Tell Your Story

Share the Gospel Always

whats-your-story-4I gave my life to Jesus Christ on November 7, 1976 in a fundamental, independent Baptist Church.  The pastor was a humble and intelligent man named Reverend Donald G. Humbert.  He was a godly man who believed in the Bible word for word.  I grew up Catholic, meaning I grew up in a tradition and religion rather than a genuine faith and friendship with our Creator.  That is, to say, that I was not connected to God’s word, His truth, nor did I have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  My sister started attending this church and eventually got my mom and I to start attending this church.  After several months, I remember one Sunday evening (11/7/1976) that I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit that I stood up during the “alter call” and gave my life to the Lord.

I cannot tell you that I always followed the road to biblical discipleship (read more:  Here), but the Lord never gave up on me even at my most darkest of times.  During my late adaloscent years and even into my early teens I was on fire for the Lord.  I was President of my youth group and CEO of our high school ministry.  I loved the Lord with every part of my being.  And then I met high school football and the like and turned away from God and toward earthly idols.  My youth Pastor, and my friend, noticed a dramatic change and wrote me a letter about this (I still have this today) and called me out (or tried to) in being raw and honest with his walk.  I really always love and respect that man for his truth in love.  As a result, I walked away from my relationship with God for over a decade (again see the post above).  It was not until I went to a friend’s wedding and met his wife’s best friend did my life begin to change.

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BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

(looking at social media through the lens of true biblical Christianity)

If you are an American, like me, then unless you are completely off the grid then you have been drastically affected by social media like myself.  That is, to say, both mentally and physically this has been a really exhausting poltical year.  I have to say in this Presidential election neither candidate would have made my top 20 list of who I would vote for.  As a matter of fact, given the political climate and social barometer there weren’t too many that would have made the list in the first place.

In either case, we the American people, had to choose to 1) vote for either candidate, 2) vote for neither and pick a 3rd party that has no chance of winning (which was a vote for the incumbant candidate) or 3) choose not to vote giving up our right and privilege to vote.    Either way, you had to make one of these choices, however, if you choose options #3, then shame on you if you are one of these protesters or internet haters (in my opinion, you shouldn’t be allowed to have the right a privileges as an American citizen – just my opinion).

Okay, now enough about me and my opinion on the 2016 Election.

Here is an article about posting on Social Media from the Gospel Coalition:

1. Will it edify? Or significantly inform a useful conversation? (Mark 12:29–31; 1 Cor. 14:26)

Think of what will edify others. All we do is in obedience to the command to love God and others. How will it increase their knowledge, faith, or love? Am I accurately representing positions you disagree with? Am I sure of my facts? Trivialities hopefully fill up our lives less than they do so much of the Internet.

As John Piper has said, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove on the Last Day that our prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” He’s right.

2. Will it be easily misunderstood? (John 13:7; 16:12)

The privacy of a personal conversation limits misunderstanding. Some public posts will sound one way to those who know us and another to those who don’t. Negative assessments are often best shared privately, or not at all. How many of us have learned at our workplace that e-mail is a terrible way to share negative comments? When it comes to public postings, ask yourself: Are there reasons I may not be a good person to speak on certain matters?

3. Will it reach the right audience? (Mark 4:9)

If you’re correcting someone, should the audience be wide—or more narrow? Is that audience correctable? When you use social media, consider who’s listening. What if everyone in your church eavesdropped on your conversations today? Yet we do this all the time online.

4. Will it help my evangelism? (Col. 1:28–29)

Is what you’re about to say going to help or hinder those you’re evangelizing? Is it likely to diminish the significance (to them) of your commitment to the gospel, or enhance it?

5. Will it bring about unnecessary and unhelpful controversy? (Titus 3:9)

Think carefully about controversy. The line between the vigorous exchange of ideas and a kind of social war is sometimes thinner than we think. What’s this particular controversy to which I’d be contributing good for? Might it be unhelpful? How much time will it take up? Is this an unavoidable primary issue, or a matter about which disagreement is fairly unimportant? Will this controversy play into any other division that threatens the unity of my local church?

