Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Here-and-Now

Luke 1:76-79 - And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1:79 (ICB) - God will help those who live in darkness, in fear of death. He will guide us into the path that goes toward peace.

Luke 12:25-26 - And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

Dear God, Help me to focus on TODAY. It is okay to make plans for the future and it is okay to reflect on the past, but You are saying to focus primarily on TODAY and to enjoy Your presence in the NOW. So help me do that. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Room for Me

II Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

II Corinthians 12:9 (ICB) - The Lord said to me, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, then my power is made perfect in you." So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ's power can live in me.

James 1:2-3 - Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Dear God, Fill me up with Your power, peace, love, joy, grace. Fill me to the point that I overflow. Use that overflow to teach Tom how to be a true Christian when he finally gets the letter extending grace and giving him a chance to come into biblical reconciliation with me. Thank You God that You do bless me beyond human measure. Help me to remember that so that when others try to justify their hatred by tearing me down because of my DIFFERENT-ability and insistence that I am just lazy or somehow to blame for my disabilities (really? Poor decisions do NOT make a person disabled and EVERYONE is one accident, illness, or injury away from being disabled if they were not born disabled like I was. Nor does being disabled make a person lazy.), I can say that I am blessed to be different because in my differences, I am kind, loving, caring, honest, loyal, real, compassionate, passionate, and have integrity. And You created me to be that way God! You did that! You instilled higher values in me than in some others because You want people to see glimpses of You. Thank You God for choosing me to have autism among other things. Let me be a blessing through it and because of it and open others hearts and minds and eyes to the blessing that I am. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

So Many Blessings

Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Hebrews 12:28-29 - Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:28 - Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful.

Dear God, Today many people are suffering as storms have struck and done damage to their property. In light of this, I have many reasons to be thankful. Thankful that the tree that suffered from its third storm didn't do any damage and that the city sanitation department timed just right so that the men could assist with its removal. Thankful that in spite of a horrible night with the weather and being sick because of it that I am doing better this morning (sore throat) and did get some sleep. Thankful that my furbabies are safe, even though they are both agitated. Thankful for life. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

A Mighty Fortress by Christy Nockels (YouTube)

Our God is a consuming fire
A burning Holy Flame with glory and freedom
Our God is the only righteous judge
Ruling over us with kindness and wisdom

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You

A mighty fortress is our God
A sacred refuge is Your Name
Your Kingdom is unshakable
With You forever we will reign

Our God is jealous for His own
None could comprehend His love and His mercy
Our God is exalted on His throne
High above the heavens
Forever He's worthy...

A mighty fortress is our God
A sacred refuge is Your Name
Your Kingdom is unshakable
With You forever we will reign 

Forever we will reign
Forever we will reign 
Forever, forever we will reign

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You
So we can set our hearts on You
Lord we can set our hearts on You!

A mighty fortress is our God
A sacred refuge is Your Name
Your Kingdom is unshakable
With You forever we will reign

A mighty fortress is our God
A sacred refuge is Your Name
Your Kingdom is unshakable
With you forever we will reign
With You forever we will reign
With You forever we will reign

Our God is a consuming fire
A burning Holy Flame with glory and freedom



I'm Right Next to You

Psalm 34:8 - Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 

Lamentations 3:22-26 - The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 

Dear God, Help me to choose and to find what is right for me, be it my actions or my words or even my thoughts. And be with me no matter what the outcome. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Empty Hands and an Open Heart

Isaiah 40:28-31 - Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the. Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 

John 17:20-23 - "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." 

Disclaimer: I have no actual understanding of what any of the John 17 passage is saying right now. Best summary is that Jesus is saying that just as the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, that He desires that those who believe in Him will have the same kind of belonging to the Father as He does. I welcome any comments on this though.

