“God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night, with the light from above.”
I love America- you can’t really love something/someone until you have experienced their faults and imperfections. Before that, it’s infatuation. True love has experienced the faults and chooses to love the whole package, imperfections and all. God, please bless America!
She’s not perfect, and she is making some choices to wander away from God’s principles, but I am thankful to be a citizen of the USA- a country founded for religious freedom where we still enjoy many more civil liberties than are allowed in other nations. Good nations, with a lot of positive things going for them…but they still do not have the same liberty we have on American soil.
For better or worse, parents can direct the upbringing, discipline, and education of their children with minimal government interference. We can truly worship as we choose, wherever we choose, gathering in large groups in public without fear of being arrested. We can post heated opinions about our government leaders on Facebook, in newspapers, and on other public forums without fear of imprisonment. We can go into debt to “live the American dream” or we can work hard, sacrifice in the short term, and save for the possibility of passing it on to our children. Whether our choices are right or wrong, good or bad, Christian principled or not- they are our choices, and we are free to make them and free to live with the consequences (good and bad) of our freedom.
Today, I am thankful for the patriots that have given their lives to preserve the DREAM.
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!
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!
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!
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!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
Mother’s Day. Two words. A myriad of emotions.
For some, it’s a fond memory of a mother on her knees in prayer, the smell of chocolate chip cookies cooling on the kitchen counter when you walked in the door from school, a compassionate kiss on the forehead feeling for a fever. For some, it’s the memory of a hard-working mother who did her best even though her best wasn’t quite good enough. For some, it’s the memory of nights lying awake in bed wondering why other kids had a mom and you didn’t.
For some, it’s a day of regrets as you look back at the ways you hurt the one who gave you life. For some, it’s a day of hope as you look at the promise of a future in your own children. For some, it’s a day of pain as you bravely endure another reminder of your empty arms. For some it’s a day of mourning as you face your first, or second, or twentieth, Mother’s Day without your mother.
The truth is, Mother’s Day is more than just one of these emotions for each of us. We all have fond and not-so-fond memories; we all have regrets, pain, and hope. We all know there are things we want to say to our mothers but never will. The truth is, we need this very special day. We need to remember. We need to laugh. We need to cry. We need to face our regrets. We need to mourn. We need to hope.
I believe EVERY woman is called to be a mother. Some are called to be biological mothers; some are gifted to be adoptive mothers. Some are chosen as adopt-ED mothers- the favorite aunt, the Sunday school teacher, the next-door neighbor. Some are spiritual mothers- the ones that cover us in prayer and are the Titus 2 women in our lives. Whatever kind of mother God has purposed you to be, do it with purpose. Do it because the future generations need you. Do it because there is hope. Do it because there is the promise of a future for someone in your life. Be a grandmother to a child who doesn’t have one nearby. Be a spiritual mother to a younger woman who needs help with the busyness of this fast-paced life. Be an adopted mother to a teenager struggling to find his way. Make a difference in someone’s life. They will be a better person because of you, and you will be a better person for having influenced someone for eternity. And who knows, if you’ve done your job exceptionally well, they may just roll their eyes at you and say, “Thanks, mom.”
“Don’t throw your junk in my backyard, my backyard, my backyard;
Don’t throw your junk in my backyard, my backyard’s full!”
In the car, on the way home from school a number of years ago, my third grader was singing this song. She had learned it in choir as part of an exercise to teach harmony. A catchy tune, I find myself humming it or singing it on a regular basis as I go throughout my day. One day, as I encountered yet another person sharing the latest complaints and “concerns” with me, I found this song going through my mind. As I paused to reflect on it, I realized what a wonderful motto it makes.
As a pastor’s wife, I hear my fair share of grumbling and “I can’t believe they did that!” type conversations. I think ladies are more vulnerable than men are to these well-meaning people, mostly other ladies. Maybe it’s because we are good listeners; maybe it’s because we haven’t mastered the male far away look in the eye along with the distracted “I’m sorry, what did you say?” Maybe it’s because we girls feel a certain responsibility to share our feelings with our friends. Whatever the reason, I have come to the conclusion that I have enough of my own “junk;” I don’t need yours cluttering up my mind, too. See, as a woman, I have plenty of my own opinions. I come by it honestly – just don’t tell my mother I said as much! Everyday, I have to diligently work to keep my attitude in check and the “backyard” of my mind free from clutter and distractions. I cannot hear the Lord speaking to me if I am too busy shutting out the preacher’s voice because I do not agree with something he did or said. I cannot receive loving correction from the authority in my life when my attitude is not right or I am mortified that my faults have been exposed.
I can’t let a day go by without cleaning up my “junk;” because if I do, it will multiply; and before long, I will not be able to contain it all in the limited storage space of my own mind. Then, I will find myself throwing my junk in your backyard, and if you are at all like me, you don’t need any extra junk. So please, “Don’t throw your junk in my backyard; my backyard’s full!”
One Saturday, as I was running late for a district ladies meeting, I took one last glance with my hand mirror at the back of my hair to make sure all was in place. As I did, I thought to myself, “Hmm…my hair seems to be a few shades lighter than it was last week.” Now, that in itself was a slightly annoying thought because I have always envied those with dark, shiny hair. And although my hair has vacillated along the spectrum of brown throughout my life in direct relation to the amount of time spent in the sun, I have spent the last 20 years in colder climates gleefully observing it getting darker. Well, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that about the time the previous thought passed through my mind another followed close on its heels. I remembered that I had cleaned the hand mirror the day before. My hair had not changed, but my vision had cleared up considerably.
Later in the day, as I sat pondering this amusing episode, I thought how much we resemble that hand mirror. We view everything through either the clear view of God’s Word or through the clouded view of man’s philosophy. As Christians we must hold up every thought, action, belief, and opinion to the clear reflection of God’s Word. Our view cannot be clouded over by a film of worldly philosophy, current culture, church culture, a seared conscience, or an inaccurate, watered-down version of the Bible. God is the ultimate Authority on what is good, pure, and clean and what is evil, impure, and filthy. We need to take time every day to clean our mirrors through prayer and the Word, conscientiously washing away the film of worldliness so the enemy will not be able to confuse us with blurry vision. Now, where did I put that Windex?
per·snick·e·ty (from Merriam-webster.com)
Definition of PERSNICKETY
fussy about small details : fastidious
teacher> b :
having the characteristics of a snob
: requiring great precision <a persnickety job>
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