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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

     Do you ever wonder what your personal responsibilities are?  I mean, most people understand that they must work, take care of their children, nuture their personal relationships, and pay their bills; what else is there?  Being a responsible person is a way of life; are you required to take care of others outside the close personal limits of your immediate family?  Who and what are you responsible for?  Are there limits to your responsibilty legally, physically, spiritually, emotionally or morally? 

      Have you ever heard the saying, “Are you your brother’s keeper”?  Human beings are complex creatures.  We have layers of self, one upon the other…each with their own wants and needs.  For those who are spiritual seekers of truth; there are teachings which encourage us to reach beyond the demands of our own personal flesh-n- blood, wants and needs.  My road map is the Bible.  Everything i need to know to be a successful and fulfilled person is included in that instruction manual.

       God wants us to follow his leading; we are to grow and learn how to praise him and serve others.  This is not always convienent in today’s society,  according to the world’s values. That attitude of becoming a servant requires a bit of sacrifice on our part.  Many people run from their own responsibilities and refuse to accept that they have a moral responsibility to reach out to others.   And there are others who do not consider themselves spiritual beings who still manage to be service minded…realizing that there is value to connecting with and recognizing need in others. 

      Understand, I am not talking about enabling others to continue to be irresponsible…but instead, teaching and inspiring others to take up the challenge of  meeting their own obligations when they are able.   To do that, they must be inspired, they must have knowledge, skills, opportunities and funding…once that happens, they too can become a servant to pass it on to others.

        Responsibility is something that we must strive for.  When everything is going smoothly…it is because we have acknowledged our responsibilities and have submitted ourselves to the service of God. 

        God says that we are to take care of the widows and the children; we are to befriend the poor.  When we see suffering in the world and we have the ability, the skill, the opportunity to help ,then we must consider it a priviledge and a responsibility to do so.  What are you willing to do for those around you?  Do you know someone who has a need? Can you listen when someone needs to talk, can you spend time with someone who is lonely, are you capable of performing a chore that someone else cant do and needs done? 

      There are so many ways to be of service to another fellow human being…it is simply a matter of being aware and observing those around you and being willing to be helpful.  People in need are all around us…it will change your life to see the world through the eye and heart of a servant of God.

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       Airplane pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger said today at a hometown celebration that he was just doing his job when he landed a jet with 155 passengers on the Hudson river in New York..he said actually,  all of the flight crew were just doing the job that they were trained to do.  He appears to be very humble and self-effacing.  I think that all of this attention is hard for him to deal with.  I also believe that he knows that even though they each did the job that they were trained to do…it still was a miracle that no one was killed or even injured in a debilatating life long way.

       The statements that the pilot made sure make you think though.  I got to wondering, how many people “just do their job”?  How many people do their best or go the extra mile in what they do for a living?  Emergencies happen all of the time…so, I find it comforting to hear that the  courage, wisdom and training that was exhibited during this emergency landing…was all part and parcel of the flight crew’s training.  Still, i think it says something about the quality of the persons on that crew.

         I personally believe that the hand of God also guided and directed the whole adventure.  Things went very well for an emergency plane landing on water.  It was as if everyone had practiced what to do including the passengers.  Things really turned out almost perfectly for an out of the ordinary landing.

        While the plane crew did their jobs, the ferries also did what they have trained to do…the whole rescue event could not have turned out better.  Let’s not forget that the pilots also avoided crashing into a major populated business or residential area, they avoided the bridge on the water…and no ferries or boats were in the pathway of that jet as it came down for it’s dramatic touchdown.

        Ahhh…i suspect that each of the person’s on that plane have a story to tell.  It would make some book.  Wish that i had access to each and everyone of the passengers…because i believe that it would make quite an awesome interview to get the perspective of each of the 155 persons on board.  How those moments took place in their heads and how it has affected them so far; as well as, how they think it will affect their future.  Why do they think they were spared a far worse fate?  Did they have any life changing attitudes before the event and after the event…is their mindset any different after the plane’s emergency landing? 

        I don’t know about you; but, i am thankful that flight crews are trained for such emergencies.  I don’t personally fly…but, i have loved ones who do fly…and they fly often…so; to all of the professionals out there in the mass transit areas of our lives…thank you for what you do each and every day…in emergencies and in the moments of routine procedures!

