Tag Archives: freedom

Unsolicited Forgiveness

I read this passage during my morning Bible study yesterday, and it got me to thinking.

(Jesus’ words): For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sin. ~ Matthew 6:14-15

Boom! That first part sounds great. But Jesus tells us that we face a consequence if we withhold forgiveness and it’s a big one: we are not forgiven by Him. Have you ever considered that?

I wonder if we sometimes think that withholding forgiveness somehow punishes the person who wronged us. To the contrary, I have learned that withheld forgiveness unnecessarily places a burden upon me that I simply do not need. Withheld forgiveness makes me stew over things that happened in the past, sometimes long ago. Withholding forgiveness is like fastening shackles around my own ankles and then trying to run this marathon we call life. Withheld forgiveness is a source of stress, and who needs more stress?

Lance Morrow, author and writer for Time magazine said this about forgiveness:

“Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another’s control… to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare.” (Lance Morrow – The Chief: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons)

I couldn’t agree more.

As a Christian, I am called to be Jesus to a world that largely does not know Him. This means that I am to strive to live a life that looks as much like Jesus as I possibly can. God will honor that, even when I stumble and fall. Among many things, Jesus is the Master of forgiveness. As he hung on the cross for our sins, enduring great pain and anguish as the crowd mocked Him, Jesus said,

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Even in His great pain and anguish, even as he suffered a punishment He didn’t deserve, even as He was mocked by the very creation He came to save, and even though they didn’t ask for it, Jesus offered forgiveness. This, my friends, is God’s grace at work!

What about you? Do you have somebody you need to forgive? Are you carrying that unnecessary burden? Are you wearing the shackles of bitterness and resentment? It’s time to free yourself. It’s time to be Jesus to your world. Unsolicited forgiveness. Try it. You will be freed and God will honor your action.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Independence Day 2015

Much of historical significance has happened in our country over the past couple of weeks. As I peruse my Facebook and Twitter feeds and watch America’s news networks, a very disturbing picture begins to emerge; a picture of a nation on the brink of collapse.

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Matthew 12:25

Social media presents an amazing opportunity to reconnect and renew old friendships. It is also a forum in which we can participate in our national conversation with people from all over the country. Unfortunately, we are squandering that opportunity. All too often, we throw barbs at one another, not seeking understanding or even fruitful discussion, but only seeking to advance our position over those with whom we disagree. It gets so bad, that I sometimes log off of social media for a day or two just to get relief from the insults flying back and forth.

I used to be a fan of Fox News until I got sick and tired of watching panels of so-called experts, presumably gathered together to discuss a topic of interest from their different points of view, reduce themselves to yelling over each other to be heard with the host not allowing those expressing opinions in dissent with his own to complete their thoughts. Other so-called “news” channels are guilty of the same useless banter. It is not at all helpful; instead, it serves to increase the divide that is growing ever larger by the day.

Our nation appears to have lost the ability, maybe even the desire, to have open and honest discussions with one another. I believe that, if this continues, this will be the demise of our great nation. We Americans must stand up, rise above the fray, demand quality reporting by our media, and resist the temptation to cast stones at one another.

The First Amendment to the Constitution preserves our right to speak freely, among other things. What does that mean? I’m no Constitutional lawyer (I’m not a lawyer at all, actually) but based on my understanding of American history and my understanding of the intentions of our founders, I believe there is intent here that we Americans have the freedom to speak our minds. Obviously, given the fact that we are all humans and none of us possess perfect knowledge or wisdom, we are going to disagree from time to time. Can we not, out of respect for our fellow citizens, allow such disagreements to take place without shunning the person with whom we disagree? Do any of us really want to live in a society in which we can lose our jobs for sharing an opinion with which some disagree? Can we not disagree with one another, even on important topics of national interest, without attacking each other personally in an attempt to reduce those on the other side of the issue to the ranks of the stupid and uninformed?

Today we celebrate Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, a nation was founded on the principle that people’s rights are inherently theirs by virtue of their Creator, not granted by government. We were founded on the principle that we are not subjects of our government; rather, our government serves at the will of the people. I’ll bet there were some heated discussions as the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were developed. Whatever disputes arose were negotiated and worked out, and the American people won. Friends, let us not effectively shred those documents with trite and fruitless banter. Let us not allow those who seek to divide us (they’re out there, and they seek power only for themselves) to succeed. Let us unite as Americans, understanding that each of us has worth in the eyes of God, knowing that at times we will have to agree to disagree, but also understanding that a nation divided against itself will not survive.

