The Spirit of “Paul Revere’s Ride”

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In third grade, I was required to memorize and recite the first three stanzas of this epic poem classic. (Do schools ever do this any more?) It was the spark that ignited my fascination with the search for the New World, the great experiment known as AMERICA.

The spirit of Paul Revere’s Ride goes beyond the poetic perfection of the rhyme and meter achieved by Longfellow, even beyond the historical relevance, to the heart of one man, a Patriot, sometimes referred to as “any-man.”

America, too, is much more than her geographical dimensions, her conglomerate of peoples and tribes and nations all mixed together into One People. America is even more than her founding documents: the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States of America.

America is an idea. It is BIG and BOLD. It is unique in the world. It is INDEPENDENCE – depending on no one else for anything, and she promotes independence in her people and around the world. It is pride, but not arrogance. It is generosity, but not manipulation. It is compassion, but not lawlessness. It is unique in ideal because it seeks “equality” for all, under the law. It is contrary to human nature, but still possible, if we are willing to WORK for it, willing to sacrifice for it, willing to swim against the stream for it. It’s easy to be mediocre, middle of the stream, average. Not so easy to be the best, the strongest, the leader because leaders are RESPONSIBLE for & to those they wish to lead.

“My legacy will be an America brought down to the level of the rest of the world.”
~ Barack Obama ~

Why the Globalists Selected Obama to be President

I wish “Paul Revere’s Ride” was required reading, not only for third graders, but for each and every adult citizen of this nation. Please read it … aloud, if possible, and let it stir your heart, your love for the IDEA of AMERICA. And then, share that Spirit … the spirit that says we can be AMERICA again. We can be strong, but compassionate, A NATION OF LAWS, and not men. We can be innovative, yet controlled. We can rein in our spending as a government and reduce the waste and overlap of offices. We can return to the perimeters of the Constitution, if we are willing to count the cost of NOT doing so.

Surely, if evolution is fact, then shouldn’t the human race be bettering itself instead of seeking mediocrity and the lowest common denominator?

Read … and share!

The Landlord’s Tale. Paul Revere’s Ride

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in ‘Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light, –
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said, “Good night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade, –
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay, –
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride,
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! As he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled, –
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm, –
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Click HERE to jump to amazon to buy a copy for your shelf or for your children or grandchildren!

A Parable of Faith Activation

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“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but YOU {emphasis bjb} do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2: 14- 17

Hans Brinker

A Parable of Faith Activation

“The dam is breaking! The dam is breaking! Emergency!!!” The screams of the people of Borderville frantically scurrying to get out of harm’s way echoed from the hillsides surrounding the town. Chaos everywhere! People watched in horror from hilltops and housetops as a wall of water rushed down the ravine sweeping over everything in its path. Thousands of homes gone in a moment. Families swept away. Utter and complete devastation in the wake with more tragedy ahead in its path.

Warnings had been given prior, but no one listened. There was a lot of talk, several plans were put forth, money had even been allocated, but nothing was done. Now, it was too late.

Emergency broadcasts flooded the airways urgently notifying people to seek higher ground. There was a cry, too, for volunteers to help tend the wounded and homeless.

It wasn’t long before the government issued a “warning” to local residents, and they began to organize shelters and supplies for the many victims. The Governor sought Federal assistance asking it be declared an “EMERGENCY!” Thousands of homes had already been destroyed. Many lives had been lost, and still the enormity of this tragedy was only beginning.

The water surged downhill wiping out everything in its path. Homes, schools, churches … businesses. It was ruthless.

Within a half hour of the breach, three or four helicopters peppered the sky. Whether journalists reporting the story or government agencies looking at the devastation was unclear. News bulletins resounded across the nation.

The hours began to roll by. The path of tragedy grew. The cry for help continued. Checks began to pour in from the American public. Emergency “#800” phones were organized. Government agencies brought supplies to nearby make shift shelters. Piles of blankets and cases of water grew.