6. Will it embarrass or offend? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Will anyone be embarrassed or offended by what you’re saying? I understand that the mere fact something is offensive doesn’t mean saying it is wrong, but we must be sure it’s worth it.

7. Will it convey care? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Will those mainly concerned appreciate your motives? Privacy in communication conveys care, an honoring of the person receiving the information. You like the fact that your doctor’s report is private, but you don’t mind that the store’s sale is advertised. If someone would rather be addressed in person, why not do that?

8. Will it make people better appreciate someone else? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Point out God’s grace in the lives, ministries, and arguments of others. Highlighting something that will build esteem for someone else glorifies God and encourages others to see his work in them.

9. Is it boasting? (Prov. 27:2)

Does what you communicate online draw attention to yourself more than your topic? How could that be spiritually harmful? Will it leave people with a more accurate understanding of yourself? Are you simply being tempted to draw attention to what you know? When was the last time you encouraged others by sharing something embarrassing or even sinful about yourself?

10. Is the tone appropriate? (2 John 1, 12; Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29; 2 Tim. 2:24–25)

Will people understand and be encouraged in the truth you communicate? How important is the tone to your message being rightly received? Is it evidently kind, patient, and gentle? The literal tone of your voice and the look on your face fill out so much of what you mean. In a personal conversation, you can more quickly understand that something needs clarifying. The Internet doesn’t sanctify anger or frustration.

11. Is it wrong to say nothing? (Rom. 1:14)

Do you have an opportunity or even a responsibility to communicate something? Some of you do this for your job. Have you established a “relationship” with readers, friends, and followers online that would expect you to comment on a particular issue or situation? Our freedom of speech is a wonderful stewardship. Use it well and responsibly.

12. What do others advise? (Prov. 11:14; 15:22; 24:6)

When you’re about to communicate something provocative, do you have good sounding-boards to help you estimate the response? Do you take the time to consider before you publish? Speed of response is both an ability of the Internet and a temptation to speak too quickly (contra James 1:19; Prov. 10:19; 14:29; 16:32; 17:27). Remember, you will give an account for every word you type (Matt. 12:36). Does saying things at a “safe distance” from people tempt us to say things we wouldn’t say in person?

Perhaps you could write down these questions and ask a friend to look over your social media feeds with them in mind. Or, even ask someone you know disagrees with you on an issue you’ve posted about and see what they say.


 

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” (Frank Outlaw)

 

Blessings,
Dante

 

 

What really matters?

A story of two men.  One man who lacked nothing and another man who had to work for everything.  The Rich Man for all intents and purposes was all that the world would define as successful.  His retirement account was fully funded  at the age of 30 had 8 zeroes attached to it and his kids and grand kids (future children) and wife were fully funded as well.  He drove an Audi, a Porsche and a Range Rover along with an Indian Motor-cycle.  He had a condo in Vail, Colorado, a summer home in the Hampton’s and a Penthouse in Chicago.  Everything that he touched whether good or bad seemed to always work out in his favor.  There was even one year where he had a bad year in investing in the stock market and bought property instead only to find out that he bought the bottom of the real estate market and doubled his investment in less than one year.  His parents were divorced as their parents were divorced as well.  He was a trust fund kid and never really appreciated anything that he earned or was given.  This man was very agnostic.  He knew that there was some superior being, because to say that there wasn’t would be foolish.  But he lacked any positive legacy in faith and or mentoring in the way that God would call us to do so.

