Happy New Year

It is present

The New Year is here. It is started, and its arrival has been celebrated around the world. Our calendars tell us that we are into a new year, although the sun appeared as it usually does and our clocks display the time as they usually do, but we declare that it is a new year, 2018.

But its quality is still unclear

I don’t know about you, but my new year began with a severe old
pain in the left side of my lower back that woke me up in the very early hours of another new day and is forcing me to walk around our old house with a cane to keep from falling down. I’ve taken some pills to try to relieve the pain, but I’m going to have to see a doctor as soon as possible to get some treatment for this problem that isn’t making me too happy.

How has your New Year started? Are the old pains gone? Do some of the old problems and concerns still weigh you down and detract from your happiness? What were you hoping for when the sun rose on a new day for you and you realized that you were in a New Year? The quality of your day and the days to follow through the year will largely be determined by the nature of the decisions that you make in the moments of consciousness that the Lord gives to you. That is really all of the time that you actually have to do anything in your situation. There is a saying that “If you keep doing what you have always done, it is crazy to expect any different results from your actions.”

Have you made any really new decisions on this new day in this new year? Or have you just repeated some old “resolutions” that you probably weren’t quite ever able to accomplish? That is probably the case, because it seems to be my situation. Individuals may be happy to get a “new year” on their calendars, but they find it hard to get out of the old “ruts” of their past years.

The challenge before you

What would really make your New Year a happy one for you this time? What new decision will you have to make to begin to implement that change in your life? Washing the salt off of your car in the middle of a messy winter or polishing up its old paint isn’t going to make it new. Let’s talk about this.

Merry Christmas


I know that this expression may offend some individuals, but I
believe that “Merry Christmas” is a very appropriate expression of good will and love between relatives and friends that will usually be well received. Although the celebration of Christ’s birth is not an initial Christian festival that was implemented and handed down to following Christian by the apostles, it is still a legitimate time to share his love with others.

Real gifts

The most precious and priceless gifts that you can share with those whom you love cannot be bought online or at the local shopping mall. They are not technical devices or toys for one’s entertainment or even communication processes. The most precious and priceless gift that you can give to anyone is your personal assurance that you really care for them and that you are always available to them for your loving attention and care. Giving individuals what they “want” is never as loving as giving them what they “need”, which is usually much more valuable and special and endurable.

An offer to “help” someone with a current problem, is a special gift. A word of “encouragement” and understanding to a relative or friend who is struggling with a problem that you cannot remove is priceless. A simple expression of “I’m sorry” or “thank you” as an appropriate personal expression of understanding and caring in a situation is a gift that is well received anytime. Forgiveness between individuals is such a basic need that is so seldom met that many individuals are really personally crying daily within their emotional hearts for such a gift from those with whom they are suppose to be close.

A personal and sincere expression of unconditional love is the most precious and priceless gift that you can give to anyone, during the Christmas season or any day of the year. And its expression and reception will truly be an occasion for merriness, joy, and celebration. And such gifts will really glorify Jesus Christ, whose birth into our world where he gave us his broken body and shed blood to redeem us from our deadly relationship with God and where he demonstrated his transforming loving power over our enemies, will be your most appropriate expression of a “Merry Christmas” that you can give to any relative or friend this year.

Let’s talk about this

Are you prepared to share such gifts with those you claim to love? Are you personally requesting such gifts from your relatives and friends? Or are you just going through the “motions” of this annual holiday season exchanging a lot of trinkets with others while pretending that they are somehow “special” expressions of your love?

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Weather an uncontrollable force

It’s nature

Weather is a daily event in your life that is caused by tremendous forces of nature over which you have no control. The effects that it has in your life will depend upon where you live in respect to the normal climatic conditions that occur in your area of the world. The moving air that brings the various natural elements of water vapor and temperature across your area may be mild most of the time, which would allow you to be fairly comfortable on most days. In other areas the content of this moving air and its temperature would be significantly changed by the effects of the sun upon it at different times in the earth’s rotation around the sun, so you would experience some seasonal changes in the daily weather that occurs in your area. These changes may include the possibilities of storms, even some that could be severe like tornadoes or hurricanes, or they might even be mild enough to enjoy like the changing colors of the leaves on the trees. In any case, the daily weather patterns that occur in your area are probably going to affect what you and your children wear for the day, maybe what you eat, perhaps what you do particularly in regard to your choices for recreation, and what sports you get to watch on tv. It is evident from various news reports that severe storms can be extremely destructive to structures and even be very deadly to those who don’t move out of their way or take some protective shelter from their forces.

