Friday, November 30, 2012
Take time to read and enjoy her post on her Thanksgiving holiday.
Less was More
Thursday, November 29, 2012
This post today is a review of the movie as well as thoughts on what we as a nation can learn from President Lincoln and his role in the passing of the 13th Amendment.
In terms of the characters I have to commend Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field in their portrayals of the President and First Lady. The movie really showed how they related to each other as a couple and how that influenced Lincoln's drive to get the amendment past. Which leads me to one of the memorable quotes in the movie. Prior to January 31, 1865, Mary Todd Lincoln says to her husband, "You better make sure this amendment passes or you will have me to deal with." Made me think of that common phrase, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" Of the quotes in the movie, the following struck me the most. In parenthesis is the character that said the statement.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the House of Representatives. This is your house."
- William Seward (Republican House Leader) Spoken on January 31, 1865 to
the gallery that was predominantly African Americans.
"I don't know what the future holds for me and my people."
- First lady's assistant's response after Lincoln asked her what would she and
her family do after the13th Amendment is passed and they are a free people.
"It begins with Liberty."
- President Lincoln talking to two operators. This is Lincoln's conclusion on
how humanity should live derived from a geometry principle. Lincoln, in his
monologue quotes Euclid, "If two things are equal to the same thing, they are
equal to each other."
As I watched the movie I was struck by a lot of irony between 1865 and 2012 as well as the dramatic changes in the political parties from then until now. In 1865 the end to slavery was being fought for on the battle fields and in Congress, today people are fighting for equality under the law. The only difference is, and a good one I might add, is the fight for equality is in state government, federal government and the Supreme Court rather than on a battle field. It is important to remember that the battle field was the US and more specifically in Virginia and NC.
It is without doubt that the passage of the 13th Amendment dramatically changed the course of this country. What I admire about Lincoln was his willingness to stand for an unpopular cause even among his own party because, "It begins with Liberty".
As we approach a new year and new and returning representatives and senators come to Washington, we as a people of these United States should focus on Liberty. Liberty for all.
A final quote:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Colossians 1:24
The greatest period of suffering in my life began in December of 2006. For 12 years if have struggled with and suffered from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I learned in a rude and sudden interruption that PTSD can change an extrovert, according to the Myers Brigg personality test, to an introvert who avoids social interaction and refuses to build relationships beyond those that only function on the surface. How have I suffered from PTSD:
I wouldn't share my struggles with my closest family and friends
I would have daily flashbacks and fight to stay present in reality, so as not to get lost in the past
I would lose all ability to trust anyone, including God (Though only briefly)
And I would lose my love for teaching young children
During these past 12 years I would struggle with Paul's words that I should rejoice in my suffering. That's insane, right?
Well, in the past week I have discovered something new. As suddenly as my world came crashing down in December of 2006 God would come in boldly on Saturday, November 17 and I could say, "I give thanks for the sufferings of 2011, they make the blessings of 2012 all the more special. Today, I can add to that and say, "I thank God for the past 12 years of suffering, for God has been glorified through it." God is glorified when:
A youth thanks God for Ms. Adele coming to teach the Bible
A youth thanks God for Ms. Adele showing her the truth
A youth comes to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and commits their life to Christ.
An adult tells me how I understand them and how my kindness helps them feel loved and special.
I discover a rewarding and encouraging friendship with a fellow sister in Christ.
And through my suffering I understand the suffering of others who struggle with the evils of humanity.
God has been glorified through my suffering and through my weakness God has made me strong.
In 2002, prior to graduating from Campbell University Divinity School, I had to complete my Senior Synthesis. Part of that paper had to include a one page document that was a summary of my call and goals. I wrote that for my future, "My desire is that every person I encounter, that when they see me, who they see is Jesus Christ." I believe and know that this desire of mine is being fulfilled daily through my suffering.
If God is glorified then my suffering is worth it. Can you give thanks to God for your suffering? If you can't I understand. Take courage that God is working within you and that in your weakness he is making you strong.
“Thanks be to Thee, Jesus Christ,
For the many gifts Thou has bestowed on me,
Each day and night, each sea and land,
Each weather fair, each calm, each wild.
I am giving Thee worship with my whole life,
I am giving Thee assent with my whole power,
I am giving Thee praise with my whole tongue,
I am giving Thee honour with my whole utterance.
