For your weekend, the beautiful music of relaxation and peace with outstanding photography. Fall is in the air!
Blessings, Boyer Writes
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Click this link and turn up your sound.
|We may hear someone say, “Well, you have one life to live!” It’s an off-the-cuff remark of which people pay little attention. However, maybe we should. |
Life is short. It is something that no one should take for granted because the next breath could be the end. Living in the moment is rare, for often we live in the past or in the future with our thoughts.
How we live, whatever time we have, is what makes the difference.
I want to share with you a short summary of the life of one man that none of you will know. His first name was Grafton. We buried Grafton yesterday in an all black cemetery in Florida. He was 95 years old. Having emigrated to the U.S. from Barbados, he wanted to serve God even though he only had a 4th grade education. During this time, he worked in the groves as a fruit picker. He had no problem with hard work, but wanted to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being poor was often a problem with where to live or having enough to eat, but he managed to make ends meet. Sometimes it was with the help of those who cared about him.
After getting some education and a license to preach by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Grafton reached out to the black community to preach and be of service in their church. As is their practice, the AME Bishop appointed Graftron to be pastor of a specific congregation in Central Florida. Often, after his first Sunday in the new congregation, he arrived home and received a phone call from the Bishop, who said ” Don’t go back. They don’t want you.”
Why? Because he was different from the African Americans here in Florida. He was from another country and he had a slight accent. Was this any reason to reject his open heart to serve God? Of course not, but unfortunately, people of all races have their prejudices. What was he to do? He found a white minister who was willing to give him a position as “Visitation minister” to the shut ins and those in the nursing homes. What happened? Some families complained and didn’t want him to visit “Grandmother” because he was black.
A friend said to the minister who hired him, “You mean you gave a black man a job to go visit white women?!” “Yes.” “Well, there IS a God in heaven!!” was the reply.
For a period of time, he drove about 200 miles to a congregation that would accept him. This was a hardship, but he was willing to go where he was accepted and appreciated.
Grafton was one life given to God to serve Him. Yet, he was unwanted…much as our Savior was unwanted. Grafton was not crucified, but it is certain that his heart, at times, was torn in half by the people around him…who “just didn’t want him”…both black and white.
Those friends who did accept him and brought him into their homes for meals knew that they had found a real “Gentle Giant” with a heart of gold. He was over 6ft 5in or more and had a smile that warmed the heart. He was one life…humble and caring. He was God’s child.
The minister, who hired Grafton, was my husband, Bill. Some years ago, Grafton told Bill that when the time came for him to die, “Please give me a good send-off!” Yesterday, Bill did just that, with prayers and thanksgiving for a special life and a special man. Grafton was laid to rest beside his wife, who also was a minister of Jesus Christ.
At the grave-site…an all black cemetery…there were only twelve people…all white friends who loved him. In this day of racial division and concerns, it seems appropriate to say that love is still available to all who want to give and receive it…regardless of who we are. We are all God’s children with one life to live. A young, white woman came to the funeral, with a photo in hand of Grafton and her when she was younger. She said through her tears, “He was my friend.” What a lesson for all of us that friendship can be a real blessing in life when we put away our biases.
In Honor of Grafton… One Solitary Life…who served the resurrected Savior.
This is a poem about the life of Jesus Christ. Although the author is frequently cited as “unknown” the poem is actually attributed to James Allen Francis.
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned–put together–have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.
VIDEO: One Solitary Life Turn on sound
POST NOTE: After this blog was posted, I received a note from one of my readers. She also addressed that people with a disability are also not given respect. She tells of a student named John who was an Albino. (Definition of albino: a person or animal having a congenital absence of pigment in the skin and hair which are unusually white and the eyes which are usually pink.)
” John, who was studious, nice, thin, not athletic at all. He was an albino. His hair was white, his eyes were almost pink. I liked him, and most kids did. A lot of the boys, who were considered “tough guys,” gave him a hard time. If any of us saw that we’d go after those kids and try to save John. We lived close to that family. His father died, and his Mom did her best. She had edema and had problems moving around, but John took care of her. It was such a sad situation and he did his best. John was intelligent and received outstanding grades in school. Just prior to graduation, his mother died. John hung himself. He couldn’t go on any longer. It boggles my mind when I hear about people who torture others because of their color or any disability, etc…”
The Holy Scriptures gives a message to us for the healing of a nation:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2nd Chronicles 7:14
Yes, there have been many marches on Washington for various reasons, but this one is to PRAY for our nation. The picture below shows the crowds coming together for a common cause.
AN IMPORTANT DATE FOR YOUR 2020 CALENDAR can begin the healing described in Holy Scripture.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2020 PRAYER MARCH in Washington, D.C.
“America is in trouble. Our communities are hurting, our people are divided, and there’s fear and uncertainty all around us. Let’s join together and do the most important thing: pray!” Franklin Graham
THE ROUTE MAP:
Also on SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
A message on repentance and the window to Save America
VIDEO Narrated by Jonathan Cahn who is a Messianic Jew. (A Messianic Jew is one who believes Jesus Christ is the Messiah.)
The Return, National Day of Prayer and Repentance – Building up to it Cahn shares a powerful message on the power of prayer, repentance, and revival, to change history – from King Solomon to Abraham
Turn up sound
When will people look around them and say that the world is worth saving because there are innocent, little children living on every country of the earth? They don’t deserve wars, riots in their neighborhoods, drive-by shootings or any other form of brutality.
Take a long, hard look at this little boy. He is in Yemen and he is starving.
I was so touched by this child who is very sick, but when he saw the BBC camera, he was just barely able to give a little smile. (Photo from TV)
Pray for this little boy…that somehow he will get the help and food that he needs.
This BBC video showed the catastrophe happening in Yemen today. The people in the communities are still being bombed. The people have little or no food. People are walking around with the virus, saying that they won’t go to the hospital because “they will kill you there!” This is because the rumor has spread that the medical staff and doctors do “mercy killings” if you arrive there with the virus. The government, however, is denying that there are many virus cases at all…saying that they have less than 10 people who have died of Coronavirus. The people know that is a lie.
When asked by the BBC reporting staff, who were wearing masks while interviewing the people, why the people in the crowded streets were not wearing masks? They said that they didn’t have to wear masks because “Allah will protect them.” Ignorance, governmental control and war has left these people and their children in a desperate situation.
To try to understand why there is a war in Yemen in the first place, this excellent graphic given below is your best resource for understanding what is happening in the Middle East, specifically Yemen.
“The economic devastation that pushed millions to the brink of famine and created the worst cholera epidemic in living memory is no accident of war: It is the product of deliberate policies by the warring parties.
The Saudi-led coalition, with its warplanes, blockades and vast economic power, bears a large share of the blame. But the Houthis are also at fault. They have manipulated relief aid, recruited child soldiers and planted vast numbers of land mines, according to aid workers and human rights groups.
Peace talks in Sweden in December offered a faint glimmer of hope for an end to the war. A shaky cease-fire in the key port of Hudaydah is holding.
But if politics fails, many fear that Yemen could lapse into even worse fighting. Famine could become a reality. And millions of civilians would pay the heaviest price, yet again. (Watkins and Walsh)
The Holy Scriptures are very clear when it comes to harming children:
It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:2
Not only are the children of Yemen being harmed, the children of America are also being harmed by what is happening in our society today. This is not to neglect writing about the sadness in all the other countries of the world. It is not to forget the fact that there is terrible trafficking of children. The more we allow anarchism to continue in our country…motivated distrust between races and an extended close-down of schools and businesses…our families and their children are going to suffer… as it tears into the fabric of our democracy. We must save our society for the children!
These are the things that need to be taught to our children and reminded to our young people:
- They are not in the starving as the children of Yemen. We have well-stocked food banks if there is a need.
- They are not forced to work long hours in factories as our early emigrants.
- They haven’t lived today through a food famine in the U.S., like the children in Ireland during the Potato Famine.
- They are not in the middle of a Great Depression like their great-grandmothers and fathers endured.
- The children of this generation also haven’t had to live in the Martin Luther King, Jr. era when injustice was confronted head-on.
- They need to be reminded in school and at home that because of King and others, the Civil Rights laws and changes gave opportunities to excel to all minority children.
- All children need to know that Americans can learn to live in peace together…most people are not racists.
Why do some American young people behave badly? Perhaps they should give this some thought for if their country collapses, they may be like the children of Yemen. Yet, some continue doing these things:
- Roaming the streets night after night
- Destroying property
- Setting fires
- Attacking police
- Shouting at people trying to peacefully eat in a restaurant.
- Acting like they are for a “cause” when they can’t explain what the cause is all about when asked to explain their actions.
- Shooting at children in the playgrounds and front yards
- Being a terrible example to their younger brothers and sisters.
- Not taking jobs that are available, even after so many lost jobs due to the virus…for work signs are still out there.
- Sitting around waiting for hand-outs for things they should work for…like cellphones and Nike tennis shoes etc.
- Not listening to parents, church leaders or their church clergy on how to behave…that is…unless those leaders are NOT saying anything.
LET’S TAKE A MOMENT and LOOK at what AMERICA COULD EVENTUALLY EXPERIENCE IF WE LOSE ALL LAW AND ORDER…OR IF WE ARE ATTACKED, LIKE 9-11, AND IT THROWS US INTO WAR! IT WOULD NOT BE MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THAT OF THE PEOPLE OF YEMEN.
Saving our people and our planet must be a high priority in every country. There is no choice. We must SAVE OUR WORLD FOR OUR CHILDREN! Can we do that, even with our best intentions…or the best of leaders…without TURNING TO GOD? WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THE ANSWER and it is the ONLY ANSWER FOR OUR CHILDREN TO BE SAFE.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Report by Derek Watkins and Declan Walsh of the N.Y Times…Just 2 years ago.
CLICK ON THIS LINK BELOW
(Credit Information for link given above:)
1. Civilian strike locations from Human Rights Watch and our own reporting.
2. Data on coalition air raids from the Yemen Data Project.
3.Control map data from the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project.
4.Data on Yemen’s G.D.P. from World Bank. Locations of strikes on fishing and agricultural targets from Yemen’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and
5.Ministry of Fish Wealth, via a report by Martha Mundy at the London School of Economics. Additional work by Larry Buchanan.
If you are asking the question WHY would anyone feel that they can destroy property, attack innocent citizens or make the United States of America into a country of rioting and vandalism? You are not alone. Probably many Americans and people around the world are scratching their heads and asking….WHY?…WHY?…WHY?
This blog does not intend to answer that question, but there is a THEORY to why people of all colors and backgrounds…young and older…are acting the way they are.
One young woman cried out to the rioting people to” break glass…take all you want…for it is REPARATIONS for the past!” Is there any truth in what she said? NO, of course not! There are other ways to solve problems… of the past, present and future than to destroy the hard-earned businesses of people of all colors. Blaming a generation for the sins of past generations solves nothing. She is falling into the hands of the anarchists who would destroy our country.
Does she really understand how far the search for fairness to all people living today has come? Does she know that through people like Martin Luther King, Jr. that people began to see the wrongs and our government passed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights for all people? This behavior is only an excuse to do the wrong thing, which results in hurting all people.
You ask, “What theory are you speaking of in all this madness?”
It might be summed up in one Scripture Verse from the Holy Bible:
The Holy Scripture talks about the “sins of the fathers” to the third and fourth generations and even Shakespeare uses this quote in his writing of The Merchant of Venice: “The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.”
In the small towns of America, there are people, whose early families were immigrants…not slaves, who believe that the “sins of the fathers” should be remembered and MADE RIGHT, as much as possible. I’m going to share with you a true story of a place in the mountains of which I am quite familiar.
Our former VA home was close to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway of the Appalachian Mountains. While living there, I read an article about a man who knew about the slaves that worked the area on the Langhorne farm in Virginia. This was before the Civil War and there was an unmarked burial place near the lovely little village of Meadows of Dan. When the article was written, there was only a small wooden split rail fence where the bodies of the slaves had been buried This also included some small children of the slaves. When the Park Service was building the Blue Ridge Parkway, the land became part of their domain. The headstones had been torn out and thrown in the woods. Nothing remained to show who was buried in this specific spot, but some of the old timers of the area knew.
One afternoon, I went looking for the rail fence, which turned out to be at the entrance to the Parkway at Meadows of Dan. Parking at the local church, I walked over to the area. Nothing was there to identify the graves of the slaves who had lived, worked, and died here. Only a small, rail fence circled the area.
“What a shame that there is nothing to identify it,” I thought to myself. The millions of people yearly, who ride the Parkway, will zoom right by this historical, sacred spot. Most people will travel on to visit places where the old timers settled, like the old Mabry Mill right down the road, but they will never know the history of this place where a plantation owner buried those who labored for him.
In this age of monuments being torn down of the famous men of the Civil War era and the present day stressful problems of racial disharmony, it was heartening to know that there were white people who had been trying to convince the Park Service to do the right thing for many years. Unfortunately, as is the history of all bureaucratic, government agencies, slow or forever slow is the story. It definitely was in the case of these slaves having a proper monument.
After six months away from the Blue Ridge, I rounded the curving entrance to Meadows of Dan and there it was…..the old slave cemetery that I had written about in my book, Old Timers of the Blue Ridge. Now, it actually had a marker! A large, beautiful granite headstone stood inside the split rail fence. 18
My husband and I stopped, walked up to the monument and the last words stood out to me…FOREVER FREE! Yes, they have gone on to be with God, Who made all people…black, white, and every shade of color. They are free at last, but are we living free from the past? Is it possible, no matter how hard people try… to be removed, in this modern world where hate runs deep, from the “sins of the fathers?” This is a question of gigantic proportions!
Hurrying home to check the internet, I had to know the story of how this monument was placed here in the year that I was away from Virginia. This is what I found out: Matt Burnett, an old time resident of the area, had been one of the workers who tore out the headstones for the Park Service and he asked Bob Heafner to make him a special promise. That was thirty-three years ago.
“Burnett asked Heafner if he would make sure that people would someday KNOW ABOUT THE FORGOTTEN SLAVES hidden in plain sight next to a road traveled by millions.
Heafner was young then, a businessman and a publisher who knew people in Meadows of Dan and up and down the parkway. Surely, Burnett thought, Heafner could find a way to place a monument or memorial to those people, so that their lives wouldn’t remain buried in the past….Heafner discovered a will that stated James Steptoe Langhorne had at least five slaves and perhaps owned more than 10 at one time. He also found the names of five other African-Americans who were probably buried in the cemetery. Three of them died enslaved, with history having no record of their last names:
Charles (a child who died in 1858),
John (who was 19 when he died in 1858)
and Ellen (a 1-year-old who died in 1862).
The two other people Heafner documented died after the Civil War:
Guss Langhorne (another 1-year-old who died in 1871)
and Susan Langhorne (born a slave, died free in 1871 at age 28). It is unclear why the latter two had the Langhorne name. 19
It took a number of people to finally get results of placing the granite stone where it should have been long ago, including finding the granite company owner who was willing to make the stone.
This grave site was part of a history of the South. The mountain people strongly defend their history. People come far and wide to see the reenactments of the Civil War between the North and the South near Ararat, VA. The important points of this story are that the Blue Ridge people also believe in keeping their promises and doing right by the slaves that are buried in this cemetery regardless of the actions of the people of the past. Throughout our country, especially in the South, there are many people who feel the same way. They definitely should not be condemned for the “sins of the fathers” when they were not born during this terrible time of history.
Who exactly was James Steptoe Langhorne of Meadows of Dan, the land owner where the slave cemetery is located?
“According to family history, Henry let his son James Steptoe Langhorne choose one of the plantations, and after touring them all, James Steptoe, age about 22, looked out over the 13, 000 acre “Langdale” plantation in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, and said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen! In fact, he is credited with giving that area its name, Meadows of Dan—located in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, on the Dan River. He chose to settle there, but was blinded by retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited family disease– within just a couple of years—and never actually saw his beloved land again! James Steptoe Langhorne, called “Grandpa Steptoe” by his grandchildren, married Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro and together they had eight children, and adopted at least two more. Of course, on a 13,000-acre plantation in 1822 Virginia, Grandpa Steptoe owned slaves. It doesn’t matter how abhorrent and embarrassing this practice might be to me today, it is a part of our history. ” It was from Patrick County, VA that he built his massive plantation along with the slaves who worked it. He also gave land and built at least two churches. The Meadows of Dan Baptist church is where he and his wife are buried. His father and original family were emigrants from Wales, arriving in 1666. (credit Helen Houlshouser…relative to James Steptoe Langhorne)
If you are traveling the beautiful Blue Ridge, stop in at the little slave cemetery at the corner of the Meadows of Dan exit. Spend a few minutes considering the long-reaching meaning of who is buried there and give a “thank you” to one of the many merchants down the road in Meadows of Dan that helped promote the erection of the slave memorial stone. We especially thank the man who kept his promise, Bob Heafner.
“Slavery was common in Patrick County. According to county historian Tom Perry, as many as 2,000 slaves were part of Patrick County’s 9,000 residents in 1850. The majority of those enslaved people were owned by the prominent Reynolds and Hairston families. The Reynolds were the founders of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s father owned 28 slaves, according to Perry. Slavery was less prevalent up on the mountain in Meadows of Dan, where five families owned slaves, according to an Appalachian State University research project commissioned by the park service.” 20
Even though time has passed and we live in a new era, those who came out to see the placing of the new marker at the Meadows of Dan, know that it is important to the families of those who may have buried relatives in this grave site. There is a new Database of identities of 3,200 slaves through the historical society of VA that can help people find their descendants. Information can be found beginning with the American colonies in 1619 through unpublished private documents.
The most important thing is to remember the men, women and children who worked the land by force. We must also not forget that African Americans and slaves from other areas were not only those who suffered great injustices. Native Americans endured the Trail of Tears and other horrors. The white settlers who had emigrated from Europe suffered at the hands of the Native Americans and the lawlessness of other Americans. Present day merchants, white and black, suffer when a life-time of work and businesses are destroyed by rioting. We could go on and on.
One may ask, “So where do we go from here? Will people never get over this tragic piece of history?” Because slavery in America may have caused many problems of today, this is a good question. How many generations will be affected by those who did terrible deeds of bringing slaves to America, as well as the off-spring of those who bought and sold them? How many generations will have to find new and better ways to compensate for the sins of the past or is that possible?
The great repentance of a rude, profane Slave Trader, John Newton gave us the beloved song, “Amazing Grace.” In 1748 he wrote “On that day, the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.” Only God’s amazing grace could “Save a Wretch like Me, ” he wrote. 21
The Fathers of our nation and the rich owners of slaves often had children with those they owned. Some of those children have embraced their lineage…become educated, successful and brought honor to generations after their enslaved fore-fathers. Reunions are held by those who can trace their legacy from a white slave owner to their slave mother. Healing is needed in our nation. Maybe owning the past is the answer as the Germans have had to own the Holocaust.
The Sins of the Fathers will only be healed when we find a way to remember that all people are sinners and need the grace of God to combat the past and bring forgiveness to the present. Listen to this promise God has given to all of us.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and WILL HEAL THEIR LAND. 2nd Chronicles 7:14
It occurred to me that we are constantly being asked something about ourselves on paperwork or in person. In an age when no one is supposed to ask anything about your religion, race, family background or political persuasion, I find it interesting that we continue to be asked personal things, regardless. This is quite disturbing to some and others go along with it because they feel there is nothing that can be done about it…so why bother to complain. Why worry?…for it is just one more exasperating part of life. Bureaucracy has always been a pain.
