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.


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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Clearing the View

By Becky Leach (Wife of Rep. Jeff Leach & Guest Writer)

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

What if blessing doesn’t come in the form of gross sales, Facebook likes and career promotions? What if instead, it comes in the shape of heart lessons, contentment and peace? What if the way we’ve been taught to measure blessing is actually the world’s view of success? What if “blessing” is NOT measured by worldly standards but by the very presence of God in our lives?

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is in the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7

Blessed is the man who trusts. Not blessed is the man who has everything. Not blessed is the man who wins elections, has a million twitter followers, has the biggest house or the most friends. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.

Scripture tells us that God’s plan for us is, indeed, prosperous, good and blessed – but somewhere along the way we have turned it into a story of worldly success over simply being God’s vessel.

When I was in Africa several years ago, the term ‘blessing’ impacted me greatly after precious women, who had nothing, would exclaim over and over that they were so very blessed.They had great contentment, joy and the overflowing presence of the Holy Spirit. They worshiped Jesus with every step they took. They saw their very breath as a blessing from God.

They didn’t question quantity of quality because all they had was quality – and they viewed themselves as so very rich.

I fear that I’ve gotten this wrong for so long, y’all. I fear that I’ve valued success over blessing – I fear that I’ve put them in the same bucket when they were never intended to be.

In scripture, the way of blessing was the way of the wilderness, but the Israelites questioned and argued and complained the entire way. Moses, however, trusted God to deliver time and time again and was blessed.

The way of blessing was the fiery furnace. Their faith was extreme – and only grew after God saved them. Their trust in the Lord was contagious. 

The way of blessing was through the death of Ruth’s husband. She persevered, experienced God’s faithfulness and then became a woman in the line of David. Her trust in the Lord deepened.

I have to stop thinking of blessing in terms of the way the world thinks of it. I must start looking at blessing through the eyes of an eternal God. But still, it is hard to come to the conclusion that blessing does not equal success nor does success equal blessing.

Let’s look at the prayer of Jabez, a popular prayer of blessing that has become a great model of how we can pray over our lives. He asks the Lord: “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me.” (1 Chronicles 4:10, emphasis mine).

Isn’t it interesting that he asked for blessing AND that God would grow his reach, protect him and that God would be with him? Could that be because blessing is within and all the other parts of the equation is simply part of God’s divine ordination?

Of course God desires success for our businesses, our families and our volunteer positions. Of course blessing can come in the form of growth.

 But it is when we value the success OVER the heart lessons, contentment and peace that we can get into trouble.

For me it boils down to this : I am a writer so I deal in terms of page views, likes, shares and readership. I am a shop owner so I also deal in terms of sales, revenue and measured growth. I am an artist and deal yet more in technique growth, finding my voice and education. These are all good things.

But they are not the best thing.

They are not the thing that we should be after as believers! The thing we should be after is Christ, because the thing He is after is our heart.

Maybe you are in a place of discouragement today. Maybe you feel down about your numbers or not getting that big promotion. Maybe you simply feel small – and you see women all around you who are “enlarging their territory” and it seems as though God’s hand is on them but not big enough to cover you as well.

Friend, I have been there. Heck – I find myself there most days. But the encouragement is that our God loves us and blesses us from the inside out. He is teaching us, shaping us, molding us to be more like HIM to be used by HIM so that we might speak about HIM.

It’s not about us, but it is all about Him. It always will be.

I am more convinced than ever that God’s blessing is not, in fact, measured by how successful I am, but measured more by how much I trust God – and the result of that is peace, joy and contentment – all of which money (and success) could never buy!

So we have two choices today. We can leave this time here together encouraged that God’s hand of blessing isn’t necessarily measured by numbers and let that carry us through our successes and failures OR we can start our day still questioning whether or not God loves us because our measured growth isn’t going up fast enough.

Which will you choose? I pray you will choose encouragement and trust alongside me today! It is never the easy choice – but it is always the best choice!

It is an honor to share here today! May y’all feel blessed today!

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PRAY FOR OUR LEGISLATORS

The battle of a patriot never ceases. However, the reward is reaped for generations. Therefore, do not lose your zeal for freedom or the passion for our cornerstone values. Rather, draw from the hope and knowledge that our legislature was strategically selected but it is the Lord that will safeguard our liberties.