I am giving Thee reverence with my whole understanding,
I am giving Thee offering with my whole thought,
I am giving Thee praise with my whole fervour,
I am giving Thee humility in the blood of the Lamb.
I am giving Thee love with my whole devotion,
I am giving Thee kneeling with my whole desire,
I am giving Thee love with my whole heart,
I am giving Thee affection with my whole sense;
I am giving Thee existence with my whole mind,
I am giving Thee my soul, O God of all gods.”
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Back in September, Labor Day weekend I went on vacation to Martha's Vineyard and North Kingstown, Rhode Island. While in Rhode Island I took a day trip to the community of Narragansett. A beautiful ocean side community in South Kingstown Rhode Island. Here are some of the pictures I tool while there.
On October 30 Hurricane Sandy decided to leave its mark on New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Narragansett was left with great destruction. See the photos of the aftermath.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Human Trafficking is one of the largest criminal activities in the world. It only falls behind drug dealing and is tied with illegal arms dealing. Here are some more statistics that you should be aware of in regards to Human Trafficking:
In a recent post by Grace, as a guest post on someones blog she raises awareness of the atrocities committed against young girls who are caught up in the sex slave industry through poetry. The poem is written out of real stories of girls who are slaves around the world. This post is not for the faint of heart. It is disturbing, appalling and will make you uncomfortable. But I believe sometimes we must be made to be uncomfortable so that God can move us to participate in his work of redemption and rescue. In the Old Testament we see God as a redeemer when he freed the Israelites from Egypt where they were slaves. Jesus died on the cross to free us from the enslavement of our own sins. Though the bible is complete God's work is not. He is still in the business of redemption and we are the ones he chooses to use to free those who find themselves enslaved and oppressed. I ask you to take a few moments to read this poem and I pray that it will stir in you the desire to help end slavery in our world. Click on this link to read the poem. Below are additional links of organizations that exist solely to the work to end slavery. Check them out and see how you can help with their cause. With all of us working together I believe we can and will see the end of slavery.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Eternal God, Who has sought Your people across the generations, we open ourselves to Your presence in this moment of newness for our country. We pray for peace and prosperity in our land. We are grateful for the freedom in which we have been able to choose a leader. We are glad to praise You on this day that stirs hope for some, which brings disappointment for some, but which is a time for acknowledging Your goodness by all.
For our country — Lord, hear our prayer.
We are thankful for all those who offered themselves for offices of service and vision, and for all public servants. Give them discernment. Give them wisdom. Give them vision. Grant them the patience of cooperation. We pray for Gov. Romney and his family, that they will mourn the loss with integrity and move confidently forward in whatever work you call them to do.
We pray for President Obama and his family, that they will celebrate their victory with humility and serve in faithful stewardship of this high post. Grant him a sensitive heart, a clear mind, a willing spirit, and an active courage. Help him serve wisely with both caution and risk, and always to Your glory.
For our leaders — Lord, hear our prayer.
God of all the nations, You have called all people to lives of righteousness and justice, peace and wholeness. But we confess that sometimes we have cared more for lofty places than we have for places of service. We confess that sometimes we have worked more for power than we have for purpose. Help us be humble enough to work together with those with whom we disagree for sake of the common good.
Keep ever before us the broken places of our life together, places of despair and disappointment. Set our ears to hear the cry of the poor. Set our eyes to see the needs of the sick. And blend us with all people of good will, both in this place and beyond, to be a light to the world, bringing freedom to the oppressed and hope to all in need.
For our hearts — Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.
Prayer adapted from selections from Just in Time! Pastoral Prayers in Public Places, available in the Ministry Matters Premium Subscription.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Thursday, November 1, 2012
I the past month many people have posted on Facebook positions that they "Fully" support or "Completely" agree with. Some are political, some philosophical and a lot of them are religious. I must admit that when I read or hear someone say. "I completely... or I fully..." when it comes to their pastors or religious leaders, I ask myself, "And have you read the bible and made up your own mind?" See, I am a skeptic and I do not believe that anyone of us can find even one person that we will agree with on every issue in scripture. Even the disciples didn't agree with Jesus and at times argued with him. I think that gives us some room, to disagree with our pastors and religious leaders of today, and maybe even argue with them.
With this in mind I want us to look at what it might mean to, "Love the Lord your God with all of your mind"
What makes me a Baptist is what I call the four fragile freedoms. In a book by the title The Baptist Identity, Walter B. Shurden wrote about these freedoms in 1993. They are: