Archive for the ‘Matters of Faith’ Category

On the Pursuit of Happiness

Monday, September 6th, 2010

On the Pursuit of Happiness

Words mean things.  Unfortunately, with a living, dynamic language, words have a way of having their meaning changed because of the way we use them.  In the so-called “dead” languages such as Latin, ancient Hebrew, and ancient Greek, the meanings of words have been frozen in time and we can determine what the contemporary readers of early documents understood by examining the contemporary context of those words. 

This is not true with English.  Our language is in a constant state of flux.  New words come into existence and old words are dropped or redefined.  There are expressions that have emerged from our past which we still use but with little thought or understanding as to their origin or original meaning.  We use sayings like “rule of thumb”, “the whole 9 yards”, “raining cats and dogs”, “knock on wood”, for example.  When we hear them, we sense the connotation and understand the intended meaning even though, strictly defined, they make no sense.

Usage determines meaning and a word whose meaning has taken a turn for the worse is “happiness”.  Our Founding Fathers stated that, among the unalienable rights inherent in our humanity as designed by our Creator, is “the pursuit of happiness”.  What was their intended meaning?

The word “happiness” is rooted in the word “happen”.  In the 18th century it referred to what was happening in a person’s sphere of activity that was positive and beneficial as it affected the person’s relationship to family, community and to God.  Happiness was not a state of mind or a feeling.  It was a state of being.  True happiness produced a pleasant feeling as one saw his standing before men and God as proper and good.  Feeling good was the result of true happiness, not happiness itself. 

It is important that we understand this.  The unalienable right to pursue happiness is not the right to pleasant feelings.  Nor is it the right to never have any unpleasant feelings.  It is the right to pursue circumstances that would provide a right standing before God and man.  This right standing is apart from feeling.  There will be times when this pursuit produces unpleasant feelings.  Paying a bill, submitting to authority, fighting for Freedom, asking for forgiveness are all things that are unlikely to feel good at the time but they are the foundation stones of true happiness.

Our Founding Fathers did not envision a government that would provide all we need to make us feel good but rather one that would not stand in the way of our individual and collective pursuit of happiness.

By: Dan Helgerson 

RECALL NOTICE

Monday, April 13th, 2009

RECALL NOTICE: The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units, code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been technically termed “Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality,” or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed. Some of the symptoms include:

1.     Loss of direction

2.     Foul vocal emissions

3.     Amnesia of origin

4.     Lack of peace and joy

5.     Selfish or violent behavior

6.     Depression or confusion in the mental component

7.     Fearfulness

8.     Idolatry

9.     Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect. The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required. The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

1.     Love

2.     Joy

3.     Peace

4.     Patience

5.     Kindness

6.     Goodness

7.     Faithfulness

8.     Gentleness

9.     Self Control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Believers’ Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes. WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus. DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility.

Thank you for your attention! – GOD

P.S Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by ‘Knee mail’. Because He Lives!

–Sent by a female prison inmate to her Changed Choices mentor.  (http://www.changedchoices.org)

Virgins in Heaven

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

virgins-in-heaven.jpg

MAGNOLIAS……….By Edna Ellison

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

I spent the week before my daughter’s June wedding running last-minute trips to the caterer, florist, tuxedo shop, and the church about forty miles away.

As happy as I was that Patsy was marrying a good Christian young man, I felt laden with responsibilities as I watched my budget dwindle . . .  So many details, so many bills, and so little time.  My son Jack was away at college, but he said he would be there to walk his younger sister down the aisle, taking the place of his dad who had died a few years before.  He teased Patsy, saying he’d wanted to give her away since she was about three years old!  To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large magnolia trees.  Their luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green leaves would make beautiful arrangements against the rich dark wood inside the church.

After the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, we banked the podium area and choir loft with magnolias.  As we left just before midnight, I felt tired but satisfied this would be the best wedding any bride had ever had!  The music, the ceremony, the reception – and especially the flowers – would be remembered for years.

The big day arrived – the busiest day of my life – and while her bridesmaids helped Patsy to dress, her fiance Tim walked with me to the sanctuary to do a final check.  When we opened the door and felt a rush of hot air, I almost fainted!  And then I saw them – all the beautiful white flowers were black!  Funeral black!  An electrical storm during the night had knocked out the air conditioning system, and on that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted and died.

