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Archive for the ‘hopes’ Category

Baby Boomers, do you remember the old-time style of witnessing?  You know, standing on the corner or knocking on the doors of strangers and telling them the good news about Jesus, the son of God?  It was truly a commitment to the instruction of scripture, for the children of God, to go into the world and spread good news.

The Good News meaning that Jesus was born the son of God, come into the world to offer hope to a lost and dying world that they might accept him, repent of their sins and grow in their relationship with God the Father and have eternal life with him in Heaven, instead of living a sinful life of destruction and pain.

I have admiration for those who can and have witnessed in that way door to door or on the streets.  It is not for everyone however, and it is not the only way to win souls.  Society has changed and in some ways not for the better.  Personal safety issues are part of the equation.  It simply is not safe to send teens or young people into settings where they are encouraged to step foot into the homes of strangers where they may, or may not, be wanted.  Today’s secular world has little respect for life, or for Christian values.

Today, that type of witnessing still happens on some level…but, times have changed in the way that we deliver the good news.  We still need to honor and perform the great commission (the task of evangelizing) around the world; however, our approach must be different to be considered highly effective.  People’s hearts are hard and their sins are proudly displayed and openly encouraged by the misguided members of our society.

We have to bring the message to where they are; and, many people are online. Continue reading here: Write Where You Are

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The media is bombarding us with a feel good story about a man by the name of Ted Williams.  He has been homeless for quite some time as he struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, as well as legal problems.  That is not all that unusual when you stop and consider the large number of people living on the streets and learn about their individual stories.  Often you will find that there is a dependency on either drugs or alcohol, or even possibly a mental illness that often goes untreated.  With the economic disasters of the last decade, there are more people out on the street because they have been uprooted by a sudden change in their finances.  Military veterans often struggle with a return to civilian life and end up homeless.   Runaways also can end up homeless after they have run through the willingness of their friends and family to allow them to couch surf for a period of time.  Still, people become homeless for a variety of reasons and it doesn’t have to be permanent.  People living on the street can also become a victim of violence or intimidation.   Homelessness can be a reaction to a temporary situation in a person’s life.  Homeless does not have to mean a hopeless situation.  If you would like to read more of this post click here: WriteWhereYouAre

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Surely you’ve heard about the Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot in the news.  Everyone in the media is going gaga over the $330 million jackpot winnings.  People are dreaming big.  Oh there is speculation on the lips of those that are interviewed about what they WILL do with their winnings (they haven’t even bought a ticket yet) and they are fantasizing about how THEIR money will be spent and how they will choose to collect it; either in a lump sum or, through long term annuity payments.

Players are standing in long lines to purchase their tickets.  Even the “odds of winning” aren’t a deterrent to the most loyal of players…the 1 in 176 millionth of a chance of winning.  Really?  I wonder how someone convinces themselves that THEY are the one who WILL win the jackpot with those kind of odds.   If you would like to finish reading this post click here: WriteWhereYouAre

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       Have you ever talked with someone, in person or on the phone, and FELT the pain that they were going through?  Staying connected to those around us demands an attitude of awareness and compassion.  Having a relationship with others, that goes beyond the surface, requires time, attention, and sensitivity.  Are you able to feel someone else’s pain?

        Communicating comfort, love and caring towards others is easy.  All you have to do is reach out to them, for them to feel that love and caring.  Will they talk about their pain; it depends on whether they are ready or not.  Some people internalize what they are going through…they can’t share it until they have processed what they are struggling with.  Others unload their challenges at the drop of a hat. 

       The key to staying connected and being helpful to another person; is knowing that person well enough to know how they handle painful situations.  If they need someone to talk to when dealing with difficulties, try to be there for them.  If they need time to process what they are going through…make sure they know they can call on you when they are ready to talk it out. 

       Lately, it seems like there are too many news reports of people who have broken under stress or pain and have become desperate…hurting themselves or someone else that they professed to love.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  If everyone tried to be more aware of those around them…this world would be a better place.  Do you know someone who is hurting; or, is it you who is going through a hard time?

