The Sounds of Silence

3 Jun

Is there really anything so silent that you can’t hear it? Not really, even silence has a sound, if you listen closely.

The song by Simon and Garfunkel, “The Sound of Silence” is thought to be about the inability of people to communicate emotionally and spiritually with each other and God.

In reality I think it has a far deeper meaning than our inability to communicate with God or to recognise those whispers in our ears as His words. The truth is we turn off listening to others as well as with God. We have some preconceived notion that no one listens to us so why pay attention to others. That and the fact people today are so wrapped up in their social media program, the hardly notice the world going on around them.

Paul Simon originally wrote the song back in 1964 as an intro for his group early one morning around 3:00. It is not sure if it started out as a prayer or not, but sure has the right beginnings.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence
.”

I don’t know about you, but most of my prayer answers come in the form of dreams in the dark of night and I just can’t get them out of my mind until I act on them. God is relentless when it comes to that, at least to me. As much as I try pushing the thought aside He keeps pushing it right in front of me until I pay attention and act on it.

In my post Solitude, I talked about how we are to pray in Solitude so we can have unfettered access to God and not be disturbed by outside influences. His answers to our prayers often come in the form of whispers in our ears and hearts and also in the form of dreams or visions.

The root of the problem is we either don’t listen of just refuse to accept what He is telling us as an answer to our prayer. This is why it is so important to pray in Solitude without outside noises interfering. His words are soft and gentle whispers that you really need to hear and follow. God’s answers to our prayers come in the form of visions, whispers in our hearts and ears as well as some messages slapping us right in the face with reality.

Some say it is just a coincidence when that happens, but I don’t believe in coincidence, there is a reason for everything that happens in life. Ask yourself the next time something pops into your mind out of the blue just what God is trying to tell you. You just might be astonished at the answer. Face it , God talks to us, we best learn to listen.

Life, for me anyway, has been full of good and not so good times. It has been through these times that I have become to know God and learn that He is always there for me. I have learned to listen to what God tells me and I grew to know never question where He leads me. Faith in His love has carried me through many hard times. I look forward to my morning quiet time with Him because He always has a blessing for me to share.

Listen to the silence in your world, the sound may just open your eyes.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

Is Bias Ever Healthy?

30 May

I have been burdened with this thought for a few days now, so decided to write about it. Just how healthy or unhealthy is Bias in the church or for life in general?

As a Christian, I believe the bible is the word of God and that Jesus is the only way to Salvation. I also believe that I am to be a living example of my faith and share my love of God with all. Lately I have listened to fellow Christians talk about how people who don’t think or believe the same as they do are totally wrong and that got me thinking.

Why is it that if someone thinks or looks differently than you, they are messed up? What happened to mutual respect for the feeling and beliefs of others? Something is amiss here and I think that something is unfettered bias and the resulting lack of respect for others. We have turned into a people of uncompromising noncompassionate zealots.

I was raised differently and see this as unhealthy not only unhealthy the Church, but for the entire population. We live in a world that is getting smaller by the day and in this world there are thousands of religions. In the United States alone there are over 300 different religions, each thinking theirs is the only way into heaven.

Mutual respect for the beliefs and feelings of others is the only way we, as a people, can grow and learn. It is time to realize not everyone in this world is the same and just because they think and look differently doesn’t make them wrong. It also doesn’t make us right!

As a Country, the United States, has become more polarized over the years and some have used this to build a great divide. This has not only hurt the Country, it has hurt the people and the church. It is time for everyone to wake up and start examining themselves. Is this what God expects from His people? I don’t think so. God is love and He expects us to love all regardless of their beliefs.

Yes, there are thousands of religions around this world, but believe it or not there is only one God!

So is Bias Ever Healthy? In my opinion never.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

We Should…

28 May

We should be better Christians if we were more alone; we should do more if we attempted less, and spent more time in retirement, and quiet waiting upon God. 

The world is too much with us; we are afflicted with the idea that we are doing nothing unless we are fussily running to and fro; we do not believe in “the calm retreat, the silent shade.” 

As a people, we are of a very practical turn of mind; “we believe in having all our irons in the fire, and consider the time not spent between the anvil and the fire as lost.” 

Yet no time is more profitably spent than that which is set apart for quiet musing, for talking with God, for looking up to Heaven. 

