Sunday, July 17, 2016

...All the Children of the World

The news and media sites have been a fearful place lately. One can not log on to the internet, turn on the t.v. or even listen to a favorite radio station without being told of yet another tragedy, perpetrated by a fellow human being. Pick up a newspaper or weekly magazine and the tragedies are right there in black and white and sometimes too-real color. Bodies laying on the ground covered by whatever is available, most of the time tarps or sheets, sometimes only a garment. No one is spared, the victims range from babies up to elders, commoners and police forces.

I saw a news blurb that said as of today, there have been eight Law Enforcement Officers gunned down in cold blood in the last eleven days. This is insane. To top this all off, protesters are allowed to walk down the streets, blocking traffic and chanting that they want to kill cops now. I'm not sure about everyone else, but that is not peaceful protesting and comes very close if not the full blown act of inciting violence. But that's just me. And I'm not here to incite anger. I'm just not.

So, why am I posting tonight? Glad you asked. When I saw that blurb, I thought of an old Children's song that I was taught at a very young age. Today has been a good day for songs of all sorts to float through my head, connecting with a person or action or, yeah, I've been doing a lot of humming today. Anyway, back on track. This song speaks to everyone. If you've never heard it, google it or find it on YouTube, but here are the lyrics. It is my prayer that everyone look at the lyrics and understand that it doesn't matter if you're red, yellow, black or white...everyone is precious...every LIFE is precious.

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Words by C. Herbert Woolston, music by George F. Root

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.

Jesus died for all the children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus died for all the children
Of the world.

Jesus rose for all the children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus rose for all the children
Of the world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The latest on Hillary and the coming election

I read a CNN article this morning that gave me pause and made me rethink the anger I felt yesterday at the announcement. It seems that Comey was calling Ms. Clinton out and making public not only his anger, but her crimes, essentially saying that she is not yet untouchable since it still has to go through the Justice system. Not only that, now the American public has full disclosure of her crimes and it is up to us to decide whether we want a liar and criminal to sit in the highest seat in the Land. If, by vote she is there, then God help us all.

There have been numerous articles, memes, and outbursts over the announcement, but I beg you to allow me one or two observations. 

First, Mr. Comey is a well respected member of the FBI. He has headed more than one high-level investigation since the "W" White House. He wouldn't be there unless he was good at what he does. That said, note that he stood alone during the announcement. He, alone, was responsible for his decision, but, there was anger written on his face and it laced his announcement, even though it was controlled, it was evident.

He lobbed the "ball" into the Justice's court. Even though someone who has not held the high offices that she has held would no doubt be roasted and crucified over the same accusations/findings, he announced to the Nation, nay, the World, that they had not enough to charge her. But listen to what he said. He called her on the carpet for her extreme recklessness. Of the 30k emails that were examined, 110 of them were classified before they were sent to her, eight were classified top secret. She used up to nine different devices while overseas, in areas where sophisticated technical techniques were common, making her communications extremely vulnerable to hacking. He continued to chastise her throughout the announcement. 

Now, as I mentioned, the ball is in the Justice Department's court, and it remains to be seen whether or not they bring charges. Mr. Comey, even though he announced "no charges" in reality showed that charges can and should be brought. With his dressing down of the Democratic nominee, he revealed to the general public the reality of her character. Her dishonesty with the American public. Her disdain for laws, rules and regulations. Her attitude of being above the law, and making her own rules. So, now in addition to the ball being in the Justice's court, it's also in ours. 

We now have a responsibility to investigate ourselves whether we want someone who could potentially be stripped of her security clearance in the White House. We now have the responsibility of examining ourselves and determine whether we want our most prized secrets to be "unintentionally" mishandled. The security of the United States is in the balance. We have to decided whether or not we want someone in the Highest Office in the Land to determine whether or not immigrants of all races will be vetted or not, whether or not our borders are free for all, and whether our economy can withstand the influx of such immigrants. Right now, yes, according to the numbers we are at a low in the unemployment realm, but are you aware it is because people are either discouraged with the employment opportunities available (read here: nothing available for their job skills/degrees), or have taken part-time jobs to make ends meet, or to simply pay the premiums that Obamacare imposes. Income levels are falling in these cases, and foreclosures are rising. Families are displaced or broken because of the stress levels. 

