How Would You Describe Yourself?

Hi friends. I have a challenge for you. In a brief statement describe yourself any way you want so long as you do so thoughtfully and respectfully.  Can you do it?

 

As those of you who have known me for a long time know, I love Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and my Savior, and my King, and I don’t make any bones about it, either.🙂 You should be who you are, and make no apologies for it IMO. I believe you should use your voice, say what you have to say, but do it respectfully and with love as much as you can, but never allow truth to be compromised in your presence. Be proud (but not arrogant) to be a Christian, and live your life with joy, and remember that your walk in Christ on a daily basis says more about you than any words you say. Actions count. If you don’t believe that read the book of James. it’s one of the best books for understanding Christian conduct, I think, though the whole Bible addresses it throughout.

 

I’m a patriot, and I don’t mind saying so, and when Hillary Clinton called me a “Deplorable” I swore to wear it like it’s a badge of honor! I’ve been called every hateful name in the book over the last eight years by people who know nothing about me, and tell me I’m a bigot because I believe in and worship God, freedom, carrying a gun, and in honoring our military, and believing that people, all people, should learn how and why someone should be responsible for themselves.

 

I admit that I have little to no patience with people who like to blame others for everything that goes wrong in their lives; who burn and trample the flag, who have no respect or consideration for the beliefs of others, and who think that they have the right to tell me what to think and how to live when they can’t even manage their own lives in a half-way decent and kind way.

 

I believe in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and that keeping the Electoral College is crucial to keeping the integrity of our governmental system, and the elections we have. I hate what the liberal, cultural and progressive elites have done to our country and our system of education in which they’ve become propaganda merchants, instead of truth-tellers, and that the media (especially the liberal media) have become lap dogs for every lie, half-truth, and falsehood that’s put in front of them.

 

I’ll tell you that I’m far from perfect, and I’m prone to making mistakes and bad decisions, and I can be so stubborn, prideful, and self-righteous that I’m ashamed to call myself a Christian.  That’s when I’m so glad that I can go before God, confess my sins, and ask forgiveness.  The truth is that without Christ Jesus I’m not much, but with Him I have everything.

 

I don’t hate anyone.  I may not agree with some things people do, or with some things people think, because of my beliefs, but I couldn’t care less about what color skin people have, how they dress, where they come from, or what they practice, so long as they don’t try to push if off on me.  I think people, all people, should be held accountable for what they do, and that anybody that comes here should do so legally.  You want to come to America, then adopt our way of life, and assimilate and become an American.

 

That’s it.  Now how would you describe yourself?

What I’ve Learned From the Book of Philippians #3

Last time, I told you I’d be writing about “Joy” in this post, but little did I realize how much there is to write about this uniquely Christian word.  I call it a Christian word, right or wrong, because it’s a word that I don’t find addressed much in any real way in the secular world, not by atheists, cultural elites, or all those people who seem to think it’s okay to tell me how to live and what to say, but can’t stand it when I have the nerve to smile at them, and simply say, “NO.”

To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot of people who live with a sense of joy, and, sad to say, this includes many people who call themselves Christians.  I can see and hear the protests right now, but don’t try to tell me that every Christian you know lives with joy because we all know at least one whose face would break into shards of glass were they to smile.  You know it’s true and so do I.  :)

To me, there’s nothing sadder or more depressing than to be around someone who says they love Christ Jesus, and that He’s living in their heart, and yet, all you hear from the minute they start talking is all about their latest illness, ache, and pain.  Their discontent and unhappiness about this or that person, place, event, or idea.  Complaint about any and everything seems to be all they can talk about . . . even in church.

As an aside, I’ll tell you the easiest way to dissuade these people from trying to ruin your worship and the awesome experience of honoring and glorifying Jesus Christ is to wear them out, gently, by responding positively to every negative thing they say.  For example:

(I’ll call this woman, Gertrude, or if it’s a man, I’ll call him, Herman.  These are examples, folks, so please don’t take offense at my using a set of names that just came to me as I’m writing this.)

Gertrude: “I’ve been so sick this last week I just knew I was going to die (or something to that effect).”