The following weekend, pleas issued from pulpits in churches, tabernacles, mosques, as well as community outreach programs. Tons of building and survival supplies were quickly being gathered at points from coast to coast.

Hollywood celebrities and politicians issued calls for help from their walled-in mansions and executive offices. Photos flashed across TV screens and computer screens of the gorgeous celebs at fundraisers supporting the victims relief effort.

Hours and days passed. The flood continued to demolish town after town, home after home. Politicians chose sides: some pleaded for more money and supplies to tend the victims, and others wanted, first, to repair the dam.

“Oh no, we must let the water go and take care of the people first! That is the compassionate thing. To repair the dam is taking food out of the childrens’ mouths!” they said.

A handful of volunteers gathered at the local Red Cross. The size or their task was immeasurable. Money was plentiful. Supplies from the government were available, but volunteers were scarce. Seems everyone had a reason not to lend a physical hand to help the distraught and displaced survivors.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

There is a children’s story I recall – The Little Dutch Boy, by Mary Mapes Dodge. Peter Miller writes this synopsis of the tale:

    “Dutch legend has it that there was once a small boy who upon passing a dyke (or dam) on his way to school noticed a slight leak as the sea trickled in through a small hole. Knowing that he would be in trouble if he were to be late for school, the boy poked his finger into the hole and so stemmed the flow of water. Some time later a passerby saw him and went to get help. This came in the form of other men who were able to effect repairs on the dyke and seal up the leak.

    “This story is told to children to teach them that if they act quickly and in time, even they with their limited strength and resources can avert disasters. The fact that the Little Dutch Boy used his finger to stop the flow of water, is used as an illustration of self-sacrifice. The physical lesson is also taught: a small trickle of water soon becomes a stream and the stream a torrent and the torrent a flood sweeping all before it, Dyke material, roadways and cars, and even railway tracks and bridges and whole trains.”

The Bible teaches God is a personal God. He is interested in our individual growth and character. In America, and in our world today, there are several “dams breaking.” We have agency upon agency duplicating tasks and spending obscene amounts of money, and accomplishing little. President Johnson back in the 60’s declared a “War on Poverty,” establishing “Social Security (creating medicare & medicaid) and “Food Stamp Act.”

As noble as the “War on Poverty” idea is, we have MORE poverty today, not less. We’ve lost the “War on Poverty!” Look around! If these programs actually worked, wouldn’t the percentages decrease and the numbers of thriving Americans increase? Service programs abound, but people willing to volunteer their time and talents are few. Government not equipped to tend the needs of individual families or communities. Government cannot empathize or feel compassion. We can!

Service_To_Others_Quote

See, only we, as individuals and neighbors know the specific needs of one another and have the ability to feel compassion. The thing about helping others … not only does serving one another help them, the victims, but it activates us! There is something reciprocal that happens when we reach out to “care” for another human being. I’ve heard it from missionaries to go with the warm intention of helping others, but they return feeling more a recipient than a giver.

It’s about people, a “People Connection” that opens our hearts and drowns the fears we have of people, of strangers. We are free to serve, yes, but only in doing does the reverse become true – our service frees us! Only in service to our neighbors does our faith become activated. Regardless of whether our religion is Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism … it is our personal service to others that confirms, affirms, and activates our Faith.

Holding on to the Promises

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HoldingOnToThePromises

Around the beginning of the year, a new chapter began in my life, and I want to share some of it with you. It had to do with His WORD, His Promises, and my (us, as believers) position “In Christ!”

Every promise contained in the New Testament
belongs to every believer.

Everything God asks from us,
He first gives to us so He knows
we have it to give back to Him.

Woman  taking refuge in the wings of God inspired by Psalm17:8

Woman taking refuge in the wings of God inspired by Psalm17:8

If something ugly is happening in our life, we must meet it with something GOOD because we “overcome evil with ________!!!” (GOOD Romans 12:21)

Find the Promise(S) God has assigned to your circumstances, and hold on tightly!!! Look for His GOODNESS!!!

