Archive | July, 2015

The First Ammendment

26 Jul

The First Ammendment — Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

With all the hoop-la the past few weeks over the latest decisions by our Supreme Court and the discourse by Church leaders and some in our Congress, I thought it just may be interesting to explain what the First Ammendment is all about.

In it’s forty-five words, the First Ammendment covers an astonishing amount of ground. It’s guarantees fall into two halves — religious guarantees first, guarantees of expressive rights next.

It is fairly clear what Congress, or the Government, can or can’t do in regards to churches as far as the establishment of religion or for the free exercise of any said religion. The key phrase here is ‘free exercise’ and our Country, as much as we hate to admit it, is based on diversity of religions, along with people and not based solely on the ‘Christian’ religion. In 1784, when the Constitution was developed, Churches were more setup and controlled by the States and the writers wanted to make sure it was understood by all the Federal Government had no place interfering.

The second section covers the freedoms we are guaranteed under the Constitution — The freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble and the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. These all sound good, but the Government can stipulate conditions on these freedoms pretty much at well. Over the years they have only stepped in a few times, for National Security.

The Church, using the second section of the ammendment, petitioned the Court for a redress of grievances and asked the Court to make a judgment over several issues covering abortion, birth control and LGBT marriage. The Court, not wanting to get into the issue, pushed it back to the State. Unfortunately the Church was not satisfied and pushed until the issues found themselves back in front of the Court.

It may be interesting to note that at the same time the Church was complaining about how the Government was sticking it’s nose into the business that is considered sacred ground, violating the ‘separation of Church and State’.

In the end, the Court was forced to become involved and the decisions they made were not quite what the Church was expecting, so the whole mess blew up in their face. The diversity of our country required the Court to exercise equal rights for all since all Americans are covered under the Constitution and all have the same rights guaranteed.

To the Church the Court was making laws changing the intent of the Constitution and the whole foundation of the Church a direct violation of the Separation of Church and State therefore the Court was wrong in their eyes and they set out on a campaign to discredit the Justices.

The Court was right in it’s decision guaranteeing the rights of all Americans. Right or wrong, the diversity of the United States is what makes it so strong. I agree with the Court, in part, that if the Church wants Government to stay out of the Church, the Church needs to stay out of Government. We would be less divided, as a Country, if we would recognize the diversity of the people in the Country and remember we all have the same rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

I was once told by a minister that these rights are God given, what he failed to realize that we live in a country where these God given rights are guaranteed by a Constitution. Not every country in the world can say that.

If we, as Christians, believe that God puts people in Office for His Glory, we must also believe He led the Supreme Court Justices to these decisions for the same purpose. I trust God and know He has a purpose for everything. I am happy to follow the Bible and let the latest decisions work their way through to fruition, for His glory. His commandment to love your neighbor as I have loved you offers Christians an opportunity to display their love for all regardless of race, color or belief by setting the example on how Christians are supposed to live. Not judging, but standing firmly on the message of the Gospel leading others to Him.

Walk daily with God at your side.

Love,

Ed

Listen To Your Mind – Follow Your Heart

25 Jul

Growing up with Grandfather as my mentor proved that my ability to pick up and learn something became easier and easier. It was then we discovered I had pretty much a photographic memory, which pretty much meant if I saw it I remembered it. All this was very exciting to learn, but it did have tendency to mark me as a nerd. Can you imagine being a nerd at the age of 8?

Mom enrolled me in a Mensa group to keep me occupied, but after a while that became boring because all we did was read. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read, but there is more to life than reading a book. Grandfather seeing this happening, sat me down and said – You need to listen to your mind and follow your heart!

What does that mean? Listen to your mind, well everything we do involves the mind – the intellectual center, the reasoning part of the human brain. Follow your heart, well we learn to how love in life, share our experiences and be happy in life.

Sometimes we, as humans, tend to over intellectualize things to the point that we take all the enjoyment out it. Life is meant to be an enjoyable learning experience, not something we do just to show accomplishment. We need, well I did, to take a step back and look at finding joy in our daily activities at the same time learning something new from the experience.