How we deal with our everyday stresses greatly effects our own emotional welfare. From from buying a house, applying for a job, filing out the income tax forms, medical questions and much more, we all feel the pinch…and are glad when it is completed.
Lets look at this more deeply at putting our information on the tiny, little line provided on a form. Actually, what does it matter what race we are, for aren’t we all from the “HUMAN race?” Who really needs to know? If we decided to put “human” next to that line, they probably would reject it…as if they didn’t know what a “human” is.
As for politics, I just go vote for the person I think will be most likely to do the job…and do it when things get tough for all people. Yet, when I vote, I have to tell them that I’m one party or another. If I register in my state as an “Independent,” I have only the national election in which to vote because it is considered a “closed primary” for other local elections. That doesn’t seem fair.
Did I say the word, “FAIR?” The possibility of the unfairness of any election to be a problem is not a new problem. Somehow when the election rolls around, we wade through it because it is the American thing to do. Usually, however, I also have to show some identification that I am an indeed an American, not a dog or cat or illegal immigrant…unless that changes. I know who I plan to have my Golden Retriever vote for in that case. Don’t ask me though, for privacy is an important part of who I am. I would hate to have “protesters”…or worse, outside my house! Unfortunately, violence has become such a part of our nation that simply holding up a sign for any candidate can become deadly. God help us!
You look at the medical records, that are supposed to be private. Does it matter to the doctor that I am male or female…well, maybe… if he is concerned about my ovaries. What does a person do that is not certain if he is female or male in his own thinking? I also suppose that when the form asks “male” or “female”… that there should be a box saying “other” …or “trying to decide.” That might be confusing to the medics unless they have to check.
Yet, “other” might appear on some applications. This is true if you just can’t fit into the category provided. Oh, yes, I jest a bit about things that may not be a laughing matter to some. My apology is in order, for we must not offend or even joke about any serious matter! I do have real concerns about a child that is growing up being told that they can “choose” what sex they want to be. This is happening, as I know you are aware. At least, let them grow up as male or female and then they can decide on this issue…if that is important to them.
This leads me to wonder, who exactly makes out these forms? They must stay up nights trying to figure out what to put down just in case someone might not know how to answer! Correctness is important to those who need to know. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of those who hold the pen or click the key on the internet. Someone on the other side will decide for you IF you have to reapply…so get it right!!
Therefore, I looked up: FORMS Don’t ask me why. It is just one of those quirks I get when I’m laying awake at night thinking. Sometimes the things that pop into my head actually makes me laugh. Laughter is a good thing because it is at a premium these days…unless someone just gets hysterical from worry.
Back to FORMS. Is “form” a noun or a verb? If it is a form you fill out, it is a noun. If it is “form” in making something…like forming a round cookie ball, it is actually to form, which is a verb. That is just extra information in case you just couldn’t live without knowing. The teacher in me comes out.
One of the forms that I came across was from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. I never realized it could get so complicated and sometimes expensive. Tough luck for those who come with almost no money to apply.
Reader,don’t get bored. Stick with me. This part is for those readers who may be thinking of doing it the right way. These are a few, but NOT ALL:
- Job offer Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through a Job Offer Form filing fee:
- Granted an Asylee status: Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through Asylee Status An asylee is a person who meets the definition of refugee and is already present in the United States or is seeking admission at a port of entry.
- Refugee: Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through Refugee Status
- Naturalization: Becoming a U.S. Citizen Through Naturalization Form filing fee: $640 Naturalization is the process to become a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the United States. If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.
- Citizenship through Parents. Citizenship Through Parents Form filing fee: $1,170 Congress has enacted laws that determine how U.S. citizen parents convey citizenship to children born outside of the United States. Generally, you may obtain citizenship through your U.S. citizen parents when you are born, or after your birth but before you turn 18.
- Temporary Workers Visa E Visas (E-1, E-2, and E-3) for Temporary Workers Form filing fee: $460 The E visa category includes treaty traders and investors who come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which they are a citizen or national.
- SMART PERSON: You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. EB-2: Employment-Based Immigration– Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability Form filing fee: $460 You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference (EB-2) permanent worker visa if you are a member of a profession and you have an advanced degree or its equivalent, or if you have an exceptional ability.
Well, that was fun. I bet it won’t be fun filling out those forms. If you are busy thinking which category you fall under, just know they will document everything about you. However, because you are willing to be honest, open and agreeable to doing things the “American Way,” you may be able to be an American citizen…but the time of waiting is unknown. A wall won’t be long enough for those who ignore the correct method, but those people will be looking over their shoulder their entire life.
As far as forms go, we, Americans have it all figured out. You can fill out your forms online, in Braille, or various other methods. Don’t forget to read the fine print. It usually tells you “under penalty of law” which means that they will take you away from your family or your firstborn…which ever they can get. I’m teasing, of course. I’m not certain who they will send to get you since the police force might be minimized by the time they read your incorrect form. Oh, bureaucracy, it is the dream…or nightmare… of all who live in this wonderful world!
Perhaps I have been too hard on the ups and downs of filling out forms in our democracy. There are many other forms of government control that would not even ask you to fill out a form…because they don’t care who you are, what you think or why you want something that calls for a form,…for it doesn’t matter to them. You will simply be a speck…without rights or privileges. There are a few governments that incorporate a form of democracy with some form of socialism, such as in Sweden or Norway. Each has inherit dangers to how much control is actually given to the government hierarchy.
Next time I have to fill out a form, I will remember to thank God that I have the opportunity to participate in my own needs that require a form. What if we lived under the tyranny of most of the governments listed below.
Have you ever thought of how many different FORMS of GOVERNMENTS there are? You might want to look up some of these when you have an extra hour or two. Here is the list that I came up with…in alphabetical order.. certainly not in order of the most important to the rights of the average citizen.
- Anarchy Aristocracy Bureaucracy Capitalism Colonialism Communism Democracy Federalism Feudalism Kleptocracy Meritocracy
- Military Dictatorship Monarchy Oligarchy Plutocracy Republicanism
- Socialism Theocracy Totalitarianism Tribalism
Since we have an election coming up, it might be good to see if any of our candidates are leaning toward any one of these forms of government. No person is freer than in a democracy. and it is why we sing…. “I am glad to be an American….where I know I’m free…” Now, if only the American anarchist could learn that song!
Life and all its complications may be difficult to manage IF we try to hold on to them. So much of life, especially now, is filled with personal and national stress. Furthermore, there is not much we can do about most of it. We can’t totally control the virus. We can vote in the election and who will win will be up to the nation as a whole. The police are trying to control the rioting and looting as much as they are given support by local governments. Young Americans need to be taught by family, clergy and teachers the basics of right and wrong. Where this failure happens, the young people will not learn. This should certainly keep us up at night.
Let’s look at the Holy Scripture because there is a lesson here and also in the video below about our stresses and concerns.
To the Samaritan Woman at the well, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4
We, most of all, have to learn to put all things in God’s hands. He knows the beginning from the end. He is all powerful and we must look to Him…personally and nationally. Whether it is filling out a simple form, or a not so simple form…or something much more stressful…we would do well to learn a lesson about A GLASS OF WATER.
This morning I ate my breakfast. As usual, I poured my non-fat milk over the beautiful, round blueberries that floated atop my cereal. This has been a habit for some time since I’m told that blueberries are really good for us.
Why talk about breakfast and blueberries? The reason is that we give little thought about these great fruits that are readily available to us in the grocery stores or the people who picked them. Aside from the hefty price on some of these “little darlings,” they are usually readily available most of the year. This may not be so true in the future…as some vegetables and fruits have been rotting in the fields. Why? The workforce is declining…as with other things in industry. (My doctor told me the other day that he is having a hard time getting inserts for his foot patients. No, shoe inserts have nothing to do with blueberries…but the labor force does.)
After I listened to an aspiring medical student, Gianna Ninno, who has picked blueberries since she was a young child with her family, I thought it was time to write something about these “heroes” of the marketplace. They are usually minority…both American and from other places.
Her statement, “The people who pick the berries can’t actually afford to buy them in the stores.” This puts a new slant on the farm workers that make it possible for me to enjoy my blueberries each morning. All I can say is “THANK YOU!”
I thank them for their labor, but also the fact that they are willing to put their lives on the line to do the job. During the virus epidemic, it was revealed that many of the farm and factory workers were showing growing numbers of contacting the COVID-19. This was especially true in the meat packing houses.
When we lived part of the year in Virginia, USA, I noticed that most of the workers there were not Americans, but immigrants that get short term visas to be part of our labor force. They lived in the small accommodations provided by the farm owner and rode to work in crowded vans. This, of course, was an invitation for sickness. Now, that travel bans have occurred, it is questionable if they will be able to help Americans with their harvest. We worried about paper goods during the first days of the Pandemic, but the foods we eat may be the next shortage. It might be wise to start a garden in your backyard, if you have the room.
Whatever money the farm workers make usually is wired home to their families in various countries. When the picking season is over, the farm owners fly them back home until the next season. It was explained to us that all of the paperwork was done correctly with the government. They are issued short-term work visas. These workers are appreciated because they are very hard workers.
The immigrants don’t receive welfare benefits from our government. Some of our own citizens are obviously unwilling to do the back-breaking work that these people are eager to do in order to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, to their health and welfare, there has been a cost. We hope that they will be able to return as long as they are here legally and the farmers can afford them.
The laborers of the fields need the honor and wages due them. What does the Holy Scripture tells us about this?
“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin. Deuteronomy 24:14-15
The video that you are about to see was made by a young woman who wanted everyone to know that many of our American, minority farm workers have a similar plight to those who come from out of the country. She is trying hard to earn extra money in order to finish her medical school education by doing the work that many others avoid. I will let her give you her story in this short video.
