Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mercy -- One More Time ?

It has been a long time since I have written...but  today I found myself  really pondering some spiritual truths and just felt like today was a good day to post.

As a Christian, I have been praying  regularly for the past season of time about this upcoming election.  I  have strong convictions that the Republican platform most closely aligns itself with what I believe to be truth.  Some issues are even directly addressed in the Bible , which i embrace as absolute authority in my life.  So I have been praying for God to extend mercy on our country and to allow a political win for the Republican party and platform,and to block the establishment of the Democrat  platform and an administration that is not only based on things that I believe are completely wrong but  additionally,  an administration that is so riddled with corruption, lies, deception and at times down right evil and hatred that is makes me literally shudder to think of that as our gate-keeper to legislation for the next 4 years.  So I continue to pray for mercy for one more chance at an upright government and an righteous land.  Today however, I got to thinking.  So what is the purpose of forgiveness and mercy?  What am I really seeking God  for?

Forgiveness and mercy  is extended to a person or a situation in order to open the doors to  reconciliation or to get another chance at not "reaping what we have sowed"  and make better choices and establish something better..  A second chance to do right, if you will.---- while escaping the consequences that we really deserve for our previous actions.

But what if God did decide to extend mercy on this great country.....what would that produce exactly?  Would we as a country step up and with a new found passion for  a different set of moral values...?  Would abortions  continue at an alarming rate, would we continue to stand by and watch our constitutional religious liberties and freedoms  be assaulted, would constitutional freedoms continue to to be re-interpreted  by courts and judges, would our family values continue  weakening, and how about racism? -- would we allow it continue to rear its ugly head to the tune of years gone past.  If so, then one would have to ask?  what is the purpose of  mercy being extended to us?  Will this merciful act it cause us to "put the brakes on" on the slippery slopes of Godless life patterns and decisions ?  We have slipped far down a very dark moral path. but are we beyond the  hope of repair or change?   If  so wouldn't that then be wasting that forgiveness and mercy we begged God to give to this country once again, if we truly are beyond the ability for change?

I believe God would LOVE to release mercy on this awesome country.  I believe God was thrilled when this country was first established with HIS principles being the foundation this country was built on.  Over the past 200 years this country has continued to build  on that foundation like a towering skyscraper.   Now however, we are so far above the original foundation we seem to have lost sight or even knowledge of what that original foundation was.  I believe it would be the heart beat of God to answer our prayer for mercy and forgiveness and for HIM to begin that restoring and reconciling process in this land.  But also because God is all-knowing HE  knows if extending mercy on this land will produce anything of value or if it will simply be considered a 'political win" by some and a "political loss' by others. .

So I have changed my prayer...because I trust God and I trust HIS love for this country.  I am asking HIM to do what would be the right thing for this country. If we the people would seize the opportunity to  use Gods mercy in a beneficial way for the good of mankind in this country, then I pray HE will see fit to extend it one more time.  If however, HIS mercy will be disregarded and no good eternal value would come from it, then I don't want to waste that precious gift.  I have desires and I continue to make them known to HIM in prayer, but at the end of the day I gather up those prayer requests and lay then at HIS feet and conclude with 'Not My Will But YOURS Be Done."   Then I say from the deepest part of my heart...."THANK YOU !"

Thursday, September 3, 2015

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR




 I am  increasingly alarmed at what we are seeing happening to our law enforcement officers around the country.  The officer mentioned most recently in the news that was refused food at ARBY'S was  fortunate that she was only refused service.  She could have just as easily been like the police officer that was pumping gas into his car last week and was killed by a shooter.  How are law enforcers supposed to offer themselves daily for the protection of our communities when there are protestors marching and chanting the most despicable and disrespecting phrases that are then played and replayed  live over and over by the media.  How are spouses and children supposed to relax and support  their family member that go off to work each day as a law enforcer?  How does an officer go about their daily work duties while at the same time continually glancing over their shoulder to see what might be coming up on them?  How do they continually detach from the rising tide of disrespect that is threatening to swallow up all those involved in law enforcement?

