As November Draws to a Close

I’m feeling a little nostalgic this morning. I guess that always happens at this time of year.

November has surely been an interesting month here in the States. A long and bitter election campaign finally ended on Nov. 8,  but the fall-out, I’m afraid, is going to continue for a very long time.  This whole ordeal has been hashed over and talked about ad nauseum, and I have nothing new to add that hasn’t already been said.  I do have some concern that the ugliness will affect the inauguration, and I’ll be glad when that’s over, too.

America is like a heaving ocean in a terrible storm.  Our police officers are in danger in a whole new way in this hate-engendered racial strife.  I pray often for their safety. Racial strife; class hatred, poor against rich; the rhetoric of socialism that has divided so many in our nation; fear of almost everything–all these factors are contributing to a breakdown in the fabric of our nation. I don’t know if it can be healed. As long as our colleges and universities are teaching our young people to hate America, there just doesn’t seem to be any good outcome.

I saw an article yesterday in which a black educator said, “We send our young people to universities, and they come back to us as babies.”  He’s right.  Who ever heard of such silliness as young adults needing a “cry room,” a safe place, a comfort dog, canceled tests, and so on just because they get their feelings hurt?   Because their candidate didn’t win? Because they’re being taught that their way is the only acceptable way, and everything else is to be feared and protested, and that it’s okay for them to destroy property and other people’s  safety because they’re unhappy?

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My dad was a WWII veteran.  I’m glad he’s not here today to see, only three generations later, how today’s young people have desecrated the freedom he pledged to fight and die for. I’m glad he’s not here to see an American university remove the American flag because it “represents terrorism.”  The flag itself is not sacred.  What it stands for, however, is sacred. America is not a perfect nation, because it is comprised of human beings.  It is, though, a place that has been a refuge since its inception for so many who were fleeing persecution in other places around the world.  It was the place to come where anything could happen, the poorest immigrant could rise to wealth and influence. It has also been the place people come to when they need medical help that is unavailable to them in their socialist systems.

Immigration has always been part of the American picture, and I’m not opposed to people coming here to improve their safety, their status, their health.  I am, however, opposed to people coming here with the openly stated purpose of taking over and changing us to their repressive, violent, and freedom-sucking way of life. They are not coming here to become Americans.  They are coming here to make us bow to them.  They are not hiding their purpose.  They are defiantly waving it right under our noses, and still we think we have to let them in.

Well.  This is not really the direction I was planning to take this morning, but there it is.

I love America.  I am proud to salute the American flag. I respect the policemen who have been colored with the black crayon of hatred.  I pray for them and their families. I love the freedom I have to worship God without fear, and I see the very real possibility of that freedom being destroyed.

It makes me sick, frankly, to see Thanksgiving and Christmas turned into nothing more than shopping opportunities. How much my country has changed, and how sad it makes me.  As God becomes less important and selfishness rules, we need to pray.  Christians, people of God, people who say the love the Word–we need to pray as we’ve never prayed before.  He is still God, no matter who says He isn’t.

Trying Not to Lose my Temper!

Honestly, it gets a little harder every day.

I just read an article about the cast of “Hamilton” giving Mike Pence a message.  He was there for the performance, and when a cast member asked him to stay to hear their “message,”  Pence was booed. Then he was told that this cast was concerned that THEY would not be protected by Trump’s administration.They are a diverse group culturally, and I suppose it’s safe to assume sexually and spiritually as well. The guy who was delivering the message sounded so noble.  In reality, he was just spewing the same old liberal trash that we’ve been subjected to ad nauseum for eight years, and which is getting louder as so many people storm the streets, accusing Trump and all conservatives of being the haters.

Yesterday I watched a video of riots somewhere, I don’t know where. There was a line of police officers, helmeted and probably wearing kevlar, because this is dangerous duty for them. A young woman had a pool noodle that she kept bopping over the head and face of an officer, who finally had enough and snatched the noodle away from her. She reacted by uttering one shriek after another and curling up in fetal position while  other rioters rushed to her aide.  Poor little thing,  she’s grown up in the age of “everyone gets a trophy” and she really had no idea what it was like to be told “NO!”  Either that, or she planned the whole thing ahead of time, hoping to get a cop in trouble.

