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Week of 5/13/24

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Morning Minute 5/10/24:

“Why America Matters!” (Part 1)

What is so significant @ The United States of America?

Let’s begin by examining our national pledge of allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And, to the Republic for which it stands. One Nation, under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all!” Those 31 words help us understand why the United States of America is different.

Our flag contains 13 red or white alternating stripes representing the 13 original states. In the upper left corner, there are 50 white stars on a blue field, representing our current 50 states. The red represents courage, sacrifice, and the blood of American patriots. The blue signifies justice for all, vigilance, and perseverance. The white stars denote purity and innocence, reminding us of our reliance on God to guide our actions.

Our ‘Pledge’ indicates we are a Republic,” not a Democracy!” In democracies, every action of government must be voted on and approved by a majority of citizens. Due to our geographical size and varied regional requirements, our founders established us as a Republic.  We elect representatives to act on our behalf. Every elected official serves for a stated period of time, and is accountable to those who elected them.

We are “One Nation,” made up of 50 distinct states. After our War of Independence, the 13 colonies became the 13 states. Our first constitution was the “Articles of Confederation.” The founders, fearing the tyranny they experienced as colonies, created a weak national government with 4 primary flaws. 1st: There were 13 state courts with no national court to settle disagreements. 2nd: Inasmuch as there was no way to collect taxes, the federal government relied on revenues collected by the states. 3rd: Because the federal government could not regulate commerce, the states collected fees and tariffs on cross state transactions. 4th: Each state was allowed only 1 vote in Congress regardless of its size or population.   

In 1787, our U.S. Constitution created our “Republic,” with 3 co-equal branches: a President, a Congress with 2 separate houses, and the Supreme Court. They installed a system of checks and balances between these separate branches, limiting the power of each. Our Constitution was designed to “limit” the power of our federal government

Our Constitution clearly states that our rights come from God,” not from any man or government. As such, they cannot be taken away by any man, or any government. It proclaims that our rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, come from our Creator. Thus, our Liberty,” and our Justice,” are protected by our Constitution.

We are an Indivisible nation, that cannot be broken up into pieces. We fought a bloody 4 year long Civil War, with over 600,000 dead, to ensure that the United States will always remain: “One Nation Under God!”   

This column began by examining how our “Pledge of Allegiance” and our Constitution spell out our rights, And. how our government is unique, in that our Constitution actually limits the power of our government. In Part 2, we will examine how those freedoms and rights have created what is referred to as “American Exceptionalism.”

What IS so significant @ The United States of America?

That is today’s Morning Minute!

Morning Minute 5/17/24 "Are You An Encourager?"

Morning Minute 5/17/24:

“Are You an Encourager?”

We adults fill many roles.

We are spouses, parents, relatives, and children. We are friends and neighbors. We are bosses and employees. We serve in other capacities such as coaches and service club members. We belong to church congregations, and professional organizations. And in each of these roles, we all need encouragement.

There are times when we offer encouragement to others. And, times when we need encouragement from others. In order to understand our role as encouragers, it is useful to use both speech and actions to fulfill those roles. Let’s examine each.

SPEECH: There are several ways to use speech to encourage others. This is especially true when someone has suffered a setback, injury, insult, or a bad break such as an accident, illness, job loss, or death of a loved one. You can listen to them quietly, as they share their story. You can offer them a sincere condolence or a compliment. Plus, you can agree with them when appropriate. Be there for them in their moment of need.

People need encouragement when they have finished a small step in their quest to reach a much bigger goal. They need you to be truthful with them. Offer them a sincere compliment. Agree with them when appropriate. Offer clear counsel when needed. Be sure to provide them with helpful information; even stories of how others succeeded in similar struggles. You can pray for them, or, pray with them. You may even quote an appropriate bible verse for encouragement.

ACTIONS: We all know that actions speak louder than words. A sincere smile or a hug can help point someone in the right direction. During those times when someone is extremely upset, just be there for them, being quiet as you listen to them vent their frustrations.

If you are asked for an opinion, be honest in your response, not pointing blame at anyone else. If appropriate, make a sincere offer of assistance. Help them by pointing them in the right direction. Assist them to see the possibilities created by what happened. Then, motivate them by sharing that they are on the road to excellence and success.

We would all do well to follow theexample of Jesus. He was, and is, a great encourager. He would calmly ask questions, in order that a person who was upset, might see the situation as an opportunity. He always took time for children, talking to them, sharing stories, and encouraging them to do their best, and to be their best. His patient demeanor calmed many who were upset or angry. He set the example for how to be a faithful encourager. 

Inasmuch as we all need encouragement at times, be there for others when they need a friend, a mentor, or a teacher. In other words, be an ENCOURAGER!

“Are You an Encourager?”

 That is today’s Morning Minute!