Rose-Colored Racism

In the beginning of a new year, one usually reflects on the outgoing year. If it was a bad year you are probably likely to say “good riddens” and if it was a good year you might linger on all the good moments with tinge of sadness to say goodbye.  For me 2015 was for the most part peaceful.  At least personally.  But out in the world, is another story.  The events of the year stirred me.  Stirred up feelings and emotions I hadn’t really explored before. It also stirred up memories.

And so this is the stirring.

In truth the race relation conversation (if you can call what we have seen in the media a conversation) have caused memories to well up within me and through these memories I see somewhat of a different world than the one I have seen in images and scenes splashed across our television and internet. I am at times perplexed by what I read and what I know to be true in my life.

When I look into the mirror the reflection does not always match what I feel inside. It is the same when I look at our world through the reflection of society.  It does not match up with what I know personally. My own understanding of world events, politics and culture come only through my experience and knowledge.

Any further understanding comes through the Lord.  It is almost as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13 when he says,

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

~ 1 Corinthians 13:12

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Throughout the chapter he is describing what love is and what love isn’t. He then says ‘it is time to grow up and put away childish things,’ he adds that even in the growing up we will never reach the place of full understanding until we stand before the Lord, Jesus, Himself. We see our reflection of who we were as children, who we are now, as adults, but when we stand before Him our reflection will be Him, in all His glory.

That is what we were made for, to reflect His glory!

I long for that day if only to escape the discouragement and ache I feel sometimes here on earth. But then I am undone and overwhelmed by the thought that I may not be ready to stand before Him.

And oh, I so want to be ready.

These days in which we live can be so disconcerting for people on many levels. For me, the events of the world stir my heart with so many emotions I can’t seem to sort them out. I want to talk about it but the words just sit there waiting to be organized into some sort of cohesive thought. I do not want to speak just to be speaking or add to the overabundance of voices. The internet and television are so full of the noise of opinions and social ramblings, it makes me want to scream!

However, my heart is a stirring.

The one certainty patiently holding fast within my heart and mind, is the God of the Bible, Elohim, still sits on the throne.

It is to Him I speak in prayer, “God give me wisdom and understanding in the days ahead, show me the reflection of my life. What it has been and what it is now.  Show me what it should be for You!”

Maybe that is the stirring.

This stirring goes back to what my life has been.  Back to when I was a child living in America where I was learning about people. Who they were, how they were and what they were.   I saw divisions but didn’t understand them.  What I saw and what I lived did not always match the narrative of the world around me. In my earliest memories my world was framed in a small family of four. White people living in a world trying to color itself. Psychedelic, that is. Tie dye, beads and hippies. I guess that is why I love all colors now! I remember there were important people trying to bring the colors of people together! But it is vague because I was very young.

One of the colors of people I learned about was black or “colored people” referred to by older folks in my day but today it is “African American” and sometimes I am at a loss as to which to say. We have to be PC but how do you know who to be PC with? Never in a million years would I want to hurt someone’s feelings so I guess the best way to go about it is to ask. Is it even PC to ask? It’s all so vexing because when I interact with a person of color (pick one) I often do not see the color.  I see a soul that God created. Some are sweet, some are soulful, some or joyful and then there are those that are just not nice.  I have no idea what is going on in their life or heart. And so in my heart I am praying for them, wanting them to find the joy and peace that God gives. For me it is about their soul not their skin color!

As a little girl the subject of ‘colored people’ came up in conversation among the adults but I seemed to not be interested in what they were talking about because they were not speaking ugly, they were just discussing, I suppose, about the events of those days, the news!

It is true that pictures are powerful.  Especially when it came to war, protest and riots.  It was all mixed together. The black and white thing. On a black and white television for the world to see. I think, as a child, I didn’t see the significance because I was too busy being a child doing childish things but now I think back I realize that many of the people on TV were white. It did not occur to me to consider what it meant for a black child watching TV and not seeing their color represented in the daily entertainment.

As I got older I was under the notion that America was growing up as I was growing up.   In my life I was in places where I did not see much hatred or discrimination among black and white people. Yes, I read books and saw movies about it and understood it existed but again what went on around me did not match what I saw.

Maybe I did see it firsthand but did not recognize it because of my lack of experience with such emotion as hatred. Which is a credit to my parents. I saw some in elementary school coming from both sides but not so much of it that I could draw any conclusions about superiority of one race over another. It just never crossed my mind that ‘we’ were better or ‘they’ were better.  I just know I longed for ‘unity’ in those situations and at the time I did not even fully understand that word.

I remember as a young girl, my mother worked at the General Electric Lamp Plant in St. Louis. It was a factory. She worked with several black women who became her friends. One of her friends had a little girl who was a little younger than I and a little older than my sister.  I remember playing with her at her house. She would come to our house and play in our room where our toys were.  We played with our fake stove by putting White Castle hamburgers inside pretending to cook them. 🙂

I remember laughing a lot. I remember that she liked to sing and say the abc’s all the time.  I don’t remember our conversations and I only have images that pop up now and then but they were happy memories.  I also remember her mother. She loved to laugh and had a great smile that lit up her whole face. When she and my mother got together they seemed to joke and laugh a lot.  I have no idea about what but what a great memory to have, a memory that colored my world with a precious friendship and mutual respect. *(see below for update)

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I was a part of the desegregation of the public schools in the district where I attended elementary school.  I believe God providentially prepared me for that. I went to an all white school from Kindergarten to 3rd grade.  Due to my parents divorce and my mother moving my sister and I to Virginia, I was then registered at a school that happen to be three-quarters black.  I don’t remember being afraid because of the color of the kids but being afraid because for the first time in my young life I was the ‘new student’ and I missed my home, the home I grew up in. I knew no one. I did make one friend who happen to be white and one non-friend who chased me home one day. She wanted to beat me up. Looking back I can not remember why she did not like me but I do remember her calling me, “teacher’s pet.” I didn’t feel like the teacher’s pet.  She was black. Her name was Angela.