Let’s talk for a minute about the safety of some other people:  Business owners who hold strong beliefs based on the Bible. They are asked to bake,  cater, provide flowers, etc. for a gay couple.  Because they believe gay marriage is not approved in God’s Word, they politely decline. They end up being sued, forced out of business, ruined: and all the time, there were plenty of other businesses nearby that would have been glad to accommodate the couple.  But no,  everyone MUST bow to what the LGBT community demands, or they will find their stores vandalized and their money gone.

Would someone please explain how that is acceptable?  For good, decent, law-abiding citizens running a private business, everything they have is on the line if they don’t appease people who are participating in something they cannot condone.They’re not making threats; they are glad to serve customers coming into their stores, and it doesn’t matter where they stand politically. But they’re not allowed to practice their religious convictions, even though no one is harmed by their doing so.Even though there are many other options for them to  use in planning their weddings. None of that matters. They are “haters” because they hold to their beliefs.

I think all the nonsense taking place now in reaction to Trump’s victory is hateful. If it had gone the other way, there may have been a few Trump supporter who would have staged a protest; however, I am confident that it would never have been as long-lived, ugly, and relentless as what is happening now on the streets of our cities.

Okay, I’m done.  And I welcome your comments on a couple of conditions:

  1.  Be reasonable, not hateful.  Don’t call me or anyone else ugly names.I am a well-educated professional, not an ignorant low-information voter.
  2.   No profanity; no vulgar language; no swearing.  And no threats.

If you can’t refrain from those behaviors, then I will not publish your comment. If you disagree with me and want to be treated with respect, then you have to give me the same.

A Thought for Today

“Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerates, their political character must soon follow.”
― Elias Boudinot

History has shown this statement to be true over and over again.  So instead of calling our leaders ugly names, instead of becoming way less than Christ-like in our words and attitudes about the present sad offering of Presidential candidates, we need to do some self-examination.

Was there “good government” in your family? Were you grounded in God’s Word?  Were you taught manners, respect, the value of hard work, and the good stewardship of your finances? Were you taught to be decent toward others, even those with whom you disagree?

No family is perfect, but we do tend to pass on to our children what we learned growing up.

So if you were allowed to set your own boundaries as a child; if you were permitted to throw tantrums, if your parents were obedient to your every whim, then that’s most likely what you are passing on to your children.

Or, if there were things you felt were unfair when you were growing up, you’re probably not requiring that thing of your own children.That philosophy teaches them pretty quickly that if there’s something they don’t like, then they shouldn’t have to do it.

I’m not completely sure when good government in the home fell apart in America. Some would point us back to the permissive parenting styles of child psychologists like Dr. Benjamin Spock. His book does seem to have been something of a landmark in parenting practices.

I never read it. Neither did my parents.

I’m about to make a very general statement here that will probably get me into a lot of trouble, but here goes:

If you came from an orderly, Christ-centered,  well-governed home, you’re probably not out there with screaming, looting, rioting, angry people who know no other way to express themselves and wouldn’t care if they did.

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Government, as Hillary believes it should, must NOT be the primary molder and shaper of our children. No government ever gave birth to a baby. Parents conceive babies together in an act of mutual love and caring, and no government should ever have the right to snatch that baby and leave the parents with nothing more than a guardianship role to play in the child’s life.

In America, government was designed to serve and protect, not to  control and supervise us in the smallest details of our lives.

When that balance of power shifts, and government becomes primary in influencing families and children, then any nation is in deep trouble.

America is no exception.

 

Thinking Biblically

I was going to title this post Heartburn,  but I think I’ve already used that.  And this title is probably more to the point, anyway.

This is not a new concept. When I went looking for an illustration, they were abundant. Hundreds of other people have written recently on this topic.

And yet–look at the incredible election cycle we’re enduring, just for starters. Neither of the candidates thinks biblically, and that’s all we need to know about why we’re in this mess.

