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All posts for the month February, 2017

Scriptural Grace to Cure Itching Ears

Published February 21, 2017 by Dawn

“Make every effort to live at peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14)

It’s hard to understand the concept of holiness these days. It’s almost impossible to comprehend the concept of personal accountability for righteousness in an age where the message we hear is so often “all about that grace.” Or, “the grace card.” Not too many Christians know how to put grace in its proper place, and very few understand it in the context of the full scripture. This one word, this simple teaching, has become so complicated that the church is divided into those who pursue righteousness and those who believe grace covers so much that life should be lived to the fullest. Jesus died for that, after all … right?

I’ve been praying about this for a long time. Several years, actually. My pursuit of truth in this matter began with the “Don’t judge me” movement. It started when a pastor in a pulpit told a story in which he threatened a man with a tire iron for cussing in front of his son, and ended with “Don’t judge me, I’m just enjoying living in grace.” I almost puked. Somehow, we’ve allowed grace to become a canopy that covers all kinds of vile and detestable things which mar our witness and make the church unaffective. And the church is unaffective in America. It’s not growing. Instead, it’s pumping out lukewarm people who have no idea who Jesus really is, or what his death on the cross means for us.

I started to pray very fervently because at that time, although the message that has been propagated among believers did not ring true in my spirit, I didn’t know how to combat it. I was timid about confronting the lie because I don’t want to dismiss something using my own logic. I want to defeat the lie of Satan in the church with the truth of God’s word. So I asked the Lord to help me understand grace properly through scripture. Over the course of the past year or two, this message is the result of that passionate plea.

Let’s begin where the message of grace starts. Galatians 2:16 sums it up very nicely: “So we too have put our faith in Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” This scripture makes it very clear that we cannot work our way to heaven. We are justified through faith, not because of anything we did as other scriptures tell us, but because God chose us to receive this grace. We can’t earn it, it’s a gift.

Why do we worry about holiness, then? Isn’t grace enough? Isn’t Jesus’ sacrifice enough and now I can live freely as I want without fear? I have asked these questions, and I have tried living under that canopy of grace, trying not to judge myself because my spirit was averse to such freedom. I found that when I lived in such a state of freedom, sin was crouching at my door just like God spoke to Cain, and I entertained it because I felt that freedom afforded me that. The Holy Spirit, however, made it impossible to live in such freedom without conviction. He convicted me at every turn until I finally looked to God and said, “What?!”

“…without holiness, none shall see God.”

There it was again. I thought I was covered by that sacrifice at the cross, and of course, I am. But scriptures led me into a deeper understanding of that sacrifice. Hebrews 10:14 tells us that, “By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” He has made us perfect. That’s the done deal. His death broke the curse of sin off our lives, making it possible for us to not live in the flesh. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Today’s Christian message is one of peace and comfort. Its aim is to make people feel good about themselves and their lifestyles. It’s self-serving and self-assuring, but is it true? What is this sword Jesus came to bring? It is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, which is “sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This sword Jesus brought was to divide a Christian, flesh from spirit and effectively end the war between the two. It is a sword to put oneself to death in the flesh so that he or she can live in the new way of the spirit. Unfortunately, this sword also divides the church into those who will suffer to live according to the Spirit of God and those who choose to live according to their own will and desires.

You see, when we come to Christ in truth, his Spirit cuts away from us that flesh that hinders our pleasing the Father. It shouldn’t be on us at all! In fact, 1 john 3, beginning in verse 3 says, “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure … (v. 5) But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” So Jesus died to take away the sin we commit in ignorance, but when we come to him, he also changes our hearts so that we no longer lust after sinful things. John says if this is still our focus, we haven’t really had a moment of salvation. We’ve had a feel-good moment with a bunch of smooth-talking men and women who convince us of a false doctrine and lead us astray.

I was reading in 1 Kings today about a prophet who was sent to deliver a word, and after he delivered his word, he left by another way because that’s what God told him to do. Another prophet comes to him and implores him to turn back, in contradiction to the word God had spoken to him. The second prophet assured the first that God has sent him and it was okay. The first prophet listens and as a result, dies that same day because of his disobedience. Many of us in the church are in great danger of becoming like this man. We’ve heard a word from the Holy Spirit which wrecks us. We no longer desire sin and we cling desperately to Christ. But a false message is trying to compel the church into reveling in sin and accepting Satan’s clutches, all the while calling it grace. It’s a lie! Grace is the liberator, but it’s not a license to sin.

