Sunday, November 29 2020
It’s that time of the year when Christmas cheer is being exuberantly displayed across the land. From the many displays of things Christmas, the lights, the songs that play in the background of many retail stores, and our homes, what’s not to love? The merriment of many folks in an attitude of appreciation and thanksgiving, it’s no wonder they proclaim; it’s a wonderful life. It’s kind of like a crescendo of praise; it begins to build around Thanksgiving. That’s it right there; being thankful; there is so much to be thankful for, life in and from the Good Lord, families, health and home and food aplenty. By the time Christmas gets here, it’s time to shout, even kids know this. The Advent season is a period of time that include the four Sundays before Christmas; a time to celebrate the Birth of The Christ. This time of year should bring joy to the world as God’s Word says and song as well. I’m pretty sure a lot of folks take pictures and videos this time of the year of the kids and grandkids like me, my, how they have grown. For many it’s a time to reflect on the many years of celebration together, to appreciate those things that matter most. The 1st Advent of Christ made all this possible.
It seems incredible to me that many still debate the 1st Coming of Christ! I will just say this, with the many verses (57 verses that prophetically reveal His suffering on the Cross alone) in the Bible that were written hundreds, some even thousands of years before Jesus came, declaring His coming; how in the world can one miss that? A good Christmas example is the birth place of Christ in Micah 5:2. (written 750 BC), It says He would be born in Bethlehem; it is interesting that Bethlehem means “House of Bread”. It is more interesting that Jesus said He was the Bread of Life that came down from Heaven (John 6:51). How is it that folks don’t connect the dots on this great truth? Want more; check out Psalm 22, nearly the whole Psalm concerns the Cross of Calvary. There are at least 56 more detailed prophesies to check, I checked them out; the evidence for Christ far outweighs the detractors against Him.
But there is also another thought that comes to mind as I write this article; it’s another year that is just about gone. With that thought, many people think, where in the world has time went, good question; I ask the same thing. I picked up on this thought quite a long time ago. As we all know, life is comprised of our past, present and future. Or maybe another way to look at life is; being a child, then adult and on to being elderly. Anyway you look at it, life seems segmented, and perhaps all the segments have relevance. Is it possible that at Christmas time we reflect more on the things that matter most, than at other times of the year? Maybe if we do, it’s because we have some much needed time off from work to do so, not sure. I’m living in my seventh decade of life; I think a lot about how many days the Good Lord will see fit to give me down here on the earth. The Bible does give us a clue; the days of our years are, three score and ten (70), and by reason of strength, fourscore (80) (Psalm 90:10). I think I would rather dwell on a dear friend of mine that is 102 years old/young. Up until about ten years ago she had been going to the jail with us in the Ministry.
Christmas season has many routines does it not; the hanging of decorations, lights and a tree that adorns many homes. The “lights” are a witness of the coming of the Great Light, (past and present) who is Jesus; the Light of the world. A Candlelight Service is another great illustration of this lighting of lights. The Main Servant Candle (Jesus) lights the other candles (us) and those candles light others, until the Church/room is totally illuminated by many me/you/us), a beautiful sight. Another tradition for some is to watch the old movies; Jimmy Stewart, many other old movies (for the old folks here), the Home Alone series (for the young) is always good for a laugh, as the little guy punished the thieves unmercifully. But one of my all time favorites is the Scrooge, with the old British guy, a classic. Once again the pattern seems to come to light in the movie about the; past, present and future.
Do you ever think about your life, I mean past, present and future? Does not our past represent our childhood? What if we could look back to our “past” and see the play/ing, the innocence, the joy of life. Somehow we could hear again the laughter, sing the Christmas songs again like we once did, experience the friendships of our youth again, you’re right it would be just a dream. But what if an Angel came down and was able to show us such things? How would it impact our life? How about our life “now”; what have we become? Are we miserable, miserly, loveless, or are we caring, supportive, and loving. What would we see from the window from which we look out of? Are we happy with what we see, or are we a victim of poor choices in life? If only I had taken the other route, I would be somebody now, lament many. This is the time to make changes in direction. The last piece of the pattern is the “future”. I don’t mean being elderly this time, that’s past; it’s the end of life. What we have done with our life while in the land of the living will dictate our “future”. I must say; not everyone agrees on what the future of one’s life consists of, but; the Bible says; it’s appointed unto man; once to die, then the judgment (Hebrews (9:27). I am not taking any chances with my life; God says what He means and means what He says.
Since we know that Jesus came in what’s called the 1st Advent, will there be a 2nd Advent? You can bet on that, there are even more verses in the Bible that concern His 2nd appearing than His 1st. Jesus says this; If I go to prepare a place for you; I will come again (John 14:3)! We see many indicators of events that have been foretold that would happen just prior to His appearing. We have a great opportunity to address some things that need changing while we are still able, right now. It is the time to turn unto the Lord with all your heart, do a 180 on the world and worldly. Do you remember the old Scrooge movie; in what he did when he found out he wasn’t dead? He acted like a “new man”, that’s what the Word of God says will happen to us; if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, all things become new (II Cor. 5:17). For those that have received Christ, they know the true meaning of Christmas. And to that, I say: Merry Christmas to all.
