The price of freedom…

 

If you’ve been paying attention to your News feed on Facebook or twitter lately, you’ve probably seen at least one post or pic about supporting our troops… but have you posted one yourself, liked one or shared one that one of your many patriotic friends shared or posted on their own?

Have you thought about how difficult it will be for so many of them this Christmas – many of them are a world away from their loved ones!

PRAY FOR THEM!

 

Have you shared the CHRISTmas story with your children, your family, your neighbors?

We watch a lot of Christmas movies this time of year and they’re not even all religious themed but even Charlie Brown Christmas talks about the “TRUE” meaning of Christmas!

Have you given of your money or your time to those less fortunate that you?

Even on a very tight budget, we make a point to give the kids change (whenever we have it) to drop into those little red buckets that seem to be outside of every store you walk into.

Have you made a list of all the things you are thankful for – as a family, as an individual…

As we get closer to Christmas, I am reminded of the myriad of things that I am grateful for!

  • I am grateful that I live in a free country – even if those freedoms are slowly being stripped away, we still have more than most!
  • I am grateful to live in a country where I am still allowed to worship CHRIST! That may not always be the case but it is now and I am thankful!
  • I am grateful that God saw fit to send his son to us as a wee babe and I am grateful that Jesus gave his own life for us on that wretched cross – HE paid the ultimate price so that we each would not have to!
  • I am grateful that Christian/Inspirational fiction is as popular as it is (and growing in popularity of late) – because it means there are plenty of GOOD books on the shelves for me and, more importantly, for my daughter to read!
  • I am grateful for the American soldier – Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army, the Coast Guard and ALERT! They fight every day at home and abroad so that we can sleep easy – knowing that they have our back!
  • And I am grateful to have such a wonderful family! My mother is the best thing that ever could have happened to me! She is a blessing I truly do not deserve! And my children are my life! They are my everything and I only hope one day that I can be half as wonderful a mother as my own!
  • I am grateful to serve a loving, forgiving, merciful GOD – who loves me enough to forgive me every time I mess up… which is usually a lot, and who only wants the best for me – even when I don’t listen to his words.

 

What are you grateful for this Christmas season?

What do you celebrate with your family?

Do you close your eyes and thank God for the avalanche of blessings that he heaps on you each and every day?

 

GOD BLESS YOU this Christmas season and in the year to come!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

© Rachel L. Miller 2014

Tomorrow…

The bad thing about sweeping clean your past is that, sometimes, you lose things …

About a year ago, I deleted several of my old blogs because I just hadn’t been using them and along with that went a really great post I had written about 9/11.

It’s been more than two years since I’ve even looked at that post so I don’t remember all that I said and that is one of the reasons I have started saving the text from all of my posts now.

I’m not going to imitate that post, I’m not even going to try but I am going to try to do justice to the spirit of it all…

Thirteen years ago – tomorrow, I was standing in the electronics department of Target, trying to figure out what crazy person would make a movie about such an unthinkable event… when I realized it wasn’t a movie preview at all but a REAL NEWS REPORT.

I stood there for probably an hour before I thought to even look away from the screen – and only then because they took a commercial break… which, to be honest, I was shocked they would do that but I guess even news people need a bathroom break now and then.

By that time, the first tower had already gone down (about two minutes after I had started watching, the second tower had been hit) and I was in a state of shock.

My aunt and uncle had been planning a visit to New York… were they even now, trapped in one of the burning towers?

A friend of my mom’s had recently started a job as a flight attendant, working out of New York… had one of those planes been hers?

Someone I went to high school with had moved here from New York and went back frequently to visit family… could he be in one of the towers right this minute?

Your mind, well my mind anyway… can come up with some pretty wild and crazy ideas when under duress and my imagination was working overtime.

I left about the time they started showing closeups tower two… if you don’t know what was going on at that time, I’m not going to be the one to tell you but it was too much for me. Yes I know… to say that something like that could be too much for me when you consider what  was watching at that moment.

I was not alive when President Kennedy was shot. I was very young when Challenger exploded and I really didn’t understand the implications of Operation Desert Storm and all that went with it.

But this… this was something I was watching with my own two eyes on LIVE television and it really hit home for me.

This was an act of war. This was an attack on my country. This was a tragedy of epic proportions. This was an experience that would leave me forever changed, heart-broken, angry for months… Something that would bring tears to my eyes every time I looked at the word September on a calendar, something that would stay with me forever – changing the way I look at everything.

And now, as a mother of two children who were born three years and six years after this unthinkable horror took place, how do I explain to them what that meant to this country? How do I explain to them how horrific the experience was? How do they ever understand the state of the country now… and how is it ever supposed to make sense to them?

