Sunday, May 27, 2018


Personal Response to Eric Walters
Olean Politics Discussion Board on Facebook

I tried to post this as a Facebook response...but Facebook did not want to "accept" it.  I apologize for using my "blogging" space to air out this response...but as a Christian...as an American...as "me"...I cannot let Eric's words go unanswered.  I have included his original post so that there's some sense of the "conversation" that's taking place.  I also include it because I wanted any of my friends who are interested in trying to understand other political views to have an opportunity to see what's out there in this world...what's being promoted as "critical thinking" in many places.  I will explain that I have never met Eric, but we have been "debating" on this "political" page for a while now.  I appreciate that Eric put so much thought into what he wanted to share about his beliefs.  I hope that he will appreciate my efforts to respond.  Eric's part of the conversation is in black...mine is in red.  I don't believe I've edited out anything.  His original post was on the "Olean Politics" FB page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/149166415660460/) a page designed specifically for political debate.  Eric's post was long...so responding makes it seem impossibly long.  I will be posting this "blog" on the Olean Politics page.

In regards to the immoral act of state voting:

THERE IS NO “MORALITY” OR “IMMORALITY” IN VOTING.  That is purely an “opinion… not a fact.  And your 20 Reasons do nothing to make it a fact…they are all your personal opinions.  Perhaps you thought by “expounding” so “eloquently” (trying to be respectful here) that no one would bother to respond.  And I thought seriously about letting it go.  But there is so much PURE FOOLISHNESS here and you have obviously not thought out the TRUE CONSEQUENCES of what you promote, that it could not remain unanswered.  I apologize to others.  There is no way to do this other than to respond point-by-point to his assertions…

1. If one votes, one participates. If one participates, one condones and endorses the process, and subsequently, what those elected ‘representatives’ do and say in your name.

1.  I agree!  Participation in an election through the Constitutionally-protected RIGHT to cast a ballot and be represented IS condoning the process.

2. Electoral promises are meaningless because politicians are able to lie to gain the favour of the electorate, and then do exactly what they want once they have it. Then there is no accountability or recourse, other than waiting another 4 years or so to vote them out and replace them with someone else who will follow the established template and do the exact same thing.

2.  I disagree.  Politicians who lie outright while running for office can be held accountable by their peers through budget allocations…by their constituents through protests, letter-writing, phone-calling, impeachment processes…and if necessary, they can be held legally responsible and arrested if there is proof they have done something criminally wrong.

3. The act of voting grants legitimacy to the idea that it’s acceptable for the majority/collective to use the coercive arm of the state to impose their will on the minority/individual using force, or threat of force, and for that reason, it is immoral to vote. As such, the only way to truly de-legitimise the system is by not voting. When the people refuse to participate in droves the international community can no longer recognise the results of the election as legitimate. This perceived legitimacy is such a concern for politicians that in some countries it’s now a legal requirement to vote (e.g., Australia).

3.  NOTHING about voting and being represented in the U.S. allows for COERCIVE actions to be imposed on a minority.  When laws are made by a MAJORITY of the U.S., even the minority has a voice.  However…what IS coercive is when the minority refuses to accept the voice of the majority.  You are calling for CHAOS…a world with NO RULES…just because people want to make up their own mind for themselves.  In a COLLECTIVE society, THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE.  Even in the Bible, people “cast lots” and God NEVER taught us that it was “immoral”.  I’m not sure where you’ve picked up that idea that the act of voting is an immoral act or premise.   That’s strictly your OPINION…not a fact.  If all but 3 people in a country were to decide to NOT VOTE…there would still be an election with a winner declared.  How would you have leadership chosen?  Or would there just be NO LEADERSHIP?  And how in the world does anything get done without LEADERSHIP?  You have lost your mind on this one, I think.  However, I stand by my assertion that VOTING is NOT immoral…or moral!

4. A non-voter emerges from the electoral process with a clean conscience because they can legitimately proclaim that what the elected ‘representatives’ subsequently say and do after they have gained power is not done in their name, not with their permission, and not with their encouragement.

4.  The only way a non-voter “emerges from the electoral process with a clean conscience” is if they have NO CONSCIENCE.  Not only are they not responsible for anything the elected say or do…they are also not responsible for anything the elected do not say and do not do.  THEY ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE, PERIOD.  They are not a contributing member of “society”…they are self-centered, egotistical and lack the ability to show compassion for their peers.  Their lack of responsibility is what should be labeled IMMORAL.

5. To not vote DOES NOT mean one relinquishes the right to then comment on, complain about, or protest the actions of the government, it is completely the other way round. When one votes one effectively makes a contractual agreement (the voter is officially recorded doing so), which hands over the right for someone else to speak and act in their name, and as such, assents to whatever the government does thereafter. A non-voter however, has not done so, and therefore retains the right to complain, object and protest all they want.

5.  To not vote DOES mean one has relinquished any “right” to comment, complain or protest…because the one who has not voted is not a RESPONSIBLE party.  They don’t get to complain…they don’t get to comment.  Their lack of participating…their lack of choosing a representative…negates their ability to participate.  We cannot have a country to all 300M+ people vote on every issue.  Logistically, that’s impossible.  We struggle to vote ONE TIME EVERY FOUR YEARS FOR THE PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT.  All you’ve retained is nothing…YOU GAVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE…YOU GAVE UP YOUR REPRESENTATION…YOU GAVE UP YOUR VOICE.

6. Participation in the system (i.e., voting) reinforces the idea that people can’t live together without violent control.

6.  There is not ONE EXAMPLE of a society that has not ultimately destroyed themselves and disappeared…with or without leadership.  Nations with strong leadership have failed…nations with weak leadership have failed…and there is NO NATION that’s ever been labeled a “nation” without leadership.  Without leadership, they are not recognized and do not participate in global events.  Even tribes who know nothing about “politics” have someone as a leader…either appointed, or inherited…but there’s no such thing as no leadership.

7. Participation in the system (i.e., voting) implies that the majority knows what’s best for everyone.

7.  Participating in the system (i.e., voting) doesn’t imply “the majority” knows what’s best for everyone.  It implies that the majority is CONSIDERED the majority and the law that defines what’s best for the “most” will most clearly lead to less “conflict”.  It’s obvious, even in America, that just because the majority votes, the minority hasn’t lost it’s voice.  Heaven forbid!  America has the nosiest, most volatile, most disrespectful, most damaging minority right now than it’s ever had…all in the name of “peaceful assembly”.  We obviously need someone to define what “peaceful assembly” means because there is NOTHING peaceful about the dissent that’s gone on in the last couple of years.  Had the “minority” lost its “voice” because of the election, everyone of those who have participated in any “protest” that left damage, garbage, injury to persons or property should be sitting in jail.  NOT ONE OF THEM LOST THE RIGHT TO PROTEST AND ASSEMBLE…unless they break other established laws AND GET CAUGHT.

8. Participation in the system (i.e., voting) implies that the majority knows what’s best for the individual.

8.  We don’t vote to decide what’s best for the individual.  WE ARE A NATION…a nation of individuals who have to live together under some sort of “norm” that allows us to live together peaceably.  Elections have never been about “individual rights”…our Constitu-tion is not about “individual rights”.  The Constitution was established and still is used from the rights of the NATION…and it includes “individuals” in that nation!

9. Voting is effectively participating in mob rule, and the mob then enforces it’s views on the rest of society with the threat of violence.

9.  Voting and “mob rule” have NOTHING IN COMMON.  Mob rule is defined: “control of a political situation by those outside the conventional or lawful realm, typically involving violence and intimidation.”  Our elections are not held under duress…you’re not threatened with violence or intimidation if you vote…or if you don’t vote.  If you are, that’s not from the government…it’s from your PEERS.

10. By voting, an individual literally advocates the use of force against peaceful people.

10.  I have never advocated the use of force against “peaceful people”, but I have advocated the use of force against law-breakers…including criminals, pedophiles, rapists, thieves, etc.  If you are not going to follow the law, then you face the consequences.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE THE LAWS.  But you DO have to either obey them…or work to get them changed.  The process has worked well in this country because sensible, mature adults know the value of laws.  Law-abiding citizens do not fear the use of force…they never expect it to be used on them.  You need to visit a country where law-abiding citizens DO face that fear…you apparently haven’t got a clue how bad it is elsewhere or you’d have a little bit of appreciation for those who risk their lives to enforce that you are free to say garbage like this with any repurcussions.

11. Voting reinforces the idea the ‘people’ have the power rather than the largely unaccountable bureaucrats who make the rules.

11.  You may think those “bureaucrats” are “unaccountable”…but they sure spend a lot of money to prove they’re doing what they were elected to do.  The spend a lot of time on the road…in meetings…visiting with individuals.  I agree, it might be time to re-write our voting districts so one person is not representing one million people…but to abolish gov-ernment is only asking for COMPLETE CHAOS and ULTIMATE VIOLENCE.  Have you seen what happens in other countries when governments are overthrown…even by the good guys???  People do not suddenly live lives of bliss and harmony.  They loot…they hide… they attack…they confront…they push for their piece of the pie.  I’m not sure what world you’ve been living in that you remotely think a utopia will suddenly appear when the government is no longer running the show.


12. Voting is futile because invariably the better financed candidate wins.

12.  You’re in trouble on this one.  This is just plain FALSE…FAKE NEWS.  Clinton spent twice as much as Trump on her way to losing the Presidency…so invariably the candidate WITH THE MOST ELECTORAL VOTES wins in a Democratic Republic! (https://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/09/trump-spent-about-half-of-what-clinton-did-on-his-way-to-the-presidency.html)

13. Statistically, any one vote makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on a beach. Thinking that their vote counts tends to give the voter a mistakenly inflated sense of self-worth, and participation in a system creates a passive sense of accomplishment.

13.  I think every candidate who’s ever been elected by a one-vote margin would be quick to point out the fallacy of this point.  And guess what.  MY VOTE DOES COUNT.  It either helps push my candidate to the win…or it negates the vote of the competitors constituents.  I’m satisfied enough that I’ve not missed voting in an election in over 40 years!


14. An individual’s ability to make an informed choice is zero if the only information they reference is from the overtly bias main stream media, government news channels (propaganda), politicians and party manifestos (sales pitch), or from an ‘enforced’ state school education (indoctrination).

14.  Your lack of respect for thinking, educated individuals is incredibly rude.  I won’t even pretend that everyone participating in elections is as informed as I try to be… but I would never write them off as a society because of my own personal bias and views.  Talk about an “inflated sense of self-worth” or “passive sense of accomplishment”.

15. Voting sends a false signal to the elected politicians that the voter approves of all their policies. Voters therefore encourage them.

15.  Your shallow view of those elected to serve in office is reflected here.  I don’t know one politician who thinks voters have approved of ALL THEIR POLICIES.  They have the letters, e-mails, phone calls…and dissenting votes…to show them otherwise!  They’re not as stupid as you suppose them to be.

16. If an individual has not come to firm conclusion about the election, that individual will do more for their country/community by not voting, rather than making a mistake.

