Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010

I thought I would wrap up the last two hours of 2010 by writing an update.  I hope two hours is long enough to write this post and get it posted before it becomes January 1, 2011.  :-)

It’s very hard to believe two months have gone by since I last wrote for this blog.  Actually, it feels like a lot longer than two months because so much has happened.

November and December have been a complete whirlwind for me.  I completely submerged myself in my candle making business.  I began making soy wax candles a couple of years ago in 2008.  For most of the last two years, it has been a hobby I would dabble in here and there, and occasionally, I would even sell a candle to someone I knew.  This past fall, the hobby turned into a full blown business.  God graciously gave me something to keep me very busy and to keep my mind off of other things that were troubling me and making me awfully sad.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Night Demons

The other night, I finally came up with a name for what often affects me in the night.  Many nights, I will go to bed thoroughly exhausted, only to be woken up during the night and find myself wide awake for hours with my mind racing and my heart burdened about the things in life causing me great concern.
Friday night was one of those nights.  I went to bed shortly after 10:00 pm, fell asleep, and awakened less than an hour later.  I went to the bathroom, and by the time I got back in bed, I knew I was in trouble.  I was not going right back to sleep.  I had gone to bed feeling upset with the behaviors and choices made by two of my children and that all came flooding back to me at that moment.  As I lay there, fighting against my thoughts and trying to get back to Sleepy Land, the name “Night Demons” came to mind.  That is what I decided to name the circumstances within our family which cause me great concern and keep me awake at night.  They are usually related to our children.  I fought to go back to sleep for almost an hour, and finally I couldn’t lie in bed any longer.  The Night Demons were taunting quite persistently and one of my dogs had begun snoring so loudly that I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got up out of bed, grabbed my journal, Bible, and pen and went to my husband’s office to write out my feelings and thoughts. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Is There Such a Thing as Free Will?

Can we say that mankind truly has a free will? 
What exactly is free will? 
As I began to type this post, I decided to Google “What is free will?” 
The first link that came up in my search was from Princeton University’s Wordnet (a lexical database for English).  It defined free will as “the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies”. defines “free will” with the following two definitions:  “1. free and independent choice; voluntary decision.  2. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.”
Wordnet gives a very solid, accurate, and concise definition of free will.  Let’s use that definition for this discussion.
Free will
the power of making free choices
unconstrained by external agencies

Monday, August 30, 2010

It’s About Relating, Not About Doing

[I began to write this post a couple of weeks ago on August 16th.  For the sake of time and simplicity, I will not change its beginning to make the point that now it has been two weeks since this all took place.]
Yesterday, as I pondered some of the events of my past week, I began to see something and to learn what it meant. 
I had all last week to myself at home.  My husband and two of my children went on vacation to visit family.  I did not go with them because we have four dogs and to try to find someone to care for them is such a hassle, especially now that my oldest one is blind. Four weeks ago, I went on a vacation with my daughter to visit my family for a couple of weeks, and last week, my husband took one of our sons and our daughter to visit his family.  A dear friend came to visit me for the first weekend, and we had a fantastic time together.  After her departure on Sunday, I had the house pretty much all to myself for the rest of the week.  I had made up my mind that I was going to accomplish a great many things.  My plans were to catch up in areas or responsibility where I was behind and also immerse myself in some reading, studying, and writing (three of my favorite things to do).  Those were my goals.  Some were accomplished, and some were not.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Battle with T I M E