Sadly enough, there will be events that happen in their lifetimes that will impact them in the same way as 9/11 changed my own life… it’s just human nature. And, until Jesus comes to take us home, we will continue to see war, cruelty and the inhumane acts of evil men (and women) everywhere.

But as for me and my house, we continue to pray and hope for the day when we no longer have to watch children being mistreated or killed, the day when human beings treat each other with love, the day when we all become one big family and eternity begins.

Until then, we will continue to pray for our country and the people who live in it. We will continue to pray that the amazing words of Jesus reach as many hearts as possible before that last day for so many of us arrives.

God Bless You and Good Day!

©Rachel L Miller 2014

Do what you love… tomorrow?

A popular retirement company recently started running a new ad campaign. It says to “Start planning now to do what you love tomorrow”.

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“Apparently they’re unaware that we are not guaranteed tomorrow…”

Aside from the obvious flaw in their thinking, I’m more than a little confused by the idea promoted by this new campaign concept.

Wouldn’t we rather do what we love TODAY? Isn’t that better, smarter?

“I personally feel very strongly that this is one of the biggest problems with America today.”

We are so concerned about getting ahead in business, saving for the future, building our portfolio… But when do we take the time to enjoy it? People always say they will take a break someday… But for far too many of those people “someday” never comes because they work themselves into a heart attack at 40 or a nervous breakdown at 30.

 “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” – Acts 24:25

I am reminded of a wonderful sermon I saw recently by Tom Harmon (He speaks at most of the ATI Conferences we attend). He talked about how important it is to Follow God in the days of our Youth.

I believe it was his sermon “You can make choices but you cannot choose consequences” but I’m not 100% sure.

You can find his materials in the IBLP Store HERE and on Embassy Institute HERE)

What is even more confusing is that there are many secular philosophies that proclaim this message as well. So, if the idea of “quality time” and “living life to the fullest…” and “taking time to stop and smell the roses…” are so popular, why would this company think their new ad campaign is such a great idea?

Because we are locked in to the “rat race” mentality.

“Just one more reason I believe the Amish community has the right idea.”

© Rachel L. Miller 2013

Attitude is Everything

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I am a single mom, have been from the very beginning.

I grew up in church but religion doesn’t always leave a whole lot of room for a relationship with God. And my mother and I both have discovered in recent years that churches are very good at teaching you the rules but not why God intended it to be that way.

They were also very good at telling you everyone has to be saved but there was very little guidance about how that actually worked and what you should do after you “gave your life to Christ” . . . aside from follow the rules, of course.

So we’ve both spent a large part of our lives making bad choices and I can only imagine how many times God has had to send his angels in to protect us from what could have been disastrous results. He must have big plans, maybe not for us specifically but at the very least for the amazingly wonderful children he has blessed us with. And without mom – “Grandma”, we would not be able to do what we are doing right now. Which is to homeschool them and get them into God’s word in a serious way.

Over the past five years, we have made sweeping changes in every area of our lives. We’ve eliminated cable TV and even most movies/TV shows we used to watch on DVD. Our clothing choices have changed drastically  and we’ve even begun wearing head coverings. My daughter keeps asking “Why are we being Amish?”

Recently I attended an ATI conference and while we were there God convicted me about the way I speak to my children. My mom has been telling me for years that I sounded too harsh sometimes when I was upset or “at the end of my rope”. All moms go there at some point.

We attended our first conference last year and we were exceedingly blessed by the wonderful speakers but this year was even better. At the conference, one of the speakers was talking about how important it is to forgive those who have wronged you. I kept waiting for him to touch on how to deal with people who don’t want forgiveness or who refuse to accept any responsibility for the hurts they’ve caused you but it never came. Instead God spoke to me (I’m getting better at hearing and listening to that still small voice) and he led me to release years of built up bitterness. Bitterness I didn’t even realize I had in me. After that, without even realizing what I was doing, my attitude started to change.

It was not an instantaneous thing and it hasn’t been easy but I am tickled to say that everyone has noticed the difference. My entire family has commented on the changes in me. My son is thrilled with my “sweet voice. My mom is grateful I’ve stopped speaking so harshly to both kids. My relationship with my father (which has always been a bit rocky) is much better now too.

Praise God!

He is so good to us. He is so patient with us. He is so much more forgiving than we deserve. And I am Thankful for it. Otherwise, we’d be sunk.

So take a minute to examine your past. If there are hurts there that you might be holding on to, take a few minutes to get on your knees and release those hurts and the bitterness that goes along with them.

You’ll never be the same.

God Bless You!

© Rachel L. Miller 2013