I panicked, knowing I didn’t have time to drive back to our hometown, gather more flowers, and return in time for the wedding.  Tim turned to me. ‘Edna, can you get more flowers?  I’ll throw away these dead ones and put fresh flowers in these arrangements.’

I mumbled, ‘Sure,’ as he be-bopped down the hall to put on his cuff links.

Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the dark wooden beams in the arched ceiling.  ‘Lord,’ I prayed, ‘please help me. I don’t know anyone in this town. Help me find someone willing to give me flowers – in a hurry!’  I scurried out praying for four things: the blessing of white magnolias, courage to find them in an unfamiliar yard, safety from any dog that may bite my leg, and a nice person who would not get out a shotgun when I asked to cut his tree to shreds!

As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the distance.  I approached a house . . . No dog in sight.  I knocked on the door and an older man answered. So far so good . . . No shotgun.  When I stated my plea the man beamed, ‘I’d be happy to!’  He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to me.

Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said, ‘Sir, you’ve made the mother of a bride happy today.’

‘No, Ma’am,’ he said. ‘You don’t understand what’s happening here.’

‘What?’ I asked.

‘You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on Monday.  On Tuesday I received friends at the funeral home, and on Wednesday . . .’  He paused.  I saw tears welling up in his eyes. ‘On Wednesday I buried her.’  He looked away.  ‘On Thursday most of my out-of-town relatives went back home, and on Friday – yesterday – my children left.’

I nodded.

‘This morning,’ he continued, ‘I was sitting in my den crying out loud.  I miss her so much.  For the last sixteen years, as her health got worse, she needed me.  But now nobody needs me.  This morning I cried, ‘Who needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man?  Nobody!’  I began to cry louder.  ‘Nobody needs me!’  About that time, you knocked, and said, ‘Sir, I need you.’

I stood with my mouth open.

He asked, ‘Are you an angel?  The way the light shone around your head into my dark living room . . .’

I assured him I was no angel.

He smiled. ‘Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those magnolias?’

‘No.’

‘I decided I’m needed.  My flowers are needed.  Why, I might have a flower ministry!  I could give them to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home have no flowers.  People need flowers at times like that and I have lots of them. They’re all over the backyard!  I can give them to hospitals, churches – all sorts of places.  You know what I’m going to do?   I’m going to serve the Lord until the day He calls me home!’

I drove back to the church, filled with wonder.

On Patsy’s wedding day, if anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would have said, ‘Forget it! It’s my only daughter’s wedding, for goodness’ sake!  There is no way I can minister to anyone today.’  But God found a way. Through dead flowers.

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.’

Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

There was a little old lady, who every morning stepped onto her front porch, raised her arms to the sky, and shouted: ‘PRAISE THE LORD!’

One day an atheist moved into the house next door.  He became irritated at the little old lady.  Every morning he’d step onto his front porch after her and yell: ‘THERE IS NO LORD!’

Time passed with the two of them carrying on this way every day.  One morning, in the middle of winter, the little old lady stepped onto her front porch and shouted: ‘PRAISE THE LORD! Please Lord, I have no food and I am starving. Provide for me, oh Lord!’

The next morning she stepped out onto her porch and there were two huge bags of groceries sitting there. ‘PRAISE THE LORD!’ she cried out. ‘HE HAS PROVIDED GROCERIES FOR ME!’

The atheist neighbor jumped out of the hedges and shouted: ‘THERE IS NO LORD; I BOUGHT THOSE GROCERIES!!’

The little old lady threw her arms into the air and shouted: ‘PRAISE THE LORD!  HE HAS PROVIDED ME WITH GROCERIES AND MADE THE DEVIL PAY FOR THEM!’

A Santa Story

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma.  I was just a kid.  I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: ‘There is no Santa Claus,’ she jeered. ‘Even dummies know that!’

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been.  I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her ‘world-famous’ cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm.  Between bites, I told her everything.  She was ready for me. ‘No, Santa Claus?’  She snorted….’Ridiculous! Don’t believe it.  That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!!  Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.’