16.  JUST WRONG.  We make mistakes.  Every day!  We’re not BOUND by them.  They do not DEFINE us.  And mistakes can become lessons…make the mistake a valuable resource.  You must have lead a pretty defeated life if you believe every mistake you’ve made defines you.  I happen to be blessed to know that none of my mistakes have kept me from becoming a wonderful, loving, giving, compassionate, educated, wise person.  Perfect?  No.  But doing my part to make my little part of the world a better place?  ABSOLUTELY!

17. If the outcome of a vote is unknown, then voting is tantamount to gambling. If the outcome of a vote is known, then voting is futile.

17.  If the outcome of ANYTHING IN LIFE is unknown, then every decision we make is a gamble.  For all indications, the OUTCOME of the 2016 election was KNOWN…according to EVERY media source available.  BUT VOTING WAS NOT FUTILE…and the outcome was CHANGED.  One never knows the true outcome till it happens.  We learn in childhood not to count our eggs before they hatch.  You apparently missed some very important lessons in childhood.

18. No individual has the authority to make laws their neighbour, or anyone else, must obey. Then how is it morally acceptable for any individual to delegate authority they don’t have to someone else, such as a politician?

19.  Actually, Eric…THIS IS AMERICA…and that’s how our democracy works.  Truly…God is the law-giver…and the majority of our laws in America have followed the decrees of the God of the Bible.  Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter.  It’s a FACT.  And God DOES have the authority to decide what HIS creation can and cannot do.  Jesus Christ actually delegated His authority to us at the end of His life.  He said that agreements we made here on earth IN HIS NAME would hold in heaven.  He said that we were responsible for going, teaching and baptizing the NATIONS…to prepare the world for His final appearance.  And that’s what you and many like you struggle with.  IF GOD’S WORD IS TRUE…you will be held accountable by someone other than yourself.  ALL YOU CAN HOPE is that it is not true.  I have no worries about it one way or another…except that I am heart-broken for the many who WILL discover the truth TOO LATE.  Is this the threat of intimidation that bothers you???  Why would it bother you if you don’t believe in it???  And it was never meant to be a threat…it was meant to be a promise.  God promised He’d never make us do what we don’t CHOOSE to do.  If we choose that we don’t want to live with God, He absolutely allows us to make that choice.  But He is not responsible for the consequences of that choice…the person making the choice is.  BECAUSE THAT’S HOW LIFE WORKS…AND THAT’S HOW ELECTIONS WORK.  Choices have consequences.  And electing the leader of the country has consequences.  All authority is appointed by God and He uses that authority in only one of two ways.  He either rewards a nation through their leadership and their actions…or He punishes a nation for their choices and sinful actions.  VOTING MATTERS BECAUSE CHOOSING MATTERS.

19. Should people who know more about game shows, sports, reality TV and celebrities, rather than matters of any real importance (economics, political philosophy, history, logic, critical thinking, etc) be in a position to vote and influence the lives of others?

19.  Yes…everyone and anyone should be in a position to vote and influence the lives of others.  It’s actually one of the few things that levels the playing field.  The billionaire has one vote.  The street person with NOTHING has one vote.  The teacher has one vote.  The student who never learned to read has one vote.  The sports figure/entertainer has one vote.  The charitable person has one vote.  We don’t have to “know it all” to make a choice who we want to represent us! 

20. Supporting the lesser of two evils is still supporting evil.

20.  We live in an EVIL, corrupt, deceived world.  There’s no two ways about it.  This world is not BETTER than it’s ever been.  This country has gone so far downhill in just my lifetime.  The Scriptures, written over 2,000 years ago, promised it would be like this.  II Timothy 3:1-9 says: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”  Their folly may be clear to everyone…but they can’t see it themselves.  Your post is full of folly…self over others…individual over collective rights…sad!

The 20 reasons not to vote boil down to this:

If you are not a Voluntaryist, then by definition you are an Involuntaryist, and as such, personally advocate the initiation of force, or threat of force against people who haven’t threatened or harmed anyone. Therefore, for every person in the world one of these statements is true:

1) “I advocate a society whereby people are free to voluntarily interact with one another.”
2) “I advocate the use of force, or threat of force, against innocent people, in order to make them comply with my opinions and preferences.”

If the first statement refers to you, then DON’T VOTE.

Your final statement that there are only two possible outcomes is flagrantly false.  There are those patriotic Americans who believe that what’s best for our nation is also best for individuals.  Therefore, I would submit to you:  “I advocate the use of force, or threat of force, against CRIMINALS and people who BREAK LAWS, in order to make them comply with the NORMATIVE LAWS voted legally through representation by the majority of Americans THROUGH THE YEARS.” 

If your first statement refers to you…PLEASE DON’T VOTE.  America would die a quick and painful death of Americans abdicated the power of voting!  I surely don’t want YOU making decisions for me…my family…my friends…my city…my state…my country…or my world.  Whatever world you live in…it’s not the same one I live in.



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017…The Worst Year of my Life

It’s hard for someone who trusts the Lord to confess that she’s had the absolute worst year of her life! In my first two years of marriage long ago my husband was unemployed for six months and our marriage almost died.  I had a year where I lost a baby I was carrying…a baby I wanted and needed.  I had a year where one of my children was hurt in such an invasive and heart-wrenching way.  I’ve had a year where I sat with a friend as her CHILD experienced cancer.  I’ve had a year where I sat with a friend as her 2-yr-old daughter was BURIED. 

