A Time to Build. A Time to Grow.

By Tina Aviles, Guest Writer

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

“I listened for God. He said to build things and grow things.” Quite a straightforward proclamation for a 10 year old to make at the breakfast table. But, as many moms know, sometimes God reveals himself through words spoken from a child’s toast and jelly stained lips.

That particular morning, I didn’t catch on to the significance of his words right away. I filed it away as our youngest son’s simple response to his Daddy’s challenge earlier that week to try to listen for God’s side of the conversation and not always just ramble on during prayer time. As is his way, God has repeatedly used the truth revealed in that fleeting moment as a touchstone in our lives. Those first words from God that my son heard have a firm place in our family lore and spiritual growth because they are rich with meaning. More importantly the concepts of building and growing have continued to cause us to meditate on God’s word, influenced our course, and driven us to action. 

Building and growing are similar and yet distinctively different. When building something, you use materials readily available, plan, and create something tangible. Fairly quickly, the hands of man can provide results from building. Growing something is altogether different. It requires that you take what is available to you, bury it, wait, and see if God turns what you have seeded into something tangible. Planting requires faith.

Our foremost desire as parents was to be faith planters in the lives of the four children God miraculously sent us. So, to teach the precepts of building and growing, we turned to God’s Word. It was easy to find references throughout the Bible to both building and growing, but it was chapter 32 of the Book of Jeremiah that we continually found ourselves drawn to. Much like today, the days of Jeremiah’s life were filled with some major government turmoil. The people faced God’s imminent judgement due to their sinful ways, yet refused to repent. Jeremiah obediently delivered a message from the Lord that foretold utter destruction and capture of the king by enemies. For this gloom and doom prophecy, the king had Jeremiah shuttled to straight to prison. And, as is common for prisoners, he prayed. Jeremiah’s prayers were the kind of prayers that my husband challenged my son to have. A two way conversation with God, where concerted effort is given to listening for God’s response. Ever faithful, God did respond to Jeremiah with a message that proved once again God’s loving kindness. This is where knowing the difference between building and growing comes back in play. God told Jeremiah to buy a parcel of land and make the purchase known publicly because even though total destruction was coming, God deemed it would not be final. In time, God promised to restore not only their land, but peace and safety to the people as well. Have faith amid impending ruination, a season of building and growing was coming.

No matter what it looks like on the ground, remember that nothing is too difficult for God. Expect restoration. The very course of our lives, the big choices, and the small changes have all been influenced by that kind of faith. My dear friend recently shared these words of Mother Teresa with me, “We are called to love the world. And God loved the world so much that He gave Jesus. Today He loves the world so much that He give you and me to be His love, His compassion, and His presence, through a life of prayer, of sacrifice, of surrender to God.” This great woman of faith understood these precepts. She lived a life that exemplified the way God works through both building and growing. She knew that both were worthy endeavors at the right time. As Ecclesiastes extols, there is indeed a time to build and a time to plant.

Contemplating all of this brings me to pray that we would all want more. More time listening to God. More focus on prayer. More revelation of God’s precepts. Today, consider taking some time to listen for God too. He gave a 10 year old some meaty morsels to chew on and share. He has good things for you too.


Confessions of an Appaholic

 By Bethany Jarrell, Guest Writer and current Texas Eagle Forum intern.

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

What would you do if you took a month to completely unplug? No screens. Not a movie, a TV episode, a quick Facebook scroll or an Insta-story. For a solid month. Could you do it?

For as long as I can remember, my family has made it a point to do exactly that during the month of August. Growing up, my friends mourned with me as August approached. As an adult, most look at me strangely when I attempt to explain why I disappear from social media for so long. 

Even as I write this, I am on day 14 of our month turned off. And it is glorious.

The first week is torture.

I delete all of my apps that would tempt me to distract myself and I find my thumb hovering over a spot where an icon should be. After those first days, I start to notice a few more details in my interactions that amuse me and I find I am no longer looking for a way to phrase my “noticings” to humor the few hundred followers I have accumulated on Instagram.

Halfway through, I might check into Facebook to make sure I hadn’t missed a message, only to realize that the noise and clamor of political posts, those weird quizzes to find out what herb you are, and videos of people trying to smear lipstick all over their faces no longer holds as much entertainment as it did a few weeks before. (No offence, lippies. I’m sure your product is still fabulous.)

It is in this time I reflect on the changes in my life since deleting my apps, turning off my notifications, and generally avoiding the mindless distraction that is so readily available.

And here is what I found:

  1. I feel infinitely more creative – Given back the time no longer wasted away on my phone, I am looking for more outlets of productivity. I built a bookcase, bought a set of watercolors, and have actually written more like I said I would ‘if only I had more time’.
  2. I am more focused – Not at first. The initial struggle of not falling into old habits is a tedious battle. The weekends are even harder. No Netflix binging or Twitter Trolling for this girl. Instead, I sit to read the book I bought at the beginning of the year and organize my planner for the upcoming semester of grad school.
  3. I am more intentional with my friendships – I may not know what they ate for lunch or what funny little thing their toddler said. I might miss an engagement announcement or an occasional invitation. But the connections that bring me life are given the opportunity to be poured into and shaped into something no Facebook post could accomplish. The other night, I had an hour-long conversation with my fourteen and twelve year old brothers about leadership and bravery. We got out the book of Joshua and counted the number of times the Lord told Joshua to be strong and courageous.
  4. I pray more – There is nothing I love more by the end of August than paying attention to the little changes in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Inevitably, He uses this time to help me process the previous months and prepare for those ahead. I spend more time reading and memorizing scripture and watching it impact my decisions and relationships. My prayers are less drive-thru demanding and more five-course dine-in satisfying.

And all of those changes are what make September so hard. As long as it is August, I have a compelling reason to stay “disconnected”. But the first days of September are a tussle between the side of me that wants to pull a Kuzco and boom-baby my way back onto social media and the side that is desperate to hold onto what August brought me.

By the end of the month my life is not extraordinarily different. Only exceptionally fuller, purposed, and peaceful.

I promised myself I would not end this with a challenge for you to do the same thing I do. You wouldn’t have the exact same experience anyway. But I will attempt to summarize my thoughts with this:

Our world is full and the noise can be overwhelming, and the stillness we long to have even briefly is harder than ever to find. Tragedy, celebration, and victory will all come in waves but fighting to clear the air and settle our souls is a worthy endeavor.

Appropriately paraphrased in The Message, Psalm 46:10 says:

“Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. ‘Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.’”

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Let There Be Light

By Brenda Peterson, Guest Writer

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

A few years ago, I felt instructed by God to begin to pray for light, more specifically to pray, “let there be light.” Now while I clearly understood this to be a prayer call to pray for goodness, holiness, and all things God to overcome evil and all things twisted by the enemy, I thought that surely there must be a stronger or more powerful way to pray than just four words from Genesis 1:3! However, there is NEVER a more powerful tool than praying scripture over a situation, and one fragment of God-breathed scripture is more than enough to shatter any force of darkness. So, my husband and I began to pray this simple yet astoundingly powerful prayer. It was an exercise in sheer obedience, directed specifically toward all levels of government, the courts, and the media.

After a period of time, we began to see news story after news story of scandals popping up like daisies. One after the other, we saw corruption, immorality, and unethical behaviors uncovered in the federal government, particularly from the White House to individual members of Congress. We also saw beginning inroads at the state level. We could point to half-a-dozen of these situations at any given time. Now that motivates one to keep praying!! And we shall.

Most of us understand that references to light in scripture refer to God’s holiness and righteousness, and darkness symbolizes evil. Evil loves the dark for that is where it can grow and thrive secretly and hidden away. Never will you see evil gravitating toward a place of light. When it comes to light vs. dark, there is no middle ground. Either light dispels the darkness or darkness snuffs out the light. Even in nature, we see that dusk is the darkness of night overtaking the light of day, and dawn is when light once again overcomes and chases darkness completely away. The two will always war with each other, each seeking to be the force that utterly conquers.

The good news is that light will always win over darkness. Darkness cannot exist in the light, and the smallest flame can chase away darkness. Any time light is introduced into darkness, darkness simply ceases to exist instantly. As long as there is a light source, there is a way for light to conquer the dark. Light vs. dark – good vs. evil – will forever war with each other on this earth. Only one can win… so let there be light!

Genesis1:3 – Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (NKJV)

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About Brenda:

Brenda and her husband own and operate a small business, Tax Prep Financial Services. She has served on the Board of Directors for Tarrant County Eagle Forum, and assists on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory Board.


His Bride and Joy

By Bunni Pounds, Guest Writer and TEF Consultant

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

Recently, our 20 year old (too young but called of God) son, Israel, got married. Our family went to Romania to celebrate as he and his beautiful bride cut covenant and said “Yes” to each other forever.
This beautiful picture of him kissing his gorgeous, radiant, and joyful bride has had me thinking about the relationship between Jesus and His bride, and how much the Father gave up as well, in this adventure called redemption.
December 2015, I dragged my son (yes, kicking and screaming) on a mission trip to Romania. He didn’t want to go but I saw him floundering after his high school graduation and knew he needed to see the world and experience the presence of God outside of his comfort zone.
Little did I know that God would meet him in such a radical way that this little “shy all his life” boy would get on a plane by himself three weeks after he got home from that trip to go back to Romania where he has been off and on for the last year and a half.
It has been hard on us – mom and dad – to see him go even though we raised him on the Great Commission and we knew God was moving so mightily in his life. We couldn’t argue that he wasn’t supposed to be there, so we continued to pray for peace.
Somewhere along his journey in this foreign land, Israel fell in love with his best friend, fellow worshiper, and the love of his life- Teo. She is beautiful inside and out.
I can only imagine what it was like for Father God to see Jesus leave heaven – the safe place that was full of so much glory- to go to a hostile environment called planet Earth. He had to let Him be born of a virgin, be a kid, and then grow up and mature. Eventually Jesus was at the point where He was ready to fulfill His eternal destiny and to lay down His life and the Father had to watch. It was for this full reason He had come to earth, this was His moment, to redeem His bride.
The swell of pride and heartbreak at the same time that the Father must have felt as His “His beloved Son” traded everything He had for a promise- a promise of a bride. Father God knew Jesus had to go to the cross. He knew this was His ultimate destiny, but I am sure heaven cried as the ultimate sacrifice was made.
All Jesus could see in His heart and mind was His brides’ beauty. He was overcome by love for her. Hebrews even says “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.”
What was the joy? 
The joy was the marriage supper of the Lamb- the culmination of His love story where He could finally be with His bride.
As I sat and watched my son’s eyes brimming over with tears as His bride walked down the aisle toward him, I was struck with my own loss (losing my baby boy that I kissed on the cheek over and over again) but at the same time, I was so happy that he had found the perfect bride that I had always prayed for – that matched him completely.
Together in wild unity, joy and sorrow exploded in my heart as my son and new daughter in law became one, but then the rejoicing happened. The dancing. The singing. The pure joy at the marriage supper. It was pure bliss. It had all been worth it!
This is the eternal reality of this love story- you were worth it! The bride from every tongue and tribe and nation was worth it to Jesus.
The bridegroom is singing over you even now, dancing and smiling, and so thankful that you said “yes” to Him.
Just as in this picture above, Jesus is kissing His bride on the cheek as she radiates His love to everyone around. The love is infectious!
“For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the brideSo shall your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5

Facing Our Dunkirk

By Kevin and Marnie Freeman

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

A new movie arriving in theaters July 21, will attempt to tell the story of some rather extraordinary events that took place in May 1940. Tragedy of the most extreme type was about to befall the British, with more than 300,000 soldiers trapped in France and surrounded by a German army more than twice their strength. Short of a miracle, these brave souls, comprising the bulk of the British army, were to be captured, killed, or starved. Yet, as any amateur historian knows, the vast majority was safely transported back to England in what is now known as “the Miracle of Dunkirk.”