I love my country, I feel blessed to be an American, and I know you do, too. Let’s start now to rise above the fray and come together to save this great nation.

Happy Independence Day and God bless America.

2015 Photo-A-Day 1.27.2015

The Grand Entry was just about finished when I snapped this picture from about 20 feet away from this rider and our American flag. As the flag enters the arena, guests stand as the rider passes before them, then are invited to sit and enjoy the grand entry procession of stock show dignitaries. Sisters Megan and Summer Gay have presented the Colors each of the four years I’ve been involved with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and they do an outstanding job.

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under. ~ Ronald Reagan via BrainyQuote.com

Our flag at FWSSR, 1.27.2015

Our flag at FWSSR, 1.27.2015

Thank You, Senator Cruz!

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership...

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Politicians are politicians, and I’m hearing many voices questioning Senator Ted Cruz’ motives behind his marathon speech on the Senate floor. What Senator Cruz has said needed to be said; the fight needs to be fought. If he doesn’t say it, nobody in DC will. They will simply roll over and do whatever the status quo bureaucrats tell them to do. That’s how Obamacare passed in the first place. “You have to pass it to find out what’s in it,” said Nancy Pelosi and our gutless Congress did just that. That action alone is worthy of a one-way ticket out of office. That action alone demonstrates the disdain that many in government apparently have for We the People.

I’m not going to question the Senator’s motives. I’m glad he did what he did. He spoke for me and millions of Americans who believe deep down in our heart of hearts that what our federal government is doing to our country is destroying us as a nation. And once their work is done, they will look down at us from their seats of power and rule unabashedly. Heck, they already are.

Thank you, Senator Cruz, for representing me and the millions of Americans who still believe in Liberty.

Independence Day 2013 ~ A Promise

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

~ Declaration of Independence, closing paragraph

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 26th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On July 4, 1776, our founding fathers signed what I believe is one of the greatest documents ever authored by humanity. Today we celebrate the signing of our Declaration of Independence – the document that marks the birth of the great nation we call the United States of America.

By this Declaration and our subsequent victory in the Revolutionary War, we gained the status of a truly independent nation. With that status comes rights and responsibilities shared by each of us whose citizenship resides with these United States of America.

Our greatest responsibility is to protect and defend this great nation; to preserve the freedoms that so many have fought and died to win and preserve. The colonists sought freedom from oppression and freedom from the tyranny of an overreaching government. These men fought and died so that individuals were free to pursue their God-given rights, among those being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I often wonder what our founding fathers would think about today’s America. Would they be proud? Or would they be troubled? Are we fulfilling our obligation to defend the freedoms that so many have fought and died to win and preserve over the years? If they could speak to us today, what would they say to us?

English: Abraham Lincoln, president of the Uni...

English: Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States of America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe that the greatest threat to any organization, be it a club, a company or a country, comes from within. When a group loses focus on it’s commonalities – it’s mutual goals and objectives – it begins to break apart. President Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand…” I believe he hit the nail on the head.

Today’s immediacy of communication via cable television and the Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because, treated responsibly, these media can facilitate a level of communication and discourse among the American people that was never before possible. It’s a curse because it facilitates an unprecedented level of personal attacks and abuse. Many issues are before us as a nation about which most of us hold passionate and often opposing views. To support our positions and further the causes we hold dear, we take to the Internet. Sadly, our discourse often quickly degenerates into nothing more than personal attacks and cheap name-calling. The issues get lost in the mudslinging, and we contribute to the breaking apart of our nation. If we, the people of this great land, participate in this lowest level of discourse, we are guilty of ripping apart the fabric of this nation so carefully sewn together on July 4, 1776. And at some point, America will no longer be free.

English: Flag of the United States of America ...

English: Flag of the United States of America Deutsch: Flagge der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make no mistake; people will disagree and we are only human. The fact that we disagree is not a problem; the manner in which we often address those with whom we disagree is very troubling. On this Independence Day, will you join me in a promise? Will you join me in promising to discuss the issues, and only the issues? We will disagree, sometimes passionately, and that’s OK. We are free to disagree and passionately discuss the issues of our disagreements! But as we do so, let us always bear at the front of our minds the sacrifices made by so many who came before us. Let us not disrespect those sacrifices by tearing each other down; rather, let us honor their sacrifices by standing shoulder-to-shoulder for the common good of this great land, even as we disagree.

Happy Independence Day!

And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died and gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God bless the USA!

~ Lee Greenwood

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