Pastor Thomas Nosworthy
Light the Way Ministries.
Special Guest Commentary
101 BODACIOUS QUOTATIONS
A ceaseless cacophony of accusations, innuendo, and intrigue have kept those in Washington and the media ever busy. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, to watch the daily news and social media, one would never know that the stock market had hit all-time highs numerous times in the last 54 months, or we’d had the lowest unemployment numbers in decades, and the lowest unemployment rate among blacks ever! President Trump also renegotiated trade deals that were fairer to America.
Then, in January 2020, our nation was rocked when the Coronavirus landed on our shores and ended our way of life as we know it. Soon there were daily press briefings from the White House and various doctors. Each day virus information was plentiful, contradictory, and confusing. People were dying. We heard that hospitals were going to be overrun with COVID cases.
The army set up hospital tents in various cities to handle the tens of thousands that were expected to land there. It didn’t happen. Hospitals were going to be inundated and unable to care for all of the sick. The army hospitals were never used – not one patient was seen in many of these. They were eventually dismantled. What happened? All non-essential surgeries and doctors’ visits were canceled. Hospitals were virtually emptied. And now? Many health care workers have been terminated or furloughed because the hospital's operating capital has vanished.
Now, thousands have died! Our elderly, who were not adequately protected in nursing homes, have had the most significant number of deaths. The actual numbers of COVID deaths cannot be relied upon because of highly questionable methodologies for assigning the cause of death. The rationale for this might be related to government funding to hospitals for each COVID case. Time will tell as we compare data from previous years for various causes of deaths to see if the other numbers are in line with past years, OR if there's been a sharp decline in other categories, and they have been pushed into the COVID category. And, suddenly, in the last several weeks, cases have begun to spike again. There is substantial debate on if it’s because many more people are getting tested. There is so much information out there – unreliable at best, that there’s no sense in discussing it at this point.
Governors in many states issued draconian lock-down orders threatening people with arrests and the closure of businesses, or cancellation of necessary licenses if they didn’t abide by these rules. Masks and gloves were donned, not in hospitals, but stores and any public places. We even saw a parent handcuffed and arrested in front of his little girl because he dared to play ball with her in an empty field. A salon owner was arrested and jailed for opening her salon to pay her bills and put food on her table. Many other Gestapo tactics, such as these, were used to keep people in line. YES, I am talking about America!
Americans have turned against one another. Some believe everything that the CDC, World Health Organization, and government say. Others believe there is a conspiracy to subjugate the people as a test to see how much they'll tolerate and for how long. It's been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. People hate each other more than ever. Make no mistake; the various powers have observed very carefully to see how we've all responded. Unfortunately, it's been too much for many, and suicides have skyrocketed. Prescriptions for mood-altering drugs to cope with the crisis have also gone up dramatically (as if we didn't already have an opioid epidemic.)
Younger Americans seem to be suffering more than most from deep depression, isolation, and loneliness. I find this completely paradoxical since they are the generation that is so disconnected from one-on-one relationships, and so completely connected to their phones and other electronic devices. You can’t sit in the same room, or at the same table with them, without sharing their time with their hand-held devices! And yet, they are the ones suffering from their own self-created lack of meaningful relationships with others.
The mainstream media, who now chooses to cherry-pick what they report, excluding vital details, has become an op-ed machine rather than a fair and unbiased media. What was once the actual news is now a daily dose of propaganda. And fear mongering. I once believed everything I heard on the evening news! I now question absolutely everything I hear on the evening news! I have no faith in the honesty, integrity, or intentions of what is being "reported." Who exactly can we turn to for the facts and not opinions? I don't know.
Just when we were beginning to see the light, and the states were opening things back up, one rogue cop, caught in the horrendous act of murdering a black man by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, captured the country’s attention. The anger and outrage at this injustice rocked every corner of our nation. But, within the black community, it ignited a firestorm of rage and anger. That moment symbolized, for many, both black and white, the brutality of a small percentage of police that has unfairly tarnished ALL police officers. To believe this of an entire segment of people is blatantly untrue and unfair.
That was the tinderbox that erupted into the scenarios we are now witnessing, hour by hour, day after day, that could be right out of the movie “Escape from New York.” Cities are burning. Businesses looted. People are being shot, and armed citizens are patrolling their neighborhoods to keep looters out and their areas safe with their weapons.
A six-block area has been taken over by anarchists. Checkpoints have been established for entering and exiting, and there are check-points to allow people in or out. They are extorting business owners, and the Mayor of Seattle seems to think it’s a “summer block party.” I guess she is not aware that a new country has been set up in a six-block area now known as CHAZ/CHOP – Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. You can’t make this stuff up!
