Saturday, December 2, 2017

The God Who Saves


Once again the Christmas season is upon us.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving I went to Watter’s Creek in Allen, to see the Christmas lights and, as always, I was surprised at how many people were there just to have somewhere to be.  A number of Muslim families were there enjoying the beautiful scene and taking family photos in front of the Christmas tree and the lighted reindeer pulling a sleigh.  Doubtless there were countless other people who were raised Christian but who have long since forgotten what Christianity is who were there as well.  It was an interesting comment on a society that is surrounded by Christmas from before Thanksgiving until January 2 but that has forgotten the meaning behind the celebration.
The story of Christmas is not the story of a refugee family fleeing Palestine, nor is it the story of a struggling single mother.  The Christmas story is the story of how God fulfilled His promise to save a fallen world by being born as a human, living among us and dying on a cross.  Without Easter, Christmas has no meaning and without Christmas, Easter has no victory.

We live in a world of increasingly brutal violence and fear where people long for salvation.  The Psalmist tells us that salvation belongs to God (Psalm 3:8).  Salvation is proprietary--He owns it.  If we don't find it in Him, we don't find it all.
Christmas reminds us that salvation is not far away or out of reach.  Christmas reminds us that God so loved the world that He came to live as one of us.  The name Jesus, Yeshua, is the Hebrew word for salvation.  It is in this name that God has revealed Himself as the savior of the world.  If we don't experience salvation through Jesus, we don't find it all.

I invite each of you this Christmas to experience the God who saves.  He is strong enough to deliver you out of whatever circumstances you are facing.  And He is the only hope for this lost and fallen world.

Merry Christmas.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her holiday series, Kinsman, is available in paperback and on Kindle. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.
 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Give Thanks

Every Thanksgiving for as many years as I can remember, my mother had a tradition at Thanksgiving dinner. After my father prayed over the food, my mother asked each of us to name one thing that had happened in the last year that we were thankful for. As I got older, knowing that I would have to state what I was grateful for, I started thinking about the year a couple of weeks in advance of the holiday, and I found that even in difficult years, I had a lot to be thankful for. My mother's tradition has helped me to really think about the meaning of Thanksgiving each year.

Having come through a year of intense work, I am ready to list the things for which I am most grateful in 2017:

1. Hillary Clinton is not president.  Yes, I know the GOP is doing a lousy job.  I also know that if they don't get their act together in a big way, next year the elections are going to be dramatically different than they were last year (last night's elections proved that.)  But for today, I am grateful that while the GOP hasn't managed to get anything done, we are not at the mercy of Nancy Pelosi and company who always manage to get their agenda through regardless of how unpopular with the public or destructive to the future of a nation.  (It's really hard to stop a woman who will pole-vault over a wall if necessary just to pass a hugely disliked bill so that we can find out what's in it.)

2. The housing market has rebounded.  Here in DFW, housing prices are 40% higher than they were before the 2008 crash.  That is a great thing for property owners.  For buyers entering the market it creates some daunting challenges, but overall having housing prices and values rebound is a good thing. (And the market is cooling off as buyers are now refusing to pay too much for properties--also a good thing.)

3.  I spent this year working with a great group of people in a great environment.  Even though the hours were long and the work was intense, I could not have asked for a better team.

4.  Proposition 2 passed last night in Texas.  This badly needed change to the Texas Constitution will allow more Texans to borrow against the equity in their homes while still keeping the protections that preserved Texas through the last housing bubble.  This update to the law has been long in coming and we finally got it.

6. Frontier 2000 Media Group has produced three new books in the last 12 months.  Last year we launched the Kinsman series by publishing The Invitation on Christmas Eve.  This year we have two more releases:  Precisely at Midnight, which is Book 2 of Kinsman, and N: Plain Sight, which is the third installment of N.  I am very excited to see our company growing and to have new releases for the start of the holiday season. 