A couple of years later I moved back to live with my father.  Back to the same elementary school.  Only now I was in the sixth grade. And that was the year they decided to desegregate. Many of the kids I knew were nervous about it.  I took it in stride.  I made a few friends that year of both colors.  I also made another non-friend.  She would give me dirty looks and threaten to kick my butt. She also chased me home after school one day.  I don’t remember all the things she said to me but she also called me something similar to “teacher’s pet.”  She was white.  Her name was Nancy.

I guess the lesson here in supposedly being “teacher’s pet” is the angst it causes others! Which knows no color!

rosecolored glasses

Before our 1st black President was elected, I felt like I lived in an America where people were for the most part getting along.  I was not completely naive to think that ‘racism’ did not exist any longer or that there were not divisions in places around our country. I just thought that many in our country had moved past the hatred and the vile disdain for others of a different color. Maybe I was wearing the so-called rose-colored glasses. But there is proof that no matter the color of your skin or where you come from you can be anything you make up your mind to be. There are people from practically every racial group in America serving in the highest offices of our land. In our military. In our education system. It is the way it should be.

Through my personal experience, I have met a few ‘angry, racist black people’ and a few ‘angry, racist white people’ but that has not changed my mind about how kind and helpful the majority of black and white Americans are toward one another.  The majority of people of all colors and nationalities, that I have met, were just people living life and getting along with one another and trying to give their children a better life.

Even so I knew there were still hurts that ran deep among some black people because of the sin of slavery.  I learned about it in school. I read books and watched movies about it. But no one talked about it out loud, especially white people. As a white person I would often feel a guilt or a shame for my color of skin when I would watch the stories or read accounts of families being ripped apart and abused by slave owners but the emotion I most often felt was and is anger.  That one human being could treat another human being so abominably is unconscionable to me.

Today, I cringe and have cried hearing stories from around the world of people of all color taken into slavery today. I often feel helpless to know what to do. So I pray. And what can be done, what can I do about something perhaps my ancestors did to another group of people years before I existed? Questions have come to my mind, “What part could I play in reconciliation of our country in the area of slavery?” Is there something white people should be or could be doing to rectify those past sins?

What is it, Lord?

As I said in the beginning, there is a stirring.

I remember the very evening in 2004, when Barak Obama was speaking at the National Democratic Convention as the keynote speaker.  As he spoke a chill ran down my spine.  I audibly said out loud to one my children, “He is going to President of the United States someday.” The chill was not because I was scared or repulsed. I believe a part of me had hope. That he might be someone to bridge the gulf between two races of people who still held grievances toward one another in some places.  At least start the conversation to move us in the direction of healing.

I am not a Democrat.  I am not so sure I am a Republican any longer.  I am a conservative and I believe in what this nation was founded on, faith and freedom.  I also believe that we have left our ‘first love,’ our faith, and because of that we are losing our freedoms.  But I digress. I did not vote for Obama because of research I had done on his background.  The reason was not the color of his skin, after all he is half white,  but the content of his character.  Even so I held out some hope.  I believed what the bible says that God can move the heart of the king. For ‘He setteth up kings,’ does He not?

“And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

~ Daniel 2:21

Sadly, in my opinion, he has been one of the most divisive men to serve in public office in our country’s history.  There are many people, black and white, who agree with this assessment. I am sure, many who do not. I must make clear that it is not the color of his skin that makes him divisive.  It is by his actions, his fruit, if you will. While I can not judge his heart on the matter of salvation, which only God knows, I can judge his actions. And as citizens of this nation we all should be accountable for those, even a President of the United States of America.

In my world, I have friends of all colors and nationalities. Being in the military gave me the privilege of serving alongside many of whom came from different backgrounds, race and cultures.  I loved that about the military.  It was and is the same within all the churches I have been apart of.  I believed that God prepared me for those experiences from early childhood.  My mother always taught my sister and I not to be prejudice. She explained to us what being prejudice was and told us it was wrong, period.  So we believed her. And for the most part my family lived that out in their lives. We had an example of what not being prejudice looked like. Though throughout the years there were a few who came into my life who did not believe that and well, they did not stay too long.

From a young child to now I may have put on rose-colored glasses when it came to race.  I do not know what it is like to live as a black person nor do I pretend to come close to knowing.  For that matter I know nothing of living as an oriental person, a Hispanic nor a Polynesian. Just as they may not know what it is like to live in my ‘white’ skin.  I also do not want to make light of it.  For I know there has been much oppression and difficulties to overcome because of the color of one’s skin.

But the one thing I know about all people regardless of skin color is that into every persons life comes love, joy and pain.  We all have the same blood and we all come from Adam and Eve. The bible itself never speaks of race.  Only families, tribes and nations.  At one point we all spoke the same language, that is until the Tower of Babel.  Where God confounded the people by giving them different languages and then they could not understand one another. This again did not have anything to do with skin color. Only the sin that was in each of their hearts!

I believe the most wonderful thing about knowing people of different races is the variety of color and personalities.  Over the years I have made some wonderful friends ‘of color’ and I do not just mean skin color.  Some real characters.  They made me laugh and we bonded over whatever was going on in our lives at the time.  What they have added to my life is immeasurable. I have often thought if God is no respecter of persons than why should we be? Why does man care about the outward appearance? How does that matter a hill of beans when each of us is faced with living somewhere forever for eternity?

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

~ Acts 10:34-35

When I heard about the Charleston shooting my heart literally fell.  My stomach felt like lead.  First, for the heartbreak of my brothers and sisters in Christ, for their loss.  And for it to have happened in their place of worship, incomprehensible.  Secondly, to find out this heinous crime was perpetrated by a white racist male.  Opening up wounds in our country.

No words. Just a stirring.

I hear a story, “White people will have to answer for this.” My heart races, emotions swell up and my mind tries to wrap around this statement.

Again no words, more stirring.

I hear another story, a man stands in a pulpit on the Lord’s day and says “The doors of the church are open, no evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God’s church.” ~ Rev. Norvel Goff, interim pastor at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Still no words but the stirring gets stronger.

