In the morning, before God gets up, I head to the hospital for back surgery. (No, I know God doesn’t sleep – it’s just an expression.) I know I have a kind, gifted surgeon. I know the hospital is excellent. My children will be with me and they will make sure I am taken care of well – Noelle is a nurse and Windsor has more experience than most nurses after caring of her youngest son all these years. I have been prayed over by many dear friends.
My laundry is done. The silver is polished. Advance Directive is signed and in my suitcase – just in case. There are homemade soups in the freezer and there is always tuns in a can! I’m ready! But more than anything, I know I’m in God’s hands.
Many ask and assume I am afraid. I can honestly say, I am not. Of course, going into any unknown situation makes one a bit anxious. The doctor is going to take out a large benign cyst that is harbored in my lower spinal canal. Bone will be cut and perhaps nerves moved around in order to get it out. As my Mother used to say, “You take care of the possible an leave the impossible to God.” That’s what I am doing.
I may be being naive… I’ve never had a bad surgical experience and do not anticipate one now. I dread the recovery. There will be pain. And I am “damned” (and I use that word accurately) independent. I will not like my wings being clipped! It will be a 4-6 week recovery. I have to be careful and ask for help – which is hard for me.
But it will be a new learning experience and I know God is going to give me the grace I need.
Once I can get back to my computer, I will let you know how I am doing. Please pray for me, if you think of it!
And pray for my paraolympian friend – she is in Rio and running this weekend. Liz Willis.
I enjoyed the Olympics – not hour after hour but, the highlights. I especially like the personal interest stories about the athletes. But, my goodness, they seem to get younger and younger with each Olympics; or more likely, I’m just getting older!
I admire the young athletes – their disciple and focus. I am encouraged by their dedication and the joy on their faces. It gives me hope that not all young people are protesting or looting or wrecking their future with drugs and sex. These kids are focused. And hopefully, they won’t get sidetracked by fame or wealth that may come their way. It can be heady stuff and easily divert a young person. It almost did Michael Phelps but he was able to get back on track.
My pastor’s daughter is in the Paralympics starting in Rio, September 11th. She will run the 100, 200, 400 meter races. Her name is Liz Willis. We are all so proud of her. In 2010 she gave birth to her son but contracted a very rare blood disorder and her leg had to amputated below the knee.
She showed incredible courage and resilience – as did her parents. She rose above the situation, didn’t yield to self-pity. She didn’t lose faith through the struggle, her marriage survived and she is stronger now than ever. Her son is as cute as a bug and her husband is supportive and steady. She has worked so hard to be where she is and has a sweet testimony of the faithfulness of God.
Her training has been intense and she’s gotten the skills and speed to show for it. She is admired by all who know her journey.
It happened at the same time her leg was amputated that I knew a man in a horrific car accident. He lost his left arm. But he lost much more than that. He lost courage, faith, perseverance and pride. Now he hides from life and people. His self-worth was all wrapped up in his image – an amputated left arm didn’t fit the image he wanted to portray. It is really sad. But he made his choice. Maybe one day he’ll try to redeem what he lost.
Pray for my pastor’s daughter, Liz Willis, and watch her run like the wind! NBC will broadcast some of those games.
This is an excellent explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation I have ever read. His references to past history are accurate and clear. Not long, easy to understand, and well worth the read. It was sent to me…take the time to read it.
The author of this email is Dr Emanuel Tanya, a well-known and well-respected psychiatrist. A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.
‘Very few people were true Nazis,’ he said, ‘but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come.’ My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.
‘We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is a religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.
‘Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.
‘The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.
‘It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.
‘The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the ‘silent majority,’ is cowed and extraneous.
‘Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
‘China ‘s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
‘The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.
And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery? Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were ‘peace loving?
‘History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt. Yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our Enemy if they don’t speak up. Like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them and the end of their world will have begun.
‘Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.
‘Now Islamic prayers have been introduced in Toronto and other public schools in Ontario, and, yes, in Ottawa, too, while the Lord’s Prayer was removed (due to being so offensive? The Islamic way may be peaceful for the time being in our country until the fanatics move in.
‘In Australia, and indeed in many countries around the world, many of the most commonly consumed food items have the halal emblem on them. Just look at the back of some of the most popular chocolate bars, and at other food items in your local supermarket. Food on aircraft have the halal emblem just to appease the privileged minority who are now rapidly expanding within the nation’s shores.
‘In the U.K, the Muslim communities refuse to integrate and there are now dozens of “no-go” zones within major cities across the country that the police force dare not intrude upon. Sharia law prevails there, because the Muslim community in those areas refuse to acknowledge British law.
‘As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts – the fanatics who threaten our way of life.’
My dear aunt from Dallas posted this on Facebook. I think it is excellent! And on the 4th of July may well get back to basic American principles.
This is a Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give.
By Dennis Prager: (Let’s remember his name – he’s got it right!)
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.
I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.
First ,this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American.
This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans. If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity, race and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America , one of its three central values — E pluribus Unum, “from many, one.” And this school will be guided by America ‘s values. This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.
Second , I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America ‘s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here — it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English — but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.
Third , because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor , everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.