Many people feel a contradiction in regards to the message of grace and the message of righteousness. Hebrews 5:13-14 clears it up. “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” When we come to Christ, we are put to death in the flesh and born again in the Spirit. “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’” We begin as infants in Christ. The message of salvation comes very heavily salted with the message of grace. It’s important for babes in Christ to understand grace because it keeps them in times of persecution from the devil over their past sins. Grace is a vital message. But it’s not the end-all of the Christian faith. It’s the beginning. Looking back at Hebrews, we see that we are not supposed to remain babes in Christ forever, but we are supposed to mature, just as any baby will grow into a toddler, an adolescent, a young adult and so on.

In order to mature, we have to learn to walk. This walking out in daily life the Will of the Father is the message of righteousness. We are no longer slaves to the law, but we are called to be obedient to His will. His will is that we glorify him and live according to the Spirit, not glorify ourselves and live according to our flesh. Remember, flesh is dead!

2 Corinthians 7:1 says we “perfect holiness out of reverence for God.” This righteous living is a matter of respect. Our daily pursuit of righteousness says to our Father, “I love you and what you desire of my life matters to me.”

It’s not a matter of legalism, then, to consider your own actions and to say to others, “this is not the way.” Not unlike Paul, Christians often fear that we will somehow disqualify ourselves. Paul talks about his own fears in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. He’s talking about running a race with the purpose of winning and he says that he beats his body and makes it his slave so that after having run his race, he will not disqualify himself from winning. Philippians 2:12 tells us to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” So then, contrary to this present gospel of grace, a little fear and trepidation over the way we live is good and healthy. How can I say this? Because 2 Corinthians 7:10 goes on with this message: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  We must take this fear to God, though, because perfect love casts out fear. Only in God can we be saved from this fear, but because it leads us to Him, it is a good thing. It leads to repentance and salvation. If we don’t take this fear to God, it leads us to worldly bitterness and the death of our faith.

Being a person who loves words, I began to consider all the words that are nullified by the false message of grace; that teaching that tells us no matter what we do, we are okay in God’s eyes. Here goes:

  • Temptation
  • Sin
  • Repentance
  • Forgiveness

These words mean nothing, they are completely nullified by this message. So then, we must ask ourselves, “Which is true? The bible I have read, or this message I have heard from a pulpit or read in my favorite devotional?” So many people do not trust that the Holy Spirit can teach them, and they lean too heavily on the “wisdom” of others, but we are told to consider the things we receive in light of the Word of God for this very reason: Satan is determined to deceive the saints of God, and we are apt to be deceived if we are not studying for ourselves.

Here’s the truth: Sin hardens us. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” When we indulge in sin, we allow ourselves to be hardened and when we are hardened, we reject the Holy Spirit imploring us to turn away from such godlessness.

Hebrews 7:25 says, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them.” Why would Jesus always intercede for us if nothing we ever do is wrong? He is in ongoing intercession because we are fallible and we make mistakes, which is not the same as indulging in life as if nothing we ever do is wrong. The first is the result of our daily struggle with human nature. The second is because we choose not to battle that nature, but instead let it have its way. Titus 2:12 tells us that grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to be self-controlled, upright and godly. This is not the grace so many of us hear of. Imagine! Grace teaching us to rebuke our flesh instead of giving in to it. This is the grace Jesus died to provide.

How do we avoid this false message of grace and the trap that has been set for the modern Christian? “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God … Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature …” (Col. 3:2-3, 5). Paul tells us this is a daily death. Why should we be so concerned, and put forth such an effort in our walk with the Lord? “For God did not call us to be impure but to live a holy life” (1 Thess. 4:7).

Finally, what does the Bible say about those who preach this modern, New Age false grace? “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves to depravity … If they have escaped the corruption of the world by known our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning” (2 Peter 2:17-20).

“What then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin, how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6: 1-7).

Hebrews 10:26-29 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witness. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? This message, dear friend, is a message that insults the Spirit of grace that has saved us. Choose you this day whom you will serve – yourself or God.

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Child-like Sons and Daughters of God

Published February 8, 2017 by Dawn

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19-14).

