Heal The Land

I don’t know what she was on, but most likely a young woman was on something when she locked herself in the lady’s room at a fast food restaurant in Bristol, PA last night. A paying, female customer who needed to use the lady’s room found the lady’s room locked over a period of more than fifteen minutes. She intermittently went to the rest room door, knocked several times and asked “is anyone in there?” Over and over, but no reply.

Finally, an employee unlocked the door to find a young woman passed out on the floor. But shortly, the woman got up, and like the bride of Frankenstein, started walking away. As she walked out of the rest room, the woman who was waiting to use it remarked “other people need to use” the lady’s room. I didn’t hear the response, but the bathroom hog’s tone sounded smug, flippant.

It looked like she was trying to get into her car. Employees walked out, and the woman sauntered off. The police were called, and soon an officer showed up as did an ambulance with its lights flashing and sirens blaring. I think they found her.

I read the book Narcotics Anonymous a few years ago. By a former druggie’s own testimony, he admitted that a drug abuser is selfish – that the whole world revolves around him and the only thing that matters is getting that high. How he affects others is of no concern.

This was the case last night. It didn’t matter to that woman that she locked herself in the lady’s room, as if it were a flop house when there are other people who may need to use it.

The problem with the war on drugs is that authorities are placing all the blame on drug pushers. I’ve seen the signs in lower Bucks County “Push Out The Pusher”, with the message to call a number to report suspected drug dealers. I’ve read that authorities said, in so many words, that they are going to mollycoddle drug users.

Now counseling for druggies, dopes, is good, just as it was for drunks in the early 20th century. We finally realized that to resolve the problem of chronic drunkenness, we’re not going to do it by taking away everyone’s liquor.

Today, US Attorney Jeff Sessions is going about fighting the “opioid crisis” the same way we did with the alcohol problem during prohibition. To quote an old folk song “When will they learn. When will they ever learn?”

To overcome the drug problem, you have to go about changing individuals from the inside the right way. Calling drug abuse a disease is an epidemic in itself. Here in a brochure from the Bensalem police entitled “Bensalem Police Assisting in Recovery” (BPAIR) it states “Our primary goal is to connect people with substance abuse disorders with treatment programs and facilities. “Substance abuse disorders?”  That makes it sound as if these druggies have some kind of genetic problem they were born with. Are they lactose intolerant? Truth is, drug abuse is a matter of the will, and, as stated in the 12 Steps program, a character flaw. It’s a choice, a sinful one!

The problem with calling drug abuse a disease, as I’ve heard it called by many in authority – politicians, that nudge from the Addiction Network – is that it absolves the doper of responsibility for his behavior. It’s to say it’s not his fault.

“Alcoholism” and “addictions” are simply sin. Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” — I Corinthians 15:34. “The primary problem is moral and spiritual, not medical, and cannot be addressed without that perspective,” wrote Franklin E. Payne, Jr., M.D., Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, Georgia.

“Addiction is a disease – not a personal failure”, said congressman Donald Norcross, D-New Jersey, in reference to the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force he’s part of. http://levittownnow.com/2017/05/31/congressman-fitzpatrick-named-vice-chair-bipartisan-heroin-task-force/

Critics of the disease theory, as reported on Wikipedia, say the disease theory, which is applied to drug and alcohol abuse “exists only to benefit the professionals’ and governmental agencies responsible for providing recovery services, and the disease model has not offered a solution for those attempting to stop abusive alcohol and drug use.”

The alternative to the Elliott Ness Round the suppliers up initiative and that it’s not their fault it’s a disease agenda is a program that reflects the views of A First Century Christian Fellowship, which later became known as The Oxford Group, which made regular reference to God. Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, by the way, greatly minimized the use of God in the program.  Today, Celebrate Recovery closely matches the philosophy of The Oxford Group.

The Oxford Group’s Philosophy:

⦁ All people are sinners

⦁ All sinners can be changed

⦁ Confession is a prerequisite to change

⦁ The change can access God directly

⦁ Miracles are again possible

⦁ The change must change others

Only when we return to God and following his ways will we be able to deal with the drug and other problems.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Stop! In The Name Of Love!

At the next meeting at the Celebrate Recovery program I’ve been going to we will talk about denial. For those of you in Doylestown, De Nile is not a river in Egypt.