Today, we call upon you to pray for our legislature as we approach these final days.

2 Chronicles 15:7 But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is a reward for your work.

Pray that they will have strength to keep fighting and clarity of mind as they continue to discern how to best protect our families and faith.

Do not be discouraged by the media or outside voices. Our fight is for a Higher power that says it is always a season of prayer and to always commit our works to Him.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Victory cannot be won without warriors to lift up our battles.

Trayce Bradford


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.


If the Lord nudges…..

Written by Marilyn StatlerTexas Eagle Forum Newsletter Editor

Have you ever felt the Lord nudging you?

He had been gently nudging me for a few days. Every time I walked by the phone (no cell phones in 1983), I felt the Lord whisper, “Call them.” I kept hesitating. Did I really want to get involved? Did I have the time? After all, we had just moved to Plano, and I finally had all three kids in school. Now I was free for several hours during the week to pursue my own interests.

Nudge, nudge.

Little did I realize that when I finally made that call, my life would be changed forever.

Two things happened that day: I became a volunteer at my local crisis pregnancy center encouraging clients to choose LIFE for their unborn babies… and I met Cathie Adams. She, too, was passionate about the LIFE issue, and we became friends.

Fast forward to a year or two later: the CPC closed due to lack of funds. Cathie was invited to attend an Education Seminar, and I tagged along. The event was sponsored by a group called Texas Eagle Education Forum (TEEF) and was held at a local Dallas hotel. Co-sponsors were Texas Eagle Forum and Dallas Eagle Forum and the keynote speaker was a lady I had never heard of named Phyllis Schlafly. Her book, “Child Abuse in the Classroom,” was featured at the seminar.

The information of what was happening in public education blew me away, as did the articulate and spellbinding speech by Mrs. Schlafly! I learned that concerned parents and citizens had testified at a U.S. Department of Education hearing that public school curriculum was infused with “violent, disturbing books and films; materials emphasizing parental conflict, death, drugs, mental illness and despair; role playing, involving death, pregnancy, abortion, divorce, hate and suicide; explicit pornographic instruction in sex education, and hopelessness resulting from preoccupation with ‘inevitable’ nuclear war.” That was in 1985, folks!

As a result of that seminar, both Cathie and I joined Dallas Eagle Forum, attended monthly meetings and became involved. Having taught in the public schools for several years, education became my focus. I began reviewing high school English Literature and Health textbooks up for adoption in Texas and wrote reports which were submitted to the State Board of Education for textbook hearings. Some of what I saw in those books matched what the seminar had discussed.

Eagle Forum taught me to speak up in my local school when I saw something that concerned me. I volunteered in the library of my daughter’s elementary school, and one book was so popular that I decided it must be a good read. I was appalled when I realized it was a manual on how to commit suicide (at that time Plano was having a rash of teen suicides). I asked the school librarian if she was aware of the content of the book, and she said the American Library Association had given the book a rating of “worthy” so, despite my concern, the book would remain on the shelf. But if I was unhappy, I could talk to the principal. After meeting with the principal and eventually the district’s head librarian, the book was moved to the Adult and Parental Approval shelf. That suicide manual for 4th-6th graders was tame compared to what kids are reading today.

While my focus was on education, Cathie stepped up to become president of Dallas Eagle Forum. When her “volunteer” position became a full-time job, she asked me to help with the DEF newsletter and various administrative tasks. Thus began 30 years of involvement with Dallas Eagle Forum and later Texas Eagle Forum.

Through the years, I have seen women and men of all ages soar as Eagles and make a real difference in their communities and state.

They contact their legislators to support conservative issues and hold them accountable when they fail to do the right thing. (Eagles know their facts and present them succinctly and calmly, never in an angry or disrespectful way. The word “gracious” comes to mind.)

They travel to Austin during the legislative sessions to testify on issues of concern.

They write letters-to-the editor to their local newspapers.

They hold events informing the public on the perils of not only public education, but the plan to destroy U.S sovereignty, and the mischief of United Nations’ conferences and treaties.

They take criticism and ridicule for reporting on a new disease affecting homosexual men, called AIDS. Years later, as the homosexual agenda becomes mainstream, they fight for privacy for women in public restrooms, dressings rooms, and locker rooms.

