Through You I Was Loved

How did you know I was hurting, that I’d come to the end of my strength?

You know we’d not even spoken, yet you prayed for me at length.

I thought I had covered it well, though my tears I could hardly hold back.

How strange that you felt my need and sensed I was under attack.

I thought the whole world had forgotten me, my friends and loved ones too.

Then I felt the strength returning when God showed me He loved me through you.

My despair made Him seem far away; I had needed someone  to care.

But tonight again God loved me, when you mentioned my name in prayer.

Carol Vaughn

“Memories…light the corners of my mind.”

I lost my little girl when she was 2 and a half years old.  It devastated me, but it also taught me never to take people for granted.  Even now, when my grown children leave, I assure them that I love them.  It could be the last time I see them.  How precious my parents are to me!  How I wish I could spend more time with my brother and my sisters!  And now there are my precious grandchildren that I miss so much when I am not with them.

I remember vividly when we dropped my oldest son off at college far away.  He walked away from the car after saying good-bye, and I lost it.  He didn’t see it or know it, but I cried for the next two hours.  I lost him forever that day.  Life was never the same, and to this day, I still miss him so much that my heart aches when I think of him.  He was and still is my pride and joy.

Dropping off my daughter at college tore me up as well.  I always felt like she was my own heart walking around outside of me, and when I had to say good-bye to her in less than ideal and possibly unsafe conditions…well…I learned again to let go and trust in God for her safety.  But, a huge hole was left in my life.  Everyday, I miss her.

I am forever grateful that the memories they left behind were wonderful ones.  Danny and I loved to laugh together.  He loved to sing and seek the truth about things.  He still does.  Amie amazed me so many times with her boldness and bravery when I knew that inside she was just a scared little girl.  She let nothing stop her. She was always the leader, the captain of her little army (her brothers and sisters), the risk taker, and the seeker of new adventures.

What precious memories I have to keep me company!  They are like gifts I will have forever.  Forever I will have the memories my little Susie left me when she died, gifts of hugs and kisses, memories of the way she talked and the things she did.

I hope that when I die I will leave good memories to the people I love.  I really hope they don’t remember my bad moments.  I would like them to remember that I was kind, loving, and patient.  I want them to remember that above all I loved God and lived for Him.

After Susie died, her grandparents out of their love for her, latched onto her sister Amie.  We had moved about 3 or 4 hours away at the time, and they would make a point of visiting on Amie’s birthday.  They would take us all out to eat at a pizza place and shower her with gifts.    I remember though, that Amie did not care about the gifts.  She loved being with her grandma and grandpa and ignored the presents.  One birthday, when they finally said good-bye and walked out into the night, Amie cupped her face to the window and watched them drive away until way after she could no longer see them.  Then she walked to the couch, and picked up her stack of boxed presents and carried them around the house until bedtime.

How that incident spoke to me!  Those gifts were all she had left of her grandparents and memories are all I have left of Susie.  But what of the memories I leave?  What kind of presents will my loved ones open after I am gone?  I don’t want to leave gifts that stink of grouchiness, moodiness, anger, selfishness, or neglect.  I don’t want to leave dark miserable gifts of dishonesty, hypocrisy or regrets. When my children and loved ones open the gifts I will leave, I hope they find the beauty of a life filled with God’s grace that spreads to others.  And I hope that the memories of God’s faithfulness to me will carry them through the rest of their lives.  These are the gifts I want to leave with them. These are the memories I want to light their way.

The Grooming of Americans… by the Church?

How did we as freedom loving Americans get to place where we would choose an authoritarian president who is a threat to our liberty?  It amuses me that the hippies who loudly rebelled against the establishment and authoritarianism are behind this man.  Every week the administration creates dozens of new rules and regulations, encroaches upon religious freedom, and mandates new taxes. Here is a president who thinks he can get away with murder by expressing outrage in order to silence his accusers. Added to this, he has solicited the help of the media in helping him get away with murder, blackmail, and at least the suspicion of possibly supplying arms to al-Qaeda.  What is outrageous is the hubris and arrogance of this president and his bully pulpit.

Why have we accepted this “touch not my anointed” concept toward the president? Could it be that people closely associated with him are afraid of losing their jobs and committing political suicide?  Or do they really believe that he holds the answers this country needs?  Perhaps we the people have been groomed to look for a demigod to worship.

Where did we get this idea?  I submit that the American church is partially responsible in grooming us to accept this unquestioning allegiance to a dictator.

One of the first stories I learned as a child was the Bible story about some children who were calling an Old Testament prophet names and making fun of his bald head.  The prophet told them that they would be destroyed and a bear came out of the wood and ate them.  This story was especially recited by the authoritarian pastor who had “divine unction” to run the church the way he wanted. Sure he had deacons, but they had been pounded over the head with this story also as well as the
“touch not My anointed” biblical phrase until they became yes men.  They did not want to be known as going against “God’s man.”  As a result, the pastor was put on a pedestal willingly or unwillingly by people who had been taught this all of their lives.  They thought this was how it was supposed to be.  They thought this was the way God wanted it to be.

