In the spirit of Thanksgiving . . .

Thanksgiving this year is different. We’re home without the many family members that usually comprise our family holiday gatherings (family gatherings in general).

Come to think of it…it shouldn’t be that weird for me not to be surrounded by family members during my college years. Every year at college it was a different state and surrounded by different people. It was still the same… I spent it with people who loved one another, cared for each other, and had unimaginable blessings.

My blessings this year? It’s been a hard year but I learned things about myself that I would have never learned had it not been a hard year. I learned things about others as I went through this hard time as well. I learned things about my God because of my hard times.

I’m thankful for my family. No matter what happens and no matter what the outcome of my life I will always have them and they will always love me.

I’m thankful for my friends-here, nationally, and abroad. We’ve been through many different life phases and each one has taught me more about life and encouraged me spiritually.

I’m thankful for a church I have the opportunity and privilege to serve at. The 4-5 year olds I teach and the 2-3 years old I watch. I thoroughly enjoy playing the piano for RU Friday nights.

I’m thankful for the RU ministry. It’s been a place I can come to and be surrounded by people who are striving to run the race as I am with as few distractions and weights as possible.

I’m thankful for God’s mercy, faithfulness, and longsuffering. If not for those 3 characteristics I would not be where I am today spiritually, physically,  mentally, or emotionally.

It’s an uphill battle but shame on me if I ever thought anything worth gaining was easy.

That’s in the First Amendment?

Election Day was yesterday. I voted, did you?

With Sunday morning’s message fresh in my mind, I decided to look up for myself a few of the things talked about. The main thing…is the so-called separation of church and state, a term coined by Jefferson as the media happily bestows it upon him.

With the comments on this post in mind I decided to do a quick research.

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Amendment I

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.

Copied and pasted from Bill of Rights from archives.gov

I think it’s pretty straight forward from the language: Congress, stay out.

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Jefferson’s letter: Copied and pasted from Library of Congress

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

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Here’s the Mayflower Compact taken from University of Chicago website.

Mayflower Compact

11 Nov. 1620Bradford 75–76

I shall a little return back, and begin with a combination made by them before they came ashore; being the first foundation of their government in this place. Occasioned partly by the discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them had let fall from them in the ship: That when they came ashore they would use their own liberty, for none had power to command them, the patent they had being for Virginia and not for New England, which belonged to another government, with which the Virginia Company had nothing to do. And partly that such an act by them done, this their condition considered, might be as firm as any patent, and in some respects more sure.

The form was as followeth:

In the Name of God, Amen.

We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 17, Document 1
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch17s1.html
The University of Chicago Press

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The following URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llfr&fileName=001/llfr001.db&recNum=480&itemLink=r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(fr001134))%230010474&linkText=1 is a page where you will find surprising statements such as, “humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings…” “when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection” “observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor” “God governs in the affairs of men” “in the sacred writings ‘except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it'”

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I don’t see much separation of religion and politics. I do see religion governing choices and decisions.

Am I wrong? Does anyone else have any other examples? I would greatly prefer using History.

I Am Blessed.

I had a difficult time thinking of what to call this post. It was between God’s been good or I am blessed. Well, obviously you know what I decided.

In all honesty, I am blessed because God is good and God is good so that’s why I am blessed. 🙂

This past week with my eczema wreaking complete havoc in my life I’ve been crying out to God each night for some kind of relief, comfort, and strength. Everywhere I turned whether it was reading my Bible, listening to a sermon, or talking with someone the recurring theme was God’s goodness and how blessed we are no matter what struggle we’re going through. It has helped me refocus. I’m not better but God has really shown me a lot this past week.

I AM BLESSED…

1. Because of salvation and the assurance I will be going to Heaven one day.

2. I grew up in a Christian environment.

3. I am free from the scars and damage of the world because of God’s mercy.

4. I have no major regrets in life.

5.  I have attended a Christian school or been home-schooled since 3rd grade.

6. I have a relationship with my parents-not saying its perfect but we understand and respect one another.

7. My parents are still married to each other.

8. My brother and sister have a desire to serve the Lord.

9. I have never gone hungry or been without a place to sleep at night.

10. I have my own bedroom with a bed and a closet.

11. I am surrounded by people who love me and pray for me.

12. Godly friends-at home and spread across the continent and globe.

13. I have all 5 senses-touch, smell, hear, see, taste.

14. I am healthy compared to the rest of the world.

15. I have a full-time job with benefits.

16. I have a car that starts every morning-it has AC, heat, radio, power windows, and power doors.

17. I’ve had my gains than losses and I’ve known more joy than hurt.

18. My church uncompromisingly believes and stands firm upon the Bible.

19. My youth director & his wife changed my life-through their love, sacrifice, and time they invested in me.

20. My extended family is not at odds with one another. We enjoy and cherish each others company.

21. I live in a nice, clean neighborhood. Not saying it’s always safe but I don’t live in the hood.

22.  I discovered RU-a ministry I attend. I’m able to minister and be ministered to. It’s a blessing and encouragement to be surrounded by people heading in the same direction bearing each others’ burdens along the way.

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I decided to stop at 22 because that’s how old I am 🙂

2 years, 6 months, & 1 day later…

It would have been.

The thought of those numbers are just that- a thought. Nothing significant, nothing to cry over, nothing to be bitter about, nothing to be sad for, nothing to lose my sanity and dignity over.

The above numbers would have also signified an inverse relationship with the days til marriage number, yet they are not. The number that now sticks out is six months of singleness.

In those six months many changes have taken place:

  1. I find myself living life, not implying that when I was dating I wasn’t living life. I just never experienced a singles life. Continue reading