Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Period of Focused Prayer

                                      Matthew 19:26  ". . . with God all things are possible."

The Republicans are obsessed with the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats make sufficient errors to keep Republicans hopeful.

Constructive legislation is on hold over and over again because both parties refuse to drop their pet issues and get to work on budget concerns and pairing down the national debt.

We, the people, are the ones hurting here.  We are embroiled in a sense of helplessness because the people we were counting on to be the grownups in the room are handling things worse than our toddlers would.

Saying the same ol', same ol', about the happenings in Congress is as frightening as it is descriptive.  Nothing moves forward.  When some form of decisions are made, they are temporary.  As if they have nothing to do, they keep tossing negotiations on down the line for another gut-wrenching quarrel, another month, yet another year.

But, we Christians know that all things are possible with God, because Jesus said so.  The Bible has also told us that God will answer the prayers of people gathered together and asking Him for help.   Yet, imagine the dilemma of a God who has His good people praying for both sides.  He could, of course, decide for Himself which is the best decision.  But if both sides have merit, or fault, perhaps He doesn't want to interfere.  This isn't a ball game here.

So, how should we pray?

I believe we should pray for answers that appease both sides -- for compromise and real negotiations.  The following prayer might be an example. 

Our Father,

Our politicians have forgotten what their higher purpose is.  They have fought so long about party lines that they interpret everything in terms of winning and losing.  Of course, nobody wants to be a loser, but when they quarrel like this, the American people all lose.

Please see that these elected individuals quit engaging in theatrics and quit avoiding the basic substantial issues that we need solved.  We ask that they set aside discussions of the Affordable Care Act until another time, perhaps when a new Congress is formed.  As things stand now, the law cannot be changed -- the House, Republican, the President and Senate, Democrat.  However it may be tweaked if we will get off our grandstands and solve the bigger problems first.

It would behoove us all if you helped them understand that the methods they are using may have the opposite effect to what they hope.  Instead of insuring their reelections, it may get a whole bunch sent home to national obscurity for life.  The polls indicate that may be the case.

Please help them all see the whole picture.  Let them observe the forest instead of nitpicking each individual tree.  Have them set partisan concerns aside long enough to make sound decisions about the budget and to see the disaster they would cause for the country and even the world, if they continue the threats not to raise the debt ceiling.  Even the threat of failing to raise it causes dangerous waves to the world economy. 

Please have them focus more efforts toward getting businesses to hire Americans.  A working America is a tax paying America.  That alone would settle some of the budget issues.

Hold us all focused on the greater good of all instead of the bottom line of a few.  Be sure our politicians get a healthy shot in this concept.

But most of all, Father, show them your take on what is the right thing to do.  Then help us all to see, hear, understand and accept your wisdom.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In Times of Trouble

Job 14:1

This scripture confirms what we already know.  It says that man born of woman is born into trouble.  No kidding. I witnessed a scene recently which reminded me of how very vulnerable we all are -- both man and woman.  No matter how put together someone looks, it is always possible their burdens are nearly unbearable.  The person, in this case a woman, is beautiful and competent.  She seemingly has it all.  And yet, while watching one movement, a bracing of her whole body as she walked past, it became evident that she was as vulnerable as you or I.

We cannot depend on appearances to show us who needs a gentle touch and who does not.  Too many people have taken to heart the admonitions that people must "smile though their hearts are breaking", as sung by that fellow of old, Nat King Cole.

Most of us go through our days like the proverbial bull in a china shop, attending to our needs and those of our families.  We get too busy to attend to the trouble of others.

I don't know what was going on in the lives of the passing couple.  But I do know from her reflex to our scrutiny that she was embarrassed that we might discern their situation. It made me realize that, since we never know the problems others face, especially if they are good at "pretending to be happy when they are blue", we should handle all interactions carefully.

I hope this couple believes in God and knows they can turn to Him for help and comfort.  I hope they know that "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."  Psalm 9:9

Sunday, October 13, 2013


According to my less than adequate Bible concordance, the Bible mentions reconcile or reconciliation at least fourteen times.

Random House dictionary defines reconcile "to cause or cease hostility or opposition . . . to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired".  In other words, God likes reconciliation.  He likes us to cease hostility.

It's long past time for all of us to reconcile with others.  It would certainly make God happy if we would get over it and get on with our lives.

What is this it?  It could be a quarrel with our significant other.  Perhaps we should get a smoother relationship with our children . . . a sibling . . . a neighbor.  Maybe we burned bridges over religious beliefs or politics.  Those are two of the most hot button issues we have.

Today I feel led to say it is time to get over our political issues enough to get the work in Washington ironed out.

Those of us out here can chill a bit.  Those who hold the power can quit churning up melodrama.  They can quit being stubborn and destructive.  They can quit risking America's good name and our power throughout the world.  They can grow up and be men and women of stature.  They can be people to admire for working together and getting it done.  They can be a team.

