Archive for July, 2015

Photo by JPPI, 2015, MorgueFilen.com

Photo by JPPI, 2015, MorgueFilen.com

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.– Psalm 111:10 (NIV)

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

But in the quote above, the word Fear is also used in reference to God. Are we supposed to fear, or be afraid of God?

Isn’t it that we  revere the Almighty Power of God, because His power is absolute–the ultimate answer to all questions?

Isn’t it that we should be fearful for ourselves if we follow man alone, negating God?

What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.–Matthew, 10:27-28

As human beings, when we are afraid, we either run from our fears–or face them with courage. In fact, fear can author courage in most of us. When we are most afraid, courage is offered to us by a loving God. But also a God who has given us free will either to run away, or to stand our ground. And if we choose not to stand our ground, if we don’t follow the precepts of God, but follow the precepts of Man, then we must be afraid.

Even then, fear is our opportunity for courage.

Courage is intangible within us. We cannot touch it. We can only see the result of it–just as we are unable to see the wind, yet its active result is apparent, in swaying trees, or even violent bursts of air that turn things upside down during a storm. It is the same with God. We are unable see to God except through His action of grace in our lives.

Courage– prompted by the fear of losing our religious freedom to practice what we believe in– is needed for those who revere God and His commandments. Never make the mistake of assuming that our religious freedom won’t be taken away by some of our less fearful, fellow men. We must stand our ground. We are called to courage today.

How LOW Can We Go???

Posted: July 16, 2015 in World On The Edge
Photo from Texas Congressman Steve Stockman

Photo from Texas Congressman Steve Stockman

How low can we go as human beings? Apparently to the very core of evil, and then present it as good!

I had another post planned for today, but this one needs to be posted.

First, I encourage you take note of the photo from Congressman Stockman. The baby was born at just 24 weeks gestation, the age of many babies who are aborted. Isn’t he beautiful?

Second, please take the time to listen to the Yellowhammer Radio link below, and then watch the video.

I became interested in the Pro Life movement many years ago as a young mother, just after Roe v. Wade was tragically made law. No one was talking much about actual abortions then, either. No one wanted to see pictures of an aborted child–fetus, they called it, not a baby. I was working in Pro Life in Birmingham under Bishop Joseph Vath–a wonderfully courageous man of foresight, and also with a friend of mine whose child was dying of Leukemia. The one thing that had made me so certain that abortion was evil was when my pregnant sister was diagnosed as having German Measles. Because of what that disease would do to her unborn child, her doctor recommended an abortion. Many people were pushing my sister in that direction, but she would not do it. When her baby (Hi Kelley!) was born, she was perfect. My sister did not know whether Kelley would be perfect, or not. Yet she could not take an innocent life. Today, Kelley is a lovely young woman.

As we speak, many (especially Planned Parenthood Clinics) have no problem with killing a baby in the womb–and apparently many have no problem with planning ahead to sell the severed parts of the baby that partial-birth abortion produces. Of course, the abortionist is careful not to cut up or crush the more valuable parts. After all, no one will buy damaged goods!

Severed parts. Crushed parts. Burned-by-saline parts. But no one wants to hear about it?
No one wants to see it? Here’s an example of a person calling into a radio show to say he cannot enjoy his lunch listening to the breaking news of selling aborted baby parts! Listen to how the host responds.
http://yellowhammernews.com/faithandculture/hear-alabama-radio-hosts-epic-response-to-planned-parenthood-selling-body-parts-of-aborted-babies/

We should all be as outraged as Cliff Sims. Yes, finally outraged. After fifty million abortions–outraged.

And the following video says exactly why. Watch it, even if it upsets your lunch. And believe me, it will upset. See how the proud abortionist is and how proud Planned Parenthood is of her!

What Comes Easy to You??

Posted: July 15, 2015 in World On The Edge
Photo by Rachjose, 2008 MorgueFile.com

Photo by Rachjose, 2008 MorgueFile.com

We’ve heard it often enough: Life Isn’t Easy.

And in many situations, that’s true.

But not always.

Some things in life do come easy. After all, not one of us is the same. No two human beings are genetically identical. And no two human beings will act exactly the same in every situation of their lives. Depending upon our make-up as distinctive human beings, some things are easier for us than they are for another.

I remember a statement my mother once made after hearing about a friend’s divorce. The friend had said, “Marriage is too hard. I think it might be unnatural.” My mother’s response was the opposite. “Marriage comes easy to me. It’s the most natural thing in the world,” she said, because she had made a ’til death do us part’ commitment.

And commitment is the first step to success.

Is there something that comes easy to you?

Put your efforts there.

Sometimes its our fears, inhibitions, and even our jealousies, that can keep us from being ourselves. We even try to ACT like another, rather than the self we see in the mirror.

Remember the old adage–Be yourself?

Most would agree. Yet some of us don’t follow what we are good at. Instead, we aim to do what someone else is good at.

