The "new normal." Oh, how I dislike those words...maybe because I've navigated so many "new normal" seasons in my 49 years that I'm beginning to think that 'normal' is just a setting on a dryer.
The night I gave birth to my first-born son ushered in a "new normal," full of diapers and feedings and no sleep. Once I became accustomed to that new normal, Sam's little body fought at every turn, staying up all night long despite what all the "expecting" books said were the appropriate sleep amounts for infants and toddlers. The new normal was a moving target as his tantrums and behaviors were off-the-scale: something was terribly, terribly wrong.
The hot August afternoon in which I received the diagnosis of autism for my six-year-old little boy, playing in the back seat with a toy car, did not usher in another "new normal." No, it just confirmed what this mama's heart suspected all along. The new normal was navigating a myriad of special education meetings and language and therapists. No one teaches you how to do that.
Yet another new normal came the day I told my abusive ex-husband to leave. I was suddenly an official single mom (although I had been playing the part for years prior) of two elementary-aged boys. This new normal, while filled with moments of grief and pain, legal trauma, and juggling working full-time out of the home while still balancing Sam's special needs and Jacob's life. It was a new normal filled with positive things, without fear of being yelled at, hurt, or punched. It still took getting used to, as far as normals go.
Blending a family when I re-married a man who had a daughter ushered in another "new normal." Why are "new normals" always "ushered" in, as though they're welcome participants to the celebration of your life? "Please sit here, near the front, so you can have a good aisle seat to trip the bride as she walks up the aisle?"
Creating a whole family out of fractions wasn't without its troubles, but as far as new normals go -- we knew it would take work. That's the problem with most new normals -- like the kind that are ushered in, they stay at the ready, sitting unannounced with the congregation, ready to pop a gnarly leg out into the aisle just in time to trip you up, sending you flying into the baptismal pool, wondering what in the world happened? Where is a towel?
The problem with most new normals is that you don't see it coming. Who knew when mystery viruses were running rampant through some people but not others in the winter that the entire world would be shut down for a virus that originated from bat droppings in the spring? Who knew in January that we couldn't get Easter dresses, haircuts, or even corporately celebrate Christ's Resurrection with our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Who knew that we'd be begging state governors to open our states so we can't go back to work? Who knew that there would be a huge market for hand-sewn masks?
God knew. This "new normal" did not take Him by surprise. Why should it take us by surprise? James 4:13-14 states, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." The point here is that we don't know what tomorrow will bring.
How do we prepare for the unexpected? How should we act during seasons where normalcy is a moving target and our individual and collective worlds have turned topsy-turvy?
Drawing close to God
We deal with situations such as these by drawing close to God, by salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. We work on our relationship with Jesus by surrendering to Him (and Him alone) through reading of the Bible and through prayer to Him (not to Mary, not to any "saint", but to Christ alone -- the Author and Finisher of our faith). Often, in fact, I dare say most of the time, God uses hard, uncertain times to draw us closer to Him. It's relying on God that will help us the most.
We pray for discernment through the Holy Spirit. 1 John 4:1 states, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." Just because government mandates come from national and state capitals doesn't mean they're from God. Pray for discernment to judge acts that are godly from carnal, and especially ask the Holy Spirit to discern almost-right from right.
We need to discern truth from propaganda. Propaganda is defined as "information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc." We need to search for ourselves the truth on where the Covid-19 virus originated, how it originated, and who owns the patents on it. We need to search for ourselves the truth on who will profit most from the virus and any treatments or vaccines surrounding it.
And, most of all, we need to trust that the Holy Spirit will be with us. We must trust in His presence and guidance through uncertain times. To do that, we absolutely must be in the Word and pray.
When I lived at the beach, right before hurricane season started I made sure we stocked our hurricane preparedness kit with bottled water, canned goods with pop-tops, candles, flashlights and batteries, and copies of important papers such as insurance and medical information. All this was done just in case a hurricane came. It was done way before newscasters announced a storm was on its way. We prepared for storms.
Right now, we need to be preparing for something that we don't know what it will look like -- and there is the hard part. Some things we can do is to be aware of our surroundings, be aware of what is happening locally, in our nation, and in the world. We live in incredibly uncertain times--full of economic downturns, unknowns about war and rumors of war, and emptying store shelves.
I don't know about you, but I like to know I can do something to help my family navigate these unchartered waters. This may mean growing our own food in the form of vegetable gardens, planting fruit trees, or raising chickens. It may mean supporting local farmers at farmers markets and roadside produce stands. Learning how to can and put up your own food is a worthwhile endeavor because you know what's in your food--plus you can re-use jars instead of adding cans and packaging to the landfill.
In these days, know that satan loves to make us scared. It's when we're scared that we tend to fret and worry, and when we pray, we take back those prayer requests we've laid at the feet of Jesus. This isn't good. Lay your burden on Jesus -- He can take them -- and draw closer to Him through the Bible and prayer. Prepare for the unexpected, and ask God to bless the work of your hands.
Keep the faith!
(2022) Terrie Bentley McKee ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The season in which I've lived for the last 12 months has been one of pain, prayer, persistence, pandemic, and loss. Yes, there's been a global pandemic (I'm so tired of hearing those words), but there's also been, for me, moving my oldest son (who has autism) into his own apartment in May -- leaving just my youngest, Laura, at home, out of four children.
The last 12 months also saw my mother's increasing weakness and illness and not being able to get her physically into see the doctor for tests because of, you know, the pandemic and lockdowns. Finally, in a hospital emergency department on September 14, we received the devastating news: lung cancer that had spread to her liver. She was released from the hospital and into my care and my home, and over the next two weeks, with my brother at our side and a few of her grandchildren, she went downhill rapidly. The oncologist gave her a week to live, and she almost made that, dying in six days. She went home to be with Jesus on October 1, 2020, at 1:50 a.m. She died in mine and my brother's arms.
I am so weary -- weary of death and all that entails, for death is not the end for the living -- we had to empty her apartment and I'm still dealing with creditors (she was a fan of mail order purchases...) and knowing my mom is no longer answering her phone. Oh how I wish I could call her, hear her voice!
Throw my own ill health into all this -- such as emergency gallbladder surgery the day after Christmas! -- into this, and it really has been a year.