And another man says, “What unites us is greater than what divides us,” he said. “To hatred, we say no way, not today. To racism, we say no way, not today. To division, we say no way, not today. To reconciliation, we say yes. To loss of hope, we say no way, not today. To a racial war, we say no way, not today. To racial fear, we say no way, not today. Charleston, together we say no way, not today.” ~ Jermaine Watkins, an African-American and the teaching pastor at Journey Church.

Silence. My heart is still.

Looking at the powerful photos of grief, I see past the tears to the celebration of faithful lives that have gone home to be with the Lord. Only those who believe in the Savior can fully understand how faith in Jesus and heaven can transcend a loss so great you can’t breathe. I have stood at the graves of tragic loss and now even as then, I am reminded that God is sovereign in all things.  As promised He is taking what was meant for evil and bringing good out of it. The nation witnessed faith, hope and love win through the people of Charleston.

As the story unfolded and the politics came out. I turned it off, it was and is shameful.

I see pictures of people praying. (Thank you. Lord)

Standing in a circle, holding hands with heads bowed. (I pray too)

Black, white, people of all colors coming together. (My heart holds hope)

Singing hymns. Hugging. Crying. (I cry too for God is there)

Journalist breaking down at the sight. (He has witnessed the Power of God)

People are dumbfounded. (Just wait, He has more)

They are seeing God but do not recognize Him. (God has more)

They are sensing the presence of the Holy Spirit moving in and around His children but they do not comprehend. (Every knee will bow and every tongue confess)

And the forgiveness they have extended!  (Thank you, Father of forgiveness!)

I have said in my own life, it is one thing to say you forgive someone but you have to walk in it daily.  You choose it and then you live it out each and every day for the rest of your life.  I took a lesson from Corrie Ten Boom, a survivor of the Holocaust, she said, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred.  It is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”   I had to do that in my own life.  Because of sinful actions against my children and myself I had to keep forgiving.

The consequences of those actions would show themselves throughout the years over and over again. And each time they showed themselves, instead of anger or bitterness, I would choose forgiveness.  Forgiving does not mean that there is no justice.  It just means that you let it go, you give it to God and there is peace.  It takes courage, faith and love to do that! I can attest to that in my life!!

The stirring has given me words and God has shown me just a little part I can play in the reconciliation of our country.  I own my sins and take responsibility for them. Confess them, repent of them and seek forgiveness from Jesus, my Savior.  I walk in His commandments and live them out daily in my life toward my neighbor.  Firstly by loving the Lord, my God, with all my heart, mind, soul and strength! And then loving my black, white, Hispanic, Chinese and all-others neighbor. Loving the hateful men, the mean women, those who do not agree with me, those who want to hurt me and finally those who hate me, my enemy. When I do that, when we all do that, there is healing.

The thing about healing is that it has to come through the love of Christ. He can heal and mend the racism in our country and around the world but He wants to do it through us.  And He can only do it if His people are surrendered to it. And there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the people of the church in Charleston and that community, are surrendered to Him. They are our example. They surrendered to His will.

And that is where His glory shines. Through our brokenness!! Through the darkness!! Through His people!!!

A great man once said…

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” 
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

You know, in reading that I believe his prayers were answered for so many he was marching for, bleeding for and praying for. I believe God gave him that vision, that task and that dream.  He never quit speaking truth or believing in the God of the bible. And we have witnessed the fruit of his faithfulness even to the end.

And that is what I choose to see. The good that has come from evil. The love that I have experienced from others of all colors. The success of many who in his time would not have had the opportunities they have today. I see the world in color! All colors! If that is what wearing rose-colored glasses mean then I will continue to wear them.

So in 2016 I want to walk in obedience to God’s direction for my life. I want to submit to His leading and stirring.  To not be afraid to speak out but to be sure to do it in love.

Grace to you,

Shell

“Holy, Father, stir our hearts together, as one people, who are called by your name to surrender our will to yours in bringing healing upon this country. Stir our hearts for repentance and reconciliation.  Stir our hearts for YOU!” – my prayer

*NOTE: My mom kept in touch with her friend over the years and she attended my first wedding in 1987 but life happens and they lost touch.  I always wondered what became of them. Just recently the daughter found me on FB. She actually messaged me back in December of 2014. But for some reason, which has happened before I did not get the message till a few weeks ago.  I immediately contacted her and we got to speak on the phone for several hours. It was a wonderful blessing to hear her voice, hear her stories about her life and that her mom had been trying to reconnect with my mom for many years. And in actuality it was an answer to an unspoken prayer I have had for over a year…..but since this post has been so long I will save it for another time!!!

Update to the update: Several weeks after writing this draft my mother suddenly had to have open heart surgery. I went home to be with her. I got to meet up with both her friend and her daughter and what a sweet reunion. We hugged necks and talked over lunch, sharing what God has done in our lives.  I can not even tell you what a blessing it was to see them after all these years. They prayed with me which was a comfort and an encouragement as my mom went through her surgery and difficulties in the hospital.

 

“Open Your Eyes”

“But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” ~ John 3:21

When I post political articles and current event pieces on Facebook it is usually because something  rises up within me to shout to the world, “Open your eyes, look what’s going on!” It reminds of the song “Stop Children What’s That Sound”  The words could easily apply to today’s headlines.

Most people live their lives with their head in the sand  They think they can keep living the life they make for themselves without being effected by what is going on in the world.  They think they are immune to the crime happening in their community until it happens to them. They think the scandals and the lawlessness of our government has no bearing on their day-to-day routine until they lose their job due to a new law that has been forced upon all Americans. They pay no attention to the news of the day until they hear it is about someone they know.  They scoff at the post about conspiracy, corruption or rumors of war.  They become so busy they have no time to do their civil duty such as vote or call their local representative about an injustice or accountability. Then they get angry because someone got elected that they do not like but have no one to blame but themselves for their lack of interest.

People plan the next activity or event without stopping to look at the souls around them struggling to get through the day.  They feign their interest in the suffering of others but have no time to help out the neighbor or friend they know need words of encouragement or a hug.  They want to be comforted but have none to give, they want to be entertained and made to feel good but have no interest in serving others. They think by giving money to a group or a good cause they have done their part but do not want to leave their comfort zone. They call themselves “Christian” but have no interest in being “Christ-like” nor do they know what that even means.