    “In every area of struggle in your life, God has granted you life and godliness. The truth is in every area of need and struggle, He has placed a promise there so that by the exercise of that promise, you would know the fullness of His affection for you and you would wake up to greater love.”

    From FULLNESS NOW ~ Graham Cooke

Does this mean pulling the “cliche” promises into practice? The promises that so many of us quote without really apprehending their power? The ones we sometimes throw toward our friends when they’re in trouble and we don’t know what to say or do? Those promises?

OK So … I thank you, FATHER, for this opportunity to challenge the veracity of Your word and since I can do nothing, FATHER, I depend on You. Teach me how to “exercise” Your promises for Your glory! What is the promise(s) for my current situation?

  • Phil 4: 6-7 NASB
      6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Phil 4: 8-9
      8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
  • Phil 4: 11-13
      11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
  • Phil 4:19
      19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
  • 1 Cor 2:9
      But as it is written (Isaiah 64:4):
      “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
      Nor have entered into the heart of man
      The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
      Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
      Who acts for the one who waits for Him.

While the WORD has been familiar to me for decades, God is opening my eyes and my heart to … MORE!
More richness,
More abundant life,
More fullness,
More Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control!

GOD is GOOD, and every transaction with Him must result in GOODNESS!!! But I leave you to chew on this a while.

“There is no security is what God is doing.
There is only security in who GOD is!”

Graham Cooke

Minimum Wage: A Parable

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    “God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.

    “Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.

    “He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’

    “They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’

    “He told them to go to work in his vineyard.

    “When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’

    “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’

    “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’

    “Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

Our Constitution: A Firm Foundation Crumbling? (Warning – Historical Content!)

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 if My people who are called by My name put away their pride and pray, and look for My face, and turn from their sinful ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

if My people who are called by My name put away their pride and pray, and look for My face, and turn from their sinful ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

STRENGTH
RESILIENCE
BALANCE
TIMELESSNESS

It’s the 63rd NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, instituted by Pres. Truman. Since that time, thirty-four of the 44 U.S. Presidents have signed proclamations for National Prayer. Three of the Presidents who did not sign a proclamation died while serving in office. Two Presidents, not included in the count, William Howard Taft and Warren Gamaliel Harding, signed proclamations for Thanksgiving and Prayer.

    At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Perfect Governor, as he read Isaiah 33:22;

    “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; He will save us.”

    This is the birth of the branches of government.

Election season is upon us, and once again, We-the-People have the awesome responsibility of choosing our leaders. Most of us will agree that BOTH parties are corrupt. We can therefore NOT vote by party as we have in the past, as our parents and grandparents did. We must investigate the individuals who seek office, and choose as though our future, and perhaps our lives, depend on it. Something must be the guiderule, the standard by which we decide, the plumbline by which we measure the men and women who seek office.

But what?

The Founders goal was that this nation be a nation of Law and not of men. That “all men” would be judged equally under the Law. Clearly, we have drifted from this standard, and only We-the-People have the authority to turn us back in that direction, or continue toward the tyranny of men ruling over men. It is clear in our inspired Constitution, which direction is “FAIR,” but the political winds have perverted fairness and truth. America was built on God’s word by people who understood and accepted His sovereignty. Do not give ear to those who say otherwise Investigate on your own! Let’s choose those who will stand strong on our Constitution, rather than those who seek to rewrite it.

President D.D.Eisenhower, on the say of his inauguration, placed his hand on a specific verse in the Bible – Psalm 127: 1 which says:

Unless the Lord builds the house (America),
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city (cities),
The watchman stays awake in vain.

What will our course, then, be?

On that fateful day in Dallas, the day President Kennedy was assassinated, he was slated to give a speech. From that speech

    I have spoken of strength largely in terms of the deterrence and resistance of aggression and attack. But, in today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles — on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny.