Dear God, You ask that I come to You and accept Your love and friendship with me. Why would You be a friend to me when I am apparently so undeserving and so undesirable? Tom said he was my friend and then when grace was most needed, he believed some lies, spread them, and shattered everything and crushed my spirit. He cannot be a Christian. He has not shown the marks of a true Christian. He has made no effort to seek peace or restoration with me. God, in light of that, how can I trust that You really are a friend? Belonging? Oh how I wish! But God, as much as I want to belong, when churches abuse and bully those who have autism or any other kind of special needs, they make the world unsafe for us. The onus is on them in the end because if they are a church that does such heinous acts, then they are not following You to start with since You and Jesus have such compassion for the least of these and Jesus refers to anyone who does not treat them well as goats. Hmmm.... That would mean that Tom is a goat herder, not a shepherd. Even if he was a shepherd, the fact that he threw a sheep off the cliff just because it was crippled was wrong in itself. Heaven will rejoice all the more when he does finally come to his senses and seek peace and restoration with me. Belonging? The tea party doesn't think anyone who is not rich or healthy belongs in America now. They claim to be "patriots," but they are willing to cut veteran's healthcare and throw their fellow Americans off a cliff by starving them and denying them access to healthcare they might need and resources they need to stay afloat. They claim they are only doing what You would have them to do. Well, that is a problem now then, isn't it. Because You would make sure that we have access to medical care if we need it, food, shelter, water, clothing, and most of all, You would still treat us with dignity and respect. So if they are cutting off the least of these and cutting off the social safety nets that help them, then they are clearly not acting in Your name at all. The thing is, an article came out yesterday that the South Carolina governor (republican (most likely tea party extremist)) wants to get rid of public schools because public schools are not in the Bible. Well, neither are private schools. But by that logic, they cannot have guns either because guns were not in the Bible. I learned that whenever anyone tries to impose rules based on something that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible that they are being legalistic which is as sinful as being libertarian. The problem I have with the tea party is that are libertarian. Which means they don't really want to play by the rules of the game. They are trying to create their own rules and pretend like they can just blow off all the rules that have come along since the original constitution. They are fighting a war citing Christianity but they are hellbent on protecting the constitution. So much so that they have become white supremists again. They want their guns and they want America to be all about Christians but no one else. The thing is, if you look at how they define socialism, Jesus is the spitting image of socialism in action. Sarah Palin is an airhead more interested in being able to own a gun to shoot moose than to make sure that the least of these are taken care. She claimed to be in support of veterans having healthcare but the Paul Ryan budget of hate that the GOP passed in congress that will be dead on arrival in the senate due the unnecessity of it and also due to the fact that it again attempts to destroy the ACA which is helping millions of people everywhere now threatens to cut veteran healthcare. Talk about double standard hypocrisy or being uninformed. So yes, God, while I may have belonging when You finally decide to send Jesus back or when You finally decide to bring me home to You, I do not have belonging here on this side of heaven. Because I am apparently not wanted or desired by most churches or by most people. It grieves me when I see a parent of a child with special needs who would not be able to remain insured for long due to all the medical needs vote against her best interest by voting against anyone who supports the ACA. If it were not for the ACA, her child could be dropped or hit a lifetime cap and then what? Her family could lose everything they own. Unless her desired job is one that will secure millions of dollars a year. It also grieves me seeing the parents of children with autism pitting themselves against the adults who have autism. And for that matter, as much as I do not agree with everything that Autism Speaks is about nor TACA (there is no cure for autism, there never will be, there does not need to be, and I do not care what the cause is because I know what the cause is and it is genetic just like ADHD), I support any organization that is raising awareness of autism and providing any resources and information about it. Autism Speaks is more about legislative advocacy than anything else. And if people honestly think that they are suppressing the people with autism from speaking, they really need to think again from the insight of a person with autism. The way I see it is that as long as you are writing on their page, you have a voice. And they may or may not respond to it, but you are speaking. Hence, autism does speak. But the problem is that all these people are so focused on the children (we must help the children who have autism, they need therapy, they need this, they need that) that they forget there are adults with autism who are now floundering and that their children will also become adults who have autism and will end up floundering as well unless something begins now to address the issues that adults with autism face. No job, no churches to minister to and with us, no schools, no community resources like recreation or home living resources or therapy, nothing. And if the adults with autism lack these things now, what kind of future is there for a child with autism who one day become an adult with autism? Not a good one so far. There needs to be a shift in the focus to addressing the problem adults with autism face. At any rate God, this all just goes back to the desire to belong. Bottomline is that I am a young and relatively new believer, a Christian, and I have no place to go to worship with other Christians because a church used the autism as an excuse to exclude me and to abuse me and to bully me and then the one friend I thought I could trust turned on me and has not evidenced that he is even a Christian over something he later claimed was a petty trigger to a meltdown (which he called a tantrum which means that perhaps he lied when he said he understood the autism after all, and a pastor who lies is not a pastor at all). If it was so petty a trigger though, then why would he refuse to seek peace and restoration and work toward biblical conflict resolution? Because of what he did, he brought down not only himself and his own reputation but the reputation of the entire church, not like they hadn't already done a good job of that themselves, especially the new "mercy" pastor. But still. And because of what he did, he brought down ALL churches and not just his own. God, I know that even if things do not get resolved this side of heaven although I pray along with many others that I will at least get answers this side of heaven if nothing else, answers from him, so that I can move forward, I know that You will deal harshly with him when judgment day comes and there is actually a chance that he will not be in heaven because of what he did. I mean those words from Jesus are pretty powerful: "Whatsoever you did to the least of these, you did to me.....Whatsoeevr you didn't do to the least of these, you didn't do to me." Sheep or goat. Which will it be? Thank You though. You are stirring in my heart in a major way. Thank You for wanting to be my friend even if I am not ready for that yet. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Let Your Problems Lift You Up

Psalm 89:15 - Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 - So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4:16 (ICB) - So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.

