of Satan. His entire goal is to shake your faith, to steal it if he can. After all, he came to steal, kill and destroy. He and his minions will use condemnation, guilt, fear…anything to weaken your resolve and cause you to stumble. The Shield of Faith will guard you from that and more.

Helmet of Salvation. A helmet is for protection of the head. It protects the brain/mind. Jesus saved us from the penalties of our sin; we are free from sin…free not to sin any longer. Not only does the helmet cover us with forgiveness, it shields our mind from worldly thinking and philosophies, bad thoughts and influences of Satan or outsiders.

The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. To know the Bible is essential for our spiritual protection. There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing ready to pull us away from the truth. We must know God’s Word so that we can discern truth from distortions.  Besides, the Bible tells us to hide the Word in our hearts so we will not sin against our Holy God.

Prayer. Without God, we can do nothing. Prayer is essential to our success. We can’t say it enough, many do not receive because they do not ask. That’s not to say the answer is always what we want, but God loves us. He will act in our best interests. He knows the future and how things will turn out. I believe more times than not, unanswered prayer or a ‘no’ is an unknown blessing.

Each part of our armor will protect us against attacks in certain areas. But when worn together, we can not only defend ourselves and others, we can go on the offense to protect our brothers and sisters in the Lord. If every Believer, all over the world, wore their armor effectively, we would be a formidable force for good in this world. Unfortunately, many only wear the Helmet of Salvation. They have accepted Jesus but have not learned about Him and grown in His ways.  Believers must learn to love God and people, and serve both.

Having the Armor will not protect us from day-to-day struggles of life. We will still battle against all kinds of spiritual and some physical hassles. But it does shield and strengthen us. Rely on the Holy Spirit who lives within each Believer, stay focused on God, and we can prevail in any confrontation. The goal is to withstand the attacks with our faith intact.

We encourage you to read Ephesians 6:11+. To be effective in your race, put on the whole Armor of God. It is vital to every Believer and your walk with Jesus. Starting tomorrow as you dress for the day, consciously put on your armor.

Good morning, Lord. As I dress for the day, help me secure my armor. Gird my waist with your truth. Fasten the Breast Plate of Righteousness so that I may walk in your holiness. Shod my feet with the boots of the gospel of peace. May my actions share your love and truth. Help me hold the Shield of Faith securely protecting me from all Satan’s attacks. Cover me with the Helmet of Salvation. Protect my heart and mind from all outside influences. Help me swing the Sword of the Spirit with love and discernment. You are my Lord and Savior. Help me to be an effective ambassador of your love and peace. In your precious name, Amen.

Life is a Super Bowl

Snap! Defensive players are blocked by offensive players in their effort to get to the quarterback.  The ball is released and flies in a high arc toward the receiver. Just as the offensive player seizes the ball from the air, another defensive guy tackles the receiver. The hit causes the carrier’s teeth to rattle as he hits the ground with a thud and the ball flies from his arms. Everyone scrambles for the football. A defensive player snatches it with a triumphant shout and the players prepare for another play.

Ball players practice day after day, hour after hour to improve their skills as players. They memorize the movements of every player on their team and play game after game in an effort to reach the Super Bowl. They have no guarantee they will reach the coveted competition and many never do, but they race to the goal every chance they get.

This describes the spiritual life of a believer. Yet, instead of worrying whether we will achieve our goal, we can be certain of our win. Jesus is our assurance, he will carry us to victory. All we must do is flex our faith muscle and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, then we will spend eternity with God. However, with that decision, our real Super Bowl begins. Now we must play the game of life according to God’s rules and not our own. So here is our game plan.

Learn the playbook – The Bible. The better we learn, understand and apply the Word of God, the more effectively we can implement the strategies, the better we will perform in executing the moves required to deal with life and the trials it throws at us.

Put on the whole armor of God. Breast Plate of Righteousness, Boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, the sword of the spirit (the Word of God). Ephesians 6:11+

Establish defensive plays  – 1. Fatih. Our faith in Jesus is the cornerstone of our playbook and needs to be our personal foundation also. Jesus can help us, guide and lead us, support and encourage us, protect and heal us, the list goes on and on. 2. Prayer. Talking to God and sharing our cares and concerns with him is extremely important. Prayer works. Many say, ‘God knows what I need so why do I have to pray?’ Because Jesus did and we need to also. Besides, if you don’t ask, you don’t receive. I do not understand all the whys, but I can testify that it works. 3. Become like Jesus. He is our Lord, we are his disciples. That means we are to become like him, imitate him.

Rely on the gifts of the Spirit – God gives each of us gifts to improve our lives and help others. We need to use these gifts. Love, encouragement, wisdom, understanding, and others. 1 Corinthians 12.

Our quarterback, Jesus, wins in the end. But the ball will change hands numerous times before that happens. As you play life’s Super Bowl, keep your eyes focused on Jesus and even with fumbles, interceptions and incomplete plays, we will win.

