Mixed Topic Post

Wow! It has been a long time since I posted anything. Not that I haven’t thought about it.

I’ve been extremely busy with canning vegetables and fruits, working with the dogs (I am now fostering a Boxer, plus my adopted Boxer.) and work. I had to put my cat Spot down.

I have an app on my phone to post updates. Every time I’ve tried to use it I get some error, so I quit in frustration.

Honestly, I think Twitter and Facebook have ruined me on blogging. I can jump online with them, read up on stuff, and share links with comments so quickly I have nothing left for the blog. That’s a shame. I’ve been blogging in some form since 2000.

My days are also very chopped up. In theory I have time to post. In practice I don’t. We’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks. I also need to rebuild this page. I thought I would like the theme, but the more I see it the more I don’t.

(sigh)

I’ve gotten so out of sync with my old routine I just can’t get back on track. I’m move involved with my church (Choir Director! WooooOOOOOoooo.) I’m reading my Bible more, going to our Bible Study each week, and doing a personal study series of workbooks. I’m singing more for the church, so I have to set aside more time to rehearse.

I’m taking care of the dogs, Gracie and Jack. Both are Boxers and they really demand attention. Not in a “sick dog” kind of way, but they just need attention. I walk through the house and they follow me. I get the mail and they stare out the door or window. I rattle my truck keys and they think they are going for a ride. I was walking them almost every day, but lately haven’t been able to.

I still run my business, Robin’s Desktop, but I slacked way back to take care of mom over the past three years. I’m on the fence about kicking it back up where it was. Mom’s health won’t improve, just stabilize. She is my priority.

I also have my upcycling business. It is still in the embryonic stage.

All this on top of my regular “housewife” duties. Wayne and I are a fairly traditional couple. He brings home the bacon, I fry it up in a pan.

I am tired. 🙂

On Testimonies

100_2545 I promised myself a long time ago I would work on vocalizing my testimonies during church service on Sundays. This is a personal decision. My salvation is not contingent upon it. Scripture tells us the only thing we must do to be saved is believe (Grace through faith).

Once we are saved we begin to transform. Some experience immediate, significant changes. Drug abusers and alcoholics may walk away from the addictive substance and never use them again. Some believers receive immediate healings. The experiences are unique to the individual.

Other believers are slowly transformed. Changes for some take place one thing at a time. The new believer may begin placing a one dollar bill in the offering plate. Over time, the believer notices they have more to offer. Before long they are able to provide a significant amount to the continuation of God’s work.

Christ’s great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) to the church (believers, not a particular denomination or building) was to “(19) …go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

I believe part of “teaching them” includes sharing our testimony. In other words, teach by sharing. If my testimony can help another get past the idea that The Lord would not accept someone like them, then I need to share it.

Sharing our individual testimonies not only blesses and teaches others, it is a form of praise to The Lord and witness of His greatness and love.

Hospital Religion

Sharing the Good News during difficult times.

By Robin A Holstein

Around nine-thirty Monday night, I got a call that my mom needed to go to the hospital. (I get these calls because an ambulance ride not ending in an admission costs her $300.) Mom experienced vomiting and severe abdominal pain for over 24 hours. With her history of intestinal blockage, we high-tailed it off to the Emergency Room.

When the ER nurse came to the bedside to place the nasogastric intubation (NG Tube) Dad and I decided to go outside. Mom has a very narrow nasal canal and NG Tube insertion is very painful and stressful for her. It’s best if we aren’t close adding to her worries. Dad is a smoker. He is 74 years old. He isn’t going to quit. We walked out to the smoking area.

The smoking area is one place to find great conversation. Once you get past the smoke, you may receive great wisdom or great conspiracy spending time in a smoking area. You may learn great secrets about family squabbles, or who the baby-daddy is.

On this trip we encountered a character of interest. He was not a tall man, perhaps a couple inches taller than me. His long, gray hair danced easily with the breeze. His matching beard reached his chest. The chilly night air seemed not to penetrate his thin hospital pajamas.

He spoke boldly of his religion. He touted his Pentecostalism. He passed judgment against an evangelist for wearing too much jewelry. He passed judgment against women having abortions. He passed judgment against homosexuals, going so far as to say they should be stoned. With every judgment he passed, he justified it with the Old Testament Law. He punctuated it with the words of Christ, “I am not come to destroy [the law], but to fulfil [it].” Matthew 5:17

I felt a sharp pain rise within me. I waited a few minutes while he continued. When he drew a breath I commented, “Jesus said ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’” He changed the subject, asking what church we attend, and began walking back to the ER.

It was harder than I thought to get those few words out. I worried I would get it wrong. I wanted to ask him if he thought he could keep the Law? Or, did he think we should punish those who break the Law?

It is our responsibility to SHARE or SPREAD the Good News of Christ. We cannot, and should not try to force others to accept it. Matthew records Jesus’ instructions to the Twelve as:

And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. –Matt 10:14

All we can do is share it. The people must accept it on their own. We are not the judge, jury, and executioner. Salvation is between the individual and God.