I am weary of all things political and nastiness and unjustice and cheating. I am weary of the uncertain non-normal normal in which we are living.
I pray and read the Word and still am weary, to be honest. Adding to that weariness are well-meaning Christians who say, "Just give it to God! Let go and let God! If you give it to God and still are worried about it, you didn't leave it with Him!"
More than anything, I am weary of bumper-sticker, meme-Christianity. Faith that hasn't seen death. Faith that is so shallow as to be scared to question God. By that I mean, I want a faith so sure of Jesus' love of me that He is not moved or intimidated by me asking Him, "Why?"
God Himself grows tired of His children, bought by His blood, who just goes through the motions with their faith. In Isaiah 1:12-15, we read: “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood."
Battle-weary Christian moms, are you yearning for a deeper faith? Do you plead with God only to not have your prayers answered in the way you ask for them to be answered? Conservative Christians all over the United States, myself included, prayed and begged God regarding politics, yet, the ones we did not want to see in power are now in power. Executive orders have been signed that increases abortion, eradicates jobs, and spits in the face of Jehovah God. Why, God, why?
Perhaps, just perhaps -- God is working, but not the way we would have Him. The Israelites yearned and begged for a king that would dismantle their chains from Roman occupation. God sent His Son, Jesus, Who people thought was the Messiah to free them from political bondage, when in fact, God had other plans. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life," [John 3:16]. He sent His Son Jesus not to throw off Roman rule, but to eradicate the sting of death and the shackles of sin.
God has a bigger purpose than who is in the White House. Maybe, just maybe, God is working to bring calamity to His Church -- so His Church will grow in Him and spread the Gospel. Throughout history, the Church has grown in Christ and in number during times of persecution. Look at the Christian church in China -- persecuted intensely, beaten, imprisoned, killed, have had their buildings destroyed, but the Holy Spirit is unleashed there and the Church is growing exponentially. What if God, through the current political administration, is planning on widespread revival -- revival of which Christian leaders and churches have prayed for years?
So what do we do? We polish our Armor and get to work. As Peter wrote, "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander," [1 Peter 3:14-16, emphasis added].
Perhaps the battle is the point. I have prayed more over the last year than any other year. God, in His desire for us to be more Christlike, will use anything He wants to get us closer to Him. If we are being persecuted or silenced on social media, rejoice! God will use our responses to that to draw us closer to Him and share the Gospel!
Chin up, Christian, for this is not your home! Yet you, if you remain faithful to Christ, will reap peace, a deeper relationship with Jesus, and crowns representing souls saved to throw at His feet. We must have hope in the knowledge that God is in complete control, and nothing takes Him by surprise. Isaiah 40:28 states, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom." Rest in the knowledge that you can sleep, worry-free, because God has the night-shift. And all other shifts.
Do not worry about the political climate, too, because God sees. Galatians 6:7-8 offers this encouragement -- and warning: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."
Battle-weary Christian, eat well. Sleep. Read your Bible and pray. Make friends with like-minded Christians so you can encourage one another. But don't give up, and don't stop praying or reading the Word. That's the battle plan.
(C) 2021 Terrie Bentley McKee ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
John MacArthur was right, and John MacArthur was also very, very wrong.
First, for a renowned pastor such as John MacArthur to participate in a word association during a celebration honoring his 50 years in the ministry is tacky and unprofessional. During this word association, he replied "Go home," in response to the name "Beth Moore." As this was at his 50th anniversary celebration and the facilitator and the audience knew of MacArthur's public dislike of Beth Moore, this was highly inappropriate.
It was also mean, insecure, and didn't certainly didn't meet the Philippians 4:8 litmus test: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things," (ESV).
Another, unidentified man on stage joined in, declaring that Moore, a teacher and author of women's Bible studies, was narcissistic, This coming from the stage of a 50th anniversary celebration honoring John MacArthur, who was sitting right there, is nearly comical. I have personally participated in about 10 of Beth Moore's Bible studies, including one titled "Lit," which is about being a Christian communicator, and can say without hesitation that she does not give any indication through her books or studies that she is narcissistic.
No biblical basis for a woman to preach
However, John MacArthur was right on one point: there is no biblical basis for a woman to preach. The Church hierarchy is reflective of the relationship that she has with Christ. As Christ is head over the Church (His bride), so a preacher must be male to lead his congregation. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:2-5 (ESV) : "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?"
Now, granted, some of these qualifications Paul lists in his letter to Timothy disqualify MacArthur from leading a church based on his comments about Beth Moore, a sister in Christ and teacher of the Word.
Moreover, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:12, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." Women are to teach other women and children, as Paul wrote to Titus. "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God," (Titus 2:3-5 ESV).
What did Jesus do?
While it is ideal for women to be "busy at home," we must also remember that the Proverbs 31 woman was well-thought of as a business woman who nurtured both her work and her family. We must also remember to whom Jesus first appeared after the Resurrection. He appeared to Mary Magdalene, who He had previously cast seven demons from her. He first appeared not to the 11 remaining disciples but to a woman. Jesus called her by name, to which "She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”)" [John 20:16b ESV].
This was a huge deal. Back then, women were no better than cattle. Property. They were not allowed to be taught in the Temple. As she cried out "Rabboni!" did Jesus correct her? No. Of course not. Just like Mary, Martha's sister, who hung on His every word at His feet, Jesus wanted the hearts of women to turn to Him, just like He wanted the hearts of men. Jesus in fact told Mary to go and tell the disciples, who were in hiding, that Jesus was alive.
In the early church, men like Peter and John preached and women supported them --financially and with hospitality-- but the women did not preach. Still, if the women had remained home as John MacArthur had word-associated Beth Moore, the disciples would have lost a key cog in the evangelism machine.
And that right there is John MacArthur's biggest mistake during this whole Beth Moore fiasco. Millions of women all over the world have grown deeper in Christ through her studies. I am one of those. Her love for the Word is infectious. Her love for Jesus and for the women who participate in the studies is tangible. In an age in which feminism, to make a point from the MacArthur video, is marching across the church landscape, we should not be alienating and degrading each other--for the world is watching.
Being a strong, biblical woman of God
How do you become a strong, biblical women of God? You study the Word. Don't just read it. Study it for yourself. Get a set of good commentaries (I like Matthew Henry's) and a good Bible handbook and study. Pray. Serve in your local church in a position that is aligned with your spiritual gifts. Minister to those in need. Realize that your family is your most important mission field and teach your children. Respect your husband.