As for me, I will continue to enjoy my blueberries each morning as long as they are available. I now appreciate even more their beautiful, round, blue shape and their wonderful taste because I understand better that there are special human beings willing to work extremely hard to get them to me.
I bet you won’t think of a blueberry the same.
Click the link. (from ABC News If you are trying to watch on a phone, unfortunately, her video may not come up after the ad…which by the way, I’m not endorsing. Sorry if this happens…watch on your computer if possible.)
Most people are familiar with World War II Holocaust where millions of Jews died terrible deaths, but may not be aware that there have been a number of other genocides in modern history. One man, whose family immigrated to America, learned it all too well in recent years. His name is Daniel Yessian. He is trying, through his music, to ‘SPEAK FOR A LOST GENERATION.”
A shy young boy, born here in America, found a love for music through the encouragement of an older musician. As he grew, music would take him to places that he never dreamed of to find again his heritage…in Armenia.
Daniel had a natural ear for music, often imitating what he heard a teacher play. As time went on, he found a love for jazz and formed his own small band. Then something happened that would eventually change his life. He was asked to write music for commercials, which he found exciting and gave some pocket change that seemed like a God sent. He married, had children, and continued playing.
His family members were baptized into the Armenian Christian Church and it was through their priest that he was asked to compose some music that would be played for the Commemoration of the tragedy endured by the Armenian people in 1915.
A Short History:
The Armenian genocide was the systematic killing and deportation of Armenians by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915, during World War I, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. Today, most historians call this event a genocide: a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people.
The Armenian people have made their home in the Caucasus region of Eurasia for some 3,000 years. For some of that time, the kingdom of Armenia was an independent entity: At the beginning of the 4th century A.D., for instance, it became the first nation in the world to make Christianity, its official religion.
But for the most part, control of the region shifted from one empire to another. During the 15th century, Armenia was absorbed into the mighty Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman rulers, like most of their subjects, were Muslim. They permitted religious minorities like the Armenians to maintain some autonomy, but they also subjected Armenians, who they viewed as “infidels,” to unequal and unjust treatment. Christians had to pay higher taxes than Muslims, for example, and they had very few political and legal rights.
In spite of these obstacles, the Armenian community thrived under Ottoman rule. They tended to be better educated and wealthier than their Turkish neighbors, who in turn grew to resent their success.
This resentment was compounded by suspicions that the Christian Armenians would be more loyal to Christian governments (that of the Russians, for example, who shared an unstable border with Turkey) than they were to the Ottoman caliphate. (note: Russia also had as a primary religion…Christianity through the Russian Orthodox Church and not Muslim.)
These suspicions grew more acute as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. At the end of the 19th century, the despotic Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II – obsessed with loyalty above all, and infuriated by the nascent Armenian campaign to win basic civil rights – declared that he would solve the “Armenian question” once and for all.
“I will soon settle those Armenians,” he told a reporter in 1890. “I will give them a box on the ear which will make them…relinquish their revolutionary ambitions.” (History.com)
Footnote: Today, Turkey refuses to admit that anything happened to the Armenian people even though there are skeletons to prove it and some 100 year old survivors, who remember this terrible history as children. Turkey calls it “relocation.” The truth being that they moved the Armenians out before they murdered them because they didn’t want the bodies to be in their territory. Only a few escaped to tell the story.
Daniel Yessian believed he would honor his ancestors and those who died in the Armenian genocide if he could compose a musical trilogy with photography of the history of the Armenians. He had never traveled to Armenia, but found it a wonderful experience of getting to know the land and people who suffered so much…but survived to this day. This Trilogy was based on FREEDOM…FEAR…and FAITH.
If you would like to watch a remarkable film with the complete story of Mr. Yessian’s journey to bring his composition to the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra. It is available on Amazon Prime…An Armenian Trilogy. It is worth your time to look it up and watch.
AN IMPORTANT THOUGHT
In this film, Mr. Yessian wonders if there will be more genocides to come. This is a very important thought for all of us to contemplate. How much do we know or remember about the genocides in more recent history? How much are our young people learning today about past history that must not be repeated? Even today, in various places in the world, there is great persecution going on that may not make the national news.
REFRESHING OUR MEMORY OF HISTORY AND GENOCIDES
These pictures represent only a very few of the atrocities during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is, however, important to remember what people have endured and pray that there will be no more. Where one group of people stand against another, it is entirely possible that it will happen again. Mr. Yessian also says, “We are nothing without each other.”
Video: A trailer, ARMENIAN TRILOGY, concerning the music composed in commemoration of the Armenian people who perished.
by Daniel Yessian.
In previous posts, I have shared with you the music of John Rutter. He had a special commission to write a song for an occasion in which the world would be looking for every moment to be perfect. What a responsibility!
I can only imagine the nights that he must have struggled over the exact song…a perfect song for this ceremony. The Queen would be there and everyone who could have managed to receive an invitation. This was the day! As with all his other music, he puts God’s words and love as the main focus of his composing. In this special event, he wanted God to be honored and for the world to receive a message of God’s tender care. Using Psalm 118, he expanded on a familiar gospel chorus…adding special words.
Finally, he finished his composition for the organ and voices of the choir boys and older singers. This special day would be at Westminster Abby, one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in the world.
I’m certain that at some point before the ceremony, Rutter had to present this song to His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton for approval. What if they decided it was NOT what they desired for their big day.., after all his work and prayers? Thankfully, this beautiful song was right on target and with a thumbs up…the rehearsals began!
You will notice that this song is not one of flowery love between a couple. It is about God’s love and the responsibility of the couple before God. The words are words of encouragement that God will be with them. He will be their defender and protector. Yet, they must also “praise Him.” They must be strong and put their trust in Him. We pray that this is what they are doing in life, for it was a ceremony before God… not to be taken lightly amidst the grandeur.
Here are the words, in part, to this special song, This is the Day by John Rutter. He used the Holy Scripture in many parts. (source: Musixmatch)
This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day.
O praise the Lord of heav’n: praise him in the height.
Praise him, all ye angels of His: praise Him, all His host.
Praise Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord.
For he shall give his angels charge
Over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
To keep thee in all thy ways…
The Lord himself is thy keeper
The Lord is thy defense upon thy right hand;
So that the sun shall not burn thee by day
Neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
Yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in:
From this time forth
From this time forth for evermore.
He shall defend thee
He shall defend thee under his wings...
Be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart,
Shall comfort thine heart…
Put thou thy trust in the Lord
Thy trust in the Lord.
What about your day? Each day God gives you is a special day and you too should rejoice and be glad in it. Thank Him today for your special day. It may be simple and plain…nothing royal…but it is YOUR DAY!
This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today. Psalm 118:24
For your enjoyment, here is the beautiful music by John Rutter, THIS IS THE DAY. Turn on your sound.
If you are staying at home on Sunday morning because your church is temporarily closed down or you don’t attend a church at all, here is a great sermon for your listening pleasure. I say, “listening” because it is not a visual video, as many that I put on my blogs, but simply a recording.
This message is given by Thomas Whartenby, who was brought up as a Roman Catholic… has been the minister of Galax Presbyterian Church for forty plus years and is a Vietnam veteran. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, is the church organist and choir director. Their ministry is in a small community situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA.
I was privileged to include him in my book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Why is it important to hear Dr. Whartenby’s message?
As a people and a nation, we are extremely self-centered. Yes, there are many caring people among us, but as a culture there is much to be improved. I can only speak for our country, but I would guess that it might be the “new normal” for most of the world. Of course, included in this, is the added pressure of isolating and how to take care of OURSELVES when there is such a need to reach out to others. We are warned nationally and locally about “distancing,” which only makes self-centeredness more prevalent. It is hard to know when to think of SELF as far as health is concerned and believe that we are doing it for others. The problem is that the “others” don’t know that our standoffish actions are for them.
As we look at history, much of “what’s in it for me” has come about with the industrial revolution, increase in technology, ability to hear and see through the media an emphasis on having more and more. Life has become a rush to acquire, get ahead, and forget about what is really important. Patience is a long-lost virtue.
We want things and service NOW...no waiting! Almost everything we do is “How does it effect ME?” In some cases, it is how can I get something for nothing? Our young people and children, unfortunately, are modeling these behaviors and attitudes.
The Holy Scripture has something to say about this problem. Dr. Whartenby, “Tom”, gives a fresh understanding of why we want self-gratification. He puts in modern terms thoughts that make sense to all of us.
It will be worth your time of 30 minutes to listen. I am including this link for those who believe that we all need a new look at what this title means….IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT US.
What does music do to our souls? John Rutter, the composer whose music I shared in my previous blog, has a theory about music and especially the music sung by small or great choirs. Because we enjoy music that has beautiful harmony, Mr. Rutter thinks it is a lesson for all mankind…to be in harmony with one another.
What a desperate prayer this is for the world as we know it today. To even consider harmonious living in a time of destruction and cruelty is almost “asking for the moon.” Yet, this is what God wants from us and only through Him and the love He demonstrated for us through His Son will we have this glorious blessing of peace and harmony. We look for the day that our churches and community choirs will once again gather in fullness to sing His wonderful praises.
BRIEF HISTORY OF JOHN RUTTER: Born on 24 September 1945 in London, John Rutter is the son of an industrial chemist and his wife. He grew up living over the Globe pub on London’s Marylebone Road… As a chorister there, he took part in the first recording of Britten’s War Requiem… He then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the choir. While still an undergraduate he had his first compositions published, including the “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol” which he had written aged 18.
In 1981, Rutter founded his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, which he conducts, and with which he has made many recordings of sacred choral repertoire (including his own works)… He frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.
In 1980, he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.