You: “Praise the Lord He pulled you through.  Isn’t it wonderful how God can pull us through the worst of times, and look at how nice you look.  It truly is a time to be thankful to God, isn’t it?”

And so it goes . . .  The point being people who want to complain want someone who’s going to listen to their complaint, not someone who’s going to force them into thinking about how grateful they should be.   I’m not talking about the person who genuinely just needs to talk, but to those who are the habitual offenders.  The ones who constantly and consistently complain no matter what.  Call me mean, nasty, deceitful or a thousand other names, but when I go to church I want to worship God.  I want to honor and glorify Him, and isn’t that the reason why we’re going?

Now what has this to do with “Joy” you might be asking, and the answer is that “Joy” should be the expression of your heart to God for all that He is, and for all that He does in bestowing His many, many blessings upon us.  “Joy” is a far different thing than being happy because “Joy” is “in spite of” (Don’t ask me where I got that because I can’t remember, but I freely admit it’s not an original thought of mine.  I’ve read it somewhere before.)  It means that you choose “in spite of” rather than, “because of” and that’s a much greater thing, and I believe reveals something to the world and those around you that needs to be seen.

“Joy” is what the world needs to see, and what it should see when looking at the Christian life, and why shouldn’t they?  We have the most wonderful reason to be joyful, and to rejoice.  We have Jesus Christ.  We have the power of God living inside us, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life.  If that’s not enough to give us “Joy” on a daily basis, and the desire to share that “Joy” with everyone we meet, then I have to wonder what it is that’s going on in your life that you don’t feel and live with that sense of “Joy” in living your life in Christ.

Even in the midst of much sorrow, suffering, and tribulation, Paul never failed to live with “Joy” because he had what the Holy Spirit has given to each of us, but which we seldom acknowledge and seek to live out.  The inner-knowledge, and hope that springs eternally in being able to see beyond the moment we’re living in, and see and experience the glory we’ll share in living our lives forever with Him.

“The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once scornfully said of Christians of his day, “I would believe in their salvation if they looked a little more like people who have been saved.  (The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 215.)”  There’s a lot of truth in that, I believe, and sad, as I am to say it, I think the reason there aren’t more Christians is simply because of Christians who don’t live out their lives in a tangible and experiential way.  I believe another quote by Philip Brooks addresses this when he says, “The religion that makes a man look sick certainly won’t cure the world. (The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 216.)”  Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not knocking Christianity, but rather our display of it, and our living it in front of other people.  Too many Christians are exhibiting the symptoms of hopelessness and despair and this brings me back to the issue of “Joy.”

Do you have “Joy?”  Are you experiencing the healing that comes from living joyfully?  Are you finding the strength, feeling the peace, that comes from knowing that the Holy Spirit gives knowing that your life is in Christ?

Well, I’ve said enough for the time being, but I’ll leave you with this last quote, and it’s one I’d like you to give some thought to.

“Joy is not a luxury or mere accessory in the Christian life.  It is the sign that we are really living in God’s wonderful love, and that love satisfies us ((The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 216.)”

My question to you is does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Amendment: Your Right to Burn the Flag

Okay, I have a thought I want to share.  President-elect Trump tweeted about burning the American flag, and those who do it, should be punished by either putting them in jail for a year or have their citizenship taken away.  Talk about setting people’s heads on fire!  LOL!  Yeah, I know some people are annoyed by the President tweeting, but at least it’s his voice, and not someone else’s (far as I know).  He didn’t say he was going to do it.  He was expressing his feeling, and to tell you the truth I feel the same way.  I know the U.S. Constitution guarantees our first amendment rights, and the U.S. Supreme court interpreted that flag burning is a freedom that’s guaranteed by it.  Okay.  I got it, and in truth, much as I hate it, I can accept it.  Doesn’t mean if I see you do it, I might not accidentally throw water on your sorry ungrateful butt (the way I see it), or maybe give you a disgusted look, but I won’t beat you up. 
 
I was watching “The Five” earlier this evening, and Greg Gutfield said something to the effect that being a flag burner was like wearing a tattoo that says, “I’m an ***hole.”  It identifies someone as what they are.  Those aren’t his exact words but it was something like that.  Still the point is a good one as far as I’m concerned.
 