Being a strong woman of God is not about being a pushover, for there are many abusers in the church who weaponize the biblical concept of "submission." It is about being strong with the strength only Christ can give and filled with the peace that only comes through submitting to His will.
Being a strong man of God means acknowledging that women have unique, God-given gifts that they use to reach other women in order to share Christ's salvation story with them. If women are alienated and disregarded as viable ministers of the Gospel, then all of Jesus' work to include women in His ministry is for nothing.
Peter wrote it best in 1 Peter 2:9. "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." All saved by grace in Christ are ministers, though with different jobs and positions within the Body, to declare His praises.
Petty backbiting and hurtful words, though, hinder the furtherment of the Kingdom here on earth.
(c) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee
The news has been wrought lately with pastors and worship leaders who lose their faith either by adopting beliefs that are not biblical or by questioning God to the point they don't believe, and renounce their faith. What went wrong?
While I do not know the pastors and worship leaders who recently, publicly renounced their faith, I do know this: in the seasons of the busyness of life, when I have allowed my time in the Word to slip, those moments are ripe for the opportunistic satan to work.
The longer my absence from studying the Bible, the deeper my questioning became. The more I felt like God was over there, somewhere, and I was over here. The longer I spent inventing a god of my own beliefs, instead of knowing The One and True God, YHWH of the Bible, the further down I went into a pit of unbelief.
A common thread between the pastors and worship leaders was questioning God, which, in itself is not a bad thing. Job, Habakkuk, even Abraham questioned God. The difference stems from where one receives the answers: do you receive the answers by digging into the Bible, or by asking unsaved friends and looking to the world for its version of the truth?
The pastors and worship leaders who have renounced their faith looked for answers in society, in social justice movements that are contrary to God's character and steeped in sin. When you chase after your own version of Christianity, you create an idol of your own making. We are not to worship ourselves, but to worship God, made known through His Son, Jesus Christ.
There were a couple of questions that threw the pastors/leaders. One was "how can a loving God send people to hell?" If the worship leader had dived into the Word, studied it, and accepted it, he would have read that God gave His only Son as a sacrifice so that all might be saved. First Timothy 2:3-6 states, " This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time." Second Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
You see, God is loving. He does not want or wish people to hell. However, He created hell for two purposes: to punish satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41) and to cast those who are "ungodly," or have not accepted Christ as Savior. Romans 10:9-10 state, " If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
Only those who accept what Christ did on the cross (removal of sin) and raised from the grave (resurrection), believing Him to be Lord, will not go to hell.
It's like this: I love my children. I'd give my life for them. But when they don't listen to me, when they disobey, they are disciplined. They are punished and the punishment is equal to the offense. I personally hate punishing them, but I do it to discipline them, so they will learn that when they grow up and are on their own, there are serious consequences to their actions. Not paying their power bills means their electricity will be turned off. Not accepting the free gift of salvation, that is found only in Christ Jesus, means they will spend eternity in hell. God doesn't want to send people there, that's why He sent Jesus.
Another pastor started believing the liberal notion that homosexuality is normal and to be celebrated. God does not celebrate sin. God does not tolerate sin. Homosexuality is a grave, serious offense to God and this pastor turned his back on Christ and biblical teachings to follow the way of Baal.
Culture of Cool Christianity
A few years ago it seemed like the people rebelling were the ones who decided they were Christian. Worship services became grand spectacles that resembled concerts more than church. Don't get me wrong: I do love drums and guitars in church. But Christians need to preach and practice lives of reverence and humility regarding the things of God--not to participate in a culture of cool Christianity.
The culture of cool Christianity puts speakers, singers, bands, and people on pedestals. They become influencers on a myriad of topics, when Christians need to be influenced not by mortal men but by the immortal, living Word of God.
Scripture says that in the last days, there will be a falling-away (2 Thessalonions 2:3, and it will get much worse before Christ returns. But what can you do to ensure your faith is strong?
First, believe in God, through Jesus Christ. Read and study the Bible. Pray that God will guide you in your study and increase your faith. Do not listen to "faith leaders" who have teachings contrary to the Bible. As Peter wrote in his second eponymous letter, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping," (2 Peter 2:1-3, emphasis added).
Christians, there will be a time in the not-too-distant future where we will be questioned about our beliefs. We will be asked if we believe that God created just two genders. We will be asked our beliefs on homosexuality. We may serve time in prison for biblical beliefs. We need to remember that losing the battle on earth means gaining in heaven, and never deny our Savior. We must study the Word of God and teach the Bible to our children.
The great falling-away has started, and things are about to get real, really fast. God is strong; is your faith in Him equal to the task?
(C) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
On November 28, 2015, my husband was shot and paralyzed at a North Carolina rest area by two gang members. On that day, our lives not only changed forever, but we entered into a small fraternity not of our choosing: shooting victims.
Even though I wasn't the one paralyzed from the waist down, I still count myself as a victim, with documented PTSD and anxiety from the shooting. Seeing my husband struggle to sleep at night, his face wincing in pain from unrelenting damaged nerves, and incredibly humiliating care routines have given me a decidedly poignant viewpoint on the debate of gun control.
The book about the shooting, I've Been Shot! Encountering Christ in Trauma, is available here.
Or knife control. Or aircraft control. Rocks, even. Pillows. Poison. Bathtubs. There's not just one type of weapon, you know. Guns are just one type of tool someone can use to take the life of another.
The gang member who shot my husband had been out of state prison less than six weeks. As a convicted felon, there was no way he would have passed a background check to buy a gun. Do you really think he even tried? No. Laws only work for people who abide them -- or find a way around them. The shooter asked a fellow gang member for a gun, and that dude handed over a .380. Did the shooter's friend ask him what his plans were for the gun? Did he ask him to give his fingerprints or submit to a mental health assessment? No.
Recently, the news has been wrought with stories about people who submit to background checks, pass them, then enter stores, churches, bars, or festivals with one thing on their minds: To shoot, harm, and kill. To cause mayhem and paranoia. To get their 15 minutes of fame on the news and social media. We then hear politicians of all parties demand tighter gun control, blame each other, blame the gun shop owners, blame video games, and blame the media.
