A Disturbing Trend

Greatest HeatThere is a disturbing trend in schools lately. Though there is a clear Constitutional separation of church and state, children have not been allowed to pray in school for years, not allowed to read the bible, nor even perform a Christmas program of songs and dance. When I taught music in a school in Hawaii, I could not put on a Christmas Program for the parents, we had to call it a Holiday Program, and receive special permission to include a song about the birth of the Savior, because that is the song the children determined they wanted to sing.

Lately, however, that separation is only enforced for Christians. Islamic teachings are taught, insisting that students know all their tenets. Progressive humanists, or atheists, preach their particular religion, defaming and failing students who refuse to deny their God. What happened to equal rights? What happened to separation of church and state? What happened to freedom of religion? What happened to our constitution? Is that freedom only given to Islam and atheists?

There is no such thing as cold, only absence of heat; no darkness, only absence of light, as taught by Einstein when confronted by an atheist professor. I argue atheism is on the far end of the religious scale, opposite from a strong knowledge there is a God. It is an absence of religion. These scales vary from one end of extreme heat to no heat; extreme light to no light; and strong belief in God (religion) to the opposite end, no belief in any god (no religion). Atheists are on the far end of the religion spectrum, but still on the scale.

When an atheist forces their non-religion on a group of school children, as a middle school teacher in Texas did recently, that teacher is as at fault as an Islamic believer forcing their teachings on Christian students or atheists, or a Christian forcing their teachings on atheists or Islamic students. None of these are legal, none are appropriate, none are moral.

Eve lived in a time when things were more black and white. Her children accepted Jehovah, or they chose to follow Lucifer. There were no other religions, then, only following Jehovah or not. Other religions sprang up, suggested by the Destroyer. Men and women created idols to worship, found other gods and goddesses to worship.

Eve taught her children to read, to write, and to obey Jehovah. There was nothing to stop her, no government body, no one from outside pushing their beliefs on her. Hers was the first home school, and she taught her love for Jehovah. The only safety we have for our children is to teach them ourselves. Schools will not do it.

Tears Fall Because of This

Our Mother's TearsIt is easy to fall into the mob mentality, thinking those (fill in the blank) are horrible people and should not live among us. It happened in the 1930s, when Hitler raised his ugly voice suggesting the Jews were non-human, unworthy of the air they breathed. It happened in Africa, those black people didn’t need our support, they are uncivilized. It happens around the world, the unborn need no protection, particularly if they are children of a group of people we consider unnecessary, abort them.

In the United States, the cry has been raised against Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Irish, Italians, Mexicans, other Latinos, Russians, Muslims, and now Syrians. Each group was different, thinking differently, acting differently, looking differently from the majority. Eventually, most of these have integrated into society, and one wonders at those cries of hate.

I read the results of a Religious Freedom conference recently. The headline suggested an agreement to live and let live. Sounds good to me. If you choose to worship Allah, that is your right, do it. If you choose to worship the universe, that is your right. If you choose not to believe in any god, that, too, is your right and privilege. It is NOT your right to tear down or destroy other belief systems. Yes, live, and let live.

“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.” —Desiderius Erasmus

Light comes from truth, and truth is found in all religions. It is the darkness, the dark side, if you will, that encourages hatred for others and their beliefs. Walking in the light of truth allows us to be aware of the truth found in what others believe, finding association with the truths you hold dear and those held dear by another.

I know Eve was saddened when her children turned away from the fullness of light as given to them from God. Some of her children could not accept everything, leaving to live good lives with a portion of the light she and Adam offered. Others completely turned their backs on the teachings of their parents, choosing to follow Satan, the father of darkness.

I am certain Eve received reports of wars among her children, brought about by hatred and distrust. One group of people was a little different in belief than another. Over time, I would think Eve has been weighed down by the hatred and ugliness her children have heaped on their brothers and sisters. Many tears fall, even now, because we choose to hate, we choose to fear, we choose to see the differences rather than the similarities.

Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall

20150706_184237Rainfall is necessary, bringing life-giving water. Nothing can live without water. Rain is falling somewhere today. Some parts of the world are wishing they didn’t get so much, like South Carolina last week; others, like we in the western United States, wish it would rain more, and more often.

Every cell in our bodies requires water. We lose about a quart of water a day, which must be replaced. We can live only about a week without replacing that water. Plants and animals require water to live. Have you ever forgot to water a houseplant? It doesn’t take long before it will wilt and die.

A friend of mine was complaining about something that happened in her life. My flip response was, “Into each life a little rain must fall.” We need rain, and its resulting water. We also need some “rain” in our lives, coming in struggles and trials. As our arms and legs require exercise to stay healthy, our emotional lives need to be exercised.

I have seen memes suggesting we need to walk away from our problems. We need to be careful about that. There is no reason to allow another to abuse us or walk all over us. On the other hand, I believe we should embrace life challenges as a means to develop our emotional “muscles.”

Our “rain” can be anything from a frown from a loved one to a severe sickness and/or death of a loved one. Different emotional muscles are developed in these situations. We may need to learn patience, face loss, or see the opportunities in change. None of those “muscles” are easy to develop, nor are any of these situations. No one likes the pain of growing; certainly not the challenge and trials that give us the opportunity to develop.

As we open ourselves to challenges, our emotional muscles will develop faster. Emotional growth doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes it comes in gentle rains; others, it falls in floods. Each allows greater emotional growth.

I wondered about Eve. She and Adam faced trials through much of their lives. Sometimes they were the gentle rain of learning to survive in a new world, learning to build a fire, learning to cook, or learning how to grow plants. Other times, the trials were along the lines of a flash flood, as in when children listened to the enticings of the Destroyer and left the safety and security of their family home and the truths of God as taught by Adam. I am certain they struggled against the currents, but by holding tight to the life saving faith in God, they withstood the floods, returning safely home to Father in Heaven.

Our lives are different than theirs. The Destroyer is fighting his last battles, he rains floods of trials on all he believes can be swayed. Even so, we must stand firm, as Eve did, choosing to continue learning, continue growing, until the end.

What trials are raining on your life today? Will you stand firm and learn, or is this one you will win by walking away? I’d love to hear your story.

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Hatred Is NOT Worth the Effort!

20150810_210057I have been thinking of the hatred filling our country lately. There seems to be strife between people of different “colors”, and nations. Our beautiful, welcoming nation, that has long invited others to  join in building the creativity of our people, now rejects the poor and needy, those who have ideas that would instill greatness within us. In some ways I understand, for the idea of Sharia Law in our free land frightens me. However, how can we deny help to those who honestly flee hatred and war? How can we blame people who fled a mafia controlled land, accepting our dredges, for all that has become bad here?

“A mighty change of heart necessitates a mighty change of thinking . . . we become our thoughts and we cannot change ourselves without thinking.” —Mary Ellen Edmunds

Hatred for one or many only brings grief to the one who hates. Have you ever felt hatred for one who caused you pain or spoke to you with unkindness or in a demeaning manner? Your hatred causes you pain, not the other person. It is not worth the pain and effort required to hate. Give up your hatred. It isn’t worth the time and energy. Revenge is not worth the pain it causes. The desire for repayment is not worth the pain it causes.

You spend your time worrying and thinking of the one who wronged you. You focus on the pain, the hardness you feel. And the one who caused the hatred? He most often goes merrily along, living his life with no thought or worry for your pain. Usually he has no knowledge or thought of your pain; less of your hatred. It is your life that shrinks, whose time is wasted, storing the pain.

On that day you finally meet your offender again, he will often not have remembered the offense and will have good feelings for you. His life has not been changed, only yours.

When you change your thinking and give up the pain you hold dear, you find time and a lightness of heart you forgot existed. Your life becomes joyful again.