They picket Planned Parenthood when learning that organization is coming to their city and endure not-so-friendly gestures from passers-by with a smile and friendly wave.

They attend annual Eagle Councils led by Phyllis Schlafly in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. and glean reams of information to take back to their circles of influence.

They man phone banks and walk their precincts handing out flyers for the candidates of their choice They are delegates to state conventions and even run for office. Most importantly, they pray together.

When asked why they become involved in politics, Eagles reply, “Because we love God, family, and country. And we want to be able to tell our children and grandchildren that we did everything we could to ensure a brighter future for them and for our beloved nation.”

Is the Lord nudging you? You, too, can become an Eagle and soar with the thousands of members who have shown you the way. Join us as we continue to fight for conservative Judeo-Christian values and keep Texas Strong!

“They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31


The Top 5 is the Top 10 this Week – May 1, 2017

Happy Monday!  Usually we do Top 5 each week but from here on out, we may have more like the Top 7 or 11, so bear with us as we go into the final stretch of the Texas Legislative Session.

I don’t know how many of you were watching the House Floor debate on the Sanctuary City bill SB 4 but it was an interesting time, to say the least.  Thank you to those that stood strong, especially Rep. Matt Schaefer and Rep. Matt Rinaldi that put up amendments that were adopted to put some teeth back in this legislation. Here is a great article from Empower Texans about what happened.

As this session has poked along, we have seen a number of bills that Texas Eagle Forum has either asked for in the past or asked for this session- that are quietly moving through both houses. These bills pertain to fighting the heinous work of human traffickers and legislation concerning our relationship with Israel as a trade partner and taking a stand against countries that back state-sponsored terrorism such as Iran and Sudan. These have been passing both houses with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

Below is a list of priorities that must move this week. It is painfully clear when you check the daily floor calendars for the next week that strong religious liberty bills, pro-life bill and our “securing our grid” bill are nowhere to be found. You also won’t find many of the more conservative members with legislation listed on these calendars. It is sad – because I know for a fact that the legislation I have had the blessing to work on – brought some of the nation’s most incredible experts on the subject matters to help craft these bills. This along with our top-notch legislators that have worked long and hard with humility to do what was best to get this legislation through the process. For some of them, it meant taking their names off the bill so the Speaker and the Committee Chairs will move it through the process.

Something that TEF is so very grateful for is the coalition of grassroots groups working together this session.  As you will see in the action items listed we each have particular bills we have taken the lead on. We are working together to support those that Texas Right to Life support and letting them take the strategy part. Texas Eagle Forum is thrilled to dovetail in with these groups and not try to recreate the wheel.  That is why this session has been a bit different in our calls to action.  We have not forgotten you and how valuable your voice is but we have had to be very strategic when to call upon you. The time is NOW.

We now NEED for you all to start calling and sending emails to try to move this legislation. Today is the day. This week is the week!  Many of these bills are just getting into calendars and that is why you have not been asked to call prior to this.

Here are the action items we need your help on as well as please pass this email along to get others involved! We need you!

***1) HB45 Texas Foreign Law Policy Act – What in the past has been referred to as ALAC is now known as HB 45.  It is still focused on keeping foreign law out of Texas courtrooms – where that law encroaches on our constitutional rights. This session the approach was a little different than before. After the interim hearing on ALAC last summer, we feel the information that was presented shined light on this issue and the legislators started to see the validity in this piece of legislation. It was voted out of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee 9-0 last week. Chairman Dan Flynn is the author of the bill.

It landed in Calendars this week and this is where you all come in!

We would like you to call the committee members (see numbers at the end of this email) and ask them to please get Chairman Flynn’s bill HB 45 pertaining to foreign law in Texas Courts to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible. Remind them that bill was voted out of committee 9-0 and is one that needs a chance to be heard on the floor.

Remember to please be brief and courteous. If they ask for more information just say the efforts of several legislators deciding to unify behind Chairman Flynn and working with others concerned with the wording of this bill has brought about a good piece of legislation and good faith effort on all involved.  Keep it simple and just encourage them to give the body a chance to vote.

