Monthly Archives: January 2017

Those is Authority

I was in second grade when John F Kennedy was shot.  I cannot express the sadness that was felt by our nation during that time.  We were not a desensitized nation then because the press and television still had a filter and did not show anything violent or report graphic details like that up to that time.  So, Kennedy’s assassination was both unbelievable and horrifying.

At that time, Lyndon B Johnson was Vice-President and was quickly sworn in as our next president.  Kennedy had been running for re-election when he was killed and Johnson decided to take his place as the incumbent and ran for what would be his first elected term.  He ran against Barry Goldwater who was an outspoken conservative.  I do believe Kennedy’s death caused many to rally behind Johnson and Goldwater really didn’t stand a chance.

During that election, I was in third grade.  People in our class were predominantly Johnson supporters – of course we were all whatever our parents were.  There was a girl in my class who religiously wore a Goldwater button to school every day.  Several times she and another person in the class would go at it over who was the best candidate.  It got quite heated and the teacher had to break it up and gave our class a talking to about democracy and how we had the freedom to vote for whoever we chose and express our opinion without condemnation.

It was no surprise to the country that Lyndon Johnson won by a landslide.  The day after the election that girl came to school and some of the kids in our class said mean things to her and rubbed Goldwater’s loss in.  I remember her crying and the teacher trying to comfort her.  The kids who were mean were made to sit in a corner.  The girl could not be consoled and had to go home.  If I remember correctly she was out for the rest of the week until things calmed down.  When she came back to class, there was a little tension, but she never said another political word.

I remember feeling so bad for that girl and all she had to endure just because she believed in a candidate that ended up not winning the election.  Nobody should be made to feel bad or be verbally abused because of who they support or vote for in a Presidential or any other political election.  We are the United States of America – “united” being the key word.  When we act out like a bunch of third graders arguing and fighting, we lose respect in the eyes of other nations and our peers.

We are to accept whoever is in office and move forward.  Jesus was our example.  He showed respect and followed the rules of those who were in authority.  He did not bad-mouth those who were in authority.  He could have struck them all dead as they sent Him to the cross, but he allowed them go through the processes of their laws without one negative word or action.

The Apostle Paul was very clear that as Christians we are to submit, respect and pray for those who are in authority over us.  Let’s face it, if God doesn’t want someone to be President, King or Prime Minister, they will not get into office.  If God places that person in office, it is for our good, and that person is God’s servant whether he/she wants to be or not and whether we want them to be or not.  We humans are not in control.

And when we rebel against whoever God puts in office, we are also rebelling against God and His will.  Paul tells people not to rebel, but to do what is right.  What is right is to allow that person to do their job and to follow the law no matter how we feel.  It is okay not to like who God has put over us and express our concern in a caring and constructive manner.   But it’s not okay to be disrespectful and hurtful to others.

As with everything in the Bible, this too shall pass.  Every leader that God puts in place has a limited term.   And there is not one man or woman on this Earth who when they get into office can please ALL people and do everything right.  The only person any one must please is God.  When we are doing that, there is no room for strife and malcontent, but a spirit of cooperation and caring.  After all, our actions whether we are pleasing or displeasing God have eternal consequences.

 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.  Romans 13:1-5

 

 

Boundaries

When I was a young girl, my parents installed an above ground pool.  They taught us how to swim and wanted us to have some summer fun as a family.  Having that pool in the summer was like heaven on earth.  It kept us constructively busy.  There were strict rules about pool safety, especially when friends were invited over.

I remember not long after the pool went up, my dad put up a tall wooden fence.  It was so high that someone would need a ladder to be able to look over it.  The fence had panels with very little space in between the slats so that nobody could look through and see the pool or the space around it.  It had a lock so that people could be kept out.  The temptation of pool access to neighborhood kids while we were not home was a concern.

Fences serve a practical purpose.  They indicate boundaries.  It is a signal to people that there is a line that cannot be crossed without permission or invitation. It guards privacy and protects outsiders from danger or getting hurt.

There are other fences that are invisible to the naked eye.  They are called boundaries.  These are things we permit or do not permit in our personal space.  As long as they are used in a healthy manner, boundaries are good things.

When we don’t have boundaries, or don’t enforce our boundaries, then we fall into unhealthy relationships and behaviors.  For instance, not setting boundaries can cause people to not be able to make decisions, not able to say no to people, believe that their happiness depends on others, and it can cause a person to feel sad and angry all the time…to name a few things.  None of these things are healthy.

When we set our own personal boundaries, we are able to protect ourselves from being hurt physically or emotionally.  We can also set the tone of a relationship by allowing the things we we want to allow and not allowing those things we don’t want.

It is important that in setting our boundaries that they are strong, but also show caring and respect for others.  Boundaries allow us to take responsibility for our actions, how we feel and what we do.  It also keeps us from thinking that others are responsible for how we feel, think and what we do.

It is just as important that we respect the boundaries of others.  When we do not, we are being manipulative and controlling.  When we respect the boundaries of others, we are building a strong relationship, building trust and showing that we care.

A fence or boundary is meant to protect and keep something or someone safe no matter what side of that boundary they are on.  When it is used for something else, it is not being used appropriately.  As we set our boundaries, we need to make sure that they are based on what the Lord would have us to do.