Rutter’s compositions are chiefly choral, and include Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as the Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnificat. In 2002, his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Similarly, he was commissioned to write a new anthem, This is the day, for the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, performed at Westminster Abbey during the service. (Taken, in part, from a conversation with Bruce Duffie)
At the end of this blog, you will see the words, OLDER POSTS. In case you missed it, click on this to hear another of his beautiful musical pieces with words. It will be worth you while.
Listen to what he has to say about choral music and then below his message is one of his most excellent works of art. Tune your heart to be blessed.
Turn up your sound.
Turn up sound. THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU
Conducted by John Rutter Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, The Mark Thallander Foundation Choir Festival
This is a short blog to give you a rest from all the difficulties of life. Listening to and thinking about too much in the news with total negativity can make your mind, not only depressed, but filled with dread and doubt about our lives on planet earth. God has something better for you to think about…HIS LOVE ND HIS CREATION! The music is LOOK AT THE WORLD by the great Christian composer, John Rutter.
FOR YOUR TOTAL ENJOYMENT AND REASSURANCE FROM BOYER WRITES
GOD BLESS YOU!
How hard is it to wear a mask until this Corvid-19 pandemic is under control?
Apparently, very hard for some of the uncaring of the world! Maybe that is a little harsh. Let’s say that not all unmasked people are uncaring, but simply feel healthy, confused over statistics given out by authorities, or haven’t given it too much thought because they feel invincible. They also think the masks are a “pain to wear, especially during the summer in hot weather and difficult to talk through! I agree, but this is not the point. Health, life or death is the point.
People all over the world have designed their own masks. Whether they are effective or not is debatable, but they are definitely creative! At least they are wearing them.
Even the little children of Kenya know there is something that might hurt them and try to construct a mask to ward off this disease. Kindness is needed by so many people. Perhaps someone from the U.S.A or another part of the world could send them a large supply of real masks. (Photo and contact for Lorenz Omondi in Kenya)
Further reasons may vary for not wearing the mask. Some think that they DO NO GOOD. This has not been proven…so the encouragement to wear them has been mainly left up to individual responsibility.
Now, because many people have not been responsible, it is becoming more mandatory to do so. Why be so cocky about doing something so simple? We are fighting an enemy that we can’t see… an invisible virus? Who made any of us ALL-KNOWING and arrogant that we can put ourselves and others in more danger than is necessary? There will be much more that we will know after the virus is gone. Nevertheless, there may be more to come….and then will we debate the mask issue all over again? Give me…and us a break!!!
What then is the reason for not wearing a simple mask during this pandemic?
IT IS SELFISH, DISREGARD FOR LIFE!
It is hard also to imagine that Covid-19 parties among the young is not a prescription for disasters waiting to happen. Also, We might as well stop looking at the figures…for their validity comes and goes depending who is counting. Some places get their reporting figures correct…others don’t. The results of testing are also taking far too long. A person could be negative one day, exposed the next, and positive before the first results even get to them…whatever the findings.
We also might as well stop thinking that we are the ALL-KNOWING when it comes to deciding what is right for the most vulnerable, people around us, our families and ourselves…except to protect them the best we can. For now, wearing the face mask is what we are being ask to do. We are not asked to do some monumental task…just put it on the face and around the ears!
It is not too much to ask all people, old and young, to be more cautious and decide that it is not worth playing Russian Roulette with the lives around us. When this is over, you can ditch the mask and hope to never see it again!!
Ever hear a verse from the song, Russian Roulette?
“As my life flashes before my eyes
I’m wondering will I, ever see another sunrise?
So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye
But it’s too late to think of the value of my life”
( Charles Harmon / Shaffer Smith/ Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group)
The “Value of Life” is extremely important to Christians and many other religions. However, even with some Christians, I think they have not thought through their actions when it comes to being considerate of others. Each person will make the decide if they MASK OR DON’T MASK.
Sometimes governments seem to actually loose their heads over the issue of masks. It was hard to believe that in Oregon there was a mandate that only white people had to wear masks. This was quickly reversed after the outcry. No wonder people put little faith in a great number of elected officials.
A week after issuing an order that required only white people to wear masks, leaders in Lincoln County, Oregon, have reversed the policy because of “ horrifically racist commentary” according to the county’s website. (The News Tribune)
What are some of the thoughts on TO WEAR OR NOT TO WEAR?
The CIDRAP, which is the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, wrote an article adding to the doubt of how effective the masks might be. Since no one really knows at this point, there were requests to remove the article from the website. The reasons were as follows:
(1) We don’t truly know that cloth masks (face coverings) are not effective, since the data are so limited.
(2) Wearing a cloth mask or face covering is better than doing nothing.
(3) The article is being used by individuals and groups to support non-mask wearing where mandated.
(4) There are now many modeling studies suggesting that cloth masks or face coverings could be effective at flattening the curve and preventing many cases of infection. (Article from U. of Minnesota/ Dr. Brosseau and Dr. Sietsema experts on respiratory protection)
The other day, because of boredom from staying at home, we decided to go a favorite restaurant. Our policy has been about once a week to find a good place that we expect are following good health practices and support these people who are working hard to keep their businesses from going under.
Expecting to see the usual spaced seating, which is required, we were amazed to see that none of the servers or the owners were wearing masks at the place chosen for this week. As we gave our order and were served, the “required distancing” was hard to maintain…but would have been a little more tolerable if they had on their masks. What was the story here?
Later, the restaurant was called and asked their policy on mask wearing. They said they do not wear masks, but do “social distancing.” This, of course, is actually impossible to maintain when leaning over the table to serve the food.” The restaurant employee was told, “The masks are for your protection from the public as well as the public from your employees.”
It would be unfortunate for this restaurant to lose customers because of their policy. Until the virus is under control or they change their policy of “no masks for employees,” we will not be back. It is a guess that others will make the same decision. It is simply the respect for each other…and good business sense in this difficult time.
Maybe that is the word I am looking for….RESPECT.
Recently I read an article about Dr. Michael Saag in Alabama. He is a survivor of the virus that he contacted on a trip out of town. This is what he had to say, in part, about people choosing to disrespectfully NOT WEAR MASKS. Remember, he is speaking from personal experience about the sadness of this disease because he has experienced it.
“For Saag, the fight is personal. In early March, both he and his adult son came down with the virus after a trip to Manhattan when the epidemic was raging there. First came a cough, followed by fever, a headache, body aches and what Saag called “fuzzy thinking,” or an inability to concentrate.
“The mornings I’d feel fine, thought I was done with it. And then every night it would come right back as if it was just starting all over again,” he said. “The hardest part of the night was that feeling of shortness of breath and not knowing if it’s going to get worse.”
During eight suffocating nights, Saag wasn’t sure whether he’d survive without a ventilator. It never came to that. He is now fully recovered and feels closer than ever to the people he treats.
“When I talk to a patient and I say, ‘Hey, I’ve had it too,’ it’s like we’re connected in a way that I really, honestly haven’t felt with patients ever before — and I’ve been doing this 40 years,” Saag said.
Outside the examination room, Saag has participated in news conferences and done media interviews to encourage basic public health practices, but he knows many people just aren’t listening.
He said it is disheartening to see a widespread disregard for safety measures and worries about Alabama’s future at a time when the virus is posing more of a threat than ever.
“I’m just thinking, `Oh, my goodness. We’re going to be in trouble very soon,’” Saag said...
Dr. Michael Saag spends much of his time treating patients fighting for their lives and working with colleagues who are overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentless battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he enters a different world when he walks out the door of his Alabama clinic: one where many don’t wear masks, keep their distance from others or even seem aware of the intense struggle being waged against a virus that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives nationwide and made so many — including the doctor — seriously ill. The disconnect is devastating. “It’s a mixture of emotions, from anger to being demoralized to bewilderment to frustration,” Saag said (Article by Jay Reeves with Associated Press)
What Dr. Saag is experiencing in Alabama is true in most states…certainly in mine, which is Florida. The lack of concern by young families and the lack of being an example to their young families, especially the teenagers, is truly amazing…until they experience what Dr. Saag has experienced…or they lose Grandma or Grandpa. The story then becomes personal.
How important are your children and grandchildren to you? After you are older and there is another pandemic, how will they protect you…and their families?
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK to simply have a mask in the car for everyone to use for a short while when in public?
WEAR THE MASK! IT WON’T KILL YOU…BUT THE VIRUS MIGHT!
While you are home and enjoying the pleasure of a “mask free” existence, here is a special relaxing video for you to hear and count your blessings. God bless you and be well.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
For your pleasure:
You were brought into the world and given life. Whether you are now old or young, you are still you. Have you ever asked yourself, “Exactly WHO AM I?”
What special gifts do I have? How am I different from my closest relative? Knowing WHO I am is a most important question. People often spend their entire lives searching for the answer to that question. Some feel bewildered… while others feel confident in their own skin.
I found the answer to “Who Are You?” as I searched the Holy Scripture and saw that this question was also asked of the Apostle John. He must have been extremely confident to announce who he was, because in some cases, he went against the religious hierarchy of the day. It is evident that his confidence only came from God, who had given him a job to do. He simply knew that he knew.
How about us? His purpose for each of us will only be revealed when our hearts are ready to listen to the small still voice that we can’t seem to make go away. It is His Holy Spirit drawing us into His love. The answer then to the question, “Who are you?” is this:
WE ARE TO BE WHAT GOD HAS SENT US TO BE...A CHILD OF HIS. WE ARE TO BE A LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD.
“What if I have missed it?” you may say. He wants you to know that you have not missed it.