So, now the voting public is charged to decide. Regardless of the Justice Department's decision, which, in reality can stretch past the November elections, it is now up to us, those who have the privilege and essentially the responsibility, to vote. Look at your Candidates. Look at their "fruit," for the Bible says that you will know a person's heart by their "fruits," their actions, in layman terms. Look at the news stories, from both sides of the aisle...look at their actions when the cameras aren't rolling and make an informed decision. Everyone has a responsibility to vote this November. Make your vote count.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Tragedy in Orlando

I've been reading so many articles in the last couple of days regarding the mass shooting in Orlando. So many are politically leaning it isn't even funny. Last night, a story regarding Westboro showed up on my news feed, the only surprise in that is how long it took to show up. I want to make one thing clear: Westboro Baptist Church does not represent my Christian walk, nor does it represent anyone else that I know who are Christians.

Today, as I was scanning my Facebook news feed, another story popped up. A Baptist Pastor is saying its good the massacre happened. Say what? I absolutely took a double take and read the story with accompanying video. To say I'm flabbergasted that a professed Christian outside of Westboro would say such a thing boggles my mind.

Now, keep in mind, as far as I know we have the same Bible. Yes, the Bible condemns homosexuality and calls it an abomination. In the Old Testament such people were stoned when it was found out. The New Testament as well says its an abomination, but says nothing about stoning them. In fact, 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 says that they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Does it say to hate them? Nope. Does it say to kill them? Nope. In fact, Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount gave us two Matthew 22: 34-40 He says"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[d] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[e] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

I don't know about you, but those are pretty clear. 
A life is a life, and no one should have their lives violently taken from them the way these were. To say they deserved it is wrong and does not have a place in a Christian's vocabulary.  

And just in case there is a question about my stance on the death penalty, that's another subject for another day, so please, no hate mail on this one. 

Just remember, these folks were someones kids, friends, brothers and sisters, and to them, they are devastated. Imagine if it were you in their position, how much you would be grieving right now. Would it matter to you whether or not they were gay? No, what matters is that you would be burying your child, something that should never have to happen. 

In conclusion, I want to issue this challenge. Pray. Pray for those who will have a long time in recovery, whether its physical or mental. Pray for those who've lost loved ones. Pray for those First Responders who worked the scene. Pray for the doctors, nurses and medical staff who attended or are still attending to the wounded or dead. Pray for the family of the gunman, and finally, please, please, please...Pray for this Nation. The Bible says that "where two or more are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst." Let us come into agreement and pray.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The struggle is real, folks

It is, it really is. I've got to tell you, never before in my life have I had such a hard time following Jesus' command to love your neighbor as yourself as I have this year. I've got to tell you. The struggle is real.

Last night, I posted something I thought was funny. Heck, a couple of my friends thought it was funny as well. I mean, I had no negative feedback, no detractors, just thumbs up. Well, I took it down within a matter of hours. Why? Because I was fussed at. Okay, I know what you're thinking, "you just said you had no negative feedback or detractors. What gives?" I'll tell you what gives.

I'm a Child of the One True King, that's what gives. As I was saying my nightly prayers, I barely got into them when one thought kept me from concentrating on what I was praying about..."Take it down." Say what? Continued to pray..."take it down." Opened my eyes and looked no place in particular because the room was completely dark and asked why. Then I became bombarded with Jesus' words about loving your neighbor as yourself. I had a comeback, weak as it was..."But, Lord, she's not my neighbor, she's a politician."
"Does it matter? Is she human?"
"That's up for debate, Lord."
"No, its not. She was made in My image as much as you were."
"But, Lord..."
"Take it down."

After a conversation like that, what do you do? You take down the text.

Sometimes its tough to be a Christian in this world. I mean, seriously, there are a lot of things I don't like that people do, and I have a hard time not despising the people who do them. It boggles my mind how Jesus did it. How do you love someone who is clearly looking to destroy something or someone? How do you not despise the murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and those looking to destroy everything that is good? How do you do it? I sincerely have no clue, but I have a thought on that. Whether its right or wrong, I don't know, but I'm going to give it a shot. 

My take? Hate the sin. Hate it with all you have, as neutral on the person him/herself as much as possible. I haven't figured out how to separate the two, because in my finite mind, you do something like that, that is who you are, therefore, I don't like you. Yeah, its going to be a long, drawn out process. I mean, with family and friends its almost a cake walk. They're part of your heart so its easier to love them and hate what they do. Strangers, not so much. Folks, the struggle, yeah, its real. 