The truth is many who have known Him for many years have fallen asleep.  They have gone numb from the noise of the world.  Where is the fire? Where is the revivals? Where are the men and women in the United States who would give their hearts, minds and souls to help another find His way into eternity?  The ones who live facing death daily in other countries are dying for their faith. Literally by the thousands.  Just click on this link and read the stories: Persecution  If those do not convince you that Americans are asleep then I do not know what will.

You can listen to the conservative/Christian talk shows and you will hear them go round and round about the problems our country is facing. The commentary and arguments in the media are spewing out words that have changed their meanings over the years. Facebookers post the recipes, humorous phrases and spiritual thoughts for the day all the while the powers and principalities are wreaking havoc in this world. Most folks never stop to really think about the words they put out into the infernal internet clothesline or do they?” What difference does it make?” as in the words of one who cares nothing for making a difference in anyone’s life but their own or for the lives who made a difference by laying down their life to save others.

Now before you think I am not including myself in any of the transgressions above please realize that I, myself have been wrestling with all the noise of the world as of late. The thoughts running around in my head have been very, very eclectic to say the least. Politics, religion, Jesus, children, ministry, finances, love, marriage, sickness, death, family, fear, drugs, military, salvation, war, law, citizen, teenagers, win, fail, weight, prayer, health, spring, vacation, reunion, future, recipes, bills, serve, honor, past…..it just goes on and on. I have not been able to focus on one thing other than one simple question that is causing me to wonder what God is speaking to me about. What difference am I making in the world?  My world, this world or better yet, your world?

Now that might seem to some like a question I am throwing out there for others to answer. Not at all and please don’t. Truthfully I would like to hear the answer from God. For it is not man who will judge my works or my heart when I leave this planet earth to enter into eternal life.  There are times when I believe I am asleep at the wheel, so to speak, when it comes to my walk with the Lord. I have taken inventory and discovered that the times I was gleaning an enormous amount from God’s Word and time with Him were in my loneliest and darkest of days.  Why is it then in our bright days of day-to-day living that we don’t seem to have the same intensity of relationship?  Is it the focus or the intention of the heart that is slightly off kilter? We can blame it on distractions, responsibilities or circumstances.  In truth it is ultimately our choice.  We choose to make our walk a priority, the TOP priority!

I admit there are days when going about my business I will throw up prayers to God without stopping to get quiet, bow my head or my knees.  I will say things like:  “God, stop me if this is not pleasing.” “God, am I being selfish here?” “God, are you seeing what’s in my heart right now?” “God, I can not do this on my own.” “Thank you, Jesus! You are sooo good!” But over the course of time throwing up prayers does not a relationship make and  I am not so sure that is what is meant by living with godly purpose or walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Spending time quietly waiting for Him to speak, praying our hearts cry, reading His Word back to Him, meditating on His goodness, praising and worshiping Him in song, those are relationship builders with Christ.  And those I have done but not always consistently.

But oh, it can be disconcerting to try to examine the motives or responses to each and every moment I did not turn to God, but instead to other things such as internet, a movie, a book, busy-ness or the conversation of others.  When I do turn to those things on a regular basis I become agitated, irritated and cynical. Even angry at times with what I see others doing.  Then I become a judge instead of an edifier.  I want others to know what I love not what I hate. I want to be the peacemaker instead of divider.  I want to encourage instead of the one who  criticizes.  But most of all I want to be the salt and light.  I want to be Christ-like! 

I recently was a part of an effort to reach out to some teens that happen to go to school with my son, who is in high school.  He has been inviting his friends from school each Wednesday evening for almost 2 years.  At first it was just one friend.  And then a couple came with him. Now he may have 4 or 5 any given week.  Our very small church took them camping to connect with them by unplugging and removing most of the distractions.  I felt so inadequate to be there. I felt old and had absolutely nothing to say they could relate to. The one moment I did speak it felt flat and without power to move any of them to seek Him.

However, there were moments when I witnessed them listening to God’s Word. I do not know if they actually heard what was said or if they took it in long enough to remember it.  I do know beyond a shadow of doubt that God’s Word does not return void.  And I know from first hand experience that He fills in the gaps where we as humans fail to be what we need to be in the face of ministering or witnessing to someone for eternity. After the weekend was over I gave it all up to Him to do with it what He will. Even if the teens were not moved over the 3 days I can certainly say I was. It left me desperately wanting to see Him move in those kids and in me. 

I have made more of an effort to stop, look and listen to Him rather than to keep moving forward without heed to God’s will. Which is why writing has been so difficult for me lately.  If God does not give it to me I do not want to write it down.  For the Bible says we will be judged for every idle word. The world is a different place than when I first accepted Christ as my Savior.  Back then, some 22 years ago, we could talk face to face to someone who would look us in the eye.  Now there are so many ways to communicate without ever laying eyes on another human if we choose.  We have to turn it all off.  We have to separate ourselves from the noise of this world.  We have to surrender our hearts to silence for a bit and get back to face to face.  And knees to ground.  Because until we do we will not make much of a difference in bringing others to Christ. In bringing others with us into eternity.  

My prayer:

Oh, heavenly Father, I pray you open my eyes wider to the reality that our time on this earth is short for none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Lord, help us to see past the distractions of our day, to hear beyond the noise of the world, to reach out to those who can not see.  Help us to be the light to them that they may find their way to you.  Give us wisdom to apply the season of salt to the conversations we have with others that they might understand the love that comes from your son, Jesus. Put a fire in our hearts, repentance on our lips and bring revival to our land! Thank you, Lord for hearing our cry! In Jesus name, Amen!

Grace to you friend for stopping by!