The other man had a decent job by worldly standards.  He wasn’t rich, by US standards, but he wasn’t poor either.  If you were to mark him down based on income tax he would fall in the upper middle-class.  He had a wife and three kids and a family that he looked forward to getting home to every day.  He was by far not the smartest nor was he the dumbest.  He was average to above average in all that he did.  The difference is that he had to work hard for everything.  His dad instilled in him a work ethic that could be rivaled by few.  His mom gave him the importance of relationships and to treat the least of these with the utmost respect whether they deserved it or not.  His mom had a faith that was unending and yet realistic to know that she was a sinner that was in constant need of God’s grace and forgiveness.  This man’s relationship with God was the knowledge of Jesus Christ as his Savior, but to say that he was truly a friend of Jesus would be a stretch. That is, until a men’s conference that challenged the very core of his being.  One speaker in particular asked him what legacy would his life leave?  That question haunted him and the other 40 men that went to this conference.  Ten of the men (including this man) pledged to take this further, to be real with each other and to confess their sins together.  They were not going to do fluff or pat each other on the back, but they were going to get real and get accountability and to start a regular men’s group at their church.  So that very night six months before his big work trip came about these ten men confessed to each other.

All of these 10 men did not hold back nor hide anything.  One shared some infidelity, six shared pornography, one shared anger and two shared addictions.  All shared that they loved Jesus and they no longer wanted to just follow him, they all wanted to befriend Him and be His disciples.  So the journey began.

Six months later these two men, unbeknownst to them, met on their way to South America.  As God would have it, their paths crossed on first class.  The Rich man always flew first-class, but the other man was traveling for work and both of these men were going to somewhere in South America.  Both flew 11 hours to their destinations and both coincidentally sat next to each other on the flight down.  Out came the nuts, and the drinks and the dinner and dessert.  They both sat next to each other and both started a conversation about life and what really matters.  The man (who was in his 40’s) respected the Rich young man because he was both astute and very well-educated.  Even though he exuded money and privilege, he didn’t flaunt it in public, which was contradictory to what was written earlier about him.

The Rich young man envied this other man because something was different from any other man that he met or chatted with on long flights.  This man had contentment in a way that surprised this Rich young man.  He loved his family and he could tell there was something different so he asked.  And Faith was the topic of the remaining few hours and couple of glasses of red wine.  They talked about faith, about religion, and about this man’s faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ.  At one point, the Rich Young Man asked if the other man was trying to convert him.  Of which, nothing was said either way, just what this men’s group and God’s word was doing in his life.  The conversation was riveting and neither man slept through this flight as both were intrigued by the other’s lifestyle.

As they landed, both were shocked to find that they were staying at the same South American hotel.  The Rich Young Man offered the other man a ride in his arranged car to the hotel, of which the other man willingly said yes.  As they grabbed their luggage and found their driver they both were given water from the driver.  Only something was desperately wrong.  There was a woman in the front seat (the driver said it was his niece and he was going to give her a ride to the city after these men were dropped off.)  The Rich Young man said that would not be a problem and to bill his card for both of the men.  As there was long conversation on the flight and more than two glasses of wine, both men willingly drank the water and both did not realize that the water was drugged.  Hours later they both woke up somewhere in the rain forest and both were in shock as they were locked in separate rooms next to each other.  Drugged and tied and being held for ransom.  These men were the victim of kidnapping and the other man was at the wrong place at the wrong time given the Rich Young Man’s status.

They were held for ransom and the ransom was huge.  The older man’s company was working with the Rich Young Man’s corporation on trying to negotiate for these men’s lives.  Months had passed and the camps that held them were moved every 3 weeks.  A trust and friendship began between these men and the only thing they were allowed to have with them were the Bible that the older man had.  As his men’s group was working on Scripture memory he gave the Rich Young Man his copy of the Bible.

And so they read – through the entire Bible.  Focusing on Romans, on James and on John.  Not really sure of the date, as either men weren’t sure of how much time that had passed, these men both discovered God in a whole new way – one had a new Savior (Jesus Christ) and the other had two new best friends (Jesus and the Rich Young Man).  Through this conversation and conversion there was a guard in the camp that took a liking to these two men and took more of a liking to what was being shared between them – the Word of God.  This guard also came to know the Lord and just one week before these men were going to be either negotiated for ransom or killed for lack of payment, the guard freed them late at night and drove them across the border to the US Embassy.  These men were able to call their work and families before a ransom was paid out and the Rich Young Man chartered a plane to take them both back to Chicago.