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        There is a debate brewing about whether news media should have access to photograph the coffins of returning military men and women, killed in the line of duty, when their bodies are returned to Dover Air Force Base.  There is strong controversy about whether this should be allowed or not.  In 1991, President George H. Bush enacted a ban on the photographing of the coffins.  It just was not allowed to happen, by the order of the President.

         This has been a matter of contention.  Some people believe that allowing  the photographs could make an impact on the  minds of the citizens of the United States as to the cost of war; as the death toll rises from the wars in recent years.  There are many who feel that by not seeing the evidence of the coffins, people would not understand the depths of the sacrifice that our service persons were making.  In effect, out of sight…out of mind.  (more…)

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        I have been observing alot of situations in the news and in the events that happen around me…I’ve come to the conclusion that the secret in overcoming any challenges or events in life has to be in deciding not to let any circumstances or event define the rest of your life.  I think a person’s attitude or determination is the key factor.

        Have you ever known someone who has gotten stuck in life?  You know…the the type of person who just can’t seem to be able to get past a certain event, challenge or obstacle?  It is a person who dwells on all of the lost opportunities in life; any negative situations they have encountered, the after-effects or consequences from a trauma or difficulty that they have faced; events that have been a cross road in their life.  We all have them; so what determines who overcomes and who seems to be buried under a load of defeat?  (more…)

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       It is a historical moment in time, this presidential inauguration of 2009; just like every other presidential inauguration since the beginning of the United States.  Yet, this one feels different.  It feels as though this particular inauguration is getting more attention than any other one, in my memory.

          I did not personally vote for Barack Obama…still, i can appreciate this moment…as it will be a moment of history as well as a moment for our future in America.  There is hope, excitement, fear and anxiety, as this nation faces huge difficulties.  That hope and excitement creates an air of expectancy; yet, we must temper that.

          To hear the media tell it…Obama is the answer to all the issues facing the nation.  That can not be,  he is just one man after all…even though he is a powerful man.  It isn’t fair to put that kind of pressue on him.  He cannot fix all of the issues facing this country in a way that is going to satisfy everyone.  There will be frustration, there will be disappointment…and, there will be a reality check for those who believe that things can only go up from here.

           The reason for that is…President Barack Obama is human; he is not God.  I believe that he realizes that…but, there is such a building up of who people think he is; that i think it builds a false sense of what he will be able to do.  He will represent the people…not just the black population, not just the white population or the male population.  I do think he will do his best.  I do think that he will accomplish much…but, it will be in partnership  with the Senate, the Congress,  and even the citizens of the United States.  This country will change…for better or worse who knows?  History many years from now will be the judge; when we look back to this period of our history we will have the advantage of knowing what came before and after.

          The Presidency is also a conditional thing; people forget that you must balance your expectations with reality, because reality is based on the conditions during that president’s time of the leadership.  The reality is that there are foreign governments, there are terrorists, there are internal struggles that create situations that each and every President must face during their term in office. 

     What we as a nation want to know is that our leader is a strong person, a person of good moral fiber, a person of commitment and a person who we can trust; we want a president who is wise, who knows good counsel when he hears it, a person of integrity who knows how to balance compassion and strong leadership.

          I say for now…let’s enjoy the excitement of the moment.  Let’s celebrate with the Obama family at this accomplishment. Things will get real soon enough with all of the demands of the office on the President, his family and friends.  This is a huge accomplishment and honor; but, let’s not forget it is also a sacrifice.

            The sacrifice comes by way of a sacrifice of schedule to have family time whenever they want it; it comes with pressure like no other job, it comes with a lack of privacy, it comes with media scrutiny that is justified; and, with scrutiny that is not. 

          So for now, can we not just honor the new President of the United States…acknowledge his tipping of the hat towards President Lincoln and his respect for the man and the office…while quietly considering the possibilities before us? Let’s celebrate our patriotism with our fellow citizens and not let ourselves be divided at this time…let’s look forward to the future and it’s impact on us and those around the world.

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     I don’t know about you…but, I find it heartbreaking that businesses here in the US are dropping like flies.  Today, it was announced that Circuit City has gotten the go ahead to liquidate their assets, since they were not able to secure a buyout or a refinancing plan.  