However, this post is not intended to be political; it is intended to be very personal, as if you and I were sitting together, perhaps in my counseling office.  I can’t hear all of the pain and problems you’re dealing with, but I can tell you this:  The answer lies in learning to think biblically about your situation.

 You can get some good advice from people who aren’t particularly biblical thinkers.  We go to unsaved doctors and dentists and so on all the time and follow the directions they offer us. But when it comes to matters of principle, matters of relationships, matters of walking wisely in this worn out old world, then you need to go to God’s Word.

Thing is, we can’t think biblically if we’re not reading the Bible; if we’re not studying, not under good biblical preaching, not learning and growing in the Word.

It is that with which we are filled that controls our thoughts, behaviors, words and emotions. If we are filled with lust, then that’s what will be evident in our lives.  If we are filled with hatred, anger, bitterness, envy, self—then that’s what will be manifest in our lives, no matter how hard we try to cover it all over with a gloss of spirituality.

We live in a world that bombards us with lust. Advertisements, billboards, prime time TV, so-called music that is full of anger, violence, and lust; all these things are tempting us at every turn.  I’ve had more than one man in my office tell me that it’s really hard for a normal man to maintain a pure mind these days.  Actually, I think that’s always been the case; I think it’s just getting worse as we move farther away from biblical concepts of thought, behavior, appearance, and language.

Yes, I have heartburn.  I have deep concerns for young men entering a world that tells them pornography is just fine; that the objectification of a woman’s body is no big deal; that masturbating to porn is normal and healthy because, you know, a man has needs.

I am even more amazed that (usually, not always) younger women are becoming more involved in watching porn, finding it exciting, stimulating, fun.  They see no problem with it, and think I’m just too old-school to understand.

No, I’m not.  I do understand.  I also understand that rattlesnakes will kill  you if you play with them. I avoid what I know can cause me terrible harm.

The problem with porn is that it’s a fake relationship that requires nothing of the watcher; at the same time, it creates a lack of interest in the watcher’s spouse, because sexual needs are being met while watching porn.

You may think it’s spicing up your sex life. In actuality, it’s slowly poisoning your mind and emotions, and you will pay the penalty in a broken marriage or a broken life. It’s evil. It is not biblical, it does not come from God.

Keep in mind that the first thing Adam and Eve noticed after they sinned was NOT that they had disobeyed the God of Creation; it was NOT that the fruit left a bitter aftertaste. No, it was that they were naked. The very first thing the scaly finger of Satan corrupted after the Fall was human sexuality, and we’ve been having trouble with it ever since.

I could go on at length here, but I have neither the time nor the energy at the moment. Maybe there will be more along this line on this blog on Fridays, I don’t know.

What I know is that it’s time Bible-believing Christians stop participating in what the world tells us is okay.  It’s time we acknowledge to fellow believers that we’re dealing with sin in our lives, and to ask them for prayer and accountability. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to each other (James 5:16). That doesn’t mean we go into gross detail. It means we admit that we’re tempted, have fallen to something sinful, that we need the prayer support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s all.  It’s time that our prayer requests not be just a list of physical problems. Nothing wrong with holding each other up in prayer for health issues, but really, is that all we have to pray about?

Philippians 2:5.  Colossians 3:16. Galations 5:16.  Just for starters.

A Little Rant

If you’re tired of hearing me complain about trying to lose weight, control sugar, exercise, etc. just go read something else.  I’m writing this more for my own benefit–trying to vent in a healthier way than going out and finding the biggest tub of chocolate ice cream there is.

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So I lost 17 lb., felt really good about it, and then. . . . . . . nothing.  Zero.

A couple of factors.  My back went wonky on me, and I went through about three months of pretty bad pain before my doctor and I finally got it under control.  I couldn’t even swim, so exercise was a zero. Walking is painful. It’s frustrating.

I’m back in the pool now, did ten laps this morning.  Then, on my way out the door, I saw the sign informing us that the pool will be closed for two weeks for maintenance and cleaning.

Sigh.  Sigh. Sigh.  Just when i was getting back into my groove.