Dear God, Sometimes the problems in life are stifling. They don't make sense in light of Your words. They are created by people who claim to have faith in You but then don't follow through on it. Like Tom. Or like the modern tea party extremists that have infiltrated and ruined the republicans. These are people who claim to be Christians and claim to practice grace and love and claim to have the best interests of people in mind, but then in a time when any if that is most needed, they back out. When conflict arises between two people, like with Tom, there is a mechanism that You prescribe that should be followed. The fact that he expressed unwillingness to do that evidences that he might not even be a Christian. The tea party claims to be about protecting the constitution, but they keep trying to rob from the poor and make them even more poor. They want to take resources away for access to food, medicine, healthcare, education, and a home away from veterans, disabled people, and the elderly. Although they claim to want to give more to the military which no longer makes sense if America is supposedly entering such peaceful times in terms of other countries, but the thing is considering that military families also rely on programs like SNAP, SSI, SSDI, the VA hospital upon completion of their service, and some end up on Medicare and Medicaid after exiting (possibly) and even yes, they may use the Pell grant as a supplement to whatever other education benefits they have to learn new skills upon exiting, when the tea party threatens to take away these things, they are actually also hurting the very people who are serving this country as well. I drew the conclusion that if they succeed with their hateful ways, they will end up with a bloated military prepared to defend this people if necessary but that the problem will be that there will be nobody but themselves to defend because the rest of the people will all be dead and piling up. Why? Because the poor, the sick, the disabled, the veterans, the elderly are all part of this country too. But if you take away our resources to access food, homes, education and healthcare and medicine, then you kill us off until we no longer exist. The worst thing is that they show their true colors and lack of understanding of Your Words when they spew things like "God helps those who help themselves." Guess what people?!? That is NOT Biblical! There is noting in the Bible that even hints at that. And when it was said that a person who does not work should not eat, what was meant by that was that if you are able to work, then you earn your keep, but if you are unable to work, then someone should help with your provisions. In other words, the rich CEO who really does nothing but sit in an office all day is not earning his keep, but the person who works for his company and sometimes has 12 hour shifts should be earning more than enough to take care of himself without having to ask the government for help. On terms of the government having established social programs to help people in need, I have no doubt that at some point some churches, maybe even the Catholic Church, approached the government and said, look we want to be able to help everyone, but we simply cannot. The disabled, the veterans, the elderly, the hungry all need our help. And look here, the Bible is full of passages where God instructed the kings and queens and the leaders of the countries to make sure that the basic essentials of food, medicine, healthcare, and education are provided for. After all Jesus spent the three years of ministry that are recorded in the Bible working with the disenfranchised, the least of these. If the tea party is going to claim to be about Christianity, then they need to stop trying to cut the social programs. The irony? Paul Ryan himself benefitted from the very same programs he is now trying to cut. As did the vast majority of all the politicians no doubt. Yet, they are hellbent on taking those very same programs away from everyone else because Gid forbid that someone might actually benefit from it and finally be able to dig themselves out of the hole they got thrown into and make a comeback such to the extent that they no longer need the help. Great job tea party. You just keep knocking us down when we are already down and you just keep beating the dead horse as though it will make it any more dead. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Fix it. If you only scream repeal it, then get the heck out of the game because we are done with your obstruction. As I discovered the other day, the tea party is full of bigots. Up until that, I never experienced it myself. But when that tea party candidate blocked and suppressed my First Amendment right to freely express and opposing opinion, he committed an act of bigotry. Well, these bozos are supposed to represent ALL their constituents and if he will not even allow opposing viewpoints, then he will not be representing the majority of his constituents at all. And he does not need to be running. Say good-bye to your political dreams Chad Mathis. You will never win since you are hellbent on such bigotry. You do not represent the majority of Shelby County, Alabama. I have seen with my own eyes because I am one of the ones who is hurting, but I have seen the fact that there are hardworking people out there struggling to make ends meet. They work two or three jobs and still cannot afford the food they need for their student. Many times it is the disabled grandparent that is taking care of their children too because someone has to be home when the bus drops the child off from school. There is a whole entire half of the county that is disenfranchised. And there are not enough resources in all the churches combined to help them all. The disabled get referred to Social Security and SNAP. The poor get referred to SNAP. The bop veterans get referred to the VA. Yet these programs are being threatened by the tea party in the name of "smaller government" and God. God, I am talking to You, but even I know that is the most illogical thing ever! You clearly state that they are to help those in need. And anything other than that makes them goats. And considering everything I have read in the Bible so far in both the Old and New Testament about your compassion for the poor, I can pretty much tell you that they are sinning when they claim cutting the social safety nets is what You would have them to do. God, teach me to consistently bring every problem to you though. No matter how big or small. If there are lessons to be learned by me, teach me. If not, then grow me. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, April 25, 2014

In the Right Direction

Psalm 102:26-27 - They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Dear God, Help me keep my eyes on you so I won't crash and burn. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Let Me Be Your God

Psalm 46:10 - "Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

Romans 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Dear God, Please help me be still and quiet during the times I need to be, even in times of struggle. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Peace by Rebecca St. James (YouTube)

Alone in the valley
I cry for You
To fill me with Your peace
So when the lightning strikes
The thunder roars around me
Still I live in peace
You ask that I

Be still and know You are God
Be still and know You are God

When the fires rage
When the storms surround me
Still I live in peace
Though the mountains fall
Crashing to the ocean
Still I live in peace
You ask that I 

Be still and know You are God
Be still and know You are God
Be still and know You are God
Be still and know You are God

Lead me through the valley
Lead me by the streams
Restore me and draw me to You, God
To You I lift my soul
To You who makes me whole
Gently You hold me close to You
Close to You

Be still and know You are God
Be still and know You are God
Be still and know You are God
Be still and know You are God

You' re near me
You love me

You hold me 
You reach me
You still me
You move me
You draw me to You, God

You're near me
You love me

You hold me 
You reach me
You still me
You move me
You draw me to You, God

You are God
You are God

You still me
You draw me to You

You are God

When the fires rage
Still I live in peace

You are God

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chad Mathis Is a Hypocritical Bigot

He used to my orthopedist, but get this, one day, I called because of a sprained ankle that needed to be looked at, and his office just up and never returned the call. He committed abandonment of a patient. Just like that. No letter. Nothing. I was left scrambling for a new orthopedist. And I found one that was far better. But get this, Chad Mathis now wants to run for Congress. And you would think that being a doctor, he would want patients to have healthcare. But he doesn't. He wants to repeal the ACA. No alternative and viable solutions. And get this. It turns out that he is a bigot too by the true definition of what a bigot is. He has intolerance for opposing viewpoints. Yes, you read that correctly. I called him out for his beliefs on the ACA and I got blocked from being able to comment further. He just suppressed my First Amendment rights to express my opinion, even one that is different from his own. Wow. So here is photographic evidence of what I just experienced.

