Personal Lessons - Knowledge Based on Experience

Nov. 17, 2018

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3

I must be honest and admit to you that I’ve stopped watching the news except for listening to headlines each morning. I follow my typical pattern of watching 5 minutes of network news, 5 minutes of FOX News, 5 minutes of MSNBC, and 5 minutes of the Conservatives’ enemy – CNN. I stopped watching the news because a) our President says it is all fake, b) the sensationalism is simply too much to stomach, and c) I find myself shaking my head. A lot.

Now our President is a Fire Containment Specialist. Oh, he didn’t go to school to learn anything about fire containment or fire management. He certainly has never volunteered as a fire fighter. I don’t see it on his resume that he worked as a professional fire fighter or attended any classes educating him on fire fighting. Alas, he doesn’t need to have experience or the education. It doesn’t matter! He is an expert on everything.  Just ask him.

Mr. President, you are by far the worse individual I’ve ever observed at comforting a hurting nation. Your sharp edges and mindless chatter never cease to amaze me. While we tolerated your lack of education and even elected you despite your lack of experience in all things government, half of “us” just cannot seem to grasp that you really do no know what you are talking about in 99.9% of the cases in which you speak or tweet.

Might I suggest that you go to school to receive a proper education before speaking as an expert? Might I suggest you put on protective gear and actually tour the fire sites before deciding the trained fire fighters are doing it wrong?

I must admit that between being a soldier’s mother, a professional fire fighter’s mother, the wife of a volunteer fire fighter, and the mother of someone actually schooled in emergency response – your ignorance continues to glisten, and your party’s groupies continue to ignore it as long as our taxes are low.

 

Nov. 15, 2018

“Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.” Psalm 119:143

Being brought up in church, I learned both the good and bad of Christianity. Let’s face it. As a people, we do some things well; however, there are areas where spiritual growth and maturity are necessary. I am well-aware that many of us decide to accept Christ as Savior, but we never make Him the Lord of our lives. Without spiritual growth, we may be a Christian, but we aren’t necessarily a servant for His kingdom.

At the risk of sounding too “preachy” or over-the-top “churchy,” please allow me to share my observations with how the church uses the Bible correctly and how I see it being misused. It is a well-known fact that people twist scripture. I believe it is an obvious fact that those who quote it the most twist it the best. If we use scripture to make our point or to whip someone into submission, we are using the Bible as punishment; not as a tool. There is a huge difference.

The Apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, told his protégé Timothy that scripture is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” What we, today’s Christian, seem to have overlooked is that one must accept the Bible and believe the Bible before seeing it as instruction, reprimand, correction, and training. In other words, we can’t bark scripture to a lost generation and think that they agree with it or understand it. If we are trying to use scripture to convict someone, we are speaking a foreign language and a great deal is lost in translation.

The saying, “you can lead a horse to water but cannot make him drink,” comes to mind. We often depend far too much on our knowledge (true of self-perceived) to do the talking and, therefore, depend less on the Holy Spirit to do the real work. For a Christian, God’s word is a wonderful tool and companion during times of distress, sorrow, or when we want to learn more about Him. For someone who doesn’t believe the Bible, we often come across as Bible thumpers or unbending rulers when we try to do the convincing based on what we quote to them.

Here's the key: a) get to know them, b) ask what they believe, c) actually listen to their beliefs, and d) pray for them. If the Holy Spirit is going to move, He will choose to move through us or on His own. We really need to stop making Him move around us.

The Bible may be the set authority for me. That doesn’t give me permission to punch someone else with it not knowing if they have the slightest interest in its contents.

 

Nov. 14, 2018

“And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Matthew 6:12

A statement released by First Lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham, said: “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” Apparently, a Trump aide was forced out because she had words with Mrs. Trump’s staff. Arguing at work is dishonorable? Oops….

Honor in the White House…. really? We want to go there? Okay. Let’s go there.

A man can insult his opponents by making up juvenile names for them, brag about grabbing women by their private parts, confess to forcing women to kiss him, attack just about everyone accept for certain citizens, and win the prize for the crudest, most crass, creepiest Presidents of modern times and we want to talk about honor in the White House? Really?