7. God hears us. No matter how dire our circumstances may appear or how desperate we may feel at times, we are never alone when we know the Lord.  I went through years of extreme sadness, loss and stress and to not be in that place any more is a huge gift.  I spent much of this year--as I have spent the past decades, praying and working.  Much of what I prayed for and worked for is still left undone.  But I trust that God has this and that He hears us when we call out to Him for help.  So I will continue to pray for America and ask Him to save this nation.  And I will continue to trust that He sees both the big circumstances facing our nation and the individual circumstances of our lives and that He cares equally about both.  "Don't worry about things--food, drink and clothes. For you already have life and a body--and they are more important than what to eat and what to wear. Look at the birds! They don't worry about what to eat--they don't need to sow or reap or store up food--for your heavenly Father feeds them...And why worry about your clothes? Look at the field lilies! They don't worry about theirs. Yet King Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as they. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't He more surely care for you....So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time." (Matthew 6: 25-34 TLB)

Now that's something we can be thankful for every day! Happy Thanksgiving.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her holiday series, Kinsman, is available in paperback and on Kindle. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A GOP Indistinguishable from the Dems--Do You Want to See Something Really Scary?

This marks the seventh annual edition of "Do you want to see something really scary?" The recurring title of this post is, of course, a tribute to Twilight Zone--the movie. I did not see it--my mother was extremely strict and never allowed us to watch horror movies or even light comedy containing anything that smacked of the occult. But I remember my father coming back from a trip and telling us that he had been driving with his nephew on a dark, wood-lined road when his nephew told about the scene from Twilight Zone where a set of characters are in a car at night trying to scare each other. Finally, one of them says to the driver of the car, "Do you want to see something really scary?" When his friend agrees, he turns his face away, and when he turns back he has become a monster who kills the young man who is driving.

Over the past seven years that I have been writing this post, I have used it to highlight the scary problems in our political world.  And every year there is more and more to fear.  The real life events taking place in our country today are worse than any scary film plot ever hatched in the mind of any Hollywood producer.

Last year I was writing the post three weeks away from a national election that was going to make either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton president, and I thought that was scary stuff.  Of course, as we know, Trump won states that have gone blue for scores of election cycles, and the GOP retained control of the House and the Senate.  So, for a few weeks, anyway, it appeared to the na├»ve and uninitiated that we might actually see at least part of the conservative agenda passed into law.

A few weeks after the election last year I was talking to my brother, and I remember telling him confidently that at least now we could expect to see Obamacare repealed.  "Don't be too sure," he cautioned me, and then went on to remind me that health care constitutes 1/6 of the economy and that government officials from either party don't easily relinquish control.

Now, nine months into the Trump Administration, with no major legislation passed, no legislative end to Obamacare in sight, a tax plan that will almost certainly die an agonizing death before the end of the year, no immigration reform, etc., I have to admit that Chris is right.  In fact, the only really positive comment I can make about this Administration is that nothing has been accomplished legislatively and so that does actually signal that we are better off than we would have been under a Hillary Administration.  After all, Democrats get their priorities passed legislatively--even if, as Nancy Pelosi famously said about Obamacare, they have to "pole vault over a wall" to do it.  Because this is a proven fact, I can state confidently that if Hillary were president right now the House and the Senate would be rubber stamping whatever new idiocy her Administration was promoting, rather than just keeping the status quo.

Having said that, other than the GOP's complete lack of backbone, the two parties are basically indistinguishable.  A vote to repeal Obamacare died on the Senate floor this summer simply because the GOP is not a party of limited government. The GOP, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big business are all united in a push to keep a system in place that picks the winners and losers through excessive regulation and arbitrary enforcements of those regulations.  Nobody wants to return the power of government to the states, nobody wants to reduce the welfare rolls, nobody wants to curtail entitlement programs.

This week Donald Trump used an executive order to allow consumers to buy insurance across state lines.  I think this is mainly posturing for his electorate--insurance laws are extremely complicated and I believe that this attempt to use his "pen and phone" to change complex state and federal laws will likely be challenged in court.  He also refused to fund $7 billion in federal subsidies for low-income Obamacare users being subsidized by the federal government.  This one actually makes sense--a federal court had ruled that since Congress did not authorize the subsidies they are illegal and it is likely to put pressure on the GOP to pass a healthcare bill.  But since whatever bill they pass is going to try to appeal to the insurance companies, we are not going to get a true free-market bill.  We are almost certainly going to get some version of the Obamacare-lite nonsense that the GOP was trying to pass this summer.  Now that Trump has put some pressure on the system by abandoning the subsidies, there may be more appetite for Obamacare Lite, but that does not make it a good solution to healthcare.

What is scariest about all of this is that last Fall the American people voted for certain initiatives--repeal of Obamacare and immigration reform being at the top of the list.  Working and middle-class Americans wanted to see changes that would help them buy affordable health care for their families, that would incentivize job creation so that they could go back to work or move up at work, and that would keep the country safer.  What the Election of 2016 mainly proved is that the Republican party is really not much different from the Democrat party and that what matters to the American people makes no difference to anyone in Washington D.C.  We are just pawns during election season, but we have no real voice and no real say in our government or our nation. 