I know that (some) people see flag burning as an expression of freedom, but I’ll tell you the way I see it is this: Just because I enjoy freedom doesn’t mean I have the right to walk around and use the F-word or use the Lord’s name in vain in public just because I can.  I’ve always thought and will always hold to the opinion that with freedom comes responsibility.  It’s a privilege to be free, not a right to abuse those who don’t see or share your view of the world.  We’re free to murder, commit adultery, support abortion, and finance Planned Parenthood.  We’re free to do all of that, and yet I’ll freeze in hell before anyone ever convinces me that it’s right or that you’re being responsible in doing so.
 
Still, I respect a person’s right to disagree with me, and even to express themselves.  I even encourage you to do it.  Use your voice, but as my Grandma said to me, “if you really want me to pay attention to you then use your inside voice. If I yelled, I only got a stern look and a firm, “be quiet or go outside” from her.  You know what I’m saying, and if you don’t then ask someone who’s over the age of 55 with gray or thinning hair, and has enough lines on their face to show that they’ve had plenty to laugh and cry about in their life.
 
Then there are the ones who, like me, see something completely different when they see someone burning the flag.  When I see someone doing this, you know what I see?  I see someone who has absolutely no respect or regard for anyone (not even themselves), and who have no knowledge  or appreciation for what others have done throughout the whole course of our country’s history, and all the men, women, and children, who have served it, and made sacrifices so that husbands, fathers, and sons could do so.
 
What’s worse is that they dishonor all those people who died, who gave up their right to live so that other people, like me, could be free.  When I see that kind of disrespect, when I see that lack of comprehension of duty and sacrifice to an ideal higher than any one person or thing it just makes my blood boil.  If they can’t appreciate someone dying so that they can have their precious right to protest and walk the streets then I’m fairly sure they don’t understand the sacrifice their parents have made on their behalf either, and if any of you have read any of my posts on my blog Wayne Augden, or on here then you know how I feel about people being ungrateful and who have no feeling of thankfulness for all that they have.
 
So though I respect people’s right to disagree with me, and to express their displeasure, don’t expect me to just sit back and take it without expressing to you how I feel about your doing it, and if judging by the American people’s last vote is any indication then there’s a whole lot more people who feel like me than you.  You might give that some thought.

What I Learned From the Book of Philippians #2

Well, at the end of the last post of “What I Learned From the Book of Philippians #1,” I wrote this, “A great memory of the important events in your life and the people who mattered most teaches you gratitude and gives you a feeling of thankfulness that never, and I mean never, goes away.”

I also said at the end, that, maybe, you’d enjoy the next blog I wrote.  I wish I hadn’t said that because I’ve been feeling under pressure ever since.  Not from anyone else, but from myself.  In case you haven’t guessed this about me yet, I tend to be much harder than anyone else can or ever would be on myself, and one of the life lessons I’ve learned from this is the always quotable advice from my beloved grandmother.  “When you’re extending a little kindness into the world be sure to include yourself.”  That’s good advice, too, by the way.  Something else I’ll add to this that I’ve learned from the Good Lord Jesus is that You do NOT have the right to judge how you will look at other people or YOURSELF.  Only God has the right to judge our hearts, minds, and souls because He’s the only One who can do it fairly, and trust me.  He will.  The rest of us are far too imperfect to penalize anyone or ourselves for being what we all are; sinful and very human beings.

Now getting back to the Apostle Paul, He not only knew and understand what being grateful meant, and what developing and having a feeling of thankfulness gives you in life, but he understood their obligation.  You mean that being grateful and feeling thankful for what one has carries an obligation?  In a word, Yes!  Paul even states it in the third verse of chapter One.  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”  If Paul could be thankful to God for every time he remembered someone in his life who loved and helped him, then I can, too, and what’s more I think all of us should be able to find it in our hearts to be able to do so, but then I realize we live in a world where not everyone does.  To me, that’s just a bit sad, but then it makes me grateful (and yes, even thankful) for all those people in my life who are.  See how that works?🙂