Pray First

Psalm 16:11 - You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11 (CEV) - You have shown me the path to life, and you make me glad by being near to me.

Psalm 141:8 - But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!

Dear God, Sometimes it can be hard to remember to pray first, and even harder still to find You, especially if it is during a time of upset and crisis. Help me remember though. And guide me. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Are You Listening?

Proverbs 19:21 - Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

John 8:36 - So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 10:27 - My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 

Dear God, Thank You for having my day planned. Merge my plans with Your plans. And help me to listen to you better. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Your Amazing Mind

Genesis 1:26-27 - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Romans 8:6 - To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Dear God, You created each and every one of us in Your image. That is why when someone, anyone, whether a Christian or not, abuses or bullies or hurts or mistreats someone else in any way, shape, or form, it is an assault on You. So when people disrespect the president, they disrespect You because You created him. When Tom and the leadership at his church abused and bullied me for having autism, they abused You. I gladly trade You any of the not good thoughts that lead to anger, doubt, and rebellion for the love, faith, and peace You offer. That is why I want to exercise a measure of grace beyond my human strength to seek reconciliation and restoration with Tom and maybe even with his church. Stir them for the good things ahead and teach them how to love as You love and show grace as You show grace. When You allowed Your Son to die on that cross, that was a HUGE amount of grace on display, God. And we should all be willing to do just that if called upon to do so. Otherwise, the world will never see Your goodness and Your kindness or experience Your love as today's "Christians" become more resentful and hateful and bitter and selfish. Today's "Chrisitans" are in favor of stripping people of their right to have affordable healthcare via insurance, SNAP so they have food to eat, disability benefits that they need if they are disabled and unable to hold jobs, veteran's healthcare, Medicaid for the poor and the disabled, WIC for the women and their children to have food and basic essentials for the babies they want to force the women to have, and Pell grants which help college age students afford college so they can learn marketable skills in order to hopefully get a job. Instead today's "Christians" are acting out of the LOVE of money which is the root of all evil. They have forgotten You and. Your Words in favor of "protecting the Constituiton." Wait a minute. The Tea Party extremists of the Republican Party are more interested in protecting the Constitution than in protecting and defending Your Word while they claim to be Christians? That is what is wrong with them! They have misplaced the priority. NOTHING IS MORE VALUABLE AND DESERVING OF PROTECTION THAN YOUR WORD-THE BIBLE. The Bible is a roadmap for life, an instruction manual for life. It was written by You through the hands of men whom You breathed Your words through. The Constitution was written by men as well, but it was not Your doing. Thank You God for giving me a mind that can think and reason. While I do not know what my furbabies think, and I know they do, I am appreciative of the stretched mind that You have given me. Autism and all. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Won't Leave You—Ever

Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 46:1-3 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

Psalm 73:23-24 - Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Mark 4:35-41 - On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?"

Dear God, With me no matter what. Just like You taught me yesterday about the no matter what kind of love and grace that You have for me, today You are telling me that You are with me no matter what. Oh how I long when people say they are friends that they would learn how to love no matter what. For when they can not only learn and understand the no matter what kind of love then they can also practice loving one another no matter what. Maybe I have been learning and growing in my ability to love no matter what? And maybe that is why, even now, I long to work toward restoration with Tom? Oh, I hope he reads this post. He needs to know that now more than ever. God, I am sorry that I do not always return the love no matter what. Teach me and shape me. Be with me always and make Your presence known to me. Love, no matter what. Thank You for being with me. No matter what. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

No Matter What

Psalm 31:16 - I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord.

Psalm 107:8 - Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men!

Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has cover re me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Jeremiah 31:2-3 - Thus says the Lord: "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel fought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."

Dear God, Thank You for the no matter what kind of love! If only people could learn how to love like that as well how much better and nicer this world would be. Instead of claiming to practice grace and then only practicing it if the person feels the other one deserves it or claiming to love someone but then at the first sign of any trouble turning away from the person. Practicing love and grace that is no matter what and not performance-based is real. Genuine. The no matter what love and grace brings comfort and healing. Repair. And joy. It is harder to practice. But it is also wonderful to perfect. Oh that we would all desire to show others love no matter what. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peace for Today

Exodus 16:13-21 - In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lordhas commanded: 'Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer (2 quarts or 2 liters), according to the number of persons that each of you has in his tent.'" And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, "Let no one leave any of it over till the morning." But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And  Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning, they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

Philippians 4:6-7, 19 - do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Dear God, You have basically said I need to be a peace gatherer like the Israelites were manna gatherers. Thank you for the fact that YOU give peace, grace and mercy and that You NEVER waver from that. Teach the people who claim to adhere to practice such grace how to do so properly. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Training Program

Psalm 112:7 - He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

Isaiah 41:10 - fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Dear God, Thank. You for training me. I hope I am doing my best for you. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Even When You Don't Understand

Isaiah 6:3 - And one called to another said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory."