2) Securing the Texas Grid – Several pieces of legislation pertaining to the Texas grid are moving and we hope to see that continue!  HB 787 authored by Rep. Tan Parker was voted out of the State Affairs Committee 10-0.  We need to call and ask for that important piece of legislation to be moved to the floor quickly for a vote.  You will again be calling the Calendar Committee. (see numbers at the end of the email)

As for the Senate Bill – Senator Hall’s bill SB 83 passed out of Business and Commerce this week 8-0. We need to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office and please ask that bill be brought to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. His numbers are: 512-463-5342, 512-463-0001 or email LTGConstituent.Affairs@ltgov.texas.gov

There is also a letter attached to this email that you are free to send Lt. Gov. Patrick with your signature.

3) PRO-LIFE legislation is being held hostage in the State Affairs committee and it is inexcusable.  Please read this excellent article from Texas Right to Life to get the latest as well as action items. https://www.texasrighttolife.com/house-inexcusably-delays-dismemberment-abortion-ban/

4) Privacy Act (SB 6 and the House bill 2899) – One would have to be living under a rock to have not heard about this issue.  Please read this press release from Texas Values and follow the action steps provided.  Notice the obstructionist in these important issues.

From Texas Values:

BREAKING: Coppell ISD, Home District of House Privacy Bill Author, Allows Boys in Girls’ Bathrooms

While the leadership of the Texas House, including State Affairs Chair Byron Cook, sits on privacy legislation (such as HB 2899), battles over “gender identity” continue to be waged in our public-school restrooms, costing taxpayers time and resources, as well as putting our schoolchildren at risk.

The most recent example of this unfortunate (and avoidable) trend is occurring in the Coppell ISD, a school district located in the suburbs north of Dallas. The CISD includes a portion of the legislative district for Rep. Ron Simmons, author of the House privacy act, HB 2899. CISD Students have reportedly been allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with at the moment, as long as school administrators agree.
The CISD’s employee and student handbooks contain several “gender identity” provisions (see attached). Local media picked up on this after it was brought to light by several parents and a school board candidate who have reported hearing stories of a boy dressed as a girl exposing himself to others. One report says that the CISD Superintendent is relying on President Barack Obama’s 2016 bathroom directive, which was struck down by a Texas federal court judge and was later rescinded by President Donald Trump.

This latest example of local school districts making a mess of the bathroom and locker room privacy issue is more evidence of why the Texas Legislature must enact a statewide consistent law on this issue now,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “Hiding information from parents and shutting the public out of the process of drafting these rules are putting children at all ages at risk. If the Texas Legislature does not address this major issue now, it is only going to get worse. Situations like with Fort Worth ISD, Dripping Springs ISD, and now Coppell ISD will replicate themselves all over Texas in both small and large districts.

According to Star Local Media (which owns several community newspapers in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth), the Coppell ISD is not responding to media replies, citing possible privacy law violations such as FERPA (Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act).
It’s ironic that the school district only cares about the privacy of the identity of some students but not the bathroom and locker room privacy of everyone else. Laws designed to prevent discrimination should not be interpreted in a way that puts children in harm’s way,” Saenz continued.

You simply cannot put a price on this important issue. It’s time for State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook to take a vote on HB 2899, and for Speaker Joe Straus to assign SB 6 to a committee. It’s becoming apparent that our local school districts are unable to withstand the tremendous amount of pressure put on them by special interests from the LGBT left. Our legislative leaders are needed to stand in the gap in order to protect privacy.

A list of privacy violation incidents from across Texas may be read at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/SB6Texasincidents (PDF).
More information:
·         Six Essential Facts About Senate Bill 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6Facts
·         List of businesses and organizations which support SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6businesses
·         Testimonial videos in support of SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6videos
Texas Values is a nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.

5) – Texas HOME Act SB 892

For over 100 years, Texas churches and faith based organizations have placed thousands of Texas children in loving homes. Now, their future is threatened by lawsuits seeking to restrict their First Amendment right to practice their faith when placing children in those loving homes. Faith based providers have stopped operating entirely in other states after being sued and some have already closed their doors in Houston and San Antonio.

SB 892 by Senator Charles Perry would provide faith based providers – who comprise 25% of all adoption providers in Texas – with the protection they need to keep operating and helping Texas children.