The Lord also respects boundaries.  He will only cross over our boundary if invited.  And He has set boundaries for us, and these boundaries are written in the Bible.  All relationships have boundaries.  Have a rocky or difficult relationship?  Perhaps it is time to take a look at your boundaries and see if they are in line with what the Lord would have for your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5


 

Life’s Ups and Downs

https://www.cedarpoint.com/images/rides/bluestreak_thumb2.jpg

When I was a little girl, every summer my parents would take us to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  One of the first times we went I was about 7 or eight years old.  I was just tall enough to ride the “grown up” rides.  My mom loved to ride the roller coasters, and she wanted to ride the Blue Streak.  She had a thing about not wanting to ride with strangers, so she asked me to ride with her.  My dad couldn’t go with her because my brother and sister were too young to ride and I was too young to watch them.

I did not want to get on that ride.  I observed the screaming riders and the cars going fast and dropping down steep hills and was afraid.  She promised nothing bad would happen and somehow, she talked me into it.

I remember sitting in that car and hearing the locking of the handrail and thinking there was no escape now!  I was trapped.  My mom told me to hold my hands up in the air when we went down the hills.  She was so excited and I felt bad that I could not feel the same way.  The car started to move and I grabbed onto the hand rail.

We approached that first big hill and climbed up for what seemed like forever.   As I looked down, I realized that what had just gone up was coming back down and closed my eyes.  I wanted to cry but I was paralyzed.  As we dropped I felt my stomach come up into my throat and nearly out of my mouth.  Then I was tossed about like a rag doll as the car took twists and turns.   All I could do was hold on for dear life and pray I wouldn’t be sick.

Once the ride stopped, I was a pale statue holding onto the handrail so tight my hands were white.  I was paralyzed.  My mom spoke in soft cajoling tones and tried to pry my hands off the rail, but I wouldn’t let go.  She finally got me to move by saying that if I didn’t let go, I’d have to ride the coaster again.   That did it!  I slowly got out of the car, but could not walk a straight line.  My mom had to hold onto my hand and try to keep me upright because I kept wanting to tilt.

That roller coaster is a lot like life.  It has some breath-taking highs and gut wrenching lows.  When you are riding life’s highs, you have no clue when it’ll drop down to the valley.  Everyone reacts to those highs and lows based on their own internal monitor – their faith system.

My mom believed the ride would be fun and experienced no anxiety and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.  When you have a strong faith in God and have experienced his love and grace, you are more apt to enjoy the ride and take those highs and lows as they come knowing they are a season that too shall pass.  You can rest in the assurance that God is in control and He wants what is best for you even though it may mean you have to go through a trial or two.

When there is a lack of faith in God, life’s ups and downs can seem out of control and can make a person feel lost and tossed about.  Sometimes it causes a person to reach out and grab the first thing to hold onto and try to bring balance into life.  That thing may not always be good or helpful.  After all, grabbing onto that handrail on the roller coaster did not help me one bit, I still lost it.  I had nothing in my soul to tell me I would survive or be okay at the end.

Faith in God is the firm foundation that gives us hope.  It’s something we can hold onto and build a life around that gives us reinforcing strength to live our lives without fear and withstand the highs and lows that life throws in our direction.  And with the Lord beside us on life’s roller coaster, it’s easier to enjoy the ride.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

 

Strong Materials

The Golden Gate Bridge is a famous, orange-red-colored bridge that spans across the strait of water at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay.  It connects San Francisco with other areas of California.  The Golden Gate Bridge is no ordinary bridge; it is a suspension bridge.

Suspension bridges are not only cost-effective because they use less material, but they also have a deck supported by cables.  This means the road across is more flexible, able to handle high winds, and earthquakes with minimal damage.  These types of bridges are considered more effective than fixed bridges.

Since its completion, The Golden Gate Bridge has been standing majestically in the strait for over 77 years.  Thinking about that bridge makes me wonder how I will be standing in the straits of life when I am 77.  Am I going to be fixed and ridged cracking under the stresses of life, or am I going to be flexible and adapting to all that life sends my way?  Am I going to stand proud and strong because I have overcome, or am I going to be crumbling and grumbling about how miserable life is?

Now is the time for renewal and for figuring out how you will construct yourself over the waters of life.  The choice of how to build and what to use to build your bridge is all up to you.  You can use materials that last, and a design that is flexible, adaptable and able to withstand life’s storms.  Or you can use materials that look good and at the time seems like a good idea, but are not substantial and crumble at the first sign of rain.  At the end of the storm, you may whine and moan that you have to start all over again, because your bridge did not withstand its first test.

Once you build your bridge, you also need to keep it up to code and adapt to changes.  As time goes on, you may have to modify and strengthen your bridge to have it function more effectively.  If you used proper materials and a good design, it will be easier to maintain.  Also, if you start out with the right materials when you are young, changes that need to be made later will likely be less costly when adjustments and reinforcements are necessary to withstand the constant pressures of life.  It is most important to be prepared for the unexpected.  Remember, if you begin with the right materials and modify when needed, your bridge will be able to stand strong against the elements for a lifetime.

 

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on a rock.  When a flood came the torrent struck the house, but could not shake it, because it was well built.  Luke 6:46-48