II Corinthians 5:7 - for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I Thessalonians 5:18 - give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Dear God, I don't understand. A lot. I don't understand why a church that claims to practice grace would resort to bullying and abuse and excluding someone as soon as they learn the person has autism. I don't understand why they would think the autism is an excuse for them to not do the very things they claim to practice and believe. I don't understand how or. Tom acted so hurtful and mean toward me instead of acting like a Christian and working toward conflict resolution with me. Instead, he lied about what happened and he spread those lies and he cause permanent and irreparable harm for me and to me and my family. As a result of what he did, I no longer want anything to do with any church ever again. Not until safety nets exist that churches will legally be obligated to follow when it comes to special needs children and adults where if they abuse or bully any of them, they will face legal repercussions. But if safety nets had existed to start with then they would not have been able to abuse or bully me to start with. Their leadership did wrong and yet I got punished for it. And that is not fair nor appropriate. That is corruptive. And their higher authority is just as corruptive. The PCA denomination is corrupted at this point and it makes me sad to see. It should make most people sad, but I fear they are becoming brainwashed by their own selfish greed. Hmmm.... Sounds like that nasty tea party has crept into the churches too. A millennial with special needs is speaking out now. Things better change on accordance with Matthew 25:31-46 or things will continue to fall apart in the churches. Okay, God, yes, in a way, I have just issued a complaint, but I know I cannot make it better, not without Your help. Bring about conversation though. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Will Shelter You

Psalm 61:1-4 - Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah

Psalm 61:4 - I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Isaiah 12:2 - "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for The Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."

II Corinthians 3:18 - Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.

Dear God, Today I have appointments, meetings, and groups. Although I sort of know what is to take place with each thing, it is still very unpredictable. People are unpredictable. So I am concerned. But you said to trust You even on the crazy days, especially on the crazy days. So as hard as it is and as much as I still struggle with trust, here God. Take my hand. And stay right beside me today. Okay? Don't let go. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Hints of Heaven

I Corinthians 15:20-28 - But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that it is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 

Hebrews 6:19-20 - We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Dear God, Thank You for all the hints of heaven You give each day. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ordinary Days

Psalm 105:4 - Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

John 15:5 - I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5 - I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Colossians 3:23-24 - Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Dear God, It seems there are no ordinary days for me. Even on the days that there is nothing going on, it seems that it is just as exciting as the days that are full of many things. God, how I might actually long for some of the "ordinary" days, if for no other reason than just to be able to rest in You and with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Autism, Down Syndrome, Disabilities, and Hobby Lobby

Follow me please.

Most of you already know that Hobby Lobby is trying to assert itself as having religious beliefs and is opposed to birth control or contraceptives now. They were not opposed before the Affordable Care Act and now they are. Oh, and how can a for profit company be allowed to violate any part of any law it dislikes? And for that matter, although the CEO and founder can have religious beliefs because they are people, how can a corporation hold religious beliefs? It is not a person. Only people can hold beliefs. 

Well, their approach is a slippery slope that is too dangerous to go down. Why? Because if Wal-mart decides they don't want to cover women's care, they might suddenly cry it goes against their religion? Where in the Bible is birth control wrong? It is not in there. It is a grey area and it is legalism. 

Hobby Lobby would have a better chance if it clarified what it means by contraception as being just those forms that they think cause abortion instead of the broad term of contraception they are using. 

Contraception:

Shots
Birth control pills taken on a daily basis for a variety of reasons - don't want babies, have iron anemia, acne, hormone imbalance, heavy bleeding, irregularities 
Plan B - a three day dose of birth control to be taken within 72 hours after failed contraceptives or rape - prevents implantation - does not cause abortion
IUD
Patches

These are contraceptions used to prevent pregnancy.

I gave a scenario though:

Hobby Lobby historically has been one of the few places known to hire people with autism and other special needs. Now here is the deal. The girl with cognitive dysfunction gets a job at Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby gives her insurance. The doctor says she needs birth control because she does not understand sex yet. It is for her safety and protection. Also because she cannot handle having menstrual cycles. They can be very stressful. Suddenly Hobby Lobby says no because it violates our religious beliefs. Now they have done something illegal. They have denied a disabled person something she needs in order to have that job. They have now discriminated against her. It is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and subject to lawsuit. 

If they are going to cover Viagra, they have to cover birth control. And because no single birth control is necessarily right for all women, they have to cover all of it. Otherwise, it is gender discrimination. 

If Hobby Lobby gets out of this portion of law, what will be next? No hiring special needs? No hiring women? No hiring someone of a different faith? No hiring a red head? No hiring a person who is not white? No paying what they are supposed to? Where does it end? Give an inch and they will take a mile.

Supposedly they are threatening a tantrum if they lose--close the stores. Fine. They chose to commit business suicide over the fact they are legalistic anyway.

Now I want to say something.

I called out someone who inappropriately commented about someone's size by saying she looked like she had swallowed her last two children. It was rude and inappropriate. And I also pointed out that it was a milestone that I recognized it as a person with autism. Well, he then turned around and in response to the scenario said people with autism and special needs are pathetic.

Let me say this now:

It is autism awareness month and what we need now is autism acceptance. But when people hold that attitude, it is clear that people like me will never be accepted at church, school, work, or in the community. It is hateful. And this is the attitude of someone who probably calls himself a Christian. The Paul Ryan budget was just passed by the republicans. Yeah, the party of Christianity. Well, guess what? It is not reflective of Christian values. It is a violation of Matthew 25:31-46 and it makes the republicans goats. Those are the words Jesus used. 

Paul Ryan hit veterans by cutting healthcare and SNAP. Paul Ryan hit the elderly by cutting SNAP. Paul Ryan killed the disabled by cutting SNAP, SSI, SSDI, the Affordable Care Act, and Medicaid. Paul Ryan hit women by cutting WIC. He wants to force a woman to carry a baby she didn't plan on or want for a variety of reason and in the meantime he takes food and medicine away from her and the baby. So now we have a bunch of unwanted babies because they don't want us to be on birth control and refuse to give us healthcare and the babies are all starving because they don't want us to eat either. It is the Mitt Romney rhetoric of hate toward everyone less fortunate than them all over again, the rhetoric that caused them to lose and caused even the most evangelical pastors to cringe and say that if Christians held that attitude they needed to repent! The Paul Ryan budget is unethical, illegal, and is definitely against what Jesus stood for, the republicans just crucified Jesus all over again. And here's the thing, we are approaching Easter. A time to remember Jesus' life and ministry on earth and what he did for us on the cross. 