Friday September 4,2015 has been declared National  Prayer for Police and Military, to coincide with the funeral of the Houston deputy. Tomorrow at noon ET,  many people of faith are planning to circle police stations  and pray.  Of course many  will not be able to physically be at a police station and participate in this ---- (for a variety of reasons)--- but we can all stop briefly, no matter where we are,  and offer a prayer on behalf of  our law enforcers, military,  and also their families.

As a person of faith, I believe prayer changes things.  The change doesn't all come immediately  but the process does begin at that point of prayer.  Its time to band together and "march" forward in prayer, on behalf of all of those who march fearlessly forward daily on our behalf.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

PAID FOR WITH BLOOD...

It was about 8:00 pm  Sunday evening, August 20, 2006.   I had just arrived home from a quick trip to Wal-Mart for some necessities for the upcoming work week.  As my son and I were unloading our bags the kitchen phone began to ring.  I considered just letting it ring so I could finish unloading  but noticed by the caller I.D. that it was my dad who lived in Salt Lake City, as did many of my other family. .  So dropping the bag in my hand onto the counter I reached over and grabbed the phone.  After the very briefest moment of greetings my dad said "I have some bad news"... My heart sank  and literally within a second or two of time a multitude of  possibilities ran through my mind.  He went on to say, "Adam didn't make it out of Iraq."
I remember melting into the chair behind me in complete stunned disbelief.   He went on to share  how  he had approached my sisters house for a Sunday visit earlier that day, when  he saw the all-so- dreaded official military vehicle in front of her house, with two uniformed officers on her porch, meaning only one thing.
The actual specifics of what he said after that all blurred in to a fog of complete and utter disbelief.
How could this happen?  We prayed for Adams safety and protection during his deployment.  In fact when my nephew graduated from Boot camp he visited our local church here in California on a Sunday morning and the whole church prayed for him.  We believed he would be kept safe.  In fact just 30 days prior to that fateful day,  he had had an all too close brush with death as a suicide bomber breached security and attacked his compound.  In a valiant effort to rescue others he was injured and ultimately transported to a hospital facility.  So this was Adams close encounter with death.... or so we thought.  We didn't know August 20th was coming.

Within a few minutes of that phone call from my dad, my husband arrived home.   Bit by bit the reality of the news began to swell inside of me and emotion began to rise like the highest of tides.  Completely letting lose , I tumbled into my husband and sobbed, "Adam died".

Looking back, the rest of that evening is bit of a blur..  But bit by bit a chain of phone calls began to family and within a very short time  the extended family was hearing the unbelievable news.

It would be impossible to re-count and share  the hundreds of details of the next 10 days, as plans were made to receive Adams body back and plan his funeral service.
Somehow his parents and his family got through those next 10 days though, -sometimes numbly and other times writhing in pain. Tremendous support was poured out by the military,  the community,  churches in two different states ,by local and state politicians, and even from President George W. Bush, who happened  to be visiting in Utah during this time..
The tremendous , love, compassion, sympathy and support of countless people were the waves that  Adams  family rode on to survive  the next days, weeks, and months.  Holidays came.  Memories swelled.  Heartbreak resurfaced time and time again.  But time moved on and as time is notorious for doing inch by inch tiny bits of healing also began to come.

It has now been 9 years since this defining and life changing day in our family.  Much has happened in our family and much has also happened in our country and also  in Iraq. Iraq is almost daily in the news and now with  presidential elections on the horizon, our future with,  and in,  Iraq remains a continual talking point fought over by proponents and opponents, candidates on the left and candidates on the right.  But for many, in fact for over 4,000, Iraq will always be the place where in a moment in time, life on this earth ended,   and life forever changed for countless family members.

Iraq remains a very volatile spot in our world and as I reflect, today especially,  on Adam's death as well as the over 4,000 other lives lost on that soil, by an enemy that was often, unidentifiable,  I wonder in what way can we honor the memory and sacrifice of those we so loved and lost. I wonder  if we could ask them, our lost loved ones, what would they say.?  I believe they would say,  "finish the job that we started.  Don't let what we began and fought so vigorously for be in vain.  Take it to the finish line".

