16 Feb

Thoughts, Prayers and ANGER!

I’ve been mulling what and how to write this post almost since I heard of the latest shooting.  Please be warned that it’s social, political and spiritual – yes that CAN happen!

The multitude of posts for “thoughts and prayers” for the latest (I’ve read 18) school shootings this year is starting to ring hollow. Aren’t we, as Jesus followers supposed to take action as well as pray? (James 1:22) . My beloved unbeliever is wont to continually rag on these self-righteous leaders in government and the church who say all the right platitudes but offer no justice, mercy or humility when it comes to developing solutions. Yeah, “thoughts and prayers” are pretty empty about now. In truth, I believe most of us may have started to normalize this rampant epidemic! You know what I mean… “Ho hum, there was another shooting today. Only seventeen people died” I ask you, is THAT what we have become as a nation, a people, and the Church?

How sad is it that we’re doing “active shooter” drills in schools? That we’re not even safe to go to the sanctuary that is our local house of worship? Heck, I’m starting to think its safer to walk down the streets of New York at midnight than it is to go to a concert!

Let me re-iterate, as I have done in previous posts about mass shootings: I AM NOT ANTI-GUN! I am against wholesale slaughter, especially of our young people so it’s about time to DO SOMETHING!!!

Our duly elected Congress seems to have forgotten the basics of the Constitution! Yeah, there IS the Second Amendment (and might I add NRA contributions) that seem to cause them to hesitate when it comes to ESTABLISHING JUSTICE, INSURING THE DOMESTIC PEACE (TRANQUILITY), PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE AND PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE  of their constituents aka their EMPLOYERS  … We the people!

One of my guiding verses in Scripture is 

Many will say that its a mental health issue. I’m of the camp that leans more to an emotional health  issue. You may think they’re the same, but that’s not quite true.  We may have diagnosed mental illness like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia or depression.  These are considered physical psychiatric illnesses. However, what I’m talking about is how we deal with those feelings we all have like anger, frustration, fear, sadness, love, envy loneliness etc..  I think you get the idea. EVERYONE experiences these at one time or another in life. That isn’t the issue.  The issue is how we cope with these things. I suspect that the young man who horrendously shot up former classmates and teachers was depressed, angry and in pain. Unfortunately, while I understand he had been getting some direction, it wasn’t helping. I’m not making excuses for him – just sayin’ ! We humans are funny in that when we hurt we may strike out to hurt others. When angry, we want revenge. When sad, well, we may artificially try to fix that with addictive substances.

In my view this is part of the problem. In recent decades funding for those who need support has been drastically reduced. Medical costs, in general are often beyond the median income of anyone.

Now to the other aspect-responsibility and liability. This is where government has a role!! Recently, DJT rescinded an order preventing the mentally ill from acquiring a gun. Congress, as we speak, is considering a bill that would allow permitted individuals to carry guns across state lines-even those states that have no provision for “concealed carry”. How is this furthering the aims of the Preamble to the Constitution? How is this justice, mercy or humility? Dare I say it- it’s damn near stupidity! Just think if the Las Vegas shooter was able to take his arsenal to a concert at Hollywood Bowl!

As I said- I’m not against RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERSHIP!!!   I have owned guns with requisite registration, licensing etc. I also took certification and use classes to know how to handle it. (just think, we do all that to drive too!)  IMHO MOST gun owners are responsible. Sport hunters, collectors, target shooters as well as those who do keep a gun for personal protection. From all I’ve read, they are just as upset as I am! As the saying goes … one bad apple… Sadly, too many paranoid conspiracy fanatics are “‘fraid the gov’mint gonna take our guns and lock us in FEMA camps and make us slaves” Well if that’s you-GET OUT AND VOTE! ELECT TRUSTWORTHY LAW-ABIDING REPRESENTATIVES. NOT THESE GREEDY POWER-MONGERING BRIBED OFFICIALS!!!  There, I said it! In many ways, we the people’ are responsible for this carnage! We, as a free people, are privileged to choose our leaders. And yet the apathy towards voting amazes me. What’s really sad is that those who do the most complaining about the government are the least likely to vote!

Parents-you’re there too! When did it become ok to not teach coping skills at home? When it was easier to sit them in front of the idiot box while you did your nails or had a beer with the boys? Teachers and school seem to me to have become nothing more than a babysitting service with some education thrown in. And heaven forbid a teacher let’s you know your child has a problem.  It must be the teacher’s fault right??? NOT!!! Many of my fellow Jesus-followers will say its because there is no prayer in schools. However, I believe scripture says otherwise. (Prov. 22:6). As parents WE need to train our kids to deal with those negative emotions in healthy ways. I know it’s hard but learn to say “NO” once in awhile. Help them to realize that they’re worth more than what Facebook, Instagram or other social media might dictate. Teach them it’s NOT acceptable to strike out when they’re angry, disappointed or not the most popular kid in school. And for heaven’s sake, let’s stop with “participation trophy” awards. Despite what culture seems to dictate, winning isn’t everything!