I have this constant battle with time, and it seems to be getting worse and worse.  On some days, the battle is more like a full blown war.  Each day there are so many different things calling and needing my attention and energy.  And sometimes I arrive at days like today where I feel completely frustrated over the battle. 
Today, my focus has been upon coming up with a “doable” way for me to bring some extra income into our finances.  My husband works very hard to provide the money for our family’s needs; he couldn’t possibly work any harder.  However, living expenses continue increasing and my husband’s salary does not or it’s actually being decreased by company pay cuts or higher health insurance costs.  Such is the economy we live in today.
We are a one-income household and have been for 16 years.  Sixteen years ago, I made a commitment to my children to be a stay at home mom for them and to raise them and be their main influence and teacher in their childhood.  The decision did not come easily because of the material sacrifices it would entail.  At that time, I was cutting our income in exactly half, and we had plenty of bills to pay.  We faced our share of financial hardships and difficulties for years.  And many times, we wondered if we were going to make it at all.  However, our children never went without food, shelter, and the great love and attention of their parents.  Twelve years ago, I added another commitment along to that when I decided to home school my children.  When I was praying about that decision in 1998, it was made clear to me that there were no negatives for my children if I proceeded with home schooling.  I did realize that the one thing I needed to be very aware of was that I was giving up a lot of my time for my children.  I remember writing a list of “pros” and “cons”, with my “pros” list being lengthy and my “cons” list having one item: my time.  And so my focus for the last 16 years has been having a strong marriage, raising and teaching our children, and caring for our home. 
There have been moments over the years when I’ve toyed with the idea of working part time because our finances were in such a crunch.  Yet, every time, the idea seems ridiculous because it doesn’t seem possible to me to be able to divide myself or my efforts any further.  I feel that adding work outside of the home would certainly cause me lose focus and bring some failure at another one of my very important roles. The roles I have made a commitment to are too precious to me to set myself up to fail in any of them.  Many times, I’ve had at length conversations with God and asked Him to give me peace in one decision or another and reminded myself to trust in HIS provision for us.  He often reassures me that all is going to be okay.
But occasionally I arrive at days like today, when I am anxious and frustrated about the finances and my seeming incapacity to do anything about helping them.  I try to come up with ideas of things I could possibly do, even considering incorporating my blogs/writing to make a few dollars to help us out.  But as I pursue trying to go about how in the world to do these things, I feel like I am in slow motion, pushing against a ton of bricks.  Where does the time come from to educate myself in how to make bit of money doing something I love and also incorporate it into my daily schedule?  I love to write and share about my experiences with God in daily life, but how do I find more time to do it?  I long for more time to study, to read and write, to minister and help others, but how do I find it?  I don’t know. 
Well, I don’t know in the relative sense of the words.  I do know in the absolute sense.  God is the one who is the Giver of time, energy, and perseverance.  If He’s not providing it, and I’m trying to force it, then it will feel like I’m pushing against a ton of bricks and going nowhere.  But I also struggle with the fact that just because something is difficult, it doesn’t mean God is not all over it and leading me that direction.  Plenty of things in my life have come with great difficulty, and it has been God taking me through those paths.  In the midst of difficulty, He accomplishes the greatest things within me.  Like I know He’s doing even now.
I’m not sure what the purpose of writing all this is, except to help me think things through.  Writing is my outlet.  It also gives me the opportunity to be sincerely honest with all who read this blog in stating that while I firmly believe in the sovereignty of God and His complete control over all, I still wrestle like everyone else in the difficulties of this human life.
Trusting Him for the answers and for all that we need…

Great Article on Home Church

I was just made aware of a wonderful article published on the website about home churches.  I believe this article was very well written and that the author did a great job of highlighting some of the greatest things about participating in a home church.  The highlights mentioned are some of the very reasons why I love the home church concept and participating in a home church.

“To get to church on a recent Sunday morning, the Yeldell family walked no farther than their own living room to greet fellow worshippers.  The members of this "house church" are part of what experts say is a fundamental shift in the way U.S. Christians think about church. Skip the sermons, costly church buildings and large, faceless crowds, they say. House church is about relationships forged in small faith communities.”

Please read the article in its entirety and view some photos at the following link:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Name Change

For a few months, I’ve felt the prodding to change the title of this blog.  I’ve been feeling that the current title doesn’t do justice to what this blog is all about.  I have pondered different titles for some time, yet nothing seemed right.  A few days ago, I considered the title “Discovering God” which is also the main title to another website which I have but which is also in great, great need of updating.  My “Web Meister”, my dear husband, currently has an overwhelmingly demanding schedule and is unable to work on that website for me.  And I’m not up to speed on doing web design stuff and have little time to spare myself.  The Discovering God Ministries website was created with the same purpose in mind as this blog—to express myself as I walk the journey with God and my daily discoveries of Him.  I actually had the idea for that site long before this blog.  This blog just became an easier way for me to post on the web where I didn’t have to know the ins and outs of posting on a website and all the html lingo.

So here it is… “Discovering God”…all the same ingredients with a new label.  :-)

This blog is all about my journey discovering God and sharing some of that experience with the world.  I post from what I learn in my daily walk with him and hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to others.

