We All Deserve to be Cancelled

Anyone else notice the new American fear? It’s not terrorism or earthquakes. It’s something that haunts us in a deeper level: the fear of being cancelled.

Just a few years ago, Americans discussed different viewpoints with an ounce of civility. There was always Uncle Fred—or that neighbor that gets real emotional—and you’d see someone explode in rage. That happens.

But something has changed this past year. Americans are taking sides. Disagreements that used to cause a little distance are causing divisions in families, churches, communities, and more.

There is a new mindset that has permeated popular culture since 2020. We can thank the race riots and the riotous race for president. The media trumpets this message louder every day:

“If you don’t fall in line, you will be kicked out of the crowd.”

There is a media stronghold in this country, and anyone who opposes it—or even just says something they consider disagreeable—that person gets “cancelled.” In other words: shunned. Pushed out of the discussion about the country. Snubbed from having any right to say anything. It’s the grown up equivalent to your parents sending you to your room when they didn’t “like your tone of voice.”

Popular culture has created a new religion, and it’s called “being woke.” The way to earn your salvation is to toe the line and be as politically correct as you can be. Your righteousness is in how “woke” you prove yourself to be.

Americans are shaking in their Nikes over this. What do we do? What if it happens to me? Will I be cancelled?

Here’s the truth: We all deserve to be cancelled.

The Bible says, “There is none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10) All of us fall short of righteousness. All of us sin. None of us are good enough.

The media and its pundits would have us believe that we must think a certain way or vote a certain way or we are “bigots” or “racists” or “Uncle Toms.” Even though we know these labels aren’t true, they strike fear into our hearts. (I’m guilty of this fear too.) But the righteousness of the woke means nothing to God.

When we stand before God—not as an ethnic group or a race or a gender, but as individual humans—we will each see how our “good deeds” meant nothing to earn our individual salvation. Only those who believe in Jesus as their Savior will be seen as clean. Our social justice involvement won’t earn us a pass. Neither will our amount of melanin. How oppressed we feel or what gender we are won’t get us a better spot in Heaven.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

Acts 16:31

Only Jesus. Only He can save us. Only He can make us worthy. Because it’s not about anything we do or have done, it’s only about what He did for us on the cross. We have all sinned (yes, even bad thoughts are sin) and deserve eternal punishment in Hell. But Jesus Christ stepped in and voluntarily took that punishment in our place. That fact means that my future is secure no matter what the world thinks about me.

So, bring on the cancel culture. We all deserve it. But if you’re a believer, Jesus steps in and says, “You can cancel her, but I never will.”

American Esther

I’m blessed to live in a country with a document that says I have the right to state my opinion, even if it’s unpopular. I’m thankful for my country; however, things are changing. More and more Americans do not feel safe voicing their opinions.

I’m thankful to live in a country where I can participate and live out my beliefs without fear. However, that is starting to change as well. For all of the Bible’s talk of love, some people publicly accuse Christians of hate simply because we have differing beliefs on certain things.

I’m grateful to live in a country with a free market, where I can start my own business or give people rides in my car to bring in extra income. But, yes, that too is changing. Many of the most powerful activists and leaders in Washington DC promote Marxism—an economic system where “equal”citizens equally own nothing and live as pawns in the hands of a rich group of rulers.

Even though, I’m blessed and thankful to live in America. God has put me here, right now, for a reason. He has a plan for each one of us. He does not make mistakes, and He is working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). Just as God used Queen Esther to speak the truth in a dangerous time, He has called me to speak truth in “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

Let us live boldly and trust in the One who allowed us to be here at this very time in history, and who has a plan for each of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Let’s pray that America will prosper and be a land of freedom for all. But, let’s be faithful in trusting the Lord in what He allows and where He has placed us—even if things get worse.

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26

Trust God. Speak truth. Love others. God bless America!

Who Are You?

Ok, we humans got a problem.

We don’t know who we are.

I mean this in two ways. First, at least in America, we have lost our sense of unity and pride in our country. We are divided to an extent that this History teacher has not seen in a long time.

The other identity problem we have, however, is worse. Since our culture has thrown out God, we have thrown out our hope and purpose.

You see, the Bible says that every human is made in the “image of God.” We are all made to represent Him. He thought us up—each of us—and He has given each of us a specific role to play in the story of life. Psalms 139 says, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb” and “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Each of us was planned. No one is an accident.

But most of us in Western society have forgotten that. We have been been persuaded by popular phrases like “Follow your heart” and “Make your own destiny,” thinking that we are actually the source of who we are. We have become the captains of our own ships, leaving God as an afterthought. However, this empty way of thinking will lead to nothing but anxiety and depression. (Oh, yeah, and it’s no surprise those are some of the top issues that Americans struggle with.)