After 241 years of "government of the people, by the people, for the people," the knowledge that "we the people" no longer matter is really scary indeed.


Alexandra Swann's novel W: The Set, incorporates her novels The Planner and The Chosen which tell the story of  an out-of-control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21 and NDAA.  The set is available on Kindle. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.
 

Friday, July 28, 2017

We Are All Big Government Liberals Now

I have refrained from commenting on the state of healthcare, Dodd-Frank Reform, or any other major policy points while I gave the Republican party the opportunity to keep at least a few of their promises.  As it is now clear to me that this is not going to happen, I can freely speak out.

The GOP promised over and over to repeal Obamacare and yet this morning failed to pass even the "skinny bill" that would have repealed only the most unpopular provisions--the employer and individual  mandates--and kept the rest intact.  Truthfully, most of the Senators who DID vote for the bill voted only with assurances from leadership that the bill would NOT pass the house and would be conferenced into a new bill.  But they could not even get that vote through because the Republicans do not want to give up power any more power than the Democrats do.  And limiting the size and scope of the federal government--and relinquishing a prize as big as health care control--ultimately limits the power of the government.

Although Obamacare is the reason for the rise of the Tea Party movement and the promise of repeal is the reason that most of the politicians currently in Washington have their seats, the attempt for a straight repeal failed earlier this week because there is no genuine desire to repeal the bill.  There never was.  The politicians in Washington have no intention of getting the government out of healthcare--they just want to make more and more Americans dependent on the government for help and assistance so that they can eventually push through a single-payer system.  That is the only place we are currently headed.

July 21 marked the 7th anniversary of the Dodd-Frank bill.  I started this blog in 2010 because of the Dodd-Frank bill.  This bill was crafted to cut off lending to many Americans, to put private business under the thumb of a huge agency with no supervision, and to benefit the huge Wall Street conglomerates at the expense of everyone else.  Never in the history of this country, has there been a more massive expansion of government power than the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The CFPB regulates through enforcement, refuses to create clear rules and assesses excessive, arbitrary fines.  Since the CFPB self-funds completely through fines, the agency is incentivized NOT to write clear rules and to visit huge fines on businesses so that it can continue to pay its employees six-figure salaries.

Now, in 2017, we have a Republican president, a Republican Senate and Republican House of Representatives.  Is there a move to repeal Dodd-Frank and dissolve the CFPB?  NO!  What we have is the CHOICE Act which will "tweak" Dodd-Frank and rein in the power of the CFPB, but not dissolve it and not even seriously curtail it.  Why? The CFPB is a mammoth agency that has already taken over the regulatory powers of many smaller agencies.  To dissolve it would be too difficult--to dismantle it would be to disarm a major weapon for destroying businesses and individuals and a major mechanism for creating winners and losers in a society that no longer believes that free markets should choose the successes and failures.

We seem to forget that until 7 years ago the U.S. had successfully existed for over 200 years without either Obamacare or Dodd-Frank and had thrived as one of the greatest nations in the history of the world.  Now, we just know in our hearts that if we repeal either of these pieces of legislation we will instantly be transported back to the Middle Ages.

But lest we get caught up in blaming politicians for this mess, we also need to take a good long look in the mirror. The problem with America is not just corrupt politicians, or Fake News, or The Washington Post whose editorial staff daily promises the onset of apocalypse if even one of these big government agendas or programs ends.

Like Hollywood, Washington DC is not so much a change agent as a reflection of the changes that have already taken place in society.  Donald Trump is himself, after all is said and done, a big government liberal.  Both parties worked to put him at the top of the Republican ticket because they believed he could be easily defeated by Hillary Clinton.  But he got himself elected by making absurd promises that he could not begin to keep.  For example, he promised that everyone would have great healthcare with low premiums.  He might as well have promised us all a sparkly pink unicorn.  Universal great healthcare with low premiums does not exist.  To get the premiums down we need free market solutions, but free-market solutions are not universal healthcare.  When the government gets involved in a single-payer system, prices go up--a lot--taxes go up and quality goes down, but everyone can have the same universally bad health care.  In a free-market system, competition brings prices down and quality up, but everyone does not have the same universally great health care because in a free-market system no two people have the same amount--some have more, some have less and some have MUCH more and some have MUCH less.