     Five hundred and sixty seven Circuit City stores in the US are involved; and, that means that over 30,000 employees are now going to be unemployed soon.  The thing is that the merchandise will now be liquidated and it will unleash an ongoing picking of the bones of merchandise; until that merchandise is sold off to help offset Circuit City’s debt load.  There are always those who will take joy or glee from someone else’s misfortune; or find a way to benefit from it.   Just this past week, Osama Bin Laden released a tape where he appeared to gloat at the United States’ financial chaos.  That just doesn’t sit well.

        I hate to even hear about liquidation sales.  In theory, I don’t like the fact that people will flock to those stores to get “great deals” that most of them really can’t afford; but, can’t seem to resist since the prices are at “rock bottom”.   Often, they really aren’t…it is all in the perception.  Still, those kinds of sales feel like vultures are picking the bones of a carcass on the side of the road to me.   

     I’ve often thought to myself…if all of those people who flock to those liquidation sales would have shopped there previous to the liquidation sales; then, maybe they wouldn’t have had to file bankruptsy, and gone out of  business in the first place.  That might be a bit judgemental…but, it is my opinion…nothing more.    On the other hand, the stuff has to be sold to “help” Circuit City meet the financial demands of their creditors.  Therefore, the liquidators are providing a service to the owners and operators that is badly needed.

          It is still sad though that the stores involved in these situations, often even look like skeletons.  They have the heavy environment of sadness and depression.  The workers that stay- -stay because they need every day on the job that they can get, in this economy; before having to pound the pavement looking for a replacement job or filing for unemployment.  The stores begin to take on the appearance of a person who is terminally ill; but, is fighting to survive no matter the cost.  The shelves are bare in spots and the products are often sold without their boxes or original packaging; and, off of display shelves…meaning they are sold as is…with or without instructions, adaptors, cords, or add-ons.  It is terribly sad.  Eventually, there is nothing left to sell but display racks, shelves, registers and lighting. 

     All in all…it ups the pressure on those trying to steer the economy of the US, as it struggles to regain a foothold on the slippery slope to financial stability.  This sad news will add another 30,000 job seekers to the already saturated job market…and, add burdens to those families who are fearful and struggling to survive the financial woes of our country.   It is bad news to those who hoped that 2009 would be the beginning of  a financial recovery period for those who are trying to earn an honest living.   I wish them well.

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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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         Dr. Susan Love has started a massive undertaking to understand the complexities of breast cancer by organizing an army of women.  She has partnered up with the Avon foundation to get an army of women to sign up to do research on a large  cross section of women to get accurate information on genetic links as well as environmental links to help the medical community understand breast cancer better…so that we can more effectively treat and PREVENT breast cancer.  Check them out: http://www.avoncompany.com/women/avonfoundation/overview.html

        She made an announcement on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts (cancer survivor) interviewing her in October of 2008.  You can see the interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=6118891.  

           I sort of envision an army of women all decked out in pink camouflage uniforms as they take up the challenge.  Breast cancer has stolen too many wonderful people from our world.  We have lost sisters, mothers, friends, lovers,aunts, daughters, grandmothers; as well as sons, daughters, fathers, uncles, grandfathers and friends!   If we can understand how it starts…then we will be able to figure out ways to prevent it.  If we can prevent it…maybe we won’t have to subject our loved ones to such difficult times during treatments.  It is a win-win situation.   You can learn more about Dr. Susan Love and about breast cancer by going here:  http://www.dslrf.org/breastcancer/content.asp?L2=1&SID=119

        Many people want to help…but, if they dont have money to give; they may say how can I possibly help?  This is an excellent way.  You can sign up to be a part of the army.  If nothing else….you can get information to help arm yourself in the war on breast cancer.  You can go here to sign up:  http://www.armyofwomen.org/  Surely you would like to see an end to breast cancer as we know it!

See possibly related stories here:  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/stand-up-to-cancer/ or, https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/03/19/triple-negative-breast-cancer/

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