At 40 I moved 1500 miles from home and friends and just a little later my marriage dissolved and ended in divorce. In the next year I faced eviction and possible homelessness with three pre-teens. There was the year my oldest son and I had surgery just two days apart…at Christmastime.  The next year I had Bell’s Palsy at Easter.  I had a year where a new pastor was verbally and psychologically abusive…not just with me but so many others. I had several years of trying to complete something I’d started decades before…getting a college degree.  I had a year where I played with fire and burned myself by having an affair…and had it not been for the most forgiving husband in the world, that year could have been the worst. I had a year with cancer…actually 2 years for that victorious battle.  The next year my father died…and less than a year later my mother died.  The following year a young man that we loved dearly died in his early 20’s…and the following year my brother died.  I’ve had a lot of “bad” experiences during a lot of years.  Sometimes I feel like I could star on one of those daytime talk shows.

So…what did it take to make 2017 the absolute WORST year of life?  It started just a little before the new year began… when exciting election results put the candidate I believed God wanted me to vote for into the highest office of the U.S.  At last I could rest in my heart a little…we were once again in “good hands”…hands that would help “Make America Great Again”.  My heart rejoiced (and was stunned) the night Trump won the election.  But my joy was short-lived.  Not because Trump did anything wrong, but just his election alone brought out the utter WORST in people I loved…and in people I never knew.  Hateful women marched in the streets in total vulgarity and argued with me that THEY represented me!  There was so much vitriol…so much anger…so much trash-talking.  The media became a laughingstock because they couldn’t even see their own bias.  They were angry too…they thought they had offered enough propaganda to bring about a much different result.  It was supposed to be a “given”!  And while America seemed to be falling apart and splitting at the seams, the man already in office until inauguration did NOTHING to ease the issues.  He seemed to thrive in the hatred…and still his followers and worshippers refused to see his evil intent.  I’d love to say that through the year, everything changed and eased…but it did not.  Media members continued to create stories instead of reporting them fairly…to the point that I gave up watching news.  I’ve been a news addict since my high school days…but not anymore.

The vitriol and hate were only forgotten when terrorists got to work…and they worked this year.  It seemed like every other day there was a terrorist attack from somewhere in the world.  And the biased media often tried to credit the world’s dissatisfaction with Trump’s presidency as causing terrorist attacks…a ridiculous assertion since terrorists have been attacking THROUGH ALL OF HISTORY. 

It should be no surprise that all the hate and anger began to eat at me.  No matter how much I’ve worked to avoid stress since fighting cancer and surviving, this year was just too stressful.  I tried praying…I stayed in the Scriptures for encouragement and information on how to survive times like these.  But more and more it felt like something was about to burst inside of me.  And sure enough, in June, my heart went “wonky”.  I could feel my heartbeat marching to a different drummer…and after 8 days in the hospital I was diagnosed with A-fib.  I’m blessed because my heart does not do the sped-up palpitations that others deal with…it just has a bizarre rhythm.  I’m not sure it can even be classified as a rhythm.  It’s just doing its own thing…and I’m essentially okay with that (grin).  I like being quirky and odd and not like other folks.  But I learned recently when Dan and I were talking about this past year that for Dan this was the worst time of the year.

Less than 2 months after I was diagnosed with A-fib and getting used to weekly blood draws and new medications, Dan ended up in the hospital to have a heart valve replacement!  We’d heard in March that he would need it, but we were told it would probably be 3 years before he’d go through this.  And suddenly it was necessary to get it done quickly.  For me, those 8 days sitting alone in a strange hospital with an ailing husband were incredibly difficult.  I never would have survived that without God’s Word…and without the ability to receive encouragement and prayers from others through Facebook.  If you are one of those who “prayed us through” that event, THANK YOU.

Seems like that should have been enough for one year, but in the middle of October, we got a startling phone call that Dan’s youngest brother, Tom, was on his way to a hospital after experiencing a heart attack.  Less than 24 hours later, Tom was gone.  Tom…the little brother who’d broken his family’s heart.  Tom…the brother who had spent a lot of his life in jail (an embarrassment to the family).  Tom…who had re-connected with his big brother and whom we’d enjoyed visiting just a few years ago.  This would become one of the most difficult trials of the year.  I learned how hateful family members can be as we attempted to honorably lay Tom to rest.  He’d had nothing to do with his parents in over 40 years…and they wanted nothing to do with his burial.  Then law required the other six siblings had to give permission for Dan to take care of the burial, and one sister became horribly ugly…a woman who claims to be a Christian.  She said hateful things about Tom.  And probably the most hateful thing she said was about my wonderful husband.  It was shocking.  It was undeserved.  It was based on misinformation and total lack of information.  I didn’t know someone could be so ugly.  I saw the worst in so many people during October.  I was stunned because I was raised that you NEVER speak ill about the dead.  But apparently the rules I was raised with no longer exist.  Amidst all this horrible behavior, though, God came shining through!  As we sought help for burial expenses, it looked like we were going to fall incredibly short of the funds needed.  And then…out of the blue…God moved the heart of one of Tom’s distant relatives to help ensure his honorable burial.  I will ever be grateful to her for allowing God to work through her.

In November there was another small medical procedure I had to go through…and more visits with a liver doctor.  I discovered that 50% of my liver no longer functions…explaining the overpowering lack of energy I deal with every day.  While I’m grateful for the information…and for the care of all the doctors and nurses…I’m physically worn out with all the medical “stuff”.  And I’m trying not to count my eggs before they hatch, but I’m starting 2018 with a fewer scheduled doctors’ appointments…yay for 2018!

This year I’m GLAD a year has ended.  God has revealed to me that just because I have access to information from around the world does not mean He intends for my heart to be so broken all the time.  I learned there’s a word for people like me...I’m an “empath”.  In my quest to make sure I never lose the ability to “feel compassion” – something I’ve seen happen to a lot of “grownups” during my lifetime – I’ve apparently actually given a turbo-boost to “feeling”.  I can get sick to my stomach when I hear bad news.  Images of war HURT me.  I keep thinking, “There’s a mother in the middle of all that who just wants a safe place to raise her children.”  She doesn’t want to be an immigrant.  She doesn’t want to leave what’s hers…what’s theirs.  But in desperation for the safety of her family she runs.