Recently, I mentioned to a smoker that my dearly departed friend and companion Sandi would still be around and would have gotten around better most the time I knew her if it weren’t for a lifetime of smoking those nasty cancer sticks. “You can’t prove that”, was the response from the smoker, who had started to cry a short while back when the smokes ran out and I would not pick any up for this friend who has trouble getting around.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

⦁ Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.

⦁ Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:

⦁ Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

⦁ Illegal drug use

⦁ Alcohol use

⦁ Motor vehicle injuries

⦁ Firearm-related incidents

⦁ More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States.

⦁ Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.

⦁ Smoking causes about 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

⦁ Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.

⦁ The risk of dying from cigarette smoking has increased over the last 50 years in the U.S.

I recently met someone at a community meal I’m very fond of who smokes, by her own admission, to cope with problems. She said she quit for a while, but then something came up that she had trouble dealing with it. She told me she realized she had to learn to cope with problems another way. I told her that Sandi quit for about a year towards the end, mainly because she couldn’t get around and that I would not get smokes for her. You did that because you cared about her,” my newfound friend touchingly said. Yes, and because I care for her and others I try to convince people not to smoke. Not abruptly, by saying “you vill stop” (with a German accent) and mainly on these blogs, which some people are afraid of. If you are the emperor, I’ll blog that you need a new set of clothes.

People have a free will and, as per one of the rules in the Celebrate Recovery 12 Steps program, you don’t try to fix people. That’s God’s job.

I channel Diana Ross and The Supremes and sing “Stop! In the name of love. Before you break my heart.” My heart is broken over Sandi being one of Johnny Smoke’s victims. Johnny Smoke is an evangelist for a rogue mission church: Sister Nicotine and The Holy Smokes.

https://youtu.be/NWm6PUGpfVU

Helping people to cope with their problems without alcohol, drugs, including cigarettes or through other bad ways is why Celebrate Recovery, a national program with local chapters, was created. I’ve been having trouble with anxiety, depression, anger/frustration, resentment, so I go to a meeting once a week in Northeast Philadelphia. I am not in denial, and I know De Nile is not a river in Egypt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tuzHUuuk&feature=youtu.be

A program such as Celebrate Recovery is an alternative to the official nuthouses where by default the homeless are sent, with their legal dope and psychobabble. http://newlifephilly.net/celebrate-recovery

As former first lady Nancy Reagan said “Just say no” (to drugs). When someone wants help getting cancer sticks, just saying no is the best thing you can do for them. It’s the Christian thing to do!

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11

What Shall We Do With The Chronic Homeless?

What shall we do with a drunken sailor? [three times] 

Early in the morning. 

Put him in the long-boat and make him bail her. 

Early in the morning. 

What shall we do with a drunken soldier? 

Early in the morning. 

Put him in the guardroom till he gets sober. 

Early in the morning.” 

As the old sea shanty goes, knowing what to do with the drunken sailor or soldier is easy. What’s not an easy question is “What shall we do with the chronic homeless?” Especially at Code Blues, they get up  early in the morning. 

A satirical answer: 

What shall we do with the chronic homeless? [three times] 

Early in the morning 

Churn them in the Soylent Green plant to make Bucks County greener 

Early in the morning 

Fortunately, Bucks County hasn’t passed the Soylent Green initiative. If it were to pass, it wouldn’t be easy being homeless when the county’s Soylent Green! 

One thing Bucks County has tried is to send the homeless to the nuthouse. But this hasn’t worked out very well. Like the war on drugs, it just wastes tax payer money and perpetuates the problem. 

In the Friday edition of the Bucks County Courier times, an article mentions a couple people in lower Bucks County, PA who have been chronically homeless, one for 12 years, another for eight, both baby boomers. I know one of them. One problem I’ve diagnosed is that the 12-year homeless person has PMS (poor me syndrome) and has trouble working and playing nice with others.  

Attitude is a large factor in getting out of homelessness. I’ve known people who have, largely because they had a good attitude. I mention this in the book about homelessness I’m working on so I won’t steal any more of my thunder. 

Attitude towards the homeless is also a factor in fostering chronic homelessness. In Bucks County there seems to be a caste system, where once you are homeless, you are always homeless. Because of a few bad apples, some people judge all the homeless to be bad. Wrong! 