Not only does Paul thank God for these wonderful people he has in his life, but he takes it to a place where a lot more of us need to follow.  Into action, and not just any sort of action, but the action that really is the most powerful thing we can do for anyone which is to call upon the Lord God Almighty and ask that He use His power and all of His resources to bear upon whom we request He use it.  Doesn’t mean He will or He won’t because we all know that God knows everything and all there is to know about the connections between our prayers, those we’re praying for, those who are connected to that prayer, and what the results of that prayer and its’ effect will be on everyone involved.  But, still, isn’t it wonderful to know that we have that right as His children.  What a privilege it is to know that we can come before Almighty God and petition Him, and that He listens to us.  If you can’t feel grateful for that, then what can you feel grateful for?  I mean really?

Well, I hope I’ve given you a little something to dwell upon in this latest blog.  Maybe something you can take and use for yourself.  I know it’s a little shorter than the last one, but this is a great place to stop and rest for a moment because in the next one I’m going to take a look at joy, and if you’re going to look at what joy is.  Well, having a little time to think about what I’ve already said for a bit won’t do any harm.

 

 

 

What the Book of Philippians has Taught Me. #1

As those of you who are familiar with me know from my blog and Facebook, I love the Bible; God’s Holy Word.  I believe it wholeheartedly, completely, that it is inerrant and infallible, and that not one word in it was put there apart from the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Some people teach that it’s either one or the other, but I’ve always wondered why it couldn’t have been both.  I think that the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to use any means He wishes to get His point across, but that’s just me.  I know what all the naysayers say, the irreligious, the religious studies professors, the Ph. D’s, all those in Academia who talk of theories, interpretations, and all the stuff they teach you in college courses to make you think and question things, including your beliefs, and everything you’ve been taught.  I also know the arrogance with which some of these scholars and highly educated people try to stuff all their knowledge and all their beliefs down some people’s throats without an acknowledgment that some people (even quite young people) have been able to come to their own conclusions from nothing more than their own personal experience and observation.

I’m not into that personal kind of haranguing people into believing what I believe.  (Well, that’s not exactly true.  There are some people like my lovely wife and wonderful daughter who would disagree enthusiastically with this statement, but since I’m writing this, and they’re not here, I’ll say that I’ve always tried to be fair, honest, and truthful in what I say to people, and I believe that’s accurate.)   I’ve never seen that trying to force someone to see your point of view works very well; especially, with those who aren’t inclined to agree with you anyway, and who have supposedly already come to their own conclusions (my daughter at 16).  I’ve always felt that one is more likely to catch more flies with sugar than actually kill with napalm.  Forgive the analogy, but I think you know what I mean, and if you don’t I’ll just put it out there.  I think you get a lot further with people when you speak to them with kindness and respect, and a willingness to listen without feeling that you have to make every point in your arsenal of knowledge.  Communication shouldn’t be a battle between people, but a sharing of ideas and viewpoints in which hopefully both people walk away thinking that just maybe they don’t have or know all the answers.  I’ve always thought that walking away from a conversation in which I’m left to dwell upon and question the things I think I know has always been good for me.  It made me think, and not just blindly accept what someone else says (even if I thought they knew more than me) it was still good to come to my own conclusions because it made me more certain in what I believed.  And to the chagrin of some people, there’s nothing wrong with having some confidence in yourself.   You do know that there is a difference between confidence and arrogance, don’t you?

Well, anyway, enough about me.  So what about what I’ve learned from the book of Philippians?  Let’s start with the basic idea that the book of Philippians has taught me more about a man, and how that man relates everything he knows to what he believes, and how that man lives his belief out in the daily living of his life.  That man is the Apostle Paul, and from him (whether you believe in God or the Bible or not) there is plenty to learn about life and how one should live.  More than one person has patterned their life by following his example, and have become highly successful because of it; not necessarily in achieving great wealth or fame (or what the world likes to view as success now) but more than successful just the same, and to be honest I would love to have his resume to present rather than my own feeble one.

