Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Red Christmas cup....

I'm sure you've all heard about the Starbucks holiday cup by now and if you haven't then you're among the lucky ones.

I got to thinking today about all the uproar about this situation and decided I should write my thoughts down and if I can help some angry Christian see things a little different that will be good...and if not...well, I've given you a few minutes to pretend to be working while you're not ;)

So here goes:

If I go to Starbucks it's for a tasty cup of coffee. It's not for a Bible story or a sermon. My faith is not so shallow and/or insecure that it resides in a disposable paper coffee cup. My faith is in my Creator, God, and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I don't need a fancy paper cup to tell me how strong my faith is or to help me celebrate Christmas. The cup isn't even powerful enough to tell me how strong my coffee is.

The designs on the previous cups at Starbucks have been snowmen, snowflakes, holiday ornaments, etc. Not one of those designs, in any way, represented my Jesus and/or the true reason behind the celebration of Christmas.

My daughter works at Starbucks and in the location where she works, they have gift cards that say "MERRY CHRISTMAS" on them. They have Christmas decorations put up. And did you know that Starbucks also has a Christmas blend coffee. Yep, I'm drinking some right now. Says Christmas Blend right across the front of the bag. It doesn't say Xmas or Holiday says CHRISTMAS!

So, am I going to get angry and up in arms  about a red paper cup? No. In my opinion there are much more important things to get angry and up in arms about. How about Christians being denied the right to live their faith in their personally owned businesses? How about Christians being beheaded by ISIS militants? How about hungry children right here in America? How about our  government spending billions of dollars to house and feed Muslim refugees while our own veterans lay cold and homeless in the streets, digging through dumpsters to eat? How about being lied to by the people who are supposed to represent us?

You see, there are things in this life, in this world that beg you to be angry and do something about them, do something to help, to make a difference....a red paper cup is not one of them.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Who are your neighbors?

I know I've touched on this before in previous posts but I've been thinking about this a lot lately, ever since I watched the movie 'Do You Believe?'.

Who are your neighbors? Do you know your neighbors? Do you love your neighbors?

Most of us, when asked those questions will instantly think about the people who live next door. But long ago the term 'Next Door Neighbor' came into being because people understood that it wasn't only the people who lived near you that were your neighbors...but the people who live near are more specifically your neighbors next door.

Neighbors are, in fact, anyone you come in contact with at any given time, or as one dictionary put it, Your fellow man. Anyone and everyone is your neighbor.

Jesus said in Matthew 22:39 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself."

Notice, in that whole verse there is no specifics given as to what a neighbor is. Jesus does not say, "Love your neighbors who think like you." or "Love your neighbors who have the same skin color." or "Love your neighbor who isn't gay." 

Jesus says to Love your neighbor as you love yourself...period. End of sentence. And neighbor meaning your fellow man means every man. Even those you can't stand. Even those who believe completely different than you. Even those who are gay, or black, or white, or Hispanic, or Asian. Even the ones who are Hindus, or Muslims, or Atheists. 

Love your neighbor...period!

How do you love yourself? You do whatever is in your power to make sure you have a roof over your head, food on your table, clothes on your body, and shoes on your feet. You do all you can to make sure you have electricity, a running car, and a job. And you probably try really hard to make sure you have some of the little extras...a cell phone, a TV, Cable, Internet access...etc.

You love yourself by making sure you're provided for. 

So if you see a neighbor- Mr. or Mrs. Other Person besides you- without shoes in the winter, without food, without a have been commanded to love that person as you love yourself. 

You say, "But I'm broke." or "It's the end of the month and I'm really tapped out." Or "I don't have time." 

Do you think Jesus WANTED to die an agonizing death on the cross for you? Don't you think He could have probably found much less horrible things to be doing at that particular time? But no, He didn't make excuses. He loved you- His neighbor- enough to put His own desires, His own life, aside and do what was best for you...can we do any less for our neighbors in need? 