America depends on us. It is not just a nation. It is an ideal, a hope, the God-ordained leader of nations, not for the sake of power-mongers or financial/political gain, but for the GOOD of the nations. No other nation has been as helpful in catastrophe, no other nation has been so compassionate in tragedy, no other nation has been so merciful in the collection of debt … no other nation has been the home of as much innovation, scientific advancement, medical development and academic prowess, but each of these fields has also fallen victim to corruption and abuse. Nevertheless, the goodness, the compassion continues as a result of God’s goodness to US!

For the tired and the weary
Lost and confused
Hopeless and needy
With nothing to lose
For those who are falling
Or have already fallen away

Cause Our hearts are exploding
With compassion and love
For a world that is dying
To be lifted up (oh)

We pray
Humbly we seek Your face
Broken yet unafraid to be, you hear
We leave it all in Your hands
Know that you hear us when we pray

Peace and forgiveness
For the nations at war
Strength in their weakness
When they can take no more
Mercy, redemption, healing
And for You to be Lord of all

Our hearts are exploding
With compassion and love
For a world that is crying
To be lifted up (oh)

Father in Heaven
The Giver of life
Your Kingdom forever be glorified
You’re all can will unite us
And heal our divide
We bow down before You
Oh Lord hear our cry

We pray, humbly we seek your face
Trust that you hear us when we pray

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
LAGERBERG, CLINT/PRICE, OTTO MONTGOMERY JR.

Tolerance? or Coercion?

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Alex Hribal

I have been … “uninspired” to write because I have nothing new to say. We face the same battles each day, against an un-American … maybe even anti-American US administration that is successfully tearing apart the moral, social, and commercial strata of our nation with little to no resistance.

Yet, there have been … and continue to be “rumbles.” If I had to give a report, I’d say the dissatisfaction among the American people is spreading and churning up pockets of thought. In general, “Get out of my face” thought, although I did see a “Ready for Hillary – 2016″ sticker the other day, and I wept in prayer.

I live 10 minutes from the Franklin Regional High School where the stabbings occurred last week. What could cause a decent young man to flip out like this? “Water cooler talk” around here this week has focused on “bullying.” Yet, it now appears bullying was not a factor.

Still, the same news “journalists” (and I use the term loosely) that cry out against school violence, are the same ones who spew hatred of any and all people or groups who think differently than their pundits. The over-paid, over-publicized celebs who make radical statements against “intolerance,” are the most public offenders of tolerance via their TV shows, music and movies.

    Tolerance is NOT a synonym for “political correctness.” Tolerance is acceptance – allowing people to think for themselves and using the ability, the maturity to be civil even if disagreement arises. Tolerance is NOT demanding special treatment aside from rights granted by our Constitution. Tolerance is NOT blocking funding for opposition groups. Tolerance is NOT forcing people and/or businesses to go against their religious beliefs for the sake of a few. THAT is COERCION!

Political parties are made up of INDIVIDUALS who possess the right to think for themselves, as granted in the Constitution. BOTH parties also contain some among them who are corrupt, self-serving individuals who wouldn’t know “public service” if they tripped over it! These individuals need to be removed – voted out! They can’t, however, unless there is someone ready in the wings, someone of BETTER character – and YES!!! Character Counts!!!!! That is up to us – you and me. We must educate ourselves. We must see through the BS! We must VOTE!!!

I recommend genuine TOLERANCE! Good, wholesome debate can really help if we can manage our tempers and our words! Self-control is a GOOD thing!

There isn’t much disagreement that our society is getting more and more violent … sicker! The disagreement comes as to the cause. But it seems pretty self-evident that as morality has been shredded by TV & movies over the last few decades in the name of “diversity,” that violence and depression have risen. It’s not rocket science! If the stabilizing factor is removed (God is Dead-1968,) the moral foundation will crumble, and if that crumbles, there is no “glue” to hold the culture together. Holding fast to Judeo-Christian morality does not insist everyone be religious or attend church. It requires nothing except a willingness toward self-improvement, toward greater self-lessness rather than the overwhelming selfishness of our present culture.