‘Go? Go where, Grandma?’ I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

‘Where’ turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.  As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars.  That was a bundle in those days.  ‘Take this money,’ she said, ‘and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.’  Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old.  I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.  The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.  For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.  I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church.  I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker.  He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s second grade class. Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat.  I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter.  His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement.  I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!  I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it.  It looked real warm, and he would like that.

‘Is this a Christmas present for someone?’ the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

‘Yes, ma’am,’ I replied shyly. ‘It’s for Bobby.’

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat.  I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, ‘To Bobby, From Santa Claus’ on it.  A little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.  Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.  Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.  Then Grandma gave me a nudge. ‘All right, Santa Claus,’ she whispered, ‘get going.’ I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.  Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.  Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes.  That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous.  Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share and may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus and the miracle of the birth of the Baby Jesus at Christmas.

IN GOD WE TRUST

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

“With God’s power working in us (Eph 3:20), God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.”

We are a country where the majority rule.  But we are a society that has become lukewarm.  God help us if we allow the minority to continue dictating to the majority.  There were less than 30,000 atheists who took prayer out of the schools.  30,000 imposing their will on 200,000,000…that’s just wrong!

Let’s go POSTAL!  Payback is fun!

We heard it proposed on a radio station show that we should all write ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ on the back of all our mail.  After all, that’s our National Motto!

Write it on the back of your envelopes!  Write it on the front of your envelopes too, including bills!  Lets use it as our signature on e-mails as well!

You may have heard in the news that a couple of Post Offices in Texas have been forced to take down small posters that say ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’. The law, they say, is being violated.

It’s been reported that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, we have a very hard time understanding why there’s such a mess about having ‘In God We Trust!’ on our money and having God in the pledge of Allegiance.

Could it be that WE just need to take action and tell the 14% to ’sit down and shut up’?

We must take back our nation from all the people who think that anything that offends them should be removed.

IN GOD WE TRUST

Noah Today

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

In the year 2008, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said, “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over -populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans.”

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, “You have six months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard – but no Ark.

“Noah!,” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?”

“Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed.”

“I needed a building permit.”

“I’ve been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system.”

“My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height Limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision.”

“Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.”

“Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!”

“When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.”

“Then the EPA ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.”

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew.”

“Immigration and Naturalization are checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work.”

“The trades unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience.”

“To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.”

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least ten years for me to finish this Ark!”

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”

“No,” said the Lord.  “The GOVERNMENT beat me to it!”

America the Beautiful

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

America the Beautiful,
or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims’ pride;
I’m glad they’ll never see.

Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty;
your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly
poisoned by cocaine
choosing to indulge their lusts,
when God has said abstain

From sea to shining sea,
our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God’s love
and a need to always pray.

We’ve kept God in our temples,
how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne.

We’ve voted in a government
that’s rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges;
who throw reason out the door,

Too soft to place a killer
in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb.

You think that God’s not angry,
that our land’s a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?

How are we to face our God ,
from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do,
but stem this evil tide?

If we who are His children,
will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
and mend our evil way:

Then God will hear from Heaven;
and forgive us of our sins,
He’ll heal our sickly land
and those who live within. (2nd Chronicles 7:14)

But, America the Beautiful,
if you don’t – then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
withdraw His hand from Thee.

~~Judge Roy Moore~~

How to Forgive

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.  His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him.  He remembered family that had passed on.  His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.  Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed, “Lord, you have done wonderful things for me in this life.  You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed.  Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don’t know how.  It is not fair Lord. I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray that you teach me to do this one thing I cannot do – teach me To Forgive.”

As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt.  He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground.  He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.  He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head.  Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man’s tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.

“Have you ever told a lie?” He asked.

The man answered, “Yes, Lord.”

“Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?”

The man, crying now, answered, “Yes, Lord.”

“Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours?” Jesus asked?

And the man answered, “Yes, Lord.”

“Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?”

The man answered,”Yes, Lord.” And the man sobbed more and more.

As Jesus asked many more times, “Have you ever…?” The man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer, “Yes, Lord.”

Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.  Jesus said, “I didn’t deserve this either, but I forgive you.”