Take some time each day to love a neighbor. Buy a police officer a coffee and offer a smile. Offer an elderly or disabled person a hand unloading their grocery cart into their car. Tell a frustrated mom with screaming kids that it's going to be okay and offer a sympathetic hug or word of encouragement. Loving your neighbor doesn't have to cost a lot or even anything. And if it costs something...God will provide. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I'm so sad :(

The state of our nation- the attitudes of the people, the fighting, the hate- is so sad. It seems like every single day I see news reports of someone being offended by something and suing someone else. Someone wore something or said something or ate something or believed something and it upset or offended someone else and because someone was offended it became national news and everyone gets up in arms about it. Everyone takes a side so the nation is divided against itself and because of this, it will fall.

We will fall.

A nation divided against itself cannot stand. Abraham Lincoln said that and he was right.

So let's break it down here:

You don't like the color of someone's skin?
My solution: Grow up! It's just skin and the color of one's skin does not make that person good or bad.

You don't like someone's religious ideas?
My solution: You don't have to attend church/temple/etc with them. You can listen respectfully while they share, then you can share while they listen respectfully. You don't have to agree but you also don't have to be hateful or enemies just because you don't agree.

You don't agree with someone's political ideals?
My solution: So what, move on. Disagreeing with someone doesn't mean you hate them (contrary to popular belief) and it also doesn't mean you can't be friends. What a bunch of robot clones we'd all be if everyone looked the same and thought the same and believed the same. Talk about your differences and, who knows, you both might learn something valuable.

Someone said/did/ate/wore something that offended you?
My solution: Get over it. We're all different and no one is going to get through life never having been offended by someone or something. Just because it's not something you would say/do/eat/wear does not mean that the other person was wrong because they said/did/ate/wore what they did. I understand you don't eat bacon for religious reasons, fine, don't eat it...but don't try to stop others from eating it just because you don't. See what I'm saying?

Our world is full of diversity and beauty in all colors, shapes, sizes, ideologies, religions, IQ's and so much more. It was made that way by our Creator for a reason- so we could share and exchange ideas, learn and grow. Our different skin colors make this world beautiful and we've made it a source of contention that's turned into hate.

Let go of your hate. Let go of your contentious feelings about people who are or think different than you. Life is too short to hold onto so much negativity and bitterness so why keep doing it. Why not spread love and receive love instead of hate?

It's up to us, individually, to be the change we want to see in our world. We have to start the ball rolling because it's not going to roll by itself.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Our World is slipping away...

Never before in my life have I witnessed so much hate. So much anger. So much divisiveness. Never before have I felt so helpless and hopeless about the state of our nation. About the heart and soul of this country that used to be so great. 

I was born after the Civil Rights era. I am a child of the 70's and 80's. And while the town I grew up in didn't have many black people living in it during those years, there were a few and they were treated with kindness and respect by the general population. The black kids who attended my schools- I remember them fondly- were treated like any other kid and they were popular and high achieving and sweet. 

I never imagined that I would see a time when 'Race' relations would be dragged so far backward as they have been recently. I put the '' around race because in my eyes we're all of the same race- the human one. Why on earth- especially in this day and age- anyone would even care what color someone else's skin is, I have no idea. Why is this once again an issue? Why are people tearing up cities, burning businesses, attacking police officers, and throwing around the race card? Why? Why are 40% of our nations prisoners black when only 13% of our nations entire population is black? Is this because black people are being targeted by the police and arrested more often than white people? Or is it because black people are breaking the law more often and so get arrested more often? One group of people will see it one way, another group will see it another despite what the actual facts are. 

What it comes down to is respect. Kindness. And most of all, as Jesus said, Love. It comes down to love. Are we loving our fellow man, no matter what  color he/she is? Are we respecting them? Are we helping them we're they're down? Are we teaching them about the love of God? It shouldn't matter what color they are. It shouldn't matter what color we are. God created each and every single one of us with a purpose. He created us to love our neighbors. He created us to serve Him and in doing so, lead others to Him. 