       

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     I can’t believe all of the different things that this inauguration appears to mean to each person that i talk to or read about.  Some people are moved to tears by the inspiration of it all.  Some people are in awe of the historical nature.  For others it is more personal; they have invested so much of their own personal hopes and dreams into the candidates for the office of the President of the United States.  Observing the inauguration is a very personal and a very public thing.  The swearing in of the 44th President of the United States is a solemn occasion and is observed by all in a variety of ways.

      For quite some time there has been indiviual stories on the news about individuals who have made the trek to view the ceremonies in person…some have borrowed money to get there or made amazing sacrifices to fund the trip.  Others who are content to watch from their homes watch avidly….others in dismay.

      Supporters of candidates who did not win the nominations have differing views and opinions.  I watch and look for conflicting emotions on the faces of those who could have been in a different place during todays proceedings..and yet…i see pride, joy and excitement in their faces.

       Watching the former Presidents and the mixture of emotions and memories flood their visage is truly something to see.  Their wives remembering their time in the spotlight…reflecting on the changes since their moment…you can see the strength that it takes to endure the pressures and the passage of time.

        It is no simple time …the respect of the responsibility, the solemness of the swearing in…the honor…the pride…the exaltation…it is such a mixture of the past, the present and the future.  Truly…can feel the waves of deeply held beliefs and expectations.  For this one day, we can enjoy the coming together as a nation.  There will be time on another day to examine the differences, the disappointments, the frustrations and the solutions to problems that exist…For now…today is momentous!  I am thrilled that God is acknowledged as the ultimate authority of our nation…I pray that President Barack Obama submits his actions to be wholly acceptable to the only person who he should be in submission to at this point and that is God himself.  May God bless our nation…and may we live up to the standards that he expects from us.

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        Today is a life affirming day of recognition….it is the Sanctity of Life Sunday…a day when most churches and individuals choose to celebrate life and inspire individuals to cherish & protect it.  Many churches concentrate on the issue of teaching that abortion violates the sanctity of life (I happen to agree)… however, there are many, equally important ways to honor and celebrate life.

        While abortion is a horror to me and i think it should be repellant to all human beings; that issues comes up at the very beginning of life.  There are other circumstances that need to be addressed as well. 

          There are issues such as injury, illness and those who fight for the right to commit suicide.  Life is precious at all stages.  Should we turn a blind eye to those who would turn out the light of another human being simply because they are infirmed, disabled, impaired, terminally ill or have no desire to live another moment?

            For those who truly believe in the sanctity of life…it gets a bit stickier for some when you enter into the idea of criminals who commit heinous crimes; and, the criminal justice system offers up the death penalty or death row for certain individuals who have been convicted of crimes that can dish out the death penalty as punnishment. 

        For me that is a bit trickier –i have not sorted out the boundaries of my beliefs on that.  Criminals who commit the most horrible, vile crimes….it is a struggle in my heart to remind myself that God says, “Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord”.  But, if that verse is applied strictly…then…punnishment will come later from God (in the meantime…life in prison without parole is the only recourse to prevent further tragedy).  

          On the other hand, there are scriptures that also talk about an eye for an eye…and if a man take a life he must also forfeit his.  So…this part of the sanctity of life, i am still working out in my mind and heart.  Until i have studied the issues more closely..i am going to err on the side of; Life is precious and must be protected…at the beginning of life, in the early part of life, in middle age, in the elder years and in all stages in between.

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      Today a totally spectacular emergency landing in NYC.  A plane on it’s way to North Carolina from New York radioed the controllers and communicated that the plane was struck by birds twice and the pilot stated that he wanted to return to the airport.  This flight was on a wing and a prayer at this point.

       He never made it to the airport as he was forced to land the plane…in the Hudson river.    With a splash reminiscent of a water park ride in overdrive the plane plowed a trough in the center of the river.   All in all…there were over 150 people on that flight.  The pilot landed that plane as if he was on a runway…only it wasn’t; it was the river said Robin Roberts who lives in an apartment near the site.  She witnesses the landing and she described the scene for the news programs on ABC.  She along with many others called in the incident to 911.

        The rescue of over 150 people is indeed miraculous…through God’s will as well as the skill of the pilot, Chelsey Burnett Sullenberger III and the quick thinking of the ferries operators who immediately went to work rescuing travelors who were forced to stand out on the wings of the plane as it bobbed in water as freezing temperatures swirled around them.