What about blaming the shooter?
Should the many law-abiding gun owners lose their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms because of a few people who knew how to manipulate the system to kill? This shooting victim says no.
You see, guns are tools. My husband's spinal cord could have easily had been severed by a knife in that restroom. Dozens of people are killed each year not by guns but by knives and other things -- cars driven by distracted drivers, even. It's not a gun issue.
It's a heart issue. It's a sanctity of life issue. Those same Democrats, who rail against shooters who kill and harm tens of people, willingly and gleefully support organizations that kill millions of babies each year. Those same liberals who scream for more mental health assessments for gun control fight to tell little boys and little girls that they can choose their gender, which is paramount to causing mental health issues in those same children.
Do we have a problem in this country with violence? Absolutely. Will stricter gun control laws solve the problem? No. Here's why:
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This means that people can keep and bear guns to protect themselves from a tyrannical government, should the government disband their rights as outlined in the Constitution. Gun control laws exist in this country to prevent people owning guns who have lost the right to do so: convicted felons, namely (although this only works if a convicted felon is stupid enough to try to purchase a gun at a legitimate gun shop). Gun control laws exist for the lawful registration of guns, and they should be registered.
We should have mandatory gun safety classes before owning guns (or documented classes before buying a gun). We should have a mental health assessment as part of the gun registration / control process. The registration process should include school behavior issues. But should guns be outlawed? No. Chicago has the strictest gun control laws in the country, and look at their shooting/murder rate. It's astronomical!
No one except the person (and those in cooperation with him or her) pulling the trigger are responsible for shootings. Not even the President, or his rhetoric. We have a heart issue in this country -- we as a nation have no respect for life, and taking responsibility for one's own actions is a myth. In order to stop shootings and killings, we need to value life: the aging, the disabled, the pre-born, the newborn, women, men. All skin tones. No exceptions.
And we absolutely must get it out of our collective head that God made mistakes when He created male and female.
We don't value life in this country until it's a headline on the 6 o'clock news. We don't have a gun issue in this country. We have a problem that stems far deeper: the fact that Christ's Church has compromised herself, and lost all power within the Holy Spirit. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord, ask forgiveness, and repent. We (the Church) need to stand for the unborn, for children, for the aging, for the disabled, and stop thinking that we don't need to do something because Jesus is coming.
Jesus is coming again. But until then, let's don the armor of God and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and stand up for life. From this shooting victim's perspective, it's time we stop causing a culture in which life is valued so little and self-responsibility is non-existent.
(C) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
Lately, I've been reading posts in social media homeschooling groups in which parents lament that their ideal of homeschool isn't what they thought it would be. Of course it's not.
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One very reason to homeschool is to spearhead our children's learning in such a way that they can think for themselves, and to protect their fragile minds from agenda-based education. Yet, when you're first starting out, the temptation is there to replicate school in the home--but there is one huge problem with that: Homeschool is not school-at-home.
The parents on the social media groups are concerned because their kindergartner isn't reading yet, or their second grader hates math word problems and refuses to do them.
Moms and dads, please listen: give yourself grace. Give your child grace. Homeschool is not a sprint but a marathon that doesn't end after high school or even college. One great goal of homeschool is to instill a life-long love of learning into children that will grow when they're adults. But to get to that point, we need to instill more joy and eliminate frustration within homeschool, today.
Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget postulated that "how children and youth gradually become able to think logically and scientifically," and this information is invaluable for us homeschoolers to remember about our children. Piaget taught that children in the "preoperational stage" of ages two to seven have the ability to represent objects, but they don't have the ability to do so in organized or logical ways. They learn through dramatic and imaginative play.
Kindergarten Take-away: Teach the alphabet, numbers 0-9, shapes, and colors. Play games (including simple board games) with the child. Read to the child every single day. No screen time. Concentrate on learning -- not grades.
First Grade Take-away: Move to teaching sight words (no more than 5 a week). Teach numbers 10-20. Continue playing the same games as before but introduce more difficult ones. Read to the child every single day, using a finger to guide the reading, word-by-word. Limited screen time (only educational shows). Concentrate on learning -- not grades.
Children are sponges, and they will absorb information (good and bad). Given the right environment, without being overwhelmed with information, they will develop the cognitive ability to process higher levels of thinking and learning.
Second Grade Take-away: Continue teaching sight words (10 a week). Introduce one-digit addition, followed by one-digit subtraction, using both visuals (apples minus apples) and numbers. Read to the child, encouraging the child to read along with you. Help the child foster independent reading with you. If you must grade, do so using letter grades.
Third Grade Take-away: Many states require homeschoolers to start standardized testing and/or saving of school work as a portfolio, in the third grade. Use a third grade spelling curriculum (my daughter and I like this one) but if your child doesn't do well with the book's lessons at first, use the spelling lists and do your own thing (click here for ideas!). Use a math curriculum that builds on itself logically (division follows multiplication; subtraction of two digits follow addition of two digits). Laura and I found our math book at a curriculum sale, but it's available here, as well. We really like it. It is not a workbook -- it's a hard cover book and Laura writes problems out in spiral-bound notebooks and shows her work. By the third grade, it's highly important to link thinking with writing, and writing out math problems (as opposed to only doing worksheets). Introduce simple science, too. What I do is go on my state's department of public instruction's website, and download the science standards for third grade. This gives me some idea of what to teach, but the way I teach it is up to me. I utilize science center field trips, appropriate YouTube videos, worksheets, and library books to teach science. I also introduce history in a very simple way.
As a child grows in knowledge and the ability to access that knowledge to draw conclusions, they move into what Piaget called the "concrete operational" stage (ages 7-11). This is when math word problems should be introduced, as the child has both the knowledge of math systems (numbers and operations), the reading skills, and the wisdom to discern what the word problem is asking, to answer the question.
Parents, if you teach learning to your child, on the child's developmental level (never mind what "grade" the child should be in if he was in public school), the child will learn. If you teach joyfully, your child will love to learn. Please have grace with yourself, Breathe! On the next beautiful day, take your child to the park and play with her. Relax, and plan to succeed in homeschooling your precious children.