I work at a facility for teenagers with major life trauma. They have been abandoned, raped, assaulted, hated,…pretty much everything but loved. And these kids have some serious identity issues. Most of them cut themselves regularly and do other things to injure themselves. Others try to commit suicide. Others attack people, verbally and physically. Many of them are confused about their sexuality and gender identity. These kids have no concept of who they are, and it permeates every area of their lives. They are miserable.

But God loves them and created them. I try to tell them that as much as I can. I want them to know they are created who they are for a purpose.

Skeptical?…Read Psalm 139. It tells about how God knew you before you were born. He chose you. He created you. He knew every day of your life. He loved you immensely—and still does.

And as believers in Jesus we can say, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live I live through faith in the one true God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). My identity is in Jesus Christ. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about him!

What identity security!

Jesus, You are my home

The world seems to be going crazy.

The U.S. is overcome by chaos.

So many of us are feeling overwhelmed by what the future may hold.

But Jesus is my shepherd. He takes care of me, just like a shepherd cares for a sheep. He provides for me and protects me. He is my constant companion.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, LORD, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1-4

Jesus, you are my home. My safe place. Help me to run and hide in you when I am afraid.

the weight lifter

“I am the Lord your God. You were slaves in Egypt. You were bent low from the heavy weights you carried as slaves. But I broke the heavy weights that were on your shoulders. I let you walk proudly again.”
‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭26:13‬ ‭ICB‬‬

Have you felt more than tired under a heavy weight? I have. The weight of regret. The weight of sin. The weight of fear. So many weights…

But God is a weight-lifter. Not in a gym—though that would be fun to see—but in our lives! He can carry your burdens. He wants to take them. All you gotta do is turn to him and ask him to take whatever is weighing you down. He will do it.

Jesus said in the book of Matthew, “Come to me, all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

Lean on Him. He’s there for you!

Do Miracles Still Happen?

Do you believe in miracles? I mean, really?…Most people don’t nowadays. I struggle to believe in them too.

But this one really happened.

My mother-in-law has a terminal illness. It’s so bad that she has not walked or eaten or even changed the tv channel by herself for years. And she’s in her 70’s. Not someone you want to get the Coronavirus.

But she got it. And we all prepared for the worst.

She was sent to the hospital a week ago, and—no surprise—no one could visit her. It broke my heart that she was there, possibly dying, all alone.

I started to pray for her. I had a crazy idea and prayed that God would send her an angel—or even Jesus himself—to visit her and comfort her in the hospital. I know, it sounded kinda like a ridiculously big request to me too. I prayed it a couple times over the course of the day and then forgot about it for awhile.

Well, this is where it gets interesting. The next day I asked my husband how she was doing and if he had heard anything that day. He said the nurse had actually helped her call him on the phone. He said she mumbled a few things (normal for her condition) and told him she loved him and wants him to visit. Then he said something interesting…he shook his head and said, “She kept saying something about Jesus being there…seeing him in her hospital room…”

My heart stopped beating for a minute. I had never told anyone about my prayer. Yet his mother specifically said she was being visited by her Savior.

Could this be some kind of hallucination or silly gibberish from a sick woman? I might think so if I had not just prayed that prayer and specifically asked for what she reported.

The truth is this: God is still at work. Miracles still happen. Keep your prayers big and your eyes open.

Dont stop believing,

Lauren

P.S…My terminally ill mother-in-law, who’s in her 70’s, is going home from the hospital tomorrow. Not for hospice. No, she is better. She has survived Covid.

As CS Lewis wrote: “Aslan is on the move.” Take heart!

The Picket Fence Lie

I used to think that the goal of living was to someday end up in this “happily ever after” life in a beautiful house with a white picket fence.

I guess I just always assumed I’d get there and THEN I’d be happy.

Well, my life fell apart once again last month. Once again my dreams were shattered. Once again I had my heart broken. My picket fence seems farther and farther away.

I found myself looking wistfully at a cute little house with a picket fence the other day. That’s when I realized: It’s a lie! I’ve been believing a lie!

I don’t have to wait until I have the perfect life or the cutest house to be happy. I can choose to be happy now! In fact that’s the only way “happy” works: in the right now. I have to choose to be grateful and content where I am right now. Not when _____ happens or when I finally get to do ______ or buy _______. I have to make up my mind to choose happy every moment.

“I have learned the secret to be content with whatever I have….I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:11, 13

Choose happy today! 😊

Thank you, Loneliness

Dear Loneliness,

I have to thank you. You have done something great for me. Something that Happiness couldn’t do. Neither could Popularity. Not even Fun.