One last thing.. those who are classified as terrorists may, at the end,  follow a specific ideology. Considering  our culture and the current socio-political outrage of those who are immigrants or have a different faith or maybe just speak more than one language or don’t look just like you. (Can you say bigotry, racism, prejudice?)  I have a theory that perhaps a reason there are those “lone wolf” terrorists is that somewhere along the line they were singled out and persecuted.  Human nature is to go where we ARE accepted, are wanted and sadly, too many will go to extremes to prove their worth and belong.

So, to summarize… be watchful and yes definitely offer “thoughts and prayers” but also reach out. Jesus talked a lot about “the least of these”. Go and find them! Even if they’re weird, strange or different. Be a neighbor, and love as you want to be loved.
On the political side – register to vote, review the proposals and policies of ALL the candidates regardless of party affiliation. Choose “employees” who speak to your interests, concerns and ideals. MAKE THE TIME AND EFFORT TO VOTE!

I’ll be back on Monday. If you have a comment or other ideas about how we can stop this ugliness, please share! If you would like to be a “guest poster” at Along the Way, let me know in the comments. That is what the comment section is for OR you can go over to the Abiding Ways Facebook group and leave it there!

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14 Feb

I Didn’t Know There Would Be a Test!

Hello and happy 2018!

Hard to believe it’s been over six weeks since my last post but alas it’s been pretty “viral” around here the last month or so. Truthfully, I’m still not feeling like myself but I AM feeling a bit better! Prayers gratefully appreciated!

In my last post I shared my “One Word” for the year-ENDURANCE!

Since then, it seems the Lord decided to see how sincere I was about making me stronger in this area! For the first couple of weeks in January, hubby and I kept swapping our cold germs. To make matters more difficult, we are training our new addition, Chester, to potty outside and for most of that time the weather has been truly frigid! I mean BELOW FREEZING, biting, windy cold. Needless to say we soon opted for paper training until at last, it was a bit warmer. Thankfully, he’s gotten it down for the most part! Getting treats after doing his business always helps!

THEN a few weeks ago we had what may be described as a “water emergency”. The garbage disposal water was disposing right into where the washing machine drains—and thankfully our water alarm alerted us. The “enduring” aspect? We forgot we had a water alarm and thought it was our fire/CO2 alarms! If you’ve ever had one go off for no apparent reason, you know how aggravating it can be to get it to stop! Frantically, my poor beloved dismantled them!!! And still the thing blared! Eventually, we figured out what was going on and stopped the blaring annoyance! BUT now we couldn’t figure out where the water was coming from! After mopping up and pulling the stacked washer/dryer unit out of the tight space that is our “laundry closet”, I went back to after-dinner clean-up and AHA! We realized that the problem was a blocked drain. It now being two hours later-and not able to do anything about it. We just left things as they were and prepared to contact the maintenance folks in the a.m.

But wait-THERE’S MORE! It took the guys about 3 hours to successfully unblock the blockage so the water didn’t back up anymore. Great, now I can get back to doing laundry-NOT! To make this saga a bit shorter, after all the jostling of the w/d unit, it seems it also sprung a leak SO more mopping up and now to call the appliance repair person. Keep in mind, this workhorse is 20+ years old! After a few days of mulling it over and a few other adventures (like trying to slide the darn thing in and out of the “closet”, repairing a gap that prevented smooth sliding and a few other things) we decided it was time for a new washer/dryer.

And so, we shopped. At first selecting a unit very much like the one we had. This task including measuring multiple machines just to make sure it would fit in our designated space. My only criteria was that it wasn’t one of those dinky “undies only” washers.  Have I tired you out yet?  Just wait…

After arranging the purchase and delivery of the new machine, hubby was still shopping around cruising the web as we are wont to do. And EUREKA! He found something even better! So back to the store, cancelling one and ordering another (a pretty nice one too. Like those I’ve heard are quite popular in Europe-Washer/dryer “all in one”) . Needless to say, being the “head of laundry” I was a bit skeptical but finally said why not! All is well-almost. It was actually originally due yesterday but now-not for another TEN days. Thankfully we are just two-with a collective bounty of clothing.  So, until then-it’s laundromat for us.

Ok… so what is the point? All through this “mini test” of enduring annoyances I prayed! And I have and am enduring!