Autism awareness should lead to autism acceptance. And in some ways, although we have come a long way with regard to race, we have not moved forward with regard to disabilities. Dear church, what are you doing to effect a POSITIVE change? 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Choose to Trust Me

Exodus 15:22-27 - Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was butter, therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, "If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer." The. They came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.

Psalm 31:14 - But I trust you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God."

Dear God, It is VERY hard to TRUST You much of the time due to my experience with trusting and having those who I trust do harm and damage to me. And unnecessary harm and damage at that. But I am struggling to do so, and the more You bring about in those areas that require the greatest trust, the more my trust in You can grow and thrive. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Just Today

Psalm 118:24 - This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Philippians 3:13-14 - Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind me and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 3:13-14 - Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Dear God, thank You for today. I will just leave it at that. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


I Will Give You Wings

Psalm 40:2 - He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 - "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."

Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

Dear God, It is just so hard to trust You. Help me. I need wings to soar. My wings are broken and sore. Thank You that You have forgiveness and grace for me. In Jesus's Name, Amen!

Don't Practice Your Problems

Exodus 33:14 - And he said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." 

Exodus 33:14 - The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Romans 8:38-39 - For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dear God, Today I have the challenge of testing all day and that is contingent on whether they picked up the ball they dropped and informed me just yesterday. You are telling me to trust You and don't rehearse through the challenges I have today. So here You go. I am turning the challenges of the day into You. Please manifest Yoruself through them. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

I Never Left

Genesis 28:15 - Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

Romans 8:31 - What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

Dear God, I want to be loved. It is just so hard for me. Every time someone says they are my friend and that they love me and that they always will love me, they turn around and hurt me, like Tom. He didn't even give me closure. He just broke his promises and his compromise. I kept my end of the compromise and he broke it. That level of hurt that he caused is almost impossible to get past, especially when the right thing to do is to seek restoration. His failure to do so means he does not love You the way he claims to, that he lied to me, and that he is not a Christian since one of the marks of a true believer as You have named in scripture is the willingness to seek restoration and aim for peace with another believer. If he is a true believer, then You need to work on softening his heart and bring about the conversation God. He was not just a friend, but he was a father figure and that kind of a friend is not one that can just do what he did without there being lasting consequences. And it is not one that can be forgotten or let go of. It is one that has to be fought for and restored. If it is not restored, I could be lost forever as I give up on trying altogether because of fear that I will just be hurt again because of the bullies who pushed him to abuse me like he did when he violated his end of the compromise. God, I want to seek peace and aim for restoration. I want the biblical conflict resolution process to begin with him. But You need to move in a big way. Please. Before I give up on You too for fear that You will ultimately reject me altogether too. It hurts knowing that they abused me and bullied me just because they learned that I have autism. It really does. It hurts that rather than listen to me or work with me or include me or even to work on conflict resolution that they chose instead to abuse me. Their actions and Tom's actions lack the grace that they claim to cling to and that they talk so much about. And their excuse? Because if have autism and to them that makes me less deserving of grace somehow which is simply not true. If anything, the autism means I need more grace. God, please move. Please bring a conversation with Tom at least. Please bring closure if nothing else. Please God. Thank You for loving me even when I pull away and fight against You because of my fear. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


I Am the Potter

Psalm 27:8 - You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, Lord, do I seek."

Isaiah 64:8 - But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. 

Dear God, Shape me, mold me, develop me according to Your plan and Your purpose. People cannot change how You have designed me and created me. When they try, they fail. They shouldn't be trying to change me anyway. They should be accepting me as You created me. When the care team tried to change who I am and who You created me to be, they ran into difficulties because that was not Your design or Your plan for me. You created me with autism, and even I wouldn't have it any other way at this point. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Open Your Eyes

Genesis 3:1-7 - Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves clothes.

Psalm 116:17 - I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.

Psalm 116:17 (CEV) - I will offer you a sacrifice to show how grateful I am, and I will pray.

I John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 

Dear God, Thank You God even when I feel unhappy and even when I feel happy. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Autism Quip

So my mom has found a pretty good autism parent support group. But her choices with regard to me are to take me with her or leave me at home as there are no community supports for adults with autism who are not quite fully independent. Most programs end at age 21. Wow. Where is this magic wand regarding special needs that makes a child no longer have special needs when he or she turns 21? 

So last night I went with her. And I was apparently a bit of a pleasant surprise as while the speaker was talking I typed up some thoughts I had on what she was saying on my iPad and she had me share one of them with the group! 

So it looks like I am not only starting the journey toward writing a book but also toward becoming a speaker! And why not? After all, who best to tell others about autism than someone who actually has autism? 

Now, what are your churches doing to support those of us who have autism and our families? If your church is not engaging with them and including them, please stop. Matthew 25:31-46 applies to your church more so now than ever. 1 in 68. Try to apply that statistic to your church population. That would be almost and at least 40 people in a church with around 2500 people! May not sound like a lot but it is more than enough that Jesus would not be thrilled if you missed them or hurt them by not including them. As was posted by one page that believes churches should include individuals with special needs, churches that wish to be relevant today are doing something to include and minister to people with special needs. And they are thriving now as a result. And as many church leaders may now be aware, many millennials are leaving the church because they find that most churches are no longer relevant to them today. Looks like something HUGE is happening in God's kingdom! Looks like the kingdom revolution has started! And the churches may be left behind if they do not get on board with including people like myself and my mom who have special needs. It doesn't take a lot of money or resources. All it takes is one person who is willing to step up and say I got this, I will serve, I will be their buddy. And then it can grow from there. 