Among a great many things I’ve learned from reading this book of the Bible and examining the life of this man, I’ve learned the following in no particular order.  First of all this man had a great memory.  I don’t mean a capacity for remembering facts and places though it’s certain he did, but rather that he had great memories of people who mattered to him, whom he loved and knew intimately, who he knew had helped him time and time again, and who had sacrificed (sometimes at great cost to themselves) for him.  A man who has those kinds of memories is never really alone or lonely.  Those kinds of memories stay with a person all their lives and bring joy even in the midst of trials and tribulations and grief.

And in that, there’s something else I’ve learned.  The Apostle Paul lived his life to the fullest in every imaginable, conceivable way, both in the good and the bad things he experienced.  I mean when you think of the range of his life from being blinded on the Damascus Road in his encounter with Jesus Christ to being stoned, whipped, and deserted at sea, I think it’s safe to say that the man lived a full life indeed, and to my amazement, did so joyfully.  Don’t you think that there’s something to be learned from a man like that?  If you’re not sure, I will give you an example of what kind of lesson this has for everyone, and it’s a lesson that sadly isn’t taught so much anymore, and it’s this.  A great memory of the important events in your life and the people who mattered most teaches you gratitude and gives you a feeling of thankfulness that never, and I mean never, goes away.  It’s a valuable thing to learn.

There’s more to come if you’re interested, so check back to see #2, and what else I may have picked up.  Who knows you might even enjoy it.🙂

 

 

A Thought on the Election and Voting.

As a writer, it’s never good to ask me what’s on my mind because something always is, and more than likely I have a lot to say about it.  Like most people, I’m tired of politics, and more than a little ready to see the election over and done with.  It’s not that I don’t think it’s important.  In truth, I believe this is a pivotal election, and one that will have devastating consequences for our country for years to come.   I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton, nor of Donald Trump, and to be honest, I wish I had someone else to choose from, but fact of the matter is I don’t, and all the wishing in the world isn’t going to make it any better.  From my perspective, these are the main two, and I can’t see the sense of wasting my vote by voting for candidates Johnson or Stein.  Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be President.  It’s a sad commentary on our country that we -the American people – let it ever get to this point, but that’s a topic for another time.

It seems to me that this is one of those times when it’s important to see the big picture, and to think about what’s just likely to happen should one or the other of these two people get in the oval office.   For the first time in my voting life, I, like so many of my friends, am going to vote against someone rather than for someone.  I wouldn’t call this an enviable position for anyone, but that’s the truth of it.

Now, I’m not going to endorse one of the other, and my vote is my business just as your vote is yours, so all I’m going to say is this.  Please vote.  For me there’s nothing worse than seeing an American citizen neglect his/her responsibility by not voting.  The reason voting is so important is that so many of our very best and brave have paid the ultimate price so that we have this most precious right, and when you refuse to vote you dishonor these people who died so that you might have it.  So I say it again.  Please vote.

And when you vote, please give careful consideration to it.  There’s a lot of stories, half-truths, and innuendo considering both of these candidates, but the truth of who these people really are is out there.  The question I believe we must ask ourselves is what kind of country do we want to live in, and what kind of people do we want to be?    Your vote is your answer to those questions.  I hope you can live with the answer.

 

 

 

Prayer for Today, 8/7/2014

Our Father in Heaven, I come to Thee in worship and praise.
In gratitude for all that You are, and for all that You do.
You are the most High God, The Almighty and Great God,
and there is no one over You.
You are Sovereign over all, and there is nothing that You
don’t see or know…even to the deepest part of each and every human heart.
You only are worthy of all our praise and worship.

Father, I come to You, seeking Your will, and Your blessing upon all Your children.
I pray that Your will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven.
I pray that we, Your children, may be as quick and eager to do Your will,
to obey You as the angels in Heaven are.
May we as Your children seek You first before anything else, and may we seek
and take advantage of every opportunity to express Your love, and to stand boldly upon the truth of Your Holy Word.

Father, to You, I come, and humbly ask that You in Your goodness and mercy would meet my needs, and those of my brothers and sisters, today.
That today, You will provide all that I might need in every way.
Help me, Father, to live for today, to take this day You’ve given me,
and allow me to use it for Your glory, to honor You, and to express Your love and goodness to each and every person I meet.
Let me fail to miss any opportunity You send my way to love and help those around me.