In His boundless grace,
Mary Ann

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Help Always Comes from God

Life is quite the rollercoaster.  We can find ourselves up in the heights and down in the lows in the blink of an eye.  I don’t know that much about rollercoasters because I don’t like them and avoid riding them.  But from the few times I have ridden on one, I remember enough to realize that life tends to be very much like one.
One moment in life, we can find ourselves at such a “happy high” and feeling like everything is just peachy!  But a moment later, we might suddenly find ourselves at a “sad low” wondering if everything will turn out all right.
It is hard for me to face the extreme lows after extreme highs.  Well…the truth is that I don’t think there is ever a time when I can face the extreme lows without difficulty.  Who wants the highs to end?  Not me!
However, I am also very well aware that without the valley lows I would never appreciate the mountain highs.  Too easily we take things and people for granted in this life.  We like to complain all the time about things we shouldn’t complain about, and we tend to forget all the goodness we have been blessed with day in and day out.  Often times, the only way we can learn to appreciate what we have been given so abundantly is by having to live without it for a time.  The lows of life play a very important role.  Through those lows, we learn and grow in our character and in our faith much more than we ever could during any “happy high”.  “Happy highs” are mini vacations in the “work of life”, and they don't last indefinitely.
A little over a week ago, I was experiencing a wonderful happy high time for a few hours.  But the next day, some circumstances and difficulties with one of my children brought that high time crashing down to a difficult low.  It’s a valley low time for one of my children right now, and I travel the valley with that child.  My child has no idea or current ability to understand that in my heart, mind, and soul I travel the valley with her; but I certainly do.  That’s just the kind of person and mom that I am. 
In that valley low, I cry out Psalm 121 for myself, my child, and our family: 
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps [us]
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

I love You, O LORD, my strength.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved…

Friday, May 21, 2010

By God’s Power (Ponderings in Colossians 1)