Your responses to the weather

If the daily weather that you experience in your area doesn’t pose any personal threat to you, you probably just take it as it comes, maybe enjoying some of its pleasant changes, and go through your day as your normally would. If the possibility of a storm is forecast, you probably dress for it if you have to get out. If the storm might be severe, you may even make an effort to prepare your house or business from its damaging forces before you leave the area. If a severe storm impacts your area, you may have to make a great personal effort to recover from its damaging effects on your property and life. In any case, weather is a personal experience that can at least affect one’s mood, so a person can seldom be neutral about it.

Let’s talk about this

How is the normal weather like in your area? What is good about it? How do you respond to storms? If you have ever suffered some personal damage from a storm, how did you recover from it? How dependable are the weather forecasting crews in your area? How helpful are your neighbors in helping each other recover from the damaging effects of storms in your area? It would be good to talk about our responses to these forces of nature over which we have no control.


The need

When your problems, concerns, or worries pile up before you in your daily efforts to keep moving forward in your life, you may sink into a mood of discouragement or even depression. You may begin to feel exhausted by your effort and frustrated by your inability to quickly move through these barriers in your progress. These moods may become more severe and persistent when your efforts to apply familiar treatments to them no longer give you immediate relief from them. And these moods will probably be more persistent if you are alone, somewhat unhealthy, financially limited, or “old”. Every day becomes an ongoing battle with these barriers and a “wall” begins to appear before you that blocks any hope of relief from them. Such moods of discouragement and depression are serious matters, particularly when they are not relieved within a timely manner.


Common immediate treatments for moods of discouragement or depression may include another cup of coffee, some alcohol, a pill, going to a personal source of pleasure for a boost, a visit to a “friendly” hangout, or connecting with a “friend” on a social media platform. These efforts may provide some momentary relief, but their benefits may not last very long. The benefits of beverages, pills, addictions, and even somewhat “casual friends” are probably not completely effective in the elimination of these moods. What you need when you are being overwhelmed by moods of discouragement and depression are not momentary outside sources of relief or even consumed drugs but an internal personal source of encouragement that can be with you moment by moment throughout the course of your battle. I believe that encouragement is best received and experienced by the personal loving words of a dependable spouse or relative or friend and some immediate personal physical help with the problems with which you are struggling. Words of loving encouragement and support and understanding when delivered in personal ways can be very powerful even before any personal help is provided! They will stay with you longer than a beverage, a drug, a momentary pleasure, or a brief chat from a distant friend on your mobile device or a pat on your back from a “beer buddy” a your local hangout. The best source of encouragement and enduring relief from your battles with discouragement and depression is the indwelling personal words of love and constant strong assistance that Jesus can give to you from his Spirit in the center of your emotions, desires, and thoughts in your body.

Some questions

What are your current sources of encouragement for relief from the moods of discouragement and depression with which you battle? How well do they work? How long are they good for? Who are your most encouraging companions or friends? Let’s talk about this.

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Good news (again)

In this post I again want to make a point about “news”, which is that it is “good” when it is a published or broadcasted statement that is factually true and objective in the style of its content.

As I professional writer who has a lot of experience and some graduate-level training in journalism, I know the basic principles that govern the presentation of good news. I’m sure that most professional journalists with the major media outlets and newspapers know these principles that should define their presentations of the facts and the style for their news reports regarding the matters upon which they are reporting. They know the difference between “facts” and “opinions”. They know how to research for data regarding what they seek to report and the importance of being able to cite the sources for what they state in their published or broadcast in their reports. They know the difference between reports of “news” and statements of “editorial opinions”.

The really sad state regarding what is being published and broadcast in our media today is due to the acceptance of really bad standards for news and public statements that are made among the people in our society and the culture in which we live. There is too much acceptance for lies in our public statements. People are too willing to issue their personal opinions in loud and repetitious announcements irregardless of their relationship to any facts or standards for respectful discourse. And too many people apparently don’t believe that it is important to cite any widely accepted respected sources for what they declare. So too many professional journalists have just neglected the application for the principles of good news in which they have been trained to become “popular” or commercially acceptable to those who pay for the news that they distribute.

So the people are subjected to an overwhelming amount of bad news, fake news, subjective opinions, lies, and political “correct” statements that they hear or read every day in their efforts to understand what is going on in this world in which we all live. There is a huge need for “good news” these days, reports of what is happening and being proposed by our leaders that are composed and distributed in accord with the principles for what is true and respectable standards for such news. How can these standards now be implemented by the journalists who feed us our daily diets of “news”? Let’s talk about this.