May I suggest, “turn the other cheek” as the Christians would say, or allow Karma to repay the debt? Revenge and hatred isn’t worth the pain.

I just wrote about a man who had committed a terrible sin. As he confronts the woman he threatened years later, I thought he would attempt the same awful act upon her. Instead, she honestly forgave him of his crime against her. His actions were low and small; he suffered significantly for them, banned from his home community, lost his wife, and spent years starving. She felt compassion for him. He changed his thoughts, began to believe he could live happily among his people, and changed his ways, becoming an honorable man.

There is one Eve never forgave, never trusted. The Destroyer, Satan. In his every action, he caused pain and sorrow for Eve and every other. He convinced beloved children to leave home and the beliefs taught by their father. He put it into the hearts of a loving son to kill his brother. Satan caused Eve incredible grief.

In all, however, she did not hate Satan for beguiling her, though his actions were absolutely wrong. I firmly believe the act of partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil was necessary;  it was not Satan’s right to offer the fruit, to convince Eve of her need to eat it. That was for another. The eating brought Adam and Eve into this world, allowing them to obey the greater command, to “multiply and replenish the earth.” Eve new this was needed, it was better to suffer in this world of sin and sorrow, and have an opportunity to have children. We, my friends, are direct results of that decision.

I do not know how to protect our marvelous free nation from the hatred that seems to be spawned by Sharia Law and others. I do not know the answers. I do know there must be a way, while maintaining our integrity. If you have ideas, feel free to share.

Whom do you feel a need to forgive? Is there someone for whom your hatred has grown too large? Take a moment and consider the gift of forgiveness. If you like, I will be happy to hear of your journey.

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What Would You Do If Faced With a Murderer?

I am writing earlier than usual, partly because of the shooting in the community college in Oregon. My heart goes out to the families of those who died and all who were injured. That was a terrifying day for these people and their families. Congratulations to the Veteran who charged him, taking shots. This man is a hero.

There have been conflicting reports about the killer, asking his victims if they were Christian, or religious, and shooting those who said they were, in the head. Those who did not admit to Christianity, or religion, were shot elsewhere, at first. Or so several accounts report.

This has caused me to think about how I would react in such a situation. If it was certain death if I admit to my belief in Christ, would I admit? I am not sure, I doubt I would know until I am actually faced with such a situation.

Perhaps I would be forgiven. if I denied to save my life, if I was certain I’d die if I did not deny. Perhaps not. I am not sure I would take that chance. I hope I would proudly stand and tell him a follower of Jesus Christ and place my trust in him.

My husband, who is retired Navy, says he would be like the Veteran who charged the shooter. He says he would not stand still and peacefully allow the shooter the opportunity to shoot at will. He would throw a chair or something. I hope I would have the sense to throw something, shove a desk into him, something.

I always sit in the front row in a classroom, I may not have an opportunity to do much more than stand tall and admit to my faith. I hope I would manage to shove a desk into him, something more than quietly be murdered for my faith.

I am saddened that the Destroyer, Satan, has such control over the minds of so many. People are murdered every day in our country. Sometimes, like Thursday, it happens to many in places that should be safe. In my community, a mother and her child were murdered in their home, that should have been safe. Satan rages in the hearts of some men and women.

I believe Eve knew much that would happen in our day. Her prophet husband, Adam, was given to know all that would happen to his sons and daughters until the end of time. That’s information prophets receive, though I know they would often prefer not to know. Eve, through Adam, knew about our time, how we have lost our faith in God, how many have given in to the wiles of the evil one. She must have wept bitterly when she learned of the future of her children.

There have been other horrific times, times of murder and wars. Our time rapidly joins the previous worst, as people are murdered for their faith, babies are murdered for convenience, and love is lost in the hearts of men and women.

Pray for peace in our land. Look into your heart. What will you do if you are faced with that question? Stand up for your faith and belief, or hide from it? I hope you, and I, can have the presence of mind to shove a desk or something at the murderer, as well.

I’d like to hear how you would respond. Please share.