Going to get down to the nuts and bolts here. The race for the Presidency. 

There are three Candidates running. Two are visible, one is in the shadows: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Gary Johnson. Not one of them is worth their weight in salt as I've mentioned before. Only one of them do I have a severe issue with in following that commandment. This person has proven over and over again that they are a pathological liar, that it doesn't matter who or what you step on as long as you make it to a decision-making position. That the peons don't matter, all that matters is your authority and power. If I could draw a picture here, you would see this person with a big, crooked nose, wart included, rubbing their hands together while cackling the most evil cackle you've ever heard. Yup, I'm having a reaaaallllyyy hard time separating the person from the actions.

I'm afraid I'm a work in progress here, because no matter how much I try, I can't do it. All I can do is to pray about it, listen to the Spirit's leading, like I did last night, and let God take control. Will my prayers make a difference in this person's life? Probably not, but then again, who knows for sure? All I know is when I start out praying for someone that I cannot stand, every time, every time, I end up being the one changed. Let's hope that goes for this person as well. 

I can tell you, I will never be bosom buddies with this person...heck, this person doesn't even know I exist, but I can tell you that hopefully, with the Holy Spirit's help, I can be objective. That I can understandably dislike this person's policies or what they do to get to where they want to be, but I can refrain from the kind of posts that I had on my news-feed and then took down. That I can stay away from the name-calling and rhetoric that so many of my friends and family are engaging in (that will be a tough one. I predict a lot of apologies and repentance for this one).

I guess my suggestion for those who would like to join me in this quest is to be prayed up, because this ain't going to be a pretty Presidential race, no matter how you spin it. We have to focus on the issues, on what's being done and what's not being done. We have to align ourselves (thank you to a dear friend for this one) to the Candidate to whom we have the most agreement. So, do your homework, research each Candidate, their policies, and where they stand on the issues that are important to you and vote accordingly. No, you don't have to invite them to dinner (which would, no doubt include a bunch of Secret Service Agents that you didn't invite, but will probably feed anyway), but get to know them as much as possible. Use multiple browsers to do your research (Webcrawler, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), so that you have a clearer view of what they're like, so that in November you can say you voted for the one who is closest to your values and that you didn't pick the lesser of the three evils. 

I'm not going to lie, its going to be tough. Yeah, the struggle is real, folks. Chin up, hopefully things will get better, God willing.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering and Honoring those who've passed from this life

They say that if you stop learning, then that is the time you may as well say your goodbyes. Of course, that's my version of it, but it was Albert Einstein who said it before me. Smart man, and it was proven with a Nobel Prize in 1921. So far, learning is still part of my daily life, so perhaps I'm still good, eh?

What I learned in the last few years, is that sometimes something that we take as tradition isn't necessarily correct. Take Memorial Day, for instance. I've always known its about the Military who had fallen in previous wars or skirmishes, but I also have learned, just here lately, that the men and women of our Military would rather you remember those who are gone on this day and not the ones who are still living. Makes sense. After all, Memorial means to remember. Remember who left behind family, friends and the "Life of Riley," as it were, to go to foreign lands.  It means to remember how they put their lives on the line to ensure that the United States of America remained a free country. It means to remember that even though they are no longer with us, they are still the ones who stood in our place, to fight the fight we chose not to or could not do, to make sure that the Evil of the World would progress no further toward our shores. It means to remember the times they had to sleep on hard ground, fight dysentery, bugs, snakes, land mines, snipers, heat, cold, damp. It means to remember the letters sent home, telling of the beautiful sights they had seen, the funny stories, and the horrors that were beyond our comprehension. It means to remember the ones who are no longer with us, if nothing else, for just today.

My Grandfather is one of those Soldiers who is no longer with us. He fought against Hitler's forces, and yes he did come home, but he is no longer with us. He served with the Civil Defense in his community, saving a young man from being run over by a train. He is one whom I will remember on this day.

My Father-in-law is another who no longer lives in this world. We lost him in 2012. He served in the Army, and when he retired, served with the Border Patrol. When he retired again, he served with the Forest Service. Our PopPop will be remembered so very fondly by those he left behind.

I would be remiss if I also didn't mention my former husband, Kerry Lane. Kerry served in the Air Force and was medically retired. He, too has passed on.

While I have many friends and family members who are serving or who have served, I will not be saying "Happy Memorial Day" to them, because this day isn't theirs. And to say "happy" is a disservice to the men and women who are gone. To them, and to those who have been left behind I say, "May you remember fondly those who are gone . May you remember the good times, bad times, the laughter and yes, even the tears. May you reflect on the sacrifices they made not only for you, but for everyone who lives in the United States of America. And may you remember that they did this for you, for me, for all of us, whether you agree with their service or not."

This Memorial Day, remember those who served in our Military and who are no longer with us. Celebrate their lives, remember their sacrifice and take a moment to thank God for those men and women who took the steps that were needed to keep us safe, to keep us free.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In this year of politics...

Wow. Just wow.

I have heard so much nonsense regarding politics, that I've gotten to the point that I just have to let loose or I'm going to blow a gasket. Just so you know ahead of time, I'm a Conservative. I vote Republican, but I will vote another party if I feel the Candidate best reflects my views. This year, that's a resounding absolutely not. Anyway, this is a rant, period. 

I have a friend, a staunch Democrat, who gigs me at every turn. Don't get me wrong, I love this guy, he's a friend and always will be. I treasure my friends, even when our religious views and political views clash. However, I have this against him...he paints with a large brush, loaded with disdain for anything or anyone who has a different view. Democrats are the party who, despite being very liberal in their views, is the party who has the most common sense. Personally, I disagree, but that's another blog for another day.

Here's what I have to say about this year and politics. Enough. Enough! Yes, its an election year. Yes, we have candidates that most are wondering who is the lesser of the two evils. Neither one is a "Dream Candidate." Its very disappointing, really. However, this is more about people than the Candidates. 

Let's get this straight. Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Communists, Tea Party...I don't care about the political affiliation you have. Take some responsibility for your actions!

Did you rob a business and get arrested/shot/killed? Excuse me, but when did it  become acceptable to take from someone else? Last I read, the Ten Commandments say not to steal. Pretty straight forward, people. Don't have money to buy the latest smart phone, the best sneakers or the coolest ride/rims? Get a stinking job! McDonalds is always hiring somewhere. Don't want to sling burgers? Go to Dominoes or Pizza Hut. No, its not going to give you the bling you desire, but it will give you some responsibility, and make you a contributing member of society. Save your money for the things you want, get out of your Mama's house and grow up. There are jobs out there, welfare and unemployment were not created for you to live off the Government's teat for your entire life. 

Did something happen that you didn't like? Protesting is okay, trashing neighborhoods and looting businesses is not. In the Constitution you have the right to PEACEFUL protests, not rioting, looting and personal harm...those are illegal and you should be prosecuted. If you are arrested because you engaged in rioting, looting and personal harm of another individual, then you have reaped what you've sown. 

My friend has posted and said as much, that the race division is the Republican's fault. I beg to differ. You want to blame someone? Blame all of the politicians. They all Race Bait. I don't care what side of the line you're on, they all do it. Quit blaming the republicans/democrats. Blame the individuals who are doing it. It has nothing to do with political affiliation, it has to do with racism and hate in that person's heart. Blame them, not the party, not the Conservative individuals who are trying to steer the moral ship back to its roots. Let me tell you something, like it or not, this Country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. In your core being, you have a moral have the choice to listen to that compass or not. Don't blame someone else for your failings. It is not the fault of someone who was born over 200 years ago. They were not the ones whispering in your ear to commit the crime, live off the government or hang out with the gang all day instead of being a responsible adult. Go to school, learn a career, get a job. Very few people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths...very few are a Golden Child, one who shoots to fame or fortune in the worlds of showbiz, music or professional sports. Most have had to pay their dues, work hard for what they've achieved, and continue to work hard to maintain the lifestyle if they so desire to. It's not going to be handed to you. Work for it.

For those of you who are about to point the racist finger at me, hold on. For that one finger that's pointing at me, notice there are three more pointing back at you. Black, white, yellow, brown, red...all parts of the ethnic spectrum are being pointed at. Its not just one race that is at fault, they all have their issues, although there are fewer of some than there are of others. My point here is that its not Political Parties at fault for the race divisions, although they are pot-stirrers, let me tell you. No, the spike in crimes, the spike in unemployment or welfare...its all of them. Oh, and before there is mention of a downturn in unemployment? Here ya go...unemployment  is down because of this: People are discouraged. There are some who have run out of benefits because they cannot find a job to support their families, so they have taken part time jobs to make ends meet...multiple jobs, with no benefits, that's why there's a downturn in the unemployment rate. They have to pay the ridiculous premiums of Obamacare, and if they choose not to, they are penalized at tax time for not having insurance. So they take another job just to pay for the insurance they are REQUIRED to have by law...something that their employer does not offer. Poverty has hit new levels. 