Colossians 1:9-11
 “…we…do not cease praying for you and requesting that you may be filled full with the realization of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, you to walk worthily of the Lord for all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the realization of God; being endued with all power, in accord with the might of His glory, for all endurance and patience with joy…”
Are we in need of understanding and wisdom?  Then seek and ask God for it and wait for Him to grant it in His perfect timing.  It is only God who can fill us with understanding and wisdom and grant us the growth of realizing Who He really and truly is.  He is the One who grows us up and brings us to a realization of the truth of Himself—Who He is and what He is all about.
“…and growing in the realization of God; being endued with all power, in accord with the might of His glory…”
I have some thoughts and notes written about that phrase from when I was studying it four months ago.  And I started to type them up for this post.  However, even as I was typing and thinking about their meaning, I realized that the phrase could be read and understood in at least two different ways.  The difference takes place with regards to where the punctuation is placed.  Punctuation can certainly change the meaning of a sentence.
Do you know that punctuation had no part whatsoever in the original Scriptures?  Paul’s letter to the Colossians did not have neat punctuation marks, and it certainly did not have chapter numbers or verses!  These have all been added by man over the years for ease in readability and study.  E.W. Bullinger states the following in his book How to Enjoy the Bible on pages 37-38:
“One other mode of dividing the Word as to its Literary Form is by Punctuation; which is a still more important manner of dividing the Word, as it seriously affects the Text by dividing its sentences, and thus fixing its sense…
…The Greek Manuscripts have, practically, no system of punctuation: the most ancient, none at all; and the later MSS nothing more than an occasional single point even with the middle, or in line with the top of the letters.  Where there is anything more than this it is generally agreed that it is the work of a later hand.
So that in the Original Manuscripts we have no guide whatever to any dividing of the Text, whether rightly or wrongly.  Indeed, in the most ancient MSS there is not only no division at all, but there is not even any break between the words!”
Let’s take a closer look at the phrase:
“…and growing in the realization of God; being endued with all power, in accord with the might of His glory…”
The word “endued” stands for the original Greek word “dunamo” literally meaning to make-ABLE.  Reading the verse with the punctuation in place, I understood it to say that God is the One who enables us with power in accordance with the strength and power of His glory.  I read it this way because Paul is telling the Colossians that he does not cease praying for them and requesting that they may be filled full with the realization of God’s will  in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  He also writes of his desire that they may walk worthily of the Lord, bearing (carrying) fruit in all their good work, growing in the realization of God.  I read his words as expressing different things he is praying for them to receive from God and of the spiritual life he desires for them to live out in Christ. 
Therefore, when he states “growing in the realization of God; being endued with all power, in accord with the might of His glory”, I initially understood him to be saying that his desire is for them to grow in the realization of God and that God may endue them with all power necessary for all endurance and patience with joy.  The power that God endues us with is not so finite and earthly focused as merely describing a “controlling power” over someone.  It speaks of power much greater than that.  It speaks of a power to be able to do or endure in countless different situations.  It speaks of a power to remain silent when we are being cursed and attacked or the power to speak when we are feeling terribly afraid to do so.  It may be the power granted to us so that we put someone else’s best interest before your own, even when they could care less you are doing so or could care less about you as an individual.  Or, as in this case, Paul is saying that his hope and prayer is that God will enable them with all power “for all endurance and patience with joy”.
So, what happens if we take the punctuation out of the phrase and take the phrase out of its context?
“…and growing in the realization of God being endued with all power in accord with the might of His glory…”
Now, I can also read the phrase as stating that there will be a growing in the realization of God, but that God is being endued with all power in accord with the might of His glory.  One of the definitions of endued is “to be clothed”.  Can we read this to say that God is being clothed with all power in accord with the might of His glory?  We could.  I firmly believe that God IS ALL-powerful.  He is The One with ALL power regardless of how much power man thinks he has.  However, being faithful and careful to read these words in their context of what Paul is expressing and to whom, we can see that in this situation he’s not speaking of God being endued with power.  Digging further into the Greek text, we can gather more information. 
The Greek language is quite complex and rich in its expression.  I am FAR from being some kind of Greek scholar, but I do like to dig deep into trying to understand the original word in its original language and what it literally meant.  I use online Bible study tools such as Blue Letter Bible and the Interlinear Scripture Analyzer to help my understanding.   And I also make great use of the excellent concordance at the back of my Concordant Literal New Testament.  The Greek language has different “tense”, “voice”, “mood”, and various other grammatical divisions for words.  Depending on these factors, the exact meaning of one word can vary.
Looking up “endued” on Blue Letter Bible, we discover the Greek “tense” is in the present, the “voice” is in the passive, and the “mood” is in the participle.  The present tense of course states that the action of “endued” is taking place right now, in the present.  The passive voice tells us that the object of the sentence is receiving the action of this verb without the object having anything to do with making it happen.  And the participle acts like “-ing” added to the word; hence, the CLNT translating “dunamo” in this case as “being endued”.
Tying those facts together along with the fact that no one endues God (He is all powerful Himself) and with the context of the phrase in this letter where which Paul is expressing of list of things which he is praying for the Colossians to receive from God, it is clear to see that Paul is saying that “the saints and believing brethren in Christ in Colosse” are “being endued with all power” by God, according “with the might of His glory, for all endurance and patience with joy”.  They are being enabled with all power that they may have “endurance”—the ability to remain and persevere under whatever circumstances come into their lives.
This stands true today for Christ believers today!  We are being enabled by God, with all power, in accordance with the might of His glory, for all endurance and that we may have patience with joy in any circumstance that we find ourselves in on any day.
Thank you, Mighty God!  Thank You for Your amazing power that carries us through the most difficult of circumstances and helps us to endure when we would rather give up.  Thank You for Your graceful and patient power that carries us when we can’t seem to carry ourselves.  Some days I grow so tired of persevering, the circumstances wear me down, and I feel like throwing my arms up in the air and saying, ”Forget it!  I give up!”  But there You are, holding me up, carrying me through, enduing me with all the power I need to take one more step and walk in the direction that You have chosen and prepared for me to walk.  Thank You for the path You have masterfully designed for me.  There are many difficulties on this path, but I know You are there every single step of the way.  Not one thing I come across on this path is out of Your control.
Related posts: 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Carrying Fruit (Ponderings in Colossians 1)

Colossians 1:7-10
 “Therefore we also, from the day on which we hear, do not cease praying for you and requesting that you may be filled full with the realization of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, you to walk worthily of the Lord for all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the realization of God;…”
“…bearing fruit in every good work…” became a highlighted phrase in my recent studies. Many times I have read that phrase and other instances of “bearing fruit” mentioned in the Bible and imagined in my mind fruit growing out of something or being produced by a deed done.  Every time I read that phrase in the past, I imagined fruit being produced—man bringing fruit out of whatever we are being instructed to do in the Scriptures. 
However, this time I decided to look up the original word for “bear” and “bearing” in the context of Colossians 1 and discovered that it is the word “karpophoreo” meaning to “carry fruit”.
Colossians 1:10 could read “…carrying fruit in every good work…”
I also couldn’t help but wonder specifically what fruit Paul was referring to and immediately my thoughts were led to the fruit of the Spirit.  Are we to be carrying around the fruit of the spirit in every good work?
“…the fruit [singular noun] of the spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control…”  (Galatians 5:22).
The FRUIT of the Spirit is