Most disgusting of all this year?  Watching the number of “men” who have fallen from grace over their own sexual misconduct!  Something happened this year…women somehow suddenly felt strong enough to share stories they’d kept secret for years and years and years.  It was like watching dominoes fall.  It started slow…and then just took off.  I was torn because I know how women act and I do not believe every one of these men could have possibly been as horrible as they appear.  And while the men are falling left and right, women are using the pain and ugliness of misbehaving men as a catalyst to move up the ladder…to exert their own power.  The world is turning upside-down.  And all the talk of men’s inability to control themselves has made me “fear” for my granddaughters.  What will these precious girls face in their lifetimes?  For that matter…what kind of horrible events lie ahead for my grandsons.  Obama turned this country into a morally depraved country.  I pray that as Trump continues to undo Obama’s practices, that somehow God can bring a sense of decency and compassion and forgiveness back to our land.  I just need to make sure that I’m acting decent and compassionate and forgiving in my life.  It’s going to take all of us doing our part to make America great again during 2018.


While all of this written out makes me realize it really was a horrible year and not just my imagination, there is good news at the end of 2017…actually all through 2017.  GOD IS ON HIS THRONE STILL.  All of this activity is a sign that satan knows his end is drawing near.  He’s turning up the fire.  But he WILL be defeated.  Through everything I go into 2018 knowing “It is well with my soul.”  How anyone navigates life without God is a puzzle to me.  There is no hope in this world.  Yes, Trump may help make America great again…but evil will still exist.  The enemy will continue to lie and misinform and destroy.  We have more than enough evidence of his reality.  But guess what?  His reality is NOTHING compared to the reality of God Who is seen all around us.  Satan’s power is nothing because God’s is greater.  The love and sacrifice of Jesus on the cross still has the power to save.  And I step confidently into 2018 living in TRUTH able to discern the disturbing and heartbreaking work of the enemy.  If you don’t know the One, True Living God, let 2018 be the year Jesus becomes your Savior and reveals to you the work of love of His Father, God.

Monday, December 11, 2017

STOP FAKE NEWS

Image result for fake news

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of the press is the right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government. Americans enjoy freedom of the press under the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states: 'Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.'

freedom of the press - Legal Definition. n. The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to publish and distribute information in books, magazines, and newspapers without government intervention.
freedom of the press
noun
1.
the right to publish newspapers, magazines, and other printed matter without governmental restriction and subject only to the laws of libel, obscenity, sedition, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.

freedom of the press. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/freedom-of-the-press


Each of the above definitions found on the internet telling us the meaning of the 1st Amendment’s “Freedom of the Press” clearly show that there are two roads of thought concerning that freedom.  There are actually incredible differences in these statements.  What the actual amendment says, I believe very clearly, is “Congress shall make no laws regarding abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”.  Abridging is also synonymous with “shortening, editing, condensing, abbreviating or reducing”.  So basically, I think we can see how people believe that ultimately Congress cannot MAKE LAWS that would stop anyone from saying whatever they want to say…and publishing it.

The second definition above angered me…but also proved that what I’ve seen with my ears and heard with my ears is FAKE NEWS.  Some believe the purpose of the press is “the right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government.”  There’s a word there that blows me away.  One of the words I associated with “News” when I was growing up was that we were being told the TRUTH…the WHOLE TRUTH.  I remember newscasters saying, “And in the interest of fairness…” before introducing “the other side of the story”.  I knew as a child that there were ALWAYS two sides to a story.  That’s proven every day in the courtroom where you ALWAYS have the accused (the defendant) and the one who has brought the charges (the prosecution).  There is ALWAYS a balance in any story that is reported FAIRLY.  But this second definition is a game changer.  It says that the “News” is really just an “opinion”.  Now I don’t know about you, but I know that just because I think something…my “opinion”…does NOT make it news…does not make it fact…does not make it accurate.  And when I share my opinion, I always preface it with “in my opinion” to show imperatively that what I’m sharing IS NOT A FACT.  An opinion is NEVER truth.  It’s the nearest thing a person may have to a personal truth…but until “proven” it is NOT A FACT.  If you put 10 people in a room who all share the same opinion, it does not make the opinion FACT…it makes it just POPULAR OPINION.  If you decide the popular opinion is TRUTH…and you share it as such with people who do not know there are differing FACTS to the story that completely change the TONE and TRUTH of the story, then you are doing nothing but sharing PROPAGANDA.  You are NOT sharing “real news”.

prop·a·gan·da

information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
synonyms:  information, promotion, advertising, publicity, spin; disinformation, counter-information; historical agitprop; informal info, hype, plugging; puff piece; the big lie

Look how closely the words press/propaganda are related.  Both words are about dispensing “information”.  Propaganda takes on a more “sinister” connotation because it’s done with the purpose of “promoting a particular political cause or point of view (can we agree that “point of view” and “opinion” are the same by definition?).

The FAKE NEWS title that President Trump introduced to America may have done us a total disservice. He should have defined today's news as nothing more that sheer PROPAGANDA!  The truth of the matter is that multiple media sources find absolutely nothing wrong with promoting their own VIEW or OPINION of a situation and then finding multiple sources to back up what was initially THEIR OPINION.  In the church, we call that “proof-texting”…finding a verse to back up your opinion to make your opinion sound more plausible, factual and Biblical.  But guess what?  A LIE IS A LIE IS A LIE…no matter how many people believe it.  If it is just an opinion…if it is just a point of view…if there are FACTS that deny its plausibility…IT IS A LIE.  And an organization that continually spreads lies in the presence of truth should not be labeled PRESS….it should be labeled PROPAGANDA!  We live in a world of fallen men and women…liars…thieves…adulterers…fornicators…coveters.  Their OPINIONS are all biased. 