It probably started out innocently enough. A toddling boy clambered up Jesus’ bent knees and threw his body clumsily into the arms of the smiling stranger, or a little girl ran through a mesmerized crowd and thrust herself into his laughing arms as he sat teaching a multitude on a hillside. At some point, Jesus encountered a child that stole his heart, and from then on, they became a large part of his ministry. Parents who, at one point probably held their children back for fear of upsetting those around them as they listened to the teacher, felt more at ease as they watched Jesus’ playful interaction with the children who no doubt grouped around him, taking advantage of the fact that he was the center of attention. His disciples were indignant. Perhaps Peter went first, grabbing a child before he could run headlong into Jesus’ sermon and accosting him to turn back and find his parents. And maybe James and John, those Sons of Thunder, stepped into the path of a gaggle of kids and put them on the road back to their families. Who knows which disciple reacted first or said what. What we do know is that the disciples wanted Jesus to be able to minister unhindered by the nonsensical interaction those kids were after.

Jesus’ response was precious. In essence, he said, “Don’t stop them from coming to me. Let them come!” And then he said something that applies to all people, regardless of their age: “…for such is the kingdom of heaven.” What does this invitation mean to us? What does it mean to be “such as” a child? I’ve pondered this for a while, made a list of qualities I find universal to children, and will do my best to explore the depths of what it means to be child-like in Christ.

To begin with, children are often more obedient. They don’t spend time questioning the wisdom of their elders. They recognize authority and respect those in authority. Of course, there are exceptions but they are the exception, not the rule.

2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

Holiness is a hot topic in the church today, only no one talks about holiness. They talk about grace and accuse anyone whose ministry includes righteous living of being “religious” or “under the law.” But I wonder what minister who truly hears from God doesn’t preach on righteousness and holiness, “without which no man shall see God” (Heb. 12:14).

A child of God is obedient not because he or she is trying to earn his or her way into heaven. It is because the child loves and respects his or her Father. This holiness is God’s desire for us, and His children pursue it because it is His delight. I don’t want to be righteous so that other people are in awe of my life. I pursue righteousness and make hard decisions every day that keep me in line with the will of God because I love Him and respect His lordship in my life. A child of God is not attracted to the laisses-faire lifestyle that says because of grace, we can live uninhibited. Uninhibited is a dangerous path for a child of God to walk, because it is flirtation with the world and the temptations of the enemy. A child of God appreciates boundaries and lives to know the will and happiness of the Father.

In the same strain, that child will actively seek the guidance of the Father so that he or she may know what makes His heart glad. Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). He spent time away from the crowds, away from even his closest friends, to be alone with his Father and hear the will of God. He is our example, if we are the sons and daughters of God. Children know they don’t know everything. They seek the wisdom of their elders. They spend time listening and will follow the instructions of someone they trust unequivocally. They ask for direction, they want to know what will work and what won’t. They want to understand the world around them and how they fit into it. Our Father is able to instruct us, if only we will become like children and ask … then listen.

Children are a little intrusive. They do not understand, nor care to understand, the concept of personal space. A parent’s lap is a child’s perch from which he or she sees the world. There is safety there. Comfort. Peace and tranquility. Children love to get close and cuddle. Still to this day, my daughter will lace her fingers in mine while we stroll through the neighborhood, forgetting the world around us and walking hand-in-hand with me like we have since she was a toddler. If I am sitting in the living room after a long day of work, you can bet one or the other of my children (or even sometimes both) will be snuggled up next to me, melting into my side and making it impossible to move. I love this about my kids. I often muse about how much God must love it when a dear child of His refuses to give Him any personal space. I know He must delight in those moments when we press into Him, discontent until we are smooshed up against His ribcage, looking up into His face in adoration. Or as we walk beside Him, our hand in His, losing ourselves in that contact. It’s rapturous.

Another thing I love about children is their reckless love. Children have no prejudices. They don’t see color or sex, they don’t care about socio-economic status and they don’t spend any time worrying about where a person comes from (or comes out of). A child loves to love others. A child of God loves to love others. There are no lines of division. A child of God will love even those who are living in sin, praying earnestly in intercession for those who are taken captive by Satan’s schemes.

I’ve also noticed how much emphasis kids put on eating and drinking. I have a niece and nephew that must taste everything in my house when they come over, and wash it down with a gallon of milk. Children are good eaters. I’m talking, of course, before they become picky. There was a time when both of my kids ate a vegetable and fruit at every meal … the good ole’ days. Anyway, the point here is that when there is food and drink available, kids will eat when they are hungry. And they are mostly hungry. A child of God will exhibit the same kind of ravenous hunger and thirst when it comes to the Word of God and communion with the Holy Spirit. When the Food and Drink are available, a child of God will unabashedly dive in to satiate the spirit-hunger that comes upon them. He or she will take time to feed off of the goodness of God on the regular to keep from starving to death spiritually. And a child of God will notice spiritual starvation and immediately hit the heavenly pantry for a powerful snack or a banquet at the end of a long day.

