Since there have been Preachers, there have been local leaders. Those called to be Preachers know the hours are long and the pay is short and is not the reason for becoming a Preacher. Often times Preachers don’t get to enjoy their days off. Some laugh at the idea of a day off.
The COVID-19 virus has given certain officials an excuse to order churches to shut down or not gather and/or not to sing. Some churches argue that they must give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and must shut down. Then there are a few, like John MacArthur, who believes that Preachers are called to preach the Gospel to all the world. They believe that they should obey God before man. I see no written exceptions in the Bible or in history for preaching the Gospel to the world.
If anything, I see that history shows that when times are tough, people need a message of hope delivered by Preachers. During many periods of our history, it was the church which provided community support and it was the church which was the source of information.
The British targeted Preachers, who they called the Black Robe Regiment, during the Revolutionary War to censor the message of Liberty and Freedom.
Over the years, just as today, there are hirelings occupying the position of the Preacher, ready to accommodate Caesar. (1). A true Preacher is a servant of the flock, and a servant leader who is ready to rescue the one in his flock who has needs or goes astray.
The community today may appear be to partially isolated and we’re not, just the opposite: we’re bound in Jesus. “If one member suffers, all the members suffer” (v. 26 nasb). As believers in Jesus, members of God’s family, we move toward one another into the pain and into the sorrow and into those murky places where we would fear to go alone. Thankfully we do not go alone. Preachers are needed now more than ever to help heal the body, and the community, and the country. Hirelings won’t do. They will run in the face of difficulty. The Gospel supports Law and Order and rebukes chaos. The Gospel teaches that the devil is the author of chaos.
Chaos relies on fear, anxiety, and corruption to control and intimidate people.
No matter what your trouble is, your helps comes from above. The peace that surpasses all understanding comes from above.
Conflict is part of life on earth. Peaceful resolutions come from above. Peacefully resolving conflicts is preferred by most parties.
Unfortunately there are those who have no interest in peaceful resolutions and, in which case, disengagement is warranted and third party assistance may be required. At times self defense may be required.
Let’s all try to be true servant leaders finding peaceful resolutions wherever possible.
This month we celebrate victory over a hard fought battle against the best military of its time to win independence in order that we may have Life and Liberty, and pursue Happiness.
According to Jefferson: The “the object of the Declaration of Independence,” he wrote, was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind.”
Jefferson restated these noble sentiments in the Declaration of Independence, simplifying the prose: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (1)
Today’s battles include the tyranny of those who are attacking the First Amendment especially Free Speech and the Freedom of Religion. The Second Amendment is also in the attacker’s sights.
To put it mildly, there are some who have strayed from the founding principles of respecting “certain unalienable Rights… [such as] Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all. A certain combination of evil groups have banded together to try to turn our country into a third world nation.
First, there was the China virus attack which caused hurt, pain, and death from cabin fever, domestic violence, fear, anxiety, suicides and the catastrophic illness.
Then there is the invented word which has caused fear, pain, violence, and destruction of property since 1927. The word was invented in 1927 to browbeat dissenters of the communist ideology by Leon Trotsky and is still used today to shut down all nonconformists and businesses; the word is “racist” The destruction caused by and the misuse of the word “racist” is beyond measure and has become increasing vicious.
Since we can identify the perpetrators of this evil, it is incumbent upon us to stand up to these bullies and prosecute them for their appropriate crimes.
Bad apples can be found in many groups and organizations and they must be held accountable and if appropriate prosecuted as well.
Since we are a nation of laws, law and order must be reestablished in rogue areas.
And since we are a nation of laws, due process needs to be afforded to all, by all, without politically motivated knee jerk firings.
A close examination of the tactics of those trying to turn this country into a third world nation will reveal that they are using the communist playbook.
Fortunately we have some leaders, including the White House, who are leading the battle against the evil doers.
Together we will get back to the ‘American Mind’ that Thomas Jefferson wrote about, as we stand together against the bullies.
We know that good triumphs over evil. God is in charge. Let’s follow His lead.
As a butterfly isn’t made overnight, neither are we what we become. What we are today is not what we were yesterday or will be tomorrow.
It takes four stages to become a butterfly: egg; caterpillar; chrysalis, then an adult butterfly. To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests much of itself. But certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures.
The cells in our bodies are dying and are being replaced all the time as our appearance gets older.
“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.” ― Thomas Paine
On a sweltering day in his small Iowa town, Matt Gage dove into a pool. When he surfaced, his entire left side was useless.