Are we doing that? Or are we too busy comparing skin colors? Are we too busy turning our backs on those who need us the most because they look different or act different or came from somewhere different? 

Mark 12:31 Jesus himself said, "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 

Love God first and everyone else second. Your neighbor is not just the person who lives next door. Your neighbor is anyone you come in contact with. Anyone in your neighborhood, your community, your town. And when you travel, those around you are your neighbors! Love everyone as you love yourself! 

I'm not just talking to white people here. I'm talking to black people too and Hispanic people, Middle Eastern people, Asian people...ALL PEOPLE!

If we could all just practice loving those around us, this world would be so much better for everyone- yourself included.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Don't sell your vote!

Hello my loyal and faithful readers. I'm so glad you're here because I have a challenge for you, a task of utmost importance.

We're entering another election cycle, hard to believe but it's true. Those running are already campaigning in mighty ways, traveling around the nation and shouting their agendas from the roof tops (so to speak). And it's only going to get more intense until the actual elections take place. In my own state of Kentucky we're electing a new governor this cycle. Several people are running so we'll have our primaries in May. Presidential elections won't take place until November next year but already we have many hats in the ring. So here's my challenge to you:

If you're not already, please educate yourself. Research, study, and get informed about the people who are running. What do they believe? What are their political ideas and ideals? What does their track record look like? What have they done for this nation that has helped or hurt the people? What are their accomplishments and/or failures? Does this person's values match your own? Whittle it down until you find a candidate that you can be proud to vote for.

Please, please, please do not vote for someone just because you like their gender, skin color, or hair style! Don't vote for someone because you think they're cute! Do not vote for someone because they claim they can save you $2500/year on your health insurance, because chances are high that they're lying to you!

Don't believe campaign promises, look at what they've already done that impresses or concerns you. Our nation is in a bad place right now because people are not truly informed before they vote and it's hurting everyone.

Next, after you've educated yourself, help someone else get educated too. Don't let the people you love vote uninformed. Point them in the right direction to find the information they need to find a candidate that they can feel good about giving their vote to.

You see, our vote is priceless. It's value, when used properly, is worth more than gold. To the right person, you give your vote with careful thought and consideration, knowing that it's going to achieve good things for you and your country. However, if you sell your vote for skin color, gender, or 'hand outs' then your vote  becomes worthless and cheap. Please, let your vote count for something valuable. Don't sell your vote.

Pass it on! Vote informed!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Empty Chairs

At the high school that my children have all attended there's a beautiful tradition they practice on graduation night. If a child in that graduating class passes away before graduation, on the chair where that child would have sat is placed a graduation cap and gown, along with a red rose, to remember and honor the ones we've lost.

I've been to many high school graduations at different schools and have never seen this bitter sweet tradition practiced at any school but this one. And I'm sad to say that as of today, my youngest child's graduation next year will have two empty chairs. Two young men within 2 months, have been taken too soon. Two families grief stricken. Many young people who were friends, hearts broken. A community shaken.

Two empty chairs.

I didn't know these young men but my children all did. My youngest has attended school with them since sixth grade. My best friend's son was close friends with both boys...and he is devastated.

Burying children seems so wrong to me. It seems to go against the natural order of how things should be. But I suppose that the natural order hasn't existed since Adam and Eve first sinned. Our world is rocked daily, sometimes hourly, with events that go against God's natural order.

Because Satan rules this world right now so the natural order has been suspended. Children die before their parents, evil seems to reign supreme, disasters of all kinds strike our planet with brutal intensity. Good has become a novelty to be reported on because it's so rare.

So I'm here, reporting something good that will come out of something tragic and heartbreaking. A community will rally together once more in the space of just a few weeks, to uplift and support a grief stricken family. We'll grieve together for another young life lost. We'll pray for peace and comfort for this precious family who has lost one of their young ones. We'll unite in the face of tragedy and create something beautiful in the aftermath...again. Because that's what we do here in Ballard  County, Kentucky.