There is some hope. With the change in Presidential office, as least one program associated with Bucks Builds Bums/Build-A Bum has been defunded. And with this change came a change in HUD leadership. The new director is taking, unlike Bucks County, a housing first approach. This should help. 

http://www.pnj.com/story/news/2017/12/18/ben-carson-we-know-how-end-homelessness-and-housing-shortages/960784001/ 

Showing Others Jesus

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Gods sight…” 1 Peter 3: 1-4

The way to attract people to Jesus, as my pastor recently said, is by the way Christians show God’s love, and not just through theological arguments – apologetics – as important as apologetics are.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

After the fall of the Roman Empire, pagan barbarians were on the loose. After plagues hit the area, people who could help the sick ran away ran away, as did Sir Arthur and his men in Monty Python and The Holy Grail from the killer rabbit. https://youtu.be/7FPELc1wEvk

Not thinking of themselves but of the sick, the Christians stayed and tended to the plague stricken populace. This helped win people over to Christ.

In Roman culture, women were treated poorly, like cattle and prostitutes. The culture had a utilitarian view of women. I think that Nero not only fiddled while Rome burned; he had a gangsta rap band that sounded like Santa Clause: (Ho, Ho, Ho…) when rapping about women.

Women were the first converts when the Roman empire fell. Christianity fostered honor and respect for them. They married pagans who happened to be in the area. The men were won over by the behavior of these women, by their example, and were converted to Christianity.  http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/20/what-todays-christians-can-learn-from-antiquity-about-living-in-a-pagan-world/

Fast forward to the 21st century: My dear friend and companion Sandi showed her unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit when she was in the nursing home, where the Lord took her home after fighting stage IV cancer for three years. Although Sandi loathed the idea of going to a nursing home, once there, instead of being bitter, having even more freedom taken away from her, her gentle, quiet spirit showed. Sandi pleasantly returned greetings from those taking care of her, smiled at them, and even thanked them! She said about one aide who smiled at her, “at least he’s friendly.”

When asked about her salvation, Sandi would answer “Jesus is in my heart.”

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7

Although Sandi and I were not married, we had the kind of commitment needed for a Godly marriage. When people assumed we were married, I was slow to correct them, sometimes weeks later. Sometimes longer. After wrestling with dealing with the difficulties dealing with Sandi, I decided to be fully committed to her. God empowered me to visit Sandi every day, all day, in the nursing home, where I hand fed her, talked with her, read Bible verses and Christian stories Chaplain Dale printed out for us and “Our Daily Bread”. I had been doing such reading all along. Sandi was in this nursing home before for physical rehabilitation. Her former roommate remembered me reading to Sandi in their room. “You asked us questions,” Cheryl reminisced.

One night, as I walked out of Sandi’s room at 10 p.m., another resident in a wheelchair approached me in the hallway. “I salute you”, he said, for the way I was taking care of Sandi, and shook my hand. “I’ve been watching you,” he said. I didn’t know he was watching me. This wasn’t the case when I was feeding Sandi in the hallway when I took her out in the Jerry Chair when a staff member passed by and said. “God bless, God bless – what caring!”.

Disclaimer: I still have issues I have to work with God to help me on. I scolded two of Sandi’s obnoxious roommates, one on each of the floors she lived on. Although the roommates were obnoxious, I should have showed more self control, a fruit of the spirit. In a letter to the nursing home, I apologized for overreacting in these cases. I told Chaplain Dale of my failure. He said that he can understand some problems between people when they are in such close quarters. But still, I could have done better. God’s still working on me.

After completing my marathon at the nursing home, I’ve started going to shared meals for the homeless and needy more regularly. Now I’m back in the saddle again, socializing more with the homeless. Broken friendships have been reconciled. This is where God wants me. I continue to work on writing a book on homelessness. At the last shared meal at Restoration Church in Levittown, PA, I told one of the hosts that I wanted to leave the nursing home with Sandi. He reminded me that God’s got things for me to do.

Our nation today is much like the Roman empire before it fell. Like the Romans, our country is in a state of moral decay, having turned from God. Take the opioid epidemic (please), homosexuality, abortion, pornography, prostitution… Like the Christians during Roman times, we have to hang in there and keep the faith, being His ambassadors, and be a light to a dark world.

On those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

You Will Get Through This

It’s been said that the Christmas/New Year’s holiday is a time when depression sets in. All that holiday cheer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Although, in moderation, it’s fine. I had fun at my sister and her family’s house Christmas day playing tug of war with their dog and her rope. I even tagged teamed with my brother-in-law. Rosie just kept playing hard, even almost doing flips! But being around Christians Christmas day is something more satisfying than rough housing with the family dog.