Shell

Stand For Something

Our country is going into a tail spin.  Every single day I turn on the radio and hear what Washington is doing or not doing.  I read the headlines and shake my head.  Then I pray, Lord come soon!  Do I really want that?  There are still so many that do not know Jesus.  So many that have not heard the Good News.  Still more who have heard the Gospel message but keep putting off their decision to make things right with God.  There are some who have rejected Him and care nothing about God or what matters to Him.  Our world is turning upside down before my eyes.  What was good is now bad and what was bad is now good.  It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20

I have heard the saying that if you do not stand for something you will fall for anything.  I do believe that to be true.  The bible tells us (paraphrased) that we are to build up one another in the faith so that we grow stronger in the knowledge of Christ so we will no longer be as a child , “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— Ephesians 4:12-15

Without Christ we are as the world is. Lost to God and blind to truth.  How can we be shocked at the things the lost say and do?  It is in their very nature to be deceitful, hateful and twisted in their thinking.  In the flesh we, Christians, have the same bent but we are called to stand firm on the truth of God’s Word.  To not waver to the left nor to the right.  But sadly even most Christians do not understand what it means to stand on truth.  They compromise on the little things, gray areas they are called.  When they do this they are allowing the enemy a foothold into their lives. An open door so to speak.  Over time their hearts become harden to any truth.  They no longer have spiritual discernment in that area.  What a dangerous place to be.

ten-commandments

For in God’s Word there is no gray.  Black and white!  Just reading the 10 commandments you can not waiver.  You do or you don’t!!!

I have, when I was younger, being dead in my trespasses and sin, turned my eyes to the world and followed their way of thinking.  It was years before I came to know God and realize my perspective was in opposition to God and His Word.

The older I get and the closer to God I become, I see even more how I was blinded to truth.  To not speak up against sin is basically to agree with it.  To not warn others of the wrath of God and impending judgement is to stand with their blood on your hands.  17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Ezekiel 3:17-18

When I began to read the bible and apply it, my eyes were open to the truth of it. Applying His Word to the lies of this world brings you to the choice of who will you serve this day and all the days to follow. You can not be in the Word for any length of time and not be convicted of its truth.  You either accept it or reject it.  And rejecting is as turning your back on God, rebellion.  And rebellion is as witchcraft.  And witchcraft is an abomination unto the Lord according to Deuteronomy 18:9-12

Some of the issues I am talking about are so divisive that it is often difficult to have a discussion with those that disagree without it becoming very explosive.  Marriage, Sexual Orientation, Religious Freedom and Life.  It has of course come down to politics and money.  Who has the most money to buy the power needed to shove ones beliefs down the throat of another.  In order for one side to have their rights the other sides’ rights will have to be forfeited.  This is what is happening before our eyes today.  It is the work of the enemy. For we know he rules this world with an agenda.  One that keeps as many from coming to Christ as he can and causes many Christians to stumble and fall.  According to the end of the book, the Bible, we  know where he ends up just as we also know who will reign forever and ever.

So it is our duty, as Christians to stand up and speak truth. Be salt and light in a society that is becoming dark and tasteless.  There will be a day when we will no longer have the freedom to do this without fear of death.  We in America do not know what this means.  But soon, very soon we will.  I am a born-again child of God, a Christian. I have a Christian world view, meaning I view everything through the lens of God’s Word and His principles.  While some of my view is skewed a bit from my upbringing and experiences I strive to err on the side of Jesus.  I pray that each day for the courage to make the choices that show others who I serve.  That my Lord will find me faithful!

To this end, it is important for us to stay informed. To make sure we do the research.  To stay involved in the civil process.  To tell others what we know and most importantly live ‘Christ’ before others so that they may be won.  We can not quit because it is uncomfortable for us or because the world goes to hell in a hand basket around us.  No, we must stand more firm and keep reaching for the prize of the high calling.

Remember God wins. Just read the end of the book.  It is all there, I promise!

Grace to you all,

Shell

What does it mean to be a ‘tolerant’ Christian?

PS:  I have added this post as a page to my blog “Stand For Something” and will post links (drop down menu “Do Your Research”)  to reliable news sources for those interested in keeping up with current events.  Pray as to the direction the Lord would have you go in standing for His principles in society.  If we, as a church, do not stand up and be His voice then eventually we will lose our voice.  And thus begins the death of the church.  If you have a reliable link that you think I should add, please feel free to send to me.  Thank you in advance for your courage!

Oh Lord Jesus Fall Fresh On Me

November 5, 2012

It is the day before the 2012 election that will be taking place in the United States of America and I am not sure where to begin.   So many thoughts swirling about in my mind.  I have spent many hours reading articles, listening to speeches, watching news stories unfold as they happened around the world. Much of that information has left me disappointed, frustrated and at times angry with the direction our country is moving.  I heard someone say today that after tomorrow the America we remember as a child will never be that America again.  And I do believe that to be true no matter the outcome.

Growing up I heard sayings like “It’s as American as apple pie.” and “America is baseball, hot dogs and Chevrolet!” As a kid I believed America was about The Pledge of Allegiance, Stars & Stripes,  Star Bangled Banner & fireworks, Pilgrims and Indians, White Christmases & Jesus in the manger.  It was hot summer days eating bologna sandwiches, swimming in the neighbor’s pool and warm evenings chasing lightning bugs in the front yard.  Politics? Don’t think I ever really knew much about that except occasional overheard conversations.  I do remember watching Nixon give his resignation speech on  television but don’t remember what my thought was about it.   The symbol of politics for me was the image of Uncle Sam with a tall hat and extra long stilt-like legs.  I remember seeing elephants and donkeys but not understanding what they meant.

As a teenager, it became something a little different.  I remember my parents taking me to a Jimmy Carter campaign rally.  I did not much like it nor do I remember why.  I became a little more aware of the role of our president and what his job was but really did not pay too much attention to it all.  It was over my head.   The most I recall is the media making the public aware of the antics of the president’s brother, Billy, who drank a lot.  President Carter had a Georgia accent which was kind of distracting when he spoke.

Then came Ronald Reagan.  I knew he was an actor but did not know much about him then.  I liked him and thought he was genuine.  I liked that he did not back down and he had a sense of humor.  I paid more attention to him though I still was not into all that.  From my high school years to early adulthood I was pretty much focused on me, myself and I.  There were a few years in there where I did not watch much television other than the current sitcoms or read many newspapers.  I was not informed nor did I care at the time.  I had opinions perhaps some were passed down from the previous generation but for the most part they often were formulated by the current music and film culture.  I am sad to admit that.