         It is a good day…all things worked together for good and allowed for nothing but amazement and a lot of celebration of  joy tonight!

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      I recently read a story about a young woman in San Diego; I won’t mention her name, as i really don’t want to give her any more notoriety than she has already created for herself.   Not to mention, I personally hope that she changes her mind about her decision to sell her virginity to the highest bidder. 

      For whenever a product is sold…there is a give and take; and while it may seem that the money is worth the loss of something that she values less than the money…it doesn’t mean that the trade of her integrity is the right thing to do.  Integrity is a core value in a person.  It is the state of being whole or undiminished; of adherring to moral or ethical principals; of honesty.  While she may be honest in her expectations of the deal…it does deminish the perception of who she is that she could or would sell herself to a person who would basically rent her body.  How will a future mate value her “virtue” if she herself devalues it?

      This 22 year old woman has received a bid for 3.7 million dollars for the one time gift of her virginity.  She allegedly got the idea to sell “it” after her sister allegedly prostituted herself for 3 months to pay for her college education.  Wow…is this like a family tradition or what?  I am sorry but, I am thinking this whole thing is wrong on so many levels.

        First off, the idea of selling your virginity is not my idea of innocence.  Evidently, it isn’t the dictionary’s idea of innocence either.  The definition of innocence is:  the quality or state of being innocent;  freedom from sin or moral wrong;  simplicity or lack of guile;  naivete;  lack of knowledge or understanding; freedom from legal or specific wrong; or, harmlessness.

       This young woman may have a lack of sexual experience…however, she is not innocent or “unknowing”.  She does understand what she is about to do.  She knows that she is selling a “product-herself” for a large sum of money.  She appears to understand that there are some people in this world who are willing to possess that “physical innocence” for a sum of money…even though that innocence is fleeting.  The logic of paying mutiple millions of dollars for something this empty escapes me…I can’t help but to ponder, what type of person would consider something of this nature. 

      She allegedly said that she believes that both herself and the person that she does “it” with will both profit greatly from the deal.  For herself, she plans to use some of the money to pay for an advanced degree in family and marriage therapy.  Hmmmmm…interesting!  Personally, I think it brings a whole new meaning to the idea of a profit/loss statement.   

       I wonder if she may someday have to use some of that money to pay for counseling once she takes that step into a marriage of her own…when both she and her future spouse have to come to terms with the physical and/or, psychological consequences of her actions regarding her virginity.  Money is a poor balm to a mind and a soul that is damaged from selling itself to the highest bidder.  Will she be able to trust that the person she chooses to marry is marrying her for herself and not for her money?  Will she be able to find a person to love her, who can find kernels of a person of value…after she devalues herself, as a person, by selling her body? 

       After all, this isn’t a person who is being forced to sell herself…nor is she selling herself to “survive”; she is making a conscious choice to sell her body for money.  When it is over, will she consider that she traded up?

       Back to the definitions of innocence…freedom from sin or moral wrong (decay)…while some may try to deny that selling your body is wrong morally…the soul knows it’s worth.  That is what a conscience is for.  It gets troubled and disturbed when you do things that go against spiritual purity.  That is a safety valve built within our very beings…it is designed by God to help us turn away from the very choices that have the ability to destroy us for eternity.  That is my opinion.

       Now, most anyone over the age of 10 understands about the exposure to STD’s from having sex with multiple partners.  This woman does not pretend to have a future with the person who will use her for this sexual experience.  That means that someday, she will eventually have other experiences with someone.  She herself admits that she is using this unknown person, in my opinion, by alluding to the fact that she is in it for the money.   I think in her mind, it is a straight up exchange of money for the sexual pleasure of sharing this 1st sexual experience with her.   This decision could have lifelong impact on both her life and, that of this invisible person with excess money; not to mention…her future sexual partners and or, any children that she may have someday.   In my book…exchanging sexual favors for money is prostitution and is illegal in California, last I knew. 

      Not that people don’t get involved in prostitution…however, they do get arrested for it; prostitution is a crime!    What do you think of this situation?

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       Actor Willie Ames is famous for his roles on Eight Is Enough (1970’s) and in the show Charles in Charge (1980’s), he has had a large fan following over the years.   Willie also starred  in video’s from 1995-2004 as a superhero named Bibleman; winning a whole new generation of young fans.  He became a Christian and an ordained minister after struggling for years with drug/alcohol addictions.  He appeared to have things together in his life.

