Saturday, July 30, 2016

Observations of Political Conventions

* Planning and execution take much detailed work.
* It is important to be wise about what one chooses to say, write, text, tweet, and do.  It can be recalled and broadcast at a moment’s notice, even actions from years ago.
* It's good to have people on your team to support, encourage, and help you be better.
* People are watching and listening, even when you are not on stage.
* There are times to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
* Whether a candidate or situation is good or bad is determined by the viewer.
* We are sometimes too quick to support “our team” and too quick to criticize and find fault with the “other team” without further investigation of the truth.
* It is worth investing in your children.
* People are passionate about who and what they believe and are willing to share it with others.
* Words and actions make a difference.
* The cleanup crew had a big job awaiting them.
* We are ALL sinners in need of a Savior.

In response, I must:
* pray for those in authority.
* obey the law.
* research the candidates.
* weigh and check the facts before making a decision.
* think before I speak.
* speak in love.
* exercise the right to vote.
* be willing to do my part to be part of the solution instead of the problem.
* take and make the time to listen.
* entrust my delight, focus, and allegiance to Jesus.
* remember that no matter who is elected president for the next 4 years, Jesus will always be the King of Kings who is worthy of my worship, praise, adoration, attention, and obedience.  May I willingly and joyfully share Him with others.

For all God’s words are right, and everything he does is worthy of our trust. He loves whatever is just and good; the earth is filled with his tender love.
Ps 33:4, 5

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:1-4

 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
I Peter 2:13-17

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Making a Peaceful Difference

Without laws being passed or mandates being made, people are choosing to make a peaceful difference during these days of turmoil.  Some actions are planned with much detail work while others are spur of the moment decisions.

* The Bertrami County Sheriff’s Office, in Minnesota, posted a note written to one of their deputies. 

“Hey, I’m the kid that mowed your lawn.  I’m 17 years old.  If it’s ok with you I would like to mow your lawn for you because your job is hard enough and I think people like you should know that we are behind you guys.  Take the extra hour that it takes to mow and spend time doing what you love.

* People of different races outside of the Lafayette, Louisiana, Police Department, Precinct #4 Office, had their hands outstretched touching the building while praying for their officers.

* I had the privilege of teaching with Sara Barrow at Mayde Creek Jr. High.  This week, Sara’s three children came to her concerned and not understanding why people were being mean to policemen.  After discussing the situation, her children and some of their friends made thank you signs, went shopping for a “Thank you KISD Cops” cookie cake, cupcakes, and soft drinks, and then took the treats and signs to the Katy ISD police.  I love how Sara is taking the time to teach her children, as well as other children, to make a positive difference and then giving them the opportunity to practice what they are learning.

* In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a police officer and man embraced over a “Crime Scene” tape while praying with each other.

* At their conference in Dallas, the Texas FFA raised more than $10,000.00 for families of fallen officers by selling wrist bands that are half black and half blue.  Imprinted on the bands:  TXFFA DPD #Weareallinittogether.

* Citizens of different nationalities lined up shoulder to shoulder to show solidarity to the police on W. North Avenue in Baltimore.

* In Wichita, Kansas, the Black Lives Matter activists had planned a protest against the nation’s ongoing violence.  After activist A. J. Bohannon met with Police Chief Gordon Ramsey, they decided to plan a “First Step Community Cookout” instead.  Nearly 1,000 came out to the picnic.  Food was provided by the police and community members.  After addressing concerns, Chief Ramsey reminded everyone that, “It takes two parties to make a healthy relationship.”

* Sergeant Steve Wick, a member of Tallowood Baptist Church, has patrolled the streets of downtown Houston, on a bicycle, for more than 22 years.  He has close contact with the 500+ homeless people who shelter in Tranquility Park, on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, under the Pierce Elevated and other bridges, as well as other places in the city.  Last week, a picture was taken and posted of Sergeant Wick washing a homeless man’s feet.  Quintus is a regular who sells newspapers in that area.  After washing Quintus’ feet, Wick trimmed his long toenails so he would be more comfortable when walking.  Because of his glaucoma, it is hard for Quintus to see and be able to do that himself.  Then Wick and Officer Colin Mansfield found him a place to shower and cleanup.  They are working to find a doctor to help with Quintus’ glaucoma as well as finding him a place to live.  Steve Wick says, “Everyone is out there for a reason.  They are all broken in some way.  We just need to find out what the reason is and help them get off the street.”  Even when they could help the people get off the street, Wick realized it was usually short lived before they were back again.  In 2011, after much work and enlisting of other officers, the HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team was formed.  The unit of four officers works alongside case managers from the Harris County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority to provide services and accountability to the homeless.  Every day as Sergeant Steve Wick goes to work, he is choosing to make a difference in the lives of others.

“God, please teach us to see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and love with your heart.  Help us to be quick to live in obedience when the opportunities come, even if we are the only one.  May they see Jesus in us so that they too will want to know and serve the Prince of Peace.”

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11 

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. 
James 3:17, 18

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Beach Week 2016

What a wonderful week of celebrating God's creation of people and places.  Beach Week 2016 is in the books.  What a joyous time to be with family and every day remember in thoughts and prayers those who were working or in other places this year.

Welcome to the beach!

 Other fun outside activities

We celebrated 3 birthdays this week: 
Jordan's 30th, David's 6th, and Mary's 4th.  
David and Mary have August birthdays, but since all were together it was a great time to  celebrate.

Inside fun

The yearly tradition of miniature golf

Our family
Missed getting a picture of nephew Erich and his fiancee Kelley

And yes, Mary, we are all a little sad when it's time to leave.

Already looking forward to next summer.
Two little ones will be added to our family in December.
David, Ryen, and Sawyer are announcing their sibling, 
due 12/6.
Andrew and Melissa are expecting Amelia on 12/9.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:5