What Makes A Nation Great?

​Arnold Friberg was an American painter noted for his religious and patriotic works. He is best known for his 1975 painting which was his depiction of George Washington’s  prayer, during the Revolutionary War and the difficult winter at Valley Forge. Though many today have tried to erase our national Christian heritage, and the influence christianity had on our Founding Fathers, that undeniable truth still stands in their own words.

As we begin a new year, and a new chapter for all Americans with a new President, may their honest words be burned upon our hearts, and alive within our souls.

“This nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Patrick Henry)

“We recognize no Sovereign but God, no king but Jesus” (John Adams & John Hancock)

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their basis?” (Thomas Jefferson)

“To the distinguished character of patriot it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian” (George Washington)

President Ronald Reagan echoed these same sentiments when describing Friberg’s painting during his radio address to the nation in December, 1983. He said this painting “personified a people who knew it was not enough to depend on their own courage and goodness; they must also seek help from God, their Father and their preserver.” 

My prayer for this nation as we begin a new year, with a new president, reflects the same heart-felt cry as those whose words are quoted above.  May we as a nation wake up, walk in the light and  love of God, and return with repentant hearts to Him who made us great. Without God’s blessing, and our humble hearts, no nation will ever become truly great. May the grace of God fill us with hope and point us in the right direction.  May the sacrificial love of Jesus become a living reality and produce a fire of revival in our nation, to bring about another great awakening!

Avoiding The “Drama Dump”

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It is 6am on Christmas Eve morning, and I am enjoying a hot cup of Bengal Spice tea in the light of my Christmas tree. I am settled back into a large, well-padded, comfortable chair and soaking in all the solitude that surrounds me. The house is peaceful and warm, the road outside has no traffic and dawn is just showing over the ridge that is east of my house. I can see a flock of Chickadees flitting back and forth, grabbing a breakfast of sunflower seeds from the bird feeder I made and placed outside the window. This is a moment of morning seclusion, a sanctuary of quietness that I frequently enjoy, and always need. Why?  Because of the drama that often tries to surround our lives.

We live in a world that is overrun by pressures and the tyranny of the urgent needs of others that seem to hijack our life. Those we love and those we just know, have lives that are  often filled with drama, and this spills over onto us. We become collateral damage, so to speak, from the life issues, pain or stupid decisions others have made. For some, holiday time brings this into high gear and this can be rather emotionally draining. For others, it is simply an annoying frustration that they know will soon pass.

I am happy to say that I have finally learned how to move beyond the emotional baggage others want to unpack on my doorstep. I have discovered how not to be “dramatized” by the endless needs of others, and this revelation has changed my life. Let me take a moment to share my secret with you this Christmas season. It may just rescue you from yet another difficult time of year.

After a particularly demanding and emotionally draining time, I felt as if the life had been sucked out of me by the drama others were going through. Without knowing it, I had became the “host” animal, and emotional lamprey’s had attached themselves to me, hitched a ride and had been sucking the life juices out of me for months. In my attempt to help everyone, I was killing my own joy of living. My wife was impacted by it and my family and friends were getting the leftovers that remained. Needless to say this was the wrong order for things and I knew it had to stop.

Then one day I was talking with my wife about yet another emotional dump that had happened with those we loved. Perhaps I should say she was talking to me, and that conversation lit something within. Not long after this, an idea hit me during my quiet time in the early morning hours. I began to categorize the people, the drama and the outcomes that had been used to hijack my life. What I realized was that every situation fell into one of four categories, and that was a revelation. Once I discovered which category things fit into, every emotional bloodsucker fell off me. It was amazing!

The categories are actually simple filters that bring into focus what my role should be when someone wants to unpack their baggage and have a “drama dumped” at my front door. As you read these over, think of situations you may have been drawn into and see if this might help. They have worked well in my life, and my wife will tell you that we are all much better off since I put these into practice. The four “drama dump filters” are;

  1. ICA – I Can Advise (but you must do what I say).
  2. ICL – I Can Listen (but I don’t drag your drama with me).
  3. ICC – I Can Comfort (but you must be willing to change).
  4. ICH – I Can’t Help (because this is your issue. It’s not my monkey to carry).

When a drama dump comes your way, take a moment to pass it through the “drama dump filter” and watch what happens. Very quickly things will come into focus and the emotional bloodsuckers of life will fall away. When you don’t unpack the emotional baggage others want to drop on your doorstep, it is rather liberating.  Don’t allow others to leave their emotional junk mail in your mailbox, where you will be stuck opening it. It’s time to get your life back. Help where you can, listen when you are able, and leave others to the life they have made for themselves! Do yourself a favor and let the best come out of you this Holiday season. With a little practice, you can begin to live your life  with joy once again.

May God bless you, and may you have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

The “EDAT” Harvest Is Here !

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A number of years ago I was teaching a 12th grade health class and I had a rude, and very unexpected, awakening. I had given incoming students a basic survey to test their ability to sequentially and logically think. I was walking them through an exercise called “Logic And Critical Thinking”, and this was their introduction to the material. The survey was quite simple. Students were given a piece of paper with a specific task written on it. They were to write out a set of instructions explaining exactly how to do that task. The paper was then given to another classmate who read the title aloud and actually followed the instructions exactly as written, before the entire class.