In science, we demand that an experiment must be able to be reproduced with the same outcome before it is declared a TRUTH or FACT of science.  Until then, it is just a theory.  We need to use the same scientific imperial in what we choose to understand from the media.  For that to happen, the PRESS must stop infringing on a person’s right to trial to determine whether they’ve done or not done what the press claims.  We live in a country where a person is innocent until PROVEN guilty.  The “press” somehow believes they are in charge of “holding people accountable”.  The press has basically usurped the power of the judicial system…dragging a man’s or woman’s name through the court of public opinion before they have a chance to even make a statement regarding an incident.  If the accused cries “Foul”, the press says, “We’re holding people accountable.”  THAT IS NOT THE JOB OF THE PRESS.  

Their job is to share INFORMATION and FACTS…not PROPAGANDA.  Their job is to share TRUTH…not OPINION (unless it’s labeled as such).  Their job is to INFORM…not to SWAY.  America is on a slippery slope when we take the word of every Joe Schmo who serves in the media as “truth”.   Remember…these media reporters and announcers appear to live for their 15 minutes to fame (yes…that’s just my opinion and not a truth) just like the rest of us.  They appear to have high goals of saving the world from impending doom or dangerous despots.  They appear to find it easy to place the blame for anything and everything happening in this world on the back of someone who’s had nothing to do with decade- and centuries-old problems.  It’s time for American citizens to wise up to the fact that the press has stepped out of its boundaries and become a powerful political player in the U.S. with the ability to sway opinions using propaganda under the guise of “news”.  It’s time for the American people to hold the PRESS accountable.  The president has more important things to do. 

How do we hold the press accountable?  Write letters to the editors when false news is fabricated or opinions are shared as facts.  Pick three stories from any newspaper and see if you can tell the difference between fact and opinion and if they’ve marked it as such (obviously “opinions” are on an “Opinions” page and are not to be considered fact…use a different section to study the article).  IF YOU FIND JUST ONE MISTAKE IN THE ARTICLE, then dismiss the whole article.  It’s either all true or all false…there is no gray area.  Talk to your friends about this travesty.  Start educating each other about the fact that if we don’t hold the press accountable, we become gullible…and will be fed lies as truth.  We may have already crossed that line long ago!

We demand evidence in science to determine FACT.  We demand evidence in court to determine FACT.  We need to demand evidence in the PRESS…or deny plausibility when they print a story that is not true…whether by error on the part of the author….whether by outright lies of the witnesses….BUT THE PRESS HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE INFORMATION….ACCURATE INFORMATION.  I for one am tired of the whiners and even more troubled by the vulnerable people who have accepted the lies as truth and become blinded to reality.

By the way…this tirade is credited to a clip I saw of “The View” (I never see the show…just clips shared online…and I keep telling myself I’m not going to watch because theirs is the BIGGEST PROPAGANDA SHOW on television).  Joy Behar had her audience cheering when she shared a story PREMATURELY.  The story was labeled “Joy Behar Forced to Apologize”. All she apologized for was someone else’s mistake…not her own.  She led people to cheer about something that could have torn our nation apart.  There’s a special word for someone like that…TRAITOR. (again…my opinion).  Even television has no standards for TRUTH….but we’ve known that for a long time.

DEMAND TRUTH IN THE PRESS!  STOP FAKE NEWS!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Is Your Faith Ready?

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Prophetic dream…or buttered hot dog roll eaten late in the night?

A storm was coming.  A destructive storm.  It was huge and was going to affect everyone and everything.  It came from the sky…from on high.  And when it hit the ocean waters, the ocean waters swallowed up everything on dry land.

I saw the wave coming…everyone around me saw the wave coming.  Some tried to run.  I stood still…very still…and let the water rush over me.  It missed nothing.  It swallowed everything.  Bodies and trees and animals were swirling and swirling, tossed to and fro, washing machine agitation.  I could see the looks of pure fear and panic on faces around.  I could see looks of resignation to an obvious fate.  I could see looks of anger that this storm was now in control and these people had no say in what was happening to them.

And suddenly, with no hope in sight, I was on my feet and dry…with everyone around me.  I was in a bubble…a huge, clear bubble that looked out into what appeared to be space.  Millions of stars to be seen.  The bubble was other worldly.  You could see clearly from one side to the other, even though there were hallways and sidewalks and rooms and closets.  If you looked one way you could see the smaller units of the bubble.  But if you looked out you saw stars…and if you looked toward the center of the bubble, you saw the whole bubble…clearly…full of thousands of people.
What happened inside the bubble was bizarre.  There was a day the sun shone so bright that the bubble began to heat up and people threw themselves from the bubble into space…falling (which in retrospect was strange because my mind knows there’s no gravity in space to make one fall).  There was the day things got cold…seeping-into-the-bones cold.  As I looked across the bubble, frost was forming on the walls.  People were racing for blankets…for a warm body to lie against.  And in the cold, many froze.  But I was watching it all…not a part of it even though I was there.  My eyes could clearly see all that was happening.  There were fathers chasing children.  There was food…so much food.  And some sat at tables eating and eating and eating.  They never left the tables…dining until they collapsed from the amount of food they’d eaten.  No one who sat at a table got up and left a table…they died while stuffing their faces full of the delicacies offered to them.  No one was satisfied.  And we could all see what was happening in this dining area…and still people chose to go in and take a seat.  There was so much more that happened in this dream…it seemed like every few minutes the scenery changed to some other story.  Every story started with something good…something that looked fine.  Nothing inside the bubble felt dangerous, until a person started to participate in it and could not escape that enticing scene.

