Monday, March 18, 2013

ON HIATUS

This blogsite is currently on hiatus. Sheryl's books will be out of circulation as of April 1, 2013, pending possible re-publication of new editions at a later date.

Please enjoy the past posts under each of the Tabs! Thanks for visiting.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

(Contact info in right-hand column is still valid.)
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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Jewish Holiday Purim: Queen Esther Stood for "Such A Time As This"

I'm writing this on the eve of the Jewish holiday, Purim (poo’rim). If you’re familiar with the Old Testament, you’ll know that this began in the book of Esther. It recounts events that occurred during the reign of the Persian King Xerxes (486 to 465 B.C.). Xerxes is also known in the Bible as Ahasuerus.

Esther was an exceptionally beautiful commoner selected by Xerxes to be his new queen, after Queen Vashti defied him. Unbeknown to the king, the beautiful Esther was also Jewish.

Esther's cousin Mordecai found out about a plot by the commander of the king's army, Haman, to kill all the Jews in the country. He asks Esther to go and plead with the king to overturn this order.

Going before the king without an invitation could mean punishment by death, even to his own wife. But Mordecai tells her, “Who knows but that you were born for such a time as this?”
And Esther answers, “…I will go to the king even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:14). She was the only person God had placed in a position to bargain for this. Besides, if they did kill all the Jews, she herself would not be spared if her Jewish faith and heritage was found out.

Before approaching the throne, Esther fasts and prays for three days. Mordecai has all the Jewish people in their region do the same. In the end, Esther succeeds far beyond her own expectations: Not only does the King rescind Haman’s order to kill the Jews, but has the scheming Haman hanged on the scaffold originally prepared for Mordecai. Xerxes also elevates Mordecai to a place of respect in the King’s palace, because Esther credits her cousin with the discovery of the plot.

From that day to this, the Jewish people celebrate Esther’s victory with great feasts and joyfulness. Purim usually falls in late February or early March.

Although this historic event was a triumph of good over evil, it should remind us of the seriousness of anti-Semitism, which we haven't been able to eradicate to this day – and to the growth of persecution against Christians which is costing lives around the world where there is hatred of Christianity.
The time is coming when, if unprepared in our Bible knowledge and belief, American Christians and Jewish believers may be in for a shock when our persecution goes beyond mere angry words and vandalism of property.

Every day we're seeing new affronts to scriptural faith in the name of “diversity” which is anything but: It's the new tolerance being intolerant of anything biblical and God-driven in favor of atheism and most importantly, certain other Middle Eastern beliefs running contrary to God’s Word. Christians in other countries are forfeiting their lives today in large numbers.
But rather than being alarmed and scared, we must remember Jesus’ words in Luke 21:12-20:

“…They will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them"...

(An opportunity to share the saving grace of Jesus!)

..."But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish.By standing firm you will gain life.

20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near." (NIV)

Sound familiar? Let’s not appear scared to the world, but confident in the fact that all these things must take place before Jesus returns. That will make us like Esther - good examples and standing strong "For Such a Time as This."

If you'd like to know more about the Jewish People, order my book in the right hand column, What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People at Amazon or Wine Press.

Queen Esther depiction by Edwin Long (1829-1891) found in Public Domain at Wikimedia Commons.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How Will You View True "Success" in 2013?

How will you view “success” in 2013? The “American Dream” is slipping away for more and more people due to financial challenges, job loss and new government regulations. Others want to get famous quickly by pasting themselves all over YouTube or auditioning for “reality TV.” Still more are wondering when their 15 minutes will come while being confused over what to do to achieve it.

But I’m more convinced than ever that we can’t obsess over what society considers personal “success” while our country is in such turmoil and God is being more fervently rejected every day. It's time to make a choice: Are we going to be self-absorbed, or will we show the Lord that we’re willing to work at bringing light into the darkness and more people into His family?   

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." Matthew 5:16, KJV 
In the last couple of years, I've spotlighted other self-published or small-press Christian authors over in my “Authors Corner” tab at this blog (check them out here!), but it was recently brought to my attention that I never blogged about my own 2011 book, which is all about the topic of this post – SUCCESS… not fame or fortune, but being successful in building, maintaining, and improving a personal relationship with God.

In “God, Am I Nobody?” I use a little sermonette by a 19th century missionary, Hudson Taylor. Taylor calls Christians to fully devote themselves to accepting God’s will for their lives, and acting on that call. But I don’t really tell how I found Taylor’s piece, and how deeply it affected me.
At a point in my life that I began to have a huge pity party about not feeling “successful” in certain areas I had always dreamed of, I brushed against a shelf at a Christian bookstore and a book tumbled to the floor. It opened to the page with Hudson Taylor’s message. Really, it did!! This turned my whole life around and I finally learned how to commit myself to giving glory to God for all I did instead of desiring personal recognition.