Love in Christ,
(C) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
Abortion. Infanticide. The homosexual agenda. Sex trafficking. The Church responds with "amens" and clapping when preaching-the-Word pastors call out these issues but after the service is over, what does the Church do?
We're become complacent. We've heard liberals shouting Scripture verses at us, out of context, and lost our voice. The conservative, evangelical, Christian voice that was integral in getting President Trump elected has decided to hunker down and wait for the Rapture.
Meanwhile, there are innocent, pre-born babies screaming, unheard, as they are aborted while being born. Why? Because the mother decided in labor that she was overwhelmed about parenting -- and she and a doctor determined that for her "mental health," it would be better to slit the baby's spinal column or inject poison into the baby's skull to 'abort' it. "Abort" is a non-emotional word for "murder."
Listen, Church: the world is going to do what the world is going to do. We can witness to it, share the Gospel with it, and post Christian memes all day long. The problem, therefore, is not the world---but the Church. There are entire denominations that say they belong to God but their organizational leadership support abortion, the LGBT lifestyle (even going so far as to ordain active homosexuals to preach and performing homosexual "marriages"), and preach social justice instead of the Word of God.
We should not be surprised at this, though, for God's Word said this would happen. "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed." [2 Peter 2:1-2].
The problem is that Bible-believing, Word-preaching, conservative churches have lost their first love: Jesus, and, not knowing the Word themselves, have been quieted when liberals shout, "The Bible says 'don't judge'!" So we don't speak out. We continue discussions in church leadership meetings about which VBS program to have or the color of the carpet in the lobby, instead of harnessing the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave us. Jesus said in Matthew 23:23, "“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others." We're so focused on the little things that mean nothing in the kingdom, then speaking up for children.
Children are being slaughtered by the millions -- the Church shares memes
Children are being influenced in libraries by transexuals -- I know of one blogger against this
Children are encouraged to not accept the way they were born and become the opposite sex. People scream about not vaccinating their children but they're willing to give a boy estrogen to grow breasts to become a girl
The Church has lost her first love. We need revival in the Church. Revival means that something that was once alive is made alive again. We need revival in the Church -- to come back to our first love, Jesus, and make a stand for Him. Will we lose friends? Yes. Will we lose followers on social media? Yes. Will we be persecuted? Yes. Will we need to be ready to really minister to the lost and broken? Yes. Will it be worth it? Yes. Anytime we draw closer to Christ it is worth it.
The Bible says, "...If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." [2 Chronicles 7:14]. We, the Church, are the "people" who are called by Jesus' Name. We must pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways of not allowing children to come to Him, of standing idly by while millions of babies are sacrificed in abortion to the god of convenience. We are guilty of the sin of doing nothing. "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin," [James 4:17].
This blog, Near Your Altar, serves to encourage Christians to draw closer to Jesus Christ in every aspects of life. Therefore, I am calling for a Nationwide Call for Revival, based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, on Sunday, July 14, 2019.
Bloggers are asked to join with me in this nationwide movement by sharing social media posts, writing blog posts, and calling for revival of followers of Christ and churches throughout the United States. Pastors are also asked to join in this movement by preaching on 2 Chronicles 7:14 on July 14, and encouraging altar calls for repentance and a renewing of faith in Jesus. Christians throughout the United States are asked to pray for revival.
Resources are for the Nationwide Call for Revival can be found here.
Won't you dress yourself in the Armor of God and join in this Call for Revival? Our children, our faith, our church, and our country are at stake.
In His Name,
(c) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
The question is not, Why us? The question is, Why not us? Why do bad things happen to good people? The short answer is this: sin.
This post is an excerpt from Terrie McKee's book I've Been Shot! Encountering Christ in Trauma, available here. The book details the attempted armed robbery which left her husband Greg paralyzed and its aftermath -- and how Christ worked in and through that tragedy.
When Eve made the choice to listen to satan instead of God in the Garden of Eden, she not only brought damnation upon herself and her husband, who was standing right there and did not stop her, but also all their descendants and even Creation itself. God told Adam:
“Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return,” [Genesis 3:17-19 NIV].
Before sin appeared on the Earth, there were no weeds, briars, or thorns. Sin brought these dastardly hurtful things on the planet. No longer would the Lord God walk with his children in the cool of the Garden, talking and in perfect fellowship.
Committing that first sin was as much a choice as Darren had when he pulled the trigger.
Because of Darren and Terrell’s choice, Greg is paralyzed. Another way: Because of Darren’s sin, Greg is paralyzed. All sins affect others–even the ones done in shadow and mystery. Just as Adam and Eve’s sin affected all of humanity, Darren and Terrell’s sin affected us, causing Greg to be paralyzed. All of us experienced ramifications of that terrible night.
Now, some might ask, where was God? Don’t we often hear that from nonbelievers during times of trauma and tragedy? Asking that question shows not only a lack of faith but also a lack of knowledge about the character of God.
God placed the bullet square in the L1 vertebrae, making Greg paralyzed but not killing him. He allowed or even led that man to spit in the water fountain, causing the custodian to clean it with bleach water, which gave a perfect canvas upon which Terrell left two perfect latent fingerprints.
Where was God? Scripture says that He “hem(s) me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me,” [Psalm 139:5 NIV]. As we were shuffling boxes around the morning of November 28, God was already moving. As we were waving goodbye, God was putting into place the detectives, the troopers, even the custodian–setting the stage with all the players He wanted in this drama. He went before us and came up behind us.
As I was driving down I-85 to the hospital, seeing a sea of red lights ahead of me, it was Jesus who heard my heartfelt and desperate prayers to “split the Red Sea again.” With my hazard lights blinking and horn blaring, Jesus moved the cars in front of me and allowed me to drive right down the middle line between the cars. It’s all Jesus. He is sovereign.
Sovereignty means God rules all. We may think we have it all figured out, and we’re in charge, but we aren’t in charge of anything. We shake our fists heavenward and say, “When I get to heaven, I will ask God __________________.”
I love what God said to Job. “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” [Job 38:1-3].
It did no good to demand an answer for the shooting from God. Did God allow it? No, and yes. While Greg getting shot was the natural consequence of sin, God has bigger plans for Greg and everyone affected through the shooting.
Luke 8:2 states that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. Why had seven demons possessed her? We have no idea why seven demons took control of her mind, when one would have done the trick. What horror she had to have experienced! What possible good could have come out of demon possession seven-fold?