There were elevators…hallways…open concourses…rooms…closets.  At times the walls appeared as glass and at other times they were walls that became boundaries so dark that no one could see in and no one could see out.  The closets were frightening.  I could only look inside of them…I never entered one during the dream.  The colors were vivid…the smells of food made my mouth water…the sounds of laughter so loud and clear…along with the screams of pain and fear.
I struggled to escape the dream.  This wasn’t the kind of daydream that one can capture or release and move on.  I came up out of the dream as if coming up out of deep waters.  I lay still.  I took a breath, aware that I could breathe.  I felt disoriented as I opened my eyes into my somewhat darkened bedroom and realized the time with a startle.  The dream had gone by in what seemed a flash, but I’d slept for five hours…a long time for me to sleep at one time.

I felt a voice clearly directing, “Write it down.”  You see, I had prayed only two nights ago asking God to speak to me in a dream.  The Bible is full of stories of angels visiting with messages from God and I wondered if God still spoke in dreams.  And I lay in bed pondering that dream.  Was it a message from God?  Was it my mind just sorting out life?  Was it a good dream or a nightmare?  Everything about it was wonderful…and frightening…and beautiful…and full of darkness…and confusing.  But as I continued to wake, and ponder, I kept grabbing bits and pieces of the dream and could see how it could be comforting in light of the events happening in my world today.
The storm represents the turmoil of the political scene these days.  In less than 48 hours, Donald Trump will become the 44th President of the United States.  He does so surrounded by tumultuous hate and despair and vitriol like I’ve not seen in my lifetime.  Donald Trump is not the storm!  It’s the incredible turmoil of the people that is the storm.  My eyes tell me that the storm is over-taking me.  My eyes tell me that it’s deadly.  My eyes tell me that it’s going to sweep up everyone and everything in its path.

But my spiritual eyes, grown through almost 60 years of faith in God and a loving knowledge and experience with my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, tells me the TRUTH.  The storm CANNOT hurt me because my FAITH is the BUBBLE that will protect me.  My FAITH/spiritual eyes can see the big picture.  All that the world has found enticing and pleasing and fun and comforting will still be available… everything the people desire will still be available.  BUT IT’S TO BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS because it has the power to overcome and deceive and pull a person down and away from the bubble.  When we are admonished in the Bible to “persevere”…when we are encouraged to “finish the race”…when we are reminded to not give up “the good fight”…it’s because we are going to need those gifts and abilities to withstand the temptations to give in to what we see.  If we do so, our lives are over and we are no longer going to be protected by the “bubble” of our faith.  God has provided the bubble…it’s given to us for the purpose of protection…for the purpose of opening our eyes to see…for the purpose of revealing the truth.  We MUST HOLD ON to all that’s been planted if we are to face the coming days of turmoil, and fear and fear-mongering.  Doomsday prophets who have nothing to do with God will predict horrible scenarios that are out-and-out lies.  They will be led by the tools satan has clearly used to bring us to this day.  Media, technology, false religions and purely distorted minds will speak with authority…and we will know clearly which authority they represent.  They are the walls that will capture us and bind us to our deaths.  The hallways are the paths that we must rely on God to move us through to safety.  Elevators are those paths we can traverse with others, in groups…safety in numbers.  But those closets…those closets represent deep dark places.  Secrets.  Lies that cannot be undone.  We must steer clear of the closets.  And if we must deal with the closets, we must do so only IN THE LIGHT.  Light must be shed on secrets and can only be done so if secrets are revealed.  We keep secrets for a number of a reasons:  1) to protect ourselves, 2) to protect someone else, 3) to deceive or 4) because satan wants to have his way with us.  The only secrets we should have in our lives are those that are shared with God in private.  But one of satan’s greatest tools in this world is the destructive power of a secret.  One of the biggest truths we can remember from God’s Word is that we are to CONFESS.  Confession starts with speaking out loud what satan wants kept in private…because in revealing the secret, satan loses his power…the tenuous power that he uses to bind us to him.

I know that there is a lot of science that suggests our dreams are merely our minds reaction to physical things that are happening in our body while we’re at rest.  Our digestive system is at work when we’re resting.  Our muscles are repairing while we’re resting.  Our minds are sorting and cataloging events while we rest.  I’d grabbed an easy snack in the night when hunger spoke louder than sleep…and that food was being digested as I rested. 

But this dream was something so much more than the aftermath of that snack.  This was a reminder from God that my faith would get me through the storm.  The faith I have in Him…in His promises…in the knowledge of His Word…will help me to discern truth in the storm of lies that are headed our way.  My faith…even if it’s as small as a mustard seed…will cut to the chase and still have the power to move mountains.


A storm is coming.  Is your faith ready?

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Another Walmart Customer Service Story

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December 23, 2016…WALMART…I know you’re already saying, “Why???”

We had some grocery and essential shopping that needed to be done, and I knew I didn’t want to go to Walmart on the day before Christmas…but it never dawned on me that half the town might be thinking the same way.

Several months ago I started using the electronic carts at Walmart.  The decision to do so resulted from a fall in 2000 that caused a lower back problem that has never been resolved.  I can’t stand for more than a couple of minutes without extreme, nauseating pain in my back.  Earlier this year I started noticing a swollen lump on the back of my right foot, and a visit to the podiatrist revealed a large bone spur…and an aggravating Achilles tendon that swells, making it almost impossible to walk sometimes.  I tend to walk like I’m wearing a high heel on my right foot.  The doctor gave us an application for a handicapped sticker, but I usually ask Dan to let me out at the door and my foot hurts by the time I walk in the door and find a riding cart.  So I don’t go to the store unless I really have to.