Not many of us could be down in the pits more than Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was thrown into a deep dark dirty cistern by his brothers who then sold him into slavery. But in the end, the dysfunctional family learned a valuable lesson and it was for good. The spoiled, pampered brat who was brought down, over time, started obeying God. He ran away from his master’s wife after she hit on him and tried to pull him. And he was the one who got in trouble! But in the end, Joseph became Pharaoh’s right- hand man and became the de facto head honcho in Egypt. He walked like an Egyptian, talked like an Egyptian, but kept his faith in God.

https://youtu.be/Cv6tuzHUuuk

Joseph helped save the greater Egypt area from famine. It took a while, but he eventually forgave his brothers and helped them out.

Forgiveness is something I’ve struggled with. It took me awhile, and the occasional gentle admonishment from my late dear friend and companion Sandi to, like Joseph, have some victory in this matter. Former foes reached out to me after Sandi went to the Lord to console me. Even as Sandi’s health wound down, I started thinking more about what’s important in life.

Seeing Sandi withering away, the brain cancer making her increasingly weaker, I was reminded that before God, we are all the same whether we are a Pharaoh or a slave. I’m thankful that Sandi did not die out in the woods like some wild animal, thanks to people, including some Bucks County, PA homeless, helping her.

This past Thursday I went to a candlelight vigil for the homeless. Like all of us, the homeless have intrinsic value, made in the image of God, who breathed life into man and created woman from man so man would not be alone. Homelessness does not define your character! All homelessness is, as Clarence “Frogman” Henry sang, people who “ain’t got no home.”

To help me cope with Sandi going home, I’m reading “you’ll get through this: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times” by Max Lucado. Max epitomizes his message with the lines:

You’ll get through this.

It won’t be painless.

It won’t be quick.

But God will use this mess for good.

Don’t be foolish or naïve.

But don’t despair either.

With God’s help, you’ll get through this.

This Christmas season, when the party’s over the celebration of Christ’s birth continues for those who believe He died for their sins and is always present with them. Although you may not always realize it, God has your back. Like Sandi, she has a future in heaven with the Lord. As the Westminster Catechism states, our chief end “is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Here are Bible verses from Max’s chapter “good-bye to good-byes”:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21: 3-4

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  2 Corinthians 5: 1-5

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:5-54

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the LORD Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” Philippians 3: 20-21

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14: 1-3

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is1 John 3:2.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

There is Hope For The Broken Hearted

Christmas comes once a year”

 “And every man must have his share”

 “Only poor Willy in the jail, drinking sour ginger beer

-Famous limerick that plays on the radio in Guyana, South America at Christmastime

Again, this Christmas, another Willy in lower Bucks County, PA will be in the jail, drinking sour ginger beer. Like the one who spent Christmas in jail last year, loud, crude, callous, violent behavior put him in prison.

It is sad that Willy has to spend Christmas drinking sour ginger beer in jail, but it’s equally sad what he did to put him there. It was selfish, drunken behavior, where he verbally and physically attacked someone, saying vile things to her and to a witness to his barbaric behavior that caused the problem. Over the past 3 ½ years, people have tried to help him overcome the besetting sin of drunkenness, trying to help him get to the root of it. This Willy had some terrible things happen to him, but he thinks he’ll find deliverance and peace from the bottle.

Society must have rules. Otherwise society breaks down into barbarism, as was the case with English schoolboys in The Lord of The Flies. The point of the story is that there is evil with humans, and it must be restrained. The island the boys get stranded on is a microcosm of society.

https://www.enotes.com/topics/lord-of-the-flies

This Christmas Sandi, with whom I was very close will not be with me. Brain cancer took her away. I had spent the last three years with her, going in and out of ERs, hospitals, and physical rehab centers. We had good and bad times. There were times I wanted to give up on her, and times she wanted to give up on life. But I was committed to her, and we worked things out, getting ever closer with time.

Cancer wore Sandi down, stopping her from doing more and more things. Early on, she wanted to volunteer helping animals or volunteer in a food pantry. But that didn’t happen. For the longest time, she worked puzzle books. That stopped. She needed a walker. But even with the walker Sandi had a hard time getting around, even getting up from a chair or in and out of my car. But as her condition worsened, instead of wanting to give up and escape through things like alcohol, she fought the cancer, getting a better attitude. She sometimes said “Jesus is in my heart”, and, a child of God, she started acting more Christ-like. She reflected God by being pleasant with the nurses and aides in the nursing home, returning greetings, smiling at them, even thanking them. About one aide, Sandi remarked “at least he’s friendly.”