Children learn by watching those in authority around them. What does our behavior (as parents & grandparents) teach our children? How will our children learn to get along, to TALK to one another, if we cannot demonstrate how it works? If we don’t learn, it will be our children and theirs who pay the price for our inaction! Are we selfish, self-serving individuals who do everything for a selfish reason? Or can we learn to value each and every person as an individual of value and seek opportunities to give of our self?

9 Ways to Become Happy

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happiness9-aristotle

9 Ways to Become Happy

Who among us does NOT want to be happy? Silly question! Happiness is a universal goal or desire of mankind something all humans have in common. Even our “Declaration of Independence” includes happiness in its list of “unalienable rights” guaranteed by our Creator.

What IS happiness? The dictionary defines it as good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy. Some people define happiness in terms of achievement of personal goals like a six figure salary, or a new car. Others seek that perfect relationship (which, btw, does not exist!) Some seek temporary gratification by putting others down or using the weaker ones around us for our personal advantage. Still others just want everyone to agree with them … on everything!

Whatever your definition, I’d be willing to bet it includes some element of human comfort, so as I post these 9 methods toward happiness, you may find them foreign. They are, however, proven over centuries in a variety of cultures and circumstances.

9 Ways to Become Happy

  • “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. (or “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”)
  • “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. (or “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.)
  • “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.(or “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.)
  • “Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. (or “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.)
  • “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. (or “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.)
  • “Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God. (or “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.)
  • “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children. (or “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.)
  • “Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. (or “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.)
  • “Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you. (or “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.)

WOW, huh?

These are commonly known as “The Beatitudes,” a message delivered by Jesus. Most Americans have some knowledge of Jesus, and even if they do not believe Him to be the Son of GOD, as He claimed to be, they see Him as a great Teacher.

happiness_responsible

Maybe He’s on to something here, eh? With suicide rates up, depression, despair, & discouragement overtaking the lives and hearts of many Americans, perhaps our culture’s compass has become skewed? Perhaps, all the “selfish feel good” mentality is counter productive? Maybe money isn’t the answer to all our problems, after all. Maybe it’s time for a new direction, as taught by an ancient wise “Teacher?”

How badly do you want to Be HAPPY? Badly enough to try a different way of thinking? A different way of living? You decide.

**NOTE: The BEATITUDES are found in Matthew 5: 3-12. The versions shown above include the Living Bible and the Message Bible is in parenthesis above, linked for your convenience.

Why does it hurt, Lord? part 1

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prayer2

Why does it hurt, Lord?

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to.
God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

I had an interview a couple weeks ago, and the interviewer told me he was a Christian. We talked a bit, and he said his 6 yr old grandson had just been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. He was struggling with this. He said the child asked him why God was mad at him. He was actually asking my opinion.

So, I carefully asked a few foundational questions concerning the Nature of GOD:

    1. Is GOD sovereign?
    2. Does GOD love each of us equally?

the sovereignty of god

If GOD is Sovereign …

The concept of GOD’s sovereignty rests on His nature as Creator. If He designed and created all things, then He ought to have “sovereign” control in the design and functionality of all He created. Isn’t that the “fair” thing? Whatever we create, we expect to “control,” yes?

    5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. ~ Jeremiah 18: 5-6

If GOD is sovereign, He can rightfully do with each of us as He pleases. It is really that simple. So then, the companion question revolves around the perfect Love of GOD.

eph 3_18

Does GOD love each of us equally?