It is the joy in life that makes it worth living for joy is the source of love, kindness and gratitude – the very foundation of life. Faith that it’s not always in your hands or when things don’t always go the way you planned, but you have to have faith that there is a plan for you, and you must follow your heart and believe in yourself no matter what.

Trust your own instincts, go inside, follow your heart. Right from the start. go ahead and stand up for what you believe in. As I’ve learned, that’s the path to happiness. As Grandfather always said – Listen to your mind and follow your heart.

How about you, have you made room for happiness in life?

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

PS: If you have a topic you would like me to write about, let me know, I am always looking for topics. Thanks

The Nature Of Life

14 Jul

There is nothing more precious than to look out over a field at sunrise and see the bright golden haze washing across the dew covered blades of grass. I feel this new freshness every morning is Gods way of showing mankind a new beginning – a new life.

I live in the country and for the most part am a country boy. I have a fairly decent education and am considered to be somewhat above average in intelligence. But even with all this education and knowledge I find I am still being educated on a daily basis by the wonders of nature. I have learned every creature, even the ant has a special place in our everyday living. I am in awe over the lessons we, as people, seem to overlook in our very busy lives.

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. Yet we don’t take the time to enjoy the glory of it’s birth. I remember when Grandfather would tell me to stop to smell the roses, enjoy the beauty of it’s birth. Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. It all has meaning in life, so take the time to learn and enjoy natures lessons.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. If you are going to even begin to understand what life really means, you have to take time to learn how nature portrays life.

Over the years I have learned it is all about love, the freshness of the dew covered grass, the beauty of the new blossom on the flower – it is God showing us His love on a daily basis, gently showing us there is more to love than meets the eye. Love is the key to everything in life and He shows us that rather than loving to live we should live to love.

I guess if we are to live to love, we should know what love really is. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 shows us – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. When Jesus commanded us to Love our neighbors as He has loved us, I think he had this in mind. He wants us to do everything, everyday with the love He has given us.

Love is life, and if you miss love, you miss life. Love is stronger than knowledge. I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.

When I look at life, I see something that overcomes all and something that we all should be sharing every minute of everyday. Love is more easily experienced than defined. As a theological virtue, by which we love God above all things and neighbors as ourselves for his sake, it seems remote until we encounter it enfleshed, so to say, in the life of another – in acts of kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice.

Love’s the one thing that can never hurt anyone, although it may cost dearly. The paradox of love is that it is supremely free yet attaches us with bonds stronger than death. It cannot be bought or sold; there is nothing it cannot face; love is life’s greatest blessing.

Love is the nature of life, and life is not worth living without it. You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about your despair and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, nature offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

Nature is love given to us everyday, love so special that one can’t help but notice – if you just take the time to look. I love life and I live to love. How about you?

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

When The Darkness Comes…

14 Jul

We all have times in our life when it seems there is nothing going right. It is at these dark times in our life that we begin to really understand the light that shines within us.

For even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.

Basically, it comes down to this, we need dark to measure light and light to measure dark. Without one we would never know the existence of the other. Darkness is the absence of light, but how many of us have ever seen total darkness? I don’t think I have ever been in total darkness for God has always been the light at the end of the tunnel. He has always been there to show me the way.

When I realized that I am never alone, I began to understand that for every instance and bump in the road, there is a lesson there for me to learn and a story for me to share. It is then that I learned people are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. God has blessed us with His glory and asked that we share it with others so that they also can show their light.

We have a choice about how we take what happens to us in our life and whether or not we allow it to turn us. We can become consumed by the darkness, or we can regain our humanity somehow, and come to terms with things and learn something about ourselves. Then we can take that lesson and teach it to others by showing them out light that shines brightly from within, even in the darkest of times.

Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation – when you’re in the darkest of darkness – that’s when your priorities are reordered. When I fell back in March and busted my hip, I thought it was the end of the world for me as I knew it. The doctors were saying I would be on crutches for up to six months and I wondered what God had planned for me with this little hardship. Well, I met some of the sweetest people and was able to share the light with many of them. I was blessed to share my story with them and to show them the strength that God has given me to overcome the rocks that were placed in my path. In turn I was blessed to share their stories of His love and grace.

It is times like this when I remember that: When the darkness comes…the stars come out.

Walk daily with God at your side.

Love,

Ed