Still, You Can Pray

Praise – images from pixabay.com

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Tranquil Waters – images from pixabay.com

Reality: One side wonderful the other dreadful.

When Storms Come – images from pixabay.com
Praying Hands – images from pixabay.com

Easy to count our blessings in good times and times of plenty but, in times of lacking, trials and painful destructive experience what can we do?  We may feel helpless and tired and impotent . . . what can we do? Pray. No matter what, we have, a GOD of Love to pray to, in The Name of Jesus Christ.  GOD hears and GOD answers according to GOD’s will. There is always an answer from GOD: No; Yes; Not Now. Remember GOD is not human and we are not gods.

Prayer Calms Us – images from pixabay.com

Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

If an answer to our prayer is yes there is little room for doubt but if it is no:

SONG: Andrea Bocelli – The Lord’s Prayer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEplqV0scyo

Song: Unanswered Prayers – Garth Brooks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze4gFWuYh50

Psalm 66:18 ESV

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

When GOD says maybe (not now later) how do we respond?

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Like the soldier’s motto, “Ours is not to reason why; ours is just to do or die”. Leave it to GOD.

Jesus Pays for Sin – images from pixabay.com

Mark 14:36 ESV

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Jesus paid the price for sin including ours and believing in Him achieves an eternity in Heaven. Yet until in the fullness of time the things of Revelation come to pass and Jesus returns, the world we live in remains flawed. Still, you can pray.

Church revival and church growth starts with you and, you will make a difference in a troubled world if you do; demonstrate the Love of GOD teach others about Jesus and Salvation.

Next Week: Can You Escape from Reality?

 THE BIBLE SHOULD BE STUDIED AS A SINGLE UNIT; UNITED IN CONCEPT AND CONSISTENT WHEN CONTEXT IS UNDERSTOOD. 

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ESV = ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION BIBLE

Is Honesty the Best Policy

(^^^ Click on Title to go to actual Article ^^^)
Honesty – image from pixabay.com

Is it possible to be honest all the time?

As I grew from childhood into adulthood I took the instruction from my family and church seriously concerning telling the truth (even though I saw a wink from a family member now and again). Movies and television programs (especially for young people) proclaimed the merits of being honest as a way to a better life.

My Father Explained What a White Lie Was

Truth or Lie – image from pixabay.com

My mom smacked his shoulder and they both laughed when my dad began to explain to me what a “Little White Lie” was. In school, in church and on Kid’s TV I did not get an explanation so I remained puzzled.  This conundrum followed me into my teens when my idealism peaked and matters such as misused truth, deception, hypocrisy, politics and human to human manipulation troubled me a great deal. Mostly I just struggled to navigate daily life always weighing these issues trying to reconcile the ideal with the reality I found. During my time serving in the U. S. Army the contrast between the touted ideal and reality was at its greatest contrast – I will not go into details save soldiers have a history of decadent behavior when off duty for one thing.

Deception – image from pixabay.com

In College I was Immersed in Postmodernity . . .

. . . and was unaware of it for many years.  I am a lifelong learner so eventually I acquired philosophical knowledge and a keen sense of comprehensive thinking (I am a product of a liberal education in that I do question everything and attempt to make sense of what I discover). Mankind experienced great failures in science and morality and this was perplexing so a philosophical upheaval set humanity on a strange course (see the following):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism

In a logic class I learned about faulty reasoning and fallacies: this gave me a great deal of understanding but did not solve the dilemma concerning “absolute honesty”.  One variable is how one defines honesty and whether it is in an ideal or in a practical sense in which we refer.  Words (languages) are powerful and can be used to a person’s advantage without too much trouble especially to the unsuspecting.  I could introduce situations where lying saved a life or lives but that may be an exception and it will do little or nothing in the quest to solve of the core issue at hand: how do we really define honesty and can we be honest all the time?.

Excuses – image from pixabay.com

Midway in my life – 35 years old – I became a Christian: “My dilemma is solved I thought”

Not so fast.  Rather than offer my analysis let us inspect what GOD has to say in The Holy Bible and thus allow you to ponder the questions about honesty for yourself. I already expect the comments will reflect whether or not, you are a follower of Jesus Christ (have The Holy Spirit as a helper), you believe in GOD at all or are a secular humanist:

Exodus 20:16 ESV 

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Proverbs 12:22 ESV 

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Matthew 5:37 ESV 

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Colossians 3:9 ESV 

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

 

ESV = ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION BIBLE 

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The Mind Behind the Gun

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People with an evil perspective murder with guns and other weapons.