I am having trouble dealing with losing Sandi. There are other ways to act out, escape than alcohol or drugs. Sometimes I feel like snapping out, and I’m finding it harder to exercise self control and not lash out at annoying people, like people who make too much noise in the quiet area of the library!

Besides attending Grief Sharing meetings, I just got out “you’ll get through this: Hope and Help For Your Turbulent Times” by Max Lucado to help me get through with this rough time.  Max uses scripture to help people get through bad times. For example, he uses the story of Joseph, who was thrown into a hole and despised shows how God uses bad for our good. We should not, like Curly of The Three Stooges, lament that we are “a victim of soy cum stances!”

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

I’m also continuing to go to Celebrate Recovery meetings, which not only helps people overcome drug and alcohol addictions, but with other habits, hurts and hang ups.

http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/about-us/twelve-steps

An important thing to remember is that God will get you through. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Also remember that Christ was born in Bethlehem to save you from sin and give those who confess they are sinners and believe in Him will have everlasting life. Christ saved us to be light to the world. Reaching out to the brokenhearted, as people have to me, is a way of showing this light.

Christmas Oasis

This time of year, with people running around like the White Rabbit and acting like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, getting caught up in the hype and the materialism of worldly Christmas, there are some who engage in the true spirit of Christmas.  The Marrazzo family will serve the homeless and needy when they spend Christmas day hosting a Christmas dinner, as they’ve been doing every Christmas.

Details: http://www.ahtn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Marrazzo-Christmas-dinner-flyer.pdf

The meal is an oasis in a desert of incessant ads and jingles, clichés that wear on the nerves. It’s good to know that beyond the surface glitter there is something noble.

Christ was born in Bethlehem to save us from sin and to show us the way – to become more like him. Jesus healed the sick and lame and helped the downtrodden, accepting them for whom they are, a creature made in the image of God.

Christmas is not just about a baby in the manger. It’s about Jesus coming to earth, being one of us, suffering like humans, being tempted but, being perfect, he had victory over sins on our behalf. It was the gift given graciously out of mercy for our fallen state.

The annual Marrazzo family Christmas meal was an act of compassion. Helping those who have nowhere to go for Christmas have the companionship of others, many of whom only see each other’s at the meals shows shares the joy and self-sacrificing love of Jesus, the reason for the season.

Like other community meals hosted by local churches in Bucks County, they are more than just a meal. Man does not live by bread alone. The meals are a place for the homeless and those in need to feel welcomed and where they can socialize with friends. It’s a place where people can be kept up to date with the latest news and what’s happening in their lives. Information in the homeless community is most often passed on by oral tradition, word of mouth.

In the midst of all the surface glitter and manic, worldly ways this season, we need to be reminded what Christmas is about. A Christmas poem illustrates this:

All Christmas Poetry 

The True Meaning of Christmas 

by Brian K. Walters 

In todays day and time,

 it’s easy to lose sight,

 of the true meaning of Christmas

 and one special night.

When we go shopping,

 We say “How much will it cost?”

 Then the true meaning of Christmas,

 Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter

 And ribbons of gold,

 We forget about the child,

 born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa

 In his big, red sleigh

 Never thinking of the baby

 Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality when we look into the night sky,

 We don’t see a sleigh

 But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,

 Of that night so long ago,

 And of the child we call Jesus,

 Whose love, the world would know.

This year we lost two of our sisters who have spent a season in the homeless community. Made in the image of God, we greatly valued them. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27  They have greatly touched our lives.

As one of the hosts at the last community meal at Restoration Church pleaded, “be kind to one another.”

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.”     John 1:4,5

Christmas is about light, the light the apostle John wrote about where Jesus took humans out of the dark, clueless world and into His light of righteousness. The light leads us to a life centered on God and his ways. Those who follow Christ  become more like him, not thinking of self but of others, putting their interests above theirs, sacrificing the way people do to provide a Christmas meal for the homeless and needy.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

The Ministry of Love

Finally, news about why the historic Sunbury Farms building on Newportville Rd in Bristol Township, PA is being demolished! It’s going to be turned into The Ministry of Love, said Bucks County PR representative R.I. Diculous.  