Lessons from my comparisons of Taylor’s words to God’s Word are contained in the simple 17-day devotional along with ways they can apply to our lives today. More information, and how to order, can be seen in the immediate right-hand column, Sheryl's Books.

It’s hard to “promote” a book about not wanting worldly success over God’s will! So instead here are the latest 2013 reviews, and I’ll let these talented book reviewers tell you about it. Previous wonderful reviews (thank goodness!) can also be seen at the links to Amazon and the publisher.

http://www.cherylcope.com/book-review-god-am-i-nobody-by-sheryl-young

(Reviews were unsolicited.)

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Election Afterthoughts: People are Still Wondering, What's Next?

Although I haven't had a chance to write here since before the November Election, it appears I'm not too late to run with some election afterthoughts.

Many Americans are still scratching their heads over the outcome. Others don't care - because they didn't bother voting. After all, we only had the President and a guy whom some called "just the lesser of two evils" to choose from.

What's going to happen with the economy? What health benefits and how many tax dollars is Obamacare going to cost us? Is real persecution coming to America against those who believe in the God of the Torah and the Bible, like in other countries?

With 10 million less people voting for President Obama than last time, we will always wonder if the results could have been different, had 3 million other 2008 voters not stayed home this time. McCain voters plus a slew of Christians and conservatives didn't bother taking advantage of a great American privilege - the right to vote.

In some other countries, people risk their lives to get to their voting places even when they know it won't be a fair election. But not Americans... with all our rights, choices, privileges and freedoms - that we say we fight so hard for - this one goes largely ignored. Especially by the "Bible-based" community.

That's one reason why America is in this precarious position of economic failure, hatred for God and moral corruption. Here are several others:

-Thousands of good people don't run for office because they know they'll be ripped to shreds by the press. Sometimes the media loves attacking candidates from both sides. But sometimes, there's a double standard. For example, we were supposed to remember that George W. Bush drank a lot 30 years ago, but we were supposed to forget all the shady friends and associates Obama had only a couple years before he ran for his first term.

-Christians shouldn't blame "sinners and pagans" for election outcomes we don't like. The blame belongs to the last three decades of Christian voters...at least half of them! We've reached this point because many Christians have "always voted Democratic" or "always voted Republican" regardless what a candidate stands for. Since I found the Lord in 1987 and He began opening my eyes to the degradation of our society, I've been shocked that about 50 percent of the people at every church I've been in proudly boast that they "vote such-and-such party just because they always have." Head-in-sand syndrome. Doesn't matter what values the candidates represent.

(And, I dare to say, as a Jewish believer in Jesus, I have no idea how the Jewish-American community became so liberal as to have 68 percent still vote for a man who despises and disregards Israel and the Scriptures as much as this president).

-The final reason could be that we are simply moving toward all prophecy being fulfilled. Yes, each generation feels they're living in the end times. But never has there been such a close parallel between biblical verses such as those in Matthew 24 and 2 Timothy 3 as the events occurring today.

Of course, we should continue praying for a miraculous anointing of the Spirit to reign down on our President and all other officials so that our country turns around once more... and for more people with Judeo-Christian values to seek the truth.

But, would it be so bad if God was doing his final work in order to bring more people to Him before Christ's return? As the Word says, the Lord won't return until the fullness of "Gentiles" has come in, and more Jewish people open their eyes to the true Messiah (Romans 11:20-27, for example). We may need to come to the end of hope for this to happen. Let's add that to our prayers and ponderings.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More credible Authors' Books about President Obama - Part 2

Yesterday in Part 1, we saw political analyst Dinesh D’Souza’s impression of President Obama’s ideology. I’ve also previously recapped liberal reporter Ed Klein’s The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House).