Anyway, as I said last night in reference to the use of the puzzle piece to represent people with autism which some people have interpreted as meaning the person with autism is a mystery, this is what I said, "I like the puzzle piece because I see the world and the people in it as everyone is a part of a huge global puzzle and every piece, including those of us on the spectrum, is a part of the big puzzle." This is based on a lesson I learned based on the way that a couple of people I met at the church that hurt me viewed things. Everyone has a purpose and is a part of the puzzle. I further broke it down later using a drawing that was hanging on one of the walls and told them to imagine that picture was a puzzle. Now imagine there was a piece missing. You now have an incomplete puzzle. And you might just get angry that the piece is missing. That one missing piece ruins the entire picture! And you often search all over for that one piece too. And when you find it and can finally put it where it belongs, you rejoice because you now have a completed picture! Hmm.... Think about.... This is like the story of the lost lamb and the lost coin. This is like the picture the Bible paints of the church being a body with every part being important. 

Is your church including us? If not, change it! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I Am Waiting

Isaiah 30:15-17 - For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But you were unwilling, and you said, "No! We will flee upon horses"; therefore you shall flee away; and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill.

II Corinthians 4:7 - But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 

Dear God, I want to trade with You today. Here is my heartache and my sadness and my anxiety and my fear. Please fill me with Your joy, Your love, Your peace, Your strength and Your confidence so I can make it through the busy day and the busy week ahead of me. Thank You. In Jesus's Name, Amen!



Shhh...Be Still

II Chronicles 16:9 - For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars. 

Psalm 23:2-3 - He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Zechariah 2:13 - Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Dear God, I am trying to find You. And the world is too busy and too loud. Even in the silence, the world can be so deafening. Help me to hear You. And please hear me too. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Don't Be Tricked

I Corinthians 13:13 - So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

II Corinthians 4:18 - ...as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Ephesians 3:20-21 - Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Dear God, According to this, You are most definitely sovereign. But it seems that we, as humans, often forget this fact. If only we would rest in Your sovereignty then maybe we might actually stand a fighting chance against all that is evil and against Your word. By that, I don't mean that we call a president names or speak ugly about him just because we might disagree with something he does. God, please bless President Obama as I know that he has been trying to bring America back to You through actions of trying to make sure that those who most need assistance have it. Healthcare for one. It seems that in light of everything that has been happening in America, people, including those who claim to be Christians, have forgotten You and what Your purpose for our lives really is. They have allowed color to blind them and their integrity. They have shown that racism is still very much alive in America. And they have proven that greed is abundant in their attitude toward poor and sick people. They do not want to make sure that everyone has food or healthcare because they think that people are just lazy. But that is simply not the truth at all. If it were not for taxes, there truly might not be any charity at all in America. Americans are greedy. I know. I am an American, and it is hard for me to want to part with whatever little bit of money I might have. When a church discriminates against someone because that person has special needs and then they go so far as to even say comply with our discrimination against you, give us permission to abuse you more than we already have or else we will not show you any mercy no matter what the situation, it proves how greedy and how corrupt and how vile churches have even become when it comes to people in need. It breaks my heart. Faith, hope, and love. They are eternal. But sometimes it is hard to keep them when people keep knocking you down and beating up on you and bruising your spirit. Help me God to keep them strong though. Help me this next week to finish the letter and the chart to go with it. Help me to actually send it. Help me not be afraid and to keep trusting You. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Is Autism?

Autism is a processing disorder. Well, I don't know that I would call it a disorder anymore, now that the latest statistics are out. It seems that autism is more prevalent than what was originally though. And I know many people that seem like they have tendencies that are similar to autism. So let me back up. Autism is a different way of processing things. Let me try it this way.

You have a PC. I have a Mac (not yet, but I will one day). The bottom line operating system, though both might be able to run windows, the hardware is different. So they have to have programs that are compatible with their hardware. They now have Word for both PC and Mac. They are more compatible now than they used to be. But the platform on which they run is different. 

Okay, another example. 

Define glove. You would probably be satisfied to say it is a covering for the hand. But my filing cabinet in my brain says, what kind of glove? I have it broken down by function. By the generalized definition, I now have a mismatch. A mitten covers the hand, but it is not a glove. An oven mitt covers the hand, but it is not a glove. My blanket can cover my hand. Does that make my blanket a glove? No.... It is a blanket. Maybe a better way to define glove is something that covers the hand for some purpose but it has fingers. My mom said a baseball mitt would not be a glove. I said there are fingers inside of it. It is also sometimes called a baseball glove. But that is one of the ways that my brain is different than your brain.