It’s Hard to See the Bad Guys Win

Are you like me, do you get tired of seeing the bad guys win? Growing up, in my small corner of the world, the good guys always won. Life was fun. We rode our bikes all around town and played outside till dark. Bad things happened to others, in the big cities or on TV. Of course, that was in the 60’s.

Today, it seems the bad guys win a lot more than the good guys. On TV, in the movies and in real life, evil continues to grow and escalate with no end in sight. The wicked grow bolder with each passing day. Jesus told us this would happen. The hearts of people would grow colder each day. Disrespect of elders. Mothers and fathers turning against children and vice versa. Love of the creation instead of the Creator. We can add charges of offence, due to political correctness, caused by innocent comments, beliefs or our unwillingness to conform to current worldviews. All of these and more have grown to a fevered pitch. All this is topped by the worship of other gods: nature, false religions, education, government, philosophies, wealth, power, position, idols. We even place loved ones above God in our hearts. Worst of all, love of one’s self, coupled with selfish ambition, pull the hearts and minds from Jesus.

We live in a world where both physical and spiritual battles will be hard-fought and though we know Jesus wins in the end, there will be many confrontations before he returns. Our spiritual battles may be the hardest. It is easier to deal with the people we can see who war against us. Believers need to prepare for the spiritual battles, many may be worse than we have ever endured before. As human enemies step up their attacks on Christians, so will Satan and his minions. They will bring on full assault against God’s people. Temptation and condemnation will be two of the biggest strikes. Search your heart and know your weaknesses. Ask Jesus to bolster your determination to stand against the trials. Be sure to ask your prayer and support partners to pray for you…prayer always helps.

Jesus preached love and mercy and we must reflect his love. However, dark days are coming and people will come against us with the intention to harm or kill, I do not believe we are simply supposed to roll over and die. We will need to use our discernment and decide if it is time to take a stand. Our survival will depend upon it. Instead of stepping back in love and mercy, we will be called to defend ourselves and our families. We must come to terms with this truth now. To hesitate will bring defeat before the first shot is fired.

Remember, battles are lost and won. The stronger you are going into them, the better you will be. Begin to exercise your spiritual muscles now, so you will be ready when the real fight begins.

Have you dedicated your life to the Lord?

In Christian circles, we have baby dedications. Parents proclaim before their home body of believers, they will raise their child in the ways of the Lord Jesus. In turn, the church promises to encourage, assist and uphold in prayer, the child and his or her parents. But each person must make the final decision for themselves. In other words, you must make a personal decision to follow Jesus. You must decide if you believe Jesus is the Son of God, died for your sin…in your place, died and rose again and is now seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. Once you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are baptized, you die to sin and are raised to life in Jesus with a new nature…a new heart. All this is wonderful, but have you dedicated your life to him as well?

Dedicate: to devote (time, effort, or oneself) to a particular task or purpose.  Synonyms: devote, commit, pledge, give, surrender, sacrifice.

Examine yourself, do these words describe your life as a believer in Jesus Christ? It is easy in our fast paced existence of today’s world to lose sight of what’s important in this life, even as a believer. A great many people accept Jesus, pray the prayer of salvation, are baptized and then fall flat. Nothing or very little changes in their life. This pleases Satan, no need to bother with you, nothing’s changed. You are not a threat. You won’t inspire others to come to Jesus because you never gave up your old habits, ideas, and behaviors.

Jesus died for us. We can do no less than die to self. He purchased our lives with his blood…his life. We should be devoted to him.

So how can you show your devotion? It is not enough to say you are dedicated, it takes action. Prayer is important. Going to church, expanding your knowledge of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is also. But putting that knowledge to work, serving God and people is what Jesus did. It’s what we are supposed to do. What are you doing?

We realize between work and home there can be little time left for outside service. Yet, simple acts of kindness, helping where you can, listening, sharing their burden, being friendly are so important and over looked as service to others. These are all things Jesus did and we can too with very little effort.

Other tangible things are: taking a meal to someone when they are ill, have just had a baby, had a death in the family or just because it would make them smile. Leave a sack of groceries for someone who is having a hard time. Offer to babysit for new parents (for free) so they can have a break. Help clean up a yard or rake leaves for the elderly or ill, the list is endless.

Our entire purpose in this new life in Christ is to serve our Lord, to be his hands and feet as long as he gives us breath. We are to serve others and make disciples of all nations. Our service to others, more than anything else, will bring others to Jesus. It is our calling and our dedication to him demands it.

Who is your Shepherd?

A shepherd is a person who tends, herds, feeds, and guards a flock of sheep. Over and over in the Bible, we are told the Lord is our shepherd. Who is your shepherd? Who do you look to take care, provide and guard you? Who loves you unconditionally?