The Kansas City Chiefs are once again a team.  If they can do it, the government can as well.  Let's hear it for cooperation, negotiation, reconciliation.  Let's please God by succeeding instead of failing in our responsibilities, our very jobs.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Obsession/Compulsion To Control

"Of all men's miseries, the bitterest is this, to know so much and to have control over nothing."  Herodotus

Humans have various kinds of power needs.  For some, it is a need for autonomy.  Parents and teachers want and need control over children in their care.  CEO's require power at the office.  Presidents need power over their parties as well as powerful influence over Congress and their constituents.

There is, of course, the infamous control freak who is driven right up the wall because he/she can't tell everyone around him what to do.  Well, that doesn't stop him from trying.  God help the person who needs autonomy -- power and control of oneself and one's environment -- when they come into the clutches of a control freak.  We're talking "frick" and "frack" -- nitro and glycerin.

We also have people with emotional problems or other handicaps who need controlled environments to feel secure and in control of themselves.  Think the Rainman here.

But there is a level of control needs that fits under the category of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Basically, OCD has it roots in insecurity.  The person who checks and rechecks whether the gas is off and the doors locked doesn't trust her memory.  Perhaps experience has taught her not to trust it.  Perhaps there is a genetic or chemical dysfunction. 

There are others with a kind of OCD that is less obvious, but perhaps even more destructive.  Some people labeled perfectionistic would fall into this category.  Their houses have to be the biggest, prettiest, or worse, the cleanest.  Their children have to be the brightest, best educated, the best athletes.  They have to have the most friends or the best hobbies. They have to be the alpha male or alpha female of their world.  Not succeeding in these endeavors incites more insecurity and more clutching for power.  Failure at it often leads to drug usage or excessive drinking which then leads to less assertiveness but more need to control.

OCD is a treatable disorder.  Some cases are so bad that medication is needed.  With others, one can learn the trust and be taught the security needed to arrest, if not cure, the illness.  In fact the illness labeled OCD, though recently named in the history of the world, is a condition dealt with in the Bible.  In a variation of the words of an old song, "Let go and let God. . .",  II Samuel 23:33 states, "God is my strength and my power. . .".

As Herodotus said, man has control over nothing, not the winds, rain, sun, crops, or others.  Frustrating, but true.  So, in other words, turn it over.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On The Road Accountability

Job 4:8

Just because America has "labeled" deliberate violence on the road, it doesn't make it okay to engage in "road rage".  Sometimes labeling things as a condition or even an illness is used to excuse the inappropriate behaviors involved, but it should not be so.

People who choose to engage in road rage violence need to be held accountable just the same as an individual who hurts someone in a restaurant or a church.  The more severe the injuries they cause, the more serious the punishment that should be meted out.

As best the police reports can be interpreted, a recent incident in Manhattan was caused by a group of bikers intent on performing tricks on a  major highway.  Police had received complaints from the driver of the SUV and were already monitoring the progress of the cyclists because of their behavior last year. 

A lot of us have considerable sympathy for the vulnerability of bikers both on bicycles and motorized vehicles.  But folks, when you deliberately plan to interrupt traffic and cause a major slowdown, you are more or less asking for accidents.  And when you succeed in getting the asking fulfilled, you are owed no apology and no recourse.  In fact, you should get a trip to court followed by a sentence and a fine.

Roads are built for traveling to work, church, events, such.  They are not built so a circus can be held in their midst.  If you choose to hold a circus there, it is not only a bad choice for yourselves, but for all drivers in America.  At the very least you increase everybody's insurance premiums with the accidents you cause.

Apparently a biker cut in front of the SUV and began a slowdown.  He was rear ended by the SUV.  He and his friends are shown converging on the SUV, trying to open the car door.  In his panic and fear, the SUV driver fled from the scene.  It is regrettable, but he ran down three cyclists in his escape.  What would you have done in the same situation?  My response would probably have been to save my family and myself if possible.  I don't think anyone would have done differently if a gang of hoodlums were expressing road rage and trying to get into their cars.

But said bikers are all in a snit because some of their own were hurt.  So, they converged on the SUV again and broke out the windows.  They accessed the driver and beat him seriously.  And they still feel they are in the right throughout it all -- from slowing traffic for fun to beating up a man over an accident and a self-protective escape.   

Immediately I thought of the efforts of those bikers who are annually working together to help afflicted children.  How embarrassed they must be of their fellow riders who work so hard at giving bikers a bad name.  Which group of individuals would you want to be around?  The answer is a no-brainer, isn't it?

Remember always that you reap what you sow.  So be careful in selecting your companions and your methods.  And by all means know that if you deliberately break laws and injure others, you deserve to be held accountable.  And just accept that your own injuries may become a tragic byproduct of your bad choices.