  • Romans 5: 6-8
    6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  • 1 John 4: 9-10
    9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
  • There are many more parts of the Bible that talk about, define, and express the boundless unconditional Love of God freely given to you and me. In fact, honestly the entire Bible is one giant “Love Letter” explaining how deep, how wide, how high, and how limitless GOD’S LOVE is for us. He created us for His pleasure, to have an open friendship with Him. To apprehend that the Creator of the Universe desires an intimate friendship with us, with each of us, as David says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Ps 139:6)

    “The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love”, and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. “Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest “well pleased”.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

    The Problem of Pain, by C. S. Lewis, takes a deeper look at the difficulty so many Believers, and the Church at large, have with the reality of PAIN. Sometime in the last century, the Western Church adopted a wrong mentality in the belief that becoming a Christian meant suddenly that all pain and difficulty would be removed from our lives. To accept that belief is to deny reality AND the ability of GOD to walk us through pain.

    In fact,Jesus promises us pain … tribulation, affliction, difficulty – whatever word fits your situation or mine.

    john_16_33

      “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.
      In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
      ~ John 16: 33

    Why would Jesus bother to say this if He planned to remove all our pain?

    Pain is a part of the human condition, and it is here to stay. Going back to the statement the interviewer’s grandson made, the fact that this child has diabetes is not an indication of GOD’s wrath or disapproval. Nor is it a curse, a punishment, or just for fun.

    I don’t pretend to understand why beautiful, loving people are stricken with cancer or helpless children become victims of abuse. This much I do know: GOD loves endlessly, so I have to trust that GOD, in His sovereignty, has a GOOD purpose even in those events or situations that seem irredeemable because GOD is good and He cannot move against his nature.

      “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

    James 1 starts with this admonition:

    2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

    James tells us that our “trials” have divine purpose, and that purpose involves growing something in us of Christ, that we “lack nothing!” So we’re encouraged to “count is all JOY!” Elsewhere, we’re told to “In everything, give thanks!”

    1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
    For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
    2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
    For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

    Psalm 136: 1-2

    It’s all a matter of perspective.

  • We can choose to sit around and bemoan the imperfections of our life, the apparent areas of lack, the unanswered prayers, or
  • We can do as the Psalmist does in this Psalm, and rehearse the GOODNESS of GOD, and give thanks for GOD’s faithfulness to us, especially in the dark places.
  • Seeking perfection in this life will only bring us disappointment and despair, while rehearsing GOD’s GOODNESS will enable us to savor richness of this life.

    The facts remain. GOD will never leave you no matter what happens. His love for you and I doesn’t hinge on our behavior, our attitude, or our faith! GOD chooses to love us … each of us. He gave us hundreds of promises and He is not able to lie because He IS Truth. He is not able to break His promises because His name is “Faithful and True!”

    “There is no security is what God is doing. There is only security is who God is!” ~ Graham Cooke”
    Graham Cooke

    Related: 12 Things To Thank God For In The Midst Of Affliction

    They’ll Be Dead by Morning (What Difference Will it Make?)

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    northkoreabelievers

    They’ll Be Dead by Morning (What Difference Will it Make?)

    **Warning: This post may make you feel bad.

    **Warning: That feeling may be appropriate.

    There are moments in life that feel like a swift slap in the face.

    No one courts that.

    No one wants to feel that pain.

    But, if it’s a slap that rearranges your priorities to align with God’s heart,
    then you will thank God even for that bracing offense.

    I received that slap today
    when I read the Washington Times news item that Kim Jong-un

    has ordered the execution of 33 Christians

    reported to have been part of planting over 500 underground churches in North Korea.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/6/kim-jong-un-calls-execution-33-christians/

    I imagined thirty-three of my Christian friends executed for leading people to Christ, facilitating worship, praying, or offering praise to God.

    I would be horrified, sad, and angry

    devastated

    but I would also know that God has the last word on their lives not Kim Jong-un or the evil power behind him.

    Still, I would want their deaths to motivate the church of Christ.

    I would want their deaths to galvanize other believers to put feet to their own faith,

    To fuel their passion for Christ,

    To remember to pray for those who suffer,

    To spread God’s word with more zeal, persistence, and creativity than ever before.