The idea came from a secret plan developed back in 1984, based on the case of Winston Smith, who, although he worked for the Ministry of Truth, secretly flirted with independent thinking, which is a thought crime. Mr. Smith was sent to The Ministry of Love for reprogramming.  

In Bucks County, PA, the county Ministry of Truth discovered deviants who went out on their own and questioned the government and like-minded institutions in the county. Like Winston Smith, they initially went along with the propaganda and historical revisionism that superseded the truth to support a noble agenda. But then they went against the grain and challenged The Ministry of Truth, even writing blogs! 

The ministry has tried to quash these rebels but have been unsuccessful. They railroaded one of them and made him a scapegoat, thinking he was responsible for the deadly blogs and shunned the other. They said they wouldn’t help either of them with anything, although they don’t need their help. 

Modeled after the original Ministry of Love, these rebels will be sent to Room 101, hidden underground, where they will be tortured by having to watch endless videos of propaganda from Shrillery Clinton, former Wicked Witch of The West Wing, and Barry Obummer, the Skinny Socialist. They’ll also be subjected to a lecture by Slick Willy Clinton on the definition of “is”. There will be a video of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” adapted for Room 101. After the little boy, who is the only one who will say anything, says the Emperor is wearing no clothes, he gets arrested and sent to Room 101.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

What they may think is horror, is just tough love. They will be programmed to go along to get along. As Rodney King lamented “why can’t we just all get along?” That’s why we need The Ministry of Love in Bucks County. 

No more grease for the noisy wheel! A noisy wheel will just get replaced, or reprogrammed!  

“Silence! I kill you!” 

SSSS-Stop!

A revolutionary stop smoking device is here: Sandi’s Stop Smoking Straws (SSSS-Stop!). For decades, Sandi rode with Johnny Smoke, and evangelist for a rogue mission church: Sister Nicotine and the Holy Smokes. She was one of Johnny Smoke’s victims, as he gave her his best shot, fired away and she became another notch in his gun. She, however, left a device to stop Johnny Smoke in his tracks and lock him up for good.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=american+lung+association+johnny+smoke+anti+smoking+ad&view=detail&mid=A3F2D7950CBF5377D4CBA3F2D7950CBF5377D4CB&FORM=VIRE

As to smoking, I echo Diana Ross and the Supremes: “Stop! In the name of love. Before you break my heart.” https://youtu.be/9TiLJYH1qFQ

The stop smoking straws are a new way to stop smoking, by satisfying the urge to stick a cancer stick in your mouth. They are very bitable, non-toxic and are nonflammable. You can curb your cravings for those carcinogenic cancer sticks. Instead of reaching for that cigarette, pop out one of Sandi’s Stop Smoking Straws.

These straws will help you protect your unborn children. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=american+cancer+society+smoking+babies+anti+smoking+ad&view=detail&mid=159545EA4043A98C3545159545EA4043A98C3545&FORM=VIRE

So the next time you crave a cancer stick, reach for the Stop Smoking Straw, available in 20 pack dispensers.  The dispensers even have the pop-up action that simulates the Johnny Smoke quick cigarette draw, which helped make him such a successful gunslinger.

This satire has been brought to you by the folks who want to stop the insanity of the cult of Sister Nicotine and the Holy Smokes.

Next time someone asks you for a cigarette, offer them a Stop Smoking Straw. Gotta light? Gotta straw? No need for a light when you use a straw!

SSSS-Stop!

Seriously though, it comes down to a matter of the will to stop addictions or other besetting sins. We cannot do this on our own; we need the power of God to work in us.  By the way, Jesus coming to earth to redeem us and restore us to God’s image is what Christmas is about.

Realizing you need the power of God in order to overcome besetting sins is the first step, as found in Celebrate Recovery’s 12 Steps and Biblical comparisons:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18

She’s Going To Her Real Home

After almost three years fighting stage IV lung cancer, which metastasized to the brain and liver, late last night my dear friend and companion Sandi has gone to be with the Lord. She’s been up and down; we’ve been on a roller coaster ride, with Sandi’s condition continually improving then declining. Last night the ride was over and she got out. It felt like I was getting out with her.

Sandi died in the nursing home. On more than one occasion there and on other occasions, Sandi said “Jesus is in my heart.” To reference the oft quoted Bible verse, Sandi will not perish, but have everlasting life, believing Jesus died to save us from our sin and confessing our sins and submitting to God’s will. Sandi is a believer in Jesus Christ, born again.

