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Archive for the ‘Rights’ Category

~Written by Viki Rife

It happened again today. I was reading an article in a respected Christian magazine. As it described a young pastor’s battle with cancer, it referred to it as a tragedy. And I couldn’t help wonder: is it right for God’s people to describe a death, ordained by God, as a tragedy? Why are we buying into the world’s definition?

The word “tragedy” and its companions (disaster, horrendous, etc.) are descriptions of how the world sees such situations. But what are we communicating when we use those terms? That God is not in control? That He isn’t good? There is something about these descriptions that draws our attention away from trust and replaces it with helplessness and hopelessness. Of course these situations are hard and painful for those of us who remain, but it just seems to me that someone’s graduation to glory should never be couched in those terms.

As long as we use the world’s terminology to describe our circumstances, we will be just as fearful as they are. Let’s pray that God will give us eyes to see beyond to the victory He is accomplishing.

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~ Written by Viki Rife

The shooting of students in Oregon last week shook me to the core. It could have been my grandsons. 

I was very aware of that because of a conversation with them earlier this summer. Anytime they visit, they usually climb in bed with us when they wake up and we tell stories to each other. That morning, I decided to tell the story of a man imprisoned in Russia for his faith who saw amazing answers to prayer. 

When I finished, the six-year-old said thoughtfully, “If anyone says they will shoot me if I love Jesus, I’ll still tell them I do.”  

“What made you decide that?” I asked him.  

“B (his nine-year-old brother) told me I should always stand up for Jesus,” he answered. 

I turned to B. “What made you decide to do that?” I asked. 

“Well,” he explained, “I was wondering about it, so I talked to Mom and she agreed that I should.” So, these little guys have already decided how they would handle it. And although they aren’t in college, school shootings are unfortunately not limited to colleges. Yes, it could be them. 

A side of me screams, “No!” But the rest of me screams, “Yes! Yes, take a stand for God. Make a powerful statement that He is worth dying for.” 

To you moms out there, may God help you as you guide your children. I never had to have that conversation with my children. But the world has changed. This is now their reality. We can’t shield them from it.  The only thing harder than encouraging your children to take a bullet for Christ is encouraging them to encourage your grandchildren to take a bullet for Christ.

But we need to consider what it would do to a child who truly believes in Christ to live with the knowledge that they had denied Him. I would not put that burden on them. So I would make sure to give them the freedom of knowing that if they believe in Jesus, I will support their decision. They have a right to stand up for Him. 

If we want to raise kids with backbone, we have to start now. 

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

Adoption is a beautiful thing. I just found out that friends of mine finally brought their little girl home… after over two years worth of praying, loving and pursuing. Two years. She’s home. She’s actually home

I have other friends who are still in the midst of the battle. They’ve agonized over the paperwork between governments, the fundraisers, the frustrated prayers and longing for their son. It never seems to end.  

As the joyous tears fell freely this morning in joint celebration that my friends had been given their daughter, I became just as quickly frustrated that my other friends were being kept from their son. I was happy for one and heartbroken for the other. I wanted to fly to Texas and kiss the little girl’s cheek and I want to fly to Africa and give the government a piece of my mind and single-handedly take my friends’ son back to America with me. 

As I wrestled over the friction in my heart this week, I was struck with the beauty of it. In a very small nutshell, I was being shown the heart of my Father God. He is overjoyed to have His children within His family present, but His heart breaks over the ones He doesn’t share that identity with just yet. 

Just like my friends pursuing their son in Africa, I was reminded of one simple Truth: My God doesn’t give up easily. No matter the cost, no matter the distance, our God will pursue each child with utter abandon until His Family is complete. 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

It was a beautiful day, and a bunch of our friends were gathered at the swimming hole. The younger ones paddled around in the shallow water, while the adults and teens took turns climbing up and diving off an overhanging rock into a deep pool that had formed in the river. 

Suddenly there was a shout. My six-year-old brother had climbed up unnoticed and jumped from the cliff. Dad, knowing my brother couldn’t swim, instantly dove down and brought up a spluttering little towhead. 

Once my brother was safe, the protective big sister in me remonstrated, “Why did you jump in? You know you can’t swim!” 

He shrugged, “Dad can.” For him, that ended the discussion. 

The memory comes to mind whenever I sense God’s call to jump into unknown waters. I can stand fearfully on the edge, looking doubtfully into the deep depths. I can back away as I remember that this is something I’ve never done before and am sure to fail at. Or I can remember that my Father is there, and take the leap. 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

After five-year-old Frances Slocum was kidnapped in Pennsylvania in 1778, her family spend 59 years looking for her. They finally found her living among the Miami tribe in Indiana. They wanted her to come back with them to live in “civilization.” She had become accustomed to her current life, and she refused to leave it.

She knew she wouldn’t belong any more.

As believers, we find ourselves having to choose where we belong. Are we citizens of earth or citizens of heaven? When Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, He presented us with an entirely different mindset from what this world accepts. Citizens of heaven care about the good of their own country, and don’t get involved in the politics and customs of the earthly country they are living in. They invest in furthering the interests of their own country.

What does it mean to you when you pray, “God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? What would that actually look like? What are we willing to do to make that happen? We are called to live in a way that gives a taste of heaven on earth.

We need to understand that it is how we handle suffering that furthers the kingdom of God most. . Pray for God to keep changing your perspective so you can live the lifestyle and mindset of the kingdom of heaven.

It’s where you belong!

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~ Written by Viki Rife

“I have a right.”

It’s a dangerous phrase which undermines our foundations. Let’s think about that a little. What rights can we really claim as Christians?

Do you want to stand firm for God against any kind of persecution? If so, we need to eliminate that simple phrase from our vocabulary. In fact, we need to eliminate it completely from our thought process. The best way to process this is to look at how Jesus handled His life on this earth. He gave up everything (Philippians 2:7 calls it “emptying himself”). He did not grasp for His rights (Phil. 2:6). 

He had a right to destroy anyone who opposed Him. He had a right to call down angels to rescue him from the cross. But He did not call for His rights. That wasn’t his mission He gave up His right to comfort and convenience so He could claim the right to save us. And He has saved us so we could have the right to help others find Him.

Whenever I clamor for my rights, I am trying to be greater than my Master. May I never settle for thinking that I deserve more than Jesus does!

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