Relating to civilians was a challenge for Schuyler after he got out of the Army. He felt on edge, and sometimes he had trouble managing his frustration. He didn’t believe he had PTSD, but he knew something wasn’t right. Learning he had a traumatic brain injury led him to VA and Vet Center resources that helped him turn his life around.
Mothers and Grandmothers are some the most important people in our lives. They help share our character and beliefs. Sometimes, because of circumstances, the mother’s role is fulfilled by a Grandmother or a step-mother. Godly mothers with Godly fathers provide the best foundation for children in their formative years and as they grow up.
Mothers have a special position appointed by God.
She teaches, ministers, loves, and nurtures the next generation of citizens. And she challenges and cajoles her children to do their best and be the best.
But few people take notice. There will be no news stories proclaiming the virtues of a child being taught what it means to be loved, that an infant was hugged securely, or that the wonders of the classics were introduced to a young mind. No one seems to care that a house was made into a home, or that a mere table with food was transformed into a place of fun.
It isn’t too late to restore the fine art of motherhood to its time-honored position in our society. In spite of the current cultural hostility, lack of support from many husbands, and incredible pressure inside and outside the home, a real mom will continue to affirm the importance of motherhood. (1)
There are children who test the patience of even the strongest believers. Sometimes tough love is needed. You might consider this another prodigal son.
It is said that a young man became very profligate. He almost broke the hearts of his parents. The mother was actually about to die from the strain. Finally, one day he acted so shamefully that his father said to him, “We have done everything in our power for you. You have disgraced the family and are killing your mother. All that we do for you is in vain. I am sorry, but I must ask you to leave our home and never return.” The young man left.
The months and years went by. Finally the boy became so miserable and homesick it seemed he could not stand it. So he wrote his mother this letter: “Dear Mother: I am ashamed of my fearful conduct in the home. I can hardly stand to think I must never see you again. However, I do not know whether or not Father and you can forgive me. But I will be on train No. 2 that passes your home at 10:00 a.m. [Then he gave the day.] Now if you can forgive me and will take me back, I want you to hang a sheet out on the clothesline. I shall look as the train passes and, if I see the sheet, I will know that you will forgive me, and I will get off at the next station, just below the house, and come home.”
Well, what do you think she did? Not only did she hang out one sheet, but every sheet, towel, pillowcase and everything else white that she had. The clothesline, fence, and rosebushes were covered with sheets, towels, etc. Of course he came home, and, oh, such a welcome!
It was forgiveness in abundance. (2)
We can find our schedule is really full and forget the really important things in life. The following is an example.
A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.
As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.
He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother.
But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.”
The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”
He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.
As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home.
She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.”
She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.
The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house. (3)
Mothers are ready for us. The Bible has many things to say about Mothers including the following.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”… (Proverbs 31:25-30) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
For those who were not Blessed with Godly parents or who otherwise endured rough times, do not despair there is healing available. A rough upbringing can produce fear, anxiety, paranoia, PTSD or worse outcomes. A rough can be used as an excuse or can be overcome, that is a personal choice. Those who suffer, recover, and heal can help others who suffer.
Commemorations to honor mothers and motherhood have been happening for centuries and can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans who paid homage to their mother goddesses. Today, tributes to mothers occur all around the world at different times of the year, but the American version of Mother’s Day was started in May of 1908 by a woman named Anna Jarvis.
Mom needs a hug today.
(1) Dr. James Dobson and Gary Bauer’s book, Children At Risk
(2) William Moses Tidwell, “Pointed Illustrations.”
Anxiety is an out of control thought pattern. It settles over the mind like a severe weather system, spewing thunderclouds and casting lightning bolts. Life feels like an airplane in a tailspin. It feeds on what-ifs and worst-case scenarios.
What if the Coronavirus is unstoppable. What if a pandemic takes over? I’ll be quarantined for weeks! The economy is sliding into a bear market. I’ll lose my health. I’ll lose my job. I’ll lose it all. How will I survive on unemployment?
Down. Down. Down. Don’t give in to this thought pattern. It’s a sinkhole. Don’t catastrophize your way into quicksand. Take a deep breath and then…
1. Pray about it. At the first hint of an anxious thought, Take the thought captive. Don’t tolerate the devil, not even for a second. Lasso the anxious thought with a word of prayer. Lord, there is an intruder at the door! Please take over!
