Category Archives: My Thoughts

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.
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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.

 

 

 

A Thought on America, The Beautiful…

I used to think that everyone knew the words to this song, but I’ve learned that there are a lot of people anymore who have never heard it, or even know that it exists, and sadly it’s mostly young people and children that give me a blank stare when I mention it. Speaking for myself that’s a sad thing, almost as sad, as the fact that the God mentioned so lovingly and tenderly in this song is almost as forgotten and unknown as the song. Even the title sounds other-worldly, as if it came from another country (or planet) instead of from this country that I’ve always loved so much because it represented the very best of what people who love God, and believe in hard work and freedom could achieve.

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but it feels a lot more lonelier than it used to in believing that we were indeed, “America, The Beautiful.” What was it that made America so beautiful, that made it the shining beacon on the hill, that shone a light so bright that people all over the world wanted to come here?

Let’s think about this for a moment…. Hum…

Perhaps, it was freedom, but was it the same kind of freedom we have now?

Was it the freedom to be openly drunk, vulgar, and stupid that was the draw?
Perhaps it was because they could come over here and have no opportunity?
Maybe because there was no reward for hard work?
Of course there’s always the chance that they came over so they could be told how to worship?
Then again, maybe it was so that they could practice every perversion known to man…
Or promote every kind of filth imaginable?

I’m probably being too harsh and unfair, huh?

Hold on….there’s more…You don’t want to leave yet, do you?

Maybe they came over here because they wanted the chance to be poor, and be taken care of?
Or so that they could get a quality third-rate education where they could be told what to think instead of learning how to think for themselves?
I know…it was so that they could come to a place where human life is treated like it’s trash and thrown away…
No, that couldn’t be it, could it?

No, they wanted to come here so that they could have the freedom to be irresponsible, immoral, dishonest, and disrespectful, and the opportunity to shun any and every thing that might be restrictive to their right to be so.

Is that why this song was written, sung, and beloved by countless generations of Americans?

Somehow, I don’t think so, but when you live in a country where people are idolized for being vain, and vulgar; and where sports and athletes are worshiped, and power and money are the end goal; where the liberty to be and to live a life that honors God, that respects hard work, that believes honesty and sincerity and integrity are still vitally important, and who believe that the Bible and the U.S. Constitution are still two of the best documents ever written are despised, but being liberal, and all-embracing of anything that strips a human being of their dignity and self-respect is looked upon as the highest ideal of man; where people use “Christianity” as if it’s a room deodorizer and anti-perspirant, and where leadership and responsibility have been replaced by eloquence and Charisma then I guess you can call it just about anything….

For me, I’ll call it what I think it is… a country that has lost its way because it turned it’s back on the Great God Almighty who STILL rules over all the nations and leaders of the world, and who is STILL in control, and who is STILL working His plan toward its ultimate fulfillment…

For those of you who don’t particularly care for this post, it’s okay. I don’t hold it against you. Unlike some people I still respect your right to disagree with me. You’ll have to pardon me for being so outspoken I was raised in “America, The Beautiful!”

Just in case you missed the reference, here it is below for your viewing pleasure.

America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

Here’s a bonus for reading this all the way through….

A Thought on “You’ve Got To Stand For Something.”

Maybe you’ve heard the old Arron Tippin song, “You’ve Got To Stand For Something.” If you haven’t you might want to view this before you go any further. I’m still hopeful that most of you might be able to catch a clue from just the title, but it’s better to make certain anymore than to leave any room for doubt.

Now in case you’re thinking I’m going to write about standing up for what you believe in, you can go ahead and give yourself a point, but you might want to hold off on giving yourself any more until you’ve read this thing through because there’s always the chance I might surprise you. I never was much of a baseball player, but I always thought it’d be the neatest thing to be able to throw a curve ball, so just imagine me standing on the pitching mound and winding up.

Over the last year, I’ve heard enough garbage to cover a small country, and that’s being kind if you want to know the truth. And if that’s not bad enough, I’ve heard it coming from every quarter and segment of society. We won’t even mention politics/politicians because to do so would almost be akin to flattering garbage, and yes, I’m being mean, and I know it, but I’ve never been much to hide what I think or feel, and I’m of the opinion it’s better to be honest and less than kind, than it is to be nice and a liar and a hypocrite. Sometimes you just have to call’em like you see’em.