The tasks ranged from very simple things to those that were more complex. They included; take off a shoe, put on and zip up a coat, walk to the front of the room and face the class, lock the classroom door, open a window, get a glass of water, turn on the classroom lights, water a plant, draw a stick figure of a woman on the chalkboard, stand side-by-side with someone in the classroom, turn on a water faucet or unplug an electric cord from a wall outlet. All of these seem simple enough when we think from a holistic point of view. We mentally see the whole process and then just automatically flow through it to make it happen. However, when we start to think sequentially, and have to organize a logical set of steps to get the task done, this involves a very different kind of skill and a much higher level of thought process.

To my shock 14 out of the 15 students in my class got frustrated, and some wanted to quit as they tried to follow the instructions. Others felt embarrassed and uncomfortable when they were unable to follow the instruction as written, in order to successfully complete the task. A few laughed it off, but the vast majority were left unsettled and unable to cope with the “stress”. These wanted an alternative exercise of their own choosing, or they wanted to just end the task right in the middle of the assignment. In that moment I realized I had uncovered something about the generation sitting before me, and it was shocking.

The facts were clear and quite disturbing. These students were more tech savvy and social media oriented than any previous generation. However, they clearly lacked the basic emotional skills, the clear thought patterns, the sequential communication skills and the emotional fortitude to cope with situations that made them uncomfortable. In other words, the “Everyone-Deserves-A-Trophy”(EDAT) generation was about to come into it’s own, and the results were not very pretty.

Fast forward to the election of November 8th, 2016. In case you missed it, this is exactly what we all have endured since the night President Donald Trump was elected. The “EDAT’ generation erupted in shock, anger, depression and unbelief when their candidate, the liberal media’s choice, was soundly defeated. That night in Hillary’s camp, the news cameras caught grown woman curled up on the floor in the fetal position, writhing in pain. There were groups of men and women holding each other, tears streaming down their faces, sobbing as if their only child had just been killed by a drunken drive. The entire room was acting like an emotionally unstable teenage girl who just got dumped by her first boyfriend. The agony, anger, grief and shock festered in depression and the sound of weeping that filled the room.

Even more shocking was the editorializing that was happening out on the street. All honest reporting was abandoned as left leaning reporters somberly announced the decision. Andrea Mitchell stated history was once again stopped from moving forward. Huh??? Talk about a vile miscarriage of media reporting. History had just been made and she missed it! For the first time in American history a successful businessman, who reveled in his lack of any political ties, did what the liberal media declared was impossible. He became president of the United States in a landslide of electoral votes that currently stands at 306 votes! One of the largest margins in our history.

Since that night riots have broken out in some liberal strongholds, flags burned, people have been dragged from their cars and attacked. Some communities have been set on fire by agitators and paid protesters. They have blocked traffic, broken windows, smashed cars and even the presidential losers have demanded an expensive and pointless recount the public will pay for. Those in the electoral colleges of Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania had their addresses and emails publically posted on the Internet. The news has reported they and their families have been threatened, harassed and deluged with emails by the liberal left in an attempted intimidation to make them change their vote to Hillary.

My questions are simple. Why are we seeing this shocking disregard for our laws and our political process? Why have we never seen such a display of unbalance and inappropriate behavior in any past election? After 40 years as an educator, 44 years as a voter and 62 years of life experience, I can only come up with one answer. It’s because this is the first time we have actually seen the “EDAT” generation come into action. This is the outcome to be expected from those who have not been educated but have been fully indoctrinated. This is the generation that says “I-must-feel-good-about-myself,” “I-must-have-my-own-way”, “I-must-be-kept-from-feeling-bad-about-anything”, “I-must-have-dog-therapy-for-every-little-life-drama-I am- going-through”, “I-must-be-emotionally-coddled”, “I-must-be-carried-and-provided-for”, “I-deserve-a-trophy-for-every-mediocre-half-hearted-crappy-thing-I-ever-do”.

When those in the “EDAT” generation have a reality check, and realize they are no longer shielded from real life, it is temper tantrum city. As the truth comes to those who have always lived in an emotional greenhouse of protection and special treatment, it is quite a shock, quite a sideshow and tragically entertaining to behold. Honestly, I must admit I enjoy the show that the “news” outlets provide every night. It’s better than a reality TV because there are different actors daily, and few are cashing in on the endless drama that is available. But, just like the spoiled children of “occupy wall street”, they can only throw a tantrum for so long, and people eventually get tired of it. Once the weather gets cold, ….that’s not very fun. Once the media moves on,…. the free publicity will be over. And of course, once the free meals are gone, …so are they.

So where do we go from here? We press on in support of President Trump and the breath of fresh air he is bringing to Washington and to the nation. We hold him accountable for campaign promises he made. Namelt,  to rebuild our military, create new jobs, start national energy exploration and revitalization, build the AMX  Wall (American/Mexican Wall) to secure our borders, deal with so called “sanctuary cities” and with illegal aliens, create tax cuts for business growth, repeal and replace the disastrous unaffordable health care, encourage US businesses to return to the US and return education back to the state level. We need to encourage him to drain the political swamp that has stagnated Washington. Most of all we need to pray for Him. May he really be the kind of strong, honest and exemplary leader our nation can follow into a new area of prosperity and strength.

God Bless America Which Is And Always Has Been One Nation Under God, And May God Bless Our New President Donald J Trump.