Trump also promised to Make America Great Again through jobs and innovation.  But the government does not create jobs--woe to a city or state or a country whose main employer is the government.  The ONLY thing that government can do is reduce taxes and regulation so that private enterprise can create jobs and innovation.  But to reduce taxes and regulation, the government would first have to reduce benefits and entitlements and increase the power of individuals to make decisions for their own lives.  And yes, there would be winners and losers.

That is the choice between capitalism and socialism--varying degrees of success and comfort versus universal misery.

Unfortunately, Americans no longer understand this distinction because we have been promised our own unicorn so long that we are standing outside waiting for the delivery truck to show up.  And when anyone has the audacity to remind us that unicorns--sparkly pink or otherwise--don't actually exist, or that nothing is free, or that the government that can give you everything you need can also take everything you have, we become enraged.  We don't care about facts, we don't care about simple economics and we don't care about the ultimate cost to our country.  We want our unicorn--delivered on time and as sparkly and pink as we imagined it.  And in a country that increasingly elects politicians not on the basis of facts or proven track records but through a cult of personality that selects the person who makes the most enticing promises, we just have to wait.  In four years we will have another personality who will promise us another sparkly unicorn, and we will run to the polls like lemmings and vote for him.

We don't want freedom, we don't want reform and we certainly don't want our country back.  We just want the guy who promises to help US personally the most.  We are all big government liberals now.




Alexandra Swann's novel W: The Set, incorporates her novels The Planner and The Chosen which tell the story of  an out-of-control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21 and NDAA.  The set is available on Kindle. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Freedom Prayer

 I am often asked to repost this around the Fourth of July.  Our deepest problem in America is a spiritual problem and until we are willing to repent nothing else that we change is going to make much of a difference:


“Lord we come to You tonight to ask for Your forgiveness. The Bible promises that when we seek You, we will find You, if we search with all our hearts.

"Lord we confess that we have not followed Your commands. We have not loved You with our whole hearts--we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not stood for the truth of Your Gospel. We have sat by and said nothing when Your name was blasphemed and mocked. We did not take a stand when we saw Your laws despised.

“We know that many times we ourselves have been among the worst offenders. We have lived sinful lives that are contrary to the word of God. Like Esau, we have traded away our birthright for a little convenience; we have despised this incredible gift of freedom that You provided for us and allowed all of the liberty that our country offered to be trampled down. We have forgotten the words of King David who said that it is better to fall into the hands of God than to be at the mercy of men, and so we now find ourselves living under the rule of a cruel and despotic government who has stolen everything from us and shows us no mercy.

“We know that everything that is happening to us is a result of our bad choices, both individually and as a nation. You gave us the gift of being born into a free nation—the greatest nation the world has ever seen. You gave us a form of government unlike any other that had ever been known by any other people, and we did not value it enough to defend it.

“For all of these things, Lord, we ask Your forgiveness. We pray tonight that You will change our hearts so that each of us will begin to love what You love, to hate what You hate and to want what You want. We ask You to save our nation, for we know that the Bible teaches that salvation belongs to our God—no political party, no ideology, no government can save us. If we don’t find salvation in You, we won’t find it at all.

“Please turn Your face to us again, and give us back our freedom, and restore our country so that we can truly be one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We ask all these things in the name of Your son, Jesus. Amen.”


Alexandra Swann's novel W: The Set, incorporates her novels The Planner and The Chosen which tell the story of  an out-of-control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21 and NDAA.  The set is available on Kindle. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Friday, May 26, 2017

On Body Slamming Reporters, Memorial Day and What's Really at Stake in America

Greg Gianforte won his election yesterday for the open Montana Congressional race.  This victory came on the heels of a misdemeanor assault charge for "body slamming" a journalist from the Guardian.  Gianforte's win is "disappointing" to Democrats who pumped a lot of money into this race while trying to install a folk singer named Rob Quist as Congressman.

Gianforte apologized for the assault--as he should have.  I am not condoning attacking reporters; every person of good will should be opposed to assault on a journalist.  I have journalists in my family so I am particularly aware of the importance of freedom of the press.  And I do believe that we are witnessing a hardening and coarsening of our culture that began long before the last election and has worsened since.  I believe that this hardening is ultimately very damaging to the society as a whole.