We don’t stone (kill) the homosexual. Nor do we stone the prostitute, the drunkard, nor the couple living together in sin. We share the Word. We help them understand, and to pray. It is then up to the individual.

The Law of Moses put into writing the things God defined as sin. They are also moral laws. Are these things wrong according to God? Yes they are, along with a lot more than homosexuality, murder, and adultery. We should not be afraid to say so. However, it is not up to us to “stone” anyone.

Another god

Identifying Things Taking the Place of God in Our Lives

By Robin A Holstein

During a recent Bible Study meeting, the subject drifted to things that get in the way of our walk with the Lord. We were studying the book of Acts, discussing the stoning of the Apostle Stephen.

It fell on me to share my personal revelation of a specific issue or activity that has interfered, and will continue to interfere, with my walk and spiritual development. It is simply, politics.

I LOVE politics. I love discussing, arguing, and writing about politics. I sought and won election to the local (Soil and Water) Conservation District, and my county and state party executive committees. I even ran for the House of Delegates in my district.

I attended meetings, gave speeches, raised money, produced campaign materials, radio and print media ads, along with the web site and social media accounts. I knocked on doors, waved at commuters, wrote op-eds, called talk radio, and made phone calls to get support. I even managed to get back to the campaign following the suicide of my younger son.

Except for an hour on Sunday I spent no other time with the Lord. I didn’t read His Word myself, I trusted the pastor to tell me what he thought I should know. There was no time for Bible Study, or any form of fellowship with the church.

I lost the seat for House by roughly 1,000 votes. Wise politicians told me it was directly due to straight-ticket voters, who outnumbered my party’s well over that number. I ran a great campaign, no dirt, lots of work. The loss was a mixed-blessing.

Soon after the loss, my mother’s health took a bad turn. She began having issues related to adhesions on the intestines. She spent several days in the hospital because of a blockage. December 23, 2012, my nephew suffered a severe asthmatic episode which required him to be put on a respirator. On Christmas Day he was flown from Charleston, West Virginia, to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My husband and I hopped in my truck and drove my sister to Pittsburgh.

A room opened up in the Ronald McDonald House. Once we got my sister settled we headed back. I went back up a few days later. He spent about 10 days there and we brought him home. During this time newly elected members of the Legislature were sworn and given training. Had I been elected I would have had to choose whether to be with family or serve my constituents. I would have chosen family.

My mother continued to have serious health issues. Mom had more hospitalizations with blockages. There were serious problems with diabetes. She developed A-fib of the heart. The strength of her heart beats began to wane. Over the course of two years she had eight admissions.

In the back of my mind, I began to “hear” something tell me my focus should be on salvation and my family. I struggled with juggling commitments to committees and groups with the needs of my church and parents. It soon became obvious I had to let go of things.

I resigned from my county party executive committee first. It was the most demanding at the time. I finished up obligations to a health and recreation committee. I did not seek re-election to the state party executive committee. I also started letting go some of my business clients. It was hard to do! I loved doing those things.

I found SonLife Television and Radio Networks on my satellite TV, and the app for my phone. I began filling the time I used to spend with talk-radio with this network and radio. I started feeling a re-connection to the Lord.

I started reading the Bible again. I read it when I was a child, the best I could. This time was different. This time I wasn’t reading the children’s stories. I started reading the “other” stuff. I read the “stuff” you don’t get from children’s Sunday School lessons. To paraphrase Paul Harvey, I read the rest of the story. My eyes began to reopen.

I began to realize I treated politics as another god. I lived and breathed it. I gave it money. I gave it hours of time. I gave it activities (meetings, writing, calling, etc.), I promoted it heavily. I preached it. I scolded others for not voting. Political activities consumed me and my life.

I surrounded myself with others of like mind. We supported each other. We fellowshipped. We attended activities, meetings, and protests. We cheered each other on. We were worshiping at the altar of a political party.

As I shared my story with others at Bible Study, I shared one more little bit. I told them the draw to return is strong. I get phone calls, letters, email, and social media messages wanting me to get back involved. It may be an even stronger draw than the desire to smoke, even after 12 years cigarette free.

I rededicated myself June 2013. The Lord took me back, no questions asked. When we are sincere in our repentance He grants forgiveness immediately. I don’t know what His plan for me is. I simply pray I will be a vessel for His work.

One of the Elders in my church asked me to sing. It took weeks of practice but on May 4th I performed “Joy Comes in the Morning.” The Spirit of the Lord flowed freely and many were blessed.

I am reading the Word daily. I stream SonLife on my phone when I walk Gracie. I stream The Message of the Cross and Frances and Friends whenever possible. I learn a great deal from these programs.

Another god doesn’t have to be politics. It could be exercise, drugs, alcohol, education, food, money, family, reading, work, television, sports, games, any thing or activity that gets between you and your relationship with God. If you have more time for it, more money for it, more dependence on it, that “thing” could be a god in your life.

Pray to the Lord and ask Him to show you what gods you may have in your life. Listen for His “voice.” He will tell you.

I thank the Lord that I was able to see how I allowed another god to take over in my life.