We cannot have too many of these open spaces in life, hours in which the soul is left accessible to any sweet thought or influence it may please God to send.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

Life and You

26 May

Life can seem ungrateful and not always kind,
Life can pull at your heartstrings and play with your mind,
Life can be blissful and happy and free,
Life can put beauty in the things that you see,
Life can place challenges right at your feet,
Life can make good of the hardships we meet,
Life can overwhelm you and make your head spin,
Life can reward those determined to win,
Life can be hurtful and not always fair,
Life can surround you with people who care,
Life clearly does offer its ups and its downs,
Life’s days can bring you both smiles and frowns,
Life teaches us to take the good with the bad,
Life is a mixture of happy and sad…

SO

Take the life that you have and give it your best,
Think positive, be happy, let God do the rest,
Take the challenges that life has laid at your feet,
Take pride and be thankful for each one you meet,
To yourself give forgiveness if you stumble and fall,
Take each day that is dealt you and give it your all,
Take the love that you’re given and return it with care,
Have faith that when needed it will always be there,
Take time to find the beauty in the things that you see,
Take life’s simple pleasures, let them set your heart free,
The idea here is simply to even the score,
As you are met and faced with life’s Tug of War.

Have a good day everyone.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love,

Ed

The Tenth Amendment

22 May

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The original Constitution of 1788 contained very few specific restrictions on the ways in which the power of the national government could be exercised against the people. It guaranteed the right to trial by jury in criminal (but not civil) cases, placed limits on prosecutions and punishments for treason, forbade bills of attainder (laws aimed at particular persons) and ex post facto laws (laws that punished conduct that was legal when it happened), limited any restrictions on habeas corpus to certain designated emergencies, and prohibited the granting of titles of nobility. But the Constitution that emerged from the 1787 Constitutional Convention contained nothing like a comprehensive bill of rights. Most state constitutions of the time had bills of rights, and many citizens—and members of the Constitutional Convention—expected the new national constitution to have one as well. Nonetheless, the state delegations at the Constitutional Convention voted 10-0 against including a bill of rights in the Constitution.

The sense of the Convention delegates was that a bill of rights, in the context of the federal Constitution, was unnecessary and even dangerous. It was considered unnecessary because the national government was alimited government that could only exercise those powers granted to it by the Constitution, and it had been granted no power to violate the most cherished rights of the people. There was, for example, no need for a provision protecting freedom of speech against Congress because, as James Wilson put it, “there is given to the general government no power whatsoever concerning it.” Edmund Randolph made the same point regarding freedom of religion, emphasizing that “[n]o part of the Constitution, even if strictly construed, will justify a conclusion that the general government can take away or impair the freedom of religion.” Similar remarks were made during the drafting and ratification process regarding juries in civil cases, general warrants, and cruel and unusual punishment. The consistent line of the Constitution’s defenders was that no bill of rights was necessary because the limited and enumerated powers of the national government simply did not include the power to violate those rights.

They even maintained that inclusion of a bill of rights would be dangerous, because it might suggest that the national government had powers that it had not actually been granted. As Alexander Hamilton put it, bills of rights “would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done, which there is no power to do?” Moreover, any list of rights would be incomplete. Such a list might indirectly endanger any rights not included on it.

In sum, the Constitution’s Framers thought that a bill of rights was appropriate for an unlimited government, but not for a limited one like the national government created by the Constitution. The Constitution accordingly sought to secure liberty through enumerations of powers to the government rather than through enumerations of rights to the people.

Not everyone was convinced by these arguments. Indeed, the absence of a bill of rights threatened to derail ratification of the Constitution, especially in key states such as Massachusetts and Virginia.  A number of states ratified the Constitution only on the express understanding that the document would quickly be amended to include a bill of rights. The first Congress accordingly proposed twelve Amendments, the last ten of which were ratified in 1791 and now stand as the Bill of Rights.

The first eight of those ratified Amendments identify various rights of the people involving such things as speech, religion, arms, searches and seizures, jury trials, and due process of law. The last two address the concerns of the Constitution’s defenders that these enumerations of rights were pointless and even dangerous.

The Ninth Amendment warns against drawing any inferences about the scope of the people’s rights from the partial listing of some of them. The Tenth Amendment warns against using a list of rights to infer powers in the national government that were not granted. In referring, respectively, to “rights . . .  retained by the people” and “powers . . .  reserved  . . . to the people,” the Ninth and Tenth Amendments also evoke themes of popular sovereignty, highlighting the foundational role of the people in the constitutional republic.