Hopefully the movie from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan will tell more than the facts of the matter. The true story is that not one, but multiple miracles took place after King George VI called his nation to set aside May 26th as a National Day of Prayer. The King worshiped God at Westminster Abbey. The rest of the British Empire joined him in churches around the world crying out to the true Almighty. This heartfelt prayer certainly had an effect.

We know from the scriptures that when two or more gather in the name of the Lord, God shows up (Matthew 18:20).  We also know that the effectual, fervent (heartfelt) prayer of the righteous has great power (James 5:16). These scriptures proved true at Dunkirk. As Winston Churchill observed, “335,000 men had been carried out of the jaws of death and shame to their native land.” How that happened was indeed a miracle.

Reverend David E. Gardner wrote a trilogy on Dunkirk entitled The Trumpet Sounds for Britain. He went to be with the Lord in 2002 but MovieGuide saw fit to excerpt his work for a recent article titled History in the Movies: The Miracle of Dunkirk (https://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/history-in-the-movies.html).

Rev. Gardner explained the miracles that saved the men (quoting the Movieguide excerpts):

“The first miracle

The first was that for some reason – which has never yet been fully explained – Hitler overruled his generals and halted the advance of his armored columns at the very point when they could have proceeded to the British army’s annihilation. They were now only 10 miles away! Later, Mr. Churchill asserted in his memoirs that this was because Hitler undoubtedly believed “that his air superiority would be sufficient to prevent a large-scale evacuation by sea.” That is very significant in terms of the second miracle.

 The second miracle

A storm of unprecedented fury broke over Flanders on Tuesday, 28 May, (1940), grounding the German Luftwaffe squadrons and enabling the British army formations, now eight to twelve miles from Dunkirk, to move up on foot to the coast in the darkness of the storm and the violence of the rain, with scarcely any interruption from aircraft, which were unable to operate in such turbulent conditions. The Fuehrer had obviously not taken the weather into his reckoning, nor the One who controls the weather! And, the third miracle?

The third miracle

Despite the storm in Flanders, a great calm—such as has rarely been experienced—settled over the English Channel during the days which followed, and its waters became as still as a mill pond.

It was this quite extraordinary calm which enabled a vast armada of little ships, big ships, warships, privately owned motor-cruisers from British rivers and estuaries – in fact, almost anything that would float – to ply back and forth in a desperate bid to rescue as many of our men as possible.

The Little Ships

There were so many ships involved in the evacuation that this is the way in which Douglas Bader, the legless Spitfire fighter ace, who sped over with his squadrons from the fighter base at Martlesham, near Ipswich, to help cover the operation, described the scene in Fight for the Sky: “The sea from Dunkirk to Dover during these days of the evacuation looked like any coastal road in England on a bank holiday. It was solid with shipping. One felt one could walk across without getting one’s feet wet, or that’s what it looked like from the air. There were naval escort vessels, sailing dinghies, rowing boats, paddle-steamers, indeed every floating device known in this country. They were all taking British soldiers from Dunkirk back home. You could identify Dunkirk from the Thames estuary by the huge pall of black smoke rising straight up into a windless sky from the oil tanks which were ablaze just inside the harbor.”

Yet still, to a very large extent, the German air squadrons were unable to intervene. Certainly not in force, nor in the way Hitler had anticipated, for so many of these squadrons still remained grounded. So much so, that General Haider, Chief of the German General Staff, three days after the High Command had so proudly boasted that the British Army was about to be annihilated, was obliged to record in his diary on 30 May that “Bad weather has grounded the Luftwaffe, and now we must stand by and watch countless thousands of the enemy getting away to England right under our noses.”

A strange immunity 

Even though some squadrons did get through, it seems that yet another miracle happened. Many of the troops on the beaches were favored with a strange immunity. When about 400 men were being machine-gunned and bombed, systematically, by about sixty enemy aircraft, one man who flung himself down with the rest reported that, after the strafing was over, he was amazed to find that there was not a single casualty.

Another man, a chaplain, was likewise machine-gunned and bombed as he lay on the beach. After what seemed an eternity, he realized he had not been hit, and rose to his feet to find that the sand all around where he had been lying was pitted with bullet holes, and that his figure was outlined on the ground.”

 

There was and should be no doubt that miracles took place. In fact, it was so obvious that the British, with such deep gratitude, held a day of National Thanksgiving on June 9 with praying and the singing of Psalm 124:

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say:

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

King James Version (KJV)

Public Domain

So What Lessons Can We Learn from Dunkirk Today?

There are at least three valuable and timeless lessons to take from the Dunkirk Miracle.

First, we must recognize that miracles can still happen today. Sometimes it seems easy to relegate God’s hand of Providence to Biblical Times. And then the temptation is to relegate Biblical accounts as simply stories told as if they were Greek mythology or ancient fairy tales. There is no discounting what happened in 1940, however. That history is so well documented that it must be accepted. And that history is absolute in explaining the miracles that took place.

Oftentimes, people will question Biblical accounts because they don’t experience modern miracles. Dunkirk gives us reason to not only acknowledge the miraculous in modern times but heartens our understanding of Biblical accounts.

Think about it. We have a nation in an impossible situation. A hostile army of superior strength intent on their destruction surrounded their people. That nation cries out to God and is miraculously delivered through the sea. Sound familiar?

Kevin was recently in Egypt and had the opportunity to learn about the mummified remains of Pharaoh Ramses II. This is the Pharaoh commonly associated with Moses and the Exodus.  When the researchers unwrapped him for display at the Egyptian Museum late in the 20th Century, his arms were differently positioned from any other mummy. In fact, the museum officially states that his arms were positioned as if he were holding the reigns to a chariot with his right hand and attempting to hold back an onslaught of water with his left. In addition, x-rays suggest that he died from drowning with sea salt found inside the mummy. Other research suggests that he died around the age of 90. All of this is consistent with the Biblical account of Exodus. (http://thecairopost.youm7.com/news/142273/culture/ramses-ii-pharaoh-of-exodus-researcher-says).

 God’s deliverance is a continual theme in the Bible. Sometimes, this was personal deliverance for individuals or families, as in the case of the three Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Other times, it was a miracle to save a nation (such as David vs. Goliath). But the point is that the history of Dunkirk demonstrates that these are more than stories. And, the miracles did not end when the Bible was finished.

The second lesson from Dunkirk has to do with the importance of giving thanks for God’s deliverance.

It is essential to note that the deliverance of Dunkirk did not end the war. In fact, the British were still heavily outmanned and outgunned. The war was going to be taken to their homeland with the Battle of Britain that would start in the next month and last for another year. And, the completion of the war itself was five years away and the prospects remained dire. Britain was about to be tested as never before and they knew it. And yet, they paused on a Sunday in June to drop to their knees in Thanksgiving, prayer, and praise.

For us, we should be careful to give God the glory and demonstrate our own thanksgiving for any deliverance, whether large or small. We must do this even if we don’t know or see the final outcome. It is too easy to ignore the miracles we experience daily because we continue to fear the larger challenge. A good example from Exodus is how the children of Israel took manna for granted because they remained in the wilderness.

A New Testament example that shows a lack of gratitude can be seen with the ten lepers who were healed. Only one returned to give thanks. Jesus rightly questioned (Luke 17: 17), “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

The third lesson from Dunkirk is a reminder that we ought to be crying out for deliverance. What are you going through today where you could use a touch from God? Do you need God’s miraculous help with your family, your health, or your finances? If God was able to rescue 335,000 Brits from an impossible circumstance, He is clearly able to deliver you. And, for those of us concerned about the declining culture, the economy, or national security threats, it is imperative that we purposely cry out to God now.

There are so many threats we face as Christians in America. There is the effort to stamp out religious liberty, wherein you are not allowed to demonstrate your faith in the marketplace. There is the threat of terrorism and radical jihadists who want to force Shariah law on our nation. There is human trafficking and child exploitation that hides in the shadows but threatens our children. There are potentially systemic threats to our power grid. And, of course, there are international threats from rogue nations and their leaders. The list of threats is long. Given that, shouldn’t we be crying out to God Almighty both individually and corporately?

Sometimes it seems as if God waits for His people to cry out before delivering them. So why aren’t we crying out? Oh that President Trump, accompanied by leaders in Congress, would call for a day of national prayer and fasting to ask for God’s hand of protection. Oh that each state or city’s leaders would do the same. Oh that we would be unwavering in joining together in prayer groups and Bible studies everywhere, to perpetually and persistently petition God for deliverance for our ourselves, our families, our cities, our states, and our country!

For us, the challenge of Dunkirk is to believe in God, to recognize our utter dependence on his sovereign divine hand, to cry out to him ceaselessly, and to understand that the God of the Bible is alive today and He continues to reign in the affairs of men.

Are you facing a personal Dunkirk where things seem impossible and there is no way out? Odds are, you have just emerged from a serious challenge or are about to enter one. Take comfort! The God behind the miracle of Dunkirk is alive and well, ready to help you in your time of greatest need.

If you appreciate the work of Texas Eagle Forum, please consider partnering with us in prayer and financial support.

 

 

Marnie and Kevin Freeman are full on believers in Jesus Christ. They believe their highest calling to be serving God, their families, their friends and clients, their church, and their communities at the local, state, and federal levels. Kevin, an investment manager and CFA, is an expert on financial terrorism, a NY Times bestselling author (http://secretweapon.org/) of Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again and Game Plan: How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack, and host of the new television show Economic War Room with Kevin Freeman (http://economicwarroom.com/).

Marnie is a full time mom, award-winning artist (http://marniefreeman.com/), teacher, volunteer, and sits on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory board and the Tarrant County Eagle Forum Board.


Pieced Together

By Heather Stoner, Grassroots America We the People

Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

When my dear friend Trayce asked me to write a devotional for Texas Eagle Forum, she said “just write what God has been showing you lately”.  I thought “Ha, WHICH thing?!” Have you ever had a time in your life where you feel that EVERY time you turn around, God is taking the opportunity to  show you an area in your life that you need to work on?  I now  know how my precious daughter must have felt in those few (and thankfully they were few)  seasons of life when she seemed to hear my voice OFTEN correcting something she was doing. I am in one of those seasons with God.

Recently, I received a stack of old quilts that had been worked by my grandmother who passed away years ago.  Some of the quilts are lovely with just two colors. Red and white or lavender and white. But my favorite one is the patchwork, multi colored one. If I look closely at the tattered fabric, I recognize a little gingham from a childhood dress she made me, a bit of red striped fabric from my Raggedy Ann doll, and a little calico from the summer she taught me to sew doll clothes.