You name it, I’ve heard just about every excuse, justification, rationalization, and every other word one can use to describe someone who stretches something to such extremes that to call it a lie would be like saying that Dolly Parton doesn’t have big boobs. I mean no disrespect to Mrs. Dolly, and I realize that someone reading this might be offended, and the United Nations might send me a letter for hate speech, and Chris Matthews might call me a ‘bumkin,” and our President might have me kicked off the internet, and if any of that should happen . . . Well, all I can say is “Thank God.”

The way I have it figured, somebody ought to at the very least say it because it sure doesn’t look like there’s very many people in this country who show much in the way of appreciation. I’m all for freedom, and I’d stand up for anyone’s right to say what they think, and to believe in whatever or whoever they choose, but when did it become acceptable in this country for everybody else to have their say and express what they think, and yet when it comes to my believing in and living my life for Christ, and wanting to share my love, and what I think and believe in an honest and (mostly) respectful way somebody else can attack me in the most hateful and ugly way.

Now, I want you to understand something; I’m not complaining about being treated by people who are hateful and ugly. I consider that an honor and a privilege, but just in the interest of freedom, respect, and just plain old-fashioned courtesy whatever happened to just listening to someone else’s point of view without trying to shout over them or call them all kinds of vile names. Why is it that every single minority and almost all groups, religions and philosophies are readily accepted, and every kind of filth is shamelessly promoted and encouraged, and yet when it comes to anyone who takes a different view or stands in opposition to anything-especially if they’re a Christian-then they’re labeled as being intolerant, narrow-minded, and bigoted, and those are just the nice words.

The shame of it isn’t that they’re attacking “Christianity,” but that they’re attacking the “U.S. Constitution” that guarantees my right to be one. You want to attack me for loving Jesus Christ, for believing that He’s the Son of God, and that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, go ahead, and more power to you. As Clint Eastwood says, “Make my day!”

BUT, just consider this . . . if they’re willing to do away with the “U.S. Constitution” in order to strip me of my rights what’s to stop them from stripping yours?

I’m not asking you to believe the way I do, though I think and believe that my way is the right way, but is it too much to ask that the freedom I’m guaranteed under the “U.S. Constitution” be honored? If not? I’d like to ask you one more question . . . What would you like to say to the parents of all those who have shed blood and died for it?

A Thought On Asking “Why”

Unfortunately we live in a world of injustice. We see it all the time, and it’s easy to wonder why there’s such injustice in the world, and why it’s allowed to continue. I don’t know about you, but my thirteen year old girl constantly reminds me that life isn’t fair. She’s right; it isn’t. To be honest, I’ve even echoed that thought in my own mind and heart, and I admit to having asked the question “why” more often than I care to let anyone know. I’d say that if there’s one question that’s universally asked it’s the question of “why.” We ask in a variety of ways. Some of us shout it, some of us cry it, some of us get angry about it, some of us do all three at once, but I’ll bet it’s a rare individual that has never asked the question.

Since I’ve already admitted to having asked it, and more than once, I feel that I’m more than qualified to write about it. As some of you know, I have a debilitating chronic pain condition that affects my ability to walk, and has taken away my ability to work at what I used to do. Now I’m not writing this to garner sympathy. I know there are many people who make what I deal with every day look like a day of just sitting and basking in the light of a warm sunny day, but I do know something about pain, about loss, and about the question of “why.”

Can I ask you a question? When do you most often ask “why?” If I were a betting man, I’d lay odds that your “why” questions are most often asked as a result of something bad that’s either happened to you or someone you love, or that has, in some way, come way too close to where you live. You might think that asking the question of “why” is wired into our DNA, and in a way you’re right . . .

If you think it’s wrong to question the “why’s” of our lives I’d like you to consider (forgive me)-Why-almost all of the greatest literature, the greatest inventions, the greatest works of art, and the greatest of tragedies have all been a result of or come about as a solution to this one question? I know that wasn’t fair, but perhaps you see my point. The question of “why” is a legitimate question, and one that I don’t believe you should feel bad about or guilty over asking.

It’s not asking “why” that causes any damage to us or to God. The damage that so many of us experience isn’t due to our asking, but rather in our failure to receive and accept the answer given. I know that there are many of you reading this who are going to jump all over me and say that there are no answers to some things; that there are no answers to some of the horrific, terrible, tragic things that happen, and you’re welcome to disagree, but I will not back down because I know that just because you can’t see an answer doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

For most of us our dislike of something immediately garners our disapproval, our disrespect, our denial, and our disdain, and thus too often we are blinded to what is right and true regardless of who is saying it, or how it’s said, or as in this case, how it’s written. Sadly, far too often, it’s our own arrogance, our own sense of self-worth that prevents us from seeing answers to our questions that are right in front of us.