    While we in the West argue over worship styles,

    sleep in when there’s a visiting preacher,

    bemoan having to endure a boring prayer request or off-key soloist,

    serve up the pastor’s sermon over lunch,

    or sit home and judge the church unworthy of our attendance altogether

    there are other brothers and sisters

    gasping their way to every precious moment

    when they can gather, in hiding, with other precious believers

    and hear a whispered message from God,

    bathe in the reading of His word,

    and pray with passion and tears for strength to endure

    and the courage to continue speaking the truth under threat of death.

    God placed us all where we are.
    He assigned us to our stations.
    There is no guilt in being born in the land of the free as opposed to a country under harsh rule.

    But there is guilt if we use our freedom to indulge our petty preferences,

    to pad our comfort,

    to drift through this dark world basking in our own light

    rather than using it

    to serve those who waste away in prison cells wondering if they’ve been forgotten

    or their families left to struggle alone with hunger, fear, and lonliness,

    or those serving the Lord in dark, dark places who need our prayers for their protection, deliverance, courage, and strength.

    North Korea 2

    This blog is just a bunch of words. It costs me absolutely nothing to write. I am free here to say whatever I want without fear that it will cost me or my loved ones their lives.

    But the words I speak on my knees have the power to move forces in the heavenly realm

    and make a difference for those who know the names and faces of those 33 facing execution,

    to comfort those who know their touch, their dreams, the plans they had for this life that will end any minute now

    and to strengthen those who pick up the bloody batons these 33 will be forced to release

    and continue to build the kingdom of Christ in lands where the enemy of God rules.

    Worship will be different for me this week, with the report of 33 gunshots bouncing around the inner chamber of my soul

    reminding me that we aren’t home yet.

    ***This article is reblogged from “Deeper with Jesus in Rhode Island” Thank you!

    Kim Jong Un

    Kim Jong Un Channels Hugh Hefner Whilst Executing Christians [Video]

    North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong Un seems to be acting like a regular playboy these days, according to recent press coverage. The very young dictator, who is 31-years-old, was seen cavorting around with a group of blushing female pilots during a series of drills at a North Korean air strip – practically reenacting a scene from the popular TV series The Girls Next Door, which featured “Hef” and his Playboy Bunny girlfriends. Although Jong Un almost channels an odd version of Hugh Hefner during the event, outside of that fun-loving image stands a man who plans on executing a group of 33 Christians, suspected of “no good”.

    On Friday, North Korea’s Workers party released a few choice pictures to Korean Central News Agency. These very cheerful photos show Jong Un smiling, laughing, and happily posing alongside a gang of seemingly smitten female pilots at an air force based. The imagery harkens back to a time of Hugh Hefner, sitting in his mansion, surrounded by admiring women, looking on in awe of his success and manhood. The 1940’s style uniforms worn by the North Korean ladies certainly helped to round out the strangeness of the scene. More HERE

    I wonder how many American churches will even pray …

    Will you pray?

    Jesus said, “I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.”
    John 16:33 (NCV)

    Confirmed: U.S. Chief Facilitator of Christian Persecution

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    Will YOU pray?

    Will YOU pray?

    Confirmed:
    U.S. Chief Facilitator of Christian Persecution
    Special Bulletin

    By Raymond Ibrahim

    Prominent indicators confirm that the U.S. is the chief facilitator of the persecution of Christians around the world today.

    According to the recently released 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Afghanistan fifth, and Libya 13th. All four countries receive the strongest designation, “extreme persecution” (other designations are “severe,” “moderate,” and “sparse” persecution).

    Aside from being so closely and harshly ranked, these four nations have something else in common: heavy U.S. involvement. Three-Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya-were “liberated” thanks to U.S. forces, while in the fourth, Syria, the U.S. is actively sponsoring “freedom fighters” against the regime, many of whom would be better labeled “terrorists.”

    The Syrian situation alone indicts U.S. foreign policy. According to Reuters:

      “Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 “martyr” killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said. “This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors. Estimates by other Christian groups put the annual figure as high as 8,000.”

    Read More

    Will you pray?

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