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Friday, November 29, 2013

America, Blessed Beyond Measure?

                   Blessed Beyond Measure

      At Thanksgiving many of us like to take measure of the blessings in our lives.  Last night as I sat playing a board game with my grandchildren I had a unique experience.  Other family members were in the living room watching the prerecorded Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  It struck me as funny because till that point I had not realized the difference in this Thanksgiving.  The TV had not been on all day and everybody had been enjoying time together.

       To me the Macy’s Parade had always epitomized what was wholesome and good about America.  Yet as I sat at the kitchen table and watched it unfold something different was happening.  Maybe it was just my perspective, but some of the so called entertainment bordered on the decadent.  They proclaimed their pride.  It made me think of what the Bible says on the matter. Pride goes before the fall. As I watched it I could not help but think of a chapter in the Bible that talks about the Blessings and Curses that befall nations based on their relationship to God. It is found in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy.   Over the years I have seen America move from the totally blessed part of the chapter to the cursed part.  It is not my imagination and anyone that takes the time to read it will see what I am talking about.

     The irony to me is that it has been one of the most blessed years of my life. It has not been only from a financial perspective, but also from a spiritual perspective. My eyes have been opened to all the real blessings in my life. As I have been cleaning out and reorganizing my room to move a great-nephew in with me it has made me see even more how blessed I am.

    Part of getting the room ready to move a fourteen year freshman in with a sixty-seven year old required some serious downsizing.  I cleaned out and my dresser and took it to St. Vincent de Paul.  Cleaning out the closet I got rid of my leather jacket from my biker days.  It was only about thirty years old, but fit my high school senior grandson who just signed up to enter the Army after he graduates.  My field jacket which was closer to forty years old fit my youngest grandson.  It also required getting rid of tons of other clothes.  I had size 38 and 42 jeans in my closet that still had the tags on them.  I wear a size 48, down from size 50.  Also got rid of all the X, XL, and 2X clothes that I couldn’t or can’t wear anymore.

      Then I started on books knick-knacks and other miscellaneous stuff.  It ended up being about five boxes this time.  Several other boxes went to the Lord’s Warehouse a few weeks ago.  People have asked me are you dying.  Not any more than anyone else.  It is just that I finally realized someone could get some use out of all the stuff I have been hoarding for no good reason.

      My wife knows I am trying to lose weight and asked me if I wouldn’t be able to wear the clothes at some point.  My answer was simple I will get new ones that fit.  That brings me to the other part of my blessing.  A couple years ago I filed for compensation for Agent Orange which I was exposed to during my tour in Vietnam.  It was finally approved and has required me to make some major adjustments to our lifestyle. 

        Over the last couple years I have been fortunate enough to have been in the position that I had to give away almost a hundred thousand dollars.  No it was not my money.  Our church died from attrition.  We were down to six of seven people and some Sundays the preacher only had three or four people to preach to.  We finally voted to close the doors.  It was not because the church did not have the money.  We had plenty of money.  I have to wonder though if the money had been spent while the church was still alive, if maybe it might have survived.  We sold the building and contents and then had to give the money away. 

      There is a certain irony to this situation as years before I had urged the spending of the money and did not have the position in the church to make it happen, but due to attrition the duty fell to us younger members to deal with the funeral arrangements.  It was always ironic to me that the church was dedicated on December 7th, 1941.  Yes it was being dedicated at the very moment the attack was taking place on Pearl Harbor.  Another factor that added to that irony was that I was born on Pearl Harbor Day in 1946.

      The point I am trying to make is that America is such a Blessed nation and yet we about to throw it all away because of greed and incompetence.  America is so obsessed with having, but not with sharing.  Congress wants to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, by taking away the benefits that people need because of their incompetence. 

       As a Christian Nation we should understand the third chapter of Malachi. God said he would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so great it could not be received.  It would only be received though by giving the tithes and offerings required by God.  That is something this nation has forgotten about over the last fifty to sixty years.  The book of Malachi makes clear that a day of reckoning is coming to any nation that turns its back on God.  Saying we are Christians does not make it so.  It requires actions to back it up.

      The many disasters that have hit America over the last few years have made it clear that the heart of America is still a giving and caring heart.  It is the head that is sick and taking America on a path that will end in our destruction.  God has always honored His Word.  Not only too bless, but also too judge.  It is time to wake up and get involved.  If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

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