But radical, left wing groups are making wild claims that protecting the basic first amendment rights of faith based providers and churches would lead to discrimination or child abuse. These radical groups want to further their own agenda at the expense of following well respected national and Texas based providers that have helped Texas children for decades such as: Buckner International, Children’s Home of Lubbock, The Catholic Conference, Baptists Children’s Homes, and many, many more.
A hearing was held on Wednesday, April 19th in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  Please call the members as soon as possible, and let them know you expect Texas to protect our children and our religious liberty by passing SB 892.  Please thank Senator Charles Perry for authoring the bill and Senator Charles Schwertner for hearing it in his committee.

***6) – Church Security Bill

From our Coalition Partners at Concerned Women for America

The Church Security Protection Act, House Bill 421 by Rep. Matt Rinaldi, will allow churches and other places of worship to utilize volunteer security teams. Many churches in Texas aren’t aware that the The Texas Occupations Code currently prohibits houses of worship from having volunteer security unless the people providing security are licensed as a private security company. Under the current law, churches and their volunteers who violate this law could be fined up to $10,000 and face criminal charges. HB 421 would make a small change to the Texas Occupations Code exempting churches and other places of worship from this troublesome code. House Bill 421 currently has 37 joint/co-authors and has been in the House Calendars Committee since April 10th.

Another similar church security bill, House Bill 981 by Rep. John Wray, was heard in the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 25th and voted out of that committee the same day. This bill is much more narrow and specific than House Bill 421, but would do pretty much the same thing for churches and places of worship.
House Bill 981 currently has 3 joint authors and no co-authors and is on its was to the House Calendars Committee.

Since so many churches have now been made aware of the guidelines set forth by the Texas Occupations Code through the promoting of these two bills, we need the Texas Legislature to act now more than ever before. With the current climate of violence against churches, we need to give churches the tools they need to freely protect themselves and their property.

Please contact the House Calendars Committee and ask them to vote HB 421 or HB 981 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. While HB 421 is the favored bill given the number of current co-authors and the strength of the bill language, we would still be pleased to see HB 981 voted out of Calendars and sent to the floor.

7) – Texas Sovereignty Act HB 2338 and the similar Senate Bill 2015 

This legislation will support tenth amendment enforcement in Texas and protects us from unconstitutional acts of the federal government. It basically defines a new joint legislative committee that reviews federal decisions whether judicial or congressional and provides determination on it Constitutionality based on US Constitution original intent and Texas Constitutionality. Basically, it allows for Texas to nullify federal overreach and give sovereignty back to Texas according to 10th Amendment SB 2015 has been referred to the State Affairs Committee and needs a hearing and HB 2338 is left pending in committee. Please call the members of the State and Federal Power & Responsibility Committee and ask them to please vote this bill out of committee this week. The chair of the committee is Rep. Drew Darby and the Vice Chair is Rep. Andrew S. Murr, so please call them.

Chair Drew Darby – (512) 463-0331
Vice Chair Andrew Murr – (512) 463-0542

Rep. Cecil Bell says about this legislation “Statewide elected officers in those separate states must formally affirm where they stand regarding this egregious erosion of state sovereignty and of the sovereignty of the people of the separate states.”

8) Toll Roads

From Terri –TexasTurf.org

We have made significant progress in the Senate, but like most conservative legislation, our pro-taxpayer, anti-toll bills are being stymied in the House.

1) Ask the Chair of the House Transportation Committee, Geanie Morrison, to call for swift hearings to vote out our anti-toll bills coming over from the Senate (SB 399 by Kolkhorst to prevent the conversion of free lanes to toll lanes. More bills are coming).

Chairwoman Geanie Morrison – (512) 463-0456

2) Call your House member and ask them to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 and HB 1589 to hand our Texas highways to foreign toll operators in 50 year sweetheart deals that put taxpayers on the hook for the private company’s losses, which amounts to corporate welfare. Toll rates can exceed 75 cents a mile and commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to use such foreign-operated toll lanes. (For more, read here.)