2. Identify the culprit. Generalities are not permitted. None of this: “I’m worried.” Get specific: Lord, I’m worried about the layoffs at work. Now, that’s better. But even more detailed: I’m worried that I will lose my job. Will I be able to find more work? Will we have to move? Specificity disarms anxiety.
3. Take a reality check. Is this a legitimate concern? Or is this a vague, ill-defined, rumor-fed possibility? They say layoffs are inevitable. Who are they?
4. Take an action step. Assuming the concern is legitimate, what can you do? Make a list of two or three steps you can Resist the urge to try to solve everything immediately.
5. Ask: “Can God solve this?” Is this challenge within his skill set? Is he overwhelmed by this setback? Are the angels pounding on the door of heaven trying to convince him to come out of hiding? Is he resisting?
I can’t handle this challenge It is too great. I don’t know what to do! I’m stumped, stuck, and stalled out.
No…I don’t think so either. God is never baffled or belittled. Take the problem to him.
Reflect on this verse: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).
And, pray it through:
Thank you that “before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4). Thank you that there are no surprises with you. Help me find deep comfort in the fact that you are unshockable and nothing is too great, too terrible, too large, or too heavy for you. Help me see the problems that I face today in light of how big you are. Amen.
It has been on a constant loop: “If you see something, say something”. I don’t remember hearing there was any fine print or exceptions to that “rule”. We can see there clearly are.
With all the talk of what is essential; one item was left off the written list of the essential and non-essential items, and that is free speech.
In practice the drumbeat was “Thou Shall Not Contradict The Official Pronouncement”. No matter what your station in life, should you wander off the official script and have a different point of view, the hordes of Huns will be released to destroy you, your family, your employment or business and employees. Even if you should recant your ‘error’ of having a different point of view and grovel coast to coast, you will be destroyed, not welcomed back, and canceled. This does not fit any definition of free speech that I have seen.
Freedom of speech has become vital because, without freedom of speech, some people won’t be able to communicate effectively and even say a word when things are going wrong. Freedom of speech is essential because it can change the narrative of how people feel when they express themselves in public.
Freedom of speech is not a new concept. Freedom of speech can be found between the early 5th and 6th century. It was recognized by the Roman Republic which added freedom of speech and freedom of religion also. The fact that freedom of speech was essential at that time should tell you that freedom of speech is vital and very important even in these modern times.
Freedom of speech remain essential to us and our society, although the first amendment was instituted in 1791, the ideas of human rights that lead to freedom of speech is on paper in ancient human right documents.
The Founding Fathers of our Constitutional Republic saw Freedom of Speech as so essential to maintaining our Republic that they included it within the First Amendment.
When Freedom of Speech is fully operative:
It enables the dispersion of excellent and accurate information.
It enables media to present both sides of an issue accurately, eliminating Fake News.
People will get the impact of new ideas.
Freedom of speech is essential and ensures meaningful communication
If you can’t communicate you don’t have the liberty to express yourself freely.
Clarity of information depends on the extent to which freedom of expression of thought and freedom of speech is open in all the changes and processes taking place in society. It helps the community to stay in harmony, protects the business, and promotes foreign exchange. Free Speech gives individuals peace in running daily activities with people.
Without Free Speech we would live in a Socialist or Communist society where dissidents are punished brutally, perhaps purged to re-education or death camps. Socialists and Communists quickly silence, canceled, opposition.
Much of today’s media in cooperation of Big Tech parrots talking points of one point of view to which “Thou Shall Not Contradict”
In support I offer the following news story with a video:
Fox10 Top Rated News Anchor Resigns, “I don’t like the way the media is going
Fox10 News Anchor Kari Lake has reflected on the trend-line for U.S. media and decided she can no longer participate in an industry that has devolved to a system of narrative engineering. Ms. Lake speaks directly to the issue of manipulated news feed script and she is no longer willing to participate in this activity.
Kari Lake: “Journalism has changed a lot since I first stepped into a newsroom… I don’t like the direction it is going. …I’m sure there are other journalists out there who feel the same way.”
