Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where is Our Nation Headed?

The following is a well-written piece penned by our dear friend Pastor Ken Gooch who resides in West Virginia with his sweet wife, Penny.   It will take a little while to read and ponder, but I believe worth the time and effort to do so.  I pray it moves you in heart, mind and soul as much as it has me.   I pray that together we can and will effect a change in our nation for the better and stake out a road leading back to our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Please, the hour is at hand.

Dear Friends and Family,

Years ago our family was traumatized by the death of a teacher who was murdered in her car outside of Dozier Middle School where my children attended. Since that time, these type of heinous events have multiplied and the magnitude of their scope also. Some years later, our family was impacted once again by the Virginia Tech shooting as one of our sons high school friends was in the building when the tragic shootings there occurred. All of this grieves me to the very depth of my soul. But no one is looking at the real problem. no one is focusing on the real cause!

Before we have even had time to grasp the scope of this terrible tragedy, the Democrats and the liberal media have begun politicizing this event in order to strip us of another Constitutional right. You see friends, the problem we face that has led once again to such a heinous event, is not the guns... the solution is not banning guns. The problem is in the hands that hold and use the guns. There is no way to predict or to protect from such a random act of violence. No amount of police patrol, security guards or procedures can stop these acts. The Principle at Sandy Hook Elementary School had just installed a new security system and the school doors were locked each day after students arrived. The gunman shot through the locks. So much for security. The media and many foolish leaders are saying that we must remove guns from law abiding citizens so that only law enforcement have them. I can tell you as a former police officer that I never took a legal gun off of any criminal, they were always stolen or unregistered weapons that I recovered. Besides, it took law enforcement 20 minutes to respond to this event. One trained administrator or teacher could have dramatically changed the events of  December the 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Removing guns from the hands of law abiding citizens will guarantee the supremacy of criminals and assure that deranged persons like the man that did this have the upper hand. Rather than removing guns from the hands of law abiding citizens, we should equip and train them with guns, especially those to whom we entrust the care of our most vulnerable citizens, our children and the elderly. We have forgotten what our greatest President George Washington very wisely said, "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil Interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.... Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth. G. Washington" Many would not want to consider this truth, but had the principle, assistant principle or school psychologist or someone in the administration, or even the teacher in the first room the gunmen entered been licensed to carry a concealed weapon and trained to use it effectively, though a few may have lost their life that day, the massacre that occurred would have been thwarted!

The REAL problem is that for 25 to 30 years now we have systematically removed God and the Bible, the 10 Commandments and every symbol of true Biblical Christianity and with this, the moral and ethical framework that this provides for every aspect of our culture. Our founders understood that the structures of our government depended strongly on men and women whose lives were shaped by the truths and commands of true Biblical Christianity. But in our day we do not teach this anymore and in fact, do everything we can to hinder these eternal truths and now even proclaim that some of these truths are wrong. We then have the audacity to ask where God was when this kind of tragedy occurs. Even worse, in the height of hypocrisy, the media and many legislators and even our president dare to call on the very God they have disdained by their words, rhetoric and votes, to provide the comfort and relief so desperately needed in times of crisis.

The media is buzzing with their feigned concern and care, pretending to nobly seek answers to this calamity, interviewing clergy (the one I heard is a charlatan) who offer no real help, only some humanistic concoction of pseudo religion and pop psychology. But there is a solution to this problem. There is an answer that will reduce the violence, and every other malady that has gotten so out of proportion but the media and government don't want to hear it. The solution to the problem that we have created by our mass retreat from the Biblical values upon which our founders based our nation, is to reinstate those values! Yes, that is correct!! A return to the Biblical ethic upon which our nation was founded and our laws framed. A return to "One Nation Under God." The fix is not going to be quick because we have spawned an awful crop of wickedness and amoral thinking and a lie that everything is situational and that there is no absolute truth!

Tragically, the liberal media and the democratic party, (whom you may recall didn't even want God in their party platform) are already manipulating public opinion, screaming to remove another constitutional right and this President that America has reelected has promised on National Television to move that agenda forward. What a tragedy, we once again will treat the symptom and not the cause.

I find that it is very difficult for me to ask God to Bless America any more, or to intervene in our affairs. It seems very hypocritical to ask God to bless our nation that has so totally rejected Him, that has so rubbed our willful and despicable sin in His face. I am becoming more convinced that God has honored our request and removed His presence and His power from us as a nation and a people. I believe that Christians in America need to consider the possibility that times of great struggle may well be before us and that we need to learn the lesson of Daniel (Daniel 6), of his three friends
(Daniel 3), of Lazarus (Luke 7) in the gospels or Stephen in Acts 7 and others of God's great servants who brought great glory to God, not through times of ease and comfort, but through the Lion's Den, the Fiery Furnace, death by stoning, death from a difficult illness that provided God the opportunity to glorify His Son Jesus Christ before a mocking world.