I realize that this will be a let down to some, but, in spite of those who know-it-all, the fact is that most of are not and will never be privy to all that is being done in this world nor how it’s being done, but just as we can’t always see someone’s motive nor even understand the ones we do, it doesn’t negate the fact that there is one.

In this life we have to know and understand that sometimes the “why’s” of our lives will be revealed to us not when we want them to be, but when we’re ready to know the answer. When I was a kid I often asked my Dad “why” he did or didn’t do something according to my wishes, and he would say, “because” without any further explanation. I hated it, but it didn’t change the answer-at least not in the short-term-but as I grew older many of those answers came, and with it the knowledge that my father knew better than I did . . . So does your heavenly father.

A Thought On Being Religious and Self-Righteous

Sometimes what I think we as Christians need to do more of in this world we live in is to be honest and truthful, rather than be religious and self-righteous. I’m sorry, but I’ve read too many posts lately where the authors talk as if they’ve already arrived rather than that they’re on the journey.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll tell you I’m on the journey. I understand why “Christianity” is under attack, but the truth is that in some cases self-proclaimed Christians bring the attacks upon themselves.

I’d love to sit here at my computer keyboard and write the words, “I’m sin free,” but I’d be lying. I’d love to tell you that I don’t struggle daily with trying to die to my own selfish desires, my own wants and needs, and that I do and make the right decisions without fail, but once again I’d be lying.

I’ve read posts where people claim you can lose your salvation. I don’t know where they get that. If you can lose what God says He has given you through His Son Jesus Christ then He’s not much of a god, and I can understand why people would reject a god who can’t save you completely and totally.

Well, I’m here to tell you that my God can and does. The question isn’t whether my God can and does save me completely and totally? The question is whether I’m going to believe that He can and will, or do I think I can save myself?

Listen, friends, there’s a lot of people, and people who claim to be Christians, that wouldn’t and don’t know any more about God and loving God than an earthworm would know about lasagna.

The fact of the matter is that too many people think that they’re doing God a favor by loving Him. They work themselves to death trying to please Him, and stand up for Him, and try to do His job for Him. They walk around and make long posts about hating the “sin” yet so often it’s the sinner who ends up feeling the hatred.

Let me tell you, I need God. He doesn’t need me. I need Him daily, minute by minute, hour by hour. If I’m left to my own devices I’ll do the wrong thing almost every time, and even when I’m trying to do the right thing I can still mess it up.

I’ll tell you that there’s a lot about God I don’t know nor understand. You ask me how many verses I’ve got memorized, and I’d be having a good day if I could quote more than 3, and I couldn’t give you a theological or historical perspective on the Bible to save my life.

You ask me why the Bible is the Word of God? What proof do you have? Here’s my answer. I know it’s author. I know what I was, what I am, and what I’m becoming. I know that Jesus Christ died for my sins past, present and future, and that every time I look up and around I see His witness staring back at me. I know the Bible is true because I’ve seen it’s truth lived out in my life and in the lives of countless others.

I’ve sinned, and there’s not a day goes by in which I haven’t had to confess my sin. Sin doesn’t mean you don’t know God or that He doesn’t know you. It means you have deliberately, knowingly disobeyed God and His divine law. If anyone tells you that they aren’t guilty of that then you’re either looking at a liar or the Lord Jesus Christ, himself.

There are many “Christians” who will tell you that once you become a Christian you’ll be happy. They’ll tell you that God wants you to be rich. You just have faith and claim what you want in the name of Jesus and it will be yours. You name the lie and you’ll find a “Christian” somewhere who’s either deliberately said it or said it in ignorance of God’s Word. I’m sorry, and I’m sure I’ve offended someone somewhere, but truth is truth, and some people should be offended.

The reason I’m writing this is because I want you to know that God loves you, but you have to receive that love. The truth is that Jesus Christ died for yours sins, but you have to acknowledge and confess your sins, and ask Him to come into your heart and be your Savior. Friend, you cannot save yourself. Nothing you do past, present, or future based upon your own effort will make any difference.

There’s nothing you can do or have done that will separate you from the love of God except for one thing….the sin of unbelief.

Please don’t feel that you’re not good enough…know that you aren’t, and you don’t have to be….Please don’t feel that you don’t need Jesus… You do, and one day you’ll know it…. Please don’t be discouraged by failure…. We’ve all failed, but Jesus never has or will….

Come to Him where you are as you are…