We measure everything in our time frame. Time is irrelevant to God. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2nd Peter 3:8
He sees your heart as it is today. If you ask forgiveness for any past things that do not measure up to God’s purpose for you, He will forgive and remember them no more. The Holy Scriptures promises us that. We have to trust that fact.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 (Old Testament)
Then He adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Hebrews 10:15 (New Testament)
In the Gospel of John, the Apostle John, as mentioned above, was “sent by God” to let the people know that the Messiah had come. His reputation had gone before him…so much so, that the priests and Levites, who were descendants of the Tribe of Levi, were sent from Jerusalem to ask him “WHO ARE YOU?”
St. John knew exactly who he was…a MESSENGER from God that the Jews should know the truth…that their MESSIAH, of Whom they had been waiting and looking for since the days of the prophets, was living and walking among them. He said that he, John, was only a “VOICE”….”crying in the wilderness.” His message was simple. “Make straight the way of the Lord.”
St. John was born in the late 1st century (circa 5 B.C.), Saint John the Baptist was a Jewish prophet who preached the imminence of God’s final judgment. It is believed that he was born somewhere in Judea, located near Jerusalem, Israel, according to the New Testament. A priest of the order of Abijah, John the Baptist gained recognition as a prophet, had several disciples and baptized a number of people, including Jesus Christ, according to scripture. Christians believe that John the Baptist was the last great prophet before Jesus Christ came to earth. He was reportedly beheaded circa 30 A.D. (Biography)
We are living in a wilderness today. One of the meanings for “wilderness” is an inhospitable region. Inhospitable means harsh, difficult, unfriendly or unwelcoming. Doesn’t that describe much of our world today as one faction raves against another.
This is why we have had wars throughout history. People, in kingdoms and governments, were, and are, filled with greed, ambition, power…and it overcame them to the point that they never found the true person that God wanted them to be.
Many led others to think that they should follow their ideologies rather than God. A few examples come to mind: Napoleon Bonaparte, having made himself an emperor of France, died in exile on the remote, British-held island of Saint Helena at age 51. Adolph Hitler, after losing WWII, committed suicide at age 69 and Saddam Hussein was captured, tried and hanged for his crimes…age 51. They did not have very long lives by today’s longevity. (history)
Each of these men were once the little boy that God wanted to have a good life, but they chose to neither listen to nor accept the Holy Words of God. They thought they knew better about who they were, but they didn’t. Their eyes became blinded to God’s truth through their own choices.
Back to our original question…Who are you? You are to so live your life that you will be a voice to the harshness of this world…for good, not for evil.
Being the messenger of God’s love and hope does not mean that one has to be a minister, who preaches in a church, on a mission field or some other Christian group. St. John was not seeking a prominent position or popularity, but to be faithful to the message he was given by God to share with the world.
We may only be the voice of hope to someone who shares with us their difficulties in life. Just be ready for that encounter! Remember, God’s timing may take you by surprise. It may be at the grocery parking lot; when walking in your neighborhood and meet someone you haven’t seen in a while or a fellow worker.
You may say, “I’m too shy to open up to someone about faith” or “I think religion is their business” or “That seems a little bold to me.” Yes, you are right. Some of us are by nature on the shy side, but God has promised to supply the boldness needed.
Even if we believe that everyone’s business is their own…especially about “religion,” we must remember that sharing God’s love is not talking about a particular “religion,” but about your own personal walk with Christ. As a Christian, you are called to be ready to give the hope that is within you. Peter 3:15 also talks about your shyness and that you may be afraid.
John was known as the “beloved disciple.” We all want to be loved. How wonderful to be the loved of Christ, who speaks of you to His Father in heaven. We must all ask ourselves as Christians, “Are we faithful to being what God wants us to be?” It is never too late to surrender ourselves to His perfect love.
Dedicate this day, this hour, your next breath to being His in all walks of your life…and you will find that you are what He wants you to be. He will lift you up and give you the voice, heart and soul that He wants of you.
You will truly know exactly who you are…a child of God.
The following is a trailer of the life story of a young boy, from Argentina, who was also called of God to be His voice. His name is Luis Palau. He made his voice the voice of hope to the Spanish speaking people around the world, especially in Columbia. The full length is extremely moving and is available on Amazon Prime.
Turn on your sound.
Who was Isaac Watts? An English writer and theologian, beloved for his talent for writing poetry and songs, he became famous during the early 19th century. Even at an early age, he was know to use his ability to rhyme quite readily:
Watts was once asked why he had his eyes open during prayers, to which he responded:
A little mouse for want of stairs
ran up a rope to say its prayers.
He received punishment for this, to which he cried:
O father, father, pity take
And I will no more verses make
In later years, Watts wrote some of our most loved hymns:
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,
Joy to the World
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
He also wrote a book on logic. At his death, Isaac Watts’ papers were given to Yale University in the Colony of Connecticut, which nonconformists (Puritans/Congregationalists) had established. (Wikipedia)
Mixed with Holy Scripture, these are the words that Isaac Watts wrote in one of the most loved Christian hymn.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
by Isaac Watts
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.”
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Luke 9:24-25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
Luke 21:3-4 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Matthew 27:29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
About Jesus in Psalm 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
About Jesus in Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
John 19:2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Revelation 5:12-13 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
Love so amazing, so divine,
Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Taken from “Scripture and…” blog)
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Beautiful music for your pleasure…with the first hymn by Isaac Watts.
Turn up sound and move the red line completely back to the beginning.
Numbers have great meaning for all of us. We remember the number of our street address, zip code, social security and phone numbers…even if we have trouble recalling the exact date numbers of important events. The same is true in the Holy Scriptures. Numbers have meaning.
Having read the first chapter of Matthew, I noticed that it took 14 generations from the time of Abraham for God to bring His Son Jesus, the Messiah, into the world. I’m not certain why that number stood out to me, but I decided to look up the meaning of the number 14. I wanted to find out what it meant in the Biblical sense, rather than those who study numerology or try to read the stars. Here is what I found:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” Matthew 1:1 – 17
Number 14 is a symbol of salvation and rescue. Jesus finished his life in flesh on 14th day of first month, and made his sacrifice for the sake of all people. Number 14 is a double of God’s power and completion. Matthew 1
The 14th day of the month was the start of Passover or when Israel as a nation was started. Most references to 14 in the Bible are about a Passover that was being celebrated. Exodus 12:6
The Ultimate Sacrifice: On the 14th day of the first month in 30 A.D. Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh, the only begotten Son of God the Father, and the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, was crucified as the perfect sacrifice to save mankind from sin. Jesus’ death on Passover completed His ministry in the flesh.
Seven represents completion – thus 7 + 7 = 14, indicating a double completion…Jesus’ ministry in the flesh was completed. Jesus sacrifice of Himself ended or fulfilled the need for animal sacrifices, which the Jews had been doing to cover their sins. (from Bible Study online)
If you had no thoughts about the number 14 until now, it will probably go without saying that you will notice this number more in your everyday life. Regardless of numbers, it is important to see that God’s importance on numbers and their meanings only shows us the perfection numerically or scientifically that He shows in His creation and His perfect plans given through the prophets.
What were God’s scientific plans when creating life?
Group 14 (IVA) | | Group 14 of the periodic table is often referred to as the carbon group. It is located in column 14 of the periodic table and houses the elements carbon, silicon, germanium, tin, lead…Many molecules contain carbon. In fact, there is an entire field of chemistry that deals with carbon-containing compounds, known as organic chemistry. Pure carbon can manifest in multiple forms such as diamonds, graphite and graphene, and Bucky balls (fullerenes). When mixed with iron, steel is formed. An isotope of carbon, carbon-14, is used to date organic specimens. Carbon is also used in semiconductors and resistance heaters. Carbon is the fundamental element in all Earth-based life. (from Chem Teacher)
Here’s one for all you people who love tattoos: “The tattoos of Otzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old corpse found frozen in the Alps, were inked from carbon, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Small incisions in the skin were made, and charcoal rubbed in, perhaps as part of an acupuncture treatment.” (from Live Science)
Nearly 10 million carbon compounds have been discovered, and scientists estimate that carbon is the keystone for 95 percent of known compounds, according to the website Chemistry Explained. Carbon’s incredible ability to bond with many other elements is a major reason that it is crucial to almost all life. (Live Science)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
One who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days. Micah 5:2
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22: 14-18
THE NUMBER 3: “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-21).
“‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was THREE days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’” Matthew 12:38-40
This number 3 is repeated throughout the Bible as a symbol of completeness. God’s attributes are three: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. ... On the third day, the earth rose from the water, symbolic of resurrection life.
The number 3 is also powerful in that it denotes the Godhead is a trinity … God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
THE NUMBER 7: The number 7 is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things. … The word ‘created’ is used 7 times describing God’s creative work (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 three times; 2:3; 2:4) God also rested on the 7th day from all his work and he saw that it was “good.”
However, we look at numbers, we may find them of interest but God wants us to leave His timing of events in our futures up to Him. He has told us to fear not, to trust Him and not predict the future on our own. Some people have tried to prove to the masses that they had figured out God’s timing. They think their great minds have somehow received a revelation. They even circled a number on their calendars to when Christ will appear once again as a 2nd coming to the earth. Really?
There are certain to be some even today, who are predicting with our world-wide virus, trashing of cities and continued wars, that the end is certain to be near. Even some clergy are telling people to “store up…at least for three months…as if they are certain that the great trials of the end days are upon us. They are probably going my this verse of Holy Scripture:
“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matthew 24
As far back as the 1844’s there was a real person, William Miller, who believed that he had calculated the END and Christ’s coming again.
This is their story:
“Tens of thousands of people in Massachusetts expected the world to come to an end. They were followers of William Miller, a man who claimed to know the date of Jesus’s second coming. Many “Millerites” sold all their possessions to prepare for the day when Christ would return to earth, gather them up to heaven, and purify the rest of the world in an all-consuming fire. As the date approached, a great comet blazed across the Massachusetts sky, and the number of believers grew. On October 22nd, the Millerites donned white robes and climbed mountains or trees to speed their ascension into heaven. (Miller went on a speaking tour about his prediction…gaining between 50,000 and 100,000 believers.) ….