I believe this is the fruit that we are to be carrying as is spoken of in Colossians 1:10.  We are to carry with us this one, beautifully multifaceted fruit.
“For His achievement are we, being created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God makes ready beforehand, that we should be walking in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)
As Christ-believers walk in the “good works” that God has prepared and made ready for us beforehand, we will be carrying around with us the fruit of the Spirit because Christ dwells within us.  Mortal humans do not create this fruit.  We are incapable of it because we are not The Creator, and we are so fallible.  But, the Creator infuses us with Himself, His power, His Spirit, His Wisdom, and His fruit.  It all belongs to Him, and we have the humbling privilege of carrying His things around with us as we walk in the good works He has ordained for us to do. “…For in Him we are living and moving and are…”  (Acts 17:28).
Related posts: 

Filled Full (Ponderings in Colossians 1)

This year, I’ve been doing some serious reading and pondering in Colossians.  I’ve enjoyed my time spent in Colossians and noticed how much the Colossians and Ephesians letters complement each other.  I thought I would share a few of my ponderings randomly as I have time to write them up.
What most people call “The Book of Colossians” is actually a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints and believers in Christ who lived in Colosse.  Colosse was a place in western Turkey about 100 miles east of Ephesus.  Today, that location is called Chonas.  
Colossians 1:7-9
In Colossians 1:7-9, Paul says,
“Therefore we also, from the day on which we hear, do not cease praying for you and requesting that you may be filled full with the realization of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…”
Reading “…that you may be filled full with the realization of His will…” caused me to remember what the Scriptures say in John 3:27,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Communication with Gao Zhisheng

Here is the latest email from China Aid:

Bob Fu Speaks with Gao Zhisheng by Phone, Faith Strengthened

Yesterday morning, on April 6, 2010, ChinaAid President Bob Fu spoke with Gao Zhisheng over the phone. This was the first direct contact Bob has had with Gao Zhisheng since he last spoke with him by phone last January, as Bob was rescuing Gao's wife and children in Thailand. The conversation brought hope and light for the two men, after more than 400 days of uncertainty and doubt.

Gao told Bob he had spoken with his daughter Gege in New York earlier this morning. "She told me she felt like God was silent, that He had not heard her prayers," Gao shared openly, deeply pained by his daughter's anguish over their prolonged separation. He expressed concern for his family's safety and well-being, and his desire to be reunited with his family.

Gao thanked Bob Fu personally for ChinaAid's role in pressing the FreeGao campaign internationally on his behalf for so long, and for aiding his family in their escape from China.

He informed Bob that he had just returned to his Beijing apartment from his guarded location in Shanxi. Abandoned for more than a year, Gao was saddened by the thick layer of dust covering the apartment and the emptiness of the rooms.

Using the words of Psalm 23, Pastor Bob Fu prayed for Gao Zhisheng and his family, reminding him of God's faithfulness and love.

Gao further reported he had just recovered from a racking cough for more than a month, but was not able to give any further details about his physical condition. According to Pastor Fu, Gao was deeply concerned about the condition of his family in New York, but has remained strong in his faith.

"Gao Zhisheng and his family have suffered deeply from the long separation," said Pastor Fu. "Despite the persecution, he continues to trust the Lord."

Pastor Fu was moved by Gao's need to be with his family. "By allowing us to speak with Gao Zhisheng, the Chinese government has shown they have been forced to respond to the international outrage and pressure on Gao Zhisheng's behalf.

"Yet, Gao is still not able to speak or move freely. According to international norms and Chinese law, he has the right to travel overseas to reunite with his family and to be free, if he is not found in violation of laws during his probation."

"We must call on the Chinese government to release Gao Zhisheng and permit him to reunite with his family in the United States. It is his legal and basic human right to be united with his loved ones."