When Jesus cast them out, Mary Magdalene, in her right mind and freed of the torment she had suffered, became a staunch supporter and disciple of her Lord. In fact, the five times in Scripture she is not named within a group of other female disciples, she is a leading lady in the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. In fact, it is Mary Magdalene who, after experiencing the risen Savior, runs to tell the other disciples that the tomb was empty. Glory!
As seven in biblical terms means “completeness,” perhaps Mary was possessed by so many demons to illustrate that she was completely overwrought with sin and wickedness. With Christ’s healing, the seven demons drive home the point that only Jesus could completely and permanently heal her. No one else. Only a complete healing from the One Savior could completely eradicate wickedness. After the change of management, she had a purpose and mission drastically different than her life before: to share her Savior with others.
Greg was shot in a senseless crime, but Jesus has a higher purpose than for Greg to be a statistic. Before the shooting, he was wrestling with depression and weight gain. He didn’t have an understanding of what the Lord had in store for him. But God did.
The Bible says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV). Verse 11 is often quoted but verse 12 is just as powerful. When bad things happen, we need to look at them as plans that the Lord has put in our path, not to harm us, but to draw us closer to Him. When we call on Him, He is faithful and just, and will listen to us.
This is a hard concept, especially for people who have had loved ones die in shootings, bombings, terrorist activities, and car accidents. This is a hard concept for parents who are holding lifeless little ones, or children who have been hurt. As followers of Christ, we must have the faith that our Lord is Lord in the good times and in the bad.
Some people might ask, why didn’t God stop the shooting? Greg is alive, isn’t he? Had that bullet traveled one-quarter of an inch in any direction, he would not be here today. The bullet was fired from less than three feet away—the detective called it a “kill shot.” But God is sovereign. He did not want Greg dead. He wanted to use Greg because of the shooting to minister to others.
This is a hard thing to understand, but just perhaps, we are not meant to understand it. Some things are too hard for us to grasp, and we cannot imagine a sovereign God who would allow such wickedness. Listen: when sin entered the world, everything changed. Ramifications of sin meant that all would pay the consequences. This is little hope in the unnatural act of a parent burying a child, but just as much as we cry, Jesus cries too.
Jesus cries because He knows what started all this mess in the first place: rebellion against His sovereignty in the Garden of Eden. He cries when His children—you and I—experience the ramifications of sins like murder, bullying, pornography addictions, and drunkenness.
Jacob, when he was little, rebelled right after his dad and I divorced. He started shoplifting. After discovering a little stuffed bear in his room that I didn’t recognize, I questioned him about it. The truth came out: he shoplifted the bear from a restaurant that had a gift shop. He and I drove to the restaurant, where I asked for the manager and made Jacob tell what he had done. I then made Jacob pay for the bear, and we walked out with it. He was told that despite money eventually being exchanged for the bear, he could not have it. I had him throw it in a trashcan at the restaurant. Jacob’s sin of stealing meant the bear went into the trash and he lost a stuffed animal. There were ramifications that occurred.
Where was God the night of the shooting? Jesus prevented Greg from passing out as he looked inches away into a pool of his own blood, enabling him to give the trooper detailed descriptions of the suspects. He delivered strength to me to keep Jacob from going after those men, who would have hurt or killed him. He provided someone to comfort Laura when I had to be helping Greg and talking with police. Jesus was there in every God-ordered step. No, Jesus did not prevent the shooting, but He did something even more powerful: He demonstrated His incredible grace to us.
Grace is giving a gift to someone who doesn’t deserve it. We did not deserve Jesus’ power, presence, and peace that night, but He gave it to us anyway, knowing that we needed it. Because of that grace shown to us, we must extend that same grace to other undeserving people, namely, Darren, Terrell, and Keyona.
Greg dealt (and is dealing) with the ramifications of Darren and Terrell’s sin of shooting him, however—in God’s sovereignty, this was part of a bigger plan that He had for us all. We had to go through the desert to get to the promised land—and we had to trust Jesus that the promised land was on the other side of the desert though we could not see it over the towering mountains that lay before us.
Romans 8:28 (NIV) states: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
This passage can be an extraordinarily hard one to understand, given the pain that life can bring. We don’t want to think of our God as being Someone who orchestrates hardship upon our lives. That’s not what this powerful verse is sharing. “We know that in all things.” Even in life’s deepest hurts, even when it involves someone being paralyzed or killed, in all things, God is moving. He is in the background and the foreground, working things out for the good of those who love Him.
This may mean that He works in us and gives us a choice: to retreat in our misery and become bitter, which hurts our health more; or to reach out for Him, extend forgiveness, and move forward with our lives—whatever that entails.
Terrie McKee's book I've Been Shot! Encountering Christ in Trauma is available on her author website, at Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC; The Book Lady in Monroe, NC; and at Pages Books and Coffee in Mt. Airy, NC. To book Terrie to speak about Christ's power, presence, and peace in trauma, simply email her here.
(c) 2019 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
Christianity and America are under assault. They are not being attacked from an outside force such as another country, but from within. Who’s behind this assault? The LGBT movement.
This is not some fly-by-night, make-it-up-as-we-go movement. This is a highly orchestrated, psychological, marketing-oriented, intentional drive to change the narrative about homosexuality, sin, and even God.
In 1988, outside of Washington, DC, a group of nearly 200 influential homosexual activists from across the country met to strategize about the AIDS epidemic and “to combat” what their leaders said was “growing homophobia in America.” In an archived news article, Vic Basile, the then-executive director of the Human Rights Campaign (a Washington-based political action committee), called it “the most expansive national gathering of gay rights leaders since AIDS became an epidemic.”
This meeting, which was dubbed the “War Conference,” had a number of topics pre-planned to discuss, such as AIDS, civil rights of homosexuals, and “some type of strategy on how we can get the community organized nationally,” said Basile. In the article, released prior to the conference in 1988, Basile posed this question regarding one of the topics that would be discussed: “How do we get affirmative, progressive kinds of public health measures passed?”
So what happened during this conference? What did the homosexual activists accomplish? Participants assessed strengths and weaknesses to “build the strong national force” and considered “a wide range of strategies” to build their movement “and defeat our enemies,” according to the “Final Statement of the War Conference,” a summary statement issued by the attendees on February 28, 1988.