If you’re a pastor, a missionary, or serve in a church, you can’t avoid discouragement, disappointment, and hurt from ministry. The Bible even uses the not-so-complimentary metaphor “sheep” to describe those we serve. And sheep get dirty and smelly and often kick and bite. Sometimes those sheep in the church do the same to their shepherds. So when you get kicked, forgotten, disrespected, ignored, mistreated, gossiped about, or misunderstood, how do you move forward?
The story recorded in 1 Samuel 30 gives great insight. David had just begun his career to fight the bad guys. Early on he faced a huge defeat. While he and his army were in battle far from home, the bad guys, the Amalekites, attacked the city where his family and the families of his army lived. They burned the city and kidnapped their wives and children. When David’s men discovered this, they considered removing him from his position, not by a vote of a board or a congregation, but with big rocks to the head by stoning.
The Scriptures then record one of the most beautiful verses every written. The old King James Version captures it well.
David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (1 Sam. 30.6)
It worked because his guys didn’t stone him but marshaled their energy and once again pursued the bad guys under his leadership.
As I’ve faced discouragement in ministry, these simple choices have helped me encourage myself in the Lord.
Acknowledge your pain and emotion to the Lord but don’t wallow in it. Neuroscientists have discovered that when we name our emotions, it turns down the volume in our brain’s emotional centers.
Journal your thoughts. Writing them down helps me stop the tendency to incessantly mull over the hurtful situation. Writing therapy been scientifically proven to help us process pain.
Read God’s Word, especially those verses that speak of hope and victory. Every time you read the Bible, you are actually re-configuring the circuits in your brain and reinforcing Biblical values and truth.
Do something pro-active. Take action to move forward. In David’s case he took specific action to resolve the problem. He rallied his troops to chase down the Amalekites.
Stop condemning yourself and remind yourself that you are a child of God, loved by Him with great intrinsic value regardless of whether your church is growing or whether people treat you with respect.
Pray for those who have hurt you. I’m amazed how God defuses looming bitterness in my heart when I pray for the sheep that bite me.
Americans rated their mental health lower this year than they ever have in the past two decades, according to a survey by Gallup. The percentage of people who rated their mental health as “excellent” or “good” shrunk by nine points this year, compared to last year. But there is one group of people who have actually managed to increase their “excellent” and “good” ratings in a year that has brought stress, anxiety, and worry to many. According to the survey, weekly churchgoers are still faring well.
“The latest weakening in positive ratings, from a Nov. 5-19 poll, are undoubtedly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to profoundly disrupt people’s lives, but may also reflect views of the election and the state of race relations, both of which were on Americans’ minds this year,” a report on Gallup’s survey states.
Just over 1,000 adults were surveyed via telephone for this year’s annual November Health and Healthcare survey, which Gallup has conducted every year since 2001.
This year, the percentage of Americans that rated their mental health positively (they responded with either “excellent” or “good” when asked “How would you describe your own mental health or emotional wellbeing at this time?”) was 76 percent. This is down from 85 percent in 2019. The second lowest rating that has been reported occurred in 2002, when 81 percent of Americans rated their mental health positively.
While the numbers indicate that more Americans overall are struggling with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, when the data are broken down by demographics, a couple of groups emerge as seemingly more resilient to the year’s harsh circumstances, at least mentally. Those groups are churchgoers who attend services at least once a week and Democrats. The big winner was weekly churchgoers, however. For this group, 46 percent reported “excellent” mental health this year compared to 42 percent last year. Comparatively, Democrats didn’t see an increase in their “excellent” numbers, rather the smallest decrease out of any of the other demographic groups surveyed (29 percent of this group reports “excellent” mental health this year compared to 30 percent last year).
The biggest decreases in “excellent” mental health ratings occurred among the following groups:
Republicans (15 percent decrease) People who attend church seldom/never (13 percent decrease) People who attend church nearly weekly/monthly (12 percent decrease) People who make more than $40,000 a year (12 percent decrease) People who make more than $100,000 a year (12 percent decrease)
Other notable decreases occurred among women (10 percent decrease), singles (10 percent decrease), Independents (11 percent decrease), whites (10 percent decrease), and those aged over 65 (10 percent decrease).
Weekly churchgoers were the only group to actually increase their numbers of “excellent” ratings. It’s unclear whether those attending services weekly did so in person or online, but a couple appear safe to draw from the survey results: Church services act as a boon to a person’s mental health and church communities are essential for helping people through adverse times.