It is often quoted that "freedom isn't free".. and no one knows that better than families that have, and continue,  to pay for the freedoms of this country with the blood and lives of their loved ones.  Whatever decisions are made politically now and the days ahead,  the families of those over 4,000 who were KIA, stand shoulder to shoulder, in honor of those they love and lost,  and vehemently declare "We shall NEVER forget.  We WILL always remember , and we WILL forever be grateful and proud."

In loving memory of Corporal Adam Galvez.  Until we meet again........

Beth Gifford

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Sea of Choices

Well it has now been close to 48 hours since the first GOP presidential debate ended.  Of course Facebook has been overwhelmed with comments from viewers and from candidates.  And as time passes  things will settle down and we will begin to see "the proof of the pudding"  In the meantime, how do we begin to funnel down who we will give our most earnest attention to and on the other hand, who we can gradually begin to dismiss in our mind?

The candidates I will keep an eye on are the ones who gave some specific strategies and solutions that they would implement and how those strategies  will better our country.  Its easy to stand up and say "I want to make America great again".  We all do !  But in order to do that , there needs to be a strategy and a plan. AND it has to be a plan that people will buy into.

I am going to watch Dr. Ben Carson, because in  one simple statement he made, I felt he just might have what is needed to repair the terrible racial divide that has festered and exploded in our country.

I am also keeping watch on Marco Rubio.  For every  concern he voiced for our country, he has a well- thought out plan and strategy to tackle it.  In addition he exemplifies and grassroots confidence and capability that seems very presidential.

Ted Cruz seems to have a very sobering and a realistic understanding of the impact of the Iran Nuclear Deal -- how dangerous it is and what he would do to repeal that.

Carly Fiorina totally impressed me with her two "planned phone calls" for her first day in office as president.

Rick Perry understands that before we deal with the immensely complicated issue of immigration we have to have a strong, secure, well-staffed border.

And this is just the beginning. The list goes on.   The majority of our candidates,  bring something powerful and significant to the table,  that would strengthen and improve our country.

So how to know who to support?  Well for me , as a faith-based person, I fall back on what the Bible says "...if any lacks wisdom, let him ask of the Lord God who gives it liberally"  And that is what  I intend to do.   In order to wisely navigate through these future debates and elections, I will need a wisdom beyond my limited self.   Since at this moment in time,  here on earth, we only "see in part". I am relying wholeheartedly on a God who sees all things clearly. and knows all the future needs of  this great country and the people in it.  He knows our needs within the world and has the solutions that are required. for every circumstance .  I believe  there is an appointed and anointed person who will be able to actually take the helm and guide this country through the high and low tides of upcoming days. Additionally, this person will know,  in the deepest crevices of their own heart, that "it is not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit of the living God".  We are coming to the end of a time when we were governed  by the mindset that it WAS by our own personal might and power, and have disregarded that strength and peace that the acknowledgement of the Spirit of God would have brought.   It has not worked.  Insanity does the same thing over and over and expects different results. No more insanity.  Its time to change our mindset.

At this moment in time my eyes are wide open, my ears are listening, my heart is responding, for the direction and guidance I need as a proud American voter. I know there is a wonderful future president out there !!

Beth Gifford

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Cries of Silence

I recently heard a statement from Joel Rosenberg........this isn't a direct quote but the essence of what he said was this:  A country can not  kill over 60 million babies over the past 50 years, while under the protection of the law, and not  ultimately expect to face the  consequences of those pre-birth murders?

So my pondering is this: could it be we are at THE time when some of those consequences are beginning to manifest?...and if so, are there SPECIFIC consequences we are all experiencing in this country because we remained silent and "unprayerful" and let  the vocal minority move their agenda through  our whole country?  Studies state that the majority of people are OPPOSED to the practice of abortion, yet the voice of the minority  prevailed
.

If that case,  how do we climb back up on the hill,  called "Sanctity of Life"?  How do we regain control and begin  protecting the lives of our babies?  It's time for the voice's of the majority to awaken and begin to raise a loud cry in defense of our most innocent and most vulnerable and take back the legal ground that was relinquished.

Beth Gifford