Finally, children are full of joy. They laugh. A lot. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Children of God will find strength in being joyful. Satan will try to wreck the lives of God’s children because he knows that a child of God is stronger when joy is abundant. He saps us by destroying all our reasons to rejoice in God. But here’s the secret: God is our reason to rejoice, regardless of our circumstances. Christ alone. A child’s greatest delight is their parents. Not their belongings or their friends. Not their positions of sports teams. Simply their parents. If God’s children can get back to the simplicity of this kind of love, we would be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). We would be strong in spite of the storms of life, because we would live in the joy and delight of our savior.

 

 

 

 

There’s Power in Prayer

Published February 3, 2017 by Dawn

So, I got on facebook at 4:30 this morning after rolling around in bed for an hour and half trying to go back to sleep. I should have done something more productive with my time, but my son “borrowed” my lamp, and I wasn’t ready for the lights to be on … or ready to get out of bed and admit that I was not going to be able to fall back asleep. I rolled over for the millionth time, picked up my phone and checked out facebook.

I scrolled past everyone’s dinner pics, political posts, make-up tutorials … I really wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to most of it, just scrolling along, when I came across this post that stopped me in my tracks. The “headline,” if you will, said “f***ing clap,” and below it was a screenshot of a short conversation. The first box said something to the affect of “I will take your baby. You don’t have to get an abortion, I will take your baby and give it a good home and a good life, no questions asked.” This is probably the sloppiest paraphrase of my life, but I didn’t sleep much last night so please forgive me. The response was this: “But will you take her sleepless nights because she’s uncomfortable, her stretch marks, her embarrassment and shame, her doctor’s bills, her homework at 2 a.m., … the list was enormously long, and might have seemed like a good one at the time … to someone else.

Don’t clap, but rather hang your head in shame. Embarrassment even. You, dear friend who wrote that, have just equated someone’s inconvenience with someone’s else’s life or death situation. Do you see how illogical that it? There’s no reasoning in that argument. One can’t even combat it because the sheer nonsense is mind-boggling. How can society reason with people who think this way?  

We can’t, church. This ranting lunacy is rampant in our world today. And instead of reasoning things through, we have people tossing out weak arguments and patting themselves on the back for having a thought. Nevermind that it makes no sense. It occurred to me that this is what happens when we exalt the heart and exalt feelings instead of morality and human decency. Despite Jeremiah 17:9 which says, “The heart above all things is deceitful,” even the church has propogated the notion that the best way to “make it” in this life is to follow the heart. We even ask often, “how do you feel about it?”  

No! “What does God say? How does He feel? How is He leading you?” God’s leading is not a matter of your feelings. It never will be. God will never leave you in a position to figure out His leading by something so fickle as how you feel. Consider your emotions for a moment: how do you feel when your favorite show on Netflix is canceled? Or you stub your toe? Or someone eats the chocolate you hid for your next breakdown? How do you feel when your team loses? Or wins? These are things that hardly matter in the grand scheme of things, but your feelings can convince you that they are some of the most important things happening at a given moment, when in reality, these are all very trivial matters.

It’s time we start praying as we have never prayed before. Our arguments will never convince this rising, tumultuous throng that they are wrong. They have made their own “sense” out of nonsense. Our passionate pleas will not cut through the hardness of hearts. Our only weapons left to us are prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. When we speak, it must be the words of God and not merely our opinions, no matter how well-played. Only the Holy Spirit can fix what is broken now, church. We must begin to pray as never before. Firstly, that God create in us a pure heart with an attitude and disposition of love. That God would forgive us and show us how to forgive. That He would empty us of our own thoughts, because the wisdom of this world is really foolishness, and fill us up with His thoughts. That He would teach us truth that sets prisoners free and equip us to engage others with that truth, despite the uproar and backlash it may create. That He would teach us to persevere in persecution and tribulation. That in all things, our hearts and minds will remain steadfastly focused on His face, so we can be comforted knowing that at the end of all that lies ahead is God, ready to receive us with open arms.  

Pray, church, and be led by the Holy Spirit in all things.

Label Me a Christian

Published February 1, 2017 by Dawn

I feel like these days, I live in a swirling vortex of intoxicating information and I am having such a hard time keeping track of myself among all the smoke and mirrors. It’s a constant struggle to remember who I am when the world offers me an alternate identity, slapping it on me without my consent. I feel assaulted, slapped with an identity that looks nothing like the person I know myself to be, and then I wrestle with it because I don’t want to submit myself to a definition I don’t fully agree with. I thought I’d sit down today and set the record straight so that when the labels start flying, I won’t be confused for one moment about who I am or how I stand in this world.