Within each of us are unique abilities, things we like to do, so they come easier to us. Pay attention to those. We have each been made by an omniscient God who knew what He was doing when He made us. And each one of us are equipped for a purpose in His plan. Let’s work on our purpose, not someone else’s.

Photo by Pippalou, 2014, MorgueFile.com

Photo by Pippalou, 2014, MorgueFile.com

There are times in our lives when we stop and look around. Times when realization sets in. Times when we might say, “I’m not who I wanted to be.”

This realization may be based on past beliefs we’ve let go of, and miss. Or it may come from a sudden encounter with danger, or a bout with debilitating disease.

It may come from the unselfish love of another toward us when we have been selfish toward him/her. Or it may come from someone we’ve always admired, and want to emulate, someone who’s run the race of life courageously.

Or it may come when everything we’ve known seems to crash around us.

Surprisingly, these are the points in our lives when we are literally bathed in the grace of God. These are times when we reach out of our physical selves and into the  spiritual component that we were created with. This is when God’s grace is above, behind, and all around us.

Do we stop and take notice of that?

Because if we do, if we let go of ourselves and turn to Him, our lives will be transformed.

Seeing TRUTH???

Posted: July 13, 2015 in World On The Edge
By DeduloPhotos, 2015, MorgueFile.com

By DeduloPhotos, 2015, MorgueFile.com

The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.
–Matthew 6:22

Is your eye sound? What does that even mean?

Since all us humans have free will, we determine what we do with our eyes, body, and mind. We’re not programed as robots by God. He gave us choices–choices that have a great deal to do with our lives today and our eternal life. It’s all up to us. But are we doing our best with our gift of choice? And if we’re trying to make good choices based on Truth, are there some who’d like to hide Truth from us to suit their own ends?

Are our eyes seeing the real Truths in our world?

OR……

Are our eyes, minds, and bodies  taking in lies created to form our opinions for us? Are we being stroked with persuasions that go against Truth.  Yes. Of course. Undeniably!

Persuasion is powerful.  If it wasn’t,  no advertising could cause us to buy what we don’t need. One of  the most used persuasions in advertising is appealing to  human compassion, because most of us are compassionate people. We don’t want others to hurt. But we can also be fed a false compassion. This is called propaganda.  Propaganda is defined as information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. And propaganda is not necessarily true.

From Focus on the Family:   “In a society where ultimate truth is treated like a fairy tale, an outdated idea or even an insult to human intelligence, the motto of the day becomes, “WHATEVER!” Believe whatever you want. Do whatever seems best to you. Live for whatever brings you pleasure, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. And of course, be tolerant. Don’t try to tell anyone that their whatever is wrong. But where does that leave us? If we have ultimate truth, it gives us both a way to explain the world around us and a basis for making decisions. Without it, we’re alone. We’re just 6 billion organisms running around, bumping into each other with nothing unifying to work for or believe in. It’s every man for himself. And we’re without a purpose; if there’s no true story of where we came from and why we’re here, then there’s nothing that really gives our lives meaning. Sounds a little depressing, huh? And maybe frightening.”–Lindy Keffer

We have to be informed. And especially today, we have to have courage.
It takes courage to go forward when we live a life based on Truth while many around us do not. It takes commitment when many trash genuine Truth.

And it also takes acceptance–the realization that we may be burned because of the absolute truths we believe in, and stand up for.

hunterHow many times have you said, “I can’t do that.” If you’re like me–plenty. Sometimes it’s only an excuse not to try.

What causes us to even consider not trying something that just might be good for us?

Fear of embarrassment? Laziness? Too comfortable in our hum-drum-ness?

In America’s early days, if a family wanted to eat, someone had to hunt for food. They couldn’t put it off. They couldn’t wait for tomorrow. Their family was in need, so they had to get out there. Need gives us impetus and courage.

Have you had an idea that you thought was a good one, but you were afraid to attempt to implement it? Have you looked at a family member or friend who needed something important from you, and turned your back because it was inconvenient? It’s easy to do–not exactly exemplary behavior, but easy. I’ve done it myself. Too often, I’ve taken the easy route.

But if we’re going to be the kind of person that God wants us to be, we will be inconvenienced. We will have to overcome fear. We will have to do the work.  We will have to fill ourselves with spiritual food–God’s grace. And no one except ourselves can do that.

Where do we find that food?

Amazingly, it’s at our fingertips. We already have it within us. God’s grace is part of us. We only have to notice, and remember, that we are His children. He loves us madly. He wants us to succeed, and has given us the tools for the dance of our lives.

So, let’s use those tools.  We might be surprised at what we can accomplish!

Got a Life Jacket??

Posted: July 9, 2015 in World On The Edge
by Roxanneh, 2009, MorgueFile.com

by Roxanneh, 2009, MorgueFile.com

Life jackets  come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. They are made to fit both adults and children. The main purpose of a lifejacket is to keep a person’s head above the water. They are designed to help us stay afloat even when unconscious. A life jacket is supposed to protect us.