Two empty chairs to remember and celebrate the lives that were. Two empty chairs to let the families know we've not forgotten their children. Two empty chairs to remind us how very precious life is every single day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

What would our country look like....?

Rumor has it that Obama has mentioned repealing the Bill of Rights in order to protect us from terrorists. I don't think that will ever happen but the fact that it's been considered says enough. Here's the link to the story and video if you're interested: No Bill of Rights video

So, Imagine if you will the United States of America with no Bill of Rights. Most people know what some of the Bill of Rights are but many people have only a vague idea of how very important they are. So let's just have a little refresher course on some of the more important rights they cover:

The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

     So what this says is that the federal government cannot tell us what kind of religion to practice or that we cannot practice religion. It also says the federal government cannot stop us from speaking our minds, even if it's against the government. And the government cannot tell the news what they can and cannot publish. It also says that the government cannot stop us from assembling peaceably to protest or make our voices heard, or stop us from contacting the government if we have a complaint or concern about how things are being done. 

So imagine, if you will, what our country would look like without even just the first amendment to protect the people. 

We would lose the right to attend the church of our choice- or to attend church at all. Or we would be forced by the government to attend the worship center of their choosing, with a doctrine of their choosing. 

We would lose the right to speak for ourselves. No more facebook posts about how you feel about what the feds are doing. No more negative complaints about what the president is doing or has done. Nope. You're no longer allowed to say anything negative about anything the government is involved in- and without a Bill of rights, the government would be involved in just about everything. 

The press would be forced to print only what the feds tell them to. Think of North Korea. Propaganda and pro government news is all you'll ever see. No more truth when whistle blowers come forward with stuff that's happening in the government. 

You won't be allowed to picket or protest or even call the white house switchboard when you want your voice heard. No more letter writing or petitions calling for the president's impeachment. They'll be able to throw you in prison for even daring to think out loud anything against the government. 

Amendment 2:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Yep, no more guns. The feds will be able to barge into your home and search every corner and closet for any sign of a fire arm, bullet, scope, etc. No more ability to protect yourself and/or your family from roving thugs who will get guns no matter what the law says- because let's face it, they already do. The only ones who will legally have guns will be the military and government sanctioned police forces. Again, think North Korea or China. 

Amendment 4:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Removal of this law would have the feds busting into your home, car, property without warrant and taking whatever they want, whenever they want and you can't say a word about it. Yep, no ability to fight back, no right to be heard or defend yourself...ever. 

Amendment 5:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

We get rid of this one and we lose the right to a trial by jury, or due process. We lose the right to be compensated for our property if the government seizes it. They can prosecute you for anything however they see fit and take your stuff and property without giving you a penny for it. How's that sound?

Amendment 6: 
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense. 

No more public trials, and now the feds don't even have to tell you why you're being detained or held. No charges, you're just being put into prison because they want you there. No witnesses, no defense, no Miranda rights... just you against the government who has all the power and gives you no rights. 

Amendment 8:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The feds can put you in prison for jay walking and the judge can set the bail for a billion dollars and then they can torture you in any way they deem fit for whatever purpose they think is right or best...or even just because the president's wife is having PMS and is crabby and wants to take it out on someone. (Bring me John the Baptist's head on a platter) Remember how that one turned out? 

Amendment 10:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. 

This one states that the government cannot take more power than has already been given them by the Constitution. So get rid of this one and they can pretty much do anything they want with no recourse. 

So, can you even begin to imagine what this country would be like without these rights? These people who are so willing and eager to give up these rights to a president who is already over reaching his Constitutionally given powers are either ignorant of their rights or don't care about them or the blood that was shed to provide them. If you know some of these people or people like these who seem to just float by, costing on the coat tails of others with no care about what's going on in the world around them...PLEASE TAKE AN OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE THEM!!! Our country would be a wasteland of despair.