A week ago, I finally committed to a very low carb food plan for just one week.  Actually, it wasn’t too different from the way I’ve been eating. Lots of protein, good veggies, some fruit. Very few carbs, and nothing more than 15 grams of carbs in any meal.  Fifteen grams is one serving.  I had lost that 17 pounds by staying around 11 or 12 servings per day.

Are you on the edge of your seat?  Waiting to hear about the astonishing amount of weight that happily melted off my belly this week? Yeah?  Well, relax.  Go watch the Olympics or something. Because NOTHING happened this week!  My blood sugar may be nice and low, I don’t know.  I don’t have to check it every day, at this point, because my A1C comes in at about 6.4, which is below the red line for active diabetes.

And if you don’t know what the A1C is, or anything about diabetes, and you’re over 50, just go away.  I don’t like you. You bother me. That’s because you probably can eat just about anything you want, and you don’t gain weight.

Do you have any idea how annoying that is?

Really.  Go smack yourself for me.

I’m so sick of this battle.

No, I’m not giving up.  I don’t want to live with the complications of diabetes. They’re nasty. Eyes, heart, lungs, circulation–you just don’t want to go there, and so far I’ve kept it at bay.  I take one medication orally, and that, along with my diet, is working pretty well.

Except that I can’t lose the weight.

Just. Can’t. Get. It. Off.

And yes, I’ve tried everything out there, and I don’t want to hear about any more miraculous new products or secret methods like those stupid ads on Facebook have–“Just do this one simple trick every night before you go to be to melt the fat off you stomach.”

Right.

What about bariatric surgery?

I know several people who’ve had some form of that done, and they lost a ton of weight. With only one exception,  they’ve all had rebound weight gain of up to 40 or more pounds. I don’t think I want to risk any of the possible side effects, and so far, none of my medical people have suggested it to me.

Well, I’m actually feeling a little less angry and frustrated.  I think my temper is under control. So whether anyone reads this or not, I feel better.

One more thing.  Yes, I’ve looked at this as possibly a spiritual problem, a lack of self-control, etc.  The thing is, I really do eat pretty carefully.  I have often begged the Lord to show me if there is something in me that is in rebellion, if I’m just a selfish pig. There is no question that I’ve been an emotional eater, but I believe that is no longer a problem.

So, my friends, please don’t preach at me, and please resist the urge to tell me all about how you dropped 500 pounds eating nothing but grapefruit rinds and eggshells.

Been there, done that.

Meanderings

First thing this morning, I went to my pain doctor to get a shot in my left sacroiliac joint. These shots are such a godsend.  I can’t imagine the pain I would have right now if it weren’t for these treatments over the past 1 1/2 years.   If your doctor is recommending epidurals for pain treatment and you’re afraid of that, please believe me when I tell you how worth it these shots are.  I’ve heard that not all doctors who do them are as good as my doctor.  There is very little pain and it’s over very quickly.

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While I was waiting, both before and after the shot, I was paging through a popular magazine that dishes on Hollywood stars, musicians, and TV.

I didn’t know a single one of them. They all looked like children to me. That’s what happens when you reach the vast old age of 69. You just don’t pay much attention to the tinsel  and glitter of all that mess.  It’s just not important.  As I was flipping through, looking at pictures, I was astonished at how far some of these people are from the  stars of TV and even most movies that were popular when I was a kid. They look trashy to me. There was even on couple, male and female, who were wearing clothes that covered their backs and legs, but not their bottoms.

Why on earth would anyone DO that?  God forgive us for the things we worship these day–glitter, glamor, and total absorption with our bodies/ourselves. Holiness?  Nah.  Old-fashioned. Not applicable any more.  We’ve grown beyond that stuff. We’re not so uptight anymore. We’re not ashamed of our bodies these days, so we don’t feel the need to cover our private parts.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure hope this is not a trend that will have people wearing bottom-baring outfits. Bleagh.

