Who Gets The Last Word? Not Mark Zuckerberg

“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce…. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever……..
He gets the last word; yes, he does.”
1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG
http://bible.com/97/1pe.5.8-11.msg

You’re not the only ones.

You

Are

NOT

The Only Ones

That is so hard to remember. And so hard to live out. We’ve got our problems and we feel bad for ourselves and we think we’re the only ones.

And social media plays a big part of that. A big part of the blame for us feeling like we are the only ones is because of Mark Zuckerberg. Oh he didn’t invent it. People were trying to keep up with their neighbor’s perfect lives long before Mom and Dad Zuckerberg even thought about having Mark and way before Mark created this thing called Facebook.

He made it worse.

And so do we. What?

Yeah, that’s right. When we only post the pictures and stories of when our kids performed in a concert or when we went on a cruise or when something goes well, we perpetuate the myth.

Actually two myths. The myth that my life is grand and my kids are grand and everything is going very well.

And the myth that if your life is not going very well, then you must be all alone – because everyone else is doing well.

Actually, there’s a third one that Peter references in the Bible verse above – and that’s the myth that if you believe in Jesus, if you are a Christian, then everything will go easy and life will be grand.

I’m here to tell you, that’s not true.

Just like Peter said, you are not the only one plunged into hard times. I personally believe that the church would be a whole lot healthier if more of us admitted that all is not well, that there are struggles and that life isn’t easy.

As you read more and travel this journey with me, you’ll see that’s not the way I operate. I’m not going to tell you that:
• All of my kids are valedictorians (though one was)
• That I’m hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year (Hah!)
• That……..

Nope, not going to tell you that things are wonderfully marvelous when they aren’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you:
• That quite often kids who have to go through the trauma of adoption are left with scars.
• That I had a medical procedure done in January as part of ongoing treatment of a blood vessel issue I have (Google AVM if you want to know more) and as part of that procedure, 1) My left inner ear was damaged causing all kinds of hearing and balance issues and 2) My left vocal cord is now paralyzed – causing, well, you guessed it, vocal issues.

I’m sure I’ll tell you more as time goes on – but for now I want to end with one additional thought – and it’s pretty much the foundation of what Peter said above and the life of Christ.

“The suffering won’t last forever. And He gets the last word.”

Think about that. The last word doesn’t show up on Facebook or by the number of likes something gets.

The last word comes from God.

He’s got this.

He’s got us.

And all God’s people said, “Amen!”

TJV


Ignorance is NOT Bliss

There’s a saying that says that – Ignorance is bliss.

It’s not.

There’s another one that says, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.”

But it very often can.

Both of these sayings are written to attempt to make the world, or at least the writer’s world easier, more bliss filled, less painful because you don’t know things.

I could give you hundreds of examples of situations where ignorance is not bliss. But just consider these few:
• You’re driving across Nebraska in a blizzard and you are ignorant of how much gas is left in your gas tank……
• Bill Cosby is a great family man and a wonderful role model for our children.
• Matt Lauer, formerly of the Today Show, treats his co-workers and staffers with respect and dignity.

But I thought……
He seemed…….
It looked…….

Yeah, it did. But the ignorance wasn’t so much bliss any more.

Because then you have to explain to your kids that one of their favorite comedians from the “old days” who is also “black like me” treated women in very bad ways.

Ignorance is not bliss.

This world is not full of rainbows, unicorns and butterflies. Well, there might be rainbows and butterflies but they don’t control the world.

We live in a very complex and challenging world. A world full of good and a world full of evil. A world that is very hard to understand.

But ignorance is not bliss. Saying we didn’t know doesn’t cut it. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 25….

““Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”
Matthew 25:41-45 NIV
http://bible.com/111/mat.25.41-45.niv

Whatever – anything, no limitations, no time frames, no cost containment

Whatever you – not him, not the missionary that your church supports, but YOU

Whatever you did NOT do – Jesus is not talking about getting credit for the things you did do. He’s talking about what you didn’t do. The absence of action.

Whatever you did not do for the least of these. Not just your church, or your kid’s school or your favorite charity or your son’s baseball team.

The Least Of These.

And how are you going to help the least of these if you don’t know about them?

How are you going to help combat racial profiling at the local mall if you don’t know about it?

How are you going to help keep families together if you don’t know about unethical and unwise TPS annulment decisions? (See what I did there – do you know what that is?)

How are you going to push back against sex trafficking if you don’t know what to look for or that it’s happening down the street from you?

The world is very complex.

It’s fast moving and it’s hard to understand.

But we can’t pretend we don’t know. Because ignorance is not bliss.

God won’t accept ignorance.

And with the knowledge comes responsibility.