Gao ZhishengThanks to the 134,446 people who signed the petition, the 13,663 people who sent letters to their local representatives, the 2,767 people who contacted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the hundreds of thousands around the world who donated their financial support, prayers, and advocacy efforts to Free Gao Zhisheng for the past 400 days - the first phase of the Free Gao campaign is a success!

However, Gao Zhisheng is still not free. His treatment and condition for the past year remains a mystery.

ChinaAid will continue to campaign for Gao Zhisheng's freedom until he is able to reunite with his family. In the coming weeks, we will be revising the website, and exploring new avenues of advocacy on Gao's behalf.

Thank you for your continued support! Watch for upcoming details on how to continue to help Free Gao Zhisheng.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gao Zhisheng IS ALIVE!!!!!

This is FANTASTIC news!!! I just received this email last night from China Aid, and I am so excited about it.


March 29, 2010

SHANXI -- On Sunday, March 28, 2010, missing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng spoke to his wife and children for the first time in over a year - confirming he is still alive! False rumors of his death, torture, and escape from the custody of the Chinese Government have shrouded Gao's absence with mystery for over a year. Gao's brief phone conversations with western media mark the first official contact the public has had with him since his abduction by police on February 4, 2009.

Yesterday, Gao informed reporters that he had been released from detention six months ago, and had taken up residence at Wutai Shan mountain, a Buddhist landmark in northern Shanxi province. He refused to give details on his condition or whereabouts, saying he could not legally give interviews.

Close friend and fellow human rights lawyer Li Heping confirmed he had also spoken with Gao on Sunday. Gao told him he had "friends around him" - indicating he was being held under close surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Gao's wife Geng He and their children were overwhelmed with emotion as they spoke with Gao on Sunday morning. The children could not stop crying. In a statement released on Monday morning, Geng He appealed to the Chinese government to allow Gao Zhisheng to join the family in New York. Gao's family has suffered greatly in his absence. Geng He's parents have been severely harassed in recent months, for which Gao feels guilty.

He told the Associated Press, "I just want to be in peace and quiet for a while and be reunited with my family. Most people belong with family. I have not been with mine for a long time. This is a mistake and I want to correct this mistake."

While on his campaign in Europe to promote awareness of Gao's cause, ChinaAid President Bob Fu attributed the breakthrough to increased international pressure. "Thanks to the more than 124,000 supporters in over 180 countries around the world who have signed the petition to Free Gao, the Chinese Government has been forced to respond and to allow Gao Zhisheng to reconnect with his loved ones."

ChinaAid thanks you for your continued support and urges you to continue to take action. From Argentina to Zimbabwe, you, the international community have answered the call. And this is just the beginning.

Gao is not free yet. His movements are still being watched and monitored. He is not free to speak publicly or without surveillance. We must continue to press the Chinese government to free Gao Zhisheng, to uncensor his movements, and to allow him to reunite with his family.

Take Action:

1. Encourage more to Sign the Petition. Every voice counts, and every voice will be heard!

2. Call on your local representatives to take official action on behalf of Gao Zhisheng.

3. Urge U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to hold the Chinese government to the international covenants on human rights.

Thanks to you, the world has now regained contact with Mr. Gao Zhisheng. Because of you, Gao was able to reconnect with his family. With your continued support, we can make their dream of reunion a reality!

For more ways to get involved, visit

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Sovereignty of God (by George Addair)

What great timing God has!! :-)

Yesterday, a friend of mine forwarded a link to an excellent, thought-provoking article written by George Addair called “The Sovereignty of God”. The article is posted on the God’s Truth for Today website.

I say God has great timing because this article nicely complements my recent post and reply to David Flowers entitled “God Will Have His Perfect Way” .

The one statement in Addair’s article that struck me the most was his statement saying:

“The trend of the centuries has consistently been that of

the exaltation of man and the abasement of God.”

Wow! Isn’t that the truth?!! Mankind cannot wrap its finite mind around the GRANDNESS of God, so in order to make Him more understandable to ourselves we make Him out to be smaller and weaker than His true nature. When we do that, He becomes more understandable and manageable to us, but we also end up containing Him in “Man-Made Theological Boxes” with pretty paper wrappings and bows.