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Fort Knox: Colt automatic pistol.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

We here in The United States of America live in a society that is in the midst of several trends that are able to alter our National identity in a negative way.  A free land with cherished liberty that now is trending toward: stringent identification requirements; has the most incarcerated people per 100,000 people (more than any other large nation) in the world; now has less opportunities for lower income youth then it once had; now has a larger income gap between low income workers and the affluent of  the society.  These characteristics and several others amount to one big complex paradox from my point of view.  Along with these concerns are the inexplicable trends that our school children seem to face: they are not learning about our history or World history for that matter. The knowledge gained from the study of both, enable people to better understand the dynamics of governments and their effects upon the governed.  Last, we seem to be losing a strong national identity which includes high moral standards, respect for one another and respect for authority.  A solid widespread use of one national standard  language is weaker and a sound spiritually grounded understanding of right and wrong appears less clear to many citizens.  Both of these seem to be becoming diffuse. This weakening of our “American Identity” puts us at risk of becoming so disintegrated we may become a second rate country.  Things like relativism and political correctness reduce our clear position on vital issues so much so that we risk loosing our role as preeminent free Nation and leader in the Free World.  Ironic that the land that produced so many of the improvements for the lives of “common men and women” is, in danger of some improvements becoming just a thing of the past (a shadow of what we once were). So how do we begin the recovery process?

We must revitalize the basic family unit here in The United States.

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Typical American Family - Family walking" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1935 - 1945.
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Typical American Family – Family walking” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1935 – 1945.

Humans are not perfect, they can be hypocritical and most lack the skills of a seasoned diplomat yet, most can establish a family unit that nurtures children and readies them to become contributing citizens.  Civil, law abiding and productive; well prepared to raise a family of their own.  This was the way I saw life moving along during the 1950’s when I was a child.  Of course I have since learned people are all unique and variation is normal; almost nothing that is associated with humans is perfect.  The lack of perfection can be used as an excuse by people who want to avoid, responsibilities,  not work and not exercise self control: it is easy to say, “I did the best I could.”  Yet when people sincerely try to do the right things, they do contribute to the positive activities in the society they are part of, and while there is variation the negatives then have less effect.  Where do we acquire the necessary foundation for the establishment and maintenance of high quality family units?  I find the guidance for having and running a family is clearly defined in The Holy Bible.  The underling moral fiber that made our Nation great comes from the overwhelming positive effect of the Christians who have lived here.

I am not just being nostalgic about family life in the past, I think we need it.

Examples in the Holy Bible yield a great deal of guidance for people about family life.  Do not pick verses or sections out that reveal human failings, but instead seek the revealed good and apply it to your life.  The adherence to the essence of the Ten Commandments and the principles disclosed for Christian living, will produce a better United States of America.  In that case I believe more people will be good citizens and the Nation will prosper and, we all will experience greater peace.

Yes the U.S.A. would have a better society if we have more real family units.

Dad goes to work Mom stays home with the kids at least until they all are pupils and then work part time only, and only if necessary. It would be a good start and it can be accomplished.  I know that the economic pressures are great and the high divorce rate yields many single parent homes but these challenges can be mitigated too.  If we strive as a people who want to return to what was good about the past we will achieve it.  We will become a Nation comprised of quality family units, able to teach their children behavior that is respectful, self controlled and productive. We must begin this process in the homes when the children are at an early age; then we will improve our Nation’s quality of life.  And If so, we will discover that the mind behind the gun will no longer be a threat to people as the current trend indicates.  Yes I believe If children are taught about ‘good’ early the manifestation of evil will diminish.  At the very least I believe the negatives will be lessened immensely.

 

Schomburg General Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. "[An African American family; Reading books.]" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1922.
Schomburg General Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “[An African American family; Reading books.]” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1922.

Some Bible advice for Family Life (ESV) :

Exodus 20:13  “Thou shall not murder.”

Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

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