It really was not until I joined the Air Force that I began to take notice of the events taking place in our nation and the world.  I began to understand the bigger picture in regards to the United States and where it stood on the world stage.  My first assignment took me to Europe.  And it was there I got to see my country from another perspective.  There was a growing patriotism rising up within me.  I saw history up close and personal.  For the first time in my life, at the young age of 23, I not only appreciated the fact that I was American but I experienced what being American meant.

Over the years since then I have become passionate about our country and its history.  Probably too passionate as some would say.  Age and experience have given me a better perspective on world around me.  Christianity and motherhood have a part in that as well.

November 6, 2012

Today is election day! Finally it is here.  I have had a quiet soul this morning coming to work.  So different from several weeks ago.  I was anxious about all the back and forth, up and down the crazy, horrible division that has come with it.  Our pastor said something that changed that for me.  “No matter who is elected President, God still wins!”  How profound that is.  It sort of yanked me back to earth so to speak.  Since that time I have searched my heart and realized whatever way it goes it is all in His plan.  America is changing and will continue to change.   Changes coming from all directions and mostly not for the good.  But what will not change is a Holy God who has it all in His hand.  By His providence we, the United States of America, began from a small group of folks looking for freedom of worship.   Freedom to study His Word and live it out in their lives.

America was great, because God was great to America.  He is no longer great to many and is no longer known by many.   God blessed us because we, as a nation, stood on the principles of His Word.  Change has taken us far from our roots, it began many, many years ago.  Sometime after WWII we took God out of our schools and out of our government.  Men twisted the words of our founding fathers and hid them away from the generations.  Truth is gone in many textbooks and replaced with lies.  Holiness is gone from our churches and replaced with feelings.  What was good is now bad and what was bad is now good.

I have often wondered how things have gotten so mixed up and ludicrous.  I sometimes wish I could shout truth from a mountain top or tall building.  I want to scream, “STOP!!”  I shake my head and am right back where I started with a question.  “What can I do?”  I recently listened to an audio book called Holiness by Henry Blackaby and my heart fell under conviction.  So heavy and yet so needed.  My heart has wanted to see God move, wanted to see revival.  And I wanted my family to experience God as well.  I wanted them to witness His power!

To witness His power and be in His presence  is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced.  There are no words to describe it.   It only happens when we pursue holiness.   I have done that before.  I have experienced it.  I have no excuse for not being there now.  Life happened and I let it.  But I yearn for it again.  I so want the Lord Jesus to fall fresh on me, on my family and those that are in my life.  Being in the presence of God moves your heart  to share the love of God with those around you.  It just spills out.  You can not stop it and you can not control it.  It is truly God’s Holy Spirit controlling you.    People see God through you for that is the only way they will see.

It begins in my repented heart.  When holiness is pursued my heart will change and there will be fruit.  It will then effect change to those around me,  my family.   The change in my family will affect change in my church.   The change in my church will affect change in my community.  I want to see that!

When I arrived at work this morning my devotional calendar for November 6 said

‘God’s purpose for us is holiness, His own holiness, which we are to share.’

 

And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.  

1 John 3:3

When you ask God for wisdom, He gives it in sometimes not so subtle ways.  He waits but not forever.  He waits so that no man will perish.  Regardless of the outcome of the election God will still be on the throne, the world will continue to turn and we will still be left wanting.  The only true way to change our country is to make a change in our hearts.  A change of direction, turning away from sin and toward the one who forgives our sin.

Change comes from one person. Just one person standing up for what is right.   For that matter, kneeling down for what is lost.

Grace to you,

Shell

From Up Here. . .

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen  ~ 1 Peter 4:7-11 NIV

Our days are numbered.  Most of us walking around on planet Earth, know this!  We know that life is fragile but we often do not realize just how fragile until death enters our reality.   If it is a personal loss we take inventory,  we take notice that there is an emptiness in the universe.  We finally remember things that had not been said, we remember the time that we took for granted, putting off the phone call or the visit.   We mourn, we wrestle with the question, ‘what if?’ and it lingers until we accept the loss and make peace with the separation. We come to understand that while it is a part of life it is a part that we are never fully prepared to meet.

These past few weeks have been days of turmoil within my soul.  Questions that I have been asking, questions being asked of me by God.

Me:  Who are you God? And what do you want of me?

God:  I am the one who saved you, who loves you and wants fellowship with you.

Me:   How do I behave as a Christian while the world is turning upside down?  How do I show love and compassion in a world so full of anger and hate?

God:  How did my son behave?  What did He do in the face of anger and hate?

Me:  Yes, Lord, you need say no more.

The conversation brings me to tears as I write these words.  It is the second time today I have been brought to tears.   This morning during my morning commute to work  I was listening to a news show on the radio.  The women was  describing what had been done to Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya,  before he was murdered, the sadness and outrage that came over me was overwhelming.   I cringed at what human beings have done to another because of a hate so deep within their heart that those not born into it can not understand.

I am a Christian.  A born-again believer.  A follower of Christ, albeit not perfect, I strive to live it daily.  I think of myself as conservative on most issues.  Maybe a little to the center on some but I try for the most part to take my stand based on what God’s Words says about the given subject.  When I look at events or actions through the lens of the Bible I have a simple choice, to believe truth or to reject it.  That is what also influences the civil decisions I make.  If I stand conservatively in my daily walk with Christ then I must stand the same on political issues facing our country today.  There can be no difference between the two.

I do not understand those that proclaim their Christianity but deny life to an unborn child by justifying its reason as ‘choice’ or side with tolerance of a religion that not only rejects Christ but believes death to ALL who do not believe their tenants.  I do not understand how you can be a believer of Jesus Christ and vote on issues the are in direct opposition to the principles of God’s Holy Word.

The events taking place today in our country and in the Middle East have deeply effected me.  My emotions have gone the complete spectrum.  Up, down, back and forth.  Worried and anxious.  Utterly flabbergasted to intense shock and rage.  I believe that we must not hide our heads in the sand when it comes to world events.  I believe that each of us has a voice and moral duty to speak out against injustice, cruelty and sin.  As a Christian we have a moral obligation to warn others of the coming danger.  We have a commandment to tell others of the hope we have in Christ.  The hope of eternal life that is available to them.  We can not be silent sitting on the sidelines watching the world go by.