Good life and good health

The basics

A good life and good health are greatly desired, but they are basically gifts that have been given to you. You didn’t choose to be born and you certainly didn’t choose your parents or the circumstances in which you would live the early years of your life. All of the basic resources that you needed for your survival, growth, protection, and welfare were provided for you by your parents or someone else who cared for you. In most countries of the world there are laws against anyone abusing children or even neglecting them, but in some places they are abused, neglected, abandoned, sold, or even killed without many penalties. Your body was designed to protect you from what could be harmful by causing you to cough or to sneeze or to expel the contents of your stomach when it became toxic and to expel the “waste” that was produced from its normal digestive functions. Your parents were loving enough to try to give you only what was “good” for you, but you had to learn to trust them and to follow their instructions for the diet that they provided and recommended for you, even some vegetables. You had receptors in your body that indicated to you what tasted “good”, what gave you pleasure, and even what was not “good” by causing you to feel some “pain”. Not everything in this world is “good” for you, and some places and activities are actually personally very dangerous for you.

Your responsibility

The quality of your life and the maintenance of the resources for the normal health of your body is up to you. They are not the responsibilities of any government, community agency, relative, or friendly neighbor. As a child or even as a growing youth, you may not always realize this, yet it is your basic responsibility to manage your life and the resources that you will consume or use for your ongoing health. You have inherited some benefits in your genes and maybe even some disabilities, and it is up to those who care for you and ultimately for you to manage these resources in your life as you seek to experience a good life with ongoing good health. But since everything is not always “good” for you and you may not be wise enough or experienced enough to know what is “bad”, you have to decide whom you are going to trust to provide you with what is “good” and what rules you are going to follow for your own welfare and protection. At a point in your life, probably while you are still somewhat “young”, you will become an “independent” person who is relatively “free” to consume what you want to put into your body, to go where you want to go, and to do what you want to do. You will be “free” to consume what makes you feel “good”, to deal with your “pain” as you choose to do so, and to establish the personal disciplines (rules) that you determine will provide you with the qualities of life and health that you seek for yourself. You may be able to buy some insurance to help you to cover the costs for the necessary resources and care, but no one has to provide you with the funds to do so.

What is good?

What have you discovered in your life that is “good” for you? Whom do you trust to direct you to what is “good”? For some resources that are “good” forever, I invite you to check these out at christianityetc.org. As you are seeking a “good” life and “good” health, let’s talk about this.

Thoughtful discourse

Im sur tht u can rd ths prbly becs u r mor acostm 2 spking thn 2 wrtng bt I wld prbly hav sum trbl mkg my pont if I cont vry lng in ths styl of dscorse.

Spoken discourse and written discourse are very different
The above garbled text illustrates this fact very well. Children learn to speak long before they learn how to write. It is easier to mimic sounds than it is to learn how to spell words. It is easier to shout louder than it is to secure one’s attention by a clear authoritative order. Every beginning student of journalism is taught the difference between an acceptable report of a new’s worthy event and an editorial opinion regarding something that happened, and the different statements are usually displayed differently in reliable printed news media. Written discourse requires more work and thought in order to be clear and positively received than spoken discourse.

Problems in current styles of discourse
A fact should usually be accepted as something that is true and reliable. A lie is a statement that is not true. Mistakes in factual details regarding something that is reported should be recognized as just that, mistakes, that are probably due to sloppy research or sloppy discourse. Fake news is really expressions of opinion and not reliable reports of anything that can be depended upon. Interviews with eye witnesses should be recognized as “hear say” and not as “evidence”. Protests should be recognized as expressions of anger and not as positive expressions of solutions to any problems. Talk of “impeaching Trump” should be recognized as no more thoughtful or helpful than talk of calling someone to fix your computer with a hammer. Tweeting in statements of 140 characters or even 280 characters should not be recognized as being “thoughtful discourse” like a factual statement of logical announcement or appeal. Filibusters in Congress (or other legislative body) should not be recognized as having any value in contrast to thoughtful debates regarding proposed legislative bills to solve real existing problems in anyone’s civic operations. Duly authorized decisions should have more authority than statements of blame for failed efforts to influence others.

Time for thoughtful discourse
It is apparent to many that it is time for our politicians, and probably for the American people, to stop “shouting” at each other about what is “wrong” in America and begin to engage in some “thoughtful discourse” that is articulate enough and logically strong enough to get a sufficient majority of people to agree to work together to fix our serious civic problems. Well written sentences of subjects and verbs that are clearly organized into concise paragraphs and summarized in good logical conclusions are very beneficial statements of thoughtful discourse that in many ways are much more beneficial than most of the style of discourse that are filling our major platforms for communication today. Let’s talk about this.

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