A First Lady that rushed her own immigration process, has a history of starring in Lesbian porn, plagiarized another First Lady’s speech while taking credit for its words, pulled strings to help her parents become US citizens quicker than others legally waiting their turn, and has the audacity to make her platform anti-bullying despite being married to the biggest bully of all wants to talk about honor in the White House? This would be humorous if it weren’t so preposterous. One thing about it, this administration keeps us entertained.

Dear Melania, our country put honor aside when electing your husband and embracing you as First Lady. I think you can get over harsh words aimed at your staff. Refusing to do so simply reveals your misunderstanding of honor.

 

Nov. 13, 2018

In our house, the words, “shut up,” and “stupid,” are bad words. My boys were raised to understand that these two words have no place in our home. (Don’t even tell me what my boys are saying as adult men. <wink>)

Ugly words have always been around. They’ve always existed. I taught my sons in their early adolescent years that many ugly words were simply the empty thoughts of some person with a potty mouth. People sat around one day in their frustration and made the decision to come up with ugly words. They devised words, phrases and hand signals in response to their hidden anger, fear, and inadequacies.

A few years ago, the gates to hostility and hate swung wide open. Where ugly words and hateful speech were once discouraged, especially among our leaders, hate-filled, ugly speech is now becoming the norm. It seems to be growing in popularity. (Let’s not debate who open the gates or why we can’t seem to shut it now, okay?)

At one time, we filtered what was on our minds before speaking it out of our mouths. Cruelty of words has become quite popular.  “Zingers,” those sharp-edged responses, are a new tool of conversational survival these days. Many of us have a knack with words, so coming up with zingers happens almost effortlessly. (If you need a zinger, call me. Just kidding. Or am I?)

There are times I am so tempted to tell someone to shut up despite my conviction that it is indeed an ugly word.  I also seem to be tempted to begin name calling due to some of the actions, or lack of actions, displayed in our current society. I refuse. I am going to stick to my guns, practice what I preach, stay true to myself, and refrain from using the ugly words as an inappropriate response to horrid behavior.

The only way I know to end this blog without saying something hateful is to remind “us” that most of “us” got exactly what “we” asked for over the past few years. The rest of us are coining zingers in response. Its crazy.

 

Nov. 9, 2018

As a teenager in my church’s youth group, one of the adult leaders was extremely interested in the end times. She used the term, “extremely interested.” Now that I am an adult, I must admit – she was obsessed.

She focused on these verses, “and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13

In the King James Version (KJV) of the bible, the term “wax cold” is used when talking about how people will behave as we draw closer to Christ’s return. I’ve known these verses most of my life. My obsessed youth leader made certain we read, re-read, re-read, memorized and recited the verses. Despite all the exposure, I don’t think I ever realized that “most” includes us – God’s children. Our love for others seems to be waxing cold.

If you think of wax and what the word usage relays, wax was once the run off from something lit and warm. When it is warm, or even hot, it spreads and is pliable. When the heat is removed, what’s left behind is a hardened matter that really gets in the way of the candle’s light.

What do we do with the wax left from God’s people? Is it in the way of the Light? Can the hardened wax snuff out the wick that burns brightly? In other words, how do we remain spreadable and pliable? Does kindness matter among and from Christians? I mean, if people are taking our jobs or storming our country, we have a responsibility to be unkind, right? (No, I’m not going to rant about the immigration crisis.) If people want to increase our taxes to take care of others, I need to be mad at those people, right? If people out there are doing things in direct opposition of what the bible teaches, I need to get angry and tell them they are wrong, right?

Uh, the bible says, “Be kind,” (Ephesians 4:32). We might practice what we preach.

To prevent our love from waxing cold, we must remain close to the Light and allow His warmth to spread through us. If we can capture the essence of Scripture knowing all people are made in God’s image, kindness flows. When we focus on what we want or deserve, hard wax appears on our hearts and in our minds.

“The love of many shall wax cold…” I don’t want to be one of them. Do you?