As the CFO of this business that employees 140 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama will be our next President, and that our taxes and government fees will increase in a BIG way.
To compensate for these increases, I figure that the clients will have to see an increase in our fees to them of about 8%, but since we cannot increase our fees right now due to the dismal state of our economy, we will have to lay off six of our employees instead. This has really been eating at me for a while, as we believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who will have to go.
So, this is what I did. I strolled through our parking lot and found 6 Obama bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off. I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem. These folks wanted change; I gave it to them. If you have a better idea, let me know.
Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack. 1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack. 2007 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.
Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school. 1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies. 2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.
Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students. 1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again. 2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.
Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt. 1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman. 2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.
Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school. 1957 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock. 2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.
Scenario: Pedro fails high school English. 1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college. 2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.
Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed. 1957 - Ants die. 2007- BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him. 1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing. 2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.
Hebrews 10:10 (NLT) - For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus, Christ, once for all time.
Hebrews 10:14 (NLT) - For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:18 (NLT) - And when sins have been forgiven,there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
During my prayer time, I do what I call "two way journaling". I write down my prayers to God, and then I listen for a response. If a thought comes to mind, I begin writing. I don't wait until the thought is finished (because I get distracted and usually interrupt), but I write down exactly what comes to my mind as I "hear" it. Then I read what I've written and ask myself, "Does that sound like me, or does that sound like God?" If I' m not sure, or if I have been given some kind of direction, I can take what I've written to my pastor or a friend and ask, "Does this sound like God to you?" Ever since I started doing this, I have been amazed at how easy it is to hear God talking to me. (What was I waiting for before? An audible voice?).
This is what I journaled this morning after reading the first part of Hebrews 10. I put in italics the part where I felt God was speaking to me.
I guess this is an improvement over not meeting with you regularly, but here I am, up early, and now I am always running out of time wishing I had more time to spend with You. Thank You for loving me, for spending time with me and for speaking to me.
Rob, I do love you and I love spending time with you. You are not something broken that I would have to force myself to spend time with. I have redeemed your fallen nature and, just like back at the beginning of my creation, I long to take walks with you, talk to you, listen to you and share in the life I have given to you. As my child, I want you to love me and desire to spend time with me, but I have created this life for you to enjoy and it brings me joy to watch you enjoy it. Yes, the thing that separated us, sin, was/is huge, but my sacrifice was 100% totally enough to bridge the gap. Now the only thing that can stand between us is you not meeting me here like this.
Father, as I've been reading The Shack, I've been thinking how wonderful it would be to have the opportunity to meet with You and get to talk with You for a weekend like in the book. While that would still be totally awesome, I have been feeling perhaps You were trying to tell me that is what You want our time together here to be. Today, I feel a little bit like that was the case. I feel like a child, in the presence of my Father, totally at peace, full of joy, resting in the knowledge that I am totally loved. I can picture myself running in a field laughing and just resting in your love...and You smiling as You watch me being silly. Each of us being exactly who we are supposed to be (which, of course, is not hard for You!).
If you haven't heard of the "12 of 12" idea, here it is. And here are my November photos.
6:32 AM - Up for morning devotions and journaling.
7:15 AM - Waking up Amanda for school.
8:37 AM - Time for a new transfusing unit and imaging unit on the copier.
8:54 AM - This is how I see Tammy if I lean over the corner of my desk.
9:14 AM - Don't know what I'm working on that is so serious!
9:21 AM - Payroll is an IMPORTANT part of the Wednesday routine. Tammy is calling it in.
10:41 AM - I was outside putting Amdro on fire ant mounds when the dumpster truck came for our usual Wednesday pick up.
11:51 AM - In typical George fashion, arriving a few minutes early for lunch.
2:39 PM - Picking up Amanda from school.
2:59 PM - Of course I wore my orange shirt like his yesterday. That would make me the trend-setter, right?
6:17 PM - I drove the van to pick up a few students for youth group tonight. Go No Compromise Youth!
8:21 PM - Almost forgot to take a picture at Life Group tonight. Nobody show Brooke what time this was taken (we were supposed to be at the church picking up our kids at least 6 minutes BEFORE this picture was taken).
When I read through my Bible, I mark things that catch my attention. One of the things I have enjoyed finding over the years is Old Testament examples of God's mercy. It seems we too often think of the God of the New Testament as merciful and loving while the God of the Old Testament is mean and quick to judge (i.e. "to wipe out everybody"). Hebrews 13:8 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.". Granted, we have Christ's sacrifice extended to us in the New Testament, but did God really go through a temperament change between the Old and New Testaments? I don' think so.
Tonight I was reading in Jeremiah and I came across this:
2"Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, each of them will turn from his wicked way; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin."(New Living Translation)
During this time in Israel's history, God prophesied through Jeremiah the prophet that Babylon was coming to destroy Jerusalem. God told Israel he was punishing them using Babylon, but after a season, God would restore Israel and punish Babylon. When we read this story, often we focus on the "every disaster I plan to inflict on them" (God speaking) and see this is an illustration of an angry, punitive God.
But read to the end of verse 4...it says, "Perhaps...each of them will turn from his wicked way; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin." This is a merciful God giving his people yet another chance to repent so that he could forgive them. He's not quick to judge...he's slow to judge and he tells the people once more all the bad stuff that will come down the pike if they do not repent. He wants them to be horrified at the judgment so they can repent and be forgiven.
When I read this, I got a mental image. I pictured some military commander being informed by a fighter on patrol that a group of people are headed toward allied territory. The people are not a threat where they are now, but if they cross the border into allied territory they are a major threat. The commander has no choice but to order the fighter to track the group of people headed toward allied territory. He gives the order to "go hot" and a missile is armed and ready to use on command to wipe out the the threat. But even as the order is given, the commander strains to see the satellite image on the screen before him. The group does not look hostile, but they cannot be allowed to cross into allied territory. As the fighter maneuvers into position and awaits the "fire" command, the commander moves to the edge off his seat and speaks to the monitor in front of him, "Turn around. Turn around now and you will not be hurt". The fighter is lining up for it's attack while the commander is looking for the smallest sign that the unknown group of people will deviate from their course and stop heading toward allied territory. The pilot checks in and let's the commander know he is ready to fire, but instead of hearing the "fire" command, he hears the commander scream, "They are turning away! They are turning away! Abort!! Abort!!!"
In this story with Israel (and I could image the same in my life), I see God as that commander pleading with his people to turn back so he can call off the air strike. As soon as he sees people turning from their evil ways, God declares "abort", the fighter is brought home and the people can return to safety.
Instead of painting a picture with God on the edge of his seat waiting to jump out and beat on the head those who have messed up, I believe this shows our loving God, on the edge of his seat, watching for the first sign of a repentant heart so that he can jump in and forgive.
Calling off the air strike would be called "Old Testament mercy".