Sometimes we think of another person as our life jacket: our spouse, our parents, our friends.. We’re not Supermen or Superwomen.   We need others. We need to be able to trust others. Husbands need to be able to trust their wives, and wives their husbands. And children surely need to be able to trust that their parents will protect them.

But in some circumstances,  the very ones we look to for protection are the ones who betray us. Rather than holding our heads above water, or helping us float when we need it, those so-called ‘life jackets’ leave the pool. They leave us alone to fend for ourselves.

So what do we do when we’re in deep water, and our life jacket unstraps itself and skitters away?

For a child, still unable to swim, it’s catastrophe. A child will cry for help, “Save me!”

If  we are a  husband or wife who has been betrayed, or if a close friend has left us in a less than safe position,  we might still say, “Come back. Save me.” But we are not children.

“Save me” is not a sensible,  adult response, to the one who’s left us in a lurch. Neither is, “I’ll get you back if it’s the last thing I do!”

The adult response is  not to whine, not to seek revenge, but to bolster ourselves by recognizing that we are created for dignity by God. Lean on Him. Listen to His words. He will teach us how to swim on our own.

Because this is what we must sometimes do–be on our own. Life is difficult. People are not always going to be there for us.

But God will always be there for us.  Call out to Him.

Who Needs Fixing???

Posted: July 9, 2015 in World On The Edge

computer-repairsCertain people are natural fixers—people who can fix anything, a broken drawer, a leaky radiator, a downed computer. Anything. Except themselves.

These are people who sense nothing wrong with themselves, until catastrophe shakes their lives and they’re knocked to their knees. They look up and wonder what happened. They look for the screwdriver, or the hammer and nails. But the situation they’re in can’t be fixed with those sorts of tools.

These are the people who have lost a child, or a spouse, or a parent. These are the people who have been fired from a job, or told they have cancer or some other disease. These are the people who go to fight wars and lose legs and arms, and more. These are the people who must care for someone with dementia, or have it themselves. These are the people with every sort of addiction they can’t get rid of.

These are the people who think one lie won’t matter–they’ll never get caught. These are the people who salivate over someone else’s good fortune to the point of jealously that spins out of control. These are the people who con others out of what is rightfully theirs. These are the people who cheat, murder, sell drugs to children for money to buy a pair of expensive shoes. These are the people with vendettas against those who have hurt them. These are the people who kill, or abuse their own children, or terrifically wound them with poisonous words and language. These are the people in fat positions who climb up the ladder on the slender backs of others.

These are the people. And those people are us.

We are, all of us, imperfect people in an imperfect world. Our individual vices abound. But also, within each of us there are virtues. The virtues of faith and hope and love. These are the spiritual tools we have been given by our Creator.

Can we use them to become different? Can we change? Can we be fixed?

 

file4771280701846

On my kitchen counter is a stone bowl on a stem–a fruit and vegetable compote that once belonged to my mother, and her mother before her. In it, I keep bananas and tomatoes, same as my mother did.

Some of the tomatoes are still green when I put them in the bowl, but that’s okay because the bananas have a way of ripening them. My mother likened it to friendship and love. “One ripens first and then helps the other along.”

file4661328230562

And like her, I cannot waste the uneaten bananas. I simply cannot bring myself to discard a banana only because it’s past its prime for peeling and eating. I have to make something else out of it. Banana nut bread, muffins, cake—something!

Naturally, my children always liked this family quirk, when an aging fruit they might have discarded is changed into something fresh, new–and edible. (more…)

JOY–Do You Have It??

Posted: July 7, 2015 in World On The Edge
Photo by Hotblack, 2010, MorgueFile.com

Photo by Hotblack, 2010, MorgueFile.com

Do you now, or have you ever felt JOY? How would you define it?

Here’s what Pope Francis has to say:

“When he awakens to the world, does not man feel, in addition to the natural desire to understand and take possession of it, the desire to find within it his fulfillment and happiness?

As everyone knows, there are several degrees of this “happiness.” Its most noble expression is joy, or “happiness” in the strict sense, when man, on the level of his higher faculties, finds his peace and satisfaction in the possession of a known and loved good. Thus, man experiences joy when he finds himself in harmony with nature, and especially in the encounter, sharing and communion with other people.

All the more does he know spiritual joy or happiness when his spirit enters into possession of God, known and loved as the supreme and immutable good. Poets, artists, thinkers, but also ordinary men and women, simply disposed to a certain inner light, have been able and still are able, in the times before Christ and in our own time and among us, to experience something of the joy of God.” — Pope Francis,  Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)

A Few More Definitions…

“This is the true joy in life…being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” — George Bernard Shaw

“Joy is our goal, our destiny.  We cannot know who we are except in Joy.  Not knowing Joy, we do not know ourselves.”– Marianne Williamson

“The beating heart of the universe is holy joy.” —Martin Buber

“Joy is the flag you fly when the Prince of Peace  is in residence within your heart.”– Wilfred Peterson

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” — Psalm 30:5

What is “Joy” to you?