The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.”  1 Samuel 2:6-7

Sandi’s faith showed in her attitude, her demeanor at the nursing home. Instead of being bitter, sad, and taking it out on nurses and nurses’ aides, Sandi smiled at them, greeted them back and thanked them. Occasionally, when she wanted to sleep, she’d say “no” to doing something, but with some coaxing, she’d cooperate. Sandi seemed to accept her situation, and was content.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13

In a sense we are all homeless. We are just sojourners in this world. Riches and fame mean nothing when you die, much like homelessness. What’s most important is to serve God and his kingdom. As the Westminster Catechism states: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

After a short hospital stay after leaving the ER, Sandi first got radiation treatment for the brain cancer for a few months, then chemo for the rest of it. After a year’s treatment, the cancer left the lungs and the liver, but came back to the liver. After a year of Opdivo, which was in use since Sandi started cancer treatment, it was like Pacman had eaten all the cancer. I thought we were home free, but then a few months ago the cancer returned to the brain, which cannot be retreated. After the Opdivo treatment, Sandi’s doctor compared the image of the before and after Opdivo treatment. He said that if the cancer was like the image on the before, she wouldn’t make it to Christmas. But now it’s the brain cancer that sent her to the Lord before Christmas.

After the first year or so after I took Sandi to the ER after she felt like an axe was going through her head and was disoriented, she went from meager 80 to 90 pounds of her five-foot four frame up to 112 pounds, the weight her cancer doctor said she should be.

We were in and out of hospital stays, after she fell and on one occasion a seizure. Also two short inpatient stays for physical rehab after her week or two long hospital visits. We went to Bible studies, community meals for the homeless and needy, to church and a movie. The action of the movie “No Place To Run”, with Owen Wilson, kept Sandi awake.

Over time, Sandi became increasingly more tired. After she stopped going to the community meals, church and Bible studies with me, she started going to her old church with me for a while.

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

Since I met Sandi three years ago, she kept telling me about a church she had gone to somewhere in New Jersey, not far from the Bristol, PA border. She didn’t know the name of it or the address or even the town, only the names Abie, whom she said was a great preacher, and his wife, Melissa, whom she said had a beautiful singing voice. Periodically I’d go on Sandi’s old Facebook page. On one occasion, Abie’s photo came up. I clicked on it and followed a link to the church FB page and website. I read about what the church believes, and it seemed basically sound. I got directions and a phone number.  Until Sandi got too tired to keep going to City of Refuge Fellowship in Burlington, we managed to get her with her walker up to the steps, where we got help from people there getting her in.

During one service, Sandi kissed me and said “thank you for taking me here.” She seemed right at home with her old Christian friends worshipping the Lord.

Shortly after I got the news of Sandi going home, I talked with Abie, who comforted and encouraged me. He said that Sandi was fighting the cancer and that my presence, staying by her side helped give her the will to fight the disease. He said that Sandi could no longer fight the disease.  I thought of lines from a song played on the Christian radio station K-Love that goes something like “never go under; you’ve got to fight until the final round…”

And as I’ve told her at the nursing home “you’re tough” and that she’s tough because her late father was a Green Beret. Abie said that even before Sandi and I met, she escaped tough medical problems and that God brought us together so she’d be encouraged to live.

Sandi was brought back to Christian fellowship. Besides formal Christian gatherings, I used to read the Bible and Biblical materials, such as “The Daily Bread.” I’ve read online summaries of Abie’s sermons to Sandi.

Sandi has helped my faith. Some time ago, after a Bible study at Restoration church, Levittown, PA.  I remarked after the study that I felt the Lord bringing us closer together. Sandi said she experienced the same thing.

Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

She has taught me to love people unconditionally, to practice more compassion towards others, to show the agape love that comes only from God. I’ve learn more to put myself in others’ shoes. When Sandi was in the nursing home, I was in the nursing home. The day before Thanksgiving, one of her nurses asked “Will you be here tomorrow? It’s Thanksgiving.” I replied “Sandi has to be here so I’ll be here.”

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Galatians 6:2-3

When resentment towards others reared its ugly head towards people who have grossly wronged me, Sandi gently admonished me. She reminded me that they are people and that my attitude was not Christian. I’m still going to God to have Him work on me with that attitude and other things I need to change.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

Information about the memorial service will be announced after Abie, who will conduct the service, gets back from his mission in the Philippines.