        Just this past November Willie, and his second wife Maylo McCaslin Ames, wrote a book together called Grace is Enough.  Shortly after this book was published, on Thanksgiving 2008, Willie Ames allgedly tried to take his own life.  This is why God tells us to keep our eyes on him and not on man ( or woman).  We are vulnerable to attacks by the enemy (Satan) and we can fail one another as role models from time to time.  It is unfair to put someone on a pedestal as an example to follow because they are; for all intents and purposes, human just like us.  Only Jesus is the perfect example to follow.

         It seems that Willie found himself in the position of having to declare bankruptsy, having his vehicle repossesed and having his wife of 22 years ask him for a divorce.  I am sure the fear of failure, rejection, the possibility of an upcoming divorce, slipping back to the pull of his addictions, and the financial difficulties all contributed to his suicide attempt.  When people are overloaded with difficulties that come all at once…that is when escape starts to sound good…it is an illusion that a Christian is tempted with by his spiritual adversary, Satan.  Suicide is not a solution…it is an really just another way to self-destruct; it an attack on that person’s physical and spiritual being.  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  It is important to seek help when depression and despair overwhelms a person. 

        Willie is a Christian yes, but he is a human being also.  One who has struggled with these issues of addiction and self-destruction.  He has tried to live in a place of leadership; which is admirable.  From reading excerpts of their book….it sounds as though both Willie and Maylo have allegedly come from previous places of dysfunction.  No one lives a perfect life…Christians are a work in progress; and, some of the same negative circumstances and forces that affect non-Christians, affect Christians as well. 

         I hope that through this time of difficulty, that Willie and his family can receive proper spiritual counseling and emotional counseling to help them sort things out.  Certainly, we wish him well in his healing path.  As anyone who had had to struggle with these kinds of issues…it is important to know that support is very important from family, friends and, health care professionals; when it is needed.

          For those who would condemn or look askance at Willie’s actions and ask incrediously, how a Christian could do such a thing; I would counter that by asking that person to think compassionately.  When people are in despair and going through some of the worst situations that life has to offer …faith is a lifeline… but, faith is a fragile thing sometimes.  We are to encourage one another and lift each other up.  While Willie played a superhero….he is not superhuman…he is a man who has to find his way back to a place of prominence, by putting faith into action once again,. 

          Do you think Christians are immune from depression and confusion; or should they be?  Do you know any other Christian who has struggled with addictions and depression and then been able to build their life back up from that desperate place?  Have you yourself been there?  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National suicide prevention lifeline: Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, 132 crisis centers nationwide               1-800-273-TALK       .
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Update:  you may also want to read:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20268391,00.html

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     As a Christian I am struggling with the line between fear and faith.  My parents are both cancer survivors.  However, right before Christmas they both had tests done that have come back with suspicious results.

       I listen to my mother say that she is not going to get worked up until she talks with the doctor about the results.  In general, I agree with that.   My mother is pretty much a positive thinker, which is a great thing.

         My father is cut out of a different cloth.  He automatically thinks negatively; he can’t seem to help it.  His mind goes to the worst case scenerio.  It is experience related…he has had the worst case scenerio happen to him before…so he just expects that to be his luck.   Both mom and dad will be meeting up with their respective cancer doctors before the first week of January is over.

          I am a product of both of my parents.  I am at times a positive thinker….and at times, automatically hit the negativity zone.  I don’t like it that that is true; but, it is honest.  I work hard attempting to focus on the positives.

           The problem is…fear.  I fear hearing the situations that they are facing will possibly return them to the medical world of tests, surgeries, treatments, complications, and hospitalizations.  This is a world that is both isolating and overwhelming, with people.  🙂  I realize that that sounds contrary….but, it isn’t.  

     You are surrounded with people in the medical field….this specialist, that oncologist, the anestesiologist (sp?), the radiologist, the pharmacist, the dietician, the family doctor, the nurses, the insurance company…the list goes on and on.  The isolation comes when you must seperate yourself from the general population because of the possibility of infection.  The isolation that the patient feels when heading in for the surgery or the treatment…no-one else can do those things for them.  It is in isolation that fear takes root and does it’s dirty work.  Discouragement can set in…thwarting all of the good and positive things that are at work in the healing process.