As people who read this blog already know, I did not vote for Donald Trump in the last election--nor did I vote for Hillary Clinton.  For the first time in my adult life I voted for a third-party candidate.  I agreed completely with author Brad Thor's description of the Trump campaign as "an embarrassment to clown shows," and I really think that description applies aptly to his administration as well.  I have given up on seeing a genuine repeal of Obamacare, a repeal of Dodd Frank, or even a really good tax plan.  At this point I am just really hoping he keeps his word about not honoring the Paris Climate Accords.  I still believe that Trump has neither the temperament nor the skills to be a good president.

Having said all of that, however, I also am increasingly aware that the media circus that covers Donald Trump and for that matter Greg Gianforte and all other GOP candidates and politicians is in itself a clown show.  Daily headlines about Russian involvement in the last election, bad behavior by the Trump camp and general incivility from our elected leaders are basically smoke screens.  These headlines are designed with one aim in mind--to paint all conservatives as fascist, violent brutes and to make Democrat candidates look more attractive for future elections.

As we look at these headlines, I think we need to not forget that beneath all of the nonsense there is a really serious movement afoot to take this country down a hard-left path from which we will never return.  In just a decade, the left has moved from demanding free healthcare and higher minimum wage to Mark Zuckerberg's suggestion this week during a commencement speech that we should have universal income: “Every generation expands its definition of equality. Previous generations fought for the vote and civil rights, they had the  New Deal and the Great Society. And now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract. We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful.
 
“We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas. We’re all going to change jobs and roles many times so we all need affordable childcare and healthcare that’s not tied to one employer.”

Universal income? Really?  The government should guarantee income so that people can try new ideas?  The last person to posit an idea this absurd was Nancy Pelosi when she promised that Obamacare would free people from "job lock" and allow them to pursue their artistic talents.

Or how about this piece I shared two weeks ago from the New York Times entitled How Homeownership Became the Engine of Income Inequality.  When I shared this piece two weeks ago it was to comment on the fact that the author equated mortgage interest deductions with Section 8 housing subsidies.  But the real point of this article is that in our society homeownership is reserved for the more fortunate while the less fortunate are left out and that homeownership itself is a symptom of inequality.

The author writes, "The owner-renter divide is as salient as any other in this nation, and this divide is a historical result of statecraft designed to protect and promote inequality. Ours was not always a nation of homeowners; the New Deal fashioned it so, particularly through the G.I. Bill of Rights."

The article profiles several families--some of whom own homes and others of whom are renters.  The first person profiled immigrated to the U.S. from Ghana as a child and was initially enrolled in a school in Boston where he faced a lot of discrimination.  However, his parents saw that he was being bullied by white classmates so they took him out of that school and enrolled him in a private academy--an act which paved the way for his future success.  Today he is the founder of a consulting and technology company and his wife is a tenured professor of romance languages at Boston College. The couple's income is $290,000 a year and they recently purchased a $665,000.00 home.  To contrast their success they profile a single mother who earned  $38,000 a year in her job in a non-profit before being fired.  This woman cannot get housing subsidies from the city of Boston.  She is unable to improve her life due to a lack of available welfare.  The author notes that she wears "thick glasses" so I suppose we are to believe that this renders her incapable of improving her life through more traditional means--like finding a mate with an additional income.  She tells the reporter that she may have to move in with family members.

We the reader are supposed to be outraged because our system favors those who have supportive family structures, those with enough ambition to pursue and obtain higher education and those who pursue good job opportunities and marry well.  People who choose not to pursue education, who are not as ambitious or who choose to be single parents do not enjoy the same level of success or the same rewards. When all is said and done, the real villain is our inherently unfair capitalist system which rewards some behaviors and not others and prevents equality of outcomes.

The solution to this unfairness, in the eyes of the New York Times, the DNC and Zuckerberg and the Silicon Valley crowd, is socialism.  If only America could be a socialist paradise everyone would have equality--equality of income, housing, experience. 

When I was reading the article, I thought about what my sister-in-law told me about Venezuela.  My sister-in-law had prosperous friends living in Venezuela when Hugo Chavez took power.  Brenda told me that when Chavez socialized the country, the government no longer allowed one family to occupy a home.  Her friends had to open their home to whomever the government chose to move in with them.  Their property was now the property of the government and the government decided how it could be used.  They eventually left Venezuela and moved to the U.S. but the government had essentially seized everything they owned. 