Today, I feel like that quilt. God has taken the “pieces” of my life and pieced them together to form who I am.  And although there are days that I feel like I am tattered and worn. When I see only colors that are not as crisp and sharp as they were long ago. I remember that God has placed each experience, trial, joy and sorrow in my life to bring me to who I am today in him. Often, I wish he would take a seam ripper and cut out a few squares that I don’t want in my story and replace them with a pretty, new version.  But he knows the pattern of the quilt. Some days I wish I was like one of the ones with only two colors.  A life more settled, safe, and sane. But he saw fit to make mine full of textures, patterns and color.

Because I made a major move across the county three years ago I feel like a quilt that was pulled out of a chest. It had taken years to gather all the pieces, have a full life and tell a story with a completed pattern.  But when found by a new owner it is only seen for what it is today. They do not know the story, the history or the purpose that the quilt was created for.  BUT the creator knew. Just like my grandmother knew every scrap of fabric and where it came from and that she had created THAT specific quilt with love, for warmth to her granddaughter.  God knows every single one of my pieces. He knows the purpose that I was created for and that there is STILL use and purpose, although a bit tattered and frayed around the edges, left until the day I am called home.

A treasured quilt also leaves a legacy. Years ago, God gave me a verse when I was going through the most difficult, darkest days of my life.

She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

Many days I may feel too small and weak against the forces I am up against. He will give me strength. I want to honor God even in the most difficult of circumstances. He will give dignity and when I get stressed at the world around me. He will give me laughter without fear of the future.  Will your legacy be one of strength, dignity and some laughter along the way?

So, sure there are pieces that we wish we could go back and re-cut. But be excited about the wonderful pattern and design that God is making out of your life. And know that just like every quilt, he has a purpose and will use you to his honor and glory.  Look for how you can use the very fabric of your life to bring purpose to what you do. I look at courageous people around me standing up for what they believe. Many are using scraps of their story to form their testimonies. What do you have to offer? What is the pattern of your life that God is STILL weaving together and still using with HIS purpose in mind. Unique because just as there will never be an exact same hand worked quilt, neither will our stories and legacy be exactly the same.

If you appreciate the work of Texas Eagle Forum, please consider partnering with us in prayer and financial support.


Appeal to Heaven

By Dr. Thomas Schlueter, Prince of Peace House of Prayer Pastor & Texas Apostolic Prayer Network Coordinator

This is part of our new series – Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)

 

The American Revolution was beginning in 1775. The British, the most powerful military in the world, was occupying Boston and problems in the colonies were rising. George Washington and the Continental Army were besieging British held Boston at the time. The British troops were trapped in the city and the only way to receive food and supplies was by sea. Washington wanted to harass and capture as many ships bringing supplies to the troops in Boston as possible, so he formed a small squadron of ships, outfitted at his own expense, for the task. Each schooner was to have a special flag flown from its mast. All boats were to have “An Appeal to Heaven” flags upon them. This flag, also known as “Washington’s cruiser flag.” was a white flag with an evergreen tree in the middle and the words “An Appeal to Heaven” stitched across.

On November 29, 1775, the USS Lee captured the British brigantine Nancy. Captain John Manley was given command of a schooner named the USS Lee, after General Charles Lee. The brigantine Nancy was a massive 250-ton British ship bringing supplies to Boston. Unknown to Captain Manley and the crew of the USS Lee, the ship was carrying tons of ammunition and weapons. The prize was so great that it was said our country would have taken well over a year to produce. Not only was this the greatest capture of the entire Revolution, it also inspired all the founding fathers and the birth of our countries United States Navy as we know it today. The original schooners bearing the“Appeal to Heaven” flags continued capturing British ships and performing special services for the remainder of the war as our new Navy was being formed. In addition to the schooners, the flag was also flown on floating batteries, river banks, in towns, battlefields like Bunker Hill, and even places of most importance like our nation’s capital in Philadelphia.

The Pine Tree, also known as the “Tree of Peace” has been sacred by the Iroquois Indians for over a  thousand years in America. At a very troubling time in their history, a peacemaker united six great tribes from the Great Lake areas and established unity. This great treaty was symbolized by burying their weapons under a pine tree and this tree was to be guarded by a bald eagle at its peak clutching six arrows.

The truth is, our founding fathers and early settlers were very much influenced by the Iroquois Indians. Just around the time of the signing of The Declaration, The Iroquois attended a Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. This meeting was one of the many were the Indians would inspire our founders to unite with them in their ways of living, laws, and style of government. It was just after this that the “Tree of Peace” became known as our new “Liberty Tree” and it would show itself on flags of all kinds, especially those in the fight for our freedom.

The phrase “An Appeal to Heaven” comes from John Locke from England.  Locke was one of the great philosophers of his time. He, like other English Philosophers, was also influenced by the Iroquois in America. “An Appeal to Heaven” comes from his studies on “Natural Laws”, a system of right or justice common to all humankind and derived from nature rather than from the rules of society and the only judge is that of our Creator. Thomas Jefferson penned it well in our Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

As Texans and Americans, let us boldly make our Appeal To Heaven in this hour.

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Take a Moment- #WomenWednesday

For the last 16 weeks, we have been featuring inspirational articles from extraordinary women from all around the state. Their contributions to the Texas Eagle Forum Blog chronicles their journey into the world of grassroots activism and reflect the heartbeat of Texas women everywhere. Each post stands alone and yet is uniquely unified. They are all ready and waiting just for you!

Bunni Pounds – Your Revolutionary Leader is Here 1/24/2017

Audrea Taylor – How Are You Not For Women 2/1/2017

Bethany Jarrell – Not All Millennials Are Created Equal 2/15/2017

Tammy Morgan – Are They Missing Something? 2/22/2017

Debby Efurd – Why the Women’s March Didn’t Speak for Me 3/1/2017

Teresa Beckmeyer – Family, Politics and Power of a Newsletter 3/8/2017

Glyn Wright McKay – Seeking Value, Finding Purpose 3/15/2017

Kara Green – Duty is Ours, Results are God’s 3/22/2017

Marnie Freeman – So How Did I Get Involved in Politics? 3/29/2017

Bunni Pounds – Politics is Not Inherently Evil 4/5/2017

Jennie Krause – Politics- My Ministry, Not My Identity 4/12/2017

Cindi Castilla – Books, Reading, and Political Activism 4/19/2017

Emily Horne – Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly 4/26/2017

Marilyn Statler – If the Lord Nudges… 5/3/2017

Karen Starnes – The Road Ahead 5/10/2017

If you appreciate the information, influence, and inspiration that Texas Eagle Forum provides during session and year-round, consider making a contribution towards our monthly expenses. Just visit our donate page here.


The Road Ahead

Written by Karen Starnes – (Guest Writer)

Life. As so many have stated before me, “Without Life, there can be no Liberty.” This sacred and precious gift pointed me to get involved in politics. I can’t pinpoint when I first heard about abortion, but it probably had to do with learning of Roe v. Wade. Like any child, I instinctively knew it was wrong.  Through the years I heard stories of young girls faced with seemingly no other option, and sympathized with them. I heard things like, “There is nothing we can do because it’s the law of the land.”, and “It’s a blob of tissue, and won’t feel anything anyways,” influencing my developing mind to accept that it might be ok in certain circumstances.

Growing up, my family watched the news together and my parents talked openly to my sister and me about current events, morality, and the Lord. They believed that prayer changes things and they modeled trust and faith in God no matter how unfortunate things might have looked for our country or in tough times at home.  A sign always hung in our entryway quoting the scripture from Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We praised Jesus in the good times and bad at the Watson Home.  I’m so grateful for my upbringing in church and a loving family. It’s something I have never taken for granted, and I remember nostalgically being proud of America during a time when it seemed everyone loved our president, Ronald Reagan

During my government class in High School I remember thoroughly enjoying a project assigned to research presidential candidates for the upcoming election and choose who you would vote for and why.  I enjoyed watching the debates, reading newspaper articles, and was fascinated by the process. It was incredibly disappointing to me to miss turning 18 in time to vote when Election Day arrived. I had met the love of my life, Joel Starnes by this time as well. He was raised a Rush Baby and had a solid Christian World View galvanized by attending Summit Ministries Summer Camp.  Sometimes he challenged me to consider some things that my public school education had influenced me to believe about our government that were at odds with my Christian Faith and the historical facts of our founding.

Politics wasn’t a big part of my life except for the subsequent presidential elections for the next few cycles. I did run for student government and served on the First Year Council, then was a Sergeant at Arms my Sophomore year at UMHB, but didn’t continue on in subsequent years due to being so busy with nursing school and planning a wedding. I voted as soon as I was old enough and felt proud and grateful to be free to participate in the process.

My wake-up call that America was changing came September 11, 2001. I had just climbed into bed after a long night shift working as an RN on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit when Joel called and grimly told me to turn on the T.V. I watched in disbelief and cried and prayed. Later that afternoon I startled awake to loud BOOMS shaking our tiny house; I thought surely it was the end and prepared myself. I soon realized it was the brave soldiers at Fort Hood running training exercises across Lake Belton. It was a sobering time that grew us up. Joel and I considered joining the military and prayed for direction. We both wanted to help our country in some way. My friend who was an AA flight attendant called me to tell me she and her dad, a pilot were safe, but stuck as all air traffic had been suspended.

Fast forward a few years. We had moved back home to the HEB area and had our first born son. Everyone knows how much that first baby changes you!  He came into this world at 36 weeks and was delivered emergently.  I had unknowingly developed HELLP Syndrome which I had learned in nursing school years earlier was one of the most dangerous complications of pregnancy where infant and maternal mortality rates were alarmingly high.  The acronym stands for Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets. Because my platelets were so low, I could not get a spinal or epidural due to risk of bleeding.  I remember thinking, “but they are about to slice into me….” I don’t remember feeling fear, but prayed and asked God to protect us. I wanted so badly to stick around and be Mommy to my son, and I didn’t want Joel to be a widower at age 29. We both made it through the C-section with risky general anesthesia, and despite a few challenges both miraculously were discharged home after only 6 days. Some sweet friends even surprised us with a Limo ride home from the hospital.  Knowing we had experienced a miracle a newfound greater appreciation for life developed and a deeper sense of its fragility.  One thing we also carry with us is the fact that many who experience this complication are much earlier in their pregnancy. It happens as early as 20 weeks. In all my research about the topic, I have never heard of a doctor recommending an “abortion procedure” to rescue the life of the mother. The treatment is to simply deliver the baby as fast as possible and work to save both the newborn, usually preemie baby and its mommy.  A standard abortion procedure would not only kill the baby, but be a riskier procedure for the woman. I am keenly aware of the argument made by Pro-abortion politicians that we must keep abortion on demand legal in order to save the life of a mother experiencing complications, but I have yet to find a complication that would be remedied with abortion vs. swift delivery.