Seriously, Political Parties are responsible for many things, for how you respond to your personal situation, they are not. Get over being butt-hurt every time someone says something that you don't like. Quit pouting when someone else wins a game. Not everyone is good at everything, sometimes there are people who are better at it than you are. Get over it. Find something you're good at or something you enjoy and get better at it. Not everyone needs a trophy just for showing up. That's what competition is all about...the one who does it better gets the award, not those who just show up. That defeats the purpose of competition. You want to be a doctor, lawyer, actor, musician? Work at it. Go to school and do the work, don't expect someone to do the work for you. No one on God's green earth owes you anything just because you breathe the same air as they do. Go out and do something to earn what you want, don't take it by force or expect it to be handed to you. Work for it. 

Okay, I think I've ranted enough. Yes, this is a bee in my bonnet. Yes, I'm opinionated. Yes, I'm old-school...I believe in morals, and justice, and competition, and fairness. If that makes me wrong or judgmental in your eyes, I'm sorry. I try to be as fair as possible to everyone, even those who think I'm off my rocker. 

To conclude, I hope that I've given you food for thought. Please do not use a broad brush to paint everyone the same. Everyone is unique and has the ability to choose what they will do. Despite my desire that everyone use their own brain to make right decisions, I know some will not. Are they Democrats or Republicans? Who cares? A political affiliation doesn't define them. Their actions, and their words define them, not the people we elect. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The strongest glue known to Man

Did you know there's a glue that's stronger than Crazy Glue? Stronger than Gorilla Glue? No? Well there is. It's strong enough to heal, strong enough to bind even the most stubborn of things to that which is good, and it's not patented, you can't find the resources for it in the deepest mine. It can't be bought or sold at any price, however, all you have to do to get this Glue is to ask for it through one Person, Jesus Christ.
That Glue is God.

Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating day for me. A lot of things went way off track, whack, insane, whatever you want to call it. Murphy's Law was in full effect. I felt as if I was losing my mind. I prayed for God to fix that which was losing cohesion, and a name kept coming through my mind. So I called. Now, I don't know right now what the outcome of the prayer and request will be, but God does, because He's already there. He's already prepared everything and I just have to trust...and believe He will hold me together. His love, His grace, His mercy and His provision are the glue that will hold me together.

When I came home from dropping the Granddaughters off with Mama, I sat on my bed and just prayed. Names started popping into my head, and all I could do was to pray that God would "hold them together." Marriages..."God, hold them together." People's finances..."God, hold them together." Folk's state of mind..."God, hold them together." The Church..."God, hold them together." This Country..."God, hold us together." Instance after instance would come to mind, and every response was a prayer to hold them together. I have no idea why.

This morning, after a fitful night, I woke to the song, "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave. The lyrics that kept playing over and over, like a tape loop were these:

"For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him"

I have to say that when you awaken to lyrics like these running through your head, its very hard to be unglued. Because I trust that He will hold me together, I can get through this day knowing that He is in ultimate control...that He was there in the past, is here with me now, and is at the end of whatever situation I find myself in. Because He is outside of time, He is able to see my choices and will give me the tools and the means to get through whatever comes my way. He removes from my path that which is harmful or for evil, and if I will let Him, holds me when all I can do is look up and say help. 

I know this probably sounds depressing, but the way life is going for us here in the United States, there will be a lot more times that we as Her People will look up and ask God to hold us together. Its not just me or my problems at the moment, its all of us collectively. We can't do this on our own. We can stress and worry about the issues at hand, the Presidential race, the immigration crisis, but it all boils down to this: Are we willing to get on our knees as a Nation, ask forgiveness and guidance and to ask God to hold us together? Some will shout out a resounding, yes! Some will shout out equally with a resounding, no! 

As I read back over this, I get that it seems I'm rambling a bit. Maybe so, but I feel like God has given me these words to give to you. That it would be your prayer today. Maybe you have a family that is falling apart. Pray that God will hold you together. Finances that are spiraling out of control. Pray that God will hold them together. Stress and health issues bombarding you. Pray that God will heal and hold you together. 

Have a blessed week, everyone.