Believers look to God/Jesus as their shepherd. He is our provider, healer, comforter, and so much more. He encourages us. His love, compassion and mercy are unending. We do not want when we are under his care. He provides green pastures…food and a comfortable place for us. He leads us besides still waters, where there is peace and tranquility. When we sin and ask forgiveness, he restores our soul. He leads us to righteousness and asks us to do his will in this sinful world for his name’s sake. When we walk in the world among the lost, the enemies of our soul, we fear no evil because Jesus never leaves our side. His rod and staff comfort us. (The rod is used for correction and protection. The staff is used to guide and direct. Sheep tend to be shy and timid, the staff is used to hook the sheep and draw them close.) He prepares us to face our enemies with peace in our hearts. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and gratitude because goodness and mercy follows us every day of our lives for we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever.

In contrast, people in the world reject God. They look to education, wealth and power to provide their wants and needs. They put their faith in knowledge and science. Others, who are not educated, have no wealth, nor powers, work hard and many never get ahead. (Why? I do not know.) Of those, many choose dependency on society or government to help and support them. The path some choose is total dependence on government, until they feel entitled rather than grateful. They no longer try to improve themselves, they simply deceive themselves into thinking they are a victim.

People in all walks of life blame God for their plight, though God has never been and never will be the author of any kind of evil. He wants good for every person, past, present and future. He, after all, created us and loves all his creation whether they acknowledge him or not.

So we come back to the main question. Who is your shepherd?

  1. God, Jesus, Holy Spirit
  2. The world, society, government
  3. Education, money, power
  4. Knowledge, science, philosophy

For me and my house, we chose the Lord God Almighty, the Great I Am, my Savior, Lord and King…Jesus Christ, who never leaves us. We are drawn to his side because we are sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV)
1  A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

 

Devotion

What do you think about when you hear the word devotion? Love, care, attention given to another? The formal definition of devotion is a profound dedication or earnest attachment to a cause or person.

We have an elderly loved one who sits by the side of his ailing wife day after day, hour by hour. He talks with her even when she doesn’t know who he is. He feeds her and washes her face after. He rubs her back. He holds her hand and pats her arm or leg. He leaves her side only when sleep or the need to eat forces him to. It is a devotion that is humbling to watch.

As I considered this man’s love for his wife, thoughts came about Jesus’ love for his bride…the church. He suffered unspeakable pain and horror and died in our place, all because of his great love for us. Now he intercedes for us when we fall short or sin. He walks by our side, never leaving or forsaking us. He talks with us even when we don’t hear his voice, ignore his words or acknowledge his presence. He comforts, heals, and encourages us day by day. He is totally devoted to us and our well-being. His love is boundless.

When I look at my devotion toward Jesus, I realize, I fall far short considering he is my Lord and King. I can never return equal dedication toward him in my human weakness. Yet, (with his help) I do everything in my ability to be the best servant, sister and friend I can be. I take his commands to heart…to love God and people and serve both. I strive to be his hands and feet, to share his great love for all people in my words and actions. I acknowledge my life is not my own…Jesus bought it with his blood on the cross and I relinquished my will (personal desires) when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. So I move forward, day by day, seeking to do his will and allowing his love to flow through me to people he brings into my life.

Are you devoted to Jesus/God? How do you show your devotion? Only you can examine your heart and find the answers. I urge you to consider your devotion to Jesus. Is it all it can be? If not, I challenge you to renew your heart toward God and begin to share his love today. Our walk with God is not a spectator sport. Love requires action and compels us to step out in faith and do his will. We, Jesus’ bride, are his servants…his hands and feet. We have love, encouragement and comfort to share to a lost and dying world. Let’s get to work.

2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Every year I make New Year’s Resolutions and every year I seem to do well for a few weeks before falling flat. Unfortunately, I am not alone. Most people fail or fall far short of their goal. Why is it so hard to keep the New Year’s Resolutions you make?

I would venture to guess, it’s because the resolution is either impractical, too lofty, or we just don’t have the resolve to follow through. We tend to try to succeed in our own strength. We don’t give it to God and ask him to help us. In addition, we don’t tell anyone we have set a goal, because we don’t want others to know we might not follow through or totally fail. I suggest this year we try something different.

  1. Set a reasonable goal or goals.
  2. Pray about your objective. Ask God to help you establish and achieve your ambitions.
  3. Third, write them down. Be specific. Spell out step by step what you want to accomplish.
  4. Ask a family member or close friend to help you. This person should be someone who is willing to encourage you. Share your goal and every step you plan to take to achieve it. This way they can hold you accountable. Be sure they are willing to scold you when you start to falter.
  5. Keep a journal of sorts. Write down how you are doing in keeping your New Year’s Resolutions, your milestones and how you feel about reaching each step. Small accomplishments always encourage us.

No matter what resolutions you want to achieve in the 2015 New Year, they are doable. Just make up your mind, persevere…stick with it and lean on Jesus to help you. God is on your side, so let’s reach our goals this year.