We expect one or both of these BAD bills to come to the House floor for a vote this week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

3) Call your state senator and ask him/her to support our anti-toll bills (SB 812, SB 637, SB 1437, SB 740). Two will be up for a vote Monday and the others are expected later in the week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

Background on the bills:
SB 812 (Kolkhorst) – This requires toll entities to repay any funds they receive from TxDOT. Currently, TxDOT grants billions in our gasoline taxes to subsidize toll roads that can’t pay for themselves. Over $10 billion in your gasoline taxes have gone to prop-up loser toll projects already. SB 812 would prevent this double taxation and require the taxpayers to be repaid.
SB 637 (Huffines) – To authorize the State Auditor to conduct audits of the Regional Mobility Authorities. These are unelected, unaccountable toll authorities that are rife with ethics problems, conflicts of interest, and delivering projects late and over budget.
SB 1437 (Schwertner) – Reforms toll collection procedures, making them more fair and transparent to consumers and forces toll entities to promptly refund drivers for erroneous toll bills.
SB 740 (Kolkhorst) – Reforms many eminent domain abuses and gives landowners more rights in eminent domain proceedings.

4) Call these members of the Senate Finance Committee to support swift passage of Senator Bob Hall’s SB 84 to help fund major road projects without raising taxes. SB 84 is up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee Monday morning. It offers a way to prevent our Texas roadways from being handed to these private toll operators. TxDOT is trying to blackmail our legislators into passing HB 2861 and HB 1589 saying it’s the ‘only’ way to fund these big projects (the price tag exceeds $20 billion). Sen. Hall’s bill, SB 84, is another way to get these big projects funded without tolls, without raising taxes, and it needs to be voted out of committee Monday! 

(Note: We’re not having you call the more conservative members of the committee since they already support the bill.)

Chair – Jane Nelson (512) 463-0112
Vice Chair – Juan Chuy Hinojosa (512) 463-0120
Sen. Robert Nichols (512) 463-0103
Sen. Joan Huffman (512) 463-0117
Sen. Kel Seliger (512) 463-0131
Sen. Larry Taylor (512) 463-0111
Sen. Carlos Uresti (512) 463-0119
Sen. Royce West (512) 463-0123
Sen. Kirk Watson (512) 463-0114
Sen. John Whitmire (512) 463-0115

Other more conservative members if you have time to call:
Sen. Kelly Hancock (512) 463-0109
Sen. Paul Bettencourt (512) 463-0107
Sen.Brian Birdwell (512) 463-0122
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (512) 463-0118
Sen. Charles Schwertner (512) 463-0105

9) SB 1415 Protect Families from Unjust CPS Investigations.
This is from our friends at Texas Homeschool Coalition. SB 1415 is currently pending in the Health and Human Services Committee.  Please consider emailing the committee and asking them to please move it out of committee this week.

***10) See Something Say Something HB2069 – This short bill will help protect those that report suspicious behavior pertaining to terrorism or human trafficking in good faith from being sued. This is an important bill for the State of Texas and we encourage you to call or email the Calendar Committee to send this bill to the floor for a full vote.

Pray and Stay – Please pray diligently for the rest of session and that strategy is given to these law makers that are fighting for the things that are good, noble and principled.

Please stay engaged, your voice must be heard and this takes all of us staying plugged in to the end.

Please remember you are not trying to convert these folks or train them on these subjects.  Many of them are very familiar with these issues.  They just need to hear from us.  Here are the phone numbers.

Calendar Committee contact info is here:

  • Chairman Todd Hunter todd.hunter@house.texas.gov 512 463-0672
  • Donna Howard donna.howard@house.texas.gov 512 463-0631
  • Roberto R. Alonzo roberto.alonzo@house.texas.gov 512 463-0408
  • Trent Ashby trent.ashby@house.texas.gov 512 463-0508
  • Byron Cook byron.cook@house.texas.gov 512 463-0730
  • Sarah Davis sarah.davis@house.texas.gov 512 463-0389
  • Charlie Geren charlie.geren@house.texas.gov 512 463-0610
  • Helen Giddings helen.giddings@house.texas.gov 512 463-0953
  • Kyle J. Kacal kyle.kacal@house.texas.gov 512 463-0412
  • Ken King ken.king@house.texas.gov 512 463-0736
  • Linda Koop linda.koop@house.texas.gov 512 463-0454
  • Poncho Nevárez poncho.nevarez@house.texas.gov 512 463-0566
  • Chris Paddie chris.paddie@house.texas.gov 512 463-0556
  • Dade Phelan dade.phelan@house.texas.gov 512 463-0706
  • Toni Rose toni.rose@house.texas.gov 512 463-0664

Thank you so much!!!!! God Bless You and God Bless Texas!

Trayce Bradford

President of Texas Eagle Forum