 

I’m a Christian. I don’t hate women, Hillary Clinton or Middle Eastern refugees. I am a woman, and I don’t hate men either. I think men are amazing and get way too little credit for being awesome. Are there bad men in the world who make horrible decisions? Sure. But there are equally guilty women in the world too. Speaking of equality, I don’t think men and women are equal. Having lived as a single mother for fourteen years, there are many things that happen in my life on the regular that a man would take care of much easier and better than I can and do, and I am okay with that. Please do!

 

On to Hillary Clinton: I didn’t vote for her. I didn’t vote for Trump either. I didn’t vote for the lesser of two evils. I chose peace. I voted in a way that left an abundance of peace in my heart. I have no guilt over how my vote was cast, no regrets and there was no hesitancy in the voting booth. There was a lot of prayer, a measure of peace and a vote that made very little difference in the big scheme of things. I don’t care. I voted my conscience and was rewarded with peace.

 

Bigger social issues like abortion and LGBT? I will always speak out about abortion and I won’t ever agree to say things that make people feel better about themselves. Not because I hate people. I hate murder. I hate that women are given a choice that on the flip-side, still holds dire consequences. Instead of dealing with a baby, they will deal with guilt and shame. You see, it’s a lose-lose situation. I will never not speak up for an unborn child. I will also never speak up from a place of anger or judgment. I don’t have to agree with you on the issues to be loving. Jesus disagreed with a lot of people, yet loved everyone enough to die for them. If the truth sets people free, I am all for it. Since my Bible assures me that’s how it works, I will give the truth in love 110% of the time. The same goes for the LGBT community. I’m not a fanatic, but I do believe that God (our Creator) has standards. He has defined our boundaries and made clear what is and isn’t sin. He didn’t do it to hurt us, He did it because He loves us and would rather see us not under the power of Satan. I will side with that truth 100% of the time, but I will not bash you or hurt you in any way because Jesus wouldn’t do that either. He once met a woman who was “living in sin” at a well and addressed her sin … in love. That’s possible. It’s not hate to disagree. It is hate to lie. It is hate to not love.

 

Do I support Donald Trump? Listen, I’m not scared of Trump or his administration and it’s not because I have faith in him. I’m all for “making America great again.” It sure would be nice for my children to grow up in freedom and opportunity, but it really does seem like a pipe dream at this point. In truth, I see this going south at a very rapid pace. I’m still not afraid. I don’t agree with unvetted refugees, but I also can’t agree that a ban is the answer. If we let in a bunch of the most radical ISIS militants while saving innocent lives, I would consider that worth it. But I also feel like the refugee process is an appeal to pity tactic, a logical fallacy, and that the truth of how it works is very different than the media insists. America will accept refugees that can add to its narcissistic pursuit of wealth and happiness. Our country will not take the poor, innocent children or much-persecuted Christian unless that person or group of persons has a high dollar sign attached. We live in a day of quid pro quo, which is a fancy way of saying, “What do I get in return?” This is why Mexico’s unsecured border is such an issue. It’s letting in a wave of undocumented (untaxable) immigrants who do not contribute to that bottom dollar lining Uncle Sam’s pocket.

 

How do I feel, as a Christian, about Muslims in our country? I’m not afraid. I don’t believe we serve the same God but I also know that many Muslims serve their God about as half-heartedly as many Christians serve mine. Going through the motions without being sold out. For a Muslim to be sold out to Allah, he or she must accept that killing infidels is the most immediate command of their faith, just as loving God and loving our neighbors is the supreme law of the Christian faith. A radical will believe the truths and tenets of their faiths unequivocally. I guess you can say I am a radical Christian. Does a radical Muslim scare me? No. You see, in all of these things, I submit to God. His favor is my delight and obedience to Him is my constant pursuit. I’m not perfect, but I believe in repentance and forgiveness. I have faith that no matter what … no matter who is president, where ISIS is roaming and what kind of persecution might be coming my way, I have a fortress and defender. Rejection by my peers doesn’t scare me. Persecution from the left doesn’t either. Being killed for my faith doesn’t particularly send me into rapturous praise just yet, but one day it might. If I die because of my faith, I will do so knowing I have not been swayed by the vascillating opinions of mob-mentality that is slowly taking over every facet of the American life. I’m a Christian. You don’t define me. I don’t even define me. God does. I live up to His standards to the best of my ability and ask Him to make me more like Jesus every day.