Addair’s article is split into the following headings:


I. Human Reasoning

II. Sovereignty Defined

III. Sovereignty in Creation

IV. Sovereignty in Action

V. Recognition of God’s Sovereignty

VI. Foreknowledge

I’ll give a few glimpses here of some of Addair’s article:

“To think that this work will be approved by the general public is a foolish expectation. The trend of the centuries has consistently been that of the exaltation of man and the abasement of God. The intensive research for this study seems to indicate that this trend has been due to the inability of men to reconcile the free will of man with the sovereignty of God. Consequently, scholars seem to have been sidetracked into thinking that God has neglected His universe, by choice of course. They feel that the Creator has delegated His rule and authority to the use or abuse of the creature. They have reduced God and His Divine office to the extent that multitudes of people now have only a superficial conception of Him. And it logically follows that a superficial view of God and His holiness always results in a superficial view of sin and its consequences in addition to a shallow view of the work of Christ. This in a small way explains the steady departure from the shelter of truth into the bitterness of ignorance.”


“No one will challenge the fact that the twentieth century has demonstrated an intellectual revolution in almost every field of learning. New fields of science are being established more rapidly than the most ardent scholar can manage to efficiently investigate. Even the basic tools such as reading and arithmetic are being made obsolete by more modern and complex approaches. Whether we like it or not, this trend is gaining speed and only the imagination can visualize what lies ahead for the coming generations.”

“Strangely enough however, the world of religionists is almost totally united in an attempt to prevent any progress in the understanding of spiritual matters. It seems unimportant to them that we have better methods of translation and interpretation than at any time in the past centuries. We have more manuscript copies, more concordances, more textbooks, and the accumulation of centuries of scholarship at our disposal. There are textbooks available today which enable the layman to probe the depths of biblical research in excess of what the best educated men of a few years ago could manage in a complete lifetime. And yet, the average church member feels there is more virtue in clinging to the views propagated by the scholars of many centuries ago than to investigate the claims of a modern day teacher. This is particularly true when the modern day teacher proclaims something that is contrary to orthodox views. This dominating attitude of the nominal churches is nothing more than one of the many facets of "religious superstition".”


“By the Sovereignty of God, we mean the supremacy of God. We mean His Kingship and Headship. It literally means, "the Godhood of God". To declare that God is sovereign is to declare that He is God. It is to declare "That He is the most high, doing according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35).”

“To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He "is the Mighty, the possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist his will" (Psalm 115:3).”

“To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is "The governor among the nations" (Psalm 22:28). He sets up kingdoms, overthrows empires, and determines the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best.”

“To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is "The only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords" (1 Timothy 6:15).”

“Such a God is revealed in the pages of the Sacred Scriptures. However, God is not described as such in modern times…”

“God cannot fail. He is not to be pitied but to be praised. It is often said that, "God is doing His best to save mankind". If this be so, then He will succeed. To say that God is trying to save all people and then to proclaim that all will not be saved is to admit that God has failed. This in itself implies that God is not all powerful nor is He perfect. To say that Satan is preventing many from being saved is to indicate that Satan is accomplishing that which God cannot do, that Satan is more successful and powerful than God. To say that the stubbornness of man prevents him from being saved is to say that man has thwarted the will and efforts of God. God cannot fail. He cannot begin a project without seeing it completed. He cannot design a plan only to have it defeated by some other agency whether it be natural man or supernatural Satan. He cannot, even in the smallest sense, realize failure in that which lie attempts to do.”

“To declare that sin entered the Garden of Eden and caught God by surprise is to dethrone God. This is to reduce him to the level of finite man Then, to declare that sinful man has the power and ability to defeat God's plan of salvation and reconciliation is to exalt man to the place where he can checkmate God. God is absolute, irresistible, and infinite. He governs all the universe as He pleases. He has the right as Creator to mold the clay into whatsoever shape He desires. He is under no rule or law outside His own nature. He is a law unto Himself. He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to anyone. Sovereignty is characteristic of the whole being of God.”


“This brief treatment of the subject is adequate to reveal that a full recognition of the Sovereignty of God will take the spotlight off man and place it upon God.”


The truth is that man likes to esteem himself above God and above God’s power and sovereignty. It is part of our fallible human nature that we are always trying to be as great or as powerful as God. That is how the serpent enticed Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. This article will hopefully help anyone rethink that faulty mentality.

Read Addair’s article for yourself and see what you think.