I learned more about the abortion procedure and the history of it first in nursing school and then through my brother-in-law’s work with Priests for Life, Life Dynamics, and the documentary Maafa 21 he was involved in making. The truth about the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, the eugenics movement in America and the diabolical ties to racial hatred and targeting was the stuff of horror movies causing my convictions about Life without exception to deepen. I believe some of my traits are God ingrained in like a sense of truth and justice and a desire to act when called. Micah 6:8 is a go to verse for me and reads, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I also love His word where it says, “ For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Psalm 33:4-5. The entire passage of Psalm 33 is wonderful!  Another passage that influenced me in my walk with Jesus is Psalm 139. Verses 13-18 say, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-when I awake, I am still with you.” Not only do the scriptures affirm how precious the unborn are to the Lord, they were words of deep comfort during a time when I struggled with my identity in Christ, and felt insecure and insignificant. Still, if those old dark feelings creep in, the Holy Spirit brings these life affirming words to my mind and I speak them out loud because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of the Lord.

After Clive was born I remember contacting my Congressman and President Bush urging and pleading with them not to bailout the banks. I was sorely disappointed in the decision to ignore the majority of the people. Joel and I were both engaged in listening to conservative talk radio and lively discussions regarding the massive growths in government while the people became more burdened and ignored. I took Clive in the baby stroller down to the lawn of the City Courthouse in Hurst, TX to join the first Tea Party Rally armed with tea bags and letters for our Congressmen and the president.  We were tired of over taxation with little to no representation for hard working average Americans. Thanks to social media I had seen a lifetime friend’s mother posting about politics and the rally.

We tried for two years to conceive again and were overjoyed when we found out at only two weeks along. We were a little nervous, but I had been thoroughly checked out by my doctor and an hematologist and declared healthy, with little chance of developing HELLP Syndrome again. So when the bleeding started at 9-10 weeks we were heartbroken and pleaded with the Lord to save our baby. I won’t go into detail, but it was a painful time both physically and spiritually. Jesus walked with us through it, but I admit it was hard to understand why this sweet life ended. I cramped and contracted and delivered a tiny dead baby at home by myself.  I have thought many times that is probably a similar experience to those going through an early trimester abortion. There are feelings of shame and regret and feeling like you did something wrong to cause this even when you didn’t.  I was crushed and struggled for a long time. It was in a season of feeling broken that I clung to my Heavenly Father like never before. He carried us and growth happened and even breakthrough in our marriage.  We can testify to His compassion and as Psalm 34:18 states, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  He is “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” II Corinthians 1:3.

About a year later we conceived again and had a sweet baby boy Isaiah.  His name means “Yahweh is salvation”.  My pregnancy with him and his delivery deepened my desire to grow closer to God and increased my love for Him.  There are so many lessons I learned about God’s love and mercy for me through caring for my babies. A mama’s heart is beating for her kids and wants nothing but the best of everything for them.  You love them so much it hurts and would give anything to keep them  safe and free of suffering. You want to teach them everything because you don’t want them to make the same mistakes you did. I felt so many times when speaking life to my babies my Heavenly Father would speak things to my heart things like, “See honey, that’s how I feel about you.”

I became aware of the Pro Life legislation Texas legislatures and Pro Life activists were trying to pass in Austin in 2013 through Facebook first I think, and heard about a call to come to the Capitol in support and prayer.  I had already called my congressman, but felt like I could do more this time. A sweet friend felt the same so we got our hubbies to watch our kids and hopped on the road down to Austin. I had been to the Capitol a couple of times to visit and learn TX history, but had never gone in this capacity before.  There were thousands in blue in support of women and babies all over the capitol grounds as well as thousand in orange there to protest.  We waited in an incredibly long ling to sign in as support for HB2. Then we attended a rally on the south steps. Protesters tried to drown out the truth, but truth was heard. I’ll never forget the presence of the Lord being so strong and feeling so peaceful despite angry protesters all around us. I could almost see the spiritual warfare going on in the heavenlies….It was tangible. When the rally officially ended we were still singing praise and worship songs while protesters descended upon us screaming and yelling hateful things. I wasn’t afraid even when a lady got in my face and started screaming at me. We peacefully moved to the side and let them protest. My friend and I joined up with a group of ladies from church and Texas Eagle Forum and were led in prayer by Trayce Bradford. I was so inspired by these ladies and knew I want to stay involved in some way. The bill miraculously passed. It was a step towards victory in protecting life.

I’m only scratching the surface of how the Holy Spirit has been drawing me to be involved in government change. My prayer is to be a light, a servant of Christ and an instrument of peace and justice.  Many times my involvement is not what I think would make a huge difference, but I feel compelled to obey and act when He calls. I know that all of us doing a little can make a huge difference! I’m a busy homeschool mom of two precious boys and now a sweet baby girl. He’s brought me on a journey of finding my identity in Him alone and to a place where I can lay down fear of man to seek Him and boldly walk out who He has uniquely created me to be. It’s such a pleasure to serve Jesus and although never perfectly, I’m learning to count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds.  My God is faithful.  He redeems and restores; He shines light in dark places and comforts those who mourn. He is a life giver, and wants us living life abundantly.  Thank you for reading my story and I pray you are encouraged in some way through what I have shared.


Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly: How I Got to Here

By Emily Horne (Guest Writer – From Texas Right for Life)


Like many others, I often find myself in the craziness of everyday life without having looked up in a while. Without having taken the time to thank God for where he has placed me, and the work he has given me. I work full-time in the Pro-Life movement lobbying for Pro-Life policy, and in many ways, landed here unexpectedly. But if I am honest when I look back, I can see the building blocks had been laid my entire life while I was making other plans, and I thank God now that he knew what he was doing. Trayce asked me to write about what led me to where I am now, so this is my best attempt to explain God’s path for my life thus far and to thank him for all the times he has persistently directed me back to that path.

I always assumed I would spend my life as my mother did, raising a lot of kids. I’m one of nine children, and no, we were not Catholic or Mormon as we were frequently asked – my Dad loved to embarrass us in front of strangers by saying we were “passionate Protestants.” I loved being a part of a big family and still do, I’m forever thankful my mother chose to pour her life into raising us. Faithfully living out her calling to give us a Christ-centered foundation.

Perhaps it was having three older brothers and having to fight to be heard, but I found my voice early and had a strong sense of justice as a child. I would like to think I used it to stick up for my younger siblings, but I think my Dad would say I used my argumentative skills to my own benefit most of the time. I knew what was right, and even if you disagreed with me, you would have to listen to me loudly argue my case before I let any matter rest. There are lingering accusations that I was the most stubborn child of the nine, but it is hard to prove these things. My favorite bible story (my Dad read this to me at my request countless times before I finally started reading it myself) was Esther. I was in awe of her courage to do what was right at the risk of her life, crusading for the lives of her people.

When I was 15, I vividly remember the Scott Peterson case that dominated the news. He was suspected, then convicted of murdering his wife Laci who was 8 months pregnant at the time. What made this case so unique, as many of you remember, is that Laci and her son Connor’s bodies were found separately, leading Scott to be tried and convicted of two murders. This later led to the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act which punished anyone injuring or murdering an unborn child, also known as the Laci and Connor Peterson Act. This was the first time since Roe v. Wade that unborn children had ever formally been recognized as persons worthy of protection. At 15, many of the deeper levels were lost on me, but my sense of justice had been awakened. I thought I knew my life plan. I wanted to go to law school to become a prosecutor, to achieve justice by fighting for vulnerable people like Laci and Connor, and bring due punishment to murderers like Scott. I thought I knew the specific plan for my life. Thank God that was settled.

My high school graduation verse was Psalm 96:10, Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.” (NKJV) No Jeremiah 29:11 for me, I didn’t need to be assured of God’s plan, I already knew what it was! Psalm 96:10 told me that God was in this justice thing with me, that I was firmly established with God bringing justice to the world. I had a plan.

Perhaps it’s wise now to contrast this verse with a more widely known verse about justice, Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness [or mercy], and to walk humbly with your God? (NASB)

Justice is a concept invented by Christ. He was establishing justice for the most vulnerable (orphans and widows) in the very first written law, in Exodus. Why then, does he couple justice with mercy and humility when he instructs us on what he requires of us? Could it be that our human sense of justice without mercy and humility is an incomplete and poor reflection of his idea of justice? I shudder to think of where we would be if we justly paid the price for our sins. But for his mercy and humility, justice would be a dark concept. And yet, our earthly understanding of justice can often lead us to shed mercy and humility when executing earthly justice, or what we understand it to be. Our sense of justice can leave us blind to other perspectives, blind to the possibility that we don’t have all the answers, because crusading for justice means we are on the right side, pay no mind to the naysayers! At least this was my high school self – I had little patience for other perspectives, and knew that I was right most of the time. Mercy and humility were not the most apparent traits in my life at the time.

Source from http://blackchristiannews.com

I’m thankful God began the long process of changing and softening my heart before I landed in the Pro-Life movement. Because you do need that sense of right and wrong, the conviction that can carry you through fierce battles, but this is not all you need. Ask anyone in the Pro-Life movement what the most important character component is that you’ll need and they will say compassion, or that sense of mercy for the women most deeply affected by abortion and unplanned pregnancies. You’ll need the humility to shut up and realize your words and sense of justice do not matter to a scared young woman in crisis. She needs kindness and a listening ear before she can hear anything you might have to say.

Throughout college, God began to open my heart towards children and motherhood, leading me to question if I wanted to put myself in debt and three more years of school before starting my career path. I had the vague idea that I didn’t want to be paying off law school if I was going to be raising kids just a couple of short years later. There were some clear moments of direction that led me to slowly move away from my plans of law school, but those moments did not clearly lay out my direction following graduation. By the time I graduated Texas A&M with a business degree, I was fairly certain I wanted to work for a non-profit. Again, not because I had a clear vision, but because I knew I wanted to be working for a cause, something bigger than myself. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a category on the job search engine. So, I worked a year for my Dad’s small business, unsure of what would follow.

Less than a year later, Texas Right to Life, an organization my parents had supported for many years, announced they were looking for an additional person to join their lobby team working to pass Pro-Life laws. Thankfully my Dad realized this was the cause I had been seeking, the place for my passion. And thankfully Texas Right to Life was willing to give me a chance, someone that knew nothing about Texas politics and even less about public policy.

Now in my fourth legislative session, I’ve come to love studying and influencing policy, and fighting for the unborn. Living without that law school debt doesn’t hurt either! I’ve been blessed to be part of the team lobbying for the Sonogram law, the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas, and the 2013 Pro-Life omnibus bill HB 2. I recently began to wonder why it was God had changed my course from law school, thinking I would be parenting young children, since God has still not called me to marriage and motherhood. God gently pointed out that had he not changed my course, I would have been in law school or paying off law school during all those great gains made for Life in Texas – the 2011 Sonogram law, and all that followed.

God has continuously shown me his plan for me despite my stubborn attempts to chart out my own path. I’ve grown more and more thankful for that, knowing that I am not owed even the roadmap he has shown me thus far. I do my best to approach my life with unclenched fists and an open heart to his path, knowing now that even if my heart isn’t open, he will eventually place me where he wants me despite my best efforts. Thank God for his mercy in caring for us despite our self-destructive efforts! So that’s how I got to where I am now, and I face my path forward with joyous anticipation.