Father, though I come to You in adoration, in praise, and worship. Even though I come with joy in my heart because of the knowledge You’ve placed there;
I also come with a heavy heart, and in sadness, because I see so many things that hurt my heart, and because I know that there is so little I can do on my own to change those things around me.
My grief would be overwhelming were I to know that You are not in control, that You are not Sovereign over all, and that You have no care or love for us all.
I can’t say that I understand everything that happens, Father, or that I’m not deeply saddened at seeing so much that is wrong and just plain evil happening in the world around me, but I am comforted in the knowledge that though I don’t know nor understand I know that You do.
I know that Your ways are not my ways, that You are limitless, while I am limited
to only what my senses tell me, so please help me to see those things happening in the world at large around me, and the circumstances in which I live day to day through the eyes of hope and faith.

Father, I come to You, not only for myself, but for so many others.
I come to You, Father, on behalf of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I come to You, Father, and I ask that You strengthen us all, that You fill us with Your love and grace, Your mercy and forgiveness. Your gentleness and kindness. Your peace.
Help us to stand upon Your truth, to live according to Your Holy Word, to walk in obedience to Your truth. Most of all help us to walk through this dark world in the light of Your love, beaming, shining in brilliance, as beacons of hope, and faith, and love.

I ask that You be with Your chosen people Israel, Father, that You would put a hedge of protection around them; that You would strengthen them in every way, that You would grant unto them the wisdom and the courage to do as You would have them to. I pray, Father, that You would help us as Your children to express to the world why our hearts should be with them; why we should seek in every way possible to help them, to support them, to comfort them.

I pray, Father, for our country and its citizens. I’m so saddened to see what is happening to our country, Father, and yet I can’t find it in my heart to ask that You ignore the things we’ve done, or that You extend mercy to us when as a country we’ve trampled upon all that You proclaim Holy and precious.
Our sins as a nation are such that You, as our Supreme Judge, as our Perfect, Holy, and Righteous Judge, are so grievous and terrible that we deserve the full brunt of Your condemnation upon us.

Father, I pray for the lost, for those who don’t know Your son, Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior. I pray for those who are lost in this world of decadence and depravity, who are slaves ruled by their own passions and desires, who are imprisoned in jail cells of their own making. Who have no hope, no faith, no ability to see beyond this world, and who are living useless, wasted lives with little or nothing of true value to show for their lives. I pray that You will touch these people with Your great love and mercy.

I pray for all those, Father, who are in the midst of struggle. Who are in despair. I pray for those who are mourning the loss of loved ones, and for those who are ill and in pain, for those who are struggling financially. Father, I ask that You will be those in this world who are enduring persecution, who are being martyred for their in Jesus Christ. I ask that You protect them, that You would send them the people and resources that can help, support, and protect them.

Heavenly Father, I pray for those people who are in service to our government. For our President and our representatives in Congress. I pray that You will give them the strength and the courage and the wisdom to make those decisions and implement those policies that would benefit the citizens of our country, and that would help us to be able to those throughout the world who cannot help themselves.

It hurts my heart, Father, when I look at the people around me in this country, and I see the division and hatred that so many have for others. We’ve become so divided as a people that we’ve forgotten that the most important things we have, things that You have given us such as freedom, independence, privacy, and respect are being taken away. Father, I pray, that You would work in my life, and in the lives of all who call upon Your Son, Jesus, to remember our first obligation, and that’s to love our fellow men and women. Help us to remember that no matter what we believe, no matter what we think, no matter what we want, that none of us has the a right
to deny others their right to express and think what they like.

I pray, Father, that You would bring back to us as a nation, and as citizens, to a remembrance of what our country has been in the past, and what made us great in the beginning, and that was our allegiance to and love of You. Never let us forget that it was nothing we’ve done of ourselves that made us great, but it was who, the Almighty and Supreme God, that we were under that made us great.

I thank You, Father, that even as things stand today, that I can still see evidence of Your work and will in this world; that Your love and mercy still flow, and that Your truth, in the form of Your son, our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as expressed in the Holy Bible still reigns Supreme as Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. May we ever be faithful to follow as He leads.

In His precious name, I pray, Amen.