On Christmas Eve evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham asked Christians to pray that America will be spared “from the evil that is before us.”
A supporter of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Graham asked his Twitter followers to pray for the president, that God will grant him “wisdom in the coming days.”
On Saturday he posted to Facebook that Trump “has been maligned, falsely accused, and attacked on every front since before the election in 2016.”
“When President Trump says that this election has been rigged or stolen, I tend to believe him,” he wrote. “He has a track record of being right.”
The president of international aid charity Samaritan’s Purse, Graham also acknowledged the effects of the coronavirus lockdowns in an op-ed at Fox News.
“This is a Christmas unlike any other,” he wrote, one that finds many Americans filled with “fear and anxiety.”
“Large family gatherings and office parties have been replaced with grim lockdowns, quarantines and isolation,” he observed. “What used to be the warmest and most welcoming time of the year can now feel sterile and cold.”
The Christian leader also noted that while there is hope in new vaccines to combat the infection caused by the coronavirus, still “there isn’t a vaccine on Earth that can protect us from worry, depression, or fear.”
The only way to heal a “sick spirit,” Graham said, is “to find healing for deep, spiritual needs, and that’s in Jesus Christ – the hope of Christmas.”
Jesus, he continued, is “the only cure for a disease of the heart that has infected all mankind – sin.”
God’s “rescue mission to save us from our sins,” Graham said, happened on that first Christmas morning.
“When Christ was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem on that first Christmas morning, true hope was born for you and me,” he explained, adding:
While everything else may lock down, isn’t it reassuring to know there is a God who never shuts down? He will never isolate or leave those who trust in him alone.
“This is the good news of Christmas,” Graham wrote. “Jesus Christ changed the world on that first Christmas day and he has the power to change your life today and for all eternity.”
Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Psalms 119:77
We need GOD’S TENDER MERCIES TO LIVE CONTINUALLY.
He did not call us to death. Rather, God called us forth from death and brought us into Life so that we may live eternally. We need to always keep “sin” in a dead state, and to do this we need God’s mercy. What does keeping sin in a dead state mean? It means to forsake the works of death immediately in our lives.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
To be carnally/fleshly minded is death, therefore this also needs to be kept in a dead state. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6
If we hate our brethren, he is a murderer. The Scriptures says there is no eternal life for such a person. Where there is no Life, there deathis present. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15.
For mercy to remain upon us, we must perfect our works before God. If not, we are good as dead to Him. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Revelation 3:1-2
If we aren’t found in the first love, we are in a dead state. Falling away from First Loveis referred to beingasleep. Hence St.Paul writes, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians 5:14.
If we are not in the Spirit, we are in God’s sight dead. This was why God asked prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind looking at the Valley of Bones. When the prophet did so, breath came into them and in no time the Valley of Dead Bones revived into an exceeding great army.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Ezekiel 37:7-10. May God help us to preserve His mercies in our lives!
Judge: Artistic performances don’t ‘establish’ a religion
December 11, 2019
A live Nativity scene in Stuart, Florida (Photo by Joe Kovacs, used with permission)
A “grinch” organization that flexes its influence each year during the holiday season, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, has “bullied” a school district in Oklahoma into canceling a live Nativity scene that had been part of the school’s annual Christmas celebration.
LC said FFRF not only was wrong to insist such displays aren’t allowed, it mischaracterized a court ruling on the dispute.
FFRF wrote to Supt. Bret Towne of Edmond Public Schools in Edmond, Oklahoma, declaring “the Chisholm Elementary School Christmas program may not include a live Nativity scene in the performance.”
Liberty Counsel, which has handled many such disputes, said that while FFRF cited a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, the atheist organization failed “to accurately describe” the decision.
“The 7th Circuit simply did not make the sweeping ruling claimed by FFRF. FFRF has once again selectively related what actually happened in a suit, in order to frighten a school district into compliance,” Liberty Counsel explained.
The ruling stated clearly, “We are not prepared to say that a nativity scene in a school performance automatically constitutes an Establishment Clause violation.”
FFRF had said, “While a public school can hold holiday concerts, religious performances and instruction that emphasize the religious aspects of a holiday are prohibited.”