Books, Reading, and Political Activism

Written by Cindi Castilla (President of Dallas Eagle Forum)


I fell in love with reading quite young. My mind would create pictures of the landscapes and people and I would sometimes imagine myself in the situations the story explored. When reading Johnny Tremain, I wondered if I would be willing to risk capture and maybe even death to spread pamphlets about the Revolution? Yes!

Reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, I promised myself that I too would hide Jews if I lived in Germany. I would have been part of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation.

I would endure hardship, live on the prairie and help do the hard work to survive! I would help slaves along the underground railroad! If I lost use of my hand and legs, I would write with my mouth (like Joni E. Tada and several others!) Books helped me not want to miss any worthy opportunity.

How in the world did reading lead me to politics?

My parents were always supporting people for office while I was growing up. We would collate flyers for distribution at polling places as a family. Long car rides became discussions of political issues. I became a Christian in High School and transferred to a private school where I began to understand God’s amazing design for man and for me.  I had a standout government teacher in 12th grade who introduced me to Adam Smith, Milton Freedman, our amazing Constitution and the fact that Time Magazine was liberal!

There was a moment when I realized I could make a difference… I wanted to live out the novel or the biography. I could dive into issues and politics and do something rather than only read about how others made a difference.

I joined conservative groups at college, made calls for trusted candidates, handed out material at the polls. I got my friends to register to vote. When we were a young couple, my husband and I offered to help our precinct chairman. I became my precinct chair. We joined a republican club. I became an officer in that club. We got elected to attend the state convention over and over. I was asked to serve on committees at the Senatorial district and State level. All I had to do was step up and say, Yes!

I joined Texas Eagle Forum and other groups to educate me on issues. Just knowing a little bit about people representing us or running for office –  while also understanding some issues has allowed me to educate my children, friends and neighbors. They now look forward to my endorsements of good people who will represent their conservative values in office.

I won’t go on to be a heroine in a book or to star in a movie, but I do know that I will leave a small footprint of effort on the future of my state and nation. I just want to write my own story and help our good leaders write theirs – in any way that I can.


Politics – My Ministry Not My Identity

Written by Jennie Krause (Guest Writer & wife of State Representative Matt Krause – HD 93)


When I imagined my life many years ago, my dreams did not involve politics in any capacity.  I didn’t give much thought to my husband’s career except that I knew I wanted him to be home as much as possible.  Just a regular, average job that paid the bills, but ended at five every day and never carried over into evenings or weekends.  That’s not too much to hope for, right?!  Apparently, God had bigger plans for my husband, Matt, and I needed to get on board quickly.  After just two years of marriage, we moved across the country so Matt could attend law school.  Law school required the majority of his time, but I stayed busy with work and my own education and I knew this was only temporary.  In reality, this was merely the beginning!  I knew God had planted the seed in Matt’s heart many years prior to become involved in politics, but I didn’t have a clear picture of what that life would look like.  In 2010, Matt pursued political office for the very first time.  After a long campaign season, he lost that first race.  I was very sorry for him, but a little relieved at the same time.  I simply wasn’t sure a political life was right for us, especially with babies, babies, and more babies!  I thought maybe once our kids were older (and even out of the house), it would be a more appropriate time.  Matt sought God’s will for the next months and years and strongly believed he should run again.  In 2012, he won his 3 way race outright.  I knew only God could have orchestrated this sequence of events.   A man with barely any name recognition, very little money in the campaign account, and no extensive political background was headed to Austin!  I was thrilled to see the Lord move in our lives so clearly, but also unsure how to keep our family strong with Matt away so often.

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.”  (Ephesians 3:20 KJV)  

Fast forward to the present… we are in the midst of his third session.  Although there have been some challenging seasons, God has been faithful every step of the way to give me grace for the moment.

“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  (2 Corinthians 12:9a KJV)

I still think at times I would be able to better partner with Matt if this political life would have started in about 20 years.  Nevertheless I trust God’s plan and timing.  I am humbled and grateful to report that our family is strong, my love and respect for Matt grows daily, and we are a solid team.  I believe the key to our success in this area is knowing Who is in control.  Matt is free to make decisions based on right motives rather than political moves to get ahead.  The stress of re-election or future political endeavors is non-existent as we have complete faith that God will direct our path and open or close doors as He sees fit.

“And He changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:” (Daniel 2:21)  

This perspective has led me to the realization that this “political thing” is our Kingdom work.  It is our ministry, not our identity.  God has positioned us to be salt which will hopefully bring some encouragement and change to a lost world.

“Ye are the salt of the earth…  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5: 14a, 16 KJV)

We are in desperate need of a revival in Texas and in America.  My heart’s desire is to say “Yes” to the Lord and be in a state of readiness to serve Him.  Revival begins with inner examination and conviction.  We need local and statewide leaders who refuse to compromise when the pressure intensifies.  With eternity in mind, it becomes clearer and easier to have the right priorities.  People are more important than issues and that’s why we must find common ground with others to show love and compassion while not giving into the middle ground/tolerance movement.  

I previously believed there were only one or two political issues that actually affected my personal life.  I thought we could merely keep to ourselves and the government would never intrude on my faith as a Christian woman or as a Christian mom raising my children with a Biblical Worldview.  As our culture is rapidly changing, I find it difficult to view any political issue without seeing how it may shape my life and the future of my children.  The only people our society seems unwilling to stand up for and protect are vulnerable women and children.  This is why we desperately need elected officials like my husband in the Capitol making these important decisions.  I joyfully make sacrifices wherever necessary to support and encourage Matt in his endeavors.  This is my political ministry… to pray for Matt, to encourage and support him, to share wisdom, to give him a happy home where he can return.

This has also been an amazing opportunity to educate my children in government and current issues.  It is incredible to see them think critically about an issue and come to their own conclusion based on their Biblical Worldview.  This reminds me how clear right and wrong, good and evil are to children (and should be to all of us).  It is the handiwork of sin, corruption, and sometimes a political agenda that desensitizes people to immorality over time.  One of the practical ways I engage my children in the political process is watching the proceedings of the Texas House live online.  They are thrilled to see “Daddy” on the computer and it also affords a time for us to discuss the issues being debated and laws being voted on.  For example, it is mind-blowing to my children to think that someone wants to allow men in women’s restrooms or a boy to use the same shower as a girl.  It is also unfathomable to them that it is legal in our country for a mother to choose to end the life of her baby.  The list goes on and on.  

“Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;”  (Romans 2:15 KJV)   

I don’t have a list of awards or achievements; I’ve not authored books or blogs; I am not a sought after orator or performer, but I do know God has positioned me perfectly to be a homeschooling mom of 5, wife to a lawyer and politician, and a student of God’s Word.  I am proud to be a Christian stay-at-home homeschool mom and wife!  I look forward to continuing to be involved in politics in whatever capacity God allows. After all, it is vitally important to our present life and future.  Will the next revival begin in the halls of our Capitol in Austin?  Maybe!  I want to be ready to serve where God is working and I bet you do too!  Thank you for supporting my husband and family with your prayers, love and encouragement.  God bless each of you!


Politics is not Inherently Evil

Written by Bunni Pounds (Guest Writer & Consultant to Texas Eagle Forum)

When I got into politics over 10 years ago, my father, a former pastor, questioned whether I was doing the right thing. He didn’t want me to leave what he considered to be the “call on my life” to teach the Bible. He had this idea in his mind that Christians couldn’t really get involved with politics without corrupting themselves with the “evil”. He believed it was a corrupting game. I told him politely that I believed he was wrong.

I know even more today that politics – the process of certain people getting what they want involving government – is not evil or wrong, it is necessary and it can even be considered a Godly struggle. My dad, years later, came around and knew I was in the will of God for my life, but like so many Christians he struggled with the idea that believers can hold their integrity together in the midst of a political world.

Jesus called us in Matthew — to be salt and light in the world. He called us to make a difference, to disciple nations, and to promote His love, character, and values in this life.

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

When I sat down as a 30 year old mom and contemplated what I wanted to leave my children in this world, I didn’t want to leave them an America that continues to slaughter babies in the womb. My own husband had been affected by the issue before he accepted Jesus, so I was not uncompassionate to the debris of people’s hearts & lives who have been impacted by abortion. I just couldn’t sit by and do nothing about it. Getting conservative justices on the bench who will not legislate from the bench is so important for our great country which means we have to elect people who will appoint the right judges. I understood that then and I understand it even more now.

Ten years ago, I didn’t want them to wake up to an America that is not allied with Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East, and a promoter of freedom and equality. I didn’t want to wake up in a world where we as Christians didn’t stand up next to our Jewish brothers and sisters and defend them. I couldn’t just stand by as liberal forces keep speaking out against our greatest ally and the people that God loves. I had to elect people who would stand with Israel.

The days of standing and looking at our national debt climb higher and higher had to stop back in 2004 and it is worse now. Deficit spending in Washington DC each year is causing our nation to pay it forward to the future in a bad way. This is a bleak reality for our children and grandchildren. Our elected officials had to stop the spending. It had to stop and I had to speak up!

These and many more issues are the ones I cared about when I started as a volunteer in politics and they are still the issues that I talk to all my clients about before I work for them today.

What are the issues we care about as Christians?

It is not unholy to advocate, to speak up, and to be educated on the issues. Most of them are not as black and white as I had originally thought getting into politics – which means people of faith may come down on different shades of a issue, but I believe it is still noble to reach an opinion and fight for what we believe in.

As a fundraiser for multiple clients in North Texas and many Members of Congress, I have a unique opportunity to get to personally know many of our great leaders. Many times I talk to them more often then their own staff. It is such a privilege to walk beside them, encourage them, help them reach their goals, and affirm them that they are worthy of being invested in. Hopefully I am bringing light into their lives with my joy, optimism, and faith in Jesus. Many times, I get to encourage them with the Word, through prayers, or just speaking over them who I feel God is calling them to be. It is a great joy of my life!

I truly am discipling leaders in my own way- my beautiful clients, these amazing elected officials. God has called us to “disciple the nations”. What better way to start then through our leaders?

God has called us to be salt and light. What better way than to shine the light of truth into situations that arise in politics and be the salt that preserves and sees the good in people not just the bad and the ugly?

For me, politics is not evil and I don’t believe the Bible teaches it is.

Yes, there are people who do evil things in politics as in everything.

Yes, there are evil systems and backroom deals and moral choices that cause my stomach to be sick.

BUT if we as believers in Jesus follow our conscience, keep in the Word of God as our compass, and stay humble in this unique seat of power, God can do so much through us in this world.

I have seen this time and time again and I want to continue to encourage the Body of Christ to get involved and to be in some small way the truth in the midst of politics.

Politics is not inherently evil. LIGHT is stronger than darkness in the midst of our culture. We can’t leave it someone else. It is time that we get engaged and stay engaged!

 

With over ten years of experience in Republican Party fundraising and campaign management, Bunni Pounds has raised over $9 million dollars for Congressional candidates and state and local elected officials. She has led one of the best campaign organizations in Texas gaining a reputation as a visionary, meticulous administrator, and an avid fundraiser. She is also an ordained minister and pastors Reality Community with her husband, Tim. You can read more about Bunni and her team at www.bunnipoundsassoc.com.


So How Did I Get Involved In Politics?

Written by Marnie Freeman (Guest Writer)


So, How Did I Get Involved in The Political Arena?