As a pastor, I have often been asked, why it is that God allows bad things to happen to "good" people. My first thought when asked this is Christ's statement that "there is none good," but then I take a moment and explain the truth that Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary suffered and died, even though the sisters had called for Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus could have easily done that healing from right where he was! Did He not heal the Centurions servant with a word, due to the great faith of this Roman soldier? But in the case of Lazarus (Luke 7) the only reason he had to suffer so and that, to the point of death, was so that the Lord Christ could stand outside of the tomb and call Him back to life, so that there would be no question that Christ had the power to do so! The only reason Lazarus had to suffer and die was in order for Jesus Christ to receive the Glory that He is due! It is only God's servants who can reveal the truth of the presence and power of the one true living God. What we must remember is that whether we live or die, whether we prosper or suffer, God is able to deliver us even if that deliverance is through death as in the case of Stephen.

Perhaps we need to get back to the full council of God and realize the truth that Daniel's three friends understood, that service to God is required no matter the condition. Daniel 3:16-18 NASB Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. (17) "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. (18) "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." There may well come a time here in these United States of America, that we, like Peter and John, like our founders, must stand up and say as we read in Acts 5, "We must obey God rather than men."

Our nation has turned from God and rejected our heritage. I close with words, again from our first and greatest president, George Washington who said, "It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. G. Washington"

My deep Christian concern and my heart-felt prayers (not some foolish "moment of silence" which has no efficacy at all that is designed to appease atheists and once again smacks the God of the Universe in the face) go out to those families whose lives have been so violently torn by the evil that we collectively have spawned through the inaction of Christians and the actions of the liberal and ungodly who have wrested this nation from us. I deeply hope that we will wake up and turn back to God and set this nation back on a course that reintroduces the Biblical moral and ethical values. That reinstitutes Christian prayer, the 10 Commandments and the Christian moral and ethical standards that once made our nation great!
In Christ's Service,
Pastor Ken

Friday, November 30, 2012

Do You Still remember me?

It's been a while, hasn't it?  My only excuse is that I have no words at this time to pen.  For a year the Lord prompted me time and again to write, to share, to engage, and then....nothing.  And I mean nothing.  

Some time soon I will share with you what's been happening in our lives, the tremendous obstacles and hurdles our family has encountered in the last eleven months as our hearts have been inextricably knit together as a family by the Lord.  

And for now I will share a few pictures, but how to decide?  I haven't posted pics since Cassie's birthday, so it will be hard to choose.  So here I go!

These are some pics of the girls helping out at a horse farm called Dare to Dream.  Here, in order to have an opportunity to ride the horses, the children need to shovel manure, clean out horse stalls, brush the horses and clean their hooves.  Cassie and Sonya got right to it without one iota of a complaint.  They really are hard little workers!  I am proud of their industrious spirits.  
 Sonya's pick -Thunder - the biggest horse on the ranch.

Cassie's choice - Blue
She picked a horse with the same temperament as herself - very spirited with a mind of his own!

First time on a horse -very scared!  But BRAVE!


A picture of the two the day of Cassie's Dedication on September 16, 2012

Cassie's first experience in a leaf pile!

Sonya took this.  Bibi is to the back and Lacy to the front. 
Lacy is Cassie's birthday gift from us.  
Sonya, Cassie and Sonya's best friend Lucy the morning after a sleep over
A rare moment that I'm not behind the camera
We took the girls to see the Nutcracker, a first for all four of us!


Please Pray for Hobby Lobby!

Hobby Lobby may be forced to abandon founding principles or go out of business--

Letter from Hobby Lobby Stores CEO

By David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn't much bigger than most people's living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God's word. From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation's largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We're Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I've always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God's laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that's what we've tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week's biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God's grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We've not only added jobs in a weak economy, we've raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government healthcare mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don't pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don't cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs.  It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in
government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that's raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It's not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it's the same for everybody. But that's not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won't exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

So, Hobby Lobby and my family are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don't like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are
more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that's a choice no American and no American business should have to make.

The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.

Since you will not see this covered in any of the liberal media,
pass this on to all your contacts.
David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Cassie Mei!