For GOD’s glory and exaltation alone…

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God Will Have His Perfect Way

I write this post as a comment reply to a post from a fellow blogger and brother in Christ. I feel my reply is too long to respectfully take that much space on David’s page, so I am posting it here.
This week, David Flowers posted an article titled “Hell: Eternal Torture?” The title immediately sparked my interest because a few years ago God graciously granted me new spiritual sight regarding hell and the eternal torment doctrine. I thoroughly read David’s article and some of the following comments from his readers.
Here is my reply:

Monday, March 22, 2010

By the People, For the People?...NOT…

Okay, I’m not much into politics or the whole political/government scene. It’s just not my cup of tea. And if it was any type of tea, it would be the bitterest, most awful tasting one to me. However, every once in a while, I am outraged. Now more than ever before, I am outraged at the way our government is taking this American nation.

So here is my humble two cents regarding the health care bill…

First, I want to say, “Bart Stupak, what a terrible disgrace your compromise has been to those of us who are truly pro-life.”

In the past week, as I scanned all the headlines about the health care bill and Americans being forced to pay for abortions, I had the thought that this country's government is no longer "by the people, for the people" as Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg Address.

Abraham Lincoln said:

"...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

I'm so sorry to say that this American nation, as a whole, no longer strives or cares one bit to live under God's standard. Therefore, the freedom Lincoln speaks of will surely be robbed from its people, bit by bit. Our government is no longer one of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our government has become one "of the politicians, by the politicians, for the politicians", who does not care one iota for what the people really want. Period.

What a sad, depraved road our nation has decided to travel.

The Susan B Anthony List sent me the following email today:

Dear Mary Ann,

Like many of you I am sure, I did not sleep very well last night. I spent nearly all day on Capitol Hill, and after such an intense battle, it was so incredibly difficult to watch the events that played out last night. I kept staring at a whip list that showed us a handful of votes short of stopping the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. At 3 PM, we had the votes to stop the bill. At 4 PM, those votes were exchanged for a meaningless executive order with no force of law.

For the first time since Roe, Americans will be forced to pay for abortions. Tens of thousands of additional babies will die as a result.

Was this the will of the American people? Of course not. Huge majorities of Americans oppose federal funding of abortion, and the country is becoming more and more pro-life.

Then why did we lose? It is because every election matters-- an active pro-abortion president with a compliant Congress means the end of the Mexico City Policy, abortion in D.C., money for Planned Parenthood, and abortion in healthcare.

So how can we win? Because every election matters. None more than the battle coming up in November 2010.

Each Democrat that voted for the pro-abortion Senate bill made a career-defining vote in deciding that Americans should finance the largest expansion of abortion on-demand since Roe v. Wade. It is up to us to make sure that this vote has a consequence.

The Susan B. Anthony List is prepared to lead the fight to send these pro-abortion Democrats into early retirement using our connected Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund.

Our Candidate Fund, a registered Political Action Committee, will work between now and Election Day to elect solid pro-life legislators and kick out pro-abortion legislators who are responsible for this disastrous healthcare bill.

We already sent a strong message last night by rescinding the Defender of Life Award that Rep. Bart Stupak was set to receive this upcoming Wednesday at our annual dinner because of his support of a meaningless executive order by the most pro-abortion president America has ever seen.

Last night, we were defeated. But starting now, we have a chance to fight back. We must start paving the way to a pro-life takeover in November.

Because of your efforts, we certainly did not go down without a fight.

Your phone calls and emails in defense of Life and our forceful response to Stupak's decision to support the worthless executive order by President Obama were featured yesteday in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, and Fox News.

We will never abandon our pledge to ensure that votes have consequences.

I know you are hurting, as I am, but starting now, we are going to work together to reward those who stood for Life and punish at the ballot box those who betrayed Life.

It's time for pro-lifers to take back Congress. With your help, and with God's blessing, we will succeed.

May God continue to bless you and our country,

Marjorie Dannenfelser

President, Susan B. Anthony List

P.S. Americans were reminded tonight that elections have consequences. Our tax dollars will now fund the abortions of our neighbors. Now is not the time to give up. Through our connected Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, we are prepared to ensure a pro-life majority takes back Congress this November.

I love what Marjorie Dannenfelser said in the blog link mentioned above on rescinding the award for Stupak: "We were planning to honor Congressman Stupak for his efforts to keep abortion-funding out of health care reform. We will no longer be doing so," Dannenfelser said. "Let me be clear: any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this health care bill can no longer call themselves 'pro-life.'"