Fourth , no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f -word, you can’t speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Nigger,” even when used by one black student to address another black, or “bitch,” even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.
Fifth , we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.
Sixth , and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue… There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately fortunate — to be alive and to be an American.
Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you..
“Governments first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”
Do you remember the story of Chicken Little? He was walking in the barnyard and an acorn hit him on his head. He thought the sky was falling and ran around telling everyone, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” He got everyone into a panic.
It seems everyone from political candidates, to legislators, to preachers, to neighbors are saying the “Sky is falling!”. And I probably have echoed that thought myself. Things seem to be getting bleak. Right is wrong. Wrong is right. Everything is upside down.
But if something fell out of the sky and hit us on the head as it did Chicken Little would we not look up to see where it came from? We’d want to know more about the situation. If for no other reason but curiosity. And it might be good to look to see how I might protect myself and those I love.
While in a devastating (“the famine was server in all the earth”) famine, Jacob and his sons wondered what to do about it – trying to make a plan. Jacob said to his sons, “Why are you staring at one another?…I have heard there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us…so that we might live and not die.”
These days we seem to stare at one another (or the TV) – looking for a solution.
Well, it might be good to look up! Psalms 121 says, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Isaiah 45:22 says, “Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God and there is no other.” The prophet Micah wrote, “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy (anxiety, fear). Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.”
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth should change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof.” (Psalms 46:1-22)
Yes, look up and see the mighty, sovereign, loving God sitting on His throne. He’s got it all under control.
The last couple of nights I have awakened around 1:30 AM. Not what I like to do and not sure why it is happening. But last night when I woke up I heard birds singing! It was a pretty, happy sound – but at 1:30!?
Birds usually sleep at night – I thought! But this is mating season and perhaps they are getting carried away in my neighborhood! Anyway, I thought it was unusual. Now I know that birds sing, not because they are happy but they are marking their territory.They aren’t really singing! They are saying, “This is my place, stay away”! This being mating season, perhaps this bird felt an all night territorial claim had to be staked so none would encroach on his territory.
Anyway, this morning I checked the Web as to why a bird sings at night. Apparently, my little nocturnal friend is a mockingbird! And a biologist by the name of William Jordan studied this curious phenomenon – the LA Times posted it. Apparently, like I previously assumed, the Mockingbird was/is defending his territory. Nothing romantic or sweet or poetic about it. It’s like he put on all his army fatigues and went to issue a challenge to would-be rivals! It is his battle cry.
Sorry to burst your bubble about the melodies of birds.
However, it caused me to think about King David when he said in Psalm 42:8, “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.” Somehow there is a parallel of song in the night to lovingkindness in the daytime.
In this Psalm David is struggling. He is asking questions of God like: “When shall I appear before God?” or, some versions say, “when shall I see the face of God”. He asks, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?” And “Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? ” David is not in a good place.
But even there he places his hope in God. He tells himself, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him.” David is anticipating praise and worship. For now he grounds himself in the fact that God will command, not suggest, not hint, not whisper but command, His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with him in the night.
I am sure you have experienced, as I have, that in the nighttime, in the dark, worries tend to grow – way out of proportion. They become much worse. Maybe for that mockingbird at night he imagined all sorts of competition for his territory perhaps he felt he was in danger and had to protect his space for his family. (He didn’t realize that most birds were asleep!)
Anyway, back to David…he is going to praise God for “the help of His presence.” Scripture tells us time and again that God is with us – we are never alone. He is a “very present help in trouble” – David had learned that by experience. I certainly know that for myself though I am quick to forget it when I am hurting or anxious or afraid or discouraged or in the dark.
I want to be like David – anticipate praise and worship and stake my trust on the very present, loving, kind nature of God. Then perhaps like a mockingbird I, too, can sing at night!
This past weekend I went to N.C. to hold my ministry board meeting and see my father, son and sister! It was a full weekend. I drove home to my granddaughter’s 8th birthday dinner last evening.
My board meeting was very encouraging and supportive as they seek to help me do what God has called me to do. They are godly, wise, gifted and great fun! We are all friends. There is no jockeying for position or politics for which I am so very grateful!
My father did seem to recognize me but sleeps most of the time. Conversation was not possible. I miss that. His health is good and he is not in pain. We are so grateful for his dear caregivers who love him and are tender with him. He is in the best of care in his own home. That is a blessing for him – and us!
I am always happy to see my son, Graham. He looks good and is busy with his real estate/development business as well as selling cars on the side. He’s a natural salesman, he doesn’t get that from me!
And I was glad to catch up with my oldest sister, Gigi. She was recently in a bad car accident – only bad bruises even though her car was totaled. She is lots of fun though she suffers from a bad back; she is awaiting an appointment at Mayo Clinic. Please pray for her.
As I drove home, I listened to the podcasts from Christ Community Church in Montreat. Both the sermon by Richard White and the Sunday school lesson by John Akers. Rich on both counts. I was happy to have the time to listen well, think an pray. I recommend heartily, Richard White’s series The Ten Commandments, Promises in Disguise.
I am so grateful I was surrounded by such beauty – God’ glory was on display! I love the NC mountains but I prefer the gentler mountains of the Shenandoah Valley.