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Barb's Mantle

We live in a land of freedoms. These freedoms are quickly being taken away from us. It started with prayer in the schools, and has escalated. Once the door is open to satan, it's hard to get it closed. People didn't rally behind the Truth and try and keep the prayer in schools. We let one woman, a professed atheist, petition the courts to get it stopped, and she succeeded! There has been a petition by another atheist in California to stop children in public schools saying ?under God? in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.

Taking out that wording won't stop anyone from believing in God, but it gives another leeway for the devil to work his bad deeds in our lives!

Freedom is no longer a given here in America. Today, a freedom and right; tomorrow, it's gone! We are now seeing the courts pass laws in order to get their hands on our private property. We think we own land, but, if this stays on the books and isn't counteracted by the Congress, then we are doomed to lose anything that . . .

This week has been a long one for us and many others in our family and the church family. My husband's oldest sister was in the hospital for a couple weeks, in very bad shape. Her heart was not pumping blood like it should have been. And, we eventually lost her on Saturday night.

Last Monday, my pastor's daughter had to go to the emergency room because of her blood pressure which has shot up very high. She is a recipient of a kidney transplant, and she has to be very careful of her health. They kept her over night and did lots more tests on her. They eventually found she had six blockages from the medication she had taken as anti-rejection medication over the past thirteen years. She was lucky; most transplant patients never make it to that stage before they die. God has a work for her to do, and she's in the process of writing a book about her experiences for encouragement to others who have had lupus, and had to undergo things she has over the years. She had the operation on Friday. Today, when I went in to see her, she had improved so much since we saw her . . .

Next Sunday, we will celebrate Father's Day this year. Many of us have lost our father (mine was DADDY) over the years. But, there are still the memories of all the years we had with him. I often think back to the time he had with my two oldest grandchildren. It is sad to know the other grandchildren will never know their great granddaddy. But, we were lucky; our Dad stayed with our Mom and us through all the bad and good years, unlike many Dads today. Many Dads hunt a way out, and leave quickly, either for another woman, or just to get away from the kids.

If your earthly father is alive this year, don't fail to call or go by and see him. This is one of the things you can do, in honoring your father, as the Bible tells us to do. Even if your father has done you wrong over the years, you should still call and wish him a happy Father's Day. You never know what a kind word can do - you might find it could be the path to the return of a relationship, or the path to his salvation.

There is a FATHER who will never leave us. He is there for us, whether we are having problems, or we are happy. He is there whether we are . . .

When one mentions vision, people automatically think of your eyes. Vision does have to do with the eyes, possibly, in more ways than one. For your every day vision, you need to keep your eyes tested against eye diseases that could render you blind, if not treated in time. Our eyes are one of our most prized possessions. Without them, you would not be able to see things around you- your family, the beautiful world the Lord has made, or to be able to read and write.

The vision I'm talking about, though, is the vision God has for His people. Many of us are wondering around, lost, unable to function like we should. We are like a leaf that just flutters in the wind, a blade of grass that grows a little, and then is cut down by the blade of a lawn mower. We never take root like the great oak tree. We don't become established like the Lord meant for us to do.

Many don't even realize there is a vision for the church people! For them, it's ?go to church on Sunday?, and wait until next Sunday to even open their Bible! They never get the Word down in their hearts and souls, therefore, wondering around without any ?protection? from the . . .

Flowers are beautiful this time of year. Some have been in bloom for awhile; others have just begun to put on buds. The gardens around the area are just blossoming with blooms of all colors, shapes, forms, and sizes. The avid gardener just can't get enough of flowers blooming at the same time. One flower just calls for another. Ask my Mom! She has flowers all over the place! There's not a spot in her yards that you won't find one blooming flower this time of year! There are hanging baskets all over the place - in the trees, under the carport, and on the porch! And she's gotten me into the habit again, after many years of no flowers around our home.

Flowers have to be tended, watered, and fertilized. Without the proper treatment, they will shrivel up and die, or refuse to put on blooms. Sometimes they will bud, but the buds drop off before opening. Too much water can kill them; too much or too little fertilizer can either burn them up or stunt their growth.

Our spiritual life is a little like flowers. It needs tending to constantly. It needs feeding, watering, and fertilizing often. We feed our spirit by . . .

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