I know that God is sovereign and nothing takes Him by surprise.  He knew before the world began what would take place down here.  I think He looks down and mourns with me and sees my broken heart.  He watches and waits for me to look up and seek Him.  To fellowship with Him, to walk in the cool of my garden and speak with Him about all the things that causes me to wring my hands at the evil and hate transmitted around the world.   If I were being honest I would say aloud, “Lord, none of this make sense, why do you allow it, why do you wait so long to come back, why?”

And in my spirit He says, “You can not see what I see from up here. You can not see all the souls that are full of hope for their loved ones to come to me.  The men and women that are still going out and preaching the gospel in the outer parts of Judea. You can not hear all the angels rejoicing at souls being saved.  You can not see all the souls yet to save. Remember, Michelle, I wait so that none should perish, from up here there is still work to be done!”

Thank you reader, may peace and grace be to you,

Shell

Take my heart, I Lay it down

At the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up to You who’s throned

And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything

And It’s just you and me here now
Only you and me here now

You should see the view

When it’s only You

Only You by David Crowder

 

My American Story

Looking back over the years of my life I can see a tapestry of colors weaved by time, circumstance and divine hands.  In the beginning my understanding of the world was small…born to a middle class white family, in the Midwest. I lived on a street that was busy and long.  Our home was small and white and had a speed limit sign in the front yard.  As a little girl, on summer afternoons, I tumbled in the front yard, climbed the apple tree in the backyard and played hide and seek with the neighborhood kids.  Chasing lightning bugs and making dandelion flower necklaces was the past time of my sister and I.

I had two types of Grandparents. One side was the ‘come on in and take your shoes off’ kind of folks and the other was fancy, the ‘put your napkin on your lap’ kind.  I drew a lot of knowledge from both.  I tucked away the memories of time spent listening to their conversations about how “things use to be.”  Both of my grandfathers served in WWII.   One was in the Army and the other in Army Air Corp as an Armorer Gunner.  In my adult years I would follow them in serving our country in the United States Air Force.

At the age of eight my parents divorced. And that was the beginning of my world getting bigger.  Everything changed for our family.  I became the daughter of single mother trying to make ends meet.  Back and forth between two homes, to visit my father in the one I grew up and that of my mothers, who struggled to make a life for my sister and me.

While the divorce itself was hurtful and traumatic, the greatest impact on my life at the time was the culture in which I was thrust.  It was before desegregation took place where I had lived.  My mother had friends she worked with that were African-American so it was not like I had not known any but I certainly had not spent much time with them.  When my mother took my sister and me to live in Virginia I was sent to a school that was probably 90% African-American.  Back home, the school I attended was 100% White.

Because of my loneliness, missing my home and friends, I eventually chose to live with my father.  Going back home, to what I knew and to the school I had started Kindergarten I would come to understand the experience in Virginia was God’s divine hand in my life.  When I began 6th grade the district had decided to desegregate the schools.  Mine was one of the first.  Everyone around me was very fearful and I, even in my limited knowledge of the world, knew why.  I admit there was some fear on my part but only because I think it was the group fear surrounding me.  It came, it went, we all survived and I believe we became better and stronger for it.

The really tumultuous years were my teenager years.  In the awkwardness learning about myself and the world around me I stood witness to the threads of history that would resonate and mold my future world view.  The dark images of the Vietnam War on television, Walter Cronkite narrating man’s first step on the moon, Roe V Wade, the first United States president resigning, our country celebrating 200 years, a young girl scoring perfect 10’s in gymnastics and the first woman in space.  While that list is incomplete and I did not fully understand their influence in my life at the time, in their own way made a profound effect on my dreams and desires for my life.

It was many years later, as a young adult,  while serving in the Air Force I stood even closer to the making of history that I finally understood that I was a part of something bigger than myself.  I proudly served under President Ronald Reagan and George H. Busch and those were, perhaps, the most fundamental life changing years of my life. Not only did I become a first time wife and a mother but I became aware of what American Patriotism meant.  I also realized the human vulnerability to life and death.

I watched in horror as the space shuttle, Challenger, exploded soon after liftoff on a television while stationed in Bitburg, Germany.  A couple of months later I was driving on base when our jets flew out to escort the jets that bombed Libya after they were found to be responsible for the London Discotheque bombing.  Several years later, after returning to the United States to a new assignment I watched on the news as the “Berlin wall” came down.

After these events took place three things changed my life and its direction.  Giving birth to my first-born son, my own divorce and an introduction to Jesus Christ after a good friend’s seven year old son died of a debilitating disease.  My view shifted to a Christian world view and slowly became conservative in my way of thinking.  I remember thinking “I wonder how different my life would be if I had seen the world this way before?”

I have traveled to many places and experienced many parts of our country and the world.  I have lived in the states of Missouri, Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Hawaii and North Carolina.  I have been greatly enriched by having lived in all these places and it has given me understanding of the workings of our country and the people in it.  Most especially it has allowed me to meet people from all walks of life.  And because of my growing faith throughout the years I have been overwhelmed by what our country has accomplished and produced with its strength and ingenuity.

Every time a citizen of the United States goes to school to better his/her future; arrives at work to build something greater than himself for his family; teaches another human being something new they did not know; serves a stranger food or clothes them; takes an oath to take up arms to defend others they have never met or promises to civilly serve with honesty and integrity, they become a part of the very fabric of America.  The culture, ethnicity and diversity all make up the colors of our land no matter the calling each has.

Even as I tell my story, it could be anyone’s story in a America because as an American, we are not defined by the means into which we are born or the geography we grow up in but by divine right, the God-given freedom & opportunity we have to make the world around us a better place by our personal contribution.  We are linked together through the roots of this country, all the bad and all the good.  By the blood, sweat, tears and prayers of those that stepped foot on our eastern shores, willingly or unwillingly, our ancestors had dreams of what we now partake of.  Whatever your color, whatever your faith, whatever your political philosophy it was said to us:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

It was preserved for us by those whose blood soaks the ground of our country sides and foreign lands.  It is Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, by all, for all, to all.  ‘We’ are the American story and each of us has a page in it.  My page is just one of many and the fact that I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a student, a mother, a wife, a Christian, a United States Air Force veteran and a Republican makes no difference.