What Zuckerberg and Company won't tell the American people is that in order to give to those who don't have anything, the government must take everything from those who do.  This is not just in the form of income redistribution through higher taxes--ultimately it is wholesale confiscation of all personal property and wealth. 

In his insightful piece in The Daily Signal, Ricardo Pita summarizes the real impact of a government like that of Hugo Chavez.  He was born in Venezuela and lived there as a child before his parents immigrated after watching leftist schemes destroy his country.  He writes, "Socialism is a scam best understood by those who sell it and, eventually, the ones swindled by it."

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day and we remember the men and women who fought and died to defend our country against threats to our freedom.  Today, although we have conflicts worldwide and threats from terrorism and here and overseas, the biggest threat to our freedom is not an enemy we can defeat in battle.  The biggest threat to our freedom is the promise of a socialist paradise where every need and desire of every person is satisfied by the federal government.  Democrats have not been able to sell this lie on its own merits, so instead they are trying something else--keeping a media circus going until Americans are so sick and tired of the "embarrassment to clown shows" that they vote in a leftist government with a socialist agenda.

I am not saying we should give the current Administration or the bad actors a pass.  I am saying that we need to understand the bigger issues involved and determine which stories have merit and which are just part of the on-going circus.

Alexandra Swann has a master's degree in history with emphasis on the French Revolution. Her novel, The Planner about an out-of-control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

You are Invited...

Growing up in the 70's--in the age of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus specials every few nights--I saw a lot of reminders about "the true meaning of Christmas".  Christians reminded us that the true meaning of Christmas is that God's only Son was born in a stable and the angels sang at His birth.  Secularists said that the "true meaning of Christmas" was love and friendship and faith in some unsubstantiated Good somewhere that wanted us all to be nice to each other.

Christmas is long over, and a week from now it will be Easter.  I have never heard anyone say that we need to be mindful of the "true meaning of Easter."   Stores are filled with candy and table settings with bunny motifs and egg-coloring kits.  Beyond candy and fun with the kids, whether  secular or Christian, everyone seems to be pretty sure they already know what is Easter is all about.

I recently attended an event where the speaker was a veteran who had served in the Gulf Wars.  He started an organization called "Carry the Load" because he was distressed that Americans don't properly honor Memorial Day.  He has organized a walk to raise money for veteran's causes and every year the participants meet at White Rock Lake in Dallas and walk to remember the sacrifices of those who served and did not come home.  I was very impressed with the energy that this man brought to this volunteer project and with the passion with which he spoke about not forgetting our troops.  He said that growing up he thought Memorial Day was about picnics and sales at the mall and having fun with family and friends, and he wants to change that for the next generation so that they will understand that real people gave their lives for freedom and hat freedom has a cost.  It is a very worthy project.

For the most part, as Christians, Easter is our Memorial Day.  We tend to view Easter in a historical setting.  CNN is currently airing "Finding Jesus".  Mel Gibson's truly excellent film, The Passion of Christ will air several times over the next few days as it has every year since its release.  Other less well-executed Biblical epics will also air and churches will have live Passion plays, and we will enjoy these and be moved by them.  Growing up, I remember my parents teaching me that Easter is about remembering that Christ died for us two thousand years ago so that we could be forgiven.

The memorial aspect of our Easter celebration is good--it is appropriate and important.  We remember that Jesus was a real historical figure who lived and was crucified and came back to life.  But I have come to believe that it is completely possible to participate in all of the historical and memorial aspects of Easter and still miss the meaning.

The true meaning of Easter is that because Jesus died on that cross two thousand years ago and rose again after three days, the entire world has an invitation to start over.  Easter is God's invitation to every person to begin a new life right now, today.  It is an invitation written in the blood of Jesus--an invitation that says that no matter what the past has been or what we have done or what has been done to us, we can be forgiven, we can forgive others and we can start over. We are invited to be adopted into God's family and become His children.  Easter is the greatest gift that the world has ever known.  And because it is such an amazing invitation, there is a huge cost to those who refuse to accept it.  To refuse this invitation is to turn away from everything that God has planned for your life--both in this life and the next one.  It is to shut the door (often permanently) on the future that Jesus paid for on your behalf.

This year, don't discard the invitation.  Accept it and find out what it means to experience a completely fresh start and discover the life that God has planned for you.   

G-God's
R-Riches
A-At
C-Christ's
E-Expense

Alexandra and Joyce Swann's newest novel, The Invitation, was released Christmas of 2016.  For more information, visit their website at http://www.frontier2000.net.