They made the local newspapers and then the national news papers and then the talk shows and then more and more kept coming.  They both had their “10 minutes of fame” but neither used this for their own kingdom – instead they used it for God’s kingdom.

Both were asked what really mattered when they were being held prisoner and both said the same – their faith in God, in His Word and their relationship with Jesus Christ.  They both left the US wanting and both came back completely content.  Their lives were forever changed and from that moment of conversion for the Rich Young Man and the other man was life-changing.  Their wishes and desires were no longer what they wanted, but instead was replaced by what God wanted from their lives.

“When it is all said and done”, they said in their last television interview, “and we are kneeling at the judgement seat of Christ, we only want to hear two things:  1) Our names read in the Book of Life and 2) Well done my good and faithful servants”.


what really mattersWhat really matters to you?

The world’s view:

  • Riches
  • Wealth
  • Retirement
  • Popularity
  • Fame

God’s view:

  • His Word
  • A relationship with His Son Jesus Christ
  • To be his disciples
  • To love the Lord God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves
  • To finish well

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family

(in the summer)

top-10-mistakes

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family:

 

10.  Play board games with them

9.  Go on long walks

8.  Ride your bikes to the local ice cream store

7.  Date your wife and kids (individually) – one each date

6.  Read the Bible with them

5.  Talk about Scripture and how it applies to our lives today

4.  Pray with your wife and kids

3.  Serve with them

2.  Love them

1.  Take vacations with them (slow down – relax – enjoy – be thankful)

 

What are some of your top 10’s?

 

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Unforgiveness

Dare to lead...

warningPart of being a legacy dad means not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk.  As both Lance and I have shared in the past and will continue to share into the future, both of our wives read this blog and our children are watching us.  That being said, more than just our wives would call us out!  Does that mean that we are perfect?  Absolutely not!  Our wives and close friends know that we are sinners who are saved by grace.  What it does mean by being a legacy dad is realizing and committing to the fact that there is a greater authority in our lives other than ourselves.  That the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.  The beginning of being a legacy dad is putting God in our lives where He should always be:  On the throne room of our lives.  God should be overall.  God is in control of my life, my family, my work, my personal life and I am subject to His will!  This doesn’t always mean that I get this in the correct order.  This also means, if I am being honest, that I sometimes try to put my old self back on top and on my throne room of my heart.  God has given me emotions and the ability to think and to have free will.  He is Sovereign and He is in control of all things.  He knows what I will do.

One of the hardest things for men to overcome is forgiveness.  On our own, we are incapable of it.  To be honest, even when we are walking the walk, forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to do.  When someone wrongs us (or we feel wronged) or someone wrongs ones that we love, it is next to near impossible to forgive even when God calls us to forgive.

1 John 1:5-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

imagesWalking in the Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2 English Standard Version (ESV)

Christ Our Advocate
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Ephesians 4:32English Standard Version (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

When we subject ourselves to God’s truth (The Bible) then we have a really hard time trying to justify the wrongs in our lives:

  • A bad marriage
  • A difficult work situation
  • An event
  • Difficult living situation
  • Addictions
  • Being wronged

No matter how we try to defend our positions, it is impossible to justify the wrongs that we have done against God.  We are sinners in need of  a Savior.  Left on our own devices we have no hope, no salvation and no chance of salvation.  But with God’s plan, there is a hope.  There is His Son.  There is salvation and redemption and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So if God can forgive us…