That’s a large part of what we hope to do here.

Understand what’s going on in the world and how we can do something about it.

That’s what Jesus would do.

That’s what He wants us to do.

Join me.

TJV


What Matters to Me

I put that as part of the “tag line” of the blog…..

My Life

My Story

What Matters to Me

So, what matters to me? You’ll find out more as we go along, but I want to share a few things that will frame a lot of what I do on here.

My faith – I’ll tell you more about how that has grown and changed over the last 16 years, but you need to know this. I have always believed that Jesus Christ has died for my sins and that because of Him, when my time here on this earth is done, I know where I’m going.

It doesn’t get more basic than that. It’s the foundation that everything else is built on. What I do, what I say, how I do it, all of it is based on that core basic belief. That reminds me of the story of the Mennonite church….. (I’ll put that on the list to tell you later).

There, it’s on the list. So, when I think about my faith, I think about a question that a lot of people have asked, though very few times has anyone actually asked me this question.

So what?

You believe that Jesus died for your sins. So what?

Well, obviously, it makes a difference in terms of what happens after you are no longer here on this world. I mean, honestly, there are really three choices of what happens when you die. When you are no longer on this earth, either you are no longer, period, or you go to heaven or you go to hell. They might be called different names by different belief systems, but let’s be honest, that’s pretty much the basics.

Now I can already hear you saying, “Wait a minute, are you saying that a Muslim can go to heaven while believing in Allah?” That is not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that when you break it down to the basics, each and every religion has their own “places” that they believe you go when you die. For the record, I believe that where Muslims and the religion of Islam says you will go when you die is not the same as Christians and that devout Muslims who deny Jesus as their Savior will not end up in Heaven.

Are we clear on that? Okay, good.

Let’s move back to the question of “so what?” And instead of talking about it in terms of after you leave this world, let’s talk about what this means here and now.

Today – while you’re at work.

Today – when your child comes home from school with a note from the teacher that they are in trouble. Again.

Today – when you watch the news and there’s another report of violence against people of color who are in the custody of the police.

Today – when reports of violence against Syrian refugees are in the paper.

Today – when someone you know posts something on social media that is very deragotry towards people who weren’t born in this country.

What does your belief mean to today?

What does my beliefs mean for me today?

That’s a good part of what I plan on exploring.

Not just in vague generalities.

Or in nice platitudes…..

The time for nice platitudes is gone.

Oh wait, was there a time for those?

I hope you’ll join me.

Tom

Ted Cruz’s Protect Kids and Parents Act 

This is another example of how our government is failing us, all of us.  Even if only half of what this says is true, we have a Senator who was formerly a Presidential candidate proposing an act that appears to be good on face value, but when you look at the behind the scenes realities, it’s more of the same.   Empty promises that don’t do anything or worse.

And if all you read are the headlines, it seems like the government is moving forward to solve this problem, when in reality, it’s not.  Because the people who want asylum are the wrong color.

Oh, and ask yourself, isn’t the executive order that the President signed yesterday sort of like a little kid who broke the window and then bends over backwards to be the one to clean it up?   Think about it and read the article please…..

 

The practical effect of Cruz’s bill would be a system where families are detained, held in deplorable conditions that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year to maintain, and deported after they are unable to develop robust asylum cases in a mere 14 days. Of course, his 14-day processing deadline doesn’t account for the nearly 300,000 pending asylum cases that have yet to be adjudicated. Cruz’s bill does propose doubling the number of immigration judges to 750 but fails to explain how these

Source: Ted Cruz’s Protect Kids and Parents Act is a cynical ploy.

Trump and the Separation of Families

This first statement comes from an Immigrant Justice organization in Montana.  I’ve been told (by someone whose word I trust) that there are a number of reputable immigration attorneys in this organization.

Even if you apply the Vanderwell Rule of 50% and only take half of what they say as true, then the Order that President Trump signed today is not anywhere near close to an end to the problem.

This quote is from a friend of mine who has WAY more adopted kids than I do.   She is passionate about social justice and is very well read and well connected on these issues……

This last article comes from the Atlantic Magazine.   It references two very disturbing quotes that the President said.   In one of them, he refers to humans as animals.   In the other, he refers to the people on the southern border who are fleeing bad situations in their home country and says they are infesting our country.   People don’t infest, insects do.

I don’t have a video of it, but I heard that former President Obama, who pledged to stay quiet and not speak out about politics and government unless our core values are at stake, released a statement today.   I do not know what it said, but if he released a statement, that means he is concerned about the core values in America.

I’m concerned about them too.  I can’t make this stuff up.  

Stand up for what’s right – before it’s too late.

Tom