     The thing is, once you have been a survivor…your history can limit treatments.  It can also be eye opening to the types of situations you may be facing this time around.  My mother has  developed conditions that can be life threatening, since the last time around.  Both my mother and father had difficult side effects and complications from their various treatments, in the past.

     I am a firm believer that God is in control of everything.  I don’t claim to understand the mind of God.  But, i know that he allows things to happen that are very difficult to go through.  If left to our own devices…most human beings would opt out of the difficult things and shoot straight for the easy path…myself included.  My head knows that much can be learned during these hard moments in life…that God has things for us to gain in those moments.  I know he has things to be accomplished during those moments…he puts people in our path for us to connect with and to share with.  We will do our best to bring glory to his name throughout.  For he is worthy of praise in all things.

        So, I will work at praying that God will have mercy…that he will guide and direct us as we face these additional challenges.  I will ask for wisdom, clarity, patience, faith, courage, strength, healing, financial blessings, and any area of lacking; that we may need to overcome in the face of these trials.  

       What i am thankful for, is that we don’t have to pray for love or sharing; or, willing family members to help out.  We are blessed in those areas.  We are a family that knows how to support one another; and, whoever is in need around us, at the time.   Roomates have often been the recipients of the overflow of our big family.  There have been roomates that had no one to look out for them…they were alone in their journey.  My family is nurturing in nature.   I am thankful for that compassionate part of our family. 

     I am thankful for those in the medical community who also have compassion, skill, knowledge and who are sensitive in the way that they go about promoting healing to their patients and their family members.  They are our allies in the war that has been declared on our loved ones..they are on the front lines of battle trying to help our loved ones to have a full and healthy life; so we pray for all of them who will have contact with us.  We respect their skill and dedication.

     We have so much to be thankful for…and, we are.  Are we greedy to wish for health and financial blessings to meet the demands put on the family as we go thru these things?  I don’t think so.   I know that God has a purpose; I pray that we realize it and make the most of it as he would desire us to do.  I am just selfish enough to wish, as Jesus did on the cross, that this cup would pass from out of our hands; if God so desires. 

         Again…the line blurrs between faith and fear that these medical challenges may not pass from us!

           

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     Have you ever noticed how a baby can change the whole environment of a room?  You can be standing in line somewhere thinking that you would rather be anywhere else in the world…frustrated beyond belief; and, a mother or father can walk in with a baby and people just seem to smile a little more.  Babies have the ability to change the world.

        If the baby is old enough to interact with those around them…they can lift the spirits of the grumpiest person nearby.  Everyone is that baby’s friend and while they may not want to leave the safe and secure arms of mom or dad to let a stranger hold them…they will generally smile, coo and try to engage those around them.  That baby has already changed everything about life for both mom and dad; as well as those in the life of mom and dad.

         Every baby is special.  But there is one baby that is even more so; it is baby Jesus.  Today is his birthday and he changed the world more than any other child born.  He was born to bring life and love everlasting to the world.  He loves everyone and wishes for them to live in heaven.  For this to happen…we must accept him as our savior; and, live a life that is worthy of being saved-the bible is our road map…it teaches us the way to live.   We live to be of service to others and to worship God. 

         Babies are a gift from God…just as baby Jesus was a gift.  So this Christmas, please remember him in your celebration.  He is the reason for the whole holiday…celebrating Christmas without celebrating Christ Jesus seems like an empty holiday to me.  May you be blessed this Christmas and in this New Year!  Happy Birthday Jesus!  How do you plan on celebrating Christmas?

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        When you have given your all and feel like you have nothing left to give…that is a great time to do a little Rest & Renewal.   Stop, don’t make any decisions; or, take any actions when you are feeling burned out and overburdened.  Stop, take a few deep breaths and re-evaluate the situation when you are feeling more refreshed.   Rest, eat healthy, drink water; ponder the blessings in your life and be thankful for them. 

         Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the negatives.   It is too easy to feel discouragement or weariness in that frame of mind.      When your vision is clear you will be in a better position to see things as they really are…assessing both the positive and the negative; allowing you to act accordingly.

        Emotions and physical limitations can blind you to your actual situation.  Give it a little time and remember to recharge your batteries.   No one says that you have to do all and be all things to everyone around you.   It is a wise person who takes the time to make sure that their own physical, spirtual, and emotional needs are met…then, and only then, can you continue to pour yourself out, or give to others in a real purposeful way.  

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