The Tenth Amendment’s simple language—“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”—emphasizes that the inclusion of a bill of rights does not change the fundamental character of the national government. It remains a government of limited and enumerated powers, so that the first question involving an exercise of federal power is not whether it violates someone’s rights, but whether it exceeds the national government’s enumerated powers. 

In this sense, the Tenth Amendment is “but a truism.”United States v. Darby (1941). No law that would have been constitutional before the Tenth Amendment was ratified becomes unconstitutional simply because the Tenth Amendment exists. The only question posed by the Tenth Amendment is whether a claimed federal power was actually delegated to the national government by the Constitution, and that question is answered by studying the enumerated powers, not by studying the Tenth Amendment. That was the understanding of the Supreme Court for nearly two centuries.

Nonetheless, beginning in 1976, a line of cases has emerged that seems to give substantive constitutional content to the Tenth Amendment. In 1986, inGarcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, a narrow majority of the Supreme Court held that a city was required to comply with federal labor laws, and that state sovereignty interests should be protected by the participation of states in the national political process, rather than by judicially-enforced principles of federalism. However, while Garcia has never been explicitly overruled, in subsequent cases the Court has indeed found judicially-enforceable limits on the power of the federal government to regulate states (and their political subdivisions) directly. So it is now meaningful to speak of “Tenth Amendment doctrine.” Those cases all involve action by the federal government that in some way regulates or commands state governments, such as by telling states what policies they must adopt, New York v. United States (1992), forcing state or local executive officials to implement federal laws or conditioning the states’ acceptance of federal money on compliance with certain conditions. Interestingly, the Tenth Amendment has not been invoked by the Court to protect individual citizens against the exercise of federal power.

Whether the Tenth Amendment actually is, or ought to be, serving as an independent source of constitutional principles of federalism is a matter of great controversy, both on and off the Court. Do these “Tenth Amendment” cases really involve the Tenth Amendment, or do they simply interpret (or perhaps misinterpret) specific grants of federal power in light of certain principles codified in the Tenth Amendment, but present in the Constitution’s structure and design even before the Bill of Rights was ratified?

The 9th Amendment

22 May

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The Ninth Amendment, of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that states that there are other rights that may exist aside from the ones explicitly mentioned, and even though they are not listed, it does not mean they can be violated. The Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights was put into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.

When the United States Constitution was first sent out to the states to be voted on, people known as the Anti-Federalists argued that there should also be a Bill of Rights. However, another group known as the Federalists did not think it was necessary. They worried that putting in the Bill of Rights gave power to the government by specifically discussing what the government could not do.

Because of these debates, the Virginia Ratifying Convention tried to compromise by proposing a constitutional amendment that said that any amendments limiting Congress’ power should not be reason to extend their power. This proposal led to the creation of the Ninth Amendment.

When James Madison introduced the Ninth Amendment to the House of Representatives, he said that this draft was to prevent increasing the power of the government and is put in as a cautionary measure. He felt that the first Eight Amendments talked about how the federal government could exercise its powers, and the Ninth Amendment looked referred to many rights that still could not be taken away by the government.

Today, the Ninth Amendment is used mainly to stop the government from expanding their power rather than just limiting their power. Sometimes, courts try to use the Ninth Amendment as a way to provide and enforce rights that are not actually talked about in the Constitution.

The Seventh Amendment

22 May

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

The Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that guarantees a jury trial for civil cases in the federal courts. However, this type of case is usually not heard anymore in the federal court system. The Seventh Amendment was introduced as a part of the Bill of Rights into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.

Understanding the Seventh Amendment Line by Line

“In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved”: When the Seventh Amendment was written in the 1700s, $20 was considered a lot of money. Today, any disputes that involve amounts less than $75000 will not be handled in a federal court. 

“And no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law”: It is against United States law to setting up your own court system. If a person goes to court, he will always go to a court recognized by the government. These courts are often city, country, state, or national courts. 

History of the Seventh Amendment

Before 1688, English judges were servants under the King of England. These judges were often biased towards the King, and because of this, their rulings were not always fair. During the Act of Settlement 1701, English judges won their independence from the king, but judges in the American colonies were still biased towards the king. King George III got rid of trials by juries in the Colonies, which made colonists very upset and fueled the fire that led to the American Revolution. When the Framers wrote the Bill of Rights, they understood how important it was to have a fair court system, so they made sure that the right to have a trial by jury was a fundamental law of the country.