It's hard for me to fathom that just one year ago Cassie was celebrating her very own birthday for the very first time ever with her ayis and children at Zhongshan orphanage.  

While on the other side of the world was another little girl blowing out seven candles in her honor.

Now here we are,  Just one year later.  Today the girls busied themselves preparing for our little birthday party to celebrate Cassie Mei turning eight years old!

And while I do not have a picture of Cassie blowing out her candles, since we decided to record it, I do have other pictures to share with you of this monumental day.

For close to four months now, Cassie has been asking me if i would cry for her on her birthday.  You see, on Sonya's birthday in May, while I read to her the birthday card from her father and me, I cried.  I couldn't help it.  

Once even, Cassie brought over a birthday card for me to read to her while we were shopping in the card section at our local Walgreens.  She had first asked me which cards were for daughters.  And then she picked out a card and handed it to me to read to her.  I knelt before her and looked up into her tentative little face and read this birthday card, and do you want to know something, it was perfect for how I feel about her, and rest assured I cried..

Now the moment Cassie had been waiting for for so long finally presented itself to her.  After the dinner, after the cake, and now finally the card from Mommy and Daddy.  It was time for her very own Mommy to read her birthday card to her....   Also recorded, yet we do have pictures of what followed.


It was not easy finding a card for Cassie since most cards for daughters talk about loving them since birth or the other cards which speak of what great mothers these daughters themselves have turned out to be....

But there was one..... And it was perfect.... And I cried while I read it in the store.  And i cried again while i read it to beautiful Cassie Mei.  Here it goes:

What does the word daughter mean?

It means loving more than you knew you could love.

It means laughing harder than you knew you could laugh.

It means learning when you thought you were supposed to be doing the teaching.

It means giving more than you knew you could give.  It means receiving so much more in return. 

It means sharing a connection that keeps surprising you with its depth and strength.

It means feeling a kind of pride you never knew before.  

It means seeing your hopes fulfilled in ways much sweeter than you could have imagined.  

It means knowing that whatever else you did or didn't do, you gave the world something beautiful. 

Happy Birthday To a Beautiful Daughter.

Happy Birthday, Cassie!  I thank my God in Heaven for you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

When Silly Meets Saucy

As much as Cassie has kept all three of us - Randy, Sonya and me - on our toes, her life with ours has been worth the effort with all of the unexpected challenges we've met along the way because of her in it. As much as Cassie is a pistol and a little firecracker and spunky and temperamental as all get out, still, I gotta admire her.  Really, she shows me every day what I would have been like as a child had I been given the time of day.  She really is so much like me that I feel like i'm looking at a mirror sometimes, and while God is using me as her mother to help shape and grow her into the person He wants her to be, He at the very same time is delivering me from an unfulfilled and tormented past through it all.  Does that make any sense? 

Cassie really has had so many rough edges to work through, and she's not perfect yet, but of course we don't expect her to be and who is anyway?  Yet amidst all of the drama, really I just have to say she melts our hearts every day. By her sweet, sweet nature and generous spirit, Cassie fills a place in our family noone else could ever possibly fill. 

There was a time had someone asked our oldest what it was like having a little sister she would have responded, with a hint of a smile on her face, "Horrible."  But Sonya deep down would not have been joking.  Even though back then there were more good times than bad, still there was enough rawness left in Cassie which made her completely unpredictable and which in turn made Sonya feel insecure and unsure if things were ever going to get better.  But now if you were to ask her what it is like to have a little sister, she would gleefully and cheerfully tell you, "It's good" or "It's nice".   

Something i had always wanted to do with Sonya pre- Cassie but didn't for fear of building up a vanity in her as an only child, was to take her to a beautiful flower garden somewhere and snap hundreds of pictures of her in lovely dresses with her hair all done up.  Now that I have two it does feel more natural to follow through with this idea without either one of them needing to get a big head over it.  So we did it. 

Just a few days ago i put the girls in dresses, did up their hair, and with a spare dress for each of them, headed out the door to a nearby park with gorgeous flowers, plentiful trees, benches and a nice gazebo.  The rest of my post will be of pictures I took of the girls in their poses or simply acting silly with eachother.  You will see for yourself by the time they changed dresses they had begun to wilt a little at the very end as the temperature outside had climbed to about ninety degrees by then.  Even so, they were both good sports about it for the most part, not to mention i promised i would treat them to Wendy's if they kept smiling and did not complain. 

Enjoy!  And please leave me your comments if the spirit moves you!

"To God be the glory for the great things he hath done!"