Here is something I have heard a lot, but this morning I heard it again. If you see a person in a wheelchair, you know they need a ramp. But the problem is, you cannot see autism. Therefore, it is hard to know that someone is having trouble and how to help them. But I want to give an example based on something I experienced. This church sent me for testing to see if I had autism. Of course, that also meant they received a copy of the report. After they learned that I have autism, I got bullied by two of the people who were on the care team they placed me under. And they intentionally began to exclude me from participating in things rather than to find ways to include me. They used the autism as an excuse to exclude me. They used the autism as an excuse to isolate me. It was like they were afraid that the autism might be contagious or something. The one man said they tried to say they were trying to mainstream me and that it failed. No.... Excluding someone is not mainstreaming them. Therefore, attempts to mainstream me did not fail because there were no attempts to mainstream me. Mainstream means to include with or without reasonable accommodations. An accommodation for a person with autism might be as simple as a buddy. Someone who is identified and appointed as a person in an activity who can be trusted to not only understand about the way autism might impact the individual but also interaction with others and can run interference should a problem arise by assisting in appropriately removing the person from the setting that is becoming upsetting and taking them to a calming place. What they should have done rather than what they did was to talk to me about what I wanted or needed and not exclude me from anything. What he should have done when he recognized and acknowledged that what they were doing was wrong was stand up and say hey, wait a minute, we need to regroup and problem solve. But you see, too often, most places are doing it wrong. They do not SEE the autism or the ADHD or whatever other invisible handicap or disability exists and they either pass us over or they ignore us or they pretend we don't exist. Or they go the other way and they bully us until we get frustrated enough to give up. But the thing is, we canNOT give up or they will continue to bully us thinking that it is okay for them to do so because no one stood up against them for doing it. 

People with autism do not lack empathy. This is a common assumption that is made. We have empathy. We may not understand from the cognitive perspective why someone feels something, but we do feel what others feel. Remember my filing cabinet? That is where I have everything stored. If I have experienced it, it is in there. It is my reference for how to respond or react or handle things. If I am missing something then it is because no one has helped me acquire the right tool yet or the right data. I am supposed to start using signals. Signals to help people know when I have had enough. Because sometimes when I become overloaded, I cannot think clearly and therefore I cannot verbalize things well. Those signals are sometimes called cues. And sometimes I need a lot of cues.

I will ask this question a lot because I am in anticipation that by the time I send my letter that is overdue that I will have enough resources to share with the recipient(s) that they can and will end up saying yes to having a meeting to talk through things and to negotiate restoration and reconciliation. But what is your church doing to intentionally reach out to people like me who may be isolated in our very own communities because people do not understand autism or do not seem to want to understand autism? If they are not doing something, they need to. Matthew 25:31-46 is the main justification for being intentional in ministry and support to people like me and my mother who also has autism. After all, Jesus spent most of His time with the sick and the poor, so should not the churches also be doing that?

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. It is everywhere. Some countries are not in as good of a position to get support systems in place. And America is lacking in support systems for adults with autism. It needs to change fast because the children will be transitioning into adults and will still need support.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

When God Created the Autistic Child

God took His time on the last day of creation. 
You see He had something very special in mind.
Unlike all the other creatures He had made, He decided He needed someone like Himself.
So He created man. 
But when He saw how lonely the man was, He had to act fast.
So He created woman.
But what most people don't know is that He created someone very special after that.
At some point in time, God got very frustrated that things were not going as planned.
So He cried. For forty days. 
That was the flood.
Shortly after that, one of the children that was conceived was created differently.
For this child needed to be one that God Himself could approve.
He created the child with musical gifting, bravery, courage, and a good heart.
This was the first child with autism.
Music gave him a voice as did his poetry.
His bravery killed a giant and saved a nation.
His courage kept him going even during the times he felt most sad and lonely.
And he most definitely was considered a man after God's own heart.
Is it possible that there were other children before this one who God created with autism?
Sure it is. But I chose this one.
Just as God chose to create some of us with pure hearts, innocence, love, beauty, giftedness, and an inner song, I chose David as an example of what God does when He chooses to create a child with autism.

I posed this question today in light of April being Autism Awareness Month. For one month, the whole world spreads awareness about autism. The numbers have increased again. And again, the numbers do not account for adults with autism, although it is very likely, the numbers would be the same for that particular age group. But those of us who have autism or have loved ones with autism have to spread awareness every day - 365 days a year - because we live with it. So I posed a question: What is your church doing to intentionally minister to and with an individual or a family faced with autism? And more so, an adult with autism? Is your church reaching out to them? If not, please change that now. I challenge anyone reading this to search his or her heart and to go back to his or her church leaders before it is too late. I say this because I was hurt by a church as soon as they got back the report that I have autism. And it is not fair what they did to me. And I do not want it to happen to anyone else ever again, whether it is there or somewhere else. I feel sad and lonely and hurt and frustrated and angry about it. I should be at church with my friends worshipping God just like everyone else and serving God just like everyone else. Not isolated and punished because of how God created me. I should still have my friend that is one of the pastors because he was the one who understood the autism and the way it impacted me and others the most and he was reaching in the most to pull me out so I could grow and shine. Oh how wonderful it would be if he would reach out a hand in forgiveness to me in light of what Jesus did for us on the cross! And how wonderful it would be if they would be wiling to meet with me and move toward biblical reconciliation for the same reason. 

Do I know for sure that David had autism? No. But I know that most people with autism tend to be a lot like David and Moses and Noah and Adam and Jesus too. I always say God must have autism. 

1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism everyday or it may still be 1 in 88 overall. Either way, God must have a reason for us to have autism. After all God is sovereign, right? 


Getting Rid of the Weeds

II Corinthians 4:17 - For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison....

Philippians 4:19 - And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Dear God, I want that peace that You offer. I want that joy, that inexplicable joy, that I cannot necessarily describe. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Yes, Everything

Proverbs 3:6 - In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

I Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing....

Dear God, I do not have words to express things today. Please listen to my heart. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!


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