Fortunately, the nine-year-old’s cousin was there to pull him from the water. At the hospital, the doctor diagnosed heat stroke. But after being transferred to the Mayo Clinic, Matt was whisked into emergency surgery with a different diagnosis, the kind usually reserved for the elderly. Matt had suffered not just heatstroke but an actual a stroke.
The prognosis was grim. The neurosurgeon didn’t expect Matt to wake up. If he did, he’d be a vegetable.
But Matt did wake up. The neurosurgeon told Matt he’d never be able to move his left side again. With the young boy’s dream of becoming the next Michael Jordan destroyed, he ignored his father’s urging to try to move his leg. “I can’t,” Matt would say.
Finally, his father confronted him. “Matt, what did ‘can’t’ ever do for you?” his father said. “If you say you can’t do it, you’re not gonna do it. If you don’t start believing in yourself and believing something can happen, that you can get better, then you’re gonna be in a wheelchair.”
He began to make progress. First, he moved his left leg. Then he moved his left arm. He started walking with a brace before leaving the hospital.
Although his left side had a limited range of motion, Matt eventually played basketball, ran a 5K, and even took up skiing. He became a professor and athletic trainer for various universities. He now gives hope to other young stroke victims and their families by showing them that they, too, can get married, have kids, and enjoy successful careers.
Matt believes God used his stroke to help others. If he could relive the moment that changed his life, he says, “Now, today, I would tell you that I wouldn’t want it any different.” (1)
“Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.” ― John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
“Have patience with all things but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You are perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that.” ― Saint Frances de Sales
“Whatever troubles we may face, we can trust God to give us strength to triumph.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita
We are living in close quarters now as the wave of coronavirus weaves through different communities around the globe. None of us knows who will be affected next. We are in this together. Over the years we have drifted apart, not even knowing our neighbors. This is a good time to spend with your family, neighbors, and with God becoming our own butterfly.
Let’s call and write those whom we have left to ‘when we get the time’ today. Help everyone you can in anyway you can, making the load a little lighter for all of us. We can accomplish more together than we can on our own. Together we will make our community, state, and nation better than when we started this journey. We should see more butterflies as fruits of our labor soon.
The Christmas Story is story of a hero. The greatest evil the world has ever known made the greatest hero the world has ever known. Crucifixion was the cruelest form of torture and execution man devised or used.
Not every hero since has given up his life for another. Heroes generally take no concern for their own life while trying to save the lives of others.
The acknowledgement and veneration of heroes has existed for centuries. It was the ancient Greeks who are accredited with first coining the designation.
A very recent tragedy brought to light another hero. A young graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, whose dream was to become a pilot, is a hero after he reportedly related crucial information about the identity of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola shooter to first responders, despite having been shot several times, a family member revealed.
Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who were killed Friday morning when Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire on a flight training program for foreign military personnel, Adam Watson revealed in a Facebook post. (1)
“Today has been the worst day of my life. My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting. Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own. After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. When we were little I gave Kaleb the name little poot and it stuck. It eventually evolved into pootis and finally uncle poot. Just wish I could talk to him one more time or wrestle with him one more time even though he could probably take me now. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. “(2)
Simply put, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward.
Philip Zimbardo: What Makes a Hero?
Christians who helped Jews during the Holocaust were in the same situation as other civilians who helped imprison or kill Jews, or ignored their suffering. The situation provided the impetus to act heroically or malevolently. People choose one path or the other.
Some choose a path to meet the needs of others. For example there is New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson will use his custom-made “My Cause, My Cleats” cleats to bring attention to his One More Foundation. H e created the One More Thing Foundation to spread the love and hope of Christ to one more soul.
“And, we do that by following the three charges that are given in Micah 6:8 when it talks about doing justice, loving-kindness, and walking humbly with our God,” he explained.
Watson said that, for the last decade, the foundation has given him the opportunity to meet people with “real needs” and “to know the one who can meet their needs forever and ever.”
“Whether it’s promoting and giving food to those who are hungry, doing events around the holidays, promoting education, standing against injustice — whether that be sex trafficking, abortion, or racial injustice … and also, just bringing kindness to people,” he continued. (3)
Heroes | Restoring Faith in Humanity | 2017
“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player.
There have been thousands of unnamed and unknown heroes over the centuries. Heroes include those who stood ready, who fought and who died for the cause of freedom, first responders, those who served others, and the many that have helped someone without regard to their personal safety,
The true Christmas Story is an everyday story.
The real reason for the season was born to die and save us all.
Most people think of Thanksgiving as Turkey Day, a time to overeat then park in front of the television.
“Giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts had always been a part of Wampanoag daily life. From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child. Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations.
As with Native traditions in America, celebrations – complete with merrymaking and feasting – in England and throughout Europe after a successful crop are as ancient as the harvest-time itself. In 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God and celebrated His bounty in the Harvest Home tradition with feasting and sport (recreation). To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude.” (1)
Depending upon your outlook you either see reasons to rejoice and be glad or search for reasons to complain. Life can be a half full or half empty glass or perhaps a glass overflowing.
Recently after surgery, in recovery, the whole surgical team was around my bed. I thought someone called a vote, they had not. I did say the Chipmunk was off my back. My doctor said, “The monkey was off [my] back.” I repeated it and we all laughed. Needless to say the patient pulled through.
Some months ago a doctor noticed a grapefruit growing on my back. A Sonogram, CT scan, MRI confirmed the Chipmunk had to go. One of the scans looked like a Chipmunk, with an arm and eye…the name stuck. Fortunately the Chipmunk was a benign lipoma. There was no way to be sure until the scalpel was applied.
As you can image the time from discovery to removal were full of questions. Had I been the half empty type I probably could have worried myself into a fetal position. Instead everyday there was a reason to rejoice and be glad.
“Early in 1621, the Pilgrims had built crude huts and a common house on the shores of Plymouth Bay. Then soon thereafter neighboring Indians began to build relations with the Pilgrims. SQUANTO, a local Indian who had been kidnapped and taken to England nearly a decade before, served as an interpreter with the local tribes. Squanto taught the Pilgrims to fertilize the soil with dried fish remains to produce a stellar corn crop.
MASSASOIT, the chief of the nearby Wampanoags, signed a treaty of alliance with the Pilgrims in the summer. In exchange for assistance with defense against the feared Narragansett tribe, Massasoit supplemented the food supply of the Pilgrims for the first few years.” (2)
From the beginning people helped people to make this country great and they rejoiced and celebrated accomplishments together.
It took a surgical team made up people with different talents to remove the Chipmunk. Had we called a vote I would have voted the team to be Number One.
The Chipmunk became a reason to rejoice and be glad, a Thanksgiving Chipmunk. Throw off that monkey and rejoice and be glad.
You will be successful if you decide you’re going to be. Get out of your own way and quit with the excuses.
Success is never an accident. It’s a choice.
Are the decisions you are making today changing your life for the better or worse?
Identifying feelings is important as the excitement of success can feel like anxiety for some. For some it is that anxiety which relates to a trauma they experienced somewhere in life. No one gets out of life unscathed.
Our pasts have a way of throwing up roadblocks; it could be words someone said or event. You decide where you are going to live in the past OR the present heading to the future. Time to go over, under, around, or through the obstacles holding you back: leave them on the side of the road as you travel on the road to success.
Get up out of that chair, go to the door, turn the handle, open the door, walk over the threshold to the future, and now close the door to the past behind you.
An overnight success is never overnight.
People who do not succeed often practice self-sabotage.
What is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotaging can range from not returning an important phone call, turning in work assignments late, or continuing to become romantically involved with those who are emotionally unavailable. At its essence, it is engaging in behaviors that are against one’s self-interest, while at the same time not being able to practice self-care and promote one’s well being. What is so troublesome about most self-defeating behavior is that it primarily operates on an unconscious level, making it often very difficult to address.
So often we feel it is an outside force that prevents us from realizing our dreams when in fact it is our own fears that ward off opportunity. Too often I’ve heard someone say that God must not want me to have this, when in fact the person has a deep seated fear of moving beyond their comfort zone to accept the greater responsibilities that growth and success offer.
One thing I have noticed increasingly is that many people who regularly consume self-help and spiritual healing products remain stuck in unhappiness. Chasing after the next new book, course, seminar, healing modality has become an addiction in our quest to liberate ourselves from continued suffering. Yet, as the high of the promise and hope of the product leaves you, you find yourself back to where you’d started.
Are you satisfied with making dozens of calls for the satisfaction of making that many calls or are you satisfied with making a few good calls that led to changing your future for the better.
Our pasts have a way of creeping in and being a part of our future. They can be heavy objects to move out of the way. What do you need to let go of? What words have others said that still fill your mind?
If you always do the unsuccessful things of the past, you’ll always get what you always got….and it is not success.
Success is never an accident. It’s a choice.
You will be successful if you decide you’re going to be. Get out of your own way and quit with the excuses.
Instead of learning from history it appears we are trying to repeat the old bad ways with a high tech twist.