I don’t know much about church government, but I highly suspect that the government of one head pastor for a congregation is neither wise nor entirely biblical.  You ask an average church member who keeps the pastor accountable and they will say, as they have been groomed to say, “God does.”

I have learned and observed in others that one of the main things we need in this life is accountability.  I need it, and so does everyone else.  Without it we grow lazy, unlikely to accomplish anything, and very likely to degenerate morally.  Knowing this, as laymen, we voluntarily submit ourselves to those structures that keep us accountable.  We attend church, we join a life-group or Sunday School class. We make good friends.  We become members of upright organizations.  We even encourage others to ask us the tough questions.  Without all this, it is a “Slow Fade” as the song says.  We go our own way, stumble, and fall.  The value of accountability cannot be overstated.

Ok.  Who keeps the pastor accountable?  To whom does he submit for accountability?  God? Does not God give us structures like those mentioned above to keep us accountable?  Is this not also the way the pastor becomes accountable?  If he answers to no man, then does he hear God’s voice in a way that his people do not?  Does he have a divine connection that is denied to his people?  Or is he rejecting the accountability available to him?

We have been groomed in America to accept an unaccountable authoritarian demigod president in part because for years we have set up little religious kingdoms across America who unquestioningly accept a man in a bully pulpit as having a divine mandate.

Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  This is a proven principle.  The man or woman does not exist who can be uncorrupted by absolute power without the building the structure of accountability around him or her.  One only has to look at the long line of fallen leaders, religious, secular, and political to understand this.

It is up to the people to hold our leaders accountable and to insist that they accept the counsel, yea even ask for it from those around them who are knowledgeable in the pertinent fields.  It is also up to us to demand answers when questions arise and integrity seems compromised.

Of course how can we hold others accountable unless we submit to it ourselves.  We generally vote our lifestyles, and perhaps that is a large part of the problem.  If we don’t want accountability, it makes pleasant company to elect those who do not want it.  We must have integrity in order to demand it from others.  It behooves us then to take care of both obligations.  The future of our churches are at stake as well as the future of our country.

 

Our Changing Nation

It is no longer a nation worthy of carrying the banner “One Nation Under God.”  We are a divided nation; a nation of givers and takers.  There are characteristics of both that have built two opposite national mindsets.  Givers know what it means to build an economy.  Their agenda is to turn takers into givers.  In order to do this they know that they have to work.  They believe in “If any should not work, neither should he eat.”  They work for what they get and believe that all should.  They don’t make excuses, they work.  This takes character.  They don’t steal, they work.  They keep a clear head so they can work.  They are not druggies, not alcoholics, and are generally not promiscuous.  Indulging in any of these turns them sooner or later into takers. People that work hard want to protect  that for which they work and they want to protect the freedoms and rights that provide them this work environment.  They become defenders of liberty and the military.  They know that without employees they will fail, so they give people jobs, they give to charity, they support causes they believe in that which further protects and promotes freedom.

Takers are an opposite breed.  Entitlement is their agenda, and government is their god.  Their worship of the nanny state takes precedent over character, over loyality to country, and over morals.  It is evident by their vote for a man who murders babies, pushes the gay agenda, violates freedoms, taxes the givers, and destroys the military.  Why do they vote for him?  He takes from the givers and gives to the takers.  He tells them they do not have to work, that they have a right to free stuff, even free healthcare.  They no longer have to work, they can play and talk on their Obamaphone.  They have given up self-respect and have no respect for God or His principles.  They scoff and make fun of, and hate those who do respect God, and those who have profited by making something of themselves.

What in the world is going to happen when the givers don’t have any more to give?  Where is Obamacare then?  Who is going to pay for abortion?  Who is going to pay for contraception?  Givers have to pay for the self-indulgent life styles of the takers.  They are forced to become enablers of a lazy self-indulgent society by those who do not understand how a nation becomes great by empowering people to be independent and strong.  There is one thing that takers do not take.  They do not take responsibility for their own actions.  They want choice after they have already chosen.  That is not the way it works.  You choose, and then you pay the consequences of your choice.  That is the responsible thing to do.  But wait.  They are the takers.  Takers encroach on the freedoms of others.  They want someone else to pay the consequences of their choices.  Because they want something they did not work for, they want to make givers do things that go against their conscience.  How low can they go?  Very low.  Takers have no respect for religion.  Religion now has to provide for their indulgences, yea their very sins.

How did we raise a generation of takers? How did we raise a generation of people who choose to be dependent on the teats of government and reject  morals, character, religion and country? Indeed they glory in their rebellion against morals, character, religion and country. They want what they want and they want it now.  They are the bad egg.  They are the spoilers of our nation. These are the takers…the destroyers of freedom…the murderers of babies…the playboys and playgirls of our society…the traitors of our nation.  They will bring us down.