The simple answer is . . . I married into it. That’s it!  End of story.  Sort of.  I mean I could not have told you who the vice president was when I got married!

NO, SADLY I AM NOT JOKING! You know those videos with Watters and “this is his world,” where he is making fun of the undereducated in the political, historical, and news arenas? He would have had a field day interviewing me! And my video, with billions of “views,” would most assuredly have gone so viral I would have ended up on the Ellen Show! Which makes me wonder about my husband’s mental clarity for asking my hand in marriage and asking me to join him in all his political adventures.

Kevin’s been politically involved since birth! I came from the “we-don’t-really-talk-about-the-issues-or-who-we-voted-for-because-it-is-a-private-matter-time-period.” Fortunately, he pulled me along to almost EVERY meeting for oh, say the last 18 years! And I have grown to love it (Most days!) You get to be part of the incredible, the good, the bad and the really ugly!  You too can be involved! Join me!

After only a few weeks of wedded bliss, I went to my first political meeting with top conservatives and unbeknownst to me at the time, very famous from the political, religious, and business arenas.  They gathered (still do) several times a year to discuss policy, government, culture, national security, family, education, religious liberty and more. I did not know about these issues, much less who these people were! I was a lowly political neophyte whose job was graphic design and marketing. Kevin could not understand why I did not get overly excited about meeting the likes of Phyllis Schlafly, Steve Forbes, Beverly and Tim LaHaye, Foster Friess, James Dobson. Okay I had heard of him because my parents, seeking a solution, attended a seminar of his about the strong-willed child. Hmmmmm, what does that say about me?

These conservatives all seemed very nice and way smarter than me, but I figured they put their pants on the same way I do so I chose not to fear their political prowess. At my first dinner, we were seated with Mike Farris. I was unaware that he is a guru, with demigod-like status in the homeschooling community, and founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Literally, first thing he says to me is, “You are newlyweds, sooooooooo how many children do you plan on having?” I’m thinking that information was none of his business! Sadly, I was not even sure I wanted kids. I was a young, naïve, and a hurt lady, being healed over time by my Heavenly Father. So I answered, “I am not sure I want to have children” to Michael Farris, father of ten! He responded with another question: “So how many of God’s blessings are you willing to turn down?”

What????!!! Who does this guy think he is?? I was tiffed! In a couple of years we had our first child and introduced our new little one to Mike. He grabbed her and went around the same very large political group, showing her off, saying, “Look! I am responsible for this!” Yep, that can start rumors! We had such a laugh! My husband had to “correct” Mike.  He rephrased and began to tell people the influence he had on our family. He did and so did Phyllis Schlafly and many others.

Over time, I came to realize through connecting, listening, and learning from these amazing people and their groups, the importance of ALL the issues before us. I realized what conservative leaders were talking about and why they were fighting so hard!

My second education came when I started homeschooling my kids. Wow, where was I during history, government, civics, economics, math, speech, grammar, okay all the subjects? I didn’t remember any of this stuff! I have relearned what I missed (mainly truth), plus going to school in your pajamas is fabulous, having a crush on the Principal really works for me as well, and to see the light bulb go on in my kid’s eyes and how they learn to critically think – is beyond thrilling! I got involved politically right there by educating the next generation! I even started bringing my kids to all the meetings and getting behind candidates, making phone calls, hosting events, and designing campaign materials as well.

I even did a Christmas painting every year and designed a Christmas card around it for anyone or any organization who wants to send a true Jesus-is-the-only-reason Christmas card to their friends, family, and clients.

So, how did I get involved in the political arena? Ahhhh, now I remember… I had prayed a prayer, before I was ever married, a prayer so deep, heart wrenching, as I was seeking God in the middle of chaos (feminism really) and more than a few bad choices. I was begging, with hot tears streaming, that if God delivered me, I would serve him. I begged him to let me do something big for His glory through art, which I had left behind several years earlier in college in favor of graphic design. I wanted to make an impact in culture, ministry, really anywhere. I also wanted to earn a living and learned that graphic design was the way to do that, and as much as I love my parents, I did not want to live with them the rest of my life!

I was ready and this amazing Jesus delivered me from my own craziness and sin! Trust me. He’s still got plenty of work to do, but He’s real and He’s relational, people!  However, I DID NOT see the political arena as being a place for my creative talents!

But, interestingly that is where He has put me! I was an artist – how can I possibly do anything in this arena as an artist? Well, it turns out quite a bit! Seek Him and he will direct your paths!

Let me give you only a few examples, of many, how God has used the talents he gave me to get involved:

I had a client, a gentleman running for State Senate of Oklahoma. He was relatively unknown, but my friend, who helped run his campaign, assured me that he would be a great person to help lead Oklahoma. She knew the political landscape, so I dove in and designed his first logo and campaign materials. Over the years he has gone on to do great things and risen to the top. His name is Scott Pruitt. He served as a state senator, Attorney General of Oklahoma, and recently chosen to head the Environmental Protection Agency. I got to play a small part in that!

Another time, my husband and I were asked to join with a few others to host a coffee, at a national meeting, for an up and coming conservative star, a state senator that was running for Congress. We agreed and I was delighted to help by designing the invitation. Michele Bachmann has since become a friend, held a seat in Congress and then retired, accomplishing a lot while there.

Or a painting I had done, “And Justice for All,” went to support a group, Consource.  Their website was used to help defend the Second Amendment in Washington DC. I was privileged to meet Justice Scalia and present him this painting that he chose to hang in his chambers. It now remains in the Supreme Court’s permanent art collection.

With David Barton and Bill Federer’s help, I painted a scene with Thomas Jefferson on horseback, riding to the U.S. Capitol, to attend church services titled “Church in the Capitol.” We are hoping that will hang in the U.S. Capitol someday to help dispel the misinterpretation behind “a wall of separation between Church and State.” This painting was presented to the current church that meets in the Capitol, The Jefferson Gathering.

I have since become known as the “Artist of Liberty.” ™ We have liberty as God sacrificed all for us. We have the same in our country because men and women sacrificed for us to be free. I am gripped by love for our Creator, His people, and our country and currently spend my time capturing moments in history, inspirational and biblical stories through art, that is then used to support groups, issues, or people in various ways.

Another key turning point for me wanting to get more involved was Terri Schiavo, a brain damaged woman that came to the national spotlight in Florida. Her husband starved her to death “legally,” even though her parents begged for her life and would have happily taken care of her, including all financial responsibility. I sat in front of the television bawling my eyes out, while painting a painting titled “One Nation Under God.” The juxtaposition of the painting and this dying woman and the state our country was in became too overwhelming! How could we as humans let this happen?  The level of anger and deep sadness was palpable.  I felt that the Lord was telling me, “Marnie, you can make a difference and have a voice if you stay in obedience to My calling by doing your art.” That has held true ever since.

What am I working on now? Well, I am glad you asked!  For the first time, I am doing a painting that will be “commissioned by the people” titled “March of the Deplorables.” It will depict a large group of supporters praying for and marching alongside President Trump and Vice President Pence, including other key figures, on their journey to the White House. By opening this up to the public (crowdfunding) more people can participate in this historic painting. The idea from Lt. Colonel E. Ray Moore, a retired Air Force Chaplain, wanted to honor the men and women who made the victory happen. I am hoping to present it to President Trump and Vice President Pence this summer and that it will become part of the White House permanent art collection and capture a moment in history. If you desire to be a part of this campaign you can visit www.MarnieFreeman.com and look for the link to “March of the Deplorables.”

My husband had more mental clarity and foresight than I understood. He pulled me to hundreds of meetings through the years, I have been the recipient of an amazing life, family, and a desire to affect the world for the better, in part, because of it.

 

Maybe art is not your specialty, but you have talents, desires, giftings, abilities, and interests where you CAN make a difference. You can jump in headfirst or just step in occasionally to make phone calls to legislators, letting them know you appreciate them or that you do not support a particular bill! Or jump into a campaign full on, or work with a particular group that deals with life, abortion, or human trafficking, the electric grid, economics, pastors, It’s endless. As someone who knew NOTHING about the political arena, you can do this! You can rise up and bring Godly truth, influence, and wisdom to the public arena. Fight the good fight!

You can be salt and light to a hurting world and working with amazing people like Trayce Bradford and Texas Eagle Forum!  

So how did I get involved in the political arena? I married into it, I prayed myself unknowingly into it, somehow stumbled into it. Eventually, prayerfully, and purposefully, I chose it! You can choose it too. Join me!


Marnie is a full on believer in Jesus Christ and her highest calling and honor are as a wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Oklahoma State University, she sits on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory board and the Tarrant County Eagle Forum Board. She hopes to impact the world for better through painting, illustration, a timely word, a slogan, an idea, a dream, a laugh, a phone call, a text, an email, or a connection. Her husband Kevin is a best-selling author, an expert on economic terrorism, and the host of a new television show, Economic War Room airing on TheBlaze primetime Fridays, starting this summer.


Seeking Value, Finding Purpose

Written by Glyn Wright McKay (Guest Writer)


Abortion. Birth control. Glass ceilings. Feminism. Marching for equality. Skipping work to prove your value. If you only read headlines and social media, you might think this is all there is to womanhood. It seems that if the government doesn’t pay for your contraceptives, and society doesn’t reward you with preferential treatment, then you’re a victim of an oppressive, patriarchal society. Aren’t we made for more than this?

I just want the madness to stop. American women are the most fortunate women in the world, why can’t we embrace it and use that freedom to lift others up? When I was asked to write this blog, I struggled for weeks because all I really wanted was to publicly rant about the above-mentioned “women’s movement.”

But, there was something inside of me that kept saying, “Stop. This issue is so much bigger than youyour convictions, and your opinions.” It occurred to me that it has never been about shattering glass ceilings, fighting sexism, or marching for reproductive rights. Rather, this struggle is more about lostness than the labels and platitudes that dominate the conversation.

Though we seem divided, if we’re honest, we all want the same things: meaning and purpose; to live beyond ourselves; a legacy that outlasts the here and now; to leave the world better, safer, and more whole.

I wrote and rewrote this piece in a struggle to find balance between the spiritual and secular. Yet, again, that still, small voice kept saying, “You can’t.” If the issue is lostness, then the only hope is the Truth.

The Creator and God of the Universe has written a marvelous story for a depraved humanity that ends with reconciling those who belong to Him to an eternity with Him. All He asks is that we recognize our brokenness and commit our lives to Him. The truth is, He didn’t just arbitrarily decide to give you life – no, His Word says He knew us before we were born, and if you belong to Him, He has given you hope and a future. He promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Unfortunately, the finding part is a tiresome struggle in a world that is constantly pulling us in a million different directions and in a time where truth seems relative.

When I was fresh out of college, the plans I had made for myself kept getting in the way of the plans God had for me. I struggled with the notion of finding “God’s will” and my “calling.” I could see God working and moving but struggled to know where I should go. Ultimately, I realized that God is constantly moving and working in me, and He would use me wherever I ended up.

At the time, I was studying the story of Queen Esther. She was simply faithful where she was with what she had, and God used her to save an entire nation. She, too, struggled with her calling, and finding it took someone else, her uncle, imploring her to rise to the occasion: “…Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14, HCSB)

So much of my personal understanding of purpose and calling began when I started to work for Phyllis Schlafly. I knew of her from the history books and because of my grandmother, but I soon grew a deeper respect and understanding for her well-defined positions, fearless nature, and unencumbered grit.

In her story, I found inspiration and encouragement – always grounded in moral truth, she took on the issues of her day, doing what she could with what she had. She is remembered as a great communicator, brilliant strategist, and a disciplined warrior for traditional values and the family. Through her leadership, she led an entire movement to ensure our freedom as American women to live as we please and to make the choices that we feel are best for ourselves and our families.

When she began, she didn’t know she would become a national icon– in fact, she began her work organizing at her kitchen table with her husband and children. She was simply faithful to God and to her mission, and through it all, she enabled and mobilized tens of thousands of people who faithfully continue her work today.

While I certainly don’t have it all figured out, of one thing I am sure, God has something for you too. He may not ask you to lead a national movement or to save an entire people group, but He has asked you to seek him where you will find him and to be faithful where you are in all you do.

Who knows why you’re in this particular job. Who knows why you lost your job. Who knows why God moved you. Who knows why He has kept you still. Who knows why you became pregnant “too soon.” Who knows why you are unable to conceive. Who knows why you met this person or that one. Who knows why you have experienced great loss. Who knows why you find yourself where you are in this moment.

Who knows, perhaps you have come to ___________________ for such a time as this!

The One who knows is the One who created you with purpose. The One who knew the world needed you. The One who simply asks that you follow Him. I am a testament to God taking unforeseen circumstances, upsetting situations, and even loss, and making something very good out of it. His promises and His Word are true. Believe Him.

Your life may not be what you dreamed, your situation not ideal – but know that He is for you. The Creator of the Universe – the same one who called on women like Queen Esther and Phyllis Schlafly—is calling you. And, He promises that if you seek, you will find. God has something for you right now, where you are at – only trust Him.

If you are searching, these promises, prayers, and Truth sustained me in my days of wandering:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… Psalm 37:3-7

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1-2

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 own weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And, more: Psalm 3:4-5; Psalm 27:14; Psalm 139:23-24; Psalm 51:10-12; Psalm 147:10; Proverbs 3:3-8; Proverbs 4:23-27; Proverbs 16:1-3; Isaiah 41:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Philippians 4:19


Family, Politics, and the Power of a Newsletter

Written by Teresa Beckmeyer (Guest Writer)


Growing up in the household of a small business owner, politics was always discussed around the dinner table—always.  My parents were never Democrat or Republican, they just always supported the candidate who was doing the best job in leaving them alone to live their lives in freedom.  I guess this concept rubbed off on me.

My first experience with groups that were involved in politics was when I was about a sophomore in high school.  My great aunt (you know, every family has that one person that you call during election time to see who you need to vote for) would bring over to our house newsletters that had been typed out on a typewriter and mailed from Phyllis Schlafly and Eagle Forum to an aunt.  When my aunt finished reading them, she would then give them to me to read. Those early newsletters educated me, a young curious girl, about what was happening in the world of politics beyond the cotton fields of West Texas.

I never forgot the lessons I learned from those early writings of Mrs. Schlafly and when my husband went to work in Washington, DC for the Department of Agriculture, I was able to see the problems that she addressed in full-color. From that time on, I became involved in politics. after returning home to Texas, I got involved with state politics and the rest is history.

Having been involved in party politics and national/state/local campaigns for years, I decided three sessions ago to go to Austin during session to see for myself what was happening.  The things I learned and observed have changed my life forever and have caused me to become committed even more to informing other Texans about what I have come to know and continue to see.

I am now the Executive Director of Lone Star Voice that is dedicated to engaging citizens in their government and educating them about what is happening under the pink dome in Austin.  I have been a Republican County Chairman for 13 years and I am a regional director for the Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association.  I have served on the Credentials Committee and Rules Committee for four of the last five Republican State conventions.

The most important job that God has given, though, is being a wife and home school mom of three. When all of this politicking is over, my family is where I have the most influence in my life.

When you see what is going on in our country and you think that there is nothing that you can do to make a difference, just remember this thought:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

~ Edward E. Hale

Thankful for my great aunt – the aunt who did what she could.


Check out Lone Star Voice and all of Teresa’s work:

lonestarvoiceonline.org


Why the Women’s March Didn’t Speak for Me

By Debby Efurd (Guest Writer)


Source from Unsplash

It’s been an action-packed five weeks since the inauguration. While the new president has been busy getting the new administration in place, there have been numerous and massive protests against him. The biggest protest, and one which I’ve been asked about the most, is the Women’s March held across the country the day following the inauguration (January 21, 2017). While I support women and their various causes, I did not support the March and here’s why.

I’ve been a woman my whole life (that’s meant to be a joke), all 65 years of it.  I have changed over the years. As a wife, mother, grandmother, speaker, author, activist, business woman, I’ve experienced a lot. When I was younger, I would have been marching and yelling right along with Madonna and Ashley Judd. You see, for years I was angry following my own abortion, and in order to justify my actions, I lashed out at any one and everyone, and that’s exactly what I saw at the Women’s March. I saw vile, nasty, angry women who are so intent on furthering their own agenda, and they left out a majority of women who don’t follow their political and ideological philosophies.

As I’ve matured, I’m now comfortable in my own skin. My reproductive organs don’t define who I am. I embrace and am grateful that I’ve been given the ability to have children, love unconditionally, nurture completely, express empathy, support my husband, enjoy healthy relationships, have strength, the ability to multi-task, be a problem solver, and not be intimidated by anyone or anything.

I love life and believe it is God-given, from the womb to the tomb, and am unashamedly pro-life. When I witness abortion supporters gleefully promoting their abortions and pushing reproduction as a right, I merely see a money making tool for a big industry that deals in death. When money is made off the sale of human body parts of our most innocent, there’s something terribly wrong in our society.

I respect authority and rule of law and strongly support free speech and peaceful demonstrations for opposing policy or opinion. I never support violence to persons or property. However, as I watched the Women’s March all I could think of were adults acting as children who were throwing temper tantrums. We have lost the ability in America to have a civil debate.

Source from Wikipedia

There was a pro-life group, New Wave Feminists, who were originally invited to be a part of the D.C. march, but once the march organizers learned they were pro-life, they were disinvited. The organizers were not all-inclusive, but were close-minded. Their total intent was a pro-abortion death march. I saw no explanation of what they were marching “for.”

I am a firm believer in equal pay no matter the gender. I believe women have the right to work outside the home or stay in the home to raise their children and family. What I am adamant about is that at no time should a woman be scorned because they believe life begins at conception and fails to follow the pro-abortion mantra.

Recently, someone I have never agreed with said the “future is female.” I agree with that statement, but I believe that future must include the full potential of women, not the limited view of those exhibited from this year’s Women’s March.

I’d love to hear from you.


Debby Efurd is an author, speaker, ministry leader and pro-life advocate. Her blog, The Second Mile can be followed at debbyefurd.com where she shares her perspectives on what really matters in life. Her articles have been published in national news magazines at Life News, Life Site News, The Christian Post, Charisma News, World Net Daily, and The Baptist Standard.  She is a contributing writer for Bound4LIFE as well as National Eagle Forum.  Her most recent published work is Go Tell It!, available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Christian bookstores. Find out more about her post-abortion ministry at www.initiative180.org, as well as Facebook and Twitter.


Are They Missing Something? Maybe some Gentleness and Meekness?

 

By Tammy Morgan (Guest Writer)

Source from Wikipedia

As I watched the images of the Woman’s March in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, I had a great sense of sadness and even a little anger because globally these women were being portrayed as role models. The women on the screen were furious and harsh, but the media lauded them as heroes. Pop star, Madonna, even claimed she’d like to blow up the White House! Even though I don’t have a daughter, I wondered how hard it would be to bring one up in this day in age. There is so much pressure on girls of all ages, to look, act, and dress a certain way. To add to the confusion, most women portrayed on television, and in movies lack the character and discretion that we would want our daughters to have.

So, what is it that these ladies of the world are lacking? The word gentleness comes to mind. One definition of gentleness claims that it is a sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love. The words of J.R. Miller describe gentleness perfectly, “Gentleness is a beautiful quality. It is essential to true character. Nobody admires un-gentleness in either man or woman. When a man is harsh, cold, unfeeling, unkind, and crude and rough in his manner- no one speaks of his fine disposition. When a woman is loud-voiced, dictatorial, and petulant, given to speaking bitter words and doing unkindly things – no person is ever heard saying of her, “What a lovely disposition she has!” She may have excellent qualities, and may do much good – but her un-gentleness mars the beauty of her character.

Source from Unsplash

Being able to display gentleness does not mean that you are not passionate about the things God has laid on your heart. Being gentle does not mean that you’re a doormat upon which others can walk. Even if we display justice, righteousness and strength, but lack gentleness, life is sadly flawed. In fact, the Bible gives us many glimpses of gentleness being an attribute of God.  In the beatitudes of Matthew 5, Jesus states, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” What did Jesus mean by “meek?” If you trace back “meek” to its Greek translation, it is translated as “gentle.” Isn’t it ironic that Jesus didn’t say blessed are the bold, strong, or pushy? The more I dive into God’s Word, the more I realize that it is so contradictory to what the world teaches.

When pondering who consistently displayed the characteristic of gentleness, Tom Landry came to mind. My pastor once served on a board with Coach Landry and he said, “Tom Landry rarely spoke during our meetings, but when he did everyone would lean in and listen very closely to every word.”  A biography about his life said that, In 1959, Tom was a 33-year-old assistant coach for the New York Giants and in the off-season, an insurance salesman. Eventually, he coached a team of his own – the Dallas Cowboys – and he led them to an unprecedented 20 consecutive winning seasons, five Super Bowl appearances and two championships. An impressive record, to say the least. What could be considered even a greater feat, however, was that he did it without raising his voice. Tom was meek in the best sense of the word. He was a reserved, soft-spoken, and a man who walked with God as he walked the sidelines. That was evident by his game-time mannerisms. Were the Cowboys up by 14 or down by 14? Tom’s demeanor provided no clue. Was it fourth and goal on the opponent’s one yard line or first and ten on their own twenty? Did the Cowboys just fumble away the game? Did the refs just blow a call? Don’t look to Tom’s expression for answers. This now-devout Christian personified gentleness and self-control.

Psalm 18:35 declares that, “Your gentleness has made you great.” I believe that it was Tom Landry’s gentleness that made him great!

It is comforting to know that we all have to learn to be gentle (Galatians 5:22). It is not a gift that God simply bestows; it takes work and it takes practice because we will have good days and bad days. As our walk with the Lord deepens, our characteristics should become a reflection of Him.

Source from Unsplash

Back to the protestors… When we look at them through the eyes of gentleness, we see souls that are lost and hurting. Perhaps they have never received a gentle answer in spite of their anger and wrath.  Throughout our days, we never know when someone may need a special touch of tenderness. It is impossible for us to know the secret burdens that others carry. Even those who have a happy disposition on their face may secretly be carrying grief. Many people may not be able to explain their need for tenderness, but it is still something they desire.