Old ways are not necessarily bad ways while at the same token not all new ways are good.
I would think most people would not want live in a time before Due Process was considered a Right to be guaranteed.
Due process is required for committing someone to a psychiatric facility. In the old days people who were a problem to someone with power would just make arrangements to have a person committed. Once committed; the person was discredited, no longer believed and the family, business or political problem was resolved. Today proper notice must be given and hearings held.
Many of the Mental Health issues that were once ‘treated’ with extreme measures, such physical or chemical lobotomies can be addressed with the help of caring, knowledgeable people. PTSD, once called shell shock, fear, anxiety, and depression are among those which can be treated with the help of caring, knowledgeable people. Getting to the root of the problem is the beginning of true lasting healing.
Homeowners had much less protection in the old days than they do today before a foreclosure. There are many horror stories people loosing their homes for a variety of reasons including seizing the wrong property. Mortgage lenders are not generally known for their forgiveness.
The Ancient World Was Pro-Death
Down through history, many have believed that death could solve problems.
About the middle of the 6th century before Christ, a boy was born to a wealthy nobleman in India in the province of Bihar. His name is Mahavira. His parents, though well-to-do, belonged to a sect that looked upon birth as a curse, and upon suicide as a blessed privilege. When their son, Mahavira, reached his 31st year they ended their lives by voluntary starvation.
The young man, moved to the depths of his soul, renounced the world and its cruel ways, divested himself of all clothing, and wandered through western Bengal as an ascetic. From his life a new sect was born, the Jains, which had a considerable effect upon India, including Gandhi, the revered man we know who would starve himself to death on the basis of policy.
Some notable ancient Greeks also believed that death could solve some things. A Greek scholar, D.W. Palmer, compiled an impressive list of quotations from Greek lyric poetry, drama, philosophy, and rhetoric to establish the fact that in the Greek world there was a widespread belief that death is preferred for those whose life is a burden. By it one was delivered from the troubles of earthly existence; death brings rest from one’s labors.
Socrates expressed this on one occasion when he said: “And if there is no consciousness but it is like a sleep when the sleeper does not even see a dream, death would be a wonderful gain” (Socrates’ words in Plato, Ap. 40, C-D). Josephus, the historian, wrote about the oppressed of his time: “They had no opportunity to put up a strong fight, but reckoned it a gain if they died, a misfortune to live” (Josephus, Ant. 15. 158).
Our culture seems to be devolving back into a culture of death during my lifetime as witnessed by violent rhetoric, violent actions and lawlessness reported in the media.
The Easter faith is counter to such “pro-death” views. It opts for life. When death starts to look inviting, one must be reminded that one “is still here,” and to that fact one must bow.
Ever forgotten anything? Ever tied a string on your finger to be reminded of something? If you had multiple things to remember, would you recall which string was for which?
Have you tried journaling? Yes, you say, and it went well for a while, then you got too busy and didn’t have time to write, and write, and write. Well, the great thing about journaling is that you write as you will, jotting down what seems important to you at that time.
Although facts don’t change over time, people’s recollection, perception or perspective of the facts may change.
Over the ages people wrote in words or created graphics about events which were of historic significance to them.
History is important. People who don’t know history are often bound to repeat it.
Doctors need to know about your medical history, and sometimes your family’s medical history, in order to have a better understanding and an idea of what to look for and learn of any adverse reactions to treatments or medications you might experience. You certainly would not want to be treated for appendicitis if yours had already been removed. You also would not want to be treated for depression when indicators suggest that he should be addressing a brain tumor.
Court hearings normally have either a voice recording or a written transcript of the conversation to keep accurate records. The recordings or written transcript are often referred to when a ruling is being written. The written rulings are recorded in official court records and often times published. There are mechanisms in place to correct errors. People rely on the written rulings in settling disputes. There are mechanisms in place to appeal the rulings if one party is not satisfied. Sometimes outcomes change as the result of appeals.
No matter how much some people don’t like a historical event, the event will not change. People’s reaction to the historical event can change.
People are born and that historical event is recorded.
People die and that historical event is recorded.
Many events in the life of that person between their birth and death are memorialized by various records kept by the government or other entities.
We know a lot about Rev Billy Graham and Adolph Hitler because of a large volume of records and recordings which were made and preserved. There may be a dispute about certain specific events concerning either of these public figures. I would think people would generally think that Rev Billy Graham did a lot of good things for a lot of people. Whereas, I suspect that would not be the consensus about Adolph Hitler who caused the deaths of many innocent people.