As the year of the expected apocalypse neared, believers in the prophecy began to give away their belongings, abandon their crops, and sell their land. In the town of Harvard, one man sold his cows at great sacrifice because there would be no one to care for them when he was “gone up.” Women in the Worcester area cut off their hair, removed the ruffles from their dresses, threw or gave away their jewelry, and, in some cases, everything they owned. Others broke up all their furniture declaring that they would no longer have use for tables or chairs or beds. Wanting to be suitably attired for heaven, Millerites made long white garments for themselves that they called their “ascension robes.”…Believing that Christ would return on a mountaintop, they climbed up Mt. Wachusett to await the coming of the Lord. One respectable but arthritic old man from Harvard who could not make it up the mountain stationed himself at the very top of the tallest apple tree in his orchard and waited out the night. In New Bedford, a whole family perched on the branches of an apple tree dressed in their white robes.” When the prophecy failed, most abandoned Miller’s apocalyptical teachings and returned to their original churches. (Mass Moments)
The Holy Scriptures tells us the truth about the coming again of Christ?
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2nd Timothy 3:1-5
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray... Matthew 24
We have one good friend who likes to ask “WHY? HOW CAN THAT BE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” when studying the Holy Scriptures or doctrines of the church. There is nothing wrong with questioning. This is how we grow in our faith.
The video below may help answer the questioning of the intellectuals, engineers and all other inquisitive people like ourselves, concerning one scripture, Mark 13:32. This is when Christ says “only the Father” knows the day or the hour…not even the angels or God’s Son. He doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit, but says “ONLY THE FATHER” knows, which would also indicate the Spirit also did not know. He is speaking, of course, about the coming TRIBULATION on the earth and/or THE COMING AGAIN OF CHRIST. Actually, we all have many questions concerning faith and the future. I agree with my husband when he says, “I don’t know…I’ll just ask when I get there.”
God does not give us a NUMBER or DATE for the end times, also known as The Tribulation, or His coming again! He only asks us to watch and be ready in our hearts.
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32
Video: Turn up your sound
What does the word ANARCHIST mean? According to the dictionary, it is “One who uses violent means to overthrow the established order.” (Merriam Webster)
No one I know wants to see the “established order” overthrown. It is horrifying to see businesses burned to the ground when we can only imagine how hard the people worked to finally hang a sign “OPEN” on their doors!
To even consider that people can run loose in our American neighborhoods shooting at little children, as happens in Chicago and some other places, is beyond what the average person can hardly believe is happening. Yet, over 100 people were killed in that city over one night. Call it gang violence or anything else…it is a form of “anarchy” when law and order is allowed by those in charge to disappear and call it a “new normal.” That indicates that we “just have to put up with it.”
Police are now being told by some local governments to “stay out of it.” Some places have designated zones where the police are off bounds. When a man was shot and another was critical, the police tried to go to their aid, but was attacked by the mob and they never reached the victims. In these cases, there is no control at all. No peace-loving person is safe…nor is any child.
Even if there are people who believe that protesting is their right, which it is as long as it is peaceful, those anarchists who use that protest to strike at the very heart of our country should be called out for what they really are.
200 year old, historic, St. John’s Church, known as the “Church of the Presidents,” was damaged as D.C. Firefighters found a fire in the basement of the church. A large fire also burned outside the church. Unfortunately, the people who set these fires call themselves “Protesters,” but in truth once they become violent to property or persons, they have become anarchists. Every president since James Madison has attended a service at St. John’s. It is a historic site to be protected as is any other American piece of history.
Because Boyer Writes is a Christian blog, I most often would not post a video that some would feel is centered on a political position. However, regardless of who my readers think should be the next President of the United States, I believe it is time to speak out about whoever is elected to the highest office in our land, MUST restore law and order. We cannot have domestic terrorism in America any more than we can have the terrorists from other countries.
I think that every American has the privilege to vote for the person whom they believe to be best qualified to not tolerate the anarchists who would destroy our country. Will that person be perfect in all decisions? Of course not.
However, it will be his or her job, Democrat or Republican, to see that our country is safe from this kind of violence. Voting our beliefs is still one of our greatest freedoms. Let’s pray that it will be the right choice in November. Our future lives depend on it!
So why speak out about anarchists through this blog?
I could not sit with hands folded when I saw the anarchists had spray painted on the beautiful Christian cathedral in Washington, D.C. or were tearing down Christian statues.
In San Francisco, at the Golden Gate Park, the statue of the Christian missionary, St. Junipero Serra was torn down. During the 1800’s there were instances of mistreatment of Native Americans, which gave the anarchists their reasoning for tearing down the statue. We should be learning from the history that we abhor, not destroying it.
Archbishop Gomez of LA had this statement about the priest:
“He preached God’s compassion, fought for the dignity of women and the rights of America’s native peoples, and he was probably the first person in the Americas to make a moral case against capital punishment.”
At the risk of being accused of something I don’t intend, I believe it is my duty to share with you, the reader, one of the most precise, well-thought through videos on this subject. As I write or as you watch your TV to the unfolding of events, the anarchists are planning their next move.
You may not agree to all that is said in this video and that is your privilege and mine. Thank God for free speech in America…while we still have it.
VIDEO: Turn up your sound and click this link: (please note, if you are not commercial free …give it a minute to move passed the commercials..as it will soon load.)
Have you ever thought about eternity and what there is after death?
Does Jesus Christ and God the Father love ALL people?
Do you believe that you will be with God in heaven when you die?
These thoughts and questions may have, at one time or another, been the questions of all of us if we think seriously about spiritual things. Some have stronger faith than others, but God wants all people to know His eternal love and how to have assurance about the future…even about death
I believe this blog, with the message given of hope, could be the answer to these questions. The man, featured in this blog, faithfully brought to the world, without hesitation, what he believed God had told him to present to people everywhere. He took this message to the far ends of the earth.
His message never changed whether he was meeting with the poor and disenfranchised of the world, the rich and famous or Presidents and Monarchs. It was the message God gave to him to present to the world. It is the same message God is giving to us today.
Set some time aside to hear God’s message. It could change your life as it has done for thousands of others. It is the message that He LOVES YOU…no matter WHO you are; WHERE you live or what SKIN COLOR you have. It was not only the message to masses of people in previous years, who sought out God’s words for their lives, but how much we need God’s message today as our nation and world struggles with riots, protests, burning of property, tearing down statues of history, sickness and death. Those who listened to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Billy Graham found in their words...HOPE.
“In the midst of outer dangers I have felt an inner calm and known resources of strength that only God could give. In many instances I have felt the power of God transforming the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Each of us experiences clouds in life—sometimes slight, but sometimes dark and frightening. Whatever clouds you face today, ask Jesus, the light of the world, to help you look behind the cloud to see His glory and His plans for you.”
― Billy Graham
VIDEO: Turn up your sound.
Our minds are a controlling factor to our emotions, critical thinking and ultimately…our actions. It has come to my attention recently that we are rarely in control of our minds…even if there are millions of cells making up our every thought. By the very nature of our modern society, we are allowing this. Why is it that we should give over to others to program into us what our minds will retain? Am I saying that we should “stick our heads in the sand?” Not at all. We do, however, have choices.
We are influenced by what we hear and see. Most every household has a TV that is turned on hours upon hours of the day. People who are alone, especially the elderly, use the TV to give them company. Depression can set in rapidly in these cases.
The people who spend much of their time watching and listening much of what is programmed today are allowing themselves to be conditioned into a type of mind control. A steady dose of truths…or lies are being filtered into our brains that are becoming part of our very being.
What was it like before TV?
A city life in past history would be filled with noises, the smell of the deli down the street, a woman hanging out her clothes from a window, as she calls to a neighbor on the street. The loading and unloading of produce or goods for the stores would fill the air with noise. A person would move around these things, filtering out what they wanted to be around or what they wanted to hear. Life could get tough in a crowd, but this would be the learning of “street smarts.”
In the country, a person may get up early to milk the cow. A mother starts making her bread and encouraging a young one to do their chores. Life would surround a person with the clinging of the cow bells, the birds in the trees and the cat or dog that moved around the barn. Life was simple and calm.
When the industrial revolution hit our world, many things changed. People moved out of the country to find good jobs. Life became more complicated and people were on the move. Almost everything became a faster pace. The automobile was invented…and the wife/mother moved from baking bread to the TV dinner. Basically, life would never be the same.
Ships and airplanes moved us around the world. Our sense of security was shattered as enemies became not only domestic, but foreign. Our minds and hearts were broken with two world wars and continued fighting around the globe throughout the decades. Fear had become a mind set…as it continues today.
The mind has a hard time catching up when it is inundated with other people’s beliefs to what we should be and do. The real term is propaganda and we fall for it. We are made to feel less of a person if we disagree with the norm. Our young people “can’t live” without the best kind of shoes or cell phone. God never intended for us to store all these thoughts of inadequacy in this great gift He has given mankind. The mind is an incredible thing. We may feel like we have no control over everyday life that enters its billion cells, but we do have to a great extent.
This may be the primary reason that we will have to make decisions for ourselves. We can CHOOSE to turn off the TV more hours of the day. It may also be a time where we deliberately look for uplifting stories or documentaries that give us encouragement rather than despair. It is really our choice, but we are addicted. Why do I say “addicted?”
Just try to change the routine that you have become accustomed to for year after year. It is hard to make a change, but your mind and emotions may be saved grief, depression and more if you decide to make some changes. I speak from experience.
It is only natural to want to tune in to who has committed the most damage in one of our big cities…how many more cases of virus are killing our people…or what is happening in politics? It all is becoming TOO MUCH! Our minds are tired.
It is only natural also for families to use TV…with all its junk as a babysitter. Just think what those little minds and hearts are absorbing!