I see that Jennifer Aniston has been named Most Beautiful Woman for 2016.  I don’t know much about her.  I guess she’s pretty.  I do find it interesting that whoever makes these decisions tends to look at more mature women and not the dewy young things who haven’t lived very long. There is beauty in age.  Even very old age.  Look into the eyes.  That’s where you find beauty when the person has lived well, loved well, followed the Lord.

I also find it interesting that the Most Beautiful/Handsome  award goes to entertainers. Really?  That’s a pretty tight little club. Those are the only people who qualify?  Maybe there should be scouts out looking in the neighborhoods across America.  They might be surprised.

Well.  That’s probably enough of that.  I’m enjoying relief from pain today, resting, reading, and maybe I’ll even catch a little nap after lunch.

Life is good right now, right here.

I’m wondering if this horrible “Day of Rage” is actually being perpetrated anywhere, probably in larger cities. I suppose I could watch some news, but I’m not sure I want to do that.  Mr. Obama has much to answer  for. He has indeed “fundamentally changed America” by making us more divided than we have been since the Civil War.  I heard a little bit of his talk at the Dallas memorial on Tuesday.  Heard him say America isn’t as divided as we think it is, and HE KNOWS, because HE knows America!

What an absurd statement from a President who spends millions of dollars every year on multiple vacations.  He lives so far above most of us commoners.  How can he possibly say he knows America?  He knows nothing about the America that just perseveres, works, enjoys family and friends while the world he DOES know goes crazy all around us.

Okay, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to catch the noon news.

 

Heartburn

I’m struggling with  a severe case of heartburn. Not the  Tums kind. The sad, hurting, life-is-really-hard kind.

And not in my own behalf. My life is not perfect, but nothing I’m dealing with rises to the level of some other problems that belong to the people in my life, mostly in my work.

I know of a little girl, 12 years old, who is struggling horribly with a disease that could actually take her life.  She’s in awful pain, most of the time.  It’s heartbreaking.

I know of a mom whose heart is broken by the suicide of her young daughter. The pain is enough  to tear the heart out. Leaves her gasping for breath and  trembling with despair.

I know of someone who witnessed a murder/suicide.  I can’t even imagine the horror of that.

Now, going beyond the personal and individual, I have heartburn for my country. As someone has aptly said, the trouble with this upcoming election is that one of the candidates is going to win.  How does a believer vote for either of them?  A raging, lying socialist who hasn’t told the truth in so long that she can’t even remember what truth is. A casino-owning wheeler-dealer, thrice married, and switching parties just so he could run as a conservative.  I don’t know, maybe he’s different than his public persona, but the casino thing really bothers me.  So many evils are connected to casinos, gambling being just the most obvious. And yet if we don’t vote for him, we get her.  Kind of like the dilemma in The Lady of the Tiger. 

Our young people, force-fed group think during all their school  years,  show a woeful ignorance of our history.  I know, I know–not all of them.  But too many.  College students who have no idea  who George Washington was or  what war he fought?  They all know all the top rockers, movie stars, and fashion gurus. I mean, they’re actually bringing their parents to job interviews with them!  Demanding all the perks of a long-time employee, and actually getting them!  Well, they’ve been taught over and over that they’re wonderful just the way they are, so why not demand the privileges of much more experienced people?

Biblical holiness has been largely dumbed down by our culture.  If it isn’t fun, emotional, an exhilarating experience, people want no part of it.  God’s Word has never promised us that the Christian life would be like an amusement park ride!   Why do we think it should be?

Look, life can be really hard.  I know a young woman, not yet 40, whose husband died unexpectedly, leaving her with two preteens and a baby.  That’s hard, but she’s dealing.  She’s not asking for handouts. She’s working, and working hard. I respect that.  She’s going to be okay, because she’s choosing to be okay–and her trust, faith, and confidence come from God. Not society, not her mommy and daddy, not  from the government.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, folks, our government (under Mr. Obama) is much more interested in giving handouts to illegals than it is in protecting us from them. There’s not much help in the government.

Okay, I could go on a long time here.  I’m not really sure I have an endpoint, so I’d probably better stop.

I will end with this:  My trust is in the Lord, not in any man, woman, government, program, or entitlement.