Now here’s a book by a young financial banking insider who admits being extremely liberal and completely taken in by Obama in the 2008 election. Shawn Smeltz, author of USA: Unaware, Scared and Angry, says all that has changed for him; his eyes have been opened by the last four years.
Smeltz isn't a professional writer or wealthy Wall Street financial tycoon. He’s a middle-management bank employee making a modest middle-class living, who felt compelled to share his insight with the public. He tells of his experiences being instructed to lay people off after the failure of 26 banks; the home mortgage foreclosures and the failure of Wall Street even after the second stimulus money toward the beginning of Obama’s first term.
Things may have started before Obama’s election, Smeltz says, but they’ve only gotten worse through actions that cannot be blamed on the Bush Administration (and which actually began under Clinton).
Smeltz now feels like a victim of what he calls a poison message by Obama (p.21); the message of “change” and Obama’s disbelief in America’s exceptionalism. This message not only targeted poor people, but hardworking citizens who try to excel. The message of change clouded peoples’ convictions and desire to do the right thing (p.22).
He says Obama’s arrogance began increasing behind the scenes; that the president’s  lack of experience in managing or leading people was overtaken by his charisma (p.54). This agrees with Klein’s assessment.
It became obvious to Smeltz that Obama’s idea of success was something dictated by a ruling authority – not success through hard work (p.54-55 – written even before Obama said “You didn’t build that.”)
Through Smeltz’s financial training, he realized the Obama administration’s new rules would destroy the economy instead of rebuild it (p.68). With overreaching regulations like those in the Dodd Frank Act of 2010, it became impossible to keep circulating money back into the economy, and that Obama began treating the banking industry like America’s enemy (p.76).
He says Obama’s plans became clearer: Take away individual success and replace it with government control and redistribution (p.89).
Here’s one harrowing story Smeltz tells of how the government encourages citizens to remain dependent on things like welfare (p.97-101):
He hired a young single mother. She showed great promise, was capable and dependable. The job was giving her a sense of pride. One day she came to Smeltz and said she had to quit, because she was on government subsidies. She’d gotten a letter saying if she kept working, they’d have to take some of her benefits away (benefits she qualified for, even though she had a job). Her bank salary wasn’t as much as these benefits, and her children would suffer without the extra money.
Smeltz told her he could offer her a raise after she was there a certain amount of time, but it wasn’t enough. She had to quit, and went back to fully living off the government. He says her future with the bank could have been brilliant.
Smeltz saw leftists, Democrats and liberals labeling prosperous individuals as being selfish and crooked. Their goal was to appeal to those less fortunate – and to people who didn’t want to put any effort into improving themselves but were content to blame others (p.122).
Smeltz, knowing more about how Wall Street functions than the average citizen, says Obama was wrong to embrace the Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist uprising without ever addressing the rapes, drug use and pillaging being caused in the streets by these rebels (p.132).
But perhaps his biggest shock was seeing the similarity between Obama’s actions and Marxist/Communist governments:
Smeltz’s wife is from the Ukraine, and he’s been there numerous times to visit her family. He says Obama’s tactics are similar to Ukranian government: If individuals made more than the government allotted, the government would confiscate it and distribute it “as it saw fit” (p.137 –sounds like Obama’s limit of making $250,000 before more taxes will be taken). Most Ukrainian people lived below USA poverty standards.
Smeltz said the government controlled everything in the Ukraine, like when your hot water could be on, and what was sold in the markets. Even with the government taking the people’s money, the roads and bridges were nearly falling apart everywhere (p.173,140).
Smeltz concludes that our situation is clearly a result of this president’s failure to do anything to benefit the American people (p.149) – no one else’s.
One, two or three authors not enough proof for you? Here’s another about President Obama’s plans for America: Fool MeTwice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years. It's Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliott’s third in-depth study of Obama, including his links to Marxist philosophy. They are both New York Times best-selling authors.

(This writer is not receiving any compensation or recognition for mentioning the above books.)
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More Credible Authors' books about President Obama - Part 1

I read Dinesh D’Souza’s bestselling book, Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream, and now can't decide which is more compelling - the book, or his acclaimed movie, “2016.”

D’Souza is a political analyst who was born and raised through his teen years in Mumbai, India. He came to America for college. Today, he’s considered one of America’s top political thinkers and has had articles in most mainstream magazines.
In “2016,” D’Souza says he got a stark eye-opener to find people in America living in-between the very wealthy and the very poor. In most communities in India’s caste system, there was no such thing as a middle class, and no way out of poverty unless you went elsewhere. 
He says Americans don’t realize what we have here. Although capitalism’s not perfect, it’s better than the alternatives. Our poor people are considered “rich” by most dictators’ standards. So imagine how much worse it could get.
“2016” then explores how Barack Obama was raised, and how he attained the philosophies he has carried into the White House about America being not much more than a “bully” to other countries, and about the “redistribution of wealth” – a tactic often employed in socialism and communism.
D’Souza says, through his life experience, wealth redistribution does only one thing – strips the wealthy families and makes the government rich. The money never trickles down to poor people…the system only ends up making more people poor. While government officials & royalty live in luxury, the poor continue to suffer.     
(My own perfect example of this - President and First Lady Marcos of the Philippines. For those unfamiliar, “President” Marcos stopped elections, became a dictator, and usurped the wealth of his country by notoriously spending government money with his wife.)
“2016” delves into Obama’s upbringing in Hawaii. His mother was influenced by his father with communist ideas. She rejected her second husband’s belief in free enterprise and wanted Obama mentored with anti-colonialist (we’d call it anti-establishment) ideas. So she put him under the mentoring of Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist party. Usually, psychologists will tell us we become what we learned in our formative years. Criminals even blame their childhoods for their crimes. Yet, we are asked to ignore what Obama learned during his upbringing. 
Back to D’Souza’s book… In “Obama’s America,” D’Souza says that although there are problems in both major political parties, it is obvious to insiders that Obama has no desire to keep America a Number One nation (p. 7).
There is evidence that Obama argues with black community leaders over black issues like inner-city poverty (p. 23). Even Democratic Rep Maxine Waters (whom I’m sure will nevertheless vote for Obama again) has said black families are still hurting and the president doesn’t maintain a high visibility in poor black communities (p. 23,24).
Obama’s policies, described throughout, promote reduction of America’s access to energy at home (p.138) while granting money and access to at least three other countries to drill off our shores (p. 139).
D’Souza’s interviews and research prove the president deliberately increases the debt in order to shrink America’s world power because he considers America to be an oppressor (p. 190).
Very little of Obama’s questionable activities and associates described by D’Souza are reported by mainstream media (p.209).
To make a long story short, the book confirms, through harrowing insider experiences and interviews, much of what conservative news sources report. But all of it is poo-pooed by more liberal news stations and Democratic politicians who never bothered to properly vet the president.
People will say D’Souza is a far-right conservative. But I’ve previously recapped a book by a very liberal reporter that backs up much of D'Souza's findings: Ed Klein’s The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House.
And there is yet another, by a young financial banking insider who admits being extremely liberal and completely taken in by Obama in the 2008 election. Shawn Smeltz says all that has changed for him; his eyes have been opened by the last four years. See this in Part 2.
 