Even though we have been called to speak truth we must remember to do it in love! We are called to vigorously pursue the things God has placed upon our hearts, but we are to do all things in a spirit of gentleness. God will give us the game plan, an open door of opportunity, and allow us to accomplish things for His glory as we seek Him as an example.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have a daughter. However, I do have three sons. I desperately hope and pray that they will be blessed enough to someday find a girl who is gentle, because we know that the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth and value in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:4). May we all rise to the challenge to be gentle in everything we do!

“The Lord’s servant must be gentle towards all.” 2 Timothy 2:24

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. “  1 Timothy 6:11

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion,   kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

 


 

About Tammy:

Besides being a wife to her rancher/farmer husband, and a mother to her three teenage boys, Tammy has devoted herself to the field of education. She serves as a school administrator in a rural Texas school district. She also enjoys getting involved legislatively in promoting faith and family values. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Dallas Eagle Forum and enjoys supporting the efforts of the Texas Eagle Forum. You can check out more of her musings at: www.thereasonweteach.com.

 

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Not All Millennials Are Created Equal

By Bethany Jarrell (Guest Writer & Our Current Texas Eagle Forum Intern)

I grew up surrounded by strong women. I learned early on that women could work hard, raise children, love their husbands and pursue their passions even if it required quite a bit of juggling. I realize now how special that early childhood experience was. When I think about the young women my age who are marching and demanding that women be treated like men, I am reminded of the fact that many have only seen feminism as it is presented by the mainstream media.

In fact, as a young female born into this millennial generation, according to the media, my opinion on the current gender gap situation has apparently already been decided. The media can spin any scenario with whatever narrative best fits them, as long as the outcome is that those who represent me are still oppressed, overworked, and undercompensated. I am concerned that the questions being asked of me as a single woman only begin to scratch the surface of what I believe is actually going on in our nation.

Do I want equal treatment for men and women? Yes.

Do I think women should be treated like they are human beings with all the dignity that allows? Of course.

What I am still discovering and trying to figure out is – how do we make this happen?

When I consider my generation and what they meditate on, I see now that they believe and what they do is based on the fact that they cannot comprehend anything different. With the perspective I have, shaped by the strong men and women in my life, I can say that there is much at stake for my generation. The future is being shaped by the unimpeded, purposeless whims of a generation that have very few people after whom they can model themselves.

What my generation needs is mothers and fathers.

We need mothers and fathers ahead of us to take an interest in our development. We are not all lost causes chained to our iPhones; nor are we all so easily brainwashed by the mass opinions floating around. The young women of today need to see strong women leading with grace and dignity. Mentoring is a lifestyle that must be done by women because they are women.

I once read the book, 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas and I was moved by his premise. There are some women who were able to be the force for change because they were women, not in spite of it. When we think of Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, and Hannah More, these women were so distinguished in their fight for what they believed to be right, because they were women. No man could have done what they did and brought about the same kind of change that was so vital to the shaping of the world in which they lived.

As I thought about what to write today, I realized that most everything had already been said on the matter. There have been centuries of men and women before me who have fought hard for the freedom we now have and I do not want to add too much to a narrative that ought to be simple.

It all boils down to the simple truth that the young people of the world and this nation are passionate and driven – but limited in their perspective. As a fellow young woman in the fight for equality, I am convinced that the key to our victory is not in one gender outshining the other, but in men and women leading together while providing the next generation with a better example of unity and strength.

Read More About Bethany Here

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How Are You NOT for Women?

By Audrea Taylor, President of im2moro (Guest Writer)

I remember the look on my professor’s face when she asked, “How are you not for women?” The question was the culmination of a forty-five minute heated discussion we had in front of the class a few days before, and another forty-five minute or so conversation we had sitting in the middle of a busy Starbucks with college students buzzing around us.

My professor had asked me to coffee after our classroom exchange. She was one of the most loved professors on my small Christian college campus. She was young, charming, smart and had a deep love for students. The discussion we had was about women’s rights. We had disagreed on what “women’s rights” actually meant.

Fast forward to just this past week in Washington D.C – I thought back to this conversation I had with my professor as I sat next to a group of women who had traveled from Austin, Texas, not to attend the Inauguration, but to join the Women’s March protest that would take place the next day.

I knew why I had spent valuable resources, time and money, to make the trip to Washington.

I was in D.C. for the historic Inauguration of the 45th president of the United States – to witness the founder’s grand experiment performed for the 45th time in American history with a new president.

Ronald Reagan said in his 1981 Inauguration Address, “To a few of us here today this is a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every-four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”

President Reagan spelled it out – the transfer of power is something special and unique. I wanted to see it happen.

But why had these ladies traveled to D.C.? I know, for the women’s march – but really why had they come? What rights were they deprived of? What rights did they desire?

When you ask people who supported or attended the women’s march this question, you will receive a variety of answers. But I believe there was really only one right they gathered to defend – the right to an abortion.

Ironically, this is a right they already have based on the Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade. But it’s a right they are afraid of losing under a new administration.

You see, the march was not about promoting women, feminism, respect or equality. Many Christian women tried to join the march but were removed from the sponsor list because they believe in the rights of baby girls in the womb. Instead the march was about an ideology that does not value life. It was a platform for planned parenthood’s biggest supporters to publicly display their hate (Madonna saying she thought about “blowing up the White House”) and it was about planned parenthood telling the world they are frightened their business empire based on terminating life will come crashing down when congress defunds them and the Supreme Court upholds a different ideology.

As I sat next to these ladies from Austin who had traveled to Washington D.C. it hit me – I do not believe these hundreds of thousands of women who marched around the country and the world truly understand what is at stake. Edifying a culture of death over life…the damage will stifle generations from now.

I remember explaining to my professor my beliefs on women’s rights – she looked at me genuinely puzzled and asked, “How are you not for women?” I laughed and said, “How could I not be for myself? I’m all for women.” But contemplating her statement in D.C. this past week, a couple years now since I sat in that Starbucks with her, I’m reminded why she said it.

For so long there has only been one side presented in the “women rights narrative.” There have been a few bold women who have dared to swim upstream against this rushing current, Lila Rose for example. But overall, my generation, the women in the millennial generation have bought in to the propaganda on their university campuses and they are perplexed and shocked as my professor was – how a woman can be both pro-life and pro-women?

I truly believe we are at a crossroads in America today. The millennial generation is deciding what they will believe. You could feel the divide in the city of D.C. – those who believed in life and those who gathered for abortion rights.

I want to remind us, we can win on the issue of life for the next four years, as Vice President Pence said, “Life is winning in America.” Yet, if we do not win the narrative with the next generation, we lose the war for our nation’s soul. As quickly as President Trump and Republicans are changing policies to defend life – a new political cycle can reverse the progress.

The pro-abortion advocates know the millennial generation is their key. Obama said this in his Presidential farewell address, “This generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country.” He continued to say, “You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.”

Reagan understood the importance of reaching the next generation when he said his now famous words, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

We will truly win on the issue of life when we begin to win the narrative and effectively explain how we are actually for women. Political victories are sweet, but let’s not forget the difficult work that lies ahead. Reaching and engaging the hearts of the largest generation in American history – millennials.

Andrea Taylor is a featured Texas Eagle Forum Speaker – see her bio and information here.

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Your Revolutionary Leader is Here – A Response to the Women’s March in Washington DC

Written by Bunni Pounds (Guest Writer & Consultant for Texas Eagle Forum)

Over 10 years ago, I launched into the world of professional politics because of many things – I had a man who believed in me, U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05), I was inspired by the lives of Karen Hughes, Special Counselor to President George W. Bush and Peter Robinson, speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, and I was addicted to West Wing (Yes, the liberal TV show) – but most of all I wanted to serve Jesus. I wanted to be a missionary to America and to make a difference in our culture and I had a vision for how my life could make a difference in this field.

You could have never convinced me a decade ago that I would still be serving Congressman Hensarling as his campaign manager and Texas fundraiser or that I would launch my own campaign consulting and fundraising firm and to be able to serve Members of Congress, State Senators, State Representatives, organizations like Texas Eagle Forum, or even our brilliant Fifth Court of Appeals Justices.

I am living my dream right now. I am a successful woman in politics who has “broken the glass ceiling” and every day I get to wake up and encourage my clients to serve the people of America or Texas with integrity and believe in the call of God on their lives.

The women in Washington DC this week that were marching after the inauguration would tell us here that we are oppressed as women and that we can’t reach the potential of our male counterparts in this country.

They are angry at our new President Donald Trump for words he spoke over a decade ago and they are deceived to think that he will treat them – the American women- with the same disrespect that he demonstrated that one day on the set of NBC.

The truth is that these women marching are looking high and low for significance. They want someone to believe in them and tell them that they can be all that they hope and dream. They want to turn off the voices of the people in their lives who have spoken rejection over them, the fathers who have not loved them in the way that they should have been loved, or the culture that screams at them every day that if they want to “make it” they are going to have to claw their way to the top with all their might.

This is my message for these women – your revolutionary leader is here. Jesus has the ultimate life-giving message for women all over this country.

He says – You are free! Free to be yourselves. Free to be who I created you to be. Free to share the story of your life and my gospel. I love you just as you are. If you want to do something – do it. If you want to follow your dreams – follow them. Believe in yourself and who I have created you to be.

In Matthew 28 in the story of the resurrection, these beautiful women came to the tomb looking for Jesus, wanting to be near Him. They were seeking Him and wanting to show Him their affection. He had changed their lives. He had accepted them as equals. He had received them as followers and disciples.

In the moment that changed all of history, Jesus appeared to them in His resurrected body. He loved them, He believed in them and He commissioned them to be the first evangelists of the greatest story ever told.  He sent them to tell the men that He was alive. Mind-blowing thought for the day in time that they lived!

Jesus today loves the seeking hearts of women who love Him passionately and fervently.

Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

My response to these women who are marching and women who are looking for significance – if you want to meet the ultimate revolutionary, the only one who really accepts you and loves you – let me introduce you to Jesus. He is the ultimate freedom fighter for His women. He absolutely thinks you are amazing! He just wants you to see yourself the way He sees you.

I am who I am today because Congressman Hensarling thought, “I think this woman who sold pest control for a living can do this. I think I believe in her enough to give her a chance. If she sold bugs – she can sell me.”

I am who I am today because I had a father who always thought I was a world-changer and told me I could do whatever I wanted in life – preach the Word of God to thousands of people or stand next to elected officials.

In the end, I get to live my dream today because the Man, Christ Jesus, believes in me. He stands beside me every day and speaks significance and identity into my heart. He is the one who laid down all His power to come to earth as a humble man and die on a rugged cross to redeem my life.

In the moments that he was dying He thought of me and He thought of you.

Hebrews 12:2 says – “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The moment I became free was the moment I realized that I was the JOY in His heart. I was the thought that helped Him endure that torment and pain. He believed so strongly in me that He gave it all.

Jesus is my revolutionary and He is the ultimate freedom for women all over America and all over the world.

I am loved by Jesus and commissioned by Him. I am already free. Join me in the revolution of ultimate freedom.

Bunni Pounds

#womensmarch #ultimatefreedom #iamalreadyfree

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