It continued, “Please note that including a live nativity performance in a school’s holiday concert remains illegal even if participation in the nativity scene is ‘voluntary.'”
FFRF cited a previous dispute in which it wanted to ban a 20-minute Nativity within a program that covered about 90 minutes.
The appeals court said: “The district court found that the Christmas Spectacular program. … A program in which cultural, pedagogical, and entertainment value took center stage – did not violate the Establishment Clause.
One judge wrote: “It is not sound, as a matter of history or constitutional text, to say that a unit of state or local government ‘establishes’ a religion through an artistic performance that favorable depicts one or more aspects of that religion’s theology or iconography. [The school] would not violate the Constitution by performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor or Handel’s Mesiah, although both are deeply religious works and run far longer than the nativity portion of the ‘Christmas Spectacular.’ Performing a work of art does not establish that work, or its composer, as the state song or the state composer; no more does it establish a state religion.”
“Liberty Counsel therefore stands ready, along with our affiliate attorneys in Oklahoma, to provide assistance at no charge to Edmond Public Schools, if the district desires to resume a live Nativity in a school Christmas program,” the organization promised.
Most people wonder if it’s possible to become a better person after maturity. The answer is a resounding yes. There’s actually room for change at every stage of our life. With a willing spirit, you can transform your personality. Once you figure out the best and easiest approach to take, you can decide the most important personal aspects to work on. Taking into account the best interest of others and your well being, below are some of the most important things you’ll need to work on, in order to make the changes.
Good people support and encourage others to do and become their best selves. I believe one of the greatest responsibilities we have is to support ourselves and others to live as close to their unique potential as possible. Because everything we say and do has a negative or positive influence on others. We should always take into consideration the words we speak to and about others.
How you can show Support?
Have some faith in others.
Hold high expectations.
Set the best example.
Be mindful of your questions.
Invest your time in them.
Let go of Anger:
Your relationships can create a haven from stress as well as help you become a better person. But if you walk away from unresolved conflicts, they can become a significant source of stress. Let’s face it, conflicts are common in our society. They happen with our families, neighbors, friends or colleagues. You have to face them in the right manner and come up with a fair solution. The best way to improve in this area is to learn conflict resolution strategies. Let’s take a look at 5 of this tools that are more effective:
Conflict Resolution Strategies:
Recognize that all of us have biased fairness perception.
Avoid escalating tensions with threats and provocative move
Overcome an “us versus them” mentality.
Look beneath the surface to identify deeper issues.
Separate sacred from pseudo-sacred issues.
You can also identify what your anger triggers and eliminate them as much as possible. Also learn to let go of any grudge and residual anger.
Be a good Listener:
Listening to others and is one of the best things you can do for another person and yourself. It shows them that you value their opinion and allows you to develop closer connection with others. You also get to hear perspectives you might otherwise dismiss. It is important to engage in active listening with the people in our lives. Being an active listener can change your life for the better. It fosters deeper relationships and exposes you to thoughts, ideas world wide views beyond your own experience. You never know what you might learn from someone.
Self care is vital for building resilience when facing life’s unavoidable stressors. Making sure that you get enough sleep is important for your physical and emotional wellbeing. Less sleep can make you less able to brainstorm solutions to problems you come across. I don’t know about you, but when l don’t sleep enough, it makes me very edgy the next day.
Eating a proper diet is also essential in keeping your body and mind healthy. When you eat healthy, problems like bloating and constipation are never going to be on your worry list. That means you will be in optimum shape for handling stress – which gives you added resilience to manage those challenges that come up unexpectedly.
Being polite is an act of kindness. We can show politeness to everyone we come across. It is not a trivial thing. This little act instill positive feelings in the people around you. Maintaining a certain level of politeness and civility is appreciated because it shows thoughtfulness, considerations, and kindness.
Live with Integrity:
Personal integrity is a cornerstone of whom we really are. It also shows what we stand for. Integrity is part of our mortal foundation. Integrity shapes the person you become with time. Living with integrity means being true to your ideas. It means that your outward actions reflect your inner beliefs and values. It means making necessary changes to live up to your standards. Take time to understand what integrity means to you and how your decisions align with your values. These things can help propel you towards becominga better person.