A doctor friend told me recently that he tuned in with his toddler to one of the kid’s programs on TV and saw that even tiny children are being indoctrinated about sexual life styles as being just fine. Isn’t a parent suppose to decide what is good for their child? He was shocked…as should be all parents who take the time to pay attention. The young mind is eager to absorb.
So what do we do? We first of all must be deliberate in our decision making for ourselves and our families.
I remember something I noticed while visiting a family one time years ago. There was a teenage son…or perhaps early teens…who was sitting and reading. I asked his mother what he was doing and she said that he was suppose to read a chapter in Holy Scripture each day before doing anything else. At the time, I thought that was a strict requirement. Yet, that parent was giving a young mind a discipline that perhaps he would follow the rest of his life. Whether he understood its importance at the time, may be questionable…but he was exposed to the commands of God for a good and happy life.
God has told us to raise up a child in the way that he/she will go and when they are old, they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) For those who have tried to do this, we are praying and believing His promise. It may be that we will not know or even see the fulfillment in our lifetime. Yet, we can trust.
What actually does the Holy Scripture tells us about things that we find ourselves thinking about…perhaps over and over? We need comfort today and for the future…and here are a few words from God to give our minds just that:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
ABOUT GOD’S SPIRIT
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day … Psalm 91:1-16
Today….look at nature in God’s beautiful world. See Him in the smile of a friend. Do something you love to do. Give your heart a fresh start in a new day that is only yours moment by moment. Your MIND is your gift from God…PROTECT IT.
Video: Turn up sound. Push red line back to start from beginning.
Most clergy are hesitant to take on those who are in a higher position than themselves. This was not the case with the Great Reformers of the Protestant Reformation. Many of them were burned at the stake for opposing the hierarchy of the church. One of these reformers was Martin Luther.
Recently, a Catholic friend of mine sent to me an amazing video of the sermon given by Fr. James Altman of LaCrosse, WI
It is rare to have a Roman Catholic speak out against the words of an Archbishop.
Yet, this young man may be the one to lead the way among Christian groups, whether Catholic or not, to speak up for right and wrong according to the Holy Scriptures. He uses what we know best…the Ten Commandments to address to his congregation (and now the world) God’s message to this age in which we live.
Whether you are a Catholic, Episcopalian, as I am, a Baptist, Pentecostal or any other denomination of the Christian faith, hear this message from a courageous priest. Perhaps there will be other Christian leaders who will lend their voices to his. As people of this nation and the world, we could use another Great Reforming.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Turn up your sound and enlarge the screen. (Be certain to push the red line back to the beginning if it is already moved forward.)
We, as Christians, are walking a fine line on what we should or should not believe to be a way of life that is pleasing to God, while maintaining our own beliefs for our children and future generations. In the Holy Scriptures, we are told specifically how to live. It is spelled out in the Ten Commandments and other Biblical texts.
The Early Church told the believers to live a life pleasing to God. There were many cultural taboos that we think nothing of today. Men and women are less restricted in worship, dress etc. We, however, divide ourselves between conservative and liberal even within our congregations…whether Protestant or Catholic. Some faiths find it extremely important to protect and teach their children a way in life that will bring happiness and peaceful contentment.
We have dear friends in many walks of life. Some of them have lifestyles of which we would consider not according to Holy Scripture. However, we believe that how they live and walk before God is their choice. We all have the same choice.
As a retired educator, who was the Principal of a Christian school at one time, I know that all schools have to uphold the law. The recent law passed by the Supreme Court will make it difficult for many Catholic and Protestant Christian schools to maintain what they believe, as they are now required to have a diverse faculty who will teach their students. During the time of hiring, no questions can be asked that would indicate in any way a school was showing discrimination. Most Christians that I know would not question a person about their private life, but a school administration has an obligation to the children’s education and to the parents of the children. I’m certain that “What do we do?” is a big topic of discussion in every Christian school board room.
We have good friends in Virginia who have a wonderful school for their Mennonite congregation. We have visited them many times, even though we were not Mennonite and received a warm welcome. They are very careful with their children…not even allowing TV watching as a principle of their belief. Will they and other Christian schools and universities have to close in order to maintain the principles of their faith and beliefs? What about the many Catholic, Protestant and Jewish/Hebrew Schools or all the private schools of varied faiths? It probably would be without saying that there will be expensive law suits, even if there would be little evidence to prove discrimination. Most small schools do not have excessive amount of funds. The fact is that the average school, with little endowment, do their best to give scholarships to those unable to pay, meet their expenses and have to promote all types of fund-drives. If they believe they have to close because they can no longer proclaim their own specifics of faith, will home-schooling become the only way to maintain the teachings of their belief without breaking the law…. is the question?
Article Credit: To shed further light on the ruling for Christian institutions and others, here is a recent article on the subject written by Elizabeth Dias for the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — For conservative Christian groups, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling protecting the rights of gay and transgender workers was not only the latest sign that they are losing the American culture wars over sexuality. It also caused widespread concern that it could affect how they operate their own institutions.
Many faith-based organizations, like schools or nonprofits, do not allow LGBT people to work there, citing religious beliefs that sex should only be between a man and a woman who are married.
“No question it is going to make it harder to defend our religious freedom, as far as an organization being able to hire people of like mind,” said Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan’s Purse, a large evangelical relief group.
“I find this to be a very sad day,” he said. “I don’t know how this is going to protect us.”
The employment of LGBT workers in religious institutions has been an issue across the country. In recent high-profile cases, teachers at Catholic schools in Washington state and Indiana have said they were forced to leave because of their sexual identity.
In a 6-3 ruling Monday, the Supreme Court determined that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex, also applies to many millions of gay and transgender workers.
The ruling would have “seismic implications” for religious freedom and would potentially set off years of lawsuits for religious organizations, said Russell Moore, president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“There’s a common assumption in secular America that as the culture changes that evangelicals and Roman Catholicism and other forms of religion will morph and change along with it,” he said. “I don’t think that is true.”
He added, “Most evangelicals and Catholics and others who hold to a traditional Christian ethic are countercultural.”
The Association of Christian Schools International, which provides services to about 2,700 schools in the United States, is reviewing the implications of the case and reiterated its position that sexual activity must only be between a man and a woman who are married. The group’s president, Larry Taylor, said that “the impact on the hiring policies of religious institutions that teach the biblical view of marriage” and that “uphold a standard of conduct consistent with our faith” is “not yet fully understood.”
For religious conservatives, the ruling was especially pointed because it came from a bench that leans conservative and because Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom they had championed as a hero for other causes like abortion, wrote for the majority. Unlike the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide during the Obama administration, this ruling came from their allies.
In his opinion, Gorsuch recognized the existence of several religious freedom protections, including the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a “ministerial exception” in employment discrimination laws.
But he signaled that Monday’s decision could lead to a fight over the validity over those protections. “How these doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with Title VII are questions for future cases too,” he wrote.
In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito suggested that some existing religious protections could unravel. “The scope of these provisions is disputed, and as interpreted by some lower courts, they provide only narrow protection,” he wrote.
He also said the ruling left open questions about access to restrooms and locker rooms. “For women who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse,” he wrote, “the experience of seeing an unclothed person with the anatomy of a male in a confined and sensitive location such as a bathroom or locker room can cause serious psychological harm.”
Some religious groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, had filed amicus briefs in two sets of cases that were before the court, arguing that Title VII did not address gender identity. The 1964 law “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”
“I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law,” the president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop José H. Gomez, said in a statement. “This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.
“Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature,” he said.
But what conservative religious groups may see as a religious freedom issue, secular and progressive religious groups see as an excuse to discriminate.
The Interfaith Alliance’s policy director, Katy Joseph, called it “a watershed moment for equality,” and the executive director for the American Humanist Association, Roy Speckhardt, said it was a sign that “even with the religious right entrenched in Washington, D.C., progress can still happen.”
Forecasting a coming fight over religious liberty, Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged a unified strategy. “The progressive, inclusive faith and secular communities must come together to make clear that religious freedom is a shield that protects, not a sword that licenses discrimination,” the group’s president, Rachel Laser, said in a statement.
Even as more Americans have embraced the cause of gay rights, sexuality remains one of the most divisive issues in Christian communities. This year a group of leaders in the United Methodist Church, which has roughly 7 million members in the United States, announced a plan to formally split the church because of “fundamental differences” over same-sex marriage.
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the Council of Bishops for the United Methodist Church, said Monday that she appreciated the Supreme Court’s decision.
“We have faithful followers of Jesus who both stand on very opposite interpretations of LGBTQ issues,” she said. “My hope is that at some point we will look at ways that do honor and respect people for all that God has called them to be and do.”
While you think about these strong beliefs or go about your work, here is some beautiful music for your background pleasure. Turn on your sound.
Do you ever wonder if God would talk with you in an audible way, how the conversation would go? Some people have had the rare experience. I never have, but just the same I do talk with Him. It is usually in the shower or in bed at night. We are told, however, to always be in a prayerful state.
Since He knows all languages and the odd expressions that most cultures have when carrying on a conversation, I’m certain that it would be the same with us in this generation. No Thee or Thou, as in the Bible…for King James didn’t realize that in our times we would be far beyond these expressions. He probably would be mortified to think that a conversation with God could be on such a “common” level. He would probably think our conversations were disrespectful!
Recently a friend sent me this video. He called it “moving.” I call it “Relevant,” for God will definitely meet us where we are…regardless of who we are. The next time you pray, think about this particular conversation.
Enjoy it now…and be moved!
Turn on your sound…Click below… Wait for the download to show up below your screen and then click on the your download to watch.
May you be blessed this day with some beautiful music as you listen for the quietness of God’s presence in your heart.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Video of beautiful, relaxing background music with nature photography:
Turn on your sound.