Monday, December 17, 2012

Connecting the Dots

Today I encountered an article entitled: Connecting.the.Dots.  It is quite well written and makes some powerful points, especially about the connection of the effects of wholesale abortion on the devaluing of human life.

     In the earlier days of “legalized” abortion, there were warnings of the long-range effects on our society of wholesale abortion, of the careless destruction of the most defenseless among us, of its devaluation of human life. It was feared that a society that brutally takes the lives of its unborn children will become hardened and, in due time, reflect that brutality toward all human life.
The next paragraph really moved my thinking onward:

     There are, of course, many “dots” that can be connected to random killings–mental illness, violent video games and entertainment, etc. But can we sometime soon also connect the abortion dot? While violent killings are as old as Cain and Abel, random acts of violence against innocent human life continue to increase in number and horror, underscored by what happened on Friday. Brutality toward women and children, once shrugged off as a problem elsewhere in the world, now occurs too often in our own society not to connect this dot.

My first thoughts were regarding how people and leaders of church bodies are not connecting the dots that show the deterioration of their understanding of what it means to be the Church and saints.  My first thoughts were regarding the way that souls are being killed through allowing the pure Gospel and the Sacraments and the worship life of the churches to be corrupted and polluted and contemporized with the worldly views and beliefs and practices.  I continue to stand aghast and befuddled by what is happening and how the dots never seem to be connected.

But I also was moved to think of some additional dots that are not being connected with regard to these increasing acts of violence and even so-called random violence.  Some of these dots are very obvious, except that people are being directed through the media and government schools and programs to shrug these off or even pay them no attention at all.

I recently had a reminder of this with one of my former neighbors.  This man has very limited training, education, and skills.  He works hard to provide for himself and his wife.  He cares about others.  But he is struggling, as are many of us.

He has turned to me many times, both when he lived across the street from me and many times since then.  He has shown up many times at my front door, hoping to receive help from me regarding car problems, or to receive a ride to work or a ride home again at 11:15 pm.  He has borrowed and worn out a lawn mower.  He has asked and received help to move from one dwelling to another, using my time, my back, my truck, my trailer, my fuel.  There are many such instances.

Last month he wanted me to “loan” him money for fuel for his car.  He called and left multiple voice mails on my home phone and cell phone.  When I returned his call to learn what he wanted, his wife answered.  She then called him at work.  He called me from his place of work.  I reminded him that I am not his bank and that I also am struggling and don’t have any more money to give to him.  A short time later his wife calls saying, “You dare to call my husband?  Don’t you ever call my husband at work.  You don’t know who you’re messing with!”

Knowing what I know of her and her friends, this was very disconcerting.  It also was very hurtful.

With this, however, we have a few more dots to connect.

Why are people becoming so desperate and frustrated and angry?

When my wife and I have occasion to visit a doctor’s office or dentist’s office or have other occasion where we are asked medical history information, one of the questions we are asked is:  “What medications are you taking?”  The response from the inquirer is usually, “What do you mean you’re not taking any meds?  You are not on ANY medications?”

This is a very significant DOT.

Today, medications are prescribed and passed out more freely than candy.  More and more people are being prescribed mood altering medications.

More and more people are being “diagnosed” as clinically depressed.  The answer?  More meds!

But why are people depressed?  Why are they feeling desperate?  Why are people becoming more and more easily agitated?

This week I received the paperwork for the renewal of the registration of my work truck, trailer, and chipper.  The registration fees were raised $ 70.00 for this year.  This is over and above the property tax that I am required to pay on each of these.

Gasoline is over $ 3.00 per gallon and some forecasts say that this price will soon skyrocket, perhaps as high as $ 9.00 per gallon.  Electricity and natural gas and water/sewer rates also continue escalate.

Jobs and especially good paying jobs are becoming more and more scarce.  People are facing foreclosures on their homes.

Rising taxes and invention of new taxes, rising costs of living, decreasing availability of sources of income, forced insurance by the Obama administration & laws, loss of freedom and increases in unwarranted harassment by TSA, DHS, the police, and countless others, all these pile upon the already heavily burdened hearts and minds of hurting people.

Add to this the preponderance of electronic gadgetry and the added stress from these sources of continual stimuli.  After all, the human brain, body, and spirit can only handle so much stimulus before an overload occurs.

Then people begin to seek additional artificial sources of relief.  People turn to drugs of various kinds, both legal and illegal.  Overindulgence of alcohol, sexual activity, snacks and other foods, carbonated and beverages and high energy beverages are used to try to boost people’s ability to handle more stimulus.

On top of all of these, then add the processed foods to which people turn to try to reduce the stress of preparing their own meals.  These processed foods are loaded with excitotoxins and other chemicals.

There are even more dots, but even if all of these dots are connected, a horrendously messy web can be seen as the fabric of most people’s lives.  Eventually this becomes too much for people to bear.  Eventually, they can no longer find their way through the web to where they believe that they need to be.  Their frustration grows.  They become more and more anger.  As they try to suppress and control their anger they become more and more desperate and depressed.

The Lord has given answers to this dilemma.  He has connected the dots for us, the dots that lead to relief, comfort, redemption, hope, salvation, and peace.

     Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

     No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
     Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
     Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith
     Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
     But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
  (Matthew 6:24-34)

     God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
     There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
     Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.  (Psalm 46:1-11)

     The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.  (Psalm 23:1-6)

     And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  (Luke 2:8-14)

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