Loneliness, you brought me something I never expected: Joy.

You see, I used to be afraid of you. I thought you would ruin my life. I thought you would stick around forever.

But, I was wrong. You were actually the best thing for me. You are what made me see how much I need Jesus. Your pain made me run into His arms. The best place I could be.

Loneliness, because of you I now stand on the rock of Christ and I rest in the comfort of the Psalms.

Thank you, Loneliness. I’m so grateful for the person I’ve become from all the pain you put me through. I now have Joy, which is better than Fun and deeper than Happiness.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭50:20‬ ‭

Sincerely,

Lauren

P.S. I’m fine if you don’t ever wanna come for another visit…but I’m sure I’ll see you again.

Throw it Off

Ok, picture this: A bride all dressed and ready to walk down the aisle. She pauses outside in front of the country church for one last photo. Her hair is perfect. Her makeup is perfect. Her dress is perfect…or is it? When she turns around to let the photographer capture the decor on the back of her dress, everyone freezes. As she looks curiously at all the pale faces and big eyes of her bridesmaids, she realizes something is wrong. “Don’t move!” is all she hears. Her brother comes up and carefully reaches behind her, picking something off her back. To her horror, her brother is holding a HUGE, pregnant spider by the leg as the other seven legs wiggle in the air! The bride screams and runs into the church, throwing off her bouquet, her veil, and her shoes in her fright!

This memorable wedding day happened to my coworker’s daughter, and I’m pretty sure I would have run just as fast! (I probably would have run to the bathroom and tore that dress off of me!)

That scene is what I picture every time I read Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We are supposed to “throw off” everything that could hinder us (meaning anything that could hold us back) or any sin that we easily fall into.

We’re not supposed to just slowly walk away from these things. We’re not supposed to hang out there a little while. We are supposed to run like a bride from a spider! Throw those things off!

God knows how damaging sin is to us. It corrodes our lives. We tend to think it’s no big deal sometimes. (“Oh, I’ll just do it this once!”) But it is like that pregnant spider; if you let it hang around it will birth hundreds of tiny baby spiders all over you! (Ok, not spiders, but bad stuff for sure.)

Jesus said, “The thief (the devil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

So, I struggle with sin as much as anyone. But I just wanted to give you a picture of how destructive it can be in our lives. Next time we’re tempted, let’s throw off that temptation like a huge, pregnant spider! 🕸

Take courage

Fear is a choice.

This is something I’ve learned recently. In this crazy spring. (2020 we will not forget you.)

Fear is everywhere in America. Fear of a virus. Fear of being alone. Fear of not having enough food. Fear of losing a job. Fear of being judged. Fear of being shot. Fear of those people. Fear of that group. Fear of those who should protect us. Fear of people who look different from us. Fear of riots. Fear of economic depression. Fear of a growing divide in our country. Fear of rejection for who we are. Fear of government control. And the list goes on and on…

Fear is everywhere right now.

But, ya know what? We don’t have to give in to it. We don’t.

Fear is a choice. And we don’t have to choose it.

You see, fear is Satan’s trademark. It is his operating system. He wants it to be like the WiFi in your house: everywhere…you can’t see it, but any moment you can hook right up to it.

For most of my life, fear was like oxygen. I just breathed it in and out constantly. It was always with me, even when I wasn’t aware of it. Sometimes I would forget and feel happy, but wait a minute or two and that fog of fear would be around me again.

Reading my Bible and singing praise songs have the best affect on making that fog leave. However, two things that have really made a difference lately have been a book I read and a comment my pastor said.

The book is Fear is a Liar by Daniel B Lancaster. In his book, Lancaster refers to the verse “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) He says that believers in Jesus can claim this verse , knowing that God is Love. We can either choose to walk in the path of love or the path of fear. Love is right there to keep us safe and free, but we so often ignore it and choose to walk in fear. From that moment on, I chose to walk on the path of love.

The comment that impacted me was when my pastor pointed out the other day that Jesus often said, “Take courage!” (Matthew 14:27, Mark 6:50, and so many more times.) My pastor, Steve Gaines, emphasized that we have to take courage. He said, “Take it! Pick it up! It’s right there for you to take!” It’s a choice.

Both of these instances made me realize I don’t have to sit there, overwhelmed in fear! I’m not a victim. I am a victor! I can choose the path of love! I can choose to “take courage” and trust the Lord! After all, He is faithful. He is sovereign. I have nothing to fear. My Father rules the universe!

Fear is a choice. Choose courage. Choose faith. Choose love.