While participants acknowledged their lack of adequate financial backing, they also recognized their numbers, writing, “gay and lesbian activists…are but a tiny minority of our community,” and that “many cities lack an organized gay and lesbian presence.” To combat this, they wrote that they “must do a better job of encouraging people to come out of the closet,” citing the “exhilarating liberation” of the process of coming out. From today’s standard, they succeeded in those War Conference goals.
From the beginning, the homosexual movement was a political one, as participants at the War Conference declared, “We must acknowledge the desperate need to build the political consciousness and effectiveness of our community. We must better reward our friends and punish our enemies.” The movement also wanted to target youth, stating, “We must recognize our special obligation to gay and lesbian youth…We should support our youth programs and work to devise better ways of reaching this isolated segment of our community.”
Among other priorities, conference attendees placed the media in their bullseye, recommending “a nation-wide media campaign to promote a positive image of gays and lesbians…We must consider the media in every project we undertake. We must, in addition, take every advantage we can to include public service announcements and paid advertisements, and to cultivate reporters and editors of newspapers, radio, and television… Our media efforts are fundamental to the full acceptance of us in American life. But they are also a way for us to increase the funding of our movement…”
If the War Conference launched a new narrative in the homosexual movement, the ground-breaking, bold “The Overhauling of Straight America,” an article that originally ran in Guide magazine, was the launch pad. In this piece, homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill wrote a number of how-to strategies for the movement. This article, published in 1987, stated that introducing homosexuality in the form of sitcoms, movies, news, political candidates, etc would ease Americans into gradually accepting the lifestyle. “The principle behind this advice is simple: almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it at close quarters and among your acquaintances…” wrote Kirk and Pill.
Acknowledging that most Americans would be disgusted by details of homosexual sex, Kirk and Pill strongly suggested that physical aspects of homosexuality be downplayed in the media at first, and to play upon the “protector” role so many patriotic Americans have had in the past. To do this, they suggested that instead of “homosexual,” the phrase “gay rights” should be used. The concept of “gay rights” bounces off “civil rights” and “women’s rights” – ideas that most Americans in the 1990s would agree with.
This meant that gays would be cast, at first, in a victim role within the media. “In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector,” wrote Kirk and Pill.
The protector role, displayed though many media channels, was promoted to sway straight America that gays needed their help with social justice and civil rights. In one commercial they outlined in the article for “vilification of victimizers,” Kirk and Pill wrote, “We have already indicated some of the images which might be damaging to the homophobic vendetta: ranting and hateful religious extremists neo-Nazis….These images should be combined with those of their gay victims by a method propagandists call the ‘bracket technique.’ For example, for a few seconds an unctuous beady-eyed Southern preacher is seen pounding the pulpit in rage about ‘those sick, abominable creatures.’ While his tirade continues over the soundtrack, the picture switches to pathetic photos of gays who look decent, harmless, and likable; and then we cut back to the poisonous face of the preacher, and so forth. The contrast speaks for itself. The effect is devastating…It would portray gays as innocent and vulnerable, victimized and misunderstood, surprisingly numerous, yet not menacing.”
The point about the Southern preacher ad is this: it did not matter to the expert-level psychological marketing people within the homosexual movement that what they were peddling was a made-up storyboard lie. It mattered that the perception of it triggered an emotional response in its viewers that stirred up a false sense of empathy for homosexuals and hatred for the image of the Southern preacher. At the same time the homosexuals were intentionally placing ads and networking with media executives about not using stereotypical images of homosexuals, they insisted on promoting the stereotypical image of a backwoods preacher who was Southern. That is called hypocrisy and vilification, which means “to speak ill of, defame, slander, to make vile,” according to dictionary.com.
The “vilification” of Christians took off in 1998 when a young man named Matthew Shepherd was horrifically brutalized and killed. Using the media as their vehicle, “homosexuals lobbied to lay the blame at the feet of conservative Christians for having created a ‘climate of anti-gay hate,’” stated an article titled “Messing With Your Mind: The Gay-ing of America” – even though an investigation discovered that Shepherd was targeted in a robbery and not for his homosexuality. This “propaganda” that was fed to the media by the homosexual movement “laid the foundation for ‘Christian racism’ against homosexuals,” according to the article.
Did you catch that? Even though the truth was something totally irrelevant, the foundation was laid for open warfare against Christians and the Church. The foundation was a lie.
Targeting the Church
By 1989, Kirk and Hunter Madsen had expanded Kirk and Pill’s 1987 article into a guidebook of sorts for the grassroots marketing of the homosexual movement. Using tactics from After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ‘90s and catapulting off the Shepherd murder, the movement changed its victim narrative to directly challenge beliefs held by most, if not all, churches in the 1990s.
By vilifying Christianity by victimizing themselves, stating they couldn’t help being gay because they were “born that way.” Kirk and Madsen wrote, “to suggest in public that homosexuality might be chosen is to open a can of worms labeled moral choices and sin and give the religious intransigents a stick to beat us with. Straights must be taught that it is as natural for some people to be homosexual as it is for others to be heterosexual: wickedness and seduction have nothing to do with it.”
Despite years having passed since After the Ball was published, one thing remains the same: wickedness has everything to do with it. America has been seduced into thinking homosexuality is just not acceptable but approved and condoned. Worse, many church denominations who identify as Christian confuse the situation by encouraging the wickedness by ordaining homosexual ministers, lobbying for gay rights, and “affirming” the LGBT movement. The choice of the word “affirm” is interesting: on dictionary.com, it means “to state or maintain positively; maintain as true.” Those affirming ministers are approved by the movement while Truth-speaking pastors are accused of hate.
Progress. The word gives a mental image of forward motion, not standing still, checking off a to-do list. All positive images. Like the word affirm, that is what makes the psychology of the homosexual movement so insidious: taking positive words and twisting them to mean something totally different.
Progressive churches, to the gay movement, not only accept homosexuality but condone it. They don’t equate homosexuality with sin and believe God is fine with it. Several major denominations “affirm” the LGBT lifestyle, including the Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church (US), and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, among many other denominations and individual congregations.
Listen, God is not fine with it. The Word of God is crystal-clear on the subject: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them,” Romans 1:26-32, emphasis added.