I’ve had strangers rudely comment when they see me riding a cart.  They assume I’m lazy and I’m using the cart because of my weight.  It’s very likely that my weight aggravates my injuries, but I choose to just grin and bear the ugly remarks because I know the truth…and I would NEVER in a million years say something so ugly to someone I know nothing about…but that’s a different story completely.  Let me move on from the background info to today’s trip to Walmart…a store usually known for long lines, few employees available to help and few lanes open for check out!

I got the last electronic cart when I walked in the store, and was just thrilled to be able to get one.  I moved towards the produce section and quickly filled the basket with veggies for a fresh veggie tray at the family Christmas dinner.  Before I could turn to aisle #2, the beeper went off indicating “Low Battery”…so I headed back to the front of the store.  I got to the main front aisle and DEAD…right where folks walk in and walk out of the store…worst possible place for a “breakdown”.  The Walmart greeter (who’s duty this time of year is to check receipts) stopped long enough to help me move all my veggies to a small basket because I couldn’t take the chair to the charging station with anything in the basket.  It charged enough while I was stopped that I was able to crawl at a snail’s pace to the charging station.  Plugged her in…sat for about 3 minutes…and it lit up with a “Full Charge”!!!  Seemed unbelievable that it could charge that quickly, but I counted my blessings, unplugged and pulled forward…about 5 feet….and it dropped to “Low Battery”…so I backed up and plugged it in AGAIN.

This time I sat for 10 minutes thinking, “I’ll bet Dan’s wondering where I’ve disappeared.”  At the end of 10 minutes, I unplugged and headed back into the store.  Plopped my blue basket right into the cart basket and hit the “forward” button.  I found Dan almost immediately.  In my wisdom, I had actually printed TWO shopping lists…so we split it and he headed off to hunt down his items.  I only had 5 things I needed…but before I could find 3, that blasted beeping sound started up.  I started crawling back to the front of the store.  This time a VERY NICE EMPLOYEE caught up with me in produce and said, “Here, let me give you a push and we should be able to get you to the front of the store quicker.”  Would you believe we got back to the EXACT SAME SPOT that it had died the first time, and it gave up the ghost???  The young man said, “Let me see if there’s another cart available,” and moments later came riding around the corner.  He and the Walmart greeter helped transfer the blue basket and other items…and Dan’s coat…to the basket of electronic chair #2!  I moved over and pushed the forward button.

NOTHING!  I hit the backward button.  Again, NOTHING!  And yes…I’m back in the busiest intersection in the store.  I stood up and reseated myself…I wiggled the seat around…I sighed…I pushed the buttons again.  NOTHING.  My head is hanging in defeat now.  The greeter has no clue.  We’d both watched the other young man drive it without any difficulty (and I should add that he was heftier than I am).  In desperation, I tried ONE MORE TIME…and voila’!  Movement.  I said a prayer and raced as quickly as a cart will race (approximately 3 mph) to the back of the store to get crescent rolls because no Christmas dinner is perfect without crescent rolls.  I parked right against the refrigerated section so I could reach up and get my crescent rolls.  I put them in the cart and pushed the “Forward” button…and, you guessed it.  NOTHING!  For five minutes I sat there.  Do you know how many people buy crescent rolls and pie crusts (on the bottom shelf) on December 23rd???  I do.  Too many.  I was in everybody’s way.  Finally a store manager showed up to ask a shelver a question and I explained my dilemma.  SHE WAS SO NICE (2nd nice Walmart worker in one day).  She paged the front hosts to see if there were any carts available on either end.  There were NOT.  She paged someone from maintenance to come look at the cart.  She had Dan paged.  I asked someone who was buying crescent rolls if he would just “whack the cart” because that’s what guys do to fix anything that’s not working.  He asked, “Did you drop it yet?”  NICE WALMART WORKER #3 showed up.  She pushed buttons…she sat on the seat…jiggled it and wiggled it.  The crescent roll buyer ACTUALLY LIFTED THE BACK OF THE CART AND DROPPED IT.  Still not a budge.  They had me sit back down to wait for Dan (who is really the one who should be riding an electric cart but refuses to do so).  He came limping up and we transferred everything to his basket.  I stood up and the supervisor AND maintenance worker both decided they should just push the cart out of the way…but it wouldn’t budge!!!  It’s apparently supposed to roll freely when it’s not in use…so they knew something was wrong with the front wheel.  They both got down to look at it.  They stood up, and once again the maintenance lady sat down and pushed the button AND THE CART TOOK OFF!!!  We all laughed.  Apparently, the weight of the stuff in the basket had put too much weight on the front of the cart. 

Yes, it’s a long story!!!  But the highlight of this story is that on one of the busiest shopping days in Walmart, EVERY CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON I came in contact with smiled, apologized to me, told me not to worry, tried to make me feel better when I said I was embarrassed and sorry for causing all the trouble.  EVERY CHECKOUT was OPEN.  So I just want to say kudos to the staff of Walmart in Olean, New York for making this day as good as it could be.  Your sweet attitudes and helpfulness really stood out today. 

I see sooooo many stories of nightmare issues at Walmart.  I’m happy to say that was NOT my experience…and really never has been my experience.  Merry Christmas to all the wonderful CUSTOMER SERVICE workers at Walmart who put the SERVICE in and made this CUSTOMER feel very merry at Christmas!
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