In the grander scheme of things it is the culmination of all my experiences, it is the places I have lived in this country, it is the people who poured into my life from those places, it is the people who cared for me, taught me, stood up for me, prayed for me, prayed with me, offered a hand to me, stood by me, served me and served with me, fought with me, fought for me, laughed with me, cried with me, who hated me and who loved me.  It is the people.

The essence of our land is what we, as people have chosen to value and be grateful for through it all, from that day to this.  Yes, I am an American but I am not alone!

grace to you

Shell

Family Tree

Prayers for Ft Hood and our nation

I am heart broken over the shooting at Ft Hood, Texas…being a veteran and having lived on military installations all over the world I can tell you "this family" will prevail…their strength lies in numbers, in each other…but it will take them a very long time to heal.  My prayers are going out to them all. 

“Almighty God lay your hand upon those who are grieving, give them a strength only you can give, a calm in the midst of the storm.  Give comfort and especially grace, please father?  Bring some good out of this, as you promise to those who love you.  Give understanding where confusion lies!  And finally, Lord, help us all to forgive and love those who are very difficult to love.  In Jesus precious name, Amen!”

I don’t usually vent like this, especially in public but I think the indignation of such an act calls for it…so if you don’t agree, God bless & thank you for stopping by anyway.  I pray for my heart to forgive and be compassionate towards others during this time of unbelief but I like, Carol L, am very angry…and I want to scream to the world "wake up you stinking liberal idiots”

The one thing I despise is the talk of red flags…there is always red flags…I have some personal experience with that.  Everyone knows, everyone sees but no one speaks up until it is too late.   You want to talk red flags, you want to ask why someone didn’t see the red flags?  Where exactly would red flag information be sent to and put together so that we might know the danger lurking around us?  They are telling us there were red flags, of that I am sure but the red flags did not get centralized therefore the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing.   Then the media spends hours and hours after the tragedy wondering why no one put it together.  I got an idea why doesn’t the media hire a team to monitor red flags all over the country and then we wouldn’t have to hear for hours why no one put it together…yes I am being facetious!

I can give you my very biased opinion that may not sit well with many but if you think about how the current administration is taking the “centralization”  apart, line by line.  They have taken apart every measure of security that the previous administration spent years putting into place and now many lives are going to be lost because of it.  For the sake of not infringing on another’s civil rights. This tragic shooting will be the future of things to come when they do not allow the monitoring of everyone.  Personally I would not care if my privacy was compromised for the sake of saving lives.  If I wasn’t doing anything wrong then I would not have anything to worry about, right?

It is a senseless tragedy that only goes to prove how vulnerable we are as a country.  If a man, who was a member of our uniformed services can bring weapons into a place where no weapons should be, what makes us think we are any safer today than we were after 911?  Yes, he not only had mental issues but he was born right here in America, among us.  And in the end, his last words were that of religion bent to destroy every non believer in the world.  I don’t believe it was as much his religion that drove him to commit such heinous act but a warped frame of mind that comes from hate, fear and selfishness.  It came from a man who was ungrateful for a nation that gave him a career to feed his belly.  If this does not wake up those who think that we can keep being tolerant at the cost of our countrymen’s lives then we are indeed doomed. 

As a Christian, who still lives in a Christian nation, I still believe God is on the throne and good overcomes evil in the end…in the mean time it seems God may be giving America up to its own wicked ways…and we are reaping the whirlwind!

Christians we need to pray, NOW, and keep praying!!!!!!

Stand With Wisdom & Understanding!

Photobucket

I have been caught up in watching all that has to do with our election
process for President of the United States.  I am not sure why it has
become my past time of late.  Watching debates, pundits, and the great
political commentators late into the evening.  Someone told me that I
was becoming obsessed.  I have found it thrilling on many levels.  I
was observing this morning how much like a sports commentator some of
the political analyst are….the play by plays, the speculations, the
excitement in their voice at the upsets to their predictions…it is
really almost comical.  But intriguing…I guess being age 45, I have come to a place in my life where the issues of the day have grabbed me.  I want to know what the candidates are talking

about, how they are saying things and what is between the lines of
their passion.  No matter what side of the fence you are on, one can
not deny the place in history this election will mark.  A woman, an
African American, a former POW, a Baptist Minister and a Mormon.  Wow!
Have we not come to a place where this election says “America”.
Personally, I think it reveals the dreams of our fore fathers.  Freedom
to become. And men and women, who came after, moving forward to that
dream, giving life to their words and passion.

As Thomas Jefferson penned in the opening of the Declaration of Independence….

We
hold these truths to be self-evident , that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights
that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

And later in in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 that predates the US Constitution by seven years…

Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural,
essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the
right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of
acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of
seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

In 1850 by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address…

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.

And no one will ever forget the words that continue to ring out, spoken on August 16, 1963 by Martin Luther King, Jr…..

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident:
that all men are created equal.

Later in a Day of Affirmation Speech  in 1966 given by Robert F. Kennedy said these words

“Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work
to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts
will be written the history of this generation … It is from
numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is
thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve
the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a
tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different
centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can
sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

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In
a 1964 televised campaign speech that has been referred to as the
speech that launched Ronald Reagan’s political career he said…..

If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the
last stand on Earth. And this idea that government is beholden to the
people, that it has no other source of power except to sovereign
people, is still the newest and most unique idea in all the long
history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election.
Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we
abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual
elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we
can plan them ourselves.

These
words, I believe, ring more true today than they did then…as my MSN
friend JW Leigh so eloquently stated that we must be apart of the
change, we must make a stand against injustice and we must use our God
given right to choose.  To vote…to be informed and to vote wisely.  I
hope all of you will make the effort to make that stand and let your
vote count!!!!!!

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 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs 1:2-4