A Holy Time

Today is commonly called Ash Wednesday. Especially so in the Catholic tradition, and marks the beginning of the Lenten season. While not a biblical time, it IS a time that prepares us for Resurrection Day (April 1). It has been my practice to give something up that hinders my walk and mission-and this year it is once again TV. More specifically it’s “daytime television” and “news”. Being socially and politically aware , I find myself often upset with what I hear and see going on in the world and especially with my government. Honestly, I think it affects my relationship with God as well as my faith walk with Jesus to the point where it takes up time that could be spent more wisely…. like writing here!

This year I’m also going through a book called “Signs of Life” by Pastor David Jeremiah. It’s an older book I’ve had around for awhile but never got around to working. It has 40 days of devotions so fits right in with this season, too. Essentially, it tells of ways to get “back to the basics of authentic Christianity”. Sometimes a re-set is a good thing.

All that being said, while I hoped to continue the Romans teachings/study, the Lord is taking me in a different direction for now. It WILL happen but not until after Holy Week.  In the meantime I’ll be sharing some of the “basics” I’m studying, reflections on daily readings from “Signs of Life” as well as from “Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections” … a Logos freebie.

Thanks so much for your patience and YOUR endurance during this unplanned hiatus!

As I have chosen to not watch the news until hubby got home I didn’t know the full extent of the latest school shooting. Please pray for the victims and their families! Pray that some day our leaders will choose to stop this carnage. I’ll be writing more on this once I stop being angry!

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29 Dec

The End is Near…

…the end of 2017 that is! And of course that also means planning for 2018, goals, hopes, dreams and yep ONE WORD to rule them all… those goals, hopes and dreams!

For me, this is always a key to starting the year off with a purposeful direction in mind. This past year it was JOY… and for sure exercising joy even when I didn’t feel joyful always re-directed my thoughts and my very heart to the joy that is found in the Lord, no matter what! It has been good to find joy in even the most devastating events of the year. In the news especially! Between all the hurricanes, fires, mass shootings and war I felt joy when viewing the people who stepped in to assist, comfort and restore those affected!  In my personal life, a sad occurrence with my son has a bit of light to it in that he may prayerfully be overcoming some life hurdles. Ultimately what I learned about JOY was that even in the darkest times, if one looks for it joy can be found-and there at the center is my God!

Before I share my word and verse for this year, I want to share what my #1 hope/goal is. I’ve had the moniker and web space for Abiding Ways Ministries and this blog for a very long time.  (Since Feb 2002!) and sadly, haven’t done a whole lot except for “Along the Way” in years! My vision back then was to create a Bible study website as well as a place to learn more about theology, history, culture of ancient times, languages and even methods of study. Ultimate goal and still the mission of Abiding Ways is to do what I can to help folks gain greater Bible literacy. If you’ve read any of my past posts you know I also touch on social issues of today as it relates to biblical principles and especially those things Jesus taught. Well, this year, I hope to go beyond vision to actively pursuing this mission! While I don’t desire donations or funding etc, I am considering other “marketing” possibilities to increase readership. You may have noticed the “share” buttons at the top of the page-I hope you’ll use them. I’m thinking also about a newsletter to highlight popular posts (monthly?) as well as a dedicated Twitter and Facebook area. I’ve tried Facebook before and well, didn’t get much feedback. It could be that I didn’t pay that much attention myself. Well, my ultimate plan is to post twice a week for starters and more often as led. Of course, the Romans study, but also timely articles on social issues and sharing my views especially as it relates to my faith in Jesus. So, now that you know all that– here is my verse for 2018—

If you haven’t guessed already, my ONE WORD for this year is ENDURANCE ! 

I am the first to admit that I am not the most consistent person when it comes to blogging, but I do try to be an obedient child of God. And it came to me the other day while praying about this that my focus has really been all wrong. This mission I’m on here on the “inter-webs” hasn’t really been a priority. Call it wrong thinking or just a bit of fearfulness at the enormity of developing and maintaining a website for God and sure, like Jonah, I try to ignore it! However, during that same time of meditation I was plainly told THIS IS YOUR CALLING! Not just as wife, mother, grandma, friend, but as a disciple do what I’ve been telling you-“Go into all the world and get the message out!” and so, as the new year ends, that is what I pray to do! For an older gal like me, endurance isn’t something that comes like it did when I was 25! So, other things are having to go by the wayside. Especially some of those bad habits like cruising Facebook because I don’t want to fold laundry, or turning on the TV during the day instead of writing, preparing my next post or vacuuming the house.

Before I sign off for the year- I did a brief word study on my Word… just right-click and save.  For my verse Strong’s says the following:
5281. ὑπομονή hupŏmŏnē, hoop-om-on-ay´; from 5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:— enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

Now you can’t argue with that can you? And it IS the Greek word used most often in the New Testament.

And so, let’s wrap this up! I suspect you’ve now endured enough – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

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