Some people seem to have the idea that historical events can be erased. Perhaps the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, which airs around Christmas time, is reality to those who think they can erase historical events.
There are some who may not like an outcome of a historical event and try to fight the battles over again. Perhaps they would have more success by inventing a time machine which would allow them to revisit a specific moment to alter events.
Some would like to go back and remove a life changing car accident from history, they can’t. The way you deal with it can be changed.
Some would like to change the results of an election, they can’t. The way you deal with it can be changed.
Some would like to change the historical event of the American Civil War, a war between the slave owning Democrats and the anti-slavery Republicans, they can’t.
Removing the string from your finger, shredding a written record, or tearing down a monument will not change the historical events.
Monuments are reminders of good and bad times. People don’t always have the best memory, which is why we may need a string on our finger, a monument, or a trophy for an accomplishment we achieved. The string, monument, or trophy can be used to start or continue a conversation on how not to repeat the mistakes of the past, how we can do better this time….
What good is knowledge unless we pass it on? Before we had the written word information was memorized and passed on from generation to generation. Later we had scrolls, then books to store and pass on knowledge.
You may have heard: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). Isn’t that what parents do with their children pretty much from the beginning? We teach our children fire is hot and can be used for good and bad purposes. We teach our children right from wrong while instilling values.
Children are natural learners and between birth and five years old. From birth to three years old, children grow and learn at the fastest rate of their lifetime. It is easy to see the enormous opportunity parents, and those who care for children, have in these early years to help shape children’s learning before they start school.
I recently watched again a video of Dr. Ben Carson discussing how important education is to our children, families, and country and remembered a discussion I had with my grandson who was in the seventh grade at the time.
You may be familiar with Dr. Carson’s life story which I think is inspiring. Look how far he came after overcoming a long list of disadvantages. His mother knew enough to encourage him to keep going. Dr. Carson knew he could go anywhere and learn anything initially through books.
He like many others learned you can always work things out if you really want to. Sometimes things look pretty hopeless. When they look the worst you have two choices: give up or keep going. Give up and you’ve lost any possibility of winning. Keep going and you could find the blessing is just ahead as you clear through the fog and hailstorm. It is a sure thing that the blessing won’t come if you give up.
Here is one example in the history of the USA which determined whether we were going to remain an independent country:
“On a rainy September 13, 1814, British warships sent a downpour of shells and rockets onto Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, relentlessly pounding the American fort for 25 hours. The bombardment, known as the Battle of Baltimore, came only weeks after the British had attacked Washington, D.C., burning the Capitol, the Treasury and the President’s house. It was another chapter in the ongoing War of 1812.
A week earlier, Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old American lawyer, had boarded the flagship of the British fleet on the Chesapeake Bay in hopes of persuading the British to release a friend who had recently been arrested. Key’s tactics were successful, but because he and his companions had gained knowledge of the impending attack on Baltimore, the British did not let them go. They allowed the Americans to return to their own vessel but continued guarding them. Under their scrutiny, Key watched on September 13 as the barrage of Fort McHenry began eight miles away.
“It seemed as though mother earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fire and brimstone,” Key wrote later. But when darkness arrived, Key saw only red erupting in the night sky. Given the scale of the attack, he was certain the British would win. The hours passed slowly, but in the clearing smoke of “the dawn’s early light” on September 14, he saw the American flag—not the British Union Jack—flying over the fort, announcing an American victory.
Key put his thoughts on paper while still on board the ship, setting his words to the tune of a popular English song. His brother-in-law, commander of a militia at Fort McHenry, read Key’s work and had it distributed under the name “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” The Baltimore Patriot newspaper soon printed it, and within weeks, Key’s poem, now called “The Star-Spangled Banner,” appeared in print across the country, immortalizing his words—and forever naming the flag it celebrated. “
Back to the conversation with my grandson, we were discussing our country’s history when I learned that he did not know key events leading up to the Second World War Being a student of history I imparted what I knew about WW II. I thoroughly enjoyed the time with my grandson. I remember thinking at the time what a sad indictment of our schools that our future leaders don’t know how we got to where we are today.
How can the children of today become tomorrow’s parents, teachers, doctors, and leaders without knowing how to gather the facts? Anyone can read from a script handed to them, which means they are just followers. However life is about new challenges everyday. Being new means the script has not yet been written. Leaders in any field may need to pave through uncharted waters, without a script. How can cures for diseases be discovered without critical thinking scientists?
Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles can all do our part in shaping tomorrow by instilling family values, a thirst for knowledge, and knowledge of history in our future leaders. Remember, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Edmund Burke
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