What is particularly heinous is “affirming” denominations who are, in actuality, false teachers who are offering thirsty people the poison of homosexuality. “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep,” 2 Peter 2-3.
The false teachers that fall behind their father, satan, who the Bible says masquerades as “an angel of light,” is leading people on a fast track straight to hell with the lies they spew in pulpits. Listen: there is nothing holy or right or pure or natural about homosexuality. Nothing.
The homosexual movement has duped America into thinking if you do not support or encourage the homosexual lifestyle, you are filled with hate.
Masters of marketing, they have taken the word “love” and twisted it to mean something vile and evil. Just as satan in the Garden of Eden with Eve and in the Wilderness with Jesus twisted words and meanings, the homosexual movement has traded truth for lies and natural for unnatural—and expects the rest of us to nod along complacently. The father of lies, satan, is behind all of this.
For the most part, the capital-C Church has been complacent—and way too quiet, which is what the LGBT power players want. As long as the Church is quiet, the gay movement controls the narrative, and like satan, they are keen to twist Scriptures and throw “don’t judge” and “love your neighbor” around to shut the mouths of Christians.
As long as the homosexual movement can shut Christians up, they paint the picture: about God, His position on homosexuality as it is written in the Bible, perceptions about the Church, and Christians. It is time for the Church to pray it out, study the Word, and armor up (Ephesians 6:1-18) and be outspoken with the Truth. Unbelievers may not respond to the Gospel, you see, but the Holy Spirit oversees the listening. We are commissioned to share it—and for the love of people who do listen, we should protect it.
© 2018 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
I had had enough of my left foot hurting. What my primary care physician thought was an ordinary bunion, turned out to be a ball of arthritic calcium encasing a nerve on the first major joint of my big toe. It hurt. A lot. Walking, standing, even having a blanket on it at night were excruciating. Surgery was scheduled: the podiatrist would carefully chisel the arthritis ball away, freeing the nerve, then immobilize the joint by screwing a plate over it, into the toe bones.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
It was routine, she said; she does thousands of these surgeries a year. I signed the consent forms, had the bloodwork, washed my foot the day of surgery, and headed to the same-day surgery center at my local hospital with my dear mother-in-love, Barbara. My husband, out of vacation and sick time, would be at work. No worries, I had said; this is routine surgery, in-and-out in four hours. I made my nest in my recliner, as I had researched "foot surgery" on Pinterest, and that seemed to be the thing to do: have books and the TV remote nearby for serious foot-healing couch-potato'ing.
At the hospital, I dressed in the gown and put the surgery cap on along with the anti-slip socks. I was ready to start the journey to a non-hurting foot. I was even looking forward to the surgery itself: a good nap would do me good, I thought, chuckling to myself. The IV was administered, hugs exchanged with Barbara, and I was whisked off to the operating room.
My doctor was in a good mood, as were the techs and nurses. It was a busy day for surgeries, and things were on schedule. I was taken from the flight deck to the OR itself, where I looked up at the lights. It seemed like they were made up of hundreds of sparkling, shining diamonds. Someone said, "OK, time for a nap," and I felt the sedation meds hit my arm through the IV.
Everything went wrong
I don't remember much after that. I remember my mother-in-law's voice calling my name, her voice urgent and loud. Between her voice and waking up in the intensive care unit 24 hours later, I don't remember anything.
When I had left the OR to the recovery room, my doctor checked on me and I was doing well. A mere fifteen minutes after that, according to Barbara and medical staff, my right hand started twitching (it was at this point Barbara had started calling my name). I launched into full-blown grand mal seizures. Not one, or two, but five, over several minutes. It took all the anti-seizure meds in the same-day surgery recovery to stop it.
My left lung collapsed. I was in respiratory distress. I coded.
I was resuscitated and intubated: a tube was put down my throat so a machine could breathe for me, and given drugs to put me in a medically-induced coma as I tried to yank the tube out of my throat when they tried to get me to wake up. Barbara tells me that I had all manner of wires and tubes in and out of me. Tests were run: CT scans, EEG brain scans, X-rays, blood work.
The only thing they could narrow the cause to was that I am in an elite group: in the small, tiny percentage of people (less than 1%) allergic to the sedation drug propofol, which is commonly given in surgeries, especially "twilight sedation," which I had had with my foot. Normally, with the previous eight surgeries I had had, I was under general anesthesia. The foot surgery was the first (and last) twilight sedated surgery I've had. It was the only time I've had propofol.
It's the drug that killed Michael Jackson.
The next day, memories are sketchy and run together. I remember waking up to my church's worship pastor, Bruce, standing beside the hospital bed and saying, "Hi, Terrie!" as I was waking up. I remember asking him what had happened, and where was Greg, my husband.
I remember my son and his girlfriend visiting me, and Jacob's green eyes six inches from my brown, looking intently at me. I remember my mother coming, and kissing me, and Barbara seemed to be ever at my side. I remember Greg in his wheelchair holding my hand. I was in the intensive care unit for two whole days, drifting in and out of sleep, before moving to a regular room.
Family members and medical staff started giving me patchwork-quilt descriptions of the nightmare surgical recovery. My throat hurt, and my chest hurt, and I seemed to itch all over. It was the propofol getting out of my system.
I had experienced the "rare" variety of side effects from a routine sedation drug. The seizures, decreased lung function, trouble breathing, itchiness, and drowsiness, and inflamed veins were all related to a life threatening allergic reaction. All the tests came back negative for epilepsy (a chronic seizure disorder) or head trauma, so doctors determined it had to have been this routine, every-day sedation drug that killed me.
Jesus has a plan. I know full well that the moment things went south for me, Barbara was praying and upon her relaying the news to Greg, he was praying. Prayer warriors from all over lifted holy hands in prayer, and God heard them. Jesus has a plan.
A routine, normal surgery that's performed thousands of times of year turned deadly. Laying in the regular hospital room, I thought about this. We go through life swimming along, doing all the things, and our Christian walk becomes routine. We read the Bible and go to church. How much of this is routine, and how much of it is fueled by sheer passion to know Jesus on a deeper, more intimate level?
Once saved, we're saved--but how much more abundant and powerful could our walk and witness be, if they weren't "routine"?
(C) 2018 Terrie Bentley McKee All Rights Reserved
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