  • We can forgive our spouse – some of us, if we are honest, have let our marriages die.  We have stopped pursuing our spouse because we feel hurt, we feel betrayed, we feel broken and disappointed by some things in our past.  The marriage that we thought we would have – we don’t.  The spouse that we thought would meet every expectation – doesn’t.  The relationship that we thought we would have until we get old – isn’t.  Because of these shortcomings or acts or events some of us have grown weary, hopeless, and embittered.  There is unforgiveness and anger and in some relationships even dangerous anger.
  • We can forgive our children – some of us have wayward children or children that did not meet our expectations or what we thought we would see them grow up to be.  We have been callous with them and even neglected our parenting and call to disciple them because they continue to disappoint.  They have wandered or committed some unforgiveable sins that we can never get over.  How could they embarrass us like that?  How could they shame their mother and father the way that they have?  How can they sin and continue to have unrepentant sin in their lives?
  • We can forgive those who persecute us – whether some of us have been a victim or have a situation where we have been wronged or have been persecuted or have even ben maligned in ways that were not justified we feel that we have righteous anger, that is, we think we are justified in being unforgiving toward those persons or situations in our lives that persecute us.
  • We can forgive those who have wronged us – some of us have been a victim of drugs and alcohol or of loved ones who have hurt us not only physically, but emotionally and have destroyed our spirit and will to live.  As a result, we find our lives in a sense of rebellion and for some even with destructive habits that are reckless and in some cases malign others around us because we feel that if we have been victims then why should the rest of the world get away with this (this lifestyle leaves a wake of destruction and bitterness in its path).
  • We can get over ourselves (and for some of us our horrible pasts and let God move in our lives) – some of us try to say that our pasts (and present) is so horrible that we can not forgive ourselves, that we were really bad and that there is nothing or no one that can forgive the sins and atrocities that I have committed.

To all of what was just said above, I have one thing to say to all of us:  Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.  Do not withhold love when it is in our power to act.  Love and forgive as God loves and has forgiven us through His Son Jesus Christ.

How about this, Legacy dads:

  • Instead of blaming our circumstances on our wives (our children) our work, our outcomes, we let go and let God have control over it all.
  • Instead of withholding love, we love unashamed
  • Instead of judging with a measuring stick that puts us in pure hypocrisy, we judge ourselves by the measure we judge others.  Quickly realizing that this cannot be, then we let the only One judge others.  Instead we can love and live the lives that Jesus calls us to live (Read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3).
  • Instead of living in the past (past mistakes, past transgressions, past wrongs instead of rights) we turn that over to God.  We surrender the pain, the unforgiveness, the un-love in our lives and let God through His Holy Spirit fill that up with His love allowing us to show others God’s love and what God is doing through our lives by forgiving others (by letting His will be done).
  • Instead of saying that we cannot forgive ourselves of the sin and atrocities that we have committed, we finally come to understand that biblically speaking we cannot forgive our sins because only God can forgive us through His Son.

What is holding you back from receiving God’s best design for our lives?

What is holding you back from letting go of all it and giving it to God?

What is holding you back from letting God move in your life and filling the void that you thought others should fill?

What if, just what if, we did all of this and realize that when we completely surrender that under God’s will and plans and timing – we will have the abundant life that He promises?

Do you believe this?  Can it be true?  Do we serve a God who raises once what was dead into life?

Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

No Longer Slaves…

Friday's Song Day

 

“No Longer Slaves”

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
‘Til all my fears are gone

[2x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again
Into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

[4x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We’ve been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God…

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
You drowned my fears in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God

Yes, I am
I am a child of God
I am a child of God
Yes, I am
I am a child of God
Full of faith
Yes, I am a child of God
I am a child of God

[3x]
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

America the Beautiful

Thank you for all who preserve our freedom as we celebrate Independence Day


The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

The power of Words

Words that strike chords amongst us all

If I were to say a few words to you, without reacting, be honest with yourself and tell yourself out loud what emotions they initiate:

  • Anger
  • Overwhelmed
  • SuccessfulWords
  • Accountable
  • Reasonable
  • Spiritual
  • Bad
  • Moral
  • Realistic
  • Good
  • Should’ve
  • Forgiveness

Raw emotions when unchecked can cause a lot of pain for some, reactions from others and even some extreme outbursts from a few.  If we were to be completely honest about this, then we would have said (aloud) that some, if not all, these words either had us thinking about something very emotional in our life or about someone else who caused a response in this.

Lance put this quote on his Facebook post that sparked this blog post from me: “When it comes to conflict, hurt and resentment, it is the one who has been wronged who has all the power, not the one who does the wrong. And our power comes in the form of forgiveness. When we forgive, we liberate ourselves to live the life God has given us.”

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