Sunday, January 31 2021
I have had about enough political jargon to last me a lifetime, so; something different this time around. I consider myself a part of the moral fabric of this great Country, with that thought I want to share some thoughts of what I believe to be, is a missing element in many people’s lives in this great land we call America. Obviously if one were to live in some of the more depressed or impoverished countries of the world their quality of life could be diminished greatly, but this should only serve as a reminder to us, that one should never take freedom and liberty for granted. It is true, we all don’t think alike, act the same or even live the same, but you would think we would all embrace life as a the great gift it is, to be lived out in appreciation of/for that gift. In this brief space I would like to share some thoughts and/or observations from personal and perhaps Biblical viewpoint of this miracle that is called life.
I am a lover of life, I live life to the max each day, I enjoy each day, I see life as a great gift from the Creator. I don’t know how long I will get to live this life on earth, the Lord has said 70 to 80 years, but no matter; I will enjoy just about every moment of it. When I say live life to the max, that doesn’t mean I will jump off a mountain wearing a flying squirrel suit and dodge obstacles before touching down on terra firma for thrills. Nor does it mean swimming with great white sharks or hiding in a shark cage under the boat just for fun. No, it doesn’t have to be quite that dramatic to have a fulfilling life. My family; the children and grandchildren make up such a huge part of this wonderful life. The love they exude, giving me big hugs and/or a picture they drew just for me, it just touches your heart, yes; life is worth living. I think many folks get caught up thinking if they were to go on that “big” vacation, life would be good, (can’t say it wouldn’t be nice) or if I could afford some; huge new home, big boat, new 4x4 truck, some worldly “stuff”, life would somehow automatically be worth living, be more fulfilling, you get the point. Since I live in a rural part of our County, there is much wildlife to see and appreciate, I see deer, hogs, turkey, chicken hawks, rabbits; you name it. One of the things I find that enhances my quality of life is sitting under the oak trees on the edge of my field with coffee in hand and watching squirrels scurrying all about me looking for acorns, and the many birds that come to the feeder. It brings a sense of peace and serenity to one’s life. It doesn’t take huge things, constant entertainment, always have to do “something” to be quite happy I’ve found.
I wish I could say that I have always been a lover of life, (my life) as life hasn’t always been enjoyable. There were reasons, yes, always reasons. When I was younger, I went through a period of time right after I got home from the Army, when life was terrible, or so I thought. I actually had got to a place where, if you can believe this, I hated life. I said, if this is all there is to life, you can keep it. How many know that type of thinking leads to other types of thoughts, most of them not very good. This is a path to be careful of, there should have been signs posted along this path; stay away; do not enter; surely someone has been down that path before. But no, if anyway had ever been down that road, they never warned me, so down that worthless stretch I went. You could have guessed it, misery has many friends, one of them was the alcohol parasite, its drugs for many others as well, which all of these are known to be quite a depressant all by its self, I was depressed enough already, I didn’t need more of that. You may already know that depression is a great tool of the dark side; many have fallen prey to that destructive weapon of his. Perhaps someone reading this would say; don’t forget about thoughts of; nobody likes me, I don’t like me, the world hates me, God hates me, yes it’s a deep hole and getting deeper all the time. At this; isolation begins to enter in, suicidal thoughts, just end it all, I can’t take it anymore. Once again, the dark side is there to help you with that thought. How I wished I could find a better path to take.
I have noticed that many folks didn’t traverse the same path as I and a host of others had done, were haters of life as well. What was their problem, they hated the work load of life, the responsibility of life, the poverty in many cases, the mindlessness of going to work every day, coming home to the mundane life, the kids, what? The kids, the family, thinking it’s all just a stinking rut, why couldn’t I be rich, no work, and no worry; dream on. There is something wrong here, we love things that destroy and hate things that should be a joy, its a whacky world all right. Is there any hope for these folks, or is it more therapists, more drugs, more misery?
Then something happened along the road that got my attention. I ran into a guy, actually two fellows. We had a chess tournament at work, many of us played a pretty mean game of chess, I actually won the tourney pot of money once. As we played chess and chatted along the way, I found these guys to be some of the most incredible lovers of life you’d ever find. One of the guys was a big dude, around 6’ 6”, well over three hundred pounds; he looked like a big mountain man, longer hair and beard, an imposing figure to say the least. At some point in our chess playing the conversation turned to the Lord. I had no qualms about hearing words about Jesus, not I knew Him back then; say on. The big guy shared how he was heavy into drugs much of his early life, bombed out of his mind, wasted, high on just about anything you could get your hands on. Then one day he was having a serious crash, (not sure how all that works), he may have got of glimpse of hell. I have had some of these guys tell of out of body experiences, seeing things in the spirit realm; that scared the “hell” out of them. They couldn’t wait to get right with the Lord after what they saw. These two brothers shared the Lord with me, answered all sorts of questions I had, and gave me a Bible to read, which I did. That was over forty years ago. Yes, I wanted what these guys had, a love for life, a peace that I had never had and not only a better road, but, the best road you’ll ever walk.
As a Pastor, I have been blessed with the opportunity to point people in the right direction; you could say I have some insights on that. Yes, I have found so long ago that life is a gift from God. As a matter of fact, Jesus said exactly that; I (Jesus) have come to give you “Life” and that more abundantly (John 10:10b). I have seen so many people that look alive, they breathe, they talk, they walk and work, but they are dead inside. No real reason for the life they live, just another day, life -----; (you fill in) or lifelessness, if that’s you. It wasn’t until I found out that our life is gift of God and has value, purpose, a plan that I wanted all that life has to offer. I asked the Lord this question as a young Christian long ago; Lord, why was I born, what is my purpose for being? Guess what, He answered it; you were born to “Glorify Me”, that meaning God. Yes, I love it, (Math. 5:16). When people want life more than they do death, Jesus stands at the door ready for us to open it unto Him. If you are reading this and have said; man this guy is talking about me. Please understand this, I am not pushing religion, that stuff will get one a ticket in hell, I am talking about the One that came to earth, performed His mission to “rescue” mankind from the ravages of sin and death and the clutches of the devil, died on Calvary, rose from the dead and went back to Heaven, mission accomplished. When you find out that there really is a life to have, to hold, to cherish, to appreciate, that it is a gift of the highest order, it will change your life. It will not only change the way you live and perceive life, but you will have a deeper appreciation for the sanctity of life, people, things, creatures, and guess what; you’ll never want to go back to a meaningless life of death, bondage, insecurity, make no mistake about it; its supernatural. One more truth; Jesus said; I am the Way, The Truth and The Life, no man comes to the Father, but by ME, (John 14:6) and with that truth, life is within your grasp.
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, 03 October 2021
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Sunday, 31 January 2021
Sunday, 03 January 2021