(This writer has not received any compensation or recognition for reviewing the books mentioned herein.)
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Really Happened with God at the 2012 Democratic Convention?

For the purpose of this post, let’s be sure we know that a political party’s “platform” isn’t just the thing that’s built for speakers to stand on at the Conventions! I was surprised in talking with several people who had no idea what a “party platform” is.

A party’s platform is the document that states what they represent, and what ideas and ideals will be the foundation of a candidate’s term in office.


As an article at CBN News stated: In 2004, the Democratic platform mentioned God seven times in relationship to the rights and capabilities of Americans. In 2008 God was mentioned once, about everyone having a chance to “make the most of their God-given potential.”

This year, prior to the Convention, the Democratic platform made no mention of God. Instead it said “each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”

The document also refused to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel (many leftists and liberals feel it is the capital of what should be Palestine).

Concerned individuals and religious groups called the media’s attention to the fact that there was no mention of God. President Obama started getting questions and pressure from all sides and even members of his own party.

This pressure is probably the one and only reason he sent Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa out onto the podium that Wednesday night at the DNC to “take a vote” of the delegates to see who wanted God (and Jerusalem) re-inserted back in the party’s platform.

The vote should be remembered as a disastrous moment for the Democratic Party (quick, see the video here before it’s suspiciously taken down like many other copies). NOTE: The first vote in the video is just a vote to allow the re-insertion amendment to be read. Keep listening for the vote to actually put God back in the party’s document.

After having the re-insertion amendment read for the attendees, Villaraigosa took three votes about whether to accept the amendment putting God back in the platform. The first two times, the Yeas and Nays were about even. He couldn’t get a reliable “Yes” for God. There were, in fact, many adamant “Boos” against God. After the second time, Villaraigosa didn’t know what to do. He looked around; a lady stepped forward and told him something, so he asked the room again.

The third time, it is discernable in the video that the “Nays” actually outweighed the “Yeas.” But Villaraigosa said “OK, in the opinion of the chair, two-thirds of the vote is in the affirmative.” There was again loud booing.

It was obvious he’d been given instructions to accept the amendment before a vote was ever taken. The Obama administration refused to lose face by letting the Nays have it. After that night, various Democrats began saying they ‘couldn’t let the citizens believe the party didn’t care about God.’

Any Christian or Jewish person who saw the event or sees this video should have trouble continuing to identify with the Democratic party, or at least with this particular White House that took God out of the document.

Hebrew Scriptures:

Joshua 24:15: “…As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Ezra 9:1: “The priests and the Levites have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices…”

New Testament:

Ephesians 5:11: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

1 John 1:6
“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”


The 2012 Democratic platform now has one mention of God re-inserted. All evidence of the previous version is gone.

The 2012 Republican platform contains 12 references to God or various words like Divine Providence.

Mitt Romney may not believe in Jesus exactly the way Catholics and Protestants do, but he doesn’t boo God. He stands more for Godly values than our current president.

You’ve seen how a government without God is taking our nation downward instead of upward toward new success. What about your own success? Does it depend on God or worldly things? See my pocket-size Devotional, “God Am I Nobody?” in the near right column.

Did you like this post? See the earlier post, What Happens When People View Government As God?
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