All across our country, statues and monuments are being defaced and torn down – while those in charge sit on their hands and let the anarchists destroy America, insisting there is nothing they can do. Every day the frenzy continues as the calls for changing names of military bases, schools, colleges, sports teams, etc., escalates. It is complete insanity.
Right on cue, the media and politicians have seized upon the opportunity to stoke the coals of division and hatred. I cry for our nation and what we have allowed ourselves to become. I don't know the people seen on T.V. I don't come in contact with the level of black, or white, Americans seen on there – they don't represent those with whom I daily interact. People with thinking brains understand that these broad generalizations are not only untrue, but inherently harmful to us individually, and collectively as a nation.
Many officials of these large cities have refused to address the rioters and insist upon calling them, protesters. They seem to have limited knowledge of vocabulary for no one in their right mind would equate a protester and a rioter who burns, loots, and harms people, as the same thing. The very thing that the black community, what all communities need, are jobs and businesses. Now, thousands have seen their streets and businesses burned and destroyed, some of which will never return. Those jobs are permanently lost. Those black communities will again know the pains of hopelessness and living in burned-out hulls of their former cities.
But take hope. While all of this has happened, America's elite have raised over twenty million dollars – wait for it – not to help rebuild those cities, but to bail out the “protesters” who have destroyed those cities. Yes, this is where we are. There seems to be no help for those who work and play by the rules. No support is arriving from Hollywood elites and wealthy athletes for those people. One must question why?
I’m watching this and feeling astounded, and at times utterly hopeless. The Washington leadership (can we call it that?) is still dividing us, still trying to rush through bills that are an atrocity, and I'm thinking to myself, has pandering and appeasement ever gotten anyone anywhere?' Has that given people jobs and hope? Has that lifted them out of poverty? And, I feel, most importantly, has that increased their self-respect and self-reliance? That I can answer with a resounding NO! To deny any human being the chance to work and produce, to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, is to deny a basic human need – to feel valued.
I don’t understand all of the machinations of politics (I couldn’t sleep at night if I did). I do know one thing as a person who loves their country – that we can’t, we must not give up on America. Too many people have given their lives for our America. We are in a fight for the very soul of this country. That might sound dramatic, but it is a fact. Many want to tear it apart – rebuild it into what they “envision” would be a better place. The founding fathers had a profoundly inciteful vision for the greatest country that the world has ever known. They knew history, and they sought to use their knowledge to create a more perfect union. (Where have we heard that before?)
There are days when I question everything. At moments I give up hope and want to surrender. Times when I think if that is what THEY want, then they can have it. But it is not ours to give away! We owe a debt to our country to protect it from enemies, both foreign and domestic. That is our duty as a patriotic American who is willing to speak up and stop the insanity.
I call upon my strong faith in God, knowing that whatever He has in store, He is with us. When America turned Him out of their schools, their homes, and their hearts, our decline began. That is what happens when we shrugged our shoulders and said, “Oh well, what can you do?” Or, “Live and let live.” Now you can see the left doesn’t want people to live and let live. They want to control us. There seems to be no middle ground. This indeed is something new.
I have seen the thousands of crosses marking graves of our soldiers who fought for democracy around the world and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I mourn with families who have known the pain of losing those heroes. I remind myself that I will do everything humanly possible to ensure that America is a country of citizens who deserve to live in peace and prosperity, fellowship, and understanding. Abraham Lincoln was well aware, as our country teetered on the brink of civil war, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand." (Mark 3:25)
America is equivalent to a marriage. Sometimes we see all the best she has to offer, and we're starry-eyed and optimistic. Other times, we see everything as irreconcilable and dark. Then, it's as though we would like a divorce. But saving America is worth the fight. We have a lot of work ahead of us. A great deal of understanding and healing needs to be done.
We need to commit to providing more opportunities for all. And, more of a commitment to make each person responsible for their actions. We must step up to the plate and take personal responsibility – stop pointing the finger and passing the buck. Even though it seems impossible through the lens of the current crisis, I do believe in miracles. It's going to take courage, strength, consistency, fairness, rules for all, and laws that everyone must follow - not just a few. It will also necessitate a commitment from those in Washington to come together and serve America – not themselves. I don’t believe they will do that willingly. Their strength lies in our discord!
How could I express all of these thoughts and feelings in a small book? I've always been enamored with quotations! With just a few carefully chosen words strung together like a beautiful strand of pearls, they present a profound concept. These BODACIOUS quotations have been hand-picked for an important point or reminder about freedom, honesty, politicians, government, personal duty, economics, liberty, and above all else, man's responsibility to think for himself. History has gifted us with brilliant people, whose insightful reasoning and words of wisdom have proven ageless. They deserve to be heard once again as valuable reminders to each of us.
It is my sincere hope that you will become even more bodacious in your patriotism. I hope that you will find meaningful ways to become a better, more involved citizen. I pray that this will stimulate conversation and inspire each of you to understand your unique "Power of One" and step into your new bodacious life! America is depending upon you.
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Sunday, 29 November 2020