Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Family, friends and material things are the usual items we hear. Thankful for our country and the freedoms that we have are not far behind on our list. These are all wonderful things to be thankful for, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Are you thankful for your “problems” and the “challenges” that are in your life? May I be bold enough to ask you to be appreciative of these items also? Having problems and challenges means you have options and choices. You have the ability to look at these issues with a variety of opinions and choices.

Here are some synonyms for “thankful”:

  • Contented
  • Grateful
  • Indebted
  • Overwhelmed
  • Pleased
  • Relieved
  • Satisfied
  • Beholden
  • Gratified
  • Much obliged 
I’ve never thought of being overwhelmed or indebted as thankful. Normally when I am overwhelmed it is because I have so many choices or because I have so much to do. When I put it that way I should be thankful. I love the words, beholden and much obliged. I guess if I am beholden to someone that means I am thankful to them for something they did for me.

Let’s go deeper and see what God has to say.

Romans 1:21
Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Have I become futile in my thoughts? Is my heart thinking foolish thoughts and being discontent? I hope not, but I am human and it happens sometimes.

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

This Thanksgiving I am going to make a special effort to be more thankful for everything, my family, friends and challenges.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Roaring Lion

James 1:12-15

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

I feel like I am constantly being tempted. When that happens I ask God “why are you doing this to me”, or “why are you letting this happen to me”? I suspect this is pretty normal for most of us, but when I am tempted, it feels like I am alone in this world. I know I’m not, but it sure feels that way.

These verses above, James 1:12-15 confirm that God is not responsible for my temptations. I am solely responsible. As always, the choice is ours to make. It is my sinful desires that tempt me and take me away from God.

Why am I tempted? Where do these desires come from? My understanding is they come from Satan. Satan is real and he knows my weaknesses. When I am weak mentally or physically, Satan is aware . . . then pounces.

The Bible says the devil goes about the earth like a roaring lion, 1 Peter 5:8. Like a lion in the wild, he roams, constantly moving and looking for weak pry. I am pry to Satan because I am a Christian. Satan isn’t interested in those that do not worship God; he already has them in his clutches.

It helps me to stop and think when I am being tempted. Consider the fact that something is off inside of me, just out of sorts. When I realize that and transfer that information to Satan stalking me, I know it is God that is missing. Not that my faith or beliefs have changed, I’m just weak at the moment. Maybe I hadn’t prayed yet that day, or maybe I am overwhelmed with something in life or just feeling blue.

Counting my blessings is a good place for me to start proactively fighting the temptation that I’m facing. Acknowledging that my God is bigger than any problem I have has a profound effect on me. It lifts my mood and gives me strength.

Share with me some of the ways you fight Satan off when temptation faces you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Data Boot Camp

Today's blog is taken from "Data Mine". Please remember our veterans today. These numbers will amaze you.

Veterans Day is an official United States federal holiday that is observed annually on November 11, honoring people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect). The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives and those who perished while in service.

How Many Veterans Are There?

There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the bureau.

Vietnam and World War II:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tested the resolve of a generation with multiple deployments to those nations during the global war on terror since 2001. An estimated 2.5 million service members served in those wars, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America advocacy group, but they represent only a fraction of American veterans. Approximately 7,391,000 service members are still alive from serving during the Vietnam War era between 1964 and 1975, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency estimates that only 1.71 million Americans are alive today who served during World War II between 1941 and 1945. Elderly veterans place a heavy responsibility on the VA to provide for their health, welfare and employment needs.

Health Care and PTSD:

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers health and welfare services to veterans but has fallen short in its task of serving the mental and physical needs of generations of former troops. The Obama administration raised the VA budget from $100 billion in 2009 to $163.9 billion for 2014, but some critics including the IAVA advocacy group have said that money is not being efficiently spent to manage the agency’s 150 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics.

Veteran Small Business:

Leadership skills and discipline gained in the military make troops more likely than civilians to become entrepreneurs or small business owners. Veterans accounted for 9.1 percent of U.S. business owners in 2012, which shrank from 10.7 percent in 2008, according to the Small Business Administration. That’s a pretty high rate considering that only about 9 percent of U.S. adults are veterans. The shrinking rate may be due to the aging and retirement of the veteran population

Veteran Employment:

Health problems and lack of nonmilitary job training can make finding a job after leaving the armed forces difficult despite partnerships between companies to hire veterans. There were 722,000 unemployed veterans in 2013, 60 percent of whom were older than age 45, while 35 percent were between the age of 25 to 44, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterans of past service eras may have a lower unemployment rate because retirement and health disability are lowering their labor participation rate. The jobless rate for veterans of all ages as of October was 4.5 percent, compared with the 5.8 percent for the overall civilian population.

Veteran Homelessness:

Because of a lack of affordable health treatment and job prospects, veterans represent about 12 percent of America’s homeless population, and approximately 50,000 veterans are homeless each night, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of homeless veterans has declined by 33 percent since the depths of the recession in 2010 in part because of treatment and welfare efforts, the department reports.

Was It Worth It?

After experiencing the personal and professional struggles of returning to civilian life 89 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 said they made the right choice joining the military, according to a poll published in April by The Washington Post in association with the Kaiser Family Foundation. All veterans sacrificed something for the U.S. no matter where they served, so please honor their dedication this Veterans Day!

 Tom Risen is a technology and business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What If . . .

What if you have really messed up? Messed up your life, made some really serious mistakes, hurt other people or hurt yourself?

You are normal.

We all mess up; we all make mistakes, some really big ones and some small ones.

When I first became a Christian, I did it because I knew it was the right thing to do. I had searched and listened and experimented with life. When I heard the Truth, that was it, nothing else seemed possible. Then the long road of trying to live the life as a Christian was facing me. I felt like I was in a different world.

I saw other Christians and thought how perfect they all looked. They said the right things and spoke in different terms than I was used to speaking. I can remember thinking I will never be as good as they are.

Each week I would go to services and go through the motions. My heart was in it, but being the mom of two little girls and working full time was hard. I loved Wednesday nights the most because it gave me a boost during the middle of the week to make it through the next 3 or 4 days. But I sinned. I always sinned. I used to beat myself up about how bad I was. That didn’t help, it just made it worse.

What I didn’t understand was God’s grace. It is His grace that saves us, not how good or bad we are. Yes, we are supposed to be “Christ like”, that is what being a Christian means. However, God understands that we are not perfect, cannot be perfect and will never be perfect. Only God’s Son, Jesus was perfect.

I’m a slow learner I guess because it took me many years to understand that no matter how hard I worked at it, I couldn’t work my way into heaven. I can never be good enough to earn Gods grace. He just gives it to me for the asking and obeying of His word.

So what happens when we sin? Is it a big sin, a little sin – it doesn’t matter. In God’s eyes sin is sin. There is no big or little sin, only we humans put tags on sin as being big or little. Some sins just have different consequences to them. Some you can see, some you can’t. If I have sex before marriage and the result is a pregnancy, everyone can see the consequences of that sin. If I steal a candy bar from the store, and I don’t get caught, no body knows about that except me and God. The sin carries the same weight with God.

Until I repent of that sin and start living in the light of His word I am separated from Him.

Life doesn’t end when we sin; it’s just another bump in the road of life. We sin; we ask for forgiveness and move on.

Please don’t think I am taking sin lightly, I’m not. However, sometimes I think we can get stuck in the sin cycle. When we don’t realize we can stop and start over. Starting over gives us a fresh start at life. We will always remember the sin, or may have the consequences of sin in our life, but that doesn’t define us.

 Review your life, repent of your sins and start fresh. God is always there for you no matter what time of day it is. Turn to Him.